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The simple castles raised after the Norman conquest had been developed throughout 11th and 12th centuries, whilst the introduction of Islamic and Byzantine fortification techniques from the late 12th century led to further developments in castle architecture. These fortifications were to be well tested throughout the course of the 13th century as England was riven by the conflict, characterized by prolonged sieges, between the monarchy and powerful magnates. As well as providing the focus for warfare, castles increasingly became the centres of their communities, providing a more permanent base for the lord, his family and retainers, as well as acting as centres for justice and administration.
Descended from the Viking raiders who settled in Northern France under the leadership of Rollo in around 911, the Normans were amongst the most feared warriors of their time. Their territorial ambitions culminated in Duke William 1's conquest of England in 1066, but although victory at Hastings left the English crown in William's hands, Norman sovereignty remained far from established on the island. In order to consolidate his position, the new king built a series of fortifications across the country - this book covers all these developments from the early days of William I through to the fortifications of Henry II, Richard I and John.
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