Militarily indefensible and socially as obsolete as a cathedral they continue to represent something that slips further from the intellectual grasp of each generation.


The decline of the castle  M. W. Thompson Magna Books, 1994   Great Britain  History, Military  1485- 1714 Hardcover. First published by:  Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] ; New York :  Cambridge University Press, 1987. viii, 211  p. : ill. ; 26 cm. Bibliography: p. 200- 202. Includes index. Clean, tight and  strong binding with clean dust jacket. No  highlighting, underlining or marginalia in  text. VG/VG

Extensively illustrated with photographs, plans and period engravings, Michael Thompson’s book examines the decline of the castle as both fortification and seigneurial residence over the two and a half centuries that preceded the [English] Civil War. In general, this was a period in which function played less and less part and display – even fantasy – ever more in the minds of castle builders. Although few new castles were built in England after 1400, the growing power of artillery and continuing warfare in Scotland and across the Channel in France continued to provide stimuli to fresh architectural development.

Dr Thompson relates alterations in design to contemporary social changes and devotes particular attention to the rapid decline of Tudor times and to the massive destruction wrought by Parliamentary forces during the Civil War and Commonwealth. A concluding chapter examines the enticing quality the image of the castle has continued to hold over the intervening three centuries and examines some remarkable latterday examples of the genre, among them Burges’ Castell Coch in Glamorgan and, in this century, Lutyens’ Castle Drogo.

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