Castle Turrets

A castle turret is different from a tower in that it is not freestanding like a tower, although they are used for a similar purpose the turret of a medieval castle would rest on one of the castle’s main towers or be added to a tower or wall, so in effect, it was added to the main structure.

Whereas a tower comes from the ground up a turret projects from the edge of the building, this is the main difference and because of this turrets are usually smaller than towers as the building structure and not the ground has to absorb the weight of the turret.

Small Castle Turret

Castle Turret *Castle Wall Addition

Purpose of a Castle Turret

A castle turret served several purposes, the main purpose was that the turret like a watchtower provided a 360 degree of the surrounding land, as castles were usually built high up on hills this gave the soldiers inside a fantastic view for miles and they would be able to see an enemy and others approaching the castle from miles away.

Castle Turret Illustration - Parts of a Medieval Castle

Castle Turret Illustration

The castle turret gave castle guards advanced warning of an attack on the castle. The castle turret allowed the lord and military in the castle to get prepared for an attack or siege. The views from the castle turret let the king and his soldiers know when it was safe to leave the castle.

  • A Turret’s main purpose was as a lookout point
  • A Turret could be used to store items such as weapons
  • Castle Turrets are smaller than castle towers and not freestanding

Castle Turret Definition

A castle turret was a small tower that was an added structure to a castle that rested on the castle’s main towers vertically and gave excellent views of the land surrounding the castle.

The Italian word for a turret is “torretta” – little tower and the Latin word is “turris” – tower

Castle Turret Details

Some castles had a combination of small turrets and larger towers, the turrets provided a good lookout point from a defensive perspective. Castle turrets also allowed archers and other military personnel to be in a good position to provide covering fire to castle walls that were adjacent to the castle turret during times of war.

Castle Turret Types

A castle turret was usually smaller than a castle tower as it was built on the castle structure and did not rise from the ground like a castle tower, there were various types of turret design, some turrets had a circular top and crenelations, and others had flat or pointed roofs or other types of the apex. The inside of a turret could contain a staircase depending on how high it was and its purpose.

Good Castle Turrets Examples

  • A good example of a castle turret is Caernarfon Castle in Wales which has a triple-turret Eagle Tower
  • The turret of Chateau de Chaumont in France is a good example of a low-level turret

Visit Caernarfon Castle and See its Triple Turret *Eagle Tower

Decline of the Castle Turret

As with medieval castles in general, advancements in weaponry and the invention of canons and gunpowder led to the decline of medieval castle buildings, and turrets no longer served a military use their military, however, castle turrets continued to be added as a decorative element as can be seen in the Scottish baronial Turret Style.

Castle Turret Fast Fact

  • Castle Turrets had various designs of roofs, that could be flat or pointed like the French Chateau’s design
  • Some Turrets had crenelations and were rounded in shape
  • Later castle turrets had no military purpose
  • Some castle Turrets had winding staircases leading to the apex, others were empty shells

We hope you enjoyed this article on medieval castle turrets, please see the article on medieval watchtowers to give you a better understanding of medieval castle towers and turrets, we have tried to cover most of the relevant facts and information on castle Turrets in this article.