Throughout this class, I have learned a lot about British history. What I found most fascinating were castles. Medieval castles varied in size, purpose, and age. I used to think that castles were only for the wealthy and mainly for protection. I’ve learned that castles can be used for a varied of reasons such as checkpoints along the highway or for basic living. Another thing I learned about castles is that they don’t have to be super huge to be considered a castle. If you were wealthy, you did have a larger castle which was usually made by a well-known castle builder of the time. Some of the poorer castles were obviously smaller and didn’t have a whole lot to them. Some of the bigger castles with royalty in them would be surround by a town and markets and such while other free standing buildings might be for farmers and out in the middle of nowhere by itself.
Something else that I found out fascinating was the elegance of some of the castles. Some of the larger and wealthier castles contained farms, gardens, larger courtyards, or even stables for recreational horses. These castles were used mainly for entertainment rather than for fortification or for military purposes. The castles that were built for these purposes contained arrow loops for archers to shoot from, a portcullis to keep enemies out, mottes for a more strategic defense, a donjon and oubliette for prisoners, and many more defensive fortifications.
I learned that there is a lot of different terminology involving castles. There were small towers outside of castle called tower torrents, a murder hole that is used to drop things like hot oil on you if you make it inside the door, and a palaside that serves the same function as a fence. Other terminology includes words like solar which was the kings and queens or lords and lady’s private living quarter, a wing wall which is a wall that hangs out from the main structure, and a walk walk which is a walkway or a path that runs along the top of a wall. All of these words were new to me when I was learning about castles.
I think I like the castles more because of all the different meanings that they served. They were all different kinds of castles to set them apart from one. Cathedrals and monasteries and such were different shapes and sizes as well, but they still all seemed to serve the same function whereas castles could be used for any way of life. I also liked the fact that castles were big and sturdy structures that can better outstand the test of time than other buildings that we have learned about. In conclusion, out of all the British history that we have learned, these are some of the reasons why I liked learning about castles the most.