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A Glossary: K

Keep

(also known as Donjon)
Orford, England (GillB)
The central castle building where the lord lived. It was a self-contained stronghold with walls usually about 9 feet thick, though some are nearer 20 feet and there were generally no doors or windows near the ground. Access to the upper storeys was by removable wooden ladders. It was often over 80 feet high. The early ones were rectangular but later, especially in France, round keeps became fashionable. As well as being better aesthetically, round towers were also stronger against invaders, having no vulnerable corners. It was the centre of castle life and frequently the last refuge when a castle was over-run.

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