Stone Castle: How did they keep the enemy out?

Why were stone castles built?​
The purpose and suitable sites of the Norman Stone Castles were as because saxons needed them for protection from any enemies or uninvited visitors. They were also used to provide a base where men, provisions and horses could be housed, also to overawe and frighten the indigenous population, and to provide a site from which the Normans could govern the surrounding district, and to provide a place from which the Normans could dispense justice, and they were built on the highest ground in the area. They often joined Rivers, overlooked towns. They used archers, and catapults to keep their enemies out.


How were stone castles designed and what features did they have?
This type of castle soon replaced the Moat and Bailey castles as it offered a better form of defence. A stone keep was the middle feature, with thick walls and few windows because glass was very expensive at the time (So they made them with no glass). Entrance to the keep was by stone steps leading to the first floor. The kitchens were built 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 so that there were no corners to collapse. 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 would be surrounded by a ditch or moat and entrance to the castle was by drawbridge. The draw bridge was used also as a booby trap for unwanted visitors or attackers. The bridge would be pulled up, leaving the person/people in the moat or ditch
Ditch: Without water
Moat: With water

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By Iona and Nadia and Irfan



What different tactics were used for defending and attacking castles?
The Middle Ages was one of the most violent periods in the whole of English History. The development and building of these Norman stone castles changed as time went by. Attacking a Norman stone castle during the Middle Ages was made difficult by the skills and designs of the castles used very cleverly during the building of them. (E.G: The booby-trapped draw-bridge).
By Hassan and Iona

If you were a wealthy baron about to build a new stone castle you would have to draw up a short list of requirements list for your builder. You would have to make sure to include:
  • Information about different parts of the walls.
  • Details about the thickness of the walls.
  • Information about what sort of towers do you want-square or round- and give reasons for your choice.
  • Details about what your gatehouse will look like-draw picture to go with your letter.
  • And a list of different items you would like added to help protect you from your enemies.

Stone Castle Necessities:
  • Bricks made of limestone or sandstone (Because that type of rock is strong).
  • With a big keep with walls of 2.5 meters thick (With windows with no glass because it’s too expensive).
  • Round towers (Because then there would be no corners to collapse) with arrow slits (Enbrasures).
  • A gatehouse with a booby-trapped drawbridge (In case of any unwanted visitors or enemies, and also to protect my family).
  • A hoarding on one side of the wall covered in fine leather or animal skins (To protect my tower during an attack).
  • Crenels on my round towers (So that there would be gaps).
  • A ditch that will later be filled with water so that it will become a moat (So that intruders or unwanted visitors will fall in).


By Iona and Nadia

The Harrying of the North

  • King Williams' army moved north, burning villages and crops, destroying houses and murdering locals. This became known as the "Harrying of the north". William was determined to show that he would not accept any resistance. William ordered his soldiers to burn the land. This meant that nothing could be grown and people would starve.

The Harrying was "...so severe (that) there was no village inhabited between York and Durham."
- Simeon of Durham
By Nadia.

The resistance of Hereward the Wake

Fearing that Herewards' rebellion might spread all over the country, William personally led a major offensive against Ely.
By Hassan.

One of histories greatest Englishman, Hereward the Wake, wasn't really English at all. He was a high-ranking Dane. In 1066, Hereward led a war of resistance against the Normans until he was finally defeated in 1071.He was able to get military support from Denmark itself, in 1069 the Danish royal family and the Danish church sent a small army to assist Hereward.

The feudal system was based on giving land in return for service. William would give out land to his important noblemen (barons and bishops), in return for loyalty and soldiers.They would have to kneel before the king and swear on an oath with the words "Sire, I become your man". The nobles would give their land to the knights, who would then become their servants. The lowest spot of society belonged to the peastants who worked on the land itself. They had almost no rights and verry little land.

By Nadia


Presentation- I enjoyed your presentation today and your use of drama to explain history. Well done . Ms G