Brewhouse Yard was next visited. The first mention of this place in local history is in a return of rents to the king, by his constable, Geoffrey Kniveton, 25th Henry VI. (1446-7), in which "the meadow near the Rock Yard " is mentioned.

Thoroton, writing fully two centuries later, says (p. 490), " The Brewhouse Yard " (the earliest record of the present name) "is a constabulary wherein there are many houses, some in the rock, others out of it; all which being now of no parish are a great receptacle for fanatics and other like people who would not live conformable to the laws."

James Blackner, writing ninety years ago, said in his speculative way, "Brewhouse Yard took its name from the malt being there made and the liquor brewed with which the castle was supplied—and it is conjectured, and that too with much probability, that the passage called 'Mortimer's hole' was originally made for the purpose of having the liquor conveyed through it to the castle. The kiln that was used for malting has been lost in an ice house that belonged to Mr. Topot, confectioner, Bridlesmith Gate. This place was formerly within the jurisdiction of the castle—and there were no dwellings in it but what were necessary for carrying on the business of malting and brewing; but James I. converted it into a jurisdiction or constabulary of itself, and granted it to Francis Philips, gent, and Edward Ferrers, mercer, both of London, by a deed bearing date 1621, since which time a few more houses have been built, where a considerable share of dyeing and trimming has been carried on."

Here now stand two public-houses adjoining one another, the first of which, known by the name of " This Gate hangs well," has a parlour cut in the rock, with a shaft of some thirty feet high driven through the solid rock, by which means alone it derives daylight. It was known 106 years ago as "The Hanging Gate," with the legend:—

"This gate hangs well and hinders none, Refresh and pay and travel on." The origin of the sign is no doubt the former existence of a gate at this spot enclosing the yard, into which the old constables of the town had no right of entry. In 1799 there was here a third public-house, by name "The Bottle and Glass," but it has disappeared, and its site is unknown.

The adjoining house is known as "The Trip to Jerusalem Inn," noticed by Camden Hotten in his "History of Signboards," but with little or no light thrown upon its origin. The visitor will be told that it dates from the time of the Crusaders! It first appears on the page of history in the oldest directory of the town, dated 1799. There is a cellar and brewhouse both cut out of the solid rock, and upstairs a rock room licensed for music, out of which an overhead shaft is driven, through which the sky may be seen, and in which tradition says there is a passage to a secret chamber. There is another small rock room lighted by a window high up, now used as a museum, where the "visitors' book" is kept, which, by the number of names recorded therein, testifies to the interest this quaint place elicits.

Beyond these two inns is a row of gabled red brick houses, contemporary with the age of the present Castle— 1674-1679—with small gardens in front; these were, no doubt, designed as dwellings for some of the retinue connected with the establishment of the great house above, or there is a possibility that they were built by the London merchants, to whom the ground was leased fifty years earlier.

At the west end of the yard, perched up on the side of the rock and approached by a steep flight of steps, is a two-gabled house, which at one time is said to have been occupied by Mr. Abel Collin, a well-known man in his time (the latter part of the 17th century), and the founder of the almshouses in Park Street, which still retain his name. The almshouses in Carrington Street, built in 1831, were a further extension of the charity.

In passing round the south face of the great rock of the Castle, the so-called "Mortimer's Hole" was pointed out. This passage, cut in the rock, led up to the first court of the mediaeval Castle. Half way up the rock it was connected with the east ditch of that court. It was pointed out by Mr. Stevenson that a second passage of the same character existed on the west side of the rock, and may be traced just against the gate that leads into the Park; its lower part is in ruin, owing to some unrecorded slip or fall of the rock. This passage, with an outlet higher up the face of the rock in the private grounds of Mr. Lewis, is wide enough for the passage of four men abreast. The higher part, although blocked at its outlet by the modern Castle, is perfect, with its broad steps or stairs cut in the solid rock, whilst the lower half is mutilated by sundry brick walls and modern side excavations. There is evidence of this particular outlet being original, for a level stretch of landing and ceiling occurs at this point, forming a break in the line of steps. In viewing this second passage, leading from the low meadow into the first court of the Castle, it is a question which of the two is the true "Mortimer's Hole," made historic on October 19th, 1320, the eastern one alone being endowed with the tradition.

Hence the party ascended further, and passed through the enclosing wall of the Castle area into a large rectangular apartment, walled and arched over in brick. This runs under the south-west part of the Castle lawn, and was constructed by the second Duke of Newcastle in 1720 as a slaughter-house for his palace; the present entrance from the old grazing lands of the Park is original. Evidence of the great beams upon which the carcases of the beasts, deer, &c., were hung exists in the side walls.

From this point the members, in single file, arrived at the end of their perambulations, over what, to the majority of them, was untrodden ground, to the point of greatest interest, viz., the excavations on the western escarpment of the Castle rock, known as the site of King Richard's tower. This part of the Castle was constructed by King Edward IV., and from its magnitude must have occupied a good portion of his reign in building. It was later the residence of his brother, Richard III., who left it for the fatal field of Bosworth. Attention was called to the extent of this great work, which is largely covered with the debris of the old Castle and dense vegetation (among which a specimen, recently identified as Deadly Nightshade, was found).

All that now remains is the lower stage or dungeon level of the tower, in which there was only one central apartment. The point of its ingress and egress is still shown, consisting of a spiral staircase wrought in stone, descending from the higher level of the tower. This apartment was semi-octagonal, thirty-two and a half feet long and about twenty-six feet broad, and possibly contained a central column supporting a vaulted ceiling. The walls, partly remaining, are eleven and a half feet in thickness, faced with large finely-jointed local stone. On the north side is the base of an attached tower, about thirty-six feet square, constructed on this lower stage of solid masonry, whilst on the south is the lower part, fairly perfect, of a midden, the pit of which is lined with fine brickwork that ranks amongst the oldest in the county. The bricks (possibly of Flemish origin) are ten inches long, five inches broad, and two inches thick. In this pit was found part of the large arched covering stones, and the shaft that was built upon them. Here, in a bed of brown sand, were found a number of Jacobean and Carolean relics, consisting of tobacco pipes, one very small and early, a stone, and a bronze weight, some red marbled earthenware, Venetian and English glass, bones, a boar's tusk, fragments of glass, glazing lead, &c.

It was pointed out that the great chamber, vault, or dungeon, the floor level of which has been traced, is unfortunately, filled with debris some eight or ten feet in thickness, made up of the ruins of the higher part of the tower, which was destroyed by order of Parliament, in 1651. This was done with powerful blasts of gunpowder, the effects of which are plainly seen in the broken ends of the walls and the fractured character of the existing masonry.

Close by the south-east corner of Mr. F. W. Dobson's house, on a level with the lawn, was pointed out an improvised entrance to a passage, or sally-port, that connected the western ditch with the second court of the old Castle. Its lower entrance was in the ditch, now covered by Mr. Dobson's house; its higher, now blocked, was possibly in one of the many important buildings that surrounded that court of the king's.

This brought a very interesting afternoon's exploration to an end.

The members owned themselves much indebted to Mr. Lewis for kindly permitting access to the interesting features in his private gardens, and to Mr. F. W. Dobson for not only granting access to the bared foundations of King Richard's Tower in his neighbouring grounds, but also for thoughtfully providing tea for the visitors, who, previous to dispersing, passed a vote of thanks to Mr. W. Stevenson for acting as guide, and to Mr. Dobson for his kindness in officiating as host.