Castles of England



                                   OUTLINE



      Introduction to castles..3


      Castles of England....5


32 Dover...5


33 Warwick..6


34 Leeds...8


      Medieval siege10


      Castles with ghosts.....12



                           INTRODUCTION TO CASTLES


       Britain is strewn with ruins of castles, rubble  from  the  centuries
of her existence. Castles are  tangible  relics  of  a  remarkable  past,  a
lengthy heritage etched in stone, as well as with the  blood  and  sweat  of
those who built, labored, fought, and died in their shadow.  Ruins  stir  up
in us a profound awareness of those past lives. Castles have a  timelessness
that is awe-inspiring. That they have endured centuries of warfare  and  the
effects of weather is a testimony to  the  creativity  and  power  of  their
medieval owners. How many of us will have such long-lasting success?


       As with gardens castles have  had  innumerable  books  written  about
them quoting design, styles, ages and so on. I think that one or  two  notes
are  helpful  in  distinguishing  the  various   types   and   the   logical
development.

The castles that we use as our standard are those  built  between  the  11th
and 16th centuries in Great Britain and Northern Europe. The English  castle
whose design was imported from Normandy following  the  Norman  invasion  of
1066 was essentially defensive. The Normans had to hold down  a  belligerent
conquered people and their way was to build a network  of  castles.  William
the Conqueror has a ring established  around  London,  including  Rochester,
Windsor and Berkampstead. These in conjunction with the Tower  of  London  -
the White Tower then - acted as a screen around the capital.


        As it was said these castles were  essentially  defensive,  designed
to protect the Norman families who were granted the land  by  William.  They
originally consisted of a mound of earth thrown up with a  tower  or  'keep'
on top, possibly surrounded by a palisade around  the  bottom  and  in  turn
frequently surrounded by a moat. The  palisade  contained  the  bailey.  The
keep was not living quarters normally but a last line of defense in case  of
attack and the main living  area  was  the  bailey  where  the  Lord  had  a
comfortable hall and where there were houses for his soldiers and  retainers
and their  families,  stables  for  the  animals  as  well  as  the  various
necessary service buildings, blacksmith,  farrier,  armourer,  etc.  In  the
case of sustained attack the whole countryside include villagers  and  their
beasts could be taken into the bailey for protection and in  dire  necessity
the whole would be withdrawn into the keep.

        Originally because of the urgency needed to get them  erected  these
structures were of wood but, as they were vulnerable  to  fire,  quite  soon
the King insisted that they be built of stone. One of  the  first  of  these
was the White Tower in the  center  of  the  Tower  of  London.  These  more
substantial buildings soon became home to the Lord and his retainers. It  is
an axiom of military design that each improvement in design creates its  own
destruction as the attacker soon learns to overcome the  latest  technology.
Thus castle building became a never ending program  of  updating  to  create
defensive protection. The keep had its own curtain  wall  with  watchtowers.
These were originally built square but it was soon found that  it  was  easy
for an  attacker  to  use  the  square  shape  to  protect  himself  against
defenders and also undermine the corners of the tower.  A  corner  would  be
undermined and the whole area filled with wooden props to support  it.  Then
pigskins filled with oil and fat would be placed in the cavity and  ignited.
As the flames destroyed the props so the tower crumbled. An example of  this
can be seen at Rochester where the undermining of one  square  corner  tower
is quite clear before it was rebuilt as round tower.
       Castle building grew apace and it became  necessary  to  protect  the
original curtain wall with its own wall  culminating  in  castles  like  the
Tower of London where there are several  concentric  rings.  England  became
more settled and by the middle of the  fifteenth  century  in  Southern  and
Middle  England  except  for  the  King  and  powerful  barons  the  smaller
landowner  had  found  that  a  more  peaceful  country  made   the   castle
unnecessary. He had had found the castle drafty, cold and uncomfortable  and
created 'fortified manor house'. This still had  strong  walls  for  defense
but also had larger windows and more doors while the interior was  of  wood,
rather than stone, to make the  whole  warmer  and  a  less  confrontational
design. From then on we get  the  development  of  the  'stately  home'  and
palace without any defensive capabilities and from these  in  turn  produced
the great Tudor mansions of which Hatfield House  and  Penshurst  Place  are
typical and in which defense has no part. Peace  was  now  assumed  and  the
history of English castle building reached its end.

