« PreviousContinue »
later writers named.' The institutions of the AngloSaxons, when they settled in England, were tribal; and though these institutions were in a state of decay in the 11th century, they were not completely superseded by feudal institutions till after the Norman Conquest.
We should naturally expect, then, that the fortifications erected by the Anglo-Saxons would be those adapted to their originally tribal state, that is, in the words which we have so often used already, they would be those of the community and not of the individual. And as far as we can discover the character of these fortifications, we find that this was actually the case. As we have seen, we find one of the earliest kings, Ida, building for the defence of himself and his followers what Bede calls a city; and we find Alfred and his children also building and repairing cities, at the time of the Danish invasions.
The same kind of thing was going on at about the same time in Germany and in France. Henry the Fowler (919-936), that great restorer of the Austrasian kingdom, planted on the frontiers which were exposed to the attacks of the Danes and Huns a number of walled strongholds, not only for the purpose of resisting invasion, but to afford a place of refuge to all the inhabitants of the country. He ordained that every ninth man of the peasants in the district must build
1 Professor Maitland wrote: "The definitely feudal idea that military service is the tenant's return for the gift of land did not exist [before the Norman Conquest], though a state of things had been evolved which for many practical purposes was indistinguishable from the system of knight's fees." Domesday Book and Beyond, p. 157. Dr Round holds that "the military service of the Anglo-Norman tenant-in-chief was in no way derived or developed from that of the Anglo-Saxons, but was arbitrarily fixed by the king, from whom he received his fief." Feudal England, p. 261. Similarly, Professor Vinogradoff states that "the law of military fees is in substance French law brought over to England by the [Norman] conquerors." English Society in the 11th Century, p. 41.
for himself and his nine companions a dwelling in the Burg," and provide barns and storehouses, and that the third part of all crops must be delivered and housed in these towns.1 In this way, says the historian Giesebrecht, he sought to accustom the Saxons, who had hitherto dwelt in isolated farms, or open villages, to life in towns. He ordered that all assemblies of the people should be held in towns. Giesebrecht also remarks that it is not improbable that Henry the Fowler had the example of Edward the Elder of England before his eyes when he established these rows of frontier towns.2
The same causes led, on Neustrian soil, to the fortification of a number of cities, the walls of which had fallen into decay during the period of peace before the invasions of the Danes. Thus Charles the Bald commanded Le Mans and Tours to be fortified "as a defence for the people against the Northmen." The bishops. were particularly active in thus defending the people of their dioceses. Archbishop Fulk rebuilt the walls of Rheims, between 884 and 900; his successor, Hervey, fortified the town of Coucy' (about 900); the Bishop of
1 Giesebrecht, Geschichte der Kaiserzeit, i., 224. The word Burg, which Giesebrecht uses for these strongholds, means a castle in modern German ; but its ancient meaning was a town (see Hilprecht's German Dictionary), and it corresponded exactly to the Anglo-Saxon burh. It was used in this sense at least as late as the end of the 12th century; see, e.g., Lamprecht's Alexanderlied, passim. It is clear by the context that Giesebrecht employs it in its ancient sense.
2 Ibid., 222. Henry's son Otto married a daughter of Edward the Elder. Henry received the nickname of Townfounder (Städtegründer).
3 "Carolus civitates Transsequanas ab incolis firmari rogavit, Cinomannis scilicet et Turonis, ut præsidio contra Nortmannos populis esse possent." Annales Bertinianorum, Migne, Pat., 125, 53.
4 Flodoard, Hist. Ecc. Remensis, iv., viii.
5 Modern historians generally say that he built the castle of Coucy; but from Flodoard's account it seems very doubtful whether anything but the town is meant. Annales, iv., xiii. His words are: Munitionem quoque apud Codiciacum tuto loco constituit atque firmavit." Munitio properly means a bulwark or wall.
Cambray built new walls to his city in 887-911;1 and Bishop Erluin fortified Peronne in 1001, "as a defence against marauders, and a refuge for the husbandmen of the country." But permission had probably to be asked in all these cases, as it certainly had in the last. The Carlovingian sovereigns represented a well-ordered state, modelled on the pattern of the Roman Empire; they were jealous of any attempts at self-defence which did not proceed from the State, and thus as long as they had the power they strove to put down all associations or buildings of a military character which did not emanate from their imperial authority.
The history of the 9th and 10th centuries is the history of the gradual break-up of the Carlovingian Empire, and the rise of feudalism on its ruins. In 877, the year of his death, Charles the Bald signed a decree making the counts of the provinces, who until then had been imperial officers, hereditary. He thus, as Sismondi says, annihilated the remains of royal authority in the provinces. The removable officers now became local sovereigns. Gradually, as the Carlovingian Empire fell to pieces, the artificial organisation of the feudal system arose to take its place. By the end of the 10th century the victory of feudalism was complete; and the victory of feudalism was the victory of the private castle.
"The very word castle," says Guizot, "brings with it the idea of feudal society; we see it rising before us. It was feudalism that built these castles which once covered our soil, and whose ruins are still scattered upon it.
They were the declaration of its triumph. Nothing like them had existed on Gallo-Roman soil. Before the
1 Gesta Episcop. Cameracensium, Pertz, vii., 424.
3 Sismondi, Histoire des Français, ii., 172.
Germanic invasion, the great landed proprietors dwelt either in the cities, or in beautiful houses agreeably situated near the cities." These Gallo-Roman villas had no fortifications; nor were the Roman villas in England fortified. It was the business of the State to defend the community; this was the theory so long sustained by imperial Rome, and which broke down so completely under the later Carlovingians.
In the time of Charlemagne and Louis le Debonnaire, even the royal palaces do not appear to have been fortified. They were always spoken of as palatia, never as castella. The Danes, when they took possession of the palace of Nimeguen in 880, fortified it with ditches. and banks. Charles the Bald appears to have been the first to fortify the palace of Compiègne."
Although there can be no doubt that private castles had become extremely common on the mainland of Western Europe before the end of the 10th century, it is more difficult than is generally supposed to trace their first appearance. Historians, even those of great repute, have been somewhat careless in translating the words castrum or castellum as castle or château, and taking them in the sense of the feudal or private castle. We
1 Guizot, Histoire de la Civilisation en France, iii., 311. 2 Enlart, Manuel d'Archæologie Française, ii., 494.
3 See Dr Haverfield's articles in the Victoria County Histories, passim. The late J. H. Burton justly wrote: "We have nothing from the Romans answering to the feudal stronghold or castle, no vestige of a place where a great man lived apart with his family and his servants, ruling over dependants and fortifying himself against enemies." History of Scotland, i., 385.
5 Cap. Regum Francor., ii., 360.
Annals of Fulda, 394, Pertz, i. 6 Thus De Caumont unfortunately spoke of the fortress built by Nicetus, Bishop of Treves, in the 6th century, as a château (Abécédaire, ii., 382); but Venantius Fortunatus, in his descriptive poem, tells us that it was a vast enclosure with no less than thirty towers, built by the good pastor for the protection of his flock. It even contained fields and vineyards, and altogether was as different from a private castle as anything can well be.
have already pointed out that these words in our AngloSaxon charters mean a town or village. The fact is that from Roman times until toward the end of the 9th century the words castrum and castellum are used indifferently for a fortified city or town, or a temporary camp. The expression civitates et castella is not uncommon, and might lead one to think that a distinction was drawn between large and small towns, or forts. But it is far more likely that it is a mere pleonasm, a bit of that redundancy which was always dear to the mediæval scribe who was trying to write well. For as the instances cited in the Appendix will prove, we constantly find the words castrum and castellum used for the same town, sometimes even in the same paragraph. Later, from the last quarter of the 9th century to the middle of the 12th century, these same words are used indifferently for a town or a castle, and it is impossible to tell, except by the context, whether a town or a castle is meant; and often even the context throws no light upon it.
This makes it extremely difficult to say with any exactness when the private castle first arose. We seem indeed to have a fixed date in the Capitulary of Pistes, issued by Charles the Bald in 864,2 in which he
Similarly the castrum of Merliac, spoken of by Enlart (Architecture Militaire, p. 492) as a "veritable château," is described as containing cultivated lands and sheets of water! (Cited from Gregory of Tours, Hist. Francorum, liii., 13.) De Caumont himself says: "Les grandes exploitations rurales que possédaient les rois de France et les principaux du royaume du Vième au Xième siècle ne furent pas des forteresses et ne doivent point être confondues avec les chateaux." Abécédaire, ii., 62.
1 See Appendix D.
2 "Volumus et expresse mandamus, ut quicunque istis temporibus castella et firmitates et haias sine nostro verbo fecerint, Kalendis Augusti omnes tales firmitates disfactas habeant ; quia vicini et circummanentes exinde multas depredationes et impedimenta sustinent." Capitularia Regum Francorum, Boretius, ii., 328.