Architecture and Society in Normandy, 1120-1270 Lindy Grant

Publication date:
06 May 2005
284 pages: 280 x 216 x 24mm
220 b/w illus.


This wide-ranging book explores the architecture--principally ecclesiastical--of Normandy from 1120 to 1270, a period of profound social, cultural, and political change. In 1204, control of the duchy of Normandy passed from the hands of the Anglo-Norman/Angevin descendants of William the Conqueror to the Capetian kingdom of France. The book examines the enormous cultural impact of this political change and places the architecture of the time in the context of the Normans' complicated sense of their own identity. It is the first book to consider the inception and development of gothic architecture in Normandy and the first to establish a reliable chronology of buildings. Lindy Grant extends her investigation beyond the buildings themselves and also offers an account of those who commissioned, built, and used them. The humanized story she tells provides sharp insights not only into Normandy's medieval architecture, but also into the fascinating society from which it emerged.

Lindy Grant is medieval curator at the Conway Library, the Courtauld Institute, University of London.

?The result of admirable tenacity, dedication and energy, the book has been twenty-five years in the making? Not only has the author succeeded triumphantly in her primary aim of establishing the basic narrative of Norman Gothic architecture, she is alert to every nuance and detail of that narrative. ? We are also generously provided with?a proper historical apparatus of contexts and patronage ? a whole methodological world predicated on the premise that architecture is never unintentional and that people matter? One hopes that it will act as a touchstone and model for the future development of the medieval regional architectural history.? - John McNeil, Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society

?Grant is determined to give us more than the traditional fare? This book will be of long-term value to medieval scholars, but anyone planning a trip to Normandy would do well to have a copy of it on the back seat of the car; among other things, it is an excellent vade mecum for the architectural tourist. A further pleasure is the illustrations. ? These crystal-clear images, often revealing details which are now lost, evoke a world closer to that of the medieval architects than to the one in which we live today.? - Alan Borg, The Burlington Magazine