Motte and Bailey Castles

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The earliest and simplest form of castle was the motte and bailey.

This consisted of a great pile of earth (the motte) and a larger area surrounded by a bank and ditch (the bailey). Round the top of the motte and the wall of the bailey was a timber palisade.

The great advantages of this type of castle were that it could be built quickly (in as little as a week or two if necessary), it needed no skilled craftsmen and the materials needed (earth and wood) were available anywhere.

If there was time to build it, the motte could be made very large :

Sandal Castle, West Yorkshire

Other examples :
Pleshey, Berkhamstead, Pickering

Dial Solutions 2000