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CS439.H6 C 3 rn H e 63 Un,VerSl,yLlbrary 
Cot mmniiSmL l ,m cks and Hicks Bea «*. 


3 1924 029 786 344 

Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



Afterwards Duchesse de Tallyrand and 
de Sagan, 1831-1835. Edited with 
notes and a biographical index by 
Peincesse Eadziwill (riee Castel- 
lane). Translated from the French by 
G. W. Chbystal. 1 volume, demy 
8vo, with photogravure frontispiece, 
price 10s. net. 


By G. Lenotbe, author of "The 
Flight of Marie Antoinette," " The Last 
Days of Marie Antoinette," etc. Trans- 
lated from the French by Feedeeic 
Lees (OfBcier d'lnstruction Publique). 
1 volume, demy 8vo, with many illustra- 
tions, price 10s. net. 


By Gilbebt Stengee. Translated 
from the French by Mrs. Ktjdolph 
Stawell. 1 volume, demy 8vo., with 
many illustrations, price 10*. net. 


By P. Keopotkin, author of "Mutual 
Aid," etc., etc. Translated from the 
French by N. F. Dbyhuest. 1 volume, 
demy 8vo, price 6s. net. 


By Beckles "Willson. 1 volume, 
demy 8vo, with many illustrations, 
price 12s. Sd. net. 



By Mrs. William Hicks Beach. 
1 volume, demy 8vo, with many 
illustrations, price 12s. 6d. 

21, Bedfobd Steeet, W.C. 

J5> , T B BBS BT Htffc'"'^ 


Bf Hi - 



BL * v <sh 


(Front a picture at Wit combe Park.) 

1909 a a a a a 

Copyright, London, 1909, by William Heinemann 



It will be obvious enough to anyone who reads it, 
that "A Cotswold Family" could never have been 
written unless I had made myself troublesome to a 
great number of people ; but when I look through its 
pages I realise that a list of all those to whom my 
thanks are due would be an endless one. Two people, 
however, must be named. Without the invaluable help 
of Miss Ethel Grogan, the documents in the Record 
Office and the British Museum could never have been 
deciphered by me ; and gratitude to Viscount St. Aldwyn 
for his careful criticism and his corrections of details 
must certainly be recorded. 

To Hicks and Hicks Beach ghosts I offer an apology 
for all that I have said about them which is wrong- 
headed or unskilful; to the present Hicks Beach 
generations I apologise for all that I have left unsaid ; 
and to Hicks Beach posterity I make the promise that 
I will try to leave behind me material sufficient to carry 
on the story from the point I have left it off. 


Witcombe Park, 

August 6th, 1909. 



i. sir ellis hicks 1 

ii. " the web of fate is of a mingled yarn " . . . 4 

iii. the hicks of gloucestershire 11 

iv. the hicks of cromhall court house .... 29 

v. robert hicks of cheapside ...... 50 

vi. juliana and clement hicks 64 

vii. baptist hicks 83 

viii. michael hicks, secretary to william cecil, lord burghley 102 

ix. michael hicks and robert cecil ..... 12s 

x. michael hicks and his friends ..... 143 

xi. the married life of michael hicks .... 167 

xii. elizabeth hicks 190 

xiii. sir william hicks, bart., i. and ii. 1612 to 1680 and 

1680 to 1703 202 

xiv. sir michael hicks, knight, ii. 1645 to 1710 . 223 

xv. howe hicks. 1710 to 1727 239 

xvi. sir harry, sir robert, and sir john baptist hicks. 

1703 to 1791 256 

xvii. sir howe hicks. 1727 to 1801 265 


XIX. SIR WILLIAM HICKS III. 1801 TO 1834 .... 345 



INDEX 373 


Sir Ellis Hicks (from a picture at Witcombe "Park) . Frontispiece 

The Countess of Longford (from a picture at Witcombe 

Park) Tofacep. 14 

"Thomas Hycks holds a Water Mill" ... „ 44 

The Vanished Homestead „ 44 

Cheapside in the Sixteenth Century (from a print in 

the British Museum) ...... ,,50 

Hall of Witcombe Park (with Juliana Hicks' tapestry) „ 66 

Hicks Hall (from a water-colour drawing) ... „ 96 

One of the Summer Houses that flank the Terrace . „ 100 

The Market House of Campden . . . . „ 100 

Lord Burghley (from a picture by Mark Gerard, in 

possession of the Hon. Mrs. Trollope) . . ,,104 

Sir Robert Cecil (from a picture at Hatfield House) . „ 128 

Sir Francis Bacon (from the picture by P. van Somer) „ 148 

Sir Fulke Greville (from the picture in the Guildhall 

Library) „ 148 

Michael Hicks (from a picture at Witcombe Park) . „ 166 

Monuments to Michael and Elizabeth Hicks in Low 

Leyton Church, Essex ,,190 

Monument to Sir William Hicks, first Baronet, in Low 

Leyton Church, Essex „ 202 

Beverstone Castle, Gloucestershire (from a print at 

Witcombe Park) ,,212 

Sir William Hicks, second ( (sons of Sir William Hicks, ") 

Baronet . . . I first Baronet, from pic- > „ 218 
Sir Michael Hicks, Knight (_ tures at Witcombe Park) ) 


thumb-nail sketch of the miller's wife, who " does not 
run about stupidly and awkwardly, for she knows what 
she can do ; she's as soft as a zephyr and as strong as 
a storm ; she knows how to begin a thing carefully and 
to have her own way." There, perhaps, Andersen did 
essay to come near to the heart of that he wished the 
windmill to express about itself in relation to the world ; 
but his words remain an essay only, and serve to warn 
from a venture into a maze of metaphors, from any 
attempted contrast between the windmill at work on 
the hill and the battle, which, the historian John Richard 
Green says, " was to England the beginning of a career 
of military glory, which, fatal as it was destined to prove 
to the highest sentiments and interests of the nation, 
gave it for the moment an energy which it had never 
known before. Victory followed victory." 

But " the highest sentiments and interests " — aren't 
they represented by the miller, the civilian, the man 
of endurance, tough, slow, and sure ? By the man who 
knows every secret of labour, and who " placed on a 
new planet would know where to begin " ? * By the 
man who has for wife a woman " soft as a zephyr and 
strong as a storm"? Robert Hicks, who, in a later 
century, laid the foundations of the fortune which gave 
the family its effective momentum, was one. of those who 
" placed on a new planet would have known where to 
begin." He knew where to begin on this planet at least. 
Wealth is one of the forces of Nature, and he made that 
force his own, and a possession which enabled those who 
came after him to carry out their plans and purposes 
and to achieve their ends. No son of his needed to go 
about the world cap in hand, to eternally ask permission. 

It is in some ancestor such as this that any family 
with a consecutive record has its real beginning, and yet 
no portrait of Robert Hicks hangs at Witcombe Park 
to-day in the narrow room which looks eastward. In 
its place has been contrived the painting which later 

* Emerson. 


Hicks have learned to know to be Sir Ellis, who fought 
long ago under the Black Prince's banner on the sloping 
land in Ponthieu, with the windmill on the hill behind 
him and the French host in front. From the vantage 
ground between the windmill walls the English king 
watched the battle and his son's hard passage of arms 
serenely, for he could see that all went well. Perhaps 
he could see quite plainly, too, Ellis Hicks' great deed 
and the desperation of the " energy " which made him 
possessor of French banners. We are to believe that 
when the battle was over Ellis Hicks was knighted 
there and then, kneeling on the ground in the shade 
of the windmill sails. And this legend of foolhardy 
Sir Ellis has had more meaning for his descendants 
than the tale of the material achievement of the later 
Robert. And to seek for the reason of this one need 
not go into bye-ways of human consciousness. 

" Delightful heroism ! Dehghtful self-indulgence ! " 
That is how a writer in nineteenth-century Oxford talks 
of the taking of standards in battle. But in the seven- 
teenth century Sir William Temple writes, " whether 
it be wise in men to do such actions or no, I am sure it 
is so in States to honour them " ; and his words have 
been placed by Robert Louis Stevenson at the head 
of the essay in which he says, " it is at best but a 
pettifogging, pickthank business to decompose actions 
into little personal motives and explain heroism away. 
I desire to see nobility brought face to face with me in 
an inspiriting achievement. The finest action is the 
better for a piece of purple. We desire a grand air 
in our heroes ; and such a knowledge of the human 
stage as shall make them put the dots on their own 
' i's,' and leave us in no suspense as to when they mean 
to be heroic." 

Was Sir Michael Hicks of the seventeenth century 
singular when he desired for the family an ancestor 
with the grand air ? Sir Ellis had dotted his own ' i ' 
quite conclusively ! 

b 2 


"THE web of fate is of a mingled yarn." 

The publication of books which need a small hand- 
cart to take them from one room to another has gone 
somewhat out of fashion ; but in 1811 it was not so, and 
one William Playfair, Esq., Inventor of Linear Arith- 
metic ; Author of an Inquiry into the Causes of the 
Decline and Fall of Nations ; Editor of the last Edition 
of Dr. Smith's Inquiry, with Notes and a Supplement, 
etc., etc., did with the aid of the publishers, Thomas 
Reynolds and Harvey Grace, of No. 13, Thavies Inn, 
Holborn, issue a stupendous work entitled British 
Family Antiquity, Illustrative of the Origin and 
Progress of the Rank Honours and Personal Merit of 
the Nobility of the United Kingdom, accompanied with 
an Elegant Set of Chronological Charts. 

Among the Nobility on the 121st page of the sixth 
volume of this work we get an account of the Hicks 
family prefaced by the usual legend of Sir Ellis, and, in 
his Introduction, the prolix, but by no means wholly 
irrelevant, remarks which William Playfair makes on 
the topic of ancestry in general. 

" No sooner do we see a stranger than we wish to 
know from whom he is descended. The very im- 
portant enquiry of what he does? is in general a 
secondary question. 

"Although the actions of a man himself are the 
truest proof of his merit, yet it is impossible for the 
mind not to connect them with the opinion we have 
of his extraction ; and whoever pays due attention to 


the natural sentiments of mankind (while he keeps 
clear of the absurd prejudice which gives honour and 
respect to extraction alone) will acknowledge, that 
the actions of men are not the only ground of 
respectability or estimation in the world. It is true, 
that a respect for ancestors seems to be founded on 
what (in the present times) is called prejudice ; and 
respect for actions on what is termed reason, but this 
is not altogether the fact. 

" It is to be considered, that the motive of a man's 
actions not being always known, and even the real 
merit of an act being frequently uncertain, it is, in a 
vast majority of cases, impossible to form a very 
decided conclusion. On the other hand, though it is 
absurd to honour and esteem a man merely because 
he is descended from great and good men, yet, even 
in doing so reason mingles with prejudice ; for 
personal merit or blame cannot, in almost any case, 
be measured so accurately as not to require all the 
assistance which circumstances will afford, in forming 
an opinion on this subject ; it becomes therefore 
necessary to take into account all the collateral 
circumstances, of which extraction is incontestibly 

"It becomes therefore necessary to take into account 
all the collateral circumstances, of which extraction is 
incontestibly one." 

This is the austere call to those who would trace too 
light-heartedly the fulfilment of fatality ! For the 
telling of the history of the dullest of families is always 
an attempt, be it conscious or unconscious, to unravel 
the mystery of fatality or of destiny — the Destiny of 
Race. In such a history, consciously or unconsciously, 
all the collateral circumstances are catalogued, and not 
always apologetically, in order that the family as it is 
may render its account of itself beneath the stars. 

In prose born of the enchanted mind, Mr. William 


Sharpe* has tried to translate the spell which the sense 
of destiny has always cast over men's minds, the sense 
which, as he says, " finds its expression in a deep and 
terrifying sigh throughout literature, from the fierce 
singers of Israel to the last Gaelic Rhapsode." And 
here and there he touches on that mystery of the 
destiny which becomes native to certain localities where 
it has been too slowly worked out, the sense of a doom 
— and it is not necessary to think of that in its tragic 
meaning — which is not only a personal fatality, but 
which incomprehensibly will involve a whole family, 
and will give its quality to the very wind round the 
house-roof and the rain on the windows. And then 
from this curious truth, and from other half-truths, 
with which, as the old Greek tragedians knew, the 
subject is packed, he turns away, and energetically he 
cries to us : 

" Is there any wave upon the sea or leaf before the 
wind more feeble than the aimless will ? — or is there 
any disaster of the spirit worse than that by which a 
Winged Destiny may become a wingless and obscure 
fate ? ... it is borne in upon me that, in its 
final expression, the Secret of Destiny must be 
sought within, in the interior life ; in a word that 
Destiny as we commonly understand it, is but the 
vague term of a quality of spiritual energy." 

But this can be said more tersely. Character is 
Fate : Fate is Character. The words transpose and 
repeat themselves easily, and either transposition is a 
truth. And yet at what precise juncture in the history 
of a family is it possible to lay an arresting finger on 
the page, to declare this, then, is the character of the 
race, and these the circumstances which forged it ? 
The thing has been done, for much brilliant history has 
been written, but it can only be achieved by laying 

* " The Winged Destiny," Fiona Macleod. 


accurate boundaries to the stage, and the older 
heraldic motto of the Hicks admonishes of the fictitious 
brilliancy of final judgments ! 

Nondum metam is a motto which, for a short time, 
seems to have been connected with the arms. Mottoes, 
as most people know, are not usually recorded at the 
Heralds' Office, because they are a personal choice and 
are not hereditary. No motto appears with the grant 
of arms to Sir Michael and Sir Baptist Hicks in 1604, 
but Sir William Hicks of Beverston recorded a 
pedigree at the Visitation of Gloucester in 1623, and 
in the Harleian MSS. Nondum metam is quoted, to- 
gether with what represents itself to be that pedigree, 
and with the description of the arms. At the Visitation 
of London in 1687, however, the jauntier, more deter- 
minate and ungrammatical Tout en bon heure appears 
and is recorded. It is somehow a little too triumphant, 
and yet it does not reach out far enough, and the 
present owner of Witcombe, when he put a sundial on 
the new south front of the house, returned to the older 
legendary form, and Nondum metam is painted below 
the dial face. 

" Not yet the Goal " — but where was the beginning ? 

The Hicks are what is vaguely called an old county 
family. A scrutiny of any county history will reveal 
that landowning families, as a rule, retain possession of 
any given estate for a very short time, and that the 
adjective ' old ' when applied to them is, for the most 
part, only a comparative term. Sir Robert Atkyns 
wrote his "History of Gloucestershire " in 1712 and pre- 
faced it with some three hundred and odd coats of arms 
of nobility and gentry living in the county. Of these, 
to-day, only twenty-eight are in possession of the whole 
or part of their residential estates, while the hold of 
many of these twenty-eight on the land is visibly 
weakening, and those who seem to be securely seated 
are so, either because they or their ancestors have 
married heiresses, or because the property was, in 


the first instance, so large that the diminishing processes 
of time have not yet completed their work. 

Atkyns is not to he relied on absolutely for all his 
facts, but, in the main, he is borne out by earlier and 
by later histories. It seems to be the case that only 
one Gloucestershire family owns its lands in succession 
from the Norman Conquest. This is the family of 
Clifford, of the Grange, Frampton-on-Severn ; the 
youngest branch of the family descended from the 
Norman Pontz, to whom the manor was granted by 
William I. — the family whose most notorious daughter 
was Fair Rosamond. The Berkeleys of Berkeley 
Castle, now represented by Baron Fitzhardinge, have 
an older family tree. They claim descent from 
Ednothus, an English thane. They owned manors 
in Somersetshire and in other counties, but not in 
Gloucestershire, it seems, until the reign of Stephen. 
The Guises of Elmore date, as landowners, from 
Henry III. (though their pedigree, too, goes further 
back). The Kingscotes of Kingscote owned land there 
in the time of Edward II., and the Estcourts of 
Shipton, now represented by Baron Estcourt, possessed 
the manor of Le Estcourt in the reign of Edward IV. 

The Leighs of Adlestrop are the well-known Cheshire 
family which dates from before the Conquest. The 
Chamberlaynes of Maugersbury and the Duttons of 
Sherborne are of Norman descent. The Somersets 
are directly descended from John of Gaunt. But none 
of these — to make a loose statement — became Glouces- 
tershire landowners until about 1600. 

Of the remaining twenty families, some can carry 
their family trees further back than the dates of acquire- 
ments of property, but only one or two can make 
precise statements about anything previous to 1550 
or 1600. These twenty families are : — 

The Barkers of Fairford. 

The Bathursts of Cirencester (now represented by 
Earl Bathurst). 


The Boveys of Flaxley Abbey (now Crawley- 

The Blathwayts of Dyrham. 

The Chesters of Almondsbury (now Chester Master). 

The Codringtons of Dodington. 

The Colchesters of Westbury (now Colchester- 

The Dightons of Clifford. 

The Freemans of Batsford (now represented by Lord 

The Fusts of Hill (now Jenner-Fust). 

The Hales of Alderley. 

The Hicks and Hicks Beachs of Witcombe and 
Williamstrip and Coin St. Aldwyn (now repre- 
sented by Viscount St. Aldwyn). 

The Holfords of Westonbirt. 

The Mortons of Tortworth (now represented by 
Earl Ducie). 

The Noels of Campden (now represented by Earl 

The Jenkinsons of Hawksley. 

The Rogers of Dowdeswell (now Cox well-Rogers). 

The Rushouts of Upper Swell. 

The Whitmores of Lower Slaughter. 

The Winnyats of Dymock. 

So it can be calculated that in Gloucestershire, and 
in the course of two hundred years, 90 per cent, of the 
owners of land have disappeared and their places have 
been refilled, and there is no reason to doubt that the 
process is still going on, and perhaps at an increased 
rate, and that Gloucestershire is not a solitary instance 
among counties. 

A seeming stability, even if it dates from only the 
day before yesterday, has, therefore, quite a conse- 
quential air in the middle of so much that has slipped 
away ; and it is perhaps only an ungracious mind that 
tries to unravel the shadowy threads of consequence, 
of that web of tradition loosely woven of names, 


monuments, fragments of stories, family portraits, the 
ambiguous statements of county histories. 

The unravelling process has a fascination, even if it 
is without practical value, and destructive only — there 
lie the unravelled threads ! Are they worth replaiting ? 

The Witcombe tradition has been vaguely that of 
perpetual existence in Gloucestershire, and there has 
been no insistence on the existence of Robert Hicks of 
Cheapside, the first authentic ancestor. And yet the 
tradition, like so many other traditions, has its founda- 
tion in fact, as the will of Robert himself proves. The 
little document, folded to a square of four inches and 
stained with the dust of three-and-a-half centuries, 
shows that, in the first place, Robert had land in 
Gloucestershire to dispose of, and, in the second place, 
that he was of kin to a Gloucestershire family of the 
same name. Hicks, Hick, Hickes, Hicke, Hyckes, 
Hycks, Hyks, Hyx, Hix, Hixe, Hikes, Hicckes, 
Hikkes, Hikkys, Hecks are some of the ways of 
spelling it in records and registers. 



There is an attractive theory about the origin of the 
name of Hicks. 

The Hwiccas were a Saxon tribe inhabiting the 
greater part of Gloucestershire to the east of the 
Severn and Avon up to near Warwick, including most 
of the Cotswolds. When family proper names came 
into use, it would have been a natural thing that a 
person clearly belonging to that tribe should have been 
called Hicks. 

The dictionary reminds us that Patronomatology is a 
doctrine and not a science I But it is not in the least 
improbable that Hicks is a tribal surname ; and Hwicca 
or Huicca is said also to be transmitted in the names of 
several places, such as Warwick and Wickwar. 

(Worcester = Wigorceaster = Hwicca's Chester.) 

For proof of the existence of the kingdom of Wiccia 
(the spellings are numerous) we can go to the " Eccle- 
siastical History " of the Venerable Bede, where it is 
mentioned three times. In the " Saxon Chronicle," too, 
that confused history of invasion and bloodshed, we are 
told that "Ethelmund, ealdorman, rode over from 
the Wiccians at Cynemeeresford " (Kempsford). The 
sequel to that being that there was a " great fight " ! 

It is as impossible to keep arranged in the mind the 
story of Anglo-Saxon Britain between the withdrawal 
of the Roman legions in a.d. 411 and the Norman 
Conquest as it is to retain the tale of the Italian 
Republics in the Middle Ages. The Romans had 


civilised Britain, and it had been converted to Chris- 
tianity by missionaries from Iona ; but the Romans had 
not encouraged the Britons in proficiency in the art of 
war, and they found themselves, after the withdrawal of 
the Roman army, at a disadvantage among their piratical 
neighbours. The Scots of Ireland, the Picts of Scotland, 
and the German pirates of the North Sea were a for- 
midable combination. To their undoing, it was with 
the Germans that the Britons made alliance against 
their other foes. 

The German pirates were of three nations — the Jutes 
of Jutland, the Saxons of Holstein, and the Angles of 
Sleswick. They are named in the order of their respec- 
tive conquests of Britain. The Jutes, under Hengist 
and Horsa, landed in the Isle of Thanet and established 
themselves in Kent. 

In 477 Saxons under Ella invaded Sussex. In 495 
two Saxon ealdormen, Cerdic, and Cynric, his son, came 
up Southampton Water with five ships ; and if the 
fortunes of this particular band are followed up in the 
" Saxon Chronicle," it can be discovered that, under 
succeeding leaders, it fought its way slowly westward 
and reached Gloucestershire in 577, eighty-two years 
afterwards. It can be accepted as a fairly well-estab- 
lished fact that these pirates were the tribe of the 
Gewissas, or Hwiccas, and the ancestors — to dispense 
with all boring criticism — of every Gloucestershire 
Hicks ! More than that, there need be no further dis- 
cussion as to the exact person with whom the Hicks 
family tree should begin, for the Chronicle traces the 
descent of Cerdic from the god Woden himself ! 

The native inhabitant,- defending his own hearth- 
stone, has never failed to be a valiant foe, and the final 
Huiccian victory at Dyrham in Gloucestershire, when 
the three British kings of Gloucester, Bath, and Ciren- 
cester were killed on the field, was probably a battle 
tough and savage enough. There must have been a 
tremendous struggle for the pleasant land which the 


River Severn, the Malvern Hills, and the River Teme 
enclose on one side, and which the Roman Foss Way, . 
along the crest of the Cotswolds, bounds upon the 
other. The soil itself yields up its evidence of the stout 
defence of the Romano-British, and there have been 
dug out of it 

" Skeletons with the iron bosses of their mouldered 
wicker shields under their heads ; with gilded bronze 
brooches ; with iron spear-heads by their sides, and 
clay or wooden cups in their hands. These were the 
skeletons of the heathen Saxons, pursued by those 
they invaded, and buried where they fell, ready to 
renew their fierce conflicts and drinking-bouts in the 
Hall of WalhaUa." 

So say the Records of the Gloucestershire Archaeo- 
logical Society, and the bosses, the brooches, the 
spear-heads, the cups may be seen in the Museum at 

Roman civilization had not made the British effete — 
they could resist stoutly, it seems. But they must have 
been in every way so much more respectable than the 
Viking savages. One test of Huiccian lineage ought to 
be the existence of a lurking grudge against respect- 
ability, and the occurrence — if not infrequently — of 
atavistic dreams of galleys and landings and of respect- 
able persons sprinting before a thirsty blade ! 

There are surmises by which we live ; and there is a 
picture of a woman of Hicks lineage at Witcombe 
which makes the Saxon savage not a probable, but the 
only possible, ancestor. The savage may die out in 
man, but it will never die in woman ; and this truth 
the picture of Kneller's declares. The Countess of 
Longford has a narrow head and a very long, narrow 
nose. Her lips are red and full, and are pinched 
together to suppress laughter, and on either side of the 
mouth, at a distance from the eye, the cheeks are 
bulbous, and the colour in them is most likely artificial. 


The eyes themselves, high in the face, are of the purple 
of sloes, and the lids above are thick, and are fringed 
only by slight lashes. The hair is coarse and is of red 
gold, and it is massed in carefully made puffs over each 
ear and falls in carefully disarranged curls over the 
clumsily modelled bosom. There are great pearls 
hooked into the ears, and jewelled clasps hold the satin 
dress rather insufficiently together. The Countess of 
Longford is the Huiccian savage reincarnate, with the 
savage's compressed intellect and generous talent of 
savoir vivre, the savage's instinctive shrewdness and 
lack of the virtues which Christianity has fostered and 

The elimination of Christianity from the conquered 
territory shows how complete the Huiccian conquest 
was. The Christian British collected themselves 
together again into a nation, but it was on the further 
side of that wide river which, as hunting people know 
too well, divides the land upon one side of it from the 
land upon the other as completely to-day as it did then. 
They took their language with them across the river, as 
well as their religion. It is impossible to pretend that 
the Hwiccas did Gloucestershire a lingual wrong when 
we chant to-day the resonant Saxon : 

" Before the mountains were brought forth or ever the earth and 
the world were made, Thou are God from Everlasting and world 
without end." 

But it is equally impossible to regret that one has no 
heritage in its Welsh equivalent : 

" Cyn gwneuthur y mynyddoedd a llunio o honot y ddaear a'r byd ; 
ti hefyd wyt Dduw, o dragywyddoldeb hyd dragywyddoldeb." 

The people among whom this language has survived 
have had no mean vitality ! And that it has survived 
is evidenced by the fact that the sale of the Welsh 
Scriptures during the last century amounted to three 
and a half millions. It is a sturdy resistance of nation- 
ality, and in early days there was a persistence, too, in 


By Godfrey Kneller. 

(From a picture at Witcombe Park.) 


their own religious customs, which drew down upon 
them the exhortation of the Roman Church. Bede 
gives an account of the matter. 

In 603, after the conversion of Kent and its king, 
Augustine, for the furtherance of the conversion of the 
rest of England, seems to have conceived the idea of a 
conference with the. bishops of the older Christianity. 
The Hwiccas, by this time, were under the rule of 
Anglian Mercia, and it was the Mercian king, Penda, 
who gave the safe-conduct both to Augustine and to the 
Welsh bishops. It was somewhere on Huiccian soil 
that the meeting took place, and one legend has it that 
it was at Aust, on the eastern bank of the Severn, 
where was the Roman ferry (Trajectus Augusti). It 
is permissible to conjure up the picture of the boat- 
load of seven bishops in their copes and mitres, huddled 
together, crossing the wide water between the high 
cliffs on either shore. But — 

" When they came, Augustine was sitting on a 
chair, which they observing were in a passion, and 
charging him with pride, endeavoured to contradict 
all he said." 

This " sitting on a chair " was decidedly an indiscreet 
assumption of ecclesiastical superiority. The seven 
fiery provincial Celts would listen to no terms whatever 
from this ambassador of the Universal Church. Hwiccian 
churls, spear in hand, would be there to police the 
occasion and to take Augustine back to the Hwiccian 
marches, but it is not recorded that the Roman bishop 
found the opportunity to make a convert of any Hicks, 
and Gloucestershire remained defiantly pagan for another 
sixty years. Then Mercia (of which it was now a part) 
fell under the dominion of Christian Northumbria, and 
with the northern army came the missionaries from Iona. 
" Like a tidal wave," says the History Book, " the Faith 
spread across Mercia." 


Between the first Hwiccian convert — for such a 
man there was — and Nicholas Hickes of Hampton 
Maysey, who, in the first year of King Edward III. 
(1327), is mentioned in a taxation of one-twentieth 
granted to the king by the laity, the gap is one of six 
and a half centuries, of time, which itself does so little 
for us except to make destitute. This Hickes of the 
fourteenth century would be bereft of the simplicity of 
the Viking nature ; instinctively, we seem to know, he 
was not the man who would do battle for an egg, or 
would die for an idea : a primitive nobility had inevit- 
ably gone from him, and the pertinent question is 
whether, in its place, was that moral originality and 
strenuousness which man finds so much more burden- 
some than physical endurances. Was the age one of 
which the strenuous person was a natural product ? 

There is in existence, and now in the British Museum, 
a manuscript book full of pictures which makes the 
question not a bit a vain one asked to the air. The 
Athenaeum of December 29th, 1888, gives an account 
of it: 

"This MS. is known to students as MS. ROY 
10 E. IV. It consists of 314 folio leaves of parch- 
ment upon which are written Gregory IX. 's Decretals. 
MSS. of this sort, as is well known, were written in 
Italy and sent with blank margins to the various 
parts of Christendom to be illustrated according to 
the taste of each place. This copy was meant for 
France, as its first words show : — 

" ' Gregorius episcopus, servus, sevorum Dei, dilectis 
filiis doctoribus et scolaribus universis parisiis com- 
morantibus salutem, et apostolicum benedictionem.' 
But the work of illustrating the book was scarcely 
begun in Paris when the volume found its way to 
England, where it was thoroughly illustrated from 
the first page to the last. This book came into the 
possession of the famous St. Bartholomew Monastery 


in London, as testified by this mention on the fly- 
leaf, Liber domus sancti bartholomei in Smythfylde. 
According to the style of dress the illustrations 
appear to have been painted during the early part of 
the fourteenth century. This can be fixed by the 
fact that ailettes are worn by knights (fol. 305) and 
these are known to have been in fashion from the 
closing years of the thirteenth century to the middle 
of the reign of Edward III. The pages are orna- 
mented with scrolls, grotesques, etc., the margin at 
the foot of the page being reserved usually for scenes 
with personages, and in these especially lies the great 
interest of the book. There is no exaggeration in 
saying that all English mediasval life is to be seen 
there. There are scenes of peace and war, of public 
and of private life, battles and sea-fights, storming 
of castles and jousts to please ladies : all the games . 
of England are there ; all its sports too ; there is 
hawking, deer-stalking, rabbit, bird, and squirrel 
shooting, fishing in rivers and ponds, games of bowls, 
tops, ninepins, dice, dances of every sort, tricks of 
tumblers, minstrels, jugglers, bearwards without end. 
All trades are represented, such as spinning, corn- 
grinding (several representations of hand-mills), house 
and church building, shoe-making, carpentering, bak- 
ing, begging, etc. Private manners are profusely 
illustrated ; people are shewn at their dinner-table, in 
bed, sitting in their room, attending to kitchen 
business, dictating letters. Then you see a letter 
taken by a messenger to a lady, the lady dictates in the 
same way her answer, and a little further on the result 
of all this dictating is perceived, as well as what the 
writing was about : the lady and gentleman have each 
mounted their horses and meet at a lonely place ; they 
leave their horses to pages and kiss most lovingly. The 
saddles are to be noted, for being now empty, their 
shape is to be seen to advantage ; they are exactly 
similar for the man and for the woman, being shaped 
c.f. c 


like an arm-chair, for people to sit in them and ride 
astride, as was then the custom for ladies as well as 

So the account goes on, and as one turns over the 
pages of one of the most fascinating picture-books in 
the world, one echoes the final words, that- — 

" It is greatly to be desired that this book may be 
taken in hand by a competent scholar for the purpose 
of identifying the illustrations throughout. Every- 
one who has looked over these pages of so much 
historical and literary importance will agree that they 
should be put beyond the possibility of destruction, 
because they form one of the most abundant sources 
of information concerning English life at the time of 
the Edwards available at the present day." 

But it isn't because it is illustrative of the time 
of the Edwards that the manuscript is of transcendent 
value. It is illustrative of the age of Chaucer, and 
with that remembrance, and with the pictures of the 
Decretals as an index, the Taxation of a Twentieth 
{Lay Subsidy. Gloucester. Boll ™) in the Archives 
of the Record Office glows with a thousand colours. 
Gloucestershire of the fourteenth century becomes a 
land where there was a perpetual May-time, and the 
grass was always green ; where birds sang in the trees, 
and there was a gay avoidance of all that was too 
serious and moral. Life was simple and full of humour; 
it was picquant, full of sentimentality, full of ever- 
lasting talk, of mirthful idleness and the love of women. 
It was a life not concerned with great conflicts nor 
great causes ; it was simply very glad, with the gladness 
of a people rejoicing as children, who rejoice without 
reflection, in the completion of a unity and freedom 
towards which all their slow seven centuries of history 
since the Hwiccian conquest had led them. It was 
a life, a gladness, not aware of shadows across it of 
great things from which it shrank. 


But the complete list of Hicks who were taxed in 
1327 ought to be given. 

From Nicholas Hickes of Hampton Meysey . 



Robert Hickes of Kynmaresforde 



Alice Hickes of Barndeslegh 



John Hickes of Tettebury . 



John Hickes of Guytyngs Poer . 



Walter Hykes of Hynelden 



John Hickes of Little Whyticombe 



Robert Hickes of Aston Super Carent . 



John Hickes of Asshton . . . . 



Robert Hikkes of Wynterbourne 


Anyone with a geographical knowledge of Gloucester- 
shire will see at once how widely diffused the name was 
— that it was not merely a local one. Hill and Vale — 
the whole territory of the Hwiccas — are equally repre- 
sented on the list. 

Fourteen years later the name appears twice again in 
"Inquisitions taken before the Abbot of Wynchecumbe to 
enquire into the true value of the ninth of sheaves, fleeces 
and lambs granted to the King in the County of Glou- 
cester." Roger Hickes is one of the jurors for the 
Chapel of Horefield ; and in a very torn Inquisition of 
the Deanery of Stonehouse, with Church and Christian 
name gone, one Hikkes appears as another juror. 

Nicholas, Robert, Ahce, John, Roger, pass in 
Chaucerian procession in the sunshine, with wimple 
and kirtle and pointed shoe and doublet and hose — 
crimson, and blue, and green, and yellow. There is a 
castle with turrets on a hill behind them in the picture ; 
a mill is beside a brook, and star-like daisies grow along 
the wayside in the foreground. They go gaily, and 
chatter as they go — and then the brief glory of Crecy, 
and the radiance of the Canterbury Tales which 
illuminates them, fade, and we are at once in that direst 
age of English history, which ended with the tyranny 
of the Tudors. 

The Black Death swept away Chaucer's England as 
effectually as a sponge will obliterate the devices on a 



slate. Two years after the triumph of Crecy, this 
plague came from the East across Europe, and reached 
Britain from the shores of the Baltic. The tradition of 
its ravages has been borne out by modern research. 
More than half the population of England perished. 
Smith, in his Lives of the Berkeleys, says : " Soe 
great was the plague within this lords manor of Hame, 
that soe many worke folks (as amounted to .1144. days 
worke) were hired to gather in the corn of that manor 
alone, as by their deaths fell into the lords hands, or 
elce were forsaken by them " ; while in Bristol, in the 
south of the county, the living were scarcely able to 
bury the dead. 

That uncouth poem, The Complaint of Piers 
Ploughman, tells of the realities of the years which 
followed ; and the very next list of Hicks in the 
Record Office is a fist of lives bound down to those 

Behind the lives, as on some gloomy arras, is the 
perpetual war with France — the Hundred Years' War 
of history — which, although lighted here and there by 
English heroisms and triumphs, lost all national 
meaning, and became an endless struggle of European 
dimensions, with endless demands on the national 
finances. Now famine had followed on the heels of 
plague. For scarcity of hands to gather them harvests 
rotted on the ground, cultivation of the land became 
impossible, and when the first panic was over, there was 
such a sudden rise in wages consequent on the diminu- 
tion in the supply of free labour that landowners and 
craftsmen were threatened with ruin. The strife 
between Capital and Labour was nakedly visible for 
the first time, and Capital began a desperate struggle 
to reduce the labourer to fresh serfage. Life had no 
economic outlook ; and no other outlook either. Its 
narrowness, its misery, its monotony, Longland sets 
forth with grim intensity. Its pleasures were 
Hogarthian. Its religion the religion of common 


sense and despair. Edward III.'s dishonoured death 
in old age was followed hard by the raising of a sub- 
sidy ; and then, three years later, in 1380, the grant 
was renewed, and a Poll Tax, graduated from £l to Is. 
per head, was imposed on every male and female. Its 
exaction set England on fire. It goaded to frenzy the 
labouring class already seething with discontent, and 
the great peasant rising known as Wat Tyler's 
Rebellion was the result. 

Here is the list of the Hicks whom the Plague spared 
to pay the tax — or, at least, to have the tax demanded 
of them. The roll is numbered Gloucester ^, is dated 
2 or 4 Richard II, and is labelled Poll Tax. 

Hundred of Salemundesbury; 
Stowe St. Edward. 

vjs. Philip Hickus,* merchant, 
xijtt. Emma his wife, 
vijd. Robert Hickus. 

vjtT. Jut his servant. 


xijtT. Robert Hickus. 
xijtT. Agnes his wife. 

Hundred of Holford and Greston. 


xijft. Richard Hyccke. 
xijtt. Cecilia his wife. 

xijiT. John Hickus. 
xijit. Christine his wife. 
xijd. Sibilla his daughter. 

xijS. John Hickus. 
xij?$. Margery his wife. 

Gruytyng Power. 
xijtf. Walter Hickus. 

* In this roll "us ' seems always to be used instead of " es," e.g. 
Hobbus for Hobbes, Gibbus for Gibbes, etc. 


Hundred of Kyftesgate. 


xij9. John Hickus. 

xijtf. Thomas Hickus. 

xijEf. Anic (Avice ?) his wife. 

xijtJ. Robert his son. 

xijft. Richard his servant. 

Social denunciations of some sort ought to follow on 
a list like this — a fragment of the literature of a great 
social crisis. It is trivial to be diverted to the contem- 
plation of the existence of Hicks wives — but they have 
such alluring names. Emma, Agnes, Cecilia, Cristine, 
Margery, and Avice. Mr. Abbey could fashion for us 
their head-dresses and sweeping sleeves, their tight, 
short-waisted corsages and voluminous skirts. Shak- 
spere could have given us the human nature of them — 
of the six woman souls. George Eliot would have 
delighted to philosophise over their narrow lives : — 

" Yet these commonplace people bear a conscience, 
and have felt a sublime prompting to do the painful 
right ; they have their unspoken sorrows and their 
sacred joys ; their hearts have perhaps gone out 
towards their first-born, and they have mourned over 
the irreclaimable dead. Nay — is there not a pathos 
in their very insignificance — in our comparison of their 
dim and narrow existence with the glorious possibilities 
of that human nature which they share ? " 

Amos Barton. 

And it is pretty certain that of Sibilla, slender 
daughter of John Hicks, she would have exclaimed : — 

" Could there be a more insignificant thread than 
the consciousness of a girl, busy with her small infer- 
ences of the way in which she could make her life 
pleasant ? — in a time too, when ideas were with fresh 
vigour making armies of themselves, and the universal 
kinship was declaring itself fiercely : a time when the 


soul of man was waking to pulses which had for 
centuries been beating in him unheard, until their full 
sum made a new life of terror or of joy. What, in 
the midst of that mighty drama, are girls and their 
blind visions ? They are the Yea or Nay of that 
good for which men are enduring or fighting. In 
these delicate vessels is borne onward through the 
ages the treasure of human affections." 

Daniel Deronda. 

So we come abruptly to the crude wonder who Sibilla 
Hicks married ! And in a Pontifical, done for the use of 
a Bishop of Exeter towards the middle of the fifteenth 
century, there is a miniature enclosed in an initial 
which gives us in glowing colours, and in microscopic 
detail, what might have been the very wedding of Sibilla 
herself, for it is the wedding of just ordinary folk. The 
bride's great, winged head-dress is of gold wire, and her 
frail neck bends beneath it. No hair is visible, and the 
high forehead must surely have been shaved. With 
raised eyebrows and puckered mouth, and yet with self- 
possession, she seems to give a hand that shrinks a little 
to the eager bridegroom. He is gay in scarlet hose, 
with crimson vest and blue tunic. There is no lack of 
colour. The mitred Bishop wears a green cope over his 
scarlet cassock, and the copes of the other priests are 
respectively blue and scarlet. The two elderly witnesses 
betray yet further the fashion of the day — behold the 
woman's glorified ' Eton ' collar, and the sleeves falling 
to her knee and lined with white. How healthy such 
pre-occupation with detail and with human functions 
must have been in those dismal days ! Historians hail 
down so many objugatory adjectives on the age that it 
is a revelation to turn over these old missals. They 
betray so quietly and effectively in their minute 
illuminations that, beneath the historical turmoil, real 
life itself — the thousand unrecorded lives of inhistorical 
souls — persisted obstinately. 


' Real life,' we say — for is not Destiny complete in 
itself ? Has not the hearth its flame — that imaginative 
solace ? There, on a headland, a beacon blazes, but the 
road runs by it-—and past. To live as a man, to carry the 
burden of his class and time, to keep hold of common 
sense — isn't that man's wisest choice? Isn't that the 
life for all of us ? We can only live as part of ourselves. 

In an Alien Subsidy of 1439* appears the name of 
Robert Hicckes of the Hundred of Berkeley, who was 
taxed for his servant Hankyn, a Frenchman. Robert 
plainly had a little homestead and a household, but 
there is no reason to suppose that he lived as part of 
himself only. For there is a mysterious Gaelic saying, 
"It is not everyone happy or unhappy, good or bad, 
who has a living soul ! " On a headland, in that decade, 
a beacon had blazed fiercely. Europe saw it, and in its 
light rode a woman clad in white armour and bearing a 
banner. Robert Hicckes and Joan of Arc were con- 
temporaries, and fast wedded to common sense were the 
Englishmen who burnt her at Rouen as a sorceress. 

With her death, which had been preceded by the 
death of Henry V., the Hundred Years' War came 
virtually to an end, leaving the French masters of 
France ; and the next date at which a Hicks is men- 
tioned is 1452, the year of the beginning of the Wars of 
the Roses, when — 

" England presented to Phillippe de Commines the 
rare spectacle of a land where brutal as was the civil 
strife, ' there are no buildings destroyed or demolished 
by war, and where the mischief of it falls on those 
who make the war.' The ruin and bloodshed were 
limited in fact to the great lords and their feudal 
retainers. Once or twice the towns threw themselves 
into the struggle, but for the most part the trading 
and agricultural classes stood apart from it." 

J. B. Green. 

Simon Hykkys, no doubt, stood quite apart from it. 
He appears among the names of farmers and tenants of 
the Royal College of St. Mary of Eton by Windsor 
assessed for a whole fifteenth and tenth, and for a half 
of a fifteenth and tenth granted in 31 Henry VI. by 
the laity of Gloucestershire. His land was at Aston- 
upon-Carent in the Hundred of Tewkesbury, where 
Robert Hickes was taxed of a ' twentieth ' more than 
a hundred years before. Simon lived, possibly, to see 
in old age the advent of the Tudors with the accession 
of Henry VII. in 1485, and thus the definite end of 
the Middle Ages. 

This is a historical full-stop, and a place where a 
category of surmises can be made. 

Hereditary surnames (supra nomina, because, when 
written, they were placed over the Christian name, 
?ihn s )j did not come into use until some time after the 
Norman Conquest. It was probably about the time 
that the Domesday Survey was made that, here and there 
in Gloucestershire, certain men of Huiccian lineage, 
who, unconsciously and in slipshod manner, had been 
wont to make use, if occasion required, of the name of 
the vanished tribe, adopted it definitely, in terse form, 
for the better security of their holdings, and handed it 
on as a legacy to their sons. 

It is a distracting annoyance that Domesday Book is 
nothing but a rate book: William the Conqueror's 
whole object in compiling it was revenue. The names 
of the owners of manors are given, but the names of 
the tenants are not ; the latter are only numbered and 

William had been forced by the resistance of the 
English to a wholesale confiscation of the soil. The 
English nobles either fell in battle or escaped into exile, 
but there was no new partition of their lands — a 
Norman was simply put in the place of the dead or 
outlawed Englishman, who was regarded as his legal 


ancestor. In the Domesday Survey of Gloucestershire 
about fifty names are given of barons of greater or lesser 
degree, who were lords of manors and freeholders, and 
these names are all Norman. The rest of the manors 
in the county were vested either in the Crown or in the 
Church. It was William's policy to make changes only 
in essentials — besides the tenantry of the manors were 
too insignificant to be disturbed. There is no possible 
doubt that the Domesday dry classification of nameless 
tenants of manors deprives many a family of the right 
of claiming descent from freebooters who had navigated 
the Channel and had landed, sword in hand, six hundred 
years before these Norman parvenus ! 

The Hicks are so fortunate in having a name which 
makes any attempt to foist a comparatively modern 
Norman ancestry on them futile ! 

Saxon, husbandmen, and impervious they: Saxon 
decidedly by name. Husbandmen, distinctly, too. Every 
place we find them in is rural— is a village, and some- 
times a very tiny village, to this day ; and the amounts 
for which they were taxed point to the fact that, for 
the most part, they belonged to the yeoman and not to 
the cottar class. What Bishop Latimer describes his 
own house to have been would have fitted many of 
them perfectly : — 

" My father was a yeoman and had no lands of his 
own ; only he had a farm of three of four pounds by 
the year at the uttermost, and thereupon he tilled so 
much as kept half-a-dozen men. He had a walk for 
a hundred sheep, and my mother milked thirty kine. 
. . . He kept me to school : he married my sisters 
with five pounds apiece, so that he brought them up 
in Godliness and the fear of God. He kept hospitality 
for his poor neighbours, and some alms he gave to 
the poor." 

Here and there in Gloucestershire, houses of archi- 
tecture Saxon in origin still exist — black-timbered 


dwellings with roofs of thatch, such as may be seen 
along the shores of the Baltic. The Normans brought 
with them the art and the custom of building castles in 
stone, but it was only with the increased prosperity of 
the middle-class under the Tudors that there arose those 
grey, gabled farmhouses and cottages with stone roofs 
which are the peculiarity and glory of Cotswold villages, 
and round which, to-day, a whole literature clusters. 
It was under thatched roofs, behind walls of wattle and 
plaster, that the Hicks of the Middle Ages lived out 
their impervious lives. 

Imperviousness was, perhaps, not more their key-note 
and strength than it is that of a rural existence to-day 
— than it was that of the German race from which they 
sprang and of whom Tacitus has recorded his impres- 
sions : " They live apart, each by himself, as woodside, 
plain, or fresh spring attracts him" — their love of 
independence, even within their little settlements, was, 
he marked, that which parted them from the world to 
which he himself belonged. Round the flame on the 
hearth the whole of life revolved. And we can say 
about such men that here were those who did the real 
work of the country, while the barons, their landlords, 
were at the wars. It's not so long ago. Wars abroad 
and social revolutions at home are still a perpetual 
experience — so is the imperviousness to them of the life 
of husbandry and of the attitude it breeds. It breeds a 
quality which gives a clarity to the character — an irony 
which is aware of things and is not unsatisfied with 
them : a conclusiveness of point of view : an intelligence 
of the views of others which is without self-conscious- 
ness : a nature in which nothing is left vague. 

A chapter in which quotation has a large place, shall 
end with quotation from a modern mystic : — 

" The earnest wayfarer along the road of life does 
but become more deeply convinced as his travels 
extend of the beauty, the wisdom, the truth of the 


simplest lives. He no longer vexes the hours as 
they pass with prayer for strange or marvellous 
adventure, for that comes only to such as have not 
yet learned to have faith in life and in themselves. 
. . . And yet he is the poorer for lacking the efforts 
he might have put forth, the memory of what might 
have been done ; for in these lies a force that is 
precious and vital, that often indeed will transform 
many more things within us, than a thought that is 
morally and mentally worth many thousand such 
efforts and memories. And indeed it is therefore for 
that alone that we should desire a brilliant feverish 
destiny ; because it summons to life certain forces 
and feelings that would otherwise never emerge from 
the slumberous peace of an over-tranquil existence." 



It is a commonplace of most family histories that it 
is impossible to produce definite proofs of a consecutive 
existence before the time of the Tudors ; and it is a 
commonplace which everyone who sets out to write 
a family history boldly determines to reduce to cinders. 
That it doesn't generally undergo this withering process 
is probably due, as in the present case, to the fact that, 
in most localities, neither wills nor Church registers are 
available before 1500. (It was Thomas Cromwell who 
made the keeping of them compulsory). This chapter 
is full of evidence of the existence of the Gloucester- 
shire ancestors of Robert Hicks, of Cheapside, but it 
may as well be confessed at once that it altogether 
fails to put a name either to his father or grand- 
father; and the provocation of the failure is intense, 
because a certain will was once in existence which, 
could it be found, would probably reveal the names 
of both. 

Robert, in his own will of 1557, leaves a gold ring to 
his cousin, Richard Hicks, of Cromhall. 

Now the will of this Richard Hicks, described as 
'yeoman,' was proved November, 1558, and is in the 
Diocesan Registry at Gloucester. He had no children ; 
and gives and bequeaths to Edithe (Neale), his wife, for 
term of her life, according to power given him by his 
father's last will and testament, after the decease of his 
mother, the " syte and manner " of Cromhall and all 
other the premises with their " appurtences " in as large 


and ample manner as in that said will and testament is 
specified. And after her life is ended, the rest of the 
year not expired, the lease of it he gives to his brother 

Morgan Hicks is thus another cousin of Robert. 
His will is also at Gloucester, and was proved June, 
1565. He mentions his father by name as Thomas. 

It is thus plain that Richard and Morgan had a 
father, Thomas Hicks, who owned Cromhall Court 
House, in some sort the ' family place ' ; that he was the 
uncle of Robert, and that if his will, which existed, 
could be unearthed, we should probably get at Robert's 
grandfather, and perhaps his father (brother to Thomas) 
as well. 

The search for the will has been fruitless. It is not 
in the Diocesan Registry at Gloucester where the old 
wills have been sorted and indexed of late years, nor at 
Worcester, where Gloucestershire wills were proved 
before the formation of the separate See in 1541. It is 
not in the Probate Registry at Bristol, where the first 
Hicks will is dated 1631. It is not at Somerset House, 
where many old wills were deposited when the Court 
of Probate was created in 1858. It is not at Lambeth ; 
the Registry there contains a great number of old 
Gloucestershire wills, but the name of Hicks does not 
occur once in the index. There do not seem to be any 
local Peculiar Courts in which it could be interred. It 
has to be taken for granted, therefore, that it is no 
longer in existence ; and all that can be proved is the 
fact that Robert's father was a younger brother of the 
first Thomas Hicks, of Cromhall, of whom we have 
documentary evidence. 

Anyone with knowledge of manorial history will 
wonder exactly how, and from whom, Thomas Hicks 
and his father, and, probably, his grandfather and 
great-grandfather, held the Court House at Cromhall. 

Cromhall is mentioned in Domesday Book as being 
part of the great Manor of Berkeley : — 


" Two brothers held five hides in that manor in the 
time of King Edward. In demean are two plough- 
tillages, and six villeins, and five borders having six 
plough-tillages. Those two brothers might do as they 
pleased with themselves and their land. Earl William 
committed them to the care of the Steward of Berchelai 
that he might have their service as Roger says." 
In another place it says, " Two hides in Cromale belong 
to Berchelai." 

The object of the Norman Survey was to ascertain 
the revenue of the country and not the conditions of 
its inhabitants, and so its social conditions cannot be 

Mr. Hone, in his "Manor and Manorial Records," 
says : — 

" It is clear that the Commissioners, looking upon 
the ploughs as the important units of taxation, and 
taxing by carucates and hides, described many who 
were personally free under the generic term of 
villains. . . . Freemen holding in villainage and 
villains born, getting mixed up under the same 

It is an involved subject, and the more one goes into 
it, the more difficult does it seem to draw hard and fast 
lines between the tenants on an Anglo-Norman manor. 
Here, in Cromhall, however, it seems clear that the two 
richest and most important men in the village were two 
nameless brothers, free and independent landowners 
evidently, but who were henceforth to owe service to 
the Lord of Berkeley; then we have six nameless 
villains, either full villains with farms of thirty acres, or 
semi-villains with holdings of fifteen ; then five name- 
less borders, or cottars, with some five acres. There 
would be further gradations down to the man with his 
quarter of an acre. 

" These all occupied the places their forefathers had 
formed for themselves, places gradually shaped by 


circumstances rather than by system. Poverty had 
depressed one to the verge of slavery, while success 
had raised another to almost independent position." 
Bateson, " Medieval England." 

What percentage of Huiccian blood was there, one 
wonders, in Cromhall at the time of the Norman 
Conquest ? Thirteen people of Saxon blood are 
alluded to in the Survey, and it is a sure inference that 
some of them were lineal descendants of the first Saxon 
invaders and came to be known by the tribal name. 
No one who has ever given a thought to the miracle of 
the persistence of life, or a thought to the insignificance 
of that which is called Time, will question the surety. 
" We wake, and find ourselves on a stair ; there are 
stairs below us which we seem to have ascended ; there 
are stairs above us, many a one, which go upwards out 
of sight." * 

Thomas Hicks of the Court House (Robert's uncle), 
stands on the stairway of the family history, and is no 
very unsubstantial wraith. In a Lay Subsidy of 1542 
{Roll ^|), which is very imperfect, his name occurs : — 

Cro — all. 
Thomas Hyckes in goods — ... — Xs. 

In a Court Roll (Portfolio 175, No. 4), he appears 
again : — 

Hundred of Berkeley. 

View of frankpledge held there on Monday after the feast of 
St. Simon and St. Jude 35 Hen. VIII. (A.D. 1543). 


The tithing man there presents that Thomas Hycks holds a water 
mill and takes (excessive toll) of the grain to the injury of the King's 
lieges, therefore he is in mercy viijd. 

Thomas Hyckes is elected in the office of constable and sworn. 

Thomas, in the reign of Henry VIII., descended 
from either villain or bordar of the time of William I., 

* Emerson. 


was one of that yeoman class, the direct product of the 
social crisis of the Black Death. 'Yeoman' is what 
his son describes himself in his will. The prosperity of 
the family had undoubtedly been built along a historical 
groove. Long ago the services by which they held 
their plot of land, would have been commuted for a 
money payment. Then came the plague and its devas- 
tation of life, the scarcity of labour, and the rise in 
wages. ,The tenants of a manor were no longer able to 
work their farms at a profit sufficient to meet their 
rentals ; there was a universal lowering of rents, and 
in the end the lord of the manor was content to 
give up the cultivation even of his demesne lands 
to them. 

The whole question of tenure under a manor is a 
most intricate one, as many a present-day lord of the 
manor knows well. There does not want an ample 
literature on the subject, but Chambers' Encyclopedia 
— it sounds a prosy source of information — puts the 
matter clearly. 

"MANOR in English law is a freehold estate 
held by the Lord of the Manor who is entitled by 
immemorial custom to maintain a tenure between 
himself and the copyhold tenants, whereby a kind of 
feudal relation is kept up between them. As, how- 
ever, sub-infeudation in England was prohibited by 
the Statute of Quia Emptores in the reign of 
Edward I. and no manor could be created since 
that date, it follows that all existing manors must 
trace their origin from before that time." 

" COPYHOLD is expressed technically as ' tenure 
by copy of Court Roll, at the will of the lord accord- 
ing to the custom of the Manor.' This means that 
it is tenure of land being part of a manor, the title 
being evidenced by the Court Rolls of the Manor, 
and the right of the owner being in conformity with 
the manorial customs of the Manor which form the 

C.F. D 


law of the tenure; as this custom must be imme- 
morial, i.e., extending to the reign of Richard II., no 
copyhold can now be created. 

The custom of each manor may vary in important 
particulars. In some, the copyhold lands are held for 
life only ; in some they descend according to par- 
ticular rules of their own ; in most however, they 
descend according to the ordinary rules of succession. 
But the custom, whatever it may be, cannot be 
altered by the holder of the copyhold. He cannot, 
for instance, entail his land unless the custom 
warrant him." 

Cromhall Court House with its surrounding acres 
was not entailed. Thomas Hicks left it to his wife for 
life, and then to his son Richard. Richard left it to his 
wife Edithe (ne'e Neale) for life, and then to his brother 
Morgan. Morgan left it to his wife for life, and then to 
his son Arthur. If Arthur died without issue it was to 
go to " William Hixe son of my cosen Thomas Hixe." 
" If he die," it is left to a succession of Neales — and 
why is not clear, for there were other Hicks cousins 
who had children : Robert of London in the first place, 
and then a Richard who had a son Adrian, and a 
certain Christopher also. 

But Arthur did not die without issue. This is to be 
discovered in that wonderful example of what a Family 
History ought to be — The Lives of the Berkeleys, 
from 1066 to 1639, by John Smyth of Nibley, who was 
steward of the hundred of Berkeley and of all the 
manors of the great Berkeley estate. For two and a 
half centuries the MSS. were closely preserved by 
successive Lords Berkeley in the Muniment Room at 
the Castle. In 1883 Lord Fitzhardinge allowed the 
Gloucestershire Archaeological Society to print them, 
and a limited number of copies of the book were 
published by subscription. It is a unique book. 
Irrespective of public events, it reflects the manners, 


habits and customs of all classes of the community 
within the Hundred during the period over which it 
extends. It traces the devolution of lands and gives 
valuable genealogical details — so truly says its Preface. 
In Vol. III., in the course of a description of the 
parish of Cromhall, there is definite information about 
Arthur's sons. Their names were Thomas, Arthur 
and Morgan, and in 1606, Thomas, the heir, altered 
and built on to the Court House, and entered into a 
fresh agreement concerning the property with Sir 
William Throgmorton, then lord of the manor. The 
said agreement is now in the possession of the present 
lord of the manor, the Earl of Ducie (lineal descendant 
of Sir Robert Ducy), who has kindly allowed a copy to 
be made of it: — 

" 1616. Dec. 18. Agreement between Sir Wm 
Throgmorton and Thos : Hicks, Clothier. 

"Bylndre of Feoffment — between Sir Wm Throck- 
morton Knt and Bart. W m Tracey Esq and Urian 
Wise Gent : of the one part and Thomas Hicks, 
Clothier of the other part — In consideration of £150 
— paid to Sir W. Throckmorton and 20/- to s d Wm 
Tracey and Urian Wise by s d Thos : Hicks they 
granted enfeoffed released to s d Hicks his Heirs and 
assigns. The Cap 1 Megse or Site of the Manor of 
Cromhall with the appurts in Cromhall afs d with all 
Houses, Gardens, Orchards &° belonging. 

" A close of Arable with a meadow and Grove at 

the end called and all such comon Liberty 

and Feeding in the Wastes as usually enjoyed with 
,s d Lands — And all Houses &° And the Rev 11 &c. 
And all the Estate saving and excepting to and for 
the s d Sir W. Thr n , his H r3 and Ag s full Liberty 
to hawk, hunt, fish andfowle* at all convenient and 
seasonable times in or upon the s d premises or any 
part thereof except only in such Ponds as are or shall 

* Italics inserted. 



be upon the several grounds of the sf Thos Hicks 
before thereby granted, To Hold except as aforesaid 
unto and to the use of the s d Thos Hicks, his Hrs : 
and Ag s for ever — At and under the yearly rent of 
£6. 11. 2 payable half yearly and for non-payment 
28 days the further rent of £3. 5. 7 with power of 
distress for both rents." 

The ' chief rent ' was paid to the lord of the 
manor until 1874, but the sporting rights, so strin- 
gently reserved in the deed, had been allowed to lapse. 
In order to recover the rights of his ancestors, Lord 
Ducie was obliged to buy the freehold of the Court 
Farm, for it was a tongue of land running right up 
between his coverts. 

Thomas is called clothier, not yeoman, in the deed. 
This means that the family had moved with the times 
and had their part in the prosperous cloth trade of the 
Gloucestershire of the Tudors. 

If one wishes sometimes that somebody would write 
a History of the Gloucestershire Cloth Trade, it is 
because of the thought of the pictures such a book 
would have. The history of the trade really comes 
to the mind in a kaleidoscopic series of pictures. 

1. A woodcut of a Saxon loom on a Saxon manor,* 
where the yarn spun and woven supplied the rough 
frieze for the clothes of the lord and his dependents. 

2. The great wolds which the Norman landowners 
turned to profitable use as sheep-walks — and not only 
they, for after the Conquest the tenants' sheep ceased 
to form part of the royal rent, and remained at the 
tenants' own disposal, so that sheep-shearing became 
' worth while ' to everyone. 

3. A twelfth-century company of Flemish mer- 
chants with their train of packhorses, journeying over 
the Gloucestershire hills to the Gloucestershire wool 

* There should be previous pictures; for the Romans, and the 
British before them, wore woven cloth. 


marts. The cavalcade is seen in silhouette, with angles 
of quaint head-gear standing out against the sky. 

4. The Cotswold wool-markets of Campden, North- 
leach and Cirencester, with their Woolstaplers' Halls 
and warehouses — but who that does not know these 
Cotswold hill towns personally can ever realise their 
charm ? 

5. The market-places of Bruges and Calais, from 
whence the wool was dispersed over Europe — first at 
Bruges, then at Calais, the staple was. 

6. An interlarded portrait of Edward III., who 
imported Flemish weavers and their methods into 
England, so that English wool might be now 
manufactured into fine cloth at home. 

7. A series of scenes in a Gloucestershire vale 
village, through which there ran a stream of suffi- 
cient force to turn the wheel of a fulling mill. The 
wool, brought from the hill markets, was weighed 
out to the weavers in the mill yard ; it was woven 
on their cottage looms ; it came back to the mill to 
be scoured and put under the fulling stocks to be 
sheared and scalded. (From first to last there were 
twenty-eight processes.) 

8. A series of pictures of the princes among the 
wool merchants and all that they achieved : William 
Grevel, ancestor of the houses of Warwick and 
Willoughby de Broke, John Tame of Fairford, 
and others. Theirs was the wealth which built the 
splendid churches of Campden, Northleach, Fairford, 
Cirencester, and many a great Cotswold house. 

Gloucestershire in Tudor days was at an apex of 
prosperity. Look at the prints of the gabled Tudor 
palaces in Atkyn's "History." Who has wealth to 
build such houses now? If there are wealthy men 
still, the source of that wealth is not the invigorating 
one of a local industry. 

With the dawn of the nineteenth century and 


machine-made modern life the tide of the Gloucester- 
shire wool trade began to ebb. The Gloucestershire 
clothiers had not divested themselves of their yeoman 
predilections — " impervious they ! " It was impervious- 
ness which kept them long unaware of the revolution in 
trade which the introduction of railways and of steam- 
driven machinery in the cloth factories in the north 
of England would entail. On account of the great 
distress prevailing a Royal Commission sat in 1849, 
and a Mr. Samuel Sevill gave evidence. The Blue 
Book quotes him : — 

" The foundation cause of loss of trade in Glou- 
cestershire lies in the coal pits of Yorkshire, where 
coal is only one-half the price, besides the great 
advantage of being able to say for certain when an 
order could be executed. Now this is not the case 
with the water-mills of this county. In the summer 
months the supply (of water) was uncertain, not 
enough to employ the people in the mills above 
five or six hours in the day. This state of things 
gradually led to the erection of steam-engines to 
equalise the power of the water-mills. But by the 
time these changes had taken place the capital of the 
leading clothiers was nearly exhausted. The cause 
of this exhaustion might be traced in a variety of 
ways, but the principal undoubtedly was the large 
establishments and expensive habits of living in 
which they indulged. While the men of Leeds or 
Huddersfield were constantly in their mills, and 
taking their meals at the same hours as their work- 
people, the clothiers of Gloucestershire — some of 
them — were indulging in the habits and mixing 
with the ' gentle blood ' of the land." 

The lust of land was in their yeoman blood. Mr. 
Wyatt of Stroud, banker, stated that — 

" In his opinion many of the manufacturers 
failed through an ambition to become large landed 


proprietors before they had secured sufficient capital, 
inasmuch as they frequently borrowed half the pur- 
chase money at five per cent., when the land did not 
yield more than three per cent." 

The Commissioner himself says : — 

"In Yorkshire there is more capital and more 
speculation. In Yorkshire the manufacturer makes 
to force or find a market, in Gloucestershire he waits 
for a demand and then prepares the supply." 

The whole subject of the practical extinction of the 
Gloucestershire trade is, of course, far more intricate 
than these scattered extracts from the Report of the 
Commission can demonstrate. Between 1820 and 1840 
one firm after another failed. Shephard's at Cam was 
the largest failure, and ' the year Shephard's failed ' 
was, until quite lately, a commonly quoted date. The 
Hicks firm at Eastington failed about the same time. 

Eastington is considerably to the north of Cromhall, 
and two miles from Stroud, round which town, in the 
eighteenth century, the Gloucestershire cloth trade had 
concentrated itself. But there is evidence, logical 
enough, that the Hicks of the Eastington mills were 
the outcome of the Cromhall clothier of the deed of 
1616. The cloth mill of 1600 was not necessarily in 
Cromhall itself, and Cromhall is not mentioned in the 
list of mills given in the Report of the Commission. 
It is probable that Thomas Hicks of 1616, who married 
Elizabeth Clutterbuck of Eastington, as the Clutterbuck 
pedigree proves, had several children, and that, when 
the Court House descended to the eldest son, the cloth 
mill went to a younger. 

Both branches have now died out in the direct line. 
The far-away representative of the Cromhall branch 
to-day is Mr. Samuel Dyer of Paignton. The repre- 
sentative of the Eastington branch is Mr. Hicks Austin 
of Ashleworth, Gloucestershire. In a correspondence 


which lately passed between them on the subject of their 
common Hicks ancestry, Mr. Dyer, unable to supply 
facts, or not interested in them, yet unconsciously gave 
proof of the relationship by regretting the "jolly family 
party " of by-gone days. The Eastington plate, which 
Mr. Hicks Austin now possesses, carried the Hicks 
arms. As the monuments in the church there show, 
the Cromhall family quietly used the arms granted to 
Robert Hicks' descendants, although when Thomas 
Hicks of Cromhall claimed the right to them at the 
Visitation of 1623 he was put in a list of those 
" disclaymed " somewhat abruptly as " no gent." The 
Eastington family had no doubt in their own minds 
as to their descent, through Cromhall, from Sir Ellis, 
and their cousinship to the Hicks of Beverstone and 
Witcombe ; and Mr. Hicks Austin relates that, as a 
boy, he was one day impressed with the sight of the 
Witcombe chariot, driving through Gloucester with 
its somewhat startling liveries of sky-blue and scarlet 
facings, and that his father told him that his grand- 
father, Henry Hicks of Eastington, had used the same. 

With vitality and a single mind, there was no reason 
why the Cromhall family should not have far out-reached 
Robert's descendants in wealth and importance. With 
its cloth mill it held the torch of opportunity in its hand. 
Why did the torch flicker and go out ? 

Mr. Hicks Austin possesses a diary kept by his 
ancestor, John Phillimore Hicks, in 1823, and it bears 
out all that the Commission Report states. J. P. Hicks 
(who gives evidence before the Commission) was 
partner with his father in the mill, but " business " is 
the very last thing he mentions. The diary begins on 
the day he leaves home to stay with his relations, the 
Phillimores, at Kendals, in Hertfordshire. He arrives 
on January 23rd and on the 25th makes the 
trenchant remark : " The day passed in perfect vacuity." 
On the 28th he goes to a ball at Hatfield, and is pretty 
trenchant again : — 


" Lady Salisbury's appearance bespeaks a life spent 
in dissipation, and her countenance suggested to my 
mind ideas not very favourable to her — her figure is 
tall and well formed. A Mrs. Field was the only 
handsome woman in the room, and she is not to be 
compared with some of our Gloucestershire belles — 
The evening went off rather flat, and the company 
broke up soon after twelve o'clock." 

Was the clothier a tedious prig, or are his sentiments 
merely pre- Albertian ? 

" A chaise brought us home soon after two o'clock, 
and I do not envy the feelings of those who can 
return to a Wife and Children, even after a short 
absence, without emotion. There is something 
intoxicating in the constant succession of new objects 
and the whirl and bustle of travelling, but to a mind 
fond of reflection, the repose of home affords a 
tranquil happiness of a most delicious kind." 

He discourses on Dr. Jenner, on Dutch pictures, 
fossils, melon frames, and Peveril of the Peak, and 
always on the Sunday sermon — it were irreverent to 
quote. He goes to the Gloucester ball and dines out 
continually. He is sinful, and repents of the sin : — 

" Went to Church in the morning — the afternoon 
badly spent — evil thoughts possessing my whole 
mind, and I so far forgot the Sabbath that I wickedly 
assisted in hunting a rat with the servants." 

Here and there we get the entry : " A day of business." 
But all was not going smoothly. There is — 

"A day never to be remembered without regret 
from having been betrayed into a violent dispute 
with my father on the subject of the business. May 
God grant me pardon for this and many other acts 
of undutiful behaviour, and dispose my heart to bear 


the reproof of my parents (however unjust or harsh) 
with meekness." 

Later on there is a quarrel unrepented of : — 

"A violent discussion in the Counting House 
respecting a new brushing machine." 

The disputes were evidently all about the introduc- 
tion of the newly-invented machinery, and there is a 
short account of a journey he took to inspect Yorkshire 
mills. But although bankruptcy was impending, no 
vein of mundane anxiety runs through the diary. Dis- 
putes disturb the facile tenour of life, and ruffle the 
temper before dining out, but the issue of the dispute 
never obtrudes itself; there is, in all the diary, no 
consciousness of " that salt tide of life that streams for 
ever past the sands and shoals of pleasure and echoes 
upon the rocky shores of time ! " 

That swift " salt tide of life " — well, it has receded 
far from the mills at Eastington, and far away from 
Cromhall Court House to-day. 

