« PreviousContinue »
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,
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 banquette at Castle Levington greatly resembles that at the remarkably fine oval motte at Burton-in-Lonsdale, where the banquette is eleven feet in height. At Burton, however, the banquette is expanded on the east and west sides into broad flat platforms, evidently intended to carry timber towers. At Middleham, one of our North Riding castles, we get a similar expansion on the west side, which was probably occupied by the timber keep. When the motte at
Burton was carefully excavated_by Messrs. White & Walker—the unusually perfect condition of the banquette was found to be due to the existence of a mortar-built wall, which had originally formed a revetment to the bank, but which had become hidden by the fall of debris from above (see the Trans. Cumb. and West. Antiq. Soc. (1905), 284 ; see also the V.C.H. of Yorks., vol. ii, p. 29).
As there was no bailey, the stabling probably occupied part of the basement 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. 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 Surdevalpossibly 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 Řeinfrid 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 alí 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 (Kirkstali 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 12 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.
Adam—the builder of the stone castle at Skelton—by his son Peter I, who “in 10 Richard I paid 500 marcs for his father's lands; and most earnestly desiring to repossess the Lordship and Forest of Daneby, of his ancient inheritance formerly taken from Adam, his father (read grandfather), by Henry II, rendered and quitclaimed to King John, in the second of his reign, all his interest in the Lordships of Berdesey, Collingham, and Rigton; and moreover, giving him £1,000 sterling, obtained them accordingly."1 Mr. William Brown, in his Chart. Prior. de Gyseburne (Surtees Society), shows us how, in order to raise this sum of money, equivalent to about £20,000 of presentday currency, Peter squeezed his tenants in every possible way, legitimate and otherwise, a proceeding which led them to extort an important charter from him. Now we have no reason to doubt that when, C. 1158, Henry II compelled Adam de Brus I to make the exchange, the fortress at Castleton was a timber structure of the usual Norman type. Although there is no masonry to be seen above ground at Castleton, we are told by the late Canon Atkinson—who resided for over forty years within a short distance of the place—that the foundations of the walls on the north side of the castle are no less than 13 feet in thickness, and that a Norman column and “the circular mullion of a two-light small Norman window" have been found on the site.May not the fact that the cost of converting the original timber castle of the Brus into a stone fortress had been borne by the Royal Exchequer account for the magnitude of the fine Peter was compelled to pay in 1200 in order to regain the property, and that this sum of £20,000 (modern money) may represent the estimated value or cost of the stone cast 1 Dugdale, p. 448.
garden and into the pasture field beyond. 2“ There is not the slightest doubt
The keep probably stood on where the stronghold of the Brus the conical hillock on the left as one was placed. The modern name, Castle- enters, now surmounted by two or three ton, independently of other evidence, sycamores. I saw the circular mullion would teach us where to look for it; of a two-light Norman window taken but the existing foundations, in places out of the debris overlaying the founda13 feet in thickness, together with the tions, and several portions of red-deer moats, not altogether effaced even yet, antlers. There is also a good Norman and the carved stones about the walls column still extant in the garden of and buildings of the tenements existing one of the houses near, which is known when Ord wrote, and for long after- to have come from the castle (Canon some of them, indeed, still existing- Atkinson's History of Cleveland, vol. i, leave no room for so much as a question pp. 263-4). on the subject .
All the verge
£20,000 was not an excessive sum of the north side of the eminence on when we remember that Clifford's Tower, which the castle stood was strongly York, cost £40,000 (Mrs. Armitage, walled .. Twenty-five years ago Early Norman Castles of the British Isles, the moat was quite distinct, from the p. 246). east of the present entrance through the