The castles and abbeys of England; Vol. 1 of 2 by William Beattie

The Castle Of Arundel.
List of Illustrations: The Castle Of Arundel.

The Abbey Of St. Albans.
List of Illustrations: The Abbey Of St. Albans.

Eltham Palace.
List of Illustrations: Eltham Palace.

The Castle Of Rochester.
List of Illustrations: The Castle Of Rochester.

The Abbey Of Tewkesbury.
List of Illustrations: The Abbey Of Tewkesbury.

Kenilworth Castle.
List of Illustrations: Kenilworth Castle.

Waltham Abbey.
List of Illustrations: Waltham Abbey.

Carisbrooke Castle.
List of Illustrations: Carisbrooke Castle.

Netley Abbey.
List of Illustrations: Netley Abbey.

Appendix.
List of Illustrations: Appendix.

(In certain versions of this etext [in certain browsers] clicking on the image will bring up a larger version.)

(etext transcriber’s note)

THE

CASTLES   AND   ABBEYS

OF

ENGLAND,

FROM THE NATIONAL RECORDS, EARLY CHRONICLES, AND OTHER
STANDARD AUTHORS.

BY WILLIAM BEATTIE, M.D.,

GRAD. OF EDIN.; MEMB. OF THE ROYAL COLL. OF PHYS., LONDON; OF THE HIST. INSTIT. OF FRANCE; AUTHOR OF
“SWITZERLAND,” “SCOTLAND,” “THE WALDENSES,” “RESIDENCE IN GERMANY,” ETC. ETC.

————————————
ILLUSTRATED BY UPWARDS OF TWO HUNDRED ENGRAVINGS.
———————————

GEORGE VIRTUE:
LONDON AND NEW YORK.
{iv}

GLASGOW:
WILLIAM MACKENZIE, PRINTER, LONDON STREET.
{v}

LIST OF THE ILLUSTRATIONS.

Arundel Castle.

ARTISTS. ENGRAVERS. PAGE.
General View of the Castle of Arundel, including part of the Town, with the Church, the College of the Holy Trinity, the River Arun, &c. from the South Allom. Archer. 1
The Interior Quadrangle of the Castle from the Keep, showing its present condition, as restored by the late Duke of Norfolk Archer. Evans. 7
Arms of Roger Montgomery, Earl of Arundel and Shrewsbury Archer. Jackson. 8
Seal of William de Albini, Earl of Arundel. From the Impression J. W. Archer. 9
Arms of John Fitzalan, Ninth Earl of Arundel, Oswaldestre, and Clun 11
Shield of Montgomery. Gules, a Lion rampant, or, within a bordure. From Horsfield’s History 12
The Castle of Arundel from the Swan Lake on the South-east, showing the natural advantages of its position Archer. Jackson. 13
Norman Door, richly ornamented, in the Keep. From a Drawing by Mr. Beattie, sculptor Nicholles. 14
John Mot, having escaped from the Dungeon, taking Sanctuary at the College Gate of the Holy Trinity Archer. 15
South-east Front of Arundel Castle in its present state, taken from the Meadows Archer. Evans. 17
The Outer Gateway of Norman Architecture, rebuilt by Richard Fitzalan Archer. Jackson. 18
Moonlight View from the Window of St. Martin’s Chapel in the Keep, over the Vale of the Arun to the Sea Archer. Jackson. 19
Horned Owls in the Keep of Arundel Castle. Portraits taken on the spot Archer. Evans. 20
The Inner Gateway and Keep of the Castle, showing on the left the Entrance to the Tower Archer. Jackson. 21
{vi}Gothic Doorway of the Ancient Hall of the Barons, on the site of the New Hall, by Mr. Beattie Evans. 23
Inner Gateway during the Parliamentary Siege, with Cavaliers on guard, by torchlight Allom & Archer. Jackson. 24
View from the Battlements, showing the Outer Gate with the Sallyport in its present state Archer. Gray. 26
Bas-Relief of King Alfred instituting the Trial by Jury, on the Southeast of the interior Quadrangle. From a Drawing by Mr. Beattie Evans. 28
Ancient Family Arms, Achievements, &c. as sculptured in front of the Barons’ Hall Archer. Nicholles. 29
Do. do. do. do. Archer. Nicholles. 31
Do. do. do. do. Archer. Nicholles. 33
View of the College of the Holy Trinity, looking into the Inner Court Archer. Evans. 34
Glass in the Gothic Window of the Chapel, representing the Swallow (Hirondelle), as the Arms of Arundel Archer. Evans. 35
Hawk on Hand—characteristic of the Ancient “Sporting Counts” Archer. 36
Hiorne’s Tower, in the Park of Arundel—a modern Gothic erection 36
Bevis’s Grave, in Pugh-Dean, in the Deer Park, showing the Traditionary Tumuli of Bevis and his horse “Hirondelle” Archer. Jackson. 37
The Empress Matilda’s Room in the Inner Gateway Tower of the Castle, with the ancient Bedstead, supposed to be that on which she slept Archer. Evans. 38
King Stephen dismounted at Wallingford, in front of the Army Sargent. Evans. 41
Crusading—Beacon-guard on the Walls of Damietta Archer. Jackson. 43
The Grand Ceremony of Knighthood in Westminster Hall Sargent. Evans. 45
The Admiral’s Ship and Fleet, under the command of Arundel Prior. Whimper. 47
Scene of the Conspiracy in Arundel Castle Archer. Jackson. 49
Night Visit to Earl Richard of Arundel’s Tomb, Cheapside Sargent. Whimper. 53
John, Earl of Arundel, mortally wounded at Gerberoi Allom. Whimper. 55
Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, mounting the Breach at the Siege of Boulogne Allom. Jackson. 57
Funeral of the last Earl of the Fitzalans Archer. Jackson. 60
Rencontre at Bosworth Field, and Death of John, Duke of Norfolk. From a Drawing by Mr. Beattie Evans. 63
Bosworth Field—the Young Earl of Surrey and Sir John Talbot Allom. Whimper. 65
Flodden Field—Bivouac after the Battle Archer. Gray. 67
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey—Portrait. From a Drawing by Mr. Beattie M. Jackson. 69
Henry Howard, Victor at the Grand Tournament in Florence, with a View of the Old Ducal Palace from the Piazza Archer. Jackson. 71
Prison Scene in the Tower of London Archer. Gray. 74
Official Seal of the Earl-Marshal of England Herman. Wakefield. 75
The Coat of Arms of the Ancient Earls of Surrey Archer. Gray. 76
Arms of the Duke of Norfolk—Earl-Marshal of England Archer. Gray. 77

{vii}

St. Alban’s Abbey.
S. ALBANUS
PROTO-MARTYR ANGLICANUS.

ARTISTS. ENGRAVERS. PAGE.
Steel Plate.—General View of St. Alban’s Abbey, from the South T. Allom. Adlard.
Piscina—with a Monk of the Order Prior. Smith. 79
Entrance to Our Lady’s Chapel, From the North. Prior. Smith. 80
The Nave of the Abbey Church, Showing the Saxon (or Norman) and Gothic Arches, the Great West Window, &c. Herman. Evans. 83
The Choir—with the Pulpit, Organ, Window of the North Transept, the Norman Arches, &c. Sargent. Evans. 86
The Shrine-Tomb of Humphrey the Good, Duke of Gloucester. Drawn By Mr. Beattie Gray. 89
The Duke’s Vault, with His Coffin and Skeleton, in their present state, under The Shrine Prior. Whimper. 91
The Entrance to the Lady Chapel, from the South Prior. Jackson. 93
The Ancient Altar of the Abbey, now in the South Aisle, with Pilgrims Archer. Gray. 95
The Gate-House, or Grand Entrance to the Abbey Court, from the Interior Sargent. Nicholles. 96
St. Peter’s Street, including the Abbey Tower, the Market-place, and the Town-hall Prior. Smith. 99
The entrance to the Lady Chapel, from the North Lane Prior. Jackson. 102
St. Michael’s Church, from the Churchyard Prior. Smith. 104
Monument and Statue of Lord Chancellor Bacon, in St. Michael’s Church Prior. Whimper. 105
Sopwell Nunnery in Ruins, with the Abbey Church in the background Sargent. Whimper. 107
Grand Entrance to the Abbey Church from the West, with the Distribution of Alms in the Cemetery Prior. Whimper. 108
Interior of the Lady Chapel—showing the public thoroughfare through the Outer Chapel Prior. Smith. 109
Arms of the Monastery of St. Albans Herman. Cook. 110

{viii}

THE

Palace of Eltham.

“That, passing by some monument that stoops
With age, whose ruins plead for a repair,
Pity the fall of such a goodly pile!”—Shirley.
ARTISTS. ENGRAVERS. PAGE.
Steel Plate.—Interior of the Royal Hall of Eltham, with the Banquet given to King John of France, by Edward the Third Sargent. Godfrey.
Interior of Eltham Hall in its present state Prior. M. Jackson. 111
North Entrance to the Hall, ditto Sargent. Nicholles. 114
John of Eltham—his Tomb in Westminster Abbey Herman. Wakefield. 116
The Exterior of Eltham, from the South-west, in its present state Herman. Wall. 118
Ancient Gateway in Ruins. Emblematic Herman. Wall. 122
Ancient Bridge across the Moat, the Approach to Eltham Hall Herman. Wall. 123
Eltham Hall, from the North-east—showing the Entrance, Double Windows, &c. Sargent. Wall. 125
Screen in Eltham Hall—with the Entrance-door in the Centre, and Orchestra above Sargent. O. Smith. 126
Great Bay-window in the Hall, at the North-east end of the Dais Sargent. Wakefield. 127
Meeting of Anne of Cleves and Henry VIII. on Blackheath. Eltham Hall on the right, and Shooter’s Hill in the background Herman. Walmesley. 130

{ix}


Rochester Castle.

“Hic matres, miseraque nurus, hic cara sororum
Pectora mærentum. puerique parentibus orbi
Dirum execrantur bellum.”
ARTISTS. ENGRAVERS. PAGE.
Steel Plate.—Rochester Castle, from the River Medway Sargent. Adlard.
Arms of Rochester Castle—Seal of the Town Herman. Wall. 133
Rochester Castle, with the Outer Walls, taken from the South-east end of the Bridge Sargent. Jackson. 134
Gateway. Portcullis and Sentinel on Guard Whimper. 138
The Donjon; or Gundulph’s Tower—showing the Entrance from the South Sargent. Evans. 140
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux and Earl of Kent Herman. Cooke. 141
Rochester Castle. The Siege by King John, A.D. 1215 Sargent. Whimper. 143
The Battlements of the Main Tower—showing Arcades on the right, where the Castle Chapel is supposed to have been Sargent. Evans. 146
Archway, with View into the Tilting Yard Whimper. 149
Small Tower of the Castle—showing the thickness of the Outer Walls Prior. Wall. 153
Principal Entrance to the Main Tower—showing the position of the ancient Portcullis. View taken from the Entrance, looking Westward Prior. Rimbault. 154
The State Prison in Rochester Castle; as it is, and as it was Prior. Whimper. 155
State Apartments in the Castle—showing the Norman Architecture. Sargent. O. Smith. 157
Rochester Castle by Moonlight—with the supposed Secret Entrance from the River Herman. Wakefield. 159
Inner Arched Gallery, surrounding the Apartments Prior. Wall. 160
West Gallery of Rochester Castle—showing the Interior, with the Norman workmanship Prior. Rimbault. 161
The Castle Prison. Entrance to the Dungeon, with Staircase and Archway Prior. Whimper. 162
Rochester Bridge and Castle, from the Medway, looking South Herman. Nicholles. 164
Gadshill Tavern—the scene of Falstaff’s adventure, as it now appears Prior. Wall. 167

{x}


Tewkesbury Abbey.

“Extingue flammas litium;
Aufer calorem noxium;
Confer salutem corporum
Veramque pacem cordium.”
ARTISTS. ENGRAVERS. PAGE.
Steel Plate.—The Abbey of Tewkesbury, from the Toll-gate, looking across the Battle-field, or “Bloody-Meadow” Sargent. Hinchcliffe.
The South Chancel, with the Tombs, Shrines—scene after the Battle Sargent. Evans. 169
Funeral Procession to St. Faith’s Chapel. Burial of Hugh, a Mercian Noble Prior. Jackson. 171
William the Conqueror, from an Ancient Statue. Fr. Monum. Herman. Dalziel. 172
A Black Friar, or Benedictine Monk of Tewkesbury Herman. Walmesley. 173
The Chapter-House of Tewkesbury—now the Grammar School Prior. Wall. 174
East End of the Chancel. Behind the Altar Screen. In Ecclesia nostra de Theokesberye, &c. A.D. M.CC.XXX Sargent. Rimbault. 177
Gothic Shrine-Tomb of the Le Despenser Family Herman. Gray. 179
The Axe and Block Archer. 181
Portrait of George, Duke of Clarence. From the Brit. Mus. Herman. Dalziel. 183
The Seal of Tewkesbury Herman. Dalziel. 184
The Ancient Gate of the Abbey, with Reliques of the Conventual Outbuildings Prior. Whimper. 186
North Aisle, Piscina in the Column. Pilgrims, Antique Alms-boxes, &c. Sargent. Gray. 188
Great West Entrance to the Church. Norman Window, Towers, &c. from the Churchyard Sargent. Jackson. 189
Ancient Font and Cover in the Abbey Church Sargent. Jackson. 190
Cloister Bell-case, in which was suspended the Vesper-bell, C Prior. O. Smith. 191
Abbot’s Entrance to the Church from the South, with the Tomb of Somerset Prior. O. Smith. 194
North Transept of the Church, with carved Stalls, &c. originally in the Choir Prior. Wall. 197
Portrait of Margaret of Anjou, Queen of Henry VI Herman. Dalziel. 201
Battle of Tewkesbury, and Death of Lord Wenlock Herman. Dalziel. 205
Portrait of Prince Edward, murdered after the Battle Herman. Dalziel. 206
Cloisters of Tewkesbury Abbey, with the Rich Windows, Arcades, and Shrine-work Prior. Walmesley. 208

{xi}

Kenilworth Castle.

“Follow where all is fled! Rome’s azure sky,
Flowers, ruins, statues, music, speech, are weak,
The brightness they transfused with fitting words to speak.”
ARTISTS. ENGRAVERS. PAGE.
Steel Plate.—The Castle of Kenilworth. General View from the Lake Allom. Adlard.
Armorial Shield of the Earl of Leicester Archer. Wakefield. 211
View of the Castle from the East, with Lunn’s Tower, Gatehouse, &c. Archer. Jackson. 212
Gate of Tue Ancient Priory, with Sepulchral Remains Archer. Nicholles. 215
Simon de Montfort, from a Sepulchral Effigy Herman. Nicholles. 217
Remains of the Great Hall in the Castle, with the Undercroft Sargent. Wall. 220
Rich Window in the Presence Chamber, or Hall Prior. Evans. 222
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster—Lord of Kenilworth Herman. Nicholles. 224
The Strong Tower, with adjoining Ruins Sargent. Evans. 226
The Three Baronial Kitchens, west side of the Castle Sargent. Smith. 228
Leicester’s Stables, with the Timber-work, &c. Sargent. Evans. 231
Part of Leicester’s Buildings, erected by Robert Dudley Prior. Wall. 232
The Gateway, part of the Dudley Buildings Archer. Jackson. 233
The Floodgate, or Water Tower (see the Plan) Prior. Nicholles. 235
Leicester’s Chimney Piece, formerly in the Presence Chamber Archer. Gray. 237
Effigy of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, from his Tomb Archer. Gray. 239
Entrance To the Great Hall, with Entrance to the Nether Hall, or Undercroft. On the left a Window of “Queen Elizabeth’s Dressing-room” Herman. O. Smith. 241
Plan of the Castle, as it appeared in 1575, from the “Illust. Kenilworth;” with references and explanations at p. 280 Herman. Wakefield. 243
Signature of Queen Elizabeth, from the Original in the British Museum Herman. Wakefield. 245
Kenilworth Castle, from the East, showing on the left Mervyn’s Tower—Leicester-Buildings—The Keep—The Gate-House—The Stables, &c. Prior. Wall. 247
Portrait of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester Law. Evans. 249
View From the Tilt-yard, now a sheep-walk, showing part of the outworks. Cæsar’s Tower on the left—part of Leicester-Buildings—and the Gate-House Archer. Dalziel. 251
Lunn’s Tower at Sunset, showing the remains of the Moat, grass-grown Archer. Evans. 253
Portrait of Amy Robsart—Dudley’s first wife, murdered in Cumnor Hall Archer. Whimper. 255
The Snake and Dove, allegorical of Dudley and Amy Robsart Archer. Dalziel. 256
Seal of Kenilworth Priory, impression with the parchment attached, from the British Museum Herman. Jackson. 259
The Bridge at Kenilworth, with the Church and Gate-House on the left Sargent. Evans. 260

{xii}


Waltham Abbey.

“Within fifteen, holding my passage
Mydde of a cloyster; depict upon a wall,
I saw a Crucifixe, whose woundes were not small,
With this Worde wide written there besyde—
Beholde my meekness, childe, and leave thy pride!Lydgate.
ARTISTS. ENGRAVERS. PAGE.
Steel Plate.—Waltham Abbey Church, from thy Meadows Sargent. Godfrey.
View of the Main Street, with the Tower of the Abbey Church Delamotte. Wall. 261
Abbey Church, East End (with a funeral), showing the Ancient Arch Window Tiffin. Jackson. 264
Heraldic Shield of the Abbey Herman. Wakefield. 265
Saxon Bridge, still used in “Harold’s Park,” Waltham Herman. Wall. 268
Inner Porch of the Abbey Church Delamotte. Wall. 270
Baker’s Entry, remains of the Houses occupied by the Abbots’ retainers Herman. Walmesley. 271
Gateway, Bridge, and Abbey Tower Herman. Wall. 274
Principal Entrance to the Church, with a Monk Herman. Wakefield. 276
Ancient Font in the Church of Waltham Herman. Wakefield. 277
View of the Abbey Church, across the Burial-ground Herman. Walmesley. 278
Ornamental Buttresses of the Abbey Church Herman. Evans. 278
The Seal of the Abbots of Waltham Herman. Jackson. 279

{xiii}


Carisbrooke Castle.

“O, uncertain path of life: in our hopes how little security: in our joy what short duration! where can
weak man find shelter? Where in this short life peace?”—Camoems.
ARTISTS. ENGRAVERS. PAGE.
Steel Plate.—View of the Castle from the North, showing the Keep, and Gate, and Outworks Sargent. Radcliffe.
Entrance to the Keep by an ascent of seventy-two stone steps Sargent. Evans. 281
Carisbrooke Castle—The ancient Donjon—partly Saxon—from the “Roman Mounds” Sargent. Evans. 283
The Barracks and Governor’s House, with the Keep, from Mountjoy Tower Sargent. Evans. 285
Ancient Gate in the Castle, viewed from the Interior, leading to the steps Sargent. Evans. 287
Part of the Keep, known as the Flag-staff Tower, with the Battlement Sargent. Evans. 289
Portrait of Henry Beauchamp, crowned King of the Isle of Wight, in his Coronation Robes, from the original by Rous, British Museum Herman. 291
Norman Gate, from the Interior, with the Original Oaken Door, said to be 500 years old Sargent. Evans. 293
The Governor’s House, with part of the Barracks, erected by Queen Elizabeth Sargent. Evans. 294
The Great Gate, with Round Prison Towers, Machicolations, and Queen Elizabeth’s Gate in the foreground. View taken from the road Sargent. Evans. 296
The Garrison Well, showing the Great Windlass-Wheel, &c.; with the Interior of the Building as it now appears Sargent. Evans. 297
Sign-Manual of King Charles I., from the Original MS. British Museum Herman. Walmesley. 298
Queen Elizabeth’s Tower,” with the Outer Gate and Landscape, from the Keep Sargent. Evans. 299
View of the Apartments occupied by King Charles during his Imprisonment in the Castle, with the Window from which he attempted to escape—Objects emblematical of his Reign Sargent. Evans. 301
Exact Form and Appearance of the same Window, from which, with his own hand, the King had sawed through one of the Iron Bars Sargent. Evans. 302
Ground-Plan of Carisbrooke Castle, showing all the Buildings and Outworks Herman. Walmesley. 304

{xiv}


Netley Abbey.

“Mundus abit, fortis sim, non ero: sim speciosus,
Non ero; sim dives non ero, mundus abit.
Mundus abit, non Christus abit: cote non abeuntem.”—Mor Cath Martene.
ARTISTS. ENGRAVERS. PAGE.
View of the South Transept of Netley Abbey, showing the beauty and richness of its Architecture Sargent. Hinchliffe. 305
Impression of the Abbey Seal, with the Wax and Ribbon attached, from the Original Herman. Walmesley. 306
The Abbot’s Seal, with its Impression and Inscription Herman. Walmesley. 307
The Great West Window of the Abbey Sargent. Evans. 309
The Fountain-Court of Netley Abbey Sargent. Evans. 311
The Confessional, for the Cistercian Brotherhood of the Abbey Sargent. Evans. 313
The Sacristy of the Abbey, Vaulted, and Lighted by two Windows Sargent. Evans. 314
The Chapter-House of the Abbey Sargent. Evans. 316
The Abbot’s Kitchen, with the ancient Fireplace Sargent. Evans. 318
The South Front of Netley Abbey Sargent. Evans. 320
The Buttery-door of Netley Abbey. Peasants with their Offerings receiving the Priest’s Benediction Sargent. Evans. 321
The Confessional of Netley Abbey, with Confessor and Penitent Sargent. Evans. 323
Palmer, Pilgrim 324
Netley Beach—a Scene on the road to the Sun Inn Sargent. Evans. 327
Netley Castle, lately used as a public House of Entertainment Sargent. Evans. 329
Plan of Netley Abbey—arrangement of the Buildings Herman. 330

{xv}


Appendix.

ARTISTS. ENGRAVERS. PAGE.
Allegorical Subject—with Figures and Tomes Sargent. Evans. 331
View of the Castle of Arundel, from a new Point Archer. Gilks. 335
Knight in Armour 336
Scroll-Head, illustrative of Arundel Castle—West Gateway—“Owl and Swallow” Herman. Delamotte. 337
The Baron’s Hall—Minstrelsy in the Olden Time—Syr Bevis Archer. Dalziel. 338
Vignette—Tilting Helmet, Sword, and Shield 341
Piscina in Abbey Church, St. Albans, referred to in the Text Prior. Jackson. 343
Ancient Armour of Eltham Hall—“The Duke’s Study” Archer. Dalziel. 345
Discovery of Harold’s Body, after the Battle of Hastings, by his Mistress, “Edith with the Swan’s neck” Archer. Dalziel. 348
Head of King Charles I. as Prisoner in Carisbrooke Castle Law. Jackson. 350
The Abbot of Netley’s Mitre and Crosier Sargent. Evans. 352

List of Illustrations.

Allegorical Vignette Sargent. Evans. v
Arms and Abbatial Trophies of St. Albans Herman. Delamotte. vii
Architectural Scroll-head and Trophies of Eltham Hall Herman. Delamotte. viii
Military Scroll and Arms of Rochester Castle Herman. Delamotte. ix
Scroll-Head, with Arms and Trophies of Tewkesbury Abbey Herman. Delamotte. x
Military Trophies of Kenilworth, with the Arms of Robert Earl of Leicester Herman. Delamotte. xi
Scroll, with the Shrine of the Holy Cross, Waltham Abbey Herman. Delamotte. xii
{xvi}Scroll-head and Gateway, with the Royal Crown and Arms Herman. Delamotte. xiii
Allegorical Heading of Netley Abbey Herman. Delamotte. xiv
Fínís. Vignette—Chronicles of England Sargent. Evans. xv

Architectural Letters.

A, characteristic of Arundel.
S, St. Albans.
E, Eltham.
R, Rochester.
T, Tewkesbury.
K, Kenilworth.
W, Waltham.
C, Carisbrooke.
N, Netley.

De tout usage antique amateur idolâtre;
De toute nouveauté frondeur opiniâtre;
Homme d’un autre siècle, et ne suivant en tout
Pour tou qu’un vieux honneur, pour loi que le vieux goût:
Cerveau des plus bornés qui, tenant pour maxime
Qu’un seigneur de paroisse est un être sublime!—
On n’imagine pas combien il se respecte,
Ivre de son château dont il est l’architecte.—GressetLe Châtelain.
{xvii}

—— Enraptured have I loved to roam,
A lingering votary, the vaulted dome,
Where the tall shafts, that mount in massy pride,
Their mingling branches shoot from side to side;
Where elfin Sculptors, with fantastic clew,
O’er the long roof their wild embroidery drew;
Where Superstition, with capricious hand,
In many a maze the wreathed window plann’d,
With hues romantic tinged the gorgeous pane,
To fill with holy light the wondrous fane!
{xx}{xix}{xviii}

Designed by Lonsdale. Painted by Backler. Engraved by Allen.

Signing of the Magna Charta by King John.

FROM THE GREAT WINDOW OF THE BARONS HALL ARUNDEL CASTLE.

page 27.

LONDON, GEORGE VIRTUE.

{1}

 CASTLES & ABBEYS OF ENGLA

The Castles and Abbeys of England may be justly regarded as the great fixed landmarks in her history. They stand like monumental pillars in the stream of time, inscribed with the names of her native chivalry and early hierarchy, whose patriotic deeds and works of piety they were raised to witness and perpetuate.

Viewed in this connexion, they are subjects of enduring interest and curiosity; especially to those whose minds have been strongly imbued with a love of the arts, a veneration for the great minds and the wise measures of which they are the splendid memorials. We linger in the feudal court, and muse in the deserted sanctuary, with emotions which we can hardly define: in the one our patriotism gathers strength and decision; in the other, that piety of which it is the outward evidence, sheds a warmer influence on the heart. We traverse the apartments that once contained the noble founders of our national Freedom; the venerable and intrepid champions of our Faith; the revered fathers of our Literature; with a feeling which amounts to almost devotion. We turn aside to the mouldering gates of our ancestors as a pilgrim turns to some favourite shrine; to those ruins which were the cradles of liberty, the residence of men illustrious for their deeds, the stronghold and sanctuary of their domestic virtues and affections. The mutilated{2} altars of our religion, the crumbling sepulchres of our forefathers, are pregnant with an interest which no other source can afford. In these venerable remains, the visible stamp of sanctity still clings to the threshold; we tread the ground with a soft silent step, overawed by the solemnity of the scene; we feel that—although the sacred fire is extinguished on the altar, the hallelujahs hushed in the quire, and priest and penitent gone for ever—we feel that the presence of a divinity still hallows the spot; that the wings of the presiding cherubim are still extended over its altar.

But turning from the cloistered abbey, to the castellated fortress of antiquity, a new train of associations springs up. The vaulted gateway, the rudely sculptured shield, the heavy portcullis, and massive towers—all contrast forcibly with the scene we have just left, but present to the mind’s eye a no less faithful picture of feudal times. It was from these towers that the flower of English chivalry went forth under the banner of the Cross—carried the terror of their arms to the gates of Jerusalem, and earned those glorious ‘badges’ which are now the proud distinction of their respective houses.

In a survey of these primitive strongholds, these rude citadels of our national faith and honour, every feature is invested with traditionary interest. They are intimately associated with our native Literature, civil and sacred; with History, Poetry, Painting, and the Drama; with local tradition, legendary and antiquarian lore.

To the early founders of our castles and abbeys, we are mainly indebted for the blessings we still enjoy as a free and independent nation. It was the unflinching fortitude and uncompromising faith of our baronial ancestors which extorted from the hands of Despotism the grand charters of English freedom; and, if the men who achieved such things ought to live in the grateful remembrance of their country, surely the local habitations with which their names are identified, must ever be viewed as classic scenes with which the grandeur and glory of England are inseparably connected.

It is there that the very Genius of chivalry still presents himself with that stern and majestic countenance which views with disdain the ‘luxurious and degenerate posterity’ which has robbed him of his honours. It is there that the scenes of other days recur to the imagination in all their native pomp and{3} solemnity. These were the ancient schools where the manly exercises of knighthood, the generous virtues of patriotism, fortitude, honour, courtesy and wisdom, were habitually taught and practised.

The love and reverence of antiquity are imbibed with our earliest classic discipline; but when we turn to the history of our own country, and contemplate in her castles, abbeys, and cathedrals, the monuments of her former greatness, we become animated with a different emotion; we feel the strong bond of relationship which unites us with their founders. We dwell with romantic interest on their valour, munificence, hospitality; a hospitality which was open to all; to knight, pilgrim, and minstrel; to him whose honoured office “wedded to immortal verse” the fortunes, achievements, and festivities of the noble owner; and by exciting the first efforts of wit and fancy, secured an introduction to every species of polite learning—to all the softer influences by which the stern manners of the age were gradually softened and refined.

With respect to our ecclesiastical foundations, our abbeys, priories, and cathedrals; how great is the proportion that was built and endowed by our ancient nobility! Next to the glory of bearing arms in the Holy Land, was the desire of founding churches at home; for to honour God with their substance, to brave every danger in defence of their religion, were maxims that regulated the chief actions of their lives, and extended their view beyond the boundaries of time. To them and their long line of descendants, we are indebted for feats of arms, for examples of Christian fortitude, which have preserved our throne and constitution inviolate, and raised the British character to its zenith of national glory. By the practical lessons which they afford, they inspire us with admiration of their lofty virtues. Their patriotism at home, their perilous adventures abroad, their indomitable courage and inflexible faith, their triumphs at the scaffold and the stake,—all evinced a constancy in virtue, a confidence in God, which nothing could shake or overthrow.

In the history of feudal times, when turbulence and faction were constantly troubling the serene atmosphere of public and private life, we observe the spiritual and temporal power mutually aiding and restraining each other: both uniting to regulate the balance of the state, to enforce obedience to the laws, to resist those unconstitutional and oppressive measures which{4} produced such frequent and painful divisions between the sovereign and his vassals.

But, while thus adverting to the character and polity of feudal times, we are far from maintaining that there was no flaw in the system, no flagrant act of injustice in its administration. On the contrary, we freely admit its imperfection; but we as freely applaud its excellences. We grant that every castle had its dungeon; every dungeon, perhaps, its prisoners and captives; but still, viewed as a scheme of civil freedom, the feudal polity ‘bears a noble countenance. Deprived of its sustaining power, the very names of right and privilege must have fallen prostrate at the feet of unlimited despotism.’ If, says Hallam, ‘when the people were poor and disunited, the nobility had not been brave and free, the tyranny which on every favourable occasion was breaking through all barriers would have rioted without control.’

In these prefatory remarks, however, we refrain from supporting our views by the evidence of facts; but to the indulgent reader, who feels an interest in the subject, and will accompany us in our tour[1] through the feudal monuments{5} in question, we hope to prove by many interesting records, anecdotes, and illustrations, the beneficial influence of a system, prolific beyond all others in the grandeur of its institutions, and forming what may be justly styled the monumental ages of England.

But along with their graver history, these primitive strongholds of the national faith and freedom unite a thousand pleasing and faithful pictures of social life. It was in these palaces, castles, abbeys, halls, and manor-houses, that, in the ‘merry days of England,’ the festivals of our Church and the fêtes of Chivalry, were celebrated in all their splendour. It was there the noble host collected around him his friends and retainers, that the walls were hung with banners, that steel-clad warders paced the battlements, that the sound of the horn summoned the guests from the ‘joust’ or the chase,—that the ‘boar’s head’ smoked on the ample board,—that mantling cups were drained to the health of ‘beauty,’ and fresh honours decreed to the ‘brave.’

It was in these halls that the ‘Christmas log,’ flashing through the painted casement, announced the reign of hospitality,—when the ‘roast beef of Old England,’ her nut-brown October, and the national songs and dance, conspired to produce one long scene of mirth and festivity; when the ‘harper’ sang those romantic and heroic ballads at which the young caught fire, and the old threw aside the weight of years. Who can reflect on these scenes, now the subject of history, without a lively interest in the Castles and Abbeys of England?

Hitherto, the grand objection to works of this description, has been their expense, which has confined the circulation of picturesque antiquarian works to the opulent classes of society. The great recommendation of the present work is its unprecedented cheapness, being illustrated by original views taken on the spot, and not amounting in general to more than a twentieth of the price at which its predecessors in the same field have been published.

6, Park Square, London.

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{6}

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Derived down to us, and received
In a succession, far the noblest way,
Of breeding up our youths in letters, arms,
Fair mien, discourses, civil exercise,
And all the blazon of a gentleman.—
Where can he learn to vault, to ride, to fence,
To move his body gracefully; to speak
His language purer; or to tune his mind
Or manners more to the harmony of Nature
Than in these Nurseries of Nobility?
Ben Jonson’s New Inn. Act I. Scene 3.
N.B. A LIST OF THE NATIONAL RECORDS, ANCIENT CHRONICLES, AND OTHER STANDARD AUTHORITIES QUOTED, OR REFERRED TO, IN THE FOLLOWING WORK, WILL BE FOUND ANNEXED TO EACH SUBJECT RESPECTIVELY.

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Drawn by T. Allom. Engraved by I. W. Archer.
ARUNDEL CASTLE.

{7}

THE CASTLE OF ARUNDEL,
Sussex,

PRINCIPAL SEAT OF HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF NORFOLK, K.G.

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Since William rose and Harold fell,
There have been Counts of Arundel;
And Earls old Arundel shall have,
While rivers flow and forests wave.
The Castle of Arundel enjoys a twofold celebrity, in its great antiquity and in its peculiar privilege of conferring the title of Earl on its possessor. The former reverts to a period much anterior to the conquest; the latter was hereditary in the eleventh century, and confirmed by Act of Parliament in the sixth year of the reign of Henry the Sixth. But its chief and enduring interest is derived from the long list of warriors and statesmen whose names are identified with the place; and whose deeds, during the lapse of eight centuries, have shed lustre on the national history.

The earliest recorded notice of Arundel occurs in the will of the Great{8} Alfred[2], in which he bequeaths it, along with other lordships, to his brother’s son Athelm. It is described in that document[3] as a manor, but without any specific distinction in its privileges from those of Aldingbourn, Compton, and Beeding, with which it is associated; and to Godwin and his son Harold, who were successively earls of Sussex[4], it passed, in all probability, in the same form. It was not till the overthrow of the Saxon dynasty[5], however, that Arundel assumes a prominent station in history as a native fortress of strength and importance[6]. Among the train of warlike barons who attended the Norman in his successful expedition to our coast, was 1066-1070 Roger de Monte Gomerico, or Montgomery, nearly related to the Conqueror by blood, and possessing extensive territories in Normandy[7]. At the battle of Hastings, which placed the British crown on the head of William, Montgomery led the

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centre division of the army[8], and contributed to the victory. In return for this important service, and to bind him more firmly to his interests, the Conqueror four years afterwards bestowed upon him the two comtés, or earldoms, of Shrewsbury and Arundel[9]. Of the six rapes[10] into which Sussex is divided, two, comprising Chichester and Arundel, and calculated to contain eighty-four knights’ fees[11] and a half, were set apart to form the honour[12] of Arundel. Of this and his other princely territories, Montgomery retained possession during a period of twenty years; and the ample revenues which they produced enabled him to support that dignity, splendour, and host of retainers which bespoke the rank of one of the great vassals of the crown. He was a man, according to Orderic[13], of exemplary prudence and moderation; a great lover of equity, and of discreet and modest persons. When he{9} perceived his end approaching, the attachment which he had always felt for a religious life induced him to solicit admission to the Abbey of Shrewsbury, which he had founded; and there, three days after he had assumed the monastic habit[14], he expired in the month of July, 1094. Of his family, consisting of five sons and four daughters, an account will be found in the Appendix.

On the death of Roger Montgomery, his English possessions descended by will to Hugh, his younger son, whose life, like that of his brother Robert, was spent in wars of retaliation and aggression; seconding the enterprises of the turbulent nobles of his period; alternately opposing, and punished by, the king. 1098-1102 When an attempt was made upon the island of Anglesea by the king of Norway[15], Hugh made all haste to give him a warm reception; but although the enemy was put to flight, one of his arrows taking effect upon the Earl of Arundel[16], entered at the eye, and passing through the brain, struck him dead from his horse. He was buried in Shrewsbury. From Hugh the earldom passed to his elder brother Robert, Comte of Belesme, in La Perche, on payment of a fine to the king of three thousand pounds—an immense sum at that period. But on the revolt of the latter, when his possessions were forfeited to King Henry the First, the honour and castle of Arundel were resumed as property of the Crown.

By Henry they were settled in dower upon his second queen, Adeliza, daughter of Godfrey, Duke of Lorraine, who on the death of the king conveyed them by a second marriage to William de

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Albini, lord of Buckenham in Norfolk, of whose descendants we shall make more deliberate mention hereafter. When the Empress Matilda, daughter of Henry the First, and mother of Henry the Second, landed in England in 1139, to assert her claims against the usurper Stephen, she was received, as will hereafter be noticed, at Arundel, and lodged with her retinue in the castle—an event which served greatly to advance and establish the fortunes of Albini. For the news of her landing having alarmed the Usurper, he drew his forces immediately under the walls, and laid close siege to the castle. Albini, however, not only preserved his royal guest from violence, but, by good generalship or caution, secured for her a safe-conduct to Bristol, from which she took shipping and returned to the Continent{10}.

On the accession of her son, Henry the Second, this and other faithful services were not forgotten by the sovereign, who, to testify the sense in which he viewed Albini’s devotion to his cause, confirmed to him and to his heirs for ever the honour and castle of Arundel[17]. He died in 1176, and William, his son and successor, in 1196.

William de Albini, the third in regular descent who enjoyed the earldom of Arundel, is well known in history as one of the barons who signed the Magna Charta, and otherwise evinced himself one of the most talented and enterprising men of his day. Having died on his way home through Italy in 1221, he was succeeded by his son William, the fourth earl, who dying early, without issue, was succeeded by his brother, Hugh de Albini, the last of the race. Hugh died in 1243, leaving four sisters, or their representatives, as his co-heirs, amongst whom, under a special commission from the Crown, his manorial estates were divided. Of these four sisters, the second, Isabel, had married Fitzalan of Oswaldestre; and to her son John Fitzalan, as nephew to the late Earl Hugh, the castle of Arundel and all its appurtenances descended by inheritance. This was the beginning of a new line of Earls—the Fitzalans of Arundel, six of whom in succession held that distinguished rank in the state.

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The Fitzalan Family, like those of Montgomery and Albini, was of Norman origin, and descended from Alan, the son of Fleald, who attended the Conqueror at the battle of Hastings, and received, amongst other spoils of the vanquished, the castle of Madoc-ap-Meredith in Wales, with the lordship of Oswaldestre in Salop. His wife was a daughter of Warren-the-Bald, sheriff of Shropshire, and consequently grand-niece of Roger Montgomery. By her he had two sons; William, who, adopting his patronymic, was called Fitz-Alan; and Walter, who, pursuing his fortunes in Scotland and being appointed by King David grand-steward of the kingdom, became the progenitor of the royal family of Stuart[18]. William Fitzalan, the elder brother, married Ellen, daughter of William Peverel, and niece of Robert, Earl of Gloucester, and with her obtained a large accession of property in Bretagne. He defended Shrewsbury against Stephen, fought with the Empress Matilda at Winchester, and at the accession of Henry the Second was appointed sheriff of Shropshire. At his death he left an only son, William, whose marriage with Isabel,{11} daughter and heiress of Ingelram-de-Say, added the extensive lordship of Clun to the patrimonial possessions of the family; when the titles of Clun and Oswaldestre were first united, and continue in the Howard family to the present day. After the death of William, the first lord of these honours, his son and successor survived him only five years, and leaving no issue, the property devolved on his brother, John Fitzalan, who, in concert with the Barons, opposed the tyrannical measures of the king, and was appointed by Henry the Third one of the Lords Marchers in Wales. At his death he was succeeded by his only son, the subject of this notice, and first of his family who was Earl of Arundel.

On two occasions, however, the family honours and property were alienated by attainder, and given in the first instance to Edmund, Earl of Kent; and in the latter to Holland, Duke of Exeter. This took place in the persons of Edmund the third, and Richard the fifth earl; but in both cases their sons were restored to that station and inheritance which their own political offences had forfeited.

1415 Thomas, the sixth earl of the Fitzalan line, dying without issue, left three sisters as his co-heirs. But his grandfather, Richard, in order to prevent the further division of the honour, had entailed it first upon his Countess for the term of her natural life; and then on the heirs male of his own body, by the said Countess Alianor, with remainders over. In pursuance of this arrangement, therefore, the castle and estates of Arundel passed, on the demise of Earl Thomas, to his second-cousin, John Fitzalan, Lord Maltravers, from whom it again descended through a succession of seven earls of the united families of Fitzalan and Maltravers—many of them highly distinguished, and terminated in Henry, the twenty-second Earl of Arundel.

Henry’s only son, a youth of splendid accomplishments, had died at Brussels; and of his two daughters, Joan, the elder, was married to Lord Lumley; and Mary to Thomas Howard, fourth Duke of Norfolk. But the latter, having died after giving birth to a son, Philip Howard; and the other, Lady Lumley, having been married twenty years without issue; a fine was levied in 1570, by which the earl, ten years previous to his death, entailed the castle and honour of Arundel, with a numerous list of parks, forests, lands, estates, &c., upon Lord Lumley and Joan, his wife, for the term of their separate lives, remainder to the lawful heirs of the said Joan, remainder to Philip, son of Mary, Duchess of Norfolk, and his heirs.[19]

1581 Philip, first of the Ducal House of Howard invested with the title of Earl of Arundel, continued in the enjoyment of his honours only during the short period of eight years, when, as will hereafter appear, he was attainted in 1589, and his estates forfeited to the crown. Fifteen years later, however,{12} they were restored to his son Thomas, on the accession of King James, who was anxious to redress the wrongs of the father, by extending the hand of royal favour to the son. This event in the fortunes of the Howard family took place in 1604; and from that period down to the present time, the title has passed without interruption through a line of descendants—

Cui genus a proavis ingens, clarumque paternæ
Nomen erat Virtutis.
With this brief and hasty sketch of the origin of the Castle of Arundel and its powerful lords, whose deeds and destinies shed around its history feelings of mingled sympathy and admiration; we turn aside to view the fortress, whose apartments have been the hereditary asylum and berçeau of patriotism, chivalry, piety, and British independence, during a period of eight centuries.

Combien de souvenirs ici sont retracés!
J’aime à voir ces glacis, ces angles, ces fossés,
Ces vestiges épars des siéges, des batailles,
Ces boulets qu’arrêta l’épaisseur des murailles.
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To the great antiquity of Arundel Castle we have already adverted. Bevis[20]—a hero of romance—is currently believed to have been its founder; but however easily this may be disputed, the fact of its having been a royal fortress, long before the Conquest, seems fully established. The earliest recorded evidence to this effect appears in the Domesday Survey, where it is stated that, in the time of Edward the Confessor, the castle of Arundel[21] rendered for a certain mill forty shillings, for one pasture twenty shillings; and that between the town, the port, and the customs of the shipping, it rendered twelve pounds, and was worth thirteen.

But as the name and epoch of its founder remain in total obscurity[22], conjecture, however plausible or ingenious, would here be fruitless; and leaving the fanciful antiquary and etymologist to indulge their several tastes{13} in exploring the labyrinth of fable, we turn at once to the broad noon of history, to draw from authentic sources such facts as may appear in some respects more extraordinary than fiction.

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The Castle of Arundel, in point of situation, presents every advantage which could be desired for the erection of a military fortress. At the southern extremity of the elevated platform on which it stands, a strong wall inclosed the inner court, containing upwards of five acres; on the north-east and south-east a precipitous dip of the hill, to at least ninety feet, rendered the castle inaccessible. On the remaining sides, a deep fosse, protected on the north by a double vallation, and cutting off all external communication in that direction, secured the garrison against any sudden incursion or surprise. Or, if assailed,—

From gate and battlemented tower
Fell the warder’s iron shower—
And swift and sharp, from twanging yew,
The feathered shafts incessant flew.
In the centre of this spacious area, rose the donjon or Keep, circular in form, of enormous strength, crowning a lofty artificial mound, and commanding a wide and uninterrupted view of all the neighbouring approaches. The height of the mount, from the bottom of the fosse on the external side, was seventy feet; on the internal, sixty-nine; and with that of the walls and battlements, by which it was crowned, presented a commanding elevation on the east of ninety-six feet; and on the west, of one hundred and three. The walls, measuring from eight to ten feet in thickness, inclosed a nearly circular space, varying between fifty-nine and sixty-seven feet in diameter, which afforded accommodation for the garrison. The apartments, judging from the corbel stones still remaining, appear to have been arranged round the walls, converging towards the centre, from which they received their light, as from an open cupola. Externally there were neither loop-holes nor openings in the masonry, from which, as in other keeps, an army could be annoyed; so that it was only from the ramparts and battlements that the garrison could repel an assault.—See Dallaway’s Rape of Arundel and Horsted’s History.

Such in all probability was the ‘Castrum de Harundel’ when the Conqueror placed it in the hands of Roger Montgomery, and such as it had been when{14} erected by the wise policy of King Alfred. At this time the Keep appears to have comprised the whole strength of the place, the barbican or outer rampart excepted; so that to give it the strength and space of a Norman castle, by contributing those improvements which the circumstances of the time demanded, and of which its natural position was highly susceptible, engaged the first care of its Norman possessor. The external walls, accordingly, were faced with a new casing of Caen stone; the whole structure was supported at intervals by broad flat buttresses; and on the south-east side of the Keep an improved

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entrance was effected, where the Norman art is still visible. It is a wide semicircular archway cut through the solid wall, ornamented on the inner side with a plain torus moulding, and terminated on the outer by a smaller arch, richly carved with the chevron and other ornaments in common use during the latter part of the eleventh century.[23]

But of all the architectural improvements effected by Roger Montgomery in the wide area beneath the Keep, the most conspicuous in the present day is the great Gateway. It consists of a square tower standing over an arched way, which forms the entrance to the court, and communicates with the Keep by a raised passage carried across the moat, and terminated by a flight of steps. The upper part of this tower is supposed to be the work of the thirteenth century; but the lower portion, comprising the whole of the covered-way, retains its original stamp, and presents a striking specimen of Norman taste. The arch is circular, without a keystone, and quite destitute of ornament. The arch, as well as all that remains of the ancient front of the tower, is composed of square blocks of Pulborough stone, the angles of which still preserve their original sharpness. A portcullis was formerly placed at the outer extremity of the passage, which was probably still further strengthened by a drawbridge over the fosse immediately beneath it.[24]—See the engravings.

The Barbican, or Bebis’ Tower, as it is generally called, is another of those warlike adjuncts by which the Norman baron strengthened and improved his new residence. It occupies the north-west side of the ditch by which the Keep is surrounded, and, notwithstanding the ravages of siege and storm, presents many of the characteristic features of Norman architecture. It is an oblong tower, supported by a huge buttress at each of its angles, and originally was of considerable elevation; but during the Parliamentary siege, about to be noticed, the upper part was destroyed, and the temporary roof which now{15} covers it was supplied at a later period. The whole is now invested with a luxuriant mantle of ivy, and presents, like the adjoining Keep, a green pyramidal mass of foliage, through which at intervals the grey stone and white mortar are discernible. It is haunted ground—

For there, ’tis said, ’mid scenes forlorn,
When midnight spreads her dreary pall,
The blast of Bebis’ bugle-horn
Rings loudly from its ramparts tall.
While, starting to the unearthly sound,
Warrior spectres gather round;
And dismal through the dusky air,
Banners gleam and torches glare—
Till all, at cock-crow, to their shrouds
Shrink away like fleeting clouds.
Under the east end of the Castle is an immense vault, described by a late historian of the Castle as sixty-six feet in length by nearly twenty-one feet in width, and upwards of fourteen feet high. The arches are circular, and formed of square blocks of chalk strengthened by four transverse ribs of massive stone. The walls, varying in thickness, present at different parts externally a compact mass of seven feet and upwards. This is the dismal receptacle in which the unhappy captive whom the fortune of war had placed at the mercy of his feudal lord, or the culprit who had violated the laws, were shut up in miserable durance. Few have ever traversed that dreary vault without an involuntary shudder, as imagination conjured up the scenes of human agony that must have transpired unheard, unpitied, under the veil of its sepulchral darkness—

Where oft, at the dark and midnight watch,
As the sentry walks his round,
The wail of pain, and the clanking chain,
Send forth a dismal sound.
1404 A curious instance of escape from this dungeon, in connexion with the law of sanctuary, is recorded by Mr. Tierney, on the authority of Bishop Rede’s Register:—A person named John Mot, having been committed on a charge of robbery, contrived to elude the vigilance of his keepers, passed the

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enclosure of the castle, and had nearly succeeded in effecting his retreat, when his flight becoming known, the constable, assisted by a part of the inhabitants, followed in close pursuit. Finding that he was likely to be overtaken, the fugitive turned to the College of the Holy Trinity, and seizing the ring attached to the gate, claimed the rights of sanctuary. The constable, however, appears to have doubted{16} the validity of this appeal to ecclesiastical protection, and the captive was forcibly disengaged, and hurried back to prison. But the circumstance got wind; rumours of the occurrence soon spread through the neighbourhood; the immunities of the church and the laws of sanctuary were said to have been violated; two of the parties who had aided the constable in securing the offender were summoned before the bishop, to answer the charge in person. Being questioned, and found guilty, they were ordered to make a pilgrimage on foot to the shrine of St. Richard, at Chichester, to present an offering there according to their ability; to be cudgelled (fustigati) five times through the church of Arundel, and five times to recite the Pater-noster, the Ave, and the Creed, upon their knees before the crucifix at the high-altar. Before, however, this sentence could be carried into execution, it was ascertained that, on discovery of the error which had been committed, the captive had been “restored to the church.” The cudgelling was therefore ordered to be remitted; and an offering of a burning taper by each of the offending parties at the high-mass on the following Sunday, was substituted in its place.[25]

Of the Baronial Chapel, believed to have been erected at the same time, and now converted into the modern dining-room of the castle, little is known, beyond the fact of its having existed in the latter part of the thirteenth century[26]. During the minority of Richard Fitzalan, a royal patent was issued, by which we learn that the king, in right of the wardship which he possessed, presented to “the chapel of St. George, within the castle of Arundel.”[27] From that early period, down to the close of the last century, when the late Duke entered upon his plans for restoring the castle to its original splendour, this hallowed apartment had served as the family oratory of the Montgomeries, the Albinis, the Fitzalans, the Howards. But the rich and beautiful Gothic temple which the Duke has substituted has, in some degree, compensated for the metamorphosis to which the primitive altar of the family has been subjected. The spot, however, where an altar had stood for centuries—at which so many generations had knelt in their joy or their sorrow; had paid the tribute of gratitude in prosperity, and implored succour in adversity; at which the marriage benediction, the baptismal rite, and the solemn service for the dead, had been so long and often celebrated—such a spot, however transformed by the hand of man, to whatever secular purposes converted, possesses that inherent sanctity which no disguise can obliterate—

Unseen a hallowed incense fills the air,
And mystic voices peal the notes of prayer.
Still round that shrine where once the VIRGIN smiled,
And kings and shepherds hailed the SAVIOUR-CHILD,
A seraph watches with extended wing,
And angel-quires their songs of triumph sing.
{17}
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The South-east front of Arundel Castle, which crowns an abrupt descent overlooking the river Arun, appears, in common with the dungeon already described, to have been the work of Montgomery, and contemporary with the adjoining tower. This opinion is confirmed by the close resemblance of its external masonry to that of the keep; as well as by the remains of some double round-headed windows, still visible in the walls, and which strictly correspond with double arches in Winchester Cathedral, built about the same epoch by Walkelin, cousin of William the Conqueror.