There is no Cromhall Court House any longer. The 
ruined garden walls and some farm buildings still stand, 
but of the house itself not even the foundation stones 
are left. The village is a scattered one, and the church, at 
the extreme end of it, is isolated on sloping meadows 
beyond which rise Lord Ducie's woods. It is a green, 
lonely spot, over which, for ever in the memory, a 
gleaming grey sky broods. The church stands out so 
boldly against the background of woods and sky that it 
would be more appropriately the fitting shell for the 
monuments of a fighting race than of those of a family 
whose only history is that it let go of life. It is almost 
a great surprise not to see leaning walls, a moss-grown 
roof, and the whole below the churchyard level. In 
the church are mural monuments, and flat stones in 
the nave cover the bones of those whose lives were 
lived within a few yards of their graves. Against the 


churchyard wall — or even within the boundary of the 
present wall — the Court House stood. It faced south, 
seemingly, and in the court in front of it was the well, 
now filled in, but its site still visible. Behind the 
house was the enclosure of the flower-garden, and 
beyond that again the larger enclosure of the vegetable 
garden — that was the well-planned and invariable 
sixteenth century arrangement. The garden walls are 
crumbled, and in places broken down, but there they 
are : although the turf that lies between them now 
links the vanished pleasaunce to the surrounding 
pasture. Mr. Bennett, Lord Ducie's tenant, who now 
farms the land, remembers the house. "You went 
straight into a big, low room something like a hall " — 
and that is exactly what you would do in the house of 
a mediaeval manorial estate, where the plan and con- 
struction of the better homesteads approached that of 
the lord's, who was only " an essential unit of the 
composite whole," says Mr. Hone. Even in the 
manor house itself — 

" The hall served as the common sitting-room and 
dining-room for the family and domestics. The 
furniture was scanty. From inventories we find 
that the tables were simple boards laid on trestles so 
that they could be easily removed when not in use. 
Some forms and stools, or, perhaps, a long bench 
stuffed with straw, a few chairs of wood with chests 
for linen and other household stuff, formed the 
ordinary suite. Around the walls hung the instru- 
ments of husbandry, as scythes, reaping-hooks, corn- 
measures, and empty sacks, interspersed with some 
weapons and trophies of the chase. In some of the 
larger mansion houses, we find the " solar " or apart- 
ment where special guests were entertained — the 
parlour of the later farmhouse — generally built 
towards the south, as its name implied. A winding 
stair of stone, in many instances exterior to the 


building, led to the dormitory which was usually 
divided by rude partitions. A lean-to kitchen and 
oven completed the main structure." 

The rector of Cromhall has inherited from his 
predecessors a book of parish " Memoranda " and on 
the fly-leaf of that is pasted a picture of the church, 
showing, beyond it, the outline of the gables of the 
Court House. But the picture leaves one cold. Only 
between the ghost walls, on the cropped turf itself, 
with the ghost gables overhead, comes the moment 
when the passionate word explaining the inexplicable 
misadventure in things is half betrayed — half! — no: 
the silence holds ; the spell is unbroken ; the instant 
fades. Another word takes the place of that mute, 
estranged, that broken one — 

All ends in song — the doing and undoing, 

The taken fortress, and the lost campaign ; 
The patient waiting, and the hot pursuing, 
The pride of life, the peril and the pain ; 
All ends in song — love, honour, bliss and woe, 
The glad heart's thrill, the sad heart's bitter throe. 

" All ends in song " — song set to music : song set 
sometimes to cold music. 

Inside, the crumbling garden walls were once path- 
ways for lovers' feet. Two pastures' length from 
the walls a space is reached where brambles grow 
thickly, and there, austere in the midst of the sprawl- 
ing shoots, stand gate-posts topped by stone balls 
and with the iron gates still hanging on the hinges. 
These were the gates to the fore-court of another 
vanished homestead — the dwelling of the Webbs, as 
anciently seated in Cromhall as the Hicks themselves. 
And by the monument, which is in the corner of the 
south transept of the church, you shall discover that, in 
the reign of William and Mary, Thomas Hicks of the 
Court House took to wife Mary, the daughter of 
Thomas Webb of Abbotside. Pull the rusty gates ajar 




— Mary Webb, in her hoop, and curls dipping to her 
kerchief, has slipped through them — 

Phyllis and Damon met one day 

(Heigh-ho !) 
Phyllis was sad, and, who can say, 
Tired with treading a separate way. 

Damon sighed for his broken flute : 

Phyllis went with a noiseless foot, 
Under the apple-trees stripped of fruit. 

Met they, parted they, all unsaid ? 

(Heigh-ho !) 
Ah, but a ghost's lips are not red : 
Damon and Phyllis both are dead — 
(Heigh-ho ! Heigh-ho ! ) 

Heigh-ho ! Come away. There needs to be no 
lingering on a spot where one is reminded only fruit- 
lessly of the strife between Destiny and the will of 
man. Neither does it serve any purpose beyond that 
of finishing the long-winded story diligently, to pursue 
the matter of Cromhall Court House and its owners 
any further. But the material for a diligent conclusion 
exists, and a conclusion that starts again at the begin- 
ning and gives a complete list of all the Hicks who 
lived at the Court House during two and a hah 
centuries, will prove that, important as are the virtues 
of the limpet when a foothold on a given spot is to be 
maintained, yet are such virtues, in the long run, not 

1. Thomas Hycks I. is mentioned in a Lay Subsidy 
of 1543 in Record Office. He is mentioned in his son's 
wills as having made a will leaving the Mansion House 
and grounds at Cromhall to his wife for fife. The said 
will is not to be discovered. He had two sons, Richard 
and Morgan. 

2. Richard Hickes left a will proved at Gloucester, 
1558, in which he leaves the Court House to his wife 
Edithe (Neale) for life and then to his brother Morgan. 


He is mentioned as a cousin in the will of Thomas 
Hicks of Cheapside, the ancestor of the Hicks Beach 

3. Morgan Hioce left a will proved at Gloucester, 
1564, in which he leaves his lands and tenements to his 
son Arthur. He was evidently married twice : (1) to a 
Mrs. Lawrence, to whose three children by her first 
marriage he leaves one heifer, and (2) to one Marget 
Crewe whom he makes his executrix. 

4. Arthur Hixe, son of Morgan, was reigning at the 
Court House in 1608. He is mentioned in a manu- 
script in the possession of Lord Sherborne. This MS. 
was compiled by John Smyth who describes it as — 

" Three bookes in folio containing the names of each 
inhabitant in this County of Glouc 1 how they stood 
charged with Armor in A" 6 Jacobi. And who was 
Lord or owner of each manor or Lordship within the 
County ; which you may call my Nomina Villarum." 

The names of sixty-one male inhabitants of Cromhall 
and one widow are given, and the list begins with — 

Arthur Hixe Clothier 3, ca. hath one Corslet and a Calyver furn' 

Thomas Hixe sonne of Arthur Hixe aforesaid. 
John Curnocke servant of the said Arthur Hicks. 
John Awpas servant unto the said Arthur Hicks. 
William Crewe apprentice unto the said Arthur Hicks. 

A key is furnished to the numbers and letters, so we 
learn that Arthur Hixe was (3) "betwene fifty and 
threescore," was (ca) "of a lower stature fitt to serve 
with a Calyver," and was (sub) a subsidy man as distin- 
guished from a trained soldier. He was apparently the 
first Hicks, clothier. He had three sons : Thomas, 
Morgan, and Arthur, all mentioned in Lives of the 
Berkeley s, Vol. III., p. 163. Thomas succeeded him. 
Morgan and Arthur both married and had families, and 
both were buried at Cromhall. Births and deaths 
of their children are in the Diocesan Records at 


Gloucester, and the Cromhall Register begins in 1653 
in time to record the deaths of them both. A flat slab 
in the nave of Cromhall Church covers the remains of 

5. Thomas Hicks II. had .succeeded his father in 
1616, when he entered into a new agreement with the 
lord of the manor in the deed given previously in this 
chapter. The deed calls him 'Clothier.' He married 
Elizabeth, daughter, of William Clutterbuck of Easting- 
ton, Bradly and Bristol {vide Clutterbuck pedigree). 
This makes a connection with Eastington, and the 
Hicks cloth mill which existed there in 1823 ; and the 
surmise is that the Hicks mill was never in Cromhall, 
but at Eastington always, and that it became the 
property of a younger son, from whom John Phillimore 
Hicks, the keeper of the diary, was descended. After 
this date no Hicks of the Court House is called 
' Clothier.' Elizabeth Hicks died July 28th, 1629, 
and lies beneath a slab in the church floor near the 
present stove. 

6. Thomas Hicks III must have been her eldest 
surviving son. His wife's name was Joane. The 
Cromhall baptismal register records the birth of two 
sons and a daughter to "Mr. Thomas Hickes and 
Joane his wife " in 1654, 1655 and 1660. The burial 
register contains the entry: "1718 Feb. 11 Joane ye 
wife of Tho: Hicks." She outlived her eldest son. 

7. Thomas Hicks IV. had a wife Martha. Flat 
stones in the nave of the church relate that Thomas 
died in 1707, and Martha in 1730 aged 86, and that 
their daughter, Esther, whom the register says was 
married to Ambrose Marklove in 1697, died in 1707. 
The baptismal register shows that they had also two 
sons : Thomas, born 1671, and John, born 1678. 

8. Thomas Hicks V. was married to Mary Webb 
of Abbotside. The entry of this in the marriage 
register is dated "1700 April 25th." The baptismal 
register contains the names of their five children ; and a 


monument in the corner of the south transept, and 
now hidden by the badly placed organ, gives a summary 
of the fate of all of them : — 

In this Church, the Sepulchre for many ages of the family of Hickes 
of the Court House in this parish, he interred the remains of Thomas 
Hickes who died 11 Jan 1726 aged 53. Mary his wife March 1749. 
Also the following children. Mary and Richard died in infancy. 
John died 1741 aged 36. Thomas, the eldest son died in London and 
was buried there. 

In filial remembrance of her beloved parents, this monument was 
erected by Mary, daughter, and heiress of the above Thomas Hickes 
and Mary his wife, daughter of Thomas Webb of Abbotside in said 
parish 1777. 

Mary Hickes died 25th day of May 1783 aged 76. 

9. John Hicks was the ninth owner of the Court 
House. " 1741 Mr. John Hicks of the Court," in the 
burial register, is his sole record. He died intestate. 

10. Mary Hicks, his sister, succeeded him, and lived 
to be a spinster of 76. And with her, in 1783, the 
Hicks of Cromhall Court House came inconsequently 
to an end, perished of that disease which is as fatal to 
families as to individuals — the disease of perpetual 

Mary Hicks left an elaborate will and small legacies 
of £10 and £20 and £30 to an enormous number of 
cousins and cousins' children : Webb, Austin, Wharton, 
Marklove, Pill, Cook, Shepherd, Witchell, Turner, 
Davis, Pew, Prankard, Pratlington, Dyer, are the 
names of relations that occur. There are also legacies 
to friends and servants, and in a codicil dated the year 
of her death, she says, " I desire to be buried in the 
Hickes chancel which is my own." The Cromhall 
property, with land in Siston, Wick, Abson and 
Faliield, and a house in Bristol, she leaves to " Cousin 
Thomas Webb of Stone-Berkeley, Gentleman." 

There is a Webb monument in the nave of Cromhall 
Church which shows that Robert and Lucia Webb of 
Abotside (the parents of Mary Webb who married 
Thomas Hicks 1700) were succeeded by their son Robert, 


and that he was the father of Thomas Webb of Stone. 
Thomas married Catharine, daughter of John Llewelin 
of Bridgend, Glamorgan, who predeceased him in 1780. 
Thomas died in 1802, aged 77. He had evidently no 
children, for the Cromhall property passed to his sister 
Elizabeth, who had married John Dyer in 1746. 

From a Mr. John Dyer Lord Ducie purchased the 
property in 1876. 

Note :- — -The most important-looking Hicks monument in Cromhall 
Church has not been mentioned. It hangs in the chancel, and bears 
the arms and a long Latin inscription relating to one Nicholas Hicks, 
who was rector of Charfield (the next village) and who died in 1710, 
aged 75. As he was born in 1635, before the baptismal register 
begins, and as the monument does not reveal his parentage, it is not 
possible to give him a place in the skeleton family pedigree which 
has been sketched out. The family, of course, had its innumerable 
ramifications as the registers show 

C.F. E 



Cheapside of to-day is one of the seven arteries 
which pour their roaring human tide out into the space 
in front of the Royal Exchange. Halfway down 
Cheapside is Queen Street, a street re-christened in 
honour of Queen Henrietta Maria, but known, when 
Robert Hicks lived, by the name of Soper's Lane. 
Robert's shop, the White Bear, was at ' Soper's Lane 
End,' and, as the registers there show, Robert lived in 
the parish of St. Pancras ; the White Bear, therefore, 
was clearly at that angle of the two streets which is 
nearer the Exchange, for the opposite corner is in the 
parish of St. Mary-le-Bow — Queen Street divides the 
two parishes. The shop of one Gladwell, a seller of 
cheap prints, and constructor of cheap picture frames — 
all as unpicturesque as can be — now stands on the spot 
where Robert Hicks hung out over the rough cobbles 
the effigy of a white bear, and carried on, in a low 
raftered space open to the street, a retail mercery. 
And above, where once was the over-hanging dwelling 
house, storey on storey, with leaded casements, and 
sixteenth-century gables, are now the plate-glass 
windows of a Scottish insurance office. 

There was more space and leisureliness in sixteenth- 
century Cheapside than belongs there to-day. Then a 
man might stand, without being hustled, before his door, 
with feet apart and arms akimbo, in the attitude 
inherited from a yeoman grandfather. The dark jerkin, 
the hose, the soft shoes, the flat cap which such a citizen 
would wear, may all be seen in the Guildhall Museum. 


[From a Print in the British Museum.) 


Signs similar to that above his head may he seen 
there — there, too, the furniture, the utensils, the very 
knives and forks belonging to the family life in the case- 
ment rooms over his booth. Material exists sufficient 
to rebuild all the outward show of the life of Tudor 
times, and Robert Hicks can be come at too — standing 
on the cobblestones, beneath the White Bear, with feet 
firmly planted. 

For his, after all, was only a repetition of the patient 
adventure of his Hwiccian forefathers. The fierce 
ancestors of the Saxon race had fought their way west- 
ward through Europe to Saxon soil, had fixed them- 
selves there tenaciously, and had become of the soil 
with amazing stolidity, aware of, but impervious to, the 
world beyond the guarded homestead. Existence 
became stable and limited ; life was a thing measured, 
calculation an element in it ; and then of it spirits were 
bred who were superfluous, and an exodus of adven- 
turers with atavistic instincts took place. They crossed 
the sea this time. And the adventure was a patient 
one ; was a century old before the limpet-like occupation 
of conquered land began all over again, and the stakes 
were re-set round isolated communities once more — 
Cromhall one of these. 

Within the boundaries of Cromhall and other 
Gloucestershire villages the impervious life of hus- 
bandry was again enshrined, and went on from genera- 
tion to generation, its continuity unaffected by any 
waves of religious or civil revolutions. And, from time 
to time, superfluous spirits were ejected from it, and 
Robert Hicks and, perhaps, his father before him 
were of these. And Hwiccian-descended Robert, 
planted on the London stones, was the pioneer of 
a third patient adventure which should end for his 
descendants only in the hedged life of security all over 
again — only in that ; even if the hedges swept a wider 
circle, and the life within them had more colour and 

E 2 


The explanation of Robert's life is his will. It is in 
his own handwriting : — 

in nomine dei amen, i robehte hyckes Citizen and Iremonger of 
the Citie of London, wholle of mynde and of parfit remembrance, 
thankes be given to God, do ordeyne make and delare this my last 
Will and Testament as hereafter foloweth, renouncynge and denyinge 
all other former Willes and testamentes heretofore by me made 
and declared. Ffirst I bequeath my soule to Almightie God the 
Ffather and to Jesus Christ his Sonne my Redymer. My boddie I will 
honestlie to be buryed after the order of the Catholick Churche, and 
by the discrecon of myn Executrix, within some convenyent place of 
my Parryshe Churche, yf yt shall please God to suffer me to die 
within the same parryshe Churche in London. All my landes tene- 
ments, Rentes, Revercons, services, and hereditamentes with all and 
singler their appurtennces, sett lyinge and beinge within the Cittie of 
Bristowe and the Countie thereof and within Barkeley Homes and 
Tedburye in the Countie of Glos I will and bequeth and devyse hereby 
to Julyftn my welbeloved Wief and her assignes for terme of her lief, 
and upon condicon that she pay to Margaret Hickes myn owne 
Mother tenne powndes yearelie duringe the said Margarettes lief at 
foure termes of the yeare by eaven porcons, the remaynder thereof 
after the said Julyans death, Mighell Hickes my eldest Sonne and to 
the heirs males of his boddie lawfullie begotton ; and for fault of 
suche issue the remaynder thereof to Clement Hickes my seconde 
Sonne and to the heires males of his boddie lawfullie begotton ; and 
for default of shuche issue the remaynder thereof to Babtiste Hickes 
my third Sonne and to the heires males of his boddie lawfullie begotton; 
and for default of suche yssue the remaynder thereof to Richarde 
Hickes my brother for terme of his lief ; and after his decease the 
remaynder thereof to Adryan Hicks my said Brothers Sonne and to the 
heires males of his boddie lawfullie begotton ; and for lack of suche 
issue the remaynder of all the premysses to the Maisters and 
Governours of Christes Hospitall within the said Cittie of London 
and to theire successours for ever to the use of the poore their and 
within other of th'ospitalls of the said Cittie. The residewe of my 
landes tenementes rentes and hereditaments with all and singuler 
there appurtennces no we lyinge within the parryshe of Saint Katheryns 
Colman within the said Cittie of London I devyse will and bequethe 
to my fforesaid brother Richard Hickes and his assignes for term of his 
lief the remaynder thereof after his decease to Julyan my wellbeloved 
Wief and her assignes for term of her lieff and after her decease 
the remaynder to Mighell Hickes my said eldest Sonne and to the 
heires males of his boddie lawfullie begotton and for default of suche 
issue the remaynder of the same to Clement Hickes my seconde Sonne 
and to the heires males of his boddie lawfullie begotton And for lack 
of such issue the remaynder thereof to Baptist Hickes my said third 


Sonne and to the heires males of his boddye lawfullie begotton And 
for lack of such issue the remaynder thereof to Adrian Hickes my 
said brothers Sonne and to the heires males of his boddie lawfullie 
begotton and for default of suche issue the remainder thereof lickwyse 
to the Maisters and Governers of Christes Hospitall foresaid and to 
their successours to the use of the poore their and within other of 
th'ospitals of the said Cittie for ever. All my goodes, chattells, 
leases, plate, Jewells, monye, howshold stuff, debtes, due to me. 
All other my things movable and immovable whatsoever and whear- 
soever they be, my debtes dewe to my creditours and funerall charges 
first paid discharged and allowed out of my wholl substaunce, I 
will apploint and devise to be devyded and apporcyoned into thre 
equal partes accordinge to the custome of the said Cittie of London 
for Ffreemens goodes in that case provided whereof one full thirde 
parte I devyse and bequeth to Julyan my said Welbeloved Wieff her 
Executours and assigns, one other thirde parte thereof egallie in thre 
partes to be devided I devise and bequeth to Mighell, Clement and 
Baptist my said thre sonnes, and to the survivour and survivours of 
my said children I will and devise his or theire parte or partes 
aforesaid that of theyme shall fortune to dye before he or they come 
to full age or before the delyiverye of theire said parte or partes owt 
of the Chamber of the said Cittie of London accordinge to the full 
order in that case appointed. And if all my said thre children do 
happen to dye before theire said full age or deliveraunce of theire 
partes aforesaid, Than I will and devise all my said childrens thirde 
parte of all my goodes and substaunce to Julyan my said welbeloved 
Wieff her executors and assigns. The laste third parte of all my 
said goodes and chattells I reserve Keape and appointe for myn owne 
legacys and distribucon out of which I geve and bequeth to my said 
Brother Richarde Hickes his executours and assigns all manner myn 
apparrell whatsoever and whearsoever it bee as yt shall be praised 
without payinge peny or pennys worth for the same. And also I 
lickwise will and devise hym my best sherte of meale my Corselett 
my best halberte my sworde and my buckeler to be delyvered with 
my said apparrell to my said brother his executours or assignes 
within one month after my decease And further I geve and 
bequeth to my said brother Richarde Hickes owt of my said thirde 
parte one hundreth powndes of currannt monye of Englond the one 
moytie or half thereof to be paid to my said Brother Richarde Hickes 
his executours or assignes within one halfe year after my decease 
an th'other moytie or half deale at the yeares ende after my 
decease without any longer delay or puttinge of. I devyse also to 
the Maister and Wardyns of oure Companye of the Iremongers 
within the said Cittie of London as to the use of oure Hall my best 
standinge Cupp with a cover of silver and all gilt as yt shall be 
praysed for a token and remembraunce of my poor good will towards 
theym to be delivered within one month after my decease Item I 


will and devise to the poore enhabitauntes of Tedburye aforesaid fyve 
markes to be devided to the poore howsholdes there by two shillinges 
or 12 d . to one howshold and not above nor under and to everye of 
theym poore howsholdes of my one parryshe here in London I devise 
five shillinges a peace to be paid and distributed w th the said five 
mkes within one half yeare by my Executrix after my death More- 
over I geve and bequeth to the said Maisters and Governers of 
Christes Hospitall before mencyoned as to the use of the poore 
theare and as aforesaid twentie powndes of currannt monye of 
Englonde to be paid by my Executrix at yeare and yeare after my 
decease by eaven porcons. Also I geve and bequeth to my Cosen 
Xpofer* Hickes, Symon Melsambye my Cosen Richarde Hickes of 
Cromwell Thomas Richardes, John Sprynt, and Alice Grigge gold 
Ringes of two Angells waight and value a peace besides the fFashion 
Item I geve and devise to my ffrynde Maister Anthonie Penne one 
black gowne one coate cloth to it and a licke gold ringe And to my 
old Servanntes Willm Rowe and John Rosewell eache of theym a 
black gowne To Goodwife Hockey a gowne of Bristowe ffreese and 
fortie shillinges in monye for her paines taken with me in my 
sickness And to my S r vannt Austen I devise eight powndes And 
to my S r vannt Walter Thomas tenne pownds to be paid unto theym 
at the comynge owt of theire yeares of prenticeshipp so as all the 
meane tyme they trulie diligentlie willinglie and faithfullie serve my 
said Wief and otherwise not The residue of all my goodes and 
chattells and of my said third parte of all my substannce not before 
devised geven or bequethed I will and devise to Julyan my said 
welbeloved wiefF her executours and assignes whiche said Julyan my 
WiefF I ordeyn make and appointe to soole and onlie Executrix of 
this my last Will and testament And overseers thereof my ffrende 
Mr. Osborne and my said Brother Richard Hickes In witness 
whereof I the said Robart Hickes have sealed subscribed and 
delivered this my present last Will and testament the 20th day of 
November 1557 et Annis Regnim Philippi et Marie Regis et Reigne 
quarto et quinto 

By me Robart Hickes Iremonger. 

The will wants categorical comment. 

1. " Citizen and Iremonger." Although Robert 
Hicks carried on a mercer's business at the White Bear, 
he was apprenticed to an ironmonger as a boy, and was 
a member of the Ironmongers' Company. The earliest 
book the Company possesses is a " Presentment Booke " 

* Christopher. 


from the year 1515 to 1680, and it contains the 
following entry: — 

" Item That I Robert Hycke Apprentyce 

with Thomas Bartylmew Ironmonger of London 
promysed by my faith and truth to be obedient to the 
Master and Wardens of the Fellowship and Crafte of 
Ironmongers and to their successors for ever. In 
witness hereof I have wrytten this with my hone hand 
the fourth daye of Auguste Ano 1538 

"Pme Robert Hycke." 

The name of his master, Thomas Bartylmew, appears 
on a list of the Company for the year 1537 deposited in 
the Chapter House at Westminster, but no particulars 
of him are given. 

" The History of the Ironmongers' Company " says 
that the Guild is first mentioned in 1351, and that their 
warehouses and yards were chiefly in Ironmongers' 
Lane and the old Jewry. They exported and sold bar 
iron and iron rods, but they had also shops where they 
sold manufactured articles. Ironmongers' Hall (which 
has been rebuilt three times) was in Fenchurch Street, 
on the spot where the present hall stands. Robert was 
the first and last member of bis family who belonged to 
the Company. The quotation from the " Presentment 
Booke " shows that he took up his Freedom by " servi- 
tude," and not by " patrimony " — i.e., did not inherit it 
— and the record of admissions does not include the 
names of any of his descendants. There are no means 
of tracing how the apprentice to the ironmongers 
became a mercer, but in the books of the Mercers' 
Company, under the date 1580, is mention of — 

" Baptist Hyckes, the son of Robert Hyckes, late of 
London,, Ironmonger, but while he lived he occupied 
a retail mercery : made free with us and of the City 
of London by redemption gratis." 


Baptist Hicks, his son, became Master of the Mercers' 
Company, and carried on his father's business in the same 
house. The proof of this being that, after the death of 
Robert's wife Juliana, who had a life interest in it, 
Michael, the eldest son, in a deed dated December 10th, 
1592 (now at Witcombe), made an assignment to 
Baptist of "all his interest in the Whyte Beare in 

2. " / will honestlie to be buryed after the order of the 
Catholick Churche" Robert died in the last year of Queen 
Mary's reign. The innovations of the Reformation of 
Henry VIII. had been too harsh and too precipitate. 
The reformed doctrine made progress in the reign of 
Edward VI., but, says Hallam, " it is certain that the 

re-establishment of Popery on Mary's accession must 
have been acceptable to a large part, or perhaps to the 
majority of the nation." It had been " acceptable " to 
Robert, no doubt. 

3. " Within some convenyent place of my Parryshe 
Churche." The White Bear was in the parish of St. 
Pancras, Soper Lane, but there is no entry of Robert's 
burial in its registers. St. Pancras was destroyed in the 
Great Fire and was not rebuilt. The parish was united 
with that of St. Mary-le-Bow, in which Church the old 
St. Pancras registers are now kept. The little burial 
ground of St. Pancras is still in existence. Out of 
Queen Street of to-day you turn into Pancras Lane, 
and there it is, railed in, hemmed in by precipitous 
warehouses, and with three altar tombs with illegible 
lettering still remaining in the corner. Two of Robert's 
children and two of his servants are entered in the 
burial register, and lie beneath the bushes in the black 
soil and the moss-grown gravel edged with tiles. 
Registers were not rigidly kept in those days — Robert 
may be there too. 

4. " All my landes . . . within the Cittie of Bristowe 
and the Countie thereof and within Barkeley Homes and 
Tedburye in the Countie of GlOs." That Robert 


owned property in Bristol is groundwork for the legend 
which Burke and others have in print, that he began 
life in the trading port of the West, and that the 
exodus from Cromhall was to Bristol in the first instance. 
Robert's wife came from the neighbourhood of Bristol, 
and it seems to be a workable theory that his father, a 
younger brother of Thomas Hicks of Cromhall, who 
was alive in 1543, went to Bristol, had some success 
and position there, and so was able to apprentice his son 
Robert (perhaps a younger son too) to a London iron- 
monger — because it was only youths of good family 
who might be so apprenticed. Bristol has thirteen 
churches whose registers date from 1538 to 1589. It 
was within the Hwiccian zone, and the name of Hicks 
occurs constantly in them ; but they do not go back far 
enough. Robert would not have been born later than 
1523, for his eldest son was born in 1543. The entry 
of his baptism, which would give his parents' names, is 
therefore not in existence. 

As to wills, the earliest Hicks will proved in the 
Bristol Diocesan Registry is Mary Hicks, 1631. Every 
way to a discovery of a Robert's Bristol parentage 
seems to be barred. From the Patent Roll Calendars 
it is to be discovered that, in 1571, William Hickes, 
Mercht., was one of the sheriffs of Bristol ; in 1586 he 
was a constable of Bristol, and in 1587 he was mayor. 
In the Bristol Directory of to-day is a considerable list 
of persons of the name of Hicks, and they are in all 
walks of life. 

" Barkeley Homes." John Smythe spells this 
Berkeley " Hernerse," and calls it " nooks or corners 
of Berkeley" : of the Hundred of Berkeley, he means. 

" Tedburye." In Tetbury there must have been con- 
siderable property, and to it Michael Hicks, on whom 
it was entailed, added at a later date the neighbouring 
castle of Beverstone. 

5. " Julyan my welbeloved Wief" is described in every 
Hicks pedigree as Juliana Arthur of Clapton in 


Gordano, near Bristol ; and the inference certainly is 
that that was her maiden name, because in the earliest 
edition of the Hicks arms, the arms of the Arthurs of 
Clapton, gules, a chevron argent between three rests (or 
clarions) or, are impaled. In Collinson's " History of 
Somerset " is a long account of the very ancient family 
of Arthur of Clapton. And the account states that 
John Arthur, who was lord of the manor in the time 
of Henry VII., had a sister Juliana. She married Hugh 
(or Richard) Mead of Mead's Place in a neighbouring 
parish, and neither the history nor the pedigree in the 
" Visitations " of Somerset gives any other Juliana. 
The Clapton registers, however, show that it was a 
favourite name in the Arthur family. Unfortunately 
one has to repeat the old story that the registers do not 
begin till 1559. The manor became at last the heritage 
of a Mary Arthur, who married William Winter, and 
so the name died out. The Arthur monuments are in 
a chapel on the north side of Clapton Church. Clapton 
is a straggling village of thirty-five farms and cottages 
near Portishead. Part of the old Manor House still 
stands, and is now called the Court Farm. 

6. " Margaret Hickes myn otvne Mother." At Glou- 
cester there are the wills of two Margaret Hickes who 
died in 1562 and 1568 respectively. They rouse a 
sense of aggravation, because one of them might so 
easily have been the will of the right Margaret. But 
the first lady (of Tewkesbury) mentions no relations, 
leaves most of her money to the curate of Tewkesbury, 
20*. to the ' reparation ' of the Abbey, and 20*. to the 
' reparation of the long bridge ' (the beautiful red-brick 
bridge that spans the Avon and the water meadows). 
The second lady (of Marche in Berkeley) leaves her 
property to her son Bichard ; but he is a minor at 
the time of her death, so could not have been the 
Richard who was Robert's brother and a married man 
in 1557. 

7. " Mighell Hickes . . . Clement Hickes . . . Babtist 


Hickes." The registers of St. Pancras do not contain 
any mention of Clement and Baptist, only of Michael 
and of three other sons who died. 

"The xxj u day of October A d XXXV Regis Henrii Octavi 
(A.D. 1543) was Mighell Hycke the sonne of Robert Hycke borne, 
whose Godfathers were Robert Bowser and Edward Sprynt and 
Sybell White godmother." 

" Item the xxix" day of January A xxxvj Regis Henrici octavi 
was Fraunces Hykke son to Robert Hykke of this parisshe cristened. 
Fraunces [ blank ] the Kinge Ma ties Foteman and John Haskyns beyng 
godfathers and Margaret Nevyll godmother." 

" Item the xiiij day of January an 1545/6 was lllary Hyggs the son 
of Robert Hyggs crystenyd. John Broke and Anthony Hykeman 
godfathers and one Bartellma godmother." * 

" The xvij day of Marche A secundo Regis (Edwardi sexti) was 
John Hycke (borne) and buryed in the churchyarde." 

" The xiiij day of July a° predicto was Hyllary Hycke son to 
Robert Hycke buried in the churchyarde." 

The history of the three surviving sons of Robert 
briefly is, that Michael became Secretary to Lord 
Burleigh, and was knighted ; Clement became Searcher 
of Customs at Chester, and died there ; and Baptist, who 
stuck to the shop, became Master of the Mercers' Com- 
pany, and was created Viscount Campden. 

8. " Richarde Hickes my brother . . . and Adryan 
Hicks my said Brothers Sonne." The Gloucester- 
shire property was entailed on brother and nephew 
failing heirs to the three sons. The London property 
was left to the brother Richard for his life, and then 
entailed on the sons. The inference is that Richard 
was involved in the management of the property in 
some way, and that, as the sons were all young (Michael 
fourteen) at the time of Robert's death, Robert judged 
it better that the management should remain in 
Richard's hands. 

9. " My landes . . . within the parryshe of Saint 
Katheryns Colman." St. Katherine's Coleman is in 
Church Row out of Fenchurch Street where the 

* No doubt wife or daughter of " Thomas Bartylmew." 


Ironmongers' Hall is situated. Robert's property was 
therefore round about the Ironmongers' Hall, in the 
heart of the City. The register does not begin till 
1559, so it is not possible to find out if Robert was 
buried there instead of at St. Pancras. 

10. " Christes Hospitall " did not stand much chance 
of benefiting under the will, except to the extent of 
the small definite legacy out of the personal property. 
The school was founded in 1553, so that it was quite 
a new institution when the will was made, and the 
well-known blue dress was, of course, the very dress 
of a London citizen of the time. 

11. " All my goodes, chattells .../... devise . . . 
accordinge to the custome of the said Cittie of London 
for Ffreemens goodes" 

"Every freeman of the City of London might 
make a will and alter it as often as he pleased. In 
disposing, however, of his personal estate, it was 
necessary for him to follow the custom of the City 
by leaving to his wife one-third of such estate, and 
to his children, if any, another third ; or, if he had 
no children, by leaving one-half to his wife. If on 
the other hand he left children and no wife, the 
children were entitled to the same proportion of his 
property. The residue in each case was at the free 
disposal of the testator, and was known as the 
legatory or dead man's portion ; if left undisposed of 
by the testator it fell under the direction of the 
Statute of Distributions, and was no longer con- 
trolled by the custom of London, but as a matter of 
fact it was usually devoted to pious uses for the 
benefit of the testator's soul. The shares of the wife 
and children were called their reasonable parts, to 
recover which there was at Common Law a writ de 
rationabili parte bonorum." 

From " Calendar of Wills in the Court of 
Hastings," edited by B. B. Sharpe. 


12. "My best sherte of meale my Corselett my best 
halberte my sworde and my buckeler." The City Com- 
panies could each provide a certain number of armed 
men for war and for various other purposes such as 
pageants, May games and plays. In 1497 the 
* Yemenry ' sent a petition to the Master of the Iron- 
mongers for certain rights. In 1524 the names of 
fifty-six 'Yemenry' are recorded. In 1544 a list is 
given of the plate that was pledged when "the Co 
Sound xiiij men in harnes to go over the sea w th the 
Kyng's army in to France." In 1559 the Ironmongers 
sent forty-two men in armour to the May game when 
the Queen went to Greenwich. Richard Hicks, 
dressed in Robert's armour, would not be among them, 
for he never was a Freeman of the Company. 

13. " To the use of oure Hall my best standinge Cupp 
•with a cover of silver and all gilt." In Vol. 1. of the 
Court Book (the Minute book) of the Ironmongers' 
Company is the entry : — 

" At a Quarter Court holden the 26th day of April 

1558 being the next working day after Saint 

Mark's day 

" Received at this Court a standinge Cupp with a 

cover gilte waving xxvj ounces three quarters and a 

half, which was given unto this Company by Robert 

Hyckes deceased late one of this company." 

The cup is not now in the possession of the Iron- 
mongers. On various occasions in the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries they sold plate to meet the requi- 
sitions of the Crown and their own liabilities. Several 
gilt cups and covers were sold in 1644, and the names 
of the donors are given in the Court Book. Robert 
Hicks' cup is not mentioned, so it was probably sold at 
an earlier date. 

14. " Gold Binges of two Angells waight. " Of the 
relations and friends to whom these are left, only 
Richarde Hickes of Cromwell and John Sprynt can 


be identified. The Sprynts were relations : Edmond 
Sprynt was the son Michael's godfather, and the name 
comes into the family correspondence in later years. 
Nothing is left to Robert's godchildren, and the St. 
Pancras register shows that he had at least two, 
Robert Stylle and Thomas Robyns. Juliana, too, 
was in great request as a godmother ; she appears 
constantly in that rdle — ' Gillyan Hyggs ' she is spelt 
in one place. 

15. "My ffrynde Maister Anthonie Penne" not 
only got a black gown and a cloth coat, and a thick 
gold ring, but he eventually had the use of the whole 
property too by becoming the second husband of " my 
welbeloved wief Julyan." 

The life of professional success, with its hard-working 
days on a narrow and often dreary stage, and its con- 
ventional domestic background — that was Robert's life 
as the will betrays it. But the will betrays more than 
that. It shows a clearness and strength of tempera- 
ment, and a high-hearted dealing with life — faith in the 
security of the small platform he had built for his 
family, but faith also out-reaching, faith in time and 
the will of man. The manufacture of an entail by the 
Cheapside tradesman, and the discovery of his affection 
for the continuance of a name not at all distinguished, 
might have had a comic air after three centuries. It 
hasn't a comic air because what he desired has become 
fact : he meant to found a family : he did found a 
family. There is no ambiguity either in the wish or 
in its fulfilment : there is no vagueness, no stretch- 
ing forth helplessly to life beatific. It is life under 
the limitations and conditions of time that the will, 
in its blind language, means to establish firmly in 
continuity. , 

Such established continuity has its inimical quality ; 
as time goes on, it is apt to breed parasites and not 


individuals. The Cromhall family, after the exodus of 
Robert, became parasitical only, and then perished. 

On the other hand, the individual who is to be really 
individual (for whose sake alone the human race was 
called into being) must have his beginning, and why 
should not that beginning be in those pleasant places 
where the best sort of family life is enshrined ? 

Behind the cramped phraseology of an Entail, a 
vision lurks : the founder of an entail always knows, in 
a thick-sighted way, that it is there. However unskil- 
fully, he has tried to ensure that, generation after 
generation, man and woman shall dwell in the garden 
he has created and make it bloom ; pleasure — pleasure 
in the earth and the rapturous uses of it, their portion. 
And the vision has its further element — the possibility 
that, here and there, in the story of generations shall be 
the coming of a Soul Elect ; for whom no provision can 
be made ; who will leave the garden and have for por- 
tion not happiness, but the beckoning freedom of un- 
known things — of all that is profoundest and most 
illogical, most impossible, and most eternally true. 

Does the will of the retail mercer of Cheapside say 
much of all this ? Did he mean much of this ? Does 
he carry himself on that account to-day with sprightly 
port that makes the ghosts gaze ? 



Enough material (mainly in the form of letters) 
exists to make of Robert's surviving family a book to 
themselves. There is, in fact, an embarrassment of 
material, and this is owing to the fact that the Hicks 
family letters have been preserved among the letters of 
Lord Burghley, to whom Michael was Secretary, and 
who left behind him stupendous masses of manuscript. 
In the possession of Lord Salisbury at Hatfield are 
over 30,000 manuscripts. These have been calendered 
up to 1600, and published by the Historical MSS. 
Commission. They contain 25 letters of, or relating 
to, Michael and Baptist Hicks. The uncalendered 
manuscripts at Hatfield contain 14 Hicks letters. 
In the British Museum is a collection known as the 
Lansdowne MSS. This contains 852 Hicks letters. A 
preface to the collection, dated March 15th, 1819, states 
that it is divided into two parts, the first consisting of 
the Burghley papers only. Of the Burghley papers, 
one volume contains copies of charters and other docu- 
ments of an early period ; but the remainder, amount- 
ing to 121 volumes in folio, consist of State papers 
interspersed with miscellaneous correspondence, and 
among these is the private memorandum book of Lord 
Burghley. The Burghley papers descended from Sir 
Michael Hicks to his great-grandson, Sir William 
Hicks, who, about 1682, sold them to Richard Chis- 
well, a stationer in London, who again disposed of 
them to the Rev. John Strype, Vicar of Low Leighton 
in Essex. On Mr. Strype's death they were sold to 


Mr. James Webb, and from him came into the posses- 
sion of Lord Lansdowne. Mr. Strype wrote what he 
called " An Historical Account of the Family of 
Hicks," which is now in the British Museum with the 
other papers. In it he quotes letters which are not now 
in existence, and there can be no doubt that, in passing 
from hand to hand, many of the letters have been lost 
or stolen. 

In order to make a consecutive story out of this 
disjointed mass of material, it would be necessary to 
write, not only the history of the reign of Elizabeth, 
but also a Life of Lord Burghley ! Nothing so com- 
prehensive will be attempted. Only a very drastically 
weeded-out selection of the letters will be given, and a 
decision has been come to that, with few exceptions, 
the letters shall be transcribed. They lose enormously 
in character thereby, but the task of reading them 
becomes less tedious. 

The letters to and from Juliana Hicks, who became 
Juliana Penn, are few in number, but, if they illuminate 
her only partially, they illuminate her rather vividly. 
They show her to be the mother of her son, Baptist, 
money-lender to kings, builder of palaces ; the mother 
of her son Michael, who walked in tortuous political 
paths. She was alive with the life of her age — the 
spacious, gorgeous, dramatic Elizabethan age. 

There was no attempt on the widow's part to live 
a life of sober thrift over the Cheapside shop. Two 
years after her husband's death she acquired a messuage 
on Peter's Hill, on the land sloping from St. Paul's 
to the river. In a list of deeds at Witcombe, made by 
Howe Hicks four generations later, the conveyance of 
the messuage is stated to be from John Broke* and 
his wife, and the date is August 5th, 1559. Two 
further deeds, relating to the recovery and settlement 
of the same are dated 14 and 30 Eliz. The land may 
have been bought to add as garden to a house already 

* Godfather to Juliana's son Hilary (see p. 59)- 
C.F. F 


there, or it may have been acquired to build a house 
which was certainly in existence later ; for more than 
one letter to Juliana is endorsed, " To the worshippfull 
M ris Penne at hyr house on Snt. Peeters hyll in 
London." All kinds of narrow old lanes wind down 
this hill to the water, says Mr. E. V. Lucas in his book 
about London. Godliman Street, Sermon Lane, Trig 
Lane, Distaff Lane, Garlick Hill, Stew Lane, are 
names of some of them. " All make for the wharves 
and the river and ultimately the open sea." John 
Strype says that after the Great Fire the house was 
divided into two tenements, and it must have been 
thus divided when, together with Witcombe Park, it 
was settled, at his marriage, on Juliana's great-grandson, 
Sir Michael Hicks. At a later date it was sold, and 
it is certain that the tapestry with floral border, now 
in the hall at Witcombe, is that mentioned in the 
following fragment in Juliana's handwriting : — 

" This wretyng made the xix of the rane of the 
qwne grase. 

" The xij. daye of July last I haue in wretyngs I 
thynke they be good debts the some of . . . xviijc* 1 

" be side platt Juels and my lese of the Whight bere 
in Chepes syde and my house that I now dwell in be 
syde tapstre and lenneng and all the forneture of my 
howse/ I geve God thankes for ytt/ I knolege my 
selfe from the fwrst daye of my berthe I never 
deserued pene or pese of brede butt Rightt damnacion 
and tru to me/ butt his marce ys on home he will 
haue marce 

" I haue lost since that tyme by Mr. Hardyke and 
Churman and other yll dette and furneture of the 
Whigte bere ... of this mone . . . vjc tt 

" I thanke God for bothe by case God hath don 
ytt all/ geyeng and taken." 
























This fragment reveals three things. Firstly, that, 
in an age of growing domestic luxury and personal 
splendour, Juliana, with her tapestry and her plate, 
her linen and her jewels, had not been left behind. 
Secondly, that in the era of the creation of Shakspere's 
heroines, before the days of the Puritan ideal, Juliana 
had an individuality not self-conscious, but not involved 
in that of any husband whatever. She managed her own 
income, and we become (thirdly) aware that she tried 
to increase that income by loans to the impecunious. 

Anthony Penn, her second husband, seems a strangely 
ghost-like factor in her life. The date and place of 
their marriage are not known, but he lived, probably, 
until 1572, in which year his will was proved. In it 
he leaves everything without specification to his wife, 
and the only trace of character is an anxiety to have 
something of a funeral — fifty gowns are left to fifty 
poor men to bring his body to the church — but that 
only at his wife's discretion. He mentions a sister, a 
brother, and his son; also an Anthony Penn, who may, 
or may not, have been Juliana's son too — she, in the 
only other communication with her husband that exists, 
calls him " Anthony your sone." This letter is undated 
and is simply one of phrases, some of which are a little 
obscure in sentiment. Juliana is glad to get her hus- 
band's letter ; there is no greater grief than absence, 
she says, and she feels for him the same affection that 
he writes with, is sorry when he is moved to heaviness 
and glad in his cheerfulness. Her mind leads her 
hand to make an end; his son is in health; she sends 
him two barrels of beer and a glass of preserved 
cherries, prays him to eat them, and is his friend of 
all others the assuredst. 

This is the only one of Juliana's letters that is at all 
domestic. There is a letter to her signed 'Francis 
Howarde ' and written on behalf of a daughter whom 
he calls "your cousin," and who, he says, is much 
beholden for friendly courtesy, makes bold to ask for 



some more of the jelly, but desires that it may be 
red jelly, and not too much rose-water in the taste, 
but as plain made as may be. There is another letter 
which must be quoted, entirely for the sake of the 
name of the writer. John Gilpin of classical fame 
might have written it himself. 

" Mistress Penne, your old servant John Guylpyne 
desires you, for God's sake, to be pitiful to this 
bearer, my wife's nurse, that her mother, a woman 
of fourscore years, may have a simple goun as a 
mourner for the right worshipful Mistress Alderman 
Roo. I am sure you will grant me this Request in 
Recompense of many good dinners and suppers that 
I have had at your house, for (by any other merit) 
otherwise I can crave nothing at your hands. Your 
assured loving and dutiful ' Jo Gktylpin.' 

" This old woman's name is Alice Patt, and she is 
the first body that I ever craved your good word for." 

But it is Juliana's business letters that betray the 
vivacity and the driving power which her son Baptist 
inherited. In the inventory of her property made in 
1576 — 7 she says she has lost money by Mr. Hardyke 
(Hard wick), and she gives a long technical account of 
the matter in a paper whose probable date is 1580, 
because she mentions that Mr. Penn died eight years 
before 'this present examination.' To Mr. Hardwick 
himself, in the Debtors' Prison, she does not hesitate, 
in all calmness, and in a very long letter, only part 
of which is quoted, to speak her mind. 

"... Only my request is because I neither have 
present money to defray my necessary expenses, and 
am daily driven to pawn my plate to supply ordinary 
charges. And further . . . (because my son being 
now ready to trade and to set up for himself) the 
want thereof will be a let and stay to his detirmina- 
tion, and so consequently both turn to his discredit 
and hindrance, and to my no small reproof, who am 


bound both by nature and the laws of this City, to 
see him instantly and truly satisfied . . . Concerning 
the causes between you and your creditors, I am 
very glad to hear that they grow well towards an 
end . . . The summer comes on apace, hot seasons 
are contagious, especially in prisons and such melan- 
choly places; yourself, a man brought up in other 
sort, and unacquainted with so hard lodging and so 
homely fare . . . And further you are to consider 
how, by your absence from your own house, the state 
of your things will go to rack and to havock. The 
master's eye makes a diligent servant, and the land- 
lord's presence makes a dutiful and thankful tenant. 
But, above all, you are to consider that, being a 
Justice of Peace, the county claims a right in you, 
and finds a want of you. Being of an ancient house, 
and of so great revenue, the poor lack relief and 
hospitality ; being of understanding and experience, 
the ignorant and rude people lack a counsellor and 
director ; being of credit and authority, wronged and 
oppressed these want a protector and defender. All 
of which causes laid together . . . hath moved me 
as your poor and true friend to entreat you to seek 
all the good ways for your speedy deliverance out of 
trouble ... So that having liberty and a quiet life, 
and a worshipful estate of living besides, you may be 
the better able, now in your old days to pass the 
remainder of your life in the service of God with 
a good and quiet conscience. And these much have 
I been told as your careful friend to advise you, how 
well I know not, but in very good will I am sure." 

To the Earl of Kildare * she sends a dunning letter 
written with less placidity : — 

" ' My lord a Keldar.' I will be no more a suitor 
to you to sue for my own, in whom there is no truth 

* Henry, twelfth Earl of Kildare. The title is now merged in that 
of the Dukes of Leinster. 


nor honour towards me. Do you forget the great 
swearing and oaths, denying God if you did break 
one of them with me (?) You could not be content 
with yourself, but brought in ' my lord a Tomontt,' * 
who is as true of his speech and swearing as the 
rest is. My lord do you believe in God, ' and (does) 
my lord Tomontt ' (also) and in His whole law, and 
that he will perform every word that He hath 
spoken upon the Just and the wicked (?) As sure 
He will, then are you both undone. But sure I 
believe you believe in none of them, which is sorrow 
to my heart for that latter day which you both shall 
come to, and I (also) For you never durst offend 
His Majesty without you thought there were no 
salvation for you. ' My lord Ammarh 1 ' t and your wife 
I honour and love ; but your false swearing and 
promise I utterly abhor (hoterle a pore). ' My lord 
a Keldar ' but for the love I bear to ' my lord 
Ammerall ' and my lady, your wife, I had ended 
my suit ; for I had complained to the Queen, who 
hath promised me that I shall take no wrong at 
man's hand." 

Lord Kildare's reply to this exhortation is as con- 
ciliatory as may be. It is addressed to " my very 
lovinge frende Mrs. Penn." He writes from Greenwich 
on June 23rd, 1591. The Court was there, and it is, 
he says, a place of great charges, and he has been 
obliged to spend the money with which he had meant 
to pay his debts. 

" I desire you now to bear with me, but till my 
man return with money out of Ireland, which will 
be within this fortnight." 

Reference to the Day of Judgment was evidently a 
frequent form of appeal with Juliana. In a letter to 

* Thomond, an extinct Irish peerage, 
f Admiral. 


the Earl of Oxford written in the same year, "that 
dredfull day " plays its part again ; but the widow 
hints pretty plainly that she does not mean to leave 
the settlement of the affair to so distant a date. The 
Earl of Oxford married Anna, eldest daughter of Lord 
Burghley, in 1572, The marriage was an unhappy one. 
Oxford had danced himself into the good graces of the 
Queen, and his mother-in-law openly condemned the 
philandering. Elizabeth was much enraged, but, says 
Gilbert Talbot in a letter to Lord Shrewsbury in 1573, 
" at all these love matters my Lord Treasurer winketh 
and will not meddle any way." Prudent he ! In 1575 
there was a tremendous family quarrel, and the whole 
of the documents are in the Hatfield papers. Oxford, 
on his return from a mission to Germany, had declined 
all communication with his wife, saying that her 
parents had influenced her against him. It is plain 
that Burghley treated his son-in-law with inexhaustible 
patience. Oxford was extravagant, eccentric, and 
quarrelsome, and had not been able to keep the 
Queen's favour. In 1582 Burghley interceded for 
him with Hatton, and again, in 1583, with Raleigh, 
the Queen's new favourite, who replied, "I am con- 
tent for your sake to lay the serpent before the fire, 
that, having recovered strength, myself may be in most 
danger of his poison and sting." 

This " serpent " Juliana had lodged in her house, and 
it is to recover money due for board and lodging that 
she takes up a respectful but plainly angry pen : — 

" You know my Lord you had anything in my 
house whatsoever you or your men would demand, 
if it were in my house ; if it had been a thousand 
times more, I would have been glad to pleasure 
your lordship withall." 

That the debt remained unpaid is clear^ because one 
Thomas Churchyard, who had become surety for it, 
writes to Mrs. Penn that he has taken refuge in a 


Sanctuary for fear of her arresting him. It seems that 
Churchyard, acting on behalf of the Earl, had taken the 
rooms by the quarter at the rent of £100 a year (in the 
money of the time), with such necessaries "as were 
named," but that napery and linen were not included, 
nor, apparently were coals, fagots, beer or wine, as they 
are part of the debt. And there, as far as the twentieth 
century is concerned, the matter ends. 

Other letters of a like nature to and from Juliana 
there are, but they are only variations of the same 
theme. Yet among the many excuses for non-payment 
which the widow received, one deserves humorous 
mention. It is from Thomas Reade, a citizen of 
St. Helen's (Bishopsgate) : — 

" I would willingly myself come if I might to see 
you, but my sore leg makes me unable (unhable) to 
visit you at this present." 

There are two letters, one from and the other to 
Juliana, which take us away from these money matters 
into the wide spaces where English ships swept the 
seas. The first letter, signed "Yo r haltinge and 
uprighte frend Julyan Penne," is to an acquaintance 
in the West of England : — 

" You discharge yourself so thankfully and so 
' clenly ' withal, for my small remembrance to your- 
self and others, that I must needs account you wise 
that can make full recompense with so little a charge. 
Your rich return that you certify of Drake's arrival 
in the west, though long before I heard it for certain 
in the east, that I take it from you as thankful and 
fresh news." 

This puts a date to an undated letter. It was in 
September, 1580, that Francis Drake finished his 
voyage round the world, and brought the Pelican 
quietly to an anchorage in Plymouth Sound. The 


story of all that led up to that adventure is too long 
a tale to be repeated here, but the Queen had sworn a 
great oath to have the head of him who should inform 
the King of Spain of it, and had given commandment 
that the Lord Treasurer should be kept in the dark. 
(Burghley's spies served him too well to make that 
possible.) A syndicate financed the expedition. Juliana 
may have been one of the* shareholders " besides them- 
selves for joy " (says Mendoza) when the news came to 
Europe that the tiny ship with its crew of adventurers 
had passed the Straits of Magellan, had ravaged the 
coasts of Chili and Peru, had seized the galleon which 
sailed yearly for Cadiz with a cargo of precious stones, 
had rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and was home- 
ward bound with treasure of over half a million in 
her hold. 

Of Spanish booty the following letter speaks, and the 
date at the foot of it is that of the year of the Armada, 
and of a month when the Armada was of the past : — 

" Good Mrs. Penn. I do receive from you many 
kindnesses, for which I heartily thank you, and yet 
at this time must I make bold with you for a thing 
which you may get, and to which I would be 
beholden to no other but yourself. So it is my Lady 
Gorge hath a pretty silver bell, that was Don Pedro's 
the Spaniard. It was taken at sea. The weight of it 
in silver is all that to her it can be valued at. If you 
of yourself would desire to buy it, I would willingly 
pay whatsoever she will ask, so that it might not be 
known unto her that I am to have it, for I would not 
be beholden unto her ; you see how bold I am with 
you. If I may pleasure you or yours I will be most 
ready. And thus wishing you health and long life 
for my friend's good your eldest son, I commit you 
to God. From my Lodging this 3 of Obre 1588. 

" Yo r loving frend 

" Robt Cecill." 


This letter leaves one in doubt whether it was the 
gentleman who wrote it, or Mistress Penn to whom it 
was addressed, who was devoid of a sense of humour. 

Sir Robert Cecil was the younger son of Lord 
Burghley, who was twice married. Burghley's first 
wife was Mary Cheke, sister of his great friend at 
Cambridge, John Cheke the scholar, whose widowed 
mother kept a wine shop in the town of Cambridge, 
and who became Regius Professor of Greek and tutor 
to Prince Edward. Mary Cheke died about a year 
after she had given birth to a son Thomas. Thomas 
Cecil was an ill-conducted and unmanageable young 
man ; unworthy, unruled, lewd, are some of the epithets 
his father sadly applies to him. He married a daughter 
of Lord Latimer, and was created Earl of Exeter by 
James I. He is the ancestor of the family of the 
Marquis of Exeter of Burghley. 

Lord Burghley's second wife was Mildred Cooke, 
eldest and learned daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke of 
Giddy Hall, Essex, the Governor of Prince Edward 
and one of the pioneers of the new learning. By her, 
Burghley had several children, of whom there survived 
two daughters (Lady Oxford and Lady Wentworth) 
and a son Robert, who married a daughter of Lord 
Cobham, became eventually Earl of Salisbury, and is 
the ancestor of the present Salisbury family. 

Robert Cecil had character and brilliant talents. 
From youth he had imbibed his father's policy and 
methods, and towards the end of Burghley's life 
relieved his father of much of his laborious work. He 
entered Parliament as member for Westminster in 1584 
and sat for Herts from 1588 to 1601. He was made a 
Privy Councillor and was knighted in 1591. He 
became Secretary of State in 1596, Lord Privy Seal in 
1597, and Lord Treasurer, like his father before him, in 
1608. He held these offices conjointly until his death. 
He died in 1612, in the very same year as died Michael 
Hicks, his father's secretary and his own life-long friend. 


It is his friend's mother to whom Robert Cecil writes, 
and there are letters (three to Juliana ahd one to 
Michael) which show how various were Juliana's 
activities. It is certain that, on a wider stage, she 
would have intrigued with gaiety and success. The 
letters, dated 1592, relate to one Charles Chester, 
whom Sir Robert accuses Mrs. Penn of harbouring 
under her roof. Now the Chesters were a very well- 
known family in Bristol and its neighbourhood, and it 
will be remembered that Juliana herself was native 
there. Thomas Chester (third in descent from a Henry 
Chester, who died, sheriff of Bristol, 1470) was a 
great Bristol merchant, was successively Sheriff, 
M.P. for and Mayor of Bristol, purchased the manor 
of Almondsbury (which his descendant, Colonel Chester 
Master, still possesses), and was High Sheriff of Glou- 
cestershire 1577. He was one of the four Bristol 
merchants who contributed (in the same year) £25 each 
to the second voyage of Martin Frobisher in search of 
the North- West Passage. A nephew of his, Charles 
Chester (son of his younger brother Dominick, who was 
M.P. for Minehead), accompanied the expedition, and 
in his will, dated September 18th, 1577, Thomas leaves 
money to all Dominick's children, and to Charles, "if 
he comes home in safety," £20. Apparently he did 
come home in safety — here he is, fifteen years later, a 
prisoner in the Gate-house at Westminster. It must 
surely be he, for there is no other Charles on the Chester 
pedigree at that date, and the reference to " my Lord 
Admiral " in the first letter shows that the culprit was 
connected with sea-life. His father, his uncle (who 
knows ?), may have been an old lover of Juliana's in 
Bristol days — who knows, indeed ! 

Robert Cecil's first letter is conciliatory, but firm : — 

"Mistress Penn because you are my very good 
friend, I have thought good to make a difference 
between your house and others in like cases ; 


presuming so much upon your discretion as that you 
will surely deliver up all such papers, books, caskets 
or other things belonging to Charles Chester (who is 
by my Lord Admiral and me committed close 
prisoner to the Gate-house), upon this my private 
letter as if I had sent expressly a Pursuivant to make 
a search : which I will not offer unto you, although it 
be creditably informed that your house hath been of 
long time his chief receptacle, and that there are in 
your house divers things of his fit to be reviewed. 
And thus requiring you that they may be all forth- 
coming, I leave you to God. From the Court, this 
20th of June 1592. Your loving friend Ro. Cecill. 
" You shall do well to deal clearly in the discovery 
of such things as be in your house, for his confession 
will otherwise discredit your denial." 

It is to be deplored a million times that Juliana's 
answer to this is not in existence. It is clear that she 
was able to convince Sir Robert that she was not really 
privy to the affair, and of her sincerity he has no doubts. 
The next letter he writes her is from Theobald's, 
Burghley's country house : — 

" good Mrs. Penn. I am very sorry to hear how 
extreme sick you are by your son Michael my friend ; 
and the rather understanding that you have not been 
well ever since you were here. If you took any cold by 
coming to my lord's house, being not very accustomed 
to stir abroad of long time, I hope it will away with 
discreet and warm keeping. If any other conception 
should trouble you, surely this letter may assure you 
that there was not, nor is, the least suspicion con- 
ceived of any privity of yours to any ill of his who is 
now a Prisoner in the Gate-house. For my part I 
do wish the poor soul no harm. Some things 
there are found out of his lewd disposition to the 
State, which is the cause of his Restraint. With 
time it may be qualified ; wherein, though no private 

respects shall make better or worse my conception of 
any man's offences, yet shall I be the more apt in 
pity to deal for him (I must confess) if he do forbear, 
according to his vile humour, to rail at my (?) Henry 
Cecil out of prison by letters whereof I am imformed; 
being of my blood, and one who never deserved of 
him but too well. For the letter you sent, it showed 
your sincerity, of which I was never doubtful, as I 
have told your son often when he sued to me for him. 
I wish you health and contentment and so do bid you 
heartily farewell. Your loving friend Ro : Cecyix." 

This was all very well ; but Sir Robert was quickly 
convinced that he had been hoodwinked, and the next 
letter shows him in a very different temper : — 

" I have foreborne for your children's sake to do by 
you as I would have done by your betters. And, in 
that your answer was that you wanted spectacles, I 
have forborne to send to you. But I do fear it will 
prove that your house has fostered him to no good 
purpose. And it will go near to be proved that in 
your hearing his tongue hath walked further than to 
speak of subjects. Your silence in answering me, as 
though you scorned me for dealing friendly with you, 
and your privy intelligence with him since his appre- 
hension, I can assure you must be answered. I love 
(I confess) your sons well, but do not imagine that 
any of their credits with me shall make me blind 
when I am ill-used. And thus I bid you Farewell. 

Ro : Cecyix. 

"I will expect your answer, and that such you will 
affirm in writing to be true. And if it come not the 
sooner I will send a Pursuivant to your house which 
I would be loath (to do) ! " 

Yet behold ! Juliana again cozens Sir Robert into 
believing that she has been suspected wrongfully, and 


that she is really not guilty of privity to the affair. 
The next letter is to her son Michael : — 

" Mr. Hycke. I pray you thank your mother for 
her apricots. And for any matter of suspicion that 
I conceive against her for being an accomplice or an 
allower of his villany against the state, I think you 
know that I ever cleared her. This, nevertheless, 
which of good will I made you show her, I pray you 
require her not to speak of. For I am not able to 
answer it that I should show it to anybody. Your 
loving friend Ro : Cecyll." 

The State papers make no mention of the affair, and 
it was evidently of minor importance as a State affair, 
although, as a personal affair, it must have agitated 
several lives. It made no permanent breach in Juliana's 
friendship with the Cecils. Robert continued to be the 
widow's useful friend. Some buildings to which she 
objected had been put up next her house, and Sir 
Robert, in a letter to Michael, says that he has been to 
see them, and protests that they are most maliciously 
begun and most negligently tolerated by the mayor. 
He has "rattled up the young, lusty builder as well 
as ever he was in his life," and in conclusion bids 
" good Michael " deliver this letter so as " my lord " 
may read it. 

The road to ' my lord's ' eye and ear was not always 
such a direct one. Thomas Lychefeld, who had a 
" suyte " he wished to further, found it devious. He 
writes from the Charterhouse, so he was probably of 
the household of the Duke of Norfolk, who bought the 
Carthusian buildings in 1565 from the Norths. He 
writes to " ye Lady Gerrard " : — * 

" Madam. Whereas I delivered unto your Lady- 
ship two silver salts for my very good friend Mistress 

* She must have been the wife of Sir Gilbert Gerard, the Attorney- 
General, and not the wife of his cousin, Sir Thomas Gerard of Bryn, 
committed to the Tower for complicity in one of those many plots 
concerning the Queen of Scots. 


Penn, to the intent your Ladyship should further her 
in the suit I brake with you concerning her son, the 
which I understand may no ways be obtained : there- 
fore, at this instant lying on my deathbed, I am 
earnest to request your Ladyship to redeliver the said 
salts, that the gentlewoman have me not in suspicion. 
And so, living at the Pleasure of the Almighty, with 
my humble commendations I commit you to God. 
Charterhouse the xx th of September. 

. " Your Ladyship's in all humbleness 

" Thomas Lychefeld." 

It is thus possible to leave Juliana with the know- 
ledge that she was not quite easy of access when it 
came to the very usual matter of bribes. She was 
buried in the church of St. Mary Magdalene close to 
the Guildhall, in which parish her son Baptist was then 
living. This is the entry in the register (which is now 
kept in the church of St. Laurence, Savoy) : — 

1592. Mrs. Julian Penn was buried Novembris vicesimo tertio. 

Juliana's will, dated 1592, is in the list of documents 
at Witcombe which Howe Hicks made ; but it is not to 
be found. There is, however, a paper of the same date, 
signed by her sons Michael and Baptist, which contains 
ten articles of agreement concerning the administration 
of their mother's estate. The articles are not par- 
ticularly interesting except that Michael makes a deed of 
gift of all his interest (under his father's will) in the White 
Bear to Baptist, and that they each agree to pay an 
allowance of £20 a year to their brother Clement (the 
second surviving son of Robert and Juliana), who is 
also to have any money that can be recovered from 
Sir Thomas Ffynche and Edward Churchman. It 
would seem as if Clement did not find this agree- 
ment a very satisfactory one. In 1595 he writes 
to Michael that he has heard nothing from Ludlow, 
who promised to serve the process on Churchman, 


and fears that Ludlow "makes his benefit" by- 
Churchman. And apparently it was not until 1596 
that Baptist began to pay the allowance — or, at 
any rate, to promise to pay it. Clement tells Michael 
in that year that he has received the promise and 
has written to thank Baptist for it. However, 
in 1612 he acknowledges the receipt of £10 for his 
" annuity." 

Clement's letters are all dated from Chester. He 
was Searcher of Customs there, and it is evident that it 
was Michael's influence with 'My lord' (Treasurer) 
which had obtained him the post, for he thanks his 
brother for his own good opinion, and hopes to justify 
it while he remains in office. Of its emoluments he 
does not speak highly. He had, it would seem, to 
make what he could out of it, and he apologises that he 
has troubled Michael too much in the matter of obtain- 
ing from my lord a fee to the office, but will be very 
grateful if he will renew the same suit. He is greatly 
hindered, he says, by the smallness of the traffic at 
Chester, which is occasioned by the wars (in Ireland), 
and will be worse every day. He has to live for the 
most part at his own charge, and, says he, " I am not 
able to maintain my credit in this strange place where I 

The registers of Holy Trinity Church, Chester, show 
that Clement was living in that parish from 1597 to 
1603 and again from 1610 to 1627. In 1619 he, 
together with a number of other parishioners, sub- 
scribed to a fund for the rector and parish clerk in 
order that Morning Prayer might be said daily. The 
old Customs House of the port of Chester stood at the 
south-west corner of the old church, with its back 
looking on to the (then) rectory gardens, and refer- 
ences to its neighbourhood occur in the parish books. 
Holy Trinity Church is in Water-Gate Street, and 
Clement's later letters are dated from " my house in 
the Watter Gatt Street," which, he says, he has taken 


on a lease of twenty-one years, but cannot put in repair 
unless his brothers will help him — as they have already 
done by upholding the front part of his house which 
was ready to fall on his head. He prays for £10 to 
repair his house. He mentions that Sir Baptist has 
sent him a letter of attorney for £9 and odd money 
that Mr. Arthur Cotton owes him, which he freely 
gives to him (Clement) if he can get the same ; but it is 
no use to him as he cannot find Mr. Arthur Cotton. 
The last letter, dated June 29th, in the year of Michael's 
death, 1612, says that the bearer has seen his house, 
and can certify how much it needs repairing, and also 
how dear everything is in Chester (double the price), 
because of knights and gentlemen who have left their 
houses in the country, and are in Chester to ease 
themselves, and who raise the price for others. 

Clement Hicks' will was proved at Chester, 1628. 
He leaves "unto everie godchild now living and 
remayning in this Cittie of Chester, two shillings and 
sixpence a piece." Ten shillings goes to Mr. Hopwood 
(who was rector of Holy Trinity, 1615 to 1632), 
entreating him to preach at the funeral, and there are 
other small legacies. All the rest of his property (it 
amounted to £102 17s. 2d.) goes to his second wife, 
Margaret, and he wishes to be buried in Trinity Church 
in the place where his former wife is buried. 

In 1865 the ancient church of Holy Trinity, Chester, 
'Was pulled down and an entirely new one was built on 
the site. At the east end of the north aisle of the old 
church was a chapel dedicated to St. Patrick, with a 
painted altar. Here, says Webb, in his "Description 
of the City and County Palatine of Chester," published 
1650, was a little monument of brass in the wall. On 
the brass was this engraven : — 

"Here lyeth the body of Ellen Hicks, wife of Clement 
Hicks Gent, her Majesty's Chief Searchers of the port of Chester 
and Liverpool, being of the age of 35 years who deceased the 
11th day of April Anno Domini 1598." 
C.F. G 


Without, the street of old Chester leading to the 
waterside. Within, the chapel at the end of the aisle 
with its crudely painted altar, the space re-opened in 
the flags beneath the brass monument on the wall, the 
mourners in their cloaks, the second wife in her pro- 
vincial ruff and black hood — that was the end of 
Clement Hicks ; and it is all blank and obliterated for 
us. The thoughts there round his grave, the feelings 
there, are things quite dead. 



Neither Clement nor Baptist Hicks belongs really 
to the thread of this story, which, after Juliana, should 
concern itself at once with her eldest son Michael. 
But anyone who has seen Baptist's monument in the 
church of the Cotswold town of Campden, will realise 
that some sort of account of him there must be. 

It is perfectly plain that, of Juliana's three sons, the 
youngest most resembled her in capacity, in vivacity, 
and in an inherent liking for the splendours of life. 
He had neither the education nor the social oppor- 
tunities of Michael, but he out-distanced him in worldly 
success. If, of the three brothers, Clement had 
obviously the least vitality, Baptist as certainly had 
the most. 

It was Baptist's appointed lot to go back to the 
Cheapside mercery, and to live a citizen life in 
the rooms over it which his mother had deserted. 
That he did live there, and that a dwelling-place 
over the shop was not for the socially ambitious, a 
proposal of marriage, which will be presently quoted, 
gives evidence. 

He was admitted as a Freeman of the Mercers' 
Company in 1580, and he was Master of the Company 
in 1611 and 1622. His arms with the Fleur-de-Lys 
hang on the dark panelling of the Mercers' dining hall 

Of Baptist as a mercer we only get fleeting glimpses 
in the Lansdowne and Hatfield letters. Thomas Cecil, 
the Lord Treasurer's prodigal heir, was one of his 

G 2 


customers, and there is a letter from Baptist to Michael 
in which he begs his brother to 'prevail' with his 
lordship to pay him the money for the goods bought, 
which had long been owing. The wife of the more 
powerful Robert Cecil found it economical to deal at 
the White Bear. In a letter to Michael, Sir Robert 
says : — 

" Sir W. Rawley and 1 dining together in London, 
we went to your brother's shop, where your brother 
desired me to write to my wife in anywise not to let 
anybody know that she paid under £3 10*. a yard for 
her cloth of silver. I marvel that she is so simple as 
to tell anybody what she pays for everything." 

In another letter Baptist openly sends Sir Robert 
Cotton "a little present," in order that he may have 
his favour in a cause wherein he is " malisciously prose- 
cuted by a lurking proud enemy." The silk is a piece 
he has had specially made for his friends, and, says he, 
" I persuade myself out of the judgement and skill that 
I have gathered in process of time touching the com- 
modity, you shall find it Very extraordinary for the 
goodness." Everybody knows how tiresome relations 
are to do business with, and how difficult striped 
material is to manipulate, and how the polite tradesman 
must keep his temper, even with relations. Baptist 
writes to his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Hicks : — 

"Sister Hickes. I did not know that the purple 
striped stuff with gold had been returned me again, 
unless my brother had told me thereof, and that you 
did not cut it to serve your turn for marring of the 
pattern : I pray you give me leave to tell you that no 
pattern comes amiss to me to pleasure you." 

