Situating Status



Building a house fit for a gentleman presupposed land for it to sit on. The example of Paradise in Gloucestershire highlights important issues related to the settings of individual houses, their connections with urban and rural environments, and the character of their immediate landscapes and gardens. As a property, Paradise did not serve as a country house subsisting on rents from land. Its income of £35 per annum was insufficient to guarantee the independent existence of the gentleman it sought for an owner. At the same time, the house resulted from William Townsend’s manufacturing of cloth, a trade centred in the Stroudwater valleys but which had important, indeed necessary, links with the great commercial centre of London.1 Without these links and the resulting financial resources, the house would not have existed. Paradise had its aesthetic merits as well. The house’s ‘West Country baroque’ architecture likely took its cue from Bristol. It was ‘pleasantly situated’ with a ‘beautiful prospect’, providing an agreeable place of residence for a genteel owner. Factors of location, property, setting, and urban connection all helped to make Paradise ‘fit for a gentleman’.


Eighteenth Century Rural Environment Situate Status Port City Primary Residence 
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. 1.
    D. Rollison, The Local Origins of Modern Society: Gloucestershire 1500–1800 (London, 1992), 55.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    G. E. Mingay, English Landed Society in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1963), 25.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    P. Langford, Public Life and the Propertied Englishman 1689–1798 (Oxford, 1991);Google Scholar
  4. E. Hart, Building Charleston: Town and Society in the Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic World (Charlottesville and London, 2010), 114.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    Wilson and Mackley note that historians of landownership such as J. V. Beckett have paid comparatively little attention to the actual building of houses and their landscapes, see R. Wilson and A. Mackley, Creating Paradise: The Building of the English Country House, 1660–1880 (London, 2000), 247, fn 20.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    H. Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Oxford, 1991, originally published 1974) is a key text.Google Scholar
  7. See also J. Stobart, A. Hann, and V. Morgan, Spaces of Consumption: Leisure and Shopping in the English Town, c. 1680–1830 (London, 2007), 2;Google Scholar
  8. M. Ogborn and C. Withers, (eds), Georgian Geographies: Essays on Space, Place and Landscape in the Eighteenth Century (Manchester, 2004), 1–3.Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    Quoted in R. Isaac, The Transformation of Virginia 1740–1790 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1982), 74.Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    L. J. Hall, ‘Yeoman or Gentleman? Problems in Defining Social Status in Seventeenth-and Eighteenth-Century Gloucestershire’, Vernacular Architecture, vol. 20 (1991), 2–19,CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 8.
    In Delaware, genteel two-storey brick houses ‘stood out against the land’, R. L. Bushman, Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities (New York, 1992), 15.Google Scholar
  12. 8.
    J. Harris, A Country House Index: An Index to over 2000 Country Houses Illustrated in 107 Books of Country Views Published between 1715 and 1872, Together with a List of British Country House Guides and Country House Art Collection Catalogues for the Period 1726–1880 (London, 1979).Google Scholar
  13. 9.
    N. Cooper, ‘Rank, Manners and Display: The Gentlemanly House, 1500–1750’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, vol. 12 (2002), 308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 10.
    J. Varley, ‘John Rocque: Engraver, Surveyor, Cartographer and Map-Seller’, Imago Mundi, vol. 5 (1948), 83–91;Google Scholar
  15. M. H. Edney, ‘Mathematical Cartography and the Social Ideology of British Cartography’, Imago Mundi, vol. 46 (1994), 101–116, 101;Google Scholar
  16. M. Bruckner, The Geographic Revolution in Early America: Maps, Literacy, and Natural Identity (Chapel Hill, NC, 2006).Google Scholar
  17. 13.
    Wilson and Mackley, Creating Paradise, 7; F. M. L. Thompson, English Landed Society in the Nineteenth Century (London, 1963), 109–118.Google Scholar
  18. 22.
    GA/D149/E6: June 1768 survey of estate; 1768 estate map and Enclosure Map, 1815, Frampton Court collection. See also R. Hewlett and J. Speed, Trampton on Severn: An Illustrated History (Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, 2007), 107.Google Scholar
  19. 24.
    B. B. Mooney, Prodigy Houses: Architecture and the Native Elite (Charlottesville, VA, 2008), 114–115.Google Scholar
  20. 25.
    W. Penn, Fruits of Solitude (New York, 1693, reprint in 1903), 49.Google Scholar
  21. 26.
    Figures 2–5 in C. L. Cavicchi, ‘Pennsbury Manor Furnishing Plan’, Morrisville, PA (Unpublished MS, 1988), 58 ff.Google Scholar
  22. 27.
