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

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.

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ILLUSTRATED BY UPWARDS OF TWO HUNDRED ENGRAVINGS.
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GEORGE VIRTUE:
LONDON AND NEW YORK.
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GLASGOW:
WILLIAM MACKENZIE, PRINTER, LONDON STREET.
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LIST OF THE ILLUSTRATIONS.

CASTLES & ABBEYS OF ENGLAND
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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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.

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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.
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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.

{133}

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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!
But taking leave of this melancholy incident in the history of Kenilworth Castle, we pass on in company with the circumstantial chroniclers of that{224} day. On the accession of Edward the Third, Henry, brother of the attainted lord, and who had captured the fugitive king in Wales, was restored to all his titles, honours, and estates, when Kenilworth became once more the seat of baronial splendour. To this nobleman succeeded Henry his son, whom the sovereign, as a farther mark of his approbation, created Earl of Derby and of Lincoln, and lastly Duke of Lancaster. But here the line was again

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cut short. Dying without male issue in the thirty-fifth year of that reign, his two daughters became heirs to his vast demesne. Maude, the elder of these, married William Duke of Bavaria; and Blanche, the younger, John of Gaunt, fourth son of Edward the Third, who shortly after, reviving the late title, created him Duke of Lancaster, “by girding him with a sword, and putting a cap of fur on his head, with a circlet of gold and pearles.” To him, in right of his wife, was assigned, in the partition of lands which followed, the Castle of Kenilworth as part of her dower; but to which, after the death of the said Maude, Duchess of Bavaria, the manor of Leicester and a great many others, as enumerated by Dugd. vol. ii. p. 114, were added.

Lancaster Buildings, so called from this celebrated personage, were among the important additions which he made to the Castle during the interval which elapsed between his accession to the demesne, and his death in 1399. The repairs, additions, and embellishments which he contributed to this ancient fortress, consisted of the range of buildings here named—forming the south side of the interior quadrangle; and the tower, with three stories of arches adjoining the hall on the north side. He flanked the outer walls with turrets, and accomplished many other works calculated to improve and strengthen the means of defence. Visitors will do well to climb over these arches, which the ruined state of the building and the rubbish that has fallen down render no difficult task, and from the top “they will enjoy a magnificent view of the country, with the house and church at Honiley in the background. One cannot stand here a moment without being struck with the idea of what a glorious prospect it must have been, with the valleys on either hand filled with the transparent waters of the lake, surrounded with a beautiful variety of pleasure-ground laid out in lawns and woods.”

Du marbre, de l’airain, qu’un vain luxe prodigue,
Des ornaments de l’art, l’œil bientôt se fatigue;
Mais les bois, mais les eaux, mais les ombrages frais,
Tout ce luxe innocent ne fatigue jamais.
{225}
In the following reign, when so much noble blood flowed on the scaffold, Lancaster was often exposed to the cold-hearted suspicions of his nephew, Richard the Second. In a former part of this work, where we have detailed at some length the circumstances attending the trial and execution of Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, the Duke of Lancaster appeared at his trial; and it was he, John of Gaunt, who was conspicuously active in bringing that unhappy nobleman to the block. He survived him, however, only two years; and after many splendid services to the state, and having borne the titles of “Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Brittany, King of Castille,” and been thrice married,[197] he died at his Castle of Leicester, or, according to others, at Ely House, in Holborn. Instances of his knightly prowess and prudent sayings are often detailed by the old chroniclers.

When leading the van in the battle against Henry, the bastard brother of Don Pedro in Spain, near the city of Pampeluna, pointing to the enemy in front—“There,” said he to Sir William Beauchamp, “there are your enemies; this day you shall seeme a good knight or die in the quarrel.” When John Wycliffe was called before the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, and other prelates and peers, of whom this Duke of Lancaster was one; he (in favour of Wycliffe) spoke some reproachful words against the bishop, which gave such discontent to the citizens that they rose in an uproar and resolved to have murdered him, and to have set fire to his house, called the Savoy—then the fairest structure in England—had ‘not the bishop qualified them.’ On the accession of his nephew, King Richard, observing that he was under improper influence, and fearing that public blame might attach to him as the principal adviser, he obtained leave to retire to his Castle of Hereford, which he intended to have made his chief residence, and had taken measures for repairing and fortifying it. But in this he was defeated by the King’s injustice, who took it from him, at which he was much troubled, and in consequence took up his residence in his Castle of Kenilworth.—Baron.

The Hall, already mentioned, was finished only two years before the death of John of Gaunt, who, after being deprived of his other castle by King Richard, as above stated, employed his active mind in a thorough restoration of that at Kenilworth; “and for which,” says Dugdale, “he obtained a warrant from Richard, directed to Robert de Skillington, master{226} mason, and supervisor of his buildings at Kenilworth, to impress twenty masons, carpenters, and others.”

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The Strong Tower, or that which in the “Romance of Kenilworth” is called Mervin’s Tower, is also ascribed to John of Gaunt. Henry de Bolingbroke, his son, Duke of Hereford, who was destined to play so conspicuous a rôle in the national history, succeeded to his illustrious father in 1399. On his return from abroad—where he had been some time in exile—to take possession of his heritage according to the royal patent, Richard, jealous of his power and growing popularity, applied to the parliamentary commissioners, and by their authority revoked his letters patent, and retained possession of the late Duke’s estates. So glaring an act of injustice could not be overlooked, either by Hereford or his friends. Connected with most of the principal nobility by blood, alliance, or private friendship, they were easily brought, by a sense of common interest, to take part in his resentment; the consequences of which were, the deposition of King Richard, the elevation of Henry de Bolingbroke to the throne, and the origin of those unnatural wars between the houses of York and Lancaster which deluged the country with blood.

During these fierce and sanguinary contests, the castle and demesnes of Kenilworth were alternately in the power and custody of the rival houses; but the lighter amusements of the age, the chivalric entertainments, jousts and tournaments, which had so frequently enlivened its courts, had been laid aside for the stern realities of domestic war. Days of battle and nights of mourning, or fearful preparation, drove mirth and festivity from the gate; while the continual tramp of steeds, the clang of arms, and the approach of{227} fresh conflicts, kept alive that melancholy interest and excitement, which for a time isolated this magnificent fortress and its garrison within the pale of its own fosse and ramparts.

“O England, years are fled since first
Wide o’er thy plains the war-cloud burst!
Long years are fled; yet following years
Still hear thy groans, still mark thy tears!
Yet where are they whose fatal shout
To havoc roused the maddening rout?
Where they who toss’d the fatal brand
Of discord through their hapless land?
They’re gone—and following in their place,
Another and another race.
But peace, peace, comes not! They repose
Which kindled first their country’s woes;
But, ere they slept, they left behind
A fatal present to mankind.”
The Swan Tower forms the north-west angle of the outer wall, at the meeting of the lake and canal, or wet ditch. Near this, and of an oblong shape, divided into parterres cross-fashioned, and with a circular space in the centre, was the ancient garden of the Castle, which communicated with the Maison de Plaisance already named, and this again with the strong tower adjoining. In shape it is octagonal, and is supposed to have derived its name from the swans which resorted hither to be fed by the keeper. Another of these towers, which forms the opposite or north-east angle of the outer wall, is considerably larger than the preceding, polygonal in shape, and contained several apartments, two of which have fire-places. It is known in the History of the Castle as “Lunn’s Tower,” and is seen to advantage in the general view of the Castle from the north-east. Of nearly the same size within, but not nearly so high, and in its architectural style and proportions deserving of particular attention, is the Water Tower. It appears to have been intended for military defence, and used in connexion with the other warlike outworks by which, on the land side, the castle wall was protected. The next prominent object in the same line, where the lake and ditch again meet on the south-east, is Mortimer’s Tower, already described. Communicating with this, by means of a long gallery, was the Flood Gate, which contained a “spacious and noble room,” from which the ladies might conveniently witness the martial pastimes of joust and tournament in the capacious tilt-yard adjoining, which extended from tower to tower. The buildings here enumerated form the chief features in the outer circuit, and succeed each other at various distances along the embattled wall on the north and east of the castle.{228}

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The Kitchens, three in number, occupied the whole space between the keep and the strong tower on the north-west. The buildings are in total dilapidation; but the important office to which they were applied—the restaurant of the castle—is clearly indicated by what remains. In this part of the castle—as if the walls had not yet lost the high temperature to which they had been raised in the times of baronial revelry—the ivy luxuriates in great redundancy; the lizard sports on the hearth, and the owl and bat roost together in the larder. Così trapassa, al’ trapassar’ d’ un giorno, la gloria della—cucina!

1114. Henry the Fifth, according to Stow, kept his “Lent in the Castle of Kenelworth, and caused an harbor there to be planted in the marish for his pleasure, among the thorns and bushes, where a foxe had harbored, which foxe he killed, being a thing thought to prognosticate that he should expell the craftie deceit of the French king; besides which he also there builded a most pleasaunt place, and caused it to bee named ‘le Plaisant Marais,’ or the Pleasaunt Marsh.” Here, also, during the same Lent, “whilst the King lay at Kenelworth, messingers came to him from the Dolphin of France, named Charles, with a present of Paris balles with him to play withall; but the Kinge wrote to him that he would shortlie send to him London balles, with the whiche he woulde breake down the roofes of houses.” Of this incident Shakspeare has taken advantage in the following scene in his play of Henry the Fifth:—

Ambass. The prince, our master,
Says that you savour too much of your youth,
And bids you be advised, there’s nought in France
That can be with a nimble gaillard won—
You cannot revel into dukedoms there;
He therefore sends you, meeter for your spirit,
This tun of treasure; and in lieu of this,
Desires you let the dukedoms that you claim
Hear no more of you. This the Dauphin speaks.
K. Hen. What treasure, uncle?{229}
Exe. Tennis-balls, my liege.
K. Hen. We are glad the Dauphin is so pleasant with us;
His present and your pains we thank you for.
When we have matched our rackets to these balls,
We will in France, by God’s grace, play a set
Shall strike his father’s crown into the hazard.
And tell the pleasant prince, this mock of his
Hath turn’d his balls to gun-stones; and his soul
Shall stand sore charged for the wasteful vengeance
That shall fly with them; for many a thousand widows
Shall this his mock, mock out of their dear husbands;
Mock mothers from their sons; mock castles down.—Act i. sc. 2.
On the accession of Henry the Seventh, the Castle was bestowed upon his son, as Duke of Cornwall, who, to the numerous repairs and embellishments made by his royal predecessors, contributed many others. He removed what was called the ‘Plaisance en Marais’—supposed to have been a small summer-house in the marshy flat beyond the walls—to the interior of the castle-yard, where its remains are still visible near the Swan Tower. Inheriting the munificence and taste of his father—“the onlie phœnix of hys tyme for fyne and curious masonrie,”[198] and whose “buildings were most goodlie and after the newest caste, all of pleasure,”[199] the Duke evinced in his repairs of Kenilworth[200] that love and patronage of the fine arts by which he was afterwards distinguished as Henry the Eighth. The building formerly known as “Henry the Eighth’s Lodgings,” was a capacious structure, situated between the Keep, or Cæsar’s Tower, on the right, and Leicester’s Buildings on the left; comprising an extensive suite of apartments, and forming the eastern side of the inner court. Through this building, close to the tower, was the archway leading into the castle-yard. From Henry the Eighth it descended to his son, Edward the Sixth; then to Mary, and lastly to Queen Elizabeth, who bestowed it upon her favourite, Robert Dudley, fifth son of the Duke of Northumberland, with all the royalties thereto belonging. This forms the most memorable incident in the history of Kenilworth.

This Sir Robert Dudley appears on almost every page of the history of Elizabeth’s reign. He had been included in the attainder of his family, but was restored in blood by Queen Mary, who appointed him, when a very young man, Master of the Ordnance at the siege of St. Quintin. Elizabeth{230} overwhelmed him with dignities; giving him the Garter while a commoner; creating him Baron of Denbigh and Earl of Leicester; and investing him with the order of St. Michael, which the King of France, by way of compliment, had requested her to confer on two of her subjects. He was likewise Master of the Horse, Steward of the Household, Chancellor of Oxford, Ranger of the Forests south of Trent, and Captain-general of the English forces in the Netherlands; and, as though the great ancient offices of his country were not sufficient for the gratification of his ambitious temper, a patent was preparing at the time of his death for one before unheard of—the Queen’s Lieutenant in the government of England and Ireland. He was distinguished by the elegance of his manners and the profuseness of his expenses, and affected a great degree of piety, and a strict purity of conduct. To these plausible appearances, though unpossessed of either wisdom or virtue, he owed the maintenance of his power to the last, against a strong party at court, and even against the Queen herself, who would gladly have pulled him down when those motives, which doubtless produced her first favours to him, had lost their force. The most material circumstances of his political history never appeared to public view; for he was the darkest character of his time, and delighted in deriving the success of his schemes from the operation of remote causes, and the agency of obscure instruments. It is highly probable that the Queen of Scots, and the Duke of Norfolk, were sacrificed to this crooked sort of policy; a conjecture which tends to wipe out somewhat, though, alas! but little, of the bloody stain which those enormities have left on Elizabeth’s memory.—Illust. of Brit. Hist.—Lodge.

He married, first, Anne, daughter and heiress to Sir John Robsart (for a particular account of whose murder, and the suspicions that fell on her husband, see Ashmole’s History of Berks): secondly, Douglas, daughter of William Lord Howard of Effingham, and widow of John Lord Sheffield, by whom he had a son, Sir Robert, who is frequently mentioned in the papers of the succeeding reign. But soon after, having conceived a violent passion for Lettice, daughter of Sir Francis Knollys, and widow of Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, whose late death had been attended by strong indications of foul play, he wedded her, and disowned his former marriage and its unfortunate offspring. Douglas submitted patiently, and lived for some time in the obscurity which suited her disgraced character; till Leicester having attempted to take her off by poison, she married Sir Edward Stafford of Grafton, in hopes of shielding herself against the Earl’s future malignity, by affording him in her own conduct a presumptive evidence in favour of his allegations. All the curious circumstances relating to this double bigamy may be found in Dugdale’s Warwickshire.—Ibid. Note, vol. i. p. 378.{231}

The repairs, alterations, and additions made to the Castle by this nobleman were on the most splendid scale, and finished at an expenditure of sixty thousand pounds: an immense sum at that time.

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The Stables, which formed so important an object in the establishment of every military baron, were in proportion to the number of his retinue and retainers. The lower story of the building, described as Leicester’s Stables, is of solid stone mason-work. The lofts, or upper story, consist of brick and timber pane-work, each compartment having a diagonal piece of timber in it, carved in rude imitation of the “Ragged Staff,” part of the armorial bearings of the family.

His principal works are thus enumerated:—“The first was the great Gate-house on the north side; for, after having filled up a part of the moat on that side, he made the principal entrance from the north, instead of the south, as it had been originally. He erected a large mass of square rooms at the north-east angle of the upper court, called Leicester’s Buildings, and built from the ground two handsome towers at the head of the pool. The one called Flood-gate, or Gallery Tower, stood at the end of the tilt-yard, and contained a spacious and noble room, from which the ladies might conveniently see the exercises of tilting and other sports. The other was called Mortimer’s Tower, either, as Dugdale thinks, after one that previously stood there, and in which this lord lodged at the round-table festival already mentioned, or because Sir John Mortimer was confined there when a prisoner in the reign of Henry the Sixth. By Leicester, also, the baronial chase, or park, was greatly enlarged. But although his works are of so recent a date, they present, nevertheless, the appearance of great antiquity, owing to the quality of the stone, which, being of a friable nature, is readily acted upon by the weather.”

Leicester’s Buildings, which comprise the lofty range from north-east to south-west, present, even in their present state of dilapidation, the skeleton of a majestic structure, and enable the stranger to form a fair estimate of the splendid accommodation provided for the queen and her court. To correct a popular error, it may be observed that “the great staircase flanked the centre apartment, and that the projecting erection at the south-west angle, usually called the staircase, was a suite of closets or dressing-rooms.” The{232} date of 1571 is cut in stone below the centre window of the east front. To give a general idea of the extent and splendour of this Castle at the time

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of the queen’s arrival, when it was in the meridian of its strength and beauty, we select the following particulars from the pen of the ‘Great Magician:’—“The outer wall enclosed a space of seven acres, a part of which was occupied by extensive stables, and by a pleasure garden with its trim arbours and parterres, and the rest forming the large base-court, or outer yard, of this noble castle. The lordly structure itself, which rose near the centre of this spacious enclosure, was composed of a huge pile of magnificent castellated buildings, apparently of different ages, surrounding an inner court; and bearing in the names attached to each portion of the magnificent mass, and in the armorial bearings which were there blazoned, the emblems of mighty chiefs who had long passed away, and whose history—could ambition have bent an ear to it—might have read a lesson to the haughty favourite who had acquired, and was now augmenting, this fair domain. A large and massive keep—[that already described as Cæsar’s Tower]—which formed the citadel of the castle, was of uncertain though great antiquity: it bore the name of Cæsar, probably from its resemblance to that in the Tower of London so called. The external wall of this royal castle was, on the south and west sides, adorned and defended by a lake, partly artificial, across which Leicester had constructed a stately bridge, that Elizabeth might enter the castle by a path hitherto untrodden, instead of the usual entrance to the northward, over which he had erected a Gate-house or barbican, which still exists, and is equal in extent, and superior in architecture, to the baronial castle of many a northern chief. Beyond the lake lay an extensive chase, full of red deer, fallow deer, roes, and every species of game, and abounding with lofty trees, from amongst which the extended front and massive towers of the castle were seen to rise in majesty and beauty.” Such was the royal Castle of Kenilworth, when, attended by thirty-one barons, the ladies of her court, and four{233} hundred inferior servants, Queen Elizabeth accepted the hospitality of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.

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The progresses of the maiden Queen were eminently calculated to inspire lofty ideas of royalty. They were performed with a pomp and circumstance which dazzled the popular eye, drew around her the great and gifted of the land, excited the envy and admiration of foreigners, and, by the splendid hospitality with which she was entertained, insured a free and even profuse circulation of money wherever she halted.

Harrison, after enumerating the Queen’s palaces, adds, “But what shall I need to take upon me to repeat all, and tell what houses the Queen’s Majesty hath? Sith all is hers; and when it pleaseth her in the summer season to recreate herself abroad, and view the estate of the country, and hear the complaints of her poor commons, injured by her unjust officers or their substitutes; every nobleman’s house is her palace, where she continueth during pleasure, and till she return again to some of her own, in which she remaineth so long as she pleaseth.”[201] But in no palace was her Majesty entertained in such gorgeous state as in that of Kenilworth.

It was the twilight of a summer night—the 9th of July, 1575—the sun having for some time set, and all were in anxious expectation of the Queen’s immediate approach. “The multitude had remained assembled for many hours, and their numbers were still rather on the increase. A profuse distri{234}bution of refreshments, together with roasted oxen, and barrels of ale set abroach in different places of the road, had kept the populace in perfect love and loyalty towards the Queen and her favourite, which might have somewhat abated had fasting been added to watching. They passed away the time, therefore, with the usual popular amusements of whooping, hallooing, shrieking, and playing rude tricks upon each other, forming the chorus of discordant sounds usual on such occasions. These prevailed all through the crowded roads and fields, and especially beyond the gate of the chase, where the greater number of the common sort were stationed; when all of a sudden, a single rocket was seen to shoot into the atmosphere, and, at the instant, far heard over flood and field, the great bell of the castle tolled.

“Immediately there was a pause of dead silence, succeeded by a deep hum of expectation, the united voice of many thousands, none of whom spoke above their breath; or, to use a singular expression, the whisper of an immense multitude.”

The annexed account is abridged from the “Somerz Progrest, 1575.”

His honour, Robert Dudley, having made her Majesty great cheer at dinner on her halt at Long Ichington, and pleasant pastime in hunting by the way after, it was eight o’clock in the evening ere her Highness came to Killingworth; where, in the park, about a slight shoot from the Brays and first gate of the castle, one of the ten sibyls, comely clad in a pall of white silk, pronounced a proper poezie in English rhyme and metre,—of effect how great gladness her good presence brought into every stead where it pleased her to come; and specially now into that place that had so often longed after the same; and ended with prophecy certain, of much and long prosperity, health, and felicity. This her Majesty benignly accepting, passed forth unto the next gate of the Brays, which for the length, largeness, and use—as well it may so serve—they call now the Tilt-yard, where a porter, tall of person, big of limb, and stern of countenance, wrapt also all in silk, with a club and keys of quantity according, had a rough speech full of passions, in metre, aptly made to the purpose: whereby, as her Highness was come within his ward, he burst out in a great pang of impatience to see such uncouth trudging to and fro, such riding in and out, with such din and noise of talk within the charge of his office; whereof he never saw the like, nor had any warning afore, nor yet could make to himself any cause of the matter. At last, upon better view and advisement, as he pressed to come nearer, confessing anon that he found himself pierced at the presence of a personage, so evidently expressing an heroical sovereignty over all the whole estates, and by degrees there beside, calmed his astonishment, proclaimed open gates and free passage to all, yielded up his club, his keys, his office, and{235} all, and on his knees humbly prayed pardon of his ignorance and impatience: which her Highness graciously granting, he caused his trumpeters that stood upon the wall of the gate there, to sound up a tune of welcome. Which,

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beside the noble noise, was so much the more pleasant to behold, because these trumpeters, being six in number, were every one an eight foot high, in due proportion of person beside, all in long garments of silk suitable, each with his silvery trumpet of five foot long, formed taper ways, and straight from the upper part unto the nether end, where the diameter was sixteen inches over, and yet so tempered by art, that being very easy to the blast, they cast forth no great noise, nor a more unpleasant sound for time and tune, than any other common trumpet, be it never so artificially formed. These harmonious blasters, from the foreside of the gate at her Highness’s entrance where they began, walking upon the walls unto the inner, had this music maintained from them very delectably; while her Highness, all along this tilt-yard, rode under the inner gate, next the base-court of the castle: where the Lady of the Lake, famous in King Arthur’s Book, with two nymphs waiting upon her arrayed all in silks, attended her Highness’s coming. From the midst of the pool, where, upon a moveable island, bright blazing with torches, she, floating to land, met her Majesty with a well-penned metre, and matter after this sort: viz. First of the antiquity of the castle, who had been owner of the same e’en till this day, most always in the hands of the Earls of Leicester; how she had kept this lake since King Arthur’s days; and now, understanding of her Highness’s coming hither, thought it both office and duty, in humble ways to discover her and her estate; offering up the same, her lake and power therein, with promise of{236} repair unto the court. It pleased her Highness to thank this lady, and to add withall, “We had thought indeed the lake had been ours, and do you call it yours now? Well, we will herein commune more with you hereafter.”

This pageant was closed up with a delectable harmony of hautboys, shalms, cornets, and such other loud music, that held on while her Majesty pleasantly so passed from thence toward the castle gate; whereunto from the base-court, over a dry valley cast into a good form, was there framed a fayre bridge of a twenty foot wide, and a seventy foot long, gravelled for treading, railed on either part with seven posts on a side, that stood twelve foot asunder, thickened between with well-proportioned pillars turned. Upon the first pair of posts were set two comely square wire cages, a three foot long, two foot wide; and high in them live bitterns, civileirs, shoovelarz, hearsheawz, godwitz, and such like dainty birds of the presents of Sylvanus, the God of Fowls. On the second pair, two great silver’d bowls, featly apted to the purpose, filled with apples, pears, cherries, filberds, walnuts, fresh upon their branches; and with oranges, pomegranates, lemons, and pippins, all as gifts of Pomona, the Goddess of Fruits. The third pair of posts, in two such silver’d bowls, had (all in ears green and old) wheat, barley, oats, beans, and pease, as the gifts of Ceres. The fourth post against it had a pair of great white silver livery pots for wine; and before them two glasses of good capacity filled full; the one with white wine, the other with claret, so fresh of colour, and of look so lovely, smiling to the eyes of many, that by my faith methought, by their leering, they could have found in their hearts, as the evening was hot, to have kissed them sweetly, and thought it no sin: and these for the potential presents of Bacchus, the God of Wine. The fifth pair had each a fair large tray, strewed with fresh grass; and in them, conger, burt, mullet, fresh herring, oysters, salmon, crevis, and such like, being gifts to her Highness, from Neptune, God of the Sea. On the sixth pair of posts were set two ragged staves of silver, as my Lord gives them in arms, beautifully glittering of armour, thereupon depending, bows, arrows, spears, shield head-pieces, gorget, corslets, swords, targets, and such like, for Mars’ gifts, the God of War. And the more aptly, methought, was it that those ragged staves supported these martial presents, as well because these staves by their tines seem naturally meet for the bearing of armour, as also that they chiefly in this place might take upon them principal protection of her Highness’s person, that so benignly pleased her to take harbour. On the seventh posts, the last and next to the castle, were there pight to faer bay branches of a four foot high, adorned on all sides with lutes, violins, shalms, cornets, flutes, recorders, and harps, as the presents of Phœbus, the God of Music, for rejoicing the mind, and also of physic, for health to the body.{237} Over the castle gate was there fastened a table, beautifully garnished above with her Highness’s arms, and featly with ivy wreathes bordered about, of a ten foot square; the ground black, whereupon in large white Roman capitals, fayr written, a poem mentioning these gods and their gifts, thus presented unto her Highness: which, because it remained unremoved, I took it out as followeth:—[Each word in reference to the Queen was written in gold.]—

Ad Majestatem Regiam.
Jupiter huc certos cernens te tendere gressus
Cœlicolas Princeps actutum convocat omnes;
Obsequium præstare jubet tibi quemque benignum.
Unde suas Sylvanus aves, Pomonaque fructus,
Alma Ceres fruges, hilarantia vina Lyæus,
Neptunus pisces, tela et tutantia Mavors,
Suave melos Phœbus, solidamque longamque salutem.
Dii tibi, Regina, hæc (cum sis Dignissima) præbent;
Hoc tibi cum Domino, dedit se et werda Kenelmi.
This was read to her by a poet, “in a long ceruleous garment, with a bay garland on his head, and a skro in his hand. So passing into the inner court, her Majesty (that never rides but alone), thear set down from her palfrey,

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was conveied up to Chamber[202] [in which stood a splendid Chimney-piece], when after did follo a great peal of gunz, and lightning by fyrwork.”—Progrest.{238}

The festivities lasted seventeen days, and comprised nearly every pastime which the resources of the age could produce. The hart was hunted in the park; the dance was proclaimed in the gallery; and the tables were loaded from morn to midnight with sumptuous cheer. The park was peopled with mimic gods and goddesses, to surprise the regal visitant with complimentary dialogues and poetical representations. In the chase, a savage man, with satyrs, bear-baitings, fireworks, Italian tumblers, a country bride-ale, with runnings at the quintain and morrice-dancing; and that nothing might be wanting which those parts could afford, the Coventry men came and acted the ancient play, long since used in that city, called “Hock’s Tuesday,”[203] setting forth the destruction of the Danes in King Ethelred’s time; which pleased the Queen so much, that she gave them a brace of bucks, and five marks in money, to bear the charges of a feast. Likewise on the pool there was a Triton, riding on a mermaid, eighteen feet long; as also Arion, on a dolphin; and rare music. The costs and expenses of these entertainments may be guessed at by the quantity of beer then drank, which amounted to three hundred and twenty hogsheads of the ordinary sort. More simple amusements were also studiously introduced: the rural neighbours were assembled to run at the quintain; and a marriage, in strict consistency with{239} country ceremonials, was celebrated under the observance of the Queen. Every hour had its peculiar sport. A famous Italian tumbler displayed feats of agility; morris-dancers went through their rude evolutions, by way of interlude; and thirteen bears were baited for the gratification of the courtiers! During the Queen’s stay, five gentlemen were honoured with knighthood, and “nyne persons were cured of the peynful and daungerous deseaz called the King’s Evil.”—Letter from a freend officer attendant in the coourt unto his freend a citizen and merchaunt of London, in this Somerz Progrest, 1575.

After this splendid reception given to her Majesty at Kenilworth, and which cost the noble host a thousand pounds per diem, Leicester continued to make the Castle his favourite residence. At his death he bequeathed it to his brother

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Ambrose Earl of Warwick for life, and after him to his own son Sir Robert Dudley, who wandered abroad till his father’s death, when he returned, and challenged his right to the family dignities; which being denied, he determined to quit for ever a country in which he had experienced so much injustice. To complete this long scene of iniquity, James I. seized the estates by virtue of Mary’s statute of fugitives; but, in order to avoid the odium which so tyrannical an act justly merited, obliged Sir Robert to consent to a nominal sale of them to Henry Prince of Wales, at one third of their value, and even that was never paid. Thus this great property was unjustly drawn back to the same source from which, with so little merit, it had been originally derived.—See Lodge’s Illustrations of British History.—Letters.

Survey by the King’s Commissioners. The following survey of Kenilworth Castle and the demesne thereto adjoining, which was made at this time, conveys a splendid idea of a baronial residence. (Our authority is Dugdale.) The Castle is described as situated on a rock; the circuit whereof within the walls containeth seven acres; and upon the walls are walks so spacious and fair, that two or three persons together may walk upon most places thereof. The Castle and the four gatehouses are all built of freestone, hewn and cut: the walls in many places are ten and fifteen feet in thickness, some more, some less, the least four feet. The Castle and the four gatehouses aforesaid are all{240} covered with lead, whereby it is subject to no other decay but the glass, through the extremity of the weather. The rooms of great state within the same are able to receive his Majesty, the Queen and Prince at the same time, and are built with as much uniformity and convenience as any houses of later times, and with such stately cellars (the Undercroft or Nether-hall already noticed) as are not within this kingdom, and also all other houses for offices answerable. About the said Castle, in chases and parks, there lieth twelve hundred pounds per annum; nine hundred whereof are grounds for pleasure, the rest is meadow and pleasure lands thereunto adjoining, tenants and freeholders. There joineth upon this ground a park-like ground called the King’s Wood, with fifteen several coppices lying together, containing seven hundred and eighty-nine acres within the same, which in the Earl of Leicester’s time were stored with red deer, since which the deer have strayed. But the ground is in no sort blemished, having great store of timber and other trees of much value upon the same. There runneth through the said grounds, by the walls of the Castle, a fair pool, containing one hundred and eleven acres, well stored with fish and wild fowl, which pool is at pleasure to be let round the Castle.

For timber and wood upon the ground to the value of twenty thousand pounds has been offered, having a convenient time allowed for their removal, but which, to his Majesty, are valued at eleven thousand seven hundred and twenty-two pounds; which proportion, in a like measure, is held in all the rest upon the other values to his Majesty. The circuit of the castle, manors, parks, and chase, lying round together, contains at least nineteen or twenty miles, in a pleasant country; the like both for strength, state, and pleasure, not being within the realm of England.

