Attacking and defending a medieval castle

How were castle were defended There are many ways to attack a castle so there also many ways to defend a castle. Defending a castle is much easier when you use you landscape and your surroundings to your advantage also changing the way the castle is shaped and what it is made of can give you a major advantage. Like building it near an open sea on a little island on at the top of a cliff edge so you can get fresh supplies from ships and people you need them during battle it also means they can’t starve you until you submit it also helped to build your castle in these areas so can get water to put out fires or even grow your own food and cattle also building on high ground gave a higher advantage so you fire you arrows further then them and they can’t hide behind obstacles for cover. A defence strategy was vital if you were going to defend your castle successfully from enemy attacks you also must include the main central tower ( also known as the keep) this tower contained your lords quarters his family and their possessions ranking the keep the most important building in the castle complex it’s also the easiest part to defend because of its round shape that was made out of thick concrete bricks that could hold a lot of men  it also means you can’t undermine it  because of its round shape. Also placing arches in key potions the castle meant they could fire a constant arrange of arrows rocks and crossbow bolts at enemy men or siege units trying to brake or enter the inner wall also using loop hole (windows) or melon as cover was good so you could hide while loading and fire out of a small gape next to you over time these loop hole got smaller as more accurate arches and mercenaries came into play .the castle was also built in certain ways to provide with more firepower like the crusaders brought to England a castle with two wall the outer wall was smaller in height then the inner wall this mean archers from both walls  could fire their arrows into enemy men but most castles only had one wall surrounding the castle complex ( most castles with one wall had a keep in the middle it was rare for a castle with two walls to have a main keep in  the middle). The draw bridge was an easy way in for those attacking the castle it was also the only way in or out if there was a moat that’s why the main gatehouse or drawbridge was heavily guarded with a portcullis which was a massive heavy door usually made out of metal and wood making this door nearly impenetrable with its barriers and other things holding the door in it’s place. Even if the attacker got through the drawbridge and the portcullis they would then have to go through a series of doors that lead into the main courtyard this was called the barbican a narrow corridor with murder hole which let archers fire countless arrows at the enemy from above sides and even under them sometimes .   How to attack a castle Attacking a castle is a very complex and tedious task which can last days, week and even months. They are many ways to attack the a castle but there are also certain steps you must take before attacking like assessing any week points in the castle complex and structure and does the enemy have any friendly armies that could come and cut you off from your attack. You also have to gather the supplies to build your siege weapons like trebuchets, ballistae mangonel and siege towers (belfries) theses are too hard to transport form you base all the way to the enemy castle so you build them on site. You also can undermine an enemy castle you only do this if you have no other way to brake into the castle or if you want don’t to take minimal casualty’s but those men who are very wealthy and have no time limit can do this. Undermining is when dig a whole under a week point of the castle wall and burn down the support beams in the tunnel making the own weight of the castle to collapse on itself. But if time and money is a concern a siege attack is what you do to destroy a castle using trebuchets that are built on the battle ground to fire massive rocks that sometimes were set on fire on ever the castle wall on to buildings or aiming to take down the castle wall making an entrance for foot soldiers to.  But there are four main siege weapons that are used to down take down brake in and to transport men onto the castle wall the trebuchet  ballista siege tower(belfrie) and mangonel.     Bibliography History book humanities alive  (fortresses and fighters)

front view of castle and back view of attackers



Why castle were necessary

Castles were built for defence. If a castle was under attack, In the Middle Ages, castles were the residences of kings, queens and lords. As fortresses, castles were built for protection from enemy attacks but they also served to exhibit the owners’ wealth and status. Most of the castles were strategically built on hilltops, and even on isolated islands, to ensure safety from invasion or intrusion.

Castle Warfare

During the middle Ages, when the feudal system ruled the land, people developed ways of protecting their castles (or invading the castles of others). They often used the land to their advantage, building castles on hills, crags or rivers so the enemy could not surround them or gain easy access to the castle. High walls helped to keep attackers out, but attackers could also tunnel under the walls, breaking the foundation in the process, Gravett says. They could also try to starve the castle inhabitants. Many weapons evolved during this time, such as trebuchets, catapults and ballistas, which sent flying projectiles at the invaders. Attackers often used battering rams as well. Crossbows also remained an essential means of defense, and archers could shoot them through the arrow loops or from a rooftop.

