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Was Thornbury castle built as a palace or for defence?

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Was Thornbury castle built as a palace or for defence? By Sara Booker Thornbury castle Since Thornbury castle started being built in 1511 it has been in the centre of a debate with historians whether it is a castle built for defence or a luxurious palace for show. When I went to Thornbury castle you can see lots of different features that would confuse you in deciding what Thornbury castle was built for. There are lots of different features showing both. This picture shows some arrow slits. As you walk around the castle you see things like arrow slits and gun loops in the walls showing they were probably built in case of an attack. Around the outer and inner gateway walls there are portcullis grooves which were never finished if it had have been the walls would have been as high again this is because there is nowhere for the gates to go. Around the castle towers there should have been crenellations which you can see on the only finished tower the crenellations which are the thing around the top are used to shoot between the gaps and hide in the higher bits. Underneath the crenellations there are machicolations which were used to pour thing though (e.g. red hot oil or stones) ...read more.


In 1855 the gate house of Thornbury Castle was restored but it has Victorian additions they use small crenellations for decoration & features showing off how grand the castle is, in a way I think this ruins the look of the gate house because it doesn't fit in with the look and era of the original castle. When Thornbury castle was being built in the 16th century people had really gives up on building castles (especially for defence) and had started building houses instead. These houses did keep some of the features of castles (e.g. some even had moats around them) but they weren't building room for an army, so this makes you wonder why was Edward Stafford building enough room for his own private army? This makes Thornbury castle atypical of the time. The group of castles that had been built around the same time as Thornbury castle some historians now call 'Tudor Castle Palaces' this is because they have features of being both a castle and a palace. They have defensive feature like moats but they have the luxury of a palace. There are three castles considered to be 'Tudor Castle Palaces' Thornbury Castle, Hampton Court and Richmond Palace Richmond Palace was erected in 1501 by Henry 7th it was built on the site of the old Royal Residence of Sheen in surrey on the Thames, it was meant to be the largest most magnificent of his residences. ...read more.


'Although incapable of serious defence (in spite of gun ports) we are certainly dealing with a chateau, even if a manor in English, although in fact in this case 'castle' has been kept in the title' In the second quotation it is saying that Thornbury castle is nothing more than a decorated manor which I agree with, I personal think that Buckingham wanted to compete with Wolsey trying to build the most luxurious palace in England. Also if you were building a castle for the purpose of serious defence then you wouldn't build it next to the church making an obvious weakness. In contrast to that some historians though believe that Thornbury was the 'Last genuine castle' "The last English castle to be built with a serious purpose of defence" This quote was written by W. Douglas-Simpson I don't agree with this because buildings like Deal castle were built after Thornbury started being built in the 1540's and this fort was built by Henry VIII were built in case of possible intrusions of other European powers faithful to Rome after Henry turned his back on the catholic religion. After looking at whether Thornbury castle was built as a palace or a castle for defence I have decided that Thornbury castle was built as a palace. ...read more.

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