At the beginning of the 12th century, the castle was the property of the counts of Meulan, lords of Pont-Audemer, owners of a large part of the Brotonne forest. The first reference to it can be found in the chronicle of Orderic Vital, regarding the siege led by Henri I, Beauclerc during the rebellion of Galeran de Meulan in 1123-1124. In order to stop Galerans men stocking up with fresh supplies in the forest, he constructed a contre-château, i.e. a castle at its entrance, this is probably the motte of which there are some remains close to the department road n°65, south of Vatteville. Victorious over Galeran in the spring of 1124, the duke had the castle razed. After recovering Vatteville, Galeran reconstructed the fortress. A deed of 1154 evokes the Notre-Dame chapel built by the same Galeran in front of the castles entrance.
The castle ruins can be found to the south of the village, near to the old bank of the Seine. It has two parts; to the west stands an imposing motte with the vestiges of a small polygonal enceinte, known as a shell-keep, on its summit. Constructed with a course of small limestone work and supported by a series of buttresses the walls are conserved to a height of several metres. To the east, separated from the motte by a ditch, is a crescent- shaped sloping bank. On this platform stands two large parts of walls, the vestiges of a sizeable residential construction, recently the object of a full excavation by Anne Marie Flambard. Her findings show that the ground floor was used as a domestic area; kitchen, cellars, storeroom and kitchen annexes. The upper floor would have been residential; evidence shown by the presence of a large window and door in the western wall which would have probably communicated with the latrines overlooking the ditch.
Jacques Le Maho
Flambard-Héricher, A.-M. « Le shell-keep
du « Vieux-Château » de Vatteville-la-Rue (Seine-Maritime) »,
Proximus n° 2, Actes de la
table-ronde archéologique de Dieppe, D.R.A.C. Haute-Normandie, p. 169-177
- Flambard-Héricher, A.-M. « La construction dans la basse vallée de la Seine : lexemple du château de Vatteville-la-Rue », Château-Gaillard XVIII, Actes du colloque international tenu à Gilleleje (Danemark), Caen, p. 93-102
- Le Maho, Jacques. « Notes de castellologie Haut-Normande : châteaux à motte, enceintes et églises fortifiées (XIe-XIIe s.) », Autour du château médiéval, Société Historique et Archéologique de lOrne, Mémoires et documents n° 1, 1998, p. 229-233