        In the north of England it was not so easy and until  the  reign  of
Henry VIII there were still border attacks. The castles remained strong  and
well defended until well into the sixteenth century. Thus  for  hundreds  of
years the Duke of Northumberland remained influential  as  much  because  of
the soldiers he could muster as his personality.



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|CASTLES OF ENGLAND                                                   |
|Dover                                                                |
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|[pic]                                                                |
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|Location: Kent                                                       |
|When William the Conqueror defeated Harold II at Hastings he headed  |
|towards Dover where the Angle-Saxons had already raised a burh.      |
|William improved this fortification by erecting a motte-and-bailey.  |
|Dover Castle has the most massive tower in Britain, an almost        |
|100-foot cube with walls from seventeen to twenty-one feet thick. In |
|1216 the castle was besieged by Louis, son of the French king but    |
|saved when Louis returned to France.                                 |
|Overlooking Dover Harbour, the shortest sea-route to the Continent it|
|barred the way of anybody trying to invade England. Early in the 19th|
|century Napoleon stood opposite on the cliffs of Calais and through  |
|his telescope surveyed Dover. With the British navy controlling the  |
|seas and the steep cliffs beneath the castle he decided against an   |
|invasion of England, immediately turned round and invaded Russia     |
|instead. Hitler followed the same pattern and again after            |
|contemplating the problem decided to invade Russia instead. Beneath  |
|the castle are the secret wartime passages where the evacuation of   |
|Dunkirk and the Channel sea battle was controlled.                   |
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|Warwick Castle                                                       |
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|[pic]                                                                |
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|Location: Warwick Country                                            |
|Warwick Castle was founded in 1068 and was rebuilt and updated a     |
|number of times. Today it combines castle ruins, largely of the      |
|fourteenth century with one of the finest great houses in England.   |
|Two small projecting towers, which date to the late fifteenth century|
|are said to have built as artillery platforms. Warwick Castle rises  |
|like a precipice above the River Avon. On this natural cliff William |
|I founded a motte castle in 1068, on lands seized from a nearby Saxon|
|convent. A wooden tower built on the motte was evidently still there |
|in the reign of Henry II, by which time a polygonal shell enclosure  |
|had been raised round the motte top. Only fragments of the shell     |
|enclosure now remain, incorporated in the rebuilt shell, which is of |
|much later date.                                                     |
|Late in the fourteenth century, by which time some additional        |
|buildings such as the great hall and residential blocks had been put |
|up in the bailey, the castle passed to Earl Beauchamp who initiated a|
|fresh programme of works. These were substantially what can be seen  |
|today. They included restructuring the great hall and a range of     |
|other buildings on the south-east, a water-gate, and on the west     |
|front a high and stout defensive curtain leading from a gatehouse to |
|a very tall polygonal tower, known as Guy's Tower, which is 39.4     |
|metres tall. The gatehouse is a remarkable building: a pair of towers|
|above the doorway passage, which had portcullises and murder-holes.  |
|Projecting from the east side of the gatehouse is a tall rectangular |
|building leading to another tower.                                   |
|This latter tower is 45.2 meters tall and capped by a two-fold system|
|of battlements with machicolation all round below the battlements. It|
|is called Caesar's Tower. The three main storeys in the tower are    |
|each vaulted, and have stone fireplaces.                             |
|The castle is completed by curtain walling and further, much smaller,|
|flanking towers. The wall at the west leads up the motte to the      |
|restored shell enclosure and down again southwards to the south      |
|range. The whole is thus a powerfully defended enclosure             |
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|Leeds Castle                                                         |
