On arriving at Tickhill, the castle was first visited, the earthworks of which are now the most important part, since they are a fine instance of the type of earthwork adopted by the Danes in the 9th and 11th centuries. This type consists of a moated hillock and platform with counterscarps. At Tickhill, the general ground plan resembles the figure 8, of which the lower loop is much larger than the upper one. The hillock is sixty feet high above the platform and is placed, as was usual, along the outer line of defences. If the earthworks at Tickhill were ever ditched all round, the ditch between the hillock and bailey-court has been filled up; if not originally ditched all round, the present flight of stone steps may represent the original means of access to the hillock. One-third of the mound was a natural hill; the rest has been made. The platform, as usual, is raised above the land outside, and both mound and platform are now surrounded by a broad ditch, while portions of the ancient bank are still on the counterscarp. On this question of earthworks, Clark and Freeman hold that the Normans found such earlier strongholds ready to hand, while Parker and others maintain that the first Norman works were of earth, and that stone keeps came in only at the end of William's reign. It is known that the Normans threw up earthworks of this type in Normandy in William's early days. We find such fortifications to have been thrown up, not only in Tickhill, but also at Laughton, Mexborough, and Bradfield, so that it is not improbable that Roger de Busli may have been the builder of them, and that they do not belong to an earlier Danish or Anglo-Saxon period. With respect to the stone fortifications, since early Norman keeps were square, the decagonal foundations point to a late Norman period, a conclusion enforced by the general excellence of the masonry. As Vitalis says that Robert de Belesme, a successor of Roger de Busli, fortified the castle of Tickhill in 1101, we may have in that statement the true date of the stone fortifications. Robert held the castle in Henry I's time, and was one of the worst of the Norman nobles, and rebelled against Henry I, because the king wished to restrain his lawlessness. Robert was finally besieged and taken, castle and all, by the Bishop of Lincoln, at the head of the native English of the shire, who stood for the king, against the Norman lawbreakers. The old Norman curtain wall still stands upon the earthwork, almost in perfect condition, and has been carried about two-thirds up the hillock—a frequent method of fortifying, when the ditch was not carried all round the hillock. A chemin de ronde goes round the outside curtain wall and across the entrance by a bridge. A narrow passage, looking like a sally-port, goes for some distance up into the mound from its northern face; but its course is now blocked up by a fall of roof.

The stone keep on the mound has been levelled to its ten-sided foundations. The gatehouse has undergone alterations, as there was no portcullis to the Norman entrance. A front was added in the decorated period, with a pointed arch, in which a portcullis was inserted. The door inside the gatehouse may have belonged originally to the castle chapel. An oak door outside with the inscription " Peace and grace be to this place," is as late as James I's time. In connection with the date of these earthworks, it is worthy of remark that the Saxon name for Tickhill was Dadesley. This change of name (from Dadesley to Tickhill), in addition to the reasons above given, argues for the Norman origin of the mound.

After inspecting the mound on which the keep originally stood, the party listened with interest to the following paper by Mr. W. Stevenson, who was unfortunately prevented from accompanying the excursion.


Tickhill, South Yorkshire.

The old or original name of this town was Dadesley. Tickhill, an earthen castle, situate therein, became a prominent feature soon after the Domesday Survey, and gave the town its present name. There is no evidence in Domesday of a castle being here situate before the Conquest. The castle is not mentioned in the Great Survey of 1086; but as thirty-one burgesses were there resident, (the only instance of this class of freeman, merchants, or traders, being found in any of the numerous manors of Roger de Busli, the Norman baron), it is good evidence of its being his chief manor and stronghold.

The Rev. Joseph Hunter, in his local work, "The Deanery of Doncaster," informs us that the earliest mention of Tickhill Castle was in 1103, thirty-five years after the Conquest of this Mid-England district. At this date it might be nothing beyond an earthwork of ditch, bank, and mound, strengthened by palisades of wood.

In the early history of this castle, it is curious to note its connection and confusion with Blyth, in Nottinghamshire. It was often referred to as Blyth Castle, and the tournaments of Blyth were clearly the tournaments of Tickhill Castle.

