Useful words

Archer
A soldier who fought with a bow and arrow

Arrow slit/slot/loop
Different words for the same thing. Archers fired arrows through these narrow slits in the wall.

Bailey
The courtyard of a castle, defended by a wall or fence and sometimes a ditch.

Barbican
Extra defence protecting a gate, bridge or drawbridge. (The design of these varies a lot).

Concentric
Two circles, one around the other. A concentric castle has two walls, one built inside the other.

Constable  
The person in charge of the castle when the owner was absent.

Corbel
A stone sticking out from a wall that held up a wooden beam (these show you where the floors were).

Crenellations
Square notches in the top of a wall. Each notch is a crenel and each section of wall a merlon. The soldiers stood behind the merlons and shot through the crenels.

Curtain wall
The wall around the courtyard (a courtyard is also called the ward or bailey).

Drawbridge
A bridge across the moat or ditch that could be pulled up on chains to make it difficult for attackers to enter the castle.

Embrasure
A wide opening in the wall behind a window or arrowloop for the archer to stand in.

Garderobe
A lavatory or latrine. The contents fell into a pit through a shaft in the wall.

Gatehouse
A building at the entrance to a castle where soldiers could defend the castle from attackers

Gunloop
A small round opening for firing a gun.

Hourd
A wooden platform hanging from the top of a wall. An archer standing on it could fire arrows at enemies close to the walls below.

Keep
A strong tower where people lived and fought from.

Machicolation
An overhanging parapet on the outside of a tower or gatehouse with holes in the floor. Soldiers could drop rocks on the enemy below through these.

Moat
A ditch round a castle wall, often filled with water.

Motte
A man-made mound or hill. It was usually fenced and had a bailey to form a motte-and-bailey castle.

Murder hole
A hole in the roof of an entrance passage. Rocks could be dropped through it on to enemies below.

Palisade
A strong wooden fence.

Portcullis
A gate made of wood or metal to shut off the entrance to the gate passage. It was raised and lowered from a room above.

Piscina
A stone basin in a church or chapel, close to the altar, that contained water for washing holy objects used in the services.

Putlog hole
A square hole in the stonework. These show the position of the scaffolding poles when the wall was being built.

Vault
An arched roof, usually in a stone building.

Ward
Another word for bailey or courtyard.

Window seat
A stone seat made in the recess of a window.