The stairs of a castle always turned clockwise so an attacking soldier would not be able to effectively use his sword arm, as people are usually right-handed. This also gave the castle soldiers an advantage as they came down the stairs, for their sword arm would have a greater range of motion.

How they attacked castles?

Diggers were very common. They would dig a tunnel right beneath a wall. When the tunnel was dug, they would destroy it. A castle’s walls get severely damaged when this method was used. But gunpowder was the best way to destroy a castle’s walls. Castles were a great defence against an enemy. But, when gunpowder was invented the castles stopped becoming an effective form of defence.

By the end of the 1300s used gunpowder a lot. The medieval castle with its high strong walls was no longer the most invincible defence it used to be.  The use of gunpowder made both castles and city walls much more vulnerable e.g. a cannon could knock down the stone walls and the only effective way to knock down walls before the invention of gunpowder was to dig under the walls to make them unstable.  But this was a very dangerous way to do it, especially as you might get boiling hot tar poured over you from above.


Defending a Castles
Castles were made to give people in the castle every possible advantage that allowed them to last as long as possible in the event of attack.

Castles had enormous amounts of food in the storage. This was proportional to the castle’s population. In the event of an invasion, the gates were locked and frequently a siege took place.

The main defense a castle possessed was the numbers of wall surrounding them. From the alleys, archers could easily shoot arrows against the invaders below. The height of the castle benefits and can easily takes cover while the enemy fires. Additionally, many castles had other counter-offensive mechanisms such as catapults


Moats was a very important resource to castles. They successfully stopped most ladders and tunnels from reaching the walls and even the drawbridge, which completely stopped invaders.

Even if an attacker manages to destroy the castle’s walls with siege engines, the moat resulted to be an advantage as swimming under heavy fire was dangerous. The moat’s protection was effective against diggers.
Many castles had catapults capable of destroying the enemy’s siege weaponry. If a castle had catapults and ballistae, some enemies dared to attack it directly as battering rams and siege towers were an easy targe

Castle Dungeon

Dungeons were a dark ceil which was usually found in an underground room of one of the towers of a castle. It was different from other prisons where they were severely injured

The purpose of the castle dungeon was indeed for holding prisoner and in for extreme torture

The castle dungeon was a terrifying prison. The instruments of torture used on used on Medieval Prisoner included Branding Irons, the Rack,the Scavenger’s Daughter and the Collar. Other types of torture including being whipped, Pressing, Boiling in water or lead, Being starved and cutting off various items off body









Castle design and how castles changed over time

Medieval castles in Europe were built over a time of 500 years, from about 1050A.D to about 1550A.D. They were built so good that you can see some of the castles today. Most castles were stone so they would not burn down or get destroyed easily. The first thing they needed to do when they would build a castle was where to build it. They would try and build it on a hard flat surface. The walls of castles could be up to five metres thick, filled with stones and pieces of metal mixed with sand and water. Castles were sometimes built around a lake or on a small island so people couldn’t destroy the castles as easily, but that wasn’t till about the 13th century. Early castles were usually built with wood with spikes on the end of them pointing towards the enemy’s.

Why did stone castles replace the motte and bailey castles

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Timber is one of the materials from which motte and bailey castles were built. It was perishable and most importantly exposed to fire, but what would have been a more durable and resistant method would have been stone. Compared to motte and bailey castles, stone castles were much larger and taller. They were also much more reliable for when being attacked. They gave much better protection then motte and bailey castles when there was fire rainy weather or being attacked.

What differences are there between European castles and Japanese castles

Europe Didn’t have restrictions on how many castles one person could have, but under Japanese rules, Japanese people were only allowed to have one castle. The Europeans would have catapults that they used to fling small rocks and heads at enemies, whereas the Japanese had muskets, but both Japanese and Europeans both had bows and arrows. Early on, castles were only temporary fortresses that the Japanese only used at war, but the Europeans always used castles, during a war or not. But castles in Europe were much better when being under attacked then the Japanese were.

