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It was a tempting theory at one time to the writer to see in Fulk Nerra the inventor of the motte type of castle, for independently of his fame in military architecture, he is the first medieval chieftain who is known to have employed mercenary troops. Now as we have already suggested in Chapter I., the plan of the motteand-bailey castle strongly suggests that there may be a connection between its adoption and the use of mercenaries. For the plan of this kind of castle seems to hint that the owner does not only mistrust his enemies, he also does not completely trust his garrison. The keep in which he and his family live is placed on the top of the motte, which is ditched round so as to separate it from the bailey; the provisions on which all are dependent are stored in the cellar of the keep, so that they are under his own hand; and the keys of the outer ward are brought to him every night, and placed under his pillow.2

But unfortunately for this theory, there is some evidence of the raising of mottes at an earlier period in the 10th century than the accession of Fulk Nerra. Thibault-le-Tricheur, who was Count of Blois and Chartres from 932 to 962, was also a great builder, and it is recorded of him that he built the keeps of Chartres,

tower was a siege engine, employed to attack Fulk's castle, and afterwards burnt by the besieged. See the Gesta Ambasiens. Dom., ibid., p. 257, and the Chron. St Florentii. Probably we should read contra domgionem instead of super. The Chronicon Andegavense was written in the reign of Henry II.

1 When Fulk invaded Bretagne in or about 992, he collected an army "tam de suis quam conductitiis." Richerius, edition Guadet. The editor remarks that this is perhaps the first example of the use of mercenaries since the time of the Romans (ii., 266). Spannagel, citing Peter Damian, says that mercenaries were already common at the end of the 10th century. Zur Geschichte des Deutschen Heerwesens, pp. 72, 73.

2 This was always the custom in mediæval castles. See Cohausen, Befestigungen der Vorzeit, p. 282.



Chateaudun,' Blois, and Chinon, and the castle of Saumur; these must have been finished before 962. Now there was anciently a motte at Blois, for in the 12th century, Fulk V. of Anjou burnt the whole fortress, "except the house on the motte."8 There was also a motte at Saumur; and the plan of the castle of Chinon is not inconsistent with the existence of a former motte." These instances seem to put back the existence of the motte castle to the middle of the 10th century.

We know of no earlier claim than this, unless we were to accept the statement of Lambert of Ardres that Sigfrid the Dane, who occupied the county of Guisnes about the year 928, fortified the town, and enclosed his own dunio with a double ditch. If this were true, we have a clear instance of a motte built in the first half of the 10th century. But Lambert's work was written at the end of the 12th century, with the object of glorifying

1 "Qui vivens turres altas construxit et ædes, Unam Carnotum, sed apud Dunense reatum." Chron. St Florentii.

2 Chron. Namnetense, Lobineau, ii., 47.

3 Gesta Ambasiensium Dominorum, in Spicilegium, p. 273.

4 Guide Joanne, p. 234.

5 The furthest point of the headland on which the castle is placed is a small circular court, with a fosse on all sides but the precipices. From personal visitation.

• Dunio is subsequently explained by Lambert as motte: "Motam altissimam sive dunionem eminentem in munitionis signum firmavit." Lamberti Ardensis, p. 613. It is the same word as the Saxon dun, a hill (preserved in our South Downs), and has no connection with the Irish and Gaelic dun, which is cognate with the German zaun, a hedge, A.-S. tun, and means a hedged or fortified place. The form dange appears in Northern France, and this seems to be the origin of the word domgio or dangio which we find in the chroniclers, the modern form of which is donjon. If we accept this etymology, we must believe that the word dunio or domgio was originally applied to the hill, and not to the tower on the hill, to which it was afterwards transferred. It is against this view that Ordericus, writing some fifty years before Lambert, uses the form dangio in the sense of a tower. Professor Skeat and the New English Dictionary derive the word donjon or dungeon from Low Lat. domnionem, acc. of domnio, thus connecting it with dominus, as the seignorial residence.

the counts of Guisnes, and its editor regards the early part of it as fabulous. That Sigfrid fortified the town of Guisnes we can easily believe, as we know the Danes commonly did the like (see Chapter IV.); but that he built himself a personal castle is unlikely.1


