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a substantial timber framework, so that a long and a short portion projected on either side. To the shorter arm a heavy weight, contained in a swinging cradle, was affixed, which, of course, raised the longer arm into the vertical position. When the latter was drawn downwards the weight was raised, and on a sudden release the long arm swept upwards in a curve, and threw the missile, sometimes weighing as much as 2 cwt., hurtling through the air for a distance of 300 yards. Accuracy of aim was, naturally, difficult, otherwise this powerful engine could have done tremendous damage. Even as it was, it was superior as a siege engine to any cannon of the time of the Civil War, and should one of its missiles crash into a "bretasche," it would smash it to pieces, and it could destroy the battlemented parapet of the wall of enceinte.
In addition to the well-known cross-bow, the besiegers would be provided with arbalists, a similar but more powerful weapon, which shot iron-tipped darts; with espringols, weapons throwing with some degree of accuracy gigions or stone balls, and which were actuated by the sudden release of a compressed spring.
The Ram, a heavy beam suspended by chains from the crossbar of a timber structure, used to batter the walls, could only with difficulty have been brought to the foot of the northern and western curtains at Kilton. The men working it were protected by a pent-house, called the "Snail," which had a roof of heavy beams. To defend the walls against this engine, the besieged would let down sacks filled with straw or wool by chains from the battlements.
The Beffroi, or movable tower, could only with very great difficulty have been used against Kilton, and then only on the north and west sides. It was a tall wooden tower on wheels, of the same or a greater height than the wall against which it was placed. One of these was used at the siege of Bamborough by William Rufus.
The defenders would be well provided with cross-bows, arbalists, and espringols. Wooden platforms, hastily run up, would be placed in suitable positions along the interior of the curtains. The summits of the towers would carry timber galleries or "bretasches," supported in position by heavy wooden beams inserted into holes in the masonry made for that purpose, with sloping roofs resting on the summit of the battlements. These galleries were loopholed for the use of the cross-bow,
contained holes in the floor through which stones, etc., could be dropped on the enemy beneath, and were entered from the battlements of the tower. They were not permanent structures, but were hastily rigged up in case of anticipated attack.
A castle such as Kilton, throughout the whole period of its habitation, would be practically impregnable, provided it were efficiently garrisoned and provisioned, and as the baronial party in this part of Yorkshire was strong enough to compel the royal forces to raise a siege, the attack, if such an attack did take place, on the castle by de Mauley, whether merely a coup de main or a properly organised siege, would, in all probability, be unsuccessful.
In 1217, after the death of John, Alta Ripa made his peace with the royal representatives, and his feud with de Mauley came to an end. In the same year, Alice, Sir William's widow, married Sir Robert de Lascell, Knt., and in the following year brought an action against the new lord of Kilton and his wife with regard to her dower in Kirkleatham (Coram Rege, Hen. III, No. 51, M. 9).
The Prior of Guisborough appears to have attempted to obtain a confirmation from Sir Richard de Alta Ripa of William de Kylton's gift of the advowson of Kirkleatham, but met not only with a direct refusal, but with the intimation that so soon as his wife (Matilda de Kylton) came of age, he would contest the validity of the grant.
In April, 1221, Matilda came of age, and she and her husband at once raised the question of the ownership of the advowson, contending that when Sir William made the grant he was of unsound mind (Cart. Prior. de Gyseburne, No. 752a).
The Prior denied this, and produced his deeds of gift and King John's confirmation (Coram Rege, Hen. III, No. 14, M. 256).
No decision appears to have been arrived at, and as Sir Richard died in the following year (1222) without issue, the question remained unsettled. Sir Richard was probably interred
in the chancel of Kirkleatham Church.
The fief again, for the second time in eight years, reverted to the overlord, and de Percy at once gave the widow and heiress, then under 22 years of age, in marriage to Robert de Thweng, the grandson of one of his knights, Sir Marmaduke de Thweng, Lord of Thwing, in the East Riding.
1 This Sir Robert de Lascell held a knight's fee in the barony of de Brus,
and bore the arms, an eagle displayed in a roundell.
KILTON UNDER THE DE THWENGS.
