Stone castles were exceedingly costly and time-consuming to construct. If some motte-and-bailey castles could be built in less than a month, a medium-sized stone castle would have required at least five years, and a large-sized stone castle may have taken more than a decade.
They were also vulnerable to attack, since they had only weak spots where towers might be placed. A commander could therefore afford to use only one-third of his men during an assault, since the other two-thirds were protecting their comrades inside the fortress.
A stone castle was only as strong as its weakest part. If that part gave way, the rest was useless for defense purposes. The main problem with stone buildings is that they must be kept clean or they will deteriorate and need to be rebuilt or repaired. This is not difficult if you have enough stones but it can be extremely time-consuming if you don't. Damage caused by rain, wind, and snow requires constant maintenance. Stone is also very cold in winter and hot in summer; thus, it needs to be well insulated.
People began using concrete instead around 1900. It's much faster to build with, hardly ever needs painting, and doesn't get damaged by weather conditions. The only problem is that it must be maintained constantly or it will crumble away.
Modern skyscrapers are made of steel and glass.
Stone walls and towers replaced the timber defenses of motte and bailey castles. Because stone is more robust and resistant than wood, it became the chosen material for castle construction. Stone castles were higher and provided superior defense against attack, fire, and cold rainy weather. The new castles were also easier to defend - with only a few men on guard they could cover a wider area.
They also tended to be bigger and better equipped than their predecessors. A stone tower might have had no more than simple wooden buildings on its grounds, but inside it was a powerful fortress. The great stone keeps of Scotland's castles were used as royal residences and prisons. They also served as military headquarters during wars or rebellions.
The most famous Scottish castle built of stone is Castle Rock (or Caerphilly). It is one of the largest free-standing rock formations in Europe. Built between 1071 and 1137, it was originally called Caerdydd Fawr (great fortress) before being renamed after the British king who lived there at the time, Charles I.
It has been suggested that the first true stone castle was the fortress built by William the Conqueror at Hastings in 1066. However, because timber was used instead, this argument lacks credibility.
Castles often take two to ten years to construct. Let's take a look at a modern castle building project to study and comprehend medieval castle building procedures. First, the site would have been surveyed to determine where the best locations were for construction activities. Then, the survey results would have been used to plan the layout of the castle. The survey might also have indicated areas where soil tests should be done before any foundation work was started. Geologists would have been hired to find rock formations that could not be moved or destroyed for use as stone in the castle. They would have studied existing soils on the site and suggested ways to improve them for growing crops.
During the early stages of castle building, plans would have been modified according to what was found during excavations or surveys of the land. For example, if it was determined that the site had bedrock below ground level, the location might have been marked for the construction of foundations. As these activities went on, more detailed drawings would have been made so that workers knew exactly what they were supposed to be constructing.
Once the general layout and major features of the castle were decided, architects would have begun to design specific rooms or structures for the site.
In other cases, the conversion took a hundred years or more to complete. More ornate castles, depending on location, might take 3-6 years to erect. Welsh castles were often erected on steep crags and surrounded by a rock-cut trench. They generally had three levels: an entrance level, with defense mainly in form of deep trenches and ditches; an upper level, where rooms could be built for soldiers to defend; and a lower level, which was usually occupied by servants and storage.
The first castles in Wales were built around 1100 AD by the Norman invaders who came to claim territory in Europe. The castles were used as military strongholds and many of them still bear the scars from battles today. During battle, soldiers would jump into the moat to avoid being shot by their enemies. If they were very lucky, they might even make it out alive!
By the late 12th century, most of the castles were owned by the king or one of the major lords. They were used to protect people from local bandits and rebels who tried to overthrow the government. Although they were used as weapons against enemy armies, they also played a role in showing power between different countries. For example, Edward I of England captured several of his opponents' castles during his campaigns against them.
Over time, people started building their own houses instead of living in these dangerous relics from past generations.
The advantages and disadvantages of stone hold castles Stone keep castles had several benefits over the motte-and-bailey castles they replaced. They were unquestionably stronger defensive fortifications—until the late 12th and early 13th centuries, stone keep castles were virtually impenetrable. They could also be much larger: while the average size of a motte-and-bailey castle was about 100 feet across, that of a stone keep was nearly 200 feet.
Stone keeps were more difficult to capture than motte-and-bailey castles. A garrison in a stone keep would have been safer because it was harder for an attacker to scale the rock face of the fortress.
Finally, stone keep castles were popular in countries with limited resources for construction. There weren't as many opportunities as there were for merchants who wanted to erect large castles with lots of rooms and defenses.
In conclusion, stone keep castles were better protected and had more room for defenders than their predecessors. However, they were also bigger and more expensive to build than motte-and-bailey castles.
The motte and bailey fortress at Dover took only eight days to construct, according to William of Poitiers, William's chaplain. Was it conceivable to accomplish such a feat? Building castles back then was a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. The men working on the project would have had to cut down many trees, dig deep ditches, and raise up heavy stones before they could start building the curtain wall or the gatehouse.
In general, a motte and bailey fortress takes about one month to build. If the motte is about 20 feet across and 30 feet high, with the curtain wall 10 feet thick, then it should take about 30 men a day for 8 days to complete it. However, this doesn't account for breaks for meals or sleep, so the actual time may be less.
Building with stone instead of earth or wood gave builders a stronger structure that could withstand attacks from bows and arrows as well as siege weapons like catapults and battering rams. The word "motte" comes from French meaning "hill" while "bailey" comes from Old English meaning "open space around a castle." Together, they form a mound with an attached shelter for soldiers guarding a castle site.
Early castles were built by the military leaders of kingdoms or feudal lords who wanted protection for themselves and their families.