Manor house

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The Abbey, Sutton Courtenay in Oxfordshire (previously Berkshire), considered to be a "textbook" example of the English medieval manor house The Abbey Sutton Courtenay.jpg
The Abbey, Sutton Courtenay in Oxfordshire (previously Berkshire), considered to be a "textbook" example of the English medieval manor house

A manor house was historically the main residence of the lord of the manor. The house formed the administrative centre of a manor in the European feudal system; within its great hall were held the lord's manorial courts, communal meals with manorial tenants and great banquets. The term is today loosely applied to various country houses, frequently dating from the Late Middle Ages, which formerly housed the landed gentry.


Manor houses were sometimes fortified, albeit, not as fortified as castles ar intended more for show than for defencibility. They existed in most European countries where feudalism existed, where they were sometimes known as castles, palaces, mansions, and so on.


The lord of the manor may have held several properties within a county or, for example in the case of a feudal baron, spread across a kingdom, which he occupied only on occasional visits. Even so, the business of the manor was directed and controlled by regular manorial courts, which appointed manorial officials such as the bailiff, granted copyhold leases to tenants, resolved disputes between manorial tenants and administered justice in general. A large and suitable building was required within the manor for such purpose, generally in the form of a great hall, and a solar might be attached to form accommodation for the lord. Furthermore, the produce of a small manor might be insufficient to feed a lord and his large family for a full year, and thus he would spend only a few months at each manor and move on to another where stores had been laid up. This also gave the opportunity for the vacated manor house to be cleaned, especially important in the days of the cess-pit, and repaired. Thus such non-resident lords needed to appoint a steward or seneschal to act as their deputy in such matters and to preside at the manorial courts of his different manorial properties. The day-to-day administration was carried out by a resident official in authority at each manor, who in England was called a bailiff, or reeve.


Markenfield Hall in North Yorkshire, a 14th-century manor house with moat and gatehouse Markenfield Hall - - 466747.jpg
Markenfield Hall in North Yorkshire, a 14th-century manor house with moat and gatehouse

Although not typically built with strong fortifications as were castles, many manor-houses were fortified, which required a royal licence to crenellate. They were often enclosed within walls or ditches which often also included agricultural buildings. Arranged for defence against roaming bands of robbers and thieves, [1] in days long before police, they were often surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge, [1] and were equipped with gatehouses and watchtowers, but not, as for castles, with a keep, large towers or lofty curtain walls designed to withstand a siege. The primary feature of the manor house was its great hall, to which subsidiary apartments were added as the lessening of feudal warfare permitted more peaceful domestic life.

By the beginning of the 16th century, manor houses as well as small castles began to acquire the character and amenities of the residences of country gentlemen, and many defensive elements were dispensed with, for example Sutton Place in Surrey, circa 1521. A late 16th-century transformation produced many of the smaller Renaissance châteaux of France and the numerous country mansions of the Elizabethan and Jacobean styles in England.


Ightham Mote, a 14th-century moated manor house in Kent, England IGHTHAM MOTE The east and north fronts.JPG
Ightham Mote, a 14th-century moated manor house in Kent, England

Before around 1600, larger houses were usually fortified, generally for true defensive purposes but increasingly, as the kingdom became internally more peaceable after the Wars of the Roses, as a form of status-symbol, reflecting the position of their owners as having been worthy to receive royal licence to crenellate. The Tudor period (16th century) of stability in England saw the building of the first of the unfortified great houses, for example Sutton Place in Surrey, circa 1521. The Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII resulted in many former monastical properties being sold to the King's favourites, who then converted them into private country houses, examples being Woburn Abbey, Forde Abbey, Nostell Priory and many other mansions with the suffix Abbey or Priory to their name.

During the second half of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603) and under her successor King James I (1603–1625) the first mansions designed by architects not by mere masons or builders, began to make their appearance. Such houses as Burghley House, Longleat House, and Hatfield House are among the best known of this period and seem today to epitomise the English country house.

