« PreviousContinue »
preparations of 1203 Stephen of Longchamp was given a licence for the fortification of his manor at Douville and a grant-in-aid was made for the purpose. But the most
. 1 important result of Henry's firm handling of the castles was that a clear distinction was drawn between ownership of a castle and local administration. When Henry began to reign this distinction was not clear either in England or Normandy; traces of the old confusion may be found in the vested interests preserved by later records. In the reigns of his sons the castellan is rarely a local magnate.3 He is a member of the administrative service, removable at will, sometimes acting as bailiff, sometimes confined to military duties with a salary.4 Only during the last months of John's rule in Normandy, when he had spent his treasure and was forced to make what arrangements he could, do we find a tendency to return to the old beneficiary
1. Above p. 242. The wages of the garrison were paid by the king (Rot. Norm., 75).
2. The rights of the earl of Chester in the castle of Lincoln are a case in point; Petit-Dutaillis in Mélanges Julien Havet (1895), p. 378. The contrast between the state of things in 1154 and 1200 is seen vividly in King John's grant of 20li. of the third penny of the county of Hereford to Henry Bohun unde eum fecimus comitem Herefordie, compared with the vast privileges granted in the beginning of Henry Il's reign to Earl Roger; besides lands, the mote of Hereford with the castle, the shrievalty of Gloucester with the custody of the castle, etc. Fifth Report on the Dignity of the Peerage, p. 4.
3. There are a few instances. For example, Robert of Roos seems to have been constable of Bonneville-sur-Touque in Richard's reign partly in virtue of his relationship with the Trossebot family. See Stapleton, II, lxxvi.
4. For the administrative side of this change, see above, ch. ii. The place of the castle is seen in the wording of John's letters of protection for the abbot of Fécamp, July 27th, 1202, addressed “omnibus castellanis et baillivis suis Normannie” (Bibl. de l'Ecole des Chartes, 1904, lxv, 396). For the castle as the centre of justice, cf. the inquiry of 1258 upon certain petitions of the bishops : “secundum consuetudinem Normannie cause super hereditatem mote tractentur in assisia castellanie in qua sita est res de qua agitur” (Olim, i, 59–63).
system. The process may be followed at Torigni. On 9th Nov. 1202 the prepositus and men of Torigni were instructed that John du Bois was to be castellan: they were to obey him as constable. In March 1203 John was ordered to surrender the castle and bailiwick to the seneschal;2 it appears that the king, before giving John fuller powers decided to destroy the fortifications, since on 12th May the seneschal is directed to hand over the town and its appurtenant lands to John du Bois, after the castle had been levelled (cum castrum de Torengy prostratum fuerit). It is uncertain whether the order was carried out or was countermanded, since one of the last acts of the king before leaving Normandy was to confirm the position of John by granting him the castle of Torigni with the service of the knights who held of the castellaria. 4 In any case John was now established as a baron on the site of a ducal castle. He received the service of its dependents and retained its revenues, loans and aids. 5 We cannot tell whether this reversion to feudal type would have become common in Normandy if local resistance to King Philip had lasted for a few years instead of a few months; but the story of Torigni is very suggestive.
1. Rot. Pat., 20. In 1154, Torigni was in the possession of Richard, son of Robert of Gloucester. It may have come to John after the death of Richard's son, Philip de Creully (see Robert of Torigni, ed. Delisle, i, 287, ii, 58; Stapleton, II, xlv). 2. Rot. Pat.,
26b. 3. Rot. Norm., 95. 4. Rot. Pat., 365, November 23rd, 1203.
5. In July the seneschal was ordered to hand over to John the loan which he had raised from the men of Torigni (Rot. Norm., 98). It is significant that Brandin, who had received the terra of Torigni before John du Bois (Rot. Pat., 14b), received it free of tallage.
6. The grant of the Channel Isles to Peter of Préaux (above p. 115) is still more suggestive.
II. The Norman march 1 was strengthened by those great builders Henry I and Henry II in the exercise of the authority which has just been described. At the end of the twelfth century, the March was regarded as a military whole, varying in its course as war expanded or restricted the political boundary, but stretching from Eu to the bay of Mont Saint-Michel.2 At the close of Henry II's reign, the boundary may be defined by the course of certain rivers whose banks had provided suitable sites for works of defence. Starting from Eu and ending at Pontorson, it followed more or less closely the Bresle, Epte, Eure (between Ivry and the junction of Eure and Avre), Avre, Sarthe, Mayenne, Colmont and, after an interval marked by the limits of the diocese of Avranches, the Couesnon. This line was only in part coincident with the ecclesiastical boundary of the province: thus, the Epte cut across the diocese of Rouen and separated the French from the Norman Vexin; and the southern portion of the diocese of Séez, containing Mortagne and Bellême, no longer formed part of the duchy; while, on the other hand, Roche Mabille (attached to Alençon) and the forts which protected Domfront on the Colmont had been originally part of
1. MODERN AUTHORITIES. Stapleton, Observations; Adolphe de Dion, Exploration des Châteaux du Vexin, in the Bulletin Monumental, 1867, xxxiii, 330–366; and the same writer's Etude sur les Châteaux féodauz des frontières de la Normandie, delivered at the Congrès archéologique de France, 1876, pp. 352–374; L. Bonnard, Une Promenade Historique. La Frontière franco-normande entre Seine et Perche (ixe au xiiie siècle), Chartres, 1907; Léon Coutil, ‘Le Château-Gaillard' in Recueil des travaux de la société libre d'agriculture, sciences, arts et belles-lettres de l'Eure, 1906, vi« série, iii, 49–108, is useful for the defences of the Seine.
