London: volume 2
XLII.- The Tower.-No. 5. (Concluded from No. XLI.): The Armoury.
XLII.- The Tower.-No. 5. (Concluded from No. XLI.): The Armoury.
It is an interesting occupation to stand in of the buildings which constitute the Tower Armoury, and watch the groups of persons continually pouring in, each party with the imposing-looking warder at its head. The warder himself is a study, with his crimson tunic so gaily emblazoned, and his round black velvet hat, and its party-coloured ribbons disposed so tastefully round the band. Not even the lapse of time since he entered on the duties of wardership, and the continual iteration of the same facts, have at all dimmed his consciousness of the respect due to his oracular announcements.-
sayeth he; the listeners look around with new curiosity and wonder: he is satisfied, and goes on. And many an eager face and earnestly upturned eye may be noticed among those listeners; and questions will be heard, to which courteous, if not entirely satisfactory answers will be given. But, gentle spectators, do not delay; the guide must go on; other parties are waiting at the gate. You have learned that this figure represents Edward I., and that Henry VIII.;
|you have been shown the axe with which Ann Bullen was beheaded; and good Queen Bess herself, in her habit as she lived, has been duly submitted to your gaze. What more you want? Some enthusiast or other will, perhaps, think that the is of little value if we do not understand the substance; he may even fancy that the custom of exhibiting national memorials, without explanation. of the circumstances which give to them their true value, or without affording opportunity of reflecting and appreciating that connexion on the spot when explanation is not required, is positively mischievous--as begetting a habit of looking on objects of the highest interest with a vague, unreasoning, and altogether fruitless feeling of wonder, instead of a rational desire to learn and understand, which can alone produce real or profitable enjoyment. But it would be as well to say nothing about such matters here. At the same time it must be observed, the warders have a tedious and fatiguing duty to perform, and may well be excused from wishing to make it more onerous; or, what must appear to them worse still, to encourage any arrangements which they might fear would ultimately dispense with their attendance. But it may be worth consideration with higher authorities, whether the method adopted with such signal success at might not be imitated at the Tower. No would wish to get rid of the warders. They are to our eyes an indispensable part of the locality. The Armoury in their absence would certainly want of its most picturesque features. But let them cease to be guides, just when they would be needed in their proper character as guardians. We think there is little to be apprehended from allowing the public to wander about in its own way in such places; but at the same time we are also prepared to acknowledge that the very existence of the privilege might be endangered by a single individual, and therefore full security is requisite. Let the living antiques, therefore, by all means still move about and lend warmth and animation to the effigies of the dead ones; but let those also who would study the history of English armour, or of the times of which the contents of the Armoury are frequently the most significant testimonials, be at liberty to do so ; and let them find in some shape or other, on The spot, accessible to all, systematic information respecting every object around. Then, and then only, will this noble Armoury be appropriated to equally noble uses.|
In walking round the White Tower the Armoury is soon distinguished. That long low building, attached to its southern side, with mortars bearing the word
guarding its principal entrance, must undoubtedly be the place. There are other entrances, near each end of the same front: we enter by that towards the west. A small vestibule with glass cases--in of which the burganet of Will Somers, Henry VIII.'s jester, decorated with the frontal honours of a ram, stands conspicuous among a great number of other curious articles- receives us; but the partial view of the Horse Armoury which it affords prevents us from staying to examine its contents. Few who have not actually seen the Horse Armoury can appreciate its strikingly picturesque character: that is certainly a pleasure which even the most hurried visitor cannot be deprived of. The long range of mounted warriors extending down the centre of the place-lance, sword, battle-axe or mace in hand, and banner flying overhead; the range of pointed arches, through which they appear to have just
|advanced; the men at arms facing them, spread at intervals along their front, near the wall, and the ingenious devices in the aisle behind, which decorate the other; the chastely beautiful ceiling, constructed entirely of weapons; and the orange-coloured light diffused over the nearest figures by the stained glass-form altogether a picture on which not alone the artist engaged so busily in yonder corner by the door may gaze with a novel sense of delight. We cannot dwell on the miscellaneous treasures and curiosities scattered so profusely about;--the giant proportions of of those men at arms on the pedestals, some feet inches high--the brilliant stars in the aisle, and the men at arms under those exquisitely delicate canopies formed of ramrods, can each have but a passing glance as we move on towards the raised recess in the aisle, where the centre is appropriated to the oldest, and therefore of the most interesting suits of armour the collection possesses. This, like most of the other valuable suits in the Armoury, is mounted on a figure representative of the known or assumed original wearer, bestriding his steed, and is designated by his name or description. Here is|
