Last edited 21 Jun 2016

Tudor revival style

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The Tudor style is an eclectic mixture of early and medieval English building traditions to create a picturesque, traditional appearance. The term Tudor is somewhat of a misnomer, since the style does not closely follow the building patterns of the English Tudor era of the early-16th century. Instead, it is an amalgam of late medieval English inspired building elements.

The earliest examples of this style were architect designed, and more closely followed original English models of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. These early and more ornate buildings are sometimes referred to as Jacobethan style, rather than Tudor. In the early part of the 20th century, less ornate versions of this medieval English style became very popular in America for the design of homes, spreading across the country through pattern books, builders' guides, and mail order catalogs. In the 1920s and 1930s America, the Tudor style was second only to the Colonial Revival style in residential popularity.

Tudor buildings are easily identified by their steeply pitched roofs, often with a front facing gables or multiple gables, and half timbered wall surfaces. Not all Tudor buildings have half-timbering, but all share similar massing and medieval English decorative details. These details might include:

  • Overhanging gable or second storey.
  • Decorative front or side chimney.
  • Diamond-shaped casement windows.
  • Round arched, board and baton front entry door.

Tudor houses are almost always of stucco, masonry or masonry-veneered construction, often with ornamental stonework or brickwork. In some Tudor buildings the roofs curve over the eaves to imitate medieval thatching, or the roof line itself curves from peak to cornice to suggest a medieval cottage. Often picturesque and charming, the Tudor style was commonly used for buildings, mansions, churches, schools, government offices and apartment buildings.


This article was written by PHMC.

--Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

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