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By Marc Morris

Medieval Britain used to be ruled by means of its kings, and its kings ruled the land with their castles.

But what have been these castles? have been they fortresses? Palaces? Or symbols in their vendors strength, and in their correct to rule.

In this stimulating choice of articles and essays, the best-selling historian and broadcaster Marc Morris solutions these primary questions - and lots of extra.

He explores a few of Britain’s favorite castles, akin to Framlingham, Goodrich and chateau Acre, and the castle-building campaigns of well-known kings like William the Conqueror and Edward I. And he addresses matters comparable to the origins of the cult of St George, the altering function of the medieval English earl and the riddle of the Winchester around desk. articles – one on Edward I’s attractiveness, one other on Lanercost Priory – look right here for the 1st time.

Dr Marc Morris is a best-selling historian and broadcaster. In 2003 he offered the six-part television sequence fortress and wrote its accompanying ebook. His different books comprise a severely acclaimed biography of Edward I, a good and negative King, and an immense new heritage of The Norman Conquest

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For the main half they have been additionally outfitted to a typical layout – the recognized ‘motte and bailey’. The motte, a tremendous man made mound of earth surmounted by means of a wood tower, used to be the castle’s look-out and supreme position of defence; the adjoining bailey, an enclosure shaped by way of steep banks and ditches, housed the remainder of the castle’s structures. Pickering in Yorkshire presents a superb instance. after all, the unique wood partitions at such castles are actually long past yet, when you spot a motte, you will be definite it used to be erected early: definitely inside a century (and probably inside of a new release) of the Conquest itself. whereas such a lot early castles have been rapidly erected from earth and wooden, a tiny handful have been being equipped out of stone, and to a miles grander layout. as opposed to a motte, the richest castle-builders – the king and his maximum barons – erected mammoth stone towers (or retains, as they're also known as today). The earliest belong to the 11th century, yet commonly ‘the nice tower’ is a twelfth-century phenomenon. And phenomenon, because the recreated inside of Henry II’s nice Tower at Dover makes transparent, is a wholly acceptable notice, for those structures have been palaces, not anything much less. deciding on them is reasonably ordinary, due to their sheer measurement and bulk (Rochester in Kent, hovering to 113 toes, is the tallest such tower in Europe). The interval during which they have been outfitted implies that they express ‘Romanesque’ good points – glance out for semi-circular arches, chevron ornament and blind arcading (as at fortress emerging in Norfolk). maybe strangely, nice towers frequently demonstrate no seen army – few of them, for instance, have arrowloops – simply because in each one case they have been surrounded by means of defensible partitions that have usually (as at Orford in Suffolk) fullyyt vanished. these partitions, although, are the main to the subsequent huge improvement in fortress layout. round the yr 1200, nice towers fell out of favour – most likely simply because they have been considered as liable to new extra complicated different types of assault (the big catapults often called trebuchets). realization shifted to the fringe partitions, that have been now interrupted by means of towers. Early examples (such as Framlingham in Suffolk) favoured sq. towers, yet quickly the choice used to be for around ones (again, most likely simply because they have been believed to be stronger). while, additional care was once taken to safeguard the castle’s front by way of positioning a tower both sides of it, making a ‘twin-towered’ gatehouse. Such gatehouses, and around mural towers – those are the tell-tale symptoms that you're confronting a thirteenth-century citadel. Goodrich, close to the Welsh border in Herefordshire, offers a most appropriate instance. As we movement into the past due center a long time, determining a typical form of fort turns into almost very unlikely. opposite to well known trust, England at the present was once particularly peaceable; there has been no need to construct for defence and, for this reason, castles tended to turn into extra architecturally exuberant. sure protective good points aid with courting: definite indicators of a past due medieval construct are gunloops (as against arrowloops) and machicolation (masonry status proud round the most sensible of a tower).

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