|This came from Tonge Castle, Shropshire, a few years ago, where we are informed it had been an inhabitant for some centuries. It is referred to the time of Stephen; and consists of what might be termed the ordinary dress of a knight of that period, namely, minute iron rings joined together into a network enveloping the entire body and limbs. In less complete shape, armour of this kind, sometimes with the rings placed edgewise--a more secure, but also a heavier garment-seems to have been used as early as the century by our Saxon forefathers; for representations of it still exist in illuminated manuscripts of that period. Another kind of armour, also common to both Saxons and Normans prior as well as subsequent to the Conquest (though, probably, the derived it from the ) consisted of lozenge-shaped pieces of steel, called macles or mascles, covering the hood, tunic, long sleeves, and pantaloons or chausses. And by the time of our Norman Crusader, a kind had become known under the name of tegulated armour, which consisted of little plates of steel covering each other|
|like tiles, and which were sewn upon a hauberk without sleeves or hood. With or without the mailed hood was frequently now worn a cone-shaped defence for the head, called , resembling a Tartar's cap, and which, like the other Norman helmets, had generally a strip of metal projecting downwards over the nose. The shield was kite-shaped: an interesting specimen in wood yet remains in Queen Elizabeth's Armoury. The chief weapons of offence were, in addition to the sword and bow, the lance with its small streamer called the gonfalon (now again of our military weapons), battle-axes, and various destructive instruments of the kind, consisting of lances, with axes, scythes, hooks, or other peculiarly shaped cutting or tearing weapons at the side, and bearing at different times a variety of names, as bills, glaives, voulges, &c.: several of these weapons, of a later date, are represented in the group at the head of this paper. Such is a brief sketch of the armour and weapons in use in the century, and during the period of the Crusades. Pass we now on to that of|
|Among the more important additions here visible are the long surcoat and the blazoned arms. The surcoat is supposed to have originated with the Crusaders, who found it useful in keeping off the direct rays of the sun in the burning plains of Palestine, and also as a means of distinguishing the many different nations serving under the holy banner; just as the blazoned arms were used in the same expedition, as marks by which the principal leaders might be known from each other during the shock and tumult of battle. Edward is here represented in an act not very usual with him, that of sheathing his sword. His dress, which has been entirely constructed of armour from different quarters, but of the right period, strikingly harmonizes with the character of the stern warrior-king, who being day asked why he did not wear richer apparel, answered that it was absurd to suppose he could be more estimable in fine than in simple clothing. With the exception of the gilded coronet and the gilded arms, there is nothing of an ornamental appearance about the figure. It looks as Edward himself might have looked in of his terrible expeditions into Wales or Scotland.|
From this reign the progress of improvement in the construction of armour was very rapid, and consisted chiefly in the substitution of plate for the old mailed armour, the weight of which was so excessive that knights sometimes sunk under it. The change was characterized by a mixture of the styles, such as we find in the armour of the time of Edward II., where the hauberk and chausses are nearly covered with the different pieces of wrought iron, and the shoulders and elbows have also similar defences. Overlapping plates for the gauntlets, with small steel knobs or spikes, called gads, for the knuckles, appeared soon after; and by the reign of Richard II. the transformation was so far completed, that only the camail (corrupted probably from cap-mail), the part which hung from the head over the neck and shoulders, the gussets at the joints, and the bottom of the apron, could be seen of the entire suit of ringed mail worn at the beginning of the century. The splendour of the armour had also become as much a matter of attention as its construction; and hence a new danger resulted to the owner of any peculiarly fine suit. Froissart records the case of Raymond, nephew to Pope Clement,
Ailettes, or small wings, were attached to the back of the shoulders in reign; the vizored bascinet was enriched with wreaths or bands in another; whilst in a --that of Henry V., by which time the knight was frequently cased in complete steel from head to foot--the graceful appendage of the panache, or plume of feathers is sometimes seen surmounting the bascinet; and giving a new air to the dress and to its wearer; whilst the crested helmet, now worn only at tournaments, grows more and more magnificent.
