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ground westward, stands the typical conical mound, 30 feet high above its rocky base, but as much as 100 feet from the bottom of the ravine, thrown up, like those at Kilpeck, Ewyas Harold and elsewhere, in the eighth century, by the Saxon or English colony against the Welsh. To the east of this, and 40 feet lower, is a roughly oval area (100 feet by 50 feet) encircled by a bank of earth, and surrounded by a ditch, which also included the mound. This, according to Mr. G. T. Clark, the eminent exponent of English castle-building, was King Edward's work, which held out so gallantly against the Danes. On its top stood the Norman keep. The mound and its appended oval stood within and on the verge of a larger area, including the slopes, extending nearly to the base of the hill, to the south and southeast, and protecting the citadel on those sides; whilst to the north and west such a second defence was needless, though this outer area, covered by a ditch from the south side of the mound, was by the Normans enclosed with a wall. For details, however, it must suffice to refer to the clear descriptions of Mr. Clark,* who considers that a Norman lord, at the end of the eleventh or early in the twelfth century, first superseded the timber palisades of the English mound by a polygonal keep, and the curtain walls of the inner ward. Judging from a survey which, though it stopped short of excavation, is by no means superficial, he holds that though much of the extant masonry of Wigmore Castle, with the exception of the Norman tower and wall, is of Decorated date, it was for the most part built originally on the Norman outlines.
Ewyas Harold, in the south-west of the county and not far from the south end of the Dore valley, retains in its name the token of Anglo-Saxon founders, and in its castle, so called, an utter dearth of stone fortifications, but a very pronounced conical mound, with the easily traceable outer and inner moats. or three miles to the east of Ewyas, and on the line of railway from Abergavenny to Hereford, one point of interest in the Norman Kilpeck is that its castle, as Mr. Clark determines, must have been originally an English moated mound, of flat top, conical shape, and with underlying base courts, one of which may possibly have been earlier still a British camp. When surmounted with other defences than earthworks, a stockade of wood, like a New Zealand pah, and such as is figured in the Bayeux Tapestry, was the form of this old English and by no means un-Norman fastness; Teutonic, not Celtic, in its type.
* Archæologia Cambrensis,' vol. v. ser. iv. pp. 105–9.
Norman days it must have received its stone fortifications, and also the lords, who took their name from the castle.
It were an easy task to multiply examples of the like English mounds, that have outlived the castles which were the special badge of the Conquest: but we must pass on to the contemplation of Norman Herefordshire, after Harold, son of Godwin, the fortifier of Hereford and the repressor of the Welsh, had met his Conqueror at the battle of Hastings. A speedy and wholesale deprivation of the Saxon holders of estates and fiefs, and the transference of broad lands and lordships to William's followers, would be inferred (even were history silent) from such distinctive names of Normans, as Mortimer, Lacy, Devereux, Carbonel, appended to Saxon parishes. But history is not wholly silent. It may be read, as relates to Herefordshire, partly in Domesday, which-though it mentions no royal castle in Herefordshire, and omits the earliest and in some sense the most historically important of Norman castles in England, that of Richard son of Scrob at Richard's Castle-attributes Clifford, Wigmore, and Ewyas to Earl William FitzOsborne and those to whom his lands passed, after his death in Flanders in 1071: partly in the castles and churches of Norman architecture in the county and partly in the annals of Norman families written in the roll of Herefordshire worthies, between the Conquest and the end of the Wars of the Roses. Other traces of the Norman Period, and the state of order and government under William the Conqueror and his successors, may be found in the remains and tradition of four Royal forests-Aconbury, Deerfold, Ewyas, and Haywood-of which the fourth lies to the south of Hereford, the third near the Golden Valley, while the second stretches to the west of Wigmore, and lay conveniently for so staunch a stronghold of the stark king who loved the high deer so sooth as though he were their father' (Freeman, Norman Conquest,' vol. iv. 610). Deerfold indeed is still a forest in name, though within the last two centuries it has lost its wild nature. Its 2500 acres consist chiefly of high ground; a valley sloping to the southIts highest land to the north, with a steep descent to the plain, looks out over six counties, and has the remains of a circular camp and ditch. Though now mostly under cultivation, it retains traces of its forest character in straggling woodlands and belts of larch and fir, in marks of charcoal burning, and relics of a rough type of local pottery, such as are found also under Meerbatch, which overlooks the Wye and the Golden Valley.
Its narrow valleys and forest glens must have been of old as well adapted for hunting, as its marshy pools and streamlets about Haven for hawking and herons. Moreover, when we record that it lies to the north of the river Lug and of the village of Aymestry, we are reminded that in the latter was preserved till the present century the custom, found in force at Presteign and Bromyard, of a Night Bell or Curfew Bell-an institution of King Alfred's, carried out with improved vigilance, and in the sense of a blessing not a curse, by William I. and his
Of FitzOsborne's castles, however, the first named, Clifford, overlooks a bend of the Wye as it approaches the town of Hay; and is interesting in its own remains, as well as for its neighbourhood to the semi-Norman stronghold of Snodhill, and the English mound of Dorston in the Golden Valley. Built by William FitzOsborne, it was granted in 1078 to Ralph de Todeni, whose daughter Margaret carried it in dower to the grandsire of Fair Rosamond. Her brother, Walter de Clifford, and his descendants, the Cliffords and Giffords, were prominent characters in border warfare; and that the castle was strong and capacious, is seen from its remains to the north and east, and the distance of the outer ward from the mound, which was the nucleus of the building.
