Since the time of the Norman Conquest, some 5000 castles in total have been built throughout England and Ireland. When William the Conqueror first arrived in England, very few castles existed. However, by the end of his reign, the motte and bailey castle had become a symbol of Norman domination. The early castles were mainly constructed from wood, notably oak, but many of these were later re-built in local stone.

Castles were erected to serve two main purposes: to provide shelter, and to act as a fortress should the family be subjected to attack. Unlike other buildings, no standard model exists for a castle - each was as individual as the owner - but layout was usually dependent on cost, domestic needs and local materials available. Most did include a keep, or great tower, and a fortified enclosure. During medieval times the stone castle was virtually impregnable to attack but, with the advent of the cannon, many English castles were made ruinous during the English Civil War.

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Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire
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Tattershall Castle
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