The next figure in the Armoury offers a splendid example of the changes that had taken place since the period of the: Edward. This is Henry VI., with
|whom commences an unbroken series of specimens of the armour of every reign, extending down to the period of James II.; and among which many of the suits|
|are known to have been worn by the kings or nobles whose names are attached to them. The long surcoat has now again disappeared. In addition to the evident magnificence and security of this dress, there is peculiar feature only perceptible on a close examination. The back and breast plates are composed of several pieces each, so as to make the whole flexible. It was for a long time a matter of difficulty to understand how the knight equipped himself, till Sir Samuel Meyrick, to whom the public are so much indebted for the admirable arrangement of the chief figures of the Horse Armoury, by the aid of an old document solved the enigma. His explanation, referring to a different period, is but partially applicable here. Supposing, however, Henry VI. to be about to put on the armour in which he is represented in the above engraving, the order of his procedure would probably be as follows :The sleeves and shirt of mail would be put on; then the long-pointed sollerets, or overlapping pieces of steel for the defence of the feet, with the formidable-looking spurs screwed into them; the greaves for the legs, and the cuisses for the thigh. The breastplate would next be adjusted to the body, to which the tuilettes, those overlapping pieces which hang from the waist over the hip, would be fastened by their straps. The vambraces, or defences for the fore part of the arm, and the rere-braces, for the remainder up to the shoulder, would follow when they were worn, which in the present case they are not. The neck, head, and hands now alone remain undefended. The camail is hung around the neck; the salade, or sallet, a new German head-piece, characterised by the peculiar projections behind, over which is the rich-looking knight's cap, and the kingly device, is put upon the head, and the beautifully wrought gauntlets upon the hands and wrists. The King now calls for his pole-axe, also of German origin, and his steed, so gloriously caparisoned, which he mounts; and though Henry VI. was not at heart much of a martial king, yet, if this might be taken as a fair representation of his appearance, need not desire to see a more martial . The armour which defends the horse's head, with the steel spike in front, is called the chanfron, and appeared in the reign of Henry III.|
Next in the rank to Henry VI. is his rival and conqueror, Edward IV.,
| whose dress presents so many differences, that, at glance, would hardly suppose the monarchs could be of the same century. The leg-pieces here end a little above the ankles, and instead of the sollerets appear slipper stirrups. entirely new pieces are added to the armour,--the , a large piece of steel fastened over the left side of the breastplate, a sort of substitute for a shield; the , that peculiar-shaped piece of armour seen over the elbow; and, lastly, the piece, which gives such an extraordinary aspect to the head. Its angular shape presented so difficult a mark to the lance, that it was not uncommon in tournaments to agree that the volant should not be used. The lance in his hand is a modern imitation--of the antique, with the exception of the very curious vam-plate, which is genuine, and of unusual size and shape. The elegant appearance of this figure reminds of Philip de Comines' description of Edward as |
and with that remembrance comes another, connected with the wars of the Roses, which ended in giving Edward his crown. The same historian says,
Is this meant as a compliment to the humanity of the English leaders, or as a satire upon the want of steady principle in the English people? The historian concludes with a startling passage:
suits lately worn at the Eglintoun Tournament, of the age of Richard III., both of the most beautiful manufacture, fluted, with rosettes at the shoulders, are exhibited next to Edward IV.: in the figure of a mounted knight, the other dismounted by his side; but as their chief features are also shown in the next suit, that of
|the victor of Bosworth, we pass on to the latter. This belongs to the period when plate armour is considered to have attained its perfection of richness and completeness. The whole is fluted: the neck has the additional defence of the pass-guards-plates rising perpendicularly from the shoulders --and, besides the chanfron, the horse is now protected by the , which covers the stately arch of his neck, hiding the mane, by the poitrel over his breast, and by the croupiere over the crupper. The knight's head-piece has now assumed a natural shape, and is provided with moveable plates at the back, at once guarding the neck and allowing the head to move with freedom. It is placed on the head by lifting up the mentonnière, the part that covers the chin, and the visor, both of which turn on the screw that fastens them to the helmet. Among the peculiarities of the time are the globular breast-plate, bulging out somewhat ungracefully from the breast--the lamboys, like a short skirt divided, which are substituted for the tuilettes before mentioned--the wide-toed sollerets, which, in accordance with the fashion that prevailed in the civil costume of the period, have changed in a few years for the precisely opposite extreme, and the peculiar ornaments which decorate the armpits and the knees. We now reach of the of the suits of armour which are known to have belonged to the nominal wearers, and a most striking contrast is presented by its burly dimensions to the graceful outlines that distinguish the preceding monarch. But as the|
