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of Skipton is singularly great and curious, and reminds us of the description which the chief chronicler of this period has given us of similar stores. “ As for the armories of sundrie of the nobilitie," he says, “ they are soe well furnished within some one baron's castle, that I have seene iii score corslets at once, beside culverynes, hand gunnes, bowes, and sheaves of arrowes, the verie sight whereof appalled my corage *."
It would seem, however that the lords of Skipton, not content with appropriating one or more apartments to these weapons of warfare, considered their castle, in fact, as but one vast armorie ; for not even the chambers of the females, as we shall perceive, were exempt from this unlady-like furniture.
In the port-lodge, in the port-ward, and on the leads of the castle, we might expect to meet with, and we find, cannon, arquebusses, culverines, &c.; but why they should have a place in the cellar, in the larder, in the ewrie, and, above all, in the nursery and Mrs. Conyer's chamber where “ three brasses with three chambres” are noted down, it would be difficult to conjecture.“ A modern fine lady," as the historian of Craven very appositely expresses himself on this occasion, “ would think cannon in her chamber something like Slender's bears,” which as he said, “ women could not abide, for they were very ill-favoured, rough things."
* Holinshed, v. i. p. 85. ed. 1577.
It is in the gallery, however, and the apartments immediately connected with it, that the principal armorie seems to have been established ; and if we recollect the tumultuary times in which many of the Cliffords lived, their border wars with Scotland, and their deep concern in the bloody conflicts between the two houses of York and Lancaster, it will not be surprising to learn, that they found it necessary to accumulate a large stock of the materials and implements of warfare. They appear, indeed, from the
. quantity of saltpetre preserved in their store-house, and the number of pairs of iron-moulds marked in the inventory, to have manufactured their own gunpowder, and cast their own balls ; and the following brief and classed enumeration of some of the armour and weapons collected in the gallery, in the low tower at the end of it, in the middle chamber of the gallery, and in what was called the New Work, will, with a few incidental observations, afford us a
* Hist. of Craven, p. 334, note.
striking picture of the warlike attitude which they were compelled to maintain.
In the first place then, we have a list of seventyeight CORSLETS, furnished with caps, gorgets, and vomebraces; next follow sixty-two SPEARS and LANCES with the accompaniment of greaves and gauntlets, sixty BACKS and BREASTS of armour; forty-four LEAD MALLETS, a deadly weapon which had probably been used by Henry lord Clifford, the shepherd, on the field of Flodden, for in the old metrical narrative of this battle, it is said
The Morrish pikes, and mells of lead,
Thirty-two BATTLE-AXES, many of which had, doubtless, been wielded with unsparing havoc during the contention of the rival roses. Thirtytwo ARQUEBUSSES, a species of musket, often made of cast-iron, and so heavy that it was usually discharged on a portable rest. Twenty-five pieces of CANNON of various kinds, such as facons, diculverons, &c.
Twelve racks for stringing CROSS
Three IRON SLINGS with chambers, an instrument somewhat similar to the balista of the ancients, and which, as Whitaker conjectures, had
in all probability been used by the first earl of Cumberland in repulsing the attacks of the Pilgrimage of Grace. Three of the SEVEN SISTERS, pieces of Scottish ordinance which, there is every reason to suppose, had fallen into the hands of Henry, the shepherd lord, as a part of the spoil of Flodden Field; for Holinshed tells us in his description of this engagement, that “ all the Scottish ensigns were taken, and a two and twentie peices of great ordinance, among the which were seaven culverines of a large assize, and very fair peices. King James named them, for that they were in making one verie like to another, the Seaven Sisters *.'” Two BRIGANTINES; these are mentioned as being covered with black velvet, one having a cap covered with the same material, and the other a helmet or morion with white nails. 66 They seem,” observes Whitaker, “ to have been for the use of the lords themselves;" and he then adds a remark which brings to our recollection much of what has been recorded of the character and habits of this great and chivalric family: “ How frequent with the old writers of romance," says he, “is the figure of a
* Holinshed, vol. ii. p. 1493, as quoted by Whitaker.
black knight traversing a forest; and how completely must it have been realized by the Cliffords within their own domains * !”
The inventories which follow this of 1572 are comparatively scanty. That of 1591, taken towards the latter end of the life of earl George, the celebrated navigator, cannot be expected, from the short period which had elapsed, to add much of what is novel. In the drawing-chamber, however, are mentioned a few fresh articles which convenience or fashion had introduced; such as tablecloths of green cloth fringed with silk, eleven buffets, five covered with crimson velvet, five with green velvet, and one with cloth of gold; cushions of Turkey work, and andirons of
In the best chamber, or chamber of estate, we find enumerated for the first time, a large carpet for a foot-cloth, and “one gret glass gilt, with litel curtain of sarcenet for same. Pictures also had come into vogue, for thirty-six are noticed as being in the wardrobe. It would appear, however, that the literary taste of the family had greatly degenerated, for the library of the Cliffords is described as occu
* Hist. of Craven, p. 334, note.