IT was the age of chain armour and tournamentsâof iron barons and barons' warsâof pilgrims and armed pilgrimagesâof forests and forest outlawsâwhen Henry III. reigned as King of England, and the feudal system, though no longer rampant, was still full of life and energy; when Louis King of France, afterwards canonised as St. Louis, undertook one of the last and most celebrated of those expeditions known as the Crusades, and described as 'feudalism's great adventure, and popular glory.' At the time when Henry was King of England and when Louis of France was about to embark for the East, with the object of rescuing the Holy Sepulchre from the Saracens, there stood on the very verge of Northumberland a strong baronial edifice, known as the Castle of Wark, occupying a circular eminence, visible from a great distance, and commanding such an extensive view to the north as seemed to ensure the garrison against any sudden inroad on the part of the restless and refractory Scots. On the north the foundations were washed by the waters of the Tweed, here broad and deep; and on the south were a little town, which had risen under the protection of the castle, and,âstretching away towards the hills of Cheviot,âan extensive park or chase, abounding with wild cattle and deer and beasts of game. At an earlier period this castle had been a possession of the famous house of Espec; and, when in after days it came into the hands of the Montacute Earls of Salisbury, Edward III. was inspired within its walls with that romantic admiration of the Countess of Salisbury which resulted in the institution of the Order of the Garter. During the fifth decade of the thirteenth century, however, it was the chief seat of Robert, Lord de Roos, a powerful Anglo-Norman noble, whose father had been one of the barons of Runnymede and one of the conservators of the Great Charter.
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IT was the age of chain armour and tournamentsâof iron barons and barons' warsâof pilgrims and armed pilgrimagesâof forests and forest outlawsâwhen Henry III.
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