|Armoury contains a much more important suit that also belonged to Henry VIII., we shall merely remark that this is richly inlaid with gold, and the stirrups are elaborately engraved. We have mentioned entrances into.the Horse Armoury that appear from the exterior; but only of these is now used. The others are closed, and the vestibules within occupied by portions of the contents of the collection. In the centre or principal stands the figure here shown, which represents of the most magnificent suits perhaps in existence. It was presented to the King by the Emperor Maximilian I., on his marriage with Catherine of Arragon, and is precisely similar in shape to a suit preserved in the little Belvidere Palace at Vienna, that belonged to Maximilian himself. This|
| suit was no doubt worn by Henry at some of those pleasant May meetings at Greenwich when the white shield was hung upon a green tree in the park, for knights of good birth to subscribe their names as accepting the challenge offered by certain parties, who proposed to take the field against all comers. On of these occasions, Henry himself, with the Duke of Suffolk, the Earl of Essex, and Sir George Carew, assumed this honourable but somewhat arduous post, challenging all knights to joust and tilt at the barriers. A striking proof of the King's estimation of Maximilian's present is given on his great seal, where he is represented wearing a suit exactly corresponding with it in form and style. The entire mass of armour, both for horse and rider, is washed with silver, and covered with engravings, most beautifully executed, of holy legends, devices, mottoes, arms, &c., specimens of which are given by Sir Samuel Meyrick in his elaborate account of the suit published in the |
On the breastplate is represented a figure of St. George, just after his famous victory over the Dragon; and, with reference most probably to the marriage which occasioned the present to be made, the German word of congratulation, meaning
is engraved on of the jambs. other suits of armour made for Henry VIII. stand on each side of this vestibule or recess on dismounted figures. is of bright steel, the other black with raised and polished ornaments in different parts, the forerunner of the embossed armour. Before we quit the recess we may as well notice very small and interesting figures which occupy the corners. is of Charles Prince of Wales, afterwards' Charles II., in his ; the other of Prince Henry, the accomplished son of James I., not much older, wearing only the helmet and breastplate: both are genuine suits, and are known to have been worn by the youthful Princes. The figures of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and Edward Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, being also of Henry's reign, we pass on to Edward VI., whose armour presents a new feature, being of the kind denominated . This effect was produced by oxidizing the surface of the armour, and then smoothing it. When, as in the present instance, the metal was further enriched by being inlaid with gold, it presented a superb appearance. The only other remarkable peculiarity of the armour of this period
| is connected with the breastplate, which, in the latter part of Henry VIII.'s reign, --added to its globose form a projecting edge down the centre, called the tapul; whilst, in the present period, the tapul gradually descended from the centre, till it entirely disappeared, as we see in the armour before us. That engraving also shows us the lengthening towards the waist, which the breastplate was now undergoing. The weapon called the Black-bill, shown in our group of weapons, was now used by the black-bill men or halberdiers, who formed part of our army. The next figure is that of Francis Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon, in a suit of richly gilt and slashed plate armour, which we notice for the sake of the announcement on the card attached to it in the Armoury. The weight of the armour for the rider alone is there stated at ! It is extraordinary how men could move with the grace, celerity, and vigour that characterised the Knight of the Tournament under such a heavy load! No wonder they found it impossible to rise if they were once thrown at full length upon the ground. Even Elizabeth's carpet knight, Leicester, who forms the next figure, is arrayed in armour of the weight of . In this splendid suit, which was originally gilded, the sollerets have again changed: this time they are peaked. We now reach a figure which, arrayed though it be in a plain suit, must not be passed over without respectful notice. |
were a fitting designation for the fine chivalrous being--in whom the spirit of the heroes of our earlier ages seems to have revived with additional lustre, prior to its final extinction in his grave. Elizabeth's famous champion, Sir Henry Lee, is before us.
For a long time did Sir Henry, in spite of growing infirmities, keep the distinguished post which had been confided to him; and when he resigned the championship at last, in favour of a younger knight, George Earl of Cumberland, the aged veteran must have hardly known whether it was the saddest or proudest day of his life, so magnificent were the preparations made to do honour to his last appearance. But
to use his own words, have ever their appropriate spheres of action; so, quitting with a sigh the scene of many a triumph, he tells his royal mistress--
Passing the figure of the Earl of Essex, with its richly engraved suit inlaid with gold, and its Maltese sword, we arrive at the man who, of all others, would be the most appropriately--chosen as the moral antipodes of Sir Henry Lee,--James I.
| The humorists of the Armoury must have intended a joke at the expense of the royal pedant when they not only placed him here in full armour, but put also that enormous lance in his hand, which, in its thickest part, just above the hollow for the hand, is positively feet inches in circumference! James, who, to do him justice, had , if not courage, said once of armour, that |
By way of corrective, perhaps, to the impunity indirectly promised to his own antagonists in the tournaments, if he ever had any, James used this formidable-looking lance: since he could not hurt, it was all the more necessary to alarm.
