Page images
[blocks in formation]

summit, and a lighter material placed inside this crater to bring it up to the necessary level." This restoration must have taken place in the third year of Richard I., when 28% was spent "on the work of the castle."1 This small sum shows that the new keep also was of wood; and remains of timber work were in fact found on the top of the motte during the excavations, though unfortunately they were not sufficiently followed up to determine whether they belonged to a wooden tower or to a platform intended to consolidate the motte. It is extremely likely that this third keep was blown down by the high wind of 1228, when 2s. was paid "for collecting the timber of York Castle blown down by the wind."" In its place arose the present keep, one of the most remarkable achievements of the reign of Henry III.*

1 "In operatione castri 287. 135. 9d." Pipe Roll, 3 Richard I. Under the year 1193, after relating the tragedy of the Jews at York Castle, Hoveden says: Deinde idem cancellarius [William de Longchamp] tradidit Osberto de Lunchamp, fratri suo, comitatum Eboracensem in custodia, et precepit firmari castellum in veteri castellario quod Rex Willelmus Rufus ibi construxerat." III., 34, R. S. The expression vetus castellarium would lead us to think of the Old Baile, which certainly had this name from an early period; and Hoveden, being a Yorkshireman as well as a very accurate writer, was probably aware of the difference between the two castles. But if he meant the Old Baile, then both the castles were restored at about the same time. "Rufus" must be a slip, unless there was some rebuilding in Rufus' reign of which we do not know.

2 Messrs Benson and Platnauer are of the former opinion. "The existence of a second layer of timber seems to show that the fortification destroyed was rebuilt in wood." Notes on Clifford's Tower, p. 2.

3 "Pro mairemio castri Ebor. prostrato per ventum colligendo, 25." Pipe Roll, 19 Henry III. It is, of course, a conjecture that this accident happened to the keep; but the keep would be the part most exposed to the wind, and the scattering of the timber, so that it had to be collected, is just what would happen if a timber structure were blown off a motte.

4 As the writer was the first to publish this statement, it will be well to give the evidence on which it rests. The keep of York is clearly Early English in style, and of an early phase of the style. It is, however, evident to every one who has carefully compared our dated keeps, that castle architecture always lags behind church architecture in style-development, and must be judged by different standards. We should therefore be

The old ground-plan of the square Norman keep was now abandoned, and replaced by a quatrefoil. The work occupied thirteen years, from the 30th to the 43rd Henry III., and the total sum expended was 19277. 8s. 7d., equal to about 40,000l. of our money. This remarkable fact has slumbered in the unpublished Pipe Rolls for 700 years, never having been unearthed by any of the numerous historians of York.

The keep was probably the first work in stone at York Castle, and for a long time it was probably the only defensive masonry. The banks certainly had only a wooden stockade in the early part of Henry III.'s reign, as timber from the forest of Galtres was ordered for the repair of breaches in the palicium in 1225.1 As late as Edward II.'s reign there was a pelum, or stockade, round the keep, on top of a murus, which was

prepared to find this and most other keeps to be of later date than their architecture would suggest. Moreover, the expenditure entered to York Castle in the reigns of Henry II., Richard I., and John, is quite insufficient to cover the cost of a stone keep. The Pipe Rolls of Henry III.'s reign decide the matter, as they show the sums which he expended annually on this castle. It is true they never mention the turris, but always the castrum; we must also admit that the turris and castrum are often distinguished in the writs, even as late as Edward III.'s reign. (Close Rolls, 1334.) On the other hand extensive acquaintance with the Pipe Rolls proves that though the mediæval scribe may have an occasional fit of accuracy, he is generally very loose in his use of words, and his distinctions must never be pressed. Take, for instance, the case of Orford, where the word used in the Pipe Rolls is always castellum, but it certainly refers to the keep, as there are no other buildings at Orford. Other instances might be given in which the word castellum clearly applies to the keep. It should be mentioned that in 1204 John gave an order for stone for the castle (Close Rolls, i., 4b), but the amounts on the bill for it in the Pipe Rolls show that it was not used for any extensive building operations.

1 "Mandatum est Galterio de Cumpton forestario de Gauteris quod ad pontem et domos castri Eboraci et breccas palicii ejusdem castri reparandos et emendandos Vicecomitem Eboraci mæremium habere faciat in foresta de Gauteris per visum, etc." Close Rolls, ii., 61b.

[blocks in formation]

undoubtedly an earthen bank.1 At present the keep occupies the whole top of the motte except a small chemin de ronde, but the fact so frequently alluded to in the writs, that a stockade ran round the keep, proves that a small courtyard existed there formerly, as was usually the case with important keeps. Another writ of Edward II.'s reign shows that the motte was liable to injury from the floods of the River Fosse,2 and probably its size has thus been reduced.

