- castles manual
Castles - Manual
-= STARTING THE GAME =-
When the Main Menu appears, choose the desired Options. Press and release
the right mouse button (or press the Z key if using the keyboard) to trigger
the menu. Move the cursor to and select Labour from the menu list and then
press hire until it no longer increases the number of workers. This will
give you enough labour to start.
Go to the Design menu and plot your castle pieces.
As important changes are often made to a computer game after the manual
goes to the printer, please refer to the Readme.Doc file before running the
game. To view the file type:
F - Flip view of castle (Front/Back)
J - Toggle Joystick Off/On
M - Toggle Music Off/On
Q - Quit
R - Repeat Message (messenger screen only)
T - Show Trasury and Infantry (this works only
when the messenger screen is active)
[ - Slow Message
] - Speed Message
1 - 9 - Move Cursor (Numeric Pad Only)
X - Left Mouse Button
Z - Right Mouse Button
SPACE BAR - Left Mouse Button
ESC - Pause Game
-= A Brief History of Medieval Castles =-
Of all of the works created from human hands, few are as evocative as the
great castles of Europe. Built during a time when the great civilizations
of the Westem World were strugling to recover from the Dark Ages, the
earliest modern castles (the motte and bailey castles) were built to
defend against Viking attacks. The Vikings were very good at raiding
sparsely defended coastal villages, but had great difficulty attacking
these early fortresses; the decline in Viking successes after the year 1100
can be attributed in large part to the castles that were being built
throughout Europe. After the Vikings ceased to be a major threat, castles
entered the age of Chivalry. Europe began to be consolidated into countries
and empires, each owing allegiance to a duke, or a king or an emperor. In
order to consolidate their power, the great lords of Europe built castles
over the tenritories they conquered. To defend themselves against the great
lords of Europe, local lords also built castles. As one might expect from
such a situation, the art of castle building progressed at a rapid rate,
and the cost of building these huge fortresses bankrupted many noble
families and nations.
The era of castles came to a close by the late 15th Century, when castle
walls proved to be no defense against gunpowder weapons such as cannons.
For centuries these relics of medieval Europe lay in ruins, ignored by the
inhabitants whose land they once defended. In the 18th Century, however,
romantic poets and musicians drew upon the Middle Ages for inspiration, and
castles once again became important, a symbol of romance, chivalry, and
strength. Today, few symbols of the medieval period are as enduring or as
powerful as castles.
The purpose of this program, CASTLES, is to allow you to experience both
the romance and the reality of medieval castle-building. At the zenith of
castle-building, between 1280 and 1305 A.D., King Edward I consolidated his
Welsh conquests by building some of the greatest fortresses ever constructed,
in the hopes that the security of these castles would attract English
settlers into Wales and assimilate the population. We have fictionalized
the characters and changed the names of the nations involved, and added a
fantasy world for those who enjoy medieval fantasy, but the castles you can
build are based on the actual Welsh castles of Edward I. In this game you
are placed on the throne of the kingdom of Albion, and must build your
castle amidst political unrest, unfriendly neighbors, and war on two of your
borders. You will make the hard decisions and face treachery, ambitious
nobles, military disasters, and other things that we don't always associate
with the romance of the period. You may wonder why people remember this
period with any fondness whatsoever, but hopefully you will have a greater
appreciation for the challenges involved in both castle-building and being
a king during the medieval period. Perhaps it might even make you appreciate
the complexities of engineering and politics in today's world.
-= OF BASIC MATTERS =-
FOR THE BEGINNER
Once you have learned our interface, CASTLES is an easy game to play.
However, if you are a newcomer, especially if you have never played
computer games, here is some advice.
A) The first screen will ask you about difficulty level. The Peasant
difficulty level is designed to make the ganie Is easy as possible to play.
There is virtually unlimited money, labour, food and military is already
purchased, and the castle lay-out is partially done.
B) There is a tutorial in this manual entitied "Sir Richard's guide to
Castle-Building". Read through this tutorial carefully, and practise laying
out pieces on the computer screen.
KEYBOARD and MOUSE
It is possible to play this game from either the keyboard or the mouse. This
game is considerably easier to play on a mouse, but the keyboard is not
difficult to use, with a little practise. The same letter keys "F" for flip,
"M" to toggle off music, etc. will work if you are playing from the keyboard,
or if you are using a mouse or a joystick.
To bring up the menu when playing from the keyboard, use the "Z' key
Pressing the "Z" key again will restore the screen to a full view.
To manipulate the pointer from the keyboard, use the arrow keys on the
computer's number pad. When you wish to click on an object, use the space
To play the game with a mouse, simply point to the desired object and click
on it with the left mouse button. To bring up the menu, use the right mouse
For a full list of commands, refer to the Reference card.
After you have successfully loaded CASTLES, the first screen that you will
see is the Options screen.
The Options include:
MESSENGERS (Yea or Nay): This determines whether you will be visited by
messengers. If the answer is "Yea" you will receive a new messenger every
month. If the answer is "Nay", no messengers will appear.
WORLD (Fantasy or Real World: If you are interested in playing in a world
where the myths and folk beliefs of the people of the British Isles in the
middle ages were true: the Sidhe, dragons, ogres, the Wild Hunt, and wizards,
then use the Fantasy option. If you do not wish to play in a world with these
fantastic creatures, employ the Real World option. The Fantasy world becomes
most evident in the message sequences; playing in a Fantasy world without
messengers is something of a waste of time.
LEVEL (Peasant, Duke, Prince, or King): There are four difficulty levels in
the game of CASTLES. The Peasant difficulty level is a practise level, with a
partially laid out castle, workers, labourers, and food, and enough money to
build any castle you want. Duke, Prince, and King levels are the real game
levels. Duke and Prince levels give you a higher starting money value, higher
tax values, better relations with the noble factions, the Church, and the
people, and easier battles. The highest difficulty level (King) gives you
less access to money, less popularity, and harder battles. No one said that
being a King was easy.
CAMPAIGN: In CASTLES, one of the objects is to subjugate the "savage lands of
the Celts" by building castles in strategically important areas. If you don't
want to engage in a major castle building campaign, then choose the Single
Castle option. If you wish to play a short campaign, play a Three Castle
campaign. The Eight Castle campaign is the longest and most intense of all of
the campaigns. See the section ("Of the Conquest of the Celtic Lands" for
Note: you can build more than one castle on a level; the Single Castle
campaign refers to the game ending after you have conquered a single playing
NAME: The options screen allows you to insert your name, and whether you are
a King or a Queen. To determine this, click on the King or Queen to change
your character's gender.
CASTIE NAME: Where the Options screen says: "Building the Castle", you may
insert whatever name you desire.
When you begin the game, click on the right mouse button. This will bring up
the main menu, which includes the following options:
DESIGN: This allows access to the Design submenu. When you click on this
option with the left mouse button, the design window will appear, with a
number of castle pieces and a slashed red circle. Refer to "Of Castle Design"
for more details.
LABOUR: This allows access to the Labour submenu. When you click on this
option with the left mouse button, the Labour menu will appear, allowing you
to click on arrows to manipulate the number of labourers at work on your
castle. Refer to "Of Labourers and their ilk" for more details.
TAXES: This allows access to the Taxes sub-menu. When you click on this
option with the left mouse button, the Taxes menu will appear, allowing you
to set your tax rate and levy taxes. Refer to "Of Taxation and Personal
Safety" for more details.
MILITARY: This allows access to the Military submenu. When you click on this
option with the left mouse button, the Military menu will appear, allowing
you to hire or fire archers infantry and dig moats where it is allowed by
the terrain. Refer to "Military Matters" for more details.
FOOD: This allows access to the Food sub-menu. This option will allow you to
purchase a reserve of food in case of siege. Refer to "Of Food and Its
Advantages" for more details.
OPTIONS: This allows access to a number of functions, including Save Game
Load Game, and Quit Game, Speed, and Counsel.
Speed: CASTLES has three speed levels, which governs the quickness of play,
Laboured allows for slow building rate, and gives the player more time to
consider his actions. Steady provides for a quicker paced game, while
Swift is even quicker than Steady.
Counsel: Pushing the Counsel button will cause one of your counsellors to
appear and give you the state of your relations with important factions
in the kingdom, and some helpful (well, sometimes helpful) hints
to improve your relations.
-= OF CASTLE DESIGN =-
In all sub-menus, the command "Main" allows you to return to the Main menu.