Next t James is , in a suit of plain armour of the date of , and then the fastidious nobleman whom James's manners kept from court, and his own honesty from employment,--the famous collector of the marbles, Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel. Both these knights are armed with the mace. Another genuine suit, originally belonging to Prince Henry, richly gilt, and decorated with engravings of battles,sieges, and ether military designs; a suit attributed to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, where the great favourite is seen grasping an elegant wheel-lock petronel; a youthful figure of Charles I. when Prince of Wales; and the effigy of Charles's unfortunate minister, Wentworth, where the armour descends no lower than the knees, follow next in succession.
The history of the changes in armour runs in a circle. The pains taken for so many centuries to clothe the form in impenetrable defences had not long achieved their object before the use of gunpowder began just as regularly to strip off piece of armour, then another, on the ground that the very uncertain immunity from danger they promised was not commensurate with the loss of energy and activity produced by their wear. The greaves disappear in James's reign; and although his son, Charles I., strenuously endeavoured to check the current, (in the costly gilt suit presented to him by the City of London we
| behold him |
) yet he had so little success, that, by the time of the Protectorate, the helmet and cuirass alone remained, and the military world found itself, in the matter of bodily armour, as nearly as possible in the same state that it was or centuries before.
In the reign of the James the helmet was further discarded, and the loose flowing wig left to dangle over the steel cuirass and, red coat: our readers may imagine the ludicrous effect of the mixture. The last figure in the great range of the Horse Armoury is that of the King himself just mentioned, who, however, wears a kind of helmet as well as the wig. The delicate lawn sleeves and cravat contrast no less oddly with the breastplate and the iron grating over the face. An amusing
used to be sold at the Tower. It appears James did not originally stand where he now stands, in the line, but a little in advance. Referring to that circumstance, the imaginative author of the pages referred to says,
| Queen Elizabeth's Armoury was formerly in a building opposite the southwestern corner of the Horse Armoury: it is now removed into the White Tower, where it occupies the apartment made memorable by the long residence of Sir Walter Raleigh. As we walk down the aisle of the Horse Armoury the eye is attracted to an opening, by the rich stream of light which pours down upon it from the skylight above, bringing out into brilliant relief the armed forms which stand on each side, and the other military decorations of the spot. This is the entrance to the staircase, which winds in a circuitous direction up into the apartment in question. At the top of the stairs is a kind of circular vestibule, or small corridor, where are grotesque figures on pedestals, protruding their grinning faces forward, as if eager for admiration, and holding, the a quartern of gin, the other a pot of beer. Sir Samuel Meyrick, in a letter addressed in to the Editor of the London Magazine; conceives |
From hence we pass into Queen Elizabeth's Armoury. No longer, however, does this place present the appearance described in our paper on the Prison, where we looked upon it as it was when Raleigh paced its floor to and fro. The strange-looking ceiling has been made fine with groins, and the plait walls with a range of small intermingling Norman arches on that side of the wall which contains the gloomy cells that were formerly used, no doubt, as sleeping places by the prisoners. We are happy to say that every care has been taken of the inscriptions yet existing on this wall. These were principally written by prisoners confined here during Mary's reign, for their share in Wyatt's conspiracy.
