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Explain what has caused the main changes in castle design over time

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Hayley Lawler Q3- Explain What Caused the Main Changes in Castle Design Castles were introduced to England in the 11th century after the Norman Conquest in 1066. Since then, castles have developed dramatically in design. There were many reasons that caused the designs to change throughout the centuries; weakness with design against attacking forces, advances in technology and warfare strategies, a change of power and new ideas from crusaders. It was William the Conqueror's victory that meant the introduction of a major castle building programme. When he invaded England, he needed something to show off his power and to mark out his territory, but he needed something that was quick and easy. His answer was the Motte and Bailey castles. The Motte and Bailey castles met the needs of William the Conqueror because they could be built in under a week, they were cheap and could be built on a man-made mound or a natural terrain. The common features of a Motte and Bailey was the motte; which was a mound usually no higher than five metres, the bailey; which was an enclosed fortified area that surrounded the base of the motte (sometimes a ditch, bank and palisade would defend the bailey) and lastly, the keep; which was made of wood and provided residence for lords and nobles. ...read more.


Warfare became more sophisticated, enabling those attacking to beat the castles defences in a variety of ways. Scaling ladders and siege towers allowed attackers to go over the wall, catapults and battering rams could breach the wall and, worst of al, undermining could bring a section of the wall crashing down. Finally, the early thirteenth century saw improvements in the defenses of the battlements to make better use of the crossbow. The castle design was improved by increasing the number of embrasures and narrowing the merlons. At the same time, arrow slits were incorporated into the merlons so that the bowman could fire whilst remaining under cover. Significant as these adaptions were, there was one which led eventually to a fundamental rethinking in castle design and the obsolescence of the keep. This was the adoption of the flanking tower which developed from the concerns of the defense of the bailey. This new design, called the Enclosure castles, was usually built to enclose a coutyard containing the residence of an Earl. An example of an enclosure castle is Framlingham, Suffolk. The building of the castle started in 1190 after Earl Roger Bigod obtained permission to rebuild his father's castle that was demolished by order of Henry II. Within the wall, at intervals, were built thirteen projecting towers and there was no keep at all. ...read more.


Edward consciously chose to suppress elements of Welsh tradition and heritage. Conwy Castle was built over the traditional burial place of Llewelyn the Great, and the monastery at Aberconwy was destroyed and the monks moved to a new foundation at Maenan. Throughout this essay, I have stated the reasons that caused the designs of castles to change throughout the centuries. The reason for building the first type of castle, the Motte and Bailey, was for William the Conqueror to show off his power. The reason why those designs were later adapted was due to weakness in design against attacking forces and weather. The Stone Keep design was ruled out and the enclosed design was brought in because of, again, weakness in design but also advances in technology and warefare strategies, a change of power and new ideas from crusaders. Similar reasons are what caused Concentric castles to be built after the Enclosure castles. I personally think that the main reason for the change in design of castles over the centuries was that there were weaknesses in the designs but all the reasons I stated are very closely linked and caused eachother. For example, change of power caused new ideas which caused development in warfare stategies and technology which then caused weakness in designs. Nowadays, castles are enjoyed by many as they are used as tourist attractions and the process of decay for most castles have temporarily been halted. ...read more.

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