Trusted Source

Created in partnership with the University of Oxford, Trusted Source is a growing collection of short and easily understood articles about history, culture and the natural environment. Written by academics and National Trust experts, these articles explore all manner of subjects related to the special places and collections in our care. Explore the categories below or browse all Trusted Source articles at the bottom of the page.

Helping you understand the big ideas behind our special places...
Browse all Trusted Source articles...
Article

What are maiolica and majolica?

Maiolica and majolica are names used for different types of ceramics produced from the late-medieval period onwards. The names are sometimes used interchangeably which can lead to confusion.

Article

What is a dovecote?

Dovecotes are structures designed to house pigeons or doves. They are also referred to as ‘culverhouses’ (English), ‘columbaria’ (Latin) and ‘doocots’ (Scots).

Article

What is a pilgrimage?

A pilgrimage is a devotional practice consisting of a prolonged journey, often undertaken on foot or on horseback, toward a specific destination of significance. The means or motivations in undertaking a pilgrimage might vary, but the act, however performed, blends the physical and the spiritual into a unified experience.

Article

How new is the 'modern dad'?

When we think about fathers in the past and present, many of us assume that the ‘hands on dad’ is an entirely modern invention. However, historians have shown that there have always been loving and caring fathers.

Article

When were country house guidebooks invented?

Britain’s first country house guidebooks were published in the middle of the eighteenth century, primarily because of the increasing – and unprecedented – numbers of tourists.

Article

Who was Octavia Hill?

A social reformer, public figure, artist and activist, Octavia Hill was also a key figure in the foundation of the National Trust.

Article

Who was Thomas Carlyle?

When Thomas Carlyle turned eighty in 1875, he received a birthday tribute from over one hundred eminent Victorians. Philosopher, historian, biographer, translator, novelist and essayist, he was hailed as the voice of the age.

Article

Who were the Pre-Raphaelites?

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a nineteenth century art movement founded in 1848 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and several of their friends.

Article

What is a ha-ha?

A ha-ha is a type of sunken fence that was commonly used in landscaped gardens and parks in the 18th century. The ha-ha gave the viewer of the garden the illusion of an unbroken, continuous rolling lawn, whilst providing boundaries for grazing livestock.

Article

Why does LGBTQ heritage matter?

LGBTQ heritage is everywhere. Yet stories about Britain’s national and cultural heritage tend to reflect a ‘heterosexual past’; ‘queer’ history and heritage has been blighted by criminal persecution and moral condemnation of gender and sexual nonconformity.

Article

Who was Margaret Elizabeth Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey?

Margaret Elizabeth Child-Villiers (nee Leigh, 1849 - 1945), Countess of Jersey, was a Tory political hostess and philanthropist who became Britain’s leading female anti-suffragist.

Article

Who was Clementine Churchill?

Born in 1885, Clementine Ogilvy Spencer-Churchill (née Hozier) was far more than just Winston’s wife. She was a keen promoter of social and humanitarian causes, often in defiance of Winston, including women’s rights.

Article

Who was Sydney Renée Courtauld?

Sydney Renée Courtauld (1873-1962) was a social reformer and philanthropist dedicated to improving women’s access to education. She helped secure part of the present Ashridge Estate for the National Trust.

Article

How did the French Revolution affect England?

The French Revolution (1789 – 1799), had a deep and lasting impact upon the whole of Europe, profoundly challenging traditional notions of authority and political power.

Article

Who was Samuel Taylor Coleridge?

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) was one of the great Romantic poets. He was a writer of visionary imagination, lyric intensity and philosophical profundity.

Article

What happened in a medieval abbey church?

Before the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the late 1530s, hundreds of monasteries and nunneries were founded across Great Britain. The Rule of St Benedict set out guidelines for their life, including the daily routine of prayer for both the living and dead.

Article

What is a hermitage?

In early Christianity, a hermitage was a place where religious men lived on their own to escape the temptations of the world. In eighteenth-century landscape gardens a hermitage was also a retreat, but for its aristocratic owners to rest in on their walks.

Article

What was the Bloomsbury group?

The Bloomsbury group was a circle of artists, writers and intellectuals who embraced a culture of sexual equality and freedom, informality and fierce intellectual debate, largely at odds with their strict Victorian upbringings.