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namesake married Adeliza, widow of Henry I., and assumed in her right
the title of Earl of Arundel. He was shortly afterwards created Earl of
Sussex, and to whom is usually attributed the erection of the Norman
castle at Rising about the middle of the twelfth century.

It stands on a hill on the south side of the town from whence there is
a fine prospect over the land and an arm of the sea. Great part of the
walls of the keep are still standing, being a Norman pile, much resembling
that at Norwich, and little inferior, the walls being about three yards
thick, consisting chiefly of free stone, with iron and carr stone.

On the south side of the village of Rising are the stupendous earth-
works which encompassed the remains of the once splendid castle, con-
sisting of an extensive circular space surrounded by a bank and ditch,
with square additions to the east and west protected in a similar manner,
that to the east being the larger and more perfect of the two. The early
Norman owners of the lordship, finding such formidable defences already
in existence, extended them and built upon them a spacious and almost
impregnable castle, which was altered and enlarged by the succeeding
o-svners. It appears to have only occupied the central earthwork, but of
the numerous buildings which once filled that large area, nothing now
remains but the keep^ the chapel, the gatehouse, and a few foundations


and walls of the constable's lodgings. The wall and towers, which
formerly crowned the bank are gone, except a fragment or two of a brick
wall. The keep is very similar in ontward appearance to the keep of
Norwich Castle, and both seem to be of the same date. The road to the
castle crosses the ditch by a bridge of the perpendicular penod, nearly in
the centre of the eastern side of the enclosure, and passes through a
Norman gate-house, opposite to which is the great tower or keep, a mas-
sive square structure of the Norman period. The only means of gaining
access to the ground floor of this tower was by newel staircases at the
north-east and south-west angles, descending from the upper story, which
is reached by a covered staircase on the eastern side, at the top of which
an arch of fine proportions opens to a room on the first floor of the
entrance tower. This room is lighted on three sides by Norman windows,
and the fourth contains a beautiful recessed Norman doorway, originally
fonning the main entrance to the hall of the great tower, but now blocked
up. In the decorated period, this room received a heavy vaulting, which
rests on corbels and supports a third floor, above which is a shingle rool
with ancient brick gables. The roof and floors of the great tower have
long since disappeared, and the building is now a mere shell ; but most of
the interior walls and some portions of vaulting remain.

All these Norman castles in the eastern counties are now in ruins,
proving the instability of the strongest works of man ; the ivy clings to
the mouldering towers, the wallflower springs from the disjointed stones
of the thickest walls ; the halls, which were once crowded with all that
taste and labour could procure, which resounded with revelry, which were
adorned with beauty, are now scenes of desolation.

East Anglia contains many old castellated mansions, some of which
were built by Norman barons, or their descendants. Those in Suffolk are
generally surrounded by moats meant for defence. Norfolk, however,
contains more ancient halls than any other county, especially in the
western division. Some of these old halls have been already noticed. At
Middleton near Lynn, there is a fine gatehouse or tower which formed the
entrance to a castellated mansion, and it has been admirably restored by
the present owner. Caistor Hall near Yarmouth, Oxburgh Hall, Winwall
House near Wareham, Hunstanton Hall, Scarles' Hall, Fincham Hall, and
Baconsthorpe Hall are ancient mansions, all of which exhibit some features
of a castellated character, though they do not appear to have been
regularly or completely fortified. The walls of these buildings and other
ancient edifices in Norfolk are ' composed chiefly of flint, embedded in
strong moi-tar, the county producing scarcely any stone except an
iron-coloured carr stone. The flints abound in great abundance in nearly
every part of the county, and with the carr stone are much used in


modern erections^ but tlie coigns and the windows and door-cases are
generally constructed of free stone.


