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  Janis Henderson-Hunsucker - Curriculum - Ceramic Castle

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Parts of a Medieval Castle

  Walls were added around the castle to protect the people from the invaders. There was usually a walkway running along the top of the walls, from which the castle guard could keep watch.
  The walls were thick and had small windows, big enough for arches and arrows.
Between the walls and the castle there was an open area called the bailey.
Towers were built at intervals along the walls, to strengthen them and also to give extra accommodation for castle workers.
You could also find ditches filled with water and were closed by a drawbridge that could be raised from the inside of the castle.
In the inside of the castle were the living apartments, a well for water and food necessary to last for a long siege.

Residents of the Castle

Images from Castles of the World


diagram of a medieval castleThe center of the castle is called the Inner ward, which is the inner curtain or the innerpart of the wall.

The barracks are off to the right of the inner ward. The barracks are where the knights stay. The stables are below the barracks.

From the 13th century, castles were usualy built with rings of stone, one inside the other. These are called concentric castles.

The outer wall was pretty close to and a little lower than the inner wall. Sometimes the outer wall was so low that it seemed no more than a wall of protection against attacking machines, such as catapults. But it meant that archers on the inner walls could shoot over the heads of those on the outer, bringing more fire power on an enemy.

If attackers broke through the outer wall, they would still be faced with the inner wall.

In older castles the great tower and curtain wall were sometimes given an outer ring of walls, making three lines of defense.

From Parts of a Castle - A Thinkquest website

Siege Tower


Siege tower

Another way of getting into a castle was by using a 'siege-tower'- a tall wooden tower on wheels which could be moved close to the walls. Attackers in the top of the tower would cross over to the walls of the castle using their own wooden bridge.

Sometimes the attacking army simply surrounded the castle and waited for those inside to run out of food and surrender - but since all castles kept a supply of food ready, these sieges often lasted for as long as two years.


From the Knight with the Lion


Other parts of a castle

Water goes into the sink from a tank above called a cistern.