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Exploration Of Castles Essay

4268 words - 17 pages

Exploration of Castles

A.D 450 saw the creation of castles. Romans were "replaced" by Anglo
Saxon foes, and these did leave behind a system of castles however
these were for Motte and Bailey castles built in the reign of Edward
the confessor.

The Norman invasion of 1066 was one of the causes for castles to
become an important part of defence. After king Harold's defeat by
William the conqueror, William was concerned about how he would
control the country with only a limited number of troops facing a
hostile environment. He did not have enough troops to station them
everywhere, so he used a very useful tactic that had worked in
Normandy previously. This was a simplified castle known as a "Motte
and Bailey".

A Motte and Bailey had many advantages. First, it was constructed out
of wood, which was a readily available resource almost anywhere.
Secondly they could be erected with a lot of speed, which gave a
further advantage if the forces you were fighting were due to arrive
very soon. Also, the earth that it was built on, was not suitable for
heavy masonry, therefore wood had to be used. The castle acquired its
name simply from the different areas. The "Motte" was a large mound of
earth that rose high and on top of it would be a place where the
fortified keep would rest. The "bailey" was an area (often quite
large), which housed the residents of the castle. It also contained
stables, kitchens and other utility areas. A Motte and bailey could
have more than one Motte, however they normally only had one keep.

Text Box: The castle was simple to navigate for friendly forces,
however if an enemy were to attack, it would be considerably more
difficult. The castles entrances are heavily defended with the
surrounding walls (known as palisade walls) manned with archers. The
pathways and ladders that allowed reach to important areas of the
castle have been removed or destroyed; and the enemy are at a
disadvantage because they are facing attack from a raised level.

As time progressed, the situation in England changed. The Normans were
now in control of England and there was little resistance from hostile
sources, therefore a concentration on the development of castles
occurred.

Less time was needed for castles to be constructed quickly and
therefore time could be used to search for better materials for
building. This meant that stone could be used instead of wood, which
was used previously. By 1100, the earth that had held Motte and bailey
castles had now settles, and was capable of sustaining much larger
weights. With the change to stone castles, fire was not a concern as
it was when Motte and baileys were in use.

Square keeps were used when the development of stone castles were
quite young. They were often built in the most important places, to
show how powerful the...

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