This is a little too much the bowing mercer behind 
the counter. " Assuring you at all times of our best 
services," as the modern phrase has it. 


Baptist's silks and satins played their part in very 
varied scenes. In 1598 an embassy was sent to France 
to negotiate peace with Spain, and it consisted of Sir 
Robert Cecil, Sir Thomas Wilkes, clerk of the Council, 
and Dr. Herbert. The instructions taken by them are 
contained in the very last State paper written by the 
dying Lord Treasurer. For this expedition Baptist 
supplied Wilkes with silks and satins, velvets and 
taffetas ; and the bill for them, which is among the 
domestic State papers, came to £68 3s. 2d. This was 
the last earthly journey of poor Wilkes, who had so 
often crossed the Channel on similar errands. He died 
at Rouen on the way to Angers to meet King Henry. 

The death of Queen Elizabeth brought Baptist 
an order to provide " velvets damasks and satins of the 
colour crimson, to serve the coronation " of James I. A 
warrant to pay him £3,000 for them is dated August 7th, 
1603 ; but in 1606, in a petition by him to the Privy 
Council, which is among the Cecil papers, and which 
concerns the King's debts to him in general, he mentions 
that the proportion of stuff ordered was altered, whereby, 
he protesteth upon his faith, there was left upon his hands 
more than 1,400 yards to his very great hurt and damage. 

The same petition, and the Calendars of Close Rolls, 
reveal that the great fortune which Baptist eventually 
built up, was by no means the product of mere trading 
in silks. Like his mother, he was a moneylender (in a 
day when it was one of the few forms of investment), 
and it is perfectly clear that, in order to lend on a 
scale that gradually became princely, he himself borrowed 
large sums of money. To borrow at low interest and 
lend at high interest — that is financial genius ! He was 
often in difficulties in early years — often in " a very 
tight corner," as we should say — his letters to his brother 
Michael reveal that. He borrowed even from Michael, 
and vehement are his remarks about his own creditors 
— the Lord Treasurer's interest again and again is 
invoked through the secretary. The Close Rolls 


contain (as near as may be counted) ninety indentures, 
where, buried in the most tedious of all language — legal 
language— lies the history of Baptist's monetary trans- 
actions with all sorts and conditions of men, and with 
the king himself — some of James' bonds are for £24,000, 
£150,000 (this is together with Sir Thomas Hayes and 
others), £30,000, and for many and various sums. 

Another form of investment, investment in land, he 
did not neglect. The Close Rolls contain about fifty 
indentures where estates, portions of estates, and Church 
livings all over England are either mortgaged or sold 
to him. The most interesting of all these is an inden- 
ture dated November 25th, 1612, by which the Treasurer 
and Company of Adventurers and Planters of the City 
of London for the first Colony in Virginia, bargain and 
sell to Sir Baptist Hicks and ten others, " the islands 
called Bermudas, and now Somer Islands, being in the 
Ocean bordering on the coast of the said first Colony, 
with all havens, fishings, mines, etc., in the said islands." 

Success in business brought the inevitable corollary 
of want of time for the amenities of life. There is a 
letter to Michael which is evidently an answer to a 
pressing invitation : — 

" yet notwithstanding can I not possibly be 

with you and be here again to dispatch business : 
which I know you will wish me to omit no oppor- 
tunity to accomplish it : entertainment of Friends 
are very pleasing and comfortable, when more serious 
affairs are not impeded thereby. ... In my absence 
I would have you give your friends the best enter- 
tainment you can, and not stick to venture your 
money where so much is to be gained. ... I wish 
myself with you at your mask, some furniture 
thereunto I send you." 

He has so much private business on hand that he will 
by no means be made an alderman. He sends for his 
brother in all haste : — 


" If I were not ill at ease by reason of a cold I have 
taken, I would come to you myself. And therefore 
I have written these few lines to let you understand 
that, very suddenly, and very much unexpected, there 
is a bill delivered up unto my L. Mayor with the 
names of 4 Commoners for the choice of an Alder- 
man, amongst which four I am nominated, and do 
very greatly fear that, if speedily I make not the 
better friends it will be my hap to be chosen, and 
then will turn me to a far greater trouble and suit 
than now it will do. Therefore I pray you do me 
that brotherly kindness, as to come to London this 
present Monday (for it requires expedition) and that 
I may find that friendship at your hands by your 
friends as may stay the course pretended against me 
which I know by some is done of malice, as more 
particularly you shall understand when I confer with 

The result of the brotherly conference is to be 
discovered among the State papers, in the draft of a 
paper requiring the lord mayor and aldermen to for- 
bear to elect Sir Baptist Hicks because he is employed 
in the King's service. This was in 1603, and in the 
next year there is the same sort of business again over 
his election as sheriff, and again the King's intervention. 
But he was not always able to wriggle out of his public 
duties. In 1606 he was foreman of the jury at the 
Guildhall which convicted the Jesuit Father Garnet 
of Gunpowder Plot fame. In 1611 he was actually 
elected alderman of Bread Street Ward, and though 
he brought forth the King's original letter, he was 
obliged to pay a fine of £500, and to pay again in 
1613, when he was finally discharged from the incubus 
of municipal service — a service which he had calcu- 
lated would serve him not at all. The talent for 
eliminating that which is not of import is necessary 
for success in life. 


But a prudent marriage was not among those things 
to be eliminated. The lady to whom the following 
letter was addressed may, or may not, have been a 
widow, but it is evident that she had a large and inde- 
pendent income. The letter is enormously long, and 
is only partially quoted (and part of it is too Elizabethan 
to quote). There is a tremendous preamble, and then 
he says : — 

" I will be bold to enter into an answer of such 
some particular objections as I remember have been 
made touching the inequality of our intermarriage. 

" And first, whereas they allege that there is nine 
or ten years difference in our ages, there is none I 
think that hath but half an eye, and doth behold us 
both, that can so judge. And yet if any man should 
be so far mistaken, since we were both born in this 
City, the Register books of our birth will both 
readily and evidently convince their error. And 
albeit the truth were, that I were so many years 
younger than you are, yet what harm can come 
thereof. . . . 

" Another matter which they urge both very 
earnestly and very often, is, the difference of our 
estates, both in wealth and worldly reputation. For 
your wealth — as it is not that I seek after, so it hath 
not been the thing that I have enquired after. That 
which I know concerning it is only by common 
report, as all men know besides that have ears to 
hear. Whatsoever it is, I wish it for your sake with 
all my heart a thousand times more ; but in respect 
of myself (rather than it should be any impediment 
to my proceeding with you) I protest unto you I 
wish it a great deal less. 

" But as touching mine own, (estate sic) as I ac- 
knowledge that it is a great deal more than I am 
worthy of, so I know it is not so little as they would 
make you believe. And I would to God that you 


could find no other unworthiness in me than want of 
wealth, then I would not doubt (when it pleased you 
to call my estate in question) to be able to prove 
myself of such ability, as in any indifferent man's 
judgment I shall be thought meet to match with a 
woman of reasonable good substance. What other 
benefit or advancement is likely to come unto me 
hereafter by some of my friends, I will not now 
speak of, because they are but things in possibility, 
and not in present possession. 

" And now, whereas they object that to marry a 
man of my trade were a great embasing of your 
credit and calling — Truly, methinks (as they may 
worst do it that have risen themselves from meaner 
beginnings) so they do great wrong to the trade 
itself, which in reputation all men know to be of 
chiefest account in this City. And as it cannot be 
denied that there are some which bear office now in 
this City which have been of that trade, so is it as 
evident that there are more which have been called 
to that place, and might worthily have accepted of it, 
if they had not preferred a quiet life before glorious 

" But howsoever the trade itself, is in itself, yet it 
is not necessary that your marriage with a Mercer 
should make you keep a shop, or sell a yard of silk 
(as some have in a disdainful and scornful manner 
objected). For there is a(n) example not far off from 
me, of a woman of good wealth and credit who 
married with a man of my trade, yet she neither 
makes nor meddles with shop nor silk, but having all 
things allowed her as are fit for a gentlewoman, she 
passeth her own time at her own pleasure, either 
here, or at her house in the country, as she herself 
thinks good. 

"But, if in your eyes and judgment, the trade 
itself doth seem too mean for him whom you mean 
to make your husband, I see no impediment to 


satisfy your mind wherefore I may not, of a mercer, 
become a merchant; and traffic as profitably and 
conveniently in that course as in this I am in. Of 
the which also, there is one example not far off from 
me, that, of a well traded mercer is become, and 
proves, both a good and skilful merchant. 

" But alas ! what need I labour thus to persuade 
you in these points, considering that the best hope 
and encouragement that ever I have had of my suit, 
hath been the persuasion that I have gathered and 
grounded upon your wisdom and humbleness of 
mind. That it is not money that you shoot at, but 
the man. That it is not worldly dignity, and wor- 
shipful titles that you desire, but a husband with 
whom you may lead a quiet and contented life in the 
fear of God ; who will love you for yourself, and not 
for that which you have ; who will allow you to the 
uttermost of his ability, and will use you in all 
gentleness and kindness, as becomes an honest man 
and a good husband. Than the which, if you might 
have your own heart's desire, what could you wish for 
more or better ? " 

Another letter, which starts with " Swete Wedow," 
is much shorter, is in a different key altogether, and 
is obviously addressed to a different lady 1 " Next 
vnto God you ar dearest $nto me," is the impassioned 
text of it. 

A third unsuccessful proposal is to a Mistress 
" Katherin." It would appear that he has sent the 
lady a letter and a " token," and that she has re- 
turned the latter with a reply on the " modesty " of 
which he compliments her effusively, and assures her 
that — 

" it was the least part of my thought either to pry 
into your goodwill without your favourable leave, or 
to press upon it towards any point of perfection with- 
out the privity of your good parents and friends. No 


truly Mistress Katherin, my only meaning was to 
sound, if I might, the inclining disposition of your 
mind, and not to require your final resolution in the 

A long essay on the young lady's duty towards her 
parents then follows, quite obviously intended for these 
parents' eyes. Indeed, it needs not much penetration 
to surmise that the " token " had been waylaid, and had 
been returned by parental command. The sequel seems 
to say that the following highly meritorious sentiments 
were quite wasted. He has remarked, Baptist says, 
with — 

" special good liking that godly and earnest care 
you have in the applying of your whole actions and 
thoughts to the pleasing of your parents, the which as 
it is a thing highly acceptable before God, and greatly 
commendable towards the world, so, without the con- 
tinuance thereof will breed in time, both a sweet 
contention (content sic) to yourself, and a singular 
comfort to all your friends." 

And so on, gliding at length gracefully into saying 
that his next care now consists in making known his 
suit to the said parents, together with a true and full 
discovery of himself and his estate. 

" This done, I doubt not but, upon the hearing of 
my cause, to have the conquest of my suit. If not, 
what remains, but that I sigh and say, that a happy 
end doth not always follow a well meaning mind in an 
honest matter." 

These rejected addresses are so delightful that they 
make one wish heartily that the letters which eventually 
won him a wife had survived too. Or did he learn 
wisdom of experience, and the perfect futility of pen and 
ink in such a service ? 

Baptist married in 1585, when he was thirty-four 
years old, Elizabeth May, of good citizen stock like 


himself. Her father was a member, and sometimes 
Master, of the Merchant Taylors' Company. The proofs 
that she was precisely the wife he needed for his 
ambitions are very slight, but they do exist. 
" Burstling " and " imperious " are two lucid words 
applied to her in contemporary letters which tell of a 
tedious dispute about precedency, which she and 
Baptist, as knight and lady, carried on in their City 
circle. Her marble effigy in her ample peeress' robes 
in Campden Church does not give the lie to the descrip- 
tion, and she had a successful brother too — these things 
are in the blood. Sir Humphrey May, as he became, 
was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and had the 
ear of James I. "Sir Hum. May can make any 
suitor, be they never so honest, disliked by the King," 
says a letter among the State papers. 

The succession of James to the Crown of England 
was an event on which Baptist had staked a good 
deal. James had knighted 237 gentlemen in the course 
of his month's progress from Edinburgh to London, so 
that the knighting of the City mercer at Whitehall on 
July 24th, 1603, the day before the coronation, cannot 
have been a conspicuous event ! Sir Baptist Hicks, no 
doubt, had for the honour that confident gratitude which 
is described as " a lively sense of favours to come." 
He had undoubtedly helped James, and other needy 
Scotsmen too, in a day when that form of investment 
was very speculative indeed. He sets forth the matter 
in his petition to the Privy Council in 1606, of which 
the following is a partial abstract : — 

" Considerations to move his Majesty and their 
Lordships to have a more special regard to Baptist 
Hicks for his debt due to him, than to any other 

"The debt that now remains due from the King 
to Baptist Hickes is between 16 and 17 thousand 
pounds, whereof there is above £6,000 in the account 


of Sir John Fortescue. The said B. H. hath done 
to his Majesty many good and acceptable services 
before he came into England, not only in giving him 
large credit, but also in helping his Ambassadors 
and Ministers with money . . . All which his ready 
services and affection to serve his Majesty, his 
Majesty then graciously accepted, as by divers his 
letters written to the said B. H. doth appear . . . 
His Majesty of his own royal consideration, before 
he came into England, did allow consideration always 
to the said B. H. for forbearance when his Majesty 
failed of payment at his day, as sometimes he 
did ... If his Majesty should deal so graciously 
with him for the debt now owing, the interest would 
arise to above £4,000." 

The petition goes on to say that Baptist has not 
been " clamorous or importune," to complain that part 
of his daughters' marriage portions are still owing and 
he has to pay interest on the same ; and finally he 
brings up the 1,400 yards of stuff left on his hands 
from the coronation. 

"Fayre speakers and slow performers" is what he 
labels his lesser Scottish creditors in a letter to Michael, 
but it is certain that out of this tangled web of money- 
lending Sir Baptist did not eventually step forth the 
loser. He was fifty-two years of age at the time of 
James' accession, and his shrewd optimism had brought 
him to the point from whence the search for the final 
purpose of all this gathering together of wealth might 
begin — a final purpose, an end, which must be adequate 
to justify the means employed to gain it. The heart 
and will to gain it were there ; the man was one of 
those, unique, incalculable, to whom accomplishment 
does seem to become a reality ; and yet the end could 
be overtaken only along accepted paths, and it is 
certain that, when Baptist died at seventy-eight, he 
knew that it had eluded him. And if he left this 


world without angry impatience at the mortality of 
men, it must have been with the other sense of the 
inconsequence of things ; of the insignificance of the 
individual, of his happiness, of his usefulness — of 
the perplexity and confusion of it all. But the effort 
was worth while. And that, three hundred years later, 
is still as far as men have got. The effort must be 
staged among the sincerities of human life, and be 
vital, and be fragrant, and then, "Vanity" be it, but 
" there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice 
in his own works, for that is his portion." That was 
Baptist's portion. It is quite impossible to doubt that 
any sense of the elusiveness of things ever made him 
feel that he had inherited the wind, ever made him 
come to any other genuine conclusion than that it 
was all tremendously worth while. 

To a zest for life as keen as his was, the titles he 
earned, the palaces he built, the liberalities he practised, 
are but as the algebraic ocyz, and only an exercised 
imagination can make a catalogue of them at all 

1. 1609. He was made contractor for Crown lands, 
and between that date and 1612 was made Justice of 
the Peace for Middlesex. 

1620. He sat as M.P. for Tavistock, and in the 
same year was created a baronet. 

1624. He sat as M.P. for Tewkesbury, until 1628, 
when he was succeeded there by his nephew, Sir 
William Hicks, first baronet, whose heir, tenth in descent, 
the Hon. Michael Hicks-Beach, is member for the 
district to-day. 

1625. He was made Deputy Lieutenant for 

1628. He was raised to the Peerage by Charles I. 
under the title of Baron Hicks of Ilmington, in 
the County of Warwick, and Viscount Campden of 
Campden in the County of Gloucester (Ilmington and 


Campden are adjoining parishes), with remainder to 
his son-in-law, Edward, Lord Noel, Baron Ridlington, 
in the county of Rutland. 

2. It may have been at the time of his marriage that 
Baptist ceased to live over the mercery in Soper Lane, 
and took a house in Milk Street, in the Old Jewry, 
close to the Guildhall, in the parish of St. Mary 
-Magdalene. In 1605 he had moved along the street 
into the parish of St. Laurence, Jewry, whose vestry 
meetings he attended regularly from 1605 to 1627. 
He was sometime churchwarden of St. Laurence, and 
the church records mention him continually. To the 
end of his life — indeed he died there — the house in 
Milk Street was the centre of his business activities. 
It is expressly mentioned as his residence in two 
mortgages of land to him, dated respectively 1620 
and 1628. 

In 1600 (and long before that, probably) Lady Hicks 
was making known her wish for a house in the country. 
At the end of a letter (February 28th) to Michael, 
which is all about a debt due from one John Littleton, 
Baptist says, "I pray you comend me hartely to my 
sister, and I wishe that my wife were as well placed 
in the country as she is, but it avayles not to wishe 
it." In 1610 he was evidently not feeling the pinch 
of poverty so severely. In the county of his yeomen 
ancestors he bought the manors of " Campden, Chip- 
ping Campden, Broade Campden and Berington," from 
Sir William Bond, Sir William Withens and others, as 
the deed (dated March 14th, 1610) sets forth ; and he 
began to build in Campden, to the south of the church, 
the house over whose remains all Cotswold literature 
of to-day grows eloquent. Eight acres the buildings 
covered, and about £100,000 in the money of to-day the 
frontage of the house alone is reported to have cost. 
In 1613 he bought the living of Campden, and year 
by year, as the Close Rolls show, he added, field by 
field, to the size of his property. 


In 1612 he won at cards from Sir Walter Cope 
(so the story has survived, and no deed of purchase 
is in the Close Rolls) a few acres of land in rural 
Kensington, on the hill behind the parish church. 
Here he built another house for himself, which was 
in the country and yet not so far from the City as 
the top of the Cotswolds. This mansion he called 
Campden House, and it has given the name to the hill 
itself, and to all the region that lies behind St. Mary 
Abbotts, Kensington. He added to the property in 
1616 by considerable purchases, from one Robert 
Horseman, of the Manor House, Kensington, and 
divers closes. A description of Campden House is in 
Faulkner's " Kensington." It remained in the Noel 
family until 1720. At the beginning of the nineteenth 
century it was a famous ladies' school. Then a Mr. 
Wolley bought it to hold a collection of Renaissance 
furniture. It was burnt out in 1862, and a long 
litigation took place with Insurance Offices. It was 
to a certain extent restored, and, although shorn of 
all its country-house adjuncts and divided into two 
houses, one called Little Campden House, and the 
other Lancaster Lodge, it still retains a seventeenth- 
century dignity behind its garden wall in the midst 
of a wilderness of red-brick flats and houses on the 
top of the hill. 

3. In Stow's " Survey of London " (edition 1633) is 
" A brief Remembrance of such noble and charitable 
deeds as have been done by the Right Honourable 
Baptist, Lord Hicks, Viscount Campden, as well in" his 
life as at his death ; Recorded to the Glory of God, his 
owne honour and good example of others." 

Here is a still briefer summary of the benefactions : — 

To the Mercers' Company, besides other large gifts, he 
gave half the great tithes of the parish of Woodhouse 
in Northumberland for founding scholarships from St. 
Paul's School at Trinity College, Cambridge. (It seems 
probable that he had been educated at the school). 


The original Clerkenwell Sessions House. 

(From a water-colour drawing.) 


To the County of Middlesex, in 1612, he gave a 
Sessions House. Up to that time the Middlesex 
justices held their Sessions at the Castle (or Windmill) 
Tavern, just outside Smithfield Bars in St. John's 
Street, Clerkenwell. Hicks Hall, as it was called, was 
built in the middle of St. John's Street (which is very 
wide), and just at the point where St. John's Lane runs 
into it. The Hall remained in use until 1782, when the 
present Sessions House on Clerkenwell Green* was 
Opened, and the old one was pulled down. The fine 
dining-room chimney-piece, with its centre inscription, 
was preserved, and is now in the magistrates' room in 
the new building. In the same room is hanging a 
water-colour sketch of the old hall ; but the portrait of 
Sir Baptist by Paul Van Somer is now in the Sessions 
House at Westminster. There is a plan of Hicks Hall 
in the Guildhall library, which shows that it had an oval 
central hall, and underneath this hall must have been 
the oval room, depicted in the last plate of Hogarth's 
" Progress of Cruelty," where the bodies of criminals 
were publicly dissected. In Vols. II. and IV. of the 
"Middlesex County Records," edited by Mr. J. C. 
Jeaffreson, a detailed account of the history of the hall 
will be found. Clerkenwell has immortalised its bene- 
factor in its own way. In the narrow slum called St. 
John's Lane, which leads from the site of Hicks Hall 
to the old gateway of the priory of the Knights of St. 
John of Jerusalem, is a gin palace called the Baptists 
Head. It was once the house of Sir Thomas Forster 
who died in 1612. It has been a public-house, with its 
present name, ever since. 

To the town of Campden Sir Baptist gave a market 
house. He also built and endowed twelve almshouses. 
" For pure craftsmanship in stone masonry it would be 
hard to find anything finer than these noble almshouses," 
says one of the many modern Cotswold books. For 

* Soon to be abandoned also. 
C.F. H 


Campden Church he did much. He roofed the chancel, 
built a gallery, made a window, walled the churchyard, 
and gave a pulpit cloth and cushion, a ' brass faulcon,' 
two communion cups, and a bell which is now No. 5 in 
the peal and has the inscription : " Ex dono dignissimi 
Baptiste Hicks Militis 1618." He left a sum of money 
to the poor of Campden by will, and bought the impro- 
priation of Winfrith in Dorsetshire to add to the value 
of the living. 

To the Parish of Kensington Lord Campden gave a 
sum of money which, with money willed by his widow, 
now forms the ' Campden Charities,' and brings in an 
income of about £3,000 a year. He also put a window 
into the chancel of the church. 

To the Church of St. Laurence, Jewry, he gave, with 
other benefactions, a stained-glass window, which was 
destroyed in the Great Fire, and, in fact, to all churches 
of any parishes where he had property (and they were 
many) he gave generously. 

Baptist Hicks was buried in Campden Church, and 
his monument is there. It bears this inscription : — 

To the Memorie of her deare and deceased husband 
Baptist Lord Hicks, Viscount Campden, borne of a 
worthy family in the citie of London ; who by the 
blessing of God on his ingenious endeavours, arose 
to ah ample estate, and to the foresaid degrees of 
honour : and out of those blessings disposed to 
Charitale uses, in his lifetime, a large portion to 
the value of 1 0,000£.* Who lived religiously, vertu- 
ously and generously, to the age of 78 years : and 
died octo: 18: 1627. 

* The "Episcopal Report" of the Gloucester Diocese in 1750 says 
that Sir Baptist Hickes was a Turkish merchant, and he vowed, when 
taken by the Moors, to lay out £500 in charity if he ever returned to 
England. In a few hours afterwards he was retaken and he laid out 
in charity over £10,000. If this is true (but it was written 150 years 
afterwards) it is but a proof of what an incomplete history of Sir 
Baptist's activities this chapter is. 


Elizabeth Viscountesse Campden, 
his deare consort, borne of the family of the 
Mays, lived his life in all peace and contentment, 
the space of 45 years, leaving issue by her said 
lord and husband two daughters Juliana married 
to Edward Lord Noel now Viscount Campden, and 
Mary maried to sir Charles Morison knt and 
Baronett, hath piously and carefully caused this 
monument to be erected as a testimonie of their 
mutuall love, where both their bodies may rest 
together in expectation of a joyfull resurrection. 

The inscriptions say much, and say it soberly, but the 
two effigies beneath the overwhelming marble canopy 
upheld by twelve marble pillars say vastly more. Here 
are the figures of two idealists — they are both that : 
their sculptured hands betray it no less than their 
faces, and they have the aspect of divine survival. 
Serenely they he, with regal bearing : they are the 
fulfilment of their world. No other force than theirs 
has dared to dominate this grey hill town : their 
influence still sways it, for such fives are an inheritance, 
are permanent. There is stuff in the legend of these 
two, and over the locked iron gates of the chapel, 
beneath the glowing colours of their ' arms,' Nondum 
Metam in large lettering meets the eye of those who 
pass by that way. 

Outside the church, all along the south side of the 
churchyard, is a high grey wall, and in the midst of it, 
just opposite the chancel porch, is a built-up doorway. 
From the one to the other a pathway once stretched, 
and through the postern, from their palace on the other 
side of it, my lord and my lady used to come to worship. 
On the other side of the doorway to-day is the glimpse, 
in an enchanted hour, of the barrier which ends all 
experience, of the starting point of a greater adventure 
— all that — but there is no actual palace any longer. 
The tiny fragment that remains of the great facade stands 
on the edge of the wide terrace, sentinel over glory 
departed — glory of which the details of its stonework 



and the generous dimensions of the grass terrace speak 
graphically; and even were the fragment perished, 
those more considerable remnants, the summer-houses 
which flank the terrace, would be sufficiently eloquent 
of all that once was ; it needs but to consider their 
many chambers, their carved pillars and friezes, and 
then to remember what a mere adjunct a summer-house 
is. Below the great terrace, to right and left, are two 
more terraces, and a fourth encloses, on the further side, 
a sunken level, now an orchard, but once part of the 
garden, "without which," as Francis Bacon said, 
" buildings and palaces are but gross handiworks." 
This garden must have been as princely as any Bacon 
could have desired. Terrace below terrace there is ; 
then comes a brook which, doubtless, had its part in 
the scheme. Beyond the brook the ground rises again 
and the horizon is a narrow one. On the other side of 
the house, next the church, is a space which legend calls 
the Italian Garden, and the remains of a courtyard, 
with arched gateway and lodges. This gateway over- 
tops the main street of Campden which goes downhill 
from it. On the right are Baptist's almshouses ; on 
the left is an inhabited house of considerable dimen- 
sions, once part of Baptist's stables ; and so the street 
goes on into the heart of the town, where it gets 
wider, and there, in the middle of it — a drowsy, 
empty street to-day — is the market house which Baptist 

" A Defiance to Death being the Funebrious Com- 
memoration of the Right Honourable Baptist Lord 
Hickes, Viscount Campden late deceased " — that is the 
title of a book which Mr. John Gaule, rector of Campden, 
published after his patron's death. At the sign of the 
Blacke Beare in St. Paul's Churchyard it was to 
be bought, the title-page says, and the contents consist 
of the funeral sermon Mr. Gaule preached in Campden 
Church on November 8th, 1629, and a number of 
elegies in verse, one of them being in the form of an 




acrostic. They all belong to a taste which has had its 
day : as a survival of that they are of interest. The 
Dedication of the book is to " the truly honourable and 
religious Ladies, Julian Viscountess Camden, and Mary 
Lady Cooper." For Baptist was survived by no son : 
he founded no family. These two women were all that 
were left of five children who are entered in the 
St. Mary Magdalene register of christenings. 

1586 Julian Hicke was baptised, Julii tricesimo primo. 

1587 Marie Hicke was baptized, Februarii undecimo. 
1 590 Arthur Hicke was baptized, Octobris quarto. 

1592 Elizabeth Hicke was baptized Septembris vicesimo quarto. 
1 594 Baptist Hicke was baptized, Februarii nono. 

It was in accordance with all the rules of infant 
mortality of the day that the burial register should 
subsequently account for the majority of these off- 

1596 Arthur Hicks was buried, Augusti vicesimo octavo. 
1599 Elizabeth Hicks was buried, Septembris septimo. 
Baptist Hicks was buried Octobris ondecimo. 



In 1828, after years of laborious plodding through 
thousands of documents, Dr. Nares, Regius Professor 
of History at Oxford, produced a ponderous " Life of 
Lord Burghley," which Macaulay (if that need condemn 
it) pronounced to be unreadable. But the truth is, of 
course, that, except to the student, the details of the 
long life of a statesman pure and simple cannot be any- 
thing but wearisome — dust and ashes in the telling is the 
tale of the weaving of the million strands of the web of 
power. The earliest life of Burghley is an anonymous 
one, and is printed in the "Desiderata Curiosa." At 
the end of the article on him in the " Dictionary of 
National Biography " is the remark that " a really satis- 
factory biography is still a desideratum," and this perhaps 
is what lately inspired Major Martin Hume to wrestle 
again with the stupendous subject. In his " Life of 
the Great Lord Burghley " he tries within the limit of 
five hundred pages to extricate the man from the policy, 
then to weld them together again and to make a 
summary. A review of the book which appeared in 
the Standard newspaper puts William Cecil into more 
concrete form still : — 

" It would not perhaps be quite true to say that 
nothing is remembered by the public of to-day about 
the greatest statesman of Elizabethan times but his 
nod ; but it is certainly the fact that of all the crowd 
of sailors, soldiers, adventurers, courtiers, poets and 
thinkers who thronged the court of the Virgin Queen, 


his figure is the most shadowy. According as the 
policy of Elizabeth is regarded as mean, vacillating, 
and heartless, only saved from shameful failure by 
the prowess of Hawkins and Drake, or as a very 
miracle of prudent statesmanship, so is the character 
of William Cecil defamed or extolled; but it is 
always the policy, not the man, which is blamed or 

" The almost universal neglect of his memory is, 
indeed, the best proof of his success in the course 
which he set himself throughout life. Cecil was a 
devotee of the via media ; he had an unerring instinct 
for the line of least resistance ; he was a past master 
of intellectual Jiu-jitsu. Only on rare occasions did 
he set himself in direct opposition to the plans of the 
sovereign, or of the adviser for the moment in power. 
He would bend ; but he would neither break nor be 
broken, and, like a steel spring of the finest temper, 
the further he was bent, the greater his resistance. 
He moves among the ruffling Court, a sober figure 
in a fur-trimmed gown, aping none of the extrava- 
gances of fashion,, though consumed with the desire 
to be a great nobleman ; turning none of the deft 
compliments which the age of euphemism — amid all 
its greatness — kept as part of its stock-in-trade ; yet 
always and everywhere his hand can be traced, 
baffling the poor old Bishop of Aquila, Philip's 
Ambassador, and the more dangerous Guzman, 
hoodwinking de Foix, humouring, while he thwarted, 
the vanities and amativeness of the Queen and 
Leicester. With an adroitness too profound to be 
easily recognised, he held apart Philip and the Guise 
faction in Prance, and he brought about the Protes- 
tant League of Europe. He laid the train effectually 
fired by the heroes of the Armada struggle." 

This is the master to whom Michael Hicks was 
servant, and who — pile word on word vainly — still 


eludes the imagination. He himself explains himself 
to his son, and yet somehow the final word is not there. 
The Queen, on an occasion, had called him a " froward 
old fool," because unable to prevail with her at the 
moment he had said he would " for ten days go take 
physic " ! He writes : — 

" My loving son Sir Robert Cecil Knt, I do hold 
and will always, this course in such matters as I 
differ in opinion from her Majesty. As long as I 
may be allowed to give advice I will not change my 
opinion by affirming the contrary, for that were to 
offend God, to -Whom I am sworn first, but as a 
servant I will obey her Majesty's Command, and no 
wise contrary the same ; presuming that she being 
God's chief minister here, it shall be God's will to 
have her commandments obeyed — after that I have 
performed my duty as a Councillor, and shall in my 
heart wish her commandments to have such good 
success as she intendeth. You see I am a mixture of 
divinity and policy ; preferring in policy her Majesty 
before all others on earth, and in divinity the King of 
Heaven above all." 

This is his Apologia pro vita sua, but it gives no clear- 
cut edges to the great shade behind the Throne — in 
whose shadow lived Michael Hicks, himself only to be 
guessed at in the midst of a wilderness of ink and paper. 
Surmises, misgivings, half -intuitions, all the dim instincts 
of a moral borderland, wake to an ephemeral life in front 
of the portraits of the Lord Treasurer and his secretary. 
A remembrance of the portraits of Burghley makes the 
half-smile with which Michael Hicks, from his wall at 
Witcombe, listens to Gloucestershire twentieth-century 
conversation quite translatable ; and, transversely, there 
is no more curious comment on William Cecil extant, 
than this face in its frame against its red background. 
It is the face of one who has listened to little purpose at 
doors all his fife, " peeping now and then at the presence 

(From a picture by Mark Gerard in possession of the Hon. Mrs. Trollope.) 


door, but never presuming to peer into the privy 
chamber," as he says in a letter to his friend, Mr. Manners, 
excusing himself that he has no matters of great novelty 
to communicate. 

The first fourteen or fifteen years of Michael's life 
were spent in Cheapside, in the frame house at the street 
corner. It is possible that he went to St. Paul's School 
close by, but the register of scholars is incomplete 
before 1748. His father died when he was fourteen, 
and, immediately, was the accession of Elizabeth, 
and the enthusiastic beginning of a new era for the 
nation. Michael would have been in the Cheapside 
crowd which acclaimed the woman of twenty-five, with 
her long face, her intelligent eyes, and her red-gold hair. 
The coronation and its attendant ceremonies meant 
much business for the City mercers, and the widow 
Juliana was not one who would let opportunities slide. 
It was in the White Bear, over the sale of silks to the 
court gentlemen, that those acquaintances were made 
which were useful, when it came in later years, to the 
matter of starting her eldest son in life. Next, there 
was Juliana's move from the rooms over the shop to the 
house on St. Peter's Hill and its greater luxuries, a life 
in which there was more diversity and more colour, and 
presently a second marriage. 

Anthony Penn was too colourless in character to have 
failed to be anything but a perfectly amiable stepfather 
to the three boys. There is one letter from him to 
Michael, dated March, 1561, and endorsed "Too Mychael 
Hicke w t]1 Mr. Blyth in Trini Colledg in Cambridg," 
which is of quite exemplary vapidity : — 

" Michael. I am glad to hear that both you apply 
your learning and profit very well therein. The book 
you wrote and sent to Mr. Osborn is very well liked 
and much commended of him and all others that have 
seen the same ; the print whereof will be yours, and 
the continuance of your diligence must needs be to 


your advancement ; and your tutor Mr. Blith hath 
deserved by your forwardness great praise and com- 
mendation — to whom I and your friends are much 
bound for his care of you and the pains he hath taken 
in your bringing up. And thus with my thanks for 
your verses you sent me I wish you much increase 
of virtue and learning from London the first of 
March 1561 your loving Father Ant Penn." 

The endorsement of this letter is a proof that Michael 
was at Trinity, as all the published accounts of him 
state, but the general admission register of the college 
does not go back beyond 1635, and it looks as if he did 
not take a degree, as his name does not appear on the 
registers of the university. His tutor, Mr. Blithe, was 
Fellow and Junior Dean in 1560. 

After leaving college Michael was entered as a 
student at Lincoln's Inn. This was probably done (as 
was usual at the time) to give him a standing in London. 
In the books of the Inn his name occurs three times : — 

Admission Register, Vol. I., p. 73. 
1564-5 March 20 Michael Hickes of London. 

Black Books, Vol. I., p. 36 1 
(under Pensioners' Accounts). 

1567-8 Payments . . . £4 6s. 8d. to Mr. Hickes for victuals for many 
gentlemen of the Middle Temple who came here to dance the Port Revels 
with the gentlemen of this Inn (at the Pasification last before the Honour- 
able Earl of Rutland). 

Black Books, Vol. I., p. 402. 
1577 February 11 Galled to the Bar . . . Hickes . . . 

There is no evidence that Michael ever practised as 
a lawyer, but he began at once (under his mother's 
guidance at first we may be sure) that judicious system 
of investment of money, which, although it never made 
him the very rich man that his brother Baptist became, 
yet enabled him, before he died, to add a Norman castle 
to the lands his father had left him in Gloucestershire. 


As early as 1565 there is an indenture in the Close 
Rolls by which Nicholas Beaumont of Coleoverton, co. 
Leicester esquire, mortgages to Mighell Hickes of 
Davies Inne in Holborn co. Middx. gent., an annuity 
of £40 going out of the manor of Coleoverton. 
There is no evidence that the capital for this investment 
was raised (as often, and quite openly in later years) 
from any suitor to my lord, for it is quite uncertain 
when it was that Michael was attached to Burghley's 
household — at first, for seven years, in a vague and 
insignificant capacity, and then as one of the two 
secretaries of the minister. Among the MSS. are the 
drafts of two letters to Burghley in Michael's hand- 
writing, but, as drafts, they are undated. They are 
endorsed "Ires to ye 1. Trer by myself." They are 
immensely long, and Cecil must have been immensely 
bored with them, but they are an ingenuous revelation, 
and the first is given in its entirety : — 

" May it please your good Lordship. I have now 
been attendant upon your lordship for the space of 
8 years and upwards, of the which I have spent a 
twelvemonth and somewhat more in the place of one 
of your lp secretaries : during which latter time, your 
lp having often occasion to use me in services incident 
to the place, 1 observed sometimes, but of late 
especially, that your lp had a hard conceit of me, as 
of one that neither conceiveth with that dexterity, nor 
yet dispatcheth with that celerity as is required in the 
execution of that service. For the which cause, though 
not forbidden by your lp, yet have I forborne, to my 
great grief, to enter into your lp chamber, or to offer 
or to intermeddle in suits according to my accustomed 
manner. The alteration of which your lp good opinion 
once conceived of me (?) because I am afraid it may 
draw with it also some declination of your lp honour- 
able favour to my irrecoverable discredit (which I 
trust I neither have or ever will deserve) I have, 


presumed under your lp favourable correction to offer 
unto your lp herein a plain and true declaration of the 
state of my case, committing both myself and it to 
your lp grave and gracious consideration. 

" First, my very good L., I protest it was neither any 
benefit, or preferment which I might receive thereby, 
that moved me to desire to serve your lp, but only 
an ardent and zealous affection I had to be near 
about your lp ; by the opportunity whereof I might 
increase my small knowledge and better my slender 

"Secondly, albeit I desired to be in your lp 
presence by the occasion of my service, yet I never 
made suit for the place ; albeit I do not but think, 
and also acknowledge it with my most dutiful thanks, 
that the good report given by some of me to your lp, 
did the rather move your lp, both to conceive the 
better of me, and to do me so special a favour. 

" Thirdly, touching the errors and oversights com- 
mitted by me, and noted at sundry times by your lp, 
(of the which I could call to my remembrance either all 
or the most part) I could, with your lp honourable 
favour and patience, though not altogether excuse 
them, yet in some sort qualify the imputations laid 
upon them. 

"And, my very good 1., in my good opinion, I 
think it a hard matter for a man of good pregnancy, 
and otherwise well qualified in such a multitude and 
multiplicity of causes, to keep stroke with the sharp- 
ness of your lp conceit — or with his pen that hath 
served so many years as your lp Secretary — except it 
please your lp to vouchsafe to allow unto him some 
reasonable time to acquaint himself with the course 
and sundry natures of your lp affairs. 

" But, lastly and specially, my hope is wherein also 
consists my chiefest comfort, that, neither your lp 
hath noted, neither yet that it hath been informed to 
your lp, that I have behaved myself undutifully 


towards your lp, or insolently towards suitors, either 
by careless neglecting, or a needless protracting or 
by any unjust and unhonest exacting for their dis- 
patch ; whereby I might give offence to them, bring 
slander to the place, or dishonour your lp. 

"The consideration whereof, together with this, 
that my enabling to the place proceeded from your 
lp good opinion, and my calling to the same from 
your honourable favour (whereof I make mention, as 
well to acknowledge the deeper and straighter bond 
of my thankfulness towards your lp, as also, in some 
good ' congruency ' as I think, to excuse or cover at 
the best my insufficiency) may give occasion to your 
lp to consider, that your lp hath rather been deceived 
in me than by me ; and therefore, howsoever your lp 
good opinion touching ability shall cease and deter- 
mine, yet I have not deserved to be deprived of the 
sweet comfort of your honourable favour. 

" And therefore, I do in most humble and earnest 
manner, beseech your good lp to take my poor credit 
into your favourable protection ; if not in regard to 
myself, yet in respect of my poor old mother, who, 
in her natural love and care, foretasting, and, per- 
adventure, accounting of the profit and preferment 
that might befall me, by the example of others that 
have gone before me — when she shall find her expec- 
tation frustrate in both, it cannot but make a very 
deep impression of grief in her heart, and, with all 
hazard, the impairing of her love and withdrawing 
her good meaning from me ; for that she will never 
be brought to think that this could ever have 
happened without some notable evil desert on my 
part towards your lp. The which to shun and avoid, 
if it shall please your lp of your honourable favour to 
make trial of me for some further time, employing 
me only in services of less difficulty and weight, and 
which may abide more leisurable dispatch, I hope I 
shall make myself fitter for your lp greater causes, 


and therein acknowledge myself extraordinarily bound 
to your lp. 

" But, if so be that your lp have conceived such a 
firm and settled opinion of my insufficiency, as that 
your lp thinks that I neither am, nor can be, made 
fit to discharge this service to your lp good liking 
and ' contention ; ' and that your lp have intention 
to make choice of another ; yet, then at the least I 
humbly beseech your lp (which I trust your lp will 
not deny unto me) that I may continue and have 
access to your lp as heretofore I have had, as ordinary 
occasions shall offer ; and that it will please your lp 
to use me sometimes in employment agreeable with 
that capacity and discretion which your lordship con- 
ceives to be in me ; until I may apprehend some 
good occasion or honest colour (excuse ?) to retire 
myself like a hurt deer out of the herd, and betake 
myself to some private life in the country, more 
answerable, I confess, with my unstirring disposition, 
than either the Court or public causes. 

" But howsoever it shall please your lp to dispose 
of me, such is, and always hath been the reverent 
and zealous affection which I have borne to your lp, 
as I will continue a most faithful honest and dutiful 
servant towards your lp during your fife. 

" And so, praying to Almighty God to protect 
your lp with His mighty power and to direct your lp 
with His , Holy Spirit, and to give you many happy 
and healthful years, to the good and comfort of her 
Majesty, and the good government of the common- 
wealth, I most humbly take my leave." 

This servility is really rather attractive ! Between 
his old mother's determined ambition for him, and 
Cecil's impatience with his obvious incompetence, poor 
Michael was indeed between the devil and the deep 
sea ! Perhaps he was not quite so incompetent as it 
was Burghley's policy to let him believe — or, it is much 


more likely that Burghley was jfar too pre-occupied to 
have any policy concerning him at all, and did not, as a 
matter of fact, find him of much duller edge than any 
other of his tools. At all events, for the time, it was 
all a black tragedy for Michael. My lord was evidently 
quite unmoved by the pathos of the lengthly appeal, 
and another had to be drawn up : — 

" May it please your good L. having presumed to 
trouble your lp so lately with so long a letter, I will 
now only be bold to remember and renew to your lp 
my former request. For since it seems your lp is 
settled in opinion touching my inability for the dis- 
charge of this service, howsoever I may otherwise 
seem fit in my own fancy, or be ' enabled ' in the 
judgment of any other ; yet I wholly submit myself 
herein to your lp grave censure without any further 
allegation or argument. 

" Ingenium vultu stat que credit que tuo. And 
albeit, haply (happely) I might, by means and medi- 
tation, through the facility of your lp honourable 
and inclinable nature, win from yr lp this unde- 
served favour ; yet, in this prejudice of your lp 
conceit, whereby every day shall bring with it new 
occasions of dislike, as it were a mere folly in me to 
desire it. So, for my private respect or particular 
favour, to require a place of such publick service as 
this is, wherin want of knowledge, conceit, and 
quickness in him that is to execute it, may be pre- 
judicial and hurtful to such a number and of all 
sorts of persons — to be served by a man of slow 
dispatch and of slender understanding, were a matter 
in my opinion both against reason and conscience. 
And therefore, myself being discovered in your lp 
wisdom to be such a one, I may not think myself 
hardly dealt withal by your lp to be put from it; 
albeit I cannot but think my fortune to be very hard 
that I ever entered into it. For, the case standing 
with me as it doth, except your lp shall have an 


honourable regard to me, it cannot be avoided but 
that I shall grow into great contempt with men of 
my own coat, into obloquy and discredit with the 
world, and into a secret suspicion of some bad desert 
amongst my acquaintance and best friends. Where- 
upon must likewise needs ensue to myself these 
two grevious and bitter effects — SHAME and 
SORROW. In which extremity and perplexity, if 
I have recourse to myself only, I cannot find or 
bethink me of any other remedy, than of SILENCE 
to cover the one as I can, and of PA TIENCE to 
digest the other as 1 may. So again, when I cast 
mine eye upon your lp honourable disposition " (and 
so on) ..." And therefore my very honourable 
good Lrd I do once again most humbly and earnestly 
beseech your lp, not only to continue me in the 
number of those upon whom yr lp vouchsafeth your 
honourable favour, but also to continue me in some 
such service about your lp in ordinary suits, as I 
may have access to your lp in fit times and upon 
meet occasions : whereby the world may see that I 
am not altogether discarded, and, my fall being by 
degrees, and not all at once, may redound to my 
less discredit and disgrace. And this do I require, 
and with the greater confidence hope to obtain at 
your lp hands, for that I may boldly say (because I 
say it truly) that, how far short soever I come touch- 
ing my sufficiency, of those that have served your lp 
in this place before, yet neither they, nor any that 
shall come after me, ever had, or shall have, truer 
heart and affection towards your lp, or a greater 
desire, or more earnest and careful endeavour to 
please your lp, than I had, or hope to hold during 
my fife. And so, referring my case to your lp 
honourable consideration "... etc., etc. 

The presumption is that the sole answer to this 
rigmarole of a profoundly anxious soul was a con- 
temptuous form of the historical nod. At least no 


other answer exists, nor does there exist any sort or 
kind of letter from Burghley to his secretary, and the 
fleeting glimpses we get of Michael in the Cecil papers 
are rare — amazingly rare when the mountainous mass of 
manuscript is considered; for in half the "affairs" 
(there were two secretaries), at least, Michael must have 
played his underling's part. In the Historical MSS. 
Commission Calendar of the Cecil papers the following 
are examples of entries where he is mentioned : — 

1593. Sept. 10. M. Brandaye to Mr. Hicks one of the Secretaries 
of the Lord Treasurer, re warrant for conveyance of munition to 

1595. March 28. Earl of Oxford to Mr. Hicks re the custom of 

1597. Nov. 10. Hicks on the Committee touching monopolies. 

1597. Nov. 15. Hicks on the Committee touching the subsidy. 

After all it is of trivial bricks like these that the 
house of history is reared — it is no use being impatient 
with them. Michael's whole life, metaphorically, was 
that of the bricklayer's "labourer" handing the bricks 
to the master-hand which laid them. Yet the position 
must have had its more poignant moments too — there 
was intercourse sometimes to be had with agreeable 

Among the domestic State papers is a series 
of twenty-one documents relating to one Denis 
O'Rowghane, an ex-priest, whom Sir John Perrot, 
when Lord Deputy of Ireland, had employed as a spy. 
O'Rowghane used to extort money from Papists by 
warrants on which he had forged Sir John Perrot's 
name. Por this he was imprisoned by Sir John in 
Dublin Castle. When Sir William Fitzwylliams 
succeeded Perrot as Lord Deputy, O'Rowghane pro- 
duced a letter purporting to be from Perrot to Philip 
of Spain, and offered to prove that he had been the 
bearer of it. The letter promised that Philip should be 
made master of England and Ireland if Perrot were 
allowed to keep Wales for himself! Fitzwylliams 

C.F. 1 


sent the letter to Burghley in 1590. It was manifestly 
a forgery, and it was said that Fitzwylliams, had he 
wished, could have proved it to be so. A letter of 
commission was sent from the Privy Council to the 
Bishop of Meath and others directing them to take 
into their custody the body of Sir Denis Rowghane, 
priest, to examine him relative to his accusations 
against Sir John Perrot, and to transmit the result of 
their examinations and Rowghane himself over to 
England for further proceedings. One chamber of the 
double Gate-house of Westminster was used as the 
Bishop of London's prison for " clerks convict." Here 
the priest was locked up, and here, on a summer 
day, came Michael stepping importantly, a list of 
" Interrogatories " in his hand. Of the futility of the 
interview he writes thus to his master in a letter dated 
June 11th, 1690 :— 

" He (O'Rowghane) is nothing abashed or dismayed 
with anything objected therein against him, but 
laughing oftentimes (as it were heartily) seems to have 
in derision the matter brought against him as vain 
and false, and relies much upon the incompetence both 
of the Commissioners and some of the deponents." 

He relied also, it would seem, a good deal on his own 
epistolary eloquence. Two letters of his to Burghley 
are endorsed in the Treasurer's handwriting " a very 
vayn Ire " and " a fryvoloss he." There are other 
letters also, in which he says that he is most desirous 
to see the Queen herself personally, that he may con- 
fess all his wicked pretences against her. Of the end 
of the matter (as regards O'Rowghane himself) there is 
no record. Only the impression is left that in morals 
he was no worse than his betters, and that his Irish 
gaiety was rather attractive. 

Mr. Francis Donee, keeper of the manuscripts in 
the British Museum, who catalogued the Lansdowne 


papers in 1819, adds to one of them (dated 1609, eleven 
years after Burghley's death) a note to the effect that 
there is much to justify suspicions that neither Michael 
nor his two masters were altogether innocent on the 
score of corruption. The accusation is at once elusive 
and too arbitrary, because, while it is pretty plain that 
both Robert Cecil and Michael Hicks took bribes, 
there is no evidence in the Lansdowne letters that 
Burghley ever did. That he was silently cognisant of 
the fact that others could be bought, and were 
bought, is another matter. When Dean Nowell of 
St. Paul's wrote to ask good Mr. Hicks to do him 
a very small favour with my lord, my lord may 
never have known that a small token accompanied the 
request in the shape of an image of Edward VI. (" the 
Josias of Englande ") ; but that he was as blind as his 
son and his secretary hoped he was when a certain 
Dr. Tobie Mathew was translated from the deanery 
to the bishopric of Durham is not likely — it is very 
unlikely. Tobias Mathew, who was educated at Christ 
Church, Oxford, was the son of a John Mathew of 
Bristol (of Welsh lineage), who, perhaps, like many 
others, had only conformed to the new religion under 
pressure of the penal laws. Strype (in his " Annals ") 
makes this inference because, after Tobias took orders 
in the Anglican Church, his relation, Archdeacon 
Calfhill of Colchester, wrote to Sir William Cecil that 
he was bound by all honest means to prefer his cousin 
Tobie as well in respect of his abilities as that he had 
followed his advice in entering "intothe ministry" against 
the goodwill of his father and mother and other his able 
friends. Abilities which led him from preferment to 
preferment Mathew undoubtedly possessed. He was 
in turn Archdeacon of Wells, President of St. John's 
College Oxford, and Canon and then Dean of Christ 
Church ; when he married a lady who was the daughter 
of William Barlow, Bishop of Chichester, and who was 
also the widow of Archbishop Parker's son. Mistress 



Frances Mathew's lengthy epitaph in York Minster 
records that "A Bishop was her Father, An Arch- 
bishop her Father-in-law ; She had four Bishops her 
Brethren ; * And an Archbishop her husband " — for 
Archbishop of York is what Tobie Mathew became, 
notwithstanding that the Queen, never reconciled to 
clerical marriages, " stuck for a great while," says 
Strype, at the aspirant's wife and at his youth, before 
she would give him the deanery of Durham, which 
proved to be the first step towards it. Under the wing 
of the Earl of Leicester Mathew hung about the Court 
for some considerable time before the matter of the 
deanery was settled in his favour, and Strype declares 
that before he left, Burghley, "according to his grave 
and godly way, gave him much good counsel, for his 
sure and good behaviour of himself and discharging of 
his duty in that place." If the Lord Treasurer ever 
did have a garrulous lapse of this sort, he atoned for it 
when the bishopric of Durham became vacant some 
years later. That hour found Tobie Mathew at Court 
once more, and making use this time of Burghley's 
secretary for the furtherance of his wishes ; and it is 
not far-fetched to wonder if a common Bristol ancestry 
was the means of bringing the two together. Three 
letters are extant, and the first of them, from Michael 
to the dean, is an answer to a letter accompanying one 
for Burghley, and which the Lord Treasurer seems to 
have perused with perfect stolidity and to have handed 
back to his secretary without a word : — 

" Sir. Upon the receipt of your letter yesterday 
unto me with another directed to my Lord, because I 
knew I was to come to London I required your man 
to come to me for an answer sometime in the after- 
noon ; which I do not understand that he did. But, 
because it were both an ungentle and an unjust part 
to receive a remembrance from you and not to 

* Brothers-in-law. 


remember you, I have sent my man herewith to let 
you understand that yesterday, in the forenoon, I 
delivered your letter to my Lord at a fit and con- 
venient time. After the deliberate reading whereof 
his lp gave it to me again into mine own hand, 
whereby it is, and shall be, kept from the view of 
any common eye, or any eye besides. I doubt not 
but my L. doth well apprehend the matter therein 
contained, and doth so well conceive of the writer 
as there will not want his good furtherance as he 
hath already his good word. For myself, I am but 
as one that giveth aim, and can but wish well and 
hope well where preferment is so well deserved. I 
will not say better than some that I seek it not Quia 
bonum opus, sed quia magnus bonos, because com- 
parisons are odious. Sir, I know you have a very 
honourable friend though not mentioned, yet I think 
meant in your letter ; and of me you shall have a 
poor friend, ready to hold the candle to give light to 
the game whilst others play it. From my lodging in 
the Strand the first of Sept. 1594." 

The dean replied to these somewhat groundless 
assurances with urgency ; and the direct appeal to 
Burghley having failed, he responds cautiously to 
Michael's hint about an " honourable friend," but 
would rather confer with Michael in person than 
commit himself on paper. Michael, he remarks, shall 
have no cause to repent his part in the matter. 

" Sir. You have by your letter satisfied me greatly 
every way, not only by signifying the delivery of mine 
so conveniently to his Lordship, and by promising to 
suppress the same from the sight of others, but by 
putting me in good hope withal that I need not 
despair of some effect. Howbeit, but that causes of 
this quality- be not commonly accelerated over fast, I 
should be very sorry of your so speedy departure from 
the Court and 'so slow return : for that by the one I 


cannot well speak with you myself, and by the other 
I shall happly, or rather unhappily, be disappointed of 
my most desire : because I think it is expected that I 
should not here or hereabout make so long abode as 
to be here at your coming back. Which to me is so 
much grief the more for, that when I am once gone 
homeward, I shall be far off to remember others of 
myself, and to be certified how things in time are 
like to work. Indeed, I know I have been, and am, 
exceedingly beholden and bounden to that honourable 
Councillor whom both you and I do mean ; but I 
would not doubt to increase his favour and further- 
ance by your own good and friendly solicitation in 
case (i.e., if only) I could confer with you before your 
journey or mine. To which purpose I would willingly 
resort tol your Lodging were you not upon your way, 
as it were, already. Play how they will, I pray you 
look on at my request ; shoot as they can, let me 
desire you to give aim. It may be, by our sight or 
their oversight, somewhat may be effected to serve 
the turn. But, sine sic sine secus, I am very glad to 
have taken this occasion to enter acquaintance with 
you ; whereof I hope you shall have no cause to repent 
you. And I heartily request you that it may con- 
tinue and increase on your part, as on mine I will by 
all means show myself desirous and ambitious to 
nourish it by all the good offices or pleasures I can do 
you. So if it be not my good hap any more to see 
you now, Sir I take a long leave of you, with a 
thousand thanks and commendations. Your ass. 
Lo. friend Tobie Matthew.* At the Court 1 Sept. 

The sequel, a letter from Robert Cecil to Michael, 
shows that the " honourable Councillor " was Robert 
Cecil himself. He had been made a member of the Privy 

*rLike all other names of the period a letter more or less was 


Council in 1591, and at this time (1594) was doing the 
work of the Secretary of State, although the office itself 
was vacant because Essex, the favourite of the moment, 
wished it for his proUg£ Davison. Like most of Robert 
Cecil's hastily - expressed, hastily - written and often 
illegible letters, it does not entirely explain itself, and 
part of the letter has been deliberately mutilated. It is 
impossible not to make inferences when Robert is filled 
with so much anxiety that his particular interest in the 
affair shall be concealed from the Queen and others, and 
when he is obviously annoyed that it has come to his 
father's ears. It was a curious part that Michael had to 
play too — he was in the service of the father and in the 
confidence of the son. This was a small enough affair, 
of course, but it is symbolical of the whole political 

" Mr. Hycks, Things past are known unto you, 
and the . . . difficulties were ; the more content- 
ment now to r(emember) them being overcome. 
That which is to come I pray you take care of, which 
is especially that I may not be known to have any 
particular dealing in the matter, more than out of the 
conceit I had that his words justly entitled him to 
this Fortune. For it will disable me to do him or 
others pleasure hereafter if my access to her Majesty's 
ear, which now I so used as her Majesty cannot 
suspect that I looked to anything but her service — 
which as I profess and protest I did, and do most of 
anything in all my recommendations, so do I not deny 
to myself the liberty that when other things concur 
my friends are not nearest to me in my wishes and 
honest endeavours. The Party named ... is 
surely a worthy man, and one of whom I ever will be 
loathe to be misjudged ; and therefore do only take 
care of this, that with silence he be content to enjoy 
my true friendship, which will be most honourable for 
him and most agreeable to my humour. I hear that 


divers about my L. do tell him of my furtherance in 
it. You can guess how it comes but by overhearing 
me at one time when I was most in danger, for other- 
wise more than that I cannot avoid their speeches to 
me. I have not discovered any particular divided 
affection, more than that I knew not where of such a 
pair any one might be elected and no choice to be 
discommended. I refer all other things to yourself, 
and if your discretion fail me I shall alter my faith, 
and so scribbling hastily I will send it you unread 
over, because I know it shall be buried. The eyes of 
men will now be more vigilant and their tongues more 
frequent in the exercise of discourse of his proceedings 
in the cradle of this fortune than it will ever be in any 
time after when he hath passed over three or four 
months discharging the place. Your friend 

" Ro. Cecyll. 

" If there be any secret cause to be dealt between 
us only I will have you used, but for common cour- 
tesies and ordinary occasions let him not make me a 
stranger for he is honest and of good nature, yet in all 
things I would make some difference." 

There is no further reference to the matter in the 
Lansdowne MSS., but among the Cecil papers is a 
letter to Burghley from the firmly-seated Bishop of 
Durham. It is dated May 3rd, 1596. On the 
14th of the preceding month, owing to Elizabeth's 
vacillations, Calais had fallen into the hands of the 
Spaniards, and her policy had received a severe blow. 
The bishop writes to the Lord Treasurer to say that 
the death of the late Lord Lieutenant of Durham and 
the loss of Calais " marvellously embolden the hearts of 
the bad effected." 

" Might I entreat you for a warrant dormant for 
such impost as you usually allowed my predecessors, 
and myself last year ? I should the seldomer trouble 


you, and be the more beholden ; not meaning thereby 
in anywise to lessen any officer's yearly fees accus- 
tomed. Wherein if I might obtain your favour, I 
would appoint one to attend to know your pleasure. 
At Mr. Maynard's hands or Mr. Hick's sometime this 
term or next." 

A complete biography of the prelate cannot be given 
here, nor must anything be said about his still more 
vivacious and versatile son (of the same name) whowasthe 
" Alter Ego " of Francis Bacon, and who died a Jesuit. 
The Bishop's portrait hangs in the dining-room at 
Bishopsthorpe to-day, and he left a characteristic diary 
behind him, which has been edited by a Mr. Thomas 
Wilson. Accounts of him appear in various Yorkshire 
Histories, and a certain view of him is presented in the 
interesting "Life of Sir Tobie Matthew," his son, recently 
put together by Mr. Arnold Harris Matthew. He 
became Archbishop of York in 1606, and his " cheerful 
sharpness in discourse" is said to be attested by the 
story of his declaration that he exchanged his post for 
want of grace. He died in 1628, and is buried in the 
Lady Chapel of the Minster under a black and white 
marble monument. 

He thus survived by many years William and Robert 
Cecil and Michael Hicks. Lord Burghley died in 1598. 
He had had bad health nearly all his life, and was a martyr 
to gout, for which defiant malady his friends were ever 
suggesting remedies. A stewed sow nine days old, and 
a hedgehog stewed in rosewater are among some recom- 
mendations of Lord Audley in 1553. Twenty years 
later Lord Shrewsbury confidently praises " oyle of 
staggs blood," a German doctor prescribes medicated 
slippers ; and very many other nostrums are to be found 
in the Cecil and Lansdowne manuscripts. Allusions to 
Burghley 's health are wedged into many a State docu- 
ment, and into the letters which his secretary received 
and wrote. " I dread in my soul it will overthrow him 


in health," says his son to Michael, writing in his urgent, 
scrappy way about some bad news that had to be com- 
municated in 1592. " Freshly pinned with the gout 
and unable to write," says Michael to Robert in 1596, 
after the news had come of the fall of Calais. A year 
later Michael was at his house of Ruckholt in Essex, 
and had a letter from one John Norton at Court. 

" My Lord is still lame of the gout and keepeth his 
chamber, but now are good hope of amendment if 
please God to send fair weather : whereof 1 wish you 
part for the better finishing of your bowling alley and 
your walks, I have sent you herewith the pattern you 

This letter is dated August 2nd, and a year and a day 
later, the Lord Treasurer, lying in his bed at Cecil 
House in the Strand, took leave of his children, prayed 
for the Queen, handed his will to his steward, turned 
his face to the wall, and died as he had lived, silent, 
self-controlled, dignified to the last. 



The evidences of Robert Cecil's venality do not 
condemn him. Why should they ? The traffic in 
offices was covertly recognised. " If Portington think 
to get it without cost he is I find deceived," said 
Robert to Michael in a letter of 1589 respecting an 
applicant for a small post. And in 1609, when Robert, 
Earl of Salisbury was Lord Treasurer, if he himself (and 
that is not certain) was beyond the need of adding to 
his income in such trivial ways, his secretary Michael 
was not ; and Michael's family, it is evident, knew them 
as a perfectly justifiable source of revenue. 

Sir Charles Moryson of Caishobery,* Hertfordshire, 
the writer of the two letters given here, was the first 
husband of Michael's niece, Mary, the second surviving 
daughter of his brother Baptist. The nephew-in-law 
writes thus : — 

" Worthy Uncle. If my leisure would let me, I 
acknowledge it would become me to begin with 
excuses before I make requests : for now you never 
receive my letters but upon occasion : you may think 
I would not write at all but for necessity : but such 
is my extreme haste as that I have no more time 
than in brief to acquaint you how there came one to 
me at my last being in London who desired to buy a 
place of you in the ' Lycens of Alienation Offices.' 
His payment will be good, and he will give as much 
as another if you have not promised it already. I 

* Cassiobuiy. 


desire to hear from you because I may put the 
suitor out of pain. Thus, remembering my service 
to my aunt, I rest yours in any service to Command 


"I have been much laboured to move you in a 
great suit, but you shall not know it till I meet you. 
A thousand pounds he offers, I know you may 
easily do it." 

Another letter quickly followed : — 

" Good uncle. Fearing least my coming to 
London may be uncertain, and when I do come my 
stay not long, and the while I am there uncertain to 
find you ; I have resolved out of all these doubts to 
send you these ; whereby you may be both acquainted, 
as also a little digest the business before I meet you. 
Shortly these : — Meeting this summer with Mr. 
Doctor Wyatt one of the King's Chaplains, he began 
to ask me (being in familiar talk) how I thought he 
might get the Deanery of Salisbury ; that being the 
place which of all the gifts in England he desired. 
To which I answered that although he had named 
many great friends, yet, Sacra pecunia cuncta, and he 
was as well to pay as to pray. Whereupon the 
consultation grew to this, that he indeed did desire, 
having placed himself in the country, to use some 
friend which might effect the premises ; he not to be 
troubled. Then did I tell him how I thought I 
might persuade you to deal for him, but I did think 
it would be a suit of great trouble, as, by so much, 
the more charge. To which he replied, I will give 
him a thousand pounds for his pains so I may have it. 
Now if you can do it I will bring him to you some- 
time at London, when you may speak of more 
particulars. Thus, wishing all happiness to your 
motion, which I think you may bring to pass, I rest, 


with remembrance of all respects to my worthy aunt, 
your very loving nephew to be commanded 

" C. Morrison. 
" Mr. Doctor Gurdon is now possessed of the place, 
but is not likely to continue by reason of his years." 

These letters are both dated October, 1609, and there 
is virtuous satisfaction in recording that Dean Gurdon 
lived for ten years after Sir Charles so confidently 
disposed of him, and that when the place had to be 
filled up it was given to John Williams, afterwards 
Bishop of Lincoln and Archbishop of York. 

These evidences of barter of places (and there are 
others just as positive) make one inclined to suspect 
motives behind the simplest actions, but after all there 
are numbers of letters which seem to say that Michael 
was often content to be a kind intermediary without 
thought of advantage. He was asked to intermeddle in 
very varied matters. 

Doctor John Bull* pray shim to use his influence to 
change his name " in favour " of his child ; unaware 
that it would become famous ! 

Mr. Vincent Skynner writes urgently to Michael 
about a Doctor Bright who has invented the art of 
shorthand and who desires some " effectual fruit of his 
labour," and thinks there should be no difficulty in 
obtaining it considering how some other States 
encourage their own people and reward inventors. 
Mr. Skynner himself thinks it a great matter to put so 
much into so small a compass and to be able to take a 
speech from any man's mouth as he delivers it ; he 
encloses the Epistle to Titus in shorthand as an example, 
and it certainly looks, to the uninitiated, precisely like 
the shorthand of to-day. Yet it is likely enough that 
Dr. Bright went to his grave unrewarded. 

The Cecil household made use of Michael too. He 
intercedes, with many excruciating puns, on behalf of a 

* See Dictionary of National Biography. 


musician named Oxford who had had the temerity to 
marry without leave, and when Lord Salisbury was at 
last made Lord Treasurer, he became ambassador in 
many causes ! 

" Mr. Gerrard thinks your Lordship will now have 
a gentleman of your horse. If your Lordship shall 
think him meet for the place, he will accept it with 
his most humble thanks, and seek no further, and 
serve your Lordship with all duty, diligence, and 

" White, your lordship's cook, humbly prays your 
lordship to bestow on him the place of the cook for 
the Star Chamber, which belongs to your lordship to 
give. He will acknowledge it as an honourable 
favour, and hopes to discharge it very sufficiently 
without any hindrance to your lordship's service 

" The late Lord Treasurer bestowed on his steward 
the writing and keeping of the book of Imposts of 
wines. If it please your Lordship to bestow the 
place on your lordship's steward now, he shall be 
much bound to you for your favour in it, and I think 
can very sufficiently discharge it. 

"Mathew Davies (sometimes my man for XII. 
years whilst I served my Lord your Lordship's father, 
and for these 3 or 4 years a Messenger of the 
Chamber) very earnestly besought me (which I have 
very unwillingly yielded unto) to move your Lord- 
ship, that whereas your lordship is to appoint one to 
be your messenger, that it would please your lordship 
to grant it to him. If your lordship shall think him 
worthy, or if it please your lordship to bestow it 
upon any of your own servants (that shall not 
execute it) he will give him good contentation for it. 

" This is written but to give your lordship overture 
of their desires, which in modesty they are backward 
to do for themselves." 


" By whose benefit I am here," writes a certain 
William Beecher, in 1606, from Paris to Michael ; and 
discharges his debt of gratitude by a long letter of 
gossip about the Court of Henry IV. with apologies 
that he has not news to send of a more important kind 
to one " who has been so long trained in the forge of 
our English affairs." 

" But immediately after my coming happened that 
short broil of Sedan, since the composing whereof, the 
king (though he were never thought greatly disposed 
to enter into new troubles) hath been observed to be 
more averse than before from those actions which 
might engage him in foreign hostility ; as having 
retired his own pieces and thereby secured his quiet 
at home. This hath made him fall back into his 
pleasures and delights more resolutely, though with a 
more uncertain and disdainful appetite as made weak 
by years. So as the news of this Court are the 
King's Loves and change of Mistresses, which some 
compare with the practice of Lewis the XL, who, 
growing old, because he would maintain himself in 
talk and reputation, did nought but change his 
officers and many times cut off their heads ; which 
the King doth more plausibly by changing his 
mistresses. Among the rest, after many treaties, 
they say he is fallen in agreement with the gentle- 
woman that was in England with Madame de 
Beaumont, whom some call Mademoiselle de L'Am- 
bassade, and that he is to give her 30,000 crowns and 
a pension of 4000°° a year. And that which more 
confirms the matter is that immediately Monsieur de 
Beaumont is nominated Ambassador to Rome, though 
the other's time comes not yet out this twelve- 
month. . . . Here was lately, upon very slight 
occasion, a great quarrel between the Prince of Conde" 
and the D. of Nevers ; the prince coming to knock 
at the Queen's cabinet, where the Duke was before, 


was jested at by the Duke, who protesteth that he 
knew him not. The other next day challenged him 
the field but they were both taken in the field by the 
King's order, who made them immediately friends. 
They say he told the Prince that he must not be so 
light in his actions, though this in him were pardon- 
able, as proceeding from courage, and that he had 
rather see him dead than to hear that he were one 
that would endure injuries : though afterwards he 
made a jest and scoff of their quarrel somewhat to 
their discontent. And indeed they who do other- 
wise admire him for his wisdom do tax him for a 
little incontinency of his tongue." 

Middle-class British William Beecher proses thus 
about the old age of Henry de Navarre. Michael 
Hicks can hardly have needed the letter of the good 
William to inform him at this time of day that Henry 
was amorous and free of tongue ! For in 1606 the 
day was over, or far spent, for all the chief actors of the 
European drama of the sixteenth century. Elizabeth 
was dead, Philip II. was dead, the House of Valois was 
extinct, Navarre was near his death too. On all their 
fevered ambitions, policies and deeds Time's cooling 
hand was already laid. Burghley, of course, was dead, 
and Robert Cecil also was soon to lay down the reins 
from his weary hands. 

