A Wealth of Buildings: Marking the Rhythm of English by Richard Barras

By Richard Barras

This two-volume booklet explores how the nice constructions of britain endure witness to one thousand years of the nation’s heritage. In all ages, funding in iconic structures reaches a climax whilst the existing mode of creation is working such a lot successfully, surplus wealth is so much ample, and the dominant classification ideas splendid. in the course of such sessions of balance and prosperity, the call for for brand new constructions is robust, structural and stylistic strategies abound, and there's fierce festival to construct for lasting repute. every one such climax produces a different classic of hegemonic constructions which are monuments to the wealth and tool of these who governed their global.

this primary quantity presents an advent to the research of wealth accumulation over the last millennium. There persist with 3 case stories of iconic development funding from the 11th to the 17th century. in the course of the 11th and 12th centuries the conquering Norman kings and barons erected castles in the course of the state to cement their feudal energy. throughout the 13th and fourteenth centuries the nice wealth of the ecclesiastical estates funded the lavish building of Gothic cathedrals and abbeys. throughout the 16th and early 17th centuries Tudor and Jacobean magnates vied to construct the main brilliant palaces and prodigy homes. The English Revolution introduced this period to a close.

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Additional info for A Wealth of Buildings: Marking the Rhythm of English History: Volume I: 1066–1688

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In other words, subsistence is a relative not absolute condition, determined by cultural norms as well as economic necessity. Slow and intermittent technological progress in agriculture and manufacturing during the pre-industrial period ensured a slow improvement in the basic diet and clothing of the working masses, but within the technological limits of their times, the majority remained at or close to subsistence level. The trajectory followed by the real wages of building craftsmen since the thirteenth century can be described in terms of the interplay of three 1 Of Works and Monuments 31 main forces: population growth, technological progress, and price inflation.

The rent derived from the building helps to determine its value as a store of wealth, and the rent in turn reflects the utility of the building to its occupier as a dwelling or productive asset. Beyond their practical functions, buildings can act as powerful symbols of status and authority. They provide a medium through which the dominant class can express its collective authority, and individuals within that class can compete for supremacy. Investment in iconic buildings has provided a crucial outlet for the competitive instincts of ruling elites throughout history.

The result was a transformation in the form of churches, from the small windows, heavy piers, and flat roofs of the Romanesque to the traceried windows, slender columns, and soaring vaults of the Gothic (von Simson 1989). The form of the English country house evolved over several centuries. Its primary function as a grand dwelling remained unchanged, but progressive innovations in construction techniques and materials led to great improvements in its comfort and convenience. Furthermore, each innovation in construction technique tended to be accompanied by a corresponding shift in architectural style, so that the changing appearance of these buildings reflects the interaction of technology and taste.

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