Uploaded by nut78you

How and why did castles change from 1066 to 1550

How and why did castles change from 1066 to 1550?
The developments of castles have occured over time, gradual change and improvements to their
design and purpose. Changes in construction materials of castles and also in the shape and design,
the defensive structure, weaponry or the location of castles have occurred in order to improve them
for their needed purpose. Castles were built across Britain from 1066 to 1600 in order to either
protect from foreign warriors or local rebellion, to control the local area, as a form of presenting
status or even just as comfortable and safe homes for the rich.
The earliest castles built were the Motte and Bailey castles built from 1066 to 1100 by the Normans.
Motte and Bailey castles were a common feature in England by the death of William the Conqueror
in 1087. Their construction was the start of what was to become a massive castle building
programme in England and Wales. The earliest Motte and Bailey castles were simply a wooden
blockhouse placed on a mound and surrounded by a stockade hence the term of Motte and Bailey
castles. The rapid construction of the Motte and Bailey castles enabled the Normans to control and
subjugate the conquered English. Norman soldiers manned the Motte and Bailey castles and were
able to take on any attackers. The wooden Norman Castle was also used to safely store supplies and
equipment together with their horses. They were built due to the fact of how cheap and easy to get
they were, also because of how fast the castles could have been built.
Then, the Stone Keep castles were built from 1100 onwards. They were a development from Motte
and Bailey castles, the changes made were that the castle was then built from stone, they were
made to be taller, and they had crenulations along the top, some towers had rounded corners
however, mostly were square and only some were rebuilt Motte and Bailey castles. Stone Keep
castles were built because they were stronger – more defensive and new weaponry was able to be
used – hallering rams. The castles were powerful and permanent, reminder of the authority of the
government, they also gave nobles increased power in their local area. They served to further
consolidate the control of the Normans. Stone Keep castles included features of a raised entrance, a
moat, a drawbridge, a portcullis, a square keep, window slits, arrow slits, square towers on walls,
murder holes and machicolations.
As a development of Stone Keep castles, concentric castles were built from 1250 onwards. The
concentric design was copied from the castles in the Middle East; knowledge and understanding of
design and structure came into England through returning crusaders (soldiers) during the 1200’s.
Concentric castles came to typify the medieval castle; strong and impregnable – round towers,
fortified gate houses, moats, drawbridges… They were built in response to improvements in siege
techniques, for example tunnelling. They were built mainly on England’s borders; Wales, Scotland,
Ireland. Concentric castles included features of murder holes, layers of walls, gatehouse, portcullis
and drawbridge, spiral staircases, machicolations, arrow slits, and it has all features that a Stone
Keep castle has with more included. They also included round towers along the walls which meant
that they were hard to undermine, they had a 360 degree view and lines of fire, a cover fire and they
made it a lot stronger.
The next castle developed were fortified manor houses from 1290’s onwards. They were not built
primarily to defend or to control a local area but built primarily to advertise the power and status of
a provincial noble and to demonstrate the strong bond between the King and his nobility. They were
seen as a reflection of a more stable and secure society with respect for law and order and the
authority of the government. Fortified manor houses were used to show wealth and power of
nobles and to show that England was more settled – little risk of rebellion but were also defensive if
needed. The changes made were that there was more comfort, big and separate rooms, separate
areas for servants, comfortable bed chambers, big windows and were made of brick and was
patterned – shows wealth because brick was handmade. It included the features of lots of glass and
lots of windows, arrow slits, a flag, crenulations, a grand hall, towers, fancy features - chimneys, oriel
windows, heraldic crests and the location was on an existing castle site.
More of a development of concentric castles than the fortified manor house was coastal castles
made from the 1530’s onwards. They were built for a specific purpose during 1530’s by Henry VIII;
namely the defence of England’s southern coastline from the possibility of an invasion launched by
Spain and France. The unique clover/petal design was designed to site the new weapon of the
1500’s – the cannon. Coastal castles included the features of thick and layered but low stone walls,
round towers, gun ports, cannon ports, may have had a moat, was one big tower design – no
separate towers, pointed bastions and were located by the coast. Examples of coastal castles – Deal
castle in Kent which was built in 1530 and St. Mawes castle in Cornwall which was built in 1535.