Keys to the Past


Motte and Bailey

The first castles built by the Normans often consisted of a simple motte with a tower built on it. A motte is a large earth mound. This mound would often be surrounded by a larger outer, enclosure, known as a bailey. This might contain storerooms, stables and houses. Although castles continued to be built throughout the medieval period, mottes fell out of use by the 12th century.
Diagram of a motte and bialey castle. Copyright Peter Ryder 2003.

To explore more glossary entries click on a letter.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Z 1-9