Architecture

The architecture of inns in Britain is as wide and varied as the architecture of many other notable buildings around the country. Many modern towns still boast buildings of real character, some of which need a lot of searching for, but it's the British villages which often best show some of the most notible historical buildings. To this day, many styles of brickwork are used to create differing effects on walls. Laying bricks in different styles is known as 'Brick Bonding'.

ENGLISH ARCHITECTURE. The Romans left England in 410. No datable document of English architecture exists from before the 7th century, but excavations have proved in places as distant from one another as Tintagel and Llantwit Major in Cornwall and Whitby in Yorkshire that early monastic establishments were of the Egyptian coenobitic type. Most English villages date back to around the 10th century, when settlements usually consisted of a church or manor house where cottages and huts grew around the central area, often around a village green or pond.

Gloucestershire Tithe BarnMedieval architecture can still be seen in many villages. The Tithe Barn stored produce for the clergy. Farmers were required to donate one tenth (tithe) of the annual harvest to the church. Tithe Barns have a large roof space by supporting the roof by using crucks - large curved timbers, with large entrance doors big enough to accommodate ox wagons.

Timber FramingTimber framing dates back to medieval times. Often known as 'half timbered' it refers to a method of construction in which walls are built of interlocking vertical and horizontal timbers. The spaces are filled with non structural material such as wattle & daub or lath & plaster. The framing itself consists of a 'wall plate' at the top supported by posts with infill studs and cross rails. Sometimes the first floor is 'jettied' - overhanging the lower storey. Due to the quality of Timber framed buildings, many can still be seen all over the country, although they are more common in the south. Some towns and villages have a high number of timber framed buildings such as York - North Yorkshire, Chester - Cheshire, Shrewsbury - Shropshire, Warwick - Warwickshire and Pembridge - Herefordshire.

12th Century ChurchChurch Towers seem to have made their appearance in the 10th century. They are either at the west end or placed centrally between nave and chancel. Churches of timber, which must have been the rule in the earliest centuries, still went on as late as the 11th century. Many churches of the later 11th century have Anglo-Saxon side by side with Norman motifs.

What is called Norman architecture in England is not the art of Normandy but that brought by William the Conqueror to England. The Norman style in fact begins just before the Conquest, with Westminster Abbey as rebuilt by Edward the Confessor.
The church is the focal point of most villages and many different styles can be seen. Many have spires rising from the tower which also vary from pyramidal, polygonal or conical and can be made from stone or timber and covered in shingles or lead.

The Gothic style reached England fist by means of the CISTERCIAN order around the mid 11th century. English Gothic, the so-called Early English style, begins with Wells and Lincoln cathedrals.

Thatched CottgaeCastle KeepEnglish castles are primarily castles with keeps. These keeps were not normally used domestically, but great halls, chapels, etc. were also built. A reform of the defensive system was brought about by the Crusades, in England. Spatially the Decorated style favours the unexpected vista, especially in diagonal directions. Principal works are the east parts of Bristol Cathedral and Wells Cathedral. No other country has anything as novel, as resourceful and as lavish as the English Decorated style. The Perpendicular style beginning in London c. 1330 and reaching a full climax in the Gloucester chancel in 1337-57. Once it had been established, went on without major changes for 250 years, and it can be argued that the Elizabethan style in England is more Perpendicular than it is Renaissance. Henry VIll and his court favoured the Renaissance style, which was impressively promoted in the crafts by Holbein's designs. But the Renaissance in England remained until about 1550.

WeatherboardingThe universal acceptance of classical architecture came only with the time of Sir Christopher Wren. Stuart churches are a rarity. They also become more frequent only at the time of Wren and are largely the result of the Fire of London. The range of forms used by Wren is immense. It goes from the noble classical simplicity of the dome of St Paul’s to the dramatic Baroque of the west towers of St Paul's and of Greenwich and the Hampton Court plans, to the brick domesticity of Kensington Palace and even to the Gothic Revival of a few of the dry churches.

Georgian architecture is classical in its major exteriors; but on the smaller domestic scale it still has the sensible plainness of the Queen Anne style. Interiors are more elaborate than exteriors; here also Palladianism was the rule at first, but it was handled with greater freedom and verve. A brief phase of Rococo followed about the middle of the century: then the enchantment of Robert Adam's delicate decoration captured nearly everybody. Grecian interiors were rare until about 1820, but Victorian licence and exuberance are already heralded in certain Regency interiors (Brighton Pavilion).

Half Timbered ThatchDudley Chip Shop !But Victorian architecture is not all licence and exuberance. At the other end of the scale is the respect for the past, a historicism taken very seriously as a matter of religious or social responsibility. Victorian church architecture is almost entirely Gothic, though in the 1840's there was a passing fashion for neo-Norman and neo-Early-Christian or neo-Italian Romanesque.

England had been first in the Industrial Revolution (and the size of the new mansions and size and frequency of the new churches bear witness to England’s unprecedented industrial and consequently commercial prosperity). The first iron bridges belong to England (TELFORD, BRUNEL), and the largest iron and glass conservatories (PAXTON, BURTON)