Strong, Rounded Towers

I called at Skipton Castle this month. Work was quiet and my extended lunch hour made for a pleasant tour. I have not been for 17 years, and though the place has obviously not changed, I had forgotten how fine a castle sits on my doorstep. Although evident at other fortified sites, I was struck by the large round towers that dominate the gatehouse and the bailey. Most castles had rectangular towers until the returning crusaders, learning from the east’s fortifications, directed that round towers be built. Having no corners which were weaker against flying objects fired from trebuchets and catapults, they were able to better stand against the siege equipment which attackers employed. The fact that Skipton’s Castle withstood a Roundhead siege during the civil war for three years must, in part, be testament to the soundness of its towers’ construction. Although a round tower is harder to build and the space within less easy to manage, a castle’s primary purpose is the safety of those within. Fewer corners, less siege damage.

Upon our conversions, the Lord commences a building programme in our lives. He seldom knocks all down and starts again, but gently and quietly smooths our rough edges and chips away our corners. The Christian life sometimes feels like a siege, running a church like a holding the fort. But our great architect, castellan and liege Lord daily strengthens, fortifies and reinforces, that we might withstand and endure to the end.

For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. Psalm 61:3