Зображення сторінки

knows how slender it is at many times. And now in mine age, my stomach may not away but with a few kind of meats; which if I want, I decay forth with, and fall into coughs and diseases of my body, and cannot keep myself in health. And as our Lord knoweth, I have nothing left unto me for to provide any better, but as my brother of his own purse layeth out for me to his great hindrance.—Wherefore, good master secretary, eftsoons (again) I beseech you to have some pity upon me, and let me have such things as are necessary for me in mine


&c. Such is the affecting memorial of one represented by Erasmus to have been “a man of integrity, deep learning, sweetness of temper, and greatness of soul." Cromwell, to his honour be it spoken, relieved the aged sufferer's wants, as far as was consistent with his own safety under an absolute and implacable master Princess (afterwards queen) Elizabeth is said to have been imprisoned in this Tower; but the supposition is wanting in authority

Passing on, the attention is called to a water-gate on the right, and the Inner Ballium-gate on the left: the former of these objects is the Traitors'-gate, through which it was customary, for privacy, to convey state-prisoners to and from the Tower, the water of the ditch having here a communication with the Thames under a stone bridge on the Wharf. Over this water-gate is a building, terminated at each end by a round tower, on which are embrazures for pointing cannon. This building was formerly used as a military infirmary, but now converted into apartments for the soldiery: here are also water-works for supplying the gar. rison with water, by means of a steam-engine and water-wheel.

The building opposite to the Traitors'-gate is known by the appellation of the Bloody Tower, from a tradition that the two young princes, nephews of the Duke of Gloster (Richard III.) were suffocated in this part of the fortress, by the order their unnatural uncle. In the reign of Henry VIII. it was called the Garden Tower, from its connection with the constable's or lieutenant's garden, which now forms part of the parade. It received its present name in the reign of Elizabeth.

Adjoining is the Record or Wakefield Tower: the lower part of this building is undoubtedly the most ancient part of the fortress, excepting the White Tower, and supposed to be a portion of the additions made by William Rufus. In this Tower are placed the ancient Records of our country: a circumstance alone investing it with an interest of too exalted character to be influenced by other considerations: we will therefore quote the words of Mr. Bayley, an erudite writer upon this subject, and pass on: “ From the sources here laid open, the laws, the history, and the constitution of the kingdom, are daily receiving elucidation; and to the antiquary, the topographer, the genealogist, and to the nation in general, an inexhaustible mine of information is discovered which before had lain buried in obscurity.”

Upon passing through the gateway of the Bloody Tower, we view the spot formerly occupied by the GRAND STOREHOUSE, which was destroyed by fire on Saturday, October 30, 1841.

This building, commenced in the reign of James II. and completed in that of William and Mary, was 345 feet in length and 60 feet in width. The ground floor was occupied by the TRAIN OF ARTILLERY, and the upper part appropriated to the SMALL ARMORY. The former contained a collection of cannon of various periods, nations, and calibre-many of them commemorative of England's proudest glories, and altogether formed an interesting and beautiful illustration of the progress of gunnery. Several pieces are still in good condition, others are partially injured, and many of course are lost: the remains are exhibited to the public; and we understand, that orders have been issued that those pieces which are injured or broken, be sent to Woolwich, where models will be taken, and the same metal re-cast into its original forms.

The SMALL ARMORY, of which comparatively little was saved, consisted chiefly, as its name implies, of stores of small arms; but there were many curiosities deposited in that room which have been destroyed: amongst those saved, is a Brass Gun that formerly belonged to the Knights of Malta; it is finely ornamented and of exquisite workmansluip: captured by the French, and taken from them by the English, in 1798. Also two Brass Guns, highly decorated; presented to the young Duke of Glocester, son of Queen Aline: one uninjured, the other much defaced. The Sword and Sash of the late Duke of York are also preserved.

It fortunately happened, that at the above time the number of arms in this depository was considerably under the usual average: the following is said to be a correct statement of loss sustained. The number of percussion muskets destroyed 11,000, with 26,000 bayonets; flint-locks, 22,000; percussion-locks, 7000; pistols, 12,158; 75 double-barrelled pistols with moveable butts; 1376 swords; 2271 sword-blades; 2026 plug-bayonets; 192 spears; 95 pikes; 210 musquetoons; 709 carbines; 3 wall-pieces; 279 cuirasses; 276 helmets, and 52 drums. Amongst the relics de. stroyed, was a military trophy, erected under the direction of Mr. Stacey, keeper of the stores in the Armory, consisting of Chinese arms, &c. taken by the British troops at the capture of Chusan: this addition was made two days previous to the fire.

