Castle Designs – Jeremy Law

What are castles made out of?

Medieval castles were commonly made out of stone wood and mortar. These materials were used to construct castles that were built to withstand many attacks. Castles that were made in the early medieval stage were built on hills. The castles consisted of high wooden fence until 1066. These castles were proved to burn to easily, so that stone would be used more often than wood.

How did a defensive castle design help defend from attacks?

Castles were shaped in a round structure this prevented weak corners which were easy to break through. A moat was a ditch dug around a castle commonly filled with water. This reduced the chance of enemies to tunnel their way into the castle and fires. Moats were filled with sharks or spikes to prevent enemies to swim towards the castles. A draw bridge was used to cross the moat it was raised when an attack was held against the castle. Loopholes were thin vertical windows that gave cover for defending archers to shoot their arrows. A gatehouse was used to stop enemies from easily coming in from the main entrance. Some gatehouses had murder holes which allowed defenders to shower attackers with boiling water, rocks and oil.

How did castle designs change over time?

The early designs of castle structures were the Motte and Bailey. These castles were made on top of hills surrounded by tall fences. This design was popular because it was made with materials that could be provided locally and did not cost a lot of money. Enemies had been equipped with better equipment which made Kings had to use more resources to build more fortified castles. Armies that had better equipment would attack the castle and the King decided to put more effort to make the castles defend the attack. Very quickly large stone fortresses were appearing all over Europe. This design is what we see in castles that are now tourist attractions. Round towers were more common because people had realised that square towers had weak points in the corners that were vulnerable to battering rams.

How did people build castles?

People used cranes and scaffolding to build castles. On a finished castle it is possible to see the anchor points of the scaffolding. The speed of the process of building a wall was built liked an open-topped box and was filled with rubble. Cranes worked by having two wheels were two people could stand and walk inside. A rope twisted around an axle joined the two wheels. The people  turning the wheels created power to lift heavy objects up to ten times their weight.

What are some important buildings in the castle?

The Keep : The keep was one fo the largest spaces behind the thick walls. It was a storage are which was used to keep food wine and grain incase of sieges. The great hall was a passageway that connected the keep to the King’s home.

The Barracks: The barracks were buildings were knights and their families lived in .

Bibliography

Castle Architecturehttp://www.medieval-castles.net/castle_architecture/index.htm

Defending a Castle in the Middle Ageshttp://www.middle-ages.org.uk/defending-a-castle-in-the-middle-ages.htm

Nash – T.M – The changing look of medieval castles over the centurieshttp://www.thefinertimes.com/Ancient-History/the-changing-look-of-medieval-castles-over-the-centuries.html

Development of Castles in the Middle Ageshttp://www.middle-ages.org.uk/development-of-castles-in-the-middle-ages.htm

The Medieval Cranehttp://www.360cities.net/image/the-medieval-crane-3#0.00,0.00,58.3

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