ANCIENT DEFENSIVE EARTHWORKS east corner is a right angle and its east and north sides are straight lines ; to the west and south its boundaries are irregular in outline, having two triangular platforms of artificially raised earth (which appear to be the remains of very early works) projecting beyond the present stone walls. The ground falls rapidly all round this court on its north, west and south sides, but on the east the slope is more gradual, and a deep ditch separates it from the outer ward. The latter enclosure and the gardens now lying to the north-west of it were thought by Mr. Clark to repre- sent the secondary courtyard of the original earth fort ; they cover an area of about j acres. The stream, as we have seen, formed a natural defence to the early stronghold upon the west, and the pool protected the south ; a moat extended along the east side, and possibly also round to the north, where the present deep ditch was cut through the rock in mediaeval times. Passing from these early works, which have been so much altered by the erection of the later walls of masonry as to be only just trace- able, the important mediaeval earthworks outside the walls of the castle invite attention. Running in a south-easterly direction for a length of about 150 yards is an artificial bank thrown right across the valley from Mortimer's Tower to the Gallery or Flood Tower ; it is about 1 8 yards broad and in parts about 20 feet high ; this was constructed for the purpose of damming up the waters of the streams and pool, and raising their level so as to improve and enlarge the water defences around the castle on the south and west and north. The lake thus formed on the south was half a mile long and about 100 yards across and from 10 to 12 feet deep ; it covered an area of 1 1 1 acres. 1 At the south-east end of the great earthen dam was a ditch, 56 feet wide and 20 feet deep, which served as an overflow for the waters of the lake ; portions of the stonework of a sluice still remain ; the tower above, now called the Gallery, was at one time known as the Floodgate Tower. Besides controlling the level of the lake, this sluice was also used to cause its waters to flow into the encircling moats of the castle, for, in the words of the above named survey, they are ' to be let round about the castle at pleasure.' Beyond the dam, a second and shallower lake was like- wise formed to protect the south-east side of the fortress ; this was made by the construction of another long bank of earth, which was apparently only sufficiently high to retain the water to a depth of 4 or 5 feet. So important in the scheme of defences was the function of this great dam and its sluice considered, that it was deemed necessary to construct further extensive earthworks beyond them, in order to ensure their safety in time of attack. Accordingly we find that a tongue of land lying between the south side of the lake and a small water course which runs in a north-easterly direction into Inchford brook, has been 1 Vide a survey made in the time of James I. ; quoted by Dugdale in his Wane. p. 1 74, from a copy in Cotton Library. 381
Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/443
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