Immediately in front of these ruins is the White Tower; at the south-west corner of which, is the entrance to

THE HORSE ARMORY. This room was erected for the purpose to which it is appropriared, in 1826: its extent is 150 feet in length, and 33 in width


A line of equestrian figures occupies the centre, (a circumstance from which this armory derives its name) and forms a most interesting exhibition of the Armour used in different periods of history. Placed over the head of each figure, is a banner bearing the rank and date of the personage represented. On either side of the room are figures in armour, interspersed with military trophies, &c. The ceiling is also decorated in a tasteful manner with arms and accoutrements, fancifully arranged. In a recess in the centre of the south wall, is placed a magnificent equestrian suit of armour, presented to Henry VIII. by Maximilian, emperor of Germany, on occasion of Henry's union with Katherine of Arragon, which may in every point rank as the finest specimen extant: it is embellished with engravings of legends of saints, devices, mottoes, arms, &c. the legends are singularly illustrative of ancient costume and manners. The entire mass of armour was formerly gilt; and we understand that ideas are entertained of re-gilding it.* In the same recess are two small figures, representing the princes Henry and Charles, sous of Charles I. both clad in suits that really belonged to them. An inscription is also placed here commemorative of the present arrangement of this Armory by Sir S. Meyrick. Against the walls and along the cornice, are placed a variety of ancient halberds, shields, cuirasses, &c. The two vestibules, one at each extremity of the building, exhibit a collection of arms, offensive and defensive, of various periods. Against the centre of the north wall, is an equestrian figure, an Asiatic suit of great antiquity; also helmets, shields, &c. also of various periods. At each end of the room are placed other mounted figures. We will now commence a brief account of this line of

equestrian figures, in order as they stand. But although we shall aoccsionally notice events connected with the history of the monarchs, &c. represented; yet it is desirable that the reader should bear in mind, that the generality of the suits are not those which were actually worn by the party alluded to, but chiefly indicative of the armour used in that age: identified suits we shall point out.

EDWARD I. 1272.-The suit of armour associated with this monarch's name, consists of a hauberk, with sleeves and chausses, and a hood with camail, or the piece of mail hanging over the shoulders, and supposed to have been, with the mail, of Asiatic

* An interesting account of this suit by Sir S. Meyrick, has been published in the “Archæologia.' Mr. Hewitt has also given an elaborate account of this and other matters connected with the Armories, in his entertaining and cleverly illustrated werk, “The Tower:" we beg to acknowledge the pleasure and assistance we have derived from its pages, and at the same time confidently recommend it to the perusal of those who seek to inform themselves, at a very easy rate, upon the History of the Armories

origin, in the time of the Crusades. The spurs are of the kind called prick-spurs, more ancient than those with rowels; but the latter were used at this period, having been introduced in the time of Henry III. The Norman kite-shaped shield, was in this reign superseded by the square-topped kind borne by the figure.

During the reign of Edward I. the Tower was chiefly used as a state-prison; and the turbulent and warlike spirit of the time, kept it as such in perpetual occupation. In 1282, the Jews, under a charge of having clipped and deteriorated the current coin, were seized in all parts of the kingdom, and six hundred of that unhappy race were thrown into the Tower. At the battle of Dunbar, (1296) the Scottish king Baliol, and a number of his most influential nobility, were taken prisoners, and committed to the Tower: the unfortunate monarch, after nearly three years incarceration within its walls, was released at the intercession of the Pope, and ultimately submitted to an inglorious but peaceful banishment in France. But we have here to notice the fate of a more illustrious individual: in 1305, the celebrated hero of Scotland, and defender of its liberties~WILLIAM WALLACE, became an inmate of the Tower of London. The noble patriot, after a pretended trial, was dragged, tied to horses' tails, through Cheapside to Smithfield, and there executed with cruelties which we will not detail. The deed left an eternal stain on Edward's glory, and stands forth in dark and barbarous contrast to the chivalrous generosity of his great-grandson as a royal victor.

HENRY VI. 1450.-A great space intervenes in the history of armour between these two reigns; but upon this particular our limits will not allow us to dwell. The back and breast plates of this suit are of the flexible kind introduced in the reign of Henry V.