The first age of ecclesiastical architecture is called the Anglo-Saxon,
from the earliest erection of Christian churches to the Norman Conquest.
The characteristics of this age were plainness and solidity, with low
columns and semi-circular arches. The capitals sometimes exhibited a
rude imitation of some of the Grecian ornaments, but sparingly introduced.
The windows had generally one light, with semi-circular heads, some of
them so narrow as to be little more than loop-holes or embrasures expand-
ing through the thick walls, which were plain, without external buttresses,
seldom rising higher than one tier of arches. The form of these churches
was generally a parallelogram, consisting of a nave and two side aisles,
with a chancel of smaller dimensions, the east end turned into a semi-
circle. Some churches of this period had no distinct chancel ; the towers
were very low, and were placed between the chancel and the body of the
church, and were chiefly intended to give light to the interior of the
edifice. We have very few remains of the churches of this period, and
those are of doubtful date.

The second, or Norman age, was from 1066 to 1200. In this period
most of the cathedrals in this country were built, and the style is suffi-
ciently distinguished by the semi-circular arches, rising to three tiers of
windows, the walls very thick, with very few external 'buttresses, these
projecting but little, and entirely plain, as seen on the outside of Norwich
Cathedral. The windows have round arches, but higher than in the former
age, as is observable in the transepts. Norwich Cathedral is perhaps one
of the best specimens of this style of architecture.

The general style of our cathedrals is like that of Norwich — a long cross
— though the transept aisle in most of them appears to have been added
some years after the original foundation of the church, which explains the
difierence in the style of architecture, the appearance being more modern
as in Ely and Peterborough, superior in point of building to the naves, as
the eastern end or chancel generally exceeds both in these particulars. At
the junction of the four roofs, the towers rise in all the cathedrals
except that at Bangor. Some of the transepts are built like the naves,
with a body and side aisles.

From the plan we pass on to notice the style which prevails in these
national monuments of antiquity, which are the best specimens of Gothic
architecture. Most of our cathedrals are a compound of Norman and
what is termed early English architecture, each prevailing in difierent


parts of tlie same building ; and corresponding with the succeeding
periods in which they were severally erected.

Ely Cathedral, begun in 1081, and not completed till 1534, is a splendid
cruciform structure, displaying through almost imperceptible gradations,
the various changes which have characterised the progress of ecclesiastical
architecture, from the earliest times of the Norman to the latest period
of the English style. The plan differs from that of other cathedrals
in the length of the nave, which is continued through an extended
range of twelve arches, and in the shortness of the transepts, which have
only a projection of three arches. The west front, though incomplete
from the want of the south wing of the facade, is very magnificent ; in
the lower part it is in the Norman style.

Norman architecture is of very frequent occun^ence in the churches of
Suffolk. In many examples a low ponderous square tower rises between
the nave and the chancel, sometimes accompanied with transepts and very
frequently terminating at the east end with a semi-circular apse. The
most curious of these is the chancel at Fritton, near Yarmouth. It is
very remarkable that the Domesday Book only mentions one church
in Cambridgeshire, and 364 are enumerated in Suffolk ; most of them
were probably small structures. Fuller says that the churches in
Suffolk are all humble fabrics, but such an assertion proves ignorance of
the subject. ^Vhat is to be said of those glorious structures at Lavenham,
Melford, Bury St. Edmund^ s, Framlingham, Southwold, Lowestoft, Blyth-
borough, and Beccles ? These and others are all so many examples of
grandeur of design and consummate skill in execution. Several of them
display unparalleled specimens of open timber roofs which borne aloft by
figures in busto or occasionally by effigies in full proportion exhibit a very
singular combination of boldness and picturesque effect and geometrical
skill. Despite the wear and tear of centuries and the yet more hurtful
botching of unskilful restoration they put to shame the paltry imitations of
modern design. Of late years, however, there have been careful
restorations of many Suffolk churches in accordance with the original

The third or early English age was from 1200 to 1300. The sharp-
pointed arch and lancet-shaped windows properly mark this period. Hio-h-
pitched roofs, with many intersections, springing from columns much
more slender, the intersections decorated with flowers, faces, legendary
stories and sacred histories, convey the idea of a grove overshadowed by
the intersecting branches of a double row of lofty trees. In this period
we find lofty towers, cupolas, lanterns, and spires, of which Norwich
Cathedral presents the first and most perfect specimen in existence.

The fourth age, or ornamental English style, is from 1300 to 1460.


