Castles by Sarah Gunn 8A

Q1. Why were castles necessary?

Castles were necessary against attacks, and other forms of danger. Castles designs originated from military camps, and were made solely for defence, but over time that changed. Castles were necessary for the nobles to live in. They contained fireplaces for the winter, chandeliers, oriental rugs and tapestries; things that a king or noble would enjoy having in their house, and things they would make use of. A noble or a king was much more important than the peasants that worked their ground, so they built much nicer homes and put additional luxuries inside as result of being rich and having servants. Castles were necessary for defence against danger, and were rather nice to live in.


Q2. Why were castles given to more superior people?

Castles were never built for people such as peasants. They merely worked the ground of the owner of the land. They lived in run-down, wooden houses that weren’t very strong, warm, decent, or safe. They would have become quite stuffy a lot during the hot months, and cold would have escaped in during the colder months. Nobles and kings that owned the peasants and such were much richer, and had more money and riches to build such a castle. They were treated higher and were therefore given more respect. Castles were built by the nobles, lesser clergies, lords and others because they had more resources to build from.

–       Saldias, M.S. 2006, Humanities History, John Wiley, Sons Australia.

Q3. How did castles come about?

Castles came into existence from military units and camps, because people wanted a safer place to live as wars became often. They were used as defence, and were made to keep one safe, as well as having the comfort of being safe at home. It first started in the late 9thcentury and 1000AD, when people found abandoned roman fortresses and over time, built them to look more castle-like: big stone walls, usually on a hill as defence toward attacks, and other things that added to the safety of the nobleman living there.


Q4. What can be found inside a castle?

Inside a castle, many things can be found. In terms of size, lots of things can be placed in a castle too. Things such as weapons, to decorations would be found in a medieval castle.

Here is a brief list of some things you may find:

–       Tapestries

–       Rugs

–       Fireplaces

–       Weaponry

–       Paintings

As you can see, castles would have contained many things that related to art. Rugs would have been hand-made, with beautiful consistent patterns, and tapestries with gorgeous patterns and all this detail. A castle would have had several fireplaces put in specific, smart areas in order to keep the whole castle warm throughout the winters. Weaponry and such would obviously be kept in the castle, because castle invasions were quite popular in that time. Castles would be attacked so the land owners would flee, or die, resulting in the enemy now taking ownership of the land; so castle owners would be very protective of the castle, with lots of weapons.

–       General knowledge

Q5. Who is a part of the residence in the castle?

Those who lived in the castle would probably be the nobles or the lesser clergies, and the lords or bishops. They would take ownership of the land, and anyone who lived there. Peasants that were residence there were under the castle owners hand, and therefore would do work for them in order to live there; such as cattle herding, tending the land, farming, etc. When they finished working, they would go to a barn located somewhere in the village, and deposit one tenth of what they produced.

–         Saldias, M.S. 2006, Humanities History, John Wiley, Sons Australia.



Life in a Castle

Castle life was for poor and rich people, peasants knew they were protected so they had to choose the safety of a castle although it had cost quite a lot it was either they had a possibility of dying or getting raped or they could be safe and pay a lot. The Castle life would have been quite dull in the early middle ages. It was basically a large stone building with countless small rooms lit dimly with narrow windows. These houses would be all crammed together and the streets would be narrow and smelly because of people would just chuck their rubbish down and before they do it they say “look out below!” This wouldn’t matter if u were a king down to a peasant if you didn’t move then too bad for you because they had warned you already so keep your ears open, the medieval rubbish normally contained of normally food scraps, bodies, toilet gunk etc.

There were strength and weakness to a castle, its strength would be it hard to take down from the outside but the inside can be taken down easily. Fire could take down about all castles because houses were made of wood and its paint was easily flammable as well as that the houses were very close to one another that the fire would just jump from each house.

The Castle’s population would have been large and would be very crowded in the markets and the narrow streets,  it contains 90% of peasants and 10% are rich and royalty, this would be a good place for a quick and agile thief with a knife to just cut and be gone with your purse or your wallet. There were consequences for these actions which would be that you would be hanged until you were dead and leave you for the birds to come and peck off your flesh and leave you at the Castle doors; this signifies that if you dare commit this crime this is what happens.

How Castles Ended

The way Castles ended was when the invention of the cannon appeared and the soldiers didn’t stand a chance, neither did the castle walls. Compared to Trebuchets, Catapults and Ballistas, cannons were easier to prepare for war and was easy to fire and aim. Castles also ended when the people had made new inventions which then took place of electricity and the use of castle were no longer needed. The rich and the peasants started to move out to find new land because the wars were coming to an end. Castles are now used as a tourist attraction; it is also a historical period of time that changed the lives of many people that live in England, France and other European countries.

