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EARLY NORMAN CASTLES OF THE BRITISH ISLES ***




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THE EARLY NORMAN CASTLES OF THE BRITISH ISLES


[Illustration: MOTTE-CASTLES FROM THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY.]




THE EARLY NORMAN CASTLES
OF THE BRITISH ISLES

BY ELLA S. ARMITAGE

HONORARY FELLOW OF THE SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES OF SCOTLAND

AUTHOR OF "THE CHILDHOOD OF THE ENGLISH NATION"; "THE CONNECTION
OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND"; "AN INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH ANTIQUITIES,"
ETC., ETC.

WITH PLANS BY D. H. MONTGOMERIE, F.S.A.

LONDON
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.
1912




ERRATA


Page 34, _note_ 1. - _For_ "construerat" _read_ "construxerat."

Page 40, line 9. - _For_ "there was only one motte, the site of the
castle of the Norman Giffards is now almost obliterated," _read_ "there
was only one motte, site of the castle of the Norman Giffards, now
almost obliterated."

Page 133, line 16. - _For_ "1282" _read_ "1182."

Page 145, _note_ 1. - _For_ "Legercestria" _read_ "Legecestria."

Page 147, line 15. - Delete comma after "castle."

Page 216, _note_ 2. - _For_ "instalment" _read_ "statement."

Page 304, _note_ 3. - _For_ "Galloway, Wigton, Kirkcudbright, and
Dumfries," _read_ "Galloway (Wigton, Kirkcudbright, and Dumfries)."




PREFACE


Some portions of this book have already appeared in print. Of these,
the most important is the _catalogue raisonné_ of early Norman
castles in England which will be found in Chapter VII., and which was
originally published in the _English Historical Review_ (vol. xix.,
1904). It has, however, been enlarged by the inclusion of five fresh
castles, and by notes upon thirty-four others, of which the article in
the _Review_ gave only the names; the historical notes in that essay
being confined to the castles mentioned in Domesday Book.

The chapter on Irish mottes appeared in the _Antiquary_ (vol. xlii.,
1906), but it has been revised, corrected, and added to. Portions of a
still earlier paper, read before the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
in March 1900, are incorporated in various parts of the book, but these
have been recast in the fuller treatment of the subject which is aimed
at here.

The rest of the work is entirely new. No serious attempt had been made
to ascertain the exact nature of Saxon and Danish fortifications by a
comparison of the existing remains with the historical records which
have come down to us, until the publication of Mr Allcroft's valuable
book on _Earthwork of England_. The chapters on Saxon and Danish
earthworks in the present volume were written before the appearance of
his book, though the results arrived at are only slightly different.

In Chapter V. an effort is made to trace the first appearance of
the private castle in European history. The private castle is an
institution which is often carelessly supposed to have existed from
time immemorial. The writer contends that it only appears after the
establishment of the feudal system.

The favourable reception given by archæologists to the paper read
before the Scottish Society led the writer to follow up this
interesting subject, and to make a closer study of the motte-castles
of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The book now offered is the fruit
of eleven years of further research. The result of the inquiry is
to establish the theory advanced in that earlier paper, that these
castles, in the British Islands, are in every case of Norman origin.

The writer does not claim to have originated this theory. Dr Round was
the first to attack (in the _Quarterly Review_, 1894) the assertion of
the late Mr G. T. Clark that the moated mound was a Saxon castle. Mr
George Neilson continued the same line of argument in his illuminating
paper on "The Motes in Norman Scotland" (_Scottish Review_, vol.
xxxii., 1898).[1] All that the writer claims is to have carried the
contention a stage further, and to have shown that the private castle
did not exist at all in Britain until it was brought here by the
Normans.

The author feels that some apology is necessary for the enormous length
of Chapter VII., containing the catalogue of Early English castles. It
may be urged in extenuation that much of the information it contains
has never before appeared in print, seeing that it has been taken from
unpublished portions of the Pipe Rolls; further, that contemporary
authorities have in all cases been used, and that the chapter contains
a mass of material, previously scattered and almost inaccessible, which
is here for the first time collated, and placed, as the author thinks,
in its right setting. It is hoped that the chapter will prove a useful
storehouse to those who are working at the history of any particular
castle mentioned in the list.