It is the more unlikely, because the Danes in Normandy do not appear to have built personal castles until the feudal system was introduced there by Richard Sans Peur. The settlement in Normandy was not on feudal lines. "Rollo divided out the lands among his powerful comrades, and there is scarcely any doubt that they received these lands as inheritable property, without any other pledge than to help Rollo in the defence of the country. "The Norman constitution at Rollo's death can be described thus, that the duke ruled the country as an independent prince in relation to the Franks; but for its internal government he had a council at his side, whose individual members felt themselves almost as powerful as the duke himself." Sir Francis Palgrave asserts that feudalism was introduced into Normandy by the Duke Richard Sans Peur, the grandson of Rollo, towards the middle of the 10th century. He "enforced a most extensive conversion of allodial lands into feudal tenure," and exacted from his baronage the same feudal submission which he himself had rendered to Hugh Capet.*

It is quite in accordance with this that in the narrative of Dudo, who is our only authority for the history of Normandy in the 10th century, there is no mention of a private castle anywhere. We are told

1 Ducange conjectured that the motte-castle took its origin in Flanders, but it was probably the passage cited above from Lambert which led him to this conclusion. See art. "Mota" in Ducange's Glossarium.

2 Steenstrup, Normannerne, i., 297. • England and Normandy, ii., 535.

3 Ibid., i., 301.


77 that Rollo restored the walls and towers of the cities of Normandy, and it is clear from the context that the castra of Rouen, Fécamp, and Evreux, which are mentioned, are fortified cities, not castles. Even the ducal residence at Rouen is spoken of as a palatium or an aula, not as a castle; and it does not appear to have possessed a keep until (as we are told by a later writer) the same Duke Richard who introduced the feudal system into Normandy built one for his own residence." It is possible that when the feudal oath was exacted from the more important barons, permission was given to them to build castles for themselves; thus we hear from Ordericus of the castle of Aquila, built in the days of Duke Richard; the castle of the lords of Grantmesnil at Norrei; the castle of Belesme; all of which appear to have been private castles. But there seems to have been no general building of castles until the time of William the Conqueror's minority, when his rebellious subjects raised castles against him on all sides. "Plura per loca aggeres erexerunt, et tutissimas sibi munitiones construxerunt." 4 It is generally, and doubtless correctly, supposed that aggeres in this passage means mottes, and taking this statement along with the great number of mottes which are still to be found in Normandy, it has been further assumed (and the present writer was disposed to share the idea) that this was the time of the first invention of mottes. But the facts


1 "Muros et propugnacula civitatum refecit et augmentavit." Dudo, p. 85 (Duchesne's edition).

2 Henricus rex circa turrem Rothomagi, quam ædificavit primus Richardus dux Normannorum in palatium sibi, murum altum et latum cum propugnaculis ædificat." Robert of Toringy, R.S., p. 106.

3 Ordericus, ii., 15, 17, 46 (edition Prévost).

4 William of Jumièges, anno 1035. Mr Freeman remarks that the language of William would lead us to suppose that the practice of castlebuilding was new.

which have been now adduced, tracing back the first known mottes to the time of Thibault-le-Tricheur, and the county of Blois, show that the Norman claim to the invention of this mode of fortification must be given up. If the Normans were late in adopting feudalism, they were probably equally late in adopting private castles, and the fortifications of William I.'s time were most likely copied from castles outside the Norman frontier.'

It might be thought that the general expectation of the end of the world in the year 1000, which prevailed towards the end of the 10th century, had something to do with the spread of these wooden castles, as it might have seemed scarcely worth while to build costly structures of stone. But it is not necessary to resort to this hypothesis, because there is quite sufficient evidence to show that long before this forecast of doom was accepted, wood was a very common, if not the commonest, material used in fortification.

The reader has only to open his Cæsar to see how familiar wooden towers and wooden palisades were to the Romans; and he has only to study carefully the chronicles of the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries to see how allprevalent this mode of fortification continued to be. The general adoption of the feudal system must have brought about a demand for cheap castles, which was excellently met by the motte with its wooden keep and its stockaded bailey. M. Enlart has pointed out that

1 There are some facts which render it probable that the earliest castles built in Normandy were without mottes, and were simple enclosures like those we have described already. Thus the castle of the great family of Montgomeri is an enclosure of this simple kind. Domfront, built by William Talvas in Duke Robert's time, has no motte. On the other hand, Ivry, built by the Countess Albereda in Duke Richard I.'s days, "on the top of a hill overlooking the town" (William of Jumièges), may possibly have been a motte; and there is a motte at Norrei, which we have just mentioned as an early Norman castle.

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