« PredošláPokračovať »
OFFICERS OF THE CASTLE.
Constable, (an honorary appointment).-William Hulton,
Besides these, the superior officers, the establishment consists of five Turnkeys, a Taskmaster, a Schoolmaster and Chapel Clerk, twelve Monitors, a Watchman, a Court Keeper, a Matron, an assistant Matron, two Monitresses, a Joiner, a Mason, and a Labourer.
The duties of the officers who have the immediate charge of the Prisoners are very numerous and almost unceasing. The responsibility attaching to the office of Governor of Lancaster Castle is greater than that of any other Keeper of a gaol in the Kingdom. The Governor is appointed by the Sheriff, to whom he gives bond (renewable annually) with sufficient sureties, in £10,000, for the safe custody of the Debtors; and on him rests the whole risk incidental to the receiving and discharging of prisoners of this description. The average number of Debtors and the gross amount of their liabilities are far greater here than in any even of the metropolitan gaols. Add to this, that the Sheriff's office is situated at Preston, a distance of 22 miles from the gaol,-that no Debtor can be discharged until that office be searched for detainers, and a certificate of such detainers be received by the Governor,-that, should the search or certificate miscarry,
either the Debtor is to be discharged at the risk of thousands of pounds of detainers being against him in the Sheriff's office, or is to be detained, and thus be in a condition to bring an action for false imprisonment against the Governor, and it will be readily admitted that the situation of this functionary is by no means an enviable
The former excellent Governor of the Castle, Mr. Higgin, held the post for upwards of 50 years, with great honour to himself and to the satisfaction of the county at large. His salary was £1000 per annum, and considering the awful responsibility attached to the office, it could hardly, large as it might seem, be deemed too liberal. It was but just that Mr. Higgin should not only be well paid for his services, but that he should be enabled to lay by a something to meet the serious pecuniary loss which a single mistake in discharging a debtor might, at any moment, bring down upon him. The governor of a gaol, it should be borne in mind, is precluded, by law, from engaging in any description of trade or profession for the improvement of his income. The stipend he receives from the county is all he can acquire by the exercise of his talents or industry.
Since the retirement of Mr. Higgin, the number of Debtors has been on the increase, and the duties of the office, owing to the changes of late years in the system of prison discipline, have become considerably more arduous. The present Governor of the Castle, however, receives a salary of £600 per annum, without any other emolument
whatsoever. His son, the Deputy Governor, has £100 per annum, (the late Assistant Keeper, Mr. John Kendall, received £200 per annum,) the Chaplain's salary is £350, the Surgeon's £100 (the late Surgeon's was £120),— and the salaries of the subordinate officers vary from £80 to £20 per annum, each.
THE PARISH CHURCH.
ST. MARY'S, the Parish Church, stands on the north of the Castle, and as seen from the North Road, with its lofty steeple, and the towers of the castle beyond it forms a fine object in the landscape. The exterior walls of the Church are of the date of the fifteenth century, shortly after the transfer of the Benedictine Priory, to which it belonged, to Sion Abbey near London. The Church occupies the site of a Norman edifice built by Roger de Poitou, of which no vestige remains. Farther back still, there is no doubt that a church existed here in the time of Canute. A few years ago a small stone Runic cross, adorned with the entangled scrolls which characterize the Danish crosses, was discovered in the Church-yard. A Saxon Church also stood here, of which history makes mention. Indeed from the earliest periods of the history of the town there is reason to believe that the present Church and Church-yard have continued to be the site of a succession of ecclesiastical edifices.
The Church is spacious and lofty, being 140 feet in length, 60 feet broad, and 40 feet high. It consists of a
nave, two side aisles, and a chancel. Eight arches and pillars of the old Anglo-Gothic tower separate the nave from the side aisles, and extend nearly up to the altar. The large and light east window was formerly obscured and hidden by a screen, which has been removed and is now at Capernwray Hall, the seat of George Marton, esq., M.P. for the Borough and patron of the living. For this improvement and many others the church is indebted to Mr. John Hargreaves, the late churchwarden.
This fine east window only requires some richly painted glass to effect an indescribable improvement in the character of the interior. A number of stalls stretch along the breadth of the chancel, which contain a profusion of tracery, terminating in pointed heads. Along the east wall, on the north and south sides of the altar, are curious folding seats, twelve of which (the number of the apostles) bear grotesque human figures and foliage. These singular carvings and the beautiful workmanship in front of the chancel and vestry have for ages attracted the notice of the antiquary. They are probably as old as the fourteenth century. The roof of the Church is of plain ribbed oak, with principals slightly ornamented. The arch of the chancel is high and pointed. There are galleries on the north, west, and south sides. The windows in the aisles and clerestory are plain, and have the flattened arch of the fifteenth century. An arched cavity in the south wall of the Church is supposed to have been a baptistry. The body of the Church has two stories, both with battlements, and the walls, excepting those of the tower and Registry court, are of rude grout.
The tower, at the west end, is square, lofty and well proportioned, and is 140 feet high. It was erected in 1759. Those who cannot obtain permission to ascend John o'Gaunt's turret should, if the day be clear, by all means secure the view from the leads of the Church tower. tower contains a peal of eight bells.
The sepulchral monuments in the Church do not require a lengthened notice. At the end of the north aisle is the marble tablet of the noble family of Faulconberg. In the middle aisle is a stone bearing an inscription on a brass plate to the memory of Thomas Covell, six times Mayor of Lancaster, forty-eight years keeper of the Castle, forty-six years one of the Coroners of the County Palatine, Captain of the Freehold Band of the Hundred of Lonsdale south of the Sands, and Justice of the Peace for the County. This public and official personage died August 1st, 1609, in the 78th year of his age. His figure is cut in brass in his aldermanic robes. His death is further bewailed in the following inflated style of panegyric:
"Cease, cease to mourn, all tears are vain and voide,
He's fledd, not dead; dissolved, not destroyed :
In Heaven his soule doth rest; his bodie here
Sleepes in this dust, his fame everie where