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Building and Construction in the Era of Henry VII: 1485-1509

The reign of Henry VII, the first monarch of the House of Tudor, marked a distinctive period in English architectural history. This era saw the transition from medieval Gothic to the Renaissance style. This article provides a deep dive into the architectural style, construction, and societal changes during this period.

Types of Dwellings

The types of dwellings in this period ranged from humble cottages to grand manor houses. The poorer sections of society lived in one or two-room cottages, while the wealthy lived in spacious manor houses. These buildings were typically half-timbered structures filled with wattle and daub or brick.

The Average Dwelling and Day-to-Day Life

The average dwelling of this time was a simple house consisting of a central hall, where daily activities took place, along with one or two other rooms used for sleeping. Floors were typically packed earth, covered in rushes or straw. For the majority of the population, day-to-day life revolved around working on farms or engaging in simple trades.

Significant Building Achievements

One significant achievement during this era was the construction of Richmond Palace, which was built for Henry VII himself. The palace represented a transition in architectural style from the medieval Gothic to the more balanced and symmetrical Renaissance style.

The UK Population and Its Influence on Society

The population of the UK was approximately 2 to 3 million during this time. The majority of the people lived in rural areas, but the era saw a gradual migration of people to towns and cities, which led to more building construction in urban areas.

Changes in Society and the Influence of Construction Materials

This era marked a change in society with the advent of the Renaissance. Buildings began to adopt a more symmetrical design with balanced proportions. Brick was increasingly used as a construction material, symbolising a shift towards more permanent structures.

Economic Activity and Construction

Construction was a significant economic activity during this period. The increasing use of brick, in particular, led to a growth in the brickmaking industry. This was a time of prosperity and stability, and there was a significant amount of building activity, both for private dwellings and public buildings.