Robert Cecil's overmastering weariness at the end of 
life marks the whole difference in temperament between 
father and son. The house of Cecil had for ambition 
the building up of itself on firm foundations — that 
passion swayed Robert as strongly as it had ruled 
Burghley himself, and with it he had inherited the 
desire for clean hands withal. " 'Tis a great task to 
prove one's honesty and yet not mar one's fortune. . . . 
I am pushed from the shore of comfort," says Robert 
in a letter to Sir James Harrington, which is quoted 
in Burke's " Peerage." " My life full of cares and 


(From a picture at Hatfield House,) 


miseries desireth to be dissolved," was his tale on his 
death-bed. Perpetual consciousness of the 'means' 
stole from him all pleasure in the ' end.' Yet he 
would forego neither the one nor the other. His father, 
without losing sight of either, had the sublime talent 
of the deaf ear when they clashed too thunderously. 
Robert's self-consciousness meant a life of perpetual 
tension for him, and it had its physical cause. He 
had a slight curvature of the spine and was under 
middle height, and he was intensely sensitive about the 
deformity. In a scurrilous lampoon of the day his 
" wry neck, crooked back, and splay foot " are, of 
course, exaggerated ; but his cousin Francis Bacon wrote 
a cruel essay which gives a certain view of him perfectly. 
"Deformed persons are commonly even with nature, 
for, as nature hath done ill by them, so do they by 
nature, being, for the most part (as the Scripture saith) 
void of natural affection, and so they have their revenge 
on nature. Certainly there is a consent between the 
body and the mind, and where nature erreth in the one 
she ventureth in the other — Ubi peccat in uno, pericli- 
tatur in altero. . . . Who never hath anything fixed in 
his person that doth induce contempt, hath also a per- 
petual spur in himself to rescue and deliver himself 
from scorn ; therefore all deformed persons are extreme 
bold. First, as in their own defence, as being exposed 
to scorn . . . they will, if they be of spirit, seek to free 
themselves from scorjn, which must be either by virtue 
or malice ; therefore, let it not be marvelled if some- 
time they prove excellent persons. . . ." 

Thus did Francis Bacon seek to get his knife into his 
inscrutable cousin. No living soul ever knew if he 
succeeded. The legend is that Robert Cecil never had 
a friend — "particeps curarum," a partner in care. In 
any case the office was not filled by Michael Hicks. 
Where intercourse was close and frequent, if not daily, 
letters are not of the first value ; but these that exist 
show that the often jocular intercourse of youth stiffened 

o,f. k 


into a strange formality, and not into friendship with its 
magnanimity and equality. The failure was not neces- 
sarily Michael's. If Robert Cecil found himself baulked 
by compliance, by what Emerson calls " a mush of con- 
cession," when he looked for furtherance or at least 
resistance, it is also true that the only way to have a 
friend is to be one. The friendship about which essays 
are written and poems are made was not between these 
two. Yet, at first sight, all the appearances of it are 
there. There is, for instance, a letter of thanks for 
some books Robert had asked to have sent him in 1589. 
It was the year of the murder of Henry III. of France. 
Henry had betrayed Catholicism in the previous year 
by the murder of the Guises, Duke and Cardinal. 
Catholic France had burst into insurrection, Henry 
was obliged to take refuge in the camp of the Protes- 
tant King of Navarre ; the two kings had marched on 
Paris, and, while lying beneath its walls, Henry, the 
last of the Valois, was murdered by a monk named 
Jacques Clement. Navarre at once assumed the title 
of Henry IV., and similarity of policy made it necessary 
for Elizabeth to help him in his ambiguous position. 
Of all this Robert gossips for gossip's sake to a familiar 
soul : — 

" Our news is here from France good, for Mylls 
hath been with Gourden that is governor of Calais ; 
who wept most bitterly for the death of his king 
(but) standeth now firm to this successor ; and where 
the Queen offered to recommend him to the King of 
Navarre's favour, he answered bravely that he would 
require no foreign recommendation, but would, as he 
had deserved regard of the late King dead, so recover 
this Prince's favour by his own merit ; promising 
ever firmly to hold this town at his Majesty's deno- 
tion. The camp lieth still afore Paris, and acknow- 
ledgeth this king for their sovereign, being the bravest 
company of soldiers together that ever France had ; 


only wanting pay ; which the queen will, or might, 
help them with. 

" The King of Navarre hath under his hand and 
seal, vowed no way to change any religion ; only 
reserving to him and his, as before, free profession. 

"This Mylls you know was towards Randall (?) 
He brings word that of 6 orders of Friars 5 (or 8 ?) 
in every house had vowed by Sacrament to do this 
villany. In Paris they make bonfires for the act ; 
but it cannot long hold out." 

There is vitality in this unnecessary outpouring of 
news to an unimportant person, but Michael laboured 
too much to return answers to Sir Robert's letters which 
should pleasure Sir Robert. Cecil is not to be blamed 
if, as life went on, he got tired of a triteness that was 
not always even sincere. In the matter, for instance, 
of the Secretaryship of State which he ardently desired, 
he found his father's amanuensis too anxious to assure 
him that all would be as he wished, and he sends 
answer : — 

"I thank you for your letter but I hardly can 
imagine the fortune so good, because my Lord writ to 
me yesternight, which to-day I received by Charl (?) 
that he heard no more of my matter yet." 

Michael was evidently not in my lord's confidence, 
and had been drawing on his kindly imagination, for 
this letter is dated March 10th, 1590, and it was not 
until five years later that Cecil got the office. Two 
other letters on the matter survive of the many 
Michael must have had. 

" If you can conjecture by Mr. Lake's being with 
my Lord, or my Lord's speech to him, whether my 
Lord had been thinking of Secretaries or no, or speak- 
ing with the Queen, seeing I hear nothing, I pray you 
answer my desire to write to me." 



Another letter is in a different key : — 

" Immediately your bowling games be ended send 
me word pray you of the Election, Creation, sus- 
pension or confusion (of) her Majesty's principal 
Secretary. Deliver my Lord this letter soon when 
he comes from the Queen for it requires no haste." 

This last, which is undated, is signed not only by 
" Ro : Cecyll," but by " Ely : Cecill," too ; so it cannot 
have been written after 1591, for Robert's wife, 
Elizabeth, the daughter of Lord Cobham, died in that 
year after giving birth to a son. In a message of " love 
and service " to Lord Cobham, sent through Michael in 
the previous year, Robert says, " I hope to be the cause 
that his daughter shall make my lady a grandmother." 
And that Michael was the customary channel for these 
domestic confidences is quite clear. There was nothing 
about the Cecil family, its quarrels and its money 
matters, that he did not know. When Burghley died, 
the question of the wardship of his three granddaughters, 
the daughters of Lord Oxford, who had deserted their 
mother and now had married again, became a burning 
question. Their grandfather had made provision for 
them, but Thomas Cecil, who had been left no jewels, 
was in a mood to make difficulties, and then there seem 
to have been all the hackneyed disputes about personal 
possessions. Robert is weary of it all, he says, and only 
anxious that his nieces be not kidnapped. 

" I thank you for your letter and for your care. 
As for my Lord of Oxford's claim, if Mr. Bellot do 
not turn him to us we shall do well enough ; and 
above all things we desire that he do say, though not 
swear, that such charge was given him by ' Parroll ; ' 
which Mr. Maynard shall witness. 

" In the doctor's cavil to defeat them of their 
portion, God knoweth I never intend it, but be you 
sure my brother thinks so hardly to have none of the 
Jewels, as I fear me he will stand now upon all 


advantages. But I will never consent in such a kind 
to break my father's testament. 

"For my private things at Theobald's, good 
Mr. Hycks end them, for I am weary of the noise 
of such beggarly things as they are and will be when 
they are best (I commit all to you). 

" Tell Mr. Bellot if the Earl of Oxford desire the 
custody he cannot have them of anybody. For if he 
look upon the deeds whereby my Lord hath con- 
veyed them their lands, he shall find that, for default 
of issue, their land comes to the Heirs of his body. 
Now whether he that never gave them grant (and) 
hath a second wife and another child be a fit guardian, 
consider you. If once my Lady Bedford were 
come to town he would quickly conclude. I wish 
Mr. Bellot to have a good care they be not stolen 
away by his means : I would they had some honest 
man there while Mr. Bellot's eye is absent from them. 
When you are there I pray you take order with my 
wardroper that any stuff they want, or anything else, 
may be given them. 

" On Monday night I shall be at London, but I pray 
you do not come from Theobald's without some end. 
I have written out my eyes to-day and therefore 
farewell. Your loving friend 

" Ro : Cecyll." 

Theobald's, in Hertfordshire, had been settled on 
Robert Cecil, while to the elder brother, Thomas (made 
Earl of Burghley by the Queen on the occasion of his 
father's funeral), went the magnificent Burghley House 
by Stamford town, Wimbledon House, and Cecil 
House in the Strand. Robert found Theobald's too 
large for his means, and he entered into negotiations for 
a house at Harrow. 

" I have nothing to say to Theobalds but that I 

wish it less. The ' Garner ' would be sold ; speak to 


Mr. Amuas and tell him I would fain know the 
certainty of the lease about Harrow Hill." 

But Theobald's remained in Robert's possession until 
1607, when James I. took a fancy to it and offered him 
Hatfield in exchange. Lord Salisbury was not able to 
refuse, and he at once set to work and, with the 
architect, Robert Limminge, began to plan and con- 
struct Hatfield House as it stands to-day. He had not 
the passion for a garden that swayed his father, who 
both at Burghley and Theobald's had made gardens 
glorious ; but the garden at Hatfield, as part of the 
whole, would not be out of his thoughts, and the vines 
for which Michael took thought in 1609 may be at 
Hatfield still. 

" Having been lately at Sir Edward Sulyard's, and 
finding that his grapes being ripe (especially the 
white) were in my opinion as good as ever I tasted of 
for the relish and sweetness, I prayed him to send 
some to your Lordship to taste of, to the end that if 
you liked of them you might have some grafts of the 
same vine. But he told me that if your Lordship do 
like of them, he will give you half a dozen roots to 
set, which he saith are far better to take, and will 
bear in 2 years where the other will not bear in 3 
or 4. Besides, he will give your Lordship two 
Nectarin plum trees of several kinds when the time 
of the year is to plant ; and anything else he hath in 
his garden or orchard." 

Michael was rather officious with his presents, and it 
is plain that more than once he had been severely 
snubbed. Yet as late as 1608 he is not discouraged. 

" May it please your Lordship, I have forborne for 
some years past to present your Lordship (amongst 
others who make acknowledgment how much they 
are bound to your Lordship) with any Token, accord- 
ing to the use of this time. It pleased you to say 
that it was needless betwixt your Lordship and me, 


as a matter that did make a greater diminution of 
my state than an addition to yours. Nevertheless, 
lighting by chance, and at so fit a time as this is, 
upon this poor piece of plate, which I found to serve 
for 3 uses more than it makes show for, I did pre- 
sume your Lordship would be pleased to accept of it ; 
and although you should never have need to use it, 
yet that you would esteem it for the uses sake than 
of a thing of greater value. It comes accompanied 
with the heartiest wishes both of health and happiness 
to your Lordship this year and many, from him, who 
in affection is faithfully devoted, and in duty and 
service (with the meanest of your servants) always 
most willing and ready." 

Apricots from his house at Ruckholt Michael was 
evidently always allowed to send. There are several 
allusions to them, and in July, 1603, he reports that 
they "begin somewhat to draw to ripening colour." 
In August of the same year he says : — 

" Because it pleased you to thank me for the 
apricots I sent you, which were the first, now I send 
you the last, and but a few, having lost many of my 
small number with pecking of birds and earwigs. I 
have a heart to send you things of value, but you 
have often said it is not the measure of your honour- 
able favour towards me, nor of my love and affection 
towards you." 

Judging by results, the measure of Cecil's honourable 
favour towards Michael was not very tremendous. He 
was not advanced to any office. He remained secretary 
always. This may, of course, have been because he 
had become far too useful to be spared, and besides, he 
never seems to have asked for anything of an ambitious 
nature, or for anything that could not be held together 
with the secretaryship. It is not quite clear what a 
" wardship " was, but Cecil refused him that several 
times. In 1603 he also refused him his " stewardship," 


although it is plain that Michael had been acting as 
agent and steward ; and apparently he was to continue 
to do the work while my Lord of Devonshire was to 
hold the office. 

" For your money, this note will fetch it. For 
your Deputation, I will sign it when it is brought. 
But for my Stewardship I have given it to my Lord 
of Devonshire, and with condition not to put out 
you. Believe it you are under one who I know 
loves me and mine ; in which I will never be short of 
him, though he be taller than I am." 

In the same year (1603), however, Michael was 
made Receiver-General of the counties of Middlesex, 
Hertford, Essex and the city of London. There is 
no mention of it in the letters, but the warrant is 
among the State papers, and in June of the following 
year there is the grant of the same to John Davy " on 
surrender of Michael Hicks." Possibly Michael hoped 
to get something better, and forgot that " a bird in the 
hand is worth two in the bush " ; a letter of Cecil's 
dated 1604 tells him that the importunities of others are 
so great that he cannot " this time " fulfil his request. 

Great prizes for Michael Hicks there were not, but 
amenities by the way there were plenty; the letters 
are strewn with mention of them. A scrivener writes, 
at Cecil's corhmand, he says, about a little house at Joy 
Bridge in the Strand which Michael is to have either 
for his own use or for disposal ; Lord Cobham, Robert 
Cecil's father-in-law, promised to give Michael his 
coach, and Michael writes to remind his lordship's 
steward about it ; Cecil sends a hawk and promises 
some doe venison (buck venison, he says plainly, he wants 
for others). But what Michael, as the result of his 
connection with the Cecils, father and son, must have 
valued most was the fact that it landed him at once in 
the inner circle of the Court. Courts have their 
intangible magnetism which philosophy derides in vain ; 


and Elizabeth's Court, above any, in English history at 
all events, must have been a place where life really 
vibrated, and where it was extraordinarily interesting. 
There never had been and there never will be another 
Elizabeth Tudor. Greater than any of her great 
ministers, harsh in voice, impetuous in will, furious in 
anger, sensuous, splendid, without self-restraint, trivial, 
wilful — yet of a temper purely intellectual, frugal and 
hardworking, of a real simplicity of feeling. And, as 
example of violent contrasts in her character, there is 
no need to go further than the facts that she listened 
with delight to the "Faery Queen," and yet, because 
of some verses Michael Hicks wrote for her eye, did 
not banish him at once to Hades. In the twentieth 
century it is impossible to quote the verses, but in the 
sixteenth century they were quite a fit subject for 
queenly " chaff" ; and there can be no doubt that the 
following letter must have uplifted Michael (who had 
obviously offended in some trivial way) very much 
indeed : — 

" Michael. I ly not to you. The Queen is now 
very pleasant and excuseth you as much as any. I 
told her y* I cold not tell what you sayd, but I 
saw what you writt, w ch in my fancy was as prety 
and Pythy as ever I saw. I marry sayth she but he 
writt them not him self. I sware before God I knew 
you dyd,/well sayth she when I see him next we 
shall have good sport./ This is the treuth and y" 
whole treuth, I assure you faithfully. 

" Yor ass : frend Ro : Cecyll." 

It was an age of violent contrasts. The Queen was, 
after all, only typical of it, and Michael, to whom 
obscenity was native, was also very glib with religious 
sentiments. Towards what was the end of life for 
both of them, he writes to the Earl of Salisbury : — 

"I beseech God increase confirm and strengthen 

you in the knowledge of his truth. Inspire you 


with all Godly wisdom and Counsel. Arm you 
with true fortitude and Christian patience. Protect 
you against all the wicked plots and practices of 
God's enemies and yours for His cause. And pre- 
serve you this year and many to the advancement of 
God's Glory and the public weal of this state and 
Kingdom ; whereof many thousands of the subjects 
of the best sort who know you not but by their ear 
only, and do never expect any benefit from you, yet 
do both praise God, and pray to God heartily and 
daily for you : in the which calendar I have enrolled 
myself with them as a poor bedeman, and by myself 
by my particular obligation as a poor friend ready 
always to do you service." 

No doubt these, and similar words, were all perfectly 
sincere, and how fitting it would be if this imperfect 
account of the long fellowship of these two could be 
left just there : but it is almost tragic that it cannot, 
and that the last vision to be had of Robert Cecil is of 
one stricken, prostrate, and with what bear a rather 
strong family resemblance to birds of prey gathering 
around him. 

Lord Salisbury's health had been very bad for a year 
or two before his death. Like his father before him he 
suffered terribly from gout, and there were other com- 
plications. In the spring of 1611 he was said to be 
dying, but he continued to transact business all 
through the next winter. On April 11th, 1612, Lady 
Shrewsbury (wife of the seventh earl and daughter of 
" Bess of Hardwick," his stepmother) wrote from the 
Tower to Michael about some remedies for his children's 
" infermetes," and added as a postscript : " I hard 
from my lo : to-day that my lo : Treasurer mendes 
excedengly well God be thanked for it." Towards the 
end of the same month Lord Salisbury set out for 
Bath to see what the waters there would do for him. 
Michael Hicks and Sir Walter Cope were in his train, 


and from Ditton Park near Windsor, then occupied by 
Lord Chandos.* Michael wrote on April 29th, "to 
my very Lovinge frende Sir Hugh Beeston knight at 
Beeston Castle or thereabouts." 

" Sir Hugh Beeston, I commend me unto you : 
but wherein I should commend you to any man else 
I know not. And though I know no cause, yet as 
your countryman was wont to say, Beeston I love 
thee ; so I say I know no cause except it be for old 
acquaintance. You went away out of town and 
never bid me farewell, and to fare the better by you 
I never could yet in 40 years, nor never shall though 
we should live 40 years more together. And yet 
you see my kind and generous nature in participating 
with you in your griefs, in rejoicing with you in 
your benefits, yea, and in soliciting your business for 
your profit. And that you may see that I continue 
my care to think upon you when there is any likeli- 
hood to do you good, I do at this time take this pain 
to write unto you to give you knowledge that albeit 
it hath been bruited in such remote countries as 
yours isf that my Lord was dead, yet, thanks be to 
God, his Lordship at the writing hereof was (is) at 
Ditton Park on his journey towards the Bath ; and. 
in reasonable good state of body, only his legs a little 
swollen (as they were wont to be) which we hope 
will also abate before we come to Bath ; he eats well, 
and is as merry as a man may be in his case. And 
because I think he would be the merrier (if he had 
such a merry man as your worship is in his company) 
I have thought good to advise you setting all your 
affairs for the county and his Majesty's service apart, 
to make your present repair to the Bath without any 
delay. In this advice of mine Sir Walter Cope doth 
join with me. 

* It was Crown property, 
-f- Presumably Norfolk. 


" Now to persuade you. Besides your love and 
duty to my Lord, the best argument I can use to you 
is ab utili. For assume yourself, if my Lord be in 
any case fit to play at tables, we shall be sure to get 
4 or 5£ apiece from him and Sir W. Cope. For you 
know (God wot) they cannot play anything well ; 
and you can without cause chafe, swear, and ' brable,' 
and for a need, enter and bear a man falsely, and 
therefore we have good advantage of them. But if 
this should fail, yet it is hard luck if you wring not 
one ' pidling ' suit or other from him ; or at the least 
some velvet cloak or saddle not much the worse for 
the wearing ; for Sergeant Goddnis hath gotten a 
velvet pair of breeches already. 

" My Lord is ready to take his coach for this day's 
journey, which is to ' Cawsam ' to my Lord Knowles,* 
and I am ready for my breakfast, and, as you know 
if you understand Latin, Venter non habet aures. 
And therefore I will end with my paper, and com- 
mendations to my Lady Beeston, who I make no 
doubt will give you leave for your absence upon this 
cause who have taken leave so long and so often to 
be from her upon so small cause. Your old acquain- 
tance and good friend for small desert Mich : Hickes. 

" Sir W. Cope and I moved Mr. Chaunceler (?) to 
write unto you to require you to meet my Lord at 
Bath : which I make no doubt he hath done. And 
as a Councillor (he) may command you, and I know 
you will do much for him as long as your suit 

* Corsham, near Bath, was pronounced without the ' h ' until a few 
years ago. Some grass fields there, in the possession of Mr. Fuller of 
Neston Park, are still called c Knowles' Lands.' Close by was once 
an old manor house which Leland says was " in Dowage to the 
Quenes of England," and was partially pulled down in " Quene 
Anne's " days. This refers to Anne Boleyn, whose nephew, Sir 
Wm. Knollys was Treasurer to the Royal Household and was created 
Baron Knollys (Knollis or Knolles) in 1603. He may either have been 
granted the lands and remnant of house or have been there in 1612 
looking after what was Crown property. 


is depending for the recusants. But that one 
Recusant should pray upon another it is strange ; but 
that bonus odor lucri ex re qualibet." 

Bonus odor lucri, alas ! " There shall the vultures be 
gathered together " — and they must gather quickly 
now. The Bath waters were of no avail, and Lady 
Shrewsbury, always ready with her nostrums, writes 
to Michael at Bath that she understands the spleen 
to be the cause of Lord Salisbury's uncomfortable 
fits. She recommends him to try quintessence of 
honey which she says is good for the spleen and 
lungs and against all obstructions. A grain of musk 
must be taken with it, she says, and will much comfort 
the heart and spirits, and a spoonful is the most 
that must be taken at one time. The prescription, 
an infallible one no doubt, came too late. Robert, 
Earl of Salisbury, knew himself to be dying, and was 
resolved to die at home ; and on May 24th, attended 
by his " Court," he set forth, and got as far as 
Marlborough where his strength failed. He died at 
the vicarage house there on May 24th, 1612. 

All that he confided to Sir Walter Cope in his dying 
hours, and the manner of his death itself, was sum- 
marised by Francis Bacon : " Men in great place are 
thrice servants : servants of the Sovereign or State : 
servants of fame : and servants of business. So as 
they have no freedom, neither in their persons, nor 
in their actions, nor in their times. It is a strange 
desire, to seek power and to lose liberty, or to 
seek power over others and to lose power over a man's 
self. The rising into place is laborious ; and by pains 
men come to greater pains, and it is sometimes base ; 
and by indignities men come to dignities. The standing 
is slippery, and the regress is either a downfall or at 
least an eclipse, which is a melancholy thing : Cum non 
sis qui fueris, non esse cur velis vivere. Nay, retire 
men cannot when they would, neither will they when it 


were reason ; but are impatient of privateness, even in 
age and sickness which require the shadow ; like old 
townsmen, that will still be sitting at their street door, 
though thereby they offer age to scorn. Certainly, 
great persons had need to borrow other men's opinions 
to think themselves happy ; for if they judge by their 
own feeling they cannot find it ; but if they think with 
themselves what other men think of them, and that 
other men would fain be as they are, then they are 
happy, as it were by report ; when, perhaps, they find 
the contrary within. Certainly men in great fortunes 
are strangers to themselves, and while they are in the 
puzzle of business they have no time to tend their 
health, either of body or mind : Illi mors gravis incubat, 
qui notus nimis omnibus, ignotus moritur sibi." 



In St. Mary's Church at Warwick is a tomb with 
this inscription : — 

Fulke Greville, Servant to Queen Elizabeth, Councillor to King 
James, and Friend to Sir Philip Sidney. 

Trophoeum Peccati. 

How much it would have added to the fragrance of 
Michael Hicks' memory if there had been written over 
him, " Friend to Fulke Greville and to Francis Bacon." 
It would have been quite true, although it is also true 
that " friendship has its degrees and diverse uses," and 
it is not always the greater spirits who need a friend 
who shall play Jonathan to their David. Francis Bacon 
discourses of friendship that " maketh indeed a fair day 
in the affections from storm and tempests ; and maketh 
daylight in the understanding out of darkness and 
confusion of thought " ; but he goes on to say that 
"this second point of friendship, in opening the 
understanding (is not) restrained only to such friends 
as are able to give a man counsel (they indeed are 
best) ; but even without that a man learneth of 
himself, and bringeth his own thoughts to light, 
and whetteth his wits as against a stone, which itself 
cuts not." 

That Michael Hicks' friendship was a " fair day from 
storm and tempests " for Fulke Greville, or " daylight 
in the understanding" for Francis Bacon, cannot be 
supposed, but both the great gentleman and the great 
genius had the friendliest feeling for one who helped 
them without criticism. 


The name of Fulke Greville stands — and yet it is 
impossible to say how or why — for all that is sweet 
and fine in English character. Nothing that he did 
remains in the memory, but what he was — that has 
survived with a persistence that seems immortal. He 
was the largest landowner in Warwickshire, and was 
directly descended from William Greville of Campden 
in Gloucestershire, a rich wool merchant of the reign 
of Richard II., whose tomb is in Campden Church. 
William Greville bought the manor of Milcote in 
Warwickshire, and the family settled there and in- 
creased their stability by marrying heiress after heiress, 
until the culmination came with Fulke's grandfather, 
who took to wife Elizabeth Willoughby, the greatest 
heiress then in England. Beauchamp's Court became the 
family seat, the already large property was augmented 
by purchase, and to all this Fulke, in due time, 

He was entered at Shrewsbury School on the same 
day as Philip Sidney, and their long friendship then 
began; but, when Sidney subsequently went to Oxford, 
Greville was sent to Jesus College, Cambridge. They 
left college in the same year, and in 1597 they went 
to Court together. There Greville at once attracted 
the Queen's notice and had " the longest lease and the 
smoothest time without rub of any of her favourites." 
Of the sweetness of his temper and the grace of his 
hospitalities his contemporaries talk, and Bacon him- 
self said, that " he used his influence with the Queen 
honourably, and did many men good." He evaded mar- 
riage and its possible discrepancies, and it would have 
saved him from many futilities if he had evaded a good 
deal besides. As a man of action, a man of affairs and 
a man of letters, his fate was to be mediocre. From 
wanderings and wars afield the Queen herself did her 
best to restrain him, and when he went abroad with 
Sidney, and served for a short time with Navarre 
in Normandy, he did so surreptitiously, and brought 


displeasure on his head. Robert Cecil's envious hostility 
to him kept him successfully from high employment, 
but he filled various small civil posts as "Treasurer" 
of this and that, and after Cecil's death, James, who 
had previously made him K.C.B., made him Chancellor 
of the Exchequer and then "Baron Brooks," and 
bestowed the ruined castle of Warwick upon him. 
But it was as a man of letters, perhaps, that he really 
wished to excel and to be remembered, and it is in 
his writings that he failed most piteously. He wrote 
elegies, tragedies, poems, and tracts in verse, and, in 
1652, published the discursive " Life of the Renowned 
Philip Sidney." In all his writing he was only a harsh 
echo of his friend — his style was sententious and his 
imagination non-existent. 

But all that had nothing to do with himself as he 
was. The fact is, that he had the mysterious gift of 
charm. That mystery which, Mr. Frederick Green- 
wood has said, may be described as the effluence of the 
spirit of candour — the candour of generous and gentle 
minds. " Mind there must be, where there is charm ; 
but among its many tokens of a divine origin must be 
counted the fact that brilliancy of intellect is rarely its 
companion. The light that naturally belongs to it is 
a steady, sweet, and cheerful wisdom which helps it to 
the last." 

So to Fulke Greville belongs that rarest of all forms 
of immortality which has nothing to do with the 
immortality of achievement, and it is only because of 
this, that his six existing letters to Michael Hicks have 
their interest. 

The first letter is one of mere friendliness, and is 
endorsed " Jan. 18. 1600 " : — 

"Sir. Coming home yesterday from Chatham, 
where I have been this two days about the Queen's 
business, I found Doctor James was dead. Where- 
upon, bethinking with myself his place for the 

C.F. L 


Keeping of Records in the Tower might he fit for 
myself, I presently sent to seek you here; and finding 
you not, I send this bearer purposely to advertise 
you of the same. Wherein, if you mean to engage 
your friends, I will be very ready to join with them 
to the uttermost of my power to do you good. 
Therefore, I pray if you take liking to it, come 
presently hither, that you and I may confer together 
of some courses which must necessarily be followed 
in the pursuit of this matter." 

The next two letters are both written in July, 1603, 
and it was Michael this time who was to do service, 
though not, it would seem, without remuneration : — 

" Sir. The heavy burthen that is fallen upon me 
for the securing of my whole estate, makes me to 
intreat your favour in this matter. I am to pay to 
Sir David Fowles £500 at a very short day, and 
have no other means to raise so great a sum, but 
by laying all my plate to gage. I do therefore 
very heartily pray you to be a means to procure me 
such a sum, upon a sufficient pawn, of some good 
friend, whereby I may escape the rumour of the 
world, and leave my plate safe ; either for three 
months or half a year. I will willingly give the usual 
consideration, and take it as a very kind favour at 
your hands." 

" Sir. I thank you very heartily for the pains you 
have taken about this money : wherein I was more 
willing to trouble you, because I am very loth to 
have my name in question amongst them that 
practice in this kind upon the Exchange. And, if 
there be no remedy, but that we must use their help, 
let me I pray you be thus much more beholden unto 
you and your brother. Allow that my plate may 
remain in your hands and custody, and that, betwixt 
you, the lenders may have such security as may 


content them, without notice of me, or passage of 
my plate through unknown hands in this infectious 

There follow letters written in 1605 and 1606, 
after the Queen's death, at the beginning of the new 
reign, when the scramble for places was at its height. 
The first is from Wedgnock Park, a Warwickshire 
estate which had been Elizabeth's gift to him. He 
had induced Cecil, whom he would propitiate, to visit 
him there, but is philosophical as to the result : — 

" Sir Michael Hixe not to you, but to the better 
part of yourself I adventure to send this buck ; if 
he come not sweet and worthy of her I am sorry, 
and the carrier is only to blame, whose diligence 
may easily do it, and he is hired and instructed of 
purpose. The noble Earl of Salisbury hath taken 
a long journey out of his way to visit me and my 
poor Cottage. The honour he did me in it is 
more than I can deserve, but when he shall please 
to command my service, he and the world shall see 
that I am a more natural subject to love than power. 
Good Sir Michael commend me to yourself and the 
good woman, and let us some time this winter have 
your companys for I unfeignedly love you both." 

The other letter of 1606 shows that Greville is hoping 
still that his services may be commanded. Indeed, his 
words almost foreshadow a day when Cecil's star shall 
have set : — 

" If your leisure serve, a word how the neither 
house (?) and the Judges agree about this Naturalisa- 
tion by law, would be welcome. And you shall 
command more of me whensoever I live in the light 
and you in darkness." 

The last of the letters is pure compliment, and is 
dated December 29th, 1610 :— 



" Sir Michael Hicks. Commend me kindly to 
yourself and your good lady, and take this poor token 
in good part, only to bear witness that I am not 
willing to forget or be forgotten by such hearty 
friends and neighbours. One hears that my Lord 
Treasurer should be a little touched with a cold at 
Cherme (?) in his gums. Good Sir, write a word 
how he doth, by whom all we do much the better. 
If it please you to ask after my health, in few words 
I assure you my hearing is worse for my coming into 
the country, but my disposition of body showing 
something better." 

" Sylla chose the name of Felix and not of Magnus," 
says Francis Bacon in his essay on Fortune. It is 
not certain that Fulke Greville would have made the 
same choice, and yet to him is, indubitably happy fame; 
while, to Bacon himself, fame came in any guise but 
that. Dean Church says of him : " The life of Francis 
Bacon is one which it is a pain to write or to read. It 
is the life of a man endowed with as rare a combination 
of noble gifts as ever was bestowed on a human intellect ; 
the life of one with whom the whole purpose of living 
and of every day's work was to do great things to 
enlighten and elevate his race, to enrich it with new 
powers, to lay up in store for all ages to come a source 
of blessings which should never fail to dry up ; it was 
the life of a man who had high thoughts of the ends 
and methods of law and government, and with whom 
the general good was regarded as the standard by which 
the use of public power was to be measured ; the life of 
a man who had struggled hard and successfully for the 
material prosperity and opulence which makes work 
easy and gives a man room and force for carrying out 
his purposes. All his life long his first and never-sleep- 
ing passion was the romantic and splendid ambition 
after knowledge, for the conquest of nature and for the 
service of man ; gathering up in himself the spirit and 



longings and efforts of all discoverers and inventors of 
the arts, as they are symbolised in the mythical 
Prometheus. He rose to the highest place and honour; 
and yet that place and honour were but the fringe and 
adornment of all that made him great. It is difficult 
to imagine a grander and more magnificent career ; and 
his name ranks among the few chosen examples of 
human achievement. And yet it was not only an 
unhappy life ; it was a poor life. We expect that such 
an overwhelming weight of glory should be borne up 
by a character corresponding to it in strength and 
nobleness. But that is not what we find. No one ever 
had a greater idea of what he was made for, or was fired 
with a greater desire to devote himself to it. He was 
all this. And yet, being all this, seeing deep into 
man's worth, his capacities, his greatness, his weakness, 
his sins, he was not true to what he knew. He cringed 
to such a man as Buckingham. He sold himself to the 
corrupt and ignominious Government of James I. He 
was willing to be employed to hunt to death a friend 
like Essex, guilty, deeply guilty to the State, but to 
Bacon the most loving and generous of benefactors. 
With his eyes open he gave himself up without resist- 
ance to a system unworthy of him ; he would not see 
what was evil in it, and chose to call its evil good ; and 
he was its first and most signal victim." 

Francis Bacon and Robert Cecil were first cousins. 
Their mothers were sisters, and had both been second 
wives — the one of Burghley, the other, Anne, of 
Nicholas Bacon, who became Lord Keeper. As the 
younger son of a second marriage, it behoved Francis, 
at eighteen, when his father died, to make his own way 
in life, and to that end nature had given him genius, 
magnificent ideas, enthusiasm for truth, a passion for 
benefiting mankind, charm of manner, unremitting 
patience. " Men," quotes Dean Church, " are made up 
of professions, gifts and talents ; and also of themselves? 
In Bacon's ' self ' was that subtle flaw noted and named 


by Aristotle and St. Paul, and which can only be ren- 
dered in English by saying that he was a pleaser of 
men. There were, however, two whom a lifetime of 
' pleasing ' left cold, and on whom untiring importunity 
had no effect ; these were the two Cecils, his uncle 
and cousin, and their steadfast undervaluation of him 
has never been explained. His ability was recognised 
and undoubted, and Burghley was not the man to 
neglect a useful instrument who betrayed such good 
will to serve him — yet, to the last, Burghley (and his 
son after him) abstained from advancing Francis 
Bacon's fortunes. There was one man, however, who 
seemed to have the ability, and who certainly had the 
wish to serve him, and this was the Earl of Essex, the 
most brilliant of all Elizabeth's favourites. The friend- 
ship of these two was of the closest kind, and was of 
genuine affection, and Essex, who had great gifts, who 
began life with noble ideals, who had imagination and 
love of enterprise, was, of all Bacon's contemporaries, 
best fitted to sympathise with his ideas and aims. 
Obliged to earn his living, Francis took up his abode at 
Gray's Inn in 1579, and followed all the usual steps 
of his profession. In 1584 he entered Parliament. 
Clogged with debt, his life was a pertinacious seeking 
after Government employment which should put money 
in his pocket, and, in 1593, when the Attorney- 
General's place became vacant, Essex, who in that year 
became a Privy Councillor, determined that he should 
have it. To Robert Cecil, who hinted that the Queen 
would not easily digest the demand, he replied, " Digest 
me no digesting ; for the Attorneyship is that I must have 
for Francis Bacon." Yet Bacon found that Essex, who 
could do most things, could not do this : his life-long 
enemy, Coke, got the post, and Essex vainly pressed 
that the Solicitorship, which was also vacant, should be 
given to Bacon instead. In the same year, 1593, Bacon 
was arrested for debt at the instance — so he always 
suspected and declared — of Coke himself. 


It was at this juncture in his life that the first exist- 
ing letter to Miohael Hicks was written. Michael, as 
usual, was to play the part of mediator, and the post- 
cript makes it clear that he was also one of Bacon's 
many creditors. This letter was written by Bacon 
from Gorhambury (which his mother had for her life), 
on September 28th, 1593 : — 

" Mr. Hicks. Still I hold opinion that a good 
Solicitor is as good as a good Councillor. I pray, as 
you have begun so continue to put Sir Robert Cecil 
in mind. I write now because I understand, by 
occasion of Mr. Solicitor's being at the Court, things 
are like to be deliberated if not resolved. I pray 
learn what you can, both by your nearness to my Lord 
and by speech with Sir Robert ; and write what you 
find. Thus in haste I wish you right well. Your 
friend assured Fr. Bacon. 

" I pray send me word what is your day of pay- 
ment, and whether you can be content to renew, 
because my brother's land is not yet sold." 

To Fulke Greville, Bacon unburdened himself at this 
crisis in a long letter, in which he said he was " like a 
child following a bird, which, when he is nearest, away 
and lighteth a little before, and then the child after it 
again, and so in infinitum." But from his monetary 
troubles at Court, Essex was able for the time to 
extricate him ; he gave him £l,800, and Bacon 
thanked him with the words : " I esteem it like the 
pulling out of an aching tooth, which, I remember, when 
I was a child and had little philosophy, I was glad of 
when it was done." And then, before the second letter 
to Michael Hicks was written, came the cataclysm of 
this friendship with his greatness and its generosities. 
Bacon, the lawyer, was called on to take a leading part 
in the prosecution which ended for Essex in ruin and in 
death ; he obeyed the call apparently without difficulty 


or surprise ; he played his part with infinite ability. Nor 
was his part at an end when the grave had closed over 
his benefactor. The death of Essex was a tremendous 
shock to the popularity of Elizabeth. An elaborate 
justification of the whole affair was felt to be necessary, 
and Francis Bacon, already of world-wide literary fame, 
was fixed on as the man to do it. 

It is all an impenetrable tragedy of the soul. And it 
was such a futile tragedy too. The Declaration of the 
Treason of the Earl of Essex seemed to justify the 
Government, but the odium of it clung to Bacon all his 
life, and the immediate reward was trivial. Of the 
fines and forfeitures which followed an affair of this 
kind he had his share, and he hoped to pay some of his 
creditors, among whom Michael Hicks still retained a 

" Sir. The Queen hath done somewhat for me, 
though not in the proportion I hoped. But the order 
is given ; only the monies will not in any part come 
to my hand this fortnight. The later by reason of 
Mr. A. H. absence, — busied to entreat the Queen. 
And I am loath to borrow the meanwhile. Thus, 
hoping to take hold of your invitation some day this 
vacation, I rest your assured friend Fk. Bacon." 

" Not in the proportion I hoped : " — indeed he had 
sold his honour for a veritable mess of pottage ; for a 
mere dole, small, and contemptuously flung. All that 
he had bartered could not, while the Queen lived, bring 
him what he craved, and that was official place — a 
platform where, supposed necessities provided for, he 
could live, unfettered, that other strange life of visions 
which was as truly his life as the distressful one of self- 
seeking and disappointment. It is the appreciation of 
that " other " unbroken life of dreams, noble, original, 
and irresistible, which gives his anxious letters about 
preferment, and about his everlasting debts their only 
interest. In 1600 he was still piling loan upon loan. 


"Mr. Hickes. Your remain shall be with you 
this term. But I have now a furder request which 
if you perform I shall think you are of the best 
friends I have, and yet the matter is not much to 
you. But the timing of it is much to me. For I 
am now about this term to free myself from all debts 
which are only ways in suit or urged, following a 
faster pace to free my credit than my means can 
follow to free my state, which yet cannot stay long 
after. I having resolved to spare no means I have 
in hand (taking other possibilities for advantage) to 
clear myself from the discontent speech or charger of 
others. And some of my debts of most clamour and 
importunity I have this term, and some few days 
before ordered and in part paid. I pray you to your 
former favours which I do still remember and may 
hereafter requite, help me out with £200 more for 
six months. I will put you in good sureties, and 
you shall do me a great deal of honesty and reputa- 
tion. I have writ to you the very truth and secret 
of my course, which to few others I would have done, 
thinking it may move you. And so with my loving 
commendation I rest, your assured loving friend 

"Jan. 25, 1600." "Fr. Bacon. 

Michael seems to have returned an answer, to which 
the next letter is an answer again : — 

" Mr. Hicks. I thank you for your letter testifying 
your kind care of my fortune, which, when it mendeth, 
your thanks will likewise amend. In particular you 
write you would be in Town as on Monday which is 
past : and that you would make proof of Mr. Billett 
or some other friend for my supply, whereof I see 
you are the more sensible because you concur in 
approving my purpose and resolution in first freeing 
my credit from suits and speech, and so my estate by 
degrees. Which in very truth was the cause which 
made me sub impudens (somewhat impudent?) in 


moving you for new help when I should have helped 
you with your former monies. 

" I am desirous to know what success you have had 
since your coming to Town in your kind care. I have 
thought of two sureties for one hundred pounds apiece. 
The one Mr. Fra. Anger, of Gray's Inn, he that 
was the old Count of Lincoln's executor, a man very 
honest and very able with whom I have spoken and 
he hath promised. The other Sir Tho. Hobby, whom 
I have not spoken with, but do presume of, although 
I never used him in that kind. So, leaving it to 
your good will I rest, your assured loving friend 

" Fr. Bacon." 

Two years later there is a letter which bears out what 
Dean Church says about his attitude to Robert Cecil. 
" To the last there was one thing that Bacon would not 
appear to believe — he did not choose to believe that it was 
Cecil who kept him back from employment and honour. 
To the last he persisted in assuming that Cecil was the 
person who would help, if he could, a kinsman devoted 
to his interests and profoundly conscious of his worth. 
To the last he commended his cause to Cecil in terms 
of unstinted affection and confiding hope." 

" Mr. Hicks. The apprehension of this threatened 
judgment of God* percutiam pastorem, et dispergentur 
oves gregis,^ if it work in other as it worketh in me, 
knitteth every man's heart unto his true and approved 
friend. Which is the cause why I now write to you 
signifying that I would be glad of the comfort of 
your society and familiar conference as occasion 
serveth. And, withall, though we cardholders have 
nothing to do but to keep close our cards and to 
do as we are bidden, yet I ever used your mean 
to cherish the truth of my inclination towards 

* The approaching death of the Queen. 

t " I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be 
scattered abroad." 


Mr. Secretary, so now again I pray, as you find 
time, let him know that he is the personage in this 
State which I love most : which containeth all that I 
can do, and expresseth all which I will say at this 
time. And this, as you may easily judge, proceedeth 
not out of any straits of my occasions, as might be 
thought in times past, but merely out of the largeness 
and fullness of my affections. And so for this time, 
I commend me to you from my chamber at Gray's 
Inn, this 19th of March 1602 Your assured friend 

" Fr. Bacon." 

Bacon was among the three hundred gentlemen 
knighted at Whitehall before the coronation of James, 
but, although he obtained a private interview with the 
King, for the first year of the reign he was unnoticed. 
In 1604 James' first Parliament met, and with it Bacon 
returned to public life, and in the House of Commons 
came at once to the front. He took a leading part in 
the contest about privileges, and was the spokesman of 
the House in the various conferences, and, although he 
never wavered in allegiance to the House, he contrived 
to soothe the susceptibilities of the King. His attitude 
was rewarded by a small salary, and he was made 
secretary of the Commission for the Union of the Two 
Kingdoms — work which occupied him from December, 
1604, to November, 1605. His next letter to Michael 
Hicks is dated January 17th, 1605 : — 

" Sir, for your travail with all disadvantages, I will 
put it upon my account to travel twice so far upon 
any occasion of yours. But your wits seem not 
travailed; (or travelled?) but fresh by your letter, 
which is to me an infallible argument of heartesease, 
which doeth so well with you as I must entreat you 
to help me to some of the same. And therefore I 
will adjoin our conference to your return to the 
Strand on Monday, where I will find you if it chance 
right. And this day would I have come to your 


Friars,* but that I am commanded to attend the 
Enditements at Westminster. And so, glad to per- 
ceive your good disposition, I remain your assured 

" Fr. Bacon " 

Parliament met again in November, 1606, which is 
the date of the following note : — 

" Sir I pray you try the conclusion I spoke to you 
of out hand. For it is a mind I shall not continue 
in if it pass this very tide. So I rest yours Fr. Bacon." 

In Parliament all the involved questions arising out 
of the Union were keenly debated and with much 
jealous feeling. Bacon was the willing servant of 
the House, and it came to pass that, without comment, 
on June 25, 1607, he was appointed Solicitor- 
General. At the age of forty-seven he had thus won 
the first step to success in life and could enjoy at last 
the immense convenience of being rich and powerful, 
and all the supposed necessities of the Thinker and the 
Prophet. And it is simply part of the incongruity of the 
whole of his life that he, who had betrayed Essex with 
facility, did not cast aside the acquaintance of Michael 
Hicks when there was nothing more to be had from 
him. The last letters are of the purest friendship. 

" Sir. There is a Commission touching the King's 
service to be executed at your house on Tuesday 
next. The Commissioners are Mr. Recorder of 
London, Sir John Bennett, Sir Thomas Bodley and 
myself. I hear there are blanks left for other names 
such as you in your wisdom shall think fit to fill. 
Mr. Hendon is wished, for the better countenance of 
the service, and Sir Thomas Lowe is spoken of; 
but these and others are wholly left unto you. 

" It will take up a whole afternoon, and there- 
fore no remedy but that we must dine with you. 
But for that, you are not so little in grace with 

* Austin Friars, where Michael Hicks had a house. 


Mr. Chancellor but you may have an allowance ; 
the Exchequer being first full. Hearof I thought 
most necessary to give you notice. So I remain 
your assured guest and friend Fe. Bacon. 

"This Sunday at afternoon Aug. 6. 1609." 

There had been a day, not long ago, when to have 
provided a dinner suddenly for so large a company, 
would have been to Francis himself an immense 
embarrassment ; and, from the little there is to be 
gleaned about his unsuccessful marriage, it is possible 
that Lady Bacon would not have risen so triumphantly 
to the occasion as, we may feel certain, Lady Hicks 
did. Bacon married, in 1606, not the widowed Lady 
Hatton whom Essex had tried to win for him and who 
became the wife of his rival, Coke, but Alice Barnham, 
an alderman's daughter and step-daughter to Sir John 
Packington who was the original of Sir Roger de 
Coverley. " I have found out an alderman's daughter, 
an handsome maiden to my liking," wrote Francis to 
his cousin Robert Cecil. There was not as much 
money as Bacon had believed when he entered into the 
affair, but the wedding was celebrated with a good deal 
of curious pomp in the month of May, and Dudeley 
Carleton wrote to John Chamberlain on the 11th : — 

" Sir Francis Bacon was married yesterday to his 
young wench at Maribone Chapel. He was clad 
from top to toe in purple, and hath made himself 
and his wife such stores of fine raiments of cloth of 
silver and gold that it draws deep into her portion. 
The dinner was kept at the lodging of his father-in- 
law, Sir John Packington, over against the Savoy, 
where his chief guests were the three knights, Cope, 
Hicks and Beeston ; and upon this conceit, as he said 
himself, that since he could not have my Lord 
Salisbury in person, which he wished, he would have 
him at heart in his representative body." 


The marriage was an unhappy one, and twenty years 
afterwards, in his will, Bacon showed his dissatisfaction 
with his wife ; while his essay Of Marriage and Single 
Life proclaims emphatically for the blessedness of the 
latter state. " He that hath wife and children hath 
given hostages to fortune, for they are empediments to 
great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief." 

If there ever was a woman's influence in Bacon's life 
(and that is doubtful) it was his mother's. Anne 
Bacon, the daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, Prince 
Edward's governor, and sister to Lady Burghley, was 
a woman of great intellect and imperious will. She 
loved her elder son Anthony the more passionately of 
the two, but for both sons' advancement she laboured 
incessantly, and she ministered to their necessities by 
denying herself firing and sufficient food. Her self- 
sacrifices were endless, and she thought that they gave 
her a claim to proffer advice that was endless too. 
There was nothing in her sons' fives about which she 
did not freely express her opinion, and she was an 
intolerant Calvinist and would have her sons, too, 
acknowledge the Puritan infallibility. It was the last 
tyranny to which Francis, with his appreciation of facts 
and his balance of mind, was likely to bow, and, as the 
years went on, Anne Bacon's ungovernable temper led 
to many a furious passage of arms. Her mind lost its 
balance completely towards the end of her life, and 
in 1600 she died. 


Sir Michael Hicks. It is but a wish, and not 
anyways to desire it to your trouble, but I heartily 
wish I had your company here at my Mother's 
Funeral, which I purpose on Thursday next in 
the forenoon. I dare promise you a good sermon, to 
be made by Mr. Fenton the preacher of Gray's Inn ; 
for he never maketh other. Feast, I make none. 
But if I might have your company for two or three 
days at my house I should pass over this mournful 


occasion with more comfort. If your son had 
continued at St. Julian's (?) it would have been an 
Adamant (magnet ?) to have drawn you. But now 
if you come I must say it is only for my sake. I 
commend myself to my Lady and commend my 
wife to you both, and rest yours ever assured 

" Fr. Bacon." 

The last of the letters, written in 1611, the last year 
of Michael's life, discovers Francis in debt once more, 
but this time in humorous wise. There had evidently 
been a loan to him of a pair of stockings : — 

" Sir Michael. I do use, as you know, to pay my 
debts with time. But indeed if you will have a good 
and perfect colour in a carnation stockings it must be 
long in the dying. I have some scruple of con- 
science whether it was my Lady's stockings or 
her daughters', and I would have the restitution to be 
to the right person else I shall not have absolution. 
Therefore I have sent to them both, desiring them to 
wear them for my sake as I did wear theirs for mine 
own sake. So wishing you all a good new year, 
I rest Yours assured Fs. Bacon." 

Legend has it that Sir Walter Raleigh was a third 
famous friend of Michael's, and Mr. Strype in his 
" Historical Account " quotes a letter written by Sir 
Walter. The letter is one of those no longer in 
existence ; it concerns a certain Captain Spring and 
£300 owed to that gentleman, and begs that Michael 
will " further " him with the Lord Treasurer. It is by 
no means the " familiar " epistle which Strype labels it, 
and Michael was evidently to Raleigh nothing but a 
mere acquaintance. Among the Talbot papers is an 
immensely long letter from Michael to the Earl of 
Shrewsbury, which contains a vivid and detailed account 
of Raleigh's trial. It has been printed in Vol. III. of 
Lodge's " Illustrations of British History," and is a 


valuable historical document, but nothing in the tone 
of it shows that Michael is writing of one for whom 
he had a personal feeling. Raleigh was not one of his 

To his friends ' indeed,' Michael wrote voluminously, 
and he could be exceedingly candid. To a lady, 
apparently the wife of a clergyman, whose name is 
almost obliterated in the manuscript, but which may 
be possibly " Howard," he offers unexceptional advice 
regarding reconciliation with her spouse : — 

"Friend. I am very glad to hear of the 
forwardness of the reconciliation betwixt you and 
Mr. Ho. . . ., although I hear withal it be offered 
on his part with some hard and froward conditions. 
But when I consider that an unjust peace is better 
than a just war, and that Commonwealth to be in 
better case which hath a Tyrant than that which 
hath no king, I cannot but advise you to accept of 
any course which they that deal in the cause betwixt 
you will advise you unto. Considering they are 
both wise and love you well, and especially the one 
of them by his long experience in the World and 
knowledge in the Word of God, is able to give you 
very sound counsel. And there is in that house, and 
hath been many a year, the very pattern of woman- 
hood and wifely obedience that I do know in England ; 
by whose example, you might observe and learn 
many good things to imitate, if you should remain 
there any time ; which I hope you shall not by the 
blessed help of your peacemakers. And though I be 
none of them, yet I wish it with them of all my 
heart, and that it may be sound without dissimula- 
tion, and firm without interruption ; the which, in 
my poor opinion, shall be the better effected if there 
be but bearance and forbearance betwixt you. That 
is, to speak plainly, if you can bridle your nature to 


forbear him in his fury, and he temper his fury to 
bear with your folly. Friend, I do advise you 
to yield him love and subjection, for you owe it to 
him ; and I wish him to yield you love and benevo- 
lence for it is due unto you ; that ye may both walk 
together in knowledge, giving no offence to God, as 
becometh couples of your profession. I would have 
been glad to see you, and the rather to see him, but 
I am returning to the Court." 

To Lady Willoughby, in her matrimonial troubles, 
Michael writes in a strain precisely similar, but in a 
tone slightly differentiated. Lady Willoughby, who 
had been Lady Mary Vere, was one of the two 
daughters of Lord Oxford, and therefore, of course, 
was a granddaughter of Burghley's. She was one of 
those sisters over whose custody, as was shown in the 
last chapter, such war was waged on Burghley's 
death, and whose persons Robert Cecil feared would be 
kidnapped. Lady Mary married the twelfth Lord 
Willoughby de Eresby, to whom the ancient barony 
had descended through his mother the Duchess of 
Suffolk. In expeditions by sea and by land he played 
a gallant part ; and if the marriage was not a halcyon 
one, perhaps the faults were not all on one side. 
Michael's fatherly tone is natural, for he had known 
her ladyship from childhood. 

" Madame, 

"If I, that have been so oftentimes partaker of 
your joys, should in these your troubles take no part 
of your griefs, truly I might justly be accounted both 
a forgetful friend and an unthankful person. For 
the which cause, since the occasion gives me not 
hope to see you (as I would) I thought it good to 
send to you (as I might) these few lines, as records 
for me that, if I had but half so much power to 
redress your mishaps as I have to lament them, your 


Ladyship should not continue many hours discon- 
tented. But since my small ability . . . (torn off) 
no further but to wish you well and to give you that 
friendly advice that I can (which would require more 
words that I can well now commit to writing) I will 
only for the present say thus much : — 

"Good Madame, commit your unhappy case to 
God by your prayer, and commend your honest 
cause to the world by your patience. And I would 
to God it had been my hap to have been with you 
when these broils were a-brewing, and I doubt not 
(for the honest opinion that I trust your Ladyship 
hath of me) I could have persuaded with you in such 
sort as they should never have burst forth to such 
extremities. Nevertheless my trust is that it will 
please God to rid you shortly out of them all which 
He hath laid upon you — no doubt for the best. 
Until which time, if your Ladyship shall cast your 
whole care and confidence upon Him, and exercise 
yourself in the reading of His Holy Word, and the 
meditation of His great mercies, as surely you shall 
both provide well for the health of your body and 
find a sweet comfort for the sorrows of your mind. 

" Only this, withal, that, according to the ordinance 
of God, and the covenant of your marriage, you 
endeavour to subdue and submit your will to the 
pleasure of your Head in all honest and lawful 
things, seeking rather to win his goodwill with 
covering his faults and bearing with his infirmities, 
than to convert him to your own by revealing his 
shame and resisting his commandments. 

" And this is that, that I thought good to write ; 
which I protest unto your Ladyship I have done in 
the soundest wit that I have and with the heartiest 
goodwill that I can ; the which although it may 
seem hard to flesh and blood, yet is it fully warranted 
by the Word of God, which binds all women of 
whatever birth and calling soever they be, to yield 


due benevolence and obedience to their husbands. 
The which, if your Ladyship shall do (as I doubt not 
but you will) besides that you shall bridle the ill 
tongues of your ill-willers and give the world cause 
to witness on your side, you shall have the testi- 
mony of a good conscience at home, than the which 
there is not in this life, either a stronger bulwark 
against temptations or a sweeter comfort in all our 

" And thus beseeching Almighty God to bless you 
with His Spirit of meekness and patience, I beseech 
Him withal ever speedily (if it be His Will) to mollify 
the heart of . . . (erased) towards you and to over- 
throw the malice and devices of all your enemies. 
And so I humbly take my leave. 

" Your Ladyship's true and hearty poor friend, 

" Michael Hickes." 

With a lady called Mistress Bowland, Michael had a 
serious misunderstanding, and he delivers himself in 
this wise : — 

"To mistake a word may be want of wit in a 
woman, and to misconstrue a man's doing the pro- 
perty of your sex ; but to misreport of a man's 
good meaning, what can it be but sound and sheer 

" To charge you with the second first, were not to 
blame you but nature ; and to bear with you in the 
last passeth the patience of a melancholy man. And 
yet when I consider what a folly it were to be at 
war with a woman (whose manner is to break a 
man's head without a playster) I am content to carry 
it with quietness, least, in seeking to revenge the old 
I be recompensed with a new. 

" Only this is my poor comfort ; that, albeit 
women are commonly soon angry, and upon slight 
occasions, yet, having once conceived a displeasure 
against one, it is long time ere they forgive it, and 

M 2 


they will never forget it. Therefore very aptly it is 
said that their wrath in weight is lead and in con- 
tinuance marble. Which is as much to say as they 
bear mortal hatred immortally." 

Michael yielded a facile pen, and in admonishing his 
creditors, he is much more diffuse than his mother ; 
and, if not quite so drastic, yet sufficiently plain 
spoken. There is a letter dated 1581, addressed to his 
cousin John Sprynt, who turns up several times in the 
family correspondence and always in a financial plight. 
The letter is of great length and is perhaps an answer 
to one still longer : — 

" Cousin, 

" I have received a long and large letter from you, 
wherein are some words that I cannot read, and 
some that I do not understand and cannot answer at 
all. . . . You think you are sharply reproved when 
you are but highly admonished, and cannot abide to 
be touched where the sore is. ... If I said that you 
break your promise often I said truly. ... If I 
wished you not to depend in your own payments 
upon other men's promises or bonds, I gave you 
sound and necessary counsel. . . . Now if you 
excuse it to say other men break with you, then I 
reply and say, what's that to me ? You have rather 
to complain of their ill dealing towards you, than, by 
their example to deal so with others. . . . But 
whereas you seem to insinuate that covetousness is 
the cause that spurs me on thus eagerly to call for it, 
and, as it were shamefully to crave it, especially in a 
matter of so small value — now truly, cousin, I 
cannot choose but smile to see how you are deceived. 
For (God wot) if this seed had taken any root, or 
but little hold in me, my state would be much better 
than it is, and I have less cause to be so earnest with 
you as you take me to be. . . . Touching the half 
dozen of cheeses, which you write that you have 


wished here with my mother half a score of times — I 
can tell you if you send them not before they come 
with wishing, they will be mouldy before they be 
eaten. But if indeed they be not worth the cost of 
the carriage, you were better not to send them at all 
than have them wished with you again. Tokens are 
very good and necessary remembrances betwixt 
friends that are far asunder, but a token that in his 
kind is not according (if the sender do know of it) 
doth rather declare the little account he makes of his 
friends than expresseth his goodwill towards him. 
. . . For the pasty of red deer which you wish to 
me, I do wish you thanks again, and would have 
given you thanks if you had sent it. But this, and 
that which you promised to Mr. Branthwait, Mr. 
Spencer and me in Lent was two years, will be 
deferred so long as I am afraid it will grow to a 
horseload at the last." 

Mr. Robert Southwell, Mr. Manners and Mr. Thomas 
Beaumont were friends with whom Michael corre- 
sponded at leisurely length, and it is amazing how little 
information he managed to convey at the expense of so 
much ink and paper. One of his letters to Mr. 
Beaumont, however, contains reflections on a London 
life that are not without modern interest : — 

" London is the only place of England to winter 
in, whereof many wise men might be put for 
examples. If the air of the streets be fulsome, 
the fields be at hand. If you be weary of the 
City, you may go to the Court. If you surfeit of 
the Court you may ride into the country; and so 
shoot as it were at rounds with a roving arrow. 

"You can wish for no kind of meat but here is 
a market, for no kind of pastime, but here is a 
companion. Here is some of all sorts, either to 
comfort a weak stomach or provoke an ill one. If 


you be solitary, here be friends to sit with you. 
If you be sick, if one doctor will not serve your 
turn, you may have twain. When you are weary 
of your lodging you may walk into (St.) Paul's, 
where you shall assure to fill your eyes with gallant 
suits, and fill your ears with foreign intelligence. 
In the middle aisle you may hear what the Pro- 
testants say, and in the others what the Papists 
whisper ; and when you have heard both, believe 
but one, for but one of Both says true you may 
be assured. To be short, you can want nothing 
here if you want not money." 

At the end of his fife, Michael wrote to his friend 
Sir Hugh Beeston, who had been his companion on so 
many jovial occasions, a letter of condolence on the 
death of Sir Hugh's only son. The platitudes are not 
more futile than such platitudes have been in all ages 
in the face of irreparable loss, and whether they served 
as a plaster to Sir Hugh's perplexed mind such as Sir 
Michael hoped seems unlikely enough. But at the end 
of the tremendous piece of composition were words 
that seem to ring truly enough : — 

"And now Sir Hugh Beeston to join in counsel 
myself with you. For as much as the glass of our 
life is almost run out and the fight of our candle 
burnt to the socket, let us with David learn to 
number our days and to apply our hearts to wisdom. 
Let us redeem the time past with an earnest appre- 
hension and meditation of our approaching end Et 
ideo serio quia sero. To which end let us cast off 
all worldly cogitations and cares, which are but grigs 
in our heads and thorns in our hearts, and being 
balanced and valued, are nothing else but trash and 


From a picture at Park.) 



It is certain that the question of a prudent marriage 
for her eldest son would have been a preoccupation 
of Juliana Hicks from the day Michael left college. 
She died in 1592, and a letter of Robert Cecil's of 
1595 proves that Michael was then a married man. 
The marriage probably took place after his old mother's 
death. Mr. John Strype gives an account of her im- 
patience, and says that she sent Sir Robert Cecil a 
suit of hangings, with a message that she had kept 
them thirty-two years expecting Michael's marriage, 
and that unless he would make haste and marry she 
promised Sir Robert to give him also her house and 
all the stuff belonging to it. 

That Michael had been preoccupied with the matter 
also, if only unsuccessfully, is, however, quite certain, 
for two carefully composed proposals of marriage of 
his survive, and it looks as if they had done service 
more than once, because another name has been written 
over the Mistress Loftus of the one letter, and the 
name of Mistress Woodcocke has been erased in the 
other. Both ladies were widows, and Mistress Wood- 
cocke was so for the second time. The letters them- 
selves, perhaps, explain why Michael, at fifty years 
old was still a bachelor. They repeat each other in 
tone, and sometimes in actual words, so that it is , 
not necessary to quote them both. That to Mistress 
Woodcocke is the more emphatic of the two : — 

" Good Mistress Woodcocke. Albeit in the time 
of your first widowhood you were a woman unknown 


to me but by sight only, yet such was the good 
report as was generally given of you, that I was 
not only moved to love and desire you, but was 
minded also to have been a suitor to you. But 
my wavering hope being thwarted and overthrown 
with the view and weight of my own unworthiness, 
I gave over my determination in seeking you for 
a wife, though I could not leave (off) to love you 
as such a woman doth deserve. 

" And now also, albeit the like occasion is offered 
me by the death of your second husband yet (I 
assure you) if I were as well able to master the 
affections of my mind as I have power to govern 
the actions of my body, I would rather with grief 
smother my thoughts in their cradle, than betray 
my folly in shooting at a mark so far beyond both 
my reach and reason. 

"For when I look into my own manifold wants 
and imperfections, and consider withal what a 
number of good parts and virtues there be in you, 
I see plainly the more cause I have to love you, 
the less hope I have to enjoy you. 

" Besides this, when I hear it commonly reported 
how many, both of good ability and credit, have 
already, and are like daily, to resort unto you in 
this behalf, I may be thought either very simple 
or very arrogant in hoping to find favour where my 
betters are put back. 

" But to deal plainly with you, truly Mistress 
Woodcocke, the reasons that moved me to put it 
on proof were these. 

"First, I considered that it is only God that 
beares the stroke in all our detirminations, counsel, 
and proceedings, ordering and disposing them as 
seems best to Him, and is best for us. 

" Secondly, mine own conscience doth witness 
with me that the foundation of my affection is 
grounded upon the fear of God, and an assured 


opinion of your virtue, and that I seek you for 
yourself and not for that which you have. 

" The last, and not the least reason is, that 1 have 
certainly heard and do verily believe that you are a 
woman of that wisdom and understanding that you 
will marry a man and not money, that you will make 
your choice by your ear and not by your eye, that 
you prefer a peaceable quiet and contented life before 
either worldly wealth or all the glorious titles of the 

" To these may be added as a poor help of my 
doubtful hope, that many times it is better to be 
happy than wise, and that women sometime, even of 
the wiser sort, do in nothing sooner overshoot them- 
selves than in their marriage. 

" These were the causes that have encouraged me, 
being but a mean shooter, to adventure to cast my 
shaft in the company of so many good archers. 

" Of myself I will forbear to say anything, though 
peradventure I could say somewhat. They are not 
always the deepest waters that make the greatest 
noise, nor yet the best fruit that bear the fairest 

" Only this I protest and promise for myself, as in 
a thing best known to myself, that if you had ten 
thousand suitors, there is none can either love you 
more or will use you better ; that desires you for 
better respects or to a better end. 

" And therefore (good widow) if I may be bold 
to use so familiar a term upon so small acquaintance, 
weigh well the effect of my words, and make not 
light of his love whose love is not light towards you. 
Think my bark that bears a low sail above board may 
carry a heavy burden under the hatches. And 
though I myself wear not a coat of scarlet, yet I shall 
be able, and will maintain my wife in a gown of silk. 
Measure not a man's mind by his looks. They be 
not always of a froward condition that be of a choleric 


complexion ; and although a wise woman will seldom 
desire to have her own will, yet a wise man will never 
deny it to a loving wife. 

" And so I take my leave of you, till it shall please 
you to give me leave to see you, who have been bold 
as you see without your leave to send to you. In 
the mean (time) I pray God to direct you with His 
Holy Spirit, and to give to us both the accomplish- 
ment of our heart's desire so far forth as they stand 
with his glory and our good. 

" Yours without change and without end 

" Mihcle Hickes. 

" To Mistress Woodcock in Aldermanbury." 

The wise woman seldom desiring her own will was 
far to seek, and all the evidence seems to say that 
Michael never found her. It was probably in 1594 or 
1595 that he married the widowed Mistress Elizabeth 
Parvis or Parvish, a lady somewhat richer in ancestry, 
but of wholesome provincial blood like himself. She 
was one of the four daughters of Gabriel Colston of the 
Grocers' Company, and of his wife Alice, daughter of 
Michael Foxe of the same Company. On both her 
father's and her mother's side she owned a considerable 
" pedigree." 

The Colstons are a Lincolnshire family of Norman 
lineage, descended from Robert de Colston of Colston 
Hall. From them comes the famous Colston family of 
Bristol ; and from a sister of Edward Colston, the 
philanthropist, who married Sir William Hayman, and 
whose descendants afterwards assumed the name of 
Colston, comes the present-day family of the Colstons 
of Roundway Park, Wiltshire. These bear on their 
arms the " two dolphins counter haurient respecting 
each other," which were likewise the arms of Elizabeth's 
father, Gabriel Colston the grocer. In the pedigree at 
the Heralds' College, Gabriel's father is given as Robert 
Colston of Corby, in the county of Lincoln ; and his 


mother as Katherine, daughter and co-heiress of John 
Malory of Walton, in Leicestershire. Gabriel's wife, 
Alice Foxe, has a reference attached to her which 
takes us to a pedigree of the Foxes of Northampton- 
shire, and on which both she and her father are to 
be found. 

Elizabeth's childhood was most likely spent in the 
City, but her father was prosperous, and he bought a 
country house on the edge of Waltham Forest ; " Forest 
House " it was called, and it was still existing in 1777, 
for it is on a map of that date. Walthamstow adjoins 
Leyton, and the third entry in the Leyton marriage 
register is this : — 

Novembris 1578. The xviith day were married Henry Parvish 
and Elizabeth Colston. 

Morant's " History of Essex " says that Henry 
Parvish was " a merchant who traded to Italy." He 
traded successfully, for in 1592, the year before his 
death, he bought from William, Lord Compton, the 
manor of Ruckholt, close to his wife's old home. He 
seems to have left the property to his wife for life, and 
then to his eldest son Gabriel Parvish (who must have 
been about fifteen at the time of his father's death). 

Ruckholt manor house, which became Michael's 
home, and where his descendants lived until 1720, is 
now submerged beneath the sea of yellow brick build- 
ings which covers that part of Essex, and which is 
known as 'London over the Border.' So complete 
and so appalling in monotonous dreariness, is the 
metamorphosis of this once country village, so bewilder- 
ing is the maze of drab streets all exactly alike that it 
is not possible for the most conscientious searcher to be 
certain of the exact site of the manor house. Mr. 
Kennedy, in his "History of Leyton," says that a 
farmhouse called Tyler's was afterwards built on the 
site and stood " at the end of the road on the left hand 
side of the present Town Hall." A map of the manor, 


made by one Thomas Archer, surveyor, in 1721, shows 
that the entrance gates were on the high road leading 
from Leyton to Stratford — to-day a broad thoroughfare 
lined with dwellings, mainly mean, and along which 
trams travel continuously. The map seems to say that 
a double avenue led from the high road through a 
" warren " to gates again, that these gave on to an outer 
yard, and that then there was an inner yard and the 
house itself, which appears to have had outstanding 
wings. Behind the house was a garden with a pond at 
the bottom of it, and beyond was the twelve acres of 
rook-infested grove which gave the house its name. 
Beyond the grove again, meadows went down to the 
River Lea and a mill and to Leyton Marsh. To the 
right of the house more meadows stretched away to a 
lane which was the boundary on that side, and on the 
left, in the direction of Leyton Church, was a consider- 
able demesne intersected by a brook which ran into the 
Lea. On the other side of the high road in front of the 
house, the property stretched away to Leytonstone and 
the borders of Waltham Forest — about five hundred 
acres there may have been in all, and they had changed 
hands pretty often. Mr. Kennedy says : — 

The Manor of Ruckholt which took its name from the Saxon 
words 'hroc holt' — Rook Wood — was, about 1284, the property of 
William, son of Robert de Bumpsted Steple, who then recognised a 
deed by which he had conveyed this manor to Sir Richard de la Vache. 
In the year 1360, Philip de Bumpsted, son and heir of Robert de 
Bumpsted of Stoke, released to Adam Francis, citizen of London, all 
his right and interest in this Manor. It is probable that Francis had 
purchased it of the heirs of Sir Richard de la Vache. Sir Adam 
Francis, who died seised of this manor in 1417, left two daughters, 
co-heiresses, Agnes, wife of Sir William Ponter, who died without 
issue in 1461, and Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Charlton, whose son, 
Sir Thomas, died seised of this manor in 1465. His son, Sir Richard, 
inherited it ; he, like many another Englishman before and since, 
interested himself in the affairs of his country and thereby came to 
trouble; for in consequence of his attachment to Richard III., he 
was attainted of high treason, and the Manor fell into the hands of 
the Crown. In 1487 Henry VII. granted it to Sir John Rysley, on 


whose death it escheated to the Crown, and was granted in 1513 by 
Henry VIII. to William Compton, ancestor of the Earls of Northampton. 
William Lord Compton, sold it in 1592 to Henry Parvish whose 
widow married Sir Michael Hickes. 

