This essay discusses Famous England Medieval Castles history and
facts. It describes the designs and architecture of those castles which
includes plumbing, bathrooms and running water. Included in this essay
is a list of British Medieval Castles names, date built and what famous
person owned them at one time or another.
British Medieval Castles Designs and Architecture
In England, Castle walls were built 6 to 7 feet thick. Many of the
England were built of stone.
Windows were made 12-18 inches wide by 4 ft high. They were closed
by wooden shutters which was protected by an iron grille. By the end
of the 13th century, glass was beginning to replace wooden shutters
however it was very expensive so it was used in moderation.
The Keep was the most important area of the castle. It had the strongest
fortifications. The garrison would retreat to the Keep if the outer
walls fell. In the Keep was a well for water, chapel, offices, apartments
and supplies for a long siege. It was often in line with the outer walls
so if it fell the defenders could possibly escape. Rectangular Keeps
were strongly built with thick walls and usually 2-4 stories high. Rectangular
Keeps were often attacked by sappers or battering ram on one of its
corners. Circular Keeps were built in European Castles after the 12th
century, the crusades and the return of the crusaders. Circular Keeps
were modeled after the Castle Keeps built in the Holy lands.
The outer walls of the castle were defended by a moat or moats. There
was a drawbridge at the entrance or gateway of the castle. This gateway
was defended by a walled outwork called a barbican that was located
at the front of the gate. Portcullises
of oak and plated with iron lined the gateway passage. The passageway
also had Machicolations which were openings in the walls, roof and gates
in which projectiles could be thrown at an enemy. The wards or baileys
were built at the foot of the mound and enclosed by walls and towers.
Plumbing: Running Water
In England, Westminster had running water as early as 1234. Hampton
court built by Cardinal Wolsey and later owned by
had an efficient system of pipes which pumped water from Natural springs
over 3 miles away. Other Royal palaces and or castles that had running
water were: Nonsuch Palace, Hatfield Palace St. James Palace, Enfield
Palace, Oxford Palace, Eltham, Woodstock, Beaulieu,
and Whitehall. Men were employed to keep the sinks, drains and pipes
from clogging. Others were employed to keep the moats clean as fresh
water and fish from the moats supplied the castles.
There were hundreds of people that stayed at the Court. The Queen
alone had over 160 ladies in waiting. These people brought their servants
and pets with them. Not to mention the many people behind the scenes
that kept the castle running. Sanitation became a problem. Men would
urinate on the walls inside and outside the Castle even though there
were garderobes next to all major rooms and lodgings. These Garderobes
had good ventilation and could be flushed with water. But even at that,
the garderobes would begin to smell bad and require a thorough cleaning.
It was at this point the court would move to another castle or palace.
The court moved about 30 times a year. The King had many castles, palaces,
houses and hunting lodges throughout the city of London and country.
Sometime in the 1530s, at Hampton court Henry VIII built a 2 story communal
public lavatory that could accommodate 14 people at a time. It was called
the great house of easement. It drained into the palaces main drain
which emptied into the Thames River. Several other palaces and castles
had similar facilities installed. Piss Pots or urinals were installed
around the palace courtyards for use instead of the walls. However,
the problem became so great that a proclamation had to be issued to
forbid any person from urinating within the area of the court.
Famous England Medieval Castles Names (partial list) includes
other UK castles (Welsh and Scottish). Most of these castles offer guided
tours today. Some not all have gardens, lodging and weddings.
- Alnwick Castle located in the town of Alnwick, was built around
1309. It was the home of the Percy family, Dukes and Earls of Northumberland.
Henry Percy was once engaged to Anne Boleyn. Today, see the great
hall, the abbey, the gardens, towers, grounds and other artifacts.
There are children's activities where children can dress up in
medieval clothing. Other things to see and do include archery
lessons, eat at the castle restaurant and visit the museum. Accommodations
are available at the Castle's cottages which are located at the
base of the castle and owned by the Duke of Northumberland�s Estate.
Corporate events, conferences and weddings can be arranged too.
For nearby lodging, see
- Arundel Castle built in 1068 in Sussex by Roger de Montgomery,
Earl of Arundel.. It is the family home of the Howard family the
Dukes of Norfolk. The 3rd duke of Norfolk was the uncle of both
Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. Today, see beautiful gardens,
armor, priceless artwork, period furniture and other artifacts.
There is a restaurant, coffee shop and gift shop on the grounds.
Many movies have been filmed here including Young Victoria.
for nearby lodging see,
- Chillingham Castle is in Norththumberland. Originally it was
a monastery in the 12th century. In 1298, Edward I took it over
as a defense against the Scots notably William Wallace and his rebels.
It is the ancestral home of the Grey family. The castle has a bloody
past and reportedly has many ghosts. Today, see the torture chamber,
the great hall, the gardens, the state rooms and other areas of
the castle. for nearby lodging see,
- Conway Castle built 1284 in Wales by King Edward I of England.
- Deal Castle built on the east coast of Kent England built by
Henry VIII between 1539 and 1540. for nearby lodging see,
7.9 miles away.
- Dover Castle, in Dover, fortifications were first built here
by the Romans over 2000 years ago. The Castle was built by William
the conqueror in about 1068. It was never a royal castle and no
kings lived here. However, it was built and used for defense of
England because of its location on the White Cliffs along the Kent
coastline. for nearby lodging see,
- Edinburgh Castle was built 1093 in Scotland. It has been the
chief royal castle of the Scots. Mary Queen of Scots gave birth
to James VI or
I of England. Today, it is designated as a world heritage site.
