before the Norman Conquest.
completing these activities you should be able to:
the types of defensive structures used in England
Identify strengths and weaknesses in pre Norman defensive
on the hyperlinked questions to go to a specialist
Aerial Image of Maiden Castle, a Briton fort constructed
prior to the Roman Invasion. In the image you can
make out the defensive ramparts around the fortification.
These are still very high and steep today, so must
have been quite daunting to face during the Iron Age.
Due to the design of Maiden Castle, catapults were
particularly effective. Judging from contemporary
scale drawings, the east and west entrances to the
hill fort were about eight hundred feet across. By
applying the Pythagorean Theorem it can be deduced
that a shot to the top of the hill fort was about
300 yards-just within range of a catapult positioned
directly at the bottom of the hill. At the north and
south points, however, the banks are only 200 yds.
across. Therefore, from fifty yards back one Roman
artilleryman could cover a piece of the earthwork
about one hundred yards wide from the top of the hill
to the bottom. With a number of catapults fire could
have been spread over a large area of the earth or
concentrated in other areas if necessary. ©STAAC
Profile of the Planning for Hadrian's Wall. This Roman
construction stretched from the North Sea to the Irish
Model of a Legionary Fort. The Romans build hundreds
of fortifications such as this one around Briton.
They were used mainly as barracks but did have some
Look at Sources A and C. What
do the Iron Age and Roman constructions have in common?
(2) Look at Sources A and C. What are the major differences
between the Iron Age and Roman fortifications shown
in these sources?
(3) Look at Sources A and B. What were the main weaknesses
in the design of Maiden Castle?
(4) Look at Sources A, B and C. Roman fortifications
were usually made of stone, whilst often retaining
the use of ramparts. Why was this change of design
(5) Look at all of the Sources. What
were the major strengths of fortifications built in
England prior to the Norman Conquest?
(6) Look at all of the Sources. What defensive features
do these fortifications have in common? Why do you
think this is the case?
(7) The Iron Age fort, Maiden Castle, was built in
an age where hand-to-hand combat was the method of
attacking a structure. What themes can be identified
in the above sources to explain the change in defensive
structures over time?
Why the Castle was built.
The method by which the Romans took the Castle.
Why the Romans used different materials to construct
pages in this section.
of Castle development, Iron
Age and Roman Fortifications, Motte
and Bailey Castles, The
Stone Keep Castle, The
Normans in Yorkshire, Concentric
Castles, Castle Links,
Castle Images, Skipton