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the counts of Guisnes, and its editor regards the early part of it as fabulous. That Sigfrid fortified the town of Guisnes we can easily believe, as we know the Danes commonly did the like (see Chapter IV.); but that he built himself a personal castle is unlikely.'
It is the more unlikely, because the Danes in Normandy do not appear to have built personal castles until the feudal system was introduced there by Richard Sans Peur. The settlement in Normandy was not on feudal lines. "Rollo divided out the lands among his powerful comrades, and there is scarcely any doubt that they received these lands as inheritable property, without any other pledge than to help Rollo in the defence of the country."2 "The Norman constitution at Rollo's death can be described thus, that the duke ruled the country as an independent prince in relation to the Franks; but for its internal government he had a council at his side, whose individual members felt themselves almost as powerful as the duke himself." Sir Francis Palgrave asserts that feudalism was introduced into Normandy by the Duke Richard Sans Peur, the grandson of Rollo, towards the middle of the 10th century. He "enforced a most extensive conversion of allodial lands into feudal tenure," and exacted from his baronage the same feudal submission which he himself had rendered to Hugh Capet.*
It is quite in accordance with this that in the narrative of Dudo, who is our only authority for the history of Normandy in the 10th century, there is no mention of a private castle anywhere. We are told
1 Ducange conjectured that the motte-castle took its origin in Flanders, but it was probably the passage cited above from Lambert which led him to this conclusion. See art. "Mota" in Ducange's Glossarium.
" Steenstrup, Normannerne, i., 297. 4 England and Normandy, ii., 535.
3 Ibid., i., 301.
THE INVENTION OF MOTTES
77 that Rollo restored the walls and towers of the cities of Normandy,' and it is clear from the context that the castra of Rouen, Fécamp, and Evreux, which are mentioned, are fortified cities, not castles. Even the ducal residence at Rouen is spoken of as a palatium or an aula, not as a castle; and it does not appear to have possessed a keep until (as we are told by a later writer) the same Duke Richard who introduced the feudal system into Normandy built one for his own residence." It is possible that when the feudal oath was exacted from the more important barons, permission was given to them to build castles for themselves; thus we hear from Ordericus of the castle of Aquila, built in the days of Duke Richard; the castle of the lords of Grantmesnil at Norrei; the castle of Belesme; all of which appear to have been private castles. But there seems to have been no general building of castles until the time of William the Conqueror's minority, when his rebellious subjects raised castles against him on all sides. "Plura per loca aggeres erexerunt, et tutissimas sibi munitiones construxerunt." 4 It is generally, and doubtless correctly, supposed that aggeres in this passage means mottes, and taking this statement along with the great number of mottes which are still to be found in Normandy, it has been further assumed (and the present writer was disposed to share the idea) that this was the time of the first invention of mottes. But the facts
1 "Muros et propugnacula civitatum refecit et augmentavit." Dudo, p. 85 (Duchesne's edition).
2 Henricus rex circa turrem Rothomagi, quam ædificavit primus Richardus dux Normannorum in palatium sibi, murum altum et latum cum propugnaculis ædificat." Robert of Toringy, R.S., p. 106.
3 Ordericus, ii., 15, 17, 46 (edition Prévost).
4 William of Jumièges, anno 1035. Mr Freeman remarks that the language of William would lead us to suppose that the practice of castlebuilding was new.
which have been now adduced, tracing back the first known mottes to the time of Thibault-le-Tricheur, and the county of Blois, show that the Norman claim to the invention of this mode of fortification must be given up. If the Normans were late in adopting feudalism, they were probably equally late in adopting private castles, and the fortifications of William I.'s time were most likely copied from castles outside the Norman frontier.1
It might be thought that the general expectation of the end of the world in the year 1000, which prevailed towards the end of the 10th century, had something to do with the spread of these wooden castles, as it might have seemed scarcely worth while to build costly structures of stone. But it is not necessary to resort to this hypothesis, because there is quite sufficient evidence to show that long before this forecast of doom was accepted, wood was a very common, if not the commonest, material used in fortification. The reader has only to open his Cæsar to see how familiar wooden towers and wooden palisades were to the Romans; and he has only to study carefully the chronicles of the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries to see how allprevalent this mode of fortification continued to be. The general adoption of the feudal system must have brought about a demand for cheap castles, which was excellently met by the motte with its wooden keep and its stockaded bailey. M. Enlart has pointed out that
1 There are some facts which render it probable that the earliest castles built in Normandy were without mottes, and were simple enclosures like those we have described already. Thus the castle of the great family of Montgomeri is an enclosure of this simple kind. Domfront, built by William Talvas in Duke Robert's time, has no motte. On the other hand,
Ivry, built by the Countess Albereda in Duke Richard I.'s days, "on the top of a hill overlooking the town" (William of Jumièges), may possibly have been a motte; and there is a motte at Norrei, which we have just mentioned as an early Norman castle.
SUM OF THE EVIDENCE
wooden defences have one important advantage over stone ones, their greater cohesion, which enabled them to resist the blows of the battering-ram better than rubble masonry.' Their great disadvantage was their liability to fire; but this was obviated, as in the time of the Romans, by spreading wet hides over the outsides. Stone castles were still built, where money and means were available, as we see from Fulk Nerra's keep at Langeais; but the devastations of the Northmen had decimated the population of Gaul; labour must have been dear, and skilled masons hard to find. In these social and economic reasons we have sufficient cause for the rapid spread of wooden castles in France.
The sum of the evidence which we have been reviewing is this: the earliest mottes which we know of were probably built by Thibault-le-Tricheur about the middle of the 10th century. But in the present state of our knowledge we must leave the question of the time and place of their first origin open. The only thing about which we can be certain is that they were the product of feudalism, and cannot have arisen till it had taken root; that is to say, not earlier than the 10th century.
1 Manuel d'Archæologie Française, p. 457.
DISTRIBUTION AND CHARACTERISTICS OF MOTTE-CASTLES
THE motte-and-bailey type of castle is to be found throughout feudal Europe, but is probably more prevalent in France and the British Isles than anywhere else. We say probably, because there are as yet no statistics prepared on which to base a comparison.1 How recent the inquiry into this subject is may be learned from the fact that Krieg von von Hochfelden, writing in 1859, denied the existence of mottes in Germany; and even Cohausen in 1898 threw doubt
1 This want will be supplied, as regards England, by the completion of the Victoria County Histories, and as regards France, by the Societé Préhistorique, which is now undertaking a catalogue of all the earthworks of France. The late M. Mortillet, in an article in the Revue Mensuelle de PÉcole d'Anthropologie, viii., 1895, published two lists, one of actual mottes in France, the other of place-names in which the word motte is incorporated. Unfortunately the first list is extremely defective, and the second, as it only relates to the name, is not a safe guide to the proportional numbers of the thing. All that the lists prove is that mottes are to be found in all parts of France, and that place-names into which the word motte enters seem to be more abundant in Central France than anywhere else. It is possible that a careful examination of local chroniclers may lead to the discovery of some earlier motte-builder than Thibault-le-Tricheur. We should probably know more about Thibault's castles were it not that the Pays Chartrain, as Palgrave says, is almost destitute of chroniclers.
2 Cited at length by De Caumont, Bulletin Monumental, ix., 246. Von Hochfelden considered that the origin of feudal fortresses in Germany hardly goes back to the 10th century; only great dukes and counts then thought of fortifying their manors; those of the small nobility date at earliest from the end of the 12th century.