Leaving the railway-station in the valley of the Derwent, and mounting the hills to the westward, a little village is reached on the confines of the park. Beyond the village the road to the park-gates passes through meadow-land, and is bordered by beautiful beech trees arranged in clusters of about a dozen trees in each, producing an unusual but most happy effect. The gateway is entered, a plain building in a castellated wall—this being Walpole's "fortified city"—and, proceeding up a slope, the fine avenue of beeches crosses another avenue of lime trees. Here is placed an obelisk erected in honor of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, which also bears an inscription telling of the erection of Castle Howard. It recites that the house was built on the site of the old castle of Hinderskelf, and was begun in 1702 by Charles, the third Earl of Carlisle, who set up this inscription in 1731. The happy earl, pleased with the grand palace and park he had created, thus addresses posterity on the obelisk:
"If to perfection these plantations rise, If they agreeably my heirs surprise, This faithful pillar will their age declare As long as time these characters shall spare. Here, then, with kind remembrance read his name Who for posterity performed the same."
The avenue then leads on past the north front of the castle, standing in a fine situation upon a ridge between two shallow valleys. The bed of the northern valley has been converted into a lake, while on the southern slopes are beautiful and extensive lawns and gardens. The house forms three sides of a hollow square, and within, it is interesting in pictures and ornaments. It is cut up, however, into small rooms and long, chilly corridors, which detract from its good effect. The entrance-hall is beneath the central dome and occupies the whole height of the structure, but it is only about thirty-five feet square, giving a sense of smallness. Frescoes decorate the walls and ceilings. The public apartments, which are in several suites opening into each other and flanked by long corridors, are like a museum, so full are they of rare works of art, china, glass, and paintings. Much of the collection came from the Orleans Gallery. There are also many portraits in black and red chalk by Janet, a French artist who flourished in the sixteenth century. Some of the paintings are of great value, and are by Rubens, Caracci, Canaletti, Tintoretto, Titian, Hogarth, Bellini, Mabuse, Holbein, Lely, Vandyke, Reynolds, Gainsborough, and others. The Castle Howard collection is exceptionally valuable in historical portraits. The windows of the drawing-room look out upon extensive flower-gardens, laid out in rather formal style with antique vases and statues. Beyond these gardens is seen a circular temple placed upon a knoll, the "mausoleum" which so moved Walpole. Here the former owners of the castle are buried, a constant memento mori to the tenants of the house, though the taste certainly seems peculiar that has made the family tomb the most prominent object in the view from the drawing-room windows.
Not far from Castle Howard are the ruins of Kirkham Priory. A charming fragment of this noble church remains in a grassy valley on the margin of the Derwent. Here, nearly eight hundred years ago, the Augustinians established the priory, the founder being Sir Walter l'Espec, one of the leaders of the English who drove back King David's Scottish invasion at the battle of the Standard, near Durham. Sir Walter had an only son, who was one day riding near the site of Kirkham when a wild boar suddenly rushed across his path. The horse plunged and threw his rider, who, striking head-foremost against a projecting stone, was killed. Sir Walter, being childless, determined to devote his wealth to the service of God, and founded three religious houses—one in Bedfordshire, another at Rievaulx, where he sought refuge from his sorrows, and the third at the place of his son's death at Kirkham. Legend says that the youth was caught by his foot in the stirrup when thrown, and was dragged by his runaway horse to the spot where the high altar was afterwards located. Sir Walter's sister married into the family of De Ros, among the ancestors of the Dukes of Rutland, and they were patrons of Kirkham until the dissolution of the monasteries. Little remains of it: the gate-house still stands, and in front is the base of a cross said to have been made from the stone against which the boy was thrown. Alongside this stone they hold a "bird-fair" every summer, where jackdaws, starlings, and other birds are sold, with a few rabbits thrown in; but the fair now is chiefly an excuse for a holiday. The church was three hundred feet long, with the convent-buildings to the southward, but only scant ruins remain. Beyond the ruins, at the edge of the greensward, the river glides along under a gray stone bridge. At Howsham, in the neighborhood, Hudson the railway king was born, and at Foston-le-Clay Sydney Smith lived, having for his friends the Earl and Countess of Carlisle of that day, who made their first call in a gold coach and got stuck fast in the clay. Here the witty vicar resided, having been presented to a living, and built himself a house, which he described as "the ugliest in the county," but admitted by all critics to be "one of the most comfortable," though located "twenty miles from a lemon." Subsequently Smith left here for Somersetshire.
SCARBOROUGH AND WHITBY.
The coast of Yorkshire affords the boldest and grandest scenery on the eastern shore of England. A great protruding backbone of chalk rocks projects far into the North Sea at Flamborough Head, and makes one of the most prominent landmarks on all that rugged, iron-bound coast. This is the Ocellum Promontorium of Ptolemy, and its lighthouse is three hundred and thirty feet above the sea, while far away over the waters the view is superb. From Flamborough Head northward beyond Whitby the coast-line is a succession of abrupt white cliffs and bold headlands, presenting magnificent scenery. About twenty-three miles north of Flamborough is the "Queen of Northern Watering-places," as Scarborough is pleased to be called, where a bold headland three hundred feet high juts out into the North Sea for a mile, having on each side semicircular bays, each about a mile and a quarter wide. At the extreme point of the lozenge-shaped promontory stands the ruined castle which named the town Scar-burgh, with the sea washing the rocky base of its foundations on three sides. Steep cliffs run precipitously down to the narrow beach that fringes these bays around, and on the cliffs is the town of Scarborough, while myriads of fishing-vessels cluster about the breakwater-piers that have been constructed to make a harbor of refuge. It would be difficult to find a finer situation, and art has improved it to the utmost, especially as mineral springs add the attractions of a spa to the sea air and bathing. The old castle, battered by war and the elements, is a striking ruin, the precipitous rock on which it stands being a natural fortress. The Northmen when they first invaded Britain made its site their stronghold, but the present castle was not built until the reign of King Stephen, when its builder, William le Gros, Earl of Albemarle, was so powerful in this part of Yorkshire that it was said he was "in Stephen's days the more real king." But Henry II. compelled the proud earl to submit to his authority, though "with much searching of heart and choler," and Scarborough afterwards became one of the royal castles, Edward I. in his earlier years keeping court there. It was there that Edward II. was besieged and his favorite Gaveston starved into surrender, and then beheaded on Blacklow Hill in violation of the terms of his capitulation. Scarborough was repeatedly attacked by the Scotch, but it subsequently enjoyed an interval of peace until the Reformation. In Wyatt's rebellion his friends secured possession of the castle by stratagem. A number of his men, disguised as peasants, on market-day strolled one by one into the castle, and then at a given signal overpowered the sentinels and admitted the rest of their band. The castle, however, was soon recaptured from the rebels, and Thomas Stafford, the leader in this enterprise, was beheaded. From this event is derived the proverb of a "Scarborough warning"—a word and a blow, but the blow first. In Elizabeth's reign Scarborough was little else but a fishing-village, and so unfortunate that it appealed to the queen for aid. In the Civil War the castle was held by the Royalists, and was besieged for six months. While the guns could not reduce it, starvation did, and the Parliamentary army took possession. Three years later the governor declared for the king, and the castle again stood a five months' siege, finally surrendering. Since then it has fallen into decay, but it was a prison-house for George Fox the Quaker, who was treated with severity there. A little way down the hill are the ruins of the ancient church of St. Mary, which has been restored.
The cliffs on the bay to the south of Castle Hill have been converted into a beautifully-terraced garden and promenade. Here, amid flowers and summer houses and terraced walks, is the fashionable resort, the footpaths winding up and down the face of the cliffs or broadening into the gardens, where music is provided and there are nightly illuminations. Millions of money have been expended in beautifying the front of the cliffs adjoining the Spa, which is on the seashore, and to which Scarborough owed its original fame as a watering-place. The springs were discovered in 1620, and by the middle of the last century had become fashionable, but the present ornamental Spa was erected only about forty years ago. There is a broad esplanade in front. There are two springs, one containing more salt, lime, and magnesia sulphates than the other. In the season, this esplanade—in fact, the entire front of the cliffs—is full of visitors, while before it are rows of little boxes on wheels, the bathing-houses that are drawn into the water. The surf is usually rather gentle, however, though the North Sea can knock things about at a lively rate in a storm.
