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Castles, palaces and stately homes
#1
Cross-posted from the old forum: 
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/the_coff...-t856.html

This is a thread about all the places where our monarchs and noblemen have lived over the years :P . During the Middle Ages, they usually lived in castles, which tended to be heavily fortified, as they served as centres of administration and symbols of power, in addition to being royal and noble residences. Over the course of several centuries, a wide variety of defensive techniques emerged to ward off invaders (including the magnificent concentric castles, consisting of multiple layers of defence). The differences between the various types of castle towers are explained here by YouTube user Shadiversity (whose channel also has its own thread, over here):



He does ramble a bit - so, just to clear it up: 
 
  • The 'keep' is the central, most fortified part, where the most important rooms (like the royal chambers and the Great Hall) are located;
  • The 'great tower' or 'donjon' is the tallest tower (which may be built on top of the keep, or may be entirely separate from it);
  • A 'turret' is a smaller side-tower;
  • A 'gatehouse' is what it sounds like: the towers above the main castle gate :P

Anyway, some castles were used for hundreds of years - although, the beginning of the end came in the 15th century, with the arrival of cannons which could breach stone walls. Extra defences were added to deal with these; however, these turned castles into uncomfortable places to live, so they were largely abandoned after the 16th and 17th centuries (here in England, the last time castles were used was in the English Civil War, after which many of them were deliberately destroyed to prevent them from being used again). After this, the state's defensive functions tended to be taken over by dedicated forts where no nobles lived and worked - but those are a matter for another thread :P

Of course, castles aren't the only places where the elite of society have lived over the centuries. Many kings and emperors have lived in palaces, which differ from castles in that they lack defensive structures, but still serve as spectacular symbols of power and prestige. Then you have country houses, which also lack any defensive capability; however, some of these are still designed in the style of castles. One example of this, which was mentioned in the original thread on the old forum, is Cholmondeley Castle: a country house which is designed as a 'mock castle'. Perhaps they wanted to scare off potential invaders, or perhaps they just liked the style of castles :P

So, which are your favourite castles? Have you been to any yourself?
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#2
Castles are cool but have never been to one.
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#3
That's a surprising thing for me to hear: there are so many castles in Britain that it's difficult to spend a significant amount of time here and not visit one :O ! Then again, I suppose there wouldn't be any in the USA or Canada, except perhaps for the occasional mock castle :P

If you ever do want to visit a castle next time you visit the UK, there are several I'd recommend, depending on where in the country you are. If you're in London or the south-east, then Windsor Castle isn't far from there (although, given that it's still a royal residence to this day, I suspect it'd be very crowded with tourists!). If you're in the Midlands, then Warwick Castle is well worth a visit (it's home to a working replica of a trebuchet, though I've never seen it in action!). Or, up in the north of England is Alnwick Castle (known as one of the locations where the Harry Potter movies were filmed). Then, in Scotland, there's Edinburgh Castle (which still has an active military garrison today, although it's really for ceremonial purposes at this point). Finally, in Wales, there's Conwy Castle (which is a ruin, but it's a well-preserved ruin, if that makes sense :lol: !)
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#4
I was reading about the topic again today - and that brought me to the "Henrician castles" or "device forts", which exist along the south coast of England. One of these is Pendennis Castle: 

[Image: zu7Pjyt.jpg]
(Source: Willhsmit; Public domain)

This building is certainly very well-preserved. However, what I want to know is: is it really a 'castle'?

On the one hand, most definitions of 'castle' seem to be along the lines of "a private fortified residence, typically of the Medieval Era". Pendennis Castle, and the rest of the Henrician castles, fail to meet that definition on two counts. First of all, they're not Medieval: they were built by Henry VIII in the middle of the 1500s. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, they weren't private residences: perhaps soldiers lived there, but certainly no nobles did. Consequently, Wikipedia excludes Pendennis Castle (and the rest of the Henrician castles) from its list of castles in England.

On the other hand, there are still good reasons why one might class them as 'castles'. Most immediately obvious is the architecture, which includes castle-like features, such as battlements and turrets. Furthermore, they were known as 'castles' at the time when they were built (However, they were the last fortifications built in England to be known as 'castles': later defensive buildings were just 'forts', and they didn't look anything like castles). The main point is, people were perfectly happy calling them 'castles' when they were new - which is centuries before the definition of 'castle' as a 'private fortified residence' even emerged.

So, should the definition of 'castle' be extended to cover the Henrician castles? If so, what definition should we use?
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#5
(03-10-2019, 10:06 PM)Kyng Wrote:  I suppose there wouldn't be any in the USA or Canada,

No, there aren’t any here.
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