Chemise (wall)

In medieval castles the chemise (French: "shirt") was typically a low wall encircling the keep, protecting the base of the tower. Alternative terms, more commonly used in English, are mantlet wall or apron wall.[1]

In some cases, the keep could only be entered from the chemise (i.e. at the first floor level). Numerous examples exist of highly varied form, including the heavily fortified chemise of Château de Vincennes, or the more modest example at Provins, both in France. Some chemises are suggested to have been developed from earlier motte and bailey defences, though they may not usually be referred to as chemise.

In later fortification, a chemise is a wall lined with a bastion, or any other bulwark of earth, for greater support and strength.

Provins Tour Cesar
The keep at Provins encirled by a low wall

References

  1. ^ Friar, Stephen (2003). The Sutton Companion to Castles, Sutton Publishing, Stroud, 2003, pp. 4, 67 & 190. ISBN 978-0-7509-3994-2

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "Chemise". Cyclopædia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (first ed.). James and John Knapton, et al.

Bibliography

  • Mesqui, Jean (1997). Chateaux-forts et fortifications en France. Paris: Flammarion. p. 493 pp. ISBN 2-08-012271-1.
Mantlet

A mantlet was a large shield or portable shelter used for stopping projectiles in medieval warfare. It could be mounted on a wheeled carriage, and protected one or several soldiers.

In the First World War a mantlet type of device was used by the French to attack barbed wire entanglements.

Penrice Castle

Penrice Castle (Welsh: Castell Pen-rhys) is a castle near Penrice, Swansea on the Gower Peninsula, Wales.

Stahleck Castle

Stahleck Castle (German: Burg Stahleck) is a 12th-century fortified castle in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley at Bacharach in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It stands on a crag approximately 160 metres (520 ft) above sea level on the left bank of the river at the mouth of the Steeg valley, approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of Koblenz, and offers a commanding view of the Lorelei valley. Its name means "impregnable castle on a crag", from the Middle High German words stahel (steel) and ecke (here: crag). It has a water-filled partial moat, a rarity in Germany. Built on the orders of the Archbishop of Cologne, it was destroyed in the late 17th century but rebuilt in the 20th and is now a hostel.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family and for its architecture.

The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle's lavish early 19th-century State Apartments were described by the art historian Hugh Roberts as "a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste". Inside the castle walls is the 15th-century St George's Chapel, considered by the historian John Martin Robinson to be "one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic" design.Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte-and-bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons' War at the start of the 13th century. Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to make an even grander set of buildings in what would become "the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England". Edward's core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.

Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters by Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant Baroque interiors that are still admired. After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II's palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Queen Victoria made a few minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign. Windsor Castle was used as a refuge by the royal family during the Luftwaffe bombing campaigns of the Second World War and survived a fire in 1992. It is a popular tourist attraction, a venue for hosting state visits, and the preferred weekend home of Elizabeth II.

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