Зображення сторінки

and windows of this tower being very much decayed, tivo of the turrets were taken down and wholly rebuilt; besides other substantial reparations in the present reign.

This interior fortress is a large square irregular building, situated almost in the centre of the Tower, no one side answering to another. The building consists of three very lofty stories, under which are commodious vaults, chiefly filled with salt-petre. The top is covered with Alat leads, whence there is an extensive and delightful prospect.

In the first story are two noble rooms, one a small armory for the sea service, having various sorts of arms laid up for more than ten thousand seamen. In the other room are closets and presses filled with warlike tools and other instru. ments of death. Over these are two other floors, one filled principally with arms, the other with arms and armourers tools, such as chevaux-de-frize, pickaxes, spades and shovels. In the upper story are kept match, sheep-skins, tanned hides, &c. and in another little room are deposited the records, containing many antient usages and privileges.

On the top of this tower a large cistern, or reservoir, supplies the whole garrison with water in case of necessity : it is about seven feet deep, nine in breadth, and about sixty in length; and is filled from the Thames, by means of an engine very ingeniously contrived.

One of the apartments of this fabric was a very antient chapel, deshcated to St. John, for the use of such royal personages as resided here, and is of Norman architecture. It is oblong, and rounded at each end: on each side are five thick short round pillars, with vast squared capitals cut in various forms, with a cross on each side; the arches are round, and suitable to the date of the architecture. At the east end are two pillars of similar form. Above is a gallery with arched windows, looking into the chapel, supposed to be for the use of females.

The columns pass through, quite to the ground floor. This chapel is now part of the Record office.

In the room, denominated the Council Chamber, many important consultations were held ; but none so infamous as

that in which Richard III. when duke of Glocester, ordered the murder of the trusty and noble Lord Hastings, on the block; and meditated the destruction of Lord Stanley and others of the nobility.

To the southward of the White Tower is the Modelling Room ; but to this no stranger is admitted.

The Office of Ordnance is kept in Cold Harbour; to this office all other offices for supplying artillery, arms and ammunition, or other warlike stores, are accountable; and all orders for the disposition of warlike materials for every kind of service are hence issued. This building, having been finished in a very commodious and handsome style, was, in the year 1789, totally destroyed by fire; but it is now rebuilt in such a manner, as will prevent a similar accident. *

The Mint is the office for coining gold, silver, and copper, and is conducted by a number of officers, whose titles and employments are as follow:

The Warden.-His business is to receive the silver, &c. from the goldsmiths, to pay for it, and to superintend all the other persons belonging to the office.

In antient times, before the use of gunpowder was known, the business of this office was conducted by officers who were distinguished by the names of bowyer, the cross-bowyer, the galeator, the armourer, and the keeper of the tents.

The business of the bowyer was to make and take care of the bows : the cross-bowyer provided accoutrements for the bows: the galeator was purveyor of the helmets or head-pieces: the armourer was the keeper of the king's armour within the Tower : and the business of the keeper of the tents is fully explained by the title itself.

Besides the above-mentioned, there was a master smith, whose pay, in the reign of Edward the first, was four-pence halfpenny per day from the crown, and three-pence per day from the Warders or Tower-guards : likewise a master-mason, and a master carpenter, each of whom had swelve pence per day, payable at the Exchequer, and a robe once a year.

The Office of Ordnance continued under the direction of the abovementioned officers till the reign of Henry the Eighth, who gave the ma. nagement of it to a master, lieutenant, surveyor, &c. and in this manner it has continued, some improvements excepted, to the present time. Vol. II, No. 37.


The Master-Worker, receives the silver, &c. from thie warden, orders it to be melted, delivers it, and receives it back from the moniers.

The Comptroller's business is to see that the money is made to a just assize, to overlook and control the other officers, if the money is not proof.

The Master of the Assay weighs the bullion, and takes care that it be according to the standard.

The Auditor inspects and settles the accompts.

The Surveyor of the Melting sees the bullion cast out, and that the metal is not altered after the trial by the assay-master, and being delivered to the melter.

The Clerk of the Irons takes care that the working irons are kept clean and fit for use.

The Engraver is employed in engraving the stamps.
The Melters prepare the bullion for coining.
The Blanchers anneal, boil, and cleanse the money.
The Provost provides for and superintends all the moniers.

