A Wealth of Buildings: Marking the Rhythm of English History

Volume I: 1066–1688

  • Richard Barras

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxvi
  2. Richard Barras
    Pages 1-33
  3. Richard Barras
    Pages 35-88
  4. Richard Barras
    Pages 89-143
  5. Richard Barras
    Pages 145-213
  6. Richard Barras
    Pages 215-301
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 303-337

About this book


This two-volume book explores how the great buildings of England bear witness to a thousand years of the nation’s history. In every age, investment in iconic buildings reaches a climax when the prevailing mode of production is operating most effectively, surplus wealth is most plentiful, and the dominant class rules supreme. During such periods of stability and prosperity, the demand for new buildings is strong, structural and stylistic innovations abound, and there is fierce competition to build for lasting fame. Each such climax produces a unique vintage of buildings that are an expression of cultural hegemony. They are monuments to the wealth and power of those who ruled their world.

This first volume provides an introduction to the study and a review of wealth accumulation over the past millennium. There follow three case studies of iconic building investment from the eleventh to the seventeenth century. During the eleventh and twelfth centuries the conquering Norman kings and barons erected castles throughout the country to cement their feudal power. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the great wealth of the ecclesiastical estates funded the lavish construction of Gothic cathedrals and abbeys. During the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries Tudor and Jacobean magnates vied to build the most magnificent palaces and prodigy houses. The English Revolution brought this era to a close.


Iconic buildings Wealth accumulation Building investment Architectural style Construction technology Cultural hegemony

Authors and affiliations

  • Richard Barras
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of the Built EnvironmentUniversity College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information