The present bailey of York Castle does not follow the lines of the original one, but is an enlargement made in 1825. A plan made in 1750, and reproduced here, shows that the motte was surrounded by its own ditch, which is now filled up, and that the bailey, around which a branch of the Fosse was carried, was of the very common bean-shaped form; it was about 3 acres in extent. The motte and bailey were both considerably outside what is believed to have been the Anglo-Saxon rampart of York, but the motte was so placed as to overlook the city.


The value of the city of York, in spite of the sieges and sacks which it had undergone, and in spite of there being 540 houses "so empty that they pay nothing at all," had risen at the date of the Survey from 53% in King Edward's time to 100l. in King William's. This extraordinary rise in value can only be attributed to

1 Order to expend up to 6 marks in repairing the wooden peel about the keep of York Castle, which peel is now fallen down. Cal. of Close Rolls, 17 Edward II., 25.

2 Cal. of Close Rolls, 1313-1318, 262. Mota is wrongly translated moat. 3 See Mr Cooper's York: The Story of its Walls and Castles. During Messrs Benson and Platnauer's excavations, a prehistoric crouching burial was found in the ground below the motte, 4 feet 6 inches under the present level. This raises the question whether William utilised an existing prehistoric barrow for the nucleus of his motte,

4 D. B., i., 298a.

increased trade and increased exactions, the former being promoted by the greater security given to the roads by the castles, the latter due to the tolls on the high-roads and waterways, which belonged to the king, and the various "customs" belonging to the castles, which, though new, were henceforth equally part of his rights.

THE BAILE HILL, York (Fig. 39).—There can be no doubt whatever that this still existing motte was the site of one of William's castles at York, and it is even probable that it was the older of the two, as Mr Cooper conjectures from its position on the south side of the river.' The castle bore the name of the Old Baile at least as early as the 14th century, perhaps even in the 12th.2 In 1326 a dispute arose between the citizens of York and Archbishop William de Melton as to which of them ought to repair the wall around the Old Baile. The mayor alleged that the district was under the express jurisdiction of the archbishop, exempt from that of the city; the archbishop pleaded that it stood within the ditches of the city. The meaning of this dispute can only be understood in the light of facts which have recently been unearthed by the industry and observation of Mr T. P. Cooper, of York. The Old Baile, like so many of William's castles, originally stood outside the ramparts of the city. The original Roman walls of York (it is believed) enclosed only a small space on the eastern shore of the Ouse, and before the Norman

1 York: The Story of its Walls and Castles, by T. P. Cooper, p. 222. 2 See the passage from Hoveden already quoted, ante, p. 245. 3 Drake's Eboracum, App. xliv.

4 See Mr Cooper's York: The Story of its Walls and Castles, which contains a mass of new material from documentary sources, and sheds quite unexpected light on the history of the York fortifications. I am indebted to Mr Cooper's courtesy for some of the extracts cited above relating to York Castle.



Conquest the city had far outgrown these bounds, and therefore had been enlarged in Anglo-Saxon times. It appears that the Micklegate suburb was then for the first time enclosed with a wall, and as this district is spoken of in Domesday Book as "the shire of the archbishop," it was evidently under his jurisdiction. At a later period this wall was buried in an earthen bank, which probably carried a palisade on top, until the palisade was replaced by stone walls in the reign of Henry III.1

The evidence of the actual remains renders it more than probable that this rampart turned towards the river at a point 500 feet short of its present angle, so that the Old Baile, when first built, was quite outside the city walls. This is exactly how we should expect to find a castle of William the Norman's in relation to one of the most turbulent cities of the realm; and, as we have seen, the other castle at York was similarly placed. By the time of Archbishop Melton the south-western suburb was already enclosed in the new stone walls built in the 13th century, and these walls had been carried along the west and south banks of the Old Baile, so as to enclose that castle within the city. This was the archbishop's pretext for trying to lay upon the citizens the duty of maintaining the Old Baile. But probably on account of his ancient authority in this part of the city, the cause went against him; though he

1 Cooper's York, chapters ii. and iv. 100l. was spent by the sheriff in fortifying the walls of York in the sixth year of Henry III. After this there are repeated grants for murage in the same and the following reign. There are some Early English buttresses in the walls, but the majority are later. No part of the walls contains Norman work.

2 The details of this evidence, which consist mainly in (1) a structural difference in the extended rampart; (2) a subsidence in the ground marking the old line of the city ditch, will be found in Mr Cooper's work, p. 224.

« PreviousContinue »