Curtain wall (castle)

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For the modern architectural feature, see Curtain wall (architecture).
Beaumaris Castle with its concentric curtain walls

A curtain wall is the defensive wall surrounding the bailey of a medieval castle.[1] It can also be a defensive wall between two bastions of a castle or fortress[2] in post-medieval fortifications. The outermost walls with their integrated bastions and wall towers together make up the enceinte or main defensive line enclosing the castle site.

In earlier designs of castles the curtain walls were often built to a considerable height and were fronted by a ditch or moat to make assault difficult.

Later, with the introduction of trace italienne fortifications, the height of the curtain walls was reduced, and beyond the ditch, additional outworks such as ravelins and tenailles were added to protect the curtain walls from direct cannonading.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Friar (2003), p. 86.
  2. ^ Whitelaw 1846, p. 444/