Parts of a castle wall

This castle glossary will name and define the parts of castle architecture, castle structure and construction, knights and warfare, and defense terms. The terms are in English and German. The definitions are in English. Adulterine: Unknown The term that is used to define a castle built without royal permission when such permission is required. Allure: der Spaziergang A walkway along the top of a wall.

Arcade: der Bogengang An arched covered passageway with columns or piers Arch: der Bogen A typically curved structural member spanning an opening and serves as a wall support above doors and windows.

Armoury: die Waffenkammer or das Waffenlager or das Zeughaus A storehouse for the castle's weapons. Ashlar: Unknown Hewn squared and shaped blocks of building stones.

Atilliator: Unknown A skilled castle armory worker who made crossbows. Bailey: die Hoff The outer courtyard or ward inside the castle walls used for outdoor activities. Baluster: der Baluster A small column of wood or stone used to support a load. Ballista die Balliste A siege machine that resembles a giant crossbow that is used to propel missiles at a target.

Bar Hole: das Stab Loch A hole in a wall used to receive the door bolt. Bartizan: der Scharwachtturm, Bergfried An overhanging wall-mounted turret projecting from the flank of a tower or a wall, usually placed at the top the walls. Bastion: der Bastion A small enclosed tower placed at the edge of a curtain wall and used primarily as watch or guard post. It is used to bounce rocks off of into attacking forces. Battering Ram: die Sturmram der Rammbock A heavy pole used for knocking down gates and walls.

Battlements: die Zinnen Parapits with crenelations and merlons raised part forming a narrow outer wall along the curtain walls. Battice: Unknown A timber tower or a projecting wooden hoarding or gallery.

Also a mound or wall of earth. Also, that strip of ground between the outer curtain wall on the moat. Bolt: der Bolz der Bolzen A Shaft or missile designed to be shot from a crossbow or catapult.

Bolt die Schraube der Riege A wooden or metal bar used to secure a door or gate. Boss: der Schlussstein An ornamental projecting block of stone or wood. The keystone of an arch, usually of granite stone. Breastwork: der Brustwehr A low wall or railing used to protect the edge of a platform, roof, or bridge. Also, sometimes a temporary fortification used in the defense of the castle during battle.

Bessumer: Unknown Wooden beams used to support a project from a wall. Butt joint: das Kolben Gelenk A joint made by fastening the parts together end-to-end without overlap. Often reinforced by wrapping or bolting.

What is a Battlement?: Definition, Parts & Design

Buttress: der Strebepfeiler A projection of masonry or wood used to enforce and strengthen a wall.Medieval fortification refers to medieval military methods that cover the development of fortification construction and use in Europeroughly from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the Renaissance. During this millennium, fortifications changed warfareand in turn were modified to suit new tacticsweapons and siege techniques.

Towers of medieval castles were usually made of stone or sometimes but rarely wood. Often toward the later part of the era they included battlements and arrow loops. Arrow loops were vertical slits in the wall through which archers inside shot arrows at the attackers, but made it extremely difficult for attackers to get many arrows back through at the defenders. An exact nature of the walls of a medieval town or city would depend on the resources available for building them, the nature of the terrain, and the perceived threat.

In northern Europeearly in the period, walls were likely to have been constructed of wood and proofed against small forces. Especially where stone was readily available for building, the wood will have been replaced by stone to a higher or lower standard of security. This would have been the pattern of events in the Five Boroughs of the Danelaw in England. In many cases, the wall would have had an internal and an external pomoerium. This was a strip of clear ground immediately adjacent the wall.

The word is from the late medievalderived from the classical Latin post murum "behind the wall". An external pomoerium, stripped of bushes and building, gave defenders a clear view of what was happening outside and an unobstructed field of shot. An internal pomoerium gave ready access to the rear of the curtain wall to facilitate movement of the garrison to a point of need.

