Motte and Bailey Castle


The motte and bailey castle was an early form of medieval fortification especially popular with the Normans in northern France and Britain during the 11th century CE. A single tower was built on (or partially within) the motte or earth mound while a courtyard area or bailey at the base was protected by a wooden palisade and an encircling outer ditch. Relatively quick to build, the height of the mound made the tower difficult to attack while the wall offered a place of refuge from opportunist raiders. For these reasons, the motte and bailey castle was especially useful in freshly conquered territories where the native population was still hostile to their new overlords. As stone resisted fire better than wood and defensive designs improved, castles evolved into more permanent structures with stone circuit walls and towers enclosing a more impressive inner stone tower or keep (donjon).

More about: Motte and Bailey Castle