Page:Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey.djvu/179

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141
NOTES TO KENT.

find a Saxon fortification here, it is not surprising, that, on so important a spot commanding the passage of the Medway, it should not satisfy his idea of the requisite strength. Accordingly (D.B.) states, see the Note on Aylesford,[1] that he exchanged with the Bishop of Rochester a portion of the royal manor of Aylesford for some land belonging to the bishop, which, adjoining apparently to the Saxon castle, was necessary to afford space for the Norm, additions. However, while K. William I. commenced, or perhaps only designed, the enlargement of Rochester castle, it was not completed till subsequently; because documents are preserved, which show, that, in consideration of the manor of Hedenham, Bucks, being granted to the church of Rochester, Gundulph, bp. of the diocese, covenanted to erect the castle of stone at his own expense for K. William, son of K. William. (Text. Roff. 144, &c.)

The cellars of the Crown and George Inns in this town are examples of ancient vaulting, which however, from their darkness, the effects of damp, and the use to which they are appropriated, it is not easy to examine accurately. The former seems to be the oldest, though it is the least ornamented of the two, and not carried to any great depth. The cellar of the George is very deep, of considerable length, has both transverse and diagonal ribs, and the bosses and corbels are elaborately carved. There are clear marks of windows, and some frames as if intended for doors, but I much doubt their being (at least some of them) more than shams. Both cellars are popularly supposed to have been churches, but can hardly have been designed for other than their present use. That of the George runs nearly north and south, beside which the existing trap doorway, through which casks are let down from the street, appears to be coeval with the remainder of the structure.—The Journal of the Brit. Archæological Association, No. 13, 30—37, contains some "Observations on the ancient city walls of Rochester," with a notice of the portions yet remaining, by the Rev. Beale Poste.

272. Rodmersham.—This church consists of chancel, nave with north and south aisles, the latter having a chancel co-extensive with the principal one, western tower, and south porch.

  1. There are indeed existing remains of a Norm, military building at Aylesford, which might possibly be intended by the notice above alluded to, but, from consideration of the entire passage and the manner in which it is introduced, I conceive it can only signify Rochester Castle.