Castles at war

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Castles were built to keep people safe. Castle builders had to think of ways to make their castles strong against attack.

In this article you can find out:

  • How people attacked and defended castles
  • What a castle siege was
  • How castles were used during World War Two

This resource is suitable for Castles topics for P2, P3 and P4 (Second Level Curriculum for Excellence).

Strong walls, towers, shot holes and draw bridges helped keep people safe in castles like Stirling Castle.

Castles at war

Castles were built to keep the noble people of Scotland safe. From the safety of their big castles, the nobles controlled the lands that the King of Scotland asked them to look after.

Every so often, their castles would come under attack. So the castle builders had to keep on coming up with new ways to make their castles stronger and safer.

Attacking and defending a castle, 1100–1500

Castle builders had to think up new ways to keep people safe inside their castles.

They invented things like battlements and drawbridges to do this.

Castle attackers had to keep coming up with new ways to defeat the castles.

Find out more about attacking and defending a castle here.

How did people attack and defend castles?

Life under siege, 1304

A siege was when an enemy surrounded a castle so that no one could escape and no food could get into the castle.

This made life very difficult for people defending the castle.

Attackers used special siege weapons like trebuchets to attack a castle.

Find out more about life in a castle under siege here.

What was life like in a castle under siege?

Castles during World War Two, 1939–1945

After the invention of the cannon most castles stopped being used during war. They just weren't strong enough to stand up to such powerful weapons.

However, some Scottish castles became useful again during World War One and World War Two.

Find out how castles were used during the Second World War.

How were castles used during World War Two?