Castles were built during the Middle Ages as fortified homes for kings and nobility. The development, architecture and building of these great fortresses changed as time progressed, influenced by important historical events such as the crusades and the technology of siege warfare. This page provides interesting and important information about History Of Castles in the Middle Ages. A castle (from Latin: castellum) is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by nobility.
The Medieval Times encompass one of the most violent periods in the History of England are are epitomised by the castles of the Middle Ages. The development, architecture and building of these great fortresses changed as time progressed, influenced by important historical events such as the crusades and the technology of siege warfare.
Why did they build Castles?
During the Middle Ages much of Europe was divided up between lords and princes. They would rule the local land and all the people who lived there. In order to defend themselves, they built their homes as large castles in the centre of the land they ruled. They could defend from attacks as well as prepare to launch attacks of their own from their castles.
Originally castles were made of wood and timber. Later they were replaced with stone to make them stronger. Castles were often built at the top of hills or where they could use some natural features of the land to help with their defense. After the Middle Ages castles weren't built as much, especially as larger artillery and cannon were designed that could easily knock down their walls.
This section detailing information about Middle Ages castles illustrate the strength, magnificence and power of the warlords of the era. The architecture of the Middle Ages castles moved from the early wooden Motte and Bailey castles hastily built by the Normans after the Battle of Hastings and during their conquest and invasion of England to their fortification in stone with the addition of the great Norman stone keeps. The kings, knights and warlords who travelled to the crusades and who embarked on siege warfare in the Holy Land were influenced by the design and architecture of the fortresses in the far East. King Edward I of England used this information and knowledge to design and build the massive concentric castles in England. His policy enabled the conquest of Wales. Siege warfare, the development of new weapons demanded that a castle was built considering the possibilities of both attack and defence. The designs of the massive stone castles therefore altered during the centuries when building was at its pinnacle.
The History, Development and Architecture
The history and development of Medieval Castles is fascinating. The history, development, architecture and building of these great fortresses changed as time progressed, influenced by important historical events such as the Crusades and the technology of siege warfare. The development of castles continued when the timber structures were replaced with stone. The development of the Norman stone fortresses gave them a power base from which to dominate England.
Famous Medieval Castles
The famous castles built in the era include the Tower of London, Warwick Castle, Leeds Castle, Windsor Castle, Caernarvon Castle and the Chateau Galliard.
Life in Medieval Castles
Life in the castles of the Middle Ages was either hard work or very boring. Read about the daily life of a lord, a knight, the soldiers, the servants and the serfs who lived in the castles of the Middle Ages. How did the life in the Norman castles of the early Middle Ages differ from the massive concentric castles built by King Edward I (1239–1307)
Until 1066 there were no castles in England. William the conqueror introduced Norman castles to England when he defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. These Norman castles gave the Normans of 1066 power bases from which they could subjugate the English population. What was a Motte and Bailey Castle? When was the first Motte and Bailey Castle built? The Motte and Bailey Castles were first built in timber and then in Stone. Also read about the connection between the Motte and Bailey Castle and Feudalism.
Middle Ages Concentric Castles built by King Edward I
King Edward I ( Longshanks ) employed the services of the best architect and builder of the period who was called Master James of St George to build the concentric castles. Concentric castles were heavily defended. Defence features were added to concentric castles design including the Drawbridge, Barbican, Portcullis, Gatehouse, Moat, Crenellations and Murder Holes. Descriptions of the major parts of the Middle Ages castles and what they were used for are also described.
Defending, Destroying and Attacking Castles
The Middle Ages were a violent time where men fought for land and power. Successfully defending a castle during the Medieval times of the Middle Ages depended on whether the castle and its inhabitants could withstand a siege. Understanding Siege warfare was critical during the Medieval times and era. The siege engines when attacking a castle in Medieval Times were the Trebuchet, Ballista, Catapult, Mangonel, Battering Ram and Siege Towers.
Although castle design varied widely throughout Europe, there were some similar features that many castles incorporated: