The were many castle parts that made up a medieval Castle and as medieval weaponry improved so did the defensive parts of a castle. Most medieval castle parts that were added as the medieval period progressed were defensive in nature.
Medieval castles were built during the medieval times, particularly during the high and late medieval times, mainly in Europe and Middle East. These medieval castles served purposes of defending home territories from various enemies, controlling hostile territories, and serving as the residences of monarchs and lords. There were various medieval castle parts that made up a castle which included moats, ramparts, walls, turrets, towers, look outs, and gatehouse.
Castles in later medieval times used advanced lever and pulley systems to lower and raise the castle drawbridge into the Gatehouse entrance. Drawbridges were made of heavy wood that was part or fully metal plated. Read more about the Castle Drawbridge >>
A Castle Gatehouse was a part of a castle that developed over time, the Castle Gatehouse was devised as an additional structure to defend a castles entrance which was the weakest point. Read more about the Castle Gatehouse >>
Medieval Castle Keeps could be used for several purpose, however the Medieval castle Keep was usually the area in which the Lord of the Castle Lived and also housed the Great Hall for Banquets. Read more about the Castle Keep >>
The Castle Machicolation created a platform that jutted out from the castle walls, this allowed murder holes to be created around the castles curtain walls (outer walls) that protected the castle from attacks. Read more about the Castle Machicolations >>
Medieval Castle moats were a simple but very effective defensive part of a medieval castle, they were often filled with water, but could also be dry moats that were filled with various items that would injure the enemy. Read more about the Castle Moat >>
Medieval murder holes were built into the design of a castles defences. Murder holes were placed around a castles curtain walls and were essential defences around a castles entrance. Read more about the Castle Murder Holes >>
Castle Portcullis were highly effective additional defences for a castles entrances, a Castle Portcullis was usually made from a strong type of wood and could also be plated in iron for additional strength. Read more about the Castle Portcullis >>
Medieval Ramparts were defensive walls that surrounded castles and could simply be made from mounds of earth. Ramparts of earth and stone were a quick defence system for a medieval castle. Read more about the Castle Ramparts >>
Medieval Castle Towers helped castle staff look for enemies and other people approaching the medieval castle. Medieval Castle Towers were permanently manned by guards. Read more about the Castle Towers >>
Castle Turrets were added to medieval castles as additional lookout points, turrets were added to medieval castles and were not built in the castles main structure like towers that were bigger. Read more about the Castle Turrets >>
Medieval Castle Walls were the main parts of the castle's defence, some castles called concentric castle had two castle walls and interior and exterior castle wall for additional defensive protection. Read more about the Castle Walls >>
Medieval watchtowers were built as part of the castles structure, watchtowers gave an early warning of approaching enemy soldiers and were usually manned all year round. Read more about the Castle Watchtowers >>
Medieval Castle Parts - Moats
In the medieval castle parts list, moats were of supreme importance. A medieval castle moat was basically a deep and wide ditch that surrounded the castle and served as a reliable protection against enemy assaults. The moat was usually filled with water which was one of the reasons why most castles were built near a water source such as a river or a stream. The depth of a medieval castle moat was usually around 30 feet and it measured around 12 feet in width.
Medieval Castle Parts – Ramparts
The second part in medieval castle parts list consisted of ramparts. Medieval castle ramparts were composed of a bank of earth serving the defensive purpose. A raised parapet was constructed on medieval castle ramparts which served as a protected fighting platform. During the late medieval times, medieval castle ramparts became the curtain walls of the concentric castles.
Medieval Castle Parts – Walls
Medieval castle walls were central to a castles defence and the width and type varied from castle to castle. It was common to build medieval castle walls of width ranging from 8 feet to 20 feet. At the top of the medieval castle walls were crenellation or parapets which served to defend the castle from above. There were also openings between the medieval castle walls and parapets which were used to throw stones and boiling liquid on the invading armies.
Medieval Castle Parts -Turrets
Another important component of medieval castle parts list was the turret. A turret was a small tower that was constructed at the edge of a medieval castle wall. Its main purpose, like most other components of medieval castle parts, was defence. During the middle medieval times, turrets were usually square shaped but during the late medieval times, circular shaped turrets became more popular because they provided a better line of sight for the archers defending the castle.
Medieval Castle Parts – Towers
In the defence of a medieval castle, towers played a central role. The main difference between a medieval castle tower and medieval castle turret was that the latter was constructed on the top of a wall while the former projected from the ground. Towers were mainly built of stone and included battlements and arrow loops for defence.
Medieval Castle Parts – Look Outs
Both medieval castle turrets and towers also served the purpose of a lookout watching for the invading armies. A constant watch was maintained on the towers and turrets to keep an eye for any approaching armies or anyone else. It was common to built at least one turret at the highest wall which served as the primary lookout point.
Medieval Castle Parts – Drawbridge
The Drawbridge was an important medieval castle part which was a movable bridge at the entrance of a castle above the moat. Since the medieval castles were defended by the moats, it was common to remove or destroy the drawbridge in the event of an attack. A Drawbridge could be removed either by ropes, pulleys and or chains. Sometimes simple manpower was used to remove them.
Medieval Castle Parts – Barbican
A medieval castle barbican was a kind of fortified outpost which acted as the outermost defence post for the castle. Medieval castle barbicans began to be constructed after the Normal Conquest of England in 1066 and continued to be very important till the 15th century, after which they gradually lost their importance due to considerable improvements in castle siege tactics.
Medieval Castle Parts – Battlements
The medieval castle battlements were of central importance in the defence of a castle. A medieval castle battlement consisted of a rampart which was built at the top of a castle walls and towers. There were specially designed gaps in the ramparts which served to release arrows, stones, or other missiles at the invading armies.
Medieval Castle Parts – Murder Holes
In the medieval castle parts, murder holes were also of primary defence value. A medieval castle murder hole was a large hole in the ceiling of the gateway of the castle and was used to throw various objects such as stones, tar, or boiling liquids on the invaders. Murder holes could also be built in the platforms similar to a balcony protruding from the outside walls of a castle.
Medieval Castle Parts – Round Towers
Building round towers instead of square towers became popular during the high and late medieval ages. The obvious advantage of a round tower over the square tower was that it provided a clear line of sight for the archers, thus making the defence of the castle easier. Another feature of primary importance was that, unlike the square shaped towers, round towers were relatively immune to tunnelling under the tower due to the absence of any corners required for tunnelling.
Medieval Castle Parts – Arrow and Gun Loops
Arrow-loops or arrow-slits were an inevitable part of medieval castle battlements and thus its defence. A medieval castle arrow-loop was a narrow opening in the medieval castle walls and towers and was used to launch arrows at the invading enemy. Arrow-loops were found in various forms although the most popular form was that of a cross.
Medieval Castle Parts – Machicolations
Another important feature of a medieval castle parts list is called a machicolation. Medieval castle machicolations were projecting platforms at the top of castle walls and usually protruded from the walls. At the floor of these platforms there were openings which could be used to drop stones and various other materials on the enemy. A machicolation could either run along the entire length of the wall or could be a small one like a balcony.
Medieval Castle Parts – Gatehouse
The Medieval castle parts list is incomplete without the medieval castle gatehouse. The medieval castle gatehouse was built at the entrance of a castle and acted as a minor fortification. It enclosed the gateway for the castle and usually also consisted of chambers for important guests.
Medieval Castle Parts Summary
These were some of the most important medieval castle parts that played central role in the defence of the castle. Since wars and invasions were very common during the medieval times, special attention was paid to construct multifaceted medieval castle parts for effective defence.