|Caerphilly Castle was built in the thirteenth century. |
It is the largest castle in Wales.
To learn more about Caerphilly Castle, click here.
|More views of Caerphilly Castle|
David Macaulay re-creates the building of a Medieval Castle in his book Castle. For more information about this very detailed and informative book, visit the author's website by clicking here. To watch a four part movie based on the book, click on the YouTube videos below.
The castle in Macaulay's book is imaginary but it is based on several real Medieval castles.
One of them is Caerphilly castle in Wales. Here is a floor plan of Caerphilly Castle:
The film starts off with the author, David Macaulay, with his sketchbook, in Conway Castle in Wales. Here are some photographs of Conway Castle:
Here is a floor plan of Conway Castle:
Below is a floor plan and some photographs of
Below is a floor plan and some photographs of
WHY DO ALL THESE
MEDIEVAL CASTLES LOOK SO DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER?
HOW ARE THEY ALL ALIKE?
Keep reading to find out.
There was no standard shape and structure for a castle. The builders adapted their designs to suit the site, the budget and the military dangers of the day.
|THE ANATOMY OF A MEDIEVAL CASTLE|
Print out the picture above and look at all the basic parts that make up the anatomy of a Medieval castle. The castles all look very different from each other, yet they are all made up of the same basic components. See if you can identify the components all of these castles have in common. How would geographic location and the topography of the site influence a castle's design?
Some cool Medieval castle activities:
Click here to learn how to build your own paper and cardboard Medieval castle
Click here to learn how to design a castle floor plan
Click here for a step by step Power Point presentation by The Helpful Art Teacher on how to design and build your own paper castle.
How to build a paper castle
You will need heavy paper, like oak tag or card stock,
white glue,masking tape,cardboard for the base
scissors,markers, paint and whatever else you wish to use to decorate your creation. A small inexpensive low temperature hot glue gun is useful but not necessary.
The starting point: A tower
You will need to build at least four of these towers and connect them by walls just to start building your castle. These worksheets are just to get you started. Be inventive! Figure out how to include all the parts of the castle from the moat and draw bridge to the gate house and portcullis to the inner ward and keep.
Work in progress: These 7th grade students are creating a curtain wall, the wall surrounding their castle complex. A soldier can walk along this wall and shoot arrows at his enemies from behind the embrasures.
These students have created a portcullis and draw bridge using yarn, Popsicle sticks and a low temperature
hot glue gun.
Interior and exterior shots of one 7th grade student's work in progress. She used a sharp scissors to cut the points on the Popsicle sticks that form the portcullis.
When each group was done constructing their castles I gave them 12 Popsicle sticks, a rubber band, a plastic spoon and permission to go over to the hot glue gun table. Their mission? To design a working catapult capable of lobbing mini marshmallows into another group's castle.
Catapult designed by a 7th grade studentClick here to learn how to build a miniature working catapult out of Popsicle sticks (so you can storm your paper castle). This website gives step by step directions but I prefer to have my students come up with their own designs. As you can see, from the video below, my 7th graders' original contraptions worked quite well.
catapult design by a 7th grade student from Rachel Wintemberg on Vimeo.
This student took the assignment a step farther. After researching medieval weapons he decided to design a crossbow to defend his fortress and siege neighboring castles. He was, of course, very careful to aim his weapon at rival social studies projects and never at people.
Learn all the parts of a real medieval castle and what they were used for before you begin.
Look at several real castles and their floor plans before you create your own. Remember, fortresses were designed and built for defense so make sure your castle will protect the inhabitants within.
The Parts of a Medieval Castle
Vocabulary terms you will need to know:
You will remember the vocabulary better if, after reading the definition, you click on the word.This will bring you to a picture that illustrates the word.
If you are building a castle for a 7th grade social studies class your teacher will probably expect you to use these vocabulary words to label the parts of your castle. You will also be expected to demonstrate the ways in which your fortress uses these elements to protect it's inhabitants.
Keep - This definition changed slightly over the centuries of castle building. In the early years of stone castle building the Keep was a standalone structure that could be defended and often square in shape. Over the centuries these structures were improved upon and built around. Thus a castle was made that was a larger and more complex structure. The main tower that this was built around was still called the Keep and it was usually the tallest and strongest structure in the castle. It was also used as the last line of defense during siege or attack.
Click here to learn more about what life was life like in Medieval times
If you were a peasant and wanted
the protection a castle afforded,
you had to pay your taxes
What is an illuminated manuscript? Before the invention of the printing press books had to be written by hand and very few people knew how to read.Click here to learn more about Medieval illuminated manuscripts
If you were a knight, you would have to decorate your outfit with distinctive heraldry to avoid accidentally being killed by your own men
Please note: The pictures of actual medieval castles come from Wikimedia commons and are in the public domain. A few of the black and white images are handouts I have had for many years. If anyone knows who I should attribute them to, please email me. The pictures of step by step directions and photographs of student art work are my own. They may be downloaded and reproduced for educational purposes only (with appropriate credit given) in accordance with fair use law. Please do not republish them without contacting me for permission.