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ment of the reconstruction in 1190 by Sir William de Kylton, to rebuild, or at any rate strengthen, this walling. But Osbert was quite content, in all probability, to reside in the wooden
palace” erected by his father, merely replacing the timber curtain by one of masonry.
He gave two oxgangs and a toft in Kirkleatham and two bovates of land at Kilton to the Priory (Ibid., No. 865, vol. ii, p. 147). He married a daughter, name unknown, of Conan Fitz-Henry, a feudatory of the Earl of Richmond, who bore the arms Argent, a cross engrailed gules (Roll of Arms, temp. Edward III, ed. Nicholas). He died about 1170, and was buried in the west end of the north aisle of the chancel of Guisborough Priory, and a permanent memorial, which evidently survived the destruction of the Priory Church by fire in June, 1289, appears to have been erected over his grave.
Leaving no issue, he was succeeded by his brother,
ADAM DE KYLTON, the fifth holder of the fief. He confirmed Osbert's gifts to the Priory (Cart. Prior. de Gyseburne, No. 866), and married a daughter of William de Tameton, the Seneschal to Peter de Brus, who bore the arms Sable, a lion rampant or, and who was related to the famous Mowbray family.
He was succeeded by his son,
SIR ILGERUS DE KYLTON, the sixth holder of the fief, who gave, with the consent of William, his eldest son and heir, two oxgangs of land in Kirkleatham to the Priory of Guisborough (Ibid., No. 771). He married a daughter of Alan de Wilton, and had issue five sons—William, Adam, Osbert, Ralph, and Richard (Ibid., Nos. 745-747, 865, and 866). He died about 1186, and was probably interred in Kirkleatham Church.
SIR WILLIAM DE KYLTON, seventh holder of the fief, was the most famous of the de Kyltons, and practically the builder of the castle, the remains of which we see to-day.
Under the iron rule of the second Henry, special licences to build castles, or to add to the defences of existing structures, had to be obtained. When, however, Richard I came to the throne, in order to raise money for his expedition to the Holy Land, he granted these licences with reckless indifference, and when he had departed many were built or strengthened without the formality of obtaining any licence at all. Kilton was one of these castles.
1 Alan de Wilton was a man of some note in his time, and died about 1219.
In 1190, it was merely a more or less strongly - walled enclosure, without rectangular, shell, or Juliet keep, and with a “palace" constructed of timber. Consequently, William was not hampered by important existing buildings of a permanent character. He, therefore, in his reconstruction, merely made the best use of the natural features of the site, not strictly following any of the former principles of castellation. But the structure he erected may be considered a fair example of the earlier class of castles of the Enceintric or Keepless type, the predecessors of the magnificent Concentric, or, as they are commonly called, Edwardian fortresses. So far as the writer is aware, and he has visited every castle between the Trent and the Tweed, Kilton is the earliest example in the north of England of a castle of the Enceintric type, just as the neighbouring castle of Danby is the earliest example of the fortress-palace type. Both the magnificent Norman castle of Newark-on-Trent and the formidable fortress of Cockermouth are keepless, but they cannot be classed as Enceintric, as they are devoid of the bold flanking towers which are the main feature of this class, whilst Alnwick, another Norman castle, which possesses flanking towers of the drum variety, is really a fortress of the shell-keep type.
The main characteristic of the Enceintric type was that the keep was abandoned altogether, or, as in some of the earliest examples, retained in the Juliet form, but relegated to the position of being the largest of the flanking mural towers; and this new class of fortress depended for its defence on a lofty and massive wall of enceinte completely enfiladed, where necessary, by projecting apsidal, cylindrical, or three-quarter round towers of bold external but little internal projection.
This particular type of castle can only properly be studied in Wales or on the Welsh border, where the earliest and finest examples are to be found. Carreg Cennan, standing on a terrific precipice with a drop of some 500 feet, perhaps the most picturesque castle in the world. Caergwrle, Chirk, Carew, Castroggy, Grosmont, Pencoed, Llanfair, the beautiful castle of Manorbier, and the gloomy, grim, gaunt Whitecastle, are wellknown examples.