This account makes it probable that the manor 
house itself may have been several centuries old, but 
there is evidence that the garden, or part of it at least, 
was laid out in the latest mode. There is a portrait at 
Witcombe of one of Sir Michael's grandsons, and he is 
standing on the terrace at Ruckholt and holds a bunch 
of grapes in his hand. The terrace is flagged in black 
and white, and from the opening in the balustrade a 
path goes to white wooden gates between red brick 
pillars. On either side the pillars are tall clipped hedges ; 
over them looms a grove of trees. In the midst of the 
path near the terrace is a fountain in two tiers, and a 
stone Cupid with a bow stands on the topmost basin. 
Around the fountain and down the path as far as the 
gates are grouped square beds with box edges and small 
clipped trees, about two feet high, at each corner. It is 
all as ' Elizabethan ' as can be. 

But Michael did not live, immediately after his 
marriage, on the little Essex estate in the midst of his 
wife's large family of growing-up children. He prepared 
his house on St. Peter's Hill for his bride. " Wherein," 
says Baptist to him in a letter, " I hear you take much 
pains to make it neat and fine against my sister's coming." 
Here, in January, 1596, their eldest son William was 
born. The date is certain because, in a precisely worded 
and dated letter, Dr. William Mount, master of the 
Savoy, congratulates Mr. Hicks on the birth of his son, 
and sends Mrs. Hicks some cordials. While Robert 
Cecil says, " Good Mich : I and Bess do send to you to 
know how your wife and your Jewell do." 

Burghley, of course, was to be godfather, and William 
was to be the child's name. Robert Cecil wrote to 
Michael at length about the christening, but a great 
deal of the letter is obliterated. He says he will find 


out from my lord what day will suit him, and whether 
in the church or not. He himself thinks it will be best 
in the church with a short sermon, and Mr. Wolston to 
do it. The body of the letter is occupied by a rig- 
marole about a "Lady R." whom Cecil thinks will 
look for it to be bidden to be godmother, and of whom 
he apparently disapproves ; but the subsequent censor- 
ship does not help to make his reasons clear. Mr. Strype 
relates a story of the christening, which, he says, he had 
heard from the hero of the occasion (afterwards Sir 
William Hicks) himself. It is trivial enough, but it 
illuminates Burghley in a genial moment. " The old 
Lord pulling out his Purse to take out some gold to give 
to the servants, one or two pieces dropt down and fell 
somewhere under the Bed : which he would not suffer 
anyone to take up again, saying Let the sweepers 
have it." 

Michael soon found the house on St. Peter's Hill 
too small for the hospitalities he exercised. The 
following letter is from his fellow-secretary, Henry 
Maynard, of Easton Lodge : — 

" This morning I was with my Lord Chamberlain. 
. . . Some speech he had with me touching your 
house, saying that he understood that it was scant 
of lodgings and offices. Whereupon I took occasion 
to tell his Lordship that it was true, and that I con- 
ceived it did trouble you that you had no convenient 
place to entertain some of her Majesty's necessary 
servants. His answer was that you were unwise to 
bear any such charge but only to leave the house to 
the Queen ; and wished that there might be presented 
to her Majesty from your wife, some fine waistcoat, 
or fine ruff, or like thing, which, he said, would be as 
acceptable taken as if it were of great price. He said 
two days since, upon speech of your house and of your 
marriage, the Queen fell into an exceeding commen- 
dation of Mr. Parvis, as that she never had such a 


merchant in her kingdom ; whereupon his Lordship 
saith that himself and others standing by, gave the 
like commendation to her of your wife." 

Neither the waistcoat nor ruffle brought to Michael a 
town house large enough to hold the family of stepsons 
and stepdaughters, and it is evident that after this first 
year Ruckholt became his headquarters. And to 
Ruckholt presently came the Queen, to judge for 
herself of the perfections of Mistress Hicks. 

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that those per- 
fections did not include great personal beauty. There 
is a sentence in one of Robert Cecil's letters which tells, 
although in balder language, that Mistress Elizabeth 
was exceeding stout ; and a letter from Michael to Sir 
John Stanhope seems to say that she found favour in 
the royal eyes, not always inclined to regard female 
comeliness with complacency ! The said letter is all 
that exists to betray that the royal Elizabeth found in 
Elizabeth Hicks a composed, capable hostess set in the 
midst of a house and demesne in perfect order, and that 
had it not been for the far too anxious host, the visit 
might have been regarded as an entirely successful one. 


I assure you I was very much troubled before 
her Majesty's coming to my house out of the care and 
desire I had she might find all things there to her good 
liking and contentment. But since, I have been much 
more troubled and perplexed, having heard by some 
(who overheard it) that her Majesty took some conceit 
and note towards myself for my silence, although 
(in her princely favour) it pleased her to like of my 
house, with the mistress of the house, and all things 
besides. Truly Sir, I am very sorry it hath so fallen 
out, and, though I shall like the better of my house 
and my wife (because it pleased her Majesty to like 
of them) yet I know I shall like the worse of myself 
as long as I live. And I will the less believe Cato 


(though he were a wise man) who taught me when I 
was a boy, Non ulli tacuisse nocet. 

" But to confess to you truly, I was purposed, in as 
few words as I could, to have expressed the great 
joy and comfort I took to see her Majesty at my poor 
house, my most humble thankfulness to her Majesty 
that it pleased her Majesty to vouchsafe to honour my 
house with her princely presence, and my like humble 
request that it would please her to pardon and cover 
all the faults and defects she should find there with 
the veil of her gracious and favourable acceptation. 
But the admirable majesty and resplendance of her 
Majesty's royal presence and princely aspect did on a 
sudden so daunt all my senses and dazzle mine eyes, 
as for the time I had use neither of speech nor 
memory. For the which, though I be very sorry that 
it so fell out, yet am I not much ashamed, remember- 
ing, as I think both her Majesty and you can 
remember, that men of great spirit and very good 
speech have become speechless in the like case, as 
men astonished and amazed at the majesty of her 

" Sir, you have known me long, and, if I be not 
deceived, have loved me also, though without my 
desert. I beseech you for that your long acquaint- 
ance and your love, help to restore me to her 
Majesty's good opinion and conceit, and to repair my 
credit with some public testimony to the world from 
her Majesty of her Majesty's princely grace and 
favour. I hope it shall be no hard thing for you 
to obtain, my fault being an oversight not an 
action, an error of omission not an offence of 
commission. . . ." 

This is by no means the end of a not altogether 

guileless letter, which proceeds, at some length, to 

quote Ovid on the topic of the clemency of princes ; 

and it seems pretty certain that Michael had hoped 


that the Queen would have made her visit the occasion 
for the bestowal of knighthood ; it was a natural hope 
enough, for lesser men than himself had successfully 
cherished it under similar circumstances. Who knows 
but that Elizabeth had entered the Ruckholt avenue from 
the high road with every gracious intention, but had 
been moved to impish passivity in the matter by a knee 
and a back too redundantly bent ? Later on, when the 
Queen was at Theobalds, it appears as if Cecil had used 
some urgency in the matter, as if Michael had then 
shown a crookedness of mood and temper to match 
that of Royalty itself, and as if he had formed an 
obstinate determination to be knighted on his own 
hearthstone or not at all. Cecil willed that he, as well 
as his brother Baptist, should be made a knight at 
James' coronation, and told him so in the postscript 
of a letter of 1603, which is all about the unintelligible 
conspiracy known as the ' Main ' or ' Rye ' conspiracy. 
Michael replied to the letter at great length, and dis- 
coursed piously on the foulness and fearfulness of the 
plot, adding: — 

" I humble thank you for the postscript of your 
letter, and so much the more moving out of your 
own honourable favour. But since I refused it at 
Theobalds, when it had come with the greatest grace 
and credit to me, as a mark of your honourable 
favour, I can be content to stay at this time. And 
if it shall happen (as it is likely) that the King do 
come to the Forest where I dwell, to hunt, and to 
come to my house (as it is not unlikely that he will) 
then if it shall please him, by your honourable inter- 
vention, to think me worthy, it may be I will accept 
of it for my wife's sake, whom I think worthy to be 
a lady, though not myself fit to be a knight, but by 
way of comparison with a great number that have 
been, or may be, made." 

" Good Mr. Hicks that would not be Sir Michael," 

C.F. N 


jeers Cecil in September of the same year. But from 
1604 onwards the letters from himself and others are 
addressed to ' Sir Michael,' so the honour was obviously 
conferred somehow and somewhere, and, although no 
authority can be found for his statement, John Nichol, 
in his " Progresses of James I.," states that " Sir Michael 
Hicks was visited by the King at Ruckholt on 
June 16th, 1604, and was knighted at Theobalds in the 
following August." If that be true, this second royal 
visit for which Michael had schemed brought again its 

The life that Michael led after his marriage was, 
evidently, a very comfortable one. Mistress Hicks was 
of undoubted repute as a housewife and a hostess ; the 
house must have been spacious and comfortable, and 
not only were Michael's friends glad to visit him, but 
there is an instance of a father whopays to Ruckholt 
the compliment of regarding it as the most fitting 
temporary asylum for his widowed daughter. A letter 
from Sir Nathaniel Bacon about his daughter Anne 
Townshend plunges us momentarily into the history 
of a family of antiquity and great services, and calls 
up besides the vision of all that remains to-day of the 
magnificent house which Nathaniel's half-brother, 
Francis, used as a model when he wrote his famous 
essay on Building. Sir Nathaniel Bacon (knighted 
also in 1604) was the second son of the Lord Keeper 
by his first wife. His father had left to Nathaniel all 
the lands in Norfolk belonging to the monastery of 
Thetford, which had been given to him by Henry VIII. 
at its dissolution. These lands included the manor of 
Stiff key, and it is from ' Stif key ' he writes to Michael 
Hicks in August, 1605. He had no son, and his 
eldest daughter and heiress, Anne, married Sir John 
Townshend of Raynham, of an ancient Norfolk family. 
Sir John was M.P. for Norfolk, and sat in the first Parlia- 
ment of King James ; but in 1602 he was killed in a 
duel with Sir Matthew Browne, leaving his widow with 


two sons and a daughter. Stiffkey still belongs to the 
Townshend family, and enough remains of the house 
to show how splendid it once was — ' a princely palace,' 
indeed. It is built of Norfolk flints and cornered with 
stone, and nearly all that Francis Bacon described 
can be traced out. It lies down an incline from the 
high road, by a bridge that goes over a trout stream ; 
and the marshes with their wild-fowl and the sea 
that divides from the Pole are not far away. The 
entrance arch is bricked up : only a portion of the 
banqueting hall remains and only a few of the stair- 
case towers : a late Georgian doorway is the way to 
the few rooms that are still habitable : through a gap 
is seen the tangle of the old garden with its ruined 
turf and the high terrace above the bowling alley under 
the wall. Close by is the church, where the bones ot 
Sir Nathaniel lie, and where is the monument he erected 
to his two wives. It was in 1605 that he took up his 
pen in his closet at Stiffkey to write to Sir Michael 
Hicks, who was evidently his creditor as well as his 
friend : — 

" Sir, I would be glad to hear that my brother 
Sir Francis Bacon were not towards marriage, but 
bestowed in marriage, for then, I know, his debt and 
mine to you would come to be discharged. I have 
such a report made unto me as if he had some ways 
attempted marriage, but cannot yet hear of any 
going forward thereof. I wish that God would raise 
him up such friends, as, if Mr. Attorney be called to 
be Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, that he might 
succeed him. I do fear that he will find many 
oppositions, and too many for him, to prevail in the 
obtaining of that place. 

" When you and I spoke last together, there passed 
speech between us about my daughter Townshend's 
sojourning at your brother's house. And I rather 
wished it at your house. If my daughter might 

N 2 


herein prevail, either with you, or with your brother 
by your means, she and I will acknowledge ourselves 
beholden to you for it. Her Company is herself and 
her daughter, being a child of 9 or 10 years, her two 
maids and two men. And she will be content to 
give for their board that which shall be to your 
liking ; and this to be for a year or half a year. I 
hope that her company will be to the liking both of 
you and your wife. If this my suit with you may 
be obtained, I then intreat you that you will be 
content to signify so much unto me by your letter. 
I guess by the late adjournment of the Parliament 
that the same will hold now at Hallas (?) at which 
time it is like that we shall meet, and then commune 
further of my brother Francis' business. Thus I 
heartily commend you to the grace and favour of 
Almighty God. From SthTkey this (blank) of Aug. 
1605 Your very assured friend Na : Bacon." 

If Lady Townshend came to lodge at Ruckholt, 
she would have been there later in the year, when, for 
some reason or another, Juliana Hicks' marriage to 
Sir Edward Noel took place from her uncle's house. 
The wedding was in Low Leyton Church, and the 
entry is in the register there : — 

December 1605. Edward Noell Knight and Julian Hickes were 
married the XXth. December 1605. 

A note in the margin, by a much later hand, remarks 
that she was "daughter of Sir Baptist Hicks." She 
was Sir Baptist's eldest daughter and heiress, and her 
dot was sadly needed to replenish the Noel coffers. Of 
lineage that traced back to the reign of Henry I., the 
family had become wealthy at the dissolution of the 
monasteries ; but Sir Edward's father, Sir Andrew, was 
a lover of magnificence, and upon him Queen Elizabeth 
is said to have made a distich : — 

The word of denial and letter of fifty, 

Is that gentleman's name who will never be thrifty. 


He had a considerable family, and Sir Edward, 
knight-banneret, was the eldest. Sir Edward was 
made a baronet in 1611 and a baron in 1616, and when 
Sir Baptist himself was elevated to the peerage as 
Viscount Campden, in 1628, it was with remainder to 
his son-in-law, Lord Noel. Both titles are now sub- 
merged in that of Gainsborough. Sir Baptist had no 
country house in 1605, and it is more than likely that 
Juliana did not want to be married from Milk Street, 
and ' Aunt Elizabeth ' could be depended upon to 
arrange everything with distinction. 

"I pray you heartily at your next coming to 
London let me understand the charge of my 
daughter's dinner, for I shall not be quiet in mind 
to have it unsatisfied ; although I know out of your 
love you could afford me a greater matter, yet, in 
such a kind as this, I may not accept it. I thank my 
sister and you for our good entertainment ; everything 
was so well that it pleased much the company." 

So wrote Baptist to Michael when it was all over, 
and "so well" did it all go off that Baptist's other 
daughter elected to be married at Ruckholt too, and 
the very next entry in the register is : — 

1606 Sir Charles Morrison Knight and Mary Hickes were married 
the iiii* 11 of December 1606. 

Sir Charles Morrison lived in Hertfordshire, at 
Cassiobury, which the seventh Earl of Essex now owns 
the first Earl of Essex being the son of Elizabeth 
Morrison, Sir Charles' only child. 

Of going and coming at Ruckholt there seems, to 
have been no end. Among the visitors were Lord and 
Lady Shrewsbury, and both of them were letter- writers. 
Gilbert, seventh Earl of Shrewsbury, was the eldest son of 
George, the sixth Earl, who had had the custody of Mary 
Queen of Scots, and who had married secondly, and as 


her fourth husband, Elizabeth Hardwick of Hardwick, 
known to fame as ' Bess of Hardwick.' Gilbert married 
his stepmother's daughter, Mary Cavendish. She has 
been met with in a previous chapter recommending 
nostrums for all sorts of ailments : it is a way in which 
certain female vitality expends itself. The Shrewsburys 
owned the manor of Sheffield (which descended through 
their third daughter Alathea to the Duke of Norfolk). 
They write from Sheffield in September, 1603, to thank 
both Mr. and Mrs. Hicks for their many kindnesses, 
and especially for the hearty welcome and kind enter- 
tainment given them at Ruckholt. They are settled 
in their country life at Sheffield as if they had never 
been absent, and as the autumn is an apt time for 
physic they have Doctor Barron of Cambridge with 
them to cure Lord Shrewsbury of his infirmity. The 
latter has found a little nag by chance which Lady 
Shrewsbury will needs send to Mr. Hicks' son, and the 
bearer of the letter is paid for the horse's food by the 
way, and is charged to take nothing at the delivery of 
him but a cup of beer. That cup of beer was never 
quaffed, for Lady Shrewsbury writes a month later 
from Worksop (another manor which the Duke of 
Norfolk now possesses) to say that the man who was 
bringing the horse is dead of the plague, and the horse 
is lost. She is most anxious to know how they all are 
at Ruckholt, and begs them not to stay in a house " so 
shrewdly besieged with the infection round about." 
She sends two pies — perhaps to compensate for the loss 
of the horse ! — and says she is sure they are reasonable 
good if the cook has not been too much intoxicate 
with the news of the death of his friends of the 

There is another letter of Lord Shrewsbury's to 
Michael, written from Greenwich in 1611, all about a 
" strykynge clock made lyke a watch to stand uppon 
a cubbart " which he is sending for Lord Salisbury's 
acceptance. He complains of the fatigue common to 


courtiers. " I am weary with waytynge on ye Queene 
overstandynge myself and therefore I will hast to 

Essex, in 1600, was a sociable county. Sir Robert 
Wroth of Loughton Hall* was High Sheriff in 1587, 
and he had also considerable property in Middlesex, 
for which county he was member of Parliament. He 
acquired Loughton through his wife, Susan Stonard, 
and lived there a good deal, and here is an invitation 
to ' dine and sleep ' at Loughton : — 

" My good friend Saint Michael. I have expected, 
and have been in good hope, that we should have 
met sometime this summer and to have been merry 
together. The time draweth very near out for sport 
in hunting, if therefore I might intreat you and your 
wife, with Mr. Alderman Lowe and his wife,f your 
brother Colston and his wife, and any other good 
company, whomsoever you will bring or appoint, I 
shall be most glad thereof, and you shall be as 
welcome as to your own house with all the rest. 
And in any wise you must determine to lodge with me 
one night at the least. And the time of your coming 
I desire it may be upon Thursday morning next, 
and to meet about Fairmead, where I will appoint to 
hunt and to make the gentlewomen some sport with 
Mr. Ralph Colston's hounds and mine. And so, 
earnestly desiring you not to fail herein, and to send 
me word of your determination, and to be very earnest 
with Mr. Alderman Lowe to have his company and 
his wife's, I will bid you farewell. Loughton this 
9 September, 1600. Your assured Friend 

"Robert Wrothe. 

" If the gentlewomen cannot be stirring so soon, 
appoint to come to dinner upon Thursday, and in the 

* Now the property of the Rev. John Whitaker Maitland. 
| She was the sister of Elizabeth Hicks. 


afternoon we will find some sport at bowls or 
otherwise. And therefore bring your bowls with you 
for yourself and your other company, among whom 
I pray forget not to bring with you your brother 

In August, 1611, is another letter inviting the same 
company to stay at Loughton for three or four days, 
and a letter from Henry Maynard of Easton Lodge, 
Dunmow (now the property, by inheritance from him, of 
the Countess of Warwick), makes it evident that these 
house parties of county neighbours were a popular form 
of entertainment. Maynard was co-secretary with 
Michael, and he puts Michael and Lady Hicks in mind 
of promises to come and stay at Easton, says there is 
no time like the present, and that if they will come at 
once they will meet another Essex neighbour, Lord 
Petre* of Thorndon Hall (still the property of the 
Petre family), together with his two sons, Sir William 
and Mr. John Petre, and Sir William's wife, Lady 
Catherine (a daughter of the Earl of Worcester). 
Another neighbour, Sir Edward Suliard of Flemings,f 
was to be there too, and he was not behind others in 
hospitality. In 1603 he invites Mr. and Mistress Hicks 
to spend Christmas with them and bargains that 
William Hicks (six years old) and Mr. Parvis shall 
not be left behind. Gentlewomen, he says, will some- 
times send a trunk or two before them, and his cart will 
" fitly " be in Stratford. Indeed there is nothing in all 
this to divide 1600 from 1900 except the curious fact 
that this social correspondence, which is nowadays 
entirely in the hands of the women of a family, was 
then almost exclusively carried on by the men. 

There is no evidence that Mistress Hicks ever 
accompanied her husband to Court. Michael himself 
had, occasionally at least, to follow the Court about 

* First Baron Petre, M.P. for Essex. 

f Both name and house have disappeared from Essex. 


and was probably as uncomfortably lodged as minor 
officials have been in all centuries. His brother-in-law, 
Alderman Lowe, came to his succour on an occasion 
when the Queen was to stay for two days with the 
Bishop of London. Thomas Lowe says that he knows 
Fulham Palace is not large enough to receive all the 
Queen's honourable followers, whereof he observes 
Mr. Secretary to be one of the chief and principal, and 
therefore he thinks it his duty, without presumption, to 
offer his poor house at Putney to him. Thomas 
wished to be something of a wag. 

If Elizabeth Hicks did not go to Court she was 
a welcome guest elsewhere. She stayed more than 
once at Theobalds, and Cecil's carriage was at her 
disposal too. 

" Roger let Mr. Hicks have my horses and my 
bigger coach to bring his wife from her house to 
London, let mine own coachman go with it, and let 
her use it as she pleaseth. 

" Your master R. Cecyll." 

In London itself the pair were not without invita- 

" Sir. This night, of four of the clock, my Lord 
Cranborne and my Lady, Sir Walter Cope and his 
Lady and some others, will be at Westminster. 
They have a play before supper and another after, if 
you will be pleased, and my lady, to bear them 
company I shall be much bound to you, and so 
rest your loving friend and servant. 

"George Montaigne." 

This letter is dated from ' Sir Walter Cope's House,' 
January, 1611. Its writer was Dean of Westminster, 
and it was to the deanery that Sir Michael and Dame 
Elizabeth were bidden. Sir Walter Cope himself was 


Master of the Court of Wards and one of the Chamber- 
lains of the Exchequer. He built Holland House 
at Kensington, and it descended to the Earls of 
Holland through his only daughter. Lord Cranborne 
was Robert Cecil's son, and was just twenty years old. 
He had been married for three years to Lady Catharine 
Howard, daughter of the Earl of Suffolk. 

At this gay party at the deanery, in the year before 
his death, it would be well to leave Michael — leave him 
there in the good company he loved. 

For the gathering up of the threads of what is left to 
be told of his industrious, merry and (in every mundane 
sense) successful life, is in the nature of an anticlimax. 
The remaining details cannot make the shadowy 
portrait a more definite one. Like his first master, 
Burghley, Michael Hicks eludes the definitions of 
posterity, and is for his own descendants only a 
'picture on the wall.' 

That he suffered from deafness, for instance, must 
have mattered a good deal to him ; but for a later age is 
only interesting because of a letter from Sir John 
Evelyn of Godstone, uncle of the more famous John 
Evelyn of Sayes Court and of the Diary. The letter 
describes Sir John's own deafness at some length, 
commiserates Michael on his, and tells of a marvellous 
cure of oil dropped into the ears and hot loaves clapped 
on the top. At the end of the letter Evelyn observes, 
incidentally, of course, that he has written to 'my 
lord' touching his old friend, Mr. Sprentall and one 
Fabyan. He asks for Michael's help in furtherance of 
their suit, and assures him " in both their names, there 
shall be that thankful remembrance had of your pains 
and travail that you shall think it very well bestowed." 

It was an accumulation of " thankful remembrances " 
which enabled Michael, as is recorded on his tomb, to 
die a rich man. The wealth so acquired was invested, as 
the Close Rolls and Patent Roll Calendars show, in the 
two ways usual ; either in loans to the impecunious, or 


in mortgages on, or purchases of land. Several manors 
passed through his hands, and, because of this, it is not 
possible to assert that either imagination, or that passion 
for ' founding a family ' which was particularly strong 
in Elizabethan days, had anything to do with the 
acquirement of the Norman Castle of Beverstone on 
land adjoining that which his father, Robert, had 
entailed on him at Tetbury in Gloucestershire. The 
castle and its surroundings had once been part of 
the great Berkeley estates, but in 1610 it belonged to 
one Henry Fleetwood. There are two deeds in the 
Patent Roll Calendars for 1610. In the first, dated 
' Easter,' the final agreement with Fleetwood for 
purchase is made ; and in the second, dated ' Trinity,' 
Maurice Berkeley, for the sum of £200, renounces all 
manorial rights. The property is described as " the 
Castle and Manor of Beverstone, 30 messuages, 10 
tofts, 2 mills, 2 dovecotes, 30 gardens, 20 orchards, 
1,000 acres of land, 200 acres of meadow, 500 acres of 
pasture, 200 acres of wood, 500 acres of heath and 
furze, and £8 rent in Beverstone and Kingscott." 

It is not at all likely that Michael, at sixty-seven 
years of age, had any thought of leaving the pleasant 
Essex neighbourhood and settling far away in Glouces- 
tershire. But Ruckholt, of course, was his wife's 
property, not his own, and Beverstone may have been 
bought for his son William. He went there to see it 
once, at least, for a letter of a Gloucestershire worthy, 
Sir William Cooke, exists, in which he promises to be 
a kind friend and neighbour to Sir Michael Hicks now 
he has come into Gloucestershire, and says that he has 
already dispatched his keeper with his hounds to kill 
him a buck. 

Michael died at Ruckholt two years later than this, 
on August 15th, 1612. His will was made with 
obvious haste on the day before he died. His wife, his 
brother Baptist, and his brother-in-law, Thomas Lowe, 
were made executors, with injunction to use their 


discretion as to the bestowal of property among wife 
and children : — 

" In which disposition I entreate the said Sir Baptist Hickes and 
Sir Thomas Lowe to have a Care of my sayd wife, whose love, care, 
and tender affection towards me I have great cause to respect. And 
withall I entreate my saied executors to remember Clement Hickes 
my brother, and my daughter in Law Mary Purvys, as alles such 
servants as I nowe have." 

Next day, on the day of death itself, a memorandum 
was added in which his son William was added to the 
executors, his daughter Elizabeth's portion was directed 
to be £2,000, and £200 was to be given to Mary 

The 'Inquisition' of his property taken at the 
Guildhall on October 7th following shows that he 
possessed a house in Austin Friars, as well as that 
on St. Peter's Hill and his property in the parish of 
St. Catharine Colman. He possessed also, at the time 
of his death, as well as the estate of Beverstone, con- 
siderable lands in Nottinghamshire, formerly parcel of 
the possessions of the dissolved priory of Lenton. 
The jurors said they were ignorant of whom the said 
lands were 'held' and there is no trace of their 
acquisition in the Close Rolls. 

Michael Hicks was buried in the chancel of Leyton 
Church, and a monument of beautifully designed and 
coloured marble was placed there by his widow. On 
it, he is represented lying with his head on his mailed 
hand, in the armour he never donned, and with a close 
beard in the fashion of the day, which he is certainly 
without in his portrait at Witcombe. In the arched 
recess behind him is the Latin inscription : — 

In obitum Clariss, Viri D. Michaelis Hickes 

Equitis aurati, etc. 
Quae volui in Vita Vidi dulcissima nuper Piqnora, 
Consortem charam, Sortenq ; beatae Prolis, erant 
Nati Gemini, Nata una Parenti-Optabam Christum : 
Hinc Morti succumbo, lubensq ; Consortem, Sortem, 
Natos, Natamq ; relinquo. 


To be translated thus : — 

On the death of the most illustrious gentleman 

Sir Michael Hickes, Knt, etc. 
Those things I desired in life I attained, pledges 
lately deemed the sweetest, a dear wife and a 
fortune. I was happy in my family ; two sons and 
a daughter called me father. I hegan to long for 
Christ, therefore I willingly yield to death ; 
willingly I leave wife, fortune, sons and daughter. 



With head on hand, and feet towards, and almost 
touching, those of her second husband, lies Elizabeth 
Hicks' effigy in the church at Low Leyton. Her 
dress, her widow's coif, her shoes, are black. The 
colour of the book in her hand is red, and her lips are 
very red too. Under her generously arched brows the 
widely set eyes are open, and the aquiline nose conies 
down towards a squarely-modelled chin. The effigy 
gives the effect of simplicity of mind and dignity 
of nature. Beneath the marble arch behind her is this 
inscription : — 

Me tua Mors Viduam fecit : tu jam Viduatus 
Coimibium Christi, nonviduandus, habes 
At junctum hoc Tumulo me Sponsam rursus habebis, 
Sic tua semper ero, quae tua nuper eram. 

(Thy death hath widowed me ; thou, snatched from 
me, hast wedded Christ, from whom thou shalt 
never be parted ; but united to thee once more in 
this tomb thou shalt again possess me a bride — 
thus I, who was lately thine, shall ever be thine.) 

Right away, on the other side of the church on the 
south wall, is a plain stone : — 

Henry Parvish 4 of August 1593. He was an 
eminent merchant of London. Owner of the 
Manor of Ruckholts in this Parish: His widow 
matched to Michael Hickes Esq: afterwards Kt. 
and of her son Gabriel Parvish was the Manor of 
Ruckholts purchased by her son Sir William 

1 W/d 


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mil Hi 
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In the Visitation of Essex, 1634, the Parvish pedigree 
begins with Henry himself, and says that he and 
Elizabeth had five children, Gabriel, Elizabeth, Anne, 
Ellen (Helena) and Mary. But they must have had at - 
least seven, for there is a letter to Elizabeth from a 
son, Henry, and reference in another letter to a son, 

That Elizabeth ruled not only them, but her second 
family also, with affection, firmness and foresight — if 
without imagination — the few letters give evidence. 

1. Gabriel Parvish must have been about fifteen 
when his father died, and about seventeen when his 
mother married again. As Ruckholt is not mentioned 
in Elizabeth's will she must have had only a life 
interest in it. Gabriel not only sold that to his 
step-brother, Sir William Hicks, but also disposed 
of a property in Shalford, co. Surrey, which seems to 
have been in the Parvish family for three generations. 

2. Thomas Parvish was apparently not of gigantic 
stature. One of Elizabeth's sisters had married a 
citizen named Benet. The eldest son was Sir John 
Benet, and the younger brother carried on the family 
business, evidently that of a haberdasher. When it 
came to the matter of putting her son Thomas out in 
the world Elizabeth cast an eye in the direction of the 
Benet shop. But it was not to be ; Thomas was not 
tall enough. Her nephew, Sir John, writes to her from 
Putney, 1604 :— 

" My very good aunt. I would have been right 
glad to have satisfied your desire for placing your 
son Thomas with my brother Benet. But the truth 
is, after my brother was intreated at many hands (as 
you have understood) and found himself very willing 
to yield to our requests, he took a view of him, and 
perceived that, by reason of his small stature, he was 
not able to do him such service as his trade requireth, 
in bearing, pitching, and removing of broad cloths. 


This answer he gave me finally upon Wednesday 
last (after sundry earnest solicitations) in the presence 
of my father (in-law) Lowe, and enforced the matter 
so fully, as neither he nor I could tell how to make 

Thomas' career does not seem to have been entirely 
blighted. He is referred to in later life in a letter from 
his brother Henry. (A Harleian pedigree says that he 
had four sons.) 

3. Henry Parvish evidently carried on his father's 
business of " trading to Italy," and was established in 

"Venice, the 21 July 1613. 
" Dear Mother. With all humility ever performed, 
and your kind letter of the 10th past acknowledged, 
craving pardon for my former ignorance ; which 
being blotted out of your remembrance, and your 
blessing so freely bestowed upon me, I will hope 
hereafter better to pleasure your favour ; desiring 
only that once in a year I may receive your blessing, 
I praying daily for the same. 

"And, for my late father-in-law, (step-father) 
assure yourself I did know him kind and honest 
towards you and yours, and no doubt he hath received 
the fruit of an honest man. 

" For my Father's estate if I was ignorant, let my 
travels excuse me. . . ." 

Hereupon follows an explanation of his own financial 
position, which finishes with the assertion that he is in 
good credit and out of debt. 

" I shall be glad to understand the estate of my 
sisters — as well those married as to marry. For 
however I live, or wheresoever I leave my bones, I 
hope to have something in advance ; and having no 
children (as yet I have none) amongst my blood must 
be divided the fruit of my labours. For which I 


desire the rather to hear how they are married and 
increase with children. Because I protest unto you 
what per (with) my youthful marriage (and) little 
content, and troubles in this world, I esteem myself 
not long lived ; which, now I have obtained your 
favour, I esteem less than you can imagine. ..." 

He goes on to say that he has sent his sister Mary a 
pair of earrings and his brother Gabriel a waistcoat ; he 
commends his mother to heaven, and himself to all the 
other members of the family, and says that his wife, 
Cecilia, wishes to remember " her duty to / you and 
yours." If the Harleian edition of the Visitation of 
London, 1568, is correct, he had subsequently three 
sons, and his kind testamentary dispositions towards 
his sisters came to naught. And if Elizabeth ever sat 
down, pen in hand, to give him a really candid account 
of the married lives of her daughters, it is a million 
pities that the document has not survived. Some of 
his sisters, it is evident, would have been only too 
grateful for a little pecuniary help. 

4. Elizabeth Parvish, the eldest daughter, married a 
neighbour, Charles Pratt of Homechurch. 

5. Anne Parvish married, first of all, Timothy 
Whittingham of Holmside, Yorkshire. There is a 
letter all about her written to her mother, from a rela- 
tion of her husband's who signs himself ' Jarrard Birk- 
head,' and who writes from York. It would seem as if 
Anne's husband were lately dead. Part of the letter has 
been deliberately destroyed — the writer praying this may 
be the fate of the whole epistle. The remainder gives 
a sufficient picture of discomfort under the roof of a 
mother-in-law, but Anne was probably something of a 
hussy, with a train of admirers, of which Mr. Jarrard 
Birkhead was evidently not the least. At all events, 
deliverance from an impossible domestic situation came. 
Anne married again, and her second husband was 
Henry Luter of London, merchant. She was destined, 

c.f. o 


too, to have a third hushand, and by her last marriage 
with Sir John Dryden, Bart., became the aunt of the 

6. Ellen, or Helena Parvish, Elizabeth's third 
daughter, married one John Delahay, and the Parvish 
pedigree says, elaborately, that he was of Halternes, or 
Altyrings, between three and four miles west of Dore 
and Ewias Harold, co. Hereford. 

7. Mary Parvish at the time of her step-father's 
death in 1612 had not finished her education. Her 
marriage is the only one of the sisters' which is in the 
Leyton register : — 

1617 Sir Robert Charles Knight was married to Mrs. Mary Parvis 
daughter to the Lady Hickes 6th May 1617. 

Sir Robert lived at Romford and so was a neighbour. 

It was to this large family, with its multifarious 
interests and temperaments and tempers, that Mrs. 
Parvish heroically added a second husband, two more 
sons, and a fifth daughter ! 

No letters of Michael's to her exist, and there is only 
one of hers to him, and the beginning of that is torn off. 
(It is given in the original spelling and punctuation.) 

"... I wret to you though . . . and cheses 
which you sent . . . you sente it for it was very 
good and it was well eaten we dranke to you and 
wisht you here to eate of it, but I cannot have it with 
wishing if I coulde you shoulde not be from hence so 
much as you ar, but if I had all that I wolde I thinke 
I shoulde be unwilling to leave the worlde therefore 
I thinke it tis well as it is. I pray God bles you and 
giue you helth for I protest to you it tis the chefest 
thing 1 desier in this worlde. I had sent your men for 
you though you hat not scute for them. I was at my 
Brother Colstones and came home a porpose to write 
to you he toulde me that he wolde goe to London in 
the morning and come home a fote with you at night 


for this wether it tis better to goe then to ride or to 
come in your coche, it freses so harde that my encke 
will cease fale (scarce fall) out of my pene nor my 
fingers houlde my pene, but that I write to you I 
shoulde cease (scarce) write in your countinghouse 
without a fier, but I will nowe bed you Godnight 
and sende you good reste and bles us with his 

" Your boy and gerl is well I thanke God 
" Your euer louing wife 

"Elizabeth Hickes." 

Except for its extreme tranquility of tone this is 
not very illuminating. 

Michael and Elizabeth Hicks had three children : 
William, Michael and Elizabeth. The two boys were 
sent to school at Moreton, not far from Chelmsford and, 
indeed, very near home. The school was kept by a 
Mr. Goodwin, and was near Easton. It was on Henry 
Maynard's recommendation that William, first of all, 
was sent there in 1608, and in 1611 both the boys were 
at Moreton, for Lady Maynard, writing in July, says 
that she went there " yesterday and thanks be to God 
both the young gentlemen, Mr. Will and Mr. Michael 
Hickes all very well." 

In 1613 William had left Mr. Goodwin, but Michael 
was still with him and in need of a new jerkin. The 
following letter is in beautiful writing on pencilled 
lines : — 

"Most lovinge Mother. I have allwaies found 
your loving and mindfull toward me. Wherefore 
I knowe it to be my dutie to wright very often unto 
you, because I consider that nothinge can fall out 
more acceptable unto you then to heare of me, and 
of my good proceedings in learninge. Therefore I 
will alwaies have a redie mind unto my studies, that 
I may requite (though it be the lest part) of your 
benefites. So remembringe my most humble dutie 

o 2 


unto you, and intreating you to send me a jerkin, 
I take my leave and committ you to God 
" Your most obedient sonne 

"Michael Hickes." 

In 1613 William was at Trinity College, Cambridge, 
under the care of a Mr. Francis Nethersoll, two of 
whose letters to Lady Hicks exist, but concern his own 
movements only. The ' Family Tree ' records that 
Michael also went to Trinity College, and that he died 
there. Possibly he did ; there is no further mention of 
him at all. 

As for Elizabeth, her education, too, was a certain 
preoccupation. She and her half-sister Mary had 
Masters for all the accomplishments, and one of them 
who signs himself ' P. Erondelle ' had the temerity 
to send a French teacher down to Ruckholt. 

"To the end that the gentlewomen do not over 
much neglect their French, I have thought it good 
to recommend this bearer unto your Ladyship, for 
whose honest behaviour and diligence in teaching I 
will be answerable ; which I would not do unless I 
had certain knowledge of his sound religion and 
conscience. . . . He intendeth to tarry with you 
some fortnight, upon trial of your liking." 

In 1619, Lady Hicks' last remaining daughter was 
married to Sir William Armine, or Ermine, of Osgodby 
in Lincolnshire, the representative of an old Lincoln 
family. The baronetcy was dated November 28th and 
the wedding was on December 14th (so the pedigree 
says). Elizabeth had a son who married Anne Crane 
of Chilton, but they had daughters only, and the 
baronetcy became extinct in 1688. 

Besides her children, her household, her friends and, 
we may be sure, her charities, Lady Hicks had the 
occupation of looking after her own money matters. 


Her name appears several times in the Close Rolls and 
Patent Roll Calendars, and in the Close Rolls of 1612 
is an indenture made to her by John Chamberleyn. 
This was a mortgage purchased by her on the manor of 
Widcombe Magna in Gloucestershire, and is the 
beginning of a long story. 

The manor of Widcombe is not mentioned in 
Domesday Book, and is first heard of in 1275 when 
Edmond, Earl of Cornwall, was seised of it. Later on 
it was certainly part of the lands belonging to the 
priory of St. Oswald in Gloucester and, on the dissolu- 
tion of the monasteries, it, together with an immense 
amount of land in the same neighbourhood and county, 
became the property of Sir Thomas Chamberlayne, 
ambassador in that, and in the three subsequent reigns, 
to the Courts of Hungary, Sweden, Portugal and Spain. 
Sir Thomas, who was descended from the Tankervilles, 
High Chamberlains of Normandy, had three wives* and 
a considerable family, and to the eldest son, John, went 
the wide Gloucestershire acres, soon to know a rapidly 
diminishing process. 

From the Witcombe title-deeds the following tale 
has been culled : — 

Sir John Chamberlayne was in debt to Sir Thomas 
Thynne of Longleat to the amount of £l,3Q0 and he 
wanted Sir Thomas to become surety for £600 more. 
To this end he gave him a deed of conveyance on the 
manors of Prestbury, Churchdown, Hucclecote and 
Widcombe, and on land in Badgeworth and Upton St. 
Leonards. The conveyance was not to come into force 
until Sir John's death : then land was to be sold 
sufficient to repay Sir Thomas, and the residue was to 
revert to Sir John's widow and heirs. 

This deed was dated May 26th, 1612, and on Decem- 
ber 21st in the same year Sir John gave a mortgage 

* From Sir Thomas and his second wife, Elizabeth Luddington, 
are descended the family of the Chamberlaynes of Maugersbury, 


for £2,000 for two years to Lady Elizabeth Hicks on 
the manor of Widcombe. At the end of the two years, 
Sir John was not able to repay the £2,000 he had 
borrowed, so Lady Hicks descended, in the person of 
her agent, on the manor, for the purpose of receiving its 
rents. She found, however, that Sir John had issued 
a notice to the tenants not to pay her, and that Sir 
Thomas Thynne declared that he had a prior claim. 

The matter was brought before the court of Chan- 
cery, March 5th, 1615, when Sir John Chamberlayne's 
defence was that, his debt to Thynne being only £2,000, 
he was of opinion that the land conveyed to Thynne 
over and above the manor of Widcombe was sufficient 
to pay all the engagements. 

The court, however, "conceived a great suspicion 
of fraud," and ordered a subpoena to be issued on 
Chamberlayne to show cause why Lady Hicks should 
not enter into possession of the said manor or else have 
her money. The defendant not being able to show 
reason for this, an injunction was issued on June 12th, 
granting Elizabeth peaceable possession of the manor 
free of all incumbrances. On June 1st, 1616, a deed 
was signed confirming to her the lordship and posses- 
sion of the manor, and on June 10th another deed, by 
which Sir John Chamberlayne, for himself and his 
heirs, quitted claim for ever. 

It is not in the least probable that it ever occurred to 
Elizabeth that she should go and live on her new estate 
so far away in a Cotswold valley. It had been a mere 
investment, and had happened to turn out a very 
profitable one — and there, for her, the matter ended. 
Yet, if she never saw the Wide Combe, with the 
Roman road dropping down through it from the high 
plateau to the Severn side, she missed a vivid sensation. 
Modern means of travelling the roads swiftly have made 
the sensation a recurrent one to-day. If the whole 
journey from London is not often made by road, as 
it had to be made then, yet it is a pleasant thing to 


leave the train at Oxford and to come straight across 
the tops of the Cotswolds, through the whole of the 
characteristic Cotswold country and those two entirely 
Cotswold towns, Burford and Cirencester. From 
Cirencester the Roman Ermine Street stretches for ten 
miles hefore the eyes, in an unbroken straight line to 
the edge of the Cotswold plateau, and on each side of it 
lies the wind-swept, undulating land with its spectre 
trees and isolated barns. The road dips, rises, sweeps 
through a village of low stone houses with stone roofs, 
and with the last of them the edge of the hills is 
suddenly gained. It is like an abrupt arrival on the 
brink of cliffs that overhang a seashore, for, like a sea, 
and wide as the sea, the whole plain of the Severn 
valley — a different country, with a different climate and a 
different people — lies before the eyes. And connecting 
the two lands, and curving slightly inwards in a horse- 
shoe formation where Ermine Street reaches the vale, 
are the beech-crowned slopes of the Wid(e)combe of 
yesterday, and the Witcombe of to-day, with their 
gabled farmhouses and their pastures and orchards ; and 
Ermine Street leaves them behind it, and goes straight 
as an arrow once more across the plain to where 
the cathedral of Gloucester stands high above the haze 
of the river-side. 

It is possible that Elizabeth may have gone into 
Gloucestershire to visit Sir Baptist and his lady in their 
great house at Campden, and may, from there, have 
journeyed across devious hill-roads from a northerly 
direction, and so have come at last to the edge of the 
plateau and of her Witcombe woods. There is no 
vestige of proof that she ever did so — but she kept the 
estate, and if she had ever seen it she must infallibly 
have done that. 

After her husband's death Elizabeth seems to have 
lived a great deal at the house in Austin Friars which 
Michael's executors had made over to her. All that 
neighbourhood was a mass of dwellings and gardens ; 


many of the houses had been part of the friars' stables 
and offices, and in their midst rose the gilded vanes of 
the great house which Thomas Cromwell had built on 
the site of the monastery itself. It was a semi-rural 
settlement, with quick-set hedges and muddy lanes, 
all within the boundaries of the old monastery, and 
within a few paces of the exchange and the heart of the 
City. Elizabeth would be there in near touch with 
relations on both sides of the family, close to Sir Baptist 
and his wife in Milk Street, and close to her married 
sisters' town houses too. But she outlived Sir Baptist, 
for she did not die until 1634, in the summer of which 
year, while she was at Ruckholt, she made her will. 
Its provisions are more definite than those of the death- 
bed testament of Michael, her husband : — 

Anno Domini 1634 the 14th July — In the name of God Amen. 
I, Dame Elizabeth Hicks, late wife to Sir Michael Hicks Knight 
deceased, do, the day and year above written, make this my last will 
and testament, being infirm of body but (thanks be to God) in perfect 
sense and memory, for which His Name be praised. First I yield up 
my soul into the hands of Almighty God who created it, and in His 
infinite mercy, through the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, redeemed 
it ; with hope and confidence that, in the accomplishment of all His 
mercies extended unto me in His good time, He will grant me a part 
of the Resurrection of the Just ; that in that Great Day I may with 
comfort behold His glorious Countenance. 

My body I will to be buried in the Church of Leyton parish in a 
convenient place, with ceremonies according to the Church of England. 
And for my funerals, I leave them to be performed at the discretion 
of my Executors and Overseers of this my last will and testament. 

I will that all such debts as shall be found owing by me at the 
time of my death be duly paid out of my estate. 

To the poor of Leyton parish I leave it to my Executor to give 
and supply their necessities as he shall find fitting. To George Tillery, 
Joyce my maidservant, George Gardiner and Edward the Warrener, 
my ancient servants, I refer to my Executor to give them what he 
shall please to bestowe of them. 

I give and bequeath unto John Delahay, my grandchild, the 
sum of five hundred pounds, out of which is to be paid such a sum 
as shall be given for his preferment in service to a Master, either 
Merchant or other Trader as his friends shall find fitting for his 
training up. And what the residue of the said five hundred pounds 
may amount unto, I will that it be let out at interest for the use of 


the said John Delahay for the increasing of this my said legacy. 
And that the said legacy, with the full interest, be paid unto the said 
John Delahay or his Assigns when he shall arrive unto the full term 
of one and twenty years. 

I give and bequeath unto my son Sir William Hicks Knight, 
Baronet, the manor of Widcombe in Gloucestershire, and all my 
personal estate. That is to say all sum or sums of money due unto 
me by bonds, mortgages, bills or debts, or any other specialities or 
contracts whatsoever. 

Likewise I give and bequeath unto my said son Sir William Hicks, 
all manner of household stuff, plate, jewels, rings or pearls that I 
shall die possessed withal, either in my now dwelling house at Ruck- 
holts in Essex, or in my house in St. Austin Friars in London ; except 
only such household stuff and plate as is or shall be found in both or 
either of my said houses of Ruckholt or Austin Friars at my decease, 
belonging or appertaining unto the estate of my first husband Henry 
Parvish deceased. All which said household stuff and plate I give 
and bequeath unto my son Gabriel Parvish. 

And I ordain and make hereby my said son Sir William Hicks 
my sole and full executor of this my last will and testament. And 
likewise make Sir Robert Quarles Knight and my son Gabriel Parvish 
my Overseers. And I give to each of them for a legacy ten pounds 
apiece. And so I leave my blessing with them. And I pray God 
continue his peace amongst them. Eli : Hickes Sealed and subscribed 
and delivered as her deed in the presence of us Eliza : Pratt Richard 


AND 1680 TO 1703. 

On his father's death in 1612 William Hicks became 
possessed of the castle and lands of Beverstone in 
Gloucestershire ; on his mother's death in 1634 he 
became owner of the manor of Witcombe in the same 
county, and, when his mother's life interest in it ceased, 
he bought Ruckholt, in Essex, from his step-brother 
Gabriel Parvish ; so the Parvish monument in Leyton 
Church says. 

He was born in 1596, in the reign of the last of the 
Tudors, and he did not die until 1680. His lifetime 
covers a period when the history of many families 
flames suddenly with passion, and despair, and burns 
down into the steady glow of Fortitude — into necessary 
endurance of the ' thing desired.' 

Sir William and passionate incident were not linked 
successfully together, and Fortitude — as Botticelli 
conceived of her at all events — was certainly never 
the goddess of his hearth. In the two counties in 
which he was a landowner, the Royalist and the Puritan 
levies marched and counter-marched, and we can 
believe, as Sir William's monument records, that he 
"Underwent great Trouble and Danger." But the 
trouble had been all over for twenty years when that 
was written over him, and it would have proved a 
robuster mood if it had been forgotten. It seems to 
betray a nature of low vitality, and famous contemporary 
diaries verify the impression. Other households had 
been wrecked disastrously on the rocks of the Common- 
wealth, and had patched their shattered hulks together 


wffiUA^H^L^Bar? LieutwMBt of ^ Fore.4 of WAXTHAM, one of $ Deputy Lieutenant., of this 
toinrty of .E5S£X,a-an amtientjuihce of Peace For ^ -said County a- mho for ras Loyally tn K,C/tAH5£Sl 
LyGreit Reieflhm mnurment muck TfouMe * Danger, Maried MARGAKKT Etde.ft D.w.'hfer of AXTIWI 
LfiaCET of SIM/DESERT: By rofcmn te hid lsjue (We othcrj y died yoi.M) V HnJUKM IIKKES 
%.*Bu*S'MiaiAELfi/CKES/tt.»*A Dime LSHTTIK m.rthrd to ARTHUR. Earl of 1WNELM 
iWHtNDTte said WIIOAM crying fid of Djyei * Honour, mas IiutkI n.ith a Decency due to 
li Qtuulry* iyrtt in y - ola Chancel: Having lived 2,8" yeara after v" Decease of riia Lndy, 
4ym« at WESTMINSTER, ruu interred in^Attry Cknrrri there. 






and raised sail merrily once more when Royalist breezes 
began to blow ; but Sir William, in his gloomy old 
house in the Essex marshes, had that curious form of 
vanity which shows itself in being unnecessarily 
wretched. A door swinging latchless ; torn arras 
dangling in the draught ; meals shockingly served to 
the music of rooks cawing ceaselessly in the swaying 
trees close to the windows — that is the picture we get 
of his latter days ; and his sculptured, loosely-knit figure, 
lying on the monument, seems to say pathetically that 
he could not help the deliberate pose ! 

It was on the Essex stage that his life was lived out. 
Then, as now, the county held within its boundaries 
very divers elements. It had, in the first place, its 
purely country districts, where a church and a village 
were the nucleus of an estate ; where the squire and the 
parson reigned supreme, and where the old faith and the 
old manorial customs died a lingering death. Secondly, 
there was the large district, which was then, as truly as 
it is now, ' London over the Border.' Here, from early 
Plantagenet days onwards, city merchants had rooted 
themselves in the soil as landed proprietors, and had 
built houses on the rising ground backed by the great 
Essex Forest and fronting the reaches of the Thames 
and distant views of its wooded Kentish banks. Ruck- 
holt was in this neighbourhood, which had been 
dominated from mediaeval times by the culture and the 
wealth of City princes, and which was, on a large scale, 
simply a suburb of London itself. Lastly, there were 
the small Essex towns. Chelmsford, the county town, 
practically owned by the Mildmay family, was 
unimportant and not even incorporated : then there 
were Maldon, Saffron Walden, Thaxted and others, 
with Colchester in the north of the county. 

Colchester had had a continuous history from the 
days of its Roman greatness onwards, and in the 
seventeenth century it was a centre for the weaving of 
' bays and says,' and had a population of over 8,000, an 


immense number of whom were of Dutch or Flemish 
extraction — the children of refugees from the Low 
Countries. Harwich, close by, was the great port of 
Northern Europe, and in constant intercourse with the 
Continent. It is not too much to say that Harwich and 
Colchester were the channel through which the liberal 
opinions of the reformed faith percolated into England. 

The defeat of the Armada brought about a revulsion 
against the Puritan spirit all over the country, and in 
Essex itself are many recorded instances of incumbents 
presented to the bishop by their churchwardens for 
infractions of the Book of Common Prayer and neglect 
of its rubrics. On the whole, however, the beginning of 
the historic struggle found Essex strongly Puritan and 
Colchester itself a hotbed of disaffection, and one 
reason for this state of affairs may have been that 
many of the old Essex families had disappeared. The 
De Veres, who had been the first family in the county 
for six centuries, had become impoverished, and the 
nineteenth earl had married a Dutch woman and lived 
in Holland. The Fitzwalters, who were in Essex for 
four centuries, had been succeeded by the Radcliffes, to 
whom Henry VIII. gave the earldom of Sussex, which 
died out with the sixth earl in 1641, and the two 
Radcliffe heiresses married Sir Thomas Cheke and Sir 
Henry Mildmay, who were both Parliamentarians ; 
while another Essex house, the Darcys of Chiche, 
found themselves, at the beginning of the war, without 
a male representative — Earl Rivers, head of the family, 
having died in 1639. 

Essex was, in short, the last county in England in 
which a man who was a pronounced Royalist would 
willingly have found himself in the years of tumult 
which began with the dismissal of the Parliament of 
1628. But the truth is that, until the day when he did 
turn with a certain decision from an abhorrent extreme, 
Sir William Hicks, floating with the tide, did not 
discover his environment to be uncomfortable. 


It is quite likely that if he left Cambridge with any 
opinions at all, those opinions were Liberal, for that was 
the prevailing spirit of the university, although Trinity 
College itself was not specially Puritan in tone. In the 
years after leaving college, however, it is certain that 
the Puritan ideal did not harass him particularly. His 
uncle, Sir Baptist, was a powerful member of the Court 
party, and he himself was rich in a Court that always 
needed money. In the year 1619, at the age of twenty- 
three, he was made a baronet by James I. The grant 
was made out at Theobalds on July 18th in wordy 
Latin, and on July 21st another lengthy document 
was signed, the purport of which was that William 
Hicks was to be acquitted of the sum of £l,095, usually 
paid in respect of the dignity of a baronet, because he 
did voluntarily offer aid for the maintenance of thirty 
footmen in the army in Ireland for three whole years. 
In a gossipping letter dated August 23rd in the same 
year, Sir John Chamberlain, writing to Sir Dudley 
Carleton from London, tells him of three or four 
knights made into baronets : — 

" The first was Sir Villiers, eldest brother to the 
L. of Buckingham. . . . Another was Sir James Lee, 
Attorney of the Court of Wards : besides Sir William 
Harny that married the old Countess of Southampton, 
and younge Hickes sonne to Sir Michael Hicks that 
comes to it I know not by what title." 

"By what title" Sir William Armine got his 
baronetcy in November of the same year is likewise 
a mystery. He married William's only sister, Elizabeth, 
in Low Leyton Church in December, and proved to be, 
in the time to come, an active Parliamentarian. Mar- 
riages complicated life tremendously, and Sir William 
Hicks' own marriage in 1625, to a daughter of Lord 
Paget, plunged him into a family that was decidedly 
Puritan. The Pagets seem to have had their origin in 


the little town of Uxbridge, and, in 1547, Henry VIII. 
gave the manor of West Drayton, close by, to Sir 
William Paget, afterwards Lord Paget of Beaudesert. 
He was succeeded by his two sons, Henry, who died in 
1568, and Thomas, third Lord Paget, who was a Roman 
Catholic. Thomas, Lord Paget, was attainted of treason 
in 1587 and his estates, including West Drayton, were 
forfeited ; but after his death Elizabeth granted the 
reversion of the manor of West Drayton to his son 
William, who afterwards recovered, by Act of Parlia- 
ment, the remainder of his father's estates and the title. 
He was the fourth Lord Paget, and it was his youngest 
daughter, Margaret, whom Sir William married. 

Margaret Paget had had a strict Protestant unbring- 
ing, for her mother was Lettice Knollys, grand-daughter 
of Sir Francis Knollys, one of the well-known Protes- 
tants added to the Great Council of Elizabeth,* while 
her mother was the daughter of Sir Ambrose Cave, 
another of the seven. One of Margaret's elder sisters 
married Sir William Waller, who was, later, one of 
Cromwell's most famous generals ; and her eldest brother, 
the fifth Lord Paget, married Lady Frances Rich, 
daughter of Lord Holland, a leading Parliamentarian. 
All this would necessarily be an influence in Sir 
William Hicks' early married life. The wedding took 
place in West Drayton Church. 

1625 September 8. William Hickes Knight and Baronet and 
Margaret Paget oldest daughter of the Lord Paget by Licence. 

is the entry in the register. Lord Paget's house was 
built in what was once the churchyard, and is now 
the churchyard again. A rectangular gatehouse is all 
that remains to-day of a very considerable mansion 
and outbuildings. 

Lord Paget was Lord Lieutenant of Buckingham- 
shire, where Great Marlow had just been created a 

* His mother-in-law was Mary Boleyn, sister to Anne Boleyn. 


borough with two members, and in 1626, he put his 
son-in-law in as one of them ; and thus was Sir William 
pitchforked into the hurly-burly of the Parliamentary 

Parliament had met at Oxford in 1625, in a stern 
temper, for Charles I. had defied it. He defied it again, 
for its determination to consider public grievances was 
checkmated by dissolution, and Buckingham, resolved 
to lure the mind of the country from the constitutional 
struggle by the triumphs of war, got together a great 
fleet which was sent to the coast of Spain. The 
expedition was an idle one and the enormous debt 
incurred made a new summons of the two Houses 
imperative, and it was this Parliament of 1626 to which 
Sir William was elected for the first time. 

The Parliamentary leader of these earlier stages of 
the struggle was Sir John Eliot. He called for an 
enquiry into the failure before Cadiz ; Charles answered 
with threats, but Buckingham's impeachment was 
voted and carried to the Lords and pressed home by 
the invective of Eliot. Charles' reply was fierce and 
sudden, and Eliot and Digges were committed to the 
Tower. Till their members were restored, the Com- 
mons refused to proceed with public business, and the 
King had to yield ; but Eliot's release was instantly 
followed by another dissolution and by an appeal to the 
nation to pay as a gift the subsidies which Parliament 
had refused. 

But the tide of popular resistance — apart as yet from 
the resistance of Parliament — was gradually rising, and 
refusals to give anything came from county after 
county. Charles met the failure by defiance of the law 
and the levy of a forced loan. "Every means of 
persuasion as of force was resorted to," says J. R. 
Green. " The pulpits of the Laudian clergy resounded 
with the cry of ' passive obedience.' . . . Poor men who 
refused to lend were pressed into the army or navy. 
. . . Eight peers, with Lord Essex and Lord Warwick 


at their head, declined to comply with the exaction as 
illegal. Two hundred county gentlemen whose 
obstinacy had not been subdued by their transfer 
from prison to prison were summoned before the 
Council." John Hampden, who was one of them, 
declared that he must refuse to lend for fear of drawing 
down on himself the curse in Magna Charta. 

That fear did not haunt Sir William Hicks. Essex 
was one of the counties which resisted most strenuously. 
Lord Warwick was Joint Lord Lieutenant of the 
county with Lord Sussex, and behind him were most 
of those prominent in Essex life. But Sir William's 
name does not appear in any list of delinquents — he 
gave no trouble — he paid what was demanded. Yet his 
acquiescence does not seem to have involved him with 
his neighbours, for when, in the following year, Lord 
Warwick " bought out " Lord Sussex and became sole 
Lord Lieutenant of the county, he made Sir William a 
Deputy Lieutenant — an honour then rarely bestowed. 

It was Buckingham's folly — the abortive expedition 
to Rochelle — which forced on Charles, again over- 
whelmed with debt, the summoning of yet another 
Parliament in 1627. Sir William did not stand for 
Great Marlow this time, and that is a sure indication of 
his indecisive mood — a mood that must have been 
universal enough. It looks, too, as if the predominating 
influence was for the moment not his Paget father-in- 
law, but his uncle, the Royalist Sir Baptist ; for when 
Sir Baptist, who was sitting as member for Tewkesbury 
in this new Parliament, was suddenly made a peer in 
1628, he put his nephew in as member for Tewkesbury 
in his place. So it came about, after all, that Sir 
William was behind the locked doors of the House of 
Commons during that strange scene when the Speaker, 
in tears, was held down in his chair ; when the Usher of 
the House of Lords, with the order for adjournment, 
knocked vainly, while Denzil Holies read the famous 
protest, and Eliot uttered the prophecy, "None have 


gone about to break Parliaments but in the end 
Parliaments have broken them." 

Sir William was not the only person in that fevered 
atmosphere with a fundamental distaste for revolution. 
The tide of passion had risen so high that it would seem 
as if a climax must have been reached there and then. 
But when the guards came to force the doors they 
found an empty chamber ; and so was inaugurated the 
eleven years of King Charles' personal rule. 

There was -no dubiety about the effect of those eleven 
years on Sir William. 

In 1640 Scotland was in arms. < " The discovery of a 
correspondence between the Scotch leaders and the 
French Court raised hopes in the King that an appeal 
to the country for aid against Scotch treason would still 
find an answer in English loyalty." Relying on a burst 
of popular indignation, he thought it a propitious 
moment in which to summon a Parliament once more 
and ask for a heavy subsidy. But " every member of 
the Commons knew that Scotland was fighting the 
battle of English liberty " ; they set aside the intercepted 
letters and declared, as of old, that redress of grievances 
must precede the grant of supplies. 

Three weeks was the measure of Charles' patience 
with them ; the old weapon of dissolution fell again, 
and with strange infatuation all the old measures of 
exaction were continued with renewed energy. 

In this Parliament, known to history as the Short 
Parliament, Sir William Hicks sat for Great Marlow 
once more, as the nominee of the Puritan Pagets, and, 
for the next three years, at least, the fine he took was 
definitely Parliamentarian, although he evaded re-elec- 
tion to the Long Parliament. 

It was the occupation of Newcastle by the Scotch 
army and their threatened march on York which 
obliged Charles, with wrath and shame, to summon the 
Houses again to Westminster ; and there stepped to 
the front at once John Pym, the first definite leader of 

C.F. P 


the House of Commons. Pym was a political genius, 
and he foresaw clearly from the first the issue that must 
now, at last, be forced — the doctrine that, as an element 
of constitutional life, Parliament was of higher value 
than the Crown. 

Two years later England was plunged in a civil 
war. Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Cam- 
bridge, Huntingdon and Lincoln formed themselves 
into an ' Eastern Counties' Association ' in aid of 
the Parliamentary cause, and Sir William Hicks was 
on the committee for Essex. In 1642 he was 
nominated one of the committee for carrying out the 
' Scandalous Ministers' Acts ' ; in 1643 he was one 
of the Essex committee of assessment and was on the 
Essex sequestration committee ; and in June of the 
same year, as the borough MSS. at Colchester show, 
he and others became surety for the payment of £2,000 
raised for the pay of the Essex forces. But recruiting 
was becoming more difficult ; the first ardour of the 
county for the Parliamentary cause was cooling. 
Complaint was made of the poor attendance of the 
county gentry at a meeting at Chelmsford, and Sir 
William's own excuse * was that he desired to attend 
Mr. Waller's trial f next day ; and in October he and 
some of his influential neighbours made a formal protest 
against a new levy of men from their district, which, 
they say, had already sent more than its full share of 

All classes were beginning to feel the strain of these 
heavy exactions, and in December Sir William showed 
his first sign of revolt and definitely refused to pay 
an assessment of £800 made upon him. Parliament 
had but one answer for that sort of behaviour, and 

* In a letter to Sir Thomas Barrington, June 29th, 1643. 

■j- Edmund Waller, the poet, who was connected with the Pagets 
by marriage, had been engaged in negotiations with King Charles. 
Two of his associates were hanged, but he escaped with a fine of 


a warrant, dated January 16th, 1644, was made out for 
his " safe custody." The order for his discharge is 
dated a week later, and he is directed to pay the £800, 
the collector's salary and charges, and to contribute 
£120 7s. 4d. in plate because that part of his estate in the 
county of Gloucester is under the power of the King's 

In 1644 Sir William's Gloucestershire property, 
Beverstone Castle, was in the hands of Royalist troops 
under Colonel Oglethorpe. It is extraordinary that, 
during the two and a half centuries they possessed it, 
the Norman stronghold never had any appeal for the 
Hicks' imagination. To-day the shadow of its great 
keep lies across the rectory croquet hoops, and jack- 
daws caw undisturbed in the trees that lean towards it ; 
but the " Bureston " of Domesday Book* stood out 
nakedly on the Cotswold hillside, 600 feet above the 
Severn river, and overlooked the plateau from Kingscote 
to Cirencester, the whole length of the vale of White 
Horse and the downs round Marlborough and Calne. 
The accepted theory seems to be that some Norman 
named Bure, or Bever, in the train of the Norman 
Queen Emma, obtained a grant of land from Canute, 
and on it built his castle after the manner of his own 
country. Such as he made it, did it remain until it 
was granted by Henry II.. as part and parcel of the 
great manor, since known as the manor of Berkeley, to 
Robert Fitzharding, whose eldest son, Maurice, married 
the daughter of Roger de Berkele. Maurice Fitz- 
harding's third son, Robert, took the name of De 
Weare, and Beverstone became his portion. His son, 
Maurice de Weare, rebuilt the castle, about 1225, and 
left it to his sister's son, Robert de Gournay. Anslem 
de Gournay was the next owner ; then John de 

* " Beverstone : Its Church and Its Castle." By J. Nowell Brorae- 
head, Rector of the Parish. 

P 2 


Gournay, and then a granddaughter who married Lord 
Ap Adam. The only son of this marriage, Thomas 
Ap Adam, sold back the castle, in 1331, to the 
Berkeley family — to Thomas, commonly called the 
Great Lord Berkeley. He reconstructed the whole 
place out of ransom money obtained for prisoners in 
the battle of Poitiers. 

Lord Berkeley made the castle a place of great 
strength and adorned it with stone carving. It was a 
quadrangular pile, with a tower at each angle, and the 
south-west tower was probably reared on the founda- 
tions of the original building and more or less represents 
it. Between each tower was a curtain-wall, with 
galleries and chambers behind it. Beyond the port- 
cullis were the flanking walls of a barbican ; then came 
a deep moat which encircled the whole castle and was 
crossed by a drawbridge, while a second moat lay at a 
distance of 80 or 90 yards beyond the south face. 
It was, in fact, a magnificent — a ' baronial ' — place ; 
and what a chapter for this book the story of its siege 
might have made, had its owner but been a person in 
whom the dramatic sense was at all developed ! 

Once before in its history Beverstone had been 
occupied by troops who desired to overawe the city of 
Gloucester. In 1051 an army was gathered to force 
King Edward the Confessor, who lay at his residence 
at Gloucester, to dismiss his Norman favourites. Uley 
Bury and Beverstone were occupied for the purpose, 
and Earl Godwin, with his sons, the Earl of Gloucester 
and the Earl of East Anglia, were at Beverstone. In 
1643 it was the People's Army which was in possession 
of Gloucester, and the King's men who had seized 
Beverstone ; which commanded all the disaffected cloth- 
weaving valleys between it and the city. Its seizure 
by the Royalists was easy enough, for it was quite 
unfortified. Sir William's tenant there was a yeoman 
named John Shipway, who occupied a very small part 
of the great pile. It is likely enough that Shipway 



was himself a Royalist — in any case, resistance on his 
part would have been useless. 

The castle is said to have withstood more than one 
assault from Gloucester, and, early in 1644, Colonel 
Massie, who commanded the Parliamentary troops 
there, made a determined attempt to take it with 300 
foot soldiers and 80 horsemen. Guns were placed 
close to the entrance, and there was an effort to blow 
up the gate, but the attacking force was driven back 
by hand grenades and stones, and after twelve hours' 
hard fighting retired to Wotton-under-Edge. In May 
of the same year, however, the castle came into the 
hands of the enemy. It is not a particularly inspiring 
story. Colonel Oglethorpe, its commander, was seized 
by Massie in the house of a young woman in the 
neighbourhood of whom he had become enamoured, 
and Massie wrote to the lieutenant, who was second 
in command, offering him and the garrison "faire 
quarter and true performance " if they would surrender. 
Perhaps the position had really become untenable. At 
all events, the officer struck some sort of a bargain, and 
he and his men made their way to Malmesbury. 
Colonel Massie put a Parliamentarian garrison at once 
into the evacuated castle and Sir William Hicks was 
called on for its support. He appealed against the 
demand to the Committee of Both Kingdoms, and an 
order, dated August 26th, 1645,* was sent to the 
committee at Gloucester : — 

"We are informed by Sir Wm. Hicks that you 
require him to maintain the garrison of Beverstone 
Castle, of which he is the Proprietor, or else that it 
must be slighted. Having suffered much in his 
estate for his good affection to the Parliament, he 
assures us that he is not of ability to do that, besides 
the place being small, it may be kept by a garrison 
of only 40 musketeers, the which we conceive 

* State papers. 


probable, for that, Sir Thomas Fairfax being so near 
at Bristol, it cannot be in any great danger. You 
are therefore to afford it such a small garrison that 
the Castle may not suffer more than it has already 
done, but be still preserved for him." 

From this concession it is clear that Sir William's 
half-hearted pecuniary revolt at the beginning of 1644 
had been forgiven. Indeed, in May of that same year, 
he was made one of the Committee for the General 
Assessment of the East and West, and in 1645 he was 
both on the Committee for Raising and Maintaining the 
New Model, and on that for Raising the Scots Assess- 
ment. It was that curious social and religious medley, 
the army of the New Model, with which King Charles 
found himself confronted at Naseby. With Naseby 
the issue of the Civil War was decided once for all, 
and, with the complete downfall of the Royal cause, it 
was but human that the natural loyalty of the average 
Englishman to the Crown should reassert itself. Sir 
William was an average Englishman, with average 
caste instincts, and, after Naseby, it is quite clear that 
he belonged to that party which thought that things 
had gone far enough, but did not realise that they had 
gone too far for accommodation, and not far enough 
for a genuine popular reaction. 

In Essex the reaction, which culminated in the siege 
of Colchester, was peculiarly disastrous. On May 4th, 
1648, 2,000 men of Essex, claiming to represent 30,000 
more, marched to Westminster with a petition praying 
for an agreement with the King and the disbandment 
of the army. In June Sir William Hicks and most of 
the country gentlemen were assembled in Chelmsford, 
and Lord Norwich, who had already raised Royalist 
levies in Kent, was negociating with them. 

