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Full text of "Abbeys, Castles and ancient halls of England and Wales; their legendary lore and popular history"




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John Tmbs 3cAi-exander Gunn 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 



PRESENTED BY 

PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND 

MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID 



ABBEYS, CASTLES, 



ANCIENT HALLS 



ENGLAND AND WALES. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2008 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/abbeyscastlesancOOtimbrich i 







,^^ ./ 







LONrtON. FRHJJKRICK wIrkZ 4 C9 



ABBEYS, CASTLES, 



AND 



ANCIENT HALLS 

OF 

ENGLAND AND WALES; 

THEIR LEGENDARY LORE AND POPULAR PIISTORY. 

BY 

JOHN TIMES. 

RE-EDITED, REVISED, AND ENLARGED BY 

ALEXANDER GUNN. 
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS. 



MIDLAND. 



LONDON: j 

FREDERICK WARNE AND CO., ^ 

BEDFORD STREET, STRAND. 



lX>N-DOK : 
eRADEl'RY, AG-NEW, &, CO., PRIXTERS, WIIITEFRIARS. 



rs 



CONTENTS 

OF 

THE SECOND VOLUME. 



All those articles marked with an asterisk (♦) are 7ieiv — those with an obelisk (f) have 
been altered or extended. 



WILTSHIRE. 

PAGE 

Sarum Castle .•• i 

Wardour Castle 3 

The Castle and Abbey of JMalmesbuiy 4 

Wilton Abbey and Wilton House 7 

Fonthill and Fonthill Abbey 8 

Castles of Marlborough, Great Bedwin, and Trowbridge . , 11 

Longleat 12 

Lacock Abbey 13 

Amesbury Monastery 15 

Cranbourn Chase ; King John's Hunting-seat 16 

Devizes Castle 19 

*Littlecote House. — A Mysterious Story 20 

*Draycot House. — The Legend of the White Hand . ... 24 

Avebury, Stonehenge, and Silbury Hill ..,...,. 28 

BERKSHIRE. 

Windsor Castle, and its Romances ...•.••••. 40 

The Abbey of Abingdon . •••,•. 51 

Wallingford Castle ' , . . 53 

Reading Abbey 54 

Cumnor Place, and the Fate of Amy Robsart 59 



vi Contents. 



PACK 



Donnington Castle, and the Battles of Newbury 63 

■^Lady Place, or St. Mary Priory 64 

■*Bisham Abbey 68 

*Englefield Manor 71 

•* White Horse Hill — Battle of Ashdown — Scouring of the 

White Horse 73 

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE. 

Ashridge House 83 

Borstall Tower 86 

Stoke, or Stoke Pogeis, and Lady Hatton 90 

Stowe 94 

Whaddon Hall 96 

■'^Creslowe House 97 

*Great Hampden 100 

HERTFORDSHIRE. 

Waltham Cross 107 

The Abbey of St. Alban. — Shrine and Relics 108 

Hertford Castle 125 

Berkhamstead Castle 126 

Bishop's Stortford Castle 129 

Moor Park, Rickmansworth 131 

Hatfield House 133 

tKnebworth 139 

Sopwell Nunnery 145 

The Great Bed of Ware 146 

The Rye House and its Plot 148 

Historical Hertfordshire 149 

*Panshanger House. — The Story of Spencer Cowper . . . 152 

*Cassiobury 159 



SUFFOLK. 

Dunwich Swallowed up by the Sea 166 

St. Edmund King and Martyr : a Suffolk Legend .... 167 

Sacking of the Monastery of St. Edmund, Bury 168 

Framlingham Castle 171 

Wingficld Castle 174 



Contents, ■ vii 



rAGB 



Castles of Orford and Clare 176 

The Roman Castle of Burgh 178 

Hadleigh — Martyrdom of Dr. Taylor 181 

Origin of Lowestoft 186 

Queen Elizabeth in Suffolk 188 

•J^Bungay Castle.— The " Bold Bigod" 189 

*Henham House. — Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk . . . 195 

*Barsham Hall. — Sir John Suckling the Poet 202 



NORFOLK. 

Norwich Castle ,,210 

The Burning of Norwich Cathedral Priory 212 

Thetford Priory 214 

Rising Castle 216 

Castle Acre Castle, and Priory 220 

Bromholm Priory. — The Cross of Baldwin. — The Paston 

Family 221 

The Priory of Our Lady of Walsingham 224 

^Houghton Hall. — The Walpoles 228 

*Holkham Hall and its Treasures 238 

Caistor Castle ., 244 



HUNTINGDON AND CAMBRIDGESHIRE. 

Kimbolton Castle 245 

Ramsey Abbey, and its Learned Monks 247 

Castles of Cambridge and Ely 249 

The Isle of Ely : its Monastery and Cathedral 251 

^Cambridge and its Colleges 254 

*Hinchinbrook House. — The Cromvvells 264 



BEDFORDSHIRE. 

Woburn Abbey and the Russell Family 271 

Ampthill Castle 275 

Dunstable and its Priory 277 

Bedford Castle 280 

Luton- H 00, its Gothic Chapel 283 



viii Contents. 

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE. 

PAGk 

The Castle of Northampton 286 

Queen Eleanor's Cross, at Northampton , . 289 

Burghley House and the Lord of Burghley 296 

The Castle of Fotheringhay 302 

The Battle-field of Naseby 306 

Holmby House : Seizure of Charles 1 308 

Catesby Hall and the Gunpowder Plot 312 

♦Grafton Manor. — The Widvilles or Woodvilles. — Elizabeth, 

Queen of Edward IV 315 

RUTLANDSHIRE. 

Burleigh-on-the-HiU, and Jeffrey Hudson the Dwarf , , , 328 

Oakham Castle 330 

*Normanton Park 332 

LEICESTERSHIRE. 

♦Staunton Harold, and the Story of Earl Ferrers 335 

Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle 341 

Belvoir Castle 342 

Leicester Castle 347 

Leicester Abbey and Cardinal Wolsey 349 

*Groby Castle and Bradgatc Hall — EHzabeth Woodville and 

Lady Jane Grey 35 1 

♦Donington Park and Langley Priory. — The Cheslyns and the 

Shakespcars 356 

WARWICKSHIRE. 

Warwick Castle and Guy's Cliff 362 

Blacklow Hill— The Fate of Gavcston 368 

Coventry Castle, and Lady Godiva 371 

Comb Abbey 375 

tStratford-on-Avon. — The Birthplace of Shakspeare . , . 376 

Kenilworth Castle 381 

Priory of Kenilworth 389 

Maxstoke Castle 390 



Contents. ix 

PACK 

♦Charlecote House, Warwickshire. — Shakspeare's Deer-steal- 
ing Adventure -393 

*The Battle of Edge-hill.— The Shuckburghs of Shuckburgh 

Hall 399 



OXFORDSHIRE. 

Oxford Castle 408 

Oxford. — Magdalen, All Souls, and Brasenose, Colleges. — 

Friar Bacon's Brazen Head. — Great Tom 410 

An Oxfordshire Legend in Stone 416 

Cornebury Hall. — The end of Robert Dudley, Earl of Lei- 
cester 418 

Shirbourn Castle, Oxon 419 

Banbury Castle, Cross, and Cakes 421 

Stanton Harcourt and its Kitchen * 426 

Woodstock Palace — Fair Rosamond, and Godstow Nunnery 427 

Blenheim Palace and Park 436 

The Mystery of Minster Lovel 439 

" The Lady of Caversham " 441 

Dorchester Priory 442 

Oseney Abbey 4.43 

^Broughton Castle. — Lord Saye and Sele 444 



GLOUCESTERSHIRE. 

Thornbury Castle 450 

Chavenage Manor House 455 

Berkeley Castle 457 

Gloucester, its Monastery and Castle 460 

-Sudeley Castle and Queen Katherine Parr 463 

St. Briavel's Castle 465 

Cirencester, its Castle and Abbey 466 

Tewkesbury Abbey 469 

MONMOUTHSHIRE. 

Monmouth Castle 471 

Chepstow Castle 472 

Tintern Abbey 475 



X Cojitents, 



rKtVK 



Llanthony Abbey 476 

Ragland Castle 479 

Abergavenny Castle 483 

Caerleon, a Roman and British City 483 

♦Coldbrook House , 485 

HEREFORD AND WORCESTERSHIRE. 

The Castle of Wigmore, and its Lords 491 

Worcester Castle, and its Sieges 494 

Boscobel, and Charles II 496 

The Abbey of Evesham 497 

Hendlip Hall and the Gunpowder Plot 500 

Dudley Castle 502 

The Priory of Dudley 506 

Bransil Castle Tradition 507 

♦Clifford Castle . 508 

*Brampton Brian Castle 510 

♦Hagley Park.— Lord Lyttelton's Ghost Story 516 

STAFFORDSHIRE AND SHROPSHIRE. 

Stafford pnd its Castles 530 

** Tamworth Tower and Town " 531 

Tutbury Castle, and its Curious Tenures 534 

Chartley Castle 541 

The Legend of Dieulacres Abbey 543 

Shrewsbury Castles 544 

Ludlow Castle and its Memories 547 

The Priory of Austin Friars at Ludlow 552 

♦Chillington Park.— Legend of Giffard 554 

♦Alton Towers 557 

♦Halston House. — The Last of the Myttons 560 



ABBEYS, CASTLES, AND 
ANCIENT HALLS 



OF 



^ngkulr itiilr MaU5. 




WILTSHIRE. 

Sarum Castle. 

BOUT a mile and a half north of Salisbury lie the earth* 
works of Old Sarum, generally regarded as the Sor- 
biodunum of the Romans; its name being derived from 
the Celtic words sorbio, dry, and dim, a city or fortress, 
leads to the conclusion that it was a British post. The en- 
trenchments are formed upon a conical-shaped hill, in two parts, 
circular or rather oval ; the outer wall and ditch, and the keep or 
citadel. Ift digging the outer ditch, the workmen heaped the earth 
partly inside and partly outside, so that a lofty mound defended the 
approach to it ; whilst a rampart, still more lofty, and surrounded 
by a wall 12 feet thick, and of proportional height, arose inside of 
it This wall was strengthened by twelve towers, placed at inter- 
vals, and the entrances on the east and west sides were commanded 
by lunettes, or half moons. In the centre of this vast entrenchment 
was the citadel or keep, considerably higher than the rest of the 
city, and into which, the outwork being forced, the garrison and 
inhabitants might retire for safety. A well of immense depth sup- 
plied them with water; and the wall, also 12 feet thick, and inclos- 
ing 500 feet in diameter, and 1500 in circumference, would afford 
protection to a considerable multitude. Between the exterior wall 
and the citadel was the city, of which the foundations can be 
traced ; of the buildings, the towers, walls, and ancient cathedral, 
only two fragments remain — built of flint imbedded in rubble, and 
coated with masonry in square stones. 

In the Saxon times, Sarum is frequently mentioned. Kenric, son 
of CerdJc, defeated the Britons in this neighbourhood, A.D. 552, and 
** B 



7 Saniin Casflf. 

estaUlished himself at Sarum; in 960, Edgar held a great Council he*"<» » 
and in 1003 the place was taken and burned by Sweyn, King of 
Denmark, who pillaged the city, and returned to his ships laden with 
wealth. In 1085 or 1086, William I., attended by his nobles, received 
at Sarum the homage of the principal landowners, who then became 
his vassals. In 1095, William II. held a great Council here; Henry I. 
held his Court and Council here; and in 1142, Sarum was taken 
by the Empress Maud. A castle or fortress here is mentioned as early 
as the time of Alfred, and may be regarded as the citadel. 

The decline of Sarum originated in a disagreement between the civil 
and ecclesiastical authorities. In the reign of Henry I. the Bishop of 
Sarum was entrusted with the keys of the fortress ; but he fell into 
disgi-ace, and the King resumed the command of the Castle, and 
the military openly insulted the disgraced prelate and the clergy. New 
animosities increasing, the Empress Maud bestowed many gifts upon 
the cathedral, and added much land to its grants. Herbert, a sub- 
sequent Bishop of the See, attempted to remove the establishment ; 
but this was done by his brother and successor, Richard Poor, about the 
year 12 17, from which time many or most of the citizens also removed, 
and the rise of New Sarum (Salisbury) led to the decay of the older 
place, the inhabitants pulling down their dwellings, and with the 
materials constructing their new habitations. Old Sarum returned 
members to Parliament 23 Edward I. and again 34 Edward III., from 
which latter period it continued to return them until it was dis- 
franchised by the Reform Act of 1832. 

Old Sarum used always to be quoted as one of the most flagrant 
examples of the absurdity of the old system. But till about 1 20 years 
ago, there was not even one inhabitant of Old Sarum ; and it was 
puzzling at first how to reconcile this fact with the record of "con- 
tested elections" which occurred therein the reign of Charles II., and 
again in the reign of Queen Anne. Still, on examining the point one 
sees that these were cases rather of disputed returns than of contests in 
the modern sense. Not but what there were materials foreven these. It 
did not follow in those days that because there were no residents, 
therefore there were no voters. And on the site of Old Sarum still 
flourished fourteen freeholders, who were likewise " burgage holders," 
and who met periodically under the " Election Elm " to choose their 
representatives in Parliament Sarum had once been a place of great 
importance. Its castle was one of the chief barriers of the south-west 
against the incursions of the Welsh; and before the removal of its 
c^thetlral into the valley where it now stands, it must hav^ been on? qI 



Wardorir Castle, 3 

Uie finest cities in the kingdom. But when no longer required as .1 
military post, it is easy to see that its inaccessible position, on the 
summit of a very steep and very lofty hill, would soon lead to its deser- 
tion. As early as the reign of Henry VIII., the old town was in 
ruins, and not a single house in it inhabited. And we may suppose 
that by the end of the seventeenth century it had become just the bare 
mound that it is at present. 

Bishop Seth Ward gave Aubrey a curious account of Old Sarum : 
he told him that the cathedral stood so high and " obnoxious to the I 
weather," that when the wind blew, the priests could not be heard 
saying mass. But this was not the only inconvenience : the soldiers of 
the Castle and the priests could never agree ; and, one day, when they 
had gone out of the fortress in procession, the soldiers kept them out all 
night, or longer. The Bishop was much troubled, and cheered them 
up, and told them he would accommodate them better ; and he rode 
several times to the Lady Abbess at Wilton to have bought or ex- 
changed a piece of ground of her Ladyship to build a church and houses 
for the priests. The Bishop did not conclude about the land ; and the 
Bishop dreamt that the Virgin Mary came to him, and brought him to 
or told him of Merrifield ; she would have him build his church there, 
and dedicate it to her. Merrifield was a great field or meadow, where 
New Sarum stands, and did belong to the Bishop, as now the whole city 
belongs to him. The first grant or diploma that ever King Henry III. 
signed was that for the building of Our Ladie's Church at Salisbury. 



Wardour Castle. 

The ancient Castle of Wardour, situate a short distance from Sahj- 
bury, was a baronial residence before the reign of Edward III., and 
was a possession of the Crown, until it came to Sir Thomas Arundel 
by gift of his father. Sir Thomas was created a Knight of the 
Bath, at the coronation of Anne Boleyn ; but, being convicted, temp. 
Edward VI., with Edward Duke of Somerset, with conspiring the 
murder of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, he was beheaded, 
28 February, 1552. King Edward VI., in his Journal, states that 
Arundel was only condemned "after long controversy," the jury 
remaining near a day and a night shut up before they returned their 
verdict. Sir Thomas married Margaret, sister of Catherine Howard, 
fifth wife of Henry VIII. The most memorable event in the history of 
Wardour Castle took place in 1643, when it was besieged by Sir Edward 



4 The Castle and Ahdey of Malmeshnry, 

Hungerford and Edmund Ludlow. It was garrisoned by twenty-five 
men under the command of the heroic Lady Blanche Arundel, who, in 
the absence of her husband, made a gallant defence of five days, and 
surrendered on honourable terms. The learned and illustrious Chilling- 
worth, the divine," was here when the Castle was taken. " The besiegei-s, 
however, violating the treaty, were dislodged by the determination of 
the noble proprietor, (Thomas, second Lord Arundel,) who directed, 
on his return, a mine to be sprung under the Castle, and thus sacrificed 
this noble and magnificent structure to his loyalty. His lordship died of 
wounds received at the battle of Lansdowne, 19 May, 1648." (Burke'i 
Peerage^ 

The ruins of the Castle remain to this day, a striking object in the 
surrounding scenery, and a sad memorial of civil war and the basest 
treachery. The noble family, however, had built a magnificent mansion 
on a gentle eminence adjoining ; whence it rises to view in a picturesque 
manner irom a thick grove : the new mansion, designed by Paine, is 
called W ardour House, where are a portrait of the heroic Lady Blanche 
Arundel, by Angelica Kauffmann ; an exquisite car\ing in ivory, by 
Michael Angelo, of our Saviour on the Cross ; the cross worn by 
Cardinal Pole; and the Grace Cup, or Wassail Bowl, brought from 
Glastonbury Abbey — of carved oak, and Saxon execution. Herc is also 
the state bed in which Charles L and II., and James II., lay when at 
Wardour. The chapel, fitted up for the Roman Catholic service, is 
very superb : near the altar is a monument to the memory of Lady 
Blanche and her husband. 

Aubrey tells us, " Wardour Castle was very strongly built of freestone. 
I never saw it but when I was a youth ; the day after part of it was blown 
up : and the mortar was so good that one of the little towers reclining 
on one side did hang together and not fell in peeces. It was called 
Wardour Castle from the conserving there the amunition of the West.'* 
Many of the old yews and hollies in the grounds were formerly cut into 
the forms of soldiers on guard. 



The Castle and Abbey of Malmesbury. 

The town of Malmesbury, on the north-western extremity of Wilt- 
shire, was anciently rendered famous and flourishing by its Abbey, 
the most considerable monastic institution in the west of England, 
except that of Glastonbury. According to an anonymous history of 
Malmesbury Priory, compiled in the middle of the fourteenth centur)% 
and quoted by Leland, temp, Henry VIH., there was a town here with 



The- Castle and A hhey of Mahneshury, 5 

a Castle, reputed to have been built by Dunwallo Malmutius, one ot 
the British Kings, said to have reigned before the Roman invasion. 
The town was altogether destroyed by foreign invaders, but the Castle 
remained ; and near its walls a Scottish monk, called Maildelph, who 
had been so plundered in his own country as to be induced to flee into 
England, established himself as a hermit, and afterwards founded a 
monastic community, which rose to the rank of a Benedictine Abbey. 
The chronicler gives to the Castle the British name of Bladon and the 
Saxon name of Inglebum. He affirms that the neighbouring village 
had been the residence of Kings, both Pagan and Christian, but with- 
out distinguishing whether British or Saxon. This partly fabulous 
narrative may, perhaps, indicate that there were at Malmesbury, at a 
very ancient period, a Castle and a town. Maildelph founded his 
monastery in the seventh century, and from him the modern name 
Malmesbury, a corruption of Maildelphsbury, appears to have originated. 
It is probable that the Abbey suffered from the Danish invasions 
in the ninth and the tenth centuries, when the town was twice burnt ; 
but it recovered ; and being enriched by lands and rendered venerable 
by relics, became a most important monastery : its Abbot was mitred 
in the reign of Edward III. The borough had a charter as early 
as the reign of Athelstan, who in 939 defeated the Danes, when the 
men of Malmesbury contributed greatly to the victory. In the reign 
of King Stephen a Castle was built here, and the town was walled by 
Roger, Bishop of Sarum, who had, however, to surrender the Castle to 
the King. In the Civil War of Stephen and Maud the town and 
Castle were taken ( 1 152) by Prince Henry, son of Maud, afterwards 
Henry II.; and by some the Abbey is said to have been built by 
Bishop Roger, who, however, died as early as 1139. Sir Richard 
Colt Hoare referred the Abbey to the Saxons. 

At the Dissolution, William Stumpe, the wealthy clothier of Malmes- 
bury, bought many Abbey lands thereabout, and the Monastery. 
When King Henry VIII. hunted in Bradon forest, Stumpe gave his 
Majesty and the Court a great entertainment at his house (the Abbey). 
The King told him he was afraid he had undone himself ; he replied 
that his own servants should only want their supper for it. At this 
time, most of the Abbey buildings were filled with weavers' looms ; 
and Stumpe had liberally contributed to the purchase of the Abbey 
churth, which was made parochial. Near it are the remains of the 
Abbot's house ; and in the centre of the town a richly-ornamented 
Market Cross, supposed to be of the age of Henry VII.; it has been 
judiciously restored. West of the Abbey is the supposed chapel of a 



6 The Castle and A hhey of Malmesbiiry, 

Nunnery, which tradition fixes on this spot. There are traditions oi 
two other Nunneries in or near the town. 

Leland calls the Abbey church "aright magnificent thing;" but 
only a small portion remains, and this stands in the midst of ruins. 
The interior architecture is Anglo-Norman and the English or Pointed 
style ; here, inclosed by a screen, is an altar tomb with an eftigy, in royal 
robes, said to represent King Athelstan : but the tomb is of much later 
date than that prince, and is now far fiom the place of his intennent, 
which was in the choir, under the high altar of the Abbey church : 
besides this there were in the Abbey churchyard two other churches. 

Three writers of eminence in their respective ages were connected 
with Malmesbury : St. Adhelm, a Saxon writer, was Abbot ; William 
of Malmesbury was a monk of the Abbey, and librarian ; and Thomas 
Hobbes, " the Philosopher of Malmesbury," was born here. Oliver, 
one of the monks, having affixed wings to his hands and feet, ascended 
a lofty tower, from whence he took his flight, and was borne upon the 
air for the space of a furlong, when, owing to the violence of the wind, 
or his own fear, he fell to the ground, and broke both his legs. 

Aubrey, in his Natural History of fViltshire, gives this curious 
"digression" upon the dispersion of the Abbey MSS. in his time: — 
" Anno 1633, I entered into my grammar at the Latin school at 
Yatton-Keynel, in the church, where the curate, Mr. Hart, taught the 
eldest boys Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, &c. The fashion then was to save 
the forules of the bookes with a false cover of parchment, &c., old 
manuscript, which I [could not] was too young to understand ; but I 
was pleased with the elegancy of the writing and the coloured initial! 
letters. I remember the rector here, Mr. Wm. Stump, gr.-son of 
St. the cloathier of Malmesbury, had severall manuscripts of the Abbey. 
He was a proper man and a good fellow ; and when he brewed a barrcll 
of speciall ale, his use was to stop the bunghole, under the clay, with a 
sheet of manuscript ; he sayd nothing did it so well, which sore 
thought did grieve me then to see. Afterwards I went to schoole to 
Mr. Latimer at Leigh-delamer, the next parish, where was the like use 
of covering of books. In my grandfather's dayes the manuscripts flew 
about like butterflies. All musick bookes, account bookes, copie 
bookes, &c., were covered with old manuscripts, as wee cover them 
now with blew paper or marbled paper ; and the glover at Malmesbury 
made great havock of them, and gloves were wrapt up, no doubt, in 
many gcxjd pieces of antiquity. Before the late warres, a world of rare 
manuscripts perished hereabout ; for within half a dozen miles of this 
place were the Abbey of Malmesbury, where it may be pi-esumed the 



Wilioji Abbey and Wilton House. 7 

library was as well furnished with choice copies as most libraries 
of England; and, perhaps, in this library we might have found 
a correct Plinie's Naturall History, which Camitus, a monk here, 

did abridge for King Henry the Second One may also 

perceive, by the binding of old bookes, how the old manuscripts 
went to wrack in those dayes. Anno 1647, I went to Parson Stump 
out of curiosity to see his manuscripts, whereof I had seen some in my 
childhood ; but by that time they were lost and disperst. His sons 
were gunners and souldiers, and scoured their gunnes with them ; but 
he showed me severall old deedes granted by the Lords Abbotts, with 
their scales annexed." 

About six miles west of Malmesbury is Great Sheriton, the scene of 
an indecisive battle (1016), between Edmund H. (Ironside) and 
Canute, who engaged during the fight in personal conflict. The 
village is partly within the site of an ancient encampment. There is a 
local tradition of a conflict between the Saxons and the Danes, in which 
the Saxons were commanded by a warrior called " Rattlebone," of 
whom a gigantic figure is seen on the sign of an inn. Rattlebone is 
thought to be a popular traditional name of Edmund II. 



Wilton Abbey and Wilton House. 

Wilton, three miles north-west of Salisbury, is a place of great 
antiquity, and gave name to the county, which is called, in the Saxon 
Chronicle, Wiltunscire. Here, in 82 1 or 823, Egbert, King of Wessex, 
fought a successful battle against Beornwulf, the Mercian King, and 
thus established the West Saxon dynasty. In 854, at Wilton, Ethel- 
wulf executed the charter by which he conveyed the whole of the 
tithes of the kingdom to the clergy. It was the scene of one of Alfred's 
earlier battles with the Danes, in 871, whom he defeated after a most 
sanguinary contest. 

Wilton was the occasional residence of the West Saxon Kings ; 
and an Abbey for nuns, which was originally, or soon after became of 
the Benedictine order, existed here at an early period, to which Alfred 
and his successors, Edward the Elder, Athelstan, Edmund, Edred, and 
Edgar, were great benefactors. Wilton was plundered and burnt by 
the Danish King, Sweyn, in the reign of Ethelred II. (1003), but it so 
far recovered as to be a place of importance at the time of the 
Conquest. It received a charter from Henry I. In the Civil War of 
Stephen, the King was about to fortify the nunnery, in order to check 



8- Fonihill and FontJiill A bhey. 

the garrison which iMaud, the Empress, had at Old Sarum, when 
Robert Earl of Gloucester, the Empress' chief supporter, unexpectedly 
set the town of Wilton on fire, and so frightened the King away. 
Here the first English carpet was manufactured by Anthony Duffory, 
brought from France by the Herberts, in the time of Queen Elizabeth. 
The church was formerly the Abbey church. The Hospital of 
St. Giles was the gift of Queen Adelicia, wife to King Henry I. 
Adelicia was a leper ; she had a window and a door from her lodging 
into the chapel, whence she heard prayers. 

Wilton House, the magnificent seat of the Pembroke family, origi- 
nated as follows : William Herbert married Anne, sister to Queen 
Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VI H. He was knighted by that 
monarch in 1544, when the buildings and lands of the dissolved Abbey 
of Wilton, with many other estates, were conferred on him by the 
King. Being left executor, or " conservator" of Heniy's will, he pos- 
sessed considerable influence at the court of Edward VI., by whom he 
was created Earl of Pembroke. He immediately began to alter and 
adapt the conventual buildings at Wilton to a mansion suited to his 
rank and station, the porch designed by Hans Holbein. Solomon De 
Caus, Inigo Jones, and Webb and Vandyke, were employed by suc- 
ceeding membei-s of the family upon Wilton. Horace Walpole says : 
" The towers, the chambers, the scenes, which Holbein, Jones, and 
Vandyke had decorated, and which Earl Thomas had enriched with 
spoils of the best ages, received the best touches of beauty from Earl 
Henry's hand. He removed all that obstructed the views to or from 
his palace, and threw Palladio's theatric bridge over his river. The 
present Earl has crowned the summit of the hill with the equestrian 
statue ot Marcus Aurelius, and a handsome arch designed by Sir 
William Chambers." " King Charles I.," says Aubrey, " did love 
Wilton above all places, and came thither every summer. It was he 
that did put Philip, first Earle of Pembroke, upon making the magnifi- 
cent garden and grotto, and to build that side of the house that fronts 
the garden, with two stately pavilions at each end." Again, Aubrey 
tells us that " in Edward VI.'s time, the great house of the Earls ot 
Pembroke, at Wilton, was built with the ruins of Old Sarum." 



Fonthill and Fonthill Abbey. 

Near Hindon, a short distance from Salisbury, the famous Alderman 
Beckford possessed a large estate at Fonthill, with a fine old mansion, 



Ponthill and Fonthill A bhey, 9 

of which we remember to have seen a large print. It possessed a col- 
lection of paintings of great value, and costly furniture, which made it 
a show-house. It was burnt down in 1755 ; the Alderman was then in 
London, and on being told of the catastrophe, he took out his pocket- 
book and began to write, when on being asked what he was doing, he 
coolly replied, " Only calculating the expense of rebuilding if. Oh! I 
have an odd fifty thousand pounds in a drawer ; I will build it up again ; 
it wont be above a thousand pounds each to my different children." 
The mansion was rebuilt. The alderman died in 1770, leaving his only 
son — a boy, ten years of age — with a million of ready money, and a 
revenue exceeding 100,000/. Young Beckford travelled and resided 
abroad until his twenty-second year, when he wrote his celebrated 
romance of Vathek, of which he records : — 

" Old Fonthill had a very ample loud echoing hall — one of the largest 
in the kingdom. Numerous doors led from it into different parts ot 
the house through dim, winding passages. It was from that I intro- 
duced the Hall— the idea of the Hall of Eblis being generated by my 
own. My imagination magnified and coloured it with the Eastern 
character. All the females in Vathek were portraits of those in the 
domestic establishment of old Fonthill, their fancied good or ill qua- 
lities being exaggerated to suit my purpose." 

Mr. Beckford returned to England in 1795, and occupied himself 
with the embellishment of his house at Fonthill. Meanwhile, he had 
studied ecclesiastical architecture, which induced him to commence 
building the third house at Fonthill, wherein to place a much more 
magnificent collection of books, pictures, curiosities, rarities, bijouterie, 
and other products of art and ingenuity, in the new " Fonthill Abbey," 
built in a showy monastic style. Mr. Beckford shrouded his archi- 
tectural proceedings in the profoundest mystery : he was haughty and 
reserved : and because some of his neighbours followed game into his 
grounds, he had a wall twelve feet high and seven miles long built 
round his home estate, in order to shut out the world. This was 
guarded by projecting rails on the top, in the manner oi chcvaux-de-frise. 
Large and strong double gates were provided in this wall at the different 
roads of entrance, and at these gates were stationed persons who had 
strict orders not to admit a stranger. 

The building of " the Abbey" was a sort of romance. A vast number 
of mechanics and labourers were employed to advance the works with 
rapidity, and a new hamlet was built to accommodate the workmen. 
All around was activity and energy, whilst the growing edifice, as the 
scaffolding and walls were raised above the surrounding trees, excited 



I o Fonthill and Fonthitl A hhey. 

the curiosity of the passing tourist, as well as the villagers. Mr. Beck- 
ford pursued the objects of his wishes, whatever they were, not coolly 
and considerately like most other men, but with all the enthusiasm of 
passion. After the building was commenced, he was so impatient to 
get it finished, that he kept regular relays of men at work night and 
day, including Sundays, supplying them libei ally with ale and spirits 
while they were at work ; and when anything was completed which 
gave him particular pleasure, adding an extra 5/. or 10/. to be spent in 
drink. The first tower, the height of which from the ground was 400 
feet, was built of wood, in order to see its effect ; this was then taken 
down, and the same form put up in wood covered with cement. This 
fell down, and the tower was built a third time on the same foundation 
with brick and stone. Mr. Beckford was making additions to a small 
summer-house when the idea of the Abbey occuiTed to him. He would 
not wait to remove the summer-house to make a proper foundation 
for the tower, but carried it up on the walls already standing, and this 
with the worst description of materials and workmanship, while it was 
mostly built by men in a state of intoxication. 

In the winter of 1800, in November and December, nearly 500 men 
were employed day and night to expedite the works, by torch and lamp- 
light, in time for the reception of Lord Nelson and Sir William and 
Lady Hamilton, who were entertained here by Mr. Beckford with 
extraordinary magnificence on December 20, 1800. On one occasion, 
while the tower was building, an elevated part of it caught fire and was 
destroyed ; the sight was sublime, and was enjoyed by Mr. Beckford. 
This was soon rebuilt. At one period every cart and waggon in the 
district was pressed into his service; at another, the works at St. 
George's Chapel, Windsor, were abandoned, that 400 men might be 
employed night and day on Fonthill Abbey. These men relieved each 
other by regular watches, and during the longest and darkest nights of 
winter it was a strange sight to see the tower rising under their hands, 
the trowel and the torch being associated for that purpose, and their 
capricious employer was fond of feasting his senses with such displays 
of almost superhuman exertion. 

Mr. Beckford led almost the life of a hermit within the walls of the 
Fonthill estate : here he could luxuriate within his sumptuous home, or 
ride for miles on his lawns, and through forest and mountain woods, — 
amid dressed parterres of the pleasure-garden, or the wild scenery 0/ 
nature. A widower and without any family at home, Mr. Beckford 
resided at the Abbey for more than twenty years, ever active, and con- 
stantly occupied in reading, music, and the converse of a choice circle 



Marlborough, Great Bedivin, and Troivbridge Castles. 1 1 

of friends, or in directing workmen in the erection of the Abbey, which 
had been in progress since the year 1798. 

About the year 1822 his restless spirit required a change ; besides 
which his fortunes received a shock from which they never recovered. 
He now purchased two houses in Lansdowne Crescent, Bath, with a 
large tract of land adjoining, and removed hither. The property at 
Fonthill. the Abbey, and its gorgeous contents, were to be sold. The 
place was made an exhibition of in the summer of 1822 : the price of 
admission was one guinea for each person, and 7200 tickets were sold: 
thousands flocked to Fonthill ; but at the close of the summer, instead 
of a sale on the premises, the whole was bought in one lot by Mr, 
Farquhar, it was understood, for the sum of 350,000/. 

In the following year another exhibition was made of Fonthill and 
its treasures, to which articles were added, and the whole sold as 
genuine property ; the tickets of admission were half a guinea each, 
the price of the catalogue 12s., and the sale lasted thirty- seven days. 

In December, 1825, the tower at Fonthill, which had been hastily 
built and not long finished, fell with a tremendous crash, destroying 
the hall, the octagon, and other parts of the buildings. Mr. Farquhar, 
with his nephew's family, had taken the precaution of removing to the 
northern wing. The tower was above 260 feet high : it had given indi- 
cations of insecurity for some time ; the warning was taken, and the 
more valuable parts of the windows and other articles were removed. 
Mr. Farquhar, however, who then resided in one angle of the building, 
and who was in a very infirm state of health, could not be brought to 
believe there was any danger. He was wheeled out in his chair on the 
front lawn about half an hour before the tower fell ; and though he 
had seen the cracks and the deviation of the centre from the perpen- 
dicular, he treated the idea of its coming down as ridiculous. He was 
caiTied back to his room, and the tower fell almost immediately. 

Mr. Farquhar sold the estate about 1825, and died in the following 
year. The •' Abbey" was then taken down, merely enough of its ruins 
being left to show where it had stood. 



Castles of Marlborough, Great Bedwin, and 
Trowbridge. 

Marlborough is supposed to have been a Roman station, from evi- 
dences at Folly Farm. There was a Castle here in the time of 
Richard 1., which was seized during his imprisonment by his brother 



12 Longleat 

John ; but on Richard's return it was reduced under the King's power* 
A Parliament or assembly was held here in the time of Henry III., the 
laws enacted in which were called the Statutes of Malbridge, one of the 
older forms of the name, which in Domesday is written Malberge. The 
site of the Castle is covered by a large house, which was a seat of the 
Dukes of Somerset, and was afterwards the Castle Inn : it is now a 
Clergy School. The mound of the ancient Castle keep is in the garden. 

Great Bedwin was a place of note in the Anglo-Saxon period, and 
has in its neighbourhood an earthwork called Chisbury Castle, said to 
have been formed or strengthened by Cissa, a Saxon chieftain ; though 
some think Cissa's fortification was on Castle Hill, south of the town, 
where foundations of walls have been discovered. 

Trowbridge had a Castle, or some fortification, in the reign of 
Stephen, which was gamsoned by the supporters of the Empress Maud, 
and taken by the King's forces. John of Gaunt either repaired this 
Castle, or built another ; but it was in ruins in Leland's time, when of 
seven great towers there was only a part of two. The Castle stood on 
the south side of the town, near the river Were : there are no remains 
now, and the site is built over. 



Longleat. 

On the immediate confines of Somersetshire, to the west of War- 
minster, was built a stately Priory, the site of which was granted by 
King Henry VIII. to Sir John Horsey and Edward, Earl of Hertford, 
from whom it vras purchased by Sir John Thynne, ancestor of its 
present possessor, the Marquis of Bath. Upon this site Sir John 
Thynne laid the foundation, in January, 1567, of the magnificent 
mansion of Longleat, which, some writers assert, was designed by the 
celebrated John of Padua ; from which time the works were carried on 
during the next twelve years, and completed by the two succeeding 
owners of the property. Sir John Thynne mamed Christian, daughter 
of Sir Richard Gresham, Knt., Lord Mayor of London, and sister 
and heir of Sir Thomas Gresham, who built the first Royal Exchange. 
His eldest son, Sir John Thynne, Knt., married Joan, youngest daugh- 
ter of Sir Rowland Hayward, Knt., twice Lord Mayor of London. 

Longleat is in the mixed style of the end of the sixteenth century, but 
principally Roman; and with respect to magnitude, grandeur, and 
variety of decoration, it has always been rcgarded as the pride of tins 
part of the country ; it was even said to have been " the first well-built 
house in the kingdom." Aubrey describes it " as high as the Ban- 



L acock Abbey, 13 

queting House at Whitehall, outwardly adorned with Doric, Ionic, 
and Corinthian pillars." In 1663, King Charles II. was magnificently 
entertained at Longleat by Sir James Thynne. The ancient baronial 
hall, of very elaborately carved work, is most appropriately decorated 
with armorial escutcheons, hunting-pieces, and stags' horns. The pic- 
ture-gallery contains portraits of the Thynnes, and other distinguished 
characters of the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and her successors. The 
grounds were originally laid out in the most elaborate style of artificial 
ornament, but have been remodelled by Brown. The whole domain 
comprises a circumference of fifteen miles. 

The venerable Dr. Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, passed much of 
his time in this palatial house, which is a more interesting incident than 
any of the royal visits here. Ken was one of the seven Bishops com- 
mitted to the Tower for refusing to read James's declaration in favour 
of Romanism ; and he was suspended and deprived by William III. for 
refusing to take the oath of allegiance. But he found an asylum in 
Lord Weymouth's mansion of Longleat ; and here he walked, and 
read, and hymned, and prayed, and slept, to do the same again. The 
only property he brought from Wells Palace was his library, part of 
which is to this day preserved at Longleat. In an upper chamber he 
composed most of his poems of fervid piety. He died in 1 711, in his 
seventy-fourth year, and was carried to his grave in Frome churchyard 
by six of the poorest men of the parish, and buried under the eastern 
window of the church, at sunrise^ in reference to the words of his 
Morning Hymn : 

"Awake, my soul, and zvii/i the sun.'* 

It has been erroneously stated that there is not a stone to mark where 
Ken lies; whereas there is a monument near the spot, probably erected 
at the time of his death by the noble family at Longleat, where the 
Bishop died. Many years ago the sculpture was decayed, and the epi- 
taph had disappeared : let us hope this memorial has been restored. 



Lacock Abbey. 

The ancient forest of Chippenham has long been destroyed, and 
the Abbeys of Stanley and Lacock, within three miles of the town, 
are changed in their appropriation : the former is converted into a farm- 
house ; the latter has fallen into the hands of the Talbot family, who 
b^ve preserved it, and made it their family seat. 



14 L acock Abbey, 

The Nunnery of Lacock, situate in a level meadow watered by the 
Avon, has a chivalrous origin besides its holier history. It was founded 
in the year 1232 by Ela, Countess of Salisbury, in her widowhood, in 
pious remembrance of her husband, William Longspe (in her right 
Earl of Sarum), who was the eldest natural son of Henry II. by Fair 
Rosamond. Ela was reared in her childhood in princely state : her 
father. Earl William, held a place of honour under Richard the Lion- 
hearted, and licensed tournaments, one of the appointed fields for which 
is to this day pointed out in front of the site of Sarum Castle. At a 
very early age after the death of her father, Ela was secretly taken into 
Normandy, and there reared in close custody. An English knight, 
William Talbot, in the garb of a pilgrim, during two years sought for 
the Lady Ela ; in the guise of a harper, or troubadour, he found the 
rich heiress, and presented her to King Richard, who gave her hand in 
marriage to his brother, William Longspe, Earl of Salisbury, she being 
then only ten years old. The Earl was in frequent attendance upon 
King John, and was present at the signing of Magna Charta. After 
the death of John, the Earl returned to his Castle at Salisbury, and 
assisted in founding the Cathedral. Here he died in 1226, it was 
suspected by poison. Six years after, Ela, directed by visions, founded 
the monastery at Lacock, and in 1 238 took the veil as abbess of her 
own establishment. Five years before her death she retired from 
monastic life: she died in 1261, aged seventy-four, and was buried in 
the choir of the monastery. Aubrey states that she was above a hun- 
dred years old, and outlived her understanding, which account is dis- 
proved. Of her family we have only space to relate that her second 
son perished in battle in the Holy Land, and the monkish legend adds 
that his mother, seated in her abbatial stall at Lacock, saw, at the 
same moment, the mailed form of her child admitted into heaven, 
surrounded by a radius of glory. 

Lacock was surrendered in 1539 : the church was then wholly de- 
stroyed, and the bones of the foundress and her family scattered ; but 
her epitaph in stone was preserved, with the cloisters and cells of the 
nuns, and the ivied walls. Lacock was sold in 1544 : thirty years later 
it was visited by Queen Elizabeth. Aubrey relates that " Dame Olave, 
a daughter and co-heir of Sir [Henry] Sherington of Lacock, being in 
love with [John] Talbot, a younger brother of the Earl of Shrewsbury, 
and her father not consenting that she should marry him, discoursing 
with him one night from the battlements of the Abbey church, said she, 
• I will leap down to you.' Her sweetheart replied he would catch her 
then, but he did not believe she would have done it* She leapt downe,* 



Amesbiiry Monastery, 15 

and the wind, which was then high, came under her coates, and did 
something break the fall. Mr. Talbot caught her in his arms, but she 
struck him dead. She cried out for help, and he was with great diffi- 
culty brought to life again. Her father told her that, since she had 
made such a leap, she should e'en manie him." 

We do not find this romantic story in the Rev. Canon Bowles's ex- 
haustive History of Lacock ; but it is thought to be authentic, and 
an old tradition lingers about the place, that " one of the nuns jumped 
from a gallery on the top of a turret into the arms of her lover." Mr. 
Britton notes, in Aubrey's Natural History of Wilts, the heroine of 
the anecdote, Olave, or Olivia Sherington (one of the family who bought 
the Abbey), married John Talbot, Esq., of Salwarpe, in the county of 
Worcester, fourth in descent from John, second Earl of Shrewsbury. 
She inherited the Lacock estate from her father, and it has ever since re- 
mained the property of the branch of the family* now represented by 
the scientific Henry Fox Talbot, Esq., the discoverer of photography, 
to which beautiful science we are indebted for some charming Talbo- 
types of Lacock Abbey, whereat the discovery was matured. Here is 
preserved " The Nuns' Boiler," from the Abbey kitchen : it was made 
at Mechlin in the year 1500, and will contain sixty-seven gallons. 



Amesbury Monastery. 

At Amesbury, seven miles north of Salisbury, says Bishop Tanner, 
"there is said to have been an ancient British monastery for 300 monkes, 
founded, as some say, by the famous Prince Ambrosius, who lived at 
the time of the Saxon invasion, and who was therein buried, destroyed by 
that cruel Pagan, Gurmemdus, who overran all this country in the sixth 
century. {Geoffrey of Monmouth, lib. iv. c. 4.) The foundation is also 
attributed to one Ambri, a monk. This Abbey appears to have been 
destroyed by the Danes, about the time of Alfred. About the year 980, 
Alfrida, or Ethelfrida, the Queen Dowager of the Saxon King Edgar, 
erected here a monastery for nuns, and commended it to the patronage 
of St. Mary, and St. Melarius a Cornish saint whose relics were 
preserved here. Alfrida is said to have erected both this and Wherwell 



• Sir John Talbot, of Lacock, was the person who received King 
Charles II. in his arms upon his landing in England at the Restoration. la 
the Civil War, Lacock Abbey was taken possession of by the Parliamentari^B 
CplQnel Pevereux, September, 164^, 



1 6 Cranboimt Chase: King Johns Hunting-seat 

monastery, in atonement for the murder of her son-in-law, King 
Edward. The house was of the Benedictine order, and continued an 
independent monastery till the time of Henry II., in 1177. The evil 
lives of the Abbess and nuns drew upon them the royal displeasure. 

The Abbess was more particularly charged with immoral conduct* 
insomuch that it was thought proper to dissolve the community ; the 
nuns, about 30 in number, were dispersed in other monasteries. The 
Abbess was allowed to go where she chose, with a pension of ten 
marks, and the house was made a cell to the Abbey of Fontevi-ault, in 
Anjou; whence a Prioress and 24 nuns were brought and established 
at Amesbury. Elfrida's nunnery, notwithstanding some changes, lasted 
till the general Dissolution of the religious houses. Eleanor, commonly 
called the Damsel of Bretagne, sole daughter of Geoffrey, Earl of 
Bretagne, and sister of Earl Arthur, wht) was imprisoned in Bristol 
Castle, first by King John, and afterwards by King Henry III., on 
account of her title to the Grown, was buried, according to her own 
request, at Amesbury, in 1241. Fromthistimethenunnery of Amesbury 
appears to have been one of the select retreats for females in the higher 
ranks of life. Mary, the sixth daughter of King Edward I., took the 
religious habit in the monastery of Amesbury in 1285, together with 
thirteen young ladies of noble families. Two years after this, Eleanor, 
the Queen of Henry III. and the mother of Edward I., herself took 
the veil at Amesbury, where she died, and was buried in 1292. She 
had previously given to the monastery the estate of Chadelsworth, in 
Berkshire, to support the state of Eleanor, daughter of the Duke of 
Bretagne, who had also become a nun there. Amesbury finally became 
one of the richest nunneries in England: how long it remained subject 
to the monastery of Fontevrault we are not told. Bishop Tanner 
says, it was at length made denizen, and again became an Abbey. 
Isabella of Lancaster, fourth daughter of Henry, Earl of Lancaster, 
granddaughter to E. Grouchback, son of Henry II., was Prioress in 
1292. (Communication to Notes and Queries, 2ndS., No. 213.) Aubrey 
tells us that the last Lady Abbess of Amesbury " was 140 yeares old 

when she dyed." 

» 

Cranbourn Chase : King John's Hunting-seat. 

In the Chase of Cranbourn, within a mile of the county of Dorset, 
in the parish of ToUard Royal, Wilts, is an ancient farm-house, known 
as King John's Hunting-seat. Cranbourn Chase formerly extended 
over no less than five hundred thousand acres of land, «uid was the sole 



Cranboum Chase: King Johtis Hunting-seat. i7 

property of George, Lord Rivers. There is an ancient custom kept up 
until our time — that on the first Monday in September, the steward of 
the Lord of the Manor holds a Court in the Chase, and after the Court 
break up they hunt and kill a brace of fat bucks. A writer in the 
London Magazine, who was present at the hunt in the year 1823, after 
pleasantly describing the opening of the Court, the fair in the forest, the 
assemblage of country lads and lasses, sportsmen, foot and horse, and 
ladies on horseback, the buck breaking cover, who steals out, dashes over 
the vale, bounds up the summit of an opposite hill, where he is fairly 
surrounded by the hounds and his pursuers, informs us that the two 
bucks, having been divided, are hung up ; and next day the steward 
presents the several parts to gentlemen who wei-e present at the hunt. 
The hunting-box is nearly in the same state as when King John was 
present there as Earl Moreton : it is now a fann-house ; the walls are ot 
great thickness, and the rooms are large and lofty, and there is a carved 
oak chimney-piece in one of them. There is a legendary story of the 
Chase, as follows: — "Once upon a time. King John, being equipped for 
Hunting, issued forth with the gay pageantry and state of his day. There 
were dames mounted upon high-bred steeds, that were champing 
and foaming on the bit, and whose prancing shook the ground ; and 
Knights, whose plumes were dancing in the wind, while borne by fiery 
chargers, swift as the deer they followed ; the yeomen dressed in green, 
with girdles round their waists ; and to add to the brilliancy of the 
scene, the morning was as unclouded as the good-humoured faces of 
the party." 

The King appeared overjoyed, and during the time all heads were 
uncovered as he rode along, he overheard a gallant youth address a lady 
nearly in these words : 

•' We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top, 
And mark the musical confusion 
Of hounds and echo in conjunction." 

The happy couple left Tollard Royal on horseback. As they took 
leave of the King, the moon was sinking below the horizon. The King 
had observed before they left — 

" This night, methinks, is but the daylight side: 
It looks a little paler ; 'tis a day 
Such as the day is when the sun is hid." 

But they rode on, too happy to remember that the moon would soon 
leave them. 

They were missing for several days, until the King, while hunting 
with his courtiers, found their lifeless remains. It appeared that when 
** c 



iS Cranhourn Chase : King yohiis Hunting-seat. 

the moon descended, the faithful pair must have mistaken their road, 
and had fallen into a hideous pit, where both were killed, as likewise 
the Knight's horse, close beside them. The lady's horse, a dapple grey, 
was running wild as the mountain-deer : he was soon caught, and became 
the King's, who rode him as a charger. 

King James I. often hunted in Cranbourn Chase. In a copy of 
Barker's Bible, printed in 1594, which formerly belonged to the family 
of the Cokers of Woodcotes, in the Chase, are entries of the King's 
visits : "The 24th day of August, our Kinge James was in Mr. Butler's 
Walke, and found the bucke, and killed him in Vernedich, in Sir Walter 
Vahen's walk ; and fi-om thence came to Mr. Horole's walk, and hunted 
ther, and killed a buck under Hanging Copes. And sometime after that, 
and {sic in MS.) came to our Mrs. Carren% and ther dined ; and after 
dinner he took his choch, and came to the Quene at Tarande. Anno Dni. 
1607." " In our dayes," says Mr. CoUer, in his Survey, Cranborne 
gave the honourable title of Viscount unto Robert Cicell, whom King 
James for his approved wisdom created first Baron Cicell of Essendon : 
and the year after, viz., 1604, Viscount Cranborne ; and 1605, Earle of 
Sarum ; whose son William nowe enjoys his honours and this place, 
where he hath a convenient house, at which the King, as often as hee 
comes his "Westerne progrese, resides some dayes, to take his pleasure of 
hunting both in the Park and Chase." 

In May, 1828, an Act of Parliament was passed for disfranchising 
Cranbourn Chase ; and Lord Rivers's franchise thereon, which was 
seriously curtailed in 18 r 6, expired on the loth of October, 1830. 
The gradual destruction or removal of the deer (about 1 2,000 head) 
was commenced by the Chase-keepers shooting nearly 2000 fawns, 
many of which were taken for sale to the neighbouring towns in 
Dorset, Wilts, Hants, &c., and disposed of at the low price of 5J. or 
6j. apiece. The Committee and other proprietors of lands who formed 
the agreement with Lord Rivers, framed a very judicious mode of 
assessing the yearly payments to be made to that nobleman, his heirs, 
&c., by the several landowners, by which means the uncertain question 
of boundary was avoided. 

There is also in Wiltshire, at Aldbourne, near Marlborough, a farm- 
house, supposed to have been a hunting-seat of King John. Aldbourne 
Chase, an extensive waste, with a large rabbit-warren, was formerly 
well wooded and stocked with deer. 



r9 



Devizes Castle. 

In ancient records this place is called Divisae, De Vies, Divisis, 5cc. 
The origin of the name seems to be a supposition that the place was 
divided by the King and the Bishop of Salisbury. In the reign of 
Henry I. a spacious and strong fortress was erected here by Roger, the 
wealthy Bishop of Salisbury, which his nephew, Nigel, Bishop of Ely, 
garrisoned with troops and prepared to defend until the expected 
aiTival of the Empress Maud ; but Stephen having besieged it, he de- 
clared that, in the event of its not surrendering, he would hang the son 
of Bishop Roger on a gallows which he had erected in front of the 
Castle. On this being made known to Nigel, he surrendered the 
fortress, together with all the Bishop's treasures, amounting to the sum 
of 40,000 marks. The Castle was afterwards (i J41) seized by Robert 
Fitzherbert, on pretence of holding it for Maud, but on her amval he 
refused to deliver it up, and was subsequently hanged as a traitor to 
both parties. In 1233, Hubert de Burgh was confined in Devizes 
Castle, whence he escaped to the high altar of the parish church, but 
was seized and reconducted to the fortress. The guards who took him 
were excommunicated, and he himself was soon afterwards released. 
About the end of the reign of Edward III. the Castle was dismantled ; 
the site has been converted into pleasure-grounds. 

Richard of Devizes, a Benedictine monk of the twelfth century, whff 
wrote a Chronicle of English History, was a native of this place. In 
the reign of Henry VIII. Devizes was celebrated for its market. A 
large cross, which is said to have cost nearly 2000/., was erected, in 
1815, in the market-place by Lord Sidmouth, for many years Member 
for and Recorder of the borough : it bears an inscription recording a 
singular mark of divine vengeance, by the sudden death of a woman 
detected in an attempt to cheat another, in the year 1753. 



20 



Littlecote House — A Mysterious Story. 

Littlecote House, a large, respectable and ancient mansion in 
the midst of a finely-wooded park, in tlie valley of the Kennet, and 
about four miles from Hungerford in Wiltshire, is "renowned," 
says Macaulay, " not more on account of its venerable architecture 
and furniture, than on account of a horrible and mysterious crime 
which was perpetrated there in the days of the Tudors." 

It occupies a low situation at the north side of the park, which, 
though broken and unequal in its surface, comprehends an area of 
four miles in circumference, and is watered by a branch of the 
river Kennet, which runs through the garden, and forms a pre- 
serve for trout. The mansion, built by one of the Darell family — 
the original proprietors — in the beginning of the sixteenth centur)'-, 
has undergone alterations on many occasions, but still retains a 
remarkable number of the features of the architecture and deco- 
rations of the period from which it dates. It has twice been 
honoured by royal visits. Once by one from Charles II., whc at 
his coronation created Sir Francis Popham, the heir of Littlecote, 
a Knight of the Bath ; and again by one from William III., who 
slept here one night while on his journey from Torbay to London. 
The walls of the great hall are hung with ancient armour — buff 
coats, massive helmets, cross-bows, old-fashioned fire-arms and 
other warlike weapons, together with a pair of elk-horns, measuring 
seven feet six inches from tip to tip. A large oak table, reaching 
nearly from one end of the room to the other, might have feasted 
the whole neighbourhood, and an appendage to one end of it made 
it answer at other times for the old game of shuffle-board. The 
remainder of the furniture is in a corresponding style. The picture 
gallery which extends along the garden front of the house, is 
1 1 5ft. long, and contains many portraits, chiefly in the Spanish 
dresses of the sixteenth century. In one of the bedchambers, which 
you pass in going towards the gallery, is a bedstead with blue 
furniture, which time has now made dingy and threadbare, and in 
the bottom of one of the bed-curtains you are shown a place where a 
small piece has been cut out and sewn in again — a circumstance 
which serves to identify the scene of the following remarkable 
story :— 

The horrible and mysterious crime alluded to by Lord Macaulay 
in -connexion with this house was first divulged to the general pubhc 



Littlecoie House. 21 

in a note which Sir Walter Scott appended to the 5th canto of his 
" Rokeby." Since the publication of that poem, however, the 
whole subject has undergone re-examination. The local pride of 
the members of local archaeological societies was not to be 
satisfied with a story which seemed merely a wild tradition, and of 
which the possible fact and probable fiction were inextricably 
blended together. The result of the recent sifting of the whole 
evidence is that the mysterious story of Littlecote is in its main and 
most prominent features strictly and incontestably true. The 
following is an outline of the story as told in the light of recent 
investigations. 

Towards the close of the sixteenth century, when the mansion of 
Littlecote was still in the possession of its founders — the Darells — 
a midwife of high repute dwelt and practised her art in the neigh- 
bourhood. This person having returned fatigued from a profes- 
sional visit at a late hour one night had gone to rest — only however 
to be disturbed by one who desired to have her help. The midwife 
pleaded fatigue, and offered to send her assistant, but the messenger 
was resolved to have the principal only. She accordingly came down 
stairs, opened the door, disappeared into the darkness, and was 
heard of no more for many hours. 

Where had she been during this long interval ? This is a question 
which she alone was able to answer ; and as we find that her story^ 
originally told in the presence of a magistrate, detailed circum- 
stances which led to a trial, at which it was again repeated, and 
confirmed by a number of curious facts, we shall give her own 
account of the terrible night's adventure : — 

She stated that as soon as she had unfastened the door and partly 
opened it, a hand was thrust in which struck down the candle and 
at the same instant pulled her into the road in front of the house, 
which was detached from the village or any other dwelling. The 
person who had used these abrupt means desired her to tie a hand- 
kerchief over her head and not wait for a hat, as a lady of the firs 
quality in the neighbourhood was in want of immediate assistance. 
He then led her to a stile at a short distance, where there was a 
horse saddled, and with a pillion on its back ; he desired her to 
seat herself, and then mounting he set off at a brisk trot. They had 
travelled thus for about three quarters of a mile, when the woman, 
alarmed at the distance, the darkness, the hurry and mystery of 
the whole matter, expressed great fear. Her conductor assured her 
that no harm should happen to her, and that she should be wel 



22 Littlecote House. 

paid ; but that they had still further to go. The horseman had 
frequently to dismount to open gates, and the midwife was certain 
that they had crossed ploughed and corn fields ; for though it was 
quite dark the woman discovered that they had quitted the high 
road about two miles from her own house : she also said they 
crossed a river twice. After travelling for an hour and a half they 
entered a paved court or yard, on the stones of which the horse's 
hoofs resounded. Her conductor now Hfted her off her horse, 
conducted her through a long, narrow, and dark passage into the 
house, and then thus addressed her : — " You must now suffer me 
to put this cap and bandage over your eyes, which will allow you 
to speak and breathe but not to see ; keep up your presence of 
mind, it will be wanted — no harm will happen to you." Then 
having conducted her into a chamber, he continued — " Now you 
are in a room with a lady in labour, perform your office well and 
you shall be amply rewarded ; but if you attempt to remove the 
bandage from your eyes, take the reward of your rashness." 

According to her account, horror and dread had now so be- 
numbed her faculties that for a time she was incapable of action. 
In a short time, however, a male child was born and committed to 
the care of an aged female servant. Her impression with respect 
to the mother of the child was that she was a very young lady ; but 
she dared not ask questions or even speak a word. As soon as the 
crisis was over the woman received a glass of wine and was told to 
prepare to return home by another road which was not so near but 
was free from gates or stiles. Desirous of collecting her thoughts, 
she begged to be allowed to rest in an arm-chair while her horse 
was being got ready. Whilst resting she pretended to fall asleep ; 
but was busy all the time making those reflections which laid the 
foundation of the legal inquiry that afterwards took place. Undis- 
covered and unsuspected, she contrived to cut off a small piece of 
the bed-curtain. This circumstance, added to others of a local 
nature, was supposed sufficient evidence to fix the transaction as 
having happened at Littlecote, then possessed by William Darcll, 
commonly called "Wild Darell" from the reckless, wicked life he 
led. In the course of her evidence the midwife declared she per- 
ceived an uncommon smell of burning, which followed them through 
all the avenues of the house to the courtyard where she remounted 
the horse. The guide on parting with her at a distance of about 
fifty yards from her own door, made her swear to observe secrecy, 
and put a purse containing twenty-five guineas into her hand. 



Littlecoie House, 23 

He also now for the first time removed the bandage from her 
eyes. 

Up to this point there is some contradiction in the different 
versions of the legend. Scott says that the bandage was first put 
over the woman's eyes on her first leaving her own house that she 
might be unable to tell which way she travelled ; and that when she 
was brought to the house and led into the bedchamber the bandage 
was removed, and she found herself in a sumptuously furnished 
room. Besides the lady in labour there was a man of a " haughty 
and ferocious" aspect in the room. As soon as the child was born, 
continues Scott, he demanded the midwife to give it him, and 
snatching it from her, he hurried across the room and threw it on 
the back of the fire that was blazing in the chimney. The child, 
however, was strong, and by its struggles rolled itself out upon the 
hearth, when the ruffian again seized it with fury, and, in spite of 
the intercession of the midwife and the more piteous entreaties of 
the mother, thrust it under the grate, and raking the live coals 
upon it soon put an end to its life. 

After the return of the midwife to her own home all accounts of 
this story agree in the main. In the morning the woman was so 
much agitated that she went to a magistrate and made a deposition 
of all she knew. Two circumstances afforded hope of detecting 
the house in which the crime had been committed— one was the 
clipping of the curtain, the other was that in descending the stair- 
case she had counted the steps. Suspicion fell on Darell, whose 
house was examined and identified by the midwife. " Darell was 
tried for murder at Salisbury," says Scott, " but by corrupting his 
judge (Sir John Popham, afterwards proprietor of Littlecote, which, 
according to Aubrey, Darell gave to him as a bribe) he escaped the 
sentence of the law — only to die a violent death shortly after by a 
fall from his horse." 

Some few years ago (see Wilts Archaeological Magazine ^ 
vols. i. — X.) an attempt was made to disprove the whole story from 
beginning to end as connected with Littlecote, chiefly on the 
grounds that, after every inquiry possible, no record of any trial 
could be found ; that from various existing state papers Darell 
appeared to have held his position as a gentleman and magistrate, 
and had no apparent blot on his character ; that Sir John Popham 
was not created a judge at all until three years after DarelFs death, 
which took place quietly in his own bed at Littlecote in 1589, and 
that legends of a similar kind could be produced, connected with 



24 Dray cot House : a Lcq;cu(1 of the White Hand. 

other old houses both in this and other counties. On the other 
hand, the inquiry brought to Hght some eViclcnce of a very extra- 
ordinary kind, which makes it no longer doubtful that the story is, 
in the main facts of it, correct. This evidence consists of the actual 
statement in writing by the magistrate, Mr. Bridges, of Great 
Shefford, in Berks (about seven miles off), who took down the depo- 
sition of the midwife on her deathbed. Her name, it appears, was 
Mrs. Barnes, of Shefford. She does not say that she was blind- 
folded, but that having been decoyed by a fictitious message pre- 
tending to come from Lady Knyvett, of Charlton House, she found 
herself, after being on horseback several hours in the night, at 
another house. The lady she had to attend to was masked. She 
does not say what house this was, and seems not to have known- 
Her deposition gives the fullest particulars of the atrocity com- 
mitted, but still fails to identify Littlecote as the house and Will 
Darell as the gentleman. The case . seemed, therefore, likely to 
continue one not proved, but only of very strong suspicion. The 
subsequent discovery, however, at Longleat, by the Rev. Canon 
Jackson, of Leigh Delamere, of another original document has set 
the matter at rest. Sir John Thynne, of Longleat, had in his esta- 
blishment a Mr. Bonham, whose sister was the mistress of W. 
Darell, and living at Littlecote. The letter is from Sir H. Knyvett, 
of Charlton, to Sir John Thynne, desiring "that Mr. Bonham will 
inquire of his sister touching her usage at Will Darell's, the birth 
of her children, how many there were, and what became of them ; 
for that the report of the murder of one of them was increasing 
foully, and will touch Will Darell to the quick." This letter is dated 
2nd January, 1578-9. How Darell escaped does not appear, but it 
is certain that in 1586 he sold the reversion of his Littlecote estate 
to Sir John Popham, who took possession of it in 1589, and in 
whose descendants it still continues. All these facts, together with 
many details for which space cannot be afforded here, will be found 
in the eighth and in earlier volumes of the Wiltshire Archaological 
Magazine, 



Draycot House. — The Legend of the White Hand. 

This ancient mansion, situated a few miles to the north-east of 
Chippenham, derived its distinguishing appellation of Draycot- 
Ceme from ft family to whom it belonged as early as the thirteenth 



Dray cot House: a Legend of the White Hand. 25 

century. Heniy de Cerne, Knight, Lord of Draicot, was witness 
to an ancient deed preserved by Aubrey, relative to the gift of land 
at Langelegh to the Abbey of Glastonbury. From the Cernes 
Draycot passed by marriage to the family of Wayte ; and in the 
reign of Henry VII., Sir Thomas Long of Wraxhall became pro- 
prietor in right of his mother, Margaret, heiress of the family of 
Wayte. He married Margery, daughter of Sir George Darell of 
Littlecote, by whom he had three sons. Of these Henry, the 
eldest, greatly distinguished himself at the battle of Therouenne, and 
was knighted for his gallantry by Henry VIII., who likewis(/ 
granted him a new crest — " A Hon's head erased, crowned, with a 
man's hand in the mouth." His grandson, Walter Long, had two 
wives — the second of whom was Catherine, daughter of Sir John 
Thynne, of Longleat 

The manor of Draycot is a large irregular building, with a park 
of considerable extent, and pleasure grounds attached to it. The 
house contains many objects of interest, as paintings, Sevres china, 
curious fire-dogs and candelabra presented to the Longs by 
Charles II. after the restoration. The park, richly studded with 
ancient oaks, crowns a hill commanding an extensive prospect, and 
is esteemed one of the most beautiful in Wiltshire. 

The following legend of Draycot, one of the most singular in 
the whole range of English legends, is abridged from Sir J. Bernard 
Burke's " Anecdotes of the Aristocracy, and Episodes in Ancestral 
Story." Sir Bernard introduces his story with a few words to the 
effect that the marvels of real life are more startling than those of 
the pages of fiction, and this reflection " may serve," he says, " to 
qualify the disbelief of our readers, should any happen to suppose 
that we have drawn upon our imagination for the facts, as well as 
the colouring, of this episode in domestic history — a supposition 
that, we can assure them, would be altogether erroneous. And 
singular as this story may seem," continues Burke, " no small portion 
of it is upon record as a thing not to be questioned ; and it is not 
necessary to believe in supernatural agency to give all parties credit 
for having faithfully narrated their impressions." We have already 
said that Walter Long of Draycot had two wives — the second being 
Catherine, daughter of Sir John Thynne, of Longleat. Six weeks 
after their marriage the happy couple returned for the first time to 
the halls of Draycot. The day of their return was a great occasion 
for the villagers. Revelry after the approved old English fashion 
prevailed, and all were happy— save one. This sole exceptional 



-^ Draycot House: a Legend of the White Hand. 

person was no other than John, the heir of the houses of Draycot 
ind Wraxhall, son of the man who was that day a happy bride- 
groom — if of somewhat mature years — and of that lady now in her 
grave, and whose place a girl and a stranger had come to fill. 
John Long, though himself of that disposition which joins in fes- 
tivities with even reckless enthusiasm, was silent, sad and solitary 
on the morning ot the " Welcome Home " of his father and his 
step-mother. 

John Long was simple and candid in disposition, while at the 
same time his affections were warm and generous. He never 
suspected man or woman. He never took the trouble to consider 
the motives of others, or to estimate the weight that interest might 
represent in an action apparently spontaneous and cordial. Lady 
Catherine, his father's wife, and her brother, whom Sir J. B. Burke 
names Sir Egremont, had thought it worth while to study the 
character of the simple and confiding young Master of Draycot 
with some attention. They had the same object in so doing, and 
results too important almost to be estimated hung upon the success 
with which they did understand the youth. They had hardly been 
upon the scene at Draycot for more than a few days when, from 
servants and others, they were informed that the Master was never 
far off when there was a cheerful party over the wine bottle, or a 
freely-spend-freely-win group around the dice-box. The knowledge 
ascertained, their course of conduct was already arrived at. Young 
Long, the heir of all his father's property — the obstruction in the 
way of whatever children might come by the second marriage — 
must be ruined, or, at least, so disgraced as to provoke his fatb^ 
to disinherit him. 

The means of arriving at this end readily presented themselves. 
John's father. Sir Walter, a man of grave and unrelenting character, 
who had already frequently had occasion to visit his son's pecca- 
dilloes heavily upon his head, was, neither from principle nor from 
interest, at all given to lavish pocket-money upon the young squire. 
His parsimony was his son's enemies' opportunity. They stuffed 
young Long's pockets with gold, encouraged him to take life easily 
and freely, merely smiled when in his presence they heard of his 
excesses, but took good care that all these excesses were magnified 
into heinous crimes by themselves, and so brought under the notice of 
the lad's father. This old gentleman, influenced on the one hand by 
the wiles of his charming wife, on the other by the deeper wiles of 
his brother-in-law, agreed to make out a will, disinheriting his soa 



Dray cot House : a Legend of the White Hand. 27 

by his first wife, and settling all his possessions on his second wife 
and her relations. 

Meantime Sir Walter Long had declined in health, was, in fact, 
on the brink of death. Without any genuine sympathy with his son 
at any part of his career, he had now been alienated from him in 
all things for a considerable time. He deemed it a sin to make any 
provision for one who would spend all his possessions in drinking 
and gambling. It was then with alacrity that, when Sir Egremont 
Thynne, of Longleat, drew up a draft will and set it before him, he 
approved of it and ordered it to be copied. It was accordingly given 
to a clerk to engross fairly. 

The work of engrossing demands a clear, bright light. Any 
shadow intervening between the light and the parchment would be 
sure to interrupt operations. Such an interruption the clerk was 
suddenly subjected to, when, on looking up, he beheld a white hand 
—a lady's delicate white hand — so placed between the light and the 
deed as to obscure the spot upon which he was engaged. The un- 
accountable hand, however, was gone almost as soon as noticed. 
The clerk paused for a moment and pondered ; but concluding that 
he had been deceived by some delusion of his own brain, prepared 
to go on with the work as before. 

He had now come to the worst clause in the whole deed — the 
clause which disinherited poor John Long, and which was rendered 
yet more atrocious by the slanders which it pleaded in its own justifi- 
cation — and was rapidly travelling over this black indictment, when 
again the same visionary hand was thrust forth between the light 
and the parchment ! 

Uttering a yell of horror, the clerk rushed from the room, woke 
up Sir Egremont from his midnight slumbers, and told him his 
story, adding that the spectre hand was no other than the late Lady 
Long's, who leaving for a moment her avocations in the other world, 
had visited this one to put a stop to those machinations that were 
to result in the ruin of her son. 

The deed was engrossed by another clerk, however, and duly 
signed and sealed. The son was with all due form disinherited, 
and Sir William dying soon afterwards, left his great fortune to the 
alien and the stranger. 

Yet the miraculous interference of the white hand was not with- 
out its results. The clerk's ghostly tale soon got abroad, and his 
story becoming a matter of universal conversation, a number of 
friends rose up to aid the disinherited heir, who might otherwise 



23 Avehtryy Stonchenge^ and Silhiiry Hill. 

have forgotten him. The trustees of the late Lady Long arrested 
the old knight's corpse at the church door ; her nearest relations 
commenced a suit against the intended heir ; and the result was a 
compromise between the parties — ^John Long taking possession of 
Wraxhall, while his half-brother was allowed to retain Draycot. 
Hence the division of the two estates, which we find at the present day. 
John Long, the disinherited son, married subsequently Anne, 
daughter of Sir William Eyre, of Chaldfield, and left issue, which 
is now extinct in the male line. His half-brother, to whom Draycot 
fell, became Sir Walter Long, knight, and represented Wiltshire 
in Parliament. From him directly descended the late Sir James 
Tylney Long, of Wraxhall and Draycot, the last known male repre- 
sentative of the Longs of Wraxhall and Draycot. He died in early 
youth, 14th of September, 1805, when his extensive estates devolved 
on his sister Catherine, wife of the Hon. William Wellesley Pole. 
This lady's fortune, at the time of her marriage, is said to have ex- 
ceeded 80,000/. a year ! 



Avebury, Stonehenge, and Silbury Hill. 

In 1869, the history of these celebrated remains received very 
interesting illustration, in a communication from Mr. A. Hall to 
the AthetiCEum, which we quote here, as it affords a special view 
intelligible to those who are at all acquainted with them : — " Those 
centres of interest, Avebury and Stonehenge, serve to make the 
district in which they stand a very shrine for the antiquary ; 
and, as investigated by me for the first time, a most gratifying 
treat, i. As to the names : I would suggest that the v in Avebury 
is i\ u, and should be read as 'Au,' quasi Auld-bury — i.e. 'old 
burrow ' ; barrows here are called burrows, and the terminal 
' borough ' in English names has been held by antiquaries to indi- 
cate remote antiquity. Here, however, we have a village old, as a 
residence, among boroughs — older, for instance, than M7ix\l)orou(^h, 
V^oodborough, and other places in the neighbourhood. The word 
Stonehenge has been frequently explained ; it refers to the raised 
stones, henge^ from A.S. hon, he/i, gchengon, * to hang.' Here we find 
massive uprights, with huge imposts hung or supported upon them. 
Henry of Huntingdon says, ' Stones of wonderful magnitude are 
raised in the manner of doors,so that they seem like doors placed over 
doors/ This feature is no longer apparent, but the fallen stones 



Aveburyy Stonehengey and Silbury Hill. 29 

show clearly this was the case at one time : the wonder being that 
such immense blocks should be so raised— a feeling that has descended 
with the name that recorded the fact. 

" 2. The first position I wish to lay down is, that there is one great 
marked distinction between Avebury and Stonehenge — viz., that while 
the latter gives in its structure indisputable proof of design, by the 
removal, shaping, elevation, and superimposition of the stones, the 
former was not so formed by man ; but that the stones at Avebury 
are still in situ — i.e., in their rough, unhewn, natural state, as placed 
there by Dame Nature herself, and that man has since located himself 
there and entrenched the spot for habitation. 

"3. It must, I think, be conceded that Avebury is the older, probably 
very much the older, place of the two. Stonehenge has no name as a 
habitation, but it adjoins Amesbury, an old town, whose name, how- 
ever, dates from subsequently to the Christian era ; it is, therefore, 
necessarily posterior to Avebury, the name of whose founder is lost in 
the mists of ages. The Avebury stones are unhewn ; this must be held 
to prove gi'eat antiquity. It is clearly understood that the Romans 
introduced the art of working in stone — an art lost to us by the with- 
drawal of their legions and the consequent invasion of Saxon barbarians, 
but restored by Norman influence under the later Saxon kings. With 
this fact before us, I should hesitate to believe there had been a previous 
introduction of this art from other than Roman sources, and also a 
previous loss of it. I am, therefore, driven to the conclusion that 
Stonehenge is a work of post-Roman time. The labour of collecting 
and transporting these huge masses must have been great, but nothing 
as compared to the fitting and fixing of them, which is very complex. 
Each upright has been reduced into the shape of a round tenon at top, 
to match with a round mortice-hole in the impost ; besides which, 
the lower end of each upright has been worked with a lateral projection 
to bite the earth underground, like an ordinary post for a wooden 
gate; then, being placed in a prepared hole, the cavity has been filled 
in with rubble. Further, all the imposts round the outer circle, when 
complete, fitted closely together, each one beingjointed or grooved into 
its neighbour by the process called match lining ; the rough, weather- 
worn outline of this dovetailing may still be perceived. I cannot 
believe that the rude Celts whom Caesar found here could have done this ; 
they may have chipped (lints and rounded celts, but if they could have 
dealt thus with huge blocks of stone, they would have had stone habi- 
tations, for the material is plentiful ; but Caesar saw none such. 
" 4. Stonehenge is therefore clearly within the historical era, and, as I 



30 Avehiry, Stonehenge, and Silbury Hill. 

think, was erected for a Memorial, the object being to produce a con- 
spicuous mark in the landscape, at a particular spot. The first we 
know of it is quoted from Nennius, in the Eulogium Britannia, who, 
though sufficiently fabuloHS in other things, ascribes Stonehenge to the 
fifth century a.d. Geoffi'ey of Monmouth, who wrote three or four 
hundred years later, partly confirms this conjecture. Moreover, when 
Villiei-s, Duke of Buckingham, excavated the area in 1620, he brought 
to light some Roman remains. 

" 5. Viewing Stonehenge as comparatively modern, I consider Ave- 
bury is greatly older, and that its existence has most probably sug- 
gested the idea that we see caiTied out at Stonehenge. The latter has 
now about 95 blocks left ; Avebury, so far as I could ascertain, only 
25, and has no evidence of the use of imposts. 

" Although Stonehenge is mentioned so frequently and so copiously 
by our early chroniclers, history is silent as to Avebury. The antiquary, 
Aubrey, is the first writer who describes it. In 1648 he found 63 
stones; Stukeley, in 1743, describes 29. The imagination that can 
magnify this trivial quantity into 650, without any evidence whatever, 
is bold, but dangerous. I decline to believe in circles or avenues. The 
whole district teems with these stones. Take an area of four or five 
miles, and we may count them by thousands ; but there is no proof 
tliat any vast quantity was ever concentrated at Avebury. As they 
a -e now found, they were evidently dispersed or deposited by a natural 
process. The line may be traced southward, from Marlborough 
Downs, along a sloping valley which crosses the regular coach-road 
about Fyfield. Down the Lockridge, towards Alton, there they lie — 
called grey wethers at one place, large stones at other places. At 
Linchet's, otherwise Clatford Bottom, we have the Devil's Den: a 
cromlech, apparently. They have been forced along this route by the 
agency of water or ice, and appear to consist of primary rock and a 
soft oolitic sandstone that crumbles into dust. Finding them so freely 
scattered in the immediate neighbourhood, I infer that those found at 
Avebury have been lodged there as a freak of Nature. Accordingly, I 
look upon devil's dens, serpent avenues, charmed circles, and high 
altars as just so many myths. That Avebury was entrenched at an 
early period, and inhabited by primitive Britons, seems very clear. 
Their rude imaginations may have prompted them, from lack of know- 
ledge, to venerate — yea, to worship— these huge fantastic blocks, 
weather-worn into all sorts of queer sliapes, placed thereby a power 
which they could not divine, and thus found in possccsion of the land 
before thenselves." 



Avebury, Stonehenge, and Silbury HilL 31 

The soil of Abury rendered the great Druidical temple an jnciim- 
brance upon its fertility. For two centuries we can trace the course of 
its destruction. Gibson describes it as ' a monument more considerable 
in itself than known to the world. For a village of the same name 
being built within the circumference of it, and, by the way, out of its 
stones too, what by gardens, orchards, enclosures, and the like, the pros- 
pect is so interrupted that it is very hard to discover the form of it. 
It is environed by an extraordinary vallum, or rampire, as great and as 
high as that at Winchester; and within it is a grafF (ditch or moat) of 
a depth and breadth proportionable The grafF hath been sur- 
rounded all along the edge of it with large stones pitched on end, 
most of which are now taken away ; but some marks remaining give 
liberty for a conjecture that they stood quite round.' In Auljrey's 
time sixty-three stones, which he describes, were standing within the 
entrenched enclosure. In Dr. Stukeley's time, when the destruction of 
the whole for the purposes of building was going on so rapidly, still 
forty-four of the stones of the great outward circle were left, and many 
of the pillars of the great avenue : and a great cromlech was in being, 
the upper stone of which he himself saw broken and carried away, the 
fragments of it alone making no less than twenty cartloads." In 18 12, 
according to Sir Richard Hoare, only seventeen of the stones remained 
within the great inclosure. Their number has since been further reduced. 

It must have been a proud day for John Aubrey, when he attended 
Charles II. and the Duke of York on their visit to Abury, or Aubury, 
which the King had been told at a meeting of the Royal Society in 
1663, soon after its formation, as much excelled Stonehenge as a 
cathedral does a parish church. In leaving Abury, the King " cast his 
eie on Silbury Hill, about a mile off," and with the Duke of York, Dr. 
Charlton, and Aubrey, he walked up to the top of it. Dr. Stukeley, 
in his account of Abury, published in 1743, probably refers to another 
royal visit, when he notes : *' Some old people remember Charles the 
Second, the Duke of York, and Duke of Monmouth, riding up Silbury 
Hill." 

We subjoin a few of the more striking and generally received opinions 
upon the origin of Avebury and Stonehenge ; — " The temples in which 
the Britons worshipped their deities were composed of large rough stones, 
disposed in circles; for they had not sufficient skill to execute any finished 
edifices. Some of these circles are yet existing: such is Stonehenge, 
near Salisbury : the huge masses of rock may still be seen there, grey 
with age; and the structure is yet sufficiently perfect to enable us to 
understand how the whole pile was anciently arranged. Stonehen^i? 



$2 Avebury, Stonehenge, and Silbury Hill. 

possesses a stern and savage magnificence. The masses of which it is 
composed are so large, that the structure seems to have been raised by 
more than human power. Hence, Choirganer (the * Giants' Dance,' the 
British name of Stonehenge) was fabled to have been built by giants, 
or otherwise constructed by magic art ; and the tradition that Merlin, 
the magician, brought the stones from Ireland, is felt to be a poetical 
homage to the greatness of the work. All around you in the plain you 
will see mounds of earth, or * tumuH,' beneath which the Britons buried 
their dead. Antiquaries have sometimes opened these mounds, and 
there they have discovered vases, containing the ashes and the bo.ies of 
the primaeval Britons, together with their swords and hatchets, and 
arrow heads of flint or of bronze, and beads of glass and amber ; for 
the Britons probably believed that the dead yet delighted in those 
things which had pleased them when they were alive, and that 
the disembodied spirit retained the inclination and affections of 
mortality." — Palgrave's History of England. 

The investigations of the nature of the stones employed in these 
wonderful monuments present some curious points, of which the fol- 
lowing are specimens ; — 

Mr. Gunnington, quoted in the History of South Wiltshire, says: 
" The stones composing the outward circle and its imposts, as well as 
the five large trilithons, are all of that species of stone called sarsen, 
which is found in the neighbourhood; whereas the inner circle of 
small upright stones, and those of the interior oval, are composed of 
granite, hornstones, &c., most probably brought from some part of 
Devonshire or Cornwall, as I know not where such stones could be 
found at a nearer distance." Sir R. Colt Hoare says : " What is under- 
stood by sarsen is a stone drawn from the natural quarry in its rude 
state. It is generally supposed that these stones were brought from 
the neighbourhood of Abury, in North Wiltshire, and the circumstance 
of three stones still existing in that direction is adduced as a corrobo- 
rating proof of that statement." 

A Correspondent of Notes and Queries, No. 304, remarks : " The 
stones have not been quarried at all, being boulders collected from the 
Downs. It is supposed by eminent geologists that they belong to the 
tertiary formation, and that the strata in which they were embedded 
(represented in the Isle of Wight) have been swept away by some 
great catastrophe. The outer circle probably contained thirty-eight 
Btones, of which seventeen are standing ; and the number of their 
lintels in the original position is about seven or eight. Of the large 
trilithons only two are now complete." 



Avebury, Stonehenge, and Silbury Hill. 33 

Another Correspondent says : " The stones for the great Temple of 
Abury were easily collected from the neighbouring hills; but, judging 
from the present state of Salisbury Plains, it must be supposed that 
the materials of Stonehenge were sought for on the Marlborough 
Downs, and transported down the course of the Avon. Still, it is not 
unlikely that even the largest of these stones might have been found 
near at hand ; for, doubtless, many such were dispersed about at that 
time, which have since been used up for economical purposes." 

Sir R. Colt Hoare adds to Stukeley's opinion : "A modern naturalist 
has supposed that the stratum of sand containing these stones once 
covered the chalk land, and at the Deluge this stratum was washed off 
from the surface, and the stones left behind. Certain it is that we find 
them dispersed over a great part of our chalky district, and they are 
particularly numerous between Abury and Marlborough; but the 
celebrated field, called from them the Grey Wethers, no longer presents 
even a single stone, for they have all been broken to pieces for building 
and repairing the roads." 

Mr. Loudon, when he visited Stonehenge, in 1836, formed this con- 
jecture as to its origin : " On examining the stones we find they are of 
three different kinds — viz., the larger stones of sandstone, the smaller of 
granite ; and two or three stones, in particular situations, of two varieties 
of limestone. This shows that they have been brought from different 
places: still, there is wanting that mathematical regularity and uniformity 
which are the characteristics of masonry ; and we conclude by won- 
dering how savages that knew not how to hew could contrive to 
set such stones on end, and put other stones over them. Upon further 
consideration, observing the tenons and the corresponding mortices, 
and reflecting on the countless number of years that they must have 
stood there, we yield to the probability of their having been originally 
more or less architectural." Many persons have absurdly supposed 
that the stones are artificial, and formed in moulds. 

Mr. Browne, of Amesbury, author of Illustrations of Stonehenge and 
Abury, considers Stonehenge to have been erected before the Flood; 
and Abury, a similar monument, to have been constructed under the 
direction of Adam, after he was driven out of Paradise, as a " remem- 
brance of his great and sore experience in the existence of evil." 

Mr. Rickman, the well-informed antiquary, on June 13, 1839, ccni- 
municated to the Society of Antiquaries an essay containing some im- 
portant arguments, tending to show that the era of Abury and Stone- 
henge cannot reasonably be carried back to a period antecedent to the 
Christian era. After tracing the Roman road fi-om Dover and Can* 
*# X> 



34 ^ Avehiry, Stoiiehenge, and Silbury Hill 

teibury, through Noviomagus and London, to the West of England, 
he noticed that Silbury Hill is situated immediately upon that road, 
and that the avenues of Abury extend to it, whilst their course is 
referable to the radius of a Roman mile. From these and other cir- 
cumstances, he argued that Abury and Silbury are not anterior to the 
road, nor can we well conceive how such gigantic works could be 
accomplished until Roman civilization had furnished such a system of 
providing and storing food as would supply the concourse of a vast 
number of people. Mr. Rickman further remarked that the Temple 
of Abury is completely of the form of a Roman amphitheatre, which 
'would accommodate about 48,000 spectators, or half the number con- 
tained in the Coliseum, at Rome. Again, the stones of Stonehcnge 
have exhibited, when their tenons and mortices were first exposed, the 
workings of a well-directed steel point, beyond the workmanship of 
barbarous nations. It is not mentioned by Caesar or Ptolemy, and its 
historical notices commence in the fifth century. On the whole, Mr. 
Rickman is induced to conclude that the era of Abury is the third 
century, and that of Stonehenge the fourth, or before the departure of 
the Romars from Britain ; and that both are examples of the general 
practice of the Roman conquerors to tolerate the worship of their 
subjugated provinces, at the same time associating them with their own 
superstitions and favourite public games. 

The mysterious monument of antiquity, Stonehenge, or as it has been 
called the " Glory of Wiltshire," and the " Wonder of the West," is 
situated on Salisbury Plain, about two miles directly west of Amesjury, 
and seven north of Salisbury. 

• Two authors suppose it to have been built for a very different pur- 
pose; one assuming it to have been a temple dedicated to Apollo, and 
the other a heathen burial-place. 

The soil is excellent and fertile ; and the harvest is made twice in 
the same year. Tradition says, that Latona was born here, and there- 
fore, Apollo is worshipped before any other deity; to him is also 
dedicated a remarkable temple, of a round form, &c. 

The Rev. James Ingram considers it to have been destined as a 
heathen burial-place, and the oblong spaces adjoining, as the course on 
which the goods of the deceased were run for at the time of the burial ; 
and this opinion, he thinks, is strengthened, from the circumstance of 
the vast number of barrows which abound in this part of the plain. 
Within a short distance, also, are two long level pieces of ground, sur- 
rounded by a ditch and a bank, with a long mound of earth crossing one 
end, bearing a great resemblance to the ancient Roman courses for horse- 



Avcb:uy, StoneJienge^ and Silbury HilL 35 

racing. In the year 1 797, three of the stones which formed part of the 
oval in the centre fell to the earth ; and this appears to have been the 
only instance on record of any alteration having taken place in these 
remains of antiquity. 

For whatever purpose it was erected, or whoever may have been the 
architects, the immense labour necessarily employed in bringing to- 
gether the materials^ and the amazhig mechanical power that must have 
been used to raise the stones, some of which weigh upwards of 70 tons, 
to their proper situations, sliowthat it could have been only constructed 
for some great national purpose, connected either with religion or the 
government of the State. 

The author whose description we have quoted concludes his remarks 
in this manner: — " Such, indeed, is the general fascination imposed on 
all those who view Stonehenge, that no one can quit its precincts with- 
out feeling strong sensations of surprise and admiration. The ignorant 
rustic will, with a vacant stare, attribute it to some imaginary race of 
giants : and the antiquary, equally uninformed as to its origin, will 
regret that its history is veiled in perpetual obscurity ; the artist, on 
viewing these enormous masses, will wonder that art could thus rival 
nature in magnificence and picturesque effect. Even the most indif- 
ferent passenger over the plain must be attracted by the solitary and 
magnificent appearance of these ruins ; and all with one accord will ex- 
claim, * How grand ! How wonderful ! How incomprehensible'!" 

The belief now appears tolerably settled that Stonehenge was a temple 
of the Druids. It differs, however, from all other Druidical remains, 
in the circumstance that greater mechanical art was employed in its 
construction, especially in the superincumbent stones of the outer circle 
and of the trilithons, from which it is supposed to derive its name : start 
being the Saxon for a stone, and heng to hang or support. From this 
circumstance it is maintained that Stonehenge is of the very latest ages 
of Druidism; and that the Druids that wholly belonged to the ante- 
historic period followed the example of those who observed the com- 
mand of the law: " If thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt 
not build it of hewn stone : for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou 
hast polluted it." (Exodus, chap, xx.) Regarding Stonehenge as a 
work of masonry and architectural proportions, Inigo Jones came to 
the conclusion that it was a Roman temple of the Tuscan order. This 
was an architect's dream. Antiquaries, with less of taste and fancy 
than Inigo Jones, have had their dreams also about Stonehenge, almost 
a? wiW as the legend of Merlin flying away with the stones from the 
Curragh of Kildare. Some attribute its erection to the Britons after 



36 Avebttry, Stonehenge, and Silbury Hill, 

the invasion of the Romans Some bring it down to as recent a period 
as that of the usurping Danes. Others again carry it back to the early- 
days of the Phoenicians. The first notice of Stonehenge is found in the 
writings of Nennius, who Hved in the ninth century of the Christian 
era. He says that at the spot where Stonehenge stands a conference 
was held between Hengist and Vortigern, at which Hengist treache- 
rously murdered four hundred and sixty British nobles, and that their 
mourning survivors erected the temple to commemorate the fatal event. 
Mr. Davies, a modern writer upon Celtic antiquities, holds that Stone- 
henge was the place of this conference between the British and Saxon 
princes, on account of its venerable antiquity and peculiar sanctity. 
There is a passage in Diodorus Siculus, quoted from Hecataeus, which 
describes a round temple in Britain dedicated to Apollo; and this Mr. 
Davies concludes to have been Stonehenge. By another writer. Dr. 
Smith, Stonehenge is maintained to have been " the grand orrery of the 
Druids," representing, by combinations of its stones, the ancient solar 
year, the lunar month, the twelve signs of the zodiac, and the seven 
planets. Lastly, Stonehenge has been pronounced to be a temple of 
Buddha, the Druids being held to be a race of emigrated Indian philo- 
sophers. 

After noticing that a chief Druid, whose office is for life, presides 
over the rest, Caesar mentions a remarkable circumstance which seems to 
account for the selection of such a spot as Sarum Plain for the erection 
of a great national monument, a temple, and a seat of justice : — "These 
Druids hold a meeting at a certain time of the year in a consecrated 
spot in the country of the Carnutes (people in the neighbourhood of 
Chartres), which country is considered to be in the centre of all Gaul. 
Hither assemble all, from every part, who have a litigation, and submit 
themselves to their determination and sentence." At Stonehenge, then, 
we may place the seat of such an assize. There were roads leading 
direct over the plain to the great British towns of Winchester and 
Silchester. Across the plain, at a distance not exceeding twenty miles, 
was the great temple and Druidical settlement of Avebury. The town 
and hill-fort of Sarum was close at hand. Over the dry chalky downs, 
intersected by a few streams easily forded, might pilgrims resort from all 
the surrounding country. The seat of justice, which was also the seat 
of the highest religious solemnity, would necessarily be rendered as 
magnificent as a rude art could accomplish. The justice executed in 
that judgment-seat was, according to ancient testimony, bloody and 
terrible. The religious rites were debased into the fearful sacrifices of 
a cruel idolatiy. 



Avebury, Stoneheuge, and Silbiiry Hill. 37 

Sir William Gove Ouseley describes a Druidical circle, and a single 
upright stone standing alone near the circle, as seen by him at Darab, 
in Persia, surrounded by a wide and deep ditch and a high bank o( 
earth ; there is a central stone, and a single upright stone at some dis- 
tance from the main groups, the resemblance of the circle at Darab tc 
the general arrangement of Stonehenge, and other similar monuments 
of Europe, led Sir William Ouseley to the natural conclusion that a 
" British antiquary might be almost authorized to pronounce it Drui- 
dical, according to the general application of the word among us." At 
Darab there is a peculiarity which is not found at Stonehenge, at least 
in its existing state. Under several of the stones there are recesses, or 
small caverns. In this paiticular, and in the general rudeness of its con- 
struction, the circle of Darab resembles the Druidical circle of Jersey, 
although the circle there is very much smaller, and the stones of very 
inconsiderable dimensions, — a copy in miniature of such vast works as 
those of Stonehenge and Avebury. This singular monument, which 
was found buried under the earth, was removed by General Conway 
to his seat near Henley, the stones being placed in his garden according 
to the original plan. 

At Abury are two openings through the bank and ditch, at which 
two lines of upright stones branched off, each extending for more than 
a mile. That running to the south, and south-east, from the great 
temple, terminated in an elliptical range of upright stones. It consisted, 
according to Stukeley, of two hundred stones. The oval thus termi- 
nating this avenue was placed on a hill called the Hakpen, or Overton 
Hill. Crossing this is an old British track-way : barrows scattered all 
around. The western avenue, extending nearly a mile and a half 
towards Beckhamptcn, consisted also of about two hundred stones, 
terminating in a o'ngle stone. It has been held that these avenues, run- 
ning in curved lines, are emblematic of the serpent-worship, one of the 
most primitive and widely extended superstitions of the human race. 
Conjoined with this worship was the worship of the sun, according to 
those who hold that the "'•liole construction of Abury was emblematic 
of the idolatry of primitive Druidism. On the high ground to tiie south 
of Abury within the avenues is a most remarkable monument of the 
British period, Silbury Hill ; of which Sir R. Hoare says, " There can 
be no doubt it was one of the component parts of the grand temple at 
Abury;" others think it a sepulchral mound raised over the bones and 
ashes of a king or arch-druid, as does the author of these lines: — 

•' Grave of CuncLla, were it vain to call, 
For one wild lay of all that buried lie 



3^ Avebury, Stoneheftge, and Silbicry Hill. 

Beneath thy giant mound ? From Tara's hall 

Faint warblings yet are heard, faint echoes die 
Among the Hebrides : the ghost that sung 

In Ossian's ear, yet wails in feeble cry 
On Mor\'ern ; but the harmonies that rung 

Around the grove and cromlech, never more 
Shall visit earth : for ages have unstrung 

The Druid's harp, and shrouded all his lore, 
Where under the world's ruin sleep in gloom 

The secrets of the flood, — the letter'd stone, 
Which Seth's memorial pillars from the doom 

Preserved not, when the sleep was Nature's doom." 

Silbury Hill is the largest mound of the kind in England ; the next 
in size is Marlborough Mount, in the garden of an inn at Marlborough. 
No history gives us any account of Silbury; the tradition only is, 
that King Sil, or Zel, as the country-foik pronounce it, was buried here 
on horseback, and that the hill was raised while a posset of milk was 
seething. Its name, however, seems to have signified the great hill. 
The diameter of Silbury at the top is 105 feet, at bottom it is some- 
what more than 500 feet ; it stands upon as much ground as Stone- 
henge, and is carried up to the perpendicular height of 1 70 feet, its 
solid contents amounting to 13,558,809 cubic feet. It covers a surface 
equal to five acres and thirty-four perches. It is impossible, at this 
remote period, to ascertain by whom, or for what precise purpose, this 
enormous mound of earth was raised ; but from its proximity to the 
celebrated Druidical temple of A bury, it is supposed to have had some 
reference to the idolatrous worship of the Druids, and perhaps to 
contain the bones of some personage. 

It requires no antiquarian knowledge to satisfy the observer of the 
great remains of Stonehenge and Abury, that they are works of art, in 
the strict sense of the word — originating in design, having proportion of 
parts, adapted to the institutions of the period to which they belonged, 
calculated to affect with awe and wonder the imagination of the people 
that assembled around them. But Druidical circles are not confined 
to England or Scotland. On the opposite shores of Brittany the great 
remains of Carnac exhibit a structure of far greater extent even than 
Abury. *' Carnac is infinitely more extensive than Stonehenge, but of 
ruder formation ; the stones are much broken, fallen down, and dis- 
placed ; they consist of eleven rows of unwrought pieces of rock or 
stone, merely set up on end in the earth, without any pieces crossing 
them at top. These stones are of great thickness, but not exceeding 
nine or twelve feet in height ; there may be some few fifteen feet. The 
rows are placed from fifteen to eighteen paces from each other, extend- 
ing in length (taking rather a semicircular direction) above half a mile, 



Avebiiry, Stoiiehenge^ and Silbiiry Hill. 39 

on unequal ground, and towards one end upon a hilly site. When 
the length of these rows is considered, there must have been nearly 
three hundred stones in each, and there are eleven rows : this will 
give you some idea of the immensity of the work, and the labour 
such a construction required. It is said that there are above four 
thousand stones now remaining." (Mrs. Stothard's Tour in Nor-- 
mandy and Brittany^ It is easy to understand how the same reli- 
gion prevailing in neighbouring countries might produce monuments 
of a similar character ; but we find the same in the far east, in lands 
separated from ours by pathless deserts and wide seas. 



40 



BERKSHIRE. 
Windsor Castle, and its Romances. 

Windsor, as a royal Castle and domain, has existed from the Saxon 
era of our history. It has also been a place of considerable resort for 
nearly six centuries ; or fiohi the period when Eleanor, Queen of Ed- 
ward I., came hither by water, the roads being impassable for waggons, 
the only vehicular conveyance then in use — to our own railway times, 
when the journey from London occupies little more than half an hour. 
The picturesque beauty of the country, as well as the royal fame of the 
locality, have doubtless aided this enduring popularity. 

The name is from Wmdksofra, or JVindleshora, from the winding 
course of the Thames in this part.* This, however, was Old Windsor, 
a distinct parish, where the Saxon Kings had a palace, about two miles 
south-east of New Windsor. Edward the Confessor occasionally kept his 
court here : by him it was granted to the monks of Westminster, who 
subsequently exchanged it with the Conqueror for Wokendom and other 
lands in Essex. William itnmediately commenced the erection of a 
fortress near the site of the Round Tower of the present Castle, which, 
from its commanding situation, was admirably adapted for a military 
post ; and it is doubtful whether it was ever used as a residence. It is 
mentioned in Domesday as covering half a hide of land (30 or 50 acres). 
The tenure is " Allodial," i.e», being held by the Sovereign, subject to 
no chief lord, and therefore not strictly in "fee." Henry I. enlarged 
the Castle in 1109, and added a chapel; and in the following year he 
formally removed from the old Saxon palace to the new Castle, and 
there solemnized the feast of Whitsuntide. 

Edward I. and his Queen, Eleanor, often visited the fortress- palace, 
which frequently became the scene of chivalric spectacle ; and in the 
sixth year of the King's reign a grand tournament was held in the paik 
by 38 knightly competitors. 



» This is Camden's stat(-ment ; but Stow gives two other etymologies— from 
Wind us over, from the feiry-boat, rope and pole ; and from the Wynd is sore, 
iiccause it hes high and open to the weather. — Harl. MS. 367, fol. 13, "Of 
<foe Castell of Wyndsorc," in Stow's handwriting. 



Wmdsor Castle, and its Romances, 41 

In the treaty terminating the Civil War between King Stephen 
and Henry, Duke of Normandy (afterwards Henry H.), by which the 
former gives assurance to his successors of the Castles and strengths 
which he holds in England, Windsor appears as second in importance 
only to the Tower of London, That it was at this time, therefore, a 
stronghold of strength, there can be but little doubt. In the treaty it 
is coupled with The Tower, and described as the Mota de Windsor, A 
few fragments of Norman architecture were brought to light during the 
excavations made in our time, by Sir Jeffrey Wyatville. 

King John lay at Windsor during the conferences at Runnymede. 
Henry III. made considerable alterations and enlargements in the Lower 
Ward, and added a chapel 70 feet long and 28 feet high, of which "the 
roof was of wood, lined and painted like stone, and covered with lead." 
This Chapel would appear to have stood where the Tomb-house stands. 
But Windsor Castle owes all its glory to King Edward III.; for it 
had been but little more than a rude fortress, with an adjacent chapel, 
till Edward of Windsor (it was his native place) gave it grandeur, ex- 
tent, and durability. " The two Higher Wards" were built with the ran- 
soms of the captive Kings ; the Upper Ward with the French King's 
(John), the Middle Ward, or Keep, with the Scotch King (David's) 
ransom. Edward's architect was William of Wykeham, Bishop of 
Winchester. Edward began, it would appear, with the Round Tower 
in T315, when he was in his i8th year. Wykeham built a Castle 
on the site for its royal owner, worthy of Edward, of Philippa, his 
queen, and of his warlike son, the hero of Poictiers. 

Froissart's story of Edward III. and the Countess of Salisbury, tells 
of the unhallowed love of the King, and the constancy of the noble 
lady, when she welcomed him in the Castle that she had been bravely 
defending against her enemies! "As soon as the lady knew of the 
King's coming, she set open the gates, and came out so richly beseen 
that every man marvelled of her beauty, and could not cease to regard 
her nobleness with her great beauty, and the gracious words and coun- 
tenance she made. AVhen she came to the King, she kneeled down to 
the earth, thanking him of his succours, and so led him into the Castle, 
to make him cheer and honour as she that could right do it. Every 
man regarded her marvellously ; the King himself could not withhold 
his regarding of her, for he thought that he never saw before so noble 
nor so fair a lady: he was stricken therewith to the heart, with a sparkle 
of fine love that endured long after ; he thought no lady in the world 
80 worthy to be loved as she. Thus they entered into the Castle hand- 
in-hand J the lady led him first into the hall, and after into the chamber, 



42 Windsor Castle, and its Romances. • 

nobly apparelled. The King regarded so the lady that she was abashed. 
At last he went to a window to rest, and so fell in a great study. The 
lady went about to make cheer to the lords and knights that were there, 
and commanded to dress the hall for dinner. When she had all de- 
vised and commanded, then she came to the King with a merry cheer, 
who was then in a great study, and she said, • Dear sir, why do ye study 
so for ? Your grace not displeased, it appertaineth not to you so to do ; 
rather ye should make good cheer and be joyful, seeing ye have chi.sed 
away your enemies, who durst not abide you : let other men study for 
the remnant.* Then the King said, ' Ah, dear lady, know for truth 
that since I entered into the Castle there is a study come into my mind, 
so that I cannot choose but to muse, nor I cannot tell what shall fall 
thereof: put it out of my heart I cannot.' * Ah, sir,' quoth the lady, 
* ye ought always to make good cheer to comfort therewith your 
people. God hath aided you so in your business, and hath given you 
so great graces, that ve be the most doubted (feared) and honoured 
prince in all Christendom ; and if the King of Scots have done you 
any despite or damage, ye may well amend it when it shall please you, 
as ye have done divers times er (ere) this. Sir, leave your musing, and 
come into the hall, if it please you ; your dinner is all ready.' * Ah, fair 
lady,' quoth the King, * other things lieth at my heart that ye know 
not of : but surely the sweet behaving, the perfect wisdom, the good 
grace, nobleness, and excellent beauty that I see in you, hath so sur- 
prised my heart, that I cannot but love you, and without your love I 
am but dead.' Then the lady said, * Ah ! right noble prince, for God's 
sake mock nor tempt me not. I cannot believe that it is true that ye 
say, or that so noble a prince as ye be would think to dishonour me, 
and my lord my husband, who is so valiant a knight, and hath done 
your grace so good sei'vice, and as yet lieth in prison for your quarrel. 
Certainly, sir, ye should in this case have but a small praise, and 
nothing the better thereby. I had never as yet such a thought in my 
heart, nor, I tnist in God, never shall have for no man living. If I had 
any such intention, your grace ought not only to blame me, but also to 
punish my body, yea, and by true justice to be dismembered.' Here- 
with the lady departed from the King, and went into the hall to haste 
the dinner. When she returned again to the King, and brought some 
of his knights with her, and said, ' Sir, if it please you to come into the 
hall, your knights abideth for you to wash ; ye have been too long fast- 
ing.' Then the King went into the hall and washed, and sat down 
among his lords and lady also. The King ate little ; he sat still musing, 
and, as he durst, he cast his eyes upon the lady. Of his sadness his 



Windsor Castle, and its Romances, 43 

knights had marvel, for he was not accustomed so to be ; some thought 
it was because the Scots were escaped from him. All that day the 
King tamed there, and wist not what to do : sometime he imagined 
that truth and honour defended him to set his heart in such a case, to 
dishonour such a lady and such a knight as her husband was, who had 
always well and truly sei-ved him ; on the other part, love so constrained 
him that the power thereof surmounted honour and truth. Thus the 
King debated to himself all that day and all that night : in the morning 
he arose, and dislodged all his host, and drew after the Scots to chase 
them out of his realm. Then he took leave of the lady, saying, ' My 
dear lady, to God I commend you till I return again, requiring you to 
advise you otherwise than ye have said to me.' * Noble prince,' quoth 
the lady, ' God the Father glorious, be your conduct, and put you out 
of all villain thoughts. Sir, I am, and ever shall be, ready to do you 
pure sei-vice to your honour and to mine.' Therewith the King de- 
parted all abashed." 

To carry on the legend, it may be believed that the King subdued his 
passions, and afterwards met the noble woman in all honour and 
courtesy ; then we may understand the motto of the Garter — " Evil be 
to him that evil thinks." 

Such is the legend of the old chronicler that has been long connected 
with the Institution of the Order of the Garter — a legend of virtue 
subduing passion, and therefore not unfit to be associated with the 
honour and self-denial of chivalry. Touching it is to read that 
the " fresh beauty and goodly demeanour " of the lady of Salisbury 
was ever in Edward's remembrance; but that at a great feast in 
London, " all ladies and damsels were freshly beseen, according to their 
degrees, except Alice, Countess of Salisbury, for she went as simply as 
she might, to the intent that the King should not set his regards on her." 

Henry VI. was born at Windsor; but "Holy Henry " did little for 
his native place beyond adding " a distant prospect of Eton College " 
to the fine natural view of the lofty keep. To Edward IV. we owe 
St. George's Chapel as we now see it; to Henry VII. the adjoining 
Tomb-house; and to Henry VIII. the Gateway still standing, with 
his arms upon it, at the foot of the Lower Ward. 

When the Protector Somerset was outnumbered by the conspirators 
leagued against him, he, for his own safety's sake, hurried the boy- 
king, Edward VI., from Hampton Court, in the middle of the night, 
to the stronghold of Windsor Castle, where he was heard to say, 
" Methinks I am in prison : here be no galleries nor no gardens to walk 
in." A gallery was added by Elizabeth : it ran east and west along tlie 



44^ Windsor Castky and its Romances. 

North Terrace, between " the Privy Lodgings," and " the Deanes Tar- 
ras, or Grene Walk." After the Restoration, the fortress-like cha- 
racter of the Castle was reduced to the taste of a French palace ; and 
thus it mostly remained until, in 1824, King George IV. began a 
thorough restoration of the Castle, with the directing taste of Sit 
Jeffrey Wyatville, which eventually cost a million and a half of money. 

The great Gateways without the Castle are King Henry VII I.'s, 
tt. George's, and King George IV.'s; and one within, called the 
Wiirman, or Queen Elizabeth's Gate. The Round Tower, or Keep, 
w^s built for the assembling of a fraternity of knights who should sit 
together on a footing of equality, as the knights sat in romance at the 
Round Table of King Arthur, which King Edward designed to revive 
at a solemn festival annually ; but in this he was thwarted by the 
jealousy of Philip de Valois, King of France. This induced King 
Edward to establish the memorable Order of the Garter. For the 
construction of the famous Round Table, fifty-two oaks were taken 
from the woods of the Prior of Merton, near Reading, for which was 
paid 26/. 1 3 J. 4</. 

When King Edward III. held the great feast of St. George at Windsor, 
" there was a noble company of earls, barons, ladies and damsels, knights 
and squires, and great triumph, justing, and tournays." Of his unhappy 
grandson, Froissart thus describes the last pageants : " King Richard 
caused a joust to be cried and published throughout his realm, to 
Scotland, to be at Windsor, of forty knights and forty squires, against 
all comers, and they to be apparelled in green with a white falcon, and 
the Queen to be there, well accompanied with ladies and damsels. 
This feast was thus holden, the Queen being there in great nobleness ; 
but there were but few lords or noblemen, for more than two parts 
of the lords and knights, and other of the realm of England, had the 
King in such hatred, what for the banishing of the Earl of Derby and 
the injuries that he had done to his children, and for the death of the 
Duke of Gloucester, who was slain in the Castle of Calais, and for the 
death of the Earl of Arundel, who was beheaded at London : the 
kindred of these lords came not to this feast, nor but few other." 

The Round Tower stands on an artificial mound, surrounded by a 
deep fosse, or dry ditch, now a sunk garden. "The compass of the 
Tower," says Stow, "is one hundred and fifty paces." Wyatville 
added thirty-three feet to the Tower, exclusive of the Flag Tower, giving 
an elevation of twenty- five feet more. 

The interior is approached by a covered flight of one hundred steps ; 
a second flight leads to the battlements of the proud Keep, from which 



Windsor Castle, and its Romances. 45 

twelve counties may be seen. The Prince of Wales is Constable of 
this Tower, and indeed of Windsor Castle. 

This fine old Keep was the prison of the Castle from the reign of 
Edward III. to the Restoration in 1660. 

The first great prisoner of note confined here was the poet-king of 
Scotland, James I., who, in the tenth year of his age, on his way to 
France to complete his education, was taken prisoner by the English, 
and confined by King Henry IV., first at Pevensey, in Sussex, and 
then at Windsor. The period of his imprisonment was nineteen years. 
The romantic love of King James for the beautiful Jane Beaufort, 
daughter of the Duke of Somerset, is beautifully told in The Kings 
Quhair, a poem of the King's own composing. The Tower, he in- 
forms us, wherein he was confined, looked over " a garden faire," in 
there was 

•' Ane herbere green, with wandis long and small 
Railed about, and so with treis set 
Was all the place, and hawthorn hedges knet, 
That life was none, walkyng there forbye, 
That might within scarce any wight espye. 

• * * * * . • 

And on the smalle'greene iwis issat 
The little sweete nightingale, and sung 
So loud and clear the hymnis consecrate 
Of lovis use, now soft, now loud among, 
- That all the gardens and the wallis rung 
Right of their song 

• «««*» 

And therewith cast I down mine eye again, 

Whereas I saw walking under the tower, 

Full secretly new comyn her to pleyne, 

The fairest and the frest younge flower 

That ever I saw (me thought) before that hour : 

For which sudden abate anon astert 

The blood of all my body to my heart." 

How beiutifully he describes the Lady Jane Beaufort ; 

*• In her was youth, beauty with humble port, 
Bounty, richess, and womanly feature, 
God better wote than my pen can report ; 
Wisdom, largesse, estate and cunning lure. 
In every poynt so guided her mesure 
In word, in deed, in shape, in countenance, 
That Nature might no more her child advance." 

The Lady Jane became the wife of the poet-king, and they lived 
long in mutual love and sincere affection. 

The next great prisoner of note at Windsor was Henry Howard, 
Earl of Surrey, the last victim brought to the block by King 
Henry VIIL Here Surrey felt " the sacred rage of song," and his 



4^ Windsor Castle, and its Rotnances, 

"childish years" were passed pleasantly ; but the latter portion of his 
too short life was spent in imprisonment. He had the King's son for 
his companion — ill-exchanged for the warder and the lieutenant, the 
gaoler and his u\an ; which exchange he thus felt and sung : 

•* So cruel prison how could betide, alas ! 
As proud Windsor? where I, in lust and joy, 
With a king's son my childish years did pass, 
In greater feast than Priam's son of Troy : 
Where each sweet place returns a taste full sowr I 
The large green courts, where we were wont to rove, 
With eyes upcast unto the Maiden's Tower, 
And easy sighs such as folks draw in love : 
The stately seats, the ladies bright of hue, 
The dances short, long tales of great delight. 
With words and looks that tigers could but rue. 
When each of us did plead the other's right : 
The palm-play, where, desported for the game. 
With dazed eyes, oft we by gleams of love 
Have missed the ball, and got sight of our dame, 
To bait her eyes, which kept the leads above ; 
The gravelled ground, with sleeves tied on the helm, 
On foaming horse, with swords and friendly hearts ; 
The secret groves, which oft we made resound 
To pleasant plaint and of our ladies praise ; 
Recording oft what grace each one had found. 
What hope of speed, what dread of long delays. 
The wild forest, the clothed holts with green, 
With reins avail'd, and swiftly breathed horse, 
With cry of hounds, and merry blasts between, 
When we did chase the fearful hart of force. 
The pleasant dreams, the quiet bed of rest ; 
The secret thoughts, imparted with such trust ; 
The wanton talk, the divers change of play ; 
The friendship sworn, each promise kept so just. 
Wherewith we past the winter nights away. 
, . . And with this thought the blood forsakes the face, 
And tears berain my cheeks of deadly hue." 

He calls for the noble companion of his boyhood, but Richmond 
w as no more. How touching is his plaint : 

" Thus I alone, where all my freedom grew. 
In prison pine, with bondage and restraint ; 
And with remembrance of the greater grief, 
To banish the less, I find my cliief relief." 

The walls of the prison house bear names, and dates, and badges, 
and even the cause of the captivity here of other prisoners. ** From 
this Tower," says Stow, " when ye wethar is cleare, may easily be 
descryed Poll's steple." This was the steeple of old St. Paul's. The 
dome and lantern of the new Cathedral may be descried in clear 
weather. 

