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How useful and reliable are the site and other sources for telling us about the way of life of people in the past who lived there?

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Introduction

Charlie Ward How useful and reliable are the site and other sources for telling us about the way of life of people in the past who lived there? First built in 1138 by Henri de Blois, grandson of William the Conqueror, Farnham Castle was the home of the Bishops of Winchester for over 800 years. The architecture reflects changing styles through the ages, making it one of the most important historical buildings in the south of England. The outer walls of the keep were very thick. This means that when it was built defence was considered an important factor, which suggests that they were prepared for battle. The bottom stones of the outer walls had very hard casing, which makes them harder to break through, and this is where enemies would find it easiest to attack. Also, if the walls were thin they would collapse from the pressure of the mound inside, and the motte would subside. 'The constant expenditure on the repair and maintenance of the defences of the castle can leave no doubt that these were adequately maintained ...read more.

Middle

This was so that the defenders would have a clear view of the attackers, and also it would have been more difficult for the attackers to fire weapons at such height. It also shows a development in weaponry because the defenders would be starting to use longer-range weapons. The turrets are also portrayed as very tall in the 1737 engraving, but this source is not very reliable because it could have been trying to show a more impressive engraving, and not the true reflection. Inside the keep there was a murder hole through which missiles could be dropped. These included sand, oil, stones etc. This feature of the castle shows that the defenders were thinking of ways to surprise potential attackers with different contraptions. The well was only a third of its original depth because it had been filled up with chalk. 'The well in the keep had not been mentioned since the latter part of the fourteenth century and the archaeological material would be consistent with it having been filled up in 1521.' ...read more.

Conclusion

The second floor was obviously a luxury element of the castle, intended for living purposes. There were fireplaces, large settees and a spiral staircase - the whole floor was generally very elaborate. There also must have been an addition to the wall because of the red brick. The excavation notes agree with what I have deduced, as shown from this quote: 'The main work of Morley is to be seen inside, especially in the woodwork: the grand staircase, the fittings of the bishop's chapel and the fireplace in the hall'. I understand the limitations of the sources that I have studied, but I have come to the conclusion that they are generally quite reliable as many of them reflect what I saw when I went to visit the castle. To obtain a fuller view of life in the past at Farnham Castle I would need to study some other sources. These may include a guided tour of the castle or ...read more.

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