Felling The Ancient Oaks by John Martin Robinson
Writing in The Blackpool Gazette, Pam Norfolk reviews the new book by historian John Martin Robinson, Felling The Ancient Oaks, How England Lost Its Great Country Estates –
For some of England’s most historic estates, the current imperative to preserve our past has come far too late. Felling the Ancient Oaks offers a stunning and heartbreaking visual record of our most spectacular and scenic country estates which have been broken up for sale and lost forever, often to be replaced with an endless sprawl of light industry and soulless suburbia. [It] reminds us of how our landscape looked before death duties, mining subsidence and sometimes the recklessness and incompetence of the black sheep in the family took their toll and forced the break-up of so many historic landed estates.
Highclere Castle. Source Wikimedia Commons. Image credit JBUK_Planet
One stately house that has survived is Highclere Castle, a country house in the Jacobean style, with a park designed by Capability Brown and the country seat of the Earl of Carnarvon. It is estimated however that a third of England’s historic estates, with their stately homes, parks, farms and churches have been lost.