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3.14. Of castels and holds. Chap. 14.

Of castels and holds. Chap. 14.

_IT hath béene of long time a question in controuersie, and not yet determined, whether holds and castels néere cities or anie where in the hart of common-wealths, are more profitable or hurtfull for the benefit of the countrie? Ne|uertheles it séemeth by our owne experience that we here in England suppose them altogither vnnéedfull. This also is apparant by the testimonie of sundrie writers, that they haue béene the ruine of manie a noble citie. Of old Salisburie I speake not, of An|warpe I saie nothing more than of sundrie other, whereof some also in my time neuer cease to incroch vpon the liberties of the cities adioining, thereby to hinder them what and wherin they may. For my part I neuer read of anie castell that did good vnto the ci|tie abutting theron, but onelie the capitoll of Rome: and yet but once good vnto the same, in respect of the nine times whereby it brought it into danger of vt|ter ruine and confusion. Aristotle vtterlie denieth that anie castle at all can be profitable to a common wealth well gouerned. Timotheus of Corinthum af|firmeth, that a castle in a common wealth is but a bréeder of tyrants. Pyrhus king of Epire being recei|ued also on a time into Athens, among other courte|sies shewed vnto him, they led him also into their ca|stell of Pallas, who at his departure gaue them great thanks for the fréendlie intertainment; but with this item, that they should let so few kings come into the same as they might, least (saith he) they teach you to repent too late of your great gentle|nesse. Caietanus in his common-wealth hath final|lie no liking of them, as appéereth in his eight booke of that most excellent treatise. But what haue I to deale whether they be profitable or not, sith my pur|pose is rather to shew what plentie we haue of them, which I will performe so far as shall be néedfull?

Compare 1577 edition: 1 There haue béene in times past great store of ca|stels & places of defense within the realme of Eng|land, of which some were builded by the Britons, ma|nie by the Romans, Saxons, and Danes, but most of all by the barons of the realme, in & about the time of king Stephan, who licenced each of them to build so manie as them listed vpon their owne demeasnes, hoping thereby that they would haue imploied their vse to his aduantage and commoditie But finallie when he saw that they were rather fortified against himselfe in the end, than vsed in his defense, he re|pented all too late of his inconsiderate dealing, sith now there was no remedie but by force for to sub|due them. After his decease king Henrie the second came no sooner to the crowne, but he called to mind the inconuenience which his predecessour had suffe|red, and he himselfe might in time sustaine by those fortifications. Therefore one of the first things he did was an attempt to race and deface the most part of these holds. Certes he thought it better to hazard the méeting of the enimie now and then in the plaine field, than to liue in perpetuall feare of those houses, and the rebellion of his lords vpon euerie light occa|sion conceiued, who then were full so strong as he, if not more strong; and that made them the readier to withstand and gainesaie manie of those procéedings, which he and his successours from time to time in|tended. Herevpon therefore he caused more than ele|uen hundred of their said castels to be raced and o|uerthrowne, whereby the power of his nobilitie was not a little restreined. Since that time also, not a few of those which remained, haue decaied, partlie by the commandement of Henrie the third, and partlie of themselues, or by conuersion of them into the dwelling houses of noble men, their martiall fronts being remooued: so that at this present, there are verie few or no castels at all mainteined within England, sauing onelie vpon the coasts and mar|ches of the countrie for the better kéeping backe of the forren enimie, when soeuer he shall attempt to enter and annoie vs.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The most prouident prince that euer reigned in this land, for the fortification thereof against all out|ward enimies, was the late prince of famous me|morie king Henrie the eight, who beside that he re|pared most of such as were alreadie standing, buil|ded sundrie out of the ground. For hauing shaken off the more than seruile yoke of popish tyrannie, and espieng that the emperour was offended for his di|uorce from quéene Catharine his aunt, and thereto vnderstanding that the French king had coupled the Dolphin his sonne with the popes neece, and maried his daughter to the king of Scots (whereby he had cause more iustlie to suspect than safelie to trust anis one of them all as Lambert saith) he determined to stand vpon his owne defense, and therefore with no small spéed, and like charge, he builded sundrie blocke|houses, castels, and platformes vpon diuerse fron|tiers of his realme, but chieflie the east and southeast parts of England, whereby (no doubt) he did verie much qualifie the conceiued grudges of his aduersa|ries, and vtterlie put off their hastie purpose of inua|sion. But would to God he had cast his eie toward Harwich, and the coasts of Norffolke and Suffolke, where nothing as yet is doone! albeit there be none so fit and likelie places for the enimie to enter vpon, as in those parts, where, at a full sea they may touch vp|on the shore and come to land without resistance. And thus much brieflie for my purpose at this present. For I néed not to make anie long discourse of ca|stels, EEBO page image 195 sith it is not the nature of a good Englishman to regard to be caged vp as in a coope, and hedged in with stone wals, but rather to meet with his enimie in the plaine field at handstrokes, where he may tra|uaise his ground, choose his plot, and vse the benefit of sunne shine, wind and weather, to his best aduan|tage & commoditie. Isocrates also saith that towres, walles,The best keepers of kingdomes. bulworkes, soldiers, and plentie of armour, are not the best kéepers of kingdomes; but freends, loue of subiects, & obedience vnto martiall discipline, which they want that shew themselues either cruell or couetous toward their people. As for those tales that go of Beston castell, how it shall saue all Eng|land on a daie, and likewise the brag of a rebellious baron in old time named Hugh Bigot, that said in contempt of king Henrie the third, and about the fiftith yeare of his reigne:

If I were in my castell of Bungeie,
Vpon the water of Waueneie,
I wold not set a button by the king of Cockneie,
I repute them but as toies, the first méere vaine, the second fondlie vttered if anie such thing were said, as manie other words are and haue béene spo|ken of like holds (as Wallingford, &c:) but now growen out of memorie, and with small losse not heard of among the common sort. Certes the castell of Bungeie was ouerthrowen by the aforesaid prince, the same yeare that he ouerthrew the walles and castell of Leircester, also the castels of Treske and Malesar, apperteining to Roger Mowbraie, and that of Fremlingham belonging likewise to Hugh Bigot, wherof in the chronologie following you may read at large. I might here in like sort take occasi|on to speake of sundrie strong places where camps of men haue lien, and of which we haue great plentie here in England in the plaine fields: but I passe o|uer to talke of any such néedlesse discourses.The wan|dles in time past were cal|led windles. This ne|uerthelesse concerning two of them is not to be o|mitted, to wit, that the one néere vnto Cambridge now Gogmagogs hill, was called Windleburie be|fore time, as I read of late in an old pamphlet. And to saie the truth I haue often heard them named Winterburie hilles, which difference may easilie grow by corruption of the former word: the place likewise is verie large and strong. The second is to be séene in the edge of Shropshire about two miles from Colme, betwéene two riuers, the Clun or Co|lunus, and the Tewie otherwise named Themis, wherevnto there is no accesse but at one place. The Welshmen call it Cair Carador, and they are of the opinion, that Caractatus king of the Sillures was ouercome there by Ostorius, at such time as he fled to Cartimanda quéene of the Brigants for succour, who betraied him to the Romans, as you may sée in Tacitus.

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