« PreviousContinue »
CROPTON, T'HALL GARTH. (Fig. 1.) History.-At the time of the Survey, Cropton was a royal manor, but early in the reign of Rufus it was given to Robert de Stuteville, nicknamed " Frontdebos,” possibly a son of Goisfrid of Langton,2 a feudatory of Hugh Fitz-Baldric. After Hugh's death, "Frontdebos came into possession of a siderable portion of his North Riding property, whether by marriage with one of his daughters and co-heiresses or by gift from Rufus
Rufus would appear uncertain. Cropton Castle was probably erected early in the reign of Rufus by " Frontdebos,”
, but when its founder was taken prisoner at the disastrous battle of Tinchebrai,3 Henry I gave it, with Aislaby, Middleton, and Wrelton, to Turgis Brundos, lord of Liddle, who gave three carucates of land in Nunnington to St. Mary's, York. 4 About 1160, Henry II restored the castle to William de Stuteville, 5 Frontdebos' son, who was one of the Anglo-Norman barons who fought at the battle of the Standard. Robert de Stuteville II, William's son, founded the Priory of Rosedale C. 1190.6 The castle remained the property of the Stutevilles until Joan, daughter and heiress of Nicholas de Stuteville, carried it in marriage to Hugh Wake, as mentioned under Buttercrambe. Hugh was succeeded by his son, Baldwin-aged 38 in 12767—who died previous to 1283,8 and John, his son and heir, had livery of all his lands in 18 Edward I.9 John, Lord Wake, died in 28 Edward I, leaving a widow, Joan, and a son and heir, Thomas Wake, then aged two years.10 The old Stuteville fortress did not develop any works in masonry, but John, Lord Wake, probably about 1290-5, erected a half-timber manorhouse within the bailey, immediately to the east of the motte, the foundations of which still exist, although they are not shown
1 D.B., 3004, col. 2.
2 See Wm. Farrer's The Domesday Survey (V.C.H. of Yorks., vol. ii, p. 178).
3 Ord. V'it., Eccl. Hist., book xi, ch. xxi (ed. Le Prevost), iv, 234.
* Cal. Chari. Rot., 1300-1326, pp. 117, 119
Arms :-Barry of twelve argent and gules.
6 This priory was situated amid beautiful scenery on the banks of the little river Seven, and was dedicated to St. Mary and St. Laurence. The property belonging to the house was situated principally in Rosedale, Cropton, Cawthorn, Lockton, Newton, and Pickering. The Conventual Church was used as a chapel-of-ease until 1838, when the interesting structure
edifice erected on its site. The amount of damage wrought by the ignorant clergy and churchwardens of the North Riding on our ancient churches between 1810 and 1850 is almost inconceivable. Another act of vandalism in this district was the destruction, in 1850, of the castle chapel at Cropton. All that now remains of the priory is the lower portion of a well-stair, a fine Late Norman doorway having been destroyed within the last half-century.
? Wm. Brown, Yorks.Inquisitions,i,167.
Kirkby's Inquest. Cropton. Johannes filius Baldwini Wake qui est in custodia domini regis, etc.
9 Dugdale's Bar., i, 540.
on the plan. When this manor-house was abandoned is uncertain. In Drake's time the earthworks were known as Cropton Castle ”'l; but the site is now called T'Hall Garth.”
Description. --The earthworks which mark the site of this ancient fortress of the Stutevilles are delightfully situated on the extreme point or nab end of a promontory projecting westward, and commanding a very beautiful and extensive view over Rosedale. The position is one of considerable strategic importance, and admirably adapted for defence. Not far from the fortress is the Roman road leading from Malton (Derventio ?) to Dunsley Bay (Prætorium ?), and not quite two miles away is the famous Cawthorne Camp. To the immediate east of the castle, just outside the bailey, is the modern chapel-of-ease, in the Norman style, built about 1850, on the site of the ancient castle-chapel, probably erected in the reign of Rufus by Robert de Stuteville I, the only building in masonry appertaining to the fortress.
The motte stands at the apex or western end of the roughly triangular bailey at an elevation of some 450 feet above sea level. It is now about 20 feet in height, and some 150 feet in diameter at the base. It is so much silted down that it is now impossible to say what were its original dimensions. From the summit a magnificent view is obtained. It still retains traces of its ditch.
