Parts of a Castle (Diagrams For Concentric and Motte & Bailey Castle)

As you can see in the above diagram, a motte-and-bailey castle consists of a mound of earth called a motte, which is topped with a tower called a keep (or donjon). The bailey, or courtyard, is the area surrounding the keep. Although fortifications like this are no longer popular in most of the world, they were commonplace in Europe during medieval times, when they were used to protect against invasions.

Who would have guessed that the humble castle once served as a vital part of medieval life? The word itself can have different meanings depending on the era, but in modern English the term “castle” is used to describe the fortified residences of royalty and nobility that were built in the medieval period. While the term “castle” is often associated with fantasy and fairy tales, it is important to remember that castles were in fact a very real part of life for nobles in the Middle Ages.

A castle can be a wonderful place to live; the thick stone walls are sure to keep out all but the most determined of attackers while the bright banners fluttering from the ramparts make the home look glorious. But what makes a castle a castle? How do you go about making one? There was no single method used to build castles in the past, as you can see from the diagram below: there are two methods of building a castle, with the concentric method being the most popular.

Since Greek and Roman times, man has tried to build fortifications to protect himself and be safe. In the course of time they were transformed into castles, which are a kind of military and residential buildings. In this article we will take a look at the most important parts of the castle.

Lock parts

Here is a diagram for two types of locks, the concentric lock and the Motte and Bailey lock.

The Allure

A castle wall is a wall that is usually on top of a curtain wall and is located within the wall.  The guards had to search the upper part of the wall for intruders. Access to the wall is by a series of steps inside the wall or by a tower built into the wall. The outside of the walls also has its charms. In such a situation a wooden part, called a barrack, was erected above the wall. The defenders could fire missiles at the attackers below through holes in the base of the barracks.


The storage of weapons for use in battle or for attacks was an essential part of the castle. The weapons had to be stored safely, so that they would not fall into the hands of the rebels. The forts were built so that they could be dismantled and transported to the arsenal.


Here the infantry is stationed and separated from the civilian population.

Junk mail

A further development of this construction was to place the treasures in the embrasures at the top of the curtain walls or towers. They consisted of wooden frames sticking out of the walls. This gave the defenders on the walls more protection and enabled them to strengthen the walls.

The Bailey

Bailey is a field adjacent to a motte (hill) which was surrounded by a moat and palisade as part of Motte and Bailey Castle. The courtyard provided ample space for the Lord and his closest followers, as well as for livestock and camp. In times of need, residents could go to the castle courtyard, where they were protected from attackers. In later medieval castles the word bailey is also used to denote sheltered areas. The words inner bailey or outer bailey literally refer to the location of the bailey in the heart of the castle.


It was a defensive structure that guarded the main entrance to the castle. Some Barbicans had a narrow passageway that allowed a small number of attackers to penetrate the fence and push them into a narrow space where the defenders could open fire on them. Early earthen barricades were intended to deceive attackers by making the construction of the gate more detailed. The first barriers consisted of wooden palisades and earthen ramparts, but over time these were replaced by rectangular stone corridors. Warwick Castle is an excellent example.

La Bastide

These were modern cities based on a grid structure of perpendicular streets and were first built in France. At first the cities were not defended, but eventually they were fortified. When castles were built in Wales, such as Caernarvon and Conway, this style was introduced and used. Several boxes in the schedule are reserved for churches and markets.

The drawbridge

The flexible bridge at the main entrance/gate of the castle is a drawbridge. Simply lift it into the door and the whole lock is closed and protected against intruders.


The fortress was probably the stronghold of the castle, and it was there that the guards should have fled if the rest of the castle had fallen to the rebels. The storage units can be square or round and have different levels. To avoid gaps, the walls are very high and the stairs leading to the different floors are integrated into the thickness of the wall. The safes are classified as aisle safes or towers. A men’s hall is a large house with the same number and type of rooms as a men’s tower, but arranged vertically. A safe usually has a key entrance that can be monitored. Since square forts are vulnerable to attacks from the corners, round forts began to be developed. In the past this part of the castle was called the donjon. This term has been replaced by that of dungeon, which now refers to a prison, usually located at the bottom of the dungeon.

