Page images

the patronage of the house should be vested in him and his descendants. He died in 1182, and was interred at Jervaulx, which became the burial-place of his descendants, the FitzHughs. Henry Fitz-Hervey, in 1200, replaced the timber defences of Cotherston by masonry, receiving the royal licence to crenellate.1

Description.—This ancient fortress of the Fitz-Hughs—which, like Castleton, was a motte castle devoid of a bailey—stands on the angle of a height to the north of the village of Cotherston, amid beautiful scenery, about four miles north-west of Barnard Castle. Just below it is the junction of the Tees and the Balder Beck. As fragments of Henry Fitz-Hervey's stone castle erected in 1200 still exist, the ruin will be described in a later article.

CRAYKE. History.--This manor was a place of considerable historic

a importance for some time previous to the Conquest, and long before Flambard or Pudsey erected the castel” the Saxon bishops of Durham had an “aula or manor house on the site.2 At the time of the Survey,3 Crayke formed part of the possessions of the See of Durham, and the castle probably owes its origin to Ranulph Flambard, the famous Bishop and Chancellor, temp. Rufus, or, at the latest, to Bishop Pudsey (1153-1195).4 It was at this fortress that Pudsey contracted his last illness by indulging too freely at the table. The castle would not appear to have developed any extensive works in masonry until the time of Bishop Bek (1283-1310), and subsequently considerable additions were made by Bishop Neville (1437– 1457). The architectural history of the stone castle will, however, be dealt with in a later article. At the time with which we are now dealing (1154) it was a motte and bailey castle, the defences of which were entirely of timber. Both motte and bailey of the early Norman castle may still be distinctly traced. 1 Cal. Rot. Chart. (Rec. Com.).

manor remained the property of the See 2 The vill and tria in circuito of Durham until about 1830, and as late ipsius villæ miliaria” were given by as 1844 was an outlying part of the county King Egfrid to St. Cuthbert C. 685 of Durham, and is so marked on early (Symeon Dunelm., Hist. Eccl. Dunelm., nineteenth century plans. lib. I, ch. ix, p. 47), and here the saint's 3 D.B., fo. 3046, col. 2. body rested for four months (Symeon, ii, 4 Gill, in his Vallis Eboracensis, 134, 13) in the monastic house of Crayke, assigns it to the latter prelate. when the monks were driven from He died at Howden on the 3rd Mar., Lindisfarne by a Danish invasion. The 1195.

CROPTON, T'HALL GARTH. (Fig. 1.) History.--At the time of the Survey, Cropton was a royal manor, but early in the reign of Rufus it was given to Robert de Stuteville, nicknamed “Frontdebos,” possibly a son of Goisfrid of Langton, a feudatory of Hugh Fitz-Baldric. After Hugh's death, “Frontdebos” came into possession of a considerable portion of his North Riding property, whether by marriage with one of his daughters and co-heiresses or by gift from Rufus would appear uncertain. Cropton Castle was probably erected early in the reign of Rufus by " Frontdebos,” but when its founder was taken prisoner at the disastrous battle of Tinchebrai,3 Henry I gave it, with Aislaby, Middleton, and Wrelton, to Turgis Brundos, lord of Liddle, who gave three carucates of land in Nunnington to St. Mary's, York. About 1160, Henry II restored the castle to William de Stuteville, 5 " Frontdebos'” son, who was one of the Anglo-Norman 5

, barons who fought at the battle of the Standard. Robert de Stuteville II, William's son, founded the Priory of Rosedale c. 1190.6 The castle remained the property of the Stutevilles until Joan, daughter and heiress of Nicholas de Stuteville, carried it in marriage to Hugh Wake, as mentioned under Buttercrambe. Hugh was succeeded by his son, Baldwin-aged 38 in 12767—who died previous to 1283,8 and John, his son and heir, had livery of all his lands in 18 Edward 1.9 John, Lord Wake, died in 28 Edward I, leaving a widow, Joan, and a son and heir, Thomas Wake, then aged two years.10 The old Stuteville fortress did not develop any works in masonry, but John, Lord Wake, probably about 1290-5, erected a half-timber manorhouse within the bailey, immediately to the east of the motte, the foundations of which still exist, although they are not shown

[ocr errors]


1 D.B., 300a, col. 2.

2 See Wm. Farrer's The Domesday Survey (V.C.H. of Yorks., vol. ii, p. 178).

3 Ord. Vit., Eccl. Hist., book xi, ch. xxi (ed. Le Prevost), iv, 234.

4 Cal. Chart. Rot., 1300-1326, pp. 117, I19

Arms :- Barry of twelve argent and gules.

