« PreviousContinue »
stipulated that whatever he did in the way of fortification was of his own option, and was not to be accounted a precedent. A contemporary chronicler says that he enclosed the Old Baile first with stout planks 18 feet long, afterwards with a stone wall: an interesting proof that wooden fortifications were still used in the reign of Edward III.
Though the base court of the Old Baile is now built over, its area and ditches were visible in Leland's time,2 and can still be guessed at by the indications Mr Cooper has noted. The area of the bailey must have been nearly 3 acres, and its shape nearly square. This measurement includes the motte, which was placed in the south-west corner on the line of the banks; it thus overlooked the river as well as the city.
1 "Locum in Eboraco qui dicitur Vetus Ballium, primo spissis et longis 18 pedum tabulis, secundo lapideo muro fortiter includebat." T. Stubbs, in Raine's Historians of the Church of York, ii., 417, R. S.
2 "The plotte of this castelle is now caullid the Olde Baile, and the area and diches of it do manifestley appere." Itin., i., 60.
3 See the plan in Mr Cooper's York, p. 217.
MOTTE-CASTLES IN NORTH WALES
MOTTE-CASTLES are as common in Wales as they are in England, and in certain districts much more common. It is now our task to show how they got there. They were certainly not built (in the first instance at any rate) by the native inhabitants, for they do not correspond to what we know to have been the state of society in Wales during the Anglo-Saxon period.1 The Welsh were then in the tribal condition, a condition, as we have shown, inconsistent with the existence of the private castle. The residence of the king or chieftain, as we know from the Welsh Laws, was a great hall, such as seems to have been the type of chieftains' residence among all the northern nations at that time. "It was adapted for the joint occupation of a number of tribesmen living together."2
Pennant describes the residence of Ednowen, a Welsh chieftain of the 12th century, as follows: "The remains are about 30 yards square; the entrance about 7 feet wide, with a large upright stone on each side for a doorcase; the walls were formed of large stones uncemented by any mortar; in short the structure shows
1 "In the Wales of the Laws, the social system is tribal." Owen Edwards, Wales, p. 39.
Vinogradoff, Growth of the Manor, pp. 15-16.
the very low state of Welsh architecture at this time; it may be paralleled only by the artless fabric of a cattle-house."1 This certainly is a hall and not a
The so-called Dimetian Code indeed tells us that the king is to have a man and a horse from every hamlet, with hatchets for constructing his castles (gestyll) at the king's cost; but the Venedotian Code, which is the older MS., says that these hatchet-men are to form encampments (uuesten); that is, they are to cut down trees and form either stockades on banks or rude zerebas for the protection of the host. It is clearly laid down in the Codes what buildings the king's villeins are to erect for him at his residences: a hall, buttery, kitchen, dormitory, stable, dog-house, and little house. In none of these lists is anything mentioned which has the smallest resemblance to a castle, not even a tower. We can imagine that these buildings were enclosed in an earthwork or stockade, but it is not mentioned.*
Wales was never one state, except for very short periods. Normally it was divided into three states, Gwynedd or North Wales, Powys or Mid-Wales, and Deheubarth, all almost incessantly at war with each
1 Pennant's Tour in Wales, Rhys' edition, ii., 234.
2 Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales, pp. 238, 94. The MS. of the Leges Wallica is not earlier than the 13th century. The other editions of the Laws are even later. See Wade Evans, Welsh Mediaval Law, for the most recent criticism of the Laws of Howel Dda.
3 The Leges Wallicæ say: "Villani regis debent facere novem domos ad opus regis; scilicet, aulam, cameram, coquinam, penu (capellam), stabulum, kynorty (stabulum canum), horreum, odyn (siccarium) et latrinam." P. 791.
4 The word Din or Dinas, so often used for a fort in Wales, is cognate with the German Zaun, Anglo-Saxon tun, and means a fenced place. Neither it nor the Irish form dun have any connection with the AngloSaxon dun, a hill. See J. E. Lloyd, Welsh Place-names, "Y Cymmrodor," xi., 24.
WALES AND THE SAXONS
other.1 Other subdivisions asserted themselves opportunity offered, so that the above rough division into provinces must not be regarded as always accurate. A Wales thus divided, and perpetually rent by internal conflicts, invited the aggression of the Saxons, and it is probable that the complete subjugation of Britain would have been accomplished by the descendants of Alfred, if it had not been for the Danish invasions. The position of the Welsh kings after the time of Athelstan seems to have been that of tributaries, who threw off their allegiance whenever it was possible to do So. But still the Anglo-Saxon frontier continued to advance. Professor Lloyd has shown, from a careful examination of Domesday Book, that even before the Norman Conquest the English held the greater part of what is now Flintshire and East Denbighshire, and were advancing into the vale of Montgomery and the Radnor district.2 The victories of Griffith ap Llywelyn, an able prince who succeeded in bringing all Wales under his sway, devastated these English colonies; but his defeat by Earl Harold in 1063 restored the English ascendancy over these regions. The unimpeachable evidence of Domesday Book shows that a considerable district in North Wales and a portion of Radnor were held respectively by Earl Edwin and Earl Harold before the Norman Conquest. Moreover, the fact mentioned by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 1065, that Harold was building a hunting-seat for King Edward at Portskewet, after he had subdued it, suggests that the land between Wye and Usk, which Domesday Book reckons under Gloucestershire, was a conquest of Harold's.
1 It is doubtful whether Deheubarth ever included the small independent states of Gwent, Brecknock, and Glamorgan.
2 "Wales and the Coming of the Normans," Cymmrodorion Trans., 1899 3 There is an earthwork near Portskewet, a semicircular cliff camp with
The Norman Conqueror was not the man to slacken his hold on any territory which had been won by the Saxons. But there is no succinct history of his conquests in Wales; we have to make it out, in most cases, from notices that are scarcely more than allusive, and from the surer, though scanty, ground of documents. It is noteworthy that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is so hostile to the Norman kings that it discounts their successes in Wales. Thus we have only the briefest notice of William I.'s invasion of South Wales, which was very probably the beginning of the conquest of that region; and several expeditions of William II. are spoken of as entirely futile, though as we are told that the existing castles were still held by the Normans, or new ones were built, it is clear that this summing-up is not strictly correct.1 Our Welsh authorities, the Annales Cambria and the Brut y Tywysogion, seem to give a fairly candid account of the period, although the dates in the Brut are for the most part wrong (sometimes by three years), and they hardly ever give us a view of the situation as a whole. They tell us when the Welsh rushed down and burnt the castles built by the Normans
three ramparts and two ditches. It is scarcely likely that this can be Harold's work, as Roman bricks are said to have been found there. Willet's Monmouthshire, p. 244. Athelstan had made the Wye the frontier of Wales. Malmesbury, ii., 134.
1 See A.-S. C., anno 1097, and compare the entry for 1096 with the account in the Brut for 1093, which shows that the Norman castles had been restored, after being for the most part demolished by the Welsh.
2 The Brut y Tywysogion, or Story of the Princes, exists in no MS. older than the 14th century. It and the Annales Cambria have been disgracefully edited for the Rolls Series, and the topographical student will find no help from these editions. See Mr Phillimore's criticism of them, in Y Cymmrodor, vol. xi. The Aberpergwm MS. of the Brut, known also as the Gwentian Chronicle, has been printed in the Archæologia Cambrensis for 1864; it contains a great deal of additional information, but as Mr Phillimore observes, so much of it is forgery that none of it can be trusted when unsupported.