The legal framework
The country house is arguably England's major contribution to European art. Most outstanding country houses are in a better state of repair and decoration than they have been for at least a century or are in the process of being so improved. Those that have changed hands for the purposes of conversion to new uses and those that have recently been rescued from states of near or actual dereliction are subject to varying degrees of structural alteration. Dingley Hall, Northamptonshire, and Gunton Hall, Norfolk, were in the latter two categories and were both subdivided and converted by Kit Martin into numbers of individual houses. This chapter discusses a few of the agencies successfully caring for country houses. Different organizations include the Country Houses Association, a charity founded in 1955, which has bought a number of outstanding houses, and restored and converted them into flats for letting, often to retired people.