The bailey has covered an area of a little over three acres. The northern rampart and ditch is in fair preservation, as is a portion of the southern rampart; but the greater part of the eastern defences have been levelled, and the ditch filled up. Everything points to the great hall, etc., having been, from the first, placed within the bailey, possibly against the southern side. The motte, as at Topcliffe, was probably crowned by a palisade, with one or more small timber turrets on its enceinte.
EASBY, BOROUGH GREEN. (Fig. 1.) History.-We know nothing whatever of the history of this Norman earthwork, but the probabilities are that it represents a castle erected, during the civil wars of the time of Stephen, by Bernard de Balliol, the commander-in-chief of the 1 Eboracum, 36.
to whom he had given the barony of 2 At the time of the Survey (D.B., Bywell, in Northumberland. Guy was 300a, col. 2) we find that Easby (Esebi) succeeded by his son, Bernard de Balliol was a small royal manor of two carucates, (arms :-"Gules, orle argent"), but Rufus granted it, as part of the bar - whose great-grandson, John Balliol, ony or lordship of Stokesley, 'to his became King of Scotland. friend, Guy de Balliol, a Norman knight,
Anglo-Norman army at the battle of the Standard. Balliol was lord of the manor of Easby, which formed part of his lordship of Stokesley, and the castle was probably intended to defend this outlying portion of his estates. When order was restored, the necessity for such a stronghold would vanish, and it would probably be abandoned early in the following reign.
Description.—This earthwork stands on a very bold and heavily-wooded nab end, known as Castle Hill, at an elevation of nearly 600 feet above sea level, rising at an angle somewhat steeper than 45° to a height of 200 feet above the river Leven, which flows beneath its southern base. When the trees are leafless and the earthwork can thus be seen from below, its position is a most commanding and imposing one. When complete it probably bore a fairly close resemblance to that at Castle Leavington, except that the latter is circular and the Easby earthwork is horse-shoe shaped, as is Castleton. The fortalice obviously consisted of a motte only, its heel or base on the south-east being defended by the precipitous declivity, and its north-east side by ground falling away gently towards the wood and the river. Unfortunately, the motte, which has measured some 115 feet from north-west to south-east by about 100 feet from north-east to south-west, has been much mutilated, the banquette or rampart of earth, which at one time carried the stockade, having been thrown down into the ditch. This ditch, although partially filled up in this way, originally ran round three sides of the motte, and is still quite distinct on the south-west and north-east sides, more especially at the points where its extremities merge into the steep declivity.1 The ditch was not carried round the south side of the motte, as here the precipitous slopes rendered any artificial defence unnecessary, the stockading being probably placed on the very verge of these formidable natural defences. At a small castle of this type it is improbable that there was a timber keep, a mere shed inside the palisading probably being all the accommodation provided for the few retainers stationed there. Even when perfect the motte cannot have been of any great height, possibly not more than 12 to 15 feet, and it is now about 8 feet high. The writer is informed by the Rev. C. V. Collier, F.S.A., that the motte was dug into in the centre some years ago, but that no masonry or anything of interest was found. The soil thus excavated was carefully replaced.
1 There are no traces of a counterscarp the very verge of a precipice. It measbank. The earthwork covers an area ures 90 feet in diameter, and is 25 feet of about one-third of an acre, and bears in height, and the ditch around it, some a fairly close resemblance to the old 7 feet deep, is in excellent preservation. Percy stronghold at Castle Haugh, The castle at Gisburn was erected by Gisburn, Craven, the only castle site William de Percy, the founder of Topwhich exists on the Percy fief in that cliffe Castle, and was still in the possession district. The motte at Gisburn is, like of the family at the time of Kirkby's that of Easby, small, and is placed on Inquest.
FELISKIRK. (Fig. 2.) Immediately to the north of the vicarage, and some 150 yards south of the church, in the pretty little village of Feliskirk is what would certainly appear to be a small artificial motte. Unfortunately, three sides of the base of the hillock have been cut into by roads which have destroyed all trace of those details—ditch, counterscarp bank, etc.—the existence of which would have proved beyond all doubt that the earthworks represent a Norman castle. The vicarage garden looks very much like a bailey; but here again, what may have been the bailey ditch on the east is occupied by a road, whilst the ground on the west falls so steeply away that artificial defences would be here unnecessary. As all the ground which may have been occupied by the bailey has been under cultivation for many generations, all traces of the ditch on the south, if any ditch existed, have vanished. 4
If a castle did exist here it would owe its origin to a junior branch of the powerful family of Fossard, who were settled here as early as the reign of Henry 1.5 In 1210 they sold, or otherwise disposed of, their property here to the monastic houses of Byland and Newburgh, and to the Hospitallers of Mount St. John.