By the end of the sixteenth century, the word had developed further in common use, into pomery. Also by that time, the medieval walls were no longer secure against a serious threat from an army, as they were not designed to be strong enough to resist cannon fire. They were sometimes rebuilt, as at Berwick on Tweedor retained for use against thieves and other threats of a lower order. Very elaborate and complex schemes for town defences were developed in the Netherlands and Francebut these belong mainly to the post-medieval periods.

Bythe medieval wall is likely to have been seen more as a platform for displaying hangings and the pomery as a gathering ground for spectators, or as a source of building stone and a site for its use, respectively.

However, a few, such as those of Carcassonne and Dubrovniksurvived fairly well and have been restored to a nearly complete state. Medieval walls that were no longer adequate for defending were succeeded by the star fort. After the invention of the explosive shellstar forts became obsolete as well.

Harbours or some sort of water access was often essential to the construction of medieval fortification. It was a direct route for trading and fortification. Having direct access to a body of water provided a route for resupply in times of war, an additional method of transportation in times of peace, and potential drinking water for a besieged castle or fortification.Castles developed over an extensive period of five centuries.

The word itself came from the Latin "castellum" meaning "fortified place. Read on as we list 15 defining parts of a castle used in medieval Europe and the Middle East. The Normans built the first proper castles after the invasion of They needed bases from where they could patrol the countryside and strongholds to protect themselves from Saxon attack. They had to be built in a hurry, so they were made of timber and placed on top of an earth mound called a Motte.

Basically a walled enclosure on top of a usually man-made hill. Castles were built in strategic positions and where possible natural defenses were utilized such as hills, rocky outcrops, and rivers. The best place for a castle is on a hill, the higher up a castle, the better defensive advantage, but you can't have a castle without a well otherwise the enemy could poison your water supply.

A Bailey was the name given to the courtyard area within the castle walls. While the Lords residence was in the Keep, the barracks, stables, blacksmith, etc. The majority of castles had at least one Bailey. Since attackers could easily set fire to a timber-keep, they were quickly replaced with stone, but the earth on top of the Motte often couldn't take the weight.

So they built the keep in the Bailey instead. The Keep would have been the strongest part of a castle with the thickest walls, the ground floor wouldn't have had any windows, and a single flight of stairs or steps would have lead to the entrance at the first-floor. It wasn't very comfortable living in the keep. So eventually, the Lords moved out into proper houses in the Bailey; this meant that they weren't so well protected, so another line of defense was added known as the curtain wall.

This new wall enclosed the Baily and had to be high and thick. Often the curtain wall had a slope called talus. Against this, the enemy couldn't reach the wall with a siege-tower because the ramp of a tower wasn't long enough.

It also provided a strong foundation to help support the wall against undermining. Perhaps the most familiar castle design element is the battlements, regular gaps in the parapet i. Projecting towers were regularly spaced along the outer walls. They maximized the view of the countryside, allowing lookouts to spot invading forces easily. They had a weakness though. If you want to make a building collapse by tunneling underneath it or hurling boulders at it with a trebuchet, the best place to start is at the corner.

So eventually the square edges were removed using polygons or by making the towers round.Although castles varied quite a lot and there were different types of castlesthey did share many of the same features. The keep was a strong tower located at the centre of a castle. The first keeps were made of wood and were part of motte and bailey castles.

These were soon replaced with stone keeps. The first stone keeps were rectangular, but later keeps were often circular shell keeps or based around irregular shapes. The curtain wall was a defensive wall built to protect the bailey see below of a castle.

They were made of stone although early motte and bailey castles did use wooden palisade walls. A moat is a water-filled ditch surounding a castle. It was often the first obstacle soldiers would have to overcome when attacking a castle. Battlements were the series of raised sections with gaps between them running along the top of a castle wall. Defenders could fire arrows from the gaps the crenels and hide behind the raised parts the merlons.

A drawbridge was a type of bridge linking the castle gatehouse to the opposite bank of the moat or ditch. It could be raised or lowered by ropes or chains. When the castle was under attack, the drawbridge would be raised. A portcullis was a heavy spiked barrier made from metal or wood. When attackers were trying to get inside the castle, the portcullis would be lowered in front of or behind of the castle doors to help protect them.

