MANOR HOUSE, the house of the lord of the manor, or holder of one of the smaller feudal fiefs, distinguished from a castle by the fact that it did not possess developed towers or a keep, and was not designed to withstand an extended siege. Feudal regulations in regard to which fiefs could possess castles were strict and complex. Early manors were, nevertheless, forti fied, and, during the 13th and 14th centuries, the manor house took the form of a rectangular, masonry walled building, fre quently with battlements (q.v.) and often surrounded by a moat. This central building was itself surrounded by barns, stables and other farm buildings, and the whole group enclosed by a wall. Ruined examples of this type have been studied carefully in France, as the castera of S. Medard en Jalle, near Bordeaux (first half 13th century) ; Camarsac on the banks of the Gironde (early r4th century). Near Southampton, England, the walls of a manor house built by Richard Coeur de Lion in the r 2th century still stand and the castle of Stokesay in Shropshire is an example of the English 13th century manor house. All these are note worthy in that they show a definite attempt to produce, however crudely, carefully thought out living quarters in which the idea of comfort plays an important part. One or more great halls (see HALL) was a necessary feature, and in English houses furnished the controlling element in the planning of all manor houses from the r4th century on. As life became more settled and the need of defence less, the single rectangular block became inadequate and various schemes round a court were adopted. In France, the manor house of Xaintrailles near Nerac is a good example of the early 15th century. Ightham Mote, built largely in the reign of Henry VII., is the best preserved English example of the 15th century.
From 15oo on, the need of defence began to disappear and the i manor house became a large country house, following in every country the architectural ideals of its period, style and location.
Thus, in France, the Renaissance tendency towards classic corn position led to the gradual substitution of a rectangular block form for earlier, more informal types. Such a château (q.v.) as Azay-le-Rideau (early 16th century) is characteristic of the transi tion. In Normandy, however, the earlier type continued in use and many Norman farms, to this day, in their enclosing walls, their great courts surrounded by farm buildings, and their rectangular blocks of living quarters, preserve the arrangements of a typical r 5th century manor house. The most famous Norman example is the great manoir d'Ango at Varengeville near Dieppe, with remarkable, rich, patterned brick work and interesting Francis I. detail.
In England the more informal ideals of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods controlled 16th and 17th century manor house detail. The most usual plan has a hall in the centre with living quarters at one end and service rooms at the other. Later, as the desire for formality increased and the need for the hall dimin ished, more symmetrical block treatments became common. The most interesting examples of the earlier type are Great Chalfield manor, South Wraxwell manor (both in Wiltshire) and Ockwell manor in Berkshire, all of the 15th century, and Layer Marney Hall, Essex, and Sutton Place, Surrey, of the 16th century. (See also HOUSE.) Dictionnaire raisonne de l'Architec ture francaise, article "Manoir" (1875) ; C. Sauvegeot, Palais, Châteaux, Hotels et Maisons de France, du 15c au 18e siecle (1867) ; J. A. Gotch, Growth of the English House (1909) ; Garner and Stratton, Domestic Architecture of England during the Tudor Period (Ign).
(T. F. H.)