|Arrow loop or slit|
Lines of Attack and Defence
|Entrance to Dinefwr Castle|
The gatehouse often included the accommodation for the Constable, who ran the castle, on the uppermost floor. Also rooms for captured knights and noblemen waiting to be ransomed. By contrast, the dungeons were also often below the gatehouse. Some noblemen built the chapel into the gatehouse in the hope that it would keep away evil.
Even when castles ceased to be defensive in the 14th and 15th centuries, they were still built with gatehouses, more for their symmetrical and aesthetic qualities than for their defensive capabilities.
[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