Shortly after William Townsend died in 1754, a sales advert appeared for a house he owned known as Paradise (Figure 1.1):

To be Sold in the county of Gloucester A MODERN-BUILT HOUSE, with four rooms on a floor, fit for a Gentleman, with all the convenient Offices and Outhouses, at Paradise, about a Mile from Painswick, and five from Gloucester, pleasantly situated on the Side of a Hill, which affords beautiful prospects; with 34 acres of Arable, Pasture and Wood Lands, the greatest Part adjoining to the House, and 50 Sheep Commons on Painswick Hill; all Freehold, and the Lands of the Yearly Value of about 35L.1


Eighteenth Century Social Mobility House Form American Coloni Wood Land 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    N. Cooper, The Houses of the Gentry, 1480–1680 (London and New Haven, 1999), 244;Google Scholar
  2. G. Worsley, Classical Architecture in Britain: The Heroic Age (New Haven and London, 1995). Cooper calls rectangular, hipped-rool houses lor the gentry ‘ubiquitous’ by the end of the seventeenth century.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    C. Woodward, ‘Castle Godwyn’, Country Life (27 September 2007), 130–135, at 131. The house became known as Castle Godwyn in the later eighteenth century; D. Verey and A. Brooks, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire I: The Cotswolds (London, 2002), 555.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    J. Milne and T. Mowl, Castle Godwyn: A Guide and an Architectural History (Painswick, 1996), 6–7 suggests mason John Bryan. Dan Cruikshank posits architect John Strahan in Woodward, ‘Castle Godwyn’, Country Life (27 September 2007), 132.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Detailed analysis of Stenton’s construction is in R. Engle, ‘Historic Structure Report: Stenton’ [hereafter HSR] (Unpublished MS lor The NSCDA/PA, 1982).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    F. Tolles, fames Logan and the Culture of Provincial America (Boston, 1957). For a discussion of the word genteel and its associations, seeGoogle Scholar
  7. R. L. Bushman, The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities (New York, 1992), 61–63.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    For example R Langford, A Polite and Commercial People: England 1727–1783 (Oxford, 1989) emphasizes change and the middle class.Google Scholar
  9. J. C. D. Clark, English Society 1660–1832: Religion, Ideology and Politics during the Ancien Régime (Cambridge, 2000) advocates seeing Britain as an ancien regime confessional state with emphasis on aristocratic rule.Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    J. Summerson, Architecture in Britain, 1530–1830 (New Haven, ninth edition, 1993), passim; Worsley, Classical Architecture in Britain, 10–12, 29–31, 169–173; Cooper, Houses of the Gentry; For North America,Google Scholar
  11. H. Morrison, Early American Architecture (Oxford, 1952);Google Scholar
  12. J. Deetz, In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life (New York, expanded and revised 1996), 156–158.Google Scholar
  13. 10.
    W. Whyte, ‘How Do Buildings Mean? Some Issues of Interpretation in the History of Architecture’, History and Theory, 45 (May 2006), 153–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 11.
    L. Stone and J. F. Stone, An Open Elite? England 1540–1880 (Oxford, 1984).Google Scholar
  15. 12.
    E. Spring and D. Spring, ‘The English Landed Elite, 1540–1879: A Review’, Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies, vol. 17, no. 2 (Summer 1985), 149–166, especially 151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 13.
    M. Girouard, Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History (New Haven and London, 1978);Google Scholar
  17. J. Summerson, ‘The Classical Country House in 18th Century England’, in The Unromantic Castle and Other Essays (London, 1990), 79–120;Google Scholar
  18. H. Clemenson, English Country Houses and Landed Estates (London, 1982); C. Saumarez Smith, ‘Supply and Demand in English Country House Building, 1660–1740’, The Oxford Art Journal, vol. 11, no. 2 (1988);Google Scholar
  19. C. Christie, The British Country House in the Eighteenth Century (Manchester, 2000);Google Scholar
  20. D. Arnold, The Georgian Country House: Architecture, Landscape and Society (Stroud, 2003);Google Scholar
  21. R. Wilson and A. Mackley, Creating Paradise: The Building of the English Country House, 1660–1880 (London, 2000).Google Scholar
  22. 14.
    P. Guillery, The Small House in Eighteenth-Century London (New Haven and London, 2004), 10;Google Scholar
  23. R. J. Lawrence, ‘Integrating Architectural, Social and Housing History’, Urban History, vol. 19, no. 1 (1992), 39–63;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. R. Stewart, The Town House in Georgian London (London and New Haven, 2009);Google Scholar
  25. B. Arciszewska and E. McKellar, (eds), Articulating British Classicism: New Approaches to Eighteenth-Century Architecture (Aldershot, 2004).Google Scholar
  26. 15.
