« PreviousContinue »
THE EARLY NORMAN CASTLES
OF THE BRITISH ISLES
BY ELLA S. ARMITAGE
HONORARY FELLOW OF THE SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES OF SCOTLAND
WITH PLANS BY D. H. MONTGOMERIE, F.S.A.
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.
Inv. no. 194
SOME portions of this book have already appeared in print. Of these, the most important is the catalogue raisonné of early Norman castles in England which will be found in Chapter VII., and which was originally published in the English Historical Review (vol. xix., 1904). It has, however, been enlarged by the inclusion of five fresh castles, and by notes upon thirty-four others, of which the article in the Review gave only the names; the historical notes in that essay being confined to the castles mentioned in Domesday Book.
The chapter on Irish mottes appeared in the Antiquary (vol. xlii., 1906), but it has been revised, corrected, and added to. Portions of a still earlier paper, read before the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in March 1900, are incorporated in various parts of the book, but these have been recast in the fuller treatment of the subject which is aimed at here.
The rest of the work is entirely new. No serious attempt had been made to ascertain the exact nature of Saxon and Danish fortifications by a comparison of the existing remains with the historical records which have come down to us, until the publication of Mr Allcroft's valuable book on Earthwork of England.
The chapters on Saxon and Danish earthworks in the present volume were written before the appearance of his book, though the results arrived at are only slightly different.
In Chapter V. an effort is made to trace the first appearance of the private castle in European history. The private castle is an institution which is often carelessly supposed to have existed from time immemorial. The writer contends that it only appears after the establishment of the feudal system.
The favourable reception given by archæologists to the paper read before the Scottish Society led the writer to follow up this interesting subject, and to make a closer study of the motte-castles of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The book now offered is the fruit of eleven years of further research. The result of the inquiry is to establish the theory advanced in that earlier paper, that these castles, in the British Islands, are in every case of Norman origin.
The writer does not claim to have originated this theory. Dr Round was the first to attack (in the Quarterly Review, 1894) the assertion of the late Mr G. T. Clark that the moated mound was a Saxon castle. Mr George Neilson continued the same line of argument in his illuminating paper on "The Motes in Norman Scotland" (Scottish Review, vol. xxxii., 1898).1 All that the writer claims is to have carried the contention a stage further, and to have shown that the private castle did not exist at all in Britain until it was brought here by the Normans.
1 Mr W. H. St John Hope arrived independently at similar conclusions.