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of, but not exactly at, Pontefract.Tanshelf claims to be the Taddenescylf mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, where King Edgar received the submission of the Yorkshire Danes in 947. There is no proof that the hill at Kirkby was fortified before the Conquest. It was a steep headland rising out of the plain of the Aire, and needing only to be scarped by art and to have a ditch cut across its neck to be almost impregnable. It lay scarcely a mile east of the Roman road from Doncaster to Castleford and the north.
It is no part of our task to trace the fortunes of this famous castle, which was considered in the Middle Ages to be the key of Yorkshire. In spite of the labels affixed to the walls we venture to assert with confidence that none of the masonry now visible belongs to the days of Ilbert. The structural history of the castle was probably this : Ilbert de Lacy, one of the greatest of the Norman tenants-in-chief in Yorkshire, built in this naturally defensive situation a castle of earth and wood, like other Norman castles. Whether he found the place already defended by earthen banks we do not attempt to decide, but analogy makes it fairly certain that the motte was his work, and was crowned by a wooden tower. This motte, which was at least partially scarped out of the soft sandstone rock, is now disguised by the remarkable keep which has been built up around it, consisting at present of two enormous round towers and the ruins of a third. As a fourth side is vacant, it may
It is not necessary to discuss the meaning of the name Pontefract, since for whatever reason it was given, it was clearly bestowed by the Norman settlers.
2 “Castrum de Pontefracto est quasi clavis in comitatu Ebor.” Letter of Ralph Neville to Henry III., Fædera, i., 429, cited by Holmes, Pontefract, 194.
3 The Conqueror had given him more than 200 manors in Yorkshire. Yorks. Arch. Journ., xiv., 17.
reasonably be conjectured that there was a fourth roundel. If the plan was a quatrefoil it resembled that of the keep of York, which is now ascertained to belong to the reign of Henry III. ; and the very little detail that is left supports the view that Pontefract keep was copied from the royal experiment at York, though it differed from it in that it actually revetted the motte itself. There is no ditch now round the motte, but we venture to think that its inner ditch is indicated by the position of the postern in Piper's Tower, which seems to mark its outlet. It
appears to have been partly filled up during the great siege of Pontefract in 1648. The platform which is attached to the motte on the side facing the bailey is probably an addition of the same date, intended for artillery; its retaining wall shows signs of hasty construction. A well chamber and a passage leading both to it and to a postern opening towards the outer ditch appear to have been made in the rocky base of the motte in the 13th century.
The area of the inner and probably original bailey of this castle, including the motte, is 2} acres. The Main Guard, and another bailey covering the approach on the S. side, were probably later additions, bringing up the castle area to 7 acres. The shape of the first bailey is an irregular oval, determined by the hill on which it stands.
The value of the manor of Tateshall had fallen at
1 Four roundels are shown in the plate given in Fox's History of Pontefract, “from a drawing in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries." But the drawing is so incorrect in some points that it can hardly be relied upon for others. There were only three roundels in Leland's time.
2 Drake's account of the siege says that there was a hollow place between Piper's Tower and the Round Tower all the way down to the well ; the gentlemen and soldiers all fell to carrying earth and rubbish, and so filled up the place in a little space. Quoted in Holmes' Manual of Pontefract Castle.
the time of the Survey from £20 to £15, an unusual circumstance in the case of a manor which had become the seat of an important castle; but the number of ploughs had decreased by half, and we may infer that Tateshall had not recovered from the great devastation of Yorkshire in 1068.1
PRESTON CAPEs, Northants (Fig. 26).—That a castle of the uth century stood here is only proved by a casual mention in the Historia Fundationis of the Cluniac priory of Daventry, which tells us that this priory was first founded by Hugh de Leycestre, Seneschal of Matilda de Senlis, close to his own castle of Preston Capes, about 1090. Want of water and the proximity of the castle proving inconvenient, the priory was removed to Daventry. The work lies about 3 miles from the Watling Street. The castle stands on a spur of high land projecting northwards towards a feeder of the river Nesse, about 3 miles W. of the Watling Street. The works consist of a motte, having a flat top 80 to 90 feet in diameter, and remains of a slight breastwork. This motte is placed on the edge of the plateau, and the ground falls steeply round its northern half. About 16 feet down this slope, a ditch with an outer bank has been dug, embracing half the mound. Lower down, near the foot of the slope, is another and longer ditch and rampart. It is probable that the bailey occupied the flatter ground S.E. of the motte, but the site is occupied by a farm, and no traces are visible.
1 In the English Historical Review for July 1904, where this paper first appeared, the writer spoke of two mottes at Pontefract, having been led to this view by the great height of the east end of the bailey, where the ruins of John of Gaunt's work are found. This view is now withdrawn, in deference to the conclusions of Mr D. H. Montgomerie, F.S.A., who has carefully examined the spot.
2 Mon. Ang., iv., 178.