Page images

converted into a sort of square motte by digging a great ditch round the two sides of its base towards the town.1 That this ditch is no pre-Roman work is shown by the fact that it stops short at the Roman wall, and begins again on the outside of it, where, however, the greater part has been levelled to form the promenade of the Northernhay or north rampart of the city. On top of this hill, banks 30 feet high were thrown up, which still remain, and give to the courtyard which they enclose the appearance of a pit. On top of these banks there are now stone walls; but these were certainly no part of the work of Baldwin de Molis, who must have placed a wooden stockade on the banks which he constructed. One piece of stonework he probably did set up, the gatehouse, which by its triangle-headed windows and its long-and-short work is almost certainly of the 11th century. It has frequently been called Saxon, but more careful critics now regard it as "work that must have been done, if not by Norman hands, at Norman bidding and on Norman design." It was no uncommon thing at this early period to have gatehouses of stone to walls of earth and wood. Of these gatehouses Exeter is the most perfect and the most clearly stamped with antiquity.

1 The outer ditch may have been of Roman origin, but in that case it must have been carried all round the city, and we are unable to find whether this was the case or not. The banks on the north and east sides must also have been of Roman origin, and if we rightly understand the statements of local antiquaries, the Roman city wall stood upon them, and has actually been found in situ, cased with medieval rubble. Report of Devon Association, 1895.

2 This resemblance to a pit may be seen in every motte which still retains its ancient earthen breast-work, as at Castle Levington, Burton in Lonsdale, and Castlehaugh, Gisburne. Perhaps this is the reason that we so frequently read in the Pipe Rolls of "the houses in the motte" (domos in Mota) instead of on the motte. Devizes Castle is another and still more striking instance. 3 Professor Baldwin Brown, The Arts in Early England, ii., 82.

[blocks in formation]

One thing we look for in vain at Exeter, and that is a citadel. There is no keep, and there is no record that there ever was one, though a chapel, hall, and other houses are mentioned in ancient accounts. Mr Clark says that probably the Normans regarded the whole court as a shell keep. It certainly was, in effect, a motte; but it was altogether exceptional among Norman castles of importance if it had no bailey. And in fact a bailey is mentioned in the Pipe Roll of 1 Richard I., where there is an entry for the cost of making a gaol in the bailey of the castle.1 Now Norden, who published a plan of Exeter in 1619, says that the prison which formerly existed at the bottom of Castle Lane (on the south or city front of the present castle) was "built upon Castle grounde," and he states that the buildings and gardens which have been made on this ground are intrusions on the king's rights. The remarkably full account of the siege of Exeter in the Gesta Stephani speaks of an outer promurale which was taken by Stephen, as well as the inner bridge leading from the town to the castle, before the attack on the castle itself. Unfortunately the word promurale has the same uncertainty about it that attaches to so many mediæval terms, and the description given of it would apply either to the banks of a bailey, or to the heriçon on the counterscarp of the ditch of the motte. We must, therefore, leave it to the reader's judgment whether the evidence given above is sufficient to establish the former existence of a bailey at Exeter, and to place Exeter among the castles of the motteand-bailey type.

The description of the castle given by the writer of

1 "In custamento gaiole in ballia castelli, £16, 15s. 8d."

2 Cited by Dr Oliver, "The Castle of Exeter," in Arch. Journ., vii., 128.

the Gesta has many points of interest.' He describes the castle as standing on a very high mound (editissimo aggere) hedged in by an insurmountable wall, which was defended by "Cæsarian" towers built with the very hardest mortar. This must refer to Roman towers which may have existed on the Roman part of the wall. Whether there was a stone wall on the other two sides, facing the city, may be doubted, as the expenditure entered to Henry II. in the Pipe Rolls suggests that he was the first to put stone walls on the banks, and the two ancient towers which still exist appear to be of his time. The chronicler goes on to say that after Stephen had taken the promurale and broken down the bridge, there were several days and nights of fighting before he could win the castle, which was eventually forced to surrender by the drying-up of the wells. The mining operations which he describes were no doubt undertaken with the view of shaking down the Roman wall at the angle where it joins the artificial bank of Baldwin de Molis. Possibly the chamber in the rock with the mysterious passages leading from it, which is still to be

