http://boar.org.uk/abiwxo3Marrat’sCastle.htm Latest edit 26 Jul 2009
Web page & commentary© 2007 R.J.PENHEY
The Bourne Archive
William Marrat’s essay on
from The History of
This document is one of several dealing with Bourne Castle.
It was transcribed from a book lent by the Willoughby Memorial Library, to the trustees of which I offer my thanks.
It is presented here as an historical document so the credibility of what it says should be assessed. The reliability of old essays on history is usually best on points to do with the writer’s own time. Marrat was assembling a much larger, commercial work so it is likely that this material is based on someone else’s research. Similarities between this and Moore’s slightly earlier publication can certainly be detected. In later works, one or other of these is usually given as a reference for the quotation of Peak’s description.
The name of the founder of
The building is entirely destroyed, but the earth-works, and foundation walls on the west side, are nearly entire. The area within the outer moat contains about 8 acres 2; within the inner, about one acre, 3 not like a keep, but flat and covered by a rampart within the ditch. 4 Between the moat and ditch on the north and west sides, the works are very irregular, consisting of raised banks of about 20 yards [18m] in length, and 10 in breadth, with a ditch between every one of these, pointing to the grand moat.† 5
There is a house and barn, near the place where the Castle stood, which were built out of the old materials. Among the records of this parish, it is said, that, “Oct. 11. 1645. The Garrison of Bourne Castle began,” whence it appears that the Castle was not entirely demolished until the time of the Common-wealth. The inhabitants have a tradition that it was destroyed by the forces under Cromwell, for adhering to Charles I 6; but however this may be, it has certainly never been made mention of as existing subsequent to that period, nor are there any records relative to the time of its demolition.
The only decription [sic] of this Castle is in Peak’s
M. S. account of the towns in Kesteven 7;
where he says.—“The castelle of Brun
ys a verrye ancyent portlic [sic] castelle scytewate neare Peterspoole, it contaynes thre principal wardes. 8 On the north side ys ye porter’s lodge wch ys now reuinoose, and in decaye by reasone ye floores of ye upper house ys
decayed and very necessarie to be repaired. 9
The dungeon ys sett of a little moat made with men’s handes, and for the moste part as
yt were square. 10 It is a fare and prattie 11 buildinge, with IV square toures,
Rounde about ye same dungeon upon the roofe of ye said toures, ys tryme walkes
and a fare prospect of the fenes. And in ye said
dungeon ys ye
Nothing of the castle now remains—the outer and inner moat are, however, still visible, and there is a house and barn near the place where the Castle stood, and which were built out of the old materials.
[Marrat’s footnotes]* Ingulphus, in his history of Croyland, after mentioning several benefactors to Croyland abbey, says, that Leofric lord of the Castle of Brunne Kinsman to Ranul or Radin the great Count of Hereford, gave many possesins to this abbey, and assisted the monks with is council [sic].
1. ↑ Since 1816, it has become clear that the Ingulph document is unreliable. It seems to have been forged in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, at some time before 1415 and long enough after the building of the castle for its origins to have been forgotten — unless the 1062 date is accurate. In reality, the evidence indicates the establishment of the castle as part of the scheme in which the Abbey was founded. There is no reliable evidence that either was on its present site before about 1140. A more exact date hinges on the abbey charter of 1138 but clearly, the work took more than the one year to complete (RJP3).
3. 0.405 ha
4. The one acre and the visibility of the ’rampart’ make it clear that in the early nineteenth century, the material of the walls of the inner bailey had not yet been pushed into the moat. Since that happened, the inner bailey has looked much larger than one acre in extent. The curtain wall was made of pisé faced with limestone (RJP2) (RJP1). It appears that once the facing had been robbed, the pisé core weathered and looked to Marrat’s informant like an earth bank. This was subsequently used to partially fill the surrounding moat. The combined area of the inner bailey, plus the site of the wall, plus the in-filled part of the moat makes the present appearance of the inner bailey larger than Cope-Faulkner’s observations make clear that it originally had been (RJP3).
use of the expression ‘grand moat’ confirms that the ‘ditch’ is the moat around
the east and middle baileys while the ‘moat’ is that round the inner bailey. Cope-Faulkner’s
observations (report 2002: RJP’s interpretation)
show that the latter was very wide; probably 34m; certainly more than 30
metres. Again, this supports the hypothesis that the size of this moat was
visible in the early nineteenth century, as it is not today. It follows that
the apparent ‘rampart’ formed by the remains of the core of the curtain wall
was then visible, as Marrat says. This great width is not shown in Fowler’s
plan of 1861 but more informatively, it is not shown in the Exeter and Bourne Abbots estate maps of the
1820s. If we assume that Marrat is taking his information from
6. ↑ The circumstances of the time and the design of the earthworks make it clear that the defence being prepared for was that of the town against the king. (Events of the time are listed in September and October 1645 of the chronology.) It was doubtless sensible to put another gloss on events after the Monarchy was restored in 1660 (RJP3).
7. Peak seems to have written a manuscript to which the early nineteenth century Bourne writer, John Moore had access. He gives its date as 1380. Peak’s English style is in any case, too old-fashioned for the mid-seventeenth century Samuel Pecke. Also, the quoted description makes the castle seem better preserved than is likely in the 1640s, by which time it had passed through the hands of both Henrys, VII and VIII, neither of whom is likely to have left the lead on the roof if the building was not useful to him. Further; it had been in Cecil family ownership for 120 or more years. Even as early as 1520, William Cecil’s mother was accommodated in a house on the other side of the road when he was born. Besides, Leland’s description of a century before Samuel Pecke’s heyday, makes it clear that in the 1530s, there was much less of the castle left than Peak saw.
9. ↑ This is the main gatehouse, situated
across the East Bailey moat from where the projected lines of
10. This is a French usage of the word. A donjon is a castle keep rather than a subterranean prison.
12. This seems to be a park which became that of the Red Hall. Though it contained ridge and furrow, that is consistent with its development in the late thirteenth century, on the demilitarization of the castle.
↑ The works are
consistent with their having been a response to a threat from the Belvoir direction. The
11th October 1645 timing follows the fall of Leicester to the king and came
during a period when he was trying to work out what to do next in view of Naseby and the
However, his activity was mainly in