    S. B. Kim, Landlord and Tenant in Colonial New York: Manorial Society, 1664–1775 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1978).Google Scholar
  23. 28.
    W. Johnson, Sir, Papers of Sir William Johnson (Albany, 1921–1965) [Papers of Sir William Johnson hereafter PSWJ], vol. 1, 395.Google Scholar
  24. 30.
    P. J. Corfield, ‘The Rivals: Landed and Other Gentlemen’, in N. Harte and R. Quinault, (eds), Land and Society in Britain, 1700–1914 (Manchester, 1996), 1–33, 18.Google Scholar
  25. 31.
    L. Stone and J. F. Stone, An Open Elite? England 1540–1880 (Oxford, 1984), 22.Google Scholar
  26. 32.
    N. Roger, ‘Money, Land, and Lineage: The Big Bourgeoisie of Hanoverian London’, Social History, vol. 4, no. 3 (October 1979), 437–454, 452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 33.
    R. G. Wilson, Gentlemen Merchants: The Merchant Community in Leeds, 1700–1830 (Manchester, 1971), 223.Google Scholar
  28. 36.
    E. A. L. Moir, ‘The Gentlemen Clothiers: A Study of the Organization of the Gloucestershire Cloth Industry, 1750–1835’, in H. P. R. Finberg, (ed.), Gloucestershire Studies (Leicester, 1957), 240; Rudder, 711.Google Scholar
  29. 38.
    E. C. Little, Our Family History (1892), 14; Phillpotts, ‘Stroudend Tithing Report’, 80.Google Scholar
  30. 40.
    H. R. French, ‘“Ingenious and Learned Gentlemen”: Social Perceptions and Self-fashioning among Parish Elites in Essex, 1680–1740’, Social History, vol. 25, no. 1 (January 2000), 44–66, 45. Italics in original.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 41.
    AAA Cooper, The Houses of the Gentry 1480–1680 (New Haven and London, 1999), 249.Google Scholar
  32. 43.
    B. Heller, ‘Leisure and Pleasure in London Society, 1760–1820: An Agent-centred Approach’ (D.Phil. thesis, University of Oxford, 2009), 77, 80.Google Scholar
  33. 45.
    AAA Ackerman, The Villa: Form and Ideology of Country Houses (Princeton, 1995);Google Scholar
  34. AAA Arnold, (ed.), The Georgian Villa (Stroud, 1998);Google Scholar
  35. AAA Archer, Architecture and Suburbia: From English Villa to American Dream House, 1690–2000 (Minneapolis and London, 2005);Google Scholar
  36. AAA Airs and AAA Tyack, (eds), The Renaissance Villa in Britain, 1500–1700 (Reading, 2007);Google Scholar
  37. E. McKellar, ‘The Suburban Villa Tradition in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century London’, in B. Arciszewska, (ed.), The Baroque Villa: Suburban and Country Residences, c. 1600–1800 (Wilanow, Poland, 2009), 197–208;Google Scholar
  38. D. Gerhold, ‘London’s Suburban Villas and Mansions, 1660–1830’, The London Journal, vol. 34, no. 3 (November 2009), 233–263;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. T. R. Slater, ‘Family Society and the Ornamental Villa on the Fringes of English Country Towns’, Journal of Historical Geography, vol. 4, no. 2 (April 1978), 129–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 52.
    R. Sweet, ‘Topographies of Politeness’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, vol. 12 (2002), 355–374;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. AAA Borsay, English Urban Renaissance: Culture and Society in the Provincial Town 1660–1770 (Oxford, 1989); Hart, Building Charleston.Google Scholar
  42. 53.
    P. T. Marcy, ‘Eighteenth-Century Views of Bristol and Bristolians’, in P. McGrath, (ed.), Bristol in the Eighteenth Century (Newton Abbot, 1972), 11–40.Google Scholar
  43. 57.
    B. Harris, ‘Cultural Change in Provincial Scottish Towns, c. 1700–1820’, The Historical Journal, vol. 54, no. 1 (2011), 105–141;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. J. Stobart, ‘Culture Versus Commerce: Societies and Spaces for Elites in Eighteenth-Century Liverpool’, Journal of Historical Geography, vol. 28, no. 4 (October 2002), 471–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 58.
    C. Lounsbury, Essays on Early American Architecture: A View from the Chesapeake (Charlottesville and London, 2011), 114.Google Scholar
  46. 62.
