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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.” 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 castle ? 3 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
As we shall not mention Castleton again, owing to the fact that there is no masonry visible above ground, it will be as well to refer here to the later history of the fortress. Upon the partition, in 1271, of the Brus barony, the castle and lordship, with other extensive property in Cleveland,1 came into the possession of Marmaduke de Thweng, of Kilton Castle, 2 in right of his wife, Lucia, one of the four sisters and coheiresses of Peter de Brus IV, and Marmaduke then handed over his castle of Kilton to his eldest son, Robert, and took up his residence at Castleton. We are told that Marmaduke arranged with Walter de Fauconberg, of Skelton Castle, that the presentation to the joint-patron of the great house at Guisborough of the Prior-Elect should take place alternately at Skelton and Castleton,3 a clear proof that Castleton was then considered the caput of the extensive Thweng estates. Marmaduke's son, Robert, left an only daughter, Lucia, and although the ancestral Thweng estates devolved, by arrangement, upon Marmaduke, the second son, the property which had come to the family through the Brus partition passed, in 1294, to William le Latimer, Junior, in right of his wife, Lucia de Thweng, the heiress. At a later date Latimer abandoned the Norman fortress at Castleton, and erected a quadrangular palace-fortress
one of the earliest of its type-on another part of the Danby lordship, and we hear no more of the stronghold at Castleton.5
Description.-Few, if any, of our North Riding castles are situated amid such bold and wild scenery as is this old fortress of the Brus, which stands on the northern extremity of the Castleton Ridge, overlooking the upper valley of the Esk. It is a district which brings to our mind the Highlands of Scotland, a district of moor and mountain, of scattered upland farmsteads linked up by moorland cart-tracks, a district immortalised by the late Canon Atkinson in his scholarly and interesting work, Forty Years in a Moorland Parish. The motte projects from the hillside some 530 feet above sea
1 Haeres Marmaduc de Thweng, qui est in custodia Domini Regis, tenet viii feod. milit. et dimid. et Danby pro uno feod. (Kirkby's Inquest). This entry refers only to those lands which had come to the Thwengs by the Brus partition of 1271;
3 Wm. Brown, Cart. Prior. de Gyseburne, Introd., vol. i, xx.
* Ego, Marmaducus de Thweng, Dominus de Danby, dedi Marmaduco filio meo, Castellum de Kilton, et Manerium de Kilton, et Maneria de Lithum et Cotum (Dodsworth, 68, p. 10).
their ancestral estates, of which Kilton Castle was the caput, were held by them as feudatories of the Percies.
* Arms :--Argent, a fess gules between three popinjays vert.
5 A reference to it as a ruin occurs in the Inq. p. m. of John, Lord Neville (obiil 17 Oct., 1388).
level, and about 90 feet above the Esk, which flows beneath its northern base.
Castleton was motte castle devoid of a bailey. The motte is somewhat of a horse-shoe shape, and measures about 200 feet from north-east to south-west by some 160 feet from north-west to south-east. The erection on its summit of a modern farmstead makes it difficult to say what the arrangements were. Canon Atkinson tells us that the foundations of the northern curtain are 13 feet in thickness—a quite abnormal thickness for a shell keep—and there is no doubt that the great hall, solar, etc., would stand here, with windows probably mainly looking inwards across the courtyard. If the Canon is correct in his measurements, there is little doubt that the curtain wall, on the first floor level, would be hollowed out to contain mural sleeping chambers. The banquette or rampart of earth which once carried the stockade, and on which Henry II probably placed a stone wall, is still perfect on the western summit of the motte. On the south-west this banquette is enlarged and forms a small hillock some 30 feet long from east to west by some 20 feet broad from north to south in its widest part. This is the place referred to by the Canon when he says "the keep would probably stand on the conical hillock on the left as one enters.” He is, however, wrong in supposing that this was the site of the keep; there was no keep, or rather the entire motte would form a shell keep, this hillock being merely an enlargement of the banquette to bear a small flanking tower or turret commanding the entrance, which was evidently on the site of the present entrance. A similar arrangement undoubtedly existed on the other side of the entrance, as is shown by the contour of the earthworks (see plan); but this would be destroyed when the farmhouse was erected. The existence of these two hillocks or platforms, one on either side of the entrance, is clear proof that no bailey ever existed. Although small, Castleton when complete would be a strong fortress. Until the site is excavated, it is impossible to say any more on the subject of this castle.
This is one of the doubtful Norman castles of the North Riding, for although, in its contours, a typical motte and bailey castle, it is mentioned in no record. This, however, is not surprising, for if a castle really did exist here, the probabilities
are that it was founded by Count Alan the Black, of Richmond, during the intestinal warfare of the time of Stephen, and that it was dismantled as as order was restored. It would, therefore, be contemporary with, and share the same fate as, Yafforth and Hutton Conyers, both erected by Alan the Black.1 Whellan tells us that Walter de Urswick,' constable of Richmond Castle, resided here in the reign of Edward III, and his manor house would most probably stand on the highly defensible triangular promontory which, if a castle did exist here, formed the bailey of the stronghold.
