The term battlement is used to describe the top portion of castle walls. Most are crenellated, which means they consist of openings called embrasures alternating with sections of wall called merlons. Crenellations are designed to provide archers with cover and at the same time allow them a wide range of motion to fire at the enemy. In medieval England, castle builders were sometimes required to ask special permission before adding these defensive features to their fortifications.
Though crenellations predate the Middle Ages, they became much more elaborate and complex during this period.
Examples of covered battlements. Sourced from The Medieval Fortress by Kaufmann and Kaufmann.
Originally, merlons tended to be rectangular in shape. Over time many different forms appeared, often influenced by regional architecture and culturally-specific design.
Battlements with arrow slits and triangular-shaped merlons. Sourced from The Medieval Fortress by Kaufmann and Kaufmann.
Due to their aesthetically-pleasing nature, crenellations continue to be constructed as decorative features even though they are militarily obsolete.
Sadly, no evidence of battlements remain at Chateau Gaillard tody - so it is eliminated from the final Castle Battle. The other five of the Battle Castle Six boast battlements - but their military engineering varies greatly. Which one will you stand behind?
To see the Battlements at these castles, check out our blog Castle Features #8 - Battlements