Castles – Chateau Gaillard
Above the town of Les Andelys, France are the remains of a high tech wonder for its time, Chateau Gaillard. It took less than two years to build and incorporated many advanced design features.
The stone walls were curved outwardly making them much stronger—regardless of the angle the wall was thicker than other castles. Another advantage was less contact area with whatever was launched from enemy catapults.
The arrow slots in most castles were a thin vertical opening with little room to angle the arrow. The Chateau Gaillard had a V shaped opening behind the slot giving the archer an improved range.
In most battles, an enemy attacker could get up against the outer wall and be protected by the overhang of the wall and tower floors. But, at the chateau, slots were left so archers could aim at the enemy under them.
1196 – King Richard the Lionheart & a cast of thousands begin construction
1198 – Construction complete
1199 – King Richard dies from an arrow in the shoulder attacking Chalus Castle
1203 – Philip Augustus blockades Chateau Gaillard for seven months
1204 – The chateau was under French control
1598 – King Henri IV demolished most of the structures and walls
1603 – Monastery granted permission to demolish and use stones for construction
1862 – Became a French historical monument
Palace – Royalty, heads of state, and occasionally an Archbishop’s residence
Chateau – Palace in rural areas and the estates at vineyards
Castle – Nobilities’ private residence (middle ages) possibly with armed military
Fort – Military purposes only
As a young boy at family gatherings, I recall listening to the men after a meal. The opinions around the subjects of politics, car brands, hippies, and rock n roll filled the room with energy like aromatic smoke from a pipe. But, when the story telling began everyone found a seat or patch of floor. We sat for hours absorbing the stories, fact or fiction, that shaped who we became and it strengthened our imaginations. Fifty years later I know that a world without imagination would be pretty boring.
More at the website www.AndeanWhite.com.