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MOTTES AND COURT-HILLS
Two important points urged in Mr Neilson's paper are the feudal and legal connection of these motes. He has given a list of mottes which are known to have been the site of the “chief messuages” of baronies in the 13th and 14th centuries, and has collected the names of a great number which were seats of justice, or places where “saisine" of a barony was taken, not because they were moot-hills, but because the administration of justice remained fixed in the ancient site of the baron's castle. “The doctrine of the chief messuage, which became of large importance in peerage law, made it at times of moment to have on distinct record the nomination of what the chief messuage was, often for the imperative function of taking sasine. In many instances the caput baronia, or the court or place for the ceremonial entry to possession, is the ‘moit,' the 'mothill,' the 'auld castell,' the auld wark,' the 'castellsteid,' the 'auld castellsteid,' the 'courthill,' or in Latin mons placiti, mons viridis, or mons castri.” 1
In certain places where two mottes are to be found, he was able to prove that two baronies had once had their seats. Another point which Mr Neilson worked out is the relation of bordlands to mottes. Bordland or borland, though an English word, is not pre-Conquest; it refers to "that species of demesne which the lord reserves for the supply of his own table.” It is constantly found in the near proximity of mottes.?
The following is a list of thirty-eight Anglo-Norman or Normanised adventurers settled in Scotland, on whose lands mottes are to be found. The list must be regarded as a tentative one, for had all the names given by Chalmers been included, it would have been more than doubled. But the difficulties of obtain1 Scottish Review, xxxii., 232.
2 Ibid., p. 236.
ing topographical information were it has been judged expedient to give only the names of those families who are known to have held lands, and in most cases to have had their principal residences, in places where mottes are or formerly were existing.
ANSTRUTHER. - William de Candela obtained the lands of Anstruther, in Fife, from David I. His descendants took the surname of Anstruther. The “Mothlaw" of Anstruther is mentioned in 1590. “At the W. end of the town there is a large mound, called the Chester Hill, in the middle of which is a fine well.” (N. S. A., 1845.) The well is an absolute proof that this was the site of a castle.
AVENEL.— Walter de Avenel held Abercorn Castle and estate, in Linlithgow, in the middle of the 12th century. The castle stood on a green mound (N. S. A.) which is clearly marked in the O.M.
Balliol.-The De Bailleul family had their seat at Barnard Castle, in Durham, after the Conquest. They obtained lands in Galloway from David I., and had strongholds at Buittle, and Kenmure, in Kirkcudbright. At Buittle the site of the castle exists, a roughly triangular bailey with a motte at one corner ;8 and at Kenmure the O.M. clearly shows a motte, as does the picture in Grose's
1 This list is mainly compiled from Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. i., book iv., ch. i. The letter C. refers to Dr Christison's Early Fortifications in Scotland; N., to Mr Neilson's paper in the Scottish Review, 1898; O.M., to the 25-inch Ordnance Map; G., to the Gasetteer of Scotland. It is a matter of great regret to the writer that she has been unable to do any personal visitation of the Scottish castles, except in the cases of Roxburgh and Jedburgh. It is therefore impossible to be absolutely certain that all the hillocks mentioned in this list are true mottes, or whether all of them still exist.
2 Registrum Magni Sigilli, quoted by Christison, p. 19.
3 A plan is given by Mr Coles in “the Motes, Forts, and Doons of Kirkcudbright.” Soc. Ant. Scot., 1891-1892.
Antiquities of Scotland. The terraces probably date from the time when the modern house on top was built.
BARCLAY.—The De Berkeleys sprang from the De Berkeleys of England, and settled in Scotland in the 12th century.
Walter de Berkeley was Chamberlain of Scotland in 1165; William the Lion gave him the manor of Inverkeilor, in Forfarshire; there he built a castle, on Lunan Bay.
“An artificial mound on the west side of the bay, called the Corbie's Knowe, bears evident marks of having been a castle long previous to the erection of Redcastle." (N. S. A.) The family also had lands in what is now Aberdeenshire, and at Towie, in the parish of Auchterless, they had a castle. “ Close to the church of Auchterless there is a small artificial eminence of an oval shape, surrounded by a ditch, which is now in many places filled up. It still retains the name of the Moat Head, and was formerly the seat of the baronial court.” (N. S. A.; N.; C.)
BRUCE.—The De Brus held lands in North Yorkshire at the time of the Domesday Survey. David I. gave them the barony of Annan, in Dumfriesshire. The original charter of this grant still exists in the British Museum, witnessed by a galaxy of Norman names.? Their chief castles were at Annan and Lochmaben. At Annan, near the site of a later castle, there is still a motte about 50 feet high, with a vast ditch and some traces of a bailey (N.), called the Moat (N. S. A.). The “terras de Moit et Bailyis, intra le Northgate,” are mentioned in 1582. South of the town of Lochmaben, on the N.W. side of the loch, is a fine motte called Castle Hill, with some remains of masonry, which is still pointed out as the original castle of the
1 M‘Ferlie, Lands and Their Owners in Galloway, ii., 47.
Bruces. (G.) The fine motte and bailey at Moffat must also have been one of their castles, as Moffat was one of their demesne lands. (Fig. 44.)
CATHCART.-Name territorial. Rainald de Cathcart witnesses a charter (in the Paisley Register) in 1179. Near the old castle of Cathcart, Lanark, is “an eminence called Court Knowe.” (N. S. A.) As Mr Neilson has shown, these court knowes and court hills are generally disused mottes. The name Rainald is clearly Norman.
CHEYNE.—This family is first known in 1258, but had then been long settled in Scotland, and were hereditary sheriffs of Banffshire. Chalmers only mentions their manor of Inverugie, in Aberdeenshire. Behind the ruins of Inverugie Castle rises a round flat-topped hill, which was the Castle Hill or Mote Hill of former days. (N. S. A.)
ColvilLE. — Appears in Scotland in the reign of Malcolm IV., holding the manors of Heton and Oxnam, in Roxburgh. About & mile from Oxnam (which was a barony) is a moated mound called Galla Knowe. (O.M.,
, C., and N.) Hailes identified the castle in Teviotdale, captured and burnt by Balliol in 1333, with that of Oxnam.” Le Mote de Oxnam is mentioned in 1424 (N.).
Cumyn, or Comyn.—The first of this family came to Scotland as the chancellor of David I. First seated at Linton Roderick, in Roxburghshire, where there is a rising ground, surrounded formerly by a foss, the site of the original castle ; (G.) a description which seems to
1 This description, taken from the Gazetteer, seems clear, but Mr Neilson tells me the site is more probably Woody Castle, which is styled a manor in the 15th century. The N. S. A. says: “There is the site of an ancient castle close to the town, on a mound of considerable height, called the Castle Hill, which is surrounded by a deep moat.” “Dumfries," p. 383.
Annals, ii., 196, cited in Douglas's History of the Border Counties, 173. 3 Round, in The Ancestor, 10, 108.