It seems I’ve just got started back on my gem and I have to stop for a week because I’m away teaching.
However, on a positive note, I’ve just completed another 12 feet. There were two castles in that 12 feet and I really enjoyed the process. Of course part of the process is to learn more of the history behind the images.
I follow the journey through my text books.
My information says………..
Motte and bailey castles’ principal design feature was, of course, defense and to this end, its greatest attribute, height. It was the Vikings of northern Europe, during the latter part of the first millennium, who were amongst the earliest warriors to apply this edge to their castle building. They were able to erect towering castles not only upon high ground but also in places offering no such natural advantage.
It could be said it was the Norman’s who finessed this art of castle building, the construction of such often regarded in terms of art. A castle was not to be considered purely in terms of its functionality. Indeed, some of the earliest records of motte and bailey type castles are to be found on the famous Bayeux Tapestry; castles at Bayeux, Dol, Rennes and Dinan each feature.
Functionality was key to the safekeeping of those inside. The construction of ditches and moats and the subsequent development of the motte presented a formidale challenge to opposing armies. Climbing the steep banks just to be met by a tall fence or pele with likely menacing objects or substances being dropped and thrown from above was hardly appealing. If indeed an army could mount such an assault after the bank had been properly soaked.
Arrows from afar were next to useless when attacking a motte and bailey. Simply put, from the higher vantage return fire had a greater range. However, the fight was rarely one-sided. Trebuchets and mangonels, great catapults, could present serious problems to the defenders, especially those firing flamed projectiles towards the often wooden castle and buildings. And fire wasn’t the greatest fear of the occupants of the motte and bailey castle, or for that matter, forts and castles from any period. Siege was an enduring worry for those within. At least, a large bailey would allow plenty room for storehouses.
British Motte and Bailey Castles
It was primarily William the Conqueror, following his invasion of 1066, who introduced the motte and bailey castle to the British Isles though evidence of earlier Norman examples can be found at the sites of Hereford Castle and Richard’s Castle, near Ludlow