is the sentence in which
, has recorded the nature of the hope which alone preserved many an unhappy prisoner from sinking into despondency in the Tower prisons. A similar expression of pious confidence has been inscribed in the same place, by T. Fane, ,--
T. Culpeper, concerned in the same affair, has' merely left his signature. These persons, it is believed, were all pardoned. The other side of the room presents wide openings in the immense walls, ( feet thick,) admitting light from as many windows. Narrow slits or loopholes were all that formerly existed. Facing the coved end of the room, through which we enter, is a deeply recessed arch at the opposite extremity, where the presiding genius of the place appears in all her majesty, Queen Elizabeth herself, in costume similar to that which she is supposed to have worn when she went in procession to to celebrate the defeat of the Armada. The chief contents of this armoury, including many varieties of lances, long swords, pikes, musketoons, battle-axes, and the different sorts of shot seen in our group, were formerly supposed to be the spoils of that ill-fated expedition, and the collection was known as the Spanish Armoury. Down even to the times of our excellent great grandfathers and grandmothers, people used to go and look at the various instruments of torture here exhibited, and lift up their hands and eyes in amazement at the cruelty of the Spaniards, and the wonderful escape we had all had from those devilish instruments. Later researches have satisfactorily shown that most of these, if not all, however repugnant their use may appear to the feelings and ideas of Englishmen, are of genuine English manufacture, and have wrung the groan of unendurable anguish from many an English prisoner, long before the Armada swept across the visions of its projector, bridging over, as it were, the way from the Spanish to the English throne. instrument alone of the different varieties here shown, the Collar of Torture, is now attributed to the Spaniards; and it is remarkable enough, that of all those monstrous inventions, the collar must have inflicted the mildest suffering. It weighs about and a half, and is armed with small knobs or studs of a pointed form, but not sharp. Compare this with the rack, which, in some severe cases, added a hand-breadth to the stature; or with the gauntlets, which held the wrists, whilst the prisoner was suspended with outstretched arms in the air, till the blood seemed to flow from every part of the body into the arms, and burst out at the fingers' ends; or with the scavenger's daughter, still shown here, binding body and limbs up into an almost incredibly small compass! It is a pity that our indignation, like our charity, is not more frequently found at home.
To give any thing like a systematic view of the contents of this interesting room would occupy more pages than we have lines to spare: we shall therefore merely premise that the collection chiefly consists of a great variety of weapons of the and centuries, of which many are shown in our group at the commencement of this paper, and then proceed to notice or of the more interesting individual objects. very curious swords hang against the wall, covered with black rust, and much eaten away. Both are supposed to have been used by crusaders in those holy wars which caused so much unholy shedding of blood. was taken from the tomb of a Count of Treves; the other bears a Latin inscription, signifying that it is the sword of Autcarius, and has a silver imitation medal of the Emperor Domitian let into the handle. In another part of the room is reared against the wall a tremendous-looking weapon,
| which the popular idea has associated with a not-unsuitable wielder, Henry VIII., although even he would have found it an inconvenient |
during those supposed nocturnal wanderings in which, like the great Eastern caliph, he was continually astonishing the careless watch. The story goes that the King was met night at the bridge-foot by some of the civic guardians, and not giving a good account of himself, carried off to the Poultry Compter, and shut up. for the night without fire and candle.
On his liberation, Henry VIII. made a grant of chaldrons of coals and a quantity of bread for the solace of night prisoners in the Compter. He also gave an annual stipend to the parish of St. Magnus, where he had been taken prisoner, and rewarded the men who had captured him. The grants alluded to are, we believe, still paid. As to the
it is, in truth, of the
--why so called we know not; and consists of a long massy stave, with gun-barrels at the end, and a spike or dagger rising between them.
The last article of the multifarious contents of this Armoury that we shall mention, is in itself an important historical memorial, and suggestive of many melancholy thoughts. Upon a small block in this Armoury stands the axe shown in our group,--the axe with which the fair neck of the unfortunate Anne Bullen was severed, whilst in the prime of her beauty and womanhood. A few years later, that same axe was again brought from its hiding-place to execute the doom of a still more illustrious victim, Lady Jane Grey. The Earl of Essex closes the list of unfortunates whose history, according to tradition, has ended with-this! Among the spectators of the Earl's execution on that Ash Wednesday morning, , was Sir Walter Raleigh, whose long residence in this chamber cannot forget, even amidst all the interesting memorials which cover its walls. From of these windows it was, that when he himself had been previously confined in the Tower for offending the haughty Elizabeth, hearing she was come in her barge to the Tower, on a visit to Sir George Carew, the Lieutenant,
(no Ordnance Office then obstructed the view), discerning
And it was in this room itself that the extraordinary scene took place immediately following.
Sir George, who had it is probable allowed Raleigh many little indulgences, for the latter had at that time influential friends at court, of course refused to comply with so wild a request; when
The narrator and eye-witness, Sir Arthur Gorges, now thought it time to interfere, and, in doing so,
| of all this was real, and how much fictitious, it were hard to say: Sir Arthur
have written to describe this scene to the person above all others nearest to the Queen's counsels, Cecil, without any previous understanding with Raleigh, but it is certainly a suspicious as well as an amusing case. The last sentence of Sir Arthur's letter is also marvellously significant:-- |
The reader of this brief notice of Queen Elizabeth's Armoury will not need to be told who was the