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The plan of the castle is a very interesting one ; it is “tower-built," like the keep of a Norman castle, but it shows the partial step towards the English manor house type of plan. In the Norman castle the kitchen occupies the lower floor, the hall the middle floor, and the solar the top floor. In the manor-house, kitchen, hall, and solar are on one floor, with the hall in the centre. Here the hall and kitchen are on the same floor, while the solar is above the hall. It 's this fact of the kitchen being on the ground floor which makes the plan of Harewood Castle differ from the rectangular structures with a tower at each corner. If you take away the kitchen extension at the west, you get the exact plan of Dacre, or of many a Northumbrian peel-tower. Aldborough, therefore, had taken the peel - tower type of plan, and tacked on to it a spacious wing for the kitchen and buttery, with retainers' bedrooms above -an evidence of the growing luxury of the age. There are really only two things to bear in mind in studying the development of the plan of the English house-firstly, that the hall was the central fact of the house, from which all else radiated, like the blood from the heart-and, secondly, the desire for greater comfort and luxury which led to all the modifications of this central fact.
The entrance is in what would be the north-west tower, were it not for the kitchen wing to the west. There are remains of a platform outside, and portcullis grooves on the inner side of the door. Above is the portcullis chamber, and above, again, a three-light traceried window, with the shield of Balliol on the left, and of Aldborough on the right. Above is the motto of the Aldboroughs, "vat sal be, sal." Inside can be seen the holes in which the wooden screen was housed, which separated the passage - way from the hall. The hall is on our left. The windows are high up for better protectior., and steps lead up to the window seats. On the east wall is the fireplace, with a portion of its original hearth. (See page 176, fig. A.) On the south wall is a very richly-decorated recess-a veritable specimen of the so-called Decorated style of architecture. It is lighted by a small window at the back. Beneath the sill is a vine-leaf border. The ogee canopy is crochetted, and terminates in a finial. There is a frieze above, with a bird at the left-hand side. (Fig. B.) This was conjectured by
Valettus," esquire, of the body to Edward Bruce,
King of Scotland. Balliol had retired to Wheatley, near Doncaster
Whitaker to have been a sideboard, and it must have looked very well when loaded with plate.
The solar above the hall was reached by a spacious newel staircase on the north wall. The beams of its floor rested on large corbels. The plate lines on the roof gable of this upper room remain on the east and west walls. There has been a gallery at the east end, and the fireplace under would form an ingle-nook on a large scale. The upper storey of the entrance, or north-west tower, has traceried windows—such as uccurs nowhere else—and coats of arms;
among others, those of Aldborough, Balliol, Constable, Vipont, and Thweng. This room has been called by Whitaker the domestic oratory. Since there certainly would be an oratory or chapel in a house of this size, and since it is more richly decorated than any other room in the castle, it is probable that Whitaker's suggestion is correct. The kitchen is a large room below two screens, at the south-west corner of the building. There are two large fireplaces and a reddened oven. The room next to this was the pantry, or buttery, with separate access to cellar. There is a curious projecting window-sill to a lighted recess in this room. Above are two storeys, neither of which seems to have been sub-divided into smaller rooms, perhaps the women-servants slept on one floor and the men-servants on the other. The upper storey has two doors, which opened on to the walks along the leads. These dormitories were reached by a stair close to the entrance. The south-east and north-east towers are five storeys in height, and contained small bedrooms, about 10 feet square, for the use of the owner and his family and guests. Garderobes are attached to these towers. Notice the large number of cupboards or stone recesses in the walls. On the exterior of the south wall can be seen a postern-gate, which was protected by a lean-to building. The exterior walls are 6 feet thick on the south, and
feet 3 inches on the north.
A later wing was built on to the north wall, but this has now disappeared. The bowling green to the east is probably an Elizabethan addition. Throughout, the masonry is of the highest excellence, and the work is well constructed and truthful. It is a sturdy, straightforward piece of English masonry. Ornament is sparingly applied, and only in places where it would tell. Here, as at all good periods in the history of building, the architecture is merely a background, well proportioned, and well built for the living people who used it.
The widow of the second Lord Aldborough (he was brother of Lady Redman and of Lady Ryther, the subsequent coheiresses) died in 1391 (twenty-five years after the castle was built), and the details of her will enable us to furnish the house anew. She bequeathed a bed of crimson and black, with white and red roses ; another of Norfolk work with foxes. There was a red tapestry, with crimson border and the arms of Balliol and Aldborough; seven cushions of scarlet; a bed, embroidered with a tree and unicorn ; a bed of crimson and grey, with vine leaves; a bed of green and grey, with birds and rabbits ; a string of pearls, “of which any one is worth 6d.”; a red chest, with the arms of Mauley and Sutton painted on it, etc.
For nearly 250 years the castle continued to be occupied by either a Redman or a Ryther, either conjointly or turn and turn about by seven generations of one family, and by nine of the other-surely a curious and somewhat trying arrangement. The last Ryther who lived here died in 1637. In some way, that is not yet clear, the two moieties were reunited in the family of Wentworth, through the marriage of Margaret Gascoigne, the heiress of Gawthorp Hall, with Thomas Wentworth, the grandfather of Lord Strafford. The Wentworths never lived at Harewood. And in 1656, when the second Lord sold the estate, the castle is described as being ruinous. The advertisement of the sale reads :-“The castle of Harewood decayed, yet the storeys thereof being much ashlar, and the timber that is left fit for building an hansom new house, may save a deal of charges in the stonework.” The estate of 12,000 acres realised £28,000.
At present the church stands in isolation in Harewood Park; but in mediæval times the large village, or, rather, market town, clustered up to the church. This was demolished when Mr. Lascelles, in the middle of the eighteenth century, rebuilt the village houses in the ordered and stately rows of arched groups of buildings which now border the Avenue and the high road between Leeds and Harrogate. Harewood is thus the only example—so far as I know-of eighteenth century town-planning in this country. This removal of the village from the precincts of the manor - house and the treatment of the church as a picturesque object in the Park, is thoroughly characteristic