By Adian, Tyler, and Robbie.
Types of castles
Motte and Bailey Castles
Motte and Bailiey castles were the earliest form of castles built completely from scratch by the Normans. As their name suggests they had two parts the Motte and the Bailey.
The Motte was a large hill made of earth on which was built a wooden keep or lookout. The outer edge was then surrounded with a large wooden fence called a palisade.
The Bailey was separated from the Motte by a wooden bridge that could be removed if the Bailey was occupied by enemies.� The Bailey was the part of the castle where people lived and animals were kept. A large castle might have more than one Bailey.
To give added protection to the castle, both the Motte and Bailey would be surrounded by a ditch, sometimes filled with water. A drawbridge was used for access to the castle.
Stone Keep Castle
This type of castle soon replaced the Motte and Bailey castles as it offered a better form of defence. A stone keep was the central feature, with thick walls and few windows. Entrance to the keep was by stone steps leading to the first floor. The kitchens were situated on the ground floor while living quarters were on the upper floors.
The first keeps were rectangular in shape but later ones were often circular. The Stone Keep would be surrounded by a thick stone wall containing turrets for lookouts.�
The Bailey was now the area outside the keep but within the outer walls and shelter for animals or craft workshops might be built against the walls. The entire castle might be surrounded by a ditch or moat and entrance to the castle was by drawbridge.�
The Concentric castle was developed in the 12th and 13th Centuries and offered the best protection against attack.
The main feature of the concentric castle is its walls. An inner wall built of thick stone with turrets positioned at intervals is then surrounded by an equally thick but lower stone wall. The walls are built at different levels so that archers on the inner walls can fire over the archers on the outer walls.�
The space between the two walls was known as the 'death hole' for being trapped within the walls would almost certainly result in death for the attacker. The entire castle was then often surrounded with a moat and entry would be across a drawbridge.
Fire was the best way to attack the early Motte and Bailey castles since they were made entirely of wood. The fire might be started by building a bonfire against the outer wooden fence (palisade) or, more usually, by archers shooting fire-arrows into the castle. As the fire spread through the castle those living inside would be forced to leave allowing the attackers to take them prisoner or kill them. This was one of the reasons why Motte and Bailey castles were soon replaced by Stone Keep castles. Fire has little effect on a stone castle.
The thick stone walls of the Stone Keep castles were difficult for men to knock down. Although pickaxes could be used against castles with thinner walls, it would take a very long time to knock a hole through a castle with very thick walls. The battering ram was particularly useful since the weight of several men would be put behind it. This would make it a considerable force that could seriously weaken and possibly destroy doors or walls.
Ladders were used by those attacking a castle to climb over the walls and fight the castle inhabitants within the castle walls. However, ladders had the disadvantage of leaving the man climbing the ladder subject to attack by arrow, boiling water or oil, or by being thrown to the ground if the ladder was pushed away from the wall. To prevent this type of attack the Belfry or Siege Tower was developed.
The Belfry was a large structure on wheels that could be pushed up to the castle walls. Ladders inside the Belfry allowed attackers to climb to the top under cover and get into the castle. Castle owners prevented this type of attack by piling earth up against the castle walls so that the Belfry, which was on wheels, could not be pushed near to the castle.