Page images

increased trade and increased exactions, the former being promoted by the greater security given to the roads by the castles, the latter due to the tolls on the high-roads and waterways, which belonged to the king, and the various "customs" belonging to the castles, which, though new, were henceforth equally part of his rights.

THE BAILE HILL, York (Fig. 39).—There can be no doubt whatever that this still existing motte was the site of one of William's castles at York, and it is even probable that it was the older of the two, as Mr Cooper conjectures from its position on the south side of the river. The castle bore the name of the Old Baile at least as early as the 14th century, perhaps even in the 12th. In 1326 a dispute arose between the citizens of York and Archbishop William de Melton as to which of them ought to repair the wall around the Old Baile. The mayor alleged that the district was under the express jurisdiction of the archbishop, exempt from that of the city; the archbishop pleaded that it stood within. the ditches of the city. The meaning of this dispute can only be understood in the light of facts which have recently been unearthed by the industry and observation of Mr T. P. Cooper, of York. The Old Baile, like so many of William's castles, originally stood outside the ramparts of the city. The original Roman walls of York (it is believed) enclosed only a small space on the eastern shore of the Ouse, and before the Norman


1 York: The Story of its Walls and Castles, by T. P. Cooper, p. 222. 2 See the passage from Hoveden already quoted, ante, p. 245. 3 Drake's Eboracum, App. xliv.

4 See Mr Cooper's York: The Story of its Walls and Castles, which contains a mass of new material from documentary sources, and sheds quite unexpected light on the history of the York fortifications. I am indebted to Mr Cooper's courtesy for some of the extracts cited above relating to York Castle.




Conquest the city had far outgrown these bounds, and therefore had been enlarged in Anglo-Saxon times. appears that the Micklegate suburb was then for the first time enclosed with a wall, and as this district is spoken of in Domesday Book as "the shire of the archbishop," it was evidently under his jurisdiction. At a later period this wall was buried in an earthen bank, which probably carried a palisade on top, until the palisade was replaced by stone walls in the reign of Henry III.1

The evidence of the actual remains renders it more than probable that this rampart turned towards the river at a point 500 feet short of its present angle, so that the Old Baile, when first built, was quite outside the city walls. This is exactly how we should expect to find a castle of William the Norman's in relation to one of the most turbulent cities of the realm; and, as we have seen, the other castle at York was similarly placed. By the time of Archbishop Melton the south-western suburb was already enclosed in the new stone walls built in the 13th century, and these walls had been carried along the west and south banks of the Old Baile, so as to enclose that castle within the city. This was

the archbishop's pretext for trying to lay upon the citizens the duty of maintaining the Old Baile. But probably on account of his ancient authority in this part of the city, the cause went against him; though he

1 Cooper's York, chapters ii. and iv. 100l. was spent by the sheriff in fortifying the walls of York in the sixth year of Henry III. After this there are repeated grants for murage in the same and the following reign. There are some Early English buttresses in the walls, but the majority are later. No part of the walls contains Norman work.

2 The details of this evidence, which consist mainly in (1) a structural difference in the extended rampart; (2) a subsidence in the ground marking the old line of the city ditch, will be found in Mr Cooper's work, p. 224.

stipulated that whatever he did in the way of fortification was of his own option, and was not to be accounted a precedent. A contemporary chronicler says that he enclosed the Old Baile first with stout planks 18 feet long, afterwards with a stone wall: an interesting proof that wooden fortifications were still used in the reign of Edward III.


Though the base court of the Old Baile is now built over, its area and ditches were visible in Leland's time, and can still be guessed at by the indications Mr Cooper has noted. The area of the bailey must have been nearly 3 acres, and its shape nearly square. This measurement includes the motte, which was placed in the south-west corner on the line of the banks; it thus overlooked the river as well as the city."

1 "Locum in Eboraco qui dicitur Vetus Ballium, primo spissis et longis 18 pedum tabulis, secundo lapideo muro fortiter includebat." T. Stubbs, in Raine's Historians of the Church of York, ii., 417, R. S.

2 "The plotte of this castelle is now caullid the Olde Baile, and the area and diches of it do manifestley appere." Itin., i., 60.

3 See the plan in Mr Cooper's York, p. 217.



MOTTE-CASTLES are as common in Wales as they are in England, and in certain districts much more common. It is now our task to show how they got there. They were certainly not built (in the first instance at any rate) by the native inhabitants, for they do not correspond to what we know to have been the state of society in Wales during the Anglo-Saxon period.' The Welsh were then in the tribal condition, a condition, as we have shown, inconsistent with the existence of the private castle. The residence of the king or chieftain, as we know from the Welsh Laws, was a great hall, such as seems to have been the type of chieftains' residence among all the northern nations at that time. "It was adapted for the joint occupation of a number of tribesmen living together."


Pennant describes the residence of Ednowen, a Welsh chieftain of the 12th century, as follows: "The remains are about 30 yards square; the entrance about 7 feet wide, with a large upright stone on each side for a doorcase; the walls were formed of large stones uncemented by any mortar; in short the structure shows

1 "In the Wales of the Laws, the social system is tribal." Owen Edwards, Wales, p. 39.

2 Vinogradoff, Growth of the Manor, pp. 15-16.

the very low state of Welsh architecture at this time; it may be paralleled only by the artless fabric of a cattle-house."1 This certainly is a hall and not


The so-called Dimetian Code indeed tells us that the king is to have a man and a horse from every hamlet, with hatchets for constructing his castles (gestyll) at the king's cost; but the Venedotian Code, which is the older MS., says that these hatchet-men are to form encampments (uuesten); that is, they are to cut down trees and form either stockades on banks or rude zerebas for the protection of the host. It is clearly laid down in the Codes what buildings the king's villeins are to erect for him at his residences: a hall, buttery, kitchen, dormitory, stable, dog-house, and little house. In none of these lists is anything mentioned which has the smallest resemblance to a castle, not even a tower. We can imagine that these buildings were enclosed in an earthwork or stockade, but it is not mentioned.*


Wales was never one state, except for very short periods. Normally it was divided into three states, Gwynedd or North Wales, Powys or Mid-Wales, and Deheubarth, all almost incessantly at war with each

1 Pennant's Tour in Wales, Rhys' edition, ii., 234.

2 Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales, pp. 238, 94. The MS. of the Leges Wallica is not earlier than the 13th century. The other editions of the Laws are even later. See Wade Evans, Welsh Mediaval Law, for the most recent criticism of the Laws of Howel Dda.

3 The Leges Wallicæ say: “Villani regis debent facere novem domos ad opus regis; scilicet, aulam, cameram, coquinam, penu (capellam), stabulum, kynorty (stabulum canum), horreum, odyn (siccarium) et latrinam." P. 791.

4 The word Din or Dinas, so often used for a fort in Wales, is cognate with the German Zaun, Anglo-Saxon tun, and means a fenced place. Neither it nor the Irish form dun have any connection with the AngloSaxon dun, a hill. See J. E. Lloyd, Welsh Place-names, "Y Cymmrodor," xi., 24.

« PreviousContinue »