« PreviousContinue »
unfortunately our leading experts, with a few exceptions, not only in Yorkshire but throughout England, lavish-with admirable results it must be admitted-so much work on ecclesiastical edifices that they would seem to have but little time to devote to our castles.
There are, however, not wanting signs that the scientific treatment of this most important branch of archæological research is at length to receive more attention. Within the last two years two works, Mrs. E. Armitage's Early Norman Castles of the British Isles and Mr. Hamilton Thompson's Military Architecture in England in the Middle Ages, have been issued to the general public, works which are certain to rank among the classics on the subject. Many of the most valuable works are, however, unfortunately only accessible to a smaller section of the community, and among these may be mentioned the late Mr. Cadwallader Bates' unfinished "Border Holds of Northumberland (Archæologia Eliana, xv, 1-465), Mr. Harold Sands' 'Bodiam Castle" (Sussex Arch. Coll., xlvi, 114-133) and his "Tower of London" (Memorials of Old London, 1908, vol. i, 27-65), Mr. W. H. St. John Hope's "English Fortresses and Castles of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries" (Arch. Journal, lx, 72-90) and his admirable "Ludlow Castle" (Archæologia, Ixi, 258-328), Dr. Horace Round's "The Castles of the Conquest (Archæologia, lviii, 313-340), Mr. John Bilson's Gilling Castle" (already referred to), Mr. G. H. Orpen's "Motes and Norman Castles in Ireland" (Proc. Royal Soc. Antiq. Ireland, xxvii, 123-152) and his "Ireland under the Normans," etc.
The writer is venturing, in a series of articles, to deal with the castles of the North Riding. Exigencies of space are alone sufficient to preclude the possibility of this series being completed in a lesser time than about six or eight years. Much water will flow under London Bridge in the meantime, and it is possible that the work contemplated may be happily lessened by the appearance of monographs on some of the castles hitherto undealt with.
The idea in writing these articles is two-fold, viz.:
(i) to trace the gradual evolution of medieval military architecture in the North Riding; and
(ii) to supplement the information already accessible to the antiquary with regard to the North Riding castles by descriptions of those which have not, at the time of writing, been
adequately dealt with. It is, of course, unnecessary to remark that an elaborate history and description of any one castle does not come within the scope of such a work; the main events in the history of each fortress will be outlined and a short description of the structure, illustrated where necessary by photographs, plans and sections, will be given. Those castles which have already, at the time of writing, been the subject of a monograph by a competent authority will be only very briefly alluded to. The space and illustration thus economised will be devoted to those lesser-known ruins which have not hitherto received any attention at the hands of the antiquary. The castles already dealt with by the late Mr. Clark will, however, be fully described, if they have not, in the meantime, been the subject of special monographs. The writer implies no discourtesy to Mr. Clark; but his articles, although most valuable, are somewhat inadequately illustrated, and require to be further supplemented.
The first article, which is now placed before the readers of this Journal, deals with the condition of the North Riding castles at the time (1154) of the accession of Henry II, i.e. eighty-eight years after the battle of Hastings. Of the some thirty fortresses then in existence, two only, Richmond1 and Scarborough, possessed any defences in masonry, the remaining strongholds being constructed entirely of earth and timber. As the majority of these castles are now only represented by earthworks this article, to the general reader, will probably prove the least interesting of the series; the reference to each earthwork is brief, and but little illustration is required.
The second and third articles will deal with the early Plantagenet rectangular keep castles of the North Riding, viz.:Bowes, Helmsley, the keep only of Middleham, Mulgrave,
1 It is impossible to over-estimate, from an archæological point of view, the great value of Richmond Castle, with its eleventh century walls of enceinte, its mural towers, and its great hall. What we find in stone at this castle we may be tolerably certain existed in timber at its contemporary motte and bailey strongholds. It is this that makes Richmond so intensely interesting. We may-in our efforts to "reconstruct" the earth-and-timber Norman castles-read up the AngloSaxon Chronicle, we may study all the authorities of the Late Saxon and of the Norman periods; but here at Richmond, solid and durable, a thing we can touch
and see, is a copy in stone of exactly the type of accommodation we should find in timber at the majority of the Norman castles could we but transport ourselves back to the time of the four Norman kings.
