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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.* 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.t 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!"
* In the Dutch life and achievements of Van Ruyter, a goodly 4to, there is a large engraving of Rochester, Upnor Castle, and the bridge, with a most exaggerated picture of the engagement.
Hist. of Rochester. Hist. of the War-Reign of Qu Elizabeth.
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,
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. * 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:
Aur II. SCENE II. — The Road by Gadshill.
Enter PeincE 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 !
* Warton also mentions his having seen a ballad and here recites his adventures on the highway. His by Faire, called “Gadshill,” under the year 1588; first depredations were on Gadshill. Further partiand adds in a note-See Clavell's “Recautation,” a culars in the Kentish Traveller's Companion, ed. poem in 4to, London, 1634. Clavell was a robber, 1799.--Simmons and Kirby.
Pr. IIcnry. Peace, ye fat-kidneyed rascal : what a brawling dost thou keep!
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 stonyhearted villains know it well enough. plagueupon'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 mc 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. 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.]
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. -Grose.Denne. - Kilburne. — Local Pamphlets.- Hasted. — France Monumentale. — Matth. Paris. Dallaway. — Milit. Archit. — Discourses, Antiquities - Hist. Angl.--Hist. of Eng. Civil and Milit.- Pic- of Kent. Hardynge. Registrum Roffense, by torial Hist. of Engl.-Holinshed.–Fabyan.- Hist. Thorpe. — Eadmer. — Polyd. Virg.-Selecta Monuand Antiq. of Rochest.-Hist. of the Castle and menta. Camden. Somner. – Battely. – Antiq. Cathed.-Lambard, 1576. – Kentish Tourist.- King. Itiner., etc. ect.