« PoprzedniaDalej »
enable him to retain possession; 120 men were immediately sent to him; and although the King, as soon as he received the news of this unforeseen event, attempted to remedy it, by sending a strong military force to retake the fortress, the Parliament, well aware of its importance, marched a superior body of troops to its relief, which compelled the Royalist general to raise the siege, and they continued masters of it during the remainder of the contest.
After this time the Castle appears to have been much neglected until the commencement of the late war, when the threats of invasion from the opposite shore occasioned great attention to the defence of this line of coast, and Dover Castle has experienced its full share of the notice of Government. "The alterations that have been made," says an intelligent writer on this subject, are but little calculated to give pleasure to those who venerate the Castle for its antiquity; yet it is still one of the most interesting fortresses in the kingdom; and perhaps that interest may with many be considered to have increased, through the opportunity which is now afforded of contemplating both the ancient and modern systems of defence on the same spot."
The modern works for the defence of this important fortress comprise several batteries, with a train of heavy artillery, magazines, covered-ways, casemates formed in the solid rock on which it is situated, and subterraneous communications and apartments for the reception of a garrison, if necessary; the latter are supplied with light and air by various apertures cut through the chalk to a great depth, and are sufficiently capacious to receive 2000 At the same time that the above works were formed, a new road was made from the town to the summit of the cliff, in such a direction as to be completely commanded by the batteries; and a branch from this road enters the Castle by a bridge and gate, of modern construction. The Heights to the west have also been strongly fortified, and a military road to them has been made.
at present affords specimens of almost every kind of fortification which can render it impregnable; but the buildings composing it are so numerous, and their relative situations so complicated, that a verbal description cannot give more than a general idea of them. They cover nearly the whole summit of the lofty cliff on which they are situated, and, in a general way, may be said to consist of two courts, of which the Lower is surrounded by a wall, excepting towards the sea; where a large portion, together with the cliff on which it stood, was precipitated into the ocean by an earthquake, in April, 1680. This wall is strengthened by a number of towers of various shapes, most of them distinguished by the name of some eminent individual connected with the Castle. The first, beginning from the cliff on the west side, is called the Old Tower, and here was formerly a gate and drawbridge; the second, Rokesley Tower, so named from one of its captains; Chilham Tower, the next, was built by Fulbert de Lucy, lord of Chilham, in this county, in the reign of William the Conqueror, and is now used as a prison for persons committed under the authority of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports to the custody of an
officer called the Bodar* of Dover Castle, who has also a residence here; Hurst Tower, Sayes Tower, and Gatton Tower, are so denominated from the names of the manors, the produce of which was allotted by William I. to keep them in repair.
Peveril's, or Beauchamp's Tower, received its names from its builder, William de Peveril, and its subsequent commander, Hugh de Beauchamp, both of whom were followers of the Conqueror, as was also Robert de Port, from whom the eighth Tower received its original appellation, but having been rebuilt by Mary I. it is now called Mary's Tower. The ninth, in which is the principal entrance to the Lower Court, was named Fiennes' Tower, after the great commander of that name, but is now generally called the Constable's Tower, as containing the apartments appropriated to the use of the chief officer of the Castle, during his residence here. In this tower the ancient records of the Cinque Ports were deposited; and, with unpardonable neglect, many were allowed to perish from the dampness of the room in which they were placed, and others were sold to tailors for making measures! Near this tower are the modern Barracks erected for the use of the garrison.
Beyond the gateway, the first tower is called Clopton's Tower, and was rebuilt by Edward IV. Here were kept the archives of the Castle; but these, like those of the Cinque Ports, have been in a great measure destroyed; "being piled up in a heap," as we are informed by the Rev. Mr. Darell, in his History of Dover Castle, "and then set on fire, by a lewd scoundrel named Levenishe, out of spite to John Monings, whose competitor he had been for the chief command." The next is called God's-foe Tower, and this is followed by Crevequer's Tower, both named from their builders or commanders in the reign of William I.; these are succeeded by FitzWilliam's, or St. John's; Averanche's, or Maunsel's; and Veville's, or Pincester Tower; all of which derive their appellations from the early Constables of the Castle, or from noblemen and knights to whom
* Supposed to be derived from the Saxon word Boda, signifying a messenger, as this officer is employed in the capacity of a Sergeant at Arms to the Lord Warden.
the defence of a portion of it was entrusted. Some other towers, not distinguished by any particular names, complete the series.
The ascent to the Upper Court is steep and winding, leading to King's Gate and Bridge, which form the entrance, and are defended in a variety of ways. This Court, like the Lower, is encompassed by a massive wall and numerous towers, and near its centre is the Keep, a noble pile, sometimes called the Palace Tower, from its having frequently been the residence of our early monarchs. It is in a good state of preservation, and is now used as a magazine. It contains a Chapel, and many apartments, the principal of which, as in other buildings of this description, are on the third floor, the first being appropriated to the reception of stores, and the second to the garrison. The walls are from 18 to 20 feet thick; the summit is embattled, and has a turret at each angle; the height of which, from the ground, is 92 feet, but from the sea, at low water mark, 466 feet; these turrets command a most extensive and delightful prospect over the French and English coasts, with the intervening Strait.
The towers which surround the Upper Court are numerous, but not deserving of particular notice, with the exception of Suffolk Tower, so called from the Duke of Suffolk, to whom it was presented by Edward IV., who had caused it to be built at great expense. The appearance of all this side has been much altered for the worse by the erection of Barracks, a Mess-Room, Kitchen, &c., whose deformities present a very unpleasing contrast to the venerable and majestic beauty of other parts of the Castle.
Beyond the Upper Court are the ancient walls and vallum of Earl Godwin, and several towers, one of which contains a well said to be 370 feet deep; Harcourt Tower has a gateway, and beyond this are several ranges of Barracks, and a second wall, which encircles the summit of the hill, and includes the ancient Church and Light-house already mentioned.
It has been previously observed that the neighbouring Heights are strongly fortified; in addition it may be noticed, that on the Cliff, on which the Castle is situated, is placed a beautiful piece of brass ordnance, called Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Pistol,
cast at Utrecht, and presented to that Queen by the States of Holland; it is 24 feet long, and carries a shot of 12lbs.; the touch-hole is of gold, and several attempts have been made to pick it out. This piece is ornamented with a variety of devices, and on one part are some lines in Dutch, which have been thus translated:
"O'er hill and dale I throw my ball,
The situation of the town of Dover is singular and interesting, and its appearance from the hills above is romantic and beautiful. It was anciently encompassed by a wall, enclosing a space of about half a mile square, and communicating, by ten gates, with the adjacent country. The walls have long been totally demolished, and the last gate was pulled down in 1776. The town was burnt, as before related, by William the Conqueror, and sustained considerable damage from an incursion of the French, in 1295. It had formerly six Churches, which are now reduced to two, dedicated to St. Mary, and St. James; of these, St. Mary's is a spacious edifice, with a tower at the west end, and is said to have been built in 1216, but its architecture evinces it to be of a much earlier date. This Church has an excellent organ, and is neatly fitted up. St. James's is an ancient and irregular structure, with a square tower; it formerly belonged to the Castle, and within its walls are still held the Courts of Admiralty and Chancery for the Cinque Ports. Here are also the remains of two other Churches, of one of which, dedicated to St. Martin le Grand, the tower still stands, surrounded by its burial ground, in which was interred Churchill, the poetical satirist, who died here of a fever in 1764. Near the entrance of the town, on the Folkstone road, are very considerable remains of a Priory of Benedictines, founded by Archbishop Theobald in the twelfth century. The buildings are now occupied as a farm-house and offices.
The return of peace has brought an increase of prosperity to Dover; and as its delightful situation,
* A full account of these privileged havens will be found at a subsequent page, under the head of HASTINGS, the first in ancient rank, although not in modern consequence.