THE FORTRESS OF RICHARD THE LIONHEART
II - THE WOODWORK
As was the case with most of the fortifications of his time, Richard the Lionheart covered the ramparts of Château Gaillard with wooden hourdages covered with slate. These constructions allow the defenders to circulate above the assailants massed at the foot of the ramparts, in order to harass them using various projectiles.
The hourdages , pierced with arrow slits, also allow archers and crossbowmen to act, sheltered from enemy lines, which the battlements do not allow at the time of shooting. Finally, the slate roof protects the walkways from projectiles. In the event of partial or total destruction of the hourdage, the defenders take refuge behind the battlements in order to continue the fight.
On some elements of the fortress, the hourdage may be partial when areas are not under the direct fire of the attacker.
While the hourdages of the towers were permanently installed, those of the the ramparts were only erected during wartime.
Without its brickwork, the fortress looks quite different, less massive, if one can say it that way.
he erection of the hourds is relatively simple, and carried out using elements of identical dimensions for all parts of the fortress. This principle makes possible to avoid numbering and searching for parts. In peacetime, all these elements are stored in the dry in the towers.
— Joists are passed through the openings, regularly spaced, provided in the crenellations. They are supported on the rampart chemin de ronde.
— The double exterior posts are installed, between which the matriers are slided, some of which have narrow openings. These facade planks form the frontal defense.
— The interior posts are mounted. The upper beams are fixed on it. The whole forms a regular series of rigid frames. Stiffeners are installed between the frames.
— The interior and exterior floors are in place. The gap left between the exterior floor and the facade allows observation and the throwing of projectiles directly above the construction.
— The wooden roof is in place. It will then be covered with slates.