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8-08-2015, 16:08


In the last decades of the thirteenth century the great age of the feudal castle was coming to an end. Led by the kings of France and England, rulers consolidated their power and created national states permitting only royal castles, or castles in the hands of loyal followers. Furthermore, castles had become so large and expensive to build and maintain that they required the vast resources of an entire kingdom. Builder monarchs beggared their kingdoms as they poured money into castles and churches. As a secure residence for its owner, the castle established a natural center for the king’s or lord’s exercise of power. In the case of minor lords the power was local, but for the king and his deputies, the castle could become a true seat of government, in effect a capital. The castle with its massive towers was an appropriate and reasonable place to store valuable insignia that served as proof of power, as well as records and documents such as charters, expense rolls, and accounts to meet the legal and financial needs of the government in an increasingly literate (and litigious) age.