Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Perimeter Security For A Medieval Palace

Perimeter protection has played an important part in the lives of countless peoples and rulers the world over for many centuries. Our perimeter security blog post “Danger On The Perimeter
a few months ago touched on this subject when we looked at the part that it played in the life of King Richard I of England.

Richard’s fabulous medieval castle Chateau Gaillard – an incomparable stone fortress in Normandy in its time – was testimony to Richard’s awareness of the importance of perimeter defence. This awareness was doubtless in Richard’s genes … his great-grandfather was a great believer in effective perimeter security and he instigated one of the greatest programmes of fortress building ever undertaken in a short space of time. Who was he? None other than William The Conqueror (King William I of England) whose motte and bailey castles ensured his kingship of England.

Perhaps the most important factor in motte and bailey castle design was the perimeter which was filled with water or wooden spikes and presented a virtually impossible obstacle to would-be attackers. William I’s building achievements, however, went beyond that and included churches, cathedrals and palaces, not just in England but also in France.

Within the walls of Caen Castle in Normandy, nestled in a quiet corner, you can today still see the remains of a royal palace …. William’s palace. It provided accommodation for the royal family along with a chapel and a ceremonial room. The Romanesque arch of the main entrance is a beautiful example from the early medieval era and visitors can stand before it and wonder what William might have thought as he passed through it.

Having supplied perimeter security for palaces ourselves, we recognise only too well why William chose to encircle his palace within the castle’s massive walls but we smiled when we saw this photograph (taken especially for us) ……..

Fencing on the perimeter of the most important and vulnerable parts of the palace ruins. Proof that William’s need for effective perimeter security is alive and well more than 900 years after his death.

Footnote: 25 December 2011 is the 945th anniversary of William’s coronation as King of England.

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