2 Scarborough, as constructed in the fourth decade of the twelfth century, is of much less value. The original keep and great hall were undoubtedly of timber, and the walled enclosure which existed there in 1154 was so much added to and altered by Henry II and his successors that but little now remains of Albemarle's stronghold, although the walls of enceinte, in their original form, owe their origin to him,
Richmond, Scarborough, and Skelton.1 Of the last - mentioned not a vestige remains, although the bases of a portion of the walls of the bailey enceinte-apparently late fourteenth century in date are incorporated in the existing modern structure. The writer, who for some years has made a special study of the rectangular keep type of castle, and has visited and examined every example in England and Wales and a number of those in France, is of opinion that the North Riding group is of unusual interest and variety, containing as it does such totally different structures as the great "palace - keep" of Middleham, the comfortless non-residential tower of Richmond, and the purely garrison keep-castle of Bowes. It is most unusual to find seven rectangular keep castles in such a comparatively small area as that covered by the North Riding; and although an almost unexampled act of vandalism has deprived us of Skelton, and although that of Mulgrave has been so much pulled about and faked that the only original portion now remaining is a fragment of the forebuilding, each of the remaining five towers may be said to afford in itself features of unusual interest. They will be compared with other examples
1 These seven keeps are by no means contemporary. The first to be commenced was that of Scarborough, which Henry II began in 1157. The exact date of the commencement of Richmond keep is difficult to ascertain. Alan III died in 1146, and, as Dr. Round tells us (vol. x of Pipe Roll Series, Ancient Charters) that he did not marry until 1137, his son and successor, Conan le Petit, Duke of Brittany and Earl of Richmond, would not come of age until about 1159. We might not be far wrong in stating that Richmond would be commenced c. 1160, and that, perhaps five or six years later, Conan began the great keep at Bowes. On the Duke's death, in 1171, both these incomplete towers escheated to Henry II, with the wardship of Conan's heiress, and the king completed them, Richmond in 1174, and Bowes in 1187. It is a fact well worth remembering that when Richard I came to the throne in 1189, i.e. 123 years after the battle of Hastings, there were only five castles in the North Riding which possessed any works in masonry of the least importance; three of these, Bowes, Richmond, and Scarborough, were rectangular keep castles, the other two, Castleton and Pickering, were shell keep castles, although the masonry at the latter place was confined to what is now the inner bailey. five castles were all in the king's hands. It must not be imagined that the great barons were content with their old
timber strongholds. They must have
The North Riding rectangular keeps may be said to approximately date as follows:
in England and France, and a brief reference will be made. to the great advancement in the construction of siege engines, which was one of the factors which led to the general substitution during the latter part of the second half of the twelfth and particularly during the first half of the thirteenth century— of masonry for timbering.
The fourth article will deal with some of the castles of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries other than the rectangular keep castles and the quadrangular "palace-fortresses." The list will include Cotherston, a motte castle which, very early in the thirteenth century, developed into a shell keep stronghold; Crayke, a Norman motte and bailey fortress which developed on the lines of a tower-house edifice; Kirkby Moorside (the Nevill Castle) and Ravensworth, stone castles founded in the fourteenth century; Kilton, Pickering, and Whorlton. The last-mentioned is somewhat of an anomaly, as although an early Norman motte and bailey stronghold, it eventually developed on the lines of a tower-house castle, and there would appear to be no masonry in existence there of a date earlier than the last two decades of the fourteenth century. The true solution of the problem probably is that, c. 1200, it developed into a shell keep fortress so far as the motte was concerned, and that such works were demolished when the motte was lowered and the existing buildings erected upon it at the end of the fourteenth century.
