Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

1

Richard de Bienfaite, ancestor of the House of Clare, as a tenant of the see.

Totnes, Devonshire (Fig. 33).—The castle of Totnes belonged to Judhael, one of King William's men, who has been already mentioned under Barnstaple. This castle is not noticed in Domesday Book, but its existence in the 11th century is made certain by a charter of Judhael's giving land below his castle to the Benedictine priory which he had founded at Totnes : a charter certainly of the Conqueror's reign, as it contains a prayer for the health of King William. The site was an important one; Totnes had been one of the boroughs of the Burghal Hidage; it was at the head of a navigable river, and was the point where the ancient Roman (?) road from Devonshire to Bath and the North began its course. The motte of the castle is very high and precipitous, and has a shell on top, which is perfect up to the battlements, and appears to be rather late Norman. This keep is entered in a very unusual way,

, by a Aight of steps leading up from the bailey, deeply sunk in the upper part into the face of the motte, so as to form a highly defensible passage. Two wing walls run down to the walls of the bailey. There is at present no ditch between the motte and the bailey. The whole area of the work is acre.

a It stands in a very defensible situation on a spur of hill overlooking the town, and lies just outside the ancient walls.

The value of the town of Totnes had risen at Domesday.

THE TOWER OF LONDON.—Here, as at Colchester, there is no motte, because the original design was that there should be a stone keep. Ordericus tells us that

3

2 Leland is responsible for this last statement.

1 M.A., iv., 630. 3 D. B., i., 108b.

after the submission of London to William the Conqueror he stayed for a few days in Barking while certain fortifications in the city were being finished, to curb the excitability of the huge and fierce population.' What these fortifications were we shall never know, but we may imagine they were earthworks of the usual Norman kind. Certainly the great keep familiarly known as the White Tower was not built in a few days; it does not

; appear to have been even begun till some eleven years later, when Gundulf, a monk celebrated for his architectural skill, was appointed to the see of Rochester. Gundulf was the architect of the Tower, and it must therefore have been built during his episcopate, which lasted from 1077-1108.* In

1097 we

we read that many

shires which owe works to London were greatly oppressed in making the wall (weall) round the Tower."5 This does not necessarily mean

stone wall, but probably it does, as Gundulf's tower can hardly have been without a bank and palisade to its bailey.

As the Tower in its general plan represents the type of keep which was the model for all succeeding

[ocr errors]

a

1 “Egressus Lundoniæ rex dies aliquot in propinquo loco Bercingio morabatur, dum firmamenta quædam in urbe contra mobilitatem ingentis et feri populi perficerentur.” P. 165. Ordericus is quoting from William of Poitiers. There was formerly a Roman camp at Barking, and the motte which William hastily threw up on its rampart to defend his sojourn still remains. See Victoria History of Essex.

? Mr Harold Sands suggests to me that the first fortification may simply have been a bank and palisade across the angle of the Roman wall, with perhaps a wooden keep, and that the great fire in London in 1077 determined William to build a stone keep.

3 Hearne's Textus Roffensis, 212. “Idem Gundulfus, ex precepto Regis Willielmi Magni, præesset operi magnæ turris Londoniæ."

4 The building of stone keeps was generally spread over several years, as we learn from the Pipe Rolls. Richard I, built his celebrated keep of Chateau Gaillard in one year, but he himself regarded this as an architectural feat. “Estne bella, filia mea de uno anno,” he said in delight.

6 A.-S C. in anno.

>

TOWER OF LONDON

223

3

stone keeps up to the end of the 12th century, it seems appropriate here to give some description of its main features. Its resemblance to the keep of Colchester, which also was a work of William I.'s reign, is very striking. Colchester is the larger of the two, but the Tower exceeds in size all other English keeps, measuring 118 x 98 feet at its base.? As it has been altered or added to in every century, its details are peculiarly difficult to trace, especially as the ordinary visitor is not allowed to make a thorough examination. Thus much, however, is certain : neither of the two present entrances on the ground floor is original; the first entrance was on the first floor, some 25 feet above the ground, at the S.W. angle of the south side, and has been transformed into a window. There was no entrance to the basement, but it was only reached by the grand staircase, which is enclosed in a round turret at the N.E. angle. There were two other stairs at the N.W. and S.W. angles, but these only began on the first floor. The basement is divided by a cross wall, which is carried up to the third storey. There are at present three storeys above the basement. The basement, which is now vaulted in brick, was not originally vaulted at all,

,

1 Round's History of Colchester, ch. iv.

2 The keep of Norwich Castle measures 100 x 95 feet; Middleham, 100 x 80; Dover, 95 x 90. These are the largest existing keeps in England, next to the Tower and Colchester. The destroyed keep of Duffield measured 99 93 feet; that of Bristol is believed to have been 110 x 95.

3 The reader will find little help for the structural history of the Tower in most of the works which call themselves Histories of the Tower of London. The plan of these works generally is to skim over the structural history as quickly as possible, perhaps with the help of a few passages from Clark, and to get on to the history of the prisoners in the Tower. For the description in the text, the writer is greatly indebted to Mr Harold Sands, F.S.A., who has made a careful study of the Tower, and whose monograph upon it, it is hoped, will shortly appear.

except the south-eastern chamber, under the crypt of the chapel.

The first floor, like the basement, is divided into three rooms, as, in addition to the usual cross wall, the Tower has a branch cross wall to its eastern section, which is carried up to the top. This floor was formerly only lit by loopholes ; Clark states that there were two fireplaces in the east wall, but there is some doubt about this. The S.E. room contained the crypt of the chapel, which was vaulted. It is commonly supposed that the rooms on the first floor were occupied by the guards of the keep. In the account which we have quoted from Lambert of Ardres, the first floor is said to be the lord's habitation, and the upper storey that of the guards; so that there seems to have been no invariable rule. No special

was allotted to the kitchen, as in time of peace at any rate, the lord of the castle and all his retainers took their meals in a great hall in the bailey of the castle. The ceilings of the two larger rooms of this floor are now supported by posts, an arrangement which is probably modern, as the present posts certainly are.

The second floor contains the chapel, which in many keeps is merely an oratory, but is here of unusual size. Its eastern end is carried out in a round apse, a feature which is also found at Colchester, but is not usual in

room

[ocr errors]

1 Ante, p. 89.

2 Many of the larger keeps contain rooms quite spacious enough to have served as banqueting halls, and it is a point of some difficulty whether they were built to be used as such. But as late as the 14th century, Piers Ploughman rebukes the new custom which was growing up of the noble and his family taking their meals in private, and leaving the hall to their retainers. Every castle seems to have had a hall in the bailey.

3 Mr Sands says the main floors are not of too great a span to carry any ordinary weight.

« PreviousContinue »