Norman Architecture

What was Norman architecture like?
Norman architecture was often focused on creating the biggest, most imposing and impressive structures possible. New buildings, such as castles and cathedrals, were built in the Romanesque style, brought from the continent.
How did their conquest of England affect Norman architecture?
One way in which the Normans emphasised their superiority over Anglo-Saxons was through the building of impressive new structures that were bigger and better than anything the Anglo-Saxons had.
  • By the 12th century, every Anglo-Saxon cathedral and church had been demolished and rebuilt by the Normans in the Romanesque style.
  • Norman buildings tended to be larger than any Anglo-Saxon buildings. Westminster Great Hall, for example, was the largest hall in Europe.
What did Norman architecture look like?
The new Norman architecture was known as Romanesque. It used features that reminded people of the architecture of the Roman empire, hence its name.
  • The overall impression was of size and grandeur. Romanesque buildings were much larger than anything the Saxons had been able to build.
  • The Romanesque style was characterised by thick walls, round arches, sturdy pillars, and symmetry.
  • Ceilings were vaulted, which allowed the interior to be much higher than in earlier buildings.
  • Decorations seemed complex, but were made up of simple patterns such as chevrons and herring-bones.
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