A 19th-century main building of the Hatanpaa Manor in Tampere, Finland Hatanpaan kartano 3.jpg
A 19th-century main building of the Hatanpää Manor in Tampere, Finland

Nearly every large medieval manor house had its own deer-park adjoining, emparked (i.e. enclosed) by royal licence, which served primarily as a store of food in the form of venison. Within these licensed parks deer could not be hunted by royalty (with its huge travelling entourage which needed to be fed and entertained), nor by neighbouring land-owners nor by any other persons. During the 16th century many lords of manors moved their residences from their ancient manor houses often situated next to the parish church and near or in the village and built a new manor house within the walls of their ancient deer-parks adjoining. This gave them more privacy and space. [2]

Leeds Manor House Blue Plaque, Scarborough Hotel Leeds Manor House Blue Plaque, Scarborough Hotel.jpg
Leeds Manor House Blue Plaque, Scarborough Hotel


While suffixes given to manor houses in recent centuries have little substantive meaning, and many have changed over time, [lower-alpha 1] in previous centuries manor names had specific connotations.

Manor houses, although mostly forming residences for the lords of the manors on which they were situated, were not historically named with the suffix "Manor", as were many grand country houses built in the 19th century, such as Hughenden Manor or Waddesdon Manor. The usage is often a modern catch-all suffix for an old house on an estate, true manor or not.

The German equivalent of a manor house is a Gutshaus (or Gut, Gutshof, Rittergut, Landgut or Bauerngut). Also Herrenhaus and Domäne are common terms. Schloss (pl. Schlösser) is another German word for a building similar to manor house, stately home, château or palace. Other terms used in German are Burg (castle), Festung (fort/fortress) and Palais/Palast (palace).


Chateau de Trecesson, a 14th-century manor-house in Morbihan, Brittany Trecesson - moat view.JPG
Château de Trécesson, a 14th-century manor-house in Morbihan, Brittany

In France, the terms château or manoir are often used synonymously to describe a French manor house; maison-forte is the appellation for a strongly fortified house, which may include two sets of enclosing walls, drawbridges, and a ground-floor hall or salle basse that was used to receive peasants and commoners. The salle basse was also the location of the manorial court, with the steward or seigneur's seating location often marked by the presence of a crédence de justice or wall-cupboard (shelves built into the stone walls to hold documents and books associated with administration of the demesne or droit de justice). The salle haute or upper-hall, reserved for the seigneur and where he received his high-ranking guests, was often accessible by an external spiral staircase. It was commonly "open" up to the roof trusses, as in similar English homes. This larger and more finely decorated hall was usually located above the ground-floor hall. The seigneur and his family's private chambres were often located off of the upper first-floor hall, and invariably had their own fireplace (with finely decorated chimney-piece) and frequently a latrine.

In addition to having both lower and upper halls, many French manor houses also had partly fortified gateways, watchtowers, and enclosing walls that were fitted with arrow or gun loops for added protection. Some larger 16th-century manors, such as the Château de Kerjean in Finistère, Brittany, were even outfitted with ditches and fore-works that included gun platforms for cannons. These defensive arrangements allowed maisons-fortes and rural manors to be safe from a coup de main perpetrated by an armed band, many of which roamed the countryside during the troubled times of the Hundred Years War and the French wars of religion; but these fortified manor houses could not have withstood a lengthy siege undertaken by a regular army equipped with (siege) engines or heavy artillery. [7]


German language uses terms like Schloss or Gutshaus for places that functioned as the administrative center of a manor. Gut(shaus) implies a smaller ensemble of buildings within a more agricultural setting, usually owned by lower-ranking landed gentry whereas Schloss describes more representative and larger places. During the 18th century, some of these manor houses became local centers of culture where the local gentry, sometimes inspired by what they had experienced during their grand tour, was mimicking the lifestyle of the higher nobility, creating lavish parks, art collections or showed an interest in science and research.

