Definition of a castle
castle is a fortified building or set of buildings used to provide permanent or temporary protection and accomodation for kings and queens or important noblemen and their families. The term castle usually refers to stone buildings constructed during the Medieval period. The castle provided the centre for political and administrative power for the region. The term castle can also apply to ancient fortresses and to the towers built at the front and back of Medieval ships from which archers could shoot arrows.
Why build and live in castles
Why did kings, barons and their families and supporters feel the need to live in castles during the medieval period? There are three main reasons why a king or baron may have wanted to live in castle.
Types of Castle
The castles described on this page are not medieval. They were built between one and three thousand years before the medieval period but it's important to understand why and where they were built as many still exist today and were reused in medieval times.
Disscover what are the key characteristics of the late Saxon and early Norman medieval castles. Including bank and ditches, palisades and the keep.
Castles built by Edward I
To successfully attack the Welsh in the north of the country, Edward had to have a strong supply line for his army. Invaders of Wales had always found it hard to subdue the Welsh because it was easy for the Welsh to use the mountainous terrain to cut off attacking armies from their supplies.
Types of Keep
Wooden motte and bailey castles were strengthened by building stone walls around the top of the motte or by totally enclosing the motte with stone.
The fashion for polygonal keeps began towards the end of the twelfth century (1160 onwards). The trend for this new type of keep began in Europe and was soon copied in England by Henry II.
Types of castles
Types of keep