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Why did castles change? L/O - To understand and explain how and why castles changed over time.

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Presentation on theme: "Why did castles change? L/O - To understand and explain how and why castles changed over time."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why did castles change? L/O - To understand and explain how and why castles changed over time

2 Why build Castles?

3 Where should you build castles? A castle’s first defence was its location. Harlech Castle was almost impossible to surround – why? Other castles were built on hills. Attackers would also be tired from climbing the hill. This helped the defenders spot approaching enemy forces and meant that objects could be thrown down on attacking soldiers.

4 Choosing a Site! King William has asked you, his Baron, to build a new castle in newly conquered English lands. It must: 1.Dominate the local population. 2.Control traffic in the area. 3.Be easily defended. 4.Provide a home for you. ‘But where shall we build it me lord?’ ‘Don’t forget to chose a name for your castle!’ ‘Be prepared to justify your choice of location to the King!’

5 1.) Motte and Bailey Castles Motte and Bailey castles were simple designs made out of wood. 1. Why did William build Motte and Bailey castles? 2. What weaknesses did Motte and Bailey castles have?



8 2.) Shell Keeps How is this castle different from the motte and bailey? Why did the Normans start to build castles like this? What problem did it solve? What problems could it have? Shell Keep at Restormel Castle, Cornwall AD

9 3.) Square Keep How is this castle different? Why build like this? What problems did it solve? Old Motte Bailey Built in 1127, Rochester Castle is a stone castle with a square keep. The keep is the big tower in the middle of the castle AD Curtain Walls



12 Square Keep Now make a labelled copy of the keep! Cellars Kitchen Great Hall Lord’s Room Dormitory Forebuilding This protected the entrance to the keep. Dormitory A place for the women and children to sleep Cellars Food, arms and ammunition were stored here along with prisoners. Kitchen Used for very basic cooking. Great Hall Used for eating and meeting.

13 4.) Concentric Castles (Caerphilly, Wales) AD Outer Walls Moat Gatehouse Ring Wall Keep

14 5.) Residential Castles Later on, comfort became more important as life in England became less violent. Some later medieval castles were just fortified stately homes. How does this castle differ from earlier medieval castles built for defence?

15 How did Castles Develop?

16 How did Castle Defences change?

17 How did castle defences change? Castles were often built near rivers. Why do you think this was?

18 Common Castle Defences

19 1.) The Castle Entrance barbican The castle entrance often had a barbican attached. This was an extra gatehouse which protected the weakest part of the castle – the main gate. Barbicans usually had portcullises. These were metal gates which could be raised and lowered. ____________ ________________ Soldiers attacking this barbican had to get through three entrance gates with portcullises. __________ Barbican

20 Defending the Main Entrance

21 2.) The Battlements The castle battlements sometimes had a wooden hoarding (or battrice) at the top. This provided a place from which soldiers could fire arrows or drop heavy stones and boiling tar onto the enemy below. If there was no slope at the bottom of the wall, how would the stones fall? At the bottom of the curtain wall the walls were angled so that when stones were dropped they would bounce off the bottom and hit the attackers.


23 3.) Towers and Keeps Most castles had round towers in their walls. This was so soldiers could fire in all directions along the battlements. There were a number of features which could be added to the castle to make it stronger. The strongest part of the castle was the keep. The keep was usually in the centre of the castle or on its highest point. Keeps had numerous defensive features including thick walls, narrow staircases and big cellars for sieges. Some even had their own drawbridges.

24 Castle Defences

25 How did siege tactics change?

26 Why did siege warfare change? As castles became stronger and harder to capture, armies had to think of new ways to attack them. This led to continuous development in siege warfare technology. …so the castle builders had to improve their castle’s defences. As the attackers improved their methods of attack…

27 1.) Battering Rams

28 2.) Catapults – The Mangonel Catapults were used to throw stones and other objects at castles. There were two main types: The mangonel threw medium-sized rocks or other objects using tension created by twisting ropes. The mangonel had a range of about 150 metres. twisted rope

29 3.) Catapults – The Trebuchet The trebuchet used a counterweight to fling larger objects. As the weight dropped, the throwing arm flung the missile. Given that a longbow could kill a man at about 250 metres, why could sieges take a long time? Trebuchets had a range of around 200 metres. counterweight Edward I had a massive trebuchet, nicknamed ‘Warwolf’, built during his Scottish campaigns.

30 Which type of projectile weapon is being used in this picture of the Siege of La Rochelle?

31 4.) Siege Towers Siege towers were used to get soldiers over castle walls. They had wheels so that they could be rolled into position, and a drawbridge at the top to bridge the gap between the tower and the battlement. The soldiers would climb up the tower and rush across the drawbridge onto the wall. Towers were often covered in animal skins to protect them from fire. What do you think were the main disadvantages with this method of attack?

32 5.) Mining

33 6.) Biological Warfare Catapults were not just used to throw stones – sometimes attackers used more gruesome methods. During one siege in the fourteenth century, plague victims were catapulted over the castle walls to spread the disease. Dead, rotting animals were also thrown. Psychological warfare was used too. The heads of executed prisoners were sometimes flung over castle walls and body parts thrown through murder holes onto attacking soldiers.

34 7. Starving them Out Castles were sometimes so strong that the only method of attack was to wait. This was called laying siege. The attackers would surround the castle, preventing supplies getting in. Eventually, the defenders were forced to give up or starve to death. Sieges could take a very long time. Many castles had wells in the keep and large storerooms full of supplies. The best time to attack would be spring as, by then, the supplies from the previous year’s harvest would be running low.

35 Which method is best? Which of the methods of attack do you think would have been the most effective? Why? Can you suggest any other methods attackers might have used?

36 Plenary


38 Introduction Who first built castles in England? Why were they built? What purpose did they serve? What is this essay about? Motte and Bailey Castles Why were they built? What problems did they solve? How were they built? What features did they have and why? How were they defended? How were they attacked? What problems did they have? Shell Keep Castles Stone Keep Castles Concentric Castles Residential Castles Conclusion – Why did castles change? What was the reason? Why were they no longer needed? What do they teach us about life in Medieval England?

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