The heart of CASTLES is its ability to design a castle, which is done
from the design window. When the design window has been trigered,
you will see a top-down perspective of the castle grounds. This is
referred to as the blueprint. Entering the design window will bring
up the top-down view of the castle, and allow you to place pieces on the
blueprint. The main pieces are:
There are two tower types: round, and square. Square towers are the earlier
form of tower; they are easier and cheaper to build, but its exposed edges
render it susceptible to attack. Round towers are more expensive and take
longer to build, but are less vulnerable to attack.
There is a single wall type in the game, with three varying thicknesses.
Thicker walls provide greater protection, but all take longer to build.
Walls have two accessories, arrow slits and cauldrons. Arrow slits provide
protection for the archers that are stationed on the castle walls.
Cauldrons are filled with boiling oil, which is poured on enemy troops
that attack the wall in battle.
The center of the castle defense is often the gatehouse. The door is the
most vulnerable point of the castle structure, and one which the enemy
will likely attack first. Gates take a long time to build, which is one
of the reasons why castle builders typically waited until a castle neared
completion before the gates were added.
Other topics of concern in Castle design include:
The most important part of the castle is the Keep. This is the
central area of the castle, protected by thick walls, strong towers,
and sturdy gates. The Keep must be built by the player, constructed
from walls and towers. It might be considered a castle within a
castle. If the enemy begins to destroy the keep, one's defeat cannot
be far away.
If a player makes a mistake in the blueprint of the castle, the eraser
will correct it. This eraser is a red circle with a line through it;
place the eraser on a piece and click on the left mouse button to
-= OF LABOURERS AND THEIR ILK =-
When constructing a castle, there must be a suitable mix of workers
for maximum efficiency. If a master builder does not have a sufficient
amount of specialized labor, work on the castle will likely slow to a
In CASTLES, we have divided the work force into seven categories: six
specialists and one general labourer category. In reality, medieval castle
building required other types of specialized labour. Records from the
building of Flint Castle in Wales has recorded payments to Plumbers, Coalers,
janitors, Watchmen, and Messengers. The records also indicate that the
total payments of these workers were substantially less than other
categories, which indicates that only a few of individuals filled these
positions in comparison with other worker types, so it is safe to ignore
In playing CASTLES, it is easy to overlook one of the most difficult
problems facing Edward I in his castle-building, logistics. The resources
that were needed to build these castles were immense. Thirty-five hundred
workers were hired to build Edward I's masterwork, the unfinished Beaumaris
castle. In less than six months, L6500 was spent. This amounted to one
and a half million pennies, the principle unit of currency in England.
Transporting the wages of the workers for Beaumaris must have been a
nightmare. That these magnificent fortresses were built is a tribute to
the abilities of Edward I, his master builder Sir James of Savoy, and to
the thousands of craftsmen who laboured over a twenty year
period to build them.
The types of workers employed in the game are:
DIGGERS: Anyone who has tried to dig a large hole with precision
knows that a digger's task is not as easy as it may seem. In
castle-building, diggers had to know how to dig the foundations
of the castle with precision and quickness. Diggers are more
important to the early stages of castle-building than they are in the
latter portions, but anyone who wants to build a moat will need
to have some skilled diggers directing the operation.
CARPENTERS: These men know how to knock on wood, and nails, and
hammers, and put together scaffolds, and braces, and many other
important castle pieces. Castle-building requires an immense amount of
materials; during a five month period in 1286, work on Harlech and
Conway castles required the purchase of 125,000 nails for each
castle. Carpenters are an important component of a castle's work force.
MASONS: Masons were the backbone of the castle-building labour force. The
person who designed and oversaw the building of a castle was known
as the Master Mason (or Master Builder); masons received higher wages
than the other workers on the castle. Despite this elite status, a mason's
life was not an easy one, as they laid stones, mixed and carried mortar,
and made certain that the castle walls would be able to withstand the
test of battle.
QUARRYMEN: Stones for castle-building did not come easily. ]n the Welsh
castle-building campaign, the quarries were dug as close to the castle
as possible, but there are records of stones being brought by oxcart from
quarries as far away as twenty miles. At Flint Castle, quarrymen
provided over 36,000 stones during the winter and spring of 1280 and
1281. Quarrymen not only provided stones, but also valuable supplies
of lime and sand.
CARTERS: As mentioned above, supplies for castle-building did not magically
appear on the castle site. Carters were needed to ferry supplies over
both land and water; Harlech Castle did not have a nearby supply of
lime or lime-sione, and these had to be ferried from Caernarvon, a
voyage over water of nearly seventy miles around the Lleyn peninsula.
Carters were in charge of safely delivering immense amounts of materials,
travelling an estimated ten miles per day by oxcart during their journey.
SMITHS: Castles were not made solely of stone and wood; a substantial
amount of metal was also used in the construction. Smiths were
important to working the metal used in castle-building; smithing was one
of the better paid occupations in castle building.
LABOURERS: Common labourers made up the rest of the castle's work force.
Many labourers were peasants making up feudal obligations, and as such
were unpaid, others were pressed into service by
force. Others were untrained workers looking for a pence a day.
Labourers were cheaper than skilled workers, but not as efficient;
an over-reliance on unskilled labourers tended to slow down construction.
To hire labour, use the buttons to request the number of each labourer
type. A good castle relies on a mix of labour types. The Master
Builder's evaluation of the efficiency of the mix is printed at the
bottom of the screen; he rates a mix as Poor, Inefficient,
Satisfactory, Good, I and Excellent. A Poor mix will build a castle
very slowly, while an Excellent mix will build a castle very quickly.
The labour menu also allows you to alter the wages of your workers.
The base wages for your workforce are:
Diggers L1/month/20 digger
Carpenters 15/month/20 carpent
Masons 16/month per 20 masons
Quarrymen L1/month per 20 quuarrymen
Carters L1/month per 20 carters
Smiths L5/month per 20 smiths
Labourers L0/month per 20 labourers
Archers L2/month per 20 archers
Infantry L3/month per 20 infantry
Higher wages will attract more workers, and encourage them to
join your workforce more quickly. Lower wages will save
money, but will cause you to recruit more slowly and limit the number
of workers who will want to work on your castle.
-= OF TAXATION AND PERSONAL SAFETY =-
A monarch Who embarks on a program to build castles must have money
to pay for the supplies and the labourers The money for castle-builing comes
from taxation. The rate of taxation depends on two factors:
the difficulty level of the game, and the level of taxation as set by
the player. The player will receive less tax money when the game is
set to King level than he would at Prince level, and he would receive
less tax money at Prince level than he would when the game is at Duke level.
The player can decrease or increase the amount of money he will get by
setting the Level of Taxation. The levels are (in ascending order):
Normal, Oppressive, and Tyrannical. A king who has set his funding at a
Tyrannical level will receive more funds than one who is Generous.
Taxes are collected at the beginning of every fiscal year (i.e.. March 15,
when building on the Castle resumes.) If a king needs money in a hurry, then
they must levy taxes.
Levies are taxes which are collected every month. To collect a levy, simply
go to the Collect Levy area on the Taxes screen, and adjust the amount to
whatever you desire, then click on the box below. At the beginning of the
next month, that amount will be added to the Treasury.
The maximum amount that can be levied depends on the difficulty
level of the game. At Duke level, it is L400. At Prince level, it is
L300, and at King level it is L200.
Excessive taxation not only makes peasants angry, it also
upsets the Church and the noble families, as everyone is taxed
by the King. Excessive taxation can have two drawbacks.
First, no one likes a tyrant. If you tax people long enough and
hard enough, you will have rebellions. Second, the well eventually
runs dry. Eventually, you will find that high taxes will
bring a point of diminishing returns. Imposing levies on your
subjects will also make them angry; imposing frequent levies
on your subjects can cause the people who loved you to
despise you in only a few months.
On the other hand, if a monarch realizes that he is running into
a problem with his peasants, and tries to be Generous, he will
rarely get the results he wants. Peasants will appreciate low
taxes, but never as enthusiasfically as they despise high taxes.
For an overview of your taxes, call the Treasurer. He will give a report on
your finances, including revenues from other castles, and will also offer
warnings when you are spending money too quickly. Running out of money
will bring your operations to a halt.
Let the taxer beware.
-= OF MILITARY MATTERS =-
If you can't defend a castle, there is no sense in building it.
When you build a castle in hostile territory, expect to defend it against
To hire troops, you must enter the Military menu. In this menu, you
will be able to hire the two types of troops most commonly
used in sieges in the Middle Ages: Archers, and Infantry.
Archers shoot arrows at opponents. They are very poorly armored,
and no match in melee range for someone with armor or a melee
weapon; they will disappear when their supply of arrows have been
depleted, or when they are slain. Infantry also serve as castle
guards; these are the men who will be used if someone asks you for
troops. Infantry are tougher than archers, but can only attack at
The number of troops that you can have depends on the number of pieces
you have built in the castle. Small castles cannot support as many troops as
a large castle.