North of Scarborough the coast extends, a grand escarpment of cliffs and headlands, past Robin Hood's Bay, with its rocky barriers, the North Cheek and the South Cheek, to the little harbor of another watering-place, Whitby. The cliffs here are more precipitous and the situation even more picturesque than at Scarborough. The river Esk has carved a deep glen in the Yorkshire moorland, and in this the town nestles, climbing the steep banks on either side of the river. The ruins of Whitby Abbey are located high up on the side of the ravine opposite to the main part of the town, and they still present a noble if dilapidated pile. The nave fell after a storm in the last century, and a similar cause threw down the central tower in 1830. The choir and northern transept are still standing, extremely beautiful Early English work: only fragments of other portions of the abbey remain. This was in olden times the Westminster of Northumbria, containing the tombs of Eadwine and of Oswy, with kings and nobles grouped around them. It has been over twelve hundred years since a religious house was founded at Whitby, at first known as the White Homestead, an outgrowth of the abbey, which was founded by Oswy and presided over by the sainted Hilda, who chose the spot upon the lonely crags by the sea. The fame of Whitby as a place of learning soon spread, and here lived the cowherd Caedmon, the first English poet. The Danes sacked and burned it but after the Norman Conquest, under the patronage of the Percies, the abbey grew in wealth and fame. Fragments of the monastery yet remain, and on the hill a little lower down is the parish church, with a long flight of steps leading up to it from the harbor along which the people go, and when there is a funeral the coffin has to be slung in order to be carried up the steps. Whitby is famous for its jet, which is worked into numerous ornaments: this is a variety of fossil wood, capable of being cut and taking a high polish. It is also celebrated for its production of iron-ore, which indeed is a product of all this part of Yorkshire; while at night, along the valley of the Tees, not far north of Whitby, the blaze of the myriads of furnaces light up the heavens like the fire of Vesuvius in the Bay of Naples. Among the tales of the abbey is that which
"Whitby's nuns exulting told, How to their house three barons bold Must menial service do."
It appears that three gentlemen—De Bruce, De Percy, and Allaston—were hunting boars on the abbey-lands in 1159, and roused a fine one, which their dogs pressed hard and chased to the hermitage, where it ran into the chapel and dropped dead. The hermit closed the door against the hounds, and the hunters, coming up, were enraged to find the dogs baulked of their prey, and on the hermit's opening the door they attacked him with their boar-spears and mortally wounded him. It was not long before they found that this was dangerous sport, and they took sanctuary at Scarborough. The Church, however, did not protect those who had insulted it, and they were given up to the abbot of Whitby, who was about to make an example of them when the dying hermit summoned the abbot and the prisoners to his bedside and granted them their lives and lands. But it was done upon a peculiar tenure: upon Ascension Day at sunrise they were to come to the wood on Eskdale-side, and the abbot's officer was to deliver to each "ten stakes, eleven stout stowers, and eleven yethers, to be cut by you, or some of you, with a knife of one penny price;" these they were to take on their backs to Whitby before nine o'clock in the morning. Then said the hermit, "If it be full sea your labor and service shall cease; and if low water, each of you shall set your stakes to the brim, each stake one yard from the other, and so yether them on each side with your yethers, and so stake on each side with your stout stowers, that they may stand three tides without removing by the force thereof. You shall faithfully do this in remembrance that you did most cruelly slay me, and that you may the better call to God for mercy, repent unfeignedly of your sins, and do good works. The officer of Eskdale-side shall blow, 'Out on you, out on you, out on you for this heinous crime!'" Failure of this strange service was to forfeit their lands to the abbot of Whitby.
We have now come into a region of coal and iron, with mines and furnaces in abundance, and tall chimneys in all the villages pouring out black smoke. All the country is thoroughly cultivated, and the little streams bubbling over the stones at the bottoms of the deep valleys, past sloping green fields and occasional patches of woods where the land is too steep for cultivation, give picturesqueness to the scene. We have crossed over the boundary from Yorkshire into Durham, and upon the very crooked little river Wear there rise upon the tops of the precipitous cliffs bordering the stream, high elevated above the red-tiled roofs of the town, the towers of Durham Cathedral and Castle. They stand in a remarkable position. The Wear, swinging around a curve like an elongated horseshoe, has excavated a precipitous valley out of the rocks. At the narrower part of the neck there is a depression, so that the promontory around which the river sweeps appears like the wrist with the hand clenched. The town stands at the depression, descending the slopes on either side to the river, and also spreading upon the opposite banks. The castle bars the access to the promontory, upon which stands the cathedral. Thus, almost impregnably fortified, the ancient bishops of Durham were practically sovereigns, and they made war as quickly as they would celebrate a mass if their powers were threatened, for they bore alike the sword and the crozier. Durham was founded to guard the relics of the famous St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, the great ascetic of the early English Church, distinguished above all others for the severity of his mortifications and his abhorrence of women. At his shrine, we are told, none of the gentler sex might worship; they were admitted to the church, but in the priory not even a queen could lodge. Queen Philippa was once admitted there as a guest, but a tumult arose, and she had to flee half dressed for safety to the castle. St. Cuthbert was a hermit to whom the sight of human beings was a weariness and the solitude of the desert a delight. He was born in Scotland about the middle of the seventh century, of humble origin, and passed his early years as a shepherd near Melrose. He adopted an austere life, found a friend in the abbot of Melrose, and ultimately sickened of an epidemic, his recovery being despaired of. In answer, however, to the prayers of the monks, he was restored to health as by a miracle, and became the prior of Melrose. Afterwards he was for twelve years prior of Lindisfarne, an island off the Northumbrian coast, but the craving for solitude was too strong to be resisted, and he became a hermit. He went to Farne, a lonely rocky island in the neighboring sea, and, living in a hut, spent his life in prayer and fasting, but having time, according to the legend, to work abundant miracles. A spring issued from the rock to give him water, the sea laid fagots at his feet, and the birds ministered to his wants. At first other monks had free access to him, but gradually he secluded himself in the hut, speaking to them through the window, and ultimately closed even that against them except in cases of emergency. Such sanctity naturally acquired wide fame, and after long urging he consented to become a bishop, at first at Hexham, afterwards at Lindisfarne, thus returning to familiar scenes and an island home. But his life was ebbing, and after two years' service he longed again for his hermit's hut on the rock of Farne. He resigned the bishopric, and, returning to his hut, in a few weeks died. His brethren buried him beside his altar, where he rested eleven years; then exhuming the body, it was found thoroughly preserved, and was buried again in a new coffin at Lindisfarne. Almost two hundred years passed, when the Danes made an incursion, and to escape them the monks took the body, with other precious relics, and left Lindisfarne. During four years they wandered about with their sacred charge, and ultimately settled near Chester-le-Street, where the body of St. Cuthbert rested for over a century; but another Danish invasion in 995 sent the saint's bones once more on their travels, and they were taken to Ripon. The danger past, the monks started on their return, transporting the coffin on a carriage. They had arrived at the Wear, when suddenly the carriage stopped and was found to be immovable. This event no doubt had a meaning, and the monks prayed and fasted for three days to learn what it was. Then the saint appeared in a vision and said he had chosen this spot for his abode. It was a wild place, known as Dunhelm: the monks went to the Dun, or headland, and erected a tabernacle for their ark from the boughs of trees while they built a stone church, within which, in the year 999, the body was enshrined. This church stood until after the Norman Conquest, when the king made its bishop the Earl of Durham, and his palatinate jurisdiction began.
The present Durham Cathedral was begun in 1093, with the castle alongside. As we look at them from the railway-station, they stand a monument of the days when the same hand grasped the pastoral staff and the sword—"half house of God, half castle 'gainst the Scot." Upon the top of the rocks, which are clad in foliage to the river's edge, on the left hand, supported by massive outworks built up from halfway down the slope, rises the western face of the castle. Beyond this, above a fringe of trees, rises the lofty cathedral, its high central tower forming the apex of the group and its two western towers looking down into the ravine. The galilee in front appears built up from the depths of the valley, and is supported by outworks scarcely less solid than those of the castle. Durham, more than any other place in England, is a memorial of the temporal authority of the Church, uniting the mitre and the coronet. The plan of Durham Cathedral is peculiar in having the closed galilee at the western end, instead of the open porch as is usual, while the eastern end, which is wider than the choir, terminates abruptly, having no Lady Chapel, but being in effect cut off, with a gable in the centre and a great rose-window. As the galilee overhangs the ravine, the principal entrance to the cathedral is from a fine northern porch. To the portal is affixed a large knocker of quaint design, which in former days was a Mecca for the fugitive, for the shrine of St. Cuthbert enjoyed the right of sanctuary. When the suppliant grasped this knocker he was safe, for over the door two monks kept perpetual watch to open at the first stroke. As soon as admitted the suppliant was required to confess his crime, whatever it might be. This was written down, and a bell in the galilee tolled to announce the fact that some one had sought "the peace of Cuthbert;" and he was then clothed in a black gown with a yellow cross on the shoulder. After thirty-seven days, if no pardon could be obtained, the malefactor solemnly abjured his native land for ever, and was conveyed to the seacoast, bearing a white wooden cross in his hand, and was sent out of the kingdom by the first ship that sailed.
