Account of a Tour in Normandy, Vol. I. (of 2)
by Dawson Turner
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by Dawson Turner






LONDON: 1820.


The observations which form the basis of the following letters, were collected during three successive tours in Normandy, in the summers of 1815, 1818, and 1819; but chiefly in the second of these years. Where I have not depended upon my own remarks, I have endeavored, as far as appeared practicable and without tedious minuteness, to quote my authorities for facts; and I believe that I have done so in most instances, except indeed where I have borrowed from the journals of the companions of my tours,—the nearest and dearest of my connections,—or from that of my friend, Mr. Cohen, who, at almost the same time, travelled through a great part of Normandy, pursuing also very similar objects of inquiry. The materials obtained from these sources, it has been impossible to separate from my own; and, interwoven as they are with the rest of the text, it is only in my power to acknowledge, in these general terms, the assistance which I have thus received.—We were proceeding in 1818, to the southern and western districts of Normandy, when a domestic calamity compelled me to return to England. The tour was consequently abridged, and many places of note remained unvisited by us.

My narrative is principally addressed to those readers who find pleasure in the investigation of architectural antiquity. Without the slightest pretensions to the character either of an architect or of an antiquarian, engaged in other avocations and employed in other studies, I am but too conscious of my inability to do justice to the subject. Yet my remarks may at least assist the future traveller, by pointing out such objects as are interesting, either on account of their antiquity or their architectural worth. This information is not to be obtained from the French, who have habitually neglected the investigation of their national monuments. I doubt, however, whether I should have ventured upon publication, if those who have always accompanied me both at home and abroad, had not produced the illustrations which constitute the principal value of my volumes. Of the merits of these illustrations I must not be allowed to speak; but it may be permitted me to observe, that the fine arts afford the only mode of exerting the talents of woman, which does not violate the spirit of the precept which the greatest historian of antiquity has ascribed to the greatest of her heroes—

[English. Greek in Original] "Great will be your glory in not falling short of your natural character; and greatest will be hers who is least talked of among the men whether for good or for bad." Thucydides' Historiae. (Book 2, Chapter 45, Paragraph 2, Verses 3-5.)


YARMOUTH, 13th August1820.



Arrival at Dieppe—Situation and Appearance of the Town—Costume of the People—Inhabitants of the Suburb of Pollet.


Dieppe—Castle—Churches—History of the Place—Feast of the Assumption.

LETTER III. Caesars Camp—Castle of Arques.


Journey from Dieppe to Rouen—Priory of Longueville—Rouen-Bridge of Boats—Costume of the Inhabitants.


Journey to Havre—Pays de Caux—St. Vallery—Fecamp—The precious Blood—The Abbey—Tombs in it—Moutivilliers—Harfleur.


Havre—Trade and History of the Town—Eminent Men—Bolbec—Yvetot—Ride to Rouen—French Beggars.


On the State of Affairs in France.


Military Antiquities—Le Vieux Chateau—Original Palace of the Norman Dukes—Halles of Rouen—Miracle and Privilege of St. Romain—Chateau du Vieux Palais—Petit Chateau—Fort on Mont Ste. Catherine—Priory there—Chapel of St. Michael—Devotee.


Ancient Ecclesiastical Architecture—Churches of St. Paul and St. Gervais—Hospital of St. Julien—Churches of Lery, Pavilly, and Yainville.


Early Pointed Architecture—Cathedral—Episcopal Palace.


Pointed Ecclesiastical Architecture—Churches of St. Ouen, St. Maclou, St. Patrice, and St. Godard.


Palais de Justice—States, Exchequer, and Parliament of Normandy—Guild of the Conards—Joan of Arc—Fountain and Bas-Relief in the Place de la Pucelle—Tour de la Grosse Horloge—Public Fountains—Rivers Aubette and Robec—Hospitals—Mint.


Monastic Institutions—Library—Manuscripts—Museum—Academy—Botanic Garden—Theatre—Ancient History—Eminent Men.

LIST OF PLATES. Plate 01 Head-Dress of Women of the Pays de Caux.

Plate 02 Entrance to the Castle at Dieppe.

Plate 03 Font in the Church of St. Remi, at Dieppe.

Plate 04 Plan of Caesar's Camp, near Dieppe.

Plate 05 General View of the Castle of Arques.

Plate 06 Tower of remarkable shape in ditto.

Plate 07 Church at Arques.

Plate 08 View of Rouen, from the Grand Cours.

Plate 09 Tower and Spire of Harfleur Church.

Plate 10 Bas-Relief, representing St. Romain.

Plate 11 Sculpture, supposed Roman, in the Church of St. Paul, at Rouen.

Plate 12 Circular Tower, attached to the Church of St. Ouen, at Rouen.

Plate 13 Interior of the Church at Pavilly.

Plate 14 Monumental Figure of Rollo, in Rouen Cathedral.

Plate 15 Ditto of an Archbishop, in ditto.

Plate 16 Monument of ditto.

Plate 17 Equestrian Figure of the Seneschal de Breze, in Rouen Cathedral.

Plate 18 Tower of the Church of St. Ouen, at Rouen.

Plate 19 South Porch of ditto.

Plate 20 Head of Christ, in ditto, seen in profile.

Plate 21 Ditto, in ditto, seen in front.

Plate 22 Stone Staircase in the Church of St. Maclou, at Rouen.

Plate 23 Sculpture, representing the Feast of Fools.

Plate 24 Bas-Relief, from the representations of the Champ du Drap d'or.

Plate 25 Initial Letter from a MS. of the History of William of Jumieges.




(Dieppe, June, 1818)


You, who were never at sea, can scarcely imagine the pleasure we felt, when, after a passage of unusual length, cooped up with twenty-four other persons in a packet designed only for twelve, and after having experienced every variety that could he afforded by a dead calm, a contrary wind, a brisk gale in our favor, and, finally, by being obliged to lie three hours in a heavy swell off this port, we at last received on board our French pilot, and saw hoisted on the pier the white flag, the signal of ten feet water in the harbor. The general appearance of the coast, near Dieppe, is similar to that which we left at Brighton; but the height of the cliffs, if I am not mistaken, is greater. They vary along the shores of Upper Normandy from one hundred and fifty to seven hundred feet, or even more; the highest lying nearly mid-way between this town and Havre, in the vicinity of Fecamp; and they present an unbroken barrier, of a dazzling white[1], except when they dip into some creek or cove, or open to afford a passage to some river or streamlet. Into one of these, a boat from the opposite shores of Sussex shot past us this afternoon, with the rapidity of lightning. She was a smuggler, and, in spite of the army of Douaniers employed in France, ventured to make the land in the broad face of day, carrying most probably a cargo, composed principally of manufactured goods in cotton and steel. The crew of our vessel, no bad authority in such cases, assured us, that lace is also sent in considerable quantities as a contraband article into France; though, as is well known, much of it likewise comes in the same quality into England, and there are perhaps few of our travellers, who return entirely without it. On the same authority, I am enabled to state, what much surprised me, that the smuggled goods exported from Sussex into Normandy exceed by nearly an hundred fold those received in return.

The first approach to Dieppe is extremely striking. To embark in the evening at Brighton, sleep soundly in the packet, and find yourself, as is commonly the case, early the next morning under the piers of this town, is a transition, which, to a person unused to foreign countries, can scarcely fail to appear otherwise than as a dream; so marked and so entire is the difference between the air of elegance and mutual resemblance in the buildings, of smartness approaching to splendor in the equipages, of fashion in the costume, of the activity of commerce in the movements, and of newness and neatness in every part of the one, contrasted in the other with a strong character of poverty and neglect, with houses as various in their structure as in their materials, with dresses equally dissimilar in point of color, substance, and style, with carriages which seem never to have known the spirit of improvement, and with a general listlessness of manner, the result of indolence, apathy, and want of occupation. With all this, however, the novelty which attends the entrance of the harbor at Dieppe, is not only striking, but interesting. It is not thus at Calais, where half the individuals you meet in the streets are of your own country; where English fashions and manufactures are commonly adopted; and where you hear your native tongue, not only in the hotels, but even the very beggars follow you with, "I say, give me un sou, s'il vous please." But this is not the only advantage which the road by Dieppe from London to Paris possesses, over that by Calais. There is a saving of distance, amounting to twenty miles on the English, and sixty on the French side of the water; the expence is still farther decreased by the yet lower rate of charges at the inns; and, while the ride to the French metropolis by the one route is through a most uninteresting country, with no other objects of curiosity than Amiens, Beauvais, and Abbeville; by the other it passes through a province unrivalled for its fertility and for the beauty of its landscape, and which is allowed by the French themselves to be the garden of the kingdom. Rouen, Vernon, Mantes, and St. Germain, names all more or less connected with English history, successively present themselves to the traveller; and, during the greater part of his journey, his path lies by the side of a noble stream, diversified beyond almost every other by the windings of its channel, and the islands which stud its surface. The only evil to counterbalance the claims of Dieppe is, that the packets do not sail daily, although they profess and actually advertise to that effect; but wait till what they consider a sufficient freight of passengers is assembled, so that, either at Dieppe or Brighton, a person runs the risk of being detained, as has more than once happened to myself, a circumstance that never occurs at Dover. There is still a third point of passage upon our southern coast, and one that has of late been considerably frequented, from Southampton to Havre; but this I never tried, and do not know what it has to recommend it, except to those who are proceeding to Caen or to the western parts of France. The voyage is longer and more uncertain, the distance by land between London and Paris is also greater, nor does it offer equal facilities as to inns and public carriages.

