(canton county town, Seine-Maritime)
Castle enceinte (XIe s.) and stone castle (XIIe s.)
The enceinte : Situated at the bottom of the Scie valley not far from the town centre, this fortification seems to conform to the original seat of “l’honneur” (honour) of Longueville, fief of the Giffards a powerful lineage from the Caux region. The land probably came from the dowry of Wevia, the Duchess of Gonnor’s sister and mother of Gautier I Giffard. The lineage had been well established in Longueville before the middle of the 11th century. The fortification contains certain distinctive traits of Norman castles from the first decades of the century: a vast oval enceinte delimited by a crescent-shaped earth wall, no motte, at least in its original form (an enormous mound standing behind the enceinte seems to correspond to something else added). No trace of a walled construction is witnessed on the site.
The stone castle : Undoubtedly constructed towards the end of the 11th century or the beginning of the 12h century to replace the original castle situated at the bottom of the valley. Its imposing ruins stand on a hilltop above the town, on the site of the former Saint-Foy priory – foundation, of Gautier II Giffard (c 1093). The original plan was laid out as a large stone oval enceinte, undoubtedly without flanking towers. However, texts mention a large tower situated at the entrance, facing the plateau. This gatehouse, of which a fragment can be seen behind a late facing wall, could have served as a keep. A deep ditch encircles the site that could have been used as a semi-circular exterior bailey facing the entrance.
Jacques Le Maho
- J. Le Maho, « Notes de castellologie Haut-Normande : châteaux à motte, enceintes et églises fortifiées (XIe-XIIe s.) », Autour du château médiéval, Société Historique et Archéologique de l’Orne, Mémoires et documents n° 1, 1998, p. 224