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From the Middle Age to the 20th century, what are the influences and movements that have shaped the changing face of British architecture?
1. The Middle Ages – 1066 and all that
Architecture isabout evolution, not revolution. It used to be thought that once the Romans pulled out of Britain in the fifth century, their elegant villas, carefully-planned towns and engineering marvels likeHadrian’s Wall simply fell into decay. It took the Norman Conquest of 1066 to bring back the light.
However, the truth is not as simple as that. Romano-British culture survived long after the Romanwhitdrawal. And although the Anglo-Saxons had a sophisticated building style of their own made of wood.
Even so, the period between the Norman landing at Pevensey in 1066 and the day in 1485 when Richard IIIlost his horse and his head at Bosworth, ushering in the Tudors and the Early Modern period, marks a rare flowering of British building. The great cathedrals and parish churches that lifted up theirtower were also fiercely functional buildings. Castles served their particular purpose and their battlements and turrets were for use rather than ornament. The rambling manor houses of the later MiddleAges, however, were primarily homes, their owners achieving respect and maintaining status by their hospitality and good lordship rather than the grandeur of their buildings. Fitness for purpose alsocharacterised the homes of the poorer classes. Such people didn’t matter very much to the ruling elite and so neither did their houses. These were dark, primitive structures of one or two roomsusually with crude timber frames, low walls and thatched roofs. They weren’t built to last. And they didn’t.
2. Buildings of the Middles Ages.
White Tower, at the heart of the tower of London, was begunby Bishop Gundulf in 1078 and the other of William the Conqueror. The structure was completed in 1097.
Durham Cathedral was begun by Bishop William de St Carilef in 1093 and completed about 1175....
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