Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/424

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A HISTORY OF WARWICKSHIRE which must have included this southern area 1 ; some writers however have considered that these entrenchments represent a portion of a much earlier ' bury ' or fortress. There are now three entrances into the courts, but it is doubtful whether any of them are ancient ; there is also a passage leading from the inner to the outer inclosure. Possibly the original entrance to the fort was near its northern corner, where a small mound is to be seen upon the rampart. There is no spring visible within the area of the works, but some of the ditches or moats contain water. The strength of this earthwork impresses every one even now, after its mount and ramparts must have suffered from many centuries of de- nudation and its ditches must have become partly filled up ; but in its original state when the great mount or keep, encircled by its deeper moat, stood much higher, and was defended in all probability by tall wooden palisades, and when the ramparts of the outer courts were topped by similar erections, it must have been a very imposing strong- hold. As in the case of the moated mount fort at Dinan pictured on the Bayeux Tapestry, 2 the whole of the palisading here was doubtless of wood, for there is no sign of any masonry upon either the mount or the ramparts. Many writers have made mention of the curious ancient ' covered way ' near the village called Tutbury Lane ; whether it had any connec- tion with the possibly early earthworks to the south of the main fort, is unknown. It runs up the hill from the old ford at Bretford to the left of, and more or less parallel to, the Fosse Way. It is little more than a deep ditch, only wide enough for the passage of a large wheelbarrow. Such important remains as these at Brinklow have naturally long attracted the attention of local antiquaries, and many have been the suggestions made as to their origin. They have been ascribed frequently both to the ancient Britons and to the Romans, but there is no doubt that they are really of very much later date than either of these peoples, and that they are in fact an excellent example of the Teutonic mount and court fortress. This stronghold is very similar to the mount forts at Tamworth and at Warwick, which are ascribed locally to King Alfred's daughter Ethelfleda ; the present earthworks are almost certainly however later than Saxon days. The apparent silence of history about the erection of so large and imposing a stronghold is curious. After an occupation of possibly a couple of hundred years, the great stockaded fort was presum- ably abandoned, for no subsequent castle of masonry was ever erected upon its mount and ramparts. Local tradition in Dugdale's time pre- served the memory of a ' keep ' having once existed upon the mount, and the idea is recorded as prevalent in the village as late as 1845." 1 Salmon, New Survey (1731), p. 493.

  • Above, p. 351.

Dugdale's Warw. (1765) pp. t, 14.8 ; Camden's Brit. (Gough ed.), ii. 331, 347 ; Arch. Inst. Journ., Clark, xxxv. 112-17; Burgess in B'ham and Mid. Inst. Arch. Trans. (1872),?. 85, and in Brit. Arch. Assoc. Jour*. (1873), p. 40. 362