These lands have been surveyed by Commissioners from the King and the Lord Privy Seal, with directions from his Lordship to find all things under their true worth,[204] and upon the oaths of jurors, as well freeholders as customary tenants; which course being held by them, are, notwithstanding, surveyed and returned at thirty-eight thousand five hundred and fifty-four pounds fifteen shillings. Out of this sum there is to be deducted ten thousand pounds for Sir Robert Dudley’s ‘Contempt,’ and for the Lady Dudley’s jointure, which is without impeachment of waste, whereby she may sell all the woods, which by their survey amount to eleven thousand seven hundred and twenty-two pounds. His Majesty hath herein the mean profits of the castle and premises, through Sir Robert Dudley’s ‘Contempt,’ during life, or his Majesty’s pardon, the reversion in fee being in the Lord Privy Seal.—See References.{241}

It may be readily imagined that a castle with so many powerful recommendations was not lost sight of by the King and his advisers; and as Prince Henry was in want of a country palace befitting his name and station, that of Kenilworth was at once suggested to him as possessing every requisite for a princely residence. But independently of that splendour to which it had been raised by the late Earl of Leicester, the Castle was strongly associated with the lives and actions of former sovereigns, who had either made it their residence, or the scene of alternate conflict or festivity, from the days of Henry the First to those of Elizabeth. Enhanced by these recommendations, it was an object of ambition with the prince to obtain possession of it, and with this view, “affecting it as the noblest and most magnificent thing in the midland

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parts of this realm, he made overture by special agents” to Sir Robert Dudley, to purchase the castle and domain for a sum not exceeding fourteen thousand five hundred pounds. This was probably not more than one-fourth of its value; but as the offer came from a quarter where he could expect little favour, and seeing no prospect of his being ever restored to his paternal inheritance, the unfortunate heir was driven to the painful alternative of either disposing of his right for the sum offered, or of provoking by non-compliance the resentment of the Court. “Whereupon, in consideration of £14,500 being paid within the compass of a twelvemonth, certain deeds were sealed and fines levied, settling the inheritance thereof.{242}”

Having completed the transfer, the last hope was abandoned, and Dudley resolved never to return to a country in which he had received such manifest injustice. The conditions were, that three thousand pounds should be paid within a twelvemonth after the ratification of the transfer; but the money, which was to have been remitted to him at Florence in Italy, was lost by the failure of the merchant in whose hands it had been incautiously placed. Of the remaining sum of eleven thousand five hundred, nothing was ever paid; yet on the death of Henry the Prince of Wales, his brother Charles took possession of the castle and manor as heir to his brother, and obtained a grant out of the Exchequer for four thousand pounds to be paid to the Lady Alice, wife of Sir Robert Dudley, in lieu of her jointure, but which was not paid for many years, to the damage of the said lady. It remained thus in the possession of Prince Charles till his accession to the throne: after which, in the first year of his reign, he made a grant of it to Robert Carey, Earl of Monmouth, Lord Carey, his eldest son, and Thomas Carey, Esq., in whose hands it continued till—

“Teint du sang de son Roi, l’hypocrite Cromwell
Etablit, par degrés, son pouvoir criminel:
Usurpateur habile autant que politique,
De l’état qu’il transforme en une république,
Il renverse à son gré les anciens fondemens.”—Fastes Britann.
Having then fallen into the hands of Oliver, the castle and manor were divided amongst several of his officers, who, paying no respect either to the splendour of the edifice, the richness of the furniture, or the beauty of the landscape in which the castle was embosomed, regarded it only in a pecuniary point of view; and apprehensive, probably, that their tenure was very insecure, made haste to convert everything available into money. They stript the castle of its princely decorations, cut down the timber, drained the lake, and demolished the very walls for the sake of the materials. They threw open the park and chase, killed and dispersed the deer, and subdivided the whole into distinct farms, the rental of which they continued to receive and appropriate to their own use till the Restoration. These officers were Colonel Hawkesworth, Major Creed, Captain Phipps, Captain Ayres, Captain Smith, Captain Matthews, and four others, of the names of Hope, Palmer, Clark, and Coles. “These new lords of the manor,” says the old record of that day, “tyrannize and govern the parish as they list. They pull down and demolish the castle, cut down the King’s woods, destroy his parks and chase, and divide the lands into farms amongst themselves, and build houses for themselves to dwell in. Hawkesworth seats himself in the gate-house of the castle, and drains the famous pool, consisting of several hundred acres of{243} ground. Hope and Palmer enclose a fourth part of the commons, called the King’s woods, from the inhabitants, and take it as their own free estate. In 1657 these petty lords, attended by some of the inhabitants of the parish, took a survey, and gave in an estimate of all the lands within the liberties of the said manor, and in the following year, on the fourteenth of June, made their perambulation, and went their procession round the bounds of the parish. But, on the twenty-seventh of May, 1660, King Charles the Second came to enjoy his own dominions, and among others the lands and manor of Kenilworth. Hereupon these soldiers soon scampered away, when the daughters of Lord Carey, Earl of Monmouth, intercede and prevail to hold that said manor, as their father before them, by lease or leases from the Crown.” But this having nearly expired, he granted the reversion of the whole manor to Laurence, Lord Hyde, second son to Lord Chancellor Clarendon, whom he created Baron Kenilworth and Earl of Rochester. On the death of this nobleman in 1711, he was succeeded in his estates and titles by Henry his only son, who, at the death of Edward, the third Earl of Clarendon, in 1723, succeeded to that title also. But leaving no male issue at his decease in 1753, his grand-daughter, the Lady Charlotte Capel—daughter of William Capel, Earl of Essex, and the Lady Jane Hyde, his wife, then dead—became the representative of the Hyde family, and, in pursuance of the will of the late earl, took the name and arms of Hyde. This lady married the Honorable Thomas Villiers, second son of the Earl of Jersey, who in 1756 was created, by George the Second, Baron Hyde of Hindon, in the county of Wilts. He

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See Appendix.
had the further title of Earl of Clarendon conferred upon him by George the Third, and, at his death in 1786, was succeeded by his eldest son the late earl, whose family honours are inherited by his nephew, George William-Frederick{244} Villiers, Earl of Clarendon, Lord Hyde of Hindon, a Count of Prussia, and sometime envoy and minister plenipotentiary at the Court of Madrid. Such is a brief outline of the descent of Kenilworth Castle, and of the many changes which it has undergone during the lapse of seven centuries.

“Illustrious Ruin! hoary Kenilworth!
Thou hast outlived the customs of thy day;
And, in the imbecility of age,
Art now the spectacle of modern times.
Yet though thy halls are silent, though thy bowers
Re-echo back the traveller’s lonely tread,
Again imagination bids thee rise
In all thy dread magnificence and strength;
Thy draw-bridge, foss, and frowning battlements,
Portcullis, barbican, and donjon-tower.”
In addition to the particulars already stated regarding the life and character of that extraordinary individual, Robert, Earl of Leicester, we avail ourselves of the following facts, as related by various writers who were his contemporaries, and founded their judgment on close personal observation. During the life of his father, the Duke of Northumberland, the first appointment which he received at Court, and to which he was duly sworn, was that of one of the six gentlemen in ordinary to Edward the Sixth. “But,” says Hayward in his life of that monarch, “this Robert Dudley was his father’s true heir, both of his hate against persons of nobility, and cunning to dissemble the same; and afterwards for lust and cruelty a monster of the Court; and as he was apt to hate, so was he a true executioner of his hatred; such was his, rather by practice than by open dealing, as wanting rather courage than wit; and,” adds the same authority darkly, “after his entertainment into a place of so near service (that of the privy chamber), the king enjoyed his health not long.” (Sir John Hayward’s Life of Edward the Sixth.) But although included in the sentence of attainder pronounced against his family, he soon emerged from obscurity, and by the very hand which had signed his father’s execution, he was made master of the Queen’s horse at the battle of St. Quentin’s, an office which was also confirmed to him by Elizabeth, who—to the surprise of many, and the disgust of all who knew his real merits—loaded him with honours. He was installed a Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, made Constable of Windsor Castle for life, and finally recommended as a husband to Mary, Queen of Scots; promising, that on the Queen’s assenting thereto, she, Elizabeth, would then, by authority of Parliament, declare her to be her sister or daughter, and heir to the crown of England, in case she herself{245} should die without issue. Her real intentions, however, are matter of suspicion; and those who were best acquainted with the policy of the Maiden Queen, thought that all this show was merely to try if the proposal would be accepted, and then to marry him herself with less dishonour. (See Appendix.)

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To give further weight to this recommendation, she advanced him to the dignity of the peerage with the title of Baron Denbigh, and the very day following, being Michaelmas-day, she raised him to the Earldom of Leicester. But the French nation esteeming it dishonourable that such an alliance should be offered to Queen Mary, urged the Scotch authorities to decline it,—promising the nation many advantages in return, and suggesting that Elizabeth had no real intention of ever allowing the match to be carried into effect (Dugdale), a suspicion which appears to have been correctly founded. In compliment to Elizabeth, with whom Dudley was now the chief favourite, Charles the Ninth conferred upon him the Order of St. Michael. No Englishman had ever been admitted into this Order before, except Henry the Eighth, Edward the Sixth, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, which made the Queen “look upon it as a considerable honour.” The ambassador charged with this complimentary office was M. Rambouillet; and the Queen having selected from the noblemen of her Court the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Leicester—the one distinguished by his high birth, the other by her Majesty’s favour—as candidates for the honour, they were invested in the Royal Chapel at Whitehall with great solemnity. But the more that honours were showered upon Leicester, the more was he exposed to the contempt of the old nobility, who felt as if their own degradation at Court was in exact proportion to his advancement. This was not disguised by the Earl of Sussex, who piqued himself much in the antiquity of his house, and could ill brook to see the Queen’s favour lavished on a parvenu. “Who,” said he, “is this Earl of Leicester? He can name but two ancestors, and both were executed for treason!” This language—which was the more galling from its truth—divided the whole Court into factions; and whenever the two earls went abroad, they were attended with a large retinue of followers, armed with “swords and bucklers, with iron pikes pointing out at the bosses,” insomuch that the Queen was compelled to interpose her authority, when the breach was seemingly made up. But Sussex never overcame his aversion to Leicester; and even in his last illness addressed his{246} friends in these words: “I am now passing into another world, and must leave you to your fortunes and to the Queen’s grace and goodness; but beware of the ‘Gypsie’ (meaning Leicester), for he will be too hard for you all: you know not the beast so well as I do.”

Leicester, continuing to advance in favour, was one of the peers appointed for the trial of the Duke of Norfolk; and four years afterwards, when Walter, Earl of Essex, died in Ireland by “no common death,” it was much suspected that he had a hand in it; which is the more probable, as from that time he forsook his wife, the Lady Douglas Sheffield, by whom he had a son, Robert, already mentioned, and promised her much money and other advantages in case she would be content therewith, and so married Lettice, daughter of Sir Francis Knolles, and widow of the Earl of Essex, “to whom,” says Dugdale, “he had privately borne much affection before.”

The death of Essex, “in the midst of incredible torments,” was attributed to poison. Two of his own servants, Crumpton his cupbearer, and Lloyd his secretary, are reported to have been confederates in the murder; and it is said that Mrs. Alice Dracot, a pious lady, whom the earl much valued, was accidentally poisoned at the same time and with the same cup, and died a few days before him. It is farther alleged that his lordship’s page, who was accustomed to taste of his drink before he gave it to him, very hardly escaped with his life, and not without ‘the loss of his hair,’ though he drank but a small quantity; and that the earl, in compassion to the boy, called for a cup of drink a little before his death, and drank to him in a friendly manner; and says he, “I drink to thee, my Robin; but ben’t afraid, ’tis a better cup of drink than that thou tookest to taste when we both were poisoned.” (Secret Memoirs of the Earl of Leicester.) This report was formally contradicted by Sir Henry Sidney, the Lord Deputy of Ireland; but the suspicion of Leicester’s being privy to the death of Essex was never removed; and the facts of his previous intimacy and subsequent marriage with the countess added no little strength to the charge.

When the marriage between the Queen and the Duke of Anjou was first suggested at Court, he opposed it with all his influence, public and private, and had the satisfaction of attending that prince on his hasty departure from the English Court. But on his return, the elevation at his success was not a little damped by the discovery that his marriage with the Lady Lettice had been communicated to the Queen by Simier, the French minister, in revenge of the defeated plans of the Duke of Anjou. Greatly incensed at this act of duplicity, and piqued with jealousy of the lady, Elizabeth caused the Earl to be shut up in the Castle of Greenwich, as a prelude to his being sent to the{247} Tower. Charging all these misfortunes to the conduct of Simier, he indulged the wildest passion for revenge; but the rigour of his confinement was soon moderated; the Queen relented; and the only results were greater honours, more unlimited confidence, which proved that Dudley held no secondary place in the heart of the Queen.

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It was in his Castle of Kenilworth that Leicester first married Lady Essex privately; but her father, Sir Francis Knolles, being well acquainted with his lordship’s inconstancy, refused to give any credit to it unless the marriage were solemnised in his own presence. In consequence of this resolution, the ceremony was again performed at Wanstead, in presence of the said Sir Francis, the Earl of Warwick, the Lord North, a public notary, and several other witnesses. On the publication of marriage, his former wife, the Lady Douglas, in “order to secure her life from any future practices,” contracted a marriage with Sir Edward Stafford, a man of high character and reputation, and at that time Her Majesty’s ambassador in France. This step was peremptorily called for, as she laboured under constant apprehension of being made away with by Leicester; for it is certain, according to Dugdale, that she had already “some ill potions given to her,” so that, with the loss of her hair and nails, she narrowly escaped death.

Some time before the arrival of Simier with overtures from the Duke of Anjou, Leicester had engaged Astley, one of the Queen’s bedchamber, to search out her disposition towards him, and had met with an unfavourable answer. For when he was covertly recommended to her Majesty for a husband, she replied in a passion—“Do you think that in choosing a husband I should be so regardless of my character, so unmindful of my royal dignity, as to prefer my servant whom myself have raised, to the greatest princes of Christendom?” These words being reported, were thunderbolts to the Earl{248} of Leicester; who now perceived that, should he interpose in the affair of the French match, his opposition would be construed to proceed from interested motives, and might be a means to promote rather than prevent it. He therefore chose to withdraw himself from public view, to counterfeit sickness and retire to his chamber; and there, under pretence of taking physic, he became a voluntary prisoner.

In 1585, he was made Justice-eyre of all the Forests south of Trent. He received a commission for levying five hundred men to be sent into Holland; and three weeks afterwards, he was constituted Lieutenant and Captain-General of the whole army designed for the service of the United Provinces against the Spaniards, and the same year took the command in person. In little more than a year, however, many grave charges were brought against him by the States for having abused his authority, and neglected the due performance of the high trusts reposed in him. Greatly mortified at these complaints, which, besides wounding his vanity, had a tendency to weaken his influence at Court, he affected disgust at the injustice inflicted upon him, and made his last will and testament at Middleburg, as a preparation for his retiring altogether from the public service. The contents of this will, dated the 1st of August, 1587, have been already mentioned.

On his return to England, he found that the complaints lodged against him by the Dutch had so moved the Queen’s displeasure, that “he was constrained to humble himself to his royal mistress, and with tears to beg of her, that, having sent him thither with power, she would not receive him back with disgrace; that whom she had raised from the dust, she would not bury alive!” The Queen was moved by this strain of courtly pleading, and the influence of the favourite became greater than ever. The last public service in which Leicester was engaged was with the army at Tilbury, when the Spanish Armada was expected to make a landing, and when the Queen, in addressing the troops, did him honour in these terms: “In the meantime, my Lieutenant-General shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject; not doubting but by your obedience to my General, by your concord in the camp, and by your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of my God, of my kingdoms, and of my people.” But, notwithstanding her Majesty’s commendation, there was no opportunity for his lordship to exert his abilities; for the Spanish army never landed on the English shore—the elements performed all the service which was to have devolved on Leicester.

Having thus concluded his public career, he designed to spend the remainder of his days in his Castle of Kenilworth, on which he had continued to expend all the resources of art; but, taken suddenly ill of a fever at{249} Cornbury Park, in Oxfordshire, he there closed his earthly account, on the 4th of September. From Cornbury Park his remains were conveyed with much pomp to Warwick, and there interred, in our Lady’s Chapel, adjoining the choir of the Collegiate Church, where a very noble monument was erected to his memory, with the following inscription:—

Deo Viventium S.

Spe Certa Resurgendi In Christo Hic Situs Est Illustrissimus Robertus Dudleyus, Johannis Ducis Northumbriæ, Comitis Warwicki, Vice-Comitis Insulæ, &c., Filius Quintus, Comes Leicestriæ, Baro Denbighæ, Ordinis Tum S. Georgii Cum S. Michaelis Eques Auratus, Reginæ Elizabethæ (Apud Quam Singulari Gratia Florebat) Hippocomus Regiæ Aulæ, Subinde Seneschallus, Ab Intimis Conciliis; Forestarum, Parcorum, Chacearum, &c. Citra Trentam Summus Justificarius; Exercitus Anglici A Dicta Regina Elizabetha Missi In Belgio, Ab Anno MDLXXXV. Ad Annum MDLXXXVII. Locum Tenens Et Capitaneus Generalis; Provinciarum Confederatarum Ibidem Gubernator Generalis Et Præfectus, Regnique Angliæ Locum Tenens Contra Philippum II. Hispanum, Numerosa Classe Et Exercitu Angliam Anno MDLXXXVIII. Invadentem. Animam Deo Servatori Reddidit, Anno Salutis MDLXXXVIII., Die Quarto Septembris. Optimo Et Charissimo Marito, Mœstissima Uxor Leticia, Francisci Knolles Ordinis S. Georgii Equitis Aurati, Et Regiæ Thesaurarii, Filia, Amoris Et Conjugalis Fidei Ergo Posuit.

It is said that the Earl died much in the Queen’s debt, and that her Majesty caused his goods to be sold at a public sale, that payment might be made; for “however favourable,” says her biographer, “she might have been in all other respects, the Queen is observed never to have remitted the debts that were owing to her treasury.”

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The generally received account is, that his death was occasioned by his having swallowed a draught of poison, which had been designed by him for another person: a just stroke of retribution for the lives which—as there were strong grounds to suspect—had been cut short by his employment of the like means. In a curious manuscript copy of the information given by Ben Jonson to Drummond of Hawthornden, as abridged by Sir Robert Sibbald, Leicester’s death is ascribed to poison administered as a cordial by his Countess, to whom he had given it, representing it to be a restorative in any faintness, in the hope that she herself might be cut off by using it. It may be here added, that the following satirical epitaph on Leicester occurs in Drummond’s Collections, but is “evidently,” says Scott, “not of his composition:{250}”—

Epitaph on the Erle of Leister.
Here lies a valiant warrior,
Who never drew a sword;
Here lies a noble courtier,
Who never kept his word;
Here lies the Erle of Leister,
Who govern’d the estates,
Whom the earth could never living love,
And the just heaven now hates.
“Kenilworth,” Vol. ii. 397.
The character of Leicester is thus summed up by Camden in his Annals of Elizabeth:—“He was esteemed a most accomplished courtier, free and bountiful to soldiers and scholars; a cunning time-server and respecter of his own advantages; of a disposition ready and apt to please; crafty and subtle towards his adversaries; much given formerly to women, and in his latter days doating extremely upon marriage. But, whilst he preferred power and greatness, which are subject to be envied before solid virtue, his detracting emulators found large matter to speak reproachfully of him, and, even when he was in his most flourishing condition, spared not disgracefully to defame him by libels, not without a mixture of some untruths.” But, “to take him in the observation of his letters,” says Sir Robert Naunton, “I never saw a style or phrase more seeming religious and fuller of the strains of devotion, had they been sincere!”—Dugd. Bar.; Camden’s Annals; Secret Mem. of Robert Dudley.

The following particulars of Sir Robert Dudley, who was so unjustly deprived of his rightful inheritance, may be new to some of our readers. His life is a striking instance of the vicissitudes to which every condition of society, and more particularly that of the patrician order, was exposed, during the period in question. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and is said to have been a profound mathematician, and master of other acquirements, which he had afterwards an opportunity of turning to good purpose abroad. His earliest service was in 1595, when he had the command of three small ships, with which he took and destroyed nine Spanish traders freighted with wine. The following year he served under the Earl of Essex in the expedition to Cadiz, where he displayed so much characteristic gallantry and prudence, that he received from her Majesty the honour of knighthood; and was justly esteemed among his companions in arms, as a soldier who possessed in no ordinary degree the virtues of wisdom and prowess.

Soon after this, in a voyage to the West Indies, he called an island in the mouth of the river Orinoco, after his own name, Dudleyana. In the will of his father, the “favourite Dudley,” he is pronounced illegitimate—“my base{251} son;” but notwithstanding this paternal stigma, there is every ground to believe that he was born in wedlock: for it appeared by depositions afterwards taken on oath in the Star Chamber, that the Earl of Leicester had been lawfully married to his mother, the Lady Douglas Sheffield, by a clergyman, according to the form prescribed by the Church of England. But by the interest of the Lady Letitia, widow to the Earl of Essex, whom Leicester had married some time before his death, these depositions were ordered to be sealed up by the Clerk of the Court, and never more to be seen or published; whilst at the same time a censure was passed upon the deponents as having entered into a conspiracy to defame the Dowager Lady Leicester, and unjustly to entitle Sir Robert Dudley to the honours which had been enjoyed by his ancestors. The unfairness, the palpable injustice of such proceedings, filled his mind with such disgust, that he determined, as already mentioned, to abandon the country of his birth; and having obtained the King’s permission to travel for three years, proceeded to Italy, where he took up his residence in the Tuscan capital with “the style of Earl of Warwick.” But having left several enemies at home, who watched every opportunity to wrest from him his princely inheritance of Kenilworth, his absence was construed into disaffection;

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and a special Privy Seal being obtained for that purpose, he was commanded to return home forthwith. But fully aware of the motive{252} which actuated the King’s advisers, and of the annoyance and mortification which awaited him, he evaded the summons, and resolved to continue in exile beyond the Alps. Advantage was immediately taken of his contumacy, and by the “statute of fugitives,” his lands were seized in the manner already described in the survey, and the mesne profits of them applied to the King’s use.

There is a romantic story told of this Sir Robert—the last of the Dudleys of Kenilworth—which mentions, that on quitting England he carried off with him the beautiful daughter of Sir Robert Southwell, in the habit of a Page.[205] The lady had long been the object of his admiration; but as the legal proceedings instituted against him were calculated, however unjustly, to strip him of his inheritance and degrade him in his station, the family of the lady were naturally averse to the alliance, and took all necessary precautions to break off the intimacy which had hitherto existed between the parties. Driven to the necessity of expedients, where the open and honourable profession of his attachment had been rejected with coldness or even disdain, the knight employed stratagem; and having arranged a stolen interview with the lady, had no great difficulty in persuading her to quit an ungrateful country, and with him to seek refuge in that southern land where he was sure of a welcome, and where, at least, they would be far beyond the reach of both kingly and paternal despotism. How these arguments were received by the lady may be readily understood by the fact, that, within a few days after this interview, Sir Robert Dudley, accompanied by a beautiful page, had embarked for Italy.

It is not our province to detail the adventures which befell this “Lara” of his time, and his gentle page by the way; but on their reaching the Tuscan Athens, the page had suddenly disappeared, no person of his small retinue knew how. In the venerable church of the Santa Croce, however, preparations were observed as if for some religious solemnity; and in the evening of the feast of St. George, Dudley communicated to his immediate friends and attendants, that he should that evening lead a bride to the altar, and invited them to partake of the supper which had been prepared at his quarters in the Piazza della Trinità. The mere announcement of his marriage excited no particular surprise; for inheriting the manly figure, the courtly manners, and elegant accomplishments of his father, whom the maiden Queen{253} of England had so “delighted to honour,” it was readily surmised that some signora, with the old Etruscan blood in her veins, had made a conquest of the English knight: and yet the name of the lady was a profound secret, which puzzled as much the learned cognoscenti as it did the simple contadini, whom the rumour of “English espousals” had drawn to the square in front of the church. But the mystery was speedily solved; for the procession was already under the porch of the sacred temple, and on kneeling at the altar it was no difficult matter to recognize in the lovely bride, the peerless features of Blanche Southwell—the faithful page of the exiled Robert Dudley.

Having now fixed his residence on the banks of the Arno, and become master of that rank and consideration which had been denied him at home, Dudley’s active mind, forgetting the splendour of Kenilworth Castle, soon began to exert its energies in an enterprise of great public utility. This was in concerting plans for the drainage of the fens and marshes in the neighbourhood of Leghorn, adjoining the Maremma; and with so much success did he prosecute his undertaking, that he raised that town from an inconsiderable fishing village, to the rank and importance of one of the most frequented seaports in Italy. Thus, out of seeming evil, disgrace, destitution, expatriation, much ultimate good was educed, not only to the country which had extended to him the rights of hospitality, but to himself and his successors. The Duke settled a handsome pension upon him. The reputation of his accomplishments, coupled with the history of his misfortunes, secured for him the highest consideration in Italy; while the Emperor of Germany, Ferdinand the Second, conferred upon him, by letters-patent, dated Vienna, March, 1620, the title of Duke; in consequence of which he resumed that of his grandfather, the attainted Duke of Northumberland, whose tragical end we have already mentioned in the earlier portion of this work. Thus elevated to the highest rank in the state, Dudley erected a magnificent

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palace in the city of Florence, and there spent his days in works of public utility and private beneficence. His daughters by the lady, whose romantic story we have just recorded, were all married to princes of the Empire; and at his own demise—when he was succeeded in the same title by his eldest son Charles—a grant was obtained from King Charles the First, under the great seal of England, that his widow, the Lady Alice, should enjoy the title of Duchess for her natural life, and that her daughters should take rank and precedence accordingly.{254}

This Sir Robert Dudley, according to Dugdale, was a man of heroic stature, “comely in feature, strong, valiant, famous at the exercise of tilting; singularly skilled in all mathematick learning, but chiefly in navigation and architecture; a rare chymist, and of great knowledge in physick, as his learned works do sufficiently manifest—especially that ‘De Arcanis Maris,’ printed at Florence in 1646, and afterwards at Venice in folio, adorned with sculpture: also that of physic called ‘Catholicon,’ of no small esteem with the most skilful in that profession. Nor is his memory a little famous as the inventor of that powder called Cornachine-powder; touching the virtue whereof, the learned Marcus Cornachinus, of Pisa, hath written, and endeavoured to show that all corporeal diseases may be safely and suddenly cured thereby.

“Nor is it less remarkable that his merits were so highly esteemed by the grand Duke of Tuscany (Cosmo the Second), as that he allowed him an yearly stipend of little less than a thousand pounds sterling…. Moreover, he died at a palace of the Dukes of Florence, two or three Italian miles distant from that city, in or about the year 1650. And his bodye resteth in the monastery of the nuns at Boldrone, except it be removed to the church of St. Pancras in Florence, where he raised a noble monument for his wife, with purpose to be there interred himself. Likewise he left to his sons divers curious mathematical instruments, chiefly of his own invention, of which they, making little use, have disposed of to the great Duke of Tuscany.”—Dugd. Baron, Art. Leicest. vol. ii. p. 225.

Classical Associations.—The narrative of the popular romance of Kenilworth hinges upon the sad fortunes of Amy Robsart, which form “a painful tissue of unvaried disappointments, distresses, and privations, closed by an unmerited and horrible death.”

We have already observed that the first wife of Leicester was Amy, the daughter of Sir John Robsart, of Sheen, in Surrey; a match effected, like most of the marriages between the offspring of the great in that age, “when the parties,” says Warner, “were very young, and resulting from plans and adjustments of their parents, rather than from their own predilection for each other.” The connexion was sanctioned by the young king, Edward the Sixth, who honoured the ceremony with his presence, and speedily advanced the bridegroom to considerable offices at court. For a few years Leicester and his wife appear to have lived together on what are called decent, if not on affectionate, terms; and though the rays of royal favour, which daily shone upon him with increasing warmth, gradually produced and embittered his regret at having matched himself with so humble a partner for life as Amy Robsart, yet he does not seem to have conceived any notion of ridding himself of this domestic burthen by violent means, till the prospect{255} of sharing either the Scotch or the English throne dazzled his imagination. To both of these speculations, Amy was an insurmountable obstacle; and he resolved to remove it by her immediate destruction. How this was effected is a matter of some doubt. All that we know of it is contained in the following narrations: “Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, a very goodly personage, being a great favourite to Queen Elizabeth, it was thought, and commonly reported, that had he been a bachelor or widower, the Queen would have made him her husband. To this end, to free himself from all obstacles, he, with flattering entreaties, desires his wife to repose herself at Cumnor, in Berkshire, at his servant Anthony Foster’s house, who then lived in the manor-house of this place; and also prescribed to Sir Varney, a promoter of this design, at his coming hither, that he should first attempt to poison her, and if that did not take effect, then by any way whatsoever to despatch her.” The poisoning scheme, Aubrey says, not succeeding, the foul instruments of Leicester’s villany effected their purpose in the following manner: “Sir Richard Varney, who, by the Earl’s order, remained with her alone on the day of her death, and Foster, who had that day forcibly sent away all her servants from her to Abingdon fair, about three miles’ distance from this place; these two persons first stifling her, or

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else strangling her, afterwards flung her down a pair of stairs, and broke her neck, using much violence upon her; yet caused it to be reported that she fell down of herself, believing the world would have thought it a mischance, and not have suspected the villany. As soon as she was murdered, they made haste to bury her, before the coroner had given in his inquest, which the Earl himself condemned, as not done advisedly; and her father, Sir John Robsart, hearing, came with all speed hither, caused her corpse to be taken up, the coroner to sit upon her, and further enquiry to be made concerning this business to the full. But it was generally thought that the earl stopped his mouth; who, to show the great love he bore to her while alive, and what a grief the loss of so virtuous a lady was to his tender heart, caused her body to be buried in St. Mary’s Church, Oxford, with great pomp and solemnity. It is also remarkable that Dr. Babington, the earl’s chaplain, preaching the funeral sermon, tripped once or twice in his speech, recommending to their memories that virtuous lady so pitifully murdered, instead of saying so pitifully slain.”