    See for example a letter of 1767 addressed from William Champion in London to ‘Mr Tho Goldney at Clifton near Bristol’, emphasizing that Clifton was near but not part of Bristol, GA/D421/B, 12June 1767. On Clifton, see D. Jones, A History of Clifton (Chichester, 1992); BRO/SMV/6/5/4/3: Jacob de Wilstar, ‘A Survey of the Mannor of Clifton in the County of Gloucester Being part of the Estates belonging to the Merchants Hall at Bristol’ (1746).Google Scholar
  47. 67.
    Roger Leech has proposed that many of the dwellings erected by merchants near Bristol and elsewhere in the Atlantic world were suburban or country residences for occasional use, see R. H. Leech, ‘Charlestown to Charleston: Urban and Plantation Connections in an Atlantic Setting’, in D. Shields, (ed.), Material Culture in Anglo-America: Regional Identity and Urbanity in the Tidewater, Lowcountry and Caribbean (Columbia, SC, 2009), 170–187, at 184. My research suggests a somewhat different reading.Google Scholar
  48. 68.
    A recent article has conjectured that Goldney’s new house, constructed in the 1720s, was smaller than generally assumed and used largely as a ‘garden house’, or second residence. See R. H. Leech, ‘Richmond House and the Manor of Clifton’, in M. Crossley-Evans, (ed.), ‘A Grand City’ — ‘Life, Movement and Work’: Bristol in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Essays in Honour of Gerard Leighton, PSA (Bristol, 2010), 27–46, 36–38. Physical and documentary evidence raises some questions about this. Thomas Goldney II recorded the births of his children there, suggesting much more than a garden house retreat.Google Scholar
  49. P. K. Stembridge, The Goldney Family: A Bristol Merchant Dynasty (Bristol, 1998), 87–89.Google Scholar
  50. Thomas Goldney III is listed as ‘of Clifton’ in a range of documents and seems to have used Goldney House as his primary residence. On garden houses, see R. H. Leech, ‘The Garden House: Merchant Culture and Identity in the Early Modern City’, in S. Lawrence, (ed.), Archaeologies of the British: Explorations of Identity in Great Britain and its Colonies, 1600–1945, One World Archaeology Series, vol. 46 (2003), 76–86.Google Scholar
  51. 69.
    A. Burnside, A Palladian Villa in Bristol: Clifton Hill House and the People Who Lived There (Bristol, 2009).Google Scholar
  52. 71.
    TNA/PROB11/884; Burnside, A Palladian Villa in Bristol, 19–21; A. Burnside and S. B. Brennan, ‘Paul Fisher: Linen-Draper and Merchant, of Clifton Hill House’, in M. Crossley-Evans, (ed.), ‘A Grand City’ — ‘Life, Movement and Work’: Bristol in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Essays in Honour of Gerard Leighton, FSA (Bristol, 2010), 47–62.Google Scholar
  53. 73.
    J. Day, ‘The Champion Family (per 1670–1794)’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, online edition, 2004). See also Stembridge, The Goldney Family, 22; Martha had acquired the property shortly before their marriage, see Nuffield Health, St Mary’s Hospital archives, Indenture, 17 August 1742. Champion and Martha married in September 1742, Thomas Goldney Record Book, University of Bristol Library/DM1398: ‘Nehem: Champion Sen:r to my Sister VandeWall, 7:br 16th 1742 [16 September 1742] [University of Bristol Library hereafter UBL].Google Scholar
  54. 75.
    A. Gomme, M. Jenner, and B. Little, Bristol: An Architectural History (London, 1979), 152.Google Scholar
  55. 78.
    J. Charlton and D. M. Milton, Redland 791 to 1800 (Bristol, 1951), 38.Google Scholar
  56. 82.
    R. Mortimer, (ed.), Minute Book of the Men’s Meeting of the Society of Friends in Bristol, 1686–1704, Bristol Record Society, vol. 30 (Bristol, 1977), 233: John Andrews (d. 1743, of Castle Precincts) merchant.Google Scholar
  57. 84.
    Quoted in A. Chan, Slavery in the Age of Reason: Archaeology at a New England Farm (Knoxville, TN, 2007), 57.Google Scholar
  58. 89.
    AAA Moir, ‘Sir George Onesiphorus Paul’, in H. P. R. Finberg, (ed.), Gloucestershire Studies (Leicester, 1957), 195–224.Google Scholar
  59. 93.
