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Basic Information

A bailey (also known as a ward) is an open area enclosed by the curtain walls (and any other structures) of a castle or other fortification. Any given work may have multiple baileys depending on its wall plan and these may be of any size (although very small ones will probably be called a yard instead) and used for virtually anything. In general, the term bailey is more consistently used for areas which are actually used for something, wheras ward often means an unused space such as that between two walls of a concentric castle - a narrow strip usually containing little more than a moat and/or assorted obstacles.

Commonly a bailey will contain a number of unfortified buildings, either leaning-to against the curtain walls or free-standing. These will normally contain the castle's various services, plus accomodation for anyone who cannot (or does not want to be) fitted into the fortifications, animal housing and overflow storage. Depending on the castle it may also contain drill squares, gardens, fishponds or even tournament grounds. In wartime any unused space is likely to fill up with tents sheltering supernumary troops and/or refugees.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Other than the gatehouse, this is likely to be the first (and possibly the only) part of a castle that strangers get to see.
  • This is also the likely location for a significant proportion of what most people are looking for in the castle.
  • For those familar with Eban Emael, these also make good landing areas for airborne attackers.
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