Medieval Bishops’ Houses in England and Wales: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Medieval Bishops’ Houses in England and Wales

1st Edition

By Michael Thompson


207 pages

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Paperback: 9781138324534
pub: 2020-02-01
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Hardback: 9781138324497
pub: 2018-09-18
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pub: 2018-10-26
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First published in 1998, this book describes the surviving medieval remains there and the far more numerous manor houses and castles owned by the bishops, as well as their London houses. Apart from royal residences these are far the largest group of medieval domestic buildings of a single type that we have. The author describes how these buildings relate to the way of life of the bishops in relation to their duties and their income and how in particular the dramatic social changes of the later middle ages influenced their form. The work of the great bishop castle-builders of the 12th century is discussed, as are the general history of the medieval house with its early influence from the Continent, the changes in style of hall and chamber (still controversial) and its climax in the great courtyard houses of Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of York. The book includes over a hundred plans, sections and photographs of the surviving parts of bishops’ residences, with a survey of 1647 of the Archbishop’s palace at Canterbury before demolition.


'informative, authoritative and highly recommended reading for students of British medieval architecture, history, culture and literature.' Midwest Book Review 'shows an impressive breadth of scholarship' Country Life '…an excellent study of the see palaces, London houses, and manor castles and houses of the twenty-one bishoprics.' Northern History, Vol. XXXV '…a very useful series of essays on types of episcopal residences…supplemented by appendices including a working list of houses, and generously illustrated with plans and views. As a survey…it will be widely welcomed, and it goes beyond description in relating the buildings to their social and cultural context….' English Historical Review '…a fine and very useful book, copiously illustrated, which collects sparse information…and stimulates reflection….' Medieval Archaeology, No. 43 '…a wonderfully old-fashioned compendium of information about a subject never before treated synoptically….' Church History, Vol. 68, No. 4 ’ We are indebted to Michael Thompson for delivering, over the last ten years, important books on the origin and decline of the castle; he now follows up his study of the hall in medieval society by a general account of medieval episcopal houses.’ The Antiquaries Journal.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction. 2. Castles by the Cathedral. 3. See Palaces. 4. London Houses. 5. Castles on the Manors. 6. Episcopal Security in the Later Middle Ages. 7. Manor Houses. 8. Conclusion.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General