    P. Borsay, ‘Why Are Houses Interesting?’, Urban History, vol. 34, no. 2 (2007), 338–346, at 346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 16.
    K. Harvey, (ed.), History and Material Culture: A Student’s Guide to Approaching Alternative Sources (London, 2009);Google Scholar
  28. B. L. Herman, Town House: Architecture and Material Life in the Early American City 1780–1830 (Chapel Hill, NC, 2005);Google Scholar
  29. D. Hicks and M. C. Beaudry, (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies (Oxford, 2010);Google Scholar
  30. R. Blair St George, (ed.), Material Life in America, 1600–1860 (Boston, 1988).Google Scholar
  31. 17.
    A. Vickery, The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England (New Haven and London, 1998);Google Scholar
  32. H. F. French, ‘“Ingenious and Learned Gentlemen”: Social Perceptions and Sell-lashioning among Parish Elites in Essex, 1680–1740’, Social History, vol. 25, no. 1 (January 2000), 44–66;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. R. G. Wilson, Gentlemen Merchants: The Merchant Community in Leeds, 1700–1830 (Manchester, 1971);Google Scholar
  34. T. M. Devine, The Tobacco Lords: A Study of the Tobacco Merchants of Glasgow and their Trading Activities, c. 1740–90 (Edinburgh, 1975);Google Scholar
  35. P. Jenkins, The Making of a Ruling Class: The Glamorgan Gentry 1640–1790 (Cambridge, 1983);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Susan Whyman, Sociability and Power in Late-Stuart England: The Cultural Worlds of the Verneys 1660–1720 (Oxford, 1999).Google Scholar
  37. 18.
    E. McKellar, The Birth of Modern London: The Development and Design of the City, 1660–1720 (Manchester, 1999), 3.Google Scholar
  38. R. W. Brunskill, Vernacular Architecture: An Illustrated Handbook (London, 2000), 27–30;Google Scholar
  39. A. Green, ‘The Polite Threshold in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Britain’, Vernacular Architecture, vol. 41 (2010), 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. M. Johnson, English Houses 1300–1800: Vernacular Architecture, Social Life (Harlow, 2010), chapter 8. On politeness more generally, seeGoogle Scholar
  41. L. E. Klein, ‘Politeness and the Interpretation of the British Eighteenth Century’, The Historical Journal, vol. 45, no. 4 (December 2002), 869–898, 870;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. P. Langford, ‘The Uses of Eighteenth-Century Politeness’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, vol. 12 (2002), 311–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 19.
    On landed society, see G. E. Mingay, English Landed Society in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1963) and The Gentry: The Rise and Fall of a Ruling Class (London, 1976);Google Scholar
  44. J. Cannon, Aristocratic Century: The Peerage of Eighteenth-Century England (Cambridge, 1984);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. J. Rosenheim, The Emergence of a Ruling Order: English Landed Society 1650–1750 (London, 1998). ‘The ‘Middling Sort’ are Well-Covered’, in J. Barry and C. Brooks, (eds), The Middling Sort of People: Culture, Society and Politics in England, 1550–1800 (Basingstoke, 1994),Google Scholar
  46. M. R. Hunt, The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender and the Family in England, 1680–1780 (Berkeley, CA and London, 1996);Google Scholar
  47. H. R. French, The Middle Sort of People in Provincial England 1600–1750 (Oxford, 2007).Google Scholar
  48. 20.
    Vickery, The Gentleman’s Daughter, 14; J. Flavell, When London Was Capital of America (New Haven and London, 2010);Google Scholar
  49. N. Landsman, Prom Colonials to Provincials: American Thought and Culture 1680–1760 (Cornell, 1997);Google Scholar
  50. S. Conway, ‘From Fellow-Nationals to Foreigners: British Perceptions of the Americans, circa 1739–1783’, The William and Mary Quarterly, third series, vol. 59, no. 1 (January 2002), 65–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 22.
    The subject of social status has preoccupied British historians of the long eighteenth century but has been largely absent in accounts of early America. K. Wrightson, ‘Class’, in D. Armitage and M. J. Braddick, (eds), The British Atlantic World, 1500–1800 (Basingstoke, 2002), 304–305;.Google Scholar
  52. Middleton and B. G. Smith, (eds), Class Matters: Early North America and the Atlantic World (Philadelphia, 2008).Google Scholar
  53. 23.
