Motte and bailey castles are a type of early fortress that emerged during the Norman invasion of England in the 11th century and swiftly expanded throughout Europe. The major characteristics of these castles are a keep erected on top of a small hill or earth mound (the motte) and a lower ring-shaped, earthen mound. The term comes from the French word for "little hill" or "mound": autre-. The first record of this type of castle being built in England is under King William I. Other names for a motte and bailey castle include island castle, earth castle, and hybrid castle because it combines elements of both an earthwork fortification and a stone castle.
The Flowering Judas is a medieval ballad about a princess who falls in love with a man she sees while hunting. When her father finds out about this love affair, he has the girl locked in a tower where she dies. This ballad was popular in England around 1550. It was set to music by Thomas Morley.
This anthem was written by George Wither in 1630.
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 mound with a courtyard enclosed by a fence made of timber or stone. The word "motte" is also used as a generic term for any small hilltop fortress throughout history. For example, "motte and bailey" castles can be found in England, France, Germany, and Poland. There are even some in North America!
A key element to understanding why motte and bailey castles were so effective is to realize that they were designed to be defensive in nature first and foremost. They were places where people could gather together for protection during times of war or danger. If we look at how people lived back then, it would have been difficult for them to quickly move away from danger if it came their way. So it makes sense that these castles were located near villages or towns where people could flee if need be.
Additionally, motte and bailey castles were easy to defend.
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, meaning "raised area". The term "bailey" comes from the Old English bæl, which means "field". In this context, therefore, it means an open area around a stronghold.
Motte-and-bailey castles were common in England during the 11th century. They were used by kings as a secure location outside the walls of cities such as York or London where they could be safely housed while their kingdoms were being built around them. These castles were also used as jails for prisoners waiting to be tried before a jury. Although there was no formal court system at this time, individuals who had been accused of crimes would usually have an opportunity to explain their case before a panel of local landowners and other citizens. If they were found guilty, they would be sentenced and then held in captivity until someone paid to have them released.
The keeps of motte-and-bailey castles were usually only one floor high, with rooms opening off a central corridor. There may have been an upper story containing more dormitory rooms for guards or prisoners.