Henry VUI. often resided at the Castle, and held his Court theie. 



Windsor Castle, and its Romances. 47 

The Tomb-house east of St. George's Chapel was built by Henry VII. 

for his own remains, but he erected a more stately tomb for himself 
at Westminster ; and Henry VIII. granted his father's first mausoleum 
to Cardinal Wolsey, who commenced his own tomb within it, employ- 
ing a Florentine sculptor on brazen columns and brazen candlesticks ; 
after Wolsey 's fall, that which remained in 1646 of the ornaments of 
this tomb was sold for 600/. as defaced brass. James II. converted the 
tomb-house into a Romish chapel, which was defaced by a Protestant 
rabble. In 1742 it was appropriated as a free school-house. Next 
George III. converted it into a tomb-house for himself and his descen- 
dants. It has since been vaulted in stone, inlaid with mosaic work (the 
finest modern work extant), and the windows filled with stained glass, — 
as a sepulchral chapel in memory of the late Prince Consort. 

The west wall is covered with mosaic pictures of the sovereigns, 
churchmen, and architects more intimately connected with the Castle 
and its ancient and Royal Chapel of St. George. Here are the portraits 
of Henry III., Edward III., Edward IV., Henry VI., Henry VII., and 
Henry VIII. Beneath are pictures of Wolsey, Beauchamp, and William 
of Wykeham, in enamel mosaics. On the north side the windows are 
filled with portraits of Gennan princes, ancestors of his Royal Highness 
the Prince Consort. 

Queen Elizabeth first caused the terraces to be formed, and annexed 
the portion of the Castle built by Henry VII. to that designed by her- 
self, and called Queen Elizabeth's Gallery ; the state beds, " shining with 
gold and silver," were her additions. In the Civil War the Castle was 
mercilessly plundered, until Cromwell stopped the spoliation. Charles 
II. made it his summer residence. In Prince Rupert's constableship, 
the Keep was restored : here, says Mr. Eliot Warburton, he established 
a seclusion for himself, which he soon furnished after his own peculiar 
taste. In one set of apartments, forges, laboratory instruments, retorts, 
and crucibles, with all sorts of metals, fiuids, and crude ores, lay strewed 
in the luxurious confusion of a bachelor's domain ; in other rooms, 
armour and anus of all sorts, from that which had blunted the Damascus 
blade of the Holy War to those which had lately clashed at Marston 
Moor and Naseby. In another was a library stored with strange books, 
a list of which may be seen in the Harlelan Miscellany, In 1670, Evelyn 
described the Castle as " exceedingly ragged and ruinous." Wren spoiled 
the exterior, bnt added Star Buildings, 17 state-rooms and grand stair- 
case. Gibbons was much employed, and Verrio painted the ceilings, to 
be satirized by Pope and Walpole. Thus the Castle mostly remained 
until our time. 



4^ Windsor Casf/e, and its Romances. 

There are three divisions in the palatial part of Windsor Castle: 
I. The Queen's Private Apartments, looking to the east. 2. The State 
Apartments, to the north. 3. The Visitors' Apartments, to the south. 
We shall not be expected to describe the relative position and magnitude 
of the buildings and towers composing the Castle. It has been princi- 
pally enlarged within the quadrangle, on the exterior facing the north 
terrace, to which the Brunswick Tower has been added ; and by con- 
verting what were two open courts, into the State Staircase and th»,' 
Waterloo Gallery. The corridor, a general communication along the 
whole extent of the Private Apartments, is an adaptation of the old 
French boiserie of the age of Louis XV. The south and east sides of 
the quadrangle contain upwards of 369 rooms. 

It is gratifying to add, that as the attractiveness of the Castle has 
been increased, has been the desire of our excellent Sovereign that all 
classes of her subjects should have free access to the State Apartments 
of this truly majestic abode. 

Southward of Windsor Castle lies the Great Park, a part of Windsor 
Forest, which, in the reign of Queen Anne, was cut off fi'om the Castle 
by the intervening private property ; and it was, therefore, deteiinined 
to buy as much land as might be required to complete an avenue from 
the Castle to the Forest. This is the present Long Walk, generally 
considered the finest thing of the kind in Europe. It is a perfectly 
straight line, above three miles in length, running from the principal 
entrance to the Castle to the top of a commanding hill in the Great 
Park, called Snow Hill. 

On each side of the Long Walk, which is slightly raised, there is a 
double row of stately elms, now in their maturity. The view from 
Snow Hill is very fine; on its highest point, in 1832, was placed a 
colossal equestrian statue of George the Third, in bronze, by Sir Richard 
Westmacott ; it occupies a pedestal formed of huge blocks of granite : 
the total elevation of the statue and pedestal exceeds fifty feet, and the 
statue (man and horse) is twenty-six feet in height. The statue was 
raised by George the Fourth : we are not aware of its cost, but the 
expense of the pedestal was 8000/. 

Curious accounts are preserved of the building of the Castle by Ed- 
ward III., for which purpose writs were issued to sheriffs, mayors, and 
bailiffs of the several counties to impress labourers, who were imprisoned 
on refusal. William cf Wykeham was clerk of the works, with a 
salary of one shilling a day. In 1360 there were 360 workmen em* 
ployed there ; in 1362 many died of the plague, when new writs were 
issued. The works were not completed at the time of King Edward's 



Windsor Castle, and its Romances, 49 

d«^ath, and were continued by Richard II. ; they included the mews 
lor the falcons, a large and important establishment not within the 
walls. Chaucer was appointed clerk of the works in this reign, and he 
impressed carpenters, masons, and other artisans. 

In the reign of Edward IV. (1474), St. George's Chapel, one of the 
finest Perpendicular Gothic buildings in this country, was commenced, 
Bishop Beauchamp and Sir Reginald Bray being the architects. The 
first chapel was built hereby King Henry I.; the second by King Edward 
III. upon the site of the present chapel: built when is. 6d. per day 
was high wages ; and built by Freemasons. The Choir is fitted up with 
the stalls and banners of the Order of the Garter, each knight having 
his banner, helmet, lambriquin, crest, and sword ; the dead have 
mementoes only in their armorial bearings. The very large Perpendicular 
window has 15 lights. In this Chapel is the tomb of King Edward 
IV., inclosed by " a range of steel gilt, cut excellently well in church- 
work," not by Quintin Matsys, but by Master John Tresilian, 
smith. On the arch above hung this King's coat of mail, covered 
over with crimson velvet, and thereon the arms of France and 
Eng'and embroidered with pearl and gold interwoven with rubies. 
This trophy of honour was plundered thence by Captain Fogg in 1642, 
when also he robbed the Treasury of the Chapel of all the rich altar 
plate. In 1789, more than 300 years after its interment, the leaden 
coffin of King Edward IV. was discovered in laying down a new pave- 
ment. The skeleton is said to have measured seven feet in length ! 
A lock of the King's hair was procured by Horace Walpole for his 
Strawberry Hill collection. Here also are the graves of Henry VI., 
Henry VIII., and Queen Jane Seymour ; the loyal Marquis of Wor- 
cester; and the grave of King Charles I. : 

" Famed for contemptuous breach of sacred ties, 
By headless Charles see heartless Henry lies." — Byron. 

In 1813 the coffin of King Charles I. was opened by Sir Henry 
Halford, when the remains were found just as the faithful Herbert 
had described them, thus negativing the statement that the King lay in 
a nameless and unknown grave. 

We have a few additions to the Romances. Froissart, adopting the 
common belief of his age, relates that King Arthur instituted his Order 
of the Knights of the Round Table at Windsor ; but the existence 
of such a British King as Arthur is at least a matter of doubt, and 
that part of his history which assigns Windsor as one of his resi- 
dences, may be certainly legarded as fabulous. Harrison, in his 
description of England, prefixed to Holinshed's Chronicles^ says the 
** E 



50 Windsor Castle, and its Romances. 

Castle was "builded in times past by King Arthur, or before him by 
Arviragus, as it is thought." 

Froissart, who Uved at the Court of Edward III., probably had in 
his recollection some current traditions of the day, which have not 
descended to our age, or at least have not yet been brought to light. 

Lambard, in his Topographical Dictionary^ says: "It would make 
greatly (I know) as wel for the illustration of the glorie, as for the 
extending of the antiquitie of this place, to alledge out of Frozard that 
King Arthur accustomed to hold the solemnities of his Round Table 
at Wyndsore: but as I dare not over bouldly avouche at King 
Arthure's antiquities, the rather bycause it hathe bene thought a dis- 
putable question wheather theare vveai'eever any suche Kinge or no ; so 
like I not to joine with Frozard in this part of that stoarie, bycause he 
is but a fonein writer, and (so farre as I see) the only man that hath 
delivered it unto us ; and therefore, supposing it more safe to follow 
our owne hystorians, especially in our owne historic, I thinke good to 
leave the tyme of the Brytons, and to descend to the raygne of the 
Saxon Kings, to the end that they may have the first honour of the 
place, as they were indede the first authors of the name." 

The tradition of " Heme the hunter," which Shakspeare has 
employed in his Merry Wi^ves of Windsor, is that Heme, one of the 
Keepers of the Forest, was to be seen, after his death, with horns on 
his head, walking by night, " round about an oak," in the vicinity of 
Windsor Castle. It is said that, " having committed some great 
offence, for which he feared to lose his situation and fall into disgrace, 
he hung himself upon the oak which his ghost afterwards haunted." 
In the first sketch of the play, the tradition is briefly narrated, without 
any mention of the tree in connexion with it : 

"Oft have you heard since Home the hunter dyed, 
That \vomen to affright their little children 
Ses that he walkes in shape of a great stagge." 

No allusion to the legend has ever been discovered in any other writer 
of Shakspeare's time, and the period when Herne or Home lived is un- 
known. In a manuscript, however, of the time of Henry VIII., in the 
British Museum, Mr. Halliwell has discovered, " Rycharde Home, 
yeoman," among the names of the " hunters whiche be examyncd and 
have confessed for hunting in his Majesty's forests;" and he suggests 
that this may have been the person to whom the tale related by Mrs. 
page alludes, observing that " it is only convicting our great dramatist 
of an additional anachronism to those already known of a similar 
character, in attributing to him the introduction of a tale cf the time 



The A hhey of A hingclcn. 5 1 

of Henry the Eighth into a play supposed to belong to the commence- 
ment of the fifteenth century." 



The Abbey of Abingdon. 

In Berkshire, during the prevalence of the Roman Catholic faith, 
thirty-five religious houses were built and endowed, three of which 
were numbered at the Reformation among the " greater monasteries." 
The most important of these were the Benedictine Abbeys of Abingdon 
and Reading. 

Abingdon Abbey appears to have been originally founded upon a 
hill called Abendune, about ten miles from the present town, nearer 
Oxford, by Cissa, King of Wessex, and his nephew, Heane, Viceroy of 
Wiltshire, in 605, begun at Bagley Wood, now Chilswell Farm. Five 
years after, its foundation was removed to a place then called 
Sevekisham, and since then Abbendon, or Abingdon, and enriched 
by the munificence of Ceadwalla and Ina, Kings of Wessex, and 
other benefactors. This Abbey was destroyed by the Danes, and 
the monks were deprived of their possessions by Alfred the Great, but 
their property was restored and the rebuilding of the Abbey com- 
menced at least by Edred, grandson and one of the successors of Alfred. 
It became richly endowed, and the Abbot was mitred. At the Sup- 
pression the revenues of this Monastery amounted to nearly 2000/. per 
annum ; a gateway is nearly all that remains. At the Abbey was 
educated Henry I., and with such fidelity as to procure him the name 
of Beauclerc. Here was buried Cissa, the founder; St. Edward, king and 
martyr ; Robert D'Oyley, builder of Oxford Castle, tutor to Henry I.; 
<ind the Abbot, the historian Geoffrey of Monmouth. Here, in 1107, 
Egelwinus, Bishop of Durham, was imprisoned and stars'ed to death. 

The Chronicle of Abingdon gives a trustworthy record of this great 
Benedictine establishment during a period of 500 years. It was written 
at a time when the monks were still secure of the affections of the 
people, and when, therefore, there was no temptation either to suppress 
or pervert the truth ; the Chronicle is an unvarnished narrative, strung 
together by an honest compiler of materials, and truthful recorder ot 
events. It may be useful as well as interesting here to quote from an 
able review of a translation of the Chronicle of Abingdon, by Mr. 
Stevenson, inasmuch as it will show the interest and value attached to 
the sketches of Abbeys in the present work. 

" The history of an establishment like that of Abingdon is not merely 
the narrative of a brotherhood, isolated from the outer world by their 



5 2 The A hbey of A bingdon, 

peculiar aims and occupations, as might be the case with the descrip- 
tion of a modern religious fraternity ; it is the nan-ative of the social 
condition of the whole English people. Most persons who have 
bestowed any attention to our early annals will admit, however strong 
may be their Protestant prejudices, that the best features of our 
modern civilization are due to the social organization introduced by 
the monks. Agriculture, for example, the parent of all the other arts, 
was despised and neglected by the pagan tribes of German origin, 
whereas the rule of St. Benedict, which was of primary authority with 
every monastic establishment, proclaimed the * nobility of labour' as a 
religious duty, inferior in its responsibility only to prayer and study. 

" Benedict thought it good that men should be daily reminded that 
in the sweat of their face they should eat bread, and day by day they 
toiled in the field as well as prayed in the church. After having been 
present .?t the service of Prime, the monks assembled in the Chapter- 
house, each individual received his allotted share of work, a brief 
prayer was offered up, tools were sen-ed out, and the brethren marclied 
two and two, and in silence, to their task in the field. From Easter 
until the beginning of October they were thus occupied from 6 o'clock 
in the morning until lo, sometime? .:ntil noon. The more widely the 
system was diffused the more extentive were its benefits. Besides the 
monks lay brethren and servants were engaged, who received payment 
in coin, and as by degrees more land was brought into tillage than the 
monastery needed, the surplus was leased out to lay occupiers. Thus, 
each monastery became a centre of civilization, and while the rude 
chieftain, intent on war or the chase, cared little for the comfort either 
of himself or his retainers, the monks became the source, not only of 
intellectual and spiritual light, but of physical warmth and comfort, 
and household blessings. 

*' The boundaries, which are incorporated with the Saxon charters, 
suppl; us with many characteristics of Anglo-Saxon social life, and 
throw considerable light on the topographical history of Berkshire and 
the adjoining portion of Oxfordshire. The absence of any remark 
about the earlier Celtic population is noteworthy. Not only do they 
seem to have been exterminated, but every trace of their occupancy, 
except in the names of brooks and rivers, had vanished. Our ancestors 
at that period were chiefly occupied with the breeding of sheep, swine, 
horses, and homed cattle. They had made little progress in agricul- 
ture ; wheat and oats are not mentioned ; barley and beans rarely. The 
indigenous trees were the oak, the hazel, the ash, the birch, and the 
beech. The willow, alder, maple, apple, and linden are also occasionary 



Wallingford Castle, 53 

named. The Berkshire hills and woods abounded with wolves, wild 
cats, stags, foxes, and badgers ; beavers and wild boars were also nu- 
merous, while in the marshes were to be found geese, snipe, and swans." 



Wallingford Castle. 

Wallingford is a place of great antiquity, on the west bank of the 
Thames, and is thought to have existed in the time of the Romans, 
their coins having been dug up here ; the form of the ramparts (not of 
the Castle, which is of later origin) indicating that they had been 
traced by the Romans. The first historical notice of Wallingford is 
A.D. 1006, when it was taken by the Danes ; but it was rebuilt in 1013. 
In the reign of Edward the Confessor it was a royal borough, contain- 
ing 276 houses paying a tax to the King. 

There was a Castle here at the time of the Conquesf, belonging to 
Wigod, a Saxon noble, who invited William the Conqueror, after the 
battle of Hastings, to come to Wallingford, where William received 
the homage of Archbishop Stigand, and the principal nobles, before 
marching to London. About a year after, 1067, Robert D'Oyley, a 
Norman baron, who had married Wigod's only daughter, built a strong 
Castle at Wallingford, but whether on the site of Wigod's Castle is 
not clear. In the Civil War of Stephen, this Castle was held for the 
Empress Maud. Stephen besieged it without success several times, and 
here the Empress Maud found refuge after her escape from Oxford. 
In 1 153, Henry, son of Maud, besieged a fort, which Stephen had 
erected at Crowmarsh on the opposite side of the Thames ; and Stephen 
coming to its relief, a peace was concluded. During the imprisonment 
of Richard I., Wallingford Castle was occupied by his brother John, 
but was taken fiom him by the King's party. In the troubles of John's 
reign, one or two of the meetings of King and Barons were held at 
Wallingford; and in those of Henry HI. (a.d. 1264), Prince Edward, 
the King's son (afterwards Edward I.), Prince Henry, his nephew, and 
Richard, King of the Romans, his brother, were confined for a time in 
this Castle. It was twice besieged in the troubles of the reign of 
Edward II. Leland and Camden describe the fortress as having a 
double wall ; and Camden speaks of the citadel, or keep, as standing 
on a high mound. In the Civil War of Charles I., it was repaired and 
garrisoned for the King ; and it was a post of importance. Towards 
the close of the war it was besieged by Fairfax, and was afterwards 
demolished, except part of the wall towards the river. The mound la 
overgrown with trees, but in our time balls have been dug up here. 



54 Reading Abbey 

Within the Castle was a college ; and connected with it was a school 
For the instruction of singing-boys, in which Tusser, the author of Five 
Hundred Points of Good Husbandry, was educated, as he records in his 
Life, prefixed to the black-letter edition of his works. Here he describes 
the " quiraster's miserle" as hard to bear : 

*• O painful time, for every crime 
What toosed eares ! like baited beares ! 
What bobbed lips ! what yerks, what nips I 
What hellish toies ! 

What robes how bare ! what coUedge fare ! 
What bred how stale ! what pennie ale ! 
Then Wallingford, how wert thou abhor'd 
Of sillie boies !" 

There was a Benedictine Priory at Wallingford, founded in the reign 
of William the Conqueror ; and there was a Mint in the town in the 
reign of Henry HI. 

Wallingford had anciently fourteen churches ; it has now three. 



Reading Abbey. 

As the railway traveller approaches Reading, the county town of 
Berkshire, an interesting relic of the architecture of seven hundred years 
since can scarcely fail to arrest his attention, among the modern build- 
ings of the town. This relic is the Hall of one of the richest religious 
houses in the kingdom, and of the class called Mitred Abbeys, or, in 
other words, whose Abbots sat in Parliament : the Abbot of Reading 
took precedency in the House of Peers, next after the Abbots of St. 
Albans and Glastonbury. 

It appears that in the year 1006, when Reading was burnt by the 
Danes, they also destroyed an Abbey of nuns, said to have been founded, 
amongst others, by Elfrida, first the wife of Earl Athelwold, and after- 
wards of King Edgar ; the foundation being in atonement for the 
murder of that Prince's son, Edward, which was perpetrated by her 
command, when she was queen-mother. Upon the site of this nunnery, 
King Henry I. laid the foundation of another edifice in the year 1121, 
and endowed the same for the support of 200 monks of the Benedictine 
order, and bestowed on it various important privileges. Among them 
were those of conferring knighthood, coining money, holding fairs, try- 
ing and punishing criminals, &c. The founder also gave a relic, assumed 
to be the head of the Apostle James. The new monastery was com- 
pletely finished within the space of four years. It was dedic ited to tlie 



Reading A hhey. 5 5 

Holy Trinity, the blessed Virgin, St. James, and St. John the Evangelist. 

At Reading, it was commonly known as St. Mary's. Henry authorized 

the Abbey to coin in London, and keep there a resident master or 

moncyer. The body of King Henry was interred here, as well as 

those of his two queens, Matilda and Adeliza; though it seems that 

the King's bowels, brains, heart, eyes, and tongue, by a strange fancy 

of disseveration, were buried at Rouen ; and here, probably, was 

interred their daughter Maud, the wife of the Emperor Henry IV 

and mother of Henry II. of England. Her epitaph, recordea. by 

Camden, has been deservedly admired : 

" Magna ortu, majorque viro, sed maxima partu ; 
Hie jacet Henrici filia, sponsa, parens." 

William, eldest son of Henry II., was buried at his grandfather's 
feet. Constance, the daughter of Edmund Langley, Duke of Yorkj 
Anne, Countess of Warwick, and a son and daughter of Richard Earl 
of Cornwall, certainly here found their latest abiding-place in this 
world. There was an image of the royal founder placed over his tomb ; 
but that, and probably many other monuments, either suffered demolition 
or removal, when this religious house was changed into a royal dwelling. 
Camden says : " The monastery wherein King Henry I. was inten-ed, 
was converted into a royal seat, adjoining to which stands a fair stable, 
stored with horses of the King's, &c. ;" but this does not justify Sand- 
ford in asserting that the bones of the persons buried were thrown out, 
and the Abbey converted into a stable ; nor does such a circumstance 
seem likely to have taken place at this time, or on such an occasion ; 
though such indignities afterwards characterized the days of Cromwell. 

A well-known trial by battle occurred herein 1163, at which Henry 
II. sat as judge. It was the appeal of Robert de Montfort against 
Henry of Essex, the King's standard-bearer, for cowardice and treachery, 
in having in a skirmish in Wales, at which the King was present, cast 
away the royal standard and fled, upon a report of his Sovereign being 
killed. Essex pleaded that at the time he believed the report to be true. 
The combat took place, it is supposed, on an island by Caversham 
Bridge. Montfort was the victor, and the body of Essex, who was 
apparently killed, was given to the monks of the Abbey for burial. 
He recovered, however, from his wounds, and being permitted to assume 
the habit of a monk, was received into the monastery. His estates were, 
of course, forfeited. 

The Abbey provided for the poor, and necessary entertainment for 
travellers. William of Malmesbury, who, however, died about 1142, 
says, there was always more spent by the monks on strangers than on 



5^ Reading A bhcy, 

themselves. One Amherius, the second Abbot of this house, had 
ah-eady founded an hospital for the reception of twelve leprous persons, 
where they were maintained comfortably. Hugo, the eighth Abbot, 
founded another hospital near the gate, for the reception of certain poor 
persons and pilgrims, who were not admitted into the Abbey. To this 
hospital the Church of St. Lawrence is given in the grant for ever, for 
the purpose of maintaining thirteen poor persons ; allowing for the 
keeping of thirteen more out of the usual alms. The reason assigned 
by the Abbot was that (though we are told more money was laid out 
on hospitality than expended on the monks), yet, he had observed and 
lamented a partiality in entertaining the rich, in preference to the poor. 
But some have suspected that this was a mere pretence whereby to 
exclude the meaner sort entirely from the Abbot's table. 

At the Dissolution, in 1539, the Abbot, Hugh Cook, alias Hugh 
FaiTingdon, whom Hall, in his Chronicle, calls a stubborn monk, and 
absolutely without learning, was, with two of his monks, hanged, 
drawn, and quartered, for refusing to deliver up the Abbey to the 
Visitors, and immediate possession was taken. The clear revenues 
at this period, Lysons, writing in 1806, considered equivalent t(^ 
at least 20,000/. The Commissioners found here considerable quan- 
tities of plate, jewels, and other valuable articles. Henry VI H. and 
his successors for some time kept a portion of the Abbey rcsei^ved 
for their occasional residence. No record exists of the time when the 
buildings were first dismantled, but it is evident that they were in ruins 
in the reign of Queen Elizabeth ; for when the church of St. Mary in 
the town of Reading was rebuilt, the Queen granted two hundied loads 
of stones from the old Abbey, to be used as materials. But after the 
reign of James I. it does not appear to have been long occupied as a 
royal residence. The buildings generally began to decay, and im- 
mense quantities of the materials were carried off. Some of these were 
used in the construction of the Hospital for poor Knights at Windsor, 
as well as in the rebuilding of St. Mary's Church ; and large masses were 
used by General Conway in the construction of a bridge at Henley. 
The Abbey appears to have been surrounded by a wall, with four arched 
and battlemented gateways, the ruins of some of which are still visible. 
There was also an inner court, with a gateway, which still exists. The 
north front has a beautiful Saxon arch, with an obtuse point at the 
lop, rising from three clustered pillars without capitals. Among the 
chief remains is a portion of the great hall, now used as a school-room. 
The dimensions of the hall, were 80 feet by 40. Here it is supposed 
were held the numerous parliaments which sat here. Vhat remained 



Reading Abbey. 57 

of the Abbey church up to the period of the Civil War was then further 
dilapidated; the ruins of the north transept, in particular, are then 
recorded to have been blown up. The Abbey mills are still remaining 
in excellent preservation, and exhibit arches evidently coeval with the 
Abbey itself. Over the mill race is a large Norman arch, with a zig- 
zag moulding. In 1815 a fi-agment of a stone sarcophagus in two 
pieces, was found about the centre of the choir, supposed, with some 
probability, to be the coffin of King Henry I. 

In those ages, when a belief existed in the efficacy of real or fancied 
relics of saints, a most singular object of this kind was presented to the 
Abbey by the Empress Maud, who brought it from Germany in the 
reign of Henry II. It was the hand of St. James the Apostle, and in 
such high estimation was this relic held, that it was carefully inclosed in 
a case of gold, of which it was afterwards stripped by Richard I. This 
monarch, however, granted an additional charter, and gave one mark 
of gold to cover the hand, in lieu of the precious metal he had taken 
away. His brother. King John, confirmed this charter, and presented 
to the Abbey another equally wonderful relic, namely, the head of St. 
Philip the Apostle. The relic of St. James's hand is at present in exis- 
tence : it was discovered about 80 years ago by some workmen, in dig- 
ging, and after passing through various hands, at last found its way 
into the Museum of the Philosophical Society of Reading. The relic 
consists of the left hand of a human being half closed^ with the flesh dried 
on the bones. Among other relics were a quantity of glazed tiles on 
the floor of the church. These were covered with various ornaments, 
and appeared originally to have formed a kind of cross of mosaic work, 
but the greater portion was missing. Fragments of stained glass of 
beautiful colours were found ; in one place a kind of coffin, or excava- 
tion, was discovered, just capable of receiving a human body: it con- 
tained bones, but had no covering. The steps leading down to what is 
supposed to have been the cellar have been laid open, while the frag- 
ments of carved stones which have been found show that the building, 
in its pristine state, must have been as beautiful as it was extensive. 

Prynne, in his History of the Papal Usurpation, tells us that the 
Abbot of Reading was one of the Pope's delegates, together with the 
legate Randulph, and the Bishop of Winchester, commissioned for the 
excommunication of the Barons that opposed King John, in 12 15, and 
the succeeding year. The maintenance of two Jewish female converts 
was imposed on this House by King Henry III. Tlie same prince, 
desiring to borrow a considerable sum of money of the greater abbeys, 
the Abbot of Reading positively refused to comply with the requisition. 



5 8 Reading A hhcy 

There is in existence a letter of Edward, the first Prince of Wales, 
written in 1304, to Adam de Poleter, of Reading, commanding him to 
lodge four tuns of good wines in the Abbey of Reading, against the 
aiTival of the Prince's sei'vants at the Tournament about to be held 
there. 

Of the ancient glory of the Abbey, but a few walls, or a ragged, 
broken skeleton, remain ; though, in recent excavations, the plan of the 
building has been traced ; and " there have been brought to the surface, 
from the neighbourhood of the high altar, the relics of kings, and war- 
riors, and holy men, the fathers and founders of a church, which they 
probably trusted would have confined their bones till doomsday." 

The Franciscan Friars settled here in 1 233. Their convent stood 
near the west end of Friar-street. On its Dissolution, the warden 
petitioned that he and his brethren, being aged men, might be permitted 
to occupy their lodgings during life ; but even that humble request 
was denied. According to Leland, there was also on the north side of 
Castle-street " a fair house of Grey Friars." 

Among the Curiosities shown to the stranger in Reading is a stratum 
of sand in Catsgrove-lane, which is filled with oyster-shells and other 
marine fossils. In Dr. Plot's amusing Natural History of Oxford- 
shire (in which the wonders* of any other county are, however, gladly 
laid under contribution), their situation is proposed to be accounted for 
by an hypothesis as good in its way as Voltaire's pilgrims' cockle-shells, 
and for which it might have afforded a hint. W hen the Danes were 
besieged in Reading by King Ethelred and his brother Alfred, they 
endeavoured to secure themselves by cutting a trench across the 
meadows. Now, says Dr. Plot, " the Saxons having in all probability 
removed their cattle, it is likely that they might be supplied by their 
navy with oysters, which, during the time of the abode of their army 
on land, might be very suitable employment for it. Which conjecture 
allowed, there is nothing more required to make out the possibility of 
the bed of oysters coming thither, without a deluge, but that Catsgrove 
was the place appointed for the army's repast." 



S9 



Cumnor Place, and the Fate of Amy Robsart. 

Cumnor, about three miles west of Oxford, has an old manor house, 
which formerly belonged to the Abbots of Abingdon, but after the 
Reformation was granted to the last Abbot for life, and on his death 
came into the possession of Anthony Forster, whose epitaph in Cumnor 
church, speaks of him as an amiable and accomplished person. But, in 
Ashmole's Antiquities of Berkshire, he is represented as one of the 
parties to the murder of Anne Dudley, under very mysterious circum- 
stances. This unfortunate lady, who became the first wife of Lord Robert 
Dudley, Queen Elizabeth's favourite, was the daughter of Sir John 
Robsart. Her marriage took place June 4, 1550 ; and the event is thus 
recorded by King Edward in his Diary : " S. Robert dudeley, third 
Sonne to th' erle of warwic, married S. John Robsarte's daughter, after 
whose marriage there were certain gentlemen that did strive who should 
take away a gose's heade, which was hanged alive on tow crose postes." 
Soon after the accession of Elizabeth, when Dudley's ambitious views 
of a royal alliance had opened upon him, his wife mysteriously died ; 
and Ashmole thus relates the melancholy story : — 

" Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, a very goodly personage, and 
singularly well featured, being a great favourite to Queen Elizabeth, it 
was thought, and commonly reported, that had he been a bachelor, or 
widower, the Queen would have made him her husband : to this end, 
to fi-ee himself of all obstacles, he commands his wife, or perhaps with 
fair flattering entreaties, desires her to repose herself here at his servant 
Anthony Forster's house, who then lived at the aforesaid Manor-house 
(Cumnor-place); and also prescribed to Sir Richard Varney (a prompter 
to this design), at his coming hither, that he should first attempt to 
poison her, and if that did not take effect, then by any other way what- 
soever to despatch her. This, it seems, was proved by the report of 
Dr. Walter Bayly, sometime Fellow of New College, then living in 
Oxford, and Professor of Physic in that University, who, because he 
would not consent to take away her life by poison, the earl endeavoured 
to displace him from the Court. This man, it seems, reported for most 
certain that there was a practice in Cumnor among the conspirators to 
have poisoned this poor innocent lady, a little before she was killed, 
which. was attempted after this manner: — They seeing the good lady 
sad and heavy (as one that well knew by her other handling that her 
death was not far off), began to persuade her that her present disease 
was abundance of melancholy, and other humours, &c. And therefore 



6o Ctimnor Place, and the Fate of A my Rohsart. 

would needs counsel her to take some potion, which she absolutely re- 
fusing to do, as still suspecting the worst : whereupon they sent a 
messenger on a day (unawares to her) for Dr. Bayly, and entreated him 
to persuade her to take some little potion by his direction, and they 
would get the same at Oxford, meaning to have added something of 
their own for her comfort, as the Doctor, upon just cause and consi- 
deration did suspect, seeing their great importunity, and the small need 
the lady had of physic ; and therefore he peremptorily denied their 
i-equest, misdoubting (as he afterwards reported) lest if they had 
poisoned her under the name of his potion, he might have been hanged 
for a colour of their sin ; and the Doctor remained still well assured, 
that this way taking no effect, she would not long escape their violence, 
which afterwards happened thus : — For Sir Richard V^arney aforesaid 
(the chief projector in this design), who by the earl's order remained 
that day of death alone with her, with one man only, and Forster, who 
had that day forcibly sent away all her servants from her to Abingdon 
market, about three miles distant from this place, they, I say, whether 
first stifling her or else strangling her, afterwards flung her down a pair 
of stairs and broke her neck, using much violence upon her ; but yet, 
however, though it was vulgarly reported that she by chance fell down 
stairs, but yet without hurting her hood that was upon her head. Yet 
the inhabitants will tell you there that she was conveyed from her usual 
chamber where she lay to another, where the bed's head of the chamber 
stood close to a privy postern door, where they in the night came and 
stifled her in her bed, bruised her head very much, broke her neck, and 
at length flung her downstair, thereby believing the world would have 
thought it a mischance, and so have blinded their villany. But, behold 
the mercy and justice of God in revenging and discovering this lady's 
murder ; for one of the persons that was a coadjutor in this murder was 
afterwards taken for a felony in the marches of Wales, and ofl^ering to 
publish the manner of the aforesaid murder, was privately made away 
with in prison by the earl's appointment. And Sir Richard Varney, the 
other, dying about the same time in London, cried miserably and blas- 
phemed God, and said to a person of note (who has related the same 
to others since) not long before his death, that all the devils in hell did 
tear him in pieces. Forster, likewise, after this fact, being a man for- 
merly addicted to hospitality, company, mirth and music, was after- 
wards observed to forsake all this, and being affected with much 
melancholy (some say with madness) pined and drooped away. The 
wife, too, of Bald Butler, kinsman to the earl, gave out the whole fact 
a little before her death. Neither are the following passages to be for- 



Cumnor Place, and the Fate of Amy Robsart, 6i 

gotten: — That as soon as ever she was murdered, they made great 
haste to bury her before the coroner had given in his inquest (which 
the earl himself condemned as not done advisedly), which her father, 
Sir John Robertsett (as I suppose) hearing of, came with all speed 
hither, caused her corpse to be taken up, the coroner to sit upon her, 
and further inquiry to be made concerning this business to the full ; but 
it was generally thought that the earl stopped his mouth, and made up 
the business betwixt them ; and the good earl, to make plain to the 
world the great love he bore to her while alive — what a grief the loss of 
so virtuous a lady was to his tender heart — caused (though the thing 
by these and other means was beaten into the heads of the principal 
men of the University of Oxford) her body to be re-buried in St. Mary's 
Church in Oxford, with great pomp and solemnity. It is remarkable 
when Dr. Babington, the earl's chaplain, did preach the funeral sermon, 
he tript once or twice in his speech by recommending to their memories 
that virtuous lady so pitifully w«r^<?/W, instead of saying pitifully slain." 

We need scarcely add that these circumstances, with considerable 
anachronisms, have been woven by Sir Walter Scott into his delightful 
romance of Kenil<worth. "Of the gose and poste " this explanation 
has been given : the gose was intended for poor Amy, and the crosse 
posts for the Protector Somerset and his rival, Dudley Duke of North- 
umberland, both of whom were bred to the wicked trade of ambition. 
Dudley did not, however, escape suspicion. The lady and gentleman 
were so fully assured of the evil treatment of the lady, that they sought 
to get an inquiry made into the circumstances. We also find Burgh- 
ley, presenting, among the reasons why it was inexpedient for the 
Queen to marry Leicester, " that he is infamed by the murder of his 
wife." Mr. Froude, in his History of England, gives the following 
summary of the proceedings taken to inquire into the cause of the 
lady's sad fate. 

"In deference to the general outcry, either the inquiry was protracted, 
or a second jury, as Dudley suggested, was chosen. Lord Robert himself 
was profoundly anxious, although his anxiety may have been as much for 
his own reputation as for the discovery of the truth. Yet the exertions to 
unravel the mystery still failed of their effect. No one could be found who 
had seen Lady Dudley fall, and she was dead when she waa discovered. 
Eventually, after an investigation apparently without precedent for the 
strictness with which it had been conducted, the jury returned a verdict 
of accidental death ; and Lord Robert was thus formally acquitted. 
Yet the conclusion was evidently of a kind which would not silence 
suspicion j it was not proved that Lady Dudley had been murdered j 



t>2 Ciimnor Place, and the Fate of Amy Robs art, 

but the cause of the death was still left to conjecture ; and were there 
nothing more — were Cecil's words to De Quadra proved to be a forgery 
— a cloud would still rest over Dudley's fame. Cecil might well have 
written of him, as he dvd in later years, that he * was infamed by his 
wife's death ;' and the shadow which hung over his name in the popular 
belief would be intelligible even if it was undesei-vcd. A paper remains, 
however, among Cecil's MSS., which proves that Dudley was less zealous 
for inquiry than he seemed ; that his unhappy wife was indeed mur- 
dered ; and that with proper exertion the guilty persons might have been 
discovered. That there should be a universal impression that a par- 
ticular person was about to be made away with, that this person should 
die in a mysterious violent manner, and yet that there should have been 
no foul play after all, would have been a combination of coincidences 
which would not easily find credence in a well-constituted court of 
justice. The strongest point in Dudley's favour was that he sent his 
wife's half-brother, John Appleyard, to the inquest. Appleyard, some 
years after, in a fit of irritation, * let fall words of anger, and said 
that for Dudley's sake he had covered the murder of his sister.' Being 
examined by Cecil, he admitted that the investigation at Cumnor had, 
after all, been inadequately conducted. He said * that he had often- 
times moved the Lord Robert to give him leave, and to countenance 
him in the prosecuting of the trial of the murder of his sister — adding 
that he did take the Lord Robert to be innocent thereof; but yet he 
thought it an easy matter to find out the offenders — affirming there* 
unto, and showing certain circumstances which moved him to think 
surely that she was murdered — whereunto he said that the Lord 
Robert always assured him that he thought it was not fit to deal 
any further in the matter, considering that by order of law it 
was already found otherwise, and that it was so presented by a 
jury. Nevertheless the said Appleyard in his speech said upon 
examination, that the jury had not as yet given up their ver- 
dict.' If Appleyard spoke the truth, there is no more to be 
said. The conclusion seems inevitable, that, although Dudley was 
innocent of a direct participation in the crime, the unhappy lady was 
sacrificed to his ambition. She was murdered by persons who hoped 
to profit by his elevation to the throne ; and Dudley himself^ — aware 
that if the murder could be proved public feeling would forbid his 
marriage with the Queen — used private means, notwithstanding his af- 
fectation of sincerity, to prevent the search from being pi"essed incon- 
veniently far. But seven years had passed before Appleyard spoke, 
while the world in the interval was sHenced by the verdict ; and those 



Donnington Castle^ and the Battles of Neivhiry. ^3 

who wished to be convinced perhaps believed Dudley innocent. It is 
necessary to remember this to understand the conduct of Cecil." 



Donnington Castle, and the Battles of Newbury. 

About a mile from the town of Newbury, on an eminence thickly 
wooded, at the base of which runs the river Kennet, are the re- 
mains of Donnington Castle, understood to have been erected by 
Sir Richard Abberbury, the guardian of Richard II. during his minority, 
and who was expelled the Court in 1388 by the Barons, for his 
adherence to the cause of that monarch. It has been asserted that 
Chaucer, the poet, was possessor and inhabitant of this place, but the 
assertion is not borne out by evidence, more than a supposition that 
the Castle was purchased about this time by his son, Thomas, who had 
married a rich heiress. After Thomas Chaucer's death, the estate was 
settled upon his daughter, Alice, through whom William de la Pole, 
Duke of Suffolk, the lady's third husband, obtained possession of it, 
and enlarged the buildings. Upon the attainder of the above Duke, 
Henry VIII. granted the estate, with the title of Duke of Suffolk, to 
Charles Brandon. Camden describes the Castle as a small but neat 
structure. It was garrisoned for the King in the beginning of the 
Civil War, being a place of considerable importance as commanding 
the road from Newbury to Oxford. It was first attacked by the Par- 
liamentarians under Major-General Middleton, who, to a summons of 
surrender, received a spirited reply from Captain John Boys, the King's 
officer. The place was accordingly assaulted, but the besiegers were 
driven back with great loss. On the 29th September, 1644, Colonel 
Horton invaded Donnington, and having raised a battery at the foot of 
the hill near Newbury, continued for twelve days so incessant a fire, that 
he reduced the Castle almost to a heap of ruins ; three of the towers 
and a part of the wall being knocked down. A second summons was 
now sent, but still in vain ; and, although the Earl of Manchester came 
to join in the attack, and the Castle was again battered for two or three 
days, every effort to take the place failed, and ultimately the Parlia- 
mentarians raised the siege. Captain Boys was knighted for his services 
on this occasion. 

After the second battle of Newbury, the same gallant officer secured 
the King's artillery under the walls, while the latter retired towai ds 
Oxford; upon which the Castle was once more attacked, tte Earl of 
Essex being the leader, but as fruitlessly as ever. In a f«w days, the 



64 Lady Place, or Si. Mary Priory. 

King was allowed to revictual the garrison without opposition. The 
only part of the Castle now remaining is the entrance gateway, with 
its two towers, and a small portion of tlie walls. The principal en- 
trance was to the east. The western part of the building terminated 
in a semi-octagon shape, and the walls were defended by round 
towers at the angles. The gateway is in good preservation, and the 
place for the portcullis is still visible. Round the Castle, occupying 
nearly the whole eminence, are the remains ol entrenchments thrown 
up during the Civil War, and the evident strength of which helps 
to explain the successful defence of Donnington. 

It is related in KnighVs Journey : a book of Berkshire, that in 
the second battle of Newbury, the King's troops were posted at 
Shaw PJace, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Page, who, being 
attacked by a large body ot loot, repulsed them with great loss. A 
basket-full of cannon-balls thrown either during the battle of New- 
bury or in the siege of Donnington Castle, and picked up from 
different parts of the grounds, is still preserved. In the old oak 
wainscot of a bow-window is a small hole about the height of a 
man's head, which, according to tradition, was made by a bullet 
fired at the King whilst dressing at the window, and which very 
narrowly missed. 



Lady Place, or St. Mary Priory. 

The parish of Hurley, Berkshire, is beautifully situated on the 
banks of the Thames about thirty miles from London. In the 
Norman survey, commonly called Domesday, it is said to have 
lately belonged to Efgin, probably a Saxon or Danish family ; but 
to be then in possession of Sir Geoffrey Mandeville. This person 
had greatly distinguished himself at the battle of Hastings in which 
King Harold was defeated, and received this estate from William 
the Conqueror among other spoil, as the reward of his labours and 
attachment. Towards the end of the Conqueror's reign — in 1086 — 
Geoffrey do Mandeville founded here the priory of St. Mary, to this 
day commonly called Lady Place, and annexed it as a cell to the 
great Benedictine Abbey of Westminster. The charter of the 
foundation is still preserved in the archives there. In the instru- 
ment the founder calls himself Gosfridus de Magnavilla, and thus 
states the motives of his donation : — " For the salvation of my soul 
and that of my wife, Lecelina, by whose advice, under the providence 



Lady PlacCy or St. Mary Prioty, 65 

of divine grace, I have begun this good work ; and also for the soul 
of Athelais, my first wife, the mother of my sons, now deceased ; 
and also for the souls of all my heirs who shall succeed me." He 
then states the particulars of his endowment and its objects — 
" For the support of the religious order serving God perpetually in 
this church." 

William the Conqueror approved and confirmed the endowment 
of the founder of Hurley Priory, and afterwards Pope Adrian IV., 
in a bull dated 11 57, confirmed it among other possessions to the 
Abbey of Westminster. 

Geoffrey, the son of the founder, created Earl of Essex, was like* 
wise a benefactor. He married Roisia, sister to Aubrey de Vere, 
first Earl of Oxford. This lady caused a subterraneous chapel to 
be cut out of the solid rock, near the centre of the present town of 
Royston, in which she was buried. This chapel, on the walls of 
which many rude figures are still to be seen in relievo, after being 
lost and unknown for ages, was accidentally discovered by some 
workmen in 1742, and an account of it published by Dr. Stukely. 
It is well worthy the attention of tourists, and being perfectly dry 
and easily accessible, is often visited by strangers passing between 
London and Cambridge. 

The Earl of Essex was standard-bearer of England in the time 
of the Empress Maud and of King Henry II. 

Hurley Priory remained for about 450 years nearly in the same 
condition as that in which the founder and his son left it. It was 
suppressed among the lesser monasteries in the 26th of Henry VIII. 
In the 33rd year of the same king's reign the Priory of Hurley be- 
came the property, by grant, of Charles Howard, Esq. ; and three 
years afterwards the site, then and ever since called Lady Place, 
from the convent having been dedicated to the Virgin Mar>% as 
already mentioned, became the property of Leonard Chamberleyn; 
Esq., from whom it passed in the same year to John Lovelace, Esq., 
who died in 1558. 

From Mr. John Lovelace, himself merely a private gentleman, a 
distinguished family sprung. Richard, the son of John, spent an 
adventurous youth. He was with Sir Francis Drake, on the 
Spanish Main, and being a gentleman of position and means he 
very probably, as was the custom in those days, invested money in 
fitting out the expedition on the guarantee that when the expedition 
was over, that money should be repaid together with a per-centage 
on all the spoils captured during the voyage. But en whatever 



66 Lady Place, or St. Mary Priory, 

condition he went out with Drake, it is certain that he returned from 
the El Dorado of that age enriched with a harvest of moidores and 
broad-pieces, the spoils of the Spanish treasure-ships or of the 
palaces of the Spanish Governors, who, being inveterate robbers 
themselves, and always having good store of gold and silver in their 
cellars, ready for transport periodically to Spain, were always 
tempting prey to the English buccaneer. This young and lucky 
adventurer spent his money profitably in building Lady Place upon 
the ruins of the ancient convent, about the year 1600. His son, 
Sir Richard Lovelace, was elevated to the peerage in 1627, as 
Baron Lovelace, of Hurley, Berks. John Lovelace, second baron, 
married Lady Anne Wentworth, daughter of Thomas, Earl of 
Cleveland, and this lady, upon the death of her niece, Baroness 
Wentworth, succeeded to that barony in 1686. Thus the family 
had become wealthy and powerful ; but it was probably under the 
third baron, John Lord Lovelace, a somewhat stormy but resolute 
and consistent man, who succeeded to the barony in 1670, that the 
family rose to the zenith of its power. Lord Lovelace was distin- 
guished by his taste, by his magnificence, and by the audacious and 
intemperate vehemence of his Whiggism. He had been five or six 
times arrested for political offences. The last crime laid to his 
charge was, that he had contemptuously denied the validity of a 
warrant signed by a Roman Catholic justice of the peace. He had 
been brought before the Privy Council and strictly examined, but 
to little purpose. He resolutely refused to criminate himself, and 
the evidence against him was insufficient. He was dismissed, but 
before he retired James exclaimed in great heat, " My lord, this is 
not the first trick that you have played me." "Sir," answered 
Lovelace, with undaunted spirit, "I have never played any trick to 
your Majesty, or to any other person. Whoever has accused me 
to your Majesty of playing tricks is a liar •!" Lovelace was subse- 
quently admitted into the confidence of those who planned the 
Revolution. 

" His mansion," says Macaulay, " built by his ancestors out of the 
spoils of Spanish galleons from the Indies, rose on the ruins of a 
liouse of our Lady, in that beautiful valley, through which the 
Thames, not yet defiled by the precincts of a great capital, nor 
rising and falling with the flow and ebb of the sea, rolls under woods 
of beech round the gentle hills of Berkshire. Beneath the stately 
saloon, adorned by Italian pencils, was a subterraneous vault in 
whicli the bones of monks had sometimes being found. lu this 



Lady Place, or St. Mary Priory, 67 

dark chamber some zealous and daring opponents of the govern- 
ment held many midnight conferences during that anxious time 
when England was impatiently expecting the Protestant wind." It 
was in this retreat of darkness and secresy that resolutions were 
first adopted for calling in the Prince of Orange, and it is said that 
the principal papers which brought about the Revolution were 
signed in the dark recess at the extremity of the vault. When the 
time for action came — when William, having landed at Torbay, 
was on his march to London — Lovelace with seventy followers well 
armed and mounted, quitted his dwelling and directed his course 
westward. He was one of the boldest and most earnest of William's 
supporters. After King William obtained the crown he visited 
Lord Lovelace at his estate, and descended with him to view the 
vault in which his fortunes had been so often the theme of whispered 
conversations. Inscriptions, recording this visit, as well as that of 
George III. and General Paoli in 1780, to the same vault, as the 
cradle of the Revolution, were placed here by a subsequent pro- 
prietor, Joseph Wilcocks, Esq. 

Lord Lovelace, who was captain of the band of pensioners to 
King William, lived in a style of such splendour and prodigality 
that he involved himself in difficulties. A great portion of his 
estates came to the hammer under a decree of the Court of 
Chancery. One source of his embarrassment was the expense he 
incurred in fitting up and decorating the family mansion. The 
grand inlaid staircase was very magnificent. The ceilings of the 
principal hall and of other rooms were painted by Verrio probably 
at the same time with those at W^indsor Castle, and the panels of 
the saloon, painted in landscape by Salvator Rosa, were in them- 
selves treasures of an almost inestimable value. The inlaid stair- 
case has been removed to a house in the north of England, and the 
painted panels were sold in one lot for 1000/. 

On the decline of the Lovelace family, which speedily followed, 
the estate was sold under a decree of Chancery. 

Lady Place and the Woodlands were purchased by Mrs. Williams, 
sister to Dr. Wilcocks, Bishop ot Rochester, which lady in one 
lottery, had two tickets only, and one of these came up a prize of 
500/., the other oi 20,000/., with which she purchased the property 
here. The estate then passed to Mrs. Williams's daughter, and 
from her to her relative Joseph Wilcocks, in 1771. 

The next person in the entail was the brave but unfortunate 
Admiral Kempenfeldt, who went down in the Royal George off 

F2 



68 Bishain Abbey, 

Portsmouth. His brother succeeded to Lady Place ; but dying un- 
married, he left the property to his relative Mr. Richard Troughton, 
of the Custom House, whose representatives sold the estate in lots 
some time after. Lady Place itself and part of the estate were pur- 
chased for the Hon. Henry Waller. 

The old mansion of Lady Place, venerable even in decay, with 
its enclosure of fifteen acres, having fish ponds communicating with 
the Thames, having been much neglected or inadequately occupied 
for so many years, gradually fell into a ruinous condition. 

The house itselt was entirely destroyed in 1837, and the vaults, 
covered by a mound of green turf, are all that remain. Admiral 
Kempenfeldt and his brother planted two thorn trees here during 
the proprietary of the former. One day on coming home the brother 
noted that the tree planted by the admiral had withered away. " I 
feel sure," he said, " that this is an omen that my brother is dead." 
That evening came the news of the loss of the Royal George, 



Bisham Abbey. 

Bisham, anciently Bisteham or Bustleham, the most interesting 
house in Berkshire, is situated about four and a half miles north of 
Maidenhead, and one mile from Great Marlow, in Bucks, from 
which it is separated by the river Thames. 

The manor was given by William the Conqueror to Henry de 
Ferrars, whose grandson, Robert, Earl Ferrars, gave it in the reign 
of King Stephen to the Knights Templars, who are said to have 
had a preceptory there. After the suppression of that order, it was 
successively in the possession of Thomas Earl of Lancaster, Hugh 
le Despencer, and Eubulo L'Estrange. In 1335 it was granted by 
Edward HL to William Montacute, Earl of Sahsbury, who two 
years afterwards procured a royal licence for founding a monastery 
at Bisham and endowing it with lands of 300/. per annum. 

Within the walls of this convent were interred William, Earl of 
Salisbury, son of the founder, who distinguished himself at the 
battle of Poictiers ; John, Earl of Salisbury, who, confederating 
against King Henry IV., was slain at Cirencester in 1401 ; Thomas, 
Earl 01 Salisbury, the famous hero of Henry V.'s reign, who lost 
his life at the siege of Orleans in 1428 ; Richard Neville, Earl of 
Salisbury and Warwick, who was beheaded at York in 1460, for hit 



Bisham Abbey. 69 

adherence to the house of Lancaster ; Richard Neville, the great 
Earl of Warwick and Salisbury, and his brother John, Marquis of 
Montague, who both fell at the battle of Barnet, 1470 ; and the un- 
fortunate Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick, son of the Duke 
of Clarence, who, bred up from his cradle in prison, was beheaded 
in 1499, ^or attempting to taste the sweets of liberty. Most of the 
above-mentioned illustrious characters had splendid monuments in 
the conventual church ; but these were all destroyed after the dis- 
solution of the abbey, without regard to the rank or famed exploits 
of the deceased — not even excepting the tomb of Salisbury, "The 
mirror of all martial men, who in thirteen battles overcame, and 
first trained Henry V. to the wars." 

King Edward VI. granted the site of Bisham Abbey to his 
father's repudiated wife Anne of Cleves, who having surrendered it 
to the Crown again in 1552, it was then given up to Sir Philip 
Hobby. This personage was the last English Papal Legate at 
Rome, where he died, and his brother, Sir Thomas, was ambassador 
in France, where he died also. The widow of the latter had both 
their bodies brought back to Bisham, and raised a magnificent 
monument to their memory. This monument, still to be seen in 
the church, was inscribed with three epitaphs, in Greek, Latin, and 
English respectively, and all of them composed by the widow her- 
self — the most learned lady of the period. One of her epitaphs 
concludes with the lines — 

•' Give me, O God ! a husband like unto Thomas ; 
Or else restore me to my beloved Thomas." 

This prayer had its answer in her marriage, after the lapse of a 
year, with Sir Thomas Russel. 

In this ancient house the princess Elizabeth, who was committed 
to the care of the two sisters of Lady Hobby, resided during part 
of three years, and at this time the bow window in the. council 
chamber was constructed for her pleasure, and a dais erected sixteen 
inches above the floor. This portion of the great Princess's life 
does not appear to have been spent unhappily, judging from the 
welcomje she gave to Sir Thomas when he first went to Court after 
she became Queen. " If I had a prisoner whom I wanted to be 
most carefully watched," said the Queen, " I should entrust him to 
your charge; if I had a prisoner whom I wished to be most ten- 
derly treated, I should entrust him to your careP 

The Rev. Sir Philip Hobby, Bart.,. the last heir male of the family, 



70 Bisham Abbey, 

died in 1766, when this estate went to the Mills in Hampshire, who 
were connected with the Hobbys by marriage. Bisham Abbey is 
now the seat of George Vansittart, Esq. 

" The scenery of this beautiful spot is well known from the pic- 
tures of De Wint and other water-colour artists, who have portrayed 
the broad sweep of the transparent river, the gigantic trees, the 
church and the abbey, with its mossy roof, projecting oriels, and 
tall tower, in every effect of cloud or sunshine." 

Of the building as it at present stands, the octagonal tower, the 
hall, and the pointed doorway are part of the original foundation of 
Stephen. The rest of the building, which is a fine specimen of the 
Tudor style, was built by the Hobbys. 

The hall, which was beautifully restored in 1859, has a fine 
ancient lancet window of three lights at one end, and a dark oak 
gallery at the other. " Here is a picture of Lady Hobby, with a 
very white face and hands, dressed in the coif, weeds, and wimple 
then allowed to a baronet's widow. In this dress she is still sup- 
posed to haunt a bedroom, where she appears with a self-supported 
basin moving before her, in which she is perpetually trying to wash 
her hands. The legend is that because her child, William Hobby, 
could not write without making blots, she beat him to death. It is 
remarkable that twenty years ago, in altering the window shutter, a 
quantity of children's copy-books of the time of Elizabeth were dis- 
covered, pushed into the rubble between the joists of the floor, and 
that one of these was a copy-book which answered exactly to the 
story, as if the child could not write a single line without a blot." 

Behind the tapestry in one of the bedrooms a secret room was 
discovered with a fireplace, the chimney of which is curiously con- 
nected with that of the hall, for the sake of concealing the smoke. 

According to tradition, Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, was going 
to the Crusades. He came with all his train for last prayers at the 
abbey he had founded ; and his daughter, then at the convent at 
Marlow, came hither with all her nuns to meet him. A squire who 
had been in love with her before, seized the opportunity for elope- 
ment, and they escaped in a boat, but were taken at Marlow. She 
was sent back to her convent and he was shut up in the tower, 
whence he tried to escape by means of a rope which he made from 
his clothes torn into shreds. The rope broke and he was dreadfully 
injured, and was taken into the abbey, where he afterwards became 
gmonk. 



7t 

Engelfield Manor. 

Engelficld, in Berkshire, six and a half miles west of Reading, a 
little to the north of the Bath road, from which it appears a con- 
spicuous object, is one of the most ancient and interesting manorial 
residences in England, and was the seat of a Berkshire family who 
claimed to have been settled for two centuries and a half before the 
Norman Conquest in the place which still bears their name, and to 
have enjoyed an uninterrupted possession of the soil for seven hun- 
dred years. Here, in 871, the battle of CEscendun was fought be- 
tween the Saxons under Ethelwulf, alderman of Berkshire, and the 
piratical Danes. A lofty spirit seems to have inspired the defen- 
ders of their homes, and Ethelwulf added a sublime confidence to 
their bravery and heart for the fight when, addressing them, he 
said, " Though the Danes attack us with the advantage of more 
men, we may despise them, for our commander, Christ, is braver 
than they." In the conflict the Pagans were defeated, and two of 
their great sea-earls, who were more accustomed to the deck than 
to the saddle, were unhorsed and slain. 

According to Camden, the ancient family of the Engelfields was 
surnamed from the town of Engelfield, of which place they are said 
to have been proprietors as early as the second year of King Egbert 
— i.e., A.D. 803. Haseulf di Engelfyld is mentioned in several pedi- 
grees as lord of the manor aboilt the time of Canute, and again in 
the reign of Hardicanute. He died in the time of Edward the 
Confessor. Guy de Engelfyld, son and heir of Haseulf, flourished 
in the time of William the Conqueror. His grandson gave the 
parsonage of Engelfield to the abbey of Reading in the reign of 
Henry I. — the gift being confirmed by charter of King Henry II. 
But the honours of the Engelfields under Egbert, or Ethelwulf, or 
Alfred, concern us only very remotely ; and it is not until later times 
that the public transactions of this famous family ha^•e a really 
living interest for us. Those more stirring times commenced with 
the year 1307. That year, says the Earl of Carnarvon, in his 
pleasing and useful " Archaeology of Berkshire," was the last in the 
long and eventful reign of Edward I., who, as he gave by his politic 
foresight an early impulse to commerce, was amongst the first also 
to mould into rude but real form that parliamentary system which 
has since been developed into those mighty proportions which we 
now recognise as without precedent or rival. In that year Sir 
Roger of Engelfield was duly returned to Parliament as a knight of 



72 Engcljield Manor, 

the shire ; but in those days service in the Commons House was 
considered less as an honourable than a burthensome task, to which 
the elected member yielded with so much reluctance, that, in the 
words of a modern historian, it was almost as difficult to execute a 
Parliamentary summons in parts of England, as it has been of 
recent times to effect the execution of a writ of capias in the county 
of Galway ; and the sheriff was sometimes obliged to appeal to force 
to prevent the flight of the member to the Chiltern Hundreds or to 
some other place of refuge. The public career of the Engelfields, 
thus begun in the public service of the country, extends continu- 
ously onward to times almost recent. Nicholas Engelfield, grand- 
son of Sir Roger, was comptroller of the household of Richard III. 
A century later and we find the Engelfield of the day is a certain 
Thomas, whom we discover standing among kings and princes on 
the occasion of the marriage of Prince Arthur, the son of 
Henry VH. and the unfortunate Katherine of Aragon, and receiv- 
ing the honour of his knighthood on this auspicious day. A few 
years afterwards he is appointed Speaker of the first of those im- 
portant Parliaments which legislated during the reign of Henry 
Vni. His son, another Sir Thomas, still maintained the position 
of the family in public life as Justice of the Common Pleas, but in 
his grandson the honours, the eminence, and the prosperity of the 
family attained their zenith. 

Sir Francis Engelfield was a man of considerable distinction in 
his time. He was a Privy Councillor under Edward VI., and under 
Mary he united to that duty the office of Master of the Wards. 
But Mary's reign soon passed away, and the times of Elizabeth 
were uncongenial to those who had been the trusted ministers of 
her sister. Not perhaps that there was any substantial difference 
between the loyalty and patriotism of Roman Catholic and Protes- 
tant, but — setting aside the controverted question as to the religious 
faith of Lord Howard of Effingham — when the Armada appeared 
off the southern coast there was neither doubt or division in the 
country, and national honour and interests were equally safe in the 
keeping of Roman Catholic or of Protestant. But Sir Francis 
Engelfield trod a more slippery and dangerous path : he was not 
only devoted to the Roman Church, but he was a zealous adherent 
of the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots. In the sixth of Elizabeth 
he was indicted in the King's Bench for high treason committed at 
Kemures, in partibus iransmarinis^ and outlawed. He was subse- 
quently attainted and convicted of high treason at the parliameiU 



Eiigelfield Manof. 73 

In the twenty-eighth of Elizabeth, and all his manors, lands, and 
vast possessions were declared forfeited to the queen. Sir Francis, 
however, had by indenture of the 1 8th of the same reign, settled his 
manor and estate of Engelfield on Francis his nephew, with 
power notwithstanding of revoking his grant, if he, " during his 
natural life, should deliver or tender to his nephew a gold ring/' 
" With intent," says Burke, " to make void the uses of his said 
settlement, various disputes and points of law arose whether the said 
manor and estate of Engelfield were forfeited to the queen." In 
order to settle the dispute off-hand, Elizabeth, in the ensuing 
session, had a special act passed, establishing the forfeiture of 
Engelfield to herself, her heirs and assigns ; and backed by this 
enactment she came upon the scene, tendered a gold ring to the 
nephew of Sir Francis, " and seized and confiscated the said manor 
and estate, and many other possessions." He withdrew to Spain, 
and there he is said to have spent the remainder of his life, devot- 
ing the wreck of his fortunes to the endowment of the English 
College at Valladolid. Strong in attachment to his hereditary 
faith, and animated perhaps by generous impulse in the cause of a 
lady and captive sovereign, we may not lightly pass a censure upon 
him. 

By the ingenious if not cunning device by which Elizabeth confis- 
cated the estates of the Engelfields, this ancient family was stripped 
of an inheritance upon which they had flourished for 780 years. 

Sir Francis Walsingham, who, curiously enough, was afterwards 
the chief agent in threading the mysteries of Babington's con- 
spiracy ; who sat as a commissioner at Mary's trial, and whose 
clerk deciphered the secret letter on which the verdict was supposed 
mainly to turn — then became, by a grant from the Crown, the 
owner of Engelfield. Soon, however, the property passed to the 
Powlets, and after Loyalty House was burnt to the ground by 
Cromwell and his Ironsides, its possessor. Lord Winchester, spent 
the remainder of his life at the old seat of the Engelfields, and hes 
buried in the parish church. Anne, daughter and sole heir of Lord 
Francis Powlet, only surviving son of the Marquis by his second 
wife, brought this estate to the Rev. Nathan Wright, younger son 
of the Lord Keeper. On the death of his son Nathan, in 1789, 
Engelfield devolved to the late Richard Benyon, by the widow of 
Powlet Wright, elder brother of the last mentioned Nathan. In 
the possession of the Benyons the estate remains to the present 
day. 



74 Bngelfield MandK 

WHiat manner of structure Engelfield House was in the early 
Saxon and Norman periods we can only conjecture. It is only 
natural, however, to suppose that when the Engelfields themselves 
became aggrandized, as in the days of the Tudors, the old house, 
whatever may have been its excellences or its archaeological 
interest, would be taken down and a new mansion erected. The 
house is a Tudor building, and was quaintly described in 1663 as a 
*' well-seated palace, with a wood at its back, like a mantle about a 
coat of arms." Its chief features are a series of projecting bays, a 
central tower, and fine stone terraces leading to gardens, &c. 

In the Park, which abounds in deer, is the little church con- 
taining a number of noteworthy monuments. The north aisle of 
the chancel was built as a burial-place for the Engelfield family in 
15 14, and here the greater number of the Engelfield monuments and 
inscriptions are to be seen. Here was buried, in 1780, Sir Henry 
Engelfield, with whose son. Sir Henry Charles Engelfield, the title 
became extinct In the south wall of the south aisle of the church, 
under an obtuse, is the effigy of a crusader cut in stone — 
doubtless, one of the early Engelfields. Under a similar arch is 
the effigy of a lady, carved in wood, in the dress of the early part 
of the fourteenth century. It appears to have been painted 
originally. But the most noteworthy monument is that of John, 
Marquis of Winchester, who defended Basing House against the 
Parliamentary army ; he died in 1674. The following fine lines by 
Dryden are inscribed on the monument : — 

•' He who in impious times undaunted stood, 
And midst rebellion durst be just and good : 
Whose arms asserted, and whose sufferings more 
Confirmed the cause for which he fought before, 
Rests here, rewarded by an Heavenly Prince 
For what his earthly could not recomijcnse ; 
Pray, reader, that such times no more appear, 
Or, if they happen, learn true honour here. 
Ask of this age's faith and loyalty 
Which to preser\'e them. Heaven confined in thee, 
Few subjects could a king like thine deserve ; 
And fewer such a king so well could serve. 
Blest king, blest subject whose exalted state 
By sufferings rose and gave the law to fate ! 
Such souls are rare, but mighty patterns given 
To earth, and meant for ornaments to heaven," 



75 



White Horse Hill — Battle of Ashdown— Scouring of 
the White Horse. 

White Horse Hill, a bold eminence of the chalk-hills of Berk- 
shire, about ten miles north of Hungerford, and over twenty miles 
west north-west of Reading, rises to the height of nine hundred 
feet above sea-level. It is the highest point of the hill district, 
which extends right across this county from Lambourne and Ash- 
down on the west to Streatley on the east. Its summit is a magni- 
ficent Roman camp, with gates, and ditch, and mound all as 
complete as it was after the strong old legions left it. This summit, 
from which it is said eleven counties can be seen, is a table-land of 
from twelve to fourteen acres in extent. This table-land the 
Romans deeply trenched, and on its surface they planted their 
camp. On either side of White Horse Hill the Romans built a 
great road called the " Ridgway " (the Rudge it is called by the 
country folk) straight along the highest back of the hills to east 
and west. Leaving the camp and descending westward the visitor 
finds himself on sacred ground— on the field of the battle of Ash- 
down (the CEscendun of the chroniclers) where Alfred broke the 
Danish power and made England a Christian land. There is a 
curious story told of why the Danes came over here : the following is 
the version of it given pretty much as it is told by the chronicler 
John Brompton : — 

There was a man of royal birth, in the kingdom of Denmark, 
named Lodbroc, who had two sons, Hungnar and Hubba. This man 
embarked one day with his hawk in a small boat to catch ducks 
and other wild fowl on the adjoining sea-coast and islands. A 
terrible storm arose by which Lodbroc was carried away and tossed 
for several days on every part of the ocean. After numberless 
perils he was cast ashore on the coast of Norfolk, where he was 
found with his hawk, and presented to King Edmund. That king, 
struck with the manliness of his form, kept him at his court and 
heard from his own mouth the history of his adventures. He was 
there associated with Berne, the king's huntsman, and indulged in 
all the pleasures of the chase — for in the exercise of both hunting 
and hawking he was remarkably skilful, and succeeded in capturing 
both birds and beasts according as he had a mind. In fact Lodbroc 
was the sort of man to please King Edmund; for the art of captur- 
ing birds and beasts was next to the art of fighting for one's home 



76 lV/r:fe Horse Hill. 

and country, the art most esteemed by the Anglo-Saxons, who 
acknowledged that skill and good fortune in this art as in all others 
are among the gifts of God. The skill of Lodbroc bred jealousy 
in the heart of Berne, the huntsman, who, one day, as they went 
out together hunting, set upon Lodbroc, and having foully slain 
him, buried his body in the thickets of the forest. But Lodbroc 
had a small harrier dog, which he had bred up from its birth, 
and which loved him much. While Berne, the huntsman, went 
home with the other hounds, this little dog remained alone with his 
master's body. In the morning the king asked what had become 
of Lodbroc, to which Berne answered, that he had parted from him 
yesterday in the woods and had not seen him since. At that 
moment the harrier came into the hall and went round wagging its 
tail, and fawning on the whole company, but especially on the 
king; when he had eaten his fill he again left the hall. This 
happened often ; until some one at last followed the dog to see 
where he went, and having found the body of the murdered 
Lodbroc, came and told the story to the king. The affair was 
now carefully inquired into, and when the truth was found out, the 
huntsman was exposed on the sea without oars, in the boat which 
had belonged to Lodbroc. In some days he was cast ashore in 
Denmark and brought before the sons of Lodbroc, who, putting 
him to the torture, inquired of him what had become of their father, 
to whom they knew the boat belonged. To this, Berne answered, 
like the false man he was, that their father Lodbroc had fallen into 
the hands of Edmund, King of East Anglia, by whose orders 
he had been put to death. 

When Hungnar and Hubba heard the tale of Berne the hunts- 
man, they, like good and true sons, according to the notions of 
piety then current among the Danes, hastened to fit out a fleet to 
invade England and avenge their father, and their twin sisters wove 
for them the standard, called the Raven, in one day — which flag 
waved over many a bloody field from Northumbria to Devonshire, 
until it was taken by King Alfred's men. It was said that when 
the Danes were about to gain a battle, a live crow would fly before 
the middle of the standard ; but if they were to be beaten it would 
hang motionless. 

So Hungnar and Hubba landed in the country of the East Angles, 
and wintered there ; but in the spring of the year 867 they crossed 
the Humber, marched hastily upon York, and took it. The king- 
dom of Northumbria was just the place for the army of Pagans and 



White Horse Hill. 77 

the Standard Raven at this time ; for it was divided against itself. 
The Northumbrians marched to York to avenge the insult, and a 
most bloody battle took place within the walls of the ancient city. 

In the winter of 869, large reinforcements from Denmark, under 
King Bcegseeg and King Halfdane, came over the sea to the Danes, 
and these having now stripped Northumbria of all its spoils rose up 
and marched fearlessly down upon King Edmund's country of 
East Anglia. King Edmund was not the man to see the desolation 
of any part of his people, or to shut himself up in fenced cities, 
while the Pagan cavalry rode through East Anglia ; so he gathered 
his men together, and in the words of the old chronicler, "fought 
fiercely and manfully against the army. But because the merciful 
God foreknew that he was to arrive at the crown of martyrdom, he 
there fell gloriously." Hungnar and Hubba took the wounded 
King on the field of battle, and tied him to a tree, because he 
chose to die sooner than give over his people to them, and there shot 
him through the body with their arrows. But his people got his 
body, and buried it at a place named after him, St. Edmund's B.iry. 

And now the Pagan kings, with a new army, very great, like a 
flowing river which carries all along with it, having doubtless been 
reinforced again from over the sea when the story of their victories 
had spread far and wide, were looking about for some new field for 
plunder and murder. The whole north and east of England was 
a desolate waste behind them, London was in ruins, and Kent had 
been harried over and over again by their brethren the sea-kings. 
But some thirty miles up the Thames was a fine kingdom, stretch- 
ing far away west, down to the distant sea. This was Wessex, the 
kingdom of the West Angles, over which Ethelred, the brother of 
Alfred, was now ruling. 

It was just a thousand and one years ago that the Danes (in an 
early month of the year 871) marched up the Thames with their 
usual swiftness, and seized on Reading, then the easternmost city 
in Wessex. A day or two after they had taken the town they began 
scouring the country for plunder. 

But the men of Wessex were numerous and valiant, and their 
leader, Ethelwx)lf, Alderman of Berkshire, was a man " who raged 
as a lion in battle." So Ethelwolf, with as many men as he could 
assemble, fought the Pagans at Englefield and defeated them with 
great loss. 

Within the next three days King Ethelred and his brother Alfred 
came up from the west, caqh leading a strong band of West Saxoo 



7S IVh'U Horse Hill 

warriors, and joined Ethehvolf. On the fourth day they attacked 
the Pagans at Reading. But after a terrific combat in which there 
was great slaughter on both sides, the Pagans succeeded in retain- 
ing their position, while the Wessexmen were obliged to fall back 
with their king along the line of chalk hills to the neighbourhood 
of White Horse Hill. 

But every mile of retreat strengthened the forces of Ethelred and 
Alfred, for fresh bands of men were continually coming up from 
the rear. At length, deeming themselves strong enough, Ethelred 
and Alfred turned to bay at Ashdown, and drew up their men ia 
order of battle. 

It was about four days after the battle of Reading that King 
Ethelred and his brother Alfred, afterwards known as the Great 
King, fought against the whole army of Pagans at Ashdown, under 
the shadow of White Horse HilL It was determined that King 
Ethelred with his men should attack the two Pagan kings, but that 
Alfred with his men should take the chance of war against the 
Danish earls, who were second in command after the kings. Things 
being so settled Ethelred remained a long time in prayer, hearing 
mass, and said he would not leave it till the priest had done, 
nor abandon the protection of God for that of man. But the 
Pagans came up quickly to the fight. " Then Alfred," continues 
the chronicler, " though holding a lower authority, as I have been 
told by those who were there, and would not lie, could no longer 
support the troops of the enemy unless he retreated or charged 
upon them without waiting for his brother : so he marched out 
promptly with his men and gave battle. The Pagans occupied the 
higher ground, and the Christians came up from below. There was 
also in that place a single stunted thorn-tree, which I myself have 
seen with my own eyes. Around this tree the opposing hosts came 
together with loud shouts from all sides. In the midst of the fight, 
and when Alfred was hard pressed, the king came up with his fresh 
forces. And when both hosts had fought long and bravely, at last 
the Pagans, by God's judgment, could no longer bear the attack of 
the Christians, and having lost great part of their men took to a 
disgraceful flight, and continued that flight not only through all the 
dead hours of the night, but during the following day, until they 
reached the stronghold which they had left on such a fniitless 
mission. The Christians followed, slaying all they could reach, 
until it became dark. The flower of the Pagan youth were there 
slain, so that neither before nor since was ever such destruction 
known since the Saxons first gained Britain by their arms." 



IV/dfe Horse HifL ;9 

"This year, 871," says T. Hughes, himself a Berkshire man, and 
the well-known describer of the " Scouring of the White Horse, ' 
** is a year for Berkshire men to be proud of, for on them fall the 
brunt of that fiery trial ; and their gallant stand probably saved 
England a hundred years of Paganism. For had they given way at 
Ashdown, and the reinforcements from over the sea come to a con- 
quering instead of a beaten army in the summer-time, there was 
nothing to stop the Pagans between Reading and Exeter. Alfred 
fought eight other battles in this year against the Danes. But they 
were mere skirmishes compared with the deadly struggle at Ashdown. 
Alfred felt that this great victory was the crowning mercy of his 
life, and in memory of it he caused his army (tradition says on the 
day after the battle) to carve the White Horse, the standard of 
Hingist, on the hill-side just under the castle, where it stands as you 
see until this day." 

" Right down below the White Horse," says Mr. Hughes in his 
** Tom Brown's School Days," " is a curious broad and deep 
gulley called * The Manger,' into one side of which the hills fall 
with a series of the most lovely sweeping curves, known as the 
* Giant's Stairs ;' they are not a bit like stairs, but I never saw any- 
thing like them anywhere else, with their short green turf and tender 
bluebells and gossamer and thistle-down gleaming in the sun, and 
the sheep paths running along their sides like ruled lines." 

The other side of the *' Manger " is formed by the Dragon's 
Hill, a curious little, round, self-asserting projection, thrown forward 
from the main range of hills, and having no similar natural feature 
in its vicinity. On this hill some deliverer of his country, St. 
George, or King George, the country people say, slew a dragon. 
The essential meaning of the legend has long ago been lost. The 
track where the blood of the monster ran down is still pointed out, 
and the clenching statement is added that from that day to this no 
grass has ever grown where the blood of the enemy of mankind 
ran. It remains a puzzle, however, that the track taken by the 
blood in coming down the hill is the way which visitors find easiest 
in ascending it. 

The famous figure of the White Horse, cut out of the turf of White 
Horse Hill, can be seen from a great distance, but is not always 
seen to the same advantage. After a lapse of bad weather the horse 
gets out of condition, and is only brought into proper form by being 
" scoured." Wise, one of the old topographical writers, thus speaks 
of it after having suffered from exceptional weather : — " When I saw 
**the heiid bad suffered a little and wantei reparation, and the ex- 



So White Horse Hill. 

tremities of his hinder legs, from their unavoidable situation, have 
by the fall of rains been filled up in some measure with the washings 
from the upper parts ; so that, in the nearest view of him, the tail, 
which does not suffer the same mconvenience, and has continued 
entire from the beginning, seems longer than the legs. The supplies 
which nature is continually offering occasion the turf to crumble 
and fall off into the white trench and not a little obscures the bright- 
ness of the horse ; though there is no danger from hence of the 
whole figure being obliterated, for the inhabitants have a custom 
of ' scouring the horse' as they called it ; at which time a solemn 
festival is celebrated, and manlike games, with prizes, exhibited, 
which no doubt had their original in Saxon times in memory of 
the victory." 

The ceremony of scouring the horse, from time immemorial, has 
been solemnized by a numerous concourse of people from all the 
villages round about. The White Horse is in the manor of Uffing- 
ton, yet other towns claim, by ancient custom, a share of the duty 
upon this occasion. 

The figure of the White Horse is 374 feet long. It has been said 
that lands in the neighbourhood were held formerly by the tenure 
of cleaning the White Horse by cutting away the turf so as to 
render the figure more visible ; but what is certain is, that the neigh- 
bouring inhabitants had an ancient custom of assembling for this 
purpose. On these occasions they are entertained (while with pick 
and shovel and broom they render more distinct the form of the 
thousand-year-old horse) at the expense of the lord of the manor. 
The custom of scouring was formerly an annual one ; but it was 
suspended in 1780, only, however, to be renewed with great pomp 
and much rejoicing, as well as with a good chance of being con- 
tinued periodically, on the 17th and i8th September, 1857. 

Passing along the Ridgeway to the west for about a mile from 
the hill, an old " cromlech" — a huge flat stone raised on seven or 
eight others — is seen. A path leads up to it, and large single stones 
are set up on each side of it. This is traditionally known as Way- 
land Smith's Cave. It stands on ground slightly raised, and at 
certain seasons has a weird look, from the mysterious character of 
the structure itself, from the loneliness of its situation, and from 
the wind-stricken trees near it, which heighten the effect of deso- 
lation and devastation. The origin of the cave is wrapped in 
mystery. It is supposed by some to be Danish, and that it was the 
burial-place of King Boegseeg, slain at the battle of CEscendun. 



White Horse Hill. 8 1 

Lysons suggests that the origin is British. In the Earl of Car- 
narvon's '' Archseology of Berkshire," the following on this topic 
occurs : — " What shall we say of the wild legends of Wayland 
Smith, which it will be our duty to examine and discuss ? And first, 
by what name shall we know him ? Shall it be Weland, who, in 
Scandinavian lore, plays the part which is assigned to the old fire- 
god, 'U^ai(TTos, in the classic tales of Greece, who learnt the art of 
working metal from the dwarfs, the supernatural indwellers of the 
mountain — the same, perhaps, as they who, in another northern 
tale, wrought the famous sword of Tirfing, which was doomed to 
accomplish three of the most disgraceful acts — who forges the 
breastplates and the arms of the heroes ? Or shall we call him by 
his French and Mediaeval name of Ealand ? — Ealand, who enters 
into every tale of love and war and adventure, who tempered the 
blade of Sir Gawaine of the Round Table, and who wrought the 
famous blade with which Charlemagne hewed his way through the 
ranks of paynimry ? .... Or shall we view him by the light of 
Anglo-Saxon legend, as Wayland Smith, the cunning goldsmith, the 
magical farrier, whose name still lives in the stories of the White 
Horse Hills, and whose cave has been consecrated by the genius of 
Sir Walter Scott?" In a note to " Kenilworth," Sir Walter Scott 
says the popular belief still retains memory of this wild legend, 
which, connected as it is with the site of a Danish sepulchre, may 
have arisen from some legend concerning the northern Duergar, 
who resided in the rocks and were cunning workers in steel and 
iron. It was believed that Wayland Smith's fee was sixpence, and 
that, unlike other workmen, he was offended if more was offered. 
Of late his offices have been again called to memory ; but fiction 
has in this, as in other cases, taken the liberty to pillage the stores 
of oral tradition. This m.onument must be very ancient, for it has 
been pointed out that it is referred to in an ancient Saxon charter 
as a landmark. The monument has been of late cleared out and 
made considerably more conspicuous." 

BALLAD OF THE SCOURING OF THE WHITE HORSE, 

" The owld White Horse wants zettin to rights ; 
And the Squire hev promised good cheer, 
Zo we'll gee un a scrape to kip un in zhape, 
And a'll last for many a year. 

•• A was made a long, long time ago, 
Wi' a good dale o' labour and pains, 
By King Alfred the Great when he spwiled their consafc, 
And caddled (worried) thay wosberds (birds of woe) the Danes. 
• * G 



82 W/itU Horse HilL 

•• The Bleawin Stwun, in days gone by, 
Wur King Alfred's bugle harn, 
And the tharnin tree you med plainly zeo 
As is called King Alfred's Tharn. 

" Ther'll be backsword play and climmin' the pow 
And a race for a peg and a cheese : 
And us thinks as hisn's a dummel (dull) zovl 
rf\5 dwoant care for zich spwoarts as th«^.:>c." 



83 



BUCKINGHAMSHIRE. 

Ashridge House. 

At a short distance from the Berkhampstead Station of the London 
and North- Western Railway, lies the magnificent domain of Ashridge, 
which, for upwards of six centuries and a half has been a site of great 
interest. It is an extensive pile of buildings, as large as half a dozen 
German or Italian palaces ; and with its beautiful church, lovely 
gardens, and noble avenues of beech and chestnut trees, forms one of 
those pictui-es of combined architectural and sylvan picturesqueness, 
which can only be seen to perfection in England. 

The present mansion was built between 1808 and 18 14, on the site 
of an ancient monastic edifice, parts of which have been preserved and 
incorporated with the modern edifice. Its principal front is to the 
north ; to the east and west are double lines of stately elms and limes, 
the frontage from the eastern to the western tower extending one 
thousand feet. The spire of the chapel, with the embattled tower of 
the mansion, and noble Gothic doorway, with large oriel windows, 
present an impressive architectural group. The entrance-hall is 
separated from the grand staircase by a rich screen of arches and open 
galleries. The hall, round which the staircase turns in double flight, is 
38 feet square, and 95 feet high ; and is adorned by statues, Gobelin 
tapestry, armorial bearings, and ancient brasses. A magnificent suite 
of apartments, each 50 feet by 30, extends at one end into a green- 
house and orangery, and at the other into a conservatory ; the dining- 
room, drawing-room, and library, open by deep oriel windows upon 
the garden lawn. The conservatory again opens into a Gothic chapel, 
with windows of ancient painted glass brought from the Low 
Countries. 

The historical associations of Ashridge render it doubly attractive 
in its memorials of the past. On going over it, we see here a fine 
crypt, there a stately Gothic doorway, here a cloister, there a monu- 
mental brass ; here the arches of monkish sepulture, there a flourishing 
tree planted by the hand of Quetn Elizabeth ; in one room embroidery 
worked by the maiden Queen, when she was residing in " the Old 



84 Ashrid^^c House, 

House;'* and in another apartment the portrait of **the Lady" for 
whom Milton wrote his Comus, 

The monastic history of Ashridge may be thus briefly told. About 
the year 1221, there came over to England an order of preaching 
friars, nearly allied to the Albigenses. Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, 
a grandson of King John, founded at Ashridge an Abbey for an 
order of these friars, called Bonhommes, which edifice was completed 
in 1285. The statutes and ordinances of this College are still pre- 
served among the family papers at Ashridge: and an epitaph written 
by one of the monks is still extant, for the tomb of the founder, who 
it appears, died at the College. Among the registers are entries of 
donations from the Black Prince ; with many curious ordinances and 
customs of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. One of the last 
entries in the register refers to the fall of the College, and the expulsion 
of the monks, under Henry VIII. After relating the decapitation of 
Anne Boleyn, the writer says, in Latin : " In this year, the noble house 
of Ashridge was destroyed, and the brethren were expelled." He adds, 
with extreme anger, " In this year was beheaded that great heretic and 
traitor, Thomas Cromwell, who was the cause of the destruction of 
all the religious houses in England." 

After the dissolution of the College, Ashridge became a royal resi- 
dence; and subsequently to the reign of Henry VIII., was given to 
the Princess Elizabeth by her brother, Edward VI., after whose death 
she continued to occupy Ashridge during the reign of Queen Mary. 
Letters exist in the British Museum from her, both to Edward and 
Mary, dated from Ashridge; and after her retirement from the Court 
of her sister, EHzabeth resided there constantly, until she was suspected 
of conniving at Sir Thomas Wyat's rebellion. Then a troop of horse 
was dispatched to Ashridge; and although she was confined to her 
bed from illness, she was taken prisoner to London.* 



* Her committal to the Tower is related in vol. i. p. 24, of the present 
work ; but the following additional details may be quoted hero. The 
Earl of Sussex came to inform her that she must go to the Tower, that 
the tide served, and the barge was in readiness. In great distress she begged 
for delay, and asked peirnission to write to Mary, whereupon her removal was 
postponed, but next day being Palm Sunday, that she might be taken to prison 
with more privacy, it was directed throughout London that the people should 
all repair to church carrying palms. Thinking every hope had vanished, Elizabeth 
followed tlie Earl down the garden to the barge. '1 here were with her divers 
gentlewomen and lords, but in passing London Bridge, owing to the great fall 
of water at half-tide, the whole party narrowly escaped with their lives. When 
she came to Traitors' Gate it rained, and a cloak was offered her, but she 
angrily refused, adding her inemorAble declaration of loyalty, and reliance 



Ashridge House, *S 

Among the family archives are grants of various portions of the 
domain of Ashridge by Elizabeth to different persons ; but, before 
the end of her reign, it had passed into the possession of her Lord 
Keeper of the Great Seal, Thomas Egerton, Baron ot Ellesmere, who 
was afterwards Lord High Chancellor to James L The son of this 
Chancellor, soon after the death of his father, was created Earl of 
Bridgewater ; and to his appointment as Lord President of Wales, we 
owe Milton's masque of Comus. Lord Bridgewater had been long 
before acquainted with the great Poet, and invited him to join the 
festivities at Ludlow Castle on the occasion of his entering upon his 
new duties. Lady Alice Egedaa -md two of her brothers, on coming 
to join their father's guests, ajtc^r having visited a relation, mistook 
their road, and Lady Alice was lost for some time in a wood. This 
accident furnished Milton with the subject for his masque, which was 
performed as a Michaelmas festivity, in 1643.* 

We need not follow the history of Ashridge through the successive 



upon God. Her confinement was extremely harsh. Mass was forced upon 
her in her apartment, and she was not allowed to take exercise in the 
. Queen's garden. A little boy of four years old, who was wont to bring her 
flowers, was strictly examined, with promises of figs and apples, and was asked 
who had sent him to the Princess, and whether he had messages for her, upon 
which he said, " I will go to the Earl of Devonshire, and ask what he would 
give me to carry to her. " Whereupon the Chancellor said, "This same is a 
crafty child." " Ay, my lord (exclaimed he), but pray give me the figs." " No, 
marry (quoth he) ; you shall be whipped if you come any more to the Lady 
Elizabeth." On her release from the Tower, some of the city churches rang 
their bells for joy of her deliverance, and there is a tradition that when she be- 
came Queen, she presented them with silk bell-ropes, and on inquiry it was 
found that some silk bell-ropes, of very ancient date, were preserved in the 
vestry at Aldgate. Elizabeth attended service at the church of Allhallows 
Staining, Langbourne Ward, on her release from the Tower, and dined off pork 
and peas after^vards, at the King's Head in Fenchurch-street, where the metal 
dish and cover she is said to have used is still preserved. But upon inquiry in 
the neighbourhood, we learn from persons likely to be best informed, that 
no relation of the above story is to be found in the parish records, or elsewhere ; 
nor is there any known traditional authority for it. 

* Mr. T. F. Dillon, in a paper read by him to the British Archaeological 
Association, at Ludlow, in 1867, recapitulates well known facts in reference to 
the production of Comus, and thus refers to some of its localities as 

" The perplexed paths of this drear wood. 
The nodding horror of whose shady brows 
Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger— 

in which spot, mindful of Lady Alice, we may perchance lose oar 

unacquainted feet 
In the blind snares of this tangled wood. 

And where the Lady adds — 



S^ Borstall Tower, 

Earls and Dukes of Bridgewater, to Viscount Alford, eldest son and 
heir of the Earl Brovvnlow, to whom the broad lands of Ashridge were 
bequeathed by the last Earl of Bridgewater. At one time this exten- 
sive property was in danger of being convef'^ed into farms ; when the 
Duke of Bridgewater, the " Father of Inland Navigation," risked 
his whole fortune upon the success of the great Canal which bears his 
name. But the good conferred upon the country was not without its 
due reward ; and we have the satisfaction to know that Lord Alford 
followed in the steps of his great predecessor, establishing schools for 
the children of the poorer classes on his estates, converting the peasants 
cottages into neat and comfortable homes, encouraging industry and 
orderly habits, and thus raising the moral tone and physical condition 
of his tenantry. 



Borstall Tower. 

On the western side of Buckinghamshire, near the border of the 
county, is situated this fine specimen of castellated architecture of the 
best period. It is within two miles of Brill, which formed part of 
the ancient demesne of the Anglo-Saxon Kings, who had a palace 
there ; and a close near the church at Brill, at this day called " the 
King's Field," is reputed to have been the site of the palace. Edwaid 



My brothers, when they saw me wearied out 

With the long way, resolving here to lodge 

Under the spreading favour of these pines, 

Stept, as they said, to the next thicket side 

To bring me berries or such cooling fruit 

As the kind hospitable woods provide. 

They left me then, when the gray hooded Ev'n 

Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed 

Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phoebus' wain. 

Hut where they are and why they came not back 

Is now the labour of my thoughts. 

We would there picture to ourselves ' the tufted grove, over which a sable cloud 
turned forth her silver lining on the night,* and we would note 'the prosperous 
growth of this tall wood.' We would point to that which may, or may not, 
have been the identical grassy turf' on which the lady was 'left weary.' We 
tiiould explore 

Each lane and every alley green, 

Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood, 

And every bosky bourn from side to side ; 

or, • in this close dungeon of innumerous boughs' we may ' lean against the 
rugged bark of some broad elm,' and so conjure up the stately palace, where 

Immur'd in cypress shades a sorcerer dwells. 
Of Bacchus and of Circe bom. great Comus." 



Borstall Tower. ^7 

tnc Confessor frequently retired here to enjoy hunting in Bernwood 
Forest, which, tradition says, was about that time infested by a wild 
boar, which was at last slain by a huntsman named Nigel ; to whom, in 
reward, the King granted some lands, to be held by cornage, or the 
sei*vice of a horn ; a mode of livery which, in that age, was not un- 
common. On the land thus given Nigel erected a large manor-house, 
and named it Bore-stall, or Boar-stall, in remembrance of the incident 
through which he obtained possession. These circumstances are cor- 
roborated by various transcripts relating to the manor, which are con- 
tained in a manuscript folio volume, composed about the time of 
Henry VI. It has also a rude delineation of the site of Borstall House,' 
and its contiguous grounds ; beneath which is the figure of a man on 
one knee, presenting a boar's head to the King, who is returning him a 
coat-of-arms. 

From an inquisition taken in the year 1265, it appears that Sir John 
Fitz-Nigel, or Fitz-Neale, then held a hide of arable-land, called the 
Dere-hide, at Borstall, and a wood, called Hull Wood, by grand- 
serjeantry, as Keeper of the forest of Bernwood ; that his ancestors 
had possessed the same lands and office prior to the Conquest, holding 
them by the service of a horn ; and that they had been unjustly with- 
held by the family of De Lazures, of whom William Fitz-Nigel, father of 
John, had been obliged to purchase them. Prior to this, William 
Fitz-Nigel had been compelled to pay King John eleven marks for the 
enjoyment of his father's office, and for liberty to marry at his own 
pleasure. 

In the reign of Edward I. (1300) John Fitz-Nigel gave his daughter 
in marriage to John, son of Richard de Handlo, who, by this match 
became in a few years Lord of Borstall ; and in 13 12 (6th Edward II.) 
he obtained licence from the King to fortify his mansion at Borstall, 
and make a Castle of it. In 1327 (2nd Edward III.) the said John 
was summoned to Parliament as a baron ; but his son, or grandson, 
Edmund, dying in his minority, in 1356, this estate afterwards passed, 
by heirs female, into the families of De la Pole, James, Rede, Dynham, 
Banistre, Lewis, and Aubrey. Bernwood was not disafforested until 
the reign of James I. 

Willis called Borstall "a noble seat;" and Hearne described it as 
** an old house moated round, and every way fit for a strong garrison, 
with a tower at the north end, much like a small castle." This tower, 
which is still standing, forms the gatehouse. It is a large and square 
massive building, with a square embattled turret at each corner. The 
entrance was across ^ drawbridge, and under a massive arch, protected 



£8 Borstal I Toiven 

by a portcullis and door strengthened with studs and plates ot iron. 
The mansion was a fortified post of strength and importance, especially 
in situation, about half-way between Oxford and Aylesbury; the 
latter garrisoned by the Parliament, and Oxford being the King's 
chief and strongest hold, and his usual place of residence during the 
Civil Wars. 

Early in the struggle, Borstall House, then belonging to Lady 
Dynham, was taken possession of by the Royalists, and converted into 
a garrison ; but in 1 644, when it was decided to concentrate the King's 
forces, Borstall was abandoned. It was then taken by Parliamentary 
troops from Aylesbuiy, who harassed the garrison at Oxford, and 
seized provisions by the way. It was, therefore, determined to attempt 
the recovery of Borstall ; and Colonel Gage, with a party of infantry, 
a troop of horse, and three pieces of cannon, attacked the fortified 
house, after a slight resistance gained possession of the church and out- 
buildings, and battered the house with cannon. It at once surrendered, 
with the ammunition and provisions, the garrison being allowed to 
depart only with their arms and horses. Lady Dynham being secretly 
on the side of the Parliament, stole away in disguise. 

Next year, the house was again strongly garrisoned for the King, 
under the command of Sir William Campion, who was ordered " to 
pull down the church and other adjacent buildings," and " to cut down 
the trees, for the making of palisades and other necessaries for use and 
defence." Sir William Campion is thought to have demolished the 
church-tower for this purpose ; and three attempts were made to re- 
cover Borstall from the Royalists. In 1644 it was attacked by Sir 
William Whalley, and by General Skippon in May, 1645, unsuccess- 
fully. Anthony Wood, who was then a schoolboy at Thame, de- 
scribes this harassing warfare. One day a body of Parliamentary 
troopers rushed close past the Castle whilst the gairison were at dinner. 
On another occasion, a large Parliamentary party at Thame was attacked 
and dispersed by the Cavaliers from Oxford and Borstall, who took 
home 27 officers and 200 soldiers as prisoners, together with between 
200 and 300 horses. Some venison pasties, prepared at the vicarage 
for the Parliamentary soldiers, fell as a prize to the schoolboys in the 
vicar's care. Meanwhile, the Bucks peasantry were incessantly terrified : 
labourers were forcibly impressed into the ganison; farmers' hci-ses 
and carts were taken for service without remuneration ; their crops, 
cattle, and provender carried off; gentlemen's houses were plundered 
of their plate, money, and provisions ; hedges were torn up, trees 
cut down, and the country laid waste. Nor was it only the pro- 



Borsiall Toiver. ^9 

perty of the peaceable that suffered : in November, 1 645, a force fi'om 
Borstal! and Oxford made a rapid expedition through Buckinghamshire, 
caiTying away with them several of the principal inhabitants, whom 
they detained till they were ransomed. Dragoons carried off persons, 
and deprived them of their horses, their coats, and their money. We 
read of a parson being brutally treated by a party of dragoons, though 
,he pleaded that he was a clergyman, a prisoner, and disarmed ; he was 
stripped of his hat and cap, jerkin and boots, and so severely wounded 
in one of his arms, that it was necessary to amputate it, when although 
he was sixty years old, he bore the loss of his limb with incredible re- 
solution and courage. 

In 1646, on the lothof June, Sir William Fairfax again attacked 
Borstall, and reduced it, after an investiture of eighteen hours only, it 
being surrendered by the governor. Sir William Campion. He is de- 
scribed as "a little man, who upon some occasion lay flat on the 
ground on his belly, to write a letter, or bill, or the form of a pass." 
He was subsequently slain at Colchester. 

Borstall being now entirely relinquished by the Royalists, was taken 
possession of by its owner. Lady Dynham. In 1 651, Sir Thomas 
Fanshawe, who had been taken prisoner at the battle of Worcester, 
was brought here on his way to London. Lady Dynhara received him 
kindly, and would have given him all the money she had in the house ; 
but he thanked her, and told her that he had been so ill that he would 
not tempt his governor with more, " but that if she v^^ould give him a 
shirt or two, and a few handkerchiefs, he would keep them as long as he 
could for her sake. She fetched him some shifts of her own, and some 
handkerchiefs, saying, that she was ashamed to give them to him, but 
having none of her son's shirts at home, she desired him to wear them." 

At length, peaceful times returned. In 1668 Anthony Wood again 
visited Borstall, which he describes as quite altered since he was there 
in 1646 : " for whereas then it was a gamson, with high bulwarks about 
it, deep trenches, and palisades, now it had pleasant gardens about it, 

and several sets of trees well growne Between nine and ten of 

the clock at night, being an hour or two after supper, there was seen by 
them, M. H. and A. W., and those of the family of Borstall, a Draco 
volans fall from the sky. It made the place so light for a time, that a 
man might see to read. It seemed to A. W. to be as long as All Saints' 
steeple at Oxon, being long and narrow ; and when it came to the 
lower region it vanished into sparkles, and, as some say, gave a report. 
Great rains and inundations followed." 

Late in the seventeenth century, Sir John Aubrey, Bart., by marriage, 



c,o Stoke PogeiSj and Lady Hatton, 

became possessed of Borstall ; and it continued to be the property and 
residence of his descendants till it ••'as pulled down by Sir John Aubrey, 
about the year 1783: he had o'le son, bora in 1771, who came to an 
eai*ly and melancholy death. When about five yeai"s old, he was 
attacked with some slight ailment, for which his nurse had to give him 
a dose of medicine. She then prepared for him some gruel, which he 
refused to take saying it was nasty. She then sweetened it, and he 
swallowed it. ^^''ithin a few hours, he was a corpse ! She had made the 
gruel of oatmeal with which arsenic had been mixed to poison rats. 
Thus died, January 2, 1777, the heir of Borstall, and of all his father's 
possessions. The poor nurse became distracted ; the mother never 
recovered the shock, and within a year died of grief, at the early age of 
32. Sir John Aubrey, having thus lost his wife and child, pulled down 
the house in which they died, with the exception of the turreted gate- 
way, which still exists, in fair preservation : it was built in 13 12, by 
John de Handloo, and one of its bay windows still contains part of the 
original stained glass, particularly an escutcheon of the De Lazures and 
the De Handloos. 

The antique horn, said to be the identical one given to Nigel, as 
already mentioned, has descended with the manor of Borstall, and is still 
in the possession of the present proprietor. This horn is two feet four 
inches long, of a dark brovra colour, resembling tortoiseshell. It is 
tipped at each end with silver-gilt, and fitted with a leather thong, to 
hang round the neck ; to this thong are suspended an old brass ring 
bearing the rude impression of a horn, a brass plate with a small horn 
of brass attached to it, and several smaller plates of brass impressed with 
fleurs-de-lis, which are the anns of the De Lazures, who intruded into 
the estate soon after the reign of William the Conqueror. 



Stoke, or Stoke Pogeis, and Lady Hatton. 

This pleasant village, which lies between Colnbrook and Maiden- 
head, obtained the appellation of Pogeis from its ancient lords of that 
name. The heiress of the family, in the reign of Edward III. mar- 
ried Lord MoUines, who shortly afterwards procured a licence from 
the King to convert the manor-house into a castle. From him it de- 
scended to the Lords Hungerford, from them to the Hastings, Earls of 
Huntingdon. The manor was, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, seized 
by the Crown for a debt. 

The old manor house of Stoke Pogeis is the scene of the opening of 



Stoke Pogeis, and Lady Haiton, 9^ 

Gray's humorously descriptive poem, called The Long Story, in which the 
style of building, and the fantastic manners of Elizabeth's reign are de- 
lineated with much truth : the origin of the poem is curious enough. 
Gray's Elegy, previous to its publication, being handed about in manu- 
script, had, amongst its admirers, the Lady Cobham. The performance 
induced her to wish for the author's acquaintance, and Lady Schaub 
and Miss Speed, then at Stoke Pogeis, undertook to introduce her to 
the poet. These two ladies waited upon the author at his aunt's soli- 
tary habitation, and not finding him at home, they left their cards. 
Gray, surprised at such a compliment, returned the visit ; and as the 
beginning of this intercourse bore some appearance of romance. Gray 
gave the humorous and lively account of it in the Long Story, The 
mansion at Stoke, and one of its tenants, are thus described : 

•' In Britain's isle — no matter where— 

An ancient pile of building stands : 
The Huntingdons and Hattons there 

Employed the power of fairy hands — 
To raise the building's fretted height, 

Each panel in achievement clothing, 
Rich windows that exclude the light, 

And passages that lead to nothing. 
Full oft within the spacious walls, 

When he had fifty winters o'er him, 
My grave Lord Keeper led the brawls ; 

The seal and maces danced before him. 
His bushy beard and shoe-strings green, 

His high-crowned hat, and satin doublet. 
Moved the stout heart of England's Queen, 

Though Pope and Spaniard could not trouble it." 

This *' grave Lord Keeper" was Sir Christopher Hatton, who, it 
must be remarked, was never the owner or occupier of this old mansion, 
although generally supposed to have been so by topographers, and by 
annotators of Gray's Poems. The old manor-house, indeed, was not 
completely finished till it came into the possession of Henry, the third Earl 
of Huntingdon, who, although it might have been burdened by a mort- 
gage, certainly retained possession of it till his death. One of his letters, 
now in existence, is dated at Stoke, on the 13th December, 1592, and 
among the payments after his funeral, occurs this item — " Charges about 
the vendition of my Lord's goods in the county of Bucks, 8/." This 
most probably, refers to the sale of his property at Stoke. Now, Sir 
Christopher Hatton died in November, 1591, a year before the date of 
the Earl's letter fi-om Stoke, and four yeai-s before his death, which 
occurred in 1595. But we have more conclusive evidence to the same 
eiFect. Sir Christopher Hatton has left numerous letters, from which 



9- Stoke Pogeis, and Lady Hation. 

his proceedings during the latter years of his life — the only time in which 
he could have been at Stoke — may be traced from month to month, 
almost from day to day, and not one of these letters affords the slightest 
indication of his connexion with Stoke. Nor is such connexion noticed 
in any parish record at Stoke. The idea rests solely on tradition, and 
can easily be accounted for. 

We are indebted for this correction of a popular error respecting 
Stoke, to a contribution by W. H. K. to Chambers's Book of Days, 
vol. i. pp. 415-417. On the death of the third Earl of Huntingdon, 
(continues this Correspondent,) Sir Edv^^ard Coke, the great lawyer, 
purchased the manor, and resided at Stoke, and soon after, in 1598, 
married for his second wife. Lady Hatton, widow of Sir William Hatton, 
nephew and heir of the " Lord Keeper." This lady was sufficiently 
conspicuous to stamp the name of Hatton on the traditions of Stoke. 
[We need not here detail Lady Hatton's broils with Sir Edward 
Coke, or "the honeymoon of the happy pair" at her house in Hol- 
born, as they will be found sketched in " The Strange History of Lady 
Hatton," in the first volume of the present work, pp. 77-83.] It will 
be sufficient to take up the narrative after Sir Edward Coke and Lady 
Hatton were reconciled, and "he flattered himself she would still 
prove a veiy good wife." The dismantled Manor-house at Stoke must 
now have been restored, and the reconciled pair were then living there 
with their daughter, whose marriage was negotiated with Sir John 
Villiers, brother of Buckingham, the King's favourite. The proposal 
was graciously received, and Sir Edward was delighted. His wife and 
daughter did not relish this scheme ; but this did not much trouble 
Coke, as he considered that his daughter, in such a case, was bound to 
obey her father's mandate. They had been talking the matter over one 
night at Stoke, when, highly gratified with the prospect, Coke retired to 
rest and enjoyed a quiet, undisturbed slumber. But the first intelli- 
gence of the next morning was that Lady Hatton and her daughter 
had left Stoke at midnight, and no one kne*v where they were gone. 
Day after day passed, yet Coke could leani no tidings of the fugitives. 
At last, he ascertained that they were concciled at Oatlands, in a house 
then rented by a cousin of Lady Hatton. Without waiting for a war- 
rant, Sir Edward, accompanied by a dozen sturdy men, all well 
armed, hastened to Oatlands, and after two hours' resistance, took the 
house by assault and battery, which Lady Hatton has described as Sir 
Edward Coke's "most notorious riot," in which he took down the 
doors of the gatehouse and of the house itself, &c. 

Having thus gained possession of his daughter, he carri^ her oflf to 



Stoke Pogeis, and Lady Hat ton. ^^ 

Stoke, locked her up in an upper chamber, and kept the key of .the 
door in his pocket. Lady Hatton then strove to recover her daughter 
by forcible means ; but to her astonishment, her husband, now fortified 
by the King's favour, threw her into prison. Thus, with his wife in a 
public prison, and his daughter locked up in his own house, he forced 
both to promise a legal consent to the marriage, which took place at 
Hampton Court in presence of the King and Queen, and nobility. Two 
years afterwards Sir John Villiers was raised to the peerage as Viscount 
Purbeck, and Baron Villiers of Stoke Pogeis. But the sequel was me- 
lancholy. Lady Purbeck deserted her husband, and lived with Sir 
Robert Howard, which rapidly brought on her degradation, imprison- 
ment, and an early death. Lady Hatton pursued her husband with 
rancorous hatred, and openly wished him dead. This gave rise to a 
report of his death, whereupon Lady Hatton immediately left London 
for Stoke, to take possession of the mansion ; but on reaching Coin- 
brook, she met one of Sir Edward Coke's physicians, who informed her 
of his amendment, on hearing which she returned to London in evident 
disappointment. Sir Edward, in his solitary old age, had his daughter. 
Lady Purbeck, to console him. He died September 3rd, 1634, in his 
eighty-fourth year. 

Lady Hatton now took possession of the old manor-house at Stoke, 
and occasionally resided in it till her death in 1644. Her strange his- 
tory might well be mixed up with the traditional gossip of Stoke, which 
Gray, in his poem, applied to the Lord Keeper, who certainly never pos- 
sessed the old manor-house. It was, however, honoured by the presence 
of his royal mistress. Queen Ehzabeth, in 1601, visited at Stoke Sir Ed- 
ward Coke, who entertained her very sumptuously, and presented her on 
the occasion with jewels worth fi-om ten to twelve hundred pounds. 
In 1647, the mansion was for some days the residence of Charles I., when 
a prisoner in the custody of the Parliamentary army. Ten years 
later. Sir Robert Gayer, by the bequest of his brother, came into pos- 
session of the manor at Stoke. Sir Robert, at the coronation of 
Charles II., was made a Knight of the Bath, which so strengthened his 
attachment to the House of Stuart, that he never could be respectful to 
any other dynasty. It is related in Lipscomb's History of Bucks, that 
80on after William III. had ascended the throne, he visited the village 
of Stoke, and signified his desire to inspect the old manor-house. But 
its possessor. Sir Robert Gayer, flew into a violent rage, declaring that 
the King should never come under his roof. " He has already," said 
he, '* got possession of another man's house. He is an usurper. Tell 
him to go back again !" Lady Gayer expostulated, she entreated, she 



94 Stowe. 

even fell on her knees and besought her husband to admit the King, 
who was then actually waiting at the gate. All her entreaties were 
useless. The obstinate Sir George only became more furious, vociferat- 
ing — " An Englishman's house is his castle. I shall open and close my 
door to whom I please. The King, I say, shall not come within these 
walls!" So his Majesty returned as he came — a stranger to the inside 
of the mansion, and the Stuart knight gloried in his triumph. 

Thus the old manor-house at Stoke, after having entertained one 
sovereign magnificently, received another as a prisoner in the custody of 
his subjects, and refused admission to a third monarch, was itselt 
pulled down, except one wing, in 1 789, by its then owner, Granville 
Penn, Esq., a descendant of the celebrated William Penn, the founder 
of Pennsylvania. At this time was built, by James Wyatt, the magnif 
ficent seat. Stoke Park. The grounds are adorned with a colossal statue 
of Sir Edward Coke. 

Gray passed much of his youth, with his mother, at Stoke ; and here 
he composed his " Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College," and 
his " Elegy written in a Country Churchyard." He died in 1771, and 
was buried, according to his desire, by the side of his mother at Stoke : 
his remains lie, without any monumental inscription over them, under a 
tomb which he had erected over the remains of his mother and aunt In 
the year 1799, however, Mr. Penn erected, " in honour of Gray,' in a 
field adjoining the churchyard, a large stone sarcophagus, on a square 
pedestal, with inscriptions on each side ; and the late Earl of Carlisle pre- 
sented to Eton College a bust of Gray, which has been added to the 
collection of busts of other worthies placed in the Upper School-room. 



Stowe. 



This princely seat of the Buckingham family lies near the town of 
Buckingham, and has a brief but eventful history. The place, origi- 
nally an Abbey, came into the possession of the Temple family in the 
sixteenth century. The house was originally built by Peter TempL-, 
Esq., in the reign of Queen Elizabeth ; it was rebuilt by Sir Richard 
Temple, Bart., who died in 1697. After the death of Lord Cobham, in 
1749, the property merged in the family of the Grenvilles. Tiie plea- 
surc-gardens, from which Stowe obtained its principal feme, were laid 
out for Lord Cobham by Kent, who exerted his skill both as an archi- 
tect and a garden -planner ; and such a profusion of ornament arose 
from his invention, and that of Bridgeman and other artists, that Stowe, 



Stowe. 95 

" when beheld from a distance, appears like a vast grove, interspersed 
with obelisks, • columns, and towers, which apparently emerge from a 
luxuriant mass of foliage." The beauties of Stowe have been comme- 
morated by Pope and West, who spent many festive hours with the 
then owner. Lord Gobham. The grounds are adorned with arches, 
pavilions, temples, a rotunda, a hermitage, a grotto, a lake, and a bridge. 
In the temples were busts, under which were appropriate inscriptions. 
The temples of Ancient Virtue and British Worthies may be mentioned 
as exhibiting objects for the mind as well as for the eye to dwell upon. 
The mansion, which has been greatly enlarged, extends 916 feet, whole 
frontage, and the centrpi part 456. " The rich landscape," says Walpole, 
"occasioned by the multiplicity of temples and objects, and various pic- 
tures that present themselves as we shift our situation, occasion surprise and 
pleasure, sometimes rivalling Albano's landscapes to our mind, and oftener 
to our fancy the idolatrous and luxuriant vales of Daphne and Tempe." 
The interior is very superb. The principal rooms form one long 
suite, opening into each other. Here was the Rembrandt Room, so 
called from its being hung with pictures by that painter ; a marqueterie 
clock, ten feet high, formerly in the palace of Versailles ; carved and 
gilt frames, from the Doge's palace at Venice ; a state bed, constructed 
in 1737, for Frederic, Prince of Wales, and occupied in 1805 by the 
Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV. ; carved and gilt furniture from 
the Doge's palace at Venice; marble pavement from the Baths of 
Titus, at Rome ; tapestry of old and quaint historic pageantry ; carpets 
from the looms of Persia and Turkey; draperies from the marble 
palaces of Venetian statesmen ; relics from classic Italy ; rich stuffs, the 
spoils of Tippoo Saib and other fallen Eastern warriors ; ornamental 
weaving from Holland and the Low Countries, &c. Add to this a 
valuable collection of paintings: among them, portraits — of Martin 
Luther, by Holbein ; Oliver Cromwell (said to be original), by 
Richardson ; Pope, by Hudson ; Charles I. and his Queen Henrietta, 
by Vandyke ; Addison, by Kneller ; Lady Jane Grey, Camden the anti- 
quary, and others. The display of plate was magnificent : enormous 
gold and silver vases, candelabra, wine-coolers, cups, salvers and epergnes. 
This enumeration conveys but an imperfect idea of the rich treasures 
of art with which the galleries and saloons of princely Stowe were 
crowded. *In this superb pilace, Richard, the first Duke of Bucking- 
ham, entertained the royal family of France, Louis XVIII. and 
Charles X. and their suites, during their residence in England ; until 
the Duke, burdened with debt, was compelled to shut up Stowe and go 
abroad. His successor, Richard Plantagenet celebrated the majority 



^ Whaddon Hall, 

of his son with costly cheer at Stowe in 1844 ; and in the following 
year received Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort,' at enormous 
cost. In 1848 the crisis came: Stowe was dismantled of its sump- 
tuous contents, which were sold in forty days, and realized upwards of 
75,000/. — this vicissitude being the sad realization of a dream which the 
first Duke of Buckingham had in his compulsory exile upon the con- 
tinent. Of the many instances of fallen fortune to be found in human 
history, the sad fate of Stowe and its possessors presents us with the 
most melancholy lesson — to lecture us with its fallen grandeur, and to 
impress us with the virtue of contentment, and teach us that — 
" Not a vanity is given in vain." 



Whaddon Hall. 