    C. Carson, ‘The Consumer Revolution in Colonial America: Why Demand?’ in C. Carson, R. Hoffman, and P. J. Albert, Of Consuming Interest: The Style of Life in the Eighteenth Century (Charlottesville, 1994), 483–697, 687.Google Scholar
  54. See also C. D. Hemphill, ‘Manners and Class in the Revolutionary Era: A Transatlantic Comparison’, William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 63, no. 2 (April 2006), 345–372.Google Scholar
  55. 24.
    Wilson and Mackley, Creating Paradise; J. Stobart, ‘Gentlemen and Shopkeepers: Supplying the Country House in Eighteenth-Century England’, Economic History Review, vol. 64, no. 3 (2011), 885–904, 899.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. see J. White, ‘A World of Goods? The Consumption Turn and Eighteenth-Century British History’, Cultural and Social History, vol. 3 (2006), 93–104;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. N. McKendrick, J. Brewer, and J. H. Plumb, The Birth of Consumer Society: The Commercialization of Eighteenth-Century England (London, 1982);Google Scholar
  58. J. Brewer and R. Porter, (eds), Consumption and the World of Goods (London, 1993);Google Scholar
  59. A. Bermingham and J. Brewer, (eds), The Consumption of Culture 1600–1800: Image, Object, Text (London, 1995);Google Scholar
  60. C. Shammas, The Pre-industrial Consumer in England and America (Oxford, 1990);Google Scholar
  61. L. Weatherill, Consumer Behaviour and Material Culture 1660–1760 (London, second edition, 1996).Google Scholar
  62. 25.
    T. H. Breen, ‘An Empire of Goods: The Anglicization of Colonial America, 1690–1776’, Journal of British Studies, vol. 25, no. 4 (1986), 467–499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 26.
    A. Vickery and J. Styles, (eds), Gender, Taste and Material Culture in Britain and North America 1700–1830 (New Haven and London, 2006); Special issue on Georgian interiors in Journal of Design History, vol. 20, no. 4 (Winter 2007);Google Scholar
  64. H. Barker and E. Chalus, Gender in Eighteenth-Century England: Roles, Representations and Responsibilities (London, 1997);Google Scholar
  65. A. Vickery, The Gentleman’s Daughter and Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England (New Haven and London, 2009);Google Scholar
  66. N. Tadmor, Family and Friends in Eighteenth-Century England: Household, Kinship and Patronage (Cambridge, 2000);Google Scholar
  67. A. Flather, Gender and Space in Early Modern England (Woodbridge, 2007);Google Scholar
  68. J. Lewis, ‘When a House Is not a Home: Elite English Women and the Eighteenth-Century Country House’, Journal of British Studies, vol. 48 (April 2009), 336–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 27.
    N. Tadmor, ‘The Concept of the Household-Family in Eighteenth-Century England’, Past and Present, vol. 151, no. 1 (May 1996), 111–140;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. K. Harvey, The Little Republic: Masculinity and Domestic Authority in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Oxford, 2012), 12–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. 29.
    Harvey, The Little Republic. M. Finn, ‘Men’s Things: Masculine Possession in the Consumer Revolution’, Social History, vol. 25, no. 2 (May 2000), 133–155;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. K. Harvey and A. Shepard, ‘What Have Historians Done with Masculinity? Reflections on Five Centuries of British History, circa 1500–1950’, The Journal of British Studies, vol. 44, no. 2 (2005), 274–280;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. K. Harvey, ‘Men Making Home: Masculinity and Domesticity in Eighteenth-Century Britain’, Gender and History, vol. 21, no. 3 (November 2009), 520–540;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. H. French and M. Rothery, Man’s Estate: Landed Gentry Masculinities 1660–1900 (Oxford, 2012), especially chapter 4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. 30.
    Worsley Classical Architecture in Britain, 169–173; D. Reiff, Small Georgian Houses in England and Virginia: Origins and Development through the 1750s (London, 1986);Google Scholar
  76. B. B. Mooney, Prodigy Houses of Virginia: Architecture and the Native Elite (Charlottesville, VA, 2008).Google Scholar
  77. 31.
    S. G. Hague, ‘Historiography and the Gentleman’s House in the British Atlantic World’, in O. Horsfall Turner, (ed.), ‘The Mirror of Great Britain’: National Identity in Seventeenth-Century British Architecture (Reading, 2012), 233–259.Google Scholar
  78. 33.
    G Hood, The Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg: A Cultural Study (Chapel Hill, NC, 1991), 42.Google Scholar
  79. 34.
    C. Carson and C. R. Lounsbury (eds), The Chesapeake House: Architectural Investigations by Colonial Williamsburg (Chapel Hill, NC, 2013), 18.Google Scholar
  80. 35.
    M. Johnson, English Houses 1300–1800: Vernacular Architecture, Social Life (Harlow, 2010), 179, 187–189.Google Scholar
  81. 36.