Schloss Machern (Machern Castle) near Leipzig is an example of a typical manor house, it evolved from a medieval castle which was originally protected by a water moat and later was converted into a baroque-style castle with typical architectural features of the period and one of the first English-style parks in Germany. Machern castle.JPG
Schloss Machern (Machern Castle) near Leipzig is an example of a typical manor house, it evolved from a medieval castle which was originally protected by a water moat and later was converted into a baroque-style castle with typical architectural features of the period and one of the first English-style parks in Germany.


Warmond House (Huis te Warmond), the manor house for the Hoge Heerlijkheid of Warmond in the Netherlands Huis te Warmond.jpg
Warmond House (Huis te Warmond), the manor house for the Hoge Heerlijkheid of Warmond in the Netherlands

There are many historical manor houses throughout the Netherlands. Some have been converted into museums, hotels, conference centres, etc. Some are located on estates and in parks.

Many of the earlier houses are the legacy of the feudal heerlijkheid system. The Dutch had a manorial system centred on the local lord's demesne. In Middle Dutch this was called the vroonhof or vroenhoeve, a word derived from the Proto-Germanic word fraujaz, meaning "lord". This was also called a hof and the lord's house a hofstede. Other terms were used, including landhuis (or just huis), a ridderhofstad (Utrecht), a stins or state (Friesland), or a havezate (Drente, Overijssel and Gelderland). Some of these buildings were fortified. A number of castles associated with the nobility are found in the country. In Dutch, a building like this was called a kasteel, a slot, a burcht or (in Groningen) a borg. [8]

During the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, merchants and regents looking for ways to spend their wealth bought country estates and built grand new homes, often just for summer use. Some purchased existing manor houses and castles from the nobility. Some country houses were built on top of the ruins of earlier castles that had been destroyed during the Dutch Revolt. The owners, aspiring to noble status, adopted the name of the earlier castle.

These country houses or stately homes (called buitenplaats or buitenhuis in Dutch) were located close to the city in picturesque areas with a clean water source. Wealthy families sent their children to the country in the summer because of the putrid canals and diseases in the city. A few still exist, especially along the river Vecht, the river Amstel, the Spaarne in Kennemerland, the river Vliet and in Wassenaar. Some are located near former lakes (now polders) like the Wijkermeer, Watergraafsmeer and the Beemster. In the 19th century, with improvements in water management, new regions came into fashion, such as the Utrecht Hill Ridge (Utrechtse Heuvelrug) and the area around Arnhem.

Today there is a tendency to group these grand buildings together in the category of "castles". There are many castles and buitenplaatsen in all twelve provinces. A larger-than-average home is today called a villa or a herenhuis, but despite the grand name this is not the same as a manor house.


The architectural form of the Polish manor house (Polish : dwór) evolved around the late Polish Renaissance period and continued until the Second World War, which, together with the communist takeover of Poland, spelled the end of the nobility in Poland. A 1944 decree nationalized most mansions as property of the nobles, but few were adapted to other purposes. Many slowly fell into ruin over the next few decades.

Poland inherited many German-style manor houses (Gutshäuser) after parts of eastern Germany were taken over by Poland after World War II.


Solar de Mateus, Vila Real, Portugal MateusPalace1.jpg
Solar de Mateus, Vila Real, Portugal

In Portugal, it was quite common during the 17th to early 20th centuries for the aristocracy to have country homes. These homes, known as solares (paços, when the manor was a certain stature or size; quintas, when the manor included a sum of land), were found particularly in the northern, usually richer, Portugal, in the Beira, Minho, and Trás-os-Montes provinces. Many have been converted into a type of hotel called pousada.

Quinta is a term used in the Portuguese language-speaking world, which is applied variously to manors homes or to estates as a whole.