SIR ROBERT DE THWENG.-Kilton Castle will always be associated with the name of Thweng. Sir Robert, who at the age of 20 became the 10th lord of the Kilton fief in right of his wife, seems to have at first borne the arms, Argent, a fesse gules between three popinjays gules, or Scutum album cum fessa rubea et paginibus rubeis," as the shield is described by Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, Rolls Edition, vi, 477. But he afterwards altered the colouring of the parrots, and his descendants have always borne the famous arms, Argent, a fesse gules between three popinjays vert, now borne by his representative, the present Earl of Scarbrough.
Sir Robert was the eldest son and heir of Sir Robert de Thweng, Knt., who held the fief of Lund in the East Riding under the Percy family (by his wife Emma, heiress of Dunekin d'Arel, Lord of Lund, who bore the arms, Azure, a lion rampant or, crowned argent), and the grandson of Sir Marmaduke de Thweng, Lord of Thwing, in the East Riding.
It seems highly probable that the Thwengs, the Fitz-Marmadukes of Horden, co. Durham, and the Lumleys of Lumley, co. Durham, were all descended from Marmaduke, the favourite illegitimate son (often described as the nephew) of Ranulph Flambard, the famous Bishop of Durham and Chancellor of England, favourite of William Rufus. There is a striking similarity in the arms of the three families, and all three held their original lands under the Bishops of Durham, if not directly then from the Percies, who held under the bishops.
The Fitz-Marmadukes, who may be said to have been the hereditary Seneschals of the Prince-Bishops of Durham, bore the arms, Argent, a fess gules bearing three popinjays argent; and although the Lumleys claim an entirely mythical descent from a line of Saxon princes, their original arms, Gules, six popinjays argent, lead one to imagine, especially as parrots are a most unusual bearing, that their descent was the same as that of the Thwengs.
Sir Marmaduke de Thweng, Robert's grandfather, was probably a son of Sir Marmaduke de Thweng, of Thwing, and his wife one of the original Nevills of Raby,' and took a prominent part in the civil wars of the time of John as an ardent sup
1 Henry, Lord Nevill of Raby, the last heir male of the original house, died in 1227. His sister and heiress, Isabel, born circa 1180, married, between 1196 and
1200, Robert Fitz Maldred, who assumed the name of Nevill and was the ancestor of the historic house of that name. Her effigy still exists in a niche in the south
porter of the baronial party, but in 1217 made his peace with the royal representatives (Rot. Litt. Claus., i, 274). In 1226, or four years after the marriage of his grandson, he was appointed one of the Justices Itinerant in Yorkshire (Ibid., ii, 138). He died in 1230 at the age of 71, and his son Robert, lord of Lund, having predeceased him, the ancestral estates and also the fief of Lund passed to his grandson Robert, already in right of his wife, lord of Kilton. All three fiefs, aggregating seven knights' fees (Percy Chartulary, No. 403, pp. 131-132), were held under the Percies, and the castle of Kilton becoming the capital of the combined fiefs, now entered upon the period of its greatest importance.
Immediately upon coming into possession of Kilton, Robert appealed to the Archbishop of York with reference to the disputed advowson of Kirkleatham. The Archbishop referred him to the Legate, the Legate to the Archbishop, the Archbishop to the Prior of Guisborough, and for some months these princes of the Church played an exasperating game of shuttle-cock with the young lord of Kilton.
Sir Robert possessed a full share of the great bodily strength, the physical beauty, and the wonderful charm of manner which for generations seems to have distinguished his house. “Juvenis elegans et miles strenuus," says Matthew Paris of him (Chronica Majora, Rolls Edition, iii, 217). But he was like the rest of his race, hot-tempered and determined, and finding that he could obtain no satisfaction from the Legate, he was at length driven to desperation by the intrusion of a Papal nominee into his advowson of Kirkleatham. Gathering together a picked body of his retainers, and accompanied by several youths of his own age, he played havoc with the property of the Romish clergy who had, against the wishes of lay patrons, been installed in many benefices in the north of England. From Trent to Tweed these usurpers were visited, their houses and barns destroyed, and themselves maltreated. Assuming the nickname of "Will Wither," he grew more daring as time went on, making ceaseless warfare on all connected with the Romish Curia, taking of their superfluity and giving liberally to the poor. When pressed, he would retire to his practically impregnable castle of Kilton, which was filled with rich goods taken from wealthy monastic houses.
aisle at Staindrop (built in 1343 by Ralph, Lord Nevill), to which it was moved on the destruction of the original south transept (Proceedings of the Dur
ham and Northumberland Society, iii, pp. 64-5, note). The wife of Sir Marmaduke de Thweng was probably an aunt of this Isabel Nevill.
