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KEEPS OF HENRY I.
basement to the upper floors, a provision of which there is no trace in the older keeps.1
As Robert de Monte says that Henry I. built many castles in England as well as in Normandy, we naturally ask what other English keeps besides Rochester may be assigned to him. It appears to the writer that Corfe and Norwich keeps may very likely be his. Both were royal castles in his time, and both were originally wooden castles on mottes.2 Both these castles have forebuildings, and neither of them have floors supported on vaults. Corfe has very superior masonry, of larger stones than those used in the keeps known to be Henry I.'s, but wide-jointed. At Norwich only a very small piece of the original ashlar is left. Corfe is extremely severe in all its details, but quite corresponds to work of Henry I.'s reign. Norwich has a great deal of decoration, more advanced in style than that to be seen at Falaise, but still consistent with the first half of the 12th century. Neither keep has the least sign of Transition Norman, such as we seldom fail to find in the keeps of Henry II. Moreover, neither of them figure in the Pipe Rolls of Henry II., except for repairs ;
1 The Tower and Colchester keep both have wells, which are seldom wanting in any keep. There was no appearance of a well at Langeais, but excavation might possibly reveal one.
2 The first castle at Corfe was built by William's half-brother, Robert, Count of Mortain. The keep of Corfe is sometimes attributed to him, but when we compare its masonry with that of the early hall or chapel in the middle bailey, we shall see that this date is most unlikely. Norwich was always a royal castle.
3 Part of the basement of Norwich keep has pillars, from which it has been assumed that it was vaulted; but no trace of vaulting is to be seen.
4 The only decoration at Corfe keep is in the oratory, which being at a vast height in one of the ruined walls is inaccessible to the ordinary visitor. Corfe was so much pulled about by Sir Christopher Hatton in Elizabeth's reign, and is now so ruinous, that many features are obscure. Norwich has suffered greatly from restorations, and from re-casing.
and as Stephen in his harassed reign can hardly have had any money for building stone keeps, we may with some confidence ascribe these two keeps to Henry I.
A few words should be given to the castle of Gisors, which contains in itself an epitome of castle history. The first castle, built by William Rufus in 1096, was undoubtedly a wooden castle on a motte, with a stockaded bailey below it; certain portions of the present bailey walls rest on earthen banks, which probably belonged to the original castle, and show what a much smaller affair it was than the present one. Henry I., Robert de Monte tells us, strengthened this castle with a keep. Probably this was the shell wall which now crowns the motte; the smallness of the masonry (stones about 5 inches high, rudely dressed and coursed) and the slight projection of the buttresses (9 inches) agree with much of the work of his time. There would be a wooden tower inside.1 The chemise or shell wall is pierced by loopholes, a very unusual arrangement; they are round arched, and of very rude voussoirs.2 Inside this shell there is a decagonal tower, called the Tower of Thomas à Becket, which is almost certainly the work of Henry II., as its name would indicate; the chapel of St Thomas
1 In 1184 Henry II. paid "for re-roofing the tower of Gisors." Rotuli Scacc. Normanniæ, i., 72.
2 It should be remembered that rude work is not invariably a sign of age; it may only show haste, or poverty of resources. It should also be mentioned that in the Exchequer Rolls of Normandy there is an entry of £650 in 1184 for several works at Gisors, including "the wall round the motte" (murum circa motam). Possibly this may refer to a wall round the foot of the motte, which seems still to exist. The shell wall of Gisors should be compared with that of Lincoln, which is probably of the first half of the 12th century.
