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Why is it called a moat?

By: Komal ChouhanUpdated: January 23, 2021


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    August 09, 2022
The word moat comes from the French word motte, which means hill. Castles were built on the top of high hills. The area at the bottom of the hill was eventually called the moat.

Subsequently, one may also ask, how were moats filled with water?

Moats filled with water were usually supplied by a nearby source of water, such as a spring, lake, or river. Dams could be built that would control the level of water in the moat. While some fancy moats may have had stone sides, most moats had simple banks of earth left over from when they were dug.

Also Know, what is a castle moat?

Moat, a depression surrounding a castle, city wall, or other fortification, usually but not always filled with water. The existence of a moat was a natural result of early methods of fortification by earthworks, for the ditch produced by the removal of earth to form a rampart made a valuable part of the defense system.

What were the different parts of a castle?

There were various medieval castle parts that made up a castle which included moats, ramparts, walls, turrets, towers, look outs, and gatehouse.

Can you swim in a moat?

Moats are unusual bodies of water to swim in. Their medieval origin and formerly defensive use are great fodder for tall tales. Beleive it or not, even in England, country of the medievally-minded Monty Python, finding a moat is not that easy. Some moats have been filled.


How do you defend a castle?

The top of the castle walls were the battlements, a protective, tooth shaped parapet often with a wall walk behind it for the soldiers to stand on. The defenders could fire missiles through gaps (crenels). The raised sections between, called merlons, helped to shelter the defenders during an enemy attack.

Can I build a moat around my house?

Today of course, moat construction is no longer common or easy. Before you commit to building a moat around your home, consider the following: You'll need a dependable water source to fill and maintain the moat. A 12-foot-wide moat, 200 yards long and 6 feet deep, will require an initial fill of nearly 500,000 gallons.

What is a dry moat called?

Usage. Castle moats were usually between 5 and 40 feet deep, and they were not always filled with water. Not all moats contained water, as a simple dry, wide ditch could prove an obstacle. These were called dry moats.

What is the purpose of a castle moat?

A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that is dug and surrounds a castle, fortification, building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices.

Were there crocodiles in moats?

Castle moats were usually between 5 and 40 feet deep, and they were not always filled with water. In many stories, moats are filled with alligators or crocodiles. This is a myth. However, moats were sometimes filled with fish or eels for food.

What are the features of a castle?

  • Moat - a perimeter ditch with or without water.
  • Barbican - a fortification to protect a gate.
  • Curtain Walls & Towers - the perimeter defensive wall.
  • Fortified Gatehouse - the main castle entrance.
  • Keep (aka Donjon or Great Tower) - the largest tower and best stronghold of the castle.

How does a moat defend a castle?

The purpose of a moat was primarily to protect the castle from attack. As a defense mechanism, moats were very effective. Although they're usually depicted as wide, deep bodies of water, moats were often simply dry ditches. Dams could be built that would control the level of water in the moat.

What is the bailey of a castle?

A bailey or ward in a fortification is a courtyard enclosed by a curtain wall. In particular, an early type of European castle was known as a motte-and-bailey.

What is a portcullis in a castle?

an iron or wooden grating suspended vertically in grooves in the gateway of a castle or fortified town and able to be lowered so as to bar the entrance.

What is a gatehouse in a castle?

The castle gatehouse was one of the most defensive parts of any medieval fortress. It was a strong, fortified building positioned to defend the entrance to a castle. Gatehouses usually contained multiple traps and obstacles to foil any intruder. These traps included vast metal portcullises, and infamous murder holes.

What is another word for moat?

Similar words for moat:
barrier (noun) defense (noun) ditch (noun) gutter (noun) other synonyms.

What were the 6 main ways that castles were attacked?

The main methods of attacking a Medieval Castle were:
  • Fire.
  • Battering Rams.
  • Ladders.
  • Catapults.
  • Mining.
  • Siege.

How do you cross a moat?

You want to go explore inside the castle, but cannot get across the moat on your horse. You need a drawbridge, a bridge that can be lowered and raised quickly, to cross the moat. You find a large wooden drawbridge on the side of the castle, and it lowers so you and your horse can walk across it and get to the castle.

Do castles have electricity?

Medieval castles were, naturally, built before electricity was harnessed. Therefore, they had no built-in wiring systems. That said, depending on the castle, it could be worse. While some structures are solid stone throughout, many have stone walls but wooden floors and ceilings.