Page:A tour through the northern counties of England, and the borders of Scotland - Volume I.djvu/261

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[249]

From this walk we had to the greatest advantage the ruins of Knaresborough- Castle on the opposite bank, unassociated with modern houses, which introduce themselves at every other point of view; the church too assumed a beautiful situation, and the southern part of the town, hanging amongst the rocks, was very picturesque. But little of the castle remains, though in its day it was much connected with the historical events of the kingdom. Serlo de Burgh founded it in the early Norman times, whose descendant transferred it to the Estotevilles. A connection of this house by marriage, concerned in the perpetration of that sacrilegious act, the murder of Becket at the altar, made Knaresborough-Castle the safe retreat of him- self and his accessaries for one year, and having defied the royal power, was only reduced to obedience and repentance by the authority of the church. The crown now became possessed of it, and granted it occasionally to favoured subjects, Hubert de Burgh^ Piers de Gaveston, and John of Gaunt. It then re-echoed the sighs of a captive monarch, Richard II. for whom it was made an intermediate prison between Leeds and Pomfret-Castle, the scene of his death. But after having served this republican purpose, its proud head was doomed to experience the ingratitude of