When a battle occurs, you will be given a chance to set up your castle
before the enemy comes. Simply pick up archer and infantry pieces and place
them on the blueprint, in the same way that you placed castle pieces. These
pieces will attack the enemy when they appear or come within weapon
If you are operating at less than maximum strength (500 infantry and
500 archers), you will have an option to divide your forces into 1-10 units.
Stronger units will not be damaged as easily as weaker ones, buk more
numerous units will allow you to spread your forces across a larger area.
Beware of spreading yourself too thin.
CONTROLLING YOUR ARMY
Each character in the army is subject to individual control. For
archers, simply click on the piece, then click on the target; the archer
will concentrate its fire on that piece until it is dead, then he will
choose a new target. For infantry pieces, you may click either on an enemy
target, or a position. Sometimes your infantry may lose line of sight of
an enemy or get caught at the edge of a moat, simply move the infantry
piece to another location, and he will try to locate the enemy.
Trying to destroy your castle is the Enemy. The Enemy will usually be
Celts, though ogres will attack you frequently in the Fantasy World setting.
The enemy will march toward your keep, trying to destroy anything or
anyone in their path. Ogres are particularly infamous for their blood-
The enemy has two special weapons: sapper's tents and catapults.
sapper's tents contain miners who will dig a tunel underneath your
castle, fill it with dead pigs, and light them afire, causng an
explosion that will destroy the castle.
Catapults will coninuously fire large stones at your castle walls,
knocking them down after multiple hits.
When most of the enemy pieces have been killed, the attack will end
and you will have triumphed. If you have completed your castle, you
will proceed to the next level, or to the final screen (if all castles in
the campaign have been built. However, when the enemy has killed off
your defenders or destroyed a large section of your castle,
they will have triumphed and your game will be over.
-= OF FOOD ITS ADVANTAGES =-
One of the most comon tactics of an enemy, particularly
if they believe that they can block your supplies, is the siege.
In order to withstand a siege, a wise monarch will purchase a
emergency supply of food thus when one's army is under siege, they
will not starve.
Food can be purchased entering the Food menu, clicking on the
arrows beside "Buy" and clicking on the box underneath the Food menu.
This will purchase the proper amount food.
Food costs vary wildly, depending on demand availability. Food is
much less expensive after the fall harvest than it is in early
spring, when the needs of winter have used up most
surpluses. The same needs of winter will also affect
the supply of food at your castle; you will have less
food after winter than you had before the winter.
During a siege, depending on the number of defenders at your
castle, the food supply will decrease. When it hits zero,
defenders will start to die. Some sieges can be quite
long, making multiple purchases of food very necesary.
-= OF MESSENGERS AND DIPLOMACY =-
At the beginning of the game, the player
has the option of receiving messengers. These messengers will
come from a variety of sources; noble families, the
Holy Church, the princes of Gwynedd, the peasants,
or the King of Bretagne are the most common sources
During the course of this sequence, you will have to
make a decision on a problem brought to you by the
messenger This problem may be as trivial as a name
for a knight's newborn son, or as important as
determining whether or not the kingdom goes to
The decisions that you make will have consequences.
Do not expect to insult an ambassador from
another kingdom without some sort of retaliation.
During the course of the decision-making process,
you may find loyal vassals betraying you, you may
have to arbitrate important disputes, or you may make
peace with your enemies. Consider your answers
carefully. Some of the things that the messengers
want may not be in the best interest of the
kingdom. Be careful of nobles who are trying to
advance their own fortune at the kingdom's expense.
On the other hand, making the nobles unhappy is
usually not a good idea. Prudent judgement is essential.
The best way to consider the messenger sequences is
as stories that are interwoven into the game. The
exploits of the Prince might be one story, the attempt
by the Duke of Norshire to conquer the Picts is
another story. There will always be the possibility of
several stories running through the game at a time.
Your responses to the messenger sequence will
determine your style of rule. Brutal actions may go
unnoticed for a long time, but eventually people will
begin to hear stories about you. Indecisiveness in moments
of crisis will give you the reputation of
being a weak king. You may have to find a balance
while walking a diplomatic tightrope. Still, no one said
that being a king or queen was easy.
To get an indication on how whether the various
factions in the kingdom like you, go to the Options
screen and click on the Counsel button. Sir Richard
of Westhampton will appear and tell you how
-= OF THE CONQUEST OF THE CELTIC LANDS =-
The ultimate goal of the original
CASTLES player, Edward I, was to build a network of invincible
fortresses. That is the goal of the player of this game
The Celtic lands are divided into eight strategic
territories, or cantrefs. To conquer a cantref, the
player must build a castle within the territory, and
must face a battle. When the completed castle has
proven its worth in battle, it will attract settlers who
will build a town nearby. Eventually, the town will
trade with the Celts, who will become dependent on
Albion for goods and services. Thus the Celtic lands
will be assimilated.
There are eight cantrefs in which the conquest of
the Celtic princedoms takes place. They are (in
This is is a broad plain with coastal area in the west
and north. It is close to qarties, and has great historical value to the
Celts. they will not permit you build a castle here with out a fight.
This is another broad plain, with lakes, near the coast of Gwynedd.
It is close to quarries.
This is an area of interior Marsh, a quagmire that is
not loved by those who work on castles. It is close
The construction site in Arwystli is in a heavily
wooded section. It is also an isolated area, far from
This area in Northwest Gwynedd contains substantial
coastline. Its quaries are nearby, but noted
for their hard stone which makes them difficult to
This area in South Gwynedd is known for its
broad, shallow lakes, and fierce natives. It is far from
any quarries, too far, as the carters will tell you.
The castle site in this wide region is in
marshland, every workers least favorite terrain. Its
quarries are old, and quarymen have to work harder
than the once did to get valuable supplies of
lime and limestone.
In the center of the Celt lands is the huge region
known as Powys. Once it was a rival to Gwynedd.
Now it is a land of bitter resistance to the Albion
conquerors. It uses the same quarries as Donoding,
but they are considerably further away.
As each cantref is subdued, more tax money will
come to the Treasury of Albion. However, there may
be occasions where the King must rush his troops,
to the defense of one of his other castles, or lose that
In each cantref, the rebellions will become more
fierce. The land may be some distance from the
quarries, increasing the cost of the castle. The subjugation
of these lands is not an easy thing. The terrain of these lands
are different; Arwystli and Powys are heavily forested, while
Penilyn contains a great marsh. The enemy will use
different approaches on these territories.
When a castle has been built in all eight cantrefs,
victory will have been achieved, and you will
receive a summary of your relations with the various
factions in your kingdom, and how historians viewed
your rule (the overall score).
If your reign was the Golden Age of Albion, you
truly were a great king!
-= A GEOGRAPHY OF ALBION AND ITS NEIGHBOURS =-
Albion is based on England in the late
13th Century. Albion is an amalgamation of
several Germanic kingdoms that were conquered
by a French duke in the late 11th Century;
this new King then eliminated the ruling
families and replaced them with his own.
Albion has four geographical regions. The
North, which falls under the influence of the Duchy
of Norshire, has sometimes belonged to Pictland, the
kingdom of the Picts which lies north of Albion.
The North has a rather strong independent streak,
being farther from the influence of the king than
the other people of Albion. The west of Albion falls
under the influence of the Duke of Westhampton, a
close relative of the ruler of Albion. This includes the
border marches, land which once belonged to
the Princes of Gwynedd and now belongs to Albion
barons. The ownership of the marches has been a
major source of disagreement for Albion and
The east of Albion falls under the influence of the
duke of Warfield. Warfield is the section of the
country where Parliament resides, a council of barons
who has been fighting for power since they forced
King John to sign the Great Charter in 1215,
which limited the King's rights. This charter has
usually been ignored by the King, but it has been
used by barons as a weapon to limit the power
of a weak king.
Between north, east, and west are the Midlands. The
Warfields are the most influential family here, followed by the
Westhamptons. The rivalry between the noble families
is caused because of disputes in the Midlands; the
rivalry between the Westhamptons and the Norshires is particularly
North of Albion is the Pictlands. They are a group
of clans who owe allegiance to a king, a distant
relative of the king of Albion. The Picts and Albion
have enjoyed a long truce until recently, when the alliance between
the Picts and the Bretagnese triggered a series of border
skirmishes that have erupted into a full scale
war. The commander of Albion's Northern forces
the Duke of Norshire; he not noted for his military
West of Albion is the pricedoms of the Celts, of
which Gwynedd is by far the most powerful. These
princedoms have been at war for centuries with Albion.
