Middle Ages
Concentric Castles

Concentric Castles
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.57

     challenging words:    concentric, defenders, happening, innermost, undermine, victorious, provided, motte, vulnerable, medieval, warrior, material, towers, design, better, newly
     content words:    King Edward

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Concentric Castles
By Sharon Fabian

1     It was a medieval arms race. Every time castles were built bigger or stronger, some creative medieval warrior invented a new siege weapon to breach the castles' defenses. Soon, even stone castles weren't good enough.
2     There was no stronger material than stone for building castles, so castle architects looked at the design of the castles instead. They found creative ways to make improvements, just as armorers had when they built weapons like catapults and trebuchets. Their new and improved castles were called concentric castles. Some of the best concentric castles were built under the direction of King Edward I in Wales. He had been victorious against the Welsh and built a ring of concentric castles to hold on to his newly won power there.
3     Building a concentric castle took lots of time and lots of money. In fact, some of the best ones, like King Edward's castle, Beaumaris, in north Wales, were never finished. Even though it was never completed, Beaumaris was a great defensive castle in its time, and it still stands today. It was a special castle because it was built right next to a dock. Ships could sail into Beaumaris and deliver supplies even when the castle was under siege.
4     Concentric castles were not a completely new design. Rather, like many great ideas, they were an improvement on an older design. Concentric castles were an improvement on the older stone keep castles and the even older motte and bailey castles.
5     Like the stone keep castle, a concentric castle was surrounded by a curtain wall, but the concentric castle went even further. Concentric castles had two, or even more, curtain walls. This made them much more secure because, if an attacker made it through the first wall, he was trapped between the two walls and became an easy target for archers inside the castle.

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