Not far from the county-town of Buckingham stands Whaddon 
Hall, formerly a seat of the Duke of Buckingham : but which acquired 
greater notoriety as the abode of Browne Willis, the eccentric anti- 
quary, bom late in the seventeenth century. His person and dress were 
so singular, that though a gentleman of 1000/. a year, he was often 
taken for a beggar. An old leathern girdle or belt always surrounded 
the two or three coats he wore, and over them an old blue coat. Very 
little of Whaddon remained a century ago, and what was left was 
thought to be the offices, which were dark and gloomy. In the garden 
was then a venerable and remarkably sized oak, under which Willis 
supposed Spenser wrote much of his poetry. Willis is said, by Cole, the 
Cambridge antiquary, to have written the very worst hand of any man 
in England, such as he could only with difficulty read himself. He wore 
very large boots, patched and vamped till they were forty years old : 
they were all in wrinkles, and did not come halfway up his legs, whence 
he was called in his neighbourhood, Old Wrinkle-hoots, He rode in his 
*• wedding chariot," which had his arms on brass plates about it, was 
painted black, and not unlike a coffin. Mr. Willis never took the oaths 
to the Hanover family. He was as remarkable for his love of the 
structure of churches as for his variance with the clergy of his neigh- 
bourhood. Yet he built by subscription the chapel at Fenny Stratford ; 
repaired Bletchley Church at a great expense; and Bow Brickhill Church, 
desecrated, and not used for a century. His most important work 
was his Survey of the Cathedrals of England, He presented to the 
University of Oxford his valuable collection of coins, and gave many 
MSS. to the Bodleian Library. He died at Whaddon Hall, Feb. 5, 1 7C0. 



97 



Creslow House. 

In the reign of Edward the Confessor this manor was held by 
Aluren, a female, from whom it passed at the Conquest to Edward 
Sarisberi, a Norman lord. In 1 120 it was given to the Knights 
Templars ; and on the suppression of that community it passed to 
the Knights Hospitallers, from whom, at the dissolution of the 
monasteries, it passed to the crown. From this time to the reign 
of Charles II. the manor was used as a feeding ground for cattle 
for the royal household ; and it is remarkable that nearly the whole 
of this manor, comprising over 850 acres, has been pasture land 
from the time of Domesday survey till now. It is still of extraordi- 
nary fertility, and the cattle still fed here are among the finest in the 
kingdom. 

While Creslow Manor continued in possession of the Crown, it 
was committed to the custody of a keeper. In 1634 the regicide, 
Cornehus Holland, was keeper. This Cornelius Holland, whose 
father died insolvent in the Fleet, was "a poore boy in court 
waiting on Sir Henry Vane," by whose interest he was appointed 
by Charles I. keeper of Creslow Manor. He subsequently deserted 
the cause of his royal patron, and was rewarded by the Parhament 
with many lucrative posts. He entered the House of Commons in 
1642, and after taking a very prominent part against the King, 
signed his death-warrant. He became so wealthy that, though he 
had ten children, he gave a daughter on her marriage 5000/., equal 
to ten times that sum at the present day. He is traditionally ac- 
cused of having destroyed or dismantled many of the churches in 
the neighbourhood. At the Restoration, being absolutely excepted 
from the royal amnesty, he escaped execution only by flying to 
Lausanne, where he ended his days in universal contempt. 

On the 23rd of June, 1673, the manor was granted by Charles II. 
to Thomas, first Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, and has continued ever 
since in the possession of his successors. 

The manor-house itself, though diminished in size and beauty, is 
still a spacious and handsome edifice. The original parts date from 
the time of Edward III., including the crypt and tower; a good 
many alterations took place during the 15th century, of which 
period a pointed doorway remains ; still greater alterations took 
place in the time of Charles I., of which plaster ceilings and square 
windows remain. It is a picturesque and venerable-looking build* 
*^ H 



q8 Creslow House, 

ing, with numerous gables and ornamental chimneys, some ancient 
mullioned windows, and a square (ower with octagonal turret. The 
walls of the tower are of stone, six feet thick ; the turret is forty- 
three feet high, with a newel staircase and loopholes. Some of the 
more interesting objects within the house are the ground room in 
the tower, a large chamber called the banqueting room, with vaulted 
timber roof ; a large oak door with massive hinges, and locks and 
bolts of a peculiar construction ; and various remains of sculpture 
and carving in different parts of the house. Two ancient cellars, 
called the " crypt" and " the dungeon," deserve special attention. 

The crypt, which is excavated in the solid limestone rock, is 
entered by a flight of stone steps, and has but one small window to 
admit air and light. It is about twelve feet square, and its roof, 
which is a good specimen of light Gothic vaulting, is supported by 
arches springing from four columns, groined at their intersections, 
and ornamented with carved flowers and bosses, the central one 
being about ten feet from the floor. 

The dungeon, which is near the crypt, is entered by a separate 
flight of stone steps, and is a plain rectangular building, eighteen 
feet long, eight and a half wide, and six in height. The roof, which 
is but slightly vaulted, is formed of exceedingly massive stones. 
There is no window or external opening into this cellar, and for 
whatever purpose intended, it must have always been a gloomy, 
darksome vault, of extreme security. It now contains several skulls 
and other human remains — some thigh-bones, measuring more than 
nineteen inches, must have belonged to persons of gigantic stature. 
This dungeon had formerly a subterranean communication with the 
crypt, from which there was a newel staircase to a chamber above, 
which still retains the Gothic doorway, with hood-moulding resting 
on two well sculptured human heads, with grotesque faces. This 
chamber, which is supposed to have been the preceptor's private 
room, has also a good Gothic window of two lights, with head 
tracery of the decorated period. 

This is the haunted chamber ! For Creslow, like all old manor- 
houses, has its ghost story. But the ghost is not a knight-templar 
or knight of St. John — but a lady — Rosamond Clifford ! Seldom, 
indeed, has she been seen, but often has she been heard, only too 
plainly, by those who have ventured to sleep in this room, or enter 
it after midnight. She appears to come from the crypt or dungeon, 
nnd always enters this room by the Gothic door. After entering 
she is heard to walk about, sometimes in a grave, stately manner, 



Creslozv House, 99 

apparently with a long silk train sweeping the floor — sometimes 
Aer motion is quick and hurried, her silk dress rustling violently, as 
if she were engaged in a desperate struggle. As these mysterious 
visitations had anything but a somniferous effect on wearied 
mortals, this chamber, though furnished as a bed-room, was seldom 
so used, and was never entered by servants without trepidation and 
awe. Occasionally, however, some one was found bold enough to 
dare the harmless noises of the mysterious intruder, and many are 
the stories respecting such adventures. The following will suffice 
as a specimen, and may be depended on as authentic. 

About the year 18 — ■, a gentleman, who resided some miles dis- 
tant, rode over to a dinner party ; and as the night became exceed- 
ingly dark and rainy, he was urged to stay over the night, if he had 
no objection to sleep in a haunted chamber. The offer of a bed in 
such a room, so far from deterring him, induced him at once to 
accept the invitation. The room was prepared for him. He would 
neither have a fire nor a burning candle, but requested a box of 
lucifers, that he might light a candle if he wished. Arming himself 
in jest with a cutlass and a brace of pistols, he entered his formid- 
able dormitory. Morning came, and ushered in one of those 
glorious autumnal days which often succeed a night of soaking 
rain. The sun shone brilliantly on the old manor-house. Every 
loophole and cranny in the tower was so penetrated by his rays, 
that the venerable owls, that had long inhabited its roof, could 
scarcely find a dark corner to doze in after their nocturnal labours. 
The family and their guests assembled in the breakfast room to 
hear an account of the knight's adventures, which he related in the 
following words.:—" Having entered the room, I locked and bolted 
both doors, carefully examined the whole room, and satisfied myself 
that there was no living creature in it but myself, nor any entrance 
but those I had secured. I got into bed, and with the conviction 
that I should sleep as usual till six in the morning, I was soon lost 
in a comfortable slumber. Suddenly I was aroused, and on raising 
my head to listen, I heard a sound certainly resembling the light, 
soft tread of a lady's footstep, accompanied with the rustling as of 
a silk gown. I sprang out of bed and lighted a candle. There was 
nothing to be seen, and nothing now to be heard. I carefully 
examined the whole room. I looked under the bed, into the fire- 
place, up the chimney, and at both the doors, which were fastened 
as I had left them. I looked at my watch, and it was a few minutes 
past twelve. As all was now perfectly quiet, I extinguished the 

H 3 



100 Great Hampden, 

candle and entered my bed, and soon fell asleep. I was again 
aroused. The noise was now louder than before. It appeared like 
the violent laistling of a stiff silk dress. I sprang out of l3ed, darted 
to the spot where the noise was, and tried to grasp the intruder in 
my anus. My arms met together, but enclosed nothing. The 
noise passed to another part of the room, and I followed it, groping 
near the floor, to prevent anything passing under my arms. It was 
in vain ; I could feel nothing — the noise had passed away through 
the Gothic door, and all was still as death ! I lighted a candle and 
examined the Gothic door, and there I saw — the old monks' faces 
grinning at my perplexity ; but the door was shut and fastened, just 
as I had left it. I again examined the whole room, but could find 
nothing to account for the noise. I now left the candle burning^ 
<<iough I never sleep comfortably with a light in my room. I got 
into bed, but felt, it must be acknowledged, not a little perplexed at 
not being able to detect the cause of the noise, nor to account for 
its cessation when the candle was lighted. While ruminating on 
these things I fell asleep, and began to dream about murders and 
secret burials, and all sort of horrible things ; and just as I fancied 
myself knocked down by a knight-templar, I awoke, and found the 
sun shining brightly !" 

" Doubtless there are no ghosts ; 
Yet somehow it is better not to move, 
Lest cold bands seize upon us from behind." 

Abridged from the Book of Days, 



Great Hampden. 

Great Hampden, the paternal seat of the patriot, John Hampden, 
and still the property of his descendant in the seventh generation 
through heirs female, stands in a secluded spot high up among the 
Chiltcrn Hills, about five miles south-west of Wcndover. It is 
shrouded in ancient woods and approached by a long beech avenue. 
The house, one of the most ancient, has been sadly disguised and 
disfigured by modern stucco and whitewash, but the structure is the 
original one. It is difficult to assign a date to the building of this 
house. The first estate granted to the Hampden family in England 
was given by Edward the Confessor to Baldwyn de Hampden, 
whose name seems to indicate that he was one of the Norman 
favourites of the last Saxon king. The Hampdcns, then, had settled 
in England, prior to its conquest by their countrymen, the Normans. 



Great Hampden, 10 1 

The estate was fortunate enough to escape the rapacity of the 
Normans, and, amplified and extended by powerful alliances, it 
v?as passed down from father to son in succession, ever increasing 
in influence and wealth. There is a tradition that King Edward III. 
and the Black Prince once honoured Hampden with a visit, and 
that whilst the prince and his host were exercising themselves in 
feats of chivalry a quarrel arose, in which the prince received a blow 
on the face, which occasioned him and his royal father to quit the 
place in great wrath, and to seize on some valuable manors be- 
longing to their host as a punishment for his rashness. The story 
gave rise to the following rhymes : — 

" Tring, Wing, and Ivinghoe, 
Hampden did foregoe, 
For striking of a blow, 
And glad he did 'scape so." 

The story is doubted, and no proof can be adduced that any of 
the mansions named in the rhyme ever were included in the 
Hampden estates. These, however, were very large, not only in 
Buckinghamshire, but also in Essex, Berks, and Oxfordshire. 
Queen Elizabeth was entertained at Hampden during one of her 
progresses, by Griffith Hampden, Esq., who, in order to afford her 
Majesty more commodious access to the house, is said to have cut 
an avenue through his wood, still called the Queen's Gap. 

The Hampdens appear to have been distinguished in chi- 
valry ; they were often intrusted with civil authority, and repre- 
sented their native county in several parliaments. We find in the 
Rolls of Parliament that in the wars between the Houses of York 
and Lancaster, the Hampdens took the side of the red rose — that 
some lands were escheated from them in consequence, and that they 
were excepted from the general Act of Restitution, in the first of 
Edward Fourth. " Edward Hampden," says Lord Nugent in his 
" Memorials," " was one of the Esquires of the Body and Privy 
Councillor to Henry VH. And in the succeeding reign we find 
Sir John Hampden of the Hill appointed with others to attend 
upon the English Queen at the interview of the sovereigns at the 
Field of the Cloth of Gold. It is to his daughter, Sybil Hampden, 
who was nurse to the Prince of Wales, afterwards Edward VI., and 
ancestress to William Penn, of Pennsylvania, that the monument is 
raised in Hampton church, Middlesex, which records so many 
virtues and so much wisdom. Grififith Hampden, who received 
Queen Elizabeth at his mansion, as already noted, sei-ved as High 



102 Great Hampden, 

Sherif! of his county, and represented it in the Parliament of 1585. 
His eldest son, William, who succeeded him in 1591, was member 
in 1593 for East Lode, then a considerable borough. He married 
Elizabeth, second daughter of Sir Henry Cromwell, of Hinchin- 
brooke, in Huntingdonshire, and aunt to the Protector, and died in 
1597, leaving two sons, John and Richard. 

John Hampden, so frequently spoken of in history as " the Pa- 
triot," was born in 1594. He succeeded to his father's estate in his 
infancy. After passing some years in the grammar-school at Thame, 
he was sent, at fifteen, to Magdalen College, Oxford. At nineteen he 
was admitted a student of the Inner Temple, where he made him- 
self master of the principles of the English law. In 1619 (when 
now twenty-five years of age), he married Elizabeth, only daughter 
of Edmund Symeon, Esq. His marriage marks an era in his life. 
Prior to that event " he had indulged himself in all the licence in 
sports, in exercises and company which were used by men of the 
most jolly conversation ;" but no sooner was he married than from 
a life of great pleasure and licence he retired to extraordinary 
sobriety and strictness, to a more reserved and melancholy society. 
The events of his life are notable incidents in English history. 
He served in the Parliament of 1626, and in all the succeeding 
parliaments of the reign of Charles I. In 1636 he became uni- 
versally known by his intrepid refusal to pay ship-money as an 
illegal tax. Upon this he was thrown into prison ; but his conduct 
under persecution gained him great reputation. When the Long 
Parliament began, the eyes of all men were fixed upon him as the 
father of his country. In the beginning of the civil war he com- 
manded a regiment of foot, and did good service to the Parliament 
at the battle of Edgehill. The story of his last skirmish with the 
Royalists, and subsequent death, is told by Macaulay with hia 
jsual spirit and picturesqueness : — 

In the early part of 1643, the shires lying in the neighbourhood 
of London, which were devoted to the cause of the Parliament, 
were incessantly annoyed by Rupert and his cavalry. Essex had 
extended his lines so far that almost every point was vulnerable. 
The young prince, who, though not a great general, was an active 
and entcrprizing partizan, frequently surprised posts, burned vil- 
lages, swept away cattle, and was again at Oxford before a force 
sufficient to encounter him could be assembled. 

The languid proceedings of Essex (the Parliamentary com* 
mander) were loudly condemned by the troops. All the ardent 



Great Hampden, 103 

and daring spirits in the Parliamentary party were eager to have 
Hampden at their head. Had his hfe been prolonged, there is 
every reason to believe that the supreme command would have 
been intrusted to him. But it was decreed that, at this conjunc- 
ture, England should lose the only man who united perfect disin- 
terestedness to eminent talents — the only man who, being capable 
of gaining the victory for her, was incapable of abusing that victory 
when gained. 

In the evening of the 17th of June, Rupert darted out of Oxford 
with his cavalry on a predatory expedition. At three in the morning 
of the following day he attacked and dispersed a few Parliamentary 
soldiers who lay at Postcombe. He then flew to Chinnor, burned 
the village, killed or took all the troops who were quartered there, 
and prepared to hurry back with his booty and his prisoners t(? 
Oxford. 

Hampden had on the preceding day strongly represented to Essex 
the danger to which this part of the line was exposed. As soon as 
he received intelligence of Rupert's incursion, he sent off a horse- 
man with a message to the General. The Cavaliers, he said, could 
return only by Chiselhampton Bridge. A force ought to be instantly 
despatched in that direction to intercept them. In the meantime he 
resolved to set out with all the cavalry that he could muster for the 
purpose of impeding the march of the enemy till Essex could take 
measures for cutting off their retreat. A considerable body of horse 
and dragoons volunteered to follow him. He was not their com- 
mander. He did not even belong to their branch of the service. 
But "he was," says Lord Clarendon, "second to none but the 
General himself in the observance and application of all men." On 
the field of Chalgrove he came up with Rupert. A fierce skirmish 
ensued. In the first charge Hampden was struck in the shoulder 
with two bullets, which broke the bone and lodged in his body. 
The troops of the Parliament lost heart and gave way. Rupert, 
after pursuing them for a short time, hastened to cross the bridge, 
and made his retreat unmolested to Oxford. 

Hampden, with his head drooping, and his hands leaning on his 
horse's neck, moved feebly out of the battle. The mansion which 
had been inhabited by his father-in-law, and from which in his 
youth he had carried home his bride, Elizabeth, was in sight. 
There still remains an affecting tradition that he looked for a 
moment towards that beloved house, and made an effort to go thither 
to die. But the enemy lay in that direction. Turning his hoi ec, 



104 Great Ihxmpdeiu 

therefore, he rode back across the grounds of Hazely on his way to 
Thame. At the brook which divides the parishes he paused a while ; 
but it being impossible for him in his wounded state to remount, 
had he alighted to lead his horse over, " he suddenly summoned his 
strength, clapped spurs to his steed, and cleared the leap. At Thame 
he arrived almost fainting with agony. The surgeons dressed his 
wounds. But there was no hope. The pain which he suffered was 
most excruciating. But he endured it with admirable firmness and 
resignation. His first care was for his country. He wrote from his 
bed several letters to London concerning public affairs, and sent a 
last pressing message to the head-quarters recommending that the 
dispersed forces should be concentrated. When his public duties 
were performed, he calmly prepared himself to die. He was 
attended by a clergyman of the Church of England, with whom he 
had lived in habits of intimacy, and by the chaplain of the Buck- 
inghamshire Grcencoats, Dr. Spurton, whom Baxter describes as a 
famous and excellent divine. 

A short time before Hampden's death, the Sacrament was admi- 
nistered to him. He declared that, though he disliked the govern- 
ment of the Church of England, he yet agreed with that church as 
to essential'matters of doctrine. His intellect remained unclouded. 
When all was nearly over he lay murmuring faint prayers for him- 
self and for the cause in which he died. " Lord Jesus," he exclaimed 
in the moment of the last agony, "receive my soul. O Lord, save 
my country ; O Lord, be merciful to ." In that broken ejacu- 
lation passed away his noble and fearless spirit. 

He was buried in the parish church of Hampden. His soldiers, 
bareheaded, with reversed arms and muffled drums and colours, 
escorted his body to the grave, singing, as they marched, that lofty 
and melancholy psalm in which the fragility of human life is con- 
trasted with the immutability of Him to whom a thousand years are 
as yesterday when it is passed, and as a watch in the night. 

The news of Hampden's death produced as great a consternation 
in his party, according to Clarendon, as if their whole army had 
been cut off. The journals of the time amply prove that the Par- 
liament and all its friends were filled with grief and dismay. 
Lord Nugent has quoted a remarkable passage from the Weekly 
Intelligencer: — "The loss of Colonel Hampden goeth near the 
beart of every man that loves the good of his king and country, and 
makes some conceive little content to be at the army now that he 
is gone. The memory of this deceased colonel is such that in no 



Great Hampden, 105 

z.g'Q. to come but it will more and more be had in honour and 
esteem ; a man so religious and of that prudence, judgment, temper, 
valour, and integrity, that he hath left few his like behind." 

" He had indeed left none his like behind him. There still re- 
mained, indeed, in his party many acute intellects, many eloquent 
tongues, many brave and honest hearts. There still remained a 
rugged and clownish soldier, half fanatic, half buffoon, whose talents, 
discerned as yet by only one penetrating eye, were equal to all the 
highest duties of the soldier and the prince. But in Hampden, and 
in Hampden alone, were united all the qualities which at such a 
crisis were necessary to save the state — the valour and energy of 
Cromwell, the discernment and eloquence of Vane, the humanity 
/nd moderation of Manchester, the stern integrity of Hall, the 
ardent public spirit of Sydney. Others might possess the qualities 
which were necessary to save the popular party in the crisis of 
danger ; he alone had both the power and the inchnation to restrain 
its excesses in the hour of triumph. Others could conquer ; he alone 
could reconcile. A heart as bold as his brought up the cuirassiers 
who turned the tide of battle on Marston Moor. As skilful an eye 
as his watched the Scotch army descending from the heights above 
Dunbar. But it was when to the sullen tyranny of Laud and Charles 
had succeeded the fierce conflict of sects and factions, ambitious of 
ascendancy and burning for revenge, it was when the vices and 
ignorance which the old tyranny had generated threatened the new 
freedom with destruction, that England missed the sobriety, the 
self-command, the perfect soundness of judgment, the perfect recti- 
tude of intention, to which the history of revolutions furnishes no 
parallel, or furnishes a parallel in Washington alone." 

Of the house of Great Hampden itself, as it is at present to be 
seen, not much remains to be said. It is entered by a curious old 
hall, surrounded by a wooden gallery. Among the relics of this 
ancient manor are a bust and two portraits of Hampden, portraits 
of Henrietta Maria, of Sir Kenelm Digby, by Vandyck ; of Oliver 
Cromwell, Hampden's cousin, in armour, and others. There is a 
curious full-length portrait of Elizabeth in the room occupied by 
her on the occasion of her visit to Great Hampden. At the top of 
the house is a long room, filled with old books, and named John 
Hampden's Library. In a small library below, where Hampden was 
sitting when the commissioners came to arrest him, is a Bible of 
the Cromwell family, with a register of his birth and those of his 
brothers and sisters. 



106 Great Hampden. 

The clmrch of Great Hampden stands near the house. On the 
south wall of the chancel is the monument erected by Kampden 
in memory of his first wife, Elizabeth, with the following beautiful 
epitaph : — 

" In her pilgrimage — 
The staie and comfort of her neighbours, 
The love and glory of a well-ordered family, 
The delight and happiness of tender parents^ 
But a crown of Blessings to a husband. 
In a wife to all an eternal pattern of goodness 
And cause of love while she was. 
In her dissolution— 
A loss invaluable to each, 
Yet herself blessed, and they fully recompensed 
In her translation, from a Tabernacle of Claye 
And Fellowship with Mortalls, to a celestiall Mansion 
And communion with the Deity." 

Near this is the patriot's own grave, without any memorial. This 
grave was opened by Hampden's biographer, Lord Nugent, and 
the body w^as found in such a perfect state that the picture on the 
staircase of the house was known to be his from the likeness. 



107 



HERTFORDSHIRE. 
Waltham Cross. 

Waltham Cross, or Vv"est Waltham, a village in Hertfoidshire, i& 
situated one mile and a half west from Waltham Abbey, which we 
have just described. It derives its name from a cross which stands upon 
the spot where the procession which had conveyed Queen Eleanor's re- 
mains fi'om Lincoln, diverged fi-om the high road to deposit the body 
for the night in the Abbey Church. 

The design of Waltham Cross, which is very elegant, is in the 
chastest style of Pointed architecture ; and it is deserving of remark that 
one of the statues of the Qiieen in the second division very nearly re- 
sembles the effigy which lies upon her tomb in Westminster Abbey, 
the figure being arrayed in long flowing drapery, and regally crowned; 
whilst the right hand has borne a sceptre, and the left is represented as 
holding a crucifix suspended from her necklace. There were originally 
several shields, with the arms of England, Castile, Leon, Ponthieu, &c. 
In 1795, preparations were made for taking down this Cross, in order to 
remove it into the grounds of Sir William George Prescott, Bart., lord 
of the manor, for its better preservation ; but after removing the upper 
tier of stone, finding it too hazardous an undertaking, on account of the 
decayed state of the ornamental parts, the scaffold was removed, and 
proper measures were taken for its restoration. However, the Cross 
was in such a dilapidated state, that a subscription was entered into for 
rer.ovating the whole in exact conformity to the original work. 
Although many parts had suffered, as well from the effect of time as 
from wanton defacements, yet the sculptural details (particularly where 
sheltered by the Falcon Inn) were sufficiently obvious to be fully 
understood, and of course to be correctly restored, except as to 
the crowning finial, of which nothing but the central shaft remained ; 
from this it would appear that the upper portion, which had been 
removed in 1795, was not replaced as intended. During the year 1833, 
the restoration was proceeded with, under the direction of Mr. W. B. 
Clarke, assisted by a committee of the subscribers. The lower story 
has been only new-faced, where necessary, but that above it, which is 



1 08 The A bbey of St. A Iban, 

of open Pointed work, was entirely rebuilt; the three statues of the 
Queen were, however, left unrepaired. 

The structure is hexagonal in fonn, and, independently of the plinth 
and basement steps, consists of three storeys, each finished by an 
embattled frieze or cornice, and at each angle isa graduated buttress, 
enriched with foliated crockets and finials. Within the panelled 
tracery of the lower story, are shields boldly sculptured with arms sus- 
pended from knots of foliage. There are two shields on each face of 
the octagon, the spaces ovc^ which are enriched with ornaments ; the 
spandrels being charged with rosettes, in diamond-shaped panelling, 
bearing a close resemblance to the ornamental facings of the eastern 
interior walls of Westminster Abbey Church. The second storey is 
even yet more elegant, both from its pyramidical assemblage of open 
pointed arches and sculptured finish, as well as from the graceful statues 
of Queen Ele; nor which enrich its open divisions. 



The Abbey of St. Alban. — Shrine and Relics. 

The town of St. Albans, in Hertfordshire, is situated close to the 
site of the ancient Ferulamium, probably at first a British town, and 
then a town with some of the privileges of Roman citizens. The 
Roman road, called by the Saxons the Watling-strect, was also called 
Werlaem-street, because it went direct to Verulam, passing close under 
its walls. Verulam was the scene of dreadful slaughter in the great 
rebellion under Boadicea, who destroyed here and at Londinium 
(London), and at other places, about 70,000 Roman citizens and their 
allies. Suetonius Paulinus, the then governor of Britain, in return for 
her barbarity, attacked her forces, gained a complete victory, and put 
80,000 to the sword. Verulam was then rebuilt, and its inhabitants 
enjoyed their privileges until the Dioclesian persecution, a.d. 304 ; 
when the city was again rendered famous by the martyrdom of its 
citizen, St. Alban : 

" In Britain's isle was Holy Alban born." 

He being yet a pagan, entertained in his house a certain clei^gyman 
flying from the persecutors. He was engaged in prayer and watching 
day and night, when Alban was gradually instructed by his whole- 
some admonitions, cast off the darkness of idolatry, and became a 
Christian in all sincerity of heart. After the clergyman had been some 
days entertained by Alban, it came to the ears of the wicked Prince 




ST. ALBAN S ABBEY. 

Nave of the Abbey Church. 



p. io8 



The A bbey of St. A Wan, 109 

that this holy confessor of Christ was concealed at Alban's hoube 
Soldiers were sent to make a strict search after him. Alban imme- 
diately-presented himself to the soldiers instead of his guest and master, 
in the habit or long coat which he wore, and was led bound before the 
judge, who was then standing at the altar, and offering sacrifices to 
devils. When he saw Alban, being much enraged that he should thus 
of his own accord put himself into the hands of the soldiers, and incur 
danger in behalf of his guest, he commanded him to be dragged up to 
the images of the devils, before which he stood, saying, " Because you 
have chosen to conceal a rebellious and sacrilegious person, rather than 
deliver him up to the soldiers, that his contempt of the gods might 
meet with the penalty due to such blasphemy, you shall undergo ah 
the punishment that was due to him, if you abandon the worship of our 
religion." Alban, who had voluntarily declared to the persecutors of 
the faith that he was a Christian, was not at all daunted at the Prince's 
threat, but putting on the armour of spiritual warfare, publicly de- 
clared that he v^^ould not obey the commands. The judge being much 
incensed, ordered the holy confessor to be scourged ; he was cruelly 
tortured, but he bore all patiently, or rather joyfully, for our Lord's 
sake. When the judge perceived that he was not to be overcome by 
torture, he ordered him to be put to death. Being led to execution, 
he came to a river, which ran rapidly between the wall of the town and 
the place of execution. A great multitude of persons had assembled 
and impeded Alban's progress, and when he reached the stream the 
water became dried up, and made way for him to pass. Among the 
rest, the executioner, who was to put him to death, saw this, and on 
meeting Alban at the place of execution cast down the sword which h«. 
had carried ready drawn, fell at his feet, praying that he might rather 
suffer with the martyr whom he was ordered to execute, or, if possible, 
instead of him. Alban then ascended a hill not far off; it was clothed 
with flowers, and sloped down to a beautiful plain. On the top of 
this hill Alban prayed that God would give him water, and imme- 
diately a living spring broke out at his feet ; this was the river which, 
having performed its holy service, returned to its natural course. Here 
the head of our most courageous martyr was struck off; but he who 
gave the wicked stroke had his eyes dropped upon the ground, together 
with the blessed martyr's head. 

The spot whereon Alban suffered martyrdom was called Holm* 
hurst in the Saxon, signifying a woody place, near the city of Verulam, 
where his remains were interred. 

Upon the aiTival in Britain of Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, accom- 



no TJie A bbey of St, A Iban, 

panied by Lupus, Bishop of Troyes, whose mission was to preach here 
against the Pelagian heresy, the remains of Alban were exhumed ; and 
having been placed by German us with great solemnity in a wooden 
coffin, together with a goodly supply of holy relics, to presci-ve them, 
they were restored to the earth amidst prayers and lamentations. By 
the care of Germanus a small church was erected to the martyr's 
memory, and was constructed (according to Bede) with admirable 
taste, though only of timber and plank; and as the recognised sepulchre 
of Alban, it continued in good repute, not only for the piety of the 
martyr but for the miracles there shown, and was worshipped by 
the religious ot these times, and honoured by all. On the invasion 
of the Saxons, however, this church, with many others, was levelled 
to the ground, whereby all trace of the martyr's resting-place be- 
came lost : it continued so until its well-known discovery by Ofia, 
who, we are infonncd, was accosted in the silence of the night by an 
angel, who admonished him to raise out of the earth the body of the 
first British martyr, Alban, and place his remains in a shrine with 
suitible ornament. This vision having been reported to Humbert, 
Bishop of Lichfield, and Turner, a Bishop of Leicester, and Ceolwolf, 
Bishop of Lindsey, his suffragans, they joined immediately with a great 
crowd of followers of both sexes and of all ages to meet the King at 
Veiulam on the day appointed by him, and in array there they com- 
menced their search for the grave of Alban with prayer, fasting, and 
alms. Fortunately their pious exertions were soon rewarded by suc- 
cess, as a light from heaven assisted their discovery, and a ray of fire 
stood over the place " like the star that conducted the magi to Beth- 
lehem." The ground was opened, and in the presence of Offa, the body 
of Alban was found, excellently preserved by the relics already named, in 
a coffin of wood, just as Germanus had placed them 344 years before. 
The body being then raised from the earth, they conveyed it in solemn 
procession to a little chapel without the walls of Verulam, where Offii 
IS said to have then placed a circle of gold round the bare skull of 
Alban, with an inscription thereon, to signify his name or title: he also 
caused the repository to be enriched with plates of gold and silver, and 
the chapel to be decorated with pictures, tapestry, and other ornaments, 
until a more noble edifice could be erected. This transaction happened 
507 ycai-s after tlie suffering of Alban, 344 after the invasion of the 
Saxon, and on the ist August, in the thirty-sixth of Offa's reign — that 
is, A.D. 791. Tiie Abbey was then erected, and on its completion the 
bones of Alban, who by that time had been promoted to the dignity of 
a Saint, were placed therein ; and Offa procured for it and granted 



The A bbey of St. A Ibmu 1 1 1 

extraordinary privileges. As the Saint of this chuich was the first 
martyr in England, Pope Honorius granted the Abbot a superiority 
over all others. It was opened for the reception of loo monks of the 
Benedictine order, who were carefully selected from houses of the most 
regular discipline ; gradually it increased and flourished for more 
than seven centuries, and viras governed successively by forty-one 
abbots— 

*' Till Henry's mandate struck the fated shrine, 
And sadly closed St. Alban's mitred line." 

Of Offa's munificence a murder was the true source. He invited 
Ethelbert, Prince of the East Angles, to his Court, on pretence of 
marrying him to his daughter, but beheaded him, and severed his domi- 
nions. The pious Offa had recourse to the usual expiation of murder 
in those melancholy ages — the founding of a monastery. In the edifice 
was an ancient painting of King Offa, seated on a throne, with a Latin 
inscription, thus translated : — 

" The founder of the church, about the year 793, 
Whom you behold ill painted on his throne 
Sublime, was once for Mercian Offa known." 

In the lapse of time, the memory of the first church perished, and it 
was said that Oifa was miracuously guided to the place where the re- 
mains of St. Alban were entombed. From that time there had been 
a church on this site. After this we come down three hundred years 
at a leap, to the time of the Norman Conquest, when Abbot Paul 
began to build the church which remains to this day. It was con- 
secrated in 1 1 15 ; thus the church is not only itself of great age, but it 
was constructed of the fragments of other buildings that had fallen into 
ruins. Abbot Paul ransacked Verulam, and brought a great quantity 
of materials therefrom for the erection of this church. The interior 
walls were full of Roman bricks, and the outside wall was of Roman 
brick and very little else. Even where the brickwork did not appear, 
the flint and rubble were Roman materials brought to this spot. Two 
Abbots before Paul had collected materials for the rebuilding of the 
Abbey, but a time of famine coming on, they sold the materials to re- 
lieve the wants of the poor. Not a vestige, however, of the splendid 
foundation is now left, except the Abbey Church, and a large square 
gateway. All the monastic buildings were pulled down in the reigns of 
Henry VIII. and Edward VI.; but the church, to the lasting honour 
of the Corporation and inhabitants, was rescued from impending destruc- 
tion, and purchased by them of the latter sovereign for 400/., and then 
made parochial. The church is in the form of a cross ; its extreme length 



1 1 2 The A bbey of St. A limn, 

is 556 feet, being three feet longer than Winchester Cathedral, and thus 
longer than any of our cathedrals. There are two transepts, 170 feet 
long, and a central tower, 150 feet high, of the Norman period, from 
which time to that of Edward IV. the style of every age may be traced 
in succession. The most central parts are the most ancient. The 
carved oak ceiling of the Norman lantern is 102 feet from the pave- 
ment. The interior was plundered by Cromwell's soldiers, who left 
only one brass monument of great value— a plate 12 feet long, of 
Abbot de la Mare, who lived in the reign of Edward III. The Abbot 
in his robes, curiously engraven, is a capital specimen of sculpture in 
that reign. 

In an Abbey like St. Albans, relics were indispensable. On the 
authority of that well-known herald and antiquary, Elias Ashmole, we 
learn that Mr. Robert Shrimpton, who had been four times Mayor of 
St. Albans, and who lived when the Abbey was yet in the enjoyment 
of its privileges and authority, perfectly remembered a hollow image 
of the Virgin which stood near the shrine of the saint, and was large 
enough to admit a performer who governed the wires as instructed, 
caused the eyes of the figure to move, and the head to nod, according 
to the approval or otherwise of the offering made. 

Notwithstanding, however, the care taken to preserve the bones of 
the saint intact, they were not destined to long remain either in peace 
or in safety, as in the year 950, the Danes were committing great 
excesses throughout England ; and a party of them hearing the fame 
of St. Alban, came to the Abbey, broke open the tomb, and seized the 
saint's bones ; they unceremoniously carried some of them off into their 
own country, and there deposited them in a costly shrine built for the 
purpose in a house of the Black Monks, hoping they would be wor- 
shipped and adored with the like veneration in Denmark as they had 
been in England. Such was not the case ; some of the bones had been 
lost, and those which remained were collected and returned to their 
former resting-place. 

In less than a hundred years after this, the bones were again 
disturbed. During the time of ^^Ifric, the nth Abbot, who ruled 
the monastery during the reigns of Canute, Harold, and Hardicanutc, 
and part of that of Edward the Confessor, the Danes (in 104 1) 
renewed their invasion. With a dread of their ravages, M\h-\c how- 
ever resolved that no further portion of St. Alban's bones, nor of his 
shrine, should fall to the lot of the invaders. First, the real bones were 
secured by those in the secret removing the shrine containing them, 
and concealing it in a hole in the wall which had been specially piie- 



The A bbey of St. A Ihan, 1 1 S 

pared for the purpose, close under the altar of St. Nicholas. That 
done, other bones were substituted for the genuine ones, and plac^ed in 
a very rich chest. The Abbot having then openly expressed to his 
monks the fears he entertained of the Danish invasion, proposed that 
for the effectual preservation of the relics of St. Alban, he should 
request the monks of Ely (which place was well secured by water and 
marshes fi'om the attack of robbers) to take charge of the remains, 
together with some ornaments of the Abbey; and the Abbot completed 
the consignment with a very rough shagged old coat, which was 
commonly represented to be the very coat worn by Amphibalus, when 
he converted Alban. The Ely monks readily consented to receive and 
presei-ve the relics, and solemnly pledged their word to send them back 
whenever requested so to do. Fortunately, however, for ^Ifric's peace 
of mind, the Danish king, while going on board his ship, fell into the 
sea and was drowned. No sooner, therefore, was peace assured, than 
the monks of St. Albans requested their brethren of Ely to return 
them their sacred bones and relics. This they refused to do. It was 
useless that ^Ifric reminded his brother of Ely of the sanctity of his 
promise. Ely had got the bones, and resolved to keep them. jElfric 
on the other hand threatened he would not only tell the King but 
appeal to the Pope, and complain of such a breach of good faith and 
religious duty. The Ely monks then promised to restore the property. 
'Tis true they sent back the old coat and the rich chest containing 
bones, but not THE bones. These they detennined to keep to them- 
selves, and they carried their plan into execution by forcing open the 
bottom of the chest and extracting the old bones they found there, and 
replacing them with another sham set. They then allowed the St. 
Albans monks to depart with the fullest assurance that they were 
taking with them the real remains of their much loved saint. Abbot 
T^lfric however knew better. On the amval of the convoy he quietly 
turned the substituted bones of Ely into the earth, and aided by his 
."issistants drew the genuine bones from their hiding-place in the wall, 
and restored them to the shrine in the church. 

Thus matters remained for a century or more, but at length the 
monks of Ely admitted the authenticity of the bones at St. Albans. 
Still, a considerable portion of the flock abstained from discharging their 
religious duties at the Abbey, when, to induce them t-o return, a life-sized 
figure of St. Alban, clothed in a magnificent robe, was dressed up, and 
occasionally carried by the monks into the town in solemn procession, 
and deposited at the market cross, where, after the appointed adaress 

had been delivered to the assembled multitude, the signal was given 
** I 



I H The A bbey of St. A Iban. 

for the s;iint'8 removal, whereupon commenced the miracle. The saint 
remained immovable until the Abbot had been sent for. On his arrival 
(duly aiTTied with mitre and crozier) he laid the latter upon the 
rebellious saint, saying, " Arise, arise, St. Alban, and get thee home to 
the sanctuary," whereupon immediate submission was the result, and 
the saint returned as he came. 

Amongst the benefactors of the monastery was Geoffrey de Gor- 
ham, the i6th Abbot (1119-1146), who gave a very handsome vessel 
for the reception of certain relics then belonging to the Abbey. He 
a-lso, with a pious regard for the relics of St. Alban, commenced a veiy 
sumptuous shrine for the reception of the saint's body, and had ex- 
pended upon it 60/. (in our time about 800/.), when, owing to a great 
scarcity of food, he was compelled to convert the gold and silver 
ornaments of the shrine into money, and expended it for the relief of the 
poor. The famine having passed away, the Abbot collected money 
for the shrine, and by the aid of a monk named Awketill, a goldsmith, 
who had passed seven years in the sei-vice of the King of Denmark, he 
brought the shrine to great perfection, both in ornament and magni- 
ficence, the materials of the shrine being of silver-gilt. For want of 
funds the upper part of the canopy, called " the crest," remained un- 
finished, the intention being to adorn and ornament it with gold and 
precious stones, whenever they could be obtained in sufficient quantity. 
The shrine being erected in the space behind the great altar, a day 
was appointed for the translation or removal of the saint's remains, with 
great ceremony. 

Rumours, however, had got abroad that some of the saint's bones 
were missing; when they were taken out, exhibited singly, and numlx^red. 
The head was then held up for the inspection of all present by the 
venerable Ralph, Archdeacon of the Abbey. On the fore pait was a 
scroll of parchment, pendant from a thread of silk with this inscrip- 
tion, " Sanctus Albanus." A circle of gold enclosed the skull, fixed by 
the order of Offa, and engraved with these words, " Hoc est corpus 
Sancti Albani, protomartyris Anglias." But one, namely, the left 
scapula or shoulder-bone was missing, and especial note having been taken 
of the fact, the translation was completed, with all the ceremonies and 
splendour of the Romish church. A few years after, two foreign monks 
arrived at the Abbey with letters credential from the Church and 
Monastery of Naunburg, in Germany, declaring that they were possessed 
of the missing " scapula," which had been brought to them direct from 
St. Albans by King Canute. The bone having been produced and 
identified, was added to the others in the shrine amidst great festivity 



The Abbey of SL Alhan, ^ ^ 5 

and rejoicing. The Abbot ordered three hundred poor persons to be 
relieved at the gate of the monastery ; the priests sang four masses, and 
the rest of the brethren, by way of rejoicing, sang, instead of a mass, 
fifty psalms. The day of this solemnity was the 4th of the month of 
August, in the 29th year of Henry I., 1129, and for many years after- 
wards the anniversary was solemnized with great devotion and festivity, 
and remission to penitents. Robert, the i8th Abbot, on his return 
from Rome, caused the coffin and shrine of the saint to be repaired, 
and the gold and silver ornaments and precious stones which had been 
taken from the shrine, in order to purchase their estate at Brentfield, to 
be reinstated in their former splendour. Robert's successor, Symond, 
spent the greater part of his time in procuring gold and silver, rich 
cups, and utensils, and with many precious stones decorating the 
shrine, so that Matthew Paris (who lived nearly a century afterv^'ards) 
" had never seen a shrine more splendid and noble." It was then in the 
form of an altar tomb, rising with a lofty canopy over it, supported on 
four pillars, and upon it was represented the saint lying in great state. 
This shrine enclosed the coffin wherein the bones of the saint had 
been deposited by Abbot Geoffrey, sixteenth Abbot. This coffin was 
in its turn enclosed in an outer case, which on two sides was orna- 
mented with figures, and embossed in gold and silver, portraying the 
chief events of the saint's life. At the head was placed a large 
crucifix, with a figure of Maiy on the one side and St. John on the other, 
ornamented with a row of very splendid jewels. At the west, and in 
h'ont of the choir, was placed an image of the Virgin holding her son 
in her bosom, seated on a throne ; the work being of richly embossed 
gold, and enriched with precious stones and very costly bracelets. 
The four pillars which su pported the canopy stood one at each corner, 
and were shaped in resemblance like towers, with apertures to represent 
windows, all being of plate gold. The inside of the canopy was also 
covered with crystal stones. Such was the magnificent shrine of the 
Saint at that period. 

To the Abbey Treasury, in the time of William de Trumpington, 
the 22nd Abbot, an inestimable relic was added, one of the " Ribs of 
Wulstan," who was Bishop of Worcester in the time of William the 
Conqueror. A monk named Lawrence, who had just arrived from the 
monastery of Jehosaphat, near Jerusalem, brought a Holy Cross, cer- 
tified to be made from a portion of the real Cross upon which the 
Saviour had suffered. Next was a human arm, positively declared to 
be that of St. Jerome, which the Abbot enclosed in a case of gold, 
set with jewels and stones of great value, and caused it from that time 
to be borne in the Abbey processions on all great festivals. 



1 1 6 The A bbey of Si, A lb an. 

Hitherto we have spoken of the remains of St. Alban with a conli- 
dence not to be mistaken ; we are gravely assured that in 1256, during 
the abbacy of John of Hertford, during some repairs then done at the 
east end of the Abbey, the workmen in opening the ground discovered 
a stone coffin which, according to the inscription upon it, contained 
the true bones of St. Alban. This discovery is said to have been 
made between the altar of Oswin and that of Wulstan, where the 
matins were usually said : here stood an ancient painted shrine, and 
under it a marble tomb or coffin, supported on marble pillars, and 
which place and tomb had been therefore considered and called the 
tomb of St. Alban. Here then it was decided the holy martyr had 
been interred on the day of his execution about 970 years before. 
Fortunately, this most important but unexpected discovery was made 
in the presence of the Abbot John, as well as of the Bishop of Bangor, 
and of Philip de Chester. There were present also all the inmates of 
the monastery, including Matthew Paris the narrator. As a conclusive 
proof of the authenticity of the remains of the Saint, miracles were 
performed at his coffin, and Matthew Paris relates that first one boy was 
thereby raised from death, and then another, and that many were cured 
of blindness, and of the palsy. John of Wheathampstead, the justly 
famous Abbot, also caused a picture of the Saint, curiously enriched 
with gold and silver, to be painted at his own expense and suspended 
over the shrine ; but this has long since perished. 

To restore the pristine influence of the shrine as far as possible, 
the Abbot William of Wallingford caused the stately screen (the 
mutilated remains of which are still to be seen and admired) to be 
erected before the altar. By it the shrine was enclosed thencefortis, 
and only shown on rare occasions, and with great solemnity. Still, 
despite the screen, the attractions of the shrine gradually faded away 
before the rising star of the Reformation, and were utterly extinguished 
on December 5th, 1539, when Sir Thomas Pope received the final 
surrender of the Abbey, its privileges and power, from the hireling 
Abbot, Richard Boreman. Immediately afterwards the hands of the 
spoiler became paramount, and so strongly was the work of destruction 
carried on that all trace of the former honours rendered to tiie saint 
soon disappeared, leaving the inscription " S. Albanus Vcrolamensis 
Anglorum Protomartyr, 17 Junii, 293," as the only existing link 
between the i6th century of the shrine of St. Alban and the Abbey 
relics. The Abbey — as such, became extinguished, its glories departed, 
its shrine was despoiled, and its relics scattered and lost. The church, 
however, never lost its position as a place of worship, but remained in 



The A hhey of St A than. 1 1 7 

possession of the crown until the charter was conferred upon St» 
Albans in 1553 by Edward VI., at which period it was sold for the 
nominal sum of 400/. to a worthy and wealthy inhabitant of the town, 
rejoicing in the euphemistic and appropriate name of " Stump."* 

The Abbey was visited by the majority of our Sovereigns, until the 
reign of Henry VIII. To the visit of Henry I. and his "Queen 
Matilda of Scotland," we owe the production of the miniature like- 
ness of this royal benefactress, then taken by one of the limners of the 
Abbey : it was afterwards, in the early part of the T4th century, copied 
into the " Golden Register of St. Albans," which still exists, and is 
now to be found in the British Museum (Cottonian MSS. Nero D), 
and is a sort of conventual album, wherein were entered the portraits 
of all the benefactors of the Abbey, together with an abstract of their 
donations. In that miniature the Queen appears in the costume she 
doubtless wore at the consecration of the Abbey. She displays with her 
left hand the charter she ga-^the Abbey, from which hangs a very large 
red seal, whereon without doubt was impressed her effigy in grand 
relief. 

Henry III., on no less than six different occasions became the 
Abbot's guest, and evinced his favour to the Monastery in a very 
marked and substantial manner. Thus, in 1244, whilst John of Hert- 
ford was the 23rd- Abbot, the King visited St, Albans twice, and 
remained at the Abbey three days on each occasion. His Majesty's 
second visit took place on the feast of St. Thomas, just before Christ- 
mas (21 December). On this occasion, whilst attending the Abbey 
mass, he, in the course of his devotion at the altar, made an offering of 
a very rich pall or cloak, and in addition gave three bracelets of gold 
to be affixed to the shrine to the honour of St. Alban, and in remem- 
brance of himself. In 1249 Henry once more sought the hospitality 
of the Abbey on his way to Huntingdon, and at this time his Majesty 
was so distressed for money as to be obliged to entreat the Abbot John 
to lend him the trifling sum of sixty marks, and to prove the urgency of 
the want, he told John, on his handing the money, that " it was as 
great a charity as to give an alms at the Abbey gate." The King, 
however, was accustomed to these " loans," which he well knew could 
not. be refused to him, as he honoured the Abbey so frequently with 
his presence, and presented to it habits and ornaments of great value. 
In 1251 the King came twice to the Abbey, and made an offering of 



* Condensed and selected from an elaborate paper by H. A. Holt, Esq. 
read to the British Archceological Association Congress, at St. Albans, ii 
August, 1S69. 



1 1 8 The A bbey of St. A Ibaii. 

three robes, manufactured entirely of silk, which with others before 
given, amounted to thirty in number, as well as two necklaces of great 
value. In the year 1252, during the abbacy of John the 23rd Abbot, 
Henry's Queen, Eleanor of Provence, honoured the Abbey with her 
presence, accompanied by her children. During her stay, the Queen 
was in imminent danger fi'om a thunderstorm, as whilst sitting in her 
room the lightning struck the chimney of her chamber and shivered it 
to pieces. The Abbey laundry burst into flames, and such a commo- 
tion was caused by the elements that Alanus le Zouch, the King's chief 
justice of Chester and of the Welsh district (who was escorting two 
treasure carts, and had temporarily accepted hospitality at the Abbey), 
thinking the whole structure was devoted to destruction, rushed forth 
with his attendants into the highway, and as they went, they fancied 
a flaming torch or a drawn sword preceded them. As a token of 
gratitude for her preservation the Queen made an offering on the 
altar of a rich cloth called a " baldekin " of tissue of gold. In the 
beginning of March, 1257, the King again visited the Monastery, when 
the several inmates were habited in their best attire, the saint was 
borne on such portion of his shrine as was portable, the King him- 
self following in the train, and testifying his veneration for the sacred 
relics of St. Alban. The King made great offerings to the shrine* 
consisting of a curious and splendid bracelet and valuable rings, as well 
as a large silver cup to receive the dust and ashes of the venerable 
martyr. He also gave six robes of silk as a covering to the said old 
monument. On this occasion his Majesty prolonged his stay for a 
week, and conversed much with the celebrated Matthew Paris, then an 
inmate of the Abbey, making him his companion at table, as well as in 
the audience chamber, and in his closet or private room. 

In 1264, St. Albans was a scene of great tumult and disorder, con- 
sequent upon a dispute between Roger, the 24th Abbot, and the 
townspeople, connected with the use of the Abbey mills. In the midst 
of the confusion the Queen amved, and multitudes crowded the way 
for the purpose of begging the royal interference in their behalf, but 
being foiled in this expectation by the Abbots introducing the Queen 
to the Monastery by some private way, the inhabitants became more 
outrageous than before, and so barricaded the town at every aw luu', 
tliat from its fortified state it was called '• Little London." It w:is 
during this tumult that Gregory de Stokes, the Constable of Hertford 
Castle, and his three attendants, were seized and decapitated by the 
infuriated townsmen ; for this outrage the King amerced the town in 
100 marks, which they instantly paid. 



The A bbey of St. A lb ait, 1 1 9 

In 1268, tie King made his last visit to the Abbey of which \7ri 
have any record — namely, on the Feast of St. Bartholomew. On this 
occasion Henry was accompanied by his eldest son, the Prince 
Edward — afterwards Edward I. The royal party entered the Church 
with great solemnity, and made offerings of rich palls, bracelets, golden 
rings, and of twelve talents besides, the King directing that the Abbot 
might convert these valuable articles into money if he pleased, provided 
that the proceeds were laid out in ornaments for St. Alban's shrine. 

Upon the accession of Edward II., that monarch demanded of John 
Maryus, the 26th Abbot, to be furnished on his Scottish wars with 
two carts and proper horses, and all appurtenances ; but the Abbot 
injudiciously pleaded his poverty, and declared his inability to comply 
with it; whereupon, on the King's visit to the Abbey in 131 1, accom- 
panied by his favourite. Piers Gaveston, Edward refused either to see 
the Abbot, or to converse with him, whereupon Maryus at once 
sought the mediation of Gaveston, and by presenting the King ^vith 
100 marks of silver, peace was restored between King and Abbot ; but 
the King soon afterwards cut down a wood at Langley, near West- 
wood, under pretence of enlarging the royal mansion there, where- 
upon the Abbot claimed the wood as belonging to the Monastery, but 
lost it. 

Though we have no knowledge of any actual visit of Edward III. 
to the Abbey, certain it is that the Abbot procured from this King 
many considerable donations for the shrine, amongst which may be 
mentioned a crucifix of gold set with pearls, a cup of silver-gilt of 
great value, sundry Scottish relics, timber for repairing the choir, and 
100/. in money. Consequent upon the extortionate demands made 
upon the Monastery during the abbacy of Thomas de la Mare, the 
youthful Richard II. (soon after the death of Wat Tyler) hearing of 
the great commotions at St. Albans, decided to march thither and 
suppress the disorders ; it was not, however, until they were posi- 
tively assured of the King being on his way to the town that they 
restored the goods they had stolen from the Abbey, and gave a bond 
to pay 200/. to the Abbot for damages. Richard was attended on 
this occasion by Sir Robert Tresillian, his much-dreaded chief justice, 
and escorted with a guard of 1000 bowmen and soldiers. The King 
was received at the west door by the Abbot and his monks, in pro- 
cession, and with great solemnity.* 



* In the choir of the church there formerly hung a hfe-like portrait of 
Richard II., seated in State, with crown and sceptre upon what, from its con- 
struction (the height of its pinnacles, and the fact of its being raised on a step 



1 20 The A bbcy cf St. A Iban. 

History is altogether silent as to either visit or donation by either 
King Henry IV. or his son Henry V., and it is not until we reach the 
38th year of the reign of Henry VI., or 77 years after Richard's visit, 
ihat royalty seems to have again smiled upon the Abbey. May 22, 
14515, was a sad day for Henry VI., and one long noted in the annals 
of the Abbey. Upon it was fought the first famous battle of St. 
Albans, between the houses of York and Lancaster, which although it 
lasted but one short hour, yet proved so disastrous to Henry, and left 
him wounded in the neck by an arrow, and a prisoner to the Duke of 
York. The King remained on the field until he was left perfectly 
alone, under his royal banner, when he took refuge in a baker's shop, 
and was there visited by the conquering Duke, who bending his knee 
bade him " Rejoice, as the traitor Somerset was slain," — and then led 
the King, first to the shrine of St. Alban, and afterwards to his apart- 
ments in the Abbey ; on the following day he took him to London. 
In 1459, however, Henry and his Queen, with their youthful and only 
son, Edward Prince of Wales, then in his 7th year (called by Speed 
*' The child of sorrow and infelicity"), visited the Abbey, and were 
entertained by John of Wheathampstead, the 33rd Abbot, and by far 
the most famous and illustrious of all the rulers of the Monastery. 

At Easter, 1459, ^^^ King again passed his holidays at the Abbey; 
being altogether without means to adequately acknowledge the hos- 
pitality shown him, he ordered his best robe to be given to the Abbot 
as a token of his satisfaction. His treasurer, however, knowing that 
the King had not a second robe to his back, was amazed at the 
royal command, but with admirable presence of mind, whilst affecting 
to obey the King's wishes, whispered in the Abbot's ear, that •' some 
of those days " he would send him fifty marks instead of the robe, but 



or steps), may certainly be called a lofty throne. Mr. Riley surmises that this 
portrait was painted for Abbot William de Colchester. Upon that Abbot's 
dissjrace, and in order to protect the portrait from the Bolingbroke party, when 
Richard was unseated, it is supposed to have been removed from the Abbot's 
palace to the interior of the Abbey, where no one could molest it under penalties 
of sacrilege. "This," says \.\\q Athenceum, "is more probable, perhaps, than 
another suggestion which has been made respecting the origin of this portrait. 
The Earl of Arundel, who had been ordered to attend the funeral of Richard's 
Queen, arrived so late in the Abbey, that the angry King on seeing the Earl 
and his indifference, seized a beadle's staff, knocked Arundel down, and would 
have murdered him on the spot but for the bystanders. As it was, blood from 
the Earl's wound desecrated the Abbey, and the rites were suspended till 
prayer had cleansed the place of sacrilege. It has been suggested that, in part 
expiation of the crime, Richard gave this, the first painted presentment now 
extant of any of our kings, to the Abbey ; but, as it seems lo have been at St. 
Aibans before it wns at Westminster, Mr. Riley's later surmise seems to bear 
Ihe greater amount of probability." 



The A bbey of St. A Iban. 1 2 1 

Henry, Clearing of the arrangement, would brook no delay in payment 
sf the money, and insisted on the Prior sending specially to London 
for it, which was done. The King had it counted, and paid over by 
the Lord Treasurer in the royal presence, but imposed as a condition 
that it should be expended by the Abbot in the purchase of gold cloth 
of great value, and commonly called " Cremsyne Thissue," and this to 
be made up in one cope or chasuble, two tunics, and one complete suit 
for the cover of the grand altar. 

On Shrove Tuesday (17th February), 1461, the hostile forces of 
York and Lancaster again met near St. Albans, when the fortune ol" 
the day rested with the Queen (Margaret). As night set in the 
defeated Yorkists fled precipitately, leaving their royal prisoner, 
King Henry, nearly alone in a tent with Lord Montague, his chamber- 
lain, and two or three attendants. The Queen on being apprised of 
her lord's captivity, attended by her son the Prince of Wales, flew to 
greet Henrj^. The royal family and their northern lords then went 
immediately to the Abbey, at the doors of which they were met by 
the Abbot John, attended by his monks, who chanted hymns of 
triumph and of thanksgiving for the King s safety. The whole party 
then proceeded to the high altar to return thanks for the victory and 
deliverance of the King, after which the shrine of St. Alban was visited 
for a similar purpose, and on the conclusion of their religious duties, 
the King, Queen, and Prince were conducted to their apartments in the 
Abbey, where they took up their abode for several days, and then pro- 
ceeded to London. 

With Plenry VL the royal favours shown to the Abbey were fast 
drawing to a close. It is true that Edward IV.'s pleasures of the chase 
in the forest of Whittlebury, led to his early acquaintance with the 
Abbey and its rules, but no record is left of any state visit, holiday- 
making or regal offerings by this King, although, from an entry in the 
Abbey accounts, it appears that John of U^heathampstead expended 
S5/. (no inconsiderable sum in those days) in entertaining the young 
King, Edward IV., at his first visit after his coronation. Tolerance 
and protection to the Abbey appear to have been the leading features 
in Edward's time. Richard III. however, both before and after his 
accession, showed great favour to the Monastery, and warmly en- 
couraged the completing and publishing of the celebrated St, Albans 
Chronicle ; but with his reign the last royal favour ceased for ever, and 
neither the ancient splendour of the Abbey nor its literary fame could 
any longer secure to it the grace and favour of the sovereign : it ex- 
perienced a fatal blow when Henry VII. ascended the throne. 



1 2 2 The A bbey of St. A lb an. 

Whilst under Morton and Fox the work of oppression and destruc- 
Hon became easy, yet with an hypocrisy only exceeded by his selfish- 
ness, the King affected to manifest great respect and devotion to this 
Abbey, as in the 20th year of his reign he caused the Abbot and 
Convent of Westminster to engage to pay yearly to the Abbey of St. 
Albans 100^., in order to keep and observe a most solemn anniversar)' on 
the 7th Feb. ; and thereon to pray for the king and his father, and when 
his mother, the Countess of Richmond, should be dead, for her also.* 

Chaucer and our early authors complain as to the treatment of bond- 
men, or villeins, which complaints certain modern writers say are 
grossly exaggerated, and that the condition of the Abbey bondman 
especially was little worse, comparatively, than that of a tenant farmer 
now. Here are two instances to the contrary, from the records of St. 
Albans. In 1353 Nicholas Tybbesone charged the Abbot of St. 
Albans and his fellow-monk, Reginald of Spalding, that they assaulted, 
beat, wounded, and imprisoned him the said Nicholas, and kept him 
two days in prison till he paid them a fine of 76 shillings to let him go. 
They pleaded that Nicholas had no right of action against them, as he 
was their bondman. He could not deny this, and was in consequence 
" amerced for making a false complaint." Again, in 1355, the Abbot 
and his men break into the close of one of his villeins, John Albyn, and 
carry off his bull and twenty-four cows, of the value of twenty marks. 
On suing the Abbot, he pleads that Albyn is his villein ; and consequently, 
the poor man not only loses his cattle, but " is amerced for making a 
false claim" to his own property. — {Atbenaum journal.) 

One of the monks of St. Albans was Malken of Paris, and another 
was one of the first of our English printers. The first book known to 
have been printed by Caxton in this country is dated 1474, and in 
1480 was published the earliest book printed at St. Albans Abbey, 
entitled Rhetorica nova Fratris Laurencli Gulielmi de Soona, Of this 
book three copies are extant. Two other works appeared the same 
year. In 148 1 appeared Aristotle's Physics, and a little after the St. 
Albans Chronicle, and then the Gentleman s Recreation, by the Prioress 
01 the neighbouring nunnery of Sopwell, Dame Juliana Berners. The 
subject may be thought singular for a lady in such a position in our 
time. The work consists of three treatises— one on "Hawking," 
another on " Hunting and Fishing," and the third on " Brass Armour." 

Facing the entrance of the south door of the Abbey church is the 

* Condensed and selected from an elaborate paper by H F. Holt, Esq., 
read to the British Archaeological Association Congress, at St. Albans, ia 
August, 1869. 



The Abbey of St. A lb an, 123 

monument to Humphrey, brother to King Henry V., commonly distm- 
guished by the title of the Good Duke Humphrey. It is adorned with a 
ducal coronet, and the arms of France and England. In niches on one 
side are seventeen Kings ; but in the niches on the other side there are 
no statues remaining. Before this monument is a strong iron grating, 
to prevent the sculpture being defaced. The inscription, in Latin, 
alludes to the pretended miraculous cure of a blind man, detected 
by the Duke, and to the gift of books for the Divinity School at Oxford. 
It may be thus translated : 

"SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF THE BEST OF MEN. 

" Interr' d within this consecrated ground, 
Lies he whom Henry his protector found : 
Good Humphrey, Gloster's Duke, who well could spy. 
Fraud couch'd within the blind impostor's eye. 
His country's light, and state's rever'd support. 
Who peace and rising learning deign'd to court : 
Whence his rich library at Oxford plac'd, 
Her ample school with sacred influence grac'd : 
Yet fell beneath an envious woman's wile. 
Both to herself, her king, and country, vile ; 
Who scarce allow'd his bones this spot of land, 
Yet, spite of envy, shall his glory stand." 

In the chancel is the vault, discovered in 1703, in which the Duke 
was buried ; at which time the body w^as entire, and in strong pickle ; 
the pickle, however, has long been dried up, the flesh wasted away, and 
nothing remains of this great and good prince but a few bones. We 
were shown, many years ago, some dust, stated to be the Duke's !* 



* These mouldering remains gave rise to the following jeu d' esprit, by the 
illustrious actor, Garrick. In the summer of 1765,' Garrick and Quin (who 
was hardly more renowned for his merits as a player than for his fondness for 
good living), with other friends, visited at St. Albans, where, at the Abbey 
Church, they were shown the bones of Duke Humphrey ; Quin jocosely 
lamented that so many aromatics, and such a quantity of spirit, should be used 
in the preservation of a dead body. After their return to dinner, and whilst 
the bowl was circulating, Garrick took out his pencil, and wrote the following 
verses, which he denominated 

" QUm'S SOLILOQUY. 
•' A plague on Egypt's arts I say — 
Embalm the dead ! On senseless clay 

Rich wines and spices waste ! 
Like sturgeon, or like brawn, shall I, 
Bound in a precious pickle lie. 
Which I can never taste? 

•* Let me embalm this flesh of mine, 
With turtle fat, and Bordeaux wine. 

And spoil th' Egyptian trade ! 
Than Humphrey's duke more happy I I 
Embalm "d alive, old Quin shall lie 
A mummy ready made 1" 



1 24 The A bbey of St. A Iban. 

Near where the shrine stood is " the Watch Room,** in which the 
monks attended to receive the donations of devotees, as well as to 
guard the riches of the shrine. Beneath the above is a stone coffin, on 
which is inscribed an account of Sir John Mandeville, the greatest 
traveller of his time. He was a native of St. Albans, and dying in 
1372, was buried at Liege, in Flanders. 

Here are a beautiful stone screen, and some finely sculptured monu- 
ments of Abbots Ramryge and Wheathampstead, and Frederic; a brass 
plate to the memory of Sir Anthony Grey, of Groby, knighted by 
Henry VI. at Colney, but slain next day at the second battle of St. 
Albans, February 17, 1461. Abbot Frederic made the boldest stand 
against William the Conqueror. The battle of Hastings was over, 
Harold was killed in it, no head was made against William's sub- 
duing the whole island ; and he came on by slow marches to take 
possession rather than to subdue by force. Having passed the Thames 
at Wallingford, he rested at Berkhampstead, where Abbot Frederic 
stopped him by cutting down trees, and throwing them in the invader s 
way. By this delay the Abbot gained time to convene the nobility of 
the country at St. Albans, to consult about some effort to drive the 
Normans back, and free the country from their yoke; but their 
attempts to this purpose were vain. 

The Abbot's resolute answer to William is remarkable. Being 
asked by him, " Why he felled the trees to impede the army's pro- 
gress ?" he boldly replied, that " he had done no more than his duty; 
and if all the clergy in the realm had done the same, they might have 
stopped his progress." This produced a menace from King William, 
" that he would cut their power shorter, and begin with him." Thus 
St. Albans greatly suffered from the conduct of its Abbot, who, on 
the dissolution of the confederacy, was obliged to seek refuge in the 
monastery of Ely, where he died of grief and mortification ; while 
William seized all the abbey lands between Barnet and London Stone, 
together with the manor of Redburn; and would have effectually 
ruined the monastery, but for the solicitation of Lanft-anc, Archbish.op 
of Canterbury. 

The stately Abbey Church had fallen into partial and piecemeal 
decay, when, in the year 1832, a fund was raised for its substantial 
repair, under the superintendence of Mr. L. N. Cottingham, architect. 
The subscription was headed by King William IV., who, being 0:1 a 
visit to the Marquis of W estminster, at Moor Park, near Rickmanswortl., 
bis Majesty, during a drive through the grounds, halted to admire the 
massive fonii of th? Abbey Church, in one of the picturesque pros;)ect« 



Hertford Castle. 125 

from the beautiful domain. The opportunity proved a golden one to 
report to the King the repairs in progress, when his Majesty was 
pleased to signify his donation of 100 guineas to the funds. The good 
work has since been carried on ; and in the autumn of 1869, a hope 
was expressed by the Lord Bishop of Rochester for the speedy and 
effectual restoration of the interesting fabric ; and that ere long, when 
the necessity for aid has become extensively known, his lordship's 
wishes may be fulfilled, and that it may be possible to reckon b) 
thousands the visitors and benefactors of the Abbey of St. Alban. 

Here may be noted some particulars of Neckam, a scientific English- 
man of the twelfth century, a native of St. Albans, born on the same 
night as Richard Gccur de Lion, and suckled at the same breast. He 
became a distinguished professor at the University of Paris, and was 
afterwards elected Abbot of Cirencester. In his treatise De Naturd 
Rerum are many anecdotes characteristic of the times, and they 
especially teach us how great was the love of all animals in the Middle 
Ages, how ready people of all classes were to observe and note the 
peculiarities of animated nature, and especially how fond they were of 
tamed and domestic animals. The mcdiseval castles and great man- 
sions were like so many menageries of rare beasts and birds of aU. 
kinds. His love for symbolism is great ; and wonderful is his dis- 
covery of the whole doctrine of the Trinity in the first word of the 
Book of Genesis in Hebrew. Neckam was a precursor of Bacon, who 
speaks of him respectfully, but declines to admit him as an authority. 



Hertford Castle. 

Hertford is a town of considerable antiquity, by some writers thought 
to have been originally a Roman station. In 673, a national eccle- 
siastical council was held here by Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
to compel submission to the Papal see ; two of the Saxon Kings at- 
tended. About 905, Edward the Elder erected the Castle, and re- 
built the town, which had probably been ruined by the Danes. In the 
Civil War of the reign of John, the Castle was taken, after a stout 
defence, by the Dauphin Louis and the revolted Barons. It next 
came to the Grown. In 1357, Isabella, Queen of Edward II., was re- 
siding here, as we learn from the very interesting account of her last 
days, drawn from the Book of her Household Expenses, by Mr. E, 
A. Bond, F.S.A., of the British Museum. We have here detailed her 



1 26 Berkhampsiead Castle, 

pilgrimage from Hertford Castle to Canterbuiy ; her reception of the 
renowned Captal de Buche, cousin of the Comte de Foix, who took 
part in the battle of Poitiers, and while at Hertford Castle was visited 
by several noble captives, taken in that battle. Then we read of Queen 
Isabella resting at Tottenham, on her way to Hertford, and presenting 
a gift to the nuns at Cheshunt, who met the Queen at the Cross. 
Isabella died at Hertford Castle, although often stated to have expired at 
Castle Rising. We have an account of numerous journeys of medical 
attendants, and bearers of messages during the month the Queen lay 
ill. Her body lay at Hertford, in the chapel of the Castle, whence her 
funeral left for London, for interment in the church of the Grey 
Friars. 

In 1362, at Hertford Castle, died Joan, wife of David, King of 
Scotland, and sister of Edward III., during whose reign Jean II., King 
of France, and David, King of Scotland, spent part of their captivity 
here. In 1369, Henry, Duke of Lancaster (afterwards Henry IV.), 
kept his Court here when Richard II. was deposed. The Castle was 
then granted in succession to John of Gaunt, and to the Queens of 
Henry IV., V., and VI.; the latter sovereign spent his Easter here in 
1429. Queen Elizabeth occasionally resided and held her Court in 
Hertford Castle. 



Berkhampstead Castle. 

Berkhamstead, or Berkhampstead, as it is generally though comiptly 
HTitten, is an ancient market town in Herts, seemingly of Saxon origin. 
The name is certainly Saxon — Berg signifying a hill. Earn a town, and 
Stedt, a seat, it being seated among the hills ; or it may be fiom Burg^ 
a fortified place, and Ham-stede, the fortified Hamstede, homestead. 
The kings of Mercia had certainly a palace or Castle at this place, and 
to this we may attribute the growth if not the origin of the town. 
William the Conqueror came to Berkhampstead on his way through 
Wallingford to London, after the battle of Hastings, and was obliged 
to make some stay there, his further progress having been intercepted 
by Frederic, Abbot of St. Albans, as described in page 27. The 
grand meeting afterwards held at Berkhampstead between William and 
the notJlc prelates who belonged to the powerful confederacy Abbot 
Frederic, who waS of the royal blood of the Saxons, had organized 
with the object of compelling the Norman to rule according to the 
ancient laws and customs of the country, or else of doing their utmoet 



Berkhampstcad Castle. 127 

to raise Edgar Atheling to the throne. William thought it prudent 
to take the required oath, and it is well known how he neglected it 
when he was firmly seated on the throne. In the distribution of 
territory among his followers which then took place, the Castle and 
Manor of Berkhampstead were given to his half-brother, the Earl of 
Mortaigne. Domesday Book informs us that the property was rated at 
thirteen hides, and that it was worth twenty-four pounds when 
bestowed on the Earl, but only sixteen pounds at Domesday time. 
Among other curious particulars in this account, it is mentioned that 
the land contained two arpends of vineyards. The Earl enlarged and 
strengthened the Castle ; but in the time of his son, it was seized by 
Henry I., and, according to most accounts, razed to the ground, on 
account of the rebellion of its possessor, William, Earl of Mortaigne ; 
and the town and manor reverted to the Crown. It is probable, how- 
ever, that the demolition was only a partial one, or that the Castle was 
soon after rebuilt, as Henry II. occasionally kept his Court here, and 
granted great privileges " to the men and merchants of the honour 
of Wallingford and Berkhamsted St. Peter's." Among them it was 
granted that they should have " firm peace in all his land of England and 
Normandy, wheresoever they should be," with the enjoyment of all the 
laws and customs which they had in the time of Edward the Confessor 
and King Henry, his grandfather. He also granted that wheresoever 
they should go with their merchandizes to buy or sell through all 
England, Normandy, Anjou, and Aquitaine, they should be free from 
all toll and all secular customs and exactions, and all servile works ; and 
should any man vex or disturb them, he rendered himself liable to 
a penalty of ten pounds. 

Robert, the Conqueror's half-brother, was Earl of Cornwall, and 
we find that the honour of Berkhamstead almost invariably accom- 
panied every subsequent grant of the earldom. The Castle was given 
by Henry II. to Becket. At a later date it was the jointure of Queen 
Isabelle, the bride of King John ; and in 12 16 it was besieged by Louis 
the Dauphin of France, who had come over to assist the discontented 
barons. The besieged held out till the King sent them ordei"s to 
suiTender. It was then the dower of the second queen of Edward I. , 
it next belonged to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, better known as the 
King of the Romans, who died here ; and later still was granted by 
King Edward II. to his favourite. Piers Gaveston. When Edward III., 
in the twenty-eighth year of his reign, advanced his eldest son, Edward 
the Black Prince, to the title and dignity of Duke of Cornwall, 
the Castle and Manor of Berkhampstcad were given to him '• to hold 



128 Berkhampstead Castle, 

to him and the heirs of him, and the eldest sons of the kings of England, 
and the dukes of the said place." Here resided for a time the Prince's 
illustrious captive, John, King of France. Accordingly, the property- 
has since descended from the Crown to the successive Princes of Wales, 
as heirs to the throne and Dukes of Cornwall, under whom it has, for 
the last three centuries, been leased out to different persons. 

In 1496, Cicely, Duchess of York, mother of Edward IV. and 
Richard III., closed here her long life of sorrow and suffering, after 
witnessing in her own family more appalling vicissitudes than probably 
are to be found in the history of any other individual. The Castle at 
Berkhampstead appears to have been unoccupied after her death ; and 
was " much in niin," even in Leland's time. 

The place declined in importance after it ceased to be even occa- 
sionally a royal residence. The Castle became gradually ruined by 
neglect. The mansion, now called Berkhampstead Place, is said to have 
been erected out of the remains of the Castle early in the seventeenth 
century. The greatest part of this mansion was destroyed by fire 
about 1 66 1, and only about a third part was afterwards repaired, which 
forms the present residence. 

The Castle itself was situated to the east of the town, and though 
the buildings arc now reduced to a few massive fragments of wall, 
enough remains to evince the ancient strength and importance of 
the fortress. The works are nearly circular, and include about eleven 
acres. It was defended on the north-east by a double and on the other 
side by a triple moat. These moats are still in some parts wide and 
deep. On the bank, between the second and third moat fi'om the 
outside, are two rude piers of masonry, "between which the entrance 
probably lay over drawbridges connecting the several moats. The 
space enclosed by the inner moat is surrounded by a wall, constructed 
with flints coarsely cemented together, within which stood the 
habitable part of the Castle. Strongly as this Castle was fortified, it 
could not have been tenable after the invention of cannon, as its site, 
though elevated, is commanded by still higher eminences on the north 
and north-east. An account, written about fifty years since, describes 
the ramparts of the Castle as very bold, and trees growing on the site or 
the keep, which stood upon a high artificial mount. 

Although Berkhampstead was favoured by royalty, their visits were 
respectively but of short duration. Berkhampstead had two reprcN 
sentatives in the Parliament of the 14th and 15th Edward III., but 
there is no record of such return from this place on a;iy other occasion. 
The charter of incorporation granted by James I. scarcely survived the 



Bishop's Stortford Castle. 129 

reign of his son Charles, uho is said to have had a great affection for 
the place, in consequence of having been nursed at the manor-house 
with his elder brother Henry, under the care of Mrs. Murray. It is 
certain that the place was much distinguished by the favour of Charles, 
both before and after his accession to the throne. 



Bishop's Stortford Castle. ^ 

Bishop's Stortford derives its name of Stortford from its situation 
upon the river Stort, and the prefix from having been, even from Saxon 
times, the property of the Bishops of London. Domesday Book records 
that the Conqueror gave the town and Castle of Stortford to Maurice, 
Bishop of London ; if so, he gave no more than he had previously 
taken, for the same document mentions that William, the last bishop 
but one before Maurice, had purchased the manor of the Lady Eddeva. 
It was worth eight pounds per annum, but had been worth ten in the 
time of the Confessor. The small Castle, which stood on an artificial 
hill, is said to have been built by William the Conqueror, to protect 
the trade of the town, and to keep it in subjection at the same time. 
It was, however, thought to have existed before the Conquest, and to 
have been strengthened and repaired by the King. It was called Wayte- 
more Castle, and stood on a piece of land surrounded by the Stort. 
The site is thought to have been occupied as a Roman camp, as Roman 
coins of the lower empire have been found in the Castle gardens. It 
was a fortress of some consequence in the time of King Stephen, and 
the Empress Maud endeavoured, but ineffectually, to prevail upon the 
Bishop to exchange with her for other lands. King John caused the 
Castle to be demolished in revenge for the active part which Bishop 
William de St. Maria took against him in his difference with the Pope. 
When the Pope triumphed over the King, the latter found it neces- 
sary to give the Bishop his own manor of Guildford, in Surrey, to 
atone for the demolition of this Castle. " The Castle hill," says 
Salmon (in \i\% History of Hertfordshire, 1728), "stands yet a monument 
of King John's powder and revenge ; and the Bishop's lands remain a 
monument of the Pope's entire victory over him." 

Some of the outbuildings and parts of the Castle were standing in the 
seventeenth century. The bishops continued to appoint a custos, or 
Keeper of " the Castle and Gaol of Stortford" till the time of James I. 
The last who made use of the prison was Bishop Bonner, in the time c^ 



130 Bishop' s Stortford Castle. 

Queen Maiy, who in its deep and dark dungeon confined convicted 
Protestants, whence it obtained the name of the Convict's Prison ; of 
whom we learn, from the authority of Mr. Thomas Leigh, Vicar of 
Stortford, one was burned in Mary's reign, on a green, called Goose- 
meat, or God's-meat, near the causeway leading from Stortford to 
Hockerill. This prison, which consisted of several rooms, was sold 
about the year 1640, and pulled down, with the bridge leading to it, 
by the purchaser, who erected an inn near it. Some remains of the 
lower walls of the dungeon are yet to be seen in the cellar of an ale- 
house below the Castle Hill ; and quit-rents for Castle-guard are still 
paid to the see of London from many manors adjacent to Bishop's 
Stortford. 

The only fragments of the Castle existing in 1830 were a few stone 
walls of great thickness, overgrown with ivy, which stood on the lofty 
mount. The area formed by these ruins was planted with cherry, 
gooseberry, and other fruit trees ; and some yeai-s previously the people 
were allowed, on the payment of a trifling sum, to ascend the hill and 
regale themselves among the crumbling ramparts. Some ancient spurs, 
coins, rings, &c., have been found on this interesting spot ; and doubt- 
less, were it properly excavated and examined, many other relics would 
be discovered. A well still exists, which penetrates through the hill 
itself, and into the ground many feet below it. 

Here, as in many other cases, the Castle seems to have formed an 
inducement for people to settle in the neighbourhood, as it offered a 
place of safety, to which they could retire with their moveables in time 
of danger. It must have been a place of some consequence when King 
John demolished it, to punish the Bishops that boldly published the 
Pope's interdict against the nation. These daring ecclesiastics were, 
William of London, Eustace of Ely, and M auger of Worcester. 
Fuller, with his usual quaintness, writes, that " no sooner had they 
interdicted the kingdome, but with Joceline, Bishop of Bath, and Giles 
of Hereford, they as speedily and secretly got them out of the land, like 
adventurous empiricks, unwilling to wait the working of their des- 
perate physick, except any will compare them to fearfull boyes which, 
at the first tryall, set fire to their squibs with their faces backwards, and 
make fast away from them. But the worst was, they must leave their 
lands and considerable moveables in the kingdome behind them. ' 



131 



Moor Park, Rickmansworth. 

This celebrated domain was anciently the property of St. Albans 
Abbey, from which it was severed during the contentions between the 
rival houses of York and Lancaster. Henry VII. granted it to John 
de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who led the van of his army in the battle of 
Bosworth Field ; but it again reverted to the Crown, and was for some 
time in the possession of Cardinal Wolsey. The former house, nearly 
on the same site as the present one,*is also stated to have been built by 
George Neville, Archbishop of York. Edward IV. had promised to 
make that prelate a visit there, and while he was preparing to receive 
his royal master, he was removed to Windsor, and arrested for high 
treason. The King seized at the Moor all his rich stuff and plate, to 
the value of 20,000/., keeping the Archbishop prisoner at Calais and 
Hammes. The mansion was of brick, in a square court, entered by a 
gatehouse, with tower ; and the whole was moated. It had aftenvards 
several noble owners, among whom was the celebrated Lucy, Countess 
of Bedford, who originally laid out the ground in the formal style of 
her time. At the Restoration, if not earlier, the estate was purchased 
by Sir John Franklyn, whose son sold it to Thomas, Earl of Ossory, son 
to the Duke of Ormond, who also sold both the seat and the Park to 
the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth (son of Charles II. by Lucy 
Walters), whose widow, Anne, only daughter of Francis, Earl of 
Buccleuch, is said to have ordered all the tree tops in the Park to be cut 
oif immediately on being informed of the decapitation of her husband ; 
and the tradition is thought to be strengthened by the condition of many 
of the oaks at Moor Park, which are decayed from their tops. But the 
late Sir Joseph Paxton — a deservedly great authority in such matters — 
used to state this could not be the case. The Duchess of Monmouth 
sold the estate to H. H. Styles, Esq., who had realized a great fortune 
by the famous South Sea Bubble. After his decease, it was purchased 
by the great Lord Anson, on the united fortunes of his two uncles 
devolving to him. It had several owners during the next century, and 
is now the residence of Lord Ebury. The present mansion was 
built, it is stated, by the Duke of Monmouth ; but it was cased 
with Portland stone by Mr. Styles,, who also attached to it a magni- 
ficent Corinthian portico, and erected a chapel and offices, connected 
by Tuscan colonnades. His architect was Leoni ; and Sir James 
Thornhill painted the saloon, and acted as surveyor. He received for 
painting the ceiling of the saloon, after Guido, 3500/. Upwards of 



13- Moor Park, Rickmansworik 

13,800/. was expended in conveying the stone from London ; and the 
entire expense was more than 150,000/. The north front commands 
the finest view ; to obtain this, the hill was lowered ; which Pope thus 
satirizes: — 

" Or cut wide views through mountains to the plain, 
You'll wish your hill a shelter'd seat again." 

This, Pope observes, in a note, "was done in Hertfordshire by a 
wealthy citizen, at the expense of above 5000/., by which means, merely 
to overlook a dead plain, he let in the north wind upon his house and 
parterre, which were before adorned and defended by beautiful woods:" 
but this is not correct ; the view opens to a fertile vale, watered by the 
Gade and Colne, and embellished with noble seats and villas. The 
ball-room of the mansion cost 10,000/. A reverse of fortune attending 
a possessor, Mr. Rous, he had the wings pulled down for the sake of 
selling the materials. Under the chapel in the west wing were buried 
Mr. and Mrs. Styles, and their bodies now lie beneath the grass-plot 
contiguous to the west angle of the house. 

The Park is about five miles in circumference, and cost Lord Anson 
80,000/. in improving it. It is much praised by Sir William Temple. 
Lord Anson first planted here the famous " Moor Park Apricot ;" the 
lettuces are also famous. The entire estate now extends to nearly four 
thousand acres, the whole within a ring fence. 

There is a curious account of " the good Countesse Elizabeth Mon- 
mouth," stated to have died at Watford. She was the wife of Robert 
Carey, of Leppington, created Earl of Monmouth, Feb. 5, 1626. Sir 
Robert was a great favourite with his royal mistress, Queen Elizabeth, 
till he rashly committed the offence of wedding a fair and virtuous 
gentlewoman, Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir Hugh Trevanion, of 
Corriheigh, Cornwall. In his Autobiography he says : " I married this 
gentlewoman more for her worth than her wealth, for her estate was 
about 500/. a yeare jointure ; and she had between five and six hundred 
pounds in her purse. The Queen was mightily offended with me for 
marrying, and most of my best friends, only my father was no ways 
displeased at it, which gave me great content." Soon after the acces- 
sion of James I., in 1603, Sir Robert says: " My wife waited on the 
Queen [Anne of Denmark], and at Windsor was sworn of her privy 
chamber, and the mistress of her sweet coffers [mistress of the robes], 
and had a lodging allowed her at Court. This was some comfort tc 
me that I had my wife so near me." To the care of Lady Carey was 
committed " the baby Charles," when the royal infant was between 
three and four years old j and it was to her sensible management that the 



Hatfield House. ^33 

preservation of Charles I. fi-om deformity may be attributed. ** When 
the little Duke was first delivered to my v^^ife," writes Sir Robert, " he 
was not able to go, nor scarcely to stand alone, he was so weak in his 
joints, especially in his ankles, insomuch that many feared they were 
out of joint. Many a battle my wife had with the King, but she still 
prevailed. The King would have him put into iron boots to 
strengthen his sinews and joints; but my wife protested so much 
against it, that she got the victory, and the King was fain to yield." 
Again, Sir Robert tells us that, "at the Queen's death, in 1619, her 
house was dissolved, and my wife was forced to keep house and 
family, which was out of our way a thousand a-year, that we saved 
before." In the second year of Charles I. Sir Robert was created Earl 
of Monmouth, and died April 16, 1639. Both the Earl and the 
Countess were buried in Rickmansworth Church; but the monu- 
mental inscription in the chancel of that church does not state the date 
of the death of the Countess. — Notes and Queries^ 2nd S. No. 13. 



Hatfield House. 

The town of Hatfield lies nineteen miles north from London, and is 
of considerable antiquity. The manor of Hetfelle (as it is called in 
Domesday) was granted by King Edgar to the Abbey or Monastery 
of St. Ethelred, at Ely; and upon the erection of that Abbey into a 
Bishopric, in the reign of Henry I., a.d. 1108, is supposed to have 
acquired the designation of Bishop's Hatfield. It then became one of 
the residences of the prelates, who had no fewer than ten palaces belong- 
\ng to the see. The Bishop of Ely had a palace at Hatfield, which, 
with the manor, was made over to the Crown in the time of 
Henry VIII., but had been before that period an occasional royal 
residence. William of Hatfield, second son of Edward III., was born 
here. During the latter part of the reign of Henry VIII., Prince 
Edward resided at the palace of Hatfield. Upon the death of his 
father, Henry VIII., the young King Edward was escorted thence by 
his uncle, the Earl of Hartfort, and others of the nobility, to the Tower 
of London, previous to his coronation. In the fourth year of his reign 
the King conveyed the palace to his sister, the Princess Elizabeth. In 
the latter part of the reign of Queen Mary, the Princess was removed 
from the monastery of Ashridge, in Buckinghamshire, to London, and 
imprisoned in the Tower, in consequence of her being charged with 



134 Hatfield House, 

participation in the rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyat ; she was, how- 
ever, permitted to retire to Hatfield, under the guardianship of Sir 
Thomas Pope, the founder of Trinity College, Oxford. Here, in 
1587, the Princess was visited by Queen Mary, at Hatfield, when she 
was received with great state and festivity, and a child sang, accom- 
panied on the virginals by Elizabeth herself. Here, while seated 
beneath an ancient oak in the Park, the Princess received the intel- 
ligence of the death of Queen Mary : in the old palace Queen Elizabeth 
held her first privy council, and from hence she was conducted to 
ascend the throne. At her decease, her successor, King James I., ex- 
changed Hatfield for the palace of Theobalds with Sir Robert Cecil, 
afterwards Earl of Salisbury, about which time his Lordship com. 
menced building the present mansion of Hatfield, which he finished in 
1611. 

The brick entrance leading to the park and gi'ounds seems to be of 
a little earlier date than the reign of Henry VHI. A wall of several 
feet in thickness has been found, probably part of a building of much 
more ancient date. After entering, all that remains of the old palace 
inhabited by Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth meets the eye. A 
large portion of this is used as stabling and other oflSces. Here is the 
room where Elizabeth was kept for some time a State prisoner : the 
chamber which she occupied is situated in the north part of this build- 
ing : the exterior, of dark red brickwork still, is partly overgrown with 
ivy. The stable has a wooden roof springing from grotesque corbel 
heads, and is lighted from windows partly filled with stained glass on 
each side. This apartment is very lofty and of great size, and was the 
banqueting hall of the old palace : here were kept Christmas festivals ; 
and at Shrovetide, 1556, Sir Thomas Pope made for the " Ladie 
Elizabeth, alle at his own costes, a greate and rich maskinge, in the 
greate hall at Hatficlde, where the pageaunts were marvelously fur- 
nislicd." At night the cupboard of the hall was richly garnished with 
gold and silver vessels, and a " banket of sweete dishes, and after a 
\oide of spices and a suttlctie in thirty spyce, all at the chardges of Sir 
Thomas Pope." On the next day was the play of Holophernes. 
Queen Mary, however, did not approve of these " follirics," and ui- 
timatcd in letters to Sir Thomas Pope that those disgiiisings must 
cease. 

The present mansion is a fine specimen of the architecture of the 
Elizabethan period. It is built of brick, in the form of a half H. In 
the centre is a portico of nine arches, and a loftf tower, on the froni. 
of which 13 the dite 161 1; and ei»d» of »he two wings has two 



Hatfield House, ^^^ 

rMirets, with cupola roofs. By the north entrance you are admitted 
into a spacious hall, which leads to a gallery of great length, open 
on one side by a sort of trellis-work to the lawn. Here is dis- 
played a large collection of arms, some of which were captured from 
the Spanish Armada. Here is the saddle-cloth, of rich materials, 
which was used on the white charger ridden by Queen Elizabeth at 
Tilbury. There is another saddle-cloth, used by the first Earl of 
Salisbury. There are also models, &c., and weapons captured in the 
Crimean war. The various apartments used as bedchambers and 
dressing-rooms have a sombre, yet rich appearance. In each chamber 
there are wardrobes and other furniture, carved in the style of James l.'s 
reign. The mantelpieces of some are supported by massive pillars en- 
twined with flowers, by caryatides and other figures. In this wing 
a fire broke out in November, 1835, when the Dowager Marchioness 
of Salisbury, the grandmother of the present Marquis, perished in 
the flames. The building has been well restored ; and in the carved 
woodwork of a mantelpiece an oval gilt frame has been introduced, 
containing a well-painted portrait of the deceased Marchioness when 
she was a young girl. 

In the chapel, at the other end, is a stained glass window of con- 
siderable brilliancy. It is of Flemish work, and contains, in compart- 
ments, scenes from Bible history. The light streams in from the 
numerous windows on the dark oak floor, and lights up cabinets and 
furniture of curious workmanship. Here is a State chair, which is said 
to have been used by Queen Elizabeth ; and the hat which we are 
told was worn by the Princess Elizabeth when she received the mes- 
sengers in the Park. At the eastern extremity of the gallery is a 
very fine room, called the Great Chamber, and was probably used as 
such by the Lord Treasurer Cecil for his royal master. The large 
mantelpiece of various marbles has in the centre a statue in bronze of 
James I. There are several famous pictures in this room, amongst 
them a head of Henry VIII., by Holbein; heads of Henry's wives; 
a characteristic portrait of Queen Elizabeth, and other historical 
personages. 

The Grand Staircase is one of the most magnificent features of this 
palace-home. It is ascended by a flight of five landings, and occupies 
a space of 35 feet by 21 feet in dimension. The balusters are massive, 
and boldly carved in the Italian form ; above the hand-rail are repre- 
sented genii, armorial lions, &c. ; here is a carved hatch-gate, pro- 
bably to keep the favourite dogs from ascending to the drawing-rooms. 
The upper division of the ceiling is enriched by a very beautiful 



1 5^ ' Hatfield House. 

pendant in the Florentine style, and has been coloured and relieved by 
^old and silver enrichments, which are not, however, just to our taste. 
The wall is hung with choice portraits of the Cecils, many of them 
whole lengths, by Lely, Kneller, Vandycke, Zucchero, Reynolds, &c. 
One, the fourth Earl of Salisbury, has a novel appearance, there being 
a portrait of the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth rising rather above 
and immediately behind that of the Earl. It was discovered on the 
cleaning of the painting. The canvas originally possessed a portrait 
of the Duke of Monmouth, by Wissing; but this has been repainted 
over, and the fourth Earl painted on it by Dahl. 

At the foot of the staircase is the door of the Dining Parlour, and 
over it a white marble contemporary bust of Lord Burghley. This 
room is panelled throughout with oak, and has an enriched chimney- 
piece and ceiling. This apartment is in the east fi-ont. Adjoining are 
the Summer, Breakfast, and Drawing Rooms ; and the remainder of 
the eastern wing, on the Ground Story, is occupied by spacious private 
apartments, furnished in the olden taste : with massive fire-dogs for 
burning wood. Some of the most valuable pictures are in these rooms ; 
among them Zucchero's celebrated portrait of Queen Elizabeth. The 
entire collection consists of nearly 250 paintings, some of which in- 
clude the finest specimens of Zucchero, De Heere, Hilliard, Mark 
Gerards, and other esteemed portrait-painters in the reign of Elizabeth ; 
a portion of the collection having been the private property of that 
Queen, consisting of portraits of the favoured nobility and popular 
characters who formed her Court and household. There are five 
highly-finished original portraits of Elizabeth (including the large one 
by Zucchero), profusely decorated with jewels, pearls, symbolic eyes 
and ears, and rainbow. 

The Grand Staircase also communicates with the upper end of the 
Great Hall, or, as it is called, the Marble Hall, 50 feet by 30. It is 
lighted by three bay windows rising the whole height of the apartment, 
besides the oriel at the upper end, near which the lord's table stood in 
the " golden days" of our ancestors. A massive carved screen runs the 
whole length of the hall at the east end, with an open gallery, enriched 
with cai-ving, amidst which are introduced lions, forming part of the 
heraldic insignia of the family, bearing shields of the cartouche 
form, on which are blazoned the arms. The room is panelled with 
oak, and the walls lined with splendid tapestry brought from Spain. 
This hall presents one of tiie earliest departures fiom the ancient open 
timber roof and louvre ; the ceiling being coved, and its ten com- 
partments filled with relievo heads of the CiEsais. On asccndinjj 



Hatfield House. I37 

the staircase, the first apartment entered is the great chamber, called 
King James's Room, nearly 60 feet long and 27 feet wide, and lit by 
three immense oriel windows. This vast apartment has the ceiling 
elaborately decorated in the Florentine style, enriched by pendants, and 
most elaborately gilt. From it hang six gilt chandeliers, of pure 
Elizabethan design. Upon the walls are hung whole-length portraits of 
King George III. and Queen Charlotte, by Reynolds; and portraits of 
the Salisbury family. Over the lofty chimney-piece is a marble statue 
of James I.; and in the fireplace are massive silver fire-dogs. The 
whole of the furniture is heavily gilt. 

From King James's Room is entered the Gallery, which extends the 
whole length of the southern front to the Library. It is 160 feet long, 
panelled with oak, and has an Ionic screen at each end. The " Frette 
Seelinge" is entirely gilt, the intersections being ornamented in colours, 
in the same style as the coloured ceiling at the Royal Palace at 
Munich. 

The Library is of equal dimensions with King James's Room. 
Over the chimney-piece is a Florentine Mosaic Portrait of Robert 
Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, 1608. The books, prints, and manuscripts 
are ranged in oaken cases, and above them is a series of royal and 
noble portraits. Hatfield is rich in historical documents. Here are 
the forty-two Articles of Edward VI., with his autograph ; Cardinal 
Wolsey's instructions to the Ambassador sent to the Pope by Henry 
VIII., with Wolsey's autograph ; and a pedigree of Queen Elizabeth, 
emblazoned (1559), tracing her ancestry to Adam ! The State- 
papers in the collection extend through the successive administrations 
of Lord Burghley and his son the Earl of Salisbury, and include docu- 
ments which came into Lord Burghley's possession from his connexion 
tvith the Court. Here are no less than 13,000 letters, from the reign of 
Heni-y VIII. to that of James I. Among the earlier MSS. are copies 
of William of Malmesbury's and Roger Hoveden's English History ; 
a splendid MS. on vellum, with a beautifully executed miniature of 
King Henry VII. ; a translation from the French of " The Pilgrimage 
of the Soul," with the autograph of King Henry VI., to whom it once 
belonged. Of the time of Henry VIII. are a treatise on Councils, by 
Cranmer ; and the original Depositions touching the divorce of Anne 
of Cleeves. Of Edward VI., here is the proclamation made on his 
ascending the throne, which is not noticed by historians. Of the reign 
of Mary, is the original Council-book. The historical MSS. of Eliza- 
beth's reign contain memoranda in Lord Burghley's hand ; the Norfolk 
Book of Entiies, or copies of the Duke's letters on Mary Queen <rf 



1 5 ^ Hatfield House. 

Scots ; a copious official account of the Earl of Northumberland's 
conspiracies, &c. Here are plans, maps, and charts, fi-om flenry VIII. 
to the present reign ; the actual draft of the proclamation declaring 
James King of England, in the handwriting of Sir Robert Cecil ; and 
various MSS. illustrating Raleigh's and the Gunpowder Plots. 

Here are also several autograph letters of Elizabeth, and the Cecil 
Papers ; the oak cradle of Elizabeth ; the pair of silk stockings pre- 
sented to her by Sir Thomas Gresham ; and the purse of James I. Here 
are also original letters and other memorials relating to the political 
affairs in the reigns of Henry VII. and Edward VI. 

The Chapel, enriched similarly to the rest of the mansion, has a 
large painted window, and an oaken gallery hung with scriptural 
paintings. The chapel and a suite of ten rooms were completed by 
the late Marquis, the rooms being of different woods, as oak, walnut, 
ash, sycamore, &c. King James's bedroom has the fittings, it is said, 
exactly as when the King last used them. 

The picturesque park and gardens have many interesting objects, 
besides charming prospects, the richly coloured brickwork harmoniz- 
ing with the various shades of verdure. Near the house are a racket 
ground and riding-school. A host of historical objects and localities 
present themselves in the views from the windows of the mansion. 
Westward is the venerable Abbey Church of St. Albans, crowning a 
beautiful eminence ; the hill at Sandridge next breaks the line, and the 
wide-spreading woods of Brocket Hall and Wood Hall appear on the 
north. Eastward are Digswell House, Tewin Water, and Panshanger ; 
while south are Gubbins or Gobions, near North Mimms, once a seat 
of Sir Thomas More ; and Tyttenhanger, anciently the residence of 
the Abbots of St. Albans, to which King Henry VIII. and his Queen 
Catherine retired for the summer of 1528. There ai*e some brave old 
oaks, as the "Lion Oak," upwards of 30 feet girth, and 1000 years old; 
and Queen Elizabeth's oak : by the way, the man who brought her the 
news of Queen Mary's death, was one of many who supped once too 
often with my Lord of Leicester, and died in 1570, after eating figs at 
that table. 

The Gardens and Vineyard were celebrated as early as the days of 
Evelyn and Pepys, who, in their Diaries have described them.» Evelyn 
notes, 1643, March 1 1 — " I went to see my Lord of Salisbury's palace 
at Hatfield, where the most considerable rarity, besides the house 
(inferior to few then in England for its architecture), was the Garden 
and Vineyard rarely well watered and planted." Pepys notes, 1661, 
July 23,—" 1 come to Hatfield before twelve o'clock, and walked all 



Knebworth, 139 

alone in the Vineyard, which is now a veiy beautiful place again ; an*? 
coming back I met Mr. Looker, my Lord's gardener, who showed m? 
;the house, the chappel with brave pictures, and, above all, the gardens, 
puch as I never saw in all my life ; nor so good flowers, nor so great 
gooseberrys, as big as nutmegs." Then he tells us how, one Lord's- 
day, he got to Hatfield in church-time, " and saw my simple Lord 
Salisbuiy sit there in the gallery." The Vineyard is entered through 
an avenue of yew-trees, cut in singular shapes, straight and solid as a 
wall, with arches formed by the branches, and imitating a fortress with 
jtowers, loopholes, and battlements ; and from the centre turfed steps 
descending to the river Lea. The Vineyard is mentioned in the 
accounts of building the mansion and laying out the grounds, all which 
cost but 7631/. II J. o^d. 

The Privy Garden, on the west side, was very small, being only 
150 feet square: encompassed by a stately arched hedge; a close 
walk, or avenue, of limes round the sides ; in the centre of the plot a 
rockwork basin ; the angles of the garden occupied by small grass- 
plots, having a mulberry-tree in each, reputed to have been planted by 
King James L ; and bordered with herbaceous plants and annuals. 
The garden facing the east front is in the ancient geometrical style of 
the seventeenth century ; and below it is a maze, which belongs to the 
same period of taste. Below the south front is the Elizabethan garden. 
The northern ft-ont is the principal one, and here and at the south fi'ont 
three pair of metal gates were placed in October 1846, when the 
Marquis of Salisbury was honoured with a visit by her Majesty and 
the Prince Consort. To conclude, no hom.e in the kingdom, erected at 
so early a date, remains so entire as Hatfield ; the additions or re-erec- 
tions have been made accordant with the original style ; and the gates 
just mentioned are evidences of this judgment ; they were cast in Paris, 
and are extremely rich and beautiful in detail ; the coronet and crest 
of the family, in the head-way, being picked out in colours. 



Knebworth. 

This ancestral home of one so various and accomplished as to unite 
in himself the characters of the dramatist and poet, the novelist and 
statesman, possesses great attraction ; and when to this living interest 
is added the historic vista of centuries in the transition from the hiU 
fortress of the Norman period to the picturesque mansion of the Eliza- 
bethan age, much may be expected from the olden story of such an 



140 KnehivortK 

abode, and its eventful associations, as well as from the instant interest 
which attaches to the present distinguished owner. Such is Kneb- 
worth, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, the seat of Lord Lytton, who, on 
succeeding to the Knebworth estate, by the will of his mother, in 1843, 
took the surname of Lytton by sign-manual. 

Knebworth, which is placed upon the highest elevation in the county, 
was held as a fortress by Eudo Dapifer, at the time of the Norman 
Conquest. Sir Bernard Burke, in his Visitation of the Seats and Arm: 
of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain, tells us that Knebworth 
was possessed by Thomas de Brotherton, fifth son of King Edward L 
Plis eldest daughter and co-heiress brought the lordship of Knebworth 
to the celebrated Sir Walter Manny, Knight of the Garter ; and at his 
decease she continued to hold it under the title of Duchess of Norfolk. 
From her, Knebworth passed to her daughter and heir, Anne, the wife 
of John de Hastings, Earl of Pembroke. It was then sold to Sir John 
Hotoft, Treasurer of the Household to Henry VL From him it 
went to Sir Thomas Bourchier (son to Sir John Bourchier), Knight of 
the Garter, and was purchased of him by Sir Robert Lytton (of Lytton 
in the Peak), a Knight of the Bath, Privy Councillor to Henry VH., 
Keeper of the Wardrobe, and under-treasurer. Sir Robert Lytton 
immediately set about enlarging the fort ; and the work was continued 
by his successor, William de Lytton, Governor of Boulogne Castle. 
Knebworth was completed in the reign of Elizabeth by Sir Rowland 
de Lytton, Lieutenant for the shires of Hertford and Essex, at the time 
of the Spanish invasion. Queen Elizabeth frequently visited Sir Row- 
land at Knebworth ; and the room in which she slept at the time of 
the Armada, is preserved, and named " Queen Elizabeth's Chamber." 

Knebworth, thus enlarged, in the early Tudor style, was a large quad- 
rangle, the east front or gateway having iDeen a portion of the ancient fort. 
For many years it was but in part inhabited ; till, in 181 1, Mrs. Bulwer 
commenced the restoration of the mansion ; when three sides were, of 
necessity, removed ; and the fourth side, built by Sir Robert de Lytton, 
in a style resembling Richmond Palace, and erected in the same reign, 
was restored. Its embattled tower and turrets ai-e seen from the Ste^ 
venage station of the Great Northern Railway, from which Kneb- 
worth is 2 miles south, Stevenage lying 28.^ miles from the metropolis. 

The principal apartments in the mansion are the banquet-hall, the 
oak drawing-room, the library, and the great drawing-room or presence- 
chamber. The hall ceiling is of the age of Henry VII.; the screen 
Elizabethan ; the chimney-piece in the style of Inigo Jones ; and the 
walls arc b ing with suits of armour. A door leads to the capacious 



KnebivorUu 14J 

cellar, whither, in the olden time, it was customary for the gentle- 
men to adjourn after dinner from the hall, to finish their potations 
Another door leads to the oak drawing-room, where, in the reign 
of Charles I., the great Parliamentary leaders, Pym, Eliot, and 
Hampden, met their staunch supporter, the Sir William Lytton of 
that day. The library, fitted up in the style of Henry VI I.'s reign, con- 
tains two bronze candelabra, with lamps of bronze inlaid with silver ; 
they were dug up in Apuha, on the site of the palace of Joan, Queen 
of Naples, and are supposed to be genuine Roman antiquities. 

A double flight of stairs leads to the State rooms, the carved 
balustrades supporting the lion rampant, one of the ancient family 
crests. The staircase is hung with amiour and trophies, and family 
portraits ; and the windows are blazoned with descents from the 
alliance of Barrington and that of the St. Johns. The first State 
room has stamped and gilt leather hangings, carved panels, and an 
armorial ceiling. The long ante-room is hung with bugle tapestry, 
very rare. Hence, an oval drawing-room conducts to the old pre- 
sence-chamber (now the oak drawing-room), with armorial ceiling 
and windows charged with ninety-nine quarterings. The furniture 
includes items of the seventh and eighth Henries' reigns ; portraits 
of rare historic interest ; armour from the Crusades to the Civil 
War ; and some fine specimens of Italian and Dutch art. 
Over the hall is the music gallery, communicating with the Round 
Tower chamber ; whence a corridor leads to the Hampden cham- 
ber, where John Hampden once slept ; and beyond is Queen Eliza- 
beth's room. 

This fine old mansion is charmingly and lovingly described by its 
present owner, Lord Lytton — the poet, novelist, and essayist — to 
whom Knebworth was the cradle of childhood, the home of youth, 
the retreat and solace of a life-struggle, and is now at last the prized 
heritage of honoured age. That he knows every chamber and 
turret of the mansion, every wide prospect and sequestered nook of 
the estate, is, of course, only to be expected ; but that he should 
write of them, as he does in the following delightful and exquisitely 
finished passages, and of himself in connexion with them, so can- 
didly, and with so much spontaneous feeling — taking the reader into 
his confidence, and imparting to him his impressions as they rise 
■—is a graceful concession to the natural and intelligent curiosity of 
the tens of thousands who admire and regard him and are interested 
in hearing him talk of himself, which must be appreciated. In aii 
essay on Knebworth, by the noble owner of this ancient hall, the 



142 Kiiehworth. 

following morceaux of charming description and just and candid 
reflection occur : — 

Amidst the active labours in which from my earliest youth I have 
been plunged, one of the greatest luxuries I know is to return, for 
short intervals, to the place in which the happiest days of my child- 
hood glided away. It is an old manorial seat that belongs to my 
mother,* the heiress of its former lords. The house, formerly of 
vast extent, built round a quadrangle, at different periods, from the 
date of the second crusade to that of the reign of Elizabeth, was in 
so ruinous a condition when she came to its possession, that three 
sides of it were obliged to be pulled down, the fourth ye'; remaining, 
and much embellished in its architecture, is in itself one of the 
largest houses in the country, and still contains the old oak hall 
with its lofty ceiling and raised music gallery. The place has some- 
thing of the character of Penshurst, and its venerable avenues, 
which slope from the house down to the declivity of the park, giving 
wide views of the opposite hills crowded with cottages and spires, 
impart to the scene that peculiarly English, half stately, and wholly 
cultivated character which the poets of Elizabeth's day so much 
loved to linger upon. As is often the case with similar residences, 
the church stands in the park, at a bowshot from the house, and 
formerly the walls of the outer court nearly reached the green 
sanctuary that surrounds the sacred edifice. The church itself, 
dedicated anciently to St. Mary, is worn and grey, in the simplest 
architecture of ecclesiastical Gothic, and, standing on the brow of 
the hill, its single tower, at a distance, blends with the turrets of the 
douse, so that the two seem one pile. Beyond, to the right, half- 
way dow^n the hill, and neighboured by a dell girded with trees, is 
an octagon building of the beautiful Grecian form, erected by the 
present owner — it is the mausoleum of the family. Fenced from 
the deer is a small surrounding space sown with flowers — those 
fairest children of the earth, which the custom of all ages has dedi- 
cated to the dead. The modernness of this building, which contrasts 
with those in its vicinity, seems to me, from that contrast, to make its 
objects more impressive. It stands out alone, in the venerable 
landscape with its immemorial hills and trees — the prototype of the 
thought of death — a thing that, dealing with the living generation, 
admonishes them of their recent lease and its hastening end. For 
with all our boasted antiquity of race, we ourselves are the ephemera 



The collection in which this essay is included was published in 1835. 



Knebworth. 143 

df the soil, and bear the truest relation, so far as our mortality is 
concerned, with that which is least old. 

The most regular and majestic of the avenues I have described 
conducts to a sheet of water, that lies towards the extremity of the 
park. It is but small in proportion to the domain, but is clear 
and deep, and, fed by some subterraneous stream, its tide is fresh 
and strong beyond its dimensions. On its opposite bank is a small 
fishing cottage, whitely peeping from a thick and gloomy copse of 
firs and larch and oak, through which shine, here and there, the red 
berries of the mountain ash ; and behind this, on the other side of the 
brown, moss-grown deer paling, is a wood of considerable extent. 
This, the further bank of the water, is my favourite spot. Here, 
when a boy, I used to while away whole holidays, basking indo- 
lently in the noon of summer, and building castles in that cloudless 
air until the setting of the sun. 

The reeds then grew up, long and darkly green, along the margin ; 
and though they have since yielded to the innovating scythe, and I 
hear the wind no longer ghde and sigh amidst those earliest tubes 
of music, yet the whole sod is still fragrant, from spring to autumn, 
with innumerable heaths and wild flowers and the crushed odours 
of the sweet thyme. And never have I seen a spot which the but- 
terfly more loves to haunt, particularly that small fairy, blue-v/inged 
species which is tamer than the rest, and seems almost to invite 
you to admire it — throwing itself on the child's mercy as the robin 
upon man's. The varieties of the dragon fly, glittering in the sun, 
dart ever through the boughs and along the water. It is a world 
.which the fairest of the insect race seem to have made their own. 
There is something in the hum and stir of a summer noon which is 
inexpressibly attractive to the dreams of the imagination. It fills 
us with a sense of life, but a life not our own — it is the exuberance 
of creation itself that overflows around us. Man is absent, but life 
is present. Who has not spent hours in some such spot, cherishing 
dreams that have no connexion with the earth, and courting, with 
half shut eyes, the images of the Ideal ! 

Stretched on the odorous grass I see, on the opposite shore, that 
quiet church, where the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep — that 
mausoleum where my own dust shall rest at last, and the turrets of 
my childhood's home. All so solitary and yet so eloquent ! Now 
the fern waves on the slope and the deer comes forth, marching 
with his stately step to the water side to pause and drink. O 
Nymphs ! — O Fairies ! — O Poetry, I am yours again ! 



144 Knebworth. 

I do not know how it is but every year that I visit these scenes I 
have more need of their solace. My departed youth rises before 
me in more wan and melancholy hours, and the past saddens me 
more deeply than the present. Yet, every year, perhaps, has been 
a stepping-stone in the ambition of my boyhood, and brought me 
nearer to the objects of my early dreams. It is not the mind that 
has been disappointed, it is the heart. What ties are broken — 
what affections marred ! the Egeria of my hopes, — no cell conceals, 
r.0 spell can invoke her now ! Every pausing-place in the life of 
the ambitious is marked alike by the trophy and the tomb. But 
little men have the tomb without the trophy ! . . . . 

The churchyard— the village — the green sward — the woods— the 
fern-covered hills— the waterside, odorous with the reeds and 
thyme — the deep-shagged dells — the plain where the deer couch, — 
all united and blended together, make to me the place above all 
ethers which renews my youth and redeems it from the influence of 
the world. All know some such spot — blessed and blessing — the 
Kaaba of the earth — the scene of their childhood, the haunt of 
their fondest recollections. And while it is yet ours to visit it at 
will — while it yet rests in the dear and sacred hands to which it 
belonged of yore — while no stranger sits at the hearth, and no new 
tenants chase away " the old familiar faces," who has not felt as if 
in storm and shower there was a shelter over his head — as if he 
were not unprotected — as if fate preserved a sanctuary to the fugitive 
and life a fountain to the weary ! 

It would be strange indeed if this noble remnant of past times 
had not, in the progressive ages and amid the varying fortunes of 
its owners, gradually surrounded itself with traditions. One of the 
strangest of these was that of " Jenny Spinner, or the Hertford- 
shire Ghost," which is the title of a very interesting little book 
published at the beginning of the present century, and which tells 
the story of the nightly visits of the ghostly housewife that haunted 
the old mansion of Knebworth, and thrilled the hearts of the sleep- 
less, o'nights, with the sound of her spinning wheel. Under what 
doom this ghostly lady was compelled to draw out the thread after 
her own had been cut short, and at that witching hour, when every 
hooded ghost — whatever his occupations during the remainder of 
the twenty-four hours may be — gives himself up, as a rule, to mere 
vagrancy and aimless revisitings of the glimpses of the moon, it 
would be difficult to say. The old wheel upon which the spectre 



Sopwell Nunnery. 1 4 5 

spinner used to perform, and which was extant at the beginning of 
the century, has been destroyed, and we beheve the ghost is now 
seen no more. 



Sopwell Nunnery. 

Occupying a considerable space of ground, about half a mile 
south-eastward of St. Albans, are the dilapidated remains of this 
once famous establishment of monastic times. The nunnery was 
of the Benedictine order, and was founded about 1140, by Geoffrey 
de Gorman, sixteenth Abbot of St. Albans, on the site of a dwelling 
that had been reared with the trunks of trees, by two pious women, 
who lived here in seclusion and strict abstinence. The Abbot or- 
dained that the number of nuns should not exceed thirteen, and 
that none should be admitted into the sisterhood but maidens. He 
also granted them some lands, and their possessions were increased 
oy different grants from Henry de Albini, and others of his family. 
An estate in the parish of Ridge was likewise given to them by 
Richard de Tany, or Todenai. 

In the year 1541, Henry VHI. granted the site and building of 
he Nunnery to Sir Richard Lee, who had been bred to arms, as 
was the person who had previously obtained the grant of the lands 
ying contiguous to the Abbey church. According to Newcome, 
Sir Richard was indebted for Sopwell to the solicitations of his 
handsome wife, whose maiden name was Margaret Greenfield, and 
who was in no small favour with the licentious King. 

By Sir Richard Lee the buildings were enlarged and altered for 
his own residence ; and the surrounding grounds were inclosed by 
a wall and converted into a park. He died in 1575, leaving two 
daughters. By Anne, the eldest, who married Sir Edward Sadlicr, 
econd son of Sir Ralph Sadlier, of Standon, in the same county, 
Sopwell passed into that family. About the time of the Restoration, 
it again fell to an heiress, married to Thomas Saunders, Esq., of 
Beechwood ; it was afterwards sold to Sir Harbottle Grimstone, an 
ancestor of the Earl of Vcrulam, of Gorhambury. Sir Harbottle 
was a lawyer, and sat in Parliament for Colchester in the reign of 
Charles L ; and afterwards rose to eminence in the law. 

The rviins of Sopwell are mostly huge fragments of wall, composed 
of flint and brick. This Nunnery is said to have obtained the name 
of Sopwell from the circumstance of the two women who first 
*♦ L 



1 40 The Great Bed of Ware, 

established themselves here sopping their crusts in the water of a neigh- 
bouring well. Many of those who assumed the veil at Sopwell were 
ladies of distinguished rank, family, and learning. It has been said that 
Henry VIII. was privately married to Anne Boleyn in the chapel at 
Sopwell ; but it is better known that this ill-observed ceremony was 
performed in one of the chambers of Whitehall. 



The Great Bed of Ware. 

Ware, called IVaras in Domesday-book, lies on the great North 
road, and on the river Lea. In 1408, the town was destroyed by a 
great inundation, when sluices and weirs were made in the river, to 
preserve it from future floods. In the reign of Henry III., Margaret, 
Countess of Leicester, founded here a priory for Grey, or Franciscan 
Friars ; and here, too, was an alien priory of Benedictines, some re- 
mains of which existed to our time. 

^ A more popular object of antiquarian curiosity is, however, " the 
Bed of Ware," or rather a Bedstead, of unusually large dimensions, 
which has been preserved, between two and three centuries past, at an 
inn in the town ; and its celebrity may be inferred from Shakspeare 
employing it as an object of comparison in his play of Twelfth Nighty 
bearing date 1614, thus: " Sir Andreiu Aguecheek. Will either of you 
bear me a challenge to him ? Sir Toby Belch, Go, write it in a martial 
hand ; be curst and brief: it is no matter how witty, so it be eloquenti 
and full of invention : taunt him with the licence of ink ; if thou 
thou St him some thrice, it shall not be amiss ; and as many lies as will 
Ue in thy sheet of paper, although the sheet were big enough for the Bed 
of Ware, in England," Act iii. sc. 2. In a much later comedy, Serjeant 
Kite describes the Bed of Honour as " a mighty large bed, bigger by 
half than the Great Bed cf Ware. Ten thousand people may be in it 
together, and never feel one another." — Farquhar's Recruiting Officer. 

Still, we gather little from the county historian relative to the Bed. 
Clutterbuck, in his folio History, records: " One of the inns at Ware, 
knov/n by the name of the Saracen's Head, contains a Bed of unusually 
large dimensions, measuring 12 feet square, consisting wholly of oak, 
curiously -and elaborately carved. After diligent inquiry, I have not 
been able to meet with any written document, or local tradition, which 
throws any light upon the history of this curious Bed, to which 
allusion is made by Shakspeare, in his play of Twelfth Night. There is 
a date of 1463 painted on the back of the Bed; but it appears to be 



The Great Bed of Ware, W 

more modern than the Bed itself, which, from the style of the carving, 
may be referred to the age of Queen Elizabeth." 

In Chauncy's Hertfordshire, there is an account of the Bed receiving 
at once tw^elve men and their wives, who lay at top and bottom, in this 
mode of arrangement: first, two men, then two women, and so on 
alternately, so that no man was near to any woman but his Avife. 

The possession of the Bed has also been attributed to Warwick, 
the King-maker ; which tradition, in all probability, explains the date 
of 1463 — the period at which Warwick flourished, in the Wars of the 
Roses — which we suspect to have been painted to suit the story ; and 
which further states the Bedstead to have been sold, amongst other 
moveables belonging to Warwick, at Ware Park. 

The common story is, that the Bedstead was made by one Jonas 
Fosbrooke, a journeyman carpenter, and presented to the Royal 
Family, in 1463, as a rare specimen of carving, and for the use of the 
said Royal Family, for princes or nobles of gentle blood to sleep in on 
any great occasion. The King (Edward IV.) being much pleased 
with the workmanship, and great labour of the maker, allowed him a 
pension for life. 

There is also the following strange legend attached to the Bed : that, 
after many years, being much neglected, this Bed was used on occasions 
of the town being very full, for any large parties to sleep in; such as 
those engaged in hunting, or attendant on weddings, &c. Whenever 
so used, its occupants were always unable to obtain their wished-for 
sleep, being in the night subject to all kinds of pinching, nipping, and 
scratching, till at last the Bed became deserted. The reason is said to 
be this — that the spirit of Jonas Fosbrooke always hovered about his 
favourite work, and being vexed at the base use it was put to (he 
leaving made it for nought but noble blood to sleep in), prevented any- 
body else from getting a moment's rest. 

There is also a story of one Harrison Saxby, of Lancashire, a Master 
of the Horse to King Henry VIII., who having fallen deeply in love 
with the daughter of a miller and maltster, residing at Chalk Island, near 
Ware (she having other suitors of her own rank), swore he would do any. 
thing to obtain her. This coming to the ears of the King, as he was passing 
through Ware, on his way to his favourite retreat at Hertford, his 
Majesty ordered the girl and all her suitors before him, and, to set the 
matter at rest, promised her hand to him who would sleep all night in 
the Great Bed, provided he were found there in the morning. The 
suitors, all being superstitious, declined ; but the Master of the Horse 
complied, and retired to the chamber, though not to sleep, or rest j for, 



148 The Rye House and its Plot, 

in the morning, on the servants of the King entering the apartment, he 
was found on the floor, covered v^ith bruises, and in a state of exhaustion. 
The B?d is stated to have been kept at the Old Crown Inn, where 
they had a ceremony at showing it, of drinking a small can of beer, and 
repeating some health. It was at the Saracen's Head, in September, 
1864, when it was put up for sale by auction, at 100 guineas ; no one 
advanced upon it, and it was bought in. 



The Rye House and its Plot. 

In the parish of Stanstead, in the road from Ploddesdon to VVdic, on 
the Great Eastern Railway, in Hertfordshire, is Rye House, an ancient 
house erected by Andrew Osgard, in the reign of Henry VI., that 
monarch having granted him a licence to build a castle on his manor of 
Rye. Part of the building has both battlements and loopholes : it was 
the gatehouse of the Castle which Andrew Osgard had liberty to erect; 
and it is consequently among the earliest of those brick buildings 
erected after the form of bricks was changed fi-om the ancient flat and 
broad to the modern shape. 

The Rye House has become celebrated from having been tenanted by 
Rumbold, one of the persons engaged in the real or pretended con- 
spiracy to assassinate Charles II. and the Duke of York (afterwards 
James II.) in 1683, on their return from Newmarket. The plan of the 
conspirators was to overturn a cart on the highway, and when the royal 
cortege was thrown into confusion, to shoot the King and his brother 
from behind the hedges. Fortunately for the King, the house in which 
he was staying at Newmarket took fire, and he returned to London 
three days before the appointed time, which of course upset the plans 
of the conspirators. The plot, however, was betrayed, and the dis- 
covery led to that of another, though of a different nature, and by 
parties of a much more exalted station. In consequence of the infor- 
mation given, the Earl of Essex, and Lords Russell and Howard, Al- 
gernon Sydney, the great republican, and Hampden, son of the great 
John Hampden, the friend of Cromwell, were arrested, tried, and 
although there was in reality no evidence against them, were found 
guilty ; when, to the infamy of England, Russell and Sydn'^ were exe- 
cuted, Hampden was heavily fined. Lord Howard escaped by turning 
evidence against his fellow-prisoners, and the Earl of Essex was fouu'' 
dead in his cell, but whether from suicide or murder is a matter ot 
debate to the present day. 



149 



Historical Hertfordshire. 

At the Cflngress of the British Archaeological Association, held at 
St. Albans in 1869, Lord Lytton, the President, in his inaugura, 
address grouped the historical sites of the county with his wonteA 
felicity, being, from the long connexion of his family with the county 
of Herts, master of all its details : thus picturesquely illustiating the 
text of Camden, that " for the renown of antiquity Hertfordshire may 
vie with any of its neighbours, for scarce any other county can show 
as many remains." 

Lord Lytton remarked, that in that county and at St. Albans the Asso- 
ciation would find memorials and reminiscences, that illustrated the his- 
toryof our native land from the earliest date. Round the spot, too, on 
which they were assembled, one of the bravest and the greatest of the 
British tribes held dominion ; far and near round that spot they trod 
on ground which witnessed their dauntless and despairing resistance to 
the Roman invader. * * * * England never seemed, from the 
earliest historical records, to have been inhabited by any race which 
did not accept ideas of improved civilizatiou fi'om its visitors or con- 
querors. The ancient Britons were not ignorant barbarians, in our 
modern sense of the word, at the time of the Roman Conquest. Their 
skill in agriculture was considerable ; they had in familiar use imple- 
ments and machinery, such as carriages, the watermill and the wind- 
mill, which attested their application of science to the arts ot husbandry. 
The Romans were to the ancient world what the railway companies 
were to the modern — they were the great constructors of roads and 
highways. Again, to the Romans the Britons owed the introduction 
of civil law, and the moment the principle of secular j ustice between 
man and man was familiarized to their minds the priestly domination of 
the Druids, with all its sanguinary superstitions, passed away. It was 
to Rome, too, that Britons owed that institution of municipal towns to 
which the philosophical statesman, M. Guizot, traced the rise oi 
modern freedom in its emancipation from feudal oppression and feudal 
serfdom. When the Romans finally withdrew from Britain, ninety- 
two considerable towns had arisen, of which thirty-three cities pos- 
sessed superior privileges. Among the most famous of these cities was 
Verulam, which was a municipium in the time of Nero, and the remains 
of which were being more clearly brought to light by the labours ot 
the Association. The members would be enabled, he believed, to see 
at least the stage, the proscenium, and the orchestra of the only Roman 
theatre yet found in this country. Lastly, it was to the Roman coii'« 



150 His tot ical Hertfordshire, 

queror that the Briton owed, if not the first partial conception, at least 
the national recognition of that Christian faith whose earliest British 
martyr had bequeathed his name to St. Albans. 

When they passed to the age of the Anglo-Saxons their vestiges in 
that county surrounded them on every side. The names of places 
familiar as household words marked their residences. And here he 
might observe that the main reason why the language of the Anglo- 
Saxon had survived the Norman invasion, and finally supplanted the 
language of the Conqueror, did not appeal* to him to have been clearly 
stated by our historians. He believed the reason to be really this. The 
language that men spoke in after-life was formed in the nursery ; it 
was learnt from the lips of the mother. The adventurers of Scan- 
dinavian origin who established themselves in Normandy did not select 
their wives in Scandinavia, but in France, and thus their children leanicd 
in the nursery the French language. In like manner, when they con- 
quered England, those who were still unmarried had the good taste to 
seek their wives among the Saxons, and thus the language of the 
mothers naturally became that of the children, and being also the 
language of the servants employed in the household, the French 
language necessarily waned, receded, and at last became merged into 
the domestic element of the Anglo-Saxon, retaining only such of its 
native liveliness and adaptability to metrical rhyme and cadence as 
enriched the earliest utterances of our English poetry in the Muse, at 
once grave and sportive, at once courtly and popular, which inspired 
the lips of Chaucer. In the county in which they were assembled 
were the scenes of fierce, heroic conflict between the Saxons and the 
Danes. Where now stood the town of AA^are anchored the light 
vessels which constituted the Danish navy as it sailed from London 
along the Thames to the entrance of the river Lea. There they 
besieged the town of Hertford, and there the remarkable genius of 
Alfred the Great, at once astute and patient, studying the nature of 
the river, diverted its stream into three channels, and stranded the 
Danish vesr>els, which thus became an easy prey to the Londoners. 

Nor was the county destitute of memorials of the turbulent ajes 
which followed the Norman Conquest. When Prince Louis of France 
invaded England no stronghold, with the exception of Dover, restited 
his siege with more valour or with greater loss to the invaders than the 
Castle of Hertford, and under the soil around its walls lay the bones 
of many an invading Frenchman. At St. Albans, on the 22nd of iMay, 
1455' Henry VI. pitched his standard against the armies of the White 
Rose led by Richard, Duke of York, and the great Earls of Warwick 



Historical HertfordsJiire. 151 

and Salisbury; and then again, on the 17th of February, 1461, 
Heniy VI. was brought from London to be the reluctant witness and 
representative of a conflict against his Queen, who, however, delivered 
him from the custody of the Yorkists, and sullied her victory by such 
plunder and cruelty as a few days afterwards insured the crown to 
Edward IV. On the summit of Christ Church tower, at Hadley, was 
still to be seen the lantern which, according to tradition, lighted the 
forces of Edward IV. through the dense fog which the superstition of 
the time believed to have been raised by the incantation of Friar 
Bungay, and through the veil of that fog was fought the battle of 
Barnet, where the power of the great feudal barons expired with 
Warwick, the king-maker, and a new era in the records of liberty 
and civil progress practically commenced. For he was convinced from 
a somewhat careful study of the time that the contests between the 
Houses of York and Lancaster was not a mere dispute of title to the 
throne, or a mere rivalry for power between the great feudal chiefs. 
The House of Lancaster with its monkish King represented a more 
intolerant spirit of Papal persecution ; it was under that house that the 
great religious reformers had been mercilessly condemned to the gibbet 
and the flames, and the martyrdom of the Lollards under Henry IV. 
and Henry V. left a terrible legacy of wrath and doom to Henry VI. 
Besides the numerous descendants of these Lollards, large bodies of 
the Church itself, including the clergy, were favourable to religious 
refoiin, and these were necessarily alienated from the House of Lan- 
caster and inclined to the House of York. With the House of York, 
too, were the great centres of energy and intelligence, London and the 
powerful trading cities. The commercial spirit established a certain 
familiar sympathy with Edward IV., who was himself a merchant, 
venturing commercial speculations in ships fitted out by himself. Thus 
the Battle of Barnet was fought between the new ideas and the old, 
and those new ideas which gave power to the middle class in the reign 
of Henry VII., and rendered the religious reformation in the reign of 
Henry VIII. popular in spite of its violent excesses, shared at Barnet 
the victory of the King, under whom was established the first printing- 
press known in England. 

But Hertfordshire had also furnished the birthplace or the home of 
no inconsiderable persons. According to tradition, Cashiobury was 
the royal seat of Cassibelaunus, and passing to the noble family that 
now held its domains, it found an owner as brave as its old British 
possessor in the first Lord Capel, faithful in life and in death to the 
cause of Charles I. King's Langley was the birthplace of Edmund de 



1 5 2 Panshanger House. 

Langley^ the brave son of Edward III., and close beside it was bom 
Nicholas Brakespeare, afterwards Pope Adrian IV. Moor Park- 
was identified with the names of Cardinal Wolsey and the ill-fated 
Duke of Monmouth. Sir John Mandeville, the famous traveller, 
who, if he invented his travels, certainly beat them all in the art of 
romance, was a native of St. Albans. Panshanger was associated 
with the name of Cowper, while the delightful essayist, Charles 
Lamb, boasted his descent from Hertfordshire. Future archaeolo- 
gists will revere at Brocket, the residence of the two distinguished 
men who swayed the destinies of the country in our time as first 
Ministers of the Crown — Lords Melbourne and Palmerston, akin by 
family connexion, akin still more by the English attributes they 
held in common — an exquisite geniality of temper united with a 
robust and simple manliness of character. At Hatfield members of 
the Association would find a place stored with brilliant memories 
and associations. There still stood the tower from the window of 
which, according to tradition, the Princess Elizabeth envied the lot 
of the humble milkmaid, and there was still seen the trunk of the 
oak under which she heard the news of her accession to the throne. 
And what Englishman — nay, what stranger from the foreign nations 
to which, conjointly with the posterity of his native land, Francis 
Bacon intrusted the verdict to be pronounced on his labours and 
his name — would not feel that he was on haunted ground when he 
entered the domain of Gorhambury and examined the remains of 
the abode in which the Shakespeare of Philosophy united the most 
various knowledge of mankind with the deepest research into the 
secrets of Nature and the elements of human thought ? 



Panshanger House. — The Story of Spencer Cowper. 

Panshanger is a remarkably handsome, large, and splendid house, 
situated on the north-east bank of the river Meriman, in the midst 
of a spacious park in the county of Hertford, and about two miles 
from the town of that name. It is the family residence of Earl 
Cowper, but has only become so within recent years — Colne Green, 
at a little distance to the south-west, having hitherto been the 
favourite family scat. 

Panshanger was erected at the commencement of the last 
century, but was pulled down in 1801 by the Earl Cowper of that 



Panshanger House. 153 

date, and the present mansion erected near its site. The grounds 
are laid out with much taste. One of the " Hons" of the park is a 
huge oak, measuring seventeen feet in circumference at five feet 
from the ground. It was called the " Great Oak" in 1709. 

The collection of paintings here is exceedingly fine, and the 
different works are arranged in splendid apartments with much 
taste. '• The drawing-room," says Waagen, " is one of thos^ apart- 
ments which not only give pleasure by their size and elegance, but 
also afford the most elevated gratification to the mind by works of 
art of the noblest kind. This splendid apartment receives light 
from three skylights, and from large windows at one of the ends ; 
while the paintings of the Italian school are well relieved by the 
crimson silk hangings. I cannot refrain from praising the refined 
taste of the English for thus adorning the rooms they daily occupy, 
by which means they enjoy from their youth upwards the silent and 
slow, but sure influences of works of art." 

There are two invaluable pictures of the Virgin and Child, by 
Raphael. Of the Infant Christ, seated on his mother's lap, by Fra 
Bartolommeo, Dr. Waagen says, " This is the most beautiful picture 
that I am acquainted with by this friend of Raphael." 

Three or four portraits, and figure paintings of Joseph making 
himself known to his Brethren, with others representing in the 
most spirited way some old Italian legend, are by the great Andrea 
del Sarto. Of the portrait of the artist by himself the conception 
is extremely animated and noble — the tender melancholy wonder- 
fully attractive, and the finely drawn head very softly executed in a 
deep, clear sfumato treatment. There is a fine picture by Titian, 
representing three children, as well as admirable specimens of 
Annibale Caracci, Guido Reni, Guercino, Carlo Dolce, and other 
artists of the later Italian schools ; and examples also of Poussin, 
Rembrandt, Vandyke, and the English Wilson. The art treasures 
of this noble hall have lately been increased in number, and speci- 
mens are now to be seen of Perugino, Correggio, Paul Veronese, 
Teniers, Rubens, Caspar Poussin, and Sir Joshua Reynolds. 

The family of Cowper is descended from John Cowper, Esq., of 
Strode, in Sussex, during the reign of Edward IV. The third in 
descent from him was John Cowper, Esq., one of the sheriffs of the 
city of London in 155 1, and alderman of Bridge Ward. His son, 
William Cowper, Esq., of Ratling Court, Kent, was created a 
baronet in 1642, and was succeeded by his grandson. Sir William 
Cowper, M.P. for Hertford, whose eldest son and successor, Sii 



1 54 Paitshanger House, 

William Covvper, achieved a splendid reputation as a lawyer of the 
highest ability. His advancement was rapid and his political 
career illustrious. He was appointed Lord Keeper of the Great 
Seal in 1705, and elevated to the peerage in the following year as 
Baron Cowper, of Wingham, Kent. In 1706, also, he was chosen 
one of the commissioners for the arrangement of the treaty of union 
between England and Scotland. In 1707 he rose to be Lord High 
Chancellor of Great Britain. On the death of Queen Anne, Lord 
Cowper was appointed one of the Lords Justices until the arrival of 
George I. from Hanover. He was appointed Lord High Steward 
of Great Britain in 1716, for the trial of the rebel lords ; and in the 
following year he was advanced to the dignities of Viscount Ford- 
wick and Earl Cowper. Soon afterwards, however, he resigned the 
seals. He died in 1723, and was succeeded by his elder son 
William, second Earl Cowper, who assumed the surname Clavering 
before that of Cowper, in obedience to the will of his maternal 
uncle. He married Henrietta, daughter and eventually sole heiress 
of Henry de Nassau Auverquerque, Earl of Grantham, son of the 
famous marshal, and the sole descendant of the legitimized children 
of Maurice of Nassau. The second earl was succeeded by his SDn 
George Nassau, third Earl Cowper, who was created a prince in 
Germany by the Emperor Joseph II. as the sole remaining repre- 
sentative of the princes and counts of Nassau Auverquerque. He 
was succeeded by his son George-Augustus, fourth earl ; but he 
dying unmarried, the honours fell to his brother Peter-Leopold, 
fifth earl. The fifth earl died in 1837, and was succeeded by his 
son, George Augustus Frederick, sixth earl ; and he dying in 1856, 
was succeeded by his son, the present inheritor of the honours and 
estates of this famous house. Sir Francis-Thomas-de Grey Cowper, 
K.G., seventh earl. He is a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, 
and as heir-general of Thomas, Earl of Ossory, eldest son of James, 
first Duke of Ormonde, inherits the barony of Butler in the English 
peerage, and that of Dingwall in the peerage of Scotland. 

The annals of this family are not wanting in those incidents 
which give to the sober page of history the colours of romance. 
William, the first baronet, and who owed his baronetcy to 
Charles I., was a devoted adherent to the royal cause in storm and 
sunshine, in good and evil report. He suffered for his fidelity in 
being subjected by the republicans to a long and severe imprisom 
ment. His fate was shared by his eldest son, who, however, died 
in confinement. It was in consequence of this sad event that we 



Patis hanger House, 155 

find the estates passing from the first baronet to his grandson. At 
the time of the Revolution the politics of the family underwent a 
change ; and indeed the Cowpers from this time onward may be 
ranked among the principal Whig houses. William Cowper, mem- 
ber for Hertford, had been in arms for the Prince of Orange and a 
Free Parliament, although his father had suffered death by im- 
prisonment for the King. This sudden and entire change of poli- 
tics drew upon the Cowpers at the close of the seventeenth and 
the early part of the eighteenth century a bitterness of party hatred 
and an amount of obloquy for which it is difficult, in these more 
tolerant days, to account. During the closing year of the seven- 
teenth century, after the session was over, and when the passions 
of partizans no longer found vent in the accustomed place, the vio- 
lence of the opposing parties manifested itself throughout tl e 
country, embittered provincial squabbles, and even influenced the 
decisions of circuit judges. 

The Cowpers, perhaps, suffered more from the deadly malice of 
political opponents than any other family of this period. 

Sir William Cowper, the M.P. for Hertford already mentioned, 
had two sons, William, his successor, who raised the family to the 
summit of its greatness, and Spencer Cowper, a barrister, and the 
grandfather of that excellent poet and most amiable yet most un- 
happy of men, William Cowper. 

By a strange chain of unfortunate, or, accordingly as they were 
viewed, suspicious circumstances, Spencer Cowper became impli- 
cated in a mysterious death which occurred in the town which his 
father represented in Parliament — Hertford. The death took place 
on the night on which the barrister arrived in the town, at the com- 
mencement of the assizes, and he was the person who was known to 
have been last in the company of the deceased. 

No sooner was suspicion attached to the name of Cowper than 
the Tory party of the town rose to the scent and exerted their ut- 
most endeavours, their ingenuity, and their political animosity to 
run their game to death. Spencer Cowper's elder brother, William, 
had succeeded his father in the representation of Hertford, and the 
family had considerable influence here. But among the electors 
there was a strong, active, and bitter Tory minority, and though 
Cowper had carried his seat it was not without a hard fight in which 
blows, that could not readily be forgiven, had been exchanged 
between the fierce politicians. An opportunity had now arisen for 
crushing the influence of the Whiggish Cowpers in Hertford for 



1 $6 PausJianger House. 

e\cr. A cadet of the family, one who was fast rising into practice 
as a barrister on the Home Circuit, was to take his place at theba.t 
on a charge of murder, and his enemies were resolved to leave no 
means untried to find a verdict against him. It seems astounding 
that gentlemen should have been not only willing but eager to in- 
crease their " political capital " by the sacrifice of a human being, 
but it is simply a fact undeniable and illustrated by many a story 
besides the following one : — 

Mr. Spencer Cowper, a barrister and a married man (this latter 
point should be borne in mind), set out at the Spring Assizes of 
1699 for the Home Circuit and took his way from London to Hert- 
ford on horseback. He was intimately acquainted with a Quaker 
lady and her only daughter, named Stout, who stayed in Hertford, 
and with whom he had on several occasions when visiting the town 
passed the night. He had on this occasion forwarded a letter to 
Mrs. Stout, announcing his intended visit to Hertford and intimating 
his intention to lodge with her for the night. On reaching the 
town, he alighted at an inn to get rid of the marks of travel, and in 
the meantime sent on a servant with his horse to Mrs. Stout's, with 
the message that he himself would follow in time for dinner. At the 
appointed hour he arrived and waited till four o'clock, when he left, 
after having arranged to come back in the evening and pass the night. 
Cowper kept his promise so far. He returned, supped with Mrs. 
Stout and her daughter, and remained conversing with them till 
about eleven o'clock, when orders were given to the maid in his 
hearing, and without any remonstrance or interruption on his part, 
to prepare his bed. This was done, but Mr. Cowper did not come 
up, as expected, to his room. The maid, after waiting and wondering 
at Mr. Cowper's delay, was surprised to hear the street-door slam. 
Going down stairs she was still more astonished to find Miss Stout 
as well as Mr. Cowper gone. At once she communicated with Mrs, 
Stout, who had retired some time previously. Her surprise was 
almost unbounded, yet having great confidence in Mr. Cowper 
she, at the time, felt neither alarm nor suspicion. The only feature 
of the mysterious case that seemed perfectly clear to her was, that 
her daughter must have gone out with Mr. Cowper ; for, as was stated 
in the subsequent trial, " the nature of the door was such, that it 
makes a great noise at the clapping of it, so that any particular person 
in the house may be sensible of another's going out." And the dooi 
had been heard to slam only once. 

Neither the young lady nor Mr. Cowper came back to the hous^ 



Paiishangcr House, 157 

The next morning the dead body of Miss Stout was found floating 
among the stakes of a mill-dam on the stream called the Priory 
river. The neck was slightly disfigured with swelling and black- 
ness, according to the deposition of one medical witness. Mr. 
Cowper was the last person seen in her company. 

These circumstances, the simultaneous or supposed simultaneous 
departure of the young couple from the house, and the body being 
found with marks that might indicate violence, rendered the position 
of Mr. Cowper, in relation to the case, very suspicious indeed. On 
many occasions has capital punishment been inflicted where guilt 
did not seem so apparent. 

Yet, on the other side of the question, there were many points de- 
manding attention and examination. It was known, and was proved 
in court, that Miss Stout was labouring under hypochondriasis, ii 
not actual insanity ; and that on certain occasions she had confessed 
that she had resolved on committing suicide to put an end to her 
melancholy. To one who conjured her to put all thoughts of self- 
destruction out of her mind the unhappy girl replied, " I may thank 
God that ever I saw your face, otherwise I had done it ; but I can- 
not promise I will not do it." It is thus evident that for some time 
previously Miss Stout had been contemplating suicide as the one 
cure for the melancholy that oppressed her. 

Mr. Cowper proved his innocence of the murder at once by an 
alibi. Mrs. Stout's servant distinctly stated in her evidence that it 
was a quarter to eleven or less when the door slammed ; and a 
dozen respectable witnesses proved that he was in the Glove and 
Dolphin Inn before the clock struck eleven — the distance between 
the mill-stream and the inn being at least half an hour's walk. 

It has already been stated that Miss Stout was hypochondriacal, 
if not actually insane. It is known, further, that her character was 
not above reproach, and that she cherished an ungovernable and 
unlawful passion for Mr. Cowper. She was in the habit of writing 
letters to him which no woman under the control of her judgment 
would have written. These letters were produced in court. In 
consequence of these letters Mr. William Cowper, the future Lord 
Chancellor, persuaded his brother not to stay again at Mrs. Stout's, 
but to take private lodgings. Mr. Spencer Cowper acceded to this 
advice, and only went to Mrs. Stout's to pay over some money he 
had received for her, and to excuse himself for not coming there to 
lodge as he had promised. He perceived that to declare this in- 
tention would give rise to a scene on the young lady's part, and 



158 Panshanger House. 

therefore, when the order was given to the servant to prepare his 
bed, he offered no objection. It was only when the two were alone 
that the explanation came. Having announced his resolution of 
putting an end to the intimacy between them, and then having de- 
parted, Cowper left the girl a prey to her passion and despair. She 
crept softly to the door some little time after, closed it gently after 
her, and sought in a suicide's grave the peace which her ill-regulated 
mind and the constitutional gloom which preyed upon her, denied 
to her in life. It need scarcely be added that the verdict was Not 
Guilty and that Mr. Cowper was discharged. 

The prosecution was conducted by the Quakers, to which sect 
the Stouts belonged, and the Tories, who were only too eager to 
spring at the reputation of an influential Whig family. The coali- 
tion between the Quakers and Tories formed an opposition, fired 
by religious bigotry and political animosity, which might have 
attained its aim but from the evident innocence of Cowper. The 
Tories exulted in the prospect of winning two seats from the Whigs, 
and the whole kingdom was divided between Stouts and Cowpers. 
The malignity and unfairness of the prosecution seem to us almost 
incredible ; but, on the other hand, Cowper defended himself with 
admirable ability and self-possession. The verdict gave general 
satisfaction, but even then the malevolence of his enemies did not 
cease. He was held up to public execration in a succession of 
libels. But the public did him justice, and his advancement in his 
career and in the good opinion of his fellow-men went on together. 
On his brother's elevation to the Woolsack, Spencer Cowper suc- 
ceeded him in the representation of Beeralston, and sat for Truro. 
He adhered to the Whig party inflexibly, and was a frequent and 
successful speaker. He was appointed Attorney-General to the 
Prince of Wales on the accession of George I., and at length he 
took his seat, with general applause, on the judicial bench, and there 
distinguished himself by the humanity which he had never failed to 
show to unhappy men who stood, as he himself had once stood, at 
the bar. 



159 



Cassiobury. 

Close to the town of Watford, and distant seventeen miles from 
London, is Cassiobury House, the seat of the Earl of Essex, a 
spacious and very beautiful building, in a magnificent and well- 
wooded park, through which flows the river Eade. The manor is sup- 
posed to derive its name from Cassibelanus, the British chief of the 
Cassii. In Doomsday Survey it is stated that " the Abbot of St. 
Albans holds Caisson." The whole of the land in the parish of 
Watford seems to have been comprehended in the manor of Cashio. 
The abbot continued to enjoy this among his other demesnes until 
the Dissolution, when it came to the Crown. In the 37th year of 
his reign, Henry conveyed it to Richard Morison, Esq., a learned 
and accomplished gentleman, about the place of whose birth there 
is much uncertainty. He spent several years at Oxford, where he 
made rapid progress in philosophical studies and in the classics. 
He then travelled in foreign parts, and having acquired the cha- 
racter of a learned and proficient gentleman, attracted the notice of 
Henry, who knighted him and employed him in several embassies 
to the Emperor Charles V. and other princes of Germany — in 
which expeditions he was attended by no less a personage than 
Roger Ascham. Morison was employed in the same capacity under 
Edward VI., and that prince finding the scholar full of zeal for the 
Protestant religion, appointed him one of the reformers of the 
University of Oxford. He afterwards resided many years abroad 
^during the reign of Queen Mary, under whom his emphatic Pro- 
testantism was not appreciated — and then returning to his native 
country, he began to build a mansion at Cassiobury. 

Of the distinctive character of this early edifice we have no precise 
record, but we may conjecture from his well-attested taste and his 
wealth that his mansion was both large and handsome, and that 
being built before the middle of the sixteenth century, it bcre the 
ordinary architectural features of the Tudor style. An old writer 
informs us that Sir Richard commenced '•' a faire and large house, 
situated upon a dry hill not far from a pleasant river, in a faire 
park, and had prepared materials for the finishing thereof; but 
before the same could be half built, he was forced to fly beyond the 
seas." Again he found himself out of tune with the times as far as 
his religious opinions went, and to prevent untoward complications 
he fled from England. He died at Strasbourg in 1556. 



l6o Cassiohiry, 

The building of the " faire and large house," however, was carried 
on and completed by his son. Sir Charles Morison. The mansion 
remained the home of the family for a hundred years, and it was 
not until the Capels, subsequently Earls of Essex, became owners 
of Cassiobury by marriage with the great-granddaughter of Sir 
Richard Morison, that the mansion was rebuilt. The first Earl of 
Essex of this line wholly rebuilt the house with the exception of the 
north-west wing. The house thus rebuilt, with its gardens, &c., 
are thus described by that prince of diarists, Evelyn, who, writing 
on the 1 6th April, 1680, says : — " On the earnest invitation of the 
Earl of Essex, I went with him to his house at Cassioberie, in Hart* 
fordshire. It was Sunday, but going early from his house in the 
square of St. James's, we arrived by ten o'clock : this we thought tcd 
late to go to church, and we had prayers in his chapell. The house 
is new, a plain fabric, built by my friend Mr. Hugh May. There 
are diverse faire and good roomes, and excellent carving by 
Gibbons, especially ye chimney-piece of ye library. There is in 
the porch or entrance a painting by Verrio, of 'Apollo and the 
Liberal Arts.' One room parquetted with yew, which I liked well. 
Some of the chimney mantles are of Irish marble, brought by my 
lord from Ireland, when he was Lord-Lieutenant, and not much 
inferior to Italian. The lympanum, or gable at the front, is a basso^ 
relievo of Diana hunting, cut in Portland stone handsomely enough. 
I did not approve of the middle dores being round, but when the 
hall is finished as designed, it being an oval with a cupola, together 
with the other wing, it will be a very noble palace. The library is 
large and very nobly furnished, and all the books arc richly bound 
and gilded ; but there are no MSS. except the Parliament rolls and 
journals, the trr.nscribing and binding of which cost him, as he 
assured me, 500/. No man has been more industrious than this 
noble lord in planting about his seat, adorned with walks, ponds, 
and other rural elegancies ; but the soile is stonic, churlish, and 
uneven, nor is the water ncere enough to the house, though a very 
swift and clcare streame runs within a flight-shot from it in the 
valley, which may be fitly called Coldbrook, it being indeed ex- 
cessive cold, yet producing faire troutes. 'Tis pity the house was 
Jiot situated to more advantage, but it seems it was built just where 
•Jie old one was, which, I believe, he onlley meant to repaire ; this 
eads men into irremediable errors, and saves but a little. The 
land about it is exceedingly addicted to wood, but the coldnesse of 
the place hinders the growtli. Black cherry-trees prosper even tc 



Cassiobiiry, l6i 

gonsiderable timber, some being 80 foot long ; they make alsoe 
very handsome avenues. There is a pretty oval at the end of a 
faire walke, set about with treble rows of Spanish chesnut trees. 
The gardens are very rare, and cannot be otherwise, having so 
skilful an artist to govern them as Mr. Cooke^ who is, as to ye 
mechanic part, not ignorant in mathematics, and portends to 
astrologie. There is an excellent collection of the choicest fruit." ' 

This mansion, as described by Evelyn, remained in the main 
unaltered for more than a hundred years. In the year 1800 it was 
pulled down by George, fifth Earl of Essex, and the present building 
erected from the designs of Mr. James Wyatt. 

We have seen from the brief description of an early chroniclet 
what manner of building was originally erected in Cassioburj 
Manor by Sir Richard Morison its first secular proprietor, and we 
have the minute, critical, and altogether admirable description of 
the mansion which succeeded it by Evelyn. We now proceed to 
notice the house as it at present exists. 

Cassiobury House, commenced in the beginning of the present 
century, is in the peculiar style of Wyatt's works, of which Fonthill 
Abbey and parts of Windsor are other examples. The general 
plan is square, with a courtyard or quadrangle in the middle. The 
entrance is to the west ; on the side of the sunny south are the 
principal rooms ; the private or family apartments are to the east ; 
while the kitchen, servants' offices, &c. are to the north. The 
entrance doorway is screened by a porch, and to the east of it is the 
great cloister, with five windows with stained glass, and containing 
pictures, mostly family portraits. The saloon between the dining 
and drawing rooms branches off from the cloisters. Its ceiling is 
adorned with the painting Evelyn mentions as belonging to the hall 
of the old mansion, and as having been the work of Verrio ; the 
subject being composed chiefly of allegorical figures — Painting, 
Sculpture, Music, and War. In this apartment are two cabineti 
containing numerous miniatures painted by the Countess of Essex 
The dining-room, a noble apartment with wainscoted walls, con- 
tains among other pictures, the " Cat's Paw " by Landseer, and 
the " Highlander's House " by Wilkie, together with numerous 
family and other portraits by Vandyke, Hoppner, and others. The 
grand drawing-room, a niost luxurious apartment, evincing the 
utmost elegance and refinement of taste, contains a number of the 
choicest cabinets, &c., and is adorned with rare and beautiful 
examples of the great English masters in Art — Turner, Galcott, 



1 62 Cassiobury, 

Collins, &c. The library extends over four rooms, named respec- 
tively the great library, the inner library, the dramatists' library, and 
the small library, and embraces collections of rare and valuable 
books in every branch of literature. In the rooms of the library 
the fine collection of the family portraits may be studied with 
advantage. Here, too, are still to be seen the matchless wood 
carvings of Gibbons, referred to by Evelyn, adorning the former 
mansion. There are in the library also a few relics that will be 
regarded, at least, with curiosity. They consist of the handker- 
chief which was applied by Lord Coningsby to the shoulder of 
William III., when he was wounded at the battle of theBoyne, and 
which still bears a stain as of blood ; a piece of the velvet pall which 
covered the tomb of Charles I. at Windsor, when it was opened in 
1813, and a fragment of the garter which the King wore at his 
execution. It is needless, after describing the principal rooms, to 
notice those apartments which have fewer pretensions to splendour. 
We may only add that the family portraits are very numerous, and 
embrace examples of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir Peter Lely, as 
well as the artists already named. There are also, scattered 
throughout the different rooms, excellent specimens of Rembrandt, 
Cuyp, Teniers, &c. 

Cassiobury Park has an area of about seven hundred acres, and 
is divided by the river Eade into the "Home Park," and the 
•' Upper Park." These are well wooded with majestic trees, the 
growth of centuries, conspicuous among them, besides the beech, 
oak, and elm plantations, being the enormous firs, resembling the 
giant trees of Norway. Several of the beeches cover an area of 
( 50 feet. The gardens of this ancient manor have been celebrated 
for more than a hundred years. 

Among the successive owners of Cassiobury several have been 
placed in conspicuous positions by the rush of the events of the 
country's history, and dependant mainly on the troubles caused by 
the Revolution. It has already been mentioned that the great- 
grand-daughter of Sir Richard Morison (we retain the spelling of 
the name given in Clutterbuck's excellent and sumptuous " History 
of the county of Hertford") married Arthur Capel and, being an 
only child, carried the Morison estates with her into the Capel 
family.^ 

The House of Capel is illustrious at once for its antiquity, and 
for the genius and the heroic qualities of many of its members. It 
appears to have sprung originally from Capel's Moan, near Stoke 



Cassiohiry, 163 

Neyland in Suffolk. Here in 1261 lived Sir Richard Capel, Lord 
Justice of Ireland. John de Capel was chaplain to Lionel, Duke 
of Clarence, son of Edward III., who in 1368 left his spiritual 
adviser " a girdle of gold, to make a chalice in memory of my 
soul." The faculties of the Capels seem to have been various. 
Another John Capel became a draper and citizen of London, and 
rose to be successively alderman, sheriff, representative of the city 
in Parliament, and Lord Mayor. This member of the family, whose 
prosperity was surpassed only by that of the renowned Whittington, 
himself a brother merchant, received the honour of knighthood from 
the hand of Henry VII. Civic honours were heaped upon him. 
He was re-elected Lord Mayor, and represented the city in several 
Parliaments. Dying in 15 15, he was buried in a chapel founded by 
himself, on the south side of the church of St. Bartholomew, near 
the Royal Exchange. His name is commemorated in Capel Court. 
His grandson. Sir Henry Capel, married Anne, granddaughter of 
the Duchess of Essex, sister of King Edward IV. Arthur Capel, 
perhaps the most famous member of this family, was born about 
the year 1614. He was brought up under the tuition of his grand- 
father. Sir Arthur Capel, Knight. In the troubled times, when the 
Revolution was growing to a head, he espoused the cause of 
Charles L, and was one of the most devoted, zealous, and most 
highly esteemed of the royalist nobles. It is of him that Charles I. 
writes to his Queen : — " There is one that doth not yet pretend, 
that deserves as well as any ; I mean Capel ; therefore I desire 
thy assistance to find out something for him before he ask." He 
was raised to the peerage with the title of Baron Capel, of Hadham. 
He was appointed Lieutenant-General of Shropshire, Cheshire, 
and North Wales in 1643, ^^^ he soon brought his district into an 
association and raised a body of horse and foot. In the same year 
he was named by the King one of the Council to attend the person 
of the Prince of Wales, and after frustrating a design formed to 
seize the prince he was instrumental in finding him a secure re- 
treat in Pendennis Castle, and afterwards in Scilly Island, whence 
he sailed with him to Jersey in 1646. In the meantime the House 
of Commons voted that his estate should be sold. Soon after he 
arrived in England, and, entering into terms with the Republicans, 
was allowed to retire to his Manor of Hadham, where he sought 
repose from the distractions of those troublous times in the affec- 
tion of his family and the intercourse of his friends. Impatient 
and restless, however, about the welfare of the King, he waited 

M 2 



164 Cassiohury, 

upon him at Hampton Court, and there Charles informed' him ol 
the overtures which the Scots had made, and of their design of 
entering England with a powerful army for the purpose of liberating 
him and restoring him to the throne. Capel now acted up to the 
instructions he had received in watching for the coming oppor- 
tunity, and in raising men to join the expected movement. In con- 
junction with the Earl of Norwich and Sir Charles Lucas in Essex, 
he raised a force of 4000 men and fortified Colchester, where they 
were closely besieged by Fairfax, to whom after a gallant resistance 
they surrendered on the condition of receiving quarter. Fairfax, 
however, in violation of all the rules of honourable warfare, caused 
Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle to be shot in cold blood 
under the walls of the castle they had so manfully defended. At 
their execution the Parliamentary general turned to Lord Capel, 
who was expecting every moment to suffer the same fate, and said, 
in excuse of this bloody proceeding, that, " having done what mili- 
tary duty required, the lives of the rest were safe, and that they 
should be well treated, and disposed of as the Parliament should 
direct." To which, this patriotic nobleman, with the true undaunted 
spirit of a Roman, replied that " they should do well to finish their 
work, and execute the same rigour to the rest." This saying of 
Capers was the cause of an altercation between him and Ireton, 
which is thought to have occasioned the severity of the sentence 
afterwards passed on the Royalist Lord. From Colchester he was 
sent, a prisoner, to Windsor, and afterwards to the Tower. His cou- 
rage and ingenuity enabled him to break from his prison ; but a strict 
search being made for him, and 100/. being offered for his capture, he 
was discoveredand taken in Lambeth, and again placed in the Tower. 
About his ultimate fate the court seemed to hesitate. They could not 
accuse him of treason — he had chosen his side, and had remained 
loyal to it, in the face of the utmost danger and at the risk of death. 
His lady petitioned Parliament on his behalf, and over this petition 
there was a long debate. But his enemies were numerous and un- 
forgiving. It was resolved that he should not be reprieved. He 
was condemned to be beheaded, 6th March, 1648, after having been 
on examination before the court five times. A short time before he 
went to the scaffold he told Dr. Morley, who attended him, that 
"if he thought there were nothing of vain ostentation in it, he 
would give orders that his heart should be taken out of his body 
and kept in a silver box until his Majesty came home (as he doubted 
not but he would), and then that it might be presented to him with 



Cassiohury. 165 

^is humble desire, that where the King, his father, was interred it 
might be buried at his feet, in testimony of the zeal he had for his 
service, and the affection he had for his person, while he lived." 
Being brought to the scaffold he mounted it with a firm step, and 
laying his head on the block met death with the greatest resolution. 
"In his life," says Fuller, " he wrote a book of meditation, pub- 
lished since his death, wherein much judicious piety may be dis- 
covered. His mortified mind was familiar with afflictions, which 
made him to appear with such Christian resolution on the scaffold, 
where he seemed rather to fright death than to be frighted with it. 
Hence one not unhappily alluding to his arms (a Lion Rampant in 
a field Gules betwixt three Crosses), thus expresseth himself : — 

' Thus, lion -like, Capel undaunted stood, 
Beset with crosses in a Field of Blood.' " 

This was the Capel who married Elizabeth Morison, and so 
became possessed of Cassiobury and the other rich estates which 
had been acquired by the merits and services (»f the founder of the 
Morison family. He was succeeded by his son Arthur, second 
Baron Capel, who was created Earl of Essex in 1661. On a charge 
Df being concerned in the " Rye House Plot " he was apprehended 
at Cassiobury and thrown into the Tower, where it is believed he 
was foully murdered — having been found dead in his cell with his 
throat cut. 

The estates are now in the possession of Arthur Algernon Capel, 
sixth Earl of Essex. 



166 



SUFFOLK. 

Dunwich Swallowed up by the Sea. 

Dunwich, in ancient times a city with six or eight churches, but 
now a mere village, three miles and a half from Southwold, stands upon 
elevated ground on the Suffolk coast, washed by the German Ocean 
It was once an important, opulent, and commercial city ; but unlike 
the ruined cities whose fragments attest their former grandeur, Dun- 
wich is wasted, desolated, and void. Its palaces and temples are no 
more, and its environs present an aspect lonely, stern, and wild. From 
the discovery of Roman coins here, it has been set down as a Roman 
station. With respect to its ecclesiastical history, we learn that Felix, 
the Burgundian Bishop, whom Sigebert, King of the East Angles, 
brought here to reconvert his subjects to Christianity, fixed his episcopal 
see at Dunwich in the year 636. The see was, however, divided, and 
Dunwich had the Suffolk portion only. In Domesday Book, Dunwich 
was valued as paying 50/. a year to the King, and 60.000 henings. In 
King Stephen's time the ships at Orford paid toll to Dunwich, which, 
in the time of Henry II., is said to have been stored with riches of all 
sorts. King John granted it a charter, and the wrecks at sea ; and to 
the burgesses the liberty of marrying their sons and daughters as they 
would. Here were certainly six if not eight parish churches, besides 
three chantries, the Temple Church, which, probably, belonged to the 
Templars, and afterwards to the Hospitallers ; two houses of Franciscan 
and Dominican friars, each with churches. The Franciscan walls 
remain within an inclosure of seven acres, with the arches of two 
entrance-gates, the group of ruins covered with ivy. 

The city being seated upon a hill of loam and loose sand, on a coast 
destitute of rock, the buildings successively yielded to the encroach- 
ments of the sea. In the rcign of Henry III. it made so great a breach 
that the King wrote to the Barons of Suffolk to assist the inhabitants in 
stopping the destruction. The church of St. Felix and the cell of 
monks were lost very early, and before the 23rd year of the reign of 
Edward III., upwards of 400 houses, with certain shops and wind- 
mills, were devoured by the sea. St. Leonard's church was next over- 



5/. Edmund King and Martyr: a Suffolk Legend, 16; 

thrown ; and in the T4th century, St. Martin's and St. Nicholas were 
also destroyed by the waves. In the i6th century two chapels were 
overthrown , with two gates, and not one quarter of the town was left 
standing. In 1677 the sea reached the market-place. In 1702 St. 
Peter's church was divested of its lead, timber, bells, &c,, and the walls 
tumbled over the cliifs as the waves undermined them. In 1816 the 
encroachment was still proceeding, when the borough consisted of only 
forty-two houses, and half a church. The place was wholly disfran- 
chised by the Reform Bill of 1832. 



St. Edmund King and Martyr : a Sufiolk Legend. 

In the ninth century the Danes had acquired considerable skill in the 
art of war, and during their invasion of England, in the year 870, they 
displayed more than their usual ferocity. Lincolnshire was attacked by 
them ; and here, according to the traditions of the country, they were 
resisted with more conduct and valour than in other parts of England. 
Three Danish Kings were slain in one battle. But fresh reinforcements 
of the invaders more than supplied the loss ; and five kings and the like 
number of Jarls or Earls, poured their barbarian hordes into the 
country. Great numbers of the inhabitants were slain ; and the monas- 
teries of Croyland, Medhamstede (afterwards Peterborough), Marney, 
Ramsey, and Ely, were laid in ruins. Their attacks had a settled plan 
of strategy and operation, which was to post their forces across the 
island, and also to occupy the best stations on the seacoast ; thence they 
now attacked East Anglia. At this period the East Angles were 
governed by Edmund, a King of singular virtue and piety, and 
who defended his people with great bravery. But the King was over- 
powered by numbers, defeated, and made captive. It is said that this 
event took place at Hoxne, in Suffolk, on the banks of the Waveney, not 
far from Eye. The catastrophe is picturesquely related by Sir Francis 
Palgrave, in his charming Anglo-Saxon History. " Being hotly pur- 
sued by his foes, the King fled to Hoxne, and attempted to conceal 
himself by crouching beneath a bridge, now called Goldbridge, The 
glittering of his golden spurs discovered him to a newly-married couple, 
who were returning home by moonlight, and they betrayed him to the 
Danes. Edmund, as he was dragged from his hiding-place, pronounced 
a malediction upon all who should aftei*wards pass this bridge on their 
way to be married ; and so much regard is paid to this tradition by the 



1 68 Sacking- of the Monastery of St, Edmund, Bury. 

good folks of Hoxne, that now, (1831,) or at least within the last 
twenty years, no bride or bridegroom would venture along the forbidden 
path. A particular account of Edmund's death was given by his 
sword-bearer, who, having attained a very advanced age, was wont to 
repeat the sad story at the court of Athelstane. Edmund was fettered 
and manacled, and treated with every species of cruelty and indignity. 
The Danes offered him his life on condition that he denied his faith ; 
but, firmly refusing, he was first cruelly scourged, then pierced with 
arrows, which were also shot at him as a mark : he continued steadfast 
amidst his sufferings, until his head was struck off by Inguair and Ubba, 
and the head w^s thrown into a thicket. 

Hence Edmund was reverenced as a saint and martyr, and is still 
retained in the Church Calendar. The ancient service contains the 
following legend of the discovery of his remains. A party of his friends 
having ventured in search of them, " they went seeking all together, 
and constantly calling, as is the wont of those who oft go into woods, 
' Where art thou, comrade ?' and to them answered the head, * Here, 
here, here.' They all were answered as often as any of them called, 
until they all came through the wood calling to it. There lay the grey 
wolf that guarded the head, and with his two feet had the head em- 
braced, greedy and hungry, and for God durst not taste the head, and 
held it against wild beasts. Then were they astonished at the wolfs 
guardianship, and carried the holy head with them, thanking the 
Almighty for all His wonders. But the wolf followed forth with the 
head until they came to the town, as if he were tame, and after that 
turned into the woods again." The remains were removed to a town 
originally called Badrichesworth, and there interred, the place being ir 
consequence called Bury St. Edmund's — a monastery having been 
founded there to his honour by King Canute. " Of this building, 
once the most sumptuous in England, only a few fragments remain ; but 
the name of Edmund, transmitted from generation to generation in the 
families of Norfolk and Suffolk, attests the respect anciently rendered 
in East Anglia to the martyred Sovereign." 



Sacking of the Monastery of St. Edmund, Bury. 

The final disasters of his reign were thickly gathering about the 
%ing, Edward H. The whole kingdom was in confusion; and whilst 
the Queen and nobles were in arms against the king, the burgesses and 
populace exhibited in the most lawless manner their dislike of some of 



Sacking of the Monastery of St. Edmund ^ Bury, 169 

the principal ecclesiastical corporations. The monasteries of St. Albans, 
Abingdon, and Bury St. Edmunds, suffered greatly. 

Queen Isabella, in 1326, landed in Essex on the 24th of September, 
with her son Prince Edward. She came to Bury St. Edmunds on 
Michaelmas day, and thence set out on that expedition against the 
King which, within four months, deprived him of his crown. His son, 
Edward III., was declared King on the 20th January, 1327. Eight 
days before this, on the 1 2th of J anuary, the discontented burgesses of 
Bury St. Edmunds assembled at the Guildhall, and determined on ex- 
torting from the monastery some change in the administration of the 
aifairs of the town and the property of the convent, which they had 
long wished to obtain. 

The very next day they took forcible possession of the monastery, 
committing vast destruction in it on that and the two following days. 
They continued in possession no less than ten months, keeping the 
monks in constant terror by frequent ravages ; but the chief ravages 
after the first three days were early in February, when they imprisoned 
the Abbot ; in May, when the secular clergy were conspicuously leading 
the rioters; and in October, when the complete destruction of the 
monastery seemed resolved upon, and for several days it was given up 
to the flames, the people carrying off the lead from the roof as it fell 
down molten into the gutters, and using tortoises and other appliances 
to ascend to the top, to remove this valuable material. At length, 
the presence of the sheriff put a period to the destruction, which had 
been so complete that they found no shelter for their horses except in 
the parlour of the monks. The King's judges soon arrived, and made 
such short work of their business that on the T4th of December nine- 
teen of the rioters were hanged. For several years the convent was 
engaged in lawsuits for the recovery of damages, of which very full 
particulars are preserved, till finally they got a verdict against the 
townspeople for 140,000/. ; which proved so ruinous to them that the 
King himself arranged with the convent to remit it altogether. 

In the narrative of the first attack on the monastery, the progress ot 
the spoliators is very clearly described. In the ravages the mob were 
split into so many gangs, all operating at once, and the destruction 
became general. In the first attack the rioters, about three thousand 
in number, having first broken the great gates and effected an entrance, 
destroyed the doors and part of the sub-cellary, drew out the spigots 
from the casks, and let the beer run out to the ground. Thence entering 
the cloister, they broke the lockers, carrols, and closets in it, and carried 
off the books and mumments. Afterwards they entered the chamber of 



^7o Sacking of the Monastery of St. Edmund, Bury, 

the prior, took thence vessels of silver and jewels, and broke the 
chests and closets of the sacristan, which they emptied of their valuable 
contents and muniments, and consumed his wine. Thence they visited 
the infirmary and chamberlain's department, caiTying off everything of 
value, and greatly disturbing the infirm monks. Next they broke into 
the treasury of the church, and spoiled it of a vast amount of gold and 
silver vessels, money, jewels, charters, and muniments. At a second 
visit to the vestry they carried off a quantity of the richest tunics, copes, 
chasubles, and dalmatics ; thuribles, festival or processional crosses, 
golden chalices and cups, and even took the ** Corpus Dei " in its 
golden cup from the altar of the church. They also plundered the 
refectory. During the summer they took away all the arras from the 
wardrobe of the Abbot, carried away in the Abbot's carts the victuals 
of the convent, broke the conduit, and cut off the water-supply, 
took down the church doors, and destroyed the glass windows of the 
church. 

For the last attack, on Sunday the i8th of October, they entered the 
presbytery of the church after vespers, but were driven out by the 
monks. They then rang the bell in the Tolhouse of the town, and the 
fire-bell in St. James's tower, and so collecting an immense multitude, 
they burnt the great gates of the Abbey, with the chamber of the 
janitor and master of the horse, the common stable, the chambers of the 
cellarer and sub -cellarer, of the seneschal and his clerk, the brewery, 
cattle-shed, piggery, mill, bakery, hay-house, bakery of the Abbot; 
Priory stable, with its gates and all the appendages ; the great hall, with 
the kitchen, and with the chamber of the master of the guests, and the 
chapel of St. Lawrence ; the whole department of the chamberlain and 
8ub-chamberlain, with all its appendages ; the great edifice formerly of 
John de Soham, with many appendagts ; part of the great hall of the 
priory ; the great hall of the infirmary ; a certain solemn mansion, 
called Bradfield, with the hall, chamber, and kitchen, which the King 
occupied so frequently ; the chamber of the sacrist, with his 'vinarium, 
or wine store ; the tower adjoining the Prior's house ; the whole home 
of the Convent without the great wall of the great court ; besides, 
within the great court, the entire almonry, from the great gates of the 
court, with a penthouse for the distribution of bread, as far as the hall 
of pleas, which they also burnt ; the chamber of the queen, with the 
larder of the Abbot and his granary ; the granary of the sub-cellarer, 
with his gate and the chapel built over it : the chamber of the cook 
in the larder of the convent, the pitanceiy, and chamber of the pre- 
centor^ 



Franilingham Castle. ^7^ 

The existing records of the monastery of St. Edmund, Bmy, are, how- 
ever, so numerous that vast information could be obtained beyond what 
has been attempted to arrange in this very interesting paper, in the 
Journal of the British Archaeological Association, by Mr. Gordon 
Hills. 



Framlingham Castle. 

•' Castle of ancient days ! in times long gone 
Thy lofty halls in royal splendour shone ! 
Thou stood'st a monument of strength sublime, 
A giant laughing at the threats of time ! 
Strange scenes have pass'd within thy walls, and strange 
Have been thy fate through many a chance and change ! 
Thy towers have heard the war-cry, and the shout 
Of friends within, and answering foes without, 
Have rung to sounds of revelry, while mirth 
Held her carousal, when the sons of earth, 
Sported with joy, till even he could bring 
No fresh dehght upon his drooping wing." 

James Bird. 

This noble fortress is said to have been founded by Redwald, or 
Redowold, one of the most powerful kings of the East Angles, between 
A.D. 599 and 624. It belonged to St. Edmund, one of the Saxon 
monarchs of East Anglia, who, upon the invasion of the Danes in 870, 
(led from Dunwich or Thetford to this Castle, from which being driven, 
and overtaken at Hegilsdon (now Hoxne, a distance of twelve miles 
from Framlingham), where he yielded, and was there martyred, because 
he would not renounce his faith in Christ, by the Danes binding him to 
a tree, and shooting him to death with arrows. His body, after many 
years, was removed to a place called Bederies-gueord, now St. Edmunds- 
bury. The Castle remained in the hands of the Danes fifty years, until 
they were subdued by the Saxons. 

William the Conqueror and his son Rufus retained the Castle in their 
possession: the third son of William, Henry I., granted it, with the 
manor of Framlingham, to Roger Bigod, in whose family it continued 
till Roger Bigod, the last of his race, a man more turbulent than any of 
his predecessors, but who was compelled to resign it to King Edward 
I. When the British Archasological Association inspected the fortress in 
1865, Mr. R. M. Phipson considered it probable that the old Saxon 
Castle was pulled down by King Henry H. ; and he quotes various 
accounts of wages paid expressly for its removal. The walls them- 
selves are equally decisive on this point, since nothing appears of an 
older date than the Norman architecture. The Rev. Mr. Hartshorne 



1/2 Framlingham Castle. 

is of opinion that the whole of the upper part of the building was 
erected upon old foundations ; and entries upon the Court Rolls of 
the Exchequer prove that the Castle was built about 1170. 

Edward II. gave it to his half-brother, Thomas Plantagenet, suniamed 
De Brotherton, from whom it descended to Thomas de Mowbray, 
twelfth Baron Mowbray, created Duke of Norfolk 29th September, 
1397. From the Mowbrays it descended to the Howards, Dukes of 
Norfolk, Sir Robert Howard having married Margaret, daughter of 
Thomas Mowbray, first Duke of Norfolk. His son, John Howard, was 
created Earl Marshal and Duke of Norfolk, June 28, 1483. He was 
slain at Bosworth Field, 1485; and his son Thomas, Earl of Surrey, 
being attainted, the Castle fell into the hands of King Henry VII., who 
granted it to John de Vere, thirteenth Earl ot Oxford, from whom it 
again returned to the Howards. Thomas Howard, third Duke of 
Norfolk, being attainted, it was seized by the King, who, dying the same 
year, his successor, Edward VI., granted it to his sister, the Princess, 
afterwards Queen Mary. King James I. granted it to Thomas 
Howard, first Baron Howard de Walden, youngest son of Thomas, 
fourth Duke of Norfolk, created Earl of Suffolk July 21, 1603; but 
his lordship making Audley Inn his seat, the Castle fell into decay, and 
his son Theophilus, second Earl of Suffolk, sold it, in 1635, with the 
domains, to Sir Robert Hitcham, Knight, Senior Sergeant to James I., 
who bequeathed it, August 10, 1636, to the master and scholars of 
Pembroke College, in trust for certain charitable uses; since which 
time the Castle has remained in a dismantled state. 

The defences consisted of an outer and an inner moat ; the latter 
running close to the walls, except on the west side, where the broad 
expanse of the mere probably afforded sufficient protection. The outer 
wtill is all that remains of the ancient building. The greatest changes 
were probably made by the Dukes of Norfolk, who built the church at 
Framlingham, in the reign of Henry VIII.; and it was probably at 
that period that nearly all the walls above the present surface were 
built. Mr. Hartshorne is of opinion that there was a keep to the Castle, 
and that it stood in the south-west angle. With respect to the disposi- 
tion of the space inside the walls, it appears that the sill of the chapel 
was on the right of a person entering by the main gateway, and that 
the dining-hall joined it. The capacious opening in the fireplace of this 
apartment is still visible, and the circular chimney-shaft is in go(xl pre- 
servation. By examination of the outside walls, it is thought that the 
barbican was erected in the reign of Henry VIII. The work is 
dilapidated, but the seats for the warders are in good preservation, 



Framlingham Castle. 173 

Several passages in the walls in different directions are thought 
to be connected with the ventilation of the guard-rooms in the 
upper part of the towers, and others were made by the bond-timber 
wrought into the wall. The tasteful brick chimneys upon the towers 
have the ornamental bricks, not moulded, but cut into the elaborate 
pattern they are made to assume. It is probable that the bricks were 
cut before they were built, and that this was done to avoid the difficulty 
of moulding. Mr. Green, of Framlingham, possessed a carving of a 
coat of aims upon solid oak or chestnut, between seven and eight feet 
long, supposed to have been heretofore a fixture in the Castle, and 
intended to commemorate the marriage of John Mowbray, fourth 
Duke of Norfolk, with Elizabeth, daughter of John Talbot, first Ear^ 
of Shrewsbury, circa 1461. 

Mr. Bird, whose poem we have already quoted, has told in fervid 
verse the historic renown of this venerable and majestic ruin :— 

•' Heir of antiquity ! — fair castled town, 
Rare spot of beauty, grandeur, and renown, 
Seat of East Anglian Kings ! — proud child of fame. 
Hallowed by time, illustrious Framlinghame ! 
I touch my lyre, delighted thus to bring 
To thee my heart's full homage while I sing. 
And thou, old Castle — thy bold turrets high. 
Have shed their deep enchantment to mine eye, 
Though years have chang'd thee, I have gazed intent 
In silent joy on tower and battlement. 
Where all thy time-worn glories met my sight ; 
Then have I felt such rapture, such delight, 
That, had the splendour of thy dales of yore 
Flash 'd on my view I had not loved thee more. 
Scene of immortal deeds, thy walls have rung 
To pealing shouts from many a warrior's tongue ; 
When first thy founder, Redwald of the spear, 
Manned thy high tower, defied his foemen near. 
When, girt with strength. East Anglia's King of old, 
The sainted Edmund, sought thy sheltering hold. 
When the proud Dane, fierce Hinguar, in his ire, 
Besieged the King, and wrapped thy walls in fire. 
While Edmund fled, but left thee with his name 
Linked, and for ever, to the chain of fame ; 
Thou wast then great ! and long, in other years 
Thy grandeur shone — thy portraiture appears, 
From history's pencil like a summer night. 
With much of shadow, but with more of light. 

Pile of departed days ! my verse records 
Thy time of glory, thy illustrious lords, 
Thy fearless Bigods — Brotherton — De Vere, 
And kings who held therein their pride, or fear. 
And gallant Howards, 'neath whose ducal sway 
Proud rose thy towers, thy rugged heights were ga? 



1 74 Wing field Castle, 



With glittering banners, costly trophies rent 
From men in war, or tilt, or tournament, 
With all the pomp and splendour that could grace 
The name and honour of that warlike race. 
Howard ! the rich, the noble, and the great, 
Most brave, unhappy, most unfortunate ! 
Kings were thy courtiers —Queens have sued to share 
Thy wealth, thy triumphs — e'en thy name to bear. 
Tyrants have bowed thy children to the dust. 
Some for their worth, and some who broke their trust 1 
And there was one among thy race who died, 
To Henry's shame, his country's boast and pride ; 
Immortal Surrey ! offspring of the Muse ! 
Bold as the lions, gentle as the dews 
That fall on fiow'rs to wake their odorous breath, 
And shield their blossoms from the tomb of death, 
Surrey ! thy fate was wept by countless eyes, 
A nation's woe assailed the pitying skies. 
When thy pure spirit left this scene of strife. 
And soar'd to Him who breath'd it into life ; 
Thy funeral knell peal'd o'er the world — thy fall 
Was mourn'd by hearts that lov'd thee — mourn'd by all- 
All, save thy murderers — thou hast won thy crown ; 
And thou, fair Framlingham ! a bright renown. 
Yes, thy rich temple holds the stately tomb, 
Where sleeps the Poet in his lasting home. 
Immortal Surrey ! hero, bard divine. 
Pride, grace, and glory of brave Norfolk's line. 
Departed spirit ! — oh, I love to hold 
Communion sweet, with lofty minds of old. 
To catch a spark of that celestial fire 
Which glows and kindles in thy rapturous lyre. 
Though varying themes demand my future lays, 
Yet thus my soul a willing homage pays 
To that bright glory which illumes thy name, 
Though nought can raise the splendour of thy fame 1" 



Wingfield Castle. 

About six miles north-east of Eye, in Suffolk, is the village of Wing- 
field, the seat of an ancient family, who, it is supposed, took tlieir nanie 
from the place. There are pedigrees of the Wingfields, which would 
give them possession of the Castle of Wingfield before the Norman Con- 
quest, but there is nothing to establish the fact. Early in the reign of 
Edward III. it was the seat of Richard de Brew, who had a grant for 
a fair to be held there ; and it probably first became the residence of 
the Wingfield family in the time of Sir John Wingfield, a soldier of 
high character in the martial reign of Edward III., and chief counsellor 
of the Black Prince. 

About 1362, the widowed brother, the executor of this valorous 



Wingfield Castle, ^75 

Knight, agreeably to his bequest, built a college here for a provost and 
several priests, dedicating it to St. Mary, St. John the Baptist, and 
St. Andrew. By the mamage of Catherine, daughter and heiress of 
the said Sir John, to Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, the manor 
and extensive estate attached to it passed into the hands of that family, 
which makes such a striking figure in the page of English history. In 
the collegiate church was buried, in 1450, "the Duke of Suffolk, 
William de la Pole," to whom, in conjunction with Beaufort, Cardinal 
of Winchester, was attributed the murder of the good Duke Humphrey 
of Gloucester. Shakspeare, in the Second Part of Henry the Sixth, not 
only describes Suffolk and Beaufort 

" As guilty of Duke Humphrey's timeless death," 

but paints in vivid colours the shocking end of both these noblemen, and 

particularly the ten-ors of a guilty conscience in the case of Beaufort, 

who 

" Dies and makes no sign." 

Close upon this horrid deed followed Suffolk's tragical and untimely fate. 
Having been accused of high treason, and (that charge failing) of divers 
misdemeanours, the public hatred pressing heavily upon him, he was 
sentenced by King Henry VI. to five years' banishment. He then 
quitted his Castle at Wingfield, and embarked at Ipswich, intending to 
sail for France; but he was intercepted in his passage by the hired 
captain of a vessel, seized in Dover roads, and beheaded " on the long- 
boat's side." His head and body, being thrown into the sea, were 
cast upon the sands, where they were found, and brought to Wingfield 
for interment. His duchess was Alice,* daughter and heiress of the 
poet, Geoffrey Chaucer. His son and successor, John de la Pole, the 
restored Duke of Suffolk, who married Elizabeth, sister of King Edward 
IV., was buried at Wingfield in 1491. 

The Castle stands low, without any eai-thworks for its defence. The 
south front, which is the principal entrance, is still entire ; the gateway. 



* This lady was married, first to John Philip, who died without issue, and 
afterwards to the above Duke of Suffolk, by whom she had three children. 
She died in 1475, and her issue having failed, the descendants of Chaucer 
are presumed to be extinct. The eldest son of the Duchess of Suffolk married 
the Princess Elizabeth Plantagenet, sister of Edward IV., whose eldest son, 
created Earl of Lincoln, was declared by Richard III,, heir apparent to the 
throne, in the event of the death of the Prince of Wales without issue ; " so 
that," observes Sir Harris Nicolas, " there was strong possibility of the great- 
grandson of the Poet succeeding to the crown." The Earl of Lincoln was 
slain at the battle of Stoke in 1487.— Note to Bell's English Poets. 



176 Castles of Orford and Clare, 

on each side of which are the arms of De la Pole, with those of Wing- 
field, cut in stone, is flanked by lofty polygonal towers, which, together 
with the walls, are machicolated. The west side is a farm-house. 

It appears that the Wingfields branched off, and removed to 
Letheringham and Easton, in the same county. Sir Anthony Wing- 
field, who flourished in the reigns of Henry VIII. and Edward VI., was 
Captain of the Guard, Vice- Chamberlain, Knight of the Garter, and a 
Member of the Privy Council. Under Henry, it is said, there were 
eight or nine Knights of the Garter of this family. Camden says of 
the Wingfields, they were " famous for their knighthood and ancient 
nobility." King Edward employed Sir Anthony to assist in the execu- 
tion of his will, for which he bequeathed him a legacy of 200/. His 
descendant of the same name was created a baronet by King Charles I. 
in 1627. T^^ estate of Wingfield was for many years in the Catlyn 
family ; it afterwards devolved to the heirs of Thomas Leman, Esq., 
and thence to Sir Edward Kerrison, Bart. There may be little in 
Wingfield Castle, as a structure, to interest the reader; but the 
chequered fates and fortunes of its early noble but often turbulent 
inmates are historical evidences of the troubles that beset greatness. 



Castles of Orford and Clare. 

At Orford, twenty-one miles from Ipswich, there was a royal Castle 
in the time of Henry III., who granted a charter to the town, 
which was previously a borough by prescription. It is now, like 
Dunwich, a mere village. Only the keep of the Castle remains ; it is a 
polygon of eighteen sides, with walls 90 feet high, and has square 
towers in its circuit, which overtop the rest of the building ; the archi- 
tecture is Norman, and it was erected by Glanville, Earl of Suffolk. 

Clare, eighteen miles south-west fiom Bury, was one of the ninety- 
five manors in the county of Suffolk bestowed by the Conqueror 
upon Richard Fitzgerald. His grandson, Richard, the first Earl of 
Hertford, fixed his principal seat at Clare, and thenceforth the family 
took the surname of De Clare ; and in the Latin documents of the 
time the several members were styled Clarensis, The name of the 
lordship thus becoming the family name, it is easy to see how in 
common usage the formal epithet Clarensis soon became Clarence, and 
why Lionel, the son of Edward III., upon his marriage with Elizabeth 
de Burgh, the grand-niece and heiress of the last Gilbertus Clarensis, 
should choose as the title for his dukedom the surname of the great 



Castles of Or ford ana Clare. 177 

family of which he had now become the representative. The King of 
Anns, called Clarenceux — or, in Latin, Clarentius — was, as it is very 
reasonably conjectured, originally a herald retained by a Duke of 
Clarence. 

On the south side of the town of Clare are the vestiges of the old 
Castle erected by the Earls of Clare ; the site may be traced, and it 
appears to have comprehended an area of about twenty acres. The 
mound on which the Keep stood, and some fragments of the walls of 
the Keep, yet remain. Near the ruins of the Castle are the remains of 
a Priory of regular canons of St. Augustine ; part of the buildings are 
occupied as a dwelling, and the chapel is converted into a barn. 

Clarence is beyond all doubt the district comprehending and lying 
around the town and castle of Clare, in Suffolk, and not as some have 
fancifully supposed, the town of Chiarenza, in the Morea. Some of 
the Crusaders did, indeed, acquire titles of honour derived from places 
in eastern lands, but certainly no such place ever gave its name to an 
honorary feud held of the Crown of England, nor, indeed, has e'ver any 
English Sovereign to this day bestowed a territorial title derived from a 
place beyond the limits of his own nominal dominions ; the latest crea- 
tions of the kind being the Earldoms of Albemarle and Tankerville, 
respectively bestowed by William III. and George I., who were both 
nominally Kings of Great Britain, France, and Ireland. In ancient 
times every English title (with the exception of Aumerle or Albemarle, 
which exception is only an apparent one) was either personal, or de- 
rived from some place in England. The ancient Earls of Albemarle 
were not English peers by virtue of that earldom, but by virtue of the 
tenure of land in England, though being the holders of a Norman 
earldom, they were known in England by a hij^^her designation, just as 
some of the Barons of Umfravill were styled even in writs of summons, 
by their superior Scottish title of Earl of Angus. If these Earls had 
not held English fees, they would not have been peers of England any 
more than were the ancient Earls of Tankerville and Eu. In later 
times, the strictness of the feudal law was so far relaxed that two or 
three English peers were created with territorial titles derived from 
places in the Duchy of Nonnandy."— (Communication to Notes and 
Queries, No. 228).* 

* The following is the passage referred to above, describing the ancient 
town of Clarentza, — "One of the most prominent objects was Castle Tornese, 
an old Venetian fort, now a ruin, but in former days affording protection to 
the town of Chiarenza or Clarentza, which, by a strange decree of fortune, 
has given the Ville of Clarence to our Royal Family. It would appear that at 
the time when the Latin Conquerors '^f Constantinople divided the Western 



17S The Roman Castle of BiirgJu 

At the Castle were found, in the autumn of 1866, during some rail- 
way excavations, an elegant pectoral Cross and Chain of gold, believed 
to have belonged to Lionel, Duke of Clarence. On the cross, v^'hich 
has been enamelled, is carved a crucifix ; there are four pearls in the 
angles of the cross, and the reverse is adorned with " pounced" work. 
The Cross and Chain are now the property of her Majesty the Queen. 

At the visit of the Archaeological Institute to Clare, in 1869, a 
curious circumstance was noted respecting Clare Church. In the 
Athenaum report of the meeting it is remarked that " Dowsing, who is 
so often quoted as an illustration of the iconoclasm of Cromwell, said 

* the thing that is not.' He writes, * in the church of Clare I destroyed 
one thousand images in niches.' It is a tall Perpendicular church, 
with not a niche in it. He says also, I destroyed * the sun and the 
moon.' I do not know how many suns and how many moons the good 
people of Clare required in the olden time; but there is a sun and 
there is a moon still in the east window. Mr. Bloxam, who, I beheve, 
is an authority, averred that the yellow glass in the east window was of 
the reign of Elizabeth. If Dowsing's attack on Clare church was so 

* thorough,' how could he have left the monogram of the Virgin that 
is still on the finely carved wooden pew or chapel that remains ? The 
glass that remains is more than in many places of which we have not 
such a detailed account of the desti-uction." 



The Roman Castle of Burgh. 

This ancient Roman encampment lies on the borders of Suffolk, and 
on the east side of the river Waveney, near its confluence with the Yare, 
Its extent is 642 feet long by 400 feet broad ; the walls are about 14 
feet high, and 9 feet thick. The east side of the walls is furnished 

Empire amongst their leading chieftains, Clarentza, with the district around it, 
and which comprised almost all ancient Elis, was formed into a Duchy, and 
fell to the lot of one of the victorious nobles, who transmitted the title and 
dukedom to his descendants, until the male line failed, and the heiress of 
Clarence married into the Hainault family. By this union, Philippa, the 
consort of Edward III., became the representative of the Dukes of Clarence ; 
and on this account was Prince Lionel invested with the title, which has since 
remained in our Royal Family. It is certainly singular that a wretched village 
in Greece should have bestowed its name upon the British Monarch." Accord- 
ing to the above account, Clarentia is a corruption of Clarentza, and perhaps 
took its name in honour of the son of the warlike Edward ; but as to "a 
wretched village in Greece" bestowing its name upon the British Monarch, the 
writer must be aware, according to his own account, that in ancient times 
Clarentza was no more a poor village than Clare is what it was when the 
wassail-bowl cheered the baronial hall of its now mouldering castle. 



The Roman Castle of Burgh, i79 

with circular watch towers, and is almost perfect ; but the walls 017 
the r.orth and south sides are partly in ruins ; the west wall, if ev?.' 
there was one, has entirely disappeared. The site of the encampment 
is slightly elevated towards the west, and the interior is iiTegular, which 
may be accounted for on the supposition that the small eminences are 
occasioned by the ruins of former edifices. The whole area of the in- 
closure was about four acres and three quarters. The walls are of 
rubble masonry, faced with alternate courses of bricks and flints ; and 
on the tops of the towers, which are attached to the walls, are holes two 
feet in diameter and two feet deep, supposed to have been intended for 
the insertion of temporary watch towers, probably of wood. 

On the east side the four circular towers are fourteen feet in diameter. 
Two of them are placed at the angles, where the walls are rounded, and 
two at equal distances from the angles. An opening has been left in the 
centre of the wall, which is considered by Mr. King to be the Porta 
Decumana, but by Mr. Ives the Porta Praetoria. The north and south 
sides are also defended by towers of rubble masonry. The foundation 
on which the Romans built these walls was a thick bed of chalk-lime, 
well rammed down, and the whole covered with a layer of earth and 
sand, to harden the mass, and exclude the water ; this was covered with 
two-inch oak plank, placed transversely on the foundation, and over 
this was a bed of coarse mortar, on which was roughly spread the first 
layer of stones. The mortar appears to be composed of lime and coarse 
sand, unsifted, mixed with gravel and small pebbles, or shingles. Hot 
grouting is supposed to have been used, which will account for the 
tenacity of the mortar. The bricks at Burgh Castle are of a fine red 
colour and very close texture. They are one foot and a half long, one 
foot broad, and one inch and a half thick. We give these details 
minutely, as the Castle presents one of the finest specimens of this kind 
of construction which our Roman conquerors have left us. 

The west side of this station was, probably, defended in ancient times 
by the sea, which is now, however, at some distance, the river Waveney 
being at present the western boundary. The fact of the sea having 
receded is proved by an old map, supposed to have appeared in the year 
1000. A copy of this map was made in the time of Elizabeth, and is 
preserved in the archives of the Corporation of Yarmouth. In confir- 
mation of this circumstance, there have been discovered at Burgh Castle 
parts of anchors, rings, and other large pieces of iron. 

This station may have been founded by Ostorius Scapula, an officer 
of the Roman army, who, on bemg appointed Governor of Britain, in 
the year 50, gained a decisive victory over the Icenians, who attempted 



I So The Roman Castle of Burgh. 

to prevent his building a chain of forts between the Severn and the 
Avon, or Nen. His success against the natives enabled him to reduce 
part of the island into the form of a province. He obtained triumphal 
honoui-s, and died in the year 51, to the great joy of the Britons, from 
great fatigue, before he had held the command for a single year. Such, 
*t is believed, was the founder of this great Roman work of defence. 

The Pratorium, or General's Tent, is placed by some at the south-west 
comer of the station. Others consider it to be an additional work by 
the Saxons or Normans, similar to the Saxon keep at the south-east 
corner of the Castrum (or camp) at Pevensey, in Sussex. The towers 
are thought to have been added after the walls. There are some re- 
mains of a fosse on the south side. This was the Roman Garianonum, 
which, in its perfect state, is engraved in the Penny Cyclopedia, voce 
Burgh Castle. 

It is calculated that the Castle was capable of containing one whole 
cohort and a half, with their allies. Several Roman coins and other 
antiquities have been discovered here. The oldest is a copper coin ot 
Domitian. A coin of Gratian, of silver, and some coins of Constantine 
have also been found. Some silvei* and gold coins were given by a 
former possessor of the place to Dr. Moore, Bishop of Norwich. 
Besides these, coins were found both in the inclosure and in a field con- 
tiguous to the Castle. There have been found coarse urns, a silver 
spoon with a pointed handle, bones of cattle, coals, burnt wheat, rings, 
keys, fibulae (buckles), and a spear-head. The field is supposed to have 
been the burial-place. 

The earliest modern notice of Burgh Castle is in the reign of Sigebert, 
636, when Furseus, an Irish monk, having collected a company of 
religious persons, settled at this spot. In the tune of Edward the 
Confessor, Bishop Stigand held it by socage. The Castle was after- 
wards held by Hubert de Burgh, from whom the present name is 
probably derived. He was formerly seneschal of Poitou, and with Peter 
de Roches, Bishop of Winchester (" a man well skilled in war "), 
shared between them the rule of the kingdom for a while. He was 
frequently employed in foreign embassies by King John, and strcnuously 
supported his cause against the Barons. He was the chief ruler of the 
kingdom during the early years of Henry III., held a number of the 
most important offices, as Constable of Dover and Burgh Castles, and 
sheriff of several counties, and received the earldom of Kent. But at 
length he fell into disgrace, was deprived of power, and obliged to sur- 
render several strong castles — among which was that of Burgh, in the 
reign of Henry ill., who r^ve it to the monastery of Bromholde, 



Hadleigh — Martyrdom of Dr. Taylor, ' i8i 

in the county of Norfolk. It afterwards came into the possession of 
laymen. 

The massive remains of Burgh Castle attest to this day the strong 
fortresses which nearly two thousand years ago were erected on the 
Suffolk coast. Reculver and Richborough, and Lymne, in Kent, and 
Pevensey, in Sussex, are especially interesting, as evidently built to guard 
a tract of country almost coinciding in limits with those of the famous 
incorporation of the Cinque Ports, and thus rendering probable the 
Roman origin of that peculiar system for the defence of the seaboard. 

" Castles and towers, — Burgi as they were called by the Romans 
— were constantly garrisoned by armed men. The stations were so 
near to each other, that if a beacon was lighted on any one of the 
bulwarks, the wamors who garrisoned the next station were able to see 
and to repeat the signal almost at the same instant, and the next onwards 
did the same, by which they announced that some danger was impend- 
ing, so that in a very short time all the soldiers who guarded the line of 
wall could be assembled. The coast was protected with equal care against 
any invading enemy ; and the ancient maritime stations, Garianonum 
and Portus Rutupis (Burgh Castle, in Suffolk, and Richborough, in 
Kent) may be instanced as specimens of Roman skill and industry."— 
Sir F, Pa/grave J History of England — Anglo'Haxon Period, 



Hadleigh — Martyrdom of Dr. Taylor. 

Hadleigh, in Suffolk, nine miles west of Ipswich, is said to have 
been the burial-place of Guthrum the Dane, to whom Alfi-ed ceded 
East Anglia. It is also memorable as the place of the Martyrdom of 
Dr. Rowland Taylor, burned in the pei-secution under Queen Mary, on 
what was commonly, but improperly, called Aldham Common, near the 
town, February 9th, 1555. Dr. Taylor was rector of Hadleigh fronr. 
the year 1544 to 1554. Of his great and pious character it is scarcely 
possible to speak in terms too laudatory ; he was, in fact, the perfecl 
model of a parish priest, and literally went about doing good. Of h'.» 
sufferings and martyrdom, Dr. Drake, in his JVinter Nights, has left th'. 
very touching account : — 

It was not to be expected, therefore, that when the bigoted Mar 
ascended the throne of these realms, a man so gifted, at the same tim- 
so popular as was Dr. Taylor, should long escape the arm of persecu- 
tion. Scarcely had this sanguinaiy woman commenced her reign, when 



1 82 Hadlcigh — Martyrdom of Dr, Taylor. 

an attempt was made to celebrate Mass by force in the parish church of 
Hadleigh ; and in endeavouring to resist this profanation, which was 
planned and conducted by two of his parishioners, named Foster and 
Gierke, assisted by one Averth, rector of Aldham, whom they had 
hired for the purpose. Dr. Taylor became, of course, obnoxious to the 
ruling powers ; an event foreseen, and no doubt calculated upon by the 
instigators of the mischief. 

A citation to appear before Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Win- 
chester, and then Lord Chancellor of England, was, on the information 
of these wretches, the immediate result of the transaction. And though 
the friends and relatives of the Doctor earnestly advised his non- 
compliance, and recommended him instantly to fly, he resisted their 
solicitations, observing, that though he fully expected imprisonment, 
and a cruel death, he was determined, in a cause so good and 
righteous, not to shrink from his duty. " Oh ! what will ye have me 
to do ? (he exclaimed), I am old, and have already lived too long to see 
these terrible and most wicked days. Fly you, and do as your con- 
science leadeth you ; I am fully detci-mined, with God's grace, to go to 
the Bishop, and to his beard to tell him that he doth naught." 

Accordingly, tearing himself from his weeping friends and flock, and 
accompanied by one faithful seiTant, he hastened to London, where, 
after enduring with the utmost patience and magnanimity the virulence 
and abuse of Gardiner, and replying to all his accusations with a truth 
of reasoning which, unfortunately, served but to increase the malice of 
his enemies, he was committed a prisoner to the King's Bench, and 
endured a confinement there of nearly two years. 

During this long period, however, which was chiefly occupied by 
Dr. Taylor in the study of the Holy Scriptures, and in preaching to 
ind exhorting his fellow prisoners, he had three further conferences 
with his persecutors. The second, which was held in the Arches at 
Bow-church, a few weeks after his commitment, terminated in his 
being deprived of his benefice, as a married man. The third, which 
did not take place until January 22nd, 1555, and was carried on not 
only with the Bishop of Winchester, but with other episcopal commis- 
Bioners, ended, after a long debate, in which the piety, erudition, sound 
sense, and christian forbearance of the suflferer was pre-eminently con- 
♦jpicuous, in his re- commitment to prison, under a threat of having 
ii;dgment passed upon him within a week. 

This judgment was accordingly pronounced at a fourth conference 
on the 28th of the same month, the Bishops of Winchester, Norwich, 
London, Salisbury, and Durham, being present ; when, on the Doctor 



lladleigh — Martyrdom of Dr, Taylor. 183 

again declining to submit himself to the Roman Pontiff, he was con- 
demned to death, and the day following removed to the Poultry 
Compter. Here, on the 4th of February, he was visited by Bonner, 
Bishop of London, who, attended by his chaplain and the necessary 
officers, came to degrade him. Refusing, however, to comply with 
this ceremony, which consisted in his putting on the vestures, or mas^ 
garments, he was compelled to submit by force, and when the Bishop 
as usual, closed this disgusting mummery with his curse, Tayloi 
nobly replied — " Though you do curse me, yet God doth bless me. I 
have the witness of my conscience, that ye have done me wrong an«< 
violence ; and yet I pray God, if it be his will, forgive you." 

It was on the morning of the 5th of February, 1555, at the early 
hour of two o'clock, that the sheriff of London, arriving at the Compter 
demanded the person of Dr. Taylor, in order that he might commence 
his pilgrimage towards Hadleigh, the destined place of his martyrdom. 
It was very dark, and they led him without lights, though not un- 
observed, to an inn near Aldgate. His wife (and I shall here adopt 
the language of John Fox, which in this place, as in many others, is 
remarkable for its pathos and simplicity), " his wife, suspecting that 
her husband should that night be carried away, watched all night in 
St. Botolph's church porch, beside Aldgate, having with her two 
children, the one named Elizabeth, of thirteen years of age, whom, 
being left without father or mother. Dr. Taylor had brought up ot 
alms, from three years old ; the other named Mary, Dr. Taylor's own 
daughter." 

Now when the Sheriff and his company came against St. Botolph's 
church, Elizabeth cried, saying, " O my dear father; mother, mother, here 
is my father led away." Then cried his wife, "Rowland, Rowland, where 
art thou ?" for it was a very dark morning, that the one could not see 
the other. Dr. Taylor answered, " Dear wife, I am here," and stayed. 
The sheriff's men would have led him forth ; but the sheriff said, " Stay 
a little, masters, I pray you, and let him speak to his wife," and so they 
stayed. 

Then came she to him, and he took his daughter Mary in his 
arms; and he, his wife, and Elizabeth kneeled down, and said the 
Lord's Prayer. At which sight the sheriff wept apace, and so did 
divers others of the company. After they had prayed, he rose up and 
kissed his wife, and shook her by the hand, and said, " Farewell, my 
dear wife, be of good comfort, for I am quiet in conscience. God 
shah stir up a father for my children." And then he kissed his 
daughter Mary, and said, " God bless thee, and make thee his servant :" 



184 Hadleigh — Martyrdom of Dr. Taylor, 

and kissing Elizabeth he said, " God bless thee. I pray you all stand 
strong and steadfast unto Christ and his word, and keep you from 
idolatry." Then said his wife, " God be with thee, dear Rowland ; I 
will, with God's grace, meet thee at Hadleigh." 

At eleven o'clock the same morning Dr. Taylor left Aldgate, ac- 
companied by the sheriff of Essex, and four yeomen of the guard, and 
ifter once more taking an affectionate leave of his son and servant, who 
met him at the gates of the inn, he proceeded to Brentwood, where, in 
order to prevent his being recognised, they compelled him to wear a 
mask, or close hood, having apertures for the eyes and mouth. Nothing, 
however, could depress the spirits or abate the fortitude of this intrepid 
sufferer in the cause of truth ; for not only was he patient and re- 
signed, but, at the same time, happy and cheerful, as if a banquet or a 
bridal, and not a stake, were to be the termination of his journey. 

When within two miles of Hadleigh, appearing more than com- 
monly cheerful, the sheriff was induced to inquire the cause. " I am 
now (replied the Doctor) almost at home. I lack not past two stiles 
to go over, and I am even at my father's house." He then demanded 
if they should go through Hadleigh; and being answered in the 
affirmative, he returned thanks to God, exclaiming, " Then shall I once 
more, ere I die, see my flock, whom, thou Lord knowest, I have most 
dearly loved, and truly taught." 

At the foot of the bridge leading into the town there waited for 
him a poor man with five small children, who, when they saw the 
Doctor, fell down upon their knees, the man crying with a loud voice, 
" O dear father and good shepherd. Dr. Taylor, God help and succour 
thee, as thou hast many a time succoured me and my poor children." 
The whole town, indeed, seemed to feel and deplore its loss in a 
similar manner, the streets being lined with men, women, and children, 
who, when they beheld their beloved pastor led to death, burst into a 
flood of tears, calling to each other, and saying, •' There gocth our good 
shepherd from us, that so faithfully hath taught us, so fatherly hath 
cared for us, and so godly hath governed us I Oh ! merciful God, 
strengthen him and comfort him ;" whilst ever in reply the blessed 
EufTerer, deeply touched by the sorrows of his flock, kept exclaiming — " I 
have preached to you God's word and truth, and am come this day to 
seal it with my blood." Such in fact was the sympathy, such the 
lamentation expressed by all ranks for his approaching fate, that the sheriflF 
and his attendants were, as Fox declares, " wonderfully astonished," 
and though active in threatening and rebuking, found it utterly impos. 
bible to suppress the emotions of the jx^ople. 



Hadleigh — Martyrdom of Dr. Taylor* l8s 

Thi Doctor was now about to address the agitated spectators, 
>vhen one of the yeomen of the guard thrust his staff into his mouth ; 
and the sheriff, on being appealed to, bade him remember his promise, 
alluding, as is conjectured, to a pledge extorted from him by the 
council, under the penalty of having his tongue cut out, that he would 
not address the people at his death. " Well," said the Doctor, with 
his wonted patience and resignation, "the promise must be kept;" and 
then, sitting down, he called to one Soyce, whom he had seen in the 
crowd, and requested him to pull off his boots ; adding, with an air of 
pleasantry, " thou hast long looked for them, and thou shalt now take 
them for thy labour." 

He then rose up, stripped off his clothes unto his shirt, and gave 
them to the poor ; when trusting that a few farewell words to his 
flock might be tolerated, he said with a loud voice, " Good people, I 
have taught" you nothing but God's Holy word, and those lessons that 
I have taken out of God's blessed book, the Holy Bible ; and I am come 
hither this day to seal it with my blood." 

When he had finished his devotions he went to the stake, kissed it, 
and placing himself in the pitch barrel which had been prepared for 
him, he stood upright therein, with his back against the stake, his 
hands folded together, his eyes lifted to heaven, and his mind absorbed 
in continual prayer. 

They now bound him with chains, and the sheriff calling to one 
Richard Doningham, a butcher, ordered him to set up the faggots; but 
he declined it, alleging that he was lame, and unable to lift a faggot ; 
and though threatened with imprisonment if he continued to hesitate, he 
steadily and fearlessly refused to comply. 

The sheriff was therefore obliged to look elsewhere, and at length 
pitched upon four men, perhaps better calculated than any other for the 
office they were destined to perform — viz., one Mullein, of Kersey, a 
man, says Fox, fit to be a hangman ; Soyce, whom we have formerly 
mentioned, and who was notorious as a drunkard; Warwick, who had 
been deprived of one of his ears for sedition ; and Robert King, a man 
of loose character, and who had come hither VN'ith a quantity of gun* 
powder, which, whether it were intended to shorten or increase ths 
torments of the sufferer, can alone be known to Him from whom no 
secrets are concealed. 

While these men were diligently, and, it is to be apprehended, cheer 
fully employed in piling up their wood, Warwick wantonly and cruelly 
threw a faggot at the Doctor, which struck him on the head, and like- 
wise cut his face, so that the blood ran copiously down — an act of savage 



1 86 Origin of L owestoft, 

fbxKity which merely drew from their victim this milil reproach : " Oh, 
friend, I have harm enough, what need of that?" Nor were these 
diabolical insults confined to those among them of the lowest rank ; for 
when this blessed martyr was saying the psalm " Miserere " in English, 
Sir John Shelton, who was standing by, struck him on the lips, exclaim- 
ing at the same time, " Ye knave, speak Latin, or I will make thee.'' 

They at length set fire to the faggots ; when Dr. Taylor, holding 
up both his hands, called upon his God, and said, " Merciful Father of 
Heaven, for Jesus Christ, my Saviour's sake, receive my soul into thy 
hands." In this attitude he continued, without either crying or moving, 
until Soyce striking him forcibly on the head with his halbert, his brains 
fell out, and the corse dropped down into the fire. 

Thus perished midway in the race of piety and utility, all that was 
mortal of one of the best and most strenuous defenders of the Protes- 
tant Church of England: a man who, in all the relations of life, and in 
all the vicissitudes of the most turbulent periods, in the hour of adversity 
as in that of prosperity, practised what he preached. 

A stone with this inscription was set up to mark the spot whereon 

he suffered : 

"1555. Dr. Taylor, in defending that was gode, at this 
plas left his blode." 

** There is nothing, (says Bishop Heber) more beautiful in the whole 
beautiful * Book of Martyrs' than the account which Fox has given of 
Rowland Taylor, whether in the discharge of his duty as a parish priest 
or in the more arduous moments when he was called on to bear his 
cross in the cause of religion. His warmth of heart, his simplicity 
of manners, the total absence of the false stimulants of enthusiasm or 
pride, and the abundant overflow of bitter and holier feelings, are de- 
lineated, no less than his courage in death and the buoyant cheerfulness 
with which he encountered it, with a spirit only inferior to the elo- 
quence and dignity of the Phadon,*' 



Origin of Lowestoft. 

Lowestoft, the most easterly point of land in England, is a town of 
great antiquity, which it contests with Yarmouth. The ancient 
Lowestoft, however, is supposed to have been washed away at an early 
period by the ocean ; for there was to be seen, till the 25th year of 
Henry VHI^ the remains of a blockhouse upon an insulated spot, left 



Origin of Loivestoft, 1^7 



drjr at low water, about four furlongs east of the present beach. The 
origin of its name, too, has given rise to various conjectures : but the 
most popular opinion is, that it is derived from Lodbrog, a Danish 
prince, who was murdered near the mouth of the Yare ; and most of 
our ancient annalists ascribe to this most foul deed the first invasion of 
England by the Danes. 

Lodbrog, King of Denmark, was very fond of hawking ; and one day, 
while enjoying that sport, his favourite bird happened to fall into the sea. 
The monarch, anxious to save the hawk, leaped into the first boat that 
presented itself, and put off to its assistance. A storm suddenly arose, 
and carried him, after encountering imminent dangers, up the mouth of 
the Yare, as far as Reedham in Suffolk. The inhabitants of the country, 
having discovered the stranger, conducted him to Edmund, who then 
kept his court at Caistor, only ten miles distant. The King received 
him with great kindness and respect, entertained him in a manner suit- 
able to his rank, and directed Bern, his own falconer, to accompany his 
guest, whenever he chose to take his favourite diversion. The skill and 
success of the royal visitor in hawking excited Edmund's admiration, 
and inflamed Bern with such jealousy, that one day, when they were 
sporting together in the woodsf he seized the opportunity, murdered 
him, and buried the body. Lodbrog's absence for three days occa- 
sioned considerable alarm. His favourite greyhound was observed to 
come home for food, fawning upon Edmund and his courtiers whenever 
he was compelled to visit them, and to retire as soon as he had satisfied 
his wants. On the fourth day he was followed by some of them, whom 
he conducted to the body of his master. Edmund instituted an inquiry 
into the affair, when, from the ferocity of the dog to Bern, and other 
circumstances, the murderer was discovered, and condemned by the 
King to be turned adrift alone, without oai-s or sails, in the same boat 
which brought Lodbrog to East Anglia. The skiff" was wafted in 
safety to the Danish coast, where it was known to be the one in which 
Lodbrog left the country. Bern was seized, carried to Inguar and 
Hubba, the sons of the King, and questioned by them concerning their 
father. The villain replied, that Lodbrog had been cast upon the shore 
of England, and there put to death by Edmund's command. Inflamed 
with rage, the sons resolved on revenge ; "and speedily raising an army of 
^car 20,oco men to invade his dominions, set sail, and landed safely at 
Berwick-upon-Tweed, when, after committing the greatest devastations, 
they marched southwards to Thetford, King Edmund's capital, and 
after a sanguinary battle, obtained possession of that place. 

King Edmund, according to the old chronicles, they killed and be- 



1 88 Queen Elizabeth in Suffolk 

headed — but, by a miracle, the head, which had been thrown into a 
wood, was preserved by a wolf, who politely handed it to the persons in 
search of it, and the moment it came in contact with the body it united 
so closely that the juncture was not visible, except when closely examined. 
The wolf remained a harmless spectator of the scene ; and as we are 
informed by all the ancient historians, after gravely attending the funeral 
at Hoxne, peaceably retired to his native woods. This happened about 
forty days after the death of the saint. Many miracles were worked by 
the body, which at length was removed to a church constructed at 
Beodericvvorth, which, increasing in celebrity, was afterwards called 
Bury St. Edmunds. 

» 

Queen Elizabeth in Suftblk. 

Great interest attaches to Queen Elizabeth's royal progress through 
SuflTolk in i(;6i and 1578. Of the latter, Churchyard writes, " Albeit 
they had small warning .... of the coming of the Queen's Majesty 
into both those shires (Norfolk and Suffolk), the gentlemen had made 
such ready provision, that all the velvets and silks that might belaid 
hand on were taken up and bought for any money, and soon converted 
to such garments and suits of robes that the shew thereof might have 
beautified the greatest triumphs that was in England these many years. 
For, as I heard, there were 200 young gentlemen clad all in white velvet, 
and 300 of the graver sort apparelled in black velvet coats and fair chains, 
all ready at one instant and place, with 1500 serving-men more on 
horseback, well and bravely mounted in good order, ready to receive 
the Queen's Highness into Suffolk, which surely was a comely troop, 
and a noble sight to behold. And all these waited on the Sheriff, Sir 
William Spring, during the Queen's Majesty's abode in those parts, and 
to the very confines of Suffolk. But before her Highness passed into 
Norfolk there was in Suffolk such sumptuous feastings and banquets 
as seldom in any part of the world hath been seen before." In her first 
progress (in 1561) the Queen passed five days at Ipswich, and visited 
the Waldegravcs at Smalbridge, in Bury, and the Tollemachcs at Hel- 
mingham. In the progress of 1578 the houses she visited were 
Melford Hall ; Lawshall Hall *( where she dined) ; Havvstead Place, 
the residence of Sir William Drury ; Sir William Spring (the High 
Sheriff) at Lavenham ; Sir Thomas Kitson at Hengrave; Sir Arthur 
Higham at Barrow; Mr. Rookwood at Euston, and others; while 
Sir Robert Jcrmyn feasted the French ambassadors at Rushbrookc. 



1 89 



Bungay Castle.— The '•' Bold Bigod.** 

Bungay, now a neat and modern town on the north border of 
Suffolk, on the river Waveney, and about twelve miles from the 
town of Norwich, does not seem at first glance to contain many 
features of interest to the uninstructed traveller. It is commanded 
by the rising grounds which exiiend on the south side, and in these 
days of long-ranged guns and rifles could not sustain a siege for a 
single day. In early times, however, when the furthest-reaching of 
our fatal weapons was the long-bow, Bungay was a fortress of very 
considerable importance. Here during the Norman period the 
Earls of Suffolk had their principal castle and residence, and here> 
consequently, a number of noteworthy deeds were done. 

The Norman baron was usually solicitous about the comforts of 
religion. His life was a turbulent one ; and as he never knew how 
soon he might require the last consolations of the Church, he always 
contrived to have some properly-appointed religious house near his 
own door. Bungay having become the chief residence of the early 
Earls of Suffolk, soon added churches and monastic establishments 
to its principal buildings ; and a good trade gradually springing up 
under the encouragement of the lords of the sword and the lords of 
the rosary, the town became at a very early period a flourishing 
place. 

Suffolk became a separate earldom during the reign of Edward 
the Confessor, and was bestowed by that monarch upon Gurth, the 
brother of Harold, the last of the Saxon kings. The battle of 
Hastings proved fatal to both brothers, who died side by side, 
valiantly defending the Saxon standard. 

The wealth of Suffolk at the time of the Conquest may be esti- 
mated from the fact that William the Conqueror bestowed no less 
Aan six hundred manors, which he had confiscated, upon his fol- 
lowers, who held them as grants in capife. 

The lordship of Bungay was divided, at the period of the Domes- 
day Survey, into several manors and estates, which the Conqueror 
retained in his own hands, under the stewardship of William do 
Noiers. At this time there were three churches within the burgh 
and two without, all endowed with glebes. The tenants, we are 
told, were rich in swine, sheep, and poultry ; and as their land wa» 
held at what appears to us, in these days, to be Drdy a nominaJ 



1 90 Bungay Castle. 

rent, the people of the district seem to have been, at least, in cir- 
cumstances of ordinary comfort. 

The manors and estates of the burgh of Bungay were conferred 
upon Roger Bigot — one of the great barons of the Conquest— by 
the Conqueror, a short time after the Domesday Book had been 
compiled. Even in the Saxon times the burgh was a place of some 
consideration ; but after it came into the possession of the Bigots, 
who built a castle here and made it their chief place of residence, 
it rapidly rose in importance. Privileges and immunities were 
granted to the burgh, showing the influence of the local lords as 
well as the requirements of the inhabitants. One of the first of 
these was a grant for the establishment of a mint, and it is recorded 
that in 1158 the Jews of Bungay paid Henry II. 15/. as minters. 
The weekly market of Bungay was established, and the privileges 
of the fair of the burgh extended ; and some time after the royalty 
of the river Waveney, or the free right of fishing, between the 
towns of Beccles and Bungay was granltd to the lord of the 
Manor. 

The earldom of Suffolk was first granted by William the Con- 
queror to Ralph de Guader ; but the knight forfeited this and all 
his other honours by rebellion against his sovereign. The earldom 
was afterwards conferred upon Hugh Bigod, " the bold Bigod," by 
King Stephen. This redoubtable baron, a man of great courage, 
endless resource, and total want of principle, whoce perjury to the 
sovereign to whom he owed his knighthood and adherence to the 
cause of the usurper Stephen, may be taken as affording the key 
to his character, was a very formidable personage in his time. 
He was essentially a freebooter on a large scale. He very 
materially increased the strength of his fortress of Bungay Castle, 
and proudly boasted that once within its walls there was no enemy 
he feared. The assistance of Bigod contributed mainly to the 
establishment of Stephen on the English throne. 

No sooner had Henry I. breathed his last than Stephen, insen- 
sible to all the ties of relationship, and the debts of gratitude by 
which he was bound to the dead King and his family, gave full 
reins to his criminal ambition, and trusted that, even without any 
previous intrigue, the celerity of his enterprise and the boldness of 
his attempt might overcome the weak attachment which the Eng- 
lish and the Normans in that age bore to the laws and to the rights 
of their sovereign. He hastened over to England, and though the 
citizens of Dover and those of Canterbury, apprised of his purpose, 



Bungay Castle. 191 

5hut their gates against him, he did not draw rein till he arrived in 
London, where some of the lowest rank, instigated by his emissaries, 
as well as moved by his- general popularity, immediately saluted 
him king. His next point was to acquire the good-will of the 
clergy, and, by performing the ceremony of coronation, to put 
himself in possession of the throne, from which he was confident 
it would not be easy afterwards to expel him. His brother, the 
Bishop of Winchester, was useful to him in these aims — having 
gained Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, who, though he owed a great 
fortune and advancement to the favour of the late king, preserved 
no sense of gratitude to that prince's family. He applied, in con- 
junction with that prelate, to Wilham, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
and required him, in virtue of his office, to anoint Stephen king. 
The primate, who, like all the others, had sworn fealty to Matilda, 
the daughter of the late king, refused to perform this ceremony ; 
but his opposition was overcome by an expedient equally dis- 
honourable with the other steps by which this revolution was 
effected. Hugh Bigod, with his characteristic duplicity, took oath 
before the primate that the late king, on his deathbed, had shown 
a dissatisfaction with his daughter Matilda, and had expressed his 
intention of leaving Stephen heir to all his dominions. The Arch- 
bishop, either believing or feigning to believe Bigod's testimony, 
anointed Stephen and put the crown on his head. This religious 
ceremony having taken place, Stephen, without any shadow 
either of hereditary title or consent of the nobility or people, was 
allowed to assume the privileges and exercise the authority of 
royalty. 

For his share in this disgraceful and revolutionary proceeding, 
Bigod was rewarded with the earldom of Norfolk, which at that 
time signified the supremacy of the county of Suffolk as well as of 
Norfolk. For five years Bigod remained a consistent partisan of 
Stephen, but in 1 140, thinking that amid the dissension, the evil, 
and rapine of the times, he would advance his own interests more 
effectually by renouncing the ally for whom he had committed 
perjury, he forsook the usurper and openly espoused the cause of 
the Empress Matilda. The baron relied upon his possessions in 
Norfolk and Suffolk, and trusted to his strong castle of Bungay. 
But Stephen, who was at least a most intrepid and manly soldier 
if he was an ungrateful rebel, immediately turned upon his old 
confederate, and resolved to bring him to his senses by chastise- 
ment. He marched speedily into Suffolk, sought out Bigod in his 



192 Bungay Castle. 

stronghold and reduced it. The old chronicler who narrates this 
incident is as brief in his chronicle as Stephen appears to have been 
prompt in action. He furnishes no details of the siege, but dryly 
informs us of the fact in these words — " In 1140, at Pentecost, the 
king, with his army came upon Hugo Bigod, of Suffolk, and took 
the castle of Bungay." The intention of Stephen, however, was to 
rebuke but not to exterminate his rebellious vassal, who, he con- 
ceived, might continue to be of use to him. He, therefore, having 
punished Bigod, received him again into favour, and restored him 
to his honours. 

Henry II. on his accession to the throne punished the adherence 
of Bigod to the cause of his mother's foe, by depriving him of his 
castles and dignities ; but the bold baron was too powerful to be 
made a permanent enemy of, and Henry, desiring to conciliate him, 
reinstated him in his possessions in 1163. But neither severity nor 
forgiveness was of any avail in keeping the wayward baron to a 
line of consistently honourable action. He again deserted his 
sovereign in 11 74, and intensified the guilt of his rebelUon by 
throwing in his influence with the cause of Henry's rebellious sons. 
The king's forces defeated Bigod and the Flemings whom he had 
enlisted under his banner, with great slaughter, at Bury St. Ed- 
munds, and the king himself marched into Suffolk, resolved to 
break the power of the rebel by destroying his chief stronghold. 
Meanwhile Bigod himself was retreating with speed to the Wavcney, 
and on the march he was heard to exclaim to his attendants and 
those near him, " Were I in my castle of Bungay, upon the waters 
of Waveney, I would not set a button by the King of Cockney." 
The result of the meeting between the two forces is admirably set 
forth in an old ballad in which the careless bravado of Bigod is 
illustrated with much humour. As the ballad tells the story in 
verse which it would otherwise be necessary to tell in prose, and as 
the verse itself in several passages is admirable, we submit it to 
the reader entire : — 

THE BOLD BlGOD AND THE KING OF COCKNEY. 

" The King has sent for Bigod bold, 

In Essex whereat he lay, 
But Lord Bigod laughed at his Pursuivant, 

And stoutly thus did say : — 

• Were I in my castle of Bungay, 

Upon the river of Wavcney, 
I would ne care for the King of Cockney 1 



Bungay Castle. 193 

" Hugh Bigod was lord of Bungay Tow :~f, 
And a merry lord was he ; 
So away he rode on his berry-black ste^d. 
And sung with hcence and glee — 
' Were I in my castle of Bungay, 
Upon the river of Waveney, 
I would ne care for the King of Cockney I* 

" At Ipswich to see how he sped, 

And at Ufford they stared, I wis, 
But at merry Saxmundham they heard his son^, 

And the song he sung was this — 

'Were I in my castle of Bungay, 

Upon the river of Waveney, 
I would ne care for the King of Cockney l' 

" The Baily he rode, and the Baily he ran. 

To catch the gallant Lord Hugh ; 
But for every mile the Baily rode 

The Earl he rode more than two : 

Saying, ' Were I in my castle of Bungay, 

Upon the river of Waveney, 
I would ne care for the King of Cockney !' 

*• When the Baily had ridden to Bramfield Oak, 
Sir Hugh was at Ilksall Bower ; 
When the Baily had ridden to Halesworth Cross, 
He was singing in Bungay Tower — 

• Now that I'm in m.y castle of Bungay, 
Upon the river of Waveney, 

I will ne care for the King of Cockney I' 

" When the news was brought to I^ondon town 
How Sir Bigod did jest and sing; 
' Say you, to Lord Hugh of Norfolk,* 
Said Henry, our English King, 
' Though you be in your castle of Bungay, 
Upon the river Waveney, 
I'll make you care for the King of Cockney !' * 

*' King Henry he marshalled his merry men all, 
And through Suffolk they marched with speed. 
And they marched to Lord Bigod's castle wall. 
And knocked at his gate, I rede, 

• Sir Hugh of the castle of Bungay, 
Upon the river Waveney, 

Come, doff your cap to the King of Cockney I' 

*' Sir Hughon Bigod, so stout and brave, 

When he heard the King thus say, 
He trembled and shook like a ' May-Mawthci,* 

And he wished himself away : 

' Were I out of my castle of Bungay, 

And beyond the river of Waveney, 
I would ne care for the King of Cockney l* 



• « 



i94 Bungay Castle, 

•* Sir Hugh took threescore sacks of gold, 
And flung them over the wall ; 
Says ' Go your ways in the Devil's nain^ 
Yourself and your merry men all ; 
But leave nie my castle of Bungay, 
Upon the river Waveney, 
And I'll pay my shot to the King of Cockney!' * 

It should not be overlooked that this ballad, while faithfully 
reproducing the relations which in early times subsisted between 
the English monarch and his more turbulent barons, and while 
admirably illustrating the rash, reckless, yet gallant, character 
of its hero, is strictly accurate in its local allusions and 
colouring. For example, the route followed by Bigod in his rapid 
march to Bungay is the exact route pursued in ancient times by 
travellers from London to the extremities of Suffolk. Thus, Bigod 
rides from Essex, whereat he lay, to Ipswich ; thence to Ufford and 
merry Saxmundham ; thence to Bramfield Oak and Halesworth 
Cross. Up to this point the baron traced the usual highway, over 
which (by the Eastern Counties Railway) the modern tourist is 
carried at the present day. At Halesworth Cross, however, ho 
leaves the turnpike road to Bungay on the right, and proceeds by 
cross roads to Rumburgh Green, and past the monastery there to 
" Ilksall Bower," and thence to his castle. 

The " Bramfield Oak," a forest tree celebrated for centuries, stood 
in the grounds surrounding Bramfield Hall, within a few yards of 
the present highway. The age of this monarch of the forest was over 
a thousand years. In 1832 it had three main branches ; but one 
of these soon after broke away, and, thus mutilated and scathed, it 
remained " till the 15th June, 1843, when, on a calm, sultry day — 
without a breeze to moan its fate — it fell from sheer decay, with a 
most appalling crash, enveloping its prostrate form with clouds of 
dust." With respect to the size of the tree, it was asserted at the 
time of its fall, that a similar bulk of sound timber would ha*^ 
fetched about eighty pounds. Of Ilksall Bower no visible tra;:cs 
are now pointed out. 