It is evident that the above particulars are given by Aubrey from{256}

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the celebrated book, written by Parsons the Jesuit, entitled “Leicester’s Commonwealth;” but “he has omitted,” says Warner, “several curious circumstances respecting the attempt to poison the unhappy lady, which throw some light on the practices of the time, and the diabolical character of the Earl.” The book consists of a dialogue between a scholar, a gentleman, and a lawyer:—“Lawyer. Here the lawyer began to laugh a-pace, both at the device and at the minister; and said, ‘Now, truly, if my Lord’s contracts hold no better, but hath so many infirmities with subtleties, and by places besides, I would be loth that he were married to my daughter, mean as she is.’ ‘But yet,’ quoth the gentleman, ‘I had rather of the two be his wife, for the time, than his guest, especially if the Italian chirurgeon, or physician,[206] be at hand.’ ‘True it is,’ saith the lawyer; ‘for he doth not poison his wives, whereof I somewhat marvel at his first wife: I muse why he chose rather to make her away by open violence than by some Italian comfortive.’ ‘Hereof,’ said the gentleman, ‘may be divers reasons alleged. First: that he was not at that time so skilful in those Italian wares, nor had about him so fit physicians and chirurgeons for the purpose; nor yet do I think that his mind was so settled then in mischief, as it hath been since; for you know that men are not desperate the first day, but do enter into mischief by degrees, and with some doubt, or staggering of conscience, at the beginning; and so he, at that time, might be desirous to have his wife made away with, for that she letted him in his designments, but yet not so strong-hearted as to appoint out the particular manner of her death, but rather to leave that to the discretion of the murderer. Secondly: it is not, also, unlike that he perscribed to Sir Richard Varney, at his going thither, that he should first attempt to kill her by poison, and if that took not place, then by any other way howsoever to despatch her. This I prove by the report of old Dr. Bayly, who then lived in Oxford—another manner of man than he who now liveth about my lord of the same name—and was professor of the physic lecture in the same university. This learned grave man reported for most certain, that there was a practice in Cumnor, among the conspirators, to have poisoned the poor lady a little before she was killed, which was attempted in this order: they, seeing{257} the good lady sad and heavy—as one that well knew, by her other handling, that her death was not far off—began to persuade her that her disease was abundance of melancholy and other humours, and therefore would needs counsel her to take some potion; which she absolutely refusing to do, as suspecting still the worst, they sent one day—unawares to her—for Dr. Bayly, and desired him to persuade her to take some little potion at his hands, and they would send to fetch the same at Oxford, upon his prescription, meaning to have added, also, somewhat of their own for her comfort, as the doctor, upon just cause, suspected. Seeing their great importunity, and the small need which the good lady had of physic, therefore he flatly denied their request; misdoubting, as he afterwards reported, lest, if they had poisoned her under the name of his potion, he might have been hanged for a colour of their sin. Marry, the said doctor remained well assured that this way taking no place, she should not long escape violence, as after ensued.”—Sec. Mem.

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In taking leave of Kenilworth, one cannot but regret with Fuller that so splendid a structure should have passed so rapidly into a mass of ruins; and that, not by the slow waste of time—not by the frequency of siege, nor the{258} severity of tempests,—but by the wanton hand of aggression. “I am not stocked with charity,” says this quaint writer, “to pity the miners thereof, if the materials of this castle answered not their expectation who destroyed it. Some castles,” he adds, “have been demolished for security, which I behold destroyed, ‘se defendendo,’ without offence; others demolished in the heat of wars, which I look upon as Castle Slaughter: but I cannot excuse the destruction of this Castle from wilful murder, being done in cold blood since the end of the wars.”

“Hark! ’twas a stone that from yon turret top
Dropp’d heavily upon the sod below.
These falling fragments of departed strength,
These mouldering masses, make one feel ashamed
That earthly grandeur has so little power
To hand her greatness down to future times.”
Summary.—Consulting the ground-plan of Kenilworth, we find that the dungeons lay at the western extremity of the castle, the part which is now most ruinous. They were situated under Mervyn’s Tower—a sallyport of the castle, and which we apprehend formed, with Cæsar’s Tower, the substance of the original fortress—probably Saxon. This portion of the ruins we examined, but found it a mere shapeless heap, with some indications of strong vaultings, sufficient to justify the belief of their having been places of confinement in the ruder and more warlike days of the Barony. Kenilworth, in the absence of additions absolutely modern, affords specimens of the architecture of more various periods than most English castles. The Keep, or Cæsar’s Tower (p. 214), corresponds in some important points with the recognized specimens of Saxon building extant at Bamborough, showing the same narrow buttresses traversing the entire elevation; and a window remaining on the eastern face of the Keep, narrow, with a circular arch, and diminishing inward to a mere slit, is of a corresponding time. Supposing the body of the Keep to date before the Norman Conquest, we take the wings to be of Norman addition, from their being similar to the castle at Newcastle-on-Tyne, built immediately after the Conquest. Some portions on the western side indicate additions made about the time of Edward the Third, by John of Gaunt, and called Lancaster’s Building (p. 224); some of the windows of the great Hall (p. 220-222) are beautiful examples of this period. Near this quarter, on the south-western angle of the group, are some turrets constructed so as to be defended by three archers back to back, the loopholes extending outwards, and giving them the means of annoying an invading party under a sufficient cover. In Leicester Buildings (p. 231) are some elegant remains, particularly a superb oriel; and in this part are the details of a very delicate and elaborate style.

The Gate-House (p. 232) is comparatively recent; and some tall gabled{259} puritanic-looking dwellings patched upon it, in an ungainly fashion, may from their aspect have been the work of those commissioners of the Parliament who made such havoc upon the venerable pile committed to their charge.—MS. Notes, A. May, 1842.

Environs.—The Priory of Kenilworth—of which our notice must be very brief (p. 215)—originally occupied a considerable space, which is indicated

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by the remains of foundations, a perfect portion of which—the base of the Chapter House—was exposed by the sexton while digging in the churchyard. This has been cleared, and exhibits the base of an octagonal building with buttresses, adjacent to which is the burialplace of the Priors, which has probably been a cloister: the graves are marked by stone slabs bearing a curious variety of sculptured crosses. The remaining portions of the Priory are all of the early pointed style, with the exception of the Chapel, which evinces, by the peculiar construction of the window, a very early period. The roof of the Chapel has been richly decorated with projecting heads sculptured in a good style; one of these lies in the interior of the Priory Gate-House. The parish Church immediately adjacent to the Priory, has a richly-ornamented circular door, and in the tower a pleasing chime of bells, one of which, originally belonging to the Priory, retains its monastic habit of duly chiming the matins and ‘curfew.’ The writer was much struck with the effect of the former, on waking early on the first morning of his sojourn in Kenilworth, and making inquiry of the sexton in the course of the day, was informed that it was one of his functions to announce the dawn and sunset in this manner daily throughout the year.—From MS. Notes by an eminent Artist, communicated to the Editor.

The Town of Kenilworth, in addition to the few particulars which will be found scattered through the preceding pages, has nothing of paramount interest for the stranger. It extends along the post-road for nearly a mile, and contains various schools (liberally supported), almshouses, and other charities, which reflect the greatest credit on their founders and patrons. The population is considerably upwards of three thousand, but with very little trade. The parish church contains a splendid window of modern stained glass, contributed by the late Bishop of Lichfield when Master of{260} Shrewsbury School, and finished under the direction of Mr. David Evans of that city. The Bridge, consisting of two spacious arches, and commanding a fine view of the striking objects around, is highly ornamental to the place.

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APPENDIX.
Description of the Plan of the Castle, page 243, as it appeared at the Queen’s visit in 1575.

Described at Page
1. Cæsar’s Tower, Kenilworth 214
2. Lancaster Buildings 224
3. Leicester Buildings 231
4. Base Court, or outer ballium 239-40
5. Lake ib.
6. Chase ib.
7. Gallery Tower 227
8. Tilt-Yard ib.
9. Mortimer’s Tower ib.
10. King Henry VIII.’s Lodgings 229
11. Inner Court ib.
12. The Strong, or Mervyn’s Tower 226
13. Kitchens 228
14. Pleasance 229
15. Great Hall 220
16. Leicester’s Chamber fronting the Lake 231
17. Gardens 227
18. Orchard ib.
19. Swan Tower 229
20. Great Gateway 231-2, 257
21. Lunn’s Tower 235
22. Water Tower ib.
23. St. Lowe Tower adjoins Mervyn’s Tower,
S. W., and is not seen in this point.
Page 245, “append.” The reader is here referred to Melvin’s account of Elizabeth.

(1) The Leicester Chimney-Piece, introduced at page 237. This justly-admired specimen of art is of alabaster, finely sculptured with bears and rugged staves, and the monograms of Queen Elizabeth and the Earl of Leicester. When freshly gilded, and placed in a becoming situation, it justly deserved, says a writer of taste, to be eulogized as a work of decided skill and merit. Having happily escaped the Cromwellian devastation, this mantel-piece, together with the oaken pillars which surmount it (Wyld), were removed from one of the principal apartments or presence-chamber of Leicester Buildings, to the room which they now occupy—an oak-pannelled chamber in the old Gate-House. (2) The view introduced at page 253 represents—along with the Tower in the deep shadows of evening—a view of all that remains of the ancient moat on that side of the building. (3) The cut, page 256, is an allegorical subject of Leicester and Amy Robsart—the Dove and Snake,—or Innocence and Subtlety.

Authorities:—Camd.—Dugd.—Early Chronicles.—Strutt.—Spelman.—Harris.—Warner’s Illustr. Crit. and Hist.—Lodge’s Mem.—Brewer’s Hist. of Warw.—Monast. and Baron.—Monum. Vetusta.—Speed—Harding—Grafton—Holinshed—Secr. Mem. of Dudley—Parsons—Melvin—Pict. Hist.—Clarendon—Illustr. of Kenilw.—Guides and Topograph.—Sir W. Scott’s Notes.—Memoirs of Dudley Fam.—Annal. Elizab.—MS. Notes.—Collins’ P.—Civil and Milit. Trans. 1570-80—etc. etc.

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WALTHAM ABBEY.

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WALTHAM ABBEY.
“Ki ke volt çeo saver,
A Walteham, ultre le halt auter,
Meimes cel croiz purra trover,
E roi Haraud gisant en quer.”—Continuation of Wace’s ‘Brut.’
THE Abbey of Waltham owes most of its celebrity to its connexion with the last of the Anglo-Saxon monarchs. Our early forefathers were distinguished by their attachment to the pleasures of the chase; and the vast forest with which this district was covered must have been a favourite resort of the East-Saxon kings, as it was, after the subversion of their independence, of the thanes of Essex. One of these, named Tovi or Thovi, who held the high office of stallere (or steward) in the household of Canute the Dane, built himself a hunting residence in the rich meadows on the banks of the Lea, in the same neighbourhood where King Alfred had drawn away the waters of that river in order to cut off the retreat of the Danish fleet. This hunting-house was the weald-ham, or residence in the wood, from which the town afterwards received its name.

The “weald-ham” was a favourite residence of Earl Tovi, and was soon surrounded with the houses and huts of his retainers, thus becoming gradually{262} a village, occupied, as we are informed in the early half-legendary history of the place, by threescore and six householders. The erection of a church followed as a matter of course: although the monks of the Abbey afterwards built there published a wild legend—how a cross, miraculously discovered on the summit of a hill in Somersetshire, then called Lutegaresberi, but since known by the name of Montacute, which was also the property of Tovi, was no less miraculously conveyed to this spot, and gave to it the subsequent appellation of Waltham Holy Cross.[207] Tovi (who was lord of “Enefeld, Edelmetone, Cetrehunt, Mimmes (?), and of the barony which afterwards, under the Normans, passed into the family of the Mandevilles”) placed in his church two canons, endowed it with lands in Waltham, “Chenleuedene, Hyche, Lamhee, Luketune, and Alwaretune,” and gave to it the sword with which he had been first girt when he was made a knight. His wife Glitha, a very pious woman, added to these gifts a crown or wreath of pure gold. Their son Athelstan did not, however, inherit the virtues and wisdom of his parents; for, shortly after their death, he lost the manor of Waltham, which, with others in the neighbourhood, appears to have been forfeited to the Crown. Edward the Confessor gave it to his brother-in-law Harold.

Harold appears to have received these lands with the avowed purpose of founding a religious house, by which, while according to the superstitious belief{263} of that age, he was securing the salvation of his own soul, he flattered the monastic prejudices of King Edward. In the twelfth century, the monks of Waltham had also a legendary account of this second foundation: they said that Earl Harold, on his return from the conquest of the Welsh, was visited by a dangerous attack of paralysis, which defied the skill of the physicians, until it was miraculously cured by a visit to the Holy Cross.[208] From that moment, it is pretended the Earl never relaxed in his attachment to Waltham: in place of the small foundation of Tovi, he built a magnificent church; and there are strong reasons for supposing that, in spite of his patriotic feelings and his known hatred to foreigners, he employed Norman artists and workmen. The Waltham writers of the twelfth century, who saw Harold’s church in its original form, speak of it in the most enthusiastic terms, and tell us how, under the hands of his builders, the walls and columns rose up in lofty majesty, while the latter were connected by numerous arches, and the walls supported a roof groined within and protected by lead without.[209] The interior of the building was covered with “plates of brass, gilt;” and the bases and capitals of the columns, with the “bendings” of the arches, were ornamented with sculpture.[210] It is now ascertained, that in early times the interior of churches, and also of other buildings, was painted in bright colours, and gilt: the gilding being probably executed on thin plates of metal which were attached to the stone-work. This mode of ornamentation afterwards gave place to elaborate sculpture and carving. The mouldering remains of these buildings, although still imposing by their grandeur, convey to us only a slight idea of the effect which they must have produced when adorned with paintings and glittering with gold. The Interior of Waltham Abbey Church, degraded and mutilated as its ornaments and proportions are at the present day, conveys to our mind no mean idea of the former splendour of Harold’s church, of which we can hardly doubt that it forms a genuine portion. As we survey its rows of massive columns, and compare them with the humble objects around, we feel ourselves mentally carried back eight hundred years to the festive scene which followed their erection. At the consecration of those walls, were present, besides the founder Earl Harold, the last King and Queen of the regal line of the Anglo-Saxons—Edward the{264} Confessor, and the fair and interesting Edith, with two archbishops—Stigand of Canterbury and Aldred of York, eleven bishops (among whom the most

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eminent were Hereman of Salisbury, Leofric of Exeter, and Gyso of Wells), eleven abbots of important monastic houses, and a great number of princes and nobles. In their presence was read publicly the royal charter, which is still preserved, and bears the signatures of the King and Queen, Harold, the two archbishops, and the bishops, abbots, and thanes, who were assisting at the ceremony. The feast on this occasion lasted eight days; and the guests were not only served profusely, but large vessels full of wine and mead were placed in the fields and public roads, in order that even accidental passers-by might drink their full.

Harold increased the number of canons from two to twelve. By the charter just mentioned, they were put in possession of the manors of “Passefelda, Walde, Upminster, Walhfare, Pippedene, Alwaretune, Wodeforda, Lambehithe, Nesingnan, Brickendune, Melnho, Alichsea, Wormeleia, Nettleswelle, Hicche, Lukintone, and Westwaltham.” Portions of these lands were assigned to each canon to supply him with food and clothing, those of which the rents were applied to the latter purpose being distinguished by the name of scrud-land, or clothing-land. Westwaltham was appropriated to the dean, in addition to his share with the rest. Each canon had also assigned to him fifteen acres in Waltham of what were termed the Northlands, in order that they might not be distressed by any accidental stoppage of their supply from the out-farms. According to the directions of the founder, the canons{265} of Waltham received extremely liberal rations of food. The daily allowance of each was two loaves of very white bread, and one of a coarser quality, the three being sufficient for six men; six bowls of ale, sufficient for ten men at one drinking bout; and six dishes of different kinds each day. In addition to this allowance, on feast days they were served with “pittances,” or delicacies: if it were a feast of the first dignity, each canon was to have three pittances; if of the second dignity, he was allowed two pittances; and if of the third dignity, one. A pittance, from Michaelmas-day to Ash-Wednesday, consisted of twelve blackbirds, or two “agauseæ,” or two partridges, or one pheasant; during the rest of the year, it consisted of goose or chickens. On Christmas-day, Easter-day, and the day of Pentecost, and on the two feasts of the Holy Cross, wine and mead were allowed.[211] The object in giving the canons this profuse allowance of provisions, was to provide for strangers, and for the poor and needy, the latter receiving each day what was sent away from the Abbey table. The dean had a larger share than the others, because more persons depended upon his charity and hospitality than upon those of a simple canon.[212] In former times, when from the want of means of conveyance the produce of the land was necessarily consumed on the land itself, hospitality of this kind was universally practised. Even in the houses of private gentlemen there was a servant named an almoner, whose office it was to collect and distribute to the poor at his master’s gate what remained of the meat and drink served at the table; and the person who distributed the bread to the guests, laid the first loaf in the alms-dish as an offering to God.

The consecration of the church of Waltham occurred a little before Whitsuntide, in the year 1062: in less than four years after this event, Harold was

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advanced to the throne of England. During his short but eventful reign, he conferred innumerable benefits on the Abbey, which were remembered with gratitude long after the destruction of the Anglo-Saxon dynasty. In his return from the defeat of the Danish invaders in the north, to stop the progress of his Norman rival, Harold visited Waltham for the last time. The brotherhood received him with sorrowful countenances, for their minds were filled with gloomy forebodings; and when, on the morning of his departure, Harold humbled himself in prayer before the Holy Cross, which was surrounded by the relics and precious gifts which he had conferred, one of the canons, whose eyes were fixed on the image, declared that the wooden face suddenly assumed an air of sadness, and that{266} he saw the head bend downwards. His brethren were struck with consternation; and, unable to restrain the king from exposing his own person in an unequal combat, they sent with him two of the elder canons, named Osegode Cnoppe and Ailric Childemaister,[213] to watch the course of events, and to bring home the body of their benefactor in case he should be slain. The result of the battle of Hastings is too well known to need repeating on the present occasion.

Much obscurity still hangs over Harold’s fate. The old historians not only differ in various circumstances in their account of the manner in which he was killed, but some of them have declared their belief that he escaped from the field of battle with his life. Even the canons, and afterwards the monks, of Waltham were divided in their opinions on this subject; and each party consigned their reasons to writing, in separate treatises, which were long treasured up in the Abbey library, and which are fortunately still preserved. According to the most probable of these two versions of the story, when Osegode and Ailric saw that their presentiments had been but too well founded, they repaired to the Conqueror to obtain permission to seek for Harold’s body, and to carry it to Waltham for interment. With some difficulty they succeeded in their suit; but, after a long and fruitless search, Osegode was sent back to Waltham with the intelligence that they could find no traces of their king among the multitude of naked and stiffening corpses with which the field was strewed. By the advice of the other canons, Osegode took with him to Hastings Harold’s beautiful mistress, Editha Swanneshals (or Edith with the Swan’s neck), who recognized the body of her lover by secret marks which were known only to herself. Osegode then placed it on a bier which he had prepared for the purpose, and it was carried in solemn procession to Battle Bridge, whither the whole brotherhood of Waltham had come to meet it. They carried the corpse to Waltham, and buried it with honour in the choir of the Abbey Church.[214]

Those who held a contrary opinion concerning Harold’s fate, said that Edith had mistaken another corpse for that of her paramour; and that the body of Harold had been found among a heap of corpses by some Saxon women, who visited the field to administer aid and comfort to their wounded and expiring countrymen. Finding him still breathing, they carried him away from the spot, ignorant that it was their king; but he was recognized by two countrymen, who took him to Winchester, where he remained in concealment two years. At the end of that period, having entirely recovered{267} from the effects of his wounds, he went to Germany, in the hope of inducing the old Saxons and Norwegians to assist him in the deliverance of his country from the oppressions of the Normans; but failing in this project, and becoming weary of the vanities of the world, he determined to pass the rest of his days in retirement, and he first visited Rome. From thence he returned in disguise, under the assumed name of Christian, to England, and lived ten years as a hermit, with one faithful attendant, among the rocks in the neighbourhood of Dover. He next repaired to the borders of Wales, where he lived long in solitude, exposed to the insults of the Welsh, over whom he had so often triumphed in the days of his worldly glory. He finally removed to Chester, where he died at an advanced age in a little cell attached to the church of St. John, having, according to the story, confessed on his death-bed that he was King Harold.[215] Such is the improbable legend which found credit with one or two of the most esteemed of our early writers.

Waltham Abbey appears to have experienced little favour from the first Anglo-Norman kings. William the Conqueror, or (according to other accounts) his son Rufus, carried away much of the valuable plate, gems, and rich vestments which had been given by Harold, to enrich his two churches at Caen in Normandy; but he seems to have left the landed possessions of the Abbey untouched.[216] As a sort of reparation for this injury, William Rufus is said to have given to the canons those lands of Harold in Waltham which his father had conferred upon Walcher, bishop of Durham, who made this place his residence when he came to attend the court at London. The two queens of Henry I. were almost the sole benefactors of this foundation during the first century after the Norman Conquest:—the first, Matilda of Scotland, gave to the secular canons the mill at Waltham; while Adeliza of Lorraine, Henry’s second wife, bestowed upon them all the tithes of Waltham, as well those of her demesne lands as those of her tenants.

In the latter half of the twelfth century, the canons of Waltham experienced the same fate which had already struck most of the similar Anglo-Saxon institutions. As the power of the pope gained strength in England, it had constantly brought with it the dissolution of the ancient colleges of secular priests, to make way for the introduction of the more rigid discipline of the regular monks, who were literally the “soldiers” of papal Rome. It is probable that the secular canons of Waltham had relaxed in discipline and religion since their foundation, placed as they were amid the “fatness of the earth.” During the period of which we are now speaking, we find among{268} them few traces of learning or literary taste, and the name of Waltham scarcely occurs in the political history of the twelfth century. Yet the few remaining writings of the monks of this place are full of vivid descriptions of the richness and beauty of the Abbey lands.

“O Waltham! pro te fecit manus Omnipotentis
Multum in mentis, semper et hinc amo te.
Nam dedit ipse tibi similem sibimetque figuram,
Excelsam, puram, quæ veneratur ibi.
* * * *
Tu ditaris ita, nam prata foves meliora;
Stas inter nemora dite loco posita.
Te cingit fluvius necnon percurrit amœnus,
Piscibus et plenus: est situs egregius.
Et licet orneris pratis latis et agellis,
Structuris bellis, floribus et teneris.”[217]
So sang in quaint and jingling rhymes one of the historians of Waltham in the reign of Henry II. The flower-decked meads which surrounded the Abbey are not unfrequently alluded to; and that which has preserved to modern times the name of Harold’s Park, was celebrated in a proverbial leonine,—

“Haroldi parca florum bene dicitur archa.”
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The numerous little streams into which the river is here divided added to the richness and diversity of the scenery, and were crossed by a number of picturesque bridges. In the time of Leland (the reign of Henry VIII.) there were “a 7 or viii. bridges in the towne of Waltham: for there be{269} divers socours of streamelettes breking out of the thre principalle partes of Luye ryver.” The ruins of one of these little Bridges may still be seen over a “streamelette,” about two hundred yards to the north-east of the Abbey, forming an extremely picturesque feature in the landscape. It consists of an elliptical arch, supported or strengthened by three strong ribs, and appears to be a work of considerable antiquity.

The beauty of the scenery and the richness of the soil seem to have been the chief delight of these pampered canons. They were accused (how justly it is now difficult to decide) of luxurious living and great relaxation of discipline; and their last dean, Guido Rufus, was suspended from his office by Richard, Archbishop of Canterbury, the immediate successor of Thomas Becket. The king was at this time seeking opportunities of appeasing the church of Rome for the murder of Becket, and, influenced by the persuasions of the archbishop, he went to Waltham on the eve of Pentecost, in the year 1177, and having expelled the secular canons, he established in their place sixteen regular canons of the order of St. Augustin, taken out of three of the older English monasteries, namely, six from Cirencester, six from Oseney, and four from Chiche. Walter de Gaunt, a canon of Oseney, was elected the first Abbot of Waltham. The Abbey itself was declared, as formerly, free from all episcopal jurisdiction; and a few years afterwards the abbot was allowed the use of the pontificals, and Waltham was raised to the rank of a mitred abbey. King Henry, judging, as he states in the charter, that the church thus reformed, “as a new spouse of Christ, ought to have a new dower,”[218] added to its former possessions the manors of Siwardston and Epping.

From this period the Abbey of Waltham was, during several reigns, a favourite resort of the English monarchs; and, separated by its woods from the “busy hum” of the world around, it seems to have escaped the troubles and turmoils of baronial strife. Henry’s son and successor, the lion-hearted Richard, gave the monks a new charter, confirming all their possessions and privileges; and by a separate charter he bestowed on the church the whole of his manor of Waltham, with the great wood, and the park called Harold’s Park, three hundred acres of assart land, the market of Waltham, and the village of Nasing (a member of Waltham), with three hundred and sixty acres of assart land there, for all which they were to pay yearly to the king’s exchequer sixty pounds. King Richard also gave them the manor of Copt Hall, which afterwards became a favourite residence of the abbots. Henry III., who frequently visited Waltham, was also a munificent bene{270}factor; and among other favours he granted them the privilege of holding a fair during seven days annually. In this reign considerable alterations appear to have been made in the buildings of the Abbey, The church was re-dedicated in the year 1242, by the Bishop of Norwich, in the King’s presence;

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and it has been conjectured, that at that time was built Our Lady’s Chapel on the south side of the present church: this chapel still exists, although it has been long converted into a school-room. It has been supposed also that the Inner Porch, under the present steeple, was built about the end of this reign, or early in that of Edward I.

In spite of the royal favour and protection, the monks of Waltham were engaged in several vexatious disputes during the reign of Henry III. The kind of lordship which the abbot exercised over the town, the mode in which the Abbey possessions and business became intermixed with those of the townsmen, and the frequent and unavoidable clashing of their several interests, led to much mutual ill-will. A great number of the townsmen were tenants of the abbot. We still find in several parts of the town some remains of the old houses on the Abbey domain, particularly those standing in what is called Baker’s Entry, which have an appearance of great antiquity. But the most serious disputes arose out of the contending claims to rights connected with the common lands.[219] Simon de Seham was elected Abbot of Waltham in 1248; and the same year the townsmen went in a riotous manner into the marsh, where they claimed rights in opposition to those enjoyed by the abbot, and killed four of the abbot’s mares, worth at least forty shillings sterling, and drove away the rest. Simon de Seham allowed this act of violence to pass without punishment; but when the men of Waltham came to him the year following, on the Tuesday before Easter, and summoned him to remove his mares and colts out of the marsh, he refused to listen to them, and deferred the matter till the Tuesday after Easter. On that day the men and women of the town assembled tumultuously at the Abbey gate to receive the abbot’s answer; but he again deferred the matter to a further day, stating in excuse that he had been busily occupied in preparing for a journey into Lincolnshire to meet the{271} justices itinerant. Then the townspeople reviled the abbot in presence of Richard, Earl of Cornwall, the king’s brother, who had come to Waltham Abbey the same day; and, hastening to the marsh, they drove away the abbot’s mares and colts—drowning three, valued at twenty shillings; spoiling ten more, worth ten marks; and beating the keepers who resisted them, even to the shedding of blood. On the abbot’s return from Lincolnshire, the people of Waltham, apprehensive of the consequences of their violent proceedings, desired a love-day to settle the dispute; but suddenly changing their minds, they went to the king at London, and made a complaint against the abbot, that he was infringing their rights, introducing new customs, and, as they expressed it, that he was “eating them up to the bones.” The abbot, in retaliation, excommunicated them; and they impleaded him at the common law. After many hearings, the abbot, as the stronger party, gained the cause; and the people of Waltham were obliged to acknowledge that they had done him wrong, and they were fined twenty marks; but, on their submission, he remitted the fine, and relieved them from the sentence of excommunication.[220]

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In the same reign, the abbot of Waltham became involved in a lawsuit with the lord of the neighbouring manor of Cheshunt, who was, at that time, Peter Duke of Savoy, the king’s uncle, and therefore a powerful opponent. Both parties laid claim to certain meadow lands which lay between two branches of the river Lea, one asserting that the eastern stream, the other that the western stream, was the boundary line between their{272} respective estates. After an obstinate dispute, the lord of Cheshunt agreed to yield up his claim to the abbot; but these meadows were frequently afterwards a subject of litigation. A new lawsuit was begun in the time of the last abbot of Waltham; and the question remained undecided when the Abbey was surrendered to King Henry VIII.

Until the reign of this monarch, Waltham continued to receive frequent visits from the English kings, who are said to have possessed a small house within the parish, at a spot known in more recent times by the name of Romeland, where occasionally they sought pleasure and retirement. Richard II. was residing here at the time of Wat Tyler’s insurrection. It was also a favourite retreat of King Henry VIII.; and Fuller has preserved a traditionary anecdote relating to one of Henry’s visits, which (though a similar story has been told of other kings in like circumstances) loses nothing by being repeated. The king was one day hunting in the forest; and, wandering from his companions, he came to the Abbey, about dinner-time, in the disguise of one of his own guard. He was immediately invited to the abbot’s table, and a sirloin of beef was placed before him. The king was hungry, and ate very heartily, to the great admiration of the abbot, whose pampered stomach had been spoilt by the good fare of his house. “Well fare thy heart!” he said to his guest: “here is a cup of sack, and remember the health of his Grace thy master. I would willingly give a hundred pounds on condition that I could feed as heartily on beef as thou dost. Alas! my weak stomach will hardly digest a wing of a small rabbit or chicken.” The king pledged his host, and then, thanking him for his hospitality, departed as secretly as he had arrived. Shortly afterwards, a pursuivant suddenly made his appearance at Waltham; and, to the consternation of the whole fraternity, the abbot was carried to London, and committed a close prisoner to the Tower, where he was kept for some days strictly confined to a diet of bread and water. The severity of his imprisonment was then as suddenly relaxed, and a sirloin of beef was set before him, on which, to use the quaint expression of the old narrator of this story, “he fed as heartily as a farmer of his own grange.” The king immediately entered from a small lobby, where he had been looking on unobserved, and demanded of his prisoner a hundred pounds, the sum promised to him who should restore his lost appetite, which the abbot paid immediately, and lost no time in returning again to enjoy the good cheer of his own refectory.