South of Albion is the main continent of Europe
The closest kingdom to Albion is Britagne, a union
duchies under a single monarch. Britagne is the
historical enemy of Albion since the King of Albion
once held large portions of land in Britagne and many
wars were fought over that land. The lands are now
controlled by the King of Bretagne, but no King of
Albion has ever abandoned the dream of regaining their continental
empire. The throne of Britagne is currently in dispute.
The two claimants are Henry, Duke of Beel, and Charles, Duke of Clossau.
The greatest state in Europe is the Teutonic Provinces, ruled by a
single Emperor. The Teutonic Provinces occasionally invades
Britagne, other than that, its affairs have little bearing on the current
state of Albion.
-= A GUIDE TO THE PERSONAGES OF THE REFIONS =-
THE RULING FAMILY OF ALBION
The current ruling family of Albion has been in
power since the mid-12th Century. They have seen a
vast empire in continental Europe dwindle to virtually
nothing, civil wars, and conquest of neighboring
Albion is considered a minor power in the politics
of Europe, and the ruler of Albion is considered less
important than one of the Princes of the Teutonic
The King/Queen of Albion (aka you). Now entering
middle age, the ruler of Albion is enjoying
a relatively peaceful time following a tumultuous succession to
the throne, when your younger brother Prince Arthur tried to take your
throne. Your spouse died many years ago, leaving you with but a single heir.
You have won a string of recent victories against the Celtic Princes, and
hold enough territory to allow you to build castles in their lands, in
hopes of holding it. Some of the Celtic Princes do not appreciate this,
and rebellions are commonplace.
Prince Henry: Your only child is Prince Henry, who
has a well-earned reputation for irresponsibility. He is
in his late teens, and causes nothing but
trouble. Somehow, you hope that he will turn into a
creditable king when his rime comes, but you have strong doubts.
Prince Xrthur: Your rebellious brother fled the country during a small
civil war that took place during your succession. He
is currently in exile in the court of your enemy Charles,
Duc de Clossau, who is one of the leading contenders
in the Britagnese civil war.
Princess Edith: Your sister was married to an important Britagnese
duke to strengthen your alliance with the Britagnese ruling
family. That ruling family is now dead and there is a
civil war in Britagne. Princess Edith stays out of
politics, is well-known for her graciousness, piety,
and,charity, and is well beloved in both Albion
NOBLE FAMILIES OF ALBION
Even a government as centralized as Albion's cannot
run by a king's decree alone; the feudal system
gives a great deal of power to the noble families. There
are three dukes in Albion, all of whom have immense
political and financial importance, many earls, and
many more knights who serve the earls and hold
fiefs of their own. The three principle noble families are:
This family is the most prominent noble family in the kingdom, a fact which
does not go unnoticed with the other noble families of Albion. The
Westhamptons have a reputation for chivalry, integrity, and unmatched
prowess in arms. This reputation is deserved, but some Westhamptons deserve
it more than others. The Westhamptons are also extremely proud, and that
is not always a virtue. The Westharnptons hold large tracts of lands in
West Albion, and shares their influence with the Warfields in the Midlands.
This aging Duke was once a great knight in the days of his youth, having
fought in the Crusades. He is an old friend of the ruler of Albion, though
they have grown apart during the years. The Duke expects the Westh@mpton
family to receive the kingdom's highest honors and privileges. The Duke
despises the other noble families, and holds the
Church in complete contempt, though he takes
pride in defending Christian values and beliefs.
The eldest of the Duke's many children, Sir Richard
is one of the chief administrators in the realm,
as well as one of the most trusted counsellors. Sir
Richard is capable, competent, and loyal, though
on occasion he holds the glory of the Westhampton
family in higher regard than the welfare of the
kingdom. Sir Richard is a formidable combatant, but
prefers administrative duties to battle. Sir
Richard's loyalty is unqueslioned.
The second oldest of the Duke's sons, Sir Roger is
not the most honorable member of his family, nor
the most beloved. Roger takes extreme pride in
being a Westhampton and will protect his family
interests at all costs. Sir Roger is loyal to the throne, but his actions
are not always in accord with the wishes of the
ruler of Albion.
Sir Phillip of
The third oldest son of the Westhamptons, Sir Phillip delights in
being a warrior and displaying his martial prowness. He
earned a formidable reputation during the Crusades as one of the
greatest knights in Europe. Sir Phillip is a skilled commander, but would
rather fight on the fields of Europe than in Gwynedd or the Pictish lands.
He is extremely loyal to the throne, but his pursuit of honor in battle and
tournaments sometimes goes beyond the best interests of the kingdom.
This family is the most Prominent of the Northern
nobility. They are not as wealthy or as comf onable
as the other great lords of the kingdom, and there is
considerable enmity between them and the other
| O---O---O---O---O O - ROUND TOWER |
| | | # - SQUARE TOWER |
| | | - - WALL |
| | | | - WALL |
| O #---#---# O III - GATE |
| | | | | |
| | | | | |
| | | | | |
| O #--III--# O |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| O---O--III--O---O |
| Figure A |
noble families. The Norshires take great pride in
their military ability, pride which is not always
This aging man is considered by members of
many of the other noble families to by the joke of the
kingdom. He is an incompetent general (rumored
to be a coward), petty, vain, and proud. The
Duke of Norshire believes that everything he does is
in the best interest of the kingdom, but his own personal pride
really comes before all else.
The Duke's teenage son Thomas is considered
a reckless youth; he is the closest friend of Prince
Henry of all of the Albionese nobility. Thomas
has attracted notice for his martial skill, his ability to
command troops, and their loyalty to him (as well for
as playing pranks on the Picts). Despite their many
differences, Thomas cares a great deal for his father,
and holds his family's honor in high regard.
The third great family of Warfield is the Warfields,
who hold a great deal of power in the Midlands and
in the Southeast. The Warfields have a reputation for
bullying, tyranny, overtaxing, and ill-treatment of
The Duke of Warfield
The Duke rules his fiefs with an iron fist. He is a
cruel and intolerant lord, and his knights are little
more than thugs. Nonetheless the Duke has many
lords who are loyal to him, and he holds a position of
great political importance. The Duke is loyal to the
throne, but is also quite greedy.
Sir Edwin of Warfield
The eldest son of the Duke despises his father's
cruelty and greed. An atypical Warfield, he is on
reasonably good terms with the Westhamptons
and the Norshires. He and his father are estranged.
The Church's influence has been in decline
throughout the 13th Century; recent archbishops
and bishops have been trying to increase their influence in Albion.
As with the dukes, the Church provides some revenues
for the Crown, and is a faction that cannot be easily
The Bishop of Rome, Pontiff of the Holy Roman
Church, the Pope is a man with considerable
political influence. His greatest power is the
power of excornmunication, which bans a person
from membership in the Church and from the ritual
of holy communion. In general, the Pope overuses
excommunications, and they are not as great a
deterrent to anti-clerical behavior as they once were.
The local bishop is an extremely proud man,
far more devoted to the Church than you had hoped when you appointed him
(there is a quarrel between Albion and Rome on the appointment of
bishops, with Rome on losing end). The bishop is arrogant, smug,
greedy, and vindictive, but he is also (unlike the popular stereotype of
medieval clergy) genuinely concerned about the poor and the spiritual
well-being of his followers.
The Abbess of St. Martha's
Also known as the Mad Abbess, she believes that supernatural
forces are everywhere, conspiring to corrupt the soul of the
people of Albion. The abbess has been known to make rather
absurd allegations from time to time.
West of Albion, beyond Hay's dike, is one of the historical lands of the
Celts, which in our world is known as Wales. The Celts were never united,
and the lands of the Celtic West is divided into a number of Princedoms:
Gwynedd, Powys, and Deheubarth are the most prominent Throughout
history, the Celts and the peoples of Albion have raided each other at
virtually every opportunity; after the Norman Conquest, the Celts generally
on the losing side of this battle. Of the Princedoms of the West, Gwyned
is generally the most unified and powerful.
Across the Channel is the great land of Britagne, one
of the great powers of Europe. A century ago, the
king of Albion controlled much of Bretagne, though
technically he was still the vassal of the King of
Bretagne. The King of Bretagne eventually broke
most of Albion's continental empire, which has
resulted in decades of hostility, much of it caused by
Albion's refusal to let go of its empire.
The King of Bretagne recently died, naming Henry, Duke of Bee] as his
lawful successor. however, many of the most powerful
barons of France support Henry's cousin, Charles,
Duke of Clossau.
