Lordship and Architecture in Medieval and Renaissance Scotland

Lordship and Architecture in Medieval and Renaissance Scotland

Lordship and Architecture in Medieval and Renaissance Scotland

Lordship and Architecture in Medieval and Renaissance Scotland

Synopsis

These essays constitute the first radical reassessment since the nineteenth century of the role of architecture as an expression of lordship and status amongst Scottish secular and ecclesiastical elites in the period c.1124-c.1650. Fifteen studies of the architectural patronage of particular families or groups explore how the nobility operated socially and economically, as well as politically, in the organisation and structure of lordship throughout the medieval and renaissance periods. The contributors draw on the traditions and strengths of Scottish genealogical, archaeological and art-historical enquiry to illustrate key themes, which include: family or kindred styles in building on a local, regional or national level; builders' or patrons' motives; the scale and use of the buildings; and ascertainable changes in function, purpose and attitude.

Excerpt

Castle studies in Scotland have had a long and distinguished history as a field of academic and antiquarian endeavour. From the monumental achievement of the Edinburgh-based architects David MacGibbon and Thomas Ross in their Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland (5 vols., 1887–92), through W. Mackay Mackenzie’s The Medieval Castle in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1927) and Stewart Cruden’s The Scottish Castle (3rd edition, Edinburgh, 1981), to Joachim Zeune’s exposition of the evolution and development of the tower-house tradition, Scotland’s castles have been subjected to detailed architectural analysis and classification. the chief focus within this tradition has been largely on form and plan, with chronologically-based schemes of stylistic evolution hammering the structures into a rigid framework which charted a progression from early - and, therefore, by definition unsophisticated - fortifications of earth and timber, through stone castles of enclosure to the complex tower-houses of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. in effect, castles have been viewed as architectural artefacts, to be typologised and categorised as part of a morphological sequence. Defensive developments as chronological indicators have weighed heavily in these studies, with the consequence that castles have been projected primarily as fortifications, a projection aided by the stark and evidently uncompromisingly military character of many of the surviving structures.

More recently there has been a growing trend towards emphasis on the domestic aspects of Scotland’s castles, partly as a consequence of the increasing amount of archaeological investigation of sites. Excavation in particular has served to demolish the notion of a supposed paranoid introversion and an anxiety for defence allegedly symptomatic of the prolonged traumas of the Wars of Independence and responsible for the stark towers which so characterise Scotland’s late medieval castle-building tradition. Rather than isolated defence-driven monoliths, the towers have been revealed as the centrepieces of lightly-defended complexes of halls, accommodation blocks and domestic buildings. the fruits of this trend can be seen in Christopher Tabraham’s Scottish Castles and Fortifications (HMSO, 1986) or Scotland’s Castles (London, 1997), or in Peter Yeoman’s . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.