To many it may seem a waste of labour to devote a whole book to the
establishment of a proposition which is now generally adopted by the
best English archæologists; but the subject is an important one, and
there is no book which deals with it in detail, and in the light of the
evidence which has recently been accumulated. The writer hopes that
such fuller statement of the case as is here attempted may help not
only to a right ascription of British castle-mounds, and of the stone
castles built upon many of them, but may also furnish material to the
historian who seeks to trace the progress of the Norman occupation.

Students of the architecture of castles are aware that this subject
presents much more difficult questions than does the architecture
of churches. Those who are seriously working on castle architecture
are very few in number, and are as yet little known to the world at
large. From time to time, books on castles are issued from the press,
which show that the writers have not even an idea of the preliminary
studies without which their work has no value at all. It is hoped that
the sketch of castle architecture from the 10th century to the 13th,
which is given in the last chapter, may prove a useful contribution to
the subject, at any rate in its lists of dated castles. The Pipe Rolls
have been too little used hitherto for the general history of castle
architecture, and no list has ever been published before of the keeps
built by Henry II. But without the evidence of the Pipe Rolls we are
in the land of guesswork, unsupported, as a rule, by the decorative
details which render it easy to read the structural history of most
churches.

My warmest thanks are due to Mr Duncan H. Montgomerie, F.S.A., for
his generous labour on the plans and illustrations of this book, and
for effective assistance in the course of the work, especially in
many toilsome pilgrimages for the purpose of comparing the Ordnance
Survey with the actual remains. I also owe grateful thanks to Mr
Goddard H. Orpen, R.I.A., for most kindly revising the chapter on
Irish mottes; to Mr W. St John Hope (late Assistant Secretary of the
Society of Antiquaries), for information on many difficult points;
to Mr Harold Sands, F.S.A., whose readiness to lay his great stores
of knowledge at my disposal has been always unfailing; to Mr George
Neilson, F.S.A.Scot., for most valuable help towards my chapter on
Scottish mottes; to Mr Charles Dawson, F.S.A., for granting the use
of his admirable photographs from the Bayeux Tapestry; to Mr Cooper,
author of the _History of York Castle_, for important facts and
documents relating to his subject; to the Rev. Herbert White, M.A.,
and to Mr Basil Stallybrass, for reports of visits to castles; and to
correspondents too numerous to mention who have kindly, and often very
fully, answered my inquiries.

ELLA S. ARMITAGE.

WESTHOLM,
RAWDON, LEEDS.




CONTENTS


PAGE

PREFACE vii


CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY 1


CHAPTER II

ANGLO-SAXON FORTIFICATIONS 11


CHAPTER III

ANGLO-SAXON FORTIFICATIONS - CONTINUED 31


CHAPTER IV

DANISH FORTIFICATIONS 48


CHAPTER V

THE ORIGIN OF PRIVATE CASTLES 63


CHAPTER VI

DISTRIBUTION AND CHARACTERISTICS OF MOTTE-CASTLES 80


CHAPTER VII

THE CASTLES OF THE NORMANS IN ENGLAND 94


CHAPTER VIII

MOTTE-CASTLES IN NORTH WALES 251


CHAPTER IX

MOTTE-CASTLES IN SOUTH WALES 273


CHAPTER X

MOTTE-CASTLES IN SCOTLAND 302


CHAPTER XI

MOTTE-CASTLES IN IRELAND 323


CHAPTER XII

STONE CASTLES OF THE NORMAN PERIOD 351


APPENDICES

A. PRIMITIVE FOLK-MOOTS 381
B. WATLING STREET AND THE DANELAGH 382
C. THE MILITARY ORIGIN OF THE BOROUGHS 382
D. THE WORDS "CASTRUM" AND "CASTELLUM" 383
E. THE BURGHAL HIDAGE 385
F. THELWALL 385
G. THE WORD "BRETASCHE" 386
H. THE WORD "HURDICIUM" 387
I. THE WORD "HERICIO" 388
K. THE CASTLE OF YALE 388
L. THE CASTLE OF TULLOW 389
M. THE CASTLE OF SLANE 390
N. THE WORD "DONJON" 390
O. THE ARRANGEMENTS IN EARLY KEEPS 391
P. KEEPS AS RESIDENCES 392
Q. CASTLES BUILT BY HENRY I. 392
R. THE SO-CALLED SHELL KEEP 393
S. PROFESSOR LLOYD'S "HISTORY OF WALES" 393


SCHEDULE OF ENGLISH CASTLES FROM THE ELEVENTH CENTURY 396


INDEX 401




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND PLANS


FIG.