Henry, Duke of Beel
Henry of Beel is the most sympathetic of the two contenders
to the throne of
Britagne. He was appointed by the former king as his successor, but the
majority of the barons either refuse to support him, or support his
rival, Charles of Clossau.
Charles of Clossau is an old enemy; you knew him from a visit to
the Britagnese court when you were ten, when you found him
to be spoiled, ill-mannered, and contemptuous. He had
similar opinions of you. Neither of you have forgotten that meeting.
Charles harbored your traitorous brother, Arthur, following
his rebellion, and has been his host ever since.
Charles' messengers pride themselves on their wit, usually an insult
at the expense of Albion.
The Duke of Mallardville
is recognized as one of Bretagne's greatest knights
and a paragon of chivalry He holds Albion in extreme
contempt, and is a bitter enemy of Sir Phillip of Westhampton,
who fought with him (and against him)
in the Crusades.
(These entities will only appear in the Fantasy version of this game).
Faerie is the land beyond the twilight, A magical place full of mystical
beings. According to legend, Faerip is ruled by Lord Oberon and Lady
Titania, and is home to many sprites, hobgoblins,
ogres, and elves; fay creatures both good and evil.
Most of the folk of Faerie do not involve themselves
in the affairs of the world, but some of the more mischievous or evil do.
The Seelie Court The Seelie Court is the court of the good elves, the
beneficent elves (this is opposed by the Unseelie Court of the dark elves).
The Seelic Court is worried about the interference by
others in Faerie on the world of Albion, and will
occasionally offer warnings regarding supernatural evils at work in
The Bean Sidhe
The Bean Sidhe, or Banshee, is a female spirit
whose song foretells death and disaster. She is one of
the most dangerous spirits of Faerie to walk in the
world of the living.
The Wild Hunt
The legendary Wild Hunt appears in time of great un
rest. The hunt is one of the guises of Death, who rides
a pate horse and leads ghastly hounds in a procession, whose purpose
is the gathering of souls.
-= SIR RICHARD OF WESTHAMPTON'S GUIDE TO CASTLE BUILDING =-
Herein, Sir Richard of Westhampton and his squire, Alain, seek to explain
some of the mysteries of castle-building.
SIR RICHARD: Greetings. I am Sir Richard of
Westhampton, one of the foremost knights in the
kingdom, as you'll probab]y notice -- over and over
again. Castle building is not my field of expertise, I
am an administrator for my father, the Duke of Wes-
thampton, and a counsell for my sovereign, the rul
of Albion. However, as mliege is busy with other
matters, I have been aske to explain some of the bas
secrets of castle construc- tion. I have talked with
some fine master builders in my day, so it is a subjec
with which I feel comfor able.
But as my language is that of the court, perhaps
my squire, Alain, should explain some of the essenfials
of castle-building in simple terms...
ALAIN: Certainly my lord. First, to start your
castle-building, use your mouse. Click on the right
button and bring up the main menu.
SIR RICHARD: A mouse? Using a mouse as a
messenger? What non-sense is this?
ALAIN:'Tis the way it is done these days, my lord.
SIR RICHARD: Talking mice? I have never heard
of such a thing. Perhaps I am behind the times.
ALAIN: The main menu is your key to commanding
yofir workforce. If you wish to design your castle,
click with your left mouse button on the Design
window. If you wish to hire labourers, click with your
left mouse button on the Labour window. If you
wish to hire guards, click on the Military menu. To
escape from these menus, click on the right mouse
button. I would recommend spending a minute
or two practising using this interface.
SIR RICHARD: Interface? Common speech is
ALAIN: They will soon find that the interface is
easy to use, my lord. Now, let us continue our castle
building. We will need to plot our pieces, so we must
click on the Design window. In the upper right
hand corner are two types of towers, a wall, a gate,
and a circle with a line through it.
SIR RICHARD: I had not heard of a Master Builder
using this tool. It was probably developed by the
Saracens. They are masters of their craft.
ALAIN: Perhaps, my lord. Use these pieces to
plan the layout of your castle. Remember that
there are several things that can go wrong in castle
building. If you are planning your castle, and your
castle piece does not appear on the terrain when
you place it.
SIR RICHARD: As it did in that castle in Powys, the
one with the large towers, if I recall...
ALAIN: Yes my lord. That's because the master
builder tried to build the castle on very solid stones,
ones which could not be removed.
SIR RICHARD: Yes. I recall the king was not
very happy about paying the diggers for digging on
a piece of land that was unsuitable for castle building.
ALAIN: I would imagine not, my lord. Remember,
do not try to build in TREES, ROCKS, HEAVY
MARSH, POOLS, or too close to the SHORE. You
will be unable to lay a foundation for your castle.
SIR RICHARD: Of course, there is the matter
of towers and walls...
ALAIN: Thank-you for reminding me, your
lordship. Novice castle-builders will sometimes
try to plan castles whose walls are placed at different
angles, such as a north facing wall trying to
connect with a southeast facing wall.
SIR RICHARD: They are unbuildable?
ALAIN: Unsupportable. Always place a tower if
you wish to change the facing of a wall.
SIR RICHARD: Unsupportable? I would think
that builders with our skill will be able to master such
a difficult craft.
A-LAIN: Surely you jest, my lord. Our builders are
skilled tis true, but they cannot defy the laws of
nature. If you wish a wall to build, it MUST have
SUPPORT from a structure ALMOSt AS TALL, AS TALL,
or TALLER THAN ITSELF Thus a WALL cannot
build that is more than FOUR feet taller than
either of its ADJACENT walls. It would collapse my
lord. The same applies for a GATE.
SIR RICHARD: I would not tell my father that this
cannot be done. He believes that a Westhamptoin can do anything.
ALAIN (laughing): Yes, my lord.
SIR RICHARD: You have mentioned walls and
gates. What of towers? Are they unsupportable?
ALAIN: No, my lord. Towers are built with solid
support at all stages of their building. They can
rise on their own. 'Tis why they take so long to build.
SIR RICHARD: Suppose I have been building a
large castle, and I cannot place any more towers,
walls, or gates?
ALAIN: I would check on one's Resources count, my
lord. If the count is at zero, then you can no longer
place any more pieces. I have heard of kings who
built castles beyond their means.
SIR RICHARD: Yes, I know one quite well. Now,
I will provide you with what the scribes calla
tutorial. This will teach you the basics of castle
buildiing. Here is the plan for the castle we are about
to build. (See Fig. A, pg. 30)
SIR RICHARD: This should be reasonably easy
to follow. Just place the pieces, do not concern
yourself with such things as height, number of
labourers, and other considerations just yet.
ALAIN: Perhaps you should tell them to find a
suitable piece of land.
SIR RICHARD: I thought that I had done so.
ALAIN: You did not, my lord.
SIR RICHARD: Oh. I apologize. Anyways, be certain that the land on which
you place your castle is a broad swarth, of suitable
measure for your task. Now place the castle. On
the northern section, going from left to right, you
should place a round tower, three segments of
wall, a second round tower, three more segments of tower, a third
round tower, three more segments of wall, a fourth
round tower, three more segments of wall, and a
final round tower, as shown below.
ALAIN: 'Tis a lot of wall segments, my lord.
SIR RICHARD: Without them, the castle would
soon fall to one's enemies. Now, I have mentioned
the laws of building walls, that you should have adjacent structures to
support it. Allow me...
ALAIN: My lord, I was the one who mentioned the law of support!
SIR RICHARD: Do not contradict thy liege, Alain.
'Tis against all codes of chivalry.
ALAIN: My apologies, my liege.
SIR RICHARD: We will make a knight out of thee
yet, Alain. Now, let us look at this law in action. First
hire some workers. Five hundred will be more than
adequate for our purpose. Be certain to hire skilled
ALAIN: That is very important.
SIR RICHARD: Indeed. The other workers are important,
but the mason is the most skilled at the art
of castle-building. Without a skilled workforce, castle-building
is a labourous and unnecessarily lengthy task.
Now once you have your workforce, you are ready
to build the castle. Let us go to the northwest corner
of the castle, and take the first section, which consists
of a round tower, three wall segments, and a
second round tower. We shall start on the north-west tower..
ALAIN:...Takeyour mouse and have it increase
the count of labourers on a piece to its maximum.
SIR RICHARD: That mouse again!
ALAIN: If you had followed the previous instrutions, your
tower should be building nicely on the tight-hand side of the
tower should be three wall segments and another
tower, as follows:
Now, take your mouse, and increase the number of
workers on wall piece number one, and wall
piece number three.
