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A Glossary: M

Machicolation

Haut Koenigsbourg (Le Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg: notre Demarche)
Developed from the earlier brattices, a room projecting from the outside of walls or towers with a hole in the floor. Stones, boiling pitch or quicklime could be sent down it at the enemy.

Merlon


The raised part of battlements, usually about 3 feet high, sometimes pierced with arrow slits to protect soldiers from enemy archers.
See also Battlements, Crenel and Embrasure

Meurtriere


An opening in the roof of a passage so soldiers could shoot into the room below.
See also Murder Hole

Moat

Guerande, France (GillB)
A deep flooded ditch round the castle. They were usually filled from a nearby water supply such as a spring, river or lake. A dam would be placed on the supply to control the moat's water level. Some had stone linings, but most had the original earth.

Motte

York, England (GillB)
An artificial conical earth mound with a flat top which was reached by a sloping or stepped timber bridge. On top of this would be the keep. A wide circular ditch would be dug, and the earth and stone put in the middle to create the mound. The height varied from 10 feet to 100 feet and the base diameter from 100 to 300 feet. The slopes were covered with an outer layer of clay to prevent uneven settlement and slippage.

Mural Towers

Beaumaris, Wales (Castles of the World)
Towers set into a wall to defend long lengths of curtain wall. The earliest are rectangular; later on they were round or semi-circular.

Murder Hole

Peel castle, Isle of Man (image courtesy of Isle of Man.com)
A section between the main gate and an inner portcullis where arrows, rocks and hot oil or water could be dropped from the roof through holes. Provides good cover for defenders and leaves the attacker open. Only used when outer gate has been breached (a specific kind of meurtriere).
See also Meurtriere

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