« PreviousContinue »
Ralph, Ribald's eldest son, came into possession of the castle and barony of Middleham on his father's retirement. By his wife, Agatha, daughter of Robert de Brus of Skelton Castle, he had issue three sons, Robert, Ribald, and Ralph. Robert, the third feudal baron of Middleham, married Helewisa, the youngest of the three daughters and co-heiresses of Ralph de Glanville, the famous Justiciar to King Henry II. Probably between 1180 and 1190, possibly nearer the latter than the former date-Gale3 says 1190-Robert abandoned the earthand-timber castle on William's Hill," and commenced the erection of the existing rectangular keep, one of the largest in England. About 1189 Helewisa founded, on land she had inherited from her father, a house of Præmonstratensian canons at Swainby in the parish of Pickhill, which, in 1212, was removed to Coverham by her son, Ralph. Robert, the third feudal baron, had issue by his wife, Helewisa de Glanville, three sons, Walran, who did not long survive his father; Ranulph, and Ralph.
Description. The interesting earthworks which mark the site of the Norman castle of the Fitz-Randolphs lie to the south of the later and more famous stronghold. They occupy the summit of a grassy knoll, a highly defensible site, the ground beneath which slopes fairly steeply down towards the grey old-world town of Middleham. The view from the site is beautiful. To the left the lovely vale of Wensley winds upwards to meet the mountains of the west; just below is feudal Middleham, "the Windsor of the north," the grandest of our Yorkshire castles; northward stretches a delightful and well-wooded country side, studded with villages and churches.
Ribald's fortress is one of the smallest but strongest motte and bailey castles known to the writer, and covers only about an acre of ground, equally divided between the motte and the
1 He made a grant to Fountains Abbey (Mon. Angl., v, 310), his sons, Robert, Ribald, and Ralph, and his uncle, Henry, being witnesses.
2 Robert, the third feudal baron, gave all the tithes of his lands in Well, Snape, Crakehall, Spennithorne, etc., to St. Martin's Priory, Richmond (Mon. Angl., iii, 603). This house had been founded c. 1100 by Wymar of Aske, steward to Stephen of Richmond, as a cell to St. Mary's, York (Mon. Angl., iii, 601). Robert's father-in-law, Ralph de Glanville, captured William the Lion, king of Scotland, at Alnwick, on July 12, 1174, and had him conveyed to Richmond
bailey. The motte is rather more than three-quarters detached, and measures, on its summit, some 160 feet by 115 feet. It is 40 feet in height, and is defended by a formidable ditch, some 20 feet wide, with bold counterscarp banks rising some 9 feet above the bottom of the ditch. From this bank the ground drops steeply towards the north (see section A--B on plan). On the top of the motte, at its south-east end is a small sunken court, measuring some 85 by 55 feet, to which the edge of the motte forms a breastwork or banquette. On the west this banquette expands into a flat platform, roughly triangular in shape, the base of the triangle being about 112 feet in length, whilst a straight line drawn from the centre of this base to the apex of the triangle is about 55 feet in length. In this arrangement Middleham somewhat resembles the fine oval motte at Burton-in-Lonsdale, but at the latter place there are two such platforms, one at the east and the other at the west end. There is little doubt that this platform bore the wooden tower or keep of the stronghold, whilst it is possible that the sunken court may have been occupied by the great hall, with its store room on the basement. In any case it is tolerably certain that the dwelling-house accommodation was confined to the motte.
The bean-shaped bailey is unusually small, especially considering the size of the motte, being only about half an acre in extent.1 It was defended on all sides by a continuation of the motte ditch, branches of which ditch also separated the motte from the bailey. Part of the ditch on the south side of the bailey still contains water.2 The rampart on the inner side of the bailey ditch is about 13 feet high, and would form a formidable defence when crowned by its timber stockading. The entrance to the bailey may still be distinctly traced on the east-south-east, where there is a gap both in the ditch and in the rampart. This entrance was guarded by an outwork, which would appear to have been flanked by a triple row of stockading, but this portion of the earthwork is not in such good preservation as is the remainder.
NORTHALLERTON, CASTLE HILLS (fig. 4).
History.-Tempore Regis Edwardi "Aluertune" (Northallerton), containing 44 carucates, was held, as one manor, by Edwin,
1 In this it somewhat resembles the bailey at Dingstow, Monmouthshire, and that at the Busli castle of Mexborough, W.R. At these places the bailey
forms, as it were, a kind of forecourt to the motte.
2 As a general rule the ditches of a motte and bailey castle were dry.
Earl of Mercia, who had there no fewer than 66 villeins with 35 ploughs, the manor being valued at £80 a year. It seems highly probable that the Conqueror founded a motte and bailey fortress on what is now known as Castle Hills" when he encamped at Northallerton in 1068.2 Ingledew3 is of opinion that this castle was founded within a Roman camp, but Professor Haverfield doubts the existence of such a camp on the site, and what one can learn of the contour of the now destroyed earthworks would tend to show that no such camp existed.1
Soon after 1087 Rufus granted the lordship of Allertonshire, with all its rights and appendages-except the property held within it by Count Alan of Richmond5-to the able but unscrupulous William of St. Carileph, bishop of Durham. This prelate subsequently became implicated in the rebellion against Rufus; his castle of Durham was captured by Ivo Taillebois on 14 Nov., 1088, and he was deprived of the see which he had held about eight years. He was reappointed on 14 Sept., 1091,8 and died at Windsor on 2 Jan., 1096.9 For three years Rufus retained the bishopric in his own hands,10 and then appointed the famous Ranulph Flambard to the see. Flambard was succeeded by Geoffrey, chancellor to Henry I, and on his death, in 1141, William Cumin, chancellor to David, king of Scotland, with the object of extending the Scottish frontier, seized Northallerton and Durham Castles, and the temporalities. of the bishopric. He entirely rebuilt Northallerton Castle, converting it into a very strong fortress. On 14 March, 1143, William of St. Barbara was legally elected bishop, but Cumin refused to give up possession, and was supported by Alan of Richmond,11 one of the most powerful of the North Country nobles. During the disorders which followed, the castle at Northallerton was more than once attacked, but eventually an insurrection of the feudatories of the County Palatine, led by Bertram de Bulmer of Sheriff Hutton Castle, 12 compelled Cumin to give up his claim.13 Hugh Puiset, a cousin of King
1 D.B., fo 229a, col. 1.
2 Symeon of Durham, Rolls Ser., i, 100. 3 History and Antiquities of Northallerton.
4 The illustration of the earthworks given by Ingledew show what is obviously a motte and bailey castle of considerable size and strength. Considering that he had never heard of such a thing as a Norman earth-and-timber castle, the illustration is of considerable value. 5 See Yafforth Castle.
6 Anglo-Saxon Chron., sub. anno 1088.
7 His letter to the king on the subject is preserved in the Fairfax MSS., Dugdale's Mon. Angl., i, 248-250.
8 Symeon, Hist. Eccl. Dun., Rolls Ser., ii, 218.
Ibid., i, 134.
10 During these three years he drew £300 a year, equivalent to some £6,000 a year of present day currency, from the bishopric (ibid., i, 135).
11 Ibid., i, 152.