From Hampton Court to Downton Abbey

Postgraduate degrees in Country House Studies

When I’m not writing books, I run the University of Buckingham’s postgraduate programme in Country House Studies, which offers PhDs, MPhils and MAs by research in a wide range of country house-related topics, from explorations of individual houses and architects to thematic studies. Past topics have included the Baroque mural, the use of music in the country houses of the 1650s and the professionalisation of the sale of country estates in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. If you have an idea for a PhD, I’m always happy to chat. Drop me a line at

and we can arrange a phone call or a Zoom meeting.

The same goes if you are interested in our Masters by Research in Country House Studies, ‘From Hampton Court to Downton Abbey’. The course, which starts in October 2021, is an interdisciplinary research programme that enables you to examine, by way of a dissertation, a particular aspect of the history of the mansions and manor houses of Britain. You might want to look at a particular building, the country house in popular culture, a dynasty of craftsmen, or the creation of an estate. The choice is up to you.

The MA is awarded solely on the basis of your dissertation – there are no examinations – and the relationship between you and your supervisor (usually me) is at the heart of the course. However, whether you are pursuing a PhD or an MA, your studies will be complemented by a London-based seminar programme that offers an opportunity to hear and meet with some of the world’s most distinguished scholars. Most of these seminars take place at the Reform Club on Pall Mall.

The 2021-2022 seminar programme is now almost completely in place, and it promises great things:

  • 12 October 2021 Simon Thurley ‘The Country Houses of the Early Stuart Kings’
  • 26 October 2021 Jeremy Musson ‘The Country House Plan’
  • 9 November 2021 John Goodall ‘The Country Houses of the Long Middle Ages: 1480-1640’
  • 23 November 2021 Mark Purcell ‘The Country House Library’
  • 11 January 2022 Adriano Aymonino ‘Paper Architecture: the Iconography of the Georgian Country House’
  • 25 January 2022 Rosemary Hill ‘The Earl and the Architect: Pugin and Lord Shrewsbury’
  • 8 February 2022 Earl Spencer ‘Althorp’  
  • 22 February 2022 Ben Cowell, ‘Saving Country Houses’
  • 8 March 2022 Lucy Worsley, ‘Artisan Mannerism and the Great Household’
  • 22 March 2022 Adrian Tinniswood ‘Noble Ambitions: The Fall and Rise of the Post-War Country House’

Each of the ten seminars begins at 18:30 and is followed by drinks and a dinner with the guest speaker. The cost of all post-seminar dinners is included in the tuition fees. 

There is also an associate option, which allows you to attend the seminars without signing up for the MA.

If you would like to know more, contact me direct at

Or for an online application form, click here.