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weighed, and an inventory taken; it was found to consist of sixty thousand pounds of fine silver, besides a quantity of gold and precious stones. He then assembled all the Norman barons then in England, announced to them the death of the Conqueror, was chosen king, and crowned by Archbishop Lanfranc, in Winchester Cathedral, whilst the barons remaining in Normandy were deliberating on the succession. His first act of royal authority, was to imprison anew the Saxons Ulfnoth, Morkar, and Siward Beorn, whom his father had liberated; next he drew from the treasury a large quantity of gold and silver, which he placed in the hands of Otho, the goldsmith, with orders to make it into ornaments for the tomb of him, whom he had forsaken on his death-bed. The name of the goldsmith, Otho, merits a place in this history, for the territorial register of the Conquest, mentions him as one of the great newly.created proprietors. Perhaps he had been the banker of the invasion, and had advanced part of the cost or mortgage of English estates; this is not unlikely, for the goldsmiths of the middle ages were also bankers, or, perhaps, he had merely entered into commercial speculations upon the domains acquired by the lance and the sword, and given gold in exchange for their estates to the roving men-at-arms—a class common to that age.
A kind of literary competition now sprang up between the Latin versifiers of England and Normandy, in the composition of the epitaph that was to be engraved on the tomb of the late king; and Thomas, Archbishop of York, carried off the palm. Several pieces of verse and prose in praise of the Conqueror, have been handed down to us, and among the eulogies bestowed on him by the clerks and literary men of the age, there are some exceedingly curious : “English nation,” exclaims one of them, “why hast thou disturbed the repose of this prince, who was the friend of virtue ?" “Oh England,” says another, “thou would'st have loved, thou would have esteemed him most highly, but for thy folly and thy malice." rule was pacific,” says a third, “and his soul benevolent.” None of the viva voce epitaphs and panegyrics bestowed on him by the conquered nation remain to us, unless we regard as a sample of the popular exclamations called forth by the death of the foreign tyrant, these lines of an English poet of the thirteenth century : * The days of King William were days of suffering, and many thought his life too long."
The Norman barons, who had not concurred in the election of William Rufus, returned to England, enraged at his having become king without their consent ; they resolved to depose him, and to place on the throne in his stead his eldest brother, Robert, Duke of Normandy. At the head of this party figured Odo of Bayeux, the brother of the Conqueror, who had just been released from prison, and many rich Normans, or Frenchmen of England, as the Saxon chronicle expresses it. The Red King, (so the historians of that time name him), seeing that his countrymen conspired against him, called to his aid his subjects of the English race, inducing them to support his cause, by holding out to them hopes of thereby obtaining relief from their burdens. He assembled around him several of those who, in memory of their past power were still regarded by the Anglo-Saxon nation as their natural chiefs ; he promised them the best laws that they could choose, the best that had ever been observed in the country; he restored to them the right of bearing arms, and the enjoyment of the forests. He put a stop to the levying of the poll-tax and all the other odious taxes ; but all this did not last long, say the contemporary arnals.
Influenced by these concessions, which lasted a few days, and, perhaps, also by a secret desire to fight the Normans, the Saxon chiefs agreed to embrace the cause of the king, and promulgated in their name, and in his, the ancient proclamation of war, which had formerly rallied around them every Englishman capable of bear
ing arms. “ Let him who is worth anything, either in the towns, or out of the towns, leave his house and come.” Thirty thousand Saxons spontaneously repaired to the place assigned, received arms, and enrolled themselves under the king's banner. They were nearly all on foot; William led them in great haste, with his cavalry, composed of Normans, towards the maritime town of Rochester, where Bishop Odo, and the other chiefs of the opposite party had fortified themselves, awaiting the arrival of their candidate, Duke Robert, to march upon Canterbury and London,
It seems that the Saxons in the royal army showed great spirit at the siege of Rochester. The besieged, bard pressed, soon demanded to capitulate, on condition of their recognizing William as king, and retaining under him their lands and honours. William at first refused this; but the Normans of his army, not entering with the same zeal as the Saxons, into this, which was to them a civil war, and not wishing to reduce their fellow-countrymen and relatives to the last extremity, thought the king too inveterate against the defenders of Rochester. They strove to appease him.
him. “We, who have assisted thee in danger,” they said to him, “we implore thee to spare our countrymen, our kinsmen, who are also thine, and who aided thy father in conquering England." The king relented, and at length granted the besieged free exit from the town, with their arms and horses. Bishop Odo attempted further to stipulate, that the military music of the king should not play in token of triumph at the evacuation of the garrison ; but William angrily refused, exclaiming that he would not make this concession for a thousand marks of gold. The Normans of Robert's party quitted the town which they had been unable to defend, with lowered ensigns, and to the sound of the king's trumpets. At this moment loud clamours arose from amidst the English of the royal army. “ Bring ropes,” they cried, “ let us hang this traitor of a bishop, with all his accomplices. Oh king! why dost thou thus allow him to retire in safety? He is not worthy to live ! the crafty villain! the assassin ! the murderer of so many thousands of men !”
