« PreviousContinue »
that very little of the little medieval architecture ever in Montgomeryshire churches has been preserved.
The Parish Churches of the following parishes have been specified as especially worthy of preservation:- Buttington (font, formed of the capital of a pier from Strata Marcella Abbey), Kerry, Llanbrynmair (arcade of rude oak beams), Llandrinio (Norman arch and font), Llanerfyl (inscribed stone), Llanfair Caereinion (fourteenth-century effigy), Llanfechain (Early English details), Llanfihangel yng Ngwynfa (sepulchral slabs in vestry), Pennant Melangell, Llangynyw (screen), Llanidloes (nave arcade from Cwm Hir Abbey), Llanllugan (Church of Nunnery of Llanllugan, and old glass), Llanwnog (screen, and figure of St. Gwynnog in fifteenth-century glass), Meifod (Norman details), Montgomery (screen, stall-work, tombs, font), Newtown (portions of ancient screen), Trelystan (wooden structure).
The dedications of the churches are given in the Inventory, and the names of the Townships of each ancient parish are entered under the Parish Churches. Eight churchyards are noticed.
Mention is made in the Inventory in the case of six churches of chests, four of effigies, twenty-five of fonts, six of stained glass, three of memorial brasses, ten of roofs, three of sepulchral slabs, and eight of rood screens; there is a triptych of carved oak at Llandinam, and a pre-Reformation brass at Bettws Cedewain.
One antiquity must appeal to all Welshmen. It lies near the Vicarage, in the Parish of Llanrhaiadr-ym-Mochnant, and consists of the foundations of Bishop William Morgan's summer-house; therein "tradition has it that much of the translation of the Bible was done. Within living memory, the walls of this small building were breast high, but the stones have been removed for use elsewhere." Bishop Morgan was for some years vicar of this parish. In the old churchyard at Newtown lies buried Robert Owen, "the founder of the Co-operative movement"; and in Llanwnog churchyard "rest the remains of the Welsh poet, John Ceiriog Hughes."
From the nature of the case, Nonconformity provides but few historical monuments :-Cae'r Fendith (Llanllwchaiarn), Capel Bach (Pennant), Independent Chapel (Llanfyllin), Yr hen Gapel (Llanbrynmair), Vavasour Powell's Communion Table in Sarnau Congregational Chapel (Guilsfield); the Quakers' Chapel, Dolobran (Meifod), and the three Quakers' Burial Grounds, at Llanwddyn, Staylittle (Trefeglwys), and Dolcaradog (Uwch y garreg). These four Quaker monuments appear to date from the reign of King Charles II.
Twenty-four Wells are entered, many of them dedicated to the Trinity, or to Our Lady, or to Saints.
Antiquaries owe the Commissioners much gratitude for the addition of the last two classes of antiquities inventoried, Sites and Finds. In their efforts to illustrate the latter they had to encounter
discouragement and (at first) refusal on the part of His Majesty's Treasury.
No trace of Palæolithic man has been yet discovered within the limits of Montgomeryshire; but Mr. Worthington G. Smith, writing in 1895, stated his belief that a flint-flake found in the surface material during excavations at Strata Marcella Abbey near Welshpool, and now in the Welshpool Museum, was "undoubtedly Palæolithic."
There are some mounds, long or oval in shape, in the parish of Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa which possess the name of Beddau'r Cewri, and are probably Neolithic burial places, like the alleged barrows at Llanelwedd in Radnorshire. The Commissioners conjecture that the first division of Celts to reach Wales-the Goidels -brought with them the use of bronze; and that the second division the Brythons of whom the Ordovices were a part, brought that of iron; but that iron was not introduced into Powysland long before the arrival of the Romans in Britain.
Two cinerary urns of the Bronze Age have been dug up in Montgomeryshire. Both are depicted in the Inventory. One was found a few years before 1870, during the construction of a new road to Aberbechan Hall in the parish of Llanllwchaiarn. It is "of the drinking cup type, and is now in Welshpool Museum." other urn was discovered in 1903 in an excavated tumulus, near Staylittle, in the parish of Trefeglys. The Crowther's Camp (Welshpool) hoard consists of bronze implements.
