To achieve his goal parts of Norman wooden castles were pre-constructed. The timbers for the Pre-Built Norman castles were cut to the correct sizes. Bolts were made in various sizes and used to fit the Norman castle timbers together. These quick assembly timber Norman castle kits were loaded on the Norman Invasion Fleet. Carpenters and builders formed part of the 1066 Norman Invasion fleet.
Information on the First pre-built Timber Norman Castles
The first of the pre-built Norman Wooden Castles was erected at Pevensey Bay in 1066. Pevensey castle was built on high ground on the site of an old Roman Fort. Information from Norman chroniclers state that a total of three pre-built wooden castles were brought from Normandy on the invasion fleet of Duke William of Normandy, which consisted of nearly 3000 vessels. The famous Bayeux Tapestry illustrates the process of building Norman Pre-Built Timber Castles.
The aims of building theTimber Norman Castles
The pre-built timber Norman castles were perfect for the strategy of William the conqueror. But the Normans needed more timber castles and they needed them quickly. The conquest of England by the Normans needed castles to:
- Provide a safe base where men, provisions and horses could be housed
- The Psychological effect - these timber Norman castles were constructed to overawe and frighten the indigenous population
- The timber Norman Castles provided a site from which the Normans could govern the surrounding district
- The introduction of Feudalism was dependent on these ancient timber Norman castles
Timber Norman Castles and Feudalism
Medieval Feudalism was based on the exchange of land (Fief) for military service, called the Feudal Levy. William the Conqueror used the concept of feudalism to reward his Norman knights for their help in the conquest of England. Feudalism, demanded that everyone owed allegiance to the King and their immediate superior. So the Normans were rewarded with English lands and they needed a strong power base to hold off the rebellious English. Well constructed Norman timber castles provided them with this. They used local timber and forced local labour to build their timber Motte and Bailey castles. The Normans kept their new land.