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CASTLES

General Info
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  Castles from around the world - Pictures and Information Rescource

Castles

Some of the greatest relics of history are the castles built during the medieval times.


 

 

Why build a castle?

 

In order to expand one's territory one must be sure to keep control of that which has already been conquered. The purpose of a castle was to defend territory, sovereign or conquered. Castles provided a safe haven for lords, soldiers, and in some cases citizens of the territory. From this fortification one could stage offensives, or retreat to fend of an attack. No territory could be truly ruled without the occupation of the relevant castle. Castles first appeared in England in 1066 and quickly became the staple of medieval warfare.

Parts of a castle

Castles were built specifically to defend against an enemy siege. Every piece of the castle was designed with this in mind. There were many different designs of castles that ranged from the simple wooden motte and bailey to the all defensive stone keep. The following is a list and description of all major pieces of the a large stone keep.

Cadw. Crown Copyright

The first and outermost piece was the moat, which was a large deep ditch that surrounded the castle. The moat was usually filled with water, which greatly hindered oncoming offensives. Following the inner edge of the moat is the outer curtain, otherwise known as the outer wall. This was the second line of defense. Embedded in the outer wall was the outer gate house. The outer gate house contained the drawbridge which was used to cross the moat. Behind The outer wall was a much larger inner wall (inner curtain), which likewise contained the inner gate house. Embedded within the inner wall were large towers used to house a variety of deadly weapons such as archers, boiling oil, and throwing stones. If the enemy was successful in breaching the inner wall or the inner gate house they would find themselves stuck in the inner ward, which was a large courtyard right in the center of the castle. The inner ward was defended by the keep which was a large castle like tower. The keep was the safest place in the castle and the final line of defense. Once overrun, the castle was lost.

 

 

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