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INTRODUCTION OF ROUND KEEPS
The greatest architectural change witnessed at the end of the 12th century was the victory of the round keep over the square. Round towers were built by the Romans as mural towers, but the universal type of mediæval keep appears to have been the square or oblong, until towards the end of the 12th century.1 The polygonal keep was probably a transitional form ; we have seen that Henry II.'s polygonal keep at Orford was begun as early as 1165. Many experiments seem to have been made at the end of the 12th century, such as the addition of a stone prow to the weakest side of a keep, to enable it better to resist showers of missiles. Richard I.'s keep at Chateau Gaillard is a round keep with a solid prow of this kind. Five-sided keeps are said to be not uncommon on the left bank of the Rhine and in Nassau; this type was simply the addition of a prow to a square keep. The only English instance. known to the writer is that of Mitford, Northumberland, but this is merely a five-sided keep, the prow is not solid, as at Chateau Gaillard. The castle of Étampes, whose plan is a quatrefoil, is assigned by French archæologists to this period of experiment. But the round keep was eventually the type preferred. Philip II. thought it necessary to add a round keep to the castle of Gisors, after he had taken it from John, and he adopted the round keep for all his new castles, of which the Louvre was one.3
Along with the round keep, ground entrances became
1 Köhler gives the reign of Frederic Barbarossa (1155-1191) as the time of the first appearance of the round keep in Germany.
2 In spite of this, I cannot feel satisfied that the keep of Étampes is of so early a date. The decorative features appear early, but the second and third storeys are both vaulted, which is a late sign. The keep called Clifford's Tower at York, built by Henry III. 1245 to 1259, is on the same plan as Étampes.
3 This keep has been long destroyed.
common.1 Viollet le Duc states that when the French soldiers broke into the inner ward at Chateau Gaillard the defenders had no time to escape into the keep by the narrow stair which led to the first floor, and consequently this proud tower was surrendered without a blow; and that this event so impressed on Philip's mind the danger of difficult entrances that he abandoned the old fashion. This may be true, but it is a pure guess of Le Duc's, as there is nothing whatever to justify it in William the Breton's circumstantial narrative. It is, however, certain that Philip adopted the ground entrance to all his keeps. In England we find ground entrances to many round keeps of the 13th century, as at Pembroke; but the older fashion was sometimes retained; Conisburgh, one of the finest keeps in England, has its entrance on the first floor.2
After the introduction of the trébuchet, we might expect that the walls of keeps would be made very much thicker, and such seems to have been the case in France,3 but we do not find that it was the rule in England.* The lower storeys were now generally instead of occasionally vaulted. In the course of the 13th century it became common to vault all the storeys. But in spite of the military advantages of the round keep, in its avoidance of angles favourable to the battering-ram, and
1 Ground entrances occur in several much earlier keeps, as at Colchester (almost certainly an addition of Henry I.'s time), Bamborough (probably Henry II.'s reign), and Richmond, where Earl Conan seems to have used a former entrance gateway to make the basement entrance of his keep. See Milward, Arch. Journ., vol. v.
2 Built by Earl Hamelin, half-brother of Henry II., who died in 1201. 3 Viollet le Duc, art. "Donjon."
4 The walls of the Tower are from 12 to 15 feet thick at the base; those of Norwich 13; the four walls of Dover respectively, 17, 18, 19, and 21 feet; Carlisle, 15 feet on two sides. (Clark.) William of Worcester tells us that Bristol keep was 25 feet thick at the base! Itin., p. 260.
THE KEEPLESS CASTLE
its deflection of missiles, the square keep continued to be built in various parts of both France and England till quite late in the Middle Ages.1 On the Scottish border, square towers of the ancient type, with quite Norman decorations, were built as late as the 15th century." The advantage of the square tower was that it was more roomy inside, and was therefore preferred when the tower was intended for habitation.
We come now to the greatest of all the changes introduced in the 13th century: the keepless castle, in which the keep is done away with altogether, and the castle consists of a square or oblong court surrounded by a strong wall with massive towers at the angles, and in large castles, in the curtain also. Usually this inner quadrangle is encircled with an outer quadrangle of walls and towers, so that this type of castle is frequently called the concentric. But the castles of the keepless kind are not invariably concentric; those built by Edward I. at Conway, Carnarvon, and Flint are not so. Instead of a dark and comfortless keep, the royal or noble owner is provided in this type of castle with a palatial house. In England this house is frequently attached to the gateway, forming what we may call a gatehouse palace; good examples may be seen at Beaumaris, Harlech, and Tonbridge. The gate
1 See Enlart, Manuel d'Archæologie Française, ii., 526.
2 MacGibbon and Ross, Castellated Architecture of Scotland, p. 159. 3 This type of castle was probably borrowed from the fortifications of Greek cities, which the Crusaders had observed in the East.
