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How Typical were the Military and Domestic Developments at CarisbrookeCastle during the medieval and Tudor Period?

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Introduction

How Typical were the Military and Domestic Developments at Carisbrooke Castle during the medieval and Tudor Period? The first evidence of Carisbrooke Castle and Anglo-Saxon 'burh' was in 800 AD. The building evolved continuously from then up to 1600. When it stopped being used military for all practical purposes. This alone makes it unusual. Added to this it has been inhabited for 1200 years - which is very unusual. Anglo-Saxon England was constantly attacked from the Vikings - I.O.W. was no exception. The fort set up to protect the inhabitants from the Vikings was quite typical, in some ways, of Saxon defences. The fortifications at Bradwell in Essex are similar to Carisbrooke.... BUT... Carisbrooke Castle was a particularly large 'burh' very substantial store walls large towers, covered a large area. ...read more.

Middle

As the main enemy or potential enemy were the French. Carisbrooke Castle was in a very important strategic position. I.O.W. protects both Southampton and Portsmouth. Need a stronghold on I.O.W. Carisbrooke Castle is not unique in this. Other castles like Dover were obviously very important for the same reason, but it does make Carisbrooke Castle unusual compared to e.g. castle in the middle of England. 1377 French laid siege to Carisbrooke Castle, his proves the point. Carisbrooke Castle does show many military developments - perhaps unusual to see them all in one castle BUT it was likely to be attacked - Barbican Gate (other example Warwick) Brattices on walls (evidence from stone boutresses) Strengthened towers to hold mangonals and trebuchets. Really unusual - Gun ports at the gateway - some of the earliest in England. ...read more.

Conclusion

Domestic buildings at Carisbrooke Castle are actually fairly normal/standard at each stage of development. The original keep is the same as many Motte + Bailey castles e.g. CHRISTCHURCH. Carisbrooke Castle had a chapel as all castles did and perhaps the most unusual feature of the middle ages was the kind of comfort of the great hall and domestic range. Perhaps the reason it was so unusual is that it was the 1st developed by a woman (it's unusual for a woman to be lord of a castle). Countess Isabella's window/window seat and remains of the chapel. Rare to see this touch of domesticity and elegance in a military building. Different by Tudor times Carisbrooke Castle now was a place to live, for the governor of the I.O.W. who wanted status, comfort and luxury hence Careys mansion not unusual - Helmsley Castle, Yorkshire. ...read more.

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