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Author Topic:   lawns
posted 09-14-2000 08:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lin_dale     Edit/Delete Message
We are doing castle projects. Surfing the net, we see castles from medieval times with wonderful large lawns. Did they have these lawns back then? How did they mow them? Did it look this nice?

Senior Member
posted 09-14-2000 09:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for duncan   Click Here to Email duncan     Edit/Delete Message
In the UK, a major part of the answer to your question is Sheep! Lot's and lot's of sheep. Animals have been used for 'lawn' maintence for ages and it benefits man in many ways. For scrub brush and trees that could not have been cleared by hand, oxen and or certain types of bovines "cows" would have been used in harness to do the work that tractors or heavy equipment does today.

[This message has been edited by duncan (edited 09-15-2000).]

Erik Schmidt
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posted 09-14-2000 10:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Erik Schmidt   Click Here to Email Erik Schmidt     Edit/Delete Message
The only castles I know of to maintain a "lawn" were the late manors and palaces of central and Northern Europe to please the fashions of the extremely wealthy. Any castle of actual military purpose tended to maintain a cleared area around them to help them spot approaching enemy. This would have been done by grazing animals as Duncan says, and periodic removal of woody growth.
The only way of mowing a lawn in medieval times would have been the scythe.
In modern times, castles in lowland areas (particularly in high rainfall N Europe) tend to be surroundeed by lawn to help show them off. Around castles on rocky hilltops and in dry areas you will rarely find lawns, but often woods, fields for grazing animals and orchards.
I think you will find it difficult to come across a genuine medieval, military castle, not located in Britain, which has a mown lawn. I can't think of one. Challange! Can you find one?

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posted 10-26-2000 05:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glaive203     Edit/Delete Message
lawns existed;but mainly they were in courtyards and pleasure gardens not surrounding manor houses and castles as such.Normally they were mowed with the scythe which continued to be used to mow lawns into the 20th century-my grandfather who actually used them to mow with said they cut the grass more closely than our modern lawn mowers.

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posted 10-30-2000 02:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Merlin   Click Here to Email Merlin     Edit/Delete Message
I'm not sure about this, but isn't the scythe a post-medieval invention?


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posted 10-30-2000 09:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glaive203     Edit/Delete Message
the scythe and the cradle scythe were both widely used in the MA,their primary use was to mow meadows for hay which was not grow as a crop-at least in england.

Senior Member
posted 11-03-2000 07:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Merlin   Click Here to Email Merlin     Edit/Delete Message
I looked it up and you're right: Although very seldom used in the early middleages, the scythe was very common from the 12/13th century onwards.


Senior Member
posted 12-14-2000 01:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for deborahknowles   Click Here to Email deborahknowles     Edit/Delete Message
You may find that some lawns were in fact tilt-yards then, where knights would hold tournaments, galloping up and down at the lists, exercising their destriers (warhorses) in preparation for battle.


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posted 12-24-2000 03:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glaive203     Edit/Delete Message
tilts and tourneys were more often conducted on sand than lawns when a specific place was set up to hold them Debra.

Philip Davis
posted 12-24-2000 11:18 AM           Edit/Delete Message
The tiltyard of Kenilworth castle actually ran along the top of the stone dam which made the vast Kenilworth moat/lake (the lake no longer exists but it is planned to be recreated if some local opposition can be be overcome). It's mainly gravel coverd now but surely must have been sand covered originally. Grass would have be rapidlly torn up.

And as I rode by Dalton-Hall Beneath the turrets high, A maiden on the castle-wall Was singing merrily: The Outlaw by Sir Walter Scott

All times are PT (US)

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