(canton of Buchy, Seine-Maritime)
Fortified enclosure, 11th-12th c.,
The site is to the south-west of the village of Buchy, on a hilltop cut by two thalwegs. This type of structure belongs to the category known as “circular
enclosure”. There remains a circular earthwork bank, 50cm in diameter, encircled by a ditch, which has a difference of depth from 6 to 8 metres from the summit. The vestiges of a damaged semi-circular enceinte annexe to the south-west are delimited by a small ditch. No trace of masonry appears on the surface.
A partial excavation of the enceinte was done in the 1960s by a Swedish archaeological team, under the direction of Holger Arbmann. They discovered the traces of a palisade anchored in the backfill of the rampart, the vestiges of an iron smelting oven, arrowheads and ceramic material. Testimony of an intense period of occupation, undoubtedly rather brief, from the end of the 11th century to the beginning of the 12th century.
The fortification should probably be identified as the “castle” of Plessis, mentioned by the chronicler Orderic Vital regarding the events that took place in 1118 during the revolt of Guillaume Cliton against Henri I, Beauclerc. Situated on the north-eastern border of the viscounty of Rouen, the fort of Plessis’s role was to protect the ducal domain from the attacks of the lords of Gournay. In 1118, the fortress, under the command of a certain Bertran, was taken over by Gerard de Gournay; Bertran was killed and Gerard de Gournay entrusted the castle to his nephew Hughes Talbot. The duke regained the castle soon after and installed a strong garrison under the direction of Robert and Guillaume, Amaury de Montfort’s sons.
Jacques Le Maho
- J. le
Maho, “Notes de castellologie Haut-Normandie: châteaux à motte, enceintes et églises fortifiées
(XI-XII)”, Autour du château médiéval, Société Historique et Archéologique de
l’Orne, Mémoires et documents n° 1, 1998, p. 226-229.