Looking at a Castle

The Complex Arrangements of Medieval Life

14 minutes, color, age range: 9 - 13 years, #99A

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Looking at a Castle

Artist's impression of an Anglo-Saxon lady of the manor

The remains of the fortifications and domestic quarters of Goodrich Castle, near Ross-on-Wye, Hereford and Worcester, England, show the complex arrangements of life in a medieval castle. The presenter acts as a detective, identifying and reading the clues which the building contains. For example, how was the castle defended against attack? There is a pit for a drawbridge; sockets and grooves in the gatehouse point to doors and a portcullis; and there are 'murder holes' and arrow slits. A castle is essentially a collection of houses with a strong outer wall. But where are the houses? Looking carefully, it is possible to see angles where roofs, long since gone, were once sealed and joined to the main structure.

Fireplaces and the remains of the ovens reveal where the kitchen was, and there is evidence for a covered way that provided a service passage between houses and kitchen. Looking up at the different floor levels in the towers and large buildings enables the presenter to show that there was space here for five separate households. A useful introduction to castles in general, since most medieval castles have layouts similar to Goodrich's.

Part of the series Looking at...

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Credits

English Heritage:

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