British Fortifications Through the Reign of Richard III

An Illustrated History


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About the Book

From the time the Romans first set foot on England’s shore in 55 B.C., the British Isles have faced a constant threat of foreign invasion. As a result, the landscapes of England, Scotland, and Ireland are dotted with ancient defensive fortifications as varied as their makers. Iron Age Celtic “hill forts,” Roman castra and Hadrian’s Wall, Anglo-Saxon dykes and Alfredian burhs, Norman mottes and stone-keeps, Edwardian castles, Irish tower houses—they all served to repel ancient intruders and many still stand as tangible relics of a remarkable past. This study chronicles the development of British fortifications from prehistoric times through the end of Richard III’s reign in 1485, providing the history of each type of structure, relevant examples, and information on weapons and siege warfare. More than 250 illustrations vividly detail each ediface’s construction and configuration.

About the Author(s)

Historian, writer and illustrator Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage is the author of numerous books. His interests include World War II and medieval and French history. He lives in Groningen, Netherlands.

Bibliographic Details

Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 318
Bibliographic Info: 280 illustrations, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5918-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-6254-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Introduction      1

Part 1. Prehistoric Fortifications
The Celts      5
Hill Forts and Oppida      8
Hill Forts in England and Wales      25
Hill Forts in Scotland      25
Hill Forts in Ireland       33
Other Forms of Fortifications      38
Aftermath      51

Part 2. Roman Fortifications in Britain A.D. 43–409
The Roman Empire and Its Army      53
Roman Engineering Corps       55
Britannia      62
Camps and Forts      64
Roman Urban Fortifications       89

Part 3. Early Medieval Fortifications A.D. 409–1066
Anglo- Saxon Invasion      99
Danish Invasions      102
Dikes       104
Burhs       108
Siege Warfare      115
Aftermath      116

Part 4. Norman Castles 1066–1154
The Normans and England      117
Norman Military Architecture      122
Motte- and- Bailey Castles      124
Shell- Keeps      129
Stone Keeps      133
Aftermath      158

Part 5. Early Plantagenet Fortifications 1154–1327
Historical Background      161
Siege Warfare      173
Evolution of Castles in the 12th and 13th Centuries      178
Edwardian Castles      202
Aftermath      230

Part 6. Late Plantagenet Fortifications 1327–1485
Historical Background      231
Development of Castles in the 14th and 15th Centuries      238
Urban Fortifications      252
Tower Houses in the North      281
Conclusion       291

Appendix 1: Maps of the Main Castles in the British Isles      295
Appendix 2: Conservation Organizations      301
Appendix 3: Kings and Queens (from A.D. 802 to 1485)      304
Bibliography      305
Index      307

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Provides a detailed look at historical compounds and castles from the prehistoric era through the fifteenth century”—SciTech Book News.