By the late 1300s English constructional and decorative carpentry had attained a level of sophistication which was unrivalled in Europe.
The angel roof is one of the most impressive and complex examples of this skill. The hammerbeam roof is another. In East Anglia the two structures often combine, but rarely anywhere else in the country.
Between 1395 and about 1530, several hundred angel roofs were built in England, most of them during the 1400s, a century of usurpation, conquest and loss in France, the Wars of the Roses and the birth of the Tudor dynasty.
Of these, more than 140 angel roofs survive. They occur almost exclusively in churches, and predominantly in East Anglia, particularly in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.
Angel roofs are found in a range of structural patterns, but whatever the structural form, they are all, by definition, adorned with carved images of angels. Some are 8ft tall, others are half-body figures or low-relief carvings. Some roofs have a handful of angels, others scores, and a few have hundreds.