1094 Whatever appears to have been necessary for the strength and security of a Norman baron and his retainers, seems to have been fully and expeditiously effected by Earl Roger, whose experienced eye and warlike spirit soon detected the weak points of Arundel Castle, and supplied a remedy in those massive walls and outworks, which, with a well-disciplined garrison, must have rendered it impregnable in all the ordinary extremities of foreign or domestic warfare. The earl who next employed his taste and munificence in the work, was Richard Fitzalan, the third of his family, to whom we shall{18} return in a subsequent notice. Having obtained a patent, authorising him to strengthen the defences of the town, by enclosing it on the exposed sides with walls, he appears to have availed himself of the same opportunity to rebuild the upper part of the old gatehouse, which had now stood upwards of a century, and to enlarge it on the west by the erection of an external gateway, a correct engraving of which is here introduced.

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It consists of a long covered passage, “approached originally by a drawbridge over the fosse;” the entrance is under an “obtusely-pointed arch without machicolations, defended by a portcullis, and flanked by two square embattled towers, which are divided into four stories of apartments.” The lowest of these comprises the dungeons, entirely dark, and sunk to a depth of nearly fifteen feet below the bottom of the fosse. The upper rooms are lighted externally by narrow label-headed windows; and at the west corner a chamber, which extends along the whole of the covered-way, communicates with one of these apartments. This central chamber is still perfect, and accessible, by a spiral stone staircase, from the passage below. In the north wall of the archway is the ancient sally-port[28], which opens into the ditch. The foundation of the well-tower, and the construction of the present entrance to the Keep, are of similar origin with the gateway. Originally it was of considerable elevation; but having suffered by the united efforts of time and violence, the upper part was taken down by order of the late Duke, and the rubbish thrown into the well, which, according to our cicerone, was three hundred feet in depth[29]. In most of the ancient fortresses, situated on lofty and commanding situations, the garrison-well was always an object of paramount interest. The labour and ingenuity with which it was constructed, and the almost incredible depth to{19} which it was often found necessary to perforate, before an adequate supply of that indispensable requisite, pure water, could be secured, are sufficient to excite our curiosity and admiration.

In the square tower immediately adjoining, on the east side, is “the present entrance to the Keep. Its narrow pointed arch is concealed beneath the dark projection of the tower; whilst the portcullis which once closed its approach, and the steep winding ascent which conducts to it, must have rendered the position of this garrison impregnable”—so far as that could be accomplished by art; for it is only in the hands of the truly brave that any place can be pronounced impregnable[30].

The tower, which is a continuation of that built over the well, is curiously contrived: its eastern wall is built against the old Norman door-way, in such a manner as to include within it about one-third of the open space of the arch. Parallel with this wall, on the inner side, is another erected about three feet distant, forming a long narrow slit within the tower, which, by means of the enclosed portion of the ancient arch, opens a direct communication with the interior of the Keep. Over this covered space is a sort of stone funnel, resembling a chimney, with an opening into a chamber above; and immediately below, at the base of the outer wall, is a very small pointed arch, which is supposed to have been intended either as a sally-port, or as a private entrance to the fortress when other avenues were necessarily closed. Scarcely rising above the surface, it escaped observation, and enabled a spy to disappear almost as if he had sunk into the earth; whilst, in case of discovery or of an enemy attempting to force a passage by this aperture, the funnel above presented a prompt sluice, through which melted lead, boiling water, and other destructive missiles could be discharged upon the heads of the intruders, so as completely to cut of all access to the interior[31].

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The ancient Chapel or Oratory of the garrison is another of those architectural features which owe their foundation to Richard Fitzalan. It was dedicated to St. Martin, and together with that of St. George—the Baronial Chapel already noticed—is mentioned in Domesday Survey, as enjoying an annual rent of twelve-pence, payable by one of the burgesses of Arundel[32]. The view from this consecrated spot, as observed through the opening of its mutilated arches, offers one of the finest coups-d’œil in this romantic{20} and commanding position. The chapel is a relic of great interest—but only a relic, for

Now loud, now fainter
The gale sweeps thro’ its fretwork, and oft sings
The owl his anthem, where the silenced quire
Lie with their hallelujahs quenched like fire.
The Keep of Arundel Castle,—for so many ages the residence of a warlike garrison,—is now abandoned to the ‘owls and bats.’ Of the former, the breed is peculiar to the place, and the largest in the kingdom. To the student of natural history, a visit to their domicile is a treat of no common interest. Strangers often resort from a great distance to make acquaintance with them; and many who attach little importance to Minerva, are struck with the gravity of her representatives in Arundel-Keep.

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The “portraits,” here introduced, were taken from life, with a peep into their domestic economy, which is conducted in the old niche-like fire-place of the garrison, where the steel-clad warrior of other days has often prepared his hasty mess, or chafed his limbs after a cold night-watch on the battlements. There is here, perhaps, no fox to look out from the loophole and bay the moon; but these Owls are no unpoetical substitutes to proclaim the changes that have come over this once thickly peopled fortress.

When we visited them in October last, they consisted of three couples, and in size and appearance fully justified the character we had heard of them. They are not permitted, however, to remain at large; a strong circular netting is thrown over the Keep, and under this awning they may enjoy everything—except liberty. They have the advantage also of separate niches for the enjoyment of connubial happiness: but it is easy to observe that, not having freedom, they fancy they have nothing worth having. The custodé, in order to show them off to advantage, dislodged a couple; and certainly the expanse of wing which they showed in their flight to the opposite side, was much more like that of an eagle than an owl. At that moment the fact of their being prisoner seemed to have been forgotten; for when removed from their perch by an unceremonious ‘poke’ of the keeper’s rod of office, they made an ambitious attempt to soar at once into the sky; but the netting was too strong, and, compelled to keep a horizontal flight, they dropped sulkily into a niche in the opposite wall, with a peculiar barking sound, very expressive of indignation and disappointment.{21}

Several of these horned owls, as curious specimens of natural history, have been stuffed, and advanced to posthumous honours in the Castle gallery. With one of them, the patriarch of the family, an anecdote is connected, which in justice to his memory we think it our duty to record:—Some years ago an elderly gentleman on his way through Arundel, took advantage of a short halt at the Norfolk Arms to visit the Castle. He was much pleased, as all sensible visitors must be, with everything he saw, but most with the grave moping owls of the Keep. But of all the family, one in particular had a sagacity of expression which appeared to engross the whole attention of his visitor. His horns long, and horizontally projecting from either temple; his scarlet-coloured eyes, that seemed as if they had become inflamed by long-continued study; his wings that hung loosely about him like a professor’s gown; his face, his feet—every feature in short, seemed to say—This is no common owl.

‘He’s a sagacious fellow, this!’ observed the stranger. ‘Very, sir,’ said the keeper, ‘very!—We always calls him the Chancellor.’ ‘The what? the chancellor?’ ‘Yes, sir; sometimes the chancellor and sometimes Lord Eldon—he’s so very wise!’—the stranger was highly amused at finding a namesake under the ivy in Arundel Keep; and we need scarcely add that the visitor was, in fact, the chancellor himself—the late venerable and learned Lord Eldon.

As an ‘ivy-mantled tower,’ this Keep is without a rival in all we can recollect of foreign and domestic castles. The artificial mound on which it stands, is a dense mass of ornamental trees and shrubs—half girdled by a solitary walk along the bottom of the ancient fosse, over which the redundant verdure throws a delicious freshness. On the side facing the open court, the masonry of the Keep is concealed under a thick mantle of ivy, which climbs to the very summit, and in its ascent, flings its luxuriant festoons over every projecting fragment. The interior is clothed with the same perennial drapery; and once deserted by man, nature has taken the ruin under her own immediate protection—repairing the shattered walls, filling up every blank, and mantling the whole in her own livery.

To those who are fond of romantic scenes and impressions, it would be difficult to select a more congenial spot than the Keep in question; particularly by moonlight, when all the rich and waving outline of the ruin is brought forward in bright silver tracery. In certain conditions of that luminary, the effect of light and shade is peculiarly striking; and it requires but little assistance from imagination to embody, among its isolated projections, the airy forms of sentinels planted at various intervals; their arms coming every now and then into sudden relief, as the moon touches the glittering leaves with her{22}

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fitful light, and the night breeze communicates to the detached branches a sort of temporary, life-like movement. It is then that airy visions are said to haunt the place, and not unfrequently cross the path of the intruder:—

For oft on the mouldering Keep by night
Earl Roger takes his stand,
With the sword that shone at Hastings’ fight,
Firm grasped in his red right hand!
Then he calls his spectre-knights by name—
To their spectre-Chief they fly
When each gauntlet rears its bristling spears,
To their Norman battle-cry!
But beware—beware to wander there,
At the mass of the blessed Yule
When, with spectral forms in glittering arms,
That haunted Keep is full!
’Tis then they shout, as they shouted once
When our Saxon standard fell;
And the Norman blade its carnage stayed
At the sound of Harold’s knell! etc.—MS
Of the four original towers, planted at regular intervals around the enclosed space beyond the Keep, all, with the exception of the barbican already mentioned, appear to have been the work of the period in question. They are of{23} the same form as that of the outer gateway, and have the facilities of free intercourse by means of a connecting walk along the ramparts. They were all dismantled during the last siege; but in the ruins which still remain, the characteristic style of Earl Richard is apparent. Two sally-ports of the same date, and at opposite sides of the enclosure, may still be seen in a state of preservation.—See ‘History of the Castle.’—50.

The next embellishment bestowed upon the Castle of Arundel was the great Hall. It was erected by Richard, grandson of the Richard Fitzalan whose taste and munificence had contributed the addition already mentioned.

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It was in the style of Edward the Third; with an entrance from the court, through a deep pointed doorway, under a plain projecting porch. The hall itself was entirely demolished during the Parliamentary siege referred to in these pages; but the remaining doorway continued to indicate the splendour of the original design, till its place was occupied by a still more striking and elaborate structure—the Barons’ Hall of the present century.

The last addition to this baronial seat of so many illustrious families, was the wing on the north-east side; but when the restoration of the Castle was commenced under the auspices of the late Duke, this was removed to make room for the great library. The character of its architecture was that of the time of Henry the Eighth. It consisted of the family apartments, with a splendid gallery, a hundred and twenty feet in length, lighted by eight windows looking into the court, and erected by Earl Henry, the last of the Fitzalans.

In the preceding outline we have endeavoured to convey a general idea of the Castle of Arundel, as it appeared at the commencement of the seventeenth century—enriched by the labour of centuries, and the accumulated fame of the Montgomeries, the Albinis, the Fitzalans, and the Howards; all of whom had manifested a strong attachment to the place, strengthened by associations which connected them with the most brilliant events of English history, and identified their names and fortunes with those of Arundel. But at the disastrous period of the great civil war, the noble proprietor was an exile. The succession of calamities, which had given the family history of his immediate predecessors such mournful interest, was still felt in its consequences, and contributed, with other causes, to invest the fortress of his ancestors with many bitter as well as bright remembrances. Under these circumstances, the possession of Arundel Castle became an object of sanguinary contention between the Royal and Parliamentary leaders, and, being alternately taken and retaken, was as often delivered up to the reckless fury of its captors.

1642. Sir Ralph Hopton having received orders to dislodge the Parliamen{24}tary troops, marched from his head-quarters at Winchester, and laid siege to Arundel. The garrison was not in a condition to offer any effectual resistance, and on the third day the Royal standard was floating from the Keep. Placing the fortress in as defensive a position as time and circumstances would permit, and delegating the command to Sir Edward Ford, Hopton returned to Winchester. This was too favourable an occasion to be lost sight of by the Parliament, and Sir William Waller was instructed to take instant measures for the recovery of the Castle. His march was greatly facilitated by a severe frost, so that the cross-roads, which would otherwise have been impassable, were sufficiently hard to admit of his transporting the cavalry and heavy ordnance to the scene of action; and on Tuesday, the nineteenth of December, his guns were directed against the Castle.

On the Friday following, a despatch from Waller was read in the House of Lords, in which he details the progress of the siege in terms so characteristic of the times, that we cannot omit its insertion in this place:—“My Lords, According to your commands, I advanced the last Lord’s day from Farnham to this place. I could not reach that night past Haslemere; the nexte day I marched to Cowdray, where we understanding there were four troopes of horse and one hundred foote, I resolved to give them the good night; and to

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that end I despatched away two regiments of horse to lay the passage round; but they were too nimble for me, and escaped hither, where I overtook them on Tuesday night. The next morning, after we had taken a view, and found out a place where we might flank their line with our ordnance, we fell in upon the north side of the workes; and we did so scower a weedy hill in the park, on the west side of the pond, with our pieces, that we made it too hot for them, which gave such courage to our men, that with the same breath they assaulted an entrenchment newly cast up, and which was very strong. It was drawn from the town gate down to the aforesaid pond near the mill. At the same time we fell on a narrow passage near the mill, where they had likewise a double work and very strong; but in a short time, by the good hand of God, we forced both, and entered the town with our horse and foote, notwithstanding a brave sally made by their horse. We beat them into the castle, and entered the first gate with them; the{25} second they made good and barricaded; and they are there welcome to stay. I am resolved to block them up, for I know they are in a necessitous condition. God hath been pleased to blesse me hitherto with a gracious successe, his great and holy name be praysed! But truely, my Lord, I am very weake in foote, and my horse so hackneyed out that they are ready to lie down under us. I expect Colonel Behre and Colonel Morley here this day.”

The progress of the siege is too lengthy for detail in this place; but we proceed with a few extracts characteristic of the spirit with which it was conducted:—“To-day,” says the relation, “Major Bodley did a notable exploit; he, perceiving divers in the castle looking forth in a balcone, took unto himself and twelve others their muskets into a private place of advantage, from whence they already discharged into the said balcone, and slew and wounded divers of the enemy.” A very ‘notable exploit’ indeed! the said Major appears to have been one of those heroes who like ‘to shoot round a corner.’ “The same day,” continues the narrative, “two sacres were planted in the steeple with divers musquetiers, who, on Friday morning betimes, played hotly on the enemy, which appeared on the top of the Castle. (The church steeple is within easy musket-shot of the battlements.) The same day divers were taken in their intended escape from the Castle: also, the contents of a pond being drained, it emptied the wells of water within the Castle, so that now the enemy began to be distressed with thirst; divers fled from the Castle and were taken prisoners.” “On Sunday,” agreeably to the record, “divers more fled; many horses were turned forth, of which our soldiers made a good purchase; only one of them was shot by the enemy, whose bloody crueltie and inhuman malice did mightily appear against us, in that they took and hewed him all to pieces, which, doubtlesse, they would have done to us, had we been likewise in their power. On Tuesday the enemy made shew of a salley, but hereupon the drums did beat and the trumpets sounded; all our men were presently gathered together in a fit posture to charge the enemy, when they presently took to their heels, and so manfully retreated. On Tuesday we planted ordnance in a new place against the Castle, which made the enemy that they durst not peep over the walls to shoot at us. On Wednesday divers came forth again into the balcone, having forgot the former danger, whereupon we placed divers musquetiers in the ruins of an old chappel, from whence we did good execution upon them”—adopting, it is presumed, the aforesaid practice of Major Bodley, of shooting round the corner. “On Thursday more of the enemies were taken escaping out of the Castle, and that afternoon the enemy hung out a white flag pretending a parley, and calling to some of our men, delivered them letters directed to our Generall, in which they desired sack, tobacco, cards and dice to be sent unto them, to make merry this idle{26} time, promising to return for them beef and mutton; but the truth is,” says the narrator, “they wanted even bread and water, and that night did put divers live oxen over the walls of the Castle, for want of fodder.” In another place he mentions that “some of the enemies fled out of the castle, and escaped by the river Arun, in a boat made of a raw oxe hide.” There was also skirmishing between Hopton’s and Waller’s horse, to the advantage of the latter. “On Friday the fifth of January, on the eve of capitulation, the enemy,” says he, “began to feel the fruits of their deserts, being extremely pinched with famine.”

The next letter, dated January 6, 1643, is addressed by Waller to Lieut.-General the Earl of Essex:—“My Lord, on Thursday the enemy sent a drummer to me, signifying their willingness to surrender the Castle, if they might have honourable conditions. I returned answer, that, when I first possessed myself of the town, I summoned them into the Castle to yield upon fair quarter; I now took them at their word, and bid them yield to mercy. That

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night I heard no more of them; but the next morning the drummer came to me again, with another letter, wherein they disavowed that answer to my trumpet, laying the blame upon one who, they say, had no more soldiery than civility, that without their assent or knowledge had given that language. I sent them answer, that I was very well satisfied, that, in this disavowing that rashness, they had made room for courtesy; and that I was contented to give them fair quarter, and that, according to their desire formerly expressed, if they would send out to me two officers of quality, I would employ two of equal condition to treat with them about the particulars of the surrender. Within a short time after, there came out unto me Colonel Bamfield and Major Bodvil, who pressed very much that they might have liberty to march away like soldiers, otherwise they would choose death rather than life; and so broke off. About two hours after they sent out unto me Lieut.-Colonel Rawlins and Major Moulin, who, after some debate, came to an agreement{27} with me that this morning they would deliver the castle into my hands by ten of the clock, with colours and arms undefaced and unspoiled; and that the gentlemen and officers should have fair quarter and civil usage, and the ordinary soldiers quarter. For the performance of these covenants, Sir Edward Ford and Sir Edward Bishop were immediately to be yielded to me, which was accordingly done.

“This morning we entered, and are now, blessed be God, in possession of that place. We have taken seventeen colours of foot, and two of horse, and one thousand prisoners, one with another, besides one hundred and sixty, which we took at the first entering of the town, and such as came from the enemy to us during the siege. I humbly desire that the London regiments may be sent hither to secure this important place, while I advance with what strength I have towards the enemy, who lye at Havant.—I humbly rest,” &c.

The result of this siege was ruinous to the Castle. Its successive occupation by two hostile garrisons; the destructive means employed from within for its defence, and from without for its reduction, left its halls roofless, its noble apartments unlatticed; its Keep, gates, and battlements rent and neglected; and from that day

“Its huge old halls of knightly state,
Dismantled lay and desolate.”
At length, after an interval of seventy years, Thomas Duke of Norfolk, having determined to rescue the baronial seat of his ancestors from utter destruction, repaired the old and added new apartments, till it was once more in a habitable condition. But the restoration to which we have more especially to refer in this place, was commenced in 1786 by the late Duke, who continued it till his demise in 1815—an interval of nearly thirty years, during which, although he is said to have expended six hundred thousand pounds in the execution of his plan, it is still incomplete. The noble proprietor, himself an amateur in the science of architecture, superintended all the designs; and wherever any precious relique of antiquity was to be found, it was carefully drawn or modelled by skilful artists, and introduced into the plan of the Castle. Hence the richness and variety observable in the doors, windows, niches, and architectural ornaments so profusely employed on three sides of the quadrangle.

The grand entrance to the court-yard of the Castle is formed by a lofty arched gateway of immense bulk, and generally admired for the architectural dignity and grandeur of the design. The effect is striking at first sight, and conveys to the mind of the visitor a feature highly characteristic of a feudal residence. The arch is pointed, surmounted by a heavy machicolation, and flanked by two hexagonal towers, which, according to the original design, were to have been ‘encircled with an external gallery, terminating at each angle in a turret,’ but the design remains unfinished. Compared, however, with the{28} old gateway, which speaks so audibly of other times, the modern structure possesses no interest; and to enjoy the impression, the stranger must endeavour to divest his mind of the fact that it is a building of yesterday, otherwise he will be apt to exclaim with Delille, in his indignation of modern imitations:—

“Mais loin . . . . .
Ces restes d’un château qui n’exista jamais:
Ces vieux ponts nés d’hier, et cette tour gothique,
Ayant l’air délabré sans avoir l’air antique,
Artifice à la fois impuissant et grossier.”
On entering the court through this gateway, the first object that strikes the eye is a large bas-relief on the opposite side, representing Alfred the Great instituting the trial by jury on Salisbury Plain. The spot chosen was by the side of a dead wall. In his left hand is a roll of parchment, half unfurled, with the Saxon sentence:—“That man fiœbbe gemot on œlcum wœpentace.” “That man in every hundred shall find twelve jury.” It occupies a large portion of the front of that part of the Castle next to the great library, and bearing the appropriate title of the ‘Alfred Saloon.’ But from the

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faithful and spirited etching here introduced, the reader will obtain a much clearer idea of the subject than from any description. It is strictly historical, and was designed by Rossi. It is probable, however, that this admirable institution did not originate with Alfred, but that it was only improved and perfected by him[33].{29}

On the right of the gateway stands the Baronial Chapel, a modern erection of florid Gothic, with pinnacles, niches, buttresses, all in the best taste and of elaborate workmanship. The interior is not finished, but the duke intended to have done so after the models of ancient Saxon and Norman churches, copies of which had been already procured at the time of his demise.

Adjoining the chapel is the Barons’ Hall or banquet-chamber, a building much admired. Over four beautiful Saxon arches is a raised parapet, along the base of which are seen, sculptured in stone, a variety of hieroglyphic figures, taken from antique designs, illustrative of the family history, and procured from the Herald’s College, of which his Grace is hereditary Earl Marshal.

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The south side of the quadrangle is part of the ancient structure, restored from the ruinous condition in which it had been allowed to continue from the last siege, down to the accession of the late Duke to his family honours. It consists of an entirely new front of massive stone, which differs from the others in exhibiting the insignia of the Howards in union with those of their predecessors. The grand entrance is in the Norman style. It is twenty-eight feet wide from the abutments, fronted with Portland stone, curiously carved, and worked with infinite intersections of wreathed vine-leaves, roses, laurel, oak, acorns, and other vegetable emblems. The top is finished with a line of artificial stone in the shape of fence-work, a little elevated. On the right of the doorway is a colossal statue of Hospitality; and on the left is another of Liberty, as seen in the view of the Court already introduced.

The north-east wing, which contains the Library, was commenced in 1801. Its basement is formed upon the Norman model; its upper part is in the style of Henry the Sixth, with a projecting square tower in the centre, and lighted from an oriel window. The sculpture and carving upon the windows and doorways exhibit much delicacy and beauty of workmanship. Those under the bas-relief, in front of the Alfred Saloon, are of elegant design and finish. The Library here mentioned is an apartment of great magnificence; it measures one hundred and seventeen feet in length by thirty-five in width, and is, beyond doubt, one of the finest specimens of modern Gothic in England. It displays the grandeur of ancient designs under the delicate finish of modern art, and brings into one view specimens of almost every ornament of which, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the graceful Gothic presented so many exquisite combinations. The book-cases and reading-galleries are sup{30}ported by fifteen columns wrought out of the richest Spanish mahogany; while the ‘spidered roof’ displays a beauty of workmanship and delicacy of carving, enriched with fruit-foliage, which have seldom been surpassed. It is divided into several compartments for reading recesses, and communicates with the Alfred Saloon by two magnificent folding-doors. At present, however, the shelves are sparingly furnished, and the mahogany—rich and elaborate as it is—offers a striking contradiction to those ideas of antiquity which the Gothic carving might otherwise convey. The chimney-pieces are of fine Carrara marble, and in their sculpture exhibit pure classical taste.

The great Drawing-room is a spacious noble apartment, and commands an extensive view of the winding vale of the Arun. It is chiefly remarkable, however, for the family portraits which adorn its walls and, to the eye of the historian, throw open a vast and interesting field of retrospection:

“For, by dim lights, the portraits of the dead
Have something ghastly, desolate, and dread.
. . . . . Their buried locks still wave
Along the canvas; their eyes glance like dreams
On ours, as stars within some dusky cave;
But death is imaged in their shadowy beams.”
Of these portraits we noticed about sixteen, one of which is a beautiful historical piece, by Mather Brown, representing Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, vindicating himself before Henry the Seventh for the part he took at the Battle of Bosworth. Henry upbraided him with having served in the cause of the late usurper and tyrant, Richard the Third. “Sir,” replied Surrey, “he was my crowned king. If the authority of Parliament had placed the crown on that stake, I would have fought for it. Let it place it on your head, and you will find me as ready in your defence.” In the back-ground of the painting, the Princess Elizabeth, sister of the young princes who were smothered in the Tower, is seen displaying the red rose as an emblem of the two houses.

Another interesting portrait is that of “Jocky of Norfolk,” father of the preceding, who fell with Richard at the battle of Bosworth. A third is the portrait of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, “the delight and ornament of his age and nation,” whose bright life and tragical end are familiarly known to every reader.—But to this we purpose to return in a subsequent part of the work. A fourth is that of Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, painted by Holbein, whose evil fortunes are so closely associated with those of Mary Queen of Scots. Also the portraits of his wife, Mary Fitzalan, the last of her family, who died in her eighteenth year; and of her only brother, Henry Fitzalan, Lord Maltravers, painted at Brussels.

There are also portraits of the celebrated Cardinal Howard, of “belted Will{31} Howard,” and of various other members of the same house, by the eminent painters of the day.

In the furnishing of these state apartments there is little to excite attention; it combines elegance with simplicity, but contains nothing gorgeous in colour or texture. The woodwork is nearly mahogany throughout. Nothing, however, could be more out of place—a wood that has been known in this country little more than a century, is ill associated with the Gothic ornaments of a baronial hall. Old English oak is, beyond doubt, that which best harmonizes with our ideas in such places. A piece of old oak carving is an object of never-failing interest to the mind of an antiquary; but in Arundel Castle we observed no specimens of native ‘gnarled oak,’ except in the “Windsor rooms.”

The Dining-room—formed, as we have already mentioned, out of the ancient family chapel—is a lofty, spacious, well-proportioned room, and chiefly remarkable for its great window of stained glass, which still throws “a religious light” over the banquet. It is quite modern, and the historical subject selected for its embellishment is the Meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba—portraits of the late Duke and Duchess-dowager of Norfolk. “On each side is a beautiful transparency on plate-glass—one representing the Mercy-seat in the Jewish tabernacle, the pillars protected by cherubim, with Aaron’s pitcher and rod lying at the foot of the altar; the other is a fine representation of the Interior of the Tabernacle, as transmitted to us in the Biblical account; and both serving to soften and modify the light as it falls on the great painting in the centre[34].

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The interior of the Barons’ Hall, however, is by far the most interesting apartment in the Castle, and claims a high station among the banquet-rooms of modern times. It was designed, in connexion with the chapel already noticed, to commemorate the triumph of the Barons over King John, by the signing of the Great Charter at Runnymede. Its architecture, like that of the appendant chapel, is in the style of the fourteenth century. It is seventy-one feet in length by thirty-five in breadth, lofty in proportion, and, as a whole, produces a striking effect on the spectator. The roof consists of Spanish chestnut, elaborately carved in imitation of the richest Gothic originals, with numerous combinations, emblematical groups, and curious workmanship. The{32} windows are of the acutely-pointed form; the canopies over the arches, which are ornamented with the lozenge, rest on corbel-heads of kings; and the transoms form the lower compartment of each light into a plain unadorned parallelogram. The windows, however, are the grand attraction, for in these the story of English freedom is brilliantly told. They are thirteen in number, nine of which are finished, and filled with stained glass.

The great window illustrates the ratification of Magna Charta by King John, who, with ‘an indignant but powerless frown, seems to pause in the act of affixing his signature to the instrument, as if to upbraid the uncompromising patriotism of the Barons.’ On his right stand Cardinal Pandolfo, the Pope’s Legate, and the Archbishop of Dublin, who turns his head in conversation with other prelates behind him. On his left are seen Cardinal Langton, a mediator between the King and the Barons, but who administered an oath to the latter, never to pause in the struggle till they had obtained full concession of their liberty. Behind the Archbishop stands Almeric, Master of the Knights Templars[35]. In the foreground appears Baron Fitzwalter[36], with his page[37]; and behind him are the Lord Mayor[38] of London, and the attendant guards. In the background is a distant view of the Camp at Runnymede. For chasteness of drawing, depth of colouring, and sparkling brilliancy, this window is considered a masterpiece of modern art.

The other eight windows, executed by Edgington, the talented artist already mentioned, contain full-length figures of eight Barons, progenitors of the Norfolk family, who were instrumental in procuring the Great Charter[39]. They are habited in chain-armour, the military costume of the thirteenth century, each with his armorial bearings emblazoned on his surcoat and shield. The heads are actual portraits of various distinguished members of the house of Howard, some of whom are still living. The effect is superb, and, at first sight, there is some difficulty in drawing the distinction between the real and the ideal. The scenes are so finely isolated, and the single portraits so{33}

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prominent, that each appears as if he had the free and unimpeded use of his limbs, and could step down into the banquet-hall at his pleasure,

“To curb a despot and to save the state.”
The door of this magnificent Hall was first thrown open on the 15th of June, 1815, being the six hundredth anniversary of the great foundation of English liberty. For the joyful celebration of this glorious epoch in the old baronial style, a brilliant assembly of rank and title had arrived from various parts of the country, among whom were twenty-two representatives of the ancient Howards. Complete suits of armour, in which the ancient chivalry of England had gathered the spoils of victory—some at Agincourt, others at Cressy—were arranged in military order around the walls. Swords, that, by the evidence on their blades, had “done the state some service;” helmets that had been worn by the Howards at Flodden, or by “Belted Will” in some of his Border forays; chain and scale armour; spears and lances that had often gleamed in strife and tournament—all the implements of ancient warfare, from the thick iron casque of the archer, to the elaborate and richly-gilded harness of the baron, were all reburnished and brought into unexpected light for this occasion. Nothing, in fact, was omitted that could increase the interest, by giving an air of striking reality to the scene. If the spirits of the ancient Barons could have looked down upon the hall in this hour of gorgeous festivity, they would have rejoiced to see what a bright inheritance their patriotic struggles had bequeathed, and have felt that they had become, indeed, immortal in the hearts of their descendants,

At this banquet nearly three hundred guests assisted. At the upper end of the table was a noble “baron of beef,” surmounted by the ducal coronet and the banners of the House of Norfolk. The evening was ushered in by a splendid ball, at which ‘castled Arundel’

“Had gather’d then
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o’er fair women and brave men.”
The ball was opened by the Duke of Norfolk and the Marchioness of Stafford—late Duchess-Countess of Sutherland—followed by about fifty couples, who kept up the dance, enlivened by admirable music, till one o’clock in the morning, when supper was announced, and the Sussex Band struck up the patriotic air of “The Roast Beef of Old England,” as an expressive welcome to the hospitable board. The festal scene was continued{34} till the mailed warriors, niched in the walls and casements, caught the morning light on their armour; when King John and Baron Fitzwalter appeared to signify, that as the Grand Charter was now fully ratified, lord and dame were at “liberty” to retire—wishing

“To each and all a fair good night,
With rosy dreams and slumbers light.”
Among the original Ecclesiastical foundations in Arundel, was the Alien Priory, or Cell of St. Nicholas, already mentioned. Roger Montgomery, who had restored the Benedictine Abbey of Seez, in Normandy, granted to the 1102-1380. monks of that establishment, liberty to erect a priory within the town of Arundel, and the building having been completed, five monks from the parent abbey arrived and took possession accordingly. In the early part of the same century, the priory was vacated; and the rectorial residence adjoining the church, of which William de Albini was patron, was converted into a residence for the prior and four monks. Thus occupied, it continued during two centuries to be known as the Convent or Priory of St. Nicholas. But Richard, Earl of Arundel, having resolved to connect it with the chapel of his college then about to be established, obtained from King Richard the Second a grant for that purpose, and on the site of the ancient priory arose the College of the Holy Trinity, a quadrangular structure, inclosing a square yard, or court, partly occupied by cloisters, and partly devoted to other purposes of

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a monastic establishment. On the north side was the Collegiate Chapel, forming an apparent chancel to the parochial church; on the east were the refectory and various domestic offices connected with it; and the remaining sides on the south and west, were occupied by the members of the fraternity. Within the court was the Master’s house, attached to the south-east angle of the chapel, with which it communicated by a small stone balcony on the first story, and a flight of steps, which still remain, behind the high altar. As the collegiate church was intended to be the family sepulchre of the founder, every preparation was made to insure its monumental splendour; and the tomb of his son, Earl Thomas, was the first of a magnificent series. No stranger can enter this chapel without being strongly impressed with the classic beauty and elaborate sculpture of its family monuments. But during the siege already noticed, these sacred walls were given up as barracks for Walle{35}r’s soldiers; and many of the sepulchral antiquities, with which the place was so richly adorned, were wantonly mutilated.[40] Six monuments, however, still remain to fix the attention, and excite the admiration, of all who are lovers of the arts, or given to the study of Gothic remains. In the centre is that of Earl Thomas, son of the founder, and his Countess Beatrix, daughter of John, King of Portugal. It is a large sculptured altar-tomb of alabaster, formerly painted and gilt, and adorned with effigies of the earl and countess, in their robes of state. A rich canopy rises behind the head; and at the feet of the earl is a horse, the Fitzalan cognizance. At the feet of the countess, two lap-dogs hold in their mouths the extremity of her mantle. Arranged in niches around the tomb, are twenty-eight priests, each with an open book in his hand; and guarding the rim is a series of forty family shields, originally emblazoned. On the south side of the high Altar is a lofty sacellum, consisting of an arcade and canopy, composed of elaborate tabernacle-work, and, in its original state, richly painted and gilt.—But it would far exceed the limits of this work to convey even a general idea of these splendid memorials of departed greatness. We were glad to observe, on our late visit, that the restoration of this chapel is daily advancing, under the direction of the Duke of Norfolk; and in a few years, it is to be hoped, may recover something of its original splendour.

The Church, which forms a principal feature in the general view of the castle, is a spacious and handsome structure, consisting of a nave, two aisles, and a transept, surmounted by a low square tower, terminating in a spire, and forming a conspicuous landmark for mariners. A row of circular windows inclosing quatrefoils, in the clerestory; an ancient octagon stone font; a pulpit richly tabernacled in the same material; several monumental inscriptions, and a roof of Irish oak, proverbial for its durability, are among the

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objects that deserve attention. In one of the chapel windows is the figure of a swallow on the wing, which may claim attention from the etymologist, as pointing to the oft-contested origin of the name Arundel; for history and geography, says Mr. Tierney, “the realms of fancy and romance have all been explored in order to discover its etymon. One author has amused himself with a rebus founded on the resemblance between the words Arundel and Hirondelle; and it is not improbable that the migratory bird here introduced may have been selected as an appropriate emblem for the chapel window. The conjecture is, at least, as plausible as another that has been advanced; namely, that Arundel is derived from Hirondelle[41], the name of Bevis’s horse.{36}”

The Park of Arundel, which contains much picturesque scenery and many thriving plantations, was originally the hunting-forest of the ancient

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Counts, and covered a great extent of country, which is now either under cultivation, or converted into pasture. Beyond the pleasure-grounds, immediately under the Keep, is the Inner Park, entirely surrounded by an artificial earth-work, still perfect, and adorned with magnificent elm and beech trees. The new, or Outer Park, comprises an extent of nearly twelve hundred acres, enclosed by a high wall with lodges, and stocked with a thousand head of deer. The scenery is variegated by numerous undulations of surface—alternate ridge and ravine, grove and glade, and watered by rivulets that derive their source from the neighbouring Downs.

At a short distance from the entrance to the Park, on the south side, is Hiorne’s Tower, the subject of the accompanying view. It is a triangular building, about fifty feet in height, with a turret at each angle, and in design and execution presents an admirable specimen of Gothic architecture. The merit of the design is due to the late distinguished architect, Mr. Hiorne, who superintended its erection, and left it as a monument to his name. The view from this tower, under a favourable atmosphere, presents a magnificent

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prospect of the adjoining Park. The soft pastoral hills that trace their bold outline on the sky; the umbrageous woods that cover the nearer acclivities; the villages, hamlets, and isolated dwellings that infuse life and activity into the picture; the herds of deer that are seen at intervals through the trees; the distant channel with its shipping, and the shining meanders of the river Arun—all present, in combination, one of the most richly diversified landscapes on which the eye of poet or of painter could love to expatiate.

To the readers of romance this scene is rendered doubly interesting by its immediate vicinity to Pugh-dean, where the graves of Bevis, the giant castellan{37} of Arundel, and his horse Hirondelle, carry us back to the days of King Arthur and his knights. To this personage we have already adverted[42]; “but of his connexion with the Castle of Arundel,” says Tierney, “it were difficult to trace the origin, although there can be little doubt that it existed at a very early period. At the bottom of the valley called Pugh-dean, the locality now under notice, is a low oblong mound, resembling a raised grave in its form, and known in the traditions of the neighbourhood as ‘Bevis’s burialplace.’ It is about six feet wide, and not less than thirty feet long. It is accompanied by several

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smaller but similar mounds; and although peculiar in its shape, as compared with Roman and other tumuli which have been examined at different times, has, nevertheless much of a sepulchral character in its appearance. It was lately opened to a depth of several feet, but nothing was discovered in it. In the middle, however, at the bottom to which the ground was originally made to shelve from each end, a level space of about six feet in length had been left, as if for the reception of a deposit; and as the lightness of the soil above seemed to indicate that it had been merely removed, it is not improbable that this deposit may have rewarded some antiquary more fortunate than those who were engaged in the late excavation.”

Not far from this retired valley a different interest is excited by its having been the site of the chapel and hermitage of St. James—an hospital for lepers, and built soon after the middle of the thirteenth century, for the reception of the unhappy outcasts who were afflicted with that loathsome malady. The clump of trees observed in the view marks the locale of this ancient sanctuary, which must have enclosed a very considerable area.

A pleasing incident in the history of Arundel, is the visit of the Empress Matilda to her step-mother, Queen Adeliza, as already alluded to in our notice of Albini. Accompanied by her natural-brother, Robert of Gloucester, and a retinue of one hundred and forty knights, she was received{38} within the walls of the Castle, and treated with all the distinction which her own dignity and the affection of her relative could bestow. The news of her arrival, however, threw the army of King Stephen into immediate motion, and brought the engines of war under the walls of the Castle. Fearful of the consequences, Queen Adeliza determined to try the effects of policy in lieu of force, and appealed to the chivalrous feelings of the incensed Monarch, in behalf of her illustrious but ill-timed visitor. She assured him that the only object of her royal guest in making this visit, was to gratify those feelings of love and relationship, which might be reasonably supposed to exist between mother and daughter; that the gates of the Castle had been thrown open to her, not as a rival to the throne, but as a peacefully disposed visitor, who had a longing desire to see her native land, and who was ready to depart whenever it should please the King to grant her his safe-conduct to the nearest port. It was, moreover, delicately insinuated, that to lay siege to a Castle, where the only commander of the garrison was a lady, and where the only offence complained of was a mere act of hospitality to a female relation, was surely an enterprise neither worthy of a hero such as his Majesty, nor becoming in him who was the crowned head of the English chivalry.

The result of this appeal, or of some more convincing argument[43], has been already stated in the safe retirement of Matilda from the scene of danger, and her return to Normandy. But a small chamber over the inner gateway enjoys

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the traditionary fame of having been her sleeping room, during her sojourn in the Castle. It is a low square apartment, such as the castellan might have occupied during a siege. But, as an imperial chamber, it never could have had more than one recommendation, namely its security, in times when security was the chief object to be kept in view; and six centuries ago it was no doubt a very eligible state chamber. The bedstead on which the Empress is said to have reposed—for we would not disturb any point of popular and poetical faith—is{39} certainly a relic of considerable antiquity. Its massive walnut posts are elaborately carved, but so worm-eaten, that, unless tenderly scrutinised, the wood would be apt to fall into powder in the hands of the visitor. Looking upon this, as a relic of the twelfth century, it may be imagined with what feelings the daughter of a King, the consort of an Emperor, and mother of a King, laid her head upon that humble couch, reflected on her checkered fate, and felt the shock of warlike engines under the battlements.

“’Mid crash of states, exposed to fortune’s frown,
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
The other events and incidents which give Arundel particular distinction among the ancient baronial seats of England, are partly owing to the regal dignity of its visitors. It was here that Alfred and Harold are believed to have resided; and it was in the castle of Arundel that William Rufus, on his return from Normandy, celebrated the feast of Easter.[44] In 1302, King Edward the First spent some time within its walls: and from the fact of its containing an apartment familiarly known as the ‘King’s Chamber,’ it is probable that, in later times, it was often graced by the royal presence.[45] The luxury and splendour of its apartments are amply attested by the minute inventories of the costly materials employed in their decoration; while the princely revenues of many of its lords permitted them to indulge in a style of hospitality to which few subjects could aspire. It was frequented by the élite of our English chivalry; beauty and valour were its hereditary inmates; its court resounded to the strains of music; while military fêtes and religious solemnities gave alternate life and interest to its halls. Many a plan, afterwards developed in the field or the senate, was first conceived and matured in the baronial fastness of Arundel. One of the dark yet dramatic scenes of which it has been the theatre, is the conspiracy, in which the Earls of Arundel, Derby, Marshall, and Warwick; the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Abbot of St. Alban’s and the Prior of Westminster, met the Duke of Gloucester, for the final ratification of the plot. After receiving the sacrament, says the Chronicle, they solemnly engaged, each for himself, and for one another, to seize the person of King Richard the Second; his brothers, the Dukes of Lancaster and York; and, finally, to cause all the lords of the King’s Council to be ignominiously put to death. This plot, however, was happily divulged in time to defeat its execution; and Arundel was brought to the block on the evidence of his son-in-law, Earl Marshall, then deputy-governor of Calais.[46]{40}

So great, says Caraccioli, “was the hereditary fame of Arundel Castle, and so high its prerogative, that Queen Adeliza’s brother, Joceline of Lorraine, though a lineal descendant of Charlemagne, felt himself honoured in being nominated to the title of its Castellan.” From William de Albini, Joceline received in gift Petworth, with its large demesne; and on his marriage with Agness, heiress of the Percies, took the name of Percy—and, hence, probably, the origin of “Percy’s Hall,” an apartment which has existed from time immemorial in Arundel Castle.

Of Isabel de Albini, the widow of Earl Hugh, the following anecdote is preserved:[47]—Having applied to the King for the wardship of a certain person, which she claimed as her right, and failing in her suit, she addressed him in these spirited words:—“Constituted and appointed by God for the just government of your people, you neither govern yourself nor your subjects as you ought to do. You have wronged the Church, oppressed the nobles, and to myself, personally, have refused an act of justice, by withholding the right to which I am entitled.” “And have the Barons,” said the King, “formed a charter, and appointed you their advocate, fair dame?” “No,” replied the Countess; “but the King has violated the charter of liberties given them by his father, and which he himself solemnly engaged to observe; he has infringed the sound principles of faith and honour; and I, although a woman, yet with all the freeborn spirit of this realm, do here appeal against you to the tribunal of God. Heaven and earth bear witness how injuriously you have dealt with us, and the avenger of perjury will assert the justice of our cause.” Conscious that the charge, though boldly spoken, was the voice of public opinion, and struck with admiration of her frank spirit, the King, stifling resentment, merely rejoined, “Do you wish for my favour, kinswoman?” “What have I to hope from your favour,” she replied, “when you have refused me that which is my right? I appeal to Heaven against these evil counsellors, who, for their own private ends, have seduced their liege lord from the paths of justice and truth.”

We now take a short retrospect of the public services, patriotic achievements, and traits of personal character, which have distinguished the thirty-two lords of Arundel from the period of the Conquest down to our own times. Of several of these, however, our notice must be exceedingly brief.—Of Roger Montgomery and his family we have little to add beyond what has{41} appeared in Mr. Tierney’s elaborate History of Arundel, to which we have so often referred in the preceding pages. Of William de Albini, the fourth earl, the following historical incident is recorded:—When at length, after

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much fruitless warfare, Henry Plantagenet appeared in England at the head of the nobles who espoused his rights, Albini had the happiness to achieve what may be justly considered greater than any victory; he prevented the effusion of blood. Henry’s army was then at Wallingford, where Stephen, at the head of his forces, was arranging the line of battle. The armies were drawn out in sight of each other; Stephen, attended by Albini, was reconnoitring the position of his opponent; when his charger becoming unmanageable, threw his rider[48]. He was again mounted; but a second and a third time a similar accident occurred, which did not fail to act as a dispiriting omen upon the minds of those who were witnesses of the occurrence. Taking advantage of the superstitious dread thus excited among the troops, Albini represented in emphatic terms to Stephen the weakness of his cause when opposed by right and justice, and how little he could calculate upon men whose resolution in his service had been already shaken by the incident which had just occurred. His counsel was taken in good part; Stephen and Henry, adds the historian, met in front of the two armies: an explanation ensued, reconciliation was effected; and in the course of the year a solemn treaty was ratified, by which Stephen adopted the young Plantagenet as his successor to the throne. The{42} most important affair in which Albini’s service was called for, was the splendid embassy to Rome, the object of which was to counteract the effect of à-Becket’s personal representations at the papal court. That mission failed in effecting the reconciliation intended, owing to the intemperate language of the prelates who were associated with Albini in the cause. His own speech, as recorded by Grafton, is characteristic of good sense and moderation:—“Although to me it is unknown, saith the Erle of Arundell, which am but unlettered and ignorant, what it is that these bishoppes here have sayde, (their speeches being in latin,) neyther am I in that tongue able to expresse my minde as they have done; yet, beyng sent and charged thereunto of my prince, neyther can, nor ought I but to declare, as well as I may, what the cause is of our sendyng hether; not to contende or strive with any person, nor to offer any iniury or harm unto any man, especially in this place, and in the presence here of such a one unto whose becke and authoritye all the worlde doth stoope and yelde. But for this intent in our Legacy hether directed, to present here before You and in the presence of the whole Church of Rome, the devocion and loue of our king and master, which ever he hath had and yet hath still toward You. And that the same may the better appere to yr. Excellencie, hee hath assigned and appointed to the furniture of this Legacy, not the least, but the greatest; not the worst, but the best and chiefest of all his subiects; both archbishoppes, bishoppes, erles, barons, with other potentates mo, of such worthinesse and parentage, that if he could have found greater in all his realme he would have sent them both for the reverence of Your Person and of the Holy Church of Rome,” &c.

But this oration, “although it was liked for the softnesse and moderation thereof, yet it failed of its object; it could not perswade the bishop of Rome to condescende to their sute and request, which was to have two legates or arbiters to be sent from him into England, to examine and to take up the controversie betwene the kinge and the archbishoppe.”

Subsequently to this, Albini was sent on a more agreeable mission, that of conducting the Princess Matilda into Germany, on the eve of her marriage with Henry, Duke of Saxony; and five years later was selected by the king as one of his “own trustees to the treaty of marriage between his son Prince John, and the daughter of Hubert, Count of Savoy.” Shortly afterwards he{43} commanded the royal forces at Fornham in Suffolk, and gained a complete victory over the rebellious sons of King Henry—in whose unnatural cause the disaffected at home had been joined by a numerous body of foreigners—and took prisoners the Earl of Leicester, with his Countess and all his retinue of knights. Albini was a great benefactor of the church; he built “the abbey of Buckenham; endowed various prebends in Winchester; founded the priory of Pynham, near Arundel; the chapel of St. Thomas at Wymundham,” and died at Waverley in Surrey.

To Albini’s son and grandson we have already adverted, but conclude with a brief incident in the life of William, the third earl of his family.

When the banner of the cross was waving under the walls of Damietta, and the chivalry of Christendom flew to the rescue, the gallant Albini was too keenly alive to the cause to resist the summons. In that severe

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struggle, he hoped to acquire those laurels which would leave all other trophies in the shade; and with the flower of our English chivalry embarked for the Holy Land, and served at the siege of that fortress. Two years he remained a staunch supporter of the cross—a soldier whom no dangers could dismay, no difficulties intimidate; and long after his companions had returned to the white cliffs of Albion, the lion-standard of Albini shone in the van of the Christian army. On his way home, however, he had only strength to reach an obscure town in the neighbourhood of Civita Vecchia, near Rome, where he was taken ill and expired. His eldest son, the fourth earl, died without issue; and the short life of his successor, Hugh de Albini, appears to have passed without any remarkable event or incident, save latterly in active warfare in France, where, at the battle of Taillebourg, in Guienne, he displayed, though ineffectually, the hereditary valour of his family.

The first of the Fitzalans who held the title and estates of Arundel was appointed one of the Lord Marchers, or Wardens of the Welsh Border; and found to his cost that the Ancient Britons did not submit to the daily encroachment made upon their rights and hereditary privileges, without having frequent and formidable recourse to arms. He maintained a high station at court, was admitted to the royal confidence, and had the “command of the Castle of Rochester when the approach of the King’s forces compelled the disaffected Barons to raise the siege.” At the battle of Lewes he distinguished himself{44} in the royal cause; but at the close of that disastrous field—along with the two princes, Edward and Henry—fell into the “hands of the victorious Barons.”

Of the battle of Lewes, we select the following graphic picture from Grafton:—“Upon Wednesday the 23rd of May, early in the morning, both the hostes met; where, after the Londoners had given the first assault, they were beaten back, so that they began to drawe from the sharpe shot and strokes, to the discomfort of the Barons’ hoste. But the Barons encouraged and comforted their men in such wise, that not all onely, the freshe and lustye knights fought eagerly, but also such as before were discomfited, gathered a newe courage unto them, and fought without feare, in so much that the King’s vaward lost their places. Then was the field covered with dead bodyes, and gasping and groning was heard on every syde; for eyther of them was desyrous to bring others out of lyfe. And the father spared not the sonne, neyther yet the sonne spared the father! Alliaunce at that time was bound to defiaunce, and Christian bloud that day was shed without pittie. Lastly the victory fell to the Barons; so that there was taken the King, and the King of Romaynes, Sir Edward the King’s sonne, with many other noblemen,” among whom was Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, “to the number of fifteen barons and banerets; and of the common people, that were slain, about twenty thousand, as saith Fabian.”

This was Fitzalan’s last appearance in the field; and, as a security for his good behaviour, he was required “to surrender the Castle of Arundel or deliver his son as a hostage,” into the hands of the Earl of Leicester. “For their safe keeping, the prisoners were sente unto dyverse castellis and prysons, except the King, his brother the King of Almayne, and Sir Edwarde his sonne; the which the barons helde with them vntill they came to London.”

Richard the third earl takes an eminent station in the family history. He first travelled in France and Italy, in compliance with the rules of his order[49]; then served in Wales, performed several exploits against Madoc; became distinguished among the chivalry of his day; held a command in the expedition organised for the subjugation of Scotland; fought at Falkirk; and subsequently took part at the siege of Caerlaverock Castle, where in the language of the minstrel, “who witnessed the fray,” he is complimented as—

“Richard le Conte de Aroundel,
Beau chivalier, et bien aimé,
I vi je richement armé;
En rouge au lyon rampart de or—[50]”
{45}
and in various capacities appears to have done the state much acceptable service.

1306. During the life of Edmund, the fourth Earl, the affairs of Scotland assumed a threatening aspect; and the King, exasperated by the murder of Comyn, resolved to march an army across the frontier. Great preparations were made to render the expedition, in all respects, worthy of the grand object in view. The royal armies were ordered from their cantonments, and hastened into the field under the command of Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke.

In preparation for the expedition, “proclamation was made, that a grand national fete would solemnise the movement; that the Prince of Wales

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would be knighted on the Feast of Pentecost; and all the young nobility of the kingdom were summoned to appear at Westminster to receive that honour along with him. On the eve of the appointed day (the 22nd of May){46} 270 noble youths, with their pages and retinues, assembled in the Gardens of the Temple, in which the trees were cut down that they might pitch their tents; they watched their arms all night, according to the usage of chivalry; the prince, and some of those of highest rank, in the Abbey of Westminster; the others in the Temple Church. On the morrow, Prince Edward was knighted by his father in the Hall of the Palace, and then proceeding to the Abbey, conferred the like honour on his companions. A magnificent feast followed, at which two swans covered with nets of gold being set on the table by the minstrels, the King rose, and made a solemn vow to God and to the swans, that he would avenge the death of Comyn and punish the perfidy of the Scottish rebels. Then, addressing his son and the rest of the company, he conjured them, in the event of his death, to keep his body unburied until his successor should have accomplished this vow. The next morning the prince, with his companions, departed for the Borders; Edward himself followed by slow journeys, being only able to travel in a litter.”

Such was the bright morning of Edmund Fitzalan’s life; and the annexed gives us the dark contrast in his tragical end.

1326. The citizens, says Froissart, seeing they had no other means of saving the town, their lives, and their fortunes, acceded to the Queen’s terms, and opened their gates to her. She entered the town attended by Sir John de Hainault, with all her barons, knights, and esquires, who took their lodging therein. The others, for want of accommodation, remained without. Sir Hugh Spencer and the Earl of Arundel were then delivered to the Queen to do with them according to her good pleasure. The Queen then ordered the elder Spencer and Arundel to be brought before her eldest son and the barons assembled, and said that she and her son would see that Justice should be done unto them according to their deeds. “Ah, madam,” said Spencer, “God grant us an upright judge and a just sentence; and that if we cannot find it in this world, we may find it in another.” The charges against them being read, an old knight was called upon to pass sentence; and her son, with the other barons and knights, pronounced the prisoners guilty. Their sentence was, that they, the said Earl of Arundel and Spencer, should be drawn in a hurdle to the place of execution, there to be beheaded, and afterwards to be hung on a gibbet. “The which was duly carried into effect on the feast of St, Denis,” at Bristol—or, according to others, at Hereford.

Richard, the son and successor of Edmund, became highly distinguished among the great men of his time. His life and exploits make no inconsiderable figure in the national annals.

When a fleet of cruisers, sent out by the French for the annoyance of British commerce in the Channel, had made prizes of many of our best{47} merchant ships, pillaged several towns on the coast, and caused much consternation to all who were interested in the prosperity of commerce, Arundel

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hoisted his flag on board the “Admiral,” and put to sea. Another fleet was ordered to co-operate with him in the eastern coast; the first cruise checked the audacity of the enemy, and re-established public confidence and good order.

1340. His next public service was off the harbour of Sluys, where, in an engagement with the French fleet, he was second in command under King Edward the Third, and gained a complete victory.

“When the king’s fleet,” says the chronicler, “was almost got to Sluys, they saw so many masts standing before it, that they looked like a wood. The king asked the commander of his ship what they could be, who answered that he imagined they must be that armament of Normans which the King of France kept at sea, and which had so frequently done him much damage, had burnt the good town of Southampton, and taken his large ship the ‘Christopher.’ The king replied, I have for a long time wished to meet with them, and now, please God and St. George, we will fight with them; for in truth{48} they have done me so much mischief, that I will be revenged upon them if possible.”

The large ships under Lord Arundel, the bishop of Norwich, and others, now advanced, adds Froissart, and ran in among those of Flanders: but they had not any advantage; for the crossbow-men defended themselves gallantly under their commander Sir John de Bucque. He and his company were well armed in a ship equal in bulk to any they might meet, and had their cannons on board, which were of such a weight, that great mischief was done by them. This battle was very fierce and obstinate, for it continued three or four hours; and many of the vessels were sunk by the “large and sharply-pointed bolts of iron which were cast down from the maintops, and made large holes in their decks.” When night came on, they separated, and cast anchor to repair their damage and take care of the wounded. But at the next flow of the tide, they again set sail and renewed the combat; yet the English continually gained on the Flemings, and, having got between them and Blanquenberg and Sluys, drove them on Cadsand, where the defeat was completed.

So great was the disaster to the French monarch on this day, that none of his ministers would venture to communicate to him the amount of life and property which had been sacrificed. What the minister, however, durst not reveal, the king’s jester found means to divulge. “What arrant cowards are those English!” said the jester. “How so?” demanded Philip. “Because,” answered zany, “they had not courage to jump overboard, as the French and Normans did lately at Sluys[51].” This opened the king’s eyes, and prepared him for the disastrous tidings that were now poured in upon him.

Six years later, Arundel was appointed admiral of the king’s fleet, and conveyed the great military expedition from Southampton to Normandy. When the troops were disembarked at La Hogue, he was created constable of the forces; and with Northampton and other noblemen commanded the second division at the battle of Cressy[52].

During the heat of the combat, when Prince Edward was surrounded by the enemy and in personal jeopardy, Arundel and Northampton hastened to his support; ordered their division forward, and closed with the enemy. The English rushed upon their assailants with renewed ardour; the French line was charged, broken, and dispersed; “earls, knights, squires, and men-at-arms, continuing the struggle in confused masses, were mingled in one promiscuous slaughter.” When night closed, King Philip, with a retinue of only five barons and sixty knights, fled in dismay before the cry of “St. George{49} for England!” Eleven princes, twelve hundred knights, and thirty thousand soldiers, had fallen on the side of the French.

On another occasion, but on a different element, Arundel was present with the king, in his “chivalrous engagement with the French fleet, off Winchelsea;” and four years later was deputed to the court of Pope Innocent, then at Avignon, in the fruitless attempt to arrange the articles of a permanent reconciliation between the Crowns of England and France.

Arundel survived these brilliant events many years; and during the leisure secured to him by his great public services, appears to have found occupation for his active mind and munificent taste in repairing and embellishing his ancestral[53] Castle, where he died at an advanced age, and bequeathed immense possessions to his family.

The contrast presented in the life and destinies of his son forms a melancholy page in the family history. He was a brave man, and had performed several gallant exploits. But it was his misfortune to fall upon evil times, of which intrigue, disaffection, private revenge, and outward violence were leading characteristics. Associating with the turbulent spirits who surrounded an imbecile and capricious monarch, his character took the complexion of the age.

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1397. He is said to have been at the head of a conspiracy already mentioned in this work, page 39, and which is thus recorded by Holinshed, Grafton, and others of the old chroniclers[54]. The Earls of Arundel, Derby, Marshal, and Warwick; the Archbishop of Canterbury, Arundel’s brother; the Abbot of St. Alban’s, and the Prior of Westminster, met the Duke of Gloucester[55] in Arundel Castle, where, receiving first the sacra{50}ment by the hands of the Archbishop, they resolved to seize the person of King Richard the Second, and his brothers the Dukes of Lancaster and York, to commit them to prison, and cause the lords of the King’s Council to be drawn and hanged. This plot, however, was divulged, it is said, by the Earl Marshal, and the apprehension of Arundel led to the family catastrophe, which with some little abridgment of the original authors is related as follows:—

Apprehended under assurances of personal security, he was hurried to the Tower, and finally tried and condemned by the Parliament at Westminster.

On the feast of St. Matthew, Richard Fitz Alaine, Earl of Arundel, was brought forth to swear before the King and whole Parliament to such articles as he was charged with.[56] And as he stood at the bar, the Lord Neville was commanded by the Duke of Lancaster, which sat that day as High Steward of England, to take the hood from his neck, and the girdle from his waist. Then the Duke of Lancaster declared unto him that for his manifold rebellions and treasons against the king’s majesty, he had been arrested, and hitherto kept in ward, and now at the petitions of the lords and commons, he was called to answer such crimes as were there to be objected against him, and so to purge himself, or else to suffer for his offences, such punishment as the law appointed.

First he charged him that he had ridden in armour against the King in company of the Duke of Gloucester, and of the Earl of Warwick, to the breach of peace and disquieting of the realm.

His answer hereunto was, that he did not this upon any evil meaning towards the King’s person, but rather for the benefit of the King and realm, if it were interpreted aright and taken as it ought to be.

It was further demanded of him, why he procured letters of pardon from the King, if he knew himself guiltless. He answered he did not purchase them for any fear he had of faults committed by him, but to stay the malicious speech of them that neither loved the King nor him.{51}

He was again asked whether he would deny that he had made any such rade with the persons before named, and that in company of them he entered not armed unto the King’s presence against the King’s will and pleasure. To this he answered he could not deny it, but that he so did.

Then the speaker, Sir John Bushie, with open mouth besought that judgment might be had against such a traitor; and “your faithful commons,” said he to the King, “ask and require that so it may be done.” The Earl, turning his head aside, quietly said to him, “Not the King’s faithful commons” require this, “but thou, and what thou art I know.” Then the eight appellants standing on the other side, cast their gloves at him, and in prosecuting their appeal—which already had been read—offered to fight with him, man to man, to justify the same. “Then,” said the Earl, “if I were at libertie, and that it might so stande with the pleasure of my sovereign, I would not refuse to prove you all liars in this behalfe.”

Then spake the Duke of Lancaster, saying to him, “What have you further to say to the points laid before you?” He answered, that of the King’s grace he had his letters of general pardon, which he required to have allowed. Then the duke told him that the pardon was revoked by the prelates and noblemen in Parliament; and therefore willed him to make some other answer.

The Earl told him again that he had another pardon under the King’s great seal, granted him long after the King’s own motion, which also he required to have allowed. The Duke told him that the same was likewise revoked. After this, when the Earl had nothing more to say for himself, the Duke pronounced judgment against him as in cases of treason is used.

But after he had made an end, and paused a little, he said, “The King our sovereign lord of his mercy and grace, because thou art of his blood, and one of the Peers of the realm, hath remitted all other pains, saving the last that is to say, the beheading, and so thou shalt only lose thy head;”—and forthwith he was had away, and led through London, unto the Tower-hill. There went with him to see the execution done, six great lords, of whom there were three earls, Nottingham, that had married his daughter; Kent, that was his daughter’s son; and Huntington, being mounted on great horses, with a great company of armed men, and the fierce bands of the Cheshiremen, furnished with axes, swords, bows and arrows, marching before and behind him, who only in this parliament had licence to bear weapon, as some have written. When he should depart the palace, he desired that his hands might be loosed to dispose of such money as he had in his purse, betwixt that place and Charing Cross. This was permitted; and so he gave such money as he had in alms with his own hands, but his arms were still bound behind him.{52}

When he came to the Tower-hill, the noblemen that were about him moved him right earnestly to acknowledge his treason against the king. But he in no wise would do so; but maintained that he was never traitor in word nor deed; and herewith perceiving the Earls of Nottingham and Kent, that stood by with other noblemen, busy to further the execution, and being, as ye have heard, of kin, and allied to him, he spake to them, and said, “Truly it would have beseemed you rather to have been absent, than here at this business. But the time will come ere it be long, when as many shall marvel at your misfortune as do now at mine.” After this, forgiving the executioner, he besought him not to torment him long, but to strike off his head at one blow, and feeling the edge of the sword, whether it was sharp enough or not, he said, “It is very well, do that thou hast to do quickly,”—and so kneeling down, the executioner with one stroke, strake off his head. “Then returned they that were at the execution and shewed the kinge merily of the death of the erle; but although the kinge was then merry and glad that the dede was done, yet after exceedingly vexed was he in his dremes.” The Earl’s body was buried, together with his head, in the church of the Augustine Friars in Bread-street, within the city of London.

The death of this earl[57] was much lamented among the people, considering his sudden fall and miserable end, whereas, not long before among all the noblemen of this land, there was none more esteemed; so noble and valiant he was that all men spake honour of him.

After his death, as the fame went, the king was sore vexed in his sleep with horrible dreams, imagining that he saw this earl appear unto him, threatening him, and putting him in horrible fear, as if he had said with the poet to King Richard—

“Nunc quoque factorum venio memor umbra tuorum,
In sequor et vultus ossea forma tuos.”—
With which visions being sore troubled in sleep, he cursed the day that ever he knew the earl. And he was the more unquiet, because he heard it reported that the common people took the earl for a martyr, insomuch that some came to visit the place of his sepulture, for the opinion they had conceived of his holiness. And, when it was bruited abroad, as for a miracle, that his head should be grown to his body again, the tenth day after his burial; the king sent about ten of the clock in the night certain of the nobi{53}lity to see his body taken up, that he might be certified of the truth. Which done, and perceiving it was a fable, he commanded the friars to take down his arms, that were set up about the place of his burial, and to cover the grave, so as it should not be perceived where he was buried.

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In less than two years, however, King Richard himself was a captive in the hands of his subjects. Young Arundel and the son of the late Duke of Gloucester were appointed his keepers. “Here,” said Lancaster, as he delivered[58] Richard into their custody[59], “here is the king; he was the murderer of your fathers; I expect you to be answerable for his safety.”

During the first five years of Henry the Fourth, young Arundel, among other services, shared with his sovereign the reverses which attended his invasion of the Welsh frontier, and his campaign against Owen Glendower.—But at length the scenes of the camp gave place to domestic festivities; and his approaching marriage with Donna Béatrice, daughter of John the First, king of Portugal, was publicly announced. Great preparations were made to receive the bride with all the honours due to her beauty and station; the royal palace and the earl’s ancestral castle were sumptuously fitted up for her reception. She left Portugal with a splendid retinue, made a prosperous voyage, and arrived in London in the middle of November. On the twenty-sixth of the same month the solemnity took place in the Royal Chapel, where, in the presence of the King and Queen, Donna Béatrice gave her hand to the young Earl of Arundel.{54}

Their subsequent arrival at Arundel, and the rejoicings which there met the royal bride, may be better imagined than described. All that could add to the splendour of the gala was ingeniously arranged and displayed; and on her triumphant entry under the old Norman gateway of her husband’s castle, Donna Béatrice might well confess that “the castled heights of Algarva were not so beautiful as the verdant hills, and embattled towers, of Arundel.”

Among the personal exploits by which his brief career was subsequently distinguished, is the following.—During the excitement which prevailed in France in consequence of the murder of the Duke of Orleans, “the author of that assassination, Charles Duke of Burgundy, now taking the alarm, applied to the English monarch for assistance.” His request was instantly complied with; for Henry had “private motives which prompted him in this instance.”

1411. Arundel, at the head of a strong body of archers and men-at-arms, was despatched to join the Burgundian leader, whom he met at Arras; and thence directing their march upon the capital, arrived on the twenty-third of October. The first point of attack was St. Cloud, where Arundel took charge of the assault, and marching his men to the bridge which here crosses the Seine, carried it by storm; took possession of the town with severe loss to the enemy, and returned with numerous prisoners, immense booty, and the thanks of the Burgundian chief.

The same Earl was also present at the siege of Harfleur, in the subsequent reign; and under both sovereigns held many distinguished posts of high trust and honour. But returning from the last campaign in ill health, he died at his paternal seat of Arundel, where a magnificent monument, quartered with the royal arms of Portugal, attests his virtues and patriotic services.

Of John Fitzalan, the eighth Earl, the public services and achievements, “during the French wars,” are not sufficiently prominent to demand any special notice in these pages; but John Fitzalan, the ninth Earl, is justly celebrated for his abilities both as a soldier and a senator.

In the grand tournament[60] which took place in the French capital in honour of the coronation of Henry the Fifth, the English monarch, there was a brilliant display of all that was most dazzling to the eye, and daring to the imagination. But at the close of the scenes in which the pride and prowess of chivalry were never more strikingly exemplified, Arundel[61] and the Comte de St. Pol, grand master of the household, were acknowledged to have carried away the prize from every competitor[62].{55}

Four years later, an event occurred which was destined to close his military career and carry him off in “the blaze of his fame.” This happened in an attack upon the old castle of Gerberoi, near Beauvais, during the operations of the English army in Picardy.

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Leaving Gournay at midnight, the Earl arrived in eight hours with the advanced guard in sight of the towers of Gerberoi. But in his impatience to reduce the fortress, he had miscalculated the strength of its walls and garrison, with the experience of its veteran commandant La Hire, and his own diminutive force. “The enemy,” says Holinshed, “perceiving that his horses were weary and his archers not yet come up, determined to set upon him before the arrival of his footmen, which they knew to be a mile behind.” As soon as he came in sight the gates were suddenly thrown open, and three thousand troops rushing upon the handful of men under his command, threw them into confusion. An unequal conflict ensued—struck with panic, and pressed by an overwhelming majority, the rout of the English became general. Arundel, with a few undaunted followers, who had sworn to share his glory or his grave, took up his position in “a little close” or corner of a field, where his rear was under cover of a strong hedge, threw up a hasty fortification of pointed stakes, and thus protected, kept the enemy at bay. But other and more powerful means of annoyance were at hand. La Hire ordered three culverins to be brought from the castle, and planted in front of the “forlorn hope.” The first shot told sadly upon the members of this intrepid band;{56} but in the presence of their chief, nothing could damp their fortitude, nothing could paralyse their exertions. The first discharge was received with a shout of triumph and defiance. But the third striking Arundel in the knee, shattered the bone and threw him to the ground. This shot was the loss of the day. The French commander, seizing the favourable moment, rushed upon the entrenchment—and while Arundel, though faint with loss of blood and racked with pain, still continued to cheer on his men—effected a breach and took captive the gallant earl and his companions.

Arundel survived the disaster for some time, but died at last of his wound, and was buried in the church of the Grey Friars—the Frères Mineurs—of Beauvais.

In the collegiate church of Arundel, where he had previously selected his own place of interment, a cenotaph of beautiful design and elaborate workmanship still marks the spot; but, owing to some unknown cause, as Mr. Tierney informs us, “his executor neglected this last injunction;” and the soldier was not permitted to find rest in the sepulchre of his fathers.

1304. Humphrey, his son, became heir to his titles and estates; but, not surviving his father more than three years, they again passed to his uncle, William Fitzalan, then in his twenty-first year. The events of his life, however, are not of a character to interest the reader by any bright displays of moral excellence, which could be handed down as examples to posterity.

“Obsequious—veering round with every change,
Now to the liege professing homage fervent;
Then as the sceptre dropp’d, could it seem strange
That faction found him its most humble servant!”
Yet with all his political faults, there was much in his private life and conversation—much in his munificence to the church—and still more in his encouragement of learning, to rescue his name from oblivion. He died at Arundel, and was buried with his ancestors in the Chapel, where a splendid altar-tomb attests his love and patronage of the fine arts.

In the preface to Caxton’s Golden Legende, honourable mention is made of the puissant, “noble and vertuous lorde, Willyam, Erle of Arundelle.” Dallaway quoting Vincent says—“William Earle of Arundell, a very father of nurture and courtesy, died at a great age at Arundell, and there triumphantly lieth buried.”

His successor, Thomas Fitzalan, was a man whose address and accomplishments found ready acceptance at court, and secured the good-will and approbation of more than one sovereign.

1543. Henry Fitzalan, on succeeding his father this year, returned from Calais to England, and at Arundel kept the Christmas festivities in such style{57} with his neighbours, that it is known, says the MS. Life quoted by Mr. Dallaway, as “the great Xmas of Arundel.”

1544. At the siege of Boulogne, in the following year, he was nominated by King Henry as marshal of the field. The siege on this occasion proved tedious; the town and garrison were resolute in their defence, and day after day the besiegers were baffled in their efforts to force them to a capitulation. At last, however, a mine, which had been successfully worked beneath the castle, was sprung at midnight; the explosion shook the whole citadel, and

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general confusion ensued. Seizing the favourable moment, Arundel ordered the battering ordnance to play with redoubled fury upon the walls; and heading at the same time a resolute detachment, took his station in the entrenchments. There, while the shot and shell struck and exploded in the ramparts over his head, he waited till a breach in the masonry was effected; and then throwing himself into the gap, cheered on his men to the assault. Inspired by their leader’s example, every soldier did his duty; the besieged were driven from the works; their guns were turned against themselves, the ramparts were cleared; capitulation was effected, and before morning the flag of England floated in triumph from the Castle of Boulogne.[63]{58}

But neither prowess in the field nor wisdom in the cabinet could exempt Arundel from the trials, calumnies, and persecutions of those who only saw, in the royal favour extended to him, a grand obstacle to their own advancement. After the demise of Henry, charges were accordingly brought against him, which—although never proved—formed the ground of his exclusion from the council, were attended with a heavy fine, and aggravated by imprisonment. The false evidence, however, on which these penalties were inflicted, being speedily detected, his confinement was very brief. A large portion of the fine was remitted, but the remembrance of such unmerited treatment was never to be effaced. Subsequently, on the exhibition of further charges against him, he was again sent to the Tower, where he was detained a close prisoner during thirteen months, and was then enlarged on payment of a heavy fine, and admonished to “behave himself according to the duty of a nobleman, and to prove in deeds what he professed in words.”

But events were now fast hastening to a crisis. The demise of the royal minor, the elevation of Lady Jane Grey, the ebullitions of party violence—all spread universal excitement and alarm throughout the country.

Arundel, who had long fostered a spirit of secret enmity and revenge against Northumberland, as the author of his misfortunes, now perceived that the moment of retaliation was at hand. He invited and promised the full weight of his support to the Princess Mary in private; but in public he zealously espoused the cause of her rival, the Lady Jane; and was among the first who offered her homage, and swelled the magnificence of her entry into London.

1544. Northumberland was blinded by so much apparent devotion to the cause; and when he reluctantly quitted London to stem the torrent that was now rapidly setting in from the east, Arundel, says Stow, took leave of him in these specious and hollow terms: “Farewell, my lord; and I pray God be with your grace. Sorry indeed am I, that it is not my chance to go with you, and bear you company, in whose presence I could find in my heart{59} to shed my blood, even at your feet.” But as soon as Northumberland was gone, Arundel changed his tone; denounced him as a traitor; declared his sentiments; and boldly asserted the sovereign right of the eldest daughter of Henry the Eighth. His fervid eloquence and appeal to the nobles present made a deep and visible impression. Pembroke[64], infected by the enthusiasm of the speaker, starting up, and grasping the hilt of his sword, exclaimed, “Either this sword shall make Mary queen, or I will die in her quarrel!” The result needs not be told. In an instant the whole aspect of affairs was changed. That very night Mary was proclaimed in every street of the city—banquets, bonfires, riots, and illuminations, were called to attest the fact.

The news of the revolution were scattered in all points of the compass, and at Cambridge reached the Duke of Northumberland, who was astounded at what had happened, and felt all the paralysing influence of his critical position.

When Arundel, whose revenge was now secure, arrived with the warrant for his apprehension, the duke threw himself upon his mercy, and implored him, says the Chronicler, “to be good to him for the love of God!” But Arundel coldly replied that his grace should have sought for mercy sooner, and then committing him to safe custody, ordered him off to the Tower.

During the reign of Mary, Arundel had many honours heaped upon him, and filled several important offices of state; nor did court favour desert him on the accession of Elizabeth, who even made him her familiar companion, and became his frequent guest. She visited him at her splendid palace of Nonsuch, of which he was keeper; joined in all the revels in celebration of her visit; accepted at her departure a “cupboard of plate” and repaid him with assurances of cordial regard and unlimited confidence.

Flattered by such manifestations of royal favour, Arundel went so far in his loyal attachment as to become one of her Majesty’s impassioned suitors. He was a Catholic indeed, but love and loyalty were divinities to which religion had been often known to bend; and having given his vote and influence to all her state measures—and not weighing the “queen’s sincerity by his own”—he looked forward with bright anticipations of the future. But Elizabeth was as much an adept in manœuvring as the earl; her chief object had now been accomplished; she no longer required his services—she remembered his support of her sister Mary; and when Arundel ventured to address her as the royal Chloë of his admiration, the queen threw off the mask, and instead{60} of receiving the homage thus tendered, in the sense it was meant, ordered the noble earl to be placed under arrest. Well might he exclaim—

“Tantæne animis cœlestibus iræ?”
The arrest however was soon removed; and with his enlargement a more rational course presented itself for his choice. His health requiring change of climate, he went abroad; and after spending fourteen months in travel beyond seas, he returned to London in a style that resembled the triumphant progress of a sovereign, and to present, as a peace-offering to her Majesty, “a pair of the first silk stockings[65] ever seen in England.”

Once more restored to favour, he did not long maintain his position; but again lapsing into unlawful practices, by tampering in the question respecting Mary, Queen of Scotland, and the Duke of Norfolk, his son-in-law; he finally lost the queen’s countenance, and was recommitted as a prisoner to the palace of Nonsuch. The dreams of ambition were now past. On his liberation, he retired from the political world to spend the remainder of his days in study and domestic seclusion, where he could moralise on the mad projects of ambition, the vexations and vanities of court life.

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1589. He died at Arundel House in the Strand, and was buried “with solemn pomp and costly funerall” in the collegiate Chapel of Arundel, where his monument is still an object of no common interest to the stranger.

We shall next, in accordance with our plan, proceed to notice such passages in the history of the Howards, Earls of Arundel, as may best exhibit some of the public services, the extraordinary events, or striking incidents in which they have severally been engaged. In these sketches, however, we purpose to exemplify the character of each by authentic traits of conduct in the field and the cabinet; in the noon of fame, and in the night of misfortune.{61}

In a review of their history and achievements, however, our notice, strictly speaking, ought to commence at that period when the titles of Arundel and Norfolk became first united in the same Peer. But the task will not be tedious, and cannot be uninteresting, to present our readers with a genealogical epitome of the Howards of Norfolk.

The origin of this family is involved in obscurity, which the diligence of research appears to have rendered more obscure, making darkness visible. For antiquity’s sake, however, it is sufficient to state that the name was of some distinction in the 13th century; and that the ancestor of the present family, John Howard of Wigen Hall, in Norfolk, was a Judge of Common Pleas, summoned to Parliament by Edward the First, and distinguished for his talents and public services. 1298-1307. Sir Robert Howard, the fifth in regular descent, had the good fortune to contract a marriage alliance with the second daughter of Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, and his Duchess Elizabeth, sister and co-heir of Thomas Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel. By her father’s side, the noble bride was a grand-daughter of Margaret Plantagenet, whose father—Thomas de Brotherton—was the fifth son of Edward the First. This alliance, by connecting Sir Robert and his descendants with the blood royal of England, opened a path to those splendid honours by which they were subsequently distinguished. Sir John Howard, his immediate descendant, was promoted during the reign of three successive sovereigns to many high 1483. posts of trust and dignity; and at last summoned to Parliament by the title of Baron Howard. Thirteen years later he was elevated to the highest title in the peerage; his son was created Earl of Surrey, by Richard the Third; he was invested with the hereditary office of Earl Marshal of England; dignities which his ancestors Mowbray, Thomas de Brotherton, and Roger Bigod, had severally enjoyed as Dukes of Norfolk. But the high honours thus showered upon him, were doomed very shortly after to be blasted. The battle of Bosworth was at hand; he had “touched the highest point of all his greatness,” and whilst—

He bore his blushing honours thick upon him,
The third day came a frost, a killing frost.
The following letter, written only a very few days previous to the battle, and addressed to the Sheriff of Norfolk, is a document of no inconsiderable interest:—“To my well-beloved Friend John Paston, be this bill delivered in haste.—Well beloved Friend, I commend me to you, letting you to understand that the King’s enemies be a-land, and that the King would have set forth as upon Monday, but only for our Lady-day; but for certain he goeth forth as upon Tuesday, for a servant of mine hath brought to me the{62} certainty. Whereupon I pray you that ye meet with me at Bury, as upon Tuesday night, and that ye bring with you such company of tall men, as ye may goodly make at my cost and charge; beside that which ye have promised the King; and I pray you, ordain them jackets of my livery, and I shall content you at your meeting with me—Your lover, J. Norfolk.”—Green.

One of the most important days in the annals of Great Britain was now at hand. The royal family was nearly extinct; the nobility was sadly diminished and cut off; the nation itself was thinned of its best and bravest inhabitants—the sad results of twelve sanguinary engagements; and again two formidable armies had taken the field under two of the ablest politicians that ever hoisted the standard of ambition or revenge.

On this memorable day King Richard’s front was commanded by the subjects of this notice, John Duke of Norfolk, and his son, the Earl of Surrey; the second by Richard in person; and the right wing by Henry, Earl of Northumberland. Richmond’s front, being very inferior in numbers to that of his rival, was thinly extended over a wide surface, so as to present a more formidable appearance, and was commanded by John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, whose father and brother had both perished on the scaffold in support of the house of Lancaster. De Vere was also first-cousin to Norfolk, whose blood he was destined to shed on this disastrous field. The other divisions of Richmond’s army were led by Sir John Savage, and Sir Gilbert Talbot; while Richmond himself took up a conspicuous station in the field under his uncle the Earl of Pembroke.

After a night of fearful preparation, Norfolk, in issuing forth early in the morning, discovered the following rhyme rudely pencilled on the door of his tent—sadly ominous of the event at hand—

“Jack of Norfolk, be not too bold,
For Dickon, thy master, is bought and sold[66].”
The battle, now set in array, commenced with a discharge of arrows; after which, the Earl of Oxford, in order to concentrate his forces, issued a command, that every man should fight close to his standard. In this movement, Norfolk and Oxford, leading their respective vans, approached each other.{63} With a rancour sharpened at this moment by their very relationship, each singled out the other as an object worthy of his lance. With cool determined intrepidity they dashed forward to the rencontre; and shivering their spears at the first thrust, drew their swords and resumed the trial of strength and skill. Rushing in upon his antagonist’s guard, Norfolk’s powerful arm made a sweeping blow at the head of De Vere; but the blade glancing down from his polished helmet failed in its effect, and only wounded him in the left arm.

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Quickly recovering his balance, and exasperated by the dread of discomfiture more than the pain of his wound, Oxford returned the blow with tremendous effect; hewed the visor from Norfolk’s helmet, and thereby exposed his face to the missiles that were falling in showers around them. Oxford, like a generous knight, disdaining to take advantage of his gallant adversary, instantly dropped the point of his weapon. But his forbearance did not save his noble kinsman; for, at the same instant, struck in the forehead by a shaft which penetrated the brain, Norfolk made a convulsive spring in the saddle, and fell prostrate on the field. Oxford, deeply affected by his death, sadly exclaimed—“A better knight cannot die, though he might in a better cause!”

The result of this day needs not to be told; but the anecdote of the young Surrey, embarked in the same cause, and in fulfilment of the same oath of fidelity which bound his father to the standard of King Richard, is worth repeating in this place.

During the heat of the battle, conscious of his father’s fall, and exhausted by extraordinary exertions of mind and body, he was surrounded by a powerful body of his antagonists, each of whom was ambitious to distinguish him{64}self by disabling or making him prisoner. Observing at this moment the brave Sir John Stanley in the last charge, Surrey presented to him the hilt of his sword, and said, “The day is your own, there is my sword; let me die by yours—but not by an ignoble hand!” “God forbid,” replied the generous Stanley—“live for new honours. Stanley will never shed the blood of so brave a youth. No fault attaches to you! the error was your father’s!” “What!” rejoined Surrey, again recovering his sword; “does the noble Talbot insult the vanquished? Loyalty, Sir Knight, is the watchword of our house. My father revered the sacred authority of the king, though he lamented the errors of the man. Never shall I repent the choice I have made, seeing that it can leave no stain upon my honour. Whoever wears the crown, him will I fight for; nay, were it placed on nothing better than a stake in that hedge, I would draw my sword in its defence.”

The same frank and gallant bearing in the presence of Richmond after the battle, secured for young Surrey the royal confidence.

The scene is thus described by Sir John Beaumont, in his “Bosworth Field.”

Courageous Talbot had with Surrey met;
And after many blows, began to fret,
That one so young in arms should thus unmoved
Resist his strength, so oft in war approved.
And now the Earl beholds his father’s fall,
Whose death like horrid darkness frighted all;
Some give themselves as captives, others fly;
But this young lion casts his generous eye
On Mowbray’s lion, painted on his shield,
And with that king of beasts repines to yield.
“The field,” saith he, “in which the lion stands,
Is blood, and blood I offer to the hands
Of daring foes; but never shall my flight
Dye black my lion, which, as yet, is white.”
His enemies, like cunning huntsmen, strive
In binding snares to take their prey alive,
While he desires to expose his naked breast,
And thinks the sword that deepest strikes is best.
Young Howard single with an army fights;
When, moved with pity, two renowned knights,
Strong Clarendon, and valiant Conyers, try
To rescue him—in which attempt they die.
Now Surrey, fainting, scarce his sword can hold;
Which made a common soldier grow so bold,
To lay rude hands upon that noble flower,
Which he disdaining—anger gives him power—
Erects his weapon with a nimble round,
And sends the peasant’s arm to kiss the ground.
This done, to Talbot he presents his blade,
And saith, “It is not hope of life hath made
This my submission; but my strength is spent,
And some perhaps of villain blood will vent
{65}
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My weary soul; this favour I demand,
That I may die by your victorious hand.”
“Nay, God forbid that any of my name,”
Quoth Talbot, “should put out so bright a flame
As burns in thee, brave youth! where thou hast err’d
It was thy father’s fault, since he preferr’d
A tyrant’s crown before the juster side.”
The Earl, still mindful of his birth, replied,
“I wonder, Talbot, that thy noble heart
Insults on ruins of the vanquish’d part:
We had the right; if now to you it flow,
The fortune of your swords hath made it so.
I never will my luckless choice repent,
Nor can it stain mine honour or descent;
Set England’s royal wreath upon a stake,
There will I fight, and not the place forsake.
And if the will of God hath so disposed
That Richmond’s brow be with the crown inclosed,
I shall to him, or his, give doubtless signs,
That duty in my thoughts—not faction—shines.”
And the sincerity of his professions is fully attested by his subsequent conduct, both in the camp and the cabinet. He became Lord Treasurer of the Household, attended the Princess Margaret to Scotland on her marriage with James the Fourth—the most chivalrous prince of his age,—and, with his wife and daughter, was present at all the magnificent scenes, fêtes, banquets, and tournaments, which attended that ill-starred alliance.{66}

On the accession of Henry the Eighth, he continued in the same high office—was elected a privy councillor, appointed earl marshal of the kingdom, and his majesty’s lieutenant for the north of England. His next appearance in the field was at the battle of Flodden, where, with his two sons, he had the chief command. The fortunes of that day are too well known to every reader to require any lengthened description in this place; but to connect the achievements with the subject of this brief memoir, it becomes necessary to take a cursory view

“Of the stern strife and carnage drear
Of Flodden’s fatal field;
Where shiver’d was fair Scotland’s spear,
And broken was her shield.”
Sept. 9, 1513. On the morning of the battle the English army advanced in four divisions. On the right, which first engaged, were the two sons of Earl Surrey: Thomas Howard, Admiral of England, and Sir Edmund, Knight Marshal of the Army. Their divisions were separated from each other; but at the request of Sir Edmund, his brother’s battalion was drawn up very near to his own. The centre was commanded by Surrey in person; the left wing by Sir Edward Stanley, with the men of Lancashire and Cheshire. Lord Dacres, with a large body of horse, formed a reserve. When the smoke which the wind had driven between the armies was somewhat dispersed, they perceived that the Scots, after having set fire to their tents, had moved down the hill in a similar order of battle, and in profound silence.

“Scarce could they see or hear their foes
Until at weapon-point they close—
They close in clouds of smoke and dust,
With sword-sway and with lances’ thrust;
And such a yell was there
Of sudden and portentous birth,
As if men fought upon the earth,
And fiends in upper air.
Oh, life and death was in the shout;
Revel and rally, charge and rout,
And triumph and despair!”
The Earls of Huntly and Home commanded the left wing of the Scots, and charged Sir Edmund Howard with such impetuosity and success as entirely discomfited his part of the right wing. Sir Edmund’s banner was beaten down—

Then fell the spotless banner white,
The Howard’s ‘Lion’ fell—
and he himself escaped with difficulty to his brother’s division. The admiral, however, stood firm; and quickly advancing to his support with the reserve of cavalry, appears to have kept the victors in effectual check.{67}

Then seizing the favourable moment and pushing forward, the admiral charged and routed a large division of the Scottish army in his front, commanded by the Earls of Crawford and Montrose, both of whom were slain on the spot.

The King and Surrey, who led the centres of their respective armies, were now engaged in close and doubtful conflict. James, surrounded by the flower of his kingdom, supported by the reserve under the Earl of Borthwick, but impatient and exasperated by the galling discharge of arrows from the English bowmen, made his attack with such impetuosity that the standard of Surrey was in imminent danger. But at that critical moment Stanley, who had routed the Scottish wing on the left, and was now pursuing his career of victory, arrived on the right flank in the rear of the king’s division, which,

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by throwing itself into a circle, disputed the battle till night closed in upon them.

Surrey then drew back his forces; for the Scottish centre remaining unbroken, and their left wing being victorious, he yet doubted the event of the field, for in the words of the poet—

“The stubborn spearmen still made good
Their dark impenetrable wood
Each stepping where his comrade stood
The instant that he fell;
No thought was there of dastard flight;
Link’d in the serried phalanx tight
Groom fought like noble, squire like knight,
As fearlessly and well.”
The Scottish army, however, dispirited by the loss of their king and his principal chiefs, abandoned the field before day-break, with a loss of between eight and ten thousand men—among whom were the very prime of their nobility, gentry, and even clergy.—Here the reader is referred to Pinkerton.

Surrey’s loss was also very great; perhaps within one-third of the vanquished; but those who fell were only men of inferior note. According to the old ballad, there perished—

“Never a nobleman of fame
But Bryan Tunstall bold, alas!
Whose corse home to his burial came,
With worship great, as worthy was.”
The trophies of this victory were received by King Henry under the walls{68} of Tournay, to which he had laid siege; and every honour which could testify the royal satisfaction, or gratify a victorious commander, was subsequently conferred on the hero of the day. 1524. He was restored to the dukedom of Norfolk, acquired immense possessions, filled the highest offices of state, lived in princely splendour at the royal castle of Framlingham, and died at the age of eighty; leaving a numerous family to support his dignities, and share his vast possessions. He was the last of the Dukes of Norfolk buried in the Abbey of Thetford.

Her eldest daughter, Elizabeth, was the mother of Anne Boleyn, who fell a victim to the very hand which heaped so many honours upon her uncle and his sons. The Duke himself presided as High Steward at her trial; and even her father, “reluctantly it is to be hoped, sat among the judges.”

Thomas Howard, Admiral of England, his eldest son and successor, inherited the talents of his father; but with the accumulated honours of his house, and the satisfaction which accompanied him in the discharge of his duties to the sovereign and the state, misfortune was intimately blended. His achievements in the field, his wisdom in the cabinet, his devotion to the throne, appeared merely to hasten a catastrophe, from which he was only saved by the death of his persecutor; but which struck, in the person of his Son, one of the noblest victims that ever sank under the axe of despotism:—

“Who has not heard of Surrey’s fame?
His was the hero’s soul of fire;
And his the bard’s immortal name,
And his was love exalted high
By all the glow of chivalry.”
The crime for which this young nobleman was arraigned has never been properly investigated. His biographers and historians of the time, satisfied with the manifest absurdity of the treason alleged against him, have omitted to point out the grounds upon which the inference of Surrey’s guilt was founded, namely, the crime of quartering, with his own, the royal arms of England. A few words on this subject, on the authority of a recent biographer, may serve to elucidate some portion of its obscurity.

The arms of Edward the Confessor are said to have been a blue field, charged with a gold cross at the end, flory, between five gold martlets. Royal arms appear to have been used in the time of Richard the First, who bore a red shield, charged with three gold lions, which have ever since been the royal standard of England[67]. In the reign of Edward the First, and perhaps even in the previous century, the arms of three saints—Saint George,{69} Saint Edmund, and Saint Edward the Confessor—were always borne on the national banner; but none of which were supposed to have any connexion

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with the sovereignty of England. Richard the Second, however, choosing the Confessor for his patron or saint, impaled his arms with those of England and France; “and granted, at the same time, the Confessor’s arms to be borne, per pale, by two or three of the most eminent men of his court, who were descended from the blood royal.” One of the noblemen so distinguished was Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk; the right to whose arms and quarterings was indisputably inherited by the Earl of Surrey; but whether the coat or shield of the Confessor was granted to Mowbray for life only, or to him and “his heirs for ever,” is a question which remains still unsolved. Surrey, however, conceiving himself entitled to it, obtained the sanction of the heralds, and assumed the distinction among his other armorial quarterings. But the injustice of construing this act into a treasonable design is too glaring to require either comment or exposure. “The King himself, in granting armorial bearings to Anne Boleyn, took especial care to show her royal and illustrious descent through the Howards, by introducing the arms of Thomas de Brotherton, son of Edward the First; and of the Warrens, Earls of Surrey, out of the Howard shield![68]” But in that despotic reign, virtue, talent, and integrity were no protection against the highest penalty—the severest sentence which an obsequious legislation could pronounce or inflict. Surrey was too bright an ornament to be endured near the throne. His very accomplishments—his prowess—his high spirit—his sword and pen—his triumphs in the lists—and his success on the lyre, all raised up enemies whose private resentments could only be appeased with blood.{70}

1547. Surrey was brought to trial at the Guildhall on the 13th of January, where he defended himself with singular courage and ability; repelled the charges so insidiously preferred against him; impeached the flimsy evidence set up in support of the trial; appealed to the authority of the heralds for the obnoxious quarterings on his shield; and disclaimed, with all the indignation of conscious innocence, the treasonable imputations so rancorously heaped upon him.

In the course of examination, when a witness stated that, in a former conversation with the accused Earl, he repeated some strong expression used by Surrey, with his own insolent reply—which left it to be inferred that Surrey had tamely brooked his defiance—the young noble fixed his penetrating glance for an instant on the speaker, then turning round to the jury—“I leave it to you,” he said, “to judge whether it be possible that the man before you should so address the Earl of Surrey, and he not strike him on the spot.”

But the die was cast; the sentence of forfeiture was pronounced; the King was deaf to the supplications of his friends—to the last appeal for mercy. The thirst of blood had increased with the last agonies of dissolving nature; and, on the twenty-first morning of the same month, Surrey was hurried to Tower-hill, and there, under the blow of the executioner, bequeathed that name to posterity, around which, poet, painter, historian, and every lover of his country and her literature, have twined the wreaths of immortality.

“Thou jealous ruthless tyrant, Heaven repay
On thee, and on thy children’s latest line,
The wild caprice of thy despotic sway;
The gory bridal bed; the plundered shrine;
The murdered Surrey’s blood; the tears of Geraldine!”
Of the lives of Surrey and fair Geraldine, and the tournament in which his knights carried away the prize in the Tuscan capital, we adopt the following short sketch from the “Loves of the Poets:”—

“In the reign of Cosmo the First, the second Grand Duke of Tuscany of Lorenzo’s family, Florence, it is said, beheld a novel and extraordinary spectacle. A young traveller, from a court and a country which the Italians of that day seemed to regard much as we now do the Esquimaux, combining the learning of the scholar, and the amiable bearing of the courtier, with all the rash bravery of youthful romance, astonished the inhabitants of that queenly city, first by rivalling her polished nobles in the splendour of his retinue—the gallantry of his manners; and next, by boldly proclaiming that his ‘Ladye-love’ was superior to all that Italy could vaunt of beauty. That she was ‘Oltre le belle, bella,’—fair beyond the fairest; and maintaining his{71} boast is a solemn tourney, held in her honour, to the overthrow of all his opponents. This was our English Surrey, one of the earliest and most elegant

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of our amatory poets, and the lover of the fair Geraldine. According to the old tradition repeated by all Surrey’s biographers, he visited on his travels the famous necromancer Cornelius Agrippa, who, in a magic mirror, revealed to him the fair figure of his Geraldine, lying dishevelled on a couch, and, by the light of a taper, reading one of his tenderest Sonnets.”

“Dark was the vaulted room of gramarye,[69]
To which the wizard led the gallant knight,
Save that before a mirror, huge and high,
A hallow’d taper shed a glimmering light
On mystic implements of magic might;
On cross, and character, and talisman,
And almagest, and altar, nothing bright:
For fitful was the lustre, pale and wan,
As watchlight by the bed of some departing man.
“But soon, within that mirror huge and high,
Was seen a self-emitted light to gleam;
And forms upon its breast the Earl ’gan spy,
Cloudy and indistinct, as feverish dream;
Till, slow arranging, and defined, they seem
To form a lordly and a lofty room,
Part lighted by a lamp with silver beam.
Placed by a couch of Agra’s silken loom,
And part by moonshine pale, and part was hid in gloom.
“Fair all the pageant—but how passing fair
The slender form, which lay on couch of Ind!{72}
O’er her white bosom stray’d her hazel hair,
Pale her dear cheek, as if for love she pined;
All in her night-robe loose she lay reclined,
And, pensive, read from tablet eburine,
Some strain that seem’d her inmost soul to find:—
That favour’d strain was Surrey’s raptured line,
That fair and lovely form, the Lady Geraldine.”
Within the narrow limits to which this work is necessarily restricted, it is impossible to do justice to this melancholy subject, which of itself has afforded, and would again afford, matter sufficient to form a volume of the deepest interest. It has, however, long since engaged the genius of Campbell and some of the best spirits of our literature, in whose works the name and fame of Henry Howard are embalmed.

Thomas, the eldest son of the “murdered Surrey,” was restored to the dukedom of Norfolk by Queen Elizabeth. Loaded with many honours and dignities which evinced the entire confidence she reposed in him, all appeared to augur that so brilliant a career would have closed in a tranquil night. But the evil genius, which presided over his worldly destinies, was yet to be appeased. The orders of knighthood; the captain generalship of the forces the embassies and commissions, with which he was successively honoured by his sovereign, were only preludes to the last sad history of his life:—

He did but dream on sovereignty,
Like one that stands upon a promontory,
And spies a far-off shore, where he would tread,
Wishing his foot were equal with his eye,
And chides the sea that sunders him from thence.
King Henry VI.
Having received his early education under Fox, the martyrologist, then tutor in the family of his aunt, the Duchess of Richmond, he took the degree of master of arts at Cambridge, on the grand reception and entertainment of Queen Elizabeth at that University.

After discharging with fidelity and éclat the high posts of trust already mentioned; he was at last entangled by the snares of flattery and overweening ambition, and charged with treasonable designs entered into by him to forward the schemes of Mary Queen of Scots, with the view of allying himself with that ill-fated Princess by marriage,—views in which his ambition or his sympathy had got the better of his deliberate judgment, and in which he appears to have been encouraged by those hollow friends, who sought not his honour but his disgrace. He was accordingly arraigned, tried; and confessing his wilful participation in the plot, expiated his offence on the scaffold with characteristic firmness and composure.{73}

1572. By his alliance with Mary Fitzalan of Arundel, whom he lost within a year of their marriage, he had one son—Philip, Earl of Arundel.

To detail the circumstances of his life would far exceed our limits; but one or two incidents, taken from his later history, will be neither uninteresting nor uninstructive.—The charges brought against him were—conspiring, with Cardinal Allen, to restore the Roman Catholic faith in England; and concerting measures for quitting the realm without the queen’s knowledge and permission. With regard to the conspiracy, the evidence was too much based on party jealousy, vague hearsay, and surmise, to establish anything like conviction in the minds of unprejudiced judges. But of his attempted evasion from the kingdom, the fact is abundantly clear, and is thus related.

After his liberation from the Tower, his fears of new prosecutions and imprisonment became so excited, that he hastened from London to his castle of Arundel, and there prepared to join a vessel previously engaged for his service, and then waiting for him at Little Hampton.

Walsingham, however, who had his eyes and his spies everywhere, and is proudly recorded to have “out-shot the Jesuits with their own bow, and over-reached them in their equivocation,” was already in the secret. Before the Earl could reach the coast, the captain had received private notice from the Council, and was prepared to act in accordance with his instructions. Day after day was consumed in waiting, as the skipper pretended, for “a fair wind.” At length, the propitious moment having arrived, Arundel, attended by two domestics, went on board, and the wind being in their favour, the vessel made rapid way, and soon cleared that beautiful coast where the castle and forest of Arundel were among the last objects that faded from his eye, and led him, reflecting on the past, to ejaculate—

Quæ regio in terris nostri non plena laboris!
Continuing their course across the channel, his mind now recovered some portion of that serenity, to which he had long been a stranger. The danger of discovery was seemingly past; the treachery of friends and the machinations of enemies were alike forgotten or forgiven; and full of pleasing anticipations of the future, he resigned himself to repose, with this hope—

Hæc olim meminisse juvabit.
His soothing reverie, however, was soon to be dissipated. At midnight, a rocket, or other private signal, previously agreed upon, was let off from the mast-head, whilst the vessel continued her course. But at length they were suddenly hailed by a ship of war—ordered to lay-to—and instantly boarded.{74}

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The result is briefly told; the noble fugitive was hurried back to the shore, delivered into safe custody, carried to London, and lodged in the Tower, where, after trial and conviction, he was suffered to drag out an existence of several years under all the harshness of office, the pangs of disappointment, the hourly sorrows of paternal solicitude, and an exhausted constitution. Four years afterwards this nobleman was arraigned of high-treason, brought to his trial in Westminster Hall before twenty-five of his peers, the Earl of Derby being high steward on the occasion.

The “Earl appeared in a wrought velvet gown furred with martins, laid about with gold lace, and buttoned with gold buttons, a black satin doublet, a pair of velvet hose, and a high black hat on his head.” He was a very tall man, somewhat swarthy, and coming to the bar made two obeisances to the state, and to the nobles, and others present. Being required to hold up his hand, he raised it very high, saying, “Here are as true a man’s heart and hand as ever came into this hall.” It was urged against him that “he was a traitor, being a Papist; that the Queen of Scots had considered him one of her best friends; that Cardinal Allen had spoken of him as the chief hope of the Roman Catholics in England;” and that his letter to Queen Elizabeth, written on the eve of his intended escape by sea, had plainly accused the national justice, with regard to his father’s trial. He was then remanded to the Tower, and there languished till his death, which was evidently accelerated by the cruel suspense in which he was kept as to the final remission or execution of his sentence.

1592. Thomas Howard, the celebrated Earl, was brought up under the care of his mother, a lady of great and eminent virtues; who “was not negligent,” says Sir Edward Walker, “in his education; so that Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, was wont to call him the ‘Winter Pear,’ and to say, that, if he lived, he would become a great and a wise man.” On the accession of James the First, he was not only restored in blood by act of parliament, but also reinstated in all such titles of honour and precedence as Philip Earl of Arundel had forfeited; and in the honour, state, and dignity of Earl of Surrey, and to such dignity of baronies as Thomas Duke of Norfolk, his grandfather, had lost by his attainder.

In Italy, where he delighted to reside, he greatly improved his natural taste and disposition, and became an excellent judge and patron of the fine arts{75} In the parliament of this year, says Collins, Robert Lord Spencer, during the debates on the prerogative, speaking with great freedom against the government, and citing examples from history to illustrate his arguments, the Earl of Arundel interrupted him, by saying, “When those things happened, my lord, your ancestors were keeping sheep;” to which Spencer replied, “And yours, my Lord Arundel, were hatching treason.” They were both ordered to retire; and Arundel, as the aggressor, was, notwithstanding the court interest, sent to the Tower, from which he was soon released upon making his submission.

He attended King Charles at his coronation in Scotland; where all persons strove to outvie each other in the splendour of their apparel, retinue, and entertainment; but, still keeping up his own simplicity of dress and living, lost not on that account the honour and esteem due to his person and quality.—He possessed the richest gallery in Europe.

1646. His personal appearance and character are thus drawn: “He was tall of stature, and of shape and proportion rather goodly than neat; his

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countenance was majestical and grave; his visage long; his eyes large, black, and piercing; a hooked nose, and some warts or moles on his cheeks; his complexion was brown, his hair thin both on his head and beard: he was of stately presence and gait, so that any man who saw him, though in never so ordinary a habit, could not but conclude him to be a great person: his garb and fashion drawing more observation than did the rich apparel of others; it being a common saying of James Hay, Earl of Carlisle, ‘Here comes the Earl of Arundel in his plain stuff and trunk hose, with his beard in his teeth, that looks more like a nobleman than any of us.’”

He was more learned in men and manners than in books, yet understood the Latin very well, was master of the Italian; and a great favourer of learned men, such as Sir Robert Cotton, Sir Henry Spelman, Mr. Camden, Mr. Selden, and other antiquaries. He was a great master of order and ceremony, and knew, and kept greater distance towards his sovereign than any person of that time, and expected no less from his inferiors; often complaining, that the too great affability of the king, and the French garb of the court, would bring majesty into contempt. In council he was grave and succinct, rather discharging his conscience and honour, than complying with particular interests; and so was never at the head of business, or principal in{76} favour; contenting himself to be as it were the supporter of ancient nobility and gentry, and to interpose in their behalf.—He was a Protestant in religion, but no bigot or puritan; and professed more to affect moral virtues, than nice questions and controversies. He was most faithful and affectionate to his lady, indulgent to his children. His recreations were,—the education of his grandchildren; conversation with them; overlooking his rare collections; and when not diverted by business, pleasing himself in retirement to the country.”

