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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. In this
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.* 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.† 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
* “He spent,” says Lambard, “greatlie upon it ; Round-table—so called by reason that the place in so much, as Leland wryteth, that he consumed a wherein they practised those feats was environed with round table and tresselles of massie golde, which the a strong wall, made in a round form. Upon the same King Edward had not long before made to fourth day, at the close of the fête, the golden lion, honoure the knighthood of that order withall.” in sign of triumph, being yielded to him, he carried
f In the old Baronage, vol. i., p. 143, the circum it, with all the company, to Warwick. The fame stances attending this splendid fête are thus some thereof being spread into foreign countries, occasioned what differently and more fully related :-Having the Queen of Navarre to send unto him certain procured the honour of knighthood to be conferred wooden bottles, bound with golden bars and wax, upon him by Edward the First, Mortimer, at his own under the pretence of wine, which, in truth, were all cost, caused a tournament to be held at Kenilworth, filled with gold, and for many ages after were kept in where he sumptuously entertained a hundred knights the Abbey of Wigmore-whereupon, for the love of and as many ladies for three the like whereof that queen, the said Sir Roger Mortimer added a carwas never before in England; and there began the buncle to his arms.
THE ROUND-TABLE REVELS.
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,
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
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
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
KING EDWARD IN KENILWORTH,
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 dressingroom.'
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 suprise to
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."
The whole company sent by the Order of State—if “that might be called body which then had no head therefrom 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*—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 be
holding this ran to him, and with much labour recovered the half-dead king, setting him on his feet. But “rueful
* Of both these apartments, as of the White Hall, nothing now remains but fragments of walls and staircases, and a part of two large bow windows; the inner of which, like those of the hall, is picturesquely festooned with ivy.-Notes.