From motte to moat #atozchallenge


Who hasn’t built a sandcastle on a beach? Well, if you’re like me, when you do, you dig out a circle and pile the sand high, then when the tide rises, you watch the little circular ditch fill with water.  Eventually, the castle disintegrates, eroded by the waves.


When the Normans brought along their motte and bailey design, it seemed natural it would evolve into something else. As the labourers dug, creating the motte, they left behind a defensive ditch. Sometimes left dry, by the 12th century it was more common for it to be filled with water from nearby rivers. The word moat is derived from the French word motte.

The depth and width of the moat acted as a deterrent both to anyone willing to swim across or prepared to mine the walls. A besieger would be a sitting duck as he attempted to cross the moat.

By the time castles passed out of fashion as military fortresses, the moat had turned into a fashionable accessory for palaces or manor houses. Most of these moats are shallow and only useful for keeping fishes and swans.

Here’s an evolution in pictures



  1. Fascinating, as usual!


  2. I always wanted a house with a moat – probably a read pain to upkeep though 🙂
    Tasha’s Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)


    1. It’s amazing what comes out of them when dredged!


  3. Love all those pictures!
    Moats as we know them today are often so charming, we forget they were invented for military reasons.

    The Old Shelter – Jazz Age Jazz


    1. I doubt beauty was what they were originally designed for, but now, they make ruins extra special.


Comments are always welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Bridgehunter's Chronicles

Bridging our past with the future by preserving our heritage in the present.


random, eclectic, see how my mind works

The Old Shelter

Dieselpunk author - Historical Fantasy Set in the 1920s


Kiddie Talkies - Have a look at this World through a kid's eyes with the help of his Mom's expressions

Rebekah Loper, Author

Character-driven epic fantasy. Resilient women. A touch of romance.

Wolf of Words

Stories, Reviews and Opinions!

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing


it wouldn't be thewirralgirl without you.

Rachel Walkley

Telling Tales, Revealing Secrets

Author Erika Jayne

Where stories come to life

Living the Dream

Susanne Matthews

Stories I Found in the Closet

The musings of writer, mother, musician and whatever else takes my fancy

Planet Pailly

Where Science Meets Fiction

True North Bricks

Canadian LEGO® Fan Media

Tossing It Out

The musings of writer, mother, musician and whatever else takes my fancy

Sorchia's Universe

Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

%d bloggers like this: