This tour will help with your coursework questions: <ul><li>Were the methods of attacking and defending the castles at Rochester typical of techniques of medieval warfare? </li></ul>Remember to make notes as you go through the tour.
The Castle: The Castle dominates Rochester. The first fortification in Rochester was built by the Romans. It controlled Watling Street, the road between Dover and London.
The River: The Romans also chose the site because of its position on the River Medway. The meanders on the river allowed strategic views.
The River: The Romans also chose the site because of its position on the River Medway. Whilst it controlled the crossing over the river.
The Castle Walls: Why do you think that the buildings were built against the west wall? This picture should give you a clue as to why the buildings were built against this wall.
The Castle Walls: If you look carefully at this view of the west wall, you should be able to see a difference in the stones. This is where the castle walls have been repaired.
The Castle Walls: This view of the west wall allows you to see 3 different stages castle building at Rochester. Roman Rebuilt in 1223 Gundulf’s Wall
The Castle Walls: When you follow the castle wall around the outside of the site, you can see that the south east corner of the castle is a different shape. This is because the castle was rebuilt following the siege of 1215. During this siege, King John famously undermined the corner of the tower. After his men had dug underneath the foundations, they set fire to the tunnel using the fat of 40 pigs…
The Drum Tower: This new tower was called the drum tower because of its shape. This picture shows how it was easier to defend than a square tower. The arrow loops allowed the defenders’ archers to cover every angle. The Drum Tower was also harder to undermine because of its shape.
The Drum Tower: This view shows the extent of the destruction to the keep in 1215 and how it was rebuilt.
The Keep: The Keep was one of the tallest in Britain, and is more than 34 metres high . What do you notice about the windows in the keep?
The Keep: The main entrance to the keep itself was through a forebuilding . What evidence is there that there was once a gatehouse here?
The Keep: The keep also had a drawbridge. The door underneath the gap was a later addition. How was the entrance to the castle built for defence?
The Keep: <ul><li>The Keep was divided by a partition wall. This had several benefits: </li></ul><ul><li>It gave the keep extra strength. </li></ul><ul><li>A well was able to supply each floor with water </li></ul><ul><li>During the siege of 1215, the castle was able to be split in two to allow extra time for the besieged defenders. </li></ul>
The Keep: The partition wall also shows the ornate features of the Great Hall. This room would have been the largest room and would have been where the Lord of the castle would have entertained his guests.
The Keep: Around the outside of the Great Keep ran a balcony. Walking around the balcony would have provided an opportunity to exercise during bad weather. Guests also would have slept here during their stay.
The Keep: One place that guests would not have been kept was the dungeon. It would also be unlikely that prisoners would have been kept in the dungeon. Prisoners were often exchanged for ransom, and the space was used for storing food during a siege. The well was obviously vital.
The Keep: To move up and down the castle, these spiral stairs in the towers were built. How do you think these stairs helped defend the Keep?
The Keep: From the top of the Keep you realise how the castle was able to control Rochester and the surrounding area. What do you think that these holes in the wall are for?
Rochester Castle tour <ul><li>You have now finished your tour. Remember: </li></ul><ul><li>write up any notes that you have made </li></ul><ul><li>this tour is just an introduction. You will need to refer to your notes to achieve the best answer. </li></ul>Click to finish