Medieval English Castles

Medieval castles started making an appearance in Europe during the middle ages, specifically during the period around the 10th century.

The first castles appeared in England and France during the 10th and 11th century.

Donnington Castle

Donnington castle is located in the English county of Berkshire, in the village of Donnington Read more about the Donnington Castle >>

Hedingham Castle

Hedingham Castle is one of the Norman-era castles located in Essex, England Read more about the Hedingham Castle >>

Herstmonceux Castle

Castles in England - 'Herstmonceux Castle' is known as the 'Brick Castle' in Sussex! Read more about the Herstmonceux Castle >>

Kimbolton Castle

Kimbolton Castle is a residential castle which was originally the site of a pre-Norman manor house Read more about the Kimbolton Castle >>

Lumley Castle

Lumley Castle was originally built on the site of a manor house built by the Lumley family Read more about the Lumley Castle >>

Peckforton Castle

Castles in England - 'Peckforton Castle' the Gothic Castle with Imposing Towers

Read more about the Peckforton Castle >>

Porchester Castle

Castles in England - 'Porchester Castle' is a Stone Motte-and-Bailey Castle style Castle Read more about the Porchester Castle >>

Portsmouth Castle

Castles in England - 'Portsmouth Castle' is also known as 'Southsea Castle' Read more about the Portsmouth Castle >>

Rowton Castle

Castles in England - 'Rowton Castle' Shrewsbury, Shropshire was built in the 17th Century Read more about the Rowton Castle >>

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle was a strategically defensive medieval castles built on the bend of the river Avon in Warwickshire by William the Conqueror, it was built in the motte and bailey design. Read more about the Warwick Castle >>

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is one of the world's most famous medieval castles that was built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror,  It overlooks the river Thames in London. Read more about the Windsor Castle >>

English Castles Origins

During the 10th century, a popular style of Castle called the ‘Motte and Bailey’ was introduced by the Normans who conquered England, they were very easy to build and usually could be built quickly without many skilled workers, making them a quick and easy solution.

Norman Conquest

Norman Conquest

The design was quite simple, a wooden keep was situated on top of a raised earthwork which was called a motte, this was surrounded by an enclosed courtyard which was protected by a ditch with a palisade. Later castle keeps were made of stone.

Early Stone and Wood Motte Bailey Castle

These early forms of Motte Bailey castles were adopted across Medieval Europe and lasted until around the 13th century when newer and better building techniques and fortifications were discovered.

Early English Castles

English Medieval Castles started making an appearance in 1066 when William the Conqueror invaded England from Normandy, this sparked three different phases of castle building.

King William The Conqueror Medieval KIngs

During the first phase, a very large percent of the castles being built used the Motte and Bailey design due to its cheap, yet sturdy construction. The earliest forms of castles were built by royalty in strategic locations in order to protect key resources, towns, or roads.

Motte Bailey Medieval Castle

The castles which were built to protect the towns were named urban castles and usually required houses to be destroyed within the town in order for the palisade to be placed properly.

741 motte and bailey castles were built in England and Wales during this period!

English Castles *Late Medieval Period

As time went on castles were divided by the purpose that they served and by the location they were built in. The Medieval Castles differed a lot from their earlier predecessors in their design, materials use, size, etc.

Castles later became residences for feudal lords which made the owner able to rule the surrounding lands while being secure behind thick stone walls.

Image of the Windsor Castle Norman Gate house

Later in the Medieval period stone castles and walls were built in order to effectively protect towns and cities from raids, attacks and similar. As time went on the castles had to be militarized due to the increasing threat of wall breaching machines which were able to do their job very effectively.

A Trebuchet Catapult Siege Attack on a Castle

Around the 16th century castles did not server their purpose for defense due to canons and the invention of gunpowder.

A lot of stone castles were destroyed during these times and from that point on castles were only built for residential purposes of royals and not defensive purposes.

Windsor Castle ‘the most romantic castle that is in the world’, according to the 17th-century diarist Samuel Pepys ‘is the one of the oldest royal residences still in use. For over 900 years, from its memorable hill-top site above the Thames Valley, it has been a potent symbol of the monarchy.

Famous English Castles

During the Middle Ages, a lot of castles were destroyed in raids or war. English castles were no exception. Since then there has been an effort to restore castles to their previous glory and fame and so far the percent of successfully restored castles has been high.

In England there are castles which are famous due to their design, history, importance or similar factors.

Windsor Castle

The most famous, largest and oldest official royal residence in the world Is located in England, about 20 miles west of London.

This castle called Windsor Castle is more than 900 years old and over a million people visit it each year.

Windsor castle

Windsor castle

Hampton Court

The Hampton Court is another famous castle located near London. A 1000 room palace which belonged to Henry the VIII and his 6 wives.

Famous for its gardens and the famous maze which manages to confuse visitors for more than 300 years.

Edinburgh Castle

There isn’t a person that has not heard of Edinburgh Castle, a place ravaged by invasion, siege, murder, a place which managed to pass the test of time. 500 year old jewels of the Scots are kept within these walls, a scepter, crown and sword.

The dungeons are open to the public and within them are wax figures which are placed to represent the real conditions back then.

Tower of London

The Tower of London, a structure which for over a 1000 years has dominated the skyline of the city. The tower which has housed the royal family and their jewels receives 2 million visitors each year, all of them eager to witness the crown jewels which are on display.

People also visit this tower due to its dark past which was filled with torture, murder and executions. Among the executed were three queens.

The White Tower of London

White Tower of London