They were an improvement in stone on the Motte and Bailey. The concept of the castle itself emerged in the 9th and 10th centuries, around the time of the collapse of the Carolingian empire, a period of increased fighting between local lords, although it has also been argued that castles were built to defend against Viking raids across Northern Europe. Except the curtain wall was stone. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. amzn_assoc_region = "US"; Larger keeps could be divided into many smaller rooms and would contain bedrooms, kitchens and halls, as well as other luxuries. And the soil removed from the ditches was used to build up the Motte and to form a berm around the ditches. There is debate over the reason for this transition from wood to stone – it has been suggested that stone was a superior material for defensive purposes, thanks to it being fire-proof and longer-lasting. It could take years or even decades to build a stone fortress castle and it was now possible to totally destroy it in a few days with steady cannon fire. Although changes to castles happened bit by bit, with existing castles being upgraded and adapted rather than being torn down and rebuilt, several distinct castle types can still be identified. These earthworks could be based on a pre-existing natural hill or be manmade, and generally varied from around 3 metres to 30 metres in height, and from 30 to 90 metres in diameter.

For the most part it is reasonably easy to achieve this breakdown in castle types because they are something that changed over the course of centuries due to improvements in architecture, masonry, mathematics, and other skills. The design of castles evolved over time as builders responded to developments in military strategy and improvements in technology. During that time many castles... 2.

However, the influence of much earlier Roman and Byzantine fortifications can also be seen in concentric castles, as they generally utilised curtain walls punctuated by towers or bastions.

The Rectangular Keep was the early types of castles that we are more familiar with today. The earliest fortifications originated in the Fertile Crescent, the Indus Valley, Egypt, and China where settlements were protected by large walls. Motte-and-bailey castles consisted of a relatively simple wooden or stone keep on top of a raised earthwork (a motte), next to a walled compound (a bailey) which was usually protected by a palisade or a moat. It is an expression of a very important technique in defense - that of concentric lines of defense. This illustration of Harlech Castle shows three separate concentric cirlces. The inner curtain walls were built higher than the outer wall, giving crossbows on the inner wall an excellent line of sight. However, castles were still relevant as a status symbol – a way of demonstrating wealth, strength and power to the rest of the world. The placement of one inner curtain wall perimeter within a wider, outer perimeter one gave the appearance of two castles – placed one within the other – creating a concentric castle. Northern Europe was slower than the East to develop defensive structures and it was not until the Bronze Age that hill forts were developed, which then proliferated across Europe in the Iron Age.

amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "manual"; Thanks to their enormous size and complexity, concentric castles were fantastically expensive to build – as such, lords and barons simply did not have the resources to build them. They were built of stone and tended to have very high and thick walls. These decorative elements suggest that one of the main functions of the keep was to impress visitors – the White Keep in the Tower of London and Norwich castle are examples of keeps built by the Normans to exert their influence over their new English subjects and make a political statement. Access from the bailey to the motte typically took the form of a bridge, or steps cut into the motte itself. The free-standing rectangular stone keep castles were particularly popular among the Normans – in England, these castles were usually square, while in France and Normandy a rectangular style called barlongue appeared, where the sides of the keep were twice that of the width of the building. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. A motte-and-bailey castle consisted of a motte (a large mound of earth) … An intimate guide to the inside of a castle and the lives of its residents, this Stephen Biesty classic details the workings of a medieval fortress. As gunpowder technology improved, and canons became more powerful and more accurate, castles became less relevant from a purely defensive standpoint. The medieval time period was from the 5th century to 15th century. Part of the defense of the outer ward is a moat. In effect it is a keep surrounded by a wall which in turn is surrounded by another wall. The Stockade fence around the keep would be replaced with a stone wall. Edward I built a series of highly impressive concentric castles in Wales, such as Beaumaris and Caerphilly, during his conquest of the country. The square towers caused angles that formed blind spots that attackers could hide in. The keep could also be up to four stories high, with a raised entrance reached by a stair – in some cases, this staircase was protected by an additional building, such as can be seen at Castle Rising in England. Here we look at castles around the world.

These curtain walls consisted of several towers or bastions connected by sections of the wall. The walls themselves featured crenellations or battlements along the top edge, along with arrow slits to aid defenders. The size of the motte itself dictated the size of the fortification that could be built on top of it: a small motte would only be able to support a relatively simple wooden keep, but a large earth mound could hold a heavier stone building. DK's classic look at the history and structure of castles, now reissued with a CD and wall chart! On top of the motte usually sat a keep. Norman Castles The first significant European castles with stone keeps. This type of castle is a combination of the shell keep and the rectangular keep. Concentric castles were made up of a series of circular walls. The Rectangular Keep ( also called a donjon or dungeon) 11th and 12th Centuries. Then in later centuries it would be expanded into a shell keep and even later it could be further improved and developed into a concentric type castle. And, the builders of castles, because of centuries of experience, designed castles that were more effective. As weapons (particularly gunpowder weapons like the cannon) grew better, more powerful and more accurate the castle fortress became less and less effective. Historian Charles Coulson states that the accumulation of wealth and resources, such as food, led to the need for defensive structures. The focus now was less on defense and more on lavish living quarters or centers for governing. The living space was located on the top floors and the kitchens were on the lower floors. We use cookies on our website to give you the most relevant experience by remembering your preferences and repeat visits. A stone… These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. The bailey was a compound overlooked by the motte and was surrounded by a palisade, a wall made of wooden stakes, and sometimes protected by a ditch as well. Medieval Castle. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. The bailey could contain many different buildings depending upon its size, such as stables, barracks, kitchens, a chapel, stores, workshops, and a hall. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Although they might look very different, they share many features and have followed the same broad developments, for example replacing wood with stone, and adapting to the use of gunpowder. They were an improvement in stone on the Motte and Bailey. And many Fortresses that were still standing were also re habilitated and re purposed as living quarters. This series of defenses was a very effective means of protection because attackers had to break through each line of defense one at a time. The space inside the shell keep was used to house buildings, which were usually constructed against the walls to allow space for a courtyard in the very centre of the castle. The actual shape of these fortifications varied greatly, as they were often placed on existing natural hills – in this scenario, the walls of the castle would mirror the shape of the hilltop. These moats are in themselves further concentric lines of defense. What sets concentric castles apart is their use of multiple layers of concentric curtain walls, as well as their typical lack of a free-standing keep. If a line of defense were penetrated by an attacking army the defenders could retreat to the next inner defense and the attackers would have to start anew against this new line. As one wall looked like it was going to be breached, the defenders could retreat to the next wall back. By clicking “Accept”, you consent to the use of ALL the cookies. Artificial mottes, particularly larger ones such as Thetford in England, would require a great deal of digging by hand, and moving earth using barrows – the Bayeux tapestry depicts men digging earth using shovels to build the motte of Hastings Castle in East Sussex. Shell keeps developed as successors to motte-and-bailey castles when the wooden palisade around the top of a motte was replaced by a stone wall. Motte and Bailey Castles. amzn_assoc_size = "160x600"; More than one million copies sold worldwide — now revised and updated! Then a stockade fence and a keep were built. Another stone keep castle style that developed in the 11th and 12th century was the shell keep. Although motte and bailey castles were relatively quick and inexpensive to construct, they were susceptible to fire and the walls could be breached by determined attackers. And, when the usefulness as protection was outlived because of modernized warfare some were even transformed into pure living quarters for royalty.

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