English Castle Essay
Castles are fortifications made to protect resources and lives as well. It is also the main structure of defense. Walls made of large well-defined heavy stones that are stacked to perfection. The castle has a stable, storehouse, bakeries, kitchens, cottages and quarters for soldiers. Usually a city a situated in a castle where a city is surrounded by walls and the only entrance is a single huge gate. This gate is where the merchants and entrepreneurs trade goods for the city market. It was the Norman conquerors who made the castle building an art. They built castles primarily as a defense outpost.
They situate a castle in a high ground wherein it will be surrounded by water or a deep ditch. It was supposed to be high because it will delay intruders from attacking also it will be very susceptible for archers to snipe down intruders. Castle acts as keeps or strongholds that no one can penetrate. A castle is governed by a king, the highest rule. In the English setting, castles were built in Medieval era, wherein castles were made out of stone. This is a linear representation of what has transpired back then. In the Stone age, Causewayed Camps and Stonehenge was discovered.
The Bronze age produced the Hillforts of England and the Maiden Castle, which is considered to be the biggest castle. In the Iron Age and the Romans Hillforts of England was reinforced since the English were under siege. The English people put up Hadrian’s Wall and the Roman Forts as a line of defense. After the Romans have fallen, the English people were restless with war and were attacked by Scotts, the Welch and the Anglo-Saxons. These invaders were also accompanied by the sudden attacks of the Vikings. By that time Alfred the great thought of defense mechanism to make England less susceptible for attacks.
Alfred the great made the not a formation of walls instead made a strategic positioning of fortified towns that was called “Burhs”. Logically, if there are many fortified towns reinforcing each other then there will less attacks made because the chances of survival will be small. This happened in the reign of the Anglo-Saxon which is also known as the Dark Ages. But the root of all the prestigious castles made were from the Medieval Period spearheaded by the Norman Invasion in which they introduced the Motte and Bailey castle which is made from stone and wood.
At this time, the Medieval Kings have devised a plan to erect Windsor and Warwick Castle. Then King Edward I conquered the Wales. He established the massive fortifications called Concentric Castles. Examples of these Concentric Castles are the Cowny, Harlech and the Caernarvon Castle. Concentric Castles were also called Edwardian Castles. They have no basic points of concentration. Their defense is the wall rings built around them and the entrance is a single gate that serves as bridge and also served as the gate. They lower the gates in the morning and closes at night.
Castles in general are mainly for protection and also for economic purposes. There are estimated to be seventy-two English Castles and here are some of them: Alnwick, Lindisfarne, Warwick, Carisbrooke, Pevensey, Tintagel, Stafford, Pendennis, Lancaster, Herstmonceux, Saint Mawes, Grimsthorpe, Calshot, Rochester, Ludlow, Kenilworth, Richmond, Carlisle, Yarmouth, Bodiam and Scotney Castle. Among those numbers of Castle, a few stand-out such as Pontefract, Bodiam, Caister, Allington, Hever, Tower of London, Windsor, Warwick and Leeds Castle. Pontefract Castle was King Charles last fortress in the Civil War.
Bodiam Castle was erected by a soldier in the time of King Edward III named Sir John Dalyngrudge. He believed that fortifying the castle would make it hard for intruders to penetrate. Caister Castle was built by Sir John Fastolfe, who fought in the French Wars. In the Allington Castle, Sir Thomas Wyatt was born. This castle was his sanctuary for writing the prose and verse of his poems. Hever Castle has a beautiful garden always been associated with Queen Anne Boleyn which is the concubine of King Henry VIII. The Tower of London is considered to be the royal residence of the King.
It also means that it was the center of power. Tower of London is not a single tower but it consists of other different tower as defense structures. It thwarted the attacks of the Vikings. Beheading and tortures are also done here to show disillusion the people from the strength the government has and also to promote fear to their enemies. Windsor Castle is longest standing castle with its nine hundred years of its glorious existence. The Windsor Castle is comprised of three wards namely: Saint George’s Chapel as the lower ward, royal apartments and grad state rooms as the upper ward and middle ward is an amphitheater.
The Warwick Castle follows a Motte and Bailey style that is made of wood but since the William the conqueror was in-charge the he changed the wooden part of the castle into stone by exploiting the Anglo-Saxon labor force. Lastly, the Leeds Castle, which lies on the River of Len and is strategically engineered between to adjacent islands. The name Leeds came from King Ethelbert IV called Ledian. Whatever the advantages of Motte and Bailey and Concetric designs, for being cheap and crude or tough and expensive, it sure made the history of England very meaningful.
Acquisitions of land here and there entailed that there was a decentralized rule of power and due to it colonizers took advantage of it and waged war. The Norman conquerors should be proud on what they have achieved. Today, castles are just remnants of what has transpired back then. All of which is written in history, engraved in our memory. The hardships and sufferings of those who are tortured are screaming in the air where the castle stood. Ghosts of the dead haunt these sacred places, a place rich with tradition and full of honor and dignity.
Castles are not just fortifications for protection but a shelter for the weak and oppressed, a symbol of bravery and diplomacy and above all a symbol of life in its borrowed existence. The English Castles are rich with memories of the executed and the times of triumph. For what of it remains is what is ours to preserve. Its existence can never be replaced, its value, its worth, and its beauty. Lastly, castles are not built by stone, wood or clay, it is made of the people’s blood, sweat and tears. People visit English castles because of awe and amazement that it brings to them.
Its structure reminds them of how people have lived and it also depicts the events that have transpired back then. Since wars are the predominantly remembered association with castles, rumors and stories about the existence of ghosts emerged. The existence of ghosts is attributed to the executions done inside a castle and also to the prisoners kept in the dungeon. Though there is no material evidence to show that there are ghosts within these castles, people still insists its existence. The intricate designs and ornamentation around the castle adds up to the mysticism it brings to the visitors.
The main attraction in visiting castles is the place where the throne is situated since in represents royalty and dominance over a large scale of people. But there is also an equal attracting part of the castle in contrast to the throne is the dungeon or lair. This is where prisoners of war are kept. In this place, it is believed that prisoners are being tortured to death to extract information from their army. Since, loyalty is valued, these prisoners are executed and their screams fill the air like a resonating sound of a ghost. Death is considered to be the ending of their torment.
In sum, castles are visited based on their history and to what historical events have happened there. Castles best explain how the pre-existing people have lived their lives and also it show how technology have transcended to what it is right now. The scientific engineering and planning of creating a good castle is logically thought of. Every detail of a castle has a rational purpose. It was distinctively modified upon the needs of the people living in it. Lastly, the long-lasting castles are the evidences of the great historical events for the English people.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 18 February 2017
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