Dieppe is situated on a low tongue of land, but from the sea appears to great advantage; characterized as it is by its old castle, an assemblage of various forms and ages, placed insulated upon an eminence to the west, and by the domes and towers of its churches. The mouth of the harbor is narrow, and inclosed by two long stone piers, on one of which stands an elegant crucifix, raised by the fathers of the mission; to the other has lately been affixed a stone, with an inscription, stating that the Duchess d'Angouleme landed there on her return to her native country; but here is no measure of her foot, no votive pillar, as are to be seen at Calais, to commemorate a similar honor done to the inhabitants by the monarch. A small house on the western pier, is, however, more deserving of notice than either the inscription or the crucifix: it was built by Louis XVIth, for the residence of a sailor, who, by saving the lives of shipwrecked mariners, had deserved well of his sovereign and his country. Its front bears, "A J'n. A'r. Bouzard, pour ses services maritimes;" but there was originally a second inscription in honor of the king, which has been carefully erased. The fury of the revolution could pardon nothing that bore the least relation to royalty; or surely a monument like this, the reward of courage and calculated to inspire only the best of feelings[2], might have been allowed to have remained uninjured. The French are wiser than we are in erecting these public memorials for public virtues: they better understand the art of producing an effect, and they know that such gratifications bestowed upon the living are seldom thrown away. We rarely give them but to the dead. Capt. Manby, to whom above one hundred and thirty shipwrecked mariners are even now indebted for their existence, and whose invention will probably be the means of preservation to thousands, is allowed to live in comparative obscurity; while in France, a mere pilot, for having saved the lives of only eight individuals, had a residence built for him at the public expence, received an immediate gratification of one thousand francs, enjoyed a pension during his life, and, with his name and his exploits, now occupies a conspicuous place in the history of the duchy.

Within the piers, the harbor widens into a stone basin, capable of holding two hundred vessels, and full of water at the flow of the tide; but at the ebb exhibiting little more than a sheet of mud, with a small stream meandering through it. Round the harbor is built the town, which contains above twenty thousand inhabitants, and is singularly picturesque, as well from its situation, backed as it is by the steep cliff to the east, which, instead of terminating here abruptly, takes an inland direction, as from the diversity in the forms and materials of the houses of the quay, some of which are of stone, others of grey flint, more of plaster with their timbers uncovered and painted of different colors, but most of brick, not uncommonly ornamented, with roofs as steep as those of the Thuilleries, and full of projecting lucarnes. This remark, however, applies only to the quay: in its streets, Dieppe is conspicuous among French towns for the uniformity of its buildings. After the bombardment in 1694, when the English, foiled near Brest, wreaked their vengeance upon Dieppe, and reduced the whole to ashes, the town was rebuilt on a regular plan, agreeably to a royal ordinance. Hence this is commonly regarded as one of the handsomest places in France, and you will find it mentioned as such by most authors; but the unfortunate architect who was employed in rebuilding it, got no other reward than general complaints and the nickname of M. Gateville. The inconveniences arising from the arrangements of the houses which he erected must have been serious; for we find that sixty years afterwards an order of council was procured, allowing the inhabitants to make some alterations that they considered most essential to their comfort. Upon the quay there is occasionally somewhat of the activity of commerce; but elsewhere it is as I have observed before, as well with the people as the buildings. As far as the houses are concerned, a little care and paint would remove their squalid aspect: to an English eye it is singularly offensive; but it cannot possibly be so to the French, among whom it seems almost universal.

To a painter Dieppe must be a source of great delight: the situation, the buildings, the people offer an endless variety; but nothing is more remarkable than the costume of the females of the middle and lower classes, most of whom wear high pyramidal caps, with long lappets entirely concealing their hair, red, blue, or black corsets, large wooden shoes, black stockings, and full scarlet petticoats of the coarsest woollen, pockets of some different die attached to the outside, and not uncommonly the appendage of a key or corkscrew: occasionally too the color of their costume is still farther diversified by a chequered handkerchief and white apron. The young are generally pretty; the old, tanned and ugly; and the transition from youth to age seems instantaneous: labor and poverty have destroyed every intermediate gradation; but, whether young or old, they have all the same good-humored look, and appear generally industrious, though almost incessantly talking. Even on Sundays or feast-days, bonnets are seldom to be seen, but round their necks are suspended large silver or gilt ornaments, usually crosses, while long gold ear-rings drop from either side of their head, and their shoes frequently glitter with paste buckles of an enormous size. Such is the present costume of the females at Dieppe, and throughout the whole Pays de Caux; and in this description, the lover of antiquarian research will easily trace a resemblance to the attire of the women of England, in the XVth and XVIth centuries. As to the cap, which the Cauchoise wears when she appears en grand costume, its very prototype is to be found in Strutt's Ancient Dresses. Decorated with silver before, and with lace streaming behind, it towers on the head of the stiff-necked complacent wearer, whose locks appear beneath, arrayed with statuary precision. Nor is its antiquity solely confined to its form and fashion; for, descending from the great grandmother to the great grand-daughter, it remains as an heir-loom in the family from generation unto generation. In my former visit to Normandy, three years ago, we first saw this head-dress at the theatre at Rouen, and my companion was so struck with it that he made the sketch, of which I send you a copy. The costume of the females of somewhat higher rank is very becoming: they wear muslin caps, opening in front to shew their graceful ringlets, colored gowns, scarlet handkerchiefs, and black aprons.

But nothing connected with the costume or manners of the people at Dieppe is equally interesting as what refers to the inhabitants of the suburb called Pollet; and I will therefore conclude my letter, by extracting from the historian of the place[3] his account of these men, which, though written many years ago, is true in the main even in our days, and it is to be hoped will, in its most important respects, continue so for a length of time to come. "Three-fourths of the natives of this part of the town are fishermen, and not less effectually distinguished from the citizens of Dieppe by their name of Poltese, taken from their place of residence, than by the difference in their dress and language, the simplicity of their manners, and the narrow extent of their acquirements. To the present hour they continue to preserve the same costume as in the XVIth century; wearing trowsers covered with wide short petticoats, which open in the middle to afford room for the legs to move, and woollen waistcoats laced in the front with ribands, and tucked below into the waistband of their trowsers. Over these waistcoats is a close coat, without buttons or fastenings of any kind, which falls so low as to hide their petticoats and extend a foot or more beyond them. These articles of apparel are usually of cloth or serge of a uniform color, and either red or blue; for they interdict every other variation, except that all the seams of their dress are faced with white silk galloon, full an inch in width. To complete the whole, instead of hats, they have on their heads caps of velvet or colored cloth, forming a tout-ensemble of attire, which is evidently ancient, but far from unpicturesque or displeasing. Thus clad, the Poltese, though in the midst of the kingdom, have the appearance of a distinct and foreign colony; whilst, occupied incessantly in fishing, they have remained equally strangers to the civilization and politeness, which the progress of letters during the last two centuries has diffused over France. Nay, scarcely are they acquainted with four hundred words of the French language; and these they pronounce with an idiom exclusively their own, adding to each an oath, by way of epithet; a habit so inveterate with them, that even at confession, at the moment of seeking absolution for the practice, it is no uncommon thing with them to swear they will be guilty of it no more. To balance, however, this defect, their morals are uncorrupted, their fidelity is exemplary, and they are laborious and charitable, and zealous for the honor of their country, in whose cause they often bleed, as well as for their priests, in defence of whom they once threatened to throw the Archbishop of Rouen into the river, and were well nigh executing their threats."


[1] The chalk in the cliff, in the immediate vicinity of Dieppe, is divided at intervals of about two feet each by narrow strata of flint, generally horizontal, and composed in some cases of separate nodules, which are not uncommonly split, in others of a continuous compressed mass, about two or three inches thick and of very uncertain extent, but the strata are not regular.

