The English Castle 1066-1650 John Goodall

Publication date:
15 Apr 2011
Paul Mellon Centre
480 pages: 305 x 254mm
100 b-w + 250 color illus.
Sales territories:


From coast to coast, the English landscape is still richly studded with castles both great and small. As homes or ruins, these historic buildings are today largely objects of curiosity. For centuries, however, they were at the heart of the kingdom's social and political life. "The English Castle" is a riveting architectural study that sets this legion of buildings in historical context, tracing their development from the Norman Conquest in 1066 through the civil wars of the 1640s. In this magnificent, compellingly written volume, which includes over 350 illustrations, John Goodall brings to life the history of the English castle over six centuries. In it he explores the varied architecture of these buildings and describes their changing roles in warfare, politics, domestic living, and governance.

More about this title

·Winner of the 'Large Format Illustrated Book of the Year' at the Spear’s Book Awards
·Winner of the prestigious Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion. Given by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, this award is given to the best architectural history book of the past four years.

John Goodall is the architectural editor of Country Life. He is responsible for writing and commissioning the celebrated series of architectural features published in the magazine every week. John has been involved in various television series on history and architecture. He was the series consultant for the BBC1 television series on architecture presented by David Dimbleby, The Way We Built Britain (2007).

Previous to his present post, John worked as a researcher and historian at English Heritage, where he was involved in launching the new guidebook series known as the Red Guides and worked on several flagship exhibitions at sites including Battle and Dover. Working as a freelance, John has lectured widely to specialist, university and general audiences. He has also contributed articles to books, journals and magazines. The English Castle is John’s second book.

"This is the most handsome and extensive tribute to English castle building yet compiled, ingeniously designed to appeal to a wide readership."—Marcus Binney, The Times

"John Goodall’s impressive new book offers the fullest and most authoritative account to date of castle history… This is a superb book, beautifully produced and illustrated."—Nigel Saul, History Today

"This excellent and absorbing work… will add hugely to the enjoyment and appreciation of any castle visit."—Kent on Sunday

"I found this book absolutely gripping - it’s well researched, vividly conveyed and original in viewpoint. And there are 362 dazzling colour illustrations. This is without doubt the architectural book of the year."—John Martin Robinson, Literary Review

"A magnificent achievement, likely to become the standard and certainly the most lavishly illustrated account for many years to come. It deserves the widest of readerships."—Nicholas Vincent, Times Literary Supplement

"The book has been a labour of love for Goodall, who has traipsed through every motte and bailey and whose scholarship shows through on every page. Its illustrations are superb…..But the imagery of Goodall’s story is often as powerful in words as it is in pictures."—Timothy Brittain-Caitlin, World of Interiors

"A tome for the inquisitive layman and serious historian alike, The English Castle merits a place on the bookshelf for all who enjoy and appreciate the best of architecture from our past."—John Stachiewicz, National Trust Magazine

"The English Castle is a book of great scholarship and scale…..The English Castle is the antithesis of the many art history books that seem to be shrouded in obscurity and confusion. It is more than an academic treatise; it is a study written by a man with a passion for his subject." —Francis Terry, RIBA Journal

"Majestic in scale and sumptuously produced, it is an authority that scholars will consult for generations."—Clive Aslet, Sunday Telegraph

"This is an excellent book… Dr Goodall sets out to demolish an old-fashioned and outdated view of what castles are. In doing so, in his own words, he ‘joins up the dots’, assembling, in a sweeping narrative, what it would take years to glean from obscure journals and academic books"—Simon Thurley, Country Life

"Beautifully illustrated and engagingly written, this scholarly yet accessible new history explores the strong links between church and castle architecture, as well as tracing how castles were built and why they were used, together with the political and social context of the day. Endlessly fascinating."—Timothy Brittain-Catlin, The Tablet

"Goodall’s deeply impressive feat of scholarship here is enhanced by his skill as a writer and his willing embrace of complex questions. This book is surely the essential work of reference on the English medieval castle and medieval domestic architecture."—Jeremy Mason, British Art Journal

"Goodall’s extremely readable book is a landmark publication in castle studies, and one that will not be bettered for many years to come. This reviewer has long been an admirer of Yale University Press’s architectural books, and the format of this one does not disappoint... a joy to handle and peruse... A major contribution to the history of medieval and early modern architecture."—John R. Kenyon, Burlington Magazine

"A dynamic exercise in analysing buildings in their social context… [The English Castle, 1066-1650] is an exceptional work of scholarship that brings together not only a wealth of analysis of the buildings themselves, but does so via a deep sensitivity to the historical background of their construction and use… Goodall is to be congratulated on a remarkable achievement." Robert Liddiard, Society for Architectual Historians of Great Britain Newsletter No. 106

"John Goodall is the finest scholar of English medieval architecture of his generation, and the English Castle is an exceptional achievement." Richard K. Morris, Ancient Monument Society

“One could not ask for a better guide . . . Goodall is a fine, efficient storyteller.” Books and Culture

Page spreads


Related links

John Goodall's Website