Gothic architecture (1150-1550)
The high Medeival style, divided into three periods
The French Gothic style invaded England in the late 12th century, trading rounded arches for pointy ones—an engineering discovery that freed architects from the heavy, thick walls of Norman structures and allowed ceilings to soar, walls to thin, and windows to proliferate.
Instead of dark, somber, relatively unadorned Norman interiors that forced the eyes of the faithful toward the altar and its priest droning on in unintelligible Latin, Gothic churchgoers' gaze was drawn up to high ceilings filled with light, a window unto Heaven. The priests still gibbered in a dead language, but now peasants could "read" the Gothic comic books of stained glass windows.
From the exterior, the Norman squat, brooding Fortresses of God were replaced by graceful buttresses and soaring spires, beacons of religion rising from town centers.
The Gothic proper in Britain can be divided into three overlapping periods or styles: Early English (1150-1300), Decorated (1250-1370), and Perpendicular (1350-1550), which we'll discuss seperately below.
But first a note: Even after it was supplanted by the Reniassance, the Gothic style proved hard to kill in Britain. It would make comebacks in the 17th century as Laudian Gothic in some Oxford and Cambridge buildings, in the late 18th century as Rococo or Strawberry Hill Gotick at Lacock Abbey, and as the 19th century Victorian Gothic Revival.