Casa solariega is the catch-all name for manor houses in Spain. They were the places where heads of noble families resided. Those houses receive a different name depending on the geographical region of Spain where they are located, the noble rank of the owner family, the size of the house and/or the use that the family gave to them. In Spain a good many old manor houses, palaces, castles and grand homes have been converted into a Parador hotel.

A Palacio is a sumptuously decorated grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop. The word itself is derived from the Latin name Palātium, for Palatine Hill, the hill which housed the Imperial residences in Rome. Palacio Real is the same as Palacio, but historically used (either now or in the past) by the Spanish Royal Family. Palacio arzobispal is the same as Palacio, but historically used (either now or in the past) by the ecclesiastic authorities (mainly bishops or archbishops). Palacete is bejewelled and built house as a palace, but smaller.

Alcázar is a type of Moorish castle or fortified palace in Spain (and also Portugal) built during Muslim rule, although some founded by Christians. Mostly of the alcázars were built between the 8th and 15th centuries. Many cities in Spain have its alcázar. Palaces built in the Moorish style after the expulsion of the Moors from Spain are often referred to as alcazars as well.

Hacienda is landed estates of significant size located in the south of Spain (Andalusia). They were also very common in the former Spanish Colonies. Some haciendas were plantations, mines or factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities. They were developed as profit-making, economic enterprises linked to regional or international markets. The owner of an hacienda was termed an hacendado or patrón. The work force on haciendas varied, depending on the type of hacienda and where it was located.

Casona is old manor houses in León, Asturias and Cantabria (Spain) following the so-called "casa montañesa architecture". Most of them were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Typologically they are halfway between rustic houses and palaces

Quinta is a countryside house closer to the urban core. Initially, "quinta" (fifth) designated the 1/5 part of the production that the lessee (called "quintero") paid to the lessor (owner of the land), but lately the term was applied to the whole property. This term is also very common in the former Spanish Colonies.

Alqueria in Al-Andalus made reference to small rural communities that were located near cities (medinas). Since the 15th century it makes reference to a farmhouse, with an agricultural farm, typical of Levante and the southeastern Spanish, mainly in Granada and Valencia.

Pazo da Touza, Galicia Pazo-da-Touza.jpg
Pazo da Touza, Galicia

A pazo is a type of grand old house found in Galicia. A pazo is usually located in the countryside and the former residence of an important nobleman or other important individual. They were of crucial importance to the rural and monastic communities around them. The pazo was a traditional architectural structure associated with a community and social network. It usually consisted of a main building surrounded by gardens, a dovecote and outbuildings such as a small chapels for religious celebrations. The word pazo is derived from the Latin palatiu(m) ("palace").

The Baserri , called "Caserio" in Spanish, is the typical manor house of the Basque Provinces and Navarre. A baserri represents the core unit of traditional Basque society, as the ancestral home of a family. Traditionally, the household is administered by the etxekoandre (lady of the house) and the etxekojaun (master of the house), each with distinctly defined rights, roles and responsibilities. When the couple reaches a certain age upon which they wish to retire, the baserri is formally handed over to a child. Unusually, the parents were by tradition free to choose any child, male or female, firstborn or later born, to assume the role of etxekoandre or etxekojaun to ensure the child most suitable to the role would inherit the ancestral home. The baserri under traditional law (the fueros) cannot be divided or inherited by more than one person. This is still the case in the Southern Basque Country but the introduction of the Napoleonic Code in France, under which such practices are illegal, greatly upset this tradition in the North. Although the Basques in the north chose to be "creative" with the new laws, it overall resulted in the breakup and ultimate financial ruin of many baserris. In practice the tradition of not breaking up baserris meant that the remaining children had to marry into another baserri, stay on the family baserri as unmarried employees or make their own way in the world (Iglesia o mar o casa real, "Church or sea or royal house").

