Friday, July 28, 2017

Anatomy of a Castle: The Castle Keep

Keep in the center of Blackness Castle, Scotland
Within the castle walls you will find the Castle Keep. The Keep is a heavily fortified central tower serving as the last defense of the castle. This might also be called a donjon, especially academically, though donjon is not to be confused with dungeon, they are different things altogether. If the enemies have breached the castle walls and gotten past the gatehouse to the inner bailey - everyone would be in the castle keep, and they would try as they may to defend it. It was the last stronghold. 

The Keep at Trim Castle, Ireland

View of Castle Keep at Chepstow Castle, Wales
Strategically situated on a Cliffside on the River Wye

Keep & Great Hall at Caerphilly Castle, Wales
Depending on the date of the castle, some keeps were central towers, giants rising from within the inner bailey. Later, some were built so that one side of the keep was part of the castle walls. Most often, the Great Hall would be found near the bottom of the keep and the living quarters at the top. 

Keep of Carrickfergus Castle, Ireland

Keep of Ross Castle, Ireland

Round Keep of Pembroke Castle, Wales

Interior (looking up) of Round Keep at Pemrboke
Though in its day, there would have been several floors to this tower 
and a staircase to reach them all. Now it is home to a million pigeons and doves
whose cooing was amplified magnificently. 

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