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|[pic]                                                                |
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|Location: Kent                                                       |
|Leeds Castle, acclaimed as the most romantic castle in England, is   |
|located  in south-east England, built on two adjacent island in the  |
|river Len.                                                           |
|Leeds Castle was originally a manor of the Saxon royal family        |
|possibly as early as the reign of Ethelbert IV ( 856-860). The first |
|castle was an earthwork enclosure whose wooden palisade was converted|
|to stone and provided with two towers along the perimeter. This is   |
|now vanished. Traces of arches in a vault thought to be Norman were  |
|found at the beginning of this century.                              |
|Around 1119 Robert Crevecoeur started to build a stone castle on the |
|site, establishing his donjon where the Gloriette now is. Stephen,   |
|Count of Blois, and his cousin the Empress Matilda contested the     |
|crown of England. In 1139 Matilda invaded England with the help of   |
|his brother Robert, Earl of Gloucester, who held Leeds castle, but   |
|Kent was loyal to king Stephen and following a short siege he took   |
|control of the castle.                                               |
|The castle came into the possession of Edward I (1278) . He rebuilt  |
|much of the castle as it stood at the beginning of his reign, and    |
|enlarged it, providing an outer stone curtain round the edge of the  |
|larger island, with cylindrical open-backed  flanking towers and a   |
|square-plan water-gate on the south-east. The gatehouse at the       |
|south-west, a single tower pierced by an arched passage was improved.|
|Later on, King Edward, the Confessor granted the manor to the        |
|powerful house of Godwin.                                            |
|Henry VIII, the most famous of all the owners of Leeds Castles,      |
|expended large sums in enlarging and beautifying the whole range of  |
|                                                                     |
|buildings. At the same time, he carefully retained the defenses of   |
|the castle for he often had cause to fear invasion from either France|
|or the Spanish . The king entrusted the work of alteration to his    |
|great friend Sir Henry Guidford.                                     |
|Leeds has been constantly inhabited and rebuilt since then. Most of  |
|the castle today is the result of the nineteenth-century             |
|reconstruction and addition. In 1926 Leeds was bought by the Hon.    |
|Mrs. Wilson-Filmer, known as Lady Baillie. Immediately she began the |
|restoration of the castle that took her over 30 years to leave it as |
|it stands today.                                                     |
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|MEDIEVAL SIEGE                                                       |
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|There are many myths and legends surrounding castle sieges. Knights  |
|in shining armor riding up to the castle, doing hand to hand combat. |
|Or maybe hundreds of guards streaming out of the castles to meet     |
|their enemy. None of this is true, except in fairy tales and movies. |
|                                                                     |
|Most of the time, the attacking force would send a messenger to the  |
|lord of the castle and give notice of their intentions to attack.    |
|This notice allowed the castle to surrender. Sometimes the lord      |
|surrendered, but most often the castle was restocked and made ready  |
|for the siege. They would restock themselves with food, supplies and |
|drink, and add men to the garrison.                                  |
|There were three ways to take a castle. The first is not to attack   |
|the castle at all - just avoid the castle altogether and seize the   |
|lands around it. The second is direct assault, or laying siege to the|
|castle. The last is besieging.                                       |
|Here is an account of a siege. Stone throwing mangonels attack the   |
|towers and walls every day. The walls of the castles would hopefully |
|be breached, and towers damaged. The enemy erects wooden towers      |
|called belfries, taller than the castle towers, to conceal and enable|
|bow men to shoot arrows down into the castle. While this is going on,|
|miners would be tunneling under the walls and towers of the castle in|
|preparation to collapse them.                                        |
|To counter the mining, anti-mining tunnels could be dug by the castle|
|soldiers, which insured a ferocious hand-to-hand battle underground. |
|Inside the castle, the guards would place a pot of water near the    |
|castle towers and walls. When the water rippled, they would know     |