It is a matter of regret that we do not possess an example of a circular keep or Juliet, a type of tower contemporary with the rectangular keeps; one would gladly exchange one of our rectangular keeps for the magnificent Juliet at Conisborough (West Riding), or for the well-arranged tower at Orford. It is somewhat extraordinary, considering the number of motte and bailey castles erected in the North Riding, that we possess only one good example, that of Pickering, of an ordinary Norman earth-and-timber castle developing into a shell keep stronghold, its natural and logical evolution. Of a genuine concentric
1 Previous to completing these two articles, the writer proposes visiting some eight or ten contemporary French castles which he has not hitherto had an opportunity of examining.
2 Conisborough, the finest tower of this type in England, was erected during the last quarter of the twelfth century; Orford was built between 1162 and 1172; Pembroke dates from the first quarter of the thirteenth century. This type of tower can be better studied in France,
where Coucy, Chateaudun, Villeneuvele-Roi, and Tournebu may be cited as magnificent examples.
3 Pickering is, however, an excellent example; indeed, the writer, who has visited the majority of the English shell keep castles, considers it, after Berkeley, perhaps as good an example of the development of a Norman earth-and-timber castle into a stone fortress as one could find anywhere.
castle, it is perhaps unnecessary to say, we have no example, nor is there one to be found in the north of England.1 We possess, however, astray in the wilds of Cleveland, a modified example, the castle of Kilton, of a keepless fortress, a type practically unknown in the north, and which can only properly be studied in Wales or on the Welsh borders.2
The last two articles will be devoted to the later castles, of which the North Riding contains unusually interesting and numerous examples. About the middle of the fourteenth century the military importance of castles had almost departed, and although a large number of licences to crenellate were issued for at least a century later, the structures erected were built as much for comfort and even luxury as for defence. Of these later castles the great "quadrangular palace-fortresses are by far the most important. Mr. St. John Hope aptly describes these stately and magnificent structures as roughly resembling a rectangular keep split open in the centre to allow of a courtyard. Early in the fourteenth century a modified example of this class was erected at Danby, and in the latter half of the fourteenth century the regal fortress of Bolton-in-Wensleydale and the stately and imposing castle of Sheriff Hutton were erected. The Nevill palace at Middleham is also of the same type, and a great palace-fortress, few traces of which now remain, was built at Upsall.
Among the later castles we get, in the North Riding as elsewhere, a reversion to the rectangular keeps in the towerhouses of Ayton, Cowton, Gilling, Harlsey, etc.; and later still another type appears in such structures as Mortham and Nappa. At Tanfield we have a graceful gate-house forming a detached part of a manor-house of earlier date.
1 Middleham, through a pure accident in development, viz., the erection of a late fourteenth century "palacefortress" round a late twelfth century rectangular keep, may be said to be faintly approximate to this type.
The castle of Najac (Aveyron) is a very fine example of this type. The beautiful castle of Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, is a well-known Welsh example. At both places a modified form of keep, cylindrical at Najac, and rectangular at Manorbier, is retained as one of the flanking towers.
3 See "Lumley Castle," Country Life for June 8, 1910, p. 896. At Castle Rushen, Isle of Man, we actually have a late rectangular keep split open to
contain a central court of small size. This interesting structure has been very carefully restored within recent years, the alterations having been just completed when the writer visited it in the summer of 1910.
4 The earliest example of this type to be erected in England was Acton Burnell, Shropshire, built by Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Chancellor of England, which would appear to have been erected between 1282 and 1287 (Pat., 12 Edw. I, m. 7).
5 Bolton was commenced in 1379 (Pat., 3 Rich. II, part 1, m. 43), and Sheriff Hutton in 1382 (Pat., 5 Rich. II, part 2, m. 21).
6 Commenced in 1389.