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The anecdote of the earl’s presenting old Parr to King Charles may possibly be new to some of our readers. Parr at that time had lived and enjoyed twice ‘three score years and ten,’ without manifesting either infirmity of mind or body. He was one day the subject of conversation at Court; and Arundel was authorised to present this living chronicle of the kings of England to his majesty. Introduced to the royal presence, King Charles addressed him with much affability, and said—“Well, Parr, you have lived much longer than other men; pray, what have you done more than other men?” “Done, your highness?” said Parr; “I think I may say without vanity that I have done more than other men—I did penance after I had passed my hundredth year.”—The following is told of his son Lord Mowbray:

“At a committee of the House of Lords,” says Clarendon, “in the afternoon, in some debate, passion arose between the Earl of Pembroke, then lord chamberlain of the household, and the Lord Mowbray, eldest son of the Earl of Arundel; and from angry and disdainful words, an offer or attempt of blows was made; for which misdemeanour they were the next day both sent to the Tower by the House of Lords. The king, taking advantage of this miscarriage, and having been incensed by the carriage of the Earl of Pembroke, sent to him for his staff, and bestowed it upon the Earl of Essex.”

It is certain that Arundel faithfully adhered to the king, serving as a volunteer in his army, till he was sent for by his father to join him at Padua, where, after some stay in that city, and when on the point of returning home, his father, who resolved to follow him, became suddenly indisposed and died. Whereupon his lordship immediately gave orders for embalming his remains; brought them over with him to England, where he found the king’s affairs in a deplorable condition.{77}

Thomas, (son and heir to Henry, Earl of Arundel,) who was Earl of Arundel, Surrey, and Norfolk, after travelling into Italy, died at Padua, unmarried. The family honours and estate descended to Henry his brother, sixth Duke of Norfolk, who, being desirous of improving his natural abilities by travel, set out from London in February 1664, with his brother Edward to visit Constantinople, in compliance with an invitation from Count Lesley, whom the Emperor Ferdinand had nominated his ambassador extraordinary to the Sublime Porte. His Lordship was received, in every city and town in his way through Germany, with the honours due to his birth and fortune. At Vienna, he was immediately presented to his Imperial Majesty, and had the honour of being a frequent guest with the Emperor and Empress; as contained in his “relation of a journey from London to Vienna, and thence to Constantinople.”

After his Lordship’s return to England, in 1665, he was created Doctor of the Civil Law at Oxford, having been a munificent benefactor to that University, by his gift of the famous Marmora Arundeliana[70].

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Henry, seventh Duke of Norfolk, was of Magdalen-College, Oxford, where he took the degree of master of arts. In his father’s life-time, he was summoned to Parliament, by the title of Lord Mowbray, and next day, being introduced into the House of Peers, took his place at the upper end of the Barons’ bench. On the accession of James II., he signed the order, dated at Whitehall, for proclaiming him King of England. And by his Majesty’s being Sovereign of the Order of the Garter, his stall, as Duke of York, became vacant; when, at a chapter held at Whitehall, Norfolk was elected of that most noble Order, and installed at Windsor, the same year. He was then appointed Colonel of the twelfth regiment of foot: but, in the course of next year, resigned his command. Bishop Burnet relates, That the King giving the Duke of Norfolk the sword of state to carry before him to the Chapel Royal, where service was to be performed, the Duke went with it as far as the door of the Chapel, and there with a profound obeisance, made a dead halt. Observing this, the King said to him, My lord, your father would{78} have gone further: to which the Duke very significantly answered, Your majesty’s father was the better man, and He would not have gone so far.

Additional and more recent anecdotes of the House of Howard will be found in subsequent portions of this work.

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TOMB OF THE HOWARD FAMILY IN FRAMLINGHAM CHURCH.

Authorities quoted or referred to:—Orderic, Vitalis, Histor. Ecclesiast. lib. xiii.—Simeon Dunelmensis,—Simeon of Durham, Hist. Kings of England, A.D. 616-1113, ed. 1732. Camden, Annales, ed. 1717.—Doomsday Book, ed. 1783.—Bishop Rede’s Register, on the authority of Mr. Tierney, p. 16.—Royal Patents—Clarendon’s History.—Broughton, (Hugh and Thomas,) Collins, Peerage, 1760, 7 vols.—Caraccioli, History of Arundel.—Dallaway, Rape of Arundel—Do. West Sussex.—History of the Castle and Town of Arundel, by the Rev. M. A. Tierney.—Criticisms on the above. Horsfield, History, Antiquities, and Topography of Sussex. Speed, fol. ed. Harding’s Chronicles. Grafton’s Chronicle. Froissart. Monstrelet, 4to. Montfaucon—France Monumentale. MS. Description of Arundel and Environs. Notes on Mr. Tierney’s History, MS. English, French, and Latin Poets. Pictorial History. Civil and Military Transactions. Histories of Hume, Smollett, Lingard, Hallam, Chalmers’ Caledonia. Pinkerton Histories of Framlingham—Loder, and Green.—Lodge, &c. &c.

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Sᵀ. ALBAN’S ABBEY.

{79}

THE ABBEY OF ST. ALBANS.
“————————————- Claustrum
Martyris Albani, sit tibi tuta quies!
Hic locus ætatis nostræ primordia novit,
Annos felices lætitiæque dies!
Hic locus ingenuis pueriles imbuit annos
Artibus, et nostræ laudis origo fuit.
Hic locus insignes magnosque creavit alumnos.
Felix eximio martyre, gente, situ,
Militat hic Christo, noctuque dieque labori
Indulget sancto religiosa cohors.”
THE profound interest connected with the Abbey of St. Albans, has been much increased of late years by the prospect still held out of seeing its magnificent church converted into a cathedral. That this may be speedily and permanently effected, is a hope which every admirer of ecclesiastical architecture, every lover of that soil which has been hallowed by the blood of martyrs, will rejoice to see realised.

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In the short historical introduction to this subject, we shall adopt the testimony of the old chroniclers, whose names, with other authorities, will be found, chronologically arranged at the end of the chapter, so that the reader may know where to apply for such copious details as cannot be comprised within the limits of the present work. This plan will be carefully adhered to in the successive portions of the work, so that the inconvenience arising from a multiplicity of notes, and the frequent repetition of names and authorities, in the same chapter, may be effectually obviated.

That the first bishops in England were of Roman origin is obvious from their very names: and that wherever St. Augustin appointed a bishop he{80} founded a monastery, is a fact established by the history of every cathedral. But in cases where the metropolitan did not found a monastery and appoint a bishop at the same time, it appears that a monastic establishment was formed shortly after by the newly appointed bishop. By the time of Offa, king of the Mercians, about twenty great monasteries had been established in England, with nearly the same number of episcopal sees. Of the latter, several were not conjoined with the former; the general design of both being to civilise and instruct mankind by inculcating the doctrines of divine truth and revelation; but in ways that differed much in after ages, not only between the several bodies, but also between the superiors to whom they respectively adhered. Offa’s zeal prompted him to do, what many of his crowned predecessors had done before him; and feeling perhaps the acute pangs of a guilty conscience, in reference to the death of Ethelbert, he sought peace of mind and reconciliation with Heaven, by erecting some splendid monument of his penitence and remorse. It were needless to remind the reader how many of the great ecclesiastical establishments of Christendom have originated from similar causes: how many propitiatory Altars have been raised, only to attest those “compunctious visitings” by which their noble or royal founders were driven from the glittering pageants of state, to seek hope and refuge in the sanctuaries of religion—in the lowly cell

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of the anchorite. What made monastic endowments part of a dying man’s charity, was the special provision it secured for his safety and welfare in another world. Here was an institution in which the “rich profligate” was deeply interested; in which, after he himself had long passed away, he might still benefit by the prayers and devotion of those who ministered within its walls, and blessed the munificence of the founder. Such were the hopes, such was the resolution, of King Offa, when intending to finish a life of great earthly glory, sullied with many crimes, he bethought him of building “a house where God might dwell.”

With regard to the precise site of the Abbey in contemplation, and the name of the saint under whose tutelar guardianship it was to be placed, Offa seems to have been undecided; till a miraculous intelligence, says the legend,{81} removed his perplexities and settled the question, to the entire satisfaction of himself and his prelates. “Being then at Winslow, the king prayed earnestly to God that, as he had often delivered him from the dangers and assaults of his enemies, and from the snares and subtilty of his wife, so he would vouchsafe him further light and information to enable him to complete his vow of founding a Holy Monastery, in token of his devotion. He entreated his friends, at the same time, that they would unanimously and devoutly beseech God to enable him to carry his intentions into effect. Hereupon all retired into the adjoining chapel to pray; and having prayed longer than ordinary, and offered up the same petition as the king had dictated, a sudden light from heaven filled the place with more than meridian splendour. This was viewed as the acceptable token of God’s favour, and the king determined to grant the royal manor of Winslow for the new foundation. But by another vision this pious intention was defeated. At the dead of night, while the king lay at Bath, shortly after, he was graciously accosted by an angel, as he thought, who admonished him to raise out of the earth the first British martyr, Albanus, and place his remains in a shrine with more becoming ornament. Hereupon, attended by the prelates of his court and a multitude of followers, King Offa set out in quest of those sacred relics, which had now been entombed upwards of five hundred years. Journeying onward, divine assistance was once more interposed in favour of the king: a light, resembling a mighty torch, was seen blazing over the very city of the saint—yet the difficulty was where to find his grave. But they were not kept in long or painful suspense: a ray of fire stood over the place, like the star that conducted the Magi to the Holy Child Jesus at Bethlehem. The ground was opened; and, in the presence of Offa, the body of the English martyr was found, together with some relics, in a wooden coffin, at the very spot where he had suffered five hundred and seven years before. Great was the joy of the king and his faithful subjects at this auspicious event. A circlet of gold was placed round the martyr’s skull, with an inscription to signify his name and title: a shrine was prepared for its reception, richly adorned with gold and silver, till a more noble and befitting repository could be designed and finished.” This is said to have happened in the year seven hundred and ninety-one.

Assembling the prelates and officers of state in full council, Offa laid before them his plan for the foundation and endowment of a new temple for the service of God. His zeal and devotion were highly applauded by the court; and, with their consent and approbation, Offa prepared to set out on a pilgrimage to Rome, there to obtain advice and sanction from the great head of the church. This pilgrimage to the holy city forms no unimportant event{82} in English history, for, in return for the immunities and privileges granted by the sacred conclave to the new abbey, Offa engaged to levy an annual tax upon his subjects, amounting to one penny in every thirty, as a tribute to the see of Rome—a tribute which was long rigorously exacted and faithfully paid by Offa and his successors under the name of Peter’s-pence. On his return from Rome, Offa took measures for carrying the grand object of his life into execution. He made ample provision for its maintenance; special revenues were set apart for the exercise of hospitality; so that the devout pilgrim, the wayfaring stranger, the poor and the sick, might be indiscriminately entertained at its gate, and the new abbey become the foster-mother of active charity and Christian benevolence.

It is not our intention to enter into the question which has been started by very learned antiquarians, as to the verity of the above; nor would we remove one stone from the temple which tradition and history have alike ascribed to Offa—

“Offa, who deem’d that abbey which he built
Might well atone the Mercian monarch’s guilt,
To saintly odour deadly sins convert,
And lay the accusing ghost of Ethelbert.”
The building, now finished under his immediate inspection, was opened for the reception of a hundred monks of the Benedictine order—men who had been selected with great care from the celebrated monasteries of the day. The royal founder, however, was not destined to find a tomb where he had found so much pious and soothing occupation. He was buried in a chapel near the river Ouse, of which not a vestige is left—the water, it is said, having overflowed its banks, and completely destroyed the chapel and its saintly deposit. The abbot, we are informed, was anxious to have secured the dust of the founder as a precious treasure for the monastery; but Offa’s son and successor having refused compliance, the worthy abbot took it so much to heart that he did not long survive the royal benefactor.

Viewed externally, this Abbey is a grand and imposing feature in the landscape, and never fails to inspire the stranger with feelings of awe and admiration. Its lofty square tower meets the eye of the traveller in every approach to the ancient Verulam, and conjures up a host of names and events that have made a figure in history during the long lapse of centuries—

“Since first along the Ver’s embattled banks
The Roman leader stretch’d his martial ranks,
Till Henry’s mandate struck the fated shrine
And sadly closed St. Alban’s mitred line.”
But without occupying further space in the dry routine of description, we enter at once into the sanctuary, and notice such of the noble and majestic{83} features as may best convey to the reader some adequate idea of its internal magnificence. Although familiarly acquainted with the finest specimens of monastic buildings on the Continent, yet so much were we struck on our last visit to this noble pile in January, that it seemed to take precedence of all that we could remember; and, as we passed before its shrines, through its

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pillared avenues, paused in its choir, and stood in awe in front of its great altar, compelled us to ejaculate—“We have seen nothing finer than this.”

“Bold is the Abbey’s front, and plain;
The walls no shrined saint sustain,
Nor tower nor airy pinnet crown;
But broadly sweeps the Norman arch
Where once in brighten’d shadow shone
King Offa, on his pilgrim-march,
And proudly points the moulder’d stone{84}
Of the high vaulted porch beneath,
Where Norman beauty hangs a wreath
Of simple elegance and grace;
Where slender columns guard the space
On every side, in cluster’d row,
The triple arch through arch disclose,
And lightly o’er the vaulting throw
The thwart-rib and the fretted rose.”
The fresh florid painting of the chestnut roof, upon which not a brush has been employed for three centuries or more, is very remarkable, and shows that the secret of mixing colours for the eye of posterity has not descended to the present day. In the several compartments of this roof, as faintly seen
i h s
Jesu Hominum Salvator.
in the foregoing view, the three initial letters are the only ornament; and being in the Saxon form, the effect is rather pleasing than otherwise.—But in order to give the reader a more correct notion of the interior, we proceed to the particular features selected for illustration. Among these is

The Nave, to which we have slightly alluded, and on the spectator few things can be imagined more likely to make a strong and lasting impression. From whatever point it is contemplated, laterally or longitudinally, grandeur of design and elaborate execution are the leading characteristics. To enter into minute detail of its architectural beauties were impossible in our narrow compass. The general effect is all that we can presume to describe; and of this, assisted by the very correct view prefixed, the reader will have little difficulty in forming a just estimate of the magnificence that reigns in this venerable temple of our ancestors. There is one feature particularly deserving of notice, as a boundary line between two grand epochs in ecclesiastical architecture: this is, the point where the Saxon and Gothic meet in the same column. From the great western entrance, right and left, the massive clustered pillars have been evidently chiselled, at vast labour and expense, out of the original Saxon—thus engrafting the new style upon the primitive stock. The point where the Gothic ceases and the Saxon remains, and marking where the progressive work of transformation had been arrested by some public event, forms an admirable contrast, and shows the Gothic to infinite advantage. But the Saxon arches, still untouched by the reformer’s chisel, will be viewed by every lover of native art as precious relics of antiquity.

“In Saxon strength that abbey frown’d,
With massive arches, broad and round,
That rose alternate, row and row,
On ponderous columns, short and low.”
Near the centre of the pavement is a remarkable echo, limited to one particular position, and quite inaudible as we diverge from the spot. The voice,{85} or clapping of the hands, is reverberated with a noise like the discharge of cannon, or the roll of distant thunder; at first, loud and multiplied, and then dying gradually away in languid undulations.

St. Cuthbert’s Screen,[71] which divides the nave from the choir, forms an imposing boundary to the coup-d’œil; but over its top the spectator’s eye penetrates the lofty transept, takes in the whole space between the high altar and the western portal, and wanders over the richly emblazoned ceiling with feelings of mingled awe and admiration. To the right and left are objects that rivet his attention to the spot: the names and monuments of the dead; the tablets that encrust the walls, or mix with the pavement, are eloquent of the past, and address him in terms of solemn admonition. The dust of many abbots, the remains of unnumbered monks, rest within its walls; ‘these all died in the faith,’ and, from the steps of the altar, descended into the regions of silence. They, too, who had circled the monarch’s throne, swayed the senate, fought his battles, fostered science, and enriched their country with the spoils of nations, have all in their turn craved, like Wolsey at last, the favour of a little hallowed earth to rest their weary heads on. To enumerate the illustrious dead who have here taken up their last abode, is not within our limits; but we must not omit, even in the most cursory notice, to mention the famous traveller who saw, or feigned, more wondrous things than ever fell to the lot of any other “pilgrim of the nations.” We mean Sir John Mandeville, a native of the place, whose tomb, covered with a massive slab of grey marble, and verified by an inscription on the adjacent column, bears record to his eventful history. But as he died at Liege in 1372, after thirty-four years spent in travelling, doubts must necessarily arise as to the fact of his being buried here. The evidence by which it is supported, however, is equal to that of his travels.

The Choir, comprising the whole space between the western arch of the tower and the great altar, is indisputably grand. Flanked by two magnificent tombs right and left; closed on the east by the celebrated altar screen, canopied, niched, and carved—magna componere parvis—with all the fanciful, yet classic elegance of an ivory fan, the stranger is almost bewildered by the profusion of objects that here claim his notice and admiration. To dwell upon{86} these in anything like minute description, would preoccupy the space which we must reserve for other particulars; but a few words are indispensable for

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the sake of the engraved view. The light, which is finely modified by the means usually adopted, falls from the centre of the tower upon the various objects in the choir, with a subdued religious effect which greatly adds to the general impression. In this position, surrounded by the varied labours of many centuries, we can fancy in part the scenes and events which have transpired within these arches, before that altar, at which so many kings and peers have bent the suppliant knee in penitence and confession. In those early times it was a blessing, that when outrage, violence, and injustice were irrepressible by any other means, the strong arm of the church was sufficient to restrain—and when it could not effectually restrain, to punish with its stigma—the licentious baron, the crowned despot, and make the culprits quail at the very head of their armies and retainers. Where the law was weak, religion was strong, and, like the voice of God, heard upon earth, encouraged the prostrate, and brought the rebellious under subjection. Without its power and influence—its holy exercises and humanizing studies—without the spiritual arm to check aggression, to redress grievances, the baser passions must have revelled without control, and life have become a scene of continued warfare. These considerations are nowhere felt with more obvious truth than on the spot where we now stand, where so many deadly feuds have given way to religious exhortation; where they who had met as foes quitted the altar as friends—friends at least in act, if not in heart—and returned the guilty sword to its{87} scabbard. But we need not detain our readers with what is manifest to every reflecting mind—that if justice and redress were anywhere to be found in those times, it was rather in the abbeys, than either in the Star Chamber or Westminster Hall.

The Screen of the great altar, or “Wallingford’s screen,” was begun and finished in the reign of Edward the Fourth, and is one of the best—if not the very best—specimens of the style and architecture of that epoch. It was the munificent taste of Abbot Wallingford, and his liberal encouragement of the arts, which have bequeathed this precious morceau to the admiration of posterity. It has suffered little from the lapse of time and the momentous changes which have passed over the abbey; and for beauty of design and elegance of workmanship is worth a pilgrimage. Its front consists of three divisions—a centre and two wings, the latter being perfectly symmetrical; the lower part of the centre displays a double series of small niches with rich canopies. On great festivals of the Church this splendid tabernacle was covered with cloth of gold or crimson, and, drooping from its lofty pinnacles in ample folds, must have produced an effect worthy of the gorgeous taste of Wolsey himself, who carried the “state ecclesiastical” to a higher pitch than any of his predecessors.

The Pulpit, which is a fine specimen of oak carving, though not apparently of a remote date, is well deserving of attention; and in recalling the splendid ceremonial of former times, with the impressive but simple and decorous service of the present day, the mind is prepared to weigh and contrast the spiritual energies which, exercised under that canopy, have expounded the doctrines and enforced the duties of a religious life. The pulpit of St. Albans would be no bad subject in the hands of another Boileau.

On the right of the altar, and closely adjoining the screen, is the tomb of Abbot Ramryge—an elaborately carved Gothic chapel or shrine, greatly admired for the beauty and delicacy of its workmanship, which is in high preservation.

Opposite to this, and occupying the corresponding arch, is another but less ornamental shrine to the memory of Abbot Whethamstead. Both are of native stone—of a remarkably fine close texture, procured from the quarry of Tottenhoe, light Portland colour, and capable of being wrought into the most delicate tracery. Of this material all the finest chisel-work of the abbey is composed.

Erected against the south wall of the church, where a door formerly existed, is a beautiful Piscina, represented in many engravings. It has all the marks of antiquity, and is said to occupy the spot where, in the earliest times of Christianity in this country, two devout Eremites had chosen their cell, and there, by a life of austere penance and mortification, left a holy example for their brethren in after times. As a fragment of the colossal Abbey, this traditionary relic is of itself a gem, and never fails to secure a full share of the strange{88}r’s attention.[72] On one of the windows of the south aisle, was “a representation of the martyrdom of St. Alban” in painted glass, only a few fragments of which remain. On the wall below was an inscription, now almost obliterated, beginning thus:—

“This image of our frailty, painted glass,
Shews where the life and death of Alban was.
A knight beheads the martyr, but so soon
His eyes dropt out to see what he had done;
And leaving their own head, seemed with a tear
To wail the other head laid mangled there,” &c.
Between the east façade of the great screen and the end of the church wall, is the space occupied by the modern Vestry, containing several objects well deserving of notice, and long hallowed in the eyes of priest and pilgrim as the spot on which the Shrine of the protomartyr had stood for centuries, and drawn much tribute from the devout of all nations. Deeply cut in the pavement near this spot, is the following inscription:

St. Albanus Verulamensis Anglorum Protomartyr. xvii. Junii. ccxcvii.
In the pavement six small artificial grooves mark the spot where rested the pillars of the shrine, weighed down by the accumulated riches with which it was loaded in the shape of votive offerings.

On the north side is the Rood-loft—a carved Gothic shrine of oak, in the upper part of which, behind a lattice-work, the monks kept constant watch over the sacred treasures, while the pilgrims knelt at the shrine. In the floor several hollows are observable around the spot—worn, it is said, by the successive crowds whose “penitential knees” subjected the stone{89} during centuries to perpetual friction and pressure. Such an effect is by no means improbable. Whoever has witnessed the fervour with which that ancient bronze, the statue of St. Peter at Rome, is saluted by a continual stream of pilgrims, will not be surprised to find that the same spirit of devotion has left a deep impression on the hard pavement of St. Albans. We do not “speak irreverently;” where so many tears have undoubtedly been shed, so many sins confessed, it is pleasing to indulge the belief that the sincerity, if not the form, was accepted; that many a heavy heart, many an oppressed conscience, has here found relief, and formed lasting resolutions of amendment.

“Prostrate on this cold stone, what tears and sighs
Have pour’d from breaking hearts the sacrifice!”
The clerk, who is well informed, and a professed collector of curiosities, showed us several skulls and bones which had been found in the adjoining fields[73]—some of which, from their gigantic proportions, are worth inspection.

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One or more sepulchral brasses are also deserving of notice, one in particular—that of an Abbot, richly carved, of large dimensions, and affording a fine specimen of the state of the art in his day. How it escaped the soldiers of Cromwell—the greatest “collectors” of their age—is a mystery The guide has taken some very good impressions of this and other objects by a very simple process, for the accommodation of intending purchasers. But the grand object of attraction is the Shrine-Tomb of the good Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, whose unhappy destiny is familiar to every reader of English history. This tomb was erected during the abbacy of Whethamstead, who, for his taste and knowledge of architecture, has been justly styled the “Wykeham” of his time. The description, which may be seen in the printed history, and equally applicable at all times, is here omitted; for, where the engraving of{90} the subject is presented to the reader, the necessity of description is much obviated, and the writer is thus permitted to dwell at greater length on the interesting portion of history with which the subject is connected.—A detailed account of this shrine is given in Blore’s “Sepulchral Antiquities,” Part the third.

The character of this unfortunate Prince has been represented under different aspects by the writers of his day; but by far the majority bear willing testimony to his virtues, to his personal accomplishments, to his liberal encouragement of science and literature, in which he himself had acquired some merited distinction. At that epoch, however, the sword was too indispensable, peace and tranquillity were too little felt and enjoyed, to allow much scope for the more humanizing studies and pursuits. The dawn of science was still but an indistinct speck in the horizon; and the few who had already tasted the sweets of literature were continually roused from their intellectual feast by the clang of arms, and the shouts of fresh combatants.

It was under such unpropitious circumstances that Humphrey the Good gave his heart to letters; but with armed hand sought those means for its prosecution which were never to be realized. The history of his life and death may be comprised in a few sentences, and in doing so we give a ready preference to the authority of old Grafton, with only slight alterations in the orthography:—“Divers articles,” says he, “both heynous and odious, were laid to hys, the Duke’s, charge in open counsayle, and in especial one, that he had caused men, adjudged to die, to be put to other execution than the law of the land had ordered or assigned: for surely the Duke, being very well learned in the law civil, detesting malefactors, and punishing their offences, gat great malice and hatred of such as feared to have condign reward for their ungracious actes and mischievous doings. Although the Duke, not without great laud and praise, sufficiently answered to all things to him objected; yet, because his death was determined, his wisdom little helped nor his truth smally availed; but of this unquietness of mind he delivered himself, because he thought neither of death, nor of condemnation to die, such affiance had he in his strong truth, and such confidence had he in indifferent justice. But his capital enemies and mortal foes, fearing that some tumult or commotion might arise, if a prince so well beloved of the people should be openly executed and put to death, determined to trap and undo him ere he thereof should have knowledge or warning. So, for the furtherance of their purpose, a parliament was summoned to be kept at Bury, whither resorted all the Peers of the realm, and amongst them the Duke of Gloucester, which, on the second day of the session, was by the Lord Beaumont, then High Constable of England, accompanied by the Duke of Buckingham and others, arrested, apprehended, and put in ward, and all his servants seques{91}tered from him, and thirty-two of the chief of his retinue sent to divers prisons, to the great admiration and surprise of the common people. The night after his imprisonment the Duke was found dead in his bed, being the twenty-fourth day of February, and his body showed to the Lords and Commons, as though he had died of a palsey or impostume. But all indifferent persons well knew,” continues the Chronicle, “that he died of no natural death, but of some violent force; some judged him to be strangled, others write that he was stifled or smoldered between two feather-beds.”

“The dead corpse of this Duke was caryed to Saint Albans, and there honourably buryed. Thus this noble prince, son, brother, and uncle to kings, which had valiantly and politiquely, by the space of twenty-five years, governed this realm, and for his merits was called ‘The good Duke of Gloucester,’

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was, by a bone cast by his enemies, choked and brought to his fatal fine and last ende.” This Duke Humphrey was “not only valyant and noble in all his acts and doings, but sage, politique, and notably well learned in the civil law.”[74] In proof of this, the reader may refer to an amusing anecdote of him in Sir Thomas More’s “Dialogue concerning Heresies,” &c., chap. xiv.; also, to Shakspeare’s Henry VI., Act II., Scene I. The good Duke is also said to have “builded the Divinitie Schole at Oxford, which is a rare pece of worke.”

The Vault in which the “good Duke’s” remains had been deposited, was only discovered by accident early in the last century. When “first opened, the body was found in{92} a leaden coffin, in perfect preservation, and floating in a strong pickle, which, however, on being exposed, soon evaporated and left the body to decay. At the foot of the coffin was painted on the wall a picture of the crucifixion, with a chalice at each hand, a second at the side, and a third at the feet, to receive the blood trickling from the Saviour’s wounds, with a hand extending from the dust with this scroll—“Blessed Lorde haue mercye on mee.” This painting is still visible on the stone of the vault, which was remarkably dry in January last, and of a temperature considerably higher than that of the chancel above. The skull, which shows the intellectual characteristics of the phrenologists, and a great portion of the skeleton, are still left; but no care having been taken of it for many years after its discovery, various portions were appropriated by relic-hunters, and other conveyancers of anatomy.

In the summer of 1765—as related in the Topographical Library, article Hertfordshire—David Garrick and Quin, who was remarkably fond of good living, made a trip to St. Albans; where, on visiting the Abbey church, and being shown the bones of Duke Humphrey, Quin jocosely lamented that so many aromatics and such a quantity of spirits should have been wasted in preserving a dead body. After their return to dinner, and whilst the wine was circulating, Garrick took out his pencil and composed the following verses, which he termed

QUIN’S SOLILOQUY.

A plague on Egypt’s arts, I say!
Embalm the dead! On senseless clay
Rich wines and spices waste!
Like sturgeon, or like brawn, shall I
Bound in a precious pickle lie,
Which I can never taste?
Let me embalm this flesh of mine
With turtle fat, and Bourdeaux wine,
And spoil th’ Egyptian trade!
Than good Duke Humphrey, happier I,
Embalmed alive, old Quin shall die
A Mummy ready made!
The Chapel of Our Lady, which is now converted into a public school, presents in its architecture the same style and embellishments which distinguish the most highly-finished ecclesiastical structures of its time. The entrance from the south in the “olden time,” as here represented in the engraving, is one of the most effective points of view. To describe minutely, would be only to load our pages with unnecessary repetition; for nothing in the form of words can adequately convey the great elegance and beauty which predominate throughout the whole edifice. To be rightly understood and appreciated, it must be seen; and of this the admirers of antiquity seem fully{93} aware, for the numbers who continually resort to the Abbey church for the study and improvement of architectural science, bear ample testimony to the exquisite materials which it offers for that purpose. The erection of new churches, and the restoration of others in a dilapidated state, are greatly facilitated by the numerous models, in every department, which are here thrown open for imitation. Artists are seen taking casts; others measuring the proportions, comparing the drawings, selecting the beauties, and copying the example of whatever is chaste in design or exquisite in workmanship. In short, the Abbey of St. Albans may be considered as a vast museum, or school of arts, where the student may improve and perfect his designs upon the best models; and which, were every other lost, might still supply the elements for constructing a masterpiece of ecclesiastical Architecture.

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All the subjects in this superb Abbey, to which we have thus briefly adverted, are more or less striking in their kind; yet the effect is peculiarly enhanced or diminished according to the season and hour selected for the visit. The glare of noon, and the sober light of evening, produce effects which are scarcely credible to those who are not familiarized to such contrasts; but in no instance have we ever seen this venerable and majestic pile to such advantage as during our recent visit, when we resolved to take a view after the twilight had passed away, and the still deep shadows of night had thrown their mantle over the scene. One of our party, who is an excellent judge and an enthusiastic admirer of “Gothic grandeur,” strongly advised us to make a survey by torch-light; but to this certain objections were started, which it became necessary to respect. Reluctantly abandoning the torch, we sallied forth into the sacred precincts under the dim light of a{94} westering moon, and, sauntering along in a silent contemplative mood, enjoyed a treat of which the noon-day visitor can form no adequate conception. It afforded what may be truly called a “night at St. Alban’s,” and seemed to address us in the words of the poet—

“Ye, whose high spirit dares to dwell
Beyond the reach of earthly spell,
And tread upon the dizzy verge
Of unknown worlds, or downward urge,
Thro’ ages dim, your steadfast sight,
And trace their shapes of shadow’d light;
Oh! come with meek, submitted thought,
With lifted eye by rapture taught,
And o’er your head the gloom shall rise
Of monkish chambers, still and wide,
As once they stood: and to your eyes
Group after group shall slowly glide,
And here again their duties ply—
As they were wont, long ages by.”
The entrance to Lady-chapel from the north, of which a view has been already given at page 80, is particularly characteristic and picturesque. The massive square tower, showing at intervals its Roman materials and ancient masonry, throws a solemn and stately grandeur over the scene. It seems, while we look upon its scars, as if covered with hieroglyphics which embody the sacred and political history of a thousand years, during which it has been a cherished landmark to the pilgrim, a home to the weary, and an object of sanguinary contention between rival armies.

“Here to its hospitable gate,
In want or woe, the pilgrim came;
For at its portal Pity sate,
To dry the tears of sin and shame.
And here have armies on their march,
And monarchs with their chiefs of fame,
Paused, as beneath that lofty arch
Their lips invoked St. Alban’s name.”
The great western entrance has a very imposing aspect, and conveys to the spectator’s mind those ideas of ecclesiastical magnificence which can only be inspired by the noblest constructions of art—such as are here presented to his contemplation. It consists of a projecting porch, elaborately ornamented, niched and pillared, and subdivided into numerous compartments, upon which the artist’s chisel has been most skilfully employed.

“Beside this porch, on either hand,
Giant buttresses darkly stand,
And still their silent vanguard hold
For bleeding knights, laid here of old;
And Mercian Offa and his queen,
The portal’s guard and grace, are seen.
{95}
This western front shows various style,
Less ancient than the central pile.
It seems some shade of parted years
Left watching o’er the mouldering dead,
Who here for pious Henry bled;
And here, beneath the wide-stretch’d ground
Of nave, of choir, of chapels round,
For ever—ever rest the head.”
Over the entrance is the magnificent window, shown in the steel plate: it occupies nearly the whole breadth of the nave, and through its numerous mullioned and transomed squares, pours a flood of light upon the long Gothic aisles as far as the high Altar. To see the interior of the church to the greatest advantage, the spectator should take his station at this entrance, and at that hour after mid-day when the light and shade are brought into strongest contrast.

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In the south Aisle, nearly opposite the steps leading into the Chapel of St. Alban, is the subject of the annexed cut. It is an oblong table of stone, covered with a massive slab of dark marble, which is considered to be of a rare and precious quality. It is marked with several small crosses, rudely traced, and, as we were told by our cicerone, is the original Altar-table of the Monastery, which, after the suppression of the latter in 1539, was removed from the choir.

This Aisle, including the exterior of Abbot Whethamstead’s monument on the left—that of Duke Humphrey in the distance—the entrance to the shrine of the patron saint between, and with the outer doorway arches, windows, and altar on the right, is one of the most interesting scenes in the church. Standing by this altar of a thousand years, the lines of the French poet possess a force which in any other situation would be scarcely felt:

Les arcs de ce long clôitre, impénétrable au jour,
Les degrés de l’autel usés par la prière,
Ces noirs vitraux, ce sombre et profond sanctuaire,
Où peut-être des cœurs, en secret malheureux,{96}
A l’inflexible autel se plaignoient de leurs nœuds,
Et, pour des souvenirs encore trop pleins de charmes,
A la religion dérobaient quelques larmes—
Tout parle, tout émeut dans ce séjour sacré!
The Gate-House, with its ponderous oaken doors still closing the lofty pointed archway, is a massive and cumbrous pile of building, and has all the rude

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strength of a fortress crowned with embattled walls. It stands parallel with the west end of the church, at the distance of about one hundred and fifty feet, and formed the original grand entrance to the Abbey-court, which was bounded, at the distance of about three hundred feet, by a lower gate leading to the Abbey Mills. Both these gateways were originally crowned with turrets. The smaller gate has long since disappeared; and the larger fabric, which still survives the shock of centuries, has undergone many alterations in recent times, as is sufficiently apparent in the view annexed. The massive oak doors, still firm on their hinges, are good specimens of ancient carpentry. This gate is said to have been built in the reign of Richard the Second, and is every way characteristic of that age of treason and feudal splendour. The lower apartments were appropriated to malefactors under the jurisdiction of the Lord Abbot; and, with the exception of the order having been reversed—by converting the upper rooms to a similar purpose—it is still the prison for the borough and liberty of St. Albans.

The high and distinguishing privileges enjoyed by the spiritual lords of this Abbey gave them precedence of every other in the kingdom. “The king,” says Weever, “could make no secular officer over them but by their own consent; they were alone quit from paying that apostolical custome and rent which was called Rom-scot, or Peter-pence; whereas neyther kinge, archbishop, bishop, abbot, prior, nor any one in the kingdom, was freed from{97} the payment thereof. The Abbot also, or monk appointed archdeacon under him, had pontifical jurisdiction over all the priests and laymen, of all the possessions belonging to this church, so as he yielded subjection to no archbishop, bishop, or legate, save onely to the Pope of Rome. This Abbot had the fourth place among the Abbots which sate as Barons in the Parliament House.” “Howsoever, Pope Adrian the Fourth, whose surname was Breakspeare, born hereby at Abbots-Langley, granted this indulgence to the Abbots of this monasterie, namely—that as Saint Alban was distinctly known to be the first martyr of the English nation, so the Abbot of this monasterie should at all times, among other Abbots of England, in degree of dignity, be reported first and principal. The Abbot and convent of this house were acquitted of all toll throughout England. They made Justices ‘ad audiendum et terminandum,’ within themselves, and no other Justice could call them for any matter out of their libertie. They made Bayliffes and Coroners; they had the execution and returne of all writs, the goodes of all outlaws, with gaole and gaole deliverie within themselves.”—These particulars have been carefully embodied in a poem on the subject, from which we have already quoted. In the prosperous days of the Abbey, several apartments were built exclusively for the use of strangers.[75] These adjoined the cloisters; and beyond them, in a separate range of buildings, were the king’s and the queen’s apartments.[76] But notwithstanding this preparation for visitors, and these indirect invitations, it would seem, on the authority of Matthew Paris, that some of the earlier “monarchs came too often, or at least with too cumbrous suites.”

The princely state which the Abbots maintained in their style of living, in their table and retinue, partook much more of regal splendour than of religious restriction. The scene, as exhibited on a festal day in the Abbey, is thus effectively sketched by Mrs. Ann Radcliffe:—

. . . The stately walls, with tapestry richly dight,
Of the Abbot’s banquet-hall, where, as on throne,
He sat at the high dais, like prince alone,
Save when a Royal guest came here,
Or papal Legate claimed a chair.{98}
Here marble platforms, flight o’er flight,
Slow rising through the long-lined view,
Showed tables spread at different height,
Where each for different rank he knew.
And, with pleased glance adown the hall,
Saw Bishops in their far-sought palle,
The Abbey’s noble Seneschal;
Barons and Earls in gold array,
And warrior knights in harness gray.
There was the Prior’s delegated sway;
The grave Archdeacon sat below,
And the hundred Monks in row and row,
Not robed in dismal sable they
Upon a high and festal day,
But all in capes most costly and most gay.
There too the Abbey Marshal shone;
And there, beside the Abbot’s throne,
Chaplain of honour from the Pope alone.”
The battles, of which the immediate vicinity of St. Albans has been the theatre, are familiar to every reader of history.[77] In connection with our immediate subject, however, we may briefly advert to them as melancholy contrasts to that peace and religious tranquillity which were supposed to be the cherished inmates of this magnificent sanctuary.

The first battle. 1455. It was now, says Newcome, when the first battle of St. Albans happened; the causes of which it is unnecessary to relate. Suffice it to say, that the king attended with his nobles, or such as were of his council, and a number of armed troops came down from London; and probably with the view that a treaty with the Duke of York might be carried on with less interruption or danger from the military. The duke was coming from the north; and brought with him 3000 men of that body which he had raised there, and took part in the great field on the east side of the town, called Key-field. The king’s men had barricadoed all the avenues on that side. The cry among the Yorkists was, “Give up the Duke of Somerset;” but no concession of this sort being made, the duke’s men broke into St. Peter’s Street; and being there met by the royalists, a dreadful conflict ensued; where, after many were slain, the king’s party lost courage and fled, leaving their sovereign alone, and standing under his standard. He, perceiving himself thus deserted, walked away into a small house, that of a baker; and here the duke finding him, led him out, and conducted him to the Abbey, where he first placed him close to the shrine, whether for safety and sanctuary, or to induce him to return thanks for his safety. He then conducted him to the{99} royal apartments, and the next day to London. The effeminacy of the king’s men, and to which is ascribed the loss of the battle, is thus described by our author, who saw both parties, and writes of them thus:—

Quicquid ad Eoos tractusque regni tepores
Vergitur, emollit animos Clementia Cœli: et
Omnis in arctois sanguis quicunque pruinis
Nascitur, indomitus bellis, et mortis amator.
The duke’s men fell to plundering the town, but, by the commands of the duke, they abstained from doing any injury to the Abbey; but the Abbot

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thought it necessary to send out to them great quantities of victuals and wine, and this, together with the protecting hand of the martyr, as my author asserts, preserved the Abbey and church from any injury by spoil and depredation. The slain lay thick in the upper street, and at the division of the ways about the market; and among them were seen the dead bodies of Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset; of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland; and of Thomas Clifford, Lord Clifford. But because they were persons well known to be hateful to the Duke of York when alive, none ventured to prepare for their funerals, or showed any decent regard to their dead bodies. Whereupon Abbot John addressed the duke, and begged him to spare the vanquished, and{100} suffer some honours to be paid to the deceased—“Not enemies will I call them,” says he, “but your relations by blood,—your fellow patriots.” And saying more to recommend moderation in his victory, the duke commanded him to take the bodies and provide for their funerals. The Abbot then caused some of the brethren to go forth and take up the deceased. This being done, and the dead bodies received into the church and laid out in decent order, in a few days the funeral obsequies were performed, and the bodies had interment in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin. They were laid in the ground “lineali ordine, juxta statum, gradum, et honorem, dignitatis. Unde de his dominis et de eorum sepulturâ scribitur in ista formâ:”[78]—

Quos Mars, quos Martis sors sæva suæque sororis,
Bello prostrarunt, villæ medioque necarunt.
Mors sic occisos tumulaverat his simul ipsos,
Postque necem requiem causavit habere perhennem,
Est medium sine quo vult sic requiescere nemo:
Hic lis, hic pugna, mors est quæ terminat arma;
Mors, sors, et mavors, qui straverunt dominos hos.
During a period of more than seven centuries, “this Abbey continued to flourish with various improvements, under the government of no less than forty-one Abbots, many of whom enriched it with additional buildings and treasures; so that its extent was in proportion to its immense estates, and more resembled a town than a religious establishment. To its apartments we have already adverted. Here, in 1215, King John, during his opposition to the Barons, ‘held a grand consultation’ in the Chapter-house; here also Louis the Dauphin, who arrived shortly after, exacted a heavy contribution for carrying on the war, in which he had been invited to take part. Henry the Second and Henry the Third were often entertained by the Abbots of St. Albans, and were liberal benefactors to the monastery;” but the eighth Henry, as every reader is aware, pursued the opposite course. Its funds were appropriated to state purposes, its privileges abolished, its inmates dismissed; but the fabric itself, comparatively, suffered little from the violence of the transition.

In a careful perusal of the history of this monastery, the reader will find abundant materials for reflection. The lives of the Abbots, as recorded by a member of their own body, present many instructive anecdotes and examples of the civil and religious government, the state of society, the progress of science, and that encouragement of the arts over which they exercised so direct and beneficial an influence. “Although originally subject to the Diocesan, the Lord Abbot gradually advanced in external splendour till the Abbey-church became a rival to the Cathedral; and this,” as Newcome has{101} observed, “went on till, at the Dissolution, the mitred Abbots, who had laboured for pre-eminence, outnumbered the Bishops in the House of Lords, amounting in 1514 to twenty-eight, whilst the Bishops were only eighteen or nineteen.”

There were many other considerations that tended to give the Monks power and consequence; and Abbeys were found to be such beneficial institutions, that they would have stood their ground to the present day, had not their great possessions and revenues tempted indigent courtiers “to combine and plot against them.” “Their utility,” continues the same author, “appeared in these respects, that they exercised great hospitality towards the poor; and this was done at one-tenth of the expense which the poor now (1790) create, by being maintained by a legal provision. The monastery was the house of reception for all the sick, who were here nursed, spiritually consoled, and cured. The monastery generally employed masters to teach the poor children of the neighbourhood; entertained all persons who were ingenious in any art or science, and transcribed books when few understood the art, or could undertake it. There is now extant a chronicle composed and printed at St. Albans, in 1484, under the countenance then given to this particular Abbey by Richard the Third.”

“These old religious houses kept public registers of all great public transactions; and to them we are indebted for all our English historians down to the period of the Dissolution. They were possessed of all the learning that was in any repute at the time prior to the coming of the friars. The monasteries, in general, furnished the men who were fit for embassies abroad, or for offices of trust and distinction at home: and to their honour it is recorded, that all the inferior officers, both in the courts of law and in the civil departments of the Government, who are called clerks, owe this appellation to the religious houses, Abbeys or Cathedrals, from which the first officers were taken. The landed property belonging to these houses at the time of the Dissolution was so great, that it was computed at one-third of the kingdom. Yet, whatever were their temporal possessions, they were always found to be good landlords, ever ready to forward improvements, and accomplishing many great works in draining, enclosing, and planting, which could never have been undertaken by individuals.” “In truth,” adds the historian quoted, “they did more to civilize mankind, and to bring them within the comforts of society, than any set of men of any denomination have ever done. And yet the ungrateful world, that was enjoying the fruits of their labours and their riches, now that it beheld the edifice completed, cast down the builders and the scaffoldings as if no longer useful! In spite of all the calumny thrown out against these monastic institutions, nothing so well proclaims their utility as this—that they maintained themselves in credit and repute, some of{102} them a thousand years; and many of them during the space of three hundred, four hundred, and five hundred years; and that, when they were dissolved, Edward the Sixth and his counsellors found it necessary to endow new hospitals, to build new schools, and to provide new relief for the poor and helpless.”

Such is the testimony of a liberal-minded clergyman of the Church of England, who spent a great portion of his leisure in investigating the history of monastic institutions, particularly that of St. Albans. “These religious foundations,” he adds, “fell with such undeserved calumny and slander, that it is but common justice to restore their character, and give them their due praise, wherever that can be done; and if all others were as free from corruption and ill government as the Abbey of St. Albans, it would be seen how unjustly they were accused, and that their overthrow was effected for other reasons than pretended misrule and corruption. But as they had been ever the main pillar and support of the Papal dominion, it was natural and consistent to abolish the members after the Head was rejected. They were bodies so nearly allied to the Papal power, that they must of necessity fall with it; and although a gradual reformation might have been effected in them, yet, in the new plan of church government, they were deemed unnecessary; for the new Head of the

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Church and his counsellors wished to have as few subjects in the Church to be governed as might be. Accordingly, by dissolving the regular clergy, and limiting the Church, to the episcopal order of seculars, they rejected above one hundred thousand of the former, and retained about eight thousand of the latter. Whatever was the pretext, the real truth appears to have been this—that their temporal power and wealth tempted their downfall; and in spite of all the good and real merit that was to be found in them, they fell a prey and spoil to an extravagant monarch, and his ‘needy and profligate’ courtiers. In the legislature of those times, there were many great and able men; but whatever cause there may be to charge them with want of piety, there is no room to accuse them of any want of worldly wisdom, or of their embracing that self-{103}denial and contempt of the world, which they were so ready to condemn in the monks. They made laws and ordinances to support a new religion, when they could enrich themselves by suppressing the old.” “But,” continues this able writer, “the bright examples of the bishops and clergy who submitted to the flames at that time, will appear more illustrious when it is seen how just and rational was their opposition to the worship then in use, as well as to the doctrine; the first having in it as little of true piety and devotion, as the latter had of reason and revealed truth. It was the blood of those men who could die for the truth, that gave the new Establishment a firm and solid foundation, when neither the will of the Prince nor the laws of his Parliaments could have been able, without that cement, to effect a new construction and edifice.”[79]

The Abbey of St. Albans has the credit of having introduced a printing press soon after the invention of types; and may thus truly be said to have fostered within itself the elements of its own dissolution. One of the first works issued was by the lady prioress of the adjacent nunnery of Sopwell, Dame Juliana Berners, who composed several treatises on hawking, hunting, and heraldry, which were so well received that two editions were printed at St. Albans, between 1481 and 1486.

The local scenery around St. Albans is pleasing, occasionally picturesque, and, owing to its including the ancient Verulam, is never without deep interest to all who have a knowledge of ancient history, and a taste for antiquarian research.

The finest point of view is that which was chosen by the artist for the steel engraving, namely—from the south near the walls of the ancient city; the streets of which are still discernible in the green field, by the thin short grass that covers them, and under which the Roman brick yet retains its original bed. A great portion of the ancient substructure, matted with weeds and shaded with trees and brushwood, still invites the curious stranger, and offers him every facility for investigation. But, except the horizontal layers of brick, mortar, and shingle—the brick generally carbonized in the centre—there is nothing left to repay investigation. The soil has been ransacked too effectually by the antiquaries of monastic times to encourage further research; but the situation will please every one who delights in classic associations, while the Abbey, which crowns the adjoining eminence, gives a rich hallowing interest to the whole scene:{104}—

“Whose Norman tower lifts its pinnacled spire:
Where the long Abbey-aisle extends,
And battled roof o’er roof ascends;
Cornered with buttresses shapely and tall,
That sheltered the Saint in canopied stall.”
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There is no single object, however, after the Abbey, half so attractive as the old church of St. Michael’s, the sacred repository of the great Lord Bacon. It is built within the precincts of the ancient city, and, crowning a gentle undulation of the surface, forms a beautiful feature in the landscape. The interior still preserves its simple antique appearance, and is rich in sepulchral objects. It was founded about the middle of the tenth century, by Abbot Ulsinus; and its massive piers and plain semicircular arches still show unquestionable evidence of the original Saxon architecture. It is kept remarkably neat, and has, what we have rarely observed in other churches, small fire-places in several of the family pews.

But the tomb and statue of Bacon soon arrest the eye, and claim, for a time, the stranger’s undivided attention. The statue we need not describe; it speaks for itself in the beauty of the sculpture, and in the classic elegance of the inscription. But how appropriate are these lines:—

“Unfit to stand the civil storm of state,
And through the rude barbarity of courts,
With firm but pliant virtue, forward still
To urge his course; him for the studious shade
Kind nature form’d, deep, comprehensive, clear,
Exact and elegant; in one rich soul,
Plato, the Stagyrite, and Tully joined.
The great deliverer he! who, from the gloom
Of cloister’d monks, and jargon-teaching schools,
Led forth the true Philosophy, there long
Held in the magic chain of words and forms.”—Thomson.
Lord Bacon, “the illustrious subject of the following inscription, was the son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, lord-keeper of the great seal under Elizabeth, who{105} was married to Anne, daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, a lady of the most profound erudition and brilliant talents. Francis, the illustrious son of such distinguished parents, was born in the year 1560, and even in his infancy gave indications of the most uncommon abilities, united with the greatest and most unwearied assiduity in the pursuit of knowledge and investigation of truth; his cleverness gained him, even in his earliest youth, the admiration of Elizabeth. At Cambridge, where

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Francis. Bacon. Baro de Verulam. S. Albans Vicᵐᵉˢ. seu notioribus titulis. scientiarum lumen. facundiæ lex. sic sedebat. qui. postquam omnia naturalis sapientiæ et civilis arcana evolvisset naturæ decretum explevit—‘Composita Solvantur’ Aⁿᵒ. Dⁿⁱ. mdcxxvi. Ætat. lxvi. Tanti Viri Mem. Thomas Meautys Superstitis cultor defuncti admirator. H. P.0[80]

he completed his education, his talents obtained universal applause. While prosecuting his studies at the university, he detected the fallacies of the then customary mode of philosophizing, which at a more mature age he published to the world, and laid down those laws which opened the way to all the brilliant and surprising discoveries of modern days. His university education being completed, he commenced his travels, from which the unexpected death of his father suddenly recalled him; upon which he applied himself to the study of the common law, at Gray’s Inn, and soon elevated himself to the highest dignities of his profession. But his character was not without a blemish—‘humanum est errare;’ and even the illustrious Bacon fell from the giddying height he had so proudly attained. After his disgrace, he applied himself wholly to literary and philosophical pursuits, enriching the world with his discoveries, and enlightening it by his reasonings. His love for philosophy was the immediate cause of his death, of which the following narrative is given by Aubrey, in his MSS., which are now deposited in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford:—

“The cause of his lordship’s death was trying an experiment as he was taking the aire in the coach with Dr. Witherborne, a Scotchman, physitian to{106} the king, towards Highgate: snow lay upon the ground, and it came into my lord’s thoughts, why flesh might not be preserved in snow, as in salt. They were resolved they would try the experiment presently. They alighted out of the coach, and went into a poor woman’s house at the bottome of Highgate-hill, and bought a hen, and made the woman exenterate it, and then stuffed the body with snow; and my lord did help to do it himself. The snow so chilled him he immediately fell so ill, that he could not return to his lodgings (I suppose then at Gray’s Inn), but went to the Earl of Arundell’s house at Highgate, where they put him into a good bed, warmed with a panne; but it was a damp bed, that had not been lain in for about a yeare before, which gave him such a cold, that in two or three days, as I remember he told me, he died of suffocation.”—Topographical Library, page 113-5.

