Imatges de pàgina

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 * 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 newlyacquired power. But it is a fact not to be questioned, that these strongholds were too often subservient to the worst purposes. 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

* See the Roll, in France Monumentale, vol. iii. ante profondeur. Sur le bord intérieur du fossé, ils

+ C'est l'usage de nos jours, dit Culmien, pour les plantent une palissade, de pièces de bois équarries et hommes les plus riches et les plus nobles, ou pour fortement liées entres elles, qui équivant à un mur. ceux qui, par conséquent, consacrent le plus exclu- S'il leur est possible, ils soutiennent cette palissade sivement leur temps à satisfaire leurs haines privées par des tours élevées de place en place. Au milieu par le meurtre, de se procurer avant tout une retraite de ce monticule, ils bâtissent une maison, ou plutôt où ils puissent se mettre à l'abri de l'attaque de leurs une citadelle, d'où la vue se porte de tous côtés égaleennemis, combattre leurs égaux avec avantage, et ment. On ne peut arriver à la porte de celle-ci que retenir dans les fers ceux qui se sont trouvés les plus par un pont qui, jeté sur la fossé, et porté sur des faibles,

piliers accouplés, part du point le plus bas au-delà du The following is a correct description of a baronial fossé, et s'élève graduellement jusqu'à ce qu'il atfortress :—Ils élèvent aussi haut qu'il leur est possible teigne le sommet du monticule et la porte de la maison, un monticule de terre transportée; ils l'entourent d'où le maître le domine tout entier.- France Hisd'un fossé d'une largeur considérable et d'une effray- torique, p. 416.




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.* 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

Our antiquarian friends will readily excuse us if, in our anxiety to make the subject intelligible to every

class of readers, we avoid as much as possible all technical phraseology.



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a watch-tower that communicated with the interior by means of a draw-
bridge across the moat, which opened inwards, so as to be under the control

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 pul-
leys 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
Helmëd 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 ;* while the walls of the keep, to which all looked for retreat
under desperate circumstances, were often fifteen feet in thickness, and con-
tained in their centre many secret closets, passages, and recesses, to which
none but the castellan and his family had access. In the castle of Glamist
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 harmonize with historical documents. Castles built on the Norman model varied according to the natural shape of the ground selected for their erection. The military

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* See this exemplified in one of the subsequent illustrations, page 153. † To this we have alluded in Scotland Illustrated. See also New Statistical Account of Glamis, or

Glammiss; Art. Forfarshire, part xii. p. 344.




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 streams 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

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

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*


* Odonem fratrem suum de proditione in se accu- quod “clericus et episcopus esset;” respondit archiesatum, cepit et incarcerari præcepit, (fol. 11. ii. A.D. piscopus—“non episcopum Baiocensem apprehendes, 1078.) Cum olim Willielmus rex senior coram Lan- sed Cantiæ comitem.” Hujus itaque consilio Odo franco conqueretur se ab Odone fratre suo episcopo custodiæ est. Matth. Par. Hist. Angl. fol. 14, deseri, tum Lanfrancus ; "cur," inquit, “ apprehensum 1088. See further traits of this prelate in the same vinculis non coerces ?" Rege autem respondente; authority.

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