15 Defining Parts of a Castle
The best place for a castle is on a hill, the higher up a castle, the better defensive advantage, but you can't have a castle without a well otherwise the enemy could poison your water supply. Bailey A Bailey was the name given to the courtyard area within the castle walls. Feb 25, · Top of a wall or tower that has lower sections (crenels) for the purpose of giving a castle defender a position to fight or fire through. This protective stonework is the classic outline of the top of a castle wall. Crenelations (Also called embrasures) Low sections of the crenelations. Crenels.
Arrow Loops - These were slots in the walls and structures that how to use peppermint essential oil for headaches used to shoot arrows through.
They came in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Ashlar - Blocks of smooth square stone. They can be of any kind of stone. It is the technique of closely joining them together. A good example of Ashlar can be seen in Bodiam castle. Bailey: This is a courtyard or open space surrounded by walls. The walls that make up the Bailey are also considered to be part of the Bailey. A castle could have several. Sometimes they were called the upper bailey and lower bailey or the west bailey and east castld.
Barbican: A stone structure that protected the gate of a castle. Think of it as a gatehouse. It usually had a small tower on each side of the gate where guards could stand watch. Bartizan: A small turret at the corner of a tower or wall. It is usually at the top but not always. Bastion : A tower or turret projecting from a wall or at the junction of two walls. Battlements: These are the structures at the tops of the walls surrounding a castle.
Picture what you have seen in the movies where archers are at the top of the wall and firing arrows between open slots down on the attackers. These shapes at the top Where the archers position themselves for battle are called battlements. They are also referred to as crenellations. For several centuries a license was required in order to fortify a building calles make it more castle-like.
This was called a crenellation license. Buttress: A masonry projection used as additional tye for walls. Notre Dame Cathedral is a good examlple of the use of Buttresses. Corbel - A stone projection from a wall. It supports the weight of a battlement. I have pictures and more here. Drawbridge - This was a wooden bridge in front of the main gate of the castle.
In the early centuries of castles it was moved horizontal to the ground and in the later centuries it was built so it could raise up in a hinged fashion. Dungeon - A deep dark cell typically underground and underneath a castle. This is a derivative of the word Dunjon. GateHouse - A strongly built and fortified main entrance to a castle. It if has a guard house and or living quarters. Hoarding: a covered wooden gallery above a tower the floor had slats or slots to allow defenders to drop object on besiegers.
They could also drop liquids and projectiles. Keep - This definition changed slightly over the centuries of castle building. In the early years of stone castle building the Keep was a standalone structure that could be defended and often square in shape. Over the centuries these structures were improved upon and built around.
Thus a castle was made that was a larger and more complex structure. The main tower that this was built around was still called the Keep and it was usually the tallest and strongest structure in the castle.
It was also used as the last line of defense during siege or attack. Machicolations - The openings between the corbels of a parapet. They form areas that stick out along the top of the wall and defenders inside the castle can drop items like boiling oil and rocks onto attackers.
I have pictures and more information about machicolations here: About Machicolations. Merlons - The parts of parapet walls between embrasures. Moat: A Body of water surrounding the outer wall of a castle. It was often around 5 to 15 feet deep and it was sometimes within the outer wall -between the outer wall and the inner wall.
The primary purpose of the moat wasn't to stop attackers it was to stop tunnelers. Tunneling under a castle was an effective means of collapsing the walls or infiltrating it. A moat would cause any tunnel to collapse. Motte And Bailey: This isn't part of a castle it is the predecessor to the castle.
A Motte and Bailey was an early form of castle where a large mound of dirt was built up then a wooden fortification was placed on top. This wooden fortification was in the shape of a timber fence that formed a circle like a crown at the top of the mound. The Mound is the motte, and the timber fence and the space it enclosed is the Bailey. Murder Hole: An opening in the roof of a gateway over what is inside a 3 musketeers bar entrance.
Used to drop projectiles or other things onto the besiegers. Caste Window - A window or set of windows that stick out from a building. Think of bay windows. They were made of stone or wood and often times had corbels underneath to support them. I have oof, including pics here: What is an Oriel Window. Oubliette: A cqlled pit reached by a trap door at the top.
Prisoners were kept in it. Portcullis - This is a metal or wood grate that was dropped vertically just inside the main gate to the castle. How to tape breasts for a backless dress - A small gate at the back of a castle.
Often considered to be a "Back Door". Rampart : Picture the battlements in the previous definition. The battlements are the top sections of the outer wall of the castle. Now to access these battlements the archers would stand on a walk way that was a wall in it's own right. This walkway is built right up against the outer wall and is called the Rampart. Shouldered Arch: This is a style of arch building with stone.
The arch itself can be straight or arched an on each caller is a corbel shoulder for support. I have more about this including a picture casgle What is a shouldered Arch? Stephen Biesty's Cross-sections Castle.
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Jurga accompany and enrich the main text. Definitions and Terms: The Parts of a Medieval Castle A Medieval castle was a caztle complex structure and there are lots of things about them that you will recognize.
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! Here are some definitions, explanations and drawings of many of the parts of Medieval Castles.
Barmkin: A yard surrounded by a defensive wall Bartizan: A small turret at the corner of a tower or wall. Bastion : A tower or turret projecting from a wall or at the junction of two walls Battlements: These are the structures at the tops of the walls surrounding a castle.
This was called a crenellation license Buttress: A masonry projection used or additional support for walls. I have pictures and more here Courtyard - The open area with the curtain walls of a castle. Curtain Wall - The stone walls around a castle. Donjon - this is an old word for a great tower or a keep. Embrasure - An opening in a parapet wall. Hall or GreatHall - Patr is the major building inside th walls of a castle. I have pictures and more information about machicolations here: About Machicolations Merlons - The parts of parapet walls between embrasures Moat: A Body of water surrounding the outer wall of a castle.
I have more, including pics here: What is an Oriel Window Oubliette: A deep pit reached by a trap door at the top.
Another important feature of a medieval castle parts list is called a machicolation. Medieval castle machicolations were projecting platforms at the top of castle walls and usually protruded from the walls. At the floor of these platforms there were openings which could be used to drop stones and various other materials on the enemy. Hall: principal living quarters of a medieval castle or house Hoarding: covered wooden gallery affixed to the top of the outside of a tower or curtain to defend the castle Inner Ward or Inner Bailey: open area in the center of a castle. Nov 24, · The term that defines that flat portion on top of a capital. Adulterine: Unknown: The term that is used to define a castle built without royal permission when such permission is required. Allure: der Spaziergang: A walkway along the top of a wall. Arcade: der Bogengang: An arched covered passageway with columns or piers: Arch: der Bogen.
Castles developed over an extensive period of five centuries. The word itself came from the Latin "castellum" meaning "fortified place. Read on as we list 15 defining parts of a castle used in medieval Europe and the Middle East. The Normans built the first proper castles after the invasion of They needed bases from where they could patrol the countryside and strongholds to protect themselves from Saxon attack.
They had to be built in a hurry, so they were made of timber and placed on top of an earth mound called a Motte. Basically a walled enclosure on top of a usually man-made hill. Castles were built in strategic positions and where possible natural defenses were utilized such as hills, rocky outcrops, and rivers.
The best place for a castle is on a hill, the higher up a castle, the better defensive advantage, but you can't have a castle without a well otherwise the enemy could poison your water supply. A Bailey was the name given to the courtyard area within the castle walls. While the Lords residence was in the Keep, the barracks, stables, blacksmith, etc. The majority of castles had at least one Bailey. Since attackers could easily set fire to a timber-keep, they were quickly replaced with stone, but the earth on top of the Motte often couldn't take the weight.
So they built the keep in the Bailey instead. The Keep would have been the strongest part of a castle with the thickest walls, the ground floor wouldn't have had any windows, and a single flight of stairs or steps would have lead to the entrance at the first-floor.
It wasn't very comfortable living in the keep. So eventually, the Lords moved out into proper houses in the Bailey; this meant that they weren't so well protected, so another line of defense was added known as the curtain wall. This new wall enclosed the Baily and had to be high and thick. Often the curtain wall had a slope called talus. Against this, the enemy couldn't reach the wall with a siege-tower because the ramp of a tower wasn't long enough. It also provided a strong foundation to help support the wall against undermining.
Perhaps the most familiar castle design element is the battlements, regular gaps in the parapet i. Projecting towers were regularly spaced along the outer walls.
They maximized the view of the countryside, allowing lookouts to spot invading forces easily. They had a weakness though. If you want to make a building collapse by tunneling underneath it or hurling boulders at it with a trebuchet, the best place to start is at the corner. So eventually the square edges were removed using polygons or by making the towers round.
Arrow slits were narrow vertical holes in a defensive wall that allowed firing arrows or bolts at attackers. The primary purpose of arrow slits was to protect the defender by turning him into a small target, but if the size of the opening was too small, it could also obstruct the defender so sometimes, a second horizontal opening was added to give an archer a better view for aiming.
Gaps in the floor called Machicolations formed a continuous corbelling over the entire enclosure tower, curtain wall, etc. Around the whole thing, there was a ditch or moat, of course, many castles couldn't have a water filled moat because they didn't have a nearby lake or river. The moat made it incredibly harder for attackers to approach the castle and restricted the ability to get siege engines to the walls. Water moats also helped to prevent undermining since the tunnels could easily flood.
Since most castles were surrounded by a moat, people had to use a bridge to cross. In late medieval times, the bridge was constructed from large wooden planks attached to chains that were used to lower the bridge to let people in and raise it to keep attackers out. The weakest point of any castle is the main gate. So you needed a gatehouse with one or more metal reinforced wooden gates, known as a portcullis, and by the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the gatehouse developed a second outer gate or Barbican, adding yet further defense.
The attackers that make it past the killing field to the main entrance are then doused with boiling water, and quicklime poured from an opening above the gatehouse known as murder holes.
Even if they break through the entrance to the keep, attackers face narrow corridors and winding staircases which spiral up clockwise giving added sword room to the defenders. Also, the steps on the staircase were built unevenly making it difficult for attackers to climb and fight.