The most obvious material needed for building a castle is stone, but not just any stone and not all the same kind either. The best stone was dressed and used around windows and doors and for special features. The general stone was for the walls, and even the offcuts and poorer quality stones were used to infill between the double walls and for paths. Nothing was wasted.
The master mason not only had charge of the whole project but needed his particular skills to choose the correct stone and see it was properly treated.
Part of the expertise of quarrymen was in identifying different types of rock and the different methods of handling it.
|sandstone in Colorado|
|limestone in Krakow Poland|
The castle site at Guédelon was in an old sandstone quarry, providing the major building material on site. The sandstone came in three colours:
Yellow is the softest sandstone and not good for building, so was used for infill.
Red sandstone is of medium hardness and used for facing stones.
Blue sandstone is the hardest and most difficult to work. It was used for load bearing, like lintels.
[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