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8-08-2015, 16:10

The Manor House

Lesser landholders seldom had the resources or the need to build castles, but they often had to fortify their homes (Document 54). The manor house was the local economic, residential, and administrative center and might be given the honorific title of “castle.” Stokesay Castle is a wellpreserved example of the fortified manor house (Figure 21). Today, in a reversal of the usual castle ruins where we find outer walls but an empty bailey, the inner buildings still stand at Stokesay while the defensive walls are gone and the moat is dry. An Elizabethan gatehouse has replaced the original entryway. Laurence of Ludlow inherited the manor, and acquired a “license to crenellate” from Edward I in 1290. He added a curtain wall, moat, and a tower with a turret at each end of an already existing hall. The hall has large windows and a chamber at each end. Another kind of defensible country home characterizes Scotland and other border regions (see Figure 30). Beginning in the fourteenth century, local lords on both sides of the English Scottish borders built residential towers set in a walled yard called a barmkyn. The buildings are rectangular or Z-shaped in plan, and have three or four stories joined by a spiral staircase. The top of the tower was crowned by battlements and turrets. Like the Norman tower, these tower houses used the first floor for storage and had their principal hall on the second or even the third floor. The hall was the seat of local justice. One or two projecting wings might be built to add additional space for living rooms, giving the tower a distinctive Z-shaped plan. Larger windows, fireplaces, and garderobes were added to rooms on third and fourth levels. The top of the building could be quite elaborate and have two levels of battlements, with machicolations and turrets corbelled out over the walls. The door was protected by an iron grille called a yet. These tower houses were still being built in the seventeenth century.