MEMORIALS OF THE COUNTIES OF ENGLAND
REV. P. H. DITCHFIELD, M.A., F.S.A., F.R.S.L., F.R.Hist.S.
MEMORIALS OF OLD LONDON
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MEMORIALS OF OLD LONDON
EDITED BY P. H. DITCHFIELD, M.A., F.S.A. FELLOW OF THE ROYAL HISTORICAL SOCIETY
AUTHOR OF The City Companies of London and their Good Works The Story of our Towns The Cathedral Churches of Great Britain &c. &c.
IN TWO VOLUMES
WITH MANY ILLUSTRATIONS
LONDON BEMROSE & SONS LIMITED, 4 SNOW HILL, E.C. AND DERBY 1908
[All Rights Reserved]
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TO THE RIGHT HON. SIR JOHN CHARLES BELL, BART. LORD MAYOR OF LONDON THESE MEMORIALS OF THE ANCIENT CITY OVER WHICH HE RULES ARE DEDICATED, WITH HIS LORDSHIP'S KIND PERMISSION, BY THE EDITOR
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In the year of grace one thousand nine hundred and nine the citizens of London are celebrating their Pageant, a mighty spectacle representing some of the stately scenes of splendour and magnificence which London streets have witnessed from the days of Alfred to the nineteenth century. It is perhaps fortunate that these volumes of the MEMORIALS OF OLD LONDON should appear when the minds of the people of England are concerned with this wonderful panorama of the past history of the chief city of the Empire. The Pageant will be all very beautiful, very grand, instructive and edifying, and profoundly interesting; but, after all, London needs no Pageant to set forth its attractions, historical and spectacular. London is in itself a Pageant. The street names, the buildings, cathedral, churches, prisons, theatres, the river with its bridges, and countless other objects, all summon up the memories of the past, and form a Pageant that is altogether satisfying. Many books have been written on the greatest city of England's Empire—some learned and ponderous tomes, others mere guide books; some devoted to special buildings and foundations, others to the life, manners, and customs of the citizens. This work differs from other books in that each chapter is written by an expert who has made a special study of the subject, and is therefore authoritative, and contains all the information which recent investigations have brought to light. It is not exhaustive. London contains so much that is of profound interest, that many additional volumes would be needed in order to describe all its treasures. The city of Westminster, the suburbs and the West End, have for the most part been excluded from the plan of this work, and possibly may be treated of in a subsequent volume. The domain of the city of London, not of the London County Council, provides the chief subjects of these volumes, though occasionally our writers have strayed beyond the city boundaries.
We have endeavoured to give sketches of London, its appearance, its life and manners, at various stages of its history. We have tried to describe its historic buildings, its fortress, its churches, the Exchange, and other houses noted in its annals. Monastic London is represented by the Charterhouse. Legal London finds expression in the histories of the Temple and the Inns of Court. Royal London is described by the story of its Palaces; and the old city life of the famous merchants and traders, artizans and 'prentices, is shown in our glimpses of Mediaeval London, the histories of the Guildhall, the City Companies, the Hanseatic League, Elizabethan London, and in other chapters. Old inns, coffee-houses, clubs, learned societies, and literary shrines present other phases of the life of the old city which are not without their attractions, and help to complete the picture which we have tried to paint.
All the chapters have been specially written for this work, and my most grateful thanks are due to each of the contributors for their valuable papers, as well as to those who have supplied photographs, old prints, or drawings. I desire especially to thank Mr. Philip Norman for his coloured sketches which form the pleasing frontispieces of the two volumes; to Mr. Harold Sands for his skilfully constructed plan of the Tower of London; and to Mr. Tavenor-Perry for his valuable drawings of St. Bartholomew's Church, Smithfield, and the bridges that span the Thames.
P. H. DITCHFIELD. Barkham Rectory, Berks., August, 1908.
CONTENTS OF VOL. I.
Page London in Early Times—Celtic, Roman, Saxon, and Norman By Rev. W. J. Loftie, B.A., F.S.A. 1
The Tower of London By Harold Sands, F.S.A. 27
St. Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield By J. Tavenor-Perry 66
The London Charterhouse By Rev. A. G. B. Atkinson, M.A. 86
Glimpses of Mediaeval London By George Clinch, F.G.S., and the Editor 106
The Temple By Rev. H. G. Woods, D.D. (Master) 133
Holborn and the Inns of Court and Chancery By E. Williams 149
The Guildhall By C. Welch, F.S.A. 178
The City Companies of London By the Editor 191
London and the Hanseatic League By J. Tavenor-Perry 224
The Arms of the City and See of London By J. Tavenor-Perry 233
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS IN VOL. I.
Old Bell Inn, Holborn, 1897 Frontispiece (From the painting by Philip Norman, LL.D.)
Page, or Facing Page
Roof Tile (Roman) 3
Red-Glazed Pottery (Roman) 5
Roman Sandals 9
Bronze Pin, with Christian Emblems (Roman) 15
The Gates of the City: Aldersgate and Bridgegate (From old prints) 10 Bishopsgate and Cripplegate " 20 Ludgate and Newgate " 24 Moorgate and Aldgate " 26
Gold and Enamel Brooch (Ninth Century) 18 (From the Catalogue of W. Roach Smith)
The Tower of London (From an engraving by Hollar, 1647) 28
Plan of the Tower of London about 1597 (Drawn by the Author) 32
St. John's Chapel, Tower of London 42 (From a photo. by F. Frith & Co., Ltd.)
The Tower of London (From a photo. by G. W. Wilson & Co.) 58
St. Bartholomew's, Smithfield: Norman Capital, discovered in 1863 69 Priory Gate and Church Tower in 1863 70 Transitional Capital, discovered in 1863 71 East Bay of South Aisle of Nave 73 Screen of Roger de Walden's Chantry and Rahere's Monument 75 Prior Bolton's Window 77 Eastern Ambulatory and Purgatory before Restoration 79 Interior of Church in 1863 (Drawn by J. Tavenor-Perry) 82
The Charterhouse Hospital (From a print by Toms) 86
Old Porch, Charterhouse 96 (From a drawing by J. P. Neale , engraved by Owen)
Charterhouse Hall (From a photo. by Stuart) 100
Old London Bridge: Showing its Wooden Houses with Projecting Stories (From an old print) 108
Old Wooden Houses at Cripplegate (recently demolished) 110 (From a photo. by the Author)
Alley near the Cloth Fair, Smithfield (From a photo by the Author) 112
The Cloth Fair, Smithfield: Looking to the south-west, and showing the south side of the street 114 (From a photo. by the Author)
The Cloth Fair, Smithfield: The north-east end of the street 116 (From a photo. by the Author)
The Cloth Fair, Smithfield: Looking to the south-west, and showing the north side of the street 118 (From a photo. by the Author)
Old Wooden Houses, near the Temple Gate, Fleet Street 120 (From a photo. by the Author)
South View of Old St. Paul's when the Spire was standing 122 (From an old print)
The Temple Church: Exterior View 134 (From a photo. by F. Frith & Co., Ltd.)
Doorway of the Temple Church (From an old print) 136
The Interior of the Temple Church before it was Restored 144 (From an old print)
Lincoln's Inn Gate, Chancery Lane 170 (From an old print published in 1800)
Middle Temple Hall (From a photo. by Mansell & Co.) 172
Lincoln's Inn Hall: The Lord Chancellor's Court 176 (From a drawing by T. H. Shepherd)
The Guildhall (From a drawing by A. R. Quinton) 178
Gray's Inn Hall and Chapel (From an old print) 182
The Guildhall (From an engraving by R. Acom, 1828) 184
Inner Temple Hall (From a photo. by F. Frith & Co., Ltd.) 186
The Old Guildhall (From an engraving by Hollar) 188
Staples Inn Hall (From a drawing by T. H. Shepherd in 1830) 192
Model of Barge formerly used by the Clothworkers' Company in Civic Procession 192
Furnival's Inn (From an old print published in 1804) 196
The Chair of the Master of the Salters' Company 198
Bell (cast 1463) from All Hallows', Staining, belonging to the Grocers' Company 200
The Hall of the Mercers' Company: Entrance Colonnade and Site of Ancient Cloister (From a drawing by A. R. Quinton) 218
Merchant Taylors' Company—the Kitchen Crypt 220
Samuel Pepys's Loving Cup 222
Coat of Arms of Hansa Merchant in London 226 (From a drawing by Mr. J. Tavenor-Perry)
A Flemish Gray-Beard from the Steel-yard of London 231
Sir William Walworth's Dagger (Fishmongers' Hall) 235
Seal of Ralph de Stratford, Bishop of London 236
The City Seal in MDCLXX 238
The City Arms, as portrayed by Wallis, in the Reign of Charles II. 239
LONDON IN EARLY TIMES
BY W. J. LOFTIE, B.A., F.S.A.
When we see the words "Celtic London" at the head of a chapter we naturally feel inclined to ask, "Was there such a place? Was there any Celtic London?" Although it is almost impossible to answer such a question by either "yes" or "no," it may be worth while to examine it briefly before passing on to the domains of authentic history.
In the first place, there must have been some gathering of huts or houses, some aggregation of residences, to which a name could be applied, and it must have been important enough to retain its name after the Romans came—nay, to retain it even in spite of an attempt on their part to change it.
But though we must accept the existence of a London in the old obscure period when something very like modern Welsh was the language of the south-eastern part of Britain, and though we know that London was situated on a river which also had a Welsh name, we do not know directly on which side of that river it stood, and have nothing for it but to apply to the problem what a great authority has described as an historical imagination, and try if we can find a sufficient number of geographical or topographical facts to reduce the problematic side of the questions involved; and so to leave certain points, certain pedestals, so to speak, of firm ground on which we may place the foundations of the greatest city the world has seen.
Our first facts are meagre enough. We have three words; no more. They are Lon, don, and Thames. We are like the Oriental lady in the legend of St. Thomas of Canterbury. She knew but two words of English—Gilbert and London. We know three words, and, keeping them in our minds, wander down the Thames till we find the place to which we can fit the other two words. But, first, we must make an attempt to translate them into modern English. The Welsh Lynn is pronounced lunn. Dun, or down, has passed into English. Thame, or thames, occurs in many parts of England, everywhere denoting the same thing, and, according to most authorities, being practically the same as the English word tame. The name of the Tamar will occur to the mind as well as Thame. In the case of the Thames, the name may very well have come over from the Continent with the early traders—the Angles, for instance, or the Danes—and have thus passed into British use. A great authority, Mr. Bradley, is said to have mentioned that Lynn in London may be a personal name. The ordinary interpretation is so simple that it seems hardly worth while—unphilosophical, in fact—to search for another. Lynn, pronounced Lunn, is a lake. Dun is a down or hill. London, as the first syllable may be taken adjectively, will mean the Lake Hill. Where, then, is the hill which stands by a lake?
If we consult a map which includes the lower Thames, and has the levels clearly marked or contoured, and follow the coast line from, say, Kew Bridge, we come to no higher ground for more than six miles, the surface varying from one foot above the ordnance datum of high water to seven. Hills are visible in the background, but none at the water's edge, until we reach that on which St. Paul's stands. Mylne gives it as forty-five feet high, and that on which, close by, the Royal Exchange stands he marks as forty-eight. If we could denude this region of its myriad houses, we should see a plain extending back to the higher ground from the site of the Temple Gardens—that is, to Clerkenwell. Ludgate, rising nearly fifty feet in a steep slope from the river's edge, would appear something great in such a landscape, backed, as it would have been, to the eastward by a still higher down, with the narrow stream of Walbrook rushing to the Thames, between them. No other height would stand so near the water's edge, or would be visible within a couple of miles, on this left bank of the river. So much for our "down." But where is our "lynn"?
If we could see Southwark and the region immediately to the south of it similarly denuded, we should find that, across the Thames from the double down, an archipelago of islets extends from what is now Bermondsey westward to Lambeth. The dry ground would be seen dotted here and there, while every tide, every flood, every increase of water from the upper Thames, would make the whole region into a morass. The main stream of the great river, coming eastward round a bend from Westminster, would deepen its channel under the down, leaving the opposite islets in shallow water, and spreading, according to the first author by whom the place is mentioned, "at every tide would form a lake."
Here, then, Dion Cassius, writing in the second century, describes for us the site of Southwark. He furnishes us with what we want—the "lynn" for our "down," the Lon for the Don. We do not know for certain whether this Celtic London was on the double hill or among the islets opposite—whether, that is, the town was on the lynn or on the dun. There is, however, a certain amount of evidence that it was on the lynn. A British road seems to have been already in existence—the road which led from Dover toward Chester. Where did it cross the Thames? If we could make sure of the answer, our three facts would become four. There was no bridge in this Celtic period to carry the road across the Thames. At the same time, we know that a crossing was made; and, if we judge by the course and direction of the road, it must have been at or very near what is now called Westminster. Here the shoal-water, as sailors say, was on both sides of the river. The islets, many of them covered at every high tide, existed where a landing was called by later settlers the Lambhithe. Other landing-places are denoted by such names as Stanegate, Toothill, Merefleet, Pollen Stock, Thorney, Jakeslea and others, all Saxon, which tell us of the condition of both banks of the Thames at a very remote period. From this we may safely argue—first, that the amount of water coming down being approximately the same, it had a much wider district to cover; and, secondly, that it was much more shallow. These names also show that, in crossing, the road from Dover had in Saxon times certain landmarks to follow, while the use of the word Toot, our word "tout," shows that guides existed, who could be called upon to help travellers across. All these items are more or less obscurely mentioned by Dion Cassius, and show that wheresoever Celtic London stood, whether on the left or the right bank, Aulus Plautius chose the easternmost of the double hills for his bridge head; and when the wall was built, a couple of centuries later, it took in the western hill as well, while the bridge rendered the ford at Westminster useless, and the Watling Street was diverted at the Marble Arch along Oxford Street, instead of running straight down Park Lane to the ford at Westminster.
As for facts in the history of Celtic London, we have none. The late General Pitt Rivers recorded the discovery of piles, of origin possibly before the Roman period, in the street called London Wall, and also in Southwark, some nine feet below the present surface. A few articles of Roman make were found mixed with a few bone implements of a ruder type. This, the only authentic discovery of the kind, does not prove more than that some of the Britons lived among the Romans, and the date is quite uncertain. As to their dwellings before the Romans came, we have remains in various places from which we can but gather that, though some ancient race in these islands built up such rude but vast temples as Stonehenge, the dwellings of the people who lived by the Walbrook, or in Southwark, were mere wigwams. A hollow was dug in the ground, and where stones were plentiful, which cannot have been the case on the site of Lynn Dun, a few were used in the flooring. Over the hollow the house was raised—a bank of earth, perhaps roofed with boughs and trunks, and with some means of making a wood fire. Rings of brass and scraps of pottery are often found in the hollows, but of such discoveries in London the records are silent.
With the coming of the Romans, we might expect to find ourselves on firmer ground than in our vain endeavours to learn something about the early Britons in London. But if we date the Latin discovery of Britain with the coming of Julius Caesar to the southern coast of our island in 55 B.C., it is evident that before the expedition, which was eventually commanded by Aulus Plautius in A.D. 43, nearly a century elapsed, and that during all that time there is no mention at all of London. To use Dr. Guest's cautious words: "The notion entertained by some antiquaries that a British town preceded the Roman camp has no foundation to rest upon." In the chapter on Celtic London I have endeavoured to show that the British town, if there was one, stood, as Ptolemy asserts, on the Cantian side of the river. The Romans seldom or hardly ever chose a Celtic site for a new building, but, to quote Guest again, "generally built their castellum two or three miles from the British oppidum." On this principle, the new building of Aulus would be either a couple of miles from the Celtic town, or separated from it at least by the width of the Thames. If we suppose, as is more than probable, that Lynn Dun was in Southwark, and that some settlement was also among the shallows and islets crossed by the Dover Road and named by the Anglo-Saxons the Watling Street, the Roman general, by building London Bridge and by making a strong fort on the hill at the northern end of it, laid the foundation of Roman London.
The new city, which speedily rose round the bridge head on the northern side of the river, was of considerable dimensions by the time it is first mentioned—namely, in A.D. 64. This is by Tacitus, who describes it as full of merchants and merchandise. At the same time, except for the pretorium at the bridge head, there were no defences. Anything like a walled town must have been among the islets on the southern side; but, from the character of the Roman remains found in Southwark and St George's Fields, it is probable that the British town there was not of any importance, and answered to Julius Caesar's contemptuous description: "The Britons call a thick wood, enclosed with a rampart and a ditch, a town." The new Roman fort at the northern end of the bridge, with its suburb of merchants' houses along the Walbrook, is the London of history, and the first we hear about it is that—while Camalodunum was a Roman Colonium, and Verulam a Municipium—London was only a Prefectura. This is the opinion of Pennant; but Tacitus, who first names London as being in existence at all and who lived and wrote about A.D. 90, expressly mentions it as abounding in merchants and business. Dr. Guest was of opinion that the Roman fort was made in A.D. 43. It stood above the outfall of the Walbrook, its western wing being where Cannon Street terminus is now, and its eastern extremity reaching to Mincing Lane. These limits were determined in a paper by Arthur Taylor in Archaeologia in 1849, and were confirmed during the building of Cannon Street Station. The road from the bridge divided in East Cheap and passed out towards the spot now called from the Marble Arch, where it joined the old road which the Saxons subsequently named the Watling Street, now Park Lane and Edgware Road, as to one branch; and as to the other, the Ermin Street, which led towards Lincoln. The Roman governor probably lived in his Pretorium, where, at the north-west corner, close to the celebrated London Stone, remains of pavements and buildings have been found. At the south-eastern corner, too, but at a lower level, another pavement, which still exists under the Corn Exchange, may have been part of a bath. There are no remnants of a church or a temple, but some antiquaries fancied they saw relics of a Roman basilica, or judgment hall, among the fragments of masonry removed for the station. There were no burials within the walls, but they begin, even among the pavements and villas, just outside the limits marked by the wall of the Pretorium. That it was defended by the stream of Walbrook on the west, and by a wide fosse on the northern side, seems certain. The Mansion House, in 1738, was built on piles "in a ditch," according to Stukeley. This fosse probably communicated with the Walbrook, and from what Stow says, seems to have had a certain amount of stream through it. "Langborne Ward," he says, "is so called of a long borne of sweete water, which of old time breaking out into Fenchurch streete, ran down the same streete and Lombard streete to the West end of St. Mary Woolnothe's Church, where turning south, and breaking it selfe into many small shares, rilles or streames, it left the name of Shareborne, or south borne lane (as I have read) because it ranne south to the river of Thames."
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Stow's interpretations of names often read like bad jokes, not to say bad puns. We remember his Matfelon, his Sherehog, his Cripplegate and other curiosities of the kind. Sherborn Lane has now disappeared, but there can be little doubt the "burn" or "bourne" was a relic of the fosse of the first Roman London. It divides two wards, so was as ancient as those wards—namely, Cornhill and Langborne; and if there was any stream through it fell into Walbrook, between the parish church of St. Mary on the Woollen Hithe and St. Mary of the Woolchurch Haw. This corner, then near the modern Mansion House, was the north-western corner of the little fort, Dowgate was at the south-western, and Billingsgate at the south-eastern corner, while Mincing Lane, perhaps at Fenchurch Street, completed the rectangle. What formed the defence on this, the eastern side, we have no evidence, but it was probably one of the "shares, rilles, or streames" which so puzzled Stow. The Walbrook was 248 feet wide.
