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in the keeps of Henry II. some signs of Transition Norman in the details, such as the nook shafts at the angles of the towers of Scarborough and the Peak, certain arches at Canterbury, the Transition capitals used at Newcastle, and the filleted string round the outside of Bowes.
But we have yet to speak of three keeps of Henry II.'s reign which are on a different plan to all the others, and which point to coming changes—Chilham, Orford, and Tickhill. Chilham is an octagonal tower of three storeys, with a square annexe on one side, which appears to be original. Orford is polygonal outside, round inside. Orford indeed is one of the most extraordinary keeps to be seen anywhere, and we must regard it as an experiment, and an experiment which appears never to have been repeated. Instead of the usual Norman buttresses, this polygonal keep has three buttress towers, placed between every four of the outer faces, 22 feet wide, and 12 feet in projection. Tickhill, however, the last keep he built, is decagonal. The object of the polygonal tower was to deflect the missiles thrown from siege engines, and the round tower was evidently considered
1 King, paper on Canterbury Castle in Archæologia, vi., 298. We have not observed in any English keeps (except in this single instance) any of the elaborate plans to entrap the enemy which M. Viollet le Duc describes in his article on Donjons. He was an imaginative writer, and many of his statements should not be accepted without reserve.
2 Wark was also an octagonal keep, but there is considerable doubt whether this octagonal building was the work of Henry II., as Lord Dacre wrote to Wolsey in 1519 concerning Wark that "the dongeon is clerely finished,” and mentions that all the storeys but one were vaulted with stone. This makes it almost certain that the castle of Wark was entirely rebuilt at this time, after having been demolished by the Scots in 1460. It is now an utter ruin, and even the foundations of the keep are buried.
3 At Thorne, near Doncaster, where the great earls Warenne had a castle, there are the foundations, on a motte, of a keep which seems to resemble that of Orford; it ought to be thoroughly excavated.
4 These measurements are from Grose, Antiquities, v., 74.
CHANGES IN TWELFTH CENTURY
an improvement on the polygonal for this purpose, as it subsequently supplanted the polygonal type. It is therefore rather remarkable that Henry II. built both these keeps in the second decade of his reign, and afterwards went on building square keeps like his predecessors. We have seen, however, that he built at least one polygonal tower in Normandy, that of Gisors. We must bear in mind that the Norman and Angevine frontier was the theatre of the continuous struggle of Henry II. with the French kings, Louis VII. and Philip Augustus, and that it is here that we must expect the greatest developments in military architecture.
Speaking generally, we may say that just as there was comparatively little change in armour during the 12th century until the end of Henry II.'s reign, so there was comparatively little change in military architecture during the same period. But great changes took place towards the end of the 12th century. One of these changes was a great improvement in missile engines; the trébuchet was one of the most important of these. It could throw much heavier stones than the largest catapult, and could take a more accurate aim. These new engines were useful for defence as well as attack, and this affected the architecture of castles, because flat roofs covered with lead, on which machines could be placed, were now substituted for the former sloping roofs. There are several payments for lead for roofing castles in the Pipe Rolls of Henry II., the earliest being in 1166. In the reigns of John and Henry III.
See Payne Gallwey, The Crossbow, 309; Köhler, Kriegswesen, iii., 192. The trébuchet is first mentioned at the siege of Piacenza in 1199.
2 As far as we can tell, the tops of keeps having generally been ruined or altered, the common arrangement was either a simple gable, or two gables resting on a cross wall, such as all the larger keeps possessed.
the mention of lead for roofing becomes much more frequent.
Hitherto, in the defence of keeps, reliance had mainly been placed upon their passive strength, though not so entirely as has been commonly assumed, since it was always the practice to shoot with arrows from the battlements round the roof of the tower. But not only was the fighting strength of the keep increased by the trébuchet, but the introduction of the crossbow gave it a defensive arm of the greatest importance. The crossbow had been known to the Romans, and was used in the early part of the 12th century, but it was forbidden by the second Lateran Council in 1139 as a weapon hateful to God. This prohibition seems actually to have been effective, as William the Breton says expressly that the crossbow was unknown to the French before the wars of Richard I. and Philip Augustus. Richard learned the use of it in the third crusade. But to use the crossbow in the defence of buildings it was necessary to construct special loopholes for shooting, splayed downwards externally, so that it was possible to aim from them. Up till this time the loopholes of castles had been purely for light and not for shooting; anyone
1 Another consequence of the introduction of an engine of longer range was the widening of castle ditches. We frequently find works on ditches mentioned in John's accounts.
