How English Medieval Homes Influenced Virginians

Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin

Medieval English House

During the 1600s Great Britain was a country of fortified manors, battlemented castles, thatched and wattled farmhouses, picturesque chimneystacks, half-timber work, winding tower staircases, tracery-windowed abbeys, minsters, and little parish churches. For more than a thousand years, medieval architecture flourished almost everywhere. One can image Chaucer in the spirit of its buildings. The reason is the Anglo-Saxon, Norman and Gothic influences. The English Gothic Style is itself subdivided into various styles calledEarly English,Decorated,Perpendicular,andTudor.The Tudor style was also referred to asLate GothicorLate Medievaland was mostly during the Court of King Henry VIII (1509-1547). Incidentially, Henry VIII was an enthusiatic builder of domestic architecture unlike anything which earlier generations had known. Even when Elizabeth I ascended to the throne, buildings continued to be constructed in the Tudor or Late Medieval flavor. Also, during her reign, an architecture calledEarly Renaissanceentered the landscape. Williamsburg, Virginia elevated its homes into a style called theHigh Renaissance,possibly because of the delays caused during long periods of delay in crossing the ocean. However, we must remember that Virginians paid high prices for imported goods, especially for nails and window panes. In fact, they dissembled homes and barns and reused the plank boards, nails and other materials elsewhere. Source: Virginia Architecture in the Seventeenth Century by Henry Chandlee Forman.

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