Château-Gaillard, the “Saucy Castle” of Cœur-de-Lion, the work of one year of his brief reign, and the enduring monument of his skill as a military engineer, is in its position and details one of the most remarkable, and in its history one of the most interesting of the castles of Normandy. Although a ruin, enough remains to enable the antiquary to recover all its leading particulars. These particulars, both in plan and elevation, are so peculiar that experience derived from other buildings throws but an uncertain light upon their age; but of this guide, usually so important, they are independent, from the somewhat uncommon fact that the fortress is wholly of one date, and that date is on record. Moreover, within a few years of its construction, whilst its defences were new and perfect, with a numerous garrison and a castellan, one of the best soldiers of the Anglo-Norman baronage, it was besieged by the whole disposable force of the most powerful monarch of his day; and the particulars of the siege have been recorded by a contemporary historian with a minuteness which leaves little for the imagination to supply, and which, by the help of the place and works, but little changed, enables us to obtain a very clear comprehension of the manner in which great fortresses were attacked and defended at the commencement of the thirteenth century.
THE castle of Cardiff, though not unknown to border fame, has been the theatre of no great historical event, nor does it present any very striking peculiarities of position, scenery, or structure. Its claim to more than local interest rests upon the character and fortunes of the great barons whose inheritance and occasional residence it was from the 11th to the 15th century, from the reign of Rufus to that of Henry VI. Probably a Roman castrum, and certainly a hold of the local British princes, it was won, in 1090, by the sword of Robert Fitzhamon, lord of the Honour of Gloucester, and by him constituted the “caput” of his newly acquired seignory of Morgan and Glamorgan.
Caerphilly Castle, Ground plan
A Inner Ward.
B Middle Ward.
C Kitchen Tower and Water Gate.
D Outer Ward.
E Great Gatehouse and Pier.
F North Postern.
G South Postern.
I Outer Water Gate.
For the purpose of the description of the castle itself, the whole may be considered as composed of five parts, each of which will be further subdivided. These parts are:—
I.—The Grand Front. II.—The Horn-work. III.—The Redoubt. IV.—The Middle Ward. V.—The Inner Ward.
Caernarvon was begun in 1283, immediately upon the execution of David, the last Welsh prince. The first work was that of quarrying the cross ditch, and collecting materials and workmen, the latter being drafted from the English counties. Caernarvon, Conway, Criccaeth, and Harlech, were in progress together, and nothing short of the hope of consolidating his kingdom could have induced so economical a sovereign as Edward to incur expenses which, in one year, for Caernarvon alone, amounted to above £3,000. The king was here for the first time in 1284, in which year, April 25th, Edward of Caernarvon was born, probably in the town.
A bird’s-eye view of the castle from the north-west. In the front and centre is the King’s Gatehouse, and next, on the spectator’s right, is the Well Tower, and beyond it, the Eagle Tower. On the extreme left is the interior of the Queen’s Gatehouse, placed between the Granary Tower on the left and the Black Tower. Opposite to the King’s Gate is the Exchequer Tower, and between it and the Eagle is the Prince’s Tower. In the lower or right-hand court are seen the foundations of the hall; next on the left of the King’s Gate is the Dungeon Tower.
The illustration shows the allure or rampart-walk of the Eagle Tower. The rear wall, if it ever existed, has been removed. The cut shows the merlon, with its contained loop, the plain flat-sided embrasure, and the figures placed upon the ridge of the coping, one of which gives name to the tower. The small, shoulder-headed doorway opening from the tower upon the rampart is also seen.
Upon the line of the Severn, in the rear of all these, there were but eight of any importance, Bristol, Berkeley, Gloucester, Hanley, Worcester, Hartlebury, Bridgenorth and Shrewsbury, and of these Berkeley was in many respects the most remarkable, and has endured the longest.
B Inner Ward.
C Outer Ward.
D Outer Gate.
E Inner Gate.
F Fore Building.
G Ed. II. Dungeon.
H Ed. II. Tower.
I Domestic Apartments.
K Room above Cellar.
Q Oratory and Well.
Berkeley Castle, Keep
Entering the outer gate, the visitor finds himself upon a triangular platform, of which the outer gate-house is the apex, and the inner gate-house and part of the keep the base; on the left a modern wall, which replaces the curtain, crests the scarp of the ditch, and forms the north side of the platform 66 yards long. On the right a low parapet, 54 yards long, forms the south side, and caps a revetment wall of about 10 feet in height, at the foot of which the ancient scarp has been laid out in good taste in a terrace garden. This triangular platform is scarcely an outer ward: it is rather a barbican covering the main entrance and the keep. Its area is 7,750 square yards. There is no trace of a second ditch in advance of this side of the keep and the inner gate, but it is very probable that there was one, though, if so, it must have been filled up when the courts were added to the keep, as otherwise it would have completely occupied them.
BEAUMARIS Castle is built upon a marshy flat, close to the sea-shore, and but little above the level of the sea, from which its ditch was supplied. It is an example of a purely concentric fortress, in which the engineer was left free to design his works without being governed, as in most other cases, by the irregularities of the ground.
Its inner ward is a quadrangle about 50 yards square, contained within four curtain-walls about 16 feet thick and 40 to 50 feet high. At the angles are four drum-towers, three-quarters engaged, of the height of the curtains. On the east and west sides are intermediate towers, half-round, with prolonged sides, of which that to the east, as at Kidwelly, contains the chapel. In the centre of the north and south sides are the gatehouses, of large size and something higher than the other towers. In each a quadrangular part projects into the court, capped at the two angles by round turrets containing staircases. Outside, half-round towers with prolonged sides flank the entrance.
The great hall, 70 feet by 23 feet 6 inches, occupies most of the first floor of the northern gatehouse, and is lighted from the court by five windows, of two lights each, with a transom, as at Stokesley and Ludlow, contemporary halls. The fireplace was on the opposite side. The roof was of timber, but with one stone rib, as at Charing. The southern gatehouse probably also contained a large chamber, now destroyed. The state-rooms and lodgings were in the gatehouses. The portals were of unusual length, and each was guarded by three grates.
The Great Gallery is also of curious construction. Extending for a distance of one hundred and fifty feet, and rising at an angle of 26° 18', it has a width of five feet at the base and a height of above thirty feet. The side walls are formed of seven layers of stone, each projecting a few inches over that below it. The gallery thus gradually contracts towards the top, which has a width of four feet only, and is covered in with stones that reach across it, and rest on the walls at either side. The exact object of so lofty a gallery has not been ascertained; but it must have helped to keep the air of the interior pure and sweet, by increasing the space through which it had to circulate.
The greatest of all Seti's works was his pillared hall at Karnak, the most splendid single chamber that has ever been built by any architect, and, even in its ruins, one of the grandest sights that the world contains. Seti's hall is three hundred and thirty feet long, by one hundred and seventy feet broad, having thus an internal area of fifty-six thousand square feet, and covers, together with its walls and pylons, an area of eighty-eight thousand such feet, or a larger space than that covered by the Dom of Cologne, the largest of all the cathedrals north of the Alps. It was supported by one hundred and sixty-four massive stone columns, which were divided into three groups—twelve central ones, each sixty-six feet high and thirty-three feet in circumference, formed the main avenue down its midst; while on either side, two groups of sixty-one columns, each forty-two feet high and twenty-seven round, supported the huge wings of the chamber, arranged in seven rows of seven each, and two rows of six. The whole was roofed over with solid blocks of stone, the lighting being, as in the far smaller hall of Thothmes III., by means of a clerestory.