The concluding chapter of this book summarises the concluding points of each chapter, positing that the reform rhetoric surrounding lunatic asylum management in the early nineteenth century was reflected in the spatial arrangement and material administration of the buildings themselves. As such, the asylum buildings from this period, often overlooked in favour of their more elaborate successors, were proving grounds for pioneering treatment and management practices which came to define institutionalised mental health treatment in England and Ireland and beyond. The asylum architecture of the late Georgian and early Victorian period is often likened to contemporaneous institutions such as prisons and workhouses; in this section, the three site types are critically compared in light of the conclusions about asylum architecture made in the preceding chapters. The final part of this chapter addresses the ongoing issues surrounding the redevelopment and reuse of former lunatic asylum sites.
The first chapter outlines the historical context for the book and introduces the legislative and architectural background to the establishment of lunatic asylums in England and Ireland. The concept of moral management is explored, that is management of the mentally ill in a care-taking, humane manner, which was rooted in a broader shift in attitude towards marginal elements of society, including criminals and the poor as well as the mentally and physically sick. The broader social and political background to this movement will be outlined, with reference to some of the primary writers on asylum reform. The distinctiveness of English and Irish approaches to asylum building and administration will be stressed, with reference to contemporaneous examples in Scotland and Wales. The methods employed in this research, namely archival research coupled with cartographic analysis and analysis of the built and material environment, are outlined, with reference to research recently undertaken on the built environment of English asylums, the material environment of mid-nineteenth century asylums, and archaeological approaches to institutions. The problematic status of asylum buildings as they stand today is outlined, with reference to the building histories. An outline of each chapter follows this review.
The aim of this chapter is to juxtapose the model architecture of the asylum, as a manifestation of reform ideals, with the practical negotiation of asylum spaces and the impact of the personalities of the idealists and the residents. This is considered from two different perspectives: adoption and adherence to the principals of moral management under the supervision of public and asylum authorities, and the duties and responsibilities of the general staff in the reformed asylum. The impact and viability of moral management as a spatial and practical means of managing the insane is considered in the first section of this chapter. The personalities involved in the running and management of the asylum are considered in detail in the second section, with particular focus on the duties and rules imposed on general staff such as keepers and laundry staff.
This chapter addresses the practice of encouraging behaviours through the control of bounded space, and the cultivation of an environment maintained within boundaries. In lunatic asylums, bounded space can be seen to have created a distinct environment and identity for those who inhabited it. The consideration of the interior space of the lunatic asylum and how interior spaces dictated behaviour is the subject of much consideration in the existing literature; however, in this same literature, physical space and the material indicators of bounded space are not considered in great detail. The research outlined in this chapter contributes significantly to the literature on the built environment of asylums through the comparative examination of both the built and material environment, and the historical representation of the asylum in writing and records.
When we visit tower houses today, they usually stand abandoned, in isolation
within modern landscapes. This chapter finds the medieval reality was very
different. It assesses what archaeological features might be found in the
immediate vicinity of the tower. This includes the buildings found within
the bawn, or enclosing wall, as well as the peasant settlement located
around rural tower houses. Whether this associated peasant settlement was
nucleated or dispersed is analysed.
The innovative and original contribution made by the tower house to the
fields of archaeology and history is assessed. A new methodology is
elucidated that combines historical, archaeological, architectural and
geographical sources. The introduction likewise locates the book within its
wider historiographical context.
Tower houses are the ubiquitous building of pre-modern Ireland. A type of castle,
the tower house was constructed c.1350–1650, and extant examples number in the
thousands. This book examines the social role of the tower house in late
medieval and early modern Ireland. It uses a multidisciplinary methodology to
uncover the lived experience of a wide range of people. This enables exploration
of the castle’s context, including how it was used as a social tool and in
environmental exploitation for economic gain. By challenging traditional
interpretations of the Middle Ages we find new evidence for the agency of
previously overlooked individuals, and thus a new insight into the transition
from medieval to modern. Each chapter in the book builds on the one preceding,
to echo the movement of trade good from environmental exploitation to entry into
global economic networks, keeping focus on the role of the tower house in
facilitating each step. By progressively broadening the scope, the conclusion is
reached that the tower house can be used as a medium for analysing the impact of
global trends at the local level. It accomplishes this lofty goal by combining
archival evidence with archaeological fieldwork and on-site survey to present a
fresh perspective on one of the best-known manifestations of Irish
Medieval Europe was a predominantly agrarian society. Although the extent to
which manorialism existed within medieval Ireland has been debated,
pre-modern Ireland’s economy was nevertheless dominated by agriculture. This
chapter identifies what specific kinds of agriculture occurred at tower
houses. The distribution and roles of arable, pastoral and mixed
agricultural economies are considered. An underappreciated evidence source
for tower house control of the historical agrarian economy are water mills,
found here to be a manorial feature often located in conjunction with tower
Not only did rivers provide water and food, they were the arteries of
pre-modern Ireland’s transport and communication networks. This chapter
explains how tower houses were uniquely distributed to control long-distance
movement, both by navigable river and by sea. Many tower houses were
constructed at communication nodal points or chokepoints, which enabled them
to control movement as well as providing an income for occupants. Tower
houses are therefore regularly associated with bridges, fords, causeways,
ferries and passes.
Tower house distributions are strongly correlated with rivers. The function
of rivers in pre-modern Ireland is examined in this chapter. This chapter
gives an overview of what fresh water supplied to historical populations,
and then considers environmental exploitation. Fish weirs and fishponds are
both encountered at tower house sites. These were a source of both food and
income. The evidence for fish weirs and traps as a preferred method for
catching fish is weighed against the tendency for fishponds elsewhere in
medieval Europe at high-status sites.