|enemy miners were at work underneath them.                           |
|The barbican is next assaulted and taken, with a loss of men on both |
|sides. Then the bailey is attacked, and more men killed. Animals and |
|some supplies would be captured. The auxiliary buildings containing  |
|hay and grain for the castle are burned. By now, miners have         |
|succeeded in collapsing a wall of the castle. The attackers have     |
|broken through and seized the inner bailey. More men on both sides   |
|would be lost in this phase of the attack.                           |
|By this time, the castle defenders would have retreated to the keep. |
|Miners would now be setting fire to the mine tunnel under the keep.  |
|The                                                                  |
|keep. Smoke and fire are rising into the keep, and cracks appearing  |
|in the thick walls. The defenders of the castle are forced to        |
|surrender as the castle falls to the enemy.                          |
|The third method, called besieging, would require the enemy to wait  |
|and starve the castle garrison into surrender. This method was       |
|preferred by an attacking side. Some sieges of this type would last  |
|from six months to a year. Sometimes, the enemy would hurl dead      |
|animals into the castle grounds in hopes of spreading diseases. And, |
|sometimes the lord of the castle would toss dead animals outside his |
|castle, to convince the enemy they had enough supplies to carry on a |
|siege for months.                                                    |
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|CASTLES  WITH  GHOSTS                                                |
|What story would be complete without a haunted castle. Here is  some |
|of the castles that are reportedly haunted in England.               |
|Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon Said to be haunted by the daughter of a  |
|wicked baron who, as a consequence of an enforced relationship with  |
|her father, bore him a child, which he strangled.                    |
|Dover Castle, Kent  Dover Castle is associated with         numerous |
|ghosts and strange sounds. In the King's bedroom, the lower half of a|
|man has been seen walking through the doorway. The specter of a woman|
|dressed in a red dress has been seen at the west stairway of the     |
|keep. The sounds of a creaking doorway opening and closing where a   |
|door used to be, but isn't anymore, have been heard.                 |
|Featherstone Castle, Northumberland The castle is associated with a  |
|ghostly bridal party. Baron Featherstonehaugh had arranged for his   |
|daughter to marry a relative of his choice, even though the daughter |
|was in love with someone else. The wedding party left for the        |
|"traditional hunt" after the wedding, leaving the baron behind to    |
|make arrangements for the banquet. When the party failed to return by|
|midnight, the baron began to fear the worst. Sitting alone at the    |
|table, he heard horses crossing the drawbridge. The door opened and  |
|the party entered. But, they made no sound and passed through        |
|furniture. The wedding party had been ambushed and killed. On the    |
|anniversary of the wedding, the party can still be seen heading      |
|towards the castle. .                                                |
|Lowther Castle, Cumbria  Haunted by Sir James Lowther. He was very   |
|unhappy with a prearranged marriage, and fell in love with a farmer's|
|daughter. When she suddenly grew ill and died, Sir James refused to  |
|believe she was dead and left her on the bed. She was finally moved  |
|and placed in a coffin with a glass lid, which he set in a cupboard  |
|where he could look at her. She was finally buried, and Sir James    |
|died unloved and unmourned. At his funeral his coffin began to sway  |
|as it was lowered into the ground. His spectral coach and ungroomed  |
|horses can be seen being driven through the parklands of the castle. |
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|Tower of London In 1816, a guard saw what he described afterwards as |
|"a shadowy bear walking up the stairs in the twilight." He lunged at |
|it with his bayonet, which shattered against the wall. The ghostly   |
|presence walked on unaffected and the guard, having told his unlikely|
|story to others, died of shock a few days later.                     |
|Windsor Castle, Berkshire Queen Elizabeth I's ghost has been seen in |
|the library. A young guard shot and killed himself and another guard |
|on duty saw him afterwards.                                          |
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                                   SOURSES



   1. www.castles.org
   2. www.castles-of-britain.com
   3. www.castlesofengland.com
   4. www.heartofeurope.com