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Sunday, 2 February 2014

Castle

During the Middle Ages, kings and wealthy noblemen built fortified stone castles for protection from enemy attacks. The hall was the principal room of the medieval castles. The castles also contained the lord's private rooms, a kitchen, a pantry, a wine cellar, and perhaps a chapel.

When Saint Emmeram Castle was built in  built in Regensburg, Germany in c650 AD, it contained 517 rooms and 231,000 square-foot floor space making it the largest non palatial residence in the world.

When William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066, he brought with him pre-built wooden castles with planks already cut to size. They gave immediate protection to his men and horses.

The largest castle of the time, Hradany Castle, was built at Prague, Czechoslovakia in the ninth century. It was destroyed by fire in 1303.

Fireplaces could be built in castle walls, and crude chimneys first appeared during the 12th century.

Spiral staircases in castles were built clockwise so that defending knights had the advantage of swinging swords right-handed going down.

A castle was often built with a band of water round the outside called a moat so attackers couldn't put ladders down or tunnel under the walls.

All the toilets emptied into the moat and it soon began to fill up with human waste and smelled like a dead rat's gut. If you fell in you might not drown - but you would be poisoned if you swallowed any water.

The moats were often filled with fish. Despite the moat being filled with human waste, the castle cooks would have the fish caught and serve them up for dinner.

Stone castles were very effective against the Mongols. They sustained heavy casualties trying, but were never able to take a single one in two invasions of Hungary.

Castle building began to decline in the 15th century, when artillery became powerful enough to break through stone walls.

In the 1800s, Dobroyd Castle was built by John Fielden in Todmorden, England, for a woman who would only marry him if he built her a castle.

Ludwig II ((1845 – 1886) used his personal fortune to fund the construction of a series of elaborate fantasy-like castles all over Bavaria. Because of his compulsion he went deeply into debt. He became so desperate that he was prepared to imprison anyone who would not help him raise money to build his dream castles.

Ludwig II's castles later inspired the fairy tale castles at Walt Disney parks.

A painting of the Madonna in Fiorano Castle, Italy, escaped without even being scorched when invading soldiers set the castle afire, yet all the rest of the building was destroyed.

Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country.

Carnavon Castle, Wales
Built in the 9th century, Prague Castle as the largest ancient castle in the world. It is an oblong irregular polygon with an average diameter of 128 m (420 ft), giving a total surface area of 7.28 hectares (18 acres).

Dover Castle is the largest castle in England. There are over three miles of secret war time tunnels snaking deep into the cliff. Many of these tunnels are still undiscovered.

More than five hundred people live and work in Windsor Castle, making it the largest inhabited castle in the world.

Sources Horrible Histories Annual 2016,  Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

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