Why were castles built?
A castle is a properly fortified military residence. Why were castles built? Initially, they were designed and built to hold down conquered territory. They also served to intimidate and strike fear into the local peoples, were places of refuge, and places for the lords to live. They were also impressive symbols of the power and wealth of their owners.
When were castles built? Norman castles were built from the 11th to 13th centuries. Castles were brought to Britain by William the Conqueror, when he invaded England from his homeland in France.
One of the most powerful ways for William to take control of his new kingdom, which included England, Scotland and Wales, was to have castles built throughout the land.
At first, he ordered the construction of very simple castles, called motte and bailey castles. They consisted of an earthen mound, called a motte, topped by a tower first built of wood, and soon rebuilt in stone to make the towers more sturdy. The bailey was a large area of land enclosed by a shorter mound, placed next to the motte.
Inside the bailey were the main activities of the castle workshops, stables and livestock, household activities, etc. These earth and wood castles were not very sturdy, because the wood would rot fairly quickly and was easy for an enemy to burn. So, William the king ordered the construction of stone castles.
Stone castles were much more sturdy, did not rot like wood, and also were much more able to withstand any attack by an invader.
Over the centuries after William was king, other kings ordered elaborate castles to be built. Castles were not just used by the king. Most castles, in fact, were granted by a king to their most loyal subjects, knights or barons who fought valiantly in battle and supported their king. The king, starting with William the Conqueror, gave his loyal knights vast estates and permission to build castles.
But that was not possible, because William and later kings and queens demanded they pay homage. Therefore, castles were built to establish the power of the king and his followers, and to keep the people from regaining control of their own lands.
These first knights and barons, followers of William the Conqueror, were known as the Normans, and were a very powerful lot.
They built castles almost everywhere in Britain, hundreds of which still survive. Stone castles were built for stability and to symbolize the power of the lords of the kingdom. The features that made stone castles stable and able to withstand battle include the following: The walls were very thick, anywhere between 8 and 20 feet in thickness, so they could withstand bombardment or battering from a battering ram, or another siege engine like a trebuchet or catapult.
Over time, the shape of the towers changed as castle- builders experimented with designs that were less likely to fall down in battle or from the instability of the structure itself.
Originally, towers were simple square-shapes, easy to build but also easy to topple down. One of the most ingenious ways that a tower was pulled down was a method known as undermining. When the wood burned to ashes, the tower would be so unstable no longer having a good foundation that it would tumble to the ground.
However, sometimes undermining did not accomplish what the enemy soldiers wanted - sometimes the wood fell down before the enemy had left the tunnel, and they died! One of the towers at Rochester Castle near London still shows an unsuccessful attempt by an invader to pull down a corner tower. The round tower was determined to be a more effective shape for withstanding the impact of a battle.
However, it was more difficult to build because the design was more complex. Yet, many castles made use of round towers. Their shape caused cannon balls and other types of missiles to bounce off the walls without doing damage. They also were not vulnerable to undermining.
And they also gave an added bonus of providing more space on the interiors.During this time, many castles were built in Europe and the Middle East. They ranged from simple wooden enclosures to vast stone palaces. A castle allowed a lord to control the surrounding land. It also kept his family and riches safe from rivals while he was away at war, fighting as a knight for the king.
Forts were not the same as castles. Castles in the medieval time period were more than just a home, but rather a safe haven for the whole town.
The first castles were built in the tenth century in Western Europe. Castles played a crucial role in European history. Similarly castles were built in Exeter, York and at other important medieval cities. William also built castles at strategic locations such as important river crossings and crossroads.
Major castles were built in or near large centres of population. Why Were Castles Built throughout Europe? To really understand the significance of European castles, its useful to have an understanding of Medieval history. The first thing to remember is that, until Late Modern times, the map of Europe looked very different to how it does today.
the medieval castle What is a castle? A castle is a properly fortified military residence. Why were castles built? Initially, they were designed . Wherever the castle was built, consideration was taken as to how the land would help defend the castle (Johnson 92).
These castles were built in order to control territories and prevent people from taking over important parts of land (English ).
Also, they were built to protect the peasants and the economy.