Also known as arrow loops or loop holes, arrowslits were small gaps in the castle walls from which archers defending the castle could shoot arrows at the enemy. Arrowslits were built in a range of different shapes and sizes. The cross-shaped arrow slits are probably the most well-known design. Find out more about castles by visiting our Castle Resources page. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popular Articles About Privacy Contact. Wow I found it this really helped thank you so much!!!!!! Thanks helped a lot for my homework due thus week after the holiday period. This site uses cookies: Find out more. Okay, thanks.The development, architecture and building of these great fortresses changed as time progressed, influenced by important historical events such as the crusades and the technology of siege warfare. This page provides interesting and important information about Parts of Castles in the Middle Ages.

This section provides information about various parts of a castle with a short description of the purpose and function of various parts of castles including the Moat, Dungeon, Portcullis, Barbican, Gatehouse, Crenellations and Drawbridge. It also provides a description of what they were used for:. Parts of Castles: What the parts of the Castles were used for.

Castle Moats: Facts: Castle Moats were used for defensive purposes.

A Glossary: Castle Terminology

To prevent undermining of a castle. Moats were either filled with water or wooden stakes to create a difficult barrier for men and horses. Castle Dungeons: Facts: Castle Dungeons were intended for holding prisoners and in extreme cases for torturing them.

Murder Holes were holes in the ceilings of castle gateways, barbicans or passageways through which heavy missiles or dangerous substances could be thrown on enemy soldiers. The Missiles dropped from 'Murder Holes' included heavy stones, hot sand, molten lead, boiling water and boiling tar or pitch.

The drawbridge consisted of a wooden platform with one hinged side fixed to the castle wall and the other side raised by rope or chains. The purpose of a drawbridge was to allow, hinder or prevent easy entry into a Medieval castle. The Portcullis was a heavy grilled door that was suspended from the Barbican or gatehouse ceiling.

Types of Projects

The portcullis was meant to be lowered quickly in times of attack. Ropes could be rapidly slashed or a quick release catch was enabled. The portcullis would come crashing down blocking the entrance to the castle, the spikes impaling the enemy.

Castle Crenellations: Facts: Castle Crenellations were used for defence and attack purposes.

parts of a castle wall

A crenellation was a rampart built around the top of a castle with regular gaps for firing arrows. The Crenellations provided a fighting platform and good vantage point from which soldiers launched arrows and also provided defenders with a solid defence to hide behind. Also called a battlement. A Castle Gatehouse was a fortified structure built over the gateway to a castle.

The Gatehouse, or main entrance, would be heavily barred. The Castle Gatehouse might be defended by the barbican. Castle Machicolations: Facts: Castle Machicolations were used for defensive purposes. Machicolations were projecting parapets or platforms situated at the top of a castle wall, some spanned the whole of the battlements whilst other Machicolations protruded from the walls like balconies.

The purpose of the full Machicolations was to provide clear access across the top of the battlements enabling the soldiers to quickly follow the attack point of the enemy. The balcony style Machicolations had holes in the floor for dropping various missiles on the enemy which were called Murder Holes or Meutrieres. Castle Battlement: Facts: Castle Battlements were used were used for defence and attack purposes. A Battlement was a rampart built around the top of a castle with regular gaps for firing arrows.In fortification architecture, a rampart is a length of bank or wall forming part of the defensive boundary of a castle, hillfort, settlement or other fortified site.

It is usually broad-topped and made of excavated earth or masonry or a combination of the two. Many types of early fortification, from prehistory through to the Early Middle Agesemployed earth ramparts usually in combination with external ditches to defend the outer perimeter of a fortified site or settlement.

parts of a castle wall

The ramparts could be reinforced and raised in height by the use of palisades. This type of arrangement was a feature of the motte and bailey castle of northern Europe in the early medieval period. The composition and design of ramparts varied from the simple mounds of earth and stone, known as dump ramparts, to more complex earth and timber defences box ramparts and timberlaced rampartsas well as ramparts with stone revetments.

parts of a castle wall

Vitrified ramparts were composed of stone that was subsequently fired, possibly to increase its strength. During the classical erasocieties became sophisticated enough to create tall ramparts of stone or brick, provided with a platform or wall walk for the defenders to hurl missiles from and a parapet to protect them from the missiles thrown by attackers.

