The English Castle
From coast to coast England is still richly studded with the remains of castles, great and small. As living houses, ruins, earthworks or just outlines traced in the street names of modern towns, they may still be discovered within almost every land- and cityscape of the 21st century. Today castles are objects of curiosity, part of the flotsam and jetsam of England’s distant past, but for centuries these buildings were great monuments at the heart of social and political life in this country. As strongholds, centres of government, houses and political showpieces, the story of their use and development is fascinating to trace. Woven into the history of these buildings and reflected in their physical remains is an extraordinary portrait of the changing face of the society that created, fostered and finally destroyed them.
This book is an architectural study that aims to set this legion of buildings in historical context, tracing the development of the castle in England through the Middle Ages and beyond. It is intended to be a provocative work, challenging received opinions and, hopefully, formulating many new ones. In all, it surveys a period of nearly 600 years, from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the Civil Wars of the 1640s. It is arranged chronologically with chapters corresponding to the reigns of monarchs and has been deliberately structured to give equal emphasis to buildings of every period within its scope. This chronological breadth may in itself come as a surprise to some readers, familiar with castles primarily as medieval buildings. It is one aim of this book, however, to illustrate the continued richness of the castle building tradition in England far beyond the end of the Middle Ages. In the course of discussion it touches on numerous subsidiary themes - such as warfare, politics, domestic living, and governance – and draw on a wide spectrum of evidence, from chronicles to building accounts and from the fabric of castles themselves to the furniture that filled them.
Awards for The English Castle, 1066-1650
The English Castle, 1066-1650 has received a number of awards, including Spear's Book Awards 2011, the Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion, the G. T. Clark prize and the Historians of British Art Book Prize.