A cortijo is a type of traditional rural habitat in the Southern half of Spain, including all of Andalusia and parts of Extremadura and Castile-La Mancha. Cortijos may have their origins in ancient Roman villas, for the word is derived from the Latin cohorticulum, a diminutive of cohors, meaning 'courtyard'. They are often isolated structures associated with a large family farming or livestock operation in the vast and empty adjoining lands. It would usually include a large house, together with accessory buildings such as workers' quarters, sheds to house livestock, granaries, oil mills, barns and often a wall enclosing a courtyard. The master of the cortijo or "señorito" would usually live with his family in a two-story building, while the accessory structures were for the labourers and their families —also known as "cortijeros".

United States

Biltmore Estate in North Carolina Biltmore estate garden, looking at house.jpg
Biltmore Estate in North Carolina

Before the founding of the United States, colonial powers such as Britain, France and the Netherlands made land grants to favored individuals in the original colonies that evolved into large agricultural estates that resembled the manors familiar to Europeans.[ citation needed ] In fact, founding fathers such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were the owners of large agricultural estates granted by colonial rulers and built large manor houses from which these estates were managed (e.g., Mount Vernon, Monticello). However, there were important distinctions. American agricultural estates often relied on slaves rather than tenant farmers or serfs which were common in Europe at the time. The owners of American agricultural estates did not have noble titles and there was no legally recognized political structure based on an aristocratic, land-owning class. As a result, this limited the development of a feudal or manorial land-owning system to just a few regions such as Tidewater and Piedmont Virginia, the Carolina Low Country, the Mississippi Delta, and the Hudson River Valley in the early years of the republic.[ citation needed ] Southern California (under Spanish and Mexican administration) also developed a primitive manorial society.[ citation needed ] However, even these exceptions did not produce European-style manorial social, political and economic structures and with a few notable exceptions, did not result in the extravagant manor houses as found throughout Europe.

Today, relics of early manorial life in the early United States are found in a few places such as the Eastern Shore of Maryland with examples such as Wye Hall and Hope House (Easton, Maryland), Virginia at Monticello and Westover Plantation, the Hudson River Valley of New York at Clermont State Historic Site or along the Mississippi such as Lansdowne (Natchez, Mississippi).[ citation needed ] Over time, these large estates were usually subdivided as they became economically unsustainable and are now a fraction of their historical extent. In the southern states, the demise of plantation slavery after the Civil War gave rise to a sharecropping agricultural economy that had similarities to European serfdom and lasted into the early 20th century.[ citation needed ] The Biltmore Estate in North Carolina (which is still owned by descendants of the original builder, a member of the Vanderbilt family) is a more modern, though unsuccessful, attempt at building a small manorial society near Asheville, North Carolina.[ citation needed ]

Most manor-style homes built since the Civil War were merely country retreats for wealthy industrialists in the late 19th and early 20th century and had little agricultural, administrative or political function.[ citation needed ] Examples of these homes include Castle Hill (Ipswich, Massachusetts), Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site and Hearst Castle. A rare example of hereditary estate ownership in the United States that includes a manor-type house is Gardiners Island,[ citation needed ] a private island that has been in the same family since the 17th century and contains a Georgian architecture house. Today, some historically and architecturally significant manor houses in the United States are museums. However, many still function as private residences, including many of the colonial-era manor houses found in Maryland and Virginia a few of which are still held within the original families.[ citation needed ]

Unlike in Europe, the United States did not create a native architectural style common to manor houses. A typical architectural style used for American manor-style homes in the mid-Atlantic region is Georgian architecture although a homegrown variant of Georgian did emerge in the late 1700s called Federal architecture.[ citation needed ] A typical example of a Georgian manor house is Tulip Hill in Maryland.[ citation needed ] Other styles borrowed from Europe include Châteauesque with Biltmore Estate being an example, Tudor Revival architecture see Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, and Neoclassical architecture with Monticello being a prominent example.[ citation needed ] In the Antebellum South, many plantation homes were built in Greek Revival architecture style.[ citation needed ]

Virginia House, Garden Side (no title) (16835896132) Virginia House, Garden Side (no title) (16835896132).jpg
Virginia House, Garden Side (no title) (16835896132)