1 A plan is given of this earthwork, as a typical example of a doubtful motte and bailey castle.
3 There are no traces of the banquette on the summit of the motte.
? In his interesting description of this church (Yorks. Arch. Journal, xxii, pp. 193-198), Mr. A. Hamilton Thompson, F.S.A., tells us that the probable date of the original portion of the church is “ the first quarter of the twelfth century,” which coincides with the advent of the Fossards of Feliskirk, and the probable date of the erection of the castle, if castle there were. of the church is the beautiful effigy of Sir Wm. Cantilupe, obiit 1309, which was identified by Mr. William Brown, F.S.A., at the last excursion of the Society (Yorks. Arch. Journal, xxii, pp. 198–203).
4 View the place from whatever point we like, it has every appearance of having been a motte and bailey castle ; but the mutilation it has undergone renders it impossible to say definitely that such was the case.
5 Mr. William Farrer, D.Litt., in a letter to the writer, says :- Considering the proximity of the Fossards' estates to the York-Durham road, there would be nothin surprising in the possession by the Fossards of a stronghold at Feliskirk."
6 Yorks. Fines, John (Surt. Soc.), 164.
FOSS,1 near Whitby. (Fig. 3.) History.-All historical inferences would tend to show that this castle was founded c. 1071-3, as the caput of his extensive Cleveland estates, by Nigel Fossard, one of the two great feudatories of Robert, Earl of Mortain and Cornwall. Nigel held under the Earl the following property in Yorkshire, viz.:
Nigel was a great castle builder, and would appear, in addition to Foss, to have erected the huge fortress of Mountferrant, near Birdsall (East Riding)-his chief seat-Langthwaite, near Doncaster, and Lockington and Aughton, two East Riding castles. In its original form Foss Castle probably bore a large timber tower or keep on the summit of the motte,
1 The writer names this earthwork there are, indeed, not wanting signs that after the neighbouring mill, as it is some it
was intentionally slighted, and is little distance from the village of Lythe, now only some 16 feet in height. The in which parish it is situated. Lythe motte ditch, 40 feet in width, is in excelmay have been a place of some import- lent preservation, and a portion of it ance in Anglo-Saxon times, and some still contains water. The well-preserved hogbacks have been found in rebuilding bailey, covering about half an acre, the church there; these are enumerated is bean shaped, and retains the bank in the interesting article on Anglo-Saxon on the scarp and also portions of that sculptured stone by Mr. W. G. Colling. on the counterscarp. There are traces, wood, F.S.A., in the V.C.H. of Yorks., moreover, of a second or later bailey, vol. ii, pp. 125-6. Lythe is thus de- which evidently developed works in scribed in the Survey :-“In Lid 2 masonry carucates for geld, and i plough can 4 The motte and bailey castle of plough (them). Swen had
Lockington, which was always a favourthere. Now the Count of Mortain has ite residence of the Fossards and of (it), and Nigel (Fossard) of him. 6 their successors, the Mauleys, is still villeins (are) there with i plough and 6 in very fair preservation. The motte acres of meadow. Pasturable woodland is only 14 feet high, and that it was never 1 league in length and 2 furlongs in much higher is shwn by the fact that breadth. The whole manor (is) I it still retains a portion of its banquette. leagues in length and half a league in The bailey was walled round either by breadth. T.R.E. it
Robert de Turnham or by his successor, now 59. 60."
Peter de Mauley I. 2 The great castle of Mountferrant, 5 The motte and bailey castle of near Birdsall (East Riding), stood on Aughton—which subsequently became a long narrow promontory among the the stronghold of the Askes, feudatories Wolds. It was, undoubtedly, one of of the Fossards and Mauleys-stands the largest and strongest of the Yorkshire well above the river Derwent, and occuearth-and-timber castles. Unfortunately pies a site of considerable strategic it is, and apparently has been for some importance. The motte is placed on a considerable time, under the plough, square platform, which is itself encircled and the ditches dividing the various by a square ditch-a somewhat unusual wards are alınost obliterated.
arrangement. The bailey, which is Langthwaite was probably the first completely isolated from the motte, is castle erected by Nigel. The motte is, guarded by a ditch, 40 feet wide and 6 unfortunately, very much mutilated ; feet deep.