Saturday, July 22, 2017

Anatomy of a Castle: Castle Walls

Harlech Castle Walls, Wales
The first line of defense for a castle was location. The lucky ones are perched atop volcanic crags where they can see miles in all directions. Many are on ocean cliffs or along rivers, all serving strategic purposes. After location, the well defended castle has a wall, sometimes called a curtain wall. Later some castles, called Concentric Castles, would have a set of two concentric walls, one inside the next. These walls could be from around 2 meters and 8 meters thick!

Pembroke Castle, Wales
Some castle walls adjoined walls that encircled the entire town such as Conwy Castle, Wales. Conwy Castle was a built for English King Edward I in Wales in 1283 to quell Welsh Rebellions against the crown. Walls were extended to envelop town, where only English settlers & soldiers were allowed. Many castles such as this were built in Wales at this time (Pembroke, Harlech, Caernarfon, Beaumaris, etc).  The walls contain many defensive elements that make up the castle's battlements. Learn more about these in my next post. Until then, enjoy your walk upon the ramparts.

Map of Conwy Castle and complete Town Walls, Wales  (source)
Stretch of Conwy's Town Walls which you can still walk.

Atop Conwy Castle, Wales

Kidwelly Castle, Wales

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