A gatehouse is a form of fortified gateway, a building that serves as an entry control point for a town, religious house, castle, manor place, or other important fortified structure. The word comes from the Old French gatwehouse, which in turn comes from the Latin gatedium, meaning "doorpost". Thus, a gatehouse is a small fortress attached to a doorpost.
The gatehouse usually occupies an elevated position within the defenses of the fortification it serves. This allows the defender to monitor anyone approaching the main gate without being exposed themselves. It also gives the defender a clear view of anything happening on the adjacent street. If the gatehouse is located at the end of a long lane, it may have its own entrance blockaded by a portcullis or other barrier. Such gatehouses are often found at the beginning of a road leading into a city wall.
They can be very large structures, such as those at Château Gaillard in France or Hradčany (the Golden Gate) in Prague. Smaller gatehouses may be all that remain of a larger fortress. An example is the Peñón del Fraile in Cantabria, Spain, which was originally a large medieval castle but now only consists of the gatehouse and some walls.
A gatehouse is a fortified and well-built main entrance of a fortress. It frequently includes a guard house and/or dwelling quarters. Hall or GreatHall: The main structure within a castle's walls. It may be large enough to serve as a meeting place for members of the ruling family or council. A public hall would not be used for such purposes.
The word "gate" comes from the Old English gat, which originally meant "doorway." The term "gatehouse" first appeared around 1180. Today, people usually think of a castle as a fortified town on a hill, but at the time they were built many castles were only small towns with thick walls around them. They were set apart as safe places to live in dangerous times. Although there have been wars throughout history, it was not until the 13th century that war became an important factor in the development of castles. At this time, soldiers began to fight using heavy weapons including guns and cannons, which required more secure shelters for men injured or captured during battle.
During medieval times, most castles were made of stone or brick. Some were even made of wood, but these are considered rare today. Castles tended to be built near major cities or trade routes where they could protect their owners' interests. They usually had multiple floors with large rooms for defense and smaller ones for living.
A courtyard is an open space surrounded by a castle's curtain walls. Curtain Wall—The stone walls that encircle a fortress. The word "gate" comes from the Old English gat, meaning "doorway." Thus, a gatehouse is a small fortress built next to a large one for protection against attack from without or within.
Curtain Walls: These are the outermost walls of a castle. They may be made of stone or brick, but they must be high enough to provide defense against weapons of the time. The walls may have towers at each corner or just one at the rear (the keep). The term "curtain wall" came into use after the 11th century when stone became common instead of wood for building defenses.
Courtyard: A courtyard is a fenced area within a castle where people can go for exercise and relaxation. Some courtyards contain buildings such as gardens or kitchens that would not be suitable for soldiers to walk in unescorted. But otherwise, they serve mainly as places where soldiers can get out of the heat or cold outside by sitting in chairs or lying on mattresses during battle preparations or downtime.
A structure attached to or associated with a gate. It usually contains an officer's room and may have a watchman's tower or lantern.
Have a question about other terms you learned in class? Check out our glossary for more information!
The gatehouse was erected at the castle's weakest point to assist fortify its defenses. Battlements were positioned on the tops of castle walls. They were disconnected from the walls, allowing defenders to strike while still being protected by the wall.
During the Middle Ages, castles were built as the dwellings of kings and nobility to display their authority and riches. Castles were also strategic sites of escape and defense against intruders, as well as during local warfare or between countries.
The inside of the castle's gatehouse as seen from the battlements. It occupies one full side of the castle, as you can see. Large wooden doors within the gatehouse would have hindered any would-be attacker's path. In late Medieval castles, there was frequently additional line of defense in front of these doorways. There may have been portcullises or other mechanical devices that could be dropped to block an intruder's entrance.
In early Renaissance castles, the gatehouse became even more important because new weapons were developed that required stronger defenses to stop them. The gatekeeper's job was to open and close the gates when they were safe and allow people in and out of the castle. He or she also kept watch for intruders and sounded the alarm if needed.
These days, people often think of castle gates as being large openings with no security function on their own. But in fact, ancient castle gates were usually much more than that; they were highly fortified buildings with gun ports and sometimes living quarters. The word "gateway" comes from the Old English geatweg, which means "large opening in a fence or wall."
There are many different types of gates used in history. They can be divided up into four main categories: wooden, iron, stone, and moat/drawbridge. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. A good ruler should consider these factors when planning the defenses of his or her castle.
A courtyard house is a style of house—often a big house—in which the main body of the structure is built around a central courtyard. A courtyard house's main rooms frequently open into the courtyard, and the external walls may be windowless, semi-fortified, and/or encircled by a moat. The interior layout of the house is usually based on how many people will be living there at any given time.
Courtyard houses first came about as large country estates where it made sense to have a central area for people to meet and talk within the safety of a walled enclosure. As these houses grew in size they would often divide their courtyards into smaller areas using bollards (large stone or wooden posts) or columns. These small spaces could then be used for various purposes such as a garden, a mowing area, or even a slaughterhouse!
On larger houses, the courtyard can be quite an important part of the design and sometimes even has its own separate entrance. This is particularly common in Spain where many large noble families would live in large mansions set in gardens with a central core that was protected by ditches and walls.
The word "courtyard" comes from the French word "courtyard", which in turn comes from the Latin term "coeris", meaning "empty space outside the gate". In medieval cities, all public buildings had a courtyard, including churches, schools, and prisons.