At the sound of these imprecations, the priest who had blessed the Norman army at the battle of Hastings, left England, never to return. The war between the Normans lasted some time longer ; but this family quarrel subsided little by little, and ended in a treaty between the two parties and the two brothers. The domains that the friends of Robert had lost in England, for having embraced his cause, were restored to them, and Robert himself abandoned his claims to the throne on receiving some landed estates. It was agreed between the two parties that the king, if he survived the duke, should have the duchy of Normandy, and that, in the contrary case, the duke should have the kingdom of England; twelve men on the side of the king, and twelve on that of the duke confirmed this treaty by oath. Thus terminated the Norman civil war, and at the same time the alliance which it had occasioned between the English and the king. The concessions that the latter had made were all revoked, his promises belied, and the Saxons returned to their former state of subjection and oppression.
44.—THE CASTLES OF THE NORMAN KINGS.
C. KNIGHT. From Old England.' There are few prospects in England more remarkable, and, in a certain degree, more magnificent, than that which is presented on the approach to Rochester from the road to London. The highest point on the road from Milton is Gadshill, of “men-in-buckram” notoriety. Here the road begins gradually to descend to the valley of the Medway ; sometimes, indeed, rising again over little eminences, which in the hop season are more beautifully clothed than are “the vine-covered hills and gay regions of France,” but still descending, and sometimes precipitously, to a valley whose depth we cannot see, but which we perceive from the opposite hills has a range of several miles. At a turn of the road we catch a glimpse of the narrow Medway on the south; then to the north we see a broader stream where large dark masses, our wooden walls," seem to sleep on the sparkling water. At last a town presents itself right before us to the east, with a paltry tower which they tell us is that of the Cathedral. Close by that tower rises up a gigantic square building, whose enormous proportions proclaim that it is no modern architectural toy. This is the great keep of ROCHESTER CASTLE, called Gundulph's Tower, and there it has stood for eight centuries, defying siege after siege, resisting even what is more difficult to resist than fire or storm, the cupidity of modern possessors. Rochester Castle is, like the hills around it, indestructible by man in the regular course of his operations. It might be blown up, by modern science; but when the ordinary workman has assailed it with his shovel and mattock, his iron breaks upon the flinty concrete ; there is nothing more to be got out of it by avarice,—so e'en let it endure. And worthy is this old tower to endure. A man may sit alone in the gallery which runs round the tower, and, looking either within the walls or without the walls, have profitable meditations. He need not go back to the days of Julius Cæsar for the origin of this castle, as some have written, nor even to those of Egbert, King of Kent, who “
gave certain lands within the walls of Rochester Castle to Eardulf, then Bishop of that see.” It is sufficient to believe with old Lambarde, “ that Odo (the bastard brother to King William the Conqueror), which was at the first Bishop of Bayeux in Normandy, and then afterward advanced to the office of the Chief Justice of England, and to the honour of the Earldom of Kent, was either the first author or the best benefactor to that which now standeth in sight.” Odo rebelled against William II., and was driven from his stronghold and from the realm. The history of the Castle from his time becomes more distinct:-“ After this the Castle was much amended by Gundulphus, the Bishop: who (in consideration of a manor given to his see by King William Rufus) bestowed threescore pounds in building that great tower which yet standeth. And from that time this Castle continued (as I judge) in the possession of the Prince, until King Henry the First, by the advice of his barons, granted to William, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and his successors, the custody, and office of Constable over the same, with free liberty to build a tower for himself, in any part thereof, at his pleasure. By means of which cost done upon it at that time, the castle at Rochester was much in the eye of such as were the authors of troubles following within the realm, so that from time to time it had a part (almost) in every tragedy.” Lambarde, who writes this, tells us truly that in the time of the Conqueror “many castles were raised to keep the people in awe.” Such kingly strongholds of oppression were like the "pleasant vices” of common men; they became "instruments to scourge” their makers. Thus, Odo held Rochester Castle against Rufus. The barons successfully maintained it against John. Simon de Montfort carried his victorious arms against its walls, which were
defended by the Constable of Henry III. These were some of the tragedies in which Rochester Castle had a part. But the remains of this building show that its occupiers were not wholly engrossed by feuds and by fighting. The splendid columns, the sculptured arches, of its chief apartments proclaim that it was the abode of rude magnificence ; and that high festivals, with luxurious feastings, might be well celebrated within these massive walls. This tower, each side of which at the base is seventy feet long, whilst its height is one hundred and twelve feet, has attached to its east angle a smaller tower (probably for domestics), between seventy and eighty feet in height. A partition wall runs up the middle of the larger tower; and the height was divided into four stories. The joists and flooring-boards have been tom from the walls, but we see the holes where the timbers were inserted, and spacious fireplaces still remain. Every floor was served with water by a well, which was carried up through the central partition. This division of the central tower allowed magnificent dimensions to the rooms, which were forty-six feet in length by twenty-one in breadth. The height of those in the third story is thirtytwo feet ; and here are those splendid columns, with their ornamented arches, which show us that the builders of these gloomy fortresses had notions of princely magnificence, and a feeling for the beauty of art, which might have done something towards softening the fierceness of their warrior lives, and have taught them to wear their weeds of peace with dignity and grace. Thomas Warton has described, in the true spirit of romantic poetry, such a scene as might often have lighted up the dark walls of Rochester Castle :
“Stately the feast, and high the cheer;
Girt with many an armed peer,
From the proud gallery glitter'd bright.” Fenced around with barbacan and bastion on the land side, and girded by high walls towards the river, the legal and baronial occupiers of Rochester Castle sat in safety, whether dispensing their rude justice to trembling serfs, or quaffing the red wine amidst their knightly retainers. Even Simon de Montfort, a man of wondrous energy, could make little impression upon these strong walls. But the invention of gunpowder changed the course of human affairs. The monk who compounded sulphur, saltpetre, and charcoal, in their just proportions, made Rochester Castle what it is now.