Virginia House is a former sixteenth century English manor house blending three romantic English Tudor designs. In 1925, it was relocated to Richmond, Virginia from main sections dating from the 1620 remodeling of a priory in Warwickshire, England and reconstructed on a hillside overlooking the James River in Windsor Farms.[ citation needed ] Virginia House is now owned and operated by the Virginia Historical Society. When the interior was re-designed by it owners Alexander and Virginia Weddell, it became a home that was modern for its time with central heating, seven full baths, an up-to-date kitchen, and large closets.[ citation needed ] The almost eight acres of gardens and grounds on which Virginia House rests were designed by Charles Gillette. The house has been preserved and is largely as it was when the Weddells lived there. [9] Virginia House is on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Richmond, Virginia.

See also


  1. What is today known as "Heanton Satchville", for example, was "Heanton House" in the 18th century and "Heanton Court" in the 19th century.

Related Research Articles

Manorialism Economic, political and judicial institution during the Middle Ages in Europe

Manorialism, also known as the manor system or manorial system, was the method of land ownership in parts of Europe, notably France and later England, during the Middle Ages. Its defining features included a large, sometimes fortified manor house in which the lord of the manor and his dependents lived and administered a rural estate, and a population of labourers who worked the surrounding land to support themselves and the lord. These labourers fulfilled their obligations with labour time or in-kind produce at first, and later by cash payment as commercial activity increased. Manorialism is sometimes included as part of the feudal system.

Palace Grand residence, especially a royal or episcopal residence

A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence, or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop. The word is derived from the Latin name palātium, for Palatine Hill in Rome which housed the Imperial residences. Most European languages have a version of the term, and many use it for a wider range of buildings than English. In many parts of Europe, the equivalent term is also applied to large private houses in cities, especially of the aristocracy; often the term for a large country house is different. Many historic palaces are now put to other uses such as parliaments, museums, hotels, or office buildings. The word is also sometimes used to describe a lavishly ornate building used for public entertainment or exhibitions such as a movie palace.

Castle Fortified residential structure of medieval Europe

A castle is a type of fortified structure built during the Middle Ages predominantly by the nobility or royalty and by military orders. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble. This is distinct from a palace, which is not fortified; from a fortress, which was not always a residence for royalty or nobility; from a pleasance which was a walled-in residence for nobility, but not adequately fortified; and from a fortified settlement, which was a public defence – though there are many similarities among these types of construction. Use of the term has varied over time and has been applied to structures as diverse as hill forts and country houses. Over the approximately 900 years that castles were built, they took on a great many forms with many different features, although some, such as curtain walls, arrowslits, and portcullises, were commonplace.

Château French term for a manor house

A château is a manor house or residence of the lord of the manor, or a fine country house of nobility or gentry, with or without fortifications, originally, and still most frequently, in French-speaking regions.

Villa Type of house

A villa is a type of house that was originally an ancient Roman upper class country house. Since its origins in the Roman villa, the idea and function of a villa have evolved considerably. After the fall of the Roman Republic, villas became small farming compounds, which were increasingly fortified in Late Antiquity, sometimes transferred to the Church for reuse as a monastery. Then they gradually re-evolved through the Middle Ages into elegant upper-class country homes. In the Early Modern period, any comfortable detached house with a garden near a city or town was likely to be described as a villa; most survivals have now been engulfed by suburbia. In modern parlance, "villa" can refer to various types and sizes of residences, ranging from the suburban semi-detached double villa to, in some countries, especially around the Mediterranean, residences of above average size in the countryside.

Mansion Large dwelling house

A mansion is a large dwelling house. The word itself derives through Old French from the Latin word mansio "dwelling", an abstract noun derived from the verb manere "to dwell". The English word manse originally defined a property large enough for the parish priest to maintain himself, but a mansion is no longer self-sustaining in this way. Manor comes from the same root—territorial holdings granted to a lord who would "remain" there.

