Who Designed Medieval Castles

During the times of early medieval castles, the master masons or architects working on the construction of the castles were accorded much significance. This was particularly true for the early medieval castles built by the Normans in Normandy and southern Italy.

However, following the conquest of England by Norman William The Conqueror in 1066, a phase of rapid castle-building in England ensued.

King William The Conqueror Medieval KIngs

It was during this period and later medieval periods that skilled architects came to be valued significantly, some even being hired directly by the reigning monarchs to design their castles. While the early medieval castle architects specialised in Romanesque traditions, later architects came to be skilled in Gothic architecture as well as in applying innovations of their own.

Early Medieval Castle Architects

Early medieval castles in England were mainly constructed by the Normans and often constructed and managed by skilled masons. Although such a mason was valued as a skilled professional, his identity wasn’t considered significant enough to be recorded.

Consequently, little is known about who designed the early medieval castles, and instead, the names of the lords who commissioned the castles were more carefully preserved.

Medieval Lord Robert Dudley

Lord Robert Dudley

It was during the later medieval period that architects who designed notable castles came to be valued highly for their skill and were often given a position close to the king himself. By the late medieval periods, architects were afforded widespread fame in Western Europe, including England, leading them to often enjoy highly rewarding careers.

Famous Architect of the Medieval Period

Famous Architect

Among the recorded notable architects of the early medieval castles, Gundulf is one of the best known. He was a Norman who accompanied William’s army in the 1066 Conquest of England. Following the Conquest, he was made the Bishop of Rochester and remained active in helping William erect a number of key buildings all over England.

Rochester Castle Medieval Castle History Norman Castle

Rochester Castle

Among his most notable contributions was the construction of the White Tower at the Tower of London. Gundulf also helped design and build the keeps at the Rochester and Colchester castles. He was considered one of the most prominent architects of the Romanesque style of castle-building.

Gundulf (1024-1108) – Norman Romanesque Builder and Architect

Among the recorded notable architects of the early medieval castles, Gundulf is one of the best known. He was a Norman who accompanied William’s army in the 1066 Conquest of England. Following the Conquest, he was made the Bishop of Rochester and remained active in helping William erect a number of key buildings all over England.

Gundulf (1024-1108) - Norman Romanesque Builder and Architect

Following the Conquest of England, Gundulf was made the Bishop of Rochester and remained active in helping William erect a number of key buildings all over England.

Among his most notable contributions was the construction of the White Tower at the Tower of London. Gundulf also helped design and build the keeps at the Rochester and Colchester castles. He was considered one of the most prominent architects of the Romanesque style of castle-building.

Tower of London

Tower of London

Robert de Belleme (1052-1130) – Architect and Builder – Norman Romanesque Designs

Robert de Belleme was another noted Norman architect who accompanied William The Conqueror following his 1066 Conquest of England.

Norman Conquest

Norman Conquest

William and his Norman lords initially relied on motte-and-bailey castles to quickly cement their hold over their newly acquired English territories. It was a little later that they felt the need to construct more durable stone castles.

Early Stone and Wood Motte Bailey Castle

Early Stone and Wood Motte Bailey Castle

This is where Robert de Belleme played a vital role as an architect. He was an expert on stone keeps and castles and helped William erect many durable structures in England.

Caste Keep

Caste Keep

Henry Yevele (1325 – 1399) *Romanesque/Gothic *Builder and Architect

Henry Yevele was an excellent English architect during the 14th century. His career coincided with the reign of King Edward III. Edward III royally acknowledged the architectural prowess of Yevele who specialised in the Gothic design of castles and other buildings.

Yevele designed some of the most notable English castles built in Gothic style in London and neighbouring areas. He was consequently given the title of being the “Master Mason” of the king’s works.

Among the most notable buildings on which Yevele worked is the famed Tower of London.

Tower of London

Tower of London

St. Paul's Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral *Henry Yevele * Master Mason

Who Designed Medieval Castles Fast Facts

  • During the reign of William the Conqueror a rapid castle building phase ensued
  • In early Medieval times, the Romanesque style was popular in castle construction
  • In later Medieval times, architects preferred the Gothic Style of Castle Design
  • Castle Architects became more famous in the late medieval periods

Early Stone and Wood Motte Bailey Castle

  • Early Masons were important people but later Castle architects became famous and wealthy
  • Gundulf (1024-1108) was a famous Norman Romanesque Builder and Architect
  • Gundulf helped William the Conqueror build a network of castles in England
  • Robert de Belleme was an expert in the design of stone keeps and designed many throughout England

Medieval Castle Keep Rochester Castle Castle Keep

  • Most notable castles architects were of Norman descent but Henry Yevele was an English Architect who had a great reputation
  • Henry Yevele designed the world-famous Tower of London and received awards from Edward III for his work
  • Henry Yevele was the main Architect of King Edward III

  • Henry Yevele was a master mason who built many castles in London and the surrounding areas
  • In 1360 Henry Yevele was made a “Master Mason” when his building and design skills were recognised by the Royal Court
  • Some of the Famous Castles built by Henry Yevele are St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London

  • Robert de Bellême (1052-1130) was a famous military architect and William the Conquerors’ Chief Architect
  • Robert de Bellême was the youngest son of the Earl of Shrewsbury Roger de Montgomery

King William The Conqueror Medieval KIngs

  • Gundulf was the Bishop of Rochester and the master-builder of the White Tower of the Tower of London
  • Gundulf was the builder of Colchester Castle, Rochester Castle, and the famous keep, the white tower of London.

Gundulf (1024-1108) - Norman Romanesque Builder and Architect