Picking a Location for a Castle
When the site for a castle was picked, quite a few factors were taken into consideration. Defensive terrain, location with respect to other towns, and richness of the land were just a few.
The quality of the land was a factor that determined how popular the new castle would be for economic reasons. Since serfs worked for the lord of the castle, making sure they had good ground to work was pretty important.
The distance to large urban centers was also important. For traders, a short distance meant that they could quickly shuttle goods to their stores, and lose less time in transport. In times of war it was also critical to have allies nearby that could relieve the castle if it was under siege.
Defensive natural features, however, were often the most important factors to be considered. In the end, the might of the castle itself determined its longevity. Geographical features like cliffs, forests, rivers, and oceans all played a role in where a castle was located. High ground was coveted for a good view and better defense. Cliffs could block off whole sides of a castle and act as a wall themselves. Rivers could be an endless source of water, and an ocean provided one more way for the castle to be relieved.