Friday, May 18, 2012

The Winchester Castle

 Winchester Castle grew in importance from the time of the Norman conquest. In 1216 it was captured by the French and retaken in 1217 in the name of Henry III of England. In 1222 Henry III began to strengthen the castle. This tower replaced a square tower built on this site to guard the West Gate of the city. The building of the Great Hall was also begun in 1222. It was immensely strong and well equipped. 

Strongly defended passages in this basement led to "sally ports". These back doors to the castle allowed defenders to sally forth to counter attack the enemy, to escape or go for help or to collect dead or injured comrades who fell outside the walls. In peacetime they could be used to avoid the main gate. Access had to be large enough to allow for a horse and rider.   

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