« PreviousContinue »
scarped by art. About 80 feet below the top is a (roughly) half-moon bailey, itself a shelf on the side of the hill; there is another and much smaller shelf at the opposite end. Some foundations found in the S.W. corner of the upper ward appear to indicate a former stone keep. Dunster was only a small manor of half a hide before the Conquest, but afterwards its value tripled. There was a borough as well as a castle.3 The castle became the caput baroniæ of the De Moions, to whom the Conqueror gave fifty-six manors in different parts of the county. There is not the slightest reason to suppose that the site was fortified before the Conquest. Mr Clark remarks that “it is remarkable that no mouldings or fragments of Norman ornament have been dug up in or about the site, although there is original Norman work in the parish church.” The simple explanation, probably, is that the first castle of De Moion was of wood, although on a site where it would have been possible to build in stone from the first, as it does not appear that any part of the motte is artificial. The area of the bailey is i acres. The value of Dunster had risen at the date of Domesday.*
Durham (Fig. 16). — The castle here was first built by the Conqueror, on his return from his expedition against Scotland in 1072. It was intended as a strong residence for the bishop, through whom William
1 Narrow terraces of this kind are found in several mottes, such as Mere, in Wilts. They are probably natural, and may have been utilised as part of the plan. The more regular terraces winding round the motte are generally found where the motte has become part of a pleasure-ground in later times.
2 This is the only case in which I have had to trust to Mr Clark for the description of a castle. M. M. A., ii., 24. 3 Mentioned in Close Rolls, i., 518a.
4 D. B., i., 95b. 5 Symeon of Durham, 1072. “Eodem tempore, scilicet quo rex reversus de Scotia fuerat, in Dunelmo castellum condidit, ubi se cum suis episcopus tute ab incursantibus habere potuisset.”
hoped to govern this turbulent part of the country. He placed it on the neck of the lofty peninsula on which the cathedral stands. The motte of the Conqueror still remains, and so does the chapel which he built in the bailey ; probably the present court of the castle, though crowded now with buildings, represents the outline of the original bailey. The present shell keep on the
” motte was built by Bishop Hatfield in Edward III.'s reign, but has been extensively modernised. There can be little doubt that up to 1345 there were only wooden buildings on the motte, as the writer was informed by Canon Greenwell that no remains of older stone-work than the 14th century had been found there. It is so seldom that we get any contemporary description of a castle, of this kind, that it seems worth while to translate the bombastic verse in which Laurence, Prior of Durham, described that of Durham in Stephen's reign :
“Not far hence [from the north road into the city] a tumulus of rising earth explains the flatness of the excavated summit, explains the narrow field on the flattened vertex, which the apex of the castle occupies with very pleasing art. On this open space the castle is seated like a queen; from its threatening height, it holds all that it sees as its own. From its gate, the stubborn wall rises with the rising mound, and rising still further, makes towards the comfort (amæna) of the keep. But the keep, compacted together, rises again into thin air, strong within and without, well fitted for its work, for within the ground rises higher by three cubits than without-ground made sound by solid earth. Above this, a stalwart house springs yet higher than the [shell] keep, glittering with splendid beauty in every part; four posts are plain, on which it rests, one post at each strong corner. Each face is girded by a beautiful gallery, which is fixed into the warlike wall.3 A bridge, rising from the chapel [in the bailey] gives a ready ascent to the ramparts, easy to climb; starting from them, a broad way makes the round of the top of the wall, and this is the usual way to the top of the citadel. The bridge is divided into easy steps, no headlong drop, but an easy slope from the top to the bottom. Near the [head of the] bridge, a wall descends from the citadel, turning its face westward towards the river. From the river's lofty bank it turns away in a broad curve to meet the field [i.e., Palace Green). It is no bare plot empty of buildings that this high wall surrounds with its sweep, but one containing goodly habitations. There
1 This chapel is an instance of the honour so frequently done to the chapel, which was in many cases built of stone when the rest of the castle was only of timber, and was always the part most lavishly decorated.
? The bailey was twice enlarged by Bishops Flambard and Pudsey. 3 Surtees, Durham, iv., 33.
4 Surtees Society, xx., 11-13. 6 Evidently the southern wing wall up the motte ; but we need not suppose murus to mean a stone wall.
you will find two vast palaces built with porches, the skill of whose builders the building
Domus, a word always used for a habitation in medieval documents, and often applied to a tower, which it evidently means here.
2 This is the only indication which Lawrence gives that the keep was of wood.
3 “Cingitur et pulchra paries sibi quilibet ala,
Omnis et in muro desinit ala fero." The translation is conjectural, but gallery seems to make the best sense, and the allusion probably is to the wooden galleries, or hourdes, which defended the walls.
· Evidently the northern wing wall.
6 This is the bailey; the two vast palaces must mean the hall and the lodgings of the men-at-arms, who did not share the bishop's dwelling in the keep. These were probably all of wood, as the buildings of Durham Castle were burnt at the beginning of Pudsey's episcopate (1153) and restored by him. Surtees Society, ix., 12.