« PreviousContinue »
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
powerful leaders, of whom one was chosen as head, and was implicitedly obeyed, but had only a temporary authority. We should not, therefore, expect to find the Danish camps provided with the citadels by which the feudal baron defended his personal safety. When Rollo and his host were coming up the Seine, the Frankish king Raoul sent messengers to ask them who they were, and what was the name of their chief. “Danes,” was the reply, “and we have no chief, for we are all equal.”? That such an answer would be given by men who were following a leader so distinguished as Rollo shows the spirit of independence which pervaded the Danish hosts, and how little a separate fortification for the chief would comport with their methods of warfare, 8
We may conclude, then, with every appearance of certainty that the Danish camps were enclosures of large area which very much resembled the larger Roman castra, and that, like these, they frequently grew into towns. Placed as they generally were on good havens, or on navigable rivers, they were most suitable places for trade; and it turned out that the Danes, who were a people of great natural aptitudes, had a special aptitude for commerce.* Dr Cunningham remarks that they were the leading merchants of the country, and he attributes to them a large share in the development of town life in England. The organisation of their
” armies was purely military, but at the same time i Normannerne, i., 282.
2 Dudo, 76 (Duchesne). * Herr Steenstrup shows that so far from the settlement of the Danes in Normandy being on feudal lines, they only reluctantly accepted the feudal yoke, and not till the next century. Normannerne, i., 305, 310. It is not till the 11th century that feudal castles become general in Normandy.
4 The Danes in Normandy soon made Rouen a great centre of trade, Normannerne, i., 190.
5 Cunningham's Growth of English Industry, i., 92.
democratic; and when it was applied to a settled life in the new country, the organisation of the town was the form which it took. The Lagmen of Lincoln, Stamford, Cambridge, Chester, and York are a peculiarly Scandinavian institution, which we find still existing at the time of the Domesday Survey.
Thus we see that the fortifications of the Danes, like those of the Anglo-Saxons, were the fortifications of the community.
And we shall see in the next chapter that this was the general type of the fortifications which were being raised in Western Europe in the 9th century.
See Vinogradoff, English Society in the 11th Century, pp. 5, 11, 478.
THE ORIGIN OF PRIVATE CASTLES
We have now seen that history furnishes no instance of the existence of private castles among the Anglo-Saxons or the Danes (previous to the arrival of Edward the Confessor's Norman friends), and we have endeavoured to show that this negative evidence is of great significance. If, assuming that we are right in accepting it as conclusive, we ask why the Anglo-Saxons did not build private castles, the answer is ready to hand in the researches of the late Dr Stubbs, the late Professor Maitland, Dr J. H. Round, and Professor Vinogradoff, which have thrown so much fresh light on the constitutional history of England. These writers have made it clear that whatever tendencies towards feudalism there were in England before the Conquest, the system of military tenure, which is the backbone of feudalism, was introduced into England by William the Conqueror. “Feudalism, in both tenure and government was, so far as it existed in England, brought full-grown from France," says Dr Stubbs; and this statement is not merely supported, but strengthened, by the work of the later writers named. The institutions of the AngloSaxons, when they settled in England, were tribal; and though these institutions were in a state of decay in the 11th century, they were not completely superseded by feudal institutions till after the Norman Conquest.
1 See Stubbs, Constitutional History, i., 251 ; Maitland's Domesday Book and Beyond, p. 157 ; Round's Feudal England, p. 261 ; Vinogradoff's English Society in the with Century, p. 41.
We should naturally expect, then, that the fortifications erected by the Anglo-Saxons would be those adapted to their originally tribal state, that is, in the words which we have so often used already, they would be those of the community and not of the individual. And as far as we can discover the character of these fortifications, we find that this was actually the case. As we have seen, we find one of the earliest kings, Ida, building for the defence of himself and his followers what Bede calls a city; and we find Alfred and his children also building and repairing cities, at the time of the Danish invasions.
The same kind of thing was going on at about the same time in Germany and in France. Henry the Fowler (919-936), that great restorer of the Austrasian kingdom, planted on the frontiers which were exposed to the attacks of the Danes and Huns a number of walled strongholds, not only for the purpose of resisting invasion, but to afford a place of refuge to all the inhabitants of the country.
He ordained that every ninth man of the peasants in the district must build
i Professor Maitland wrote: “The definitely feudal idea that military service is the tenant's return for the gift of land did not exist [before the Norman Conquest], though a state of things had been evolved which for many practical purposes was indistinguishable from the system of knight's fees.” Domesday Book and Beyond, p. 157. Dr Round holds that "the military service of the Anglo-Norman tenant-in-chief was in no way derived or developed from that of the Anglo-Saxons, but was arbitrarily fixed by the king, from whom he received his fief." Feudal England, p. 261. Similarly, Professor Vinogradoff states that “the law of military fees is in substance French law brought over to England by the [Norman] conquerors.” English Society in the vith Century, p. 41.
for himself and his nine companions a dwelling in the “Burg,”and provide barns and storehouses, and that the third
part of all crops must be delivered and housed in these towns. In this way, says the historian Giesebrecht,
" he sought to accustom the Saxons, who had hitherto dwelt in isolated farms, or open villages, to life in towns. He ordered that all assemblies of the people should be held in towns. Giesebrecht also remarks that it is not improbable that Henry the Fowler had the example of Edward the Elder of England before his eyes when he established these rows of frontier towns.?
The same causes led, on Neustrian soil, to the fortification of a number of cities, the walls of which had
a fallen into decay during the period of peace before the invasions of the Danes. Thus Charles the Bald commanded Le Mans and Tours to be fortified “as a defence for the people against the Northmen." 3
The bishops were particularly active in thus defending the people of their dioceses. Archbishop Fulk rebuilt the walls of Rheims, between 884 and 900;* his successor, Hervey, fortified the town of Coucy(about 900); the Bishop of
1 Giesebrecht, Geschichte der Kaiserzeit, i., 224. The word Burg, which Giesebrecht uses for these strongholds, means a castle in modern German ; but its ancient meaning was a town (see Hilprecht's German Dictionary), and it corresponded exactly to the Anglo-Saxon burh. It was used in this sense at least as late as the end of the 12th century; see, e.g., Lamprecht's Alexanderlied, passim. It is clear by the context that Giesebrecht employs it in its ancient sense.
2 Ibid., 222. Henry's son Otto married a daughter of Edward the Elder. Henry received the nickname of Townfounder (Städtegründer).
3 “Carolus civitates Transsequanas ab incolis firmari rogavit, Cinomannis scilicet et Turonis, ut præsidio contra Nortmanpos populis esse possent.” Annales Bertinianorum, Migne, Pat., 125, 53.
4 Flodoard, Hist. Ecc. Remensis, iv., viii.
6 Modern historians generally say that he built the castle of Coucy; but from Flodoard's account it seems very doubtful whether anything but the town is meant. Annales, iv., xiii. His words are: “Munitionem quoque apud Codiciacum tuto loco constituit atque firmavit.” Munitio properly means a bulwark or wall.