Page images

the keeps which the Pipe Rolls show to have been built or finished by Henry II. :

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Scarborough, built between 1157 and 1174. Tower


1177. Shell wall Orford,

1172. Tower Bridgenorth,


1173. Tower Newcastle,


1177. Tower Bowes,

1171 1187. Tower Richmond,


1174. Tower Chilham,

1171 1173.


1172 1176. Tower

1172 1174. Tower Arundel,

1176 1182. Shell wall Tickhill,

1178 1181. Tower The dates given here must be taken as only roughly accurate, as owing to the meagreness of the entries in the Pipe Rolls, it is not always certain whether the expenses were for the great tower or for other buildings. The list by no means includes all the work which Henry II. did on his English castles, for he was a great builder ; but a good deal of his work seems to have been the substitution of stone walls with mural towers, for wooden stockades, and our list comprises all the cases in which it is clear that the keep was the work of this king. We confine our attention to the keeps, because though mural towers of stone began to be added to the walls of baileys during Henry II.'s reign (a detail which must have greatly altered the general appearance of castles), it is certain that the keep was still the most important part, and the residence of the king or noble whenever he visited the castle.

Seven out of the ten tower keeps are built on 1 The keeps of Richmond and Bowes were only finished by Henry II.; Richmond was begun by Earl Conan, who died in 1170, when Henry appears to have taken up the work. Bowes was another of Earl Conan's castles. Tickhill is now destroyed to the foundations, but it is clear that it was a tower. The writer has examined all the keeps mentioned in this list. It will be noticed that most of the towers took many years to build.



precisely the same plan as those of Henry I. The chief advance is in the masonry.

All the tower keeps of Henry II., except Dover, Chilham, and Canterbury, are or have been cased with good ashlar, of stones somewhat larger in size than those used by Henry I. The same may be said of the shell walls (namely, Windsor and Arundel); it is interesting to note that Henry II. still used this elementary form of citadel, which consisted merely of a wall round the top of a motte, with wooden buildings inside. In three cases out of the ten tower keeps, Newcastle, Bowes, and Richmond, the basement storey is vaulted, which does not occur in the older keeps. Yet such important castles as Scarborough, Dover, and Canterbury are without this provision against fire. None of these keeps appear to have more than three storeys above the basement. None of the entrances to the keeps (except Tickhill) have any portcullis grooves, * nor any special contrivances for defence, except at Canterbury, where the entrance (on the first floor) takes two turns at right angles before reaching the hall to which it leads. There are nearly always

1 Henry built one shell keep of rubble and rag, that of Berkeley Castle, which is not mentioned in the Pipe Rolls, having been built before his accession. It is noteworthy that he did not build it for himself, but for his ally, Robert Fitz Hardinge.

2 The basement storey of Chester keep (the only part which now remains) is also vaulted, but this can scarcely be Henry's work, for though he spent £102 on this castle in 1159, it must have been begun by Ranulf, Earl of Chester, in Stephen's reign. Moreover, it is doubtful whether the vaulting, which is covered by whitewash, is really ancient.

3 Leland says of Wark, “the dongeon is made of foure howses hight,” but probably he included the basement.

4 The earliest instance of a portcullis groove with which the writer is acquainted is in the basement entrance of Colchester. It is obvious to any. one who carefully examines this entrance and the great stair to the left of it that they are additions of a later time than William's work. The details seem to point to Henry I.'s reign. The keep of Rochester has also a portcullis groove which seems to be a later addition.


in the keeps of Henry II. some signs of Transition Norman in the details, such as the nook shafts at the angles of the towers of Scarborough and the Peak, certain arches at Canterbury, the Transition capitals used at Newcastle, and the filleted string round the outside of Bowes.

But we have yet to speak of three keeps of Henry II.'s reign which are on a different plan to all the others, and which point to coming changes—Chilham, Orford, and Tickhill. Chilham is an octagonal tower of three storeys, with a square annexe on one side, which appears to be original. Orford is polygonal outside, round inside. Orford indeed is one of the most extraordinary keeps to be seen anywhere, and we must regard it as an experiment, and an experiment which appears never to have been repeated. Instead of the usual Norman buttresses,

S this polygonal keep has three buttress towers, placed between every four of the outer faces, 22 feet wide, and 12 feet in projection. Tickhill, however, the last keep he built, is decagonal. The object of the polygonal tower was to deflect the missiles thrown from siege engines, and the round tower was evidently considered

1 King, paper on Canterbury Castle in Archæologia, vi., 298. We have not observed in any English keeps (except in this single instance) any of the elaborate plans to entrap the enemy which M. Viollet le Duc describes in his article on Donjons. He was an imaginative writer, and many of his statements should not be accepted without reserve.

2 Wark was also an octagonal keep, but there is considerable doubt whether this octagonal building was the work of Henry II., as Lord Dacre wrote to Wolsey in 1519 concerning Wark that “the dongeon is clerely finished,” and mentions that all the storeys but one were vaulted with stone. This makes it almost certain that the castle of Wark was entirely rebuilt at this time, after having been demolished by the Scots in 1460. It is now an utter ruin, and even the foundations of the keep are buried.

3 At Thorne, near Doncaster, where the great earls Warenne had a castle, there are the foundations, on a motte, of a keep which seems to resemble that of Orford; it ought to be thoroughly excavated.

+ These measurements are from Grose, Antiquities, v., 74.



an improvement on the polygonal for this purpose, as it subsequently supplanted the polygonal type. It is therefore rather remarkable that Henry II. built both these keeps in the second decade of his reign, and afterwards went on building square keeps like his predecessors. We have seen, however, that he built at least one polygonal tower in Normandy, that of Gisors. We must bear in mind that the Norman and Angevine frontier was the theatre of the continuous struggle of Henry II. with the French kings, Louis VII, and Philip Augustus, and that it is here that we must expect the greatest developments in military architecture.

Speaking generally, we may say that just as there was comparatively little change in armour during the 12th century until the end of Henry II.'s reign, so there was comparatively little change in military architecture during the same period. But great changes took place towards the end of the 12th century. One of these changes was a great improvement in missile engines; the trébuchet was one of the most important of these. It could throw much heavier stones than the largest catapult, and could take a more accurate aim. These new engines were useful for defence as well as attack, and this affected the architecture of castles, because flat roofs covered with lead, on which machines could be placed, were now substituted for the former sloping roofs. There are several payments for lead for roofing castles in the Pipe Rolls of Henry II., the earliest being in 1166. In the reigns of John and Henry III.

i See Payne Gallwey, The Crossbow, 309; Köhler, Kriegswesen, iii., 192. The trébuchet is first mentioned at the siege of Piacenza in 1199.

2 As far as we can tell, the tops of keeps having generally been ruined or altered, the common arrangement was either a simple gable, or two gables resting on a cross wall, such as all the larger keeps possessed.




the mention of lead for roofing becomes much more frequent.

Hitherto, in the defence of keeps, reliance had mainly been placed upon their passive strength, though not so entirely as has been commonly assumed, since it was always the practice to shoot with arrows from the battlements round the roof of the tower. But not only was the fighting strength of the keep increased by the trébuchet, but the introduction of the crossbow gave it a defensive arm of the greatest importance. The crossbow had been known to the Romans, and was used in the early part of the 12th century, but it was forbidden by the second Lateran Council in 1139 as a weapon hateful to God. This prohibition seems actually to have been effective, as William the Breton says expressly that the crossbow was unknown to the French before the wars of Richard I. and Philip Augustus.: Richard learned the use of it in the third crusade. But to use the crossbow in the defence of buildings it was necessary to construct special loopholes for shooting, splayed downwards externally, so that it was possible to aim from them. Up till this time the loopholes of castles had been purely for light and not for shooting; anyone

1 Another consequence of the introduction of an engine of longer range was the widening of castle ditches. We frequently find works on ditches mentioned in John's accounts.

2 Payne Gallwey, The Crossbow, p. 3. We find it used by Louis VI. of France, before 1137. Suger's Gesta Ludovici, 10 (ed. Molinier). Ten balistarii are mentioned in Domesday Book, but they may have been engineers of the great balista, a siege machine. There is no representation of a crossbow in the Bayeux Tapestry. There are entries in the Pipe Rolls of 6, 8, and 9 Henry II. of payments for arbelast', but these also may refer to the great balista.

3 Guill. Brit. Armorici Philippides, Bouquet xvii., line 315.

• The bow brought by Richard from Palestine is believed to have been an improved form of crossbow, made of horn and yew, “light, elastic, and far more powerful than a bow of solid wood.” Payne Gallwey, The Crossbow.

« PreviousContinue »