Why were castles built

The word castle in Latin means fortress. A castle was usually a couple of walls or towers built closely together. Castles were mainly built to protect a village from froing invaders attacking. There were also built for the kings and nobles to live. Defiantly  the main reason for castles being built were that it’s much easier to defend, plus it’s easier to fight up high on top of a castle then fighting on foot.

Who built the first castle

The first castle built in the time period of castles in the middle ages (1050A.D to 1550A.D.) was William the Conqueror from Normandy  in 1066A.D. the castle that William the Conqueror built was called Windsor Castle. William the Conqueror built nine castles in his life time. Castles usually took about 7 to 12 years to build, depending on how big the castle would be; if it would be bigger it would take 20 years. (for example the Tower of London)

Castles Tyler Mooney

How long it took to build a castle!

The average time it would have taken to build a medieval castle was around 10-12 years. This was probably due to the lack of technology, building materials and experience. Over the time periods castles can be built a lot faster and a solid well built castle can be built in around 2 years. The castles we build now are a lot faster because we have “upgraded” and we also have better transportation: We can use any type of transportation to deliver and receive these materials, but in the medieval times it would have been hard to deliver the materials needed to build them. The Castles would also be in very wonderful landscapes so getting materials to these positions could be hard.

Life in a Castle

What a castle provided:

A medieval castle provided refuge, a stronghold. When a castle was not getting attacked, it would have been an office, an administrative center, a home, a storehouse and a market. But when the war was raging on, The Castle became a powerful fortress.

How the castles looked:

The Castles would have been luxurious compared to the plan boring houses the villagers lived in. The castles where still very dull and boring though with their small rooms only lighted by the narrow windows, heated by only the fireplaces and was provided with very little furniture. Towards the close of the feudal period, the life in the castle became more luxurious; Windows were widened and provided with panes of painted glass.


The life within a castle was very dull. But there were some games to play, especially chess. As the lords and retainers sat down to feast, they watched the pranks of a professional jester or listened to the songs and music of minstrels. Outside the castle walls, a usual sport to do was hunting.

Who lived in the Castle:

Only a few people lived in the medieval castles, the kings and queens would prefer not to live in the castles as they were over crowded and un-comfortable. The main people who lived in the castles were Kings, Queens, Knights, Baron, Princes, Princesses, bishops, Watchman, Squire, Cooks Messengers, Jester and slave. Sometimes there might be a blacksmith and an armory in the yard.

When and Why Castles came into use in Europe!

The castles were first introduced in Europe (1066) by William the conqueror of Normandy. These castles came into use in Europe because a large fortification would have been needed to stop the attacks of the enemy. These castles stoped coming into use when the “Gun Powder” started to come into use. These castles could also show the power of the Lord/King to all of the peasants and show them all how much power he has.

These  huge fortifications stored a lot of food in case if one enemy attacked they could spend sometime in the castle with a larg amount of food to keep them well fed.

Who Built The First Castle?

The first castle built on record was William the Conqueror of Normandy in 1066 after he won the battle of Hastings. They first appeared as wood but later they invented them into more soiled forms out of stones. Later they also made a moat and bailey, the bailey surrounded the castle and anyone wanting to attack would have to maneuver through it. The castle he built would have been dark and cold, but still everyone wanted to live in it because they were well protected against the enemies invading their homeland, but the price was way to expensive for anyone to buy part of the castle.

The Japanese castles were also made of wood and stone but the were more well known for their strategic locations. Still not anyone could live in the castle but in japan their location where set out a bit different, the higher the rank the closer you lived to the castle.

Why Castle building came to an end!

The Castles came to an end when gunpowder was used in weapons.  The use of castles after that then became no use to the medieval people, because even the toughest of any of the castle walls could be taken down with a long range cannon attack.

So to them they would have thought they could save money and resources, from not building these useless castles.

Gunpowder would have given the enemy the upper side when trying to attack a village when everyone was in the safest place… the castle a huge fortress unstoppable to any sword. That’s where the gunpowder comes in. The enemy could attack the castle even before they land their ship. Just with the help of the gunpowder. Then once the reached the land their would be a nice hole in the wall just waiting for them so the could kill everyone and loot everything.

Life in a castle:

Why castles building came to an end:

When and why did castles come into use in Europe:

How long it takes to build a castle:

Who Built the first castle: