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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 Boling broke 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
THE CIVIL WAR-THE CASTLE TOWERS.
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!
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,
The Kitchens, three in number, occupied the whole space between the
keep and the strong tower on the north-west. The buildings are in total dilapidation; but the important office to which they were applied —the restaurant of the castleis clearly indicated by what remains. In this part of the castle—as if the walls had not yet lost the high temperature to which they had been raised in the times of baronial revelry, the ivy luxuriates in great redundancy; the lizard sports on the hearth, and the owl and bat roost together in the larder. Cosi trapassa, al' trapassar' d' un giorno, la gloria della cucina!
Henry the Fifth, according (to Stow, kept his “Lent in
the Castle of Kenelworth, and caused an harbor there to be planted in the marish for his pleasure, among the thorns and bushes, where a foxe had harbored, which foxe he killed, being a thing thought to prognosticate that he should expell the craftie deceit of the French king; besides which he also there builded a most pleasaunt place, and caused it to bee named 'le Plaisant Marais,' or the Pleasaunt Marsh.” Here, also, during the same Lent, “ whilst the King lay at Kenelworth, messingers came to him from the Dolphin of France, named Charles, with a present of Paris balles with him to play withall; but the Kinge wrote to him that he would shortlie send to him London balles, with the whiche he woulde breake down the roofes of houses." Of this incident Shakspeare has taken advantage in the following scene in his play of Henry the Fifth :
The prince, our master,
K. Hen. What treasure, uncle ?
HENRY THE FIFTH AND THE DAUPHIN
Tennis-balls, my liege.
On the accession of Henry the Seventh, the Castle was bestowed upon
his son, as Duke of Cornwall, who, to the numerous repairs and embellishments made by his royal predecessors, contributed many others. He removed what was called the 'Plaisance en Marais'-supposed to have been a small summer-house in the marshy flat beyond the walls—to the interior of the castle-yard, where its remains are still visible near the Swan Tower. Inheriting the munificence and taste of his father—“the onlie phenix of hys tyme for fyne and curious masonrie,”* and whose“ buildings were most goodlie and after the newest caste, all of pleasure,” † the. Duke evinced in his repairs of Kenilworth that love and patronage of the fine arts by which he was afterwards distinguished as Henry the Eighth. The building formerly known as “Henry the Eighth's Lodgings,” was a capacious structure, situated between the Keep, or Cæsar's Tower, on the right, and Leicester's Buildings on the left; comprising an extensive suite of apartments, and forming the eastern side of the inner court. Through this building, close to the tower, was the archway leading into the castle-yard. From Henry the Eighth it descended to his son, Edward the Sixth; then to Mary, and lastly to Queen Elizabeth, who bestowed it upon her favourite, Robert Dudley, fifth son of the Duke of Northumberland, with all the royalties thereto belonging. This forms the most memorable incident in the history of Kenilworth.
This Sir Robert Dudley appears on almost every page of the history of Elizabeth's reign. He had been included in the attainder of his family, but was restored in blood by Queen Mary, who appointed him, when a very young man, Master of the Ordnance at the siege of St. Quintin. Elizabeth overwhelmed him with dignities; giving him the Garter while a commoner; creating him Baron of Denbigh and Earl of Leicester; and investing him with the order of St. Michael, which the King of France, by way of compliment, had requested her to confer on two of her subjects. He was likewise Master of the Horse, Steward of the Household, Chancellor of Oxford, Ranger of the Forests south of Trent, and Captain-general of the English forces in the Netherlands; and, as though the great ancient offices of his country were not sufficient for the gratification of his ambitious temper, a patent was preparing at the time of his death for one before unheard of—the Queen's Lieutenant in the government of England and Ireland.
be rebuilt within the base-court, near the Swan # Holinshed.
Tower. But the “ banqueting-house" here menAmong other repairs and alterations, he is said tioned, appears to have been the same as that already to have caused the “ banqueting-house," erected by noticed as " le Plaisant Marais.” Henry the Fifth, to be taken down, and part of it to
He was distinguished by the elegance of his manners and the profuseness of his expenses, and affected a great degree of piety, and a strict purity of conduct. To these plausible appearances, though unpossessed of either wisdom or virtue, he owed the maintenance of his power to the last, against a strong party at court, and even against the Queen herself, who would gladly have pulled him down when those motives, which doubtless produced her first favours to him, had lost their force. The most material circumstances of his political history never appeared to public view; for he was the darkest character of his time, and delighted in deriving the success of his schemes from the operation of remote causes, and the agency of obscure instruments. It is highly probable that the Queen of Scots, and the Duke of Norfolk, were sacrificed to this crooked sort of policy; a conjecture which tends to wipe out somewhat, though, alas! but little, of the bloody stain which those enormities have left on Elizabeth's memory.—Illust. of Brit. Hist.—Lodge.
He married, first, Anne, daughter and heiress to Sir John Robsart (for a particular account of whose murder, and the suspicions that fell on her husband, see Ashmole’s History of Berks): secondly, Douglas, daughter of William Lord Howard of Effingham, and widow of John Lord Sheffield, by whom he had a son, Sir Robert, who is frequently mentioned in the papers of the succeeding reign. But soon after, having conceived a violent passion for Lettice, daughter of Sir Francis Knollys, and widow of Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, whose late death had been attended by strong indications of foul play, he wedded her, and disowned his former marriage and its unfortunate offspring. Douglas submitted patiently, and lived for some time in the obscurity which suited her disgraced character; till Leicester having attempted to take her off by poison, she married Sir Edward Stafford of Grafton, in hopes of shielding herself against the Earl's future malignity, by affording him in her own conduct a presumptive evidence in favour of his allegations. All the curious circumstances relating to this double bigamy may be found in Dugdale's Warwickshire.- Ibid. Note, vol. i. p. 378.