Starting with the most important and finishing with the least important, this Is my list on ‘Why Norman’s built Castles and in England.
* For protection
* To make the Town and surrounding areas a lot stronger
* To demonstrate their power
* To keep Law and Order
The Normans mainly built Castles for protection. A Castle in a Town or Village would be very important to the villagers, and if you lived inside the castle. In the Bailey you would be in an even stronger position. Castles are strong because a lot of them are made from stone, and stone doesn’t burn at all. This meant the attackers would find it a lot harder to attack.
Norman people were very rich indeed, so they also spent lots of money building castles and cathedrals to demonstrate their power. If you want to build a castle it takes a lot of preparation. King John when he attacked a castle had hundreds of men, so that he could attempt to beat the castle defences. Also having hundreds of castles up and down the country must have been hard work to build, so they had to build them where they especially needed a lot of power restored in a village.
The Normans also built castles to keep law and order. This would help stop a lot of rebellions and would help keep law and order for the people in the town.
Normans built cathedrals for the Christians in the town. Cathedrals are often built near a Castle. In those days Christianity was a very important part of life. This is because in the medieval times people were very religious. A lot of people believed in ‘Heaven and Hell.’ If you were good most of your life you would go to Heaven once you have died. Heaven is a place of happiness and similar to today. But on the other hand you went to Hell, you a supposed to tortured and burnt and eaten. The Norman Kings would always go to church so that they didn’t end up in Hell.
Normans also built cathedral to show off how rich they were, and to show off how good architects they were. If you can afford such good designs, you must be rich.
Why Normans built a Castle and Cathedral in Rochester
The Normans mainly built a castle and cathedral in England for the same reasons as before. But also a castle was built in Rochester for trading up and down The River Medway. The River Medway led all the way to London, so it was very important to the trading business. Also if something went terrible wrong there would be easy access for a messenger to report what has happened.
The River Medway also meant a lot to the castle because it was a very big source of protection. If a boat came down the River unknowingly, People in the Bailey would spot it early and have the advantage.
The Castle consists of a Bailey. This is an area of land in which The Keep stands on and has a gigantic wall surrounding it. On the bailey there would be lots of farms. The farms would supply the people living in the Keep and on the Bailey their food. Every so often, maybe if the crops fail to grow, people would have to go in and out of the Portcullis and would trade with other towns in the area. Maybe people would use the River and trade with people further away, for example London.
The Keep is the most outstanding feature of Rochester Castle. It stands at the southern end of the Bailey very close to the wall. An Archbishop called William de Corbiel built the Keep in 1127. The keep is the last resort of defence. This would be very hard to penetrate considering it is made from stone. The Keep is 113 ft (34m) from top to parapet, and then has four and turrets rising another 12ft. (3.7m) The walls are 12ft thick and made out of solid stone.
Below the entrance there are two floors below. This is the Basement. Originally it could only be reached by a narrow passageway and steps leading down from the keep. This is its only mean of light. On the first floor there would probably be a great chamber. On this floor there were four windows, each spread fairly far apart. There would be big and small holes. The big holes were used for dropping large and hot liquids down, and the archers used the smaller holes. This was a good matter of defence.