Motte-Castles from the Bayeux Tapestry: - Dol, Rennes, Dinan,
Bayeux, Hastings _Frontispiece_

FACING PAGE

1. Typical Motte-Castles: - Topcliffe, Yorks; Laughton-en-le-Morthen,
Yorks; Anstey, Herts; Dingestow, Monmouth; Hedingham, Essex 4

2. Anglo-Saxon MS. of Prudentius 19

3. Wallingford, Berks; Wareham, Dorset 28

4. Eddisbury, Cheshire; Witham, Essex 36

5. Plan of Towcester about 1830 42

6. Shoebury, Essex 52

7. Willington, Beds 59

8. Arundel, Sussex; Abergavenny, Monmouth 98

9. Barnstaple, Devon; Berkhampstead, Herts; Bishop's Stortford,
Herts 102

10. Bourn, Lincs; Bramber, Sussex 108

11. Caerleon, Monmouth; Carisbrooke 114

12. Carlisle; Castle Acre, Norfolk 124

13. Clifford, Hereford; Clitheroe, Lancs; Corfe, Dorset 128

14. Dover (from a plan in the British Museum, 1756) 138

15. Dunster, Somerset; Dudley, Staffs 144

16. Durham 146

17. Ely, Cambs; Ewias Harold, Hereford; Eye, Suffolk 150

18. Hastings, Sussex; Huntingdon 158

19. Launceston, Cornwall; Lewes, Sussex 164

20. Lincoln 166

21. Monmouth; Montacute, Somerset; Morpeth, Northumberland 168

22. Norham; Nottingham 172

23. Norwich (from Harrod's _Gleanings among the Castles and
Convents of Norfolk_, p. 133) 174

24. Okehampton, Devon; Penwortham, Lancs; Pevensey, Sussex 178

25. Oxford (from _Oxonia Illustrata_, David Loggan, 1675) 180

26. Pontefract, Yorks; Preston Capes, Northants; Quatford, Salop 188

27. Rayleigh, Essex; Richard's Castle, Hereford 192

28. Richmond, Yorks; Rochester, Kent 194

29. Rockingham, Northants 202

30. Old Sarum, Wilts 204

31. Shrewsbury; Skipsea, Yorks 208

32. Stafford; Tamworth, Staffs; Stanton Holgate, Salop; Tickhill,
Yorks 212

33. Tonbridge, Kent; Totnes, Devon 220

34. Trematon, Cornwall; Tutbury, Staffs 226

35. Wallingford, Berks 228

36. Warwick; Wigmore, Hereford 232

37. Winchester (from a plan by W. Godson, 1750) 234

38. Windsor Castle (from Ashmole's _Order of the Garter_) 236

39. York Castle and Baile Hill (from a plan by P. Chassereau,
1750) 244

40. Motte-Castles of North Wales: - Mold, Welshpool, Wrexham,
Mathraval 260

41. Motte-Castles of South Wales: - Cilgerran, Blaenporth,
Chastell Gwalter 282

42. Motte-Castles of South Wales: - Builth, Gemaron, Payn's Castle 290

43. Motte-Castles of South Wales: - Cardiff, Loughor 294

44. Scottish Motte-Castles: - Annan, Moffat, Duffus, Old Hermitage 310

45. Irish Motte-Castles: - Ardmayle, Downpatrick, Drogheda,
Castleknock 336




THE EARLY NORMAN CASTLES OF THE BRITISH ISLES




CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY


The study of earthworks has been one of the most neglected subjects
in English archæology until quite recent years. It may even be said
that during the first half of the 19th century, less attention was
paid to earthworks than by our older topographical writers. Leland,
in the reign of Henry VIII., never failed to notice the "Dikes and
Hilles, which were Campes of Men of Warre," nor the "Hilles of Yerth
cast up like the Dungeon of sum olde Castelle," which he saw in his
pilgrimages through England. And many of our 17th- and 18th-century
topographers have left us invaluable notices of earthworks which were
extant in their time. But if we turn over the archæological journals of
some fifty years ago, we shall be struck by the paucity of papers on
earthworks, and especially by the complete ignoring, in most cases, of
those connected with castles.

The misfortune attending this neglect, was that it left the ground
open to individual fancy, and each observer formed his own theory of
the earthworks which he happened to have seen, and as often as not,
stated that theory as a fact. We need not be surprised to find Camden
doing this, as he wrote before the dawn of scientific observation;
but that such methods should have been carried on until late in the
