Medieval Castle Construction

carlisle castle constructed 1122 Photograph: Carlisle Castle in Cumbria, England whose stone architecture construction began in 1122 under King Henry I of England. A Norman motte and bailey castle had previously been constructed on the site under King William II (son of William The Conqueror) around 1093. Its purpose - to protect England's Northern border against invasion from Scotland.

Medieval history covers approximately 400 years of human existence. That's a long time span and given the large number of castles built during the medieval period, it's not surprising to learn that many people are interested to know the dates when specific medieval castles were constructed.

It is often quite difficult to date castles in general but especially medieval castles.

Here are some reasons why ...

  • there might have been ancient fortifications on the same site that pre-date the medieval castle that we have in mind
  • the castle might have started life as a house but then subsequently received a licence to crenallate
  • many castles started life as a wooden motte & bailey (Norman construction) but were subsequently rebuilt in stone

However, we have taken these factors into account and have put together a medieval castles timeline which shows some 70 medieval castles in Britain and hope it will provide a good overview of medieval castle construction.