Art was the Mother of Science: the vigorous and comely Mother of a daughter of far loftier and serener beauty.
William Whewell, 1852
Much of what we take for granted as architectural knowledge today was legitimated and codified in the early nineteenth century. Especially in the case of medieval architecture, we are bound by 200-year-old assumptions about what holds value and what counts as fact. This article explores an important founder of empirical architectural history, William Whewell, and argues that he used the methods of early Victorian science to gain authority for the nascent study of medieval architecture. Using methods characteristic of the sociology of science, I will concentrate on the social production of knowledge, not the accuracy of the knowledge produced; therefore, the question of who was right, or who was right first, will be laid aside in favour of asking how architectural knowledge was legitimated in early Victorian Britain.