    Important works on eighteenth-century landscape and gardens, again focused on larger landscapes, include: T. Williamson, Polite Landscapes: Gardens and Society in Eighteenth-Century England (Stroud, 1995);Google Scholar
  60. J. Dixon Hunt and P. Willis, (eds), The Genius of the Place: The English Landscape Garden, 1620–1820 (Cambridge, MA, 1988);Google Scholar
  61. T. Richardson, Arcadian Friends: Inventing the English Landscape Garden (London, 2007);Google Scholar
  62. T. Mowl, Gentleman and Players: Gardeners of the English Landscape (Stroud, 2000).Google Scholar
  63. 94.
    AAA Girouard, Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History (New Haven and London, 1978), 151.Google Scholar
  64. 96.
    Rudder, 442; AAA Hobson, The Raymond Barkers of Fairford Park, Fairford History Society Monograph 3 (November 2007) 14–15.Google Scholar
  65. 99.
    Kingsley, CHG II, 198; T. Mowl and R. White, ‘Thomas Robins at Painswick’, Journal of Garden Design, vol. 4, no. 2, 163–178. See also M. Richards, ‘Two Eighteenth-Century Gloucester Cardens’, TBGAS, vol. 99 (1981), 123–126.Google Scholar
  66. 100.
    J. J. Cartwright, (ed.), The Travels through England of Dr Richard Pococke, Successively Bishop of Meath and of Ossory during 1750, 1751, and Later Years, 2 vols (London, 1888–1889), vol. 2, 270.Google Scholar
  67. 101.
    J. Milne and T. Mowl, Castle Godwyn: A Guide and an Architectural History (Painswick, 1996), 9–10; C. Woodward, ‘Castle Godwyn’ Country Life (27 September 2007), 130–135.Google Scholar
  68. 102.
    T. Mowl, Historic Gardens of Gloucestershire (Stroud, 2002), 83–88.Google Scholar
  69. 104.
    AAA 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, 9.Google Scholar
  70. 107.
    Map, drawn from a missing original by Ellis Marsden, 1918, in W. St Clair Baddeley A Cotteswold Manor: Being the History of Painswick (Gloucester, 1929), 34; Gloucester Journal, Tuesday, 11 February 1755.Google Scholar
  71. 109.
    J. Cornforth, Early Georgian Interiors (London and New Haven, 2004), 23;Google Scholar
  72. G. Worsley, The British Stable (New Haven and London, 2004).Google Scholar
  73. 115.
    C. L. Bleckiand K. A. Wulf, (eds), Milcah Martha Moore’s Book: A Commonplace Book from Revolutionary America (University Park, PA, 1997), 208–209.Google Scholar
  74. 117.
    William Penn to James Harrison, 25 October 1685, in R. S Dunn and M. M. Dunn, The Papers of William Perm (Philadelphia, 1986), vol. 3, 65–68.Google Scholar
  75. 122.
    See the discussion of Fairhill in M. Reinberger and E. McLean, ‘Isaac Norris’s Fairhill: Architecture, Landscape, and Quaker Ideals in a Philadelphia Colonial Country Seat’, Winterthur Portfolio, vol. 32, no. 4 (Winter 1997), 243–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. 123.
    AAA Sweeney, ‘Mansion People: Kinship, Class, and Architecture in Western Massachusetts in the Mid Eighteenth Century’, Winterthur Portfolio, vol. 19, no. 4 (Winter 1984), 231–255, 242, figure 7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. 126.
    C. Wells, ‘The Planters Prospect: Houses, Outbuildings, and Rural Landscapes in Eighteenth-Century Virginia’, Winterthur Portfolio, vol. 28, no. 1 (Spring 1993), 1–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. 128.
    J. M. Vlatch, The Planter’s Prospect: Privilege and Slavery in Plantation Paintings (Chapel Hill, NC and London, 2002).Google Scholar
  79. 129.
    Atkins Heritage, ‘Champion’s Brassworks and Gardens Conservation Management Plan’ (Unpublished report, January 2007), figure 2 and especially 28–34.Google Scholar
  80. 131.
    A. P. Woolrich, (ed.), Ferner’s Journal, 1759–1760: An Industrial Spy in Bath and Bristol (Eindhoven, 1986), 32.Google Scholar
  81. 134.
    Quoted in AAA Lambert, ‘The Prospect of Trade: The Merchant Gardeners of Bristol in the Second Hall of the Eighteenth Century’, in M. Conan, (ed.), Bourgeois and Aristocratic Encounters in Garden Art, 1550–1850, vol. 23 (Washington, DC, 2002), 123–145, 137.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Stephen Hague 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rowan UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations