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Anarchy: War and Status in 12th-Century Landscapes of Conflict$
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Oliver Creighton and Duncan Wright

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781781382424

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781382424.001.0001

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Architecture and Authority: Castles

Architecture and Authority: Castles

(p.80) Chapter 4 Architecture and Authority: Castles
Anarchy: War and Status in 12th-Century Landscapes of Conflict

Oliver H. Creighton

Duncan W. Wright

Michael Fradley

Steven Trick

Liverpool University Press

This core chapter analyses the archaeological and documentary evidence for the militarisation of the twelfth-century landscape through castle-building. The considerable challenges of identifying and dating castles built and strengthened during the civil war mean that the total picture of fortification in the period will always remain murky at best, irrespective of how much new archaeological evidence comes to light. The proportion of unfinished and lost castle sites is also far higher than for other periods. That Stephen’s reign saw a marked thickening in the distribution map of castles is beyond doubt, but this was probably more tightly focussed in contested regions than a genuinely nationwide phenomenon and is likely to have involved scores rather than hundreds of ‘new’ sites. Overall, archaeology highlights individuality in twelfth-century timber castle design, which went far beyond the ‘motte and bailey’ or ‘ringwork’ labels. ‘Enmotted’ towers were a hallmark of the period, as was the re-activation and remodelling of Iron-Age hillforts as castles and the construction of great masonry donjons, which percolated from being a royal to a magnate prerogative during the period.

Keywords:   adulterine, bailey, castle, chronicle, donjon, hillfort, motte, ringwork, slighting, tower

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