A la Ronde

Placement Details

Location: Exmouth / Exeter/ Remote

Website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/a-la-ronde

Duration: 3 months full time/ 6 months part time

Start Date: Flexible, to be decided between the student and the placement host

Deadline for Expressions of Interest: Friday 22 April 2022

Placement Description:

This research will explore the idea of ‘cottage communities’ in the 18th and 19th centuries and specifically test whether such a concept, based on Christian and female networks, was a reality, an ideological concept or even a recognisable literary device (see Sarah Scott, 1762 Millenium Hall Publ J Newbury, Republished 1986, Virago).


Using the specific example of A la Ronde, the research will scope the function and question the value, purpose and impact of shared female groups as a route to independence at this time. It will explore the social interest of the ‘cottage’ and the ideals and experiments in making communities which were based around this form. 

Home for two wealthy, unmarried cousins, Jane and Mary Parminter, as with other examples of the cottage ornee tradition, A la Ronde may also have been a form of intellectual retreat. In some part perhaps a benevolent venture and maybe a place founded with a religious sense of purpose.  It is unusual in combining these meanings of the late 18C cottage and in realising them in close proximity to one another.


The site offers opportunities to explore female friendship but equally to explore or identify questions of economics, social power, hierarchy, deference, and religion which often remain unexplored and hindered by assumption rather than illuminated by tested evidence.

Skills, knowledge or experience needed:

  • Interest in literature as well as history would be helpful.
  • Aptitude for, or existing, good research skills. 
  • Lateral thinker, able to connect ideas and find new research pathways.
  • Independent worker.
  • Able to contribute to discussion and debate with NT colleagues and with volunteer research team.
  • Effective communicator – written material is the priority but there will be other opportunities.

To apply:

To express interest in this placement, please email your CV and a brief supporting statement to training@oocdtp.ac.uk by Friday 22 April 2022