• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Thornbury Castle - was it built as a castle or a palace?

Extracts from this document...


THORNBURY CASTLE Thornbury Castle was it built as a castle or a palace? Edward Stafford 3rd Duke of Buckingham started building Thornbury castle in 1510. The castle was never completed so it's hard to tell if it was a castle or a palace. Thornbury is situated in the south west of England near the river Severn. Thornbury is an ideal stopping place for journeys between London and the welsh marsh. There are lots of farms in the area and Bristol is a good source for luxury goods. These are good reasons for building the castle in Thornbury but why is at the bottom of a hill when it could have been at the top of Thornbury hill this suggests that it was not designed with a serious purpose of defence. The outer walls give the appearance of a castle; it has arrow slits, cannon holes and battlements. The canon holes are barely big enough for muskets this gives the impression that it was not built with a serious purpose of defence. The outer walls are about 6 metres high and only 1 metre thick, the stones used to make the wall were not very big. The wall would not stand for long if they were up against a canon this makes the castle very vulnerable. There is a stream near by that could have been used for a moat but as the castle is not complete it is not possible to know if it was going to be. ...read more.


The west fronts stone work is very strong typical of a defensive castle. Embedded in this virtually impregnable wall are some cross cross slits that are again a very castle like feature that Buckingham liked. There is one turret on the west front that was completed; it has machicolations and battlements around the top a very defensive feature. All of these things indicate that it was a castle. But there are some palace features that let the west front down, it has windows on the second floor and the wall was only half its intended height this makes the castle vulnerable this indicates that it was a palace. If the west front was finished it would have been strong with its 4 turrets and 2 towers the only thing that indicates this is a palace is the main gateway. The main gateway may have a double portcullis, but it has a dramatic window that is clearly for showing off Buckingham's status. Other gatehouses of grand houses are quite similar (see fig 1&2 on sources page). These were clearly the fashion at the time and Buckingham was showing off this suggests that Buckingham was building something to show his wealth, not for security. The inner court is 120 feet deep and 110 feet wide, not designed for defence but for grandeur. It now has only 3 sides one has either never been completed or has fallen down historians disagree on this aspect. ...read more.


The coat of arms say all of his titles but there is one left blank which is quite large this could have been intended for king of England. This would explain why he had a private army and Thornbury Castle this could be the reason why he was executed. Other castles and manor houses/palaces were in this kind of style at the time if you look at sources 3&4 you can see the castle like battlements and turrets. The palace features like large windows all of these are also at Thornbury castle this suggests that Thornbury is a just fitting in the style and fashion at the time. If you look at real castle like the tower of London you do not see thin walls and windows unlike Thornbury castle. Thornbury castle has many features that point to a castle and others that point to a palace because the palace was uncompleted it makes the decision very hard to make. This historian said 'I believe it may be true to say that Thornbury was the last English castle to be built with a serious purpose of defence'. On the other hand K.B.McFarlane considered Thornbury indefensible and regarded the military features 'only as romantic adjuncts of nobility'. I think that Thornbury castle does not stand up to its name because it is a palace designed to look like a castle; if you take a close look it is plain to see that it is a palace. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE History Projects essays

  1. How far is it possible to say when Wollaton hall was built?

    Source D is a set of drawings showing the exterior of Wollaton hall. The drawings are useful because they show the mixture of classical and renaissance styles. These styles are used on the hall. The renaissance was a period of time when the knowledge and skills of the 'classical past', ancient Greece and Rome were re-discovered.

  2. Why was a castle built and maintained in York?

    This is when William Realised maybe York needed to have a tighter control and built yet another castle on the other side of the river Ouse, which meant that all of York was under secure control and an added bonus that the river Ouse was also well under control preventing any unwanted boats etc coming in.

  1. Kenilworth Castle

    In the 1100's typical developments of castles were altered to stone. They were altered to stone for protection to stop enemies burning down the wooden castles. This typical development was common in every castle. There was no evidence to show that a motte and bailey was present at this time at Kenilworth castle because this castle was altered to stone.

  2. How useful is a visit to the Tudor parts of Hampton Court to find ...

    similar reasons and therefore many of the palaces designs and structures were alike. Henry always wanted to be the head of fashions and made sure that he owned all the latest styles and items, his palaces were much the same, he wanted them too to be the most luxurious and glorious.

  1. Ludlow Castle Coursework.

    was firstly a place where people kept there armour before and after battle, but later on, it was a place for food to be kept in. So in both periods of times, it was an essential part of the castle. There were also portcullis' and crenulations present in the castle.

  2. . Explain why Hedingham Castle was built in this location and style

    Consequently, Hedingham could play a great part in defending Britain from international invasions. Also, the Thames was, and continues to be, a major trading route. This means that under siege they could generally be supplied with food and supplies when necessary, and also that inhabitants at Hedingham could intercept any illegal or suspicious correspondence that passed.

  1. Ludlow Castle.

    secondary sources, I will decide the stages the castle went through in the past. I will come to a conclusion- whether it be that it did indeed begin life as a fortress and end as a palace, or whether it started as a fortress and fulfilled many other roles and did not end as a palace.

  2. Warwick castle Coursework

    The development of Motte and bailey had to happen mainly because of the development of weapons. The wooden fence around the bailey had been converted into a 7.6m tall curtain wall. High thick walls stopped the enemy climbing over the wall or breaking it down.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work