The interior of Durham Cathedral is regarded as the noblest Norman construction yet remaining in England. The arcade, triforium, and clerestory are in fine proportion; the nave has a vaulted roof of stone, and the alternate columns are clustered in plan, their middle shafts extending from floor to roof. These columns are enriched with zigzag, lattice, spiral, and vertical flutings. This cathedral, begun in 1093, was nearly two centuries building, and the Chapel of Nine Altars, in honor of various saints, was erected at the eastern end in the twelfth century. Some of these altars did duty for a pair of saints, St. Cuthbert sharing the central one with St. Bede, a name only second to his in the memories of Durham, so that the nine altars were availed of to reverence sixteen saints. Behind the reredos a platform extends a short distance into this chapel at a height of six feet above the floor. A large blue flagstone is let into the platform, with shallow grooves on either hand. Here stood St. Cuthbert's shrine, highly ornamented, and having seats underneath for the pilgrims and cripples who came to pray for relief. This being never wanting, we are told that the shrine came to be so richly invested that it was esteemed one of the most sumptuous monuments in England, so numerous were the offerings and jewels bestowed upon it. Among the relics here accumulated was the famous Black Rood of Scotland, the prize of the battle of Neville's Cross, fought near Durham. There were also many relics of saints and martyrs, scraps of clothing of the Saviour and the Virgin, pieces of the crown of thorns and of the true cross, vials containing the milk of the Virgin Mother and the blood of St. Thomas, besides elephants' tusks and griffins' claws and eggs, with myriads of jewels. In 1104, St. Cuthbert's body was deposited in this shrine with solemn ceremonies, and it rested there undisturbed until the dissolution of the monasteries, reverentially watched, day and night, by monks stationed in an adjoining chamber. Then the shrine was destroyed and the treasures scattered, the coffin opened, and St. Cuthbert buried beneath the slab, so that now the only remnants visible are the furrows worn in the adjoining pavement by the feet of the ancient worshippers. Tradition tells that the exact position of St. Cuthbert's grave is known only to three Benedictine monks, of whom Scott writes:
"There, deep in Durham's Gothic shade, His relics are in secret laid, But none may know the place, Save of his holiest servants three, Deep sworn to solemn secrecy, Who share that wondrous grace."
The corpse, however, rests beneath the blue slab. In 1827 it was raised, and, while other human remains were found, there was disclosed beneath them, in a coffin, a skeleton vested in mouldering robes, and with it various treasures, which, with the robes, accord with the description of those present in St. Cuthbert's coffin when opened in 1104. The skeleton was reinterred in a new coffin, and the relics, particularly an ancient golden cross and a comb, were placed in the cathedral library.
In the galilee of Durham Cathedral, near the south-eastern angle, is a plain, low altar-tomb that marks the resting-place of St. Bede, commonly known as "the Venerable Bede"—a title which angelic hands are said to have supplied to the line inscribed on his tomb. He was the first English historian, a gentle, simple scholar, who spent his life from childhood in a monastery at Jarrow, near the mouth of the Wear, and took his pleasure in learning, teaching, or writing. His great work was the Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, which occupied many years in compilation, and is still the most trusted history of the period of which it treats. His literary activity was extraordinary, and he produced many other works. He was born near Durham in 672, and died in 735. His devotion to literary work was such that even during his last illness he was dictating to an amanuensis a translation of the Gospel of St. John into Anglo-Saxon, and upon completing the last sentence requested the assistant to place him on the floor of his cell, where he said a short prayer, and expired as the closing words passed his lips. He was buried where he had lived, at Jarrow, and as the centuries passed the fame of his sanctity and learning increased. Then a certain AElfred conceived the idea of stealing St. Bede's remains for the glorification of Durham. Several times baffled, he at length succeeded, and carrying the precious relics to Durham, they were for a time preserved in St. Cuthbert's shrine, but were afterwards removed to a separate tomb, which in 1370 was placed in the galilee, where it has since remained. At the Reformation the shrine was destroyed, and St. Bede's bones, like St. Cuthbert's, were buried beneath the spot on which the shrine had stood. This tomb was opened in 1831, and many human bones were found beneath, together with a gilt ring. The bones in all probability were St. Bede's remains. Durham Cathedral contains few monuments, for reverence for the solitude of St. Cuthbert whom it enshrined excluded memorials of other men during several centuries.
The remains of the Benedictine monastery to which the care of these shrines was entrusted are south of the cathedral, forming three sides of a square, of which the cathedral nave was the fourth. Beyond is an open green, with the castle on the farther side and old buildings on either hand. From this green the castle is entered by a gateway with massive doors, but, while the structure is picturesque, it is not very ancient, excepting this gateway. It has mostly been rebuilt since the twelfth century. This was the palace of the bishops of Durham, of whom Antony Bek raised the power of the see to its highest point. He was prelate, soldier, and politician, equally at home in peace or war, at the head of his troops, celebrating a mass, or surrounded by his great officers of state. He was the first who intruded upon the solitude of St. Cuthbert by being buried in the cathedral. Here lived also Richard of Bury, noted as the most learned man of his generation north of the Alps, and the first English bibliomaniac. Bishop Hatfield also ruled at Durham, famous both as architect and warrior. Cardinal Wolsey lived here when Archbishop of York and his quarrel with Henry VIII. resulted in the Durham palatinate beginning to lose part of its power, so that in the days of his successor, Tunstall, it came to be the "peace of the king," and not of the bishop, that was broken within its borders. Here also ruled the baron-bishop Crewe, who was both a temporal and a spiritual peer, and Bishop Butler, the profound thinker. But the bishops live there no longer, their palace being moved to Auckland, while the university is located in the castle. It is the Northern University, first projected in Cromwell's time. About a mile to the westward of Durham was fought the battle of Neville's Cross in October, 1346. This was a few months after Edward had won the battle of Crecy in France, and the King of Scotland, taking advantage of the absence of the English king and his army, swept over the Border with forty thousand men, devastating the entire country. His chief nobles accompanied him, and to encourage the troops the most sacred relic of Scotland, the "Black Rood," a crucifix of blackened silver, was present on the battlefield. This had been mysteriously delivered to David I. on the spot in Edinburgh where to commemorate it Holyrood Abbey was afterwards founded. But, though King Edward was in France, Queen Philippa was equal to the emergency. An army was quickly gathered under Earl Neville, and Durham sent its contingent headed by the warlike bishop. The invaders drew near the walls of Durham, and the English army, inferior in numbers, awaited them. To confront the "Black Rood," the bishop brought into camp an "ark of God" in obedience to a vision: this was one of the cathedral's choicest treasures, "the holy corporax cloth wherewith St. Cuthbert covered the chalice when he used to say mass." This, attached to the point of a spear, was displayed in sight of the army, while the monks upon the cathedral towers, in full view of the battlefield, prayed for victory for the defenders of St. Cuthbert's shrine. They fought three hours in the morning, the Scotch with axes, the English with arrows; but, as the watching monks turned from prayer to praise, the Scottish line wavered and broke, for the banner of St. Cuthbert proved too much for the Black Rood. The King of Scotland was wounded and captured, and fifteen thousand of his men were slain, including many nobles. The Black Rood was captured, and placed in the Nine Altars Chapel. Afterwards the "corporax cloth" was attached to a velvet banner, and became one of the great standards of England, being carried against Scotland by Richard II. and Henry IV., and it waved over the English army at Flodden. When not in use it was attached to St. Cuthbert's shrine. At the Reformation the Black Rood was lost, and St. Cuthbert's banner fell into possession of one Dean Whittingham, whose wife, the historian lamentingly says, "being a Frenchwoman, did most despitefully burn the same in her fire, to the open contempt and disgrace of all ancient relics." A narrow lane, deeply fringed with ferns, leads out of Durham over the hills to the westward of the town, where at a cross-road stand the mutilated remains of Earl Neville's Cross, set up to mark the battlefield, now a wide expanse of smoky country.
LUMLEY CASTLE AND NEWCASTLE.
Following the Wear northward towards its mouth, at a short distance below Durham it passes the site of the Roman city of Conderum, which had been the resting-place of St. Cuthbert's bones until the Danish invasion drove them away, and it is now known as Chester-le-Street. Here, in the old church of St. Mary and St. Cuthbert, is the rude effigy of the saint which once surmounted his tomb, and here also is the "Aisle of Tombs," a chain of fourteen monumental effigies of the Lumleys, dating from Queen Elizabeth's reign. Lumley Castle, now the Earl of Scarborough's seat (for he too is a Lumley), is a short distance outside the town, on an eminence overlooking the Wear. It dates from the time of Edward I., but has been much modernized, the chief apartment in the interior being the Great Hall, sixty by thirty feet, with the Minstrel Gallery at the western end. Here on the wall is a life-size statue of the great ancestor of the Lumleys, Liulph the Saxon, seated on a red horse. North of this castle, across the Wear, is the Earl of Durham's seat, Lambton Castle, a Gothic and Tudor structure recently restored.
