In these fortifications, the height of the curtain walls was reduced, and beyond the ditch, additional outworks such as ravelins and tenailles were added to protect the curtain walls from direct cannonading. First, there was the battlement: this usually took the form of a parapet (a barrier that was an extension of the wall), which was crenelated. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Within the circuit of the wall, buildings were constructed for accommodation and storage. To compensate, fortifications were constructed with very low, yet extremely thick walls. [4] The outermost walls with their integrated bastions and wall towers together make up the enceinte or main defensive line enclosing the site. In medieval castles, the area surrounded by a curtain wall, with or without towers, is known as the bailey. Curtain Wall. PRIVACY POLICY, A guide to De Haar Castle in The Netherlands, Description and Elements of Castle Curtain Walls. Curtain walls were built across Europe during the Roman Empire; the early 5th century Theodosian Walls of Constantinople influenced the builders of medieval castles many centuries later.[3]. Curtain walls, defensive walls between two towers or bastions, were an intrinsic part of many medieval castles and fortifications. The outer wall of a castle. Rubble formed the primary material for curtain walls, sometimes the entire wall was constructed of rubble held together with mortar, all contained within a wooden frame which held the shape of the wall until the mortar had dried. by Nilfanion (CC BY-SA) Donjon. The outermost walls with their integrated bastions and wall towers together make up the enceinte or main defensive line enclosing the site. Tall walls presented cannons with large targets and were vulnerable to collapse when hit with repeated artillery fire. Earlier walls were built out of wood, but typically stone was used as it was a far stronger and far more prestigious material – it had more defensive power, but also allowed the castle owner to make a statement of wealth, as stone was expensive to build with. masuzi 2 years ago No Comments. As mentioned earlier, wooden fortifications were weaker, prone to attack by fire, and required regular maintenance work, whereas stone walls were far stronger and more prestigious constructions. The Curtain Wall Concentric Castles The High Point In Castle Design Curtain walls emerged in a very simple wooden form early on in the medieval period but were quickly replaced by stone walls. Walls were topped with battlements which consisted of a parapet, which was generally crenellated with merlons to protect the defenders and lower crenels or embrasures which allowed them to shoot from behind cover; merlons were sometimes pierced by loopholes or arrowslits for better protection. Demesne. Stone keep castles typically did not make extensive use of curtain walls – primarily these castles were based around a freestanding stone tower (the keep) and did not usually have much need for additional walls. The keep of Laval Castle in France has a surviving example of a wooden hoarding, and reconstructed examples can be seen at Rouen Castle and Caerphilly Castle in Wales. Castle walls are also called curtain walls. During my travels I was fascinated by the history and beauty of castles and I created this space to share my passion with you. Walls were often connected by a series of towers or mural towers to add strength and provide for better defense of the ground outside the castle. As well as being weaker, wooden walls were also more susceptible to fire and regularly needed replacing as they would rot, particularly in cold and wet climates. There are many early castles that have some or all of the defensive elements of the later castles due to successive updating and rebuilding by later generations 4. The curtain wall concentric castles the high point in concentric castles the high point in castle architecture walls. These passages not only allowed for safe travel around the circuit of the wall, but they were also typically equipped with arrowslits, gun loops, and embrasures, increasing the defensive potential of the curtain wall. The Curtain Wall Castle Facts. The benefit of embrasures was that they gave defending archers and crossbowmen a far greater range of fire, as they could angle their weapons both vertically and horizontally to be able to cover a wider area of the approach to the fortifications. POLICIES • TERMS AND PRIVACY, CONTACT US From simple motte-and-bailey castles with small wooden palisades to late medieval concentric castles featuring multiple layers of vastly thick stone walls, the curtain wall was a key defensive element of the castle. As gunpowder artillery became more effective in the late medieval and early modern period, curtain walls changed again. These curtain walls were much harder to hit, and thanks to their great depth, their ability to absorb or deflect cannon fire were remarkable. From simple motte-and-bailey castles with small wooden palisades to late medieval concentric castles featuring multiple layers of vastly thick stone walls, the curtain wall was a key defensive element of the castle. © 2018 all about castles. The curtain wall is the castle's main defensive component, and several basic structural elements are necessary, though some others that have been added over the years. Drawbar. Your email address will not be published. The foundations were crucial to the strength of the structure: without them, the curtain walls were in danger of collapsing when hit repeatedly by enemy siege engines and were very vulnerable to undermining attempts during a siege. Gaps were created in the parapet to allow defenders to fire at attacking soldiers with bows and crossbows, and upright sections of the parapet (known as merlons) were left in place to give the garrison some shelter from enemy fire. Battlements, Merlons, Embrasures and Crenels The term battlements refer to the top of a fortified construction, whether that is the curtain wall, a tower or the keep for example. Behind the parapet was a wall walk from which the defenders could fight or move from one part of the castle to another. It was usually surrounded by a moat or other feature that made it hard to approach. The curtain wall was the main wall of the castle. The curtain walls are the main walls that connect the towers and main castle structure. The development of concentric castles in the late 12th century saw an increase in the use of curtain walls. Hello, I am Chrysoula, welcome to my blog where I share my journey of discovering historical castles around Europe.