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A Guide to Castle Building - WITH STEPS -

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AngryChristian's Avatar AngryChristian
Level 27 : Expert Artist
- Intro -

A castle, in it's simplest form, is a fortified residence. It must be fortified and it must be someone's home. They were common in medieval Europe, the middle east and Japan. There isn't a single way to design a castle, with many ways to do it and too many nuances to list. Here I will be discussing how to build them and what choices you will have to make, as well as the inevitable misconceptions. Most importantly, they should have the best and most well thought-out defenses as possible. The easier your castle is to get an army into, the less good it's design is.

- Misconceptions -

First off, castles were in the middle east and Japan, not just europe. I will be talking about the european and middle eastern kind. Japanese castles are very different in design. Second, they don't necessarily require a noble, though they almost always housed someone of importance. Lastly, it must have curtain walls. Otherwise it's just a fortress. There are some good fortresses on PMC, though they are often incorrectly called castles.

- Terminology -

- Moat: Water surrounding the castle.
- Curtain: Wall surrounding the keep or another curtain.
- Ward: Space in between two curtains or inside the inner curtain.
- Keep: Tower-like structure in the inner ward.
- Barbican: Fortified Gatehouse.

- Guide -


One might think you'd need somewhere flat, but from a defence standpoint, building your castle on top of a hill is beyond ideal. It would be harder to do, perhaps in minecraft as well, but it both looks cooler and makes your castle much easier to defend. If you do settle on a flat location, that is fine, as long as you are prepared to dig out a moat.

A Guide to Castle Building - WITH STEPS -


Next, you must make make your potential outer curtain. You will basically have a wall that is five to ten blocks tall and three to six blocks wide. If the terrain is flat, it will probably be rectangular. If built on a hill, it will conform to the terrain. Have towers of any shape and size at the corners or along the walls as well if you wish. From a defence standpoint, that is especially important. Give the walls ramparts. That should go without saying, as it is usually essential. Lastly, add a gatehouse to the wall, possibly with towers on either side of it. Your gatehouse should be very fortified. If you did a basic square curtain, you should have four to six towers, however lots of them never hurts.

A Guide to Castle Building - WITH STEPS -


Now, you want to decide if you want an inner curtain. It is highly recommended that you do, but not essential. To build this, make another wall just like the first, only inside it's ward. It also MUST be taller. Give it another gatehouse. The more the better, as long as it makes sense. Again, there should be towers on each corner and there must be more ramparts.


This next step depends on size. If your castle is really small, just skip to the next step. If it is larger, you want buildings inside the inner ward. These buildings won't be special. You'll want houses for residents, a barracks, though that can be inside the walls or keep if you want, a blacksmith, and anything else you may think you need or want. A well is essential, as is a storehouse.


For the keep, you want a wide tower of three to five floors. A good example of this is the Tower of London. It should house the noble in question, assuming it has one. It should also have anything else that is important that isn't outside, like additional chambers or a chapel. It should be lightly fortified.

A Guide to Castle Building - WITH STEPS -


The moat is a staple of castle defences, but actually isn't always required. The actual point of a castle is to keep the enemy army away from the walls. You can't get your army onto the walls with a siege tower if a moat is in the way, and the same goes for ladders. Your moat should be at least a few blocks wide (more is better) and at least one deep. If your castle is built on a hill, the steep sides will do the same job as a moat and thus one won't be needed. Some castles were built in the middle of lakes, and that could be your moat instead.

In castle defences, the very best thing you can do is have only one way in, and have that way be as hard as possible for enemies to get through. If you have a moat, that way would be the bridge. If you have steep sides, you have the path up the hill, and possibly a bridge as well, depending on the terrain. The key to capitalising on that is to have as many gatehouses as possible, within reason. This is where the barbican comes in. The traditional gatehouse is a fortified gate in a curtain. Barbicans are additional gatehouses outside the wall. If you have a moat, there will be a drawbridge (which is better than a fixed bridge) in between a gatehouse band barbican. With a path going your hill, there will be as many barbicans as you see fit along it, with at least one, at the bottom, and possibly more along the top. A barbican is basically just a gatehouse on it's own, with beefier fortifications.

- Conclusion -

This guide is just the basics of castle building and not in depth. There are many more nuances to defenses (such as murder holes) and architecture that I'm not about to go into. You can watch the youtuber Shadiversity's videos on castle defenses (which I highly recommend) for more information, and books and online articles exist. I chose to use real castles for the images to show what you should be aiming for, and because I am unable to find anything good that other people made in minecraft that I didn't already make, which is telling in regards to how much this article is needed.

Despite all that I just said, there is an important rule to remember: The primary focus of a castle is for it to be as well defended as possible. Remember that exceptions to the various design rules exist. Break those rules if it means maximising defense. Yes, the most important rule is to break rules. Shut up.

Oh and thanks for reading this. If you learned something about castles or this helped you with your own minecraft projects, you may consider leaving a diamond or expressing that as a comment.

I have my own castle built with two curtains, a moat, single barbican and on flat terrain that you can check out with that link: www.planetminecraft.com/project/castle-enningham/

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