Situated, today, in an open field, 600 metres to the south of the village, the motte was originally attached to a hamlet in the configuration of a “village street”. According to a disposition often seen in Upper Normandy, it did not stand at the edge of the road, but about 200 metres from it. This could be interpreted as a way of keeping a distance from the peasantry, who would generally be grouped along the side of the street.
Seven metres high, the motte was shaped like a regular truncated cone. The diameter of the upper platform was in the order of 20metres. To the north can be seen the remains of a small semi-circular bailey, with an earthen rampart and a ditch. A little further north is a second, much larger, courtyard. There is only the western part left, the rest was destroyed around 1844 when it was ploughed up. Not withstanding its deficiencies, this castled site of Bretteville is not devoid of interest. It has been cleared – nowadays, a meadow – it is one of the most evocative examples of a castle-motte in Upper Normandy.
Because of the lack of texts, the history of this fortification is very obscure. However, it is known that the land of Bretteville was part of the estate of the Count of Evreux after being taken from Rouen Cathedral by the Archbishop Robert (989-1037). The counts still possessed property in this locality at the beginning of the 12th century. Thus, one must not exclude the possibility that the castle was founded by one of them, possibly Guillaume d’Evreux, a great constructor of castle-mottes at the end of the 11th century.
Jacques Le Maho
- J. Le
Maho, “L’apparition des segneuries châtelaines dans le Grand-Caux à l’époque ducale”, Archéologie Médiévale t. VI, 1976, p. 10, 14, 112, and 130-131; Id., “Parcs et coutils – Observations sur l’environnement des châteaux de terre et de bois en pays de Caux aux XI et XII siècles”, actes du 105 Congrès national des Sociétés savantes, Caen, 1980, Archéologie, p. 179-180.