We can trace, but with uncertainty, the progress of destruction with which this noble building was visited after its Dissolution. Part of the church, with the offices and other parts of the Abbey, were probably demolished for the sake of the materials, the nave only being reserved to{273} the people of Waltham to serve as a parish church. The commissioners were so unscrupulous in their plunder, that they even offered for sale the five bells in the steeple, which, however, were purchased by the parishioners. In the old books of the churchwardens, we find, under the date 1544, the item, “Received of Adam Tanner the overplus of the money which was gathered for the purchase of the bells, two pound four shillings and eleven-pence.” The ancient steeple stood in the middle of the church: it had been left in so dangerous a condition, that it was found necessary to take down the bells as soon as purchased, and to erect for them a wooden belfrey at the south-east end of the churchyard, where there stood formerly two yew-trees. A few years afterwards, in the beginning of the reign of Queen Mary, the steeple fell down: in 1556, there is an entry in the parish books, “For coles to undermine a piece of the steeple which stood after the first fall, two shillings.” The parishioners immediately began to build the present Steeple, at the west end of the church, at a very considerable expense, which was furnished from the money they had collected by the sale of the old church furniture, by subscriptions for the occasion, and by the sale of materials from the ruins of the Abbey; and, to finish it, they were at last obliged to sell the bells which they had before patriotically rescued from the fate that had absorbed so much of the rich plate and furniture of the Abbey. Several of the entries in the parish books at this time show us how the work of demolition was gradually proceeding. In 1558, at the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth, the sum of three shillings and two-pence was paid for taking down the rood-loft. In 1562, there was “paid for a bay nagge, given to Mr. Henry Denny for the Abbey wall, three pound seventeen shillings.” “Item, to labourers which did undermine the said wall, forty-nine shillings and nine-pence.” This Abbey wall was a building which extended eastward beyond the old steeple; and the churchwardens for some years afterwards carried on a great trade in the sale of lead, stone, and timber taken from it.[221] In 1563, “for the old timber in the little vestiary of St. George’s Chapel, fifteen shillings.” All memory of the site of this chapel appears to be long lost. In the same year, “for taking down the stairs in the Abbey, seven shillings eight-pence;” and “for taking down the lead from the charnel-house, and covering the steeple, eighteen shillings.”

In 1547, King Edward VI. made a grant of the conventual estate of Waltham, for thirty-one years, to Sir Anthony Denny, one of the executors of Henry VIII., who dying soon afterwards, the reversion in fee was{274} purchased by his widow. Their grandson, Sir Edward Denny, was created Baron of Waltham by King James I., and Earl of Norwich by King Charles I. From him the estate passed by marriage to James Hay, Earl of Carlisle; and it subsequently came into the possession of the family of Wake.

The Abbey of Waltham, when entire, was very extensive, including within its walls many acres of ground. The remains of the Entrance Gateway, approached by an old bridge, stand at some distance to the north of the church. This gateway is of stone, repaired with large bricks, and consists of a larger and a smaller pointed arch, with delicate mouldings; the exterior mouldings springing from figures of angels, which support shields containing the royal arms of England as they were drawn in the reign of Edward III. which appears to be the date of this part of the building. This gateway

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and the church are all that now remain standing of this once noble edifice.[222] The present parish church is formed of the nave of the ancient church, which had the form of a cross. The choir, which was a continuation of the present building towards the east, with the two transepts, and the Lady Chapel, appear to have been demolished immediately after the dissolution of the Abbey. The steeple stood at the intersection of the choir and nave with the transepts; and it appears to have fallen spontaneously a few years after the transepts and choir were taken down. By that accident, the nave was{275} left open at the east end, and it was built up with modern masonry, which, mixed with the old circular arches and windows of the original building, and with the two great western supports of the steeple which are still visible, give to this part of the church externally a singularly dilapidated appearance.

The Choir appears to have been very extensive; for the site of Harold’s Tomb, which we know was in that part of the church, perhaps near the high altar where the Holy Cross stood, is still pointed out by tradition at a spot about forty yards to the east of the present church. This choir was probably built in the reign of Henry II., when that monarch changed the character of Harold’s foundation. At that period the relics of King Harold were translated thither from a former tomb; and the author of the treatise ‘De Inventione Sanctæ Crucis Walthamensis,’ who wrote in the latter part of the twelfth century, assures us that he was present on that occasion, and that he saw the wounds on Harold’s body.[223] Fuller, speaking from tradition, says that the sepulchre of Harold was a plain tomb of grey marble, supported by “pillarets,” with a “sort of cross fleury” sculptured upon it; and he asserts that he had one of its pedestals in his own possession. Farmer, in his History of Waltham Abbey, has given an engraving of a mask, which, he says, (probably without any good reason,) was one of the ornaments of the same tomb. It is equally improbable, that the coffin discovered in the latter end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by a gardener in the service of Sir Edward Denny, was that which contained the body of the martyr of Hastings.[224] {276}Fuller, writing in the time of the Commonwealth, says that “a picture of King Harold in glass was lately to be seen in the north window of the church, till ten years since some barbarous hand beat it down under the notion of superstition.” About half a century ago another coffin was found near the same spot, containing an entire skeleton enclosed in lead. Many persons of distinction appear to have been buried at Waltham; among them are mentioned the names of Hugh Nevil, protho-forester of England, who, dying in 1222, was interred here under a noble engraved marble sepulchre; of his son John Nevil; and of Robert Passelew, archdeacon of Lewes, one of the favourites of Henry III.

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A very elegant pointed arch, now forming the entrance from the tower to the interior of the church, of which we have given a representation on a preceding page, appears to be of the reign of Henry III.; the defects observed in the upper part of its ornaments were caused by some barbarous hand, which cut away part of the sculptured stone, in order to introduce a new erection, with which the workman appears to have proceeded no farther. The Principal Entrance, which is also an elegant sharply-pointed arch, is supposed to date from the reign of Edward III. At the south-east extremity of the present building is a chapel, which bears evident marks of the age of the Tudors, although much defaced and altered. Nearly the whole of the church itself, with the exception of the modern alterations which it has undergone, is the erection of King Harold, and formed perhaps the principal part of the church as he left it. The interior, which in modern times has been miserably disfigured by thick coats of plaster and whitewash, possesses still an appearance of solemn grandeur, although its groined roof has been taken down, and its place supplied by a lower flat ceiling. The close resemblance between this interior and the interior of the nave of Durham Cathedral (built a few years after the Conquest) has frequently been noticed. The body of the nave is{277} separated from the side aisles by two rows of large and massive cylindrical pillars, ornamented with spiral and zig-zag grooves, like the similar pillars in the nave at Durham. These pillars support large circular arches, with zig-zag mouldings. Above these on each side is a second row of large arches, supported by short columns; and above these is a third series of treble arches, each consisting of one large arch, with a smaller one on each side. These latter front the principal windows by which the interior of the church is lighted. In the second or middle tier of arches there were once central columns, with arched mouldings, dividing each of the large arches into two. Between each series of arches a three-quarter pilaster moulding rises to the ceiling, and appears formerly to have sustained the groined roof. Two of the circular arches of the lower row have been altered, probably at the time

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when the present steeple was erected, to pointed arches, and carried up to the string course of the clerestory. The only remnant of the furniture and utensils of this old church is its ancient Font. The east end of the nave has been railed in to form a chancel. The whole length of the nave is a hundred and six feet; and its breadth fifty-three feet, including the aisles. The interior height is at present forty-six feet. The most interesting monument in Waltham Abbey Church is that of Sir Edward Denny and his lady, which is situated near the eastern extremity of the south aisle. Near the altar rails is a defaced grey slab, which once bore a mitred figure, probably one of the abbots.

The steeple is a massive square tower, eighty-six feet high, embattled, and supported by strong buttresses. It was erected, as has been already stated, during the reign of Queen Mary, at the expense of the parishioners. It appears from the parish books that for the first fifty-three feet the expense of building, independent of the materials, was 33s. 4d. a foot, and that the upper part cost 40s. a foot, the difference arising probably from the increase in the value of labour in the reign of Elizabeth, when the tower was completed. The principal modern alterations in this church appear to have been made between the years 1668 and 1680.[225]

The out-buildings attached to the church are on the South Side. They consist of a vestry and school-room, occupying what was formerly the Lady Chapel. This has been so much modernized, that very little of the original building can now be seen. It appears that a large portion of the money{278} expended on reparations in the latter part of the seventeenth century was applied to the building and furnishing of the school-room. Underneath this

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building is a crypt, curiously groined, which is now used as a charnel-house. This Lady Chapel, from the style of what remains of the original architecture, and the ornamental Buttresses which still exist, has been supposed to be as old as the time of Henry III.

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Waltham Abbey can boast of fewer learned men than most of the old monastic houses. Fuller mentions Roger de Waltham, canon of St. Paul’s, a writer in the thirteenth century, and John de Waltham, keeper of the privy seal to King Richard II. The same historian places Robert Fuller, the last abbot of Waltham, among the literary men of that house, because he had written a history of his abbey, which Thomas Fuller professes to have consulted: it is probable, however, that this “history” was nothing more than the register of charters and other deeds of the abbey, still preserved in the Harleian Library, which would reduce Abbot Fuller’s claim to literary honours within very modest limits. It was from a deed of Abbot Fuller, that Farmer gave one Coat of Arms belonging to this abbey, which is gules, two angels or, flying with their wings extended, with their hands holding between them a cross argent. A different coat (which is represented in a former cut) is given by Fuller the historian, along with the arms of the other mitred abbeys. At the time of its surrender in 1539, Waltham was one of the richest abbeys in the kingdom,{279} the gross amount of its revenues being, according to Speed, nearly eleven hundred pounds a-year: according to the Monasticon, the clear income was nine hundred pounds.

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The Abbey of Waltham, as we have before stated, makes no great figure in history after the Norman Conquest. An early collection of narratives of miracles supposed to have been performed by the virtues of the Holy Cross, furnishes us with some curious details of the misfortunes which befel the town and church in the days of King Stephen.[226] At that turbulent period, when every man was at war with his next neighbour, and which is naïvely characterized in the legends referred to as being seditionis tempore, the town of Waltham, as part of the dower of Adeliza, Queen of Henry I., belonged to her second husband, William de Albini, Earl of Arundel, between whom and the outlawed baron, Geoffrey de Mandeville, a deadly feud had arisen. We shall probably have another occasion to speak at large of the exploits of Geoffrey de Mandeville. One day he brought or sent to Waltham a body of his Flemish auxiliaries, who set fire to the town, and the flames spreading quickly, communicated with the houses of the canons. In the midst of the confusion, the invaders penetrated to the church, where the town’s-people had deposited the most valuable part of their effects. The canons, who appear to have considered themselves entitled to the special protection of Geoffrey de Mandeville (as Earl of Essex), after vain endeavours to prevail with his men by fair words to desist from their enterprise, had recourse to what was then looked upon as a last and desperate expedient—they dragged from its place above the altar the Holy Cross, which was supposed to spread its protection over the neighbourhood, and threw it upon the floor: and it was handed down as a tradition of the place, that in the very hour of the throwing down of the Cross, Geoffrey de Mandeville received his death-wound at the siege of Burwell. The canons of Waltham boasted that their church was rescued from the rage of the plunderers by divine interposition; and that five Flemings, who had already filled their sacks with precious articles, were thrown miraculously into such a state of mental confusion that they could not find their way out of the church, but remained wandering among the boxes and packages with which the interior of the church was encumbered, until they were taken{280} by the townsmen on their return from the pursuit of their enemies, whom they had driven away. The canons now rescued the offenders from the vengeance of the people of Waltham, and, after having administered to them the monastic discipline, namely, a severe flogging, they set them at liberty. One of their leaders, named Humphrey de Barentone, who, entering the church on horseback, had been active in inciting the Flemings to plunder and violence, is said to have been struck with madness (perhaps with paralysis) as he was leaving the town: he was carried back to the church, and died within three days; but not till he had repented and made some compensation to the church of Waltham, by giving to it fourteen acres of land in ‘Luchentuna.’

Environs.—The neighbourhood of Waltham presents a few historical sites, and some interesting localities. The river Lea was the scene of Isaac Walton’s piscatory rambles. It is now chiefly remarkable as giving motion to a number of powder-mills. The neighbouring hamlet of Waltham Cross contains one of the few that remain of the crosses erected by Edward I., in memory of his beloved queen Eleanor. To the south of Waltham is Enfield Chase; and a short distance to the west is the site of the Palace of Theobald. To the north may still be seen the mouldering ruins of the Nunnery of Cheshunt, said to have been founded in the reign of Henry III.

There is still a vague legendary tradition of a subterranean communication between the Abbey of Waltham and Cheshunt Nunnery. But the monks of the former house, who are accused of having sought comfort among the gentle occupants of the latter for the troubles and vexations they received from the litigious lords of the manor, appear to have sought no such hidden road by which to pay their visits to the nunnery. The tales which continued to be current in the time of Fuller, show that there must have been some ground for the scandal. The following story has found a place in the “Church History:”—

“One Sir Henry Colt, of Nether Hall in Essex, much in favour with King Henry VIII. for ‘his merry conceits,’ came to Waltham late at night, being informed by spies that the monks were on a visit at Cheshunt Nunnery. In order to intercept them on their return, he pitched a buckstall (which was used to take deer in the forest) in the narrowest place in the marsh, where he knew the monks must pass, and placed some of his confederates to watch it. The monks, as was expected, ran all into the net; where they were secured till next morning, when Sir Henry Colt brought the king to show him his game. The merry monarch is said to have burst into a loud fit of laughter, and to have declared that, ‘although he had often seen sweeter, he had never seen fatter venison.’”

Authorities.—Michel, Chroniques Anglo-Normandes.—The Legend De Invent. Sanct. Crucis Walthamensis, MS. Harl. 3776.—Miracles of the Holy Cross, MS. Cotton Julius, D. VI.—Fuller.—Farmer’s History of Waltham Abbey, Lond. 1735.—Wace’s Chronicle of the Norman Conquest.—Leland, &c.

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CARISBROOKE CASTLE,

ISLE OF WIGHT.

{281}

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CARISBROOKE CASTLE,

Isle of Wight.
When as the pliant Muse, with plain and easy flight
Betwixt her silver wings is wafted to the Wight,
That isle which jutteth out into the sea so farre,
Her offspring traineth up in exercise of warre.
Of all the southern isles she holds the highest place,
And th’ greatest coronal hath been in Britain’s grace.—Polyolbion.
AMONG the Anglo-Norman fortresses which so long upheld the feudal power, and maintained the independence of the British Islands, that of Carisbrooke holds a distinguished place. Crowning an elevated position near the centre of the island,—of which it has been for ages the ornament and safeguard,—and from its keep and battlements commanding every approach,{282} it had all the advantages which the necessities and warlike spirit of the times could demand. It appears to have been selected as a post of defence from the remotest period of the Saxon monarchy, of which it still retains many substantial vestiges; and although nothing has been discovered that connects it by positive evidence with the Roman epoch, there can be no reasonable doubt of its having been one of the numerous military stations occupied by that people for the vigorous maintenance of its power.

At last, after the lapse of four centuries, the sway of the Cæsars began to wax faint; and when the victorious legions were finally withdrawn from the British shores, the natives, taking advantage of the strong places which had previously kept them in awe, seized them to their own use, and over the Roman substruction erected, after their own manner, the bulwarks of native strength and independence. Of this the keep, or donjon, hereafter to be noticed, presents clear and distinct evidence; but whether comprised in the fifty castles reconstructed by Alfred—under the circumstances already stated in this work—remains uncertain. From the localities, however, and other particulars which distinguished the castles so built or repaired on Roman foundations, it appears highly probable that Carisbrooke owes its preservation to that wise and patriotic monarch. Continually harassed by foreign marauders who infested these narrow seas, he found no measure so effectual as that of erecting castles and garrisoned forts on all those points of the coast most exposed to their piratical fury. But after the death of this monarch, and the conflicting policy which, during a century and a half, prepared the way for Norman supremacy, the national bulwarks had suffered from neglect; they were mostly ungarrisoned, and nearly all so much dilapidated that they could offer no effectual resistance against an invading enemy—a fact which readily accounts for the easy conquest which awaited the Norman army on its first landing on the coast of Sussex.

After the battle of Hastings, the Conqueror, with that characteristic policy which marked his actions, adopted every measure for the consolidation of his authority, by portioning out to his martial followers the domestic strongholds and landed possessions of the vanquished and proscribed natives. Of the Norman barons who then shared the profuse liberality of their leader, we have mentioned several instances in the course of the present work. But among the chief men who owed him fealty, and whose friendship and faithful services it was important to conciliate by rewards for the past, and the prospect of others in future, none came in for a more enviable share of his favour than his near kinsman,

William Fitz-Osborne.—This warlike Norman had accompanied his Chief in the expedition to England; and, among the brilliant circle of martial{283} attendants who had espoused his cause, stood eminently distinguished for his talents and experience. He had the entire confidence of his sovereign; and at the battle of Hastings, where Roger Montgomery had also a high

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command, performed the honourable and arduous duties of marshal of the army. Recommended to the Conqueror by the ties of blood, as well as by the high military talents which he had displayed in the field, he receiving a grant of the Isle of Wight,—“Ita, Gulielmus Filius Osborni, Veetam Insulam conquisivit, primusque Vectæ Dominus erat.” He was made constable of the newly-erected Castles of Winchester and York, and installed in the high office of Chief Justiciary for the King in the north. In the exercise of his new authority as Lord of Wight, he appears to have acted towards the old inhabitants with a rigour and exclusiveness which strongly evinced his distrust of their professed attachment to the foreign dynasty. Proceeding to the very extreme of the feudal despotism with which he had been so recently invested, he expelled the native inhabitants, divided their possessions among his Norman followers and retainers, and, reconstructing the ancient fortress of Carisbrooke, surrounded himself with a host of martial adherents, who held their new possessions on condition of military service to the chief, wheresoever and whensoever it should be required.

Having had the first grant of the Isle of Wight from the Conqueror, “to be held as freely as he himself held the kingdom of England,” Fitz-Osborne instituted the Knights’ Court, which was one of the privileges enjoyed by him as lord of the island, namely, that of holding a judicial tribunal called “Curia Militum,” from the judges being such as held a knight’s fee from the lord of the island, who “gave judgment as courts of equity without a jury.”

To this powerful Baron the whole of the Norman work now remaining in the Castle of Carisbrooke may be attributed. In Domesday Book he is{284} called William Fitz-Osborne, Earl of Hereford—a name familiar in the pages of our early history. But his enterprising career was cut short by the casualties of war, when he had been scarcely four years in possession of the island; for, being sent by the Queen to support Ernulf, Count of Hainault, who was then enforcing his family claim to the earldom of Flanders, both she and the count were slain in battle. Dugdale is of opinion that he adopted this quarrel from the relationship which subsisted between that nobleman and himself—he having married for his second wife Rechildis, the mother of Count Ernulf, the Queen’s nephew. His remains were interred with great ceremony in the Abbey of Cormeilles, which he had founded, and in which one of his sons had previously become a monk. Bequeathing his Norman possessions to his second son, those of England, including the earldom of Hereford and lordship of the Isle of Wight, descended to his eldest son,

Roger de Bretteville—so named from the place of his birth.—Taking part with the turbulent spirits of his day, and highly irritated by the King’s refusal to sanction the marriage of his sister Emma with Ralph de Waer, or Ralph de Guader, Earl of Norfolk, he took advantage of the King’s absence in Normandy to have the union solemnized by a grand public festival, at which were present many of the great military tenants of the crown, who, readily entering into the rash views of Hereford, concerted measures for dethroning the King. The conspiracy, however, was divulged by Waltheof, Earl of Northumberland, who was nevertheless beheaded for his participation therein at Winchester. They were routed by the King’s forces at a place called Fagadune; and the wreck of the insurgents escaping to Norwich, fortified themselves in the castle for a time, but were soon forced to surrender. Earl Roger made his escape to Hereford; but being apprehended and brought to trial, he was found guilty of levying war against his sovereign, and condemned to perpetual imprisonment and the loss of his estates. The rigours of confinement and confiscation, however, do not appear to have subdued his haughty spirit; for at the feast of Easter, when the King sent him a gracious present of certain costly robes—consisting of a royal mantle, an inner surcoat of silk, and an upper garment lined with precious furs, in remembrance of the station he once held in the King’s favour—Earl Roger caused a fire to be lighted in his prison, and, throwing the royal present into it, stood by with a look of complaisance, and chafing his hands at the blaze, till the whole present was consumed. This insane and insolent act being immediately reported to the King, he swore his usual oath—“per splendorem Dei”—by the glory of God—that in future Earl Roger’s only robe should be the roof of his prison! He kept his word: the Earl was{285} remanded to strict confinement, and died about six years afterwards, leaving two sons, Raynald and Roger, both excellent soldiers under King Henry I. Carisbrooke Castle and the honor attached now reverted to the crown, in which it continued till the next reign, when it was granted to—

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Richard de Redvers, first of that name, being nephew to the late earl, and son of Baldwin de Brion. Remaining faithful to Henry in the contest which followed, he was rewarded by many additional marks of royal favour—the chief of which were those of Earl of Devon and Lord of the Isle of Wight. When Henry I. granted not only his lands, but also the dominion over the whole Isle of Wight to Richard de Redvers, to be held in escuage at fifteen knights’ fees and a half, the crown had from that time no demand on the landholders of the island. The king received escuage, or scutage, from the lord of the island only, whose tenants were chargeable only in aid to him; they held their lands as “of the Castle of Carisbrooke,” whence, in the Liber Fœdorum, it is styled the Honor of Carisbrooke. They were chargeable towards making the lord’s eldest son a knight, and to the marrying of his daughter. All heirs under age were in the wardship of the lord of the island; the tenants were bound to defend the castle for forty days at their own charges whenever it should be attacked, and were also to attend the lord at his coming into, and at his leaving, the island. The lord had the return of the king’s writs, he nominated his own bailiffs, and his constable was coroner within the island; he had a chase, now called the Forest of Parkhurst; and a fence month not only there, but in certain moors, with a free warren on the east side of the river Medina. He had also wrecks, waifs, and strays, with fairs and markets at Newport and Yarmouth.—Sir R. Worsley.{286}

His great liberality to the church secured him the peaceable enjoyment of what he retained for his own use; and with the king’s favour, and the monks’ benison, he quietly put off this life in the first year of the reign of King Stephen, and was succeeded by his son,

Baldwin de Redvers, or Rivers.—In the contest between the Empress Maud and King Stephen—to which we have adverted at some length in our notice of Arundel—Baldwin espoused the cause of the lady; and putting Carisbrooke and the other assailable points of his insular lordship in a state of defence, placed them at her service. The policy and tactics of King Stephen, however, prevailed. The warlike engines which he had invented for the defence of his Castle, at “the expense of much treasure,” proved of little avail, so that he was obliged to capitulate, and with his wife and family took refuge beyond sea. Matters, however, were afterwards so far accommodated, that he was again permitted to resume his hereditary station and dignities as “Lord of the Isle” and Earl of Devon. Among many pious works and benefactions, he founded the Cistercian Abbey of Quarr—the ruins of which still attract admiration in the neighbourhood; for it amounted to an article of faith in those times, that whoever should build a castle, was bound to erect and endow some convent, cloister, or priory in its vicinity, so that the military baron might thereby secure the prayers of the monks, and a family sepulchre.

Of this family and name were several other “Lords of the Isle,” who held the Castle and Honor of Carisbrooke in succession, and who were distinguished in the history between the period just mentioned and the death of King John. Among these was—

William de ‘Vernon’—from his having been educated in that place. He was one of the four nobles who supported the silken canopy over the head of Richard Cœur-de-Lion, at his second coronation at Winchester, after he had returned from the dungeon of Dürrenstein—an Austrian castle on the Danube. He also, as Earl of the Isle of Wight, united with the other barons in their successful resistance against the extortion and tyranny of King John, and was instrumental in wresting from him the grand bulwark of English liberty. (King John, it may be remembered, selected the Isle of Wight as a place of safe retreat; and here he lived for several months with a few members of his court, in expectation of subsidies from France.) William de Vernon resided mostly at his Castle of Carisbrooke, which, though far from being so extensive as many other fortresses of that day, was still a place of great strength, and had been successively repaired and embellished by the resident lords of the island. It commanded then, as it does in the present day, enchanting views of the intervening channel—the adjacent coast{287}—and of that inland scenery which is so justly admired, so eagerly studied and imitated on the canvas of the painter. In that remote period, however, the landscape had probably a much more forest-like appearance than at

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later periods; for the Norman fashion of appropriating large districts to the pleasures of the chase, which was considered an indispensable adjunct to martial training, had been long adopted in the Isle of Wight, where an extensive park, filled with game, surrounded the Castle, and threw open a vast field of amusement to the feudal lord and his retainers, several of whom attended him in the chase, as they were bound to do on the day of battle. We observe, in the later history of the island, that Edward III. imposed on John Maltravers, for certain lands held by him in the county of Dorset, the following service: That he “should attend the king at his Castle of Carisbrooke for one day at his own charge, both for himself and horse, and afterwards to remain during the king’s pleasure; but both himself and horse in that case were to be maintained by the crown.

At the death of Earl Baldwin, the Castle of Carisbrooke was placed by King John under the sheriff of the county; the wardship of his son was given to Falk de Briant, (who had married the mother of the young count,) whom the historian of St. Alban’s stigmatizes as an impious, ignoble, and base-conditioned man. For in noticing the death of this “Lady of the Isle,” he characterizes her as “nobilis ac generosa domina quondam uxor Falcasii cruentissimi proditoris;” and adds—“Copulabatur tamen eidem ignobili nobilis; pia impio; turpi speciosa, invita et coacta; tradente eam Johanne tyranno. De qua copula quidam ait satis eleganter;

“Lex connectit eos, amor, et concordia lecti.
Sed lex qualis? amor qualis? concordia qualis?
Lex exlex; amor exosus; concordia discors.”
Our space, however, will not allow us to quote the frightful dream related by Father Matthew, which transformed this “wolf into a lamb,” and sent him to prostrate himself before the Abbot of St. Alban’s and his brethren, as the most abject of sinners.

Baldwin, the fifth of that name, who, along with the title of Earl of Devon,{288} had enjoyed the lordship of Carisbrooke, married a princess of Savoy, cousin of Queen Eleanor; and at the nuptials of the Duke of Brittany with Beatrice, the daughter of King Henry III., received the honour of knighthood. He gave the first charter of franchise to the town of Yarmouth, and obtained the grant of a fair and market to be held at Carisbrooke—a grant of great importance in those times. At an entertainment given about two years afterwards by his kinsman Peter, Count of Savoy, he, together with Richard, Earl of Gloucester, and others, is said to have been poisoned. But in those times any disease that powerfully affected the digestive organs was frequently construed as the result of poison. That such was in numerous instances the fact, is not to be denied; but that every death, preceded by symptoms like those that usually supervened on the employment of deleterious drugs, was an act of poisoning, is no more to be credited than that consumption, or marasmus, was, in later times, the effect of witchcraft. But when, in reality, the art of poisoning was both studied and practised, it was natural in the bystanders to explain the mystery of any peculiarly sudden and fatal disease by ascribing it to poison. The frequent recurrence of these facts or suspicions in the old chronicles, is a proof that the practice was universally admitted; and it is painful to observe the ingenious precautions adopted by persons of rank, in order to avert the danger to which they were daily exposed in the use of their domestic viands. But, reserving this curious subject for a more convenient season, we pass to the next lord of Carisbrooke; and the late Earl of Baldwin leaving no surviving issue, the honors and estates devolved on his sister,

Isabella de Fortibus, so named from her having married William de Fortibus, Earl of Albemarle.—This lady, after the death of her husband, took up her residence in Carisbrooke Castle, where she lived in great state, appeared much in public, and obtained great popularity as Lady of the Isle—Domina Insulæ—both from her attention to the general interests of the inhabitants, and her particular liberality to religious houses. She was not so blind, however, as to permit herself to be overreached by her monastic neighbour, the Abbot of Quarrera, by whom many grave complaints were lodged against her for having only scattered her pious liberalities with one hand, that she might levy contributions with the other. If in one instance she conferred a benefaction to the church, she withheld its lands on another; so that at last the murmurs of abbots and priors became so loud that they reached the king’s ear, and produced an order for the sheriff of Hampshire to take the Abbey lands of Quarr under royal protection till matters between the countess and the convent could be adjusted. Our limits do not permit us to enlarge upon this lady’s administration of her authority; but it is certain{289} that her residence at Carisbrooke Castle was highly beneficial to the island; and to her charter of franchise the beautiful town of Newport owes its

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foundation and subsequent prosperity. She had five children—three sons and two daughters, Hawise and Avelina; the youngest of whom surviving her brothers and sister, and inheriting the vast possessions of her family, married King Henry’s son, Edmund Crouchback, but died without issue in her mother’s lifetime.

