10 Facts about Castles You'll Want to Keep!
Phil E.S. Dogg is ready for a trip to Bunkerton Castle – here are some interesting things he'll learn at Beanotown's oldest building!
No visit to Beanotown is complete without a trip to Bunkerton Castle. Phil E.S. Dogg has packed some lunch, charged his smartphone and is ready for a day of historical trivia – and that all important visit to the gift shop at the end, which is in the castle's main tower called the keep! There's lots of cool facts about castles, but we've boiled them down to the most blam ones ever! Are you ready to load your brain up with history? Let's go!
1. The oldest inhabited castle in Europe was built almost 1000 years ago!
Windsor Castle was built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, and has been home for royalty ever since – up to 40 monarchs! It's a working castle which is currently home to around 150 people, and Queen Elizabeth II spends many weekends there, as well as an official month-long stay in the spring and a week in June. Bunkerton Castle looks quite similar, doesn't it?
2. The castle in Sleeping Beauty was inspired by the one below!
The 'Sleeping Beauty' castle is based on the real life Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. It was built for King Ludwig II and work began in 1869. Walt Disney took a trip to Germany and was inspired to create something similar in the 1950 film. Bunkerton Castle has not inspired any Disney creations, but has appeared in many Lord Snooty comic strips in the Beano. Did you know Lord Snooty's actual name is Lord Marmaduke of Bunkerton. It's his place. Not bad, eh?
3. Castles weren't always made of stone!
Castles were time consuming and difficult to build, so originally, they were built of wood. The Normans popularised building castles out of stone, including the Tower of London, built by William the Conqueror. Because they were made of wood, which rots, there are no remaining original wooden castles today
4. The world's biggest castle is in Prague!
Prague Castle is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the largest ancient castle in the world! It is spread over 70,000 square metres and 570 metres long! Bunkerton Castle is quite small in comparison, but is just as fancy.
5. There's a reason castles have spiral staircases!
Castles have spiral staircases to protect people inside. They were built in a clockwise direction so that enemies who invaded the castle and climbed the stairs were unable to draw their swords, particularly if they were right-handed. Anyone going down the stairs could, and had a much better advantage. Clever, that. No swords of any kind are allowed in Bunkerton Castle, for any reason – even if you're a knight.
6. Castles didn't use to have toilets!
Even though they look very grand and literally fit for king or queen, castles didn't have toilets as such. They had rooms called 'garderobes' which jutted out from the castle wall and any um, waste, went directly into the moat or a cesspit. Bunkerton Castle, however, has lovely clean bathrooms which are checked by staff every hour.
7. The word 'dungeon' comes from a French word!
If you stayed in a castle during medieval times, the dungeon was the last place you'd want to be. They were basically prisons and had very little light, or anything really. The word is from the French word donjon, which means “an inner tower in a castle". People inside the castle to escape here in case their enemies got inside the castle walls. These days, dungeons are a tourist attraction and sometimes have spooky effects, like dripping water or the squeak of a rat.
8. Castles were expensive in the olden days too!
Castles were very expensive to build and maintain, and it's said that it would cost up to 40% of a monarch's income to keep it running. Luckily, they didn't have electrity, gas or broadband bills to pay as well. They had jesters, who were like living memes. Did you know Bunkerton Castle needs to sell just 20 key-rings a week to help keep the gardens looking nice?
9. Battlements were pretty important for keeping people safe!
If you visit a medieval castle, you'll notice these special walls connecting the turrets. These are called 'battlements' and are usually about adult shoulder height. This is because they were used by archers during battles and it allowed them to fire arrows at their enemies and have some degree of protection. Nowadays, you'll just find tourists poking their head out for that all-important holiday snap.
10. The world's oldest castle is over 5000 years old!
The oldest castle in the world can be found in the Syrian city of Aleppo and was built around 3000 BC. It has a 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor, the online travel company, so it must be excellent! Bunkerton Castle has not had any reviews yet, for some reason.