The sleeves and skirt are of chain mail; the gauntlets are fluted. Tuilles, (small tile-like pieces of steel) an invention of the age, are appended to the breast-plate where it joins the cuisses, or coverings for the thighs. The lower part of the leg is defended by jambs, and the feet by pointed sollerets: the helmet is a salade with a frontlet, surmounted by a crest: in the right hand is a pole-axe.

The horse is caparisoned with housings emblazoned with the arms of France and England (modern): its head is defended by a Auted chanfron.

In this reign, the Tower was thickly tenanted by prisoners, French, Scotch, and English: many great names are found amongst the prisoners of this period, but few circumstances relative to them have been handed down to us. striking events in connection with our subject, relate to the hard fortunes of the ill-fated Henry himself—who, unable to contend with the evil times in which he lived, became the mere tool and victim of contending parties. A considerable portion of his unhappy reign was spent in imprisonment, and his murdered body was discovered one morning in his prison-lodging." The foul deed was ascribed to the Duke of Gloster (Rich. III.) but the affair is involved in mystery. For much information on this and other matters, we refer the reader to Mr. Bayley's History.

EDWARD IV. 1465. The representative of this gay and gallant monarch

appears in an elegant suit, furnished with most of the additional pieces used in the tournament; for the armour used in the lists was stronger and more complete than that made for warfare. The figure is armed with a tilting-lance; the vamplate or guard of which, is curiously formed and ancient; the

The most

shaft is modern. The saddle, though of more recent date, is a fine specimen of the war-saddle. The horse is in a housing, powdered with the king's badges, the white rose and crown.

The Tower, in some portions of this monarch's reign, assumed its palatine che racter; for we learn that Edward occasionally held his court there in great splendor; and made it the starting-point not only of his own coronation procession, but that of his queen, Lady Elizabeth Gray. But in this reign also, the Tower became the scene of a dark event which, like the death of Henry VI. has gathered interest from the mystery that surrounds it: we allude to the imprisonment and end of the Duke of Clarence, the king's brother, who in that part of the Tower called the Bowyer's Tower, is reputed to have met his death by drowning in a malmsey. butt. The circumstances of this prince's fate, rival in atrocity all Edward's cruelties.

KNIGHT OF THE TIME OF RICHARD III.—This suit is of the kind called ribbed, and worthy of the age in which armour had arrived at its greatest state of perfection. The helmet is a salade supplied with oreillets or ear-guards; in front of the shoulders are two pieces called rondelles, for protection of the arm-pits: altogether this suit is a most beautiful specimen, and merits a more particular account than our plan will admit of. On the floor is to be seen the “ Tilting-appareil” of the suit; and on the pillar behind is an original Tilting-lance with ferrule, ring, and vamplate, wanting the corunal or blunt head. The above suit was purchased at the sale of armour used in the Eglintoun Tournament

Upon the death of Edward IV his then 12 age, was proclaimed by the title of Edward V. but did not receive the crown, or exercise any of the functions of royalty—his brief reign commenced and ended in the Tower. The generally accredited murder of the young princes, and the impeachment and revolting execution of Lord Hastings, are events that we need but name in connection with our subject-Shakspeare, the charming (though somewhat doubtful) medium through which many study the history of their country, has recorded them in language that will endure for ages. Who has not heard of the unhappy Jane Shore? -in the preceding reign, the guilty mistress of a libertine monarch; in the next, a prisoner in the Tower; from which she was released, only to close the misera ble remainder of her days in beggary and starvation. The crown for which Richard had so deeply “ 'fil'd his mind,” proved but an empty possession; his throne, established in blood, led to a bloody grave: he was slain on Bosworth field, after a brief and iniquitous reign of little more than two years.

KNIGHT OF THE TIME OF HENRY VII.-Fluted armour, of which this is a suit, was introduced about this period. The tabard, or outer garment which succeeded the surcoat of the Normans, was now laid aside, in order that the costliness of the suit might be seen to greater advantage. The helmet is of the kind called Burgonet, (Burgundian origin) following the form of the head, and found to be so much more commodious than those formerly used, that it contiuued to be worn, with slight modifications, until body armour was discontinued.

ANOTHER SUIT of the same time and of a similar kind is also exhibited. In the right hand of the figure is an ancient sword, and from the bow of the saddle hangs a battle-axe of the war kind


years of

« НазадПродовжити »