Still journeying northward, we cross the hills between the Wear and the Tyne, and come to the New Castle which gives its name to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the great coal shipping port. This is a strange-looking town, with red-tiled roofs, narrow, dingy, crooked streets, and myriads of chimneys belching forth smoke from the many iron-works. These mills and furnaces are numerous also in the surrounding country, while the neighborhood is a network of railways carrying coal from the various lines to the shipping-piers. But this famous city is not all smoke and coal-dust: its New Castle is an ancient structure, rather dilapidated now, coming down from the reign of Henry II., approached by steep stairways up the rock on which the keep is perched. It has a fine hall, which is used as a museum of Roman relics, and from the roof is a grand view along the Tyne. This castle has a well ninety-three feet deep bored in the rock. Newcastle in its newer parts has some fine buildings. Grey Street, containing the theatre and Exchange, for a space of about four hundred yards is claimed to be the finest street in the kingdom. In Low Friars Street is the old chapel of the Black Friars monastery, where Baliol did homage to Edward III. for the Scottish throne. Sir William Armstrong lives at Jesmond, just outside Newcastle, and at Elswick, west of the city, are the extensive workshops where are made the Armstrong guns. The great High Level bridge across the Tyne Valley, built by Stephenson, with a railway on top of a roadway, and one thousand three hundred and thirty-seven feet long, is one of the chief engineering works at Newcastle. George Stephenson was born in 1781 at High Street House, Wylam, near Newcastle, while at Frudhoe Castle is a seat of the Duke of Northumberland. At Wallsend, three miles east of Newcastle, begins the celebrated Roman wall that crossed Britain, and was defended by their legions against incursions by the Scots. Its stone-and-turf walls, with the ditch on the north side, can be distinctly traced across the island.
Ascending the Tyne, we come to Hexham, an imposing town as approached by the railway, with the Moat Hall and the abbey church occupying commanding features in the landscape. The Moat Hall is a large and ancient tower, notable for its narrow lights and cornice-like range of corbels. The abbey church, formerly the cathedral of St. Andrew, is a fine specimen of Early English architecture, of which only the transept and some other ruins remain, surmounted by a tower rising about one hundred feet and supported upon magnificent arches. Here is the shrine of the ancient chronicler. Prior Richard, an attractive oratory: and the town also produced another quaint historian of the Border troubles, John of Hexham. It is an antique place, and almost all of its old buildings bear testimony to the disturbed state of the Scottish frontier in the olden time, for not far away are the Cheviot Hills that form the boundary, and in which the Tyne takes its rise. Similar evidence is also given in Haltwhistle, Hexham's suburb, across the narrow river.
Journeying northward through Northumberland, and following the coastline—for here England narrows as the Scottish border is approached—the road crosses the diminutive river Alne, running through a deep valley, and standing in an imposing situation on its southern bank is the renowned stronghold of the Percies and guardian of the Border, Alnwick Castle. The great fortress, as we now see it, was built as a defence against the Scots, and was protected on the northward by the river-valley and a deep ravine, which formerly cut it off from the village, which is as ancient as the fortress, as its quaint old Pottergate Tower attests. Roman remains have been found on the site, and it was also inhabited by the Saxons, the castle at the time of the Norman Conquest being held by Gilbert Tysen, a powerful Northumbrian chief. It was then a primitive timber fortress in a wild region, for the earliest masonry works are Norman, and are attributed to Tysen's descendants. Alnwick Castle is a cluster of semicircular and angular bastions, surrounded by lofty walls, defended at intervals by towers, and enclosing a space of about five acres. It has three courts or wards, each defended formerly by massive gates, with portcullis, porters lodge, and a strong guardhouse, beneath which was a dungeon. Trap-doors are the only entrances to the latter, into which the prisoners were lowered by ropes. From the village the entrance to the castle is through the barbican, or outer gate, a work of gigantic strength and massive grandeur, which has been the scene of many a brave encounter. Near by is the Postern Tower, a sally-port adjacent to the "Bloody Gap" and "Hotspur's Chair." The history of this famous stronghold is practically the history of this portion of the realm, for in all the Border warfare that continued for centuries it was conspicuous. In the reign of William Rufus it was gallantly defended by Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, in the memorable siege by the Scots under King Malcolm III. The garrison were about surrendering, being almost starved, when a private soldier undertook their deliverance. He rode out to the besiegers' camp, carrying the keys of the castle dangling from his lance, and presented himself a suppliant before the Scottish king, as if to deliver up the keys. Malcolm advanced to receive them, and the soldier pierced him through the heart. Malcolm fell dead, and in the confusion the bold trooper sprang upon his horse, dashed across the river, and was safe. Malcolm's eldest son, Prince Edward, advanced rashly to avenge the king's death, and fell mortally wounded from the castle. Hammond's Ford, named for the bold trooper, marks the spot where he and his horse swam across the Alne, which at the time was swollen. In memory of Malcolm, a cross stands on the spot where he was slain, and near by is Malcolm's Well and the ruins of St. Leonard's Chapel, built for the unfortunate king's expiation. Upon the cross the inscription states that Malcolm fell November 13, 1093, and that the original cross, decayed by time, was restored by his descendant, Elizabeth, Duchess of Northumberland, in 1774. Eustace de Vesci, who built St. Leonard's Chapel, lived in the days of Henry I. and Stephen, and founded the abbey of Alnwick. King David of Scotland captured the old timber castle there in 1135 on his great invasion of England, and Eustace afterwards built the first masonry work of Alnwick Castle, traces of his walls having since been found.
Alnwick descended to William, son of Eustace, and in 1174, William the Lion, returning from an invasion of Cumberland, passed before the castle, and was captured and sent a prisoner into England. Alnwick descended to William's son Eustace, who was visited by King John in 1209, and the king there received the homage of Alexander of Scotland. Eustace was one of the chief barons who wrested Magna Charta from John, and in the closing year of that reign met his death from an arrow before Barnard Castle. Henry III. visited Alnwick, and the great Edward I. was there several times as the guest of John de Vesci near the close of the thirteenth century. The Barons de Vesci soon afterwards became extinct, and then the warlike bishop of Durham, Antony Bek, came in and grabbed the castle. He sold it in 1309 to Henry de Percy, and from this dates the rise of the great family of the northern Border, who have held Alnwick for nearly six centuries, its present owner being his descendant, Algernon George Percy, Duke of Northumberland, in whose veins flows the blood of so many great families that he can use nine hundred heraldic devices on his armorial bearings, including those of many kings and princes. Henry de Percy became the leader of the Border barons, and, although living at Alnwick only five years, seems to have rebuilt most of the castle, his son completing it. The Percies became the Earls of Northumberland, and such warlike lives did they lead (as, for instance, young Henry Percy, "Hotspur") that it is noted that Henry Algernon, the fifth earl, was the first of the race who died in bed. The next of the line was executed for rebellion, and the next was beheaded at York for conspiring against Queen Elizabeth. The eighth earl, favoring Mary Queen of Scots, was imprisoned in the Tower, and was one day found in his chamber shot through the heart. Henry, the ninth earl, was implicated in the Gunpowder Plot, imprisoned in the Tower, and fined $250,000. After his release he spent the remainder of his life at Petworth; Alnwick was neglected; and the direct line of descent ultimately ended with Elizabeth, daughter of the eleventh earl, who married the Duke of Somerset in 1682. Her grandson, Algernon, became Earl of Northumberland, and his daughter, Elizabeth Seymour, was the ancestress of the present family, her husband being created the first Duke of Northumberland. Alnwick was then a ruin, but he restored it, and subsequently, under the direction of the architect Salvin, it was completely rebuilt, everything worthy of preservation being kept, and the new work being adapted to the days of the earlier Percies, whose achievements gave the stronghold such world-wide renown.
This famous castle is full of recollections of the great men who formerly inhabited it. The Constable's Tower, remaining mostly in its ancient condition, has in an upper apartment arms for fifteen hundred men, the Percy tenantry, while in the rooms beneath is deposited the ancient armor. "Hotspur's Chair" is the name given to a seated recess of the Ravine Tower which was Hotspur's favorite resort, where he sat while his troops exercised in the castle-yard beneath, and where he had an admirable lookout to discover an approaching enemy. Through the loopholes on either side of the seat in this commanding tower there is an extensive prospect over the valley of the Alne and to the distant seacoast. The "Bloody Gap," another noted site in the castle, is between the Ravine and Round Towers. It was the name given to a breach in the wall made by the Scots during the Border wars, although the exact time is unknown. According to tradition, three hundred Scots fell within the breach, and they were ultimately beaten off. Many arrows have been found in the adjacent walls, so located as to indicate they were shot from the battlements and windows of the keep when the assailants were making this breach. Alnwick Castle was restored by Salvin with strict regard to the rules of mediaeval military architecture. When it was the great Border stronghold its governor commanded a force of no less than two thousand men, who were employed in a complicated system of day and night watching to guard against forays by the Scots. The day watchers began at daylight, and blew a horn on the approach of the foe, when all men were bound on pain of death to respond for the general defence. The great feature of the restored castle is the Prudhoe Tower, built about twenty-five years ago. After entering the barbican, which admits to the outer ward, the visitor passes between the Abbot's Tower on the left and the Corner Tower and Auditor's Tower on the right. Earl Hugh's turreted tower also rises boldly from the battlements. Passing through the middle gatehouse, the keep, constructed in the form of a polygon around a court, is seen on the right hand, and in the gateway-wall is Percy's famous draw-well, with a statue of St. James above blessing the waters. Opposite this draw-well is a covered drive which leads to the entrance of Prudhoe Tower. This tower is a magnificent structure, containing the family and state-apartments, built and decorated in the Italian style, and approached by a staircase twelve feet wide. It was built at enormous cost, and alongside is a vaulted kitchen of ample proportions, constructed in the baronial style, where there are sufficient facilities to prepare dinner for six hundred persons at one time, while the subterranean regions contain bins for three hundred tons of coal. Such is this great baronial Border stronghold, replete with memories of the warlike Percies. From here Hotspur sallied forth to encounter the marauding Scottish force which under Douglas had laid waste England as far as the gates of York, and almost within the sight of the castle is the bloody field of Otterbourn, where Douglas fell by Hotspur's own hand, though the English lost the day and Hotspur himself was captured. Again, as war's fortunes change, just north of Alnwick is Humbleton Hill, where the Scots had to fly before England's "deadly arrow-hail," leaving their leader, Douglas, with five wounds and only one eye, a prisoner in the hands of the Percies. It was from Alnwick's battlements that the countess watched "the stout Earl of Northumberland" set forth, "his pleasure in the Scottish woods three summer days to take"—an expedition from which he never returned. Such was the history for centuries of this renowned castle, which is regarded as presenting the most perfect specimen now existing, perhaps in the world, of the feudal stronghold of mediaeval days.
