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Watch Buildings That Shaped Britain online: Episode 2 Skyscrapers of the Middle Ages

In Skyscrapers of the Middle Ages, we journey to the period in between the Norman landing and the beginning of the Tudor era, exploring the architecture of spirituality and learning. Medieval buildings were erected in accordance with the notion of being fit for purpose; the churches and cathedrals of the period were both visually stunning and deeply functional. White Tower, which is in the centre of the Tower of London, was built on the orders of William the Conqueror, and completed in 1097. Durham Cathedral, Haddon Hall, and Kings College Chapel in Cambridge, are three further examples of the striking architecture of the Middle Ages. We look at the turrets and battlements of medieval castles, as well as palatial manor houses and parish churches. We also look at the dwellings of the poorer classes, which were generally dark, primitive structures consisting of one or two rooms. Perhaps most importantly, we ask why the most spectacular buildings in Britain were created during times of pestilence, fear and turmoil.

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