Norman Stone Castles (1): The British Isles 1066 - 1216 (Fortress 13)
By Christopher Gravett
Publisher: Os Publishing 2003 64 Pages
PDF 41 MB
It has been argued that the English castle began with the Anglo-Saxons (who by 1066 should perhaps be more properly termed the Anglo-Danes), pointing out that they sometimes occupied defensive structures. However, an opposing viewpoint holds that the English castle began with the Normans. Since a castle is a home as well as a stronghold, the communal burhs seen in England before the Norman Conquest, and designed to protect a number of people, do not qualify. Only a thegn's private dwelling, with ditch and palisades, suggests possible continuities with the castles of the Normans. Contemporaries of the Normans, such as Orderic Vitalis, certainly thought of castles as a novelty and the lack of them in pre-conquest England as a contributing factor to defeat; yet it may be only their use as centres of seigneurial administration by the Normans that truly sets them apart from the defended houses of the English thegns. The use of a tower to display the lord to his subjects, evident in some early Norman stone gateways, certainly seems to echo the Anglo-Saxon burhgeat with an opening in its upper storey.
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