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BARNSTAPLE, Devon (Fig. 9).—This castle is not mentioned in Domesday, but the town belonged to Judhael, one of the followers of the Conqueror, whose name suggests a Breton origin. William gave him large estates in Devon and Cornwall. A charter of Judhael's to the priory which he founded at Barnstaple makes mention of the castle. Barnstaple, at the head of the estuary of the Taw, was a borough at Domesday, and the castle was placed inside the town walls. The motte remains in good condition; the winding walks which now lead to the top are certainly no part of the original plan, but are generally found in cases where the motte has been incorporated in a garden. There was formerly a stone keep, of which no vestige remains. The castle seems to have formed the apex of a town of roughly triangular shape. The bailey can just be traced, and must have covered ij acres.
The former value of Barnstaple is not given in the Survey, so we cannot tell whether it had risen or not.
BELVOIR, Leicester.—This castle was founded by the Norman Robert de Todeni, who died in 1988. It stands on a natural hill, so steep and isolated that it might be called a natural motte. The first castle was destroyed by King John, and the modernising of the site has entirely destroyed any earthworks which may have existed on the hill. There appears to have
1 M. A., V., 197.
2 Domesday mentions the destruction of twenty-three houses at Barnstaple, which may have been due partly or wholly to the building of the castle. 1., 100.
3 From a lecture by Mr J. R. Chanter.
4 The Fundatio of Belvoir priory says that Robert founded the church of St Mary, juxta castellum suum, M. A., ii., 288. As Robert's coffin was actually found in the Priory in 1726, with an inscription calling him Robert de Todnei le Fundeur, the statement is probably more trustworthy than documents of this class generally are.
been a shell wall, from the descriptions given by Nicholls and Leland. It was situated in the manor of Bottesdene, a manor of no great importance, but which had risen in value at the date of the Survey.?
BERKELEY, or NesS.—The identity of Berkeley Castle with the Ness castle of Domesday may be regarded as certain. All that the Survey says about it is : “In Ness there are five hides belonging to Berkeley, which Earl William put out to make a little castle." 3
Earl William is William FitzOsbern, the trusty friend and counsellor of the Conqueror, who had made him Earl of Herefordshire. He had also authority over the north and west of England during William's first absence in Normandy, and part of the commission he received from William was to build castles where they were needed." Berkeley was a royal manor with a large number of berewicks, and the probable meaning of the passage
in Domesday is that Earl William removed the geldability of the five hides occupying the peninsula or ness which stretches from Berkeley to the Severn, bounded on the south by the Little Avon, and appropriated these lands to the upkeep of a small castle. This castle can hardly have been placed anywhere but at Berkeley, for there is no trace of any other castle in the district. Earl Godwin had sometimes resided at Berkeley, but probably his residence there was the monastery which by
· Nicholls, History of Leicester, i., 110. 2 D. B., i., 233b.
3"In Ness sunt 5 hidæ pertinentes ad Berchelai, quas comes Willielmus misit extra ad faciendum unum castellulum." D. B., i., 163a, 2.
4 "Castella per loca firmari præcepit.” Flor. Wig., 1067. See Freeman, N. C., iv., 72. Domesday tells us that FitzOsbern built Ness, Clifford, Chepstow, and Wigmore, and rebuilt Ewias.
5 Robert Fitzhardinge, in his charter to St Austin's Abbey at Bristol, says that King Henry [11.) gave him the manor of Berchall, and all Bercheleiernesse. Mon. Ang., vi., 365.
evil means had come into his hands ;' for we never hear of any castle in connection with Godwin. But a Norman motte exists at Berkeley, though buried in the stone shell built by Henry II. Mr Clark remarks: “If the masonry of Berkeley Castle were removed, its remains would show a mound of earth, and attached to three sides of it a platform, the whole encircled with a ditch or scarp.
The motte raised by Earl William has, in fact, been revetted with a stone shell of the 12th century, whose bold chevron ornament over the entrance gives evidence of its epoch. What is still more remarkable is that documentary evidence exists to fix the date of this transformation. A charter of Henry II. is preserved at Berkeley Castle, in which he grants the manor to Robert Fitzhardinge, pledging himself at the same time to fortify a castle there, according to Robert's wish.8 Robert's wish probably was to possess a stone keep, like those which had been rising in so many places during the 12th century. But there had been a Norman lord at Berkeley before Fitzhardinge, Roger de Berkeley, whose representatives only lost the manor through having taken sides with Stephen in the civil war. This Roger no doubt occupied the wooden castle on the motte built by William FitzOsbern. Henry II.'s shell was probably the first masonry connected with
1 It is not necessary to discuss the authenticity of the story preserved by Walter Map; it is enough that Gytha, the wife of Godwin, held in horror the means by which her husband got possession of Berkeley Nunnery. D. B., i., 164.
2 Mediæval Military Architecture, i., 236.
3 The gift of the manor was made before Henry became king, and was confirmed by charter on the death of Stephen in 1954. Fitzhardinge was an Englishman, son of an alderman of Bristol, who had greatly helped Henry in his wars against Stephen. See Fosbroke's History of Gloucester.
4 He held Berkeley under the crown at the time of the Survey. D. B., i., 163a.