Two bronze finds are ascribed to the Iron Age-the boar found at Guilsfield earlier than 1833, and the horse-bit found at Carreg hofa in 1866.
A list is given under Llanfair Caereinion of nearly five hundred Roman coins found in 1740 "in a field near the River Banwy," enclosed in an urn, which was broken. Roman coins, pottery and glass have been unearthed at Caersws; and there have been smaller finds at other places in Montgomeryshire. "In Sites of Historic or Antiquarian Interest,' all place-names that appear to possess special significance are recorded," that is all place-names that seem to indicate that finds may be expected on those sites, and others that carry the mind back to historic incidents.
We cannot close this review of the valuable Montgomeryshire Inventory better than by quoting the Commissioners' own words upon their work :--"The Commissioners are especially desirous of making it clear that the descriptions of the monuments here given are in no way to be regarded as embodying the final verdict upon any one of them. We hope that our list is practically, if not altogether exhaustive, though we are conscious that we cannot expect to have effected a clean and comprehensive sweep into our net; but we do not wish it to be supposed that our labours are final. We have, on the contrary, endeavoured to bear constantly in mind the desirability of arousing the in
terest of local antiquaries, and of stimulating their energies to fresh or renewed studies of the memorials and constructions of the past. In some of the remarks we have made, it might appear as though we were expressing our surprise at the little that has been effected in the study and description of Montgomeryshire antiquities, whereas in truth we are fully alive to the zeal and steady purpose that has accompanied the work of the Powysland Club. The defect is one that is inherent in county societies where there is no strong directing organisation, and where each contributing member takes up his plot and ploughs his lonely furrow regardless of the researches or labours of his fellow members. We venture to think that this volume, where it brings into clear perspective the immense field of delightful exercise for both brain and muscle lying at the doors of the leisured folk of Montgomeryshire, provides also the basis for the organisation and the systematisation of the study of Montgomeryshire antiquities. Our business has been to inventory the monuments of the County. In performing this duty we have endeavoured to give just so much information as will enable local antiquaries interested each in his own branch of archæology to know the objects in the County which have an attraction for him, and which call for his attention. It has been no purpose of ours to provide him with a complete account of any single monument. We have tried in each case to let him know the kind of monument he will find in each place. We may occasionally have been more dogmatic than the facts actually warrant, but that amiable and not weakness has been indulged in with the express purpose either of stimulating his curiosity or of saving him the time and trouble lost in visiting a monument that may be to him of minor interest. In no case have we essayed to tell him so much about a monument as to stifle his desire to pay it a personal visit. If we have in any measure succeeded in our purpose of exciting within his breast the determination to know more of the past of our forefathers, we venture to think that its gratification should be easy." B. E. J.
THE EARLY NORMAN CASTLES OF THE BRITISH ISLES With Plans by D. H. MONTGOMERIE, F.S.A., By ELLA S. ARMITAGE. Pp. i-xix, 408. (John Murray, 1912). 158. net.
THOSE who take an interest in the castle-mounds and the history of castle architecture in this country have in the above work a rich and ample storehouse of trustworthy materials to consult. A considerable portion of the valuable Catalogue raisonné of early Norman castles in England was printed some years ago in the English Historical Review, but it has been enlarged in this volume by the inclusion of five fresh castles and historical notes on 34 others,
thus bringing up the number to 84 castles, more or less fully discussed. The Welsh castles are given in a separate chapter. Useful plans and illustrations are furnished by Mr. Duncan H. Montgomerie, F.S.A.
Several chapters are added, the fruit of 11 years' careful and intelligent research (in the unpublished Pipe Rolls and other documentary evidence) in support of the writer's contention that the Motte Castles throughout the British Islands are in every case of Norman origin; that the private castle in Britain only appears after the establishment of the Feudal System.
Mrs. Armitage shows, by a closely reasoned argument, the error of Mr. G. T. Clark's assertion that the "moated mound the Anglo-Saxon called a 'burh,' a Saxon Castle.
Accepting the classification of earthworks put forth by the Committee of the Congress of Archæological Societies, viz., (a) promontory or cliff forts, (b) hill forts, (c) rectangular forts, (d) moated hillocks, (e) moated hillocks, with courts attached, (f) banks and ditches surrounding homesteads, (g) manorial works, (h) fortified villages; the author deals with the earthworks in classes (d) and (e), i.e. moated hillocks.
These earthworks in their perfect form (e) consist where fully preserved, of (1) an artificial hillock, 20 to 100 feet high; with (2) a breastwork of earth carried round the top; (3) enclosing a small court, sometimes only 30 feet in diameter. A stockade of timber crowned the whole, and there would be included, as in the Bayeux Tapestries, a wooden tower. The hillock, round or oval, but occasionally square, is surrounded at the base by a ditch. Below the hillock is a court, much larger than the small space enclosed on the top of the mount, which has been surrounded by its own ditch, which joins the ditch of the mount and thus encloses the whole fortification. Certain variations are mentioned, but the feature contrasting these moated hillocks most strongly with the prehistoric "camps" is their comparatively small size, the greater number including in the whole area not more than 3 acres, and many of them not exceeding an acre and a half. Unlike the great camps of the tribal period, they were not designed to accommodate a mass of people with flocks and herds. Small in area as a whole, the citadel is very small indeed. The author quotes (and upon it founds an able argument) the luminous remark of Dr. Sophus Müller, the eminent Danish archeologist, that "the fortresses of prehistoric times are the defences of the community. Small castles for an individual and the warrior band belong to the Middle Ages."
The man who threw up earthworks with a hillock-citadel, it is pointed out, was not only suspicious of his neighbours, but even of his own garrison. The hillock in most cases was so constructed as to be capable of complete isolation and of defending itself, if necessary, against its own court. The earthworks themselves suggest that they are the work of an invader who employed
mercenaries instead of tribesmen, and had to maintain his settlement by force.
But why should not the invader be Saxon or Dane? The author answers this in Chapter II., showing that the Anglo-Saxon did not build castles. Their fortification were burhs, protective enclosures, fortified towns, designed for the community, not for the individual, corresponding to, but something more (as belonging to a more advanced state of society) than the prehistoric or British camp of refuge. They were towns where the people lived permanently or for daily work, and a fostering seat for trade and manufactures. The Danish camps, again, were without citadels, enclosures of large area, much resembling the larger Roman Castra, and like these frequently grew into towns, and they were emphatically the fortified places of the community.
In Chapter V., the origin of "private castles," the castle of the lord, not of the people, is discussed, the first instance on record belonging to the middle of the 10th century, coinciding in point of time with the introduction of the Feudal System. Chapter VI. treats of the distribution and characteristics of Motte-Castles (motte and bailey). Their position is different from that of prehistoric fortresses. They were almost invariably placed in arable country, not in isolated situations, but in the immediate neighbourhood of towns or villages. One rare instance to the contrary is that on the top of Hereford Beacon, probably constructed there by the Bishop of Hereford in the 13th century to protect his game from the Earl of Gloucester. They are found either on or near Roman or other ancient roads, or on navigable rivers. They were not dependent on a spring or stream of water, but had wells excavated in the mottes.
An interesting description (written c. 1194) of a castle in Flanders built in 1117 is quoted to show that these wooden castles were no mere rude sheds for temporary occupation, but were carefully built dwellings designed for permanent residence. Arnold, lord of Ardres, built on the motte of Ardres a wooden house, excelling all the houses of Flanders of that period both in material and in carpenter's work. The first storey was on the surface of the ground, where were cellars and granaries, and great boxes, tuns, casks, and other domestic utensils. In the storey above were the dwelling and common living rooms of the residents, in which were the larders, the rooms of the bakers and butlers, and the great chamber in which the lord and his wife slept. Adjoining this was a private room, the dormitory of the waiting maids and children. In the inner part of the great chamber was a certain private room, where at early dawn or in the evening or during sickness or at time of blood-letting, or for warming the maids and weaned children, they used to have a fire. . . . In the upper storey of the house were garret rooms, in which on the one side the sons (when they wished it), on the other side the daughters (because they were obliged) of the lord of the