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 schematic of a motte and bailey castle below depicts the essential characteristics of the castle. The Normans were the first to utilize the Motte and Bailey fortresses. They are similar in design to early Welsh castles but on a larger scale.
Mottes and baileys can be found all over Europe. They usually contain one or more towers, sometimes many as four or five. The word "motte" comes from the Old English for "turret," while "bailey" comes from the French for "courtyard." Together they form the basis of the modern term "fortress."
In the case of the castle below, the motte is about 30 feet high with walls about 18 inches thick at the base and 12 inches at the top. The bailey is about 80 feet wide and 40 feet deep.
The entrance to the bailey is through a postern gate that is raised when the castle is under attack to provide cover for defenders inside the bailey. This keeps enemy forces out while giving those within easy access to the animals and supplies in the stable area. A drawbridge also allows soldiers inside the bailey to close off the courtyard when not being used.
The castle is divided into two halves. A motte is a raised mound or earthwork with a stone or wooden keep on it. The term comes from the French word bâtir, meaning "to build."
Motte and Bailey castles were primarily used as defensive positions. They could be found anywhere there was need for security, such as on an estate or military post. These types of castles were popular in England during the 11th century.
These castles tended to have several towers or other defensive structures. The main entrance would usually be through a gate located on one of the curtain walls that surrounded most castles at that time. A curtain wall is a ring of protective stones set in mud or mortar, often covering an area much larger than the actual size of the castle. They may also have had a moat surrounding the entire castle complex.
These castles were built by wealthy individuals or small groups of people who wanted protection from others like themselves who might want to take their land. They often included living quarters within the walls of the castle. There might be a single room where guests could stay, but more commonly there would be separate buildings for men, women, and children. These shelters would be made of wood and would burn if attacked so they wouldn't harm the occupants.
A motte-and-bailey castle was made up of two parts: an observation tower and a living quarters. A stone keep castle was a single residence made of rocks that made it difficult to burn or attack, and it was surrounded by a moat.
These types of castles were used mainly in northern Europe but also in Asia and North America.
They were built after 1066 when William the Conqueror took control of England. He ordered that all of his new settlements have defensive structures so people would not attack them again! The people who lived near these settlements would work on them during their free time since they needed money to pay their taxes.
These defenders received land inside the protective walls of the castle for providing security to the king or other members of the government. They had to work the land themselves though because there was no army at this time that could fight for them. They also received food, shelter, and armor for fighting if needed.
The people who didn't get this protection had to pay a tax to be allowed to live within the new boundaries of the kingdom. If they refused to do this they would be killed by soldiers of William's army because he wanted people to stay in fear of him.
Buildings (or even small villages!) could be constructed on this bailey, which served as the center of domestic life within the castle and was encircled by palisade fencing for protection. The keep was the third (and most significant) defensive feature. Tamworth Castle's stone "shell" keep lies on a massive motte. The motte is a high mound of earth or stone that would have been visible for miles around.
Tamworth was one of the most important castles in the early years of English history. Built by William de Braose, it was one of the first castles to be erected after the Norman conquest. The original wooden fortress was replaced in 1088 by an impressive stone structure that remained until 1553 when it was destroyed by fire. Today all that remains are some ruins near the village of Tamworth, which only add to the mystery and allure of this incredible fortress.
Castle construction was very expensive at the time, so authorities tried to avoid having large numbers of soldiers stationed in single locations. This is why many castles had large areas where people lived close together but were protected by a wall from attacks from outside forces. These were called baileys and they made up the majority of many castles.
The people who lived inside these baileys were responsible for protecting their homes against any invaders, but they also had some interesting defenses right here at the castle itself.
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.
These castles were commonly used in northern England during the 11th century. They could be built quickly at a small cost because only dirt was needed for the motte and rock-hardened soil for the bailey. No timber was required and there was no need for skilled builders.
They provided good protection for people living within their walls because enemies had to attack one part of the fortress at a time - either the motte or the bailey. Once they took one element of the fortress they would find it difficult to take the other side uprisings after failures.
In addition, people living near mottes or in villages protected by them had nothing to fear from outsiders. These villagers knew that if anything bad happened to their neighbors it would be them who would have to fight off invaders.
Thus, the system worked like this: strangers stayed away because they knew they would be attacked if they did come to harm someone else's child. Neighbors helped each other out because if something bad happened to a neighbor then everyone would be affected. It was a way of protecting yourself without using violence.