English Architecture During Medeival Times

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English Architecture During Medieval Times

Architecture is the practice of building design and the technology applied in constructing a building. Medieval or, English architecture is very appealing in the variety of castles and cathedrals throughout England. Each structure has its own feature and aspects in reflecting the Gothic style of architecture. English architecture is based on the Gothic principal of architecture that has designed the vast castles and cathedrals from early to the late Gothic structures.

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The most popular form of architecture in England, early Gothic style is referred to as the “Bay Design.” This design consisted of simply a large building and a collection of different bays throughout the span. The building consisted of a single roof, one central ridge with two planes of rafters. This Medieval form is called a single span. (Braun 91) The most important feature in English architectural punctuation consists of buttresses, broad pilasters to form a sound system for the structure. The buttresses were slender strips employed by architects that supported the main walls. Broad pilasters added great dignity to the wall surfaces and were stepped in place at various angles of the building to propose a sturdier forum. ( Braun 99 ) During the 14th and 15th centuries advanced roofing technology enabled the spans of buildings t be increased. ( Braun 98 ) this meant that enormous cathedrals and castles could be constructed and still retain the strength of smaller structures. The large galleried churches of the tenth through the twelfth centuries were scientifically designed to have many windows to light the gallery floor. By the early Gothic period the row of rounded windows was accepted for being the main principle for lighting. The early Gothic or bay unit design was merely the popular design chosen throughout the early Gothic times in England.

The Gothic form of architecture was developed upon the bay design. Gothic architecture became the leading European style. ( Cormack 4 )This form of building used the basic preliminary planning, support system, roof span. The Gothic style of building took creativity to another level using creative methods of decoration.

The first practice of this new style was performed by a small group of well born French preclates, mostly bishops. ( Trachtenberg, Isabelle 257 ) The earliest of the Gothic style, incorporated in England, was the construction of Canterbury Cathedral. Here the English took the French style of planning and restraint then relaxed it to their own style. From here on Gothic architecture became the leading European style. ( Trachtenberg, Isabelle 251 ) This European style consisted of extreme length and square ended parts. The squared geometry provided for a sound foundation for the structure. The vaulting supports are of origin of the early bay design. In a more late Gothic Cathedral the walls are composed of disconnected horizontal layers. ( Trachtenberg, Isabelle 252 ) By 1300 the Culnivear style had derived in the world of Gothic architecture. This time period was where a wide variety of tracery patterns, and more often architects freely used their own ideas. Architects in England felt free and no longer obligated to follow the basic French style. From this point on the English designed freely at their own will. The later Gothic emphasis to design many different styles of cathedrals and castles.

In constructing a cathedral each stage was carefully planned out. The foundation was laid out using the principal of straight lines and right triangles. Medieval cathedrals were built in a wide variety of styles. The main support of a church was from the great stone pilasters and flying buttresses. The flying buttresses are square strips holding the main vault in place for a support system for the cathedral. The aspects of cathedrals include the great length, decoration and lavish ornamentation. The Gothic cathedrals resemble a textile like series of small niches surrounding the walls for statuary. ( Trachtenberg, Isabelle 251 ) English cathedrals are great aspects of Gothic architecture.

As well as cathedrals, castles were constructed using the same distinct orientation by the talent of architects during Medieval times. Castles throughout the English country are commonly found in relation to a site that was used for defense purposes. A castle contained a wide range of facilities to support a community of people. There are several different types of castles: enclosure, mote and bailey and masonry castles. Before construction began a site had to be selected. Examination of the earth was performed to establish the contour of the land. This played a key role in where the castle was located. Mostly throughout England castles are found along the coast or the mouth of a river. The rounded windows and delicate patterns within the castles distinctly show the magnificent talent of Gothic architects during the Medieval period. There really is no formal system of support to a castle. The walls are so thick they can support themselves. Surrounding a Medieval castle was a mound of dirt referred to as a mote. Most castles have this feature as a resolution to defense tactics. In other cases a rampart was excavated. Medieval architecture was an important factor in the lives of English citizens.

The Gothic style of architecture came a long way from the simple bay design to the Curvilinear style of building. Architects of the Medieval time period learned how to plan and carefully construct impressive structures throughout English. Each building dates back to the characteristics of the early and late Gothic time period from the twelfth century to almost the sixteenth century.

1. Braun, Hugh (ed.) English and Medieval Architecture. North Finchley, London: Bracken Books a division of Best Seller Publications.

2. Brown, R. Allen (ed.) The Architectures of Castles. United Kingdom: B.T. Ltd, 1984.

3. Clucas, Philip. Churches and Cathedrals of England. London: Tiger Books International, 1987.

4. Coramck, Patrick. Castles of Britain. London: Artus Books, no date given.

5. MacDonald, Fiona & James, John. A Medieval Cathedral. New York: Tiger Bedericks Books, 1994.

6. Trachtenberg, Marvia & Hyman, Isabelle (ed.) Architecture From Prehistory to Post Modernism. The Netherlands: Harry N. Adams, 1986.

English Medieval Architecture is based on the Gothic principal of architecture that has

designed the vast castles and cathedrals from early to the late Gothic structures.

1. Single roof span and various supports

B. Design of structures during Medieval time period

C. Characteristics of this design

III. The beginning of England’s own style of building

A. Gothic style used basic features of previous bay design

C. Characteristics of Gothic Architecture

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