Similarly, Anglo-Saxons brought a "sophisticated building style of their own" to Britain, but little physical evidence survives because the principal building material was wood. The Norman conquest of England , which began in , marked the introduction of large-scale stone-block building techniques to Britain.
Norman architecture was built on a vast scale from the 11th century onwards in England, Wales and Ireland in the form of castles, such as the White Tower at the heart of the Tower of London ,  and Carrickfergus Castle in County Antrim , as well as Gothic churches and cathedrals,  to help impose Norman authority upon their dominions. Margaret's Chapel and St. Magnus Cathedral. Throughout Britain and Ireland, simplicity and functionality prevailed in building styles. Castles, such as Alnwick Castle , Caernarfon Castle and Stirling Castle served military purpose and their battlements and turrets were practical solutions to medieval warfare.
For many, houses were "dark, primitive structures of one or two rooms, usually with crude timber frames, low walls and thatched roofs. They weren't built to last. And they didn't".
King's College Chapel in Cambridge , which started in and was completed in , marks the period of transition between Perpendicular and Tudor style architecture. Between and Britain experienced a social, cultural and political change owing to the Union of the Crowns the accession of James VI, King of Scots , to the throne of England and the Protestant Reformation.
Catholic monasteries were closed, and their lands were redistributed, creating new "rich and ambitious" landowners. Clergyman William Harrison noted in his Description of England , "Each one desireth to set his house aloft on the hill, to be seen afar off, and cast forth his beams of stately and curious workmanship into every quarter of the country.
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A greater sense of security led to "more outward-looking buildings", as opposed to the Medieval, inward facing buildings constructed for defence. For the majority of the people of Great Britain however, domestic buildings were of poor design and materials, meaning few examples from the early modern period have survived. The 18th century has been described as "a great period in British Architecture". For example, Sir William Dundas , a Member of Parliament from the Highlands and Islands who served as one of Britain's Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty , was involved in the financial and political structure of the Kingdom of Great Britain; his increased wealth allowed him to build his own mansion in Scotland.
Domestically it drove the Industrial Revolution , a period of profound change in the socioeconomic and cultural conditions of Britain. Georgian architecture in Britain was the term used for all styles of architecture created during its reign by the House of Hanover.
These included Palladian , neo-Gothic and Chinoiserie. Simplicity, symmetry, and solidity were the elements strived for in British Georgian architecture. A collaboration in the Perpendicular Gothic style between Augustus Welby Pugin and Sir Charles Barry , it is described by Linda Colley as "the building that most enshrines Britain's national and imperial pre-tensions".
Many ancient standing stone monuments were erected during the prehistoric period, amongst the best known are Stonehenge , Devil's Arrows , Rudston Monolith and Castlerigg.
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Perhaps the best known example is Hadrian's Wall stretching right across northern England. Ecclesiastical architecture ranged from a synthesis of Hiberno — Saxon monasticism ,   to Early Christian basilica and architecture characterised by pilaster-strips, blank arcading, baluster shafts and triangular headed openings. After the Norman conquest in various Castles in England were created so law lords could uphold their authority and in the north to protect from invasion.
Throughout the Plantagenet era an English Gothic architecture flourished—the medieval cathedrals such as Canterbury Cathedral , Westminster Abbey and York Minster are prime examples. Medieval architecture was completed with the 16th century Tudor style ; the four-centred arch, now known as the Tudor arch , was a defining feature as were wattle and daub houses domestically. In the aftermath of the Renaissance , the English Baroque style appeared, which architect Christopher Wren particularly championed. Queen Anne Style architecture flourished in England from about to about , even though the Queen's reign covered only the period — Buildings in the Queen Anne style are strongly influenced by Dutch domestic architecture: typically, they are simple rectilinear designs in red brick, with an undemonstrative charm.
Georgian architecture followed in a more refined style, evoking a simple Palladian form; the Royal Crescent at Bath is one of the best examples of this. With the emergence of romanticism during Victorian period, a Gothic Revival was launched—in addition to this around the same time the Industrial Revolution paved the way for buildings such as The Crystal Palace. Since the s various modernist forms have appeared whose reception is often controversial, though traditionalist resistance movements continue with support in influential places.
Early Christian art and architecture is found throughout Northern Ireland, as well as monastic sites, gravestones, abbeys, round towers and Celtic crosses. Northern Ireland has some of the largest and finest castles in Ireland , the earliest of which date back to the Norman invasion of Ireland. Enniskillen Castle dates back to early modern Ireland. Columb's Cathedral Northern Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries produced two varieties of architecture, constructed along the divide of societal privilege; "sumptuous" manor houses of the landed gentry include Castle Ward and Hillsborough Castle ; for many however, domestic life was restricted to "humble cottages".
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Prehistoric architecture is found throughout Scotland. Skara Brae is a large stone-built neolithic settlement, located on the Bay of Skaill on the west coast of Mainland, Orkney. Celtic tribes during the Bronze Age left few physical remnants of their dwellings, but stone Christian monuments and Celtic crosses have endured erosion. Protohistorical Scotland during the Roman Empire was, unlike the rest of Great Britain, broadly untouched by the Romans, but there are the remains of Roman forts at Trimontium and Inchtuthil. Scotland is known for its "dramatically placed castles, fused onto defensive ridges and rocky islands".
In contrast to England, which embarked on Elizabethan houses , Scotland saw the building of castles and fortified houses continue well into the 17th century, and many were constructed in a building-boom following the Scottish Reformation. The arrival of the cannon made high-walled castles defensively impractical and obsolete,  but the fortification genre evolved into a style in its own right; Scots Baronial Style architecture has an emphasis on turrets and strong vertical lines drawn from tower houses, and constitutes one of Scotland's "most distinctive contributions to British architecture".
The new political stability, made possible by the Act of Union,  allowed for renewed prosperity in Scotland, which led to a spate of new building, both public and private, during the 18th century. Scotland produced "the most important British architects of this age": Colen Campbell , James Gibbs and Robert Adam were Scots interpreting the first phase of Classical forms of ancient Greece and Rome in Palladian architecture. Christian architecture in Scotland has a distinct style; The Royal Institute of British Architects have stated that "Scottish churches are peculiarly plain, low and often quite humble buildings".
Cromlechs and other prehistoric architecture exits in Wales. As stated by Sir Simon Jenkins , "Wales has a very long and porous border with England", which had a major influence upon the architecture of Wales. Contemporary architecture has appeared in Wales from Cardiff Bay to Caernarfon , and has a tradition of mixing traditional Welsh materials in to modern construction techniques. The Broadway Tower is a folly , or mock tower, in Worcestershire. A short documentary revisits Old Prentice Hospital and the failed effort to preserve it for its architectural significance.
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