The Brick Calculator

Building and Construction in the Era of William II (1087 - 1100)

The reign of William II, often known as William Rufus, is a part of the Norman period in England. This era was marked by distinct architectural styles, development in construction methods, and changes in societal norms. This article delves into these aspects of building and construction during William II's reign.

Types of Dwellings

The Norman architecture of the era was marked by robust, castle-like structures for the nobility and simpler wooden or wattle-and-daub constructions for common people. These dwellings often had a single room, serving as both a living and sleeping area.

Average Dwelling and Daily Life

The typical peasant’s dwelling was a one-room structure with a central hearth for cooking and warmth. These houses were often shared with livestock, with humans and animals separated by a simple partition. Daily life was centered around agricultural work and household chores, with a strong sense of community within each village.

Significant Building Achievements

One of the most notable building achievements during William II's reign was the beginning of the construction of Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, displaying the early stages of the Gothic architecture which was to follow in the next centuries.

Population and Its Influence on Society

Although exact population figures for this period are not available, the population of England was likely between 1.5 and 2 million. Most people lived in rural villages, with only a few larger towns and cities. The population structure had a significant impact on the types of dwellings, with a clear division between the houses of the nobility and the simpler homes of the peasantry.

Social Changes and Influence on Building Materials

Following the Norman Conquest, society was becoming more structured with a feudal system. The Normans introduced stone construction to England, leading to the building of impressive stone castles and churches, a departure from the wooden structures of the previous Anglo-Saxon period.