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Describe and explain the development of castles in the period c. 1200 - c.1600.

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Introduction

Describe and explain the development of castles in the period c. 1200 - c.1600 Mont Orgueil Fougeres Fort La Latte Introduction Due to the technological breakthroughs between the c. 1200 and c. 1600 there was a great deal of change in the way that castles were constructed. Their defences also had to be to a larger extent better because of the commencement of artillery warfare. Mont Orgueil castle is an example of this as additions were made in an attempt to hold off improving technology such as the threat of canon. Methods of Construction The initial sorts of castles were built using wood, simply because it was not very expensive and it is quick and easy to build with. This was most definitely not the best of ideas as it was susceptible to boring, battering and burning and so stone became a lot more popular. A few castles collaborated both stone and wood but most were built completely of stone apart from interior floors and roofs. Castles were usually built on top of a hill or motte ranging from about 15 to 30 feet high. This would be enclosed by a wall at the edges of the top and a wet or dry ditch at the bottom. ...read more.

Middle

The Cornish Bastion of the castle seen in all three investigated castles, its intention to support canon but it was simply to heavy, it looked down upon the lower ward (where people would flee to if there was a threat) and so provided crossfire at invaders although it has its strengths it also has its weaknesses for example its not a very stable area for artillery and there is a flaw in the building structure. The Cornish Bastion was also the only example of Machicolations. The Grand Battery is made from earth and is filled in 60 - 70 feet with a wall surrounding it. It is basically an artillery platform, which was developed in approximately the 15th century used to try and prevent canon from the opposing hill hitting the keep but unfortunately did not work which, is why Somerset Tower was built. Somerset Tower was an elevated platform enabling bowman to fire from and to drop things from which, has very thick walls suitable for canon fire and is extremely tall with a huge embankment (it was effectively just a wall). It was not successful because it was not high enough and artillery range was increasing through the impact of the canon ball. ...read more.

Conclusion

The shape of castles changed dramatically after1150. They were now round shaped instead of the original square and rectangular design. A curved tower could defend the castle to a greater extent from attack because there are no sharp weak corners from which an attacker can use to their advantage. In 1373 Bretrand de Gaxon attacked all three castles and narrowly missed taking over Mont Orgueil. The thirteenth century brought for a more attacking approach. Things like lofty towers, hoardings, parapets, arrow slits, machicolations etc were introduced to fight off enemies. Hoardings were holes or doors in the floor through which you could drop offensive materials e.g. missiles, molten lead, excrement, on to the attackers below. Machicolations were stone equivalents to hoardings. At about the 15th century castles had to be refortified in a concentric manner to combat against the modernization of artillery warfare. An increase in comfort and a reduction in defence came about at around the 14th and 15th centuries, castles became more like homes. By 1450 the gatehouse had become immensely more popular than concentric castles. Through this the need for castles had completely diminished simply because the security the castle once held had been overcome by technological breakthroughs in artillery. By 1600 Mont Orgueil had become redundant despite additions to hold off improving canon. The Governor moved to Elizabeth Castle and people moved to manor houses such as Longueville Manor. ...read more.

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