Slighting

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Helmsley Castle (Yorkshire) was slighted by demolishing half of the east tower in 1644.

Slighting is the deliberate damage of an important building. In the Middle Ages, castles were slighted during war. Because castles were built by the rich and powerful, their owners were proud of them. A king or queen could use slighting as a way to punish people who rebelled against them. Sometimes the owner feared they would lose the castle in an attack, and broke parts of the castle so that it would not be useful to other people. Occasionally, a king or queen might order someone to dismantle their own castle if they did not get permission to build it.

Castles were sometimes repaired after they were slighted, while others were abandoned. Many famous castles like Corfe or Kenilworth are ruins because they were slighted during the English Civil War.