Clough Castle is an excellent example of an Anglo-Norman castle with an added stone tower. A small kidney-shaped bailey lies south of a large mound, originally separated from it by a 2.1m deep ditch. On top of the 25 ft high motte is a stone tower, enlarged to become a tower house in the 15th century. It is sited off-centre as much of the rest of the top of the motte was occupied by a large hall, which apparently burned down. Around the motte is a ditch, and on the south-east side a low crescent shaped bailey, which was probably once joined to the motte by a wooden bridge.

Excavations on the summit of the mound in 1950 revealed that originally (in the late 12th or early 13th century) the top of the motte was surrounded by a timber palisade within which were pits for archers. Also found was the foundation of a long rectangular hall in the north-east half of the area, probably built in the mid 13th century. Later in the same century a small rectangular stone keep was built to the south-west, two storeys high and surviving to this day, having been conserved in 1981-82. In the late Middle Ages, after what appears to have been a period of disuse, it was restored and added to, resulting in an L-shaped tower house.

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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

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