Imatges de pàgina




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 miserythe 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 majestie 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 aforenamed 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* 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

* Isabel, daughter of Philip the Fair, King of France, married in her twelfth year to Edward, Jan. 22, 1308, in the church of Our Lady at Boulogne, was “his wife twenty years, his widow thirty, and died at the age of sixty-three.”—See Eltham Hall, in this work.

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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

cut short. Dying without male issue in the thirtyfifth 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 Kenil

worth 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'ail bientôt se fatigue;
Mais les bois, mais les eaux, mais les ombrages frais,
Tout ce luxe innocent ne fatigue jamais.




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 Fitzalau, 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,* 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

By his first wife, the countess of Kenilworth, he Swinford, his third wife, he had five sons, namely, had, besides his son and heir (Henry de Bolingbroke), John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset; Henry, Bishop of two daughters, Philippa, Queen of Portugal, and Winchester; Thomas, Earl of Dorset, afterwards Elizabeth, Countess of Pembroke. By his second Duke of Exeter; and a daughter, Joan, who married, wife, Constance, daughter of the King of Portugal, first, Sir Robert Ferrers, and secondly, the Earl of he had another daughter, Catherine, who became Westmoreland.—Dugd. Bar. art. Lancast. consort of the Spanish king. And by Catherine

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mason, and supervisor of his buildings at Kenilworth, to impress twenty masons, carpenters, and others."


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




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 wocs;
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,

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