The Early Norman Castles of the North of England

Horrocks, John (2013) The Early Norman Castles of the North of England. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This thesis studies the distribution of Norman castles of the 11th-12th centuries across the north of England. A methodology is presented for assessing the reliability of identification of castle sites, and applied to the whole region in order to produce a substantial body of data. This data is then considered in two principal ways: the siting of castles in relation to other geographic features such as the topography, navigable rivers, Roman roads and forts; and the differing distribution patterns of the varied physical remains of castles. This study revealed a particularly significant difference in the distribution of stone-rebuilding of castles, as against the general distribution of earthwork sites as a whole. It is argued that this reveals the changing role of castles over the course of the Norman period, as different economic, military and social factors influenced their use by the landowning classes, both Norman and English. The archaeological evidence for stone-rebuilding of castles provides a chronological scheme for studying Norman castles that can be applied despite the lack of historical dating evidence for the majority of sites.

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