The Middle Ages or medieval period began around the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and ended during the 15th century. During that time towns and villages grew up around stout castles that served to protect the local citizenry in exchange for their servitude. Fortified castles were also the home of local royalty and feudal families.
Medieval castles were built on a natural or artificial hill or mound called a motte. Building on a motte gave the castle dwellers a sense of importance and the upper hand during battle.
Over time castles were constructed with a series of thick outer walls called the bailey. It was not unusual for castles to have a bailey of three or four thick walls.
Norman builders were the first known architects to add a tower feature called the keep. The keep was built out of brick and stone. It stood as high as 40 to 50 feet.
Deep moats or ditches surrounded the medieval castle, keeping enemies at bay. Some moats were filled with water, others were left dry.
Medieval castles had wide entrances with heavy wooden doors called a drawbridge. The drawbridge could be raised or lowered to allow or deny passage into the castle.
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