♦ Conway and Carnarvon consist of two adjoining courts, without any external enclosure but a moat. Flint has a great tower outside the quadrangle, which is sometimes mistakenly called a keep, but its internal arrangements show that it was not so, and it is doubtful whether it was ever roofed over. It was simply a tower to protect the entrance, taking the place of the 13th-century barbican.
5 Köhler states that the gatehouse palace is peculiar to England: "only at Perpignan is there anything like it." Entwickelung des Kriegswesen, iii., 480.
way itself is always defended by a pair of massive
Edward I. is generally credited with the introduction of this type of castle into England, but until the Pipe Rolls of Henry III.'s reign have been carefully examined, we cannot be certain that it was not introduced earlier. It was certainly known in Germany fifty years before Edward's accession to the throne, and in France as early as 1231.1
It is always supposed that this type of castle was introduced by the Crusaders from Syria. But when did it make its first appearance in Syria? This is a point which, we venture to think, has not been yet sufficiently investigated. We do not believe that it can have existed in Syria at the time of the third crusade, otherwise Richard I., who is universally acknowledged to have been a first-class military architect, would have brought the idea home with him. Yet his favourite castle of Chateau Gaillard, built in accordance with the latest military science, is in the main a castle of the keep-and-bailey type, and has even a reminiscence of the motte, in the scarped rock on which the keep and inner ward are placed.
1 Köhler mentions the castle of Neu Leiningen as the first example in Germany, built in 1224. Kriegswesen, iii., 475. Frederic II.'s castles were of this type. The castle of Boulogne, finished in 1231, is one of the oldest examples of the keepless type in France. Enlart, Archæologie Française, ii., 534. The Bastille of Paris was a castle of this kind. According to Hartshorne, Barnwell Castle, in Northants, is of the keepless kind, and as the Hundred Rolls state that it was built in 1264, we seem to have here a positive instance of a keepless castle in Henry III.'s reign. Arch. Inst. Newcastle, vol. 1852. And it appears to be certain that Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, built the keepless castle of Caerphilly before Edward came to the throne. See Little's Mediæval Wales, p. 87.
2 French archæologists are enthusiastic over the keep of Chateau Gaillard, the scientific construction of the towers of the curtain, the avoidance of "dead angles," the continuous flanking, etc. See Viollet le Duc, art. 'Chateau," and Dieulafoy, Le Chateau Gaillard.
LAWS RELATING TO CASTLES
The new type of keepless castle never entirely displaced the old keep-and-bailey type. We have already seen that keeps of the old sort continued to be built till the end of the Middle Ages. Hawarden Castle has a good example of a 14th-century round keep; Warkworth a most remarkable specimen of the 15th, the plan being a square tower with polygonal turrets set on each face. In France and Germany also the old type appears to have persisted."
We have already trespassed beyond the limits of our subject; but as we offer this chapter more as a programme of work than as a categorical outline, we trust it may not be without use to the student who may feel disposed to take up this much-neglected subject.
A few words must yet be said about the state of the law relating to castles. Nothing explicit has come down to us on this subject from the 11th century in England, but it is clear that the feudal system which William introduced, and which required that all lands should revert to the king on the death of the holder, forbade the building of any castle without the king's license, and, further, allowed only a life tenure in each case. The Council of Lillebonne in 1080 had laid it down in express terms that no one should build a castle in Normandy without the permission of the duke;3
1 This type is extremely rare: Trim, in Ireland, and Castle Rushen, in the Isle of Man, are the only other instances known to the writer. Trim is a square tower with square turrets in the middle of each face; Castle Rushen is on the same plan, but the central part appears to have been an open court.
2 Enlart, Archæologie Française, ii., 516.
3 Martène's Thesaurus Anecdotorum, iv., 118. "Nulli licuit in Normannia fossatum facere in planam terram, nisi tale quod de fundo potuisset terram jactare superius sine scabello. Et ibi nulli licuit facere palicium, nisi in una regula; et id sine propugnaculis et alatoriis. Et in rupe et in insula nulli licuit facere fortitudinem, et nulli licuit in Normannia castellum facere."