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Haynes captures medieval castle life in new title

26 February 2018
Charles Phillips
Wednesday, 14 February, 2018


26 February 2018: Haynes is going back in time for a new title focusing on the design and construction of a medieval castle, which includes unique insights from an ongoing reconstruction project in France.

The Medieval Castle leads the reader over the drawbridge, under the portcullis and into the world of a castle. Each chapter covers a different element of the castle’s structure, from the defensive battlements and bailey, through to domestic spaces including the kitchen and great hall.

The book draws upon remarkable discoveries made by the Guédelon project in Burgundy, where a team of experimental archaeologists and construction experts are working to construct a castle using only 13th-century tools and techniques. The project was featured in the BBC series Secrets of the Castle, and since its beginnings in 1997, has provided a window into the workings of a medieval castle community. Striking photographs from the project bring the book to life and commentary reveals how the building teams have overcome various challenges throughout.

Linking insights from Guédelon together with a wider historical context, author Charles Phillips paints a picture of life in a medieval castle – from the funding of a new build and the role of a master mason, through to interior decoration techniques and the workings of the castle’s core functions. Illustrated step-by-step sequences on building and craft techniques highlight how scaffolding was erected, tiles were fired and coins minted, among numerous other medieval skills. 

Charles Phillips, who has contributed to more than 35 history and mythology titles, commented: “We’re all familiar with the imposing sights of The Tower of London, or major castles such as Dover or Chepstow. However, in a world of high-tech computer-aided design and machinery, we can too easily forget the sheer manpower and skill that went into constructing these remarkable buildings centuries ago.

“I was lucky enough to visit the Guédelon site and meet with Florian Renucci, the master mason. While we’ve been able to learn a lot about medieval castle building from archaeological remains and contemporary literature, the additional information that Guédelon provides is unrivalled. This book aims to give a real flavour of the project and the hard work that has gone into making it such a success.”

The Medieval Castle features over 450 detailed photographs from Guédelon and from Britain’s best-loved castles, such as Harlech, Kenilworth and Rochester. It also includes a foreword from Peter Ginn, archaeologist and presenter of Secrets of the Castle.

The book makes an ideal companion for Haynes’ recent title, the Siege Warfare Operations Manual.

The Medieval Castle is priced at £22.99 and available from The book number is H6147. The ISBN is 9781785211478. It is published in March 2018.


About the author

Charles Phillips has contributed to more than 35 history and mythology titles. Previous published titles include The Medieval Knight, The History of the Crusades, Castles and Palaces of Britain and The Encylopedia of Royal Britain. He has contributed to major surveys, including The Military History Book and Ancient Civilizations, and has written on royal history for The New York Times. At Guédelon, during the 2017 building season, he inspected all aspects of the building work and was briefed by master mason Florian Renucci.


The information on this page is supplied courtesy of Haynes Publishing, please credit accordingly if you intend to use it. For more information or to request a review copy please contact:

Max Hammond at McCann PR on +44(0)117 921 8143 or
Eleanor James at McCann PR on +44(0)117 921 8135 or
Emillie Forrest-Jones on +44(0)117 921 8129 or
or email Haynes PR

To request a review copy or high-res images contact McCann PR


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