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Not farre from thence, a famous castle fine,
CHURCHYARD's Worthines of Wales.
AGLAN CASTLE, as in its greater part
it is one of the most recent castles in Monmouthshire, so it must have been one of the most splendid as well as extensive. The ruins, including the citadel, occupy a
tract of ground one-third of a mile in circumference. As Churchyard states, who describes the stately fabric as it stood in all its glory in the reign of Elizabeth ; it is built of a fine light-coloured freestone which was smoothly dressed, and is beautifully grained. The stone has received little injury from time; most of the elaborately carved masonry remains as sharp and distinct as when first executed; and from the parts which, except the roofs, remain entire, you receive a lively idea of its elegance and splendour before it was dismantled by command of the parliament after surrendering to Sir Thomas Fairfax, and before its materials were plundered by the tenants to build houses for themselves. The foundations and remaining walls show it to have
occupied an irregular square, enclosing two courts; the main residence, including the great hall and chapel, and other fplendid apartments, running between these courts entirely from north to fouth. This interior portion of the castle appears to have been built in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, for it has all the characteristics of the architecture of her time, partaking more of the hall than the castle ; its windows being chiefly square and mullioned, and each successive story divided by a running band. In the hall, or banqueting room, which is sixty feet long, and twenty-seven broad, you are struck with the gigantic fize of the fire-place, and the fingular structure of the
chimney. At the upper end are the arms of the first marquis of Worcester, sculptured in stone, and surrounded with the garter, underneath which is the family motto :-“ Mutare vel timere fperno." _“I scorn to change or fear." The towers of the external buildings are generally square, and not battlemented, but machicolated, so that their heads expand, and give them an air of firmness and grandeur. In the walls you can trace the changes of different periods, but the earliest style is not anterior to the reign of Henry V., and the latest comes down to that of Charles I. The main part of the castle probably was built by Sir William ap Thomas in the reigns of Henry V. and VI., and his son William Herbert, created by Edward IV. Earl of Pembroke, and Lord of Raglan, Chepstow, and Gower, in 1469. From Dugdale's account it is scarcely poffible to conceive in the present time the magnificence of the castle, and the greatness of the establishment maintained in it by this Earl of Pembroke. Yet the vast extent of the ruins, the evident grandeur and number of the apartments, the size of the offices and the cellars, give proofs of baronial magnificence and splendid hospitality. In a curious account of the castle drawn up shortly before the parliamentary fiege, and partly printed in Heath's account of Raglan Castle, the establishment of its then proprietor, the first marquis of Worcester, the numerous officers of his household, retainers, attendants, and servants, appear like the retinue of a sovereign rather than a subject. He supported for a considerable time a garrison of eight hundred men; and, on the surrender of the castle, besides his own family and friends, the officers alone were no less than four colonels, eighty-two captains, fixteen lieutenants, fix cornets, four enfigns, four quarter-masters, and fifty-two esquires and gentlemen. The demesnes of the castle were of proportionate greatness: there were extensive gardens
and pleasure-grounds, extensive parks well stocked with deer, and numerous goodly farms. The two courts of the castle were surrounded by offices of all kinds, and the eastern court contained extensive barracks. This court was called the Fountain Court, from a marble fountain in the centre surmounted with the statue of a white horse ; but of fountain or horse no traces now remain. On the south side of the castle stood the citadel, a large hexagonal fortress defended by bastions, and surrounded by a moat, over which passed a drawbridge from the castle. It was called Melyn y Gwent, or the yellow tower of Gwent, and when entire must have been a magnificent object, for it was five stories high. From this tower a vaft prospect was enjoyed of the surrounding country, bounded by the distant mountains in the neighbourhood of Abergavenny. The citadel was surrounded by raised walks, in which Charles I., when staying here during his wars, took great delight. Great care has been taken since the restoration of the monarchy, by its owners, now the ducal family of Beaufort, to preserve the ruins; and the whole may yet be seen from some of the towers. The grand entrance is, perhaps, the most magnificent portion of these noble ruins. It is formed by a gothic portal, flanked by two massive towers, now beautifully hung with ivy. In the porch are still visible the grooves for two portcullisses; and the spectator on entering is greatly impressed by the scene. A guide lives in one of the towers, and the Duke of Beaufort has promoted the accommodation of visitors by keeping the paths and stairs in good order, and by placing seats for necessary rest.
The great point in the history of Raglan Castle is the defence it made against the parliament in favour of Charles I. By its strength and the spirit of its possessor, Henry Somerset, fifth earl and first marquis of Worcester, the power of Charles was so long maintained in South Wales. It was nearly the
RAGLAN CASTLE, GRAND STAIRCASE.
last fortress in the kingdom that surrendered to the republican army. The traces of the outworks caft up in front of the castle and citadel, are yet visible in the remains of bastions, hornworks, trenches, and ramparts. The marquis who made this stout defence,--after the army which he kept up of fifteen hundred foot and five hundred horse under the command of his son, afterwards Earl of Glamorgan, was dispersed by the parliamentary generals,—was a great wit, and his smart sayings are preserved in a work called “Witty Apothems of King James, Charles I., and the Marquis of Worcester.” Charles I. made several visits here during his campaign against his subjects; but when he was compelled at length to retreat