The bailey was a walled courtyard above the motte and bordered by a barrier and another ditch. The bailey was commonly kidney-shaped to fit against a circular motte, although it could be created in any shape depending on the topography. Castles built before 1066 have records of ditches around their perimeters, but these may have been for defense rather than design.
Motte castles are usually much smaller than their bailey-based counterparts and are found mainly in England and Wales. They are also called Iron Age hill forts because they used to be made out of iron ore, which turned into rock when exposed to air and water. Today, only Gough's Hill in West Sussex remains from this period.
Motte-and-bailey castles like those at Canterbury and Dover were constructed by linking several small towers with walls that enclosed an area of land. This type of castle was common during the Early English Period (11th century). Cannington Castle in Somerset is an example of a motte-and-bailey castle.
Castles changed over time: some became churches, others lefty ruins. Some were destroyed by enemies while others were taken over by new owners. But one thing always remained the same: the need for protection.
A motte-and-bailey castle is a fortress consisting of a wooden or stone keep located on an elevated portion of ground known as a motte, accompanied by a walled courtyard, or bailey, encircled by a defensive ditch and palisade. The word "motte" comes from the Old English mōd, which means "raised area". The term "bailey" comes from the Old English bæl, which means "field". In modern usage, the words "motte" and "bailey" have become generic terms for any type of fortified house built in Europe during the Early Middle Ages.
Motte and Bailey castles were common throughout much of England and Wales. They could be small outposts used as lookouts or guarding stations, or large fortified houses with multiple courtyards inside the main walls. These castles were often built by wealthy landowners who needed protection from outlaws and raiders in the early medieval era. Some historians believe that they may also have been used as political prisons during this time.
These castles usually consisted of a central tower or donjon (which was usually larger than most other buildings on the site) surrounded by a wall with protective towers at each corner and another within the wall itself. There would also be a gatehouse near the entrance to the bailey where guards could patrol the grounds and open and close the gates as necessary.
Motte and bailey castles were a form of early fortification. A yard, or bailey, was erected adjacent to an earth mound, or motte, with a tower or watchtower on top. Stables, a hall, workshops, a spring, and a church were all common features of a bailey. The motte and bailey were encircled by a ditch and secured by a palisade barrier.
The word "motte" comes from the Old English for "hillock". The term "bailey" comes from the Old English for "bench". Thus, a motte and bailey castle is one built on top of an earthen hill or mote.
These castles were commonly used in England between 1066 and 1150. They replaced wooden towers upon which people had begun to rely too much during the Norman invasion. Before the arrival of the Normans, Anglo-Saxons had been building their own defense systems without any help from outside sources. But after the conquest, they felt the need for more secure places to live and work so they constructed these new types of castles.
A motte and bailey castle was easy to defend because anyone who approached it had to climb up the motte first. If the enemy managed to get over the wall and into the bailey, then they would be safe from attack until they found some way up the motte. However, if they tried to attack the motte first, then it could be defended easily by someone stationed inside the tower.
The castle is divided into two halves. A motte is a raised mound or earthwork with a stone or wooden keep on it. A keep is a fortified tower of some type. The bailey is an enclosed courtyard secured by a ditch and a palisade, which is a wooden stake wall. The term "bailey" comes from the Old English word for a protective enclosure or yard.
Motte and Bailey castles were primarily used as defensive positions against invasion. They could also be used to store food and supplies in case of siege. These types of castles were popular in England from about 1150 to 1350. After that time, they began to be replaced by more modern designs.
Motte and Bailey castles have mounds that are usually about 0.5-1.5 meters (1.6-4.9 feet) high. The mounds serve multiple purposes including defense, storage, and aesthetics. An attacker would not want to attack a castle unless they knew what was behind it so the mounds help prevent attacks on unoccupied castles.
These types of castles rely heavily on their physical defenses to provide security. The mounds can offer limited protection if someone wants to attack from the front or back but they can't do much if an enemy manages to get past those defenses.
The keeps of Motte and Bailey castles can only protect its occupants from attacks from the front.