Episode 1 – Medieval historian Marc Morris travels the length of Britain to tell the story of the nation’s castles consulting the Bayeux Tapestry and archaeological evidence to discover how they evolved over a 600 year period, and revealing that the traditional motte and bailey style constructions were actually of foreign invention, developed by William the Conqueror.
Episode 2 – Medieval historian Marc Morris travels to Kent to tell the story of King John’s besieging of Rochester Castle in 1215, revealing how the stronghold’s fate was eventually decided with the help of 40 pigs.
Episode 3 – Historian Marc Morris explores how King Edward I’s relationship with a master builder led to the creation of some of the most famous castles in Britain, including Caernarfon, Caerphilly and Harlech, fortresses used by the king as a formidable weapon to consolidate his conquests of Wales and its native dynasties.
Episode 4 – Marc Morris explores the history behind Bodiam Castle in East Sussex which was built in the 14th century by Sir Edward Dallingridge. Castles such as Bodiam were funded by the huge profits obtained from ransoms and extortion in the Hundred Years War with France.
Episode 5 – Marc Morris looks at the history of Scottish castles, including Threave Castle in Dumfriesshire and Craigievar Castle in Aberdeen, both of which used the tower house style popular during the early 15th century.
Episode 6 – Historian Marc Morris reveals how the British castle made its final stand during the English Civil War between Royalists and Parliamentarians. Over 20,000 people died defending more than 200 strongholds, which faced pounding after pounding from the lethal might of contemporary cannon and mortar.