[2] Goube Histoire de Normandie, III. p. 188.—In Cadet Gassicourt Lettres sur Normandie, I. p. 68, the story of Bouzard is given still more at length.

[3] Histoire de Dieppe, II. p. 56.



(Dieppe, June, 1818.)

The bombardment of this town, alluded to in my last, was so effectual in its operation, that, excepting the castle and the two churches, the place can boast of little to arrest the attention of the antiquary, or of the curious traveller. These three objects were indeed almost all that escaped the conflagration; and for this they were indebted to their insulated situations, the first on an eminence unconnected with the houses of the place, the other two in their respective cemeteries.

The hill on which the castle stands is steep; and the building, as well from its position, as from its high walls, flanked with towers and bastions, has an imposing appearance. In its general outline it bears a resemblance to the castle of Stirling, but it has not the same claims to attention in an architectural point of view. It is a confused mass of various aeras, and its parts are chiefly modern: nor is there any single feature that deserves to be particularized for beauty or singularity; yet, as a whole, a picturesque and pleasing effect results from the very confusion and irregularity of its towers, roofs, and turrets; and this is also enhanced by a row of lofty arches, thrown across a ravine near the entrance, supporting the bridge, and appearing at a distance like the remains of a Roman aqueduct. What seems to be the most ancient part is a high quadrangular tower with lofty pointed pannels in the four walls; and though inferior in antiquity, an observer accustomed only to the English castellated style, is struck by the variety of numerous circular towers with conical roofs, resembling those which flanked the gates of the town. Some of these gates still remain perfect; and one of them, leading to the sea, now serves as a military prison. It was the Sieur des Marets[4], the first governor of the place, who began this castle shortly after the year 1443, when Louis the XIth, then dauphin, freed Dieppe from the dominion of the English, attacking in person, and carrying by assault, the formidable fortress, constructed by Talbot, in the suburb of Pollet. Of this, not a vestige now remains: the whole was levelled with the ground in 1689; though, at a period of one hundred and twenty years after it was originally taken and dismantled, it had again been made a place of strength by the Huguenots, and had been still further fortified under Henry IVth, in whose reign the present castle was completed; for it was not till this time that permission was given to the inhabitants to add to it a keep. In its perfect state, whilst defended by this keep, and still further protected by copious out-works and bomb-proof casemates, its strength was great; but the period of its power was of short duration; for the then perturbed state of France naturally gave rise to anxiety on the part of the government, lest fortresses should serve as rallying points to the faction of the league; and the castle of Dieppe was consequently left with little more than the semblance of its former greatness.

Of the churches here, that of St. Jaques is considerably the finest building, and is indeed an excellent specimen of what has been called the decorated English style of architecture, the style of this church nearly coinciding in its principal lines with that which prevailed in our own country during the reigns of the second and third Edward. It was begun about the year 1260, but was little advanced at the commencement of the following century; nor were its nineteen chapels, the works of the piety of individuals, completed before 1350. The roof of the choir remained imperfect till ninety years afterwards, whilst that of the transept is as recent as 1628[5]. The most ancient work is discernible in the transepts, but the lines are obscured by later additions. A cloister gallery fronted by delicate mullions runs round the nave and choir, and the extent and arrangement of the exterior would induce a stranger, unacquainted with the history of the building, to suppose that he was entering a conventual or cathedral church. The parts long most generally admired by the French, though they have always been miserable judges of gothic architecture, were the vaulted roof, and the pendants of the Lady-Chapel. The latter were originally ornamented with female figures, representing the Sibyls, made of colored terra cotta, and of such excellent workmanship, that Cardinal Barberini, when he visited this chapel in 1647, declared he had seen nothing of the kind, not even in Italy, superior to them for the beauty and delicacy of their execution; but they are now gone, and, according to Noel[6], were destroyed at the time of the bombardment. The state, however, of the roof does not seem to warrant this observation; and, contrary also to what he says, the pendants between the Lady-Chapel and the choir are still perfect, and serve, together with numerous small canopies in the chapel itself, to give a clear idea of what the whole must have been originally. One of the most elegant of the decorations of the church is a spirally-twisted column, elaborately carved, with a peculiarly fanciful and beautiful capital, placed against a pillar that separates the two south-eastern chapels of the choir. The richest object is a stone-screen to a chantry on the north side, which is divide into several canopies, whose upper part is still full of a profusion of sculpture, though the lower is sadly mutilated. I could not ascertain its history or use; but I do not suppose it is of earlier date than the age of Francis Ist, as the Roman or Italian style is blended with the Gothic arch. The Chapel of the Sepulchre, is not uncommonly pointed out as an object of admiration. There is certainly some, handsome sculpture round the portal; but it is not this for which your admiration is required: you are told that the chapel was made in 1612, at the expence of a traveller, then just returned from Palestine, and that it offers a faithful representation of the Holy Sepulchre itself at Jerusalem; by which if we are to understand that the wretched, grisly, painted, wooden figures of the three Maries, and other holy women and holy men, assembled round a disgusting representation of the dead Saviour, have their prototype in Judea, I can only add I am sorry for it: for my own part, putting aside all question of the propriety or effect of symbolical worship, and meaning nothing offensive to the Romish faith, I must be allowed to say that most assuredly I can conceive nothing less qualified to excite feelings of devotion, or more certain to awaken contempt and loathing, than the images of this description, the tinselled virgins, and the wretched daubs, nick-named paintings, which abound in the churches of Picardy and Normandy, the only catholic provinces which I have yet visited; so that, if the taste of the inhabitants is to be estimated by the decoration of the religious buildings, this faculty must be rated very low indeed. The exterior of the church is as richly ornamented as the inside; and not a buttress, arch, or canopy is without the remains of crumbled carving, worn by time, or disfigured by the ruder hand of calvinistic or revolutionary violence. Tradition refers the erection of this edifice to the English. From the certainty with which a date may be assigned to almost every part, it is very interesting to the lover of architecture. The Lady-Chapel is also perhaps one of the last specimens of Gothic art, but still very pure, except in some of the smaller ornaments, such, as the niches in the tabernacles, which end in escalop shells.

The other church is dedicated to St. Remi, and is a building of the XVIIth century; though, judging from some of its pillars, it would be pronounced considerably more ancient. Those of the transept and of the central tower are lofty and clustered, and of extraordinary thickness; the rest are circular and plain, and not very unlike the columns of our earliest Norman or Saxon churches, though of greater proportionate altitude. The capitals of those in the choir are singularly capricious, with figures, scrolls, &c.; but it is the capriciousness of the gothic verging into Grecian, not of the Norman. On the pendants of the nave are painted various ornaments, each accompanied by a mitre. The eastern has only a mitre and cross, with the date 1669; the western the same, with 1666; denoting the aera of the edifice, which was scarcely finished, when a bomb, in 1694, destroyed the roof of the choir, and this remains to the present hour incomplete. The most remarkable object in the church is a benitier of coarse red granite, on whose basin is an inscription, to me illegible. The annexed sketches will give you some idea of it:

In the letters one looks naturally for a date: the figures that alternate with them are probably mitres, and, like those on the roof, indicate the supreme jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Rouen in the place.

Dieppe itself is, by its own historians[7], said to boast an origin as early as the days of Charlemagne[8], who is reported to have built a fortress on the scite of the present town, and to have called it Bertheville, in honor of the Berthas, his mother and his daughter. Bertheville was one of the first places taken by the Normans, by whom the appellation was changed to Dyppe or Dieppe, a word which in their language is said to signify a good anchorage. Other writers[9], however, treat the whole of the early chronicle of Dieppe as a fiction, and maintain, that even at the beginning of the XIth century the town had no existence, and the place was only known as the port of Arques, within whose territory it was comprehended; nor was it till the end of the same century that the inhabitants of Arques were, partly from the convenience of the fisheries, and partly from the advantages of the salt trade, induced to form this settlement. Whatever date may be assigned to the foundation of Dieppe, it is frequently contended that William the Conqueror embarked here for the invasion of England, and it seems undoubted that he sailed hence for his new kingdom in the next year, agreeably to the following passage from Ordericus Vitalis, (p. 509) by which you will observe, that the river had at that time the same name as the town, "Deinde sexta nocte Decembris ad ostium amnis Deppae ultra oppidtim Archas accessit, primaque vigilia gelidae noctis Austro vela dedit, et mane portum oppositi littoris, (quem Vvicenesium vocitant) prospero cursu arripuit." In 1188, our Henry II built a castle upon the same hill on which the present fortress stands. This strong hold, however, afforded little protection; for we find that, in 1195, Philip Augustus of France, entering Normandy with an hostile army, laid siege to Dieppe, and set fire not only to the town, but also to the shipping in the harbor. Two years subsequently to this event, Dieppe ceased to form a part of the demesne of the Sovereign of the Duchy. Richard the Ist had given great offence to Walter, Archbishop of Rouen, by persisting in the erection of Chateau Gaillard, in the vicinity of Andelys, which belonged to the archbishop in right of his see; and though our lion-hearted monarch was not appalled either by the papal interdict or by the showers of blood that fell upon his workmen, yet at length he thought it advisable to purchase at once the forgiveness of the prelate and the secular seignory of Andelys, by surrendering to him, as an equivalent, the towns and lordships of Dieppe and Louviers, the land and forest of Alihermont, the land and lordship of Bouteilles, and the mills of Rouen. This exchange was regarded as so great a subject of triumph to the archbishop, that he caused the memory of it to be perpetuated by inscriptions upon crosses in various parts of Rouen, some of which remained as late as 1610, when Taillepied wrote his Recueil des Antiquitez et Singularitez de la Ville de Rouen. The following lines are given as one of these inscriptions in the Gallia Christiana[10]:

