Tudor Architecture

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Tudor was the last medieval architecture

Tudor architecture developed during the English Tudor period of 1485 to 1603.

Tudor Architecture Examined

Although considered the last form of medieval architecture, Tudor architecture was followed by the Victorian era, the Tudor influence was carried throughout several subsequent period styles. Tudor buildings were created on a grand royal scale. Many of the royal buildings depicting Tudor architecture remain today to afford classic examples of this particular building style.

Tudor Architectural Features

The most prominent architectural building feature of this period style was the Tudor arch. This arch was created by joining a cluster of four centered arches.

Another remarkable design feature of Tudor Architecture was the oriel window. An oriel window is large with multiple sides like a bay window. Unlike the bay window, the oriel doesn't extend to the floor. Corbels (ornate brackets) were used to support the window that protruded (cantilevered ) from the building. This gave a dramatic appeal to the window and is one of the most used features used in modern Tudor architecture..

Lesser buildings erected during this period, such as smaller homes, used wattle (wooden strips woven together to form a frame) and daub (mixture of animal dung, mud, clay, sand, and straw)for constructing the walls. The roofs on these homes were made of thatch.

This half-timbered framing method left wood used for the framing exposed. When the daub wasn't used, plaster, stone and sometimes brick filled in the spaces between the wood frame timbers.

Other Notable Architectural Features:

  • Cross gables (Two gable roofs that are perpendicular to each other)
  • Large tall chimneys, capped with round pots, usually decorative and ornate. Chimney stacks clustered together were a popular feature. Chimney stacks were often twisted. Sometimes the chimney stacks were bricked in patterns. One popular choice was a checkerboard pattern created by using different colors of brick.
  • Small leaded window panes, often diamond shaped with strips of lead between panes
  • Steep roofs
  • Tall, usually narrow, windows and doors

Tudor Revival: Mock Tudor

In the mid-1800s, the Tudorbethan or Tudor Revival (Mock Tudor) architecture became a popular English house design. It soon gained in popularity in the United States as well as other countries throughout the world. The Tudorbethan mimicked the country cottage theme of medieval homes by using steep roofs and half-timbering with the popular herringbone brick filler. Tudorbethan homes also had the characteristic tall narrow windows and doors, and oriel windows that were typically built to overhang the first floor, often supported by the pillars used to create a first floor porch. Dormer windows further created a classic look that's identified with the modern version of Tudor architecture.

Many authentic Tudor period dwellings and churches have survived over the centuries and can be seen throughout England today.

  • Fords Hospital, Coventry
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • King's College, Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Owlpen Manor in Gloucestershire
  • Westminster, Henry VII's Chapel built in 1503
  • Windsor Castle, St. George's Chapel

Tudor Interiors

The first immediately recognized feature of the interior of a Tudor home was the use of wood. Oak was the popular choice of wood and it was used not just for floors but also for walls and ceilings. The wood was traditionally finished in a dark, often black, stain. The solid wood paneling was many times crafted with a popular motif known as the linen-fold. This style was created by carving the oak into a sculpture effect resembling the many folds of linen cloth. This wavy woodwork gave a dramatic look to the home's interior.

Another popular motif was the Tudor Rose. This symbol of the Tudor Dynasty was often carved into woodwork and furniture.

Other interiors used flagstone floors and the half-timbering was often exposed in the upper floor ceilings. This gave a powerful ambiance whenever entering the room that was open to the second floor. A large staircase often gave over to the second floor landing with an ornate railing where you could stand and overlook the first floor below.

Designing Your Tudor Home

If you select Tudor architecture for you home design, then focus on the exterior features to create the best possible version of a Tudor manor.

Tudor Architecture