From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Romanesque architecture is the term that is used to describe the architecture of Europe which emerged in the late 10th century and evolved into the Gothic style during the 12th century. The Romanesque style in England is more traditionally referred to as Norman architecture.
Romanesque architecture is known by its massive quality, its thick walls, round arches, sturdy piers, groin vaults, large towers and decorative arcading. Each building has clearly defined forms and they are frequently of very regular, symmetrical plan so that the overall appearance is one of simplicity when compared with the Gothic buildings that were to follow. The style can be identified right across Europe, despite regional characteristics and different materials.
Although there was much building of castles during this period, they are greatly outnumbered by churches of which the most significant are the great abbey churches, many of which are still standing, more or less complete and frequently in use.