Lord of the manor Landholder of a rural estate

Lord of the Manor is a title that, in Anglo-Saxon England, referred to the landholder of a rural estate. The lord enjoyed manorial rights as well as seignory, the right to grant or draw benefit from the estate. The title continues in modern England and Wales as a legally recognised form of property that can be held independently of its historical rights. It may belong entirely to one person or be a moiety shared with other people.

Castlepollard Village in Leinster, Republic of Ireland

Castlepollard is a village in north County Westmeath, Republic of Ireland. It lies west of Lough Lene and northeast of Lough Derravaragh and Mullingar.

Orangery Covered winter garden

An orangery or orangerie was a room or a dedicated building on the grounds of fashionable residences of Northern Europe from the 17th to the 19th centuries where orange and other fruit trees were protected during the winter, as a very large form of greenhouse or conservatory.

English country house Larger house or mansion estate in England, United Kingdom

An English country house is a large house or mansion in the English countryside. Such houses were often owned by individuals who also owned a town house. This allowed them to spend time in the country and in the city—hence, for these people, the term distinguished between town and country. However, the term also encompasses houses that were, and often still are, the full-time residence for the landed gentry that ruled rural Britain until the Reform Act 1832. Frequently, the formal business of the counties was transacted in these country houses, having functional antecedents in manor houses.

Tower house Type of stone structure, built for defensive and habitation purposes

A tower house is a particular type of stone structure, built for defensive purposes as well as habitation. Tower houses began to appear in the Middle Ages, especially in mountainous or limited access areas, in order to command and defend strategic points with reduced forces. At the same time, they were also used as an aristocrat's residence, around which a castle town was often constructed.

Great hall Largest room in a medieval manor

A great hall is the main room of a royal palace, castle or a large manor house or hall house in the Middle Ages, and continued to be built in the country houses of the 16th and early 17th centuries, although by then the family used the great chamber for eating and relaxing. At that time the word "great" simply meant big and had not acquired its modern connotations of excellence. In the medieval period, the room would simply have been referred to as the "hall" unless the building also had a secondary hall, but the term "great hall" has been predominant for surviving rooms of this type for several centuries, to distinguish them from the different type of hall found in post-medieval houses. Great halls were found especially in France, England and Scotland, but similar rooms were also found in some other European countries.

Swords Castle

Swords Castle is an early medieval castle located in Swords, Dublin. Originally built for the Archbishops of Dublin in the early 13th century near the Ward River, some of the castle estate had fallen into disrepair by the 14th and 15th centuries. At least partially occupied through the 16th and 17th centuries, the castle was used as a place of rendezvous by Anglo-Irish Catholic families during the 1641 Rebellion. The site was afforded protection as a National Monument and placed under the guardianship of the Office of Public Works in the early 20th century. As of the late 20th and early 21st century, the site was subject to a program of "long term phased restoration", and is partially opened for tours. The site is listed on Fingal County Council's Record of Protected Structures.

Tudor architecture Architectural style

The Tudor architectural style is the final development of Medieval architecture in England and Wales, during the Tudor period (1485–1603) and even beyond, and also the tentative introduction of Renaissance architecture to Britain. It followed the Late Gothic Perpendicular style and, gradually, it evolved into an aesthetic more consistent with trends already in motion on the continent, evidenced by other nations already having the Northern Renaissance underway Italy, and especially France already well into its revolution in art, architecture, and thought. A subtype of Tudor architecture is Elizabethan architecture, from about 1560 to 1600, which has continuity with the subsequent Jacobean architecture in the early Stuart period.

