Tudor Castles - The decline of the Medieval Castles
The age of the Tudors saw the decline of the highly defensive British Castles - comfort was the key as opposed to defence. Castles were replaced by sumptuous palaces and coastal forts. The 15th and 16th century saw a massive change in English politics. King Henry VIII decreased the power of the nobles and increased the power of Parliament and the monarchy. King Henry VIII added Imperial concepts of Kingship to existing Feudal concepts and the King was not dependent on his nobles for support. Privately owned English castles which had been built as power bases and strongholds for great nobles came out of favour and English castles were built primarily as magnificent, or palatial, residences of the wealthy. The massive English castles developed into highly luxurious palaces during the Tudors period. It was even necessary for permission to be granted to include even decorative crenellations to new Tudor buildings.
The changes in Architecture and the Decline of Tudor Castles
The changes in 15th and 16th century Architecture and the decline of defensive Tudor castles were made in response to:
- Political changes during the era - the King seized power from the nobles
- Social changes during the period - the feudal system was coming to an end, fighting between nobles and the threat of Civil war had decreased. War now was between nations rather than between individual feudal nobles
- Cultural changes - The Tudors were influenced by the Renaissance
- Changing needs of the population - The British population was threatened by invasion from foreign powers rather than subject to internal strife. Coastal forts were built, facing possible enemies from the sea
- Changes in technology - the increase in the use of guns and canon, which greatly reduced the effectiveness of castles
- The desire for more comfort in the castle interiors
- Info about architecture including facts about Tudor Castles
Tudor Castles - The Coastal Forts
The last Tudor Castles were therefore the coastal forts. The largest of Henry VIII's coastal forts was Deal Castle which was built c1540 and had 119 gun positions. The layout of Deal Castle was built in the shape of the Tudor rose and had an outer moat. It is part of a chain of coastal forts, which also includes Calshot Castle, Camber Castle, Walmer Castle and Pendennis Castle.
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