Medieval Castle Builders

The men that designed and built the Medieval castles had reached the top of their profession. They were paid large sums of money and were highly respected by the Medieval Kings.

Gundulf (died 1108)

Also known as the 'weeping monk of Bec'. Gundulf was born in Vexin, an area of north-west France, in around 1023 or 24. He worked at Rouen Cathedral as a clerk and was soon recognised for his ability to organise. After a pilgrimage to Jerusalem Gundulf decided to move to the abbey of Bec. It was here that he met Lanfranc. After the Norman Conquest Gundulf came across from Normandy with Lanfranc and being admired for his organisational skills was instructed by Lanfrac to rebuild Rochester Cathedral. In 1077 Gundulf was made Bishop of Rochester and a year later William the Conqueror employed Gundulf's skills in the construction of the White Tower, the keep of the Tower of London. William II instructed Gundulf to build the castle at Rochester.

 

James of St George (died 1309)

The Master Mason responsible for the design and construction of Edward I's castles in the north of Wales during the conflict with the Welsh and Llewelyn. Edward met James whilst travelling in Savoy. Impressed by his skills of castle building, Edward brought James back to England and by 1278 James was in North Wales working on castles there. Castles that James built include Flint, Rhuddlan, Harlech, Beaumaris and Caernarvon but there are many more. In many castles he used a concentric plan where a succession of nested walls and towers were built, the walls getting taller towards the centre of the castle. In these castles there are no central keeps, but one or more of the wall towers are large enough to be used in the same way.

BuildingConstruction Date
Flint Castle1280
Rhuddlan Castle1282
Harlech Castle1289
Caernarvon Castle1292
Beaumaris Castle1296
 

William Wynford (died 1405)

Master mason who worked on projects at Windsor Castle, Wells Cathedral, Winchester College and New College Oxford. Wynford worked at Windsor Castle from 1360 and work here included the Great Gate and the royal lodgings in the upper ward. While Wynford was at Windsor, the clerk of the works was William of Wykeham. Wykeham was to become the Bishop of Winchester Cathedral and when work was needed to convert the Norman Cathedral to the Perpendicular style, Wynford was employed to perform the task. Work began on 29th of September, 1394. It is believed that William Wynford worked on the geometric Old Wardour Castle. During his long career Wynford worked mainly in the south-west of the country.

BuildingBuilding Work Performed
Windsor Castle1360
Winchester Cathedral1394
Old Wardour Castle1393