"Vicisti, Galtere, tui sunt signa triumphi Deppa, Locoveris, Alacris-mons, Butila, molta, Deppa maris portus, Alacris-mons locus amoenus, Villa Locoveris, rus Butila, molta per urbem. Hactenus haec Regis Richardi jura fuere; Haec rex sancivit, haec papa, tibique tuere[11]."

Nor was this the only memorial of the fact; for the advantages of the exchange were so generally recognized, that the name of Walter became proverbial; and to this day it is said in Normandy of a man who over-reaches another, "c'est un fin Gautier." It might be inferred from the terms of the bargain in which Dieppe merely appears as one of the items of the account, that it was then a place of little consequence; yet, one of the old chroniclers speaks of it at the time it was taken by the French under Philip Augustus, as

"portus fama celeberrimus atque Villa potens opibus."

These historians, however, of former days are not always the most accurate; but from this period the annals of the place are preserved, and at certain epochs it is far from unimportant in French history: as, when Talbot raised in 1442 the fortress called the Bastille, a defence so strong and in so well-chosen a situation, that even Vauban honored its memory by lamenting its destruction; when the inhabitants fought with the Flemings in the channel, in 1555; when Henry IVth, with an army of less than four thousand men, fled hither in 1589, as to his last place of refuge, winning the hearts of the people by his frank address:—"Mes amis, point de ceremonie, je ne demande que vos coeurs, bon pain, bon vin, et bon visage d'hotes;" and when, as I have already mentioned, the town sustained from our fleet a bombardment of three days' duration, and was reduced by it to ashes.

For the excellence of its sailors, Dieppe has at all times been renowned: no less an authority than the President de Thou has pronounced them to be men, "penes quos praecipua rei nauticae gloria semper fuit;" and they have proved their claims to this encomium, not only by having supplied to the navy of France the celebrated Abraham Du Quesne, the successful rival of the great Ruyter, but still more so by having taken the lead in expeditions to Florida[12]; by having established a colony for the promotion of the fur trade in Canada, if indeed they were not the original discoverers of that country; and by having been the first Christians who ever made a settlement on the coast of Senegal. This last-mentioned event took place, according to French writers, at as early a period as the XIVth century; and, though the establishment was not of long duration, its effects have been permanent; for it is owing to the consignments of ivory then made to Dieppe, that many of the inhabitants were induced to become workers in that substance; a trade which they preserve to the present time, and carry the art to such perfection that they have few rivals. This and the making of lace are the principal employments of such of the natives as are not engaged in the fishery. In the earlier ages of the Duchy, the inhabitants of the Pays de Caux found a more effectual and important employment in the salt-works which were then very numerous on the coast, but which have long since been suffered to fall into decay. Ancient charters, recorded in the Neustria Pia, trace these works on the coast of Dieppe, and at Bouteilles on the right of the valley of Arques, to as remote a period as 1027; and they at the same time prove the existence of a canal between Dieppe and Bouteilles, by which in 1390 vessels loaded with salt were wont to pass. But here, as in England, such works have been abandoned, from the greater facility of communication between distant places, and of obtaining salt by other means.

At present the only manufacture on the beach is that of kelp, for which a large quantity of the coarser sea-weeds is burned; but the fisheries, which are not carried on with equal energy in any other port of France, are the chief support of the place. The sailors of Dieppe were not confined to their own seas; for they used to pursue the cod fishery on the coast of Newfoundland with considerable success. The herring fishery however was a greater staple; and previously to the revolution, when alone a just estimate could be formed of such matters, the quantity of herrings caught by the boats belonging to Dieppe averaged more than eight thousand lasts a year, and realized above L100,000. This fishery is said to have been established here as early as the XIth century[13]. From sixty to eighty boats, each of about thirty tons and carrying fifteen men, were annually sent to the eastern coast of England about the end of August; and then, again, in the middle of October nearly double the quantity of vessels, but of a smaller size, were engaged in the same pursuit on their own shores, where the fish by this time repair. The mackerel fishery was an object of scarcely less importance than that of herrings, producing in general about one hundred and seventy thousand barrels annually. Great quantities of these fish are eaten salted and dried, in which state they afford a general article of food among the lower classes in Normandy. Surely this would be deserving of the attention and imitation of our merchants at home. During the war with England this branch of trade necessarily suffered; but Napoleon did every thing in his power to assist the town, by giving it peculiar advantages as to ships sailing under licences. He succeeded in his views; and, thus patronized, Dieppe flourished exceedingly, and the gains brought in by the privateers connected with the port, added not a little to its prosperity. Hence to this hour the inhabitants regret the peace, although the town cannot fail to be benefitted by the fresh impulse given to the fisheries, and the quantity of money circulated by the travellers who are continually passing. Napoleon intended also to bestow an additional boon upon the place. A canal had been projected many years ago, in the time of the Marechal de Vauban, and was to have extended to Pontoise, through the fertile districts of Gournay and Neufchatel, and to have communicated by different branches with the Seine and Oise. This plan, which had been forgotten during so many reigns, Napoleon determined to carry into effect, and the excavations were actually begun under his orders. But the events which succeeded his Russian campaign put a stop to this, as to all similar labors: the plan is now, however, again in agitation, and, if performed, Dieppe will soon become one of the most important ports in France.

By the revolution Dieppe was emancipated from the dominion of the Archbishop of Rouen, who, by virtue of the cession made by Richard Coeur de Lion, exercised a despotic sway, even until the dissolution of the ancien regime. His privileges were oppressive, and he had and made use of the right of imposing a variety of taxes, which extended even to the articles of provision imported either by land or sea. Yet it must be admitted that the progress of civilization had previously done much towards the removal of the most obnoxious of the abuses. The times, happily, no longer existed, when, as in the XIIth century, the prelate, with a degree of indecency scarcely to be credited, especially under an ecclesiastical government, did not scruple to convert the wages of sin into a source of revenue, as scandalous in its nature as it must have been contemptible in its amount, by exacting from every prostitute a weekly tax of a farthing, for liberty to exercise her profession[14].