Ewyas, the second of the Domesday castles, has already been named as retaining only its English mound; and the chief Norman interest in the locality is, that tradition and probability agree in ascribing the building of the Abbey of Dore, as well as Ewyas Church, to Robert de Ewyas, son of Harold the son of Ralph, whom the Conqueror displaced from the earldom of Hereford to make room for FitzOsborne. After the pacification of the border, the castle ceased to have a history, but the church of Ewyas Harold has still its Early English fabric, with its massive two-staged tower and the bowl of an ancient font. Within a mile and a half, at the southern extremity of the Dore Valley, is however a more pure relic of Norman days; Abbey Dore, to wit, the only church of a Cistercian convent in England still remaining in use. The style of the whole is a beautiful type of Early English, the foliage still assimilating to Norman. The most characteristic part of the church is on the east side of the choir, where an ambulatory is carried transversely across the whole of that part of the building. Of the nave one arch only remains, which is very fine; but the double aisle to the east of the choir, divided by four clustered columns, lighted by lancet-windows, and still vaulted, is the gem of the extant church. If the excavation begun two years ago is carried out,
the discovery of fuller remnants of the conventual buildings will avouch the treasure-trove of a veritable Herefordshire Cistercian abbey, which albeit within narrower bounds asserts a solemn charm, not unlike to that of beautiful Tintern in the broader and more picturesque valley of the Wye.
Of Wigmore, too, where, as at Ewyas, the taste for castlebuilding was coincident with that for ecclesiastical architecture, the history from the Conquest for several centuries forward is that of a high-vaulting Norman family. It is expressly stated in Domesday, Radulphus de Mortimer tenet castellum de Wigemore; and he, it would seem, after FitzOsborne's death at least, was the Conqueror's principal lieutenant in Herefordshire. The deeds of his descendants extend over a tolerably long page of history. One of them, Hugh de Mortimer, held Wigmore and other castles for King John, who is recorded to have visited Leominster from Wigmore, and to have confirmed its charter. In the Barons' wars, Roger, the sixth lord, was the planner, in concert with the Lord of Croft, of the escape of Prince Edward, the king's eldest son, who had been captured with his sire at the battle of Lewes, from the durance of Peter de Montfort, a son of Simon,* at Hereford Castle, May 28, 1265. More than one graphic version survives of the Prince's use of his licence to take horse-exercise, under escort, in the Widemarsh, a mile to the north of Hereford. He husbanded his own horse, while inciting his keepers to tax the mettle of theirs, until at a given signal, the appearance of a horseman on a white steed waving his bonnet from a neighbouring height, he gave his guards the slip, and rode at full speed to Dinmore Hill, and thence, with a relay of horses, to Wigmore. For this service Roger was given special privileges and honours on Edward's accession. At the decisive battle of Evesham, where in 1265 the power of the Barons was crushed and Simon de Montfort and one of his sons slain, this Roger held a divisional command, and was rewarded with the forfeited earldom of Oxford. Another Roger, his grandson, soared highest, though with the arrogance that foreruns a fall; and after his return from his flight to France, acquired many manors in England, Wales, and Ireland, through his intimacy with Isabella, the faithless wife of Edward II., 'the she-wolf of France.' He was made Earl of March in 1328, but in 1330 was seized at Nottingham, attainted, and hanged. It was he, presumably, who rebuilt Wigmore Castle in the Decorated style. His body, after remaining some days on the
Cf. A. Collins's Peerage of England,' ii. 41. See also Mr. Cooke's continuation of Duncumb, vol. ii. 380-1.
gibbet, was eventually carried to Wigmore for interment. His honours were revived in his grandson, another Roger, on the ground that the trial had been informal; and this Roger's son, Edmund, marrying Philippa, heiress of Lionel, duke of Clarence, and granddaughter to Edward III., their son was declared by Parliament heir-presumptive to the Crown, failing issue of Richard II. He was slain, whilst Deputy for Ireland, in 1398; and his heir, Edmund, fifth and last Earl of March, in the male line after a youth beset by conspiracies, became Lieutenant of Ireland, and died at the age of twenty-four, in 1425. When Richard Plantagenet, duke of York, succeeded, in the female line, to the Mortimers' inheritance, he made Wigmore little more than a place to retire upon after unsuccessful demonstrations. Victorious at St. Albans, he was slain in 1460 in a sally from Sandal Castle near Wakefield; but his son, the young Duke, so soon to be Edward IV., avenged him in the following year at the battle of Mortimer's Cross. Strong in family alliances and in men's hearts, in talent, youth, and daring, young Edward lost no time in raising an army to march against Queen Margaret, and, when he had reached Shrewsbury for that purpose, he received tidings that Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, half brother to Henry VI., and James Butler, Earl of Wiltshire, had raised a large army of Welsh and Irish to attack him. He hurried back to give them battle in Herefordshire, and on Candlemas Day, 1461, the armies met in the parish of Kingsland, between Wigmore and Leominster, near a junction of cross-roads, where doubtless, after the pious custom of early days, a cross had been erected by the dominant Mortimer. No village, nought but a wayside inn, remains to attest the name, about a mile and a quarter nearer Wigmore than the battle-field, and five miles north-west by west from Leominster,' as a stone pedestal in situ apprises the traveller. History and historic drama delight to tell of the prodigy which conspired with the favourite of fortune; how on the two armies joining battle there was an appearance as of three suns at the same time in the firmament suddenly coalescing into one, by a rare natural phenomenon.* Edward had the tact to inspire his soldiers with the omen, and to husband its prestige, after victory, by the adoption of the badge suggested by it. In the battle-field, a natural one for a