365D: Castle on a Hill

As a small child in the early 2000s I compulsively read a picture book in the school library but for years have been unable to track it down.

It followed the history of a single hilltop in I believe England. Every page would open to a new period of history with a new drawing, as new groups of people would use the hilltop for its advantageous position.

The first were Celts, who built a stockade around the hill along with dirt walls.

Then a Roman fort with intricate buildings and brickwork.

Eventually there was a Manor House with a rudimentary wall.

And finally a huge castle with lots of towers and a moat.

There were other examples I don’t remember but these are what have stuck with me. Each page includes people in the various forts living, working, and doing activities. Parts of roofs and walls were cut out in the drawing so you could see inside.

And there was even a “Where’s Waldo” type game. In each variation of the hill were a pair of “lovers” (for lack of a better word) who were hidden among the people and activities and you had to seek them out.

Around the drawing was information about the time period, the purpose of why they built something (e.g. a drawbridge), and interesting facts like stuff about defending a medieval castle from attack.

I know this sounds like a lot of depth, but I promise this was a children’s picture book. Somewhere between the ages of 5 and 10 I was obsessed with it. Please help!

5 thoughts on “365D: Castle on a Hill

  1. Mary R. Kiang

    Perhaps one of the DK (Dorling Kindersley) books: ‘A Street through Time’ or ‘A City Through Time’? They are highly detailed with cutaway views and have a ‘time traveling’ character that you can look for on each page.

    1. Kirsten Donaldson Wheal

      Thanks for this, Mary! My son is equally fascinated by “A Street Through Time” but I didn’t know about “A City Through Time” – will have to get it for him.

  2. ANN

    I remember the book, though not the title or author. The castle is there until the last page, where it’s surrounded by modern built-up urban structures!

  3. melissa

    This is Castle (Inside History) by Julia Bruce and Peter Dennis. Note that they’ve coauthored a couple of books about Castles but this is the ‘where’s wally’ type one. There’s a review on Amazon commenting on the inappropriateness of the ‘hidden lovers’ so this is definitely your book!


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