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these descendants of kings, and conveyed to Castle Rhuddlan.
When he arrived at the castle he repeatedly begged to be admitted to Edward's presence. You may remember that, in former years, Prince David had resided at the English court. Perhaps fearful that at the sight of a former friend even his stern heart might relent, the English king steadily refused to see him.
When he was taken prisoner, a piece of the real true cross (or a relic supposed to be such), called crosseneych, was found on his person. It was a relic much valued by the Welsh princes, and passed with King Arthur's crown, and other precious jewels, into Edward's possession.
David, loaded with chains, was sent as a prisoner to Shrewsbury; and on the news of his captivity, Rhys Vychan, one of his most important adherents, surrendered himself and his followers to the Earl of Hereford, who sent them all prisoners to London. All the Welsh chieftains now submitted to Edward. The struggle was over, and their fate decided for ever; but Edward, implacable and cruel, needed one last victim, and found him in Prince David.
This unfortunate prince, being a baron of the realm of England, underwent the farce of a trial at Shrewsbury, on the 30th day of September 1283, before an assemblage of nobles, presided over by Edward in person, and was doomed to death as a traitor, and sentenced by John de Vans, then Chief Justice of England.
As he had been made a knight by Edward, he was condemned by these nobles (against every claim of humanity and justice) to a most cruel death. His sentence was, to be drawn through Shrewsbury to the place of execution, tied to the tails of horses, then hanged, his heart and bowels to be burnt, his head to be cut off, and his body to be quartered and hung up in four different parts of England.
This sentence was carried out in the cruellest manner; and his head, after being cut off, was placed opposite to that of Prince Llewelyn, on the turrets of the Tower of London.
I shall not longer pursue the history of Wales, having told you sufficient to show you why this castle was built.
When first built, it must have been most beauti
ful; and there Edward and Queen Eleanor, attended by English nobles, spent many a Christmas, indulging in various festivities.
The outside is still exactly as it was in Edward's time, with the exception of one tower, which has been almost entirely destroyed by the peasants in the neighbourhood, who being in the habit of taking stones from the foundation whenever they pleased, the tower fell down into the river. The hall is 100 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 30 feet high, and its roof is supported by very beautiful arches, still standing.
Its eight towers contained very good bed-chambers, each one above the other; and one of them, which has a bow window made out of the thickness of the wall, is still called the king's chamber, as over the window are the arms of Edward the First.
The situation of Conway Castle is so exceedingly fine, that it will ever be one of the most visited of the ruins of Wales; and I hope I have interested you by what I have told you, in the reasons that induced King Edward to erect it.
CASTLE OF WILLESMOTESWICK.
N rising ground, towering above a fertile valley in Northumberland, there still
exists the ruins of an old castle called
It overlooks the Tyne, where that river, meeting a stream once called the Alon, but now known as the Blackcleugh, flowing along the plain, passes underneath the old edifice about which I am going to tell you. It is not far from the site of the famous Roman or Picts' wall, which was (as you all remember, no doubt) begun by the Emperor Adrian A.D. 123, to prevent the Picts and Scots from coming into Britain, and rebuilt by Severus in the year 207. It was an immense wall (or long line of forts, some authorities maintain), first made
only of turf strengthened with palisades, but rebuilt in stone, and which stretched from Carlisle to Newcastle, and many parts of it may still be seen in the border country.
Now, dear children, I see by your faces that you are surprised that my fireside conversations, which we agreed should this winter be about 'Castles and their Heroes,' should this evening be about a place of which you have never even heard.
But every one of my castles has a hero; and although not performed in Northumberland, the deeds of the hero of Willesmoteswick are surpassed by none. What is the meaning of the word 'hero?' When we say 'Oh, what a hero he is!' we generally think that the person we are speaking of resembles those men who have been distinguished by courage on battle fields, or in naval actions; and that this is the general meaning of the word is obvious, by its being defined in the dictionary as 'a brave man,' 'a great warrior.'
Still, though only a warrior in the sense of fighting against evil, I think when I tell you that Willesmoteswick was the birthplace of Bishop Ridley, he who so bravely met death in defence of