SIR RICHARD: I see that the report on this piece
ALAIN: That is because there are only a limited
number of scaffolds and work crews available at a
time. "Waiting" means that it is waiting for a scaffold.
SIR RICHARD: Ah, the building has begun. I suppose that
is why it says Building.
ALAIN: Aye, my lord. And now it says Unstable
It has stopped building.
SIR RICHARD: Yet the work crews are still there!
What lazy churls are these?
ALAIN: That is because they follow your instructions only, my lord. You
know the penalty for disobeying one's liege in
these times, my lord. The workers will only do work
where they are ordered to do so. And if a structure is
Unstable, it cannot be built any further without risk of
collapse. Thus the workers are not building any more.
SIR RICHARD: Excuses, excuses. They are lazy, 'tis clear. Now how do we
solve the dilemma, and cause these unstable walls
ALAIN:'Tis easy, my lord. Think not of the castle pieces as individual
segments, but sections of connected walls, towers, and gates. Each piece in
this section must be building for the entire structure
to build. Currently, only the left tower, and wall segments Number One and
Number Three have builders assigned to them, as indicated by the stars
above the pieces...
SIR RICHARD: So if we were to assign workers to
the pieces without stars, the second wall and the
right tower, the entire piece would build without
ALAIN: Let us try it. Take your mouse and click on
the pieces. Their height should be four feet, and
they should have no labourers assigned.
SIR RICHARD: That mouse again!
ALAIN: Now increase the labourers to maximum.
SIR RICHARD: The entire structure is building!
ALAIN: Indeed. And soon, we will have a completed section of wall,
surrounded by two towers. Now that you have successfully built one
section of wall, let us continue building the entire structure.
SIR RICHARD: Suppose one makes an error in the
planning stages. My brother Roger has done so frequently. Can such an
error be rectified?
ALAIN: Aye. Bring up the Design menu. This
provides our blueprint. See the circle with that slash
SIR RICHARD: Reminds me of a Coat of Arms.
ALAIN: Well, click on that symbol. Now, take the cursor to the piece you
wish to delete on the blueprint. Click the left mouse button on that piece I
to remove it. If you wish to replace the piece, simply click on the
appropriate piece and place it on the desired spot.
SIR RICHARD: That was simple.
ALAIN: Indeed. Let us resume our castle building.
Let us continue building the North wall We shall build slowly, a section at a
time. Currently, this is what has been built:
ALAIN: Wait for the number of available labourers
to reach its maximum total. If five hundred labourers
were hired, then five hundred labourers should be free, as labourers who
finish their assigned job head directly into the Freed Labour Force to
await reassignment. The "Free" count should be at 500. Once it is,
click on the next three wall segments, and the tower on the right
hand side of those walls. The following walls or towers should be built,
or in the process of building:
ALAIN: Once those wall have been completed, confinue with the next
three wall segments and tower
ALAIN: And then once more. The North section of
the castle's outer wall should now be complete.
ALAIN: Now repeat the process for the western wall.
*O #---#---# O
*| | | |
*| | | |
*| | | |
*O #--III--# O
SIR RICHARD: I notice that you have been moving
to another view to place your workers. Let us suppose we complete
the front of the castle, in the same way that you did the back.
Now let us try to assign workers to the inner walls...
ALAIN: Hmm. It is rather hard to allocate to pieces
that are concealed by portions of the castle that are
SIR RICHARD: We could tear them down and build them up again.
ALAIN: That's a rather awkward solution, my lord. There are two better
solutions for this problem. First, it is possible to change the perspective
on the castle. Flip the castle from front to back by using the "F" key.
SIR RICHARD: "F" key? I believe I once heard a minstrel talking about that.
ALAIN: If you still cannot adjust the piece using a flip command, then go
back to the design menu. You can adjust the number of workers from the main
view and from the blueprint.
SIR RICHARD: All of this allocafing of workers seems so...
ALAIN-. Tedious? It can be, my lord. Fortunately, there is a shortcut.
Before one builds a castle, hire your laborers immediately. Then go to the
design menu, and before you put together your blueprint, allocate workers to
that piece. The piece will begin to build as soon as you place it, and the
number of workers assigned will remain the same for all future pieces.
SIR RICHARD: That is an improvement. However, I've always found
shortcuts to be rather dangerous in practise.
ALAIN: Well, there are risks. If you do not have
enough workers and allocate too many pieces, then
the pieces will not build immediately. They will be in
a state of 'Waiting". Worse, when vou have allocated
pieces with more workers then you have in the available
SIR RICHARD: That can be a mess. Workers will be
reduced on the pieces that are being built to stretch
between all of the allocated pieces. Sometimes, the
number of workers on a piece will drop to zero,
which may cause an entire wall section to become
Unstable. The work force will lack alt coordination.
ALAIN: Why do I expect that you knew everything
I was talking about, my lord?
SIR RICHARD (smiles): I have seen many castles rise
and fall, and dealt with many master builders in
my day. The study of castle building has been something
of a hobby of mine. After all, if my liege has
been spending many thousands of pounds on
castle-building, his counsellors ought to know whether his money
has been well spent. Of course, there is only one true test
of a castle, and that is how well it does in battle. I
think I will let my brother Phillip talk about it when
he has the time...
ALAIN: Yes, he would be the choice. Or Thomas of
SIR RICHARD: That pup? Surely you jest. Now,
by this rime you should have a clear indication of
how to place castle pieces, how to assign workers to
castle pieces, and what to look for if the castle pieces
are not being built.
ALAIN: Perhaps you should repeat the main points, my lord.
SIR RICHARD: An excel lent suggestion. First, if
you cannot place castle pieces on your blueprint, it
is either because you are trying to place it on land
where a castle cannot be constructed, or because
you have used up the maximum resources that can be
assigned to the project.
ALAIN: Be certain that your Resources counter is
not at Zero. Also, if the number is slightly above
zero, you may not be able to place certain pieces such
SIR RICHARD: Second, if a castle piece has stopped
building, check to see if the piece is listed as Unstable or Waiting.
Unstable pieces need to be supported by the adjacent pieces. Wailing
pieces need a scaffold to become available.
ALAIN:'Tis true. But what of No Workers?
SIR RICHARD: Ah yes. If a piece is not building, and you receive a report
that says "No Workers", then you need to hire more
ALAIN: Are there any other possible problems?
SIR RICHARD: Not unless the monarch is so foothardy with his purse that
he runs out of money. In such a case, both laborers
and guards will quickly abandon the king for better paying work. Why does
it always seem that the people in power are the greatest debtors?
ALAIN: Perhaps because they are not spending their own money, my lord.
SIR RICHARD: Hmm, that reminds me, I have business to do for my
father. If you do not understand these principles, repeat this
tutorial until you do. Now if you will excuse me, my father wishes
me to look at his household accounts, and see how much debt he has
ALAIN: And now that we have come to the end, remember, gentle folk, that
if we have offended you with problems that were not explained within this
discourse, use your telephones to contact us at the number listed in the
Warranty section, and gladly will the wise and patient folk do their best to
solve your problems.
-= THE REAL WORLD CASTLES OF EDWARD I =-
The reign of King John and his son Henry Ill were a disaster for
England's continental empire; the vast empire that Henry II had built
between Scotland and the Pyranees had crumbled. One side effect of this
defeat was that it allowed England to concentrate on the subjugation
of its neighbors, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.
The history between England and its neighbors was never a peaceful one.
While England and Scotland both coalesced into centralized monarchies
before the 11th Century, Wales remained a collection of princedoms,
squabbling for land, raiding each other and England. Ownership of
Northern England changed hands frequently The Welsh raided the
English lands on their boader, and vice versa. Everyone worried about
Vikings. In 1066, however the Norman Conquest changed everything.
The subjugation of England by the Normans was conducted in a manner that was
ruthless even by medieval standards; whole villages were destroyed, and the
entire ruling class of England disappeared in twenty years, replaced by
A culture as ambitious and as powerhungry as the Normans were not content
to hold a single kingdom; they were constantly trying to expand, and
engaged in continuous suppression of rebellious provinces, attacks against
the King of France, and disgruntled family members (refer to the Tales of the
Middle Ages for suitable examples). However, this did not mean that the
kings of England forgot about the other nations in the British Isles.
The Normans were quick to expand into Wales. However, the geography of
Wales confined their advances to the valleys and lowlands of
Southern Wales. Even the might of Henry II was not sufficient
to defeat Welsh troops. Henry responded by recognizing
the rule of Welsh lords, particularly Rhys ap Gruffyd, in return for
their recognition of his overlordship. This would not
be the first time that an English king would meddle in Welsh
politics, nor would it be the last.
