Architectural Elements of English Tudor

Written by henri bauholz
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Architectural Elements of English Tudor
Tudor architecture is a distinctive English way of building, also popular in the U.S. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Tudor architecture began in England during the 15th and 16th century. This style represented a movement from the Gothic tradition and toward one influenced by the Renaissance. In rural England, Tudor homes were modest in size, often had thatched roofs, and featured black and white half-timbered exteriors. More stately constructions were also possible with the Tudor style including country manors, long assembly halls, inns and even an occasional castle.

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Half-timbered Walls

Half-timbered walls were a common component of many styles of European architecture including the English Tudor style. In England, houses built before 1800 facilitated the use of large oak timbers, a readily-available natural material. The name half-timbered derives from the fact that the oak logs were hand-hewn into a square-faced piece of lumber. The frame was constructed from these large hardwood beams, then the space between the timbers was filled with a plaster or mud material. The oak beams were large enough to become a prominent design element of both interior and exterior walls.

Wattle and Daub

Wattle and daub is a colourful English term that refers to plaster fill built into timber frame houses and placed between the framing members. Most often, wattle and daub consisted of a wooden lath made from large twigs and small branches, which was covered with a clay, lime and possibly straw mixture. After application, the mixture was painted or whitewashed to contrast with the dark oak timbers. In more recent eras, wood lath and plaster replaced the stick and mud.


Although early Tudor houses may have been built with thatched roofs made from locally-available materials, the larger houses, grand halls and inns became characterised by steeply-gabled roofs covered with slate. Dormers with stylish windows were often built into the sides of the roof, as were elaborate masonry chimneys. Many times, the gable end of the building was decorated with ornately carved or cut trim boards. Another distinguishing Tudor feature is a cross or frontal gable located in the middle-front of the structure.


Over the years, windows became an important design element in the overall appearance of Tudor buildings. The method by which each window was put together became an important element of these structures. Glass panes were often held in place with leaded seams, and stained glass was sometimes used, creating myriad colourful patterns that projected into the interior. The overall shape of each window was usually tall and narrow, with each unit often placed in a series of several windows.

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