On the demise of this countess, the will by which, within a few hours of her death, she had conveyed the Isle of Wight to Edward I., was disputed by the heir-at-law, Hugh Courtenay; but after much evidence produced on both sides, it became finally vested in the king, who retained it in his own hands during life. At the accession of the weak and unfortunate son who succeeded the magnanimous Edward, the lordship of Carisbrooke and of the Isle of Wight was bestowed on his unprincipled favourite—

Piers Gavestone.—But this grant having occasioned great disapprobation among the nobility, who now gave open expression to their sentiments, Gavestone held the lordship only twelve months, when it was bestowed by the King on his son Edward, Earl of Chester—the renowned Edward III., who also retained possession of it during his life, and conducted the affairs of the island by wardens selected from the resident gentlemen, and who, in right of office, had their residence in the Castle. The popularity of this sovereign was acknowledged by many acts of valour on the part of the inhabitants; who, on every instance of aggression from French or other hostile cruisers, repulsed the invaders, and preserved the enviable title of their “invincible island.” In the reign of his grandson Richard II., the lordship of the Isle and Castle of Carisbrooke was granted to

William Montacute, son of the first earl of that name, who, for his service in apprehending Mortimer in the Queen’s chamber—a scene immortalized by Drayton—was elevated to the earldom of Salisbury. This lord of the isle was a mirror of chivalry; had filled with honour the highest posts of the state, and in the body-guard of Edward III. had performed many gallant exploits, which still figure in the martial chronicles of the fourteenth century. He had the misfortune, however, amidst all his glory, to slay his only son in a grand tilting-match at Windsor. But we shall have to introduce this illustrious{290} family under another and more appropriate head of the work in hand. He died without issue; directing by will, that his body should be interred in the Conventual church of Bustleham, founded by his father; that every day, until his corpse should arrive at that place, seventy-five shillings should be distributed in alms to three hundred poor; that twenty-four poor persons, each dressed in a gown of black cloth with a red hood, should bear torches of eight pounds weight on the day of his funeral: also, that there should be nine wax lights and three ‘mortars’ of wax about his body, and banners of his arms placed on every pillar of the church; moreover, that thirty pounds should be given to the monks to sing trentals and pray for his soul; and lastly, that his executors should expend five hundred marks in finishing the sacred structure at Bustleham, and in erecting a tomb there for his father and mother; and another for himself and his son, who had married the daughter of Richard, Earl of Arundel, and was killed in the tilting-match already mentioned. The above ceremonial, as related by Dugdale, presents so striking a sketch of the manners of the time, and of the “pomp and circumstance” which this lord of the island had “willed” should commemorate his final departure, that we have inserted it by way of colouring to the general picture. The black gowns—scarlet hoods—lugubrious chant—blazing torches—waving banners—waxen tapers and mortars—all unite to form a spectacle that must have left a vivid impression on the minds of the spectators. The ceremony which attended the obsequies of his widow is no less curious as a picture of the times, and will be found in the same authority. It is supposed that this nobleman, during his lordship of the isle, contributed several important alterations and repairs to the castle; a circumstance which is rendered more probable by the arms of the family, consisting of three lozenges, being placed on a buttress at the corner of part of the governor’s lodging. The next personage who figured as lord of Carisbrooke was

Edward, Earl of Rutland, son of Edmund de Langley, fifth son of Edward III., and Duke of Albemarle, whose numerous posts of high honour and public trust evince the entire confidence reposed in him by King Richard, who found him but too pliant an instrument in the execution of his atrocious designs, of which some notice has already been taken in our account of the “Fitzalan Conspiracy.” The crimes, however, to which he was then accessary, and which, by the confiscations which ensued, added greatly to his possessions, brought at last the stroke of retribution; for on Bolingbroke’s ascending the throne, he was degraded in rank. He then entered into a conspiracy to take away the King’s life at Windsor; but confessing the treason, was pardoned, restored to honour and confidence, inherited his father’s title as Duke of York, and, after having filled the high post of Lieutenant of the Duchy of Aquitaine,{291} fell at last in the battle of Agincourt. Leaving no family, he was succeeded in his rights to the castle and manor of Carisbrooke and the island, by his surviving duchess, Philippa, daughter of John, Lord de Mohun, Baron of Dunster. To this lady succeeded, in the seventeenth of Henry VI.,

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Humphrey “the Good,” Duke of Gloucester, whose character and death have been already detailed in our account of St. Albans. He appears to have been Seignior of Carisbrooke and the Isle of Wight during a period of eight years; and after his death the office of Constable of Carisbrooke was held by Henry Tranchard, in virtue of a royal grant. But the greatest event in the history of the castle and the island at this time, was the coronation of a King of the Isle of Wight in the person of

Henry Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick, son of Richard, Earl of Warwick, who had previously filled the high office of Regent of France. “Henricus Comes de Warwic a rege Henrico 6ᵗᵒ. cui charissimus erat coronatus est in regem de Wight et postea nominatus primus comes totius Angliæ.” At this august ceremony the king assisted in person, and with his own hands placed the crown on the head of his subject-monarch—but to whom the title of king conveyed no regal power, and invested him with no authority in the island; the lordship of which was still possessed by Duke Humphrey, who survived the new-made and short-lived king for some time. To this youthful sovereign—“cropt in the flower of his youth, and before his heroic virtues could be known,” we have already alluded in the historical notice of Tewkesbury; and in that of Warwick will be found several interesting particulars of his family and political connexions. Subsequent to this period of its history, the lordship of the castle and island appears to have been successively enjoyed by Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York; Edmund, Duke of Somerset; Henry his son; Anthony, Earl Rivers; and Sir Edward Wydeville his brother, who was appointed to the Captaincy of the island immediately after the accession of Henry VII. Of Sir Edward, the following incidents are recorded by Holinshed, Dugdale, Worsley, and{292} others:—Three years after his appointment to the island, when the rupture between the Duke of Brittany and the King of France was at its height, Wydeville, or Woodville, presuming on the King’s partiality to the Duke’s cause, undertook to do what he conceived would prove highly acceptable to his royal master, and asked permission to take arms in the Duke’s interest. His offer of service, however, being declined, he still indulged the belief that in secret the king was favourable to his design, and only withheld his approbation that he, who had undertaken the office of mediator between the parties, might not be supposed to violate the rules of strict neutrality. Stimulated by this persuasion, Wydeville set instantly to work, and assembling the islanders at Carisbrooke, addressed them in a powerful harangue, appealing to them as sons of the “invincible island,” and urging them to take arms in a cause which the king had much at heart, and who would certainly acknowledge their loyal service in a manner which would secure blessings to themselves and their posterity. His eloquence, his political influence, and the well-known intrepidity of his character, had their due effect; and from all parts of the island, veterans and raw recruits flew to his standard. From the multitude assembled, he was enabled to select as fine a body of men as ever drew sword or bow; and hastening his preparations, a powerful force was speedily equipped and ready for action. They consisted, says Worsley, of “forty gentlemen, and four hundred common soldiers”—all men of stamp and martial courage—the flower of the island; and with these, dressed in white coats and red crosses, he embarked at the small port of St. Helen’s in four vessels, and set sail for Brittany. The hour of his departure was anxiously watched by the assembled population, who crowded the shore—all anxious to take a last look of their fathers, sons, brothers, lovers, friends, and companions, who now, elated with hope and buoyed up with assurances of many brilliant rewards, felt like men who were only leaving penury and obscurity to reap an abundant harvest, and bask in the light of a victorious sun. From every religious house in the island, monks had arrived to consecrate the departing banners, and pronounce a blessing on the martial sons of the isle. But the scene was such as may be more easily imagined than described. There might be sorrow indeed, when a mother parted with her son—a maid with her lover—or when a Jew beheld his creditor on the point of escape! But the general expression was that of exultation. All predicted speedy triumphs and a safe return; but how different was the result!

Landed on the French shore, the islanders were joined by fifteen hundred of the Duke’s forces, all dressed in the same uniform; and thus welcomed and encouraged, they longed ardently for battle. Their desire was soon{293} granted: meeting the King’s army at St. Aubin, a sanguinary conflict ensued; but neither the unflinching gallantry of the islanders, nor the firm, intrepid example of their captain, could avert the terrible disaster which followed. The Duke’s army was completely routed. The English, who had sworn either to keep the field as victors, or to cover it with their dead bodies, stood like a wall of brass around their leader, and again and again repulsed the iron columns that successively charged and recoiled before them. But, overwhelmed by numbers, and deserted by those whom they had come to serve, they fought with such desperation, that of the whole force only one man is said to have returned with the mournful tidings of the day.

The fate of this expedition threw the whole island into mourning: not a family but had lost some of its members or relatives; gloom and distraction were everywhere apparent; the Abbey of Quarr, priory, and chapel, resounded with solemn anthems and masses for the dead—masses which, whatever rest they procured for the slain, were dearly purchased by the

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survivors, many of whom spent their last penny in the purchase of a requiem. All that Scotland lost by the Field of Flodden, this island lost—only in a smaller degree—at the battle of St. Aubin—the flower of its chivalry, youth, and talent. With the exception of the grey veterans who still trod the battlements, or stood sentinel at the Wicket of Carisbrooke Castle, there was scarcely a man left fit to bear arms.

From the date of this ill-fated expedition, the lordship of Carisbrooke became part of the royal demesne, and has continued ever since annexed to the crown. Among the king’s lieutenants and wardens who had successively command of the castle and military force of the island, between the reign of Edward IV. and that of Elizabeth, several names occur which held distinguished places in the history of their day; but however pleasing it might be to enrich our pages with traits of individual character, acts of public service, and instances of private worth, we must relinquish this task for the present; but with the history of the old baronial families, as we proceed, most of the traits and anecdotes here omitted will be found incorporated. It may be mentioned, however, in passing, that in the captainship of Richard Worsley the island was visited by Henry VIII., who, attended by his favourite, Lord Cromwell—then constable of the castle, and afterwards beheaded—partook of the various entertainments prepared for him at the Captain’s seat of Appuldurcumbe. The object of the King’s visit on this occasion, observes the historian, appears to have been “to amuse himself{294} with hawking, or some other species of chase,” as he had some time previously, in a letter dated “at our manʳof Otland,” given strict orders for the preservation of the game in the royal demesne.

We shall now pass on to a later epoch, in order to take a glance of the Castle of Carisbrooke, as it stood when garrisoned by the troops of Henry’s magnanimous daughter, Queen Elizabeth. Hitherto the personal valour and independent spirit of the inhabitants had been sufficient to protect the Isle of Wight from the violence of enemies, to which, by its natural position, it was continually exposed. Now, however, it was deemed expedient by government to strengthen it by the construction of new forts, and the better appointment of those that had stood the waste of centuries. With this view, the master-fort of the island, the Castle of Carisbrooke, underwent a thorough change. What was old was repaired and accommodated to the modern art of war; extensive additions, barracks, arsenals, and outer works—as shown in the plan—were added; so that whatever was considered by the engineers of Elizabeth’s reign as necessary for a military fortress, was carefully bestowed on that of Carisbrooke. The embrasures, in which rested the ponderous ordnance of modern warfare, contrasted strongly with the diminutive loopholes through which had glanced the feathered shafts of Fitz-Osborne; while the tramp of musketeers and troopers, who now paced its battlements and crowded its barracks, gave to the ancient precincts much of the stir and animation of a great citadel. But the “Invincible Armada,” which had presented so many terrors—and for the effectual resistance of which so many preparations had been made—passed harmlessly by, to waste its strength in

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conflict with the waves. The castle at this time was under the command of Sir George Carey, “captain” or “governor” of the island,—whose Residence, with the barracks adjoining, forms a prominent feature in the castle. But in the absence of military events, the following anecdote, in proof of the peace and harmony which prevailed among the inhabitants at that time, occurs in the Memoirs of Sir John Oglander: “I have heard,” says he, “and partly know it to be true, that not only heretofore there was no lawyer or attorney in our island; but that, in Sir George Carey’s time, an attorney coming to settle in the island, he was, with a pound of candles dangling at his heels, lighted, with bells about his legs, and hunted out of the island;{295} insomuch as our ancestors lived here so quietly and securely, being neither troubled to go to London nor Winchester, so they seldom or never went out of the island—insomuch that when they went to London, thinking it an East India voyage, they always made their wills.”—We now return to a survey of

The Castle—which has undergone little or no alteration since the above period—and gladly avail ourselves of Sir Richard Worsley’s authority as the ground-work of the short sketch which follows. Considering that the principal difference between a Saxon and Norman castle consisted in the former having built one regular entire fortification round, or as nearly so as the nature of the ground would admit; while the latter built theirs in two distinct fortifications—the keep, and the base-court; it has been concluded by Strutt and others, that the keep of Carisbrooke Castle is entirely of ancient British or Saxon workmanship, and that the base-court was added by the Normans. Of the original Saxon fortress, rebuilt by Fitz-Osborne, the walls enclose about an acre and a half, and in figure are nearly a rectangular parallelogram, having the angles rounded. The greatest space is from east to west. The old or Norman Castle is surrounded by a more modern fortification, faced with stone, of an irregular pentagonal form, defended by five bastions. These outworks, which are in circuit about three quarters of a mile and surrounded by a deep ditch, circumscribe in the whole about twenty acres. They were added in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and constructed by the Italian engineer Genebella, on the same plan as those of Antwerp. The work was undertaken at the representation of the governor, Sir George Carey, when the country was menaced by the Spanish Armada. In aid of the expenses, Queen Elizabeth gave four thousand pounds; the gentlemen of the island gave four hundred more, and the commonalty contributed their personal labour by digging the outward ditch gratis. For the following particulars the reader is referred to the Ground Plan at the close of the present subject.

On a small projecting stone on the north-east corner is carved the date M.D.XCVIII. The entrance is on the west side in the curtain, between two bastions through a small stone gateway; on the arch of which is the same date, with the initial letters E. R. (p. 296.) This gate leads to a second of much greater antiquity, machicolated, and flanked by two large round towers. It is supposed to have been built by Lord Woodville in the time of Edward IV., his arms being engraved on a stone at the top, and the Roses of York on each side. The old gate with its wicket (p. 293), of strong lattice-work, fastened with large nails at every crossing, is still remaining, and opens into the castle-yard. Entering the area on the right hand stands the chapel of St. Nicholas, with{296} its enclosed Cemetery. The present building was erected on the ruins of an ancient chapel endowed about the time that Domesday Book was compiled. Over the original chapel was an Armory, containing breast, back, and head pieces for two or three troops of horse; but when defensive armour went out of use, they were sold by order of Lord Cadogan, then governor. Over the

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door is carved G. II. 1738; and by a stone tablet at the east end, we are informed that it was rebuilt during the government of Lord Lymington. Farther towards the left are the ruins of some buildings, said to be those in which

King Charles was confined; and a window is shown as that through which he attempted to escape. Beyond these are the barracks and governor’s house, (see page 294,) which contain several good rooms with coved ceilings, and have been occasionally used for a military hospital; and certainly, with regard to air and situation, a more salubrious station could not have been selected. On a mount, raised considerably above the other buildings, stands

The Keep, or Donjon.—Its figure (as seen p. 281, 283, and in the plan) is an irregular polygon; the ascent to it is by seventy-two steps up the side of the mount, and there are more within—each step is about nine inches. This multangular tower bears evident marks of great antiquity: some of the angles are strengthened by walling of hewn stone, which was probably added under Edward IV. when the great gate was rebuilt. There is a well within this keep, said to be three hundred feet deep; but it has, like that in Arundel Castle, been partly filled up as useless and dangerous. The battlements command a most extensive and beautiful prospect, which is not confined to the island only, but takes in the New Forest and Portsdown, with the sea intervening at several points, and much picturesque scenery adjoining. At the south-east angle of the keep stands the remains of another tower, (cut p. 285,) called

Mountjoy’s Tower, probably in honour of the nobleman of that name,{297} governor of Tourney in the time of Henry VIII. The walls of this tower are in some places eighteen feet thick, and still command a beautiful prospect, though less extensive than that from the keep. The ramparts between these towers is about twenty feet high and eight feet thick, including a parapet of two feet and a half, which was carried quite round the castle. Under a small building in the castle-yard, adjoining the governor’s house, is

The Garrison Well, from which the water is drawn by means of a large windlass-wheel, turned by an ass. On a former occasion this duty was performed

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during a period of more than forty years by the same animal, which, on account of his services, was long one of the great curiosities of the place. Down the well it is usual to drop a nail, or even a pin, which, after a lapse of three seconds, produces a sound much greater than can be well conceived by those who have not actually heard it. Another experiment is often made in showing this well to strangers—namely, that of letting down, by means of a pulley, a lighted lamp in a wooden basin, which in descending occasions a loud noise, from the resistance of the air, like a hollow wind or distant thunder; and as the lamp floats upon the surface of the water, the compact masonry of the well—which is partly cut through the rock—is distinctly visible. The water furnished by the castle-well is remarkably pure and sparkling; and in instances where it has been carried to India and back, it has still retained its native purity.

The Governor’s House (see p. 294) contains several spacious apartments, but now unfurnished, and only inhabited by the cicerone of the castle. Like the additions above mentioned, it is of the Elizabethan epoch, and externally has a rather picturesque appearance—its gables and tall chimneys much resembling buildings of similar date in the Netherlands. At the conclusion of the late war, the garrison consisted of a governor, a lieutenant-governor, a captain, a master gunner, and three assistants. The salary of the governor was twelve hundred pounds, and that of the lieutenant-governor three hundred and sixty-five pounds per annum.{298}

The castle has been on various occasions attacked by hostile fleets and marauders, and as often to the loss and discomfiture of the assailants. Of these attacks several instances are related by the chief historian of the island—Sir Richard Worsley. The island, however, had continued comparatively unmolested till the reign of Richard II., at which time, says Stowe, “The French took that invincible isle, more by craft than force.” In the preceding reign a landing having been effected by the French, the inhabitants fled for refuge to Carisbrooke Castle, then defended by Sir Hugh Tyrrill, who slew a great number of the assailants. During the siege a party of the intruders coming down a narrow lane towards the castle, fell into an ambuscade, and were mostly cut off. The lane is still called Deadman’s Lane. Unable to subdue the castle, the French withdrew; but, before they re-embarked, obliged the natives to redeem their houses from being burnt by a heavy contribution. Again, in the reign of Henry V., a body of French adventurers arrived on the island, and boasted that they would keep their Christmas there. But as about a thousand of them were driving cattle towards their ships, they were suddenly attacked by the islanders, and obliged to leave not only their plunder, but many of their men behind them. On another occasion, when a French fleet had arrived, and demanded a subsidy, the islanders gave them a hardy denial; but told them that, if they had a mind to try their prowess, they should have full permission to land, with six hours to refresh themselves; after which the natives would meet them in the field. But the invitation was not accepted.—For other particulars, the reader is referred to Worsley’s military history of the island.

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Thus far our description has been confined to times and personages when Carisbrooke Castle was a fortress and palace; we now proceed to view it as the prison of King Charles I.—an event which excites more real interest than all the other circumstances in its history. At the time when the great question between the King and his Parliament agitated the whole country, Carisbrooke Castle was under the command of the Earl of Portland. This nobleman stood high in the estimation of the inhabitants; for, in a petition numerously signed and presented to Parliament in his behalf, they expressly mention him as “their noble, much honoured, and beloved captayne and governor.” He was nevertheless superseded, and Colonel Brett appointed to the command. In the interim, the Countess of Portland and her five children, accompanied by her husband’s brother and sister, took refuge in the castle. The desire of holding it for the king was by no means abandoned;{299} and by her presence in the fortress she hoped to exert some salutary influence over the minds of the populace, whose attachment to her husband and his family had been so publicly manifested on a late occasion. The proverbial fickleness of popular favour, however, was soon to be verified; for, instigated by the mayor of Newport, who represented that the island could not be safe so long as Colonel Brett and the Countess of Portland remained in Carisbrooke Castle, Parliament directed the captains of all ships stationed in the river to assist in any measures which the said mayor might deem necessary

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for securing the island. The Newport militia accordingly, with four hundred naval auxiliaries, were marched up to the walls of the castle, near Elizabeth’s Tower, which at this time, says Worsley, “had not three days’ provision for its slender garrison.” The moment was critical; the assailants had every advantage, while the prospect of famine or surrender was all that could be expected by the besieged. The countess, too, had a young family around her; and it may be imagined with what feelings she beheld the planting of hostile ordnance, and anticipated the probable effusion of kindred blood. There was little time for reflection or hesitation. With the magnanimity of a Roman matron, she made her appearance on the platform with a lighted match in her hand, and there, raising her voice, so as to be distinctly heard by the mayor and his armed followers, told them, with an undaunted air and unfaltering accents, that unless honourable terms were granted to herself and the garrison—whom they had so unaccountably summoned to surrender—she would instantly, with her own hand, discharge the first cannon, and defend the walls to the last extremity. Struck with her dignified demeanour, and the determination to which she had just given utterance, the mayor paused in his operations, and, having consulted with his townsmen, all that the countess demanded was agreed to: she was allowed to retain possession of her apartments in the castle; Colonel Brett, his staff, and servants, who composed the garrison, were allowed the freedom of the island, but were restricted from going to{300} Portsmouth, then held for the king by Goring, and the castle was surrendered to Parliament. The countess, however, being represented as still firmly attached to the king’s interest—consequently a dangerous inmate in the castle—an order was issued, that within two days after notice given, she should vacate both the castle and island. She did so, and was indebted to the humanity of a few generous fishermen for the means of conveying herself and family to Southampton.—See the political history of this period.

Passing over the governorship of the Earl of Pembroke, who next held command in this ancient fortress, we come to that of Colonel Hammond, who had the unenviable distinction of being captain of the fortress when, as already mentioned, it became the prison of the martyr-king.

Among the accounts handed down by Clarendon and other writers, who have severally treated of King Charles’s confinement in this castle, there is considerable discrepancy; but the following particulars, condensed from other sources less accessible to general readers, seem best suited to the scope and limits of the present work. After effecting his escape from the palace of Hampton Court, in the manner described by Lord Clarendon, Charles threw himself into the Isle of Wight, of which Colonel Hammond was then governor. At first, and for a considerable time after his arrival in the island, he appears to have been well lodged, to have suffered neither humiliation nor outward restraint, but to have experienced, on the part of the civil and military authorities, every mark of respect and sympathy to which a good man and a great monarch, struggling with adversity, was so justly entitled. He was permitted to take exercise on horseback where he pleased, though his motions and actions were no doubt carefully observed; and as the Parliament had made him a grant at the rate of five thousand pounds per annum, he lived a few months in the state Apartments of the castle—still shown as King Charles’s Rooms—with much of the external forms and appearance of royalty. This liberty, however, was soon abridged; and he was made to feel that he was no longer a potentate to be heard and obeyed, but a prisoner at the mercy of his subjects. His chaplains and faithful attendants were first removed; and shortly afterwards his intercourse was peremptorily restricted to certain persons, strangers to him, whom the Parliament had appointed to be about his person. He was no longer permitted to pass the gate of the castle, but mostly confined to his apartments—now reduced to masses of rubbish and fragments of ivy-covered walls. So solitary was his confinement during a great portion of his time, “that as he was standing one day near the gate of the castle, with Sir Philip Warwick, he pointed to a decrepit old man, and said—‘That man is sent every morning to light my fire, and is the best companion I have had for many months.’” The king, however, submitted to all this severity with{301} Christian patience and equanimity, and endeavoured as much as possible to keep his mind employed. He had always had serious impressions of religion,

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King Charles’s Rooms.

and these were neither shaken nor diminished, but strengthened and confirmed, by the harassing restraint under which lie was now placed. Devotion, meditation, and reading the scriptures, were his greatest consolations. The few books which he had brought into the castle with him, were chiefly on religious subjects, or of a serious cast. Among these was Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity—a book which it is probable he had studied with great attention, as it related much to the national question so much agitated at that time, and in which no man was better versed. In his slender catalogue, we find also two books of amusement, Tasso’s “Jerusalem,” and Spenser’s “Faëry Queen.” His freedom, however, was more and more abridged. He was an excellent horseman, and fond of that exercise; but as this indulgence was denied, he spent two or three hours every morning in walking on the castle ramparts. There he enjoyed at least fresh air and an extensive prospect; although every object he beheld—the “flocks straying carelessly on one side, and the ships sailing freely on the other”—brought painfully to remembrance that liberty and enjoyment of life of which he was so cruelly deprived. Thus circumstanced, he became regardless of his dress; he allowed his beard to grow, lost much of his cheerfulness; and in the expression of his countenance betrayed the inward feelings of a patient but unhappy captive.

During his imprisonment in this castle, three several attempts appear to{302} have been made, and chiefly by the gentlemen of the neighbourhood, for his enlargement. These are severally mentioned by Clarendon, Gilpin, and the writers of the Worsley Papers, from which it appears, that by a correspondence privately settled with some gentlemen of the island, it was agreed that the king should let himself down from

A window of his apartment; a swift horse with a guide was to wait for

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him at the bottom of the ramparts, while a vessel in the offing was to be ready to convey him wherever he pleased. The chief difficulty was, how the King should get through the iron bars of his window: but Charles assured them that he had already made experiment of the passage, and had every reason to believe that it was sufficiently large to admit his person. All being ready—the night dark, the fortress quiet, and not a whisper of suspicion of what was going on—everything promised a successful issue. The signal was then made. Charles appeared at the window, and seeing his friends in attendance, signified his readiness to make the attempt at once. But what was his disappointment and the mortification of his friends, who stood watching him with unspeakable anxiety, when he found that, in his eagerness to lay hold of any rational means of escape, he had miscalculated the width of the aperture! Having protruded his head and shoulders, he could get no further; and what was worse, he could not draw himself back. His friends at the bottom of the wall heard him groan in distress, but durst neither relieve him by word nor act, without alarming the sentinels, and thus sacrificing their own lives. It was a moment of agonizing suspense. At length, after repeated exertions, the king succeeded in extricating himself from his perilous situation, and, waving his hand before the light as a signal, retired mournfully to his couch, there to brood over this fresh blow to his hopes, and the defeated loyalty of his friends.

In the next plan laid for his escape, from the same window, implements having been secretly conveyed to him for that purpose, Charles contrived, by night-work and with “wonderful trouble,” to saw the massive iron bar asunder, which had proved the great obstacle in his last attempt. But all these schemes were alike unsuccessful; and, until the treaty of Newport—of which some interesting particulars are related by Sir Richard Worsley—the king remained a close prisoner in the Castle of Carisbrooke. He was then seized by the army, and carried a prisoner to Hurst Castle. “Just at the break of day,” says Worsley—in an extract from Colonel Cooke’s ‘Narrative’—“the king, hearing a loud knocking at his outer door, sent the{303} Duke of Richmond to learn the cause, who found there a person who said his name was Mildmay—a brother of Sir Henry Mildmay, and one of the servants placed by the Parliament about the king’s person. On the duke’s inquiring his business, he answered that there were several gentlemen from the army, who were very desirous to speak with the king. The duke carried in this message; but the knocking still increasing, the king gave orders for their admission. The doors were no sooner opened, than those officers rushed into the bed-chamber before the king could rise from his bed, and abruptly told him that they had orders for his removal. ‘From whom?’ inquired the king. ‘From the army,’ they replied. ‘And to what place?’ inquired the king. ‘To the castle,’ said they. ‘To what castle?’ demanded the king. They again answered, ‘To the castle.’—‘The castle,’ said the king, ‘is no castle;’ but added, that he was well enough prepared for any castle, and therefore required them to name it; when, after a short whisper together, they said ‘Hurst Castle.’—‘Indeed!’ replied the king, ‘you could hardly have named a worse.’… The Duke of Richmond then ordered the king’s breakfast to be hastened, presuming that there was little provision made for him in that desolate fortress; but before his majesty was well ready, the horses being come, they hurried him away, only permitting the duke to attend him for about two miles, and then telling him he must go no further. He therefore took a sad farewell of the king, being scarcely permitted to kiss his hand. The king’s last words to the duke were, ‘Remember me to my Lord Lindsay and Colonel Cooke; and command Cooke from me, never to forget the passages of this night!’” He then proceeded a prisoner to Hurst Castle, “which at that time,” says Warwick, “contained only a few dog-lodgings for soldiers.”—In his way to that dismal receptacle, he accidentally met Mr. Worsley, one of the gentlemen who had so generously risked their lives for him in the above-mentioned attempts to escape. Charles wrung his hand with affection; and pulling the watch out of his pocket gave it to him, with these words—“Keep this in remembrance of me: it is all my gratitude has to give.” This watch is still preserved in the Worsley family; it is of “silver, large and clumsy in its form; neatly ornamented in the case with filagree work; but the movements are of very ordinary workmanship, and are wound up with cat-gut.” On his arrival within its walls, the “solitude and dreariness of the castle struck like a death-damp to the heart of Charles!” Never till this moment had he thought himself in danger: but now suspicions of secret assassination haunted his mind; and as he looked around him, and compared Hurst Castle with that which he had left—“Here,” said he to himself, “were the place for{304} such a deed!”—But the events which followed the king’s departure from the Isle of Wight require no further notice in this place.

With these brief notices of Carisbrooke Castle, and the chief personages and events with which it is connected, we close this portion of our subject; and for many interesting facts and persons which our limits will not permit us to detail, we refer, with every due acknowledgment, to the Authorities here annexed—particularly to that of the late Sir Richard Worsley.

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Ground Plan of Carisbrooke Castle.

Explanation of Plan.—A A. Governor’s apartments; B. The parts of it demolished; C. Well of the Garrison; D. The Gunner’s House; E. Formerly a Guard House; F. Buildings demolished; G. Parish Church; H. Coach House; I. Powder Magazine; K. Store House; L. Stables, formerly Barracks; M. S.-East Platform; N. S.-West Ditto; O. Now a Garden; P. Gateway, with two Round Towers for Prisons; Q. Out Guard; R. Tower of Keep, with a Well 36 fathoms; S. Stone Wall, with its Parapet; T. Place of Arms.

Authorities:—Order. Vital. De Gul. Primo.—Gul. Cimitensis, De Ducib. Normannis, lib. vii. c. xv.—Dugd. Bar. and Monast.—Will. Malmsb.—Matt. Paris.—Holinshed.—Polyd. Virg.—Camden.—Froissart.—Sir Richard Worsley.—Cooke.—Lane.—Clarendon, Hist. Rebel. vol. iii. Part I.—Gilpin.—Monstrelet, vol. ii. 458.—Col. Cooke’s Narrative, MSS. Harleian Collect.—Hist. of England, Civil and Milit. Transact., p. 298; for the event here noticed, see Monstrelet, vol. i. p. 32.—For Waltheof v. Ingulph. Selecta Monumento, p. 254. Note.—See also Append. to Orig Extracts to this Volume.

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NETLEY ABBEY.

{305}

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NETLEY ABBEY.
“Now sunk, deserted, and with weeds o’ergrown,
Yon prostrate walls their harder fate bewail;
Low on the ground their topmost spires are thrown,
Once friendly marks to guide the wandering sail.
The ivy now with rude luxuriance bends
Its tangled foliage through the cloister’d space,
O’er the green windows’ mould’ring height ascends,
And fondly clasps it with a last embrace.”—Keate.
FEW monastic ruins are equally interesting with that of Netley Abbey; yet we know of no monastery of the same importance of which the history is so imperfectly known. Its position in a secluded spot, where the ground it occupies might be spared from other purposes, and accidental circumstances of different kinds, have so far preserved its walls from destruction, that we may here still trace with accuracy the arrangement and internal economy of{306} those great religious establishments which, in former ages, were to be seen in every part of our island.

The modern name of Netley appears itself to be only a corruption of the more ancient one of Letley, Lettely, or Latelie, under which the place is mentioned in Domesday Book, as being held by Richard Pungiant. We learn from the same important document, that previously to the Norman Conquest it had been held of King Edward by Alward, “who could go where he would.”[227] It was probably from the circumstance of its having been a manor belonging to Edward the Confessor, that it afterwards took the name of “the Place of St. Edward,” or Edwardestowe. The derivation of the name Letley is very uncertain; it was probably the remarkable taste for punning on proper names, so characteristic of the writers and scholars of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, which led them to call it in Latin De Laeto Loco, or “the joyful place.”

The Abbey of Netley, or Letley, can boast of no great antiquity. It appears certain that it was founded by King Henry III. in the year 1239; although it has been supposed, on very weak grounds, that a religious house of some kind had previously occupied its site. Henry’s original charter is not preserved; but in a subsequent brief charter of confirmation—dated

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March 7, 1251—he speaks of it as the church which he had founded—“ecclesia quam nos fundavimus”—and gives or confirms to it the lands of Lettelege, Hune, Welewe, Totinton, Gumelculne, Nordleg, Deverell-Kingston, Waddon, Ayheleg, and Lacton, with all their appurtenances, with the rents of Charleton, Southampton, and Suthwerk, and a hundred acres of land in the manor of Schire, as well as the advowson of the church of that manor. The lands in Schire appear to have been given, or sold, to the Abbey in 1243: we have the confirmation of the grant, by John de Warren, Earl of Surrey, dated on the day of the Epiphany, 1252, but his original charter is also lost. The Seals of Netley Abbey, of which three are known, describe it as the Abbey of St. Mary of Edwardestowe. An impression of the seal of the abbot, attached to a deed of the beginning of the reign of Edward III., represents a figure of an abbot,{307} surrounded by the inscription, S. Abbis Loci S’ci Edwardi. A seal of the abbey, of the same date, but much mutilated, has the following fragments of an inscription:…… Commune Abb……. Edwardi. De. Lette…. At the latter end of the last century, the matrix of a seal of this house was discovered in the possession of a dealer in curiosities in London:[228] the seal was very small, not much larger than a modern shilling; on it was represented a person kneeling before the Virgin and Child, and surrounded by the inscription, S.Beate.Marie.De.Stowie.S’ci.Edward’. Mr. Brand imagined that the kneeling figure was intended to represent King Edward the Confessor.