The Duke of Beaufort has in his possession a manu- 
script narrative of the siege of Colchester, by an 
eye-witness. It relates that the Houses at Westminster 


were alarmed at the threatened union of the two 
counties : — 

" They humbled themselves to theire old arts and 
offer'd us an Act of Indempnitie, upon condition 
that we would render to them the gentlemen of 
Kent as a well pleasing sacrifice . . . we were too 
well acquainted with theire thirst of blood to thinke 
this offering could appease ; ... all the advantage 
we could have expected from theire Act of Indemp- 
nitie, was no more than Polyphemus promised 
Ulisses, to be the last devoured, yet this deceipt so 
wrought upon the feares of some of our meane 
spirited counterymen, as Sir William Hicks and 
others — who march'd in the first ranks of our 
petitioners — that they were frighten'd into an infamous 
apostacie to their loyalties and honours, and to a 
breach of theire faithe, which they had forengaged to 
the gentlemen of Kent : whom by the bonds of 
justice, honour and interest, we were obliged to 

"This meene example of the gentlemen shaked, 
and had almost dissolv'd the assembly of our 
counterymen, had not the honourable Sir Charles 
Lucas — like a worthy patriot — stept in, to the 
rescue of his countery, and reason'd those that 
remained into a resolution of adhering to their first 

Another account in the Civil War pamphlets 
says : — 

" The Commons from Parliament were here, and 
published the indempnity to the inhabitants, and Sir 
Wm. Hicks and divers others of the gentlemen sub- 
mitted. But Sir Ch. Lucas that eminent Cavalier 
came into them, and by his insinuations hath 
prevailed with the Cavalier party and the soldiers. 
And they seized on Sir Wm. Hicks and several 


other gentlemen of the county and plundered some, 
which hath much discontented the inhabitants." 

It is not possible to unravel the threads of all that 
really took place in those heated Chelmsford councils. 
But, although it is true that it was Sir Charles Lucas 
who was henceforth leader of that more ardent section 
of the county gentlemen who felt they had gone too 
far to retreat, it is not fair to say that Sir William was 
an infamous apostate. " Some thought it best to 
depart privately from the town, lest an unexpected 
inconveniency should arise and occasion their persons 
to be seized," says Matthew Carter, who left a long 
account of the whole matter. Lord Warwick's 
steward, Arthur Wilson, is another who wrote down 
what happened, and his story is that, when Sir Charles 
Lucas and his followers seized the Parliamentarians 
of Chelmsford, he was sent down by his master to 
secure his house at Leez. On his road from London 
he met, returning thither, the three commissioners 
who had gone to Chelmsford to offer the terms 
of indemnity. To them he told the news, just 
received, that General Fairfax had routed the Kentish 
Royalists at Maidstone, and, says Wilson, " They 
desired me to inform Sir William Hixe of it and others 
of the leaders at Chelmsford, which I did. But it took 
no impression in their belief." Wilson goes on to 
relate how the Essex Royalists at once took the field, 
and that the soldiers elected Sir Charles Lucas to be 
their general, " one who had been a great commander 
for the King." It has to be remembered that Sir 
William at this time was fifty years old, and that he 
had had no practice in warfare at all, and had no taste 
for it ; but, if he went not forth to battle, he did at least 
stick to his newly-adopted intentions. 

General Fairfax, flushed with his Kentish victories, 
crossed the river into Essex and drove the Royalist 
forces north to Colchester. That town, after, a faint 


show of resistance, opened its gates to them ; then the 
gates were shut; the Royalists faced about; Fairfax 
was under the walls, and the famous siege began. It 
lasted ten weeks before the garrison was finally starved 
out, and, years afterwards,* when kings had come again 
to their own, one John Heyes of Woodford based an 
appeal about some small matter of land, on the fact 
that he and his servant were in arms at Chelmsford 
" when Sir William Hicks and the rest of the gentry of 
the country were there to receive commands from 

Lord Capell, who had married the only child of Sir 
William's cousin, Lady Moryson of Cassiobury, was 
one of those condemned to death after the surrender. 
Mr. John Strype's story is that Sir William himself 
as " privy to, and concerned in that business was kept 
in prison about six weeks," but no warrant for the 
imprisonment is in the State papers. What is more 
positive is that his estates were confiscated and the 
rents stayed in the tenants' hands ; but, on June 27th, 
1649, five months after the King's execution, he com- 
pounded for his delinquency by payment of £l,000,f 
and was discharged by the Essex commissioners. In 
April, 1650, the sequestration of Beverstone was 
removed as well. 

The story of Sir William Hicks resolves itself inevit- 
ably into a catalogue, and, at this point in his fortunes, 
that can be realised in full force, because, in November, 
1649, he, with his eldest son, William, his nephew, 
Michael Armyne, and a servant, went " beyond seas " ; J 
and the fact has just to be stated and then left as a 
bald statement — as another item in the catalogue. 
And what else but a further item is the information 
that he had eleven children, of whom, in this year of 
1649, six survived ? The fact does not in the least call 

* State papers, 1670. 

f State papers. 

| Passport in State papers. 


into being daily existence at Ruckholt during thirty- 
eight years of married life. It is as if between our- 
selves and the real drama hangs a curtain, which leaves 
but a narrow space between itself and the footlights ; and 
Sir William seems to step across the strip of boards but 
occasionally in order to give us the bare heads of all that 
is going on behind. It is clear that when Sir William 
decided " over seas " to be the happiest place for such 
as he, Ruckholt was shut up, and Lady Margaret his 
wife, and her five younger children went to live in the 
London house on St. Peter's Hill. There, in 1652, 
she died, and she was buried in Westminster Abbey 
— on the north of King Henry VII.'s monument, the 
Abbey register says. 

Who can tell what her death meant to Sir William ? 
The power to portray what it did really mean would 
alone suffice to make their history of immortal interest. 
Which of them was it, in their long relationship, who 
gave gold for the other's silver? Which was the 
happier, the giver of gold ? Not Sir William, perhaps, 
for the melancholy which he assiduously courted had, 
maybe, for its mainspring causes not purely political. 

Politics, however, continued to be for him melancholy 
enough. He had evidently come back from abroad 
with his Royalist tendencies intensified — was, at all 
events, strongly suspected of the powers that were — and 
in 1655, as a sequel to a semi-successful Royalist rising 
in Wiltshire, he, with eighteen other Essex gentlemen, 
was arrested as a mere precaution, and sent prisoners 
to Yarmouth. In October, however, he signed a bond 
for £1,500, binding himself not to plot nor conspire, 
and to reveal any plot that came to his knowledge ; 
so his release was ordered — " Major Hezekiah Haynes 
to see it done," says the warrant.* In 1658 Oliver 
Cromwell died, and a Cheshire gentleman, Sir George 
Booth,f once a Puritan too, put himself prematurely 

* State papers. 

f Created Lord Delamere at the Restoration. 


at the head of the movement for the restoration of 
monarchy. The reaction of feeling was, however, not 
yet universal enough, and, well planned as the rising 
was, it failed, and Ruckholt was one of the Royalist 
houses searched for arms in the hour of retribution. 
Sir William was "barbarously treated" by John 
Topham, the commander of the troop of horse who 
carried out the search — so said one Gerard Foukes, 
four years later, when he wanted Topham's place of 
Sergeant-at- Arms. * 

" It is my own fault that I did not come back sooner ; 
for I find nobody who does not tell me he has always 
longed for my return," said Charles II. ironically, when 
he landed in Dover the next year. It had been supposed 
that the landing would be at Harwich, and Sir William 
was, no doubt, among the troop of Essex gentlemen, 
with Lord Maynard at their head, who assembled there 
to do the King honour. And The Loyal Address oj 
the Gentlemen of Gloucestershire, presented by Lord 
Herbert on June 19th, contained Sir William's name 
as a Gloucestershire landowner. " Always true to the 
Royal Cause, and to the Church of England," says the 
vicar of Low Leyton of him — prefacing that by the 
more cautious statement that he lived in " difficult 

In the year of the Restoration Sir William was sixty- 
four years of age, and he lived for twenty years longer 
in the manor house of Ruckholt, which got shabbier and 
shabbier as time went on. Mr. Strype says that he had 
faced it with brick, "much improving and beautifying it" ; 
but Mr. John Evelyn, that typical country gentleman 
of the day, was not at all impressed with it : — 

" I went to Rookwood and dined with Sir William 
Hickes where there was a great feast and much 
company. It is a melancholy old house environed 
with trees and rooks " 

* Petition in State papers, 1663. 


Thus wrote Evelyn in his famous Diary, on May 
28th, 1659 ; and the date is interesting because it was 
in the spring of the year after the death of the 
Protector, and it was just before the abortive Booth 
affair — it was in fact, a moment when Royalist hopes 
were running very high. But the realisation of those 
hopes was not made the occasion for setting Ruckholt 
in order. Another more garrulous diarist, Samuel 
Pepys, went there six years later and painted a picture 
of extreme desolation : — 

" 1665— Sept. 13th. My Lord Brouncker, Sir J. 
Minnes, and I took boat, and in my Lord's Coach to 
Sir W. Hickes's whither by and by my Lady Batten 
and Sir William comes. It is a good seat, with a 
fair grove of trees by it, and the remains of a good 
garden ; but so let to run to ruine, both house and 
everything in and about it, so ill furnished and miser- 
ably looked after, I never did see in all my life. Not 
so much as a latch to his dining-room door ; which 
saved him nothing, for the wind blowing into the 
room for want thereof, flung down a great bow pott, 
that stood upon the side table, and that fell upon 
some Venice glasses, and did him a crown's worth of 
hurt. He did give us the meanest dinner (of beef, 
shoulder and umbles of venison which he takes away 
from the Keeper of the Forest,* and a few pigeons, 
and all in the meanest manner ;) that ever I did see 
to the basest degree. I was only pleased at a very 
fine picture of the Queene Mother when she was 
young by Vandike ; a very good picture and a lovely 

It is very possible that, in his old age, Sir William 
really had persuaded himself that he was a ruined 
martyr in the Royal cause. It may have been an 

* Sir William was Ranger or Lieutenant of Waltham Forest. The 
date of the appointment is uncertain. 


(From a drawing in the possession of Viscount St. Aldwyn.) 


honest conception, evolved out of the curious morbidi- 
ties of the human mind, or it may have been a deliberate 
attitude maintained for a purpose. Little came of it, 
however. The King, Charles II., was entertained at 
the Ranger's house one day when he was hunting in 
the forest,* and the apparent poverty he beheld there 
did make him aware of expectations with which he 
was familiar enough ; so he knighted the old baronet's 
two sons, William and Michael, there and then, and 
discharged what debt there was in that way. 

William Hicks was sixteen years older than his 
brother Michael, who was at this time a boy of eighteen 
or nineteen, and they and a younger sister, Elizabeth, 
were all that were left of the once large family, for 
Letitia, the only other surviving daughter, had been 
married to Lord Donegall for some years. William 
married in 1665, Michael in 1674, and Elizabeth died in 
1776 at the age of twenty-seven, so that the last few 
years of old Sir William's life were solitary ones. As 
a magistrate and as Lieutenant of the forest he took 
part in county affairs up to the end,t and then, at eighty- 
four years of age, he died, and his son William reigned 
at Ruckholt in his stead. 

Of Sir William Hicks, second baronet, nothing is 
known beyond what his rector has recorded of 
him : — 

" Sir William Hicks Kt. and Baronet, son and heir 
of S r William (receiving University Learning also at 
Trinity College) came to y° Honour and Estate in 
October Anno 1680, and lived many years in Honor 
and Reputation at his antient seat of Ruckholts, was 
High Sheriff of y county of Essex Ann 16. . . . and 
served that Office at his own Expence, with much 
credit and splendour, y e L. Chief Justice Vaughan 

* Narrative of John Strype. 

f Various unimportant references in State papers. 


and Sir Tob. Charleton then Judges of y" Assize at 

Sir William II. married, in 1665, Marthagnes, 
daughter of Sir Harry Coningsby of North Ryms Park, 
Hertfordshire.* They had thirteen children, and the 
the eldest, Harry, became the third baronet. Both 
Sir Harry's surviving sons died childless, and the title 
passed to the son of his brother Charles, who was child- 
less also. Thus it came about that the baronetcy went 
eventually to the grandson of Michael — Sir Michael — 
who was the youngest son of Sir William I. and the 
brother of Sir William II. It is with this Sir Michael 
Hicks, Knight, that the story has to be continued. 

Note. — The monument to Sir Michael Hicks and Elizabeth his wife was 
originally erected along the east wall of the chancel in Leyton Church. In 
1698 a new chancel was built, the monument was replaced, and opposite to 
it, along the west wall, Sir William Hicks II. put a monument to Ms father, 
who is represented lying down with his elbow on a cushion, and the staff of 
the Lieutenant of the forest in his other hand. The standing figures of Sir 
William II. himself and his wife, Marthagnes, were added in due course, one 
on either side. They are a striking example of the degenerate taste of the 
day. In 1822 the church was enlarged and altered, and the Hicks monuments 
were taken out of the chancel. A small chapel or vestry was built for them 
at the bottom of the north aisle, and there they face each other to-day, while, 
in the space between them, stands a table from which the ' Hicks' Charity ' 
is still distributed in the form of loaves of bread. 

In 1704 Sir Michael Hicks gave a piece of land called Smallgains to 
provide bread for the poor of the parish. Sir William Hicks II. left a 
legacy of £50 to the parish, and his widow decided that it should be invested 
in more land and go to the bread charity. The whole of the land was sub- 
sequently enfranchised by Sir Harry Hicks, the lord of the manor. In 1732 
it was all let at a rent of £3 15s. per annum ; in 1854 it was bringing in 
£72 10s., and it must, of course, be worth a good deal more than that to-day. 

* Sir Humphrey Coningsby, founder of the family, was a judge of 
the King's Bench, 1509. 


Sir Michael Hicks, Knight, II. 
1645 to 1710. 

No ghost walks Witcombe to-day with quite the 
same gay air of proprietorship as that of the second 
Sir Michael Hicks. A man may live in this world for 
sixty-five years a life completely uneventful (as we 
count events) and not altogether praiseworthy (as we 
apportion praise), and yet may leave behind an impres- 
sion of himself far more vital than that of a man who has 
'achieved.' And apart from the actual perpetuation 
of personality (which is a subject curious enough), it is 
also a fact that Sir Michael was so completely a man of 
his day and hour — and the hour that of the Restoration 
— that his memory is almost a theatrical one. 

He was born in January, 1645, in the year of the 
Self-Denying Ordinance and of the battle of Naseby, 
when, with the triumph of the newly-modelled Puritan 
army, the Civil War was ended at a blow, and a dim 
beginning was made of the England in which we live. 
The atmosphere of his early childhood was that of the 
tedious struggles which, after Naseby, went on in 
Essex, as in nearly every county, and there would be 
his father's mysterious absences and the domestic 
economies which followed the fines. When he was 
six years old his sister Letitia married the Earl of 
Donegall,* and it is certain that the wedding of the 
handsome worldly girl took place with all the circum- 
stance of which the impoverished household was 
capable ; and then in the following year his mother died. 

* She was his third wife. 


Michael was probably sent to some Essex school, 
and from that went to Pembroke College, Oxford — to 
the Royalist university, and not to Cambridge like his 
elder brother. The family Bible at Witcombe was 
given him when he left Pembroke, and inside the cover 
is written, " This Sacred Volume was given me by the 
Right Reverend Father in God John Hall Lord 
Bishop of Bristol and Master of Pembroke College, 
Oxford." At Witcombe too is another gift of about 
the same date, and that is the miniature of Charles II. 
given Michael on the occasion of his knighthood. He 
was not quite twenty then, and was Sir Michael from 
thenceforward. The miniature has a beautifully 
enamelled back, but the diamonds have all been 
removed from the framework. 

Of the decade between Sir Michael's college days 
and his marriage there is no record whatever, but 
details are very unnecessary because he was in the hey- 
day of cheerful youth in an age that was sober neither 
in manners, speech, nor dress, that exceeded the bounds 
of decency in all three, and looked on such excess as 
the hall-mark of fashion. " Whatsoever " Sir Michael's 
hand found to do (such as it was) he generally did with 
all his might, and there is no reason to suppose that he 
sowed his wild oats with anything but supreme zest. 
And then, with all the good will in the world, he came 
to be thirty years old, and he took to wife a plump, 
dark-eyed, foolish woman, the daughter of a City 
alderman (and sometime sheriff) and the widow of a 

Mrs. Susannah Everard, the widow of Mr. Samuel 
Beaumont Everard of the Middle Temple, was the 
second daughter of Sir Richard Howe, a City knight. 
She was one of three children only, and her dower was 
the third portion of that part of a manor in Surrey 
which belonged to her father, and which was known 
by the name of Old Paris Garden. The manor 
is long submerged in the slums of Southwark, but its 


records still exist. The marriage evidently pleased 
Michael's father, Sir William, for he settled con- 
siderable property on his son. The deed is dated June, 
1674, and states that in consideration of five shillings of 
lawful money of England duly paid, and the receipt 
thereof hereby acknowledged, Sir William sells to Sir 
Michael the house in Augustine Friars, two houses on 
St. Peter's Hill, the manor of Witcombe, and certain 
lands at Chigwell in Essex. 

All Sir Michael's ten children (and there were others 
who did not survive birth) were baptised in the church 
of St. Peter's, Paul's Wharf, and for the first fifteen 
years of his married life he must have lived con- 
tinuously in one of his houses on St. Peter's Hill. The 
deed of conveyance states that the 'great tenement' 
in possession of Julian Hicks, Sir William's grand- 
mother, had been burned down in "the late dreadfull 
fire" (1666), and that Sir William had erected two 
tenements in its place ; and gardens, yards, ways, 
lights, easements, waters, watercourses, commodities and 
appurtenances are spoken of as being attached to them. 
It sounds in fact an airy and healthy dwelling place, 
and it stood high above the river down to which the hill 
sloped sharply. Yet the mortality among Michael's 
children as revealed on the fly-leaves of his Bible was a 
thing truly fearsome, and Sarah, his eldest daughter, died 
at thirty, while his one surviving son, Howe, lived to 
be only thirty-eight. The following list was not at all 
an unusual family record in those good old days : — 



I 20 May, 




7 Oct., 



24 Jan., 




10 Sept. 




3 Sept. 




17 Oct., 




2 Sept. 




5 Dec, 




5 Feb. 




15 Sept., 


died 18 Feb., 

2 Aug., 
28 June, 
10 July, 

7 Nov., 

3 July, 
12 Feb., 
19 May, 



20 March, 1694. 


The babies were all buried at Low Leyton, with the 
exception of one buried at Witcombe, and attendance 
at their funerals must have been quite an occupation 
for Sir Michael; and otherwise there are very few 
indications of how his London existence was passed. 
It is only clear that he evaded parochial duties. Two 
papers there are which show that he would be neither 
churchwarden of his parish of St. Peter's, nor constable 
and questman of his ward of Castle Baynard. He was 
elected churchwarden in 1697 and got out of that by 
offering £5 for the use of the poor, and he was quit of 
the other obligation in 1699 by the expenditure of 
£10.* In the parish affairs of his old home, however, 
he continued to take keen interest, and the only letter 
from him which exists is an excited one to his brother 
about Low Leyton matters. The vestry minutes 
there do not reveal what the " Difference ' mentioned 
was : — 

" For Sir William Hickes at his house at Ruckholts in 

" St. Petee's Hill, this 26 Apr. 1694. 

" Sir, 

" Being taking a bottle with Mr. John Hill the 
last night, I was telling him of the Difference you 
have about Low Leyton Church and this Day Mr. 
Hill came to me and assured me that Harvey and 
the rest of that gang were this morning at the 
(Doctor's) Commons, and will be too hard for you if 
you do not take speedy care ; for they are cunningly 
undermining you. You would do well to come or 
to send Mr. Thomas to Mr. Hill, for he says he may 
at present serve you. I thought good to acquaint 
you with this that you may not be surprised. 

"With my kind love to your sister and yourself 

* The title deed calls him ' His Worship,' so it is probable that he 
was a justice of the peace. 


and ray Respects to my cousins being all at this 

" from your affectionate Brother 

" Michael Hickes." 

Michael was evidently on good terms with all his 
relations, and the Bible records that they stood as 
sponsors to his children, and some of them over and over 
again as the children died off. Sir William and Lady 
Hicks, Sir Richard and Lady Howe, the Countess of 
Donegall, her daughter the Countess of Longford, Lady 
Ingram, Lady Barnham, Sir William Franklyn, Mrs. 
Lowfield (nke Elizabeth Howe), Mr. Thomas Joanes, 
Mr. William Weston, are all names that appear ; and 
Sir William Franklyn, who was ' of Maverne,' Bed- 
fordshire, was Lady Donegall's second husband. Lady 
Donegall died in 1691, and, like her mother before 
her, was buried in Westminster Abbey, where she had 
been christened. The register of burials in the Abbey 
has the entry : — 

1691 May 15 Letitia Countess of Donegall in Oliver's Vault. 

The explanation of what seems a strange choice of 
tombs is in the unofficial register. It says that the 
vault had been used for the interment of Cromwell's 
family ; after their remains had been ejected it passed 
to the Duke of Ormond, and has been known as the 
Ormond vault ever since. Now, James, Marquess of 
Ormond (created 1642) was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 
at the beginning of the Civil War, and after the Restora- 
tion he was made an English duke for his loyal 
services. Lord Donegall, who had been Colonel 
Chichester, M.P. for county Antrim, had been raised 
to the peerage on Ormond's solicitation in 1647, in 
consideration of his services against the rebels ; and he 
was one of the four hostages sent by the marquess 
that same year to the English Parliament as surety 

o 2 


for the delivery of Dublin and other garrisons to 
their Commissioners. There was evidently friendship 
between the two families, but that hardly explains 
why the widow of one friend should have been buried 
in the family vault of the other. But there she is — 
and her name is one of those in the list on the two 
slabs in the floor over the vault to-day. 

Letitia Donegall left £100 to her brother William to 
buy a ring, and to his wife twelve silver plates, a pair 
of silver candlesticks, a silver cup and cover, and a silver 
' cullender ' : — 

I give to my dear brother Sir Michael Hicks all my estate and 
interest of and in two tenements in Belfast in the Kingdom of Ireland 
with the appurtenances, one late in the tenure or occupation of John 
Chekhr (?) the younger aforesaid Victualler ; the other now, or late, 
in the tenure or occupation of Alice Meeke alias Beche of Belfast 
aforesaid widow or her assigns. Also I give to my said dear brother 
Sir Michael Hickes my Camlett Bed lined with yellow satin and all 
the furniture belonging to it, and my gilt cup and salver all which 
are now in his custody ; together also with all other goods chatels 
and furniture which he hath of mine in his custody. To my sister, 
the Lady Hicks his wife I give a dozen of my silver plates which I 
bought during my widowhood and are engraven with my arms in a 
lozenge, and a pair of my silver candlesticks engraven with the arms of 
my late dear Lord the Earl of Donegall and my own arms ; all which 
plate is now in the custody of the said Sir William Franklyn. 

Witcombe of to-day would think a great deal of the 
Camlett bed lined with yellow, and would treasure the 
Jacobean cup and salver and the silver plates with the 
Donegall arms. They have disappeared. The Belfast 
property has disappeared, too, but a reason for that 
is easily found. Although no deeds exist, there can be 
little doubt that Sir Michael sold it in order to add to 
his Witcombe property. For, if Sir Michael had a 
passion — if there was for him "a world within the 
world " — it was his manor of Witcombe in the county 
of Gloucester. 

All the tumult of the Civil War had passed 
Witcombe by — passed it by nearly, close overhead. 


By Sir Peter Lely. 
[From a picture at Witcombe Park.) 


At Painswick, the Cotswold town on the hills, six 
miles to the south-west, Sir Ralph Dutton, lord of the 
manor there, raised a regiment of 800 pikemen, and he 
joined the King's standard at Nottingham on August 
23rd, 1642. In February, 1643, Cirencester in the 
hills, eleven miles off, was taken by the Royalists. In 
July of the same year, Bristol, in the south of 
Gloucestershire, capitulated to Prince Rupert, with 
whom was Colonel Dutton, and the map shows how 
necessary it was to take Gloucester also, in order to 
open up communications between the Royalist forces at 
Bristol and those in the north. 

On August 7th, King Charles stayed at Berkeley 
Castle, dined at Tetbury next day, and slept that 
night at Cirencester with the Chester Master family. 
He set out from Cirencester for Painswick on August 
9th. It is very unlikely that those who guided him took 
him along the field paths between the two places ; if there 
were baggage it would have been too difficult a journey. 
He must have come along Ermine Street, straight to 
the sharp ridge of the Cotswolds where Witcombe 
Wood dips downwards. There, 900 feet above the level 
of the Severn river in the vale beneath, he would halt 
to look down on the town to be besieged — standing far 
off by the river with the immensity of level valley again 
beyond it and the dim hills in the horizon. All along 
the road at the top of Witcombe Wood he would ride 
after this, leaving the crest of Witcombe Valley at last 
where he entered Cranham Wood, and so on through 
that into the open once more, and across the bare Wold 
to the north of Painswick. 

Neither he nor Prince Rupert stayed in the high 
pitched camp on Painswick Common. The Prince had 
his quarters at Princenage (Prinknash), halfway down 
the hillside, where he was the guest of Mr. George 
Bridgman, a Deputy Lieutenant of the county. The 
King was lodged right in the vale itself, with the 
Selwyns at Matson House, at the hill-foot, five miles 


from Gloucester. In September, when the siege was 
raised, it was from Matson that he set out, up the hill 
to Painswick once more ; from there, in the wind and 
the rain,* across the downs to the beech woods, along 
the edge of Witcombe Valley again, and then, from 
Birdlip to Cobberley, Andoversford, Charlton Abbots, 
up hill and down dale, to the castle at Sudeley. 

And that was all Witcombe knew of the Revolution. 
It heard, as it can hear to-day, horsemen and waggons 
clattering along the hidden road which crowns its 
wooded sides. Perhaps it paused in its day's work 
to listen and to wonder — but that is by no means 

Witcombe's immunity from the turmoil was of course 
mainly owing to geographical reasons, but it was also 
owing to the fact that there was no squire to raise 
a levy from the stone-roofed farms and cottages and 
to ride at its head out into the fray in the vale. The 
lord of the manor, Sir William Hicks, was far away 
in Essex, and indeed there was no house in the valley 
which would have been a fitting residence for him, with 
the exception of a stone-gabled farmhouse which had 
always been known as Witcombe Farm, and which was 
securely held on a lease of lives at that time by the 
ancient family of Hellow. That was a house substantial, 
roomy, and of a certain dignity. Very little spending 
would have been required to turn it into the conven- 
tional manor house of the day with all the conventional 
appurtenances. It was not available, however, and it 
was probably chance happening, the accident of the 
lease of another farm falling in, that determined the 
present site of Witcombe Park. 

Sir Michael of Restoration days, whose life was 

* "When we drew off (from Gloucester) it proved to be most 
miserable tempestuous rainy weather." From a " Military Order " 
now in possession of Mr. W. H. Herbert of Paradise House, Pains- 
wick, and quoted by Mr. St. Clair Baddeley in his book "A 
Cotteswold Manor." 


otherwise objectless, had the object of becoming a 
country gentleman. Witcombe, with its hilltop boun- 
daries, was a kingdom, carved out, definite, which must 
have appealed to the most primitive imagination. 
Indeed, it was of course the primitive element in him 
that took fire — the Saxon lust for the proprietorship of 
land, and of land hedged in, where he might lead the 
life of freedom jealously guarded. 

It is doubtful if his vision was shared at all by 
his wife, the alderman's daughter. For her were 
the cares of an enormous family, and the trivial 
sociabilities of life as she knew it. Gloucestershire was 
an unknown desert, very far off. It was not a " basket " 
into which she would place lustily all her ' eggs.' Sir 
Michael had to be content to do what he could, not 
what he would. Backwards and forwards along Ermine 
Street he travelled during those first twenty years of 
marriage. The inns all along the London Road knew 
him well, and as his Witcombe plans took shape 
and coherence it is certain that his importance and 
his geniality increased, and the clatter of his arrivals 
and departures in the inn yards became louder. 

Among pastures and orchards in the innermost curve 
of Witcombe Valley, under a bank rising sharply to the 
woods was a stone farmhouse with a stone roof which 
directly faced the western spur of the valley and the 
sunsets. Over the mantelpiece in the farmhouse parlour 
1607 was carved, so that it was, in part at least, a 
comparatively new house. Sir Michael saw no financial 
prospect of being able to build in the valley the palace 
of his dreams. The lease of the farm fell in, and he 
proceeded to raise, at right angles to the existing 
building, a frontage with parlours, bedrooms, and, above, 
attics with dormer windows in the deep pitched stone 
roof. Of timber from his woods he built the framework 
of this wing, it was completed with laths and plaster, 
and it, and the older portion as well, were covered with 
a coat of rough stucco. The new parlours and the new 


entrance door looked directly south and faced the bank 
and the woods. On the level piece of ground between 
house and bank a garden was walled in, a gazebo or 
garden house was built, while a road from the front 
door was driven right through the garden, out of great 
gates erected at the end of it, and up the hillside 
through the park to another set of gates at the top 
of that. For a park Sir Michael would have. He 
turned into pasture a piece of fallow land on the lower 
bank, and he partially cleared a piece of the wood 
above, and round about he set a stone wall and 
established within it a herd of deer. The print of 
Witcombe Park in Sir Robert Atkyn's "History of 
Gloucestershire " is a spirited attempt to represent Sir 
Michael's achievement ; and, as Sir Michael planned it, 
so did house and demesne remain for two hundred years. 
Granary and great barn, cider-mill house and all the 
outhouses, he probably found in existence as they exist 
to-day, but stables he had to build. The old farmhouse 
made capital servants' quarters. The farmhouse par- 
lour became a servants' hall, and beyond the kitchen 
was the bakehouse, the brewhouse, the laundry, and 
the slaughter-house. It was all finished at last. The 
gazebo carries the date 1697 on the spiral which bears 
its weathercock, and it was about then, and in the 
reign of William and Mary, that Sir Michael insisted on 
the practical evacuation of the tenement on St. Peter's 

The road through his park curved away towards 
Cranham on the right as you looked uphill, but, besides 
that, he had made, for the private use of his own coach 
and his own baggage waggons, a road which followed the 
line of an age-long track through the beechwoods, and 
which travelled away to the left and emerged at Birdlip. 
So it was down this road that there came rumbling 
presently all the household goods. Persian and Turkey 
carpets certainly there were, and feather beds, and 
voluminous bed-hangings ; and there was a great deal 














;. ; 























more which Witcombe of to-day despiseth not. Some 
Jacobean oak furniture for the servants' rooms ; walnut 
cabinets and stools in the latest mode for the parlours. 
For the guest chamber upstairs great-grandmother 
Juliana's verdure tapestry, and a yellow Japanese cabinet 
with a silvered Florentine standandpedamentwhich must 
have been inherited from grandmother Elizabeth, and 
have been a trophy of Parvish trading. Then there were 
Oriental bowls and jars, and blue Oriental dinner services 
and tea services, with a pewter service all emblazoned 
for everyday use ; and silver plate too, candlesticks, 
flagons, salt-cellars and sugar castors. There were 
books also — calf-bound tomes in Latin, a collection 
of Restoration plays, and smaller books in parchment 
covers of Elizabethan date and mostly of a religious 
character. Lastly there were family portraits : Sir 
Ellis, the hero of Crecy, in Cromwellian armour ; the 
excellent portrait of Sir Michael the Secretary, in ruff 
and skull-cap ; two full length portraits of the brothers 
William and Michael as boys, in long skirts, and holding 
immense brimmed hats in their hands ; a present-day 
portrait of Sir Michael himself, in his cumbersome wig, 
and another of Dame Susanna, whose costume a later 
and censorious generation has thought fit to modify ; a 
portrait of Sarah, the eldest daughter, just grown up ; 
and lastly, the pictures of Lady Donegall by Sir Peter 
Lely and of Sir Michael's niece, Lady Longford, by Sir 
Godfrey Kneller. 

There is another picture at Witcombe which is also 
of Sir Michael's day, but it was painted on the spot ; 
and, apart from its real beauty, it is of immense interest, 
because, together with his portrait, it is a complete 
betrayal of Sir Michael's zest for his new rdle. It is a 
picture of the vale of the Severn seen from the hill side 
from a gap in the wood, with the house and the garden 
in the middle distance. It is, in fact, the same view as 
that of Atkyn's print, with the miracle of atmosphere 
added to it, and the laborious details left out. Behind 


Cooper's Hill, the spur of the valley to the left, is 
the after-glow of the sunset. Out in the vale to the 
right stands the isolated Chosen Hill, with the bold 
outline of the Malvern range beyond it and the Welsh 
mountains blue in the far distance. Between Cooper's 
Hill and Chosen Hill, across the flat pastures, straight 
as a dart goes Ermine Street, to where there is a gleam 
of the river with the great tower and the spires of 
Gloucester. At the foot of Cooper's Hill, but out of 
the shadow which it casts across the pastures in the 
sunset hour, stands Witcombe Park House, its front 
and great gates gleaming white. " Yea, I have a goodly 
heritage," might fitly have been inscribed upon the 
silvered frame, for that quite positively was Sir Michael's 
mood, emphatically insisted on by the humorous groups 
in the foreground. At the summit of a mound topped 
with trees on the right of the picture sits the artist 
busily at work. On the ground beside him sprawls Sir 
Michael, with a hand impatiently reached out towards 
the goblet which the butler is filling to the brim. Near 
by sits the boy Howe, the heir to the valley kingdom, 
playing with a spaniel. At a short distance behind a 
groom holds three horses. Lower down the slope stand 
the parson and the doctor, satellites ; they are talking 
together with immense animation. In the centre of the 
foreground, down near the frame, is a flock of sheep, 
and among them are some cows of the old Gloucester- 
shire breed, with the white stripe all along the back. 
Beyond these to the left is a surveying party, who have 
instruments for levelling ; and then in the corner we 
come to the gamekeeper and the bailiff. The painter 
of the picture was the well-known Adrian Van Diest, 
who was born at the Hague in 1655, and lived most of 
his working life in this country, dying in 1703. 
Numbers of his landscapes exist in country houses in 
the west of England, where he stayed to paint the local 
scenery on commission. The Witcombe picture is 
eight feet wide. It hung for two hundred years over the 


fireplace in the dining parlour on the left of the entrance, 
illuminating rather vividly the Book of Ecclesiastes. 

" One generation passeth away, and another generation 
cometh : but the earth abidethfor ever. 

" The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be ; and 
that which is done is that which shall be done. 

"I made me great works; I builded me" houses ; 1 
planted me vineyards. 

" And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from 
them, I withheld not my heart from any joy ; for my 
heart rejoiced in all my labour : and this was my portion 
of all my labour. 

"Then I looked on all the works that my hands had 
wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do." 

There is a tradition about a curious brown stain in 
the middle of the great picture. If Sir Michael, very 
fashionably drunk, ever did take aim at it with a glass 
full of wine, there may have lain beneath the action 
a subconsciousness of the old refrain that echoes down 
the centuries : — 

" Vanity of vanities ; all is vanity. 
" What profit hath a man of all his labour which he 
taketh under the sun ? " 

From the tribulations that dog the path of the 
owner of land Sir Michael was not exempt, and he was 
particularly harassed by a lawsuit with his rector. 

Mr. John Abbott, A.M., was rector of Witcombe 
Magna from 1681 to 1733, and in 1694 he sued Sir 
Michael for " tythe " which he declared was due to him on 
the timber cut in Witcombe Wood. Sir Michael, he 
said, had begun in 1682, and had continued yearly ever 
since, to cut down great quantities of the wood, some 
of which he had converted into charcoal,* and the rest 
he had sold for fuel and firing. The tenth of the wood 

* There are old charcoal pits in Witcombe Wood. 


— so the rector maintained — was yearly worth £100, 
and ought to have been paid to him for several years 
past, because the wood was under twenty years' growth, 
and was all beech, hazel, ash and sally, which was never 
esteemed or counted timber in the parish of Witcombe 
or the county of Gloucester. 

Sir Michael's reply to all this was that the wood cut 
was of the age of two hundred years and upwards ; that 
Witcombe Wood was described as a timber wood in 
the deed of conveyance of the estate to his grand- 
mother, Dame Elizabeth Hicks ; that the " most ancient " 
in Witcombe, who had known it for sixty years, always 
remembered it as a great wood of timber of very great 
age and growth ; that the wood, when sold, was not 
contracted for by the cord, as copse or underwood, but 
by the number of trees, marked out in the woods by 
the buyer ; that most of it had been converted into 
boards, joists and rafters, to be used in building ; that 
he knew of at least forty houses within five miles of 
Witcombe which had been built and repaired with his 
beech timber ; and that some of it was of so large a 
growth that it had been bought by millers and clothiers 
and used for making mill shanks, mill crooks, and 
shrouds for mills. 

The case was directed to be tried at Gloucester 
Assizes. There the petition was dismissed as regarded 
the beech wood ; but as regards the other woods a small 
commission of magistrates was appointed, with Sir 
Francis Winnington of Willersley as chairman, to visit 
Witcombe Wood and make a report. The report 
upheld Sir Michael's contention, and the matter was 
given in his favour, but without costs. 

The relations between the rectory and the park were 
perhaps somewhat strained after this little adventure 
at law. But although Witcombe was a cul-de-sac it 
was not entirely without other neighbours given a 
desire to be neighbourly and a gregarious disposition. 
The roads were dreadful and the coach of the day 


was amazingly cumbersome, but time was no object, 
and visits were paid, and neighbouring ladies sat with 
Lady Hicks in her garden house and sipped syllabub in 
long-stemmed glasses, while the children played battle- 
dore and shuttlecock on the lawn. It was all very gay 
and leisurely, and with some of the neighbours real 
friendships were made. Mr. John Bridgman of Prink- 
nash, the beautiful old monastic house on the further 
side of Cooper's Hill, and Mr. Jonathan Castleman, 
who lived in a house close to the church at Cobberley 
up on the ridge beyond Birdlip, were made executors 
of Michael's will, so there must have been intimacy 
there ; the Hyetts of Hunt Court were friends also, and 
other neighbours were . the Snells of Witley Court, the 
Singletons of Parton Manor, the Lawrences of the 
Greenway, the Selwyns of Matson House, the Sandys 
of Miserden Park, the Rogers of Dowdeswell Court, and 
Mrs. Tracy of Sandiwell Park. 

A natural sequence would have been that Sarah should 
have married one of these country squires, but she never 
married at all. Her portrait in its oval frame gives an 
impression of ill-health, and when she was thirty years 
old she died in London in February, 1710. Very 
likely the family migrated each winter back to the 
home on St. Peter's Hill. The Witcombe Bible has 
the entry : — 

On Sunday Feb. 18, 1710, my Daughter Sarah Hickes dyed at my 
house on St. Peter's hill, London, and was buried on Friday the 24th 
of the same month under my pew at St. Bennet's Church, London. 

And in the following May Sir Michael died too, in 
an inn on the London Road between Abingdon and 
Faringdon — a road along which he had travelled very 
often, and an inn at which he was beyond doubt very 
well known : — 

May 4, 1710, being Thursday, Sir Michael Hickes departed this 
Life about five in the afternoon on the Road at Kingston's Inne, and 
was buried in ye Chancel of ye Parish Church of great Widcomb (his 
seat) in the County of Gloucester. 


Born into a Puritan England, Sir Michael, in his 
sixty-five years of life, had lived to see the inglorious 
Restoration of one Stuart King and the ignominious 
flight of another ; had survived the interlude of the 
Dutch William, and did not die until the reign of Queen 
Anne was almost over. He had been born in the life- 
time of John Milton, had lived in the atmosphere of 
the Restoration dramatists, and died one year before 
the first number of the Spectator was published. 

In the Norman chancel of Witcombe Church is an 
oak altar, black with age, on which is carved, " The gift 
of Charles Hellow, 1688." On the wall to the left of 
this hangs the marble monument of Sir Michael. At 
the top of the monument is a scutcheon with two coats, 
viz., Hicks impaling Howe. The red and the gold 
and the black have been renovated within the last 
decade, and the painted shield, perched above the wordy 
legend within its frame of carven marble, has an air of 
inimitable gaiety. 


HOWE HICKS, 1710 TO 1727. 

Sir Michael left his widow the house on St. Peter's 
Hill for her life, and certain Witcombe rents. Howe, 
who was nineteen years old when his father died, was 
to have the Witcombe estate, and deeds prove that Sir 
Michael had added to it considerably in his lifetime, 
not only by buying up small freeholds within the parish, 
but also by purchases in the adjoining parishes of Badge- 
worth and Shurdington. Alice's portion was to be 
£2,500. This was augmented by half of the similar 
portion which would have been Sarah's, and owing to the 
latter 's death she got eventually both her mother's pearl 
necklace and "great diamond." There is a miniature 
of her at Witcombe with brown hair piled high above a 
girlish face. She married in her nineteenth year, just 
nine months after her father's death. 

In the Vicar-General's office, Lambeth, — 

22nd Feby 1711-12 appeared William White of Little Somerford 
Wilts Esq aetat 23 Bachelor and alleged that he intended to marry 
Miss Alice Hicks of St. Peter's Paul's Wharf London, aged 18, 
spinster, with consent of her mother Dame Sus ah Hicks of the same, 
widow, and prayed for license to marry in the Parish Church of 
St. Bennett's Paul's Wharf, London. 

The intended marriage duly took place, and in the 
register of Little Somerford is a memorandum : — 

Susannah * the daughter of William and Alice White was born 
August 6th and baptized August the 23rd 1713 at Widcombe 

* She married Mr. William Earle of Eastcourt, Wilts, and had a 
great deal to do with the Witcombe of the next generation. 


Alice had very probably come to Witcombe to be 
present at her mother's marriage, for it was in that year 
of 1713 that Susannah Hicks married, as her third 
husband, Jonathan Castleman, a Witcombe neighbour 
and one of the executors of Sir Michael's will. The 
wedding took place in Witcombe Church. The old 
Witcombe register was kept in the house of the clerk 
and was mysteriously burnt, and the present one does 
not begin till 1749 ; but there are a number of tran- 
scripts in the diocesan register at Gloucester, and among 
them is : — 

Jonathan Castleman married Susan Lady Hicks 1713. 

The Castleman family had bought the manor of 
Cobberley from Lord Downe about 1650, and the 
ancient Court house, with its oriel windows, was near 
the church. From the evidence of letters which will 
be quoted, it would seem that Jonathan Castleman was 
a widower with grown-up children, and that Howe, 
whose mother and sister had both deserted him, joined 
the family party at Cobberley for a time. In 1720, 
however, Jonathan sold Cobberley for £40,000 to Mr. 
John How, the father of the first Lord Chedworth, and 
he and Susannah then migrated to the little town of 

In the year 1717 Howe Hicks himself married a lady 
named Mary Watts. Her father's name was Jeffry 
and her mother's Fortune, and they lived at Leigh 
Magna in Essex and were people of some substance ; 
and Fortune's picture is at Witcombe and portrays a 
fair, clearly-cut face which looks down from its frame 
out of a white hood with an air of immense reticence ; 
and there is another very decorative picture of a fair- 
haired boy holding a bow and arrow, who, legend says, 
was Mary Watts' first husband, Benjamin Eames — so 
she must have been a widow when Howe married 
her. The marriage settlement has disappeared, but is 
referred to in a list of deeds, and she is there named as 

HOWE HICKS, 1710 TO 1727. 241 

Mary Watts. It doesn't matter much — she would not 
matter at all, except that she is so absolutely Georgian 
in appearance that she might have come directly from 
corrupt little Herrenhausen itself, in the wake of the 
first George, with whose reign her married life at 
Witcombe was almost contemporaneous, for both ended 
together in 1727. King George I. was uneducated and 
had neither wit nor taste, and even provincial manners 
became infected by the depravity of the Court ; and 
Mary's portrait is a most curious commentary on that 
fact. If it had been painted a century later she 
would, no doubt, have had the air of a stout, plain, 
yet eminently virtuous British matron; but the Georgian 
artist has made her stolid and reminiscent of mean 
asperities, and yet, somehow, not virtuous at all — not 
positively so at any rate. 

Life in the narrow manor house facing the woods 
did, perhaps, deteriorate in those few years ; did, 
perhaps, lose its hold on realities and tend to become 
a survival only. It is this want of apparent continuity 
in things which is the desolation of the egotist. For 
Sir Michael had been the rapture of creation — quite 
beyond any expression of his, no doubt, but there all 
the same — and within the framework he had achieved, 
life should have grown towards a completeness not of 
pleasure, of course, but of actual experience, with 
insight into all the present moment holds. The father 
had made ready for the arrival of to-morrow, but the 
son was not the one appointed to gather that which lay 
on the horizon — for him was no tide calling in the 
night. People's accounts are always a complete betrayal 
of their lives, and Howe's accounts are startling enough 
because of the limitations of the spending. Here is a 
page selected for its greater interest : — 

£ s. d. 
pd for a Peck of Turnips . . . .003 

pd for Grinding Benjamin's sisors . . .002 
pd for Shrimps . . . . . .006 

The horse myself and Pike . . . .006 

C.F. R 


£ s. d. 

pd for a Leg of Veal 4 

pd for three Cupple for Chirkins . . .026 
pd for one Cubbard hinge . . . .002 

pd for a neck of Mutton . . . .012 

Give a poor man . . . . . .001 

pd for spinning the Mop Yarn . . .016 
pd for two Quartes of Sack and bottles . .053 

Spent 10 

pd for a Necke of Mutton . . . .012 

Paid for Trype 10 

The horse myself and Pike . . . .007 
Give a poor man . . . . . .002 

pd for a Goose 2 

pd for shooing the horse . . . .006 
pd for a pair of Storkins for Mrs. Hickes .020 

pd for a Crabb 10 

For 4 yards and half of Fryse . . . 19 6 

pd for a Jews harp 1 J 

pd for a horning Book . . . . .002 

pd for Quilting two Petty Coats . . .066 
pd for two pairs of Gloves . . . .016 

pd for two Gallons of Brandy . . . 6 
pd for two pair of Cotten Sleeves . . .030 
My own expenses . . . . . .020 

pd for rosting pig . . . . .020 

Give John Birk's man a Quart of Ale . .003 
pd for sossages . . . . . .007 

for Oysters 12 

The Jew's harp and the horning book are the only 
direct evidences here of the presence of children at 
Witcombe. Howe had a Bible of his own, and wrote 
on the fly-leaf: — 

My Eldest Daughter Susannah was Born the 19th of June 1718. 

My Second Daughter Mary was Born the 20th of Nov br 1719. 

My son Michael was born the 5th of Jan 1721 

And dyed the 6th of March 1721. 

My Second Son How was born August 8th 1722. 

In the attics in the steep dormer roof the children 
lived their rigorous Georgian lives, and in the closet 
built out of the dining-room their father sat at his 
inlaid walnut bureau and added up figures with the aid 
of tails of dots (there are sheets of paper covered 
with these dots), and paid his outdoor servants from 

HOWE HICKS, 1710 TO 1727. 243 

the closet window, and penned, at his leisure, letters to 
his step-father, and made leisurely copies of the same 
for the joyous edification of his posterity. 

In February, 1718, Susannah Castleman, who still 
called herself Lady Hickes, made up her mind that she 
was dying, and from her bed at Cobberley she scribbled 
incoherently to her son : — 

"Dear How. If I should die suddenly before I 
see you, pray pay my debts, and don't think it hard. 
For the three years and half I was a widow I never 
received a hundred a year, and since I married not 
full three hundred rent charged (?) For the twenty 
pounds I receive in Gloucestershire do not pay the 
taxes and charges of that at London. For you 
know that I have but 4 score and ten pounds, and 
that twenty pounds will not make that up one 
hundred a year. So if you reckon hundred and fifty 
pound a year to make them rent charge, it is but four 
hundred and fifty pounds a year, and I have no 
monies to make good six hundred pounds a year per 
annum, so that considering this it is not so hard. 

" I desire you to carry me privately to Widcome, 
and lay me by your father as privately as you can, 
and hope you will mourn for me, though I leave you 
no mourning, and hope your sister will do so too. 
This is the earnest desire of your dying mother 

"S. Hickes." 

Susannah did not die for nearly six years after this, 
and two years later Cobberley manor was sold and the 
Castlemans migrated along the hilltop to Painswick 
town. From here Jonathan Castleman presently sent 
to his step-son by hand the following epistle : — 

" Painswick, Friday 19 July 1723 

" Being in great Distress, even in such distress that 
I was forced lately to borrow Thirty Guineas, and 



having perused our Account (Errors excepted) I find 
you are in arrear last Midsummer 208 - 5 - 8, the 2 
Bills you paid my son Lowfield included. 

" I desire you seriously to consider that your 
estate is certain, Terra Firma; mine Floating and 
precarious, which gives me many a melancholy 
thought, and obliges me to make the most of what I 
have, and to lay up what I can for my poor younger 
children. I am grown old, and my time may be but 
short : Ten pounds per annum is too much for me to 
lose, and you may remember you have more than 
once voluntarily promised to make me satisfaction 
for the time you, your servant and horses were at 

" Therefore, that you may not give me the 
uneasiness of writing, nor yourself the uneasiness of 
receiving, such letters as this, for the future I desire 
you to pay me this money as soon as you can, and 
you'll oblige 

" Your humble Serv* 

"J. Castelman." 

Howe kept a copy of his answer, and it is dated 
August 3rd, 1728 :— 

" Sir. 

" I had answered yours by your Servant, but that 
I thought it required some consideration ; accord- 
ingly I have taken your advice and done it seriously, 
and cant say, that, Considering the Difficulty of 
raising Money, and the daily unavoidable expenses of 
a family but that I am glad to find the Arrears Rise 
no higher against me. I need not tell you that it is 
impossible to convert the Profit of Land into Money 
fast enough to answer so near a Demand ; and I 
hope you would not desire me to run into debt to 
answer the Present Deficiency of my Estate which 
in time will be able to make good your whole 

HOWE HICKS, 1710 TO 1727. 245 

Demand without any assistance. I purpose to help 
you to what money I can speedingly, and endeavour 
at Michaelmas or quickly after to even with you to 
Lady Day, when I hope you wont insist upon the 
loss of ten pounds per annum : for were the Estate 
grown, you must have better luck with it than ever I 
have had, to be paid so well. I can truly say I have 
one tenant that has not even'd with me to last Lady 
Day twelvemonth, or I would not have given you 
cause to have sent to me now. I dont pretend to 
deny what I promised at Coberley, but flattered 
myself to think you would have been so kind as to 
have Esteem two hundred per annum a sufficient 
demand upon a little estate at present, and have 
waited for the promise of the performance till 
my annuity might cease when either I (or They 
that Survive me) may be better able to answer 
your charge. Especially since I believe you may 
remember you have said you would never put me 
to straights, which a Compliance with your present 
Demand must certainly bring upon Sir, Your humble 

"H. H." 

Susannah Castleman died at Painswick in November, 
1724, and, in accordance with her wish of six years 
earlier, she was brought to Witcombe and buried 
beside her second husband in the chancel of the church 
there ; and the inscription on the monument makes no 
mention either of Mr. Everard or Mr. Castleman. 
Fifteen months later the latter again took up his 
pen: — 

" D r S ir 

" The tender regard I bear to the memory of your 
late deceased mother and my wife, makes me sollici- 
tous about the payment of her Debts, fearing least 
any scandalous Reflections should be thrown upon 


the Ashes of so dear a Friend ; and I doubt not but 
the memory of so Indulgent a Parent, as I know 
she has been in a more particular manner to you, will 
have the same effect upon you. 

" She has now been dead more than a year, it is 
therefore high time that All her Debts were paid ; I 
need not I hope remind you that Nature as well as 
Duty requires this Last kind Office at your Hands, 
which you know she so earnestly desired, both by 
Letter, and a Message sent to you by your Sister 
White, which could not be about her Bond debts, 
and therefore must be her Debts in General, Which 
you Yourself so often and so solemnly promised Her 
upon Her Dying-Bed before so many Witnesses of 
the Best People this Town affords ; and such a 
Promise to anyone at such a Juncture ought to be 
looked upon as Sacred and Invoilable, but more 
especially to a Tender Dying mother, who depending 
entirely upon the Performance of that Promise, went 
out of the World without Doubt, with the more 
Complacency and Satisfaction. 

" The payment of these Debts is what the World 
expects from one of us, though we are neither of us 
obliged thereto by Law, nor I by promise, though 
you are, and therefore by Conscience. 

" She never expected nor desired me to pay them, 
and you may remember that you not only assured 
me that you would pay them, but gave me your 
Hand upon it. 

" Neither can your promise be fulfilled by paying 
only the Debts you were bound for, because you 
were Obliged to that before : besides your promise 
being General, without any Exception, must neces- 
sarily extend to all her debts ; and I think the 
Uneasiness which happened betwixt your mother 
Mrs. Hickes and yourself so near her Death (which 
I daresay you have been sorry for since) should 
be a particular Reason for the fulfilling a Promise to 

HOWE HICKS, 1710 TO 1727. 247 

her, the Performance of which (if she could know it) 
would even Now be pleasing to Her. 

" You know I was at a considerable Charge for the 
Funeral, and I assure you I lent Her a great deal of 
Money, so I hope you'll not expect that I should do 
any more, nor take this letter by the wrong Handle, 
as if I intended a breach of Friendship, for I desire to 
Live and Die in Love and Charity with all the World, 
and more particularly with You, from the ' Relation 
there is between us. All my family joins with me in 
humble service to yourself and Mrs. Hickes and your 
little ones. I am S r your humble Servant 

"J. Castelman. 
" Painswick, Fri 2 Feb 1725-6." 

To this immortal composition Howe returned a 
spirited answer : — 

" Sir. The Close of your late Letter discovers an 
earnest inclination for our Living in a Friendly 
becoming Manner, which is sincerely my Desire, for I 
bear not only a regard for you but for every individual 
Branch of your Family : what at present remains for 
me to do is to acquit myself of a Seeming Casuistical 
Charge. In order to do which be pleased to remember 
that some years ago at Coberley you told me my 
mother wanted to borrow a hundred pounds of you, 
and offered me as a Security ; one would think my 
answer Then was Sufficient to Discover the intentions 
of my mind ; for I told you I was too deeply Engaged 
before, and would be concerned no farther. Again, 
upon a later application of my mother to me for 
money, I sent her for answer (a copy of which I have 
by me, and read once to you) that nothing had ever 
bred so much uneasiness between my wife and me ; 
inasmuch that I had Soberly Promised Her never to 
be further Engaged, nor suffer my money to be drawn 
out of my Pocket. These Declarations seem to need 


no Explanation ; Mrs. Lawrence and Mrs. Clement 
can testify I often pressed her to Dun for her Debt, 
for as she might think it hard to lose it, I should 
think it as much so to pay it ; neither would I pay 
Her or anyone else more than I was engaged for. 
But to coroborate these assertions I seem to have 
your Concurrent Testimony ; for I cant imagine, had 
you deemed me my mother's paymaster, you would 
have suffered anyone to< Ransack her Boxes and 
Trunks, but have left them for my Examination. 

" The Creditors themselves plainly discover where 
they expect their payment, for, excepting Lander 
(who told me he was sent by you) not one has 
Pretended to make a Demand upon me ; and I think 
you might as well have sent Holder the Butcher with 
his Bill because my mother ordered the meat. You 
seem to lay great stress upon the contents of a letter 
writ seven or eight years ago wherein my mother 
desires me, in case she should Dye Suddenly and 
before she should see me again — I would bury her by 
my Father. (Had she then dyed) The many 
Hundreds I have paid you Since would have enabled 
me to do it and have left Plenty in my Pockets 
besides, but the number of times we have met since 
have made that letter of no Significance. And as for 
the message sent by my Sister White — I dont 
remember there was one word about the debts ; but 
in case there was, I dont think anyone desiring me 
to pay Their Debts is a Sufficient Reason to Engage 
me to it. 

" You farther think I can be discharged from my 
Promise by paying only the Debts I am Engaged 
for; but I can assure you had my mother kept 
her promise, I had had no Reason to pay either 
Principle or Interest (which she often assured me I 
never should). But when I came and found her in a 
Dying Condition, and unable to perform her Promise, 
I thought it my Duty to do what lay in my Power 

HOWE HICKS, 1710 TO 1727. 249 

to make her last moments easy by acquitting Her 
of it. 

" But for you to suppose me to engage for Debts 
that I know nothing of, you could Judge me to be no 
better than a Mad-man or a Fool : and that she could 
not mistake my meaning must appear from the 
contents of the letter sent her as above, which if you 
had bin pleased to communicate to the Parties (who 
were then Present in the Room) it would necessarily 
have set their opinions right; whereas, hearing but 
part of what had passed betwixt us, no wonder if they 
ran into wrong Judgment. 

" You suppose the Debts will be expected of one 
of us, but that neither of us are obliged to pay 'em. 
That's a Question I wont take upon me to Determine, 
tho' I think myself very safe, and am apt to believe, 
should my wife run in Debt, I should scarcely find a 
Conscientious person that would pay the money 
for me. 

" The Dispute you mention, that happened between 
my Mother, Wife and Self sometime before her 
Death, occasions no uneasiness to either of us, for as 
we said Nothing but the Truth, I see no reason to be 

" I am Sensible no man can be on Evidence in his 
own Cause, but believe anyone may be admitted to 
explain his own meaning, which I think I have done 
sufficiently. You go on to explain you have lent my 
Mother a great deal of Money : So have I my wife, 
which you would think very unreasonable to pay. 
Had my Mother died a Widow, and without Effects, 
I would have taken care to provide a decent Inter- 
ment for Her : but I know not what I have more to 
do to Bury your wife, than you mine, and I am apt 
to believe had Mrs. Horde* died first, you would 
have thought it His business and not yours to have 
Reposited her Remains. 

* Must have been a Castleman relation. 


" There ought to be more, and much better linen 
than what I have yet received, which my Mother 
must either have left in Trouble (like other things) or, 
by a too rough usage, have converted into floor cloth 
before the time. 

"As to what things properly Appertain to my 
Mother, every individual one ought to be sold (be it 
never so small a value) before anyone should be 
Questioned for her Debts ; but as I dont design 
to trouble myself about 'em, I need not be under any 
concern more than for my Own, an Inventory of 
Which, if my mother had given me, as she ought, 
there had been no Room (through Mistakes) for any 
injury to be done to Either of us. What I have to 
add is that the whole world must allow I can best tell 
whether I speak Truth or not ; I shall therefore esteem 
myself a properer Judge of my own Conscience that 
Anyone Else : I cant do better than give the same 
advice you do, which is that you would not take this 
Letter by the wrong Handle, since the Intent of it is 
only to set Truth in a clear Light, which yours to me 
made necessary to be done. 

" You had not stayed so long for an answer, but 
that I have bin almost continually out of order, and 
at best but an indifferent Proficient at the Pen 
especially upon such unwelcome occasions. 

" Our Respects wait on you and all the good Family, 
and I desire to continue S r your humble Servant as 
long as I remain 

"How Hickes. 

" I find a few Books belonging to you, therefore I 
send them by the Bearer, being unwilling to Detain 
another's Right." 

To Jonathan, however, was the triumph of the last 

" S r . Meum and Tuum is said to separate Best 

HOWE HICKS, 1710 TO 1727. 251 

Friends, and that I might do nothing unbecoming a 
Gentleman or a Xtian ? you have staid so long for an 
Answer, that, in a cool and sedate temper, I might 
write nothing unfit for me to send or you to receive. 

" In this Casuistical charge (as you are pleased to 
call it) if you have satisfied yourself, you have 
satisfied me ; very likely I have seen your letter to 
my wife, but have since forgot it ; and since you are 
resolved not to pay these Debts, I am resolved I will, 
though not from any the least sense of Danger, 
having the Opinion of the Learned in the Law that I 
am not liable but from the Honour and Love I bear 
to her Memory, verily believing that had she outlived 
me, she would have paid my debts if I had left any. 

" If the Occasion of my last letter was unwelcome 
to you, I Desire this may not be so, and I wish you 
had Expressed your Resentments in Milder Terms. 

" As for the Ransacking her Boxes and Trunks, it 
was not done Privately, Mr. Abbot* being present, 
and I dare Affirm that you are now no greater a loser 
than if you had been by, for you know she could 
leave nothing of value behind her, one half Guinea, 
one shilling, and a few halfpence being all that was 
found : this I shall say to Nobody but her own Son ; 
and I flatter myself you have still a better Opinion of 
my honesty than to think I would conceal anything. 
Any Writings or Papers of Concern or whatever 
Else of Right belonging to you would have been 
kept for you. 

" The Creditors you may be assured would never 
come to you because of your declaring your Resolu- 
tions to pay none of them, and, in my Judgment 
your Opinion is very ill-grounded that I might as 
well have sent Holder with his bill as Lander, because 
his bill was for Sugars Syrrops and other things for 
the use of her Physik Closet ; neither had I sent him 
had you not promised to pay her Debts ; and I 

* Rector of Witcombe Magna, 1681 to 1733. 


cannot think you really believe I would have Ordered 
him to bring you a Bill for Sugars or anything else I 
had used in my House. I will Judge more charitably 
of you than you seem at Present to Judge of me, 
and think that if my Wife had lived till this time or 
longer you would not have unwillingly paid her Rent 
Charge, considering she Quitted so good a Jointure 
in your Favour. 

"You will allow there must be some difference 
between the desire of a Mother to her Son to pay her 
debts, and such a desire from one Acquaintance to 

"My wife's promise to you that you should pay 
neither principal nor interest cannot say I ever heard 
of before, but you must needs know her poor 
Circumstances too well to believe she could perform 
it — These debts I suppose will not reach an hundred 
pounds, and No Body could have judged you either a 
Madman or a Fool for generously paying Such a sum 
for Such a Mother — This your letter to my Wife 
I have not seen since I came hither, neither do 
I know where it is (probably it is lost or burnt) so 
that I could not have communicated it, and if I could, 
I should not, because I thought then you would pay 
these debts. 

" I shall say no more of the Dispute between your 
mother and you, only that Truth, such Truth, ought 
not to be spoke at all Times nor to all Persons, 
especially to a mother in such a Condition. If you 
had, in your Promise to your mother on her Death- 
bed excepted all the Debts but those you were bound 
for, your words would have needed no Explanation. 

" As to the Linnen, I know not, neither do my 
Daughters, of one the least piece belonging to you 
in this House, and as a Proof that I sent you all, you 
may remember I sent you a parcel of Towells with 
no mark because they were pinned up with one 
marked with H. and I believe my wife would not 

HOWE HICKS, 1710 TO 1727. 253 

have converted any Linnen into Florcloth that had 
heen fit for any other use. , 

" What things properly appertained to your mother, 
I think properly appertain to me, for you have a just 
claim to nothing but what was your Father's, as 
I hear you have fairly acknowledged ; and since 
I have just paid some, and will pay the rest of her 
Debts, There will be no Occasion to sell anythings 
that appertained to her, for I will keep y m (as of little 
value as they are) yet very valuable to me) for her 
sake ; and if you please to look over our Marriage 
Agreement, you will find, where she orders her goods 
to be sold to pay her debts, she excepts her wearing 
Apparel. I suppose if you had asked for an Inven- 
tory your mother would have given you one. A 
clear Conscience is a blessed Comfort. I am sorry 
you have been out of order, and this I hope will find 
you better. I have received the Books, and question 
not if you find more I shall have them ; neither would 
I Conceal or Detain your Right. You know of 
the clock in the Hall which a workman has valued at 
5 or 6£, a Jack which I will send you by Holder, 
a Cane Chair, the outside of the Bed my wife dyed in, 
in which I desire to dye also, and a quilt. Therefore 
what you think it worth, if you please, I will pay you 
for them. Here are some little pictures, and small 
silver Trifles, wch when you see (and Judging them 
your Father's demand them) I will deliver to you. 

" I desire to have no Answer to this letter, only the 
return of a visit which you have long Owed me, that 
the Friendly usual Correspondence may be Continued 
between you and 

"S r 
" Your humble servant 

"J. Castelman." 
" Painswick, Sat 30 April 1726. 

" I send you three books. I am not sure, but 


I think Sir P. Herbert's Memoirs is yours and the 
ArchBp of York's Sermons, and if I find more you 
shall have them. I remember Mr. Brown said you 
knew of ten Pounds due to my wife, and there 
were ten pounds left in Mr. Feary's hands, I think, 
which my son Lowfield left her for mourning. And 
if you know of any Arrears of Rent due to her, the 
Michaelmas before she dyed I shall be obliged to you 
to Inform me. 

" My Brother John's and my Daughter's and my 
humble Services to yourself, My Daughter, and my 
Blessing to your little ones." 

Howe had no intention of ending the matter in 
the friendly manner suggested by his step-father : for 
horse and man it was but six miles across country to 
Painswick, but there is no evidence that the suggested 
visit was ever paid, and since he was debarred from 
writing again to Jonathan, it was to Miss Castleman 
that a final letter was directed. It is not conciliatory, 
and betrays intense pettiness. : — 

" Charles informs me Mr. Castelman would 
willingly keep the chairs in the Little Parlour, the 
Clock and the two Peer Glasses : as for the Chairs 
already sent, they are so much the worse for wearing 
that they are worth next to nothing, therefore I shall 
expect the others, and for the Glasses I shall likewise 
have occasion for them. As for the Clock — if Mr. 
Castelman pleases he shall have it at what any under- 
standing workman shall value it at." 

Jonathan lived for twelve years after all this fuss, 
and there is a monument to him in the chancel of 
Painswick Church surmounted by his arms, Azure on 
a mount in base proper, a castle triple towered Or : — 

In Memory of Jonathan Castleman Esq 1 , who 

was a Person of strict Probity, extensive Charity, 

primitive Piety. He died Anno jEtatis 77 Dom 


HOWE HICKS, 1710 TO 1727. 255 

His name also appears twice in the lists on the 
painted boards hung in the north aisle ; he was one 
of the eleven trustees of the Painswick Charity School, 
and was also a donor of £10 to the said school. He 
evidently took his part in the small affairs of the hill 
town, although he left no permanent mark on its 
history, and it has not even been possible to discover 
where he lived. Laughable as he is, he emerges 
insensibly from the correspondence with an air of 
placid, if meretricious, triumph ; and he achieved that 
which is a solid triumph in any quarrel — he out-lived 
his step-son. 

Howe probably had bad health ; he complains of 
being " out of order," and he died in 1727 at the age of 
thirty-eight. He left Witcombe to his wife for her 
life, and she was to have the right of entry to the wood, 
and as much firewood and timber for repairs as she 
wanted. She did not survive to enjoy these privileges, 
for she died in the following year, and drew up a will 
of her own of which she made Charles Hyett of the 
city of Gloucester and the Rev. John Browne of 
Salperton Park and rector of Coberley executors. She 
left money and jewels to her daughters, but the bulk 
of her estate to her son Howe, and to him also " my 
largest gold watch with the picture of our Blessed 
Saviour and his mother sett in gold on silver and 
usually hung thereto." 


sir harry, sir robert, and sir john baptist hicks. 
1703 to 1791. 

Howe I. died, and Howe II. reigned in his stead, 
and was five years old at the time of his father's death ; 
and he lived to the age of seventy-eight and succeeded 
to the family baronetcy in 1792. His life covers practi- 
cally the whole of the eighteenth century, and behind 
it are the vague shadows of his cousins, Sir Harry, 
Sir Robert, and Sir John Baptist. 

Sir William Hicks, second baronet,* of Ruckholt and 
Beverstone, who had married Marthagnes Coningsby of 
North Mims, was the father of Sir Harry, and the 
grandfather of Sir Robert and Sir John Baptist, who 
were first cousins, John Baptist being son of Sir 
William's youngest son, Charles Hicks. 

Sir Harry Hicks, third baronet, was forty-seven years 
old in 1703, when he succeeded his father, Sir William, 
and inherited the Beverstone property in Gloucester- 
shire, together with Ruckholt and the other Essex 
estate of Chigwell Hall which his father had bought 
in 1667. He married, first, Elizabeth, daughter of 
Admiral Sir John Holmes, and had three children who 
all died in childhood. Elizabeth herself died in 1705, 
and Sir Harry then married Barbara Johnson, the 
daughter of a Walthamstow neighbour, and by her 
had ten children, four of whom, Robert, Michael, 
Martha, and Anne, lived to maturity. 

Sir Harry was evidently in constant need of money, 

* Elder brother of Sir Michael Hicks, Kt., of Witcombe. 


and there is no need to suppose that his eldest son's 
debts were his sole embarrassment. It is laid to his 
charge that he cut down the great grove at Ruckholt ; 
but, after all, trees do not live for ever, and the right 
moment to fell them may have arrived.* In 1720 he 
sold Ruckholt itself to Benjamin Collier, and its 
subsequent vicissitudes are related by Mr. Kennedy in 
his " History of Leyton." From Collier it was bought 
by the Earl of Tylney for his eldest son, Lord Castle- 
main, who did not live there after he succeeded to the 
title, but let it to one William Barton, who made it 
into a public Breakfasting House, and it was advertised 
by Barton in the years 1742 to 1744 in the Daily 
Advertiser as one of Queen Elizabeth's palaces. There 
is another account ot Ruckholt in the Gentleman s 
Magazine for 1814, in No. VII. of a series of articles 
Of the London Theatres: "Ruckholt-house is said to have 
been the mansion of Queen Elizabeth ; it is now 
mentioned as forming for a short period an auxiliary 
place of amusement for the summer to the established 
theatres, and situate within the environs of London. 
It was opened about the year 1742 by the proprietor 
Wm. Barton with public breakfasts, weekly concerts, 
and occasional orations. The place is described in a 
ballad addressed To Delia : — 

Delia in whose form we trace, 

All that can a virgin grace, 

Hark where pleasure blith as May, 

Bids us to Ruckolt (haste) away. 

Verdant vertos, melting sounds, 
Magic echoes, fairy rounds, 
Beauties everywhere surprize, 
Sure that spot dropt from the skies. 