In the 13th Century, Wales was finally united
under the leadership of Prince Llywelyn the Great
and his grandson, Llywelyn ap Cruffyd. Indeed, in the treaty of
Montgomery, Llywelyn ap Gruffyd forced Henry III
of England to recognize his territorial gains and his
title "Prince of Wales". However, despite the triumph of the
princes of Gwynedd, their glory was soon to end. Henry III
relinquished most of the disputed lands in France
with the Treaty of Paris in 1259. This allowed his son,
Edward I, to concentrate on the conquest of Wales
as no king had done since the early days following
the Norman Conquest. His original plan was to overrun many
of Llywelyn's lands and hand them to his more compliant brothers,
Dafydd and Gruffyd. However, his campaign of 1277 was such a
success that Edward realized that he didn't have to reward
Dafydd. In 1282, the Welsh rebelled. Edward went to
war against the Welsh, and won. Llywelyn died in an
ambush, and Dafydd was captured, tried, and executed.
Edward realized that he needed to consolidate his
gains. He decided on a policy of building castles
in strategic places. He would encourage English
settlers to build towns near the castles, eventually they
would trade with and assimilate the Welsh.
This was the most expensive enterprise ever taken
up by a King of England at that time, and eventually it
would almost entirely drain the English treasury.
To coordinate the building, Edward chose as his master
mason a renowned architect, Sir James of Savoy,
who had studied the castles built by the Moslems in the Crusades.
Sir james built castles according to the needs of his master, Yang
Edward, and supervised the building.
There were ten castles built by Edward I, in what clearly can be
considered three separate castle building campaigns. Of these ten,
six castles have special importance.
THE MAJOR WELSH
CASTLES OF EDWARD I
Castles Dates Built
The first two castles on this list (as well as two lesser, castles,
Builth and Ruthin, which were started at the same time) were
built by Edward following the initial campaign. While
Flint and Rhuddlan are impressive, they do not compare with the latter
four castles, which are truly masterpieces of English
building and military engineering. What is also impressive about the
castles is their sheer variety; each castle, though constructed
at the same time, stands out as an individual structure with little in
common with the others.
Caernarvon, Conway, and Harlech were all started following the
conquest of Wales. Harlech was designed as a military
fortress, standing tall on the face of a large cliff. Its
central defense was designed around an extremely strong gatchouse,
which was later incorporated into the second
stage of building at Caernarvon.
In many ways, Conway is the most visually impressive of Edward's
castles, with eight huge drum towers and an inner ward
surrounded with turrets. Its approaches were
protected by barbicans and fortified steps.
Of all of Edward's castles, Caernarvon had a highly
symbolic importance that was reflected in its design.
Before its construction, a rumor surfaced that the
bones of Magnus Maximus, the father of the first
Christian Roman Emperor Constantine had been
found on the site. Master James had visited the
castles of the Holy Lands and may have been to Constantinople,
where he would have seen the walls of Constantinople with its
polygonal towers; the towers of Caernarvon were
based on those of Constantinople. The great tower of
Caernarvon, the Eagle Tower, was meant to have
imperial connotations. In 1284, Edward's heir, the future
Edward II, was born at Caernarvon. He became the first in
a long line of Princes of Wales; tragically, Edward II was
destined to be deposed by his wife, his barons, and his
fifteen year old son in 1327.
In the 1294 and 1295, a new series of revolts broke
out in Wales. In 1294, Caernarvon Castle and its town
fell to the rebels, and though it was soon
liberated, Edward and Master James were determined
that this would never again occur. The resulting rebuilding and
expansion of Caernarvon included Lhe King's Gate,
which included no fewer than five doors and six
portcullises, with each of these secfions bolstered by
arrow loops in the walls and murder holes in the ceiling.
It was after the revolt of 1295 that Edward decided
to begin work on the grandest and most ambitious castle of all,
the beautiful Beaumaris ("beautiful marsh"). While lacking in the
Christian (and Arthurian) mythological tones of Caernarvon,
Beaumaris was an immensely impresive fortress based
on the concentric castles of the Middle East. It had
two sections, an outer curtain wall defended by over a dozen
towers and strong gatehouses, and an inner wall with immense
towers and extremely powerful gatehouses. The layout of
Beaumaris demanded that any attacker who managed
to break through the outer curtain would have to
make a sharp turn under heavy fire to approach the
inner curtain to attack it. For several years,
thousands of men, at a cost of L13000, worked on
Beaumaris, until Edward ran into financial
problems. Edward's belligerent policy towards
Scotland and a dispute with the French crown
over Gascony caused an immense drain on the treasury of England, and
Edward was a king who heavily taxed his subjects.
England was building an empire of castles it could
Although the construction of Beaumaris continued well into the reign
of Edward II, the great castle was never finished. The towers of the inner
curtain wall were never raised to their full height, the southern gatehouse
remaimed unfinished, and the great hall within the inner wall was never
begun. Beaumaris remained, like all too many works of art, an unfinished
masterpiece. No enemy ever attacked Beaumaris;
the rebellion of Owen Glendower in 1400 was the last armed attempt to
restore the. Welsh nation, and it failed.
The grandest human achievements, like grand works of nature, cannot be
described or shown in pictures. It impossible to understand
the awe inspiring scope of the Grand Canyons without seeing it
in person. It is impossible to truly appreciate the Cathedral
of Notre Dame without visiting it. So it is with the castles of
Edward I; one cannot truly appreciate the scale of Edward's endeavor
without viewing these castles in person. This is perhaps the greatest
tribute that one can pay to Edward I, that and the fact
that his castles have endured to inspire people long after his death.
-= TALES OF THE MIDDLE AGES =-
I: The Plantagenet Saga
Let's imagine a soap opera about medieval
royalty. We'll include:
A tall, handsome man with a temper so bad that he was seen chewing on
straw when he was angry. A man who ordered the murder of one of his
closest friends in a fit of rage. A man whose sons and whose wife
continuously plots aginst him.
Leader of a rebellion against her husband, and imprisoned for the rest of
The eldest son. At his father's coronation, he
boasted that he was the son of a king, while his
father was only the son of a Duke. He led rebellion
after rebellion against his father, reconciling with
him after every failure.
The second son.
Betrothed to Alice, sister of his best friend, the King of
France. Unfortunately, she currently in the custody
of King Henry, who is enamored by her, and
refuses to allow the mariage.
The third son. When his brothers rebel, he does too.
The youngest son. He was born after his father's
empire was carved up, and ended up with nothing,
hence the derogatory title "Lackland". His father's
favorite, much to the chagrin of his brothers.
Later, he would become one of the worst rulers in
The writers of modern day soap operas would be
hard pressed to find a more contentious family
for their drama than the Plantagenet family of
Henry II. Their history was one of treachery, combat,
and enough sex to ensure that it would receive big
ratings, if it was ever aire.
When Henry II was crowned King of England
in 1154, he held the largest empire in Western Europe
He was King of England, and Duke of Normandy
and Anjou, possessing as much as two-thirds of
France. By 1158 he had become overlord of Wales
and Scotland as well, and soon added Ireland to his
empire. However, powerful men make powerful
Henry Il's enemy was King Louis VII of France.
Although Henry was technically Louis's vassal,
Henry had more land and a much larger army than
Louis. However, Louis was far from the greatest threat
that Henry had; the greatest threatcame from
his sons: Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, and John.
In 1173, Henry the Younger demanded that
his father resign either the throne of England, or the
thrones of Normandy or Anjou. When his father
refused, Henry the Younger fled to the court
of Louis of France, followed by his brothers
Richard and Geoffrey. The revolt lasted two years,
after which Louis, Young Henry, and Geoffrey sued
for peace. Richard tried to continue the rebellion on
his own, but failed, and was forced to return to his
father and ask for his forgiveness. Surprisingly,
Henry forgave his sons. His wife, Eleanor of
Aquitaine, however, was locked up in a tower for sixteen
years for her part in the rebellion.
Henry gave his sons pieces of his empire, which kept them happy for nearly
eight years. In 1182, Henry the Younger demanded
that his brother Richard (who was named Duke of Aquitaine) pledge his
loyalty to him. Richard refused, and Henry the Younger
and Geoffrey marched their armies against him.
King Henry, alarmed by the war between his sons, demanded that they settle
it peacefully. They cheerfully ignored him, so King Henry allied himself with
Richard. The rebellion ended when Henry the
Younger died of dysentery in 1183. Surprisingly,
Henry the Younger was so popular with the people of
Rouen and Le Mans that they nearly went to war
for the custody of the body
Geoffrey took refuge at the court of the recently
crowned King Phillip Augustus of France, until
his unfortunate death in a tournament in 1186. This
left Phillip without a pawn to use against the King of
England, so he invited Richard to his court.
