The motte and bailey fortress at Dover took only eight days to construct, according to William of Poitiers, William's chaplain. Was such an accomplishment possible? Building castles back then was a laborious task. A motte and bailey fort would have required a large workforce over a long period of time. However, there are examples of smaller castles being built in a short amount of time by individuals or small groups. For example, the commander of a ship could build a motte and bailey fortress at a site near where their vessel was wrecked as a refuge during enemy attacks.
In conclusion, a motte and bailey fortress took about eight days to construct but could not be finished in a day. It required a large workforce over a long period of time.
A motte and bailey fortress built by William near Hampstead Marshall includes 22,000 tons of dirt, according to study. This took 50 men 80 days to build, thus using this as a reference, the motte at Dover would need to be completed in eight days by 500 men. This is probably not possible.
Motte-and-bailey Initially, most of William's castles were crude timber motte-and-bailey structures, but they were quickly rebuilt to exceedingly spectacular stone keep castles with the most recent Romanesque architecture. The earliest surviving stone keep is at Alnwick in Northumberland; it was built around 1180 by Henry II for his son William.
Why do we call them "mottes and baileys"? The name comes from the arrangement of buildings outside a castle wall. A motte is an elevated mound of earth used as a foundation for a fortress or stronghold. In this case, the mound was probably made of packed dirt or gravel held in place by wood or metal frames. The bailey is the open area surrounding the motte on which the castle would be built. This could be filled with houses or other buildings.
Who built the first stone castle for William? Perhaps someone else besides Haward fitz Herbert? There are several locations that may have been used as bases for building materials before they were brought to the chosen site. One such location may have been Barrow Bay Castle near Penrith in Cumbria. Built about 1180, this early Norman castle is almost 100 years older than Alnwick Castle.
The castle is built on a motte, or artificial mound, on which William the Conqueror constructed the original timber fortress between 1070 and 1086 AD. The motte stands fifty feet (15 metres) tall and is made of chalk dug from a surrounding trench, which later became a moat. The Round Tower and the old stone outside wall were built by Henry II. He also had the existing wooden fortress altered considerably- adding more arrowslits, higher walls, and other improvements. - during his reign (1154-1189).
Inside the keep are two rooms: the King's Chamber and the Queen's Room. The former is where kings and queens slept while they were visiting the castle. It is said that when Edward IV was staying there he had three of his most trusted men killed inside the room next door - probably because he did not want them to tell anyone about his affair with Elizabeth Woodville.
The latter room is where Elizabeth would have stayed when she visited her husband. It contains an altar front and back, as well as a window through which she could see her husband when he came to see her. - during their visits to each other's castles.
After the conquest the new king, William I, added more buildings to the site. He brought builders from Normandy to work on the project and completed it in 1088. Since then it has been home to several monarchs, including Henry III who lived here while he was waiting for Parliament to decide on a successor to Richard II.
In the mid-medieval period, motte-and-bailey castles became less common. They were not built in France until the beginning of the 12th century, and mottes were no longer created in much of England from roughly 1170, while they were still erected in Wales and in the Marches. Baileys were also rarely constructed after about 1180.
Why did motte-and-bailey castles stop being built? One reason may have been that farmers began to put down stone for their own defenses - especially if they were large landowners. The stone forage could be easily transported by wagon to a safe distance from home, where it would be used to build walls or defensive towers.
Another reason may have been that soldiers at these kinds of castles began to use firearms. The first guns had been invented around 1350, but they were expensive and not very accurate. It took time for people to learn how to shoot them well. Soldiers at castles without their own artillery could be useful - especially if they were powerful nobles who could protect their servants from attack. But if they were present at castles where shooters were allowed, they might cause more problems than they solved. If they shot too many people outside the castle walls, they could end up with no allies when it came time to fight for your own land.