And now let us turn from the castle to the church. Almost alongside of it is St. Michael's Church, built with battlements, as if prepared as much for defence as for worship, and a watch-tower, made evidently for a lookout and to hold a beacon to warn of the approach of forays. This was one of the regular chain of Border beacons. Within the church an old iron-work lectern still holds the "Book of the Homilies," while the churchyard is full of ancient gravestones. Alnwick Abbey once existed down alongside the river, under the protection of the castle, but it has been long since ruined, and its remains have served as a quarry for the village buildings until little of them remains. Its extensive domains are now part of the Duke's Park, and another contributor to this park was Hulne Priory, the earliest Carmelite monastery in England, founded in 1240. It stood upon a projecting spur of rising land above the Alne, backed by rich woods, but was neither large nor wealthy, as the neighboring abbey eclipsed it. The discipline of the Carmelites was rigorous. Each friar had a coffin for his cell and slept on straw, while every morning he dug a shovelful of earth for his grave and crept on his knees in prayer. Silence, solitude, and strict fasting were the injunction upon all, and their buildings were sternly simple. The porter's lodge and curtain-wall enclosing Hulne Priory still stand, and its outline can be traced, though the ruins are scant. Yet this, like all else at Alnwick, bears evidence of the troublous times on the Border. The most important of its remaining buildings is an embattled tower of refuge from the Scottish invader. Its inscription states that it was built in 1448 by Sir Henry Percy, fourth Earl of Northumberland. Opposite Hulne Priory is Brislee Hill, which presents the most renowned view in Alnwick Park. A tower rises among the trees upon the crest of the hill from which bonfires now blaze on occasions of festivity. Here, over the park, can be seen the castle and town, and beyond, to the eastward, the sea, with its coast-castles as far north as Bamborough. The little Coquet Island in the distance breaks the expanse of blue waters. To the westward beyond the moors rises the sharp outline of the Scottish Border, the Cheviot Hills, running off towards the north-east, and containing in their depressions the passes through which the Scots used to pour when they harried Northern England and roused the Alnwick warriors to defend their firesides.
FORD CASTLE AND FLODDEN FIELD.
Northward, past the extremity of the Cheviots, flows the Tweed, and one of its tributaries on the English side is the Till, which drains the bases of those sharp hills, that rise nearly twenty-seven hundred feet. Here was Ford Castle, and here was fought the terrible Border battle of Flodden in 1513. Ford Castle dated from the time of Edward I., and its proximity to the Border made it the object of many assaults. In the fifteenth century it was held by Sir William Heron, and a few days before the battle of Flodden the Scots, under James IV., during Sir William's captivity in Scotland, stormed and destroyed Ford, taking captive Lady Heron, who had endeavored to defend it. In the last century Ford was restored by the Marquis of Waterford, to whom it had descended, so that it now appears as a fine baronial mansion, surmounted by towers and battlements, and standing in a commanding situation overlooking the valley of the Till, with the lofty Cheviots closing the view a few miles to the south-west, their peaks affording ever-varying scenes as the season changes.
The great attraction of the view, however, is the famous hill of Flodden, about a mile to the westward, crowned by a plantation of dark fir trees, and presenting, with the different aspects of the weather, ever-changeful scenery, recalling now the "dark Flodden" and anon the "red Flodden" of the balladists. Across the valley from Ford Castle, and at the foot of this fir-crowned hill, was fought one of the bitterest contests of the Border. Now, the famous battlefield is a highly-cultivated farm and sheep-pasture. James IV. of Scotland had unjustly determined to make war upon England, and he set out upon it in opposition to the real desire of his countrymen, and even against the omens of Heaven, as the people believed. A few days before he departed for his army the king attended St. Michael's Church, adjacent to his stately palace at Linlithgow, when a venerable stranger entered the aisle where the king knelt. The hair from his uncovered head flowed down over his shoulders, and his blue robe was confined by a linen girdle. With an air of majesty he walked up to the kneeling king, and said, "Sire, I am sent to warn thee not to proceed in thy present undertaking, for if thou dost it shall not fare well either with thyself or those who go with thee." He vanished then in the awe-stricken crowd. But this was not the only warning. At midnight, prior to the departure of the troops for the south, it is related that a voice not mortal proclaimed a summons from the market cross, where proclamations were usually read, calling upon all who should march against the English to appear within the space of forty days before the court of the Evil One. Sir Walter Scott says that this summons, like the apparition at Linlithgow, was probably an attempt by those averse to the war to impose upon the superstitious temper of James IV. But the king started at the head of the finest army, and supported by the strongest artillery-train, that had down to that time been brought into the field by any Scottish monarch. He entered England August 22d. without having formed any definite plan of action. He wasted two days on the Till, besieged Norham for a week, when it surrendered, and then besieged Ford. These delays gave the English time to assemble. King James, as above related, captured Lady Heron at Ford. She was beautiful and deceitful, and soon enthralled the gay king in her spells, while all the time she was in communication with the English. Thus James wasted his time in dalliance, and, as Scott tells us,
"The monarch o'er the siren hung, And beat the measure as she sung, And, pressing closer and more near, He whispered praises in her ear."
All the time the energetic Earl of Surrey was marshalling the English hosts, and, marching with twenty-six thousand men northward through Durham, received there the sacred banner of St. Cuthbert. On September 4th. Surrey challenged James to battle, which the king accepted against the advice of his best councillors. The Scots had become restive under the king's do-nothing policy, and many of them left the camp and returned home with the booty already acquired. James selected a strong position on Flodden Hill, with both flanks protected and having the deep and sluggish waters of the Till flowing in front. Surrey advanced and reconnoitred, and then sent the king a herald requesting him to descend into the plain, as he acted ungallantly in thus practically shutting himself up in a fortress. The king would not admit the herald. Surrey then attempted a stratagem. Crossing the Till on the 8th, he encamped at Barmoor Wood, about two miles from the Scottish position, concealing his movement from the enemy. On the 9th he marched down the Till to near its confluence with the Tweed, and recrossed to the eastern bank. This, too, was uninterrupted by the Scots, who remained strangely inactive, though it is recorded that the chief Scottish nobles implored the king to attack the English. The aged Earl Angus begged him either to assault the English or retreat. "If you are afraid, Angus," replied the king, "you can go home." The master of artillery implored the king to allow him to bring his guns to bear upon the English, but James returned the reply that he would meet his antagonist on equal terms in a fair field, and scorned to take an advantage. Then Surrey drew up his line between James and the Border, and advanced up the valley of the Till towards the Scots. The king set fire to the temporary huts on the hillside where he had been encamped, and descended to the valley, the smoke concealing the movements of each army from the other; but Surrey's stratagem was thus successful in drawing him from his strong position. The English van was led by Lord Thomas Howard, Surrey commanding the main body, Sir Edward Stanley the rear, and Lord Dacre the reserves. The Scottish advance was led by the Earls of Home and Huntley, the king leading the centre, the Earls of Lennox and Argyle the rear, and the reserves, consisting of the flower of the Lothians, were under the Earl of Bothwell. The battle began at four in the afternoon, when the Scottish advance charged upon the right wing of the English advance and routed it. Dacre promptly galloped forward with his reserves, and restored the fortunes of the day for the English right. The main bodies in the mean time became engaged in a desperate contest. The Scottish king in his ardor forgot that the duties of a commander were distinct from the indiscriminate valor of a knight, and placed himself in front of his spearmen, surrounded by his nobles, who, while they deplored the gallant weakness of such conduct, disdained to leave their sovereign unprotected. Dacre and Howard, having defeated the Scottish wing in front of them, at this time turned their full strength against the flank of the Scottish centre. It was a terrific combat, the Scots fighting desperately in an unbroken ring around their king. The battle lasted till night, and almost annihilated the Scottish forces. Of all the splendid host, embracing the flower of the nobility and chivalry of the kingdom, only a few haggard and wounded stragglers returned to tell the tale. The English victors lost five thousand slain, and the Scots more than twice that number, and among them the greatest men of the land. They left on the field their king, two bishops, two mitred abbots, twenty-seven peers and their sons, and there was scarcely a family of any position in Scotland that did not lose a relative there. The young Earl of Caithness and his entire band of three hundred followers perished on the field. The body of the dead king, afterwards found by Dacre, was taken to Berwick and presented to his commander, who had it embalmed and conveyed to the monastery of Sheyne in Surrey. The poetic instincts of the Scots were deeply moved by the woes of the fatal field of Flodden, and innumerable poems and ballads record the sad story, the crowning work of all being Scott's Marmion.