Delia in, etc. 

The " sweet singers of Ruckholt " are immortalised 
by Shenstone ; and the place appears to have been the 
drive of fashion for about three seasons. In " Music in 

* Mr. Strype says that it had. 
C.F, S 


good Time : a new ballad 1745," it is enumerated with 
other places in the following stanza : — 

That Yauxhall and Ruckholt and Rcmelagh too, 
And Hoocton and Sadler's, both old and new, 
My Lord Cobham's head, and the Dulwich Green-man 
They make as much pastime as ever they can. 

Derry down, etc. 

Public amusements did not continue there after the 
summer of 1756. The house was pulled down in 1757. 
Towards the end of the eighteenth century a small, 
square farmhouse was built on the site of what had been 
Ruckholt Manor House, and a Mr. Samuel Turner 
lived there and farmed the land until 1804, when he 
was followed by his son William, whose only daughter 
married John Tyler. The Tylers succeeded to the 
farm, which was known by their name for forty-nine 
years. In 1880 the house was engulphed in the rapidly 
advancing tide of yellow brick of the modern Leyton, 
and it is impossible to-day to be sure of its exact site, 
but it is somewhere in the neighbourhood of, and to 
the south of, the town-hall. 

The dilapidation of the Ruckholt house was, perhaps, 
a valid reason for its evacuation by Sir Harry, but he 
sold a great part of the Chigwell estate too, although 
he kept the manorial rights, and, as a schedule of 1800 
shows, enough property to bring in a rental of about 
£1,000 a year. He lived in Chigwell itself, in a 
house which he built and which has been pulled down 
within the last twenty years. Chigwell is a village on 
the borders of Epping Forest, and has kept its country 
character. " The greatest place in the world," Charles 
Dickens called it in 1841, when he invited his friend 
John Forster to go with him there. " Name your day 
for going, such a delicious old inn facing the Church, 
such a lovely ride, such forest scenery, such an out-of- 
the-way rural place." The delicious old inn, the Kings 
Head, is the Maypole Inn in " Barnaby Rudge." Sir 
Harry's brick house was in a road called Chigwell Row, 


and was divided from it by a hedge and a screen of 
trees. The house, which he called the Bowling Green, 
was long known as Bowls. 

Sir Harry Hicks died in 1755 and was buried, at his 
desire, in the churchyard of Low Leyton, and in the 
same grave as his first wife, Elizabeth ; a plain altar 
tombstone on the west side of the church bears both 
their names, and a Latin eulogy on Elizabeth says that 
she was, with much else, " courtly and modest, virtuous 
and affectionate." 

Two wills of Sir Harry's are in existence. In the first, 
dated 1749, he directs that property at Minety in 
Gloucestershire is to be sold to the extent of £1,000, 
and that with it an attempt is to be made to compound 
with his son Robert's creditors. Annuities of £200 a 
year are left to each of his four children. In the case 
of Robert this was to be paid quarterly and into his 
own hands : " My Intent being that it shall not be in 
the power of my said son Robert Hickes to alien or 
Dispose of the said Annuity or any part thereof before 
the same shall be actually received, the same being 
intended by me for a Personal provision and Main- 
tenance for my said son Robert Hickes only during his 
natural life." He goes on to say that his further will 
and mind is that if Mary Greydon, alias Hickes, shall 
survive Robert Hickes she is to have £50 per annum 
for life in quarterly payments. The will of 1749 then 
provides that all profits of the estates, shall be divided 
between the brothers Robert and Michael yearly as the 
trustees in their discretion shall appoint, and a strict 
entail is made. But in the final will of 1743 Robert is 
cut out altogether ; everything is left (after the debts 
and annuities are paid) to Michael and his heirs, and 
the estates are then entailed on John Baptist, the son 
of Sir Harry's brother Charles. 

Sir Robert Hicks, fourth baronet, is, somehow, less 
of a shadow than his father, perhaps because his 
disreputable life was a perfectly definite thing. He 



had apparently no resentment against the brother who 
had supplanted him, for three months after their father's 
death he writes a friendly letter "to be left at the 
Coffee House in the Grove " at Bath : — 

" Dear Sir. As you desire the copy of the Will 
in my Hands by return of the Post (I) send it you 
torn as it is, not being willing to make you wait the 
transcribing. I was in hopes to have heard the 
Waters proved salutary and the Companys agreable 
but find business at present takes place both of 
Health and pleasure. However shall interrupt you 
so far to let you know an affair affirmed to be just 
discovered and not known but to a Few. Vid z . We 
are to be invaded in 3 places nearly at the same time : 
one is in Scotland by Twenty Thousand Swedes as 
Auxiliarys to France, one in the South of England 
by the French, and the other by D° in the West. 
However whether this prove true or no, Transports 
are certainly sailed for the Hessians and Dutch. I 
believe something Extraordinary must be near at 
hand for the Ministry press their friends hard to fill 
this Subscription which is now at a Discount. In 
your next, if your Business is with the Lady's, I 
hope to hear they are like to prove as kind as fair. 
I am Sir your most affec* 8 Brother 

"R. Hickes. 

" Thursday Feb. 5 : 1756. 

" My Dame desires to be kindly remembered to 

"I believe you have Noblemen and Members of 
Parliament with you." 

The year 1756 saw the beginning of that general 
European war known to history as the Seven Years' 
War, and the baronet's letter to his brother is a direct 
illustration of the assertion of Bright, the historian : 
" Meanwhile the courage of the nation had sunk very 


low. There was a dread of an immediate French inva- 
sion ; and the Government so thoroughly lost heart as to 
request the King to garrison England with Hanoverian 
troops. This dread was kept alive by a simulated 
collection of French troops in the North." 

Only one more letter of Sir Robert's is in existence ; 
it is dated 1757, and is signed "with great affection 
your loving brother." It is evidently one of a series, not 
only from himself, but from Mary Greydon too, and it 
shows that Michael was making him an allowance of 
three guineas a week paid weekly, and that Robert 
considered it might just as well be five guineas. In 
the following year Michael himself wrote a letter which 
he meant to be final, and of which he kept a copy. 
The opening sentences allude to the fact that Sir 
Robert had gone blind : — 

" May y" 23 d 1758 
" Dear Sir. Your letter of the above date is this 
moment come to my hand. I answer it with trouble 
in my own mind, not seeing it wrote by your own 
hand. But Acts of Providence we must all willingly 
resign to. 

"My accounts I regularly keep, and have kept, 
and will stand the test, both in my Father's and my 
own time since. The money you have had, and I 
paid, I will swear to. Any acts you have done are 
your own preservative more than mine, and I can 
faithfully declare both before God and man, I never 
asked you to do any act or deed upon my own 
account in my life or ever will. 

"Necessitys of humane life are well and easily 
supplied with prudence and ^Economy, which in my 
last letter I hinted to you. 

" Brotherly affection and tenderness to each other 
are just and laudable, and every man is my brother 
who uses me well. 

" I did never neglect my duty to you, but I will 
not beggar and draw myself into the same calamities 


with you, for then I can neither serve you, nor take 
care of the little estates that yet remain, nor follow 
the instructions of a dying parent. 

" Voluntary necessities are not the Acts of Provi- 
dence but our own seeking, and I verily believe the 
greatest part of every man's misfortunes are generally 
owing to their own misconduct. Pardon this digression. 
I am always ready to draw a veil over all disagreeable 
actions and topicks, and no cure can ever be adminis- 
tered by relation of past facts ; nor do I trouble 
myself about them. 

" I shall conclude this answer to yours with a text 
out of Scripture : ' He is wise, who is wise to 
Salvation.' " 

The problem of the ne'er-do-weel is a recurrent one 
in nearly every family, and is as baffling as the rarer 
occurrence of genius itself. Both the ne'er-do-weel and 
the genius, in their different ways, diverge at a tangent 
from the main current of the family history, and the 
family regards the one divergence as a tragedy and 
looks on the other with elation. As a rule it is 
sufficient merely to be sorry about the one and glad of 
the other — and let it rest at that : for the divergence in 
both cases ends, it can be generally observed, in a 

Robert died in 1768 and was buried in the church- 
yard of Hemel Hempstead, in a grave which cannot 
now be identified. His burial certificate is very 
curious : — - 

"April y e 6th 1758 Sir Robert Hicks Baronet 
aged about 55 years. He departed this life 
March 31 st preceding. N.B. This gentleman was 
the eldest son of the late Sir Harry Hickes Bart of 
Chigwell in Essex. He married Mary the only 
daughter of Admiral Greydon late of Fordwick in 
Kent, grand Daughter of the learned and celebrated Sir 
Edwd Gregory, his present disconsolate Dame — a 


lady endued with every accomplishment which can 
add ornament and honor to her sex." 

This is the only marriage certificate of Mary 
Greydon's in existence. She outlived Sir Robert 
fifteen years, and was buried at Hemel Hempstead, too, 
on June 3rd, 1783, under the name of Mary Hicks. 

Sir John Baptist Hicks, fifth baronet, is for posterity 
simply a name on the pedigree and a monument in a 

Charles Hicks, his father, younger and only surviv- 
ing brother of Sir Harry, had married a Coningsby 
(evidently one of their mother's relations, and probably 
a cousin) ; John Baptist was their only son, and there 
were two daughters, Juliana and Genevieve, or, as it is 
sometimes spelt, Jenaviva. 

Charles Hicks died in 1760, so when his nephew, Sir 
Robert, died in 1768, it was John Baptist who 
succeeded to the title. He married, May 2nd, 1771, 
at St. Andrew's, Holborn, Farrington Bristow, of a 
Nottinghamshire family. Thoroton's " History of Not- 
tinghamshire " says that John Bristowe was Cup-bearer 
to Henry IV., that in 35 Hen. VIII. John Bristowe 
possessed the manor of Beesthorpe, and that William 
Bristowe of Beesthorpe, a justice of the peace for the 
county, had by his wife, one of the daughters and 
co-heirs of John Bookey of Woodford, Essex, two sons 
and two daughters. Farrington, who married Sir John 
Baptist Hicks, was the youngest daughter, and she 
inherited a moiety of the manor of Winchburn. The 
names of these places and people cannot be galvanised 
into life. John Baptist lived in Hertfordshire, where 
he had been brought up. He had a house in the little 
country town of Hoddesdon, and was buried in the 
church of the next parish of Broxbourne, where an 
unpretentious marble tablet says that he died on 
November 23rd, 1791, aged seventy, and that Lady 
Farrington Hicks lived till 1813, when she was aged 


eighty-eight. The Chigwell and Beverstone property 
had been entailed by Sir Harry on his nephew, but 
John Baptist had no children, and his cousin Michael 
was nearly his own age ; they came to an agreement, 
and by a deed dated November 27th, 1755, the entail 
was barred and Michael acquired the fee simple. 


SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 

No letters or documents of any sort exist to show 
what became of the three Hicks children at Witcombe 
after their parents' death in consecutive years. When 
their mother died in 1728, Susannah was ten, Mary was 
nine, and Howe was six years old. The only thing 
that can be stated certainly is that the house and 
gardens at Witcombe were let, partially furnished only, 
to a Mrs. Chapman, at a rent of £60 a year ; so it is 
evident that the children were taken away and placed 
under someone's care. 

A torn schedule exists of the "Household stuff 
remaining in the Mansion House demised unto Mad m 
Chapman" The establishment was evidently not 
without maps. One hung in the " white parlour," 
one on the "stayer," and in the summer house were 
" one ovel table, a duz of Chayers, one little fframe of 
Martyrs over the door, eight mapps with a lock and key 
to the door." It is curious to find left in " my Lady's 
Chamber" "two little brushes, one powder box, one 
pach box " ; and the " moehire curtaines and valians 
lined with white sarsnett " of the bed can be noted with 
the emotion which one has for a returning fashion. 

The only possible inference is, that the Witcombe 
children were taken into the household of the Rev. 
John Browne of Salperton Park, one of the executors 
of their mother's will ; and this inference for the reason 
that there is no trace of their being under the influence of 
anyone else, and the Browne domination of Witcombe 
lasted for the rest of the century. 


When he was seventeen years old, Howe Hicks was 
married to Dr. Browne's daughter Martha, aged 
twenty-four. July 28th, 1739, is the date.x 

The children's natural guardian was their cousin Sir 
Harry. There is a letter from him written on the eve 
of Howe's coming of age, which shows that he was 
concerned in the management of the Witcombe estate, 
but was otherwise a stranger. Dr. Browne's co-executor 
was Mr. Charles Hyett, of Hunt Court, a near 
Witcombe neighbour ; but Mr. Hyett was the occupied 
M.P. for Gloucester, and was moreover, at this time, 
busy building the fine house at Painswick where the 
family still live. His portrait hangs in the dining- 
room there, but unfortunately no Hyett letters of that 
date are in existence. 

The Brownes were a respectable Gloucestershire 
family and owned Norton Court in the neighbourhood 
of Gloucester. There is a monument to Richard 
Browne, who died 1636, in Norton Church. His eldest 
son (also Richard) went to America where he made 
money and became possessed of a property in Richmond 
which he named Brownville. He died unmarried, and 
Norton went to his next brother, John. 

John Browne had two sons, George Montagu Browne 
and the Rev. John Browne of Salperton Park. 

George Montagu inherited Brownville in Richmond 
from his uncle, and sold Norton and settled in 

The other brother, the Rev. John Browne, who was 
born in 1668, married a fortune in the person of Miss 
Elizabeth Bourne of Windlebury in Oxfordshire; 
being presented to the living of Cobberley on the top of 
the Cotswolds, he bought the property of Salperton in 
its immediate neighbourhood. 

Dr. and Mrs. Browne's portraits hang side by side at 
Witcombe. He fills his frame squarely, in gown and 
bands and voluminous wig. He is truculent and red 
of face, with all the impossible truculence and the 

SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 267 
impossible redness of the eighteenth century, and the 
humour that is undoubtedly there too, gleams coarsely 
in the midst of it all. That one would rather not have 
been Mrs. Browne is an inevitable reflection, and yet it 
is doubtful if that lady did not hold her own. In her 
tightly laced blue gown she is extravagantly meagre, 
and it may have been the heroic bracing together of 
the waist which contracted the mouth and gave the 
nose its pinched look. The two pictures are so vivid 
that they make the circumstances of the boyish 
marriage imaginably preposterous, until we travel to 
the portraits of Howe and Martha themselves. Then 
it is seen that the slim boy — eminently a gentleman in 
his blue velvet coat and white satin waistcoat and 
brown peruke — is, before all other things, a self-willed 
boy, with an under-lip as obstinately set as that of his 
clerical father-in-law : and he is, moreover, not unaware 
of his own importance in his narrow provincial world. 
Plump Martha Browne by his side was seven years 
older than he, but she was a little thing, with red lips 
and rounded shoulders and a trim waist, and her grand- 
daughter, Mrs. St. John, has left it on record that she 
had a beautiful complexion and lovely hands " pink 
inside like satin." If there was a boyish infatuation it 
is by no means beyond comprehension. She was a 
self-possessed little lady in a white satin frock trimmed 
with blue, and with brown curls behind her ears. 

Howe and Martha, there upon the wall, lived out the 
long eighteenth century in close bodily companionship 
in the two parlours facing Witcombe Wood ; and their 
history for us is that they were young, and that then, 
without seeming interval, they were old, and were the 
pastel portraits of themselves, as old people which are 
in the Manor house at Coin St. Aldwyn. 

The eighteenth century preoccupied itself with the 
'manner' in which life should be conducted, and its 
acute thoughts on life are crystallised in the yellowed 
pages of the calf-bound Spectator and Tatler and 


Rambler in rows on Witcombe shelves. With the 
wonderful novels of their century Howe and Martha 
provided themselves as well — if the books that they 
bought are a testimony, they did what in them lay to 
bring urbanity to the Gloucestershire wilderness. But 
that very urbanity was in essence itself a crass thing. 

Crassness was not invented in the eighteenth century, 
and did not evaporate with it ; but if we are to have 
definitions at all 'tis best to define in one word. Crass- 
ness triumphant, and more than that, invincible, is the 
word around which to build all there is to be said about 
Howe and Martha. 

The eighteenth century brought to perfection the 
cult of the single eye, of the personal point of view, 
of the science of crowing on one's own dunghill. 
Witcombe was metaphorically that dunghill — the 
culmination of the efforts of social man directed with 
strenuous simplicity towards the stability of all things 
that personally concerned him or his. It was a fortress 
against which irony could obtain only an empty victory. 
Assail the crassness of the time with what irony you 
will, and Martha Hicks, with her fallen day about her, 
and with her powdered hair piled high, still remains an 
inscrutable vampire, a veritable eighteenth-century 
Mona Lisa, a presence expressive of all that in the 
ways of immemorial centuries had come to be invulner- 
able. Not quite so expressive of that is Sir Howe in 
old age, because his face betrays the coarsened temper 
which was to be his undoing at the last, and because 
he has retained a definite air of good breeding. He 
lends himself, on account of these obvious qualities, 
more easily to analysis ; and although it is certain that 
he would have maintained the sacred immunity of his 
own dunghill in the face of heaven and hell, yet it 
is possible that he may have had a faint sensitiveness 
to the sting of life, and this makes him — what Martha 
is unbelievably — a possible forerunner of the nineteenth 
century into which he lived. 


SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 269 
The men and women of the nineteenth century, with 
their nervous sensibility to its miracles, were, directly, 
the ancestors of the men and women of the twentieth 
century, whose wills are set on the mastery of life ; and 
they are all, far less obviously, the descendants of the 
eighteenth century, with its unconquerable atrophies, 
its obliterations, and its molluscry. The twentieth 
century is taught to cast its stones at the mollusc ; but 
the absence of the crusading instinct in ancestors is 
by no means to be despised. The mollusc does not 
sow the wind, and leaves no whirlwind to be reaped. 
As ancestors, as channels through which stiffening 
qualities were passed by time into the family fibre, 
Howe and Martha were incomparable. 

Incomparable, but sufficiently disagreeable in daily 
life, it may be suspected, because all great-grandparents 
of the grandparents of to-day were ! Now that the 
practice of the positive deification of age, of position 
and of rank, has become one of the lost arts, a won- 
drous mellowing of family and social fife has taken 
place ; but with it another strenuous talent has gone 
too, and that may be called the art of family 
behaviour. Stout Lady Hicks, very like a pouter 
pigeon, and lean Sir Howe, with his obstinate jaw, 
beat their children and said unthinkable eighteenth- 
century things to their servants, and were full of what 
the literature of the day calls ' distempers ' ; but they 
had, at the same time, miraculous powers of endurance 
where the said servants and children and where relations 
were concerned. Servants were abused, but there was 
no thought of dismissing them, even for such peccadilloes 
as thirty-six hours' hard drinking or for immorality ; and 
relations might pay visits of many months' duration 
quite as a matter of course. It made life a wonder- 
fully stable thing, and it was all firmly welded together 
by regular habits of over-eating, by a tremendous 
amount of courteous letter-writing, and, let it not be 
forgotten, by an unbending sense of duty. 


Howe and Martha's portraits in youth, and then in age, 
are in themselves a complete translation of their sixty- 
two years of married life, and are far more illuminating 
than the little that there is to he said ahout those years. 

Mr. and Mrs. Howe Hicks settled at Witcomhe after 
their marriage, for a letter to Howe from his cousin 
Sir Harry, dated 1742, is directed to be left " att the 
Post House on Burlipp Hill," at the top of the hill 
above Witcombe Wood. The letter reveals, incidentally, 
that one of the two houses on St. Peter's Hill, which 
had been settled on Howe's grandfather, Sir Richard, 
had returned to the possession of the elder branch, for 
Sir Harry was living there: — 

" Peters Hill, March 5, 1742. 
" Cousin Hickes. I think itt Incumbent upon 
you now to come upp, my House shall be att your 
service for you and your wife, etc. Your House * 
now Emptye. Their is a large account for Chancery 
to bee made upp, to which I don't think itt proper 
for you to discharge untill well adjusted, and to which 
you must bee of Age first, which now is near. I have 
no Ends in this butt assisting you with my best 
Advice, you being so nearly related to mee. Some 
Answer, if you receive this, will oblige mee who am 
yours to Command Harry Hickes." 

The " account in Chancery " was the result of a law- 
suit over a technical point. Howe I. had left his 
daughters, Susannah and Mary, legacies of £3,500 and 
£3,000 respectively, but he had not made them a charge 
on the Witcombe estate ; and the marriage settlement 
of Mary Watts deprived him of the power to charge 
any of the property in London, Essex or Surrey, save 
some copyhold houses " of inheritance " in Surrey, of 
the yearly rental of £33. The Master of the Rolls 
decided, in 1733, that, as the legacies could not be 

* Next door. 

SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 271 
paid in one way, they must be paid in another, and 
that Witcombe must be charged with them. If Sir 
Harry advised the young Howe to appeal against this 
decision, it did not turn out to be good advice, for 
in 1747 Lord Hardwicke confirmed the previous judg- 
ment, and thus the Chancery account was augmented 
to no purpose. Masses of papers concerning the suit 
have been kept, and also some letters to and from Mr. 
Hutton Perkins of Lincoln's Inn, who was Howe's 
counsel in the case ; they contain nothing of immortal 
interest, although the prelude to them does, for it tells 
posterity that Howe had been made a magistrate, and 
gives him a character for sobriety. 

The letter of introduction to Mr. Perkins is written by 
Howe's first cousin, Mrs. Susannah Earle of Eastcourt in 
Wiltshire. She was the daughter of Mrs. AEce White, 
Howe's aunt, and had been born at Witcombe. She 
tells the baronet that Howe is " the person my Lord 
Chancellor put into the Commission of the Peace at the 
request of Mr. Earle " and that he is " a very honest 
sober young man." Mrs. Earle was evidently a good 
deal at Witcombe from her childhood onwards, and 
her portrait is there and shows her to have been black- 
haired, black-eyed, very merry and well dressed, and a 
complete departure from the Hicks type as it had come 
to be. She had twinkling pearl earrings and fashion- 
able lace, and constantly reminded Witcombe, we may 
be sure, that Gloucestershire was not the universe. 
When she came on a visit she would be lodged in the 
best chamber, where was the tapestry and the yellow 
Japanese cabinet ; but where was everyone else bestowed 
as years went on ? Howe's eldest sister, Susannah, had 
married before he did, and her husband, the Rev. Thomas 
Wells, was rector of Cowley, close to Cobberley and to 
Salperton; but Mary remained unmarried until after 
Howe's sixth child was born, and she lived with her 
brother and sister-in-law. She was a slim, handsome 
young woman, very like her grandmother, her father, 


and her brother Howe ; and it is pleasant to think 
of her enjoying her youth in the sunny, walled garden 
set in the circle of hills — pleasanter to think of her 
there in the open air, and of the children tumbling 
about in the open air too, than to realise the house- 
hold in the winter days and calculate the number of 
the souls cooped into the narrow house. Howe and 
Martha had a son born to them in 1740, but he died 
four years later. The succeeding years brought them 
daughters : Martha, 1742 ; Mary, 1743 ; a child who died 
at birth, 1745 ; Susannah Elizabeth, 1746 ; Alice, 1747 ; 
Anne, 1749 ; and Henrietta Howe, 1752. At length, 
in 1754, a much-desired son appeared and was christened 
William, and six years later the family was brought to 
a triumphant conclusion with another son, who, at the 
desire of Michael Hicks of Beverstone, was named 
Michael after him. 

Sir Harry Hicks, who died in 1755, had, as will be 
remembered, disinherited his disreputable heir, Sir 
Robert, and had left Beverstone, Chigwell and Norfolk 
property to his second son, Michael. It is evident that 
the birth of William in the following year was looked 
on as an important family event, and Michael wrote to 
Witcombe in 1759 : — 

" I hope the Hares thrive, and Will is able to mount 
his Pony with a little help and ride after them ; though 
I hope at the same time he will not take after my side 
of the Family, and think of and love only shooting, 
hunting, and a long etc. of that sort ; but while he is 
young let us train him in the Way he should go, and 
make him a useful member of Society, and bring 
Him up in a proper sphere of life ; and then a good 
Estate will be an Honour to Him and He an Honour 
to a good Estate, and he may be a means (nay 
the only means that I see) of raising again and 
perpetuating the Family to the longest era of time 
(which Almighty God grant)." 

SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 273 
It was, as events have turned, not William, but his 

younger brother, who was the means of " perpetuating 

the family." 

Michael, at Chigwell, writing "very late at night," 

says : — 

" I rejoice to hear of the safe Delivery of Mrs. 
Hicks and likewise of the additional son to your 
Family, and suppose he is made a Christian by this 
time, if not, if agreeable to yours and Mrs. Hicks 
Inclinations, Name Him Michael, and let somebody 
stand Sponsor for me." 

There is a miniature of godfather Michael at 
Witcombe, with powdered wig, and the scarlet coat 
which the Tatler complains the country gentlemen of 
the day particularly affected and flaunted in London. 
He had the long narrow head and chin and the arched 
brows of the idealist ; was of the type which, without the 
driving force of an actual ideal, swells the ranks of the 
restless. He was unmarried, and his life had no pivot. 
He writes, in 1759, saying he has been at Brighelmstone 
(Brighton), and is just going to Newport, in the Isle of 
Wight, to stay with relations of his father's first wife, 
who are " willing to amuse an idle bachelor." 

"I more and more hate Essex, and think I shall 
sell my dwelling House, Offices, and Gardens, but 
no land of consequence not exceeding five Acres. I 
can make a Great Advantage in the sale and wish it 
gone, for none of our Family Elder Branch, or 
younger, ever got anything by London Affairs (I 
mean within the last Century)." 

In 1760 he has been to Norfolk, to visit his property 
of Ellingham, and gives a long account of the sport he 
has had. The next letter relates that he has been ten 
hours three days together with the rest of the fashion- 
able world in the House of Lords listening to the trial 
of Earl Ferrers for the murder of his land-steward, 

C.F. T 


Johnson.* Then he has been at Harrogate for his gout, 

of which he often complains. 

"I am now returned Home from drinking the 
Harrogate waters in Yorkshire, and have great 
reason, amongst manifold others, to bless my Creator 
for bringing out of the Veins and Caverns of the 
Earth, such a pure inestimable medicine, far exceed- 
ing all Chemistry and the Vain Researches of Man. 
In truth I am much better than when I last parted 
from you . . . and am in hopes I am cleansed in 
some shape," or at least for some time, by this Pool of 

This was in July, 1762, and in December of the same 
year he was at Bath. 

" I find it impossible to keep either Servants or 
Horses at Bath, My Coachman comes home every 
evening drunk, and makes such a noise in the House, 
He will let us have neither Rest a-bed nor up till 
twelve-o-clock. For when a-Bed he hollows and 
makes as much Noise as when in the Day-time." 

In May, 1763, Michael went to Lisbon, and left 
behind with his banker a MS. book, with an account 
of his estates, his tenants' names and rents, list of 
annuitants of the estates and the form of receipts the 
latter were to give. It is all very clearly put and fully 
annotated, and in a note at the end he states that Sir 
Harry Franklin, the consul at Lisbon, is related to 
him. He was back in England in the autumn, for in 
October he wrote from Bath again, from " Morgan's 
Coffee House," to say that he does not mean to be in 
Gloucestershire again that year. This letter and, 
indeed, the body of all his letters to Howe, are about 
Beverstone matters, and it is evident that Howe acted 

* Laurence, fourth Earl Ferrers, was hanged at Tyburn for this 
murder, May 5th, 1760. 

SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 275 
as agent for him at Beverstone ; and when he died, in the 
following year, Howe was summoned to London by 
the lawyer and Lord Boston* to learn that Beverstone, 
the manors of Chigwell and Westhatch and the manor 
of Ellingham Nevels had been left to the godson and 
namesake, the little Michael of Witcombe, aged four. 
The letter came across the Cotswolds by express messen- 
ger, travelling all through the March night, and reached 
Cirencester at a quarter past four in the morning. 
The postmaster there enclosed it in a note saying that 
the charge is paid so far, and his further demand is 
"three shillings for the horse, the boy what you please." 

Michael Hicks was buried in the churchyard of 
Islington parish church, t In accordance with a pro- 
vision of his will, a sale of the contents of the Chigwell 
house immediately took place, and a catalogue of the 
household goods exists with the prices obtained against 
each item. The whole amount was £623 8*. 8d. 
There is no mention of the picture by Vandyke which 
had hung in the dining-room at Ruckholt, nor were 
there any other pictures of value. 

The list of wearing apparel contains the scarlet 
'roccolo,' and, besides, a suit of black cloth, a suit of 
garnet-cut velvet, a suit of crimson velvet, a crimson 
cloth coat with gold lace, a light silver lace coat. 
Then there was a brocade waistcoat, a black bugle 
waistcoat, and waistcoats of yellow sattin, of crimson 
sattin embroidered with silver, of white sattin with rich 
gold lace. Breeches were of blue velvet and black 
velvet ; there were many pairs of white stockings, both 
silk and cotton, shoes, neck-cloths, and lace ruffles. It 
must have added to the gaiety of the London Road 
when Michael drove along it from Chigwell in his 
' crane neck post chariot on steel springs,' or in his 

* Lord Boston was distantly related to the Hicks through the 
Pagets. His wife was a Miss Selwyn of Matson House, four miles 
from Witcombe. 

| Why there, it is impossible to guess. 



' Italian two-wheel chaise,' and there were, of course, 
all the added details of things that did not go into the 
sale — the diamond rings devised in the will, the 
enormous gold repeater now at Witcombe (with its 
bill of £66), shoe-buckles, enamelled snuff-box. The 
Chigwell plate all came to Witcombe in its great 
mahogany chest clamped with brass, which is one of the 
treasures of the house to-day. There is a list of the 
silver that was in it, and that the godson Michael took 
away when he married — happily the chest was too 
cumbersome to remove. 

In 1764, the year of Michael's death, the Witcombe 
household was a much diminished one. Howe's sister 
Mary had married a soldier named Williams and she 
had died at Witcombe in 1755. Of Howe's daughters, 
Mary, Susanna and Henrietta were also dead, and 
Martha, Alice and Ann were married. Mary died 
when she was fifteen, and was buried in the church 
of Witcombe beneath a characteristic poem of the 

Though few her years she not untimely died, 
Who richly was with heavenly gifts supplied, 
Thus God decrees — When ripe for heav'n the soul 
Quits her terrestrial home without controul 
Of youth, physician's care or parent's love 
T' enjoy the blest abode prepar'd above. 

Susanna was buried at Cobberley.* She must have 
died when on a visit to the Brownes ; but how dull it is 
not to be able to revive all the detail of these 
daughters' lives ! All that can be done is to remember 
that Miss Edgeworth was born in 1757, and Miss 
Austen in 1775. Martha, it is pretty certain, was a 
person in whom Miss Austen would have delighted, 
and she married a neighbouring clergyman of the name 
of Pettat, which is just — name and all — what Miss 
Austen would have arranged. The Rev. John Pettat 

* Bigland, in his "History of Gloucestershire," says there was a 
monument to her, but it and eighteen others have disappeared. 

SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 277 
was rector of Stonehouse in the vale, not eleven miles 
from Witcombe. He and Martha had two surviving 
children : Thomas, who took orders and succeeded his 
father as vicar of Stonehouse; and Martha Susanna, 
who married her cousin, John Browne of Salperton 
Park. Martha Pettat's tombstone is in Stonehouse 
churchyard, and bears the legend that "She closed a 
well-spent life on the 26th day of September 1826 in 
the 84th year of her age." 

The Witcombe register — not worse kept than others 
of that date — is silent about all the Park weddings. 
Alice and Ann did marry — the one a Mr. Lowfield of 
Bath, the other a Mr. James King of Stanton in 
Herefordshire — but their father did not think the facts 
worth recording, and entered their deaths in the family 
Bible, in 1769 and 1774, without mentioning their 
surnames. Alice Lowfield died at Witcombe, for her 
name is entered in the burial register. 

Thus it came about that, in 1764, when Cousin 
Michael died, William, aged ten, and Michael, aged 
four, were the only children left at Witcombe. 
Michael was a sturdy, healthy child, but William all 
his life — and it was a long life — suffered from a want 
of vitality ; he was undersized, he stuttered terribly and 
made faces when talking. A legend has survived that 
at the age of six he had a bad illness and was supposed 
to be dead, but his mother's maid, Mrs. Betty Brown, 
found that he was living by holding a feather to his 
nose ; drastic means were employed to revive him and 
he stammered ever after. 

Howe Hicks had been made a magistrate when he 
came of age. His commission as a deputy lieutenant is 
dated 1763, but he successfully evaded being made High 
Sheriff in the same year. His cousin Michael wrote to 
him from Chigwell : — 

" I saw your name in the list of Sheriffs for 
Gloucestershire, as you have acquainted me by 


letter, and I immediately upon Receival of yours 
this day wrote to my old Friend the Bishop of 
Winchester, and inclosed your letter to him. The 
Answer, as soon as I hear the Result from the 
Bishop, I shall immediately send to you which I 
flatter myself will be to your Satisfaction as the 
Bishop was Preceptor to the present King, and is 
still often with Him." 

A month later he says : — 

" I am glad you are made easy by Mr. Earle and 
Mr. Tracy as to the Sheriffdom." 

This is all ' small beer ' enough, but Howe's life was 
not an epic one. His first care was his property, which 
he gradually added to and improved, and then there were 
local affairs ; * and Howe seems to have been a parti- 
cularly skilful auditor of parish accounts, as the 
following balance sheet for the parish of Badgeworth 
shows. It was presented by John Andrews, a curate of 
the parish : — 

£ s. d. 

Received of 3 Overseers in money . 32 13 Q\ 
Received of Thomas Bullock in money 

in part of Thomas Dowdwell's goods. 2 18 11 

Received of Wm. Hooke the Ballance 

of Churchwardens' Accounts . . 1 li 

Received . . . . 35 13 10 

Disburst more . . . 12 6 4 

Easter Monday Disburst in all . 48 2 

Before Easter in Puree . . . 41 12 5 

6 7 9 

Received 3 Rates Is. 4<#. in the 

Pound 183 16 4 

Own Ballance . . . 196 4 1 

* He repaired Witcombe Church and rebuilt the tower and built 
ajporch in 1754. 

















SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 279 

Disburst by John Andrews from £ s. d. 
Aprill ye 20th, 1770, to May ye 
23rd, 1770, which was left in my 
hands 5 16 

and disburst after out of money 

received for a Bastard by me . 
and to 3 Overseers of the Poor . 
and after to them .... 
and to Badgeworth Ballance 

all Ballanced in Disbursements . 
but forgot to Ballance . 
and Received of Benjn. Hodges over- 
seer which is in his hands . . 3 12 

16th April 1771 Allowed by us Nichs. Hyett 

Howe Hicks 

Nicholas Hyett, Howe's partner in this staggering 
auditorship, was constable of Gloucester Castle, like his 
brother before him, and both were sons of the Mr. 
Hyett who had been co-executor with Dr. Browne. 

Howe and Martha played their parts stoutly in the 
midst of their acres, but it is by no means to be 
supposed that they lived on them from one year's end 
to another. There are all sorts of stray references, in 
letters, to journeys hither and thither, and it seems 
positive that at one time the Witcombe family made a 
regular practice of spending the season in Bath — 
Howe's gout, and the train of unmarried daughters 
supplied two good reasons for that. " I hope we shall 
soon all meet well in health at Bath," wrote cousin 
Michael of Chigwell in 1762, and the next year he 
offers Howe the use of his house in Chappel Row 

The surviving daughters were married at last, and it 
was round the careers — and that simply meant the 
marriages — of their two sons that Howe and Martha's 
interests centred in later life. Both boys were sent to 
Oxford. William went to Pembroke College, where he 
matriculated in 1771 and took his M.A. degree in 


1775. Michael matriculated at Magdalen in 1778, but 
Foster's Alumni Oooonienses has no further record of 
him, and that, of course, for the reason that in the 
following year, at the age of nineteen, he married. 

Susannah Earle had married her only son, Giles, in 
1761, to a Yorkshire heiress, Miss Margaret Bouchier 
of Benningbrough Hall in the North Riding. When 
the time came to find a suitable wife for her cousin 
William Hicks, she was therefore able to devote her 
energies to the matter with a disengaged mind. East- 
court House, where the Earles lived, was about five 
miles from Malmesbury in Wiltshire, just over the 
Gloucestershire border. It was built between 1648 
and 1660 by Giles Earle, a Bristol shipowner.* 
William Earle, Susannah's husband, was for many 
years M.P. for Cricklade, and evidently had some small 
post in the Government. 

Susannah was one of those people within whose radius 
things have a way of happening. She put her husband 
into Parliament and kept him there, and it is evident 
that she made herself felt in Wiltshire ; but she was, 
perhaps, too merry and too non-provincial to be well- 
beloved of the county ladies. For self-sufficient cousin 
Martha she had always just a little the tongue in the 
cheek, and she wrote an Epitaph for her, which we can 
be sure Martha (for it was written prematurely) thought 
was a very just tribute : — 

Epitaph on Lady Hicks. 

The Dame whose tomb thy observation draws, 
Past through each stage of life with vast applause. 
For her, the Poor, the Neighbour, and the Friend, 
Their tears unite, their pious sorrow blend. 
Her Husband most, who to her mem'ry just, 
To future times distinguishes her Dust. 
For want of utterance his Heart must break, 
When stones must tell, what sorrow cannot speak. 

* There is a panel picture of him in one of the bedrooms, with his 
house, his large family, his coat of arms and a ship, all on the panel too. 

SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 281 

Susannah was evidently an inveterate rhymster, and 
an invitation to the Witcombe family to come to 
Eastcourt in 1777 is all in verse. It begins with a 
reference to Howe's gout : — 

I was sorry to hear that my dear Cousin Hicks 
Was still limping about and supported by sticks. 

If their sister gets better, the Sharps all intend 
To come here this autumn and visit their Friend. 
A Bed for yourself, Mrs. Hicks, I'll provide, 
And a small one for Betsy* to lay by your side. 
Mr. William and Michael did consent and agree 
That for Three or Four nights they would sleep on settee. 
Therefore hope you will come and this summons attend 
And believe Susan Earle your affectionate Friend. 

But the unknown Sharps were not vital to the 
schemes of Susannah Earle. To the north of East- 
court was Witcombe with its two eligible sons ; to the 
south was Keevil, one of the homes of the Wiltshire 
heiress, Miss Henrietta Maria Beach. It was high 
time that William found a wife, and was he not undis- 
puted heir to a baronetcy as well as to a very fair 
estate ? The Keevil chariot at the Eastcourt door, Mrs. 
Hicks and Mrs. Beach rustling their brocades in the 
parlour, with Susannah as a clever third — and then, 
somehow, there was a day in the following year when 
William found himself driving over the Wiltshire 
downs, with his young brother beside him and his 
fellow behind him, on his way to visit the Beachs at 
Netheravon House, for the coursing in that neighbour- 
hood. Netheravon, on the further side of Salisbury 
Plain, to Keevil, had been bought recently by Mr. 
Beach. A red-brick, barrack-like house it was, and 
you dropped down on it from the downs, and found 
that below it were the water meadows, and the Avon, 
and the church. A wooden painted portico was in 
front of the door, and over it was the window of the 
great staircase, which was as unlike the Witcombe 

* The maid. 


• stayer ' as anything could be. Here it would be possible 
for the only daughter of the house to stand and watch 
the arrival of guests about whom she might have a 
curiosity. Michael, we may be sure enough, was out 
of the chaise first — a well-grown, round-headed boy of 
eighteen, with the vigour of health and with an air of 
being pleased with the world as he found it. William, 
with his lower vitality, never had that air ; he was a 
small, anxious man — all his life long a little anxious, 
and very stutteringly, of his own dignity. Perhaps it was 
all settled in that moment of arrival that Henrietta 
should never gratify an eighteenth-century parental 
ambition and be ' my lady.' 

The Beachs were — for that epoch, at least — really 
rich people, and the two young men found themselves 
in a household carried on with a good deal more state 
than was possible at Witcombe. We must think of 
the Netheravon party that evening as of some picture 
by Zoffany — the candles lighted in the chandeliers 
hanging from the high ceilings, the card tables set out, 
and the ladies in their looped-up silks sitting about on 
the stiff chairs with ruffles falling from their elbows. 
Netheravon demanded of its visitors the difficult talent 
of crossing empty spaces of floor without self-conscious- 
ness, and perhaps William was glad when the evening 
was at an end. And legend will have it that, when the 
next day came, the unabashed boy Michael discovered 
a mislikihg for the sport of coursing, and let his brother 
and his host and others of the party ride away over the 
downs without him. No doubt Madam Beach did not 
mind the turn affairs had taken, for Michael was actually 
the better endowed of the two brothers. There is a 
yew plantation at Netheravon which stretches inside the 
boundary fence, along the high road from one entrance 
gate to another, and the path through it is shaded from 
sun, from wind, and from observation too. Along this 
the Michael of the pastel portrait which is now in the 
possession of Sir Wyndham Portal, and the Henrietta 

SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 283 

Maria of the picture which is at Coin St. Aldwyn,* must 
be imagined walking together. And in the following 
year, when they were both nineteen, they were married 
to one another in the church at the bottom of the 
Netheravon garden ; and that is how it happened that 
Michael did not stay long enough at Oxford to take 
his degree. 

There are in existence three or four letters which 
Michael wrote to Henrietta Maria while they were 
engaged. They begin with " My dear Madam," in the 
fashion of the day, but end more warmly with " Ever 
your Constant, Sincere and Affectionate Lover." " It 
would be impossible for me to think any place agreeable 
when you are absent as a smile from you is the greatest 
pleasure I can experience," is the would-be impassioned 
text of the earlier letters ; but in August, 1779, when 
the wedding was near, he talks of more practical matters, 
and says that he cannot hear of either a housekeeper 
or a butler that will answer. The letter concludes with 
the relation of a scandal about his mother's maid Betsy, 
who has been alluded to before. " I foreseen the event 
and told you that she would soon be rid of her dropsy," 
he crows, and is blatant of the eighteenth century : a 
young man of the twentieth century might write that, 
but never to the girl of nineteen he was just about to 

But the taste of the eighteenth century was often 
laudable. Weddings were not occasions for ostentation, 
and the Netheravon wedding was so small and quiet 
that not even the bridegroom's parents thought it neces- 
sary to be present. It took place on October 7th, 1779, 
and Mrs. Beach wrote to Mrs. Hicks when it was over 
and received a reply from Martha. " We are very 
happy in the agreeable connection of our fFamilys and 
have the highest opinion of the merits of my daughter 
Hicks," she says in prelude to a laboured exposition of 
the virtues of her son Michael. 

* Painted by — Beach, a pupil of Gainsborough. 


Henrietta Maria was a 'great fortune,' and the marriage 
must have given satisfaction to Howe and Martha ; and 
yet the satisfaction could not have been undiluted. 
Michael was all very well, but he was amply provided 
for by his cousin's legacy, and Witcombe, at the door, 
could have absorbed a fortune happily. We can be 
sure that Howe was ready to suggest to his heir a 
thousand plans for improving the property, for enlarging 
its borders, for building on to the house. It was really 
rather provoking ! And when William did marry, six 
years later, it was not a matter for very loud congratu- 
lation. His wife was a Miss Judith Whitcomb, of a 
family that must have owned the little living of 
Orleton in Herefordshire, for three incumbents of that 
name were instituted there in 1740, 1758 and 1776. 
Her father was not one of them — was not in Orders — 
but he is called ' of Orleton, although there does not 
seem to have been any property — nothing of any size 
or importance, at all events. A small miniature shows 
Judith with black curls all round her head and falling on 
her shoulders. The wedding took place in Redmarley 
Church, near Orleton, on May 12th, 1785. " I think 
she is a very tender person," says Martha, of Judith, 
writing to her other daughter-in-law in August. 

The William Hicks took a house at Withington on 
the top of the Cotswolds, about ten miles from 
Witcombe. Here, in June, 1786, a little son was born 
and was christened Howe. Martha wrote to Henrietta 
Maria, on July 5th : — 

" I went to Withington yesterday to see my 
daughter, she is better, but I think very indifferent 
still, she have a bad cough and a little fever." 

Three weeks later there is a worse account. Martha 
relates that she has been summoned to Withington to 
breakfast. The doctor has ordered change of air for 
Judith, so she has brought her back to Witcombe. 

SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 285 
Judith is to go later to Redmarley, and the Hot Wells 
at Bristol are recommended. "My poor daughter is 
very indifferent, her complaints I think very alarming," 
says Martha. In August she reports that Judith is 
better for being at Witcombe, but in October writes 
to Michael: — 

" Your poor sister W is got, with much difficulty, 
being 3 days going, to Ridmarley, she is given over 
by all, Doc rs and Friends, it is now a gallopping con- 
sumption, nothing of Breeding has been the Case, 
that have never been the least suspected, we went to 
see them at Redmarley on Wednesday, found a House 
of sorrow, they think this decline has been coming 
on for some years. My daughter Pettat went to 
Ridmarley with them, as your brother had not spirits 
to see her friends without a friend of his own to help 
to support him, as his affliction is great indeed. 
Your sister left him on Thursday in a most melan- 
choly situation, he intends to come either here or to 
Stonehouse as soon as the event happens. I wou'd 
wish you to enquire what will be the proper mourning 
for your brother, whether dark grey or Black, and 
also what will be the most proper for me Bombasin 
or Black Silk trim'd with crape." 

This was rather premature, for a week later Judith 
was a little better : — 

" They have been trying a new experiment which 
they hoped might be of some service, a pan of tar 
standing on a table before her, which is stirred with a 
hot poker several times a day." 

At the end of November the poor woman was still 
alive " expecting each day may be her last," but it was 
actually March, 1787, before the end came, and, merci- 
fully enough, her hapless child, born an idiot, died too, 


at Witcombe, in the following June, on its first birth- 
day. Its grandmother wrote on June 8th : — 

" I am sorry to tell you that his (William's) poor 
little boy have not been so well this fortnight, but I 
found him much worse when I returned from East- 
court, and, turn'd his Nurse away the next morning, 
who I have great cause to think have been the occasion 
of great part of his weakness." 

William's first matrimonial adventure had ended sadly 
enough, and it was six years before he was married again, 
on October 7th, 1793, in Sherborne Church, Hants, to 
Miss Ann Rachel Chute, a cousin by marriage of his 
sister-in-law, Mrs. Michael. 

Mrs. Michael Hicks' mother, Mrs. Beach, was one of 
the two surviving daughters of Mr. Charles Wither of 
Hall Place,* Hants. The other daughter married, as 
her second husband, Mr. Edmund Bramston, of Bore- 
ham, Essex, and their only son, Wither Bramston, 
inherited Hall Place from his grandfather. He was 
Henrietta Maria Hicks' first cousin, and he had been 
married to Miss Mary Chute of the Vyne, the historical 
neighbouring property, for ten years, when William 
Hicks took to wife her younger sister, Ann Rachel. 

Henrietta Maria's daughter, Mrs. St. John, has left a 
' note ' to the effect that Ann Rachel was " not pretty," 
but that her sister, Mrs. Bramston, was " very charming." 
The following description of the wedding is from Mrs. 
Bramston's pen : — 

"The Bride was array'd in a Clear Book Muslin 
jacket and coat with white satten ribband which 
look'd very Handsome over a white silk petticoat, a 
white satten bonnet with a band of gouffred (goffered ?) 
white feathers, and one (long ?) white feather, a lawn 

* Now Oakley Hall. 

SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 287 
cloak trimm'd with Valencienne Lace, and I assure 
you she look'd very elegantly dressd. 

" Mrs. Bramston * in a mulin (?) petticoat with a 
quilling at bottom a clear work'd muslin robe, Pink 
satten hat with a bouffant round the crown and white 
feather, pink sash and shoes very smart and look'd 
like a Paisanne on the stage. 

" Mrs. Brocus (of Beaurepaire) in a beautiful clear 
muslin worked in small sprigs of Lilac and Green. 

" Miss Chute in a white persian robe, Green cloud 
muslin petticoat Yellow hat lilac ribbands. 

" Mrs. A. B. (Augusta Bramston) new muslin gown 
lilac ribbands her hair powdered and black satin shoes. 

" All the gentlemen in new habiliments. 

"We had 3 cariages to Church where we all 
behaved very well returnd to partake of 3 large 
Bridecakes 2 made at home and 1 from London. 
At dinner we partook of a very fine Haunch sent us 
by a Friend, Turtle from London 2 courses, Pine 
Apples from Mrs. Brocus. We spent the day very 
pleasantly as it went off much better than those days 
generally do. . . . My brother and sister set off for 
Weymouth Thursday." 

The William Hicks seem to have lived at Bath 
immediately after their marriage, for their only child, 
Ann Rachel, was born there in 1794. After that they 
lived in'Cheltenham within a drive of Witcombe. " My 
son and daughter Hicks came and dined with us yester- 
day return'd in the evening," said Lady Hicks, writing 
in 1795. Michael and his wife were not far away either. 
They had left Shaw Hill House, near Melksham in 
Wiltshire, where they lived when they first married, 
and were settled at Williamstrip Park, eight miles on 
the other side of Cirencester, and but eighteen miles 
from Witcombe. They were rich people, they lived in 
some state, and the greater prosperity of the younger 

* Herself? 


brother did perhaps make his near neighbourhood rather 
aggravating to the elder brother and the elder brother's 
wife ! Their mother writes : — 


I have often heard him (William) say there is 
great weight in money, and his fate is to possess less 
of that than any other part of the family, though suffi- 
cient to content him, but cant bear to be trode upon. 
I have not seen my daughter Hicks since she was so 
warm, as I wrote you word. I hope when I see her 
next she will be more composed or otherwise those 
that are to live with her are much to be pitied." 

In 1791 Sir John Baptist Hicks died at his house at 
Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, and his second cousin 
Howe Hicks of Witcombe then became the sixth 

Martha was thus at last in possession of what she quite 
deliciously calls " an old family title," and although age 
and infirmities were beginning to overtake Sir Howe 
and herself, no Lady Hicks had ever yet existed so 
consciously capable of upholding her new dignity. 
Perhaps her nearer neighbours found her at first rather 
insufferable. She wrote to Henrietta Maria : — 

" There was two dozen of flax left at Mr. Hicks 
for you, which I had brought here, and sent it, to 
Williamstrip yesterday, and I hear there is a large 
box of spun thread left at our Blacksmith's,* but as 
I don't know what it is intended for, I must leave it 
till I hear from you, we have neither of us been well 
for some time, Sir Howes is his old complaint in his 
Stomach, we have sent for Mr. Hinde and he has 
order'd an emetick, to be taken this evening, I hope 
it will be of service, he talks much of going to Bath, 

* The Witcombe Forge at Horseferry Bridge was a famous one on 
the high road from South Wales to London, and Welsh drovers' had 
their cattle shod there in great numbers. 

SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 289 
which I suppose we shall if we don't get better soon, 
mine has been a bowel complaint and pain and 
giddiness in my Head, but I am much better, this 
Country at this time of year is rather dull, most of 
the neighbours being gone, and those few that are 
left have never call'd or taken any notice of us since 
we have had the misfortune to have an old family 
Title descend to us, however that is not the case of 
our more distant friends, for I think poor Lady 
Oxford* and the Harley family are if possible more 
civil than ever, we had thought if pretty well of 
going to Stonehouse next week, but from a letter I 
received from my daughter Pettat yesterday, I 
understand they are now, and will be for a fortnight 
to come, she says engaged in some very troublesome 
alterations, which will render it very inconvenient to 
them to see their ffriends, and tomorrow three weeks 
they propose going to Netheravon, so that it is very 
uncertain when we may see them, I have been in the 
Chaise but once since I came from Williamstrip and 

From Martha's letters — and many are in existence — it 
is clear that, during her reign, Witcombe became the 
social centre of the neighbourhood and that, the coming 
and going of relations and friends was incessant :— 

" Your brother (William) and sister (Mrs. Pettat) 
and Susan (Pettat) and ye two Brownes came here 
between 5 and 6 this morning from the ball at 

* The old de Vere creation died out in 1702, and the title had 
been revived in 1711 in Robert Harley. The Lord Oxford of 1792 
was the fifth earl of the new creation, and it is his mother, Susannah, 
who had been a Miss Archer of Berkshire, whom Martha alludes to. 
Lord Oxford did not marry till two years later, and his wife, a clergy- 
man's daughter, was a celebrated lady in the fashionable world. 
" Quite a settled thing between Lady Oxford and Lord Byron," said 
Lord Dudley, writing to his friend ' Ivy,' in 1813 ; and again, a month 
later, " Lady O. sets off next month for Palermo and Childe Harold is 
to accompany or follow her." 

C.F. U 


Cheltenham and are now but just up. We expect 
Lady Oxford and Miss Harley on Wednesday next 
to spend some days with us." 

"Have been a good deal hurried with company 
almost every day since we came home, and indeed 
have now Mr. and Miss Bunn* they have been with 
us this ten days. . . . Mr. Rogers was so kind as to 
make us a visit. . . . We have also had Mr. Sampson 
and his daughter to spend some days with us last 
week. Cheltenham is very full we have been to one 
breakfast there." 

"We had all our neighbours round us to take part 
of the Haunch of Venison on Friday. Mr. and Mrs. 
Howell, the three Sheppards, Mr. Webb and Mr. 
Lawrence and your brother, and yesterday morning 
we went to Gloucester market and took your brother 
with us." 

"Lord Oxford came here on Sunday and left us 
just before your servant came. He went yesterday 
to visit the King and Queen at Cheltenham and 
return'd to us to dinner. The King etc behaviour 
pleases every one at Cheltenham, they are perfectly 
free and easy." 

Sir Howe and Lady Hicks dined out incessantly 
too, and sometimes at impossible distances — with the 
Nibletts at Haresfield,f at Withington, at Salperton, at 
Prinknash and at other places which meant climbing 
hills along roads that were very bad. Even to reach 
Cheltenham a mountain had first to be surmounted, 
for the vale road was not in existence until half a 
century later. 

" We are going this evening to Cheltenham to 

* Chigwell friends. 

f It would seem as if it were at this halfway house that acquaint- 
ance was first made with the Whitcombs of Red Marley. 

SIR HOWE HICKS. 1727 TO 1801. 291 
attend my Son and Daughter to the Play for the 
benefit of the Royal Cheltenham Corps of Infantry,* 
the Play is the Wheel of Fortune with a great 
variety of entertainments of songs etc and some 
of the best performers to conclude with Rule 

They went further afield as well — to stay at Ciren- 
cester and Eastcourt, at Netheravon for Christmas, and 
with Lord and Lady Oxford at Egwood. They were 
to make the Bishop of Gloucester and Mrs. Bendon a 
visit ; and then there is a letter written from Pyle in 
Glamorganshire, where they are with the Talbots, and 
Martha says that they are on their way to Newton, 
and if they don't like that they shall go to Swansea. 
The old lady of eighty sets it all out precisely in her 
beautiful clear writing and with no hint of lassitude. 
Her interest in domestic affairs was unflagging too. She 
discourses with spirit, and often, to her Williamstrip 
daughter-in-law, who was undoubtedly a kindred spirit, 
of servants' peccadilloes — " Sure never was Servants at 
such a hight as they are now " — and there was a 
constant traffic between Witcombe and Williamstrip in 
chickens, flax, venison, young turkeys, and plush for the 
men's breeches f which Henrietta Maria was to procure. 
With her own relations, the Brownes at Salperton, 
Martha was not on invariable good terms. "My 
brother wrote to me as if nothing had happened 
between us," she says, announcing her sister-in-law's 
death to Michael. But her unmarried sister, Martha 
Browne, lived at Witcombe in " a little dwelling," and 
died there in 1786. 

It was a tragedy of the old people's last days that the 
house in which they entertained so royally seemed as if 
it must tumble about their ears. It will be remem- 
bered that Sir Michael Hicks, in 1689, had built on to 

* William Hicks commanded it. 

f The indoors livery was crimson plush breeches and pale blue coats. 

u 2 


the original stone premises in timber and laths and 
plaster only, and it was this timbered structure which 
was in such sad disrepair. Martha gives a detailed 
account of the matter in a long letter of June, 1797, 
saying that it was her son Michael who discovered how 
unsafe it all was, and that when they uncovered a great 
portion they found it much worse than they hoped, for 
the foundations had slipped ; they were preparing 
timber and stone and props for the house, and the 
wainscoting in both parlours would have to come 
down : — 

" In looking back in a Book I have found it was 
44 years, since the Building was entirely uncover'd 
and then only new Laths and Plaster, the Timber 
then being perfectly sound, as indeed it is now 
everywhere but at bottom." 

Grandchildren, of course, stayed at Witcombe, and 
their bodily ailments and moral perfections were an 
incessant theme. Susan Pettat was constantly with 
grandmother, but she was a grown-up woman when 
Michael's and William's children were yet babies. 
Ann, William Hicks' only daughter, was seven when 
her grandfather, Sir Howe, died in 1801. He was 
seventy-nine years old, and his temper had not 
mellowed with old age. The spring rains had burst a 
culvert under the road near the buildings of the Upper 
farm behind the church, and he rode out in the afternoon 
to see about it. The way the men were repairing it 
did not please him, and while he was saying so in 
forcible language, apoplexy intervened ; he fell from his 
horse and was carried to the house across the orchards 
on a hurdle. 

In her thin, high voice, his granddaughter, in extreme 
old age, told her heir, the present owner of Witcombe, 
" I never had such a shock : I went into the dining- 
room and there was poor grandpapa on the table." 
That makes it extraordinarily vivid. Ann was an ugly 

SIR HOWE HICKS^ 1727 TO 1801. 293 

little child in a tight, narrow little frock;* her chin 
would just come to the edge of the table when she 
wandered into the room in the midst of the first 
general confusion. "Poor grandpapa," there he lay, 
and the great picture of Van Deist's, with its ever- 
lasting hills and floating clouds, looked down upon 

Martha was seven years older than her husband, and 
she survived him but a short time, and her last letter 
tells that, at eighty-five, her enormous courage for life 
had perhaps failed her a little for the first time. 

" On Monday morning Mrs. Lawrence f sent to 
enquire after me, and to say if I had no company, 
she wou'd come and dine with me on Tuesday, or 
any other day that I wou'd fix, so she came in a very 
friendly way yesterday, and desired I would return 
her visit in the same way, and very kindly wish'd 
that we might see each other often which was more 
than I expected as I think myself old and out of 

* Pencil picture at Witcombe. 

f Of the Greenways, Shurdington. 



Because she endowed the Hicks family not only 
with her fortune, but with her name, Henrietta Maria 
Beach seems to have a particular importance. And, 
indeed, the fortune has this importance for to-day — that 
it has given to Henrietta Maria's great-grandson (with 
other qualities perhaps) the leisure necessary to become 
a Cabinet Minister. Some members of his family 
regret that when he was made a peer he did not feel 
himself justified in reviving the title of de la Beche. 

In the church of Aldworth, in the deanery of 
Newbury in Berkshire, under arches against the north 
and south walls, are a remarkable series of eight 
altar tombs with effigies, mostly of men in armour 
and crusaders. They are all supposed to represent 
members of the de la Beche family, and to have been 
placed there in memory of his ancestors by Nicholas, 
Lord de la Beche, who built the church in the reign 
of Edward III. The de la Beches had a castle at 
Aldworth, and the said Nicholas was constable of the 
Tower of London. 

" Dugdale's Baronage," and other similar books, say 
that this Norman de la Beche family were the ancestors 
of the Beachs of Wiltshire, who were first heard of in 
the town of Warminster about 1500 ; but although the 
Patent Roll Calendars from 1229 to 1469 have many 
allusions to the offices held by de la Beches and to the 
crimes committed by them, it has not been possible to 
link them securely to Robert Beche of Warminster 
whose will was proved in 1519. Yet he very likely was 


a de la Beche all the same, for they had owned land in 
Wiltshire two hundred years before this. An inquisi- 
tion of February 26th, 22 Edward I., says that Thomas 
de la Beche held lands in Wiltshire of his brother Roger. 
In 1324 Philip de la Beche owned the manor of 
Hacleston,* and early in the reign of Edward III. 
the charge of the county of Wiltshire and of the royal 
castle of Old Sarum was committed to him. In 1345 
there was an inquisition of one Nicholas de la Beche 
showing he had lands in Cheprigge, Farlegh and 
Dydenham, co. Wilts. 

Between this Nicholas, and another Nicholas Beche 
of Warminster, is the gap of a century. In an undated 
bundle of Chancery proceedings from 1493 to 1500 is 
a suit relating to a cottage in Warminster by " Robert 
■ Beche son and heir of Johane wife of Nicholas Beche." 
The sequence is, of course, of names only, but this 
Robert was probably he whose will was proved in 1519. 
The said will describes him as a mercer, but it is likely 
that he was a vendor of broadcloths and not of silks, 
for there would not be much trade doing in silks in the 
market town on the edge of Salisbury Plain, and there 
had been a prosperous manufacture of broadcloths 
there for a long time. Robert desires to be buried 
in the chapel of the Blessed Mary in the church of 
St. Dionysius of Warmynster, gives £20 to his sons 
Christopher and Thomas and to his daughter Margery, 
and leaves the residue of his property to his son John. 

The daughter mentioned in the will left a will also, 
which was proved August 22nd, 1552. It says that 
she was one of the religious sisters of the monastery of 
Amresbury, and she bequeaths a piece of gold to her 
brother Christopher Beche of Warminster, to Jone his 
wife and to each of his five children. 

The inquisition post mortem of " Christopher beche 
of Warminster gentleman " says that he died June 10th, 

* Curiously enough William Beach bought it in 1678, together 
with Fittleton. 


1556, and that John Beach aged thirty-six, was his 
eldest son. 

The Warminster register says that John Beach 
married a widow, Julian Stanlock, 1559. His will was 
proved in 1573, and he only mentions his Stanlock step- 
children, although his wife's will shows that he had a 
daughter. He makes his brother Thomas his executor. 

Thomas Beach married Agnes Stanlock in 1563 
(Julian and Agnes were perhaps sisters-in-law). 
Administration of his property was granted to his 
widow, Agnes Beche, in 1576. 

William Beach, son of Thomas, married Joan 
Adlam, of a family who had property in the parish 
of Brixton Deverill, near Warminster. He was buried 
at Brixton Deverill in 1646. 

His eldest son, William Beach, married Mary 
Gifford of Alhampton, Somerset. In 1678, he bought 
of his Adlam relations the manors of Fittleton and 
Hacleston, with the mansion house of Fittleton, in 
the valley of the Avon. He bought, also of William 
Adlam, the mansion house of Keevil Manor in the 
north of the county. He was buried at Fittleton, 

His eldest son, William Beach, married Anne, a 
daughter of the Rev. Gilbert Wither of Hall Place, 
Hampshire. He purchased the estate of Keevil of 
T. Lambert in 1680, and was buried at Keevil in 1741. 

His son Thomas Beach made a particularly fortu- 
nate marriage. In 1718 he married Miss Jane Harding, 
the only sister of a bachelor East Indian merchant, 
James Harding. His beautifully-kept account books 
are in the possession of Viscount St. Aldwyn, and 
show his mercantile transactions in detail. He died, a 
very rich man, and left his whole fortune to his sister, 
Jane Beach. 

The eldest son of Jane and Thomas was yet another 
William Beach, and he married his second cousin, 
Miss Anne Wither, one of the two heiress daughters of 


Charles Wither of Hall Place, Hants. Their only sur- 
viving child, Henrietta Maria, married Michael Hicks. 

All this detail demonstrates that Michael had married 
into a family with whom the accumulation of fortunes 
and properties had become a fixed habit. 

The portrait of William Beach at Coin St. Aldwyn 
shows him as a mild-natured man, with an anxious eye, 
which may be accounted for by the portrait of the lady 
who hangs by his side. But that is very likely a 
libellous statement, for the only evidence that he was 
hen-pecked is contained in an extraordinary Narrative 
written by the curate of Keevil who succeeded in 
marrying Mr. and Mrs. Beach's eldest daughter, and 
who was, by his own showing at least, a most ingenuous 
scoundrel. He could hardly be relied upon for an 
unbiassed opinion of his mother-in-law. Whatever her 
temper and disposition, she was the daughter of an 
interesting father. 

The Saturday Review of February 1st, 1908, con- 
tained an article called "An Eighteenth Century 
Gentleman, and gives an account of Mr. Charles 
Wither, Commissioner of Woods and Forests, who 
was Mrs. Beach's father. The Wither family had its 
origin in Lancashire in the time of Henry I., but in 
the fifteenth century Thomas Wither killed Sir Robert 
Worceley and fled the county with his two brothers, 
and the youngest, Robert, settled at Manydown in 
Hampshire. His descendants married judiciously, and, 
in the seventeenth century, became possessed of Hall 
Place near Manydown, and of considerable property 
in Oakley, Sherborne and Deane. Charles Wither 
sat as M.P. for Christchurch from 1727 to his death. 
" Quis ullum inveniet parem ? " wrote the clergyman 
at Deane when recording his burial in the register. 
He had a considerable family, but was survived by two 
daughters only. The younger, Anne, married William 
Beach of Keevil and Fittleton in 1779. The elder, 
Henrietta Maria, to whom the Hall Place property had 


been left, married, as her second husband, Mr. Edmund 
Bramston of Boreham, Essex. They had an only son, 
Wither Bramston, who married Miss Mary Chute of the 
Vyne.* The Wither Bramstons had no children, and 
William Hicks Beach, the second son of Michael Hicks 
and Henrietta Maria Beach, eventually got Hall Place, 
or Oakley Hall as it began to be called about 1800. 

" An obscure unnoticed state of Affluence," is Mr. 
Wainhouse, the Keevil curate's, account of the worldly 
position of the William Beachs, so that it must have 
been their riches only which drew down on them the 
thunder of the gods. The stories of their son and eldest 
daughter are really tragic. William Wither Beach, 
their only son, went to New College where he had 
some reputation as a poet. A poem of his called 
Abradates and Panthea: A Tale Extracted from 
Xenophon, was published privately with all the panoply 
of good print and wide margins, but the rest of his life 
— and he lived to be eighty-two^ — is a dreadful silence, 
for he went out of his mind. Mr. Wainhouse's story 
is that it was his mother's fault, because she crossed 
him in a youthful love affair : " The Disappointment 
threw the Son into a low, odd and unsociable Way, in 
which he has continued ever since," says the narrator of 
A Tale of domestic and uncommon Parental Barbarity. 

Anne Beach cannot have been in full possession of 
her senses either, if she fell in love, in the way he 
would have the world believe, with the Keevil curate. 
Mr. Wainhouse says of his Narrative that it was 
prepared for the Press, but was withheld from publica- 
tion because the tale was too horrid for the general 
ear. " Wherefore the Delinquents are left to Heaven 
and their own Consciences." He starts by describing 
in some detail his failure to secure the hand of another 
young lady of good prospects, but, things having been 
brought to a crisis unfavourable to his wishes, he 
turned his thoughts to Miss Anne Beach. Mrs. Beach 

* Her younger sister, Rachel Ann, was William Hicks' second wife. 


suspected his design, and he made her a promise that 
he would never make any private attempt on Miss 
Anne's affections. He confesses with shame and 
sorrow that he broke his word. He broke it, indeed, 
with great elaboration, and he gives all the particulars 
of his surreptitious addresses — the notes, the secret 
avowals, Anne's consent to a matrimonial excursion to 
Scotland, the little sister's awakening at the wrong 
moment, the post-chaise and four that had to drive 
away, the discovery of the plot, the anger of the 
parents. Then there was a second attempt and a 
nam'd and fix'd retreat at the midnight hour in the 
shrubbery at Keevil, with the hasty descent of Mrs. 
Beach on the curate's lodgings directly she missed her 
daughter. The main part of the narrative, however, is 
not so much occupied with a relation of facts, as with 
the forcible setting forth of the hardness of heart of 
Mrs. Beach, and her supposed motives ; together with 
the demonstration that the Rev. William Wainhouse 
himself had no motive at all but that of esteem and 
pity for the young lady. Exaggerated as the whole 
story is, it is likely enough that Anne's parents were 
not very wise in their anger,* and the end of the 
matter was that Anne came of age, and — so, at least, 
he repeats with gallantry after her death — practically 
forced Mr. Wainhouse to marry her by flying to him 
for protection. Poor foolish Anne had caught a very 
bad cold that night she hid in the shrubbery, and it 
sowed the seeds of consumption. She survived the 
marriage but three months, and her husband went to 
lengthy pains to lay her death at her mother's door. 

Henrietta Maria was only ten years old at the time 
this second tragedy was being played out, but Mr. 
Wainhouse does not let her escape the lash of his 
censure. " The Mother, as it appears, cross'd two, out 
of three, of her children in their matrimonial Desires, 

* They are said to have locked her up in the room over the 
porch at Keevil. 


and free Choice in Love. It is a very probable con- 
jecture, that it is the Aim of the mother to center the 
Riches of the Family in the youngest Daughter the 
Object of her Idolatry. This she has effected by 
the Death of her eldest Daughter. But if enriching one 
Child by the Plunder and Destruction of another, can be 
Matter of Rejoicing to Parents, who envies such a 
Triumph ? " The child, Henrietta Maria, herself, he is 
" credibly inform'd," had been heard to say that if her 
sister went counter to her parents' wishes, " this wou'd 
be a fine Thing for herself, as she shou'd be a great 
Fortune out of it." 

The picture of Henrietta Maria at Coin St. Aldwyn 
was painted when she was fifteen, and shows her as a 
rosy, fair-complexioned, buxom girl, with an under- 
lying glint of pathos, called into being perhaps by 
the weight of her piled-up head-dress. Her marriage 
to Michael Hicks in 1777 probably pleased her parents 
well enough ; the boy and girl were in love with each 
other and Michael had birth and a fair fortune. 
William Beach had bought the house and lands at 
Netheravon in 1760, with the Harding money, from 
the Duke of Beaufort. Netheravon and Fittleton 
villages join each other, and Netheravon House 
and Fittleton Manor are but a mile apart. The 
young couple, however, did not settle at Fittleton — 
wisely, it might perhaps be thought. They took on a 
lease, Shaw Hill House, near Melksham, on the other 
side of Salisbury Plain and about thirty-five miles by 
road from Witcombe. Here most of their nine 
children were born during the next years, and Michael 
had as much coursing and shooting and fishing as he 
could desire. 

