Page images

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, Richmond 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, Richmond, Scarborough, and Skelton. 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 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 centuryof masonry for timbering.

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

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,

to "


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. These 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 gazed with envy at these great stone castles so symbolical of the royal power. But the iron hand of the second Henry was laid heavily upon his barons, and it was not until the reckless Richard ascended the throne that they were, at length, permitted to bring their strongholds up to date. In

1190 Robert Fitz-Randolph abandoned his old timber castle, and commenced the erection of the great ' palace-keep of Middleham. Probably about the same time Adam de Brus II converted his timber castle at Skelton into a great stone fortress, with a rectangular keep. About 1197 Robert de Turnham, who had married the heiress of the Fossards, abandoned the old timber castle of Foss, and erected a stone castle with a rectangular keep half a mile to the east. In or about 1200 Robert de Roos converted the strong timber castle at Helmsley into a stone fortress, and erected the two lower storeys of the keep at that place.

The North Riding rectangular keeps may be said to approximately date as follows :Scarborough,

built between 1157 and 1174. Richmond,


1174. Bowes,

1187. Skelton,


I 200. Middleham,

1190 Mulgrave,

1197 I 210. Helmsley,

I 200 1215.

1165 1



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 conte porary 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.

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.


[ocr errors]

castle, it is perhaps unnecessary to say, we have no example, nor is there one to be found in the north of England. 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,4 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

late fourteenth century “palacefortress " round a late twelfth century rectangular keep, may be said to be faintly approximate to this type.

2 The castle of Najac (Aveyron) is a very fine example of this type. The beautiful castle of Manorbier, l'embrokeshire, 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.

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 commenced in

1379 (Pat., 3 Rich. II, part I, m. 43), and Sheriff Hutton in 1382 (Pat., 5 Rich. II, part 2, m. 21).

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

6 Commenced in 1389.


With the exception of Gilling, which has been dealt with by Mr. Bilson, and Snape, described by the late Dr. T. Horsfall (Notes on the Manor of Well and Snape, pp. 87-101), these late North Riding castles have been practically ignored by the antiquary. Mr. Clark leaves them severely alone, and the writer must himself confess that these structures, imposing and stately as some of them are, do not appeal to him in the way that the more defensible castles do. He proposes, however, to describe them in some detail, illustrating the descriptions by photographs, plans, and sections.



In placing this, the first of the series of articles, before the readers of the Journal, the writer desires to tender his grateful thanks to Mrs. Armitage for her valuable advice upon several of the earthworks, and to his friend, Mr. William Brown, F.S.A., who, with unfailing kindness, has assisted him in every possible

[blocks in formation]

The study of the earthworks which are all that now mark the sites of the majority of our Norman castles is still in its infancy, and has long been the most neglected portion of mediæval military architecture. Earlier antiquaries, with naive impartiality, apparently regarded one earthwork, no matter of what form or extent, to be pretty much the same as any other, and different historians, according to individual fancy or caprice, have labelled the same earthwork as a British strength, a Roman camp, a

Saxon burh, or Danish geweorc. With very few exceptions the earthworks which mark the sites of our Norman castles are still designated as anything but what they really are.

Into an examination of the various types of earthworks it would appear to be unnecessary to enter in an article dealing exclusively with mediæval military architecture. The particular type with which we are concerned is one we are constantly meeting with in our archæological expeditions, not only in England and France, but in Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. Broadly speaking, this particular type consists of a hillock, mound, or

'Yorks. Arch. Journal, xix, 105-192.

2 The writer desires to thank Colonel Parker, C.B.,F.S.A., Professor Haverfield, F.S.A., Mr. William Farrer, D.Litt.; Rev.

C. V. Collier, F.S.A.; Mr. H. B. McCall,
F.S.A.; Mr. W. T. Lancaster, F.S.A.; and
Mr. Edward Wooler, F.S.A., for assistance
in various ways.

« PreviousContinue »