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Research - Motte and Bailey Castles

Most castles were built in a Motte (hill) and Bailey (keep) system. The earlier castles consisted of dirt hills (either natural or man-made) upon which a timber castle structure was built, then a large timber fenced-in keep was built around that. Within the keep were other buildings, such as a blacksmith shop, a bakery, the stables, etc. Most systems were built near freshwater sources. For those too far from streams or rivers, a cistern was created to contain water. However, during sieges, this could lead to the demise or surrender of the inhabitants once the water ran low.

This site contains a good definition of the motte and bailey system:


Excellent photos of mottes: http://www.castlewales.com/motte.html

Lots of links to examples: http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Motte-and-bailey


  1. Castles are like Light Houses. And if you're lucky enough to live in an area with one, you probably live in an area with more than one. :D I would love to go castle hopping. Alas, castles are hard to find in Illinois.

    I would like to kiss the Blarney Stone. :) Have a great end of the week.

  2. Just for fun, you might want to check out this website which lists castles that are located in the US (and there's a link for Canada too). Although they aren't medieval castles, it's still pretty interesting to see what exists nearby...