It appears, however, that King Henry did not agree to let the 
recalcitrant baron off with merely "paying his shot :" the terms on 
which he granted pardon being that Bigod should pay the sum of 
one thousand marks, and that his castle should be demolished. 
The knignt soon afterwards went abroad, and joined the Earl of 
Flanders in a crusading expedition to the Holy Land, whence he 
returned and died in 1 177, surviving his disgrace and the destruction 
of his castle only three vears. 



Hen ham House, 195 

A subsequent owner of Bungay manor was Roger Bigod, the son of 
the bold Hugh, who in 128 1 obtained a licence from King Edward I. 
to embattle his house on the site of the old castle. The ruins of 
Bungay Castle, as they are now seen, are those of the fortress 
which Roger Bigod reared. Roger, having no heirs, settled all his 
"castles, towns, manors, and hereditaments upon King Edward 
and his heirs, to the prejudice of his brother, John le Bigod, who, 
after the earl's decease, was found to be his next heir, but never, in 
consequence of this surrender, enjoyed the honours, nor any part 
of the estates." Sir Henry Spelman tells us, the earl disinherited 
his brother, Sir John, "because that the earl, being indebted to him, 
he was too pressing on that account." " A new way to pay old 
debts," truly. 

In 13 1 2, Thomas de Brotherton obtained a charter from the king, 
in tail general, of all the honours formerly enjoyed by Roger Bigod. 
Brotherton at his death left two daughters, the eldest of whom, 
marrying Edward de Montacute, carried the property of Bungay 
with her into that family. By the marriage of Joan their daughter 
with William de Ufford, Earl of Suffolk, Bungay was again trans- 
ferred to a new family, but an old title. The property was subse- 
quently possessed by the Howards, by Mr. Meckleburgh, an inha- 
bitant of Bungay, who sold it to Mrs. Bonhote, the authoress of the 
novel "Bungay Castle," who sold it about 1800 to Charles, Duke 
of Norfolk, a descendant of " Bigod bold." 

The remains of Bungay Castle consist of the shells of two circular 
towers and a number of rambling foundation walls, from which no 
idea can be formed of the internal arrangements of the fortress in 
ts entire state. 



Henham House. — Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. 

Henham, a hamlet of Wangford, in Suffolk, about four miles west 
of the east coast at Southwold, formed the estate of Ralph Bainard, at 
the time of the Norman Survey, and when this estate was forfeited 
to the Crown by the grandson of the original owner, it was shared 
between two chieftains who erected their respective shares into 
manors, and named them Henham and Cravens. On the ruin of 
the race of Bainard, the family of Kerdiston, who appear to 
have inherited a considerable portion of their estates, were here- 
ditary owners of Henham early in the reign of Henry III. In the 

o 2 



tg6 tfenham House. 

twentieth of Henry VI., Thomas de Keidiston, Knight, transferred 
his right to the manor of Henham to William de la Pole, Earl of 
Suffolk, and Alice his wife. This Alice, Countess of Suffolk, was 
daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Chaucer, son of the immortal 
author of the " Canterbury Tales." The Earl of Suffolk and his 
wife, in accordance with the agreement entered into, assumed the 
property of Henham, and on their death transmitted it to their 
successors. One of these, Edmund de la Pole, was beheaded in 
1513, and Henham reverted to the crown, but was soon afterwards 
granted to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, by Henry VHI., in 
exchange for the dissolved abbey of Leiston. 

This Charles Brandon was not only the greatest of the dukes of 
Suffolk, but was one of the most considerable men of the era in 
which he lived. Born ere yet feudalism had begun to decay as a 
system, and while yet the articles of the creed of chivalry were 
punctiliously observed by all aspiring to knightly honours, desiring 
to wear their spurs in such a manner as to command the respect 
of brave men and the esteem of fair ladies, he felt that he had not 
been born out of his due time ; but that his natural predilections 
would lead him to shine in chivalric exploits, and to cast lustre 
upon a system which from men like him borrowed and reflected 
upon the rank-and-file (so to speak) of knighthood a radiance that 
had its origin only in the generals and the lieutenants of chivalry. 

The mind of Charles Brandon seems to have been deeply 
tinctured with that romance which, in spite of Cervantes' having 
laughed it out of the world, manifested itself under noble and 
magnanimous forms, until the development of man and the ap- 
proach of more practical times relegated it, in its relations to the 
immediate wants and necessities of man, among the falsehoods and 
shams of an exploded system. 

Birth gave Brandon position. He was the son of Sir William 
Brandon, standard-bearer at Bosworth, who fell by the hand 
of King Richard himself. Young Brandon was a devoted lover of 
all martial exercises from his youth, and before he had arrived at 
manhood his skill and success in the tourney had covered him 
with glory. 

In 1 5 10 solemn jousts were held at Westminster in honour of 
Katharine of Arragon. At this meeting of adventurous knights 
Brandon appeared in the dress of a recluse, and begged of the 
queen permission to run a tilt in her presence. His request being 
cornpUed with, he threw off his weeds, and was soon in tlie listj 



Hcnham House. 107 

completely anned. In the following year he signalized himself at 
Tournay, at the jousts held there by Margaret, Princess of Castile, 
in compliment to Henry VIII. On this occasion all the appoint- 
ments of the lists were sumptuous. The course was flagged with 
black marble, and to prevent any accident from slipping the horses 
were shod v/ith felt. Here the young English Knight bore himself 
so gallantly that he won the heart of the Princess Margaret herself. 
But another princess had already enthralled his affections — a pro- 
found and lasting attachment already bound him to the Princess 
Mary, the sister of Henry VIII. of England. Henr>', however, 
gave his sister in marriage to Louis XII. of France. Brandon 
followed her to her adopted country in the character of ambassador. 
Grand tournaments were decreed to be held at Paris on the occasion 
of the approaching coronation, and the young knight, now Duke of 
Suffolk, through the favour of his royal master, was present at the 
chivalric meeting attended by the Marquis of Dorset and his four 
brothers. 

The French had already seen so many of the wonderful feats of 
Brandon that they feared the young knight would beat all their 
champions out of the lists, and in order to prevent this they intro- 
duced among the combatants on their side a gigantic German, 
believed to be of incomparable strength and power, whose bone 
and muscle by sheer force and weight, were expected to bear down 
all opposition. 

The combat began, and after a time, during which the French 
were trembling every moment for their champion, the English 
knight suddenly caught his antagonist round the neck, and beat him 
on the helm so violently with the hilt of his sword that the blood 
issued from the side of the casque. The French then inteifered 
and carried the German away. 

Soon after this Louis XII. of France died, and Brandon was 
now at liberty to pay his addresses to the royal lady whom he had 
loved so long and with such constancy. The duke's advances were 
regarded favourably, and it was evident the attachment was mutual. 
Having discovered the actual state of affairs, the royal lady, suppos- 
ing that the fear of committing a breach of etiquette hindered the 
duke from proposing marriage, extricated him from his dilemma by 
sending him a message stating that she gave him four days to 
decide whether he would marry her or not. The duke, of course, 
agreed with alacrity. He then conveyed her from France, married 
her, and celebrated his wedding by tournaments at which he himsell 



198 Henham House. 

tilted. On this great occasion the hvery and trappings of th(j 
duke's horse were half cloth of gold and half cloth of frieze, with 
the following legend referring to his union with a royal bride : — 

" Cloth of gold do not despise, 
Though thou art matched with cloth of frieze ; 
Cloth of frieze be not too bold, 
Though thou art matched with cloth of gold." 

From the marriage of Brandon with Queen Mary of France im- 
mense wealth accrued to the ducal family of Suffolk. Her annual 
Income was sixty thousand crowns, and from France she brought 
personal property with her to England estimated at two hundred 
thousand crowns, exclusive of a famous diamond of almost price- 
less value, named " le miroir de Naples." 

The connexion of this illustrious pair with the manor of Henham 
does not appear to have been very intimate or of very long duration. 
Yet Brandon's life was not without stirring events. His skill in knightly 
exercises was not confined to the lists : he signalized his manhood 
in the actual battle-field as well as in the tournament. Like many 
knights of his time, he fought as well at sea as on shore, and in 
15 13 we hear of his achieving fame in a desperate action with a 
French squadron off Brest. At the sieges of Tirouenne and Tournay 
he displayed great valour, and at the Battle of Spurs he led the van 
of the English army with his usual gallantry. He invaded France 
in 1523, and if the expedition was a fruitless one, the blame does 
not rest with the high-hearted Englishman. He closed the list of 
his warlike achievements by capturing Boulogne in 1544. In the 
following year he died. 

In his preparations for death he evinced a degree of magnanimity 
ivhich should not 'pass unnoticed. By his will he provided that his 
Collar of the Garter should be converted into a cup of gold and 
given to the king, thus returning the badge and token of his nobility 
to the source whence he obtained it. He also provided that his 
funeral should be conducted with a simplicity and economy more 
becoming the occasion and the ultimate " dust to dust" than har- 
monizing with the ideas of his time, when the funerals of the great 
were conducted with great magnificence. The king, however, used 
his authority to alter the will in one respect. He caused the body 
of his departed favourite to be buried in St. George's Chapel, 
Windsor ; the cost of the ceremonious funeral, which was re- 
markable for pomp and magnificence, being defrayed wholly from 
the royal purse. 



Henham House, 199 

On the death of the Duke of Suftolk, the manor of Henham 
reverted to the Crown. Sir Arthur H opt on, of Blythborough, was 
then appointed housekeeper, and soon after was enfeoffed of the 
estate, which he conveyed to Sir Anthony Rous, knight, of Den- 
nington, in Suffolk. The property, together with that portion of it 
called the manor of Craven's, which for so many generations had 
remained in the possession of a distinct proprietor, still remains the 
property of the Rous family. 

In Le Neve's MSS. it is stated that Queen Mary appointed Lady 
Rous one of the Quorum for Suffolk, and the chronicler goes on to 
observe that " she did actually sit on the bench at assizes and 
sessions among other justices cincta gladio (girt with a sword). 
This masculine lady, and, I presume, dispenser of indifferent 
justice, must have been Agnes, daughter of Sir Thomas Blenner- 
hasset, of Frense, in the county of Norfolk. I have met with no 
cases on record of her magisterial decisions." 

Not far distant from the modern Henham Hall stands a vene- 
rable oak, which, though scathed and shorn of its leafy honours, 
is noted for its legend of loyalty and conjugal affection. The fol- 
lowing version of the legend was communicated by Miss Agnes 
Strickland, the talented writer of the "Lives of the Queens of 
England," to the assiduous compiler of the " History of Suffolk." 
'' I really wish," says Miss Strickland, " it were in my power to 
communicate anything calculated to be of service to you in your 
much-needed * History of Suffolk ;' but I fear the story of the 
Henham Oak, though a very picturesque legend, rests on a vague 
and doubtful foundation — that of oral tradition — handed down from 
village chroniclers of former days, a race now, I fear, extinct. 

" One of these worthies told me many years ago, that there was 
a brave gentleman of the Rous family in the great rebellion, whose 
life was preserved, when a party of the rebels came down to 
Henham with a warrant for his arrest, by his lady concealing him 
in the hollow trunk of that venerable old oak beneath the windows 
of the Hall. This tree being used by the family as a summer- 
house, was luckily provided with a door faced with bark, and which 
closed so artificially that strangers, not aware of the circumstance, 
would never suspect that the tree was otherwise than sound. The 
hero of the tale was, I presume, the Cavalier baronet, Sir John 
Rous, to whom King Charles H. wrote an autograph letter, thank* 
ing him for his loyal services. According to the story, the Round- 
head authorities used threatening language to the lady to make her 



200 Henhain House. 

declare her husband's retreat, but she courageously withstood aV 
Iheir menaces. They remained there two or three days, during 
which time she, not daring to trust any one with the secret, stole 
softly out at night to supply her lord with food, and to assure her- 
self of his safety. I fancy this conjugal heroine must have been 
the beautiful Elizabeth Knevitt, whose portrait is preserved at 
Henham. It is possible, however, that the tradition may belong 
to a period still more remote. Our Suffolk peasants are not an 
imaginative race, therefore I should be inclined to think that the 
incident really did occur to a former possessor of Henham. In the 
course of my historical investigations, I have generally found that 
tradition, if not always the truth, was, at least, a shadowy evidence 
of some unrecorded fact ; and I am always anxious to believe any- 
thing to the honour of my own sex. 

"The oak was afterwards a noted resort for select Jacobite 
meetings of a convivial nature, when Sir Robert Rous and two or 
three staunch adherents of the exiled house of Stuart were accus- 
tomed to drink deep healths * to the king, over the water,' on bended 
knees.'* 

The letter mentioned in the preceding quotation is dated from 
Breda, April 27th, 1660 — the precise day on which a number of 
other letters were forwarded by a confidential agent from the exiled 
monaich to his friends in England. The letters are not all couched 
in precisely the same language, but the general purport of them is 
identical, and the expressions similar. The note addressed to 
Rous may be taken as a specimen of the kind of communication 
which in those days was sent from the king to his supporters. It 
ran as follows : — 

" It is no newes to me to heare of your good affection, which I 
always promised myselfe from your family, yett I was well pleased 
with the accounte this bearer brought to me from you of the activity 
you have lately ubed for the promoting my interest ; in which so 
many have followed the good example you gave, that I hope I and 
you, and the whole nation, shall shortly receive the fruit of it, and 
that I may give you my thanks in your own country ; in the mean- 
time you may be confident I am 

" Your affectionate friende, 

"Breda, 27th April, 1660." " CHARLES R." 

The promise given to the ear in the above letter was not broken 



Henhain House, 201 

to the hope ; for in August of the same year, Sir John Rous was 
created a baronet, and was elected to represent the borough of 
Dunwich in the Parliament of the following year. The sixth baronet 
of this family was raised to the peerage as Baron Rous, of Ben- 
nington, in Suffolk, in 1796, and advanced to the dignities of 
Viscount Dunwich and Earl of Stradbroke in 1821. He was suc- 
ceeded by his son. 

The old Hall of Henham was built of red brick, with stone 
dressings, quoins, and window frames. On the back of a drawing 
illustrating its principal court the following notice of the building 
itself and of the occurrence which caused its demolition is written : — 
*' This large, noble, and magnificent mansion, which had been the 
seat and residence of the De la Poles, Earls of Suffolk, and of 
Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, who, it is supposed, built the 
front, had from the last year of King Henry VIII. been the seat 
and residence of the ancient family of Rous, iDcing granted by that 
king to Sir Arthur Hopton, knt., who in the same reign sold it to 
Sir Anthony Rous, knt., till on the 8th May, 1773, a fire was dis- 
covered in the west front about four o'clock in the morning, and 
which raging with great violence, before night had consumed and 
laid waste the whole, consisting at that time of about 45 rooms, 
besides garrets, the principal of which had lately been elegantly 
fitted up and furnished by the late Sir John Rous, bart, who died 
Oct. 30, 1 77 1, leaving an only son, the present John Rous, who, 
when the fire happened, was at Venice." 

Neither mansion nor furniture was insured, and the loss by the 
fire was estimated at 30,000/. Of the furniture and decorations cf 
the old hall little escaped destruction. A few portraits were rescued, 
and a fine old wassail bowl of wood, round the circular lip of which 
is this appropriate legend — 

" Reddit securum potantem vas bene purum 
Hinc, precor, haurite tanquam lacti sine lite ;" 

which has been thus freely translated by the late Lord Strad- 
broke — 

•' My bowl is so clean, 
The liquor so pure, 
The nicest may taste, 
Of health most secure. • 

" Drink deep, then, I pray, 
Rememb'ring this law— 
Ye joyful may be, 
But none of your jaw. " 



202 Barsham Hall. 

It is very possible, suggests the historian of Suffolk, that Charles 
Brandon, with his charming wife, the Queen of France, and even 
"bluff King Hal" himself, may have drunk out of this antique 
bowl. 

The new hall, the seat of the Earl of Stradbroke, is a com- 
modious mansion, modern in style, and not calling for special 
notice. 



Barsham Hall. — Sir John Suckling the Poet. 

Barsham Manor belonged at the time of the Norman survey to 
Robert de Vallibus, or Vaux, who held it of Roger Bigod, as 
capital lord. It was two and a quarter miles in length by three 
quarters of a mile in breadth ; but it also included over and above 
this area a large tract originally covered with water, but which is 
now drained meadow-land. 

After having been possessed by a succession of proprietors, none 
of whom are known to be of interest to modern readers, Barsham 
was purchased in 1613, by Sir John Suckling, third son of Robert 
Suckling, of Woodton. The family of Suckling is a very ancient 
one. Thomas Socling held certain estates in Woodton and Lang- 
hall in 1348, and his possessions were handed down in unbroken 
succession through a series of substantial descendants, to Robert 
Suckhng, M.P. for Norwich, who died in 1589. Sir John Suckling, 
son of the preceding, was the purchaser of Barsham Hall, in 16 13. 
In many respects. Sir John was a noteworthy man. In due time 
he became the father of Sir John Suckling, the poet, who was con- 
spicuous for the brightness and playfulness of his fancy, but the 
strictly practical character of his own mind may be estimated from 
the following letter which he wrote to his brother Charles, imme- 
diately after having purchased Barsham. " I am nowe," he says, 
" gone thorough for Barshame, and have had a fine and recoverie 
acknowledged to my use, before my Lord Hubbard, and to-morrow 
the indentures and all other assurances are to be sealed. For the 
letting of it, I am resolute not to lett the house and dcmc: les 
thereof under 240/., and I hope that by your care and diligence in 
providing me a good tenant, I may have 250/. p. ann. I ame con- 
fident that ere longe landes will beare a better and a higher prise ; 
and therefore my purpose is not to grant any lease above seaven 
yeares : besides I mean to keep all the »-9yalties and the fishinge in 



Barsham Hall. 203 

mine own handes ; and upon these tearmes, if you can find me out 
an honest man that will hire it, I will think myself behouldeinge 

unto you It is nowe myne, and I trust that the name of 

the Sucklings shall inheritt and possess it, when I am dead and 
rotten." 

This very sagacious and out-spoken gentleman did the state 
some service in his day. He was a staunch royalist, and held the 
offices of Secretary of State, Comptroller of the Household and 
Privy Counsellor to King James I. and to his unfortunate son 
Charles. He was an aspirant also for honours still more dis- 
tinguished ; for in a letter written in 1621 by Lord Leicester to his 
son, the following expression occurs :— -" It is not known who shall 

be Chancellor of the Exchequer it is between Sir Richard 

Weston and Sir John Suckling." Sir Richard Weston was in this 
case the fortunate person. Suckling married Martha Cranfield, 
sister to Lionel, Earl of Middlesex, by whom he had Sir John 
Suckling, the poet, Lionel Suckling, and four daughters. 

On the decease of Suckling the statesman in 1627, his eldest son? 
the poet, came into possession of Barsham and the other estates. 

The poet was born in his father's house at Whitton, in the parish 
of Twickenham, Middlesex, and was baptized there in February, 
1608-9. Of his early life very little is known. When fifteen years 
of age he was removed to Cambridge, and matriculated at Trinity 
College. Davenant states that he w^as only eleven years of age 
when he was received at Cambridge ; but this assertion is only 
well-suited to accompany the absurd statements of Langbaine, 
repeated by Dr. Johnson and every subsequent biographer (down 
to the year 1836, when the only trustworthy life that has been pub- 
lished appeared), that " he spoke Latin at five and writ it at nine." 
The source of this and similar errors is that the date of the poet's 
birth is usually set down as 161 3, whereas the fact is that in that 
year Suckling was five years old. Music, languages, and poetry were 
the accomplishments he cultivated con amo7'e, and the facility with 
which he advanced in these was remarkable. He early distinguished 
himself by the strength of his genius and capacity, which required 
less pains and application in him than it did in others, to make 
himself master of whatever subject he pursued. 

At the age of nineteen Suckling suffered an irreparable loss in 
the death of his father ; for had this practical and solid guardian 
only lived for a few years longer the son might have been diverted 
irom the gaiety and the folly in whi'^h he was now beginning freely to 



204 Barsham Hall. 

indulge. Well aware of the son's gay and thoughtless disposition, 
the elder Suckling provides in his will that his son and heir shall 
not enter upon the possession of his estates till he shall have com- 
pleted his twenty-fifth year. 

In 1628, Suckling, then in his twentieth year, commenced his 
travels. He traversed France and Italy ; but it was in Germany 
that he entered upon really interesting adventures. This country 
was at that time the object of universal attention from the splendid 
military successes there of Gustavus Adolphus, " the Lion of the 
North." About this time Charles of England granted a commission 
to the Marquis of Hamilton to raise a body of six thousand troops 
to act with him as their general under the King of Sweden, and 
in favour of the unfortunate Prince Palatine of the Rhine, who had 
married the only sister of the English king. Suckling united 
himself to this expedition as one of the " forty gentlemen's sons " 
whose duty it was to serve about the Marquis himself. This 
English contingent was by no means a merely ornamental corps. 
It was sent into active service, and rendered effectual assistance to 
Gustavus, in particular at the first defeat of Tilly before Leipsic — a 
battle of great importance at that time, and obstinately contested. 
In this battle Suckling was engaged ; he was also present at the 
sieges of Crossen, Guben, Glogan, and Magdeburg, and obtained 
considerable military reputation for his conduct in several suc- 
cessive actions, fought during the inroads of Hamilton in the 
provinces of Lusatia and Silesia. 

Suckling is supposed to have followed those wars till 1632, and at 
the close of his campaign he returned to England, bringing with 
him the character — which no one has ever sought to deny him — of 
an accomplished gentleman, distinguished for polite learning, wit, 
and gallantry. 

His appearance at this time, judging from Vandyke's splendid 
portrait of him — the original picture is to be seen at Woodton in 
Suffolk — must have been prepossessing in a high degree. The 
ample forehead, the firmly-cut and classically-moulded mouth and 
chin, and the streaming cavalier "locks" must have rendered him a 
noticeable man, while to the observant there would be something 
specially pleasing in the mild expression of his eminently con- 
scious and comprehensive eyes. To a frankness of manner and 
graceful person, he added an ease of carriage and elegance of 
address so remarkable that he drew forth the observation, that " he 
had the peculiar happiness of making everything he did become 



Barsham Hall. 205 

him.** He was so famous at court " for his accomplishments and 
ready sparkling wit," says Sir William Davenant, the dramatist, his 
intimate friend and one that loved him entirely, " that he was the 
bull that was bayted ; his repartee and witt being most sparkling 
when most set on and provoked." 

And one can readily comprehend how a man of Suckling's gifts 
should be highly valued at such a court as that of Charles I. Two 
parties were forming out of the general mass of the Enghsh people 
— parties fated at first to oppose and wrangle merely, but subse- 
quently to contend to the death on many a battle-field. By tradition, 
breeding, and native sympathies. Suckling was a Royalist, and the 
ability with which he could caricature the awkward solemnity and 
severe asceticism of the growing democratic party was relished as 
highly as the zeal with which he entered into schemes of pleasure. 
And at this time literature and the fine arts obtained an unpre- 
cedented encouragement from the king ; and these, directed by his 
own acknowledged taste and by that of the beautiful Henrietta 
Maria, rendered the Court of England the most polished in Europe. 

" The pleasures of the Court," says Walpole, " were carried on 
with much taste and magnificence. Poetiy, painting, music, and 
architecture were all called in to make them r&tional amusements. 
Ben Jonson was the laureate ; Inigo Jones the inventor of the 
decorations ; Laniere and Ferabosco composed the symphonies ; 
the King and Queen and the young nobility danced in the inter- 
ludes." 

In society like this the accomplishments of Suckling were emi- 
nently calculated to shine : gay, witty, generous, and gallant, he 
was considered, says Winstanley, " as the darling of the Court." 
And he brought all his faculties into play in his devotion to the 
refined pleasures of society. At his house at Whitton he gave en- 
tertainments similar to the court masques, and expended upon their 
elaboration and adornments the utmost labours of his music. 

"One of his magnificent assemblies," says his biogapher, "was 
given in London, and was noted for its sumptuousness and eccen- 
tricity, and is said to have cost him an astonishing sum. Every 
court lady who could boast of youth and beauty was present ; his 
gallantr}-- excluding those not so blest. Yet so abundant were fair 
faces in that day that the rooms were overflowing ; as if nature 
were resolute in producing objects of adoration, in proportion as 
their votaries were numerous and devoted. These ladies Suckling 
«ntertained with every rarity which wealth could collect and taste 



\ 



206 Barsham Hall, 

prescribe. But the last course displayed his sprightly gallantry ; il 
consisted not of viands yet more delicate and choice, but of silk 
stockings, garters, and gloves, — presents at that time of no con- 
temptible value." 

But while thus engaged for the most part he began to contract a 
love for pleasures of a still more exciting kind. He became ena- 
moured of play, and soon won the unenviable reputation of being 
the best hand at cards in the kingdom. 

Towards his latter years, however, he began to evince some 
degree of earnestness and seriousness of purpose. The merely fri- 
volous was beginning to pall upon his taste. His companions now 
were for the most part men dignified by their virtue and distin- 
guished by their abilities. Lord Falkland, Roger Boyle, Lord Brog- 
hill, upon the occasion of whose marriage Suckling wrote one of 
the most -beautiful ballads in our language, were among his chosen 
companions, while with Stanley, the editor of Eschylus, Davenant, 
and Jonson, Shirley Hall, and Nabbes, all men of high hterary 
culture, he was on terms of the most intimate friendship. 

While Suckling was basking in the sunshine of the Court, a cir- 
cumstance of considerable importance to his reputation and happi- 
ness occurred. 1'he story is thus told in the Strafford State Papers : 
" Sir John Suckling, a young man, son to him that was comptroller, 
famous for nothing before but that he was a great gamester, was a 
suitor to a daughter of Sir Henry Willoughby's, in Derbyshire, heir 
to a thousand a year. 

" By some friend he had in Court he got the King to write for him 
to Sir H. Willoughby, by which means he hoped to get her ; for he 
thought he had interest enough in the affection of the young woman, 
so her father's consent could be got. He spoke somewhat boldly 
that way, which coming to her knowledge, she intrusted a young 
gentleman, who also was her suitor — a brother of Sir Kenelm 
Digby's — to draw a paper in writing, which she dictated, and to get 
Sir John Suckling's hand unto it. Thereon he must disavow any 
interest he hath in her by promise or otherwise. 

" If he would undertake this," she said, ** it was the readiest way 
he could use to express his affection for her. He willingly undertakes 
it, gets another young man, a Digby, into his company, and having 
each of them a man, goes out upon this adventure, intending to 
come to London, where he thought to find him ; but meeting Suck- 
ling on the way, he saluted him and asked him whither he was 
going ? He said on the King's business, but would not tell him 



Bar sham Hall, 207 

whither, though he pressed him if it were not to Sir Henr>' Wil- 
» ''oughby's ? He then drew forth his paper, and read it to him, and 
pressed him to underwrite it. He would not, and with oaths con- 
firms this denial. He told him he must force him to it ; he answered 
nothing would force him. Then he asked him whether he had any 
such promise from her, as he gave out ? In that, he said, he would 
not satisfy him." 

The narrative, which slightly rambles, goes on to state that 
at this point Digby attacked Suckling with his cudgel — the latter 
never offering to draw his sword. 

Digby was obliged by the King to make a very abject apology 
afterwards ; but from this time forth there is a slur resting on 
Suckling's courage. This slur, by which his manhood is tarnished, 
seems, on examination, to be wholly undeserved. 

Digby was the best swordsman of his time, and besides was a 
man of great strength and a habitual brawler. That it was his 
intention to provoke Suckling to draw first, and thus give him an 
excuse for drawing and despatching his enemy, which he was both 
strong enough and skilful enough to do, seems only too evident. 

Suckling sank for a time in the opinion of his frivolous friends, 
and we hear of him shortly after as taking seriously to pubHc busi- 
ness, and as being much employed by his monarch. 

In 1637 Suckling pubhshed his "Sessions of the Poets," a 
strikingly original work, which has had hosts of imitators ; and 
about the same time appeared his " Account of Religion by Reason," 
which, according to Dr. Johnson, is remarkable for soundness of 
argument and purity of expression, far exceeding the controversial 
writings of that age. In the following year he published his chief 
play, " Aglaura," which is said to have been the first play acted in 
this kingdom with scenes. In 1639 appeared his tragedy of 
" Brenoralt," with its first title of the " Discontented Colonel," and 
which was intended as a satire upon the rebels. But his efforts in 
behalf of his monarch were not confined to his pen. The Scottish 
*' League and Covenant" having ended in open rebellion, he re 
solved on offering more direct assistance. 

Charles was at this time unable to carry on his own cause froU 
the want of supplies, and Suckhng stood forward to show his coun- 
trymen the duties of loyalty at such a crisis, and presented his 
Majesty with a troop of one hundred horsemen, whom he clothed 
and maintained from his own private resources. 

The uniform adopted for this body of men was white doublets 



208 Barsham Hall. 

with scarlet coats, breeches and hats ; while a feather of the samt 
colour attached to each man's bonnet completed his attire. Aj 
they had been selected with great attention to vigour and manly" 
appearance, and were well mounted and armed, this troop was con- 
sidered as the finest sight " in his Majesty's " army. Raising this 
troop is said to have cost Suckling twelve thousand pounds. 

The poet joined the King's army on its march to the north. On 
29th May, 1639, the army arrived at Berwick, carrying with it, says 
Lord Clarendon, more show than force. Another weak point in 
the expedition was that its leader, the Earl of Arundel, had no 
claim to abihties, either military or political. 

The armies having come within sight of each other, orders for 
an advance were given. The command of the English cavalry had 
been intrusted to Lord Holland, who is described by Sir Philip 
Warwick as "fitter for a show than a field ;" and who has further 
been suspected of treachery to his own cause. In any case it has been 
ascertained that he disgraced the king's troops by ordering a retreat 
without striking a blow ; or, as some have asserted, without having 
even seen an enemy. The whole English army broke into flight. 

And although the whole force laid itself open to ridicule, yet one 
can understand how all that ridicule came down on the head ol 
Suckling alone. He, a wit himself and the rival of wits, was per- 
haps the only officer in the army whose career was closely watched. 
And then there was so much bravery in the dress of his troops — those 
scarlet runners — and so little bravery in the men themselves, that 
on the whole the subject was too tempting, too delicious, not to 
overcome the sense of fairness and justice in the mind of the 
London epigrammatists, and they poured their contemptuous verse 
upon him mercilessly. The ballad of Sir John Mennis has con- 
siderable humour in it. It ends, after describing Suckling's un- 
willingness to get too far in front, as follows — 

" The colonell sent for him back again, 
To quarter him in the van-a ; 
But Sir John did sweare he wouldn't come thcre^ 
To be killed the very first man-a. 

" To cure his fear he was sent to the rear. 
Some ten miles back and more-a. 
Where Sir John did play at trip and away, 
And ne'er saw the enemy more-a. 

•• But now there is peace he's returned to ircreasa 
His money, which lately he spent-a ; 
But his lost honour must lie still in the dust. 
At Berwick away it went-a." 



Barsham Hail. 209 

Suckling was afterward prosecuted on an absurd charge of con- 
spiracy and he fled the country, convinced that the court which had 
shown its inability to protect Strafford was unable to shield his 
adherents. 

" The active life of our poet," concludes his biographer, "was now 
drawing rapidly towards its closing scene. Time as it rolled its 
increasing course brought no prospect of a national reunion, while 
the interdict against his safety continued in full validity." Reduced 
at length in fortune and dreading to encounter poverty, his energies 
gave way to the complicated wretchedness of his situation, and he 
contemplated an act which he had himself condemned in others. 

He purchased poison of an apothecary, he swallowed it, and thus 
put an end to his life. Other accounts of his last days have been 
given ; this one, however, is sanctioned and confirmed by family 
tradition based on ascertained fact. 

Thus perished prematurely and in a land of strangers the accom- 
plished Suckling, the darling of the court he adorned and refined. 
If he be charged with want of prudence in the direction of his 
great abilities to his own advancement, they were at least ever 
exerted in favour of the learned and the deserving. If his earlier 
years were stained by habits of intemperance and frivolity, he 
amply redeemed himself by the exertions of his maturer age. To a 
kind and amiable temper he united a generous and friendly dis- 
position, while the proofs of his patriotism and loyalty have been 
so fully developed that, with all his imperfections, he is entitled to 
rank with the most distinguished men of his day. 

Sir John had sold the property of Barsham to his uncle, Charles 
Suckhng of Woodton, who appears as lord in 1640, The manor 
and advovvson remain with his descendants. 



210 



NORFOLK. 

Norwich Castle. 

Norwijh 18 built on an eminence, with the River Wensum flowing at 
hs feet, and spreads over a large site, with openings planted with trees, 
and towers of churches surmounting each block of building, thus 
recalling old Fuller's description : — " Norwich (as you please) either a 
city in an orchard, or an orchard in a city." It is not mentioned in 
history before the time of the earlier Danish invasions. It appears to 
have risen gradually from the decay of Caistor or Castor St. Edmunds, 
now a small village, about three miles south of Norwich, but anciently 
a British, and subsequently a Roman town under the name of Fenta 
Icenorum, An old distich records that 

" Castor was a city when Norwich was none, 
And Norwich was built of Castor stone." 

During the existence of the separate kingdom of the East Angles, their 
kings had erected upon what was then a promontory on the shore of the 
estuary of the sea, and is now the Castle Hill, a royal fortress. The 
town grew around the Castle, and, in the time of Edward the Confessor, 
had 1320 burgesses and twenty-five parish churches; and it may be 
questioned if at this time it was exceeded in wealth and population by 
any place in England except London, and perhaps York. 

The Castle, which stands on a lofty eminence in the centre of the 
town, bears evidence of Norman construction, built on the site of a 
strongly fortified place which existed long before that period, and is 
attributed to Uffa, the first King of East Anglia, about 575 ; and the 
fact of lands granted in 677 to the monastery of Ely being charged with 
castle guard to Norwich Castle is strong in support of the above con- 
clusion. Mr. Harrod has examined the question of the site with great 
care, and considers the earthworks to be British. The fortress was 
built early in the Conqueror's reign. The hill was encircled with walls 
and towers, of which some remained in 1581. 

Its history is interesting. In the Conqueror's time it was entrusted to 
Ralf de Gunder, Earl of Norfolk ; but he rebelling against the King, in 
1075, and being defeated, took shipping at Norwich, and fled into 



Norzvich Castle, 211 

Bretagnc. His wife, who valiantly defended the Castle, was obliged to 
capitulate. The constableship of the Castle, with the Earldom of 
Norfolk, was then conferred on Roger Bigot, or Bigod, to whom, on 
strong presumptive evidence, the erection of the present keep has been 
ascribed. On the accession of William Rufus, the city was damaged by 
this Earl Roger Bigod, who held the Castle for Robert of Normandy, 
William's eldest brother. On the peace of 109 1, Roger was pardoned, 
and retained his office. In his time, and probably by his encourage- 
ment, the bishopric of the East Angles was removed from Thetford ta \ 
Norwich, and the foundations of the Cathedral were laid. The Con- 
quest and the rebellion of Guader had materially injured the town, for at 
the Domesday Sui-vey the number of burgesses was only half the 
number of those in the Confessor's time. Henry I. granted the citizens 
a charter, and soon after this the Flemings began to settle here, and in- 
troduced the worsted manufacture. The Castle remained (except for 
a short interval in the reign of Stephen) in the hands of the Bigod family, 
until the reign of Henry III. Hugh Bigod, being in the interest of 
young Henry, son of Henry II., took the city by assault in 11 74, with 
the aid of a body of Flemish troops. Henry II., to reward the loyalty 
of the citizens, who had resisted this attack, restored or confirmed their 
privileges by a charter, which is still extant, and which is one of the 
oldest in the kingdom. 

In the time of King John, Roger Bigod having joined the insurgent 
Barons, Norwich Castle was seized by the King. Soon after John's 
death, it was taken by the Dauphin Louis, but on the peace which fol- 
lowed his departure, it was restored to the Bigod family, by one of 
whom, about 1224, it was surrendered to the Crown. It was subse- 
quently committed to the charge of the Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, 
and made the common prison. The area originally comprehended 23 
acres. The keep, the only part remaining, is no feet 3 inches from 
east to west, and from north to south 92 feet 10 inches ; height to the 
battlements 69 feet 10 inches ; it has been recased, but in barbarous 
taste. When the Archaeological Institute visited Norwich in 1847, the 
Castle was described as " Norman structure, recently re-cased in what 
was called twenty years ago, good old Norman ; but now we know a 
good deal better, and can see the gross defects of this restoration. Some 
good old genuine Norman work remains within, sufficient to create a 
wish that the Castle itself had been let alone. Norwich Castle was of 
A very different character." 



212 



The Burning of Norw^ich Cathedral Priory.* 

In the Liber de Antiquis Legibus of the Corporation of London, it is 
related that in August, 1272, there happened at Norwich a certain most 
grievous misfortune, and among Christians unheard of for an age : That 
the Cathedral Church in honour of the Holy Trinity, there anciently 
founded, was completely destroyed by fire, wilfully placed, with all the 
houses of the monks constructed within the cloisters. And this was 
occasioned by the Prior of the monastery ; for with his assent messen- 
gers and servants of the monks often entered the city, abusing and 
wounding men and women within and without their houses, and doing 
much evil. The Prior endeavoured to draw away men of the commons 
from the city. The monks had every year a fair, and it happened this 
year that about the Feast of the Holy Trinity the citizens coming with 
their merchandize had, foi the most part, returned home at the end of 
the fair, when the servants of the monks wickedly assaulted those who 
remained, abusing, wounding, and killing certain of them ; and for this 
they never made any redress, but persevering in their malice and 
wickedness, perpetrated all sorts of evil against the citizens, who, not 
being able to bear it any longer, assembled, and prepared to arm them- 
selves to repel force by force. When the most detestable Prior understood 
this, he caused to come from Yarmouth who in the time of trouble in 
the kingdom had been robbers, ravishers, and malefactors ; all these 
came by water to the monastery, ascending the belfi-ey where the bells 
were hung, furnishing it with arms like a camp, and thence they fired 
with bows and catapults, so that no one was able to pass near the 
monastery without being wounded. The citizens, seeing their violence, 
supposed those persons were manifestly evil-doers against the peace \A 
our lord the King, who had made a hostile camp in their city. They, 
therefore, gathered together, ordering men to apprehend and lead them 
to the King's Justice, furnished themselves; when these persons ap- 
proached the closed gate of the court, not being able to anter by reason 
of the array oi men-at-arms who defended it, raised a fire, and fiercely 
burned the gate. As the fire waxed stronger, the belfrey was burned, 
and all the houses of the monks, and also, as some say, the Cathedral 
Church, so that all which could be burned was reduced to ashes, 
except a certain chapel which remains uninjured. The monks, how- 
ever, and all who were able, taking to flight, got away, but certain men 
were killed. 

The King (Henry JU.), when he heard these most horrid rumours, 



The Burning of No ranch Cathedral Priory. 213 

was greatly g.ieved ; and in fiu-y and vehement wrath proceeded to the 
city, and when he had arrived, he caused the suspected citizens to be 
apprehended and incarcerated in the Castle. And he caused men re- 
maining without the city to be summoned, desiring on their oaths to 
know the truth of this affair ; and when they presented themselves 
before the King's Justices for this purpose, the Bishop of the place, 
Roger by name, came forward, not falling short of the wickedness and 
cruelty of his Prior, neither considering his religious vows nor his own 
dignity, but lacking all religion and pity, desiring as far as he could to 
condemn the citizens to dwth, he before the whole people excom- 
municated all who for favour, pay, religion, or pity, should spare any 
of the citizens from undergoing trial; so that, after his opinion had 
been declared, the King would extend favour to none, although he was 
entreated by many religious men within and without the city. And no 
allowance was then made to the citizens, on the ground that the Prior 
and his accomplices were the origin and cause of all that misfortune, 
nor by reason of the losses or evils which the citizens had suffered by 
means of the Prior and his men ; but the only inquiry made was, H^ho 
took part in this conflict f And all who were convicted of this were by 
the jurors condemned to death; and Laurence de Broke, a justice at 
Newgate for a gaol delivery, who was there present acting as Judge, 
condemned about thirty young men belonging to the city to a most 
cruel death — namely, to be drawn, hung, and their bodies burnt after 
death. A certain priest also, and two clerks, were clearly convicted 
of robbing in the church, and they were sent to the Bishop to be 
judged according to the custom of Holy Church. 

Afterwards, by a most truthful inquest of forty knights, who re- 
mained near the city, it appears that the church was burned by that 
accursed Prior, and not by the fire of the citizens ; for he had secretly 
caused smiths to go up into the tower of the church, who made there 
weapons and darts to be cast by them with catapults into the city ; and 
when these smiths saw the belfry on fire they fled, and did not ex- 
tinguish their own fire ; and as this fire increased, the tower caught 
fire and burned the church. 

It appeared also that the most wicked Prior proposed to burn the 
twhole city ; for which purpose, by his accomplices, he caused fire to be 
raised in three parts of the place. Certain of the citizens, however, 
wishing to avenge that evil, increased it very grievously, for they 
burned with the same fire the gate of the Priory. 

The wicked Prior was also convicted of homicide, of robbery, and 
wiumerable other cruelties and iniquities, perpetrated by him per- 



2 1 4 Thetford Priory, 

sonally, or by his iniquitous accomplices. Therefore, the King caused 
him to be apprehended, and gave him into the hands of his Bishop, who 
being far too favourable to him, purged himself after the ecclesiastical 
manner, and so that most wicked man (with shame be it said) re- 
mained unpunished for the crime laid to his charge. Subsequently, 
within the next half-year, divine vengeance overtaking him, as the 
authority believes, he miserably died. 

This circumstantial account of the fire varies considerably from that 
of Cotton as to its actual causes. He says, on the Feast of St. 
Lawrence the citizens encircled and besieged the monastery, and when 
by assault they were unable to obtain ingress, they fired the great gate* 
of the monastery, and beyond it a parochial church, which, with all 
the ornaments, books, and images, and everything contained therein, 
they burned. They also fired the great house of the almonry, and 
the gates of the church ; also the great belfrey, which, together with the 
bells, was immediately destroyed. Certain of them also, without the 
tower of St. George, with catapults, threw fire into the great belfrey, 
which was above the choir, and by this fire they bumed the whole 
church, except the chapel of the Blessed Mary, which was miraculously 
preserved. The dormitory, refectory, strangers' hall, infirmary, with the 
chapel, and almost all the edifices of the court, were consumed by fire. 

The difference between this account and the London narrative is 
amusing enough. Cotton's (says Mr. Harrod) is, of course, the 
monkish history of it. 



Thetford Priory. 

Thetford was, in ancient times, the metropolis of the East Angles: 
it had eight monasteries, twenty churches, and other religious founda- 
tions. When the Danes invaded England in the reign of Ethelred L, 
they fixed their head-quarters, a.d. 870, at Thetford, which they 
sacked. There appears to have been an Abbey near the town at a very 
early period, for King Edred, the grandson of Alftcd the Great, ordered 
a great slaughter to be made of Thetforda (as it was then called), in 
revenge of the Abbot whom they had formerly slain. The town was 
fired by the Danes a.d. 1004, and again in loio. In the reign of William 
the Conqueror the bishopric of East Angles was transferred to it from 
North Elmham, but was transferred to Norwich in 1094. After this 
a Cluniac Priory was founded here by Roger Bigod ; and twelve 
Cluniac monks, with Malgod the Prior arrived at Thetford in 1104, 
amidst great rejoicing, and for three years, laboured hard at the build- 



Thetford Priory, 2 1 5 

ings of the monastery adjacent to the church of Saint Mary the Great. 
Malgod was then recalled, and Stephen, sent from Lewes, replaced him ; 
and disapproving of the site, with the approbation of the founder and 
the King, the establishment was removed to the Norfolk side of the 
Ouse, the site on which it now stands. The founder died in 1107, 
and had directed his body to be buried in the monastery ; but the Bishop 
obtained it for his own foundation at Norwich, it being a valuable 
source of revenue, by masses, offerings, and commemorations of so 
great and wealthy a man as the founder. In 11 14, the monks removed 
to their new monastery. Matthew Paris tells a strange story of the 
Prior in 1348 ; he was a Savoyard by birth, and a monk of Clugny, and 
declared himself a kinsman of the Queen : he invited his brothers, 
Bernard, a Knight, and Guiscard, a clerk, to come to his house at Thet- 
ford : there he remained, according to custom, the whole night, till 
cockcrow, eating and drinking with them, forgetting his matin devotions ; 
and seldom was he present at mass, or even little masses, or at canonical 
hours. These gluttonous persons swallowed up all the food of the 
monks in the Charybdis of the belly, and, afterwards, when well gorged, 
loaded them with insults. Meanwhile, a strife arose between the Prior 
and one of his monks, whom the former swore should proceed on a 
pilgrimage with the scrip and wallet, when the demoniac monk drew 
a knife and plunged it into the Prior's belly. The wounded Pricr, 
with the death-rattle in his throat, endeavoured to rouse the monks, 
but in vain, when the monk again rushed upon him, and buried the 
knife up to the handle in his lifeless body. The assassin was secured, 
and committed to prison. When the crime came to the knowledge 
of the King (Henry III.), wonied by the continued complaints of the 
Queen, he ordered the murderer to be chained, and, after being deprived 
of his eyes, to be thrown into the lowest dungeon in the castle of 
Norwich. These occurrences were talked of by an enemy of the monks 
as an opprobrium to religious men, one of whom said, in reply, 
" Amongst the angels the Lord found a rebel ; amongst the seven 
deacons a deviator from the right path ; and amongst the Apostles a 
traitor; God forbid that the sin of one man or of a few should redound 
to the disgrace of such a numerous community." 

The Convent had fallen into a bad state. Still, the Bigods and the 
Mowbrays were buried there ; and then the Howards, many of which 
noble family sleep within these hallowed walls. Thomas, Duke of 
Norfolk, strove hard to save the Priory from suppression, but in vain : 
the Surrender deed was executed by the Prior and twelve monks, and 
the site and possession were given to the Duke, who removed the bones 



^16 Rising Castle. 

and tombs ©f some of his family from Thetford to Framlingham, and 
the building was then abandoned to decay. A small etching, by Hollar, 
shows the ruins as they existed in his time. Gough tells us how the 
edifice was destroyed by rapacious tenants. Mr. Harrod, F.S.A., in 
1854, was enabled, by excavations by subscription, to verify points, to 
construct a large plan of this noble Priory. Among other noteworthy 
results was the identification in the choir of the tomb of John Mowbray, 
Duke of Norfolk, who died in 1475; ^^^ ^^^ ht^vi mistaken for the 
tomb of Thomas, Duke of Norfolk (" Jockey of Norfolk"), killed on 
Bosworth Field. In the large hall was the famous picture of the 
Blessed Virgin, purchased for this Priory by the Lady Maude de Sax- 
mundham, a lay sister of the Convent. In the Scriptorium, the erudite 
monk Brame may have toiled in recording the marvels wrought at his 
fevourite shrine; but he is not over -credulous when he remarks: 
"There were many of saints beside those named, whose names and 
merits God knows, but we, out of regard for truths should not presume 
to mention '* 



Rising Castle. 

Of the history of these noble ruins, Mr. Harrod brought together a 
large mass of materials in 1850, for his truthful Gleanings among the 
Castles and Convents of Norfolk.* The village above which the Castle 
stands lies north-east of Lynn, in a dreary country. The Castle is in the 
midst of stupendous earthworks, a fine specimen of Norman castrame- 
tation. Rising was, at the Conquest, part of the lordship of Snettisham, 
and, with other possessions, was forfeited by Stigand, Archbishop of 
Canterbury. The Conqueror bestowed them upon his half-brother, 
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux ; and on his rebellion against William Rufus, 
they were granted to William d'Albini, from whom they descended to 
his son, who mairied Adeliza, the widow of Heniy I., and to whom 
the erection of the Castle is usually attributed, before 1176; but 
the edifice appears to enclose a fragment of a more ancient building. 
By tenure of this Castle the descendants of the founder enjoyed a third 
part of the customs of the port of Lynn until the 27th Henry III., 
when the people of Lynn besieged the Earl in his Castle, and com- 
pelled him to relieve them from his claim. An old traditional saying 
declares that "Rising was a sea-port town when Lynn was but a 
marsh." The trade was considerable, and the town was incorporated, 

• To this work of patient and discriminative research we are largely indebted 
for the details of our Norfolk Sketches. 



Rising Castle, 217 

but the harbour being choked up with sand, was deserted, and the 
place fell to decay. Rising received the elective fi'anchise in the time of 
William and Mary ; but the number of voters having diminished to two 
or three, the franchise was taken away by the Reform Act. 

The descent of the Castle and Manor of Rising would occupy more 
space than is at our command. One of its possessors was Robert de 
Montalt, a man of note as a warrior and statesman, who had a re- 
markable lawsuit with the Corporation of Lynn, arising out of his 
claims of the tollbooth and tolls. It was commenced 6 Edward II. 
An assault on Robert and his men had been committed or permitted 
upon his being in Lynn, when Nicholas de Northampton, with others, 
with banners unfurled, insulted the said Robert and his men, pursuing 
him to his dwelling-house, which they besieged, broke down the doors, 
beat him and his men, and carried away certain arms, swords, spurs, a 
gilt zone, purses with money, and jewels to the value of 40/. The 
defendants led away and imprisoned his men, confined him for two days, 
and then compelled him by fear of death to release all actions against 
the Mayor, to give up the right of appointing a bailiff, to leave the 
profits for twenty years to them, &c. They afterwards carried him to 
the market-place, and there compelled him, in the presence of a mul- 
titude of persons, to enter into these compacts. The damage of the 
said Robert de Montalt being laid at 100,000 marks. Judgment was 
given in his favour, and damages 6000/. awarded, which, or a composi- 
tion of 4000/., they were compelled to pay by instalments, and the town 
was heavily taxed to raise these sums. 

But the fact of the gre test interest in the annals of Rising, that 
which casts a lurid light on the history of this Castle, was its posses- 
sion by the " she-wolf of France," Isabella, Queen Dowager of England. 
Rising has been usually pointed out as the place of her imprisonment 
and death. After Mortimer's execution, on 29th November, in the 
fourth year of Edward III., we are told that "the Queen Mother 
was deprived of her enormous jointure, and shut up in the Castle of 
Rising, where she spent the remaining twenty-seven years of her life in 
obscurity." Edward, however, paid her a respectful visit at least once 
a year, and allowed her 3000/., and afterwards 4000/., for her annual 
expense. It is remarkable that Blomefield, who repeats the story ot 
her twenty-seven years' imprisonment, and death at this place, prints, 
but a few pages further on. Letters Patent under her hand, dated from 
her " Castle of Hertford," in the 20th year of Edward III. Miss 
Strickland quotes and adopts the account of Froissart much to the 
same effect, adding that " Castle Rising was the place where Queen 



V^ Rising Castle, 

Isabella was destined to spend the long years of her widowhood ;'* that 
"during the first two years her seclusion was most rigorous, but in 
1332 her condition was ameliorated," and quotes a notice of a " Pil- 
grimage to Walsingham" from the Lynn Records. Miss Strickland's 
account concludes thus: "Isabella died at Castle Rising, August 22, 
1358. 3ged sixty-three. She chose the Church of the Grey Friars, 
where the mangled remains of her paramour, Mortimer, had been 
buried eight-and-twenty years previously, for the place of her interment ; 
and carrying her characteristic hypocrisy even to the grave, she was 
buried with the heart of her murdered husband on her breast. King 
Edward issued a precept to the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, 
November 20, to cleanse the streets from dirt and all impurities, and 
to gravel Bishopsgate Street, Aldgate, against the coming of the body 
of his dearest mother, Queen Isabella, and directs the officei-s of 
Exchequer to disburse 9/. for that purpose. Isabella was interred in the 
choir of the Grey Friars within Newgate, and had a fine alabaster tomb 
erected to her memory." — {Lives of the Queens of England, vol. i.) 

Such is one account of this miserable woman's end; but Mr. A. H. 
Swatman, in 1850, expressed his belief that she was not a prisoner at 
Rising, for that he found she occasionally travelled to other parts of the 
kingdom, even to London ; that she had been at Northampton, Wal- 
singham, and Langley ; and that the King, her son, visited her with his 
Queen in the eighth year of his reign, and again in the following year, 
when many presents of pipes of wine, barrels of sturgeon, falcons, and 
other things were made by the Commonalty of Lynn for the King's enter- 
tainment ; and that the absence of all notice on the Lynn rolls of pre- 
parations for her funeral, led him to the conclusion that she did not die 
at Rising. 

Mr. Harrod quotes a series of extracts from Patent Rolls, which are 
lew materials in the Queen's life; but we must pass on to 1344, when 
Queen Isabella was with the King and Queen at the Palace of Norwich, 
where the King celebrated his birthday ; as were the Earls of Derby, 
Warwick, Arundel, Northampton, Suffolk, and many more barons and 
knights; and there they had an enormous pie, nuondrously large! 
[Chronicle of a Norfolk Priory^ (qu. Langley ?) of which only a very 
modem copy exists, in the Harleian MSS. 2188.] She obtained the 
next year, for the city of Norwich, a grant of the fee of the Castle and 
>ther privileges. The Charter was scaled by the King at Hertford 
(one of her own castles). Finally, we have an Inquisition taken at 
Salisbury, after her death, which states that she died at the Castle of 
Hereford, the 23rd of August, in the 32nd Edward III. 



Rising Castle, 219 

Mr. Bond, F.S.A.,of the British Museum, next communicated additional 
information relating to Queen Isabella to the Society of Antiquaries: 
this being the Queen's Household Book, from October, 1357, to her 
death, during all which period she was at Hertford Castle ; the entries 
are continued until the household was broken up, in December, 1358. 

Rising Castle (which in general style is Norman, and having a resem- 
blance to that of Norwich Castle) is erected within a nearly circular 
space, enclosed by a large bank and ditch ; the entrance being by pass- 
ing over a bridge, and through a Norman gatehouse. Of the numerous 
buildings that once filled the space within the lofty bank — towers, chapels, 
halls, galleries, stables, granaries, &c. — nothing now remains but the 
great tower, or keep (which has walls three yards thick), the chapel, 
and the gatehouse; and part of the Constable's lodgings, a brick 
building of Henry the Seventh's time: the walls and towers, which 
formerly crowned the bank, are gone. The great hall, gallery, and 
chamber, where Queen Isabella entertained her son and his Court, are 
nearly gone. The Castle, like many of our Norman fortresses, must have 
been suffered to fall to decay at a very early period ; for, about the 
22nd Edward IV., it was reported that there was never a house in the 
Castle able to keep out the rain-water, wind, or snow. In Elizabeth's 
reign the viewers stated that for spear and shield, for which the Castle 
was originally erected, it might with considerable repairs, be maintained. 

The Norman windows of the great tower do not appear to have ever 
been glazed, but furnished with shutters within. The fireplace was a 
low arch with no flue, and the smoke must, therefore, have made its 
way through a lantern in the roof. There is an apartment which Mr. 
Harrod considers may have been intended for the private room of the 
Lord of the Castle, if he were driven into this last hold of the great 
tower, such as occurred in the reign of Henry III.; and most gloomy 
and dismal must this tower have been when roofs and floors shut out 
the light of day ; the effect of it is massive, stern, and appropriate. Mr. 
Han-od concludes his learned Essay with the following lines, little 
doubting that many generations may yet appreciate its beauties, and 
study amidst its walls the history of those early days they recall ani 
illustrate : 

•• Thou grey magician, with thy potent wand, 
Evok'st the shades of the illustrious dead ! 
The mists dissolve— uprise the slumbering years-* 
On come the knightly riders, cap-a-pie — 
The herald calls, — hark to the clash of spears ! 
To Beauty's Queen each hero bends the knee ; 
Dreams of the past, how exquisite ye be — 
Offspring of heavenly faith and rare antiquity l" 



220 



Castle Acre Castle, and Priory. 

In the village of Castle Acre, about four miles from Swafiham, on the 
north side of the river Nar, are seen the earthworks and the mouldering, 
ivy-clad walls of this ancient fortress. The site was granted by the Con- 
queror to William de Warenne, by whom, or his son, the Castle was 
erected, and it remained in this family till the early part of the fifteenth 
century. But it had fallen to ruin in the reign of Edward III., when 
the site of the Castle and ditches were mere feeding -grounds for cattle, 
valued, with the herbage, at t^s. per annum. William de Warenne mar- 
ried Gundreda, a daughter of the Conqueror : it is stated that she died 
at this Castle in 1085, but this is not at all certain ; she was buried at 
Lewes. It is certain, however, that Castle Acre Castle was fi-equently 
the residence of the De Warennes, and that kingly visits were paid to 
them there. Edward I. visited Acre several times ; the last time in 
1297, fifty years after which the Castle was a ruin. The present 
remains are two earthworks, horseshoe and circular. Of the great gate 
but little exists ; it was massive and unadorned. A few foundations of 
the habitable portions of the Castle are but just discernible. Mr. 
Harrod, in excavating, reached, at a considerable depth, the walls of the 
great tower; it was very small, but the north and west walls were thirteen 
feet thick. The main street of the village is still called Bailey Street : 
it was in the jurisdiction of the Constable of the Castle ; and hers 
resided the numerous dependents, the armourers, and other trader* 
whose business was almost exclusively connected with the Castle ; and 
similar exempt jurisdictions are to be found in almost every town having 
an ancient castle. At Durham, the houses in Bailey Street were origi- 
nally held by military tenants, bound by their tenure to defend the Castle. 

Bailey Street, at Acre, was protected at its north and south extre- 
mities by a gateway, with tower. The northern one only remains. 
Almost every house in the neighbourhood has some of the stone- work 
of the Castle or the Priory in its walls. 

Tnete is no doubt of the fortress having been erected by the Warennes, 
but did they construct the enormous earthworks ? Mr. HaiTod con- 
siders they are not Norman, but Roman, the occupation of the site by 
the Romans being established, and Roman pottery and coins of Vespa- 
sian, Constantine, &c., have been found here. Evidence is then quoted 
to show that the walls and earthworks were the works of different 
people, and that the Normans availed themselves of these sites in conse* 
quence of their strength. " And here," says Mr. Harrod, " we see the 



Bromhohn Priory, 22 \ 

variety of interest afforded by the study of archaeology. Here is a castle, 
of which all interesting architectural features have been destroyed ; but 
probably from that very cause our attention is drawn to the remarkable 
character of the earthworks, and a view of the subject is presented to 
our notice, which may hereafter be of great use in the investigation of 
other remains of a similar kind." 

We must now glance at the Priory. Earl Warenne founded a 
priory of Gluniac monks in his Castle at Acre, and made it a cell to 
Lewes Priory. He died in 1089. The second Earl, finding the site 
" too little and inconvenient," gave the monks two orchards, all the 
plough-land from the same to his Castle, the moor under it, &c., and 
the Priory was rebuilt on its present site- One curious execution of a 
deed of gift to this monastery is noted. The wax was put to the grant, 
and the parties bit the wax, instead of affixing a seal. There are con- 
siderable remains of this religious house. The ruins of the west front 
of the church, and the towers at the angles, are of enriched Nonnan 
architecture. The central doorway has fine zigzag and other mould- 
ings. The large west Perpendicular window has been much mutilated. 
Some large columns of the nave — only one perfect — the walls of the 
transepts, remnants of conventual buildings, of the Prior's house, and 
the bam of the monastery — remain. The site within the walls contains 
nearly thirty acres. The views of the ruins are very picturesque. 

Castle Acre has many objects of interest for the archaeologist ; 
among which is the Friary, founded in the reign of Edward HI. 
There are in the town several hostelries which belonged to the Priory. 



Bromholm Priory. — The Cross of Baldwin. — The 
Paston Family. 
This Priory was founded for seven or eight Gluniac monks at Brom- 
holm, in 1 1 13. It was considerably enlarged early in the thirteenth 
century. The handsome chapter-house and dormitory were built through 
the acquisition of a valuable relic, of which Matthew Paris gives a 
particular account. " In the same year divine miracles became ot 
frequent occurrence at Bromholm, to the glory and honour of the life- 
giving Cross on which the Saviour of the world suffered for the re- 
demption of the human race ; and since Britain, a place in the middle 
of the ocean, was thought worthy by the Divine bounty to be blessed 
with such a treasure, it is proper, nay, most proper, to impress on the 
mind of descendants by what series of events that Gross was brought 
from distant regions into Britain. 



222 BromJiohn Priory, 

"Baldwin, Count of Flanders, was from a Count made Emperor ol 
Constantinople, at which place he reigned with vigour for many years. 
It happened at one time that he was dreadfully harassed by the infidel 
kings, against whom he marched without deliberation, and on this 
occasion neglected to take with him the Cross of our Lord and other 
relics which always used to be carried before him by the patriarch and 
bishops whenever he was about to engage in battle against the enemies 
of the Cross, and the carelessness he found out on that day by dreadful 
experience; for when he rashly rushed on the enemy with his small army, 
paying no regard to the multitude of his enemies, who exceeded his own 
army tenfold, in a very short time he and all his men were surrounded 
by the enemies of Christ, and were all slain or made prisoners, and the 
few who escaped out of the whole number knew nothing of what had 
happened to the Emperor, or whither he had gone. 

" There was at that time a certain chaplain of English extraction, 
who, with his clerks, performed divine service in the Emperor's chapel, 
and he was one of those who had the charge of the Emperor's relics, 
rings, and other effects. He, therefore, when he heard of the death (for 
all told him he was killed) of his lord the Emperor, left the city of Con- 
stantinople privately, with the aforesaid relics, rings, and many other 
things, and came to England. On his arrival there, he went to St, 
Albans, and sold to a certain monk there a Cross set with silver and 
gold, besides two figures of St. Margaret, and some gold rings and 
jewels, all which things are now held in great veneration at the monastery 
of St. Albans. The said chaplain then drew from his mantle a wooden 
Cross, and showed it to some of the monks, and declared on his oath 
that it was undoubtedly a piece of the Cross on which the Saviour of 
the world was suspended for the redemption of the human race ; but 
as his assertions ^luere dishelie'ved at that place, he departed, taking with 
him this priceless treasure, although it was not known. This said 
chaplain had two young children, about whose support, and for the 
preservation of whom he was most anxious, for which purpose he offered 
the aforesaid Cross to several monasteries, on condition that he and his 
children should be received among the brethren of the monastery ; and 
having endured repulse from the rich in many places, he at length came 
to a chapel in the county of Norfolk, called Bromholm, very poor, and 
altogether destitute of buildings* There he sent for the Prior and some 
of the brethren, and showed them the above-mentioned Cross, which 
was constructed of two pieces of wood, placed across one another, and 
almost as wide as the hand of a man : he then humbly implored them 
to receive him into their order, with the Cross, and the other relici 



Bromholm Priory. 2-i 

whidi he had with him, as well as his two children. The Prior and his 
brethren then were overjoyed to possess such a treasure, and by the in- 
tervention of the Lord, who always protects honourable poverty, put 
faith in the words of the monk ; then they with due reverence, received 
the Cross of our Lord, and carried it into their oratory, and with all 
devotion preserved it in the most honourable place there. 

"In the year (1223) then, as has been before stated, divine miracles 
began to be wrought in that monastery, to the praise and glory of the 
life-giving Cross ; for there the dead were restored to life, the blind 
received their sight, and the lame their power of walking, the skin of 
the lepers was made clean, and those possessed of devils were released 
fi'om them ; and any sick person who approached the aforesaid Cross 
with faith, went away safe and sound. This said Cross is frequently 
worshipped, not only by the English people, but also by those from 
distant countries, and those who have heard of the divine miracles con- 
nected with it." 

" Such," says Mr. Harrod, "were the circumstances of this acquisition, 
and such the cause of the prosperity of Bromholm." The extraordinary 
absence of anything like reasonable identity, even with the Cross of 
Baldwin, will be immediately apparent, and it would be difficult to 
believe it possible that monks and people would have been so readily 
deluded, but that in our own times we have winking Virgins, and the 
extravagant farce of " Our Lady of Salsette." "It was, moreover, con- 
firaied," says Capgrave, " by remarkable miracles, no less than thirty-nine 
persons being raised fi'om the dead. Who could doubt after this ?" 

The Paston family were great patrons of this monastery. In 1466, 
Sir John Paston died in London, in the midst of his fruitless efforts to 
recover Caistor from the Duke of Norfolk, who had seized it in a most 
scandalous manner. His body was brought to Bromholm for inter- 
ment, and there exists an admirable sketch of the information contained 
in a Roll of Expenses : " For three continuous days one man was engaged 
in no other occupation than that of flaying beasts, and provision was 
made of 13 barrels of beer, 27 barrels of ale, one ban-el of beer of the 
greatest assyze, and a runlet of red wine of 15 gallons." All these, how- 
ever, copious as they seem, proved inadequate to the demand ; for the 
account goes on to state that 5 combs of malt at one time and 10 at 
another were brewed up expressly for the occasion. Meat, too, was in 
proportion to the liquor ; the country round about must have been 
Bwept of geese, chickens, capons, and such small gear, all which, with 
the 1300 eggs, 20 gallons of milk and 8 of cream, and the 41 pigs and 
49 calves, and ip " nete," slain and devoured, give a fearful picture of 



224 The Priory of Our Lady of Waist ngJianu 

the scene of festivity the Abbey walls at that time beheld. Amongst 
such provisions the article of bread bears nearly the same proportion as 
in Falstaft's bill of fare. The one halfpenny- worth of the staff of life to 
the inordinate quantity of sack was acted over again in Bromholm 
Priory ; but then, on the other hand, in matter of consumption, the 
torches, the many pounds weight of wax to burn over the grave, and 
the separate candle of enormous stature and girth, form prodigious 
items." No less than 20/. was changed from gold into smaller coin 
that it might be showered amongst the attendant throng, and 26 marks 
in copper had been used for the same object in London before the 
procession began to move. A barber was occupied five days in smarten- 
ing up the monks for the ceremony ; and " the reke of the torches at 
the dirge " was so great that the glazier had to remove two panes to 
permit the fumes to escape. The prior had a cope called a " fi^ogge of 
worstede " presented to him on the occasion, and the tomb was covered 
with cloth of gold. 



The Priory of Our Lady of Walsinghanx 

A ballad in the Pepysian Collection, at Cambridge, composed about 

1 460, gives a tradition of the foundation of this celebrated Priory — a 

chapel built 

" A thousand complete, sixty and one, 
The tyme of Saint Edwarde, King of this region." 

But this is mere tradition. The far-famed Chapel of the Virgin was 
founded by the widow of Richoldie, the mother of Geoffrey de Favraches. 
By deed, Geoffrey, on the day he departed on pilgrimage for Jerusalem, 
granted to God and St. Mary, and to Edwy, his clerk, the chapel (which 
his mother^ Richeldis, had built at Walsingham, together with other pos- 
sessions, to the intent that Edwy should found a Priory there. It 
became one of the richest in the world ; and Roger Ascham, when 
visiting Cologne, in 1550, remarks: "The three Kings be not so rich, I 
believe, as was the Lady at Walsingham." Almost from the founda- 
tion of the Pricry there was one unceasing movement of pilgrims to and 
from Walsingham. The Virgin's milk, and other attractions, were 
from time to time added ; but the image of the Virgin, in the small 
chapel, "in all respects like to the Santa Casa at Nazareth, where th<,' 
Virgin was saluted by the angel Gabriel," was the original, and con- 
tinued to the dissolution of the Priory, object of the pilgrims' visits to 
the Chapel or ihrine of " Our Lady of Walsingham," which were even 



The Priory of Our Lady of Walsingham. 62$ 

more frequent than those to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket, and 
the possessions of the Priory were augmented by large endowments or 
costly presents. Foreigners of all nations came hither on pilgrimage ; 
and several Kings and Queens of England, among them Henry VIII., 
m the commencement of his reign, paid their devotions here. The 
King is saidbySpelman, the antiquary, to have walked to Walsingham 
barefoot from Baseham, a distance of about three miles, it being an essen- 
tial condition that the pilgrim should walk his joumey barefoot. 
Henry presented a valuable necklace to the image. Of this costly 
present, as well as the other valuable appendages, Cromwell, doubtless, 
took good care, when he seized the image, and burnt it at Chelsea. It 
is supposed that Henry, tempted by the riches and splendour of the 
religious house at Walsingham, precipitated their fall. Erasmus, who 
visited it in 151 1, has derided the riches of the chapel. The monks 
persuaded the people that the Milky Way in the heavens was a mira- 
culous indication of the road to this place, whence it came to be called 
by some " the Walsingham way." Erasmus describes the church and 
chapel in the following terms : — 

" Osygitij, The church is graceful and elegant ; but the Virgin does 
not occupy it ; she cedes it out of deference to her Son. She has her 
oiun church, that she may be at her Son's right hand. 

'* Mendemus, On his right hand ? To which point, then, looks her 
Son? 

''Og, Well thought of. When he looks to the west, he has his 
mother on his right hand. When he turns to the sun rising, she is on 
the left. Yet she does not even occupy this ; for the building is un- 
Nuished, and it is a place exposed on all sides, with open doors and opep 
V? ndows, and near at hand is the Ocean, the Father of the winds. 

" Me. It is hard. Where then does the Virgin dwell ? 

" Og. Within the church, which I have called unfinished, is a small 
chapel made of wainscot, and admitting the devotees on each side by a 
narrow little door. The light is small, indeed, scarcely any but from 
the wax-lights. A most grateful fragrance meets the nostrils." 

The pilgrims who arrived at Walsingham entered the sacred precinct 
by a low narrow wicket. It was purposely made difficult to pass, as a 
precaution against the robberies which were frequently committed at 
the shrine. On the gate in which the wicket opened was nailed a 
copper image of a knight on horseback, whose miraculous preservation 
on the spot by the Virgin formed the subject of one of the numerous 
legendary stories with which the place abounded. To the east of the 
gate, within, stood a small chapel, where the pilgrim was allowed, for 



226 The Priory of Our Lady of Walsingham, 

money, to kiss a gigantic bone, said to have been the finger-bone of 
St. Peter. After this he was conducted to a building thatched with 
reeds and straw, inclosing two <wells, in high repute for indigestion and 
headaches ; and also for the more rare virtue of insuring to the votary, 
within certain limits, whatever he might wish for at the \\vci<ioi drinking 
their fivaters. The building itself was said to have been transported 
through the air many centuries before, in a deep snow ; and as a proof 
of it, the visitor's attention was gravely pointed to an old bear-skin 
attached to one of the beams. These " tweyne wells," called also " the 
Wishing Wells," an anonymous ballad speaks of: — 

*• A chappel of Saynt Laurence standeth now there 
Fast by, tweyne wallys, experience do thus and lore ; 
There she (the widow) thought to have sette this chappel, 
Which was begun by our Ladle's counsel. 
All night the wedowe permayning in this prayer 
Our blessed Laydie with blessed minystrys. 
Herself being her chief artificer, 
Arrered thys sayde house with angells handys, 
And not only rered it but sette it there it is. 
That is tweyne hundred foot more in distannce 
From the first place folks make remembraince." 

The Chapel of the Virgin we have described. The celebrated image 
of Our Lady stood within it on the right of the altar. The interior 
was kept highly perfumed, and illuminated solely by tapers, which 
dimly revealed the sacred image, surrounded by the gold and jewels of 
the shrine. The pilgrim knelt awhile on the steps of the altar in 
prayer, and then he deposited his offering upon it, and passed on. What 
he gave was instantly taken up by a priest who stood in readiness, to 
prevent the next comer from stealing it while depositing his own offering. 
At an altar, apparently in the outer chapel, was exhibited the celebrated 
relic of the Virgin's milk. It was inclosed in crystal, to prevent the 
contamination of lips, 

" Whose kiss 
Had been pollution, aught so chaste ;" 

and set in a crucifix. The pilgrims knelt on the steps of the altar to 
kiss it, and, after the ceremony, the priest held out a board to receive 
their offerings, like that with which tolls were collected at the foot of 
bridges. The sacred relic itself, Erasmus says, was occasionally like 
chalk mixed with the whites of eggs, and was quite solid. The image 
of the Virgin and her Son, as they made their salute, also appeared to 
Erasmus and his friend to give them a nod of approbation. 
An incident of a personal kind illustrates the bigotry and intolerance 



The Priory of Our Lady of Walsingham. ^^7 

which prevailed at these places. After the ceremony of kissing the 
sacred milk, Erasmus requested his friend to inquire for him, in the 
mildest manner, what was the evidence that it was indeed the true 
milk. The priest appeared at first not to notice the question, but on 
its being repeated, his countenance assumed an expression of astonish- 
ment and ferocity, and in a tone of thunder, he asked if they had not 
authentic inscription of the fact. From the violence of his manner, they 
expected every instant to have been thrust out as heretics, and were glad 
to make their peace by a present of money. The inscription which he 
referred to was found, after much search, fixed high upon a wall, where 
it was scarcely legible. They contrived, however, to read it, but 
found it to contain merely a history of this precious relic from the 
tenth century, when it was purchased by an old woman, near Constan- 
tinople, with an assurance, from which arose its fame, that all other 
portions of the Virgin's milk had fallen on the ground before they were 
collected, while this was taken directly from her breast. 

Mr. HaiTod notes that the relati^re estimation in which each of the 
attractions was held by pilgrims, may be judged from the offerings 
made in the year before the value was taken by order of Henry VIII., 
in 1534. In the Chapel of the blessed Virgin Mary, 201/. is. At the 
sacred Milk of the blessed Virgin, 2/. 2j. ^d. In the Chapel of St. 
Laurence, 8/. gs, i\dn 

•' The immense value of the treasures gathered about the altars has 
been already alluded to ; they included the silver statue, on horse- 
back, of Bartholomew Lord Burghcrsh, K.G., ordered by his will, in 
1369, to be offered to our Lady; and King Henry VII., in his life- 
time, gave a kneeling figure of himself in silver-gilt. The Visitors of 
Henry VIII., as may be imagined, took especial care of these treasures." 

There are some fine remains of the Convent : a richly ornamented 
door, supposed to have formed the east end of the conventual church ; 
the western entrance gateway to the monastery ; the walls, with 
windows and arches of the refectory ; a Nonnan arch with zigzag 
mouldings ; part of the cloisters, incorporated with the mansion of the 
Rev. D. H. Warner, remain. About his pleasure-grounds are 
scattered detached portions of these monastic remains. The joint 
excavations of Mr. H. I. L. Warner and Mr. Harrod have brought to 
light the west end of the church, of the Early English period, or Early 
Decorated. The refectory and dormitory crypt are pure Decorated, 
the west end having a noble window. The east end is early Perpen- 
dicular. The results in the choir are its red and yellow glazed tile 
pavement, buttresses, and crypt. 



228 



Houghton Hall. — The Walpoles. 

Houghton Hall, one of the most magnificent mansions in the 
county of Norfolk, was built by Sir Robert Walpole, the great Whig 
minister, during his tenure of office, between the years 1722 and 
1 738, from the designs of Colin Campbell, the author of " Vitruvius 
Britannicus." The original plans, however, were departed from, 
and the general effect of the structure much improved, by Thomas 
Ripley, an architect, who had in early life been employed as a 
working carpenter, and who afterwards rose to position and became 
the prot^gd of the great Whig Prime Minister. This architect has 
been fortunate or unfortunate enough to be immortalised in the 
satire of Pope : — 

•• Heaven visits with a taste the wealthy fool, 
And needs no rod but Ripley with a rule. 
* * * « * 

So Ripley, till his destined space is filled, 
Heaps bricks on bricks, and fancies 'tis to build." 

But, the verses apart, it is undoubted that for many of the finest 
features of this splendid edifice we are indebted to the artistic taste 
of Ripley. 

The building consists of a centre block, with wings, connected by 
colonnades. The main building is quadrangular, 166 feet square. 
The basement, which is rustic, is ascended by a double flight of 
steps, with a balustrade ; the pediment over the entrance, con- 
taining the arms, is supported by Ionic columns ; the entablature 
is continued round the centre, and each angle of the quadrangular 
block is crowned with a cupola and lantern. Tuscan colonnades 
connect the offices with the centre, and the whole frontage is 450 
feet in length. The following amusing description of the house 
was given by Lady Hervey, in 1765 : — " I saw Houghton, which is 
the most triste, melancholy, fine place I ever beheld. 'Tis a heavy, 
ugly, black building, with an ugly black stone. The hall, saloon, 
and a gallery, very fine ; the rest not in the least so." 

The house itself stands low, and is surrounded by an ample park. 
It was built on the site of an old family mansion, and is surrounded 
with magnificent plantations, which cover a great space, and are 
pierced by openings left in many places to let in views of the 
remoter woods. The propricto"^ has judiciously contrived to obviate 



Houghton Hall, 22g 

tlie effect of the flatness of the country, and to give an appearance 
of unusual extent to his plantations by varying the species of the 
trees — each species forming a separate plantation. By this means 
there is a great variety of foliage, and the various shades of colour 
upon which the eye rests as it ranges along the vistas that pierce 
the plantations give the impression of an immense area. The 
stables at Houghton are superb, and indeed throughout the whole 
establishment a harmonious and consistent luxury and magnifi- 
cence prevail. The furniture and decorations are all that wealth 
can make them — even the doors and window-cases are of maho- 
gany, and are gilt. 

The interior consists of a suite of magnificent apartments, 
adorned in the most sumptuous manner. " But the house," says 
Gilpin, " is not the object at Houghton — the pictures attract the 
attention." These pictures, the enjoyment of which was one of the 
principal solaces of Sir Robert Walpole during the latter years of 
his life, when political power had passed away from him for ever, 
were the most celebrated collection in England. They are now at 
St. Petersburg, having been sold in 1779, by George, third Earl of 
Orford — the nephew of Horace Walpole — to Catherine of Russia, 
for the sum of 40,555/. The entire collection cost Sir Robert 
40,000/., and as the Empress of Russia acquired only a portion of 
the gallery, the Orford family were considerably the gainers by the 
sale. Writing about this transaction to his friend, Sir Horace 
Mann, Horace Walpole says : — " When he (his nephew) sold the 
collection of pictures at Houghton, he declared at St. James's that 
he was forced to it, to pay the fortunes of his uncles— which 
amounted but to 10,000/. ; and he sold the pictures for 40,000/., 
grievously to our discontent, and without any application from us 
for our money, which he now retains, trusting that we will not press 
him, lest he should disinherit us, were we to outlive him. But we 
are not so silly as to have any such expectations at our ages ; nor, 
as he has sold the pictures, which we wished to have preserved in 
the family, do we care what he does with the estate. Would you 
believe — yes, for he is a madman — that he is refurnishing Houghton ; 
ay, and with pictures too, and by Cipriani. That flimsy scene- 
painter is to replace Guido, Claude Lorraine, Rubens, Vandyke," &c. 
A descriptive catalogue of this gallery was published by Horace 
Walpole, and from it we learn that, in the Breakfast-Parlour, on 
the right as you enter the house, was a picture of hounds, by 
Wooton ; a " Concert of Birds," by Mario di Fiori ; the " Prodigal 



ZSO Houghton HalU 

Son," by Pordenone ; a " Horse's Head," by Vandyke ; and a num- 
ber of family portraits. In the Supping Parlour were Romano's 
** Battle of Constantine and Maxentius," and a number of family 
and other portraits by Kneller and Jervase. In the Hunting Hall, 
" Susannah and the Elders," by Rubens ; and a " Hunting Piece," 
with portraits. In the Coffee-room were a " Landscape with 
Figures," by Swanivelt ; " Jupiter and Europa," after Guido, por- 
traits, &c. In the Dining Parlour, a number of fine portraits by 
Kneller ; a " Stud of Horses," by Wouvermans ; a " Cook's Shop," 
by Teniers ; heads and portraits by Rubens, Rembrandt, Salvator 
Rosa, Vandyke, and Lely. In the Little Bedchamber were portraits 
of the first and second wives of Sir Robert Walpole, by Dahl and 
Vanloo ; with a " Conversion of St. Paul," by Paul Veronese. In 
the Little Dressing-room, specimens of Wooton and Claude Lor- 
raine. In the Drawing-room, which is 30 feet long and 21 feet 
broad, portraits by Vandyke ; a " Sleeping Bacchus, with Nymphs," 
&c., by Jordano ; " King Charles I.," a whole-length, in armour, 
by Vandyke ; Henrietta Maria, Archbishop Laud, Philip, Lord 
Wharton, Lady Wharton, by the same artist ; the sons of Sir 
Robert Walpole, including Horace, the third son, by Rosalba. In 
the Saloon, a splendid apartment, 40 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 
30 feet high, and which is hung with crimson flowered velvet, a 
number of very fine sculptures, vases, and bronzes ; " Christ Bap- 
tized by St. John," by Albano ; the "Stoning of St. Stephen," by 
Le Soeur ; " Holy Family," by Vandyke, originally belonging to 
Charles I. ; " Mary Washing Christ's Feet," by Rubens ; a " Holy 
Family," by Titian, and many others by the best masters. In the 
Carlo Maratti Room, hung with variegated silk, presented by the 
Prince of Wales, and in which there is a table of Lapis Lazuli, \\ 
inches thick, 5 feet long, and 2 feet 6 inches wide, said to have 
cost at the rate of 4/. an ounce, or 18,000/. in all, portrait of 
Clement IX., and the "Judgment of Paris," and others, by Carlo 
Maratti. In the Dressing-room, portraits, by Vandyke. In the 
Embroidered Bedchamber, a " Holy Family," by Poussin. In the 
Cabinet, portrait of Rubens' wife, by Vandyke ; " Boors at Cards," 
by Teniers ; "Judgment of Paris," by Schiavone ; naked "Venus 
Sleeping," by Carracci ; " Boors Drinking," by Ostade, &c. In the 
Marble Parlour, specimens of Vandyke and Paul Veronese. The 
Hall, a cube of 40 feet, contains many pictures and other art 
treasures. In the gallery, 73 feet long by 21 feet high, were the 
** Doctors of the Church," a masterpiece by Guido ; the " Prodigal 



Hottghton Hall, 231 

Son," by Salvator Rosa ; a cartoon, by Rubens ; " Four Markets," 
by Snyders ; " Dives and Lazarus," by Paul Veronese, and many 
other memorable pictures. Most of these works of art having been 
transferred to Russia, can only instruct and delight us now in the 
form of prints and copies. 

The ancient family of Walpole takes its name from the town of 
Walpole in Marshland, Norfolk, where they were enfeoffed of lands 
belonging to the see of Ely. Jocehne de Walpole was living at 
the place from which the family is named, as early as the 
reign of Richard I. Reginald de Walpole was the ancestor of the 
present family. He lived in the reign of Henry I. His son 
Richard married Emma, daughter of Walter de Havelton or Hou- 
ton, and after this marriage this branch of the Walpole family con- 
tinued to reside at Houghton. 

Edward Walpole married Lucy, daughter of Sir Terry Robsart, 
and heir to Amy Robsart, first wife to Sir Robert Dudley, the great 
Earl of Leicester. 

Sir Edward Walpole, Knight of the Bath, succeeded to the 
family estates in 1663, and was in turn succeeded by Robert Wal- 
pole, who married Mary, daughter of Sir Jeffrey Burwell, Knight, of 
Rougham in Suffolk, Of this marriage was born Robert Walpole, 
the third son, and the heir to the Houghton estates. He was the 
greatest English statesman of his age, and held a most prominent 
position at the head of the affairs of his country as the prime minister 
of George L He was created Earl and Viscount of Orford, 1774. 
He was a man in whom the love of power was a passion for the 
gratification of which he in several instances sacrificed even his 
country's interests. (2tneta non inovere was with him a favourite 
maxim. He might have been urged by every consideration of duty 
and patriotism to rouse the " sleeping dog ;" but, if there was the 
slightest chance of the roused animal turning upon himself, and 
menacing that power which he wielded so long and on the whole 
so well, the cur might sleep for ever, so far as Walpole was con- 
cerned. His biographer questions the assertion that Walpole had 
so little faith in human integrity that he was known on a certain 
occasion to exclaim, " All men have their price." Coxe maintains 
that the satirical remark was referable not to men generally, but to 
a certain clique of venal politicians with whom the prime minister 
was not on very good terms at the time. That he acted as if fe 
believed every man could be bought with a bribe— that he practised 
corruption on a large scale, seems to be indisputable. Yet he has 



232 Houghton Hall, 

this justification for having recourse to bribery, that the age in 

which he Hved was one in which honest political conviction had no 
existence in the British House of Commons. " Walpole governed 
by corruption," says Macaulay, " because, in his time, it was im- 
possible to govern otherwise." 

The character of this most distinguished of the Lords of Hough- 
ton is thus summed up by the most brilliant of our recent 
historians : — " He had, undoubtedly, great talent and great virtues. 
He was not indeed like the leaders of the party which opposed his 
government, a brilliant orator. He was not a profound scholar like 
Carteret, or a wit and fine gentleman like Chesterfield. In all 
those respects his deficiencies were remarkable. His literature 
consisted of a scrap or two of Horace, and an anecdote or two 
from the end of the Dictionary. His knowledge of history was so 
limited that, in the great debate on the Excise Bill, he was forced 
to ask Attorney-General Yorke who Empson and Dudley were. 
His manners were a little too coarse and boisterous even for that 
age of Westerns and Topehalls. When he ceased to talk of politics 
he could talk of nothing but women ; and he dilated on his favourite 
theme with a freedom which shocked even that plain-spoken genera- 
tion, and which was quite unsuited to his age and station. The 
noisy revelry of his summer festivities at Houghton gave much 
scandal to grave people, and annually drove his kinsman and 
colleague, Lord Townshend, from the neighbouring mansion to 
Rainham. But however ignorant Walpole might be of general 
history and general literature, he was better acquainted than any 
man of his day with what it concerned him most to know, man- 
kind, the English nation, the Court, the House of Commons, and 
the Treasury. Of foreign affairs'he knew httle ; but his judgment 
was so good that his little knowledge went very far. He was an 
excellent parliamentary debater, an excellent parhamcntary tacti- 
cian, an excellent man of business. No man ever brought more in- 
dustry or more method to the transacting of affairs. No minister 
in his time did so much, yet no minister had so much leisure." 

George, grandson of Sir Robert Walpole and third Earl of 
Orford, was, after his kind, a remarkable man. In early life he 
was Lord of the Bedchamber and ranger of St. James's and Hyde 
Parks ; but he is noteworthy less for the fame of his public than 
f^ his private deeds. His uncle Horace, somewhat undutifully 
calls him "a madman" for selling the Houghton collection of 
pictures ; but this was the act of a thrifty and sensible man com- 



Houghton Hall. 233 

pared with some of his performances. He sacrificed more time 
and property to practical or speculative sporting than any man of 
his age. Perhaps his most extravagant and preposterous experi- 
ment was his training four red-deer stags to run in a phaeton. In 
this rather picturesque feat he succeeded wonderfully up to a certain 
point. He had reduced the deer to perfect discipline, and as he sat 
in his phaeton and drove the handsome animals he, no doubt, fancied 
he was performing no inconsiderable achievement. It happened, 
however, that as he was driving this peculiar team to Newmarket, 
on one occasion, a pack of hounds crossing the road in their rear, 
caught sent of the " four-in-hand," and at once started off on this 
novel chase in full cry and with " breast high " alacrity. The scene 
was at once novel, ridiculous, and tragic — inasmuch as it was pro- 
bable the denouement would result fatally for his lordship. In vain 
did the earl exert all his skill as a Jehu, in vain did his well-trained 
grooms endeavour to get in advance of the terror-stricken game ; — 
reins, trammels, nor the weight of the carriage seemed to restrain 
their speed in the slightest degree, and the stags swept onward like 
a whirlwind with the terrified earl helpless in his phaeton. A 
"spill" was imminent, and, had it taken place, the sportsman 
might have found himself unexpectedly removed to the " happy 
hunting grounds" of which the coursers of the prairie speak. 
Luckily, however, his lordship had been in the habit of driving his 
"cattle" to a special inn at Newmarket — the Ram — to which he 
was rapidly approaching. To reach this harbour before the hounds 
were upon him was now the subject of his fervent prayers and 
ejaculations. At last into the inn-yard the stags bounded, striking 
hostler and stable-boy powerless with terror and wonder. In an 
instant his lordship, the stags, and the phaeton were promiscuously 
bundled into a barn, just as the hounds rushed up yelling to the gate. 

This adventure brought his lordship's experiments with deer in 
the traces to a close ; but nothing could damp his ardour for sport- 
ing ; he was fated to live and, as it turned out, to die on the turf. 
A character so eccentric was, as might be expected, so peculiar in 
his appearance as to create general amusement in the field. 
" Mounted on a stump of a piebald pony (as broad as he was long) 
in a full suit of black, without either great-coat or gloves ; his hands 
and face crimsoned with cold, and in a fierce cocked hat, facing 
every wind that blew, his lordship rode, regardless of the elements 
and the sand-gathering blasts of Norfolk." 

Horace Walpole's epithet of "madman" was not quite un- 



234 Houghton HalL 

warranted. The earl was on two occasions subject to mental aber- 
ration, and was placed under restraint. On the second of these 
occasions his general health seems to have sunk. His sporting 
instincts, however, were as lively as ever, and he fretted against 
his confinement, principally because it debarred him from 
coursing. A favourite greyhound of his was, at this time, to run a 
match of considerable importance, and the earl employed what 
wits were left him in devising how he might get free for this one 
day, see one match more, and enjoy the triumph which he felt con- 
fident his greyhound Czarina would achieve. 

The day of the match arrived, the gamekeepers had led the hounds 
to the field, and a brilliant company, who lamented the absence 
of their friend, the earl, and deplored its cause, assembled. In the 
midst of such sympathetic condolences, a stumpy piebald pony was 
observed to come tearing along at its full speed toward the place of 
rendezvous, and in a moment more its rider was seen to be no 
other than the earl himself. He had contrived by some ruse to 
prevail upon the keeper to leave the room for a few minutes, when 
he jumped out of the window, saddled his faithful piebald at a 
time when he knew the grooms were engaged and out of the way, 
and now here he was. And here he determined to remain : no 
entreaty, no warning against the excitement to which he was ex- 
posing himself, would wile him from the field until the match was 
over. The greyhounds then started, and, after a famous run, 
Czarina, the earl's favourite, won. But the excitement of the race 
and the scene, the anxiety for the result, and the tumult of triurriph 
over the success, proved too much for the broken energies of the 
earl. He fell from his saddle, and almost immediately expired. 
The event occurred in 1791. 

The third earl seems to have been a man of singularly simple 
manners, kindly and courteous deportment, and winning address. 
He was a favourite with all — literally from the prince to the peasant ; 
for the Prince of Wales frequently visited at the noble old mansion of 
Houghton, and used to say that nowhere was there such a profusion 
of game of every description, such a display of attendant game- 
keepers, such a noble though plain hospitahty, or a park so curiously 
and infinitely stocked with every original in beast and fowl of 
almost all countries, from the African bull to the pelican of the 
wilderness, as at Houghton. 

As the third earl never married, the estates reverted to his uncle 
Horace Walpole, who succeeded as fourth Earl of Orford. 



Houghton Hall. 235 

The following letter written from Houghton by the fourth earl on 
his succession to the property is at once descriptive of the place 
and of the man : — 

" Here I am at Houghton ! and alone ! in this spot, where except 
two hours last month, I have not been for sixteen years. Think 
what a crowd of reflections ! No, Gray and forty churchyards 
could not furnish so many ; nay, I know one must feel them with 
greater indifference than I feel I possess to put them into verse. 
Here I am probably for the last time of my life, though not for the 
last time. Every clock that strikes tells me I am an hour nearer 
to yonder church — that church into which I have not the courage 
to enter, where lies the mother on whom I doted and who doted 
on me ! There are the two rival mistresses of Houghton, neither 
of whom ever wished to enjoy it ! There, too, lies he who founded 
its greatness, to contribute to whose fall Europe was embroiled. 
There he sleeps in quiet and dignity, while his friend and his foe, 
rather his false ally and his real enemy, are exhausting the dregs 
of their pitiful lives in squabbles and pamphlets. 

"The surprise the pictures gave me is again renewed : accustomed 
for many years to see nothing but wretched daubs and varnished 

copies, I look at these as enchantment In one respect I am 

very young, I cannot satiate myself with looking : an incident con- 
tributed to make me feel this more strongly. A party arrived, just 
as I did, to see the house, a man and three women in riding 

di-esses, and they rode past through the apartment How 

different my sensations ! Not a picture here but recalls a history ; 
not one but I remember in Downing Street or Chelsea, where 
queens and crowds admired them, though seeing them as little as 
those travellers. 

" When I had drunk tea, I strolled into the garden : they told 
me it was now called ' the pleasure ground.* What a dissonant 
idea of pleasure ! Those groves, those alleys, where I have passed 
so many charming moments, are now stripped up or overgrown : 
many fond paths I could not unravel, though with a very exact clue 
in my memory. I met two gamekeepers and a thousand hares ! 
In the days when all my soul was turned to pleasure and vivacity, 
.... I hated Houghton and its solitude. Yet I loved this garden 
—as now, with many regrets, I love Houghton — Houghton, I know 

not what to call it, a monument of grandeur or ruin Ho^t 

wise a man [his father, SJi Robert Walpole] at once and how weak I 



236 Houghton HalL 

For what has he built Houghton ? For his grandson to annihilate, 

or for his son to mourn over." — H. W. 

The affectation of philosophic and magnanimous tranquillity 
which " inspires" this letter is most cleverly assumed, even for 
Horace Walpole, the prince of affectors. The above specimen of 
his style, taken together with Macaula/s masterly outline of his ^ 
character, will give a fair notion of what the fourth Earl of Orford 
was like — the last Walpole of Houghton of the main line : — 

" The faults of Horace Walpole's head and heart are indeed suffi- 
ciently glaring. His writings, it is true, rank as high among the 
delicacies of intellectual epicures as the Strasburg pies among the 
dishes described in the Almanack des Gourmands. But as the 
■pdU defoie-gras owes its excellence to the diseases of the wretched 
animal which furnishes it, and would be good for nothing if it were 
not made of livers preternaturally swollen, so none but an un- 
healthy and disorganized mind could have produced such literary 
luxuries as the works of Walpole. 

"He was the most eccentric, the most artificial, the most fastidious, 
the most capricious of men. His mind was a bundle of inconsis- 
tent whims and affectations. His features were covered by mask 
within mask. When the outer disguise of obvious affectation was 
removed, you were still as far as ever from seeing the real man. 
He played innumerable parts and over-acted them all. When he 
talked misanthropy, he out-Timoned Timon. When he talked 
philanthropy, he left Howard at an immeasurable distance. He 
scoffed at courts, and kept a chronicle of their most trifling scandal ; 
at society, and was blown about by its slightest veerings of opinion ; 
at literary fame, and left fair copies of his private letters, with 
copious notes, to be published after his decease ; at rank, and never 
for a moment forgot that he was an Honourable ; at the practice of 
entail, and tasked the ingenuity of conveyancers to tie up his villa 
in the strictest settlement. 

"The conformation of his mind was such that whatever was little 
seemed to him great, and whatever was great seemed to him httle. 
Serious business was a trifle to him, and trifles were his serious 
business. To chat with blue -stockings, to write little copies of 
complimentary verses on little occasions, to superintend a private 
press, to preserve from natural decay the perishable topics of 
Ranelagh and White's, to record divorces and bets, Miss Chud- 
Icigh's absurdities and George Selwyn's good sayings, to decorate a 



Houghton Hall. 237 

grotesque house with pie-crust battlements^ to procure rare en- 
gravings and antique chimney boards, to match old gauntlets, to 
lay out a maze of walks within five acres of grounds, these were the 
great employments of his long life. From these he turned to poli- 
tics as to an amusement. After the labours of the print-shop and the 
auction-room, he unbent his mind in the House of Commons. 
And, having indulged in the recreation of making laws and voting 
millions, he returned to more important pursuits, to researches after 
Queen Mary's comb, Wolsey's red hat, the pipe which Van Tromp 
smoked during his last sea-fight, and the spur which King William 
struck into the flank of Sorrel." 

One of his strangest whims was that he disdained to be consi- 
dered a man of letters. He was horror-struck at the thought of 
being classified with the hungry ' hacks' who at that time made up 
the rank and tile of literature. He wished it to be believed that he 
never applied himself to the acquisition of any knowledge whatever, 
and that which he did know specially came to him through a sixth 
sense denied to all the human race but himself. He wished to be 
considered a gallant, a gay trifler, who when the mood was on him 
could write, and without any labour could achieve results which ordi- 
nary mortals could only arrive at by toil and assiduous care. Yet 
though he disclaimed hterature as a ' profession/ no man was 
ever more thoroughly under a slavish dread lest what he did 
write should not appear before posterity under all possible 
advantages. He really stooped and grovelled under the oppres- 
sive weight of his literary responsibilities, though he affected 
to carry them as lightly as a flower. The worst feature of his 
intellectual and literary character is that he was consciously insin- 
cere — that he knew he was acting a part, and that after having met 
the shadow ' feared of man' he would still in his books at least con- 
tinue to mime. Of natural impulse he was entirely free ; of conscious 
affectation and pretence he was ' all compact.' And it is because 
his works betray this peculiar idiosyncracy — the very last feature 
he would have permitted them to betray could he have prevented 
it — that his writings continue to amuse and entertain, to provoke 
us to laughter both at him and with him. 

Horace Walpole, fourth Earl of Orford, died unmarried in 1797, 
when all the honours of the family expired, except the barony of 
Walpole, which devolved upon the first cousin of the last earl. 
The estate of Houghton descended by inheritance to the family of 
the Marquis of Cholmondely, in which it still remains. 



238 



Holkham Hall and its Treasures. 

Holkham Hall (Haeligham, " Holy Home,") a mansion of almost 
peerless magnificence, as far as its noble proportions, its gorgeous 
decorations, and its art and literary treasures are concerned, is 
situated in the midst of a spacious but level park, on the northern 
skirt of Norfolk, about two miles from the sea at Well's Harbour. 
In the words of the inscription over the entrance to the great hall, 
" This seat, on an open, barren estate, was planned, planted, built, 
decorated, and inhabited in the middle of the eighteenth century, by 
Thomas Coke, Earl of Leicester." The general ideas of the plans, 
elevations, &c., were supplied by the Earls of Leicester and Bur- 
lington, and committed to the hands of Mr. Kent, an architect, who 
had been encouraged in his studies at Rome by these two gentle- 
men, who were then travelling in Italy. The maturing and finished 
execution of the designs are said to have employed the chief atten- 
tion of the Earl of Leicester during the seven years which he spent 
in Italy, and the sources of many features of the plans were the 
works and the drawings of the Venetian Palladio and the English 
Inigo Jones. Much time and a vast amount of money were ex- 
pended in collecting pictures, statuary, vases, &c., for the mansion 
that had alreidy risen only in the mind's eye of the proprietor. 
The success v/ith which he planned his palatial mansion and the 
exquisite taste which he brought to the selection of statuary, &c., 
are patent from an inspection of his famous mansion. The his- 
torian of Norfolk says, the Earl "has been enabled to leave to his 
successors a building the delight of the present age, as it promises 
from the solidity of its construction to be that of posterity. While 
the love of Roman arts and magnificence shall continue it must be 
considered, indeed, as a permanent monument of the elegance and 
the refined erudition of its illustrious founder." Dallaway, the 
accomplished author of " Anecdotes of the Arts in England," has 
added his testimony to the value in an artistic sense of the labours 
of the Earl of Leicester. " To the Earls of Orford and Leicester," 
he says, "we owe two edifices at Houghton and Holkham in 
Norfolk which greatly exceed, both in taste and magnificence, any 
that were erected in the reign of George II. Ripley [see Houghton], 
so severly satirized by Pope, and who lost all credit in his portico 
at the Admiralty, gave the first plan of Houghton, and methodized 
the frequent alterations which were suggested by Lord Orford and 



Hoik ham Hall and its Treasures, 239 

\iis friends. A very splendid pile is the effect of their joint consul- 
tations. Lord Leicester is said to have imagined the whole of his 
palace at Holkham in his own mind, unassisted by architects 
Some credit is yet due in the execution to Britingham, but more to 
Kent, who designed the noble hall, terminated by a vast staircase, 
producing in the whole an imposing effect of grandeur not to be 
equalled in England." 

It was at first resolved to build the external surface of Holkham 
in Bath stone, which has a peculiarly fine yellow tint ; but a brick 
earth was found in the neighbouring parish, which after proper 
seasoning and tempering produced an excellent brick, much resem- 
bling Bath stone in colour, but heavier, and of a much closer and 
fiiTner texture. Of this light- coloured brick Holkham House is 
built. The building was commenced by the Earl of Leicester in 
1734, but the conception of having a house here was, even at that 
time, eight or nine years old. In 1725 or 1726 the Earl resolved to 
build a residence here, and after having made several purchases of 
intermixed land and estates he began to enclose and cultivate the 
land. The processes of enclosing, cultivating, planting, laying out 
lawns, gardens, water, &c., went on for years, and at last in the year 
named the foundations were made on the site of the old manor- 
house of Hill Hall. The Earl died in 1759, but the completion and 
the adornment of the house was carried forward by the Countess of 
Leicester, until everything was finished and all embellishments 
perfected in 1 764. 

The building consists of a central quadrangular block, with four 
wings, one at each angle, and connected with the principal structure by 
corridors. The principal floors of the wings are thus in convenient 
communication with the state apartments on the one hand, or, on the 
other, with the lawn or the servants' offices below, on the basement 
story. The wings are seventy feet long by sixty, and each of them is set 
apart for special uses. The strangers' wing, exclusively used for 
the accommodation of the visitors of the family, is divided into 
bed-chambers and single and • double dressing-rooms, and com- 
municates by its corridor with the grand apartments at the north 
end of the statue gallery. The family wing, besides the apartments 
usually occupied by the family, contains the library, and two rooms, 
the one for the invaluable collection of manuscripts, the other for 
the earliest editions of the classics. The chapel wing contains the 
chapel, servants' sleeping rooms, and, on the lower floor, the laundry, 
dairy, offices, &c. The kitchen wing needs no description. 



240 Holkham Hall and its Treasures, 

Under the basement story, the exterior of which is in rustic-work 
— that is, the joints of the bricks or blocks are grooved — are tiiC 
cellars, &c., corresponding in size with the rooms above, so that 
the partition and walls, being carried up directly from the cellar 
floor, have a safe foundation. Each room here is entirely arched over 
with groined brickwork, constructed in the most masterly style. 

The mansion has two fronts, facing the south and north respec- 
tively, and each presenting a view of the house itself and of the 
two wings. The south front is peculiarly light, elegant, and har- 
monious in proportion. In its centre the basement projects, forming a 
vestibule with a portico of six Corinthian pillars. The whole extent 
of this front is three hundred and forty-four feet, and its great 
extent, its architectural beauty, and the luxury of its fittings, it$ 
gilded window-frames, &c., constitute an ensemble of great mag- 
nificence. The north front is of the same dimensions, with a tier 
of Venetian windows over another of small square sashes in the 
rustic basement. 

The central part of this famous house, one hundred and fourteen 
feet by sixty-two, contains the grand or state apartments. These 
are not more magnificent and tasteful in the pictures, statues, &c., 
which everywhere diffuse a classical and intellectual charm, than 
they are in the materials used in their construction and in the work- 
manship displayed. The floors are entirely of wainscot oak, and 
the chimney-pieces are either in the purest statuary marble, or are 
composite and enriched with masterly carved ornamentation. 

As the art collections of Holkham are the chief attraction of the 
place, we note the principal apartments and enumerate their chief 
treasures. These treasures were carefully examined by the famous 
Dr. Waagen, the distinguished art-critic, and director of the Royal 
Gallery of Pictures, Berlin. Of the principal objects of art men- 
tioned below we quote Dr. Waagen's opinion. 

The Hall, seventy feet by forty-six, and forty-three feet high, is a 
noble apartment, the original idea of which was suggested by the 
Earl himself from Palladio's plan of a basilica or tribunal of justice, 
is surrounded on three sides by a gallery leading to the different 
suites of apartments, and having a semi-circular niche at the upper 
3nd with a flight of steps leading to the saloon. It contains, among 
other famous statuary works, "Agrippina the younger, mother of 
Nero;" "The Death of Germanicus,"by Nollekens; "Socrates Defend- 
ing himself before his Judges," by Westmacott, and numerous family 
portraits. In the Yellow Dressing-room is "The Triu/noh of Galatea/' 



Holkham Hall and its Treasures, 241 

by Albano, a pleasing picture, rich in beauty of form and glowing 
colouring. The Parlour contains a large landscape by Claude 
Lorraine, with Apollo and Marsyas — a picture uniting poetical 
feeling, depth, and fulness of colour in a degree which is rare even 
with Claude. The Saloon contains Rubens's "Flight into Egypt," and 
a portrait by Vandyke of the Duke d'Aremberg, a noble and 
princely picture. In the State-Room are landscapes by Claude 
Lorraine and Poussin, a portrait of the Duke of Richmond by 
Vandyke, and a "Joseph and Potiphar's Wife," by Guido Rcni. 
In the Landscape-room are specimens of Domenichino, Claude 
Lorraine, Poussin, and other masters. In the Dressing-room 
to the State-bedchamber is Annibale Carracci's "Polyphemus Piping 
to Galatea," as well as specimens of Snyders and Albano. In the 
Northern State-closet are admirable specimens of Carlo Maratti 
and Canaletto. In the Northern State Dressing-room is another 
landscape by Claude Lorraine, with specimens of Luini, Parmi- 
gianino, and others. In the Brown Dressing-room is a group of 
nineteen figures by Michael Angelo, of inestimable value, the 
subject being Florentine soldiers bathing, and suddenly called to 
arms upon an unexpected attack made by the Pisans. The subject 
gives the artist an admirable opportunity for showing his thorough 
study of anatomy and foreshortening. In Lady Leicester's Dress- 
ing-room are "Joseph Recognised by his Brethren," by Raphael, and 
landscapes by Poussin and Claude. In the Library of Manuscripts 
is a book of thirty-five leaves with drawings of architeeture, for- 
merly in the possession of Carlo Maratti and believed to be from 
the hand of Raphael. There are also illuminated missals and 
manuscripts containing miniature portraits, &c. 

In the Library, which is equally rich in printed books and MSS., 
are some of the earliest specimens of typography. Plere is one of 
the finest collections — or, indeed, libraries — of manuscripts anywhere 
preserved ; certainly the finest in any private individual's possession. 
It partly consists of the Chief-Justice's papers ; the rest, the bulk 
of it, was collected by the accomplished nobleman who built the 
/nansion, the last male heir of the lawyer. He had spent many 
years abroad, where he collected a vast number of valuable manu- 
scripts. Many of the finest codices of the Greek, Latin, and old 
Italian classics are to be found in this superb collection. Among 
others are no less than thirteen of Livy, a favourite author of Lord 
Leicester, whom he had made some progress in editing, when he 
learned that Drachenborchius, the German critic, had proceeded 



242 Holkham Hall and its Treasures, 

further in the same task, and to him Lord Leicester generously 
handed the treasures of his library. The excellent edition of that 
commentator makes constant reference to the Holkham manu- 
scripts under the name of MSS. Lovellianay from the title of 
Lovell; Lord Leicester not having then been promoted to the 
earldom. The late Mr. Coke had the whole of the MSS. unfolded, 
bound, and arranged, after they had lain half a century neglected, 
and were verging on decay. This labour occupied Mr. Roscoe ten 
years, who has to each work prefixed, in his own fair handwriting, a 
short account of the particular MS., with the bibliography appertain- 
ing to it. On the whole it may be affirmed, that no creation of modern 
taste and opulence in this part of the island surpasses Holkham. 

The park of Holkham is nine miles in circuit, and contains three 
thousand two hundred acres, of which one thousand acres were 
planted by the first earl, who had the gratification of seeing the 
launch of a ship, at Lynn, built of oaks from acorns planted by 
himself. The park abounds in game, the trees are well massed and 
grouped, and the lake near the house is a fine sheet of water about 
a mile long. The Obelisk, eighty feet high, erected in 1729, is sur- 
rounded by ilexes. The Leicester Monument, erected in memory 
of " Coke of Norfolk," in 1845-48, is a lofty column surmounted by 
a wheaten sheaf, with bassi relievi on the pedestal and figures sym- 
bolical of agricultural operations at the corners. The gardens are 
very charming, but have no special characteristic. 

The Cokes, earls of Leicester, are a very ancient family. Coke or 
Cocke being the ancient British name of a river, according to 
Camden. The family descend from a Coke of Didlington in Nor- 
folk mentioned in a deed of 1206, from whom was descended Sir 
Edward Coke, the famous law>'er, born in 1549. He studied at 
Trinity College, Cambridge, entered as a student in the Inner 
Temple, and was called to the bar in 1578. Soon after he married 
Bridget, daughter of John Fasten, with whom he acquired a fortune of 
30,000/. An ancestor of his wife had sat upon the bench with 
Judge Littleton, as a commentator upon whom Edward Coke is 
now best known. He not only acquired wealth by his first wife, 
Init promotion to honours and preferments. He afterwards married 
tht Lady Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Cecil, first Earl of Exeter. 
He was elected to represent Norfolk in Parliament, and sub- 
sequently he was promoted by the House to the Speaker's chair. 
He became Attorney-General in 1593, and in that capacity acted 
as Slate prosecutor with unusual severity and roughness of manner. 



Holkham Hall and its Treasures, 243 

He was knighted by James I. at Greenwich in 1603, and three 
years after was elevated to the bench as chief-justice of the Court 
of Common Pleas. In 161 3 he was advanced to be chief-justice of 
the Court of King's Bench. In 1628 he was elected member for 
Bucks, and distinguished himself for his strong and eloquent adhe- 
sion to the side of the Commons. " His last public act," says 
Burke, "was his proposing and framing the famous Petition of 
Rights." So great had been his good fortune in his marriages, his 
lucrative offices, and his splendid practice at the bar, that he reahzcd 
a fortune ample enough to confer upon each of his sons an estate 
equal to that of a rich peer's eldest son. 

The grandson of Sir Edward Coke dying unmarried, the estate 
of Holkham fell to a collateral branch, Henry Coke of Thorington. 

Sir Thomas Coke of Holkham was elevated to the peerage in 
1728 as Baron Lovel of Minster Level, and in 1744 was created 
Viscount Coke of Holkham and Earl of Leicester. His only son 
died in 1759, when the earldom and minor honours became extinct. 
The estate then devolved upon his nephew, Wenham Roberts, who 
assumed, in consequence the surname and arms of Coke. " Coke 
of Norfolk," as he was familiarly called, was the son of the pre- 
ceding, and was created Earl of Leicester in 1837. He died in 1842. 
It is to this first Earl of Leicester (of the second creation) that the 
surpassing beauty and wealth of the Holkham estates are due. He 
had the reputation of being the " first farmer in England." On his 
estate the surface soil was sand, but below there was marl. He 
ploughed deep, spread the marl, and changed the character and the 
value of the soil. We find in the "Norfolk Tour" that half a cen- 
tury ago Norfolk might be termed a rabbit and rye country. In its 
northern part wheat was almost unknown. In the whole tract 
lying between Holkham and Lynn not an ear was to be seen, and 
it was scarcely believed that an ear could be made to grow. Now 
the most abundant crops of wheat and barley cover the entire dis- 
trict. It is to the perseverance and judicious exertions of Mr. Coke 
that we are chiefly indebted for this. Thousands of sheep and 
oxen are now kept where hundreds only were found formerly. 
This is owing to turnip culture, the basis of Norfolk farming. Mr. 
Coke practised the four-course system, combined with the drill for 
sowing and "much ploughing and stirring of the soil to keep 
down weeds," turnip-growing, irrigation, and spotting the sandy 
waste land with small pieces of sward, which growing together soon 
converted the desert into a pasture. 

R 2 



244 



Caistor Castle. 

Tliis fortress is one of the four principal castles of Norfolk. It 
is situated about two miles from Yarmouth, is built of brick, and is 
thought to be one of the oldest brick edifices in the kingdom. 
Others ascribe its erection to Sir John Fastolfe, an officer who 
served with great distinction in the French wars of Henry V. and 
VI. It afterwards came into the possession of Sir John Paston,* 
and was twice besieged in the Wars of the Roses. An embattled 
tower at the north-west corner, one hundred feet high, and the 
north and west walls, remain : but the south end and east sides 
are levelled with the ground. Caistor was a place of importance- 
thought to be a Roman cavalry station, and the abode of the Kings 
of East Anglia, probably in a castle of much earlier date than the 
above, where Edmund kept his court, as already mentioned in our 
account of Lowestoft. 



* One of the writers of the celebrated Pasion Letters, the authenticity of 
which has been established as "a faithful guide through the dark period to 
which they relate," 



245 



HUNTINGDON AND CAMBRIDGESHIRE. 

Kimbolton Castle. 

This idmous Castle, though ill-naturedly termed by Horace Walpole 
an ugly place, and by dull topographers an " antient stone building," 
has fortunately found a more genial and appreciative writer to chronicle 
the chequered history of the personages who have resided here, and 
illustrate the autographic treasures deposited within its walls, and known 
as the Kimbolton Papers. At the commencement of the year 1861, 
Mr. Hepworth Dixon visited the Duke of Manchester at Kimbolton 
Castle, and, under peculiar advantages, drew a vivid and characteristic 
picture of the place, printed in the Athenaum for January, 1861, and 
of which we have taken the liberty to avail ourselves for the following 
descriptive information : — 

" Kimbolton Castle, seat of the Duke of Manchester, stands at the 
head of our great flat or fen country, and is the centre of all the 
histories and legends of the shire of Huntingdon. Though pulled 
about and rebuilt by Sir John Vanbrugh, the Castle has still a grand 
antique and feudal air. The memories which hang about it are in the 
last degree romantic and imposing. There Queen Katherine of Arragon 
died. There the Civil Wars took shape. Yet Kimbolton is not more 
rich in grand traditions than in historical pictures and in historical 
papers. All the Montagus hang upon its walls, — Judges, Ambassadors, 
Earls, and Dukes. The originals of very many of Walpole's Letters 
are in its library. In the same presses are many unpublished letters of 
Joseph Addison — of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough — and of 
Sir John Vanbrugh, together with the originals of a great mass of cor- 
respondence with authors, artists, generals, statesmen, ministers, and 
kings. On this rich mine of anecdote and gossip (says Mr. Dixon) I 
shall draw — with the Duke's permission ; but my first concern is with 
the more poetical legends of Queen Katherine and Queen Katherine's 
ghost. 

•* Kimbolton is perhaps the only house now left in England in which 
you still live and move, distinguished as the scene of an act in one of 
Shakspeare's plays. Where now is the royal palace of Northampton ? 



246 Kimboltoft Castle, 

— ^where the baronial halls of Warkworth ? Time has trodden under 
foot the pride of Langley and Ely House. The Tower has become a 
barrack, Bridewell a jail. Ivy has eaten into the stone of Pomfret. 
Flint has fallen into the Dee. Westminster Abbey, indeed, remains 
much as when Shakspeare opened the Great Contention of York and 
Lancaster with the dead hero of Agincourt lying there in state ; and the 
Temple Gardens have much the same shape as when he made Plantagenet 
pluck the white rose, Somerset the red ; but for a genuine Shakspearian 
house, in which men still live and love, still dress and dine, to which 
guests come and go, in which children frisk and sport, where shall we 
look beyond the walls of Kimbolton Castle ? 

" Of this Shakspearian pile Queen Katherine is the glory and the fear^ 
The room in which she died remains. The chest in which she kept her 
clothes and jewels, her own cipher on the lid, still lies at the foot of the 
grand staircase, in the gallery leading to the seat she occupied in the 
private chapel. Her spirit, the people of the Castle say, still haunts 
the rooms and corridors in the dull gloaming or at silent midnight. In 
the Library, among a mass of loose notes and anecdotes set down in a 
handwriting unknown to me, but of the last century, I one day found a 
story of her in her early happy time, which is, I think, singularly pretty 
and romantic. Has it ever been in print ? ^ 

" The legend told in this unknown hand— whether truth or fable- 
runs in this wise : — In the bright days of Katherine's wedded love, long 
before Hal had become troubled in his conscience by 

•The gospel light that shone in Boleyn's eyes,' 

Montagu, her Master of the Horse, fell crazily in love with her. Not 
daring to breathe in her chaste ear one word, or even hint this passion 
for her by a glance or sigh, the young gallant stifled 

• The mighty hunger of the heart/ 

only permitting himself, from time to time, the sweet reward of a gentle, 
as he thought imperceptible, pressure of the Queen's hand as she vaulted 
to her mare for a ride, or descended after her sport with the falcon. 
That tender touch, as light as love, as secret as an unborn hope, sent the 
warm soft blood of youth careering through his veins ; but the passionate 
and poetic joy was too pure to last. Katherine felt the fire that touched 
her fingers ; and as the cold Spanish training, which allows no pressure 
of hands between the sexes, or indeed any of those exquisite and inno- 
cent familiarities by which the approach of love is signalled from heart 
to heart in more favoured lands, gave her no clue to the strange 



Ramsey Abbey, and its Learned Monks. ^Al 

behaviour of: her Gentleman of the Horse, she ran with the thoughtless 
gaiety of a child to ask counsel of the King. 

"Tell me, sir," says the Queen, "what a gentleman in this country 
means when he squeezes a lady's hand ? " 

"Ha, ha !" roars the King, " but you must first tell me, chick, docs 
any gentleman squeeze your hand ?" 

*' Yes, sweetheart," says the innocent Queen ; " my Gentleman of 
the Horse." 

Montagu went away to the wars. An attack was about to be made 
on the enemy's lines, and the desperate young Englishman begged to 
have the privilege of fighting in the fi'ont. Gashed with pikes, he was 
carried to his tent ; and in the blood in which his life was fast oozing 
away he wrote these words to the Queen — 

' Madam, I die of your love.' 

" When the poor Queen herself, many years after the date of this 
remarkable incident, came to Kimbolton Castle to die, it was the 
property of the Wingfields, not of the Montagus. The present family 
were not her jailers, nor are they thought to be in any way obnoxious 
to the regal shade. To them the legend of her haunting spirit is 
a beautiful adornment of their home. 

" There are, in popular belief, two ghosts at the Castle and the sur- 
rounding Park : one of the unhappy Queen ; one of the stern Judge, 
Sir John Popham, whose fine old portrait hangs in the great hall. 
Katherine of Arragon is said to haunt the house, to float through and 
through the galleries, and to people the dark void spaces with a 
mysterious awe ; Sir John to sit astride the Park wall or lie in wait for 
rogues and poachers under the great elms. The poetical interest centres 
in the Queen." 

Mr. Dixon thus describes the Queen's Chamber, the room in which 
she died, where a panel leads to what is called her hiding-places. " Mere 
dreams, no doubt, but people here believe them. They say the ghost 
glides about after dark, robed in her long white dress, and with the 
royal crown upon her head, through the great hall, and along the cor- 
ridor to the private chapel, or up the grand staircase, past the Pellegrini 
cartoons." 

Ramsey Abbey, and its Learned Monks. 

Ramsey, ten miles from Huntingdon, derives its origin from a 
Benedictine Abbey, founded on an island or dry spot in the marshes, 
called Ram's ey — ix. Ram's Island, in the reign of Edgar, a.d. 969, on 



248 Ramsey Abbey, and its Learned Monks. 

land given by Ailwine, duke or earl of the East Angles, and founded at 
the instigation of Oswald, successively Bishop of Worcester and Arch- 
bishop of York. The Abbey obtained great wealth and repute. 
Many of the abbots and monks were men of considerable learning. A 
school, almost coeval with the Abbey itself, was established within its 
walls, and became one of the most celebrated seats of learning in 
England during the latter part of the tenth century, under the direc- 
tion of Abbo, one of the foreign monks whom Oswald had brought 
hither fi'om Fleury. The libraiy was celebrated for its collection of 
Hebrew books, previously belonging to the synagogues at Stamford and 
Huntingdon, and purchased at the confiscation of the Je\\'^' property 
in England, in the reign of Edward I., by Gregory Huntingdon, a 
monk of the Abbey: Robert Dodford, another monk, was also eminent 
for his attainments in Hebrew ; and a third, Robert Holbeach, of the 
time of Henry IV., profiting by the labour of his predecessors, com- 
piled a Hebrew Lexicon. The Reformation broke up the library, and 
inteiTupted the studies that had distinguished this secluded spot in the 
dark ages. The Abbots of Ramsey were mitred. The only remains 
of the Abbey, which stood not far from the church, are the ruined 
gateway, a rich specimen of Decorated EngUsh architecture, but in a 
very dilapidated condition ; and a statue of Earl Ailwine, the founder, 
supposed to be one of the most ancient pieces of sculpture extant. 

St. Ives, six miles east of Huntingdon, derives its name fi'om Ivex 
or St. Ives, a Norman ecclesiastic, said to have visited England as a 
missionary about a.d. 600, and whose supposed remains were dis- 
covered here some centuries afterwards. On the spot where they were 
found, the Abbots of Ramsey, to whom the manor belonged, first 
built a church, and then a Priory, subordinate to Ramsey Abbey, which 
priory remained till the Dissolution. The dove-house and barn of the 
ancient Priory are yet standing.* 



• An incident, illustrative of the age, took place at Warboys, in this county, 
near the close of the sixteenth century. The cliildren of Robert Throckmorton, 
Esq., having been afflicted by fits of a peculiar kind, and the lady of Sir Henry 
Cromwell having died after experiencing similar fits, a family named Samwell, 
consisting of an old man, and his wife and daughter, (Agnes,) were charged 
with bewitching them ; and having been found guilty at the Lent Assizes. A.D. 
1593, were executed. They are traditionally known as "the Witches of War- 
boys." Sir Henry Cromwell, to whom as lord of the manor their goods were 
forfeited, gave them as an endowment for ever for preaching an annual sermon 
at Huntingdon, against the sin of witchcraft ; and the sermon continual to be 
preached long after the statutes against witchcraft were repealed. 



249 



Castles of Cambridge and Ely. 

The first well authenticated fact relating to the history of Cambridge 
IS the burning of it, together with the monasteries of Ely, Soham, and 
Thorney, and the slaughtering of the monks by the Danes, in revenge 
for the death of Leofric. In 875 Cambridge was the head-quarters of 
the Danes, under Guthrum, who remained there a twelvemonth. In 
10 10 Cambridge was again destroyed by the Danes. Whilst the Isle 
of Ely was held against William the Conqueror by the English nobility, 
that monarch built a Castle at Cambridge — Grose says in the first 
year of his reign : Ordericus Vitalis says in 1068. In 1088, Cambridge 
shared the fate of the county in being laid waste with fire and sword 
in the cause of Robert Curthose. King John was at Cambridge on 
the 1 6th of September, 12 16, about a month before his death. On 
his departure he entrusted the defence of the Castle to Jules de Brent, 
but it was soon after taken by the Barons ; and after the King's death 
a Council was held at Cambridge between the Barons and Louis the 
Dauphin. In 1249 we have the first notice of great discord between 
the townsmen of Cambridge and the scholars of the University. Upon 
the first symptoms of an approaching war between King Charles and 
his Parliament, the University of Cambridge demonstrated their 
loyalty ; but in 1643, Cromwell, who had twice represented the borough, 
took possession of the town for the Parliament, and put in it a garrison 
of 1000 men. In August 1645, the King appeared with his Army before 
it, and the heads of the University voted their plate to be melted down 
for the King's use ; — but we have no account of any siege or assault 
upon the town ; nor does anything occur which connects it with the 
civil history of the country from that to the present time. The Castle, 
which is said to have been erected on the site of a Danish fortress, was 
suffered to go to decay at least as early as the reign of Henry IV. ; 
all that remains of the ancient buildings is the gatehouse. 

Among the troubles of Ely, we find that in 1 01 8 the monks who 
went to the battle of Assendune to pray for their countrymen, were 
all massacred by the Danes. And in 1037, at Ely, died in prison, 
Alfred, the eldest son of Ethelred II., whose eyes had been put out by 
order of Harold I. 

When William the Conqueror invaded England, the most obstinate 
resistance which he experienced was in the Isle of Ely. William, 
designing to take the Isle, built a Castle at Wisbeach and a fortress at 
Reche, and invested the Isle by land and water, but was forced to 
retire. Hereward le Wake, son of Leofric lord of Brunne (Bourne ?) 



250 Castles of Cambridge and Ely, 

in Lincolnshire, had been banished in early life for his violent temper ; 
and having signalized his valour in foreign parts, was in Flanders when 
the battle of Hastings was fought in 1066. Hearing that his paternal 
inheritance had been given to a Norman and his mother ill-used, he 
returned to England, and commenced hostilities against the usurper of 
his patrimony. The Isle of Ely was his central station, and he built 
on it a wooden Castle, which long retained his name. William 
iurrounded the island with his fleet and army, attempting to make a 
passage through the fens by solid roads in some parts and bridges in 
others ; and either awed by the superstition of the times, or wishing to 
make it subsei-vient to his interests, he got a witch to march at the head 
of his Army and try the effect of her incantations against Hereward. 
The Anglo-Saxon, no way daunted, set fire to the reeds and other 
vegetation of the fens, and the witch and the troops who followed her 
perished in the flames. The actions of Hereward became the theme 
of popular songs, and the Conqueror's own Secretary, stated to be 
Ingulphus, has penned his eulogium. During his warfare against the 
Normans, his camp was the refuge of the friends of Saxon indepen- 
dence. Morcar, Earl of Northumbria, Stigand, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, Ellgwin, Bishop of Durham, and others repaired to him. The 
defence of the Isle lasted till 1074, and the Conqueror penetrated at last 
only by virtue of a compact with the monks of Ely, whose land 
beyond the island he had seized. Hereward, unsubdued, contrived to 
make his peace with the King, obtained the restoration of his inheri- 
tance, and died quietly in his bed. 

In the Civil Wars of Stephen and the Empress Maud, the Bishop of 
Ely, who supported the latter, built a wooden Castle at Ely, and 
fortified the Castle of Aldreth, (in Haddenham parish,) which appears 
to have commanded one of the approaches to the Isle. In 11 40 
it was attacked by the army of King Stephen, who went himself with a 
fleet of small vessels to Aldreth, entered the island, and marched to Ely ; 
but it was retaken, about the year 1142, by the Bishop; and two 
years after the Earl of Essex, having gone over to the Empress Maud, 
had the Castles of Aldreth and Ely for his charge. He committed 
many depredations on the King's demesnes, and lost his life at the siege 
of Burwell Castle. The Isle afterwards suffered much from the ravage 
of war, and from famine and pestilence, the consequence of these 
hostilities. 

In the Civil War between John and his Barons, the Isle was twice 
ravaged by the King's troops : first, under Walter de Baneck, with a 
party of Brabanters, who entered the Isle opposite Hcrebie, and plundered 



The Isle of Ely : its Monastery and Cathedral. 251 

the monastery. Afterwards it was attacked by Fulk de Brent, the 
King's favourite, who had been appointed governor of Cambridge 
Castle, and his confederates. This was about the year 1216. About 
the same time, the Barons took Cambridge Castle, and the King march- 
iflg into Cambridgeshire, did, as Holinshed expresses it, "hurt enough;" 
hut on the King's retreat, the Barons recovered the Isle of Ely, except 
une Castle, probably that at Ely. In the troubles which marked the 
dose of the reign of Henry III., the Isle was again the scene of contest. 
It was taken and fortified by the Barons, who ravaged the county, and 
took and plundered Cambridge, and established themselves in the Isle of 
Ely, which they fortified. In 1266-7, the King, joined at Cambridge 
by Prince Edward, with a Scottish army of 30,000 men, marched his 
forces to Windsor, when the Barons entered the town, burnt the King's 
house, and threatened Barnwell Priory, but their patrons the Peeches 
saved it. Prince Edward took the Isle of Ely almost without oppo- 
sition. 

♦ 

The Isle of Ely: its Monastery and Cathedral. 

According to Bede, the word Ely, which was given to the large 
district of fens in which the city is situated, as well as the city itself, is 
derived from Elgee or Elig, an eel, and consequently has reference to 
the abundance of eels in the neighbourhood. But most antiquaries 
derive the appellation fi-om Helig, a British name for the willow, which 
grows in great numbers in the Isle, and hence it was called Willoiv 
Island. " Such secluded and inaccessible retreats were commonly 
chosen by the Saxons for security when the open parts of the country 
were overrun with armies. The * hardy outlaw,' Hereward, the last of 
the Saxons who held out against William of Normandy, retreated upon 
Ely ; and a party of the Barons, after the loss of the battle of Evesham, 
here made their last resistance to Edward." — (Mackenzie Walcott, M.yl.) 
' Ely is a city and county of itself, and the seat of a bishop's see. The 
foundation of its magnificent Cathedral is due to the piety of St. Ethel- 
dreda, who was bom at a small village called Exning, near Newmarket, 
about the year 630. The early part of her life she devoted to the 
cloister. About the year 652 she mamed, at the solicitation of her 
parents, Toubert, a nobleman of East Anglia. By this marriage, the 
Isle of Ely fell to her as a dowry ; and thither, on the death of 
Toubert, which occurred about three years after their espousal, she 
retired to her former pious meditations. She subsequently married 
Egfride, son of the King of Northumberland, and, by this alliance. 



2 52 The Isle of Ely : its Monastery and Cathedral, 

eventually became Queen. She then withdrew from Court, with the 
sanction of the King, took up her abode in the Abbey of Goldington, 
took the veil, and at length retired to Ely, and laid the foundation of 
her church and monastery, over which she reigned Abbess about six 
years. Her pious life and gentle sway endeared her to all around her ; 
and she died universally honoured, A.D. 679, leaving the Isle of Ely as 
an endowment to this convent. Her sister Sexberga succeeded her, and 
lived twenty years as Abbess. This lady was followed by her daughter 
Enninilda, who was succeeded by her daughter Werberga. Little is 
known after this of the heads of the convent for a number of years. 

During the repeated incursions of the Danes the monastery was 
ruined ; it was pillaged, its sacred walls were destroyed, and its inmates 
put to the sword. At this period the Danes were enabled to sail their 
ships close up to the v/alls of the town, the river being much deeper ; in 
fact, it is supposed to have been an arm of the sea. One of the oldest 
songs extant is a war lyric of these Northmen, which relates that they 
heard the monks of Ely singing their hymns as they were sailing round 
the walls at night. The site is rendered famous by the old ballad of King 
Canute: — 

" Merrily sang the monks within Ely 

When Canute the King rowed thereLj ; 

(Row me, Knights, the shore along, 

And listen to these monks' song.") 

About the year 970 it was rebuilt by Ethelwold, Bishop of Win- 
chester, who converted it into a monastery, and provided it with monks, 
to which King Edgar and many succeeding monarchs gave great privi- 
leges and grants of land, so that the Abbey, in process of time, became 
one of the richest in England. The charter of King Edgar was con- 
firmed by Canute and Edward the Confessor, and subsequently by 
the Pope. The Isle was gallantly defended against William the Con- 
queror; but after repeated attacks the inhabitants were obliged to 
surrender. Many of them were put to the sword, and most of the 
valuable furniture and jewels of the monastery were seized ; but through 
the firmness of Theodwin, who had been made Abbot, the property was 
restored. The monastery was successively governed by nine Abbots ; 
the ninth being Simeon, the founder of the present structure — that is to 
say, of the choir, transepts, central tower, and a portion of the nave. 
These portions were begun A.D. 1083 ; but Simeon did not live to sec 
them finished. They were completed by his successor, Abbot Richard. 
Of this work it is ascertained that little more than the lowest stoiy of 
the transept remains. 



The Isle of Ely: its Monastery and Cathedral 253 

Richard, the eleventh Abbot, wishing to free himself of the Bishop of 
Lincoln, within whose diocese his monastery was situated, and not 
liking so powerful a superior, made great interest with King Henry I. 
to get Ely erected into a bishopric, and spared neither purse nor prayers 
to bring this about. He even brought the Bishop of Lincoln to consent 
to it, by giving him and his successors the manors of Bugden, Biggles- 
wade, and Spalding, which belonged to the Abbey, in lieu of his 
jurisdiction ; but he lived not to taste the fruits of his industry and 
ambition, for he died before his Abbey was erected into a see; his 
successor was the first Bishop of Ely. The lands of the monastery 
were divided between the bishopric and the monks, and the monastery 
K2,% governed by the Lord Prior. But the great privileges the Bishop? 
enjoyed during a long succession of years were almost wholly taken 
away or much restricted during the reign of Henry VI H., who granted 
a charter to convert the conventual church into a cathedral. The 
structure is the workmanship of many different periods, and displays a 
singular mixture of various styles of architecture, but, taken as a whole, 
it is a noble work. The most ancient part, as we have seen, is the 
transept, which was erected in the reigns of William Rufus and 
Henry L 

From the roof of King's College Chapel, at Cambridge, the distinctive 
west tower (270 feet high) and central lantern of the present cathedral 
are plainly discernible. The western transept forms a magnificent 
vestibule to the church. Unhappily, the northern portion has either 
fallen or been demolished : it was perfect until the Reformation. The 
interior is truly magnificent, with its perspective of a 

•• Pile, large and massy, for decoration built ; 
With pillars crowded, and the roof upheld 
By naked rafters, intricately crossed, 
Like leafless underboughs, 'mid some thick grove, 
All withered by the depth of shade above." 

Among the relics is one of the latter part of the seventii century, 
part of the sepulchral cross of Ovin, Steward to Queen Etheldreda. 

At a short distance south from the cathedral are the buildings of the 
old conventual church, in a wonderful state of preservation, having 
perfect all the characteristics of the age in which it is recorded to 
iiave been erected by St. Etheldreda, in 673. 



254 



Cambridge and its Colleges. 

The town of Cambridge (the " bridge " over the " Cam ") covers 
a space of level ground on the south side of the river which forms 
part of its name. Its situation is not so striking and picturesque as 
that of Oxford ; but its stately buildings, varying in height and 
outline, and relieved and contrasted by groups and avenues of 
magnificent trees, themselves an evidence of the taste and care of the 
early authorities, and of the prosperity under which the town has 
grown, are features that must ever give to the town a distinctively 
beautiful character. Here, as at Oxford, the University overshadows 
and eclipses the town — all interests are merged in that of classical 
culture. 

The time at which the University was first established at Cam- 
bridge remains uncertain. Here Henry, the youngest son of the 
Conqueror, studied the arts and sciences, and won for himself the 
honourable name of Beauclerk ; but no record remains of the 
character of the Cambridge schools, or of their constitution during 
the eleventh century, and we find that whatever progress the place 
had made as a seat of learning was checked by Robert de Montgo- 
mery (" Mischievous Montgomery" as Fuller calls him), who ravaged 
the town and county with fire and sword — " insomuch as, for a 
time, the University was wholly abandoned." In order to repair 
the damage thus done, King Henry (Beauclerk) bestowed many 
privileges upon the town. He constituted Cambridge a corporation 
and fixed here the regular ferry over the Cam, " which brought 
much trading and many people thereunto." With the commercial 
interests of the town the interests of learning and of the nascent 
University flourished as a matter of necessity. 

Passing by the records of Ingulph and his continuator, Peter of 
Blois, as scarcely quite trustworthy, we arrive at some precise know- 
ledge of the condition of Cambridge in the earlier part of the thir- 
teenth century. By this time scholars had assembled here and 
were a recognised body. Writs were issued in 123 1, by Henry III., 
at Oxford, for the regulation of the Cambridge *' clerks," and due 
mention is made in these documents of the Chancellor and Masters 
of the University. By this time, then, the germ of what has since 
become so famous a school had been planted and was growing 
here, and its organization was a thing recognised and provided for. 
" The townsmen of Cambridge," says Fuller, " began now most 



Cambridge and its Colleges. 255 

unconscionably to raise and rack the rent of their houses wherein 
the scholars did sojourn. Every low cottage was high valued. 
Sad the conditio7i, ivheii teaming is the tenant and igfiorance must 
be the landlord" It came at last to this pass, that the scholars, 
wearied with exactions, were on the point of departing, to find a 
place where they might be better accommodated on more reasonable 
conditions. 

Out of this miserable state of affairs arose the necessity for 
students having separate houses wherein to lodge. At first the 
scholars had lived scattered throughout the town, or were gathered 
into so-called " hostels." The time was now rapidly approaching 
when the piety, the patriotism, and the sympathy of wealthy men 
and women with learning were to induce them to found colleges for 
the accommodation of the Cambridge scholars. 

Meantime the University was getting well through the trials of 
its infancy, being nursed and cherished in all its sufferings by royal 
kindness. In 1270 Prince Edward visited Cambridge, and, learning 
that frequent differences arose between the scholars and the towns- 
men, he caused an instrument to be drawn up providing that once 
every year thirteen University men and ten burgesses were to act 
in concert in seeing that the peace was faithfully kept between the 
students and the inhabitants. 

Cambridge was now fully warranted in bearing the title of a Uni- 
versity. Its studies were universal, they extended to all arts ; and 
its students, no longer consisting of Englishmen alone, now included 
Scotch, Irish, Welsh, and foreigners. 

In 1280 there were in Cambridge thirty-four hostels and twenty 
Inns. In the hostels students lived under the rule of a principal 
at their own proper charges, before any colleges were endowed in 
the University. They were thus more conveniently accommodated 
than in townsmen's houses, and they hved either rent free or paid 
a small rent to the chief of their society. The only difference 
between hostels and inns was that the latter establishments were 
smaller. " But," says Fuller, " as the stars lose their light when 
the sun ariseth ; so all these hostels decayed by degrees when en- 
dowed colleges began to appear in Cambridge." 

The oldest known collegiate foundation in Cambridge is St. 
Peter's College, or, as it is more popularly called, Peterhouse, 
in Trumpington Street, nearly opposite Pembroke College. It 
originated in an act of private munificence. In 1257 Hugh de 
Balsham, sub-prior of Ely, purchased two hostels, one called St. 



256 Cambridge and its Colleges. 

John's Hostel and the other the Hostel of the Brothers of Penance, 
which he appropriated to the support of certain scholars established 
by him in the Hospital of St. John, in company with the religious 
brethren to whom that foundation appertained. In 1284 he ob- 
tained from the King the final licence to found his college, and re- 
moved his scholars to the hostels he had bought in Trumpington 
Street. " He put them in possession of these hostels and of the 
Church of St. Peter, with the tithes of the two mills thereto belong- 
ing, all which the brethren of the hospital before used to have, and 
to which ordinance of the bishop they submitted. And that the 
brethren of the hospital might not be losers by this appointment, he 
further ordained that they should have certain rents and several 
houses near to their hospital, which he had before assigned to his 
scholars." The right of patronage of the church was afterwards a 
subject of dispute between the hospital and the college, but was 
decided in favour of the latter. 

Dying in 1286 Hugh de Balsham by his will left to the college 
the sum of three hundred marks for the purpose of building, and 
with this money the master and scholars purchased a piece of 
ground adjoining to St. Peter's Church, on which they erected a 
hall, kitchen, and butteries. 

Hugh de Balsham had placed his foundation under the especial 
patronage and protection of the bishops of Ely, and it was from 
them that the scholars received their earliest and greatest benefac- 
tions. Ralph Walpole, the second bishop after the founder, gave 
to St. Peter's College two houses in Cambridge ; John de Hotham 
(bishop 1 316-1 336) gave the rectory lands, &c., in Triplow, in this 
county, with lands called Chewel in Haddcnham. Hotham's 
three immediate successors are also among the list of the benefactors 
of the college. 

From the first the college possessed a library, which was gradually 
increased by various donations. William of Whittlesey, Archbishop 
of Canterbury (1367-1374), who had been master of St. Peter's 
College, left the whole of his library to the scholars. The library 
was further increased, in the fifteenth century, by the books of two 
of the masters of the college — John Holbrooke, one of the most 
profound English mathematicians of his day, and John Warkworth, 
who deserves a place among the old historians of the country. 
From the pursuits of these two masters the character and value of 
the books which they left to their college may be conjectured. 

In 1420 the college was partially destroyed by fire, when all its 



Cambridge aiid its Colleges. 257 

archives were lost. The foundation was rebuilt. In the map of 
Cambridge (1574) St. Peter's is represented as consisting of one 
court entirely surrounded by buildings, with a half-court to the 
west. "A new court, front, and gate towards the street" were added 
in 1607-1615 ; and in 1632 a chapel, built in the middle of the prin- 
cipal court, was completed. It is remarkable that this chapel, built 
only eleven years before the Puritanical visitation in 1643, seems 
to have contained more superstitious images than most other similar 
edifices in the University. "We went," says the report of the 
Puritan visitors, " to Peterhouse with officers and soldiers, and, 
in the presence of Mr. Hanscott, Mr. Wilson, the president, Mr. 
Francis, Mr. Maxwell, and other fellows, we pulled down two mighty 
angels with wings and divers other angels, the four Evangelists, 
and Peter with his keys on the chapel door, together with about 
100 cherubims and many superstitious letters in gold. And at the 
upper end of the chancel these words were written — viz.. Hie locus 
est Domus Dei, nil aliud, et Porta Cceli. .... Moreover, we found 
six angels on the windows, all which we defaced." 

In the middle of the eighteenth century the northern side of the 
first court was rebuilt, and the second court was faced with a new 
casing in 1760. A third court has been more recently added by 
the munificence of the Rev. Francis Gisbrooke, formerly fellow of 
the college, in 1825. It is named from its founder Gisbrooke 
Court. 

As it at present exists this college present no very attractive 
feature. Of its three courts, the first is separated from the second 
by a small cloister, and from the street by a brick wall. The two 
other courts are not remarkable — merely neat, modern and moder- 
nized buildings. The Chapel is in the unpleasing Italianized Gothic 
of the latter part of the sixteenth century. It is fifty-five feet long, 
twenty-seven broad, and the same in height. The old stained glass 
of the east window (a Crucifixion — the principal figures of which 
are copied from the famous picture by Rubens at Antwerp) con- 
trasts very favourably with the modern Munich glass in the side 
windows. The Library, forty-eight feet long and twenty-four 
broad, is rich in mediaeval theology, and contains some very ancient 
pictures. 

Among the eminent men who have been educated at St. Peter's 
are Heywood, the dramatist ; Crashaw, the poet ; Sherlock, Dean 
of St. Paul's ; Duke of Grafton, sometime Chancellor ; Gray, the 
poet ; and William Smith, Professor of Modern History. 
** s 



258 Cambridge and its Colleges, 

The foundation and growth of the oldest college of Cambridge 
has been sketched for the purpose mainly of exemplifying how the 
whole class of colleges which make up the University of Cambridge 
came into being. In noticing the most important of the other 
colleges, only the distinctive features in their history and character 
can be referred to. 

The University comprises in all seventeen colleges. Of ten of 
the most important of these brief notices are given. 

Clare Hall was built on the site of the University Hall in the 
beginning of the fourteenth century. Soon afterwards it was de- 
stroyed by fire, and was rebuilt in 1344 by Elizabeth de Burg, heiress 
of the last Earl of Clare. From this lady the college takes its 
name. It is the most uniform in its buildings, and is the most 
pleasantly situated of any college in the University. 

King's College, founded by the " Royal Saint," Henry VI., in 
1440, is open only to the scholars of Eton, in connexion with which 
it was established. It soon became the largest and most im- 
portant college in the University. The Chapel, the only one of the 
college buildings we have space to notice, is the work of the three 
Henries, VI., VII., and VIII., and is perhaps the finest specimen 
of Perpendicular Gothic in the world. Its internal dimensions are, 
three hundred and sixteen feet long, fifty feet wide, and ninety feet 
high ; and the effect on the beholder of the magnificent proportions 
of the massive roof of stone, hung, as it were, high in mid air, of 
its lofty branching pillars, and of the entrancing beauty of its fan- 
like tracery and gorgeous groining, is at once awe-inspiring an 4 
overpowering, and the thought recurs — 

" They dreamt not of a perishable home 
Who thus could build !" 

Wordsworth, who was a student of St. John's at Cambridge, was 

so impressed with the appearance of this magnificent structure, and 

with the mingled beauty and grandeur of its interior — 

" The high embowered roof, 
With antique pillars massy proof, 
And storied windows richly dight, 
Casting a dim religious light" — 

that he has embodied his feelings in two of the finest sonnets in 

the language :— 

I. 

«' Tax not the royal saint with vain expense, 
With ill-matched aims the architect who planned— 
Albeit labouring for a scanty band 
Of wbite-robed scholars only— this immense 



Cambridge and its Colleges, 259 

And glorious work of fine intelligence ! 

Give all thou canst : high Heaven rejects the lore 

Of nicely-calculated less or more ; 

So deemed the man who fashioned for the sense 

These lofty pillars, spread that branching roof 

Self-poised, and scooped into ten thousand cells, 

Where light and shade repose, where music dwells 

Lingering — and wandering on, as loth to die ; 

Like thoughts whose very sweetness yielded proof 

That they were born for immortality !" 

II. 

•* What awful perspective ! while from our sight 
With gradual stealth the lateral windows hide 
Their portraitures, their stone-work glimmers, dyed 
In the soft chequerings of a sleepy light. 
Martyr, or king, or sainted eremite. 
Whoe'er ye be, that thus, yourselves unseen, 
Imbue your prison-bars with solemn sheen, 
Shine on, iintil ye fade with coming night ! 
But, from the arms of silence — list ! oh, list ! 
The music bursteth into second life : 
The notes luxuriate, every stone is kissed 
By sound, or ghost of sound, in mazy strife ; 
Heart-thrilling strains, that cast before the eye 
Of the devout a veil of ecstasy !" 

"The interior," says Fergusson, "is imposing from its great 
height, from the solemn beauty and splendour of the stained glass, 
and from the magnificent fan-tracery of the vaulting, which extends, 
bay after bay, in unbroken and unchanged succession, from one end 
of the chapel to the other. The walls are all covered with panel- 
ling. The stained-glass windows are remarkably fine, in the best 
style of the art, and have been well preserved. Each window con- 
tains four pictures — two above and two below the transom. The 
subjects of the lower series are from Gospel history, the main in- 
cidents in the life of our Lord being treated in the most conspicu- 
ous place — the windows of the choir." 

Fletcher and Waller, the poets, the Walpoles, Coxe the historian, 
and Earl Grey of Reform Bill notoriety were educated here. 

Trinity College, founded by Henry VI IL in 1546, occupies 
the site and retains actual portions of several earlier foundations, 
the chief of which was King's Hall. It consists of three courts or 
quadrangles — the Great Court, Neville's Court, and the New Court 
For a long time the buildings of the older foundations were con- 
fused and irregular, and the order and architectual dignity which 
distinguish the college as it at present exist? have been arrived at 
only by a gradual process. Having been built at different and 

32 



26o Cambridge and its Colleges, 

distant periods, without any regularity of design, this college forms 
an extensive and irregular mass of buildings, presenting externally 
no striking appearance, except towards the Walks, where the Library 
and western side of the New Court form a very noble line of 
buildings. The Great Court, the largest of the three courts or 
quadrangles, is 334 feet by 287. The Chapel and King Edward's 
Tower occupy the north side. On the west side are the Master's 
Lodge, Hall, and Combination Rooms. The other sides are occupied 
by sets of rooms. The Hall, the chief ornament of this college 
and one of the chief ornaments of the University, is a noble and 
spacious Gothic structure. Externally it presents to us a lofty 
building supported by hght buttresses, with a high-peaked Flemish 
roof surmounted by an elegant lantern. The interior presents a 
perfect picture of the old baronial hall, with its raised dais, screen- 
work, music-gallery, butteries, and adjacent kitchen. It is a hundred 
feet long, forty broad, and fifty feet high ; is wainscoted in carved 
oak, while open carved-oak rafter-work supports the roof. In the 
decoration of the wainscoting and the roof gold and colour have 
recently been used with admirable effect. The grandeur of the 
spacious apartment is much enhanced by the play of light which 
enters by the windows, filled with coats of arms of distinguished 
members of the college in stained glass. At the upper extremity 
of the Hall, immediately below the high table, there is a deep and 
lofty oriel window on each side. Pictures, chiefly portraits, are dis- 
tributed around the walls and between the windows. Among these 
the most noteworthy are Sir Isaac Newton, by Valentine Ritz, 
Cowley (copy), Dryden (copy), and also portraits of Sir H. Spel- 
man. Sir Edward Coke, Bishop Pearson, the famous Dr. Bentley, 
and the last Duke of Gloucester. The last picture, representing 
the Duke in childhood, is by Sir Joshua Reynolds. There is also 
a most interesting portrait of Richard, Duke of Gloucester (after- 
wards Richard III.), in the glass of one of the oriel windows. It 
is an authentic and trustworthy portrait. In the Combination 
Rooms, the common rooms in which the fellows meet, are portraits 
of Charles Montagu, Earl of Halifax, by Kneller ; Charles, Duke 
of Somerset, by Danse ; Marquis of Granby, by Reynolds ; the 
Duke of Gloucester, by Opie ; Duke of Sussex, by Lonsdale ; 
Marquis of Camden, by Sir T. Lawrence, &c. The Master's Lodge, 
on this side of the court, has been considerably altered and en- 
riched within recent years. Among its many fine apartments it 
includes suites of rooms for use on occasions of royal visits. The 



Cambridge and its Colleges, 261 

judges when on circuit are always lodged here. Among the pictures 
are an original portrait of Queen Elizabeth, a curious old portrait 
of Edward III., a gigantic portrait of Henry VIII., and portraits of 
Edward VI. and Queen Mary. There are also portraits of Sir 
Robert Cecil, Sir Walter Raleigh, Robert, Earl of Essex, Sir Isaac 
Newton, by Vanderbank, and Scaliger, by Paul Veronese. The 
royal foundation of Trinity gave it pre-eminence over the sister 
colleges, and all English Sovereigns visiting Cambridge have been 
entertained here. James I., Charles I., Queen Anne (who knighted 
Newton at a Court held in the Lodge), George I. and George II., 
and, in 1843, Queen Victoria, were hospitably received at the 
Master's Lodge. It was in the hall of this college that comedies 
and tragedies, in Latin and English, used to be performed before 
royal and other distinguished visitors. Here Cowley's " Guardian'* 
was acted before Prince Charles (Charles II.), in 1642. The writer 
was then a scholar and afterwards became a fellow of Trinity. In 
this great court were the rooms of Sir Isaac Newton and Lord 
Byron. The Library, by Sir Christopher Wren, is a fine building 
in the style of Italian antique, in which that great architect excelled. 
The interior is unsurpassed by any building in the country for 
harmonious dignity of design and arrangement. It is 190 feet 
long and 40 feet broad. At the south end are folding doors 
opening upon a balcony, from which there are fine views of the 
walks and river. Among the statuary is Thorwaldsen's statue of 
Lord Byron, busts by Roubiliac of Bacon, Bentley, Sir R. Cotton, 
Lord Whitworth, Newton, Barrow, and Ray. Woolner has also 
some excellent busts, including a very fine one of Alfred Tennyson. 
Along the summit of the bookcases are arranged on each side of 
the room, a long series of smaller busts of some of the most 
eminent men of ancient and modern times. Among the portraits 
on the walls are those of Barrow, Neville, Bishop Hacket, Monk 
Duke of Albemarle and the Earl of Halifax, by Sir G. Kneller, as 
well as a copy of Shakspeare, by Mark Gerrard. At the southern 
end of the library is a large stained-glass window, which would not 
be worth mentioning were it not that, in point of artistic taste and 
feeling, it is so curiously and outrageously bad. It represents 
Newton being presented to George the Third, with Bacon sitting in 
his robes of Lord Chancellor below the throne, apparently re- 
gistering in a book the reward which is to be bestowed on the 
great philosopher. The design is by Cipriani, whom Walpole styles 
" that flimsy scene-painter." 



262 Cambridge and its Colleges, 

The Library of Trinity College, the finest in Cambridge after the 
Public Library, is rich in the controversial pamphlets which were 
published so abundantly in the troubled era of the seventeenth 
century. In one of its manuscript cases is locked up the curious 
collection of early and rare books illustrative of Shakspeare, given 
to the college by Capel, the editor of the works of the dramatist. 
Another case contains a few rare and fine volumes from the press 
of William Caxton. Two cases contain the old and valuable col- 
lection of manuscripts belonging to the college, some of them richly 
illuminated, and affording precious illustrations of the early litera- 
ture and history of England. But the two volumes most inquired 
for are one which contains much of the poetry of Milton, written 
in his own hand, and another, consisting of mathematical papers, 
in the handwriting of Newton. 

The walks are remarkably pleasing. They form nearly a rect- 
angle, about a third of a mile in circumference, on the far side of 
the Cam. At the end of the avenue of lime-trees, whose branches, 
at a great height, intersect and form the semblance of a Gothic 
arch, is seen the steeple of the pleasant village of Coton. It was 
the prospect along this walk that the witty critic. Person, compared 
to a college fellowship, which, he said, was a long, dreary road with 
a church in the distance. The view of the gateway tower of the 
New Court from the avenue is peculiarly grand. 

Among the famous and eminent men educated at Trinity College 
are Sir Edward Coke and the immortal Bacon ; Robert, Earl of 
Essex, Elizabeth's favourite ; Fulke Greville ; Lord Brooke, the 
"friend of Sir Philip Sydney;" John Whitgift, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, and Matthew Hutton, Archbishop of York ; George 
Herbert, Giles Fletcher, Cowley, and Donne ; Andrew Marvel, Dr. 
Barrow, John Dry den. Sir Isaac Newton, Dr. Thomas Gale, 
Porson, Dobree, Lord Byron, and Lord Macaulay. 

St. John's College, next in magnitude to Trinity College, and 
nearest it in situation, is built on the site of the former Hospital 
of St. John the Evangelist. The king's licence for the suppression 
of the hospital was obtained by Lady Margaret, Countess of 
Richmond and Derby, and in terms of her will the hospital was 
dissolved and delivered into the hands of her executors in 15 10. 
The charter of the foundation of the college is dated April, 151 1. 
The building consists of four distinct courts, and is entered from the 
street by a very noble gateway tower — an imposing mass, with four 
cx)rncr turrets. The chapel, 1 20 feet long, and 27 feet wide, is a 



Cambridge and its Colleges, 263 

handsome building, with ancient and curious carved stalls. The 
hall is remarkable for its height and for its carved and gilt wain- 
scoting. The Master's Lodge is stored with a valuable collection 
of paintings, the portraits mainly of benefactors and distinguished 
members of the college. Here are portraits of Mary Queen of 
Scots ; Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford ; Matthew Prior, in 
his ambassador's robes, &c. The library is rich in rare contro- 
versial tracts of the time of Queen Elizabeth. Among the eminent 
men who have been educated here may be mentioned Bishop Stil- 
lingfleet. Lord Burghley, Sir Thomas Wyatt, the Earl of Strafford, 
Gary, Lord Fall^land, Dr. John Dee, Roger Ascham, Ben Jonson, 
Thomas Otway, Matthew Prior, Wordsworth, Henry Kirke White, 
and Kenelm Digby. 

Jesus College, situated apart from all the other similar build- 
ings in the University, sprang out of the only nunnery which existed 
in the town of Cambridge. It was founded in 1406. It is situated 
on the banks of the Cam, at the eastern entrance of the town. Its 
retired situation attracted the attention of James I., who, when on 
a visit to Cambridge, expressed his opinion of the University in a 
saying which has since been common — " That if he lived in the 
University, he would pray at King's, eat at Trinity, and study and 
sleep at Jesus." The buildings consist of two courts, and the front 
is 180 feet in length. There is a gateway over the entrance, and 
the chapel forms one of the most prominent features of the 
foundation. The Chapel is one of the most interesting structures 
in Cambridge. It is in the form of a cross, with a large square 
tower, surmounted by a beautiful lantern story. Numerous 
interesting paintings enrich the chapel and hall. Here were edu- 
cated the three archbishops, Cranmer, Bancroft, and Sterne ; Flam- 
stead, the astronomer, and others. 
The dates of the foundation of the remaining colleges are : -* 

Pembroke 1347 

Gonville and Caius 1348 

Trinity Hall 1350 

Corpus Christi 1351 

Queen's College 1448 

St. Catherine's . , 1473 

Christ's College 1505 

Magdalen College 15 19 

Emmanuel College 1584 

Sidney Sussex College .... 1598 
Downing College ...... 1 800 



264 



Hinchinbrook House. — The Cromwells. 

This ancient and highly interesting mansion marks the site of a 
priory, supposed to have been founded by William the Conqueror. 
At the dissolution of religious houses, the site was granted to 
Richard Williams, or Cromwell — the former name being his patro- 
nymic, the latter the name of his adoption, in deference to his 
uncle, Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, and to the wishes of King 
Henry VIII., who, at the incorporation of the Welsh with the 
English, endeavoured to accelerate the unification of the princi- 
pality with the kingdom by persuading the Welsh to adopt the 
style of the English in taking family names. Of the architectural 
character of the original priory little is known. It is probable that 
the present building was constructed out of the materials of the 
former one, and upon a cornice of the east front of Hinchinbrook 
is the date 1431, which marks it as being part of the old edifice. 
In the hall (the refectory of the nunnery), the old framed timber 
roof is concealed by a modern floor, but is still to be seen in the 
chambers above. One or two of the fishponds belonging to the 
old nunnery are also remaining; and Nuns' Bridge and Nuns* 
Meadows, on the west side of the Park, are names which still 
designate some of the old demesnes. The name of the house is 
derived from a brook, which, rising at Thuming, in Northampton- 
shire, skirts the estate and joins the Ouse at Huntingdon, between 
one and two miles below the house. 

Hinchinbrook, for several generations the chief seat of that 
family of the Cromwells, whence sprang the great Lord Protector, 
is now the residence of the Montagus, Earls of Sandwich. It is 
situated on the north-west slope of a gentle eminence, commands 
a pleasing view, including the fine tower of St. Neot's church, 
about nine miles distant. On the south of the pleasure-grounds is 
a high terrace, overlooking the road from Brampton to Hunting- 
don. The mansion displays in its parts the architectural taste of 
the earliest as well as of the latest period of Queen Elizabeth's 
reign. The buildings surround an open court, and the principal 
fronts are those to the north and east. The great court-yard, 
leading to the entrance on the north front, is crossed diagonally by 
a walk, ornamented with dipt yews. At the lodge or entrance are 
ife-size figures of four savages with clubs. On this front are two 
bay windows of large dimensions, profusely embellished with shields 



Hinchinhrooh House, 265 

of the family of Cromwell, the arms of the Queen, and a variety of 
heraldic cognizances, denoting the honours of the Tudor line — 
" the falcon, the portcullis, a ton with a branch, and roses of dif- 
ferent forms, which are upon the upper cornice of each window." 
The bay window of the dining-room displays the arms of EHzabeth 
upon a panel 2 feet 9 inches wide, upheld by angels, with the royal 
badges of the portcullis and the harp crowned ; the latter placed 
between the initials E. R. Over this window, in an ornamental 
compartment, is a large radiated rose. Upon the west side of the 
entrance court is remaining a portion of the Priory entire — now 
used as the sculler)', dairy, &c. The ancient kitchen is still in use. 
The east front has also two bay windows, containing the arms, 
quarterings, and supporters of the Montagu family, with the motto 
Post tot naufragia porttim. The most curious part of the mansion 
is the very large circular bowed window, built in 1602, remarkable 
for its richness of ornamentation. It gave light to the great dining- 
room, in which King James I. was entertained by Sir Oliver Crom- 
well, and the gilded roof of which is said to have been part of the 
chapel of the ancient priory of Barnwell. The basement of the 
window forms a porch ; seven arches spring from columns at the 
piers, the spandrils and keystones of which are enriched with 
sculptured shields and crests of the Cromwell family alhances. 
The whole of these two fronts are of stone ; other parts of the 
house are of brick with stone dressing, built by the first Earl of 
Sandwich, and coloured to correspond with the ancient portion. 
The great staircase of Hinchinbrook is carved with the arms of 
Montagu, in panels. The principal rooms on the ground-floor 
are, the dining and drawing-rooms, the billiard-room, and the 
library, with all the offices. The windows of the drawing-room 
are of painted glass, containing the marriages and issue from 
Edward, the first Earl of Sandwich, to John, the fourth earL On 
the first floor the great dining-room is now divided into five bed- 
rooms ; there are also the green-room, the velvet-room, where 
stood the state bed of King James I., Lady Sandwich's bed and 
dressing rooms, &c. 

The family, which in former times kept free and liberal house at 
Hinchinbrook, were of Welsh extraction, and owed the conspicuous 
position they at once assumed in England to the influence of their 
powerful kinsman, Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, who suc- 
ceeded Cardinal Wolsey as the ecclesiastical instrument which 
King Henry VIII. used to effect his good will and pleasure respect- 



266 Hinchinhroo'k House, 

ing the old monastic foundations and their revenues. This Thomas 
Cromwell, the son of Walter Cromwell, a blacksmith, seems to have 
been well trained in youth. He served abroad for some time under 
the Duke of Bourbon, and aftenvards obtained a post in the suite 
of Cardinal Wolsey. He showed great fidelity towards his master, 
and when the great prelate was thrown into disgrace which led to 
death, the king took Cromwell into his own service. In this position 
Cromwell evinced so much zeal and ability, that he soon opened 
up the road to the highest honours in the State. He filled suc- 
cessively the positions of Master of the Jewel Office, Clerk of the 
Transfer, Principal Secretary, Justice of the Forest, Master of the 
Rolls, and Lord Privy-Seal, and was raised to the peerage as Baron 
Cromwell, of Okeham, in 1536. Three years later he was created 
Earl of Essex, and invested with the Lord High Chamberlainship 
of England. He used his great power to abolish the religious 
houses and to secularize their revenues. He is named " malleus 
monachorum," which Fuller translates " the mauler of the monas- 
teries." One of the chief privileges he enjoyed was to do what he 
liked with whatever ecclesiastical property there was in Hunting- 
donshire. He did what he liked with it — he kept the greater part 
of it to himself and divided the remainder among his kinsmen and 
friends. 

One of these relatives was Sir Richard Williams, his nephew. 
This knight sprang from an ancient Welsh family deducing their 
pedigree from the ancient Lords of Powis and Cardigan. He 
was the eldest son of Morgan Williams, by his wife, a sister of 
Cromwell, Earl of Essex. The young Sir Richard soon became 
favourably known to the king, through his uncle. King Henry 
advised the young Welshman to change his name to that of his 
uncle, Cromwell. Sir Richard took the king's advice, and showed 
so much zeal towards the king in various ways that he soon, with 
the inlluence of his uncle, rose into a good position. He was ap- 
pointed a gentleman of the Privy Chamber to King Henry VHL, 
and Constable of Berkeley Castle. Upon the dissolution of the 
monasteries, he obtained all the lands in Huntingdonshire belong- 
ing to any religious house in that county. Additions were made 
to his possessions by the king, even after the fall of the favourite, 
Cromwell ; so that at the period of his death. Sir Richard's estates 
probably equalled those of the wealthiest peers of the present day. 
At a tournament held by his royal master, in 1 540, and described 
by Stowe, Richard Cromwell, Esq., is named as one of the chal- 



HincJiinhrook House, 267 

lengers — all of whom were rewarded on the occasion by the king 
with an annual income of an hundred marks, granted out of the 
dissolved Franciscan monastery of Stamford, and with houses each 
to reside in. His Majesty was more particularly delighted with 
the gallantry of Sir Richard Cromwell (whom he had knighted on 
the second day of the tournament), and exclaiming, " Formerly thou 
wert my Dick, but hereafter thou shalt be my Diamond^^ presented 
him with a diamond ring, bidding him for the future to wear such 
a one in the fore-gamb of the demi-lion in his crest, instead of a 
javelin, as heretofore. The arms of Sir Richard, with this alteration, 
were ever afterwards borne by the elder branch of the family, and 
by Oliver himself on his assuming the Protectorate, although prcv 
viously he had borne the javelin. 

Sir Richard was succeeded by his son. Sir Henry Cromwell, 
whose second daughter was married to William Hampden, Esq., 
and became the mother of the famous John Hampden, the Patriot. 
His eldest son succeeded as Sir Oliver Cromwell, K.B., and in- 
herited Hinchinbrook, while the second son, Robert Cromwell, of 
Huntingdon, married Elizabeth, daughter of William Stewart, Esq., 
and became the father of the great Oliver Cromwell, the Lord 
Protector. 

Sir Henry Cromwell, son of the first Sir Richard, was called 
from his liberal disposition, "the Golden Knight." He erected the 
chief part of the early mansion of Hinchinbrook, which was built 
for his winter residence — his summer residence being at Ramsey, 
an abbey which he had also converted into a dwelling-house. His 
eldest son and successor. Sir Oliver Cromwell, the uncle of the 
Protector, entertained King James I., then on his way to take pos- 
.session of the throne of England, at Hinchinbrook. The following 
account of the event is from Stowe's " Annales." 

"The 27 Aprill, the King removed from Burleigh towards 
Hingchingbrooke to Sir Oliver Cromwell's." ..." and about 
some half mile ere he came there, his majesty was met by the 
Bailiffe of Huntingdon, who made to him a long oration, and then 
delivered him the sword, which his highness gave to the Earl of 
Southampton to bcare before him to Master Oliver Cromwell's 
house, where his highness and his followers, with all comers, had 
such entertainment, as not the like in any place before, there was 
such plentie and varieties of meates and diversitie of wines, and 
the cellars open at any man's pleasure. There attended also at 
Master Ohver Cromwel's, the Head of the Universitie of Cambridge, 



26S Hinchinhrooh House, 

all clad in scarlet gownes and corner caps, who having presence of 
his majestic, there was made a learned and eloquent oration in 
Latine, welcomming his majesty, as also intreating the confirma- 
tion of their privileges, which his highness most willingly granted. 
Master Cromwell presented his majesty with many rich and valuable 
presents, as a very great and faire wrought standing cuppe of gold, 
goodlie horses, deepe mouthed hounds, divers hawks of excellent 
wing, and at the remove gave fifty pounds amongst his majcstie's 
officers. — The 29th of April after breakfast his majesty tooke leave 
of Master Oliver Cromwel and of his lady." 

The king took an early opportunity of expressing his regard and 
satisfaction by creating Sir Oliver a Knight of the Bath, 1603, on 
the day of his coronation. 

On the outbreak of the civil war- Sir Oliver naturally sided with 
the king, and raised men and contributed large sums of money in 
support of the cause. But one who had lived so magnificently and 
been so lavish in his expenditure, had little wealth in reserve to 
draw upon, and thus his devotion to the Stuarts necessitated his 
parting with Hinchinbrook, which he sold to the Montagus, since 
Viscounts of Hinchinbrook and Earls of Sandwich. The straits to 
which he was now put, and his inability to assist his sovereign, 
began to break his spirits and ruin his health. He retired to Ram- 
sey Abbey, where, poor and heart-broken, but still fervidly loyal, he 
expired in 1655, in his ninety-third year. His eldest son. Colonel 
Henry Cromwell, inherited the wreck of the family estates ; but, 
having taken an active part on the side of the king, the remains of 
the property were sequestrated, though the sequestration was after- 
wards discharged, at the request of his kinsman, Oliver Cromwell, 
thenLord Lieutenant of Ireland. After a few years, harassed by 
debts and difficulties, incurred by his adherence to the royalist 
cause, and by that extravagance which seems to have been inherent 
in the family, he died, in 1657. His son and successor, Henry 
Cromwell, either from conviction, or swayed by the favoui shown 
him by the Protector, departed from the political traditions of his 
ancestors, went over to the party at the head of which was his 
great kinsman, and took his seat in Parliament. He died in 1673, 
leaving no issue, and thus the great Huntingdonshire line of Crom- 
wells, the wealthiest family in this part of England during several 
generations, expired. The remainder of the estates, including the 
Abbey of Ramsey, were sold. 

It is now necessary to return to " the Golden Knight" of Hin- 



Hinchinbrook House, 269 

cbmbrook, Sir Henry Cromwell. His second son was Robert 
Cromwell, some time M.P. for Huntingdon, and successor to an 
estate in or near the town he represented. He married Elizabeth 
Stewart, and left five daughters and one son — the redoubtable 
Oliver, who was born at Huntingdon, 25th April, 1599. He re- 
ceived his baptismal name from his uncle, Sir Oliver Cromwell, of 
Ramsey. After having reached his majority he married a lady of 
fortune, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir James Bourchier, of Felsted, in 
Essex. The career of the Protector forms a portion of the historj 
of England and of Europe, and cannot be followed here, where we 
are confined to tracing the rise and fall of the family of which he 
was the most distinguished member. One little matter may be 
noted in passing. The vulgar tradition that this great man was at 
any time of his life a " brewer" rests on no foundation. The story 
probably took its rise in the circumstance that the little brook of 
Kinchin, flowing throuc|h the court-yard of the house towards the 
Ouse, offered every convenience for malting and brewing ; and 
there is a tradition to the effect that brewing was here carried on 
before the place came into the possession of the Cromwells. 

Oliver Cromwell died on " his beloved and victorious third of 
September," 1658, at Whitehall, leaving four sons, Robert, who died 
unmarried ; Oliver, killed in battle ; Richard, his successor in the 
Protectorate ; and Henry, Lord Deputy of Ireland. 

Richard Cromwell succeeded to the sovereign power on the 
death of his father, but neither by tastes nor by talents was he 
suited to reign. After remaining only eight months at the head of 
affairs he abdicated, and after a life spent for the most part in 
strict privacy and retirement, he died in 17 12. Pennant mentions 
that his father had told him, that he used often to see, at the 
Don Saltero Coffee-house, at Chelsea, poor Richard Cromwell, 
*' a httle and very neat old man, with a most placid countenance, 
the effect of his innocent and unambitious life." He left no male 
descendants. 

We now revert to Henry Cromwell, youngest son of the Protector. 
At his father's death he resigned his office as Lord Deputy of Ire- 
land, and, returning to England, established himself as a private 
gentleman, at Spinney Abbey, in Cambridgeshire. He troubled 
himself no longer with political changes. Of his five sons all died 
without issue save Henry Cromwell. He died in 171 1. The only 
one of his sons whose descendants still exist, was a grocer on 
Snow Hill, and died in 1748. His son, Oliver Cromwell, was a 



2/0 Hinchinhrook House. 

solicitor. He died in 1821, and with him the male line of the great 
Oliver Cromwell's family became extinct. The destiny of the 
female descendants of the line was almost as sad. Many of them 
had to bear the pinch of poverty, and were obliged to maintain 
themselves by labour in the humblest employments. 

The present possessors of Hinchinhrook, the Montagus, Earls of 
Sandwich, are descended from a common ancestor with the ducal 
house of Manchester, with the extinct Earls of Halifax, and with 
the late Duke of Montagu. Their immediate progenitor was Sir 
Sidney Montagu, Master of the Court of Requests to Charles I. 
His son was a distinguished commander in the Parliamentary army 
during the civil war, and he was subsequently joint High-Admiral 
ci" England, in which capacity he exerted his influence to induce 
the whole fleet to acknowledge the restored monarchy. He was 
raised to the peerage by Charles II., as Baron Montagu and Earl 
of Sandwich. John William Montagu, seventh Earl of Sandwich, 
is the present possessor of Hinchinhrook. 



271 



BEDFORDSHIRE. 

Woburn Abbey and the Russell Family. 

Near the town of Woburn, on the Buckinghamshire border of the 
county of Bedford, there was founded, towards the middle of the twelfth 
century, an Abbey for monks of the Cistercian order, by Hugh de 
Bolebec, a.d. 1145. ^^ ^^^ valued at the Dissolution at 430/. 14J. iid. 
gross income, or 391/. iSj. 8d. clear yearly value. The last Abbot^ 
Robert Hobs, was executed for denying the King's supremacy; the 
tree on which he was hung is still standing, and is carefully preserved. 
The Monastery was granted to John Russell, first Earl of Bedford, 
under veiy remarkable circumstances in the tide of fortune. From the 
Du Rozels of Normandy descended John Russell, Constable of Corfe 
Castle in 1221, from whom descended James Russell, of Berwick, a 
manor-place in the county of Dorset, about a mile from the sea-coast. 
His eldest or only son, John Russell, was born at Kingston-Russell, in 
the same county, where the elder branch of the family had resided 
from the time of the Conquest. At an early age he was sent abroad to 
travel; he returned in 1506, an accomplished gentleman and a good 
linguist, and took up his residence with his father at Berwick. Shortly 
after his arrival, a violent tempest arose, and on the next morning, nth 
of January, 1506, three foreign vessels appeared on the Dorset coast, 
making their way for the port of Weymouth. They proved to be part 
of a convoy under the command of Philip, Archduke of Austria, who 
had just married Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, King and 
Queen of Castile and Aragon, and was on his way to Spain, when, over- 
taken by the storm which had separated the vessel in which he was 
sailing, and two others, from the rest of the convoy, they were forced 
to take shelter in Weymouth Harbour. Sir Thomas Trenchard, the 
Governor, immediately conducted the Archduke to his own Castle, and 
sent messengers to apprise Henry VH. of his arrival. While waiting 
for the King's reply, Sir Thomas invited his cousin and neighbour, 
young Mr. Russell, of Berwick, to act as an interpreter, and converse 
with the Archduke on topics connected with his own country, through 
which Mr. Russell had lately travelled. "It is an ill wind," says 
Fuller, referring to this incident, " that blows nobody profit :" so the 
accident (of the storm) proved the foundation of Mr. Russell's prefer- 



2/2 Woburn Abbey, 

ment. For the Archduke was so delighted with his " learned discourse 
and generous deportment," that on deciding to proceed at once to 
Windsor, by invitation of the King, the Archduke desired that Mr. 
Russell should accompany him, and on his arrival, he strongly recom- 
mended him to the King, who granted him an immediate interview. 
Henry was struck with Mr. Russell's address and conversation ; for, 
says Lloyd, " he had a moving beauty that waited on his whole body, 
a comportment unaffected, and such a comeliness in his mien, as 
excited a liking, if not a love, from all that saw him ; the whole set 
off with a person of a middle stature, neither tall to a formidableness, 
nor short to a contempt, straight and proportioned, vigorous and active, 
with pure blood and spirits flowing in his youthful veins." Mr. Russell 
was in consequence appointed a gentleman of the Privy Chamber. 

Three years afterwards, on Henry VHI. ascending the throne, he at 
once perceived Mr. Russell's varied accomplishments and talents, and 
employed him in diplomatic missions, as well as in trusts of great 
confidence. He likewise became a favourite of Henry VIII., and a 
companion of that monarch in his French wars ; and Mr. Russell was 
knighted, was installed into the Order of the Garter, and was raised 
to the Peerage, 9th March, 1538-9, as Baron Russell of Chenies. In 
the next year, 1540, " when the great monasteries were dissolved, his 
Lordship obtained a grant to himself and his wife, and their heirs, of 
the site of the Abbey of Tavistock, and of extensive possessions belong- 
ing thereto." — (Burke's Peerage^ He was likewise made Marshal of 
Marshalsea; Controller of the King's Household ; a Privy Councillor; 
Lord Warden of the Stannaries, in the counties of Devon and Corn- 
wall ; President of those counties, and those of Dorset and Somerset ; 
Lord Privy Seal ; Lord Admiral of England and Ireland ; and Captain- 
General of the Vanguard of the Army. Lastly, Henry VIII., on his 
death-bed, appointed Lord Russell to be one of the counsellors to his son, 
Prince Edward. On this King's accession to the throne. Lord Russell 
still retained his influence at the Court of Edward VI.; and at his 
coronation he was Lord High Steward for the occasion. Next he was 
employed in promoting the objects of the Reformation : for his signal 
services he was created Earl of Bedford, and endowed with the rich 
Abbey of Woburn ; and on the accession of the Catholic Queen Mary, 
he continued his services to the Reformation, and continued to share 
largely in the possessions of the suppressed monasteries. Next he was 
one of the noblemen appointed to escort Philip from Spain to become 
the Queen's husband, and to give away her Majesty at the solemniza- 
tion of her maiTiage. This was his last public act. It is i-emarkable that 



Wohirn Abbey. 273 

through all these services to four successive sovereigns, each widely differ- 
ing from the other, he preserved his integrity of character, and gave satis- 
faction to all in times fraught vf\\h danger. Nor is there anything in his 
correspondence or private history that bespeaks the servility of the courtier. 

He died on the 14th of March, 1555, and was buried at Chenies, the 
manor of which he had acquired by his marriage. "In the little parish 
church of this place," says a recent visitor, *' is the magnificent and 
stately burying chapel of the Russell family, where lie enshrined in 
splendid and costly tombs, the chiefs and children of that house, from 
the time of the Earl of Bedford, who died in the second year of Queen 
Mary, down to a very recent period. The old Earl, indeed, sleeps there 
like one of the patriarchs, with his children and his children's children 
gathered round him. There was a time when the family lived at 
Chenies, but the mansion they occupied is for the most part gone, and 
a comparatively modern building stands in its place. But their house 
of death is studiously protected from stain and ruin and decay. The 
very temperature of the little chapel is artificially regulated, so that all 
the tombs and monuments are fresh, and in perfect preservation. On 
all sides the eye of the visitor rests upon the philosophic motto of the 
family, * Che sara sara — * What will be, will be.' On all sides he sees 
the name of Russell, and that name alone. On some gorgeous and 
tasteless tomb — rank with the finery of a barbarous age— it is associated 
perhaps with the deeds of some active politician, whose life is part of 
the history of his country. In a more secluded corner a simple white 
tablet seeks to memorialize the fleeting existence of some infant of the 
house who passed without a pause from the cradle to the grave ; or of 
some gentle girl who died whilst she was yet very young. Near the 
church stands the manor-house, of the time of Henry VIII., remarkable 
as preserving even to this day, in some not inconsiderable details, por- 
tions of the original structure. The principal antiquarian features of 
interest are some blocks of chimneys, all varying in design, supported, 
and perhaps protected, by gables that reached to within a few feet 
of the top of the chimneys. But the most noticeable point was 
a spiral staircase with a carved handrail, and literally forming part 
of the wall, after a fashion which is believed to be quite unprecedented 
in England. There was also at the top of the house a long, narrow, 
arched loft, extending from one end of the building to the other, and 
which was said to have been formerly used as an armoury." The 
sepulchral chapel and the vaults beneath contain between fifty and 
sixty members of the Russell family or their alliances. 

To return to Wobum Abbev. In 1573, Queen Elizabeth visited 



274 Woburn Abbey, 

here Francis, the second Earl of Bedford. In 1642 the town of 
Woburn was partly burnt by the Royalists, and in 1645 Charles I. 
stayed for one night at the Abbey ; in November there was a skirmish 
between the Royalists and the townspeople, which destroyed by fire 
many houses in Woburn; \yhen the Parliamentarians occupied the 
town for two months. 

Part of the ancient Abbey remains, and has been converted into 
the Duke of Bedford's magnificent mansion which still retains the 
name. It was partly put into its present form during the second 
half of the last century, and is a quadrangle, presenting four fronts 
of above 200 feet each. The west or principal front is of the Ionic 
order, with a rustic basement. The Abbey is adorned with some fine 
historical portraits, including those of Queens Mary and Elizabeth ; a 
picture of Mary and her husband, Philip of Spain ; Lady Jane Seymour, 
wife of Henry VIII. and mother of Edward VI.; Anne of Denmark, 
wife of James I. ; Sir Philip Sidney ; General Monk ; Cecil Lord 
Burghley ; William Lord Russell, beheaded in 1683 ; and Rachel 
Wriothesley, his admirable wife ; and at the Abbey is preserved, in gold 
letters, the speech of Lord Russell to the Sheriffs, together with the 
paper delivered by his Lordship to them at the place of execution, the 
middle of Lincoln's Inn Fields. In the dining-room at Woburn is a 
fine collection of portraits by Vandyke ; in the breakfast-room, a series 
of views in Venice, by Canaletti, painted originally for Bedford House, 
in London. In the sculpture gallery is the antique Lanti vase, brought to 
England by Lord Cawdor ; and here is a very large ancient marble sarco- 
phagus (brought from Ephesus), on the four sides of which are sculp- 
tured the sad story of Achilles dragging Hector's body, Priam's ran- 
soming it at its weight in gold, and other post-Homeric traditions of 
the woes of Andromache and Astyanax. 

The mansion is situated in an extensive park, and is a grand and 
capacious pile, worthy of being rendered a ducal residence. In the sur- 
rounding domain is the Park Farm, dedicated to agricultural improve- 
ment : it originated with Francis, Duke of Bedford, famous for his 
encouragement of the science and practice of agriculture, as commemo- 
rated in Westmacott's picturesque statue in Russell-square. 

Drayton, in his Poly-Olbion, speaks of a brook at Aspley Guise, near 
Woburn, the earth on the banks of which had a petrifying quality ; but 
this account is incorrect. Drayton's lines are as follows : 

" The brook which on her bank doth boast that earth alone 
Which, noted of this isle, convcrteth wood to stone, 
That little Aspley 's earth we antiently instilc 
'Mongst sundry other things, a wonder of the isle." 



A mpthill Castle, 275 

A Correspondent has "made a note of" a curious etymological state- 
ment respecting Woburn — that at the end oS. A Guide to Woburn Abbey , 
published in 1850, is a table of " the various ways of spelling Woburn, 
collected from letters and parcels by the Postmaster." It seems also 
incredible (says the Correspondent), but yet it is the fact, that no less 
than tiuo hundred and forty -four different modes of spelling or rather 
mis-spelling the simple word Woburn are there recorded. It is worth 
noting that the place is always called Wooburn, The following are a 
few of the ingenious struggles of the unlearned in their endeavour to 
commit to paper the name of this delightful spot :— 



•' Houboun. 


Hourbon. 


Houbone. 


Hawburn. 


Houlboum. 


Hooben. 


Nobum. 


Owburn. 


Ooboun. 


Uborn. 


Wurboum. 


Woubon. 


Woabbern. 


Wubaorn. 


Wobarn. 


Woswrin. 


WBun. 


Whoobowen. 


Wouboarene. 


Wwoo Burn. 



" Sixty-one examples have H as the initial letter, and twenty-two 
Qave O." — W, Sparrow Simpson, B,A, 



Ampthill Castle. 

The county of Bedford had anciently several baronial Castles ; but 
it does not appear that there are any remains of them except the earth- 
works which mark their sites, and which may be observed at Bedford, 
Eaton Socon, and other places. It is supposed that all the Castles, 
except those of Bedford and Ampthill, had been destroyed in the reign 
of King John ; and it is perhaps owing to this that we read of so few 
occurrences in Bedfordshire during the Civil War of the Roses. The 
county was the scene of few conspicuous events during the Civil War 
between Charles I. and his Parliament. 

At Ampthill, eight miles from Bedford, in the Park, wherein is now 
Ampthill House, stood Ampthill Castle, where Queen Katherine re- 
sided during the proceedings which terminated in her divorce from 
Henry VIII., to be hereafter mentioned in the account of Dunstable 
Priory. James I. visited Ampthill Castle in 1605 and 1621. It has long 
disappeared. Behind the present mansion, near the entrance of the Park 
from the turnpike road, are some ponds, similar in appearance to those 
frequently seen adjoining ancient houses; above these, at the edge of a 
precipice, was the front of the Castle. This building was erected by 
Lord Fanhope at the beginning of the fifteenth century. It was used as 



2^6 Ampthill Castle. 

a royal resort by Henry VIII., who was often here. Two ground plans 
of it are in existence, taken about the year 1626, at which time it is 
supposed the Castle was demolished. In front was a large court; 
behind it were two very small ones ; and between these was an oblong 
courtyard. Between the front and back courts were two projections, 
like the transepts of a church. In front were two square projecting 
towers ; and round the building, at irregular distances, were nine other 
turrets. Lord Ossory planted a grove of firs at the back of this spot, 
and erected in 1 7 73, in the centre, a monument, consisting of an octa- 
gonal shaft, raised on four steps, and surmounted by a cross, bearing a 
shield, with Queen Katherine's arms, of Castile and Aragon. On a 
tablet inserted in the base of the cross is the following inscription, from 
the pen of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford : — 

•• In days of yore, here Ampthill's towers were seen, 
The mournful refuge of an injured queen ; 
Here flowed her pure, but unavailing tears, 
Here blinded zeal sustained her sinking years. 
Yet Freedom hence her radiant banner wav'd, 
And Love avenged a realm by priests enslav'd ; 
From Catherine's wrongs a nation's bliss was spread, 
And Luther's light from lawless Henry's bed." 

The possessors of Ampthill are thus traced by the Rev. J. D. 
Parry, M.A,, author of the History of Wbburn: — The survey of 
Ampthill Park, made by order of Parliament, 1649, speaks of the 
Castle as * long ago totally demolished.' The salaries paid in Queen 
Elizabeth's time were: Keeper of the Manor-house, 2/. 13J. 4^/., 
Great Park, 4/., with herbage and pannage, 15/.; P<7/^r of the Park, 
4/. 1 1 J. 4^., herbage and pannage, 15/." There was, however, what 
was called the Great Lodge, or Capital Mansion. King James I. gave 
the Honour of Ampthill to the Earl of Kelly. It soon reverted to the 
Crown. In 161 2, Thomas, Lord Fenton, and Elizabeth, his wife, re- 
signed the office of High Steward of the Honour of Ampthill to the 
King. The following year the custody of the Great Park was granted 
to Lord Bruce, whose family became lessees of the Honour, which 
they kept till 1738. In the seventeenth century, the Nicholls family 
became lessees of the Great Park under the Bruccs, who reserved the 
office of Master of the Game. After the Restoration, Ampthill Great 
Park was granted by Charles II. to Mr. John Ashburnham, as some 
reward for his distinguished services to his father and himself. 

Ampthill House was erected by the first Lord Ashburnham, in 1694 ; 
it is a plain but very neat edifice, built of good stone. It is situated 
rathe** Mow the simimit of a hill, much less elevated than the site of 



Dunstable and its Priory, 277 

the old Castle ; but it is sufficiently elevated to possess a great share of 
the fine view over the vale of Bedfoixl. It is also vi^ell sheltered by- 
trees, though the passing traveller would have no idea of the magni- 
ficent lime alley, which is in the rear of the mansion. The house has 
a long front, with nearly forty windows, exclusive of the dormers, and 
two projecting wings. In the centre is an angular pediment bearing 
Lord Ossory's arms ; and over the door is a small circular pediment, 
with an antique bust, and supported by two Ionic columns. In the 
house is x small collection of pictures, principally portraits. At the 
foot of the staircase is a large painting, formerly tn fresco at Houghton 
House, which was removed from the wall, and placed on canvas by an 
ingenious process of Mr. Salmon. It represents a gamekeeper, or 
woodman, taking aim with a cross-bow, and some curious perspective 
scenery. There is a tradition that the figure is some person of high 
rank in disguise ; some say, King James I., who visited Houghton. 

The pleasure-grounds in the rear of the mansion command a fine 
view ; here is the lime-walk, one of the finest in England ; it is upwards 
of a quarter of a mile in length, the trees finely arching ; and it has 
been pronounced finer than any walk in Oxford or Cambridge. The 
Park is very picturesque, and studded with beautiful groups of trees. 
The oaks are many centuries old, with a girth of ten yards each. They 
were very numerous, for in a Survey in 1653, 287 of the oaks were 
hollow, and too much decayed for the use of the Navy. 

The estate was purchased of the Ashburnham family by Viscount 
Fitzwilliam, who sold it, in 1 736, to Lady Grosvenor, grandmother of 
Lord Ossory, who in 1800 became possessed of the lease of the 
Honour, by exchange with the Duke of Bedford. Lord Ossory died 
in 18 1 8, and was succeeded by Lord Holland, in whose family the 
property remains. Many years since there appeared a small volume of 
Lines ^written at Ampthill Park, by Mr, Luttrell, who appears to have 
taken his muse by the arm, and " wandered up and down" describing 
the natural glories and olden celebrity of the place, and in graceful 
poetry hanging " a thought on every thorn." 



Dunstable and its Priory. 

Dunstable lies eighteen miles south-west from Bedford, at the point 
of contact of the ancient Iknield and Watling-streets ; and it was in 
early times a place of considerable importance. Its modern name is 
supposed by many etymologists to be derived from Dun, or Dunning, 



2y8 Dunstable and its Priory. 

a famous robber in the time of Henry I., who, with his band, became 
so formidable in the neighbourhood, that Henry cut down a large 
forest in order to destroy the haunt, and built a royal mansion called 
Kingsbury on part of the site. The town was also called in olden 
times, " Market-on-the-Downs," from its being situated on the southern 
extremity of the Dunstable chalk downs. 

The royal visits to Dunstable were very numerous. In 1133, 
Henry I. kept his Christmas here with much splendour, and also in 
1 132 and 1 137. In 1154, after the termination of the war, an 
amicable meeting took place at Dunstable between King Stephen and 
Henry, Duke of Normandy, afterwards Henry II. In 11 83 was seen 
in the heavens "the form of Our Lord's Banner, with the Crucifixion 
upon it." In 12 15, King John lay at Dunstable, on his journey 
towards the North. In 1217, Louis the Dauphin, with the Barons 
in arms against the King, halted for a night, and did much damage 
to the Church at Dunstable. In 1228 Henry III. kept his Christmas 
here. In the following year, the dispute ran so high between the 
townsmen and scholars at Dunstable that many were wounded on 
both sides, and some mortally. In 1244, a number of the discontented 
Bai'ons, under the pretence of holding a tournament, assembled a 
council at Dunstable. The tournament was forbidden to be held by 
the King ; but the Barons met, as agreed upon, and issued an order, 
commanding the Pope's Nuncio to leave the kingdom. In 1265, the 
King and Queen, with Cardinal Ottoboni, the Pope's Legate, and 
Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, made some stay at Dunstable. 
In 1279 and the following year, a tournament was held at Dunstable. 
In 1341, Edward III., on his triumphal return from Scotland, was 
met at Dunstable by 230 knights, and entertained by a grand exhibition 
of martial exercises. In 1457 '^^^ i459> Henry VI. was at Dun- 
stable. Here, in 1572, was Queen Elizabeth, in her progress towards 
the north; in 1605, James I. visited the town; and in 1644, *^ ^^ 
much damaged by a party sent by Charles I. 

Here we may mention that in mo was perfonned at Dunstable the 
first attempt at theatrical representations ; it was called the " Miracles of 
Catherine," and was the production of Geofl^rey, a Norman, afterwards 
Abbot of St. Albans. This would appear to have been a miracle play. 

But the main celebrity of Dunstable dates from the Priory (dedicated 
to St. Peter) of Augustinian, or Black Canons, a royal foundation of 
Henry I., who bestowed on it the town of Dunstable, and all its pri- 
vileges, in 1 1 3 1. The Priors had a gaol, possessed power of life and 
death, and sat as judges with the King's justices in Eyre; they had 



Dimstahle and its Priory, 279 

also their gallows, tumbril, and pillory. The ecclesiastics wei-e com- 
paratively few in number, but were endowed with well-tilled broad 
acres, and were persons of no little importance in their own immediate 
vicinity. At the Priory a great synod was held in 12 14 ; in 1290, the 
body of Queen Eleanor was deposited here for one night ; and a Gross 
was erected in the town upon the spot whereon the body was first set 
down; but this memorial was pulled down in the reign of Charles I. 
as a relic of Popery. 

At Dunstable Priory, in 1533, the Commissioners for the divorce of 
Queen Katherine met, and here the sentence was pronounced by Cran- 
mer, Archbishop of Canterbury, May 23. These proceedings were, a 
few days afterwards, communicated to Katherine, who was then resi- 
ding at Ampthill, a few miles distant ; she solemnly protested against 
them, and refused the title of Princess Dowager, and the offer of being 
treated as the King's sister ; she was soon after removed, almost by 
force, from Ampthill, and at length was settled at Kimbolton, where 
she died. 

"The Annals of Dunstable," has a curious history. " Of the great- 
ness of the Black Canons of Dunstable," says a reviewer, in the 
Athenaiim, " we have absolutely no memorials to testify to their former 
existence even, beyond some occasional notices of their manifold writs, 
and suits, and plaints, in other chronicles and the legal records of the 
Plantagenet days ; the crumbling, and daily diminishing, walls of their 
once stately dwelling-place ; and the carefully-entered annals of their 
house between a.d. 1131 and 1297, still preserved — and only just 
presei-ved — in the diminutive, shrivelled, half-burnt parchment volume 
belonging to the Cottonian collection. 

" This manuscript meets us in such sad guise, from the fact that, 
after having tided safely over the great break-up of the Reformation, 
and passed through Puritan times uncondemned to the flames, it 
suffered very severely from that most careless of accidents, the fire in 
the Cotton Library, at Westminster, in 1731. Fortunately, however, 
previous to that date, a careful transcript of it had been made by the 
pen of Humphrey Wanley ; and from this Thomas Hearne printed 
his edition of the Dunstable Annals, in 1733. The original manuscript 
was then supposed to be hopelessly injured by the fire, and Heame 
made no attempt to examine it. Since then, however, at a compara- 
tively recent date, by dint of pains and ingenuity, it has been stretched 
and mended ; and from it, thus revived, aided by Wanley's transcript 
(MS. Harl. 4886) in the case of some few words and passages which 
the fire has rendered illegible, Mr. Luard has produced an elaborate 



280 Bedford Castle, 

edition of the work. It will never, of course, equal Heame*8 edition 
(limited to 200 copies) in rarity ; but in reference to accuracy and 
editorial painstaking, in the way of elucidation of difficulties, omissions, 
or obscurities in the text, Mr. Luard's edition entirely distances its pre- 
decessor, and leaves no reasonable desire of its readers unsatisfied. 

" Hearne, though replete with much learning of various kinds, was 
possessed of but little ingenious research, or power, by way of infe- 
rence, of turning his acquirements to account ; so we are not surprised 
that he failed to discover what Mr. Luard has very skilfully proved 
from internal evidence, that these Annals, from the beginning to the end 
of A.D. 1 24 1, were compiled by Richard de Morins, formerly Canon 
of Merton, in Surrey, and fourth Prior of Dunstable, between a.d. 
1 2 10 and the year above mentioned. The portion between 1242 and 
1297 is by various hands, now unknown ; and upon the remaining 
blank leaves of tlie volume some miscellaneous entries are made, con- 
temporary with the events there described, between a.d. 1302 and 

1459." 

Of the celebrated Priory little remains, except a part appropriated to 
the parish church, and some fragments in an adjoining wall. These 
relics afford specimens of early ecclesiastical architecture, very interest- 
ing to the students of that branch of art ; particularly the great west 
front, which has a singular intermixture of circular and pointed arches. 



Bedford Castle. 

Bedford, seated in the midst of a very rich tract of land called the 
Vale of Bedford, is of high antiquity, but not of Roman origin, as 
some affirm. Nevertheless, the plough turns up Roman coins in various 
parts of the county, and the vicinity of Shefford, in particular, has been 
remarkably productive in Roman pottery, glass, and bronze. Camden 
considers the place to have been British, and the original name Lettuy, 
in British signifying public inns, and Lettidur, inns on a river, as Bed- 
ford in English, beds and inns at a ford, a speculation not very satis- 
factory. It is generally supposed, however, that the town is the Bedi- 
canford of ^he Saxon Chronicle: " A.D. 571. This year Cuthulf fought 
against the Britons at Bedcanford [Bedford], and took four towns,** 
&c. This name signifies "a fortress on a river," a designation of 
which the present name seems a corruption. It afterwards suffered 
greatly in the wars between the Saxons and the Danes, and was ultimately 
'lestroyed in 1010, by the latter, "ever burning as they went." Men- 



Bedford Castle, 281 

tion is made of a fortress or citadel built on the south side of the river 
Ou£.e, by Edward the Elder, who, in 919, received the submission of 
all the neighbouring country. 

In 921, the Danes fortified Tempsford, and attacked Bedford, but 
were repulsed with great slaughter. Edward besieged the Danes at 
Tempsford, destroyed the fortress, and put their King and many of the 
nobles to death. But the fortress which Edward had built would seem 
to have been destroyed by the Danes, or was found an inadequate 
defence, for Paine de Beauchamp, to whom the barony was given by 
William Rufus, considered it necessary to build, adjoining to the town, 
a very strong Castle, which was surrounded by a vast entrenchment of 
earth, as well as a lofty and thick wall. *' While this Castle stood," 
says Camden, " there was no storm of civil war that did not burst 
upon it." In 1137 it sustained a long siege; but accounts vary 
exceedingly as to who were the defenders and what was their fate. 
Camden, without entering into the particulars, says, that Stephen took 
the fort with great slaughter ; but Dugdale, who gives details, and 
quotes ancient authorities, says that the King obtained it by surrender, 
and granted honourable terms to the garrison. In 12 16, William de 
Beauchamp, being possessed of the Barony of Bradford, took part 
with the rebellious barons, and received them into the Castle, which 
they were advancing to besiege. When, however, King John sent his 
favourite, Faukes de Brent, to summon the Castle, it was surrendered to 
him in a few days, and the King gave it to him, with the barony, for his 
services. Faukes, having greatly repaired and strengthened his Castle, 
for which purpose he is said to have pulled down the collegiate church 
of St. Paul, presumed so far upon its impregnable character as to set 
all law and authority at defiance. His outrages and depredations on 
his less powerful neighbour were such, that in the year 1224, the King's 
justices, then sitting at Dunstable, felt it their duty to take cognizance 
of his proceedings, and fined him in the sum of three thousand pounds. 
Faukes, being greatly provoked at this, sent his brother at the head of 
a party of soldiers to seize the judges and bring them prisoners to 
Bedford. They were forewarned of his intention, and two of them 
escaped ; but one of them, Henry Braybrook, was taken and carried 
to the Castle, where he was most unmercifully treated. The King 
(Henry III.) being incensed at this and the other outrageous conduct of 
De Brent, determined to bring him to punishment. He therefore marched 
to Bedford in person, attended by Stephen Langton, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, and the principal peers of the realm. On this occasion, 
the Church was so provoked by Faukes's sacrilege, that the prelates and 



282 Bedford Castle. 

abbot li granted a voluntary aid to the King, and for every hide of their 
lands furnished two labourers to work the engines employed in the 
siege of the Castle. Camden quotes fi'om the Chronicle of Dunstable 
a curious account of this siege, written by an eye-witness, from which 
it appears that the engines employed in that age for the destruction of 
men were little less ingenious and efTective than those now in use. 
Faukes de Brent felt great confidence in the strength of the Castle, 
and disputed the ground by inches ; but after a vigorous resistance of 
sixty days, no alternative remained but to surrender at discretion. The 
success of the besiegers is attributed chiefly to the use of a lofty 
wooden castle higher than the walls, which gave an opportunity of 
seeing all that passed therein. Faukes himself was not in the Castle 
when it surrendered ; he took sanctuary in a church at Coventry, and 
through the mediation of the Bishop of Coventry, obtained the King's 
pardon, on condition of abjuring the realm. His brother William, the 
acting Governor of the Castle, with twenty-four Knights and eighty 
soldiers, were hanged ; but Culmo, another brother, received the 
King's pardon. 

Henry HI., acting on the determination to uproot this "nursery of 
sedition," as Camden terms it, ordered the Castle to be dismantled, and 
the ditches to be filled up. The barony was restored to William de 
Beauchamp, with permission to erect a mansion-house on the site of 
the Castle ; but with careful stipulations to prevent him from constru- 
ing this into leave to build a fortress. The King's intentions as to the 
demolition of the Castle do not seem to have been executed to the letter; 
for the "ruinous Castle of Bedford" is mentioned about 250 years 
later ; and Camden speaks of its ruins as still existing in his time, over- 
hanging the river, on the east side of the town. At present not one 
stone of the fabric remains ; but about 1820 its site might be very dis- 
tinctly traced at the back of the Swan Inn, close to the old bridge : it 
foi-ms a parallelogram, divided by a lane ; and the site of the keep now 
makes an excellent bowling-green. The domain first became a duke- 
dom when given to John, the third son of Henry IV. We have 
abridged most of these details from an excellent account of the Castle 
in the Penny Cyclop a dm. 

The town of Bedford is one of the most interesting places in Eng- 
land ; and there is perhaps no English town of similar extent equal to 
Bedford in the variety and magnitude of its charitable and educational 
establishments. It has been greatly improved since a great fire, in 1724, 
consumed 100 houses, and in 1802, 72 houses. The communication 
between the parts of the town separated by the O use is a handsome 



Luton-HoOy its Gothic Chapel, 2S3 

stone bridge of five arches, which was commenced in 181 1, on the site 
of the old bridge of seven arches, which was popularly considered to 
have been built with the materials of the Castle demolished by 
Henry III. ; bat which Grose, the antiquary, understood to have been 
erected in the reign of Queen Mary, out of the ruins of St. Dunstan's 
Church, which stood on the south side of the bridge. The old Gaol 
was built on the bridge; here John Bunyan suffered one-and-fifty 
months' imprisonment in the reign of Charles II.; and held for many 
years the appointment of pastor to the Independent congregation at 
Bedford. His memory is still greatly revered, and the chair in which 
he used to sit is preserved in the vestry, as a sort of relic, with his vestry 
jug, the syllabub cup which was carried to and from his prison, his 
cabinet and case of weights, pocket-knife, &c. The cottage in which 
Bunyan was bom, at Elstow, a short distance from Bedford, was de- 
molished several years since; but in 1827 the interior remained as it 
was in Bunyan's time, with the remains of the closet in which in early 
life he worked as a tinker ; there is also the old bathing-place at Bed- 
ford ; and, although the site only of the house in which Bunyan died at 
Holbom Bridge is identified, his tomb in Bunhill-fields burial-ground 
has been restored. 



Luton- Hoo, its Gothic Chapel. 

Luton-Hoo, or High Luton, situate between St. Albans and Bed- 
ford, was the magnificent seat of the Marquis of Bute, which was 
destroyed by an accidental fire in November, 1843. ^^ ^^^ originally 
the seat of the Napier family, but was nearly all rebuilt by John, third 
Earl of Bute, the first Minister of George III., who, in 1762, employed 
Adam as his architect, who took for his model the palace of Dioclesian, 
at Spalatro. It was completed in 1767, when Dr. Johnson, after visit- 
ing Luton-Hoo with Boswell, said : " This is one of the places I do 
not regret having come to see. It is a very stately palace indeed. In the 
house magnificence is not sacrificed to convenience. The library is very 
splendid. The dignity of the rooms is very great, and the quantity of 
pictures is beyond expectation — beyond hope." In the wing coiTe- 
sponding with that containing the library was the chapel, which was 
rebuilt by Smirke, and in which was preserved some exceedingly fine 
Gothic wainscot, enriched with carving and Latin sentences of Scripture 
in ancient characters ; this was first put up at Tyttenhanger, in Hert- 
fordshire, by Sir Thomas Pope, and was removed to Luton by the 



284 Ltiton-HoOy its Gothic Chapel, 

Napier family. The mansion was destroyed in the above fire, except 
the outer walls ; but the chapel was entirely consumed, save a portion 
of a richly-carved oak door, and the altar. As the chapel was a superb 
specimen of ecclesiastical architecture, it is fortunate that it has been 
ably illustrated by Mr. Henry Shaw, in a splendidly executed work. 

The Luton chapel was of the latest and most florid period of Gothic 
architecture, displaying in the forms of some of its arches and mould- 
ings a mixture of the Roman, which was coming into fashion at the 
period of its construction ; but which afterwards degenerated into the 
grotesque style prevalent during the reigns of Elizabeth and James. 
The whole of the interior presented a rich display of panel-work, 
beautifully carved in oak, and ornamented by an assemblage of elegant 
cornices, embattlements, niches, canopies, crockets, and finials, having 
the several accompaniments of stalls, seats, pulpit, and desk of taber- 
nacle-work, surmounted by a gorgeous canopy, which was carried by 
several gradually diminishing stages to the height of more than eighteen 
feet from the floor. At the upper end was an altar-screen, consisting of 
two tiers of solid arch-work, charged with oak-leaves, vine-leaves, 
roses, lilies, and thistles ; each containing ten niches for statues, and 
having their recesses finished with the most florid and fanciful tracery, 
of which a similar example will not easily be found in this country. 
There was also an altar in the highest state of preservation, which, Mr. 
Shaw tells us, was the most complete, if not the only specimen remaining 
of those numerous altars in our churches and monasteries, which were so 
indignantly destroyed in general either by the Reformers of the sixteenth, 
or the Puritans of the seventeenth century. From the inscriptions it ap- 
peared to have been the principal altar, framed after the model of the Ark 
of the Covenant, under the Jewish theocracy : the little loops or rings of 
wire still remained, on which were suspended the curtains of silk which 
veiled from vulgar gaze the emblem of the great mystery of Holiness. 
Like its sacred prototype, it was portable in size, being about three feet 
high from its base, hollow, and pierced with open-work at the sides, to 
m.ake it light and more elegant ; and when the curtain was drawn 
aside, admitting a partial view of the relics and sacred treasures in- 
closed. Such altars were actually carried in solemn procession on 
solemn occasions. They were also made hollow and of a square form, 
in accordance with the express direction contained in the twenty- 
seventh chapter of the book of Exodus. 

Amongst the arrangements in this Chapel was one which was ex- 
traordinary, and perhaps unique, except in our modern vestry-rooms— 
that of a chimney-piece and fire-place. On each side of it, and above 



Luton-HoOy its Gothic Chapel. 2S5 

it, were thirty-three vacant niches, with triple canopies, elaborately- 
carved, and interspersed with crockets and finials, over which was a 
double cornice of ornamental work. On the horizontal ledge above 
the chimney-piece was a singular inscription from the Vulgate. (Ge- 
nesis xxii. 7.) 

Mr. Shaw describes the several inscriptions and embellishments ot 
this truly interesting relic of antiquity, because, though the work must 
have evidently been executed before the Reformation, there was a 
total absence of the greater part of those corruptions of pure 
Christianity, which had been carried to the utmost point of endurance 
at the period immediately preceding that great event. 

To form a just and adequate conception of the beauty, interest, and 
splendour of this Chapel, however, Mr. Shaw examined it on the spot.' 
Considered as a work of art, it exhibited altogether a complete study 
of architecture and sculpture. Here was almost every form of arch, 
bidding defiance to all modern classifications. We had the semi- 
circular and the lancet-shaped ; the obtuse-angled and the acute ; the 
Roman segment and the Gothic ogee, with dressings and mouldings 
of every description — round, hollow, square, and undulating. There 
was also a profusion of embellishments in the cornices and embattle- 
ments, the niches, the pinnacles, the canopies, and the cupolas ; ex- 
hausting all the varieties of fruits, and flowers, and foliages ; of vines, 
and pomegranates, and lilies, and roses, which are generally found to 
be accompaniments of ecclesiastical architecture. Viewed as a religious 
structure, the appearance of this chapel was calculated to produce an 
impression of awe and admiration. The inscriptions were solemn, 
' appropriate, and Scriptural. Every sentence, from the porch to the 
altar, was conducive to a feeling of sublimity and devotion. 

Mr. Shaw concludes in these words, which have, indeed, a melan- 
choly interest in connexion with the entire destruction of this chapel by 
fire : — " May the contemplation of such a work render us grateful to 
that Providence which has preserved it, and inspire us with that noble 
sentiment — * Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy House, and the 
place wherein the honour dwelleth.' " 



286 



NORTHAMPTONSHIRE. 

The Castle of Northampton. 

Northampton, situated upon the north bank of the River Nene, is 
considered to have been, in the peace between Alfred and the Danes, 
included in the Danish territory, and to have submitted in 918 to 
Edward the Elder. In the reign of Ethelred II. Northampton was 
nearly ruined by the Danes, and about the close of the reign of Edward 
the Confessor it suffered from the Northumbrian army under Morcar, 
or from the King's troops under Harold, which, in consequence of 
civil dissensions, met here. After the Conquest, Simon de St. Liz, the 
first Earl of Northampton of that name, built a castle here, and in the 
following reigns several ecclesiastical councils and parliaments were 
held in the town. In 1144, King Stephen held his Court here, when 
Ranulf, Earl of Chester, was detained in prison until he had delivered 
up the Castle of Lincoln to the King. In 1 179 was held at Northampton 
a parliament, to which Knights and Burgesses were summoned, as well 
as nobles and prelates, the first important approximation to our present 
Constitution. At this parliament Justices Itinerant v^rere appointed to 
the six circuits in England. In 12 15 the Barons, with their army, 
rendezvoused at Brackley the week after Easter, and there received 
the nobles from the King, to whom they delivered their demands ; on 
the denial of which they elected Robert Fitzwalter their general, styling 
him the Marshal of the Army of God and of Holy Church, and then 
marched to the siege of Northampton Castle, which was successfully 
defended by the King's forces during fifteen days. In the year 1 264, 
a treaty made at Brackley to settle the differences between the King 
and his Barons entirely failed. The King and Prince Edward then 
marched to Northampton Castle, which, after a desperate resistance, 
was taken ; Simon de Montfort, William de Ferrers, with eleven 
other Barons and sixty Knights, were made prisoners. Towards the 
close of this King's reign the Castle was given to Fulke de Brent, and 
in a conflict between his soldiers and the townsmen, a considerable 
part of the town was burnt. In 1277, at Northampton, where was a 
Royal Mint, thirty Jews were hanged for clipping the King's coin ; and 
in the following year 50 were hanged for having, it was pretended, 



TIte Castle of Northampton. 287 

ciuclfied a child on Good Friday. In 13 16 a Parliament was held 
here by Edward II., at which John Poydras, the son of a tanner at 
Exeter, who pretended to be the real son of Edward I., and that the 
reigning monarch had been substituted at nurse in his stead, was tried 
and executed. In 1380, at a Parliament held here, 3 Richard II., was 
enacted the Poll Tax, the levying of which caused the insurrection 
under Wat Tyler. 

In the commencement of the War of the Roses, a great battle was 
fought in Hardingstone Fields, near Northampton, 1459, July 9, in 
which the Lancastrians were defeated by the Earl of March, (afterwards 
Edward IV.,) and the " King-making" Earl of Warwick. The King, 
Henry VI,, was taken prisoner, the Queen and the young Prince of 
Wales escaped with difficulty; and Humphrey Stafford, Duke of 
Buckingham, John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, John Beaumont, the 
first English Viscount, Thomas Lord Egremont, Sir Christopher Talbot, 
and 10,000 men, were slain by the Earl of Warwick. The King was 
conducted in honourable captivity to London. 

In the Civil War of Charles I., Northampton was taken by Lord 
Brook, and fortified for the Parliament. Of the Castle, which was 
near the West Bridge, there are only the eai'th works ; and of the town 
walls there are no traces. 

There is an episode of the Civil War in this county which presents 
a noble example of attachment to the Royal Crown. This occuired 
at Woodcroft House, at Elton, about four miles from Peterborough. 
The building is an early and perfect specimen of English domestic 
architecture. The date of its erection is of the time of the first two 
Edwards. Originally, this must have been a place of some strength : it 
was surrounded by water, except at the western approach, and the 
walls are four feet in thickness. Though nothing remains of an em- 
battled parapet, there can be little doubt that it possessed such provision 
for defence. The round bastion at the moat end was the scene of the 
historical incident we are about to relate. 

Mr. Michael Hudson, " an understanding and sober person of great 
fidelity," was, from his sincerity, called by King Charles I., "his 
plain-dealing chaplain." When the troubles of the War commenced, 
Hudson, like some others of his profession, left his benefice, under an 
impression that his monarch demanded his personal aid; and King 
Charles having, as we are told, " an especial respect for his signal loyalty 
and courage," entrusted him with some impoitant secrets as regarded his 
own proceedings. Hudson proved himself a courageous soldier, but 
Deing apprehended by the Parliamentary forces, he suffered a tedious 



2SS The Castle of Northampton, 

confinement. Escaping from his prison in London, he joined a body of 
Royalists who had fled to Woodcroft House. When attacked there 
by the Parliamentary forces, Hudson, with some of his bravest soldiers, 
went up to the battlements, where they defended themselves for some 
time. At length they yielded upon being promised quarter ; but when 
the rebels were admitted they broke their engagement. Hudson was 
forced over the battlements, and clung to one of the stone spouts. His 
hands being either cut off or severely hacked and bruised by the swords 
of the soldiers, he quitted his hold and fell into the moat underneath ; 
desiring only to reach the land and die there, this miserable boon 
was denied him, as, in attempting to reach the bank, he was knocked 
on the head with the butt-end of a musket and drowned. 

In a Note in the Builder journal, the Editor recapitulates, in a very 
interesting manner, the attractions of the town of Northampton, which 
is " about two hours from London by the express train, and a centre 
whence numerous excursions may be made, instructive, fruitful, and 
delightful. The county, as every one probably knows, is full of histo- 
rical associations, dating from the time when the Romans constructed a 
chain of forts along the banks of the River Nen to the Warwickshire 
Avon and further, up to the year 1675, when a large part of 
Northampton was burnt down. Hamtune, in Saxon times, or North 
Hamptune, as it was called soon after the Normans came, witnessed 
many important events. The Danes burnt it. Great councils were 
held here by Henry L, Stephen, Henry H., and others. Here the 
Barons swore allegiance to John in the year 11 99; and afterwards, 
when they had made the King sign Magna Charta, Northampton 
Castle, amongst other castles, was given up to them as security for the 
fulfilment of the engagement. The last Parliament assembled in 
Northampton ordered the poll-tax which led to Wat Tyler's rebellion. 
One of the great battles between the Roses was fought in tlie fields 
close to the town, when the King, Henry VL, was taken prisoner. 
Burghley reminds us of Queen Elizabeth, Fotheringhay of Mary Queen 
of Scots, Tresham's triangular Lodge at Rushton, of the Gunpowder 
Plot ; and Naseby, of the irretrievable defeat of Charles L by Fairfax 
and Cromwell. Earthworks are not wanting, and architectural remains 
from the time of the Anglo-Saxons to that of the Tudors are plentiful. 
The works left by the former in England, indeed, cannot be fully 
studied without taking into consideration those to be found in the 
neighbourhood of Northampton. The churches of Brixworth, Barton, 
Barnack, and Brigstock,— all beginning with B, by the way, — are most 
important items in the group of works which remain to us, unquestioo* 



Queen Eleanor's Cross, Northampton, 289 

ably dating fi'om before the Norman Conquest. Northampton itself 
has one of the only four Round Churches in England, resulting 
from the Crusades, St. Sepulchre's ; also a very beautiful specimen of 
Anglo-Noraian work, St. Peter's Church, and the best remaining 
Eleanor Cross. 

" The Round Church, St. Sepulchre's, was built by Simon de St. Liz, 
the second Earl of Northampton, when he returned from the firy\: 
Crusade, and is very rude and ugly. Round lofty columns form the 
annular aisle within, and are connected by pointed arches, which may 
or may not be original. At present the building is in a miserable con- 
dition, without interest of any sort except its age and origin. The later 
church, added to the Round in the thirteenth century, as at the Temple 
Church, London, has been lately restored, and, we believe, added to. 
Stones of two colours, call them white and brown, were originally used 
here somewhat indiscriminately. In the restoration and rebuilding, the 
colours have been varied with more regularity, and the result is a 
specimen of what has been wickedly termed the Holy Zebra style, at 
present somewhat wanting in repose. Time, however, the great har- 
monizer, will gradually lessen its garishness. The new work includes 
a considerable amount of carving, some of it very well executed. The 
angular buttresses of the later tower here project so considerably at the 
bottom, and decrease so regularly, as to continue the lines of the spire 
down to the ground with agreeable effect. 

" It is worth noting that the calculations of the probable duration of 
life at certain ages known as the Northampton Table, and on which, 
though it is now thought of little value, the present system of Life 
Assurance was almost founded, were made by Dr. Price fi-om tb^* 
account of burials in this town during a period of forty-five yearc,— 
1735 to 1780." 



Queen Eleanor's Cross, at Northampton. 

The origin of the memorials, popularly known as the Eleanor Crosses, 
is now well known. Eleanor was the half-sister of Alphonso, King of 
Castile, and the sole child of Ferdinand the Third and Joanna of 
Ponthieu, and was married m 1254, when ten years of age, to Prince 
Edward of England, he being in his fifteenth year. She accompanied 
her husband to the Holy Land, where she is said to have saved his life by- 
sucking the wound made by a poisoned weapon. The truth of thia 
incident has been questioned, but, whether true or not, the belitf in it 
bespeaks the character of Eleanor for affection and womanly devotion- 



^9^ Quern Eleanor^ s CrosSj Northampton. 

** It is probable," says a writer in the Athenaum, " that the legend of 
her sucking the wound is an invention of the romantic affection of 
a later day than hers ; but if so, it serves to show what was the popular 
impression concerning the Princess. She was with her husband at 
Acre on that day when an assassin, sent by the Emir of Joppa on a 
pretence to treat, got access to the tent of the Prince, and while he was 
lying without his annour on a couch. The Prince threw out his arm 
to ward off the blow, and kicked out with his foot, throwing the fellow 
down on the floor ; the latter, however, rose again, and wounded Edward 
in the forehead. The wound festered, the Master of the Temple 
recommended incision ; Edward bade him cut, and, meanwhile, ordered 
Edmund his brother and John de Vesci to remove the Princess from 
the tent. This they did, she screaming all the while, and sti'uggling* 
hard. Edmund, with characteristic acerbity, remarked that it was 
better she should scream than England should mourn. It is certain she 
nursed her husband, but the more romantic legend does not appear 
until long after the event. 

" Edward, in 1291, was bent on going to Scotland : the Queen had 
followed him, and was resting at the house of Robert de Weston, at 
Hardby, in Nottinghamshire, which is on the Lincolnshire side of the 
Trent, and but five miles from Lincoln. It was deep in autumn, some 
time about the second week in November, when those about the Queen 
found they must send for the King, and the news reached him that the 
soldier's wife would follow him no more. He came back and was with 
the Queen from the 20th of that month until the dark and mournful 
evening of the 28th of the same month set her free from suffering." 

Crosses were erected to her memory, as Walsingham says, in " every 
^lace and town where the corpse rested (on its way from Hardby to 
Westminster.) The King commanded a cross of admirable workman- 
ship to be erected to the Queen's memory, that prayers might be offered 
for her soul by all passengers, in which Cross he caused the Queen's 
image to be depicted." Although the chronicler so distinctly states the 
crosses to have been erected by the King's command, it is the well- 
grounded belief of recent writers that the Eleanor Crosses were erected 
at her own cost, and not as monuments of Edward's conjugal affection. 
The fact that all the accounts and charges for their erection were 
rendered to Eleanor's executors seems conclusive on this point ; and we 
have no evidence in favour of the opinion that the works were executed 
by command of the King. Some Expense Rolls which have been pre- 
served mention one cross at Lincoln, at Northampton, Stoney Stratford, 
Wobum, Dunstable, and St. Albans, all mainly the work of John de 



Queen Eleanor's Cross ^ Northampton. 291 

Bello, or of Battle. There were othei*s at Hardby, Geddington, 
Waltham, Cheapside, and Charing. 

The Editor of the Builder, in his appreciative account of a recent visit 
to Northampton, states : " Of the fifteen crosses believed to have been 
originally erected, only three — those at Northampton, Geddington, and 
Waltham, — remain. The statues of Eleanor for the Northampton 
Cross, as well as for others, were by William de Hibemia, or Ireland, 
but seem to have been copied from the statue executed by Master 
William Torell, goldsmith, for the tomb in Westminster Abbey. The 
four statues still remaining in the Northampton Cross (all of the Queen) 
are graceful and dignified. 

" The Northampton Cross, about a mile from the town, placed on a 
flight of steps that give it admirable firmness of aspect, is beautifully 
situated on rising ground at the side of the road, backed with trees, and 
with a charming view of the town in the distance on one side, it forms 
a picture that remains on the memory. The structure is in a fair state 
of repair, with the exception of the terminal, or fourth stage, but having 
been restored on various occasions, once at a period when less care was 
paid to the retention of old forms than is now the case, doubt is felt as 
to the con-ectness of some of the portions. We are disposed to think, 
however, that no considerable departure from the original was made. 

" It is noticeable that under each statue, on four of the eight faces of 
the first stage, is sculptured a small projecting desk with an open book 
on it, for the most part defaced, but still obvious. 

" It is sometimes said that these large Crosses form a class of structures 
wholly peculiar to England ; but this is not correct. The Schone 
Brunnen in the market-place of Nuremberg is a remarkably fine work 
of the same kind, larger and more elaborate than those dedicated to the 
Chhe 2?^;«^,— the beloved of all England, as Walsingham calls her. 
If we remember rightly, however, this particular example is of somewhat 
later date." 

Supplementary to these details we quote portions of the Rev. Mr. 
Hartshorne's very interesting account of the Northampton Cross: 
although, to presei-ve continuity of the naiTative, a few repetitions of 
facts and circumstances may be unavoidable : — 

" During the reign of Henry III. the English possessions in Gascony 
were much disturbed, and the king found it necessary to support him- 
self both against Simon de Montfort, who had treacherously given up 
some of the principal fortresses, and also against Gaston de Beam, the 
chief person who opposed him. This prince had indeed gone to 



^92 Queen Eleanor^ s Cross, Northampton. 

implore the assistance of Alphonso, King of Castile. The royal debts 
were heavy ; there were difficulties in raising supplies for a war ; and 
with the prospect of the King of Castile also being in arms against the 
English, Henry thought it would be more prudent to attempt negotia- 
tion with him, to propose a league, and to secure his friendship by the 
marriage of Prince Edward, his eldest son, with Eleanor, the half-sister 
of the King of Castile. He accordingly sent ambassadors lo the 
Spanish court to request her in marriage for his son Edward, upon 
whom he had already settled the sovereignty of Guicnne. Alphonso 
complied with this request on condition that the prince should be sent 
into Spain to complete it. To this Henry, after some hesitation, 
assented, and in 1254 Edward proceeded to Burgos, where he was 
graciously received by Alphonso, who knighted him, and celebrated the 
marriage with great pomp. The prince and his bride returned to 
Bordeaux, bringing with them a charter bearing a golden seal, by 
which the Spanish sovereign relinquished, in favour of them and their 
heirs, all claims upon the province of Guienne. 

"The English did not regard this alliance with any favour. They 
said the King knew the habits and religion of the Spaniards, who were 
the very refuse of mankind, hideous in their persons, contemptible in 
their dress, and detestable in their manners. According to the state- 
ments of Matthew Paris it was a most unpopular match, though there 
can be no doubt it was a source of the greatest domestic happiness to 
the prince. Henry left Guienne in 1254. The prince and his wife 
remained till the following year. The apprehensions of the English 
with regard to this marriage were shortly verified. For soon after 
Eleanor's brother and a Spanish nobleman came over as ambassiidors, 
as it was currently supposed, under the expectation of receiving valuable 
presents from the King. It does not, however, appear that they were 
personally any great gainers by their mission. 

"Eleanor landed at Dover in October (39 Henry HI.), and on the 
17th reiched London, where she was welcomed by Henry with much 
kindness. He presenterl her with a silver alms-dish, beside pieces 
of arras and gold cloth, the latter being sent to her on her arrival at 
Dover. These, with golden fermails and brooches, were intended for 
the princess to present at the shrincG of St. Thomas at Canterbury and 
St. Edward at Westminster, on her way to the metropolis. The 
preparations that had been made for her reception were very unpopular 
with the citizens, who, as the chronicler says, were deeply grieved on 
a careful consideration of the pleasure manifested by the King at tlie 
presence of any foreigners. 



Queen Eleanor^ s Cross , Northampton. ^93 

" From the year 1256 to the time when Eleanor accompanied Prince 
Edward to the Holy Land but little is known of her. She probably 
resided at Guildford, or one of the royal castles, — most likely at Guild- 
ford, as apartments were ordered to be constructed here for her use in 
1268. In 1 27 1 she sailed with her husband for the Holy Land. It is 
almost superfluous to mention the affectionate care she evinced over 
her husband whilst he was occupied in this great Crusade, for the story 
of her endeavour to extract the poison from the wound he had received 
from an assassin is too well known to require repetition. It may how- 
ever be stated, as this circumstance has been disputed on slight grounds, 
that its truth seems fully established by the narratives of Vikes and 
Heminford, two contemporary historians. It was in consequence of 
the Crusade preached at Northampton by Ottoboni in 1268, that 
Edward took up the cross and passed over to the Holy Land, with one 
hundred and four knights, besides eighteen nobles, who assumed it 
from the legate at the same time. Edward returned to England on 
August I, 1274, and a fortnight afterwards was crowned in West- 
minster. In 1286 the affairs of Guienne required his presence in that 
province. He remained absent three years, two months, and fifteen 
days. The Chronicle of Lanercost states, that whilst he was abroad 
on this occasion, he and his queen sitting on the bedside together, and 
conversing, they narrowly escaped being killed by lightning. The 
electric fluid, passing through a window, struck two females behind 
them, and caused their death. 

" We hear very little of Queen Eleanor from this time until her death ; 
—a circumstance that shows how entirely she devoted herself to her 
husband and her domestic duties. No doubt she accompanied him in 
his various movements during the protracted wars with the Welsh and 
the Scotch. Edward had arrived in England in August 1289. In the 
same month, in I2qo, we find him in Northamptonshire. I will not trace, 
from the Itinerary of his reign that I have drawn up, his residence day 
by day at Silveston, Ellsworth, Yardley, Northampton, Geddington, and 
Rockingham. I will merely state that he was at Northampton, no 
doubt resident in the Castle, from August 17th to August 29th, when 
he passed northwards to Kings Clipston, Notts. On the 20th Novem- 
ber we find him at Hardby, where he remained until the 28th, Queen 
Eleanor died on the evening of the 28th, of a low and lingering fever. 
The latest date on which we find any mention of the king and queen 
as being together is when they were here in the month of August, on 
which occasion a messenger was paid for carrying their joint letters to 
Glare Earl of Gloucester. On the 28th of October there is a payment 



294 Queen Eleanot^s Cross, Northampton, 

of one mark to Henry Montpellier for syrup and other medicine, 
purchased at Lincoln for the queen's use. During her illness she was 
attended by her household physician, Master Leopard, to whom she 
bequeathed a legacy of twenty marks. For three days after her 
decease no public business was transacted. Her body was immediately 
opened and embalmed. I well remember reading in her Wardrobe 
Account, sold a few years since by auction in London, the entries 
relating to this process, the cost of the myrrh and frankincense, and, 
what struck me as more remarkable, a charge for barley for filling the 
body. The viscera were deposited in the cathedral of Lincoln. Her 
heart was conveyed by her own desire for sacred interment in the 
church of the Black Friars in London. The Expense Rolls of the 
executors give full particulars of the cost of executing the monuments 
erected at each of these places. 

" The King himself was at Lincoln on the 2nd and 3rd of December, 
at Northampton on the 9th, at St. Albans on the 13th, at London the 
following day. The account left us by the annalist of Dunstable, of 
the circumstances attending the arrival of the funeral train at this 
monastery, represents generally what occurred at every place where the 
funeral procession halted. After noting the death of the queen, he says 
*her body passed through our town, and rested one night. Two 
precious cloths, baudekyns, were given unto us. Of wax we had eight 
pounds and more. And when the body of the said queen was departing 
from Dunstable, the bier rested in the centre of the Market-place until 
the king's chancellor and the great men then and there present had 
marked a fitting place where they might afterwards erect a cross of 
wonderful size ; our prior being present, and sprinkling holy water.' 

"The Queen was buried with great magnificence, at the feet of her 
husband's father, in Westminster Abbey, on the 17th of December; 
and on the 15th her heart was deposited in the church of the Black 
Friars, where a chapel was afterwards built for its reception. The King 
remained at Westminster for a week afterwards, and then went to Ash- 
ridge, where he dwelt in melancholy seclusion for a month. 

