posted 02-09-2001 02:16 AM
There does not seem to be any worthwhile website on Chateau Gaillard. So I'm afraid you'll have to resort to the library. Almost any good general book on castles will mention Gaillard and give a groundplan. Here the section on Gaillard from Sidney Toy's Castles, Their Construction and History, but I can't show you the plan;
- The arduous campaigns of the Third Crusade resulted in a further development in military architecture, as well in Western Europe as in Palestine itself. Weak points in some of the existing fortifications had been clearly demonstrated. The Crusaders had seen the great execution wrought by the powerful siege engines on both sides and the dire effects of sapping and mining, and realised that a more scientific plan than that hitherto adopted was essential.
The site now chosen for a new castle, where such choice was possible, was the summit of a precipitous hill; the citadel or inner bailey being backed against the cliff. The main defence was concentrated in the direction of approach, and here there were often two or even three lines of advance fortifications. Chateau Gaillard, Eure, built 1196—1198; Pembroke Castle, about 1200; and Beeston Castle, Cheshire, about 1225; are all of this order. In the case of castles already built, one or two outer baileys were added on the line of approach, as at Corfe and Ohepstow. The living quarters, with the hail and domestic offices, and the chapel were now all built in the court of the inner bailey. The keep, often no longer the ordinary residence of the lord but essentially his last line of defence, is smaller than those built previously but of more powerful and scientific design.
Among the first of these castles was the Chateau Gaillard, which stands on a precipitous cliff 300 ft. above the river Seine. It was built by Richard I and when complete in 1198 was one of the most powerful castles of the day. The statement that on the completion of the work Richard exclaimed Ecce quam puicra fihia unius anni (Behold! what a beautiful daughter of one year!) rests solely on the authority of a chronicle of about 1436, accredited to John Brompton, a work which contains many fables and about which Sir T. D. Hardy said: “There is no reason to believe that it was based on a previous compilation.” The building accounts make it clear that the constru~tion occupied three years.
The castle consists of three baileys, arranged in line, the inner bailey being on ‘the edge of the cliff. The outer bailey, which was triangular in plan with the apex pointing outwards, was completely surrounded by a moat; and there was a moat between the middle and the inner baileys. The curtains of both the outer and middle baileys were strengthened by circular wall towers. The curtain of the inner bailey has no wall towers, properly so called, but has itself, on the outer face, a continuous series of corrugations, from the battlements of which the faces of the wall could be swept by flank shooting.
The keep, or donjon, stands on the edge of the precipice, principally within but partially projecting outside the inner bailey, where its base rises up from a ledge of rock 40 ft. below the level of the courtyard. It is circular except that the side towards the courtyard is thickened and shaped like the prow of a ship. The prow faced in the direction most vulnerable to attack from the battering-ram and the sapper. It formed a triangular wall the full height of the tower, the outer portion of which might be attacked and partially destroyed without serious effect to the rest of the work. Further, since it pointed directly towards the enemy, its oblique surfaces would deflect without receiving the full force of his projectiles.
Additional protection against sapping was obtained by a deep battered plinth and by machicolations, the supports of which rise from the plinth and are carried up the face of the donjon to the first parapet. This is one of the earliest examples in Western Europe of stone machicolations at the battlements. At present the donjon consists of two complete storeys; the lower storey being a store-room, and the upper a guard-room. Above this level the walls have been destroyed; but they were apparently only carried up to a height sufficient to screen the roof, most of the corbels of which still remain, and to form the battlements. Having regard to the position of the roof corbels on the inside and the inclination of the buttresslike projections for the machicolations on the outside there can be little doubt but that there were two lines of battlements, one rising above and behind the other.
The entrance to the donjon was by means of flights of steps, now destroyed, up from the courtyard to a doorway in the upper storey. In this room there are two windows, each of two lights, but there are no wall chambers and there is no fireplace. From here descent to the lower floor and ascent to the battlements must have been made by timber stairways, perhaps movable at will, for there is no other provision. In design and construction this keep is of a purely military character, of use only for observation and defence. The hall, living rooms, and domestic offices are built in the courtyard near the donjon; while other structures now represented by foundations only, stood against the curtain in other parts of the inner bailey.
And the astronomyours beheldyne the constellacions of hys bryth by thare castle, and foundyn that he sholde bene wyse and curteyse, good of consaill
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[This message has been edited by Philip Davis (edited 02-09-2001).]