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The king placed in his foundation a small party of Cistercian monks, then the most powerful and encroaching of all the religious orders. This monastic colony was brought from the Abbey of Beaulieu, in the New Forest. Antiquaries have succeeded, after much labour, in discovering the names of eight Abbots of Netley; but as these stretch over a space of three centuries, there can be no doubt that the list is incomplete. The list of benefactors is equally imperfect: in addition to those already mentioned, we only know with certainty the names of Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, the second son of the founder, Robert de Vere, and Walter de Burgh. The latter is stated to have given property in the county of Lincoln, which he held of the king in capite by the service of presenting to him a hat, lined with sindon, a kind of fine linen, and a pair of gilt spurs.[229] It has been supposed that Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester from 1502 to 1528, was one of the latest benefactors.

In point of revenue, Netley Abbey was one of the smaller monasteries. At the time of its dissolution in 1538, the community consisted of an abbot and twelve monks; and their possessions produced, according to Dugdale, £100 1s. 8d., or, according to Speed, £160 2s. 9-1/4d. The site was granted to Sir William Paulet, subsequently created Marquis of Winchester, and one of the most remarkable statesmen of his time. It was he who built the magnificent house at Basing, celebrated for the obstinate siege which it sustained in the civil wars of the seventeenth century. This nobleman died in 1572, at the great age of ninety-seven years; and is said to have seen, before his death,{308} a hundred and three persons descended from him. He probably sold Netley to the Earl of Hertford, in whose possession we find it in the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth. There is a tradition, that this nobleman turned the ruined abbey into a dwelling-house: and it is said that a part of the church was converted into a kitchen. There are, however, at present, no traces about the buildings to support this story. We might be led to suppose that the house inhabited occasionally by the Earl of Hertford, and then known by the name of Netley Castle, was rather the old fort below the abbey, of which the rains still remain. In 1560, the Earl of Hertford was here honoured by a visit from his sovereign, Queen Elizabeth. According to the register of St. Michael’s parish, Southampton, “the queen’s majesty’s grace came from the Castle of Netley to Southampton, on the thirteenth day of August.” It is not improbable that, at this time, many parts of the abbey were in a sufficient state of repair to be fitted up for the reception of the queen’s attendants.

If, at a later period, the abbey was really used as a dwelling-house for the Hertford family, they probably occupied the buildings, of which the ruins are still considerable, on the west and south sides of the great court. It is pretended that the church was then used as the family chapel: and George Keate, the poet, informs us that he had seen, in an interleaved almanack of the year 1665, which had belonged to a lady of the same family, an entry stating, that the lady of Francis, Lord Seymour—a younger branch of the Hertford family—lay in there of Charles, Lord Seymour, second Baron of Troubridge, who was baptized in the chapel. This part of the history of Netley Abbey is, however, very obscure. It is said to have passed in the latter part of the seventeenth century to the Earl of Huntingdon, who also resided there (according to the tradition). In 1700 it belonged to Sir Bartlet Lucy, who sold the materials of the church to a Mr. Taylor of Southampton; and from that period it appears that we are to date the commencement of the destruction of this once noble edifice.

The general style of this Church is that of the reign of Henry III., and the present building is doubtlessly coeval with that monarch’s foundation. It formed the northern side of the abbey, and was, as usual, cruciform, having north and south transepts. The walls of the south transept remain nearly perfect to the roof; the south wall of the church also remains in nearly its whole elevation; but the north wall, which contained the larger windows, is in a less perfect condition, and the site of the north transept is only marked by a confused heap of rubbish, overgrown with trees and brambles. The east and west ends of the church are also standing. The north wall is supported externally by low buttresses; and some traces of buildings, with the heaps of rubbish on the ground, lead us to suppose that{309} there was one or more smaller external buildings, perhaps chapels, attached. The West Window, as well as the great eastern window, appears to have been, when perfect and filled with stained glass, extremely handsome and

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striking. The springings which supported the arches of the groined roof are still visible; and until a comparatively recent period, part of the roof itself remained standing, and among the ruins “various arms and devices were to be traced.” Its ruins, mixed with those of the columns which separated the aisles from the nave, still encumber the floor in a picturesque manner, partly covered with shrubs and plants, and held firmly together by the roots of lofty trees which have grown upon them. The old lady who has taken her station at the entrance of the abbey, to act as a guide to the interior, regards these shapeless heaps with peculiar attachment: and she fails not to tell the visitor, in accents of sorrowful indignation, of the recent depredations of a barbarian workman who was sent to gather up the “loose stones,” and who did not hesitate to lay his sacrilegious hands on portions of that which was not loose. Vulgar tradition points out the largest of these masses as a monument of divine retribution on the wretch whose avarice led him to spoil the pious work of his forefathers; and it is believed that he lies buried beneath the rubbish which his own hand had dragged down.

“Here too (belief could old tradition claim),
Where swells the rocky mound in shapeless heaps,
(His name now lost, his guilt divulged by fame,)
Some rude dismantler of this abbey sleeps.
Long, long in thought the patient earth he cursed,
That bore the fabric’s then unbroken spires;
Long wish’d the power to bid volcanoes burst,
Or call from heaven thought-executing fires.
‘Wide wave,’ he cried, ‘all bright with golden grain
The neighbouring vales, while this proud cumbrous mass
For many a barren furlong chills the plain,
And draws with idle zeal the crowds that pass.{310}
‘No more the votaries of each time-shook pile,
As ruin’s heirs, shall call these shades their own;
For blazon’d arms explore the pageant aisle,
Or search dark registers of faithless stone.’
He spoke—resolved. The menaced arches frown’d,
The conscious walls in sudden conflict join’d,
Crush’d the pale wretch in one promiscuous wound,
And left this monument of wrath behind.”
The appearance of this church shows that its ultimate destruction has been the work of accident, rather than of design; although a story of a less doubtful character informs us, that we owe the preservation of the building in its present condition to a retributary accident, resembling that of the legend just mentioned. We have already stated that, about the commencement of the last century, the materials of the abbey were sold to a person of the name of Taylor, who resided at Southampton. His friends, who looked with superstitious feelings on this venerable pile, urged him not to conclude the bargain, and advised him to abstain from being instrumental in the work of sacrilege; but he was deaf to their entreaties. He had scarcely taken possession of his purchase, when in his sleep he was visited by a fearful dream, in which it appeared to him that the key-stone of one of the arches,[230] which was to be demolished first, fell upon his head, and fractured his skull. Although troubled in mind, he at first paid no attention to this dream; but when it was repeated more than once, he ventured to disclose it to a friend. That friend was Mr. Watts, a schoolmaster in Southampton, the father of the celebrated Dr. Isaac Watts. He advised Taylor to desist from the undertaking; but the avarice of the latter overcame all scruples or fears, and he returned to the work of demolition. He had hardly begun, when, in exerting himself to tear down a board, he loosened the identical stone which had been represented to him in his dream, and which in its fall struck him a violent blow on the head. He was carried home, and his skull was found to be slightly fractured, but no apprehensions were entertained of serious consequences. The surgeon, however, in probing the wound, accidentally thrust his instrument into the brain, and caused instant death. The fate of Taylor is said to have acted as an effectual check to future depredations of a similar kind.

The arches of the South Transept of Netley Abbey Church are peculiarly elegant and graceful; although, like those of the nave and choir, they are devoid of the rich and diminutive ornamentation which characterizes the architecture of a somewhat later period. Above the lower series of arches, a passage or corridor runs round this part of the building, which is approached by a small spiral staircase in the corner between the transept and the choir.{311} Below, delicately-wrought arches and recesses in the wall mark the spots formerly occupied by sepulchral monuments, raised probably over the bones of abbots or benefactors. The ruins of this transept were cleared away from the floor a few years ago, and it is said that coats-of-arms were observed on some of the stones. The vaulted aisle on the east side of this transept is still in a perfect state, by which, through a door in the south-east corner, the monks entered from the sacristy. Another door, between the door just mentioned and that which leads to the staircase, communicates with a narrow yard behind the choir of the church. The entrance from the principal court of the monastery is situated in the south-west corner of the same transept.

It is probable that a tower rose above the intersection of the transepts with the church, although no distinct traces of it now remain. Tradition says that its lofty pinnacles formerly served as land-marks to the sailors in their way up the Southampton-water. The whole length of the church is about two hundred feet: its breadth is sixty feet. The space between the extreme walls of the two transepts appears to have been about a hundred and twenty feet.

The general arrangement of the abbey buildings bears a strong resemblance to that of the older colleges in our Universities. The entrance gateway, which faces the south, and is approached from the beach, leads us into the principal court of the abbey, which, when perfect, must have been

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a noble quadrangle. A fountain is said to have stood in the centre, from which it has long been known by the name of the Fountain Court; but its site is now occupied by a clump of picturesque trees: similar trees have taken root in other parts of the court. The south and west sides were{312} formed by buildings, the dilapidated walls of which afford no clue to the object to which they were formerly devoted, although they appear to have been divided into apartments of different dimensions and forms, some of which had fire-places. Portions of the walls, from the circumstance of their being repaired with bricks, seem to indicate that this part of the building was inhabited at no very distant period. But modern brick-work is found in other parts of the abbey, and it was perhaps added only for the purpose of securing the walls from falling. The north side of the court is formed by the nave of the church; while on the east side stands the southern transept, and adjoining to it the principal buildings of the abbey.

This court is of large dimensions, and its walls are still erect. It was the most public part of the abbey, being open equally to those who came to offer up their prayer in the church, or who were anxious to unburden their mind in the confessional; to the traveller who sought a temporary shelter among the monks, or to the mendicant who lived upon their alms. The solitary ruins speak to our hearts of other days, of which the reality is long passed away: the house of prayer has been rifled and dishonoured, the spacious halls now afford but a dubious shelter to the pilgrim, and the almoner has ceased to dole out the daily portion to the poor.

“No more shall Charity, with sparkling eyes
And smiles of welcome, wide unfold the door
Where Pity, listening still to Nature’s cries,
Befriends the wretched and relieves the poor.”
On Mondays, the Fountain Court presents a singular scene of gaiety. It has long been the custom for people from Southampton, and the neighbourhood to meet at the abbey on that day, and to hold a kind of festival. Tea and other provisions are furnished by the inhabitants of a neighbouring cottage, and this is followed by music and dancing.

On the eastern side of the quadrangle are four doorways. The door to the south leads into a vaulted passage, which formed the communication between the first court and the interior quadrangle of cloisters. To the north of this passage are the apartments connected with the government of the house and the service of the church: to the south, the hall, kitchen, &c. Of the three exterior doors which lay to the north of the entrance to the passage, the first is the entrance to the chapter-house; the second, a small but very elegant arch, leads to the ancient confessional; and the last communicates with the south transept of the abbey church.

The Confessional forms a portion of a long rectangular apartment adjacent to the church, of which the remaining and larger portion is said to have been the sacristy, and from which the confessional was separated by a stone wall,{313} the lower part of which still remains. Besides the entrance from the court, it has a communication with the adjoining chapter-house. It was here that the penitent, or should-be-penitent, laid open to the priest his secret failings, and was instructed in the kind of reparation or the quantity of self-punishment which was necessary to atone for them. In greater trespasses, or

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where the penitent himself desired it, he was led into the adjoining chapter-house, and received the monastic discipline at the hands of the monks, which consisted in a severe flogging on the bare skin—a punishment which is now only preserved in the army and navy. Great offenders were at times subjected to this penance. We learn from Matthew Paris, that when the ferocious Falcasius de Breant, one of King John’s foreign auxiliaries, had plundered the town and abbey of St. Albans, he was warned in a dream that he would be pursued by the vengeance of Heaven, unless he made some reparation to the monks. Falcasius, we are told, went with some of his most active soldiers to the abbey, where they suffered themselves to be stripped in the chapter-house; and, having submitted to the discipline with becoming humility, they received absolution for their offence. The practice of confession, and the giving of absolution, were sources of great power to the Romish Church: they were often made an instrument of benefiting the community, but they were as frequently productive of great evils, and the facility of obtaining absolution acted as an encouragement to crime. Among the numerous stories told by the monks in illustration of the efficacy of confession, it is related that a knight, who suspected one of his attendants of a grave crime against his own person, determined to carry him before a certain wizard, who was famous for laying open people’s hidden faults. On their way, the criminal, aware of the object of their journey, requested permission to visit for a few hours a neighbouring town. He hastened to a religious house, confessed the crime of which he was accused among his other sins to the priest, received penitence, and submitted to a very rude application of the monastic discipline. When they stood before the wizard, and the knight inquired what were the secret failings of his attendant, the answer he received was—“This morning, when you left home with him, I knew him well and all his works; but now he only knows his works who has given him a bleeding back: I know nothing further.” Confession and absolution were a source of profit to the priest.

The Sacristy communicates by a door with the south transept of the{314} church. It is a dark and rather low vaulted room, where the consecrated vessels and the articles of church furniture were deposited. The sacristan, whose office is partly represented in the Protestant Church by that of the humble sexton, was one of the most important personages in the monastery after

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the abbot. He was the keeper of the books, vestments, and sacred utensils belonging to the church; it was his duty to attend to the altars in the church, and to collect and account for the offerings: he was intrusted also with legacies and gifts for building, repairing, or furnishing the church. The treasure was also frequently placed in his keeping; and we read of unfaithful sacristans, who fled from their abbeys, carrying with them the money which had been intrusted to their charge.

The sacristy is lighted by two windows, under one larger arch, on the east side. In the walls are several niches and recesses, which appear to have been intended to receive some of the articles intrusted to the sacristan’s care. It was perhaps the traditionary remembrance of the treasures which were deposited in the sacristy, which led a countryman in the neighbourhood to dream that there was money concealed in the wall, beneath the most ornamental of these niches; who, to seek for this imaginary object, came with a pickaxe, and broke away the bottom of the niche in the manner in which it now appears. Treasure legends are generally connected with ancient ruins, and this is not the only story of the kind which has been located in the Abbey of Netley. On the internal face of the south wall of the great quadrangle, near its eastern extremity, is seen an irregular excavation. It is said that, many years ago, a countryman dreamt of treasure buried in this wall; the same dream was presented to his imagination three different times, and he then proceeded with proper implements to the spot. After having cleared away the wall with assiduous labour, his exertions were rewarded, as tradition informs us, by the discovery of a ponderous chest filled with riches, which he bore away in triumph. But the indiscreet boastings of the finder soon reached the ears of the lord of the manor, who seized upon the treasure for his own use.

The Chapter-House was the monastic council chamber, and as such, being one of the most important rooms in the abbey, was also the most richly{315} decorated. Its delicately-groined roof is entirely destroyed, and trees grow on its floor; but the elegantly-proportioned arches which adorned its walls, and the clustered columns which support them, still bear testimony to its former beauty. This apartment forms a regular square of thirty-six feet. Each wall is divided into three arches, between which sprung the ribs of the vaulted roof. Within the three arches on the east side are the windows, which likewise are more ornamental than those of the other apartments of the abbey. The extreme arch to the right on the west wall forms the entrance from the great quadrangle. In the recesses of the other arches are the remains of the stone seats on which the monks placed themselves when assembled in chapter to deliberate on the affairs of the monastery, or when they met to listen to the spiritual or moral exhortations of their Superior. We have already stated that the chapter-house was the place in which the discipline, or flogging, was administered to the unruly brethren and other offenders. The Cistercian monks are said to have been particularly addicted to the use of the rod—

“Est ibi virga frequens, atque diæta gravis.”
The southern wall of the chapter-house divides it from the passage we have already mentioned as forming the communication between the first and second courts. This passage forms the separation between those apartments of the abbey which were devoted to the spiritual concerns of the brotherhood, and those which were set apart for their bodily comforts. The chapter-house itself appears to have had no communication with this passage; but on the opposite side is a door which leads us into the Abbey Parlour, a room which answers to what is now called in our colleges the Combination-Room.[231] This parlour, which possesses a fire-place, was the place of social meeting for the inmates of the abbey.

The next apartment in the south was the Refectory, hall, or dining-room, and is the largest room in the abbey. Its windows, like those of all the chambers in this line of buildings, look to the east. On the opposite wall we can still trace a large arch, built up with masonry, under which was perhaps a seat or side-table for the use of the attendants.

Although the monastic rule enjoins strict moderation and silence at table, yet we know that, from an early period, the monks’ refectory was no less a scene of mirth and festivity than the baronial hall. The Cistercian monks in England appear to have been especially noted for their attachment to good living. The satirists of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries recount the number and delicacy of their dishes, and the goodness of their wines. One of these writers, whose work (which commonly goes under the name of{316} Walter Mapes, the great enemy of the Cistercian order) enjoyed a vast popularity in the thirteenth century, describes thus their greediness in eating:—

“Quibus prandentibus voto præcipiti
Fauces celerrimæ, dentes solliciti,
Sepulcrum patens est guttur, par gurgiti
Spumoso stomachus, et rastris digiti.”
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And he thus describes their evening potations—

“Sed ne potandi sit illa conditio,
Qui tenet, teneat, donec de medio
Fiat, hinc esset lis et contradictio,—
Ad plenum bibitur sine litigio.
Tunc legem statuunt pactumque mutuum,
Ne sit in calice quicquam residuum:
Sic, sine requie ventris et manuum,
Vas plenum vacuant, et replent vacuum.”
Another well-known writer, who was no friend of the Cistercians, Giraldus Cambrensis, has left a glowing description of their jovial mode of living. The silence enjoined by their statutes had given place to boisterous jests; and the solemn reading of the bible or saints’ legends, commanded by the founder of the order, had been replaced by the clang of minstrelsy and the feats and grimaces of the jongleurs. Giraldus, among innumerable anecdotes of the private life of the Cistercian monks, has preserved one which is curious not only on this account, but because it is the groundwork of a numerous class of ballads which were popular at a later period.[232]{317}

It happened one day that King Henry II. was indulging in hunting, the favourite amusement of the Anglo-Norman princes, probably in the woods of Hampshire. Eager in pursuit of the chase, the king was separated from his companions, and, missing his way, came at night-fall to a house of Cistercian monks on the border of the wood, and, pretending to be one of King Henry’s knights, he demanded a lodging there. The abbot and brethren received the wanderer with a hospitable welcome; and after supper the former called for a plentiful supply of the choicest liquor in the abbey. In the merry days of Old England, a particular form in drinking, derived from our Saxon forefathers, was universally observed: with each full cup one party pledged the other with the word (or rather words) Wæsheil, equivalent to Health to thee! and the origin of the more modern wassail: the answer was Drincheil, or, I drink thy health. But great topers and men of social habits, instead of using the common expression, invented drinking words of their own, private signals of affectionate regard, which appear to have had no particular meaning. Such was the case with the abbot in our story: the supposed knight, in return for his hospitable entertainment, had promised to use his influence with the king in furtherance of a suit which the abbot intended to prefer the next morning; and the latter, in the openness of his heart, pledged his guest with his private drinking-word, which was pril, and he instructed him in the proper mode of answering, which was by the similar word wril. In this manner they spent a considerable portion of the night with the monks in great joviality, the walls resounding to the continual shouts of pril and wril. After having taken a short repose, the king departed at the break of day, and hastened to a neighbouring town where he had established his court: he there gave strict orders to the officers of his household, that they should give the abbot immediate admission to his presence. Accordingly, at an early hour in the forenoon, the abbot, attended by two of his monks, repaired to the court, light-hearted with the expectation of the good offices of his guest of the preceding night. On his arrival, he was astonished to find that the servants of the king appeared as though aware of his mission, and that they passed him with unusual quickness and attention from one room to another, until he found himself suddenly in the royal presence. The monarch, who in his altered dress was not recognized by his host, caused the abbot to be seated by his side, and scarcely giving him time to utter his petition, told him that he had been made acquainted with his wishes, and that they were already granted. The abbot, after returning his humble thanks, would have taken his leave; but the king insisted on retaining him and his two monks to dinner. At table the abbot was seated near the king, and was treated with the greatest attention; and after the eating was over, large drinking-{318}cups were placed before all the guests, and filled with excellent wine. The king then, suddenly taking up his own cup, and addressing himself to the abbot, said, “Father abbot, I say to thee pril.” The abbot, suddenly recognizing his guest, was struck with confusion, and besought the king in humble manner for his grace and forgiveness; but the king stopped him short, and making use of a popular oath, declared, that it was his will they should be good fellows together on the present occasion, just as they had been the previous night in the abbot’s refectory; and that he thought it but right and fair, that as he had answered wril to the abbot’s pril before, the abbot should now pay him the same compliment. And thus the knights and monks, as well as the king and abbot, passed the remainder of the day in drinking pril and wril to each other, amid shouts of laughter and merriment.

Over the series of buildings which we have been describing was another floor, on which we trace the remains of a number of smaller chambers. These were probably the Dormitories, or bed-chambers of the monks. They were placed near the church, because the monks were obliged to leave their beds in the night to perform the vigilæ nocturnæ, or night service, which lasted from two o’clock to nearly four, when they returned to their repose.

Adjoining to the hall, or refectory, are the Buttery and Kitchen, which form the southern extremity of the abbey, separated from the fields only by the outer wall. The former of these offices is a small room, with little to indicate the purposes to which it was formerly applied. The kitchen, on the contrary,

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is a large and strong vaulted apartment, forty-eight feet in length, and eighteen wide. Its roof still remains unbroken. The most remarkable characteristic of this kitchen is its spacious fireplace; its form is that which was common in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and perhaps earlier, and of which we have many examples in the illuminations of ancient manuscripts. The kitchen appears to have possessed, when in a perfect state, a considerable share of architectural elegance. The ornamental springings of the arches of the roof still remain. The kitchen appears to have communicated with the inner court of the abbey by a door to the right of the fire-place; opposite which there seems to have been a door in the outer wall, communicating with the country, by which provisions, {319}&c. were conveyed into the house. Two openings in the wall, one connecting the kitchen with the buttery, the other forming a communication between the buttery and the refectory, were used for passing the dishes to the attendants who were serving at table. On the south side of the kitchen, beneath the floor, is a subterranean passage, now uncovered, which communicates with a series of other passages or vaults, under the field, and said to terminate beneath a coppice at a short distance from the abbey. These vaults, which are generally supposed to have been a common sewer, or a place intended for concealment and retreat, have every appearance of having been the Cellars of the abbey, which very properly were attached to the kitchen and buttery. Most of these vaults have been explored: there is a large breach through the vaulted roof of one of them in the field on the outside of the walls of the abbey.

The series of buildings which we have just described separates the Fountain Court from the second court of the abbey, which also appears to have been surrounded with buildings, at least on three sides. This second court forms at present a fair lawn, on which pic-nic parties visiting the ruins take their dinner or tea, and which is designated as the Abbey Garden. On three sides are the remains of a raised terrace: this, combined with some other circumstances, leads us to conclude that the so-called garden was the Cloisters of the abbey. The present terrace was the floor of the cloister, which we know was, in most instances, raised above the level of the enclosed court. This cloister appears to have formed an exact square, like the first court. The windows of the sacristy, chapter-house, parlour, and refectory, looked into it on the west side. The north-west corner adjoined the transept and choir of the church. On the south it was probably separated from the kitchen by a small court, or by less important offices. At the east side of this court, there are traces of a smaller court, and considerable ruins of a large building, with vaulted rooms on the ground-floor, and chambers above. This may have been the Abbot’s House. It appears to have communicated with the woods behind, perhaps by one of those “privie posternes” mentioned in the old satirists, by which the abbots are said to have introduced into their lodgings persons of a very equivocal character.

The ground on which the Abbey of Netley is built is a gentle declivity, sloping towards the beach. Although much concealed by trees and brushwood, the ruins are seen to effect from several different points. Perhaps the most interesting general view is that from the north, where the hill rises rather abruptly from the walls of the church, affording almost a bird’s-eye view of the interior. The effect of the picture thus presented to the view has been in some degree lessened by the destruction of the ivy with which, {320}some years ago, the walls were clothed. “This destruction was begun by the French emigrant royalists who were encamped on the neighbouring common, previously to the ill-fated expedition to Quiberon during the revolutionary war; but it was recently carried on, much more effectually, by order of the late Lady Holland, then its proprietor, who is said to have been induced to commit this desecration by the representation of a member of the Dilettanti Club, who unfortunately had read in Pausanias of the injury which a certain ancient temple in Bœotia had sustained from the ivy which encircled it loosening the cement of the stones, and separating them from each other, and who, in consequence, implored her ladyship to prevent her temple from sharing a similar fate.”[233] The beauty of the scene is here increased by the Southampton Water, which appears in the background, the distant view of the New Forest, and the still more remote shores of the Isle of Wight; and from time to time a steamer, working its busy way to or from the sea, contrasts strangely with the hoary walls below.

Descending the hill towards the right, the view of the west side of the abbey, with the great west window of the church rising above the green trees, is remarkably picturesque. To the left the hill continues to some distance, giving us a succession of pleasing views, including the east end of the church, and the picturesque mass of ruins which we have supposed to belong to the abbot’s house. We then descend to lower ground, and obtain a view across the second, or cloister court, which however is in some measure spoiled by the wall that separates it from the fields.

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The South Front of the abbey is at present concealed from a distant view by numerous trees. When near it, we may judge by its appearance in its present ruined state, that when entire it must have been a very striking object viewed from the water. On this side was the entrance to the abbey, but it does not appear to have had a gateway tower. To the right, a mass of building stands much in advance of the front of the court: this building contains the buttery and the kitchen. The style of the windows and doors in this part of the abbey shows that it had undergone extensive repairs, either{321} a short period before the Dissolution, or afterwards, when it was first made a private habitation.

At some distance behind the abbey, the monks had two fish-ponds, which are still in perfect preservation. The first is nearly square, bordered with underwood, and backed with flourishing oaks. The upper pond is still more picturesque, being partly overhung with fine trees. The neighbourhood of Netley Abbey was perhaps more thickly wooded in ancient times than at present. In the steward’s book of the town of Southampton, under the year 1469, is an entry of two pounds three shillings and fourpence, “paid to the Abbot of Netteley for a grove of woode bought by the maire for to make piles and hegges by the sea syde.”

The English monks, in selecting the sites of their houses, always endeavoured to secure a good supply of fish and game. The woods and waters

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in the neighbourhood of Netley were peculiarly advantageous in this point of view, and the Buttery and Kitchen must have been abundantly furnished with every article of provision which could raise the appetites of the brethren within. The manuscripts of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, although written by the monks themselves, are full of stories illustrating their attachment to good living. Giraldus Cambrensis, the historian from whom we have already quoted one anecdote of monastic life, gives us a remarkable description of the multitude and variety of dishes with which the tables of the monks in his days were loaded; the numerous kinds of fish and meats dressed in every possible manner, and arranged by the ingenuity of skilful cooks so as to provoke their pampered appetites; the numerous savoury sauces; the rich and rare wines which were supplied by distant lands.[234] This writer has preserved an amusing story{322} concerning the monks of St. Switlmn’s at Winchester:—One day, when King Henry II. was hunting in the neighbourhood of Guilford, the prior of St. Swithun’s, accompanied by a party of his monks, went to meet him, with countenances which indicated extreme chagrin and sorrow, and, although the spot was little better than a quagmire, they fell upon their knees in a position of the most abject supplication. When the king desired them to state their griefs, they told him that their bishop had diminished the number of courses that had been from time immemorial served to their table. The king inquired what number of courses were usually allowed them: they said, thirteen, which the bishop had reduced to ten. The king, in astonishment, turned round to his attendants:—“Per oculos Dei!” said he, (for that was his usual oath,) “see here these unhappy monks! I thought by their sorrowful looks that their whole monastery had been burnt, or that some equal disaster had befallen them; and, behold, they complain that their bishop has taken three courses from their table, and left them but ten. May the bishop fare the worse, if he do not immediately take away the ten, and leave them only three! I, although King of England, am satisfied with that number.” We are told, in another monkish story, of an abbot who was so cruel to his monks, that he reduced them to the number here recommended by the king, and allowed them but three courses: the monks prayed daily for the death of their superior; and for this or some other cause he soon died. Another came, who reduced them to two: whereupon they prayed more fervently than ever for release from his rule. He also died; and there came a third, who deprived them of another course. The unfortunate brethren, now driven to desperation, met together to consider what was best to be done. One among the rest stepped forward and said, “Happen what will, let us pray no longer: every time we have prayed for a new abbot, we have obtained one worse than his predecessor; and if this man should go, we shall have one who will reduce us to actual starvation.” Against the monkish vice of gluttony, we must however place in the scale the virtue of hospitality. The weary traveller was always welcome to the table of the monastery. We are tempted to quote another monkish story. It is said that a certain religious house, in which the virtue just alluded to had been neglected, was reduced to poverty, and a meeting was held in the chapter-house to deliberate on the means of regaining their former state. Then a monk stood up in the midst of the others, and said, “We have driven away{323} two servants: as long as they were with us, all good things abounded in our house; since they went, our prosperity is defeated; but if we invite one

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back, they will both return.” “Who are they?” said the abbot; “let us call them back by all means.” The monk answered, “One is called Date, and the other Dabitur-vobis: since we drove away Date, Dabitur-vobis has left us; but let us immediately recall Date, and Dabitur-vobis and everything will be well.” The monks themselves had an easy method of atoning for the peccadilloes of the table; but a few paces from the refectory stood the Confessional, and there they received a ready Absolution.