The motte, if motte it be, which Gale calls “Mons Palatinus,” is a small one lying immediately north of the church and the supposed bailey, and is now known as “Palet Hill.” The present churchyard, which occupies a triangular promontory, certainly presents every appearance of having been the bailey of a Norman earth-and-timber castle. It is defended by steep natural slopes, which would seem to have been scarped away, and the ditch on the west is of great depth.3
History.—This castle was apparently founded, early in the reign of Rufus, by Bodin, an illegitimate son of Eudo, Count of Penthièvre, in Brittany, and therefore brother, on the distaff side, to Alan the Red, the first of the Breton holders . of the great honour of Richmond. Count Alan granted to him
1 By the merest chance we happen 3 Longstaff, in his Richmondshire, to possess records which prove the his
The churchyard of Catterick, tory of Yafforth and Norton Conyers, a triangular promontory, presents the neither of which are, in appearance, features of an ancient camp, bounded such typical sites for a Norman stronghold by the hollow where the present street as is Catterick. Yafforth is mentioned runs, on the west by the parsonage, and in a Pipe Roll of the time of Richard I round to the north of it and the church." (xxiii, No. 170), which refers to "the The site is mentioned in Camden's pasture of the island where the castle Brit. (ed. Gough), iii, 336, in which he of Yafforth was," whilst John of Hexhain, terms the mound a high hill or keep, and in Syineon of Durhamn (Rolls Series, ii, refers to traces of outworks. 308) makes a brief reference to Hutton 4 A. E. Ellis, Yorks. Arch. Journal, v, Conyers as one of the “ adulterine 295. Mr. Wm. Farrer, D.Litt., says castles of the time of Stephen. If these (V.C.H. of Yorks., vol. ii, p. 157) : records did not happen to exist, both Bodin, who also obtained the land of Yafforth and Norton Conyers-more Ulchil in two places, and his brother especially the latter--would have been Bardulf were said to have been the more doubtful Norman castles than is natural sons of Eudes, Count of Penthie. Catterick
vre, and so they are somethines styled 2 Walter effigy still remains brothers of Count Alan le Roux"; and, in the church. It lies in a niche in the P. 159, ibid., he says : “ Odo, chambersouth aisle of the nave, the niche bearing lain of Count Alan, gave to St. Mary's, shields with the arms of (a) Urswick; York, lands in Langthorne and Fingall, (6) Scrope of Masham ; and (c) Urswick, and tithes of Fleetham. This gift was impaling Scrope of Masham. Sir Walter attested by Robert, the grantor's son, distinguished himself at Najara (1367), Picot de Lasceles, Bardulf, and Bodin where he was knighted. The existing his brother" (Dugdale's Mon. Angl., iii, church was
commenced c. 1412-the 550; Cal. Chart. R., 1300–26, p. 113). contract for its erection still exists.
some twenty-five manors, aggregating about 130 carucates, in Richmondshire, and the fortress of Cotherston
undoubtedly founded, possibly at the request of Alan the Black, to defend Teesdale, just as the contemporary fortress of Middleham was erected to defend Wensleydale. The Thoresby Rotulus Genealogicus states that Bodin, in his old age, desiring to serve God, quitted the world, and became a monk in the Abbey of St. Mary at York, founded by his brother, Alan the Red. This event may have occurred about 1110. His estates were divided between his brothers Bardulf and Ribald, but a portion of them, including Bedale and Melsonby, subsequently came into the possession of Scolland, sewer to Alan III of Richmond. The castle of Cotherston passed to Bodin's brother, Bardulf, another illegitimate son of Eudo by the same mother.
Bardulf, some time afterwards, also became a monk in St. Mary's Abbey, York, and when he entered that house gave the church of Ravensworth to the convent. It was probably at this time, c. 1120, that Scolland came into possession of a portion of Bodin's estates, the remainder of the property passing to Ascharius, Bardulf's son. Akarius, Akary, or Ascharius Fitz-Bardulf, who is said to have fought at the battle of the Standard, retained the castle of Cotherston, and in 1144 founded the Cistercian Abbey of Fors, in Wensleydale. He was succeeded by his son, Herveius or Hervey, during whose lifetime, through the influence of Conan le Petit, Duke of Brittany and Earl of Richmond, the Cistercian community was removed from the inhospitable and sterile country at Fors to a delightful site near the river Yore, where the stately abbey of Jervaulx was erected by them. Hervey stipulated that the bones of his father and mother should be reinterred at Jervaulx, and that
1 The bulk of the lands given to Bodin the parent house decided that the cell belonged T.R.E. to Torfin. There were should be given to Byland, and, in 1150, churches on the manors of Bedale, Mel- John of Kingston, and other nine monks, sonby, and Ravensworth, and mills at were transferred from Byland to Fors. Bedale and Scorton. For a description But the land at Fors was barren, the of the remains of the pre-Conquest climate cold and dreary, one bad summer church at Bedale, see H. B. McCall's succeeded another, the corn would not The Early History of Bedale, pp. 74-8. ripen, and altogether the community ? Dugdale's Mon. Angl., iii, 549 ;
very miserable time. Gladly Cal. Chart. Rot., 1300-1326, p. 114. would they have returned to Byland
3 Plantagenet Harrison's History of but for the ridicule with which they would Yorkshire, p. 136.
have been received. In 1956, Conan le The interesting story of the founda- Petit, taking compassion upon them, tion of Fors and Jervaulx is given in with the consent of Hervey, the son of Dugdale's Mon. Angl., V, 568. Akary the founder, removed them to Jervaulx, Fitz-Bardulf, of Cotherston Castle, gave where they flourished until the illcertain lands at Fors to a learned physi- advised Dissolution. In front of the cian, Peter de Quincy, who, with certain high altar at Jervaulx is an effigy of other monks from the abbey of Savigny, one of the Fitz-Hughs. founded a cell at Fors. The chapter of