Peopling polite landscapes: community and heritage at Poltimore, Devon
Poltimore House, near Exeter, Devon, was the seat of the Bampfylde family from the mid-sixteenth century until the 1920s. The AHRC-funded knowledge transfer project ‘Community and Landscape: Transforming Access to the Heritage of the Poltimore Estate’ researched the changing relationship between house and setting through a public heritage initiative that promoted the co-creation of knowledge with local groups. Research techniques included analysis of maps, estate records and pictorial sources; geophysical and earthwork survey; test-pitting; and fieldwalking. The designed landscape around the house went through a series of previously unknown iterations as the park was enlarged and gardens re-designed, while accompanying changes saw roads diverted and farms and estate buildings variously moved, re-built and abandoned. Visual experiences of the house and its surroundings were manipulated in complex ways as different elements of the estate landscape were exhibited to certain audiences but secluded from others at different points in time. The case study demonstrates how the design of a post-medieval estate landscape could be moulded by the ‘personality’ of a local dynasty and mediated by local circumstances. It also shows how integrated archaeological and historical analysis of polite landscapes can reveal antecedent activity and illuminate layers of re-use to these settings.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council
© 2013 The Author(s). Published by Routledge. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.
Vol. 34, Issue 2, pp. 61 - 86