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    From magnificent houses to disagreeable country: Lady Sophia Newdigate's tour of southern England and Derbyshire, 1748

    Stobart, Jon ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9771-4741 (2019) From magnificent houses to disagreeable country: Lady Sophia Newdigate's tour of southern England and Derbyshire, 1748. In: Women and the Land, 1500-1900. Boydell Press. ISBN 1783273984

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    Travel for pleasure was one of the chief ways in which the elite distinguished themselves from the lower orders. The epitome of elite tourism was, of course, the Grand Tour which opened cultural and social horizons, especially for young men. The letters and journals which formed an integral part of the Tourist's experience have given us tremendous insights into their motivations, priorities, itineraries and practices. There was also a long established tradition of touring England, with a growing number of published tours being available to the curious public. Yet this form of tourism has attracted rather less attention; the travelogues of Lybbe Powys, Arthur Young and the like have been mined for their observations in particular places, but little attempt has been made to explore in any detail the tours made by less famous travellers, especially women. In this chapter, I follow in the footsteps of Lady Sophia Newdigate on her tour of southern England, undertaken with her husband, Sir Roger, in 1748. My purpose is threefold: first, to recreate her itinerary, assess the extent to which this conformed with or departed from a predictable circuit of famous sites, and offer some thoughts on what factors shaped the geography of her tour; second, to examine the ways in which she wrote about the places she visited and how this linked to the expected conventions of travel journals and/or the commentary offered by topographical guides such as Camden; third, to consider the insights afforded by Sophia's journal into the ways in which aristocratic women reacted to their surroundings: was there, indeed, a specifically female view?

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