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  Castles in England

  Castles in England have many stories to tell. The English were slower than their continental cousins and the building of castles only really started towards the end of the Middle Ages. The castles marked on many maps were nothing more than earth mounds thrown up as a defence against marauding gangs - the castles that we find dotted around the countryside today, in various states of repair were residential settlements, acting as a home for the local baron and at the same time providing billeting for a small garrison of men.
At the time of the Conquest, castles were still built in wood. We can only guess what they looked like.
The Great Hall in the castle tended to be the sleeping and living accommodation for all regardless of importance. As time progressed, the baron started to live separately, in small chambers as befitted his position.
The larger castles included chapels, and defences were increased to repulse rival barons. In many cases moats were dug and the walls strengthened to ensure that those within the castle would remain safe from attack.
All that remains of many castles today is nothing but a heap of stones. Old Bollingbroke has its original hill but little else - whereas Cardiff Castle (albeit a Welsh Castle) with its present day majesty, is little but a modern day sham reconstructed in the last one hundred and fifty years; though a fort exited on the site as early as the first century. The casual visitor will get much from such a castle, but hopefully these pages will put the walls on the rubble on other sites which offer little to the eye.
Castles in England enjoy a history all of their own. Different parts of the castle building enjoyed romantic names such as The Keep, the Inner Bailey, the Barbican and similar, evoking dreams of brave knights, beautiful women, and pious friars.
The story of each castle, detailed in these pages helps us to visualise the life lived in these magnificent buildings.

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