Page images

southern curtain, and obtain plenty of sunshine. This was a quite usual arrangement in such a position.

The rooms on the ground floor level beneath the Hall were possibly subdivided by timber partitions, or more probably, as was usually the case, by light walls of masonry. One of these divisions would be a guard room communicating with the postern door in the west face of the small apsidal tower, always supposing, as seems very probable, that such a door existed. Another would give access to the two large rooms on the ground floor of the north tower.

THE CHAPEL OF SAINT PETER, referred to in several of the Guisborough charters as "infra castellum de Kylton," was almost certainly immediately east of the Great Hall, and would communicate with the withdrawing room, the small apartment screened off at the dais end of the Hall. In order to avoid the necessity of the retainers passing through the withdrawing room (which was a semi-private apartment) to reach the chapel, the timber balcony before mentioned would probably-this was a quite usual arrangement-be continued along the wall of the Hall to a door in the south-west end of the chapel. This chapel was probably of no great size. The corresponding room in the palace of Richmond Castle measures only 21 feet by 13 feet, and these were probably almost the exact dimensions of the Chapel of Saint Peter, for although the block of buildings has had an internal width of 20 feet at this point, it is almost certain that opening out of the withdrawing room, and running alongside the northern curtain would be a passage leading to the ladies' apartments in the first floor of the north-east tower. Allowing 6 feet for this passage and the necessary division wall, we get a chapel of about the same size as Richmond. This room would undoubtedly be the most ornate apartment in the castle, and would be lighted by windows looking south. Generally speaking, none of the chapels in castles of this type are large, but all are remarkable for their beauty of decoration and proportion. Beneath the chapel would be a room possibly used as the armoury.

1 This was the usual arrangement. "Owing to exigencies of space, chapels were not so large as they often were in the earlier castles (Mr. Alf. Harvey's The Castles of England, p. 153), but they were conspicuous for their beauty. The chapels of Conway and Caerphilly are situated at the east end of the Great Hall. The remarkably beautiful chapel of Kidwelly opens out of the Hall.


2 As the east wall abutted upon the private apartment, it would not possible to have an east window. Probably the chapel was lighted by three tall slender lancet windows, similar to those in the exquisite little Queen's Chapel or Oratory at Conway, with a continuous arcading of trefoil-headed arches beneath the windows.

THE PRIVATE APARTMENTS.-Here we are on more certain ground. These, the most interesting rooms in the palace, occupied the north-east tower-originally three storeys highand the narrow irregular block of buildings-originally two storeys high-running along the eastern and abutting upon the southern curtain. Here the space being limited the ground floor apartments were used as living rooms, although in the rest of the palace the ground floor would only be utilised as guard rooms, store rooms, laundry, armoury, buttery, bakery, etc.

Of this important block only the northern end now remains, the rest of it being ruined to the foundations. This is, undoubtedly, the oldest part of the castle, and the rooms along the eastern curtain south of the north-east tower may have been part of the Norman castle of 1160, and have been lighted by small round-headed windows. It is quite evident, from the debris at the foot of the precipice beneath this curtain, that these walls were not less than 5 feet in thickness.

It is impossible to say without excavation how the ground floor was subdivided, but everything tends to point to there having been three rooms. The approach to this suite of apartments appears to have been through the southern room, which room, almost certainly, had access to or contained a well-stair in the south-east angle, indications of the former presence of which still exist. This room, which was irregular in shape, measuring some 24 feet in length from north to south, and varying in width from 4 feet at its southern end-where was the well-stair-to 15 feet at its northern end, was probably an ante-room or guard room. It would not only give access to the other two rooms on the basement north of it, but, by means of the well-stair, communicate with the rooms above.

The middle room on the basement, which may have communicated not only with the guard room but also, by a door in its west wall, with the room below the chapel (probably the armoury), was probably allotted to the personal retainers of the lord of the castle. It appears to have measured 20 feet in length from north to south, and to have varied from 12 to 17 feet in width.

The northernmost room, which occupied the basement of the north-east tower, and was entered through the middle room, is in almost perfect preservation. The west, north, and east walls remain to their full height; the south or interior wall has gone. Without systematic excavation, it is impossible

to determine the exact length of this apartment, but it can scarcely have been less than 20 or 21 feet, excluding the apsidal projection at its northern end. It measures 14 feet 2 inches in width from east to west, and 9 feet 7 inches in height.

Not quite in the centre of the apse, and looking north, is a very fine and perfect specimen of the loop for the use of the cross-bow.1 It is approached from the room by a vaulted recess in the thickness (5 feet 1 inches) of the wall, 2 feet 9 inches deep, 4 feet 6 inches long, and some 7 feet high. The loop is nearly in the centre of the recess, and measures 4 feet 10 inches in height, the cross-piece being 9 inches in length. It is splayed in a depth of 2 feet 4 inches to an internal width of 2 feet 10 inches. Photograph No. I gives an external view of this feature.

The lighting of this room has been somewhat inadequate. With the exception of the loop just described, the only other opening is a lancet-shaped window, 4 feet 6 inches high, the exterior opening of which is 8 inches wide. The holes for the insertion of the iron bars, both vertical and horizontal, once guarding this opening, still remain.

The window is approached from the room by a vaulted recess, 4 feet 3 inches in length, I foot 10 inches in depth, and some 5 feet 4 inches high, the floor of which is raised slightly above that of the room. The window is set in the northern half of the recess, and 12 inches from its external opening, is set back 2 inches on either side, and then splayed to an internal width of 25 inches.

Photograph No. 3 gives a good idea of this window.

In the same (east) wall, about 11 feet 3 inches south of this recess, a doorway has opened upon a short mural passage leading into the turret already mentioned as projecting from the east face of the tower. This turret is now in so ruinous

1 The cross-bow, one of the most formidable defensive weapons of mediaval castles, appears to have been reintroduced into England by Richard I (Sir Ralph Payne-Galwey's The Crossbow). Special loopholes had to be constructed for its use, splayed downwards externally, 'so that accurate aim could be obtained. Not a single keep of the time of King Henry II contains such a loop; and even at Middleham, erected in 1190, the loops in the keep are merely for light and not adapted for shooting purposes. The earliest cross-bow loops known to the writer are those in the interesting keep of Clitheroe (1187-1194),

but that at Kilton cannot be much later, as the north-east tower apparently dates from 1194-1200. The beautiful little north-east tower at Mulgrave Castle, Yorkshire, which apparently dates from about 1214-1216, also contains early examples. The recesses containing these loops were of some size, as at Kilton, so as to accommodate three men, in order that whilst one man was shooting the other two would be loading. In this way a continuous discharge could be kept up in case of attack. In the tower just referred to at Mulgrave, the walls are so thin that the archers could stand in the room itself.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »