Motte and Bailey

A raised area of ground often artifical, upon which a wooden or stone keep is built is called a “motte”. Accompanying this motte is a courtyard or “bailey” which is surrounded by a protective ditch and walls.

The term “motte” is the French version of the Latin mota, and in France the word motte was initially an early word for a turf; it then became used to refer to a turf bank, and by the 12th century was used to refer to the castle design itself. The word “bailey” comes from the Norman-French baille, or basse-cour, referring to a low yard. In medieval sources, the Latin term castellum was used to describe the bailey complex within these castles.

Windsor Castle, part of British royal estate is the most famous example of a Motte and Bailey Castle built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror.

Outer Bailey

The outer bailey is the defended outer walls of a castle. These walls surround and protect a courtyard with its ancillary buildings, such as workshops, barns, and storage buildings.

Inner Bailey

The strongly fortified enclosure at the heart of the castle is the inner bailey. It is protected by the outer bailey, and other fortifications, such as moats or walls