Scottish baronial architecture Style of architecture with sixteenth-century origins

Scottish baronial or Scots baronial is an architectural style of 19th century Gothic Revival which revived the forms and ornaments of historical architecture of Scotland in the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. Reminiscent of Scottish castles, buildings in the Scots baronial style are characterised by elaborate rooflines embellished with conical roofs, tourelles, and battlements with Machicolations, often with an asymmetric plan. Popular during the fashion for Romanticism and the Picturesque, Scots baronial architecture was equivalent to the Jacobethan Revival of 19th-century England, and likewise revived the Late Gothic appearance of the fortified domestic architecture of the elites in the Late Middle Ages and the architecture of the Jacobean era.

Courtyard house

A courtyard house is a type of house—often a large house—where the main part of the building is disposed around a central courtyard. Many houses that have courtyards are not courtyard houses of the type covered by this article. For example, large houses often have small courtyards surrounded by service rooms or corridors, but the main rooms are not disposed around a courtyard. Blenheim Palace in England is an example of such a house.

Heerlijkheid Lowest administrative and judicial unit in Low Countries before 1800

A heerlijkheid was a landed estate that served as the lowest administrative and judicial unit in rural areas in the Dutch-speaking Low Countries before 1800. It originated as a unit of lordship under the feudal system during the Middle Ages. The English equivalents are manor, seigniory and lordship. The German equivalent is Herrschaft. The heerlijkheid system was the Dutch version of manorialism that prevailed in the Low Countries and was the precursor to the modern municipality system in the Netherlands and Flemish Belgium.


In Renaissance and Early Modern German architecture, a Lustschloss is a small country house or palace which served the private pleasure of its owner, usually the ruler of the area it is located in, and was seasonally inhabited as a respite from court ceremonies and state duties. In France, the Château de Madrid in the Bois de Boulogne, easily reached from Paris, arguably set an example, and Louis XIV similarly holidayed annually from the Palace of Versailles to his nearby Château de Marly, and more frequently used his Grand Trianon, to which the Petit Trianon was added in the following century.

Bachorza Manor

Bachorza is a manor house located in the village of Bachorza in Masovian Voivodeship, in central-eastern Poland. It was originally built in the late 17th century, but was subsequently redesigned in the mid-19th century. Bachorza was home to many distinguished Polish families and is a good example of neo-classical Polish manorial architecture.

Townhouse (Great Britain)

In British usage, the term townhouse originally referred to the town or city residence, in practice normally in London, of a member of the nobility or gentry, as opposed to their country seat, generally known as a country house or, colloquially, for the larger ones, stately home. The grandest of the London townhouses were stand-alone buildings, but many were terraced buildings.


  1. 1 2 Spiers, Richard Phené (1911). "Manor-house"  . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 597–598.
  2. Prince, Hugh, Parks in Hertfordshire Since 1500, Hatfield, 2008, p.8
  3. Risdon, Tristram. Survey of Devon (1811 ed.). p. 336. This now lord of these lands Sir Robert Basset hath his dwelling at Heanton-Court, in this parish, an adjunct importing a manor-house in the lord's signiory
  4. Risdon, Tristram. Survey of Devon (1811 ed.). p. 56. This Nutwell Court, which signifies a mansion-house in a signiory, came to the family of Prideaux
  5. Risdon, Tristram. Survey of Devon (1811 ed.). p. 319. Their house [Yarnscombe] is called "Court", which implieth a manor house, or chief dwelling in a lordship.
  6. Prince, John. Hill, Sir John, Knight (1810 ed.). London. pp. 494–497. The word court annex'd unto the name of the lord, may imply, that Hill had a lordship here; and that the court of his mannor, where the tenants were to pay their suit and service, was usually kept (according to antient custom) at this his mansion-house: this is the reason why many gentlemens' seats, in this county, and elsewhere, are distinguished by the title of court, or court-house, because the court of the mannor was wont to be held there
  7. Barbier, Pierre (2005). Le Trégor Historique et Monumental. Saint-Brieuc: La Decouvrance Editions. p. 419.
  8. "Borgen in Groningen". Groningen (in Dutch). Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  9. "Virginia House | Virginia Historical Society". Retrieved 3 November 2017.

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