Castle Ramparts

Ramparts – Defensive Wall of a Medieval Castle

Rampart is a word to describe simple defensive walls that were quickly constructed around ancient Forts, ring works and early medieval castles, they were simply defensive walls of stone earth that were quickly thrown up. The early castle defensive walls called “Ramparts” were replaced by thinner stone defensive walls that protected archers and military men, these later “rampart” walls were built at the top of a medieval castles main walls and were called “Battlements”.

In this article is information and facts relating to Medieval Castle Ramparts:

  • Early Medieval Ramparts were simple defensive walls built from earth or earth and stone
  • Ramparts origins can be traced back to Ancient times and early Roman Forts
  • Use of a Palisade (Wooden Stake type wall) strengthened early Ramparts
  • Later Ramparts (defensive walls) were built at the top of medieval Castle and were named “Battlements”.
Early Medieval Ramparts

These Early medieval Ramparts were made of earth mounds

Ramparts Description – Medieval Castles

The Rampart of an early medieval castle was a bank or defensive wall made from earth and possibly earth and stone that usually encircled a medieval fort or Castle protecting it from enemy attacks. The Rampart was the defensive boundary wall of an early medieval Castle. The Rampart was commonly made from masonry or excavated earth and sometimes a combination of both. Early castle ramparts in medieval times morphed into the later stone castle battlements. (Please see Castle battlements section)

Ramparts and Palisades

Palisade (wooden stake type posts) were used to give more strength to Ramparts and this allowed Ramparts to be built that were higher as the palisades created a wall or fence that kept the earth and masonry enclosed. Palisades usually incorporated large wooden stakes or trees trunks, they were hammered into the ground close together to create a barrier that stopped the earth and masonry escaping. Palisades could be as high as 10 feet tall and were commonly used in earlier medieval periods and in ancient times as a quick defensive wall for a fortification could be built in no time at all using this method.

  • Palisades were used to strengthen Ramparts (Defensive walls or mounds of earth)
  • Palisades were usually constructed with wooden posts of tree trunks
  • Palisades could be up to 10 feet high and allowed for higher Ramparts
  • Ramparts were an essential part of early medieval castle defences and Palisades helped to improve their structure

History of castle Ramparts

Ramparts were mainly used during ancient times and in the early medieval periods, they date back to the hilltop forts of early times such as the Bronze Age and were used extensively by the Romans when they built their wooden forts across Europe. The first Ramparts were called dump Ramparts and were basically mounds of earth and stone, there were also box Ramparts, timber laced Ramparts and others. The most popular Rampart in early medieval times in Europe was the “post slot wall” which was a mixture of stone and timber posts. Finally there were vitrified Ramparts which were stone enclosures that had been subjected to heat which made them stronger.

Beeston Castle Ramparts

Beeston Castle Ramparts

Later Medieval Castle Ramparts

As medieval Castle design advanced during the medieval period and the next progression for Ramparts was in the design of the Norman Norton Bailey Castle Tower which was enclosed by both a Rampart and palisade. This stage of Castle design was the precursor of modern castles “Battlements” that provided an excellent defensive wall for a Castles archers and Military to fire their weapons from whilst still being protected.

  • Gaps were built into “Battlements” walls (parapets) that were usually square or rectangular
  • A castles military could hide behind “Battlements” walls (parapets) when under fire
  • Castle Archers and Military could fire their weapons from the gaps built into parapets (small defensive castle walls)

In this article we have covered:

  • The origins of medieval Castle ramparts and Battlements
  • The definition of medieval castle Ramparts
  • The purpose of Castle ramparts and there use in medieval castle design
  • Different designs of castle Ramparts such as Dump Ramparts and stone post wall Ramparts

Castle Ramparts

We hope you found this detailed information and facts about medieval Castle Ramparts informative. This information about Castle Ramparts is provided for educational purposes and is ideal for Schools and colleges, we hope you found the information on Medieval Castle Ramparts which were important part of a medieval Castle’s defences interesting, please read the article on Medieval Castle battlements which is relevant to the information provided on Medieval Castle Ramparts and take a look at our medieval castle parts section by following the links provided at the bottom of this Castle Ramparts Article.

Share this: