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How far does Wimpole Hall show the development of country homes up to 1873?

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Eliana Tacconi 10c2 Wimpole Hall Coursework Q1-How far does Wimpole Hall show the development of country homes up to 1873? Wimpole Hall was originally built in 1640; the end of the Tudor-Jacobean period, by Sir Thomas Chicheley. The building was finished in 1873 and has changed considerably since it was first built due to changes in fashion and personal taste, therefore we cannot take the hall at face value. This is also true of Hinchingbrooke House in Cambridgeshire where many changes have taken place since it was built in the Tudor-Jacobean period due to fashion and personal taste, including the West Wing and colonnade being demolished because the owner believed that there was a werewolf living in it. Architecture has undergone three main changes. Wimpole is a good example of a Neo-Classical (c. 1700-1900) style of house. This style was brought about by the renaissance and the influence of Europe and was built to show status, wealth and power and was often built by the newly rich industrial class. The key features of this style of building were pediments, pillars, Venetian windows and symmetry. From 1066 to 1500 the wealthy buildings were castles, these were built with stone mainly for defensive purposes with features like crenellations and moats but they were also there to impress. ...read more.


Wimpole Hall shows us a reasonable amount about the religious and social attitudes but it does have limits as the house has undergone many changes and things were designed to make the owners look a certain way because that is how they wished to appear even if they were nothing like that. The Hall also shows us mainly about the rich and very little about the poor. In the 18th century there was a very strict hierarchy between the rich and poor and religion was very important or people at least wanted to appear religious. Before the industrial revolution religion was like a social cement but as this occurred so many people had moved to the cities, the 1851 census showing that the majority no longer lived in the country, that there were not enough churches for everybody. This meant that a lot of people stopped going to church and religion became less important. Wimpole is very useful in showing religious attitudes and I think that at the time religion was definitely becoming less important. I think this because the Chapel at Wimpole was beautifully decorated yet it was never consecrated so it couldn't be used for proper services. This shows that they wanted to be seen as religious for social reasons but were not so, it is a good example of conspicuous consumption, they wanted to be seen to be spending money on religion. ...read more.


The BBC adaptation of Mansfield Park provides a useful insight into both social and religious attitudes. As guests arrive servants are shown to be waiting to welcome them and this is similar to Wimpole where the Housekeeper can look out of her window to see guests approaching and then go outside to welcome them. This shows that servants were at constant beck and call. Religion is not considered very important by the characters and this is shown by the chapel, the family never used it was simply there to look good. This is an example of conspicuous consumption, they wanted to be seen to be spending money on religion so that people thought they were religious but really they didn't particularly care about it. This is also true at Wimpole because the Chapel there was never consecrated so couldn't be used for proper services; although it was decorated beautifully therefore it must have been there just for show. At this time Religion was declining in importance and this is shown in a quote taken from Mansfield Park, 'A clergyman is nothing.' I think that Wimpole is very helpful in helping us understand the religious and social attitudes of the rich in the 18th and 19th centuries as it has given much evidence for both although there was very little evidence to show anything of the servants attitudes so in this respect it is not as helpful. ...read more.

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