    Landsman, Prom Colonials to Provincials, 7. The difficulty Americans encountered in jettisoning their connection with Britain is treated in K. Yokota, Unbecoming British: How Revolutionary America Became a Post-colonial Nation (Oxford, 2011).Google Scholar
  82. 37.
    M. Dresser and A. Hahn, Slavery in the English Country House (Swindon, 2013);Google Scholar
  83. M. Dresser, Slavery Obscured: The Social History of the Slave Trade in Bristol (Bristol, 2007).Google Scholar
  84. 38.
    D. Armitage, ‘Three Concepts of Atlantic History’, in Armitage and M. Braddick, (eds), The British Atlantic World, 1500–1800 (London, 2002), 11–27, especially 18–21.Google Scholar
  85. 39.
    C. B. Estabrook, Urbane and Rustic England: Cultural Ties and Social Spheres in the Provinces, 1660–1780 (Manchester, 1998), 3, 152.Google Scholar
  86. 41.
    J. S. Ackerman, The Villa: Form and Ideology of Country Houses (Princeton, 1995);Google Scholar
  87. M. Airs and G. Tyack, (eds), The Renaissance Villa in Britain, 1500–1700 (Reading, 2007);Google Scholar
  88. D. Arnold, (ed.), The Georgian Villa (Stroud, 1998);Google Scholar
  89. B. Arciszewska, (ed.), The Baroque Villa: Suburban and Country Residences, c. 1600–1800 (Wilanow, Poland, 2009);Google Scholar
  90. J. Archer, Architecture and Suburbia: From English Villa to American Dream House, 1690–2000 (Minneapolis and London, 2005).Google Scholar
  91. 42.
    Williamson noted this feature in relation to larger estates, see T. Williamson, ‘Archaeological Perspectives on Landed Estates: Research Agendas’, in J. Finch and K. Giles, (eds), Estate Landscapes: Design, Improvement and Power in the Post-medieval Landscape (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2007), 1–16.Google Scholar
  92. 43.
    P. Langford, Public Life and the Propertied Englishman 1689–1798 (Oxford, 1991), especially 58–70.Google Scholar
  93. 44.
    J. Fowler and J. Cornforth, English Decoration in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1978);Google Scholar
  94. Saumarez Smith, Eighteenth-Century Decoration: Design and the Domestic Interior in England (New York, 1993);Google Scholar
  95. J. Cornforth, Early Georgian Interiors (London and New Haven, 2004); Vickery Behind Closed Doors.Google Scholar
  96. For objects, A. Bowett, English Furniture 1660–1714: Charles II to Queen Anne (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2002) and Early Georgian Furniture 1715–1740 (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2009);Google Scholar
  97. C. Edwards, Eighteenth-Century Furniture (Manchester, 1996);Google Scholar
  98. S. Richards, Eighteenth-Century Ceramics: Products for a Civilised Society (Manchester, 1999);Google Scholar
  99. P. Glanville, Silver in England (London, 1986).Google Scholar
  100. T. Murdoch, (ed.), Noble Households: Eighteenth-Century Inventories of Great English Households: A Tribute to John Cornforth (Cambridge, 2006).Google Scholar
  101. J. Ayres, Domestic Interiors: The British Tradition 1500–1850 (New Haven and London, 2003);Google Scholar
  102. P. Earle, The Making of the English Middle Class: Business, Society and Family Life in London, 1660–1730 (London, 1989); Shammas, The Pre-industrial Consumer in England and America; Weatherill, Consumer Behaviour and Material Culture; Google Scholar
  103. M. Overton, J. Whittle, D. Dean, and A. Hann, Production and Consumption in English Households, 1600–1750 (London, 2004).Google Scholar
  104. 45.
    The idea of emulation draws largely on T. Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (New York, 1899). The work of Pierre Bourdieu, however, has suggested a measure of differentiation, where different social ranks exhibited consumption practices unrelated to a concept of ‘taste’ from above.Google Scholar
  105. P. Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste (London, 1984); Weatherill, Consumer Behaviour and Material Culture, 194–196; Hunt, The Middling Sort.Google Scholar
  106. 46.
    The former view is in Stone and Stone, An Open Elite?; M. Girouard, ‘The Power House’, in G. Jackson-Stops, (ed.), The Treasure Houses of Britain: Five Hundred Years of Private Patronage and Art Collecting (New Haven, 1985), 23;Google Scholar
  107. D. Hancock, Citizens of the World: London Merchants and the Integration of the British Atlantic Community, 1735–1785 (Cambridge, 1995).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Stephen Hague 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rowan UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations