Castles of Europe: United Kingdom
Castles of the United Kingdom
Castles exist throughout Europe, but there are perhaps more prominent castles in the United Kingdom than any other place.
While these were once functional defensive fortresses, today they provide a glimpse into history in what is perhaps one of the most charming European features. A castle is truly a European architectural design.
A visit from outside is now enough, if you can go inside and get a glimpse into what really was. And, regardless of outside or inside, take lots of pictures.
Intro Image: This image is in public domain. It can be found on WP Clipart, link provided below.
- Intro Image
Europe has been invaded time after time. It was evident that a form of protection was needed to stop invading armies. The result was large fortifications with thick walls and often a molt that served as a defensive position.
Castles could be built utilizing the geography of the local terrain. They could be built atop a mountain or hill, taking the advantage of the high ground in any battle. They could be built with a neighboring sea that could keep the molt filled. They could be built using a steep mountainside to reduce the need to fortify a portion of the perimeter, and allow the defensive force to concentrate more effectively.
Castles also provided a home to the noble family that controlled the area. Once a siege was imminent, it became home to the serfs who worked the land as well.
Why the High Ground
Weapons of the day operated with gravity playing an important role. Archers who launched from the higher position could increase their range. Catapults had a longer range when flinging downhill. So, an invading army would have to come under fire before being able to launch an attack.
What’s more, the defensive force could practice during peace, and would know the effective range of each of its weapons.
Being able to see farther provides an early warning. The Earth prevents seeing past the horizon, but a sentinel placed high in a castle could see an advancing army at a great distance. The time before the attack would actually take place could be used in positioning forces and evacuating serfs to behind the walls of the castle.