19th century is little to the credit of English archæology. Mr Clark's
work on _Mediæval Military Architecture_ (published in 1884), which
has the merit of being one of the first to pay due attention to castle
earthworks, counterbalances that merit by enunciating as a fact a mere
guess of his own, which, as we shall afterwards show, was absolutely
devoid of solid foundation.

The scientific study of English earthworks may be said to have been
begun by General Pitt-Rivers in the last quarter of the 19th century;
but we must not forget that he described himself as a pupil of Canon
Greenwell, whose careful investigations of British barrows form such
an important chapter of prehistoric archæology. General Pitt-Rivers
applied the lessons he had thus learned to the excavation of camps and
dykes, and his labours opened a new era in that branch of research. By
accumulating an immense body of observations, and by recording those
observations with a minuteness intended to forestall future questions,
he built up a storehouse of facts which will furnish materials to all
future workers in prehistoric antiquities. He was too cautious ever to
dogmatise, and if he arrived at conclusions, he was careful to state
them merely as suggestions. But his work destroyed many favourite
antiquarian delusions, even some which had been cherished by very
learned writers, such as Dr Guest's theory of the "Belgic ditches" of
Wiltshire.

A further important step in the study of earthworks was taken by the
late Mr I. Chalkley Gould, when he founded the Committee for Ancient
Earthworks, and drew up the classification of earthworks which is now
being generally adopted by archæological writers. This classification
may be abridged into (_a_) promontory or cliff forts, (_b_) hill forts,
(_c_) rectangular forts, (_d_) moated hillocks, (_e_) moated hillocks
with courts attached, (_f_) banks and ditches surrounding homesteads,
(_g_) manorial works, (_h_) fortified villages.

We venture to think that still further divisions are needed, to include
(1) boundary earthworks; (2) sepulchral or religious circles or
squares; (3) enclosures clearly non-military, intended to protect sheep
and cattle from wolves, or to aid in the capture of wild animals.[2]

This classification, it will be observed, makes no attempt to decide
the dates of the different types of earthworks enumerated. But a great
step forward was taken when these different types were separated
from one another. There had been no greater source of confusion in
the writings of our older antiquaries, than the unscientific idea
that one earthwork was as good as another; that is to say, that one
type of earthwork would do as well as another for any date or any
circumstances. When it is recognised that large classes of earthworks
show similar features, it becomes probable that even if they were not
thrown up in the same historic period, they were at any rate raised to
meet similar sets of circumstances. We may be quite sure that a camp
which contains an area of 60 or 80 acres was not constructed for the
same purpose as one which only contains an area of three.

We are not concerned here, however, with the attempt to disentangle
the dates of the various classes of prehistoric earthworks.[3] Such
generalisations are for the most part premature; and although some
advance is being made in this direction, it is still impossible to
decide without excavation whether a camp of class (_a_) or (_b_)
belongs to the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, or the Iron Age. Our business
is with classes (_d_) and (_e_) of Mr Gould's list, that is, with the
moated hillocks. We shall only treat of the other classes to the extent
which is necessary to bring out the special character of classes (_d_)
and (_e_).