6 This priory was situated amid beautiful scenery on the banks of the little river Seven, and was dedicated to St. Mary and St. Laurence. The property belonging to the house was situated principally in Rosedale, Cropton, Cawthorn, Lockton, Newton, and Picker: ing. The Conventual Church was used as a chapel-of-ease until 1838, when the interesting structure


destroyed and the


edifice erected on its site. The amount of damage wrought by the ignorant clergy and church wardens of the North Riding on our ancient churches between 1810 and 1850 is almost inconceivable. Another act of vandalism in this district was the destruction, in 1850, of the castle chapel at Cropton. Allthat now remains of the priory is the lower portion of a well-stair, a fine Late Norman doorway having been destroyed within the last half-century.

? Wm. Brown, Yorks.Inquisitions,i,167.

8 Kirkby's Inquest. Cropton. Johannes filius Baldwini Wake qui est in custodia domini regis, etc.

9 Dugdale's Bar., i, 540.
10 Cal. Gen., ii, 587, 605, 616.



[ocr errors]

on the plan. When this manor-house was abandoned is uncertain. In Drake's time the earthworks were known as Cropton Castle ”'l; but the site is now called T'Hall Garth.”

Description. --The earthworks which mark the site of this ancient fortress of the Stutevilles are delightfully situated on the extreme point or nab end of a promontory projecting westward, and commanding a very beautiful and extensive view over Rosedale. The position is one of considerable strategic importance, and admirably adapted for defence. Not far from the fortress is the Roman road leading from Malton (Derventio ?) to Dunsley Bay (Prætorium ?), and not quite two miles away is the famous Cawthorne Camp. To the immediate east of the castle, just outside the bailey, is the modern chapel-of-ease, in the Norman style, built about 1850, on the site of the ancient castle-chapel, probably erected in the reign of Rufus by Robert de Stuteville I, the only building in masonry appertaining to the fortress.

The motte stands at the apex or western end of the roughly triangular bailey at an elevation of some 450 feet above sea level. It is now about 20 feet in height, and some 150 feet in diameter at the base. It is so much silted down that it is now impossible to say what were its original dimensions. From the summit a magnificent view is obtained. It still retains traces of its ditch.

The bailey has covered an area of a little over three acres. The northern rampart and ditch is in fair preservation, as is a portion of the southern rampart; but the greater part of the eastern defences have been levelled, and the ditch filled up. Everything points to the great hall, etc., having been, from the first, placed within the bailey, possibly against the southern side. The motte, as at Topcliffe, was probably crowned by a palisade, with one or more small timber turrets on its enceinte.

EASBY, BOROUGH GREEN. (Fig. 1.) History.-We know nothing whatever of the history of this Norman earthwork, but the probabilities are that it represents a castle erected, during the civil wars of the time of Stephen, by Bernard de Balliol, the commander-in-chief of the 1 Eboracum, 36.

to whom he had given the barony of 2 At the time of the Survey (D.B., Bywell, in Northumberland. Guy was 300a, col. 2) we find that Easby (Esebi) succeeded by his son, Bernard de Balliol was a small royal manor of two carucates, (arms :-"Gules, orle argent"), but Rufus granted it, as part of the bar - whose great-grandson, John Balliol, ony or lordship of Stokesley, 'to his became King of Scotland. friend, Guy de Balliol, a Norman knight,


Anglo-Norman army at the battle of the Standard. Balliol was lord of the manor of Easby, which formed part of his lordship of Stokesley, and the castle was probably intended to defend this outlying portion of his estates. When order was restored, the necessity for such a stronghold would vanish, and it would probably be abandoned early in the following reign.

