Situated in the grounds of Mirville castle at the bottom of a small valley fed by the brook of Brilly the motte was subjected to a full archaeological campaign from 1979 to 1981. The findings have allowed us to trace the origins and the transformation of the heart of the fief of Mirville, a fief held during the 11th and 12th centuries by a lineage of knights from the entourage of the lords of Tancarville.
The earliest levels (first half of the 11th c.?) have revealed traces of several wooden constructions placed around a quadrangular courtyard. One of these, equipped with a hearth, was for residential use and the others were probably outbuildings. Towards the second half of the 11th century two wings were knocked down in order to construct a fortified small wooden earthern enceinte around a new residential building. This was entirely built in wood, organized as a large hall 17 metres long by 6 metres wide and separated into two naves by a straight row of posts. The walls were slightly arched in the style of houses known as “en forme de bateau” (boat-shaped). The ends of the house were apsidal. The house probably had only one storey and would have been covered with a voluminous four-sided thatch or shingle roof. The last phase of redevelopment was marked by the filling in of the interior of the enceinte and the earthing in of the hall. A new construction was undoubtedly erected on the resulting mound of earth but its role is unknown, the upper levels of the motte having disappeared due to erosion. On the other hand, it is quite possible that the construction of the motte was linked to the problems, which affected the princedom of Robert Courteheuse (1087-1106). The lord of Mirville then called Adam, known notably for having taken away by force from the Jumieges monks the estate that his father had left for the abbey in 1079.
Jacques Le Maho
- J. Le Maho, La motte seigneuriale de Mirville (XIe-XIIe s.), recherches historiques et archéologiques, Centre de Recherches Archéologiques de haute-Normandie, 1984.