BAMBOROUGH AND GRACE DARLING.
North of Flodden Field, and not far distant, is the Scottish Border, which in this part is made by the river Tweed, with Berwick at its mouth. The two kingdoms, so long in hot quarrel, are now united by a magnificent railway-bridge, elevated one hundred and twenty-five feet above the river and costing $600,000. For miles along the coast the railway runs almost upon the edge of the ocean, elevated on the cliffs high above the sea, while off the coast are Holy Isle and Lindisfarne. Here St. Cuthbert was the bishop, and its abbey is a splendid ruin, while on the rocky islet of Farne he lived a hermit, encompassing his cell with a mound so high that he could see nothing but the heavens. Two miles from Farne, on the mainland, was the royal city of Bebban Burgh, now Bamborough, the castle standing upon an almost perpendicular rock rising one hundred and fifty feet and overlooking the sea. This was King Ida's castle, a Border stronghold in ancient times whose massive keep yet stands. It is now a charity-school, a lighthouse, and a life-saving station. Thirty beds are kept in the restored castle for shipwrecked sailors, and Bamborough is to the mariner on that perilous coast what the convent of St. Bernard is to the traveller in the Alps. Here, at this Border haven, we will close this descriptive tour by recalling Bamborough's most pleasant memory—that of Grace Darling. She was a native of the place, and was lodged, clothed, and educated at the school in Bamborough Castle. Her remains lie in Bamborough churchyard under an altar-tomb bearing her recumbent figure and surmounted by a Gothic canopy. She is represented lying on a plaited straw mattrass and holding an oar. All this coast is beset with perils and wrecks have been frequent. The islet of Farne and a cluster of other rocks off shore add to the dangers, and on some of them there are lighthouses. One of these rocks—Longstone Island—Grace Darling rendered memorable by her intrepidity in perilling her life during the storm of September, 1838. Her father was the keeper of Longstone Light, and on the night of September 6 the Forfarshire steamer, proceeding from Hull to Dundee, was wrecked there. Of fifty-three persons on board, thirty-eight perished, and on the morning of the 7th, Grace, then about twenty-three years of age, discovered the survivors clinging to the rocks and remnants of the steamer, in imminent danger of being washed off by the returning tide. With her parents' assistance, but against their remonstrance, Grace launched a boat, and with her father succeeded in rescuing nine of them, while six escaped by other means. Presents and demonstrations of admiration were showered upon her from all parts of the kingdom, and a public subscription of $3500 was raised for her benefit. Poor Grace died four years later of consumption. A monument to her has been placed in St. Cuthbert's Chapel on Longstone Island, and upon it is this inscription, from Wordsworth:
"Pious and pure, modest, and yet so brave, Though young, so wise—though meek, so resolute.
"Oh that winds and waves could speak Of things which their united power called forth From the pure depths of her humanity! A maiden gentle, yet at duty's call Firm and unflinching as the lighthouse reared On the island-rock, her lonely dwelling-place; Or, like the invincible rock itself, that braves, Age after age, the hostile elements, As when it guarded holy Cuthbert's cell.
"All night the storm had raged, nor ceased, nor paused, When, as day broke, the maid, through misty air, Espies far off a wreck amid the surf, Beating on one of those disastrous isles— Half of a vessel, half—no more; the rest Had vanished!"
LONDON, WESTWARD TO MILFORD HAVEN.
The Cotswolds—The River Severn—Gloucester—Berkeley Castle—New Inn—Gloucester Cathedral—Lampreys—Tewkesbury; its Mustard, Abbey, and Battle—Wercester; its Battle—Charles II.'s Escape—Worcester Cathedral—The Malvern Hills—Worcestershire Beacon—Herefordshire Beacon—Great Malvern—St. Anne's Well—The River Wye—Clifford Castle—Hereford—Old Butcher's Row—Nell Gwynne's Birthplace—Ross—The Man of Ross—Ross Church and its Trees—Walton Castle—Goodrich Castle—Forest of Dean—Coldwell—Symond's Yat—The Dowards—Monmouth—Kymin Hill—Raglan Castle—Redbrook—St. Briard Castle—Tintern Abbey—The Wyncliff—Wyntour's Leap—Chepstow Castle—The River Monnow—The Golden Valley—The Black Mountains—Pontrilas Court—Ewias Harold—Abbey Dore—The Scyrrid Vawr—Wormridge—Kilpeck—Oldcastle—Kentchurch—Grosmont—The Vale of Usk—Abergavenny—Llanthony Priory—Walter Savage Landor—Capel-y-Ffyn—Newport—Penarth Roads—Cardiff—The Rocking-Stone—Llandaff—Caerphilly Castle and its Leaning Tower—Swansea—The Mumbles—Oystermouth Castle—Neath Abbey—Caermarthen—Tenby—Manorbeer Castle—Golden Grove—Pembroke—Milford—Haverfordwest—Milford Haven—Pictou Castle—Carew Castle.
Journeying westward from the metropolis and beyond the sources of the Thames, let us mount to the tops of the Cotswold Hills, in which they take their rise, and look down upon the valley of the noble Severn River beyond. We have already seen the Severn at Shrewsbury, Wenlock, and Bridgenorth, and, uniting with the classic Avon, it drains the western slopes of the Cotswolds, and, flowing through a deep valley between them and the Malvern Hills, finally debouches through a broad estuary into the British Channel. There is much of interest to the tourist along the banks and in neighborhood of this well-known river. As we stand upon the elevations of the Cotswolds and look over "Sabrina fair," the lower part of its valley is seen as a broad and fertile plain, and the Severn's "glassy, cool, translucent wave," as the poet has it, flows through a land of meadows, orchards, and cornfields, with the hills of the Forest of Dean rising on the western horizon. Alongside the river is the cathedral city of Gloucester, the depot for a rich agricultural region and for the mining wealth of Dean Forest, the Berkeley Canal leading from its docks for sixteen miles down the Severn until the deep water of the estuary is reached. The Romans early saw the importance of this place as a military post, and founded Glevum here, upon their Ermine Street road, as an outpost fortress upon the border-land of the Silures. Fragments of tessellated pavements, coins, and other relics from time to time exhumed attest the extent of the Roman settlement. When the Britons succeeded the Romans, this settlement became gradually transformed into Gleawecesore, forming part of the kingdom of Mercia, and in the seventh century AEthelred bestowed it upon Osric, who founded a monastery here. Athelstan died here in 941, and a few years afterwards the Danes, who overrun and devastated almost the whole of England, burned the town and monastery. The history of Gloucester, however, was without stirring incidents, excepting an occasional destructive fire, until the siege took place in the Civil War, its people devoting themselves more to commerce than to politics, and in the early part of the seventeenth century engaging extensively in the manufacture of pins. Gloucester, however, gave the title to several earls and dukes, generally men not much envied; as, for instance, Richard Crookback, who sent from Gloucester the order for the murder of his nephews, the young princes, in the Tower. But the town never took kindly to him, and warmly welcomed Richmond on his avenging march to Bosworth Field. The siege of Gloucester was made by King Charles's troops, the citizens having warmly espoused the cause of the Parliament and strongly fortified their city, mounting guns for its defence which they got from London. A polygonal line of fortifications surrounded Gloucester, which was then much smaller than now, and the bastions came down to the river, with outlying works to defend a small suburb on the opposite bank. The Cavaliers were in great strength in Western England, and the malignity of the Gloucester pin-makers seriously embarrassed them. On August 10, 1643, the siege began with a summons to surrender, which the authorities refused. Parts of the suburbs were then burned, and next morning a bombardment began, red-hot balls and heavy stones being plentifully thrown into the place, knocking the houses into sad havoc, but in no wise damping the sturdy courage of the defenders. They replied bravely with their cannon and made repeated sorties, which inflicted serious damage upon the besiegers. After over three weeks of this sport, the Royalists shot an arrow into the town, September 3, with a message in these words: "These are to let you understand your god Waller hath forsaken you and hath retired himself to the Tower of London; Essex is beaten like a dog: yield to the king's mercy in time; otherwise, if we enter perforce, no quarter for such obstinate traitorly rogues.—From a Well-wisher." This conciliatory message was defiantly answered in a prompt reply signed "Nicholas Cudgelyouwell;" and two days later, Prince Rupert having suffered a defeat elsewhere, the Cavaliers abandoned the siege. Charles II., upon his restoration, took care to have himself proclaimed with great pomp at Gloucester, and also took the precaution to destroy its fortifications. The castle, which had stood since the days of the Norman Conquest, then disappeared. The west gate, the last remains of the walls, was removed, with the old bridge across the Severn, in 1809, to make room for a fine new bridge. This structure is chiefly known through a humorous connection that Thackeray has given it with King George III. That monarch made a royal visit to Gloucester, and in his lectures on the "Four Georges" Thackeray says: "One morning, before anybody else was up, the king walked about Gloucester town, pushed over Molly the housemaid with her pail, who was scrubbing the doorsteps, ran up stairs and woke all the equerries in their bedrooms, and then trotted down to the bridge, where by this time a dozen of louts were assembled. 'What! is this Gloucester new bridge?' asked our gracious monarch; and the people answered him, 'Yes, Your Majesty.'—'Why, then, my boys, let's have a hurray!' After giving them which intellectual gratification he went home to breakfast."
The town is quaint and picturesque, but the buildings generally are modern, most of them dating from the days of good Queen Anne, but they exhibit great variety in design. The most noted of the older Gloucester houses is the "New Inn," on Northgate Street. After the murder of Edward II. at Berkeley Castle, not far from Gloucester, where he had been imprisoned in a dungeon in the keep, in 1327, his remains were brought to the abbey church at Gloucester for interment, a shrine being raised over them by the monks. The king was murdered with fiendish cruelty. Lord Berkeley at the castle would willingly have protected him, but he fell sick; and one dark September night Edward was given over to two villains named Gurney and Ogle. The ancient chronicler says that the "screams and shrieks of anguish were heard even so far as the town, so that many, being awakened therewith from their sleep, as they themselves confessed, prayed heartily to God to receive his soul, for they understood by those cries what the matter meant." The king's shrine in Gloucester naturally attracted many pilgrims, and the New Inn was built about 1450 for their accommodation. It is a brick-and-timber house, with corridors leading to the chambers running along the sides of the inner court and reached by outside stairways, as was the common construction of houses of public entertainment three or four centuries ago. The inn remains almost as it was then, having been but slightly modernized. Most of the pilgrims to the shrine brought offerings with them, and hence the pains taken for their accommodation. The usual tale is told about a subterranean passage connecting this inn with the cathedral. New Inn is enormously strong and massive, and covers a broad surface, being constructed around two courtyards.
Gloucester has many churches in proportion to its size—in fact, so many that "as sure as God is in Gloucester" used to be a proverb. Oliver Cromwell, though the city had stood sturdily by him, differed with this, however, for a saying of his is still quoted, that "there be more churches than godliness in Gloucester." In later days the first Sunday-school in England was opened here, and just outside the city are the fragmentary remains of the branch of Llanthony Priory to which the monks migrated from the Welsh Border. The chief attraction of Gloucester, however, is the cathedral, and the ruins of the Benedictine monastery to which it was formerly attached. The cathedral is of considerable size, being four hundred and twenty feet long, and is surmounted by a much-admired central tower. The light and graceful tracery of its parapets and pinnacles gives especial character to the exterior of Gloucester Cathedral, and when the open-work tracery is projected against the red glow of sunset an unrivalled effect is produced. This tower is two hundred and twenty-five feet high, and forms an admirable centre to the masses of buildings clustered around it. The monastery, founded by Osric in the seventh century, stood on this site, but after the Danes burned it a convent was built, which passed into the hands of the Benedictines in 1022. One of these monks was the "Robert of Gloucester" who in 1272 wrote in rhyme a chronicle of English history from the siege of Troy to the death of Henry II. Their church was repeatedly burned and rebuilt, but it was not until the shrine of Edward II. was placed in it that the religious establishment throve. The rich harvest brought by the pilgrims to this shrine led to the reconstruction of the older church, by encasing the shell with Perpendicular work in the lower part and completely rebuilding the upper portion. This was in the fourteenth century, and by the close of the next century the cathedral appeared as it is now seen. Entering the fine southern porch, we are ushered into the splendid Norman nave bordered by exceptionally high piers, rising thirty feet, and surmounted by a low triforium and clerestory. The design is rather dwarfed by thus impoverishing the upper stories. The choir has an enormous east window, made wider than the choir itself by an ingenious arrangement of the walls; and this retains most of the old stained glass. The choir has recently been restored, and in the old woodwork the seat of the mayor is retained opposite the throne of the bishop. On the floor an oblong setting of tiles marks the grave of William the Conqueror's son Robert, who died at Cardiff, and whose monument stands in an adjoining chapel. The Lady Chapel is east of the choir, and has a "whispering gallery" over its entrance. Beneath the choir is the crypt, antedating the Norman Conquest, and one of the remains of the original church of the Benedictines. On the south side of the choir is the monument to Edward II., standing in an archway. The effigy is of alabaster, and is surmounted by a beautiful sculptured canopy. The cloisters north of the nave are most attractive, the roof being vaulted in fan-patterns of great richness. There can still be seen along the north walk of these cloisters the lavatories for the monks, with the troughs into which the water flowed and the recesses in the wall above to contain the towels. Beyond the cloisters are the other remains of the monastery, now generally incorporated into houses. Gloucester has been a bishop's see since the reign of Henry VIII., and one of its bishops was the zealous Reformer who was martyred in sight of his own cathedral—John Hooper: his statue stands in St. Mary's Square, where Queen Mary had him burned as a heretic. Gloucester also has its Spa, a chalybeate spring recently discovered in the south-eastern suburbs, but the town is chiefly known to fame abroad by its salmon and lampreys. The lamprey is caught in the Severn and potted for export, having been considered a dainty by the epicures of remote as well as modern times. It was in great request in the time of King John, when we are told "the men of Gloucester gave forty marks to that king to have his good will, because they regarded him not as they ought in the matter of their lampreys." This was the favorite dish of Henry I. (Beauclerc), and over-indulgence in lampreys finally killed him. It was the custom until 1836 for the corporation of Gloucester to send every Christmas to the sovereign "a lamprey pie with a raised crust."
Let us ascend the valley of the Severn, and in the centre of its broad plain, at the confluence of the Avon, find another great religious house in the smaller but equally noted town of Tewkesbury. All around are rich meadows, and here, away from the hills, was the ideal site for a monastery according to the ancient notion, where the languor of the gentle air prevented the blood flowing with too quick pulse. The Avon, spanned by an old arched bridge, washes one side of the town; the massive abbey-tower rises above a fringe of foliage and orchards, while on the one hand the horizon is bounded by the steep Cotswolds, and on the other by the broken masses of the Malverns. Close to the town, on its western verge, flows the Severn, crossed by a fine modern iron bridge. Tewkesbury is known to fame by its mustard, its abbey, and its battle. The renown of the Tewkesbury mustard goes back for at least three centuries: as "thick as Tewkesbury mustard" was a proverb of Falstaff's. That old-time historian Fuller says of it, "The best in England (to take no larger compass) is made at Tewkesbury. It is very wholesome for the clearing of the head, moderately taken." But, unfortunately, the reputation of Tewkesbury for this commodity has declined in modern times.
