MORTEMER-EN-BRAY CASTLE

Mortemer is a small village in the département of Seine-Maritime in Normandy, France.
It lies close to the A29 67 km south-west of Amiens and 58 km north-east of Rouen.

Article by Paul Remfry
For further information visit http://www.castles99.ukprint.com/Essays/Mortemer.html

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Photo: fortresses2009.canalblog.com

It was probably sometime after 1020 that the land of Mortemer-en-Bray was given to the son of Bishop Hugh of Coutances. By 1053 he had adopted the surname of Mortimer, being one of the first men to adopt a name based on their home vill. In 1054 this man, Roger Mortimer (d1078), fought and won the battle of Mortemer for Duke William of Normandy (d1087). His father-in- law, Count Ralph IV Montdidier of Amiens (d1074) fought on the other side against Duke William. After the battle, however, Roger entertained his father-in-law in Mortemer Castle and then released him. His overlord Duke William was astounded at what he saw as this act of treachery and seized Roger’s estates. Later he restored all of Mortimer’s lands except for Mortemer itself. At this point Roger resided at St Victor-en-Caux where he founded a priory which became an abbey in 1074. Mortemer Castle was given by Duke William to Roger’s brother, Ralph (dc1074), who went on to found the Warenne family - the future Earl Warennes of Surrey in England. The Mortimers never regained Mortemer from which they took their name.

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Photo: fortresses2009.canalblog.com

Although we know a castle was standing at Mortemer in 1054 we know nothing of its composition. On the hill above Mortemer Church lies the earthwork remains of a hill fort or castle ringwork. Modern quarrying shows the make-up of the rampart. In the valley below is a medieval castle ringwork which has a motte at one end on which stands a unique tower keep which bears some resemblance to the Warenne Keep at Conisbrough Castle in Yorkshire.

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Photo: fortresses2009.canalblog.com