Castellated Evolution From The Twelfth Century To The Fifteenth Century "How Did Castellated Architecture Evolve From The 12th Century To The Fifteenth Century?"

1977 words - 8 pages

When William the Conqueror took hold of England in 1066, he brought with him the culture and ideas of another people. One of the innovations imported was the stone keep. This building would dominate the English skyline for five centuries and be the cornerstone of defense for the feudal lord of the middle ages. Both the design and the evolution of the English towers and curtain-walled castles relied on defensive measures. Without the invention of new ways to defend and protect, the castle as we know it would not be standing today.The Norman keeps of the twelfth century all employed similar structures based on fortification. Equipped keeps were needed in the Middle Ages because of the "grea ...view middle of the document...

The main difference between these two structures was the introduction of a curtain wall surrounding Dover, a forerunner for later castellated buildings.However, most strongholds at this time were for defense, no kitchen or proper fireplace, and used only in emergencies. Peveril Castle of Derbyshire is an example of a small keep, found more often than the great keeps of the kings and most powerful lords. They were too small to be residences, instead other building around the keeps were used for everyday activities. The shell keeps of the same period served the same purpose, most often surrounding a motte and utilized during assaults. The shape of the shell keep was of more interest to defenders as the strength of a circular structure was discovered to be resilient to more attacks.Rectangular keeps were not flawless. They were vulnerable to mining, especially at the corners, so further evolutions had to be made. Most castles after the twelfth century employed ditches to hinder mining. A move to lower ground in some cases resulted to the use of a moat. Moats, defensive in idea, were quickly utilized as fish ponds, watering holes, and for hygiene. The circular and hexagonal keeps of the late twelfth century resisted the effects of mining much better than the sharp-cornered keeps alone. One of the few tower keeps to employ a circular plan was Conisburgh Castle. Conisburgh is dominated by six massive buttresses, which were used defensively as lookouts and archery posts, as well as space for additional rooms. There are few circular keeps because of a shift to strengthen the defenses of the curtain-wall, which eliminated the need for the keep itself to be circular, and sometimes eliminating the need for a proper "castle" at all.One illustration of this move to the outer defenses of a castle is Framlingham Castle in Suffolk. It is surrounded by a curtain wall with no central keep. Instead, the wall was joined to an existing two storey hall. The enclosed yard gave the lord more room to move about in times of siege, possibly made the confinement bearable. A precursor to castle structures for the next century and a half, Framlingham showcased the possibilities of a defendable, strong high wall that allowed for free movement not only in the castle but within a bailey.The majority of thirteenth century castles were enclosed within a curtain wall with towers at intervals along it. At first, towers were solid to deter from subterfuge but constructed hollow later on so as to provide additional domestic space. Pevensey Castle, Sussex, describes just such a method in its towers. They are hollowed and D-shaped, giving more room, but not compromising the defensive aspect of the structure itself. Framlingham Castle mentioned previously had thirteen rectangular towers jutting out of its high curtain wall. These allowed for archers to shoot attackers who reached the curtain wall with better accuracy. The shape of these towers was uncommon, because their square sh...


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