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take it for granted that there was generally a well on the motte, for this citadel was intended to be held after the bailey had been captured.1
The stockade running round the outer edge of the motte and enclosing the courtyard in which the keep stood evidently had a fighting platform attached to it. As the majority of these mottes were three-quarters detached, forming part of the general line of enceinte, we may conclude that there would be, in that part of the stockade looking towards the open field, a screened postern door by means of which the occupants of the citadel could leave it without having to pass through the bailey.
Jean de Colmieu, in his life of John, the sainted Bishop of Terouenne (obiit 1130), gives us a description of the method of entering these citadels from the bailey. “Bishop John," he says,
was wont frequently to stay at Merchem, when visiting his diocese. Near by the churchyard was .
an exceedingly high fortress, which might be termed a castle or municipium (castrum vel municipium), built many years previously by the then lord of the manor according to the fashion which then prevailed. It is the custom of the great lords and nobles in that district, who spend much of their time in civil war, in order that they may be safe from their enemies, or that by their superior power they may conquer their equals or oppress their inferiors, to throw up a hill of earth as high as they can, and to encircle it with a ditch of great breadth and depth. They fortify the upper edge of this mound with a very strong palisade of hewn logs, sometimes placing turrets on its circuit at necessary points. Within this fortification they erect a house or keep (arx) dominating the entire enclosure. The entrance to this residence (villa) is only by means of a bridge, which rising from the counterscarp of the motte ditch, and being
1 Neckham's treatise, De Utensilibus, a very limited number of mottes have tells us that a well was usually provided been scientifically examined, but wells on the summit of the motte.
have been found at Almondbury, Berkethat the motte should be placed on a site ley, Berkhampstead, Carisbrooke, Coniswell defended by nature; that there borough, Kenilworth, Northallerton, Norshould be a strong stockade of hewn wich, Pontefract, Oxford, Tunbridge, logs running round the outer edge at Worcester, and York. The well disthe summit ; that the keep or tower in covered at Northallerton, when the the centre of this fortified enclosure should earthworks were destroyed by the be provided with turrets and battle
railway, was, however, probably that ments; that there should be a well of the bailey. in the courtyard on the summit of the ? It was possibly by such a postern motte so that the citadel might be held that the Empress made her escape after the bailey had been taken, and that from the castle of Oxford. crates of stones should be placed at Jean de Colmieu, in his Vita suitable places to be used as missiles beati Joannis Morinorum episcopi (Ada against an enemy. Unfortunately, only Sanctorum, 26 January, vol. iii, 409-417).
supported by double or even by triple columns placed beneath it at suitable intervals, rises by a graduated slope above the ditch until it reaches the level of the summit of the motte (agger) and touches the threshold of the enclosure.” This method of entry is very clearly shown in the Bayeux Tapestry. The steep ladder or bridge was formed of planks, and was fitted with projecting pieces of wood nailed to it in order to afford foothold, and it is evident, from the pictures of the castles of Bayeux, Dol, and Rennes, that horses were trained to climb up this steep ascent. The bridge or ladder was evidently guarded at its base by a small outwork in the shape of a timber gate or turret, and terminated, at its upper end, in a timber platform or outwork projecting from the base of the stockade running round the outer edge of the summit of the motte. Jean de Colmieu goes on to tell us that when the aged Bishop was leaving the castle to consecrate the adjacent churchyard, a crowd of his admirers followed him down the bridge which, at its highest point, was some 35 feet above the motte ditch, and the frail structure, unable to bear the unusual weight, suddenly collapsed, and precipitated them all into the bottom of the ditch, where they were up to their knees in water.
Unfortunately, we seem to possess no contemporary description of the bailey of one of these earth-and-timber castles ; but the mere fact that no stables, outhouses, workshops, cowsheds, etc., are mentioned as existing on the motte shows that these must necessarily, when a bailey formed part of the fortress, have been placed in this usual accessory.