The history of Tewkesbury Abbey comes from misty antiquity, and it is thought by some to have been named "Dukes-borough" from two ancient Britons, Dukes Odda and Dudda, but others say it commemorates a missionary monk named Theoe, who founded a little church there in the seventh century. Brictric, King of Wessex, was buried within its walls in the ninth century, and, like Gloucester, it suffered afterwards from the ravages of the Danes. But it flourished subsequently, and in the days of William Rufus the manor was conferred upon Fitz-Hamon, an influential nobleman, under whose auspices the present abbey was built. Nothing remains of any prior building. The church was begun in 1100, but the builder was killed in battle before it was completed. It is in the form of a cross with short transepts, and a tower rising from the centre. The choir was originally terminated by apses, which can still be traced, and there were other apses on the eastern side of each transept. While the outlines of most of the abbey are Norman, the choir is almost all of later date. The western front has the singular feature of being almost all occupied by an enormous and deeply-recessed Norman arch, into which a doorway and tracery were inserted about two hundred years ago, replacing one blown down by a storm in 1661. This abbey church was dedicated in 1123, and the services were almost the last diocesan act of Theulf, bishop of Worcester. One of the dedication ceremonies was quaint. As the bishop came to the middle of the nave, we are told that he found part of the pavement spread with white wood-ashes, upon which he wrote the alphabet twice with his pastoral staff—first the Greek alphabet from north-east to south-west, and then the Latin, from south-east to north-west, thus placing them in the form of a cross. He signified by this ceremony that all divine revelation was conveyed by the letters of the alphabet, and that the gospel comprehended under the shadow of the cross men of all races and all languages. The time had been when at such consecrations three alphabets were written—the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin—as the title on the cross had been written in these three tongues, but the Hebrew was early discontinued, "probably," writes Blunt, the historian of Tewkesbury Abbey, "because even bishops might not always be able to manage their Alpha Beta in that character." The best views of the abbey are from the south-east, and the interior is regarded as more remarkable than the exterior. The nave is of singular grandeur, its round Norman columns being exceptionally lofty. The triforium is stunted, and consists merely of two pairs of small arches, above which the ribs of a noble fretted roof expand, so that it appears as if the roof were immediately supported by the columns of the nave. The choir is short and hexagonal, being only sixty-six feet from the reredos, and is surrounded by a number of polygonal chapels, as at Westminster Abbey, with which it appears quite similar in plan. The Lady Chapel, originally at the east end, has been entirely destroyed. There are several monuments of great interest in these chapels, some of them in the form of chantries—being exquisite cages in stone-work—within which are the tombs of the founders. Here lie some of the chief nobility of England who in the days of the Plantagenets were the lords of Tewkesbury—the Beauchamps, Nevilles, De Clares, and Despensers. Fitz-Hamon's tomb was not erected until the fourteenth century. Here lie Clarence and his wife, Isabel, the daughter of Warwick the "King-maker," and also the murdered son of Henry VI., who was "stabbed in the field by Tewkesbury," with other victims of that fatal battle. The remains of the cloisters lie to the south of the abbey, and beyond is the ancient gateway, of rather unusual plan.
The battle of Tewkesbury, which sealed the fate of the Lancastrian party in England, was fought in 1471 upon the Bloody Meadow, then called the Vineyard, just outside the town and to the southward of the abbey. The Lancastrian line was soon broken, and the fight became practically a slaughter, as the defeated party were forced back upon the town and into the very abbey itself. Many of the fugitives sought refuge in the church, and the Yorkists followed them, striking down their victims in the graveyard, and even within the church-doors. The abbot, taking in his hand the sacred Host, confronted King Edward himself in the porch and forbade him to pollute the house of God with blood, and would not allow him to enter until he had promised mercy to those who had sought refuge inside. This clemency, however, was short-lived, for in the afternoon the young Prince of Wales, Henry VI.'s son, was brought before Edward and murdered by his attendants. Shakespeare represents Edward as dealing the first blow with a dagger, but the truer story seems to be that, enraged by a haughty answer from the young prince, he struck him in the face with his gauntlet, which the bystanders accepted as a signal for the murder. Two days afterwards a number of the chief captives were executed.
Still ascending the valley of the Severn, we come to Worcester, another of the military stations of the Romans, established to hold this rich, fertile, and coveted region. Its cathedral, and, in fact, much of the town, stand upon an elevated ridge, with the river flowing at the base. To this day Worcester retains the plan of the original Roman camp, but it does not seem to have made at that time much mark in history. The Britons captured it, and named the place Wigoma Ceaster, and it was afterwards incorporated into Mercia. In the eleventh century a castle was built near the Severn, and the earlier kings of England were frequently its residents. King John had great veneration for St. Wulstan, the founder of Worcester Cathedral, and he was laid to rest beside that saint's shrine. Worcester suffered the usual penalties of the towns in the Severn Valley: it was destroyed by the Danes and burned by Hardicanute, and in the twelfth century town, castle, and cathedral were all consumed by a fire supposed to be caused by the Welsh. It was partially burned three times subsequently in that century, and in Henry III.'s reign Simon de Montfort and his son were defeated and slain on the neighboring hills. The final conflagration was caused by Owen Glendower in 1401, after which quieter times came until the Civil War. Worcester was zealous for King Charles, and suffered from two sieges, being the last city that held out for the royal cause. It was the scene of Charles II.'s first and unsuccessful effort to regain the English crown. He had been acknowledged and crowned by the Scots, and attempted the invasion of England. His army marched down through the western counties, while Cromwell kept between him and London. He reached Worcester, when Cromwell determined to attack him, and marched the Parliamentary army to the outskirts of the city, encamping on Red Hill, where he intrenched. Sending part of his troops across the Severn, on September 3, 1651, Cromwell attacked Worcester on both sides, leading the van of the main body in person. Young Charles held a council of war in the cathedral-tower, and when he descended to personally lead the defence, the fight had become hot; and it lasted several hours, Cromwell describing the battle as being "as stiff a contest as I have ever seen." The Scots were outnumbered and beaten, but would not surrender, and the battle did not close till nightfall. Then it was found that, while Cromwell had suffered inconsiderable loss, the royal forces had lost six thousand men and all their artillery and baggage. Charles fought bravely, and narrowly avoided capture. A handful of troops defended Sidbury Gate, leading in from the suburb of the town where the battle had been hottest. Charles had to dismount and creep under an overturned hay-wagon, and, entering the gate, mounted a horse and rode to the corn-market, where he escaped with Lord Wilmot through the back door of a house, while some of his officers beat off Cobbett's troops who attacked the front. Upon this house, built in 1557, is still read the inscription, "Love God; honor the king." Then getting out of the city, Charles escaped into the wood of Boscobel, and after a series of romantic adventures managed to reach the seacoast in Sussex, and on October 15th embarked at Shoreham for France. It was in this battle that Worcester earned the motto it still bears of "Civitas fidelis."
Worcester's most conspicuous building is the cathedral, its tower being prominently seen from miles around. Its western front overlooks the Severn, and the ground-plan is an elongated rectangle with small double transepts. The choir and portions of the nave are the original work, most of the remainder being restored. St. Dunstan's successor, Bishop Oswald, built the first cathedral here, and during the progress of the work he met an unexpected check. The ancient chronicler tells us that a large stone became immovable, and despite every exertion could not be brought to its proper place. "St. Oswald," he continues, "after praying earnestly, beheld 'Ethiopem quendam' sitting upon the stone and mocking the builders: the sign of the cross removed him effectually." No portion of this original building remains, the earliest parts of the present cathedral dating from Bishop Wulstan's time, in the eleventh century. Wulstan was a man of piety and simplicity who retained his see after the Norman Conquest. The increasing number of monks in the monastery compelled the removal of Oswald's church to make more room, and Wulstan regretfully built the new cathedral, saying he was pulling down the church of a far holier man than himself. Miracles were frequent at Wulstan's tomb, and in 1203 he was canonized. His church was unlucky—several times partly burned, and once the central tower fell, and afterwards the two western towers during storms; but it was always repaired, and in 1218, St. Wulstan's remains were removed to a shrine near the high altar, and the cathedral rededicated in the presence of Henry III. The interior view is striking, the arches of the nave, triforium, and clerestory being in harmonious proportions. In the middle of the choir is King John's monument, the effigy representing him crowned and in royal robes, holding the sceptre and the sword, the point of the latter inserted in the mouth of a lion on which his feet rest. We are told that in 1797 the coffin was found beneath the tomb, with the apparel partially mouldered, but the remains all gone. There are several other monuments in the cathedral—one a mural slab commemorating Anne, wife of Izaak Walton, "a woman of remarkable prudence and of the primitive piety." The crypt beneath the choir is a remnant of Wulstan's work, and the old doors of the cathedral, dating from the thirteenth century, are preserved there: fragments of human skin are still seen upon them, reputed to have been that of a man who was flayed for stealing a holy bell. In the north walk of the cloisters is the grave-slab famous for bearing the shortest and saddest inscription in England, "Miserrimus:" it is said to cover one of the minor canons, named Morris, who declined to take the oath of allegiance to William III. and had to be supported by alms. Around the cloisters are the ruins of the ancient monastery, the most prominent fragments being those of the Guesten Hall, erected in 1320. Access to the cathedral close, on the south-eastern side, is obtained through an ancient gateway called the Edgar Tower, one of the earliest structures connected with the cathedral, which is still fairly preserved: it was evidently intended for defence. The bishops of Worcester present an unbroken line for twelve centuries, including, in later days, Latimer the martyr, Prideaux, and Stillingfleet. It was in Worcester Cathedral, on October 23, 1687, that James II. touched several persons to cure the scrofula or king's evil; and when William III. afterwards visited Worcester he yielded to sundry entreaties to touch sufferers, but in doing so said, "God give you better health and more sense!" These were about the last "touchings" known in England. Upon James II.'s visit he attended mass at the Catholic chapel, and was waited upon to the door by the mayor and corporation officers, but they declined to enter a Roman Catholic place of worship. A minute in the corporation proceedings explains that they passed the time until the service was over in smoking and drinking at the Green Dragon Inn, loyally charging the bill to the city. Worcester in ancient times was famous for its cloth, but other places have since eclipsed it. It is now noted mainly for gloves, fine porcelain, and Worcester Sauce.