Let us look more closely into these earthworks in their perfect form,
the class (_e_) of the Earthwork Committee's list. They consist, when
fully preserved, of an artificial hillock, 20, 30, 40, or in some rare
instances 100 feet high. The hillock carried a breastwork of earth
round the top, which in many cases is still preserved; this breastwork
enclosed a small court, sometimes only 30 feet in diameter, in rare
cases as large as half an acre; it must have been crowned by a stockade
of timber, and the representations in the Bayeux Tapestry would lead
us to think that it always enclosed a wooden tower.[4] As a rule the
hillock is round, but it is not unfrequently oval, and occasionally
square. The base of the hillock is surrounded by a ditch. Below the
hillock is a court, much larger than the small space enclosed on the
top of the mount. It also has been surrounded by a ditch, which joins
the ditch of the mount, and thus encloses the whole fortification.
The court is defended by earthen banks, both on the scarp and
counterscarp of the ditch, and these banks of course had also their
timber stockades, the remains of which have sometimes been found on
excavation.[5]

[Illustration: FIG. 1. - TYPICAL MOTTE-CASTLES.

Topcliffe, Yorks. Laughton-en-le-Morthen, Yorks. Anstey, Herts.
Dingestow, Monmouth. Hedingham, Essex.]

These are the main features of the earthworks in question. Some
variations may be noticed. The ditch is not invariably carried all
round the hillock, occasionally it is not continued between the hillock
and the court.[6] Sometimes the length of the ditch separating the
hillock from the court is at a higher level than the main ditch.[7]
Often the ditches were evidently dry from the first, but not
infrequently they are wet, and sometimes vestiges of the arrangements
for feeding them are still apparent. The hillock is not invariably
artificial; often it is a natural hill scarped into a conical shape;
sometimes an isolated rock is made use of to serve as a citadel, which
saved much spade-work. The shape of the court is very variable: it may
be square or oblong, with greatly rounded corners, or it may be oval,
or semilunar, or triangular; a very common form is the bean-shaped.
The area covered by these fortifications is much more uniform; one of
the features contrasting them most strongly with the great prehistoric
"camps" of southern England is their comparatively small size. We know
of only one (Skipsea) in which the bailey covers as much as eight
acres; in by far the greater number the whole area included in the
hillock, court, and ditches does not exceed three acres, and often it
is not more than one and a half.[8]

Now this type of fort will tell us a good deal about itself if we
examine it carefully. In the first place, its character is more
pronounced than that of any other class of earthwork. It differs
entirely from the great camps which belong to the tribal period. It
was evidently not designed to accommodate a mass of people with their
flocks and herds. It is small in area, and its citadel, as a rule, is
very small indeed. Dr Sophus Müller, the eminent Danish archæologist,
when dealing with the specimens of this class of fortification which
are to be found in Denmark, made the luminous remark that "the
fortresses of prehistoric times are the defences of the _community_,
north of the Alps as in the old classical lands. Small castles for
an individual and his warrior-band belong to the Middle Ages."[9]
These words give the true direction to which we must turn for the
interpretation of these earthworks.

In the second place, this type presents a peculiar development of
plan, such as we do not expect to find in the earliest times in these
islands. It has a citadel of a most pronounced type. This alone
differentiates it from the prehistoric or Keltic camps which are so
abundant in Great Britain. It might be too hasty a generalisation
to say that no prehistoric camps have citadels, but as a rule the
traverses by which some of these camps are divided appear to have
been made for the purpose of separating the cattle from the people,
rather than as ultimate retreats in time of war. The early German
camps, according to Köhler, have inner enclosures which he thinks
were intended for the residence of the chief; but he calls attention
to the great difference between these camps and the class we are now
considering, in that the inner enclosure is of much greater size.[10]
It would appear that some of the fortifications in England which are
known or suspected to be Saxon have also these inner enclosures of
considerable size (6 acres in the case of Witham), but without any
vestige of the hillock which is the principal feature of class (_e_).

It is clear, in the third place, that the man who threw up earthworks
of this latter class was not only suspicious of his neighbours, but



Online LibraryElla S. ArmitageThe Early Norman Castles of the British Isles. → online text (page 1 of 33)