Britain's Medieval Castles

Britain's Medieval Castles

by Lise E. Hull


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The widespread construction of castles in Britain began as soon as Duke William of Normandy set foot on the shores of southern England in 1066. The castles that were constructed in the ensuing centuries, and whose ruins still scatter the British countryside today, provide us with an enduring record of the needs and ambitions of the times. But the essence of the medieval castle—a structure that is equal parts military, residential, and symbolic—reveals itself not only through the grandeur of such architectural masterpieces as the Tower of London, and the imposing nature of such royal residences as Windsor, but also in the aging masonry carvings, enduring battlements, and more modest earthen ramparts that have survived alongside them. Through a feature-by-feature account of the architectural elements and techniques used in constructing the medieval castle, author Lise Hull allows the multiple functions of these multifarious forms to shine through, and in so doing, lends a new vitality to the thousand faces that the medieval world assumed to discourage its enemies, inspire its friends, and control its subjects.

This compelling investigation takes a unique look at each of the medieval castle's main roles: as an offensive presentation and defensive fortification, as a residential and administrative building, and as a symbolic structure demonstrating the status of its owner. Each chapter focuses on one specific role and uses concrete architectural features to demonstrate that aspect of the medieval castle in Britain. A wealth of illustrations is also provided, as is a glossary explaining the distinct parts of the castle and their functions. This book should be of interest to students researching architecture, the Middle Ages, or military history, as well as general readers interested in castles or considering a trip to Britain to observe some of these magnificent sites themselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780275984144
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/01/2006
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Lise E. Hull is an independent researcher who has spent twenty years researching Britain's castles. She is the founder of Castles Unlimited, an organization dedicated to promoting appreciation and preservation of these masterpieces of military engineering. She is the author of The Castles of Pembrokeshire (2005) and numerous magazine articles.

What People are Saying About This

John R. Kenyon

"Those studying medieval castles in Britain are fortunate in that not only is there a wealth of these structures scattered through the island, of all types, sizes and date, but over the years the subject has generated a vast number of books, both general and academic. Such literature is not always easily accessible to those outside Britain who want to read serious studies about castles, rather than just the general 'coffee table' book, the main value of which is often limited to some fine photographs. Lise Hull, most familiar to us in Britain through her studies of castles in a particular area of Wales, has remedied this situation by producing an excellent overview of what castles, are, how they were used, and how they developed. The popular image of castles representing an age of perpetual siege warfare is truly dispelled here, giving the reader a more accurate idea of the role of the castle in medieval society."

Michael Freeman

"This well-researched books deals with all aspects of the castle in Britain. The author knows her subject well and writes lucidly about more than just the structures: she places them in their socio-political and historical contexts which casts a fresh light on their complex histories over several centuries."

Terry Breverton

"Growing up in the part of the world most densely populated with castles, and writing books upon Welsh history and culture, I assumed that my knowledge of castles was fairly comprehensive. However, this wonderful book, by an acknowledged expert in the field, has been a revelation. If you wish to know, not just about the development and architecture of castles through the ages, but also about how they could be attacked and defended, then this is the book for you. Not only this, but Lise Hull covers their use not only as 'offensive weapons' but also as status symbols, and reflects upon the nature of the men who built them and lived in them. This is a book that can be read for enjoyment, but also can be used for reference over the years, a book that needed to be written."

Cheryl Lewallen

"Clear, concise and thorough. This is a book that helps the layman understand the origins of castles and castle building in Great Britain. Lise Hull does a superb job of laying out just how deeply castles have worked their way into the psyche of the ancient Brits and why. Lise Hull also speaks to the expert in arguing that castles were not only meant for defensive positioning but for offensive purposes as well. For anyone wanting to understand the history of castles throughout Britain this is a great source."

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Britain's Medieval Castles 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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