By Christopher Gravett

Descended from the Viking raiders who settled in Northern France less than the management of Rollo in round 911, the Normans have been among the main feared warriors in their time. Their territorial goals culminated in Duke William 1's conquest of britain in 1066, yet even if victory at Hastings left the English crown in William's fingers, Norman sovereignty remained faraway from confirmed at the island. to be able to consolidate his place, the hot king equipped a sequence of fortifications around the kingdom - this publication covers some of these advancements from the early days of William I via to the fortifications of Henry II, Richard I and John.

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Extra resources for Medieval norman castles (1) The British Isles 1066-1216

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With the mine dug and shored up with wooden props, and wood piled below the stone seating, the whole was smeared with pig fat and set alight. As the fire increased and the props burned away, the gaping hole left by the miners below the angle took its toll. With nothing to hold it up, the corner cracked and collapsed, exposing the inside of the donjon itself. Yet the defenders still defied the king, now withdrawing behind the crosswall to continue their resistance. Although the attackers could command the south-west of the two main rooms, their only access through the cross-wall on the ground and first floor was via two narrow doorways, easily defended and probably barred.

Finally, King William decided to withdraw from the siege, and the castle was never taken. However, in a reversal of political fortune, Prudhoe surrendered to King John in 1212. The siege of Rochester in 1215 is one of the great set-piece sieges of a donjon in Britain. King John had encountered problems concerning who should hold Castle Rising, Norfolk, was built by William deAlbini in the late-1130s, based on Norwich. The forebuilding has stately decoration. 45 The siege of Rochester, late-1215 46 the castle, namely the Archbishop of Canterbury or a constable.

It was safe from catapults but not safe from the king. John now ordered a mine to be dug under the south-east corner, the only option left to him - short of starvation - that might result in the castle's capture. On 25 November he despatched a writ to his justiciar, Hubert de Burgh, with instructions 'to send to us with all speed by day and night forty of the fattest pigs of the sort least good for eating to bring fire beneath the tower'. With the mine dug and shored up with wooden props, and wood piled below the stone seating, the whole was smeared with pig fat and set alight.

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