The bank of the bailey ditch was surrounded by a strong palum, pelum, palitium, or timber palisade, with its accompanying fighting platform, possibly about 18 feet high. It is possible that there was a timber gatehouse of two storeys at the entrance. The custom of enfilading the enceinte by projecting mural towers did not come into force until much later ; but there can be no doubt whatever that, in those castles where the hall stood in the bailey, one or two small timber towers would be placed upon the enceinte, and it is a very significant fact that the stone curtains at Richmond, which date from the last quarter of the eleventh century, are so provided. The palisade of the bailey at two points was carried up the sides of the motte until it met the stockade running round the outer edge of the motte summit, exactly as stone walls do in those Norman castles which eventually developed works in masonry. Occasionally this portion of the bailey stockade was provided with its own banquette running up the sides of the motte, and at the interesting little motte and bailey castle of Ardmayle, Tipperary, erected by Theobald Walter, this banquette still remains in excellent preservation.
1“ Locum in Eboraco qui dicitur Vetus Ballium, primo spissis et longis 18 pedum tabulis.
cludebat." T. Stubbs, in Raine's Historians of the Church of York, R.S., ii, 417. into the bailey ditch, but failed to carry 2 This would afford a useful additional the palicium or stockade protection, as the hedge would be prac- 3“ Callidi enim ob sores in fabrili tically impervious to fire (see Cohausen's fornace, quæ in promptu structa fuerat, Befestigungen der Vorzeit, pp. 8–13). ferrum missilium callefaciebant, subitoLambert of Ardres tells us, p. 623 : que super tectum principalis aulæ in
The entrance to the bailey was usually at a point as far distant from the motte as possible. Where the contour of the ground, or other circumstances, required the entrance to be placed near the motte, there was sometimes an earth-and-timber barbican, common to motte and bailey alike, placed at this point to afford an additional protection to the entrance.
The counterscarp of the bailey ditch was defended by a quick hedge of thorns and brambles, or by a row of stakes entwined with thorns, termed the hericia. 2
There is another point to note before we attempt to apply this contemporary evidence to the earthworks which we have enumerated as existing in the North Riding. Ordericus Vitalis tells us
of the destruction, in the year 1090, of the great hall (principalis aula) in the bailey (in munimentis) of the castle of Brionne by means of red-hot darts or of arrows tipped with burning tow shot on to its shingled roof. This is sufficient contemporary evidence to prove that the great hall, the centre of the domestic life of the castle, was sometimes placed in the bailey and not in the timber keep on the summit of the motte. There can be no doubt whatever that there was, perhaps from the earliest times, invariably a hall in the bailey of a Norman earth-and-timber castle, which was the usual residence of a tenant-in-capite or great feudatory. This applies equally to stone castles. At Rochester, for instance, although the great stone keep contained a fine hall, there was also a timber hall in the bailey. This was also the case at Scarborough, and numerous other instances might be cited.
Examples may be seen at Mex- Scots, we are told that the assailants borough (West Riding), Castle Acre, managed to penetrate the hericon or Castle Colwyn, Burton-in-Lonsdale, and hedge on the counterscarp. and got Lilburne.
Reparato exterioris Ardensis muni. munimentis jaciebant, et sic ferrum tionis valli fossato et amplificato, et candens sagittarum atque pilorum in sepibus et ericiis consepto et constipato." arida veterum lanugine imbricum totis In the account, by Jordan Fantosme, nisibus figebant” (Ord. Vit., viii, 13). of the siege of the castle of Wark by the
But on one point the writer must confess that he feels very doubtful, and that is where the Norman baron had his meals and where he slept.1 Wright, in his excellent History of Domestic Architecture (p. 19), says: “Dining in private was always considered disgraceful, and is mentioned as a blot on a man's character;" but he also says (p. 40): "In some cases, where
. the party was not an ostentatious or a public one, the meal was served in a chamber instead of in the hall.” The first meal of the day was often, if not always, brought to the lord in his private chamber, but it was undoubtedly the custom of the baron to have his main meal or meals with his retainers in the hall, the noble and his family on the dais, the retainers“ below the salt.” If the baron always resided in a chamber, either in a timber keep within the palisaded summit of the motte, or (when the motte was not of sufficient size to bear a detached tower) in a chamber in a wooden turret projecting from the palisade, we have only to see a number of these mottes to realise how very awkward it would be for the baron to take his evening meal in the hall in the bailey. Yet it is difficult to believe that he would take his meal alone or with his family in his chamber on the motte for, the work of the day done, this would be the time for the gathering together of the entire household. However useful, indeed absolutely essential, the motte was from a defensive point of view at the majority of these castles, it cannot have been a convenient place of residence. Try to imagine, for instance, my Lord Percy, after supping not wisely but too well in the great hall in the bailey of Topcliffe Castle, attempting on a dark and stormy night to ascend the steep ladder or bridge leading to his apartments on the summit of the motte. We shall probably come to the conclusion that there would be occasions when my lord would find it more convenient to occupy the solar opening out of the hall in the bailey. The whole point is one that requires elucidation.