Mr. Hunter says, "I know not how to explain this confusion, except by supposing that about Rossington, some change may have taken place in the Nottinghamshire boundary." The proof of this is not far to seek, for within half a mile of the extreme north point of the county of Notts., the old land mark of "God's-cross" is situate on the right hand of the river Torne. It has clearly been the boundary stone of three shires, viz.:—Lincoln, Yorks, and Notts, prior to and possibly within a few years of the Domesday Survey. The river Torne, on its course north, and north-east from Tickhill, via Rossington Bridge, to "God's-cross," was undoubtedly the old natural boundary of Nottinghamshire. It has the appearance of being cut back in the neighbourhood of Tickhill, thus placing the castle more unquestionably in Yorkshire, and the great county has crossed the Torne at Rossington, and extended an arm to the important old river-port of Bawtry.

The road crossing the river on the east side of Tickhill town is called Goole-bridge, Goole being the variant, or possibly the older name of the Torne. Like Nottingham, in the hands of the Peverils, the town became the chief manor of a Norman baron, in this instance of Roger de Busli, and his many manors were grouped into the honour of Tickhill, the court of which was held in the great hall whose site is now occupied by the existing residence standing within the castle walls. Owing to the failure of heirs-male, the castle and honour fell to the Crown, and Henry I. became its lord; it has continued in the Crown nearly down to the present day. It is now the property of the Earl of Scarbrough. The fine gateway or entrance, was possibly the work of Henry II. (1155-1189), at which date the shell-keep, with its many straight sides, and its flat pilasters at the angles, was presumably erected on the pre-existing earthen or palisaded mound. This early Gateway is one of the finest Norman military works in the country; that at Newark, the work of Alexander, the "Magnificent," Bishop of Lincoln (1123-1145) running it very close.

Henry II. dowered his Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, with the castle and honour of Tickhill. She there built the royal chapel of St. Nicholas, within its walls, and King John, her son, granted it to the great abbey of Rouen in Normandy. This chapel at a later date, passed to the monks of Lenton, in exchange for the rock chapel of St. Mary, in Nottingham Park; but it remains a question whether the transfer was ever legally perfected.

When King Richard, on his return from the Holy Land, beseiged the adherents of Earl John, in Nottingham Castle, in 1194, Hugh de Pudsey, the great Bishop of Durham, assisted by besieging the King's enemies in Tickhill Castle.

King Edward I. following the example of his ancestors, dowered his queen, Eleanor of Castile, with the castle and honour of Tickhill. Strictly speaking, it was Edward's father, Henry III., for she enjoyed it eighteen years before her husband ascended the throne, i.e. from 1254 to 1272. Edward's grandson, Edward III., who has left such a mark on Nottingham castle with the Mortimer incident, dowered his Queen, Philippa of Hainault, with this castle and honour, which she enjoyed until her death in 1369. Three years later, the king assigned it to John of Gaunt, the great Duke of Lancaster, a dignity that reverted to the crown in the person of Edward IV. of York. To show the continuity of this dowry of Royal Consorts, King Charles I. made it part of the jointure of Queen Henrietta Maria, and in 1662, Charles II. did the same with respect to Queen Catherine, who held it until her death in 1705.

Since the time of James I., it has been leased by the crown to various persons, the first lease, for ninety-nine years, being granted to John Walker.

The points of interest are the size or area of the enclosure, which with the surrounding moat embrace an area of six acres, three roods, and thirteen perches.

There is an old doorway rebuilt in the gateway, which Mr. Hunter thought was part of the castle chapel, near to which is a door inscribed:—

"Peace and Grace
Be to this place,"

to which we say Amen.

As to the Norman gateway, Mr. Hunter says that it was defended by four doors and a portcullis. This is possibly a mis-statement; for Mr. G. T. Clarke, in his work "Mediaeval Military Architecture," Volume II, page 498, says "The gatehouse is 36 feet square, with walls 7 feet, 6 inches thick, and has a round headed gateway at each end of 12 feet opening, with a plain rebate for doors; but no portcullis." He notes that a later mask has been constructed against it, which is provided with a portcullis groove, and a Decorated arch.

On leaving the castle, the party proceeded to the beautiful church of St. Mary where the Rev. A. DuBoulay Hill kindly read the following paper, which, in addition to the notes given previously on the Tickhill earthworks, had been prepared for the excursion by the Rev. J. Standish.