If you've ever watched a movie, read a story, or seen pictures of old
castles, you've probably noticed that they almost always have a deep,
wide body of water surrounding them. This body of water is called a
moat. The moat protects the castle from enemies.
• When moats were filled with water, they were usually deep enough
to make it difficult for enemies to wade across. In addition to being
difficult to swim across with weapons, attackers would be reluctant to
try swimming across because castle guards could attack them.
• Water for Moats came from a spring, lake, or river. Some fancy moats
had stone sides, while most moats had simple banks of earth left over
from when they were dug.
Did moats have alligators?
• From time to time, you might read stories about moats that had
alligators or crocodiles. These creatures would make it more difficult
for enemies to get into the castle.
• A drawbridge was a special bridge. It was a large strong door which closed
the entrance of a castle. This huge wooden door could be lowered. In a
horizontal position, it became a bridge on the moat to allow people to
enter the castle.
• The keep was a tall tower and used by soldiers to keep watch in a
• The wall around the castle which had a walkway on it from soldiers
could fire arrows down onto enemies.
• These were slits cut into the walls that allowed archers to shoot
arrows at enemies but remain safe from their arrows.