It is evident, then, that the Roman London Bridge was well protected, but the town which grew round it lay open to any attack. Such a contingency was the rebellion of Boadicea, when Suetonius abandoned the bridge fort and open town and held to Verulam and Camalodunum, which had walls. We do not hear anything about the repairs of the bridge when the rebellion was over. It probably, as in so many other places, consisted of a few piers of massive masonry, and great beams, probably wide apart, formed the roadway. The line of coins found in the Thames may have been dropped as offerings to the river-god, or merely by careless passengers. They dated back to republican times, and ended only with the last years of the Roman occupation, long after the introduction of Christianity. It may be mentioned here that in the catalogue of Roach Smith (1854), from which we have borrowed some illustrations, is an account of a box which had perished, but which had contained tiers of iron coins, plated with silver, oxydised together in masses, being obviously base money coined to pass current in Britain in the reign of Claudius, A.D. 41. It was discovered in King William Street, almost the centre of the old fort. Forged denarii of lead or brass formed the larger part of those found in the Thames. The bridge was probably in a line with Botolph Lane, the old London Bridge of Peter of Colechurch being higher up, and the present London Bridge higher again. The Roman Bridge, frequently repaired, and frequently, too, broken down—as when Anlaf, the Dane, sailed up the Thames with his fleet in 993—was finally removed in favour of the nineteen arches and a drawbridge, which subsisted until 1831. (The site of the Roman Bridge is discussed in a paper on "Recent Discoveries in Roman London," in volume lx. of Archaelogia.)
Such, then, was Roman London during the greater part of the Roman occupation of Britain—as it is still, a city of suburbs.
Of the date of the building of the wall we have no certainty. A recent writer finds fault with my cautious statement in Historic London that "in 350 London had no wall," and would substitute 360. The wall was certainly built about that time or a little later, but may have been begun long before. It is evident that such a piece of work was not completed in a single year, even under the Roman Emperors. Perhaps—it is too easy to form theories—Constantine (Stow says Helena) projected it and left it to be finished by his successors. It had been completed by the reign of Theodosius, about A.D. 368.
The course of the new wall, according to Stow, was from the Tower to Aldgate, thence to Bishopsgate, and from Bishopsgate to Aldersgate, with a postern at Cripplegate. Next came Newgate, and Ludgate was towards the Fleet—the wall ending at the Thames. The whole length was two miles and a half and 608 feet. Stow did not know that several of the gates he named—Aldgate, Cripplegate, Aldersgate, and Ludgate—were not Roman. Nor did he know that Ludgate means a postern, and Crepulgeat a covered way, both these gates being probably of late construction, though possibly of the time of Alfred. The exact site of the wall and the two landward gates seems to be indicated by the old ward boundaries, but modern investigators have neglected them. There was another Roman settlement, namely, at Westminster, where the abbey stands on the site of some older buildings. Roman concrete forms the foundation of the older part of the church and the dark cloisters. The pavement of a dwelling was found under the nave, and a sarcophagus, bearing a rudely carved cross, showed that the town was not walled. The Romans possibly built here on account of the ford, and we may be sure that at times, when the only bridge was under repair or unfinished, the crossing here for the ancient road, which the Saxons named the Watling Street, was found convenient. There is mention of the buildings on Thorney in a charter at the British Museum (Kemble, D.L.V.), apparently a thirteenth century forgery, but of interest as showing that a tradition survived. King Eadgar is made to say that a temple of abomination had been destroyed to make way for the church of St. Peter. Such a temple, if one existed, was more probably Saxon than Roman.
As to the houses and buildings of Roman London within the walls we know very little. Sir W. Tite enumerated a large number of mosaic pavements, some of them of considerable size, and scattered over a wide area, but apparently not marking any fine or magnificent public buildings. Stukeley made a plan showing where, in his opinion at least, remains of such buildings should be found; but, to put it briefly, remains of the kind have been conspicuous by their absence on his eight sites. Stukeley is, in fact, a very untrustworthy authority. He thought, with Stow, that Algate, the mediaeval name, meant Oldgate, or, as Stow wrote it, Ealdgate, whereas it was in reality one of the latest. The name probably denoted a gate open to all without toll.
The remains of the wall, which still or lately existed, have been carefully examined by Mr. Norman, of the Society of Antiquaries, and Mr. Francis Reader. Their account of various excavations is in volume lx. of Archaeologia, and illustrated by a series of plans, sections, and other drawings by Mr. Reader, who seems to have proved that the marsh on which Moorfield was laid out in 1605 did not exist in the early Roman time, but was caused by the building of the wall.
If we know but little about Roman London, we know still less, if possible, about Saxon London. So far as it was inhabited at all, it was the capital of the kings of Essex, and is so described in a very few documents. On this account it was an episcopal see. How the Saxons became possessed of it we do not know. Probably Stow's account may be accepted as the most likely:—
"This citie of London having beene destroyed and brent by the Danes and other pagan ennemies about the yere of Christ 839, was by Alfred King of the West Saxons, in the yere 886, repayred and honorably restored and made againe habitable."
That Stow's account is according to the best authorities will be apparent to any reader of Green's Conquest of England. In chapter iv. he describes the condition of London and the neighbouring kingdom of the East Saxons—"A tract which included not only the modern shire that bears their name, but our Middlesex and Hertfordshire, and whose centre or 'mother-city' was London." He goes on to point out that at the time of Alfred's great campaigns against the Danes, London had played but little part in English history: "Indeed," he affirms, "for nearly half a century after its conquest by the East Saxons, it wholly disappears from our view." Its position, he goes on to show, was sure eventually to draw in both trade and population, but the Danish war arrested progress.
"To London the war brought all but ruin; so violent, in fact, was the shock to its life that its very bishoprick seemed for a time to cease to exist. The Roman walls must have been broken and ruined, for we hear of no resistance such as that which in later days made the city England's main bulwark against northern attack."
Asser, in his Life of Alfred, tells us plainly enough of the condition of the space within the ruined walls. It must have been that of Pevensey now, or of Silchester before the grass grew over it. Alfred, he says, "restauravit et habitabilem fecit." "To make a town habitable" implies that it was uninhabited; "to restore it" implies that at some previous period it had been what the great king then made it once more. How long this condition of desolation prevailed within the Roman wall we have no information. Unfortunately no successful attempt has been made to discriminate between the Roman masonry, that of Alfred, and that of the successive mediaeval repairs, in the recent examinations of what is left of the wall.
It is well to keep the few chronological facts before us in trying to judge of the influence of the events of 457 on what was left of Roman London. These facts may be briefly stated. In 369 London was Augusta of the Romans. In 457, or ninety-eight years—practically a century—later, the Saxons caught the Britons of London at the ford over the Cray, in Kent, fifteen miles down the Thames, and slew 4,000 of them, the rest flying "in great terror to London." The chronicle does not tell us whether the Saxons entered the city then or not. Judging by analogy, they did enter it then or soon after, and slew the Britons that were left from the slaughter at Crayford. The Britons had certainly ceased out of London when we hear of it again. They had so utterly perished that not a single Celtic or Roman local name was left, except the two already mentioned—Thames and London. There is absolute silence in the chronicle. This ominous silence lasts from 457 to 609. We have, therefore, a hundred years from the departure of the Romans to the battle of Crayford, and 152 years more to the next mention of London; in all 250 years during which there is only one thing certain—namely, that owing to some cause, the British and Roman languages ceased altogether to be spoken or even remembered, and together with them the Roman religion. The change is complete, as well it might be in that long time—as long as between the death of Charles I. and the accession of Edward VII. This blank in the history is all the more marked because no inscriptions have survived. We have a few—very few—examples of writing before the Romans left. We have not a line, not a letter, during those 250 years, and when we find anything again, the writers are Anglo-Saxon—the language is entirely changed, so entirely that not even one local name survives.
It may be necessary to note here that some excellent authorities, finding certain traces of Roman law and customs existing in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, have formed the opinion that such laws were relics of the Roman occupation. It would be interesting if we could accept this view, just as if, for example, we could say that Paternoster Row was so named by the Romans. But, as I shall have to point out a little further, the origin of such usages is obvious without any recourse to the revival of laws dead and buried centuries before; if, indeed, they ever existed among people whose very language had wholly died out and been forgotten. It is, to say the least, unlikely that a continuity should exist in this respect, while the language in which it must have been preserved, orally, if not in records, died out and left not a trace even in a local name.
I had written so far when I received Mr. Gomme's very interesting volume on the Governance of London. I greatly regret to say I cannot make his views fit with most of the facts I have endeavoured to put into chronological order above. For example, Roman London, when walled, was a Christian city. When the Saxons had held it from about 457 to 609, it was, we know, a heathen city, and twice afterwards returned to the worship of Woden and Thor. Is this compatible with the survival of a Roman constitution? Or, again, is there any London custom or law which might not have come to it from the cities of Flanders and Gaul more easily than after the changes and chances of two or three centuries? This is not the place to discuss these and other similar questions, and I for one will be extremely glad if Mr. Gomme can prove his point in the face of so much which seems to tell against him.
The East Saxons, it is pretty certain, made but little use of London. We only hear of it when the King of Kent, Ethelbert, set up Sebert, his sister's son, as King of Essex, and having become Christian himself, sent Mellitus, a Roman priest, to preach to Sebert and his people, making him Bishop of London. So much we learn from the Chronicle under the year 609. Next, in Beda, we read that Ethelbert furthermore built the church of St. Paul in London for Mellitus, "where he and his successors should have their episcopal see." Beda also tells us that the Metropolis of the East Saxons is London; so that when we, at the present day, speak of it as the Metropolis, we mean it is the chief ecclesiastical city of Essex; which shows the absurdity of a phrase very common at the present day. Sebert lived till 616 or later, but there is no distinct mention of his life in London. His supposed burial, whether in St. Paul's or at Westminster, belongs to monkish legendary lore, and cannot be discussed as serious history. When his three sons turned back from Christianity they were attacked and slain by the men of Wessex, who seem to have acquired an ascendancy over the East Saxons which they retained till the Danish wars and the settlement of Alfred.
When we next hear of a bishop, he is a missionary from the West Saxons. The brother of the great Chad, the bishop of the Mercians, Cedd, is invited to preach to the heathen East Saxons by Oswy, King of Northumbria. We may take Oswy as godfather of the East Saxon king, Sigebert; but there are many names with little certainty in the few contemporary records. In the confusion Sigebert is murdered, and of his successor we know nothing. He may have reigned at Kingsbury or at Tilbury, where—not in London—Cedd preached: at Colchester or at St. Albans. Then there comes a story of "simony," in which the influence of Worcester is again apparent. Then, at last, we have some documentary evidence. The kings, or kinglets, of Essex were usually two in number. At this time they were Sebbi and his colleague, Sighere, and they both witness a gift made by their cousin Hothilred to Barking Abbey. The document is printed by Kemble in Codex Diplomaticus (vol. i.), and is dated by him in 692 or 693. After this date again the East Saxons—there is not a word about London—become pagans. Sighere and his people of the "East Saxon province" are mentioned by Beda. The subjects of Sebbi remain steadfast, and if we care to guess they will probably be found to have belonged to the "Middlesaxon province." It is mentioned in a document relating to Twickenham, which is described as in that part of the province, and is signed by Swaebred, King of the East Saxons, under the sanction of Coenred, King of Mercia.
The same year that Hothilred gave his land to Barking, the great legendary benefactor of that nunnery died. This was Erkenwald, Abbot of Chertsey, who had become Bishop of London in 675. Two years before, in 673, there is a distinct mention of a church in London. The Archbishop of Canterbury consecrated a bishop of Dunwich "in the city of London." The next mention is by Beda, who tells us of the appointment of Erkenwald, and immediately after of the death of King Sebbi and his burial "in the church of the blessed apostle of the Gentiles."
It thus appears likely that both Erkenwald and Sebbi lived in London. It does not follow that Erkenwald built or rebuilt Bishopsgate. Newgate was in existence under the name of Westgate very soon after. As it opened near the church, it is surely more likely that Erkenwald rebuilt it than the northern gate; but the history of this bishop is so overlaid with monkish legend that we do not require any guesswork.
In the same way Offa, King of Essex, son of Sighere, is constantly confused with Offa, the great King of Mercia. That one of the two had a house in London is very likely, and is noticed by Matthew Paris. But it is curious that the great Offa's biographers wholly omit to mention London. There were some half-dozen kings of the East Saxons after the abdication of Offa, of Essex, and there is some confusion among them and among the Saxon "dukes" after the submission to Egbert in 823, when we may suppose the Kinglets of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and Essex assumed the lower title.
Now, at last, we come to a document which throws light on the condition of London before the Danish war, and the passage quoted from Green's Conquest of England. This is a grant by Burhed, or Burgred, King of Mercia, afterwards styled Duke, who married a sister of Alfred, and no doubt abdicated the royal title when Egbert became king. In it Burgred gives to Bishop Alhun, of Worcester, a piece of land—"a little cabbage garden," as it may be translated—"in vico Lundoniae; hoc est ubi nominatur Ceolmundingchaga," in the street of London where it is called the enclosure of Ceolmund, "qui est non longe from Uestgetum positus," which is not far from Westgate. We observe the scribe's ignorance of the Latin of "from," and his presumption that those who read the grant would be at least equally ignorant. This grant throws light on the condition of London before the great Danish inroad. There is no building of note along the principal thoroughfare between the modern Newgate and Coleman's enclosure, now, we may safely assume, represented by some part of Coleman Street. Moreover, such an enclosure was possible. Also the ground was occupied by a market garden. There is nothing about a Roman city. There is nothing about a government, municipal or otherwise; there is a king—not of London or of Essex, but of Mercia; and there is a bishop, but he is bishop of Worcester. The date is in full—April 18th, 857. Several other charters occur in which London is named more or less distinctly, and it is evident that the old desolation, if not quite at an end, was at least a circumstance worthy of remark. More than one of these documents speak of the port and of ships resorting to it, and we see the meaning of Green's allusion to the fact that, while London up to that time—namely, the end of the eighth century—had played but little part in English history, its position made it sure to draw both trade and population. Then came the great Danish invasion, the reign and victories of Alfred, the repair of the wall and a new London, England's main bulwark against foreign invasion.
Asser and Stow point out clearly that Alfred's settlement came after a long period of ruin. This period was brought to an end by the renewal of the Roman wall. If we date the events as follows, the slow progress of the re-settlement is apparent. The Danes pervaded London and the neighbourhood in 872. Alfred drove them out twelve years later, in 884. In 886 Alfred commenced his repairs, and before his death in 901, the beginning of the tenth century, he may have seen houses and streets newly rising, some, it is possible, where Roman buildings had stood, but for the most part on wholly new lines. It would not have been like Alfred if he did not leave London with a settled government; and if there are certain foreign usages which can be traced to his time, they had probably been brought in with the concourse of foreign merchants who formed a large part, if not the majority, of the new citizens. A century and a half later they were described by the Norman conqueror as "burghers within London, French and English," and from the prevalence of certain names we find a large Danish element among them, while the term French indicates that perhaps the largest part were either Normans or Gauls from the opposite coast. It is possible that a careful survey of the early history of St. Paul's might bring a few facts to light, whether directly or by inference; but even after the reign of Alfred we have very little knowledge of the condition of the city and its port. It was never taken by the Danes. During the reign of Ethelred "the Unready," the King seems to have been shut up in London while the marauders ravaged the country round. Either the Londoners had great stores of provisions, or they had access to foreign markets. Edgar first recognised the importance of this trade, and no doubt the ill-advised Ethelred, his successor, was well advised in this respect. In years of comparative peace, Edward the Confessor built or rebuilt Westminster Abbey, and lived there; but London trade was not interrupted, and William the Norman was too wise to interfere with it.
We have no remains of Saxon times in the city. The bridge continued to exist, and must have been well fortified. There is a story, which may be true, that Cnut dug a canal through or round Southwark, but as we have seen, this was probably no great feat. He did not succeed in taking London. Soon after, and down to Hastings, Normans, as well as Danes, settled in large numbers in the city, and their names are found in the oldest lists among those of the Saxon aldermen and leading citizens. In the laws of Ethelred, printed by Thorpe, we find two additions to the list of the gates. As we have seen, only two Roman gates are known on the landward side—the Westgate, later known as Newgate, which opened on the Watling Street; and the northern gate, said to have been rebuilt later on a slightly different site, and named Bishopsgate. Ethelred provides for guards at Cripplegate and Aldersgate. This provision seems to show that the gates were then new. Of Aldred, whose name was given to one of them, we have no special knowledge, and Stow supposes it was called "of alders growing there," a typical guess, but nothing to his guess about "Cripplesgate," so called "of cripples resorting there"! But "Crepul geat" is good Anglo-Saxon for a covered way, and the covered way here led to the Barbican. Both gave their names to wards of the city, and in the twelfth century Alwold was alderman of Cripplegate and Brichmar, "who coins the King's money," of Aldersgate, which is distinctly named "Ealdredesgate."
The same document, in which these new gates are mentioned, also gives a few topographical particulars. Thus Billingsgate is mentioned as a place to which ships brought fish, and as being close to the bridge. This was probably what was left of the Roman bridge. It names the merchants of Rouen as entitled to certain consideration in the tax they pay on cargoes of wine. The cities of Flanders, of Normandy, and of France are named in that order, as well as Hogge (Sluys), Leodium (Liege), and Nivella (Nivelle), and there is special mention of the Emperor's men. If any imperial usages, any laws following Roman customs and differing from those of other English cities, prevailed in London it is probably hence that they came, and not through two periods of emptiness and desolation, lasting in all at least 250 years, and probably a good many more.
London comes more and more into prominence in the second half of the eleventh century. Whether this was on account of the increase of its trade and wealth when the Danes had ceased from troubling, or on account of the personal qualities of certain citizens, we cannot now distinguish. The French or Norman element increased, and it is possible to name a few individuals who are known to have lived within the walls both before and after Hastings. Among them are Albert the Lotharingian, after whom Lothbury is called. William "de Pontearch" and William Malet, both of whom are mentioned in histories of the Conquest, were citizens. Ansgar, the Staller, who was Portreeve the year of Hastings, appears to have been, like King Harold, of Danish descent. He was described in Edward the Confessor's great charter to Westminster Abbey as "Esgar, minister," so apparently filled several offices, as well as that of Portreeve. We begin about the same time to hear of a governing guild, and of reeveland, or a portsoken, as its endowment. Sired, a canon of St. Paul's, built a church on land belonging to the Knightenguild. There is mention, apparently, of a son of Sired, who was a priest, about the time of Hastings, among the documents preserved at St. Paul's; but I have, so far, failed to find any reference there to this guild, of which Stow has so much to tell. According to him, it was founded by Edward the Confessor, or perhaps by Edgar, and had a charter from William Rufus. Can it be commemorated in the name of the Guildhall which then fronted Aldermanbury?
More authentic are the charter of the Conqueror and a few facts which go to prove that London and its trading and industrial citizens were but little disturbed by the change of government. Things went on as before. The bishop, himself an alderman, the Portreeve and the burghers, French and English, are addressed "friendly." The liberties, whatever they were—whether, as Mr. Gomme thinks, they had come down from Roman times, or whether, as seems to me so much more likely, they had come over from the cities of the continent—were confirmed to them, and everything went on as before.
One other charter in Norman times may suffice to illustrate the position of the great walled city and its busy and wealthy port under the Norman kings. This was the grant of Middlesex to the citizens by Henry I. This grant, which was only abrogated in 1888 by Act of Parliament, gave London the same rights over the county that were held in those days by the earls and reeves of shires. Dr. Reginald Sharpe seems to think that this charter was granted for a heavy money payment. But there are other ways of looking at the matter. It would appear probable that King Henry recognised the help the city had given him; first, in obtaining the crown, and afterwards in maintaining his position. The King, no doubt, wanted money. The citizens did not expect favours without payment; it would have been contrary to all previous experience. But the gift was a very real boon, one which could not very well have been valued in gold. That a Norman king should have been willing to grant away the deer which his father was said to have loved like his children shows clearly that there was a strong sense of obligation in the King's mind.
