concentric castle © 2001-2011 by Marvin Hull
The concentric castle was an enclosure castle with an additional curtain wall built, in close proximity, around the entire enclosure. In a sense, the concentric castle consisted of "walls within walls", where the inner walls, gatehouses and towers were higher than the outer walls, gatehouses and towers. This was so that soldiers fighting from the higher set of walls could shoot at the enemy and avoid hitting their fellow soldiers standing on the lower, outer set of walls.

Caerphilly Castle in Wales, begun in 1268, was the first concentric castle built from the start in the concentric style. The idea for this type of castle probably originated in the Holy Land, where great concentric castles, like Krak des Chevaliers, were built. Knights from Britain who fought in the Crusades would have seen these castles, and when they returned home, would have used the idea to build their own castles.

concentric castle ground plan

Some of the older castles which were originally enclosure castles or motte castles were eventually converted to concentric castles. Many of the great Edwardian castles were built from the start as concentric castles, and some scholars consider them to be the greatest of this type. One fine example is Beaumaris Castle, in Anglesey. Begun in 1295, it was never completed.

© 1995-2011 Castles Unlimited