1 The whole of this passage is worth quoting: "Castellum in ea situm, editissimo aggere sublatum, muro inexpugnabile obseptum, turribus Cæsarianis inseissili calce confectis firmatum. Agmine peditum instructissime armato exterius promurale, quod ad castellum muniendum aggere cumulatissimo in altum sustollebatur, expulsis constanter hostibus suscepit, pontemque interiorem, quo ad urbem de castello incessus protendebatur, viriliter infregit, lignorumque ingentia artificia, quibus de muro pugnare intentibus resisteretur, mire et artificiose exaltavit. Die etiam et noctu graviter et intente obsidionem clausis inferre; nunc cum armatis aggerem incessu quadrupede conscendentibus rixam pugnacem secum committere; nunc cum innumeris fundatoribus, qui e diverso conducti fuerunt, intolerabile eos lapidum grandine infestare; aliquando autem ascitis eis, qui massæ subterranæ cautius norunt venus incidere, ad murum diruendum viscera terræ scutari præcipere: nonnunquam etiam machinas diversi generis, alias in altum sublatis, alias humo tenus depressas, istas ad inspiciendam quidnam rerum in castello gereretur, illas ad murum quassandum vel obruendum aptare." Gesta Stephani, R. S., 23.

2 Pipe Rolls, 1169-1186.

[blocks in formation]

seen in the garden of Miss Owthwaite, at the point where the ditch ends, is the work of Stephen's miners.1 The description of his soldiers scrambling up the agger on their hands and knees (quadrupede incessu) will be well understood by those who have seen the castle bank as it still rises from that ditch.

The present ward of Exeter Castle, which is rudely square in plan, covers an area of 2 acres, which is as large as the whole area of many of the smaller Norman castles. The castle was allowed to fall into decay as early as 1549, and since then it has been devastated by the building of a Sessions House and a gaol. No plan has been preserved of the former buildings in this court, though the site of the chapel is known.

There is no statement in Domesday Book as to the value of Exeter.

EYE, Suffolk (Fig. 17).-This castle was built by William Malet, one of the companions of the Conqueror, who is described as having been half Norman and half English. Eye, as its name implies, seems to have been an island in a marsh in Norman times, and therefore a naturally defensible situation. The references in the Pibe Rolls to the palicium and the bretasches of Eye Castle show that the outer defences of the castle at any rate were of wood in the days of Henry II.


1 The difficulty about this, however, is that passages branch off from the central cave in every direction.

2 Oliver's History of Exeter, p. 186.

3 [Willelmus Malet] fecit suum castellum ad Eiam. D. B., ii., 379. For Malet, see Freeman, N. C., 466, note 4.

"In operatione castelli de Eya et reparatione veterarum bretascharum et 2 novarum bretascharum et fossatorum et pro carriagio et petra et aliis minutis operationibus 207. 18s. 4d. Pipe Rolls, xix., 19 Henry II. The small quantity of stone referred to here can only be for some auxiliary work. The bretasches in this case will be mural towers of wood. "In emendatione palicii et 1 exclusæ vivarii et domorum castelli 20s." 28 Henry II.

there were works in masonry at some subsequent period is shown by a solitary vestige of a wing wall of flints which runs up the motte. A modern tower now occupies the summit. The bailey of the castle, the outline of which can still be traced, though the area is covered with buildings and gardens, was oval in shape, and covered 2 acres.

The value of the manor of Eye had gone up since the Conquest from £15 to £21. This must have been due to the castle and to the market which Robert Malet or his son William established close to the castle; for the stock on the manor and the number of ploughs had actually decreased. A proof that there is no deliberate register of castles in Domesday Book is furnished by the very careful inventory of the manor of Eye, where there is no mention of a castle, though it is noticed that there are now a park and a market; and it is only in the account of the lands of the bishop of Thetford, in mentioning the injury which William Malet's market at Eye had done to the bishop's market at Hoxne, that the castle of Eye is named.

GLOUCESTER."There were sixteen houses where the castle sits, but now they are gone, and fourteen have been destroyed in the burgus of the city," says Domesday Book. Gloucester was undoubtedly a Roman chester, and Roman pavements have been found there.3 The description in the Survey would lead us to think that the castle was outside the ancient walls, though

1 D. B., ii., 319, 320.

2 D. B., i., 162. "Sedecim domus erant ubi sedet castellum, quæ modo desunt, et in burgo civitatis sunt wastatæ 14 domus."

3 Rudge, History of Gloucester, p. 7. Haverfield, Romanisation of Britain, p. 204.

4 It is, however, possible that by the burgus may be meant a later quarter which had been added to the city.

« PreviousContinue »