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Medieval Castles

02/12/13

Who would win in a fight?

Man 1

Man 2

Lesson Objectives
To describe different types of medieval castles

To account for each ones strengths and

weaknesses

To prepare a plan for a project

Project work for the next two weeks


Each group will have to use their notes from todays

lesson to help show the key facts to do with a castle.

You can also create siege weapons, a knights shield or

a coat of arms the represents your groups


personalities.

Project topics
Motte and Bailey castle.
Simple stone castle.
Complex concentric castle
Siege weapons
A shield a knight might have, with a design
A coat of arms to represent your group

Can you better some of these designs?

Lord built a high

mound (Motte)

A wooden tower

built on top for


defence.

A yard was built

below the hill


(Bailey) with work
sheds, and barns.

A fence

(palisade) was
built around this
for protection

Motte and Bailey

Motte and bailey castles


Motte and Bailey castles were an attractive

design for many reasons.


1. They could be built extremely quickly
2. Needed basic materials for their construction
such as earth, and wood.
3. They were very cheap to make.
4. The height and ditch gave quite a big advantage
against attackers, making them easy to defend.
5. Over 1,000 Motte and Bailey castles were built
by the Normans in England, then Wales, and
then Scotland.

Motte and bailey castles


Timber burns easily, and rots easily
2. Mottes often had a broad base. Enemies could
climb the hill from many different directions.
3. Building a large Motte was a difficult task larger hills require much more piled earth than
smaller hills.
4. The keep at the top was often quite small. This
meant that the living quarters for the noble
were quite small, cramped and not luxurious
1.

Mini-Plenary
Identify the six parts: 1 minute!

Stone castles

Strengths and weaknesses?

Pros vs cons
o Could survive attacks

using fire
o Stone walls and
towers were much
stronger against
catapults.
o Stone buildings could
last for centuries.
o Stone buildings could
be much larger and
more comfortable

Extremely expensive
Time consuming to

build.
Expensive to maintain
Designs quickly became
vulnerable to attack.
Should a castle be
destroyed, the noble
owner would probably
have been financially
ruined for the rest of
his life.

Defensive Features
Battlements
Narrow slit
windows

Turrets
Portcullis
High thick walls
Drawbridge

Narrow
clockwis
e stairs

Concentric Castles
Is there

anything a bit
different about
this design
compared to the
others?
A question of
symmetry...

Beaumaris Castle, Wales

Pros vs cons
Attackers needed to

penetrate at least two


walls. They had to pass
through a gatehouse and
barbican
A higher, inner wall was
a vantage point for
archers, firing at the
enemy
Symmetrical design
allowed for less people
to act as look outs

They were phenomenally

expensive to build
They took significant
time to build - they
needed years, even
decades.
Often, they took so long
to build that, by the
time they were finished,
they weren't needed any
longer. This was the case
for many, including
Beaumaris.

Taking over a castle

Trebuchet in action
typical siege conditions (2:40)

Plenary
Why were castles buillt?
What is the best way to take over a castle in your

opinion?

What was the most effective castle design?

Why?