At the west end of Cumbernauld Airport runway is the site of a Roman fort on the former Westerwood farm. Very little is visible on the ground today, but portions of the fort’s southern defensive ditches may be traced as subtle hollows within the field.
The fort at Westerwood is the fourth smallest known along the Antonine Wall, with an internal area of about 0.8ha, situated on a steep decline toward the north. The existing farm buildings occupy the fort’s north-east quadrant. The Antonine Wall Rampart and Ditch composed the fort’s northern defences, while a turf rampart and double ditches marked the fort’s east, south, and west sides (an additional short section of a third ditch is located north of the fort’s west gate). The Antonine Wall Rampart had a stone base measuring 4.3m wide, while the Ditch measured about 12m wide. The fort’s other ramparts were likewise constructed atop a stone base, about 4.8m wide everywhere except for on the southeast, where it measured only 4.3m. The fort featured four gates, with the east and west gates located approximately one-third of the distance between the Antonine Wall Rampart and the fort’s south rampart; the Military Way crossed the fort through these gates.
Excavation has revealed that the Antonine Wall Rampart base was constructed before the fort’s other ramparts, suggesting that the fort was secondary (not part of the original plan for the frontier), but it remains unclear if a gap in the Rampart’s base at the fort’s north gate was made during the Rampart’s construction, or was made when the fort was added later.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.