Stone Castles: How could the enemy get in?

What was a siege tower?
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It is a large tower that is protected by animal skin. It is a tall tree tower with weels on.The attackers can climb up and just walk in to the castle.You put it next to a tower.

Comment : What if they catched on fire?

What is a siege?
A siege is when a group were defending a castle and a nother group was attacking the castle.A Siege often involved the people in the castle being starved out.The attackers surround the castle with soilders, so nothing can come in or out from the Castle, the soilders just wait until the people inside the castle that was defending was starved out, when the people in the castle was dieing the soilders from outside attacked them.

A very famous siege is called the Troy Siege.
A siege has happend through history, World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War,The Vietnam War and all the other wars back in history you know about.

The Harrying of North:
Was a big series of campaigns made by William the Conqueror. King William's 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 he would not accept any resistance.

How did special weapons help and attacking army get into a castle?
One of special weapons are called catapult. It is good because it is fast enough and strong enough to knock down a hole into the castle.
These are also some special weapons which helped to attack a castle.

1.A Scaling ladderexternal image xin_00070221101014179149.jpg

2.A Scaling tower
3.A Scaling tower with a battering ram attached
4.A Long bow
5.Latrine shaft (The attacker tried to go in but many of them get stuck)
l-machine used to fire rocks at the castle
7. Greek fires: a mixture of tar, oil and sulphur which could not be put out with water. Only urine could put the fire out!
8. Archers: a skilled archer could fire an arrow over 200 meters, or even straight through the arrow slits in castles walls.
9. Sappers: specialist soldiers who could fill in a moat with logs, stones or soil. Also they could dig under a wall or tower and collapse it. The wooden cover they hid under was called a tortoise.
10. Battering ram: a tree trunk hanging on a wooden frame, protected by an animal skin roof.
11. Trebouchet: could fire rocks or quicklime. Sometimes rotting animal corpses were even fired into the castle.

Instead of trying to knock the walls down, starving the men inside until they surrendered was common way of taking over a castle, they killed all people coming with food. However, the enemy want to waste time doing that. The barons had enough food and water to hold out for weeks, maybe months. To save time, the enemy in instructed his army to defeat use special weapons and tricks to get in and defeat the rebel barons.

In 1166 a young knight and his soldiers were trying to attack Ludlow castle. He saw a lady at one of the windows and managed to persuade her to let him in. He put his ladder against the wall and climbed through the high window, but he left his ladder there and didn’t push it away as he had promised the lady he would. Soon his entire army of soldiers got in through the window and took over the castle. But it didn’t all go well for the untrustworthy knight. The lady, so mad that he had broken his promise to her, stabbed him to death in a fit of rage.

Sarah and Anna!!!!!!!!!!

King William said all the land belonged to him but of course he didn’t need all the land, so he lended it out to the barons who lended to knights who lended it to the Viliens, in return for their loyalty.
King William didn’t give his barons their land all in the same place-he carefully dotted it around England. He did this to make it difficult for the barons to build up large armies in the same area. If they became too powerful, he feared they might rebel against him.
Most of the people he gave the land to had helped him in the Battle of Hastings. He was rewarding them for helping him. A villein’s was very tough. He could never leave the lord’s land and he had to pay for practically everything. He paid to use the lord’s mill, his oven and his brew house. He paid when his son was born and when his daughter got married. Even when he died, the lord was allowed to take his best animal.

Some villeins ran away, but their families were fined if they did. If the villain was caught he would be punished too. He might be lucky and avoid capture for year and a day, and then he would be a freeman. The only other way of becoming a freeman was to ask the lord if you could buy your freedom.

Sarah and Anna!!!!!!

Your castle is under siege!

One person is to take the role of the attacker. Think about what tricks and weapons you could use to get in. The other person is to take the role of baron, defending his castle. Think about what defenses you would use to keep them out.


If i were to attack the castle, i would fire flaming arrows to kill all the guards at the towers,as well as a few civillians living in the castle. Then i would send my pikemen together with a battering ram to destroy the doors. While this is occupeing the defences, i would drive the Trebouchet up to the castle together with the Mongonel to fire quicklime together with huge burning boulders. While this is happening, i would send some scouts with a tourtouse shield to pour greek fire with quicklime around the castle walls to collaps towers and keep anyone from fleeing. Then finally, i would send up siege towers with my pikemen hold greek fire jars to throw at any opposing enemies while sending spears at any one who would try to flee. Then to destroy the castle, i would send my scouts with greek fire jars together with any spared quicklime that they had saved and hidden within their cover, to cover the battering ram with quicklime and throw greek fire at the doors to burn it down they i would send my pikemen into raid the treasures of the castle and when they had taken everything, i would have the rest of my army blow a hole in the back of the castle so they could leave victorous.


1. Examine ways in which William established control:
  • the 'harrying of the North' - the use of terror and destruction to overawe the Saxons;
  • the resistance of Hereward the Wake and the role of the monks of Ely in his betrayal to the Normans;
  • the feudal system - the distribution by William of conquered land to his barons in return for military service;
Keep- the safest and highest part of the castle

  • Motte- is a big wooden fence that is usally 15m
  • Wooden Brigh- this comes from the Baily to the Motte
  • Baily- a large yard where people live eat and seep
  • Palisade- wooden fence pretecting the Baily
  • Gateway and drawbrigh-the door to get to the Baily with soldiers guarding it

2. How did William's actions make his position more secure?

Presentation- Your group gave a simple, clear explanation of the weapons used to attack a castle.
Well done. Ms G.