We may all be familiar with what we expect a castle to look like, but how much do you know about why castles look like they do?
The Grisroc Kardtects card house building system offers a wide range of cards to build an almost limitless amount of castle designs, but why are they so recognizable to us.
Now we may already know a Castle was very much a defensive building; a place that if a Lord was under attack he could retreat to and defend against his enemies. And if he was kind enough, help his locals.
The primary aspect of a Castle is something called a ‘Keep’ which is normally a large central building, which is where, at least, the Lord and his family lived. The next common element would be a massive wall that would then surround the Keep.
As with most historic buildings, there is no fixed design, and the art and skill of building castles was developed through the ages. Innovations came that were more common, and then as weapons changed, so did the design of castles to deal with these new threats.
Yet, one of the most defining looks of a castle are the style of stone fortifications that are found on the top of walls. It was common at the top of the walls to have a walkway, called a parapet, on which a solider could stand and shoot down, or drop things, on the attacking enemy.
To protect themselves, they design that classic feature of toothed gaps to hide behind. Did you know that the gaps are actually called ‘Crenels’, whilst the tooth bits are called ‘Merlons’.
In England, technically, it would be deemed illegal to just add these now to a building, as someone should apply for a “licence to crenellate”, which is a licence to allow someone to fortify their home. An example of this can be found on a brass plaque attached to the gatehouse of Cooling Castle, in Kent, England, which says its licence was granted in 1381!
A feature that came later, which again is an element we instantly recognize as being seen on a castle, even on the distinctive design of the Disney Castle, is the lip that appears near the top of a defensive wall or tower. These are called ‘Machicolations’.
They may look very decorative, but are actually a very deadly feature. They are slots through which the defenders would pour things like tar and burning oil down on the attackers. May be worth just checking it out the next time you visit Disney Land!
Below is the front and back of the Checklists available illustrating the current collectible building cards available for the Grisroc Card House set. Following is a video showing an awesome castle being built, card by card!
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