The Elizabethan Style

The Elizabethan style prevailed during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. Renaissance motifs were mixed with Flemish decorative work, such as strapwork, and late-Gothic mullioned and transomed windows.

The Elizabethan style is more symmetrical than earlier architecture. Elizabethan mansions usually had numerous towers, gables, parapets, balustrades, and chimneystacks. Pavillions, gardens, fountains, and terraces were also popular.

Corsham Court was built in 1582 for a merchant Thomas Smythe who became part of the gentry. The windows and gables at Corsham Court are characteristic of Tudor architecture, while the columns around the entrance are more classical in style.

Longleat House of Wiltshire was built on the site of a medieval priory a few miles from Lacock Abbey. The owner Sir John Thynne, once a kitchen clerk, was knighted in 1547. When it was rebuilt after a fire in 1567 Longleat was constructed in the newly popular Italian style and had over 300 windows. The builder was probably Robert Smythson. In houses such as this, the Great Hall became less important as other rooms such as parlors, studies, bedrooms, and quarters for dining were added. Oak paneling and ceilings with rich plaster relief ornament became popular and furniture was acquired to provide greater comfort.