The ruins of Netley Abbey attract numerous visitors from the neighbouring town of Southampton; and there is scarcely a stone within the reach of ordinary mortals which is not disfigured by a crowd of initials rudely “incised” by their barbarian and sacrilegious hands. In more propitious times, pilgrims of a holier class have visited the hallowed spot,

“Where Netley’s ruins, bordering on the flood,
Forlorn in melancholy greatness stand.”
Horace Walpole was enraptured with what he terms, “not the ruins of Netley, but of Paradise. Oh, the purpled abbots; what a spot they had chosen to slumber in! The scene is so beautifully tranquil, yet so lively, that they seem only to have retired into the world.” When he visited Netley, there were standing “fragments of beautiful fretted roofs, pendent in the air, with all variety of Gothic patterns of windows topped round and round with ivy.” The last remains of the “fretted roof” have long fallen; and, as we have before observed, most of the windows have, since Walpole’s time, been stripped of their ivy. Among the poets who have here sought inspiration, we must not pass over the names of Gray and Bowles. The former has left us a glowing description of the thoughts which these ruins raised. “In the bosom of the{324} woods,” he tells us in one of his letters, “concealed from profane eyes, lie hidden the ruins of Netley Abbey. There may be richer and greater houses of religion, but the abbot is content with his situation. See there, at the top of that hanging meadow, under the shade of those old trees that bend into a half-circle about it, he is walking slowly (good man!) and bidding his beads for the souls of his benefactors, interred in that venerable pile that lies beneath him. Beyond it (the meadow still descending) nods a thicket of oaks that mask the building, and have excluded a view too garish and luxuriant for a holy eye; only on either hand they leave an opening to the blue glittering sea. Did you not observe how, as that white sail shot by and was lost, he turned and crossed himself, to drive the tempter from him that had thrown that distraction in his way?” We must ourselves now take a parting glance of this venerable picture of the transitoriness of all earthly greatness. Bowles has given us a beautiful sonnet

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ON VISITING NETLEY ABBEY.
“Fall’n pile! I ask not what has been thy fate,—
But when the weak winds, wafted from the main,
Through each lone arch, like spirits that complain,
Come hollow to my ear, I meditate
On this world’s passing pageant, and the lot
Of those who once might proudly in their prime
Have stood, with giant port; till, bow’d by time
Or injury, their ancient boast forgot,
They might have sunk, like thee: though thus, forlorn,
They lift their head, with venerable hairs
Besprent, majestic yet, and as in scorn
Of mortal vanities and short-lived cares:
Even so dost thou, lifting thy forehead grey,
Smile at the tempest and Time’s sweeping sway.”
Historical Associations.—The neighbourhood of Netley is interesting in many points of view to the antiquary. At some distance to the north is the modern village of Bittern, the site of the Roman town of Clausentum, of the earth-works of which some traces still remain. On Netley Heath, which lies between Netley and Bittern, are numerous tumuli, probably indicating the places of burial of some of the more distinguished of the Roman inhabitants of this spot. We trace the footsteps of that extraordinary people almost within the precincts of Netley Abbey; for in its immediate vicinity, in a field by the shore near West Wood, a few years ago, a coarse earthen vessel, filled with Roman coins of the Lower Empire, was dug up by a labourer. The larger portion of these coins was of the description called small brass, and of the period of the younger Gallienus.

After Clausentum had been deserted and forgotten, its importance was {325}transferred to the neighbouring town of Hamton, known in more modern times by the name of Southampton, to distinguish it from the other Hamton, now called Northampton. During the period of the Saxons, Southampton is chiefly known as having been repeatedly plundered by the Danes, to whose attacks it was exposed by its position. In 980, seven Danish ships came suddenly and destroyed the town, and slaughtered or carried away into captivity nearly all its inhabitants.

Although we know little of the history of Southampton during this early period, we find that the district was afterwards connected with historical traditions, now long forgotten, which found their way into the poetry of our forefathers. It was here, in the neighbourhood of Netley, according to the legendary history of the ancient Britons, that the Emperor Claudius made his descent upon the shores of our island. The romances tell us that he was met here by a British king named “Gwyder,” who defeated the Romans with great slaughter. But Claudius had a faithful councillor named Ham, or Haimo, who clad himself in the arms and dress of a Briton, went to the enemy’s camp, and, after a short period, obtained the favour of the invincible Gwyder. Another desperate battle between the Britons and Romans followed; when Ham, who kept near the British king, treacherously drew his sword and slew him, and then fled to the Romans, supposing that he had secured the victory for his countrymen. But Arviragus, the brother of Gwyder, took the command of the Britons; and by his bravery the Romans were again vanquished, and driven with great loss to their ships. Ham, with a small body of men, was cut off from the main army, and took shelter in a wood near the shore; he was there attacked by the Britons, and, retreating to a haven, was slain on the spot where was afterwards built the town called (according to the legend) from him, Hampton.

“Ac the luther Haym with ys folk toward the wode hymn drowe:
Arvirag hym sywede, and to grounde ever slowgh.
Atte laste ys tricherie wel lutel he by-lowgh;
He overtok hym at an havene, and slogh hym ryght there:
Lutel harm thei tricherus so alle y-served were.
The havene ther he was y-slawe, after Haymys name y-wys,
Hamptone was y-clepud, as he yet y-clepud ys,
For South-hamptone he is y-clepud, and worth ever mo.”[235]
So sang the quaint old chronicler, Robert of Gloucester. Legends probably connected with the ravages of the Danes in this neighbourhood, and the{326} troubles of the latter ages of Anglo-Saxon history, formed the foundation of another romance of great popularity. In the baronial halls of Old England, the harp has often resounded to the chivalrous adventures of Bevis of Hampton. The figure of the hero may still be seen rudely sculptured on the antique tower at Southampton, called the Bargate. History gives us no clue to identify the personage who, in medieval romance, figures as

“Bevis of renoun,
The right heir of Southamptoun.”
But, according to the story, the father of Bevis was a powerful thane, named Guy, Earl of Hampton, or Southampton. He married a young wife, who, falling in love with a stranger knight named Doon de Mentz, caused her husband to be murdered by her paramour, whom she afterwards married. Young Bevis, by a series of marvellous adventures, escaped from the fate which had fallen on his father; and, leaving his inheritance to be enjoyed by the murderer, fled to the east, where he becomes engaged in no less extraordinary adventures among the infidels. He there falls in love with a beautiful Saracen maiden, named Josiana, daughter of the King of Armenie, with whom, after many years’ absence, he returns home. Bevis and his wife Josiana have a son named Guy. After having recovered his paternal estates, and punished the murderers of his father, Bevis becomes involved in a war with his sovereign, the King of England; and, the king’s son having been killed, he is obliged to fly with Josiana and his child. On their arrival on the Continent, they seek repose and shelter in a forest; but, while Bevis is absent in search of food, a party of pirates arrive and carry away his wife and child. They give young Guy to a fisherman; and Josiana afterwards escapes unhurt from their hands. The three are thus separated from each other, and each passes through a series of adventures in search of the other, which form a large portion of the romance. Bevis and his wife both arrive at the court of Armenie, where in her right he succeeds to the crown. But in the meantime the King of England dies without heirs; and the nobles of the land decide that Bevis and his son are the next in succession: they discover the latter at Paris, and offer him the throne. Guy determines at once to set out in search of his father; and he also arrives at last in Armenie, where his father is king. When Bevis is thus made acquainted with the events which had followed his banishment from England, he resigns the crown of Armenie to his son; and, with his wife Josiana, returns to his own country, where he is crowned with great ceremony and splendid festivities. Five years after his accession to the throne of England, Josiana dies; overcome with chagrin for the loss of his queen, and tired with the pomp of the world, Bevis leaves his own court, and retires secretly to a hermitage, where he remains seven years{327} before the place of his retreat is known. At the end of that period, an angel discovers it to the King of France, at the moment when Bevis is dying. Such is the outline of the legend of Bevis of Hampton, than which the writer of the romance assures us a better was never sung,—

“Plaist-vous oïr, bonne gent honnorée,
Bonne chanson de bien enluminée?
Meilleur de li ne puet estre chantée
Par jongleour, dite, ne devisée,
Comme ceste est qui çi vous est contée.”
At a short distance from the town of Southampton is a large tumulus, or sepulchral mound, which is known by the name of Bevis’s Mount. Some antiquaries, probably with little reason, have supposed it to be the remains of an ancient Danish fort. There is another Bevis’s Mound in the park of Arundel Castle,[236] which is said to be the hero’s grave. His sword, six feet long, is still preserved at Arundel. Bevis’s Mount, near Southampton, is now enclosed in the gardens of a gentleman’s seat.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Southampton and its neighbourhood was a common landing-place for pirates and French marauders, who infested the southern coast of England. In 1337 a considerable part of the town was burnt by the French. We have no information as to the effect which these hostile incursions had upon the monks of Netley. In recent times, Netley Heath has been more than once the rendezvous of troops destined for the invasion of France.

Independent of its historical recollections, the neighbourhood of Netley Abbey is interesting to the visitor for the beauty of its scenery. The walk from Southampton is extremely agreeable, lying chiefly along the beach.

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Itchen Ferry, which we must first pass, is now crossed by means of a moving {328}bridge, worked by a steam-engine. A pleasant winding lane leads to the shore of the Southampton Water. The path then lies along the edge of the water, skirted on the left by wooded eminences. After proceeding a short distance, we arrive at Weston Beach, whence, by a little lane to the left, we reach the beautiful hamlet of Weston, thickly embedded in trees. A modern poetess, Miss Mitford, has celebrated the charms of this rural spot:—

“Hills which the purple heath-bell shield,
Forest and village, lawn and field,
Ocean and earth, with all they yield
Of glorious or of fair.”
On the beach, a post directs us to the village inn, which is frequented by fishermen, who form the greater part of the population of the hamlet. Their boats are frequently seen in considerable numbers at anchor by the shore.

Pursuing our path along the beach, after a short walk, we arrive at a lane which conducts us to the entrance of Netley Abbey. Below, on the water’s edge, lies Netley Castle. The road which we have now entered, passing in front of the abbey, leads by Netley grange towards Netley hamlet, and the heaths of Netley and Bursledon. A little farther lie in succession the picturesque villages of Hound, Bursledon, and Hamble, the two latter situated on another creek of the sea, larger than the Itchen water. Leland the antiquary, who visited these parts immediately after the dissolution of the monasteries, appears to have passed along the shore in a boat from Portsmouth to Southampton. He gives the following account of the coast between Hamble and Itchen creek: “Scant a [2] miles from the mouth of Hamelrise creeke lyithe Letelege, on the shore upward in the mayne haven. Here a late was a great abbay in building of White monkes. About a 2 miles upward brekith in a great creeke out of the mayne haven, and goith into the land by northe. On the lift hand of this creeke by west a litle from the shore stondith a chapelle of our Lady of Grace, sumtime hauntid with pilgrimes. Right agayne it is Hichyn, a smaulle village on the est side, and hereof the trajectus is caullid Hichin-fery.” The manner in which Leland speaks of Letley, or Netley, gives strength to the supposition that considerable alterations were making in the buildings of the abbey at the time of its dissolution, and accounts probably for some of the traces of modern architecture which are found in it.

There were several monastic houses situated within a short distance round Netley Abbey. To the south-east, at a distance of about six miles, stood the Abbey of Titchfield. Immediately after the dissolution, the site was granted to Sir Thomas Wriothesley, afterwards created Earl of Southampton, who erected on the same spot a splendid mansion, which Leland describes as “a right stately house, embatoled and having a goodely gate, and a conducte{329} (conduit) castelid in the middle of the court of it; the very same place where the late monastrie of Præmonstratenses stoode, caullyd Tichefelde.” The ruins of Titchfield House are still visible. Besides the religious establishments in the town of Southampton, at a short distance from the town, to the north-east of Netley, stood the priory of St. Dionysius. A few miles beyond Southampton stood the ancient Saxon nunnery of Romsey, the church of which will repay with interest a visit from the antiquarian wanderer. Nearly opposite Netley, on the other side of the water, stood the mother Abbey of Beaulieu, deeply embedded in the wilds of the New Forest.

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Netley Castle, or Fort, is not a building of any considerable antiquity. The circumstance of its not being mentioned by Leland, proves that it did not exist before the latter end of the reign of Henry VIII. It is commonly supposed to have been erected for the purpose of guarding this part of the shore from invaders. It stands in the midst of a thicket of trees, on a little hill close to the beach, and forms a striking object as seen from the water. The tower is a modern addition, built by the late proprietor, Mr. Chamberlayne, who is said to have taken the idea from one of Horace Walpole’s letters, who recommended this adjunct to render the building habitable. The castle itself consists of two small platforms. Behind the castle stands a neat modern cottage, of an antique Gothic design, where tea, &c. is prepared for the visitors to the ruins of Netley Abbey.

One reason of our want of information relating to the early history of Netley Abbey, is the circumstance that no registers or chronicles of any monastic houses in this neighbourhood are known to exist. Literature appears not to have flourished in this part of England. Among the manuscripts in our great public libraries, but a few can be traced to any of these monasteries, and we believe none to Netley. Leland mentions but one book in the library of Netley Abbey, which was a work of Cicero; but this is far from showing, as it has been supposed, that the library was ill furnished, because that antiquary only noticed books of a certain class which he found in the course of his peregrination, and did not pretend to make an inventory of the contents of the monastic libraries. Of Romsey Nunnery, the most ancient of the religious houses we have just enumerated, the history is equally obscure;{330} and the sisters appear to have been chiefly remarkable for their irregularities. One of the most remarkable events recorded as connected with this house, is the circumstance that, in the reign of Henry III., the abbess had to enforce by law her claim to the privilege of judging and hanging capital offenders, because, from long disuse, even her gallows had fallen down. In 1314 or 1315, the Abbess of Romsey was poisoned, and suspicions appear to have been cast upon the sisterhood. It appears by a visitation, made in 1506, that the nuns were then accused of immoderate drinking, the lady abbess setting the example by inviting the nuns to her chamber to participate in her intemperance.

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Ground Plan of Netley Abbey.

Explanation of the References in the Plan.—1. The Entrance Gate, loading into, 2, the Fountain Court; 3, 3. Buildings partly surrounding this Court, and exhibiting marks of modern alterations; 4. The Church; 5. The Sacristy; 6. The Confessional; 7. The Chapter-House; 8. The Passage leading to the Inner Court; 9. The Parlour; 10. The Refectory; 11. The Buttery; 12. The Kitchen; 14. The Raised Terrace, or Floor of the Cloister, supposed to have surrounded the Inner Court (13); 15. A Ruined Building, supposed to have been the Abbot’s Lodgings.

Authorities:—The Monasticon.—Domesday Book.—Bullar’s Netley Abbey.—Keates’ Elegy on Netley Abbey.—Giraldus Cambrensis, and the Collections of Monkish Stories.—Leland’s Itinerary and Collectanea.—Matthew Paris.—Robert of Gloucester.—The Early Romances, &c.

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APPENDIX.
ARUNDEL CASTLE.—King Alfred’s Will.—The portion from which the text is a translation is thus given in Asser. de Ælfredi Reb. Gestis, fol. 23: “Athelmo, vero fratris mei filio, do villā de Edingburn et de Cumptune et de Erundele, et de Bedingn et de Dinghā, et de Burnham, et de Thumesfelde, et de Aschōgum.”—“Forty-nine Castles are enumerated in Domesday Book; that of Arundel only as existing in the time of Edward the Confessor. Many single towers were built during the Heptarchy and by King Alfred. The Castle of Arundel dates perhaps its true origin from that monarch.”—Dallaway.

“Fama verò tota est ex castro quod Saxonico imperio floruit; et statim ab ingressu Normanorum. Rogerum de Montgomericum restaurasse legimus, qui inde Arundeliæ Comes dictus.”—Camden.

Harold, Earl of Sussex, A.D. 1053.—Ingulph, relating the death of Earl Godwyn at the royal table, adds “Comitatusque Westsaxoniæ Haroldo filio suo datus est”—fol. 510, 540. Hardyng, page 229, after his manner relates the same in two stanzas:—“And as Kynge Edwarde,” &c.

Roger Montgomery, pp. 8, 9.—“Prædictus autem Rogerus de Montegummerici bello Anglico interfuit, et a Willelmo rege Anglorum Comitatus Arundelli et Sálopesberiæ dono áccepit.”—Wilhelm. Gemitens. De Ducib. Normannis. fol. 686. “Rex Gulielmus Rogerio de Monte Gomerici in primis{332} Castrum Arundellum et urbem Cicestram dedit; cui posteà comitatum Scrobesburiæ quæ in monte super Sabrinam fluvium sita est, adjecit. Hic sapiens et moderatus et amator æquitatis fuit, et comitatem sapientum et modestorum dilexit. Tres sapientes clericos Godebaldum, Odolerium, ac Herbertum, diutiùs secum habuit; quorum consilium utiliter paruit,”—p. 254. “Warino autem calvo, carpore parvo, sed animo magno, Aimeriam neptem suam et Præsidatum Scrobesburiæ dedit: per quem Guallos aliosq’ sibi adversantes fortiter oppressit, et provinciam totam sibi commissam pacificavit. Guillelmum cognomento Pantalfum, et Picoldum atque Corbatum filiosque ejus, Rogerium et Rodbertum, aliosque fideles fortissimosq’ viros comitatui suo præfecit; quorum sensu et viribus benigniter ajutus inter maximos optimates maximè effloruit.”—Order. Vital. de Guliel. primo.

His pious retirement from the world and death in the cloisters is thus related by Orderic—the authority referred to in the text:—“Having by the hands of Reginald, then Prior of Shrewsbury, obtained from the house of Cluni, in Burgundy, the coat of St. Hugh, some time abbot there, for himself to put on, he caused himself to be shorne a monk in the said Abbey of Shrewsbury, with the consent of his wife; where it is observed of him, that three days before his death he wholly applied himself to divine conference and devout prayers with the rest of that convent; and died on the sixth of the Kalends of August, 1094.”—Baron. i. 28. “Monachile scema devotus suscepit … et tribus diebus in colloquiis divinis et oratione inter servos Dei permaneit. Tandem Kal. Augusti mortuus est.”—Ord. Vital. p. 708.

Hugh Montgomery, page 9.—The death of this nobleman, as briefly mentioned in the text, is taken from Giraldus Cambrensis, Itin. Camb. p. 194, and thus rendered by Dugdale, Bar. i. 28. “There is in this island of Anglesey a church of St. Teuredaucus the Confessor, in which Earl Hugh, after he had subjugated these parts of Wales, having kennelled his dogs all night, found them every one mad next morning; and that he himself died a miserable death within a month thereafter. For hearing that certain pirates were come to the haven of this island in long-boats, and making haste to oppose their landing, the principal commander of them, called Magnus, standing at the fore end of the boat with a bow in his hand, let flie an arrow at our earl, then armed cap-à-pié, so that no entrance could be made except through his helmet, at the sights for his eyes; but so fatally was the arrow directed, that it passed through his head-piece upon his right eye, and piercing his brain, caused him to fall (from his horse) headlong into the sea.” Girald. Cambrensis erroneously attributes it to Hugh, Earl of Chester, but by all other authorities it is related as having occurred to Hugh Montgomery. Polyd. Virgil. fol. 173, says—“Hugo Comes Salopiæ obvium factus ex ictu{333} sagittæ periit.” After which, “within a few days, his body being earned to Shrewsbury, was there buried in the cloister of the abbey, with great lamentation.”—Dugd. i. 28. Roger Hovedon, fol. 268, mentions his death in nearly the same terms: “Sagitta percussus—interijt.” Also, Speed, fol. 445.

Mabel, Roger Montgomery’s first wife, was the only daughter, and heiress, of William Talvace—grandson of Ivo de Belesmo—a person of great power and note in the time of Richard, Duke of Normandy, with whom he had a large inheritance. But this lady, says the monk of Utica, “caused his abbey to be greatly burthened with quartering of soldiers; for which, and other oppressions exercised towards the nobility, she was murdered in her bed.” By this wife Earl Roger had issue, as briefly mentioned in the text, five sons and four daughters:—Robert de Belesme; Hugh de Montgomery; Roger of Poictou; Philip, a priest; Arnulf, a soldier of fortune, Lord of Dyvet, now Pembrokeshire, who, like his father, was liberal in his benefactions to the church. Of his four daughters, Emma, the eldest, was Abbess of Almanisca; Maud was the wife of Robert de Moreton, half brother to the Conqueror; Mabel married Hugh de Novo Castello; and Sibyl became the wife of Robert Fitz-Hamon, whose name and family have been noticed in our account of Tewkesbury. For his second wife, Earl Roger espoused Adeliza, daughter of Ebrard de Pusaic, and by her had issue one son, called after his grandfather Ebrard, who, entering on a course of ecclesiastical discipline, became one of the chaplains to King Henry I. Of the Countess Adeliza, a monastic writer records the following anecdote:—Being on her first passage by sea, from Normandy to England, there happened so great a storm that the mariners were in imminent danger of shipwreck. A priest, who was the countess’s private chaplain or confessor, and attended her in the voyage, being much wearied with anxiety and watching, fell fast asleep. And lo! while he slept, there stood before him a comely matron, who addressed him in these words: ‘If thy lady would be preserved from the danger of this dreadful tempest, let her vow to God forthwith, that she will build a church to the honour of Sainte Marie Magdalene in the place where she shall first meet the Earl Roger, her husband, in England; and especially where an old hollow oak groweth near a hogstye.’ Now all this, when he woke up, the priest told to his Mistress, who, gladly accepting deliverance on such terms, made her vow accordingly; whereupon the winds were hushed, the sea became tranquil, and she came safely to land with all her attendants. At length, after several days’ journey to meet her husband, she found him near Quadford, hunting in the out-forest, at a certain place where a hollow oak tree, like that described in the vision, was then growing. Relating to him without loss of time what had happened, she so prevailed upon him that he{334} agreed to fulfil her vows, and accordingly built and amply endowed a church in honour of Sainte Marie Magdalene, and gave it to his collegiate chapel in the Castle of Bridgenorth, in Shropshire, one of his many lordships. Like the monk who told his dream to Robert Fitz-Hamon (see Tewkesbury), Adeliza’s confessor—“monachiliter somniavit”—dreamed to good purpose. It is truly remarkable, that, so far as the interests of their order were concerned, these worthy monks always slept with their eyes open—

“By day with praying, plotting, scheming;
By night o’er beads and reliques dreaming;
They still contrived to lay their hand
Upon the fatness of the land.”
The Fitzalan Family, Text, p. 10.—The account of this Norman family is taken from that of Dugdale and the monastic writers, on whose report the genealogy is founded, namely, Ord. Vital., Matth. Paris, &c.; and the reader who may be curious in such matters, will find the whole subject fully detailed in the Baronage, i. p. 314, and Monasticon, vol. i., the sources from which the materials of all the later accounts which we have seen have been taken.

As progenitors of the royal family of Stuart, the claim is supported by Chalmers in his Caledonia, vol. i. p. 572, 573. Alan, the son of Flaald, a Norman, acquired the manor of Oswestrie, in Shropshire, soon after the Conquest—married the daughter of Warine, the famous sheriff of Shropshire—had two sons, Walter and William. Influenced by the Earl of Gloucester, the powerful partizan of his sister the Empress Maud, William seized Shrewsbury in September 1139, and held it for her interest—attended her at Winchester in 1141—adhered to her interests, and was rewarded by her son Henry II. By the marriage of his son with Isabel-de-Say, Clun in Shropshire was added to the Fitzalan estates. Oswestrie, or Oswaldestre, was the original seat of Alan on the Welsh border. Lord Hailes acknowledges that Walter (the son of Alan), who flourished under David I. and his successor Malcolm IV., was indeed the Stewart of Scotland. John Fitzalan, Lord of Clun and Oswestrie, by marrying Isabella, second sister of William de Albini, became Earl of Arundel.

De Albini, p. 9.—William-with-the-Strong-hand.—Dugdale gives the genealogical history of this family in the work above mentioned, vol. i. p. 118. The following anecdote, highly characteristic of the age in which he lived, is narrated with amusing gravity by our old Norroy king-at-arms, as one of the credible adventures in the life of this hero:—“I now come,” says he, “to William, who was called William-with-the-Strong-hand, in regard that, among his valiant exploits, he slew a fierce lion, the occasion of which was thus: It happened that the Queen of France, being then a widow, and a very{335} beautiful woman, became much in love with a knight of that country, who was a comely person, and in the flower of his youth: and because she thought that no man excelled him in valour, she caused a Tournament to be proclaimed throughout her dominions, promising to reward those who should

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exercise themselves therein, according to their respective merits; and concluding, that if the person whom she so affected should act his part better than others in these military exercises, she might marry him without any dishonour to herself. Hereupon divers gallant men from foreign parts hasting into Paris, amongst others came this our William de Albini, bravely accoutred; and in the tournament excelled all others, overcoming many, and wounding one mortally with his lance, which being observed by the Queen, she became exceedingly enamoured of him, and forthwith invited him to a costly banquet; and afterwards bestowing upon him certain jewels, offered him marriage. But, having plighted his troth to the Queen of England, then (also) a widow, he refused her; whereat she grew so much discontented, that she consulted with her maids how to take away his life; and in pursuance of that design enticed him into a garden, where there was a secret cave, and in it a fierce lion, into which she descended by divers steps under colour of showing him the beast. And when she told him of his fierceness, Albini merely answered, ‘that it was a womanish, and not a manly quality, to be afraid thereof.’ But having him there, by the advantage of a folding door, she thrust him into the lion’s den. Being therefore in this danger, he folded his mantle about his{336} arm, and putting his hand into the mouth of the beast, pulled out his tongue by the root; which done, he followed the Queen to her palace, and gave it to one of her maids to present to her.”—On his return to England, the lion was given him for his arms, and he was thenceforward distinguished as “William-with-the-Strong-hand.” Commenting on this marvellous portion of Albini’s adventures, Vincent expresses regret that the hero did not, when once in, thrust his hand further, so as to catch the lion by the tail and “turn him inside out”—an operation which would certainly have been an improvement on the other, as well as an agreeable addition to the family arms. This valiant act was afterwards, it appears, revived by a royal crusader, and with still better success; for he extracted the ‘lion’s heart at a grasp!’

Text, p. 9. “Illa (Adeliza), rege defuncto, Gulielmum de Albineto in maritum assumpsit, qui cū Matildi Augustæ contrà Stephanum regem studeret, et hoc castrum contrà illum propugnaret, in navatæ operæ præmium Arundeliæ Comitis titulum, à Matilde Augusta Anglorum domina (hoc enim usa est titulo) accepit: cùmq’ post quartum ab eo comitem, proles ejus mascula deficeret, Richardum Fitzalanum jure uxoris in eum honorem evexit Rex Edwardus Secundus,” &c. With respect to the fourth Earl, Brooke, in his “discoveries,” has stated objections, p. 32, 33.

With respect to the part taken by Albini subsequent to his marriage with Adeliza, queen dowager, on the part of the Empress Maud, her son, and King Stephen at Wallingford—as well as the embassy in which he took the lead—as mentioned p. 42, Dugdale has condensed the particulars under the head of “Will. de Albini Pincerna,” i. 118, as well as all others of any importance respecting the descent of the Castle of Arundel through the families of the Fitzalans and Howards. Albini is thus complimented in the old Rhyming Chronicle; and the orthography shows the pronunciation in that day:—

¶ Wyllyam, the Earle of Arundell that hyght,
Awbeny (Albini) by his surname full well then knowe,
At Wimondham, in Northfolke buryed ryght,
Father was of Philyp full yonge unknowe
[That full courteous was both to hye and lowe]
That after him was Earle of Arundell,
As Chronycles wryten can clerely tell. P. 273.
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Robert de Belesmo, Text p. 9.—“Supradictus Comes Robertus de Belesmo qui comitatum etiam Pontinensis pagi rexit eo tempore, ac in Normannia Castella possedit quam plurima; civitatem Scrobesbiriam et castellum in ea situm, castella quoque Arundel et Tikehil, alimentis machinis, armis, militibus, et peditibus contra regem Henricum fortiter munivit. Muros quoque, ac tunes castellorum, videlicet Brige et Carracoue, die noctuque operando perficere modis omnibus festinavit…. At Rex sine delatione Castellum ejus Arundel primitùs obsedit, et castellis ante illud firmatis, recessit; deinde Robertus Lindicolniæ civitatis episcopum cum parte exercitûs Tykehil obsidere jussit. Illè autem Brige cum exercitu penè totius Angliæ obsedit, machinas quoque ibi construere et castellum firmare præcepit. Interim Walanos, &c. Infra igitur triginta dies civitate et omnibus castellis redditis inimicum suum Robertum superavit etignominiosè de Anglia expulit.”—Hov. Annal. Hen. pr. 269.

Text p. 39.—“Junior Wilhelmus anno decimo regni sui cū Normanniam, quam à Roberto fratre suo ad Jerusalem profecto, in vadimonium acceperat pro libitu suo disposuisset, redijt ad Vigiliam Paschæ in Angliam, appulit apud Arundel.”—Henric. Huntingd. lib. vi. p. 216.

King Stephen, p. 38.—“Statim namque filia regis Henrici, quæ fuerat Romanorum imperatrix, cui Anglia juramento fuerat addicata, venit in Angliam; quam cum Rex Stephanus obsedisset apud Arundel, vel perfida credens consilia, vel quia castrum videbat inexpugnabile, ire permisit ad Bristowe.”—Hoved. Steph. Rex. fol. 278.

The Empress Maud, p. 41.—Holinshed, on the authority of Polydor, relates a “scandalous story” affecting the character of this lady, which, if true, robs William de Albini of the credit so generally given him, for having been the pacificator between King Stephen and young Duke Henry. It is very quaintly told by the old chronicler, p. 63, and by Polydor. Verg. lib. xij.:—“Sunt qui tradunt aliam fuisse causam qua Stephanus flexus sit ad pacem, qui referūt Mathildē amicā potius q’ inimicā Stephani fuisse, et eam, cum videret rem inter ipsum Stephanū et Henricū filiū eò deductā, ut armis finienda{338} esset, clàm ad Stephanū adivisse atq’ sic eum allocutā: Ecquid, impie ac tui generis immemor, facere tētas? Decet ne patrem perdere filiū? an fas est ut filius patrem occidat? Amabo te, des locum iræ, projiciasq’ tela manu, nā Henricū, uti probè scis, ex te enixa sum! Et his dictis, ordine cōmemorasse quem admodum paullo antèq’ Gaufredo nuberet, ab eo compressa fuisset; ac ijs verbis Stephanū motū pacē fecisse.”

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Syr Bevis, Text 37.—For the groundwork of the following legend, as connecting Sir Bevis with Arundel Castle, we are indebted to a lady resident near the spot. Sir Bevis, as noticed, p. 326, is familiar to every reader of romance; and the traditional history of his prowess has often been heard at the baron’s hearth, when the spirit of chivalry was fanned by the approving smile of beauty, and the sound of the harp sweetened the intervals of repose.

