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Wexford Castles: Environment, Settlement and Society

Wexford Castles: Environment, Settlement and Society

Hardback Landscapes

By (author) Billy Colfer

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  • Publisher: Cork University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 278 pages
  • Dimensions: 242mm x 304mm x 24mm | 1,560g
  • Publication date: 31 May 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Cork
  • ISBN 10: 1859184936
  • ISBN 13: 9781859184936
  • Sales rank: 370,776

Product description

Billy Colfer's Wexford Castles expands the IRISH LANDSCAPES series by taking a thematic approach, while still staying loyal to the central landscape focus. Rather than adapting a narrowly architectural approach, he situates these buildings in a superbly reconstructed historical, social, and cultural milieu. County Wexford has three strikingly different regions - the Anglo-Norman south, the hybridised middle and the Gaelic north - which render it a remarkable version in parvo of the wider island. Colfer's wide-angle lens takes in so much than the castles themselves, as he ranges widely and deeply in reading these striking buildings as texts, revealing the cultural assumptions and historical circumstances which shaped them. In this most cosmopolitan of counties, we range far and wide in search of the wide-spreading roots of its cultural landscape - from the Crusades and the Mani peninsula in Greece to the Bristol Channel, from Crac des Chevaliers to Westminster, from the Viking north and the cold Atlantic to the warm Mediterranean south. The book breaks new ground in exploring the long-run cultural shadow cast by the Anglo-Normans and their castles, as this appears in the Gothic Revival, in the poetry of Yeats and in the surprisingly profuse crop of Wexford historians and writers. While most books on a single architectural form can end up visually monotonous, creativity has been lavished on this volume in terms of keeping the images varied, fresh and constantly appealing. The result is a sympathetic and innovative treatment of the castles, understood not just as a mere architectural form, but as keys to unlocking the mentalite of those who lived in them. Wexford Castles: landscape, context and settlement is a worthy conclusion of Billy's Colfer's superb trilogy of landscape studies.

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Author information

Billy Colfer is the author of The Hook Peninsula, County Wexford (Cork University Press, 2004) and Wexford: A Town and its Landscape (Cork University Press, 2008)

Table of contents

Location and Landscape Continental Connections Castles in Europe Anglo-Norman Colonisation Thirteenth-century Castles: Conquest and Colony Ferns Castle The Shifting Frontier Social Turmoil Defending the Colony Fortified Churches Tower-House Economy Tower-House Landscapes Tower-House Architecture and Typology The Wexford Fortified Hall-House: Late Sixteenth-century Transitional Residences Endgame Legacy Gazetteer of Tower Houses with Surviving Fabric Appendix 1: Tower Houses: Condition and Documentation Appendix 2: Fortified hall-houses: Condition and Documentation Endnotes Figure sources and attributions Bibliography Index