Gundulphus the bishop, the builder or the restorer, we know not which, of the great keep at Rochester, was the architect of the most remarkable building of the Tower of London. Stow tells us, “I find in a fair register-book of the acts of the
Bishops of Rochester, set down by Edmund of Hadenham, that William I., surnamed the Conqueror, builded the Tower of London, to wit, the great white and square tower there, about the year of Christ 1078, appointing Gundulph, then Bishop of Rochester, to be principal surveyor and overseer of that work, who was for that time lodged in the house of Edmere, a burgess of London.” Speaking of this passage of Stow, the editor of 'London' says, “We see the busy Bishop (it was he who built the great keep at Rochester) coming daily from his lodgings at the honest burgess's to erect something stronger and mightier than the fortresses of the Saxons. What he found in ruins, and what he made ruinous, who can tell ? There might have been walls and bulwarks thrown down by the ebbing and flowing of the tide. There might have been, dilapidated or entire, some citadel more ancient than the defences of the people the Normans conquered, belonging to the age when the great lords of the world left every where some marks upon the earth's surface of their pride and their power. That Gundulph did not create this fortress is tolerably clear. What he built, and what he destroyed, must still, to a certain extent, be a matter of conjecture.” And this is precisely the case with the great tower at Rochester. The keep at Rochester and the White Tower at London have a remarkable resemblance in their external appearances. But we have no absolute certainty that either was the work of the skilful Bishop, who, with that practical mastery of science and art which so honourably distinguished many of the ecclesiastics of his age, was set by his sovereign at both places to some great business of construction or repair. We must be content to leave the matter in the keeping of those who can pronounce authoritatively where records and traditions fail, taking honest Lambarde for our guide, who says, “Seeing that by the injury of the ages between the monuments of the first beginning of this place and of innumerable such, other be not come to our hands, I had rather in such cases use honest silence than rash speech."
The ruined walls of the Castle of HASTINGS, and the remains of the pretty chapel within those walls, are familiar objects to the visitors of the most beautiful of our watering-places. The situation of this Castle is singularly noble. It was here, according to Eadmer, that almost all the bishops and nobles of England were assembled in the year 1090, to pay personal homage to King William II. before his departure for Normandy. Grose has given a pretty accurate description of this castle, which we abridge with slight alteration. What remains of the castle approaches nearest in shape to two sides of an oblique spherical triangle, having the points rounded off. The base, or south side next the sea, completing the triangle, is formed by a perpendicular craggy cliff about four hundred feet in length, upon which are no vestiges of walls or other fortification. The east side is made by a plain wall measuring near three hundred feet, without tower or defence of any kind. The adjoining side, which faces the north-west, is about four hundred feet long. The area included is about an acre and one-fifth. The walls, nowhere entire, are about eight feet thick. The gateway, now demolished, was on the north side, near the northernmost angle. Not far from it, to the west, are the remains of a small tower enclosing a circular flight of stairs; and still farther westward, a sallyport and the ruins of another tower. On the east side, at the distance of about one hundred feet, ran a ditch, one hundred feet in breadth at the top, and sixty feet deep ; but both the ditch, and the interval between it and the wall, seem to have gradually narrowed as they approached the gate, under which they terminated. On the north-west side there was another ditch of the same breadth, commencing at the cliff opposite to the westernmost angle, and bearing away almost due north, leaving a level intermediate space, which, opposite to the sally-port, was one hundred and eighty feet in breadth.