The ditch

A moat is a water-filled ditch that covers all or part of the castle. Dams were designed to provide sufficient water depth, and rivers or springs were drained to provide enough water for the moat. The ditches made it even more difficult to operate the castle, as digging a well under water could lead to flooding.

The Night Butterfly

A wooden tower was built on the hill and served as a defence post and observation platform. Mott was built by stacking layers of earth and stone 10 to 100 feet high. A wooden palisade and a tower, mostly on stilts, were built on the hill. The top of the motte was connected by wooden stairs or ladders to the courtyard of the castle below.


A wooden fence is erected around the perimeter of the farmyard or on the motte. The columns stood close together, without gaps between them, and their tops were pointed.

The batter (base)

This is the lower, sloping part of the tower or wall. Missiles fired from the tops of towers or walls of a base bounce horizontally and inflict additional damage on attackers. The basements protected the foundations of the towers or walls so that they would not collapse.


This is a flat area between the foundation of the front wall and the beginning of the trench that protects it.

The mainstay

On the outside of the walls rectangular wall profiles have been applied for extra strength and protection. The closer you get to the top, the smaller the Battresses become.

The Harrow

To protect the entrance to the fortress, a large wooden door was installed in the gatehouse, which was lowered into the slots. The portcullis was a massive, heavy structure consisting of several sections of horizontal and vertical oak beams with sharp points at the base. Counterweights were also used to lift the large harrow.


A postern is a small door or lock that allows exit from the castle, usually at a distance from the main gate. They are small, so only one person can get in or out at a time. In wartime it was probably intended to encourage a small group of people to escape or go to the castle.


It was very popular to build a chapel in the fortress or in the courtyard of the castle. The castles of the Tower of London, Conisbrough and Middleham have chapels within the castle walls. Orford and Dover are two towns where chapels are integrated into the facade of buildings.

Cross wall

The temple is divided in two by the cross wall of masonry. The cross-shaped wall can be seen in a vertical slope from Dover Castle. It has served many purposes. The first was to give the goalkeeper a load of physical strength. It was also used as an underlay for wooden floors. When the fort was attacked, it also served as a deterrent.


The foundations of the stables can also be seen in several castles, including Goodrich Castle, as pictured above. Horses were the main means of transportation in the Middle Ages, so it was important to keep them close and safe.


This farm or field was used for jousting tournaments and battles. The tiltiard, which was usually located outside the castle walls, was probably permanently set up to hold competitions.

Curtain wall

The outer wall of the castle is called the curtain wall. Technically, the term refers to the parts of the wall between the towers, although it is usually used to refer to the entire wall and towers.

The trenches

Moats are the most popular form of castle protection. The earth removed from the sides of the walls was used to construct the banks. Most ditches are dry, but some are filled with water and are called ditches. The higher the edges of the trench, the harder it was for the terrorists to crawl. Rain can be a slippery roadblock, even if the ditches are not flooded with water. The castle’s toilets even overflowed into the gutter.

Les Enceintes

The walls and towers that surround and protect the interior of the fortress are called fortress walls and towers. It can be a fortified village, a fortress or another building to protect.


The entrance to the fortress had to be guarded, which is exactly what the fortress was designed for. Many modern castles, such as Rochester, Orford, Dover, Kenilworth and Castle Rising have verandas. Chapels and dungeons are common examples of extensions with additional rooms.


The gallery is a corridor cut into the thickness of the walls, traversing the upper part of the temple hall. The passageway allows access to the upper floors of the temple and provides a vantage point from which to observe the action in the hall. The windows let light into the hall below, and the passageway allows movement through the upper floors of the building. If the room was invaded, the defenders could fire arrows from the gallery.

