Castle layout relied on local demands, and also the objective and function of each castle.

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For example, a castle constructed on the turbulent boundaries of England and Wales could have been developed to it is in as strong and as protective as possible.

Alternatively, castle in a an ext peaceful, prosperous part of southerly England may have actually been design to culture an wait of luxury and magnificence for a regional Lord and also Lady.

However, many Medieval castles shared similar features – defensive barbicans and deep moats, with a kitchen and a great hall; and a store (or donjon) at their heart. This is a plan of York Castle, i beg your pardon shows plenty of of the crucial elements.

A medieval Castle layout – of the old castle in York, England. Credit: Steve Montgomery, CC-BY-SA-2.0.

The middle ages Castle Layout of Farleigh Hungerford Castle

So let’s look in ~ the layout of fantastic example the a middle ages castle – Farleigh Hungerford castle, in Somerset, UK. Farleigh Hungerford has many timeless features of medieval castles.

Although it’s no a completely perfect instance (I struggled to find the ‘perfect’ one!), it’s still a an extremely typical demonstrate of the conventions and features of medieval castle layout.

Farleigh Hungerford castle was, an initial and foremost, a grand residence because that the Hungerford family. However, the design of the lock still contained many defensive elements, such together towers, a barbican, a gatehouse and a moat. It did pat a small component in the English polite War.

Here’s photo of the castle this particular day taken indigenous Google Earth. Together you deserve to see, it’s now quite damaged indeed. The sadly dropped into significant disrepair in the 1700s.

The various Buildings and Areas that a typical Medieval castle Layout

This is the layout that Farleigh Hungerford castle, together it would have been in Medieval times. You deserve to compare it come the recent satellite picture from Google, which you can see above.

Beaumaris Castle, Wales. The moat is a main feature. Credit: DJ Rich, CC-BY-2.0.

Very few castles had the benefit of a fresh-flowing natural moat (formed native the loop the a river, because that example).

Instead, moats necessary to be man-made, by damming adjacent rivers and streams to produce a stagnant pool approximately the castle.

Although moats were good for defence – they partially prevented attackers native burrowing in ~ the lock walls, for instance – a stagnant moat would have actually been pretty unpleasant. Sewer would have actually been tipped straight into the stagnant water – imagine the smell in the summer!

The nearby image which you can see that a lock moat is taken from Beaumaris Castle, one of the many impressive moated castles in the entirety of the UK.

Many middle ages castles had moats to improve their defensive capabilities. I’ve written more about different hazards and also obstacles of defending a middle ages castle, if you’re interested.

The Kitchens

The kitchens would have actually been a frantic hubbub of activity. Entertaining necessary guests was a basic purpose of countless castles – this aided secure the strength of the castle’s Lord and Lady.

The dimension of a castle’s kitchen was frequently proportionate come the to plan grandeur and importance the the castle. The most intricate kitchens would have actually been all-set come cook and also prepare game and also fish, which had been recorded when hunting in the lock grounds.

Discover an ext about common Medieval food and also drink (be warned: several of it sound gross!).

The Bakehouse and also Brewery

Bread to be a diet staple, so it shouldn’t it is in a surprise that plenty of castles had actually their very own bake-houses, i beg your pardon would have actually baked fresh bread for anyone living within.

Many castles had their very own breweries. This wasn’t because of Medieval alcohol dependence – unavoidable beer sterilised (hugely-polluted) water, making the a lot safer drink 보다 sipping water alone.

In fact, beer to be so essential to middle ages life that a designated Ale mam (yes, she was constantly a woman!) would certainly have remained in charge the the castle brewery.

The Towers

The phenomenal gatehouse the Harlech Castle, Wales.

Every castle suffered a vast conundrum – people and supplies needed access to the castle, but building a route right into the castle created an incredibly noticeable route because that attackers.

It take it castle designers a surprisingly long time to solve this problem. The systems they came upon to be the Gatehouse.

The gatehouse to be a fortified entrance, with plenty of different doors and also portcullises, tricks and also obstacles, all provided to security the castle. It wasn’t uncommon to see two different gatehouses – one ~ above the outer-castle, and one top top the inside (if the external one was breached).

A later on solution again was the drawbridge. In yes, really fact, a chained drawbridge (as we think of it today) to be an uncommon attribute of a typical Medieval lock layout.

These designs tended to be added in later years. Instead, numerous castles supplied a pivoted system, whereby the a plank for a drawbridge was fixed on a ledge between two moats – like a huge see-saw.

The picture you can see is of the exceptional castle gatehouse that Harlech Castle, which you can uncover in Wales.

The Barbican

The Barbican funnelled attackers with an obstacle course riddled v danger.

The Barbican was a further advancement in the defensive style of a castle. Vice versa, the Gatehouse simply protected the entrance to the castle, the Barbican to be designed to be a deathly obstacle course, preventing attackers from even reaching the gatehouse.

The barbican was a thin, fastened passageway the would have actually jutted the end from the gatehouse. Attackers would have to stream through this thin funnel just to reach the gatehouse.

Sneakily, the defendants the the castle might fill the barbican through deathly catch – slits because that arrows, and also holes for boiling-oil. This meant that the only method to the gatehouse was with an entrance riddled with danger and also entrapment.

The barbican and also the gatehouse were two vital parts of medieval castle defence, however there were numerous other obstacles and hazards built to defend Medieval castles from attack.

The within Courtyard

This would have been an additional area that hustle-and-bustle, and the emphasis of day-to-day residential life in the castle. Vice versa, horses and also pigs would have actually been grazed in the external courtyard, it’s most likely the within courtyard would have been supplied for an ext formal events.

The good Hall

Credit: Jeroen Fossaert CC-BY-SA-2.0.

Religion dominated Medieval society.

Christian belief (and, don’t forget, that England was Catholic prior to Henry VIII) permeated every element of life.

The visibility of a chapel gave a lock a feeling of prestige and also significance within the regional area.

But there to be strategic advantages too. Harming a priest would certainly be the can be fried act of barbarity – only the many fearless of lock attackers would also dream the doing such a thing.

The visibility of a chapel (and the ‘safe haven within’) would be of practical use if the castle was ransacked.

The Dungeons

Most castles didn’t have dungeons – in yes, really fact, dungeons space a little of a modern-day obsession.

However, it’s something I’m constantly asked about, for this reason I’ve written a special web page on castle dungeons (undoubtedly the many asked-about part of any medieval lock layout!).

In at an early stage Medieval times, castles didn’t really have actually dungeons – simply since the idea of maintaining someone prisoner was, earlier then, a very strange punishment. However, together the Middle eras developed, an ext castles came to be to be equipped with an are for prisoners.

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From this, contemporary ‘dungeons’ occurred – secure places to host prisoners and enemies that the castle.

Learn much more about Life in a medieval Castle

If you’ve discovered this page useful and also interesting, i think that you’ll choose to read around life in a medieval castle – every little thing from the stench and also smells, to types of medieval toilets!