In this engaging book Matthew Johnson looks 'behind the castle gate' to discover the truth about castles in England at the end of the Middle Ages.
Traditional studies have seen castles as compromises between the needs of comfort and of defence, and as statements of wealth or power or both. By encouraging the reader to view castles in relation to their inhabitants, Matthew Johnson uncovers a whole new vantage point. He shows how castles functioned as stage-settings against which people played out roles of lord and servant, husband and wife, father and son. Building, rebuilding and living in a castle was as complex an experience as a piece of medieval art.
Behind the Castle Gate brings castles and their inhabitants alive. Combining ground-breaking scholarship with fascinating narratives it will be read avidly by all with an interest in castles.
'It is so important a contribution to castle studies, that … colleagues ought to be aware of it … this is a deeply scholarly book which requires the most intense attention given to it.' - Fortress Study Group Casemate
'A work that is full of ideas, stimulating and written in a style that makes is a pleasure to read. In the field of 'historic archaeology' Johnson has already made his mark - his latest offering will not disappoint.' - Landscape History
'Highly personal and engaging … Behind the Castle Gate has much to offer the student of vernacular architecture as well as the devotees of castle studies … hugely enjoyable.' - Vernacular Architecture