The Watergate

The castle’s water gates allowed it to be supplied from the sea. This was useful if the castle was attacked, which was typical of Edward I’s castles in North Wales. The Tower of London has a water gate leading to the Thames, known as the Traitor’s Gate.


The gatehouse, the main entrance to the castle, was probably the first part of the complex. A typical gate was a stone gate with a central entrance protected by a bridge, wall, portcullis or a combination of these. Above the gate were rooms for the castle guard and the men chosen to guard the complex.


The heart of the castle was in the hall. Over the years, the architecture has changed considerably, but not the functions. Most influential members of the family slept and ate here, as it was the center of life in the castle. Meetings and banquets were held in the hall, as it was a huge space. The early halls, originally made of wood but later converted to stone, formed the main space of the Kappa Halls, massive structures that resembled houses. The salvos were usually built around the inner wall of the castle rather than in the middle of the castle. Characteristic of the hall is the high vaulted roof.A castle is a large fortification, usually of stone, built in times of danger to protect a large area. Castles are built on raised ground in a strategic location and surrounded by earthworks to protect the base. The shape and size of a castle varied greatly over the centuries as new technologies and strategies of war evolved. In addition to defense, castles were also strongholds for the nobility.. Read more about parts of a castle wall and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the parts of a concentric castle?

Castles are typically considered to be a medieval invention, but the idea actually dates back to early civilizations. Ancient civilizations built numerous hilltop castles, or “Motte and Bailey” castles as they also are referred to, which were made of earthen mounds and timbers. The mounds enabled the defenders to view and fire arrows at approaching enemies, while the timbers provided a safe place to retreat to in case they lost the battle. The first concentric castles, which have layers of walls surrounding a central keep, began appearing in the 9th century AD, and were a response to the increasingly effective siege engines that had been developed during the period. This design is still used today, and concentric castles can be seen in A concentric castle is a castle, or a fortification built as a single structure that contains several defensive lines. The most famous concentric castles are the triple castles of the Crusades, built by the Teutonic Order in Prussia and Pomerania. The castles were named Königsburg, Marienburg and Balga. The most famous of these castles was Marienburg Castle in Prussia, which was captured by the Lithuanians in 1410, but was recaptured by the Polish-Lithuanians in 1457. It was destroyed and demolished by the Polish-Swedish union in 1656 after a siege that lasted for three weeks.

What are the parts of a castle?

A castle is a medieval fortification built during the Middle Ages. As one of the oldest types of buildings known to man, they have been featured in everything from fairy tales to films, and they continue to be a popular symbol of power, wealth, and mystery to this day. A castle consists of four parts: the gatehouse, the inner ward, the outer ward, and the bailey. A medieval castle is a type of fortified structure built during the Middle Ages by European nobility.  Castles served a range of purposes, including acting as a defended home, a fortress, prison, military garrison, a home, and a status symbol. The construction of castles was common in the medieval period, they were built by rich and poor nobles alike.  However, some castles were later converted into homes, and their defenses deactivated.  Castles have been used as a military defense for millennia; their location and appearance has changed little over the centuries.  When the Normans arrived in England, they brought the architectural styles of their homeland, which can be seen in the earliest castles in England, built after the

What is the difference between Motte and Bailey castles and concentric castles?

A Motte and Bailey castle was the first castle design to be built in England. It was a simple wooden structure, consisting of a Motte and Bailey (a large mound of dirt and a ditch), surrounded by a wooden wall. A Bailey is an open area between the Motte and the wooden wall. The Motte was where the lord’s family would live, and the Bailey was where the troops would stay. Some Motte and Bailey castles had wooden towers to protect the sides of the fortification. A Motte and Bailey castle (or Motte castle) is a medieval fortification, built by the Normans once they had invaded England. The Motte is a mound of earth, with a flat top, which was the original castle, and the Bailey is the “moat” which was designed to protect it. A castle of this type was almost always surrounded by a moat. A concentric castle is not surrounded by a moat, and the walls are not as thick, so that it is quicker to build, and cheaper.

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