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Discuss the functions of tower houses in Britain and Ireland, using examples from different regions. Illustrate your essay with specific examples.

Tower House was a fortified medieval residence of multiple storeys built with the purpose of defending against attacks. They were basically types of castle. They were usually built of stone and were quadrangular in design. The tower houses were abundantly built in the late history of castle-building and were spread throughout the landscape (Donnelly, 1996; Hull, 2009).

The tower houses and military castles both were built in the medieval times for the purpose of defense; however, the major difference was that tower houses were equipped with dwelling facilities as well. They were fortified residences. There main purpose was the protection of people from riots, disputes, raider and thefts (Danachair, 1977). With defense measures to resist petty, small time plunderers rather than marching armies, they were country seat of their time, marked by everyday domestic activities and administration of the estate (Donnelly, 1996).

Cowd Castle in Ardglass, Ireland is also a significant group of tower-houses in the medieval Northern Ireland. Cowd was a small squarish tower house built in the fifteenth or sixteenth century, constructed out of split stone rubble with a battered base. The inside of the tower house had two floors and an attic. There were narrow loops found on the ground level. At the first level, there were two windows with window seats found as well. It is perceived that in the original form, the tower was connected to the town wall and a door at the west wall at ground level was later inserted. The floors were accessed by the stairs in the wall thickness (Northern Ireland Environmental Agency, 2009).

To sum up, the tower houses were constructed widely between the 14th and 17th century in different regions such as Ireland, Scotland, Italy, France, Northern England, etc. The main purpose of the structure was to provide land owners safety of life and property as well as provide them the luxury of domestic life. These tower houses provided security against plunderers and raids, but not against actual warfare. There construction continued till 17th century, when the building designs changed to thin walled fortified house with defense mechanism, after which the construction stopped altogether (Donnelly, 1996).

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