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Revisionism in Castle Studies:

A Caution
Colin Platt

Platt's paper calling for care in considering the ideas of Charles Coulson and for maintaining defence as the primary reason for building castles.
The weakness of the 'military' view of castles is shown clearly when as good a scholar as Colin Platt resorts to ad hominin attacks on the proponents of the modern complex view of castles. Modern writers are lumped together as 'followers' of Charles Coulson 'kidnapped' by his ideas and being in a 'bandwagon'. In fact these are diverse people, from several academic backgrounds, who's own studies have brought them to similar ideas. The 'revisionist' view of castles is complex, not the simple parody of defence versus social display presented by Platt. Of course, walls and gates can keep out thieves and pirate raiders but this does not mean they are not symbolic and the real issue, in terms of defence, lies not with architecture but with garrisons, something barely touched on by Platt.
However, there are points in Platt's paper that are worthy of being addressed and he is the most credible of the 'opponents' of 'revisionists' thinking in that he at least has read the various works and has some understanding of them.

Published in Medieval Archaeology (2007) Vol. 51 p. 83-102


Last updated on Friday, March 10, 2017