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Does an English country house count as a palace? Looking at dictionary.com they provided the following definition for palace:

  1. the official residence of a king, queen, bishop, or other sovereign or exalted personage.
  2. a large and stately mansion or building.
  3. a large and usually ornate place for entertainment, exhibitions, etc.

An English country house is not necessarily the residence of nobility, so the first definition does not fit. Two and three do fit. Can anyone clear this up for me?

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closed as general reference by Waggers, kiamlaluno, Matt Эллен, Mahnax, MετάEd Aug 29 '12 at 6:42

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Did you do any searching before posting the question? The answer is right here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace#United_Kingdom –  Waggers Nov 9 '11 at 8:53
    
Yes, I did. It was solely on country homes though. –  Ginamin Nov 9 '11 at 9:02
    
I see. But your question seems to be what makes a palace a palace? so I'm surprised you didn't search on palaces too. Not to worry though, it's still an interesting question! –  Waggers Nov 9 '11 at 9:04
    
Only as far as a definition went. I found a number of them. For instance, I found "a structure attempting to imitate a royal residence." Which is a rather poor definition, but I get which direction it is heading. Another definition clearly states it must BE a palace. The definition of a palace is only material to me in the sense that I am trying to define if a country house can be considered a palace. –  Ginamin Nov 9 '11 at 9:09
    
Just as a general comment: you should define in which context will your term be used; according to the ref. you provided several overlapping meanings are attached to the word; you are free to use any of them. The interpretation will be given, by your audience, according to context. –  Unreason Nov 9 '11 at 10:43
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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

At its most basic, an English country house is (surprise, surprise) a house that is built in the English countryside. In practice, it ususally describes a large, often a very large, house situated in many acres of its own land. Typically, it will be of significant historical and architectural interest. Its owners will normally be very rich and, in many cases, members of the British aristocracy. If you have seen the recent British television series 'Downton Abbey', you will have seen an English country house. (It is actually Highclere Castle, in the southern English county of Hampshire.)

After World War II, many families found they were unable to afford the upkeep of their properties and handed them over to the National Trust. These properties are now open to the public.

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From Wikipedia:

In the United Kingdom, by tacit agreement, there have been no "palaces" other than those used as official residences by royalty and bishops, regardless of whether located in town or country.

In other words, an English country house is a palace if and only if it has been used as an official residence by royalty and/or bishops.

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