Posted by: rowenawilcox | March 18, 2010

The Big Bang comes to Cardiff Castle

A Medieval monster will be heard on the grounds of Cardiff Castle tomorrow morning when an antique trebuchet is fired for the first time.

At 9am one of the deadliest military machines of its time, a colossal catapult known as a trebuchet, straight from the set of the forthcoming star-studded movie Ironclad will be fired. 

The trebuchet was a siege engine, developed in the 13th century to attack the solid walls of    castles.

Using a sophisticated counter balance system, large rocks and stones could be placed in a catapult sling and hurled with such a force they could breach the strongest of fortifications and were capable of firing missiles in excess of 150 kilograms.    

The trebuchet acquired by Cardiff Castle was built as an historically accurate replica for the forthcoming British/ American film Ironclad, directed by Jonathan English and filmed entirely on location in south Wales at the Dragon International Film Studios. 

The film stars: Paul Giamatti, James Purefoy, Brian Cox, James Flemyng, Derek Jacobi, Kate Mara and Mackenzie Crook who was regularly seen around the city during filming late last year.

Ironclad chronicles the great siege of Rochester Castle in 1215, when a group of rebel Barons defended one of the most important strategic forts in Britain against the ruthless King John who was hell bent on reclaiming his power following the signing of the Magna Carta.

The medieval weapon stands at 10 metres (approx. 35 ft high), weighs up to 6 tons and it takes 8 people to load and fire the machine. 

Cardiff Castle has also enlisted the help of ‘A’ level Maths and Physics students from Cardiff High School who have been given the task of working out the mathematical calculations for firing the trebuchet for optimal range and velocity.

 Head of Mathematics at Cardiff High School, Rhiannon Bill said: “This was a fantastic one – off opportunity for the students to test the theory of applied mathematics in a very practical way.

” It’s a perfect cross-curricular project and could also involve the History and Design and Technology Departments.”

The event will be open to the public starting Saturday 27 March and will be followed by a combat display.


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