« PreviousContinue »
upon them, although General Köhler in 1887 had already declared that "the researches of recent years have shown that the motte was spread over the whole of Germany, and was in use even in the 13th and 14th centuries." The greater number of the castles described by Piper in his work on Austrian castles are on the motte-and-bailey plan, though the motte in those mountainous provinces is generally of natural rock, isolated either by nature or art. Mottes were not uncommon in Italy, according to Muratori,' and are especially frequent in Calabria, where we may strongly suspect that they were introduced by the Norman conqueror, Robert Guiscard. It is not improbable that the Franks of the first crusade planted in Palestine the type of castle to which they were accustomed at home, for several of the excellent plans in Rey's Architecture des Croisés show clearly enough the motte-and-bailey plan. In most of these cases the motte was a natural rock.
On the other hand, we are told by Köhler that motte-castles are not found among the Slavonic nations, because they never adopted the feudal system. Nor are there any in Norway or Sweden." Denmark has
1 Die Befestigungen der Vorzeit, p. 28.
Entwickelung des Kriegswesens, iii., 370.
3 Antiquitates Italicæ, ii., 504. He says they are many times mentioned both in charters and chronicles in Italy.
We hear of Robert Guiscard building a wooden castle on a hill at Rocca di St Martino in 1047. Amari, Storia dei Musulmani di Sicilia, i., 43. Several place-names in Italy and Sicily are compounded with motta, as the Motta Sant' Anastasia in Sicily. See Amari, ibid., p. 220.
• Especially Montfort and Blanchegarde. But there is a wide field for further research both in Palestine and Sicily.
"Bei den Sclaven haben die Chateaux-à-motte keinen Eingang gefunden, weil ihnen das Lehnswesen fremd geblieben ist." iii., 338.
' Professor Montelius informed the writer that they are quite unknown in Norway or Sweden; and Dr Christison obtained an assurance to the same effect from Herr Hildebrand.
some, which are attributed by Dr Sophus Müller to the mediæval period.1
Of course whenever a motte was thrown up, the first castle upon it must have been a wooden one. A stone keep could not be placed on loose soil. The motte, therefore, must always represent the oldest castle. But there is no reason to think that the motte and its wooden keep were merely temporary expedients, intended always to be replaced as soon as possible by stone buildings. Even after stone castles had been fully developed, wood continued to hold its ground as a solid building material until a very late period. And mottes were used not only throughout the 11th and 12th centuries, but even as late as the 13th. King John built many castles of this type in Ireland; and as late as 1242 Henry III. ordered a motte and wooden castle to be built in the island of Rhé. Muratori gives a much later instance: in 1320 Can Grande caused a great motte to be built near Pavia, and surrounded with a ditch and hedge, in order to build a castle on it."
1 "These are small well-defended places, the stronghold of the individual, built for a great man and his followers, and answering to mediæval conditions, to a more or less developed feudal system." Vor Oldtid, p. 642.
2 I am informed by a skilled engineer that even in the wet climate of England it would take about ten years for the soil to settle sufficiently to bear a stone building.
3 Köhler says: "By far the greater part of the castles of the Teutonic knights in Prussia, until the middle of the fourteenth century, were of wood and earth." Die Entwickelung des Kriegswesen, iii., 376.
4 Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1232-1247, p. 340. Mandate to provost of Oléron to let Frank De Brene have tools to make a new motte in the isle of Rhé. Later the masters and crews of the king's galleys are ordered to help in building the motte and the wooden castle. P. 343.
5 Antiquitates Italicæ, ii., 504. Can Grande's motte at Padua. Anno 1320. "Dominus Alternerius [podesta of Padua]. . . cum maxima quantitate peditum et balistariorum Civitatis Paduæ, iverunt die predicto summo mane per viam Pontis Corvi versus quamdam motam magnam, quam faciebat facere Dominus Canis, cum multis fossis et tajatis ad claudendum Paduanos, ne exirent per illam partem, et volendo ibidem super illam
And as will be seen in the next chapter, there is considerable evidence that many mottes in England which were set up in the reign of William I., retained their wooden towers or stockades even till as late as the reign of Edward I. The motte at Drogheda held out some time against Cromwell, and is spoken of by him as a very strong place, having a good graft (ditch) and strongly palisaded.1 Tickhill Castle in Yorkshire had a palisade on the counterscarp of the ditch when it was taken by Cromwell.2
The position of these motte-castles is wholly different from that of prehistoric fortresses. They are almost invariably placed in the arable country, and as a rule not in isolated situations, but in the immediate neighbourhood of towns or villages. It is rare indeed to find a motte-castle in a wild, mountainous situation in England. The only instance which occurs to the writer is that of the motte on the top of the Hereford Beacon; but there is great probability that this was a post fortified by the Bishop of Hereford in the 13th century to protect his game from the Earl of Gloucester. Nothing pointing to a prehistoric origin was found in this motte when it was excavated by Mr Hilton Price, though the camp in which it is placed is supposed to be prehistoric.