2. e.g., in February, 1203, when the march was restricted to the Andelle, Bartholomew the clerk of the royal chamber was ordered to pay wages at Douville, “sicut aliis de Marchia fieri precepimus” (Rot. Norm., 75); so for the men of Neubourg and Pontorson (ibid., 77).
Maine, and were still in the diocese of Le Mans. Whether traditional or recent the line was artificial; at its weakest spot, in the open plain of the upper Avre, Henry II is stated to have strengthened it by elaborate earthworks, and at every point a strong military administration was required for its defence. Where the rivers flow along parallel lines, as in Caux and the Ezreçin, it was possible to fall back upon a second system of defences. Thus, after the loss of the valleys of the middle Eure and the lower Avre in 1196, the Normans fell back on the fortresses of the Itun, supported by Conches, Neubourg and Breteuil with its forest; similarly on the right bank of the Seine, the Andelle with Radepont took the place of the Epte, and after the fall of Eu and Aumâle on the Bresle, the eastern frontier was withdrawn to the valley of the Béthune3 in which the great castle of Arques lay.
Until the reign of Henry I the dukes were mainly dependent upon their vassals for the defence of this extensive frontier. Richard II, in the beginning of the eleventh century, seems to have adopted the practice of Fulk Nerra, for Domfront and Alençon were built with his approval by Ivo, a military engineer (balistarius) from France, and both these strongholds, together with the family fortress at Bellême were within the jurisdiction of Ivo's successors.4 Yet Richard himself built his first
1. The land between Domfront and the Colmont was known as the district of Le Passeis, and was farmed as a bailiwick.
2. For this system of ditches and ponds, see Bonnard, p. 25, and Congrès archéologique (1876), p. 362, and the writers there mentioned. A remark made by Robert of Torigni under the year 1169, seems to be the authority for referring the earthworks to Henry II : “Rex Henricus fecit fossata alta et lata inter Franciam et Normanniam ad praedones arcendos" (ed. Delisle, ii, 13).
3. This river was known as the Dieppe (Deppa) in the twelfth century.
4. Stapleton, I, lxxi.
important castle on the Avre at Tillières, 1 and a change of policy is apparent by the time of the Conqueror, who not only undertook the fortification of the Epte at Gisors, but insisted on his right to control the castles of his barons.? It was Henry I, however, who after the anarchic administration of Duke Robert, first organised the Norman defences upon a scientific plan. When he was count of the Côtentin he had acquired Domfront, then in Maine, whose inhabitants had revolted against Robert of Bellême (1092);3 and as duke he built, added and repaired on a large scale. The age of motte and ditch had passed, and a company of strong keeps, high and broad, rose to reinforce the scanty towers of Duke Richard's time. 4 In Rouen he built a great wall round the keep, in Caen he built the keep itself. In Arques, in Gisors, Falaise, Argentan, Exmes, Domfront, Ambrières, Vire, Gavrai, Vernon, Henry built a keep;5 also at Coutances, Evreux and Alençon. 6 Along the march he built new castles altogether; Drincourt and Lions-la-Forêt in Caux and Bray, Châteauneuf on the Epte, Nonancourt and Verneuil on the Avre, Bonmoulins on the borders of Perche, the new castle on the Colmont in Le Passeis,
1. Tillières (Tegularia) was in the eleventh century the key to the valley. The honour afterwards came to the family of Crispin. See Bonnard, p. 22; Stapleton, I, cxx, II, xlv; Stenton, William the Conqueror, p. 77.
2. At the request of William, Robert of Bellême built the great castle at Gisors (Ordericus Vitalis, iv, 21). According to Dion it was a tower on a central mound (Bulletin Monumental, xxxiii, 334).
3. Stapleton, I, lxxviii. Juhel of Mayenne finally surrendered the castles of Le Passeis (Gorron, Ambrières, and Neufchâteau-sur-Colmont) in January, 1162. See Robert of Torigni, i, 335.
4. Congrès archéologique, 1876, pp. 368–374; Eng. Hist. Rev., xix, 209–10.
5. Robert of Torigni, i, 164-5.
6. Ibid., 197. It is possible that, in the cases of Evreux and Alençon, the duke built keeps in order to watch the local families, since these places were not in the demesne.