Castles of Motte and Bailey Castles of Motte and Bailey The Normans erected the first medieval castles, the Motte and Bailiey castles, from the ground up. They were divided into two halves, as their name suggests: the Motte and the Bailey. The Motte was a huge earthen mound on which a wooden keep or lookout was erected. This was where soldiers could signal enemies approaching with torches or bells. The Bailey was a stone building where soldiers could hide or shoot arrows at intruders.
The first castles were made of wood, because there were no stones available in Europe at that time. But as kingdoms grew larger and rulers needed buildings to house officials and soldiers, they began to be constructed out of stone. By the 11th century, many castles all over England were built using stone instead of wood. These castles are known as "motte-and-bailey" castles because they had both a motte and bailey structure.
People usually think of knights in armor fighting each other on horseback when they think of castles, but that's not true for the most part. For one thing, horses were expensive and hard to come by so people didn't have them as often as they do today. People usually went about their business of farming or trading or whatever else they did before there were cars or trucks or trains to carry them around so they needed ways to protect themselves from harm when they were out in the world.
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. These new castles dominated European politics for several decades after their construction.
Not including the château de Jumièges which he never visited, William built five of the six main castles listed here. The only missing piece is the château de Caen which was never completed because of its proximity to Normandy's other large castle, the château d'Évreux.
In English, the word "motte" means "small hill." In French, the term refers to an unshaped pile of earth or rubble used as a foundation for a building. The term comes from the Anglo-Saxon words mōt meaning mound and bægil meaning small. Therefore, "motte-and-bailey" means little hill of rubble.
Following their invasion of England and Wales in 1066, the Normans introduced the design. Motte-and-bailey castles were popular in the 12th and 13th centuries in Scotland, Ireland, the Low Countries, and Denmark. Windsor Castle is an example of a motte-and-bailey castle in England. Its motte (mound) would have been constructed by piling earth and stones into a pyramid shape. The bailey was a cleared area around the mound on which a village or town would have stood.
Motte-and-bailey castles were also used in England during the 11th century but they were not as common then as they were later. They usually consisted of a small wooden tower on the edge of a wood where it met open land. There would have been some form of entrance for people to defend themselves from attack, such as a drawbridge or an open door. Sometimes there are traces of stone being used in construction methods which could be taken as evidence that a castle did exist there at one point. However, since no other buildings would have been present, this evidence should be treated with caution.
The last known motte-and-bailey castle in England was at Barlastona near Leeds. It was recorded as destroyed in 1540 by Henry VIII when he decided to build all his new castles out of stone instead.
In 979, the first motte-and-bailey fortress was erected in Vincy, Northern France. The Dukes of Anjou popularized the pattern during the next several decades. Following the success of similar structures in neighboring Anjou, William the Conqueror (then Duke of Normandy) proceeded to construct them on his Norman territories.
The word "motte" is derived from the French for "turf hill." A motte and bailey castle is a type of fortified house built around an artificial mound or motte. The motte serves as a protective tower while the surrounding earthen bank and fence serve as further defense. The entrance to the castle would have been through a postern gate located within the enceinte. Postern means "small gateway," and gat means "way out." In this case, the term refers to a small opening in a larger structure.
Bailey is a term used in England to describe an area of land surrounded by a ditch and bank. The word comes from old English baeilie meaning "field." In medieval times, there were often two baronial estates divided by a river or other body of water called a baileys. One estate would be on each side of the river except where bridges had been constructed. These bridge lords would maintain the crossings between their lands. They would also guard against invaders crossing into one of the barsonies from the other side of the river.
To begin with, the Normans erected motte and bailey castles. These castles were built quickly using only soil and wood. After William the Conqueror, the Norman commander, had firmly established his power in England, the Normans erected massive stone keep castles. These castles are known as "stone walls with towers at each corner." They were much more expensive to build than their earthy predecessors.
In conclusion, early English castles were made out of dirt and wood, but as time went on they became more stone-based. There were two types of castles: those for guarding large cities and counties (such as Dover) and those for protecting smaller towns and villages (such as Wallingford).