|Motte-and-bailey castle showing outer palisade and ditch (castlesworld)|
The outer fortifications served two main purposes: Protecting the buildings surrounding the castle and making it harder to attack the castle gatehouse, which was the weak point in the castle defences. Any army would have to breach the barbican and cross to the gatehouse before attacking the castle proper. The barbican also provided a safe area where troops could mass before venturing out.
|Barbican into Beaumaris Castle (pinterest)|
[adapted from The Medieval Castle Haynes Manual by Charles Phillips and The World of the Castle website]
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