Progressive improvement is observable in the cliurches o£ this age. The
form of the arches was changedj and gradually assumed a less and less
acute head in the windows. Many in Norwich Cathedral are nearly square.
The larger arches now reached the perfection of what is called Gothic, as
in the three beautiful gates of the precincts in Norwich. The spires are
decorated with crockets,, erected at every angle of the city cathedral.

The fifth age was that of the florid Enghsh style, from 1460 to 1540.
In this period, works of the more ornamental kind were carried to the
highest degree of perfection, more especially roofs of fret-vfork, in
exuberance of decoration, in every part of the building, figures of saints
and angels in relievo, niches, shrines, canopies, mouldings, fasciae, pen-
dants, and finials, of the richest design and elaborate workmanship,
both of stone and wood. Stained glass windows were brought to the
highest perfection in this age, and effigies of angels, saints, kings, and
bishops, reflected a dim, religious light in the interior of these grand

The churches of Norfolk and Sufiblk present admirable examples of
every variety of style, from the early Norman to the latest perpendicular.
Norwich Cathedral and many Norfolk churches retain much of their
original massive Norman architecture ; but some have been more or less
spoiled by subsequent alterations, carried out in styles totally dissimilar,
though no doubt an improvement was efiected in some instances, as in
the erection of the clerestory over the choir of the cathedral. The early
English period is exemplified at Yarmouth, V/alsingham, &c. ; but the
larger proportion of the Norfolk churches are in the decorated and
perpendicular styles, usually intermixed and seldom completely distinct.
Noble specimens of these styles are to be found along the whole coast
line, and still finer ones exist in the fen country and between Lynn and
Wisbech. Many of these churches display beautiful specimens of fiint
and stone panelling, in which the flints are so regularly squared and so
evenly faced as to be almost said to represent a sheet of glass. Not the
least interesting features of the churches are the numerous fine rood loft
screens, the lower panels of most of which are enriched with beautif al
paintings of apostles and saints.

The round towers in Norfolk and Sufiblk are numerous and nearly all
built in the Norman period. Historical documents seem to show that
in the middle ages those counties were regarded as far behind others in
the march of improvement in building. So many of these round towers
appearing in clusters would lead us to suppose that the round tower was a
style preserved by many local builders from father to son in some dis-
tricts. Some of these round towers are found along the coast and some-
times in towns, as in Norwich and Bungay.



Herbert do Losinga, the first Bishop of Norwich and founder of its
cathedral churchy was^ according to Pitts and others, born in Orford, in
Sufrolk, but the inscription on his tomb informs us Thesmes, in Normandy,
and this appears to be the most correct statement. In his youth he
entered the monastery of Fiscamp, in that dukedom, of which he in time
became prior, and it is said attained the like dignity in the priory of Bee.
William Rufus, in 1088, brought him to England, appointed him his
chamberlaiu. Abbot of Ramsay, in Huntingdonshire, and bestowed other
preferments on him, by which he became so rich as to be able in three
years from his arrival to purchase the abbey of Winchester for his father,
at the price of £1000, and the bishopric of Thetford for himself, at
£1900 — a very large sum in those times. We are told, however, that the
bishop^s conscience reproved him so much for these practices that he
intended to go privately to Rome, and obtain absolution froni the Pope ;
but the King having notice of this intention stopped him, and stripped
him of his pastoral staff, but shortly after granted him permission to pro-
ceed. Arriving at Rome, Pope Paschal II. enjoined him, as a penance, to
build several churches and monasteries — amongst which were the cathe-
dral (with its priory for sixty monks) and other churches at Norwich, the
church of St. Nicholas' at Yarmouth, St. Margaret^s at Lynn, St. Mary's
at Elmham, and others, forming a number which, considered as the work
of one man, is truly astonishing. While he was at Rome he obtained
license to remove his see from Thetford to Norwich, and returniug em-
ployed himself in the religious performance of his vows and the due
regulation of his diocese. On the accession of Henry I., Bishop Herbert
enjoyed the favour of that monarch, who made him Lord Chancellor, and,
in 1116, sent him ambassador to Rome. He died on the 22nd day of
July, 1119, and was buried before the high altar in the cathedral church of
Norwich ; a tomb an ell high was placed over him, but was pulled down in
the time of the rebellion, and left in ruin till 1682, when the present
altar-tomb was erected by the Dean and Chapter on the same spot.

Bishop Herbert has been accused of perfidy, of deceitful and servile
methods of procuring preferments, and of simony ; from the last charge
we have seen it is impossible to exculpate him, but in the others it is veiy
probable that envy and detraction have borne a considerable share. He
raised a great many enemies by cordially seconding Anselm, the Primate,
in his endeavours to enforce celibacy amongst the clergy, a proceeding which
must be attributed more to an error in judgment than to any badness of
disposition, and the surname of Losinga, a liar or flatterer, might very
naturally be applied by the rude courtiers of that age to a man who in learn-
ing and affability is acknowledged to have far exceeded his contemporaries.



yfpHE Norman Conquest of England was completed, and nearly all the
ih Anglo-Saxon or Danish owners of the soil were dispossessed in every
county. Two Norman Kings, Henry I. and Stephen, continued the line in
the first half of the twelfth century, and under their despotic sway the
country was in a miserable state. Three of the Plantagenet Kings
followed ; Henry II., Richard I., and John, and then a great change for
the better took place in the political system of society.

REIGN OP HENRY I., A.D. 1100 to 1135.

Henry I. was the brother of the last King and fourth son of the
Conqueror. He married first Matilda, or Maud, daughter of Malcolm III.,
King of Scotland, and neice of Edgar Atheling, and second Adehcia,
daughter of Geofirey, Duke of Louvain, and niece to Pope Calixtus. He
had one son William, and one daughter Matilda. According to agreement
between William II. and his brother Robert, as weU as from priority of
birth, the latter was now entitled to the throne, but he had delayed his
return from the crusade, and in consequence Henry hurried to Win-
chester and demanded the royal treasures. William de Breteuil, to
whose care they had been entrusted, opposed himseK to Henry^s preten-
sions and told him that the treasures belonged to Robert, who was now
their King, and that he was determined to maintain his allegiance to him.
Henry immediately drew his sword, threatened him with instant death if
he dared to disobey him ; and, as some of their mutual friends interposed,
Breteuil was prevailed upon to withdraw his opposition. Having secured
the treasure and the castle, he was saluted King, and on the third day
after his brother^s death he was proclaimed at Westminster.

In the following year, 1101, Robert, who had arrived in Normandy
shortly after his brother's death, resolved to assert his right to the English


crown, aud many of the Norman barons engaged to support his cause.
He landed at Portsmouth and proceeded towards Winchester, but he was
overtaken in his march by Henry, who persuaded him to agree to a recon-
cihation. Robert renounced his claim to the crown, and received in lieu
thereof an annual pension of 3000 marks and all the castles which Henry
held in Normandy except Domfront.

By the terms of this treaty, the King had bound himself not to punish
those of his barons who had shown their preference for Robert ; but he
soon evinced great animosity against them, and every means was employed
to bring them Avitliin the grasp of the law, so that he might gratify his
revenge. The most powerful of these disaffected barons was Robert
de Belesme, the bold, haughty, and cruel Earl of Shrewsbury, who had
large possessions both in England and Normandy. He was cited to appear
at the King's Court on no less than forty-five charges, and as he resisted
the royal authority he was dispossessed and banished in 1102.

The Duke of Normandy had up to this time religiously observed the
peace, and had even ravaged Belesme's land on hearing of his rebellion,
but when he found that the earl and other barons were punished, notwith-
standing the amnesty, for their previous delinquency, he paid a visit to his
brother, in the hope that he might persuade him to adopt milder and more
generous counsels. He found, however, that by his imprudent visit he
had imperilled his liberty, and he was glad to secure his return, in 1103,
by relinquishing the pension that had been granted to him. The duke
was afterwards imprisoned for life.

So much of the general history of the period is given in order to explain
the course of local events. To Matilda of Scotland, who was Queen of
Henry I., we owe the restoration of the laws of Alfred the Great and of
the privileges which he had granted to the nation. Henry was enamoured
of the Scottish princess, and on his accession to the throne he gave back
those laws of which the nation had been robbed. After his marriage,
he restored the Saxon nobles to their rank and placed them on an equality
to the Norman barons.

At this time the difference in the size of London and Norwich was only
slight compared with what it became in the following centuries. It thus
happened that the municipal regulations which were found suitable for
London were considered desirable by the men of Norwich, and had in all
probability been asked for by them in an interview with the King while
enjoying the festivities of the winter season in the castle. The clauses of
the charter make us acquainted with the state of municipal administration
both in London and Norwich. These clauses relate chiefly to the
administration of justice and to local taxation.

About the year 1100 Bishop Herbert de Losinga, the founder of


Norwicli Catliedral, built a churcli and prioiy at Yarmouth. Tlie cliurcli
is now t]ie parish church and the largest in the kingdom. The black
monks oi the priory were in great repute for sanctity and devotion under
the control of the priory at Norwich.

In 1109 King Henry I. placed Yarmouth under the government of a
povost, whose magisterial office was in or near the Broadway, now called
the Cono-e. The King thus took the town under his protection for the
purpose of terminating the frequent disputes between the inhabilants and
the barons of the Cinque Ports, or the five ports in the southern counties.
Those barons had for a long period despatched baihfFs to Yarmouth to
superintend and regulate the business done during the great mart or free
fair held yearly for the sale of herrings. The barons of the Cinque Ports
appear to have exercised this prerogative long subsequent to the period
when the town was constituted a borough, their bailiffs having been
admitted into court to hear and to determine causes in conjunction with
the magistrates of the borough.

Bishop Herbert founded a priory at Lynn, for the Benedictine Order
(1100), and he endowed it with all his property in rents, lands, and naen,
as far as the church of William, son of Stanguin, on the other side of
Sedreldesfeld, &c. All the grants were made to the priory of the Holy
Trinity in Norwich, of which this convent at Lynn was a cell. Bishop
Herbert at first placed only a prior and three monks in his Lynn convent.
It was situated on the south side of St. Margaret^s church, but all the
buildings were pulled down soon after the dissolution of the priory to
enlarge the burial ground of St. Margaret's church.

Bishop Herbert was the founder of St. Margaret's Church at Lynn as
well as of the priory adjoining. The ground plan is cruciform, having a
nave with side aisles, and two towers at the west end, a choir with side
aisles, and north and south transepts. The west front is remarkable,
exhibiting at one view specimens of English architecture of several
periods. The earliest portion showing the Norman style of the twelfth
century, is at the south-west corner, where, in the basement story, is an
ornamental row of intersecting arches, springing from corbels, above
which appers a zigzag moulding, surmounted by another row of trefoil
arches, springing from columns with Norman capitals.

During the reign of Henry I. in 1121, Eborard, Archdeacon of Salis-
Imry, son of Koger, Earl of Arundel, succeeded Herbert as Bishop of
Norwich. He continued the work begun by his predecessor and built the
nave of the cathedral. He also built the Church and Hospital of St. Paul.
He persecuted the Jews, and is stated to have been deposed for his cruelty
in 1145, when he retired into Yorkshire, where he died in 1149. There
is a figure of him on the south side of the west window of the cathedral.


King Henry I. visited Norwich in 1122, and kept his Christmas there,
and he was so much pleased with the reception of the citizens that he
granted them by charter the same franchises and liberties as the city of
London then had. And from this time they were governed by a provost
chosen by the King, who had to collect all the King's dues, and this was
the first charter of the city by which its government was severed from
that of the castle, where felons wore put in prison at this time. There
are no records of what liberties were granted to the city in this reign.

In 1132, Henry I., returning to England after his interview at Chartres
Avith Pope Innocent III., was overtaken by a violent tempest. Considering
it as a judgment of Providence for his sins, he made in the hour of danger
a solemn vow to amend his life, in pursuance of which, as soon as he
had landed, he repaired to Bury to perform his devotions at the shrine of
St. Edmund. Nearly all the Norman Kings subsequently visited the

Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 56 of 70)