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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 surprise 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 a 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.
THE KING DEPOSED-BISHOP OF HEREFORD.
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,
The King being now come to himself—but to the sense of his misery the 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 ELTIIAM HALL, in this work.
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,