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but could not be approached by an assailant, without the greatest danger. The first ascent was by a flight of twelve steps, leading round the north-west angle to an arched gate and covered way, beneath which a flight of seven steps led forward to a drawbridge that connected with the arched gateway of the entrance tower: this opened into the vestibule, between which and the keep there were no other avenues of communication than by a third arched passage in the thickness of the wall. This latter, being the immediate inlet to the body of the keep, was defended by a massive gate and portcullis, the hinges and grooves of which remain; and in the roof are openings, for the purpose of showering destruction on the heads of assailants.

The interior of the keep is divided by a strong wall, into two nearly equal parts, communicating, however, by open arches on each floor. The floors were three in number, independent of the basement story; but these were removed when the Castle was dismantled, in the reign of James I. The basement story was low and gloomy; the first floor, which seems to have been occupied by the soldiery, was twenty-two feet in height; the second floor, which consisted of the state apartments, was twenty-eight feet in height, and considerably ornamented. The upper floor was sixteen feet high. From the remains of a large arch in the southeast corner, it seems highly probable that the chapel


termined, the destruction of this angle, in the wars between king John and his barons, and its subsequent reedification in a different style of architecture, having caused some small alteration in the plan of the building as arranged by bishop Gundulph.

All the walls are composed of the common Kentish rag-stone, cemented by a strong mortar, in the composition of which immense quantities of sea-shells were used, and which has acquired, from age, a consistency equal, if not superior, to the stone itself. The coigns are of a yellow kind of stone, said to have been brought from Caen, in Normandy: the window-frames, together with the mouldings round the principal entrance, the faces of the columns in the state apartments, and the arches above, as well as those in the fire-places, are all of this stone; but the vaultings of the galleries, together with the staircases and all the arches within the walls themselves, are formed of the rude rag-stones, which seem to have been placed on wooden centres, and the mortar poured over them, in so liquid a state, as to fill up every crevice, and unite the whole in one mass.

About the beginning of the last century, an attempt, originating in sordid motives, was made to destroy the whole of this venerable fabric; but this, through the solidity of the walls, was found too expensive an enterprise, and was therefore abandoned, on the same principles from which it originated.

Rochester was one of the stipendary cities of the

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Part of the Keep, Rochester Castle

Published, for the Proprietors, by W. Clarks New Bond Street, and X Carpenter, MN Bond Str. Jan...

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