Pilaster Buttresses

Military pilaster buttresses seem a feature of Western Europe and were most common in castles in England, with other examples appearing in western France.  There are 57 recorded instances of military pilaster buttresses in the British Isles with the bulk of these being in England.  In France most are in the Loire region although there is another strong cluster in Normandy.  Such a spread might well indicate that this style is Angevin, beginning in the 10th or 11th century in Anjou and spreading with Plantagenet power from the Pyrenees to the North Sea by the 1160s.  An attempt has been made in these lists to differenciant between those structures which have just pilaster corner turrets (marked with an *) as well as the more standard type that also had intervening buttresses.  The shell keeps have equidistant buttresses.

In England the sites break into several categories

Ashlar buttresses as an integral part of ashlar walls.
Aldingbourne castle keep
Appleby castle keep*
Arundel castle shell keep
Bamburgh castle keep
Bowes castle keep
Bridgnorth castle keep*
Brough castle keep*, but uppermost storey had 1 or 2 central buttresses
Broughham, castle keep*, but not on east, forebuilding face
Carlisle castle keep, sections of inner and outer curtains and west tower
Chester castle, Caesar tower*
Corfe castle keep
Exeter, tower next to Athelstan's tower & D shaped tower
Goodrich castle keep
Hedingham castle keep
Kenilworth castle keep, tower
Mitford castle shell keep
Moreton Corbet keep*
Newark castle gatehouse*
Newcastle on Tyne keep
Norham castle keep
Norwich castle keep
Old Sarum castle keep
Oswestry castle keep
Peak castle keep (the entrance side lacks its buttress)
Portchester castle keep
Prudhoe castle keep
Richmond castle keep and hall
Scarborough keep (the entrance side lacks its buttress), outer ward
Sherborne castle keep and gatehouse
Tickhill curtain to motte
Tonbridge castle shell keep
Wattlesborough keep*
Windsor castle shell keep

Ashlar buttresses built on rubble walls.
Benington castle keep
Berkeley castle shell keep
Castle Acre ringwork curtain
Castle Rising keep
Farnham, shell keep
Guildford castle keep
Lincoln castle shell keep
Peak castle gateturret and bastion

Rubble buttresses with ashlar quoins built on rubble walls.
Chepstow castle keep
Durham castle keep
Farnham castle shell keep
Lancaster castle keep
Tower of London keep

Colchester castle keep apse probably belings to this class but also Roman tile in its makeup.

Rubble buttress built on rubble walls.
Brougham castle keep*
Canterbury castle keep
Carrickfergus castle keep*
Clitheroe castle keep*
Dover castle keep, though like Carrickfergus these are more turrets
Grosmont castle hall
Knepp castle keep*
Maynooth castle keep with no corner but 3 central buttresses, with none on the entrance side
Middleham castle hall (badly damaged)
Monmouth castle hall
Rochester castle keep
Saffron Walden keep
Sutton Valence keep?
Tamworth castle keep tower*
West Malling keep
Wigmore castle shell keep has several buttresses rather than pilasters
Wolvesey castle keep

If you know any castles to add to this list please email Paul.


Copyright©2021 Paul Martin Remfry

  • Index

  • Home