Mock Tudor

From Chesterwiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

Tudor Revival architecture (also known as "mock Tudor" in the UK) first manifested itself in domestic architecture in the United Kingdom in the latter half of the 19th century. Based on a revival of aspects that were perceived as "Tudor architecture", in reality it usually took the style of English vernacular architecture of the Middle Ages that had survived into the Tudor period (1485-1603).

Vernacular Architecture

"Vernacular Architecture" is almost an oxymoronic term. By some definitions it is building done outside any academic tradition, and often without professional guidance - without any professional "architect" other than a more or less commonplace builder. This encompasses a wide range and variety of building types, with differing methods of construction, from around the world, both historical and extant, representing the majority of buildings and settlements created in pre-industrial societies. The term "vernacular" means "domestic, native, indigenous"; from verna, meaning "native slave" or "home-born slave". The word probably derives from an older Etruscan word, but was adopted by linguistics where "vernacular" refers to language use particular to a time, place or group. Sir George Gilbert Scott, used the phrase as the focus of the first chapter of his book "Remarks on Secular & Domestic Architecture, Present & Future", and in a paper read to an architectural society in Leicester in October 1857. As a proponent of the Gothic Revival movement in England, Scott used the term as a pejorative to refer to the "prevailing architecture" in England of the time, all of it, as opposed to the Gothic he wanted to introduce (as "Victorian Gothic"). In this "vernacular" category Scott included St Paul's Cathedral, Greenwich Hospital and John Vanbrugh's Castle Howard.

Taken in a simple and blunt manner, by Victorian times Vernacular Architecture encompassed the "Merrie England" style of stolid half-timbered cottages and "Gothic" included the elaborately pinnacled and lancet windowed flights of stone-lacework fancy. Both can be seen as a revolt against the well-ordered and proportionate Georgian architecture of the Neo-Classical period and the earlier Baroque style.


The style of actual Tudor architecture, with the characteristic low archways can be seen in the main dooorways of Chester Cathedral which were among the last parts built before the dissolution: in fact they bear the arms of Henry VIII. These are are among the only true examples of original Tudor architecture in Chester, and look nothing like the "Mock Tudor" found elsewhere in the city. Mock Tudor, also known as the Tudor Revival Style made one of its first appearances in Britain in the late 1860s at Cragside, a hilltop mansion of eclectic architectural styles that incorporated certain Tudor features; Cragside was designed by the architect Norman Shaw. However, elements of the style had appeared earlier at Berriew out of the hands of the Welsh architect Thomas Penson (c. 1790 – 1859), a pupil of Thomas Harrison whose sons would practice in Chester. Some of Penson's "Black and White" buildings as Berriew do have some true timber construction but in the vast majority the houses are brick with the black "wood" being simply painted on, typically in patterns which make little structural sense.