Many uncouth and frivolous ecclesiastical rites and ceremonies of the middle ages, which good sense had banished from most other parts of France, where they once were common, still lingered in the archbishop's seignory. Thus, at no very remote period, it was customary on the Feast of Pentecost to cast burning flakes of tow from the vaulting of the church; this stage-trick being considered as a representation of the descent of the fiery tongues. The Virgin, the great idol of popery, was honored by a pageant, which was celebrated with extraordinary splendor; and as I must initiate you in the mysteries of Catholicism, I think you will be well pleased to receive a detailed account of it. The ceremony I consider as curiously illustrative of the manners of the rulers, of the ruled, and of the times; and I will only add, by way of preface, that it was instituted by the governor, Des Marets, in 1443, in honor of the final expulsion of the English, and that he himself consented to be the first master of the Guild of the Assumption, under whose auspices and direction it was conducted.—About Midsummer the principal inhabitants used to assemble at the Hotel de Ville, and there they selected the girl of the most exemplary character, to represent the Virgin Mary, and with her six other young women, to act the parts of the Daughters of Sion. The honor of figuring in this holy drama was greatly coveted; and the historian of Dieppe gravely assures us, that the earnestness felt on the occasion mainly contributed to the preservation of that purity of manners and that genuine piety, which subsisted in this town longer than in any other of France! But the election of the Virgin was not sufficient: a representative of St. Peter was also to be found among the clergy; and the laity were so far favored that they were permitted to furnish the eleven other apostles. This done, upon the fourteenth of August the Virgin was laid in a cradle of the form of a tomb, and was carried early in the morning, attended by her suite of either sex, to the church of St. Jacques; while before the door of the master of the guild was stretched a large carpet, embroidered with verses in letters of gold, setting forth his own good qualities, and his love for the holy Mary. Hither also, as soon as Laudes had been sung, the procession repaired from the church, and then they were joined by the governor of the town, the members of the guild, the municipal officers, and the clergy of the parish of St. Remi. Thus attended, they paraded the town, singing hymns, which were accompanied by a full band. The procession was increased by the great body of the inhabitants; and its impressiveness was still farther augmented by numbers of the youth of either sex, who assumed the garb and attributes of their patron saints, and mixed in the immediate train of the principal actors. They then again repaired to the church, where Te Deum was sung by the full choir, in commemoration of the victory over the English, and high mass was performed, and the Sacrament administered to the whole party. During the service, a scenic representation was given of the Assumption of the Virgin. A scaffolding was raised, reaching nearly to the top of the dome, and supporting an azure canopy intended to emulate the "spangled vault of heaven;" and about two feet below the summit of it appeared, seated on a splendid throne, an old man as the image of the Father Almighty, a representation equally absurd and impious, and which could alone be tolerated by the votaries of the worst superstitions of popery. On either side four pasteboard angels of the size of men floated in the air, and flapped their wings in cadence to the sounds of the organ; while above was suspended a large triangle, at whose corners were placed three smaller angels, who, at the intermission of each office, performed upon a set of little bells the hymn of "Ave Maria gratia Dei plena per Secula," &c. accompanied by a larger angel on each side with a trumpet. To complete this portion of the spectacle, two others, below the old man's feet, held tapers, which were lighted as the services began, and extinguished at their close; on which occasions the figures were made to express reluctance by turning quickly about; so that it required some dexterity to apply the extinguishers. At the commencement of the mass, two of the angels by the side of the Almighty descended to the foot of the altar, and, placing themselves by the tomb, in which a pasteboard figure of the Virgin had been substituted for her living representative, gently raised it to the feet of the Father. The image, as it mounted, from time to time lifted its head and extended its arms, as if conscious of the approaching beatitude, then, after having received the benediction and been encircled by another angel with a crown of glory, it gradually disappeared behind the clouds. At this instant a buffoon, who all the time had been playing his antics below, burst into an extravagant fit of joy; at one moment clapping his hands most violently, at the next stretching himself out as if dead. Finally, he ran up to the feet of the old man, and hid himself under his legs, so as to shew only his head. The people called him Grimaldi, an appellation that appears to have belonged to him by usage, and it is a singular coincidence that the surname of the noblest family of Genoa the Proud, thus assigned by the rude rabble of a sea-port to their buffoon, should belong of right to the sire and son, whose mops and mowes afford pastime to the upper gallery at Covent-Garden.

Thus did the pageant proceed in all its grotesque glory, and, while—

"These labor'd nothings in so strange a style Amazed the unlearned, and made the learned smile,"

the children shouted aloud for their favorite Grimaldi; the priests, accompanied with bells, trumpets, and organs, thundered out the mass; the pious were loud in their exclamations of rapture at the devotion of the Virgin; and the whole church was filled with "un non so che di rauco ed indistinto".—But I have told you enough of this foolish story, of which it were well if the folly had been the worst. The sequel was in the same taste and style, and ended with the euthanasia of all similar representations, a hearty dinner.


[4] Description de la Haute Normandie, I. p. 130.

[5] Histoire de Dieppe, II. p. 86.

[6] Essals sur le Departement de la Seine Inferieure, I. p. 119.

[7] Histoire de Dieppe, I. p. 1.

[8] Another author, mentioned by the Abbe Fontenu, in the Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, X. p. 413, carries the antiquity of the place still eight centuries higher, representing it as the Portus Ictius, whence Julius Caesar sailed for Britain.

[9] Description de la Haute Normandie, I. p. 125.

[10] Vol. XI. p. 55.

[11] The deed itself under which this exchange was made is also preserved in Duchesne's Scriptores Normanni, and in the Gallia Christiana, XI. Instr. p. 27, where it is entitled "Celebris commutatio facta inter Richardum I, regem Angliae et Walterium Archiepisc. Rotomagensem." It is worth remarking, in illustration of the feudal rights and customs, how much importance is attached in this instrument to the mills and the seignorage for grinding: the king expressly stipulates that every body "tam milites quam clerici, et omnes homines, tam de feodis militum quam de prebendis, sequentur molendina de Andeli, sicut consueverunt et debent, et moltura erit nostra. Archiepiscopus autem et homines sui de Fraxinis (a manor specially reserved,) molent ubi idem Archiepiscopus volet, et si voluerit molere apud Andeli, dabunt molturas suas, sicut alii ibidem molentes. In escambium autem ... concessimus ... omnia molendina quae nos habuimus Rotomagi, quando haec permutatio facta fuit, integre cum omni sequela et moltura sua, sine aliquo retinemento eorum quae ad molendinam pertinent vel ad molturam, et cum omnibus libertatibus et liberis consuetudinibus quas solent et debent habere. Nec alicui alii licebit molendinum facere ibidem ad detrimentum praedictorum molendinorum; et debet Archiepiscopus solvere eleemosinas antiquitus statutas de iisdem molendinis."

[12] A very copious and interesting account of the nautical discoveries made by the inhabitants of Dieppe, and of their merits as sailors, is given by Goube, in his Histoire du Duche de Normandie, III, p. 172-178.

[13] Goube, Histoire de Normandie, III, p. 170.

[14] Noel, Essais sur le Departement de la Seine Inferieure, I. p. 194.



(Dieppe, June, 1818)

After having explored Dieppe, I must now conduct you without the walls, to the castle of Arques and to Caesar's camp, both of which are in its immediate neighborhood. At some future time you may thank me for pointing out these objects to you, for should you ever visit Dieppe, your residence may be prolonged beyond your wishes, by the usual mischances which attend the traveller. And in that case, a walk to these relics of military architecture will furnish a better employment than thumbing the old newspaper of the inn, or even than the contemplation of the diligences as they come in, or of the packets as they are not going out, for I am anticipating that you are becalmed, and that the pennons are flagging from the mast. With respect to my walk, let me be allowed to begin by introducing you to a friend of mine at Dieppe, M. Gaillon, an obliging, sensible, and well-informed young man, as well as an ardent botanist, my companion in this walk, and the source of much of the information I possess respecting these places. The intrenchment, commonly known by the name of Caesar's camp, or even more generally in the country by that of "la Cite de Limes," and in old writings, of "Civitas Limarum," is situated upon the brink of the cliff, about two miles to the east of Dieppe, on the road leading to Eu, and still preserves in a state of perfection its ancient form and character; though necessarily reduced in the height of its vallum by the operation of time, and probably also diminished in its size by the gradual encroachments of the ocean. Upon its shape, which is an irregular triangle, it may be well to make a preliminary observation, that this was necessarily prescribed by the scite; and that, however the Romans might commonly prefer a square outline for their temporary encampments, we have abundant proofs that they only adhered to this plan when it was perfectly conformable to the nature of the ground, but that when they fortified any commanding position, upon which a rectangular rampart could not be seated, their intrenchments were made to follow the sinuosities of the hill. In the present instance the northern side, the longest, extending nearly five thousand feet, fronts the channel, and it required no other defence than was afforded by the perpendicular face of the cliff, here more than two hundred feet in height. The western side, the second in length, and not greatly inferior to the first, after running about three thousand feet from the sea, in a tolerably straight line southward, suddenly bends to the east, and forms two semi-circles, of one of which the radius is turned from the camp, and of the other into it. The third side is scarcely more than half the length of the others, and runs nearly straight from south to north, where it again unites with the cliff. Of the two last-mentioned sides the first is difficult of access; from its position at the summit of a steep hill; but it is still protected by a vallum from thirty to forty feet high, and between the sea and the entrance nearest to it, a length of about three hundred yards, by a wide exterior ditch with other out-works, as well as by an inner fosse, faint traces of which only now remain. Hence to the next and large entrance is a distance of about two thousand feet; and in this space the interior fosse is still very visible; but the great abruptness of the hill forbade an outer one.

You, who are not a stranger to the pleasures of botany, would have shared my delight at finding upon the perpendicular side of this entrance the beautiful Caucalis grandiflora, growing in great luxuriance upon almost bare chalk, and with its snowy flowers resembling, as you look down to it, the common species of Iberis of our gardens. The Asperula cynanchica, and other plants peculiar to a chalky soil, are also found here in plenty, together with the Eryngium campestre, a vegetable of extreme rarity in England, but most abundant throughout the north of France. Papaver hybridum is likewise common in the neighboring corn fields round.

