|Swansea Castle from Castle Bailey Street|
In early castles the curtain wall was very high, but later castles were built with lower curtain walls with a bastion fort or higher secondary walls inside. Towers were placed at the vulnerable corners of the curtain wall and anywhere else which needed extra defences. They also stabilised the wall.
|Putlog holes Barcut Biserica evanghelica|
Teams of masons would work with plumb line and mason’s level to build the walls straight and every block level. They used a trowel to apply the mortar, not just between the stones, but between the stones and the rubble infill. Castle building took many years and the site would shut down in winter. A layer of mortar was laid to cover the unfinished top of the wall to protect it. Next season it would be removed and building continued.
[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