As a group we start with a look at the purposes of castles, who lived in them and how they have changed over the years – from hilltops fortified with wooden stakes to modern fortified bases surrounded by razor wire and sophisticated surveillance.
We also look at the different shapes used in the construction of castles and why they were used.
Children then work in teams to build their own castle tower from stone blocks and we then (of course!) knock them down with onager catapults.
The session finishes with outdoor demonstrations of an onager, trebuchet and black powder mortar all to the same scale so that the difference in the power of each weapon can be seen.
To run the workshop we need access to a space large enough to accommodate all of the participants for the introduction at the start of the workshop.
We will then need a single space for the number of participants to undertake a practical activity. The construction and demolition of the castles can be done outside on a nice day.
Demonstration of the trebuchet and black powder mortar need to be done on a large grass field, ideally no smaller than a football pitch and with no houses, roads or public access close to the border. This is for safety reasons when firing the mortar. If you don’t have these facilities we can fire the mortar without a ball to give an idea of what it does.