What Would We Have Seen at a Country House Entertainment?

That Shakespeare Life


For Shakespeare’s lifetime, the concept of welcoming hospitality was considered a uniquely English virtue. We see this opinion reflected in the play, As You Like It, when Shakespeare’s character Corin suggests that doing deeds of hospitality was one way to get to heaven. Nowhere was hospitality reflected more clearly, or extended more often, than at the country house estate. Now before you think of a small cottage in the countryside, when I say it was a Country House Estate, an example of a famous one is Kenilworth Castle where Queen Elizabeth was welcomed and entertained by Robert Dudley in 1575. In homes like this one, nobility were expected to keep the grounds and the interior rooms in prime condition with supplies on hand to provide accommodation, meals, and entertainment for both travelers as well as visiting dignitaries who visited as a part of official negotiations for both local and national politics. Here today to help us understand the world of Country House Estates and the sorts of entertainments that were offered there by the hosts, is our guest and author of the award-winning book, The Elizabethan Country House Entertainment, Elizabeth Kolkovich.  Get bonus episodes on Patreon

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