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How far does the site of Dover Castle and the supporting sources help you to understand the way that castles changed and developed between the 11th and 16th centuries?

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Introduction

1. How far does the site of Dover Castle and the supporting sources help you to understand the way that castles changed and developed between the 11th and 16th centuries? After the Battle of Hastings in 1066 William marched around the East Coast on his way to London going through Dover. He attacked the village and then to keep the peace and protect his men, he built a simple earth and timber castle. Eight days after arriving in Dover, he left and headed on for London. Source 1 shows a map of all the castles that were built with Williams's permission. There does not seem to be much to do about how castles changed and developed but there is a definite concentration in the southeast when William was still establishing his authority over England. So these would have been simple and quickly built castles while the later ones would have been more carefully built and strengthened. This shows after some thoughts the different types of castles that were built starting with the hastily motte and bailey castles and then to the stronger towers. Otherwise this source is not really much help when assessing how the source helps me to understand the way that castles changed and developed. Source 2 shows William's soldiers building Hastings castle, which shows how the style may have been built not specifically how the castle changed after it was built or how other castles were built. ...read more.

Middle

However, as it is written in modern day it is based on probability and it is biased towards the good side of the castle as it came out of the guidebook. Again used in conjunction with other sources this would make a valuable resource and paint a picture as to what was happening to the castle. Sources 6 & 7 are narratives as to what happened in the siege of 1216 from an English point of view and from a French point of view. As the English were the victors in this, the statement seems to skip out the details and concentrate on the individuals and their actions. The French point of view, as they were the losers in this fight, is more sober and contains more detail of what happened during the fight. It notes what kind of defences the English used and what the terrain was like. He writes about the mining that was used to try and undermine one of the towers of Dover castle. The bad side of the source is that it stops at the death of King John leaving us to rely on the English point of view which is quite dangerous without supporting sources also dealing with the same time period. This was a time when Dover had just been reinforced as a building and the keep had just been finished. The castle was originally built to keep the English calm and to protect William's troops. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is a picture of the whole castle and if you compare it to earlier manuscripts and drawings, differences can be seen as improvements were made through the centuries. Source 14 is a modern photograph of Constables Keep and the caption says that it is much the same as in the 1220's apart from the modernised above gate-passage level. Things will have been reconstructed as the timber and stonework would have fallen into disrepair but the shape and construction of the castle remain the same. Dover Castle has not really been a 'typical' castle as it is sited on the coast and is a prime place for enemies to invade. So therefore, the fortifications have been stronger and the castle much more able to withstand a long siege as 1216 showed. The different sources all show different things to varying degrees of usefulness for this question. The most reliable sources could be said to be from the time, as they have no use for large-scale propaganda to sway the public's opinion in favour. In those days the monarch or lord ruled and what commoners thought did not really matter as long as they worked. The manuscripts were useful as they are from the time and they are where historians would get a lot of their knowledge. Castles in England and Dover Castle in particular have changed roles through the period. At first they were to pacify the country but as this happened, they were slowly modified to face outwards and to protect the country from other enemies such as France. Nathan Mayer 11E2 ...read more.

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