Sopwell Nunnery is thus described in the History of the Abbey. It was founded by “Abbot Geoffry about 1140, on his observing two poor women dwelling there in a wretched hut of their own constructing, and living a most austere life on bread and water, and in regular devotion to God. Their piety induced him to build a house for their comfortable living; and to bestow on them some possessions. He appointed also a chapel and a church-yard; ordaining that none should be buried there except the nuns; none to be admitted into that house but maidens; and the number not to exceed thirteen.

“Henry de Albini or Albeney, of the house of Todenei, gave to this house two hides of land, with his wife’s consent, in their manor of Cotes, in Beaulieu. His son Robert, and his mother Cicely, gave a rood more, in the same manor. Richard de Tany, or Todenei, gave them the land called Black hides in Ridge parish.

“Abbot Michael, about 1338, ordained certain rules for the regulation of this house, and enjoined a better order and observance than they had before practised. They are as follows: 1. That the commemoration of St. Alban should be kept as usual. 2. That no more than three nuns should sit in the chapter. 3. That silence be observed, as by the rule of St. Benedict, in the church or chapel, in the cloister, in the refectory, and the dormitory. 4. That a little bell do ring in the morning, as notice to rise and appear; and that none leave the dormitory before the bell rings. 5. That the garden door be not opened (for walking) before the hour of prime, or first hour of devotion; and in summer, that the garden and the parlour doors be not opened until the hour of none (nine) in the morning; and to be always shut when the corfue rings. 6. That no sister hold conversation in the parlour without her cowl on, and her face covered with her veil. 7. That tailors, or other artists, be persons of good character, but to work in some place assigned them without the monastery; and never to be admitted into chambers or other private places.{107} 8. That if any sister be under a sentence of penance, this shall not exclude her from the duties of the church. 9. The sick to be kept in the infirmary. 10. No nun to lodge out of the house; and no guest within it. 11. All the sisters to be present at the mass of our Lady.”—History of St. Albans, page 468.

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Returning from the ruins of Sopwell, we take a parting view of the great west entrance to the Abbey Church, the principal features of which we have already noticed, page 94. The ground in front of the porch is entirely occupied as a public cemetery; but none of its sepulchral antiquities are of a character to demand particular notice as works of art.

The ceremony represented in the woodcut is the “distribution of alms,” which usually took place at the church door, on particular festivals, when “give-ale” and the “dole” drew together the neighbouring poor. The “give-ale,” so called, was distributed on anniversaries, often with bread and other dole, to the poor, for which purpose land had been left to the church by the person whose birth-day, saint’s-day, or burial-day, was to be commemorated. Anniversaries were sometimes kept on the birth-day of a donor, during his life-time, or on the saint’s-day of the church where it was appointed. The doles of money and bread were distributed at some altar in the church, or at the tomb of a deceased benefactor. The “give-ale,” being chiefly allotted to great festivals, was usually distributed in the church-porch, where the people assembled, and where they sometimes remained wassailing in the church-yard till it became a scene of merriment and tumult. Some of these anniversaries, as it is well{108} known, gave rise to Fairs, which were once most improperly held in churchyards.—Gaston de Blondeville, vol. iv. p. 68.

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In the preceding notice of St. Albans, the narrow limits assigned to this work has made it necessary to confine our sketches and observations to the more striking features of the Abbey and its vicinity. Where the materials are so abundant and inviting, and where only a few characteristic portions can be admitted, their selection must be always attended with more or less difficulty; but in the present instance, it is hoped, the order of subjects has been so arranged as to present the reader with a faithful picture of the Abbey as it now is, and such as, with the vast improvements in contemplation, it may continue to be for ages to come. For the lives and acts of its “forty abbots and one,” we must refer our readers to the chronicles of the Abbey, and the other sources of information hereunto annexed.

“Now closes the scene; and here,” in the words of the historian, “may we behold fallen and set for ever the glory and splendour of this and all other of those religious corporations, which, with most pious intentions in the founders, with general good conduct in the rulers, with most grateful acceptance in the sober and virtuous of all ranks, had provided for the wants and necessities of men; and the revenues, which had cheered the hearts of the naked and hungry, now turned out of the channel of hospitality and benefi{109}cence, to be dissipated and wasted in the voluptuous pleasures and base gratifications of the court and its followers.”

“Here forty abbots have ruled and one,
Twenty with palle and mitre on,
And bowed them to the Pope alone.
Their hundred monks, in black arrayed,
The Benedictine rules obeyed;
O’er distant lands they held their sway;
Freed from Peter’s-pence were they;
The gift of palle from Pope they claimed,
And cardinal-abbots were they named;
And even old Canterbury’s lord
Was long refused the premier board;
For this was the first British martyr’s bier,
And the Pope said ‘His priest shall have no peer.’
Now know ye St. Alban’s bones rest here!
Kings and heroes here were guests
In stately halls, at solemn feasts.
But now, nor dais nor halls remain;
Nor fretted window’s gorgeous pane
Twilight illuminated throws,
Where once the high-served banquet rose.”—Anne Radcliffe.
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Appendix.[81]—1. The present roof of the Abbey was erected at the expense of Abbot Whethamstead, after the original, which is said to have been of stone, had been blown down in a tempest. The “Wallingford Screen” was built, in 1480, by the Abbot of that name, at an expense of eleven hundred marks. It reaches from the ground to the eastern window, and for beauty and magnitude is said to surpass everything else of the kind in Europe. It was adorned, in the palmy days of the Abbey, with “a profusion of gold and silver ornaments;” but in its present condition, stripped of all such glittering ornaments, and its elegant simplicity so much more apparent, it is thus “unadorned, adorned the most.”

2. The Abbey Church of St. Albans was “chiefly erected by Paul, the first Norman Abbot, early in the reign of William Rufus, at which period the{110} edifice erected by Offa had become extremely ruinous. The Norman architecture is consequently preserved in the greater part of the building, particularly in the choir, nave, transepts, and great tower; but a very considerable portion has been rebuilt in the various styles of the times when repairs became necessary, the particulars of which may be seen in the lives of the different Abbots. For the purposes of repair, the materials were chiefly furnished by the ruins of Verulam; among which was a profusion of Roman brick.”—Archt. of St. Albans.

3. We are aware of the difference of opinion which once subsisted among writers as to the true era and character of the round and pointed arches which distinguish the Abbey Church. But the round arches which were formerly considered Norman, have been lately, we understand, pronounced Saxon by a distinguished architect, who has bestowed great pains in the investigation; and has at last, it is to be hoped, settled the question

“And proved, when Mercian Offa was anointed,
Arches were broad and round—not lancet-pointed.”
4. P. 87.—The epitaph on the two hermits, Roger and Sigarius, states, that thinking themselves unworthy to rest within the church, they chose a resting-place in the wall below. Legendary inscriptions on the clustered pillars are still dimly visible through the modern whitewash.

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ARMS OF ST. ALBANS.

5. This Abbey Church, venerable alike for its antiquity, and admirable for its design and workmanship, “possesses all the magnitude and dignity of the largest Cathedral. It is cruciform, measures from east to west, including the Lady Chapel, six hundred and six feet in length; the extreme breadth, at the intersection of the transepts, is two hundred and seventeen feet. The height of the body is sixty-five feet, and that of the tower is one hundred and forty-four feet.”

Authorities:—M. Paris.—Grafton.—Harding.—Holinshed.—Speed.—Camden.—Archæologia.—Newcome.—Clutterbuck.—Topography of Great Britain.—Guide to St. Albans Abbey.—St. Augustine.—Radcliffe’s St. Albans Abbey.—Holcroft’s Margaret of Anjou.—Memoir of Lord Bacon.—Blome’s Britannia.—Weever.—Willis.—Tyrrell.—Burnet.—Dugdale.—Visit to St. Albans, January 1842, MS. Notes by an Artist, MS.

The Society of Antiquaries has published very splendid illustrative plans, elevations, and sections of the Abbey Church of St. Albans.

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HALL OF ELTHAM PALACE.

A.D. 1365.

LONDON. GEORGE VIRTUE.

{111}

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INTERIOR OF ELTHAM HALL.

MDCCCXLII.

ELTHAM PALACE,

Kent.
Qui, dans ces temps affreux de discorde et d’alarmes
Vit les grands coups de lance et les nobles faits d’armes
De nos preux chevaliers, des “Bayards,” des Henris;
Aujourd’hui la moisson flotte sur ses débris!
Ces débris, cette triste et mâle architecture
Qu’environné une fraiche et riante verdure.
THE royal palace of Eltham is a subject which has often engaged the historian’s pen and the pencil of the artist; and, as intimately associated with many national events, it possesses an interest to which neither the lapse of time nor its own decay can ever render us indifferent. A visit to the “old{112} Hall of Eltham,” forms one of those incidents in life to which we look back with as much pleasure as the pilgrim was wont to do after he had paid his devotions at the “shrine of our Lady of Walsingham.” Every feature in this primitive abode of kings, this favourite resort of our native princes, arrests attention, and carries us back into the days of chivalry and romance. While sauntering through its deserted, and, as we may truly say, its desecrated court, imagination delights to expatiate among those recorded scenes of court festivity, military fêtes, and national solemnities, of which it has so often been the scene. The very echoes which, if at all disturbed, now only reply to the thresher’s song or the lowing of cattle, were once roused into loud and long-continued reverberations by the plaudits of knights within, and popular acclamations from without. In the twilight, the dim figures of its long line of possessors seem to flit before our eyes; while the mind is busily occupied in filling up the picture, from the days of Edward the Confessor down to those of James the First:

“Again, again, along the wizard’s glass,
In waving plumes they reappear and pass.”
It is gratifying to think that, whilst the plough may be said to have passed over many of our classic and historical sites, the Hall of Eltham is still spared. The ground on which it stands is sacred in the eyes of every patriot: it is an interesting field of study for the artist and antiquary; and in beauty of situation challenges the admiration of the most ordinary observer. Its position on a gently elevated surface, commanding a fine view in nearly every direction, surrounded by an extensive chase, and in the immediate vicinity of the capital, made Eltham highly eligible as an occasional residence for the sovereign. But the surrounding country has undergone so many alterations, Eltham itself is so shrunk, dilapidated, and “curtailed of its fair proportions,” that it is impossible to form a just estimate of what it must have been during the feudal period; adorned, as it undoubtedly was, with all the embellishments of art, inhabited by kings, with “kings for their guests,” and frequented by the élite of English beauty and chivalry.

Enough remains, however, to fill a long summer day with agreeable amusement and profitable entertainment; and to those who take pleasure in contemplating such monuments of the regal sway in England, the old palace of Eltham has attractions peculiarly its own.

Nearly all the writers who have given their attention to the topography of Eltham and its vicinity, complain of the great want of authentic records, for the satisfactory elucidation of its early history. This is a subject of much regret; obscurity is intimately connected with the origin of the place; the documents which we possess consist chiefly of those casual notices embodied{113} in the old Chronicles, where the subject is of only secondary consideration, and often merely alluded to by way of illustration. During the last twenty years, particularly since the discoveries of some subterranean passages within the walls, Eltham has been a subject of frequent description in the periodicals[82] of the day; and that frequency is a proof how much it has attracted, and still continues to attract, the public attention.

In the well-known county histories of Kent, as well as in all the topographical works which we have seen, the description of Eltham is given in nearly the same words, each successive writer contenting himself with what he has read, rather than what he had personally observed in the venerable ruin itself. We are far from presuming to do much more than our predecessors in the same walk; but, as the objects of our study and research are chiefly to ascertain and retail what has been done, rather than what is to be seen at Eltham, we shall, as usual, willingly avail ourselves of the old chronicles as our principal authorities, and, avoiding mere technical description, endeavour to bring the subject home to the mind and eye of the reader. But whilst to a certain class of readers we can only address the following well-known lines—

“Oisifs de nos cités, dont la mollesse extrême
Ne veut que ces plaisirs où l’on fuit soi-même,
Qui craignez de sentir, d’éveiller vos langueurs,
Ces tableaux éloquents sont muets pour vous”—
to another, a more congenial fraternity, we can speak with confidence, and calculate on their sympathy and support:

“Mais toi, qui des beaux-arts sens les flammes divines,
Ton âme entend la voix des cercueils, des ruines;
De la destruction recherchant les travaux,
Des états écroulés tu fouilles les tombeaux.
Tu lis, le cœur saisi d’un agréable effroi,
La marche de ce temps qui roule aussi sur toi;
Quel livre à ton génie offrent de tels décombres!”
Eltham, anciently written Ealdham and Aletham, carries a proof of its antiquity in the very name, which is a compound of two Saxon words signifying the old home, town, or dwelling; “heim,” being still the modern German word used to express the same meaning, and, with some characteristic prefix,{114} is frequent in Saxon topography. But this is so well known as scarcely to require a passing remark. Bounded by Greenwich, Woolwich, Plumsted, and Kidbrook on the north; by Bexley on the east; Chiselhurst and Mottingham on the south, and the picturesque village of Lee on the west, Eltham enjoys most of the advantages that result from a position in the centre of a rich cultivated neighbourhood.

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The manor of Eltham is said to have existed as a royal demesne in the time of Edward the Confessor; to have been given by William the Conqueror to one of his family, Odo Earl of Kent, and Bishop of Bayeux,[83] after whose disgrace and banishment, it reverted partly to the crown and partly to the Norman family of Mandeville, from whom it took the name of Eltham-Mandeville. That portion which fell to the crown was, according to Dugdale, given by Edward the First to John de Vesci, who was related to queen Eleanor by his marriage with Isabel de Beaumont, and afterwards, by an exchange of other lands with Walter de Mandeville, became sole proprietor of the manor. We shall not, however, detain our readers by tracing the descent with genealogical minuteness. From the Vesci family it passed into that of de Ayton—thence to Scroop of Masham; who afterwards presented it to queen Isabel in 1318, or probably a year later. About the middle of the following century, it was granted to Robert Dauson for seven years; and in the beginning of his reign, Henry the Eighth bestowed it successively upon Sir Henry Guildford, Comptroller of the Household, and Sir Thomas Speke. By Edward the Sixth it was granted{115} to Sir John Gates, lieutenant of the Tower, who was afterwards executed for high-treason; and down to the close of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, it was successively held of the crown by William Cromer and Lord Cobham. On the accession of King Charles the First, it was held in lease by the Earl of Dorset; but in the time of the Commonwealth, Eltham manor was seized by the Parliament, and, along with the manor-house then called Eltham Place, and great part of the demesne lands, was valued and sold to Nathaniel Rich of Fulham. At the restoration a renewal of the lease was obtained on purchase, by Sir John Shaw.—For these brief particulars we are indebted to an “Account of Eltham,” printed about fifty years ago, and drawn up from standard authorities on the subject.

We shall next advert to the historical incidents which connect Eltham Palace with the record of public transactions, while it was the residence of successive monarchs, and the resort of all who were most distinguished in the court history of their day; and then conclude with a brief account of it as it now appears, with all its “venerable scars and chronicled events” clustered together under the roof of its ancient Hall.

During the reign of the early monarchs, and more particularly during that of Henry the Third, Edward the First, and Richard the Second, Eltham appears to have been the locale chosen for the celebration of those court pageantries, and gorgeous festivals of the church, which softened the sterner features of the age, smoothed asperities, and brought the serf into friendly communion with his suzerain. In 1270, Henry the Third and his queen, attended by all the chief men of the state, kept open court at Eltham during the Christmas holidays, making merry with their attendant lords and ladies, and dispensing much generous hospitality to strangers.

Anthony Beck, Bishop of Durham and Patriarch of Jerusalem, who died at Eltham in 1311, is said to have expended great treasure on the fresh “edification and adornment” of the palace. He “builded,” says Stow, “the manor house, and gave it to the queen;” but this, as appears from “the statement given in the descent of the manor,” it was not in his power to have done. “Beck,” says the author of a paper on this subject, already quoted,[84] was a trustee under the will of William de Vesci; and the only way in which the fact can be reconciled is, by supposing him to have betrayed his trust, and to have obtained fraudulent possession of the estate.” “This prelate,” says Mr. Hutchinson, in his History of Durham, “merits notice for the singularity of his character; he led the van of Edward the First’s army gallantly against the Scots, at the battle of Falkirk, and dared even to make a harsh retort to a{116} reproof from that stern monarch. At Rome, he opposed single-handed a body of ruffians who had entered his house. So active was his mind, that he always rose when his first sleep was over, saying ‘It was beneath a man to turn in his bed.’ He was so modest, that although he smiled at the frown of a king, he never could lift his eyes to the face of a woman; and when the remains of Saint William were to be removed to York, he was the only prelate whose ‘conscious chastity’ permitted him to touch the sacred bones. And yet this mirror of purity could defraud the natural son of his friend, the Lord Vesci, of a large estate which had been trusted to the Bishop’s honour.[85] Beck loved military parade and had always knights and soldiers about him, and through vanity was prompted to spend immense sums. For forty fresh herrings he once gave a sum equal to forty pounds sterling; and a piece of cloth, which had proverbially been said to be ‘too dear for the Bishop of Durham,’ he bought and cut out into horse-cloths. To conclude—this haughty prelate once seized a palfrey of King Edward as a deodand; and at last broke his heart at being excommunicated by the Archbishop of York.”

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Eltham was also the favourite residence of Edward the Second, whose son being born here, received the name of John of Eltham: a circumstance in which originated the common error of its having been the palace of King John. At twelve years of age, this prince was created Earl of Cornwall; was appointed “custos of the citie of London:” died in Scotland in the flower of his age, and was buried in Westminster, where his monument is one of the chief sepulchral ornaments.

It was here, in his palace of Eltham, that Edward the Third held several parliaments; in one of which his faithful commons petitioned him to make his grandson, Richard of Bordeaux, Prince of Wales. In 1364, the same monarch gave a splendid banquet at Eltham, in honour of King John of France, whom{117} the fate of war had made his prisoner, but whose captivity was soothed by every demonstration of respect and hospitality on the part of his royal brother and his consort. “The court of this sovereign,” says Warner, “was the very theatre of sumptuous carousal and romantic elegance. The martial amusements of tilts and tournaments, which were always accompanied by splendid feasts, were so much encouraged, that we have instances of their being solemnly celebrated by royal command, in different cities, no less than seven times in the course of one year.” “This gentle king of England,” says Froissart, “the better to feste these strange lordes and all their company, held a great court on Trinity Monday in the Friers, whereat he and the queene his mother were lodged, keeping their house eche of them apart. At this feaste, the king had well five hundred knights, and fifteen were new made. And the queene had well in her courte sixty ladies and damozelles. There might be seen great nobles, plenty of all manner of straunge vitaile. There were ladies and damozelles freshely apparelled, ready to have daunced if they might have leave.” The above, though applied by Froissart to the reception of John of Hainault, was a general feature in the court life of this period; and it is no wonder that King John of France, whom Prince Edward had pronounced “the bravest of knights,” found the weight of captivity much lightened in the congenial atmosphere of Eltham palace.

The evening of Edward’s reign, however, exhibited a very different picture. Feast and tournament were gone, or rather the pleasures which they had once furnished to that chivalrous monarch during a long protracted reign, had now lost their zest. He spent the last months of his life between Eltham palace and his manor at Shene. “Decay,” says the historian, “had fallen heavy on body and spirit; he was incapable of doing much, and he did nothing. The ministers and courtiers crowded round the Duke of Lancaster, Prince Richard, and his mother. The old man was left to his mistress; and even she, it is said, after drawing his valuable ring from his finger, abandoned him in his dying moments,”

The splendour of Eltham, however, was speedily revived in the person of his grandson, Richard the Second, whose reign, dazzling at its commencement, inglorious in its course, and disastrous at its close, the poet Gray has thus strikingly depicted:—

“Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
While proudly riding o’er the azure realm,
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes,
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm;
Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind’s sway,
That, hushed in grim repose, expects his evening prey.{118}
“Fill high the sparkling bowl!
The rich repast prepare;
Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast.
Close by the regal chair,
Fell Thirst and Famine scowl
A baneful smile upon their baffled guest.”
Of the numerous historical scenes and incidents connected with King Richard’s sumptuous court at Eltham, a very few may be here introduced as characteristic of an age when “the example of the monarch sanctioned the extravagance of the subject.” He celebrated in particular three Christmases at Eltham, at which every imaginable entertainment was provided for a court overflowing with all the beauty and chivalry that could flatter a monarch, and scatter flowers over the dangerous precipice to which he was hastening. “The king,” says Hollinshed, “kept the greatest part, and maintained the most plentiful house that ever any king in England did, either before his time or since; for there resorted daily to his court above ten thousand persons, that had meat and drinke there allowed them. In his kitchen there were three hundred servitors, and every other officer was furnished after the like rate. Of ladies, chamberers, and landerers, there were above three hundred at the least; and in precious and costlie apparell they exceeded all measure.

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Yeomen and groomes were clothed in silks, with cloth of graine and skarlet, over sumptuous, ye may be sure, for their estates. And this vanitie was not{119} onelie used in the court in those dayes, but also other people abroad, in the townes and countries, had their garments cut far otherwise than had been accustomed before his daies, with embroderies, rich furs, and goldsmith’s worke, and everie daie there was devising of new fashions, to the great hinderance and decaie of the commonwealth.”—Page 508, sect. 10.

From this description, the reader may easily picture what must have been the splendid profusion which marked King Richard’s doings at Eltham, when arriving with his gorgeous retinue from the capital, he “courted repose” in a new and most extravagant series of festivities. The extensive park, which spread its wooded avenues in all directions, afforded ample scope for the indulgence in silvan sports; while minstrels, jesters, and jongleurs drove ennui from the gate, and kept the monarch and his guests in a continued enjoyment of mirthful excitement. On one of these occasions, the arrival in England of a guest of no ordinary station was announced, and on the following day was received by the king and queen at Eltham. “This,” says Speed, “was Leo, King of Armenia, a Christian prince, whom the Tartars had expelled out of his kingdom. The pretence of his negotiation was to accord the realms of England and France, that the princes thereof might, with joint forces, remove the common enemy from Christendome. Therein he could effect nothing; but his journey was not otherwise unfruitful to himself; for King Richard, a prince, to speak truly, full of honour and bountie, gave him, besides a thousand pounds in a ship of gold, letters patent, also, for a thousand pounds yearly pension during life.”

Eltham Palace was also the scene of the following incident in the court life of King Richard. “The king having proclaimed that he would hold a solemn feast at his palace here on Palm Sunday, invitations were sent to the Dukes of Lancaster and York, and the Lords of the Council, to be in attendance for the occasion. When the day of the feast was arrived, and all the lords had retired after dinner with the king to his council-chamber, Earl Marshal, having settled in his own mind how to act and what to say, threw himself upon his knees before the king and thus addressed him:—‘Very dear and renowned Lord, I am of your kindred, yʳliege man and marshal of England; and I have besides sworn on my loyalty, my hand within yours, that I never would conceal from you anything I might hear or see to your prejudice, on pain of being accounted a disloyal traitor. This I am resolved never to be, but to acquit myself before you and all the world.’ The king fixing his eyes upon him, said, ‘Earl Marshal, what is your meaning in speaking thus? We will know it.’ ‘Very dear Lord,’ replied the Earl, ‘as I have declared, I will not keep any secret from you: order the Earl of Derby to come to yʳpresence, and I will speak out.’ The Earl of Derby{120} was called for, and the king made the Earl Marshal rise, for he addressed him on his knees. On the Earl Derby’s arrival, who thought no harm, the Earl Marshal spoke as follows:—‘Earl of Derby, I charge you with having thought and spoken disrespectfully of your natural lord the king of England, when you said he was unworthy to hold the crown; that without law or justice, or consulting his council, he disturbed the realm; and that without any shadow of reason, he banished those valiant men from his kingdom who ought to be its defenders; for all of which I present my glove, and will prove, my body against yours, that you are a false and wicked traitor.’

“The Earl of Derby was confounded at this address, and retired a few paces without demanding from the Duke his father, or any of his friends, how he should act. Having mused awhile, he advanced with his hood in his hand towards the king, and said, ‘Earl Marshal, I say that thou art a false and wicked traitor, which I will boldly prove on thee, and here is my glove!’ The Earl Marshal seeing his challenge was accepted, showed a good desire for the combat by taking up the glove and saying, ‘I refer your answer to the good pleasure of the king and the lords now present. I will prove that your words are false, and that my words are true.’ Each of those lords then withdrew in company of his friends, and the time for serving wine and spices was passed by; for the king showed he was sore displeased, and retiring to his chamber, shut himself in…. When the day for the combat was at hand, and the two lords waited only for the king’s commands, King Richard’s secret advisers asked, ‘Sire, what is your pleasure respecting this combat? will you permit your two cousins the Earl of Derby and Earl Marshal to proceed?’ ‘Why not?’ replied the king; ‘I intend to be present myself and see their prowess.’ The king’s advisers showed great firmness in resisting his determination, and showed him some very cogent and unexpected reasons for his adopting another course, at which,” as the chronicler relates, “the king changed colour. Shortly after, a great council of the chief nobles and prelates was summoned at Eltham. The Earl of Derby and the Earl Marshal were sent for and put into separate chambers, for they were not permitted to meet, when after certain preliminaries the king’s pleasure was thus delivered in presence of the assembly: ‘I order that the Earl Marshal, for having caused trouble in this kingdom, by uttering words which he could not prove otherwise than by common report, be banished the realm for life. I also order that the Earl of Derby our cousin, for having angered us, and because he has been in some measure the cause of the Earl Marshal’s crime and punishment, prepare to leave the kingdom in fifteen days, and be banished hence for the term of ten years.’” Our readers will find other particulars in Froissart; but our chief inducement in selecting these passages is, their being scenes{121} which actually transpired at Eltham, and at the same time are highly characteristic of the manners of that age. We ought not to omit mentioning, however, that “on the day the Earl of Derby mounted his horse to leave London, upwards of fifty thousand men were in the streets, bitterly lamenting his departure.”

In 1405, King Henry the Fourth “celebrated his Christmas” here, after the manner of his predecessors; and on this occasion, says the chronicle, the Duke of York was “accused of an intention of breaking into the palace, by scaling the walls, and murdering the king.” The same monarch kept open court at Eltham on two subsequent occasions, and was residing in the palace when seized with the malady of which he died. But these festivals were celebrated with even more than former splendour by King Henry the Sixth. By Edward the Fourth the palace was repaired and embellished at great expense; and here his daughter Bridget Plantagenet—who became a nun of Dartford—was born, and next day baptized in the palace chapel by the Bishop of Winchester. Three years later, Eltham palace was again the scene of magnificent banquets and shows, during which two thousand persons were daily entertained at the king’s expense. King Henry the Seventh built the front of the palace towards the moat, and frequently resided in it; but he was the last of a long race of sovereigns who honoured it with any lengthened visit; for although Henry the Eighth[86] celebrated two Christmases here, the royal visits had now become “few and far between;” and one of the last occasions on which the palace was made the scene of a great court festival, was that appointed for his conferring the honours of the peerage upon Sir Edward Stanley, of Hornby Castle, in Lancashire, whose services at the battle of Flodden have already been noticed in these pages.

His claims to that honour were founded on his being “one of the most discreet persons, and justices of the peace, for assessing and collecting a subsidy of one hundred and sixty-three thousand pounds by a poll-tax;” of his having commanded the rear of the English army at Flodden-field, and forced the Scots, by the power of his archers, to descend the hill, which, by causing them to open their ranks, gave the first hopes of that day’s victory.[87] The ceremonial{122} on this occasion was stamped with all the gorgeous display so usual in that reign; but as a contagious disorder was then raging in London, none were permitted to dine at the “king’s hall at Eltham,” except the officers of arms, who, “at the serving in of the king’s second course of meat, entered, according to custom, and proclaimed the king’s style and title, and also that of the new lord.”

During the civil war, Robert Earl of Essex occupied the palace of Eltham, and dying here, was buried in Westminster Abbey. On the establishment of the Commonwealth, it was seized by the Parliament, and sold; the parks were broken into, the deer dispersed or killed by the soldiers and the mob; and the work of devastation once begun, continued till the greater part of the palace was reduced to a state of ruin.[88]

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At last, however, the beauty of Greenwich and the great convenience of the river as a channel of communication with the capital, gradually deprived Eltham of court patronage. Its palace was only enlivened at long intervals by the presence of royalty; while its rival, the new Placentia, grew more and more in favour, till it became the habitual residence of the sovereign, and the scene of those splendid exhibitions which subsequently characterized the reigns of Henry the Eighth[89] and his magnanimous daughter, Queen Elizabeth. The latter, during her infancy, was often taken to the “Old House of Eltham” for change of air; and on coming to the throne, paid it an occasional visit of recognition. But it was no longer considered fit for a royal establishment; and, although visited by King James and his successor, it never regained any share of its former importance; but, being every year more and more neglected, it became at last a splendid ruin, yet a monument on which were inscribed the early chronicles of the English monarchy. But, although the property reverted to the crown{123} at the Restoration, no pains were taken by government to protect the ruin from violence and spoliation. On the contrary, the old palace was turned into a quarry, and all the materials that could be converted to use were gradually removed and sold. Fortunately for the Hall, it was considered by some influential observer on the spot that it would make a good barn;[90] and to this accidental circumstance we are chiefly indebted for its preservation.

The three parks attached to the palace, with the demesne lands, extended over sixteen hundred and fifty-two acres, on which grew seven thousand seven hundred trees; of which four thousand were declared in the Survey to be “old and decayed,” and the remainder were marked out for the use of the navy.[91] A book, called the Mysteries of the Good Old Cause, published in 1660, says, “Sir Thomas Walsingham had the Honour of Eltham given him, which was the Earl of Dorset’s, and the middle Park, which was Mr. White’s. He has cut down five thousand pounds’ worth of timber, and has scarcely left a tree to make a gibbet.”

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The Approach.—The royal Hall is visible at a considerable distance; and, from various points of Blackheath and its vicinity, forms an interesting landmark to the stranger. This, however, is chiefly during the winter and spring months; for as soon as the trees resume their foliage, it is lost among the wooded landscape, or only seen by glimpses through the straggling trees of the park—remnants of that primeval forest by which it was once surrounded. In the immediate approach, the first objects that catch the eye are masses of ancient wall, thickly mantled with ivy, at the base of which the water of the original moat still keeps its bed. Over this, an ancient bridge of three arches leads to the inclosure, once covered with the habitations of royalty, but now reduced to this solitary hall, and flanked on the left by several dwelling-houses, that harmonize much better with our modern ideas of comfort than the moated walls of antiquity. Halting on the bridge for a few minutes, the effect of the{124} scene from that point is at once pleasing and impressive. On the left, overhanging the moat, which here forms a very small but picturesque sheet of water,[92] is a modern farm-house in a pleasing rustic style, with a balcony supported on slender pillars that rest on the edge of the fosse below. On the margin of the water opposite, is a small fresh lawn, bordered with shrubbery, and covered with that beau gazon on which the eye delights to repose. This spot, including the house, a projecting gallery, and several other compartments, presents an excellent subject for a cabinet picture. The bank of the moat was an extensive work, and of much greater magnitude on the west and south sides than towards the north, composing a terrace to the south of at least one hundred feet broad.

The design of the palace[93] was quadrangular. The hall, surmounted by its louvre, rose above the other edifices, standing in a direction nearly due east and west; and the common rule was observed of limiting the general elevation to two stories. Like other castellated mansions, the outline was irregular, towers and projecting masses breaking the line at intervals with picturesque effect. The area of the palace was an imperfect square, surrounded by buildings on the north and west, and partly inclosed on the other two sides, the centre being occupied by four quadrangles, of which two towards the west were of large dimensions, and formed wide and spacious courts. Standing on an eminence of greater elevation than any in the immediate district except Shooter’s-hill, the ground sloped gently away towards the west, over a rich and interesting landscape, including Blackheath, Greenwich Park, and the Surrey hills, between which stood London with the lofty spire of the old cathedral of St. Paul in view, and the insulated pile of Westminster Abbey, then without towers; the distant heights of Highgate terminating the background. It was surrounded by a moat inclosing above an acre of ground within its limits.[94] The moat was about sixty feet broad, except the portion towards the north entrance, where it was increased to one hundred and fifteen feet. On the west side of the bridge, the water of the moat still washed the old ivyed walls of the palace—now reduced to little more than the foundations. In front, through a few straggling elm-trees, the venerable old Hall presents itself. The avenue to the door is flanked by two cottages, evidently built out of the old materials of the palace, and now posted like sentinels for the protection of its remains. In one of these resides the female custode of the hall, who reaps no inconsiderable{125} harvest from the visitors who resort hither for a view of “King John’s Palace,” as it is called.

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Visit.—Conducted by our guide, we once more entered the royal Hall of Eltham, with such feelings as naturally accompany those who are treading on that time-hallowed ground where history, tradition, and fiction, have impressed their respective seals. Entering the door, a screen, once elaborately carved, and running across the building, opens a thoroughfare to a corresponding entrance on the opposite side. In the centre of the screen is an inner door to the hall. Of the latter, the noble proportions strike the visitor at the first glance, and challenge his admiration. In its present state, however, the general effect is much injured by the very means employed for its security,—namely, the heavy wooden frame-work raised to support the roof, but which conceals the beauty of its proportions. With this, however, we must not find fault; some of the noblest statues of antiquity have been obliged to support their dignity by “accepting modern pedestals;” and without the means here ingeniously employed, the Hall of Eltham must long ere this have been laid open to the weather. In the sixth volume of the Archæologia, Mr. King has given minute descriptions of the Hall, to which we refer our readers.

The Screen, already mentioned as running before the offices, was richly carved, with a gallery over it for the musicians. Through this door entered the guests who were not in immediate attendance upon the king. Here the{126} brave and the beautiful of other days were received by the great officers of state, and conducted to the dais, where, on his throne, the monarch received their homage and congratulations. The two great bow-windows at either side of

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the upper end, in which were placed the royal sideboards, are adorned with beautiful flowing tracery, and in style and proportions are magnificent. All the windows were obviously placed in such a manner as to afford an opportunity of hanging arras under them,[95] as in the banquet scene represented in the steel engraving. The length of the Hall is rather more than a hundred feet, the breadth thirty-six, and the height forty-five feet. It has five double windows on each side, exclusive of the great bays, at the end of which was the chief entrance into the state apartments.

The purposes of a common barn, to which this magnificent hall has been so long applied, have materially altered and defaced some of its noblest features. One of the gorgeous oriels, for example, that opened to the east and west, has been partly broken and cut away in order to admit loaded waggons into the interior; and various other mutilations, the effects of violence, not time, are observable in other parts of the building. But our regrets on this head give way to something like a feeling of congratulation, when we reflect that, had not this change in its destination occurred, the Hall of Eltham would have long since disappeared, like the original palace to which it belonged. At the upper or north end of the building was the high dais, slightly elevated, and running across the hall. This is now the threshing-floor; and at both ends of this platform, east and west, are the magnificent bay windows above mentioned, each forming a deep{127} recess, and exhibiting, in design and workmanship, all the characteristic beauty of its class and epoch. The most cursory view will enable the reader to judge of their shape and proportions; but to form any adequate conception of what they must have been when filled with richly-stained glass, and pouring a flood of gorgeous colours upon the royal banquet, requires no little effort of the imagination.

“There the raised platform, near the bay,
Served well for stage: that oriel gay
Rose with light leaves and columns tall
Mid ‘roial glass’ and fretwork small;
While tripod lamps from the coved roof
Showed well each painted mask aloof:
Lanfranc and Saxon Edward there
Watching the scene they once could share.”
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The Roof.—The following observations on the construction of the roof were given by Mr. Chessel Buckler while the last repairs were going on. The preservation of this noble monument of ancient English architecture is an honour to the country. When stripped of its external covering, the roof distinctly exhibited the beauty of its carpentry, and the extent of its injuries. It is wholly constructed of chestnut, the strength and solidity of which, though unimpaired by time alone, were in many places destroyed by the operations of the weather.[96] The main beams of the roof are full seventeen inches square and twenty-eight feet long, perfectly straight, and sound throughout, and are the produce of trees of the most stately growth. A forest must have yielded its choicest timber for the supply of this building; and it is evident that the material has been wrought with incredible labour and admirable skill. The repairs are limited to the roof, the parapet by which it is protected, and the buttresses by which it is upheld. As it has been stated that the joints and mouldings of the roof are secured by wooden pins only,{128} it may not be superfluous to remark that the structure is held together by the assistance of nails.[97]

The Souterrains.—Of the subterranean passages lately discovered at Eltham Palace, the following facts are contained in a small pamphlet on the subject, published at Greenwich. Tradition has always kept up the belief of an underground passage from Eltham Palace to Blackheath, Greenwich, or the River; and it was affirmed in the neighbourhood that at Middle Park, connected with the passages, there was stable-room under ground for sixty horses. Under the floor of one of the apartments of the palace, a trap-door[98] opens into a room under-ground, ten feet by five, and proceeding from it, a narrow passage about ten feet in length, conducts the stranger to the series of passages with decoys, stairs, and shafts, some of which are vertical, and others on an inclined plane, which were once used for admitting air, and for hurling down missiles upon enemies, according to the modes of defence then in use. And it is worthy of notice that, at points where weapons from above could assail the enemy with the greatest effect, there the shafts are made to verge and concentrate. About five hundred feet of these passages have been entered and passed through in a western direction towards Middle Park, and under the moat to the extent of two hundred feet. The arch is broken down in the field leading from Eltham to Mottingham, but still the brickwork can be traced further, and proceeding in the same direction. The remains of two iron gates, completely carbonized, were found in that part of the passage under the moat; and large stalactites formed of super-carbonate of lime hung down from the roof of the arch, which sufficiently indicated the time that must have elapsed since these passages were last entered.

Environs.—Shooter’s-hill, the well-known landmark in this part of Kent, is within a very short walk of Eltham Hall. The tower commands a beautiful prospect of the metropolis, Greenwich, Woolwich, the Thames, and the adjacent counties, and thus forms the centre of of a most extensive panorama.[99] It was erected by Lady James, in honour of her husband Sir William James, Baronet, who commanded the Company’s marine forces in the East Indies, and in 1755, distinguished himself, by the taking of Severndroog Castle, on the coast of{129} Malabar. It is triangular in shape, and about forty-five feet high. In the vestibule were formerly arranged numerous specimens of the armour and trophies taken at Severndroog, and in front is an inscription commemorative of that victory.

Blackheath, of which the above is the most conspicuous feature, is often mentioned in the old chronicles as the scene of “notable events.”[100] The view which it commands is celebrated in all languages, and still continues to be a theme of universal admiration. Previously to this, Shooter’s-hill was a beacon station; and in the Churchwardens’ Account at Eltham, in 1556, there are frequent charges made for “watchinge the becon on Shutters-hill.”

The old military road from London to Dover is supposed to have followed nearly the same track as the present. Various Roman antiquities have been dug up on the Heath, an account of which may be seen in the Archæologia. With the popular names of Jack Straw, Wat Tyler, Jack Cade, the counterfeit Mortimer, and with the military operations of Henry the Sixth, Henry the Seventh, the “bastard Falconbridge,” Lord Audley, the Cornish rebels, Edward the Fourth, and other personages and events, Blackheath is intimately associated. It has also been the scene of many great public exhibitions of military pomp and court ceremony. It was on this heath, in the immediate vicinity of his “faire house of Eltham,” that Henry the Fourth, with great parade and magnificence, met the Emperor of Constantinople, when he arrived in England to solicit assistance against Bajazet. And here, on the 23rd of November, the mayor and aldermen of London, with four hundred citizens “clothed in scarlet, with red and white hoods,” met their victorious monarch on his return from Agincourt. Here also the citizens met the Emperor Sigismund, when he came to mediate a peace between France and England; and here Edward the Fourth was also welcomed to England by a multitude of loyal citizens, who conducted him in triumph to his palace. Here, in 1519, a solemn embassy, consisting of the Admiral of France, the Bishop of Paris, and other grandees of church and state, with twelve hundred persons in their train, were met by the Lord Admiral of England and a numerous retinue; and the same year, Cardinal Campeius, the Pope’s legate, was received, with great splendour, on Blackheath, by the Duke of Norfolk, and “conducted to a rich tent of cloth of gold, where he arrayed himself in his cardinal’s robes, and then rode in princely state to London.”

But the most magnificent “Blackheath procession” on record, was that which took place at the interview between Henry the Eighth and the Lady Ann of Cleves, with an abridgement of which we shall conclude our present notice of Eltham and its vicinity.{130}

“On the morrow, the thirde day of Januarie, being Saturdaie, in a fair plaine of Blackheath, was pitched a pavilion of rich cloth of gold, and divers other tents and pavilions, in which were made fires and perfumes for her, the Ladie Anne, and such ladies as were appointed to receive her; and from the tents to the parke-gate of Greenwich, all the bushes and firs were cut downe, and a large open waie made for the shewe of all persons. And first, next to the parke pale on the east, stood the masters of the Stilliard, and on the west side the merchants of Genoa, Florence, and Venice, and the Spaniards, in cotes of velvet; then, on both sides of the waye, stood the merchants of the citie of London, the aldermen and councillors, to the number of a hundred and three score, which were mingled with the esquires; then the fifty gentlemen pensioners; and all these were apparelled in velvet and chaines of gold, truely accounted to the number of twelve hundred and above, beside them that came with the king and her, which were six hundred, in velvet cotes and chaines of gold. Behind the gentlemen stood the serving men in good order, well horssed and apparelled; so that whosoever had well viewed them might have said, that they, for tall and comelie personages, and clean of lim and bodie, were able to give the greatest prince in Christendome a mortall breakefast, if he had been the king’s enemie.

“About twelve of the clocke, Her Grace, with all the companye which were of her owne nation, to the number of an hundred horse, accompanied with

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the Dukes of Norffolke, Suffolke, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and other bishops, lords, and knights, came doune Shooters-hill, towards the tents, and a good space from the tents met her, the Earl of Rutland, and all her coun{131}cellors and officers, amongst whome Doctor Daie, appointed her almoner, made to her an eloquent oration in Latine, which oration was answered unto by the Duke her brother’s secretarie; which done, the ladie Margaret Dowglas, daughter to the Queene of Scots, the ladie Marquesse Dorsset, daughter to the French queen, being neeces to the king, and the Dutches of Ritchmond, the Countesses of Rutland and Hereford, with divers other ladies and gentlewomen, to the number of three score and five, saluted and welcomed her grace, who alighted out of her chariot, and with courteous demeanour and lovinge countenance, gave to them hartie thanks and kissed them all, and after all her councellors and officers kissed her hand; which done, she, with all the ladies, entered the tents, and there warmed them a space; and (it being the depth of winter) when the king knewe that she was arrived in her tent, he with all diligence set out through the parke. And first issued the King’s trumpets, the officers of his council, the officers of his privie chamber, the barons, the lord mayor, the bishops, earles, the Duke of Baviere, and countie palatine of the Rhine; then the ambassadours of the French king and emperor, Cromwell, the lord privie seale, the lord chancellour, the garter king-at-arms, and the other officers and sergeants of arms, gave their attendance on each side the lord. The lord Marquesse Dorsset bare the sword of state, and after him, a good distance, followed the King’s Highnesse, mounted on a goodlie courser.

“To speake of the rich and gorgeous apparel that was there to be seen that daie, I have thought it not greatlie necessarie, sith each man may well think it was right sumptuous and very faire and costlie. After the king followed the lord chamberlayne, then the master of his horsses richly mounted and leading the king’s horsse of estate by a long reine of gold. Then followed the pages of honour, riding on great coursers, then the captaine of the gard, then the gard well horssed, and in their rich cotes, etc.

“When Her Grace understood that the king was come, she came forth of her tent, and at the doore thereof, being set on a faire and beautiful horsse, richly trapped, she rode forth towards the King, who perceiving her to approach, came forward somewhat beyond the Crosse, then staid till she came nearer, and then putting off his cap, he made forward to her, and, with most loving countenance and princelie behaviour, saluted, welcomed, and imbraced her, to the great rejoising of the beholders: And she likewise, not forgetting her dutie, with most amiable aspect and romantic behaviour, received him with many apt words and thanks, as was most to purpose.

“After the king had talked a small while, he put her on his right hand, and so with their footmen they rode together; and returned in this manner through the ranks of the knights and esquires, which stood still all this while, and{132} removed not.” (The procession through the park is glowingly described, but her reception in the palace is all we can introduce in this place.) “Now were the citizens of London rowing up and doune on the Thames before them, every craft with his barge garnished with banners, flags, streamers, pencels, and targets, painted and beaten with the king’s armes, some with her armes, and some with the armes of their craft and mysterie. There was a barge called the Bachellors Barke, richlie decked, on the which waited a foist that shot great pieces of artillerie; and in every barge was great store of instruments of divers sorts, and men and children singing and plaieng altogether, as the King and the Ladie Anne passed bye the wharfe. When the king and she were within the utter court, they alighted from their horses, and the king lovinglie imbraced her, kissed her, and bade her welcome to her owne, leading her by the left arme through the hall, and so brought her up to her privie chamber, where he left her for that time, while a great peal of artillerie was shot off from the tower of Greenwich and thereabout.”

Such are a few of the particulars given by Holinshed of this matrimonial fete: but the account by Hall is still more circumstantial, and both afford vivid pictures of the regal splendour which characterized all the court pageants of that gorgeous reign. Little did Anne of Cleves imagine, as the magnificent view opened upon her, with Eltham Hall on her left, Greenwich on her right, Westminster and St. Paul’s in the distance, a sovereign at her feet, and an assembled nation eager to do her homage—little did she imagine how dark would be the sunset of this bright day; and yet, compared with that which overtook her unhappy sisters—partners of the same throne—her destiny was rather to be envied than lamented.

The town of Eltham, of which our limits prevent a more deliberate notice, is still one of the most favourite retreats in the vicinity of town, and formerly could number among its residents many celebrated names. The church and churchyard are interesting, and contain several classic tombs and inscriptions. The environs are rich and picturesque, the society is select and intellectual, the air is salubrious; and within seven miles of the capital it would be difficult to find any point that offers so many inviting qualities for a quiet and cheerful residence as Eltham.

Authorities:—Camden.—Stow.—Blome.—Leland.—Grafton.—Hall.—Life of the Black Prince.—do. Richard the Second.—Archæologia.—Gentleman’s Mag.—Hasted.—Parliamentary Surveys.—Lambard.—Lysons.—Kilburne.—Graphic Illustrator.—Collins’s Peerage.—Buckler.—Notices of Eltham.—MS. Visit to Eltham, March, 1842.—Royal Halls.

For an admirable description of Greenwich Park and its vicinity, the reader is referred to Mr. Miller’s “Lady Jane Grey,”—“Banks of the Thames,” etc. etc.

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ROCHESTER CASTLE.

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THE CASTLE OF ROCHESTER.
Long have I loved to catch the simple chime
Of minstrel-harps, and spell the fabling rhyme;
To view the festive rites, the knightly play,
That deck’d heroic Albion’s elder day;
To mark the mouldering Halls of Barons bold,
And the rough Castles, cast in giant mould;
With Gothic manners Gothic arts explore,
And muse on the magnificence of yore.—Warton.
“AS we descended the hill towards Rochester, how solemn the appearance of the Castle, with its square ghastly walls, and their hollow eyes rising over the right bank of the Medway, grey and massive and floorless—nothing remaining but the shell!” Such was the memorandum of her visit to this scene, left by the author of the Mysteries of Udolpho, as she descended Strood Hill, and gazed upon the magnificent ruin to which this portion of our work is to be directed. Viewed from this point—the hill above named—the Castle appears to great advantage. Soaring in lofty pre-eminence over the surrounding buildings, and even the Cathedral, it conveys to the spectator’s mind a deep impression of what it must have been in the palmy days of chivalry, when mailed warriors lined its ramparts, when joust and tourney animated its courts, and banners floated from its towers. In its present condition it bears that resemblance to its former self which a skeleton bears to{134} the living body. The framework is there, but the life is fled,—the light is extinguished; and in the full glare of day, like the wreck of mortality, it assumes only a more melancholy aspect. But still, the interest connected with this landmark of antiquity is increased, rather than diminished, by contemplation. Fancy repeoples its courts, rebuilds its towers, restores its original order and dimensions, till we enjoy the picture which imagination thus embodies, and seem for the time, as if we were transported into romantic ages and took a part in those historic scenes of which its walls were once the theatre. At every one of those loop-holes and unlatticed casements, we seem to discern the warlike forms that once animated the building, and hurled defiance on the assailants. We hear the sound of revelry in the hall, the clang of arms in the ‘bayle,’ and the rattle of the portcullis as it drops from the lofty archway, and fastens its iron teeth in the pavement.—But we need not proceed with a picture which so vividly presents itself to every imaginative pilgrim who halts on the bridge of Rochester, and surveys the vast and venerable pile which here crowns the adjoining bank, and takes undivided possession of the scene.

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Rochester Castle is beyond doubt one of the most complete Norman strongholds that the slow waste of centuries and the ravages of war have left in our island; and, in its noble style and elegant proportions, offers one of the best examples extant of that class of domestic fortresses by which the early barons rendered themselves so formidable to the crown. The castles or stone-built fortresses of England, previously to the Conquest, were few and inconsiderable. Those of Roman foundation had fallen into ruin; and although the great Alfred had strengthened the frontier and more assailable points of the country with fifty or more of these towers of defence, they had not been kept up with the same vigilance by his successors; and to this deficiency of national bulwarks may be attributed the speedy reduction of England to the Norman yoke.{135}

At the period in question, the castles and places of strength in general[101] appear to have been constructed principally of wood: in proof of which, the only mechanical implement which the vassal was required to bring with him in aid of the work, was a hatchet. Aware of their great importance in securing the fruits of conquest, the Norman ruler immediately adopted the policy of the Roman, and began to measure the duration of his power by the number and strength of his castles. In process of time the great martial tenants of the crown followed his example, and, by erecting places of strength in the various provinces assigned to them as the spoils of conquest, secured to themselves and their families the newly-acquired domain. At the close of Stephen’s reign, the number of these domestic strongholds appears to have amounted to eleven hundred; a fact which led to the most deplorable consequences. Contempt of allegiance, family feuds, mutual acts of violence and outrage—a state of society which admitted no superior, respected no law but that of force, and accepted no arbitrator but the sword—were daily opposed to the right administration of affairs.[102] Such, however, was the prelude to happier times, when the castles—after having been for a season the strongholds of lawless domination—were transformed at last into temples and sanctuaries for the regeneration of native freedom. It was in the recesses of those embattled walls that the rights of the people were at length asserted, that their wrongs were redressed, and that the sword of despotism was transformed into a sceptre of peace. It was by the masters of those castles that the bloodless victory of Runnymede was achieved, and freedom established on a permanent basis.

The continual struggle, however, in which these generous efforts involved the early barons, had for a time its full portion of evil as well as good. It distracted society, fostered suspicion and distrust in the people, awakened personal animosities among the nobles, and occasioned disunion among those who had but one great object in view, that of securing and consolidating under one legitimate head the interests of all. But the unwearied vigilance, prudence, and personal intrepidity which were necessary to carry forward those labours to a successful crisis, had the happy effect of bringing into full play the noblest qualities of the human mind, and were the certain forerunners of that political wisdom and military prowess which in every subsequent reign have distinctly marked all our great national events.

