Page images



THIS is derived from the French word hérisson, a hedgehog, and should mean something bristling, perhaps with thorns or osiers. Several passages show that it was a defence on the counterscarp of the ditch, and it may sometimes have been a hedge. Cohausen, Befestigungen der Vorzeit, shows that hedges were frequently used in early fortifications (pp. 8-13). The following passages seem to show clearly that it was on the counterscarp of the ditch: "[Montreuil] il a bien clos, esforce e ferme de pel e hericon." (Wace, 107.) "Reparato exterioris Ardensis munitionis valli fossato et amplificato, et sepibus et ericiis consepto et constipato." (Lambert of Ardres, 623, circa 1117.) The French poem of Jordan Fantosme, describing the siege of Wark by the Scots in 1174, says the Scots attacked and carried the hericon, and got into the ditch, but they could not take the bayle, i.e., they could not get over the palicium.



IN the year 1693, the antiquary Edward Llwyd was sitting on the motte of Tomen y Rhoddwy engaged in making a very bad plan of the castle [published in Arch. Camb., N.S., ii., 57). His guide told him that he had heard his grandfather say that two earls used to live there. Llwyd called the guide an ignorant fellow. Modern traditions are generally the work of some antiquary who has succeeded in planting his theories locally; but here we have a tradition of much earlier date. than the time when antiquaries began to sow tares, and such traditions have usually a shred of truth in them. Is

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

it possible that this castle of Tomen y Rhoddwy and the neighbouring one of Llanarmon were built by the earls of Chester and Shrewsbury, who certainly went on expeditions together against Wales, and appear to have divided their conquests? It is to be noted that the township is called Bodigre yr Yarll, the township of the earls.



THIS information is kindly supplied by Mr Goddard H. Orpen, who writes to me: "I visited Tullow lately, and asked myself where would a Norman erect a mote, and I had no difficulty in answering: on the high ground near where the Protestant church stands. When I got up there the first thing that I noticed was that the church stood on a platform of earth 10 to 14 feet higher than the road, and that this platform was held in position by a strong retaining wall, well battered towards the bottom on one side. I then found on enquiry that the hill on which it stood and the place to the N.W. of it was called the 'Castle Hill.' On going round to the N.W. of the church I found a horseshoe-shaped space, scarped all round to a height of 6 to 10 feet, and rising to about 16 feet above the adjoining fields. There is no doubt that this was the site of the castle, and that it was artificially raised. To my mind there was further little doubt that it represented an earlier mote. In a field adjoining on the W. I could detect a platform of about 50 to 70 paces, with traces of a fosse round the three outer sides. . . . This was certainly the Castellum de Tulach mentioned in the deeds concerning Raymond le Gros' grant to the Abbey of St Thomas.-Dublin Reg. St Thomas, pp. III, 113."



MR WESTROPP says that the "great earthworks and fosses " on the Hill of Slane are mentioned in the "Life of St Patrick " (Journ. R. S. A. I., 1904, p. 313). What the Life really says is: "They came to Ferta Fer Fiecc," which is translated "the graves of Fiacc's men"; and the notes of Muirchu Maccu-Machtheni add, "which, as fables say, were dug by the slaves of Feccol Ferchertni, one of the nine Wizards" (Tripartite Life, p. 278). It does not mention any fort, or even a hill, and though Ferta Fer Fiecc is identified with Slane, there is nothing to show what part of Slane it was.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

PROFESSOR SKEAT and The New English Dictionary derive this word from the Low Latin, dominionem, acc. of dominio, lordship. Leland frequently speaks of the keep as the dungeon, which of course is the same word. Its modern use for a subterranean prison seems to have arisen when the keeps were abandoned for more spacious and comfortable habitations by the noble owners, and were chiefly used as prisons. The word dunio, which, as we have seen, Lambert of Ardres used for a motte, probably comes from a different root, cognate with the Anglo-Saxon dun, a hill, and used in Flanders for the numerous sandhills of that coast.





WE get a glimpse of these in a story given in the "Gesta Ambasiensium Dominorum," D'Archery, Spicilegium, 278. Sulpicius the Treasurer of the Abbey of St Martin at Tours, an important personage, built a stone keep at Amboise in 1015 (Chron. Turonense Magnum), in place of the "wooden house" which his brother had held. In the time of Fulk Rechin (1066-1106), this keep was in the hands of the adherents of the counts of Blois. Hugh, son of Sulpicius, with two other men, hid themselves by night in the basement, which was used as a storehouse; it must therefore have had an entrance from outside. With the help of ropes, they climbed up a sewer into the bedchamber, which was above the cellar, and evidently had no stair communicating with the cellar. Here they found the lady of the house and two maids sleeping, and a watchman who was also asleep. While one of the men held these in terror with a drawn sword, the other two climbed up a ladder and through a trap-door up to the roof of the tower, where they unfurled the banner of Hugh. Here we see a very simple keep, which has only one storey above the basement; this may have been divided into two or more apartments, but it was thought a fitting residence for a lady of rank. It had no stairs, but all the communications were by trap-doors and ladders. We may be quite sure that the people of rank of the 11th and 12th centuries were content with much rougher accommodation than Mr Clark imagined. Even Richard I.'s much admired keep of Chateau Gaillard appears to have had no communication but ladders between the floors.



THE description of a keep which we have already given from Lambert of Ardres (Chap. VI.) is sufficient to prove that even wooden keeps in the 12th century were used as permanent residences, and this is confirmed by many scattered notices in the various chronicles of France and England. It was not till late in the 13th century that the desire for more comfortable rooms led to the building of chambers in the courtyard.



THE castles, which according to Robert de Monte, Henry I. built altogether [ex integro] were Drincourt, Chateauneuf-surEpte, Verneuil, Nonancourt, Bonmoulins, Colmemont, Pontorson, St Denis-en-Lyons, and Vaudreuil. Many of these may have been wooden castles; Chateauneuf-sur-Epte almost certainly was; it has now a round donjon on a motte. The "Tour Grise" at Verneuil is certainly not the work of Henry I., but belongs to the 13th century.

« PreviousContinue »