See the crown jewels, the national war museum and memorial, the
Royal palace, the Royal Scots Regimental Museum, prisons of war
exhibitions, the Stone of Destiny, St. Margaret's chapel, a medieval
siege gun and other artifacts. Attend costumed performances, annual
gun salutes and other events. The castle is situated high on a hill
therefore you can see great views of Edinburgh. for nearby lodging
- Harlech Castle built between 1285-90 in Harlech, Gwynedd, north
Wales by Edward the I. In 1404 it was taken by Welsh leader Owain
Glyn Dwr who proceeded to hold a parliament here.
- Hever Castle located near Sevenoaks, in Kent, was built in 1270.
It was the childhood home of
(born around 1500 - 1507). Therefore, it was owned by the Boleyn
family. After the execution of Anne, the castle was confiscated
by Henry the 8th and given to his 4th wife
Anne of Cleves as an divorce settlement. Today, there are beautiful
gardens and you can have your wedding here. You can tour the castle
and grounds. The castle is said to be haunted by Anne. for nearby
hotels, 7.5 miles away.
- Heddingham Castle was built in 1140 by Aubrey II who was the
son of Aubrey de Vere was created Ist Earl of Oxford by Queen Matilda.
Today, visit the beautiful gardens, the
house (built 1720), the lake, the banquet hall, minstrels' gallery
and other areas of the castle grounds. Several films and documentaries
have been filmed here. There are medieval festivals, joisting and
other events scheduled throughout the year. Corporate events, private
parties, weddings and other functions can be arranged. for nearby
hotels, 18 miles away.
- Hurstmonceux Castle, near Hastings and Hailsham, built in 1441
by Sir Roger Fiennes in Sussex. It was built as a military fortification
and used as defense. The uniqueness of this castle is it was built
from bricks. Today, tour the castle, the grounds and gardens. There
is a tearoom and a gift shop. Accommodations are on the grounds.
Conferences, weddings and other functions can be arranged. for nearby
hotels, 7.5 miles away.
- Leeds Castle, in Maidstone, was built in Built in 1119 by Robert
de Crevecoeur in Kent. It was used as a royal palace for Edward
I in 1278. Henry VIII altered the castle to suit his first wife,
of Aragon. Today, the castle has accommodations, beautiful gardens,
a restaurant, an English maize and a golf course. Conferences, Banquets
and Weddings can be arranged too. It is said to be haunted by a
black dog. for nearby lodging see,
hotels, 6.5 miles away.
- Raby Castle was built in 1131 by the Nevilles. The Nevilles
became Earls of Richmond. The Neville lost the castle after the
failure of the rising of the north in support of Mary, Queen of
Scots, in 1569. Ownership then went to the Crown (Elizabeth I) until
1626 when it was purchased by Sir Henry Vane the Elder. Today, see
the deer parks, the beautiful gardens, the coach house, the barons
hall, a magnificent art collection, the kitchen, the servants rooms,
the bedrooms and other impressive areas of the castle. for nearby
18 miles away.
- Rochester Castle, near Dartford, was built in 1086 by William
the Conqueror's brother. It was a defense castle. The castle was
under siege many times and fortified several times throughout its
history. It is said to be haunted by Lady Blanche de Warren killed
in1264. for nearby lodging see,
hotels, 15 miles away.
- Skipton Castle located in Skipton, North Yorkshire, was built
in 1090 by Robert de Romille, a Norman baron. Edward II granted
the castle to the Clifford family, Earls of Cumberland, in 1310.
It is considered the best preserved and most complete medieval castle
in England. Today, see the watchtower, the kitchen, banquet hall,
the lord's bedroom and other rooms of the castle. There is a tea
room, a book store, and school group tours with educational packages.
The castle has art classes, exhibitions and workshops too. Conferences,
corporate events, weddings and other functions can be arranged.
Special events include medieval festivals, encampments and other
fun things and are scheduled throughout the year. for nearby lodging
- Sudeley Castle is in Winchcombe 8 miles from Cheltenham. Built
at its present site in 1442. It was the home of
Catherine Parr and where she is buried. It is said to be haunted
by her ghost. Sudeley Castle was once the property of Edward IV
and Richard iii. for nearby lodging see,
Castle fortification was built in 914 by the daughter of Alfred
the Great. The castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1068.
It has been the home of the earls of Warwick and most notably Richard
Neville Earl of Warwick, the Kingmaker. Today, explore the castle's
dungeon, the courtyard, the towers and other places of interest.
There are pageant, historical re-enactments, medieval banquets,
concerts and events planned throughout the year. Eat at the restaurant.
You can buy annual tickets. Corporate events, banquets, weddings,
receptions, dinners and other functions can be arranged. The castle
is said to be haunted a black dog. The castle tower is said to be
haunted by Sir Fulke Greville, who was murdered there by his manservant
in 1628. Greville acquired Warwick Castle from James I in 1604.
for nearby lodging see,
- Windsor Castle built in 1075 by William the Conqueror. Most
Kings and Queens of England have lived here. It was the favorite
royal palace of Henry VIII. The castle is said to be haunted by
Henry VIII, his daughter
I and .King George III as
well as numerous other ghosts. for nearby lodging see,
- The Tower of London built 1080 by William the Conqueror. Early
on the castle was used as a residence for the kings of England.
Then it was used as a prison for political prisoners and those of
noble birth. Many nobles were executed for treason here most notably
wives, Anne Boleyn and Katherine
Howard. Other famous political prisoners held in the tower included
Sir Thomas More, Elizabeth I, Will
(Edward V and Richard, Duke of York) and other important people
in history. Today, see royal armor, the crown jewels, medieval weapons,
Jane Grey graffiti, the famous ravens, the Tower Green (site
of famous executions), the prisoners exhibition and other interesting
exhibitions. The Tower hosts historical re-enactments, adult learning
programs, lectures, workshops and community events. for nearby lodging
Henry VIII: The King and His Court Ballantine Books; Reprint edition
(October 29, 2002)