The most obvious legacy of the Medieval period in the UK and France is the castle. They are everywhere, mostly in varying states of ruin. I have written previously about why you should visit castles and how to go about it. I also did a series on my local castles (Gower has a lot of castles), including Why visit a castle? and How to visit a castle. But I recently bought the Haynes manual of the castle, which looks at the construction and use of the castle, and I thought it would be fun to do a series on that.
Back in 1997 a project was started in France to build a castle using original tools and equipment, to see exactly how it was done. The project was planned to take 25 years, so it was quite an undertaking. The site at Guédelon was an old stone quarry. Twenty years later it was a castle with defensive walls, towers, a Great Hall and a chapel. Along the way they learned not just individual skills, but the way the different crafts supported one another and worked together as a whole community.
I hope you find this as fascinating as I do, as I’m going to look at the different parts of a castle and the different crafts required.
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz