« PreviousContinue »
river." Mr Goddard points out that the dimensions of the smaller one are almost the same as those of the "nausts (ship-sheds or small docks) of the Vikings in Iceland. He also cites from the Jomsvikinga Saga the description of a harbour made by the Viking Palnatoki at Jomsborg. "There he had a large and strong sea burg made. He also had a harbour made within the burg in which 300 long ships could lie at the same time, all being locked within the burg." The harbours at Willington are large enough to accommodate between twenty-five and thirty-five ships of the Danish type. Unfortunately
there is no historical proof that the Willington works were Danish, though their construction makes it very likely. Nor have any works of a similar character been as yet observed in England, as far as we are
But if archeology and topography give a somewhat scanty answer to our question about the nature of Danish fortifications, there are other fields of research, opened up of late years, from which we can glean important facts, bearing directly on the subject which we are treating. Herr Steenstrup's exhaustive inquiry into the Danish settlement in England has shown that the way in which the Danes maintained their hold on the northern and eastern shires was by planting fortified towns on which the soldiers and peasants dwelling around were dependent.' The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle gives us a glimpse of these arrangements when it speaks of the Danes who owed obedience to Bedford, Derby, Leicester, Northampton, and Cambridge.2 It also tells us of the Five Boroughs, which, as have already said, appear to have been a confederation.
1 Steenstrup's Normannerne, vol. iv.; Danelag, p. 40.
2 A.-S. C., 914-921.
of boroughs forming an independent Danish state between the Danish kingdoms of East Anglia and Northumbria.
The same system was followed by the Danes who colonised Ireland. "The colony had a centre in a fortified town, or it consisted almost exclusively of dwellers in one. But round this town was a district, in which the Irish inhabitants had to pay taxes to the lords of the town." The Irish chronicle called The Wars of the Gaedhil and the Gaill says, further, that Norse soldiers were quartered in the country round these towns in the houses of the native Irish, and it even says that there was hardly a house without a Norseman.' Herr Steenstrup does not go so far as to assert that this system of quartering obtained in England also; but he shows that it is probable, and we may add that such a system would help to explain the speedy absorption of the Danes into the AngloSaxon population, which took place in the Danelaw districts.s
The large numbers of the Danish forces, and the fact that in the second period of their invasions they brought their wives and children with them, would render camps of large area necessary. These numbers alone make it ridiculous to attribute to the Danes the small motte castles of class (e), whose average area is not more than 3 acres.
Finally, the Danish host was not a feudal host. Steenstrup asserts that the principle of the composition of the host was the voluntary association of equally 2 Ibid., pp. 22, 23.
1 Steenstrup, Danelag, p. 41.
3 Such quartering must have been confined to the unmarried Danes, but there must have been plenty of unmarried men in the piratical host, even at the period when it became customary to bring wives and children with the army.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
powerful leaders, of whom one was chosen as head, and was implicitedly obeyed, but had only a temporary authority. We should not, therefore, expect to find the Danish camps provided with the citadels by which the feudal baron defended his personal safety. When Rollo and his host were coming up the Seine, the Frankish king Raoul sent messengers to ask them who they were, and what was the name of their chief. "Danes," was the reply, "and we have no chief, for we are all equal." That such an answer would be given by men who were following a leader so distinguished as Rollo shows the spirit of independence which pervaded the Danish hosts, and how little a separate fortification for the chief would comport with their methods of warfare.3
We may conclude, then, with every appearance of certainty that the Danish camps were enclosures of large area which very much resembled the larger Roman castra, and that, like these, they frequently grew into Placed as they generally were on good havens, or on navigable rivers, they were most suitable places for trade; and it turned out that the Danes, who were a people of great natural aptitudes, had a special aptitude for commerce.* Dr Cunningham remarks that they were the leading merchants of the country, and he attributes to them a large share in the development of town life in England. The organisation of their armies was purely military, but at the same time
1 Normannerne, i., 282.
2 Dudo, 76 (Duchesne).
'Herr Steenstrup shows that so far from the settlement of the Danes in Normandy being on feudal lines, they only reluctantly accepted the feudal yoke, and not till the next century. Normannerne, i., 305, 310. It is not till the 11th century that feudal castles become general in Normandy.
4 The Danes in Normandy soon made Rouen a great centre of trade. Normannerne, i., 190.
• Cunningham's Growth of English Industry, i., 92.
democratic; and when it was applied to a settled life in the new country, the organisation of the town was the form which it took. The Lagmen of Lincoln, Stamford, Cambridge, Chester, and York are a peculiarly Scandinavian institution, which we find still existing at the time of the Domesday Survey.1
Thus we see that the fortifications of the Danes, like those of the Anglo-Saxons, were the fortifications of the community. And we shall see in the next chapter that this was the general type of the fortifications which were being raised in Western Europe in the 9th century.
1 See Vinogradoff, English Society in the 11th Century, pp. 5, 11, 478.
THE ORIGIN OF PRIVATE CASTLES
We have now seen that history furnishes no instance of the existence of private castles among the Anglo-Saxons or the Danes (previous to the arrival of Edward the Confessor's Norman friends), and we have endeavoured to show that this negative evidence is of great signifi
If, assuming that we are right in accepting it as conclusive, we ask why the Anglo-Saxons did not build private castles, the answer is ready to hand in the researches of the late Dr Stubbs, the late Professor Maitland, Dr J. H. Round, and Professor Vinogradoff, which have thrown so much fresh light on the constitutional history of England. These writers have made it clear that whatever tendencies towards feudalism there were in England before the Conquest, the system of military tenure, which is the backbone of feudalism, was introduced into England by William the Conqueror.1 "Feudalism, in both tenure and government was, so far as it existed in England, brought full-grown from France," says Dr Stubbs; and this statement is not merely supported, but strengthened, by the work of the
1 See Stubbs, Constitutional History, i., 251; Maitland's Domesday Book and Beyond, p. 157; Round's Feudal England, p. 261; Vinogradoff's English Society in the 11th Century, p. 41.