Description.—This earthwork stands on a very bold and heavily-wooded nab end, known as Castle Hill, at an elevation of nearly 600 feet above sea level, rising at an angle somewhat steeper than 45° to a height of 200 feet above the river Leven, which flows beneath its southern base. When the trees are leafless and the earthwork can thus be seen from below, its position is a most commanding and imposing one. When complete it probably bore a fairly close resemblance to that at Castle Leavington, except that the latter is circular and the Easby earthwork is horse-shoe shaped, as is Castleton. The fortalice obviously consisted of a motte only, its heel or base on the south-east being defended by the precipitous declivity, and its north-east side by ground falling away gently towards the wood and the river. Unfortunately, the motte, which has measured some 115 feet from north-west to south-east by about 100 feet from north-east to south-west, has been much mutilated, the banquette or rampart of earth, which at one time carried the stockade, having been thrown down into the ditch. This ditch, although partially filled up in this way, originally ran round three sides of the motte, and is still quite distinct on the south-west and north-east sides, more especially at the points where its extremities merge into the steep declivity.1 The ditch was not carried round the south side of the motte, as here the precipitous slopes rendered any artificial defence unnecessary, the stockading being probably placed on the very verge of these formidable natural defences. At a small castle of this type it is improbable that there was a timber keep, a mere shed inside the palisading probably being all the accommodation provided for the few retainers stationed there. Even when perfect the motte cannot have been of any great height, possibly not more than 12 to 15 feet, and it is now about 8 feet high. The writer is informed by the Rev. C. V. Collier, F.S.A., that the motte was dug into in the centre some years ago, but that no masonry or anything of interest was found. The soil thus excavated was carefully replaced.

1 There are no traces of a counterscarp the very verge of a precipice. It measbank. The earthwork covers an area ures 90 feet in diameter, and is 25 feet of about one-third of an acre, and bears in height, and the ditch around it, some a fairly close resemblance to the old 7 feet deep, is in excellent preservation. Percy stronghold at Castle Haugh, The castle at Gisburn was erected by Gisburn, Craven, the only castle site William de Percy, the founder of Topwhich exists on the Percy fief in that cliffe Castle, and was still in the possession district. The motte at Gisburn is, like of the family at the time of Kirkby's that of Easby, small, and is placed on Inquest.

FELISKIRK. (Fig. 2.) Immediately to the north of the vicarage, and some 150 yards south of the church, in the pretty little village of Feliskirk is what would certainly appear to be a small artificial motte. Unfortunately, three sides of the base of the hillock have been cut into by roads which have destroyed all trace of those details—ditch, counterscarp bank, etc.—the existence of which would have proved beyond all doubt that the earthworks represent a Norman castle. The vicarage garden looks very much like a bailey; but here again, what may have been the bailey ditch on the east is occupied by a road, whilst the ground on the west falls so steeply away that artificial defences would be here unnecessary. As all the ground which may have been occupied by the bailey has been under cultivation for many generations, all traces of the ditch on the south, if any ditch existed, have vanished.4

If a castle did exist here it would owe its origin to a junior branch of the powerful family of Fossard, who were settled here as early as the reign of Henry 1.5 In 1210 they sold, or otherwise disposed of, their property here to the monastic houses of Byland and Newburgh, and to the Hospitallers of Mount St. John.

1 A plan is given of this earthwork, 3 There are now

no traces of the as a typical example of a doubtful motte banquette on the summit of the motte. and bailey castle.

View the place from whatever 2 In his interesting description of this church (Yorks. Arch. Journal, xxii,

point we like, it has every appearance

of having been a motte and bailey castle ; pp. 193-198), Mr. A. Hamilton Thompson, E.S.A., tells us that the probable renders it impossible to say definitely

but the mutilation it has undergone date of the original portion of the church

that such was the case. is the first quarter of the twelfth century," which coincides with the advent

5 Mr. William Farrer, D.Litt., in a of the Fossards of Feliskirk, and the

letter to the writer, says :-" Considering probable date of the erection of the

the proximity of the Fossards' estates castle, if castle there were.

to the York-Durham road, there would of the church is the beautiful effigy of

be nothing surprising in the possession Sir Wm. Cantilupe, obiit 1309, which was

by the Fossards of a stronghold at identified by Mr. William Brown, F.S.A.,

Feliskirk." at the last excursion of the Society 6 Yorks. Fines, John (Surt. Soc.), 164. (Yorks. Arch. Journal, xxii, pp. 198–203).

The gem

« PreviousContinue »