The Barbican — “Riding the Fair”

The Barbican — “Riding the Fair”. Source: The Graphic (1884). Click on image to enlarge it.

Commentary from the The Graphic

This magnificent specimen of the military architecture of the period, its battlements crowded with stone effigies of fighting men, a feature peculiar to this Castle, and in moonlight giving a strangely weird effect, was built by Henry, first Lord Percy. It extends at least sixty feet beyond the curtain walls, and from its massive strength, the ingenuity of its construction, and its being also surrounded by a deep moat, must have been “a hard nut to crack” for the invader; the means of annoyance being many, and the obstructions formidable. The Abbot's Tower, in the north-west corner of the outercourt or bailey; the Posternand Constable's Towers, in the northern outworks of the inner bailey, were the work of this Percy. His son, the second Lord Percy, built the Octagon Towers. These lofty towers, twin giants, guarding the entrance to the inner keep, are built on the south front of the De Vesci arch. They are four storeys in height, they also are surmounted by weather beaten statues. In the ground floor of one is the ancient prison, with its “bottle” dungeon, where many a poor wretch must have endured the sufferings of a living tomb. A second moat surrounded the keep, opposite the Octagon Towers; the drawbridge served as the only passage to the private dwellings at this part. [138]

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“Alnwick Castle.” 30 (9 August 1884): 137-41. Hathi Trust online version of a copy in the New York Public Library. Web. 11 July 2021.

Last modified 2 July 2021