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Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 192 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1.

LETTER II.

DIEPPE—­CASTLE—­CHURCHES—­HISTORY OF THE PLACE—­FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION.

(Dieppe, June, 1818.)

The bombardment of this town, alluded to in my last, was so effectual in its operation, that, excepting the castle and the two churches, the place can boast of little to arrest the attention of the antiquary, or of the curious traveller.  These three objects were indeed almost all that escaped the conflagration; and for this they were indebted to their insulated situations, the first on an eminence unconnected with the houses of the place, the other two in their respective cemeteries.

The hill on which the castle stands is steep; and the building, as well from its position, as from its high walls, flanked with towers and bastions, has an imposing appearance.  In its general outline it bears a resemblance to the castle of Stirling, but it has not the same claims to attention in an architectural point of view.  It is a confused mass of various aeras, and its parts are chiefly modern:  nor is there any single feature that deserves to be particularized for beauty or singularity; yet, as a whole, a picturesque and pleasing effect results from the very confusion and irregularity of its towers, roofs, and turrets; and this is also enhanced by a row of lofty arches, thrown across a ravine near the entrance, supporting the bridge, and appearing at a distance like the remains of a Roman aqueduct.  What seems to be the most ancient part is a high quadrangular tower with lofty pointed pannels in the four walls; and though inferior in antiquity, an observer accustomed only to the English castellated style, is struck by the variety of numerous circular towers with conical roofs, resembling those which flanked the gates of the town.  Some of these gates still remain perfect; and one of them, leading to the sea, now serves as a military prison.  It was the Sieur des Marets[4], the first governor of the place, who began this castle shortly after the year 1443, when Louis the XIth, then dauphin, freed Dieppe from the dominion of the English, attacking in person, and carrying by assault, the formidable fortress, constructed by Talbot, in the suburb of Pollet.  Of this, not a vestige now remains:  the whole was levelled with the ground in 1689; though, at a period of one hundred and twenty years after it was originally taken and dismantled, it had again been made a place of strength by the Huguenots, and had been still further fortified under Henry IVth, in whose reign the present castle was completed; for it was not till this time that permission was given to the inhabitants to add to it a keep.  In its perfect state, whilst defended by this keep, and still further protected by copious out-works and bomb-proof casemates, its strength was great; but the period of its power was of short duration; for the then perturbed state of France naturally gave rise to anxiety on the part of the government, lest fortresses should serve as rallying points to the faction of the league; and the castle of Dieppe was consequently left with little more than the semblance of its former greatness.

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