Towers could be square or round, with either crenellated tops or conical roofs. The latrine was called the garderobe, and consisted of a small room either just inside the castle wall or protruding out from it with a hole built into the floor and a chute leading down. Strategically, castles were often placed on hilltops or on cliff sides as these were advantageous positions when defending the castle from attackers. What features do you see in these virtual tours that have been mentioned on this page. Also known as an échaugette, a bartizan is a kind of mini-tower protruding from a long, straight stretch of castle wall. Researchers Excavating Norwegian Viking Ship Burial Find Remnants of Elite Society, Statue of St. George Undergoes ‘Unrestoration’ to Salvage Botched Paint Job, The True History of Netflix's 'The Liberator', New Research Suggests Alexander Hamilton Was a Slave Owner. William also made use of castles as presents to his allies, so he could control those areas. For all the details on castles in Germany, please see Rick Steves’ Germany. The Raglan Castle was built of light sandstone from Redbrook, later also Old Red Sandstone and limestone from Bath for architectural finishes and details were used. The Medieval Castle Layout of Farleigh Hungerford Castle. This special kind of medieval dungeon is characterized by having a trapdoor entrance in the ceiling of the cell.

It was the first line of defense against attackers, and the triangular shape allowed defenders to fire on enemies from a variety of angles.

Making it retractable was a fantastic way to eliminate easy access from enemies. Parts of a typical medieval castle. A wall that is thicker on the bottom makes breaking it down much harder.

A Medieval Castle had numerous features, and all are unique from each other. Box 2009, Edmonds, WA 98020. Castles played an integral role in his ability to keep his throne. Later on, the slits would be horizontal as well as vertical to provide a wider field of fire.

Loopholes: Narrow slits in the walls (also called embrasures, arrow slits, or arrow loops) through which soldiers could shoot arrows at the enemy. The French name signifies a small room where you keep clothes, and some reports say that the small room of the toilet would also double as a closet for fine clothes because it was believed that ammonia would protect the coats and cloaks from moths or fleas. or California Do Not Sell My Info Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. In the medieval age, many castles fell into disuse or hard times, and the term donjon became the dungeon, transforming from the most protected refuge to the most guarded prison. It typically contained various rooms with specific functions, like dining rooms and kitchens, as well as turrets (small towers) built in as firing points. Advertising Notice

Imagine you are living in England in the late tenth century. They served as watch towers, living quarters, and fighting platforms.

Check out this gallery, based on information from Scribol, to see castle features you know, and many you don't, for their clever true purpose. It forced attackers to keep a greater distance from defenders inside, and it was harder for attackers to use siege engines (large devices used to break through walls) or ladders. Drawbridge: A bridge that could be raised or lowered, using counterweights or a chain-and-winch. Barbican: A fortified gatehouse, sometimes a stand-alone building located outside the main walls. Write instructions and requirements to guide the builder in choosing an appropriate site and building materials for your castle.

Portcullis: A heavy iron grille that could be lowered across the entrance. The Yard (or Bailey or Ward): An open courtyard inside the castle walls.

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Castle Architecture Learning a few terms will enhance your experience among Europe’s medieval fortresses. These long, narrow slits found in the heights of castle walls were made so defenders could fire arrows while still benefiting from maximum protection. Contains asset neccesery to bring to life fantasy and organic environment. Medieval people would never have used it. While taking up less space is an advantage, medieval castle builders had a different purpose in mind when they included a spiral staircase, which tend to turn clockwise as you ascend. Sign in|Recent Site Activity|Report Abuse|Print Page|Powered By Google Sites. Towers featured in Medieval Castle Architecture were often surmounted with very slender towers Each section of this Middle Ages website addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about these great fortresses and castles of Medieval times including this section on Architecture of Castles in the Middle Ages. The pathways were protected by battlements, and allowed defenders to move around in a relatively safe manner while also giving them an advantageous position from which to fire back.

Continue If the castle had a moat, it would typically need a bridge. The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower. More on the history of gothic architecture is contained later in this article. As fortified as a castle might be, it still needs an entrance, and that is immediately one of its weakest points. We've all heard of the moat, which was essentially a ditch around the castle walls that was filled with water to provide a barrier against attackers who would first need to find a way to cross the moat before launching an effective attack. The criss-crossed portcullis gate is common in the entrance to the gatehouse. Includes architecture pieces, props, grass, decals, blend materials etc. Match up the castle feature with its correct image and definition.

See also: The world's most fascinating fortresses.

