Page images

and has to keep up the castles at his own cost, he will find that he is carrying a heavier burden than a war. That is what will happen : I wager they will come back to-morrow.

.'2 The Marshal's advice was taken. William le Queu, one of Richard's most trusted mercenaries, who was at this time castellan of Lions-la-Forêt, 3 was given the task of harrying the French garrisons on the Epte, so that they could take nothing in the area subject to his command. His band did the work so well that the French in Baudemont did not dare even to carry water from the spring outside the castle. Meanwhile William le Queu, disregarding the garrison in Gisors, continued to collect the ordinary dues and rents from the Vexin.5

Sufficient evidence remains to permit us to form a picture of the castellaria and of its economy. There are numerous references to castleguard as a form of military service,

1. In 1193, it may be aoticed, the Norman and Angevin exchequers were responsible for the payment of the garrisons in the four castles surrendered to Philip.

2. Guillaume le Maréchal, iii, 156.
3. Rot. Scacc., ii, 494; Howden, iv, 78.

4. The exchequer roll shows that William le Queu was farmer, and this story seems to show that he was bailiff. Another interesting fact is brought to light : evidently, after the loss of Gisors and the other castles on the Epte, the bailiwick of the Vexin, so far as was possible, found a new centre at Lions, or, as in 1195, at Château-Gaillard (above, p. 286–7). Gisors had never been a self-supporting centre. See above,

p. 105.

5. Guillaume le Maréchal, iii, 157. 6. Red Book of the Exchequer, ii, 632 : Roger of Pavilli owes four knights during a third part of the year ad custodiam de Lions ; cf. pp. 634, 636, 637. In 1247 Alexander, called the Abbot, a knight of Tournai near Troarn, claimed to be quit of dues and other charges, pro quibus debet et tenetur ad stipendia propria custodire castellum de Wismes, i.e., Exmes. The exemption was enjoyed by his ancestors. (Querimoniae Normannorum, no. 545, in Historiens de France, xxiv, part i, p. 72.) For the duty in time of war, cf. the statement of the knight service owing to and by the Abbot of Mont-Saint-Michel, in 1172 (edited by Howlett, Chronicles of Stephen, etc., iv, 349 seq9).

and in addition, among the numerous services which were required in the management of any large estate, may be found the duties of work on buildings and earthworks.? The economy of the Poitevin honour of Chizé, which as described in the middle of the thirteenth century clearly goes back to the reign of Richard, is an excellent illustration of this complex of social and military relations. I have already referred to this document as evidence that the obligations of Henry II's assize of arms were observed in Poitou.? It begins with a statement of the services owed by certain vassals of the honour. Peter Payen, for example, is a liegeman of the count, owes military and riding services (exercitus et equitatio) and is obliged to go to the defence of the count's castle in case of need. It is significant that the privileges enjoyed by these vassals in the lord's woods are particularly mentioned. No privileges were so jealously guarded by their owners or so carefully watched by the lords;t and when the bailiffs of Philip Augustus began to press hardly upon the Normans after the French conquest, it is noteworthy that a large proportion of their encroachments are alleged to have been made upon customary rights enjoyed in the ducal forests. 5 After the statement of these services and rights our document gives a careful list of the furniture and armoury of the castle at Chizé, such as Philip Augustus ordered to be drawn up in his Norman castles. This is followed by a description of the parishes in the domain, of which twentyone are named. ? Widows, we may note, are exempted

1. Delisle, Etudes sur la condition de la classe agricole, p. 83. 2. Above p. 34. 3. Etat du domaine du comte de Poitou a Chizé, edited by Bardonnet in the Archives historiques du Poitou, vii, 75.

4. See the very precise statement of customs in the châtellenies of Vernon and Paci in the Cartulaire Normand, nos. 199, 200, p. 30. 5. Querimoniae Normannorum, passim.

6. For Philip's stocktaking, see Cartulaire Normand, nos. 214, 215, pp. 33, 34.

7. Archives historiques du Poitou, vii, 79.

from tallage. The servientes feodati are of special interest for our purpose. Geoffrey Ribemont had the duties of finding wood for the hospice of the count in the castle, of serving the kitchen with water and of attending upon the knights of the count for the washing of hands. For each of his services he had definite payments in loaves and wine, and in the scraps from the kitchen, while in virtue of his service of water he was free of all the ordinary dues and obligations. Two fishermen and a farrier are mentioned. Peter Ostenc, the janitor of the town, was responsible for the keys, was paid in fixed dues on merchandise, and had as his perquisite the broken gates which could not be mended.3 There were also the man who found wood for utensils, the dog keeper, the huntsman and the man at the lazar house. The customary tenants in the bailiwick of Fosses owed cartage services, as they did in the reign of King Richard ;4 wherever bullocks could go and draw the catapults and other great siege engines, they owed these services; moreover, when they were summoned it was their duty to carry palisading to the castle; and all these services, with the more general duties of riding and of service in the host and payment of tallage, they owed at their own cost.5

