There is a wide variety of medieval castles in Great Britain. Some of them are tiny and cozy, such as LIndisfarne in Northumberland, England; the others are huge, such as the prominent Windsor Castle in Berkshire, England. There are ugly and elegant, flourishing and completely ruined constructions. It means that through the years a medieval castle has undergone many changes as well as each building reflects the lifestyle of its owner from the past. As it was first built for military purposes, the old ages castle regularly changed in size, design and construction along with changes in siege tactics and artillery.
The earliest medieval castle is known as the Motte-and-Bailey castle, dating back to the 11th century. This castle was built by digging a wide circular ditch and piling the earth in the center of a huge mound. The Motte-and bailey castles were common for France. In England, there were not many of them before William the Conquerors' invasion. As soon as he possessed London, he ordered to build a castle in the capital, thus, the basis of the Tower of London appeared. William the Conqueror was intending to take over the entire island, however he found out a strong resistance of the Welsh. Then, he decided to erect the castles along the borders of Wales, which would serve as starting points for invasion as well as defensive constructions against the Welsh. Therefore, the Castles of Wales became not only the most important in the British history, but also some of the most magnificent in the UK.
Rectangular buildings also come back to the 11th century (such as the White Tower in the Tower of London), though, soon the ancient designers found out the disadvantages of a rectangular building as they had blind spots and were vulnerable to the attacks. Nevertheless, the rectangular buildings were in use in England up to the late 12th century; additionally a medieval castle received more accurate defensive systems. The first curtain walls with projecting towers came into usage during this period (the example is Framlingham, Suffolk).
The 13th century introduced the round tower into a medieval castle in Great Britain. The first circular tower appeared in the castle of Chepstow of William Marshal after his coming back from the Holy Land in the late 12th century. It took many years for a circular tower to become popular all around England. Up to the 16th century, a medieval castle was still necessary for the military purposes, but the 16th century brought the decline to the castle building.
We still appreciate a medieval castle, its mighty construction and architectural design. Many of medieval castles are listed as a National Heritage and tenderly preserved. The others are still in the private property and occupied by the knights' ancestors. A lot more castles found their usage as comfortable and luxurious hotels. Looking at them, you may think that the life behind the castle walls was a real piece of pie, but it was not easy either. A medieval castle was a defender, at the first place, and saw so many sieges and battles, as any other building could ever see, and each country is proud of these defenders, having been once so powerful and mighty.