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MEDIEVAL 1066 - 1485

Medieval buildings can be identified from typical features illustrated in these listed buildings

Use this glossary from the 'Looking at Buildings' website to check the meanings of unfamiliar words.

The Normans brought their building style, based on Roman architecture, to Britain in 1066. They constructed many buildings designed both to defend themselves and to show their strength and power to the conquered people of Britain. A number of their stone built castles, churches and cathedrals have survived all over the country but virtually no domestic buildings.

From the thirteenth century until the end of the period religious architecture is often described as 'Gothic'; windows and arches were typically pointed. Walls became thinner with larger windows as the weight of the building was supported by buttresses rather than by the exterior walls. Church interiors which had been very dark were flooded with light and stained glass became a major art form .Gothic forms are also found in domestic buildings and castles.

A number of domestic buildings have survived. Castles and grand manor houses were usually built of stone whereas other houses, in towns and in the countryside, were of timber. The centre of domestic life was a room called the hall, generally open to the roof and heated by an open hearth.

IoE number 109062    © Ms Valerie Duncan

St Nicholas Parish Church, Studland, Dorset, eleventh/twelfth century

A small Norman church largely unaltered.

Features include; plain appearance; thick solid walls; few, small, round-headed windows; short, central tower; flat pilaster buttresses on tower; decorated corbel at the eaves.

IoE number 172927 © Mr M.K Lofthouse

Rochester Castle Keep, Kent, 1127

Norman stone keep for defence and living accommodation surrounded by defensive wall around the bailey entered through a secure gatehouse. Re-built after damage in 13th and 14th centuries.

Features include; impressive size emphasised by position on mound; square with corner towers; small windows; roof below level of parapet.

IoE number 074389 © Dr Bryan C Lindley LRPS

Yanwath Hall Cumbria, early/mid fifteenth century

A regional hall house built of local sandstone blocks with defensive features, such as the tower.

Features include; central hall with large projecting windows to allow light into raised area for the lord and his family; private living accommodation for lord in the battlemented tower block; kitchen and service area in the right hand block with chimneys.

IoE number 062269 © Anne Newell ARPS


Church of St Ancients, St Neots, Cornwall, fifteenth century

A parish church built in Gothic style.

Feature include; walls thinner and supported by buttresses; large number of windows with pointed gothic arches filled with tracery; decorated parapet with finials; tower at west end; enclosed south porch.


IoE number 276748 © Mr Bob Cottrell ARPS AFIAP DPAGB

Old Wool Hall, Lavenham, Suffolk, fifteenth century

A fine hall house with cross wings, typical of less lawless regions with no defensive features.

Features include; lavish timber framing and bracing; hall in centre with high end lit by large windows to right; jettied upper storey chambers in flanking wings; leaded casement windows; no chimney stack on hall.

IoE number 150963 © Mr Jeff Andrews


Lower Brockhampton Herefordshire, late fifteenth century

Gatehouse to the fourteenth century Brockhampton House built as an expression of wealth and status rather than for defence.

Features include; timber frame; jettied first floor.

IoE number 308876 © Mr Michael E. Dyer

Monks Kirby, Rugby, Warwickshire, late fifteenth/early sixteenth century

A late medieval cottage with more recent additions to the right hand side.

Features include; Exposed cruck timbers [pointed arch shape] see glossary; steeply pitched roof originally thatched; one storey with attic; large chimney stack.

Please note Teachers are advised that not all listed buildings are open to the public and that if you or your students wish to focus on a private building issues of privacy and access must be considered.

Visit the Weald and Downland Museum website for further information about Medieval buildings.

Visit the TimeRef website for more information on church architecture.


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Please note that the inclusion of a listed building on this website does not mean it is open to the public.