But to return to the subject before us—we may observe that at the period of the Conquest the security of the new dynasty depended as much upon the faithful attachment of its great vassals in time of peace, as the late victory{136} had depended on their exertions in the field. Making it therefore their interest to be faithful to him, William extended to his followers immediate rewards with the prospect of future aggrandizement. The number of those who had held rank in his army at the battle of Hastings[103] amounted to seven hundred. To these extensive domains were assigned (as already mentioned in the case of Roger Montgomery) in all parts of England where, with true Norman policy, they erected those majestic structures which overawed the conquered, and secured to their lords the quiet enjoyment of their newly-acquired power. But it is a fact not to be questioned, that these strongholds were too often subservient to the worst purposes.[104] Where the will, authority, or caprice of the chiefs was the only law; where his interest and family aggrandizement were the great ends to be kept in view, justice and humanity were not likely to hold the scales with an impartial hand. The virtues of that age were not of the stamp which at a later period characterized Fitzwalter and his brother barons. To extend their possessions by the sword—as in their inroads across the Welsh and Scottish frontier—to defend them by the like means—to exact implicit obedience from their vassals and retainers—to marshal them under their own banners in time of war, and to lead a life of feudal splendour in the short intervals of peace, filled up the life and labours of the great military leaders of that day. It was like the cloud which intervened between the darker and brighter pages of our history; but through which were seen occasional glimpses of those events which the maturer age of chivalry, the growth of moral principle, and the progress of refinement, improved to the national glory.

The Castle of Rochester, though stripped of nearly all its outworks, and mutilated in its internal features, is as perfect an example as we possess of a Baronial castle. It exhibits in detail nearly all the characteristic features of the eleventh and twelfth centuries; and where the hand of violence has not been applied, it displays all the beauty of outline, richness of work{137}manship, and solidity of structure, which mark the great buildings of its class and period. The situation is exactly such as the Norman barons usually selected for their strongholds. These were in many instances built on the remains of Roman forts, or on those which had been constructed or repaired in the time of Alfred, evidence of which, may be generally obtained by a careful examination of the substructure. The space it occupies is believed to have been the site of a Roman fortress; for the point was too eligible, and the district itself was too accessible, to have been left without a military defence during their possession of the country. Besides, it was a station on the great military road between Dover and London; and being in a central point between the capital and the coast, and having the double advantage of road and river communication, was peculiarly suited to all the purposes of a provincial fortress.

But in order that we may have a correct notion of the castellated structures of those days, we shall here, in as few words as possible, give a general idea of a Norman Castle or fortress[105]. It consisted, with very few exceptions, of an enclosure of from five to ten acres of land; and, as in the present instance, was encircled by a river, or artificial canal called a moat, on the scarp or edge of which was a strong wall, succeeded by another; and between these was the first ballium, or outer court of the castle. Within the second wall, or that which immediately surrounded the keep, or great tower, were storehouses for the garrison, and other offices suitable to the extent and distinction of the fortress. In the centre of this interior space or enclosure, was the citadel, or master-tower, as it is more properly called, in which resided the suzerain, or feudal chief; but occasionally it was occupied by the deputy or castellan, who for the time being was the representative of the baron, and had the full exercise of his delegated authority. This master tower was generally built upon an artificial mound, as already described in our notice of Arundel. It contained the state-apartments, which were in proportion to the style and retinue of the founder, with all the other domestic offices belonging to the strongholds of that period. In the centre of the tower, and descending to the lowest part of the foundation, were the dungeons, in which were confined the prisoners of war, the felons or malefactors of his jurisdiction. In several instances, access to the various compartments of the castle was provided by secret inlets through the centre of the walls, and by subterraneous passages made under the fosse, as mentioned in the notice of Eltham.

In advance of the ditch or moat, was the barbican, or outer defence, with{138} a watch-tower that communicated with the interior by means of a drawbridge across the moat, which opened inwards, so as to be under the control

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of the sentinel or guard. The entrance to the ballium, or outer court, was secured by gates, with a ponderous grating or portcullis, which was raised or lowered by means of those iron chains and pulleys which are still used in some of our military fortresses, and are always met with in the fortified cities of the Netherlands. The walls were further protected by towers and battlements, from which, as well as through the numerous loopholes by which they were perforated, arrows and other missiles could be discharged with deadly effect; while through the apertures of the machicolation above,

“Sudden, on the assailants’ head,
Blocks of stone and molten lead,
O’er the foe descending—gushing,
Scorching as they fell, or crushing
Helmèd warriors in their fall,
Guarded each embattled wall.”
The outer walls were generally from six to ten feet thick; those of Rochester Castle are seven[106]; while the walls of the keep, to which all looked for retreat under desperate circumstances, were often fifteen feet in thickness, and contained in their centre many secret closets, passages, and recesses, to which none but the castellan and his family had access. In the castle of Glamis[107] there is a secret chamber, the key of which is transmitted from father to son, and never known to more than the “seigneur actuel,” and some trustworthy official. Before the invention of artillery, one of these strongholds, such as we have described, might have been considered impregnable; and when taken, the surrender was generally in consequence of famine, revolt or cowardice on the part of the garrison, or of stratagem on that of the besiegers.

Nearly all the fortresses of this class were erected during the period that elapsed between the reign of the Conqueror and that of Edward the Third. The Castle of Rochester appears to have been erected soon after the decisive battle of Hastings; and in tracing its history and that of its founder, we shall adhere to the general opinion, so far as that may be found to harmonise with historical documents. Castles built on the Norman model varied according to the natural shape of the ground selected for their erection. The military{139} baron, following the example of the Roman general, selected that position to which nature had given the best means of security, which provided against sudden approach or surprise, and in cases of extremity, offered some facilities for escape, of which various instances are recorded in history. The sites chosen were generally on capes or promontories overlooking the sea; on high banks protected by a river, or on isolated hills, where connecting valleys, by forming a natural fosse, would interpose a chasm between the besiegers and the besieged. These natural positions were readily taken advantage of by the warlike baron; while the difficulty of access could be increased by artificial means, such as damming up the stream which flowed through the ravine, and thus transforming it into a temporary lake. The situation of Rochester Castle is partly an example of this kind: the high ground on which it stands, and its immediate access to the river, were natural recommendations not to be lost sight of; and which the founder took every opportunity of turning to the best account. In castle-building the general maxim was—

“Where the land o’erlooks the flood,
Steep with rocks and fringed with wood;
Where, throughout the circling year,
Wells the fountain fresh and clear;
Scoop the dungeon, rear the wall,
Pile on high the feudal hall.”
We shall now quote one or more authorities respecting the Castle of Rochester. “Neere unto the church,” says Camden, “there standeth, over the river, an olde Castle fortified both by art and situation, which, as the report goeth, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux and Earle of Kent, built; but it was no doubt King William the First that built it; for, in Domesday Book we reade thus: ‘The Bishop of Roucester holdeth in Elesford for exchange of the land on which the castle is seated.’ Yet certain it is that Bishop Odo, when his hope descended of a doubtful change of the state, held this against King William Rufus; all which time there passed a proclamation through England, that whosoever would not be reputed a ‘niding,’ should repair to the recovery of Rochester Castle. Whereupon, the youth, fearing that name as most reproachful and opprobrious in that age, swarmed thither in such numbers, that Odo was enforced to yield the place, lose his dignity, and abjure the realme.”

But concerning the reconstruction of the “Kentishmen’s Castle,” Camden quotes the text of Roffensis, an ancient manuscript of the Church of Rochester, which narrates the following particulars:—“When King William the Second would not confirm the gift of Lanfranck, unless Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester, would give unto the king an hundred pounds of deniers; at last, by the intercession of Sir Robert Fitzsimon, and Henry, Earl of Warwick, the king granted it thus far forth in lieu for the money which he demanded for grant{140} of the manor, that Bishop Gundulph, because he was skilful and well experienced in architecture and masonrie, should build for the king, at his own

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proper charges, a castle of stone. In the end, when as the bishops were hardlie brought to give their consent unto it before the king, Bishop Gundulph built up the castle full and whole at his owne cost.—Hence the name of Gundulph’s Tower.—And a little after, King Henrie the First granted unto the church of Canterbury and to the archbishops the keeping thereof, and the constableship, to hold ever after, as Florentius of Worcester saith, yea and a licence withal to build in the same a towre for themselves. Since which time it was besieged by one or two great sieges, but then especially when the barons with their alarmes made all England to shake; and Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, assaulted it most fiercely, though in vaine, and cut down the wooden bridge, which was afterwards repaired.”

To the historical names and events thus connected with the castle we shall briefly advert. Odo, whose name is so closely associated with the castle and the county of Kent, was one of the military prelates who followed the victorious standard of King William, pronounced a benediction on his army at the battle of Hastings, and shared largely in the plunder of the vanquished. He was half-brother, by the mother’s side, to the Conqueror, and could handle the sword as well as the crosier. William, to save the bishop and secure a steady adherent to the crown, made him Earl of Kent, and along with the title conferred many other substantial favours. “But,” says an old authority, “he was by nature of a bad disposition and busie head, bent alwaies to sow sedition and to trouble the state; whereupon, he was committed to prison[108] {141}by a subtile distinction as Earle of Kent, and not as Bishop of Bayeux, in regard of his holie orders; and afterwards, by a most dangerous rebellion which he raised, he was, by his nephew King William Rufus, deprived of his places of dignity, lost all his goods in England, and abjured the realme.”

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The rebellion in which he was concerned, and which proved fatal to this ambitious and intriguing prelate, is matter of local history. He was a formidable partisan, a man formed to be the leader of a conspiracy; he had many friends among the most powerful of the barons; and when Duke Robert promised to come over with an army to wrest the sceptre from his brother Rufus, Odo engaged to do the rest. At the Easter festival, Rufus kept his court at Winchester, and there he invited all the great lords to attend him[109]. Odo and his friends were also there, and took that opportunity of arranging his plans. From the festival he departed to raise the standard of Robert in his old earldom of Kent; while Hugh de Grantmesnil, Roger Bigod, Robert de Mowbray, Roger de Montgomery, William Bishop of Durham, and Geoffrey of Coutance, repaired to do the same in their respective fiefs and governments. Thus a sudden and dangerous rising took place in many parts of England. But the insurgents lost time; while the army from Normandy, which Odo was instructed to provide for, was slow in making its appearance[110]. Rufus, in the mean time, on hearing that warlike preparations were going forward in the very heart of his kingdom, permitted his subjects to fit out cruisers, which rendered him very important services; for the Normans calculated that there was no royal navy to oppose them, and that they would be received on landing by their confederates. The followers of Odo and his party began to cross the Channel in small companies, and so many were intercepted and destroyed by the English cruisers, that the attempted invasion was abandoned. The bishop, however, had fortified the castles of Rochester and Pevensey, and, fearful that no assistance might reach him from Normandy, prepared to stand a siege. Rufus now issued the proclamation already quoted—namely, “Let every man who is not a nithing[111] (cipher){142} in the martial catalogue of his country, quit home and hearth, and hasten to join the standard of his sovereign!” To this appeal thirty thousand men responded,—men of the old Saxon blood, whom the conciliatory measures recently adopted by Rufus had brought over to his cause. With this powerful army he marched against the bishop, who having delegated the command of Rochester Castle to Eustace, Earl of Boulogne, lay in the strong fortress of Pevensey, in expectation that Duke Robert and his Normans might still make good their landing on that part of the coast. After a siege of seven weeks, Odo was obliged to surrender; and on taking an oath that he would place Rochester Castle in the king’s hands, Rufus pardoned this act of rebellion, and dismissed him, with an escort of Norman horse, to Rochester, there to fulfil his engagement[112]. By a preconcerted plan, however, between Eustace and himself, means were taken to evade the performance of his oath; for while reciting the set form of words by which he demanded the surrender of the castle, Eustace, pretending great indignation at the proposal, arrested the bishop and his guards on the spot, as traitors to Robert, and carried them into the castle. The scene was well acted; and Odo, trusting to be screened from the accusation of perjury by the compulsory means employed against him, remained in the fortress as a witness, and, no doubt, an active partisan in the cause[113].

Exasperated by such treachery, Rufus soon environed the castle with a powerful army of infantry and horsemen. The castle, however, was strong and well garrisoned: five hundred Norman knights, without counting the meaner sort, fought on its battlements; and after a long siege the place was not taken by assault, but forced to surrender either by pestilential disease, by famine, or probably by both. The English, who had shown great ardour during the siege, would have granted no terms of capitulation; but the Norman portion of the king’s army, who had friends and relations in the castle, entertained very different sentiments, and at their earnest entreaty, though not without difficulty, Rufus allowed the besieged to march out with their arms and horses, and freely depart the land[114]. The unconscionable bishop, however, would have included in the capitulation a proviso that the king’s army should{143} not cause their bands to play in sign of triumph as the garrison marched out; but to this the king replied, in great anger, that he would not make such a concession for a thousand marks of gold. The partisans of Robert then came forward with colours lowered, and the king’s music playing the while. When Odo appeared, there was a louder crash; the trumpets screamed; and the English, scarcely able to keep their hands from his person, shouted as he passed—“Oh for a halter to hang this perjured murderous bishop[115]!” Such was Odo’s last appearance in the earldom of Kent.

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The next important epoch in the history of this fortress is the Siege, which carries us forward to the reign of King John—a reign of tumult and civil distraction, but relieved in its darker features by events which laid the foundation of British freedom. But the barons, as Hume has justly observed, having once obtained the Great Charter, seem to have been lulled into a fatal security. They took no rational measures, in case of the introduction of a foreign force, for reassembling their armies. The king was from the first master of the field, and immediately laid siege to the Castle of Rochester,{144} of which, at the head of a hundred and forty knights with their retainers, William de Albini held the command. A few of the particulars are thus recorded by Holinshed:—“King John having recovered strength about him, and being advertised that William de Albiney was entered into the castle of Rochester with a great number of knights, men at arms, and other souldiers, hasted thither with his whole armie and besieged them within, enforcing himselfe by all waies possible to win the castell, as well by battering the walles with engines as by giving thereunto many assaults. But the garrison within, consisting of ninety-and-foure knights, beside demilances and other souldiers, defended the place verie manfullie in hope of rescue from the Barons, which laie then at London; but they coming forward one daies journie unto Dartford, when they heard that the king was comming forward in good arraie for battel to meet them, upon consideration had of their own forces—for they were not able to match him with footemen—they returned backe again to the citie, breaking that assured promise which they had made and also confirmed by their solemn oaths; which was, that if the castell of Rochester should chance to be besieged, they would not faile but raise the siege[116].”

“At length they within for want of vittels were constrained to yield it up unto the king after it had been besieged the space of three-score daies; during which time they had beaten back their enemies at sundrie assaults with great slaughter and losse. But the king having now got the possession of that hold, upon grief conceived for the losse of so manie men, and also because he had lien so long about it yer he could winne it to his inestimable cost of charges, was determined to have put them all to death that had kept it. But Sauveric de Mauleon advised him otherwise[117], lest, by such crueltie, the barons in any like case should be occasioned to use the same extremitie towards such of his people as by chance might fall into their hands. Thus{145} the king spared William de Albiney and the other nobles and gentlemen, and sent them to Corfe Castle, and other places, to be kept as prisoners[118].

“Neverthelesse—as the booke that belonged to Bernewell Abbie saith—there was not any of them hanged, saving one arcubalister onelie, whome the king had brought up of a child. But, howsoever the king dealt with them after they were yielded, true it is (as by the same booke it appeareth) there had been no siege in those daies more earnestlie inforced, nor more obstinatlie defended: for after that all the limmes of the castelle had beene reuersed and throune downe, they kept the maister tower, till halfe thereof was also overthrowne, and after kept the other halfe, till through famine they were constreined to yeeld, having nothing but horsse-flesh and water to susteine their liues withall[119].”

Of William de Albini, who had command of the castle garrison, and was the best officer among the confederated barons, the following anecdote is recorded[120]:—Early one morning, after the fortunes of the besieged had become nearly desperate, and when Albini was making his usual round of the battlements, to see that all was in good order and every man at his post, he{146} was thus accosted by one of his retainers, a favourite cross-bowman: “Seigneur, behold the tyrant!” pointing at the same instant to the well-known person of King John, who was cautiously reconnoitring the weakened points of the castle.

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“Well,” said Albini, “it is the king; what wouldest thou?”

“Shall I take him off, by your leave?” said the bowman, suiting the action to the word and adjusting a steel bolt to the bow-string; “shall I despatch this swift messenger to his highness? only say the word!”

“Nay, God forbid!” said Albini, raising his hand to check the rash attempt—“forbear! it is the king!”

“Very well, seigneur,” said the arcubalister, with a mortified air; “be it according to your pleasure. Only, methinks, that were the tyrant in your place, and you on the outwork yonder, there would be no ‘God forbid!’ ’Tis a fine target, seigneur!”

“Nay, nay, no more of this; keep thy shafts for better use; we must not do as the king would do, nor as the king has done. He is the anointed of the realm; and if his deeds have ill corresponded with his duties, we shall not mend things by an act of treachery.”

“True, seigneur,” said the bowman, submissively, but still keeping his eye on the mark, and raising the weapon instinctively to his eye; “and yet, ’tis the last chance, and when the horse-flesh and fresh water fail us, God have mercy upon the garrison!”

“Let us abide the worst,” said Albini; “brave hearts and the favour of Heaven are a match for the king and all his army. Besides, I expect Fitzwalter and his barons to raise the siege.”

“They are right tardy in their march, seigneur; almost two months have they loitered thus.”

“Nay, methinks I see them even now, descending yonder height. Seest thou aught?”

“I can see nothing but the king and this cross-bow,” said the archer; “and now,” added he, despondingly, “’tis beyond reach—‘tis lost!{147}”

“No matter,” said Albini, “thou hast more honourable work before thee: for see, they prepare for a new assault—the ladders are out—to thy post, and I to mine. The event is with God, not with King John!”

“Maybe so,” said the staunch bowman, “maybe so, but with King John I wot is neither sickness nor starvation, His host, I warrant me, have all breakfasted this morning, while some that I could name have been three days under arms with little better cheer than the castle well.”

“Too true,” said Albini, “too true. We must all fast as well as fight; but to-night, please God, even to-night, the barons may arrive, the siege may be raised, and thou and thy brave companions shall sup in the king’s larder. What say’st thou to that, Hugo?”

“My appetite is right keen, seigneur, and my thirst not a whit behind my appetite.”

“Well then, courage! and see what God will send us.”

“Amen!” said the bowman, “and never fear me for courage when Albini commands. And yet, seigneur, had this little bolt been sent home, much blood, methinks, would have been spared. But no matter now, the die is cast; and if once caught by the tyrant, yonder stands the gibbet! So once more, here goes.”

“Ay, by my troth, and a right good aim,” said Albini; “thou hast hit the first man between the joints of his harness—he tumbles dead from the ladder. This is the right game, so once more, God and freedom be the word!”

“God and freedom!” responded the bowman; and herewith the closing horrors of the siege began.

The aid sent to the barons by the French court in this struggle is stated at nearly seven thousand men. “Heere is to be noted,” says Holinshed, “that during the siege of Rochester, as some write, there came out of France to the number neere hand of seaven thousand men, sent from the French king vnto the aid of the barons, at the suit of Saer de Quincie Earle of Winchester, and other ambassadours that were sent from the barons, during the time of this siege; although it should seeme, by Matthew Paris, that the said earle was not sent till after the Pope had excommunicated the barons. The Frenchmen that came over at this first time landed at Orwell, and other hauens there neere adioining[121].”

Elated with the success which had crowned his operations against the Castle of Rochester, King John, says the historian[122], marched through the kingdom like an implacable despot, inflicting every act of barbarity and spoliation on the relations and estates of those who had opposed his tyrannical measures.{148} In the mean time, the barons, hopeless of ever retrieving their wretched state of affairs by their own unaided strength, had recourse to the last painful expedient of calling in foreign aid, and applied to Philip of France, who, as it favoured his own interest, and flattered his ambition, was easily persuaded to enter into their views. Intent upon this grand object, extensive preparations were set on foot; an armament was fitted out, and the following year, his son Louis the Dauphin was placed at its head, and with a fleet of seven hundred vessels set sail for the English coast. Landing at the port of Sandwich, the French auxiliaries were joined by those of the confederate barons, and presented so menacing a front that King John, becoming alarmed, left the capital and set out for Winchester. On his march through Sussex he was met by Gualo, the Pope’s nuncio, who had just arrived in England, and in whom the despotic monarch found a warm partisan. For the sacrilegious Dauphin having thus dared to invade the patrimony of St. Peter—as his Holiness was pleased to style the kingdom—it became his duty to wield the spiritual weapons of the Church against him. With this view he repaired to the French camp, and there excommunicated with all due solemnity the rash intruder and his whole army. Louis was at first intimidated by this awful denunciation, and made some concessions in order to ward off the coming vengeance; but when he found that the sun was not darkened—that the elements did not fight against him—that his camp was not depopulated, nor his march impeded, he resumed courage, set the legate at defiance, and proceeded in his expedition. As the first operation of the war, he invested the Castle of Rochester, which, having lost much of its defensive outworks in the previous siege, could offer no effectual resistance, and speedily fell into the hands of the Dauphin. He then proceeded to London, where he was received with triumph[123]. But the King dying the same year, his son Henry succeeded to the throne, and this event, for a time, restored public tranquillity, and rendered the cause of freedom independent of foreign influence.

Rochester Castle, however, was destined to figure once more in the same great question which had agitated the country during the preceding reign. Henry the Third, by that open predilection for foreigners which he exhibited on various public occasions, had excited both disgust and indignation among the nobles of his own court, who in their turn lost no favourable occasion of manifesting the sentiments by which they were guided. This spirit was fully evinced at the grand tournaments which from time to time drew together the chivalry of the land, and where they always found, to their mortification, a preference given to foreign adventurers by the English monarch. Meditating{149} designs against the freedom of his own people, he naturally foresaw the consequences, and appears to have been anxious to conciliate the favour of those foreign knights whom, after the manner of his father, he could make the willing instruments of his despotism whenever the question should be ripe for discussion in the field. This unnational prejudice was particularly observed at the great solemn tournament which was held on the 8th of December, 1251, in the fields to the south-east of Rochester Castle. It was one of the most imposing military spectacles that had ever taken place in the King’s presence, and numbered among the combatants the noblest and the bravest of the land; while the lists were graced with all that native beauty and virtue which so fascinated the chivalry of other nations, and inspired the noblest deeds among their own. Attracted to this spectacle, where they were sure of a cordial welcome, a crowd of foreign knights arrived at Rochester on the eve of the fete, and were received with marked distinction by the king. The morning of the spectacle brought a still greater portion into the lists; but the events of the day were not marked by anything in speech or bearing that could reflect disgrace on the knightly courtesy which passed between the combatants. The English knights, determined to maintain their national character, entered the lists against all foreigners without exception. Their challenge was freely accepted by the strangers, and in the course of the day many a spear was shivered, many a knight unhorsed; but still the palm was borne away by Englishmen. Mortified with defeat, the foreigners were compelled to retire into the city without any of the usual tokens of victory for which they had travelled so far; while some of them, conscious that their conduct in the lists had violated certain laws of chivalry, took refuge in the Castle, there to avoid popular indignation and await some favourable moment for escape[124].

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It was on this occasion that Henry was made fully aware of the spirit which now actuated his young nobles; and the result was another civil war, and another siege of the Castle of Rochester by Simon de Montfort. The Castle at that time was held by Earl Warren for the King; and on Montfort’s arrival on the west bank of the Medway, opposite the fortress, he found an army strongly posted, and ready to dispute with him the passage of the bridge. He determined, nevertheless, to try the fortune of war. He condensed his strength, and, having sent Gilbert de Clare to attack the town on the south,{150} so as to draw off part of the enemy’s force and divert his attention from the design in progress, he then ordered vessels to be filled with combustibles, and setting fire to them, sent them adrift on the stream, which, running strong at this point, bore them immediately down against the wooden bridge which then crossed the river. The bridge having caught fire, the smoke and flames which issued from the timber arches drove the enemy from their position in the centre of the bridge, where they had charge of a tower, with a drawbridge which cut off all communication with the opposite side. During the obscurity and confusion which this stratagem occasioned, Montfort, seizing the favourable instant, passed the river in boats, and commenced his attack upon the outposts with such resolution and success that he entered the city in the evening of Good Friday—spoiled the Church, and vigorously attacked the Castle. Warren and his gallant supporters, however, defended the citadel with such courage and determination that, after a siege of seven days and nights, Leicester had only captured some of the outworks. Yet owing to the state of the Castle at that time, it is very probable that had the siege been continued only a short time longer, it must have fallen into his hands. But the great cause in which he had embarked demanding his presence in London, which was threatened with a hostile visitation from the king, he drew off the main body of his army to defend the capital, and thus the Castle of Rochester was spared the disgrace of another surrender. Shortly after this, Montfort, as Earl of Leicester, fought the battle of Lewes, where, as already described in a former part of this work, he gained a victory which richly compensated for the sudden retreat from the Castle of Rochester.

Subsequently to this period, the Castle of Count Odo—as this fortress is sometimes called—continued to be held by successive constables, men of high military standing in the country. But from the above period downwards it has not been the scene of any remarkable event, and consequently its history is little more than an enumeration of its castellans and the local incidents and irritations with which their caprice or authority diversified the not always “even tenor” of their sway[125].

The chief duty in which they appear to have latterly engaged[126] was that{151} of keeping a vigilant eye upon the monastery, which was gradually rising in strength, and improving in territory as the Castle ramparts fell into disuse; and, considering the talents possessed by the bishops and superior clergy who successively presided in the Cathedral and adjoining cloisters of Rochester, the office of castellan was no sinecure. Stephen de Dene, however, attempted to set a bold example to his successors in that office by taxing the monks for certain premises about their convent; but the latter carried the day, and the question being tried by law, the castellan was not merely nonsuited, but dismissed from his office under the Crown. From that time, therefore, no man appears to have been hardy enough to contest a civil question with the spiritual authorities; and we may conclude that more than one or two of these castellans would have enacted the tyrants of the place, had they not been deterred by the sturdy bedesmen, and the terrors of excommunication. Thus mutual vigilance between the castle and the convent did the public tranquillity some service. But it was the invention of gunpowder, the use of cannon, which gave the finishing blow to all these magnificent ruins upon which we still gaze with feelings of mixed wonder and veneration. Ceasing to be places of security—unless in particular instances—they ceased to be appreciated for any other quality of site or structure. Commanded, as that of Rochester is by all the neighbouring heights, it could offer no resistance to those engines which supplanted the balista, the battering-ram, and the cross-bows; and continued thenceforward to be a mere monument of other days, reminding us of those patriotic men and measures by which the national liberties had been achieved, and who led the way to these happier times, when the safeguard of society is the law of the country, and when the humblest cottage is a domestic fortress.

“Unconquer’d patriots! form’d by ancient lore,
The love of ancient freedom to restore;
Who nobly acted what they boldly thought,
And seal’d, by death, the lessons which they taught.”
At the accession of James the First—whose personal recollections of Falkland and Gowrie House had given him a noted abhorrence of all such strongholds—Rochester Castle was one of the Crown manors, but was then given, with all its services annexed, to Sir Anthony Weldon[127], of Swans{152}combe. Much land in Kent and other counties is held of the Castle of Rochester by the service of “perfect castle guard.” Every St. Andrew’s Day, old style, a banner is hung out at the house of the steward; and if there be any unlucky tenant who cannot bring in his rent at the hour specified, he is liable to have the sum doubled at “every return of the tide” in the Medway, till the whole amount is paid up. Nothing, therefore, can be more unwelcome to the ear of the insolvent tenant, than that peculiarly harsh sound with which the full tide rushes through the centre arch of Rochester Bridge on the thirtieth of November. In vain his friend ejaculates, addressing the steward—

“Gladly would thy servant pay,
Spare him but another day!
He’d not absent him from your audit—
Poor man! he’d pay it an’ he had it!”
but the immovable steward answers—

“Spare him? No!—Let the law decide—
Think ye that I can ‘stop the tide?’”
So true it is, that time and tide wait for no man.

When at last, like so many of its contemporaries, this castle was finally deserted as a habitable dwelling, it was stripped of all its carpentry, the hewn stone composing the stairs was removed, and all the materials that could be turned to money were announced for public sale. The old timber, consisting of the oak joists, on which rested the roof and floors of the principal apartments, was bought up and employed in the construction of a brewhouse[128]. But in attempting to remove the solid materials of the walls, the operations were suddenly arrested by this conviction, that it was much easier to quarry from nature than from such a reservoir of art; for the pickaxes made so little progress in the demolition of these massive walls—the very mortar of which is harder than the stones it cemented together—that the enterprise was soon given up in despair, as the chasm now left in the outer wall fully demonstrates[129]. The stone{153} employed in by far the greater portion of the Castle is the same as that used in the Tower of London[130], built under the same ecclesiastical architect, Bishop Gundulph; and is what passes under the name of Caen-stone, a vast quantity of which must have been imported from the royal quarries in Normandy. In several of the repairs, however, native stone appears to have been used; but it was introduced, comparatively, at a late period. The facing of the walls is all of Normandy free-stone, and the centre is filled up with grout-work; that is, a mass of pebbles, flint shells, and sand, cemented by mortar poured into the interstices in a liquid state, and forming the whole into a solid, compact, and almost inseparable mass, more durable than the stone itself, and capable of resisting the action of the weather with scarcely any perceptible loss of substance.

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Visit to the Ruins.—Having thus far adverted only very briefly to the several compartments of which this majestic fortress consists, we shall now take them more in detail, and introduce such particulars as may serve to conduct the stranger in his research, and point out those objects in the Castle which chiefly arrest attention, and fix themselves in the memory[131].

The Entrance into the Castle area was by a bridge formed on two arches, over a deep dry fosse. On each side of the portal, part of which is remaining, is an angular recess, with arches on the outside that commanded the avenues; and over the gateway and the recesses was a large tower. The Keep stands at the south-east angle of the area, and in the opinion of some writers, with a tower in Dover Castle, and the White Tower within the Tower of{154} London, was erected by Julius Cæsar. But we have already shown that the architect was undoubtedly Bishop Gundulph. The area of the castle district is about three hundred feet square; but all the inner buildings, storehouses, magazines, stables, armouries, have long since mouldered away.

The Tower, or Keep, and, as it is generally called, in honour of the builder, Gundulph’s Tower, is quadrangular, its angles nearly corresponding with the four cardinal points of the compass. It is about seventy feet square at the base; the outside of the walls is built with a slight inclination towards the centre, and, in general, are about twelve feet thick. Adjoining to the east angle of this, is a small tower, about two-thirds of the former in height, and twenty-eight feet square. In this tower was

The Grand Entrance, with a noble flight of steps, eight feet wide, through a lofty arched gateway, richly ornamented

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with curious fretwork, the zig-zag or chevron characteristics of the time. For the greater security of this entrance, there was a drawbridge, under which was the common entrance to the lower apartments of the Great Tower, which consisted of only two divisions, and, receiving no light from without, must have been as dark and gloomy as a cave underground. They are divided by a partition-wall, five feet thick, which is continued to the top, so that the rooms were twenty-one by forty-six feet on each floor. In the lower part of the walls are several narrow openings, or slits, for the partial admission of air and light; and in the partition-wall are also arches, by which the two rooms communicated with each other. These were probably the store-rooms of the Castle. In the partition-wall in the centre of the Great Tower, is that upon which the tenure of the whole fortress depended, and without which neither strength nor stratagem could avail the besieged—namely, that indispensable necessary,

The Well.—This was admirably contrived; its diameter is thirty-three{155} inches, and the workmanship is finely executed. This hollow tunnel, or shaft, passes through the centre of the wall, from the turrets to the foundation, and communicates with every floor; so that an ample supply of water could be had with the greatest convenience. It was literally such as the poet describes; not liable to have its clear lymph disturbed by those accidental circumstances to which other fountains are subject. Fons erat “Castelli”—

Quem neque pastores, neque pastæ monte capellæ
Contigerant, aliudve pecus; quem nulla volucris,
Nec fera turbârat, nec lapsus ab arbore ramus.
The Prison.—On the north-east side, within the Great Tower, is a small arched doorway, through which is a descent by steps leading into a vaulted apartment under the Small Tower. This is supposed to have been the state prison; and in shape, substance, and dimensions, it well corresponds with such a destination. One may still fancy the words which it once addressed to the shackled captives as they entered this dreary receptacle—“Voi qui entrate quì, lasciate ogni speranza!”—and, no doubt, it has witnessed many a scene of crime and desperation concerning which history and tradition are alike silent.

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The Battlements.—From the ground-floor there is a winding staircase, between five and six feet wide, in the east angle, which leads to the top of the Tower, and, in its ascent, communicates with every floor. The steps were nearly demolished during the frequent attempts made to remove the hewn stone, during the time already mentioned, when this baronial monument was condemned by sordid interest, and that spirit of native Vandalism from which{156} it was only rescued by the invincible nature of its own masonry, which resisted all efforts employed for its destruction. The staircase, however, is still accessible, in spite of the efforts made to destroy it, and retains the impressions of the winding centres on which the arches were turned. The floor of the

First Story was about thirteen feet from the ground. The holes in the walls opposite, where the timbers were laid, distinctly mark the different stages or floors. But the massive oaken joists were long since disposed of in the way we have mentioned, when the walls were finally dismantled, the interior laid open to the weather, and the timber of the Barons’ Hall sold to construct Gimmet’s brewhouse. These oaken joists were nearly a foot square, and about thirteen inches apart, but less in the upper floors, and extended from the outer wall to the centre partition, where their sockets still appear in the stone. In the west angle is another staircase, which ascends from the floor to the top of the tower, and, like the former, communicates with every room. In this story

The Rooms are about twenty feet high, and were probably intended for the accommodation of the Barons’ household servants. The apartment in the north-east side, in the Small Tower over the prison, and into which the outward door of the grand entrance opened, was on this floor, and was about thirteen feet square, and richly ornamented with Norman chisel-work, in which the chevron moulding on the arches of the doors and windows is the characteristic feature. This room communicated with the state apartments in the Great Tower, by means of an archway, six feet by ten and secured by means of a portcullis; the groove for which is well worked in the main wall through to the next story. The rooms also communicate with each other, by means of arches in the partition; and in the external walls are many holes, or œillets, for the admission of light, and the discharge of weapons in time of a siege. In the north angle of this floor, appears to have been a small room, with a fireplace in it, which antiquaries have described as the guardroom of certain officers of the garrison[132]. In the south-east is a small door intended, it is supposed, for those who were not admitted at the grand entrance; the inside of which is constructed in a manner peculiarly adapted for its security. From this floor we ascend by the principal staircase to

The State Apartments, or Barons’ Hall, which, in point of size, proportion, decoration, and harmonious combination of parts, presents a noble specimen of Norman design and workmanship. The arches, doors, and window are elaborately chiselled, and exhibit most of the beautiful mouldings of{157} which the architecture of that day was so prolific. This apartment was about thirty-two feet high, separated by three massive columns, each eighteen feet in height, forming four grand arches richly ornamented, and included the

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whole space within the walls. The stair leading to this was much more commodious than the others; and in cases of danger and necessity, the great warlike engines then in use could be set up in the hall[133], for the immediate protection of its inmates.

The chimneys were semicircular, very capacious, and projected considerably into the rooms, and rested upon small pillars. The smoke was carried off from each fireplace by means of a perforation in the wall behind. The sinks{158} were so contrived in an oblique direction that no weapon could be sent up them.[134] All the interior arches, doorways, and windows, are ornamented with the same carved mouldings as those already mentioned.

With respect to the Chapel in Rochester Castle, no precise account has been given; and even its place in the fortress is still a subject of conjecture. But that an oratory once existed here, as in all other strongholds of the same class, there can be no doubt; and in the upper story, next the battlements, are the remains of semicircular arches[135] in the wall, which, perhaps, mark the spot under which stood the altar of the garrison Chapel[136]. Other appearances in the same floor seem to strengthen the conjecture. At Arundel Castle, the Oratory, as described in a first portion of this work, occupied the highest story of the Keep; and it seems by no means improbable that in Rochester Castle[137] the Chapel may have occupied a similar position. But if not here, there is no other part of the Castle with which any oratory or chapel can be so properly identified.

About midway in the ascent to the next or highest floor, there is a narrow arched passage or gallery in the main wall, quite round the Tower. In the Upper Floor, the apartments appear to have been sixteen feet high. The roof, as above mentioned, was long since removed, and from top to bottom nothing is left but the naked walls. The stone gutters which carried off the rain are still entire. From this upper portion, the stair rises about ten feet higher to the top of the Great Tower, which is about one hundred and four feet from the ground, and surrounded with battlements and embrasures seven feet high. At each of the four angles is a turret, about twelve feet square, with floor and battlement above it. From this elevation the panoramic view of the country is highly interesting. The neighbouring heights, bristling with military forts and covered with standards; the Medway studded with ships, and seen as far as its confluence with the Thames; Brompton—Chatham Lines—the Dockyard—Upnor Castle—the wooded heights opposite; the bridge, once the most elegant in England—Strood, Rochester, Chatham, and numerous other scenes and objects with which the historical deeds of the past are closely associated—all awaken so deep and lasting an interest in the spectator’s mind, that it would be difficult to select any point in the kingdom which embraces a landscape so various and so striking in its character.

A very accurate investigator of the antiquities of Rochester, and who{159} resided in the neighbourhood and made repeated researches on the subject, was of opinion, that a wall must have extended originally from the tower in the east wall to that in the west. The ground to the north of this partition-wall would answer to what in other Norman castles is often called the inner ballium, bayle, or court-yard. Several towers were stationed in the angles and sides of the Castle-walls, to give more scope to the besieged in the distribution of their forces; and, in particular, there was a large tower at the north angle, for the security of the

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bridge. Near this tower is a long opening in the wall from top to bottom, which is supposed to have been used for the secret conveyance of stores and necessaries, from boats in the river, into the Castle. In the south angle of the walls, there was another tower; and from the number of loop-holes, it must have been designed to annoy an enemy who had succeeded in any attack on the south gate of the city. At a small distance from this tower are steps descending to Bully or Boley Hill[138]; and while the Castle was in force, there might be here a postern gate to this part of the outworks.

In a survey of this gigantic fortress and its now deserted walls the imagination is powerfully awakened. It speaks audibly of generations long since swept away; when the life of a chieftain, as Mr. Dallaway observes, appears to have been passed in building castles, and in defending them when not actively employed in destroying those of others. Although constructed as if to last for ages, the long reign of Henry the Third, spent in a ceaseless contest between the King and his revolting Barons, affords numerous instances of fortresses which were scarcely finished before the outworks, at least, were levelled with the ground. They more frequently escaped utter ruin after a long and obstinate siege. This demolition was effected by means of vast military engines, such as the catapulta and battering-ram, the use of which had been retained, and applied according to the Roman system of war[139]. These observations belong likewise to the Barons’ wars in the reign of the second Edward. We cannot, indeed, in the words of the same authority, fairly{160} account for the total subversion of so many castles as the Chronicles have asserted, but by concluding that after a castle was taken, the whole soldiery engaged as victors did not leave until the entire demolition was effected, agreeably to the sentence—“funditus demoliendum[140]!” The Castle of Rochester is one of the few that have survived the effects of time and revolutions; and in the almost entire state of its Keep and other subordinate compartments, distinctly points out the living manners of the people, and their warlike operations during the turbulent periods of the national history.

In process of time, several improvements, both in respect to military strength and commodious habitation, were adopted in these Norman fortresses. The second ballium was protected by smaller towers; and those of the barbican and gate of entrance admitted of spacious rooms. In these the feudal Baron resided with his family, who only made use of the Keep during a siege, or when driven to it as a place of security[141] under any sudden danger or alarm.

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In Rochester Castle there was this peculiarity among others, the passage or narrow gallery which was lighted from the interior and by a small loophole. This passage did not run horizontally, but rose unequally, and without were steep steps leading to a false portal. This served as a military stratagem, by means of which in the most desperare circumstances the conflict might be kept up by the besieged even after the Keep itself had been forcibly entered. Each successive rise in the gallery was a point which could be defended by the inmates, who, when driven back, could take up a second position in the same passage, which, by its elevation, would give them a similar command over their assailants, while only a few of their own body were exposed at once. These and similar contrivances and decoys evince great ingenuity on the part of the architects.

Another peculiarity in Rochester Castle is the absence of the lofty artificial mound on which so many of the ancient castles are built, and of which that of Arundel, already described, is an instance. But Gundulph, the architect{161} who enjoyed “the greatest celebrity in the reigns immediately succeeding the Conquest, appears to have considered the artificial mound, originally of Danish usage, as unnecessary.” His castles are distinguished from all others of that period by their stately dimensions, and the genius displayed in their design—by the military contrivances already mentioned, and by the solidity and skilful execution of the workmanship. His central towers are so lofty as to contain four distinct floors: in the basement was the dungeon, without light; while the portal, or grand entrance, was many feet above the ground, so that the necessity for an artificial mound was greatly obviated. But his greatest merit consisted in various architectural contrivances, by means of which as much security was afforded to his Keeps, as by their elevation and real strength.[142] Bishop Gundulph died at the commencement of the twelfth century, but having completed the Tower of London and the Castle of Rochester, he may be considered as having invented and left models of that description of castle architecture, which, in the opinion of all competent judges, bear ample testimony to his abilities as an architect. He was consecrated bishop of Rochester by his illustrious patron the archbishop Lanfranc, in March, 1077, and lived thirty years in possession of the see. He is said to have been “the first who introduced the architectural ornaments of the Norman style both within side and without.” Of this, the interior of the state apartments affords abundant evidence; and whoever takes a view of these from the West Gallery leading round the inside of the court, cannot fail to be struck with the beauty of the chevron mouldings by which the principal arches of the doors and windows are all elaborately adorned. In many instances these mouldings appear quite sharp, as if fresh from the sculptor’s chisel.

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In the Castle of Rochester there is another portion in the basement story which is well deserving of attention. Over the present entrance is a temporary scaffolding of wood, supported by props of the same material inserted into the masonry beneath. On the left is a small arch with an inner door{162}way; and immediately under the platform is one of larger span, showing the thickness of the wall. Within the latter, which is of strong compact workmanship faced with small blocks of stone, is a staircase, consisting of a flight of Caen stone steps which lead to the inner gallery, and thence to all the apartments. From this the light penetrates the enclosure underneath, streaming down the steps, but in such a manner as to increase rather than diminish the effect produced by a survey of this melancholy receptacle. It was through this passage that, in feudal times, the prisoners and military captives were introduced to that destination which awaited them at the hands of the feudal lord. Standing in this dreary vestibule, with the door of the prison on the left, and the archway and main staircase that communicated with the Baron’s Hall on the right, it requires but little force of imagination to conjure up one of the many scenes of mingled triumph and despair which must have often met and exchanged glances under that very arch. The same victory which awoke the sounds of festive mirth in the Hall, and summoned the Baron and his warlike knights to the feast, consigned his prisoners to the dungeon, where the bitterness of their fate was increased by their conscious vicinity to the Banquet Hall. Odo, it may be presumed, made much use of this gloomy appendix to his Castle; for the vast treasures which he collected during his occupation of the fortress were not secured without the frequent imprisonment and oppression of his vassals, and of those wealthier individuals in the

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county over whom his judicial authority extended. During the time he exercised an almost unlimited power as Earl of Kent, and kept his court in{163} this Castle, most of the old writers agree in representing him as an avaricious tyrant, whom the desire of riches impelled to the commission of every crime, and from whose prison nothing could ransom the captive but his gold. His grand object in accumulating so much wealth was to facilitate his advancement to the Papal crown, to which he ardently aspired. But his ambition was happily defeated by the measures already mentioned. The haughty prelate was himself thrown into prison; while the unhappy victims who filled the cells of Rochester Castle saw the prison doors burst suddenly open, and under that very arch, perhaps, met the welcome of those who had long regarded it as the living tomb of all their earthly hopes.

Environs.—The principal object in the immediate vicinity of the Castle is the Cathedral; but as that will be made the subject of a future article, the next prominent feature in the landscape is the Bridge. The first historical mention of a bridge at Rochester occurs in the various accounts of the siege, to which we have already adverted. “Now am I come to the bridge over the Medway,” says Lambard, “not that alone which we presentlie behold, but another, also more ancient in time though less beautiful in work, which neither stoode in the self same place where this is, neither yet verie farre off; for that crossed the water over against Stroud Hospital, and this latter is pitched some distance from thence towards the south.”[143] “That old worke being of timber building, was fyred by Symon, the Earl of Leycester, in the time of Henry the Third; and not full twentie yeares after, it was borne away with the ice in the reign of King Edward, his sonne.” Kilburne, in addition to the above, says, that “Fitzwalter put out the fyre and saved it.” This, however, appears contrary to the fact; for in his attempt to co-operate with Albini, Fitzwalter marched no “further than Dartford, and then marched back again.” It was not till two years after that Leicester set fire to it in the manner described, when the wooden tower and arches were burnt down.

Dr. Thorpe, in his Antiquities, was of opinion that the first bridge over the Medway at this point, namely between Rochester and Stroud, was built in the reign of Edgar the Peaceable.[144] It is certain, however, that there was a bridge here before the Conquest, and that on divers tracts of land an annual tax was imposed for keeping it in repair. This is proved by several very ancient MSS., one of which, in the Saxon language, marks with exactness such portions of the work as were to be executed by the respective landlords. The bridge was then of wood, and placed in the line of the principal streets of Rochester and Stroud; it was four hundred and thirty feet in length, nearly the present breadth of the river at this place, and consisted of nine{164} piers with eight spaces or arches. But the depth of water, its constant rapidity, the occasional roughness of the tides, and the shocks of large bodies of ice at the breaking up of winter, occasioned such frequent and severe damage, that the repairs became a heavy burden to the owners of the contributory lands.[145]

In a petition presented to Parliament at the end of the fourteenth century, the landholders who were taxed for the repairs of the bridge were represented as having been nearly reduced to ruin in consequence, and that the bridge at the same time was very unsafe for passengers. Under these circumstances, Sir Robert Knowles and Sir John de Cobham built at their joint expense the present bridge, thereby relieving private individuals from an oppressive tax, and conferring a lasting benefit on the public. In the reign of Richard II. a patent was obtained from the crown, which was afterwards confirmed by the Parliament, for constituting the proprietors a body corporate, under the title of Wardens and Commonalty, and a license granted enabling them to receive, and hold in mortmain, lands and tenements to the amount of two hundred pounds per annum. Sir John Cobham was the first and greatest benefactor, and his example was followed by such liberal donations from others that the estates usually termed proper, became in process of time justly adequate to the repairs of the bridge, without levying any assessment on the contributory lands.[146]

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Until the erection of that at Westminster, Rochester Bridge was justly considered the second in the kingdom; and even now, after the splendid structures which have sprung up in recent times, it is still an object of great elegance and beauty. Its original length was four hundred and sixty feet by fifteen in breadth. It consisted of eleven arches, the largest of which had a space of forty feet, and the others above thirty. At one of these spaces between the piers was formerly a drawbridge, by means of which the castellan who held command of the fortress could break off all communication with the opposite banks of the river. The greatest water-way is three hundred and forty feet. Joneval,[147] in his Travels, makes a mistake in supposing that this bridge “is founded on a rock;” the piers rest on wooden piles, and to have laid the foundation of so massive a fabric in a river where the flux and reflux of the tide are so strong, must have been an arduous undertaking. Unfortunately{165} the name of the architect has not descended to posterity, but the bridge is a lasting monument to his genius.[148]

At the east end of the bridge was formerly a chapel, founded by Sir John Cobham, with an endowment of eighteen pounds a year, payable out of the bridge lands, for the support of three priests. According to the rules established by the founder, three masses were to be said daily; the first between five and six in the morning, the second between eight and nine, and the third between eleven and twelve o’clock, so that travellers might have an opportunity of being present at the sacred offices. But at each mass there was to be a special collect for all the benefactors to the bridge, living or dead, and for the souls of Sir John Cobham and others, whose names were to be recited. There was another chapel at the west end of this bridge, but its exact site is not known.

Memorabilia.—When the Emperor Charles the Fifth made his second visit to England, in the summer of 1522, he arrived at Rochester on the second of June, where he was received by Henry the Eighth, and set out on the following day for London, or rather the royal palace of Greenwich. It was at Rochester, also, that King Henry had his first interview with Anne of Cleves, whose reception at Blackheath has been already described. Her picture, it is said, had been drawn in so flattering a manner by Holbein, that the amorous monarch, impatient to see the original, set out incognito for Rochester on the morning of her expected arrival in that city, and in the evening was among the first to bid her welcome. The painter, however, was detected in having practised a great deception: Anne was not the divinity represented on the canvas; Henry was disappointed, and is recorded to have vented his chagrin in terms far from complimentary to the Lady Anne, or the minister who had negotiated the alliance. This, however, he disguised; and before taking leave presented her with a “suit of sables, as a new year’s gift.”

In April, 1556, Rochester was the theatre of one of those horrid scenes which disgraced the reign of Queen Mary. John Harpole, of St. Nicholas parish, and Joan Beach, of Tunbridge, were burnt alive as heretics, according{166} to the sentence of Maurice Gryffith, bishop of the see, for denying the authority of the Church, and the transubstantiation of the sacramental elements.—See History of Rochester, with biographical notices of the bishops.

Queen Elizabeth, who took great pride in superintending the naval department, in which she foresaw the only sure bulwark of her empire, made it her custom to visit, among many other places in Kent, Chatham Dock-yard. On one occasion she spent four days at the Crown Inn of Rochester; but on the fifth accepted the hospitality of one of her loyal subjects, Mr. Watts, at his house at Boley Hill, near the Castle; to which, according to tradition, she gave the title of Satis as expressive of her satisfaction with her entertainment.

On the return of King Charles the Second to England, he was received at Rochester with demonstrations of loyalty, and conferred the honour of knighthood on two gentlemen of the place, named Clarke and Swan. The Mayor and Corporation at the same time presented his Majesty with a silver basin and ewer, which were “graciously accepted.” Here, also, James the Second arrived after his abdication, and continued for a week under the protection of a Dutch garrison; but, apprehensive of his personal safety, he went privately on board a tender, set sail, and, with the Duke of Berwick and others of his suite, landed at Ambleteuse in Picardy.

Another object of no little interest, on the opposite side of the river, is Upnor Castle, famous in history for the attack made upon it by Admiral Van Ruyter.[149] Having burnt the storehouses, and blown up the fortifications at Sheerness, Van Ruyter despatched the second Admiral, Van Ghent, up the Medway, which Monk, Duke of Albemarle, had secured as well as the circumstances of the case would allow. But a strong east wind and springtide bringing up the enemy with resistless force, a chain was immediately broken; three Dutch ships, taken in the war and stationed to guard the chain, were set fire to by Van Ghent to retrieve his country’s honour; and, pressing forward between the sinking ships, he brought six of his men-of-war and fire-ships in front of Upnor Castle. Major Scott, who had command of the fort, gave them as warm a reception as the condition of the place would permit, and was well seconded by Sir Edward Spragge, who had escaped from Sheerness, and now opened his guns upon the enemy from a battery at Cockham Wood.[150] The Dutch, however, seized the hull of the Royal Charles, and on their return burnt the Royal Oak, and much damaged two other ships of the line. Captain Douglas, who commanded the Royal Oak, was burnt in his ship, although he might easily have escaped. But “No!{167}” said this intrepid commander, when he perceived the danger and was urged to strike, “No—it was never known that a Douglas left his post without orders;” and thus resolved, he perished in the flames.

Among the numerous tourists who have made Rochester and its Castle the subjects of remark, is the celebrated Hogarth, who, in company of four of his intimate friends, Tothall, Scott, Thornhill, and Forrest, made an excursion of four days to this part of the county in May, 1732, which is amusingly detailed in a short folio brochure, accompanied with ten illustrations and caricatures of their adventures, and published in 1781.

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Classical Scenes.—To every reader of Shakspeare the names of Gadshill, Falstaff, and Prince Hal, will conjure up many ludicrous associations; and few travellers will enter Rochester from the west, without a short halt on this poetical ground,—the spot where Prince Henry and his dissolute associates robbed the Sandwich carriers, and the auditors who were carrying money to the royal exchequer. Theobold mentions that he had read an old play, in which the scene opens with Prince Henry’s robberies, and Gadshill is there named as one of the gang.[151] A comfortable inn, with a characteristic sign of Falstaff on one side, and Prince Hal on the other, invites him to alight for half an hour, and over a “cup of sack” peruse that mirth-moving scene in the first Part of “Henry the Fourth,” which has conferred immortality on the spot:—

Act II. Scene II.—The Road by Gadshill.