Returning from this short botanical digression, let me tell you that the position considered by some as the southern side of the fortification, but which I have described as the sinuous part of the western, has its ramparts of less height. Not so the eastern: on this, as being the most destitute of all natural defence, (for here there is no hill, and the eye ranges over an immense level tract, stopped only by distant woods,) is raised an agger, full forty-five feet in height, and, at a further distance, is added an outward trench nearly fifty feet wide, though in its present state not more than three feet deep, and now serving for a garden.

Such is the external appearance of this camp, which, seen from the sea, or on the approach either by the west or south, cannot fail to strike from the boldness of its position; but the effect of the interior is still more striking; for here, while on one side the horizon is lost in the immensity of the ocean, on the other two the view is narrowly circumscribed by the lofty bulwark, at whose feet are almost every where discernible the remains of the trenches I have already noticed, more than thirty feet in width. Nor is this the only remarkable circumstance; for it is still more unaccountable to observe, extending nearly across the encampment, the traces of an ancient fosse not less than one hundred and fifty feet wide, and, though in most places shallow, terminating towards the sea in a deep ravine. Internally the camp appears to have been also divided into three parts, in one of which it has been supposed, from a heap of stones which till lately remained, that there was originally a place of greater strength; while in another, distinguished by some irregular elevations, it is conjectured that there was a wall, the defence probably to the keep.

But I must tell you that these conjectures are none of my own, nor could I have had any opportunity of making them; the stones and the hillocks having disappeared before the operations of the plough. Such as they are, I have borrowed them from a dissertation by the Abbe de Fontenu[15], a copy of whose engraving of the place I insert. Indebted as I am to him for his hints, I can, however, by no means subscribe to his reasoning, by which he labors with great erudition to prove that, neither the popular tradition which ascribes this camp to Caesar, nor its name, evidently Roman, nor some coins and medals of the same nation that have been found here, are at all evidences of its Latin origin; but that, as we have no proof that Caesar was ever in the vicinity of Dieppe, as the whole is in such excellent preservation, (a point I beg leave to deny,) and as the vallum is full thrice the height of that of other Roman encampments in France[16], we are bound to infer it is a work of far more modern times, and probably was erected by Talbot, the Caesar of the English[17], while besieging Dieppe in the middle of the XVth century.

This opinion of the learned Abbe I quote, principally for the purpose of shewing how far a man of sense and acquirements maybe led astray from truth and probability in support of a favorite theory. Nothing but the love of theory could surely have induced him to suppose that this strong hold was erected for a purpose to which it could in no wise be applicable, as the intervening ground prevents all possibility of seeing any part of Dieppe from the camp, or to ascribe it to times when earth-works were no longer used. In Normandy and Picardy are other camps, more evidently of Roman construction, which are likewise ascribed to Caesar[18]; with much the same reason perhaps as every thing wonderful in Scotland is referred to Fingal, to King Arthur in Cornwall, and in the north of England and Wales to the devil.

Upon the origin of the castle of Arques, it is somewhat unfortunate for the learned that there is not an equal field for ingenious conjecture, its antiquity being incontestible. Du Moulin, the most comprehensive, though the most credulous of Norman historians, one who, not content with dealing in miracles by wholesale, tells us how the devil changed himself into a postillion, to apprize an alehouse-keeper of the fate of the posterity of Rollo, may still be entitled to credit, when the theme is merely stone and mortar; and from him we may conclude that Arques was a place of importance at the time of William the Conqueror, as it gave the title of Count to his uncle, who then possessed it, and who, confiding perhaps in the strength of his fortress, and secretly instigated by Henry Ist, of France, usurped the title of Duke of Normandy, but was defeated by his nephew, and finally obliged to surrender his castle. This, however, was not till, after a long siege, in which Arques proved itself impregnable to every thing but famine. In the following reign, we again find mention made of Arques, as a portion given by Robert, Duke of Normandy, to induce Helie, son of Lambert of St. Saen, to marry his illegitimate daughter, and join him in defending the Pays de Caux against the English. From this period, during the reigns of the Anglo-Norman Sovereigns, it continues to be occasionally noticed. Before the walls of Arques, according to William of Malmesbury, Baldwin, Count of Flanders, received the wound which afterwards proved fatal. Arques was the last castle which held out in Normandy for King Stephen. It was taken in 1173, by our Henry IInd, and then repaired; was seized by Philip Augustus during the captivity of Richard Coeur de Lion; was restored to its legitimate sovereign at the peace in 1196; and was a source of disgrace to its former captor, when in 1202 he laid siege to it with a powerful army, and was obliged to retreat from its walls. Under the reign of our third Edward, we find it again return to the British crown, as one of the castles specified to be surrendered to the English, by the treaty of Bretigny, in 1359; after which, in 1419, it was taken by Talbot and Warwick, and was finally given up to France by one of the articles of the capitulation of Rouen in 1449. More recently, in 1584[19], it was captured by a party of soldiers disguised like sailors, who, being suffered to approach without distrust, put the sentinels to the sword, and made themselves masters of the fortress; while in 1589 it obtained its last and most honorable distinction, as the chief support of Henry IVth, at the time of his being received at Dieppe, and as having by the cannon from its ramparts, materially contributed to the glorious defeat of the army of the league, commanded by the Duke de Mayenne, when thirty thousand were compelled to retire before one tenth of the number. I have already mentioned to you the address of this king to the citizens of Dieppe: still more magnanimous was his speech to his prisoner, the Count de Belin, previously to this battle, when, on the captive's daring to ask, how with such a handful of men, he could expect to resist so powerful an army, "Ajoutez," he answered, "aux troupes que vous voyez, mon bon droit, et vous ne douterez plus de quel cote sera la victoire."

In Sully's Memoirs[20], as well as in the history of the town of Dieppe, you will find these transactions described at much length, and the warrior, as well as the historian, expatiates on the strength of the castle of Arques; but how much longer it remained a place of consideration I have no means of knowing: most probably the alteration introduced into the art of war by the use of cannon, caused it to be soon after neglected, and dismantled, and suffered to fall gradually into its present state of ruin. It is now the property of a lady residing in the neighboring town of Arques, who purchased it during the revolution, and by her good sense and feeling it has been preserved from further injury. The castle is situated at the extremity of a ridge of chalk hills, which, commencing to the west of Dieppe, run nearly parallel to the sea, and here terminate to the east, so that it has a complete command over the valley. Standing by its walls, you have to the north-west a full view of the town of Dieppe; in an opposite direction the eye ranges uncontrolled over a rich vale of corn and pasturage; and in front, immediately at your feet, lies the town of Arques itself, backed by the hills that are covered by the forest of the same name. Either this forest, or the neighboring one of Eavy, is supposed to have been the ancient Arelanum. The little river called the Arques flows through the valley, and beneath the walls of the castle is lost in the Bethune, under which name the united waters continue their course to Dieppe, after receiving the tribute of a third, yet smaller, stream, the Eaulne.

Of the power of the castle an idea may be formed from the extent of the fosse, little less than half a mile in circumference. The outline of the walls is irregularly oval, and the even front is interrupted by towers of various sizes, and placed at unequal distances. On the northern side, where the hill is steepest, there are no towers; but the walls are still farther strengthened by square buttresses, so large that they indeed look like bastions, and with a projection so great as to indicate an origin posterior to the Norman aera. The two towers which flank the western entrance, and the towers which stand behind each of the flanking towers in the retiring line of the wall, are much larger than any of the rest. One of the latter towers is of so extraordinary a shape, that I consider it as a non-descript; but, as I should tire both you and myself by endeavoring to describe it, I think it most prudent to refer you to a sketch: perhaps its angular parts may not be coeval with the rest of the building[21]: on this it would be impossible to decide positively, so shattered, impaired, and defaced are the walls, and so evidently is their coating the work of different periods. I fancied that in some parts I could discern a mode of construction, in layers of brick and stone, similar to that of Roman buildings in our own country, while many of the bricks, from their texture and shape, appear also to be Roman. Tradition, if we follow that delusive guide, teaches us that we are contemplating a work of the middle of the eighth century, and of one of the sons of Charles Martel. If we follow William of Jumieges, the Chronicle of St. Vandrille, and William of Poitiers, we ascribe it to the uncle and rival of the Conqueror; other writers tell us that the ruins arose under Henry IInd. I dare not decide amongst such reverend authorities, but I think I may infer, without the least disrespect towards monks and chroniclers, that the Norman Arques now occupies the place of a far more early structure, and that a portion of the walls of this latter was actually left in existence. Taken, however, as a whole, the castle is evidently a building of different aeras; and it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to define the parts belonging to each.

