Vanishing England eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 374 pages of information about Vanishing England.
the Spaniards threatened our shores those who possessed castles tried to adapt them for the use of artillery, and when the Civil War began many of them were strengthened and fortified and often made gallant defences against their enemies, such as Donnington, Colchester, Scarborough, and Pontefract.  When the Civil War ended the last bugle sounded the signal for their destruction.  Orders were issued for their destruction, lest they should ever again be thorns in the sides of the Parliamentary army.  Sometimes they were destroyed for revenge, or because of their materials, which were sold for the benefit of the Government or for the satisfaction of private greed.  Lead was torn from the roofs of chapels and banqueting-halls.  The massive walls were so strong that they resisted to the last and had to be demolished with the aid of gunpowder.  They became convenient quarries for stone and furnished many a farm, cottage and manor-house with materials for their construction.  Henceforth the old castle became a ruin.  In its silent marshy moat reeds and rushes grow, and ivy covers its walls, and trees have sprung up in the quiet and deserted courts.  Picnic parties encamp on the green sward, and excursionists amuse themselves in strolling along the walls and wonder why they were built so thick, and imagine that the castle was always a ruin erected for the amusement of the cheap-tripper for jest and playground.  Happily care is usually bestowed upon the relics that remain, and diligent antiquaries excavate and try to rear in imagination the stately buildings.  Some have been fortunate enough to become museums, and some modernized and restored are private residences.  The English castle recalls some of the most eventful scenes in English history, and its bones and skeleton should be treated with respect and veneration as an important feature of vanishing England.

[Illustration:  Knightly Bascinet (temp. Henry V) in Norwich Castle]



No buildings have suffered more than our parish churches in the course of ages.  Many have vanished entirely.  A few stones or ruins mark the site of others, and iconoclasm has left such enduring marks on the fabric of many that remain that it is difficult to read their story and history.  A volume, several volumes, would be needed to record all the vandalism that has been done to our ecclesiastical structures in the ages that have passed.  We can only be thankful that some churches have survived to proclaim the glories of English architecture and the skill of our masons and artificers who wrought so well and worthily in olden days.

In the chapter that relates to the erosion of our coasts we have mentioned many of the towns and villages which have been devoured by the sea with their churches.  These now lie beneath the waves, and the bells in their towers are still said to ring when storms rage.  We need not record again the submerged Ravenspur, Dunwich, Kilnsea, and other unfortunate towns with their churches where now only mermaids can form the congregation.

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Vanishing England from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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