Enter Prince Henry and Poins; Bardolph and Peto at some distance.

Poins. Come, shelter, shelter; I have removed Falstaff’s horse, and he frets like a gummed velvet.

Pr. Henry. Stand close. [Enter Falstaff.]

Falst. Poins! Poins, and be hanged! Poins!{168}

Pr. Henry. Peace, ye fat-kidneyed rascal: what a brawling dost thou keep!

Falst. Where’s Poins, Hal?

Pr. Henry. He is walked up to the top of the hill; I’ll go seek him. [Pretends to seek Poins.]

Falst. I am accursed to rob in that thief’s company; the rascal hath removed my horse, and tied him I know not where. If I travel but four foot by the squire further afoot, I shall break my wind. Well, I doubt not but to die a fair death for all this, if I ’scape hanging for killing that rogue. I have foresworn his company hourly any time this two-and-twenty years; and yet I am bewitched with the rogue’s company. If the rascal hath not given me medicines to make me love him, I’ll be hang’d; it could not be else; I have drunk medicines.—Poins! Hal! a plague upon you both. Bardolph! Peto! I’ll starve ere I rob a foot further. An ’twere not as good a deed as drink, to turn true man, and leave these rogues, I am the veriest varlet that ever chewed with a tooth. Eight yards of uneven ground is three score and ten miles afoot with me; and the stony-hearted villains know it well enough. A plague upon’t, when thieves cannot be true to one another! [His companions whistle.] Whew! a plague upon you all! Give me my horse, you rogues: give me my horse, and be hanged!

Pr. Henry. Peace, ye fat-guts! lie down; lay thine ear close to the ground, and list if thou canst hear the tread of travellers.

Falst. Have ye any levers to lift me up again, being down? ’Sblood, I’ll not bear mine own flesh so far afoot again for all the coin in thy father’s exchequer. What a plague mean ye to colt me thus?

Pr. Henry. Thou liest; thou art not colted—thou art uncolted.

Falst. I prithee, good Prince Hal, help me to my horse, good king’s son!

Pr. Henry. Out, you rogue! shall I be your ostler?

Falst. Go hang thyself in thine own heir-apparent garters. If I be ta’en, I’ll peach for this. An I have not ballads made on you all, and sung to filthy tunes, let a cup of sack be my poison. When a jest is so forward, and afoot to,—I hate it. [Enter Gadshill.]

Gads. Stand!

Falst. So I do, against my will.

But we must here close the quotation. The reader will readily imagine himself a spectator of the scene, where the thieves rob the true men, and where retaliation is made upon the thieves by “two of their own gang, in forcibly taking from them their rich booty;” and he will again enjoy the conceit of Falstaff with his cups of limed sack, telling “incomprehensible falsehoods,” in order to cover his own cowardice; his long rencounter with the two “rogues in buckram suits, growing up into eleven,” all of whom he peppered and payed till three misbegotten knaves in “Kendal green (“for it was so dark, Hal, thou couldst not see thy hand!”) came at his back and let drive at him!” Thus, on the stage, in the closet, on the road—as a local writer has well observed—Falstaff’s adventure at Gadshill is likely to be “not only an argument for a week, laughter for a month, but a good jest forever.”

Authorities:—Radcliffe.—Caumont.—Culmien.—Hasted.—France Monumentale.—Matth. Paris.—Hist. Angl.—Hist. of Eng. Civil and Milit.—Pictorial Hist. of Engl.—Holinshed.—Fabyan.—Hist. and Antiq. of Rochest.—Hist. of the Castle and Cathed.—Lambard, 1576.—Kentish Tourist.—King.—Grose.—Denne.—Kilburne.—Local Pamphlets.—Dallaway.—Milit. Archit.—Discourses, Antiquities of Kent.—Hardynge.—Registrum Roffense, by Thorpe.—Eadmer.—Polyd. Virg.—Selecta Monumenta.—Camden.—Somner.—Battely.—Antiq. Itiner., etc. etc.

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TEWKESBURY ABBEY.

{169}

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Mcccclxxi.

THE ABBEY OF TEWKESBURY,

Gloucestershire.
Ampla foro, et partis spoliis præclara, Theoci
Curia, Sabrinæ quà se committit Avona,
Fulget; nobilium sacrisque recondit in antris
Multorum Cineres, quondam inclyta corpora bello.—Leland.
FOUNDATION.—In his desire to do more especial honour to Tewkesbury, William of Malmesbury has fancifully traced its etymon to the Greek word Theotocos[152]—the Mother of God—because the monastery which was built here was dedicated to the Virgin Mother. It is certain, however, that the town occupied the ground long before the monastery was erected. The{170} popular tradition is, that a religious recluse, named Theocus, had a Christian cell or chapel in this place about the end of the seventh century—“ubi quidam heremita manebat nomine Theokus, unde Theokusburia”—and that from him the “Curia Theoci” was in process of time modified into Tewkesbury. In Weever’s Funeral Monuments, however, there is an ancient Saxon inscription, discovered in the church of Leominster at the close of the sixteenth century, which states that, in the Saxon era, Tewkesbury was called [Image of word unavailable.], that is, Theotisbyrg, from which it would appear that Tewkesbury was the town, castle, or borough of Theot. Others, by conjectures equally vague or plausible, have laboured to prove that the name is derived from Dodo or Thodo, one of the first lords of the manor, and founder of the monastery, adducing as corroborative evidence that the Ð and Th are frequently substituted for each other in the Saxon language; wherefore, say they, from Thodo comes the Latin derivative Theodocus, and from that, Teodechesberie, as in Domesday Book. But further, it has been conjectured that Theocus and Dodo, or Thodo, were one and the same person; and those who are curious in the investigation of such questions will find the subject elaborately discussed in all the principal histories of the county[153] and abbey.

The foundation of this Abbey takes precedence of most others in the kingdom, and dates from the first fifteen years of the eighth century. In the reigns of Ethelred, Kenred, and Ethelbald, kings of Mercia, two brothers, with the euphonious names of Odo and Dodo, flourished in this beautiful district, and adorned their high station by the practice of many Christian virtues and pious examples. Of their zeal for the honour of God they were resolved to leave some permanent evidence to posterity, and with this view selected a suitable spot on their manor of Tewkesbury, and there erected[154] the monastery which in after times became famous throughout the land. They endowed the abbey with much landed property—Stanwey cum membris, sic dicta, Tadington Prestecote et Didcot[155]—which continued to form part of the abbey revenues till the Dissolution. The institution gradually extended its authority temporal and spiritual, and acquired a reputation for so much sanctity, that to obtain a grave in its sacred enclosure became an object of devout competition among the pious, and brought no little treasure to the prior’s exchequer.

The first personage of royal dignity who was buried in the Abbey was Brictric, king of the West Saxons, and son-in-law to King Offa. The next was Hugh, a Mercian noble, and patron of the abbey, who had procured for{171} it the distinction of a royal mausoleum in St. Faith’s Chapel; to which his own remains were afterwards consigned, with all the monks attending in solemn procession, and chanting his requiem.

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Towards the middle of the tenth century, Haylward Snew, descended from King Edward the Elder, founded a monastery on his own manor at Cranburne,[156] in Dorsetshire, and to this he subjected the priory of Tewkesbury, of which he was patron. Historians give him the credit of having possessed, in an eminent degree, the virtues of personal valour and earnest piety; and of the latter, no better proofs could be adduced than the fact of his having bestowed much of his substance upon the church. Algar, his eldest son and successor, did not long enjoy his inheritance; and to him succeeded his younger brother, Brictric, of whom the annexed adventure is recorded.[157]{172}

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When the Battle of Hastings had secured a vacant throne to William the Conqueror,[158] Brictric was among those patriotic chiefs who survived that decisive field, and afterwards retired to the banks of the Severn, to concert measures for the recovery of the Saxon throne, or to bury his vain regrets in the bosom of his faithful friends and retainers. By one of those strange accidents, however, which frustrate all preconcerted schemes, Brictric’s hopes of freedom were completely blasted. Great as the grief of Maud had been at his abruptly quitting her father’s court in Flanders, as stated in the preceding note, it was not of long duration; for the Duke of Normandy having shortly after solicited her hand, and as such a union offered her no distant prospect of avenging herself, she at once assented. The marriage was solemnized. She was carried in triumph to Normandy; and now, when the subjugation of England had been effected, she did not lose the opportunity thereby afforded of resenting the slight which the impolitic Brictric had offered to her beauty. He was accordingly denounced as an enemy to the new dynasty; and the strongest argument produced against him being that he was a brave man, with a broad tract of country which he called his own, the evidence in proof of his disaffection to the Conqueror was conclusive. Maud, the queen, too, was actively employed in expediting the measures instituted against him—

Could she forgive him!—no! it was her duty
To crush a wretch that could resist such beauty.
One night, therefore, while returning from vespers, Brictric was seized at the door of his own manor of Hanley, and sent under a Norman guard to Winchester, where he pined for some time, oppressed with the double weight of degradation and imprisonment, and at length died without issue. His estates, in the meantime, had been given to Queen Maud, who enjoyed their revenues till her death; after which they were incorporated with the other royal demesnes of King William.

At the death of the Conqueror, they passed to his son Rufus, who some time afterwards bestowed Brictric’s Honor of Gloucester upon Robert Fitz-Hamon, son of Hamon Dentatus, Lord of Corboile in Normandy, as a reward for many important services performed in defence of his father’s crown.[159]{173}

This Robert Fitz-Hamon may be considered the second founder of Tewkesbury Abbey; for, at the instance of Sybil his wife, and Giraldus[160] Abbot of Cranburne, he rebuilt the church with all its appendages, and endowed it with many large possessions.[161] In confirmation of the elegance and liberality with which this was accomplished—“It cannot be easily reported,” says William of Malmesbury, on two several occasions, “how highly Robert Fitz-Hamon exalted this monastery, wherein the beauty of the buildings ravished the eies, and the charity of the holy brotherhood allured the hearts of all who repaired thither.”[162] This great and pious undertaking is stated to have been accomplished as an act of atonement and public satisfaction for the destruction of the church of Bayeux in Normandy, which King Henry had burnt in order to liberate him from prison; but which, struck with remorse at the sacrilege, he afterwards re-edified and restored.

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Having rebuilt the Abbey of Tewkesbury in the manner stated, and finding that it became more and more an object of attraction among pilgrims and devotees, Fitz-Hamon changed the Abbey of Cranburne into a priory, and made it subject from that time forward to the “Blackfriars” of Tewkesbury[163]—so called from the black habit worn by monks of the Benedictine order.

But, to preserve the name of the founder in that sanctity to which his piety and good works had given him so just a title, a prior and two monks were left to minister in holy offices at Cranburne, so that the cause of true religion might suffer no detriment by the transfer thus effected. The situation of the New Abbey, in the centre of a fair and fertile country, variegated with beautiful landscapes, curtained almost round by green-wooded hills, and watered by noble rivers, presented all that could be desired for the advancement of those worldly objects in which men so spiritually-minded might be supposed to take any interest. With the completion of the New{174} Abbey prosperity took up her abode under its immediate wing: habitations multiplied, trade was introduced, the produce of the adjoining vale increased with the demand, and the population was rapidly improved. In process of time the abbey was almost surrounded by a thriving town; while money, freely circulated by commerce, as well as by the better class of pilgrims, improved the general appearance of the habitations, and gave an air of cheerfulness and prosperity to the town and abbey.

Fitz-Hamon, who just lived long enough to witness the first prosperous days of the abbey, being general of the king’s army in France, repaired to the siege of Falaise,[164] in Normandy, where he received a wound on the temple, and died shortly after,[165] His remains were carefully brought home and deposited with great solemnity in the Chapter-house of the Abbey, of which the arcade mouldings, vaulted ceiling, pillars, buttresses, and pointed doorway, retain

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much of their original beauty. It is now the grammar-school of the place. But in this part of the abbey, hereafter to be described, his relics were not permitted{175} to rest more than a hundred and thirty-four years; they were then removed by Robert, the third abbot of that name, and interred in a plain tomb between two pillars on the right side of the Chancel, which, with the Chapter-house, will be noticed in a subsequent page.

1397. One hundred and fifty-six years later, Thomas Parker, the eighteenth abbot, caused the original tomb to be enclosed within a richly-carved chapel, “satis mirifice tabulatam,” and appointed a mass to be celebrated every day for the souls of Robert Fitz-Hamon, and Sybil his wife. By this lady he left issue four daughters, co-heiresses to vast possessions which, during his active services in places of the highest trust under government, had greatly accumulated during the last two reigns. But King Henry, who was averse to seeing the Honor of Gloucester thus subdivided, adopted such arbitrary measures as effectually prevented the execution of the testator’s will, and disposed of his daughters in the following manner:—Hawise he made Abbess of Chichester; Cecilia he appointed Abbess of Shaftesbury; Amicia he gave in marriage to his firm adherent, the Earl of Brittany; and to Robert, his natural son, by the daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, Prince of Glamorgan, he united Mabilia, the eldest. Thus the four daughters of Fitz-Hamon were fairly settled by “royal authority,” and the estates concentrated upon his son, Earl Robert, and his descendants. But Mabilia, it appears, expressed some reluctance when this alliance was first proposed by the king, alleging that, as his son Robert had then no baronial title nor high military standing in the country, such a union was neither agreeable to her taste nor suitable to the rank and possessions bequeathed to her by so many illustrious ancestors. These objections, as stated by the monk[166] of Gloucester, were too reasonable{176} and well grounded to be confuted by the mere art of logic; but the king found a much more speedy and effectual way of removing them, by creating his son Earl and Consul of Gloucester, and installing him in the various high offices therewith connected. Of this earl, as the reader may remember, we have already spoken in a previous division of this work, when adverting to the Empress Maud, daughter of King Henry. “He was unquestionably,” says Lyttleton, “the wisest man of those times; and his virtues were such that even those times could not corrupt it.” It is to Count Robert of Gloucester that William of Malmesbury dedicates his work, and speaks of him in these terms: “Nullum enim magis decet bonarum artium esse fautorem quam te; cui adhæsit magnanimitas avi, munificentia patrui, prudentia patris, &c…. Consentaneous ergo sibi mores experiuntur in te literati, quos citra intellectum ullius acrimoniæ benignus aspicis, jucundus admittis, munificus dimittis. Nihil plane in te mutavit fortunæ amplitudo nisi ut pene tantum benefacere posses, quantùm velles.”

But the trait of character which connects Earl Robert more immediately with our subject is, that every Sunday throughout the year he had the Abbot of Tewkesbury and twelve of the monks to dine with him, thereby keeping up a most friendly understanding with the Church, patronizing learning and all who excelled in the arts, and building various castles and priories. He founded the priory of St. James in Bristol, and made it subject to the Abbey of Tewkesbury. But although he patronized the latter in an eminent degree, he chose the priory for his last resting-place, and was there buried in the choir, under a tomb of green jasper.[167]

It was during the life of this earl, that Walleran de Beaumont, a younger son of the Earl of Leicester, and Count of Meulant, ransacked the town of Tewkesbury, which, judging by the quantity and value of plunder carried off, must have been, even at that early period, a town of no little opulence.[168] In this raid, however, the goods of the Abbey were respected; for to such men an interdict from the Church was more terrific than “an army with banners.”

William, son and heir to Earl Robert, and his wife Matilda, confirmed all the charters which had been granted by his ancestors to the Abbey of Tewkesbury, and certified his approbation by conferring upon it several fresh endowments. He died in 1283, when the estates of the earldom were again vested in three daughters. But the policy which had been adopted by King Henry was again employed by King Richard, who had bestowed the youngest of the three heiresses with the earldom and its domains upon his brother John{177}—a name sufficiently notorious in these pages—but by whom she was divorced shortly after his accession to the throne. Mabel or Mabilia, the eldest daughter of Earl William, married the Count d’Evreux in Normandy, by whom she had a son, Almeric Montfort, who died about the year 1221, leaving no children by his marriage. But the second daughter, who had married Richard de Clare,[169] Earl of Hertford, had a son, Gilbert de Clare, who, on the failure of the previous branches, was admitted to the honours of Gloucester and Glamorgan, as his legal inheritance, and was the first who held conjointly the earldoms of Gloucester and Hertford. He resided at Holme Castle, a feudal residence which crowned an eminence in the near vicinity of Tewkesbury, and married Isabel, daughter of William Marshall,

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In Eccles. Nostra de Theokes. in medio Presbyterio. A.D. MCCXXX.

Earl of Pembroke. He was a great benefactor of the monastery, and dying in 1230, was buried in the middle Chancel of the Abbey church—the view of which is strikingly grand—with all the ceremony due to his rank and liberality.

His son Richard de Clare succeeding to the family titles and estates, sup{178}ported the baronial character of his ancestors, and is recorded to have held a magnificent Christmas in his castle at Tewkesbury, where sixty knights were in waiting. In July 1262, “beyng with King Henry in Fraunce, this Richard Counte de Glocestre dyed of the febre quartane, and was buryed at Tukesbyri Abbay, where aboute his toumbe be wryten his noble actes.”[170] Of his body there was a tri-partition: the bowels were bequeathed to the church of Canterbury; his heart to that at Tunbridge, and in the Abbey of Tewkesbury, on the right side of his father’s tomb, his body was deposited with great pomp, graced by the presence of two bishops, twelve abbots, and a great company of barons, knights, and other personages, who had repaired from all quarters to offer their testimony of respect to his memory. His tomb was subsequently adorned at vast expense by his Countess Matilda, daughter of the Earl of Lincoln. It was embellished with gold and precious stones, with an effigy in silver of the sword and golden spurs which he had lately worn in battle. The inscription was: Hic. pudor. Hippolyti: Paridis. gena: Sensus. Ulyssis: Æneæ. pietas: Hectoris. ira. jacet. This monument has long been removed or demolished.

To Earl Richard[171] succeeded Gilbert the Red—so named, like Rufus, from the colour of his hair. He married Alice, daughter of Guy Count of Angoulême, niece to King Henry the Third, but having obtained a divorce against this lady, took for his second wife Joan d’Acres, daughter of Edward the First. This earl, according to Leland, dealt hardly with the Abbey of Tewkesbury, and took away the benefactions of his grandfather, Earl Gilbert, but which were subsequently restored by his son. He died at his castle of Monmouth, and was buried in the Abbey of Tewkesbury, near the tomb of his predecessors, leaving issue one son, Gilbert, the third earl of that name, who married the lady Matilda, a daughter of John de Borow, Earl of Ulster, and by this union had one son, who died in early life, and was buried with his ancestors. The earl himself was one of those chivalrous nobles who surrounded the throne of Edward the Second, and fought under his banner. He held a command in the disastrous expedition into Scotland headed by that unhappy monarch in 1314, and fell at the battle of Bannockburn, in the twenty-third year of his age,

When the best names that England knew
Claim’d in that death-prayer dismal due.[172]
{179}
From the field of battle, the body of the gallant earl was conveyed by his friends and retainers to the Abbey of Tewkesbury, and there, in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin, consigned to kindred dust, in the midst of prayers and lamentations. His death was more especially felt by the Abbot and brotherhood, because he had liberally repaired the injury inflicted upon the monastery by his father, and was the last of that honoured name who held the title and territories of the De Clares in the county of Gloucester.

In the former part of this work, we have had more than once occasion to remark how frequently these old family estates and honours passed away with the female line: and here was another instance. Leaving no issue by his marriage, the Gloucester and Glamorgan estates devolved upon his three sisters, among whom they were divided. Elianora, the eldest, married Hugh le Despenser—a name of tragical association in English history; and with her the earldom of Gloucester, the third part of the estates, and the patronage of the Abbey of Tewkesbury, passed into that family. Five years later, this unhappy nobleman was apprehended, and put to the cruel and ignominious death related in a former part of this work. Some portions of his dismembered body, after their miserable exposure in different parts of the kingdom, “were buried in Tewkesbury Abbey, near the lavatory of the high altar.” He left by his wife three sons, Hugh, Edward, and Gilbert, but with no inheritance save the pains and penalties entailed upon them by his own forfeiture. The Monument of the Despenser family, hereafter noticed, is one of the finest objects in the Abbey church.

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The widow of this nobleman—who had lost both her brother and husband by violent deaths—sought consolation in a second marriage with William, Lord le Zouch, by whom she had a son, named Hugh. But she survived her second husband only two years. He was buried in the Abbey chapel of Our Lady; and at her own demise, the earldom of Gloucester was conferred on her sister Margaret’s husband, Hugh de Audley.

Hugh le Despenser, eldest son of the unfortunate Hugh by his wife Elianora, succeeded him in the inheritance of Hanley Castle, Tewkesbury, Yairford, and other baronies—which were occasionally disunited from the honour of Gloucester—and married Elizabeth, the widow of Giles de Badlesmere, and daughter of William de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury. This earl, among{180} other good gifts, appropriated the church of Lantrissant to the abbot and convent in succession, from which they received fifty marks annually. Dying without issue, he was buried on the right side of the high altar at Tewkesbury. His widow was afterwards united in marriage to Gwido de Bryen, knight—said by some writers to have been of the Thomond family in Ireland, and by others, of the O’Briens of Castle Walwaine in Pembrokeshire—who was buried along with a numerous line of illustrious persons near the high altar in St. Margaret’s—or, as it was subsequently called, O’Brien’s Chapel[173]—one of the chief sepulchral ornaments of the church. This posthumous distinction was secured by very substantial benefits conferred on the church in his lifetime.[174]

The tombs of the illustrious individuals above mentioned are all more or less visible from the same point, and the coup-d’œil is very impressive.

This distinguished Patron of the monastery died near the close of the fourteenth century 1390.; when the nephew of his wife—Edward, the second son of Hugh le Despenser the younger—took possession, in right of his aunt, of the old family estates of De Clare, among which were Hanley Castle, Tewkesbury Manor, and Malvern Chase. This nobleman espoused Anne, daughter of Lord Ferrers, and by this marriage left issue four sons, Edward, Thomas, Henry, and Gilbert. Edward, who was made Knight of the Garter and summoned to Parliament in the thirty-first year of Edward the Third, succeeded to the estates of Earl Hugh, his uncle, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Bartholomew de Burghurst, the king’s chamberlain. He commanded the rear of the English army during their fatiguing and perilous march from Calais to Bordeaux in 1373. He gave a cup of gold to the monastery, and a precious jewel, says the Chronicle of Tewkesbury, “wonderfully contrived to hold the sacrament on solemn days.” His eldest son, Edward, died early at Cardiff Castle, and, with two other children, a brother and sister, was buried in the family vault at Tewkesbury. At his death, two years after the expedition above mentioned, Edward left a son, named Thomas, and three daughters, Elizabeth, Anne, and Margaret, and was buried in the Abbey church of Tewkesbury, before the vestry door, near the{181} chancel; where his widow, Dame le Despenser, to perpetuate his memory, built the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, hereafter mentioned. This lady survived her husband thirty-three years, and retained, as “her dowry, the lordships of Hanley, Fairford, and Tewkesbury,” and died at the commencement of the fifteenth century, when they fell to her grandson Richard, whose father, Thomas—the second son of the last-named Edward—had fallen a victim to the axe at the accession of Henry the Fourth. She was buried near her husband; and during her life, among various other benefactions, she bequeathed to the Abbey a suit of scarlet vestments, embroidered with lions of gold—namely, one coat with three royal robes and white vestments, and fifteen mantles or copes.[175]

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Thomas, her nephew above mentioned, married Constance, daughter of Edmund Langley, Duke of York, and was created Earl of Gloucester by Richard the Second, in right of his descent from Elianora, wife of Hugh Despenser the younger. But having taken an active part in the conspiracy formed to dethrone Henry the Fourth, he was apprehended at Bristol and executed, 1400. and a sentence of attainder passed upon his titles and estates. He was afterwards buried in the middle of the Choir in Tewkesbury church, where a lamp was kept constantly burning before the host. He left two children, Richard, who died at the age of eighteen,[176] and Isabel, who, succeeding to the family estates, was married by the Abbot of Tewkesbury to Richard Parker, son and heir of William Lord Beauchamp, and afterwards Earl of Worcester. At the siege of Meuse-en-Bry (Meaux) in France, this nobleman was wounded by a stone cast from a sling, ‘lapide balistæ,’ and dying in consequence, his body was sent home and interred near the founder’s chapel, between the pillars at the bottom of the Choir; where the lady Isabel, his widow, erected a chapel to his memory and dedicated it to St. Mary Magdalen. It was covered with pictures of our Saviour, the twelve apostles, and emblazoned with coats of arms—long since defaced. This lady afterwards, by a papal dispensation, married her late husband’s cousin, Richard Beauchamp, fifth earl of Warwick, who was governor of France under 1439. King Henry the Sixth, and died at the city of Rouen, leaving issue by the said marriage a son and daughter, named Henry and Anne. The lady Isabel was a munificent benefactress of the Abbey of Tewkesbury, having{182} settled upon it, for the support of six additional monks, lands worth three hundred pounds per annum. At her death she also left to it all her jewels and other personal ornaments, valued at three hundred marks additional, and procured the church of Farrande in the diocese of Salisbury, and the church of Penmarshe in that of Llandaff, to be appropriated to this Abbey. Furthermore, she ordered four masses to be said in the new chapel which she had founded, for the good of her soul and the souls of her ancestors and successors; and bequeathed to each of the priests who should officiate two shillings, to be paid weekly. She also confirmed all the privileges granted to the monastery by her ancestors, and was buried near the chapel which she had built, with great funeral pomp, by the bishop of Hereford, her confessor, and the lords abbots of Tewkesbury and Winchcomb, as specified in the Abbey Chronicle.

Henry Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, son of Richard by Isabel, heiress of the Despenser family, was about fourteen years old at his father’s death. He was crowned King of the Isle of Wight by Henry the Sixth, and at the age of eighteen was created Duke of Warwick, and declared premier Earl of England. He had the Castle of Bristol given him, with the islands of Guernsey and Jersey, the patronage of the church and priory of St. Mary Magdalen of Goldcliff, with leave to annex it to the church of Tewkesbury. 1446. He confirmed the grants made by his predecessors to the church of Tewkesbury; gave all the ornaments he wore to purchase vestments for the monastery; died in the twenty-second year of his age; and was buried in the middle of the Choir. He left issue by his marriage with Cecilia, daughter of the Earl of Salisbury, one daughter, Anne, who died in infancy; whereby Anne, his sister, became sole heiress to his estates. This lady married Richard Nevil, Earl of Salisbury, who in right of his wife succeeded to the vast united inheritance of the Despensers and the Beauchamps—families in which the original possessions had been accumulating for ages. Nevil, in order that his rank in the peerage might keep pace with this great accession of property, was now created Earl of Warwick—familiarly known in the writings of his day as the stout Earl of Warwick, or the King-maker—for both King Henry the Sixth and Edward the Fourth held or lost the sceptre at his dictation. His deeds and prowess are familiar to every reader of history, and will be more particularly noticed when we arrive at that portion of the work with which the name is more intimately connected. 1471. His death at the battle of Barnet, and the results of the still more sanguinary battle of Tewkesbury,[177] placed the crown on the head of Edward,[178] and introduced a new order of affairs in the state.{183}

After the fall of this renowned earl, Anne his countess, “reduced to great distress, was forced to abscond. King Richard would have willingly seized on her estates, had not her two daughters, Isabel and Anne, been his own sisters-in-law; but he put these ladies in possession of them all by an equal partition of the vast inheritance between them, which was confirmed by act of parliament.” Isabel, the elder of these daughters, married George, Duke of Clarence, brother to Edward the Fourth; and in her division of the family domains, the ancient manor of Tewkesbury was included. With this lady, therefore, the subject under consideration is more particularly connected. But she was destined not long to survive her renowned father, and died in child-bed in the twenty-fifth year of her age, at Warwick Castle, from which her remains were conveyed to the Abbey of Tewkesbury, and made the object of a grand funeral solemnity, which was prolonged to an unusual duration.

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The annexed particulars may give some idea of the gorgeous ceremonial practised on that occasion:—Lord John Strensham, Abbot of Tewkesbury, with several other abbots, in the ecclesiastical habits of their order, and all the brethren of the convent, received her body in the middle of the choir. The funeral office was first performed by the Lord Abbot and his brother abbots there present, with the whole of the convent, in nine lessons; then by the suffragans of the bishops of Worcester and Llandaff; and lastly, by the dean and chaplains of the Duke of Clarence. The vigils were observed by the Duke’s own family till the following day, which was the vigil of the Epiphany. The suffragan of the bishop of Lincoln celebrated the first mass of St. Mary in the Chapel of the Virgin; the second mass of the Trinity was celebrated by the Lord Abbot at the high altar; the suffragan of the bishop of Worcester said the third mass of “Eternal Rest,” at which Dr. Weld, of the Grey Friars of Worcester, preached a sermon in the choir before the prelates and monks there assembled. Mass being ended, the body was left under the Herse, a fabric erected for that purpose in the middle of the choir, for the space of thirty-five days, on every one of which the same solemn obsequies were repeated. The body of this lady was then buried in a vault behind the high altar, before the door of the Lady Chapel, opposite that of St. Edward the Martyr’s.—To the fate of George Duke of Clarence, who only survived his lady about a twelvemonth, we need not particularly advert{184} in this place. He was also buried at Tewkesbury, and left issue two children, Edward and Margaret. This Edward Plantagenet, entitled Earl of Warwick, and heir of Tewkesbury, was first seized and imprisoned by his uncle, the tyrant Richard; next, for safer custody, removed to the Tower, by his cousin, Henry the Seventh, and beheaded on the charge of a pretended conspiracy. But the only crime that could be alleged against him was his being heir male of the house of York; and to this and the king’s invincible jealousy he fell a victim in the flower of his age. But as we shall have occasion to revert to this subject hereafter, we omit in the meantime this part of the family history.

Margaret, the only sister of this unfortunate young noble, met with a fate equally tragical and unmerited on her own part, and disgraceful to the tyrant by whom it was inflicted. She was married to Sir Richard Pole in early life, by whom she had a family, and upon an act of attainder passed against her for corresponding with her son Cardinal Pole, she was beheaded in the thirty-third year of the reign of Henry the Eighth.

Anne, youngest daughter of Richard Nevil, Earl of Salisbury and Warwick, was first married to Edward Prince of Wales, son of King Henry the Sixth, who, being taken at the battle of Tewkesbury, was there murdered by Richard Duke of Gloucester, whom she afterwards married, and had issue Edward Prince of Wales, who died not long before his mother, who is said to have been poisoned by Richard to facilitate his intended union with his niece, Elizabeth, daughter of Edward the Fourth, and afterwards queen of King Henry the Seventh.[179]

From this period till the accession of Edward the Sixth, the lordship of Tewkesbury was annexed to the crown. 1609. It was then granted to Sir Thomas Seymour, who held it till his attainder; when it reverted back again, and continued vested in the crown till the seventh of the reign of James the First, when it was granted, by letters patent from that monarch, to the corporation of Tewkesbury, for the sum of “two thousand four hundred and fifty-three pounds seven shillings and fourpence halfpenny.”[180]

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Such is the descent of the manor of Tewkesbury in connexion with the Abbey to which it gave origin, and with which it was intimately associated during the long lapse of six or seven centuries.

During the many ages of prosperity which intervened between the period of its foundation down to that of its dissolu{185}tion the Abbey of Tewkesbury is a name of frequent recurrence in history. Its abbots were generally men of learning, moderation, and piety; and possessed an influence in public affairs which extended far beyond the jurisdiction of their convent. They had possessions in ten different counties, and, with few exceptions, exerted a mild and benignant sway over the monastic brotherhood, of whose moral and intellectual improvement they were the watchful guardians. The compliment paid to this Abbey and its numerous inmates by William of Malmesbury,[181] already quoted, appears to have been well merited. But in later times it was still more deserving of admiration. The magnificent style of its architecture, the number and richness of its shrines, tombs, and chapels, the elegance of design and beauty of workmanship by which they were distinguished, did honour to the classical taste of the abbots, and fostered that national love of the fine arts which has never found more zealous or more munificent patrons than among the old English Hierarchy.

They loved the arts: what taste and truth approved,
What genius formed they patronized and loved.
The Abbey cloisters and offices have almost disappeared; they were demolished by the commissioners; but, like those of St. Albans, their remembrance is perpetuated in the sacred edifice of the conventual church to which they belonged, and which has happily escaped those violent state commotions which have exploded more than once under its very walls. Its dimensions bespeak the early importance to which it laid claim as one of the great temples of the national religion;[182] whilst the style and elaborate execution exhibited in detail, do full justice to the noble design of the general mass as it first meets the eye. This church contains a rich and varied series of monuments, from the “early style to that of the late perpendicular. They amount to at least a dozen—all of excellent workmanship, and several of very singular composition. It contains also several good specimens of stone and iron work.” It is also enriched with a series of genealogical portraits in stained glass of the De Clares, the Despensers, and other benefactors of the Abbey—

—— who struggled to keep alive
The lamp of Hope o’er man’s bewildered lot.
{186}

But the Gateway is the only remaining feature that conveys to the spectator’s mind some idea of what the Abbey itself must have been in the days of its prosperity. It is a structure of great solidity, finely proportioned, crowned with embattled walls, and is much admired by architects and others for the beauty of its Norman arch. In its minuter features, it displays much of the fine and graceful workmanship usually observed in Gateways of

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its class and period. Like that of St. Albans, it is said to have been the prison of the Abbot’s jurisdiction; and certainly no building connected with the monastery could have been more adapted for a place of “durance.” It was the strongest portion of the conventual buildings, and in cases of emergency served the double purpose of prison and barbican. At the period of the Dissolution it was particularly specified as one of the conventual buildings that were to be kept up.

When yonder broken Arch was whole,
’Twas there was dealt the weekly dole;
And where yon mouldering columns nod,
The Abbey sent the hymn to God.
So fleets the world’s uncertain span;
Nor zeal for God, nor love to man,
Gives mortal monuments a date,
Beyond the power of time and fate.—Scott.
The Abbey church of Tewkesbury presents in design and construction the characteristic features of its class and era. It is built in the usual form of a cross; with the central tower, erected over the great arcade which divides the transepts, and separates the nave from the choir. “This tower is considered the finest Norman specimen of its kind in England, and was only equalled by{187} that of Malmesbury, now in ruins. It was built early in the twelfth century 1130., by Robert, Consul and Earl of Gloucester, and patron of the Abbey.

In the first era of Norman architecture, towers of very large dimensions and great height were placed within the centre or at the west end of the cathedral and abbey churches. Many of these now lose the appearance of their real height from their extreme solidity. This abbey tower, like those of St. Albans, Lincoln, and others, was originally finished with a lofty wooden spire, covered with lead;” a plan which is still observed in Germany, where the church spires, constructed of wood and covered with tin or iron, serve as distant landmarks to the traveller. In forest countries this was not only ornamental but necessary. “One of the earliest deviations from the original timber spire to that of stone was in that of Salisbury Cathedral.”

The height of the abbey tower is upwards of a hundred and thirty feet. The height of spires and towers is usually found to be equal to the height and length of the nave—or, more accurately perhaps, of the transept. (Mitred Abbeys, Architect. Discourses: Notes.) Externally, this tower is a very striking feature in the landscape, and is much improved by the pinnacles at each corner, which, however, are comparatively modern. The three tiers of arcade mouldings on the outer walls are highly ornamental, and in the intermediate row intersect each other, so as to give the whole square mass a light and graceful appearance.

Cloisters.—There are some traces of the cloisters remaining on the South side of the nave. They were in the perpendicular style, very rich, and contain the remains of several stalls and screen-work carved in oak. The windows are very elegant. In several instances the tracery is quite fresh and highly ornamental. The upper windows are nearly of the same character, but those underneath are of richer workmanship, with mullions, transoms, and all the minute chisel-work of the florid style. This part of the conventual remains is full of interest, and carries back the spectator into times when the genius of architecture, fostered by the spirit of religion, shed unrivalled lustre over the land.

Now, if this Cloister, fallen and gone,
Ye fain would view as once it shone,
Pace ye with reverend step, I pray,
The moss-grown and forgotten way;
While murmurs low the fitful wind,
Winning to peace the meeken’d mind;
And evening, in her solemn stole,
With stillness o’er those woods afar,
Leads in blue shade her bright’ning star,
As spreads the slow gloom from the pole.
Cloisters were first introduced as an appendage to the larger monasteries, and in this variable climate their use is sufficiently obvious. They are common{188} to all the chief conventual houses in England; but the most remarkable and capacious are those of Canterbury, Salisbury, Norwich, Exeter, and Gloucester. They were particularly adapted to conventual life; the “ambulatory” round the square, its open windows that descended by a dividing mullion to the floor,[183] and the small grass-covered cemetery that occupied the centre of the enclosure—the silence of the place—the sanctity of every object around—all favoured a spirit of monastic seclusion, while, at the same time, the inmates found under these solemn arcades that healthful air, exercise, and social intercourse which they were not permitted to enjoy in public.

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The modern entrance to the church is from the north side through a portal of considerable width and elevation, and is furnished with iron gates. Over the entrance is a mutilated image of the Madonna, under whose tutelary guardianship the abbey enjoyed many ages of prosperity. In one of the round massive columns near the entrance into the north aisle, is an ancient Piscina, or vessel for holy water; and attached to the same pillar are two antique alms-boxes, which appear to have been the expressive monitors of charity during many generations.

The internal area of the church consists of the nave, the transepts, with two extensive side aisles, and a semicircular aisle surrounding the chancel. The lateral aisles, which are rather lower than the body of the church, are divided from the nave by double rows of massive pillars, which bear the stamp of the twelfth century. In the aisle, which forms a semicircular sweep from the north to the south ends of the transept is the modern vestry—an apartment in which the archives of the abbey were formerly kept. The whole of the interior—the nave, choir, aisles, and transepts, are rich in the monuments of past ages. Shrines, tabernacle-work, sacella, tombs, inscriptions, religious imagery, military and heraldic badges, impart an air of solemn magnificence to the scene, and address the spectator from every part of the walls. The principal arcades, by which the nave is divided from the aisles, are circular, like those in the Cathedral of Gloucester.[184] The centre, or nave, was highest in most of the great churches, and had a breadth scarcely less than the space of the pier arches.{189}

The Grand Entrance from the west is the most striking point of view in the whole structure. The Great West Window is “perpendicular,” converted into a very lofty Norman arch of great depth, with shafts and mouldings. “The clerestory windows of the nave are inserted in the Norman arcade; those of the Choir are of the finest decorated tracery, with considerable remains of ancient stained glass.” In design and workmanship the arch possesses nearly every feature that can enter into the combination of what is beautiful and even sublime in architecture.

The perspective, though injured by modern arrangement—the introduction of the organ, and the consequent interruption of the grand coup-d’œil—is still solemn and impressive, and readily suggests to the mind a clear idea of what it must have been when the eye could range at once through the whole nave, with nothing between that and the choir to intercept the view.

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The nave in style and construction is Norman; the piers are round, massive, and lofty. At the intersection of the cross is the fine Norman tower, so much admired by all connoisseurs and men practically skilled in the science of architecture. It is ornamented with rows of arches in successive stages, both within and without, which give lightness to the mass, and take off the heaviness that would otherwise mark the structure.

The choir has a multangular east end, with additional chapels and a Chapter-house, all of excellent decorated character. Of the windows in the aisles, some of them are decorated, others perpendicular. The great window of this arch was thrown down in a storm in 1661, and twenty years elapsed before it was restored.

King selects the Western Portico of Tewkesbury as the grandest in England in point of extent and effect. The western front, or façade, has always occupied a prominent part in every large church. “It exhibits in various instances a gradual alteration of style, from the early Norman to that at the close of the fifteenth century. In the principal feature, the entrance doorway, there is a remarkable difference between those in England and upon{190} the Continent. The German and French portail forms nearly one half of the total space, and is surmounted by a circular or rose window of vast diameter;” while in the instance before us, as also at St. Albans, the doorway bears no relative proportion to the magnificent window which rises above it.

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Font.—In the south transept is a beautiful baptismal Font, with a cover, richly carved, and finished with a cross. “The variety exhibited in the design of these is infinite, and upon no subject connected with ecclesiastical rites did sculptors exert more fancy and taste than in the design and workmanship bestowed on the font.” No genuine Saxon work is so frequent as this; fonts have often survived the church in which they originally stood, and been preserved as venerable relics of primitive Christianity. In the present specimen, however, elegance, design, and execution, not antiquity, are what chiefly claim attention, and which never fail to receive it from all who are curious in subjects of this kind.

Towards the close of the fourteenth century, a very ornamental appendage to fonts was introduced, and chiefly in the eastern counties. These consisted of carved oaken covers, exquisitely wrought and embellished, which were suspended from the ceiling, moveable at pleasure, and not unfrequently consisting of a pinnacle or frame several feet high. They have been classed by Mr. F. Simpson, in his Series of Baptismal Fonts, into Saxon, early English, and decorated English of the lower era.—See Dallaway, Bapt. Fonts, p. 205.

The Roof of this church has a great advantage over that of St. Albans, being of stone, and forming a magnificent groined vault, the ribs of which are richly carved at their points of intersection with curious devices, and ornamented with much beautiful tracery, which at that height has a particularly delicate appearance. The carvings, where the ribs cross each other or meet in clusters, are all emblematical of some passage in Scripture history, commemorative of events in that of the order of Benedictines, or obscurely referring to others against which the sculptor’s ingenuity indulged in a satirical humour. But here the latter is by no means so conspicuous as in others; for in those early times the ornaments of the churches were made the frequent vehicles of bitter satire against some rival brotherhood, whose vices, true or imputed, were hieroglyphically represented in the capitals, corbel heads, and archways of their respective buildings.{191}

“No instance of a genuine Anglo-Norman building,” says a well-known authority, “possesses, or was intended to possess, a stone roof, which is indicated by the position of the capitals. The Norman wooden roof was open to the timbers, and hence the conflagration of the ancient churches were disasters of frequent occurrence. That of Tewkesbury was completely destroyed by fire—“igne consumpta.”

Far o’er the Severn’s crimson’d flood
That blazing Abbey flung its fire,
Till roof, and stall, and shrinèd rood
Their mass of smoking embers strew’d
On chancel, nave, and choir.
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Cloister Bell-case.—Among other striking remains of elaborate workmanship with which the church was so profusely adorned, is a richly carved fragment, with pinnacles, supposed to have been the case in which was suspended the Cloister Bell, which at stated hours summoned the monastic brotherhood to prayers. It is at once elegant in design, and delicate in execution; and were larger models wanting, it would be sufficient of itself to illustrate the beautiful style of architecture to which it belongs.

Summoned by this bell, the whole brotherhood, with the Lord Abbot at their head, were wont to assemble for vespers; when the well-known hymn, in commemoration of the early life of their founder, Saint Benedict, was chanted in full chorus:—

Ille florentes peragebat annos
Cum puer dulces patriæ penates
Liquit, et solus latuit silenti
Conditus antro.
Inter urticas, rigidosque sentes
Vicit altricem scelerum juventam;
Inde conscripsit documenta vitæ
Pulchra beatæ.
The Tombs and sepulchral antiquities which here proclaim the virtues of the dead, and the sorrows of the living, are still numerous, though far from what they are known to have been at the dissolution of the monastery. Some of these are elaborate productions, and ably illustrate that period when the purchase of masses and the erection of costly sepulchres for the dead were{192} the highest testimonies that could be offered to their memory. But to secure posthumous fame, liberality to the church was the surest channel, and of those erected to the great benefactors of Tewkesbury several remain in good preservation. The most interesting are those of Isabel, Countess of Warwick; of Hugh, Lord le Despenser; of Sir Edward le Despenser; of Sir Guy d’O’Brien; of Abbot Cheltenham; of Abbot Wakeman, &c. But the first in right of precedence, though not in beauty of design or workmanship, is the tomb of the founder, Robert Fitz-Hamon, to whose life the reader’s attention has been already directed. It stood originally in the Chapter-house, where he was buried in 1107; but in 1241 it was removed to its present situation in the church, where his bones were deposited with great solemnity in a tomb of grey marble, and afterwards enclosed with an altar-chapel by the Lord Abbot Parker. During the improvements which were made in the church about the end of the last century, this tomb was opened and examined, when the mortal relics, after an interval of more than six centuries, were brought once more to the light. At the head of the stone coffin, between two and three feet long, was a circular sheet of lead, in the inner fold of which were deposited the thigh-bones and one arm entire, and which were, beyond doubt, the last earthly remains of the venerable founder. It was originally ornamented with the founder’s effigy and other ornaments in brass; but these were all abstracted during the course of open spoliation which, subsequent to the dissolution of religious houses, mutilated or destroyed many of the finest sepulchral antiquities in the kingdom. The inscription which formerly, in short and simple phrase, directed the stranger to the founder’s tomb, was cut round the frieze of the chapel:—“In hac capella jacet Dns. Robertus Filius Hamonis, hujus loci fundator.”—Antiq. of Tewkesb.

The Chancel (p. 169), where this tomb, with several others, is still shown, exhibits a combination of magnificent features. It is supported by six pillars of noble proportions, and over these are seven windows of stained glass, richly ornamented with effigies and armorial bearings of the ancient Earls of Gloucester.

There the lone MONK would muse and read,
And meditate on sacred lore;
Or view the WARRIOR on his tomb,
With raised hands seeming to implore
Of Heaven a mitigated doom!
So shaded would each figure lie,
Tall arches pointing overhead,
That, though a window placed on high,
Its gloom through distant colours shed,
So dim would lie in shades below,
That whether living shape or dead,
The monk who gazed might hardly know.
{193}
Le Despenser’s Chapel, or that dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen, is a beautiful specimen of the style called Gothic. The roof is elaborately carved, supported on slender pillars of marble—now much destroyed. It was originally adorned with representations of our Saviour and his apostles, and emblazoned with armorial bearings of the families with which the Despensers claimed relationship. Under a canopy of state, on the same side, is another—consisting of three compartments, each diminishing as it ascends, till the last terminates in a point—with the effigies of Lord and Lady Despenser, in white marble. The whole of this shrine is richly carved, and, with its arches and pinnacles gradually tapering off in the form of an obelisk, is a very elegant and beautiful object, and well illustrates the florid style so prevalent in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It was founded by the Lady Isabella Despenser, the Countess of Warwick already mentioned, in honour of St. Mary Magdalen. The countess died in the Minories, London, in 1439, and was buried at the right hand of her father in the choir.—See, ante, p. 179.

The chapel of the Holy Trinity, on the south side of the chancel, was erected by the Lady Elizabeth, to the memory of her husband, Edward le Despenser, whose figure as an armed knight, with the bearings of the family emblazoned on his surcoat, occupies the top in a posture of supplication. What remains of these chapels is sufficient to show how highly they must have been ornamented, particularly the roof, upon which great taste and ingenuity have been displayed.

Nearly opposite the Despenser monument, and in the aisle surrounding the chancel, is the tomb of Guy d’O’Brien, already mentioned in the genealogical descent of the manor, as the second husband of the Lady Despenser. It is of open tabernacle-work, and under the arch is a recumbent figure of a knight in armour, with the arms of the O’Briens (Lords of Thomond) and the Montacutes.

Not far from the preceding, is the chapel of St. Edmund the Martyr. The monument is supported by an arch, under which, according to the fashion of those days, is a monk in the last stage of emaciation, stretched upon a shroud, and serving as a moral lesson to his brethren and all spectators, that to such complexion they must come at last. It is richly ornamented with Gothic ornaments, all minutely carved; and is understood to have been designed and executed by Wakeman, who was Abbot of Tewkesbury at the dissolution of the abbey; but he was not buried here. In a small chapel adjoining that of the Holy Trinity before mentioned, is the tomb traditionally known as that of the twelfth abbot, who presided in this monastery twenty years, and died in the middle of the thirteenth{194} century. In Willis’s time, says Dyde, there appears to have been an effigy of this abbot, as that author mentions, that “under this arch are the effigies of a man lying in full proportion, which,” he adds, “is said to have been for Robert Fortington, the last abbot.”

Near this are the tombs of two other abbots; one a monument of dark marble, with the inscription in Saxon letters, of “Johannes Abbas hujus loci;” and another in the south wall, to the memory of “Alanus Dominus Abbas.” The latter is a fine example of its kind, and has often been engraved.

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On the south side, at the Abbots’ Entrance into the church, is a monument with the arms of the De Clares, Earls of Gloucester, erected, as it has been conjectured, to the memory of Beaufort, Duke of Somerset,[185] who was beheaded after the battle of Tewkesbury. But it is probable, from the arms and other circumstances, that it is rather a memorial of the De Clares, several of whose name and family are interred within these precincts. The tomb is close to a rich-pointed doorway in the south transept, called the Abbot’s entrance, which communicated with the adjoining cloisters.

On the north side, and under an arch not unlike the preceding, is a recumbent figure of the unfortunate Lord Wenlock, whom, in a moment of fierce exasperation, Somerset struck down with his battle-axe in the field adjoining: but his body, as Leland reports, “was removed to some other place.”

Under the Tower is a brass plate with an inscription to the memory of Edward, Prince of Wales, only son of Henry the Sixth, the circumstances of whose death will be more particularly noticed hereafter. The spot where he was interred, however, is a mystery; it is merely stated that, in the common{195} fosse, dug for the reception of the other victims, in the abbey, the body of the unfortunate prince was included.[186]

No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Nor in sheet, nor in shroud, they bound him.
The epitaphs in the church are numerous—some curious, and all more or less illustrative of feelings by which, in general, the mourners were actuated, and of times when a mixture of classic taste and monkish superstition was the chief characteristic. Out of the many, that which follows is selected as a specimen. It is taken from a brass plate, on a stone in the body of the church, and has often been copied. (Histor. and Antiq. of Tewkes.) “In hoc Tumulo sepulta jacet Amia uxor Johannis Wiatt, Tewkesburiensis generosi, quæ spiritum exhalavit xxv August., Ao. Dni.” [Year effaced.] It is an acrostic—Amie Wiatt.

In cujus obitum versiculos perlegito subsequentes.
A : A me disce mori, mors est sors omnibus una;
M : Mortis et esca fui mortis et esca fores.
I : In terram ex terra terrestris massa meabis;
E : Et capiet cineres urna parata cinis.
V : Vivere vis cœlo, terrenam temnite vitam:
V : Vita pijs mors est; mors mihi vita pia.
J : Jejunes, vigiles, ores, credasq potenti,
A : Ardua fac: non est mollis ad astra via.
T : Te Scriptura vocat, te sermo, ecclesia Mater.
T : Teque vocat Sponsus, Spiritus atque Pater.
N.B. The Area consists of a grand principal aisle or nave, a transept or cross aisle, and two spacious side aisles, somewhat lower than the main body of the church, and separated from the nave by two rows of massive pillars. Also a handsome semicircular aisle surrounding the chancel, from the north to the south ends of the transepts, in which are the vestry (where the abbey records were formerly kept), several recesses and chapels dedicated to the founder, the benefactors, and other persons of distinction, with several Gothic tombs of splendid execution. We recapitulate these as the chief features of the Area.

