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of the castle itself-it was probably then dismantled—but states that “the herbage of Cringeldyk,” i.e. the
circular ditch," running round the motte was said to be worth half a mark yearly. Some time subsequent to the Brus partition of 1271,2 the manor came into the possession of Nicholas, Lord de Meynell of Whorlton Castle, and about 1290 he appears to have restockaded3 the old Brus motte, and to have erected a large timber house or keep within the fortified enclosure, which house became the capital messuage. This late thirteenth century castle was simply a reconstruction, on the original lines, of the old Brus fortress of the time of Stephen, and it was certainly occupied down to 15 Richard II, 1391-2, i.e. for about a century, without developing any defences in masonry, and is but one of many instances known to the writer of a typical Norman earth-and-timber castle existing down to a comparatively late date without evolving into a stone fortress.
Description. This remarkably well-preserved motte is situated amid pleasant rural scenery 175 feet above sea level, and 125 feet above the river Leven, which sweeps in a graceful curve round the eastern and northern banks of the nab end or angle of the steep bluff or promontory on which the earthwork stands. It is defended on the north-west, north, east, and south-east by slopes which in places fall away at an angle of 45°, and are everywhere exceedingly steep. On the west, , south, and south-west the adjacent ground for some distance around is almost level with the motte. This is the only ground on which it would have been possible to construct a bailey ; but there is not the very slightest sign that this accessory ever existed ; indeed, the contour of the motte and its ditches is alone sufficient to prove that we need not look for a bailey. The earthwork commands to the east and south-east a fine view of the distant Cleveland and Hambledon Hills.
i Cal. of Close Rolls, 1272-9, p. 134 born 1281, the second son of Nicholas I,
2 In 1281 the manor was the property who had issue a son William, who preof William de Filgeriis, or Fougères deceased him (Esch. 5 Edward III), (Yorks. Inquisitions, i, 221). His son, and a daughter and heiress, Alice, who Andrew, got into the hands of the Jews after her father's death, 23 Edward III, (Cal. of Pat. Rolls, 1281-1292, p. 25), became the owner of Castle Levington. and the manor came into the possession She married, firstly, William de Percy, of the Meynells, possibly by purchase, of Kildale, by whom she had a son, c. 1290.
William, and a daughter, Margaret ; 3 Castle Leavington was probably secondly, Robert de Boulton ; and rebuilt by Nicholas, Lord de Meynell thirdly, Walter de Boynton, by whom she of Whorlton Castle, in 1290. He bore had issue a son, Walter de Boynton, the arms Azure, three bars gemel and of Castle Levington, who died s.p. a chief or," and was summoned to 15 Richard II, 1391-2, when the castle Parliament as a baron 22 to 25 Edward I, reverted to William de Percy, the son of and died c. 28 Edward I (Esch. 28 Alice de Meynell by her first husband. Edward I, P: 38). The castle was proba- On William's death, without issue, the bly occupied for some time by his eldest castle passed to his sister and heiress, son and heir, afterwards Nicholas II ; Margaret, who, c. 1399, married Thomas but about 1300 it became the residence Blanfront. The castle, however, would of Christiana, the eldest daughter of not appear to
have been inhabited Nicholas I, who married Robert de after the death, in 1391–2, of Walter de Sproxton, and who, in a North Riding Boynton. Subsidy Roll for 1301, pays on personalty * Brown's Yorks. Inquisitions, Yorks. at Castle Levington. It subsequently Rec, Ser., i, 221, became the residence of John de Meynell,
The motte is circular, and measures 175 feet in diameter. The banquette or earthen rampart which once carried the stockade and its fighting platform, running round the upper edge of the motte, is 9 feet in height, and in such excellent preservation that one is inclined to think that excavation might reveal the existence of a dry rubble wall forming its core. It encloses a space of about half an acre in area. Allowing some 25 feet for the stockade and fighting platform, the court enclosed would be about 150 feet in diameter, a space sufficiently large to admit of the erection of a timber tower or keep of the first magnitude.? The main ditch, notwithstanding the steepness of the slopes, has been carried right round the motte some 30 feet below its summit. One of the most interesting features of the earthwork is a very narrow crescent-shaped outwork, some 10 feet lower than the motte, which is carried round the south and west sides, those parts of the fortress which, owing to the absence of a bailey, were the most liable to attack. It varies from 15 feet in width on the west to 25 feet in width on the south, where it is thrown slightly outwards, so as to form a kind of barbican guarding the entrance. This outwork is provided with its own ditch, some 9 feet deep, and its existence alone is sufficient to prove that no bailey ever existed. The entrance to the fortress was at the south, close to the verge of the precipice on the south-east, and much resembles those generally seen in the ramparts of a bailey. The outwork just described forms a barbican to it.
