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door in the west wall of the latter. A somewhat similar arrangement exists in connection with the interesting north-east tower at the neighbouring and contemporary castle of Mulgrave.
The curtain between the apsidal tower and the north-east tower is 39 feet in length, and was apparently strengthened about 1210. It remains to a height of some 8 or 9 feet externally, and some 3 feet internally ; but the internal collection of grass-grown debris would appear to be nearly 3 feet deep. A plain plinth, with a projection of 24 inches, runs along the greater part of this wall. The only object of interest is a vent or drain, some 6 feet east of the apsidal tower. The actual opening measures 10 inches by 7 inches.
THE NORTH-EAST TOWER is both externally and internally the most interesting feature of the ruin. It dates from 11941200, is faced with magnificent ashlar, and the workmanship is wonderfully good. It projects 12 feet 8 inches beyond the northern curtain up to the point where the apse or semicircular face commences, and the total projection, including the footings, is 23 feet. The height to which the tower remains varies, but, broadly speaking, the greater part of the first floor still exists, and a large part of the tower is some 34 feet above exterior ground level. A bold plinth is carried round the foot of the basement apartment externally, and is some 10 feet above the exterior ground level at the outside of the apse. The base of the footings of the tower is 14 feet 3 inches below the base of the northern curtain, owing to the steep fall in the ground, the gradient here being a good deal steeper than 1 in 2. A portion of a recess, which once contained a loop for the use of the cross-bow, may still be seen in the west wall of the tower on the first floor level at the point where the apse commences.
The writer has in his possession a photograph of this tower taken some thirty years ago, before the footings of the tower (which had all been wrenched away) had been replaced by the late Mr. J. T. Wharton, of Skelton Castle. The tower was then in a somewhat dangerous condition, for not content with taking the fine ashlar work, the spoilers had scooped out much of the rubble, leaving the tower overhanging.
The curvilinear northern face of the tower contains almost in the centre of the basement apartment a perfect and most interesting example of a loop for the use of the cross bow, whilst in the chamber above is a lancet-shaped Early English window.
Photograph No. I gives a view of this part of the tower, and also of a portion of the northern curtain between it and the small apsidal tower.
From the base of the whole of the northern curtain the ground drops away steeply, but not precipitately, the average gradient being about 1 in 2, quite sufficiently steep to render the task of bringing siege engines to the foot of the walls a sufficiently difficult one.
THE EASTERN FAÇADE.—The eastern façade measures some 80 to 85 feet in length, and is built along a little narrow ledge of rock, from the edge of which a precipice drops sheer some 50 feet, from the foot of which precipice the ground drops very steeply towards the beck. Strewn about at the foot of this precipice are masses of rubble masonry fallen from the walls, proving them to have been at least 5 feet in thickness.
The most striking feature of this façade is the eastern face of the north-east tower. Photograph No. 2-the taking of which .
was more or less of an acrobatic feat, the camera being posed on the edge of a precipice just beneath the castle walls-shows this view. The ledge of the lancet-shaped Early English window in the basement apartment of this tower is between 13 and 14 feet above exterior ground level, and throughout the whole length of the eastern curtain the interior ground level varies from 14 feet at its northern to 8 feet at its southern end above the exterior ground level. Some 15 feet south of the commencement of the apse of the north-east tower a turret projects 5 feet 6 inches (or, including the footings, 7 feet) beyond the main body of the tower. This turret is in
a very ruinous condition. Its eastern face, including the footings, measures
feet in length from north to south.
South of this turret a revetment wall, some II feet high, remains for a length of about 27 feet. Although partially restored by the late Mr. J. T. Wharton some thirty years agoit was then in a dangerous condition--this wall gives one the impression that the work was originally Norman, and possibly here we may have something dating back to the first walling of the castle, about 1160. Beyond this piece of wall a shallow buttress, much restored, appears; but the wall from this point to the south-east angle is in such a ruinous condition that it is difficult to say anything definite as to its date. At the southeast angle are distinct indications of the former presence of a well-stair.
