We all get charmed by the beautiful structure of castles. The primary purpose of the castle was to act as a strong defensive fortification. But, more often than not, they were designed in a way to appear majestic and beautiful. Today, we are focusing on one such part of the castle- Castle Turrets. It is used to increase defensive capabilities and provide defenders with greater field vision.
The word ‘Turret’ came from the Italian ‘Torretta’ meaning ‘little towers’, and the Latin word ‘Turris’ meant ‘tower’. Castle Turrets are the essential and small towers found in medieval castle fortifications projecting the walls vertically. These allowed soldiers to see the adjacent walls of the tower they were mounted in and be prepared for any potential attack.
The turrets can have a circular top with crenelations, a pointed roof, or an apex. These are usually built near the highest point of the castle to get a better projection of the surroundings. It sometimes may contain a staircase that secretly connects Turrets to a room with weapons.
Purpose of Castle Turrets
Castle Turrets were constructed to achieve the military purpose. These were designed to serve as bartizan (a battlemented parapet or an overhanging corner chamber at the castle’s top) and improve soldiers’ view of the tower adjacent to them and fire at besiegers who gather at the base of those walls to attack the castle. In short, Castle Turrets assisted soldiers in keeping the castle and people safe.
Some turrets that were built at great heights or the top of the castle also provided 360-degree vision around the castle to the soldiers and helped them see enemies from a long way off. It helped them to stay prepared in advance.
The castle turrets might be found in different sizes and shapes, but each of them solved the same purpose. These were designed using hard stones with more weight to keep them safe and strong. They are projected slightly outwards from the castle’s structure so that soldiers can directly fire and attack the enemy.
The number of castle turrets available depends on the castle’s size. Whatever the size or height is, turrets always fulfil the purpose of the watchtower and make militarily work simpler. For instance, the great Eagle Tower at Caernarfon Castle of Wales includes three tall turrets to amplify the ability to spot the movement of enemy forces around the castle.
Design of Castle Turrets
Whenever we hear the word ‘Turret’, an image of a medieval castle pops up in front of our eyes. The Turrets were usually seen as the small, tower-like structures towards the outside of the overall castle design. The function of Castle Turrets is straightforward; however, when soldiers stopped using it as a military mechanism, many big homeowners used to include turrets in their home interior design plan to get the royal king-queen feeling.
The Turrets at castles and military forts are designed using big stones to make them stronger and safer. These had a curved design so that soldiers could get a 360-degree view around the castle. They had small, slit-like windows from which soldiers could peek out and shoot their enemies on the ground. Also, because of the small opening, the invading forces on the ground could not shoot back into the slit. In short, Castle Turrets were excellent weapons during the battles and wars.
History of Castle Turrets
Castle Turrets were used for providing defensive projection positions to the soldiers during attacking time to the adjacent walls. The turrets could be easily accessed from the main castle so that soldiers could easily enter or repel any attack.
In the Medieval Period, when people did not have access to guns and used swords, knives, arrows, slings, and more, the Castle Turrets were used. They were designed to defend a castle easily and ensure safety. However, in the 18th century, guns and cannons became accessible to everyone, and turrets lost their military value. From then, it started gaining popularity for its decorative design.
Types of Castle Turrets
Castle Turrets were smaller than a usual castle tower and were built on the top of a real castle structure. These did not rise from the ground and had different formations. The most common castle turret types are:
- Turrets with circular top and crenelations
- Turrets with a flat roof
- Turrets with a pointed roof or Apex
The turrets contain a staircase depending on the height and floor above them. Whatever the type of Castle turrets is, it solved the similar purpose of the watchtower, defending the castle from the enemies or storing weapons.
Famous Castles with Turrets
Here are some existing castles with turrets that you can visit and explore its castle turrets in reality:
- Neuschwanstein Castle in Southwest Bavaria
- Eltz Castle in Wierschem, Germany
- Dunrobin Castle, Scotland
- Caernarfon Castle in Wales, UK
- Glamis Castle, Scotland
- Alcázar De Segovia, Spain
- Belem Tower in Lisbon, Portugal
The list is endless, but these castles are a must-visit because of their amazing history and beautiful design with Turrets.