2 Payne Gallwey, The Crossbow, p. 3. We find it used by Louis VI. of France, before 1137. Suger's Gesta Ludovici, 10 (ed. Molinier). Ten balistarii are mentioned in Domesday Book, but they may have been engineers of the great balista, a siege machine. There is no representation of a crossbow in the Bayeux Tapestry. There are entries in the Pipe Rolls of 6, 8, and 9 Henry II. of payments for arbelast', but these also may refer to the
great balista, 3 Guill. Brit. Armorici Philippides, Bouquet xvii., line 315.
* The bow brought by Richard from Palestine is believed to have been an improved form of crossbow, made of horn and yew, “light, elastic, and far more powerful than a bow of solid wood.” Payne Gallwey, The Crossbow.
LOOPHOLES FOR SHOOTING
up to the
may see that it is impossible to take aim through an immensely thick wall unless there is a downward splay to increase the field of vision. William the Breton tells us that Richard built windows for crossbows to his towers, and this is the first mention we have of them.
From this time defensive loopholes become common in castles, and take various fanciful forms, as well as the commoner ones of the circle, square, or triangle at the base of the loop. The cross loophole, which does not appear till the latter quarter of the 13th century, is explained by Viollet le Duc as an ingenious way of allowing three or four archers to fire in a volley. But
very little study has been given to this subject, and we must be content to leave the question for future observation to settle."
The crossbowmen not only required splayed loopholes, but also niches, large enough to accommodate at least three men, so that a continuous discharge of darts (quarrells) might be kept up. Any defensive loop which really means work will have a niche like this behind it. These niches had the defect of seriously weakening the wall.
Another innovation introduced by Richard I. was that of stone machicolations, or hurdicia.' Whether wooden galleries round the tops of walls, with holes for dropping down stones, boiling water, or pitch on the heads of the besiegers had not been used from the earliest times, is regarded by Köhler as extremely doubtful. They were certainly used by the Romans, and may even be seen clearly figured on the Assyrian monuments. In the Bayeux Tapestry, the picture of Bayeux Castle shows the stockade on top of the motte crested with something extremely like hurdicia. Yet the writer has found no authentic mention of them before the end of the 12th century. The stone machicolations built by Richard round his keep of Chateau Gaillard are of an unusual type, which was only rarely imitated. But from this time wooden hurdicia became universal, to judge from the numerous orders for timber for hoarding castles and town walls in the Close Rolls of the first half of the 13th century. Towards the middle of the 13th century stone brackets for the support of wooden hurdicia began to be used; they may still be seen in the great keep of Coucy, which was begun
1 “Fenestris arcubalistaribus," Bouquet xvii., 75. The writer has never found a single defensive loophole in any of the keeps of Henry I. or Henry II. Köhler remarks that the loopholes up to this period do not seem to be intended for shooting (Entwickelung des Kriegswesen, iii., 409), and Clark has some similar observations.
2 Dictionnaire de l'Architecture, art. “Meurtrière."
3 Meyrick in his Ancient Armour quotes a charter of 1239, in which the French king grants a castle to the Count de Montfort on condition “quod non possumus habere in eodem archeriam nec arbalisteriam,” which Meyrick audaciously translates "any perpendicular loophole for archers, nor any cruciform loophole for crossbowmen.” The quotation is unfortunately given by Sir R. Payne Gallwey without the Latin original. It is at any rate probable that the cruciform loophole was for archers; it does not appear till the time of the long-bow, which was improved and developed by Edward 'I., who made it the most formidable weapon of English warfare.
But machicolations entirely of stone, supported on double or triple rows of brackets, do not become common till the 14th century."
1 See Appendix H.
3 In 1186, the Duke of Burgundy caused the towers and walls of his castle of Chatillon to be “hoarded ” (hordiari). This duke had been a companion of Richard's on the third crusade. William le Breton, Philippides, line 600. Richard's hurdicia at Chateau Gaillard were two years earlier.
4 See Dieulafoy, Le Chateau Gaillard et l'Architecture Militaire au Treizième Siècle, p. 13.
6 The best French and German authorities are agreed about this. The holes in which the wooden beams supporting the hurdicia were placed may still be seen in many English castles, and so may the remains of the stone brackets. They would be good indications of date, were it not that hurdicia could so easily be added to a much older building.