The constitution of the city during the reigns of the Norman kings, if we may judge by what we find in twelfth-century documents at St. Paul's and in thirteenth-century documents at the Guildhall, must have been, as Bishop Stubbs and Professor Freeman have pointed out, that of a county. The municipal unity was of the same kind as that of the shire and the hundred. The Portreeve accounted to the King for his dues. He was the justice, and owed his position to popular election as approved by the King. Under him were the aldermen of wards, answering very nearly to lords of manors. The people had their folkmote, answering to the shiremote elsewhere. Their weekly husting eventually became a "county court," and there was besides the wardmote, which still exists, and led eventually to the abolition of proprietary aldermen in favour of aldermen elected by the wards.
At this period the buildings of the city began to assume a certain importance we do not hear of under the Saxons. St. Paul's became a notable example of what we now call Norman architecture. The nave survived until the fire in 1666. The church of St. Mary le Bow, in Cheap, still retains its Norman crypt. The great white tower, with which the Conqueror strengthened the eastern extremity of the Saxon and Roman wall, contains still its remarkable vaulted chapel. A few other relics of the style survive, but St. Bartholomew's is outside the line of the wall.
To the old gates must now be added one more—namely, Ludgate. "Ludgate" or "Lydgate" is like Crepulgate, a Saxon term, and signifies a postern, perhaps a kind of trap door opening with a lid. The exact date is unknown, but the building of a new street across the Fleet, with a bridge of access, is evident from documents mentioning the names of persons who dwelt "ultra fletam," which are found early in the reign of Henry I. Another gate was subsequently added—namely, Aldgate—in or about the beginning of the twelfth century. The names of both these gates have been subjects of much guesswork, not only by such topographers as Stukeley, but even by Stow. Ludgate was, of course, assigned to an imaginary King, Lud, celebrated in the great poem of the Welsh bard, who made London the foundation of descendants of AEneas of Troy. Much of this was extensively believed in the Middle Ages; and some of us imagined that Ludgate might have been called in honour of one of the heroes of the poem, until the real meaning of the word was pointed out. With regard to Aldgate, a meaningless name, we always find it spelled without the "d" in old manuscripts, and usually with an added "e." Stow perceived that to be consistent he must put the "e" in; but he did so in the wrong place, with the result that Alegate or Allgate, perhaps meaning a gate open free to all, is turned into Ealdgate, and has its age wholly mistaken. It was, no doubt, built when the Lea was bridged, traditionally by Queen Maud, about 1110. Previously the paved crossing, the Stratford, was reckoned dangerous, and passengers went out by Bishopsgate and sought a safer crossing at Oldford. The last of the city gates, Moorgate, was not opened till 1415. It was erected for the convenience of citizens passing out among the fields. It is evident that fortification had become a secondary object. Accordingly, it is often described as the most spacious and handsome of the city gates.
The others, especially Ludgate and Newgate, were, we may be sure, judging by Roman and mediaeval fortifications elsewhere, narrow and inconvenient. There was probably an overlapping tower in front of the exit, and the pathway described a semicircle, as we know was the case at the Tower, where the present arrangement, by which a vehicle can drive in, was not possible till the Lion Tower and its overlapping defence, the Conning Tower, were removed. That something of the same kind existed at the Old Bailey is evident on an inspection of the boundary of the ward in a good map, where the overlapping is clearly marked both at Ludgate and at Newgate. The roadways at both places were made straight, the larger archways opened, and the stately portals, suggested by Stukeley and others, erected, if ever, when the wall was no longer regarded as a fortification. This view may, in part at least, account for a statement that the Roman gate, which answered to Bishopsgate, was considerably to the eastward of the mediaeval gate, removed in 1760. The Roman gate, to be useful and at the same time safe, probably consisted of a narrow passage, opening into the city at a point near the northern end of the road from the Bridge. The passage, guarded by towers, would have its exit some distance to the eastward, and probably, before it reached the outer country, passed back under the wall. We see arrangements of this kind at any place, like Pompeii, where a Roman fortification unaltered may be examined.
We have thus, I hope, traced the beginnings of our great city, not so clearly as to its origin as could be wished, but sufficiently as to its development from a Roman fort or bridge head. Others will take up the tale here and show how the walls and gates, the churches and the great castle, the double market and riverside landing places, became by degrees the greatest city in the land. London, rather than royal Winchester, held the balance between Maud and Stephen, and with the election of Henry II., the first Plantagenet, we come upon the establishment of the modern municipal constitution and the long battle for freedom. The Londoner set a pattern to other English burghers. His keenness in trade, his vivacity, his tenacity of liberty and, perhaps above all, the combination of duty and credit which brought him wealth, have made his city what it is—the central feature of a world-wide empire.
THE TOWER OF LONDON
BY HAROLD SANDS, F.S.A.
It has been well and wisely said that "the history of its castles is an epitome of the history of a country," but the metropolis may proudly boast that it still possesses one castle whose history alone forms no bad compendium of the history of England, in the great fortress so familiarly known by the somewhat misleading appellation of "The Tower of London," of which the name of one portion (the keep) has gradually come into use as a synonym for the whole. Of the various fortress-palaces of Europe, not one can lay claim to so long or so interesting a history. The Louvre at Paris, though still in existence, is so as a comparatively modern palace, in which nothing now remains above ground of the castle of Philip Augustus, with its huge circular keep, erected by that monarch in 1204. The Alhambra at Granada is of a by no means so remote antiquity, as the earlier portion of it only dates from 1248, while the Kremlin at Moscow only goes back to 1367. Probably the sole building erected by a reigning monarch as a combined fortress and palace at all comparable with the Tower of London is the great citadel of Cairo, built in 1183 by Saladin, which, like it, is still in use as a military castle; but, secure in its venerable antiquity, the Tower is superior to all. The greater portion of the site upon which the Tower stands has been occupied more or less since A.D. 369, when, according to Ammianus, the Roman wall surrounding the city of London was built. At this point, which may be termed its south-eastern extremity, the wall crossed the gentle slope that descended to the Thames bank, on reaching which it turned westwards, the angle being probably capped by a solid buttress tower or bastion. Although Roman remains have been found at various points within the Tower area, it is not likely that any extensive fortification ever occupied the sloping site within the wall at this point, for the original Roman citadel must be sought for elsewhere, most probably upon the elevated plateau between the valley of the Wallbrook, and Billingsgate, where even now there stands in Cannon Street, built into a recess in the wall of St. Swithin's church, a fragment of the ancient Roman milestone, or milliarium (known as "London Stone"), from which all distances along the various Roman roads of Britain are believed to have been reckoned. From what is known of the Roman system of fortification, it is obviously improbable that there should have been any extensive fortress erected upon the site where the Tower now stands. Not only would this have been opposed to the Roman practice of placing the arx, or citadel, as far as possible in a central and dominating position, but in the present instance it would actually have been commanded by higher ground to the north and west, while to the east free exit to the open country would have been seriously impeded by the extensive marshes (not as yet embanked and reclaimed) that then skirted the northern bank of the Thames.
According to the Saxon Chronicle, King Alfred "restored" London in 886, and rebuilt the city wall, where it had become ruinous, upon the line of the ancient Roman one; and, until the Norman Conquest, it seems to have remained practically unaltered, nor does it appear to have been damaged by the various Danish attacks in 994, 1009, and 1016, though frequently repaired afterwards during the Middle Ages. Without the wall was a wide and deep ditch, while between the edge of the ditch and the foot of the wall was the characteristic "berm," or external terrace, about ten feet in width. There is every reason to suppose that this wall and ditch extended right across what is now the inner ward, or bailey of the Tower, as far as what was then the river bank, to a point somewhere near the site of the present Lanthorn Tower "k," where it turned to the west; for when, in 1895, the range of buildings of fourteenth century date (then known as the Great Wardrobe, "3") that formerly concealed the eastern face of the White Tower was removed, part of the ancient Roman wall was found to have been preserved within it, and a fragment, having the usual bonding courses of Roman tile bricks, has been spared, which may now be seen above ground close to the south-east angle of the keep, together with the remains of the Wardrobe Tower "s." If a line is drawn northward from this point across the present moat, it will be found to meet what remains of the old city wall, which is still partly visible above ground in a yard known as "Trinity Place," leading out of the eastern side of Trinity Square, on Great Tower Hill. Such Roman remains as have been found within the Tower area do not tend to favour the supposition that any large buildings, save ordinary dwellings of the period, ever occupied the site. On his first approach to the city from Kent, when Duke William discovered that so long as he was unable to cross the Thames London could not be immediately reduced, after burning Southwark in order to strike terror into the citizens, he left it a prey to internal dissensions, and having in the meantime received the submission of the ancient Saxon capital of Winchester, he passed round, through Surrey, Berkshire, and Hertfordshire, by a route, upon which the ravages of the Normans are clearly indicated in Domesday Book, to a position on the north of London, thus gradually severing its communications with the rest of England, so that neither men nor convoys of provisions could enter its walls. Placing camps at Slough, Edmonton, and Tottenham, William himself remained some distance to the rear of these last with the main body of the army, and it seems probable that the actual surrender of London took place at or near Little Berkhampstead, in Hertfordshire, some four miles to the east of Hatfield, and then about eighteen miles to the north of the city, which could be seen in the distance from the high ground hard by.
According to Orderic, William, after his coronation at Westminster, spent some days at Berkhampstead, during which "some fortifications were completed in the city for a defence against any outbreaks by its fierce and numerous population." Meagre in details as is the history of this early period, it would appear from the foregoing passage that William caused two castles to be erected, one at either end of the city, hard by the river bank, the western one becoming the castle of that Ralph Baynard who gave his name to it and to the ward; the eastern one (after the building of its stone keep) receiving the appellation of the Tower of London.
When erected on new sites, the early castles seem to have consisted of a bailey, or court, enclosed by wooden palisades, and a lofty circular mound, having its apex crowned by a wooden tower dwelling, also within a stockade, the whole enclosed by a ditch common to both; but though nothing remains of these early castles in London, it seems probable that the mound was dispensed with, and that the angle of the wall was utilized to form a bailey, the side open to the city being closed by a ditch and bank, crowned by stout palisades of timber, while the Roman wall would be broken through where the ditch abutted upon it at either end, the whole bearing a strong resemblance (allowing for the difference in the site) to the castle of Exeter. Orderic goes on to say that William at once built a strong castle at Winchester, to the possession of which he evidently attached greater importance than that of London, where the great stone keep was probably not even commenced till quite a decade later, though Pommeraye, in a note to his edition of Orderic, tells us "that it was built upon the same plan as the old Tower of Rouen, now destroyed."
The advantages of the site selected for the Tower were considerable, the utilization of the existing Roman wall to form two sides of its bailey, its ditch isolating it from the city, while it was so placed on the river as to command the approach to the Saxon trade harbour at the mouth of the Wallbrook, then literally the port of London, and with easy access to the open country should a retreat become necessary.
It is much to be regretted that London was omitted from the Domesday Survey, for that invaluable record might have furnished us with some information as to the building of the Tower, and perhaps revealed in one of those brief but pithy sentences, pregnant with suggestion, some such ruthless destruction of houses as took place in Oxford and elsewhere in order to clear a site for the King's new castle. Unless the site were then vacant, or perhaps only occupied by a vineyard (for these are mentioned in Domesday Book as existing at Holborn and Westminster), some such clearance must obviously have been made for even the first temporary fortifications of the Conqueror, although contemporary history is silent as to this. The Saxon Chronicle tells us that "upon the night of August the 15th, 1077, was London burned so extensively as it never was before since it was founded," which may have determined William to replace the temporary eastern fortification by an enlarged and permanent castle, he having then completed the conquest of England and crushed the rebellions of his turbulent baronage.
Although the art of the military engineer was then in its infancy, the Conqueror seems to have selected as his architect one already famous for his skill. Gundulf, then just appointed Bishop of Rochester, was no ordinary man. The friend and protege of Archbishop Lanfranc, by whom he had been brought to England in 1070, he had as a young man been on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and doubtless profited by his travels and the opportunity afforded of inspecting some of the architectural marvels of the Romano-Byzantine engineers. Although Gundulf had rebuilt the cathedral of Rochester, to which he added the large detached belfry tower that still bears his name, built other church towers at Dartford, and St. Leonard's, West Malling (long erroneously supposed to have been an early Norman castle keep), and founded at the latter place an abbey of Benedictine nuns, his reputation as an architect rests chiefly on his having designed the keep of the Tower of London (probably that of Colchester also), and built the stone wall round the new castle at Rochester for William Rufus. While engaged in superintending the erection of London keep, Gundulf lodged in the house of one Eadmer Anhoende, a citizen of London, probably a friend of the Bishop, for we find his name occurring as a generous donor to Gundulf's new cathedral at Rochester, where, by his will, he directed his own body and that of his wife to be interred, and to have an obit annually. Gundulf's work therefore consisted of the great keep (afterwards called the White Tower), which he erected close to the line of the Roman city wall, and some fifteen or twenty feet within it. At first this was probably (like its sister keep at Colchester) only enclosed by a shallow ditch and a high earthen bank, crowned by a stout timber palisade, the city wall forming two sides of its perimeter, and probably broken through where the ditch infringed upon it at either end. With the sole exception of Colchester keep, which, as will be seen from the following table of dimensions, is considerably larger, the tower or keep of the castle of London exceeds in size the great rectangular keep of every other castle in the British Isles. Unfortunately, the two upper stories of Colchester keep have been destroyed, but sufficient remains (coupled with the resemblance of its plan to that of the White Tower) to show that both were designed by the same hand and erected about the same period, while both alike were royal castles.
TABLE OF COMPARATIVE DIMENSIONS
LONDON. COLCHESTER. Length (North to South) over all 121 feet 170 feet Ditto within Buttresses 118 " 153 " Breadth (East to West) over all 100 " 130 " Ditto within Buttresses 98 " 115 " Breadth of Apse 42 " 48 " Diameter of Apse 21 " 24 " Length (on South Side) over all 128 " 153 " Number of Stories 4 now 2 Total Height 92 feet —- Height of Two Lower Stories 42 " 32 feet Thickness of Walls 15 " 14 "
Thanks to the drastic removals of recent years, the White Tower stands to-day very much as when first erected. In plan it is practically rectangular, but the north-east angle is capped by a projecting circular turret containing the great main staircase that ascends from the basement to the roof, serving each floor en passant, while the south angle of the east face has a large semicircular projection that contains the apse of the chapel. The main staircase terminates in a large circular turret of two stories, that rises some twenty-nine feet above the roof. The other angles terminate in three rectangular turrets about fourteen feet square, and twenty-seven feet high above the roof. The walls are at the base some fifteen feet in thickness, exclusive of the steep battering plinth from which they rise, and which slopes sharply outwards. They diminish by set-offs at each floor. The interior is divided into two unequally sized chambers by a cross-wall ten feet in thickness, running from north to south. Of these, the eastern one is again subdivided by a thick cross-wall at its southern end, which is carried up solid to the roof, while on the upper floors the central wall is perforated by arcades of three, and four perfectly plain semicircular headed arches. To the north and west the basement floor is about sixteen feet below the existing ground level, which falls rapidly along the east side, and on the south it is practically on the ground level, as the ground there has not been artificially raised. The two larger chambers of the basement have a modern plain brick barrel vault. The well, a plain ashlar pipe six feet in diameter, is in the south-western angle of the floor in the western chamber. The south-eastern chamber retains its original stone barrel vault. This forms the sub-crypt of the crypt below St. John's Chapel, and is lighted, or at least its darkness is made dimly visible, by a single small loop in the east wall. It is now known as "Little Ease," and is said to have served as the prison of Guy Fawkes. The basement chambers have boldly sloped recesses in the walls, with small loops high up in their heads, which afford the minimum of air and light; but as they were only used for stores, this was not of great importance. Ascending by the main staircase to the second floor, the same subdivision into three chambers is continued, but these were lighted by larger loops, that have been converted into larger windows at the time of Sir Christopher Wren's renovations in 1663. The crypt of the chapel opens from the eastern chamber, and has in its north wall a singular dark cell eight feet wide and ten feet long, in the thickness of the wall, in which Sir Walter Raleigh is said to have once been imprisoned. The western chamber has in its north-west angle a latrine, or garderobe, in the thickness of the wall. At the west end of its south face is a large original opening, with parallel sides, having niches in them. The masonry shows traces of where the arch and door jambs have been torn away and the present large window substituted, probably during Wren's alterations. There is little room to doubt that this was the original door of entrance, placed, as is usual, some distance above ground, and probably reached by an external flight of steps, now removed, protected by a similar fore building to that of Rochester keep.
Proceeding by the main stair to the third floor, we enter first what is known as the "Banqueting Hall," which is lighted by four large windows, and has a fireplace in its east wall, with two latrine chambers in its north and east walls. Passing through a low doorway in the partition wall, we enter the great western chamber, which has a fireplace in its west wall, a latrine in its north wall, and is lighted by eight large windows. Two newel staircases in the western angles ascend to the battlements. In the south wall is a doorway leading to a passage at the head of a small newel stair, which, rising from a door in the wall on the floor below, formerly afforded a direct communication from the palace to the chapel of St. John upon the third floor, without entering the keep. At the foot of this stair, in the time of Charles II., some bones in a chest were discovered by workmen engaged in repairs, which were said to be those of the murdered Edward V. and his brother the Duke of York. These were transferred; by the King's instructions, to the vaults of Westminster Abbey.
Ascending to the fourth floor, there are two large rooms separated by the cross-wall, the arcade of which was probably filled in with wooden partitions. The larger or western room is known as the "Council Chamber," and the other as the "Royal Apartments." Neither has any fireplace. Over the vaulting of the chapel, close under the flat, lead roof, there is a curious cell about seven feet high, lighted by small loop windows, which extends the entire length of the chapel. Formerly used as a prison, it must have subjected its miserable inmates to even more trying variations of heat and cold than the famous "Piombi" of Venice.
With the exception of the chapel, its crypt, and sub-crypt, which were vaulted throughout, all the floors were originally of wood, and were supported on double rows of stout oak posts, which in their turn sustained the massive oak main floor beams.
The forebuilding, on the south face of the keep, was probably added by Henry II. It survived until 1666, as it is shown in a view of the Tower executed by Hollar about that date; but it appears to have been removed prior to 1681.
The chapel of St. John is a fine example of early Norman ecclesiastical architecture. It consists of a nave, with vaulted aisles, having an apsidal eastern termination. It is covered by a plain barrel vault, and on the fourth floor level has a triforial gallery, also vaulted. It is connected by two doors with the gallery in the thickness of the wall that surrounds this floor, from one of the windows of which it is said that Bishop Ralph Flambard effected his remarkable escape.
It is probable that at first (except the chapel, which was covered by its own independent roof) there were two separate high-pitched roofs, one covering each division, and not rising above the battlements, the wall gallery serving as a kind of additional fighting deck, for which reason it was carried round the triforium of the chapel. As the need for this diminished, two large additional rooms were gained by raising the central wall a story, and superposing a flat, lead roof.
The absence of privacy, fireplaces, and sanitary accommodation on this fourth floor, with the cold draughts from the stairways and windows of the wall-gallery, must have been well-nigh intolerable; nor could wooden screens, hangings, or charcoal brasiers have rendered it endurable. It is not surprising, therefore, that under Henry III. the palace was considerably enlarged, or that these chambers were abandoned by him for warmer quarters below, in the Lanthorn Tower "k," and its new turret "J" although the chapel and council chamber continued to be used down to a much later date.
After the siege of Rochester by William Rufus in 1088, Gundulf had built a stone wall round the new castle of Rochester. This probably moved the King to enclose the Tower of London with a similar wall, for the Saxon Chronicle tells us that in 1091 "a stone wall was being wrought about the Tower, a stone bridge across the Thames was being built, and a great hall was being erected at Westminster, whereby the citizens of London were grievously oppressed."
Now, as Gundulf did not die until 1108, it is by no means improbable that, while superintending the erection of these two great towers at London and Colchester, he also constructed the stone wall round the former, for the chronicler says of him that "in opere caementarii plurimum sciens et efficax erat."
As it is on record that the smaller keep of Dover, built by Henry II. nearly a century later, was upwards of ten years in construction, while some additional time had been consumed—in the collection of materials and workmen—with the preliminary preparation of the site, it does not seem probable that the great Tower of London (honeycombed as its walls are with cells and mural passages) could have been erected in a much shorter space of time. When the ruder appliances of the earlier period are taken into account, such a keep could not have been built in a hurry, for time would be needed to allow the great mass of the foundation to gradually settle, and for the mortar to set. Although preparations for its erection may have begun as early as 1083, it seems more probable that the White Tower was not commenced much before 1087, or completed before 1097.
Stow, quoting from FitzStephen's Description of London, mentions the White Tower as being "sore shaken by a great tempest of wind in the year 1091," which, as I do not (with the conspicuous modesty of the late Professor Freeman) "venture to set aside the authority of the chronicles" when they have the audacity to differ from my preconceived ideas, seems to me reasonable ground upon which to argue that not only was the White Tower then in course of erection, but that in that year the works were not in a very advanced state. That it must have been completed prior to 1100 is evidenced by the fact that King Henry I., on succeeding to the throne in August of that year, committed to the custody of William de Mandeville, then Constable of the Tower, his brother's corrupt minister, Ranulph (or Ralph) Flambard, Bishop of Durham. The chronicler exultingly tells us that he was ordered "to be kept in fetters, and in the gloom of a dungeon," which must have been either "Little Ease" or the small dark cell opening from the crypt of St. John's Chapel, afterwards rendered famous by the imprisonment there of Sir Walter Raleigh.
Although the great fortress-palace was to subsequently acquire a most sinister reputation as a state prison, yet the present is the first recorded instance of the committal of a great and notorious offender to its dungeon cells. Subsequently, however, the severity of the bishop's imprisonment appears to have been somewhat mitigated, for the King ordered him to be allowed the large sum of two shillings a day for his maintenance; so that, although a prisoner, he was enabled to fare sumptuously.
One day after the Christmas of 1101, a long rope having been secretly conveyed to him, concealed in a cask of wine, by one of his servants, he caused a plentiful banquet to be served up, to which he invited his keepers, and having intoxicated them to such a degree that they slept soundly, the bishop secured the cord to a mullion in one of the double windows of the southern wall-gallery in the keep, and, catching up his pastoral staff, began to lower himself down. Having forgotten to put on gloves, and being a heavy, stout man, the rope severely lacerated his hands, and as it did not reach the ground he fell some feet and was severely bruised. His trusty followers had horses in readiness, on one of which they mounted him. The party fled to the coast, took ship, and crossed over to Normandy to seek refuge with Duke Robert. After some time had elapsed, he contrived to make his peace with Henry, who allowed him to return to England, when he regained his See of Durham, of which he completed the cathedral, and also added to the works of the great castle there. The window from which he is supposed to have escaped is over sixty-five feet from the ground, and his evasion was evidently considered at the time a most audacious and remarkable feat, as more than one contemporary chronicler gives a very detailed and circumstantial account of it.
It is not until the Edwardian period of our history that we find castles used as places for the secure detention of captives. In the earlier Norman times dungeons were of little use, their policy being one of ruthless extermination, or of mutilation, in order to strike terror into rebellious populations. Only persons of the most exalted rank, such as Duke Robert of Normandy, Bishops Odo, of Bayeux, and Ralph Flambard, of Durham, Earl Roger, the son of William FitzOsbern, with a few distinguished Saxon captives, underwent a prolonged imprisonment.
The Tower of London as it exists to-day has, by a slow process of gradual accretion round the keep as a nucleus, become what is known as a "concentric" castle, or one upon the concentric plan, from the way in which one ward encloses another; and its architectural history falls, roughly speaking, into three chief periods covered by the reigns of William Rufus, Richard I., and Henry III., all the more important additions to the fortress occurring approximately within these periods, as will be seen later on.
Commencing with the building of the great keep (now called the White Tower), and the small inner or palace ward to the south of it, by William the Conqueror, this at first was probably only enclosed by a stout timber palisade on the top of a raised bank of earth, having a ditch at its base. The first recorded stone wall round the Tower was that of William Rufus, already mentioned, and it is not improbable that the wall marked "v" on the plan (only discovered in 1899 during the erection of the new guard house) may have formed part of his work.
But little is known to have been added by Henry I. The sole remaining Pipe Roll of his reign only records a payment of L17 0s. 6d. "in operatione Turris Lundoniae," without any further mention of what these works were, and as the amount is not very large, it is not probable that they included anything of much importance. That the smaller inner or palace ward to the south of the keep was already completed, is shown by a charter of the Empress Maud, dated Midsummer, 1141, which granted to Geoffrey de Mandeville (then Constable of the Tower, and third of his family to hold that important office) the custody of the Tower, worded as follows: "Concedo illi, et heredibus suis, Turris Lundoniae cum 'parvo castello' quod fuit Ravengeri"; and this "little castle" is the before mentioned inner or palace ward, though how or where this was originally entered from the city nothing now remains to tell us—most probably at or near the point subsequently occupied by the Cold Harbour Gate "u," at the south-west angle of the "turris," or White Tower "r," for it is but seldom that the original entrance gates of castle baileys or courtyards are removed, unless in the case of an entire re-arrangement of the plan, with the consequent rebuilding thereby rendered necessary.
Owing to the state of anarchy that prevailed during the troubled reign of Stephen, and the destruction of all the Pipe Rolls and other records that resulted, it is improbable that any extensive works were in progress during that period.
Although the Pipe Rolls of Henry II. record a total amount expended upon works at the Tower of L248 6s. 8d., but little appears to have been added as to which we can speak with any certainty, unless it be the forebuilding of the keep "y" (long since destroyed), the gatehouse of the inner ward "u," and perhaps the basement of the hall or Wakefield tower "l."
As at first constructed, the White Tower (like its fellow at Colchester) had no forebuilding covering the original entrance, which was at the western extremity of its south front, upon the first floor, then some twenty-five feet above the external ground level. The small doorway leading to the flight of stairs in the south wall which ascends to St. John's Chapel, by which visitors now enter the keep, is not, and is far too small in size to have ever been, the original entrance.
On the Pipe Rolls there are frequent entries of sums for the repairs of the "King's houses in the Tower," probably the great hall "x," with its kitchen and other appendant buildings; "of the chapel" (obviously that of St. Peter, as that of St. John in the keep would hardly be in need of any structural repairs at so early a date); and "of the gaol." These last doubtless stood in an outer ward added by Henry I., and at first probably only enclosed by the usual ditch and earthen rampart, furnished with stout wooden palisades.
It is somewhat difficult to assign any precise date for the first foundation of the "Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula apud turrim." It is not probable that it was contemporary with the Chapel of St. John, but was doubtless erected by Henry I. when he enlarged the area of the outer ward of the Tower; as this necessitated a considerable increase to the permanent garrison, St. John's Chapel in the keep would no longer suffice for their accommodation, and a new chapel would become necessary. If St. Peter's Chapel had only been parochial (which at its first erection it was not), it might have been possible to ascertain the precise date of its foundation.
In 20 Henry II. (or 1174), Alnod, the engineer, received the sum of L11 13s. 4d. for works at the Tower. Other payments occur for sheet-lead for the repairs of the chapel, the carriage of planks, and timber for the kitchen, the gateway of the gaol (probably Cold Harbour Gate "u"), various repairs to the "King's houses within the bailey of the Tower," and occasionally for the repairs to the "turris" or great keep itself. This, when first built, was of rough rag-stone, rudely coursed, with very open joints in thick mortar, so that these repairs (consisting, doubtless, of patching and pointing) occur with more or less frequency.
Not until 1663 did the keep receive its final disfigurement, at the hands of Sir Christopher Wren, who cased part of the exterior in Portland stone, rebuilt two of the angle turrets, and "Italianised" all the window openings, thereby obliterating many valuable mediaeval details.
All these outlays are certified by the view and report of two inspecting officials, Edward Blund and William Magnus, the works being carried out by Alnod, while the writs authorising payments were signed by one or other of the justiciars, Ranulph de Glanville and Richard de Lucy, or by the King himself.
The following reign marks a period of great constructive activity at the Tower. The new monarch was one of the foremost military engineers of the age; and when we consider the valuable experience in the art of war which he had already gained, in the decade prior to his accession to the throne, in conducting (while Count of Poitiers and Duke of Aquitaine) various sieges of the castles of his rebellious barons in those provinces, it seems improbable that he would have been satisfied to leave the Tower in the condition it then was, with a keep standing in a small inner ward, enclosed by a plain stone curtain wall, devoid of any projecting towers, unless perhaps the base of the Hall tower, and the Cold Harbour Gate (see plan), and a large outer ward, only enclosed by a wooden palisade and ditch.
Richard must have been well aware of the enormous increase to the power of effective defence conferred by salient or boldly projecting towers flanking with their fire the curtain walls, which in England, at any rate, were then somewhat of a novelty. At this time the Tower was extremely defective in this respect, its great need being not for mere repairs, but for effective modernization as a fortress.
Before embarking upon the hazardous enterprise of the third Crusade, Richard left his trusted Chancellor, William Longchamp, to carry out an extensive series of new works at the Tower, all of which were probably from the designs of the sovereign himself.