Medieval castles today seem largely ornamental and charming, but they were actually very complex weapons in and of themselves, designed to defend against and debilitate all enemies. Builders in the Middle Ages fitted the impressive structures with cunning innovations that greatly distinguished them from passive buildings. The bottom often had sharp points to threaten anyone brave enough to pass beneath it, and sometimes there would be two portcullises on either side of the gatehouse to trap enemies between them. A Medieval Castle layout – of the old castle in York, England. When Catherine of Aragon Led England's Armies to Victory Over Scotland, The (Still) Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, The Myths of the Thanksgiving Story and the Lasting Damage They Imbue, Nude Statue Honoring 'Mother of Feminism' Mary Wollstonecraft Sparks Controversy, Fourteen Fun Facts About Love and Sex in the Animal Kingdom, Behind the Scenes With the White House Residence's Long-Serving Staff, The Lab Saving the World From Snake Bites, How Hedges Became the Unofficial Emblem of Great Britain. Explain why these features were so important to the structure of a castle.

The doorway to a secret passage would often be disguised or look like a simple blank wall. What do you think was the function of features such as the moat, drawbridge, and portcullis? Back in Medieval times, this form of building was called ‘the modern style’.

17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. The structure would have an open bottom so that when enemies arrived beneath it, defenders could drop something—either something heavy or dangerous like hot oil—on top of the attacker. Bossed stones have an unfinished, rugged plane facing outwards, and for a long time their appearance confused experts who couldn’t figure out why some stones were smoothed and others not. The ravelin provided a barrier against artillery attack on the castle’s main walls, but, more interestingly, they were made with lower walls on the castle side so that if an enemy seized control of the ravelin, they’d have no cover from defenders high on the castle’s ramparts. Towers: Tall structures serving as lookouts, chapels, living quarters, or the dungeon. Eventually, they discovered that the rugged stone better diffused the effect of projectile rocks. Great Hall: The largest room in the castle, serving as throne room, conference center, and dining hall. Inside the genius architectural tricks medieval castles used as defense. They could also be great traps if there were pointed stakes driven into the floor of the ditch.

Machicolation: A stone ledge jutting out from the wall, fitted with holes in the bottom. Also called battlements, these are the most characteristic element we think of when we think of a castle. The term in French signifies a forgotten place, and it was where prisoners were left to rot. In our modern-day glamorization of the medieval times, we forget they didn’t have plumbing! The diagonal slant also allowed defenders to drop rocks from high up the walls and watch them rebound off the talus and hit the enemy with greater force. Postern Gate: A small, unfortified side or rear entrance used during peacetime. That’s why gatehouses, often outfitted with murder holes, were constructed in front of the gateway. Hoardings (or Gallery or Brattice): Wooden huts built onto the upper parts of the stone walls. They are simply a series of projecting buttresses near the tops of the outer walls. But there are also parts of a medieval castle that you never heard of or maybe heard of but don't really know what they are! The gapped-teeth-looking design tops the outer walls, offering defenders both cover from enemies and a space to take a shot. The asset kit for Fantasy and Medieval architecture and enviromnent creation. Terms of Use Crenellation: A gap-toothed pattern of stones atop the parapet. They allowed defenders a space protected on all sides, with a wide field of vision to serve as both a look-out and a position to fire back. Cookie Policy A Medieval castle was a very complex structure and there are lots of things about them that you will recognize. Rick Steves is a travel writer and television personality.

Also known as the keep, this donjon is the multi-floored tower that served both as the heart of castle life as well as the last refuge against attackers.

Also called machicolations, murder holes offered the chance to attack anyone in close proximity to the castle. The Keep (or Donjon): A high, strong stone tower in the center of the castle complex that was the lord's home and refuge of last resort. Email him at, or write to him c/o P.O. Moat: A ditch encircling the wall, often filled with water. Wall Walk (or Allure): A pathway atop the wall where guards could patrol and where soldiers stood to fire at the enemy. A castle is a fortified residence for a medieval noble. Most of the time, the features a castle had depended on what defences it had. Castles come in all shapes and sizes, but knowing a few general terms will help you understand them. Castles played a hue role in helping William maintain control over his lands. ‘Gothic architecture’ is a retrospective term. Though secret passages date far beyond the medieval times, castles made good use of them as routes to hidden rooms or as a means of escape. As cannons began to improve in the 15th century, castles became more vulnerable, and the bastion was a way of strengthening the castle's exterior, making it as impenetrable as possible.

Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. In wartime, it became a "sally-port" used to launch surprise attacks, or as an escape route. Open the attached document titled 'Castle Features Mix and Match'. Rick Steves ( writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio.

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