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Author Topic:   Castell Dolbadarn
posted 06-06-2004 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Absynthe   Click Here to Email Absynthe     Edit/Delete Message
Hello there,

I am working on reconstructing Castell Dolbadarn in 3D in Sketchup 3.1, using this site plan drawing: http://www.castlewales.com/dolb_map.jpg
and this elevation drawing: http://www.castlewales.com/dolb6.jpg

What I have run into is the east building has no apparent means of entry from within the bailey enclosure. I have looked at several photographs of the surviving site and it's unclear if there might have been steps to enter the building at an elevated door - but there are no interior indications the floor was raised in any way. Any guesses on where, if at all there was an entrance into that building? There is a gap in the surviving stone wall on the exterior, but that seems to lack sense to me. One would have to be outside the curtain wall in order to access the building. I had thought of a second floor door via the wallwalk, but there is no apparent exit point from the circular keep to get onto the wall. If this building doesn't have an interior entry, what on earth was the building used for? I assumed until now that it was likely garrsion barracks or the like. Possibly winter storage, I don't know.

This also brings up another point-food and heat. There appear to be no obvious hearths in the outbuildings, any guesses on where these objects might have been, assuming the buidlings were intended for human use?

The other buildings lack an estimation of overall height. Based on the keep being 40 without its' battlements, I placed the other towers at least 20 feet without battlements, and buildings at 15 without a roof. Does this seem a reasonable estimation?

Any ideas will be entertained.


posted 06-08-2004 03:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peter   Click Here to Email Peter     Edit/Delete Message
Some very interesting points you have raised there. I for one will go and put mny thinking cap on.
Your own theory in the end may be as good as anyone elses. There has always been much debate on the entrance to the castle at Caergwrle. Which, in my mind, has never really been fully explained.

posted 06-10-2004 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Absynthe   Click Here to Email Absynthe     Edit/Delete Message
I would appreciate that very much. I have since developed a longer list of questions about this castle. Right now I am most concerned with locating a land survey or satellite images of the topography so I can accurately render the south tower. It sits several feet below grade from what I can see. Thus far, my collection of questions are thus (some may be duplicate from my original query):
1. the location of the kitchen. My suspicion is the stand alone wall beside the hall, paralell to the curtain wall is the remnants of the kitchen, the short wall by the second exit likely was the cooking hearth. Would this be a reasonable assertion?
2. would they have hauled their water directly from the lake rather than having a well? Would this explain the door through the wall close to the kitchen?
3. The buildings have no real suggestion of overall height, outside of the keep. Are there any existing, complete buildings that would be relative to these that I can base their appearance on? I am having a hard time trying to decide what the roof slope would be.
4. The South Tower appears to be much further down the hill from the rest of the buildings - has anyone measured just how steep that slope is?
5. From what I can find, this keep is currently 40 feet high, the curtain walls were 10 feet high. If that is its' finished height, how high were the ceilings and the thickness of the floors? Has anyone measured the distance between the joist holes?
6. A reconstructed drawing that exists shows a low graded roof for the keep, but I can't see any spouts for gutters- but I do see something of that nature on the wall walk floor (in the drawing). Would it be more likely that the roof was higher than in this drawing?
7. The east building seems to have no surviving entrance from the bailey - would there have been wood steps up into the building, and why? If not, then why is the only entrance to this building from the exterior of the walls? I had assumed this building to be garrison barracks, or winter storage. In both cases though, it makes reasonable sense to have access from the interior. ***This one I have found some plausible theories on. see below***
8. The large gap in the curtain wall - I figure is the main entrance into the bailey. What type of fortified door would this have had - a portcullis, like the keep entrance?
9. The far end curtain walls - the ones that come to a point- would that have been an enclosed bailey, or additional housing? It seems impractical to build the walls for no purpose along with a door exiting into that space. Would it have been a garden, perhaps? I am counting on subsequent erosion to justify the current rock exposure. If not, would it have had a second storey to it for housing? There are two small juts of wall near the door. Could this possibly have been a garderobe?
...and the more I develop my rendering, the more questions arise.
What I have found relevant so far to question 7:
The east building seems to have no surviving entrance from the bailey - would there have been wood steps up into the building,

A:Very possibly, but less likely than a second floor catwalk from building to building.

and why?

A:Stairs? who knows. perhaps to get over a natural landformation? As for second floor catwalks, additional fortification and convenience for the men to move between buildings while on duty. These would be wooden structures perched atop the stone fortified walls.

If not, then why is the only entrance to this building from the exterior of the walls?

A:That may not be an entrance, it could be a small jut in the wall avoiding a natural land formation. There are two chunks of rock sitting in that location and it could be that one pile is the original structure that sat atop a natural rock, eventually rolling off. Impossible to tell without taking a close look, however.

So.. does anyone live in Wales interested in taking an afternoon drive for me? ;-)


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