" According to the usage of the time, splendid and perpetual comme- 
morations of her death was enjoined in several places. Her anniver- 
sary was celebrated also at Peterborough and other abbeys with great 
libel ality. 

*' It has been stated by Walsingham that Crosses were erected at the 
spots where her body rested on its way from Hardby to London. Thus 
we have mention made, in the Expense Rolls, of a cross at Lmcoln, at 
Northampton, Stoney Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, and St. Albans; 



Qtieen Eleanors Cross, Northampton. 295 

all of them the work of John de Bello. These were all erected between 
129 1 and 1294. As the entries of payment for these works mingle 
them together, it is difficult to ascertain what was the cost of any one ; 
but, proceeding by way of equal distribution, John de Battle would 
receive 134/. for the cross at Northampton, exclusive of the payments 
for statues, which were the work of William de Ireland, who received 
five marks for each of them. Robert, the son of Henry, a burgess of 
Northampton, received 40/. and sixty marks, for laying down a cause- 
way from Northampton to the cross, — as it is said, ' pro anima reginoe,' 
the construction of such a work being deemed an act of devotion. There 
are also payments of 25/. and seven marks made to Robert de Corfe 
and to William de Ireland for a ' virga,' a head, and ring (' pro virgis, 
capitibus, et anulis'), — architectural terms, which involve some difficulty 
in explanation. 

" The exquisite representations of the queen were sculptured in Lon- 
don by William de Ireland, * imaginator,' or the sculptor. William de 
Bemak, mason, received 73s. 4d. for their carriage, and that of the head 
and lance of the cross, from London. 

" Doubts have often been raised as to the manner in which the cross 
was terminated ; but an entry on the accounts leads me to suppose it 
was finished by a figure, — most likely that of the Virgin, as William de 
Ireland was paid 6/. 3s. 4d. on one occasion, for making five images for 
the cross at Northampton. Therefore it is evident that a figure of some 
kind was imposed above the four of the queen now remaining. A desire 
has been often expressed to see the summit completed ; but as long as 
it is highly uncertain what was the original termination, it would be in- 
judicious to attempt what must necessarily be a fanciful and unsanctioned 
restoration. 

" In conclusion, it may be desirable to make a few remarks on the 
effigies of Queen Eleanor herself, that are so graceful in their di-aperies, 
and so replete with dignity and classical beauty. Flaxman said that 
the statues of Henry III. and Eleanor, in Westminster Abbey, partook 
of the character and grace particularly cultivated in the school of 
Pisano : and it is not unlikely that these statues may have been done 
by some of his numerous scholars. The Executorial Rolls printed by 
Mr. Botfield bear out this conjecture, as they state that the designer ol 
the effigies of Eleanor at Westminster and Lincoln was William Torell, 
a goldsmith. Her statue was modelled in wax ; and there is an entry 
or bringing seven hundred and twenty-six pounds from the house oZ 
Torell. This enables us to account for the resemblance that exists 
betwixt the queen's effigy in Westminster Abbey and the countenance 



296 Burghley House and the Lord of Burghley, 

as exhibited in this cross and that of Northampton. The features of 
all these figures are precisely the same. They bear indisputable marks 
of coming from the same chisel. Thi? remarkable resemblance was 
evidently the result of all of them being sculptured by the same artist. 

" Three of these crosses still remain. Those at Northampton and 
Waltham are included in the Expense Rolls. The one at Geddington 
is not mentioned ; this is still in excellent presei*vation. As a work of 
ait it is, however, unequal to the two others, though in itself admi- 
rable in design and workmanship. It was evidently the work of a diffe- 
rent artist. The diapered pattern running up the shaft is singularly 
elegant. We must accept all of them, however, as the most faithful 
copies of the copper-gilt effigies at Westminster that could be executed. 
The placid expression that is stamped on the queen's countenance could 
have been no imaginary creation ; and in looking upon it we may believe 
we have before us as faithful a resemblance of this illustrious lady as it 
was possible to produce at the period. These monuments must always 
be regarded as the most beautiful specimens of British sculpture we 
possess. For refinement and serenity, for the feeling of majesty and 
repose they exhibit, they can scarcely be surpassed. Unquestionably, 
they are the faithful reflections of Eleanor herself. 

" It would be difficult to conceive more suitable memorials than these 
to testify the feeling of regret that has pei-vaded all England under the 
recent loss it has sustained in the death of its most illustrious Prince. 
Those who come after us would gaze upon them as we do, but with 
still higher associations and deeper sentiments of admiration ; because, 
whilst the Crosses of Eleanor call merely to remembrance her domestic 
graces, a monument to Prince Albert would be a memorial to declare 
to posterity how cherished has he ever been in his adopted country, and 
how sincerdy beloved for his spotless character and his public virtue." 



Burghley House and the Lord of Burghley. 

The precise locality of this fine old manorial domain is upon the 
northern or Lincolnshire border of the county of Northampton, at 
about a mile and a-half south-east of the river Welland, which here 
forms the boundary between the two counties. 

Northamptonshire contains nearly 1^,0 scats, many of them in pic- 
tures<]ue parks or grounds, and interesting for their architectural beauty 
and historical associations. But the most impoitant "proper house 



Bicrghley House and the Lord of Btlrghley, ^97 

and home" in the county, either as regards extent or architectural 
character, is Burghley House, either built or greatly improved by the 
Lord High Treasurer Burghley, the manor having been purchased by 
his father, Richard Cecil, into whose possession, however, by another 
statement, it came through his wife, Jane Heckington ; and the Lord 
Treasurer writes in 1585 : " My house of Burghley is of my mother's 
inheritance, who liveth, and is the owner thereof, and I but a farmer." 
A vulgar error was prevalent at one time, that the manor-house was erected 
wholly or in part, at the expense of Queen Elizabeth. On the death of 
the Lord Treasurer, in 1598, the manor devolved upon his eldest son, 
Thomas, the second Lord Burghley, who was made a Knight of the 
Garter by Elizabeth, and elevated two steps in the peerage by James L, 
with the title of Earl of Exeter. James L, on his journey from 
Scotland, in 1603, to ascend the throne of England, came to Burghley 
on the 23rd of April, and passed Easter Sunday there. The 
youngest son of the Treasurer, the celebrated Minister, Sir Robert 
Cecil, was created Earl of Salisbury by James the same day that his 
eldest brother was made Earl of Exeter ; but he being created in the 
morning, and so before Lord Exeter, the descendants of the younger 
branch of the family had right of precedence over the elder. 

The entrance-lodge and screen to this noble domain were built in 
1801, at an expense of 5000/. Thorpe was the architect of Burghley. 
Cecil took upon himself to obtain some of the materials from Flanders, 
in which he was assisted by Sir Thomas Gresham. The dates on the 
building show Cecil's share. Shortly after his promotion to the peer- 
age, he wrote to a friend: " My stile is Lord oi Burghley, if you mean 
to know it for wrytyng, and if you list to wryte truly : the poorest lord 
in England !" Burghley is a magnificent exemplar of the architecture of 
the reign of Elizabeth and James I. It is built of freestone, in the 
form of a parallelogram ; the chimneys are Doric pillars, connected al 
top by a frieze and cornice ; surrounded by ugly piles of buildings, 
from which on the east side, the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian 
orders rise one above another, with large niches on each side. Above 
the Corinthian order, the uppermost of the three, are two large stone 
lions rampant, supporting the family arms. The spire of the Chapel 
rises from hence. The pillars on the opposite, or western end, are 
plain Doric ; the windows on the north and south, pure modem Gothic. 
On each side is a gateway with an elliptical arch. The turrets, cupolas, 
and spires, at a distance, give the mansion the appearance of a town 
Another beautiful feature is the fine architectural gardens. We de- 
light in its wide and level terraces, decorated with rich stone l>alu»- 



29^ Btirghley House and the Lord of Burghley, 

trades, and these again with vases and statues, and connected by broad 
flights of stone steps — its clipped evergreen hedges — its embowered 
alleys — its formal, yet intricate parterres, full of curious knots of 
flowers — its lively and musical fountains — its steep slopes of velvet turf 
—its trim bowling-green — and the labyrinth and wilderness, which' 
form an appropriate termination, and connect it with the ruder scenery 
without. 

Burghley has a magnificent interior, containing 145 rooms. The 
lofty Hall has an open oak roof and carved pendants. At the south 
end, beneath a very fine armorial window, is a buffet of gold plate, some 
of which was presented to the family by King James, Queen Anne, 
and George I. At the north end is the Music Gallery, for 50 
performers. The Chapel has some splendid carving by Gibbons, and a 
fretwork ceiling ; arranged on each side are ten antique life-sized 
figures in bronze. It is related that Queen Elizabeth, when a visitor at 
Burghley, regularly attended divine service in this chapel, and it was her 
custom to place herself on the left side, nearest the altar, which has ever 
since been distinguished as " Queen Elizabeth's Seat." Queen Victoria 
and the Prince Consort, when they visited the Marquis of Exeter, in 
the autumn of 1844, also performed their morning devotions in the 
Chapel. The Grand Staircase, with its vaulted roof and decorated 
archways, is very curious. Burghley is sumptuously furnished with 
State Beds : one of the most superb is Queen Elizabeth's, which has 
hangings of green velvet on a ground of gold tissue, and a set of chairs 
to correspond. The room is hung with tapestry of Actaeon and Diana, 
Bacchus, Ariadne, and Acis and Galataea. In the Black Chamber is 
an old bed of black satin, superbly embroidered with flowers, and lined 
with gold-colour. The room is hung with fine old tapestry, has a 
carved chimney-piece by Gibbons, and a window of armorial glass. 
The State Dressing-room has a coved ceiling, decorated by Verrio, 
and is hung with tapestry. The New State Bedchamber has a 
state bed, said to be the most superb in Europe, with hangings of 
250 yards of velvet and 900 yards of satin ; and a mythological ceiling 
by Verrio. The Jewel Chamber is of cedar, oak, and walnut. In the 
Dining-room are two silver cisterns, one weighing 3400, and the other 
656 ounces, besides some superb coronation plate. The Kitchen is one 
of the curiosities of the mansion : it is very lofty, and has a groined 
ceiling, of earlier style even than the mansion built by the great Lord 
Burghley ; at one end is a large painting of a carcase of beef, as the true 
ensign armorial of English hospitality. Burghley has a very fine collec« 
tion of paintings by old masters. Among the family pictures is a 



Burghley House and the Lord of Burghlcy. 2c^(^ 

large work by Lawrence, and known in the collection as " The 
Cottager's Daughter," containing three portraits — the Earl of Exeter, the 
Countess Sarah, and Lady Sophia. When the Earl was a minor, Mr. 
Henry Cecil, he married the beautiful Emma Vernon ; he lost his 
money by gambling ; and he got rid of his wife, after fifteen years of 
wedlock, by a divorce, in 1791. After the separation, the Earl, his 
uncle, advised him to retire into the country for some time, and pass as 
a private gentleman. Mr. Cecil accordingly fixed his residence at 
Bolas, in a remote part of Shropshire, at a small inn, where for some 
months he assumed the name of Jones. He took a dislike to the situa- 
tion, and sought out a farmhouse, where he might board and lodge. 
Some families refused to receive him ; but at length, by the liberality of 
his offers, and the knowledge of his possessing money, a farmer had 
rooms fitted up for his accommodation. Here he continued to reside 
for two years; but time hanging heavy on his hands, he purchased 
some land, on which he built himself a house. The farmer (Mr. 
Hoggins,) at whose house Mr. Cecil resided, had a daughter, about 
seventeen years of age, whose rustic beauty threw into the shade all that 
he had ever beheld in the circle of fashion. Although placed in a 
humble sphere, Mr. Cecil perceived that her beauty would adorn and 
her virtue shed a lustre on the most elevated station. He thei-efore 
frankly told the farmer and his wife that he was desirous of marrying 
their daughter ; and the celebration of their nuptials was accordingly 
consummated in October, 1791. Already two children were bom, it is 
reported, of this marriage (but, if so, they must have died early,) when 
in 1793, a search after the hidden heir of the then dying Earl of Exeter, 
resulted in the discovery at Bolas. The Earl died, his nephew suc- 
ceeded, and his wife accompanied him to Burghley, unconscious of her 
being a Countess. Mr. Cecil (now Earl of Exeter), taking his wife 
with him, set out on his journey, and called at the seats of several 
noblemen, at which places, to the great astonishment of his wife (now, 
of course, a Countess), they were welcomed in the most friendly 
manner. At length they airived at Burghley, where they were received 
with acclamations. As soon as he had settled his affairs, the Earl of 
Exeter returned into Shropshire, discovered his rank to his wife's 
father and mother, placed them in the house he had built there, and 
settled on them an income of 700/. per annum. He afterwards took 
his Countess with him to London, and introduced her to his family 
connexions, by whom she was respected, admired, adored, until it 
pleased the great Disposer of Events to call the spiritto a life of more 
lasting happiness. 



30O Bitrghley House and the Lord of Burghley, 

Upon the above most interesMng subject Mr. Alfred Tennyson, 
Poet-Laureate (a son of the Rev. Dr. Tennyson, rector of Somersby, 
i^incolnshire), has produced the following beautiful ballad-form com- 
position: — 

THE LORD OF BURGHLEY. 

" In her ear he whispers gaily 

' If my heart by signs can tell, 
Maiden, I have watched thee daily, 

And I think thou know'st me welL* 
She replies in accents fainter, 

' There is none I love like thee.' 
He is but a landscape painter,* 

And a village maiden she : 
He to lips that fondly falter, 

Presses his without reproof ; 
Leads her to the village altar, 

And they leave their father's roof, 

• I can make no marriage present, 

Little can I givo my wife, 
Love will make our cottage pleasant. 

And I love thee more than life.' 
Then by park and lodges going, 

See the lordly castles stand ; 
Summer woods about them blowing, 

Made a murmur in the land. 
From deep thought himself he rouses, 

Says to her that loves hint well, 

• Let us see these handsome houses. 

Where the wealthy nobles dwell.' 
So she goes by him attended, 

Hears him lovingly converse. 
Sees whatever fair and splendid 

Lay betwixt his home and hers ; 
Parks with oak and chestnut shady. 

Parks and order'd gardens great. 
Ancient homes of lord and lady, 

Built for pleasure and for state. 
All he shows her makes him dearer, 

Evermore she seems to gaze 
On that cottage growing nearer, 

Where the twain will spend their days. 
O but she will love him truly ! 

He shall have a cheerful home ; 
She will order all things duly, 

When beneath his roof they come." 

They came to a majestic mansion, where the domestics bowed before 
the young lover, whose wife then, for the first time, discovered his rank, 

" All at once the colour flushes 

Her sweet face from brow to chin ; 
As it were with shame she blushes. 

And her spirit changed within. 



This is poetical license. 



Burghky House and the Lord of Biirghky, 301 

Then her countenance all over 

Pale again as death did prove ; 
But he clasped her like a lover, 

And he cheered her soul with love. 
So she strove against her weakness, 

Though at times her spirit sank, 
Shaped her heart with woman's meekness 

To all duties of her rank. 
And a gentle consort made he, 

AnJ her gentle mind was such, 
That she grew a noble lady, 

And the people loved her much. 
But a trouble weighed upon her, 

And perplexed her night and morn. 
With the burden of an honour 

Unto which she was not born. 
Faint she grew and ever fainter, 

As she murmured, ' Oh that he 
Were once more that landscape-painter, 

Which did win my heart from me !' 
So she drooped, and drooped before him. 

Fading slowly from his side, 
Three fair children first she bore him, 

Then before her time she died. 

Weeping, weeping, late and early, 

Walking up and pacing down, 
Deeply mourned the Lord of Burghley, 

Burghley House by Stamford town. 
And he came to look upon her. 

And he look'd at her and said, 
• Bring the dress and put it on her, 

That she wore when she was wed.* 
Then her people, softly treading, 

Bore to earth her body, drest 
In the dress that she was wed in, 

That her spirit might have rest." 

The Countess sui*vived for four years, and was the mother of three 
sons and a daughter, when she died in 1797, at the age of about twenty- 
four, and of something hke ennui, and a consciousness, it is said, of want 
of quahfication for the station which she occupied. Her lord was not 
an inconsolable widower. He married, for the third time, with Eliza- 
beth, daughter of Peter Burrell, sister of the first Lord Gwydyr, and 
relict of the Duke of Hamilton. The Shropshire farmer's daughter was 
a most estimable lady. Through her daughter, who married the Hon. 
Mr. Pierrepont, whose only daughter became the wife of the late Lord 
Charles Wellesley, the Shropshire blood of the stout yeoman. Hoggins, 
flows in the veins of the future Duke of Wellington. Reality, after all, 
is as wonderful as romance.— .^/^^«^kw, No. 2 181. 



302 



The Castle of Fotherlnghay. 

This celebrated seat of the House of York, on the north bank of the 
river Nen, in Northamptonshire, was formerly built by Simon de St. Liz, 
or by the second Earl of Northampton, early in the twelfth century. 
Here was born Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Oct. 2, 1452. 

Edmund of Langley, on taking possession, found Fotheringhay so much 
dilapidated as to induce him to rebuild the greater part of it, in grounds 
plan the form of a fetterlock. The fetterlock, inclosing a falcon, was 
afterwards the favourite device of the family. Whilst they were con- 
tending for the crown, the falcon was represented as endeavouring to 
expand its wings, and force open the lock. When the family had 
actually ascended the throne, the falcon was represented SiSfree, and the 
lock open. 

The Castle is most memorable as the last of the prison-houses of Mary 
Queen of Scots ; and here she closed her life of bitter suffering and 
sorrow, February 8, 1587. We quote the sad scene from Mignet's 
touching History. The unfortunate Queen having been informed 
by the Earl of Shrewsbury, that she was to die " about eight o'clock on 
the morning of the mon'ow," on the Earl retiring, she devoted her last 
hours to consoling her servant, and making her withdraw at nearly two 
o'clock in the morning when she had finished writing. Feeling some- 
what fatigued, and wishing to preserve or restore her strength for the 
final moment, she went to bed. Her women continued praying ; and, 
during the last repose of her body, though her eyes were closed it was 
nvident, from the slight motion of her lips, and a sort of rapture spread 
over her countenance, that she was addressing herself to Him on whom 
alone her hopes now rested. At daybreak, she arose, saying she had 
only two hours to live. She picked out one of her handkerchiefs with a 
fringe of gold, as a bandage for her eyes on the scaffold, and dressed her- 
self with a stern magnificence. Having assembled her servants, slie 
made Bourgoin, her physician, read over to them her will, which she 
then signed ; and afterwards gave them the letters, papers, and presents, 
of which they were to be the bearers to the princes of her family and 
her friends on the Continent. She had already distributed to them, on 
the previous evening, her rings, jewels, furniture and dresses ; and she 
now gave them the purses which she had prepared for them, and in 
which she had enclosed, in small sums, the five thousand crowns which 
Beraained over to her. With finished grace, and w^th affecting kind- 



The Castle of Fotheringhay. 303 

ncss, she mingled her consolations with her gifts, and strengthened them 
for the affliction into which her death would soon throw them. " You 
could not see," says an eye-witness, " any change, neither in her face, 
nor in her speech, nor in her general appearance ; she seemed to be 
giving orders about her affairs just as if she were merely going to change 
her residence from one house to another." 

She now retired to her oratory, where she was for some time engaged 
in reading the prayers for the dead. A loud knocking at the door 
inten-upted these funeral orisons; she bade the intruders wait a few 
minutes. 

" Shortly afterwards, eight o'clock having struck, there was a fi-esh 
knocking at the door, which this time was opened. The sheriff 
entered, with a white wand in his hand, advanced close to Mary, who 
had not yet moved her head, and pronounced these few words: 
* Madam, the lords await you, and have sent me to you.* ' Yes,* re- 
plied Mary, rising from her knees, ' let us go.' Just as she was moving 
away, Bourgoin handed to her the ivory crucifix which stood on the 
altar ; she kissed it, and ordered it to be carried before her. Not being 
able to support herself alone, on account of the weakness of her limbs, 
she walked, leaning on two of her own servants, to the extremity of her 
apartments. Having arrived at that point, they, with peculiar delicacy, 
which she felt and approved, desired not to lead her themselves to 
execution, but entrusted her to the support of two of Paulet's servants, 
and followed her in tears. On reaching the staircase, where the Earls 
of Shrewsbury and Kent awaited Mary Stuart, and by which she had 
to descend into the lower hall, at the end of which the scaffold had been 
raised, they were refused the consolation of accompanying her further. 
In spite of their supplications and lamentations they were separated from 
ner ; not without difficulty, for they threw themselves at her feet, kissed 
her hands, clung to her dress, and would not quit her. When they had 
succeeded in removing them, she resumed her course with a mild and 
noble air, the crucifix in one hand and a prayer-book in the other, 
dressed in the widow's garb, which she used to wear on days of great 
solemnity. She evinced the dignity of a queen, along with the calm 
composure of a Christian. At the foot of the staircase she met her 
maitre-d' hotel, Andrew Melvil, who had been peraiitted to take leave 
of her, and who, seeing her thus walking to her execution, fell on his 
knees, and, with his countenance bathed in tears, expressed his bitter 
affliction. Mary embraced him, thanked him for his constant fidelityj 
and enjoined him to report exactly to her son all that he knew, and all 
that he was about to witness * It \yill be,* said Melvil, * the most soi- 



304 The Castle of Foihcringhay, 

rowflil message I ever carried, to announce that the queen, my sovereig 
and dear mistress, is dead.' * Thou shouldst rather rejoice, good 
Melvil,' she replied, employing for the first time this familiar mode of 
address, * that Mary Stuart has arrived at the close of her misfortunes. 
Thou knowest that this world is only vanity, and full of troubles and 
misery. Bear these tidings, that I die firm in my religion, a true Ca- 
tholic, a true Scotchwoman, a true Frenchwoman. May God forgive 
those who have sought my death. The Judge of the secret thoughts and 
actions of men knows that I have always desired the union of Scot- 
land and England. Commend me to my son, and tell him that I have 
never done anythiiig that could prejudice the welfare of the kingdom, or 
his quality as king, nor derogated in any respect from our sovereign pre- 
rogative.' " 

The sentence was then read to her. She made a short speech, in 
which she repeated the words so frequently in her mouth, " I am queen 
born, not subject to the laws," and declared that she had never sought 
the life of her cousin Elizabeth. She then began to recite in Latin the 
Psalms of penitence and mercy, a pious exercise rudely interrupted by 
the Dean of Peterborough and the Earl of Kent. 

" Her prayer ended, she arose. The terrible moment had airived, 
and the executioner approached to assist her in removing a portion of 
her dress, but she motioned him away, saying, with a smile, that she had 
never had such valets-de-chambre. She then called Jean Kennedy and 
Elizabeth Curll, who had remained all the time on their knees at the 
foot of the scaffold, and she began to undress herself with their assis- 
tance, remarking that she was not accustomed to do so before so many 
people. The afflicted girls performed this last sad office in tears. To 
prevent the utterance of their grief, she placed her finger on their lips, 
and reminded them that she had promised in their name that they would 
show more firmness. * Instead of weeping, rejoice,* she said ; * I am 
very happy to leave this world, and in so good a cause.' She then laid 
down her cloak, and took off her veil, retaining only a petticoat of red 
taftety, flowered with velvet. Then seating herself on the chair, she gave 
her blessing to her weeping servants. The executioner having asked hei 
pardon on his knees, she told him that she pardoned everybody. She 
embraced Elizabeth Curll and Jean Kennedy, and gave them her bless- 
ing, making the sign of the cross over them : and after Jean Kennedy 
nad bandaged her eyes, she desired them to withdraw, which they dij 
weeping. At the same time she knelt down with great courage, an< 
itill holding the crucifix in her hands, stretched out her neck to thi 
executioner. She then said aloud, and with the most ardent filling of 



The Castle of Fotheringhay. 305 

confidence, * My GoJ, I have hoped in you ; I commit myself to your 
hands.' She imagined that she would have been struck in the mode 
usual in France, in an upright posture, and with the sword. The two 
masters of the works perceiving her mistake, informed her of it, and 
assisted her to lay her head on the block, which she did without ceasing 
to pray. There was a universal feeling of compassion at the sight of this 
lamentable misfortune, this heroic courage, this admirable sweetness. 
The executioner himself was moved, and aimed with an unsteady hand: 
the axe, instead of falling on the neck, struck the back of the head, and 
wounded her, yet she made no movement, nor uttered a complaint. It 
was only on repeating the blow that the executioner struck off her head, 
which he held up, saying, * God save Queen Elizabeth.' ' Thus,' 
added Dr. Fletcher, * may all her enemies perish.' " It is added, that 
when the fatal blow was struck, " her face was, for a moment, so much 
altered that few could remember her by her dead face, and her lips 
stirred up and down a quarter of an hour after her head was cut off."-^ 
(Ellis's Letters, vol. iii. p. 117.) 

During her imprisonment here. Queen Maiy wrote on a sheet of 
paper, in a large rambling hand, some verses in French, of which the 
following is a literal translation : 

" Alas ! what am I, and in v^^hat estate? 

A wretched corse, bereaved of its heart, 
An empty shadow, lost, unfortunate ; 

To die is now in life my only part. 
For, to my greatness, let your envy rest, 

In use no taste for grandeur now is found ; 
Consum'd by grief with heavy ills oppressed. 

Your wishes anOi desires will soon be crown'd. 
And you, my friend, who still have held me dear, 

Bethink you that when health and heart are fled, 

And every hope of future good is dead, 
Tis time to wish our sorrows ended here ; 

And that this punishment on earth is given. 
That my pure soul may rise to endless bliss in heaven," 

Immediately before her execution. Queen Mary repeated a Latin 
prayer, composed by herself, and which has been set to a beautiful 
plaintive air, by Dr. Harington, of Bath : it may be thus paraphrased ; 

*• In this last solemn and tremendous hour, 
My Lord, my Saviour, I invoke Thy power ! 
In these sad pangs of anguish and of death, 
Receive, O Lord, Thy suppliant's parting breath 1 
Before Thy hallowed cross, she prostrate lies, 
O hear her prayers, commiserate her sighs ! 
Extend Thy arms of mercy and of love, 
And bear her to Thy peaceful realms above." 



3o6 The Battle-field of Nasehy. 

The relics of the ill-fated Queen, her prison-houses, and memorials of 
her captivity, are very numerous. The Lauder family, of Grange and 
Fountain Hall, possess her Memento Mori watch, they having inherited 
it from their ancestors, the Setoun family. It was given by Queen 
Mary to Mary Setoun, of the house of Wintoun, one of the four Marys, 
maids of honour to the Scottish Queen. This very curious relic must 
have been intended to be placed on a prie-dieu, or small altar in a 
private oratory ; for it is too heavy to have been carried in any way 
attached to the person. The watch is of the form of a skull : on the 
forehead is the figure of Death, standing between a palace and a cottage ; 
around is this legend from Horace : " Pallida mors aquo pulsat pede 
pauperum tahernas Regumque turres," On the hind part of the skull is 
a figure of Time, with another legend from Horace : " Tempus edax 
rerum tuque invidiosa 'vetustas" The upper part of the skull bears 
representations ot Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, and of the 
Crucifixion, each with Latin legends ; and between these scenes is open- 
work, to let out the sound when the watch strikes the hours upon a 
small silver bell, which fills the hollow of the skull, and receives the 
works within it when the watch is shut. 

The Athol family possesses another interesting memorial of the un-' 
fortunate Queen in the Royal Harp, presented by her to the daughter 
of George Gardyn, after a magnificent hunt and banquet given to her 
Majesty by the Earl of Athol, in the neighbourhood of Balmoral, now 
also honoured as the abode of royalty. This harp had in front of the 
upper arm the Queen's portrait, and the anns of Scotland, both in gold. 
On the right side, in the circular space, near the upper end of the tore- 
arm, was placed a jewel of considerable value ; and on the opposite side, 
in a similar circular space, was fixed another precious stone ; of all 
which it was despoiled in the Rebellion, 1745. 



The Battle-field of Naseby. 

The village of Naseby, in the north-western portion of Northampton- 
shire, stands upon an eminence, supposed to be the highest ground in 
England ; and a field about a mile northward is celebrated in history as 
the site of the battle which determined the fate of the Royal cause, on 
the 14th of June, 1645. 

King Charles L had, a fortnight before, taken Leicester by storm, 
and marching southward by Harborough to Daventry, compelled 
Fairfax to raise the siege of Oxford, in order to oppose him. On the 



The Battle-field of Nasehy. 30/ 

approach of the Parliamentarian forces, under Fairfax and Cromwell, to 
Northampton, Charles retreated to the neighbourhood of Harborough, 
but finding his enemies close in pursuit, he determined to turn upon 
them. The battle was fought at Naseby, and each side mustered about 
8000 or 9000 men. The right wing of each army, the Royalists under 
Rupert, and the Parliamentarians under Cromwell, was victorious ; but 
while Rupert wasted his advantage by an inconsiderate pursuit, Crom- 
well decided the day by charging the Royalist centre in the flank and 
rear. The victory was decisive : the Royalists had 800 killed and 
wounded, the Parliamentarians rather more; but they took 4000 
prisoners and all the artillery, besides other spoils of the greatest im- 
portance. 

Such is the outline of this decisive and memorable conflict. In the 
autumn of 1827, Sir Richard V)\^\^% talked o'ver the battle-field, ^^xi'di 
his observations supplement the historical details, and add considerably 
to their interest. " The Parliament forces," says Sir Richard, " v/ere in 
possession of Naseby, and the Royal army advanced up the rising 
ground to attack and dislodge them. The heat of the battle was in 
the ascent towards the trees. Cromwell practised among these hills 
as Wellington did at Waterloo — he concealed his masses behind the 
acclivities ; and the assailants were surprised, and easily repulsed with 
great loss. Charles fled, and was pursued through Harborough even 
to Leicester, a distance of twenty-five miles. The women and baggage 
of his army were captured about six miles from the field ; and in re- 
taliation for a similar slaughter of parliament women in Cornwall, these 
women (the oflScers' wives, and even some ladies of rank), were in a 
merciless and atrocious manner put at once to the sword. I was shown 
the place on my way to Harborough — and we may hope that the crime 
was committed without the knowledge of superiors in the fury of the 
pursuit, perhaps by men who had lost their wives in the Cornish affair. 
It was, however, a cowardly and cruel retaliation, and disgraceful to 
the great cause for which at the time the Parliament forces were con- 
tending. 

" At Naseby, they still show the table at which the council of the 
Parliament officers deliberated before the battle ; and close to which 
rises the spring that originates the Welland. On the same hill rises 
also the famous Avon, the Nen, and the Swift, all following in different 
directions, and thereby proving that Naseby is the highest land in several 
adjoining counties. I distinguished from it Mount Son-el at thirty 
miles distance, and all the high lands within forty or fifty miles. I 
collected but one bullet on the field j but I was told that tourists and 



3o8 Hohnhy House: Seizure of Charles /. 

antiquaries have made every relic scarce. The lordship had recently 
been divided and inclosed, so that in the next generation hedges and 
trees will disguise the site of the lately open field where the battle was 
fought. An elegant pillar has been erected on the field with the follow- 
ing appropriate inscription : — 

"To COMMEMORATE THE GREAT AND DECISIVE BATTLE FOUGHT ON TINS 
FIELD, ON THE 14 JUNE, 1645, BETWEEN THE ROYALIST ARMY, COMMANDED 
BY HIS MAJESTY KiNG CHARLES I., AND THE PARLIAMENT FORCE, HEADED 

BY THE Generals Fairfax and Cromwell ; which terminated 

FATALLY FOR THE ROYAL CAUSE, AND LED TO THE SUBVERSION OF THE 
throne, the altar, and THE CONSTITUTION, AND FOR YEARS PLUNGED 
THIS NATION INTO THE HORRORS OF ANARCHY AND CIVIL WAR— LEAVING 
A USEFUL LESSON TO BRITISH KiNGS, NEVER TO EXCEED THE BOUNDS OP 
THEIR JUST PREROGATIVE — AND TO BRITISH SUBJECTS, NEVER TO SWERVE 
FROM THE ALLEGIANCE DUE TO THEIR LEGITIMATE MONARCH. " 

After King Charles had surrendered himself to the Scots, at Newark, 
and been delivered into the hands of the Parliamentary Commissioners, 
he was brought to Holmby, about six miles north-west of Northamp- 
ton, as described in the next page. 

It has been suggested that the bones of those who fell at Nascby wcie 
collected some years after the battle, and transferred to the church of 
Roth well, probably soon after the Revolution. The flower of England 
fell at Naseby ; and it is thought that the bones were gathered from the 
trenches in which the bodies were probably laid, and carried to the 
crypt, where they were piled in regular order, layers of skulls alternating 
with layers of bones. All are the bones of male adults, and belong to 
one generation, and there are said to have been originally 30,000 skulls. 
In addition to Naseby, Bosworth field, in the adjoining county, might 
have contributed its thousands. The suggestion has its probabilities, 
but the identity is involved in much doubt. 



Holmby House : Seizure of Charles I. 

Of Holdenby, or Holmby House, on a rising ground about six miles 
north-west of Northampton, there exist but the gates and some out- 
buildings. Still the site will ever be memorable as almost the closing 
scene in the unkingship of the ill-fated Charles I. The mansion was 
built by Sir Christopher Hatton, in the time of Queen Elizabeth, 
with much magnificence, in contrast with which the eventful scene we 
are about to describe presents a saddening effect. 

After the King had surrendered himself to the Scots at Newark, 



Holmhy House : Seizure of Charles I. 3^9 

through the arrangement made by the Scottish Army with the English 
Parliament, he was conducted to Holmby House, where he assumed, 
though always under the surveillance of the Commissioners of the 
Parliament, something of the sovereign state. He gave receptions to 
the country gentlemen of the neighbourhood, and accepted the homage 
rendered him by the common people ; but his chief time appears to 
have been divided between the bowling-green of Althorpe, the corre- 
spondence or conversation with his adherents, and his favourite chess- 
b<3ard. It was not long, however, that he was permitted to enjoy this 
calm. Ere a few months had passed, his confidential friends were 
dismissed, and his chaplains denied admittance. The struggle pending 
between the Army and the Parliament to decide whose captive he was 
to be, soon approached a crisis. The Army, conscious of its increasing 
power, determined to assert its authority. By means of a petition 
conveyed to the King, in which the army-leaders hinted at restoring 
him " to his honour, crown, and dignity," they had contrived to inspire 
his Majesty with some confidence in their intentions, and he fell with 
facility into the plot they had arranged for getting him into their 
hands. 

It happened then, one afternoon, when the King was playing bowls 
on the green at Althorpe, that the attention of the Commissioners who 
accompanied him was directed to a strange soldier in the uniform of 
Fairfax's regiment, who mingled in the throng of spectators and evinced 
no little curiosity as to what was passing. At length. Colonel Greaves, 
who commanded the slender garrison of Holmby, accosted the man, 
and inquired what was going on in the Army ? and, to encourage him, 
bade him not be afraid. The soldier confidently answered that he was 
'* not afi-aid of him or of any man in the kingdom," and then proceeded 
in a tone of authority to inveigh against the Parliament. There had 
run a rumour that a large body of cavalry was in the neighbourhood, 
and the Colonel asked the stranger whether he had heard of them. 
*' I have done more than hear of them," said the man, " for I saw them 
yesterday within thirty miles of Holmby." At this a whisper circu- 
lated ; the mysterious visitor was regarded with apprehension ; the 
King left his recreation ; the guards at Holmby House were doubled; 
and the Earl of Dumfermling, who was present, started off to London to 
apprise the Parliament that his Majesty was carried away against his will. 

A few hours later a squadron of fifty hoi-se, led by the suspicious 
stranger just spoken of, drew up before the house. Upon being asked 
who commanded them, they answered " All command !" Their leader, 
who proved to be one Joyce, a comet, reque&lcJ to speak with the 



3^0 Holmhy House: Seizure of Charles I. 

Commissioners, to whom he pretended that, hearing there was an 
intention to steal the King away, the Army had sent this body of 
cavahy to protect him. He was permitted to place his guards, and 
the Commissioners promised that he should shortly receive their com- 
mands. 

Late at night Joyce and the cavalry again appeared. This time the 
Cornet demanded to speak with the King. The Commissioners appear 
to have held him for some time in parley, as he afterwards complained 
that they kept him in discourse till the King was asleep. All this while 
the soldiers within were fraternizing with the new-comei-s, and instead ot 
opposing them, flung open the gates for their admittance. Joyce then 
set sentinels at the chamber-doors of the Commissionei-s, and made his 
way with two or three more to the King's sleeping-room, knocked at 
the door, and demanded admittance. The grooms of the chamber 
inquired if the Commissioners approved of this intrusion. Joyce rudely 
answered, " No," and went on to say that he had ordered a guard to be 
stationed at their bedroom doors, and that his instructions were from 
those who feared them not. The noise of this conversation awoke the 
King, who rose out of his bed and caused the door to be opened ; 
whereupon Joyce and two or three of his companions came into the 
chamber with their hats off and pistols in their hands. The Cornet 
commenced his business by an apology for disturbing his Majesty's 
sleep, but said he had imperative commands to remove him to the Army 
without delay. The King demanded that the Commissioners should be 
sent for. The soldier told him that the Commissioners had nothing 
now to do but to return back to the Parliament. The King then asked 
for a sight of the instructions the Cornet held for securing his person, 
Joyce said his commission came from " the soldiery of the Army." 
The King objected, " that is no lawful authority," and added, " I pray, 
Mr. Joyce, deal ingenuously with me, and tell me whence are your 
instructions." The Cornet, turning round and pointing to his trooper^ 
who were drawn up in the courtyard, said, " There, Sir, there are my 
instructions." Upon which the King observed, with a smile, " Well, I 
must confess they are written in very fair characters, legible enough 
without spelling. But what if I refuse to go along with you ? I trust 
you would not compel your King. You must satisfy me that I shall be 
treated with honour and respect, and that I shall not be forced in any- 
tiiing against my conscience and dignity, though I hope that my 
resolution is so constant that no force can cause me to do a base thing.** 
The Cornet again pressed his Majesty to accompany him, declaring 
that no prejudice was intended, but, on the contrary, much good. 



Holnihy House : Seizure of Charles I. 3^1 

The officers of Holmby and the Commissioners now protested loudly 
against the removal of the King, and called upon the troopers to main- 
tain the authority of Parliament, putting it to them whether they agreed 
with what Cornet Joyce had said and done. They replied with one 
voice, " All ! All !" Hearing this, Major- General Brown, who was in 
command of the ganison at Holmby with Colonel Greaves, remarked 
that he did not think there were two of the company who knew what 
had passed. . "Let all," he continued, "who are willing the King 
should stay with the Commissioners of Parliament now speak." The 
whole band exclaimed " None ! none !" Then said the Major-General, 
"I have done!" and the men replied, "We know well enough what 
we do." 

The King, after breakfast, got into his coach, and, attended by a 
few servants, was conducted by Cornet Joyce to Hinchinbrook, near 
Huntingdon, the house of Colonel Edward Montague, where he was 
entertained with great respect and satisfaction. Immediately upon this 
astounding abduction of the sovereign being known, Fairfax despatched 
Colonel Whalley with two regiments of horse to escort his Majesty 
back to Holmby ; but the King, who evidently was not without hopes 
of better treatment from the Amiy than he had of late experienced fi-om 
the Commissioners, positively refused to go back. Whalley assured 
him that he had an express command to see all things well settled again 
about his Majesty, which could not be effected but by his returning to 
Holmby. The King was obdurate, and the Colonel desisted from 
pressing further. On the following day Cromwell, Fairfax, Ireton, and 
other officers had an interview with him in the garden of Sir John Cutts, 
at Childerly. His Majesty put the question to Cromwell and Fairfax 
whether it was by their conjoint or single authority that he was brought 
fi*om Holmby, and they both disowning it, he remarked — " Unless you 
hang up Joyce, I will not believe what you say." It was soon apparent 
<^hat Cornet Joyce was safe fi'om a court martial. He offered, indeed, 
to appeal to a general rendezvous of the Army, adding, " And, if three 
or even four parts of the Army do not approve of my proceedings, I 
will be content to be hanged at the head of my regiment." " Ay," ob- 
served the King, " you must have had the countenance of some persons 
in authority, for you would never of yourself have ventured on such a 
treason." 

And thus ended the seizure of the King at Holmby, an act which 
was a mystery to his contemporaries, but which in all probability was 
the bold invention of Cromwell and Ireton, that the Army might become 
masters of the Sovereign j and which they had cleverly paved the way 



312 Catesby Hall and the Gunpowder Plot. 

for by leading the King to believe the Army leaders were willing to 
unite with him against the Presbyterian party. Cornet Joyce got the 
whole credit of the daring enterprise, Cromwell denying it was with 
his concurrence, and using such caution that the King's friends ascribed 
to him the sending of the two regiments of cavalry under Whalley for 
the immediate protection of the Monarch's person, and to lead him back 
to Holmby. 

These very interesting details of the circumstances, evidently drawn 
from the conflicting statements of Clarendon, Herbert, "The True 
and Impartial Narrative," Holmes, Whitelock, and the Parliamentary 
History, are appended to a clever picture of the sei'/^ire at Holmby, 
painted by John Gilbert, and engraved in the Illustrated London Nenjos^ 
June 15, 1861. The scene is the royal bedchamber: the King having 
raised himself up in the bed, is holding the colloquy with Joyce. 



Catesby Hall and the Gunpowder Plot. 

At Ashby St. Leger, near Daventry, remains to this day the gate- 
house of the ancient manor of the Catesby family, of whom Robert 
Catesby was the contriver of the Gunpowder Plot, and is stated to have 
inveigled, by his persuasive eloquence, several of the other twelve con- 
spirators. They are believed to have met in the room over the gateway, 
and the apartment is by the villagers of the neighbourhood called the 
** Plot Room." Of the thirteen conspirators five only were engaged in 
the plot at its commencement ; four (probably six) had at one time 
been Protestants ; some took no active part, but furnished part of the 
money ; and three Jesuits, who were privy to the design, counselled 
and encouraged the conspirators. Catesby was shot with Thomas Percy, 
by the sheriffs' officers, in attempting to escape at Holbeach, shortly 
after the discovery of the treason. 

Guido or Guy Fawkes was a soldier of fortune in the Spanish service; 
he was a native of Yorkshire, and a schoolfellow of Bishop Morton at 
York. In the Ashmolean Museum, at Oxford, are preserved the rusty 
and shattered remains of the lantern which Fawkes carried when he 
was seized. It is of iron, and a dark lantern ; the movement for inclos- 
ing the light being precisely the same as in those in use at the present 
<lay: the top, squeezed up and broken, is preserved with it, as is 
also tlie socket for the candle. The horn or glass which once filled the 
door is quite gone. On a brass plate affixed to one side of the lantern, 
the following Latin inscription is engraved in script hand : — 



Cateshy Hall afid the Gtmpoivder Plot* 3 ^ 3 

" Lateina ilia ipsa quae usus est et cum qua deprehensus Guido Faux 
in Crypta subterranea ubi domo Parliamenti difflanda operam debet. 
Ex dono Rob. Hey wood, nuper Academiae procuratoris, Apr. 4'', 1641." 
And the following is written on a piece of paper, and deposited in the 
glass case with the lantern, along with two or three prints and papers 
relating to the Powder Plot : 

" The very lantern that was taken from Guy Fawkes when he was 
about to blow up the Parliament House. It was given to the Univer- 
sity in 1 64 1, according to the inscription on it, by Robert Hey wood. 
Proctor of the University " 

It is constantly asserted by Roman Catholic writei'8 that the priests 
arad others who were executed in the reigns of James I. and Elizabeth 
were martyrs to the faith ; and the inference they would draw is, that 
the Church of England is as open to the charge of persecution as the 
Church of Rome. It is certain, however, that Elizabeth's advisers did 
not consider that they were putting men to death for religion ; whilst, on 
the other hand, the martyrs under Queen Mary were committed to the 
flames as heretics, not as traitors or offenders against the laws of the 
land. They were put to death according to the mode prescribed in 
cases of heresy ; whereas the Papists were both tried and executed for 
treason, which is an offence against the State. The only way in which 
it can be said that such persons suffered for religion is this, viz. that 
their religron led them into treason. From the year 1570 to i6oO^ 
Queen Elizabeth and the Protestant religion were constantly exposed to 
the machinations of the active partisans of the Roman See, who were 
encouraged by the Pope himself. Every Pontiff pursued the same 
course. There was a settled purpose at Rome, and indeed throughout 
the whole Romish confederacy, to dethrone Elizabeth and overturn the 
Anglican Church. Nor is it a libel on the Church of Rome to say, 
that in all these proceedings she acted on recognised principles— prin- 
ciples which had received the solemn sanction of her councils. To root 
out heresy by any means within their reach was deemed, or, at all events, 
was asserted to be, a sacred duty incumbent on all the members of the 
Church of Rome. The doctrine may be denied in the present day, 
when circumstances, we hope, do not admit of its being carried into 
practice; but, unquestionably, it was not merely believed as an article 
of faith in the days of Elizabeth, for attempts were constantly made to 
enforce the infamous bull of excommunication of Pius V., from which 
the treasons in the reigns of Elizabeth and James naturally flowed. 
James I. succeeded to the throne at a period when the eyes of Romanists 
were fastened on England as their prey. A consn'racy was in agitation 



3^4 Caiesby Hall and the Gunpowder Plot, 

before the death of Elizabeth ; and the confessions and examinations of 
the gunpowder conspirators show that a plot was partly contnved before 
James's accession. 

Catesby Hall is otherwise noted than for its association with the 
Gunpowder Plot. The house fonnerly belonged to Sir Richard Catesby, 
one of the three favourites who ruled the kingdom under Richard III., 
the others being Sir Richard Ratcliffe and Viscount Lovell, on whom 
the following humorous distich was made :— 

" The Rat, the Cat, and Lovell our Dog, 
Rule all England under the Hog;" 

alluding to the King's adoption of a boar as one of the supporters of the 
Royal arms. After the Battle of Bosworth, this Sir William Catesby 
was ^beheaded at Leicester, and his lands escheated ; but Henry VH. 
(1496) restored them to Gatesby's son George, from whom they de- 
scended, in course of time, to Sir William Catesby, who was convicted, 
during the reign of Elizabeth (1581), of harbouring Jesuits here, and 
celebrating mass. His son and successor was the above conspirator, 
Robert Catesby, who had severely suffered in the last reign for recusancy, 
and in revenge had been long engaged in endeavouring to bring about 
an invasion of England by the Spaniards. Several of the conspirators 
were recent converts to Romanism. Such was Catesby ; he had been 
engaged in Essex's insurrection, as had some of the others. Fawkes had 
but recently returned from abroad, and he appears to have been a mere 
soldier of fortune, the hired servant of the rest, who were all gentlemen 
of property. 

This plot is usually spoken of as unprecedented in its nature, but 
such is not the case: Swedish history furnishes two instances of gun- 
powder plots, real or pretended. Christian H. made such a plot the 
pretext for his barbarous executions at Stockholm in 1520 ; and in 
1533 the regency of Lubeck engaged some Germans to blow up 
Gustavus Vasa, while holding the diet, but the plan was discovered on 
the very eve of its execution," — Annals ofEn^land^ vol. ii. p. 341. 



315 



Grafton Manor. — The Widvilles or Woodvilles.— 
Elizabeth, Queen of Edward IV. 

Grafton Manor, in Northamptonshire, about five miles south-east 
of Tovvcester, near the river Tove and close to the border of 
Buckinghamshire, is one of the most historically famous of the 
ancient halls of England. It was the seat of Sir Richard de Wid- 
ville or Woodville, father of Elizabeth, Queen of Edward IV., 
and ancestress of the present Royal Family of England ; and grand- 
father, through this royal lady, of that Elizabeth who became the 
wife of Henry VII. The lordship subsequently created in honour 
of the king, and therefore usually called Grafton Regis, is named 
Grastone in Domesday book. The name is derived from Gresteiit 
Abbey, situated near the mouth of the river Seine, in Normandy, 
and founded in 1040 by Harlewin de Conteville, father of Robert, 
Earl of Moreton and step-father of William the Conqueror. William, 
Earl of Moreton, grandson of the preceding, conferred upon the 
Abbey of Grestein those possessions which through the bounty of 
the Conqueror he had inherited in Northamptonshire. In the 
hydarium of Henry II. Grestein was certified to hold in Grafton, 
which is returned under Towcester hundred, four hides of land ; 
and in the book of Knights' Fees, 24 Edward I., the Abbot of 
Grestein was returned to hold the town of Grafton of the Earl of 
Moreton, and in the ninth year of Edward II. (131 5) he is certified 
as Lord of Grafton. 

In the 28th of Edward III. (1354) Sir Michael de la Pole ob- 
tained a right of free warren in Gresthorp in Nottinghamshire, and 
in Grafton, in Northamptonshire. Thomas de la Pole dying without 
issue in 1430, the Manor of Grafton passed to William de la Pole, 
afterwards Duke of Suffolk, by whom it was alienated to Thomas 
Widville, Esq., who was in possession in the thirteenth year of the 
reign of Henry. 

Although lords of the manor only in the reign of Henry VI., the 
family of Widville may be traced back to the twelfth century. In the 
reign of Henry II., WiUiam de Widville held lands in Grafton and 
left them to a line of successors. And the family continued gradually 
to rise in the scale of local importance. John de Wydeville was 
returned from the county of Northamptonshire as holding land^ 
and summoned to perform military service in person, with horse and 



31^ Graf ton Manor, 

arms, in parts beyond the seas, in the twenty-fifth year of Edward I. 
His grandson Richard, one of the most influential men in the 
county, filled the office of high sheriff of the county no less than 
eight times in the reign of Edward III., and was one of its repre- 
sentatives in seven parliaments. The same county honours were 
almost as frequently conferred on his son, John Widvill, and grand- 
son, Thomas Widville, who became lord of Grafton, where his 
ancestors had been seated as tenants nearly three centuries. He 
was succeeded by his brother Richard, and he, in turn, was suc- 
ceeded by his son, who also bore the name of Richard. 

This Richard de Widevill (for the name is spelled in almost 
every conceivable fashion) was retained in the seventh year of 
Henry VI. to serve the king, in his wars of P>ance and Normandy, 
with one hundred men-at-arms and three hundred archers. He 
was appointed Governor of the Tower, and knighted at Leicester, 
and he figures in the first part of Shakspeare's Henry VI. as 
'*• Woodville, Lieutenant of the Tower." He afterwards went again 
to France, and fought gallantly under Talbot and Bedford. John, 
Duke of Bedfordshire, uncle of the king, died, and Wideville pro- 
posed for his widow, Jacqueline of Luxemburg, daughter of Pierre, 
Count de St. Pol and Brienne, and wedded her with so much 
promptitude that he could not wait for the necessary permission of 
his sovereign. For this precipitation he was mulcted in the fine 
of I coo/. ; but he received the livery of his lady's castles, manors, 
and lands, and was soon restored to the favour of his king. In 
1448 Henry VI. created him Baron Rivers " for his valour, integrity, 
and great services." He was further rewarded by territorial grants 
from the crown, was created a Knight of the Garter and made 
Seneschal of Aquitaine. Shortly afterwards, however, his politics 
underwent a sudden change. When his daughter Elizabeth was 
married to King Edward IV., in 1464 — of which more presently — 
the earl abjured his Lancastrian predilections, became a zealous 
Yorkist, and soon achieved the highest honours and the most re- 
munerative offices which it was in the power of the House of York, 
as represented by his son-in-law Edward IV., to confer. In 1466 he 
was appointed Treasurer of the Exchequer and created Earl Rivers. 
In the following year he was constituted Constable of England for life, 
with reversion to his son Anthony, Lord Scales, and was also made 
Treasurer of England. In 1469, the northern insurrection, under 
Neville and Conyers, broke out, which led to the battle of Edgcote. 
No sooner had victory been declared for the Lancastrians, than a 



Grafton Manor, 317 

party was despatdicd to secure Earl Rivers. Whether he was 
taken in the Forest of Dean or suddenly seized at Grafton, is un- 
certain ; but it is ascertained that both he and his son, Sir John 
Widevill, were brought to Northampton and there beheaded with- 
out trial, by order of Sir John Conyers. 

Richard, Lord Rivers, was succeeded by his son, Anthony Wid- 
ville. Lord Scales and second Earl Rivers, who in the beginning of 
the reign of Edward IV. marched into the north with the king, against 
the Lancastrians, and was one of the commanders at the siege of Aln- 
wick Castle. He derived his title, Lord Scales of Newselles, in right 
of his wife, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Thomas Lord Scales. 

The history of this Lord Scales is one of romantic interest. A 
short time before the coronation of his sister, as Queen of Edward 
IV., while returning from high mass in the chapel of the Palace of 
Richmond, he was surrounded by the ladies of the court, " who 
placed a gold collar above his right knee, with a flower of souvenance, 
composed of jewels, which he understood to be intended as the 
prize of some chivalrous exploit. In consequence, he challenged 
the Count de la Roche, commonly called the Bastard of Burgundy." 
But this encounter, as well as the previous career of Sir Anthony, 
are so well told by Horace Walpole, in his " Royal and Noble 
Authors," that we are constrained to take advantage of his account: — 

" There flourished," says Walpole, " at the same time as the Earl 
of Worcester, a noble gentleman, by no means inferior to him in 
learning and politeness ; in birth his equal ; by alliance his 
superior ; greater in feats of arms, and in pilgrimages more abun- 
dant. This was Anthony Widevill, Earl Rivers, Lord Scales, and 
Newsells, Lord of the Isle of Wight ; Defenseur and Directeur of 
the Causes Apostolique for our Holy Father, the Pope, in thir 
realm of England, and uncle and governor to my lord, Prince of 
Wales. 

" He was son of Sir Richard Widville, by Jacqueline of Luxem- 
burg . . . and brother of the fair Lady Gray, who captivated 
that monarch of pleasure, Edward IV. . . . The credit of his 
sister, the countenance and example of his prince, the boister- 
ousness of the times, nothing softened, nothing roughened the 
mind of this amiable lord, who was as gallant as his luxurious 
brother-in-law, without his weaknesses ; as brave as the heroes o^ 
either Rose, without their savageness ; studious in the intervals of 
business ... In short. Lord Anthony was as Sir Thomas More 
says, * Vir^ hand facile discernas^ mamive aut consilio prompt ior,^ 



3 1 8 Grafton Manor. 

... He attended the king into Holland on the change of the 
scene, returned with him and had a great share in his victories, 
and was constituted Governor of Calais and Captain-General of all 
the king's forces, sea and land. ... On Prince Edward being 
created Prince of Wales, he was appointed his governor, and had 
a grant of the office of Chief Butler of England ; and was even 
on the point of attaining the high honour of espousing the 
Scottish princess, sister of King James the Third. . . . 

" A remarkable event of this earl's life was a personal victory he 
gained in a tournament, over Anthony Count de la Roche, called 
the Bastard of Burgundy, natural son of Duke Philip the Good. 
This illustrious encounter was performed in a solemn and most 
magnificent tilt, held for that purpose at Smithfield. Our earl 
was the challenger ... At these jousts the Earl of Worcester 
presided as Lord High Constable, and attested the queen's giving 
the Flower of Souvenatice to the Lord Scales, as a charge to 
undertake the enterprise, and his delivery of it, that he might carry 
it over to be touched by the Bastard, in token of his accepting the 
challenge. ... On the Wednesday after the feast of the Re- 
surrection, the Bastard, attended by 400 knights, squires, and 
heralds, landed at Gravesend, and at Blackwall he was met by 
the Lord High Constable, with seven barges and a galley full of 
attendants, richly covered with cloth of gold and arras. The king 
proceeded to London ; in Fleet Street the champions solemnly 
met in his presence ; and the palaces of the Bishops of Salisbury 
and Ely were appointed to lodge these brave sons of Holy Church, 
as St. Paul's Cathedral was for holding a chapter for the solution 
of certain doubts upon the articles of combat. The timber and 
workmanship of the lists cost above 200 marks. The pavilions, 
trappings, &c., were sumptuous in proportion. Yet, however 
weighty the expense, the queen could not but think it well 
bestowed, when she had the satisfaction of beholding her brother 
victorious in so sturdy an encounter ; the spike in the front of the 
Lord Scales's horse, having run into the nostril of the Bastard's 
horse, so that he reared on end and threw his rider to the ground. 
The generous conqueror disdained the advantage, and would have 
renewed the combat, but the Bastard refused to fight any more on 
horseback. The next day they fought on foot, when Widville 
again prevailing, and the sport waxing warm, the king gave th« 
signal to part them." 

On the 9th April, 1483, King Edward IV, died, and this melan- 



Grafton Manor, 3 1 9 

choly event was the first of a series of fatal calamities that befel the 
Widvilles. When the death occurred the young Prince of Wales 
was at Ludlow Castle, in Shropshire ; and the queen-mother being 
anxious for his immediate coronation, directed her brother, Earl 
Rivers, to repair to him without loss of time, to escort him to 
London. On the 30th April, Earl Rivers, in the execution of this 
command, arrived with his royal charge, the young prince, at 
Northampton, where he was met by the Duke of Gloucester (after- 
wards Richard III.), whom the late king, unsuspicious of his hypo- 
critical and ambitious designs, had recommended to the regency. 
Before taking up his quarters in Northampton, Rivers sent the 
young king forward, under the charge of his half-brother, Lord 
Richard Grey, to Stony Stratford, for the night, intending to be 
with them in the morning before they started. The following inci- 
dent is narrated with such admirable spirit by Miss Strickland, 
that pleasing and laborious historical writer, that we need not 
apologise for incorporating it in our sketch : — 

" Lord Rivers entered Northampton, and found it swarming with 
the Duke of Gloucester's northern cavalry, besides nine hundred 
retainers of Buckingham, each wearing the well-known badge of 
the Stafford Knot. There were three inns in Northampton market- 
place. Joining each other, Gloucester and Buckingham had just 
taken up their quarters at two — the inns situated at each extremity 
— leaving the middle one vacant, like an empty trap, set for the 
nonce, in which Rivers secured his lodging for that night. Imme- 
diately afterwards his brother-in-law, Buckingham, visited him in 
his quarters, entering with open arms, and exclaiming, ' Well met, 
good brother Scales !' And, moreover, he wept I 

" The fraternal embracings between Rivers and the husband of 
his sister Katherine were scarcely over, when Gloucester entered 
from the other inn. His greeting was as hearty : * Welcome, good 
cousin, out of Wales !' and then followed some moralising congra- 
tulations, in Gloucester's peculiar style, on the happiness he felt at 
the peace and goodwill which pervaded the times and people in 
general. Rivers was utterly deceived by the apparent frankness 
and condescension of these great princes of the blood, whom he 
expected to find rudely repulsive. 

" Gloucester invited Rivers to supper at his quarters. After the 
revel the cups passed quickly and merrily, and assumed the sem- 
blance of a revel in the old military times of Edward IV. Ever as 
the cup was pushed to Gloucester, he pledged Rivers, saying, / 1 



3 2d Grafton Manor, 

drink to you, good cox." The two dukes kept their wits in working 
order ; but Rivers was so overcome that at the end of the revel he 
was led to his inn between both his boon companions. The dukes 
left him in his bedroom, wishing him many and affectionate good- 
nights. There is no doubt but they had extracted information 
from him sufficient to guide their manoeuvres for the morrow- 
Certainly, the conduct of Rivers, considering the charge he had, 
was inexcusable. The moment Rivers was asleep, the two dukes 
called for the keys of his inn, locked the gates, and appointing 
sentinels, forbade any one to enter or depart. The rest of the night 
was spent by them in arrangements of military strategy. They 
stationed at certain intervals men-at-arms, forming a lane. Many 
country people remembered, for many years, how the troopers 
blocked up the highway to Northampton, and turned them back 
from market. The two dukes were early as any one on the road 
to Stony Stratford. They were there joined by a third person, 
who, notorious carouser as he was, had certainly kept back from 
the orgie of the preceding night. This third, making up their tri- 
umvirate, had hitherto worked successfully for their plans. He 
and Rivers were most deadly enemies. He came to enjoy the over- 
throw of the man he hated, and to take official charge of his young 
royal master. The third person in the plot was Lord Hastings, the 
King's Lord Chamberlain. While the cavalcade was approaching 
Northampton, the servants of Lord Rivers began to stir for the 
morning, and found that the inn was locked, and all within were 
prisoners closely guarded. They woke their master — whose sleep 
was heavy after his revel — by coming to his bedside with exclama- 
tions of alarm, telling him * the dukes had gone their way, and, 
taking the keys of the inn, had left him prisoner.' So completely 
was Rivers deceived that he supposed his princely boon com- 
panions were playing out a jest, and had taken this method of 
ensuring their earlier arrival at Stony Stratford. 

" By the time he was dressed, Gloucester and Buckingham re- 
turned. They were desirous of acting out their parts as speedily 
as possible, and therefore admitted Rivers to their presence. 
* Brother,' exclaimed he, merrily, to Buckingham, * is this how you 
serve me ?' The reply was in a different tone. Indeed, according 
to the simple rhyming chronicle, Buckingham, 

•• Stem In evil sadness. 
Cried, • I arrest thee, traitor, for thy badness.' •• 



Grafton Manor, 321 

" * Arrest !* said Rivers. * Why ! Where is your commission ? 
Buckingham instantly flashed out his sword, and all his party did 
the same. Oppressed by numbers, Rivers surrendered himself 
without further resistance, and was forthwith put under guard in a 
separate chamber from the prisoners previously seized at Stony 
Stratford. 

" In their early excursion to this town on the same morning, 
Gloucester and Buckingham had arrived just as the boy-king and 
his company were ^ ready to leape on horsebacke.' " 

Approaching their young sovereign on their knees, and with 
every external mark of respect, they charged the Marquis of Dorset 
and Lord Richard Grey, the king's half-brothers, with compassing to 
rule the nation, and setting up variances against the nobility. They 
arrested Grey and Vaughan in the king's presence, and replaced 
the royal servants with their own dependants ; " at which dealing 
the king wept, and was nothing content, but it booted not." 

Gloucester afterwards marched his prisoners into Yorkshire to 
Pontefract. Here, on the 24th of June, two days only after he had 
thrown off the mask and usurped the throne, Gloucester commanded 
Sir Richard Radcliffe to bring " Rivers, Grey, and Vaughan out of 
the castle, to a scaffold, proclaiming them traitors, and not per- 
mitting them to speak, lest they should excite the pity of the 
spectators, ordered them to be decapitated without process or 

judgment " — 

" Rivers, Vaughan, and Grey, 
Ere this lie shorter by the head at Pomfret." 

Rivers was succeeded by his youngest brother, Richard. This 
nobleman, the last of the male line, died unmarried in 1491. Upon 
his decease the barony and earldom of Rivers became extinct. 

We have now to return to Ehzabeth Widville, or Woodville, 
daughter of Richard, the first Earl Rivers, and to sketch the main 
incidents of her most melancholy and tragic life. 

This lady, who became Queen of England, and was the first 
British female, subsequent to the Norman Conquest, who shared 
the throne of her sovereign, was eldest daughter of Richard, Earl 
Rivers, and was most probably born at Grafton. About the latter 
statement there is a slight haze of uncertainty. Fuller says — " Sure 
I am if this Grafton saw her not first as a child, it beheld her first 
a queen, when married to King Edward IV." Her first husband 
was Sir John Grey, of Groby, and at this mansion, in Leicester- 
shire, she passed the few and only happy years of her wretched and 



322 Grafton Manor. 

unsettled life. But Sir John having been slain in the second battle 
of St. Albans, fighting on the side of the House "of Lancaster, his 
estate was confiscated by the dominant party, represented by 
Edward IV., and Lady Grey and her children went to live with her 
father, Sir Richard Woodville, at his seat of Grafton in North- 
amptonshire. And it was here the romantic incident occurred 
which made her Queen of England. 

"The King," says Hume, "came accidentally to the house after 
a hunting party, in order to pay a visit to the Duchess of Bedford ; 
and as the occasion seemed favourable for obtaining some grace 
from this gallant monarch, the young widow flung herself at his 
feet, and with many tears entreated him to take pity on her im- 
poverished and distressed children. The sight of so much beauty 
in affliction strongly affected the amorous Edward ; love stole 
insensibly into his heart under the guise of compassion, and her 
sorrow, so becoming a virtuous matron, made his esteem and regard 
quickly correspond to his affection. He raised her from the ground 
with assurances of favour, he found his passion increase every 
moment by the conversation of the amiable object, and he was soon 
reduced in his turn to the posture and style of a suppliant at the 
feet of Elizabeth. But the lady, either averse to dishonourable love 
from a sense of duty, or perceiving that the impression which she 
had made was so deep as to give her hopes of obtaining the high- 
est elevation, obstinately refused to gratify his passion ; and all the 
endearments, caresses, and importunities of the young lovable 
Edward, proved fruitless against her rigid and inflexible virtue. His 
passion, irritated by opposition, and increased by his veneration 
for such honourable sentiments, carried him at last beyond all 
bounds of reason, and he offered to share his throne, as well as his 
heart, with the woman whose beauty of person and dignity of 
character seemed so well to entitle her to both. The marriage was 
privately celebrated at Grafton, in 1464. The secret was carefully 
kept for some time ; no one suspected that so libertine a prince 
could sacrifice so much to a romantic passion ; and there were in 
particular strong reasons which at that time rendered the step in 
the highest degree dangerous and imprudent." 

Local tradition, however, seems to prove that in a number of minor 
details of this romantic transaction Hume's account is inexact 
According to Holinshcd and other chroniclers the first interview of 
this noble pair took place at Grafton House, where Edward repaired 
after the chase to visit tlie Duchess of Bedford and Lord Rivers. 



Grafton Manor, 323 

But this is scarcely consistent with probability, as the family of the 
king and that of Rivers belonged respectively to the rival houses 
of York and Lancaster, and the king was unlikely either to ask 01 
confer a favour on one who in many a battle-field had proved him- 
self a formidable enemy. The popular tradition of the neighbour- 
hood is that the young and lovely widow sought the young monarch 
in the forest for the purpose of petitioning for the restoration of her 
husband's lands to her and her impoverished children, and met 
him under the tree still known by the name of the Queen's Oak, 
which stands in the direct line of communication from Grafton to 
the forest, and even at the present day rears its hollow trunk and 
branching arms in a hedgerow between Pury and Grafton Parks. 
Ignorant of the king's person she inquired of the young stranger if 
he could direct her to him, when he told her he himself was the 
object of her search. She threw herself at his feet, and implored 
his compassion. He raised her from the ground with assurances 
of favour, and, captivated with her appearance and manner, accom- 
panied her home, and in his turn became a suitor for favours she 
refused to grant at the price of her honour. Finding her virtue 
, inflexible, he yielded to the force of passion, and came from Stony 
Stratford to Grafton early in the morning of the 1st of May, 1464, 
and was privately married there by a priest, no one being present 
except the boy who served at mass, the Duchess of Bedford — the 
bride's mother-in-law— and two of her gentlewomen. In a few hours 
he returned to Stratford, and retired to his chamber, as if he had 
been hunting, and fatigued with the exercise. A short time after- 
wards he invited himself to spend a few days with Lord Rivers at 
Grafton, and was splendidly entertained there for four days ; but 
the marriage was kept a profound secret. 

Edward was only twenty-two years of age when he formed this 
impolitic and imprudent connexion, and at first had not the resolu- 
tion to brave the burst of dissatisfaction to which, he foresaw, it 
would give rise among all classes of his subjects ; but weary of con- 
straint, he publicly avowed his marriage on Michaelmas following, 
when Elizabeth, being led by the Duke of Clarence in solemn pomp 
to the chapel of the Abbey of Reading, in Berkshire, was declared 
queen, and received the congratulations of the nobility. In Decem- 
ber the king held a great council at Westminster, and with the 
assent of the Lords, assigned to the queen lands and lordships to 
the value of 4000 marks (2666/.), and directed that she should live 
with her family at the king's expense. 

Y 2 



324 Grafton Manor. 

Preparatory to the coronation of the queen, the king, holding his 
court in the Tower, on Ascension Day, 1465, created thirty-eight 
knights, amongst whom were six noblemen and Richard and John 
Widville, two of the queen's brothers. On the morrow the mayor, 
aldermen, and citizens of London went to meet the queen at 
Shooter's Hill, and conducted her through Southwark and Gras- 
churche (now Gracechurch Street), to the king at the Tower, where 
the coronation took place with all due pomp and ceremony. 

Meantime Edward's marriage with Lady Elizabeth Grey, the 
sudden elevation of the Woodville family, and the royal honours which 
the king sowed broadcast among the members of that family, excited 
the envy and aroused the alarm and distrust of the old English 
nobility. Before Edward had seen Lady Elizabeth he had been 
looking with an eye of favour on Bona of Savoy— sister of the queen 
of France— who he hoped would, by her marriage, ensure him the 
favour of that power. To further his views in this direction he had 
despatched the great Earl of Warwick to Paris, where the Princess 
Bona then resided. The English earl asked Bona in marriage for 
the king ; the offer was accepted. A treaty or contract was drawn 
up, and nothing was wanting but the ratification of the terms agreed 
on and the bringing over of the princess to England. The secret 
of Edward's marriage to Lady Grey then became known : Warwick 
felt chagrined. It seemed as if he had been sent to France on a 
fool's errand. He returned to England inflamed with rage and in- 
dignation. The fiery earl might have been soothed and conciliated 
had King Edward explained, excused himself, or apologised for his 
conduct. The king did not condescend to do so. 

The influence of the queen with Edward does not seem to have 
in any degree waned after she was established on the throne, and 
began to share with her royal lord the administration of afi"airs. 
She does not appear to have used her influence very wisely. She 
was solicitous to gain from the king every grace and favour, every 
office of profit and post of honour for her own friends and kindred, 
to the exclusion of the nobility, and especially of the Earl of 
Warwick — whom she regarded as her mortal enemy — and his clients. 
Under these conditions the Woodvilles arrived at the summit of 
wealth, rank, and honour in this country — but at the same time, 
the pit into which they were eventually to fall was being dug wide 
and deep. 

The disaffection of the barons at length assumed the form of 
insurrection, and amonjj their ^st victims were the father and the 



Grafton Manor. 32$ 

brother of the queen, who, as we have shown, were executed, or 
rather murdered, at Northampton, in 1469. Troubles, sorrows, and 
agonising bereavements now came in an overwhelming tide upon 
the unhappy queen of Edward. After a disturbed reign, during 
which he had to seek refuge in a foreign country, to struggle back 
to the throne again only through the blood of his people, king 
Edward died in 1483. And now the queen had to suffer the cruel- 
lest afflictions which, as a sister and a mother, it was possible for 
her to undergo. Her brother. Earl Rivers, while conveying the 
young king to London, was, as has been shown, arrested and be- 
headed, together with Sir Richard Grey, the queen's son by her 
former husband. Edward V., the son in whom her hopes were 
centered, was now a prisoner in the hands of her mortal enemy, the 
Duke of Gloucester. But it was indispensable to his plans that 
Gloucester should have the Duke of York, the queen's younger 
son, in his keeping, as well as the heir to the throne. Measures 
were accordingly taken to prevail on the queen to part with her 
younger boy. The queen fled into the sanctuary of Westminster, 
with the five princesses and the Duke of York ; but even here force 
was brought to bear upon her to compel her to part with her son. 
Cardinal Bourchier and the Archbishop of York, instigated by the 
bloodthirsty and hypocritical Gloucester — in whose ^;^f?<7^^ intentions, 
however, they are said to have firmly believed — brought all their 
persuasive powers to bear upon the queen to induce her to give up 
the young prince. She long continued obstinate, but, finding that 
she had no supporters, and that her enemies were prepared to em- 
ploy force should persuasion fail, she at last yielded. She brought 
forward her boy to the churchmen, but it was with the gloomiest 
forebodings as to his fate. Turning to the priests she said : — 
" One thing I beseech you, for the trust that his father put you in 
ever, and for the trust that I put you in now, that as far as you 
think that I fear too much, ye be well aware that ye fear not as far 
too little." Then with a pathos that is not surpassed in any inci- 
dent of our history, and which has been reproduced by Chaucer in 
the most tender of the Canterbury tales, she took leave of her little 
one. " Farewell, my own sweet son," she said, " God send you 
good keeping ! Let me once kiss you ere you go, for God knoweth 
when we shall kiss together again." Then she kissed him and 
blessed him, and turned her back and wept, going her way, leaving 
the poor young child weeping as fast as she herself. 



326 Grafton Manor. 

She never saw her children again. The two boys were placed in 
the Tower, where, as the pitiful old story tells, they were murdered 
in their sleep at the instigation of the Duke of Gloucester. 

Widowed and deprived by the blood-stained hands of her 
enemies, of her father, her two brothers, and her three sons, the 
wretched Lady EHzabeth, upon whom early life dawned so glori- 
ously, continued to live for a few years, stripped of all the glory of 
womanhood. Soon and bitterly had she felt that unhappiness 
which haunts the hearts of those that wear a crown, and which 
was to accompany her in ever accumulating grief until her fate 
becoming merciful in its last decree, hid her and her burden of 
sorrows in the grave. 

Richard, the third and last Earl Rivers, dying in 1491, appointed 
Lord Thomas, Marquis of Dorset, to be his heir. This Marquis of 
Dorset died in 1501, and his son Thomas, the second marquis, died 
in the nineteenth year of Henry VIIL (1527^, and conveyed the 
estates of Grafton and Hartwell, in exchange for the Manors of 
Loughborough and Sheepshed, in Leicestershire, to King Henry. 
The " Bluff King" erected the Manor of Grafton into an honour, in 
1541. Honour and barony were in early times synonymous, and 
mdicated a seignory to which certain inferior lordships or manors 
owed the performance of customs and services. 

Grafton continued a royal demesne till the reign of King Charles 
IL, who in 1665 settled the honour, lordship, and manor of Graf- 
ton, with many other estates, " in trust for Queen Catherine for her 
life, as part of her jointure ; and in 1673 granted the reversion of 
the whole of this extensive estate to Henry, Earl of Arlington, for 
life, remainder * in consideration of natural love and affection to 
his natural son,' Henry, Earl of Euston, in tail male, remainder to 
his natural sons Charles, Earl of Southampton (afterwards Duke 
of Cleveland and Southampton), and Lord George Fitzroy, alias 
Lord George Palmer (afterwards Duke of Northumberland), suc- 
cessively in tail male. Two years after this reversionary grant, 
Grafton was selected for the title of the dukedom conferred on the 
Earl of Euston, second illegitimate son of Charles IL, by Barbara, 
Duchess of Cleveland. Charles, second Duke of Grafton, only 
child of the preceding, came into possession in 1673, and his grand- 
son, Augustus Henry, third duke of Grafton, who has been ren- 
dered immortal by the splendid invectives of Junius, succeeded, 
and after an eventful and distinguished career, died in 181 1. 



Grafton Manor. 327 

George Henry, the fourth duke, died in 1844, and Henry, the fifth 
duke, died in 1863, and was succeeded by William Henry, the 
sixth and present Duke of Grafton. 

Grafton Park, an ancient appendage of the manor house or 
palace, embraced 995 acres. It was stocked with deer and inter- 
sected by rectilinear avenues of noble oaks. These, however, have 
long ago been sacrificed to agricultural improvements, and the 
whole converted into farms. 

Grafton House was situated on the brow of the hill on which the 
village stands, and must have formed a very conspicuous and impos- 
ing object in the approach from Northampton. King Henry VH I., 
in his .negotiations for a divorce from Queen Catherine, held here 
his final interview with Cardinal Campeggio, on that subject. The 
same king came on several occasions to hunt at Grafton, and en- 
tertained " Ambassadors from Hungarie" there in 1531. Queen 
EHzabeth visited the old mansion in one of her progresses (1568). 
During the Civil War Grafton, then styled a place of " great value 
and of great strength and consequence," was held by the Royahsts, 
under Sir John Digby, and stormed and taken by the Parliamentary 
troops. It was at the same time burned, as we infer from the fol- 
lowing remark in the " Parliament Scout" : — " If any ask why Sir 
John Digby yielded Grafton House so soon ; it is answered the 
women and children cried, and the soldiers within would not fight ; 
if it be asked, why the house was burned ; it is not known why, nor 
who did it." Its ruined walls were never rebuilt, and what re- 
mained of this old noble mansion was henceforth occupied by the 
tenant of the manor farm. " It has recently been partially modern- 
ised, and fitted up for the residence of Captain George Fitzroy, 
second son of the late Lord Charles Fitzroy." 



3^8 



RUTLANDSHIRE. 

Burleigh-on-the-Hill, and Jeffrey Hudson the Dwarf. 

This celebrated little personage was bom at Oakham, in the year 
1619. John Hudson, his father, who "kept and ordered the baiting 
bulls for George, Duke of Buckingham," the then possessor of Burleigh- 
on-the-Hill, in Rutlandshire, " was a proper man," says Fuller, " broad- 
shouldered and chested, though his son arrived at a full ell in stature." 
His father was a person of lusty stature, as well as all his children, except 
Jeffrey, who, when seven years of age, was scarcely eighteen inches in 
height, yet without any deformity, and wholly proportionable. Between' 
the age of seven and nine years, he was taken into the service of the 
Duchess of Buckingham, at Burleigh, where, says Fuller, " he was in- 
stantly heightened (not in stature, but) in condition, from one degree 
above rags into silks and satins, and had two men to attend him." 
Shortly afterwards he was served up in a cold pye, at an entertainment 
given to Charles I. and his consort Henrietta Maria, in their progress 
through Rutlandshire ; and was then, most probably, presented to the 
Queen, in whose service he continued many years. At a masque, given 
at Court, the King's gigantic porter drew him out of his pocket, to the 
surprise of all the spectators. Thus favoured by royalty, the humility 
incident to his birth forsook him ; " which made him that he did not 
knonv himself, and would not kno<w his father; and which, by tiie King's 
command, caused justly, his second correction." 

In 1630, Jeffrey was sent into France to fetch a midwife for the 
Queen ; but on his return he had the misfortune to be taken by a 
Flemish pirate, who carried him a prisoner to Dunkirk : on this occa- 
sion he lost property to the value of 2500/. which he had received in 
presents from the French Court. This event furnished a subject for a 
short poem, in two cantos, to Sir William D'Avenant, who entitled it 
Jeffereidos, and has described our diminutive hero as engaged in a battle 
with a turkey-cock, from whose inflated rage he was preserved by the 
midwife ! In this whimsical production the poet has described our 
dwarf as close hidden, at the time of the capture — 

"Beneath a spick- 
And-almost-span-ncw pewter candlestick." 

At Dunkirk he is threatened with the rack, and accused of being a 



Btirleigh-on-the-Hill and Jeffrey Hudson. 3-9 

spy. He is next despatched to Brussels, mounted upon an " Iceland 
Shock," which, falling by the way, leaves him exposed to the attacks of 
the turkey-cock. Jeffrey drew his sword, and bravely repelled his 
antagonist, who 

" In his look 
Express'd how much he it unkindly took, 
That wanting food, our Jeffrey would not let him, 
Enjoy awhile the privilege to eat him." 

At length Jeffrey is thrown, and whilst lying prostrate, 

"Faint and weak, 
The cruel foe assaults him with his beak ;" 

but in this extremity the midwife interposes, and " delivers " him — the 
pun is the poet's own — from further danger. 

After the commencement of the Civil War, Jeffrey became a Captain 
of Horse in the Royal Army, and in that capacity he accompanied the 
Queen to France. Whilst in that country he had the misfortune to fall 
into a dispute with a brother of Lord Crofts, who accounting him an 
object " not of his anger but contempt," accepted his challenge to fight 
a duel ; " yet coming," says Walpole, " to the rendezvous armed only 
with a squirt, the little creature was so enraged that a real duel ensued, 
and the appointment being on horseback with pistols, to put them on a 
level, Jeffrey, with the first fire, shot his antagonist dead." For this 
Jeffrey was first imprisoned, and afterwards expelled the Court. He 
v>'c«;s then only thirty years old, and, according to his own affirmation, 
had never increased anything considerable in height since he was seven 
years old. New misfortunes, however, awaited him, and accelerated his 
growth, though at such a mature age. He was a second time made 
captive at sea by a Turkish Rover ; and, having been conveyed to Bar- 
bary, was there sold as a slave, in which condition he passed many years, 
exposed to numerous hardships, much labour, and frequent beating. He 
now shot up in a Uttle time to that height of stature which he remained 
at in his old age, about three feet and nine inches ; the cause of which 
he ascribed to the severity he experienced during his captivity. After he 
had been redeemed he returned to England, and lived for some time in 
his native county on some small pension allowed him by the Duke of 
Buckingham, and other persons of rank. He afterwards removed to 
London, where, during the excitement occasioned by the examination 
into the Popish Plot, discovered or invented by Titus Oates, he was 
taken up as a Papist, and committed to the Gatehouse at Westminster, 
where he lay a considerable time. He died in 1682, shortly after his 
release, in the sixty-third year of his age. 



330 Oakham Castle, 

Sir Walter Scott has introduced this irascible little hero into his 
Pe'verll of tie Peak, the denouement of which romance is much for- 
warded by his aid. There is an original portrait of Jeffrey in the col- 
lection of Sir Ralph Woodford. Over the entrance of Bull-head- 
court, Newgate-street, is a small stone exhibiting, in low relief, sculp- 
tures of William Evans, the gigantic porter of Charles I. ; and Jeffrey 
Hudson, his diminutive fellow-servant. On the stone are cut these 
words: "The King's Porter and the Dwarf," with the date 1660. It 
appears from Fuller, that Evans was full six feet and a half in height j 
though knock-kneed, splay-footed, and halting, " yet made he a shift 
to dance in an anti-mask at Court, where he drew little Jeffrey, the 
Dwarf, out of his pocket, first to the wonder, then to the laughter, of 
the beholders." 

In the Ashmolean Museum, at Oxford, are preserved the waistcoat, 
breeches, and stockings (the two latter in one piece), of Jeffrey Hudson. 
They are of blue satin, but the waistcoat is striped and purfled with 
figured white silk. There is a rare tract extant, entitled " The New 
Yeres Gift, presented at Court from the Lady Parvula to the Lord 
Minimus, commonly called Little Jefferie: 1686." This contains a 
portrait of Hudson, and a copy, " bound in a piece of Charles the First's 
waistcoat," was formerly in the Townley Collection, and was sold for 
sight guineas at the sale of Mr. Peny's library. 



Oakham Castle. 

Oakham, the county town of Rutland, m the vale of Catmoss, bears 
evidence of its occupation by the Romans. Its name is Saxon, and it 
had a Royal Hall when King Edward the Confessor made his Sui-vey. 
Upon the site of this Hall was built a Castle, probably by Walcheline 
de Ferreris, a younger branch of the family of De Ferrars, to whom 
Heniy II. had granted the manor, and created him Bai'on of Oakham. 
He joined King Richard I. in his crusade to the Holy Land, and vfdA 
last heard of at the siege of Acre, where he died. The manor and 
Castle repeatedly reverted to the Crown, and were again as often 
granted. Among the possessors of them were Richard, King of the 
Romans, brother of Henry III. ; De Vere, Earl of Oxford and Duke 
of Ireland, favourite of Richard II. ; Thomas of Woodstock, uncle to 
the same King. Of the Castle the Hall alone remains ; it is regarded 
as the finest domestic room in England, and in all probability it was 
the best portion of the Castle, which was not fortified with a keep or 



Oakham Castle, ZZ^ 

bastions, as in the neighbouring Castle of Rockingham ; Oakham Castle 
never had any defensive works, except the outer wall. At the end of 
the Hall was probably the King's chamber. In the time of Walcheline 
De Fen-eris a sort of rough justice was administered in the Hall by 
the Baron ; and here also the revelry and feasting took place ; there 
were oaken benches for seats, boards placed upon tressels for tables, and 
tapestry hung at the west end, where the lord sat. The windows were 
unglazed ; the fire was placed on a raised platform in the centre of the 
room, and the smoke found its way through the windows ; at night 
wooden shutters were put to the windows. The hounds crouched by 
their masters' side, the hawks perched above their heads. The guests 
quaffed wines from Greece and Cyprus, and feasted upon lamprey and 
herring pies. It was the height of refinement for two guests to eat off 
the same plate. The only knife used was the clasp-knife, which the 
male guest took unsheathed from his girdle ; table-napkins were used, 
and the company were divided by the salt-cellar. 

The architecture of the Hall is late Norman, or very Early English. 
The interior wall and the gate of the Castle-yard are covered with 
horseshoes, the lord of the manor being authorized by ancient grant or 
custom to demand of every Peer on first passing through the lordship 
a shoe from one of his horses, or a sum of money to purchase one in 
lieu of it. Some of these shoes are gilt, and stamped with the donor's 
name. Amongst them are shoes given by Queen Elizabeth, by tiWrlate 
Duke of York, and by George IV. when Prince Regent ; Queen Vic- 
toria and the Duchess of Kent. The horseshoe custom is traceable 
to a toll payment, but the evidence is confused. 

Four possessors of Oakham were executed for high treason. These 
were Edmund, Earl of Kent, brother of Edward II. ; Henry Stafford, 
Duke of Buckingham, the supporter and victim of Richard III.; 
Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, beheaded 1521 ; and Thomas 
Cromwell, Earl of Essex, 1540. Another fatality remains to be 
mentioned. Early in the reign of Richard II., Edward Plantagenet, 
second Duke of York, on being created Earl of Rutland, had granted 
to him the Castle, town, and lordship of Oakham, and the whole forest 
of Rutland ; his memory is deeply stained with crime ; he was tram- 
pled to death at the battle of Agincourt, and his remains were brought 
to England, he having by his will made at Harfleur during the expedi- 
tion, directed their interment in the College of Fotheringhay, which he 
had caused to be built. 



332 



Normanton Park. 

The spacious, elegant and chaste mansion of Nomianton, in the 
middle of Rutlandshire, occupies a gentle elevation, in a lordly 
park of 900 acres, midway between the towns of Okeham and 
Stamford. The extensive and level lawns of rich turf around 
the house are interspersed with plantations of noble trees, in which 
the majestic oak and beech, the graceful ash and lime are conspi- 
cuous. The masses of variously tinted foliage have the finest 
effect, and bring out by contrast, the harmonious proportions of the 
house itself, which is built of fine white stone. The open glades 
consisting of broken ground, which occur here and there through- 
out the park, give to it an appearance of natural wildness which 
adds an additional charm to the scene, and harmonises well 
with the forms of the deer that browse in herds under the shade of 
the woods, or pass like a cloud-shadow over the open ground. 

The house itself consists of a centre of chaste elevation, flanked 
by two wings in excellent proportion, and presenting fronts of 
majestic simplicity united with great architectural beauty to the 
north and south. The principal entrance is by the north front. 
Some idea may be formed of the liberal scale upon which the 
mansion was erected, when it is stated that the stone alone used in 
the structure cost 10,000/. It was built on the site of the ancient 
mansion of the Mackv/orths, by Sir Gilbert Heathcote, one of the 
founders of the Bank of England, and some of the old walks of 
the former seat (built by Sir Henry Mackworth, Bart., in the reign 
pf Charles I.), still remain. The interior, however, now presents a 
rich scene of modern elegance and taste. The hall or vestibule, 
is both light and airy, opening to the staircase, which is particularly 
handsome. The dining-room is a most superb apartment, with a 
vaulted ceiling in ornamented compartments ; and the drawing- 
rooms are brilliantly decorated in a style of simple magnificence. 
The gardens are modern, and very fine views are obtained from 
different positions. The river Gwash forms a part of the north- 
western boundary of the park, and the district in which the man- 
sion stands is said to be the most fertile in England. Little wonder 
then that Dyer, having occasion to mention the house in his poem, 
"The Fleece," should speak of it with praise. 



Normanton Park, 333 

" . . . . The coloured lawns 
And sunny mounts of beauteous Normanton, 
Health's cheerful haunt, and the selected walk 
Of Heathcote's leisure." 

After the Conquest the Normanvilies, a family of great account 
in the early days, became lords of Normanton. Through the four-' 
teenth in descent from Thomas de Normanville, the estate became 
the patrimony of a Rutlandshire heiress, Alice Barings, who marry- 
ing Thomas Mackworth of Mackworth, a Derbyshire gentleman of 
position and lineage, conveyed it into that family. A few years after- 
wards the young couple forsook the castellated Manor House, at 
Mackworth, for the more sunny and pleasant Normanton, which 
from this time became the seat of the Mackworths of this branch. 

The successive lords of Normanton seem to have been a fortu- 
nate, liberal, and even magnificent race of men. Indeed, so liberal 
were they, that they expended their income without taking heed for 
the morrow or troubling themselves whether their successors in the 
estate would be able to bear themselves as bravely as they. One 
expedient for keeping up the family prestige was not neglected by 
them. They did not fail, from time to time, to marry rich heiresses, 
and thus strengthen the old house with a new buttress. Sir Thomas 
Mackworth, High Sheriff in the reign of Elizabeth, married the 
sister of the gallant royalist, Ralph, Lord Hopton ; and the wife of 
Sir Thomas's son (Sir Henry), came opportunely to reimburse 
the family chest and to enable her husband to rebuild the Manor 
House of Normanton. 

Down to this point of the history of this family, expenditure had 
not yet run into extravagance. Ample means still flowed from the 
broad lands of the family. But the Mackworths were cavaliers 
and gentlemen — willing to aid their king with sword and with 
purse, and to stand by him to the last. Their fidelity was rewarded 
as might have been expected, the estates were sequestered — their 
means became straitened — decay had set in upon the family. 
Seventy years after occurred the memorable contest for the repre- 
sentation of Rutlandshire, between Mackworth, Finch, and Sher- 
rard. Mackworth won the seat ; but at so fearful a pecuniary loss 
that the ruin of the family was now completed. Normanton was 
sold, and its former lord retired to an obscure district in London 
(Kentish Town), where he, the last Mackworth that held Nor- 
manton, died, in 1745. 
The title, however, did not die ; it was inherited by a Hunting- 



334 Normanton Park. 

don apothecary, and finally passed to his cousin, Sir Henry Mack- 
worth, whose case is a sad example of the misery which arises 
when a title is unsupported by land. Not a rood of the ancestral 
estates descended to him, and the poor old man, the representative 
of a famous county family, and the successor to their hereditary 
honours, was fain, in his helpless and penniless old age, to accept 
the cold refuge for his age and broken health which was aiiforded 
him by the Charity for Poor Brethren, in the Charter House. 

The present proprietors of Normanton are descended, hke the 
Heathcotes of Hursley Park, from Gilbert Heathcote, Alderman of 
Chesterfield. Gilbert, eldest son of the preceding, was brought up 
to commercial pursuits, in which he proved himself as deserving 
in every point of the honourable character generally attached to a 
British merchant, that not only the usual concomitants of industry 
and integrity were the results of his exertions, but he acquired the 
esteem of his contemporaries as well as much individual influence. 
He was appointed one of the Directors of the Bank of England. 
He was Alderman of London, and Lord Mayor in 171 1. In 1702, 
1705, and 1708 he represented the city in Parliament, and received 
the honour of knighthood from Queen Anne, and in 1733 he was 
created a baronet. A few days afterwards he died, and was buried 
at NoiTnanton, where a handsome monument by Rysbrack is 
erected to his memory. Sir Gilbert John Heathcote, the fifth 
baronet, was created Baron Aveland of Aveland, in Lincolnshire. 
He married the eldest daughter of Peter Robert, the nineteenth 
Lord Willoughby d'Eresby, and died in 1867. He was succeeded by 
Sir H. Gilbert-Henry Heathcote, second Baron Aveland. In 1863, 
he married Evelyn-Elizabeth, second daughter of Charles, tenth 
Marquis of Huntly, and by her has issue. 



335 



LEICESTERSHIRE. 

Staunton Harold, and the Story of Earl Ferrers. 

The mansion of Staunton Harold, the principal seat of Earl 
Ferrers, is the largest and most elegant structure of modern archi- 
tecture in the county of Leicester. In style it is Palladian, and 
though very extensive is remarkable for its lightness and grace. 
Its site is flat, close to the borders of Derbyshire, and about three 
miles north of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The house itself is backed by 
a fine wood ; there is a considerable tract of heath in the vicinity, 
and the scenery of the neighbourhood is charming. 

Of the centre of the south-east or grand front, the pediment is 
supported by Ionic pillars, and these again upheld by columns of 
the Doric order. This centre is of stone, the remainder of the 
mansion is of brick with stone dressings. The pediment is sur- 
mounted by three figures from the antique, and other portions of 
this hall are adorned with good casts from the antique, comprising 
a colossal lion over the south-west front. This front is of great 
extent and is built in the form of the Roman H. The north-east 
is the library front, originally designed by Inigo Jones and pre- 
served nearly unchanged in the present structure. 

The first apartment entered in the south-front is the hall, which 
is 40 feet by 38 feet and 16 feet high. On the left is the principal 
dining-room, 45 feet by 30 feet. From the right of the hall, on 
entering the vestibule, the grand staircase appears. The common 
dining-parlour is 30 feet by 20 feet ; and there are over fifty more 
apartments, spacious and handsomely fitted, including a drawing- 
room 38 feet long, and described by a writer at the beginning of 
the present century, to be hung with a rich paper, representing blue 
damask, edged with a gold carved border. The library, 72 feet 
long, 18 feet wide, and 16 feet high, abounds in choice and valuable 
works, both literary and artistic, among which are a number of 
family portraits. Here is kept the family pedigree, which, when 
unrolled, covers more than half the entire length of this long room. 
It is a most elaborate work, richly enblazoned with the arms, the 
monuments, and the portraits of the family, with abstracts of their 
willS; deeds, &c. A curiosity in the library is the set of 16 small 



33^ Staunton Harold, and the Story of Earl Ferrers, 

quarto volumes forming " The Complete Works of Confucius." Here 
also is an old bugle horn, in ivory, elaborately carved with subjects 
of the chase and supposed to be the work of Benvenuto Cellini. 

The chief pictures at Staunton Harold are, in the hall a Cruci- 
fixion, supposed to be by Michael Angelo ; portrait of Sir Robert 
Shirley, by Vandyke, and of his lady, by Lely, &c. In the dining- 
parlour, Wright's " Lecture on the Orrery," a picture of historic 
fame, all the figures in which are portraits ; portraits by Lely, &c. In 
the old dining-parlour, a Crucifixion, by Carracci, and portraits of 
ladies, by Lely. In the hbrar)', the Last Judgment, by Rubens, a 
masterpiece ; and a portrait of Shakspeare, painter unknown. In 
the great drawing-room, a Venus with Cupids, by Correggio. Six 
Ladies of the Court of Charles II., by Lely (these, together with a 
portrait of himself, were presented by Charles to Robert, Earl 
Ferrers;) landscapes by Berghem, &c. 

The park consists of about 150 acres of land, and contains from 
80 to 100 head of deer. A fine sheet of water, or lake, of consider- 
able length, extends through the greater part of the park, with a 
pond of seven acres at the end nearest the house, and which is 
called the Church Pool. This lake, half a mile long and about a 
quarter of a mile wide, abounds in fish of various kinds. At the 
marriage of the Countess of Huntingdon, here, in 1728, a carp was 
dressed which weighed 24 pounds. Game abounds in the park 
and in the neighbouring moors, and wild fowl frequent the pools. 

The Shirleys, Earls of Ferrers, are fortunate in having had their 
ancient lineage and history compiled by one of themselves. Sir 
Thomas Shirley, of Botolph's Bridge, wrote three distinct MS. 
histories of the Shirleys. From these records it appears that the 
Shirleys derive descent from Sasuallo or Scwallis de Etingdone, 
whose name, says Dugdale, in his " Antiquities of Warwickshire," 
argues him to be of the old English stock. He resided at Nethcr- 
Etingdon in Warwickshire, during the reign of Edward the Con- 
fessor, and this place, there is reason to believe, had been the seat 
of his ancestors for many years. After the conquest, the lordship 
of Etingdon was given to Henry, Earl of Ferrers in Normandy ; 
but it continued to be held under him, by SewalHs, with whose 
posterity, in the male line, it has continued to the present reiga 
Sir James de Shirley, Knt., had free warren granted to him in all 
his demesnes at Shirley in 1247, and at Etingdon in 1255. Sir 
Ralph, his successor, was elected to Parliament, for Warwickshire, 
in the fifth year of Edward II. His great-grandson, Sir Ralph, 
distinguished himcclf on the field of A'^incourt and in the subse- 



Staunton Harold^ and the Story of Earl Ferrers. 337 

quent French wars ; and his son, Ralph Shirley, married Margaret, 
daughter and sole heir of John de Staunton of Staunton Harold, 
and thus brought the estate of that name into his own family. Sir 
Robert Shirley succeeded to the ancient baronies of Ferrers of 
Chartley, &c., and was created by Queen Anne Viscount Tamworth 
and Earl Ferrers. Lawrence, fourth earl, although not desti<;ute of 
reason, showed on several occasions an irrational degree of passion^ 
In one of these fits he killed his land-steward, and for this oftence 
he was brought to trial, with the result chronicled below. 

The present lord of Staunton Harold is Sir SewaUis-Edward 
Shirley, tenth Earl of Ferrers and Viscount Tamworth. 

The trial of Lawrence Shirley, fourth Earl Ferrers, excited more 
public interest than almost any other on record. His lineage was 
splendid, both on the maternal and on the paternal side. His father's 
race we have already sketched — his grandmother was Elizabeth, 
daughter and heir of Lawrence Washington, from whom was de- 
scended George Washington, the hero of American Independence. 
By female descent of an earlier generation, he was the representa- 
tive of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, the harshly-used favourite 
of Queen Elizabeth. The heir of honours, wealth, and splendid 
rank, and possessed of abilities of no mean order, the world seemed 
to open brightly before him. In one thing only was he unfortunate. 
His temper was naturally violent and by it he was often, while the 
fit of passion was upon him, rendered perfectly regardless of the 
consequences of his actions. No wise attempts seem to have been 
made by the guardians of his youth to curb his wild disposition, by 
the influences of religion or of philosophy, and when he arrived at 
man's estate he had made himself the slave of intoxicating liquors, 
and thus had hugged his disease with embraces that were only 
to tighten with time. 

In 1752 he married the sister of Sir Wilham Meredith, of Hen- 
bury, Cheshire, a lady of great beauty and accomplishments ; but 
the conduct of the wild earl towards his wife was so ciiiel and in- 
tolerable that she was compelled to make application to Parhament 
for protection. The result was that Parliament passed an act 
granting her a separate maintenance out of her husband's estates. 

In 1756 Earl Ferrers ran his mare against a friend's horse at the 
Derby, for 50/., and won the race. After the race Ferrers passed 
the evening in the company of his friends. A fooHsh remark, 
ventured by the friend who had been defeated, so stung the earl, 
that passing over the trivial character of the incident he persuaded 



538 Staunton Harold^ and the Story of Earl Ferrers, 

himself that he was being made the victim of a deliberate insult. 
The insult seemed to point at a breach of confidence on the part of 
nis grooms or stablemen, with respect to the secrets of his stables. 
The earl, infuriated by brooding over the supposed treachery of his 
servants, started from Derby in the middle of the night and went 
straight to Staunton Harold, in Leicestershire. The following is an 
abstract of the case from this point, as it was unfolded in the trial 
that eventually took place at Newgate : — 

Awaking on the morning of his arrival at home, he rang the bell 
and asked the servant if he had been talking to any one about what 
was the condition of the Staunton Harold stud. The servant declared 
that he was ignorant of the matter ; but the groom might have 
been speaking of such affairs. The groom being called denied 
having given any information whatever respecting the matter. 
From this point the earl's rage seems to have been unbounded. 
He kicked and horse-whipped his servants, and threw at them such 
articles as came first to hand, in the mere excess of his passion. 
A quantity of oysters had been sent to him from London, and these 
not proving good, his lordship directed one of the servants to swear 
that the carrier had changed them. But the servant declining to 
take such an oath, the earl flew at him in a rage ; stabbed him in 
the breast with a knife, cut his head open with a candlestick, and 
kicked him so violently in the groin, that he was under the surgeon's 
care for many years afterwards. 

Other instances might be cited in which the passion of this un- 
fortunate man hurried him to such extremities that, in several cases, 
he was only prevented by some trivial but fortunate accident from 
iJaking human life. 

Of such instances the following may be taken as exemplifying 
the uncontrolled and uncontrollable passion of this man, and also 
throwing some light on the sad relations existing between him and 
his countess. 

On one occasion Earl Ferrers's brother and his wife were paying 
a visit at Staunton Harold. It was late at night, and the two 
ladies had retired to their respective rooms. Between the two 
brothers a casual dispute arose. What the quarrel was about docs 
not seem to be known, but in the heat of it the carl, starting up 
and brandishing a knife in his hand, ran upstairs, asking for his 
wife. A servant told him the lady was in her own room. The 
earl bade the servant follow him thither, and to bring a brace of 
pistols, loaded with bullets, with him. llie menial did as he was 
desired, and brought up the pistols, but, fearing mischief, inclined 



Staunton Harold, and the Story of Earl Ferrers. 339 

to prime them. The earl swore at him, demanded powder, and 
primed the weapons himself. Then, presenting a pistol at the 
servant's head, Ferrers threatened that if he did not go downstairs 
immediately and shoot his brother in the room below, he would blow 
his brains out. The man hesitated — Ferrers pulled the trigger, and 
would have stretched a fellow creature dead at his feet, if the pistol 
had not providentially missed fire. At this awful moment the 
countess fell on her knees before the infuriated man, and begged 
him to restrain his passion — he only cursed her and threatened her 
with destruction if she interfered with him. At this moment the 
servant escaped and told the brother of the danger he was in. The 
terrified brother immediately called up his wife, who had gone to 
bed, and the two then left the house, though it was now two o'clock 
in the morning. 

The last victim of the earl's violence was Mr. Johnson, who had 
been brought up in the service of the family, and was at last acting 
as land-steward, and giving perfect satisfaction for ability and 
fidelity. After the law had decreed a separate maintenance for the 
Countess Ferrers, Mr. Johnson was proposed as receiver of the 
rents to be appropriated to her use. But fearing that in performing 
the duties of this office, he might come into colhsion with the earl, 
he at first declined, but afterwards, at the solicitation of Ferrers 
himself, accepted the office. At the time of his appointment to 
this extra duty Johnson stood high in the estimation of Ferrers, 
and all for a time went well. But a great cloud now began to show 
above this serene horizon. The earl conceived the idea that John- 
son had combined with a number of trustees concerned, to disap- 
point him of a contract. He first ordered his steward to give up a 
valuable farm which he held under him ; but Johnson produced 3 
lease granted by the earl's trustees, entitling him to continued 
occupation. This was final, and no further steps were taken in this 
direction. After this the earl, in his intercourse with his steward, 
was so exceedingly affable that the latter imagined all evil feehngs 
had vanished. In January, 1760, his lordship called on Johnson 
and asked him to come to Staunton Harold at a certain hour of 
the following day. 

Meantime the earl prepared for the expected visit, by sending all 
his men servants, as well as a number of the females and children 
of his household, to some distance for the day. 

When Johnson arrived, a maid admitted him, and he was ushered 
into his lordship's room. All was quiet for about an hour ; then 

Z 2 



340 Siannion Harold^ and the Story of Earl Ferrers, 

voices were heard in high altercation, and the earl was heard to 
exclaim, " Down upon your knees — your time has come — you must 
die !" And presently the report of a pistol was heard. Ferrers 
then opened the door and called for aid, and the servants approach- 
ing, beheld the steward weltering in his blood. A surgeon was 
then sent for to Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and poor Johnson asked that 
his children might be sent for. 

When the surgeon arrived, Ferrers said to him, " I intended to 
have shot him dead, but, since he is still alive, you must do what 
you can for him." He then drank himself drunk and got to bed. 
Meantime Johnson was conveyed home, but his wound was mortal, 
and he died at nine in the morning after having been shot. The 
surgeon, who perceived that this was a case of deliberate murder, 
obtained the assistance of a number of persons to secure the mur- 
derer. The force arrived at Staunton, The earl had just risen, 
and on going out to the stables he noticed the people, and suspect- 
ing their mission, retired within his house, and eluded pursuit for 
some little time. At length he was apprehended, conveyed to Ashby- 
de-la-Zouch, where he was confined till the coroner's jury,after exa- 
mining the body, returned a verdict of" Wilful murder" against him. 
He was afterwards removed to London, and confined in the Tower. 

The trial of Earl Ferrers, for the murder of his land-steward, 
came on before the House of Peers, in Westminster Hall, on the 
i6th of April, 1760. His lordship was found guilty, and sentence 
of death was passed upon him. Ferrers petitioned that he might 
be beheaded in the Tower ; but as the crime was so atrocious, the 
king refused to mitigate the sentence. A scaffold was erected 
under the gallows at Tyburn, and covered with black baize, with a 
raised platform for the murderer to stand upon. 

On the morning of his execution he was dressed in a white suit, 
richly embroidered with silver. When he put it on he said, " This 
is the suit in which I was married, and in which I shall die." He 
walked up the steps of the scaffold with composure, and after re- 
peating the Lord's Pra> er, which he called a fine composition, he 
invoked the pardon of Heaven, and in a moment more was launched 
into eternity. 

It is pleasant, after this notice of a worthless life, which society 
felt itself obliged to put an end to, as a measure of self-preservation, 
to be able to add that the widow of Earl Ferrers married Lord 
Frederick Campbell, son of John, Duke of Argyle, and lived to an 
advanced age, highly resp«cted and beloved. 



341 



Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle. 

The town of Ashby, situated in a fertile vale of Leicestershire, le- 
ceived its additional appellation from Alan de la Zouch, who possessed 
the manor in the reign of Henry III. 

It is said by Leland that Sir William, afterwards Lord, Hastings, 
when the male line of the Zouches was extinct, obtained the grant of the 
manor, partly by title and partly by money ; and James Butler, Earl of 
Ormond, escheated the estate to Edward IV. by forfeiture, on adherence 
to his real liege lord, the deposed Henry VI. The same lord, for the 
1 epair of this fortress, took off the lead from Belvoir Castle, which had 
been forfeited by Lord Ros to the tyrant, for the same imputed crime as 
that of the Earl of Ormond. Certainly, when two Kings were pro- 
claimed, and one had first reigned for a succession of years, whoever 
/lad the claim de jure^ it was equally absurd as it was wicked to punish 
those who had conscientiously adhered to their oaths, pledged to the 
governing power ; but those were not the days of argument, or cool 
and candid investigation. Hastings, however, who had hkewise plun- 
dered another castle of Lord Ros, to complete his own, at length re- 
signed all his estates, together with his life, on an accusation of high 
treason, got up by his former friend, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, by 
whose order he was seized at the council-board, and soon after be- 
headed. The attainder being subsequently taken ofFby King Henry VII., 
the estates were restored to the heirs, and have since descended to the 
Huntingdon family. 

In 1474, Lord Hastings built the Castle of Ashby de la Zouch, the 
ruins of which now form a principal object of attraction on the south 
side of Ashby, having been remarkable as a temporary prison of Mary 
Queen of Scots. 

The Castle was originally environed by three extensive Parks, all 
beautifully wooded : — the Great Park, which was ten miles in circum- 
ference ; Brostep Park, for fallow deer ; and the Little Park, for red 
deer. The magnificent structure continued to be, for two hundred 
years, the residence of the Hastings family ; it was partly of brick and 
partly of stone, and contained many spacious apartments, and a chapel 
adjoining. The stately towers formed the grandest ornaments: one 
contained the hall, chambers, &c. ; the other was the Kitchen Tower. 
The Queen of Scots was entrusted to the custody of Henry, third Earl 
of Huntingdon, at Ashby Castle, and a room now remaining is distin- 
guished as " Mary Queen of Scots' Room." Anne, the Queen of 



342 Belvoir Castle. 

James I., and Henry, Prince of Wales, visited the Castle, as did the 
King, with his whole Court : they were entertained here for several 
days together, when thirty Poor Knights, all wearing gold chains and 
velvet gowns, served up the dinner. The castle was garrisoned and 
ably defended for King Charles I., but was at last evacuated and dis- 
mantled by capitulation. The ruins are highly interesting 



Belvoir Castle. 

Belvoir (or Bever) Castle in situation and aspect partly resembles 
" majestic Windsor." It has a similar " princely brow," being placed 
upon an abrupt elevation of red gritstone, now covered with vege- 
table mould, and varied into terraces. It has been the seat of the noble 
family of Manners for several generations, and is one of the most 
elegant castellated structures in the kingdom. The fortress is described 
in some topographical works as being in Lincolnshire. Camden says : 
" in the west part of Kesteven, on the edge of Lincolnshire and Leices- 
tershire, there stands Belvoir Castle, so called (whatever was its ancient 
name) from the fine prospect on a steep hill, which seems the work of 
art." But Mr. Nichols, an excellent authority on Leicestershire, states : 
** the Castle is at present in every respect considered as being within this 
county, with all the lands of the extra-parochial part of Belvoir thereto 
belonging (including the site of the Priory), consisting in the whole of 
600 acres of wood, meadow, and pasture-land ; upon which are now no 
buildings but the Castle with its offices, and the inn." 

At Belvoir was formerly a Priory of four black monks, subordinate 
to the Abbey of St. Alban in Hertfordshire, to which it was annexed by 
its founder, Robert de Todeni. Dr.Stukeley, in the year 1726, saw the 
coffin and bones of the founder, who died in 1088, dug up in the Priory 
Chapel, then a stable ; and on a stone was inscribed in large letters, with 
lead cast in them, Robert de todene le fudere. Another coffin 
and lid near it was likewise discovered, with the following inscription : 
" The Vale of Bever, barren of wood, is large and very plentiful of good 
com and grass, and lieth in three shires, Leicester, Lincoln, and much 
of Nottinghamshire." 

That Belvoir has been the site of a Castle since the Norman Conquest 
appears well established. Leland thinks " no rather than ye Todenciu 
was the first inhabitei- after the Conquest. Then it came to Albeneius,* 
and from Albcny to Ros." By a general survey, taken at the death of 
Robert, the founder, he was in the possession of fourscore lordships; 



Belvoir Castle, 343 

many of which, by uninterrupted succession, continue still to be the 
property of the Duke of Rutland. In Lincolnshire his domains were 
still more numerous. In Northamptonshire he had nine lordships ; one 
of which. Stoke, acquired the additional name of Albini when it came 
into the possession of his son, who succeeded to these lordships, and, 
like his father, was a celebrated warrior. According to Matthew Paris, 
he valorously distinguished himself at the battle of Tinchebrai, in Nor- 
mandy, where Henry I. encountered Robert Curthose, his brother. 
This lord obtained from Henry the grant of an annual fair at Belvoir, to 
be continued for eight days. 

During the turbulent reigns of Stephen and Henry II., the Castle fell 
into the hands of the Grown, and was granted to Ranulph, Earl of 
Chester; but repossession was obtained by de Albini, who died herfe 
about 1 155. William de Albini, the third of that name, accompanied 
Richard I., during his crusading reign, into Normandy; he was also one 
of the sureties for King John in his treaty of peace with Philip of 
France. He was also engaged in the Barons' wars in the latter reign, 
and was taken prisoner by the King's party at Rochester Castle ; when 
his own Castle at Belvoir fell into the royal hands. He was likewise 
one of the twenty-five Barons whose signatures are attached to Magna 
Charta, and the Charter of Forests, at Runnemede. This lord richly 
endowed the Priory at Belvoir, and founded and endowed a Hospital 
at Wassebridge, between Stamford and Lincoln, where he was buried 
in 1236. Isabel, of the house of Albini, now married Robert de Ros, 
Baron of Hamlake, and thus carried the estates into another family. He 
died in 1285, and his body was buried at Kirkham, his bowels before 
the high altar at Belvoir, and his heart at Croxton Abbey ; it being the 
practice of that age for the corporeal remains of eminent persons to be 
thus distributed after death. The next owner, William de Ros, was, 
in 1304, allowed to impark 100 acres under the name of Bever Park, 
which was appropriated solely to the preservation of game. 

Sir William Ros, Knight, was Lord High Treasurer to Henry IV. 
he died at the Castle in 1414, and bequeathed 400/. "for finding ten 
honest chaplains to pray for his soul, and the souls of his father, mother, 
brethren, sisters, &c.," for eight years within his Chapel at Belvoir 
Castle. John and William Ros, the next owners, were distinguished in 
the wars of France : the former was slain at Anjou ; the latter died in 
1431, and was succeeded by his son Edmund, an infant, who on coming 
of age, engaged in the Wars of York and Lancaster: he was attainted, 
and his nobk possessions parcelled out by Edward IV. ; the honour. 
Castle, and lordship of Belvoir, with the park, and all its members, and 



344 Belvoir Castle, 

the rent called Castle Guard (then an appurtenince to Belvoir), being 
granted, in 1467, to Hastings, the Court corruptionist. Leland thus 
describes the transaction: " The Lord Ros took Henry the VI. 's part 
against King Edward, whereupon his lands were confiscated, and 
Belever Castle given in keeping to Lord Hastings, who coming thither 
on a time to peruse the ground, and to lie in the Castle, was suddenly- 
repelled by Mr. Harrington, a man of power thereabouts, and friend to the 
Lord Ros. Whereupon the Lord Hastings came thither another time 
with a strong power, and upon a raging will spoiled the Castle, defacing 
the rooft, and taking the leads off them. Then fell all the Castle to 
ruins, and the timber of the roofs uncovered, rotted away, and the soil 
between the walls of the last grew full of elders, and no habitation was 
there till that, of late days, the Earl of Rutland hath made it fairer than 
ever it was." 

