BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Architectural and economic development on three groups of estates in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex between 1066 and the early fourteenth century

    Day, Rosemary (2020) Architectural and economic development on three groups of estates in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex between 1066 and the early fourteenth century. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

    ROSEMARY' DAY PHD June 22 2020 SI Final with figures 2307.pdf - Full Version

    Download (9MB) | Preview


    There has been considerable research into economic and architectural developments after the Norman Conquest, but the question of whether, and if so how, economic developments affected architecture has received much less attention. This thesis aims to contribute to a greater understanding of that interaction and to provide a methodological approach to underpin conclusions. The empirical basis of this thesis is a study of rural and urban buildings and the economic development from 1066 to the early fourteenth century on groups of estates held by three different landholders: the church, the earls and the king. The estates are all in eastern England (Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk) and share many of the same physical characteristics, as well as being in a largely peaceful and heavily populated area. The case studies use architectural remains and archaeological and documentary sources to establish the structure and cost of abbey churches, palaces and castles and to identify the design and function of the domestic houses of landlords and merchants. The growth of markets, towns, food production and the cash economy are a general framework for identifying the economic development recorded in individual estate accounts and charters. The case studies lead to a range of conclusions. For royalty, finance did not seriously affect their buildings because, unlike the earls and the church, they had additional income sources. Because estate income was not essential, royal estates were often poorly managed; poor management led to economic and architectural development by the tenants and eventually to unrest related to high taxation. In the other two case studies, financial considerations impacted on the timescale of construction and had some influence on design, but the need for money also led to economic development on the estates. In towns the church promoted economic development, but architectural developments were introduced by merchants for commercial reasons in both church and royal towns. This thesis confirms that the construction of major buildings after the Norman Conquest was made possible because of the availability of wealth and the development of a cash economy. On all three groups of estates, ambition was a key driver. However, domestic buildings generally reflected the Anglo-Saxon tradition of a ground floor hall. Innovation was only found in merchant-led urban domestic building where vaults and ground floors were used to sell goods. Research into individual manors revealed a variety of economic developments and approaches, many demonstrating significant improvements in production or profit. The research showed that the motivation of the landlord—and following his lead, that of the immediate supervisor—was a key factor in leading development. Where control was more lax, the aspirations of the peasants led to economic growth and the building of extensive complexes.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2021 11:56
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 14:53


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item