The private apartments undoubtedly extended along the whole of the eastern curtain, and it is quite possible that this curtain between the staircase just mentioned and the projection of the turret is the oldest walling in the castle.
THE SOUTHERN CURTAIN.-Except for a short distance of some 10 or 12 feet at its south-east end, there were no buildings erected against this curtain. For nearly 100 feet from the eastern end the wall is ruined to the foundations internally, but externally it presents the appearance of a revetment some 10 to 12 feet high, owing to scarping. A precipice of some 120 feet falls almost sheer away from the foot of the wall, so that this façade was quite unapproachable. Consequently, a high wall was unnecessary here, and for some 90 feet from the end of the narrow block of buildings abutting upon the south-east angle there was probably merely a light embattled curtain, perhaps 6 or 7 feet high internally, which would present the appearance of a wall 18 feet high externally, owing to the difference in levels. The whole of the facing stones have been wrenched away from the cement, not a solitary fragment remaining for the whole of this length. The only feature of interest is the mouth of a drain, almost opposite that already mentioned near the small apsidal tower.
Opposite the north tower, some 100 feet west of the east end of this curtain, the wall turns slightly outwards, and here the facing stones are left for a distance of some 12 feet, and the wall has apparently been increased in thickness to about 6 feet. The facing stones are poor and small, and one is inclined to imagine that this portion of the wall dates from the first substitution of masonry for palisading, viz. circa 1160.
Then a buttress, connected with the transverse interior wall, abuts upon the curtain, and here the masonry is much later in date, possibly circa 1260. From this point westward the curtain has been some 5 feet thick, and about 10 feet west of the buttress a fragment of it still remains for a length of about 11 feet, and probably dates from about 1200, the stones being large and good.
For some 100 feet west of this fragment of walling the site of the curtain is marked only by heaps of shapeless rubble, but has apparently been from 4 to 5 feet thick. At the western end some 60 feet of walling remains to a height of some 2 or 3 feet, but all the facing stones have disappeared, so that it is impossible to fix its date.
INTERIOR OF THE CASTLE.
Having now occupied the examination of the exterior of the ruin, we may proceed to visit the interior.
Passing over the site of the gateway
THE STABLING first attracts our attention. This picturesque ivy-clad block of buildings is built against the northern and western curtains, occupying the north-west angle of the inner ward, and is. singularly devoid of features of architectural interest. It measures 68 feet long, without including the small projection of the north-west tower. As to the width it is impossible, without excavation, to say anything definite, as the whole of the south wall has disappeared. But it is improbable that it exceeded 25 feet, as the enclosure at the east end of this block of buildings is less than 50 feet in internal width.
Mr. Ord, in his picturesque but inaccurate description of the castle, referring to this part of the structure, says : “ Still at the western extremity we trace the grand banqueting room, 60 feet long by 59 broad,” etc. In his measurements Mr. Ord makes no allowance for the passage into the interior of the castle and for the courtyard, whilst the inferiority of the workmanship and material, together with the absence of any attempt at even the crudest architectural decoration, all tend to show that this large and much ruined block of buildings did not form part of the “palace,” of which the Great Hall was always one of the chief if not the most important room. Still, in all descriptions of the castle, this portion is always referred to as “ The Great Hall." As a matter of fact, there is no doubt whatever that the basement was the castle stabling, possibly with walled-off compartments at either end forming guard rooms, and giving access to the two small flanking towers, which may have risen a storey higher than the rest of the block. The upper floor, approached from the narrow court-yard by an external flight of steps, probably wooden, would afford accommodation for the inferior domestics, for additional in-living retainers during a period of intestinal warfare or anticipated attack, and also as a store for hay, etc., being doubtless divided into several apartments by wooden partitions. This block must necessarily have been lighted by windows looking south across the courtyard, for the remaining walls contain neither window nor loop. If there were any fireplaces, which is unlikely, these must also have been in the south wall,