Page images

Earl Hugh and his vassal Robert. They shared between them the castle and the new borough which was built near it." One word about this new borough, which will apply to the other boroughs planted by Norman castles. There were no towns in Wales of any importance before the Norman Conquest, and this civilising institution of the borough is the one great set-off to the cruelty and unrighteousness of the conquest. Mills, markets, and trade arose where castles were seated, and civilisation followed in their train. The castle of Hugh and Robert was

was not the magnificent building which still stands at Rhuddlan, for that is entirely the work of Edward I., and there is documentary evidence that Edward made a purchase of new land for the site of his castle. More probably Robert and Hugh had a wooden castle on the now reduced motte which may be seen to the south of Edward's castle. In Gough's time this motte was still “surrounded with a very deep ditch, including the abbey.” Nothing can be seen of this ditch now, except on the south side of the motte, where a deep ravine runs up from the river. As from Gough's description the

been specially visited for this work are marked with an asterisk. Those which have been visited by others than the writer are marked with initials : D. H. M. being Mr D. H. Montgomerie, F.S.A.; B. T. S., Mr Basil T. Stallybrass; and H. W., the Rev. Herbert White, M.A. This plan will be followed in the three succeeding chapters.

1 “Hugo comes tenet de rege Roelent (Rhuddlan). Ibi T. R. E. jacebat Englefield, et tota erat wasta. Edwinus comes tenebat. Quando Hugo comes recipit similiter erat wasta. Modo habet in dominio medietatem castelli quod Roelent vocatur, et caput est hujus terræ. . . . Robertus de Roelent tenet de Hugone comite medietatem ejusdem castelli et burgi, in quo habet ipse Robertus 10 burgenses et medietatem ecclesiæ. Ibi est novus burgus et in eo 10 burgenses. . . . In ipso manerio est factum noviter castellum similiter Roeland appellatum.” D. B., i., 269a, 1.

2 Ayloffe's Rotuli Wallia, p. 75. “De providendo indempnitati magistri Ricardi Bernard, Personæ Ecclesiæ de Rothelan', in recompensionem terræ suæ occupatæ ad placeam castri de Rothelan' elargandam."




able camp.

hillock (called Tut Hill)" was within the precincts of the priory of Black Friars, founded in the 13th century, it is extremely probable that Edward gave the site of the old castle to the Dominicans when he built his new one.?

Another of the castles of Robert of Rhuddlan was DEGANWY, or Gannoc, which defended the mouth of the Conway. Here it is said that there was an ancient seat of the kings of Gwynedd.* The two conical hills which rise here offer an excellent site for fortification, one of them being large enough on top for a consider

The Norman Conqueror treated them as two mottes, and connected them by walls so as to form a bailey below them. The stone fortifications are probably the remains of the castle built by the Earl of Chester in 1211. This castle was naturally a sorely contested point, and often passed from hand to hand; but it was in English possession in the reign of Henry III. It was abandoned when Edward I. built his great castle at Conway.

1 Tut or Toot Hill means “look-out” hill; the name is not unfrequently given to abandoned mottes. The word is still used locally. Cf. Christison, Early Fortifications in Scotland, p. 16.

? Such presentations of abandoned castle sites, and of old wooden castles, to the church, were not uncommon. We have seen how the site of Montacute Castle was given to the Cluniac monks (ante, p. 170). Thicket Priory, in Yorkshire, occupied the site of the castle of Wheldrake ; and William de Albini gave the site and materials of the old castle of Buckenham, in Norfolk, to the new castle which he founded there. The materials, but not the site, of the wooden castle of Montferrand were given in Stephen's reign to Meaux Abbey, and served to build some of the monastic offices. Chron, de Melsa, i., 106.

3 "Fines suos dilatavit, et in monte Dagannoth, qui mari contiguus est, fortissimum castellum condidit.” Ordericus, ii., 284 (edition Prévost). The verb condere is never used except for a new foundation.

4 The Brut says that in the year 823 the Saxons destroyed the Castle of Deganwy. This is one of the only two instances in which the word castell is used in this Welsh chronicle before the coming of the Normans. As the MS. is not earlier than the 14th century it would be idle to claim this as a proof of the existence of a castle at this period. Castell, in Welsh, is believed to have come straight from the Latin, and was applied to any kind of fortress. Lloyd, Welsh Place-names, “ Y Cymmrodor,” xi., 28.

5 The “new castle of Aberconwy” mentioned by the Brut in 1211, undoubtedly means this new stone castle built by the earl at Deganwy, as the castle of Conway did not then exist.

With its usual indifference, the Survey mentions no castle in Flintshire, but we may be sure that the castle of Mold, or Montalto (Fig. 40), was one of the earliest by which the Norman acquisitions in that region were defended, though it is not mentioned in authentic history until 1147. The tradition that it was built by Robert de Monte Alto, one of the barons of the Earl of Chester, is no doubt correct, though the assumption of Welsh legend-makers that the Gwydd Grug, or great tumulus, from which this castle derives its Welsh name, existed before the castle, may be dismissed as baseless. The motte of Robert de Monte Alto still exists, and is uncommonly high and perfect; it has two baileys, separated by great ditches, and appears to have had a shell on top. [D. H. M.] The castle was regarded as specially

. strong, and its reduction by Owen Gwynedd in 1147 was one of the sweetest triumphs that the Welsh ever won.?

It is clear from the Life of Griffith ap Cynans that the Earl of Chester had conquered and incastellated Gwynedd before the accession of William Rufus. This valuable document unfortunately gives no dates, but it mentions in particular the castle at Aberlleinog, * one at



1 See Pennant, ii., 151; and Arch. Camb., 1891, p. 321. 2 Brut of Tywysogion, 1145.

3 Published with a Latin translation in Arch. Camb., 1866. "He built castles in various places, after the manner of the French, in order that he might better hold the country.”

4 The Brut also mentions the castle of Aberlleinog, and says it was built in 1096 ; rebuilt would have been more correct, as the “Life of Griffith ap Cynan” shows that it was built by the Earl of Chester, and burnt by Griffith, before the expedition of 1096 (really 1098), when Hugh, Earl of Shrewsbury, met with his death on the shore near this castle, from an arrow shot by King Magnus Barefoot, who came to the help of the Welsh.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »