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Castles Coursework

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Introduction

Castles Coursework A.D 450 saw the creation of castles. Romans were "replaced" by Anglo Saxon foes, and these did leave behind a system of castles however these were for Motte and Bailey castles built in the reign of Edward the confessor. The Norman invasion of 1066 was one of the causes for castles to become an important part of defence. After king Harold's defeat by William the conqueror, William was concerned about how he would control the country with only a limited number of troops facing a hostile environment. He did not have enough troops to station them everywhere, so he used a very useful tactic that had worked in Normandy previously. This was a simplified castle known as a "Motte and Bailey". A Motte and Bailey had many advantages. First, it was constructed out of wood, which was a readily available resource almost anywhere. Secondly they could be erected with a lot of speed, which gave a further advantage if the forces you were fighting were due to arrive very soon. Also, the earth that it was built on, was not suitable for heavy masonry, therefore wood had to be used. The castle acquired its name simply from the different areas. The "Motte" was a large mound of earth that rose high and on top of it would be a place where the fortified keep would rest. The "bailey" was an area (often quite large), which housed the residents of the castle. It also contained stables, kitchens and other utility areas. A Motte and bailey could have more than one Motte, however they normally only had one keep. The castle was simple to navigate for friendly forces, however if an enemy were to attack, it would be considerably more difficult. The castles entrances are heavily defended with the surrounding walls (known as palisade walls) manned with archers. The pathways and ladders that allowed reach to important areas of the castle have been removed or destroyed; and the enemy are at a disadvantage because they are facing attack from a raised level. ...read more.

Middle

This book COULD have some opinions scattered amongst the facts. Yes, this also has the intent to inform, however opinions from the writer himself may be misleading. This secondary source however reliable is still less reliable than the first two primary sources. The last source that I viewed was a series of diagrams. This is also a secondary source, because it shows progression of castle design that happened over the centuries. It would not be possible to do this with a primary source. We see a rectangular stone keep eventually adapted to a Round keep, with a buttressed base. This change in the development of castles is not backed up by WHY they actually changed, therefore making the source hard to understand if prior knowledge of castles is not available. To conclude, all the sources are meant to inform, and all do at a reliable standard. The primary sources are however, more accurate than the secondary, because of the writers being present at the time of the quotes. Ludlow Castle Ludlow castle was first referred to in text by chroniclers in 1138, however the date of the castles construction is unknown. Despite this, architects have managed to date the curtain wall of the inner bailey; its flaking towers and parts of the gatehouse keep to all being from the 11th century. The reason for its construction was to control the hostile welsh population. It was a Norman fortress built with a lot of defensive techniques. This itself is a very typical feature of the castle. Along side, this other typical features were present. Features such as the large stone keep, dungeons, fortified curtain wall and the gatehouse. Ludlow was passed on to Peter de Geneville in 1283. When he arrived peter decided to add a range of domestic buildings in the inner bailey. The previous welsh conquests of Edward I had created sable conditions along the border, and this assisted peter in adding the buildings to the bailey, thus transforming the castle from a military outpost to more of a home. ...read more.

Conclusion

I believe it is a very informative guidebook. Does the evidence at the site support what the guidebook tells us? The guidebook can only tell you so much about Ludlow and its history. A more accurate way to explore Ludlow's surroundings and atmosphere is to go there and experience everything first hand. The guidebook is very solid in explaining Ludlow's history and features, and together with the guidebook, exploring the castle could be a memorable experience. The only things that can be backed up by visiting the site are the actual physical elements that the castle has. There is no real way of proving the historical facts, (such as the ownership of the castle over time) by examining the surroundings. These are told to us in the guidebook, and there is no reason to dispute this information, as its intent is to inform. It is possible to compare what we have seen, with the information in the guidebook. For example, the guidebook states that the original entrance to the keep had been moved, and this is evident by visiting the castle, and seeing a different type of stone that is in the window. It is also not possible (without any prior knowledge) to determine whether the castle has primarily typical features. For this, other knowledge of castles, and their typical or untypical features is required. This can then be compared with that of Ludlow and a conclusion made. This may also lead to people having their own mental images of Ludlow castle as it was. Sometimes, with access only to text, readers make up their own mental images of some of the factors at Ludlow. This can prove unreliable, and inaccurate. In conclusion, a historian (or any person wanting to study/explore Ludlow castle) needs a combination of text and images, as well as being able to study the castle by visiting, in order to create interpretations, and establish developing factors. This does not only apply to Ludlow, but all other castles in general. ...read more.

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