Britain's Medieval Castles

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006 - 218 pages
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The widespread construction of castles in Britain began as soon as Duke William of Normandy set foot on the shores of southern England in 1066. The castles that were constructed in the ensuing centuries, and whose ruins still scatter the British countryside today, provide us with an enduring record of the needs and ambitions of the times. But the essence of the medieval castle—a structure that is equal parts military, residential, and symbolic—reveals itself not only through the grandeur of such architectural masterpieces as the Tower of London, and the imposing nature of such royal residences as Windsor, but also in the aging masonry carvings, enduring battlements, and more modest earthen ramparts that have survived alongside them. Through a feature-by-feature account of the architectural elements and techniques used in constructing the medieval castle, author Lise Hull allows the multiple functions of these multifarious forms to shine through, and in so doing, lends a new vitality to the thousand faces that the medieval world assumed to discourage its enemies, inspire its friends, and control its subjects.

This compelling investigation takes a unique look at each of the medieval castle's main roles: as an offensive presentation and defensive fortification, as a residential and administrative building, and as a symbolic structure demonstrating the status of its owner. Each chapter focuses on one specific role and uses concrete architectural features to demonstrate that aspect of the medieval castle in Britain. A wealth of illustrations is also provided, as is a glossary explaining the distinct parts of the castle and their functions. This book should be of interest to students researching architecture, the Middle Ages, or military history, as well as general readers interested in castles or considering a trip to Britain to observe some of these magnificent sites themselves.

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40 dollars?!

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Castles as Offensive Weapons
Castles as Defensive Strongholds
Castles as Residences
Castles as Status Symbols
Raglan Castle
What Is a Castle? Revisited

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Page 128 - Know that we have granted on behalf of ourselves and our heirs to our beloved and faithful Stephen of Penchester and Margaret his wife that they may fortify and crenellate their house at Allington in the county of Kent with a wall of stone and lime, and that they and their heirs may hold it, thus fortified and crenellated, for ever, without let or hindrance of us or our heirs or any of our officials.
Page 47 - Caerlaverock was so strong a castle that it feared no siege before the King came there, for it would never have had to surrender, provided that it was well supplied, when the need arose, with men, engines and provisions. In shape it was like a shield, for it had but three sides round it, with a tower at each corner, but one of them was a double one, so high, so long and so wide, that the gate was underneath it, well made and strong, with a drawbridge and a sufficiency of other defences . And it had...
Page xxv - we should not view timber castles as a separate 'type' of castle, but rather as a variation on a theme. Castle designers aimed to meet similar requirements of defense and residence with whatever building technology and materials were available at their disposal. Timber might be chosen because no suitable stone was available, or because the builder could not afford to buy stone, or because speed of erection was essential, or because only short-term use for the site was envisaged."15 Clearly, their...
Page 194 - Lawrence BUTLER The Origins of the Honour of Richmond and its Castles This paper examines the lands granted by William the Conqueror to count Alan in north-west Yorkshire : these formed the Honour of Richmond and were one of the most important fiefs in Norman England. Count Alan's other holdings lay in Lincolnshire and eastern England, principally Cambridgeshire (fig.
Page xxiv - Castles were not just fortresses but also residences, albeit the residences of the great. It is this unique combination of the military and the residential functions which makes a castle, and makes it differ from other types of...
Page 25 - no justices, stewards, escheators, coroners, ringilds or other officers or ministers of the King shall interfere. And they shall have a market weekly on Thursday at Raglan, and two fairs there yearly, one on the day of St. Dunstan and the two following days (i9th-2ist May) and the other on the vigil, day and morrow of SS. Simon and Jude (27th-29th October).
Page xxi - Ewyas Harold, whether or not it can be identified as Pentecost's Castle, is the one certain pre-Conquest castle in England; it is described as having been refortified by 'earl William...
Page 205 - ... Shell-Keep - A ring of walling replacing the original Palisade round the summit of a motte. Not a true keep. which was properly a true tower, but it similarly constituted the inner stronghold of a castle. Shingles - Wooden tiles for covering roofs. (Lat. scendulis). Shire-Fee (Hist.) - See Comitatus. Siegework - An earthwork raised for the protection of a force besieging a castle. It might shield offensive artillery engines or merely ensure against a sudden sally by the besieged garrison.

About the author (2006)

Lise E. Hull is an independent researcher who has spent twenty years researching Britain's castles. She is the founder of Castles Unlimited, an organization dedicated to promoting appreciation and preservation of these masterpieces of military engineering. She is the author of The Castles of Pembrokeshire (2005) and numerous magazine articles.

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