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reach of legal memory, they, in most instances, contentedly passed it over, and left it in the obscurity in which they found it.
Fortified buildings of stone, ascribed to the Britons in early ages, are usually found' in situations exposed to little danger of depredation, except when inhabited, and rich in expected internal plunder. It may be presumed, without hesitation, that the assaults of mere freebooters were not likely to be destructive of the main body of the fabric. The demolition of so compact a hill of stone would, perhaps, be a work of more labour than even the raising of it; and appears, in fact, to have been seldom practised. In many instances there are still remaining, almost entire, towers, and different parts of castles, evidently very ancient, which are stated in history to have been levelled with the ground. History speaks in general terms, and the labours of the topographer had not commenced when the firebrand was placed to those castles.-When a fortress is said, by early writers, to have beer destroyed, we are, probably, to understand no more than that the interior floorings, and other works formed of wond, were con. sumed by fire, and the fortificatious dismantled.*
It would be highly satisfactory if we could believe, without one remote scruple, that vestiges of castellated buildings, reared by the Britons in very early ages, are still in existence. But it is obvious that no demonstration can possibly be afforded, and that do date can securely be ascribed to a ruin, when its only claim on superior antiquity consists in such a peculiarity of style, as is irreconcilable even with the varieties of architecture ascertained to have occurred at any known period.+
• For the propriety of this remark, see Beauties for Bedfordshire, p. 6. We there find that when Bedford castle was besieged, in the reign of Henry the Third, tbe miners set fire to the Tower; and when the smoke burst out, and cracks appeared in the tower, the besieged surrendered. A castle which would appear from history to have been destroyed more than once, but the keep of which is still remaining, is noticed in the Beauties for NorthumberJand, p. 185. # For an account of several castles supposed to exhibit marks of British
Siemp2 bath • When entering upon the subject of castles constructed in Bri
less involved in doubt; since the Saxons (although borrowing many ideas from Roman works, and greatly profiting by the modes of British workmen) introduced a style of architecture which is intermingled with the discriminating marks of other fashions, only in the instance of those who succeeded them in an ascendancy over the Britons.
But so much obscurity prevails in regard to the manners and the transactions of the early and unlettered Saxon ages, that it is difficult to ascertain the period at which castellated edi. fices were first raised in Britain by this people. It would, however, appear to be certain that they constructed castles of stone during the division of this country into various small kingdoms. . This is inferred by the complaint of Alfred, who lamented “that there were but few castles in England, before his time.” The assertions of various writers of considerable antiquity might be adduced, in support of such an opinion. Matthew of Westminster observes that Ida, king of Northumberland, built a castle at Bamborough, about the year of the Christian era 548; and Bede describes an assanlt made on a castle at the same place, between the years 642 and 655, by Penda, king of Mercia.*
The authorities above quoted, joined to the higli probability of the circumstance, will, perhaps, be deemed satisfactory; and it may be admitted that castles of stone were really built, for the united purposes of defence and regal splendour, in the slow progress of the various Saxon states in Britain towards an hectar
architecture, see Beauties for Monmouthshire, p. 63 (White Castle;) p. 68 (Scenfreth ;) and p.71 (Grosmont.)
• That castles were built in this country by the Saxons, before ihe year 740, is evident from the words of Pope Boniface, who, in that year, complains to Archbishop Cuthbert, that the religious were compelled to perform servile offices, in assisting to build castles. Spelman Concil. Tom. I. p. 237.
chy, or octarclıy. More difficulty is found in ascertaining whether any remains of such buildings now exist. We are here unaided by record, and must depend for data of calculation on evidences of style, which are unfortunately few and precarious.
Amongst the criteria by which the most ancient castles of England are usually distinguished by antiquaries, may be noticed the following.-Such buildings, whether square or round, are of limited dimensions; and a want of refined art in the science of defence is compensated by a very great thickness in the walls. Few loops are seen; and those not constructed in the accurate inanner of the Anglo-Normans. Neither traces of the Portcullis, nor of Machicolations, occur in the original part of such structures ; and no wells (supposed to be intended for the purpose of drawing up military machines) are found within the walls, although they are of so massy a character.
In cousideration of these, and other evidences of great antiquity, while marks of Saxon architecture are supposed to be apparent, Mr. King, in his curious work on the ancient munitions of this island, does not hesitate to attribute several castles to an Anglo-Saxon era, previous to the consolidation of the different small kingdoms. The principal structures ascribed by that writer to so remote an original, are the castles of Guildford ; Castleton ; and Bamburgh ;* or rather the keeps those ancient buildings, since it is unquestionable that, in each instance, great additions have been made in succeeding nges, and chiefly by the Normans, who are so conspicuous iu the annals of the military architecture of Brilain, for imparting socurity to their precarious tenure of the country by constructing strong holds, and improving such as they adopted. The keep of Guildford castle, (which is now almost the only
remaining remaining part of that structure] is, perhaps, the most curious of the examples stated by Mr. King, and certainly displays the most decided characteristics. It must be confessed that its existence in the time of the Anglo-Saxon petty Kings, can be argued on the ground of conjectured interval evidence only; but its antiquity is known to be very great, and is traced by historical testimony to the year 1035, at which time was performed here a lamentable tragedy, under the direction of Earl Godwin. This building has been described, in general terms, in the “Beauties” for Surrey ; where is, likewise, presented a summary of such parts of its history as have been preserved by writing. But, as it appears to afford a specimen of early Anglo-Saxou military architecture, it will scarcely be thought superfluous to state, in this place, its prevailing features, as noticed by an author, whose limits were less circumscribed than those of the editor of the “ Beauties” for Surrey.
* See these castles noticed in the Beauties for Surrey, p. 953; for Derby. slire, p: 460; and for Northumberland, p. 203.
The keep tower of this presumed old Saxon palace stands on the brow of a steep hill, and appears to have been surrounded with a small inner court, the wall of which is not in any part more than 22 feet distant from the tower. The keep is of a square form, aud the space within is only about 26 feet by 24. The walls are, in general, about ten feet in thickness; and, “ very unlike those that are either Roman or Norman, are constructed partly of squared chalk, partly of flint, and partly of sand-stone, cut in the form of Roman bricks; and in many parts placed in triple rows, alternately with rows of Aints : in imitation of Roman work ;-but still more conspicuously placed in rows of herring-bone work.*_ The internal corners of the apart
• By the term herring-bone work, as used in masonry, is understood courses of stones laid angularly. The earliest period at which this mode was practised is not correctly known; but it is supposed to have been introduced by the Saxons. It is not, however, peculiar to buildings ascribed to the Anglo. Sasons. Instances of this practice in later ages are noticed by Mr. Essex, Archæologia, Vol. IV. p. 101.-Where herring.bone work is of brick, it is ments within are finished, in some parts, merely with squared chalk. The external corners of the tower, and a space in the middle part of each front, five feet four inches wide, were cased with squared stone, very much resembling casings of Caen stone, [in the same manner as appears in several other Saxon buildings.] -Some Roman bricks, or, perhaps, rather Saxon bricks, made in imitation of such as were Roman, are seen in the lower parts of the building, especially on the north side; and some thin, evi. dently Saxon; bricks, appear in the windows, though they are now partly mixed with bricks of reparation since the time of Henry the Sixth ;-and though there appears, on the south side, au original Saxon window, altogether of stone, as if such was the construction of all the windows at first."
The great portal of entrance appears to have been at a height not less than 15 feet from the ground; and the ascent was, probably, by a steep flight of steps on the outside.
The interior was divided into three apartments, or stories, with a vault, or dungeon, beneath.
The ground-floor was of a truly chearless character, and was solely adapted to security, without the most remote attention to comfort of inhabitation. On three sides are arches, leading to small loops in the wall, at a great height, and having " exceeding steep steps, but without any hanging arches for the stopping of missile weapons, as in the structure of Norman castles; and, except in these three parts, the walls are perfectly smooth and entire, so that it is evident there could be no communication with the room above, unless by some trap-door iu the floor of timber; nor could this room have any light or air, except from the small loops.". .
The supposed portal of entrance opened to the floor above; and it is observable that there are here no traces of a portcullis, “ such means of defence having not been invented when this cas.
well described by Mr. Strutt [Manners and Customs, Vol. I.] as a row of flat bricks, set obliquely from the right to the left, succeeded by an oblique row irvw the left to the right.