The above attainder was, however, repealed, and Edmund, Lord Ros, 
obtained repossession of all his estates in 1483 : he died at the manor- 
house of Elsinges, Enfield, Middlesex, without issue in 1508 : his sisters 
became heiresses to the estates, and Belvoir being part of the moiety of 
Eleanor, by her marriage with Sir Robert Manners, of Etall, in Nor- 
thumberland, the Castle passed into the Manners family, who have 
continued to possess it until the present time. George, eldest son of 
the above-named Robert Manners, succeeded to his father's estates, in- 
cluding Belvoir. His son Thomas, Lord Ros, succeeded him, and was 
created by Henry VI H. a Knight, and afterwards Earl of Rutland, 
a title which had nevei* before been conferred upon any person but 
of the blood-royal; and to him is attributed the restoration of the 
Castle, which had been partly demolished by Hastings, as Leland has 
described it. He says further : " it is a strange sighte to se be how 
many steppes of stone the way goith up from the village to the castel. 
In the castel be two faire gates; and the dungeon is a faire round 
tower, now turned to pleasure, as a place to walk yn, and to se al the 
counterye aboute, and raylid about the round (wall), and a garden 
(plotte) in the middle. There is also a welle of grete depth in the 
castelle, and the spring thereof is veiy good." 

Henry, the second Earl of Rutland, made great additions to the 
Castle, and it became a noble and princely residence. In 1556, he was 
appointed Captain-General of all the forces then going to France, and 
Commander of the Fleet, by Philip and Mary. Edmund, the third 
Earl, Camden calls " a profound lawyer, and a man accomplished with 
all polite learning." The sixth Earl manied two wives ; by the second 
he had two sons, who, according to the monument, were murdered by 



Belvoir Castle. 345 

;wricked practice and sorcery, as follows: Joan Flower, and her two 
daughters, who were servants at Belvoir Castle, having been dismissed 
the family, in revenge made use of all the enchantments, spells, and 
charms that were then supposed to answer their malicious purposes. 
Henry, the eldest son, died soon after their dismissal ; but no suspicion 
of witchcraft arose till five years after, when the three women, who 
were said to have entered into a foitnal contract with the devil, were 
accused of " murdering Henry Lord Ros by witchcraft, and torturing 
the Lord Francis, his brother, and Lady Catherine, his sister." After 
various examinations before Francis, Lord Willoughby of Eresby, 
and other magistrates, they were committed to Lincoln gaol. Joan 
died at Ancaster, on her way thither, wishing the bread-and-butter 
she ate might choke her, if guilty. The two daughtei-s were tried, 
confessed their guilt, and were executed at Lincoln, March ii, 
1618-19. 

George, seventh Earl, was honoured with a visit from Charles L at 
Belvoir Castle, in 1634. The eighth Earl was John Manners, who 
attaching himself to the Parliamentarians, the Castle was attacked by 
the Royal army, and lost and won again and again by each party, till 
the Earl being " put to great straights for the maintenance of his family,'* 
petitioned the House of Peers for relief ; and Lord Viscount Campden 
having been the principal instrument in the ruin of the *' Castle, lands, 
and woods about Belvoyre," Parliament agreed that 1500/. a year be 
paid out of Lord Campden's estate, until 5000/. be levied to the Earl 
of Rutland. 

In the Civil Wars, the Castle w^as defended for the King by the 
rector of Ashwell, co. Rutland. In 1643, ^bout 140 men of Belvoir 
were defeated by Colonel Wayte, with 60 men, taking 46 prisoners 
and 60 horses; and in the following year Colonel Wayte attacked 
another party at Belvoir, where he made many prisoners. In 1644 the 
King slept two nights at Belvoir. In 1649 the Parliament ordered the 
Castle to be demolished ; satisfaction was, however, made to the Earl, 
whose son rebuilt the Castle after the Restoration. John, the ninth 
Earl, preferred the Baronial retirement and rural quiet of Belvoir, to the 
busy Court, though he was created Marquis of Granby and Duke of 
Rutland. He resided almost entirely at Belvoir, where he kept up 
old English hospitality; and for many years before his death never 
went to London, He was succeeded by his son John, whose son was 
" the Great Marquis of Granby," who, during the Rebellion, raised a 
regiment of foot, became Lieutenant- General, and eminently (iis- 
tinguished himself in Germany ; yet a few years since there was no 



34^ Belvoir Castle. 

monumental record of his name. The third Duke was the list of the 
family who resided at Haddon. 

Belvoir Castle was greatly altered, and the interior newly arranged 
by the taste of the Duchess of Rutland, and executed under the direc- 
tion of James AVyatt, architect. It consists of a quadrangular court, 
occupying nearly the summit of the hill, and with its towers and walls 
is of regal stateliness. The view comprehends the whole vale of Belvoir, 
and the adjoining country as far as Lincoln, including twenty-two of the 
Duke of Rutland's manors. The interior is sumptuously furnished, and 
contains a valuable collection of paintings. Here is a massive golden 
salver, entirely composed of tributary tokens of royal and public respect 
for services performed by the noble family of Manners, and inscribed 
with the causes and dates of these honourable services. The last general 
repairs cost 60,000/. By an accidental fire in 181 6, a large portion of 
the ancient part of the Castle was destroyed. 

There have been in our time two memorable royal visits to Belvoir 
Castle: George IV., then Prince Regent, in 18 14; and Queen Victoria 
and the Prince Consort in 1843. Upon each of these occasions was 
observed the ceremony of presenting the Key of the Staunton Tower to 
the Sovereign. The Staunton Tower is the stronghold of the Castle. It 
fvas successfully defended by Sir Mauger Staunton, Lord of Staunton, 
against William the Norman, who, when firmly seated on the throne 
he had won, allowed the Lord of Staunton to keep possession of the 
lands he had so nobly defended ; and he afterwards held the lordship 
of Staunton by tenure of Castle Guard. This lordship is situated seven 
miles from Newark, and five fi-om Belvoir, and is stated to have been 
in the possession of a family of the name of Staunton for more than 
1300 years. Upon each royal visit the key was presented to the 
Sovereign upon a velvet cushion by the Rev. Dr. Stanton, to whom it 
was most graciously returned. 

Of the scale of living at Belvoir, we extract from a published 
account the following particulars of the consumption of wine and ale, 
wax-lights, &c., at Belvoir Castle, from December, 1839, to April, 
1840, or about thirteen weeks : — Wine, 200 dozen ; ale, 70 hogsheads; 
wax-lights, 2330 ; sperm oil, 630 gallons. Dined at his Grace's table, 
1997 persons; in the steward's room, 2421; in the servants* hall, 
nursery, and kitchen department, including comers and goers, 11,313 
persons. Of loaves of bread there were consumed 8333 ; of meat, 
22,963 lbs. exclusive of game. The money value of the meat, poultry, 
eggs, and every kind of provision, except stores, consumed during this 
period, amounted to 1323/. 7J. ii|<^. The quantity of game killed 



Leicester Castle. 347 

during the season overall his Grace's manors, is thus stated: — 1733 
hares, 987 pheasants, 2101 partridges, 28 wild ducks, 108 woodcocks, 
138 snipes, 947 rabbits, 776 grouse, 23 black game, and 6 teal. 



Leicester Castle. 

Leicester, placed on the right bank of the river Soar, was known to 
the Romahs by the name of Ratae, and was then a place of importance. 
It is of British origin, and was taken possession of and fortified by the 
Romans. The line of the wall has been traced upon the norths south, 
and east sides, the western defence being formed by the river. If, as is 
supposed, the fragment of Roman masonry known as the Jewry wall 
was really a part of the town wall, it follows that the wall was present 
on the west side, and there was a space between that defence and the 
river ; and that the Castle, which occupies the south-west angle, was 
outside the town. 

Geoffrey of Monmouth ascribes its name and foundation to the fabu- 
lous Leir, the son of Bladud, the Lear of Shakspeare. It was also a town 
of great importance among the Saxons, and was nearly central in the king- 
dom of Mercia. It is mentioned in a Saxon charter of 819, and is said 
to have given the title of Earl to Leofric, a.d. 716. It was taken and 
many of the inhabitants massacred by Ethelfrith, King of Northumber- 
land. The town, during the Danish interregnum, was one of the five 
hurghs; and the Castle, like those of Tamworth and Tutbury, is said 
to have been either founded or restored by Ethelfreda, daughter of 
Alfred the Great, in 913-14, though for this solid evidence is wanting. 
Nevertheless, that Saxon Leicester was the seat of a very important 
earldom is very certain, and the residence of the lords was most pro- 
bably the Castle. 

After the Conquest, the property was added to the Royal demesne, 
and the Castle was erected, or rather an old fortress was enlarged and 
strengthened, to keep the townsmen in check. On the Conqueror's 
death this Castle was seized by the Grentmaisnells, and held by them 
for Robert Duke ©f Normandie ; it was, therefore, attacked and re- 
duced to a heap of ruins by "William Rufus. The actual property of 
the Grentmaisnells in Leicester, was one-fouith of the town ; but it does 
not appear how this and much of the other parts were acquired by 
Robert, Earl of Mellent, who became Earl of Leicester, and died in 
1 1 18, in possession of the Castle and honour. Outside, but just beneath 
the fortress wall, was a collegiate church, of Saxon foundation, dedicated 



34^ Leicester Castle. 

to St, Mary. This Robert Bellomont rebuilt and enriched very consi- 
derably in 1 103, and he is thought also to have completed the Castle. 

Robert Bossu, the second Earl, took the part of Henry I. He also 
strengthened and enlarged the Castle. He w^as the founder of the 
Abbey of St. Mary de Pratis, outside the town ; and, to endow this, he 
diminished the ecclesiastical staff, and diverted some of the lands fi-om 
his fether's foundation by the Castle. He died 1 1 67. 

Robert Blanchmains, his son, is reputed to have enlarged and 
strengthened the Castle, and his constable, Anketel Mallory, held it 
against Henry H. in 1175, unsuccessfully. Both Castle and town 
were taken, the town wall was demolished, and, it is said, between the 
north and east gates was never rebuilt. 

Robert Fitzparnell, the fourth Earl, died childless ifi 1204, when Lei- 
cester Castle, and in 1206 the earldom, came to Simon de Montfort, 
who had married Amicia, his sister and coheir. Upon the death at 
Evesham of their son Simon, in 1265, and his attainder, the earldom and 
Castle were granted to Edmond, second son of Henry HI., Earl of 
Leicester and Lancaster, and the Castle has since descended with the 
Lancaster property, and is still a part of the duchy of that name. 

Henry, Earl of Lancaster and Leicester, founded the Hospital of the 
Newark contiguous to the Castle in 1322, and the works were com- 
pleted by Henry, his son, Duke of Lancaster, in 1354. The hospital 
contained four acres. It reached the iriver, and covered the Castle on 
the south side, and at this time one approach to the Castle is across the 
Newark, through its larger and smaller gates. 

The Earls and Dukes of Lancaster must have restored the Castle, as 
they resided here very frequently, and with their usual display. When 
John of Gaunt granted certain privileges to the city in 1376, he reserved 
the Castle and its mill, and the rents and services of the Castle court 
and its office of porter. In the Castle he entertained Richard II. and 
his Queen with great splendour in 1390. 

In 1 414, when Henry V, held a Parliament in the Hall of the Grey 
Friars, he resided at the Castle, and it was in the great hall of the 
Castle that was held the Parliament of 1425-6, the Commons meeting 
in an apartment below it ; this, however, could scarcely be the case as 
regards the existing hall, which is on the ground level, 

Henry VI. was here in J426, and in 1444 the Castle and honour were 
included in his marriage settlement. In 1450 a third Parliament was 
held at Leicester. Edward IV, was here in 1463 and 1464, but from 
this period the Castle seems to have been neglected, and to have fallen 
into great decay. 



Leicester Abbey and Cardinal Wolsey. 349 

Leland, who visited Leicester about 151 2, says: "The castelle stond- 
ing nere the west bridge is at this tyme a thing of small estimation, and 
there is no apparaunce other [either] of high waulles or dykes. So that 
I think that the lodgiriges that now be there were made sins the tyme of 
the Barons' war in Henry III. tyme, and great likelyhood there is that 
the castelle was much defaced in Henry II. tyme, when the waulles of 
Liercester were defacid." — {Abridged from a communicatiGn to the 
Buildre.) 

In the time of Charles I. the materials of the Castle were sold, and 
there are now few remains of it, except the mound, or earthwork of the 
keep, which, though broad, is less lofty than usual in the more impor- 
tant Saxon castles. It is about thirty feet high, and 100 feet diameter 
upon its circular top, which is quite flat. 



Leicester Abbey and Cardinal Wolsey. 

Leicester Abbey was founded in the year 1143, '^^ ^^^ rei^n of King 
Stephen, by Robert Bossu, Earl of Leicester, for black canons of the 
Order of St. Augustine, and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is 
situated in a pleasant meadow to the north of the town, watered by the 
river Soar, whence it acquired the name of St. Mary de Pratis, or de la 
Pre. This monastery was richly endowed with lands in thirty-six of the 
neighbouring parishes, besides various possessions in other counties, and 
enjoyed considerable privileges and immunities. Bossu, with the con- 
sent of the Lady Amicia, his wife, became a canon regular in his own 
foundation, in expiation of his rebellious conduct towards his sovereign, 
and particularly for the injuries which he had thereby brought upon 
the " goodly town of Leycestre." The monastery had liberty of pro- 
curing fuel and keeping cattle in divers other manors. Amicia, the wife 
of the founder, gave two bucks annually. Margaret de Quincey also 
gave a buck annually out of Charnwood Forest, and land at Sheepshead. 
Robert de Quincey, her husband, confirmed these grants, and added the 
tenth of all hay sold in Ade and Wyffeley, and the right shoulder of all 
the deer killed in the park of Acle. 

Leicester Abbey was rendered famous as being the last residence of 
the unhappy Wolsey : within its walls was once witnessed a scene more 
humiliating to human ambition, and more instructive to human gran- 
deur, than almost any which history has produced. Here the fallen 
pride of Wolsey retreated from the insults of the world, all his visions 
of ambition were now gone; his pomp and pageantry and crowded 
levees. On this spot he told the listening monks, the sole attendants of 



35^ Leicester Abbey and Cardinal Wolsey. 

his dying hour, as tiiey stood around his pallet, that he was come to lay 
his bones among them, and gave them a pathetic testimony to the truth 
and joys of religion. 

On his road to London, whither he had been summoned from his 
Castle at Cawood, by Henry, to take his trial for high treason, he was 
seized with a disorder, which so increased as to oblige his resting at 
Leicester, where he was met at the Abbey-gate by the Abbot and his 
whole convent. The first ejaculation of Wolsey on meeting these holy 
persons, plainly shows that he was aware of his approaching end: 
•• Father Abbot," said he, " I am come hither to lay my bones among 
you ;" and with much difficulty he was carried upstairs, which it was 
feted he was never again to descend alive. The very next day the 
Abbot was summoned to administer the fifth sacrament of the Roman 
Catholic Church, called extreme unction, and the guard were desired to 
witness his last moments. He expired as the clock struck eight, 
saying, " If I had served God as diligently as I have done the King, he 
would not have given me over in my grey hairs." 

The remains of the Cardinal were interred in the Abbey church at 
Leicester, after having been viewed by the mayor and corporation (for 
the prevention of false rumours), and were attended to the grave by the 
Abbot and all his brethren. This last ceremony was performed by 
torchlight, the canons singing dirges, and offering orisons, at between 
four and five o'clock on the morning of St. Andrew's Day, Novem- 
ber 30, 1530. 

At the Dissolution, the site of the Abbey was granted to William, 
Marquis of Northampton. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the Earl of 
Huntingdon was in possession of it ; but in the succeeding reign it 
belonged to the Cavendish family, and was the seat of the Countess of 
Devonshire, till the period of the Civil War, during which a party of 
Royalists from Ashby-de-la-Zouch, under the command of Henry 
Hastings, afterwards Lord Loughborough, came and burnt the Abbey, 
leaving only the walls standing. In 16415, the town of Leicester, under 
Colonel Thomas Grey, on the 31st of May, was stormed by Charles I. 
and Prince Rupert, with great slaughter, but it was recovered on the 
i8th of June, in the same year, by the Parliamentarians under Fairfex. 

There is a traditional story that the stone coffin in which Wolsey 's 
remains were placed, was, after its disinterment, used as a horse-trough 
at an inn in or near Leicester. 



351 



Groby Castle and Bradgate Hall — Elizabeth Woodville 
and Lady Jane Grey. 

Groby. — The manor of Groby, in Leicestershire, and the ad- 
acent one of Bradgate, were given by the Conqueror to a favourite 
Norman follower, named Hugh Grandmeisnell, who was after- 
wards created Baron of Hinkley and High Steward of England by 
William Rufus. Parnel, or Petronella, the daughter and co-heir of 
this Sir Hugh, brought this manor in marriage to Robert Blanch- 
maines. Earl of Leicester, from whom, by the marriage of another 
co-heir, it passed to Saher de Quincey, created Earl of Winchester 
in the eighth year of King John, and whose son and heir, Roger, 
Earl of Winchester, died in the forty-eighth year of Henry IIL, 
leaving issue three co-heiresses, one of whom, Margaret, wife of 
William de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, gave it to her second son, 
William de Ferrers, who was afterwards created Baron of Groby. 
In the reign of Edward IV., the manor was possessed by Sir Edward 
Grey, in right of his wife, Elizabeth Woodville, heir-general of the 
Ferrers, and afterwards queen of Edward IV., and whose grandson, 
Thomas, was created Marquis of Dorset. His grandson, Henry 
Grey, Duke of Suffolk (father of Lady Jane Grey), was beheaded in 
1554, and his estates were transferred to his nephew, who was 
created Baron Grey of Groby by James I. In 1628, his grandson, 
Henry, was created Earl of Stamford, from whom the present Earls 
of Stamford and Warrington are descended. 

Bradgate, where still stand the remains of a venerable old 
mansion, is situated on the skirts of Charnwood Forest, about two 
miles from Groby Castle, and four miles from Leicester. In the 
ecclesiastical division of the county it is a member of the noble 
owner's manor and peculiar of Groby. As parcel of that manor, 
Bradgate belonged anciently to Hugh Grandmeisnell, passed with 
Groby manor to Robert Blanchmaines, Earl of Leicester, and after- 
wards by marrage to Saher de Quincey, Earl of Winton. Bradgate 
Park, as parcel of the manor of Groby, became the property of 
William de Ferrers, whose son and heir, William, was summoned 
to Parliament in 1293, as Baron Ferrers, of Groby. In 1444, on 
the death of the last William, Lord Ferrers, of Groby, Bradgate 
descended to Sir Edward Grey, who married Elizabeth, sole 
daughter of Henry, son to William, Lord Ferrers, of Groby. Sir 



352 "t^rohy Cast ic and Bradmie HalL 

John Grey, son of Sir Edward, married Elizabeth Wideville, whose 
beauty so impressed King Edward IV., that he married her ard 
made her Queen of England and the mother of queens. — {See 
Grafton House, Northamptonshire.) 

Sir Thomas Grey, son of Sir John Grey and EHzabeth Wideville, 
succeeded as Lord Ferrers of Groby, and in 1475 was advanced to 
the dignity of Marquis of Dorset. He died in 1501, having pre- 
viously commenced the erection of several new buildings both at 
Groby and Bradgate. He was succeeded by his third son, Thomas, 
second Marquis of Dorset, who, early in the reign of Henry VHI., 
built at Bradgate a very fair, large, and beautiful house, from 
materials brought principally from the manor-house of the Earl of 
Warwick, at Sutton Coldfield. In 151 1 he was sent into Spain with 
an army of 10,000 men, of whom 5000 were archers, who, besides 
their bows and arrows, carried halberds, " which they pitched in 
the ground till their arrows were shot, and then took up again to 
do execution on the enemy." Two years later, this Thomas, with 
four of his brothers, together with the Duke of Suffolk and some 
other gallant gentlemen, attended a tournament at St. Denis, in 
France, and "behaved themselves so bravely therein that they 
returned home with singular honour." In 1520, at the famous 
meeting of King Henry and Francis the First of France, between 
Ardres and Guisnes, in Picardy, " he carried the sword of state 
before the King of England naked, as the Duke of Bourbon did 
before the King of France, and after that was one of the aiders in 
those renowned jousts and tournaments which were held at that 
time there, between the English and French." In 1529 he was a 
witness in the cause of divorce between King Henry and Queen 
Catherine, his first wife, as to the age of Prince Arthur, &c. He 
died in 1530. 

The next owner of Bradgate was Henry, eldest son of the pre- 
ceding and third Marquis of Dorset. About this time Bradgate was 
visited by Leland, who says : — " From Leicester to Bradegate, by 
ground welle woddid, three miles. At Bradegate is a fair parke, and 
a lodge lately buildid there by the Lord Thomas Gray, Marquise of 

Dorsete, father to Henry, that is now marquise This parke 

was parte of the old erles of Leicester's lands, and sins, by heirs 
generales, it came to the lord Ferrars of Groby, and so to the Grays. 
From Bradegate to Groby a mile and a half, much by woddenland. 
There remaine few tokens of the old castelle, more than that the 
hill that the kepe of the castelle stoode on is yet very notable, but 
there is now no stone upon it Newere workes and buildinges 



Grohy Castle and Bradgate HalL 353 

there at Bradegate were erected by the Lord Thomas, first marquise 
5f Dorset, among the which workes he began and erectid the foun- 
dation and waules ot a great gatehouse of brick, and a tour, but thac 

is left half onfinished of him and so it standeth yet There is 

a faire large parke by the place a vi. miles in compasse. There is 
also a poore village by the place and a litil broke by it.'' 

In 1546-7, Henry, Marquis of Dorset, was appointed Lord High 
Constable of England, for three days only, on the solemnity of the 
King's coronation ; in 155 1 he was made Warden of the West and 
Middle Marches towards Scotland, and in the same year he was 
created Duke of Suffolk, in compliment to his second wife, who 
was Frances, daughter and co-heir of Charles Brandon, the gay 
Duke of Suffolk, by his third wife Mary, daughter of King Henry 
VII., and widow of Louis XII., King of France. The family of 
Suffolk were now enjoying a large share of prosperity and of royal 
favour. The king was their near kinsman, and among their rela- 
tives were the most powerful famihes in England. It seems unac- 
countable then, except on the theory that prosperity unsettles men's 
minds, when adversity could not, that only during the summer after 
his latest honours had been conferred upon him, the Duke of 
Suffolk was unfortunately allured to countenance a project which 
involved himself and his family in ruin. 

But before we can detail this fatal step it will be necessary to 
refer to the beautiful and accomplished daughter of the Duke of 
Suffolk— the incomparable Lady Jane Grey. " It is impossible," 
says the historian of Leicestershire, " to think upon the sweet dis- 
position and wonderful accomplishments of this excellent lady, 
without having the heart elated by the sublimest, as well as melted 
by the tenderest feelings. How interested must we feel about 
Bradgate, when we recollect it was not only the birthplace, but the 
scene of the happy childhood and the early studies of this incom- 
parable heroine, Here, to use the quaint but emphatic language 
of Dr. Fuller, ' she was bred by her parents, according to her high 
birth, in religion and learning. They were no whit indulgent to 
her in childhood, but extremely severe, more than needed to so 
sweet a temper; for what need iron instruments to bow wax? 
But, as the sharpest winters (correcting the rankness of the earth) 
cause the more healthful and fruitful summers, so the harshness of 
her breeding compacted her soul to the greater patience and piety, 
so that afterwards she proved the mirror of her age, and attained to 
be an excellent scholar,' 

** AA 



354 Groby Castle and Bradgate HalL 

" Of her strong affection to learning, there is a remarkable test!* 
niony given by Mr. Ascham, which, as it does honour to herself and 
her learned preceptor, we cannot pass by in silence. One example," 
saith he, " whether love or fear doth more in a child, for virtue and 
learning, I will gladly report ; which may be heard with some plea- 
sure and followed with more profit. Before I went into Guernsey 
I came to Brodegate, in Leicestershire, to take my leave of that 
noble lady, Jane Grey, to whom I was exceeding much beholden. 
Her parents, the Duke and Duchess, with all the household, gen- 
tlemen and gentlewomen, were hunting in the park. I found her in 
the chamber reading Phcedon Platonis^ in Greek, and that with as 
much delight as some gentlemen would read a merry tale in 
Boccace. After salutation and duty done, with some other talk, I 
asked her, why she would lose such pastime in the park. Smiling, 
she answered' me, * I wiste all their sport in the parke is but a 
shadow to that pleasure that I find in Plato. Alas, good folk ! they 
never felt what true pleasure meant.' *And how came you, 
madam,' quoth I, * to this deep knowledge of pleasure, and what 
did chiefly allure you unto it, seeing not many women but very few 
men have attained thereto P * I will tell you,' saith she, ' and tell 
you a troth which perchance you will marvel at. One of the greatest 
benefits that ever God gave me, is that he sent me so sharp and 
severe parents, and so gentle a schoolmaster. For when I am in 
presence either of father or mother, whether I speak, keep silence, 
sit, stand, or go, eat, drink, be merry or sad, be sewing, dancing, or 
doing anything else, I must do it, as it were, in such weight, 
measure, and number, even so perfectly as God made the world ; or 
else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened — yea, presently 
sometimes with pinches, nips, and bobs, and other ways (which I 
will not name for the honour I bear them), without measure mis- 
ordered, till the time come that I must go to Mr. Elmer ; who 
teacheth me so gently, so pleasantly, with such fair allurements to 
learning, that I think all the time nothing, whiles I am with him. 
And when I am called from him, I fall on weeping, because what- 
ever I do else, but learning, is full of grief, trouble, fear, and whole 
misliking unto me. And thus my book hath been so much my 
pleasure, and bringeth daily to me more pleasures and more, that 
in respect of it, all other pleasures in very deed, be but trifles and 
very troubles unto me.' I remember this talk very gladly (saith 
Mr. A.), both because it is so worthy of memory, and because 
ii was the last that I ever had, and the last time that I ever ziyt 
that noble and worthy lady." 



Grohy Castle and Bradgate Hall, 355 

" She had," continues Dr. Fuller, " the innocency of childhood, 
the beauty of youth, the solidity pf middle, the gravity of old age, 
and all at eighteen ; the birth of a princess, the learning of a clerk, 
the life of a saint, yet the death of a malefactor, for her parents* 
offences. . . . No lady which led so many pious, lived so few 
pleasant days, whose soul was never out of the nonage of afflictions, 
till death made her of full years to inherit happiness. So severe 
her education ! Whilst a child her father's was to her an house of 
correction ; nor did she write woman sooner than she did subscribe 
wife ; and, in obedience to her parents, was unfortunately matched 
to the Lord Guildford Dudley. Yet he was a goodly, and (for aught 
i find to the contrary) a godly gentleman, whose worst fault was 
*jiat he was son to an ambitious father. She was proclaimed but 
never crowned queen ; living in the Tower, which place, though it 
hath a double capacity of a palace and a prison, yet appeared to 
her chiefly in the latter relation. For she was longer a captive than 
a queen therein ; taking no contentment all the time, save what she 
found in God and a clear conscience. Her family, by snatching at 
a crown which was not, lost a coronet which was their own, much 
degraded in degree, and more in estate. I would give in an inven- 
tory of the vast wealth they then possessed, but am loathe to grieve 
her surviving relations with a list of the lands lost by her father's 
attainture." 

Of the ample buildings and sumptuous offices of the Bradgate 
Hall of the sixteenth century, the remains now to be seen are few and 
fragmentary. The building was of brick with stone quoins, and of 
these the principal remains are the broken shells of two towers, with 
portions of enclosing walls, partly covered with ivy. Of the moat, 
the pleasaunces, and fish-ponds, the traces are still to be seen, and 
close to the house is a beautiful avenue of chestnuts— a probable 
haunt of Lady Jane Grey. The park still abounds in picturesque 
views, and is still well stocked with deer, though it is no longer 
what it was, " when a squirrel might hop six miles from tree to tree 
without touching the ground, and a traveller might travel from 
Beaumanoir to Bardon on a summer day without seeing once the 
sun." Sad rifts have been broken in upon the ancient " wodden- 
lands" of the park, as Leland calls them ; and the rabbit and hare 
now roam over what were formerly the courtyards and gardens of 
the manor. Thoresby states that " it is said of the wife of the Earl 
of Suffolk, who last inhabited Bradgate Hall, that she set it on fire 
or caused it to be set on fire, at the instigation of her sister, who 

A A 2 



3S6 Donington Park ana Langley Priory. 

then lived in London. The story is thus told : Some time after the 
Earl had married, he brought his lady to his seat at Bradgate. Her 
sister wrote to her, desiring to know how she liked her habitation 
and the country she was in. The Countess of Suffolk wrote for 
answer, that 'the house was tolerable, that the country was a 
forest, and the inhabitants all brutes.' The sister in reply 
advised her 'to set fire to the house, and run away by the 
light oi it.' The former part of the request, it is said, she imme- 
diately put into practice. Some say that this immaculate lady had 
an intrigue with her husband's chaplain. 

In later as in earlier times, the demesne of Bradgate has followed 
the fortunes of the manor of Groby. Both are now, as mentioned 
above, among the possessions of the Earls of Stamford and 
Warrington, 



Donington Park and Langley Priory. — The Cheslyns 
and the Shakespears. 

Donington Hall, a magnificent edifice, the seat of the Marquis 
of Hastings, resembling a palace rather than the typical ancestral 
hall of England, is situated nine and a half miles north-east of 
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, on the north-west border of the county of 
Leicester, and is separated from Derbyshire on the west by 
the river Trent. It was formerly in the possession of Thomas 
Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster, Leicester, and Derby. In 1594 it 
was purchased by George, Earl of Huntingdon, who soon after 
uestroyed the castle at this place, and erected a handsome mansion, 
which continued the principal residence of the Earls of Hunting- 
don. In 1789 it was bequeathed by Francis Hastings, Earl of 
Huntingdon, to the Earl of Moira, who erected the present mansion 
o{ stone, from the designs of W. Wilkins, of Cambridge. It stands 
in a plain formed by the union of three delightful valleys, which 
radiate from the spot m the direction of east, south, and south- 
west. The situation is, notwithstanding, considerably above the 
general level of the country. The style of the exterior and entrance 
hall is castellated architecture, adopted from a plan suggested by 
his lordship as best suited to the scenery around. It is a quad- 
rangular edifice surrounding a courtyard ; the principal front is to 
the south, extending to about 130 feet. In the centre is a lofty 
pointed arch of entrance, springing from turrets ; the space over tliQ 



Donington Park and Lang ley Priory. 357 

arcli is divided into five compartments by small buttresses ternii- 
nating in pinnacles between which are lancet windows, and is 
surmounted by a battlement. Over the door is the following 
inscription : — " To the memory of his uncle, Francis^ Earl of 
Huntingdon, from whose affection he received the estate, this 
edifice is gratefully dedicated by Francis Rawdon Hastings." On 
each side of this noble porch, which is highly ornamental, 
the main building extends about fifty feet, two stories in height, 
terminated at the angles by embattled tun'ets. And between each 
of the five windows on either side rises a buttress, turreted ; over 
the windows are scroll labels and an ornamented open parapet. 
The porch opens to the great hall, 24 feet square ; on one side is 
the dining-room, 48 feet by 24 feet ; and on the other an ante- 
chamber and drawing-room, 40 feet by 24 feet. At the west end is 
the library, 72 feet long by 26 feet wide, in which is preserved a 
collection of royal and noble letters, arranged with great care by 
Mr. Edward Dawson, the steward ; on the east side is the great 
breakfast-parlour ; and extending beyond the mansion is the family 
chapel, 58 feet long by 20 feet wide, having a high pointed roof and 
mullioned windows ; its walls, supported by buttresses, terminating 
in pinnacles, produce a beautiful effect, while it serves to conceal 
the offices. The principal apartments contain a collection of ancient 
portraits, chiefly of the Hastings family and their relatives. There 
are also numerous specimens of Holbein, Vandyke, Sir P. Lely, Sir 
G. Kneller, Jansen, Teniers,Titian, &c. The scenery of Donington 
Park is remarkable for picturesque beauty, abounding in undulations, 
clothed with the richest verdure, and adorned with a profusion of 
noble trees. At the northern extremity of the park is seen Doning- 
ton Cliff, verging on the river Trent. This eminence is luxuriantly 
clothed with a fine hanging wood, and the river beneath winds in a 
silver stream, through meadows many miles in length. 

Donington Hall, as will presently be seen, is connected with 
Langley Priory , a very ancient foundation of Leicestershire, three 
miles south of Donington Hall. Here William Pantulf, in the 
reign of King Canute the Dane, founded a small nunnery, dedicated 
to the Virgin. At the dissolution the site and demesne lands were 
demised to Thomas Gray. This gentleman died at Castle Doning- 
ton, seized, among other estates, of the site and lands of Langley 
Priory, in 1564. In 1686 the whole estate was purchased by Richard 
Cheslyn, Esq., an eminent founder in London, and the projector 
of the Whitechapel Waterworks. His grandson, Mr. Cheslyn, in 



35^ Doningion Park and Langley Priory, 

1770, expended nearly 5000/. in plantations, gardens, and pleasure* 
grounds, and made considerable additions to his estates by pur* 
chasing lands in Diseworth, in the vicinity of the priory, and in 
Castle Donington. Dying in 1787, Mr. Cheslyn bequeathed Langley 
to his nephew, Richard Cheslyn, and to his- elder son (under strict 
settlement). 

On entering this lordship from Tonge, the eye is attracted by 
numerous fine old oaks — the whole grounds, indeed, seeming to 
have been at one time laid out as a park. The only house on the 
whole estate is Langley Hall, which occupies a low situation in a 
rich but sequestered vicinity, and has in front of it a fine sheet of 
water with extensive pleasure-grounds. 

In the year 1820 the annual income of this estate was little short 
of 8000/. Mr. Cheslyn, then its proprietor, filled the office of High 
Sheriff, was an active magistrate, and supported the character of 
the rich English squire in the traditional style of splendour. He 
had one son and three daughters by his wife, the sister of the bishop 
of Killala. " The son," says Sir Bernard Burke, " was the pride of 
all circles and the idol of his own ; the daughters were the belles of 
the county, two of them lovely as Hebe, and one gifted with great 
mental powers. At Donington, at Belvoir, at Coleorton, at all the 
great county seats, they were always welcome guests, and the priory 
was a rendezvous for the choicest spirits of the three counties. 
Moore was a frequent visitor, and warbled some of his favourite 
Irish melodies at Langley Priory before they were in the possession 
of the general public. Bacchanalian and Anacreontic were the 
evenings at Langley in those days." 

The decline of the family of the Cheslyns was perhaps as rapid 
and as complete as that of any ancient stock whose vicissitudes 
throw a glow of romance over the pages of our county histories. 
Mr. Cheslyn became involved in a ruinous lawsuit, and some mining 
speculations into which he had entered turning out utterly profitless 
at about the same time, he found himself a beggared man. His 
son, who had been brought up with an expectancy of 7000/. a year, 
and was on the point of forming a high matrimonial alliance, found 
himself at once reduced from affluence to indigence. Only a year 
or two ago he might have mated with a countess, now we find him 
marrying a peasant's daughter, by whom he left an only son, the 
last of the Cheslyns, and now, or lately, an inmate of the Herrick 
Charity, or, at least, a recipient of its bounty. 

♦* An overwhelming vicissitude," adds the author already quoted, 



Donington Park and Laiigley Priory, 359 

" was never borne with a better grace than by Dick Cheslyn. To the 
last he kept up * the feast of reason and the flow of soul/ was always 
well received as a guest at the many noble houses at which he had 
visited on terms of equality, and at those dinner parties at which 
every portion of his dress was the cast-off clothes of his grander 
friends, always looked and was the gentleman. He made no secret 
of his poverty or of the generous hand that had * rigged him out/ 
*This coat,* he has been heard to say, Svas Radcliffe's ; these 
pants, Granby's ; this waistcoat, Scarborough's ; the et ceteras, 
Bruce Campbell's/ His cheerfulness and bonhommie under all the 
painful circumstances never forsook him. He was the victim of 
others' mismanagement and profusion, not of his own." 

Towards the close of the eighteenth century, when the Cheslyn? 
were still keeping lordly state at Langley Priory, and when Francis, 
Lord Moira,the gallant soldier, eloquent senator, and able Governor- 
General of India, was the master of Donington Hall, a peasant lad, 
named John Shakespear, whose chief employment was tending 
cows in the lanes, but who was occasionally employed in the gardens 
of the priory, was living in a humble cottage, in the adjoining village 
of Tonge. 

One day a sudden thunder-storm overtook Lord Moira, who was 
walking in the vicinity of his mansion, and drove him to take shelter 
under a tree. Here he found young Shakespear, the cowherd, who 
had come here with the same object as his lordship. Entering into 
conversation with the boy, and being struck with his seeming intel- 
ligence, Lord Moira commanded the boy to call at Donington Hall 
on the following morning. The lad, acting under the impression 
that the gentleman who had been speaking to him was one of the 
upper servants at the hall, did as he had been requested ; but was 
filled with confusion when, on being ushered into a room of the 
mansion, he discovered that it was Lord Moira himself who had 
been talking with him under the tree. 

Further conversation with the lad strengthened his lordship's 
estimate of his talents, and he resolved that the peasant boy should 
have the advantage of education. Young Shakespear was placed 
at school, and made rapid progress, especially in the acquisition of 
languages. 

When young he was connected, as a teacher of languages, with 
an educational establishment at Marlow ; afterwards he was trans- 
ferred to Addiscomb College, and for a number of years filled the 
office of Professor of Oriental Languages in that institution, till 



360 Doniiigton Park and Langley Priory, 

1852, when he vacated his position. During his connexion with 
Addiscomb College, he published several oriental works, through 
the Messrs. Allen, of Leadenhall Street, and from these works 
reaped a much larger reward than ordinarily falls to the lot even of 
the most gifted authors. Mr. Shakespear's principal publications 
consist of an " English and Hindustani Dictionary," a " Grammar 
of the Hindustani Language," an " Introduction to," and " Selections 
from the Hindustani Language." These works may be ranked only 
among the class of compiled publications, but they evidence much 
labour and research, and their great popularity remains the true 
proof of their usefulness and merit. 

Some curious stories are told as to Mr. Shakespear's care- 
fulness, if not penuriousness, in money matters ; and this passion 
for the accumulation of wealth, with the successful issue of his 
works, enabled him to leave behind him at his death upwards 
of a quarter of a million of money. His death took place on 
the loth June, 1858, in the eighty-fifth year of his age, at Langley 
Priory, which he had purchased some years previously, for 
7o,ocx)/. His famous library he bequeathed to Professor Bowles, 
of Addiscomb. Mr. Shakespear's connexion with the Shakspeare 
House, at Stratford-on-Avon, may be told in a few words. That 
national property was bought in 1847, by pubHc auction, for 3000/., 
by the Shakspearian Club, out of a fund obtained by public sub- 
scription, and was conveyed to Viscount Morpeth (Earl of Carlisle) 
and others. Desirous of doing honour to the memory of his illus- 
trious namesake, John Shakespear bequeathed 2500/. to the 
trustees of the house, for the purpose of clearing away old obstruc- 
tions, in the shape of the walls of other buildings, etc. Mr. Shake- 
spear never professed to be related to the great bard, but thought it 
probable that he was descended from a branch of the family. He 
was very particular in spelling his own name in the way we have 
given it, without the final <r, whilst he always wrote the name of the 
poet thus— Shakspeare. 

Thus the cow-boy, who had worked hopelessly enough, no doubt, 
on the estates of the priory, lived to purchase them with money 
earned by his own talent and perseverance, and died in affluence, 
comfort, and honour, while the last of the Cheslyns, after experi- 
encing the luxuries which a princely fortune can command, was 
compelled to accept the eleemosynary assistance offered by 
public charity. 

Before the time of his death Mr. Shakespear had purchased 



Donington Park and Langley Priory. 361 

the whole of the Priory estates, for 140,000/. This splendid inheri- 
tance he bequeathed to Charles Bowles, Esq., who assumed, 
by sign manual, the name of Shakespear, and is now a respected 
county gentleman and magistrate of Leicestershire. 

Donington is at present held by Lady Edith Maud Abney- 
Hastings, Countess of Loudon. 



— ^ 



3^2 



WARWICKSHIRE. 

Warwick Castle and Guy's Cliff. 

The town of Warwick is delightfully situated on the banka 
of the river Avon, nearly in the centre of the county to which 
it gives name, and of which it is the capital. Its foundation is con- 
sidered as remote as the earliest period of the Christian era, Dugdale 
attributes its erection to Gutheline or Kimbeline, a British king, whose 
son, Guiderius, greatly extended it ; but being aftei-wards almost totally 
destroyed by the Picts and Scots, it lay in a ruinous condition until it 
was rebuilt by the renowned Caractacus. It greatly suffered fiom the 
Danish invaders, but was repaired by the Lady Ethelfleda, the daughter 
of King Alfred. Warwick Castle is one of the very few baronial 
residences now remaining which are connected with our early history; 
and rears its round and lofty turrets in the immediate vicinity of the 
town. It stands on a rocky eminence, 40 feet perpendicular height, 
and overhanging the river which washes its rocky base. The first 
fortified building on this spot was erected by the Lady Ethelfleda, who 
built the donjon upon an artificial mound of earth, which can still be 
traced in the grounds. The most ancient part of the present Castle, 
according to Domesday Book, was erected in the reign of Edward the 
Confessor ; which document informs us that it was " a special strong- 
hold for the midland part of the kingdom." In the reign of William 
the Norman it received considerable additions ; when Turchill, then 
vicecomes of Warwickshire, was ordered to enlarge and repair it. The 
Conqueror, however, being distrustful of Turchill, committed the 
custody of it to one of his own followers, Henry de Newburgh, whom 
he created Earl of Warwick, the first of that title of the Norman line. 
The second earl garrisoned the Castle for King Stephen. In the 
reign of Henry III. this fortress was considered of such importance 
that security was required from Margery, the sister and heiress of 
Thomas de Newburgh, the sixth earl of the Norman line, that she would 
not many with any person in whom the King could not place the 
greatest confidence. During the same reign, in the year 1265, William 
Mauduit, who had garrisoned the Castle for the King against the re- 
bellious barons, was surprised by the governor of Kenilworth Castle^ 




p. 362 



WARWICK CASTLE. 

1. The Inner Court, from the Keep. 

2. The Castle, from the Island. 



Warwick Castle and Gtifs Cliff, 363 

whojiiaving destroyed a part of the walls, took him, with the Countess, 
bis wife, prisoners ; and a ransom of 1900 marks was paid before their 
release could be obtained. 

To the Newburghs succeeded the Beauchamps; Anne, daughter 
and heiress of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, in the reign of 
Henry VI., married Richard Neville, who assumed the title of Earl of 
Warwick in the reign of Henry VI., by right of his wife, and was 
called the King'tnaker. 

After his death, at the battle of Barnet, the Duke of Clarence, who 
had married his daughter, was created Earl of Warwick by King 
Edward IV., and put in possession of the Castle; to which he made 
great additions. Upon the forfeiture of the Duke's estates, a grant ot 
the Castle was made to the family of Dudley ; and that line failing, 
the title of Earl of Warwick was given by James I. to Robert Rich, 
whose property it continued till 1759. The Castle was granted by the 
same King to Sir Fulke Greville, Lord Brook, after having passed 
through the successive lines of Beauchamp, Neville, Plantagenet, and 
Dudley. Sir Fulke Greville found the Castle in a ruinous condition, and 
expended large sums in its restoration. Under his successor the fortress 
was gan-isoned for the Parliament ; and in 1642 it was besieged by the 
King's forces. Francis Lord Brook was created Earl Brook of War- 
wick Castle in 1746 ; and in 1759 Earl of Warwick. The gatehouse 
tower of the Castle is flanked by embattled walls, covered with ivy, 
having at the extremity Caesar's Tower and Guy's Tower. The gate, 
between machicolated towers, leads to the great court, bounded by ram- 
parts and turrets ; on one side of the area is an artificial mound, skirted 
l3y trees and shrubs, and surmounted by an ancient tower. The *' liv- 
ing rooms " of the Castle extend en suite 330 feet in length ; eveiy 
window in which commands extensive and diversified views. The hall 
has been most carefully restored ; and all the armorial decorations have 
been painted by Willement. They refer entirely to the genealogical 
connexions of the present noble possessor with the ancient Earls of 
Warwick. Many of the rooms of the Castle are hung with tapestry, 
and ancestral portraits, and a collection of ancient and modem 
armour. 

The stately building at the north-west angle, called Guy's House, 
was erected in 1394 ; it is 128 feet high, and the walls, of solid masonry, 
are 10 feet in thickness. Caesar's Tower, which is supposed to be the 
most ancient part of the Castle, is 174 feet high. The grounds are very 
extensive. In a greenhouse, built for its reception, is the celebrated 
and magnificent marble vase, found in the ruins of Hadrian's villa at 



364 Wanvick Castle and Guy's Cliff. 

Tivoli, and brought to England by Sir William Hamilton, who pre- 
sented it to the Earl cf Warwick; it holds 163 gallons. In a room 
attached to Csesar's Tower are shown the sword, shield, and helmet, 
which, according to fabulous tradition, belonged to Guy Earl of War- 
wick ; but it is of a medley of dates. The custody of this sword was, 
80 late as the year 1542, granted to Edward Cresswell, with a salary of 
2d. per diem, out of the rents and profits of the Castle ; his kettle, of 
bellmetal, 26 feet wide, to contain 120 gallons, is also preserved; for 
which purpose a pension was granted in the reign of Henry VOL The 
Dun Cow is not mentioned till, in a seventeenth century play, in 1636, 
a rib of the cow was exhibited at Warwick. 

>• A curious interest attaches to the story of the Dun Cow, mythic 
though it be : the origin is thus explained by the Rev. C. H. Harts- 
home. On the north-western edge of Shropshire is the Staple Hill, a 
collection of upright stones, disposed in a circle 90 feet in diameter, 
and bearing the name of *' Michell's Fold," a title signifying the 
Middle Fold, or inclosure; forming, as it docs, the central one between 
two others. It is supposed to have been the scene of burial as well as 
sacrifice, by the Druids ; and the following legend still lingers among 
these stones. Here the voice of hction declares there formerly dwelt 
a giant, who guarded his cow within this inclosure, like another Apis 
among the ancient Egyptians, a cow who yielded her milk as 
miraculously as the bear CEdumla, «\'hom we read of in Icelandic 
mythology, filling every vessel that could be brought to her, until at 
length an old crone attempted to catch her milk in a sieve, when, furious 
at the insult, she broke out of the magical inclosure at Michell's Fold 
and wandered into Warwickshire, where her subsequent histoiy and 
fate are well known under that of the Dun Cow, whose death added 
another wreath of laurel to the immortal Guy, Earl of Warwick. 

The learned Dr. Caius, of Cambridge, says of the Cow : " I met 
with the head of a certain huge animal, of which the naked bone, with 
the bones supporting the horns, were of enormous weight, and as much 
as a man could well lift. The curvature of the bones of the horns is 
of such a projection as to point not straight downwards, but obliquely 
forwards. ... Of this kind I saw another head at Warwick 
Castle, A.D. 1552, in the place where the arms of the great and strong 

Guy, formerly Earl of Warwick, are kept There is also a 

vertebra of the neck of the same animal, of such great size, that it» 
circumference is not less than three Roman feet, seven inches and a 
half. I think also that the blade-bone, which is to be seen hung up by 
chains from the north gate of Coventry, belongs to the same animal 



■Wanvick Castle and Gtiy's Cliff. 365 

The circumference of the whole bone is not less than eleven feet four 
inches and a half. 

" In the chapel of the great Guy, Earl of Warwick, which issituatea 
rather more than a mile from the town of Warwick (Guy's Cliff), 
there is hung up a rib of the same animal, as I suppose, the girth or 
which in the smallest part is nine inches, the length six feet and a half. 
It weighs nine pounds and a half. Some of the common people fancy 
it to be a rib of a wild boar, killed by Guy ; some a rib of a cow which 
haunted a ditch ( ? ravine) near Coventry, and injured many persons. 
This last opinion I judge to come nearer to the truth, since it may 
perhaps be the bone of a bonasus or urus. It is probable that many 
animals of this kind formerly lived in our England, being of old an 
island full of woods and forests ; because, even in our boyhood, the 
horns of those animals were in common use at the table, on more 
solemn feasts, in lieu of cups ; as those of the urus were in Gennany 
in ancient times, according to Caesar. They were supported on 
three silver feet, and had, as in Germany, a border of silver round 
the rim." 

To the reign of Athelstan, a.d. 926, some of our early chroniclers 
assign the existence of the fabulous Guy, Earl of Warwick. Accord- 
ing to the legend, Athelstan was at war with the Danes, who had 
penetrated to the neighbourhood of Winchester ; and it was to depend 
on the issue of a single combat between an English champion to be 
appointed, and Colbran, who, though acting as champion of the Danes, 
is described as being an African or Saracen, of gigantic size — whether 
the crown of England should be retained by Athelstan, or be trans- 
ferred to Anlaf, King of Denmark, and Govelaph, King of Norway. 
Earl Guy, whose valour had obtained for him great renown, had at 
the very time just landed at Portsmouth in the garb of a palmer, having 
returned fi'om a pilgrimage to the Holy Land ; and being engaged as a 
champion by the King, who, without knowing him, had been directed 
by a vision to apply to him to undertake the matter, he succeeded in 
killing the Danish champion. He then privately discovered himself to 
the King, on whom he enjoined secrecy, retired unknown to the neigh- 
bourhood of his own Castle at Warwick, and lived the life of a hermit 
till his death. 

What is the origin of this tradition, which cannot be traced higher 
than the early part of the twelfth century, it is difficult to determine. 
The story, as given by our early historians, and in Dugdale, who, with 
Leland, Camden, and some others, has received it as a true history, is 
inconsistent with the known circumstances of the times. And it may 



366 Warwick Castle and Guy's Clijf. 

Je obsei-ved, that the name of the champion, Guy, the pilgrimage to 
the Holy Land, and the African or Saracenic origin of Colbrand, point 
to a period subsequent to the Norman Conquest as that in which the 
legend received its present form. 

Mr. Thomas Wright, who has investigated the history of the 
romance of Guy of Warwick, shows how the original myth in his- 
tories of nations has been gradually transformed in each tribe into a 
fabulous history of individuals (thus constituting what we call the 
heroic history of nations), and laid the groundwork of mediaeval 
romances ; and many of these have been at last taken for authentic 
history, and then found their way into old chronicles. He shows how 
this was the case in ancient Greece, as well as in mediaeval Europe. He 
then traces in our country the change of the national and primaeval 
myths of the Saxon race into a class of romances, which are known as 
Anglo-Danish, because the new plot is generally laid in the events 
connected with the invasion of this country by the Danes. The 
romance of " Guy of Warwick" belongs to this class ; it is found in 
its earliest form in the Anglo-Norman poem of the thirteenth century, 
and to some degree it illustrates the locality. 

Guy's Cliff is charmingly picturesque, with its rock, wood, and 
water. It is supposed that here was an oratory and a cell for the hermit 
in Saxon times ; and it is certain that a hermit dwelt here in the reigns 
of Edward HI. and Henry IV. Henry V. visited the Cliff; and here 
a chantry was founded by Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. In 
this delightful retreat lived John Rous, the antiquary, as a chantry 
priest Subsequently, a private gentleman built a handsome mansion 
here. The founder of the chapel caused a rude statue of the famous 
Earl Guy to be carved from the solid rock ; it is about eight feet in 
height, and was well preserved in the seventeenth century. 

Warwick is a brave old place, redolent of the fame of the Earls of 
Warwick at every turn ; which is shown in St. Mary's Cross Church 
and the Beauchamp Chapel, and from the renowned 

*• Sir Guy of Warwicke, as was wreten 
In palmer wyse, as Colman hath it wryten ; 
The battaill toke on hym for England's right, f 

With the Colbrond in armes for to fight," — 

to the accomplished Sir Fulke Greville. 

Lord Lytton, in his picturesque romance, the Last of the Barons, 
gives the following elaborate portrait of the King-maker in his regal 
state, at Warwick House, in Newgate-street, where six oxen were 
eaten at a breakfast, and any acquaintance might have as much roast 



Warwick Castle and Guy's Cliff, 3^7 

meat as he could prick and carry on a long dagger. This portrait is 
evidently a word-painting from the period : — " Tne Earl ot Warwick 
was seated near a large window that opened upon an inner court, which 
gave communication to the river. The chamber was painted in the 
style of Henry III., with huge figures representing the Battle of Hast- 
ings, or rather, for there were many separate pieces, the Conquest of 
Saxon England ; the ceiling was groined, vaulted, and emblazoned with 
the richest gilding and colours ; the chimney-piece (a modern ornament) 
rose to the roof, and represented in bold reliefs, gilt and decorated, the 
signing of Magna Charta ; the floor was strewed thick with dried 
rushes and odorous herbs ; the furniture was scanty but rich, the low- 
backed chaii-s, of which there were but four, carved in ebony, had 
cushions of velvet, with fringes of massive gold ; a small cupboard, or 
beaufet, covered with carpet% de cuir (carpets of gilt and painted 
leather) of great price, held various quaint and curious ornaments of 
plate, inwrought with precious stones; and beside this — a singular 
contrast — on a plain Gothic table lay the helmet, the gauntlets, and the 
battle-axe of the master. The Earl was in the lusty vigour of his age ; 
his hair, of deepest black, was worn short, as in disdain of the effemi- 
nate fashions of the day ; and fretted bare from the temples by the 
constant and early friction of his helmet, gave to a forehead naturally 
lofty a yet more majestic appearance of expanse and height ; his com- 
plexion, though dark and sunburnt, glowed with rich health ; the beard 
was closely shaven, and left, in all its remarkable beauty, the contour ot 
the oval face and strong jaw — strong as if clasped in iron ; the features 
were marked and aquiline, as was common to those of Norman 
blood ; the form spare, but of prodigious width and depth of chest, 
the more apparent from the fashion of the short surcoat, which was 
thrown back, and left in broad expanse a placard, not of holiday velvet 
and satins, but of steel, polished as a mirror, and inlaid with gold. 
The Earl's great stature, from the length of his limbs, was not so obser- 
vable when he sat, with his high, majestic, smooth, unwrinkled forehead, 
like some paladin of the rhyme of poet or romancer, and rare and 
harmonious combination of colossal strength with lithe and graceful 
lightness. The faded portrait of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, 
in the Rous Roll, preserved at the Heralds' College, does justice at 
least to the height and majesty of his stature. The portrait of Edward 
IV. is the only one in that long r«erie8 which at all rivals the stately 
proportions of the king-maker." 



368 



Blacklow Hill. — The Fate of Gaveston. 

Blacklow, or probably Black-laiv, Hill, so called from its being a 
place of execution, is situated in the parish of Wotton, within a mile 
and a half of Warwick. Thither Piers Gaveston, the coiTupt favourite 
of a weak and infatuated King, was dragged to ignominious execution, 
" without judgment of his peers or any course of law, by the Earls of 
Lancaster and Warwick, who had taken him by surprise at Deddington, 
in Oxfordshire." This disgraceful minion, whom Edward I. had caused 
to be educated together with his son, afterwards Edward II., in 
consideration of the great service his father had done the Crown, 
is described by an old historian, as " filling the Court with buffoons, 
parasites, minstrels, players, and alle kinde of dissolute persons, to 
entertaine and dissolve the King with delights and pleasures." 

There are in existence two letters of Edward, First Prince of Wales, 
dated 1304, in one of which he entreats the Queen, and in the other 
the Countess of Holland, his sister, to intercede with the King for the 
admission of Perot de Gaveston among his attendants. Prince Edward 
Avas twenty years old at the time, and this is perhaps the earliest men- 
tion of that unhappy intimacy which dishonoured his reign, and had 
such fatal consequences to himself and his favourite. There is also 
another letter of the same year from the Prince to Sir Hugh 
Despencer, acknowledging a present of grapes which reached him just 
as he was going to breakfast, and assuring the sender that the fruit 
could not have arrived at a more opportune moment. 

Among the many enemies which Gaveston made by his arrogance 
and wantonness, the most inveterate appear to have been Thomas, Earl 
of Lancaster; Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke; and Guy, Earl 
of Warwick ; whom he severally stigmatized with such contemptuous 
nicknames as " the Stage Player," *' Joseph the Jew," and "the Black 
Dogge of Ardern." The Player may be said to have been too cun- 
ning for him when he wiled him into Warwickshire ; and right deadly 
was the gnp of the Black Dogge, wlien the miserable parasite, aftel 
being hunted like a fox from one lurking-place to another, succumbed 
at length to his unrelenting fangs on Blacklow Hill. But the story of 
the sad end of the royal favourite is worth telling more fully : — " Gave- 
stone had," says Speed, " a sharp wit in a comely shape, and briefly was 
such an one as we use to call -very fine f he possessed also great 
courage and skill in arms, as he liad proved in the Scottish war and is 



Blackloiv Hill. — The Fate of Gaveston. 3^9 

the tournaments, where he had overthrown the most distinguished of 
our baronial chivalry. On the other hand he was luxurious to the last 
degree, proud as regards himself, insolent to others, and oppressive and 
capricious to those in any way subjected to his control. Those whom 
he nicknamed were dangerous men to jest with, even if there had been 
nothing in the favourite's public conduct to lay hold of. But while 
they thus saw themselves treated with contempt, they also saw all the 
great enterprises neglected. They saw the King's court given \ip to 
sensuality and riot ; they knew, also, that the riches of the kingdom 
were being converted to Gavestone's private use ; that Edward, besides 
conferring on him the earldom of Cornwall, a dignity hitherto reserved 
for princes of the blood, and maiTying him to his sister's daughter, gave 
him the funds collected for the Scottish war, and for the crusades 
(32,000/. sterling of which, by his father's dying command, ought to 
have been applied to the restoration and maintenance of the holy 
sepulchre), as well as his ancestor's jewels and treasures, even to the 
very crown worn by his father, which the barons not unnaturally looked 
upon as a symbol of the result that Edward possibly dreamed of, the 
declaration of Piers Gavestone for his successor. 

The young Queen added her voice to the general complaint ; for 
through Gavestone the King had been dravni on to injure her. Her 
appeal to her father, the French King, was followed by the Gascon 
knight's third banishment, in June, 1309, which, however, was merely 
to Ireland, and as governor. But he would not take warning; in 
October he returned in defiance of a known decree " that if at any 
time afterwards he were taken in England, he should suffer death.'* 
Edward evidently would rather lose crown, kingdom, queen, and all, 
than Piers Gavestone. The lords, with the " great hog," Thomas, Earl 
of Lancaster, at their head, looking upon the return with different eyes, 
met, and agreed to send respectfully to Edward, to desire that Gave- 
stone should be delivered into their hands, or driven out of England. 
The King vacillated, knowing peace must be kept with the lords, yet 
unwilling to sacrifice his favourite. Gavestone endeavoured to defend 
himself in Scarborough Castle, while the King went to York to seek an 
army for his relief. But before any force could be collected for such a 
purpose. Piers Gavestone, on the 19th May, 13 12, capitulated to the 
Earls Pembroke and Percy, who pledged their faith, it is said, that he 
should be kept unharmed in the Castle of Wallingford. At Dedding- 
ton, a village between Oxford and Wanvick, the Earl of Pembroke, 
who escorted him, left him for a night, under the pretext of visiting the 
Countess of Pembroke, who was in the neighbourhood, Gavestont 

* * B B 



370 Blacldoiv Hill — The Fate of Gaveston, 

seems to have remained full of confidence, as usual, until he was roused 
from his sleep by the startling order to " dress himself speedily." He 
obeyed, descended to the court-yard, and found himself in the presence 
of the " black dog of Ardern." He must then have repented his 
wretched wit, for he knew the stern Warwick had sworn a terrible vow 
that he would make the minion feel the " black dog's teeth." A deeper 
darkness than that of night must have overshadowed the wretched 
Gavestone. No help was at hand. Amid the triumphant shouts or 
the large armed force that attended Warwick, he was set on a mule, 
and humcd thirty miles through the night to Wai'wick Castle, where 
his entrance was announced by a crash of martial music. He stood 
trembling and dismayed before the dais, whereon sate, in terrible an-ay, 
his self-constituted judges, the chief barons. During their hurried con- 
sultation, a proposal was made, or a hint offered, that no blood should 
be shed ; but a voice rang through the hall, " you have caught the fox ; 
if you let him go, you will have to hunt him again." Let Gavestone's 
deserts be what they might, the faith pledged at the capitulation at 
Scarborough ought to have been adhered to, — but it was otherwise deter- 
mined by the barons. He had been taken once more on English 
ground, and he must die. The unhappy man kneeled and prayed for 
mercy, but found none. The head of the wretched victim is said 
to have been struck off where a hollow in the crag at Blacklow (now 
Gaversike), about two miles from Warwick Castle, appeared to supply 
a natural block for such a purpose, just over an ancient inscription, 
which records the event as follows :— • 

" 13"- 
P. Gaveston, 
Earl of Cornwall, 
beheaded here." 

A cross of recent date is erected on the brow of the hill imme- 
diately adjacent, with a tablet thus inscribed : — 

•• In the hollow of this Rock 

Was Beheaded, 

On the ist day of July, 1313, 

By Barons lawless as himself, 

Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, 

The Minion of a hateful King ; 

In Life and Death 

A memorable Instance of Misrule." 

Of the Norman Castle of Sutton Valence, in Kent, only a few ruined 
walls now exist. Ancient records, however, show that in the reign of 
Edward II. his favourite, Piers Gaveston, was confined in Sutton keep 



Coventry Castle^ and Lady Go diva, 37* 

by the barons ; and thus it remained to remind them of the resistance 
which Englishmen made against those foreign and worthless favourites 
with which some of our earlier sovereigns surrounded themselves. 



Coventry Castle, and Lady Godiva. 

Coventry, a city locally in Wai-wickshire, but made a separate county, 
is nearly in the centre of England, and about 300 feet above the sea- 
level. It is a place of great antiquity, by some stated to be named (as 
Covent Garden from Convent Garden), from a spacious convent which 
was founded, says Leland, by King Canute, and was destroyed by the 
traitor Edric, in 10 16. However this may be, it is certain that in the 
reign of Edward the Confessor, in 1044, Earl Leofric, a powerful lord 
of Mercia, with his wife, the Lady Godiva, founded at Coventry a 
magnificent Benedictine monastery, and richly endowed it. The capa- 
cious cellar of the monks still exists, measuring seventy-five yards in 
length by five in breadth. From the date of this religious establishment 
the prosperity of the town took its rise. 

After the Conquest, the lordship of Coventiy came to the Earls of 
Chester, to one of whom, Ranulph, the fortress belonged. In the Civil 
War of Stephen and the Empress Maud, Ranulph was one of her sup- 
porters when the Castle was taken by the King's troops. In the reign 
of Richard II. the city was surrounded with walls and towers for de- 
fence during the wars, though it did not experience the miseries of 
siege to which so many other large towns were subjected. Leland, 
writing in the reign of Henry VIII., says that the city was begun to be 
walled-in in the time of Edward II., and that it had six gates, many 
fair towers, and streets well built with timber. Other writers speak of 
thirty-two towers and twelve gates. The walls were demolished by 
Charles II., in consequence of the active part taken by the citizens in 
favour of the Parliamentary army. During the monastic ages, Coventry 
had a large and beautiful cathedral, which at the Reformation was 
levelled to the ground, and only a fragment or two now remain. There 
are three ancient churches, of which St. Michael's was originally built in 
1 133, in the reign of Henry I., and was given to the monks of Coventry 
by Earl Ranulph in the reign of Stephen. 

One of the richest and most interesting vestiges of the domestic 
architecture of the fifteenth century in Coventry, and perhaps in Eng- 
land, is St. Mary's Hall, erected in the reign of Henry VI. It has a 
grotesquely carved roof of oak, a gallery for minstrels, an armoury, and 



372 Coventry Castle, and Lady Godiva. 

chair of state, which, with the gi*eat painted window furnish a vivid idea 
of the manners of the age in which Coventry was the favourite resort of 
princes. A tapestry, made in 1450, measuring 30 feet by 10, and con- 
taining 80 figures, is a curious and beautiful specimen of the drawing, 
dyeing, and embroidery of that period. In the market-place was for- 
merly a richly ornamented Gothic cross, one of the finest in the country, 
erected in the i6th century: it was hexagonal, 57 feet high, with 18 
niches of Saints and Kings : it was built by a Lord Mayor of London, 
but was taken down in 1 771, to gratify the bad taste of the inhabitants. 
When the Cathedral was standing, Coventry possessed a matchless group 
of churches, all within one cemetery. 

Coventry has always been renowned for its exhibition of pageants and 
processions ; and in the monastic ages it was remarkable for the magni- 
ficent and costly performance of the religious dramas called Mysteries. 
Of these solemn shows accounts are extant as early as 14 16. They were 
performed on moveable street stages, chiefly by the Grey Friars, on the day 
of Corpus Christi. The subjects were the Nativity, Crucifixion, Dooms- 
day, &c., and the splendour of the exhibitions was such that the King 
and the royal family, with the highest dignitaries of the Church, were 
usually present as spectators. 

Of the performance of a Coventry play, the following is a lively pic- 
ture: — "The morning of Corpus Christi comes, and soon after sunrise 
there is stir in the streets of Coventry. The old ordinances for this 
solemnity require that the Guilds should be at their posts at five o'clock 
There is to be a solemn procession — formerly, indeed, after the per- 
formance of the pageant — and then, with hundreds of torches burning 
around the figures of our Lady and St. John, candlesticks and chalices 
of silver, banners of velvet and canopies of silk, and the members of the 
Trinity Guild and the Corpus Christi Guild bearing their crucifixes 
and candlesticks, with personations of the angel Gabriel lifting up the 
lily, the twelve apostles, and renowned virgins, especially St. Catherine 
and St. Margaret. The Reformation has, of course, destroyed much of 
this ceremonial ; and, indeed, the spirit of it has in great part evapo- 
rated. But now, issuing from the many ways that lead to the Cross, 
thei-e is heard the melody of harpers and the voice of minstrelsy ; trum- 
pets sound, banners wave, riding men come thick from their several 
halls ; the mayor and aldermen in their robes, the city servants in proper 
liveries, St. George and the Dragon, and Herod on horseback. The 
bells ring, boughs are strewed in the streets, tapestry is hung out of the 
windows, officers in scarlet coats struggle in the crowd while the pro- 
cession is mars'.ialiing. The crafts are getting into their ancient order. 



Coventry Castle, and Lady Godiva, 373 

each craft with its streamer and its men in harness. There are Fys- 

shers and Cokes, — Baxters and Milners, — Bochers, — Whittawers and 
Glovers, — Pynners, Tylers, and Wrightes, — Skynners, — Barkers, — 
Corvysers, — Smythes, — Wevers, — Wirdrawers, — Cardemakers, Sa- 
delers, Peyntours, and Masons, — Gurdelers, — ^Taylours, Walkers, and 
Sherman, — Deysters, — Drapers, — Mercers. At length the procession 
is arranged. It parades through the principal lines of the city, from 
Bishopgate on the north to the Grey Friars' Gate on the south, and 
from Broadgate on the west to Gosford Gate on the east. The crowd 
is thronging to the wide area on the north of Trinity Church and St. 
Michael's, for there is the pageant to be first performed. There was a 
high house or carriage which stood upon six wheels ; it was divided 
into two rooms, one above the other. In the lower room were the 
performers; the upper was the stage. This ponderous vehicle was 
painted and gilt, surmounted with burnished vanes and streamers, and 
decorated with imagery; it was hung round with curtains, and a 
painted cloth presented a picture of the subject that was to be per- 
formed. This simple stage had its machinery, too ; it was fitted for 
the representation of an earthquake or a storm ; and the pageant in 
most cases was concluded in the noise and flame of fireworks. It is the 
pageant of the company of Shearmen and Tailors which is now to be 
perfonned, — the subject the Birth of Christ and Offering of the Magi, 
with the Flight into Egypt and Murder of the Innocents. The eagei 
multitudes are permitted to crowd within a reasonable distance of the 
car. There is a moveable scaffold erected for the more distinguished 
spectators. The men of the Guilds sit firm on their horses. Amidst the 
sound of harp and trumpet the curtains are withdrawn, and Isaiah ap- 
pears prophesying the blessing which is to come upon the earth. Gabriel 
announces to Mary the embassage upon which he is sent from Heaven. 
Then a dialogue between Mary and Joseph, and the scene changes to 
the field where shepherds are abiding in the darkness of the night — a 
night so dark that they know not where their sheep may be ; they are 
cold and in great heaviness. Then the star shines, and they hear the 
song of ' Gloria in excelsis Deo.' A soft melody of concealed music 
hushes even the whispers of the Coventry audience ; and three songs are 
sung, such as may abide in the remembrance of the people, and be 
repeated by them at their Christmas festivals." 

Coventry was the favourite residence of Edward the Black Pnnce. 
Here also Queen Elizabeth delighted to see the game of Hock Tues- 
day, which represented the massacre of the Danes by the English in 
1002 } and it was for her especial amusement that, in addition tp a ring 



374 Coventry Castle, and Lady Go diva, 

for baiting bulls, another was put down for badger baiting, both which 
were her favourite sports. 

To this day the people of Coventry have a celebrated processional 
show at the great Fair on the Friday in Trinity week, though this is 
shorn of its ancient gorgeousness. Such is the legend of the fair 
Godiva, who is said to have ridden on horseback naked through the 
city of Coventry. Many circumstances of the legend are obviously 
fabricated, but Leofric and Godiva are historical not fabulous persons, 
and belong to the reign of Canute; and an ancient inscription accom- 
panying a picture of the pair on a window in Trinity church, Coventry, 
set up in the time of Richard II., may be taken as evidence that the city 
owed some immunities to the lady's intercession. The inscription was : 

*• I Luriche, for the love of thee. 
Doe make Coventre tol-free." 

The legendary origin of this extraordinary exhibition is as follows : — 
Leofric, Earl of Mercia (in the time of Edward the Confessor), wedded 
Godiva, a most beautiful and devout lady, sister to oneThorold, Sheriflf 
of Lincolnshire in those days, and founder of Spalding Abbey ; as also 
of the stock and lineage of Thorold, Sheriff of that county, in the time 
of Kenulph, King of Mercia. Earl Leofric had subjected the citizens 
of Coventry to a very oppressive taxation, and remaining inflexible 
against the entreaties of his lady for the people's relief, he declared that 
her request should be granted only on the condition that she should 
ride perfectly naked through the streets of the city ; a condition which 
he supposed to be quite impossible. But the lady's modesty being 
overpowered by her generosity, and the inhabitants having been en- 
joined to close all their shutters, she partially veiled herself with her 
flowing hair, made the circuit of the city on her palfiey, and thus 
obtained for it the exoneration and frecuom which it henceforth en- 
joyed. The story is embellished v/ith the incident of Peeping Tom, a 
prying, inquisitive tailor, who was struck blind for popping out his head 
as the lady passed ! His effigy was long to be seen protruded from an 
upper window in High-street, adjoining the King's Head Tavern. The 
Coventry procession, as exhibited in our days, began only in the rcign 
of Charles II., in 1677: it consists principally of Saint George of Eng- 
land on his charger ; Lady Godiva, a female who rides in a dress of flesh- 
coloured silk, with flowing hair, on a grey horse; then followed the 
Mayor and Corporation, the whole of the city Companies, the wool- 
combers, Knights in armour, Jason, Bishop Blaise, &c., all in splendid 
dresses, with a great profusion of brilliant ribbons, plumes of feathers, 



Comb Abbey. 3;s 

and numerous bands of music. There is in St. Mary's Hall a very 

curious picture, showing the Lady Godiva on horseback, enveloped ui 

her luxuriant tresses ; and O'Keefe has dramatized the incident in his 

farce of Peeping Tom. 

From Noakes's Monastery and Cathedral of Worcester, we learn that 

Lady Godiva of Coventry left the Worcester monks the Bibliotheca, 

A.D. 1057 ; and the great value set upon the bequest, as well as upon 

books generally, at that period, is shown by its being usual to draw up 

a deed when a book was borrowed, and sometimes a deposit of money 

or plate was made as surety for the return of the book. Among the 

lines often written in a book to remind borrowers to return it, are the 

following : — 

" Thys boke is one and GODES kors ys anoder : 
They that take the on, GOD gefe them the toder." 

Matthew of Westminster, who wrote in 1307, that is, 250 years after 
the time of Leofric, is the first who mentions the Coventry legend. Many 
preceding writers, who speak of Leofric and Godiva, do not mention it. 
A similar legend is said to be related of Briavel's Castle. 



Comb Abbey. 

About four miles east of Coventry stands Comb Abbey, the seat of 
the Earl of Craven, on the site of a religious house founded here by 
Richard de Camville in the year 1150, for monks of the Cistercian 
order, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here were thirteen 
or fourteen religious, who were endowed in 1 534 with 343/. os. ^d. ; 
the site was granted in 1547 to John, Earl of Warwick. The present 
mansion was chiefly erected by Lord Harrington in the reign of 
James L, and possesses some historical interest, through its having been 
the scene of some of the earliest and latest fortunes of the Princess 
Elizabeth, daughter of James L, and Queen of Bohemia. 

It was here that the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot endeavoured 
to seize and carry her off when a mere girl ; and it was hither that she 
returned after all the troubles of her disastrous reign, and enjoyed the 
only peaceful days of her existence. Elizabeth was a Stuart, and like 
the rest of her family, was doomed to drink deeply of misfortune ; but 
strictly virtuous and highly amiable. Providence seemed to concede to 
her what so few of her family were permitted, or indeed deserved, — a 
quiet termination to a stormy life. If ever the finger of an ill fate, laid 
on evil deeds, was, however, manifest, it was not merely in her family, 



3y6 Stratford-oH'Avon ; 

but in the families of those who were concemed in the attempt to carry 
her off from this place. Such were the singular fortunes connecteil 
with that circumstance, and its cause, the Gunpowder Plot, that perhaps 
no other spot of the strangely eventful soil of England can show more 
remarkable ones. Mr. W. Howitt, the writer of these remarks, adds : 

** Perhaps so many portraits of the Stuart family are not to be met 
with in any one place, as those which were chiefly collected by the 
affection of Elizabeth, There is none, indeed, like the grand equestrian 
Vandykes of Charles I. at Warwick Castle, Windsor, and Hampton 
Court ; but there are many of a high character, and some nowhere 
else to be found. These render a visit to Comb well worth making ; 
but besides these, the Abbey contains many admirable subjects by first- 
rate masters: Vandyke, Rubens, Caravaggio, Lely, Kneller, Brughel, 
Teniers, Mirevelt, Paul Veronese, Rembrandt, Holbein, and Albert 
Diirer. Among them are fine and characteristic portraits of Sir 
Kenelm Digby, Sir Thomas More, General Monk, Lord Strafford, 
Vandyke by himself, Honthorst by himself; and heads of the Saxony Re- 
formers, by a Saxon artist. There is also a very curious old picture of 
a lady with a gold drinking-horn in her hand, and a Latin legend of 
Count Otto, who hunting in the forest and seeing this lady, asked to 
drink out of her horn, for he was dreadfully athirst ; but on looking 
into it he was suspicious of the liquor, and pouring it behind him, part 
of it fell on his horse, and took off his hair like fire. 

" The gallery is a fine old wainscoted room ; the cloisters aie now 
adorned with projecting antlers of stags, and black-jacks ; there are old 
tapestry and old cabinets, one made of ebony, tortoiseshell, and gold ; 
and the house altogether has the air and vestiges of old times, which 
must, independent of the Queen of Bohemia, give it an interest in the 
eyes of the lovers of old English houses, and of the traces of past 
generations. The paintings which were brought from Germany, 
wei'e bequeathed by the Queen of Bohemia to William, Lord 
Craven," 

Stratford-on-Avon. — The Birthplace of Shakspeare. 

Stratford, eijiht miles south-west of Warwick, although it ix)ssessc3 
neither Castle nor Abbey to detain us, contains an historic house of 
sui-passing interest, and is illustrious in British topography as the biith- 
place of Shakspeare : 

" Here his first infant lays sweet Shakspeare sung, 
Here the last accents faltered on his tongue." 



the Birthplace of Shakspeare, 377 

The place is hallowed ground to all who take a special interest in the 
circumstances of the birth and death of our national poet. The several 
Shakspearean localities are too well known to need description here, 
especially the natal house in Henley-street. The Free Grammar 
School, founded by a native of the town in the reign of Henry VI., is 
celebrated as the School of Shakspeare. Immediately over the Guild- 
hall is the school-room, now divided into two chambers, and having a 
low flat plaster ceiling in place of the arched roof. Thither, it is held, 
Shakspeare, born at Stratford in 1564, went about the year 157 1, his 
schoolmaster being the curate of the neighbouring village of Ludding- 
ton, Thomas Hunt. "As his ' shining morning face' first passed out 
of the main street into that old court through which the upper room 
of learning was to be reached, a new life would be opening upon him. 
The humble minister of religion who was his first instructor, has left 
no memorial of his talents or acquirements ; and in a few years another 
master came after him, Thomas Jenkins, also unknown to fame. All 
praise and honour be to them ; for it is impossible to imagine that the 
teachersof William Shakspeare were evil instructors, giving the boy husky 
instead of wholesome aliment." — (Mr. Charles Knight's iW>wo/>.) At 
Stratford, then, at the free grammar-school of his own town, Shakspeare 
is assumed to have received, in every just sense of the word, the educa^ 
tion of a scholar. This, it is true, is described by Ben Jonson as " small 
Latin and less Greek;" Fuller states that "his learning was very little;" 
and Aubrey that " he understood Latin pretty well." But the ques- 
tion, Mr. Knight argues, is set at rest by " the indisputable fact that the 
very earliest writings of Shakspeare are imbued with a spirit of classical 
antiquity ; and that the allwise nature of the learning that manifests 
itself in them, whilst it offers the best proof of his familiarity with the 
ancient writers, is a circumstance which has misled those who never 
attempted to dispute the existence of the learning which was displayed 
in the direct pedantry of his contemporaries." 

Of Shakspeare's life, immediately after his quitting Stratford, little 
is positively known. He is thought to have been employed in the office 
of an attorney, and proofs of something like a legal education are to be 
found in many of his plays containing law phrases, such as do not 
occur anything like so frequently in the dramatic productions of any of 
his contemporaries. 

"In those days, the education of the universities commenced much 
earlier than at present. Boys intended for the leanied professions, and 
more especially for the church, commonly went to Oxford and Gam- 
bridge at eleven or twelve years of age. If they were not intended lor 



378 Siratford'On-Avon ; 

those professions, they probably remained at the grammar-school 
till they were thirteen or fourteen ; and then they were fitted for 
being apprenticed to tradesmen, or articled to attorneys, a numerous 
and thriving body in those days of cheap litigation. Many also 
went early to the Inns of Court, which were the universities of the 
law, and where there was real study and discipline in direct con- 
nexion with the several societies." — (Mr. Charles Knight's Memoir^ 

The name " William Shakspeare" occurs in a certificate of the 
names and arms of trained soldiers— trained militia we should now 
call them — in the hundred of Barlichway, in the county of Warwick, 
under the hand of Sir Fulke Greville (" Friend to Sir Philip 
Sidney"), Sir Edward Greville, and Thomas Spencer. Was our 
William Shakspeare a soldier ? Why not ? Jonson was a soldier, 
and had slain his man. Donne had served in the Low Countries. 
Why not Shakspeare in arms ? At all events, here is a field for 
inquiry and speculation. The date is September 23, 1605, the year 
of the Gunpowder Plot ; and the lists were possibly prepared 
through instructions issued by Cecil in consequence of secret infor- 
mation as to the working of the plot in Warwickshire — the proposed 
head-quarters of the insurrection.— 6"/^/^ Papers^ edited by Mary 
Anne Everett Green.) 

The " deer-stealing" incident of Shakspeare's early life (familiar 
to every reader of his works), is thus explained by one of the learned 
editors of his works, the Rev. Alexander Dyce : — Having fallen, 
we are told, into the company of some wild and disorderly young 
men, he was induced to assist them, on more than one occasion, in 
steahng deer from the park of Sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote, in 
the neighbourhood of Stratford. For this offence (which certainly, 
in those days, used to be regarded as a venial frolic) he was treated, 
he thought, too harshly ; and he repaid the severity by ridiculing 
Sir Thomas in a ballad. So bitter was its satire, that the prosecu- 
tion against the writer was redoubled ; and, forsaking his family 
and occupation, he took shelter in the metropolis from his powerful 
enemy. Such is the story which tradition has handed down ; and 
that it has some foundation in truth, cannot surely be doubted, not- 
withstanding what has been argued to the contrary by Malone, 
whose chief object in writing the life of our poet was, to shake the 
credibility of the facts brought forward by Rowe. 

According to Oldys, an antiquary who died in 1761, and who letl 
behind him some MS. collections for a Life of Shakspeare, the first 
stanza of Shakspearc's ballad on Sir Thomas Lucy, taken down 



the Birthplace of Shalispeare, 379 

from the memory of one who had frequently heard it repeated in 
the town, was as follows : — 

*• A parliamente member, a justice of peace, 
At home a poor scare-crow, at London an asse ; 
If lowsie is Lucy, as some volke miscall it, 
Then Lucy is lowsie whatever befall it : 

He thinks himself greate, 

Yet an asse in his state. 
We allowe by his ears but with asses to mate. 
If Lucy is lowsie, as some volke miscall it, 
Sing, lowsie Lucy, whatever befall it." 

The Tercentenary Festival at Stratford-upon-Avon, in 1864, has 
not been without its fruits. In the way of permanent Shaksperean 
monuments, there is much more to be seen at Stratford than for- 
merly. The site of New Place, the house which was purchased by 
Shakspeare when he returned to his native town with the wealth 
acquired in London, and in which he breathed his last, has been 
converted into a sort of pleasure-ground, for the use of such ol the 
public as are willing to pay 6d. for the right of treading on hallowed 
soil. The foundations, which are all that remain of the house so 
ruthlessly demolished by Mr. Gastrell, are carefully preserved be- 
neath an iron grating, and a scion of the mulberry-tree, destroyed 
by the same hand, stands on a conspicuous spot. The ground-plan 
of the house and the two gardens attached to it may thus be easily 
traced. A board is raised on the lawn, inscribed with a list of 
donors, headed by the late Prince Consort, by whom the amount 
(upwards of 3000/.) for purchasing the property was subscribed. 
The land, it should be observed, was transferred to trustees by 
Mr. Halliwell, who bought it in the first instance, and who is the 
presiding genius over all that concerns Shakspeare in Stratford. 
As for the board, it is but a temporary record, which is to give place 
in time to a more substantial memorial. In the house adjoining 
New Place, and occupied by a very intelligent gentleman, to whom 
the care of the grounds is confided, are several engraved portraits 
of Shakspeare ; and likewise a curious painting of a lady, supposed 
to be one of that Clopton family from whom Shakspeare pur- 
chased the estate. In this house, too, are several curiosities dug 
up when the foundations of New Place were discovered. These 
were for some time kept in the house in Henley-street, which is not 
only visited as the poet's birthplace, but a portion of which is used 
as a Shaksperean Museum. Persons who visit Stratford should 
be aware that when the "Museum" is mentioned reference is 
made to the rooms in Henley-street. The removal was effected 
on the ground that the curiosities in question belonged rat-^ier 



380 The Birthplace of Shakspeare, 

to the place of Shakspeare's death than to that of his birth ; and if, on 
the one hand, the Museum has been deprived of a part of its treasures, 
it has, on the other, received several important additions. Among these 
is the collection bequeathed to Stratford by the late Mr. Fairholt, who 
died in 1866, comprising a curious set of " Longbeard jugs" used in the 
time of Shakspeare. These jugs vindicate their name by the semblance of 
a huge beard that flows from a face forming the beak. In the same cabi- 
net with these is a singularly beautiful goblet carved from Shakspeare's 
mulbeiTy-tree, and presented by the Corporation, who have also given 
two ancient maces of curious workmanship. This goblet may be re- 
garded as a companion to Mr. Hunt's gift, the drinking-jug, which is 
said to have belonged to Shakspeare, and from which Gamck sipped 
at the festival of 1769. The friendly international greeting which was 
sent from Germany by the " Deutsche Hochstift " in 1864, and read at 
the banquet by which the birthday was celebrated, is now hung up in a 
frame made of wood taken from a scion of the fan ous mulberry-tree, 
and with the two miniature views of the respectivebirthplaces of Shak- 
speare and Gbthe, is a very remarkable object. A set of fac-similes of 
the title-pages to the first edition of Shakspeare's separate plays is a 
comparatively recent contribution by Mr. Halliw .11. The library of 
the Museum is small but choice, comprising nc irly all the known 
editions, old and new, of the entire works of the p )et. All the faces 
too that have been supposed to belong to Shakspeart are to be found 
among the engravings, to say nothing of the original portrait, once in 
the possession of the Clopton family. The services of Mr. Fairholt 
to the cause of Shakspeare are acknowledged by a brass tablet, which 
has been set up in the church. — (^Abridged from the Times.) 

During a short sojourn at Stratford, some twenty years ago, we were 
strongly impressed with the genius loci, such is the paramount in- 
fluence upon all thoughtful visitors. " Hundreds of accounts of pil- 
grimages to Stratford — the home of Shakspeare — have been written ; 
but the only way fully to appreciate the interest of the place is to visit 
it yourself . The town has parted with most of its ancient appearance : 
few old houses remain, and the modern buildings are mostly poor and 
unpicturesquc. Still, as you walk through the streets, and in the neigh- 
bourhood, Shakspeare entirely occupies your thoughts — whether you 
visit the lowly house in Henley-street, wherein he is reputed to have 
been born ; or the school-room, whither, to use his own imperishable 
words, he went — 

•• ' The whining schoolboy, with his satchel. 
And shining morning face ;' 




»' p 381 



KENILWORTH CASTLE. 

1. Plan, as it appeared in 1575. 

2. The Great Gateway. 



Kcnihvortli Castle. 3^^ 

or whether you stray among the woods and glades of Charlccote, the 
scenes of his wild youth ; or seek the humble cottage at Shottery, 
where he first told his love ; or the retreat of New Place, where the 
Poet retired to enjoy the firuits of his intellectual toil ; or, last of all, 
under the lime-tree walk to the fine cruciform church of the Holy 
Trinity, through its noble aisles, to the chancel beneath which rests the 
Bard's hallowed dust ; or to pay homage to his sculptured portrait upon 
the chancel-wall. These several sites are so many tangible memorials 
of our great Poet's life ; but there is an ideal enjoyment of it in the 
very atmosphere of the place ; and by a sort of poetical licence, 
you look upon the very ground as that which Shakspeare trod, and 
the majestic trees, the soft-flowing river, and the smiling landscapes, — 
the face of nature — the very scenes which he so loved to look upon, — 
he has left, reflected in the natural mirror of his works, an immortal 
legacy to all time I" 



Kenilworth Castle. 

*• Thy walls transferred to Leicester's favourite Earl, 
He long, beneath thy roof, the Maiden Queen 
And all her courtly guests with rare device 
Of mask and emblematic scenery, 
Tritons and sea-nymphs, and the floating isle, 
Detain'd. Nor feats of prowess, joust or tilt 
Of harness'd knights, or rustic revelry, 
Were wanting ; nor the dance, and sprightly mirth 
Beneath the festive walls, with regal state, 
And choicest luxury, served. But regal state 
And sprightly mirth, beneath the festive roof, 
Are now no more." 

Kenilworth lies about five miles from Warwick, and the same distance 
from Coventry. The manor was an ancient demesne of the Crown, and 
had originally a Castle, which was demolished in the war of Edmund 
Ironside and Canute the Dane, early in the eleventh century. 

In the reign of Henry I., the manor was bestowed by the King on 
Geoffrey de Clinton, who built a strong Castle, and founded a Monastery 
here. On the death of Geoffrey, the fortress descended to his son, from 
whom it was transferred to the Crown ; and was garrisoned by Henry IJ^ 
during the rebellion of his son. In the reign of Heniy III. it was 
used as a prison ; and in 1254 the King gave to Simon de Montfort, 
who had married Eleanor, the King's sister, the Castle in trust for life. 
De Montfort, now " in all but name a king," kept his Christmas in 



3^2 Kenilworth Castle, 

regal state at Kenilworth. Simon soon after joined the rebellion against 
the King, and together with his eldest son, was killed at the battle of 
Evesham, in 1265. His youngest son, Simon, escaped, and with other 
fugitives, took shelter in Kenilworth Castle, and continued to defy the 
power of both the King and the legate. Next year, 1266, the Castle 
was besieged by the King for several months. Simon fled, and escaped 
to France ; but the place held out for six months. Meanwhile, an 
assembly of clergy and laity was held at Coventry, which drew up the 
terms of accommodation, known as Dictum de Kenilworth. It provides 
that the liberties of the Church shall be preserved, and also the Great 
Charters, " which the king is bound expressly by his oath to keep." It 
also declares that there shall be no disherison, but instead, fines from 
seven years to half a year's rent ; the family of De Montfort is ex- 
cluded fiom this benefit, and all persons are forbidden, under both civil 
and spiritual penalties, to circulate " vain and foolish miracles" regard- 
ing Simon de Montfort, who was currently spoken of by his adherents 
as a saint and martyr. At length, provisions failed at Kenilworth, a 
pestilence broke out, and the governor suiTendered the Castle to the 
King, who bestowed it upon his youngest son, Edward, Earl of Lan- 
caster, afterwards created Earl of Leicester. 

In 1286, a grand chivalric meeting of one hundred knights of high 
distinction, English and foreign, and the same number of ladies, was held 
at Kenilworth ; and at this festival, it is said, silks were worn for the first 
time in England. The Earl of March was the promoter of the festival, 
and was the principal challenger of the tilt-yard. 

In the reign of Edward II,, the Castle again came into the hands of 
the Crown, and the King intended to make it a place of retirement for 
himself; but in the rebellion which soon followed, he was taken pri- 
soner in Wales, and brought to Kenilworth ; here he was compelled to 
sign his abdication, and was soon after privately removed to Berkeley 
Castle, where he was inhumanly murdered in 1327. 

Edward III. restored the Castle to the Earl of Lancaster, whose 
granddaughter brought it in marriage to the celebrated John of Gaunt, 
afterwards Duke of Lancaster, who made to the Castle many addi- 
tions which still retain the name of Lancaster s Buildings, On his death, 
it descended to his son, afterwards Henry IV. 

During the Civil Wars between the houses of York and Lancaster, 
the Castle was alternately taken by the partisans of the White and 
Red Roses. In 1436, King Henry VI. kept his Christmas here. Very 
long after the termination of the Civil Wars, Queen Elizabeth be- 
stowed Kenilworth upon her ambitious favourite, Dudley, Earl oi 



Kenilworth Castle. 3^3 

Leicester. That wealthy nobleman spared no expense in beautifying 
the Castle, and in making ma;ny splendid additions, called after him, 
Leicester's Buildings. 

The most memorable event in the history of Kenilworth Castle, 
is the Royal State entertainment given by Leicester to Queen Elizabeth, 
who came attended by thirty-one barons, besides her ladies of the 
Court, who, with four hundred servants, were all lodged in the fortress. 
The festival continued for seventeen days, at an expense estimated at 
one thousand pounds a day — a very large sum in those times. The 
waiters upon the Court, as well as the gentlemen of the Barons, were 
all clothed in velvet. Ten oxen were slaughtered every morning ; and 
the consumption of wine is said to have been sixteen hogsheads, and of 
beer forty hogsheads daily. An account of this singular and romantic 
entertainment, published at the time by an eye-witness, presents a cu- 
rious picture of the luxury, plenty, and gallantry of Elizabeth's reign. 

After her journey from London, which the Queen performed entirely 
on horseback, she stopped at Long Itchington, where she dined, and, 
hunting on the way, arrived at Kenilworth Castle on Saturday, July 9* 
1575. Here, says the above account, "she was received by a person 
representing one of the ten Sibylls, comely clad in a pall of white sylk, 
who pronounced a proper poezie in English rime and meeter," on the 
happiness her presence produced, wherever it appeared ; concluding 
with a prediction of her future eminence and success. 

" On her entrance to the tilt-yard," continues the eye-witness, " a 
porter, tall of person and stern of countenance, wrapt also in sylk, with a 
club and keiz of quantitee according, in a rough speech, full of passions, 
in meter aptly made to the purpose," demanded the cause of all this " dio 
and noise, and riding about, within the charge of his office !" but upon 
seeing the Queen, as if he had been instantaneously stricken, he falls 
down upon his knees, humbly begs pardon for his ignorance, yields up 
his club and keys, and proclaims open gates and free passage to all. 

After this pretty device, six trumpeters, " clad in long garments of 
sylk, who stood upon the wall of the gate, with their silvery trumpets 
► of five foot long, sounded a tune of welcome." Here "harmonious 
blasters, walking upon the walls, maintained their delectable music, 
while her highness all along the tilt-yard rode, into the inner gate," 
where she was surprised " with the sight of a floating island on the 
large pool, on which was a beautiful female figure representing the 
Lady of the Lake, supported by two nymphs, surrounded by blazing 
torches, and many ladies clad in rich silks as attendants ; whilst the 
genii of the lake greeted her Majesty with " a well-penned meeter" oq 



384 Kcnilworth Castle, 

"the auncientce of the Castle," and the hereditary dignity of the Earls 
of Leicester. This pageant was closed with a burst of comets and 
other music, and a new scene was presented to view. Within the base 
court, and over a dry valley leading to the castle gates, " waz thear 
framed a fayr bridge, twenty feet wide, and seventy feet long, with 
seven posts that stood twelve feet asunder ; and thickened between with 
well-proportioned turned pillars ;" over which, as her Majesty passed, 
she was presented, by persons representing several of the heathen gods 
and goddesses, with various appropriate offerings, which were piled up, 
or hung in excellent order, on both sides the entrance and upon dif- 
ferent posts ; from Sylvanus, god of the woods, " live bitterns, curlews, 
godwitz, and such-like dainty byrds;" from Pomona, "applez, pearz, 
lemmons," &c. ; fiom Ceres, " sheaves of various kinds of com (all in 
earz green and gold) ; from Bacchus, grapes, " in clusters whyte and 
red;" various specimens of fish from Neptune; arms from Mars; and 
musical instmments from Apollo. | 

A Latin inscription over the Castle explained the whole : this was 
read to her by a poet, " in a long ceruleous garment, with a bay garland 
on his head and a skroU in his hand. So passing into the inner court, 
her Majesty (that never rides but alone) thear set down from her pal- 
frey, was conveyed up to a chamber, when after did folio a great peal of 
gunz and lightning by fyr-works." Besides these, every diversion the 
romantic and gallant imagination of that period could devise, was pre- 
sented for the amusement of her Majesty and the court — tilts, tourna- 
ments, deer-hunting in the park, savage men, satyrs, bear and bull 
baitings, Italian tumblers and rope-dancers, a country bridal ceremony, 
prize-fighting, running at the quintain, moms dancing, and brilliant fire- 
works in the grandest style and perfection ; during all this time the 
tables were loaded with the most sumptuous cheer. On the pool was 
a Triton riding on a mermaid eighteen feet long, and an Arion on a 
dolphin, who entertained the royal visitor with an excellent piece of 
music. 

The old Coventry play of llock Tuesday, founded on the massacre ot 
the Danes in 1002, was also performed here, " by certain good-hearted 
men of Coventry." In this was represented •* the outrage and importable 
insolency of the Danes, the grievous complaint of Hunna, King Ethel- 
red's chieftain in wars, his counselling and contriving the plot to dispatch 
them ; the violent encounters of the Danish and English knights on 
horseback, armed with spear and shield ; and afterwards between hosts 
of footmen, which at length ended in the Danes being beaten down, 
overcome, and led captive by our English women; whereat her Majesty 



Kenilworth Castle. 3S5 

laught, and rewarded the performers with two bucks and five marks in 
money. " For the greater honour of this splendid entertainment, Sir 
Thomas Cecil, son and heir to Lord Burghley, and four other gentlemen 
of note, were knighted ; and in compliment to the Queen, and to evince 
the Earl's hospitable disposition, the historian observes " that the clok 
bell sank not a note all the while her highness waz thear : the clok stood 
also withal, the hands of both the tablz stood firm and fast, always 
pointing at two o'clock, the hour of banquet." 

We gather from other accounts of these Revels, that the beai- 
baits were much enjoyed by the Queen. Laneham, in his celebrated 
letter, reprinted in Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, describing 
this courtly pastime : — " It was a sport very pleasant of those beasts; 
to see the bear, with his pink eyes leering after his enemies approach, 
the nimbleness and wait of the dog to take his advantage, and the 
force and experience of the bear again to avoid the assault ; if he 
was bitten in one place how he would pinch in another to get free ; 
that if he was taken once, then what shift with biting, clawing, with 
roaring, tossing, and tumbling, he would work to wind himself from 
them ; and when he was loose, to shake his ears twice or thrice, with 
the blood and the slaver about his visnomy, was a matter of goodly 
relief." 

The exhibition of a Country Bridal is chronicled more in detail by 
Laneham : " There were sixteen wights, riding men, and well beseen ; 
the bridegroom in his father's tawny worsted jacket, a straw hat, with 
a capital crown, steeplewise on his head, a pair of harvest gloves on his 
hands, as a sign of good husbandry, a pen and inkhorn at his back, for 
he would be known to be bookish, lame of a leg, that in his youth was 
broken at foot-ball, well beloved of his mother, who lent him a muffler 
for a napkin, that was tied to his girdle for fear of losing it. It was no 
small sport to mark this minion in his full appointment, that, through 
good tuition, became as formal in his action as had he been a bridegroom 
indeed. The morris dancers followed, with Maid Marian, and the fool ; 
bridesmaids as bright as a breast of bacon, of thirty years old apiece ; a 
freckled-faced red-headed lubber, with the bride cup ; the worshipful 
bride, thirty- five years old, of colour brown bay, not very beautiful in- 
deed, but ugly, foul, and ill-favoured ; and lastly, many other damsels 
for bridesmaids, that for favour, attire, for fashion and cleanliness, were 
as meet for such a bride as a tureen ladle for a porridge pot." 

The Festival at Kenilworth Castle, given by Leicester to Queen 
Elizabeth, doubtless gathered all the country round to see its page- 
antry : and one of our editors of Shakspeare has asked, why not the boy 
** c c 



386 Kenikvorih Castle, 

Shakspeare with the rest ? " Many a bridal procession had gone forth 
fi-om the happy cottages of Kenilworth to the porch of the old parish 
church, amidst song and music, with garlands of rosemary and whcatears, 
parents blessing, sisters smiling in tears ; and then the great lord — the 
heartless lord, as the peasants might whisper, whose innocent wile 
perished untimely — is to make sport of their homely joys beforc the 
Queen. There was, perhaps, one in the crowd on that Sunday after- 
noon who was to see the very heaven of poetry in such simple rites — 
who was to picture the shepherd thus addressing his mistress in the 
solemnity of the troth-plight : — 

' I take thy hand ; this hand 
As soft as dove's down, and as white as it ; 
Or Ethiopian's tooth, or the fann'd snow 
That's bolted by the northern blasts twice o'er.' 

** He would agree not with Master Laneham — * By my troth 'twas a 
lively pastime : I believe it would have moved a man to a right meny 
mood, though it had been told him that his wife lay dying.' Leicester, 
as we have seen, had procured abundance of the occasional rhymes of 
flattery to propitiate Elizabeth. This was enough. Poor Gascoigne 
had prepared an elaborate masque, in two acts, of Diana and her 
Nymphs, which for the time is a remarkable production. * This show,' 
says the account, * was devised and penned by Master Gascoigne, and 
being prepared and ready (every actor in his garment) two or three days 
together, yet never came to execution. The cause whereof I cannot 
attribute to any other thing than to lack of opportunity and seasonable 
weather.' It is easy to understand that there was some other cause of 
Gascoigne's disappointment. Leicester, perhaps, scarcely dared to set 
the puppets moving who were to conclude the masque with these 

lines : — 

* A world of wealth at will 

You henceforth shall enjoy 
In wedded state, and therewithal 

Hold up from great annoy 
The staff of your estate : 

O Queen, O worthy Queen, 
Yet never wight felt perfect bliss 

But such as wedded been.' 

" But when the Queen laughed at the word marriage, the wily courtier 
had his impromptu device of the mock bridal. The marriages ot the 
poor were the marriages to be made fun of. But there was a device of 
marriage at which Diana would weep, and all the other gods rejoice, 
when her Majesty should give the word. Alas! for that crowning 
ihow there was • lack of opportunity and seasonable weatl>«'X ' ** 



Keuilivorth Castle. 3 8/ 

Upon this celebrated place, taking these courtly entertainments and 
the tragic fate of Amy Robsart as the groundwork of the narrative, Sir 
Walter Scott founded his picturesque romance of Kenihuorth, in which 
he gives the following animated account of the Castle: — 

" The outer wall of this splendid and gigantic structure, upon im- 
proving which, and the domains around, the Earl of Leicester had, it 
is said, expended 60,000 pounds sterling, a sum equal to half a million 
of our present money, including seven acres, a part of which was 
occupied by extensive stables, and by a pleasure garden, with its fine 
arbours and parterres, and the rest formed the large base-court, or out^'r 
yard, of the noble Castle. The lordly structure itself, which rose near 
the centre of this spacious enclosement, was composed of a huge pile of 
magnificent castellated buildings, evidently of different ages, sun-ound- 
ing the inner court, and bearing in the names attached to each portion 
of the magnificent mass, and in the armorial bearings which were there 
emblazoned, the emblems of mighty chiefs who had long passed away, 
and whose history, could ambition have lent ear to it, might have read 
a lesson to the haughty favourite, who had now acquired and was aug- 
menting the fair domain. A large and massive keep, which formed the 
citadel of the Castle, was of uncertain though great antiqiu'ty — [of 
this tower three sides remain, with walls in some parts sixteen feet 
thick.] — It bore the name of Gsesar, perhaps from its resemblance to 
that in the Tower of London so called. Some antiquaries ascribe 
its foundation to the time of Kenelph, from whom the Castle had its 
name, a Saxon king of Mercia, and others to an early aera after the 
Norman conquest. On the exterior walls frowned the scutcheon of the 
Clintons, by whom they were founded in the reign of Henry L, and 
the yet more redoubted Simon de Montfort, by whom, during the 
Barons' Wars, Kenilworth was long held out against Henry IH. 
Here Mortimer, Earl of March, famous alike for his rise and fall, had 
once gaily revelled, while his dethroned sovereign, Edward H., languished 
in its dungeons. Old John of Gaunt, " time-honoured Lancaster," 
had widely extended the Castle, erecting that noble and massive pile, 
which yet bears the name of Lancaster Buildings ; and Leicester him- 
self had outdone thefonner possessors, princely and powerful as they were, 
by erecting another immense structure, which now lies crushed under its 
own ruins, the monument of its owner's ambition. The external wall 
of this royal Castle was, on the south and west sides, adorned and de- 
luded by a lake partly artificial, across which Leicester had constructed 
a stately bridge, that Elizabeth might enter the Castle by a path hitherto 
untrodden, instead of the usual entrance. 



388 Kenilworth Castle, 

" Beyond the lake lay an extensive chase, full of red deer, fallow 
deer, roes, and every species of game, and abounding with lofty trees, 
from amongst which the extended front and massive towers of the 
Castle were seen to rise in majesty and beauty. Of this lordly palace, 
where princes feasted, and heroes fought, now in the bloody earnest of 
storm and siege, and now in the games of chivalry, where beauty dealt 
the prize which valour won, all is now desolate. The bed of the lake is 
but a rushy swamp ; and the massive ruins of the Castle only show what 
their splendour once was, and impress on the musing visitor the tran- 
sitory value of human possessions, and the happiness of those who enjoy 
a humble lot in virtuous contentment." 

On the departure of Elizabeth, the Earl of Leicester made Kenil- 
worth his occasional residence, till his death in 1588, when he be- 
queathed it to his brother, Ambrose, Earl of Warwick, and after his 
death to his own son, Sir Robert Dudley ; but his legitimacy being 
questioned. Sir Robert quitted the kingdom in disgust ; his castles and 
estates were seized by a decree of the Court of Star-Chamber, and 
given to Henry, son of James I. 

The fortress is thus described in the account of " a Topographical 
Excursion in the year 1634": " We were detayn'd one hour at that 
famous Castle of Killingworth [Kenilworth,] where we were vsher'd 
vp a fayre ascent, into a large and stately Hall, of twenty Paces in 
length, the Roofe whereof is all of Irish wood, neatly and handsomely 
fram'd ; In it is [are] five spacious Chimneys, answerable to soe great 
a Roome r we next view'd the Great Chamber for the Guard, the 
Chamber of Presence, the Privy Chamber, fretted above richly with 
Coats of Armes, and all adorn'd with fayre and rich Chimney Peeces 
of Alablaster, blacke Marble, and of Joyners worke in curious carued 
wood : and all those fayre and rich Roomes, and Lodgings in that spa- 
cious Tower not long since built ; and repayr'd at a great cost by that 
great fFauourite of late dayes, [Robert Dudley Earle of Leicester] : the 
private, plaine retiring Chamber wherein our renowned Queene of 
ever famous memory, alwayes made choise to repose her Selfe. Also, 
the famous strong old Tower, called Julius Caesars, on top whereof 
wee view'd the pleasant large Poole, continually sporting and playing on 
the Castle : the Parke, and the fforrest contigious thereunto. But one 
thing more remarkable than any we had yet scene, was, the sight of the 
massy, heauy Armour of that famous and redoubted warriour [Guy, 
Earl of Warwick] , whom we next hastened to." There is a well-known 
print of the fortress at this period, engraved from an original drawing. 

The Castle on Henry's death, went inl^ the possession of his brotbor, 



Priory of Kenilworth. 389 

Charles I., who granted it to Gary, Earl of Monmouth ; but the down- 
fall of this gigantic structure was fast approaching. During the wars 
it was seized by Cromwell, and by him given to some of his officers. 
The rapacious plunderers, who had no sort of feeling for the beau- 
teous and majestic, soon reduced it to what it now is, a pile of ruins. 
They drained the lakes which once flowed over so many hundred 
acres, ravaged the woods, beat down the walls, dismantled the towers, 
choked up the fair walks, and rooted out the pleasant gardens j de- 
stroyed the park, and divided and appropriated the lands. 

On the Restoration of Charles II., the estate and ruins of the Castle 
were granted to Lawrence, Viscount Hyde, of Kenilworth, second son 
of the celebrated Lord High Chancellor, created Baron of Kenilworth 
and Earl of Rochester ; and by the mamage of a female heiress de». 
scended fi-om him, passed in 1752, into the possession of Thomas 
Villiers, Baron Hyde, son of the Earl of Jersey, who was advanced, in 
1776, to the dignity of Earl of Clarendon, in the possession of whose 
family it still remains. 

I A considerable portion of the ruins of this once magnificent pile 
having shown signs of falling, the noble owner, Lord Clarendon, who 
has the good taste to appreciate the interest of such memorials of the 
country's history, has caused to be repaired and strengthened the great 
hall of the Castle, Leicester's Buildings, and parts of the external walls 
on either side; some of the doorways, windows, and fireplaces. In the 
course of the repairs excavations have been made, and underground 
apartments, cells, and passages revealed, which had been hid for centu- 
ries. The great hall, 90 ft. by 45 ft., still retains several of its Gothic 
windows, and some of the towers yet rise 70 ft. high. 

The ruins are in many parts mantled with ivy, which adds to their 
picturesque character ; and are on an elevated, rocky site, commanding 
an extensive view of the country round. Kenilworth is a favourite 
resort for pic-nic parties, who, by permission of the noble owner of the 
estate, are enabled to appreciate the interest of this famous historic site. 



Priory of Kenilworth, 

The visitor to Kenilworth, and its romantic Castle full in view, 
might readily overlook the ancient edifice lying a little to the left as he 
issues from the village, some time occupied as an ox-stall ; this, together 
with its ruined gatehouse, is all that remains of the monastery founded 
in the reign of King Henry I., by Geoffrey de Clinton, for canons 



390 Maxstoke Castle, 

regular of the Augustine order. Judging by extensive traces of founda- 
tions, the buildings composing the Monastery must have covered a 
wide space, and must have been a magnificent appurtenance to the 
Castle, the feudal and the ecclesiastical edifices being both beholden to 
the same founder. An interesting portion of the Monastery was 
brought to light by the sexton while digging a grave ; and, being wholly 
cleared, it was found to be the base of the Chapter House, its form 
octagonal, with buttresses. The burialplace of the Priors was dis- 
covered at the same time, containing some slabs, which exhibit a curious 
variety of sculptured crosses in low relief. The gatehouse is chiefly 
n the Early Pointed style, with additions of two centuries later. 
Within is a very primitive arch, leading to a chamber adjoining the 
chapel: it is pointed, and, without a keystone, most unscientifically 
composed. The chapel itself has a Norman basement, probably of the 
original foundation. In the upper part are two windows, of a rare 
structure. Windows of a similar kind were visible in the Monastery 
of Black Friars, a venerable edifice in Newcastle-on-Tyne, which is 
said to have witnessed the homage rendered by Baliol of Scotland to 
King Edward I. 

The interior of the chapel was utterly ruined by its desecration, the 
walls being encumbered by rough timber. The roof is richly decorated 
with bosses and sculptured heads, but it is partly demolished. 

The Parish Church, adjacent to the Priory, contains a sweet chime 
of bells, one of which originally belonged to the Monastery. The 
ancient custom of duly chiming the matins and curfew is still observed 
here. The Church has lately been restored. 



Maxstoke Castle. 

On a plain, in a sequestered spot surrounded by trees, above a mile 
north of the village of Maxstoke, and three miles from Coleshill, stands 
this Castle, which has its history, chequered with tlic fortunes of its 
owners. This ancient structure was built by Sir William Clinton, 
eldest son of John Lord Clinton, in 1356, and is one of the very few 
remaining buildings of that interesting period. The Castle came into 
the possession of Humphrey Stafford, Earl of Buckingham, by exchange 
with John, fifth Lord Clioton, for Whiston, in Northamptonshire, and 
became the favourite residence of the Earl ; but upon the decapitation 
of his son, Henry, Duke of Buckingham, for his attempt to dethrone 
Richard HL, in 1483, the Castle was seized by the King, who visited 
it on his progress to Nottingham Castle, previously to the battle of 



Maxstoke Castle. 391 

Bosworth, when he ordered all the inner buildings of Kenihvorth 
Castle to be removed here. After the death of King Richard III., 
Edward, the son of the last Puke of Buckingham, was restored to his 
father's honours and estates. He fell a sacrifice to Cardinal Wolsey, 
and was beheaded in 152 1 ; upon which event the Emperor Charles V 
exclaimed, " A butcher's dog has worried to death the finest buck in 
England." Then sunk for ever all the splendour and princely honours 
of the renowned family of Stafford. 

A frightful succession of calamities befel both the ancestors and de- 
scendants of Humphrey, Earl of Buckingham, as well as himself. His 
grandfather was murdered at Calais, his father killed at Shrewsbury, 
his sen at St. Albans, and himself at Northampton ; his grandson, and 
great-grandson were both executed as traitors, and he had to relinquish 
the rank of Lord Stafford, to which he had become entitled, and his 
sister was at that time the wife of a carpenter. 

To return to M<'\xstoke. The year after the beheading of the son of 
the last Duke of Buckingham in 152 1, the estate, again forfeited, was 
granted to Sir William Compton, ancestor of AVilliam, Lord Compton, 
who, in 1526, disposed of it to the Lord Keeper Egerton, who, two 
years afterwards, sold it to Thomas Dilke, Esq., in whose family the pro- 
perty still remains. The plan of the Castle is a parallelogram, with a 
hexagonal tower at each angle, inclosing an area containing the dwelling, 
which was partly destroyed by an accidental fire ; but a great portion 
of the ancient edifice yet remains, and is a fine example of the archi- 
tectural style of the age in which it was erected. The gatehouse in 
the centre of the front is approached by a stone bridge over a moat, 
which encompasses the Castle walls ; above the entrance are sculptured 
the arms of Humphrey Stafford, Earl of Buckingham, impaling those 
of his Countess, Anne Neville, daughter of the Earl of Westmoreland, 
which are supported by two antelopes, assumed in allusion to the 
Earl's descent from royal blood, his mother being the daughter of 
Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester. The badges of the burn- 
ing nave and the Stafford knot are also sculptured on the gatehouse, 
which was built by the Earl of Buckingham previously to his being 
created a Duke in 1446. The great gates put up by this nobleman 
are still in their original state, and are covered with plates of iron ; the 
groove for the massive portcullis is also to be seen. 

In the neighbourhood of the Castle are the remains of a Priory, 
founded by William Clinton, Earl of Huntingdon, in 1331, for canons 
regular of the order of St. Austin ; it was dedicated to the Holy 
Trinity, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Michael, and All Saints. The 



39^ Maxstohe Castle, 

endowment of this Priory was ample, for it was valued in 1534 at 
129/. 118. 8d. per annum : it was granted in 1538 to Charles, Duke of 
Suffolk. The ruins are rendered mournfully picturesque by the varieties 
of evergreen foliage that environ them in every direction. 

In the same division of the county, on the bordei-s of Leicestershire, is 
Caldecote, the church of which contains a monument of Mr. Abbot, who 
defended Caldecote Hall, and who died there in 1648. On the 28th of 
August, 1642, this seat, the noble mansion of the Puretbys, was attacked 
by Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice, at the head of eighteen troops of 
horse, when Mr. Abbot, assisted only by eight men besides his mother 
and her maids, successfully defended Caldecote Hall against the assai- 
lants ; and it is not known that any of the family were hurt. 

Nuneaton, also in this division, is named from a Nunnery founded here 
in the reign of Henry H., by Robert Bossu, Earl of Leicester. Here, in 
1792, as some labourers were digging in the ruins of the Nunnery, they 
discovered