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).

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Why do we sing Christmas carols?

Christmas carols are at the very heart of seasonal tradition. But many of the texts, tunes, and conventions of today’s Christmas carols are younger than you might think...

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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.

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Jewish stories at our country houses

Being Jewish meant different things at different times. Taken together, the Jewish stories in our country houses speak to the integration of Jews into nineteenth and twentieth century British society, and the obstacles they encountered.

Article

Who was Laura McLaren, Lady Aberconwy?

Laura McLaren, Lady Aberconwy (1854–1933), was a leading Liberal suffragist. She became an activist in the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and founded the Liberal Women’s Suffrage Union.

Article

Who was Elizabeth Murray, Duchess of Lauderdale?

Baptised on 28 September 1626 in London, Elizabeth was the eldest of the five daughters of William Murray, first earl of Dysart, and Catherine Murray (née Bruce).

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Who was the Earl of Orkney?

George Hamilton, first Earl of Orkney (1666-1737) was a distinguished army officer who fought in the Nine Years’ War (1689-1697) and the War of Spanish Succession (1702-1713), becoming one of the Duke of Marlborough’s best officers. In 1696 he acquired the Cliveden estate.

Article

What does ‘baroque’ mean?

Originating in Rome, the baroque was a cultural movement in Europe throughout the seventeenth century. Baroque style can be seen across many forms of art including painting, sculpture, architecture, music, literature and theatre.

Article

The image of power? Queen Elizabeth I and the 'Mask of Youth'

The ‘Mask of Youth’ is a term given to the portraits and miniatures of Queen Elizabeth I which adopted a standardised image of ageless beauty.

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Why was Magna Carta sealed at Runnymede?

Runnymede – from Old English runieg (council island) and mede (meadow) – was the location for the sealing of the Magna Carta by King John on the fifteenth of June 1215, with the 1225 version becoming the definitive version.

Article

What is the Anthropocene?

The Anthropocene is the idea that the Earth is entering a new epoch in its geological history, in which human beings have for the first time become the primary agents of change on a planetary scale.

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Why did the nation mourn Princess Charlotte's death in 1817?

Princess Charlotte Augusta was born on the 7th January 1796 to George, Prince of Wales (later George IV) and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick. Charlotte’s life came to an abrupt end on the 6th November, 1817, after she endured an excruciating fifty-hour labour resulting in a stillborn child.