“O, who has not heard of Bevis the Bold?
Whose sword was the theme of harpers old;
Compared with which, like a willow-wand
Was the sword that gleamed in Paynim hand.
And oft through the Pagan’s steely array,
For the Cross of St. George, it had cleft his way.
Syr Bevis was stout of heart and limb:
And his meekest look was so stern and grim,
That even his squire grew deadly pale,
As he buckled for battle Syr Bevis’ mail!
And wherever for knightly feats he went,
Equipped for battle or tournament,
His very shadow refused to stay,
And shrunk like a craven thing away.
So fierce and fell was the hero’s stroke,
’Twould have cleft at a blow the forest oak;
While around him heads of Saracen lay,
Paving with helms Syr Bevis’ way.
But at length, in old Arundel’s Castellan,
When chilly and slow the life-blood ran,
And he bask’d his old frame in its evening sun,
And dreamed o’er the battles his youth had won;
As musing he sat on yon battled keep,
O’erlooking the forest and distant deep—
Come, bring me,’ quoth he, ‘my trusty sword!’
And swiftly his squire obeyed the word.
Then swift from his seat Syr Bevis sprung,
And thrice round his head the blade he swung—
‘Now mark me well,’ said the chief, ‘and obey
The command I leave, and the word I say:{339}
Where ye find again this trusty glaive,
There hollow the ground for Bevis’s grave!
For my eyes wax dim and my blood runs cold,
And my heart of life hath lost its hold.’
He said: and fleet from his hand he threw
The deadly weapon so tried and true;
And away—as impelled by some nameless charm—
Like a shaft that’s shot by a wizard’s arm;
Away the falchion glanced, and fell
In the depth of Pugh’s deserted dell.—
That night there was mass for a parted soul;
At St. Martin’s gate there was Christian dole;
Where priest and vassal the dirge began,
For Syr Bevis the warlike Castellan!
Then they searched the shadowy forest round,
And they hollowed a grave where the sword was found;
And there they have laid each stiffened limb
Of the brave Syr Bevis, the wise and grim.
Where at noon the trooping deer convene,
Where at night the timid hare is seen,
Where the monk of St. Lazarus counts his beads,
They have laid him down in his warrior’s weeds;
They have monks to chant, and bells to toll—
And all for the rest of Syr Bevis’ soul.
Now ye who visit that haunted dell,
To count your beads in St. James’s cell,
Or haply to slay Montgomery’s deer,
Tread light on the ashes that slumber here.”
The anecdote related at p. 40 of the text, is thus told in the Latin of Father Matthew of St. Albans, p. 853:—“A.D. 1252. Tempore quoque sub eodem domino rege adhuc moram Londini continuante, venit ad eum in cameram suam Isabella, comitissa Harundelliæ, relicta Comitis Harundelliæ H. et ejusdem regis cognata; ut pro jure suo de quadam custodia ipsam contingente verba faceret sibi profectura. Rex autem vultum ei primò protendens serenum, posteà cum verbis asperioribus objurgans, nihil quod postulavit comitissa favorabiliter exaudivit; vindicavit enim sibi rex custodiam cujusdam custodiæ ratione particulæ, ipsum regem contingentis. Unde ipsa comitissa, licèt mulier, non tamen muliebriter respondit imperterrita. ‘O domine rex quare avertis faciem tuam à justitia? Jam in curia tua quod justum est nequit impetrari, medius inter Dominum et nos constitueris; sed nec teipsum nec nos sanè regis, nec ecclesiam veritus es multipliciter perturbare; quod non tantum in presentiarum, sed multoties est experta. Nobiles insuper regni modis variis vexare non formidas vel erubescis.’ Quod cùm audîsset rex, corrugans nares et subsannans, voce dixit elevata: ‘Quid est hoc, ô domina Comitissa? Confeceruntne Magnates Angliæ Chartam, et pepigerunt tecum, ut fieres eorum quia eloquens es, advocata, et prolocutrix?’ Ad quod{340} comitissa, licèt juvencula non tamen juveniliter respondit: ‘Nequaquam mihi, domine, regni tui primates chartam confecerunt; sed tu chartam, quam confecit pater tuus, et tu eam concessisti, et jurasti observare fideliter et irrefragabiliter, et multoties ut eam observares à fidelibus tuis pecuniam de libertatibus observandis eorum extorsisti, sed tu semper eis impudens transgressor extitisti. Unde fidei læsor enormis, et sacramenti transgressor manifestus esse comprobaris. Ubi libertates Angliæ toties in scripta redactæ, toties concessæ totiesque redemptæ? Ego igitur, licèt mulier, omnesque indigenæ et naturales ac fideles tui appellamus contrà te antè tribunal tremendi Judicis: et erunt nobis testes cœlum et terra, quoniam iniquè nimis nos tractus insontes, et nos Deus ultionum dominus ulciscatur.’ Ad hæc Rex siluit confusus, quia dictante propria conscientia cognovit, quoniam a tramite veritatis non exorbitavit Comitissa, et ait: ‘Nonne postulas gratiam eò quòd mihi cognata sis?’ At illa: ‘Ex quo mihi quod jus expostulat denegâsti, quo modo spem concipiam, ut mihi gratiam facias postulanti? Sed et contra illos ante faciem Christi appello, qui te fascinantes et infatuantes consiliarii tui sunt, et te à via veritatis avertunt, suis tantummodo commodis inhiantes.’ His igitur auditis Rex siluit, satis civiliter redargutus.”

Knighthood, p. 45.—The grand festival mentioned in the text is thus described by Matthew of Westminster; and in Anstis’ Order of the Bath, p. 12:—“The king, to render his expedition into Scotland more splendid and numerous, caused proclamation to be made throughout England, whereby all persons entitled or compellable to take knighthood by right of hereditary succession, that is, by lands descended to them, or who had estates sufficient to support that degree, were required, on the Feast of Pentecost, to attend at Westminster, where every one of them should receive severally out of the king’s wardrobe, at the king’s expense, all things belonging to the habit of knighthood, except what related to the furniture of his horse (or armour for such knight). At the time and place appointed, there was an appearance of three hundred young gentlemen, sons of earls, barons, and knights, to whom was distributed in ample measure, according to their different qualities, purple, fine linen, furs, and mantles embroidered with gold; and because the Royal Palace, though spacious, was not of extent sufficient to accommodate so great a number, they repaired to the New Temple, where they erected tents and pavilions, having first cut down the trees in the orchard, and levelled the walls of it, that they might separately and more commodiously dress themselves in their splendid habits. That night as many of them performed their vigils in the Temple Church as the place would well contain; but the Prince of Wales, by command of the king his father, kept his vigils in the Church of Westminster, with some other persons of the first dignity. There the noise of trumpets and pipes was so great, and the acclamations of the people{341} so loud and extended, that the voices in one choir could not be distinctly heard in another. On the day following, the king invested his son with the military belt, and consigned to him the Duchy of Aquitain. The prince, being knighted, went to the Church of Westminster, that he might confer the like military honour on his companions; there the press, occasioned by a promiscuous concourse of people, was so great before the high altar, that two knights were stifled, and several fainted away; for every knight had at least three other knights to conduct and support him. But the prince was obliged, by reason of the tumultuous crowd, to invest his companions upon the high altar, having, by his guards, made way for them to pass through the people. Then were brought and presented two Swans, introduced with much pomp, and covered with golden nets, adorned and embossed with golden studs, a solemnity highly grateful to the spectators. The king offered a vow to God, upon the presentation of the Swans, that he would make a descent upon Scotland, with a design, whether he should live or die in the attempt, to revenge the death of John Comyn, and the violated faith of the Scots, &c.

“In the celebration of this great festival there is a particular article, which is thus explained:—A vow, made upon the exhibition before-mentioned of two swans, in conformity to an usage continued for some ages; according to which, when any hostile expedition was intended, the commanding prince formally and solemnly bound himself to execute it, upon the oblation of some bird, as a visible test or signal of such engagement.”

Page 62.—In the letter here quoted—supposed to have been the last ever written by Norfolk, on the eve of Bosworth Field—the duke directs his well-beloved friend, John Paston, to bring with him such company of tall men, and “ordain them jackets of my livery.” The Duke of Norfolk’s livery, on the authority of Fenn, was particoloured of blue and tawny—a yellowish dusky brown orange colour—having the left side of the former of these, and the right side of the latter, and both dark shades of their respective colours.

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{342}

ST. ALBAN’S ABBEY.—Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester.—The anecdote of this worthy, referred to in the text, is thus told by Grafton in his Chronicles, ii. 630:—“This Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, descending of the blood royal, was not only noble and valyant in all his actes and doings, but sage, politique, and notably well learned in the ciuile law. And among his other worthy prayses, this followyng is not to be forgotten, which most liuely and plainley declareth him to be both prudent and wyse, and to his great laude and prayse is written, and set forth by Sir Thomas Moore, knight, in this wyse following:—‘In the reign of King Henry the Sixt,’ saith he, ‘there came to the towne of Sainct Albons a certaine beggar with his wyfe, and there was walkeng about the towne begging fiue or six dayes, before the kinges comming thether; sayeing that he was born blinde, and never sawe in all his lyfe, and was warned in hys dreme that he should come out of Berwike, where he saide that he had ever dwelled, to seke Sainct Albon, and that he had been at hys Shrine, and was not holpen, and therefore he would go seeke him at some other place: for he had heard some saye sinse he came, that Sainct Albons body should be at Colyn (Cologne), and indede such a contention hath there bene. But of a truth, as I am certainly informed,’ sayth Sir Thomas Moore, ‘he lyeth here at Sainct Albons, saveing some reliques of him which theye there shewe shryned. But to tell you foorth, when the kinge was come, and the towne full of people, sodainely this blinde man at Sainct Albones Shryne had his sight, and the same was solemnly rong for a miracle, and Te Deum songen; so that nothing was talked of in all the towne but this miracle. So happened it then, that Duke Humffrey of Gloucester, a man no lesse wise than also well learned, having great joy to see suche a miracle, called the poore man unto him, and first shewyng himself joyous of God’s glorie, so shewed in the getting of hys sight, and exhorting him to meeknesse, and to no ascrybing of any part of the worship to himselfe, not to be prowde of the people’s prayse, which would call hym a good and a godlie man thereby. At last he looked well upon his eyen, and asked whether he could ever see any thing at al, in all hys lyfe before. And when as well hys wyfe as himselfe affirmed fastlie ‘No!’ then he looked advisedly upon hys eyen agayne, and sayde, ‘I beleue you very well, for methinketh that ye cannot see well yet.’ ‘O yes, Sir,’ quoth he, ‘I thanke God and his holy martir, I can see now as well as any man.’ ‘You can,’ quod the duke; ‘what colour is my gowne?’ Then anon the beggar tolde hym. ‘What colour,’ quod he, ‘is this man’s gowne?’ He told him also, without anye stayeng or stombling, and told the names of{343} all the colours that coulde be shewed. And when the duke sawe that he bade him, walke faytoure, that is to say, vagabond; and made him to be set

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openly in the stockes: for though he could have seen sodaynely, by miracle, the difference betwene dyvers coloures, yet could he not by sight so sodainely tell the names of all these coloures, except he had knowne them before, no more than he coulde name all the men whom he should sodainely see.’ Thus far Maystir Moore.” Reference has been already made to the play in which Shakspeare has made use of the above, as the ground of a very amusing dialogue, into which he has infused much additional humour; and thus concludes:—

“Glo. Then, Saunder, sit thou there, the lying’st knave
In Christendom. If thou hadst been born blind,
Thou might’st as well have known our names, as thus
To name the several colours we do wear.
Sight may distinguish colours; but suddenly
To nominate them all’s impossible.
My lords, Saint Alban here hath done a miracle;
And would ye not think that cunning to be great
That could restore this cripple to his legs again,” &c.
Gloucester accordingly advises the application of the whip, and finds that the cripple is suddenly transformed into an athlete, with the full and free use of his limbs. Such were the devotees usually met with in places of pilgrimage—and such the miracles that obtained ready belief in the vulgar mind.

The Priory of Tinmouth in Northumberland was a cell of St. Alban’s Abbey. “One Simon of Tinmouth claimed a right to two corodies, or the maintenance of two persons in the priory; but which the prior and monks denied. This cause was brought before the Abbot of St. Alban’s and his Court-baron, who appointed it to be tried by combat on a certain day before him and his barons. Ralf Gubion, prior of Tinmouth, appeared at the time and place appointed, attended by his champion, one William Pegun, a man of gigantic stature. The combat was fought. Pegun was defeated, and the prior lost his cause; at which he was so much chagrined, that he immediately resigned his office.” This judicial combat is the more remarkable, that it was fought in the court of a spiritual baron, and that one of the parties was a priest.{344}

ELTHAM HALL, p. 111.—It was whilst residing at his Palace of Eltham that King Richard II. resolved upon the murder of the Duke of Gloucester. “Unable,” says Froissart, “to conceal any longer the great hatred he bore to his uncle, he determined to have him cut off according to the advice given him, namely, that ‘it was more advisable to destroy than to be destroyed.’ Accordingly, the king having rode to the Castle of Pleshy, about thirty miles from London, with fair words cajoled the duke out of his castle, and was attended by him to a lane that led to the Thames, where they arrived between ten and eleven o’clock at night. Here the Earl-Marshal, who there lay in ambush, arrested him in the king’s name, and forced him towards the Thames in spite of his cries to the king to deliver him. He was conscious, from the moment of his being thus arrested, that his end was resolved on; and it was confirmed to him by the king turning a deaf car to his complaints, and riding on full gallop to London, where he lodged that night in the Tower. The Duke of Gloucester had other lodgings; for whether he would or not, he was forced into a boat that carried him to a vessel at anchor in the Thames, into which he was compelled to enter. The Earl-Marshal embarked also with his men, and having a favourable wind and tide, they fell down the river, and arrived late on the morrow evening at Calais, without any one knowing it but the king’s officers. The Earl-Marshal, as governor, could enter Calais at all hours, without any one thinking it strange: so he carried the duke to the castle, and there placed him in confinement…. In the meantime King Richard, leaving the Tower at an early hour, rode to his palace of Eltham and there remained; while the same day toward evening, the Earls of Arundel and Warwick were both brought to the Tower and there confined, to the great surprise of the citizens. But to return to Calais: When the Duke of Gloucester saw himself shut up in the castle, abandoned by his brothers, and deprived of his attendants, he began to feel alarmed; and addressing himself to the Earl-Marshal—‘For what reason,’ he inquired, ‘am I thus carried from England, and confined here? Do you mean to retain me a close prisoner? Let me go and view the castle, the garrison, and the people of the town.’ ‘My lord,’ replied the earl, ‘I dare not comply with your demands; for you are consigned to my guard, under pain of death. The king, our lord, is at this moment somewhat wroth with you; and it is his orders that you abide here awhile in banishment with us, which you must have patience to do until we have{345} other news, and God grant that it may be soon! for as the Lord liveth, I am truly concerned for your disgrace, and would cheerfully aid you if I could;

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but knowing the oath I have taken to the king, you know I am bound in honour to obey.’ This was the only answer the Duke of Gloucester could obtain; he too well judged from appearances, that his life was in jeopardy; and asked the priest who had said mass, if he would confess him. This he did with great calmness and resignation; and with a devout and contrite heart, cried before the altar of God, the Creator of all things, for his mercy and forgiveness. He was repentant of all his sins, and lamented them greatly. He was right thus to exonerate his conscience, for his end was nearer than he imagined: for being on the point of sitting down to dinner, while he was washing his hands, four men rushed suddenly out from an adjoining chamber, and, throwing a towel round his neck, strangled him by two drawing one end and two the other. When he was quite dead they carried him to his chamber, undressed him, and placed the body between two sheets with his head on a pillow, and covered him with furred mantles. They then re-entered the hall, properly instructed what to say and how to act, and declared that the Duke of Gloucester had been seized with an apoplexy as he was washing his hands before dinner, and that they had great difficulty to carry him to bed. This was the report published in the garrison and the town, where some believed it, and others not. Within two days after, it was published abroad that the duke had died in his bed at the Castle of Calais; and in consequence the Earl-Marshal, who was the duke’s near relation, put on mourning, as did all the knights and squires in the town of Calais.” As to the manner of his death, it appears by the confession of Hall, one of the accomplices, that the duke was smothered with pillows, not strangled, as Froissart was informed.{346}

TEWKESBURY, p. 167.—By papers in the Bodleian Lib. Hist. of Tewkesb. 107, 1574, it appears, that on the twenty-fourth of July, being fair day, such a quantity of bats came floating down the river Avon, at Tewkesbury, that they covered the surface of the water for above a land’s length, in heaps above a foot thick, which so dammed up the mills for three days, that they could not go till the bats were dug out with shovels!

Page 189, A.D. 1578.—In the churchwardens’ book of accounts for this year, are the items here annexed:—“Payd for the plaiers geers six sheepskins for Christ’s garments,” ibid. 1585. “Order eight heads of hair for the Apostles, and ten beards, and a face or visor for the Devel,”—which show that mysteries, as plays were then called, were probably acted in the churches. In Italy the practice is still kept up, as every traveller in that and other parts of the Continent has observed; particularly during the Christmas festival, when nearly every church and convent have exhibitions of the Saviour’s birth, and the miraculous circumstances attending it.

KENILWORTH CASTLE, p. 211.—Thomas de la Moore, in his Life and Death of Edward II., relates the following, as part of the cruel and insulting treatment to which the unhappy sovereign was subjected by his keepers, on leaving Kenilworth for Berkeley Castle. It is of a serio-comic nature; but no reader who ever held a razor, but will sympathize with the wretched monarch in his stipulations for at least the indulgence of warm water, under such an operation:—“Attestamur et scribimus quæ luce clariora innotuerunt mundo, si non timor æmulorum regis devotissimi adhuc superstitis clarere prohiberet, quæ non poterint occultare. Tum abducitur Edwardus (ut præscriptum est) versus Berkleyam à satrapis Sathanæ equitans stipatus, duxerunt etiam exemplar patientiæ per grangias Castri Bristollii, ubi de fœno factam coronam capiti jumdudum oleo sancto consecrato imposuit nefarius ille de Gorney, ausus contingere Christum Dei, cui illudentes ironia nimis acerba milites dixerunt, Fareforth Syr Kynge. Metuentes maligni, ne pariter directè incedentibus obuiaret aliquis amicus Edwardi et manus misericors ipsum liberatura, declinauerunt ad Smischam per mariscum ad flumen Sabrinæ terminatum. Excogitârunt inimici Dei quomodo Edwardum deformarent, ne foret facilè notus. Vnde cauariem et barbam radendas cōstituerunt. Venientes proinde in itinere ad fossam, iusserunt ipsum radendū descendere. Cui assidenti super cujusdam talpæ monticulum pelvim{347} aqua frigida de fossa recepta attulit barbitonsor. Cui et aliis asserentibus quod aqua talis pro tune deberet sufficere, ait Edwardus—Velitis, nolitis, habebimus pro barba aquas calidas; et ut promissum consequeretur veritas, cepit profuse lachrymare. Ita mihi retulit viuens post magnam pestilentiam Gulielmus Bischop, qui ductoribus Edwardi sodalis, unde confessus et contritus pœnituit, sub spe misericordiæ divinæ.”—P. 602, edit. Francofort.

“This Kyng Herolde at Waltam, which he found,
Of foure score chanons, full fayre was buryed
At the hye aulter, and as a kyng was crownde,
All yf he were intrusor notifyed,
And in batayl slayne and victoryed,
Of gentylnesse the Conquerour bad so
As yf he were afore his mortall fo.”—Hardyng, 3234.
WALTHAM.—Death of Harold, Text, p. 266.—“Ipse carens omni decore quibusdam signis nequaquam facie recognitus est, et in castra Ducis delatus qui tumulandum eum Guillelmo agnomine Maletto concessit, non matri pro corpore delectæ prolis auri par pondus offerenti.” The quantity of gold which Harold’s mother is here related to have offered to the victorious duke for the body of her son, may be reasonably estimated, as Maseres has shown in a note on this passage of the “Gesta Guillelmi,” at eleven thousand pounds. The supposed visit of Harold’s mother to the field of battle in search of his body, and that of Edith with the Swan’s neck—mentioned in the text, who finally discovered it by some secret token—are thus described in a MS. ballad on the subject:—

“The day is lost! The din of war is hushed on Hastings’ field:
In triumph rolls the Norman car o’er England’s trampled shield.
‘Prepare the feast!’ Duke William cries. The midnight feast is spread;
And there, in gilded canopies, they banquet ’midst the dead!
The bowl is drained, the oath renewed of fealty to their Chief;
But how shall gilded tents exclude the wail of woman’s grief!
‘Where is my son?’ a mother cries; ‘his corse but to behold,
And lay it where his kindred lies, I’ll give its weight in gold!’
‘Thy son is slain! his crown is sold! Duke William wears it now;
We’ll give thee iron for thy gold—Lady, what more would’st thou?’
She heard and wept—then faltered on: her heart with anguish bled,
As wistfully she gazed upon the faces of the dead!
But ’midst the thousand forms of death that show’d the ghastly wound.
And weltering strew’d the gory heath, her Harold was not found!
She sat her down and wept aloud: and sighed—‘Undone—undone!
Now lay me in the hallowed shroud that should have wrapt my son!’
{348}
* * * * *
At length the gentle Edith came, led by a holy man,
And, lighted by a taper’s flame, again the search began.
Darkly her raven tresses hung upon her neck of snow,
And still her lily hands she wrung in ecstacy of woe!
Around her, Harold’s warriors true lay heaped upon the plain,
Where high the Norman banner flew insulting o’er the slain;
A friar of Waltham’s Holy Rood stood in that mournful ring,
And wiping off the clotted blood—‘Oh, Christ! is this the king?’
Down to the earth fair Edith bent, upraised the lifeless head,
And ’neath the light that taper lent, gazed wildly on the dead!
One pause of fearful agony—a breathless, deep suspense—
Was visible in every eye, and felt in every sense!
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There, like a cedar in his pride struck down, a warrior lay;
And here extended at his side a chieftain’s proud array.
They scann’d his features o’er and o’er, but ’wildered was their view,
Until the secret mark appeared, which Edith only knew—
And then a shrill and piercing shriek the fearful truth confess’d,
The hue of death was on her cheek—she sunk upon his breast!
But Harold’s lip and Harold’s eye, in cold forgetfulness
For ever sealed, made no reply to Edith’s frantic kiss.
Oh, must I see thee thus, and live? Yet Heaven be witness here,
How gladly would thy Edith give her bosom for thy bier!’”
* * * * *
ROCHESTER CASTLE.—Anno dominicæ incarnationis DCCCI. nativitatis autem Ælfredi regis xxxiv. exercitus in duas turmas divisit. Una etenim turma in orientalem Franciam perrexit; et altera ad Britanniam veniens, Cantium adiit; civitatemq’, quæ Hrofceastre Saxonicè dicitur, in orientali ripa fluminis Medwæg sitam obsedit. Ante hujus portam pagani Castellum ibimet firmum subitò fabricauerunt. Nec tamen illam civitatem expugnare potuerunt; quia cives illi se viriliter defenderunt, quousque Ælfred rex cū magno exercitu adiutorium illis conferens superuenit. Et tunc pagani relicta arce sua et omnibus equis, quos de Francia secum adduxerant derelictis; maxima parte nec non captiuorum suorum in arce dimissa adueniente subitò rege, ad naues suas confestim confugiunt. Et Saxones statim derelictos à paganis captiuos et equos diripiunt.—Asser. de Ælfred. Reb. Gest. fol. 11.{349}

CARISBROOKE CASTLE, p. 284.—Of the circumstances mentioned in the text, the following is the relation given by the learned monk already quoted:—“Rogerius verò de Britolio, Comes Herefordensis ad curiam regis vocatus venit, et inquisitus manifestam toti mundo proditionem negare non potuit. Igitùr secundùm leges Normanorum judicatus est, et amissa omni hæreditate terrena, in carcere Regis perpetuò damnatus est. Ibi etiam Regi multoties detraxit, et contumacibus actis, implacabiliter offendit. Nam quondam, dum plebs Dei Paschale festum congruè celebraret, et Rex structum preciosarum vestium Rogerio Comiti per idoneos satellites in ergastulo mitteret; ille pyram ingentem antè se jussit præparari, et ibidem, Regalia ornamenta, chlamydem sericamq’ interulam, et renonem de preciosis pellibus peregrinorum murium subitò comburi. Quod audiens Rex iratus dixit: ‘Multùm superbus est qui hoc mihi dedecus fecit; sed, per splendorem Dei, de carcere mea in omni vita mea non exibit.’ Sententia regis tàm fixa permansit, quòd nec etiam post mortem Regis ipse, nisi mortuus, de vinculis exiit. Rainaldus et Rogerius filii ejus, optimi tirones, Henrico Regi famulantur et clementiam ejus—quæ tardissima iis visa est—in duris agonibus præstolantur.” In commenting upon the above passage, a learned writer has made the following remarks:—“It appears from the text that Roger, Earl of Hereford, was brought to his trial before the king’s court, or council of the proceres, or great men of the kingdom, and was condemned by them to suffer perpetual imprisonment, with the loss of all his inheritance. So that, in this instance, as well as in the case of Ralph de Guader, the said court or council appear to have acted as a court of criminal jurisdiction. But it seems remarkable that the judgment they passed upon this great and notorious rebel, who could not, and did not, deny the crime he was charged with, should not have extended to his life; more especially, as Waltheof, Earl of Northampton, who had refused to have any share in the rebellion raised by the other two earls, and had only been guilty of concealing his knowledge of their intentions, was, in a short time after, condemned to lose his life for that lesser offence, and was, as stated in the text, actually beheaded at Winchester. One would almost suspect that they were tried by two different laws; namely, Roger, Lord of the Isle of Wight, who was a Norman, by the law of Normandy; and Waltheof, Earl of Northampton, who was an Englishman, by the law of England; and that the Norman law of that period did not punish high treason with death, although the English law did. With respect to the{350} garments sent by the king to this haughty prisoner, they are understood by commentators on the original passage to have consisted of—First, an outer

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garment or coat; secondly, an inner garment or waistcoat, made of silk; and thirdly, a short cloak to be thrown over the shoulders, and that reached only to the waist, made of the rich furs of some foreign animals, which the author calls mice (murium), and were probably either ermines or martins. It is also conjectured that the present thus sent to the earl was a set of robes, suited to the rank and office of Earl of Hereford, which he had lately held, and to which it might have been King William’s intention to restore him, “if his inconceivable pride had not prevented it.”

In his interesting notice of the lives and fortunes of this great family, the learned monk of Utica concludes with these striking moral reflections on the transitory nature of all human grandeur:—“Verè gloria mundi, ut flos fœni decidit et arescit; ac, velut fumus deficit et transit. Ubi est Gulielmus Osberni filius, Herefordensis Comes, et Regis Vicarius, Normanniæ dapifer, et magister militum bellicosus? Hic nimirùm primus et maximus oppressor Anglorum fuit, et enormem causam per temeritatem suam enutrivit, per quam millibus ruina miseræ mortis incubuit. Verùm justus Judex omnia videt, et unicuique, prout meretur, redhibet. Proh dolor! ecce Gulielmus corruit, audax athleta recipit quod promeruit. Ut multos ense trucidavit, ipse quoque ferro repentè interiit. Denique post ejus occasum antequam lustrum compleretur annorum, spiritus discordiæ filium ejus et generum contra dominum suum et cognatum hostiliter excivit, qui Sichimitas contrà Abimelech (quem occicis LXX. filiis Jerobaal sibi præfecerant) commovit! En veracitur à me descripta est offensa, pro qua Guillelmi progenies eradicata sic est de Anglia, ut nec passum pedis, nisi fallor, jam nanciscatur in illa.” Duchesne—Excerp. Order. Vital. De Gul. primo rege Anglorum 322. Selecta Monumenta.

That the Conqueror’s philosophy was not proof against any little disappointment of the palate is evident from the following anecdote:—“When his prime favourite, William Fitz-Osborne, steward of his household, served him with the flesh of a crane scarcely half roasted, he was so highly exasperated that he lifted up his fist, and would have struck him had not Eudo, appointed ‘dapifer,’ immediately after warded off the blow.”—Warner, i. 307.{351}

It was to the Isle of Wight that the Earl of Warwick—when brought to trial along with the Earl of Arundel—was banished in these terms: “Earl of Warwick! this sentence is very favourable, for you have deserved to die as much as the Earl of Arundel; but the handsome services you have done in time past to King Edward, of happy memory, and the Prince of Wales, his son, as well on this as on the other side of the sea, have secured your life; but it is ordered, that you banish yourself to the Isle of Wight, taking with you a sufficiency of wealth to support your state so long as you shall live, and that you never quit the island.”—Froissart.

The passage referred to Monstrelet in the text, is as follows:—“In this year Waleran, Comte de St. Pol, assembled at Abbeville, in Ponthieu, about sixteen hundred fighting men: among whom were numbers of the nobility, who had made great provisions of salted meats, biscuits, wines, brandy, flour, and other things necessary on board of ships. From Abbeville the Count led them to Harfleur, where they found vessels of all descriptions ready to receive them. When they had remained there some days, to arrange their matters and to recommend themselves to St. Nicholas (the sailors’ patron-saint), they embarked on board these vessels, and sailed direct for the Isle of Wight. Landing on the island, they made a bold countenance to face their enemies, of whom they had seen but little on their landing; for all, or at least the greater part of the islanders, had retreated to the woods and fortresses. In the meantime several new knights were created by the Count; namely, Philippe de Harcourt, Jean de Fosseux, Lord of Guiency, and others, who went to burn some miserable villages, and set fire to some other places. In the meanwhile a sensible priest of the island came to the Count to treat for the ransom and security of the island; for which he gave the Count to understand that a very large sum of money would be paid to him and his captains. The Count lent a ready ear to this proposal; but it was a mere ruse on the part of the priest to delay their operations, till the military force of the island could be brought together. Waleran discovered the plot, but it was too late to take revenge; and re-embarking his men in all haste, set sail, and returned home without doing anything more. The nobles were much displeased at this conduct; for they had expended large sums in laying in stores for the expedition, which, after all, was completely defeated by a single priest.”—Monstrelet, vol. i. 32.{352}

NETLEY ABBEY. The following incident—interesting as connected with the ruins—is related by Digby in his Mores Catholici:—“I found a stranger,” says he, “once in Netley, on the eve of St. John, standing contemplative, who, after some space, accosted me. It was some holy solitary man, who told me he had been singing vespers to himself within the ruins of the church, and a thought had been suggested to him by a verse of the Magnificat, which he was eager to communicate. ‘The poor persecuted monks,’ said he, ‘are now for ever blessed in the centre of all felicity, while the proud, who made their dwelling-place a heap of ruins, as we see, have been scattered in the conceit of their heart, and dispersed through all the wastes of doubt, distrust, and error.’ Thus did the ruins assist his meditation.” The elder Pliny observes, that the houses which had been once inhabited by heroes of a noble race, lamented when they passed to new and unworthy masters; and that the very walls reproached the cowards who entered a place consecrated by the monuments of virtue.” A modern author also says, “It may be generally remarked, that the more nobly a mansion has been tenanted in the day of its prosperity, the viler are its inhabitants in the day of its decline. Thus, boors are the only inhabitants of Croyland, gipsies of Netley, while other religious houses are now possessed by the same class as that which caused their overthrow.”