Castle Leavington is the finest purely motte castle which the writer has yet met with.
i In its excellent preservation, the Burton was carefully excavated by banquette at Castle Levington greatly Messrs. White & Walker—the unusually resembles that at the remarkably fine perfect condition of the banquette oval motte at Burton-in-Lonsdale, where was found to be due to the existence of the banquette is eleven feet in height. a mortar-built wall, which had originally At Burton, however, the banquette is formed a revetment to the bank, but expanded on the east and west sides which had become hidden by the fall of into broad flat platforms, evidently debris from above (see the Trans. Cumb. intended to carry timber towers. and West. Antiq. Soc. (1905), 284 ; see Middleham, one of our North Riding also the V.C.H. of Yorks., vol. ii, p. 29). castles, we get a similar expansion on the ? As there was no bailey, the stabling west side, which was probably occupied probably occupied part of the basement by the tiinber keep. When the motte at of the tower.
CASTLETON, CASTLE HILL. (Fig. 1.) History.—At the time of the Survey the property subsequently known as the Lordship and Forest of Danby was in the possession of Hugh Fitz-Baldric. After his death, c. 1089, Rufus gave it, possibly in exchange for other lands, to Robert de Brus. 1 Historical inferences, such as they are, all tend to show that the fortress of Castleton was founded by Robert de Brus early in the reign of Rufus, and that previous to the acquisition, some time after the death of Richard de Surdeval possibly c. 1100-1104-by Brus of the great fortress at Skelton, the stronghold at Castleton was the caput of the Brus barony. Robert de Brus? (obiit 1146) had been one of the principal adherents of Stephen against the Empress, and it may have been this fact and a desire to have a castle in this part of Yorkshire which led Henry II to take from Adam de Brus (obiit 1162) the fortress of Castleton, “with the Lordship and Forest thereto appertaining,” and to give him in exchange thereof the grange of Micklethwaite, with the whole fee of Collingham and Berdesey. It was not until 1200 that Castleton again came into the possession of the Brus family. Adam I was succeeded by his son, Adam II (obiit 1198) and the second
1 An extensive grant of lands in Cleveland to Robert de Brus took place about 1091 (D.B., Rec. Com., i, 332-332b). Previous to 1094, along with Alan Niger of Richmond, he witnessed a charter of Earl Hugh of Chester, giving the church of Flamborough to Prior Reinfrid and the Convent of Whitby (Whitby Chartulary, 28). Almost all the fee given him, C. 1091, was in the hands of the Crown at the time of the Survey, and he probably received the lordship of Danby c. 1092, in exchange for other lands. It was probably not until 1104 that he was given by Henry I the lordship and castle of Skelton. It naturally follows that previous to making Skelton Castle the caput of his barony, he must have erected a castle somewhere on his earlier-acquired Cleveland estates. There are remains of two Norman castles on that property, viz:--at Castleton and Castle Leavington, and the probabilities are certainly all in favour of the former castle being the earlier. Moreover, the resentment shown by the family over the compulsory exchange of Castleton for other property, and the fact that they subsequently repurchased it, and that after the Brus partition of 1271 Marmaduke de Thweng, in right of his wife, joint patron of the great Priory of Guisborough, arranged that the presentation of the Prior-Elect should take place at Castleton, tends to support the theory that Castleton was the
original caput of the Brus fee. Mr. William Brown tells the writer that the late Canon Atkinson, who took a great interest in this part of Cleveland, verbally informed him that he held the same opinion.
2 Arms :- Argent, a lion rampant azure.
3 The fee of Collingham and Berdesey had been forcibly taken by the king from the monks of Kirkstall (Kirkstall Coucher, Thoresby Soc. Miscellanea, 4, i). So far as we can see, this compulsory exchange was not an unfair one from Bruce's point of view. Although everything tends to show that he was a most unwilling partner in the transaction, we find (Kirkby's Inquest) that Collingham and Bardesey, with Wyk, contained 8 carucates—the value of the grange of Micklethwaite seems uncertain—whilst the lordship of Danby contained 121 carucates, valued at one knight's fee. Considering the difference in the quality of the land, Brus would appear to have lost little or nothing by the exchange. He, however, lost a castle, and to make good this loss the king evidently permitted him to erect a similar fortress at Bardsey, for there is a Norman earthwork at that place which can only be assigned to him. The motte, which is 330 feet in length, is of unusual shape, as it is divided into two wards, connected by a narrow neck.