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CHAPTER VII

THE CASTLES OF THE NORMANS IN ENGLAND

In this chapter we propose to give a list, in alphabetical order for convenience of reference, of the castles which are known to have existed in England in the 11th century, because they are mentioned either in Domesday Book, or in charters of the period, or in some contemporary chronicle. We do not for a moment suppose that this catalogue of eighty-four castles is a complete list of those which were built in England in the reigns of William I. and William II. We have little doubt that all the castles in the county towns, such as Leicester, Northampton, and Guildford, and those which we hear of first as the seats of important nobles in the reign of Henry II., such as Marlborough, Groby, Bungay, Ongar, were castles built shortly after the Conquest, nearly all of them being places which have (or had) mottes. Domesday Book only mentions fifty castles in England and Wales, but

1 This list or catalogue raisonné was originally published in the English Historical Review for 1904 (vol. xix.). It is now reproduced with such corrections as were necessary, and with the addition of five more castles, as well as of details about thirty-four castles for which there was not space in the Review. The Welsh castles are omitted from this list, as they will be given in a separate chapter.

The list is brought up to fifty by interpreting the regis domus of Winchester to be Winchester castle ; the reasons for this will be given later. The number would be increased to fifty-two if we counted Ferle and Bourne in Sussex as castles, as Mr Freeman does in his Norman Conquest, v., 808. But the language of Domesday seems only to mean that the lands of these manors were held of Hastings castle by the service of castle-guard. See D. B., i., pp. 21 and 206.

NORMAN CASTLES IN ENGLAND

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it is well known that the Survey is as capricious in its mention of castles as in its mention of churches. It is possible that further research in charters which the writer has been unable to examine may furnish additional castles, but the list now given may be regarded as complete as far as materials generally accessible will allow. One of the castles mentioned (Richard's Castle) and probably two others (Hereford and Ewias) existed before the Conquest; they were the work of those Norman friends of Edward the Confessor whom he endowed with lands in England.

Out of this list of eighty-four castles we shall find that no less than seventy-one have or had mottes. The exceptions are the Tower of London, Colchester, Pevensey, and Chepstow, where a stone keep was part of the original design, and a motte was therefore unnecessary : Bamborough, Peak, and Tynemouth, where the site was sufficiently defended by precipices : Carlisle and Richmond, whose original design is unknown to us : Belvoir, Dover, Exeter, and Monmouth, which might on many grounds be counted as mottecastles, but as the evidence is not conclusive, we do not mark them as such; but even if we leave them out, with the other exceptions, we shall find that nearly 86 per cent. of our list of castles of the 11th century are of the motte-and-bailey type.

About forty-three of these castles are attached to towns. Of these, less than a third are placed inside the Roman walls or the Saxon or Danish earthworks of the towns, while at least two-thirds are wholly or partly outside these enclosures. This circumstance is important, because the position outside the town indicates the mistrust of an invader, not the confidence of a native prince. In the only two cases where we know anything of the position of the residence of the Saxon kings we find it in the middle of the city. Even when the castle is inside the town walls it is almost invariably close to the walls, so that an escape into the country might always be possible. S

1 The total number would be eighty-six if Burton and Aldreth were included. Burton castle is mentioned in Domesday, but there is no further trace of its existence. The castle of Alrehede or Aldreth in the island of Ely is stated by the Liber Eliensis to have been built by the Conqueror, but no remains of any kind appear to exist now. Both these castles are therefore omitted from the list.

Of the towns or manors in which these castles were situated, Domesday Book gives us the value in King Edward's and King William's time in sixty-two instances. In forty-five cases the value has risen; in twelve it has fallen; in five it is stationary. Evidently something has caused a great increase of prosperity in these cases, and it can hardly be anything else than the impetus given to trade through the security afforded by a Norman castle.

Our list shows that Mr Clark's confident statement, that the moated mounds were the centres of large and important estates in Saxon times, was a dream. Out of forty-one mottes in country districts, thirty-six are found in places which were quite insignificant in King Edward's day, and only five can be said to occupy the centres of important Saxon manors.*

1 Exact numbers cannot be given, because in some cases the bounds of the ancient borough are doubtful, as at Quatford.

? At Winchester and Exeter. For Winchester, see Milner, History of Winchester, ii., 194; for Exeter, Shorrt's Sylva Antiqua Iscana, p. 7.

