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Mr Mark Baker 

  • Overview
Mark Baker
Position:PhD Archaeology

Academic History

I completed my undergraduate degree in History and Archaeology, at University of Wales, Bangor in 2006. After a short term at the Courtauld Institute of Art, I decided to solely concentrate on independent research and received commissions from a variety of organisations including the Georgian Group and Welsh Historic Gardens Trust. In 2007 I joined the department at Cardiff to study the British Medieval Studies MA, primarily focusing on architecture and buildings archaeology. My dissertation discussed the ‘Gothick Revival in Wales’ and its impact on the architecture of the Principality. In October 2008 I began my doctoral research, supervised by Prof. Denys Pringle and Prof. Judi Loach.

PHD Research

Working Title: The Impact and Development of the Welsh Country House

Despite possessing examples of Britain's finest buildings (Hilling 1975), Wales has not been recognised for its historic architecture and has, in fact, been much derided. Furthermore, very little academic research has taken place to analyse the architectural corpus. Those interpretations that do exist have been influenced by the writings of the 1930s and 40s which asserted that Wales had no ‘real’ architecture except for its cottages and farm houses (Peate 1940). Extensive work has been done on castles and vernacular buildings in Wales, but very little on the greater houses. The great houses were seen as being alien imports, utterly foreign, and of no cultural value to Wales. It was such a stance that led to over four hundred houses being demolished between 1900 and the late 1980s (Lloyd 1986).

The architectural development of the great house in Wales forms the core of my research as I seek to identify what aspects/qualities could make the houses uniquely Welsh. This PhD seeks to establish whether the ‘Welsh country house’ exists as a valid concept. It will address such questions as why have Welsh mansions received very little recognition despite being just as worthy as their English counterparts?

Start date: 2008
First Supervisor: Prof. Denys Pringle
Second Supervisor: Prof. Judi Loach


Mark Baker, The rise and fall of Gwrych Castle, (Prestatyn: 1999)
Mark Baker, Gwrych Castle – A pictorial history, (Prestatyn: 2000)
Mark Baker, The rise and fall of Gwrych Castle, including Winifred, Countess of Dundonald – a biography, (Prestatyn: 2003)
Mark Baker, Hafodunos Hall, Llangernyw – Triumph of the Martyr, (Prestatyn: 2005)
Mark Baker, The Myths and Legends of the Gwrych Castle Estate, (Prestatyn: 2006)
Mark Baker, Plas Teg – A Jacobean Country House, (Hope: 2006)
Mark Baker, Plas Teg – A Jacobean Country House – Revised Second Edition, (Hope: 2007)
Mark Baker and Mike Roberts, Abergele & District – A Pictorial Past, (Cardiff: 2007)
Mark Baker, The Welsh House Illustrated, (London: 2008)
Mark Baker and Michael Tree, Forgotten Welsh Houses, (Llanrwst: 2008)
Mark Baker, A Royal Home in Wales: Llwynywermod, (Cardiff: 2008)

Academic Articles

‘Gwrych Castle’, Welsh Historic Gardens Trust Bulletin, 2005
‘Hafodunos Hall’, Welsh Historic Gardens Trust Bulletin, 2005
‘Edwinsford, Carmarthenshire’, Georgian Group Welsh Newsletter, 2008

Magazine Articles

‘Gwrych Castle’, Casa Vogue, March 2004
‘Llwynywermod’, Western Mail Magazine, November 8th 2008
‘The Windsor’s holiday home in Wales’, The Sunday Times Property Magazine, November 9th 2008

Additional Information

Committee member, National Trust’s Committee for Wales
Honorary Life Member of SAVE Britain’s Heritage
Editor of the Georgian Group Welsh Newsletter
Trustee of Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust
Trustee of Ruperra Castle Preservation Trust
Trustee of Ruperra Conservation Trust
Lecturer in Welsh Social History and Historic Architecture
‘Grand Restorations’: A Conference on Historic Buildings Rescue, February 2009, Cardiff University
Voice of Humanities, March 2009, Cardiff University

Related Links

Country House Biographies
Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust
Ruperra Conservation Trust
The Georgian Group