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'A visit to Swarthmoor Hall reveals the lifestyle of a wealthy Country Gentry family in the early 17th Century' how far do you agree with this statement? Give reasons for your answer.

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Introduction

'A visit to Swarthmoor Hall reveals the lifestyle of a wealthy Country Gentry family in the early 17th Century' how far do you agree with this statement? Give reasons for your answer. Swarthmoor Hall was built in the 17th Century but since then a lot has happened to it. I both agree and disagree with the above statement due to the restorations, donations, etc the Hall has received. The great hall was smaller than I expected. The oak panelling on the walls was an expensive thing to have in the 17th century, so it was a way of showing your wealth and status. Although, there may not have been oak panelling in the room originally as we know that after Swarthmoor Hall fell into disrepair, it was done up by Emma Clarke-Abraham - it was her that had the panelling put in place. Any original panelling was possibly stripped and sold off. The Yeoman would have been unlikely to have any panelling, and the nobility would be likely to have more extensively carved panels. ...read more.

Middle

It would have been unlikely to have both. The dresser's purpose is to display crockery. The imported china on display was used to show wealth, as were the pewter plates as it needs servants to keep pewter shiny. The staircase had a post down the middle of it which it spiralled around. This would have taken a whole oak tree to make and so cost a lot - another sign of wealth. A Yeoman would just have a simple staircase going up to the second floor, whereas nobility would have a very extravagant staircase. Outside Judge Fell's bedroom was a waiting porch. This would be where people would wait to be invited in. The panelling in the porch was different to the panelling in the bedroom as it was probably added at a later date. The bed has had the posts and roof taken off because of damage, but it is apparently the only original piece of furniture left in the house. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bay windows were a luxury and nobility (such as Levens Hall) usually only had one or two bay windows themselves. The outside of the house would not have been pebble-dashed which stops us from seeing what the outside of the house really looked like, so it is hard to tell small things that would not have been there in the 17th Century. The balcony door (which would have had outdoor stairs leading to it at some point) has a very intricately detailed lintel which would have only been done if maybe this door used to be the main entrance. I believe that Swarthmoor Hall is typical of a 17th Century Country Gentry house as it shows more wealth and status than Yeoman houses I have seen and not quite as much status & wealth as nobility houses nearby such as Levens Hall. Some of the evidence may not be very reliable as the hall has been restored and had lots of items donated to it. This means that maybe it wouldn't have been similar to its current status, but it is likely that it was because most of the donated furniture is from the 17th Century. ...read more.

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