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Parts of a Castle

Directions: Read the following descriptions of the parts of a castle below then use the descriptions
below, as well as, the websites I have given you to identify the parts of a castle on page 44. The parts are
labeled in BOLD. Write the numbers of the part and the name of the part next to the arrow that it is
pointing to. When you are done labeling, please complete the writing portion on the back.

1. The outer bailey (main bailey) was the first courtyard inside the outer walls of the castle
2. The inner bailey (lower bailey) was the inner courtyard of a castle. It was protected by two
walls.
3. The curtain wall surrounded the courtyard of the castles. Strongly built, it was not uncommon
for the castles walls to be ten or more feet in thickness.
4. The keep was known in French as the donjon. It was the strongest and most heavily fortified
part of the castle as it was designed to be the last line of defense. Keeps were sometimes built
round, sometimes square. Square keeps made nicer rooms, but round keeps were easier to
defend. The keep usually housed the owner of the castle and his family. In it the great hall was
often located. The great hall was the heart of the castle. It was used for family dinners, banquets,
games, dancing, entertainment, and sometimes a courtroom.
5. The drawbridge was a bridge which could be raised or lowered. It was usually located over a
moat.
6. Parapets were low walls around the top edge of a tower or a castle wall.
7. Corbels were stone projections in the walls which acted like brackets to support parapets.
8. Machicolations were the reason parapets were built. They were holes in the parapets used for
dropping all kinds of things, such as boiling oil, hot water, stones etc.
9. The moat was the ditch around the castle. It was usually filled with water.
10. The barbican was a foreward gate of the castle located before the main gate. It offered extra
protection since the weakest part of the castle was considered to be the gate.
11. The postern gate was a back gate. It was supposed to be a secret, but oftentimes was not. The
gate was used for attacking and surrounding the enemy outside the castle, as an escape, or for the
coming and going of scouts and spies.
12. Arrow-loops were narrow openings in the castles towers through which archers fired their
arrows on the enemy below.
13. The portcullis was the main gate to the castle. It was made of very heavy wood and was
reinforced with iron grating. Like barbican, it could be raised and lowered for the protection of
the people inside.
14. The gatehouse was the living quarters over the main gate of the castle. As time went on it
became heavily fortified and very important. Sometimes the owner of the castle chose to live in
the gatehouse.
15. Murder holes were holes in the ceiling just after the front gate. The holes were used for
dropping large stones on attackers who got through the front gate.
16. Ramparts were important for the placement of castles. Castles built on rock could not be
seized by tunneling.

Writing Response-Castles

Directions: Now that you have learned more about castles and their purpose during the Middle
Ages, please respond to the following questions in a 5-7 sentence paragraph.
What was the purpose of a castle during the Middle Ages? Where do you think the best place to
build a castle would be? If you were an invader, how would you try to enter the castle? Which
part of the castle do you think would be MOST vulnerable (defenseless or easy to attack)? If you
were an invader which part of the castle would you try to avoid and why? Make sure you use the
vocabulary/terms that you have learned throughout this lesson in your writing. This should be
formed as a paragraph.
You could start your paragraph something like this...
Example:
During the Middle Ages most nobles lived in castles which offered....(insert the purpose of castle).
The best places to build castles were....(insert your answer here) because..(insert your reasons
here). An invader might try to gain access to the castle... (insert your answer here) because
(insert your reasons here). Invaders would most likely want to avoid..(insert your answer here)
because...(insert your reasons here).
Write your response here:
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