Some such system as this must be imagined to have existed in the ducal castles of Normandy. In times of peace these great erections of wood and stone were busy with life. No piece of land was unused : up to the very walls everything that was not reserved for the duke's


1. Ibid., p. 80. "vidue, quam diu sint vidue, non talliabantur.” 2. Ibid, p. 85, cf. 81. 3. In Normandy, as a rule, the porter of the castle was paid a wage.

4. ‘Archives historiques du Poitou, vii, p. 97, “sicut fecerunt tempore regis Ricardi.” A charter of Richard is quoted in the course of the inquiry, p. 123. It is probable that in Poitou, as in Normandy, the charters of John were invalid.

5. Ibid.

private disposal,1 was carefully farmed, if it was not actually in private hands; a new tower or ditch might involve the payment of compensation to some customary tenant. 3 And when the castle was the centre of an administrative district, the area and intensity of its economy were greatly increased. A hundred points of law and custom depended upon the existence of a mighty keep, whose military purpose, though never forgotten, had been overgrown by a variety of new functions and duties. Its maintenance was largely due to the labours and bargains of men who had built up the little town under its protection. Distant monasteries and local hospitals and lazar houses were supported from its

In the castle hall the justices and the bailiff did justice over the countryside and kept an eye on the Jews who were allowed to transact their dangerous and increasingly complicated business. All kinds of men met in the streets of the town-clerks with royal writs, recognitors, claimants, knights and servants conveying the royal treasure, falconers and dog-keepers with their precious charges; men with wine, fish, building stone, paling, rope and bundles of shafts or pikes; merchants, pilgrims, monks on the business of their houses ;—they can all be seen as one turns the pages of royal letters and accounts.


1. e.g., the turris, chestnut-grove, and various pieces of land at Avranches were not farmed. Rot. Scacc., i, ll; ii, 289. Delisle, Introduction to the Actes de Henri 11, p. 345.

2. The bailiff of Argentan accounted for 65s. de terra mote in Argentomo” (Rot. Scacc., i, 20). This may, however, have been the site of an earlier castle. Compare, however, the "domus Ricardi de Bailloul que est in fossato Regis” (ibid.).

3. In 1247 there were outstanding claims for compensation by a person whose property King Philip had taken when he built a new tower at Falaise : Querimoniae Normanniae, no. 419. King John's fossé at Falaise had involved similar interference with private interests, nos. 403, 457.

4. See below p. 355.

[ocr errors]

In time of war came new activities. Repairs were hurried on, the ditches were cleaned out, and perhaps buildings were removed which might provide shelter for the enemy.' Some high oficial might come on a tour of inspection, to direct the necessary increase in the garrison and make arrangements for its payment. A special castellan might be sent down, with a force of mercenaries and a royal clerk; and on their behalf letters and writs were issued from the ducal chancery directing the payment of treasure or the immediate despatch of victuals and ammunition, so that, stocked and garrisoned, the castle might be ready for the enemy.?

One of the most vivid pictures of war in the twelfth century was drawn by Jordan Fantosme in his chronicle of the war in England during the rebellion of 1173.3 In these rough but stirring verses we can see in action the simple mechanism of which the castle was the centre. The young king Henry is in rebellion against his father in Normandy, while the Earl of Leicester and others lead the rising in England. The old king is across the sea, but he knows how every stronghold lies and how it is held; he sees the north of England as though he were reading a plan. The messengers bring him

It appears that forty days are ample time in which to ride from Wark or Alnwick to Southampton, to cross the Channel, find the king, and return. “The messengers depart, they spur their horses, on the great paved roads they slacken their reins. The horses are


1. In 1206 the viscount of Thouars razed and transferred elsewhere a hospital near the ditch of his castle. His charter is quoted from the Fonteneau MSS. in Mém. de la Société des Antiquaires de l'Ouest (1839), iv, 182.

2. See note B at the end of this chapter. 3. The metrical chronicle of Jordan Fantosme, in Howlett, Chronicles of the reigns of Stephen, Henry II, and Richard 1, iii, 201. Fantosme was an eyewitness of some of the events which he describes. On his life, see Howlett's preface, vol. iii, pp. Ix-lxvi.

« PreviousContinue »