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8-08-2015, 16:15

The Gatehouse

A massive gatehouse provided an intricate defense with its portcullis, arrow slits, and murder holes, but it also could make the guest feel vulnerable. This intimidating tunnel-like entrance opened suddenly into a spacious bailey or courtyard. The visiting knight dismounted and left his horse in the lower court near the door, then walked the rest of the way, across the open space. Since a knight was defined by the quality of his horses and armor, and his horse was his own symbol of power, to leave his mount and proceed on foot established his peaceful intent and the superior importance of the lord of the castle. Once through the lower courtyard and into the upper, the visitor finally saw the castle’s principal residential building—the center of power, the great hall.