TYPOLOGICAL STUDY AND CATALOGUING OF LATE MEDIEVAL MANOR HOUSES OF THE BASQUE COUNTRY (SPAIN)
Keywords: Manor Houses, Typological study, Late Middle Ages, Basque Country, Vernacular Architecture
Abstract. Manor Houses were the homes and centres of operation of Basque noble families during the Late Medieval Period. From early defensive Tower Houses to the Palaces of the early 16th century, Manor Houses evolved during the Late Middle Ages, adapting to different historical periods. Despite their heritage value, these buildings are in danger of being lost. Investigations of past centuries encouraged the emergence of false beliefs around Manor Houses – excessively old constructive periods, assignment of defensive origins to most buildings, etc.–. This has resulted in serious errors in heritage catalogues and, subsequently, a high number of unfortunate architectural interventions. This paper aims to analyse and characterize the typological evolution of Basque Manor Houses, in order that the results be used as guideline for future protection strategies. The work was divided into three sections: field work, documentary research and historical-constructive analysis. Collected data was uploaded into QGIS software, which was then used to carry out a comparative analysis. An inventory of 2050 Manor Houses has been developed, which includes a “Red List” of 472 buildings in danger of being lost. Five typologies of Manor Houses have been identified: one with a defensive function – the Tower House – and four types of non-defensive constructions – Tower Palace, Rural Palatial House, Large Palace and Village Manor House –. Most of the existent Basque Manor Houses were built after the mid-15th century and were non-defensive from their original construction.