Architecture of Tudor / Elizabethan Houses The Black and White Half Timbered style of Elizabethan architecture
The actual architecture of Middle class houses was
similar to traditional medieval styles. But Elizabethan Houses were
framed with massive upright, vertical timbers. These vertical timbers
were often supported by diagonal timbers.The wattle walls were daubed
with mortar and whitewash was then applied. This process resulted in the
highly distinctive black and white half-timbered Elizabethan Houses.
Architecture Features of Half Timbered Tudor / Elizabethan Houses
Elizabethan houses included the following
Vertical and diagonal timbers
Overhanging first floors - galleries
The tall thin chimneys of Elizabethan houses were
often topped with decorative chimney pots with symmetrical patterns.
Elizabethan Houses - Glass Windows
In the Elizabethan houses of the Upper and Middle
classes panes of glass were added, replacing horn or wooden shutters,
and the interior of homes became lighter and airier. To make a pane of
glass was a painstaking process. A blob of glass was blown into a
cylinder shaped bubble. The cylinder was placed on a cooling table and
cut in half. A small piece of glass was 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.
Elizabethan Houses - Thatched Roofs
Middle or Lower Class Elizabethan houses had
thatched roofs. The materials used to make a thatched roof was either
straw or reeds. Bundles of straw or reed 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. The roof was the only place for
animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals,
such as mice, lived in the thatched roof. When it rained the thatched
roof became slippery and sometimes the animals would fall off, hence the
old English saying "It's raining cats and dogs."
Architecture of Elizabethan Houses - Overhanging windows and
Elizabethan houses of the Lower classes an important feature, specially
in towns and cities, were the overhanging windows in the upper storeys
of the houses. The building of such overhangs enabled additional floor
and living space which was not subject to ground rent. 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 resulted in extremely dark streets where little
sunlight was allowed through.