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THE CLERGY AND THE CASTELLANS.
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 crossbows; and continued thenceforward to be a mere monument of other days, reminding us of those patriotric 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,
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,* of Swans
strength and position would have led one to suppose. * King James 1. having in 1610 granted this Pestilence in the first starvation in the second in- castle, with all the services and emoluments apperstance, compelled the surrender of its garrison ; and on taining thereto, to Sir Anthony Weldon, of Swansthe third occasion it was only saved from a similar fate combe; Walker Weldon, a descendant, sold the timby the unexpected recall of Leicester from under its ber-work belonging to the castle to Gimmet, who, not walls to more important duties in Sussex. But, ill pro- many years ago, applied a part of it in building a visioned, the siege could be protracted neither by the brewhouse on the common.-Antiquities of Rochester thickness of the walls, nor the bravery of the garrison. Castle.
combe. Much land in Kent and other countries 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,
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.* 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.f The stone
But all the beer, it is said, ever brewed within could not be too severely reprobated. The solution the new precincts, partook so largely of the virtues thus given to an intricate question was lucid and of oak, that the drinkers underwent the internal pro- satisfactory; but the brewer “never once blessed the cess of tanning, till the beverage became known as the day that he bought the venerable roof-tree and beams of " Baron's Oak-wort.” The case was then laid be- Rochester Castle at the hammer."-MS. Old Castles. fore a learned chemist, who declared that “whereas + Some masons of London bought the stone the oak was without bark, so ought the beer to have stairs, and other squared and wrought stones of the been without bitter.” But another, much more windows and arches; and the rest of the materials acute in questions of taste, gave it as his opinion, that were offered to a pavior, but he declined purchasing the old oak having been thrice steeped in the bitter them, finding, upon trial, the cement so hard, that tyranny of King Jolin, as he proved from history, had the expense of separating and cleaning the stones imbibed so much of the spirit of these times, that the would amount to more than their value. This essay flavour now complained of was nothing more than the was made on the eastern side, near the postern natural consequence of using old baronial oak for leading to Bully Hill, where a large chasm shows the modern brewhouses ; a measure, he averred, that effects of it.-History and Antiquities of Rochester.
employed in by far the greater portion of the Castle is the same as that used in the Tower of London,* built under the same ecclesiastical architect, Bishop Gundulph; and is what passes under the
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.
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.t
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
* Antiquities of Kent - Rochester. + In this we shall be guided by the authorities of the subject of personal study and research; but Grose, Denne, Kilburne, the Kentish Tourist, and still reserving to ourselves the privilege of making such the various archæological and historical writers who comments or corrections as a personal investigation have successively made the “Castrum Cantuariorum” of the Castle shall appear to warrant.
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
a lofty arched gateway, richly or-
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 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
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.
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