Description of the Crenellations Crenellations (battlements) are the distinguishing feature of a castle - clearly indicating that the castle was built to withstand a battle. A crenellation was a rampart built around the top of a castle with regular gaps for firing arrows. The Crenellations was situated on the top of castle towers and walls. The Crenellations composed of:
'Crenels' (The gap, or open space, measuring 2-3 feet wide, between two Merlons in a battlement or crenellated wall )
'Merlons' (The solid portion between two Crenels in a battlement measuring 4 - 5 feet wide and 3 - 7 feet high)
Purpose of the Crenellations The purpose of the Crenellations was to provide a fighting platform and good vantage point from which soldiers launched arrows. The crenellations also provided defenders with a solid defence to hide behind when they were not launching arrows from the gaps in between the stone battlements. The gaps in the crenellations ( the crenels) would also have temporary wooden shutters offering additional protection during siege warfare. Attackers would scale the castle wall and scaling ladders had hooks designed to fit over the crenels.
Origin, Meaning of the word 'Crenellations' The Origin and Meaning of the word 'Crenellations' derives from French word 'creneler' which means to furnish with battlements - diminutive of 'cren' meaning notch or cranny
Introduction of the Crenellations - Norman Castles The Crenellations were introduced with Norman castles during the Medieval period 1066 - 1154
Crenellations - 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 castles were quickly replaced by permanent stone Norman castles. The Crenellations feature in the castles built by the Normans and this feature continued in the later Medieval Castles.
Parts of a Castle
What were the purpose of the different parts of the Medieval Castle?
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