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Title: Aula communitatis : the community hall in England, c. 1400-1640
Author: Weir, James
ISNI:       0000 0005 0291 8920
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis examines the architectural and contextual connections between twenty-nine extant late medieval and early modern community buildings to establish whether they are sufficiently similar to be identified as a single building type. The buildings are located across different regions of England, the South West and East Anglia, and demonstrate a whole range of historical and modern designations, including 'church houses', 'guildhalls', 'town halls', and 'market houses'. Though the buildings are predominantly in rural settings, several in small towns are included. Together with the more frequently studied town halls and market halls of larger towns and cities, particularly from the second half of the sixteenth century onwards, these permit an assessment of whether the building type can be applied across the town/country divide. Though buildings remain the primary source, the value of documentary and historical visual records is considered for their ability to provide images of lost or altered buildings, or details as to construction, plan-form, and use. Previous research was found to be too narrow in scope to appreciate connections beyond artificial limits, such as analysis of individual buildings without reference to their wider architectural context, or buildings grouped by dint of their shared name (e.g. 'Church Houses in ...') or their location in towns (e.g. urban 'civic halls'). The study found a set of overarching characteristics relating to architectural form and plan with which the selected buildings across the towns and villages of South West and East Anglia conform, followed by a shared set of sub-areas in which variations occur. In addition, it was found that all the buildings are spatially, and most likely functionally, related to an extant or vestigial open space, such as a village square or marketplace. Not only does this have implications for function and use, but also for linking them to the similarly-sited buildings in larger towns.
Supervisor: Gemmill, Elizabeth ; Barnwell, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: architectural history ; Vernacular architecture