« PreviousContinue »
The value of the manor of Alvington had increased at the time of the Survey, though the number of ploughs employed had actually decreased. This increase must have been owing to the erection of the castle, which provided security for trade and agriculture. Alvington was not the centre of a large soke in the Confessor's time, so it is unlikely that there was any fortification there in Saxon days.1
CARLISLE, Cumberland (Fig. 12).—This castle was built by William Rufus in 1092, when for the first time Cumberland was brought under Norman sway. The AngloSaxon Chronicle says, "he repaired the burh, and reared the castle," a passage which is sufficient of itself to show that burh and castle were two quite different things. Carlisle of course was a Roman fortress, and needed only the repairing of its walls. The castle was a new thing, and was placed outside the city. Its plan, which is roughly a triangle, with the apex formed into a small court by a ditch which (formerly) separated it from the bailey, looks very suggestive of a previous motte and bailey, such as we might expect the Norman king to have thrown up. The keep is known to have been built by David, king of Scotland, in Stephen's reign,' and it is possible that he may have removed the motte. The castle appears to have had a wooden pelum or palicium on its outer banks as late as 1319. The whole area covers 4 acres.
1 Mr W. H. Stevenson, in his edition of Asser, pp. 173, 174, shows that the name Carisbrooke cannot possibly be derived from Wihtgares-burh, as has been sometimes supposed, as the older forms prove it to have come from brook, not burh. The lines of the present castle banks, if produced, would not correspond with those of the Tilt-yard, which is proof that the Norman castle was not formed by cutting an older fortification in two.
2 Bower's Scotochronicon, v., xlii. Cited by Mr Neilson, Notes and Queries, viii., 321. See also Palgrave, Documents and Records, i., 103.
3 Cal. of Close Rolls, Edward II., iii., 161.
CASTLE ACRE, Norfolk (Fig. 12).-There can be no doubt that this castle existed in the 11th century, as William de Warenne mentions it in the charter of foundation of Lewes Priory, one of the most interesting and human of monastic charters.1 The earthworks still remaining of this castle are perhaps the finest castle earthworks in England; the banks enclosing the bailey are vast. The large and high motte carries a wall of flint rubble, built outside and thus revetting the earthen bank which formed its first defence. In the small court thus enclosed (about 100 feet in diameter) the foundations of an oblong keep can be discerned. A very wide ditch surrounds the motte, and below it is a horse-shoe bailey, about 2 acres in extent, stretching down to the former swamps of the river Nar. On the east side of the motte is a small half-moon annexe, with its own ditch; this curious addition is to be found in several other motte castles, and is believed to have been a work intended to defend the approach, of the nature of a barbican. On the west side of the motte is the village of Castle Acre, enclosed in an oblong earthwork with an area of 10 acres. This work now goes by the name of the Barbican, but probably this name has been extended to it from a barbican covering the castle entrance (of which entrance the ruins still remain).. It is most likely that this enclosure was a burgus attached to the castle. Mr Harrod, who excavated the banks, found quantities of Roman pottery, which led him to think that the work was Roman; but as the pottery was all broken, it is more likely that the banks were thrown up on the site of some Roman villa. This earthwork has a northern
1 Mon. Ang., v., 12. “Castelli nostri de Acra."
2 As at Burton, Mexborough, Lilbourne, and Castle Colwyn.
3 Harrod's Gleanings among the Castles and Convents of Norfolk. See also Arch. Journ., xlvi., 441.
entrance in masonry, evidently of 13th century date; and as the scanty masonry remaining of the castle is similar in character, it is probably all of the same date. The area covered by the motte and the two original baileys is 3 acres; that of the whole series of earthworks, 15 acres.
Acre was only a small manor in Saxon times; its value at the time of the Survey had risen from 5 to 9.1
CHEPSTOW (Estrighoel or Strigul), Monmouthshire.— Notwithstanding the fact that there is another castle of the name of Strigul about 9 miles from Chepstow (known also as Troggy Castle), it is clear that Chepstow is the castle meant by Domesday, as the entry speaks of ships going up the river, a thing impossible at Strigul. The castle occupies a narrow ridge, well defended by the river on one side, and on the other by a valley which separates it from the town. There are four wards, and the last and smallest of all seemed to the writer, when visiting the castle, to mark the site of a lowered motte. This opinion, however, is not shared by two competent observers, Mr Harold Sands and Mr Duncan Montgomerie, who had much ampler opportunities for studying the remains. This ward is now a barbican, and the masonry upon it belongs clearly to the 13th century; it occupies the highest ground in the castle, and is separated from the other wards, and from the ridge beyond it, by two ditches cut across the headland. The adjoining court must have belonged to the earliest
1 D. B., ii., 160b.
2 "Castellum de Estrighoiel fecit Willelmus comes, et ejus tempore reddebat 40 solidos, tantum de navibus in silvam euntibus." D. B., i., 162. Tanner has shown that while Chepstow was an alien priory of Cormeille, in Normandy, it is never spoken of by that name in the charters of Cormeille, but is always called Strigulia. Notitia Monastica, Monmouthshire. See also Marsh's Annals of Chepstow Castle.