• What was the Origin, Meaning or Definition of the Bailey
  • Description of a Castle Bailey
  • What was the purpose of the Bailey?
  • When was Bailey the Baley introduced
  • Is their a link between the Motte & Bailey

Description of the Bailey
The Bailey was part of the famous Motte and Bailey Castles which were built by the Normans.

The Motte and Bailey castle was the predecessor of the Medieval Stone castle. The Motte was a man-made mound of earth on which a Norman tower, or Donjon, was built. It was surrounded by a ditch and a courtyard, containing other buildings and this area was called the Bailey. The Bailey was surrounded by a wooden stockade. The entrance to the Bailey was through a large wooden gate. Some Bailey gates had Guardhouses built either side. The Bailey was a defended yard which contained:

  • Barracks
  • Stables
  • Livestock
  • An emergency corral in time of attack
  • Other buildings for storage


Purpose of the Bailey
The purpose of the Motte and Bailey acted as a fortified post to provide a base where men, provisions and horses could be housed.

Origin, Meaning of the word ‘Bailey’
The Origin and Meaning of the word ‘Bailey’ derives from the Old French word ‘baille’ meaning an enclosure

Bailey - Part of a Norman Castle
The Normans introduced the wooden Motte and Bailey Castle to England following their victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The Norman timber Motte and Bailey Castleswere quickly replaced by permanent stone Norman Castles. The Bailey features in the Castlesbuilt by the Normans.


Parts of a Castle

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  • What was the difference between the parts of a castle called the Garderobe and the Wardrobe?
  • Identifying parts of a castle - Description, purpose and function of the Moat, Dungeon and Portcullis
  • Description, purpose and function of the Barbican, Gatehouse, Crenellations and Drawbridge
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