completing these activities you should be able to:
a Concentric Castle.
Explain why concentric castles were developed.
Explain what the major defensive strengths of a concentric
on the hyperlinked questions to go to a specialist
concentric castle is a much larger construction than
Motte and bailey or Stone keep castles. Concentric
Castles, such as Beaumaris and Caerphilly Castles,
make best use of angles in a castles design, providing
the defender with more opportunity to hurt any attacking
force. Essentially a concentric castle is a series
of defensive structures. The typical design, as outlined
in the image below, has two curtain walls, the outer
one lower than the inner one. Each of the walls has
a variety of rounded towers from which a defender
has a number of vantage points over his assailant.
In addition to the number of curtain walls and towers
the castle was, usually, surrounded by water, making
attack even more perilous.
Source A. Diagram of Beaumaris Castle.
of the diagram: to the outside is a large water
obstacle. The first of the walls is a low curtain
wall with a number of defensive towers; the inner
wall was raised higher so that defenders would fire
over the top of the outer wall. Once inside the outer
curtain wall any intruder would be visible to archers
or crossbowmen within up to 8 of the towers and along
the walls. To successfully capture the castle they
would also have to either scale both sets of walls,
under fire from each of the towers, or breach the
heavily fortified gatehouses.
Why would attacking a Concentric
Castle be harder than attacking a Motte and bailey
or Stone keep Castle?
(2) Explain why the outer curtain walls were lower
than the inner curtain walls.
Source B. Modern day image of an outer Curtain Wall
at Caerphilly Castle.
taken SchoolsHistory Picture Gallery
the right of this image is another water defence and
a higher inner curtain wall. The attacker would also
have to penetrate a number of heavily guarded gatehouses,
most of which had drawbridge entrances.
Major advantages of a Concentric Castle:
towers couldn't be mined as easily.
Larger Castles can house a greater number of defendants.
Once inside the outer wall an attacker was still visible
to defenders in a large number of towers.
The symmetrical design ensures that entry to the inner
most parts of the Castle is closely monitored.
Low curtain walls mean that defenders on the inner
and outer walls can see attackers.
A small number of men could defend a large part of
Use the information in your textbook and previous
notes to try and establish ways in which a concentric
castle could have been attacked successfully. For
each method of besieging a Castle try and find a solution
to the problem in the design of Beaumaris Castle.
(4) Using the information on this sheet and in the
resource packs made available to you, describe the
defensive features of a concentric castle.
(5) Why was a Castle such as Beaumaris Castle such
a formidable military structure?
pages in this section.
of Castle development, Iron
Age and Roman Fortifications, Motte
and Bailey Castles, The
Stone Keep Castle, The
Normans in Yorkshire, Concentric
Castles, Castle Links,
Castle Images, Skipton