Medieval Spell Logo
Medieval Travel Guide

Medieval Manors

The Medieval Manors of the 14th Century England are of large extent and great magnificence, and testify to the wealth and prosperity of their owners. From this century we have early examples of what we call in modern terms a "self-contained" house with rooms, wardrobes and closets.

Medieval Manors-Markenfield Hall, Yorkshire
Markenfield Hall, Yorkshire

Simultaneously with the rapid development of the ecclesiastical architecture, similar progress was made in Medieval Manors building. The halls were enriched by the introduction of the window tracery in geometrical forms, and the plans of the houses themselves were improved and enlarged, and the number of offices increased. The combined reigns of the three Edwards are sometimes named the Edwardian period, and this is the period when the Decorated Style prevailed. We may say that the art was in the highest state of perfection.

The Medieval Manors architecture is scarcely less worthy of attention than the ecclesiastical one. In the reign of Richard the Second the last change of the Gothic style took place, the Perpendicular style, admirably suited for domestic buildings. The remains of the 14th Century prove the enlargement of plan and increase of comfort, and of more civilized ideas.

A common plan of the Medieval Manors would appear to have been simply a parallelogram, with or without wings.  The ancient arrangement of having one large apartment, or hall, is preserved.

The hall sometimes occupied the whole height of the house, sometimes had a low ground story under it.  The wings were commonly of two stories only, the cellar bellow, and the solar over it.  In other instances, they form towers of three or four stories.  The other buildings for offices and stables were so arranged as to form either a perfect quadrangle or three sides of a quadrangle, with the hall in the centre of the principal front, and the gatehouse in the centre of the open side opposite to it.  These outbuildings were frequently of wood, and sometimes the hall also.  The whole was surrounded by a moat, usually enclosing a quadrangular space, whether the whole of the space was occupied by buildings or not.  Sometimes, the moat washes the outer walls of the house and offices, in other instances, there is a space between the moat and the buildings.  In such cases there was always a wall or a mound and palisading immediately within the moat to enclose the baileys or court yards.  The entrance was protected by a gate-house with a portcullis and drawbridge. 

Medieval Manors-Woodcroft House, Northamptonshire
Woodcroft House, Northamptonshire
Medieval Manors of any importance were fortified. To crenellate or fortify, it was necessary to obtain a license from the crown,  before any such house could be built.  Sometimes, is not easy to distinguish between a fortified dwelling house and a castle. Many houses of this century have each a small square tower attached to them, sometimes as place of security to retire in case of any sudden attack. In other instances, it was a mark of rank, as this was one of the distinct privileges of the nobility, although in towns wealthy citizens were sometimes allowed to have towers to their houses, and the use of the tower and belfry was one of the privileges of a corporate town. 

In the border countries, these towers, commonly called Pele towers, are very usual, serving as the strongest point for the last desperate defense.  The tower appears sometimes to have been the whole of the house, which was afterwards enlarged by the addition of other buildings.  The additional buildings were sometimes at first of wood, and renewed in stone at a subsequent period.   In other instances, the buildings were built in stone from the beginning.  The Pele tower itself remained without any additions, and forms a complete small house, strong enough to resist any sudden attack.  The ground room is vaulted, the staircase is in the thickness of the wall, the two upper stories have wooden floors and roof. 

Another class of Medieval Manors may be called tower-built houses, and consists of a house of considerable size built in the form of a tower, of three stories high, with windows on all the four sides in all the stories, and with four turrets, one at each corner.  These turrets are large enough to contain, one, the bedrooms; another, offices; the third, closets; and the fourth, the principal staircase. These tower-houses were generally surrounded by moats, like other Medieval Manors, and they had offices and stables within the moat, or adjoining to it, but not joining on to the house.  These were sometimes defended by a wall within the moat, with a gate-house, portcullis and drawbridge, in other instances by wooden palisades only. 

In the more disturbed districts there are no other openings on the ground floor than loopholes.  The lower rooms are all vaulted, and the dwelling rooms are in the two upper stories, the ground floor being used for store rooms.  In the north of England, the Medieval Manors were made on the plan of small fortresses.   The same is applicable to the Medieval Manors on the western frontier against Wales, where the surrounding walls were fixed by license at a minimum of ten feet in height.

 Medieval Gothic
 Medieval Gothic  Cathedrals
 Medieval Castles
 Medieval House
 Medieval Architecture-
 Interior View

 Medieval Code of  Chivalry
 Knights In Middle Ages
 Medieval Knights- Jousting
 Medieval Armor
 Medieval Swords
 Medieval Helmets
 Medieval Tournaments
 Medieval Shields- Designs
 Medieval Life Overview
 Medieval Castle Life
 Roles Of Women In The  Middle Ages
 Medieval Fashion
 Medieval Food
 Medieval Cooking
 Medieval Drinks
 Medieval Feast
 Medieval Entertainment
 Medieval Hunting History
 Medieval Games
 Medieval Guilds
 Medieval Merchants
 Medieval Punishment
 Medieval Medicine
 Medieval Warfare- Weapons
 Medieval Archers
 Medieval Siege
 Medieval Siege Weapons
 About us
 Privacy policy
 Medieval Painters
 Gothic Art
 Gothic Sculpture
 Gothic Painting
 Medieval Decor
 Gothic Furniture
 Medieval Towns
 Italian Cities
 The Hanseatic League
 Medieval Church
 The Great Schism
 Saint Benedict
 Medieval Monasteries
 Medieval Monks
 Monastic Orders
 Cluny Abbey
 Teutonic Knights
 -Teutonic Knights History
 Knights Hospitaller
 -Knights Hospitaller   History
 -Knights Of Rhodes
 Knights Templar