Page images

CUPAR. There seem to be two mottes here, both raised on a natural "esker"; the one formerly called the Castle Hill is now called the School Hill, the school having been built upon it. The other and higher hill is called the Moot Hill, and is said to be the place where the earls of Fife used to dispense justice. (N. S. A.) Mr Neilson states that both are mentioned in the Registrum.

DUMFRIES.-Here there were two mottes, one being now the site of a church, the other, called Castle Dykes, a short distance S. of the town, on the opposite side of the river. Both no doubt were royal castles, and Mr Neilson has suggested that as an old castlestead is spoken of in a charter of William the Lion, it implies that a new castle had recently been built, possibly after the great destruction of the royal castles in Galloway in 1174.1 The Castle Dykes appears to be the later castle, as it is spoken of in the 16th century. (N.)

DUNSKEATH, Cromarty.-Built by William the Lion in 1179. The castle is built on a small moat overhanging the sea. (G.)

ELGIN.-Built by William the Lion on a small green hill called Lady Hill, with conical and precipitous sides. (N. S. A. and G.)

FORFAR." The castle stood on a round hill to the N. of the town, and must have been surrounded by water." (N. S. A.) It was destroyed in 1307. It is called Gallow Hill in the O.M., and is now occupied by gasworks.

1 Benedict of Peterborough, i., 67. See Mr Neilson's papers in the Dumfries Standard, June 28, 1899. Mr Neilson remarks: "It may well be that the original castle of Dumfries was one of Malcolm IV.'s forts, and that the mote of Troqueer, at the other side of a ford of the river, was the first little strength of the series by which the Norman grip of the province was sought to be maintained."



FORRES. The plan in Chalmers' Caledonia clearly shows a motte, to which the town appears to have formed a bailey.

INVERNESS.-Built by David I. when he annexed Moray. The site is now occupied by a gaol, but the O.M. shows it to have been a motte, which is clearly depicted in old engravings.

INNERMESSAN.As the lands here appear to have been royal property as late as the time of David II., the large round motte here may have been an early royal castle, a conjecture which finds some confirmation in the name "Boreland of Kingston," which Pont places in the same parish. (N. S. A.)

JEDBURGH.-Probably built by David I. The site, which is still called Castle Hill, has been levelled and completely obliterated by the building of a gaol. Yet an old plan of the town in 1762, in the possession of the late Mr Laidlaw of Jedburgh, shows the outline of the castle to have been exactly that of a motte and bailey, though, as no hachures are given, it is not absolutely convincing.

KINCLEVEN, Perth.-The O. M. shows no earthworks connected with the present castle, but on the opposite. side of the river it places a motte called Castle Hill, which may very likely be the site of the original castle.

KIRKCUDBRIGHT.-Dr Christison marks a motte here, to the W. of the town. The place is called Castle Dykes. Mr Coles says it has an oblong central mound and a much larger entrenched area.1


LANARK.-Ascribed traditionally to David I. a small artificially shaped hill between the town and the river, at the foot of the street called Castle Gate, and

1 "Mottes, Forts, and Doons of Kirkcudbright," Soc. Ant. Scot., xxv.,


still bearing the name of Castle Hill, there stood in former times beyond all doubt a royal castle." (N. S. A.) Mr Neilson says, "It certainly bears out its reputation as an artificial mound."

ROSEMARKIE, Cromarty.--Was made a royal burgh by Alexander II., so the castle must have been originally royal. "Immediately above the town is a mound of nearly circular form, and level on the top, which seems to be artificial, and has always been called the Court Hill." (N. S. A.)

Even if we had no other evidence that motte-castles were of Norman construction, this list would be very significant. But taken in connection with the evidence for the Norman origin of the English, Welsh, and Irish mottes, it supplies ample proof that in Scotland, as elsewhere, the Norman and feudal settlement had its material guarantees in the castles which were planted all over the land, and that these castles were the simple structures of earth and wood, whose earthen remains have been the cause of so much mystification.



IN the year 1169, when the first Norman invaders landed in Ireland, the private castle had been in existence in England for more than a hundred years, and had it been suited to the social organisation of the Irish people, there had been plenty of time for its introduction into Ireland. Nor are we in a position to deny that some chieftain with a leaning towards foreign fashions may have built for himself a castle in the Anglo-Norman style; all we can say is that there is not the slightest evidence of such a thing.' We have two contemporary accounts of the Norman settlement in Ireland, the one given by Giraldus in his Expugnatio Hibernica, and the Anglo-Norman poem, edited by Mr Goddard H. Orpen, under the title of the "Song of Dermot and the Earl.' Now Giraldus expressly tells us that the Irish did not

[ocr errors]

1 The Annals of the Four Masters mention the building of three castles (caisteol) in Connaught in 1125, and the Annals of Ulster say that Tirlagh O'Connor built a castle (caislen) at Athlone in 1129. What the nature of these castles was it is now impossible to say, but there are no mottes at the three places mentioned in Connaught (Dunlo, Galway, and Coloony). The caislen at Athlone was not recognised by the Normans as a castle of their sort, as John built his castle on a new site, on land obtained from the church. Sweetman's Cal., p. 80.

2 The meagre entries in the various Irish Annals may often come from contemporary sources, but as none of their MSS. are older than the 14th century, they do not stand on the same level as the two authorities above mentioned.

use castles, but preferred to take refuge in their forests and bogs.1 The statement is a remarkable one, since Ireland abounds with defensive works of a very ancient character; are we to suppose that these were only used in the prehistoric period? But if castles of the Norman kind had been in general use in Ireland in the 12th century, we should certainly hear of their having been a serious hindrance to the invaders. The history of the invasion, however, completely confirms the statement of Giraldus; we never once hear of the Irish defending themselves in a castle. When they do stand a siege, it is in a walled town, and a town which has been walled, not by themselves, but by the Danes, to whom Giraldus expressly attributes these walls. Moreover, the repeated insistence of Giraldus on the necessity of systematic incastellation of the whole country is proof enough that no such incastellation existed.

It is true that in some of the earliest Irish literature we hear of the dun, lis, or rath (the words are interchangeable), which encircled the chieftain's house.


1 "Hibernicus enim populus castella non curat; silvis namque pro castris, paludibus utitur pro fossatis." Top. H, 182, R. S., vol. v. the same passage he speaks of the "fossa infinita, alta nimis, rotunda quoque, et pleraque triplicia; castella etiam murata, et adhuc integra, vacua tamen et deserta," which he ascribes to the Northmen. This passage has been gravely adduced as an argument in favour of the prehistoric existence of mottes! as though a round ditch necessarily implied a round hill within it! Giraldus was probably alluding to the round embankments or raths, of which such immense numbers are still to be found in Ireland. By the "walled castles" he probably meant the stone enclosures or cashels which are also so numerous in Ireland. In the time of Giraldus the word castellum, though it had become the proper word for a private castle, had not quite lost its original sense of a fortified enclosure of any kind, as we know from the phrases "the castle and tower" or "the castle and motte not infrequent in documents of the 12th century (see Round's Geoffrey de Mandeville, Appendix O, p. 328). We may add that Giraldus' attribution of these prehistoric remains to Thorgils, the Norwegian, only shows that their origin was unknown in his day.

2 See Expug. Hib., 383, 397, 398.

« PreviousContinue »