As in modern architecture Tudor Houses were built according to the wealth of the owners. There were Tudor houses for the rich which were the palaces and mansions and Tudor houses for the middle classes and the poor. The most distinctive style of the majority of Tudor houses were built in the black and white half-timbered style of Tudor architecture.
Features of Tudor Houses
The main features of Tudor Houses were as follows:
- Vertical and diagonal blackened timbers
- Thatched roofs
- Overhanging first floors called galleries
- Some of the lower stories were built in stone
- Arches were smaller and flattened as opposed to the pointed Gothic arches
- Pillared porches
- Dormer windows and Leaded windows with small window panes
- High, spiralled chimneys
Material used for Tudor Houses
Tudor Houses were framed with massive upright, vertical timbers which were usually made of oak and occasionally elm. These vertical timbers were often supported by diagonal timbers. The timbers were blackened and used to create a skeleton which was filled in with brick, plaster or most commonly wattle and daub. Tudor houses of the poor therefore consisted of wattle walls which were daubed with mortar and then whitewash was applied. This building process resulted in the highly distinctive black and white half-timbered Tudor Houses.
Wattle and Daub used for Tudor Houses
Wattle and daub were used for the infill panels between the timber posts. Small branches or twigs of hazel, willow or oak were woven together and daubed on both sides with a moist mixture of earth, chopped straw and dung.
Bricks used for Tudor Houses
Bricks were a new innovation and expensive and often only used for the mansions and palaces of the rich Tudors. Initially bricks were only used for the construction of chimneys. A regulation was passed in 1467 to prevent fires from spreading demanded that either bricks or stone were used to build chimneys: "No Chimneys of tre be suffered buyt that the owners make hem of bryke or stone".
Tudor Houses with Thatched Roofs
Many Tudor houses had thatched roofs and these were especially popular in the countryside where the potential fire risk was not as serious as in the towns . The materials used to make a thatched roof was either straw or reeds. Bundles of straw or reeds were piled on to the frame of the roof. The bundles had a circumference of between 24 to 27 inches and could range from 3 to 7 feet long.
Windows of Tudor Houses
The windows of the Tudor houses of the poor were covered by horn or wooden shutters. Glass was expensive to make so only included in the houses , mansions and palaces of the rich Tudors. The use of glass made the interiors of the more expensive houses lighter and airier. To make a pane of glass was a time consuming and painstaking process. A blob of glass was blown into a cylinder-shaped bubble which was placed on a cooling table and then cut in half. A small piece of glass was thereby produced. The small pieces of glass for the windows were joined together with lead. The leaded window panes were constructed in a in a criss-cross , or ‘lattice’, pattern. The design was a casement windows. Casement windows were attached to a hinge which opened outwards.
Overhanging Windows, or Galleries of Tudor Houses
The overhanging windows in the upper storeys of the houses were an important feature especially in the Tudor towns where space was at a premium. The building of such overhangs enabled additional floor and living space which was not subject to ground rent imposed during the Tudor period. This led to the houses in cities, such as London, where land was expensive to be built in close proximity to each other forming streets where the overhang windows almost met. This style resulted in extremely dark streets where little sunlight was allowed through.
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