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In illustration of the correctness of these remarks, may be noticed remains of such structures at York,* Lincoln,t Tickhill in Yorkshire, and Tunbridge. These examples are selected, as each has afforded a subject of observation to the author above quoted; but vestiges of other castles, possessing the same general characteristics, occur in different parts of this country, and are described in respective portions of the “Beauties of England and Wales.”
The keep of Lincoln castle, which was built by order of William the First, in the early part of his reign, was nearly round, and was situated on a high artificial mount, the summit of which it almost entirely covered. In the instance of York, the keep was excluded from the castle area; but here, at Lincoln, “the walls enclosing the whole circuit of the fortress were made to ascend on each side the slope, and to join to the great tower; which was, in other respects, in consequence of the steepness of the hill, and its talus, equally inaccessible, both from within the castle-area and from without, except by a steep flight of steps, and a draw-bridge over a ditch."
It is observable that in this, and other fortifications constructed at nearly the same period, the chief reliance for defence was placed on the massy character of the walls, and the steepness of the artificial bill on which the great tower was raised; for, in several instances, the principal portal is found level with the ground, and not elevated on the side of the wall, as was the practice of ages better skilled in the science of defence.
Besides the keep (or citadel of the fortress, containing the rooms of state residence) there was at Lincoln, another tower, of smaller proportions, also placed on an artificial mount, and communicating with the former by means of a covered way. The
• Beauties for Yorkshire, p. 236.
- Lincolnshire, p. 647.
Yorkshire, p. 839.
outer walls of the castle enclose a very large area ; but so many alterations have been effected by later ages, in these parts of the works, that such vestiges as are really of an early Norman date cannot be distinguished with accuracy.
Although it has been deemed expedient to divide variations of the style introduced by the Anglo-Normans into deterininate classes, it must not be imagined that either of those distinct modes had a precise and definite term of prevalence. A defective fashion might find imitators after a better manner was introduced ; and, in regard to these Nornian plans of military architecture, if we suppose that which was first used to have been the chosen practice of the Normans in their own country, we may readily believe that chieftains, newly settling in England, in an after-age, might bring with them a national partiality, and might raise structures in the first Anglo-Normau mode, in neglect of the improvements introduced since that fashion was rejected by the majority.
Indeed, no attempt can be more futile than that of seeking to ascertain the exact age of any pile, whether religious, military, or domestic, merely from its agreement in certain particulars of architectural disposal with other buildings, concerning which the date of erection is positively ascertained. There are reasons for supposing that such a method of calculation may with more safety be applied to the early and middle ages of English history than to those more recent; but fancy, caprice, necessity, and many other inducements, must have caused deviations from the best and most frequent modes, in every era.
Thus, many castles, erected at a date subsequent to the early part of the first William's reign, are found to display the manner noticed in the above pages as being introduced at that period. Among these may be mentioned the castle of Tunbridge, which appears to have been built after the completion of the record termed Domesday, and, probably, not before the time of Wil. liam Rufus. Yet we here view a retrocessive adoption of the style first used by the Anglo-Normans; for the original keep,
and principal part of the fortress, consisted of a spacious and strong, oblong tower, situated on the summit of a high artificial mount. The additions made by succeeding builders,* together with the dilapidations effected by the wear of ages, and the tasteless severity of persons through whose possession the estate has passed in modern times, bave caused an inextricable confusion to prevail in regard to the outworks; but it appears that the keep and dependant area were originally protected by lines of massy wall, and deep ditches, which were supplied with water by skilful and laborious contrivances.
It is the laudable practice of many popular antiquarian writers of the present day, to avoid an indulgence in hypothetical calculation, and to adhere only to plain and unequivocal matter of fact. Such a inode of enquiry cannot be too highly commended, while it simply rests on the firm basis with which it commenced, and does not, in its progress, endeavour to discourage, by ridicule without argument, the efforts of the more excursive to illustrate doubtful circumstances by the rational aid of general analogy, The usual futility of attempts to ascertain precise dates of erection, by an affinity of architectural arrangement, has been already pointed out.-It would, however, appear that we may with security place reliance on the above appropriation of style, as the dates of several buildings there noticed are ascertained on sound bistorical testimony.
And with the same confidence we proceed to an examination of the second, or improved, Anglo-Norman style; for it is known that the fortifications of the castle of Rochester were begun under the direction of Bishop Gundulph, about the year 1088; and it is probable that the greater part was completed according to his
. The lower of entrance is the addition most worthy of notice. This is an extensive building, flanked by round towers, and containing many spacious apartments. From the character of its ornaments, it is supposed that this part of the castle was erected about the reign of John, or that of Henry the Thurd, and it forms an instance of the Gatehouse, which is so distinguished a feature in many castles constructed in the Middle ages.
plans, and under his care. The improvements which had taken place in military architecture are here obvious, and of high interest. But it is not to be supposed that the whole were first introduced in this instance. Each had, unquestionably, been for some years in that progressive state which is incidental to works of art in their approach towards perfection; and relics of anterior and less refined efforts, similar as to intention, are probably still to be noticed in several parts of England.
Intent on raising such fortresses as might effectually supply a necessity long felt in Britain, and at once assist in defending the state against foreign and factious assailants, King William the First, and his successor, carefully selected persons most renowned for architectural skill, and directed their attention towards the construction of castles of defence. The peculiar talent of Gundulph, and the general character of the improvements which are ascribed to hiin, are well explained in the following passage. .“ Amongst other persons whom William enployed and consulted in the advancement of his favourite plan, was Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester. This extraordinary genins began to reason with more acuteness upon the subject than any architect bad done before: and determined to unite together all the excellencies of former structures, [both those of Alfred's castles, and those of the great round towers of his own countrymen :) and to add many new inventions; for the sake of increasing not only the security, but also the magnificence of these piles. His mode of building was immediately so greatly admired, and so soon came into fashion; that although the prejudice in favour of the old plan, long continued amongst the Normans ; and many castles were still daily built according to it; yet many also, in the very same age, and even in the very same years, were erected on Gundulph’s.
“ He determined to get rid of the auk ward labour of raising high artificial mounts, by way of defending the entrance and approach to the keep; despised the inconvenience of the central well, for the purpose of affording air, and light, in the round towers; and saw many defects even in the great castles of Alfred; especially in their want of inward defence to the loop holes in the lower apartments, and in the unguarded design of their great windows above. In short, to him appears clearly to be due, the honor of the invention of the noble high elevated portal, so compleatly defended by draw-bridges, gates, and portcullises, (all placed in the most judicious manner) in lieu of the high mount; the invention of the mode of properly defending loop holes; the invention of wells, concealed in the walls, for the purpose of drawing up timbers; the improvement of the manner in which galleries of communication were constructed in the walls; and other judicious devices, with regard to the situation of staircases, and an improved mode of constructing even the very dungeons.
“ The noble proportions, and disposition of the state apartments, was also another excellence in Gundulph's keeps; as well as the stately mode of approach, and ascent to them."*
The castle of Rochester is the latest effort of Bishop Gun. dulph in castellated architecture; and it presents a fine and venerable instance of his skill, as the whole of the improvements known to have been introduced by him are here assembled in one impressive display.
This castle is so amply described in the Beauties of England for Kent,t that a notice of its leading characteristics, as a standard of comparison with the modes of other eras, must be all that is required in the present place.
Rochester castle is situated near the brow of a natural eminence, which rises abruptly from the river Medway; and its principal tower, or keep, is of extensive proportions, and of a quadrangular form. Thus situated, the river formed on one side a line of defence, without labour or expense. In other directions
• Sequel to Observations on Aucient Castles, Archæol. Vol. VI. p. 295–. + Beauties for Kent, p. 623–628.