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By Marc Morris

Medieval Britain used to be ruled by way of its kings, and its kings ruled the land with their castles.

But what have been these castles? have been they fortresses? Palaces? Or symbols in their vendors strength, and in their correct to rule.

In this stimulating selection of articles and essays, the best-selling historian and broadcaster Marc Morris solutions these primary questions - and lots of extra.

He explores a few of Britain’s favorite castles, corresponding to Framlingham, Goodrich and chateau Acre, and the castle-building campaigns of well-known kings like William the Conqueror and Edward I. And he addresses concerns resembling the origins of the cult of St George, the altering function of the medieval English earl and the riddle of the Winchester around desk. articles – one on Edward I’s attractiveness, one other on Lanercost Priory – look right here for the 1st time.

Dr Marc Morris is a best-selling historian and broadcaster. In 2003 he provided the six-part television sequence fort and wrote its accompanying publication. His different books comprise a severely acclaimed biography of Edward I, a good and bad King, and a big new historical past of The Norman Conquest

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Yet all of those differed from what via being huge enclosures designed to guard huge groups, together with, at times, non-military body of workers. Castles, against this, have been relatively small affairs, designed to be defended by way of a restricted variety of combating males. they'd originated in France round the flip of the 1st millennium because of the cave in of royal and provincial authority, while strength eventually devolved to those that had the capability to construct their very own inner most fortifications and fill them with fastened warriors. in addition to being smaller, castles have been additionally taller. a number of the earliest French examples have been nice stone towers, resembling the hovering donjon at Loches at the River Loire, equipped by way of the buccaneering Fulk Nerra, count number of Anjou, round one thousand advert, and nonetheless amazing one thousand years on. however the an important factor approximately castles used to be that they can be created with no the necessity for such significant funding. It was once relatively attainable to acquire an identical benefit of top quick and on a fragment of the funds through throwing up an exceptional mound of earth and topping it with a tower of wooden. As each schoolchild is aware, such mounds have been identified from the 1st as ‘mottes’. the purpose approximately measurement and pace is strengthened via the Normans’ behaviour in England instantly after their arrival. At Pevensey they created a citadel through adapting a Roman castle, and at Hastings via customizing an Iron-Age hill fortress, in each one case hiving off a smaller element of the a lot greater unique. After their victory at Hastings, as they set approximately crushing the rest English resistance, they endured to behave in precisely an identical demeanour, including new fortifications to the traditional defences at Dover, and potentially growing the citadel at Wallingford by means of destroying a nook of the Anglo-Saxon borough. while, in the direction of the tip of 1066, the voters of London eventually submitted to William the Conqueror, his first notion used to be to plant a fortress within the south-eastern perspective of the town – the positioning which might quickly turn into domestic to the Tower. within the months and years that undefined, the castle-building crusade intensified. The Normans, wept the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 1067, ‘built castles all over the place in the course of the land, oppressing the sorrowful humans, and issues went ever from undesirable to worse’. a part of the cause of this intensification was once the repeated makes an attempt by way of the English to throw off the guideline in their conquerors. The southwest of britain rose in insurrection at the beginning of 1068, it appears led by way of the surviving remnants of the Godwine relations, whereas in the summertime of an analogous yr there have been comparable risings within the Midlands and northerly England. William methodically overwhelmed all of them, marching in together with his military and planting castles in significant cities and towns. Exeter, Warwick, Nottingham, York, Lincoln, Cambridge and Huntingdon all acquired new royal fortresses at the moment, and extra examples have been extra within the years that undefined: Chester and Stafford in 1069–70, Ely in 1071 and Durham in 1072. The northernmost outpost of Norman energy was once verified in 1080 through the Conqueror’s son, Robert, who planted a ‘new fortress’ upon the River Tyne, whereas William himself marked the western restrict of his authority in the course of an day trip to Wales the subsequent yr, founding a brand new citadel in an outdated Roman citadel referred to as Cardiff.

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