The great majority of mottes in England are planted
motam ædificare castrum. Tunc prædictus Potestas cum aliis nominatis splanare incœperunt, et difecerunt dictam motam cum tajatis et fossa magna."
We may remark here that as early as the 17th century the learned Muratori protested against the equation of mota and fossatum, and laughed at Spelman for making this translation of mota in his Glossary. Antiquitates Italicæ, ii., 504.
1 Cited by Westropp, Journal of R.S.A., Ireland, 1904.
2 Vicars' Parliamentary Chronicle, cited by Hunter, South Yorks, ii., 235. 3 "Camps on the Malvern Hills," Journ. Anthrop. Inst., x., 319.
either on or near Roman or other ancient roads, or on navigable rivers.' It was essential to the Norman settlers that they should be near some road which would help them to visit their other estates, which William had been so careful to scatter, and would also enable them to revisit from time to time their estates in Normandy." The rivers of England were much fuller of water in mediæval times than they are now, and were much more extensively used for traffic; they were real waterways. When we find a motte perched on a river which is not navigable, the purpose probably was to defend some ford, or to exact tolls from passengers. Thus the Ferry Hill (corrupted into Fairy Hill) at Whitwood stands at the spot where the direct road from Pontefract to Leeds would cross the Calder. It was probably not usual for the motte to be dependent on a stream or a spring for its supply of water, and this is another point in which the medieval castle differs markedly from the prehistoric camp; wells have been found in a number of mottes which have been excavated, and it is probable that this was the general plan, though we have not sufficient statistics on this subject as yet.3
Occasionally, but very rarely, we find two mottes in the same castle. The only instances in England known to the writer are at Lewes and Lincoln. It is not
1 M. de Salies has traced in detail the connection between Fulk Nerra's castles and the Roman roads of Anjou and Touraine.
2 See some excellent remarks on this subject in Mr W. St John Hope's paper on "English Fortresses" in Arch. Journ., lx., 72-90.
3 O Only a very small number of mottes have as yet been excavated. Wells were found at Almondbury, Berkeley, Berkhampstead, Carisbrook, Conisborough, Kenilworth, Northallerton, Norwich, Pontefract, Oxford, Tunbridge, Worcester, and York. At Caus, there is a well in the ditch between the motte and the bailey. Frequently there is a second well in the bailey.
4 The writer at one time thought that the ruins at the east end of the castle of Pontefract concealed a second motte, but wishes now to recant this opinion. Eng. Hist. Review, xix., 419.
unfrequent to find a motte very near a stone castle. this case it is either the abandoned site of the original wooden castle, or it is a siege castle raised to blockade the other one. We constantly hear of these siege castles being built in the Middle Ages; their purpose was not for actual attack, but to watch the besieged fort and prevent supplies from being carried in.1 Hillocks
were also thrown up for the purpose of placing balistæ and other siege engines upon them; but these would be much smaller than mottes, and would be placed much nearer the walls than blockade castles.
The mottes of France are in all probability much more decidedly military than those of England. France was a land of private war, after the dissolution of the empire of Charlemagne; and no doubt one of the reasons for the rapid spread of the motte-castle, after its invention, was due to the facilities which it offered for this terrible game. In England the reasons for the erection of mottes seem to have been manorial rather than military; that is, the Norman landholder desired a safe residence for himself amidst a hostile peasantry, rather than a strong military position which could hold out against skilful and well-armed foes.
Attached to the castle, both in England and abroad, we frequently find an additional enclosure, much larger than the comparatively small area of the bailey proper. This was the burgus or borough, which inevitably sprang up round every castle which had a lengthened existence. Our older antiquaries, finding that the word burgenses was commonly used in Domesday in connection
1 Thus Henry I. erected a siege castle to watch Bridgenorth (probably Pampudding Hill), and then went off to besiege another castle. Mr Orpen kindly informs me that the camp from which Philip Augustus besieged Château Gaillard contains a motte. Outside Pickering, Corfe, and Exeter there are earthworks which have probably been siege castles.