The era of Henry II, also known as the Plantagenet period, was a time of remarkable growth and change in the realm of building and construction, characterised by significant shifts in architectural style, construction methods, and societal organisation.
Types of Dwellings
Dwellings during this period varied widely based on status and location. The lower classes typically lived in wattle-and-daub houses while the wealthier classes resided in larger, more structurally complex timber-framed houses. Castles, often in the form of motte-and-bailey structures, remained a common form of noble residences and fortification.
The Average Dwelling and Day-to-Day Life
The average person in the time of Henry II lived in simple one- or two-room structures, with a focus on functionality over comfort. Daily life was dominated by agricultural work, with the vast majority of the population engaged in farming and related activities.
Significant Building Achievements
During the reign of Henry II, there were notable architectural developments, including the construction of some of the greatest castles and fortresses of the era such as Dover Castle. Many monastic buildings were also constructed, showcasing the transition from Romanesque to Early English Gothic architecture.
The UK Population and Its Influence on Society
The UK's population during this period was relatively small, but began to grow steadily. This had a significant impact on the types of buildings constructed, with an increased emphasis on communal and defensive structures, such as castles and fortified towns, which were needed to maintain control over a growing populace.
Changes in Society and the Influence of Construction Materials
The society under Henry II was transitioning from the Norman era, with growing power of the monarchy and a move towards a more organised feudal system. This societal shift was reflected in the construction techniques and materials used, with stone becoming more common for significant buildings, although timber remained the primary material for average dwellings.