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Why did the Normans build castles and do these terms apply to Rochester?

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Introduction

Why did the Normans build castles and do these terms apply to Rochester? In 1064, Harold visited Normandy and was placed under arrest by William. To gain his release he promised to William of Normandy that he would do all in his power to help William succeed Edward the Confessor to be King of England. Upon returning to England Harold showed he had no intention of making good of his promise when he married Edith, sister of Edwin, the new Earl of Mercia. This was done to gain support of the powerful lord of Mercia in his attempt to succeed Edward the Confessor. In 1065 Edward the Confessor became very ill. Harold claimed that Edward promised him the throne just before he died on 5th January 1066. The next day there was a meeting of the Witan to decide who would become the next king of England. The Witan was made up of a group of about sixty lords and bishops and they considered the merits of four main candidates: Harold, Edgar Etheling, Harald Hardrada and William of Normandy. ...read more.

Middle

The castles warned the English that Norman soldiers lived in these castles and that any attempts to rise up against them would be met with force. First, motte and bailey castles were built. These types of castles were quickly put up all over England after the Battle of Hastings to enforce Norman control. Motte and bailey castles: * made of wood * quick to put up * easy to repair * big enough to house soldiers in safety * had advantage of height as the castle was built on a motte; (a man-made hill) the Normans could see the English during the day * as they were high up, local peasants could easily see them But motte and bailey castles had a number of weaknesses: * wood is a weak building material; therefore these castles could not be big * wood can rot with the rain; it generally weakens with age * wood can burn * the motte can collapse with the weight of the castle on it * they were ...read more.

Conclusion

Rochester castle was one of the strategic castles built in Kent - it guarded the main road leading from Dover to London and the river crossing. Rochester was also a good place to launch an attack on London so holding Rochester castle was crucial for both sides. The first castle built at Rochester was by the Norman's was a simple motte and bailey design (earth and timber). This was later rebuilt for King Rufus between 1087-89 by Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester and was one of the earliest castles in this country to be built in stone. Rochester Castle had originally a square keep (four square towers) but in 1215 during the siege, one of the square towers was destroyed by a mine dug underneath it which was fired by pig fat after the trebuchets failed to achieve any damage on the square keep. After the siege the tower was rebuilt, but now as a round tower as a mine does not have the same effect as it has on a square tower. ...read more.

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