With the need for heavily fortified castles and towers diminishing throughout the Tudor age, what took their place was the Tudor mansion. Tudor mansions were designed for comfort rather than defence and were the homes of the nobility and the extremely wealthy. This was a time when those with wealth could show what they had, rather than having to keep all their valuable locked in heavy chests in case of attack. Ornate architecture and decorative embellishments replaced the previous arrow slits, watch towers and other defensive features previously needed.
Tudor Mansions and Gate Houses
The Tudor mansion was the home of the incredibly wealthy Tudor family, earls, barons and all levels of nobility. If they had the wealth, they could have themselves built mansion to allow them to live in the best comforts of the age. New mansions which were constructed moved away from the traditional Gothic style of building of the Middle Ages, with the new Tudor designs featuring a more symmetrical style with lots of small leaded window and very expensive red brick features. The gate houses which were built at the entrance to the grounds which occupied the mansion were often more ornate on the outside than the mansions themselves. They were often imposing in both size and style, which was a further indication of the wealth of the owner. The gates to the estate would be held within an ornate stone archway which would be held by two crenelated towers, each emblazoned with the family coat of arms or crest.
Red Brick Tudor Mansions
Red brick was one of the newest building materials available, and due to its expense was a material that could only be bought by the very wealthy. Red brick was highly fashionable, and to prove just how wealthy you were the bricks would be laid to form patters which added decorative featured to the outside of the building, without having anything to do with reinforcing its structure or stability. Red bricks were often laid in a herringbone fashion in decorative timber framed panels along the front of the building. They were a design statement just like the fashionable red brick chimneys of the time.
Rooms of a Tudor Mansion
A mansion was somewhat larger than a manor house and had many more rooms. However, the kitchen would still be a central feature of the building as it had to provide several meals throughout the day, the kitchen staff would be constantly working. The kitchen housed large fires as well as ovens for baking and cooking, a smoke house too was also common as well as facilities for roasting large pieces of meat - often whole pigs.
As with the manor house kitchen, a buttery and a pantry would be close by. The family that lived in the mansion would have a large suite of private rooms which included sitting rooms and bed chambers. There would be a great hall used for entertaining and holding feasts, as well as many store rooms and out buildings to accommodate all of the supplies, stores and animals that a mansion would need.