3 Colchester is the only exception to this rule, as the castle there is in the middle of the town; but even this is only an apparent exception, as the second bailey extended to the town wall on the north, and had been royal demesne land even before the Conquest. See Round's Colchester Castle, ch. vii.

These five are Berkeley, Berkhampstead, Bourn, Pontefract, Rayleigh.

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In the table in the Appendix, the area occupied by the original baileys of the castles in this list has been measured accurately by a planimeter, from the 25-in. Ordnance maps, in all cases in which that was possible. This table proves that the early Norman castles were very small in area, suitable only for the personal defence of a chieftain who had only a small force at his disposal, and absolutely unsuited for a people in the tribal state of development, like the ancient Britons, or for the scheme of national defence inaugurated by Alfred and Edward. We may remark here that in not a single case is any masonry which is certainly early Norman to be found on one of these mottes; where the date can be ascertained, the stonework is invariably later than the 17th century. ABERGAVENNY (Fig. 8). — This castle, being in

– Monmouthshire, must be included in our list. The earliest notice of it is a document stating that Hamelin de Ballon gave the church and chapel of the castle of Abergavenny, and the land for making a bourg, and an oven of their own, to the Abbey of St Vincent at Le Mans.

The castle occupies a pointed spur at the S. end of the town, whose walls converge so as to include the castle as part of the defence. The motte has been much altered during recent years, and is crowned by a modern building; but a plan in Coxe's Tour in Monmouthshire, 1800, shows it in its original round form. The bailey is roughly of a pentagonal shape, covering i acre, and is defended by a curtain wall with mural towers and a gatehouse. The ditch on the W.

1 I am indebted for these measurements to Mr D. H. Montgomerie.

2 Notification in Round's Calendar of Documents preserved in France, p. 367. Mr Round dates the Notification 1087-1100.

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and N. is much filled in and obscured by the encroachment of the town. On the E. the ground descends in a steep scarp, which merges into those of the headland on which the motte is placed." ARUNDEL (Fig. 8).-" The castrum of Arundel,”

8 says Domesday Book, “paid 40s. in King Edward's time from a certain mill, and 20s. from three boardlands (or feorm-lands), and 25. from one pasture. Now, between the town feorm and the water-gate and the ships' dues, it pays 12l.? Castrum in Domesday nearly always means a castle ; yet the description here given is certainly that of a town and not of a castle. We must therefore regard it as an instance of the fluctuating meaning which both castrum and castellum had in the 11th century.: Arundel is one of the towns mentioned in the “ Burghal Hidage.” But even accepting that the description in Domesday refers to the town, we can have very little doubt that the original earthen castle was reared by Roger de Montgomeri, to whom William I. gave the Rapes of Arundel and Chichester, and whom he afterwards made Earl of Shrewsbury.

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1 Description furnished by Mr D. H. Montgomerie, F.S.A.

2 “ Castrum Harundel T. R. E. reddebat de quodam molino 40 solidos, et de 3 conviviis 20 solidos, et de uno pasticio 20 solidos. Modo inter burgum et portum aquæ et consuetudinem navium reddit 12 libras, et tamen valet 13. De his habet S. Nicolaus 24 solidos. Ibi una piscaria de 5 solidos et unum molinum reddens 10 modia frumenti, et io modia grossæ annonæ. Insuper 4 modia. Hoc appreciatum est 12 libras. Robertus filius Tetbaldi habet 2 hagas de 2 solidis, et de hominibus extraniis habet suum theloneum.” Several other hage and burgenses are then enumerated. (D. B., i., 23a, 1.)

3 See Mr Round's remarks on the words in his Geoffrey de Mandeville, Appendix 0. The above was written before the appearance of Mr Round's paper on “The Castles of the Conquest” (Archæologia, lviii.), in which he rejects the idea that castrum Harundel means the castle.

4 See ante, p. 28.

6 Florence of Worcester mentions the castle of Arundel as belonging to Roger de Montgomeri in 1088.

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