The principal entrance is to the west, between the two towers first mentioned, over a draw-bridge, whose piers still remain, and through three gateways, whose arches, though now torn and dislocated into shapeless rents, seem to have been circular, and probably of Norman erection. One of the towers of the gate-way appears formerly to have been a chapel. Hence you pass into a court, whose surface, uneven with the remains of foundations, marks it to have been originally filled with apartments, and, at the opposite end of this, through a square gate-house with high embattled walls, a place evidently of great strength, and leading into a large open space that terminated in the quadrangular and lofty keep. This, which is externally strengthened by massy buttresses, similar to those of the walls, is within divided into two apartments, each of them about fifty feet by twenty. In one of them is a well, communicating with a reservoir below, which is filled by the water of the river, and was sufficiently capacious for watering the horses of the garrison. The greatest part, if not the whole, of the walls seems to have been faced with brick of comparatively modern date. The keep also was coated with brick within, and with stones carefully squared without. The windows are so battered, that no idea can be formed of their original style. The walls of the keep are filled with small square apertures. At Rochester, and at many other castles in England, we observe the same; and unless you can give a better guess respecting their use, you must content yourself with mine: that is to say, that they are merely the holes left by the scaffolding. At the foot of the hill to the west is a gate-house, by no means ancient, from which a wall ascends to the castle; and another similar wall connects the fortress with the ground below, on the north-eastern side; but the extent or nature of these out-works can no longer be traced. Still less possible would it be to say any thing with certainty as to the excavations, of the length of which, tradition speaks, as usual, in extravagant terms, and mixes sundry marvellous and frightful tales with the recital.

In the general plan a great resemblance is to be traced between many castles in Wales and its frontiers, especially Goodrich Castle, and this at Arques. Yet I do not think that any of ours are of an equal extent; nor can you well conceive a more noble object than this, when seen at a distance: and it is only then that the eye can comprehend the vast expanse and strength of the external wall, with the noble keep towering high above it.

Until the revolution, the decaying town of Arques was not wholly deprived of all the vestiges of its former honours: the standards of the weights and measures of Upper Normandy were deposited here. It was the seat of the courts of the Archbishop of Rouen, and, though the actual session of the municipal courts took place at Dieppe, they bore the legal style and title of the courts of Arques. Since the revolution these traces of its importance have wholly disappeared, nor is there any outward indication of the consequence once enjoyed by this poor and straggling hamlet.

The church is a neat and spacious building, of the same kind of architecture as that of St. Jacques, at Dieppe; and, as it is a good specimen of the florid Norman Gothic, (I forbid all cavils respecting the employment of this term) I have added a figure of it. My slender researches have not enabled me to discover the date of the building, but it may, have been erected towards the year 1350. A most elegant bracket, formed by the graceful dolphin, deserves the attention of the architect; and I particularize it, not merely on account of its beauty, but because, even at the risk of exhausting your antiquarian patience, I intend to point out all architectural features which cannot be retraced in our own structures; and this is one of them. By the way, Arques contributed to increase the bulk of our herbal as well as of our sketch-book, for under the walls of the church is found the rare Erodium moschatum; and near the castle grow Astragalus glycyphyllos and Melissa Nepeta.

The field of battle is to the southward of the town. A small walk under the south wall of the castle, near the east end, adjoining a covered way which led to a postern-gate or draw-bridge, is still called the walk of Henry the IVth, because it was here that this monarch was wont to reconnoitre the enemy's forces from below.

Napoleon, towards the conclusion of his reign, visited the field of battle at Arques; he ascertained the position of the two armies, and pronounced that the King ought to have lost the day, for that his tactics were altogether faulty. I am willing to suppose that this military criticism arose merely from military pedantry, though it is now said that Napoleon was envious of the veneration, which, as the French believe, they feel for the memory of Henri quatre. Napoleon is accused of having given the title of le Roi de la Canaille to the Bourbon Monarch. And when Napoleon was in full-blown pride, he might have had the satisfaction of hearing the rabble of Paris chaunt his comparative excellence in a parody of the old national song—

"Vive Bonaparte, vice ce conquerant, Ce diable a quatre a bien plus de talent Que ce Henri quatre et tous ses descendans,"


[15] Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, X. p. 403. tab. 15.

[16] Such are the Abbe's principal arguments; but he goes on to say, that the height of the ramparts proves almost to demonstration their having been erected since the use of fire-arms, a mode of reasoning that would, I fear, be equally conclusive against the antiquity of a very celebrated earth-work, the Devil's-Ditch, in Cambridgeshire, whose agger is of about the same elevation, but of whose modern origin nobody ever yet dreamed;—that the ramparts opposite Dieppe could only be of use against cannon, another position equally untenable;—that, were the camp Roman, there would be platforms on the agger for the reception of wooden towers, as if time would not wear away vestiges of this nature;—that the disposition is not in regular order like that of a Roman encampment, a matter equally liable to be defaced;—and, finally, that the out-works to the west are fully decisive of a more modern aera, as if intrenchments were not, like buildings, frequently the objects of subsequent alterations;—In his inferences he is followed, and, apparently without any question as to their authenticity, by Ducarel, whom I suspect from his description never to have visited the place. The Abbe Fontenu, in a paper in the same volume, gives it as his opinion that, from the term Civitas Limarum, it might safely be believed there was a city in this place; and he tries to persuade himself that he can trace the foundations of houses.

[17] Noel, Essais sur le Department de la Seine Inferieure, I. p. 88.

[18] The same is also notoriously the case in our own country: popular tradition, by a metonymy very easily to be accounted for, from a desire of adding importance to its objects, attributes whatever is Roman to Julius Caesar, as the most illustrious of the Roman generals in England; just as we daily hear smatterers in art referring to Raphael any painting, however ordinary, that pretends to issue from the schools of Rome or Florence, every Bolognese one to Guido or Annibal Carracci, every Kermes to Ostade or Teniers, &c.

[19] Noel, Essais sur la Seine Inferieure, I. p. 98.

[20] Sully, who was himself in this battle, and bore a conspicuous part in it, dwells upon its details completely con amore, and evidently regards the issue of this day as decisive of the fate of the monarch, who is reported to have said of himself shortly before the battle, that "he was a king without a kingdom, a husband without a wife, and a warrior without money."—I. p. 204.

[21] In justice to my readers, I must not here omit to say that such is the opinion of a most able friend of mine, Mr. Cohen, who visited this castle nearly at the same time with myself, and who writes me on the subject: "I feel convinced that the brick coating of the wedge-tower at Arques is recent. Such was the impression I had upon the spot; and now I cannot remove it. It appeared to me that the character of the brick-work, and of the stone cordons or fillets, was entirely like that of the fortifications of the XVIth century; and I also thought, perhaps erroneously, that the wedge or bastion was affixed to the round tower of the castle, and that it was an after-construction. At the south end of the castle, you certainly see very ancient and singular masonry. The diagonal or herring-bone courses are found in the old church of St. Lo, and in the keep at Falaise; not in the front of the latter, but on the side where you enter, and on the side which ranges with Talbot's Tower. The same style of masonry is also seen, according to Sir Henry Englefield, at Silchester, which is most undoubtedly a pure Roman relic."—It abounds likewise in Colchester Castle.



(Rouen, June, 1818.)

I arrived alone at this city: my companions, who do not always care to keep pace with my constitutional impatience, which sometimes amuses, and now and then annoys them, made a circuit by Havre, Bolbec, and Yvetot, while I proceeded by the straight and beaten track. What I have thus gained in expedition, I have lost in interest. During the whole of the ride, there was not a single object to excite curiosity, nor would any moderate deviation from the line of road have brought me within reach of any town or tower worthy of notice, except the Priory of Longueville, situate to the right of the road, about twelve miles from Dieppe. I did not see Longueville, and I am told that the ruins are quite insignificant, yet I regret that I did not visit them. The French can never be made to believe that an old rubble wall is really and truly worth a day's journey: hence their reports respecting the notability of any given ruin can seldom be depended upon. And at least I should have had the satisfaction of ascertaining the actual state of the remains of a building, known to have been founded and partly built in the year 1084, by Walter Giffard[22], one of the relations and companions of the Conqueror, in his descent upon England, and therefore created Earl of Buckingham, or, as the French sometimes write it, Bou Kin Kan. The title was held by his family only till 1164 when, upon the decease of his son without issue, the lands of his barony were shared among the collateral female heirs. He himself died in 1102, and by his will directed that his body should be brought here, which was accordingly done; and he was buried, as Ordericus Vitalis[23] tells us, near the entrance of the church, having over him an epitaph of eight lines, "in maceria picturis decorata." You will find the epitaph, wherein he is styled "templi fundator et aedificator," copied both in the Neustria Pia and in Ducarel's Anglo-Norman Antiquities. The latter speaks of it as if it existed in his time; but the doctor seldom states the extent of his obligations towards his predecessors. And in consequence of this his silent gratitude, we can never tell with any degree of certainty whether we are perusing his observations or his transcripts. If he really saw the inscriptions with his own eyes, it is greatly to be regretted that he has given us no information respecting the paintings: did they still exist, they would afford a most genuine and curious proof of the state of Norman art at that remote period; and possibly, a search after them among the cottages in the neighborhood might even now repay the industry of some keen antiquary; for the French revolution may well he compared to an earthquake: it swallowed up every thing, ingulphing some so deep that they are lost for ever, but leaving others, like hidden treasures, buried near the surface of the soil, whence accident and labor are daily bringing them to light. The descendants of Walter Giffard are repeatedly mentioned as persons of importance in the early Norman writers; nor are they less illustrious in England, where the great family of Clare sprung from one of the daughters; while another, by her marriage with Richard Granville, gave birth to the various noble families of that name, of which the present Marquis of Buckingham is the chief.