Sir William reconstructed the whole of Kilton with the exception of the extreme western end. He appears to have commenced operations at the eastern end, rebuilding the private apartments there, or rather replacing the timber rooms by permanent structures of masonry. There was probably a small Norman tower at the north-east angle; this he replaced by a very fine apsidal Early English tower, which is now the most interesting portion of the ruins. About the same time he erected a large rectangular mural tower, approximating in shape to a rectangular keep, in the centre of the northern façade. In a later or more perfect example of the Enceintric castle, the latter tower would probably have been apsidal or cylindrical, and not rectangular in shape. The north-east tower is set at an angle to the other portions of the eastern façade, which may have been caused by the presence at this angle of more permanent structures than at any other part of the fortalice. The whole of this work was apparently done between 1190 and 1200, and a chantry chapel, dedicated to Saint Peter, appears to have been erected along the northern curtain between the north-east tower and the northern rectangular tower, which is described in the charters referring to it (Cart. Prior. de Gyseburne, Nos. 778, 779, and 867) as being “infra castellum de Kylton.”
Barely was this work finished when the danger of having the west wall of the rectangular tower, which contained a well stair, outside the walls of the enceinte was evidently realised. These well stairs had been proved to be the most vulnerable parts of a tower, consequently the northern curtain west of the tower was rebuilt and thrown boldly outwards, probably about 1205, in order to bring the west wall of the tower within the walls of the enceinte. That this was an after-thought is shown by the fact that the wall does not bond in with the tower. A little later a doorway was made into the basement chamber of the northern rectangular tower which, perhaps, was hardly an advisable thing to do. About the same time, possibly circa 1210, the northern curtain between the north-east and the rectangular tower was strengthened, and a small apsidal tower built a short distance east of the rectangular tower. The greater part of the northern curtain now thoroughly enfiladed in the approved Enceintric style.
As a very steep precipice fell away from the foot of the southern curtain just as it does at Carreg Cennen, the south-east tower was omitted as at Carreg Cennen, whilst at the south-west angle there was merely a solid angle buttress and not a tower, precisely as at Carreg Cennen.
Probably just before his death, Sir William constructed the ward outside the promontory to protect the entrance, this ward being defended by light walls of masonry and by an elaborate system of fosses, moats, and earthworks,
Had the portion of the castle mentioned as remaining unaltered at the extreme western end been rebuilt in keeping with the remainder of the new structure, as Sir William doubtless intended, we should have had at Kilton a castle very closely approximating to the accepted type of fortress of the earlier Enceintric class.
But Sir Richard de Alta Ripa, Sir William's successor, immediately upon his accession, would appear to have become involved in a feud with Peter de Malo Lacu, or de Mauley, Baron of Mulgrave, the chief adherent in this part of Yorkshire of King John. He may have found this particular portion of the fortalice already pulled down with a view to its reconstruction, and instead of rebuilding it of new and excellent material to match the remainder of the structure, he apparently, in a very hurried way, put it together again, using up the old materials in this rebuilding. He constructed a large block of buildings, probably used as barracks and stabling, on the site of the original Norman stabling at this point. This work was probably done about 1214.
It is somewhat extraordinary that subsequent lords of the castle did not finish the work begun by Sir William, and that the Thwengs—admittedly powerful and influential barons—did not put the western end of the fortalice into better condition. Probably, however, this large block of buildings was rarely used, and then only by inferior domestics (the basement was probably the castle stabling), so that the owners may have considered it good enough for the purposes to which it was put.
The only alteration made to the castle subsequent to 1214 was the construction, possibly about 1260, of a strong wall running north to south across the enclosure near the large rectangular tower, thus dividing the space into two wards, and the erection of a small inner gate-house tower abutting upon the southern interior wall of the rectangular tower.
