Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate May 2001

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A castle was the fortified private resident of a lord. The lord could be a king or a lesser baron, but in either case the castle was a home as well as a stronghold. A castle was designed to be safe against the charge against other armies. As well as being a home, a castle was a symbol of power. Castles were often the scenes of important meetings about the state of affairs.

The earliest castles appeared in the 9th and 10th centuries, when the empire created by Charlemagne in modern France, Germany, and Northern Italy was falling because of raids by people such as Vikings, and Magyars, or Hungarian nomads. Lords built castles for protection and as bases for their soldiers. Most of these early castles were built of earth and timber. The architecture of medieval castles had changed through the years, from timber castles to stone castles.

Castles were often built on a mountain cliff with a slopping, rocky terrain before it.

This made it harder for enemies to attack because they had a hard time getting up the mountain. When a suitable site with fresh water was found, the lord employed a master mason to help plan and built the castle. The lord would most likely employ a master mason if they would get the building materials themselves. The master mason would take charge of the building work. Under him was the army of workers. Hewers cut the stone at the quarry; freemasons cut the fine blocks of stone and carved decorative molds; roughmasons and layers built the walls. There were many other workers doing many jobs, from carpenters to well-diggers, metalsmiths to quarrymen. The castles were built for protection. The castle walls were very important. The high part of the wall was called merlons they contained...