the castle, one of the very few then subsisting in England, was deemed impregnable; but the spirit of the English was broken. Appalled at William's approach, the garrison proposed to surrender. Before, however, they could bring forth the keys, the town was wrapt in flames, -- their roofs of thatch and frames of timber were blazing. It is said that the Norman soldiers, eager for prey and rapine, had cast in the burning brands; and so extensive was the conflagration, that even towards the close of William's reign, when Domesday was compiled, the burgesses were unable to pay the valued rents of their properties. If this destruction were accidental, it, nevertheless, served William well. By clearing the ground below, it rendered the castle more defensible, and prevented a sturdy population from again engaging in opposition to his authority. Dover was also the chief of the maritime stations, from which vessels might come forth and harass him in time of trouble. All these chances of danger were quelled by the fire.--Palgrave

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