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Questions tagged [castles]

For questions on castles, a type of fortified structures common in Medieval Europe, and analogous fortifications found elsewhere in the world.

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What percentage of Himeji castle keep remains original...?

Recently I've visited the castle in Matsue, acknowledged as one of twelve remaining Japanese castles with their original keep preserved. There I've learnt that during the Shōwa period it went through ...
Presto's user avatar
  • 131
1 vote
0 answers
86 views

In the siege of Osaka, how long did Osaka Castle burn?

I've heard that Osaka castle was burned, and I was curious: How long would it take for a structure like this to burn down? I haven't been able to find any records that say how long Osaka Castle ...
Monty Wild's user avatar
18 votes
1 answer
4k views

Are there any medieval manuals relating to castle building?

I'm doing research on the medieval castle, specifically what was required to build one. I'm particularly interested in learning about this from a medieval perspective, so I wondered if there are any ...
Kebab's user avatar
  • 181
-1 votes
3 answers
160 views

What are some examples that show medieval stone construction on top of older foundations?

Are there any more blatant examples that show new construction or repairs on older construction? Buildings like castles or walls With visible differences between the two construction eras? For example ...
aah123's user avatar
  • 71
7 votes
1 answer
355 views

Did besiegers ever come up through the latrine?

About seven minuets into this video he explains about the latrine in the castle and how it would be blocked up during a siege to keep people out. Is the historian correct in saying this? I was ...
Lorry Laurence mcLarry's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
289 views

How did castles with large moats obtain protected drinking water?

Clarification: I expect that many different options were realised, so as long as you have one historical example of your solution, it is a valid answer for me. Background: I recall that a major effort ...
Ludi's user avatar
  • 2,630
-1 votes
2 answers
523 views

Why did armies meet on the battlefield, and how often did they? (medieval times) [closed]

A common criticism I hear of fiction set in medieval-esque worlds is that it makes no sense for the defending army to leave the fortifications in order to meet the attacking army on the battlefield. ...
user110391's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
98 views

How did the Palace of Poitiers change from its depiction in Tres Riches Heures to now?

They seem completely different so I'm really confused how they could be the same structure.Is there anything left of what was depicted in the manuscript? Tres Riches Heures Now (sorry couldn't find ...
aah123's user avatar
  • 71
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

How were siege ladders used to attack medieval castle walls?

It's a common trope in both movies and computer games that ladders are used to climb walls when assaulting a castle. But in each case it seems like it would be incredibly easy to defend - it appears ...
komodosp's user avatar
  • 920
36 votes
2 answers
6k views

How were drawbridges and portcullises used tactically?

How were drawbridges and portcullises used tactically? I was recently asked why medieval castles would have both a drawbridge and a portcullis. After giving an explanation, I realized that it was just ...
ConanTheGerbil's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
303 views

What was the purpose of rounded sills in Medieval castles?

At the Saranta Kolones Castle, or Forty Columns Castle, in Paphos, Cyprus, there are several door (gate?) sills which are rounded in the direction of travel, i.e. the edges of the sill that are ...
gktscrk's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Who was Mathilda von Merckens and which was her castle?

I am reading “The Magic Lantern”, the autobiography of Ingmar Bergman. In it, he describes a castle of a musicians' patron: Every summer before the war [World war II], they were invited close to ...
rumtscho's user avatar
  • 989
6 votes
0 answers
204 views

Has the 'indefensible-castles-for-nobles-to-discuss-but-peasants-to-gape-at' theory been proposed for Continental Western Europe?

I did try and make the title shorter but I didn't really know how to describe this as "the Liddiard and Morris theory" wouldn't make sense to many people. If someone can word it neater then ...
gktscrk's user avatar
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24 votes
3 answers
7k views

How expensive were castles? And how were the costs distributed?

In, Castles, Battles, Bombs: How Economics Explained Military History, I came across this passage : "The cost lay mostly in direct labor cost, as most labor had to be paid. (In contrast, raw material ...
Pulse Reborn's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
846 views

How did (riverine) toll castles operate?

Toll Castle A toll castle (WP) was a castle built either on a river, lake, or road intended to guard that trade route: Such castles were usually placed at strategic locations, such as border ...
gktscrk's user avatar
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35 votes
4 answers
11k views

How were medieval castles built in swamps or marshes without draining them?

By this, I mean a castle built without terraforming or draining the swamp; a castle that was built while keeping the swamp intact. Inspired by Monty Python Since apparently, castles built in marshes ...
Li Jun's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
3k views

Did every medieval village in Europe have a manor, castle, or other type of lord's residence?

I know that some villages were the sole and only property of certain minor lords or knights. Such villages surely had a manor (or even a castle) where the lord lives. On the other hand, many lords ...
Anas Albakri's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
537 views

Can someone help me identify this coin?

