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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 away.
The Tower, or Keep, and, as it is generaily called, in honour of the builder, Gundulph's Tower, is quadrangular, its angles nearly corresponding with the four cardinal points of the compass. It is about seventy feet square at the base; the outside of the walls is built with a slight inclination towards the centre, and, in general, are about twelve feet thick. Adjoining to the east angle of this, is a small tower, about two-thirds of the former in height, and twenty-eight feet square. In this tower was The Grand Entrance, with a noble flight of steps, eight feet wide, through
a lofty arched gateway, richly ornamented with curious fretwork, the zig-zag or chevron characteristics of the time. For the greater security of this entrance, there was a drawbridge, under which was the common entrance to the lower apartments of the Great Tower, which consisted of only two divisions, and, receiving no light from without, must have been as dark and gloomy as a cave underground. They are divided by a partition-wall, five feet thick, which is continued to the top, so that the rooms were twenty-one by forty-six feet on each floor. In the lower part of the walls are several narrow openings, or slits, for the partial admission of air and
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 w ell.—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
it was only rescued by the invincible nature of its own masonry, which resisted all efforts employed for its destruction. The staircase, however, is still accessible, in spite of the efforts made to destroy it, and retains the impressions of the winding centres on which the arches were turned. The floor of the
first Story was about thirteen feet from the ground. The holes in the walls opposite, where the timbers were laid, distinctly mark the different stages or floors. But the massive oaken joists were long since disposed of in the way we have mentioned, when the walls were finally dismantled, the interior laid open to the weather, and the timber of the Barons' Hall sold to construct Gimmet's brewhouse. These oaken joists were nearly a foot square, and about thirteen inches apart, but less in the upper floors, and extended from the outer wall to the centre partition, where their sockets still appear in the stone. In the west angle is another staircase, which ascends from the floor to the top of the tower, and, like the former, communicates with every room. In this story
The Rooms are about twenty feet high, and were probably intended for the accommodation of the Barons' household servants. The apartment in the north-east side, in the Small Tower over the prison, and into which the outward door of the grand entrance opened, was on this floor, and was about thirteen feet square, and richly ornamented with Norman chisel-work, in which the chevron moulding on the arches of the doors and windows is the characteristic feature. This room communicated with the state apartments in the Great Tower, by means of an archway, six feet by ten, and secured by means of a portcullis; the groove for which is well worked in the main wall through to the next story. The rooms also communicate with each other, by means of arches in the partition; and in the external walls are many holes, or oeillets, for the admission of light, and the discharge of weapons in time of a siege. In the north angle of this floor, appears to have been a small room, with a fireplace in it, which antiquaries have described as the guardroom of certain officers of the garrison.* In the south-east is a small door intended, it is supposed, for those who were not admitted at the grand entrance; the inside of which is constructed in a manner peculiarly adapted for its security, From this floor we ascend by the principal staircase to
The State Apartments, or Barons' Hall, which, in point of size, proportion, decoration, and harmonious combination of parts, presents a noble specimen of Norman design and workmanship. The arches, doors, and window, are elaborately chiselled, and exhibit most of the beautiful mouldings of
• History and Antiquities of Rochester Castle.
which the architecture of that day was so prolific. This apartment was about thirty-two feet high, separated by three massive columns, each eighteen feet in height, forming four grand arches richly ornamented, and included the
whole space within the walls. The stair leading to this was much more commodious than the others; and in cases of danger and necessity, the great warlike engines then in use could be set up in the hall,* for the immediate protection of its inmates.
The chimneys were semicircular, very capacious, and projected considerably into the rooms, and rested upon small pillars. The smoke was carried off from each fireplace by means of a perforation in the wall behind. The sinks
. In the old palace of Stuttgardt, the grand stair- difficulty. It is the old feudal mansion of the Dukes case is so spacious, and so gradual in the ascent, that of Wirtemberg, and possesses many striking characa cavalier might asceud and descend without any teristics of the castles of that age and country.
were so contrived in an oblique direction, that no weapon could be sent up them.* All the interior arches, doorways, and windows, are ornamented with the same carved mouldings as those already mentioned.
With respect to the Chapel in Rochester Castle, no precise account has been given; and even its place in the fortress is still a subject of conjecture. But that an oratory once existed here, as in all other strongholds of the same class, there can be no doubt; and in the upper story, next the battlements, are the remains of semicircular archest in the wall, which, perhaps, mark the spot under which stood the altar of the garrison Chapel. Other appearances in the same floor seem to strengthen the conjecture. At Arundel Castle, the Oratory as described in a first portion of this work, occupied the highest story of the Keep; and it seems by no means improbable, that in Rochester Castles the Chapel may have occupied a similar position. But if not here, there is no other part of the Castle with which any oratory or chapel can be so properly identified.
About midway in the ascent to the next or highest floor, there is a narrow arched passage or gallery in the main wall, quite round the Tower. In the Upper Floor, the apartments appear to have been sixteen feet high. The roof, as above mentioned, was long since removed, and from top to bottom nothing is left but the naked walls. The stone gutters which carried off the rain are still entire. From this upper portion, the stair rises about ten feet higher to the top of the Great Tower, which is about one hundred and four feet from the ground, and surrounded with battlements and embrasures seven feet high, At each of the four angles is a turret, about twelve feet square, with floor and battlement above it. From this elevation the panoramic view of the country is highly interesting. The neighbouring heights, bristling with military forts and covered with standards; the Medway studded with ships, and seen as far as its confluence with the Thames; Brompton-Chatham Lines—the Dockyard-Upnor Castle—the wooded heights opposite; the bridge, once the most elegant in England-Strood, Rochester, Chatham, and numerous other scenes and objects with which the historical deeds of the past are closely associated—all awaken so deep and lasting an interest in the spectator's mind, that it would be difficult to select any point in the kingdom which embraces a landscape so various and so striking in its character.
A very accurate investigator of the antiquities of Rochester, and who
* See the Work above quoted.
appears that there was a Chapel in the Castle ; but + See the Engraving, p. 146, with these arches. whether in this Tower, or some other part, we cannot
I See also Mr. Dallaway on this subject; "Rape of determine. “It was named the King's Chapel, and Arundel;" Discourses on Architecture, 277.
the ministers that officiated in it were called King's $ From a dateless rescript in the Regist. Roff. it Chaplains. Their stipend was fifty shillings a-year."