A Fourteenth Century Castle Essay Research Paper

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A Fourteenth Century Castle Essay, Research Paper CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Towering high above the landscape, European castles still look commanding. Imagine how powerful a castle looked 600 years ago when it was brand new. A castle was built to impress. It was the home of a powerful warlord. From its safety he ruled the surrounding land. Castles building began in the 10th Century. The first castles that were built replaced wooden forts. Castles evolved and became stronger as methods of warfare changed. In the next few paragraphs I will be talking about how warriors surrounded and attacked a castle, how the people in the castle prepared for war, how they defended themselves, and how they lived in peace. A castle was usually built on top of a cliff so it would be harder for the

opposition to reach it. It was also surrounded by a moat which was a water filled ditch. This ditch surrounded two sides of the castle that were not protected by a cliff. The moat also provided food for the people living inside the castle. The castle was built out of brick and had a very thick wall. The thick walls were more than 8(ft) thick and the walls of castle towers were even thicker. There were also towers built on top of the castles. The towers enabled the defenders to see anyone approaching the castle, and to fire at them with bows or siege engines. The first point of attack was usually the main entrance. A gate house protected the way into the castle. Anybody who tried to get into the building was either caught by the guards or was killed by the traps that were set up

in the castle. In the castle there were several walls that enclosed the courtyards. Each courtyard was called a bailey. During the war men women and children sheltered here. When there was no war these court yards were used for work shops. During the war The water supply was vital, especially when the castle was surrounded. Wells were dug into the rock below the castle, the water was used for bathing and drinking. The Lord lived at the heart of the castle which was called a keep. If the defenders broke into the castle all the remaining soldiers would go into the keep and fight to the death. Women and children took shelter in the castle while the fighting was going on. If food ran out in the castle, the defenders would throw out anybody who couldn t fight. The attackers would not

let them pass, and many of the women and children starved to death. The survivors ate anything they could find, including dogs and rats. The most important preparation for battle was to build hoardings. These were wooden extensions to the wall walk which protected the defenders. Attacking armies often fired flaming arrows over the walls to set fire to the roofs inside. So the castle roofs were constructed from fireproof material. The best of these materials was fine leather binding. These were animal hides that stretched over wooden roofs. CHAPTER 2 DEFENCE AND SEIGE In wartime the castle became a fortress in control of a wide area. When hostile armies surrounded the castle, soldiers raised the draw bridge and prepared for a furious fight. A siege had begun. The attacking

soldiers spent long hours trying to break into the castle. If they were successful the swarmed inside. Often the attackers bribed someone inside the castle to open the main gate. Sometimes the siege ended because both sides agreed to a peace treaty. A siege began only when the attacking forces fired their siege weapons against the castles walls. The trebuchet was a large siege engine which hurled rocks into the air over the castles walls up to a distance of 300m. It was powered by a counterweight which swung the long end of the arm up and over to release the missile. The trebuchet didn t just fire rocks: soldiers also loaded it with pots of lime, which burned the skin. They also threw dead animals hoping that the castle would be struck with disease. Even the soldiers fired