There is no evidence of any value that Robin Hood was ever more than a mere creation of the popular imagination, and it was probably the actions of such a man as the youthful lord of Kilton which led to the creation of this mythical personage. Sir Robert's exploits made him well-known throughout the whole of the north of England. The Legate, annoyed by the failure of his efforts to capture him, at length excommunicated Sir Robert, who at once appealed to the northern nobles.
The Lords Percy, Nevill, Fitz-Randolph, de Vesci, de Mauley, de Menyll, de Roos, and de Brus, with some twenty knights, assembled at Kilton Castle at the request of Sir Robert, who was formally appointed their accredited ambassador to the Pope. This meeting was probably one of the most important and picturesque events in the history of Kilton Castle. Sir Robert, armed with letters from all the leading northern nobles to the Pope, Gregory IX, undertook a journey to Rome, and as a result of an interview with His Holiness, the Papal Legate and the Archbishop of York received strict orders from Rome that in the future they should refrain from any interference with the rights of the lay patrons.1
So far as the advowson of Kirkleatham was concerned, we learn from Coram Rege, Hen. III, No. 35, M. 4, that it was formally restored to Sir Robert and Matilda his wife.2
1 Canon Atkinson, in his History of Cleveland (note on page 266, vol. i), referring to Sir Robert de Thweng, Knt., the eldest son and heir of Marmaduke I, feudal baron of Danby, and the father of the notorious Lucia de Thweng, and the grandson of Sir Robert, the first de Thweng, lord of Kilton, says :
Graves, in a note on p. 394 of his History of Cleveland, refers to the circumstance that a Robert de Thweng, in the reign of Henry III-this Robert necessarily, then, on that ground as well as others-stirred himself in active opposition to the aggressive conduct, in matters of Church patronage, of the Pope's Legate in England, Cardinal Otho, and eventually went to Rome, obtained an audience of the Pope, and finally letters from His Holiness with instructions to the Archbishop of York and the Legate that for the time to come they should desist from the conduct complained of. From this it would appear that Sir Robert must have been a man of action and influence, and it becomes even perplexing to account for the fact that so little is heard of him in home or national matters."
Unfortunately, Canon Atkinson was ignorant of the early history of the Kilton fief, for in his description of the castle
(p. 339, vol. ii) he assigns the year 1257 as the date at which we first hear of a de Thweng of Kilton," although the family had been in possession of the fief from 1222. Being ignorant of the very existence of Sir Robert de Thweng, the husband of Matilda de Kylton, he, therefore, assigns the expedition to Rome to his grandson Robert, who was never patron of Kirkleatham Church, as he died during the lifetime of his father. The Coram Rege, Henry III, No. 35, M. 4, gives the date of the restoration of the advowson of Kirkleatham to the Thwengs as January, 1229, or some twenty-six years before the birth of the Robert to whom Atkinson attributes the journey to Rome.
2 In Octabis S. Hillarii, 13 Henry III (Jan. 14-20, 1228-1229), Ebor. Michael, Prior de Giseburne, qui tulit breve de recto de jure advocationis de Ecclesia de Lium versus Robertum de Tweynge, et Matill' uxorem ejus, venit per attornatum suum, et petit licentiam recedendi de brevi suo, et habet, et concedit praedicto Roberto et Matill' seisinam suam de praesentatione sua ad eandem Ecclesiam. Et ideo Robertus et Matill' habeant breve ad Archiepiscopum Ebor., quod non obstante reclamatione, etc. (Coram Rege, Henry III, No. 35, M. 4).