« PreviousContinue »
THE WOODEN CASTLE OF ARDRES
edge of the motte (agger)." The chronicler goes on to relate how this wooden bridge broke down under the crowd of people who were following the bishop, and all fell 35 feet into the ditch, where the water was up to their knees. There is no mention of a bailey in this account, but a bailey was so absolutely necessary to a residential castle, in order to find room for the stables, lodgings, barns, smithies and other workshops, which were necessary dependencies of a feudal household, that it can seldom have been omitted, and the comparatively rare instances which we find of mottes which appear never to have had baileys were probably outposts dependent on some more important castle.
Lambert of Ardres, the panegyrist of the counts of Guisnes, writing about 1194, gives us a minute and most interesting description of the wooden castle of Ardres, built about the year 1117. "Arnold, lord of
Ardres, built on the motte of Ardres a wooden house, excelling all the houses of Flanders of that period both in material and in carpenter's work. The first storey was on the surface of the ground, where were cellars and granaries, and great boxes, tuns, casks, and other domestic utensils. In the storey above were the dwelling and common living rooms of the residents, in which were the larders, the rooms of the bakers and butlers, and the great chamber in which the lord and his wife slept. Adjoining this was a private room, the dormitory of the waiting maids and children. In the inner part of the great chamber was a certain private room, where at
1 Acta Sanctorum, 27th January, Bolland, iii., 414. This biography was written only nine months after Bishop John's death, by an intimate friend, John de Collemedio.
* Guisnes is now in Picardy, but in the 12th century it was in Flanders, which was a fief of the Empire.
early dawn or in the evening or during sickness or at time of blood-letting, or for warming the maids and weaned children, they used to have a fire. . . . In the upper storey of the house were garret rooms, in which on the one side the sons (when they wished it) on the other side the daughters (because they were obliged) of the lord of the house used to sleep. In this storey also the watchmen and the servants appointed to keep the house took their sleep at some time or other. High up on the east side of the house, in a convenient place, was the chapel, which was made like unto the tabernacle of Solomon in its ceiling and painting. There were stairs and passages from storey to storey, from the house into the kitchen, from room to room, and again from the house into the loggia (logium), where they used to sit in conversation for recreation, and again from the loggia into the oratory.'
This description proves that these wooden castles were no mere rude sheds for temporary occupation, but that they were carefully built dwellings designed for permanent residence. The description is useful for the light it throws on the stone keeps whose ruins remain to us. They probably had very similar arrangements, and though only their outside walls are now existing, they must have been divided into different rooms by wooden partitions which have now perished.2
In this account of Lambert's it is further mentioned that the kitchen was joined to the house or keep, and was a building of two floors, the lower one being occupied by live stock, while the upper one was the actual kitchen. We must remember that this account
1 This description is from the Historia Ardensium of Walter de Clusa, which is interpolated in the work of Lambert, Bouquet, pp. 13, 624
2 Yet in some of the later keeps, such as Conisburgh, where we find only one window to a storey, the room must have been undivided.
TERMS AND DETAILS
was written at the end of the 12th century. In the earlier and simpler manners of the 11th century it is probable that the cooking was more generally carried on in the open air, as it was among the Anglo-Saxons.1 The danger of fire would prevent the development of chimneys in wooden castles; we have seen that there was only one in this wonderful castle of Ardres. But even after stone castles became common, we have evidence that the kitchen was often an isolated building in the courtyard. One such kitchen still exists in the monastic ruins of Glastonbury.
The word mota, which was used in the 12th century for the artificial hills on which the wooden keeps of these castles were placed, comes from an old French word motte, meaning a clod of earth, which is still used in France for a small earthen hillock. The keep itself appears to have been called a bretasche, though this word seems to have meant a wooden tower of any kind, and was used both for mural towers and for the movable wooden towers employed for sieges. At a much later period it was given to the wooden balconies by which walls were defended, but the writer has found no instance of this use of the word before the 14th century. On the contrary, these wooden galleries for the purpose of defending the foot of the walls by throwing missiles down are called hurdicia or hourdes in the documents, a
1 See Wright, History of Domestic Manners, p. 26.
2 According to Littré, the original derivation of the word motte is unknown. I have not found any instance of the word mota in chronicles earlier than the 12th century, but the reason appears to be that mota or motte was a folk's word, and appeared undignified to an ambitious writer. Thus the author of the Gesta Consulum Andegavensium says that Geoffrey Martel, Count of Anjou, gave to a certain Fulcoius the fortified house which is still called by the vulgar Mota Fulcoii. D'Achery, Spicilegium, p. 257.
3 See Appendix G.
word of cognate origin to our word hoarding.1 The word bretasche is also of Teutonic origin, akin to the German brett, a board.
The court at the base of the hillock is always called the ballium, bayle, or bailey, a word for which Skeat suggests the Latin baculus, a stick, as a possible though very doubtful ancestor. The wooden wall which surrounded this court was the palum, pelum, or palitium of the documents, a word which Mr Neilson has proved to be the origin of the peels so common in Lowland Scotland, though it has been mistakenly applied to the towers enclosed by these peels. The palitium was the stockade on the inner bank of the ditch which enclosed the bailey; but the outer or counterscarp bank had also its special defence, called the hericio, from its bristling nature (French hérisson, a hedgehog). There can be little doubt that it was sometimes an actual hedge of brambles, at other times of stakes intertwined with osiers or thorns.s
Thus the words most commonly used in connection with these wooden castles are chiefly French in form, but a French that is tinctured with Teutonic blood. This is just what we might expect, since the first castles of feudalism arose on Gallic soil (France or Flanders), but on soil which was ruled by men of Teutonic descent. We may regard it as fairly certain that it was in the region anciently known as Neustria that the motte-castle first appeared; and as we have previously shown, there is some reason to think that the centre of that region
1 See Appendix H.
2 Peel, its Meaning and Derivation, by George Neilson. 3 See Appendix I. Cohausen has some useful remarks on the use of hedges in fortification. Befestigungen der Vorzeit, pp. 8-13. A quickset hedge had the advantage of resisting fire. The word sepes, which properly means a hedge, is often applied to the palitium.