Extra Questions

Schools and Universities

Schools or Universities first started by the church or monasteries, the church or monasteries would teach them Latin hymns reading writing, music, and courtesy for their future live. Only the rich could go to Universities and schools, some of the rich fathers would either pay tutors to help with their studies or they would teach them how to be wife and know how to manage a household. Some Universities were created by students, although it took two years it was worth it because it is still being used as a University such as The University of Cambridge and The University of Oxford, but the first few Universities appeared in 1088 when the first European University was opened it is called The University of Bologna, the second university in Europe was the University of Paris in France. Some noble boys would either be a knight or a mater crafts man to trade his goods.

Knights and Knighthood

Knights were only for the Rich and noble men because the armor of a knight would cost at least a week of food for the poor. There are three steps in order to be a knight, First you have to serve a lord as a page (personal servant to run documents for the lord) which you would have to be a young boy form the age of seven to ten, then at the age of fourteen to twenty-one you would be a squire to a knight, this means you have to bring him water when he is in need of it. You also have to put on the armor for the knight because it is very hard to put it on when the armor restricts the knight’s movement. The Third and final part is when you are knighted by the Queen or King that they would say I dub thee Sir William or your first name, but if you were to become a knight you have to pledge loyalty to protect your woman and to also be ready to go to war.

8A Castles – Kieran Leong

How were castles attacked and defended?

How castles were attacked:

In the early Middle Ages defending a castle have many factors such as the height of the castle and where it was positioned. The height of a castle came into play as the arrows fired from the castle would’ve gone a longer distance than the attackers. An example of position was when the castle was close to waters that allowed ships to get through would allow for backup food and resources during a siege. This made the siege pointless as it was supposed to make the inhabitants of the castle starve until they surrendered. There were also round towers to protect the weak points of the tower in the corners as the towers were square or rectangle. A keep was put in to play to protect the king and his relatives and was known as the most important building in the castle. There were often moats filled with water and a drawbridge that was able to be retracted to the keep and did not allow the attackers to invade.

How castles were defended:

The Motte and Bailey castles were made out of wood which made them very vulnerable to fire. The invaders would shoot fire-arrows into the castle to set it ablaze. This forced to inhabitants out right to the attackers which often killed them. Soon stone castles replaced the old Motte and Bailey castles as they were more fire resistant to the wooden castle. But there were innovations that helped invade the new stone castle. The battering ram was a tool made to destroy the castle doors and walls. Ladders were a way of getting up and over the walls but were easily stopped by the defenders simply pushing the ladders off the wall and so a new tool was built, the Belfry. This was an improved ladder or tower which gave cover to the invaders to climb up onto the walls. The castle was then piled up with dirt surrounding the walls not allowing the Belfry up as it was on wheels. The catapult was another invention that included weakening walls. This fired stones and anything heavy enough to deal an impact on the castle. Sieges were when the attackers surrounded the castle allowing no one to get in or out. This strategy lasted for months and they waited until the inhabitants submitted and gave out through scarce food and water.

Why and how did castles change over time?

The early Motte and Bailey castles were made of wooden palisades. This was effective of keeping out the invaders from the town inside the castle walls. But as time grew on the castle grew less effective and was actually helping the invaders as they shot fire arrows over the walls which easily caught of fire forcing out who ever lived inside the castle walls. Then stone castles were built soon later as the time went on as a newer, stronger defence for the inhabitants. This type of castle was built to the end of the age of castles.

What were Castle dungeons and Moats?

The castle dungeon was a dark place below the towers of the castle. This kept the prisoners for torture and was a cruel place for anyone to be in. Some of the ways are being whipped or starved to death.

Moats surrounding the castles were used to keep ladders or siege equipment away from the castle walls. This was a key point as the invaders had problems getting up to the walls. During the invasion the moat was often filled with traps to keep them from swimming across.

How did people entertain themselves in a castle?

There wasn’t much to do indoors in the castle but the main game that was played in the castle was chess. It was a strategy game that involved tactics and stimulated the mind. If the lords had a feast a jester would have joined in to attempt to entertain them and music was also a good option. Outside the castles there was hunting that went on.

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Captions: Overview of my diorama of the Motte and Bailey castle

The bridge crossed over the moat that prevented invaders from crossing over

The front gate was the point of attack, it was normally the weakest point of the castle walls


Humanities Alive History 1 – Maggy Saldais