Well known examples of classical stone ramparts include Hadrian's Wall and the Walls of Constantinople. After the fall of the Roman Empire in Europe, there was a return to the widespread use of earthwork ramparts which lasted well into the 11th century, an example is the Norman motte and bailey castle. As castle technology evolved during the Middle Ages and Early Modern times, ramparts continued to form part of the defences, but now they tended to consist of thick walls with crenellated parapets.

In response to the introduction of artillerycastle ramparts began to be built with much thicker walling and a lower profile, one of earliest examples first being Ravenscraig Castle in Scotland which was built in At the same time, the plan or "trace" of these ramparts began to be formed into angular projections called bastions which allowed the guns mounted on them to create zones of interlocking fire.

As well as the immediate archaeological significance of such ramparts in indicating the development of military tactics and technology, these sites often enclose areas of historical significance that point to the local conditions at the time the fortress was built.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Oxford Concise Dictionary of Archaeology2nd ed. Oxford Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture2nd ed. See also : Category. Categories : Fortification architectural elements Castle architecture.

Medieval castle SIEGES in depth

Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.The were many castle parts that made up a medieval Castle and as medieval weaponry improved so did the defensive parts of a castle. Most medieval castle parts that were added as the medieval period progressed were defensive in nature. Medieval castles were built during the medieval times, particularly during the high and late medieval times, mainly in Europe and Middle East.

These medieval castles served purposes of defending home territories from various enemies, controlling hostile territories, and serving as the residences of monarchs and lords. There were various medieval castle parts that made up a castle which included moats, ramparts, walls, turrets, towers, look outs, and gatehouse. Arrow Slits help to protect a castle archer from enemy fire, whilst allowing him the ability to fire his arrows accurately from the Arrow Slits in the Castles walls.

Medieval Castle battlements were basically small defensive walls at the top of a castles main walls with gaps Crenels and Topping off Stones Merlons.

parts of a castle wall

Castles in later medieval times used advanced lever and pulley systems to lower and raise the castle drawbridge into the Gatehouse entrance. Drawbridges were made of heavy wood that was part or fully metal plated. A Castle Gatehouse was a part of a castle that developed over time, the Castle Gatehouse was devised as an additional structure to defend a castles entrance which was the weakest point.

Medieval Castle Keeps could be used for several purpose, however the Medieval castle Keep was usually the area in which the Lord of the Castle Lived and also housed the Great Hall for Banquets. The Castle Machicolation created a platform that jutted out from the castle walls, this allowed murder holes to be created around the castles curtain walls outer walls that protected the castle from attacks.

Medieval Castle moats were a simple but very effective defensive part of a medieval castle, they were often filled with water, but could also be dry moats that were filled with various items that would injure the enemy.

Medieval murder holes were built into the design of a castles defences. Murder holes were placed around a castles curtain walls and were essential defences around a castles entrance.

Castle Portcullis were highly effective additional defences for a castles entrances, a Castle Portcullis was usually made from a strong type of wood and could also be plated in iron for additional strength. Medieval Ramparts were defensive walls that surrounded castles and could simply be made from mounds of earth. Ramparts of earth and stone were a quick defence system for a medieval castle. Medieval Castle Towers helped castle staff look for enemies and other people approaching the medieval castle.

Medieval Castle Towers were permanently manned by guards. Castle Turrets were added to medieval castles as additional lookout points, turrets were added to medieval castles and were not built in the castles main structure like towers that were bigger. Medieval Castle Walls were the main parts of the castle's defence, some castles called concentric castle had two castle walls and interior and exterior castle wall for additional defensive protection.


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