A house 're-edified' - Thomas Sackville and the transformation of Knole 1605-1608

Town, Edward (2011) A house 're-edified' - Thomas Sackville and the transformation of Knole 1605-1608. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

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Thomas Sackville was a courtier and a politician during the reigns of Queen
Elizabeth I and King James I. Shortly prior to his death in April 1608, Sackville began
work on his largest architectural project, the transformation of the archbishops’ greathouse
at Knole, near Sevenoaks in Kent. The house holds a seminal position in the
landscape of country houses of the period, and as Sackville’s only surviving house, is an
important monument to his ambitions as patron.
However, Sackville’s significance as a patron has often been underplayed, in the
same way that his position as a leading politician and a minister of state has often been
seen as only a brief interlude between the hegemony of William and Robert Cecil –
Sackville’s predecessor and successor as Lord Treasurer respectively. The research of
this thesis focuses on Sackville’s transformation of his house at Knole, highlighting the
fact that during his political apogee, Sackville was a leading patron of his day, who
employed the finest artisans, craftsmen and artificers available to him.
In the historiography of English architectural history, Knole is often sidelined,
and seen as the last moment of Elizabethan building practice before the innovations of
the Jacobean period. This not only underplays the complexity of the building’s
development, but also detracts from what Thomas Sackville aimed to achieve during his
campaign of building at Knole between 1605 and 1608. New evidence has afforded a
fuller insight into Thomas Sackville’s role as patron and also the extent to which his
numerous intellectual and cultural interests were brought to bear on the transformation
of the house. This evidence suggests that what Sackville achieved at Knole was a
remarkable synthesis of what was inherited from the existing fabric and what was newly
built, and the product of this synthesis was a house that reflected both Sackville’s
intellectual and political ambitions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Art History
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture > NA4100 Special classes of buildings > NA4170 Public buildings > NA4590 Religious architecture
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture > NA4100 Special classes of buildings > NA7100 Domestic architecture. Houses. Dwellings
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2011 09:38
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:38
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/6893

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