Weird History
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Facts About Medieval Castles That Made Us Say 'Really?'

September 30, 2020 2.9k votes 492 voters 17.3k views12 items

List RulesVote up the most impressive facts about these medieval castles.

To modern eyes, it can be difficult to look at a medieval castle and imagine anyone living there who doesn't ride dragons or pray to a weirwood tree. However, those imposing citadels seen on vacation or glimpsed on television were once home to an assortment of folks, from high lords and ladies to their knights, servants, and animals. 

Below is a collection of medieval castle facts that may help bring that history to life. As shared by Redditors, these are the nitty gritty details about castles you probably didn't learn in school. Enjoy these little known facts about medieval castles, and vote up the ones you never knew before.

  • From Redditor u/dark1878:

    TIL that Eltz Castle in Germany has been owned and occupied by the Eltz family for over 850 years.


    [Editor's Note: The land was given to Rudolf von Eltz in 1157 by the Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. Today, in addition to being a tourist destination, the castle remains a private residence for three branches of the Eltz family: the Rodendorfs, the Rubenachs, and the Kempeniches.]

    Formidable fact?
  • 2

    An Ancient Roman Lighthouse Resides On The Grounds Of Dover Castle

    From Redditor u/mckramer:

    TIL an ancient Roman lighthouse still stands in England, at Dover Castle.


    [Editor's Note: The pharos was built in the early 2nd century AD. According to Google Arts & Culture, "Not only is the Dover pharos the most complete standing Roman building in England, it's also one of only three lighthouses to survive from the whole of the former Roman empire."]

    Formidable fact?
  • 3

    Stairwells In Medieval Castles Were Built To Favor Right-Handed Defenders

    From Redditor u/LanterneRougeOG:

    TIL spiral staircases in medieval castles were deliberately made clockwise because it diminished the ability of attackers to properly swing their swords, since right-handed fighters would have had to to contend with the walls while making their striking motions.


    Formidable fact?
  • Photo: Nacckers / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    From Redditor u/krytyl:

    TIL the rock that Edinburgh Castle sits on is an inactive volcano.


    [Editor's Note: Technically, Edinburgh sits on the plug of the extinct volcano's vent. The castle dates to the 12th century, but humans have been living atop it since at least 850 BC. The volcano last erupted more than 340 million years ago.]

    Formidable fact?