World History

Castles of Middle Ages

For monarchs and other aristocracy, castles were constructed during the Middle Ages as fortified residences.

Why did people construct castles?

During the Middle Ages, lords and princes controlled large portions of Europe. They would control the area’s territory and all its residents. They constructed their dwellings as huge castles in the middle of the territory they dominated in order to defend themselves. They might prepare to launch their own attacks from their castles while also defending against other people’s attacks.

Initially, wood and timber were used to construct castles. Later, stone was used in their place to increase their strength. Castles were frequently constructed on top of hills or in locations where they could take advantage of the land’s natural defences. Castle construction decreased after the Middle Ages, particularly since heavier artillery and cannon were developed that could quickly breach their walls.

Features of a Castle

Although European castle designs vary greatly, many of them had the following characteristics:

Moat –
Around the castle, a moat was dug as a line of defence. To reach the castle gate, it was often crossed by a drawbridge that could be filled with water.

Keep –
The last line of defence in a castle was the keep, a huge structure.

The curtain wall
The castle’s perimeter wall, which was equipped with a walkway from which defenders could shoot down arrows on intruders.

The arrow slits
These were openings in the walls that allowed archers to fire arrows at assailants while avoiding being shot back.

Gatehouse –
The gatehouse was constructed there to help bolster the castle defences where they were most vulnerable.

Battlements –
The tops of the castle walls had battlements. The majority of the time, they were carved out of walls, allowing defenders to assault while still being defended by the wall.

Famous Castles:

Windsor Castle –
When William the Conqueror took control of England, he erected this castle. The royal family of England still makes it their main residence today.

London’s Tower –
constructed in 1066. William the Conqueror began construction of the substantial White Tower in 1078. The tower has formerly been used as a prison, treasury, armoury, and royal residence.

The Leeds Castle
This castle, which was constructed in 1119, housed King Edward I for a time.

Gaillard Chateau –
The castle Richard the Lionheart constructed in France.

Carcassonne’s Cite
Romans built a well-known castle in France.

The Spis Castle
One of the biggest mediaeval castles in Europe is situated in Eastern Slovakia.

Castle Hohensalzburg –
It was initially constructed in 1077 on top of a hill in Austria, but in the late 15th century, it underwent a significant expansion.

Castle at Malbork –
The Teutonic Knights constructed the world’s biggest fortress in terms of surface area in Poland in 1274.

Facts Worth Knowing About Castles

Towers were initially constructed with square tops, but round towers eventually took their place because they provided superior visibility and defence.

In a room known as the buttery, many castles stored their ale.

Castles were attacked with siege engines. They included the ballista, catapult, battering ram, and siege towers.

Rather than attacking the castle occupants, enemy troops frequently waited outside and attempted to starve them out. We refer to this as a siege. In order to have water during a siege, many castles were constructed on top of springs.

All of the castle’s business was overseen by the steward.

In order to help fight rats and prevent them from consuming the grain reserves, cats and dogs were maintained in castles.