Medieval Architecture - Introduction

This section describes the architecture used in Britain's large churches, cathedrals and castles during the Medieval period. The progress in design can be divided into several categories that roughly describe each stage.

Each stage had its own distinctive characteristics and it is still possible to see the different stages in the churches, cathedrals and castles that remain.

Romanesque or Norman

AD 1066 - 1190
(+/- 25 years)

  • Inspired by Roman architecture
  • Massive and solid construction
  • Semi-circular arches
  • Church shaped like a cross
  • Zig-zag mouldings
  • Apsidal east end constructions

More information →

Early English Gothic

AD 1190 - 1275
(+/- 25 years)

  • Pointed arches
  • Clusters of small columns to form pillars
  • Favourite style for Cistercian Abbeys
  • Roche Abbey
  • Wells Cathedral
  • Salisbury Cathedral

 

More information →

Decorated Gothic

AD 1275 - 1350
(+/- 25 years)

  • Elaborate windows and vaulting
  • Higher and more elegant columns
  • Exeter Cathedral
  • The Octagon at Ely

 

More information →

Perpendicular Gothic

AD 1350 - 1550
(+/- 25 years)

  • Fan-vaults
  • Emphasis on vertical lines
  • Bath Abbey
  • Hereford central tower
  • Henry VII's Chapel at Westminster

 

More information →