The Sutton Companion to Castles


Sutton have established a reputation for high quality guides and companions. This book is up to that high standard. Britain has a heavy collection of fortified sites that date back to the Iron Age earthworks that can still be seen today. Many fortified sites have been built on the base of much older strong points. The early Norman and Viking fortifications are now only visible with great difficulty because they were pre-fabricated wooden defences hastily erected to provide a protected base or to guard a key route. There are some Roman fortifications that have survived better, being built of flint, brick and concrete. Some of these defensive structures were later adopted from Norman times and were further developed. As the Normans consolidated their hold on England, they began a major building programme of castles and fortified towns. This programme then continued through the Middle Ages and into Tudor times. The author has created an encyclopaedia of castles, ordered alphabetically. This is a very effective approach and although medieval castles dominate, because they are the dominant remains, early fortifications are covered and so too is life, and the range of artefacts that have survived. Lavish illustration adds greatly to the book and images have been well-chosen and carefully reproduced. The scope is so much wider than the title suggests and even gardens and heraldry are covered.

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