News and updates from ENCOUNTER

Project Update: The National Trust and Oxford University Trusted Source Partnership


In April we featured the new Trusted Source collaboration underway between the National Trust and Oxford University. The project aims to develop a ‘knowledge bank’ of concise, accessible and engaging articles written by academics and specialists to enhance public understanding and enjoyment of National Trust properties, places and collections.

To begin the Trusted Source commissioning process, the first call-out for researchers at Oxford University was devised to support the current Landscape Programme at the National Trust’s Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire, an initiative comprising of fifty four tasks taking place over five years to return the gardens to their former glory. Highlights include the return of missing statues, monuments and paths, and the opening of previously-closed areas of the garden to the public. In support of this, Trusted Source involvement sought to assist in unravelling the puzzling circumstances surrounding Stowe’s Gothic Cross, a Coade Stone monument placed in the landscape in the early 19th century and later destroyed, it is believed, by a falling tree.

The dome of the Radcliffe Camera, Oxford. © Oxford University Images / Whitaker studio

In March, university researchers and National Trust staff attended a workshop at which Trusted Source was introduced and opportunities for academic research on the Gothic Cross detailed. A variety of articles were written as a result of this workshop and published on the National Trust’s website, including texts on lost medieval villages, Whig landscapes, Gothic Revival, Coade stone and the meaning of patriotism. Each article refers to Stowe as one of a number of examples of the feature or question being explored, therefore these short articles connect up the National Trust’s portfolio of properties, places and collections in new and surprising ways.

Over the coming months the Trusted Sourceproject team will continue to foster strong bonds between these two organisations and commission engaging and accessible articles which support a whole host of Trust properties, places, and projects; from stately homes, working farms and natural landscapes, to Trust-wide programming themes connected to key anniversaries and events.

Read featured Trusted Source articles and author profiles, and keep up to date with the project here:

If you are interested in collaborating, or would like more information, please email Alice Purkiss, Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate: