« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
The ruinous castle of Norham, (anciently called Ubbanford) is situated on the southern bank of the Tweed, about six miles above Berwick, and where that river is still the boundary between England and Scotland. The extent of its ruins, as well as its historical importance, show it to have been a place of magnificence, as well as strength. Edward I. resided there when he was created umpire of the dispute concerning the Scottish succession. It was repeatedly taken and retaken during the wars between England and Scotland; and, indeed, scarce any happened, in which it had not a principal share. Norham castle is situated on a steep bank, which overhangs the river. The repeated sieges which the castle had sustained, rendered frequent repairs necessary. In 1164 it was almost rebuilded by Hugh Pudsey, bishop of Durham, who added a huge keep or donjon; notwithstanding which, King Henry II., in 1174, took the castle from the bishop, and committed the keeping of it to William de Neville. After this period it seems to have been chiefly garrisoned by the king, and considered as a royal fortress. The Grays of Chillinghame Castle were frequently the Castellans, or captain of the garrison: Yet as the castle was situated in the patrimony of St. Cuthbert, the property was in the see of Durham till the reformation.
According to Mr. Pinkerton, there is, in the British Museum, Cal. B. 6. 216, a curious memoir of the Dacres on the state of Norham Castle in 1522, mot long after the battle of Flodden. The inner ward or keep is represented as impregnable. “The provisions are three great vats of salt eels, forty-four kine, three hogsheads of salted salmon, forty quartes of grain, besides many cows, and four hundred sheep lying under the castle wall nightly; but a number of the arrows wanted fea** and a good Fletcher (i.e. maker of arrows) was required”-History of Scotland, vol. II. p.201. Note.
The ruins of the castle are at present considerable, as well as
picturesque. They consist of a large shattered tower, with many vaults, and fragments of other edifices, enclosed withiu an outward wall of great circuit.
It is perhaps unnecessary to remind my readers, that the donjon, in its proper signification, means the strongest part of a feudal castle; a high square tower, with walls of tremendous thickness, situated in the centre of the other buildings, from which, however, it was usually detached. Here, in case of the outward defences being gained, the garrison retreated to make their last stand. Theodonjon contained the great hall, and principal rooms of state for solemn occasions, and also the prison of the fortress; from which last circumstance we derive the modern and restricted use of the word dungeon. Duncange (voce Dunjo) conjectures, plausibly, that the name is derived from these keeps being usually built upon a hill, which in Celtic is called Dun. Borlase supposes the word came from the darkness of the apartments in these towers, which were thence figuratively called Dungeons; thus deriving the ancient word from the modern application of it.
Note VII. Well was he armed from head to heel, In mail, and plate, of Milan steel.-P. 26. The artists of Milan were famous in the middle ages for their skill in armoury, as appears from the following passage, in which Froissart gives an account of the preparations made by Henry, Earl of Hereford, afterwards Henry IV., and Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marischal, for their proposed combat in the lists at Coventry: “These two lords made ample provision of all things necessary for the combat; and the Earl of Derby sent off messengers to Lombardy, to have armour from Sir Galeas, Duke of Milan. The duke complied with joy, and gave the knight, called Sir Francis, who had brought the message, the choice of all his armour for the Earl of Derby.
When he had selected what he wished for in plated and mail armour, the lord of Milam, out of his abundant love for the Earl, ordered four of the best armourers in Milan to accompany the knight to England, that the Earl of Derby might be more completely armed.”—Johnes' Froissart, Vol. IV. p. 597.
Note VIII. The golden legend bore aright, “Who checks at me, to death is dight.”—P. 26. The crest and motto of Marmion are borrowed from the fol
lowing story. Sir David de Lindsay, first Earl of Crauford, was, according to my authority, Bower, not only excelling in wisdom, but also of a lively wit. Chancing to be at the court of London, about 1890, he there saw Sir Piers Courtenay, an English knight, famous for skill in tilting, and for the beauty of his person, paradhng the palace arrayed in a new mantle, bearing for device an embroidered falcon, with this rhyme
I bear a falcon, fairest of flight,
The Scottish knight, being a wag, appeared next day in a dress exactly similar to that of Courtenay, but bearing a magpie instead of the falcon, with a motto ingeniously contrived to rhyme to the vaunting inscription of Sir Piers:
I bear a pie picking at a piece,
This affront could only be expiated by a just with sharp lances. In the course, Lindsay left his helmet unlaced, so that
* Prepared. i Armour, t Nose,
it gave way at the touch of his antagonist's lance, and he thus: avoided the shock of the encounter. This happened twice:— in the third encounter, the handsome Courtenay lost two of his front teeth. As the Englishman complained bitterly of Lindsay's fraud in not fastening his helmet, the Scottishman agreed to run six courses more, each champion staking in the hand of the king two hundred pounds, to be forfeited, if on entering the lists, any unequal advantage should be detected. This being agreed to, the wily Scot demanded that Sir Piers, in addition to the loss of his teeth, should consent to the extinction of one of his eyes, he himself having lost an eye in the fight of Otterburn. As Courtenay demurred to this equalization of optical powers, Lindsay demanded the forfeit; which, after much altercation, the king appointed to be paid to him, saying, he surpassed the English both in wit and valour. This must appear to the reader a singular specimen of the humour of that time. I suspect the Jocky Club would have given a different decision from Henry IV.
Note Ix. Largesse, largesse.-P. 29. This was the cry with which heralds and pursuivants were wont to acknowledge the bounty received from the knights. Steward of Lorn distinguishes a ballad, in which he satirizes the narrowness of James W., and his courtiers, by the ironical
Lerges, lerges, lerges, hay,
Lerges of this new year day.
The heralds, like the minstrels, were a race allowed to have
great claims upon the liberality of the knights, of whose feats they kept a record, and proclaimed them aloud, as in the text, upon suitable occasions. At Berwick, Norham, and other Border fortresses of importance, pursuivants usually resided, whose inviolable character rendered them the only persons that could, with perfect assurance of safety, be sent on necessary embassies into Scotland. This is alluded to in Stanza XXI, p. 36.
Lord Marmion, the principal character of the present romance, is entirely a fictitious personage. In earlier times, indeed, the family of Marmion, Lords of Fontenay, in Normandy, was highly distinguished. Robert de Marmion, Lord of Fontenay, a distinguished follower of the Conqueror, obtained a grant of the castle and town of Tamworth, and also of the manor of Scrivelby, in Lincolnshire. One, or both, of these noble possessions was held by the honourable service of being the royal champion, as the ancestors of Marmion had formerly been to the Dukes of Normandy. But after the castle and demesme of Tamworth had passed through four successive barons from Robert, the family became extinct in the person of Philip de Marmion, who died in 20th Edward I., without issue male. He was succeeded in his Gastle of Tamworth by Alexander de Frevile, who married Mazera, his grand-daughter. Baldwin de Frevile, Alexander's descendant, in the reign of Richard I., by the supposed tenure of his castle of Tamworth, claimed the office of royal champion, and to do the service appertaining; namely, on the day of coronation, to ride completely armed, upon a barbed horse, into Westminster Hall, and there to challenge the combat against any who would gainsay the king's title. But this office was adjudged to Sir John Dymoke, to whom the manor of Scrivesby had descended by another of