Of the Priory, we are told in the Neustria Pia[24], that it was anciently of much opulence, and that a Queen of France contributed largely to the endowment of the house. Many men of eminence, particularly three of the Talbot family, were buried within its walls. Peter Megissier, a prior of Longueville, was in the number of the judges who passed sentence of death upon the unfortunate Joan of Arc; and the inscription upon his tomb is so good a specimen of monkish Latinity, that I am tempted to send it you; reminding you at the same time, that this barbarous system of rhyming in Latin, however brought to perfection by the monks and therefore generally called their own, is not really of their invention, but may be found, though quoted to be ridiculed, in the first satire of Persius,

"Qui videt hunc lapidem, cognoscat quod tegit idem Petrum, qui pridem conventum rexit ibidem Annis bis senis, tumidis Leo, largus egenis, Omnibus indigenis charus fuit atque alienis."

I believe it is always expected, that a traveller in France should say something respecting the general aspect of the country and its agriculture. I shall content myself with remarking, that this part of Normandy is marvellously like the country which the Conqueror conquered. When the weather is dull, the Normans have a sober English sky, abounding in Indian ink and neutral tint. And when the weather is fine, they have a sun which is not a ray brighter than an English sun. The hedges and ditches wear a familiar livery, and the land which is fully cultivated repays the toil of the husbandman with some of the most luxuriant crops of wheat I ever saw. Barley and oats are not equally good, perhaps from the stiffness of the soil, which is principally of chalk; but flax is abundant and luxuriant. The surface of the ground is undulated, and sufficiently so to make a pleasing alternation of hill and dale; hence it is agreeably varied, though the hills never rise to such a height as to be an obstacle to agriculture. There is some difficulty in conjecturing where the people by whom the whole is kept in cultivation are housed; for the number of houses by the road-side is inconsiderable; nor did we, for the first two-thirds of the ride, pass through a single village, excepting Totes, which lies mid-way between Dieppe, and Rouen, and is of no great extent. Yet things in France are materially altered in this respect since 1814, when I remember that, in going through Calais by the way of the Low Countries to Paris, and returning by the direct road to Boullogne, the whole journey was made without seeing a single new house erecting in a space of four hundred miles. This is now far from being the case; there is every where an appearance of comparative prosperity, and, were it not for the coins, of which the copper bear the impress of the republic, and the gold and silver chiefly that of Napoleon, a stranger would meet with but few visible marks of the changes experienced in late years by the government of France. Much has been also done of late towards ornamenting the chateaux, of which there are several about Totes, though in the opinion of an Englishman, much also is yet wanting. They are principally the residences of Rouen merchants.

Upon approaching Malaunay, about nine miles from Rouen, the scene is entirely changed. The road descends into a valley, inclosed between steep hills, whose sides are richly and beautifully clothed with wood, while the houses and church of the village beneath add life and variety to the plain at the foot. Here the cotton manufactories begin, and, as we follow the course of the little river Cailly, the population gradually increases, and continues to become more dense through a series of manufacturing villages, each larger than the preceding, and all abounding in noble views of hill, wood, and dale; while the tracts around are thickly studded with picturesque residences of manufacturers, and extensive, often picturesque, manufactories. Such indeed was the country, till we found ourselves at Rouen, shortly before entering which the Havre road unites to that from Dieppe, and the landscape also embraces the valley of the Seine, as well as of the Cailly the former broader by far, and grander, but not more beautiful.

Rouen, from this point of view, is seen to considerable advantage, at least by those who, like us, make a detour to the north, and enter it in that direction: the cathedral, St. Ouen, the hospital and church of La Madeleine, and the river, fill the picture; nor is the impression in any wise diminished on a nearer approach, when, through a long avenue, formed by four rows of lofty elms, you advance by the side of a stream, at once majestic from its width and eminently beautiful from its winding course.

Rouen is now unfortified; its walls, its castles, are level with the ground. But, if I may borrow the pun of which old Peter Heylin is guilty when, describing Paris, Rouen is still a strong city, "for it taketh you by the nose." The filth is extreme; villainous smells overcome you in every quarter, and from every quarter. The streets are gloomy, narrow, and crooked, and the houses at once mean and lofty. Even on the quay, where all the activity of commerce is visible, and where the outward signs of opulence might be expected, there is nothing to fulfil the expectation. Here is width and space, but no trottoir; and the buildings are as incongruous as can well be imagined, whether as to height, color, projection, or material. Most of them, and indeed most in the city, are merely of lath and plaster, the timbers uncovered and painted red or black, the plaster frequently coated with small grey slates laid one over another, like the weather-tiles in Sussex. Their general form is very tall and very narrow, which adds to the singularity of their appearance; but mixed with these are others of white brick or stone, and really handsome, or, it might be said, elegant. The contrast, however, which they form only makes their neighbors look the more shabby, while they themselves derive from the association an air of meanness. The merchants usually meet upon a small open plot, situated opposite to the quay, inclosed with palisades and fronted with trees. This is their exchange in fine weather; but adjoining is a handsome building, called La Bourse a couvert, or Le Consulte, to which recourse is always had in case of rain. It was here that Napoleon and Maria Louisa, a very short time previous to their deposition, received from the inhabitants of Rouen the oath of allegiance, which so soon afterwards found a ready transfer to another sovereign.

About the middle of the quay is placed the bridge of boats, an object of attraction to all strangers, but more so from the novelty and singularity of its construction than from its beauty. Utility rather than elegance was consulted by the builder. This far-famed structure is ugly and cumbrous, and a passenger feels a very unpleasing sensation if he happens to stand upon it when a loaded waggon drives along it at low water, at which time there is a considerable descent from the side of the suburbs. An undulatory motion is then occasioned, which goes on gradually from boat to boat till it reaches the opposite shore. The bridge is supported upon nineteen large barges, which rise and fall with the tide, and are so put together that one or more can easily be removed as often as it is necessary to allow any vessel to pass. The whole too can be entirely taken away in six hours, a construction highly useful in a river peculiarly liable to floods from sudden thaws; which sometimes occasion such an increase of the waters, as to render the lower stories of the houses in the adjacent parts of the city uninhabitable. The bridge itself was destroyed by a similar accident, in 1709, for want of a timely removal. Its plan is commonly attributed to a monk of the order of St. Augustine, by whom it was erected in 1626, about sixty years after the stone bridge, built by the Empress Matilda in 1167, had ceased to be passable. It seems the fate of Rouen to have wonderful bridges. The present is dignified by some writers with the high title of a miracle of art: the former is said by Taillepied, in whose time it was standing, to have been "un des plus beaux edifices et des plus admirables de la France." A few lines afterwards, however, this ingenuous writer confesses that loaded carriages of any kind were seldom suffered to pass this admirable edifice, in consequence of the expence of repairing it; but that two barges were continually plying for the transport of heavy goods. The delay between the destruction of the stone bridge, and the erection of the boat bridge, appears to have been occasioned by the desire of the citizens to have a second similar to the first; but this, after repeated deliberations, was at last determined to be impracticable, from the depth and rapidity of the stream. Napoleon, however, seems to have thought that the task which had been accomplished under the auspices of the Empress Matilda, might be again repeated in the name of the daughter of the Caesars and the wife of the successor of Charlemagne; and he actually caused Maria-Louisa to lay the first stone of a new bridge, at some distance farther to the east, where an island divides the river into two. This, I am told, will certainly he finished, though at an enormous expence, and though it will occasion great inconvenience to many inhabitants of the quay, whose houses will be rendered useless by the height to which it will be necessary to raise the soil upon the occasion. My informant added, that, small as is the appearance yet made above water, whole quarries of stone and forests of wood have been already sunk for the purpose.

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