3 No decagonal tower of Henry I.'s work is known to exist; all his tower keeps are square.
THE KEEP OF CARLISLE
is close to it. A stair turret of the 15th century has been added to this keep; its original entrance was, as usual, a door on the first floor, but a basement entrance was built afterwards, probably in the 13th century. Philip Augustus, after he had taken this castle from John, added to it one of the round keeps which had then become the fashion, and subsequent enlargements of the bailey converted it into a "concentric" castle, of which the motte now forms the
There is one keep which is known to be of the reign of Stephen, though not built by him, that of Carlisle, built by David, King of Scotland, in 1136,1 a time when he thought his hold on the four northern counties of England was secure, little reckoning on the true character of his great-nephew, Henry, son of Matilda. There is no advance to be seen in this keep on those of Henry I., except that the walls are faced with ashlar. The vaulting The vaulting of the basement is pronounced by Mr Clark to be very evidently a late insertion.2
With the reign of Henry II. a new era opens as regards the documentary history of our ancient castles, because the Pipe Rolls of that king's reign have most fortunately been preserved. These contain the sheriff's accounts for money spent on the building or repair of the king's castles, and are simply invaluable for the history of castle architecture. The following is a list of
1 Bower, Scotichronicon, v., 42. This passage was first pointed out by Mr George Neilson in Notes and Queries, 8th ser., viii., 321. The keep of Carlisle has been so much pulled about as to obscure most of its features. The present entrance to the basement is not original.
2 M. M. A., i., 353.
3 Unfortunately the greater part of these valuable Rolls is still unpublished. The Pipe Roll Society is issuing a volume every year, and this year (1910) has reached the 28th Henry II.
the keeps which the Pipe Rolls show to have been built or finished by Henry II. :
Scarborough, built between 1157 and 1174. Tower
The dates given here must be taken as only roughly accurate, as owing to the meagreness of the entries in the Pipe Rolls, it is not always certain whether the expenses were for the great tower or for other buildings. The list by no means includes all the work which Henry II. did on his English castles, for he was a great builder; but a good deal of his work seems to have been the substitution of stone walls with mural towers, for wooden stockades, and our list comprises all the cases in which it is clear that the keep was the work of this king.1 We confine our attention to the keeps, because though mural towers of stone began to be added to the walls of baileys during Henry II.'s reign (a detail which must have greatly altered the general appearance of castles), it is certain that the keep was still the most important part, and the residence of the king or noble whenever he visited the castle.
Seven out of the ten tower keeps are built on
1 The keeps of Richmond and Bowes were only finished by Henry II.; Richmond was begun by Earl Conan, who died in 1170, when Henry appears to have taken up the work. Bowes was another of Earl Conan's castles. Tickhill is now destroyed to the foundations, but it is clear that it was a tower. The writer has examined all the keeps mentioned in this list. It will be noticed that most of the towers took many years to build.
THE KEEPS OF HENRY II.
precisely the same plan as those of Henry I. The chief advance is in the masonry. All the tower keeps of Henry II., except Dover, Chilham, and Canterbury, are or have been cased with good ashlar, of stones somewhat larger in size than those used by Henry I. The same may be said of the shell walls (namely, Windsor and Arundel); it is interesting to note that Henry II. still used this elementary form of citadel, which consisted merely of a wall round the top of a motte, with wooden buildings inside.1 In three cases out of the ten tower keeps, Newcastle, Bowes, and Richmond, the basement storey is vaulted, which does not occur in the older keeps. Yet such important castles as Scarborough, Dover, and Canterbury are without this provision against fire. None of these keeps appear to have more than three storeys above the basement. None of the entrances to the keeps (except Tickhill) have any portcullis grooves,* nor any special contrivances for defence, except at Canterbury, where the entrance (on the first floor) takes two turns at right angles before reaching the hall to which it leads. There are nearly always
1 Henry built one shell keep of rubble and rag, that of Berkeley Castle, which is not mentioned in the Pipe Rolls, having been built before his accession. It is noteworthy that he did not build it for himself, but for his ally, Robert Fitz Hardinge.
2 The basement storey of Chester keep (the only part which now remains) is also vaulted, but this can scarcely be Henry's work, for though he spent 102 on this castle in 1159, it must have been begun by Ranulf, Earl of Chester, in Stephen's reign. Moreover, it is doubtful whether the vaulting, which is covered by whitewash, is really ancient.
3 Leland says of Wark, "the dongeon is made of foure howses hight," but probably he included the basement.
4 The earliest instance of a portcullis groove with which the writer is acquainted is in the basement entrance of Colchester. It is obvious to anyone who carefully examines this entrance and the great stair to the left of it that they are additions of a later time than William's work. The details seem to point to Henry I.'s reign. The keep of Rochester has also a portcullis groove which seems to be a later addition.