Some Major Stylistic Periods of Medieval Art and
Fortifications and Towers.
Denmark, Sweden, Norway;
castle (Copenhagen), Munkholmen
3. Motte and
, Lodose, Sverresborg
6. Regional Scandinavian
(*) Now part of Sweden, but, at the time
of construction, within the
Danish province of Scania.
(**) Now part of Sweden, but, at the time of
construction, belonging to
a disputed Norwegian/Danish corridor, north and south of Gothenberg,
building bears some features of the Motte and Bailey design, although
built by the Norwegians at a later date.
(***) Lines of fortifications; (i). Hjelm, Vordingborg,
Nyborg, Bastrup(?). (ii). Borren, Hjelm O, Kalo, Fyrkat, Sjorring.
(iii). Orkild, Vordingborg, Stege.
(iv). Sonderborg, Orkild, Korsor.
Circles of fortifications; (i). Kalundborg, Jaegerspris, Hjelm O,
Asserbo. (ii). Vordingborg, Hjelm, Hjelm, (?). (iii). Osterlars,
Nyker, Olsker, Nylars.
Square of fortifications;
Asserbo, Roskilde, Helsingborg, Barakkebro(?).
The classification depends on observable features in the designs of
fortifications, the dating of their construction and their geographic
position. This seems
to be effective for the following reasons;
(i). Many of the characteristic features of each style can be
deduced from the ground plan of the building, the method is, therefore,
applicable to ruined fortifications,
for which the ground plan survives. This accounts for a large number of
remaining medieval examples.
(ii). For strategic reasons, medieval fortifications were
often built, in geometric patterns, across different locations(***).
seems to be reasonable evidence for this theory,
in the case of fortifications around Denmark. Understanding these
geometric patterns can allow the method to be applied to extant
fortifications, also accounting for a
large number of examples.
(iii). Some distinctive observable features are usually
preserved, even in heavily restored or reconstructed medieval
buildings, for which there are, again, many examples.
This provides a reasonable classification, in conjunction with
historical or archeological information about the building's original
Features that are characteristic of these styles;
1. Viking; circular, shell type fortifications. 2. Norman; corner
towers, rectangular keeps, embrasures and buttresses. 3.
Concentric; concentric fortifications, multiple
towers, radiating designs. 4. Geometric; Non-concentric, quatrefoil
designs. 5. Lancet; (fortified) single towers, typically placed in
strategic positions. 6. Regional
Scandinavian; characteristic stepped roofing on fortifications (and
churches), simple wooden
constructions, adaptations of Viking style. 7. Motte and Bailey;
keep on a hill, usually surrounded by a pallisade, often temporary
constructions, mainly built (c1066-1150)
Historical references used in my research; (i). Denmark-you'll love it!
Danish castles and
Manor Houses, Bernhard Linder.
(ii). Crusader Castles, Robin Fedden, John Thomson.
(iii). Castles of Denmark, Chateau Gaillard: Etudes de 12th C
castellogie medievale, Nils Engberg.
(iv). Nyborg castle museum.
(v). Plaque at Vordingberg tower.
(vi). Liber Census Daniae, 13th century.
Sween, Tioram, Mingary, Innischonnel, Carnasserie,
3. Motte and
Old Wick, Cubbie Roo, Kilmartin
Edinburgh, Doune, Aberdour, Lismore,
Norman; Corner buttresses, grey
Norwegian; Two corner towers on a diagonal, stepped
roofing, sharp contours,
Border; Broad defensive
Clan history; MacDougall, MacDonald, Campbell, MacRuari,
MacSween, MacKenzie(not Norman descent)
Geometric Patterns; Strategic positioning along diagonals, in
particular (i). Loch Awe, (ii). Series of lochs, north west of the
great glen. (iii). Loch Duich to the Firth.
Historical References; (i). Scotland's Castles, Chris
and Ancient Monuments of Scotland, Damien Noonan.
Belas Knap (plan)
2. Iron Age
(Celtic) (c1300-500BC) Cadbury
3. Motte and
Totnes, Warwick, Kilpeck
St. Briavels, Hemyock
Bere Ferrers, de la Rupe, Lydford,
(interior view), Bickleigh,
Tiverton towers 1 (detail),
2 and cistern,
tower of Lundy castle.,
Northernhay, outer, inner
fortifications and keep of Old
(See descriptions here)
Wales; 1. Motte and
and arches of Goodrich
Briavels, splay window and tower of Grosmont, (*****).
windows, vaulting and corner tower of Goodrich.
wall, (plan), Beaumaris, (plan)
Poland; 1. Response to Scandinavian (c1350)
(****) Technically a tomb, but may have used for defensive
(*****) Differing from the pure Norman style in the
adoption of Anglo-Saxon features, but this is a term usually used
in the classifications of church architecture.