Extensively illustrated with photographs, plans and period engravings, Michael Thompson's book examines the decline of the castle as both fortification and seigneurial residence over the two and a half centuries that preceded the Civil War. In general, this was a period in which function played less and less part and display - even fantasy - ever more in the minds of castle builders. Although few new castles were built in England after 1400, the growing power of artillery and continuing warfare in Scotland and across the Channel in France continued to provide stimuli to fresh architectural development. Dr Thompson relates alterations in design to contemporary social changes and devotes particular attention to the rapid decline of Tudor times and to the massive destruction wrought by Parliamentary forces during the Civil War and Commonwealth. A concluding chapter examines the enticing quality the image of the castle has continued to hold over the intervening three centuries and examines some remarkable latterday examples of the genre, among them Burges' Castell Coch in Glamorgan and, in this century, Lutyens' Castle Drogo.