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Castle Architecture, Research Paper Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1435

Research Paper

The Norman architecture used the Romanesque design in the construction of castles in England. The ruling classes in Norman took the thrown forcefully from England’s native.  William represented the Norman’s during this conquest. Although England’s were resistant to his ruling, they later collaborated and began working with the Norman leader. During this time, William used to build castles each time he faced resistance from a given town in England. The native English people did not love the idea of building castles as it was not part of their rich heritage. William, the Norman, conquered the English empire after winning the battle of Hastings and killing the reigning king, King Harold. William did not get the full mandate to rule England (Morris, 2016). As a defense strategy and the hunger for power, William traveled to Romney and killed all the important leaders as an effort to repay the Normans who had been killed during the battle of Hasting. His prowess in dealing with the people of Romney spread so fast that in each town he visited next, the leaders and the people had to collaborate to avoid facing the wrath of William. To receive the throne, William had to deal with the English lords. He claimed to them that he received the right to the throne from the killed king. The lords of England accepted his claims after his efforts to continue making Edwards the confessor’s lineage and reign be respected by all. However, those who had been killed in the battle of Hastings lost all the inheritance they had left to their families. William took over and ensured the loyal English lords kept their land. His reign as the king of England faced resistance from different towns. The more the towns rebelled, the more William became ruthless. As a result, William decided to build castles in each of the resisting territories. All the native English men hated the idea of the castle as it did not have any heritage of the land. Norman culture was a foreign policy that was being imposed on them.

Prior to the Williams reign, the land of England had very few castles. The only available castle had been built by Earl Ralph, the Frenchman. Other comparisons of the castle were the Burhs, commonly referred to as the fortified towns used to protect the country against invasion from the Vikings. In contrast to the Burhs, the castles built by William were used to defend his power. The castles were built in vulnerable locations to stamp his authority against the people. The first castles built by the Normans had Bailey and Motte, which used wood as the main source of raw material (Fernie, 2002). The motte was structured as an earthen mound encircled by a palisade and a ditch. On top of the castle, a tower referred to as a keep was built. Ditches were used to make it hard for the attackers to reach the keep. On the other hand, the bailey was an enclosed castle around the border of the town, enclosed with ditches and wooden palisade. Most of the castles only had the bailey, because the construction of the motte would take a lot of time. The bailey hosted the troops as well as their horses. In the event of an attack, the troops were allowed to retreat to the motte to seek extra protection. The safest area of the castle was the tower, which was also used as a lookout base for any attacks from the enemies. Additionally, the tower was also used as a reminder to the English people of their submission to Williams’s reign. The motte and bailey took a few days to be constructed but didn’t last long because the woods were rotting at a faster rate (Heslop, 1991). Therefore, the castles would be built regularly using stones. The castles were built strategically to house soldiers who were used to put down rebellion attempts from the English men. Moreover, the castles acted as a permanent reminder to the English of Norman’s reign. The natives were not only required to create space for the castle by destroying their houses but also paid taxes for the maintenance of the castles. The two most common castles built during William’s reign were the Pickering castle and the Norman castle.

Pickering Castle

The castle was built during the harrying of the north. The Pickering Castle also contained the motte and the bailey. The motte was situated in the center while the bailey had two palisades, inner and outer. At the core of the castle, the keep was constructed and had a clear view of the area. As time flew, the curtain walls and the keep were rebuilt with stones, and they still exist today.  The purpose of the Pickering castle was to secure the kingdom from the Scottish soldiers who tried to capture North Umbria.

The Norman Castle

The Norman castle was built after William visited the Pevensey bay. He sheltered at the keep and was present when the castle was being constructed. All the castles had been built purposely to intimidate the English people from rebellion; the Norman was also based on that reason. The castle was used as a hiding place for the soldiers and was also used as a store for all the types of equipment of the soldiers. A permanent castle was built at this location by the Romans but was later besieged when William received rebellion from inhabitants. The castle was later surrendered due to lack of enough food for the locals in the area.

William used his aristocratic status to impose and reign in England. Through his troops, he used to visit a new territory and camp there building a castle in order to remain relevant as their leader. The castles acted as his form of power. Although he had very little soldiers, he used to travel with them whenever he relocated. This tactic helped maintain his supremacy among the people of England. The aristocratic character from the reigning king made the English people submit, although they could plot rebellious acts that were subdued by the supremacy of the king. To be more logical and maintain power, William introduced taxes to the natives. The taxes were some of the tactics used to maintain the supremacy of the castles and impose the fear of his authority by the people.

The Normans, through their king William, ensured that there was adequate land for the structure of the castles. As a result, most of the original English people ended up in poverty, and they only had to submit to the reign to be more efficient in society. The rebellious group would end up being killed, and their valuables were taken away by the king. Solders of the king were enforcing his power to the people hence making it hard for the people to remain rebellious to the throne. Additionally, all the buildings acted as a refuge and home of the soldiers (Liddiard, 2003). Although the builders played the vital role of constructing the castles, they were not allowed to stay in the building and therefore ended up in poverty in their own ancestral land. In the long run, due to the extreme poverty, the natives were aligned to work for the king having less freedom as a people. William ensured that all the English people not only respected him but also feared him. He also ensured that the castles being constructed were respected and neglected by the people who were supposed to remain loyal to the throne.

The castles were uniquely designed with the Romanesque design and were vital in the Williams reign. The structure of the castles made it more efficient for defensive purposes. The walls were constructed in such a manner that the arrows would not easily penetrate in the events of the war. Nevertheless, the castles would, at times, face a siege, and the whole structure would be somehow destroyed if the enemies had more arrows. In times of such sieges, the keep would act as a refuge for the soldiers. The interior design was so unique that it was easy to corner an enemy if they decided to take the castle into hostage. Moreover, the keep monitored all the actions and moves of the enemy and was used as a tower that signified the solders of their next move during the attacks.

References

Fernie, E. (2002). The Architecture of Norman England. Oxford University Press, USA.

Heslop, T. A. (1991). Orford Castle, nostalgia, and sophisticated living. Architectural History34, 36-58.

Liddiard, R. (Ed.). (2003). Anglo-Norman Castles. Boydell Press.

Morris, R. K. (2016). The Architecture of Arthurian Enthusiasm: Castle Symbolism in the Reigns of Edward I and his Successors1. Late Medieval Castles, 349.

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