The beautiful castle shown is Bodiam in Sussex. Ironically, though it is highly photogenic, it is one of the few castles never to have been attacked or subject to a siege.
Making generalisations about castles is unwise, as they range across a wide period of time, from 1000 BC to the 19 century. They were designed to cope with a wide spectrum of threats, from arrows to breech loading guns with a range of 20 miles. It is like making generalisations about footwear, which range from ballet slippers, to workmen’s boots and fishermen’s waders.
One of the most surprising truths about medieval castles is that they were often defended by quite a small force of men, usually less than thirty. If the castellan, or lord was away, he would leave his wife in charge, and she might have only twenty men at arms to defend the castle against an assault by 200 rebels. A well designed and well maintained castle could hold out at little risk to the defenders until a relief force arrived.
I thought the idea of the direction of spiral stairs compelling.
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