In his valuable monograph upon the Tower, the late G. T. Clark, F.S.A., has fallen into a strange error as to the actual amount expended upon works there during the earlier years of the reign of Richard I., which he states "do not show above one or two hundred pounds of outlay." When this rather dogmatic assertion is tested by reference to the existing documentary evidence of the Public Records, its glaring inaccuracy is at once apparent; indeed, it might fitly serve as an illustration of Pope's well-known lines:
"A little learning is a dangerous thing, Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring."
The Pipe Roll of 2 Richard I. discloses an expenditure, "ad operationes turris Lundoniae," amounting to no less than L2,881 1s. 10d., in itself a sufficiently large sum, but one which, when multiplied twenty-fold in order to bring it up to its present-day value, is increased to L57,621 16s. 8d. of our modern money!
The custody of the Tower was entrusted by Longchamp to one of his dependents, William Puinctel, who seems to have acted as Constable and superintendent of the new works, according to the Pipe Roll of 2 Richard I.
It is well known that all the contributions levied in the King's name do not invariably appear set out in full in the records, and there were certainly other sources of revenue open to the Chancellor, of which he doubtless took the fullest advantage. The difficulty in this case is not so much his raising the funds needed for carrying out these works (which he undoubtedly did), but to account for their rapid completion in so short a time.
If, however, it was possible, only seven years later, for Richard himself to build, in a far more inaccessible situation, the entire castle of Chateau Gaillard in the short space of a single year, it need not have been so difficult for Longchamp to carry out in two or three years the works we are about to describe, especially when we consider that he had practically unlimited funds at his disposal.
Until the period of which we write, the area enclosed by the Tower fortifications lay wholly within, and to the west of the ancient city wall, which had been utilized to form its eastern curtain. The perimeter was now to be largely increased by the addition of a new outer ward, "W," extending entirely round the fortress, having a new curtain wall of stone, furnished with two large bastions (now entirely re-modelled and modernised), known as the "Legge Mount" and "Brass Mount" towers, "S" and "T." The so-called "North Bastion," capping the salient angle of the wall between them, being a purely modern work of recent date, has been intentionally omitted from the plan.
The inner ward now received a large addition. To the east of the White Tower, the old Roman city wall, where it crossed the line of the new works (see plan), was entirely demolished, and a new wall, some one hundred and eighty feet further to the east, and studded with numerous towers at frequent intervals, took its place, and on the north, west, and south replaced the former palisaded bank and ditch. Most of these towers, as at first constructed, were probably open at the gorge, or inner face, and not until a later period were they raised a stage, closed at the gorge, and in several instances had the early fighting platforms of timber replaced by stone vaulting.
When the remains of the Wardrobe Tower "s" were exposed some years ago by the removal of the buildings formerly known as the "Great Wardrobe," "z" about sixteen feet of the Roman city wall was found to have been incorporated with it; and so recently as 1904 several excavations were made immediately to the south of it in order to ascertain, if possible, whether any traces of the continuation southwards towards the river of the line of the Roman wall could be found, or any foundations indicating the point at which it turned westwards; but the demolitions and rebuildings upon the site have been so numerous and so frequent that all traces have been obliterated, nor is it probable that any other remains of the Roman wall will ever be laid bare within the Tower area.
A plain outer wall, devoid of towers, faced the river, and some kind of an entrance gateway must have been erected at the south-west angle of the new outer ward, where now stands the Byward Gate, "F." The inner ward was probably entered by a gate, now replaced by the Bloody Tower Gate, "m." A wide and deep ditch was also excavated round the new works, which the Chancellor appears to have expected would be filled by the Thames; but inasmuch as it was not provided with any dams or sluices for retaining the water when the tide was out (a work carried out successfully in a later reign), the chroniclers record with great exultation that this part of Longchamp's work was a comparative failure.
The level of the greater part of the inner ward, "7," is (as will be seen by the figures upon the plan, which represent the heights in feet above the mean sea-level) some fifteen feet above that of the outer ward, and but little below that of Great Tower Hill. It seems probable that much of the clay from the ditch excavated by Longchamp was piled up round the western and northern sides of this inner ward, thus completely burying the base or battering plinth of the keep (now only visible at the south-eastern angle), while at the same time it served as a revetment to the curtain wall, and strengthened the city side of the fortress against any attack.
Whilst these works were in progress, the Chancellor seems to have seized upon some lands of the Priory of the Holy Trinity in East Smithfield, and removed a mill belonging to St. Katherine's Hospital. These illegal usurpations, coupled with his excessive and unscrupulous taxation of clergy and laity alike for the conduct of these new works, seem to have aroused great indignation at the time, and doubtless contributed to his sudden downfall. His high-handed proceedings appear to have formed a ground for claims, not settled until, long years afterwards, a rent, by way of compensation for the land so unjustly taken, was paid by Edward I.
In 3 Richard I. the Pipe Roll records further expenditure upon lime, stone, timber, brushwood, "crates" (a kind of wickerwork hurdle), and stakes or piles for works at the Tower.
In 5 Richard I. there is an outlay upon a "palicium," or palisade, "furnished with mangonels (or stone-casting engines) and other things necessary," "circa turrim Lond," which probably refers to an outwork or barbican covering the western entrance gate, for the expression "turrim" must here be taken in its widest sense as we should now employ it, meaning not merely the keep, but the whole castle.
The total amount expended during the last five years of Richard's reign was only L280 14s. 10d., so that all the extensive new works previously referred to were probably completed before 1194.
Lest it be thought that undue importance has been attached to the extensive use of timber stockades or palisades for the first defensive works at the Tower, it may here be conveniently pointed out that, with but few exceptions, the early castles were of earth and timber only. The keep-towers, as well as the palisades, were of timber, and the constant employment of timber by mediaeval military engineers extended into the fourteenth century!
The lower bailey of the royal castle at Windsor was not walled with stone until 1227, yet we find it in 1216 successfully resisting for upwards of three months a vigorous siege (aided by projectile engines) by the combined forces of the French and the Barons.
Still later, we find Edward I. erecting a strong temporary castle in timber at Flint in his Welsh war of 1277; and, again, in his Scotch war, building small castles, with keeps and gatehouses, in timber, called "Peels," at Dumfries, Linlithgow, Lochmaben, Selkirk, and elsewhere in 1300 and subsequent years.
The Pipe Rolls of John show an outlay for the entire reign of some L420 19s. 81/2d. on sundry works at the Tower, carried out by Master Elias, the engineer, and Master Robert de Hotot, the master carpenter; but, save for the stereotyped item of repairs to the King's houses, deepening the ditch on the north towards the city, and building a mud or clay wall round the Tower precinct or "liberty" (frequently mentioned in surveys of later date), nothing is named, except the "Church of St. Peter at the Tower," from which, in 1210, we find the King granting to one Osbert, a knight, a gift of ten marks, and a hundred shillings to buy a horse for his journey to Poitou. The Devereux tower, "c," the Bell tower, "a," Wardrobe tower, "s," and Cold Harbour gate, were probably all completed about this time.
We now arrive at the long reign of Henry III., during which the various Rolls are full of detailed information as to alterations, repairs, and new works at the Tower, which, full of interest as they are, considerations of space forbid our quoting in extenso.
In 1221 occurs the first instance of a body of prisoners being sent to the Tower. They were taken at the siege of Bytham Castle, in Lincolnshire, from whence seven men with carts were employed in their transport to London, while sixteen iron rings were made for their safe custody. New barriers in timber were erected, and a well was made, perhaps that at "w," but not probably that now existing in the basement of the keep. A new tower adjoining the hall is built, probably the upper story of the Hall tower, "l," having a roof of lead, and a chapel or oratory, which still exists in this tower, and so helps in its identification.
The Liberate Roll of 23 Henry III. contains directions from the King to the Constable relative to the "whitewashing and painting of the Queen's chamber, within our chamber, with flowers on the pointings, and cause the drain of our private chamber to be made in the fashion of a hollow column, as our beloved servant, John of Ely (probably the King's favourite clerk and famous pluralist, John Mansel), shall more fully declare unto thee."
The chronicler records the fall of a handsome gate, with outworks and bastions, on the night of St. George's Day, April 23rd, 1240, probably from inattention to the foundations. The King, on hearing of it, ordered the fallen structure to be more securely rebuilt. A year later the same thing happened again, which the chronicler states was due to the supernatural interference of St. Thomas a Becket, and that the citizens of London were nothing sorry, for they had been told that a great number of separate cells had been constructed in the fallen towers, to the end that many might be confined in divers prisons, and yet have no communication one with another.
After more than 12,000 marks had been thus fruitlessly expended, the King, in order to propitiate the saint, after ordering the tower to be rebuilt for the third time, and called by his name, also ordered a small oratory to be constructed in its south-east turret. Whether the saint allowed himself to be thus propitiated, or that greater care had been bestowed upon its foundations, this tower, which at first served as the water gate of the fortress, and was known as that of St. Thomas, "I," was in Tudor times used as a landing-place for state prisoners, and thence derived its dismal but better known appellation of "Traitors' Gate."
This tower, though "restored" in 1866, still stands as solidly as when first erected. Its wide interior arch of sixty-one feet span, with joggled arch stones, is a most remarkable piece of work.
The legend may be considered as evidence that about 1239-1241 the King was engaged in constructing all the great works upon the south or river front of the Tower. The Middle Tower gate, "E," the Byward Tower gate, "F," the dam or bridge between them, the before-mentioned water gate, "I," the Lanthorn tower, "k," its new turret, "J," the south postern or Cradle tower, "K," the Well tower, "L," the tower leading to the east postern, "M," the dam, with its bridge and sluices for the retention of the water in the ditch, and the east postern, "N," were each and all of them works of sufficient importance to be replaced, no matter what the cost, when destroyed by the subsidence of foundations probably insufficient when placed upon a footing of wet and treacherous London clay so near the shifting foreshore of the river. The great quay, or wharf, "Kaia Regis," "O," is first mentioned in 1228. The distinction of having been (albeit unconsciously) the founder of the present Zoological Society might well be claimed for Henry III., as, although Henry I. had a collection of wild beasts at Woodstock Palace, yet in this reign the menagerie at the Tower is first mentioned.