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some, which are attributed by Dr Sophus Müller to the mediæval period.
Of course whenever a motte was thrown up, the first castle upon
it must have been a wooden one. A stone keep could not be placed on loose soil. The motte, therefore, must always represent the oldest castle. But there is no reason to think that the motte and its wooden keep were merely temporary expedients, intended always to be replaced as soon as possible by stone buildings. Even after stone castles had been fully developed, wood continued to hold its ground as a solid building material until a very late period.' And mottes were used not only throughout the 11th and 12th centuries, but even as late as the 13th. King John
. built many castles of this type in Ireland ; and as late as 1242 Henry III. ordered a motte and wooden castle to be built in the island of Rhé. Muratori gives a much later instance: in 1320 Can Grande caused a great motte to be built near Pavia, and surrounded with a ditch and hedge, in order to build a castle on it.”
1 “These are small well-defended places, the stronghold of the individual, built for a great man and his followers, and answering to mediæval conditions, to a more or less developed feudal system.” Vor Oldtid, p. 642.
? I am informed by a skilled engineer that even in the wet climate of England it would take about ten years for the soil to settle sufficiently to bear a stone building.
3 Köhler says: “By far the greater part of the castles of the Teutonic knights in Prussia, until the middle of the fourteenth century, were of wood and earth.” Die Entwickelung des Kriegswesen, iii., 376.
4 Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1232-1247, p. 340. Mandate to provost of Oléron to let Frank De Brene have tools to make a new motte in the isle of Rhé. Later the masters and crews of the king's galleys are ordered to help in building the motte and the wooden castle. P. 343.
6 Antiquitates Italicæ, ii., 504. Can Grande's motte at Padua. Anno 1320. “Dominus Alternerius (podesta of Padua). . . cum maxima quantitate peditum et balistariorum Civitatis Paduæ, iverunt die predicto summo mane per viam Pontis Corvi versus quamdam motam magnam, quam faciebat facere Dominus Canis, cum multis fossis et tajatis ad claudendum Paduanos, ne exirent per illam partem, et volendo ibidem super illam
And as will be seen in the next chapter, there is considerable evidence that many mottes in England which were set up in the reign of William I., retained their wooden towers or stockades even till as late as the reign of Edward I. The motte at Drogheda held out some time against Cromwell, and is spoken of by him as a very strong place, having a good graft (ditch) and strongly palisaded. Tickhill Castle in Yorkshire had a palisade on the counterscarp of the ditch when it was taken by Cromwell.?
The position of these motte-castles is wholly different from that of prehistoric fortresses. They are almost invariably placed in the arable country, and as a rule not in isolated situations, but in the immediate neighbourhood of towns or villages. It is rare indeed to find a motte-castle in a wild, mountainous situation in England. The only instance which occurs to the writer is that of the motte on the top of the Hereford Beacon; but there is great probability that this was a post fortified by the Bishop of Hereford in the 13th century to protect his game from the Earl of Gloucester. Nothing pointing to a prehistoric origin was found in this motte when it was excavated by Mr Hilton Price, though the camp in which it is placed is supposed to be prehistoric.
The great majority of mottes in England are planted either on or near Roman or other ancient roads, or on navigable rivers. It was essential to the Norman settlers that they should be near some road which would help them to visit their other estates, which William had been so careful to scatter, and would also enable them to revisit from time to time their estates in Normandy." The rivers of England were much fuller of water in mediæval times than they are now, and were much more extensively used for traffic; they were real waterways. When we find a motte perched on a river which is not navigable, the purpose probably was to defend some ford, or to exact tolls from passengers. Thus the Ferry Hill (corrupted into Fairy Hill) at Whitwood stands at the spot
motam ædificare castrum. Tunc prædictus Potestas cum aliis nominatis splanare inceperunt, et difecerunt dictam motam cum tajatis et fossa magna."
We may remark here that as early as the 17th century the learned Muratori protested against the equation of mota and fossatum, and laughed at Spelman for making this translation of mota in his Glossary. Antiquitates Italicæ, ii., 504.
1 Cited by Westropp, Journal of R.S.A., Ireland, 1904.
2 Vicars' Parliamentary Chronicle, cited by Hunter, South Yorks, ii., 235.
3 “Camps on the Malvern Hills,” Journ. Anthrop. Inst., X., 319. 4 The writer at one time thought that the ruins at the east end of the castle of Pontefract concealed a second motte, but wishes now to recant this opinion. Eng. Hist. Review, xix., 419.
where the direct road from Pontefract to Leeds would cross the Calder. It was
It was probably not usual for the motte to be dependent on a stream or a spring for its supply of water, and this is another point in which the mediæval castle differs markedly from the prehistoric camp; wells have been found in a number of mottes which have been excavated, and it is probable that this was the general plan, though we have not sufficient statistics on this subject as yet.
Occasionally, but very rarely, we find two mottes in the same castle. The only instances in England known to the writer are at Lewes and Lincoln. It is not
1 M. de Salies has traced in detail the connection between Fulk Nerra's castles and the Roman roads of Anjou and Touraine.
2 See some excellent remarks on this subject in Mr W. St John Hope's paper on “English Fortresses" in Arch. Journ., Ix., 72-90.
Only a very small number of mottes have as yet been excavated. Wells were found at Almondbury, Berkeley, Berkhampstead, Carisbrook, Conisborough, Kenilworth, Northallerton, Norwich, Pontefract, Oxford, Tunbridge, Worcester, and York. At Caus, there is a well in the ditch between the motte and the bailey. Frequently there is a second well in the bailey.
unfrequent to find a motte very near a stone castle. In this case it is either the abandoned site of the original wooden castle, or it is a siege castle raised to blockade the other one. We constantly hear of these siege castles being built in the Middle Ages; their purpose was not for actual attack, but to watch the besieged fort and prevent supplies from being carried in. Hillocks were also thrown up for the purpose of placing balista and other siege engines upon them; but these would be much smaller than mottes, and would be placed much nearer the walls than blockade castles.
The mottes of France are in all probability much more decidedly military than those of England. France was a land of private war, after the dissolution of the empire of Charlemagne ; and no doubt one of the reasons for the rapid spread of the motte-castle, after its invention, was due to the facilities which it offered for this terrible game.
In England the reasons for the erection of mottes seem to have been manorial rather than military; that is, the Norman landholder desired a safe residence for himself amidst a hostile peasantry, rather than a strong military position which could hold out against skilful and well-armed foes.
Attached to the castle, both in England and abroad, we frequently find an additional enclosure, much larger than the comparatively small area of the bailey proper. This was the burgus or borough, which inevitably sprang up round every castle which had a lengthened existence. Our older antiquaries, finding that the word burgenses was commonly used in Domesday in connection with a site where a castle existed, formed the mistaken idea that a burgus necessarily implied a castle. But a burgus was the same thing as a burh, that is, a borough or fortified town. It may have existed long before the castle, or it may have been created after the castle was built. The latter case was very common, for the noble who built a castle would find it to his advantage to build a burgus near it.' In exchange for the protection offered by the borough wall or bank, he could demand gablum or rent from the burghers; he could compel them to grind their corn at his mill, and bake their bread at his oven; he could exact tolls on all commodities entering the borough; and if there was a market he would receive a certain percentage on all sales. The borough was therefore an important source of revenue to the baron. Domesday Book mentions the new borough at Rhuddlan, evidently built as soon as the castle had been planted on the deserted banks of the Clwydd. In some cases a "new borough” is clearly a new suburb, doubtless having its own fortifications, built specially for the protection of the Norman settlers in England, as at Norwich and Nottingham.”
1 Thus Henry I. erected a siege castle to watch Bridgenorth (probably Pampudding Hill), and then went off to besiege another castle. Mr Orpen kindly informs me that the camp from which Philip Augustus besieged Château Gaillard contains a motte. Outside Pickering, Corfe, and Exeter there are earthworks which have probably been siege castles.
That even in the 12th century a motte was considered an essential feature of a castle is shown by Neckham's treatise “ De Utensilibus," where he gives directions as to how a castle should be built; the motte should be placed on a site well defended by nature; it should have a stockade of squared logs round the top; the keep on the motte should be furnished with turrets and battlements, and crates of stones for missiles should be
1 Henry II. built a castle and very fine borough (burgum pergrande) at Beauvoir in Maine. Robert of Torigny, R.S., p. 243. Minute regulations concerning the founding of the borough of Overton are given in Close Rolls, Edward I. (1288-1296), p. 285.
? See Round, Studies in Domesday, pp. 125, 126.