The Moniers shear and forge the money; and severally beat it broad, round it, stamp, or coin it.

The process of coining, is kept a profound secret at the English mint, and the men employed are sworn not to reveal it; but as it forms a part of every Cyclopædia, its insertion here cannot be improper.

The machine for this purpose consists of two plates of steel, each in the oblong form of a flat ruler, of about a line thick. Upon their edge is engraved the legend, half upon one plate, and half upon the other. One of these plates is motionless, and fastened with screws to a plate of copper, which is again secured to a very thick table.

Sometimes little plates which bear the legends are fastened in the inside of the above plates of steel, and at other times the legend is engraven upon the latter themselves; but the former seems the best way, if the legend is often changed.

The other plate of steel is moveable, and is placed parallel to the fixed one, at a distance proper to admit the coin between them. The moveable plates slide upon the plate of


upon the

copper, to which the other is fastened, by means of a pinioned or indented iron wheel, moved by a handle; the teeth of this wheel cutting an indentation, which is

upper saw of the sliding plate of steel, and so moving it along.

The small plates upon which the legend is most commonly engraved, are so cut upon the inscribed edge, that, below the letters in each, and all along that side, runs a small projection of metal, upon which the coin may roll without fall. ing between, or touching the copper plate below. When the machine is, therefore, ready for the insertion of the coin, the two plates with the legend on their edges are even at the ends, and the legend runs so that the first half of it being on the moveable one, for instance, the other half on the fixed plate, stands exactly opposite to it.

Thus the piece, before it is coined, being placed horizontally between the steel plates, is led on by the motion of that which is moveable, joined to the letters catching its edges, so that, when it has described a semicircle, both halves of the legend are entirely upon it, and it is entirely marked. When it reaches the end of the legend, and of the steel plates, it falls off, and drops through a hole in the table, into an appropriate receiver.

The engine works by a spindle, like that of a printing press. It is amazing to see the dexterity of the coiner; for as fast as the men that work the engine turn the spindle, so fast does he supply it with metal, putting in the unstamped piece with his fore-finger and thumb, and twitching out the stamp with his middle finger. By this process twenty thousand coins are worked by one man in a day.

At the office of the Keeper of the Records are kept all the rolls from King John to the beginning of the reign of Richard III. in fifty-six wainscot presses; those of later date to the present period, are preserved at the Rolls in Chancery Lane. The records in the Tower contain the ancient tenures of all the lands in England, with a survey of the manors; the original of all laws and statutes; the rights of England to the dominion of the British seas; leagues and treaties with foreign princes; the atchievements of England in foreign wars; anG g 2


tient grants of our kings to their subjects; the forms of sub. mission of the Scottish kings; writs and proceedings of the courts of common law and equity; the settlement of Ireland as to law and dominion; privileges and immunities granted to all cities and corporations during the period before-mentioned : with many other important records, all regularly difposed by the diligence of Sir William Dugdale, the late Thomas Astle, Esq. and other diligent and learned men, and properly referred to in nearly a thousand folio indexes.

Among these indexes are a Calendar, called the Book of Names, alphabetically arranged, containing the names of all men, whose offices or inquisitions taken after their deaths, are to be found; what lands they died seized of, with the tenures ; besides many

wills and testaments no where else to be found.

Several calendars of escheats bundles, from Henry III, to Edward IV.

The Book of Heirs, containing the names of such persons in the reign of Henry III. as held offices, declaring their heirs, &c.

Several books from the reign of Edward I. to Henry V.

A small imperfect calendar, concerning offices or inquisitions in Essex.

Others for the counties of Lincoln, Bedford, Berks, and Buckingham, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall.

A calendar and collection out of antient rolls, called Carta Antiqua, without date.

A calendar of the rolls of king John; another of Henry III. to the eleventh year of his reign.

A calendar of grants of inheritance before Richard III.
Rolls of Edward I. during his whole reign.

Two books of free warrens, markets, fairs, leets, &c, during the same reign.

An old calendar of charters to cities, boroughs, cathedrals, &c. during the same reign.

Calendar of parliament rolls, of attainders, restitutions, and resumptions, from 29 Henry III. to the end of his reign. Certain paper rolls for confirmations of charters to colleges,


« НазадПродовжити »