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(pron. fo‘c'sle),

the space beneath the short raised deck forward, known in sailing ships as the topgallant forecastle, to be seen usually in smaller ships. The origin of the names lies in the castle built up over the bows of the old-time fighting ships in which archers were stationed to attack the crews of enemy vessels or to repulse boarders entering in the waist of the ship. It used also to be the generic term to indicate the crew's living space in the forward end of the ship below the forecastle deck, but this meaning gradually died out as living conditions for crews improved. In this connection, it was also the name given to the deckhouse on the upper deck of large sailing ships in which seamen had their living quarters.

Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.

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