The Story of the Country House | The Competition

Writers in the 19th century described country houses as their own ‘little kingdoms’: self-contained units with their own rulers, workers, and inhabitants whose lives and stories create a fascinating blend of social, economic and architectural history. Perhaps this is why they are a building type that continues to capture our imagination to this day.

Help us unearth the rich histories hidden within the walls of country houses across the UK, and celebrate the publication of The Story of the Country House by Clive Aslet, by getting involved with our #CountryHouseQuirks competition.

Read on to find out how to enter

How to Enter

Tag us (@yalebooks) in a post on Twitter with your favourite hidden history, surprising story or fascinating fact about a country house in the UK and the competition hashtag #CountryHouseQuirks. You can also reply to the competition thread pinned at the top of our profile or email us at [email protected] if you don’t use social media.

Entry closes at 11.59 pm (GMT) on Sunday 31st October. Two runners-up and one overall winner will be selected and announced shortly afterwards. Please make sure we can direct message you in order to arrange posting prizes if you enter via Twitter.

Runner-up prizes: x1 copy of The Story of the Country House by Clive Aslet
Grand prize: x1 copy of The Story of the Country House by Clive Aslet AND an A3 print of your choice by the book’s illustrator Bethan Scorey

Need Some Inspiration?

Click here to read a blog from Clive Aslet wherein he unveils the past of Stansted Park in Chichester, including the time it housed a donkey-riding school to ready Christian coverts for travel in foreign lands, and why there were some awkward neighbourly encounters during the civil war.

You don’t need to write your entry in any great detail (and anyway, Twitter has a character limit!) but we’re looking for truly weird and wonderful stories that capture how quirky and unusual the history of country houses can be.

For example, did you know that the area around Chedworth in Gloucestershire is home to a large species of snail (Helix pomatia) which were originally introduced for the table at Chedworth’s Roman villa during the Roman occupation of Britain? Or that a recent restoration by the National Trust at Knole in Kent revealed burn marks scorched into the floor joists near the fireplace in the upper chamber, which were meant to have deterred witches from coming down the chimney whilst King James I stayed there? James had written a book on witchcraft and Knole’s owner Robert Sackville was a prominent courtier who, like many others, was expected to have his home ready to lavishly entertain the King and his retinue.

Terms and Conditions

Please read these terms and conditions carefully. By taking part in the competition, all participants will be deemed to have read and accepted them. We will not sell or share your data to any other organisations for their own purposes. To read the full Yale University Press, London Privacy Policy click here.

  1. The closing date for entry to the competition will be Sunday 31st October 2021. Entries must be received no later than 11.59pm (GMT) on the closing date. Entries sent past this date will not be considered.
  2. This competition is open to UK residents only. We are unable to ship prizes internationally.
  3. Participants may submit one entry only. Multiple entries from the same individual will be disqualified.
  4. The prizes are non-transferable, non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for a cash alternative in whole or in part. The A3 print is subject to availability and must be chosen from applicable items on Bethan Scorey’s website:
  5. Entries will be judged by the marketing team at Yale University Press, London. The judges’ decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  6. This competition is not open to employees of Yale University Press or their families.
  7. Yale University Press, London reserves the right to cancel the competition if circumstances arise outside of its control.
  8. Yale University Press, London shall have the right, at its sole discretion and at any time, to change or modify these terms and conditions, such change shall be effective immediately upon posting to this webpage.

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