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Explain how far the history of PortchesterCastle fits with the history of castle building.

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Introduction

By Sabina Chan Explain how far the history of Portchester Castle fits with the history of castle building. Portchester Castle was built in the third century AD. It was known as a Saxon Shore Fort and one of the largest. The castle was situated by the sea, and was used as protection, mainly to stop the Saxons from invading the land, when England was under the control of Rome. The fort was originally built by the Romans to protect the coast and harbour of the Roman Channel fleet against the Saxons. Its walls are approximately 10 feet thick and were originally 20 feet high. The semi-circular projecting bastions were designed to withstand heavy artillery, also would have made the fort much easier to defend, as they would have provided 360o protection and a good position for archers. During the dark ages it was used as one of King Alfred's strongholds in defence of Wessex. The castle did consist of 20 bastions, but now there only 16. Also they had crenulations on the walls, these were used for defence. The archers would fire arrows on the on coming enemies. There would have also would have been many army barracks inside the fort. The Romans also made a large ditch or moat around the curtain wall as another obstacle for attackers. ...read more.

Middle

They are separated by a ditch except which runs around the inner ring except in the south where there is a reservoir. The inner fortress was used as the crusader castle. The entrance has a wide ramp and a vaulted passage that leads you to the outer ring and on to a platform that links to the inner castle. Large taluses were added to the southwest and east sides to strengthen the outer wall and to make it earthquake resistant. There is a small chapel to the east of the entrance that was transformed into a mosque by Baibars, and of that mosque remains a mihrab and three minbars. Opposite the chapel are three powerful towers that strengthen the south wall. The weakest of the towers was occupied by the Master. After the Norman Conquest in 1066, the site began to change. In 1128 the Romans wall was rebuilt and moats were dug around the south-west entrance. In 1148 a two storey keep was built and the curtain wall enclosed the inner bailey. The keep was a typical feature of the motte and bailey castle. These would have a large hill, which the keep was built on, and a large area of flat land below, which be a small village with housing. ...read more.

Conclusion

Portchester Castle has gone through a lot. From around 280 it was used as a Roman Fort to protect the coast. In around 904 the castle became a fortified burgh used by the Saxons as defence against Viking raiders. In 1120, the site was converted into a castle and held by the king as a royal palace. During the 17th, 18th and 19th century, the site was a prison during many wars and also used as a store. In the 19th century the castle became a loyal beauty spot. The castle is now owned by the English Heritage. During this time, the site had under gone many changes to make it look the way we see it now. There is no doubt that the castle has seen many historical events, and from this we can see which of its features are typical of other castles at the time, and which are not. As well was why and how historical events might have taken place, and affected the way the castle has changed. Through many periods of time, the castle has been very similar to others which remain today, but more recently from around 1500 AD, when Henry VIII founded Royal Dockyard, it was still used for lower quay events and a s a prison. However, a lot of work was still done on the site during this time in order to improve the appearance of the castle. ...read more.

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