Since the power and security of a lord depended upon his ability to
defend himself, fief owners began to build sturdy castles. Castles were
designed to withstand a siege and to mount a defense.
At first castles were made of wood. But they were
too easy to burn down. By 1100 CE, castles were built of stone. Thick
walls surrounded a castle. Inside these thick walls, there were many
At the first sign of trouble, the commoners rushed
to get inside the castle walls before the gates closed and shut them
Castles were usually built on top of a hill, if one was handy. That way,
the lookout guards could more easily spot attackers approaching.
Moat: A moat was built around many of the castles. This was a
deep ditch surrounding the castle walls, filled with water. A bridge was
built to cross the moat. The bridge was raised during an attack. The
moat was loaded with traps and sharp spikes in case someone tried to
Drawbridge: The drawbridge was the bridge built across the
moat. This bridge could be raised and lowered for added protection from
Keep: One of the largest spaces behind the thick walls was
the keep. The keep was a storage area topped by a huge square tower with
slotted windows for castle archers to use. The keep stored food, wine,
and grain in case of siege.
Barracks: Other buildings made up the barracks. the barracks
were the homes of the knights and their families.
Great Hall: The Great Hall was a passageway that connected
the lord's home to the keep.
Chapel: The chapel was build either inside the lord's home or
as a separate building. The chapel was a place to hold religious
Gatehouse: The gatehouse was a building used by the guards at
the gates. The portcullis was the grating of iron bars at the gateway.
in the Castle (game, National Geographic)
Village - Click and discover
Construction Virtual Castles
your own Medieval Castle
Medieval Cartoon (you'll need paper and pencil to play this game)
Powerpoints about the Middle Ages
Online Games for the Middle Ages
Middle Ages Clipart for Kids & Teachers
Ages for Teachers
to The Middle Ages for Kids