Here are the obverse and reverse sides of the coin. I have tried websites and coin identification apps but no luck. It was dropped into the tip jar at my job and it doesnt look like any coin I've ever ...
Alexandra Anderson's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
569 views

What was the place of a catapult in a formation

My question is where would you usually keep a catapult on a battlefield. It feels as if you shouldn't keep it in the rear back of the army since it won't reach the target, and also you want to have as ...
Starseeker's user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
2k views

What's the point of fortified castles inside fortified cities?

In the Middle Ages, people built highly fortified castles for royalty inside cities that were already fortified by walls. What was the reasoning behind that? Were they made to protect royal families ...
Ivan Yurchenko's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
364 views

What were the grooves in the side of the walls at the rear entrance of Harlech and Beaumaris gatehouses for?

The back of Harlech and Beaumaris castle gatehouses seem to have grooves in the side of the wall for a portcullis, but there is no groove above so if there was one was there it could not be raised. ...
AshRubigo's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
413 views

Did German Princes during the Protestant Reformation often live in castles?

I'm writing a short story based on Snow White. My research tells me the story took place during the late 16th century. The timeline of my story coincides with the Protestant Reformation. I am ...
Nolan's user avatar
  • 31
1 vote
0 answers
2k views

Were there corridors inside the curtain wall of medieval castles?

I've seen this in movies or cartoons sometimes, that they are waling around inside the curtain wall, but hollowing out the curtain wall with a hallway seems like it would lover the structural ...
Kristoffer Helander's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
412 views

Why was Ormond Castle in Scotland so called?

There was a castle in Scotland known as Ormond Castle which had existed since at least the beginning of the 13th century. It sat upon Ormond hill in the Black Isle. Why was it called Ormond Castle? ...
Charlie's user avatar
  • 2,989
3 votes
2 answers
855 views

Was an adobe fort or a palisade fort more defensible?

All else equal, when these types of forts were in use, was an adobe fort or a palisade fort more defensible? A bit of what-if led to this question. Russians ostrogs such as Nizhnekamchatsk and Fort ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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96 votes
4 answers
30k views

Why were old fortifications shaped like stars and not like circles?

The fortifications of Copenhagen, Fredericia and Acre are star-shaped. (Defense of Copenhagen is shown in the picture below.) Why not have defenses or fortifications in the shape of a pure square or ...
Ole Petersen's user avatar
  • 1,883
1 vote
2 answers
1k views

What happened to people who lived outside a castle when the castle was under siege? [closed]

It seems to me that if a ruler let in too few ppl, s/he wouldn't have much to rule after the siege, and if s/he let in too many s/he wouldn't have much chance of outlasting it. What happened to ...
Hal's user avatar
  • 121
2 votes
0 answers
119 views

Modelling Bridgnorth Castle, England

I am building a 1:60 model of the English Bridgnorth Castle. The tower ruin (which leans 15 degrees) clearly shows what had been an inverted, lead covered 'vee' roof (to presumably catch rainwater for ...
borodino's user avatar
3 votes
7 answers
1k views

What were the expectations of a medieval castle or fortress hoping to break or outlast a siege?

In Medieval Europe (ie before gunpowder), medieval siege tactics are well known. I am curious if there is any conventional wisdom in western Europe of how sieges were broken. If you were in a castle ...
rougon's user avatar
  • 1,523
7 votes
6 answers
891 views

Non Altered European Castles

I recently paid a visit to Leed's castle, and was disappointed by the extent to which the manor had been refurbished and modernized. Importantly: What castles in Europe are accessible to the public ...
A. Takami's user avatar
  • 173
1 vote
0 answers
196 views

What was the significance of Bitchu-Takamatsu Castle from a military/political perspective?

What was a strategic intention for building Bitchu-Takamatsu Castle? Its placement in a swamp, in a basin surrounded by mountains might on three sides made the castle impregnable, but also quite ...
macraf's user avatar
  • 187
13 votes
4 answers
6k views

Were any fortified castles self-sufficient in food?

I read here and there about sieges of fortified castles which lasted extended lengths of time (two years for instance). Was there any castle in Medieval Europe that was self-sustaining? By self-...
WoJ's user avatar
  • 737
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

How extensive was the slighting of castles in the English Civil War?

Wikipedia states During the English Civil War many castles and fortified houses were slighted by the Parliamentarians to stop them being used by the Royalists. Most of the destruction was in ...
NikolaiDante's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
516 views

Why was the Old Wardour Castle not demolished after the English Civil War?

After the English Civil War, some strongholds such as Corfe Castle were slighted, that is demolished, by order of Parliament. Another Royalist castle, the (Old) Wardour Castle appears to not have ...
NikolaiDante's user avatar
114 votes
18 answers
35k views

Why bother attacking castles at all? Why not go around?

Castles were designed to hold people, weapons, and supplies to survive a siege. They were well-defended. Taking one could easily be a long, bloody struggle. Why attack at all? Most castles I've seen ...
spraff's user avatar
  • 1,557