1 De Caumont (Abecedaire d'Archeologie, p. 392) thinks that the baron always slept in a tower on the motte. "Le donjon était une tour plus ou moins élevée, tantot en bois, tantot en pierre, divisée en plusieurs étages et du haut de laquelle on découvrait, pour l'ordinaire, une étendue de pays assez considérable. Le commandant de la place habitait dans cette citadelle, sous laquelle était ordinairement une prison souterraine ou le jour ne pouvait pénétrer."
Mrs. Armitage, Early Norman Castles of the British Isles, p. 74, says :
“ The keep in which he (the baron) and his fainily live is placed on the top of the motte, which is ditched round so as to separate it from the bailey; the provisions on which all are dependent are stored in the cellar of the keep, so that they are under his own hand ; and the keys of the outer ward are brought to him every night, and placed under his pillow.”
Cohaussen, in his Befestigungen der Vorzeit, p. 282, would appear to think that the baron always resided on the motte.
It seems to the writer that the erection of a detached tower of any size within the fortified enclosure on the summit of many of the mottes would have been quite impossible. No doubt a certain number of these mottes have silted away, or have been pared away when slighted, but a very fair number which are still perfect—as is proved by the preservation of their banquettes or earthen ramparts which once carried the stockade -are of so small a diameter that they could never have borne any sort of detached central tower at all. We must remember that the stockade, with its accompanying fighting platform, would take off at the very least 20 feet from the present diameter of the motte, and when we get, as we occasionally do, mottes of only some 35 feet in diameter, the courtyard enclosed by the stockade cannot have been more than 15 feet in diameter, a space insufficient to allow of the erection of any sort of tower at all. In the case of these small mottes the palisade probably bore one or two small timber turrets, which would afford the necessary accommodation for the baron and his family, and also for the guard who, whether the lord slept in the bailey or on the motte, would certainly occupy the defences on the motte, for we must remember that the motte formed part of the outer defences of the castle, and would, therefore, require to be zealously guarded, more especially as it was always the citadel of the stionghold.
These earth - and - timber fortresses were formidable strongholds during the latter half of the eleventh and for some little time during the first half of the twelfth century. Their timber defences were effective enough when the assailants were armed only with swords, axes, slings and bows, weapons which could only be used at close quarters. Until their experience during the first and second crusades taught the Normans more advanced
1 We get a similar arrangement in hand character is proved not only by the stone on the large high motte at Arundel. Gesta Stephani, but by several other On the circuit of the stone wall, or shell records, including Sugar's Gesta Ludovici keep, running round the top of the motte, Grossi, ed. A. Molinier, pp. 63-66, are the remains of a tower containing which gives us a graphic account of the a chapel, and what is known as
capture, in 1, by Louis VI, of the king's chamber." This shell wall, with castle of Le Puiset. In an uncivilised its tower, was erected between 1170 country like Ireland, where the natives and 1187 at a cost, including the flooring were ignorant of the art of war, the vast of the tower, the making of a garden, majority of the castles erected by the etc., of £340, a sum equivalent to over Norman invaders down to the middle £6,000 of present-day currency (Pipe of the thirteenth century were Rolls, 1170-1187).
structed entirely of earth and timber. 2 There were elementary siege engines We have at Roscrea, Tipperary, an exof sorts even in the time of the Con- plicit instance of the erection of a motte queror (Oman, Art of War, pp. 135, 139), castle in John's reign (as is recorded but that the bulk of the fighting in the in an Inq. of 29 Henry III, Cal., i, 412, siege of a motte castle was of hand-to- quoted by Mrs. Armitage, Early Norman