It was from Sir William de Kylton that the Prior and Canons of Guisborough extorted the long-coveted grant of the advowson of Kirkleatham Church. More than half the present parish of Kirkleatham was then the property of the Priory, but the patronage of the parish church was in the hands of the de Kyltons. Time after time had the Canons endeavoured to induce the then reigning head of the house to grant them the advowson, but in vain. Of all the de Kyltons, Sir William seems to have been the most susceptible to clerical influence. A headstrong and dissolute man, he appears to have been subject to violent fits of remorse. His domestic life does not appear to have been a very happy one, and he had no children. His wife was Alice, daughter of Conan Fitz-Henry, of Liverton, who, according to a Roll of Arms, temp. Edward III, bore the arms Argent, a cross engrailed gules.
Taking advantage of a very serious illness, when Sir William lay apparently on his death-bed, and “fuit in lecto mortali et in tali tempore quo non fuit potens sui," Laurence, Prior of Gisborough, at length persuaded him to part with the advowson : Willelmus de Kiltona
me divinae intuitu . Deo etc. cum
totam Ecclesiam de Lyum cum omnibus pert. suis sine ullo retenemento, in pur. et lib. et perp. elem.” (Cart. Prior. de Gyseburne, No. 745).
Usually, for the sake of economy, the Prior waited until a number of gifts had accumulated, and then had them all taken in a batch to receive the royal confirmation. But in this particular case, scarcely had the last witness affixed his signature to the charter, when, regardless of expense, the SubPrior was despatched in haste to find the King and obtain his confirmation of the grant of the long-coveted advowson. The King was found at Bristol, and on the 17th September, 1210, he confirmed the gift (Ibid., No. 750).
Buton recovering from his illness, Sir William absolutely repudiated his grant, declaring that it had been extorted from him when, owing to pain and illness, his mind was temporarily
1 Conan Fitz-Henry, of Liverton, William de Kylton's father-in-law, held the manors of Manfield and Kelfield under the Earl of Richmond, and was the father of Henry Fitz-Conan who, as William's brother-in-law, appears the first witness to his charter of gift of the advowson of Kirkleatham Church. He was a knight of some distinction.
Henry Fitz-Conan, grandson and heir of Henry Fitz-Conan, succeeded to the family estates in 1299, at the age of 22 years, having been born at Sockburn (Calendarium Genealogium, ii, 597). As the holder of the manor of Liverton, he was one of the feudatories of Marmaduke de Thweng I.
2 Johannes, Dei gratia Rex Angliae, et Dominus Hiberniae, Dux Normanniae et Aquitaniae, Comes Andegraviae, Archiepiscopis, Episcopis, Abbatibus, Comitibus, Baronibus, Justiciariis, Vicecomitibus, Praepositis, et omnibus Balli
vis et fidelibus suis, salutem. Sciatis nos concessisse et hac carta nostra confirmasse Deo, etc. Ecclesiam de Tyum cum omnibus pert. suis, quam Willelmus de Kilton, patronus ejusdem Ecclesiae, dedit eisdem Can. cum corpore suo, in lib. pur. et perp. elem. Quare volumus et firmiter praecipimus, quod iidem Can. habeant et teneant Ecclesiam cum omnibus pert. suis inperp. bene et in pace, libere et quiete, integre e! plenarie, sicut carta praedicti Willelmi quam inde habent rationabaliter testatur. Testibus. Domino Petro Winton, Episcopo, Willelmo, Comite Sarisburniensi, fratre meo, Willelmo Briwerre, Petro de Bruys, Carino filio Geroldi, Henrico filio Comitis, Willelmo de Cantilupo, Galfrido de Lucy, Galfrido Luterel. Data per inanum Ricardi de Marisco apud Bristoll, xvii die Septembris, anno regni nostri xii.