How far does the site of Warwick Castle and the supporting sources help you understand the way that castles changed and developed over time?
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YEAR 11 COURSEWORK - HISTORY AROUND US - WARWICK CASTLE 1) How far does the site of Warwick Castle and the supporting sources help you understand the way that castles changed and developed over time? Warwick castle was first founded in 914 as an Anglo Saxon hilltop settlement built for defensive reasons. Then in 1068, Normans built a Motte and Bailey castle so therefore further increasing the defensive qualities of the site, and by the middle of the 13th century, the wooden wall had been replaced by a stone wall. These further developments carried on as new rulers came into ownership of the castle to strengthen and modernise the defensive features of the castle. In the second half of the 14th century, more reconstruction took place and now an imposing gatehouse and barbican were added. Also the guy and Caesar towers were built which could see all the way around the castle which was an extremely defensive feature for a castle to have at this time. Finally in the late 1640's cannons were added into the towers and the mound as new technology was introduced. By the late 16 and 1700's, the castle and rooms were changed to make an impressive stately home. So now the castle was no longer needed for defence, but for comfort and entertainment. Change of purpose! We can learn a lot about the development of castles over time, simply by looking at them and analysing them. We can also learn about castles from looking at the sources made. However we are not sure how reliable these sources are. First we can look at the castle itself. From visiting and analysing the site of Warwick castle, you can see that there have obviously been changes and developments of the castles defensive features, many of these features still remain at the castle today, but you do have to consider that the castle is a tourist attraction made to please.
These two sources help us to find out about the first stages of Warwick castles development. It also tells us who built them and why. The final three primary sources which I have looked at are all floor plans of Warwick castle. I think that these sources are accurate in most aspects because they are all the original floor plans of the manor house. The first one is from 1900. It was made to show a pretty accurate floor plan of how the manor house was going to look and we can see this from visiting the castle as most features drawn on the floor plan are still there today. We no these sources were from the manor house period, because of the fact that they have a 'water room', which is the first of its kind. You would need to be very rich to get water pumped into your house, so this shows that the owner is a man of wealth and power. The next floor plan is of the upstairs of the manor from the same year, and it shows us that there are grand luxurious bedrooms and servants rooms. One point which shows us that the plans are not fully reliable is that the towers have been missed off, but they are not needed in the manor house. The final source is of the same house again but in 1851. We can see that the general layout is the same as the first two sources but not so much luxury. These sources further show us how castles have changed and developed over time. Now we come to the secondary sources. These are copies of the original written or drawn sources. The problems with these sources are that they are redone to look better and will be made by what the artist or author thinks it should be like. The first secondary sources are the redone drawings from different periods.
Therefore because of the fact that the guidebook miss-forms people about facts and information, I would say that on the whole I could not trust a majority of the booklet. On the other hand though, the guidebook can be helpful because the timeline at the start is very accurate and the dates in it do match with the primary evidence that I have analysed. We can see from this that Warwick Castle's structure and purpose do develop over time and the sources support the dates, so I would say that this section of the guidebook can be very useful. The guidebook does in fact look further into important events such as party's and dinners that may have happened and does give explanations of why and when these events happened, and I would say that these were also quite reliable sources of information. So generally, I think that the guidebook is not extremely accurate in the sense that it is misleading and has been produced with entertainment in mind, but on the other hand I think that the guide book does give some quite good information in the sense that all of the dates on the timeline match up to primary sources that I have read myself. Some of the stories that are actually true stories from the past have been slightly exaggerated to make them exciting and fun for the readers, which is fair enough to make the money. Another main problem is that the Warwick guidebook only just about helps people understand why the castle developed overtime, even though this is one of the main facts about the castle. Really the only two good things about the guidebook is the timeline at the bottom of the first few pages because there is no need to lie about what happened on the certain dates and the reader can see what happened that could have caused Warwick castle to change its purpose, and also the fact that dates and names match up to other primary sources outside the book.
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