Richard and Phillip soon became close friends, to the
great chagrin of Henry II.
In 1188, Richard and Phillip joined forces against
Henry II, and captured several of Henry's towns.
The pretext for this attack was Henry's unwillingness
to allow Richard to marry Alice, sister of Phillip
In 1189, Henry learned that his one previously unrebellious
son, John, had joined with Richard in the
revolt. Henry, who loved John far more than any of
his other children, fell into despair and soon died,
cursing his sons with his last breath. And no one
could really blame him, could they?
Happy at last, Richard took the throne of
England. He rewarded those who had supported
him against his father by dismissing them, then
joined with his friend Phillip Augustus in the Third Crusade.
By the end of 1191, they were no longer friends. The greedy Prince
John, who was not made regent in Richard's absence, deposes
Richard's hand-picked governor, the greedy William Longchamp. Richard,
through a combination of military brilliance and extreme ruthlessness (who's
going to miss a few thousand hostages anyways?) secures a Christian presence
in the Holy Land and visiting privileges for Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem.
Richard returns home in 1192, but is captured by ne of his enemies, the
Archduke of Austria.
Meanwhile, brother John joined with Richard's former friend Phillip
Augustus to usurp Richard's empire while Richard is imprisoned.
John declared that Richard died in prison, but no one
believes him, and the barons of England joined
forces to oust him. The loyal barons then collect a
huge sum of money to pay his ransom. John is then
betrothed to the same Alice that Richard was betrothed
to (who was beloved of his father Henry II), but eventually
spurns her to marry the heiress of the duke of
Gloucester. (Later, John decided to divorce his wife
and marry the daughter of a French noble, in what
proved to be the second messiest royal divorce in
Richard is released from prison in 1194, and returns
to England. He immediately goes to war against
Phillip and John, annulling the sale of estates made in
1189 to raise money for the effort. John, wanting to get
back in his brother's good graces, invites the officers
of one of Phillips garrisons to an entertainment,
then massacres them and returns to England. At
their mother's behest, the two brothers are reconcile
with each other, though Richard is noticeably cool
to the arrangement. Surprisingly, John does not
betray Richard for the rest of his reign. Richard
spends most of the rest of his life fighfing Phillip
Augustus (who nearly drowns in the river Epte
after fleeing a major defeat), and quelling rebellions in Brittany and
Aquitaine. Finally, Richard died from an arrow wound
while trying to take a treasure from a rebellious
vassal. Richard appointed the eleven year old Arthur
of Brittany (son of his dead brother Geoffrey) as his
successor, but the disgruntled John eventually
fights his way back to the throne, losing the empire
of his brother and his father in the process. In
1216, he dies, succeeded by his young son, the boy-king Henry III, who
is the father of Edward 1. (Eventually, Edward III, Edward
I's grandson, would invaded France to take back some of
the lands lost by John, starting the Hundred Years War in the process.
But that's another story.)
II. Roast Rochester
During the course of John's troubled reign, one
of his many problems were rebellious barons. His
father, Henry II, had torn down many castles in his
day (in an attempt to keep his barons from developing
their own centers of power), but one which had
escaped his notice was Rochester Castle in
England. This castle, built of small-sized stones and
consisted of a huge central keep surrounded by curtain
walls, was attacked by King John's troops in 1215.
During the siege, the attackers dug a tunnel
beneath the base of one of the corner towers, propping it up
with heavy wooden beams. Into this tunnel, they placed forty
fat pig carcasses. Then they set the pigs on fire.
To the defenders' astonishment, the heat from the burning pigs
began to crack the masonry. The corner of the tower
crumbled. The besiegers then entered the keep and
forced the defenders to surrender. One scribe wrote of
the event: "Men no longer put their trust in castles.
The scribe's assessment was soon proved to be inaccurate; not only
did lords continue to build castles,
but the fallen tower was later replaced.
III. Devils May Care
Religion was important in the Middle Ages, and the
gathering of souls by the Church was considered to
be one of the most important activities.
Many of the clergy were highly literate, and some
were exceptional scholars, providing scholarship
whose influence has been felt even in the modern
era. Unfortunately, not all of them were. Bishops
sometimes found that both candidates and ordained
priests were unable to read Latin, and therefore unable
to understand both the scriptures and the ritual.
Gerald of Wales spoke at length about ignorant
parish priests who confused Barrabas and Barnabas,
or St. Jude with Judas Iscariot, or the meaning of parables.
Perhaps this might explain why priests frequently talked
The Bible does not talk very much about Hell or
devils, which was not reflected in the sermons of
these priests. Devils, the torments of Hell that awaited the wicked,
and other nasty tales were often told in church, usually with very little
Biblical basis. The popular image of devils (pointed ears, forked
tails, red or black skin) owes a lot more to these
medieval tales than the Bible..
Priests told highly entertaining tales of sinners
who were caught or tricked by the devil and who
were forced to suffer for an eternity as a result. These
stories endured in the form of folktales, even to the
Priests were not the only ones who told stories
about devils. There was a popular rumor that there
was demonic blood in the House of Plantagenet, as
Geoffrey Greygown, Count of Anjou in the late
10th Century, was said to have married a demon.
One wonders, given the gentle nature of the family
how such a rumor might have started.
Although England and Wales in the Middle Ages
were thoroughly Christian cultures, pagan superstitions
still endured in the minds and hearts of both
peasants and nobles. In many ways, diabolical tales
were a Christian counterpoint to these enduring
pagan myths. Travelling performers often performed morality tales from
the bible or the lives of saints that featured the
devil; eventually the Church began to raise concerns about the accuracy
of these plays.
IV. Five Good Reasons Not to Be a Peasant in the Middle Ages
5. Wonderful traveling opportunities!
Most peasants in the Middle Ages never travelled
more than twenty miles away from their homes at
any time in their (usually short) lifetime.
4. Friendly neighbours!
People living on the borders between neighbouring nations had to be
worried about an invasion at virtually any time. During one Scottish
invasion of Northern, England, it is said that so many prisoners were taken
that not one Scottish bousehold was without an English slave.
3. Great bosses!
One of the more charming feudal customs was called "Jus Primae Noctis",
which gave the lord of a fief a right to sleep on the first night with
the newly married bride of one of his serfs.
Fortunately, a serf could avoid this practise -- if he paid a fine. This
practise was never common in England, and seems to have fallen out of favor
on the continent by 1200 AD.
2. Great cuisine!
A peasant did not have a lot of variety in their meal.
Meat was rare, there was not a great variety in
vegetables, water was stale (or worse), and peasants were generally
1. Do we need any other reasons?
-= A Bibliography =-
David MacCauley, Houghton Mifflin, 1977
(An entertaining and informative look at castle building).
The Castle Guide
Grant Boucher, Troy Christensen, Arthur Collins, and Nigel Findley,
TSR Inc, 1990
English Medieval Castles
R. Allen Brown, B. T Batsford, 1954, 1961
Kingdom of Champions,
Phil Masters, Iron Crown Enterprises, 1990
Life in a Medieval Village
Frances and Joseph Gies, Harper Perennial, 1991
(An extremely informative, yet easy to read book on life in an English
viltage, providing invaluable background on the Middle Ages).
Edwin Mng, Columbia Publications, 1987
Derek Frank Renn, John Baker Publishers, Ltd., 1968,
Oxford History of Britain
Kenneth O. Morgan ed., Oxford University Press, 1988
Studies in Castles and Castle-Building
Arnold Taylor, Hambledon Press, 1985
(A highly technical piece, this provides hard data on castle construction
for people who are really interested in the topic)
Castle, Unicorn Projects,
1983 (Highly entertaining animated adaptation of David MacCauley's
Castles, occasionally airs (in the United States) on PBS.)
Robin of Sherwood, ITV
(While this series had its flaws (historically inaccurate for a show that
tried to be "realistic") this series provides an interesting interpretation
of the popular Robin Hood cycle and British Fantasyltnyths.)
Wizards and Warriors,
Don Rio Productions, 1982
(Long forgotten by all but a handful of fantasy fans, this series provided
good production values, anachronisfic heroes, and interesting villains.)
The Adventures of Robin Hood
1938 (Historically inaccurate adaptation of a 19th Century version of
Robin Hood, with a delightful performance by Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone.
Hollywood pageantry at its finest, wonderfully produced.)
Robin and Marion, 1974
(Sean Connery is superb as an aging Robin Hood in this unorthodox telling
of the popular tale.)
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