Taking his position in the centre of the chancel, the stranger commands the most imposing features in the church; the rich groined roof, the bold massive pillars, the richly-sculptured tombs, the painted windows, blazoned shields, emblematic groups and Gothic inscriptions—all strike the mind with feelings of deep solemnity, and carry us back into the gorgeous imagery of the middle ages. Well may we exclaim with Quintilian—“En morti sacratos lapides!”—See, ante, p. 169.{196}

There, in their sepulchres of costly art,
Where still the gold clings to the Parian stone,
Legend and shield and effigy impart
The accumulated fame of ages flown,
O’er sainted dust the classic wreath is strewn.
But now no mass is said—no requiem sung,
The priest is mute, the choristers are gone;
No votive “rose” upon the shrine is hung,
No flowers upon the Founder’s tomb are flung.
The Chapter-house.—This appendage to the Abbey—in which was the original tomb of the founder—is considered from the best evidence to be coeval with the building. Chapter-houses were introduced by the early Norman prelates, and formed an indispensable adjunct to every cathedral and monastery subsequently erected under their superintendence. They were not, however, built as merely necessary to the conventual establishments, and for assembling the members of the church at their elections, but they were likewise the depositaries of deceased superiors and noble benefactors. Here Fitz-Hamon, the great benefactor, or rather founder of Tewkesbury Abbey, was buried, as already mentioned, but afterwards removed to a more sacred dormitory within the church. The approach to the Chapter-house was uniformly through the cloisters, and in certain instances, as at Chester and Bristol, it had a large vestibule. That of Tewkesbury is now used as a school. The windows are lancet-pointed, and round the base and walls are pannellings and arcade mouldings after the Norman style.—See Discourses on Architecture, with the Analysis of Conventual Churches.

On the outside of the south wall is “a very beautiful arch, now closed, which opened a communication between the south aisle and the remaining abbey and cloisters.” From the style of the remaining arches in the side walls, the latter appear to have been extremely handsome. In the south wall, near the vestry door, is the tomb of Alanus—already named—the friend and biographer of Thomas-à-Becket, who died in 1202. The body is “deposited in a coffin of Purbeck marble, laid under a very plain semi-quatrefoil arch.” The coffin was opened in 1795; when the lid was taken off, the body appeared surprisingly perfect, considering that it had lain there nearly six hundred years. The folds of the drapery were very distinct, but from being exposed to the air, the whole very soon crumbled away, and left little more than a skeleton. The boots, however, still retained their shape and a certain degree of elasticity, and hung in large folds about the legs. On his right side lay a plain crosier of wood, neatly turned, the top of which was gilded, having a cross cut in it. It was five feet eleven inches in length and remarkably light. On his left side lay the fragments of a chalice.—Sepulch. Antiq.{197}

Stalls are of the same early introduction as the other Norman appendages. “When composed of stone,” says the author already quoted, “they were first used near the altar by the officiating priests in choirs, and as subsellia in parish chancels.” Those of oak, now seen in the North Transept of the abbey, formerly stood in the choir. They are tolerably perfect; and in their canopies much intricate design and delicate carving are apparent. “In choirs, where many were united in one general plan, oak was soon introduced in place of stone,” as a material much better adapted to the purpose of elaborate carving.

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The cenotaph of Abbot Wich is at the entrance of St. Edward’s Chapel; it represents, as already stated, an emaciated figure, surrounded by the ensigns of mortality, which seem to address every ear in these emphatic words—Memento mori!

The east end is hexagonal, separated from the aisles by six short massive columns supporting pointed arches. Beneath these are some larger monuments, and over them are windows fitted with painted glass. In two of them are very curious figures of knights in armour, eight in number, and represented standing under very rich Gothic canopies, each filling nearly one of the principal compartments of the windows, some in mail, others in plated armour. They are said to represent Robert first earl of Gloucester, the three Gilberts de Clare, Richard de Clare, Hugh le Despenser the younger, and one of the La Zouch family; all of whom have been already noticed in the genealogical introduction to this subject.—History of the County, art. Tewkesbury.{198}

Benedictine. To fashion my reply to your demand
Is not to boast, though I proclaim the honours
Of our profession. Four emperors,
Forty-six kings, and one-and-fifty queens,
Have changed their royal ermines for our sables.
These cowls have clothed the heads of fourteen hundred
And six kings’ sons; of dukes, great marquises,
And earls, two thousand and above four hundred
Have turn’d their princely coronets into
An humble coronet of hair, left by
The razor—thus.—Shirley.
Tewkesbury Abbey was the last of the monastic establishments in Gloucestershire which surrendered to the mandate of Henry the Eighth. The surrender was made, under the convent seal, by John Wich, with fifteen of the brotherhood, on the 9th day of January, 1539, being the thirty-first year of the king’s reign, and began in these terms:—“To all Christian people to whom these presents shall come, We the Abbot, etc., and Brothers of the said monastery, send greeting. Know ye, that we upon full consideration, certain knowledge, and mere motion, and for divers causes just and reasonable moving our souls and consciences thereto, have freely and voluntarily given and granted to our Lord the King,” etc.

The clear annual “value of all the possessions belonging to the said monastery, as well spiritual as temporal, besides £136 8s. 1d., granted in fees and annuities to several persons by letters patent, under the convent seal, for their lives, was £1595 17s. 6d. The pensions assigned by the royal commissioners—Southwell, Petre, Kairn, Price, Kingsmen, Paulett, and Bernars—to the abbot, the prior, and other members of the establishment, amounted to £532 6s. 8d., leaving a handsome balance of £1063 10s. 10d. in favour of his Majesty’s exchequer. The keys of the treasury were delivered to Richard Paulett, receiver; but the records and evidences belonging to the monastery, which were deposited therein, and the houses and buildings which were to remain undefaced, were committed to the keeping of Sir John Whittington. Of the houses and buildings to be preserved were,—the lodging called Newark, leading from the gate to the Abbot’s Lodgings, with the buttery, pantry, cellar, larder, kitchen, and pastry thereto adjoining: the late abbot’s lodging; the hostrey; the great gate entering into the court, with the lodging over the same; the Abbot’s stable, bakehouse, brewhouse, and slaughter-house; the almary, barn, and dairy-house; the great barn next the river Avon; the malt-house, with the garners in the same; the ox-house in the Penton gate, and the lodging over the same.”—These afford some notion of the domestic offices of a lord abbot of that day.

The buildings “deemed to be superstitious or superfluous, and therefore to be demolished, were the church—but which was happily preserved with its{199} appendages, and made parochial—the chapels, the cloister, the chapter-house, the two dormitories; the infirmary, with the chapels and lodgings within the same; the workhouse, with another house adjoining to the same; the convent kitchen, the library, the misericorde, the old hostrey, the chamber and lodgings, the new hall, the old parlour adjoining the abbot’s lodgings, the cellarer’s or butler’s lodging, the poultry-house, the garner, the almary, and all other houses and lodgings not before reserved.”

The list of materials to be converted to the king’s use, and delivered to the commissioners, were as follows:—the leads remaining on the choir, aisles, and chapels annexed; “the cloister, chapter-house, fratery, St. Michael’s chapel, halls, infirmary, and gatehouse, were estimated at 180 fodder. The bells remaining in the steeple were eight poizes, by estimation 14,600 lbs. weight.”

The jewels reserved for his Majesty’s use were,—two mitres, gilt, garnished with rugged pearls and counterfeit stones. The silver plate consisted of silver-gilt, 329 oz.—parcel of do. 605 oz.—plain silver, 497 oz.—making a total of 1431 ounces, which evinced no great luxury in that department. The ornaments reserved for his Majesty’s use were,—one cope of silver tissue, with one chesible and tunicle of the same; one cope of gold tissue, with one chesible and two tunicles of the same. The ornaments, goods, and chattels belonging to the said monastery were sold by the said commissioners, as in a book of sales thereof made appears, for the sum of £194 8s. To money given to thirty-eight religious persons of the said monastery, £80 13s. 4d. To one hundred and forty-four servants, for their wages and liveries, £75 10s. Paid the debts of the said monastery, £18 12s. These together made a sum of £174 15s. 4d., which deducted from the proceeds of the sale, left a balance in the commissioners’ hands of £19 12s. 8d.—History of the Abbey, referring to the Record in the Augmentation-office, dated 38 Hen. VIII.—Dyde.

The ecclesiastical livings in the gift of the monastery were numerous;[187] the abbots, who successively presided as the spiritual lords of Tewkesbury, were twenty-six in number, and filling a long interval of four hundred and thirty-four years. Their names are,—Giraldus, 1104; Robert, 1110; Benedict, 1124; Roger, 1137; Fromund, 1162—during whose abbacy the con{200}ventual church was burnt. (A vacancy occurs here.) Robert II., 1182. (Another vacancy.) Alan, prior of Canterbury, 1187; Walter, 1202; Hugh, 1213; Bernard, a monk of Tewkesbury, 1215, but not approved; Peter, a monk of Worcester, 1216; Robert Fortington, prior of the Abbey, 1232; Thomas Stoke, 1253; Richard de Norton, 1276; Thomas Kemsey, 1282; John Cotes, 1328; Thomas de Legh, 1361; Thomas Chesterton, 1362; Thomas Parker, 1390; William Bristow, 1414; John Abingdon, 1443; John de Salys; (?) John Strensham—supposed that in his time the abbey was made parliamentary; Richard Cheltenham, 1481; Henry Bewly, 1509; John Wich or Wakeman, the last abbot, and first bishop of Gloucester, 1531. The abbey demesnes consisted of Stanway, modified and enlarged by Abbot Cheltenham; Forthampton, on the right bank of the Severn, about a mile below Tewkesbury; and Tewkesbury Park, Manor Place, on the east or left bank of the Severn.—Hist. and Antiq. of Tewkes. Chron. Series of the Abbots.

Domesday Survey.—In Teodechesberie were fourscore and fifteen hides in the time of King Edward. Of these forty-five were in demean, and free from all royal service and tax, except the service due to the lord of the manor. The manor was in capite. There were in demean twelve plough-tillages, and fifty between the servi and ancillæ, and sixteen bordars in waiting about the hall, and two mills of 20 sol., and one fishery, and a salt-pit at Wich, belonging to the manor…. In all Teodechesberie there are 120 acres of meadow, and a wood one mile and a half long, and as much broad…. There are now thirteen burgesses paying 20 sol. a-year; a market, established by the queen,[188] pays 11 sol. and 8 den. And there is one plough-tillage more, and twenty-two between the servi and ancillæ, a fishery, and a salt-pit, &c…. This manor of Tewkesbury, when entire in the time of King Edward, was worth 100 lib. Whereas Radulf received 12 lib. because it was spoiled and disordered…. Brictric, the son of Algar, held this manor in the time of King Edward; and at that time had the underwritten estates of other thanes under his jurisdiction, &c. &c.—Dyde, 135. [The Norman pound or lib. equal to 12 ounces solid silver = £3 2s. sterling; the sol. = 3 shillings sterling; 48 Saxon shillings = £1 sterling.[189]—Ibid.]—See References and Authorities.{201}

Environs.—The first locality in the immediate neighbourhood to which the stranger’s attention is directed is the ancient battle-field, or, as it is now emphatically called, the “Bloody Meadow.” It was on this spot—the “field of Tewkesbury,”—that, on the 4th of May, 1471, the grand question between the rival houses of York and Lancaster was finally decided. The subject is familiar to every reader of history and the drama. It is commemorated, with many interesting details, by the old chroniclers; it is chosen by Shakspeare himself as the closing scene of one of his most powerful dramas; while the fair author of “Margaret of Anjou” has made it the theme of a spirited and graceful poem, in which the morning of the battle is thus introduced:—

“’Tis May—a bright and cloudless morn
Smiles on the world—on every thorn
The newly-open’d blossom glows,
And rich the woodland music flows;
Each hails the promise for his own,
As if the beam on nature’s face
Shone forth his single crest to grace,
And spake to him alone.
Alas! the welkin’s dazzling eye
But mocks the fleeting pageantry.”
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“When Queen Margaret,” says Grafton, “knew that King Edward was come so near her, she tarried not long at Bath, but, removing in great haste to Bristow, sent out certain horsemen to espie whether she might safely pass ouer the riuer Seuerne, by Gloucester, into Wales, whither she determined first to go to augment her armie; and then without any delay, with speere and shielde, to set on her enemyes wheresoeuer they would abyde.” But having learned from the spies that the city of Gloucester had been intimidated by Richard, the king’s brother; that the Governor, Lord Beauchamp, had peremptorily refused to allow her to pass over their bridge; and that the townspeople were neither to be won by promises nor deterred by threats, “she shortly departed from Bristow with her armie to a propre towne on Seuerne-syde, called Tewkesbury. The Lord Beauchamp tooke from her rere-ward more ordinance than she might have well spared, which did to her{202} no small prejudice.” The march lasted from sun to sun—impeded by the wretched cross-roads, and in continual skirmishes with the enemy.

“In weary march the night had pass’d,
And Lancaster with joy espied
Fair Tewkesbury’s hoary towers at last
Reflected in Sabrina’s tide.
Gloster had closed her gates, and sent
Loud insults from each battlement:
Nor did the rebel town make known
Her enmity in scoffs alone;
For many a mile, from copse and dell,
As onward passed the arméd train,
An arrowy shower around them fell,
And many a gallant form was slain—
Unseen the hand that brought his bane.
Bold Beaufort, who the vaward held,
As morning’s dewy mists dispell’d,
And Tewkesbury’s turrets tipt with light
Rose on his view—a welcome sight—
Through all his host the signal pass’d.”
Here, after their harassing night march, the troops were permitted to halt for some slight rest and refreshment; and, drawn up close to the banks of the Severn, could scan during their hasty repast the verdant field, now bright with the morning sun, over which the angel of destruction was hovering with outstretched but invisible wings. But full of hope, and encouraged by the words and presence of the Queen and her son Prince Edward, who had both shared with them the terrors of the night, and now anticipated a triumphant day, no thoughts of discomfiture once crossed the soldier’s mind.

“On Severn’s banks, in gladsome groups,
In thoughtless mirth, the scatter’d troops
Waste the free hour; some cast aside
Their heavy harness; some divide
With vigorous arm the opposing tide.
Nor did the crested Chieftains scorn
Their cumbrous helms aside to throw,
And woo the freshness of the morn
To fan each gallèd brow.
And many a richly blazon’d shield
Lay scatter’d on the dewy field.
But the loud laugh, the song, the jest—
Blithe echoes of the careless breast—
Rose from the humbler swarm; the rest,
Though thrown aside their outward gear,
Did still their bosom-burthens bear!”
“When the Queen,” continues the chronicle, “was come to Tewkesbury, and knew that Kinge Edward followed her with his horsemen at the very backe, she was sore abashed, and wonderfully amazed, and determined in{203} herselfe to flie into Wales, to Jasper, Earle of Pembroke. But the Duke of Somerset willyng in no wise to flie backward, for doubts that he casted might chaunce by the way, determined there to tarrye to take suche fortune as God woulde sende.” When Oxford advised that, for another day at least, and until Pembroke’s reinforcements should have arrived, the Queen should not hazard a battle, where in point of numbers the chances were so much against her,—and added that if she did, her advisers would “think of it ere night,”—

“Not fight to-day!” cried Somerset:
“Thy words would tempt me to forget
That I have seen thee play a part
Which vouches for thy manly heart.
‘Think on’t ere night!’ Why, what care I?
’Tis now we’re call’d by Destiny!
Yes, Oxford, I do hope thy sword,
Ere this bright morn has pass’d away,
Shall proudly contradict thy word—
Yes, Oxford, we must fight to-day!”
This resolution having been confirmed by the sanction of the Queen; the Prince, her son, exclaims, in bitter remembrance of the field of Barnet, in which both the Nevils had perished—

“Is’t not time
To close the scene of woe and crime!
This hour shall close it! Ne’er again
Will I turn back from battle-plain
A beaten fugitive! Ere Even
With parting smile shall gild the west,
This sword shall triumph win, or rest—
Victory on earth, or—peace in heaven.”
Hereupon “the Duke of Somerset, like a pollitike warriour, trenched hys campe round about of such an altitude, and so strongly, that his enemyes by no means easily could make any entry; and further, perceiuyng that his part could neuer escape without battaile, determined there to see the ende of hys goode or yll chaunce; wherefore he marshalled his hoste after this maner: he and the lord Iohn of Somerset, his brother, led the forewarde; the middle warde was gouerned by the Prince, under the conduyte of the Lord of Saint Iohns and Lorde Wenlocke, whome King Edward had highly before preferred, and promoted to the degree of a baron.” [This fact the chronicler mentions in order, probably, to account for his subsequent conduct, and to justify the suspicion that he was not a hearty partisan in the queen’s cause.] “The rere-warde was put in the rule of the Earle of Deuonshire. When all these battayles were thus ordered and placed, the Queene and her sonne, Prince Edwarde, rode about the fielde encouraging their souldiors, promisyng to them,{204} if theye did shew themselves valiaunt against their enemyes, great rewardes and high promocions, innumerable gaine of the spoyle and bootye of their adversaryes, and, above all other, fame and renoune through the whole realme.”

“Give me earth’s triumphs,” Margaret cries,
“This nether world concludes my schemes!
Ne’er could I teach my soul to prize
The moping beadsman’s dreams.
‘Victory on Earth!’—Friends! to this hour
A whole life’s energies are due!
Whate’er of ardour, skill, or power,
Your noble breasts imbue,
Call to the conflict! loudly call,
This grasping hour demands them all
’Tis a vast moment! ’tis the goal
Toward which, through years of strife, the soul
With untied vigour bent its force—
And now we touch the limits of the course!”
“In the meantime,” says the chronicler, “King Edward, which the day before had come within a mile of Tewkesbury, put his brother, the Duke of Gloucester, in the forewarde, and himselfe in the middlewarde; the Lorde Marques and the Lorde Hastyngs led the rere garde. The Duke of Gloucester, which lacked no pollicy, valiauntly with his battayle assaulted the trenche of the Queene’s campe, whome the Duke of Somerset with no less courage defended. Then the Duke of Gloucester, for a very pollitik purpose, with all his men reculed backe, the which Somerset perceiuying, like a knight more couragious than circumspect, came out of his trenche with his whole battayle and followed the chase, not doubting but the Prince and the Lorde Wenlocke, with the middlewarde, had followed just at his backe. But whether the Lorde Wenlocke dissimulated the matter for King Edward’s sake, or whether his harte serued him not, still he stoode lookyng on. The Duke of Gloucester, takyng the advantage that he adventured for, turned again face to face to the Duke of Somerset’s battayle; which, nothyng lesse thinkyng on than of the returne, were within a small space shamefully discomfited. Somerset, seeyng hys unfortunate chaunce, returned to the middlewarde, where, seeyng the Lorde Wenlocke standyng still, and after having reuyled and called hym traytor, with hys axe strake the braynes out of his heade.

“The Duke of Gloucester entered the trench, and after him the King, where, after no long conflict, the Queene’s part went almost all to wrecke, for the most part were slaine. Some fled for succour in the thicke of the Parke, some into the Monastarye, some into other places. The Queene was founde in her chariot almost dead for sorow, the Prince was apprehended{205} and kept close by Sir Richard Croftes. The Duke of Somerset and the Lorde Prior of St. Johns were by force taken prisoners, and many other also. In the field and chase were slaine John, Lord Somerset, the Earle of Deuonshire,

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Sir John Delues, Sir Edward Hampden, Sir Robert Wychingham, Sir John Lewkenor, and three thousand other.” In this battle the last blood and strength of the House of Lancaster being spent, Edward was established

——“On England’s royal throne,
Repurchased by the blood of enemies.—
What valiant foemen, like to autumn’s corn,
Have we mow’d down, in tops of all their pride!
Three Dukes of Somerset, threefold renown’d
For hardy and undoubted champions:
Two Cliffords, as the father and the son,
And two Northumberlands; two braver men
Ne’er spurr’d their coursers to the trumpet’s sound.
With them the two brave bears, Warwick and Montague,
That in their chains fetter’d the Kingly Lion,
And made the forest tremble when they roar’d.
Thus have we swept suspicion from our seat.”——
The chronicle then proceeds with the sad detail as follows:—“After the field ended, King Edward made a proclamation that whosoever could bring Prince Edward to him alive or dead should have an annuitie of an hundred pound duryng his lyfe, and the Prince’s lyfe to be saved. Sir Richard Croftes, a wise and a valiaunt knight, nothing mistrustyng the king’s former promise, brought forth his prisoner, Prince Edward, beyng a goodly feminine and a well-featured young gentleman, whome when King Edward had well advised, he demanded of him howe he durst so presumptuouslye enter into his{206} realme with banner displayed. The Prince beyng bold of stomack, and of a good courage, answered, saying, ‘To recover my father’s kingdome and enheritage, from his father and grandfather to him, and from him, after him, to me lineally descended.’ At these wordes King Edward sayde nothing, but with his hand thrust him from him, or as some say stroke him with his gauntlet, whom incontinent they yᵗstoode aboute, which were George, Duke of Clarence, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Thomas, Marques Dorset, and William, Lord Hastyngs, sodainly stroke and cruelly murthered him. The bitternesse of which murder some of the doers after in their latter dayes tasted and assayed by the very rod of justice and punishment of God”—each of them, the king excepted, having met with a tragical and untimely death. “His bodye was homelye interred with the other simple corses in the churche of the Monastarye of Blacke Monkes, in Tewkesbury.”

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This interview between the king and the prince is powerfully drawn by Shakspeare,—in scene fifth of the third Part of “King Henry the Sixth”—who takes the old chronicles of his day as his authority for the death of Prince Edward, who received the daggers of the King, Gloucester, and Clarence, in quick succession:—

K. Edw. Take that, the likeness of this railer here. (Stabs him.)
Glo. Sprawl’st thou? take that to end thy agony.
Clar. And there’s for twitting me with perjury. (Each stabs him in turn.)
It is supposed that, when the queen was found and introduced into the presence of the conqueror, she was not aware of the extent of her misery. She believed that her son at least had escaped the carnage of the field, and believing this, all her agony was assuaged. But when the dreadful truth flashed upon her, and she beheld in the looks of those around her a ferocious exultation which could not be mistaken,—

“She look’d upon their weapons red,
She guess’d what blood their points had shed—
‘Where is my child? Mine only one!
Oh God—oh God! Is this my son?
Monsters! a mother’s curse lie strong
And heavy on ye! May the tongue—
The ceaseless tongue—which well I ween
Lives in the murderer’s murky breast—
With goading whispers, fell and keen,
Make havoc of your rest!
For ever in your midnight dream,
May the wan smile, which yet delays
On yon cold lips, appal your gaze{207}—
And may a madden’d mother’s scream
Ring in your ears till ye awake,
And every limb with horror’s palsy shake!’—
An impulse like the grasp of death
Now hardly held her gasping breath.
Dire was the conflict. Mute she stood,
Striving—and fain to utter more,
Her writhing features struggled sore
With black convulsion, till the blood
Burst from her lips, a ghastly flood.
Then nature gave the combat o’er,
And the heart-stricken queen fell senseless on the floor!”
Queen Margaret, adds the chronicle, “lyke a prisoner, was brought to London, where shee remayned till King Reyner, her father, raunsomed her with money, which summe, as the French writers affirme, he borrowed of King Lewis XI.; and because he was not of power nor abilitye to repaye so great a dutye, he sold to the French Kinge and hys heyres the kingdomes of Naples and both the Sicilies, with the countie of Prouynce, which is the very tytle that King Charles the Seaventh made when he conquered the realme of Naples. After that raunsome payde, shee was conveyed into Fraunce with small honor, which with so great triumph and honorable enterteynment was with pompe above all pride receyved into this realme xxvii. yeres before. And where in the begynning of her tyme she lyved lyke a queene; in the middle shee ruled like an empresse; towards the ende she was vexed with trouble, never quyet nor in peace. And in her very extreme age she passed her dayes in Fraunce, more like death than lyfe, languishing and mourning in continuall sorow, not so much for herselfe and her husbande, whose ages were almost consumed and worne, but for the losse of Prince Edwarde, her sonne, whome shee and her husbande thought to have bothe overlyver of their progeny, and also of their kingdome, to whome in thys lyfe nothing could be more displeasant or grievous.”

Of the ancient lords of the manor of Tewkesbury we have given a brief account in tracing the descent of that honor; but in a future portion of the work, the “doings and sufferings” of the De Clares and the Le Despensers, with various biographical anecdotes, will be introduced. In the meantime, we take leave of this venerable Abbey—every feature of which is eloquent of the past—with a legend which, as connected with its founder, Robert Fitz-Hamon, has often been told and listened to in these very Cloisters, and with that implicit belief which nothing but the revival of miracles and monachism can restore! These apartments are now laid open to the blast; and over the grave of the beadsman “the stones of the sanctuary” are piled in mouldering heaps. Through the fretted shrines and casements, the March{208} winds are now whistling a cold and shrill matin. The labourer has paused from his toil to discuss the merits of the New Parliament, the Gloucester Railway, and the Corn Laws! Shade of Fitz-Hamon, beholdest thou this!

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Legend.—“On the day preceding his death in the New Forest, King Rufus had a dream, and behold he felt as if grievously wounded by a javelin, and that forthwith there gushed a stream of blood which reached even to the sky, cast its shadows over the sun, and diminished the very light of day. Starting from his sleep, the king invoked the name of the Blessed Virgin, and calling for lights, ordered his chamberlains to stay by him, and so passed the remainder of the night wide awake, being sorely troubled with the vision.

“But in the morning very early, a monk from beyond seas, who was then in attendance upon the king for certain affairs of the church, beckoning to Robert Fitz-Hamon, a man of great weight and influence about the king, said unto him that his rest had been troubled with a frightful dream, which he thus related:—‘As I lay on my pallet in sound sleep, methought I saw the king enter a certain church with a proud step and haughty demeanour, as is his wont, and shewing his contempt for those who were there gathered{209} around him. Anon, seizing the crucifix with his teeth, he gnawed off its arms (brachia illius corrosit), and left it hardly a limb to stand upon. Now, when the crucifix had quietly borne with this horrible treatment for some time, at length, provoked beyond sufferance, and drawing back its right foot into a kicking attitude, it spurned the king’s person with such terrific strength that he fell prostrate on the pavement; and there, issuing from his mouth as he lay insensible, I beheld a flame widely diffused around me, and a cloud of smoke, like chaos, rising towards the sky.”

When the monk had thus related the terrific vision, Fitz-Hamon rehearsed it to the king, who, bursting into a loud incredulous fit of laughter, exclaimed “A monk, a monk! who for his own lucre hath dreamt a monkish dream. Give the friar a hundred shillings, that he may see that he has dreamt to some purpose.” But these signs and wonders were not yet over. The king himself had another dream within a few hours of his death. There appeared unto him a Child of surpassing beauty standing at a certain altar, whereupon the king, unable to overcome a strong propensity which he felt to taste the infant’s flesh, went up to it, and took a mouthful of the flesh, which was so remarkably sweet that he would have greedily devoured the whole body. But the Child putting on a stern and forbidding aspect, said to him in a threatening tone, “Forbear! thou hast already had too much!” Hereupon the king suddenly wakening, consulted a certain bishop as to the interpretation of this strange vision. The bishop suspecting that some fearful retribution was at hand, said to him, “Forbear, O king, to persecute the Church as hitherto; for in this dream behold the warning voice and paternal admonition of God, and go not forth to hunt this day as thou hast purposed.”

But the king, despising this ghostly counsel, went forth into the forest to commence his sport; when lo, as a mighty stag passed before him, he called out to the attendant, Walter Tyrrell, who stood near, “Draw, devil, draw!” Tyrrell instantly drew and let fly his arrow, but instead of hitting the stag, it glanced against a tree and struck the king in the heart. Thus was there a fearful confirmation of all the omens which had haunted the king’s pavilion the preceding night.

But without the following particulars, gravely related by the same author—Matthew of Saint Albans—the picture would be incomplete.

All the king’s followers having fled in alarm at this terrible accident, the dead body was removed from the spot where it lay by a char-burner, but so unaccountably heavy was the load, that the car broke down under it, and it was again left unattended in the depths of the forest. Here, however, a certain count having lost his companions in the chase, beheld to his utter amazement a huge, black, bristly stag carrying off the king’s body; whereupon{210} he halted and adjured the stag by the Holy Trinity to declare what this fearful sight meant. “I am carrying your king,” said the stag, “even the tyrant William Rufus, the enemy of the Church, to the bar of judgment!”

For the sake of those who are curious in such matters we add the original Latin,[190] by which it appears the “stag was no other than the ‘foul Fiend!’”

Authorities:—Malmesbury.—Dugdale, Monasticon.—Dyde, History and Antiquities of Tewkesbury.—Atkyns.—Mitred Abbeys.—Willis’s Cathedrals.—Saxon History.—Robert of Gloster.—History of the Clares.—Notes on Magna Charta.—Leland.—Dugdale, Baronage.—Tyrrel.—Wars of York and Lancaster.—MS. Hist. of the Abbey.—Dallaway.—Analogies of Cathedral Churches.—History of Gloucester.—Margaret of Anjou.—Drayton.—Domesday Survey.—Matth. Par.—Ord. Vital.—Fabyan.—Speed.—Sepulch. Antiquit.—Hist. Civil War.—Hist. Church,.—&c. &c. &c.

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KENILWORTH CASTLE.

{211}

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KENILWORTH CASTLE.
“Gaze on yon Arch, and mark the while,
Of all that feudal glory shared,
How war has reft what time had spared.
Oh, for a bard of olden time
To yield thee back thy life in rhyme—
To sing afresh thy glorious prime,
When wassail rout convulsed thy tower,
When banquet shook thy festive halls.
But all is still! thy crumbling walls
No more shall echo back the tread
Of prancing steeds: no more shall War
Roll at thy feet his iron car;
Nor trumpets’ clang, nor clashing swords,
Nor prisoner’s sigh, nor love’s last words,
Whisper amid thy voiceless dead.”—Leatham.
ONE of the most graphic pictures of “Old Kenilworth” which we have met with, occurs in the following passage:—“Where wilde brookes meeting together make a broad poole among the parkes, and so soone as they are kept in with bankes, runne in a chanell, is seated Kenelworth—in times past commonly called Kenelworde, but corruptly Killingworth—and of it taketh name a most ample, beautifull, and strong Castle, encompassed all about with parkes, which neither Kenulph, nor Kenelm, ne yet Kineglise built (as some doe dreame) but Geffrey Clinton, chamberlaine unto Kinge Henrie the First and his sonne with him, as may be shewed by good evidences; when he had founded there before a church for chanons regular. But Henrie, his nephew{212} in the second degree, having no issue, sold it unto King Henrie the Third, who gave it in franke marriage to Simon Montfort, Earl of Leicester, together with his sister Aleonor. And soone after, when enmity was kindled between the Kinge and Earl Simon, and hee slaine in the bloody wars which he had raised vpon faire pretexts against his Soveraigne, it endured six months’ siege, and in the end was surrendered vp to the Kinge aforesaid, who annexed this castle as an inheritance to Edmund his sonne, Earl of Lancaster; at which time there went out and was proclaimed from hence an edict, which our lawyers use to call ‘Dictum de Kenilworth,’ whereby it was enacted that ‘whosoever had tooke arms against the King, should pay every one of them five yeeres rent of their lands.’ A severe yet a good and wholesome course, without effusion of blood, against rebellious subiects, who, compassing the destruction of the state, put all their hopes upon nothing else but dissentions. But this Castle, through the bountifull munificence of Queene Elizabeth, was given and granted to Robert Dudleie, Earle of Leicester, who to repaire

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and adourn it spared for no cost; insomuch, as if a man consider either the gallant building or the large parkes, it would seem as it were to be ranged in a third place amongst the Castles in England.”

Such is the concise description and historical epitome of this celebrated Castle, as recorded by the author of the “Britannia.” But many changes have occurred since then; its walls have been dismantled, its apartments thrown open to the weather, siege and storm have alternately expended their fury on{213} its iron strength, and mutilated what they could not overthrow; for it is too firmly seated, too massive in its structure and materials, to feel the wasting hand of time, and happily too well cemented to be turned into a profitable quarry. The northern Ariosto, however, has done more to preserve it from further dilapidation than its own lords—he has invested its courts and halls with a charm which nothing can dissolve; and we have good reason to believe that the scenes which Scott has now rendered classic, the taste and patriotism of Clarendon will transmit unimpaired to posterity.

“Dim peering through the vale of night,
Yon murky forms bring back a crowd
Of images that seek the light,
That leap from out the misty shroud
Of ages—picturing as they glide
Athwart the tablet of my thought,
What did of good or ill betide
These walls, and all the deeds here wrought.”—Leatham.
Previous to the Conquest, observes the best authority on this subject, Kenilworth was a member of the neighbouring parish of Stoneleigh, being an ancient demesne of the Crown, and had within the precincts thereof a Castle, situate upon the banks of Avon, in the woods opposite to Stoneleigh Abbey, which castle stood upon a place called Holm Hill, but was demolished in those turbulent “times of warre betweene King Edward and Canutus the Dane.” At the time of the Norman Survey, Kenilworth was divided into two parts, one of which was styled Optone, and was held of the king by Albertus Clericus in “pure almes.” The other portion was possessed by Richard the Forester. In the reign of Henry the First, the manor was bestowed by the king upon Geoffrey de Clinton, who founded here a potent castle and a monastery. But although a fortified residence and a religious foundation were usually, in the early ages, the harbingers of wealth and consequence to the neighbouring town, Kenilworth does not appear to have greatly profited by its position, either in commerce or population. Henry the Third bestowed upon it the privileges of a weekly market on the Tuesday, and an annual fair to last three days; but this, it would appear, had fallen into disuse, for Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, obtained from Queen Elizabeth the grant of a weekly market to be held on Wednesday, and a yearly fair on Midsummerday. Prosperity, however, never seems to have taken a hearty liking to the spot, and, notwithstanding the advantages of royal patronage and local position, became at length estranged from it, and fixed her seat in another though less favoured part of the county. The Castle, however, has in a great measure compensated for the lack of commerce; and by the great number of visitors who now resort to it at all seasons, from all parts of the kingdom, the{214} inhabitants are partly indemnified for other privations. The romance of Kenilworth, it is probable, has brought, within the last fifteen years, more pilgrims to this town and neighbourhood—pilgrims of the highest rank—than ever resorted to its ancient shrine of the Virgin; more knights and dames than ever figured in its tilts and tournaments.

Of this lordly palace, where princes feasted and heroes fought—now in the bloody earnest of storm and siege, and now in the games of chivalry, and where beauty dealt the prize which valour won—“all,” says Sir Walter Scott, “all is desolate. The bed of the lake is but a rushy swamp, and the massive ruins of the Castle only show what their splendour once was; and impress on the musing visitor the transitory value of human possessions, and the happiness of those who enjoy a humble lot in virtuous contentment.” But from the picture of Kenilworth as it is, we return to those passages of ancient history which point out to us what it was.

The founder of the Castle, Geoffroi de Clinton, was treasurer and chamberlain to King Henry the First, but “to whom related” or from whom descended is a question on which genealogists have come to no satisfactory conclusion. By one he is said to have been a grandson of William de Tankerville, who held a distinguished office under the Duke of Normandy; by another he is mentioned as a soldier of fortune, who had no patrimony but his sword, with which he ultimately cut his way to the highest official dignities. But whatever his descent may have been, he was, beyond doubt, a person in whom the grand recommendations of valour and wisdom were eminently united. In addition to the offices of trust above-mentioned, he was appointed by the king to the chief-justiceship of England; and thus invested with all that honourable distinction to which a subject could aspire, he readily obtained those territorial possessions which gave him a high standing among the barons of his day, and have transmitted his name to the present time in a spot of ground near the Castle, with the distinctive appellation of ‘Clinton’s Green.’ The original keep, or donjon, appears to have been the work of this enterprising Norman, and is still the most imposing feature in the Castle. It is distinguished from the Norman donjon towers of that period by having had no prisons underground—such at least is the conclusion; for in several experiments which have been expressly made for ascertaining the truth of this exception, the ground on which it stands has been found solid, and with no appearance of either arches or excavations, although the examination has been carried to a depth of fifteen feet and upwards. It is probable, however, that the dungeons were either in the angular towers above, or in a part near the foundation, which remains to be discovered; for it is not at all probable that an appendage so indispensable to a feudal residence would have{215} been neglected in this solitary instance. This massive and gigantic fabric, which was constructed to resist the slow waste of centuries, with scarcely any diminution of strength or bulk, has suffered greatly by the hand of violence. The north side appears to have been demolished for the sake of its materials, or to render it incapable of being again employed as a fortress. The external features have apparently undergone various alterations: the windows, which originally consisted of the roundheaded Norman arch, have been transformed in this particular to the fashion of a later day—a square head, to correspond with the other buildings erected by Leicester, so that in style and appearance the Castle might present one harmonious whole. The small towers which crowned the four angles in the battlements were originally much higher; but, in subserviency to the same plan, their height was reduced to Leicester’s new standard, and thus the more ancient character of the building was impaired rather than improved. The staircases in the south-west and north-east angles, the ancient well, some remains of colour in fresco, in imitation of niches, with trefoil heads, are among the few objects which arrest the eye and invite inspection.

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But of De Clinton, with whose name this part of the Castle is so particularly associated, little is known beyond the fact already mentioned, of his having founded this Castle, and a Monastery of canons-regular of the Saint Augustin order, which he amply endowed with lands, tithes, and other revenues.—“And more,” says Dugdale, “I cannot say of him than that, in the thirtieth of Henrie the First, the king, keeping his Christmas at Wodstoke, a false accusation of treason was there brought against him, and that he left issue Geffrey his son and heir, who held that office of chamberlain to the king, as his father had done. He married Agnes, daughter of Roger, Earl of Warwick, and with her obtained various grants and concessions of importance. He gave, at the burial of his father, the lordship of Neuton to the monks of Kenilworth, with eleven other possessions of great value and consideration. Henry de Clinton his son, and heir of Kenilworth, added considerably to these bequests; and in consideration of his piety and munificence to the church, the monks allowed him every day during his life two manchets—such as two of those canons had—with four gallons of their best beer, according to wine measure;{216} all of which he was to have, whether he were at Kenilworth or not, from the time he should assume the habit of religion, except on such days as he should have entertainment in that monastery.” These worthy brethren, like the fraternity of Melrose, appear to have been no eschewers of “faire cookerye and good drinke.”

“The jolly monks they made good kail
On Fridays when they fasted,
Nor wanted they good beef and ale
As long as their neighbours’ lasted.”
“But,” says Dugdale (Baron. art. Clinton), “this Henry, ‘who had sold his heritage for a sop,’ quitted to King John all his right in Kenilworth Castle, and in the woods and pools, with whatsoever else appertained thereto; excepting what he did possess at the death of Henry the Second. By his wife, Amicia de Bidun, he left issue Henry, his son and heir, who having been in arms with the rebellious barons, returned to obedience 2ᵈᵒ Henry the Third, assuring the king of his future fidelity; whereupon he had livery of those lands in Kenilworth which descended to him by the death of his father; but dying without issue, his estates passed into the families of his three sisters, Amicabile, Isabel, and Agnes, who severally married Lucas de Columbers, Ralph Fitz-John, and Warine de Bragenham.

From this epoch in the history of Kenilworth, to the time when it was given by King Henry to Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, as a marriage portion with his daughter, the Castle continued to be crown property. This alliance took place in 1253, and by various documents extant it appears that considerable sums were expended at intervals in repairs and embellishments of the royal fortress. Simon de Montfort, however, by joining the barons, as already mentioned in the history of Rochester Castle, made shipwreck of his fortune. At the battle of Evesham—a day on which, as the Monk of Gloucester observes, “the very heaven appeared in its most appalling hues”—Montfort, with his son Henry and many individuals of high rank, died on the field. “At the houre of his death,” says another chronicle, “it thundered and lightened, and so great a darkness spread the sky that men were sore amazed.” “A cruell and bloodye battayle it was,” says the annalist; “after which, in despite of the erle, some malicious persons cut off his head, mutilating him otherwise with a barbaritie too disgusting to mention. His feet also, and handes, were cut off from the body and sent to sundrie places, and the truncke of hys bodye was buryed within the church of Euisham.” But all this met afterwards with a singular retribution of vengeance at Viterbo, in Italy, as recorded by Rymer, Muratori, and others.

The king had hitherto been a prisoner in the camp of the barons, captured{217} as already noticed at the battle of Lewis. But having now recovered his liberty, and made various state arrangements, he assembled his victorious troops in the month of June following; and with his son, Prince Edward, at their head, sat down before the walls of Kenilworth Castle, which still held out under the surviving son of De Montfort. Sir Henry Hastings, to whom Montfort, during his absence in France—where he was endeavouring to awaken a strong interest on behalf of the barons—had intrusted the command, so ably conducted the defence, that six months had elapsed before any impression could be made upon the garrison by the king’s forces.

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Famine, however, accomplished what mere force could not effect. On the 20th of December, 1265, after the Dictum[191] had been issued, a special stipulation was entered into, that “Sir Henry Hastynges and all those that were with him should have life and limme, horse and harnesse, with all things within the castelle to them belongyng, and a certeine of leysure to cary away the same.” The Castle was then delivered up to the king. The principal cause which had rendered this monarch so unpopular among his natural subjects, the old and high-spirited nobility, has been already noticed in the account of Rochester. His patronage of foreigners, and predilection for exotic customs, had prejudiced the native chivalry against him; and hence the series of battles and sieges, which only ended with the death of Simon de Montfort,[192] and the surrender of Kenilworth Castle. At this siege stone balls of great size were employed by the besieged; some of them, which have been since dug up, measure sixteen inches in diameter, and ‘weigh nearly two hundred pounds.’ “But I doe{218} not thinke,” says an old commentator, “that the gunnes of those dayes were such gunnes as we nowe use, but rather some pot gunne, or some such other invention.” The warlike engines then in use, however—the ‘catapultæ’ or ‘mangonels’—were sufficiently powerful to throw stones much heavier than those found at Kenilworth, as in a subsequent portion of this work we shall have occasion to show. It was whilst prosecuting this siege that the king gave his niece in marriage to the Duke of Brunswick; when the queen and her ladies, who had travelled from Windsor for that purpose, graced the ceremony with their presence.

Having thus recovered possession of the fortress, King Henry bestowed it upon his younger son Edmund, “with free chase and free warren, and right to hold in Kenilworth the weekly market and annual fair,” already mentioned; and, two years afterwards, created him Earl of Lancaster.

1279. In this year the Castle of Kenilworth became the scene of one of those brilliant displays which commenced and vanished with the days of chivalry, but which still sparkle in the pages of the old chronicles, and enliven the tedium of more grave details. Edward I., on coming to the throne, greatly encouraged those martial exercises and amusements in which he himself so much delighted and excelled. It was under his auspices that, in imitation of the British Arthur, this fête of baronial splendour was got up; and at the head of it was Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, who was imbued with the true spirit of his age, and delighted in those military spectacles which brought beauty and chivalry together.[193] On this occasion, the round-table was introduced at Kenilworth, by means of which the guests were placed, for the time at least, on a footing of equality.[194] The company consisted of five score knights, and an equal number of ladies. Among the former were many French and other foreign knights of distinction, who, in honour of their ladye-loves, had come to break a lance with England’s chivalry. The halls of the Castle were thrown{219} open to the daily banquet; the tilt-yard was thronged with rival knights, where the fairest dame, presiding at the ring, rewarded the successful competitors for every successive display of martial strength and agility. In the evening, music and dancing filled up the interval till supper; after which the ladies retired to their ‘bower,’ and the wassail bowl circling for a time at the barons’ board, closed the brilliant exhibitions of the day. Of the dress of these court dames it is mentioned, as a proof of extreme luxury in that age, that they all appeared in “rich silken mantles.” Of this great military festival, Hardyng has drawn the following picture, which gives us a still more magnificent idea of Earl Roger’s splendour. The assembly, according to his account, was nearly tenfold that mentioned by other chroniclers:—

“And in the yere a thousand was full then,
Two hundred, also sixty and nineteen,
When Sir Roger Mortimer so began
At Kilengworth, the Round-table as was sene,
Of a thousand knyghts for discipline,
Of young menne, after he could devyse
Of turnementes and justes to exercise.
A thousand ladyes, excellyng in beautye,
He had also there in tentes high above
The justes, that thei might well and clerely see
Who justed beste there for their ladye-love,
For whose beautie it should the knightes move
In armes so eche other to revie [rival]
To get a fame in play of chivalrye.”—Hardyng Chron.
In illustration of this subject, it may be proper to introduce a passage from Strutt’s View of Manners and Customs, in which he justly remarks, “That all these warlike games—such as those of the round-table, and tilts, and tournaments—are by historians too often confounded together. They were, nevertheless, different games, as appears from the authority of Matthew Paris, who writes thus—Non in hastiludio illo quod vulgariter torneamentum dicitur, sed potius in illo ludo militari, qui mensa rotunda dicitur—‘Not in the tilts which we commonly call tournaments, but rather in that military game called the round-table.’ The first was the tilting, or running at each other with lances; the second, probably, was the same with that ancient sport called barriers, from the old French barres or jeu de barres, a martial game of men armed, and fighting together with short swords within certain limits or lists, whereby they were severed from the spectators; and this fighting without lances distinguished the barriers, or round-table knights, from the other.” (Vide also Warner’s Illustrations, critical and historical, vol. i. p. 255.) This splendid exhibition at Kenilworth was succeeded by the revival of the round-table at Windsor; and “so great was the concourse that flocked{220} from all the countries of Europe—and particularly from France—to reap the laurels of chivalry in the court of Edward, that Philip de Valois, the French monarch, either stimulated by envy, or fearful that his own palace would be deserted by the flower of his nobility, instituted a round-table in his kingdom also. “The tournaments of this magnificent reign,” observes Warton, “were constantly crowded with ladies of the first distinction, who sometimes attended them on horseback, armed with daggers, and dressed in a succinct soldier-like habit or uniform, made expressly for the purpose.” “But this practice,” says Warren, on the testimony of Knyghton, “was at length deemed scandalous,” or at least very unfeminine.

The Hall, in which were held so many splendid reunions and banquets, is still magnificent in decay. Its proportions are ninety feet in length, forty-five

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in breadth, and the same in height—proportions which were generally observed by the ancient builders in all edifices where harmony of parts and grandeur of effect were to be combined. In the windows, the richness of the mouldings and tracery still remains as a proof of what they must have been when, on the decoration of this Castle, all that art could accomplish or wealth command was lavishly bestowed. The undercroft, or hall, as described in{221} the survey, is “carried upon pillars and architecture of freestone, carved and wrought as the like are not within this kingdom.” It is of the same dimensions as the Baron’s Hall above, and was intended for the domestics and those numerous guests and retainers who were not entitled to a place at the upper table.” On each side of the upper hall is a fire-place; near to the inner court is “an oriel, in plan comprehending five sides of an octagon, and a fire-place. On the side opposite is a recess with a single window and a small closet, described by the guide as ‘Queen Elizabeth’s dressing-room.’”

From the period just mentioned till that of Edward the Second, Kenilworth appears to have enjoyed uninterrupted tranquillity, if not sunshine. It was the frequent resort of that “brave but unlettered nobility,” among whom it was the monarch’s ambition to keep alive the martial ardour which his example had awakened. On the death of the first Edward, however, and the accession of his son, a crisis was approaching. The reign of the latter, his weak and impolitic government, his disregard of public opinion, his total abandonment of the kingly duties in favour of pleasure; his patronage of foreign adventurers, and his protection of servile flatterers, on whom he lavished wealth, and power, and honours, alienated the nobility, and hastened his own downfall and that of his favourites. But without minutely entering into this subject, we shall merely touch upon such facts, or incidents, as connect the Castle of Kenilworth with the history of that period.

On the attainder of Thomas Earl of Lancaster, in the fifteenth year of this reign, Kenilworth again reverted to the crown, and was held by the king until the eve of his ‘abdication,’ when the orders issued to Odo de Stoke, his castellan, for its defence, could not be carried into effect. The king had left the capital, and become a fugitive from his exasperated vassals. Having lost his favourites—the Gavestons, and now losing both the Le Despensers by a horrid death—the unhappy monarch, thinking to secure his safety by flight, went on board a ship at Bristol, with the view of seeking refuge on the coast of Ireland. But contrary winds prevailing, he was driven on the coast of Wales; and being there made prisoner by Leicester, brother of him whom he had lately caused to be attainted, was conducted to Kenilworth Castle. “Alas,” says the chronicle, “with corrupt dispositions, even to everting of all bonds of either religious or civil duty, what will not money, diligence, and fair words accomplish! For by these means the desolate, sad, and unfortunate king fell into his cousin of Lancaster’s hands, and with him the yonger Lord Spenser, Earle of Glocester, Robert Baldock, Lord Chancellour, and Simon de Reding, there being no regard had to the detention of any other. The king was conveyed by the earle from the place of his surprise to{222} Monmouth and Ledbury, and so on to the Castle of Kenelworth, belonging to the Earle of Leicester, who was appointed to attend him; that is, to keepe him safe. The other three, Spenser, Baldock, and Reding, were strongly guarded to Hereford, there to be disposed of at the pleasure of their most capitall enemies;” as hereafter will appear. “The mournefull king being at Kenelworth Castle, there repaired thither the Bishops of Winchester, Hereford, and Lincolne, two earles, two abbots, foure barons, two justices, three knights for every county; and for London, and other principall places, chiefly for the Cinque ports, a certaine chosen number, selected by the Parliament, which then the queene and her sonne held at London. The Bishops of Winchester and Lincolne, as it was agreed upon, came thither before any of the rest, as well to give the king to vnderstand what kinde of embassage was approaching, as to prepare him by the best arguments they could, to satisfie the desire and expectation of their new moulded common-weale, which could onely be by resignation of his crown, that his sonne might reign in his stead.” When they were admitted to his presence—the Earl of Leicester his keeper, being at hand—they “together so wrought upon him, partly by shewing the necessity, partly by other reasons, drawn out of common places, thoroughly studied for that purpose, that—although not without many sobs and teares—he finally did not dissent, if his answere, which some doubt, were truly reported to Parliament.”

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The whole company sent by the Order of State—if “that might be called a body which then had no head there—from London, being placed by the Bishop of Hereford according to their degrees in the Presence Chamber of Kenilworth Castle, the king gowned in blacke came forth at last out of an inwarde roome—the Privy Chamber[195]—and presented himself to his vassals, where—as being privy to their errand—sorrow stroke such a chillnesse into him that he fell to the earth, lying stretched forth in a deadly swoon.” The Earl of Leicester and the Bishop of Worcester beholding this ran to him, and with much labour recovered the half-dead king, setting him on his feet. But “rueful{223} and heavy” as this sight was, we read not yet of any acts or effects of compassion expressed toward him—so settled was their hatred and aversion.

. . . . Miser atque infelix est etiam Rex,
Nec quenquam, mihi crede, facit diadema beatum.
The King being now come to himself—but to the sense of his misery—the Bishop of Hereford declared to him the cause of their present embassy; and running over the former points, concluded by saying, “That the king must resigne his diadem to his eldest sonne; or, after the refusall, suffer them to elect such a personne as themselves should judge to be most fit and able to defend the kingdome.” The delirious king having heard this speech, “brake forth into sighes and teares.” Yet, nevertheless, said that “it was greatly to his good pleasure and liking that—seeing it could none other be on his behalfe—his eldest son was so gracious in their sight; and therefore he gave them thanks for choosing him to be their kinge.” This being said, there was “forthwith a proceeding to the short ceremony of his resignation, which principally consisted in the surrender of his diadem and ensigns of majestic to the use of his sonne, the new kinge…. Edward being thus de-kinged, the embassie rode joyfully backe to London to the Parliament with the afore-named ensigns and dispatch of their employment.”—(So far Speed, Polyd. Virg., Thomas de la More, Walsingham.)

“Now, after he was deposed of his kinglie honor and title,” says Holinshed, “the said King Edward remained for a time at Killingworth Castle, in custodie of the Earle of Leicester. But within a while the Queen[196] was informed by the Bishop of Hereford—whose hatred towards him had no end—that the Earle of Leicester favoured her husbande too much, and more than stoode with the suretie of her sonne’s estate; whereupon he, the King, was appointed to the keeping of two other lords, Thomas Berkeley and John Maltravers, who receiving him of the Earle of Leicester on the third of April, conveyed him from Kenilworth to Berkeley Castle, there to remain a close prisoner.” With the episode of this tragical history every reader is acquainted. In the words of the prophetic bard of Gray, he seems to hear

The shrieks of death through Berkeley’s roofs that ring,
Shrieks of an agonizing king!