Gatehouse can refer to:
Gatehouses (or gates) are defensive structures that provide a controlled passage through a fortification's walls. They are made of wood or stone and generally have retractable bars or doors. Most gatehouses are outfitted with a garrisonable rooftop that allow defenders to station in bigger numbers. Gatehouses can generally take lots of punishment, even from catapults and trebuchets.
Sometimes gatehouses can have drawbridges, which enable crossing through the moat.
BackgroundEditIn early medieval times, when fortifications appeared, they were dug in holes or other inconvenient places, where the defender could not fully take advantage of its position. The introduction of castles changed siege warfare.
Castles featured walls as to seal off a hub to station units and supplies near strategic towns or structures, from where the defenders could easily reinforce the position. However, the dire need of regulating castle traffic became necessary and thus gates became chokepoints, which could be easily kept under garrisonal control. Needless to say, gatehouses often were very important weakpoints in a castle's design.
Gatehouses are massive in design, to withstand extensive enemy bombardment without crumbling. The gatehouse could also provide excellent height advantage to defenders atop, increasing combat efficiency. They soon became outfitted with additional features, such as drawbridges and arrow slits.