But the eighteenth century was drawing to its end ; 
the restless nineteenth century was in the throes of its 
birth — it was all in the air that the borders of life 
should be enlarged. Mr. and Mrs. Beach had ambi- 
tions for their daughter and son-in-law, and there are 


evidences that Michael was tired of an aimless life of 
sport. It was decided, as a preliminary, to invest the 
rest of the Harding fortune in landed property, and 
William Beach set on foot negociations to buy 
Williamstrip Park, a Gloucestershire estate with a 
deer-park and a big house, on the Cotswolds near 
Fairford. The estate comprised the manor of William- 
strip, the parish of Coin St. Aldwyn and half of the 
parish of Quenington. It had no particular history and 
had changed hands pretty often.* That business genius, 
James Harding, would have shuddered in his grave 
could he have known what a bad investment Cotswold 
land was going to be a hundred years later. At the 
time, however, the purchase gave unalloyed satisfaction 
to everyone. The final conveyance was not signed 
until 1790, but the Michael Hicks were installed there 
as early as 1788, and Lord Oxford, who stayed with 
them, was evidently doing the expected thing when he 
wrote, " Give me leave to assure you Williamstrip 
without compliment is a most fine place, the inward 
real satisfaction I felt at seeing you in possession of it 
is not easily to be describe." 

Mrs. Beach died in 1788 and her husband died in 
1790, when the responsibilities of the Netheravon, the 
Fittleton and the Keevil property were added to those 
Michael Hicks already had ; and, by a codicil to his 
will, his father-in-law desired that he should take the 
name of Beach. 

It is a matter of history that Sydney Smith was 
curate of Netheravon. The tale of how the new squire 
and his wife, with the curate as an able third, began, as 
new brooms will, to sweep very diligently there, has 
been set forth exhaustively by Mr. Stuart Reid and by 
Mr. George W. E. Russell in their Lives of Sydney 

* One of its owners was Henry Powle, Speaker of the House of 
Commons and Master of the Rolls, who was buried in Quenington 
Church, 1692. 


Smith. Mr. Reid gives in full all the discriminating 
comments which the curate, at Mrs. Beach's request, 
made on a list of the Netheravon poor which the 
steward had compiled; and he quotes, in full, all the 
existing letters, but three, which Sydney Smith wrote 
to WiUiarnstrip during this period. The village "an 
oasis in the midst of Salisbury Plain " (as Mr. Russell, 
full of pity for the curate's isolation, calls it) was 
probably not worse, as regards its vice and its poverty, 
than the average remote village of the day. Nor is it 
necessary to place the Hicks Beach educational efforts 
on a pedestal. Mr. Russell says patronisingly that the 
Beachs " seem to have been thoroughly high-principled 
and intelligent people." So they were ; but they were 
not on that account constellations set apart. It was 
the era of the awakening conscience — of Robert Raikes 
and of Hannah More ; and the Bishop of Salisbury had 
but recently urged the diocese to adopt their ideas. 
The Sunday school and the industrial schools of 
Netheravon had their counterparts on other estates. 

The correspondence over these Netheravon matters 
was carried on principally between the curate and 
Mrs. Hicks Beach, and that was a custom which 
extended to subsequent years — the lady's greater leisure 
being given as the reason. 

Michael himself was busy enough, for in 1794 he was 
returned as one of the two Members of Parliament for 
Cirencester, and he represented the borough until 1818. 
It belonged to a Mr. Joseph Pitt,* and no doubt a 
heavy price was paid for it ; yet the method was a 
direct one, and, perhaps, in the long run, not more 

* In his " Remeniscences of the Oxford Circuit," Lord Campbell 
says that J. Pitt had been a boy who used to hold horses for a penny, 
that an attorney had taken a fancy to him, that he had scraped 
together money, and had become a brewer, a banker, a farmer and a 
land jobber; was worth (1812) £20,000 a year and returned four 
Members to Parliament. Pitt subsequently ruined himself, and partly 
through laying out an estate, now a part of the town of Cheltenham, 
and called ' Pittyille.' 


expensive than the methods of to-day. In 1807, after 
the fall of Grenville's Ministry, Michael was anxious 
that his eldest son should enter Parliament as well as 
himself. The Duke of Beaufort was asked to approach 
Lord Mount Edgcumbe about a seat in Cornwall, and 
he wrote : " As I really think there is some chance of 
L a - M. being likely to seat your son, would it not be 
better for you to write to some Man of business in 
London, stating what terms you will give, and 
empowering him to make an Agreement with L a - 
Mount Edgecomb's Man of business." Young Beach 
never sat in Parliament, but his father was re-elected 
for Cirencester in 1787. 

' Going into Parliament ' was a new departure for 
a member of either the Hicks or the Beach families in 
these later generations, and it can be well believed that the 
matter was well discussed, and that the parents at Wit- 
combe would have their opinion to give. The Earles 
were consulted as well, and William Earle, Susannah's 
eldest grandson, the heir to Benborough Hall, who was 
in the 50th Regiment, wrote at some length : — 

" My opinion is this and I will tell you in few 
words. If you are by any means ambitious of getting 
into Parliament, you make an experiment at a very 
reasonable rate ; Should you find upon trial that you 
have health and Spirits, inclination, and time, to con- 
tinue in that line, which is an honourable one, you may 
fulfill your engagements in the other Quarter nearest 
your own residence, should you find that it will not 
suit you, or agree with Mrs. H. B., you will have 
made your experiment, and the dissolution of parlia- 
ment will give you a very good opportunity of 
quitting, when the existence of parliament is no 
longer. As to what you are to do, I leave that to 
your own final determination. You have been men- 
tioned to the Ministry, and the way is paved for you, 
or any one presented by Mr. L. to succeed him. 


"Could you prevail upon Mrs. B. to mix more 
with her own sex and not merely with her and your 
female relations, she would extend her acquaintance, 
encrease her knowledge of the World, and gradually 
diminish that diffidence she has of her abilities, and 
accomplishments, she will not allow she has. 

"The property you have makes you one of the 
properest persons to be in parliament, provided you 
come in at the fair market price and by agreement, 
but if you are to put yourself forward to make your- 
self known as a public Character, and Mrs. B. will 
not cooperate by coming forward to be acquainted 
with the Wives of those with whom you are con- 
nected by party politics, she will find your avocations 
in the house will employ your time and from her 
dislike to London, she would be forced to pass many 
weeks alone without your society, which she has 
never been without, from the day of your marriage. 
Should you get into parliament you will (have) different 
society and different connexions, Your party dinners 
and the conversation annexed to it, will be a scene of 
a different kind from any you have ever as yet 
experienced. Whatever you do, as you and Mrs. B. 
have a mutual regard for each other, make her your 
friend, and do nothing without her knowledge or 
assent. She brought you to a fortune, and has some 
title to be consulted. I wish to see you known, and 
popular, in your own county, and in Wiltshire, visit- 
ing, and visited by the people of rank, Character and 
fortune, in those two counties. Your own expences 
would be lessened, and the credit and satisfaction of 
having good company is among the first comforts in 
life. You intimated when in Wiltshire you intended 
to come forward and take a different line in life, 
1 was very sincerely happy to hear it. Leave off 
gradually a certain . . . whose behaviour and con- 
versation can adorn no society, and who are only 
happy and at their ease, when in the society of such 


men as Toys or . . . The friendship you express for 
me induces me to give my opinion thus freely, if I 
have taken too great a liberty forgive it, I mean 
neither to be troublesome or officious. It is a real 
regard for you and Mrs. B. that has made me give 
the rein to my ideas." 

This throws a strong side-light on Mrs. Hicks Beach, 
and some of the candidly expressed opinions of Sydney 
Smith and her own letters to her husband make the 
picture of her rather a complete one. It is perfectly 
clear that nothing would ever have made her into a 
woman of fashion, but that, in keeping herself aloof 
from that side of life, she yet managed, when occasion 
required, to hold her own with great spirit. She was 
very deliberate, very conservative, very far-seeing, and 
had an immense care for detail which has been 
transmitted to some of her descendants. 

" Remember me very kindly to Mrs. Beach of whom 
I never think without recollecting and admiring her 
great good sense and many amiable qualities," said 
Sidney Smith, writing to the husband in 1794. In 1799 
the friendship had ripened and he felt able to poke a 
little fun at the lady : — 

" You are now seriously immersed in all these 
weighty operations which fill up the sum of country 
life. You are flinging barley out to the pigeons. 
You are hearing the hideous death of peafowls that 
have been eat by foxes. You have drawn half a 
carnation, you have observed several times that the 
grass is green and the may sweet. You have gap'd 
several times and pull'd Caesar by the ears — and 
heard above eight and thirty stories which Anne 
and Henrietta have to tell you about Grandpapa 
and Grandmamma." 

Halcyon as this life was it was not without its 

O.F. X 


"I sympathise with you upon the loss of poor 
Bloxam,* and the circumstances of his death render 
it the more distressing,— his loss is great I admit, 
but you will think it irreparable— no new thing ever 
compensates you for the loss of an old one — a new 
hat or bonnet which gives pleasure to other Ladies 
is to you a source of sincere mortification. The 
preceding one becomes dear to you as it becomes 
shapeless, and when it is on the eye of dissolution, 
you quit it with a pang." 

" I cannot take leave of you in silence without thank- 
ing you individually for the distinguishing kindness 
you have ever shown me," wrote Sydney Smith to 
Henrietta Maria in 1803, when he was about to sever 
his connection with the Beachs ; and many years 
before, during a holiday in Bath, when he was com- 
missioned to interview a governess for the Beach girls, 
he had said : — 

" Upon the fair share of respect and attention with 
which a person who has still all the feelings, and once 
had the situation, of a woman of independent fortune, 
will expect to be treated, I shall say nothing. For I 
never saw a family in which they were more delicately 
attended to than in yours." 

That was all very well for phrases, but in the course 
of his career as tutor to the Beach sons he and 
Mrs. Beach had a very considerable difference of 
opinion as to a want of deference which the angry 
husband considered had been shown to Mrs. Smith. 
" So Sidney Smith has laughed himself into the good 
graces of Miss Pybus," wrote William Earle in 1800. 
The marriage took place in July, and later in the summer 
the Smiths seem to have accompanied the Beachs on 
one of those leisurely tours in their own coach which 

* The family doctor. 


were one of the pleasures of the day. They went 
northwards to Matlock, and when the Smiths pro- 
ceeded to Edinburgh, the Beachs turned and came 
home. The letter here quoted was evidently not the 
first of the series : — 

" My dear Madam, 

" When people of good breeding, and education 
travel together, they share equally the pleasures and 
inconveniences of the journey. 

" Amongst the rest in the article of sleeping rooms 
— every lady takes her Share of good, and bad, 
and sometimes she is accomodated well, and at others 
she yields to her fellow travellers the best that the 
Inn affords. Nobody knows the rules of politeness 
better than you, and if Mrs. Loveden, or Mrs. Barker 
or any other of your respectable neighbors had been 
of your party — you would I think have strictly 
complied with them. YoU uniformly thro' the whole 
of our tour put Mrs. Smith in the worst room, and 
took the best for yourself — without the smallest 
apology — or any one softening expression whatso- 

" Is this not to say in language too plain to be 
mistaken — I do not think this woman worthy of being 
treated with the common forms of politeness? — If 
there is any other interpretation to be put upon this, 
it has escaped my attentive consideration. My wife 
is of a disposition that she would not complain ,if 
she were to be placed in a dungeon — but am I to 
feel for her less because her disposition is amiable ? I 
should be unworthy your notice — if I thought for a 
moment whether my bed were good or bad — or if 
the bad accomodation to which every person is 
exposed in travelling could for a moment ruffle my 
temper — but I want the consideration, and the polite- 
ness — not the accomodation. I want not the thing 
itself but the offer, and I want these much more for 

x 2 


my wife than myself. I would have slept in mud 
and water before I would in any one instance have 
suffered Mr. Beach and yourself to take the worse 
accomodation, but would it have cost you much to 
have shewn Mrs. Smith by only once giving her an 
opportunity of dealing a choice of a bed — that you 
thought her not an unworthy object of that good 
breeding, which Ladies in general exercise towards 
one another ? — 

" While many are starving in this world, my dear 
Madam, and many are toiling, God has given you 
various good things, and you are blessed with 
unbounded affluence, and with unruffled ease — you 
are too valuable and too amiable a woman to be 
rendered proud by your opulence, but let me ask 
you, are you never rendered negligent of the feelings 
of others by it? — are you never careless of giving 
pain, — because you are exempted from any interested 
motives to consult the opinions of others. On the 
contrary it is ever the study of a truly Christian 
Spirit to soften by gentle behavior the hard distinc- 
tion of human lots, and to efface that jealousy of 
contemptuous treatment, which the little have so 
much to fear from the great. 

" Everybody will love you my dear Madam if you 
treat them with consideration, and respect, without 
this — you will meet with a number of base people 
who will hang upon you for their food and their 
drink, but no honorable spirited man or woman 
will or can be your friend. I want nothing from 
Mr. Beach or you — but that for which I toil — but 
I have a very great affection, and respect for you 
both, and I wish with all my heart, and Soul to 
preserve them. I know how easily people like 
Mrs. Smith and myself are apt to be disregarded 
— unprotected as we are by the Splendor of birth 
and fortune — and you and your husband would feel 
it, if you could change situation. I am not the 


man to barter the respect due to me and due to 
my wife for any earthly consideration — she is the 
best of women, she has given up affluence for me, 
and may God Almighty curse me — if ever I cease 
to feel for her more, and to love her better than 
myself. All this seems much to write about a bed, 
but negligence and contempt may be shewn in a 
thousand different ways. None but a fool can 
quarrel with the vehicle, it is the thing conveyed 
which is hateful. You will call me selfish for cloud- 
ing the good humour of a party, and not sacrificing 
my resentment to their entertainment, but my dear 
Madam there is a much more general, and a much 
better rule, than that which this imputation includes, 
and that is 'not to act so as to give rational cause 
of dissatisfaction to those with whom you travel ' 
for it is much easier to consult the feelings of others 
than to stifle our own. I cannot for a moment 
suppose that any difference was made in this case 
by Mr. Beach defraying the expence of the journey, 
because had I been the Pay Master I should have 
thought it the most cogent reason possible for treat- 
ing my companion in a different manner. Nor was 
I a mere idle traveller at his expence — myself and 
wife had an object in the journey. If after all you 
really think I cared for accomodations, considered 
by themselves, ask your Son's Servant, If in our 
journies, the most impartial justice was not preserved 
between me and your Son. I make you no apology 
for my resentment, because I think it wise, and just, 
— but I do apologise to you most sincerely, — If I 
have expressed that resentment now or at any time 
indecently. Farewell my dear Madam, you are little 
accustomed to such plain truth as this Letter con- 
tains, and yet I do not think you will hate me for 
telling them to you whether you do or not — my 
opinion of you founded upon an acquaintance of 
6 or 7 years, will remain invariably the same, and 


when I think or speak of Good women you will be 
one of the first on my Lips and in my memory, 
" Farewell — 

" Your obedient humble servant, 

"Sidney Smith. 

" I think it may be as well to drop the subject 
entirely my great object in writing this Letter was 
to explain to you the cause of my dissatisfaction on 
our journey." 

But Mrs. Hicks Beach was not at all inclined to let the 
matter drop. It is rather natural that, whether she 
were guilty, or whether she were not, she would equally 
have been angry. But it is probable that, being what 
she was, she expressed her anger temperately. Unfor- 
tunately she kept no copy of her letter, and we can only 
judge of its tenour by the answer to it : — 

" Tuesday, October 2nd, 1800. 

" My dear Madam, I lay down this simple principle 
that under all the circumstances of our journey, and 
from every principle of good breeding with which I 
am acquainted, a fair share of the accomodations 
experienced on the road ought to have been offered 
to Mrs. Smith. If such as you say was the fact — or 
nearly the fact — my conduct has been quite unpardon- 
able, by myself and by you. If the very reverse was 
the fact, as appeared to me at the time and after- 
wards upon reflection, then I have had fair right to 
complain. What the facts were we cannot agree. 

" I never accused you my dear Madam of inten- 
tional disrespect or neglect to me or any body — I am 
sure you are quite incapable of it — but I said to you, 
in the spirit of that respect I truly feel for you ' ask 
yourself if you never give pain — by not attending to 
the feelings of people in a different situation of life 
from your own.' 


" You have involved Mrs. Smith in our difference, 
who never complained directly or indirectly to you, 
and answered only such questions as I put to her. 
I have spoke my mind very freely to you in my last 
letter, tho' I hope neither rudely nor disrespectfully 
— as long as you and I continue to have any acquaint- 
ance together — I will always do so — unless you prefer 
that I should address myself to Mr. Beach, but my idea 
on this Subject is that man and woman go thro' the 
quarrels indispensable to human life more pleasantly 
and good naturedly, than Man and Man or Woman 
and Woman. I have perfectly forgot the whole busi- 
ness days ago. If you and Mr. Beach mean to con- 
tinue as angry with me as I can easily see you are 
by your last Letters — I can only say I am extremely 
sorry for it — and will beg you hereafter when you 
meet with a poor and proud man to remember this 
in justification of his faults — that the same pride 
which renders him perhaps litigiously jealous of his 
Superiors in condition guards him from mean and 
dishonourable conduct in difficult Situations. . . . 
" Your obedient humble servant, 

"Sydney Smith." 

Mrs. Hicks Beach's reply to this is in existence : — 

" Williamstrip Park, October 18th, 1800. 
" My dear Sir, 

"A few more words on the disagreeable subject 
of our last letters, and I hope to have done with 
it entirely. You tell me if I have stated the 
fact, or nearly the fact in my former letter your 
conduct has been quite unpardonable, now the 
account I gave you, appears to me, as far as I am 
capable of judging, to be perfectly correct, and I 
am fully persuaded that any unprejudiced person 
who was to see the rooms, would be of my opinion. 
When Mr. Hicks Beach and myself were at Matlock 


some years ago, we certainly chose the room you had 
this autumn, because we thought it the best. 

" I do not suppose you always looked at the 
different rooms yourself, if you had, perhaps you 
might have agreed with me, if you did not, as you 
know I generally did, why should you disbelieve me 
— it is not pleasant to be suspected of telling an 
untruth, the fault itself I abhor and hope I shall 
always endeavour to avoid it according to your own 
way of thinking my good Sir I have some reason to be 
angry, altho' I am not at all inclin'd to consider your 
conduct as unpardonable. Those lines in your letter 
mark'd with strictures I really do not comprehend. 

" Your letter has not offended me, on the contrary I 
think you have done well in accounting for your very 
extraordinary behaviour at Bank House. But you 
must excuse me for contradicting your assertion, for 
indeed you are much mistaken in supposing that 
Mrs. Smith had always the worst bed-room during 
our journey, I do assure you her room was sometimes 
equal to mine and sometimes better. On the subject 
of travelling we certainly do not think exactly alike, 
but I forbear giving you my sentiments at large, 
because I am confident as your letter has not made 
a convert of me, mine never would convince you. I 
must do myself the justice to say good Sir, that after 
a strict review of my late behaviour from the com- 
mencement of our acquaintance, I can fairly acquit 
myself of having at any time treated you or Mrs. 
Smith with negligence or disrespect, I have uniformly 
endeavour'd to pay you both every proper attention 
and can only add, I am sorry to find I have not 
succeeded better in her opinion and in yours. . . . 
Mr. Hicks Beach unites with me in compliments to 
Mrs. Smith and love to William. 
" I am, dear Sir, 

" Your obedient Servant, 

" H. M. Hicks Beach." 


Unconvincing this was, as Henrietta Maria had 
prophesied ! 

" 79 Queen Street, October 1800. Friday Night. 
" My dear Madam, 

" You have surely put a hard construction upon my 
last letter when you say " that I suspect you of telling 
an untruth." You have said that it was your intention 
to give Mrs. Smith as good accomodation as yourself, 
and that in the selection of rooms you had this 
object in view. I am therefore bound to believe your 
intention to have been irreproachable. I do and did 
believe them to be so, directly as you explained them. 
It is a justice I owe to every person of character in 
common with yourself, but I am at full liberty to say 
that 1 do not think you were very successful in 
evincing the obliging consideration you felt, and that 
the best tempered man living might from the same 
evidence have been betrayed into the same jealousy 
which I felt, and confessed. I saw the rooms much 
more frequently than you imagine Mrs. Smith 
always, except the first night. You say our rooms 
were better occasionally, doubtless you thought them 
so, or you would not say it, I am only sorry that 
some very definite mode of judging of these things 
should so completely have blinded me to your civil 
and friendly conduct. It is some little pity that 
Mrs. Smith in conformity with established usages was 
never once offered to choose her own accomodations 
first, and that you never in any instance appealed to 
her own ideas of best and worst, this would have 
settled and sweetened everything in a moment, would 
have convinced you of the disposition of the woman 
you had to deal with and would have prevented me 
from mis-conceiving the conduct of my old and 
respected friends and benefactors. The sentence you 
allude to in my last letter contains a very trite 
and true opinion in morals, and has literally no 


sort of meaning but what the words obviously 

" You say ' according to my own way of thinking, 
You have reason to be angry with me.' I have only 
to say in reply that you will find me a most willing 
martyr to your rules, whenever you chuse to make 
me so, and that I rather court such martyrdom than 
avoid it. State to me any incongruity between my 
practice and principles, and I will make every effort 
of candor to own myself wrong. . . . 

" Your obedient humble servant, 

" Sydney Smith." 

It is impossible to believe that Henrietta Maria did 
not contrive to have the last word, but it is not in 
existence. She had a facility in letter-writing, and her 
husband preserved a great number of the letters she sent 
him during the first years he was in Parliament, when 
he used to lodge at Reddish's Hotel in St. James' 
Street.* The first of those kept is a perfect example of 
the rest. It is from Netheravon, where the Beachs 
seem to have lived for three months every year. 

" My dear Mr. Hicks Beach 1796. 

" Your kind letter which I rec'd yesterday, was a 
cordial to my spirits, and fill'd my eyes with pleasure, 
Be assur'd since you wish to hear often you shall not 
be disappointed, altho' you must not expect very 
entertaining Epistles, for you know these Downs do 
not abound with variety, however I trust I may 
have it in my power to send you good accounts of 
our healths, and the uniformity of those reports will 
not I am sure be unpleasing to you and sometimes 
perhaps for a remarkable piece of intelligence you may 
hear of a certain married lady not a hundred miles 
from Salisbury plain, corresponding with a Gentleman 
who is unknown to her Husband, during his absence in 

* In later years the Beachs had a house in Harley Street. 


the duties of his Senatorial office. But to have done 
with this nonsense, if it has not already convinc'd you 
I am well enough to he saucy, I will now assure you 
in earnest, that I am God be prais'd, so much better 
that Bloxham has order 'd me to take Bark Draughts 
which you may perhaps recollect he recommended 
after the sore throat I had when we went to Mr. 
Smiths at Stokepark, and which could not be given 
during the time it lasted. I mention this in hopes of 
removing any uneasiness you may feel on my account ; 
the little Girls and William also are quite well, some 
of the servants have had the same complaint, and 
Salter has it now therefore I hope most sincerely 
that Mr. Pitt will delay the call of the House &c. a 
little longer, or if not I hope you will not come, till it 
is quite over, for I should feel uncomfortable with the 
idea of your taking it now, and I trust this frosty 
weather will as Bloxham supposes purify the air and 
carry off these complaints. 

" You could not possibly hunt if you were here for 
the ground is cover'd almost with ice, and it is hardly 
safe to ride even on the road, tho' the Horses shoes 
are turn'd up. Susan and James were ask'd the 
second time yesterday, so suppose they will soon 
become Man and Wife. 

" We have been feasting on the bounty of our 
neighbours, Mr. Fowle very obligingly sent us a fine 
brace of Partridges a few days since, which I enjoy 'd 
much and yesterday Mr. G. Moore presented me 
with two couple of Snipes. I had a long letter from 
Mr. Talbot* yesterday which I send you, let me have 
it again when you write, and I must beg you will let 
me know whether you think 5 Guineas will be too 
much to give the attendants, and if not whether I 
should send a country bill of a £5. (note) or if I should 
desire Mr. T. to pay it for me. I send you a letter 

* Jane Beach, sister of William Beach of Netheravon, and Mrs. 
Hicks Beach's aunt, had married a Talbot of Margan, Glamorganshire 


I have Written to Mr. Andrews who applied for 
Beaumonts character. I mention your name, not 
mine as he does the same by Sir Edmund & Lady 
Hartopp for whom he is enquiring after a House- 
keeper if you approve my letter be so good as 
to convey it according to the direction, I shall be 
happy to hear from you when convenient but pray do 
not hurry yourself to write, God bless you my dear 
Mr. Hicks, we unite as usual, 
" Believe to be 

" Your obt. & affectionate wife 

" H. M. Hicks Beach. 

" Mr. Bramston says I ought only to mention 
Beaumonts not suiting us in general terms if you 
think pray let me know & I will write another letter. 

" Love to Michael." 

The letters are naturally full of details about the 
children — " dear Jane is better than could be expected, 
she has eaten bread pudding for Dinner and Tapioca with 
two Buns for her Supper," and " Ann has recover 'd her 
complexion again, and has an amazing appetite." Ann, 
who seems to have been always delicate, died when she 
was only seventeen years old and while she was on a 
visit to her aunt and uncle at Witcombe. A brass plate 
on the floor of Witcombe Church commemorates her. 
Jane lived to be an old woman, and when she was forty- 
seven she married a Mr. Edward St. John of a Hamp- 
shire family, and reigned as Aunt Jane St. John well 
into modern days. Henrietta Maria, who was evidently 
Sydney Smith's favourite among the daughters (for he 
mentions her constantly in his letters) died when she 
was twenty-four. The other children who survived 
infancy were the two sons, Michael the heir, and his 
younger brother, William. 

In one of Sydney Smith's letters to Henrietta Maria 
from Netheravon he had said, " Nothing can equal the 


profound the immeasurable, the awful dulness of this 
place, in the which I he, dead and buried, in hopes of a 
joyful resurrection in the year 1796." Two years later 
the resurrection came. Young Michael Hicks Beach had 
left Eton, and his parents decided that, before going to 
an English university, he should go to a German one, and 
that the Netheravon curate should be put in charge of 
him. Tutor and pupil were to have set out for Weimar 
in the summer of 1797, but war had broken out in 
Germany, and it was finally decided that they should go 
to Edinburgh instead. They arrived there in June, 1798, 
and it was Sydney Smith's home until August, 1803, 
during which time he had under his care consecutively 
Michael and William Hicks Beach. 

As this is not the story of Sydney Smith's life, it is 
impossible to quote at any length from the very large 
number of letters which are in the possession of Viscount 
St. Aldwyn and of Major Beach of Oakley Hall. It 
was the tutor's practice to try to write to the parents 
every fortnight about his charges, so that the letters in 
existence can be but few in proportion to those actually 
sent. A famous modern headmaster has recently said 
that the parents of this generation have become too 
fussy about the upbringing of their children, but the 
whole of the Edinburgh and Williamstrip correspondence 
demonstrates that 1800 was not a whit behind 1900 in 
this respect. Michael and Henrietta Maria were 
minutely anxious that their sons should be worthy of 
the fortune which was to be theirs, and Sydney Smith, 
who laughed at most things, never laughed at this 
anxiety. It would seem from the letters that William, 
the younger brother, was, of the two, his favourite. At 
all events, there is no doubt that he found him easier to 
manage than Michael, but when William came to him 
he was no longer a novice in the art of bear-leading; he 
had been chastened by marriage, and had learned too, 
perhaps, not to sharpen his wit too pitilessly on youthful 
foibles. At a later date some of his difficulties with 


Michael might never have occurred. Nearly fifty of 
Michael's letters to his parents have been preserved, and 
they begin with childish letters written under supervision 
from a preparatory school. When he went to Eton 
supervision ceased, the letters became lively and candid, 
and they are in a hand which is large, and free-flowing 
and legible ; they are full of character and humour, and 
are as different as can be from the letters written from 
Edinburgh. The handwriting of these is detestable ; it 
is exceedingly small and fine with enormous ' tails,' and 
is so redolent of the then fashion in such things as to be 
almost illegible. The manner and phrasing of the letters 
is as tiresome ; the sentences are stilted, and an air of 
dull oppression pervades all. Says poor Michael, how- 
ever, after three months' striving, " I have the vanity to 
flatter myself that with Mr. Sidney Smith's assistance 
I have improved my style of writing as well as my 
hand." It is evident that between his parents' epistolary 
exhortations on the one hand, and his tutor's witty 
diatribes on the other, the unhappy young man had 
'self-improvement' on his nerves. Sydney Smith made 
him feel he was a fool, and that result never yet 
served an educational purpose. He writes about some 
invitation : — 

" I did not accept her invitation because I thought 
Mr. Smith would not like it, but I find he has no 
objection to be left alone — and indeed I do not see 
why Mr. Smith should have any objection for he 
might as well be alone as in such company as 

An evening to himself, free from the company of the 
boy so much his intellectual inferior, must indeed have 
been a heaven-sent boon to the tutor, but it does not 
need saying that the ideal tutor would not have let the 
pupil be alive to the fact. The ideal tutor, for this 
particular pupil at all events, Sydney Smith never was, 


and one incident alone proves it. There is an introductory 
letter : — 

"Anxious as you and Mrs. Beach are for the welfare 
and improvement of your son. ... I can always 
promise you one thing in my correspondence, I will 
always tell you the truth in everything that concerns 
your son, whether that truth be likely to give you 
pleasure or pain. Our beginning has been very 
auspicious ; as far as we have hitherto gone I am 
extremely pleased and satisfied with Michael. My 
first serious conversation with him was upon the 
subject of his toilette, and the very great portion of 
time he daily consumed in adorning himself. This 
Michael took in high anger, and was extremely sulky. 
And upon my renewing the conversation some time 
after, he was still more so. Without the smallest 
appearance of anger or vexation on my part, I turned 
his sulkiness into ridicule, and completely laughed 
him into good humour. He acknowledged it was 
very foolish and unmanly to be sulky about anything, 
promised that he would hear any future remarks of 
mine about his conduct with cheerfulness and that he 
would endeavour to dress himself as quickly as he 
could. Mithoffer* was extremely fond of standing at 
his elbow while he was dressing and reaching him 
everything he wanted ; this I have put a stop to. 
Habits of indolence are soon learnt, Michael is a very 
apt Scholar in these particulars." 

The tutor's triumph was premature. A year later the 
battle had to be fought again, and this time Sydney 
Smith was not able to say he had shown no vexation. 

" I am sure that you will do me the justice to say 
that it has not been my habit to harass you with 
trivial complaints of your son's conduct, and Indeed 
as I never troubled you before upon the subject, you 

* Michael's valet. 


may believe that I should not now do it, unless the 
occasion appear'd to me to be such, as fully called for 
your interference. Is it not my duty to correct the 
foibles and mistakes of your son ? Is it not his duty 
to hear what I say to him, if not with respect and 
attention, at least without insolence, contempt, and 
defiance ? You have no conception of his frivolous 
minuteness and particularity in every thing which 
concerns his dress and person — it is more than 
feminine. And upon venturing the other morning to 
make some observation about the inutility of his 
troubles with his own boot-jack, his behaviour was so 
extremely improper and disrespectful, that I did not 
open my lips to him for two days — in all this time no 
sort of apology. This morning I had a very long and 
serious conversation with him on the subject, and 
tho' he knew I intended to write to you not a 
syllable of apology. Perhaps my dear Sir a few 
observations from you on that politeness and respect 
which he owes to those to whom you delegate your 
authority would do him more good than I am sorry 
to say any advice of mine can do. You expect, and 
have an undoubted right to expect, from me, the 
strictest attention to every thing which goes to make 
up the character of your son as a man and a gentle- 
man, and I am sure you will use your influence and 
authority to protect me from insult and injury. One 
single word of apology on the part of your son would 
have prevented you from ever hearing what passed 
between us. I was the more hurt on this occasion as 
Mithoffer was present during the whole of his improper 

" I have read over this letter to your son, but he 
heard without the least notice and without a single 

This letter could have but one result, whatever opinion 
the father may have had of the tutor's tact. 


" I was too well convinced of the proper sentiments 
in which you have educated your children to doubt 
for a moment of the manner in which you would 
express yourself to Michael upon that conduct of 
which I complained. Your letter produced every 
effect you could have wished from it. He not only 
apologised to me in the most ample manner, but 
(which convinced me he really thought himself wrong) 
brought in Mithoffer before whom the affront was 
given to witness the apology. Of course I said every- 
thing handsome to him on the subject, and I daresay 
we shall only be better friends for what has passed. 
I am very sorry my dear Sir to have troubled the 
tranquility of yourself and Mrs. Beach, but it would 
have been a most injurious and mistaken complai- 
sance to have sacrificed the real good of your son to 
the present feelings of his parents." 

Michael's own letter to his father does him entire 
credit : — 

"I am extremely sorry for having behaved in 
such an ungrateful manner to Mr. Smith, whom I 
hope for the future I shall respect as much as I 
ought ; but I am still more so for having vex'd 
and offended my Mother and yourself so much as 
I fear I must have done ; yet I am perfectly assured 
that if my future conduct is such as to deserve for- 
giveness, you will forgive me as well as my Mother ; 
therefore I shall endeavour to conduct myself properly 
particularly towards Mr. Smith until I see you again, 
and then I shall hope to regain your approbation. 

" You little think how much I am obliged to you 
for your letter, so justly severe (tho' I hope I may 
never deserve such another) for as I foolishly thought 
I was forgiven, I am affraid that without so positive 
a command from you, I should not, even by this 
time have apologised for being so impertinent to one 
whom at least I ought to have esteem'd too much 


to have offended in that manner. I have at last 
attempted to make a proper apology : but Mr. Smith 
was so good he would not suffer me : he said ' my 
dear friend one word by way of apology is enough.' 
I can never forget those words, and only hope that I 
may prove what he then called me. 

" Tho' I cannot deny that I wish'd very much to 
stay at Penrice to see Lady Mary * present the 
colours ; yet I can assure you that my quitting 
Penrice was not the cause of my misbehaviour, but 
Mithoffer, for I lost all command over myself when 
questioned and reprimanded before him " 

The incident may have been a lesson in the art of 
behaviour to Sydney Smith as well as to Michael Hicks 
Beach, and no repetition of it ever took place ; partly 
perhaps because, after a time, tutor and pupil shook 
down into different social niches in the Edinburgh 
world, saw less of each other, and rubbed against each 
other less. Sydney Smith had his place in University 
and legal circles, and drew some of the keenest minds 
in the city to listen to his sermons at Charlotte Chapel 
in Rose Street ; while Michael was made a welcome 
guest in fashionable and more frivolous society, and 
had various love affairs which the tutor conscientiously 
made himself aware of, and faithfully reported to the 
mother in far-away Gloucestershire. To Gloucester- 
shire from time to time went summaries of Michael's 

" The great apprehension I entertained of Michael 
was that he would hear everything I said to him with 
a kind of torpid silence, and that I should never be 
able to learn whether he acquiesced voluntarily or 
from compulsion in my proposals, or get him to state 
candidly his objections, and prefer openly and ingenu- 
ously his observations. From an entire ignorance 

* Lady Mary Talbot, 


of his opinions and disposition, I should then have 
always been working in the dark. This difficulty, 
however, upon better acquaintance with him, has 
vanished, he talks over a subject boldly with me, 
and makes his objections like a man." 

" I can safely say he has no vice about him. His 
temper is good, a little inclined to sulkiness perhaps, 
but these fits are neither long nor frequent. He has 
no great literary ardour upon him. His amusements 
will be the common pleasures of the country. You 
will always find him a good son, a very respectable 
country gentleman and a good man." 

"I am now decidedly convinced that whatever 
share of knowledge Michael may gain by reading 
with me, it is quite out of my power to give him 
a taste for books in that degree which I think useful 
and ornamental in his situation in life. Do not be 
disheartened by this opinion, Michael will, as I have 
often told you, be a very worthy, prudent man, with 
a sufficient share of sound understanding leading to 
conduct : an excellent heart, and manners by time 
and his father's assistance soft and gentlemanlike, 
and though literature is an excellent addition to all 
these, it is hardly worth the least of them." 

"He is in the essential points of character an 
extremely good young man, honest, honourable, and 
friendly without the smallest tendency to any one 
vice whatsoever. In little points of disposition he 
never affronts, but he has not that desire to oblige 
and to please which is so conspicuous in his brother." 

But from Michael's disposition, his manner of spend- 
ing money, the details of his studies, his dancing lessons, 
and his amusements, Sydney Smith occasionally turns 
with an air of relief. He had explained to Mrs. Beach 
in a former letter that, thanks to the clergy, the practice 

y 2 


of religion was now entirely confined to females of the 
middle class. To her protest he replies : — 

" You may depend upon it my dear Madam that 
my observations upon the clergy are just. Religion 
(I am sorry to say) is much like Heraldry — an 
antiquated concern. A few people attend to the 
one and the other, but the world laughs at them for 
engaging in such superannuated pursuits. In fifty 
years more, the whole Art of going to Church — how 
the Squire's lady put on her best hat and cloak, and 
how the Squire bowed to the parson after Church, 
and how the parson din'd with the Squire, and all 
these ceremonies of worship — will be in the hands 
of the antiquarian, will be elucidated by laborious 
investigation, and explained by appropriate drawings." 

On the weather of Scotland he had his observations 
to make : — 

" We are just going to Church. The wind is 
outrageous — to the infinite joy of those Ladies who 
can boast of good ankles, who will not fail this day 
to be punctually attentive to the public duties of 
religion — while those of more clumsy fabric will no 
doubt discover that prayers read at home are quite 
as efficacious." 

" We have had tremendous weather here. The 
country is in a most dreadful state from the thaw 
which has now taken place. Except the morning after 
the Flood was over, I should doubt if it had ever 
been dirtier. On that day Mrs. Noah's white flounce 
petticoat which was made by an antedeluvian Milliner 
in the Land of Edom, was dirtied from top to bottom, 
but as she had carried two of every kind into the 
Ark this was no great evil. She changed her clothes, 
and, after a little muttering and swearing, took a 
dram of brandy which Noah had had by him for 520 
years — and all was well." 


Towards the end of 1799, Michael Hicks Beach went 
to Christ Church, and in June, 1800, William joined 
Sydney Smith at 46, George Street, Edinburgh, to 
which house, later in the year, came the newly-married 
Mrs. Smith. Subsequently there were two other 
pupils — Mr. Powlett, a son of Lord Bolton, and a son 
of Mr. Gordon of Ellon. 

All Sydney Smith's biographers, beginning with his 
daughter, Lady Holland, have dilated on the Beach 
generosity towards him, and the gratuities with which 
they gratefully endowed him over and above the fixed 
payments. But the truth seems to be that, although 
they were perfectly easy about money matters, Mr. and 
Mrs. Hicks Beach did not think it needful to pay more 
than was necessary, and that the hot-headed and 
sensitive tutor would not allow any discussion as to 
what the value of his time actually was — he wished to 
be explicit himself, but did not ask for a similar lucidity 
on the part of his employers. 

"79 Queen Street. 1800. Sunday, 9th November. 
"My dear Madam, 

" As I consider Mr. Beach as not very fond of 
writing — and yourself as his deputed Secretary — I 
presume it to be a matter of indifference whether 
I address myself to one or the other. I am rather 
inclin'd upon a consideration of times and circum- 
stances to postpone my attempt of preaching in 
London for two or three Years. Beginning then at 
the period when I finish'd with Michael and was 
ready to receive William last June — take either 2 or 
3 Years. If I dedicate my time at this place to 
William for either one of these two periods as you 
may please, have I any further remuneration of any 
kind to expect from Mr. Beach than the £200 per 
Annum I now receive ? We seem my dear Madam 
to be all so much agreed that this kind of explicit 
conduct is so much the most agreeable for all parties 


— that I should owe you rather an apology for not 

pursuing, than pursuing it 

"The only circumstance that gives me pain in 
putting this question to you — is the panegyric upon 
William and the pleasing account of our progress I 
have given you from time to time, but be assured, 
that you could hardly find any man as the guardian 
of your Son's education and morals who would not 
be as much delighted as I have been — by his good 
sense and his strong desire to give pleasure and to do 
his duty." 

" 79 Queen Street. 1800. 3rd December. 
" My dear Madam, 

" I believe 200 per Annum will in addition to my 
own fortune nearly defray expences in this place, — 
and therefore if the whole question was, what 
William cost me by his residence in my house, there 
could be nothing farther to arrange. You ask me to 
state what I conceive to be the value of my time. 
This is to me so new a question, and so delicate 
a one, that I am rather embarrassed in answering 
it. The remuneration which the Clergy receive who 
may be engag'd in the task of education, differs with 
a prodigious variety of circumstances. I will how- 
ever select one criterion. Mr. Beach's former 
estimation of my Services — for two years study with 
Michael — I received from him £730.— and all my 
expences were paid — and this at a time when money 
was of more value, and an unsettl'd life a less evil 
than it is now. To this criterion however the natural 
liberality of Mr. Beach's temper is an objection which 
I will remove. If Mr. Beach will continue my 
allowance of £200 per Annum and give me his note 
of hand for £300 June 1802 if I remain so long with 
his Son — or for £600 June 1803 if I remain so long, 
I shall be well content. In the case of staying the 
longer of these periods, I shall have given up five of 


the best years of my life to the education of your 
children, and shall be a richer man by about £1330. 
This Sum sunk in an income at 9 per Cent, would 
bring me in an income of £121 — per Annum, which 
in recollecting the various instances of emolument 
derived either from money or preferment by gentle- 
men of my profession does not appear to me 
exorbitant — but with which I shall be perfectly 
satisfied — and deem all obligation dissolved between 
us, except that which I shall always owe to you and 
Mr. Beach — for the compassion, and protection I 
experienced at your hands in my unhappy solitude at 

" If Mr. Beach shall differ in opinion with me 
on this offer, and should rather prefer placing 
William with Mr. Stewart, my reluctance in parting 
with so truly amiable a young man will be in some 
degree mitigated by the pleasure I shall have in 
forwarding by my mediation any wish Mr. Beach and 
you may entertain for the welfare of your Son. . . . 

" In Edinburgh we are all storm — in England a 
storm is like a mild man in a passion, Every body 
stares, and asks why." 

And the Beachs, although the man was not " mild," 
must have stared and asked why, too, when they got 
the third letter : — 

" 28th December. 1800. 79 Queen Street. 
" My dear Madam, 

" The contents of your Letter did not require that 
deliberation which you were so kind as to allow me 
to give them. I confess I had great objections 
to propose terms myself because I thought it unpre- 
cedented and incorrect, but having so done in 
compliance with your desire, I cannot allow myself 
even to think of accepting any others, or to consider 
the question of interest when the question of decency 
and propriety (which should always be prior in 


the order of reflections) is so very plain and obvious. 
I shall therefore in the Spring, resign my charge into 
your hands, with that reluctance for his loss, which 
his charming understanding and admirable disposition, 
will most unfeignedly inspire. 

"I am surprised the quoted passage in my last 
Letter should be considered by you as in any degree 
ambiguous. I am making a calculation, and stating 
on one side the Services render'd and on the other the 
advantages receiv'd. The first I specify to be 5 of 
the best years of my life given up to the education of 
your children. You ask me if it was not a matter of 
choice — to be sure my dear Madam it was a matter 
of choice on both sides — you were as free to abandon 
me as I was to abandon you — any body is free to 
leave any lucrative situation, but as long as they 
do not exercise that freedom they remain entitled to 
remuneration. You have always said with the most 
humane and generous attention to my welfare — 
do not let your engagement with us be any obstacle 
to your views in life, and I could prove to you plainly 
enough if it were worth while how completely you 
abolished the possibility of using such a permission by 
giving it in so friendly a manner. 

" Why should you suppose me desirous of fixing 
the charge of obligation upon Mr. Beach and you — 
when I have said repeatedly, ' my lobor bestow'd and 
my Salary receiv'd, there is an end of all obligation 
between us upon this point.' 

" Immediately upon the receipt of your Letter I 
waited upon Mr. Stewart, and am sorry to inform 
you that he is completely full, for a year or two, and 
that it is wholly out of his power to receive 
William. I subjoin his address, if you think you 
can add to my sollicitations or to the very high 
character I gave William. Dugald Stewart, Esq: 
Lothian House, Cannongate, Edinburgh. 

"Mr. Stewart, and myself are both considering 


what other eligible Situations this place affords — one 
very superior man we mean to try — but with little 
hope of succeeding. I shall send you in a day or two 
the exact result of our deliberations — and will give 
you a description of Mr. Sandfords, that you may see 
if you approve of his establishment. You may 
depend upon it no exertion of mine shall be wanting 
to effect your object. In the mean time, as the 
knowledge I can have of the character of people here 
must necessarily be limited. It would be better 
perhaps to get what information you can from Baron 
Norton, or any other friend you may have in this 

" You shall hear from me in a day or two. I have 
sent notice of giving up my house, and taken the 
usual steps preparatory to bidding adieu to this 
country in the Spring — and it is my intention to try 
my fortunes in London, and can only make you this 
offer, which I do with the greatest sincerity in the 
world and with the most friendly disposition towards 
my old benefactors. If contrary to all probability you 
should not meet with an eligible situation for 
William by the time I am settl'd in London, my 
services to superintend his education till you can 
succeed in placing him elsewhere are most entirely at 
your disposal and I shall conceive myself amply 
rewarded by the pleasure of improving so good a 
young man. 

" Yours my dear Madam, with great respect, 

"Sydney Smith." 

This seemed final, and it is to be wondered if Sydney 
Smith ever was aware of the reason it did not actually 
become so, and of his old father's intervention. 

"February 7th, 1801. No. 25 Circus. Bath. 
" My dear Madam, 

"I am sure you will have the goodness to allow 
my freedom on a subject so very near my heart, I 


will yet flatter myself not quite indifferent to you — 
the happiness and honor of my misguided Boy. 

" I have been favored with a very kind answer 
from Mr. Beach for a letter I wrote him — in the 
hasty reply to which on my return from Beauchamp 
I find it was sent to Reddishs Hotel St. James Street 
— when he directs to be written to Williamstrip 

" To prevent accident I make free to trouble you 
Madam with the explanation to Mr. Beach should 
he not have receiv'd my letter, will have the goodness 
to write for it, you doing this it is impossible for me 
not to avail myself of the opportunity of begging 
your intercession with Mr. Beach offended as he has 
the justest reason to be with Sydney's conduct for 
my opinion of which allow me Madam to refer you 
to the letter now in London. 

" I had not the most distant information of the 
business from Sydney till last week ; he too well 
knew my sentiments of your past goodness and the 
eternal gratitude it so truly merited — and it is with 
grief I confess I feel myself very much hurt from 
this pointed neglect so recent after his marriage at 
which and all its arrangements I was equally an utter 

" Yet I am convinced he is a good Man holding 
you and Mr. Beach in the highest esteem and attached 
to your Son William warmly — nor do I believe there 
exists another who would more honorably devote his 
time and faculties and the trust you have repos'd 
in him. 

" He has mistaken the point of honor of which he 
thinks improperly — and fearful of sinking in your 
opinion — had not courage to recede from a point to 
which he never should have committed himself. Mr. 
Beach's offer was of a piece with his former friendship 
and ought not to be increas'd, but Madam it will be 
shewing such superiority over this false parade of 


Sydney's to indulge me in the proposal I have taken 
the liberty of making to him as must have most 
beneficial effect in future — added to which that I am 
convinc'd his coming either to London or Bath will 
be followed with the consequence I dread of all 

"You will thus save the young Man you have 
hitherto not found insensible of your kindness, you 
will secure a sincere sensible affectionate tutor to 
your dear Boy who I believe is not discontented 
with his situation. 

" You will releave me Madam too from a weight 
of shame I never expected to have met you with 
and I will yet hope for a favorable turn at the earnest 
intercession of 

" Dear Madam 
'< Your ever Faithful and obliged humble Servt. 

"Robeet Smith. 

" It quite escap'd me to thank Mr. Beach for 
Mr. Messater having given business last Sept : over 
to my Son Robert whose character expands every 
day and business increases. 

" Any opportunity Mr. Beach may have of men- 
tioning him to his stewards will be doing me great 
kindness. The leading passion and object of my life 
having been to establish my Boys, whose exertions 
and conduct have hitherto justified my most sanguine 

The sequel to this was that Mr. Beach made an 
arrangement by which Sydney Smith was empowered 
to draw on him for whatever he thought fair ; * over 
and above his expenses — and thus everyone's dignity 
was saved. 

* "Dee. 23rd, 1801. Will you have the goodness to inform Mr. 
Beach that I drew on him yesterday for £100. It is my intention to 
draw on Mr. Beach for £400 in the whole between June last and 
June to come if that arrangement is agreeable t6 him." 


" 79 Queen Street, February 24, 1801. 
" My dear Madam, 

" I do not like to do that which will afterwards 
make me uneasy and unhappy, — as I should have 
been, if William had been left here in a situation 
with which yourself and Mr. Beach were not entirely 
satisfied, however this is all over. I shall take a 
house here — till the Spring of 1803, — and I am 
flatter'd with the confidence in me which Mr. Beach 
and you both express, and which I hope you will not 
find misplac'd. Will you allow me to recommend 
to you the works of Burns in four volumes, including 
his life, and a valuable account of the Scotch peasantry 
which I think if you still continue to collect books 
you will find worth attention. Farewell my dear 
Madam, my best regards to Mr. Beach. I hope now 
when we meet we shall be as good friends as we 
used to be. 

" I remain with great regard and respect 
" Your obedient humble Servant, 

" Sydney Smith." 

The letters of 1801, 1802, 1803, are a little monotonous 
in their reiteration of William's perfections : — 

" He continues to give me that perfect satisfaction 
which his conduct has done since the first day of his 

"He is fatter, handsomer, and stouter than he 
was. . . . Nothing can exceed the propriety, polite- 
ness and good humor of his general behaviour to 
everybody in this house." 

" He is without exception the very best and most 
gentlemanly young Man I ever saw, and will be an 
ornament and a comfort to his family." 

" That he will be a very accomplished gentleman 
— and a very sensible tho' neither a very profound 


or a very learned man — is what I have repeatedly told 
you before." 

Criticism came from the father and was answered : — 

" You hinted to me that his disposition was more 
reserv'd than you wish'd — the remark is certainly 
just — but the habit of mind is I am afraid too strong 
for correction — he will probably remain a cautious, 
deliberate man as long as he lives — a character not 
certainly the very model we should select — but which 
contains many advantages if it have some unpleasant 
traits, but on the whole my dear Sir you must allow 
me to say you have not only no cause to complain, 
but much to be proud of." 

From the eternal subject of William, as from the 
eternal subject of Michael, the scribe sometimes turns 
with hearty enjoyment : — 

" We have been unpleasantly engaged for these 
two or three days past in bidding adieu to some very 
pleasant families who are quitting this place, — all 
adieus are melancholy, and principally I believe 
because they put us in mind of the last of all adieus, 
when the Apothecary, and the heir apparent, and 
the nurse who weeps for pay surround the bed, — 
when the Curate engaged to dine three miles off 
mumbles hasty prayers — when the Dim Eye closes 
for ever in the midst of Empty pill boxes — Gallipots 
— phials — and Jugs of barley water — at that time — 
a very distant one I hope my dear Madam, may the 
memory of good deeds support you." 

William Hicks Beach went to Oxford in 1822, and 
there were a good many letters of consultation about 
that, and then from the little house, 8, Doughty Street, 
Brunswick Square, Sydney Smith, with his face turned 
eagerly towards his new London life, wrote what was, 


for many years, his last letter to Henrietta Maria 
Hicks Beach : — 

" Adieu Dear Madam, everything good attend you. 
I often think with great kindness of my friends at 
Netheravon — and of their antient kindness to me in 
the days of my misery. 

" Adieu — 

" Sydney Smith." 

Twenty years later, Mrs. Beach, hearing that Sydney 
Smith's son was at Oxford,* wrote to him at his York- 
shire rectory, and got an answer as characteristic as 
ever: — 

"Foston York. January 4 1824. 
" My dear Madam, 

" My son is not yet gone to Oxford and will not go 
there till the Month of May nor have I been at Oxford 
for these ten years : — but it has been some fat man who 
has taken my name. I am however much oblig'd to 
him for the Imposture, as it has given me this proof 
on the part of Mr. Beach and yourself of kind recol- 
lection, and continued good Will. I shall have very 
sincere pleasure in seeing you all again and if I 
possibly can pay you a Visit, I will. 

"Allow me to give you a short history of my family 
and myself. My eldest daughter is a sensible amiable 
Girl not bad looking of 22 years of age — my eldest 
Son is Captain of Westminster a very sensible 
judicious young man a quality this last which you 
will easily believe he does not derive from me — then 
comes Emily a remarkably clever Girl of 16 — and 
then Wyndham, a lively Boy of 10 fond of Mud and 
Noise. Mrs. Sydney keeps her health — so do I — 
I have one moderate Living and another good one to 
hold for nine years. My Parsonage is extremely 
comfortable and I am full of Spirits and talk, in short 

* Oxford is twenty miles from Williamstrip. 


happy enough. You us'd to make Tours. I wish 
you would come, you and Mr. Beach and all of you — 
and make us a Visit. There is much worth seeing in 
Yorkshire. I think of you both with real regard — 
and do not believe I should forget my early friends 
even if I was a Bishop — and yet Bishops commonly 
do. . . . 

" God bless you my dear Madam — health, happiness 
and many years to you and yours, 

"Sydney Smith." 

To William, the well-beloved old pupil, several 
invitations were issued to bring his horses and hunt 
from Foston. " Corn is very cheap — therefore poultry 
is very plentiful, therefore foxes are very strong, and there- 
fore Sport is very good." William Hicks Beach's grand- 
father, William Beach had left him the Keevil property, 
and he sat as M.P. for Malmesbury* from 1812 to 1818, 
and it is evident that he conscientiously went through 
all the round of county duties, including the duty of 
being in the North Gloucestershire Militia, of which he 
eventually became colonel. In 1826 he married, but 
he did not go further afield for his wife than Salperton 
Park. For the third time, there was a Browne marriage 
in the family, and Jane Henrietta Browne was his third 
cousin. His grandfather, in leaving him Keevil, had 
made a condition that he should drop the name of 
Hicks altogether and be Beach only. He discarded 
Hicks accordingly by Royal Warrant in 1839, and by 
that time his second cousin, Wither Bramston, had 
diedf and had left him the Hall Place (Oakley Hall) 
property. The present owner of Witcombe remembers 
that, as a small boy, he had an exeat from his preparatory 
school at Dummer and went to Oakley, where he was 
taken into the study to see great-uncle Beach. He 

* It was, like Cirencester, one of the four boroughs which belonged 
to J. Pitt. 

t He died 1830. 


found a very old gentleman, with a charm of manner 
which made the half-sovereign which changed hands an 
ineradicable memory. ' Beloved by all ' is the memory 
he has left behind him. Burke tells the story of his 
three children : — 

(1) William Wither Brainstem (Right Hon.), P.C., of Oakley Hall, 
Hants, and Keevil House, Wilts, J.P., and D.L. for Hants, formerly 
major Hants yeomanry cavalry, M.P. for North Hants 1857-85, and 
for W. Hants 1885-1901, and at the time of his death Father of the 
House of Common's, M.A. Oxon, b. 25th Dec, 1826 ; m. 8th Oct., 1857, 
Caroline Chichester, youngest daughter of Colonel Cleveland, of Tape- 
ley Park, Devon, and d. 3rd Aug., 1901, leaving issue. 

(2) Mary Jane, m. 19th April, 1849, Sir Wyndham Spencer Portal, 
first baronet. She died 4th Nov., 1903, leaving issue. He died 14th 
Sept., 1905. 

(3) Henrietta Maria, m. 22nd June, 1852, Colonel Sir John Williams 
Wallington, K.C.B., Keevil Manor, Wilts, and died 26th Oct., 1905, 
leaving issue (see " Landed Gentry."); - 

The further history of the elder brother Michael is 
not a long one. He came of age in 1801, and his 
mother then penned him a letter of many pages in 
which she told him that no pains or expense had been 
spared in his education, that no one had had greater 
advantages, and that it was highly proper he should turn 
his thoughts to the consideration of what was most 
likely to make him esteemed and respected by the best 
part of mankind. 

"Be civil and obliging in your behaviour to all 
but make very few friendships, and let these be 
form'd with the greatest circumspection or you will 
frequently lay yourself open to imposition and 
may be wretchedly deceiv'd in your progress through 

" Cultivate the acquaintance of men of sense and 
Literature, their society will improve and delight you, 
besides giving you a degree of consequence in the 
opinion of the world." 


That these, and all her other counsels, were of a half- 
way-house perfection, Henrietta Maria probably had 
little suspicion ; and, after all, the pre-occupation of 
1801 with externals was with the externals of great 
things. The admonitions, " Avoid trifling and insignifi- 
cant pursuits — Be Constant in your Daily Prayers to 
God — Always Attend public worship," were the husks 
of verities, and the very length of the letter shows that, 
as the mother wrote on and on, she was perhaps half 
conscious that the pith of it all had somehow eluded 

And it is certain that counsels of perfection would 
have been hurled at Michael in vain, for, notwithstand- 
ing parental ambitions, the heir to Williamstrip and 
Netheravon never was more than a young man of 
amiable but average energies. From Christ Church he 
wrote to his sister Henrietta letters as lively as those of 
pre-Edinburgh days, and in the large, plain handwriting 
to which he had immediately reverted. But he did not 
cast off his old tutor's acquaintanceship as well as his 
teaching ; by the time Michael left Oxford Sydney 
Smith was settled in London, and he tells his sister 
of visits exchanged between them, and that he is to 
be allowed to take little Saba Smith driving in the 
country. He betrays his desire to escape from London 
life and his liking for children in the same sentence. 
In the next year, 1804, a letter of William Earle's 
to his father shows him introduced to Royalty. 

" I have to thank you for returning me so speedy 
an answer as you did from Weymouth. I am very 
happy to find that you are so well received and 
entertained on the water as well as on Land by the 
Royal family.* I wish Mrs. Beach's health had per- 
mitted her to have obeyed the Queen's commands, as 
from the Royal family considering themselves when 
absent from London more free from restraint a very 

* George III. and Queen Charlotte. 
C.F. Z 


considerable portion of Court etiquette is laid aside, 
and she would have seen them in a Character more 
nearly allied to private life than they would or could 
with propriety display at a public Drawing room. I 
am sure my old friend Michael will feel himself quite 
at home at Weymouth. As for William I guess he is 
following his pursuits at Oxford. . . . Should the 
King's levees continue to be open as usual, you 
ought, after your Audiences and Personal invitations 
at Weymouth to attend a Levee and Drawing room 
attended by Michael, as a mark of respect for the 
Civilities the King and Queen intended to shew you 
and your family." 

There is no evidence that young Michael took any 
active part in public affairs except that, like his uncle 
William Hicks at Witcombe, he threw himself into 
the Volunteer movement and raised a body of one 
hundred and twenty men from the parishes of Coin 
St. Aldwyn, Quenington, Hatherop and Aldsworth. 
In his duties as Captain of this troop, in spOrt, and 
in country house visiting, the years slipped away until 
he was twenty-nine years old, when he married, on 
January 26th, 1809, Miss Caroline Jane Mount, of 
Wasing Place, Berkshire. Her family was of the 
precise social standing of his own, and had had much 
the same sort of origin. No match could have been 
devised for him less likely to introduce alien elements 
into the race ! The engagement, was the occasion for 
one of Henrietta Maria's marked characteristics. 

" My dear Mr. Hicks Beach, 

"The little conversation we have had respecting 
Michael's settlement after his marriage has given me 
serious uneasiness, because I am apprehensive from 
your not mentioning any plan for a habitation he may 
call his own, that it is either very uncertain or distant, 
and this leads me to communicate my sentiments to 


you now that you may have time to consider them 
attentively ; and I also wish not to wait till I have 
seen the Lady, least I should feel myself hiass'd by 

"I like Williamstrip very much and should be 
sorry were we to share it as a residence with any 
family whatever, but circumstanced as Michael is 
respecting his future prospects in life, I should think 
his Family the most improper of any — whilst he 
remain'd single it was always my wish that he should 
look upon our house as his home — as a married man 
it is totally different, and might involve us in very 
great and unnecessary trouble and inconvenience, 
which it is much easier I think to prevent than to 

" As it is settled for Michael to go to Williamstrip 
on his marriage there is nothing to be said about 
that, and whilst the eddy of Spirits usual on such 
events exists, it is not so likely to do any harm, but 
if he is accustom'd to be there in our absence, and to 
enjoy all the conveniences and comforts of the place 
and neighbourhood, quite unrestrain'd and in his own 
way, it is too probable that he may feel some reluct- 
ance to resign it for any other situation ; he will 
insensibly begin to wish himself permanently fix'd 
there, and perhaps he will almost unconsciously 
encourage a hope that you would give him an oppor- 
tunity of enjoying it in the prime of his life by 
resigning it to him, and when once an idea of that 
kind is form'd in the mind, it extends itself farther, 
till by degree he may persuade himself that he has 
a right to expect such an indulgence from you, and 
this opinion may be strengthen'd by unguarded 
speeches, made to him by inconsiderate people, — 
or if you guard against this evil by never suffering 
him to be there but with us, he will in time fancy 
that he has a sort of joint partnership in the house, 
and look upon it rather as a right than an indulgence, 

z 2 


and if he does not feel himself too much restricted 
by our presence, will dislike to remove to any other 
place, when perhaps you yourself may be desirous 
he should. Besides nothing is more likely to occasion, 
or has been more productive of family discord &; 
Variance than two familys living under the same 
roof. You will recollect when you read this that 
I have a high opinion of Michael's principles and 
goodness of heart, and have always sided with him, 
but we know from our own experience that human 
nature is weak and erring, and that it is much easier 
to receive bad impressions than to eradicate them. I 
am thoroughly persuaded Michael has not at present 
a thought or wish about your giving up Williamstrip, 
and I hope he never will, so I cannot on any account 
approve of Yr. giving it up, but it appears to me of 
great consequence that every thing should be care- 
fully avoided that may tend in the slightest degree 
either at present or at a later period to give him or 
any other person in or out of the family, the shadow 
of an idea that you ever intend doing such a thing. 
God bless you my Dear Mr. Hicks Beach. 
" Believe me your truly affectionate &; obedient wife. 

"H. M. Hicks Beach." 

There is a happy honeymoon letter written by 
Michael to his father from Williamstrip — evidently in 
the eddy of spirits which his cautious mother had fore- 
seen. But her caution bore fruit, for the young couple 
took a house called Banks Fee, nearly twenty miles 
from Williamstrip and near Moreton-in-the-Marsh. 
Here they lived out the six short years of their married 
life. Michael died at West Cowes, October 5th, 1815, 
from the result of a sunstroke while swimming in the 
sea. He and his wife had gone to the Isle of Wight 
for sea air for the three children — another Michael, 
another William, and a little girl who afterwards died 
in early childhood* 


Died 1837 

(From a miniature in possession of Sir William Portal ) 


After her husband's death Caroline Jane Hicks Beach, 
the widow, lived at 7, Portman Square. She was the 
grandmother of the living generation who are now 
themselves grandparents, but their youthful recollec- 
tions of her are overshadowed by the more pungent 
memories of the dentist with whom Portman Square 
visits were invariably connected. Her eldest grand- 
daughter says " she was very upright and spick and span 
and particular. She wore a brown 'front' with curls 
on each side, a lace cap tied under the chin, a folded fichu 
and substantial silk or satin skirts." She is revealed, 
to some extent in her few existing letters, written in 
a flowing 'Italian' hand; and, between the lines of 
those, two facts emerge : the first, that she found her 
well-dowered widowhood very bearable ; the second, 
that her mother-in-law, the redoubtable Henrietta 
Maria, had no particular liking for her. Many of the 
letters are dated from country houses. " I have such 
a lot of visits to get through this autumn that I scarcely 
know how to arrange them," she says, for the joy of 
humorous descendants, who reflect that her type has not 
yet ceased to inherit the earth. In another letter she 
supplies a piece of Victorian history, and gives a 
description of visits to Gunter's and Bridgeman's to 
see the Queen's wedding cakes. " The former has the 
most elegant display. 15 cakes made by him are for 
each of the Ministers, and the large cake something 
like a fort ... is beautiful indeed and is to be placed 
before the Duchess of Kent at the Banquet given at 
St James on the day of the wedding." Indeed, the 
letters in their well-bred spuriousness are as unlike 
anything that Henrietta Maria would have written as 
well can be. When her father-in-law died, in 1830, 
Caroline would have hastened from Portman Square 
to Williamstrip, for it was certainly the ' proper thing ' 
to do. Jane, the only surviving daughter there, had to 
convey, as politely as could be, the decided opinion 
that she was the last person wanted. 


Williamstrip and Witcombe were in fact for Caroline 
only two among the country houses she stayed at in 
her autumn tours ; but she took care that her son 
Michael, who was heir to Williamstrip, and her son 
William, who was heir to Witcombe, should be more 
constant and intimate visitors ; and when Michael, who 
had just left Christ Church, fell in love with a hand- 
some Miss Stratton at a county ball, it was she who 
pointed out to him the propriety of consulting the 
grandmother whose approval would mean so much. 
Henrietta Maria was at Weymouth when the letter 
reached her : — 

"Williamstrip Park, 

" March 10th, 1832. 
" My dear Grandmother, 

" In a letter I wrote to my Mother the other day, 
I mentioned a certain subject which I wish no 
longer to conceal from you, as I know that you are 
very anxious about my happiness. At the last Stow 
Ball I met a Miss Stratton with whom I candidly 
confess I was very much taken. This being the case 
I should never forgive myself were I to embark any 
farther in so serious an affair without first asking 
your consent. I have managed through a friend to 
obtain some information with regard to the family — 
from whom I learnt that the Joddrils, the Cheshire 
Leighs, and the Lights of Somersetshire are their 
immediate relations, with these I feel assured you 
will raise no objection. I cannot refrain from adding 
this much from my own observation — she appeared 
to me to be as sensible, ladylike and (I must say) as 
handsome a girl, as I have ever seen. It only remains 
for me, before I proceed any further, anxiously to 
await your answer, which I very much hope, and 
have no doubt, will perfectly coincide with mine and 
my Mother's sentiments on the subject. Perhaps I 
ought to have communicated with you in person, 
rather than by letter, but I thought considering all 


things that a letter would be to you the less trouble- 
some of the two. I must now conclude, with best 
love to my Aunt 

" I remain dear Grandmother 

" Your ever affec te grandson 

"M. H. Hicks Beach." 

The marriage took place the same year, Michael 
being twenty-three years old ; and in 1834, when his 
great-uncle Sir William Hicks of Witcombe died, he, 
the third Michael Hicks Beach, succeeded to the family 
baronetcy. Four years later, on the death of his grand- 
mother Henrietta Maria at the age of eighty, he became 
the owner of Williamstrip Park and Beverstone Castle 
in Gloucestershire, and of Netheravon House and 
Fittleton Manor in Wiltshire. He sold the castle 
and land at Beverstone in 1842 to Mr. Holford of 
Westonbirt, whose property it adjoined. His son 
tried, but unsuccessfully, to re-purchase it when he 
was raised to the peerage in 1906 — it was the obvious 

Sir Michael Hicks Beach, eighth baronet, contested 
the division of East Gloucestershire in 1854, and, after 
a struggle, still remembered locally, wrested the seat 
from his popular opponent, Mr. Edward Holland of 
Dumbleton Hall. 

When Radicals declare Beech roots run underground, 
They're wrong in their orthography, and the metaphor's unsound. 
By this time they know better. Both time and spelling teach 
How thy wild waves. Democracy ! beat vainly on our Beach. 

So wrote Mr. Hyett of Painswick from Rome to 
the Gloucester Chronicle ; but Michael was the Con- 
servative " Beach " for a very short time. He died of 
typhoid fever the next year, leaving his wife, the hand- 
some girl of the Stow ball, with an eldest son of seven- 
teen, a younger son of thirteen, and six daughters. 

Harriet Vittoria, Lady Hicks Beach, died in 1900, 


and is survived by seven of her eight children — Viscount 
St. Aldwyn (created 1906) * ; William Frederick Hicks 
Beach of Witcombe Park ; Lady Dillwyn Llewelyn ; 
Mrs. Fuller of Neston Park, Wiltshire ; Mrs. Barneby 
of Longworth, Herefordshire ; Mrs. Lowbridge Baker 
of Ramsden House, Oxfordshire ; and Lady Crawshaw. 
" She was a daughter of the handsome, upstanding 
Strattons," said a local paper in its account of Lady 
Hicks Beach's funeral. She was more than that — but 
this is not the place to estimate what her children have 
inherited from her of intellect and character, and what 
they owe to her definite ' upbringing.' 

* Entered Parliament as member for East Gloucestershire 1864. 
Has been Parliamentary Secretary to the Poor Law Board, Under 
Secretary for the Home Department, twice Chief Secretary for 
Ireland, Secretary of State for the Colonies, President of the Board 
of Trade, twice Chancellor of the Exchequer. 


(From a picture at Williamstrip Park.) 



When old Sir Howe Hicks died so suddenly in 
1801, his eldest son, William, was already forty-seven 
years old, and he was living on the outskirts of the 
little market town of Cheltenham, in a house called 
Belle Vue, on the London Road, where the coaches 
passed by. The house had a considerable garden, and 
the ground in front of it went down to the willow- 
fringed stream, the Chelt, and then rose gradually 
towards Leckhampton Hill, an outstanding angle of 
the Cotswolds, over which ran the road to Witcombe.* 
The house is now known as the Hell Vue Hotel, and 
the district has completely lost its rural character, 
although there are still some remains of the garden. 

At the end of the eighteenth century Cheltenham was 
a place of about two thousand inhabitants, had a small 
brewing trade, and was a considerable coaching centre 
—as many as thirty or forty coaches passed down the 
High Street every day. The paved High Street, with 
its inns and its motley collection of houses and small 
shops, was barred at either end by a turn-pike gate, and 
close to the gate on the Tewkesbury Road was the 
market-place, and beyond that the Grammar School 
and the beautiful old church on opposite sides of the 
way. At the further end of the High Street was the 
'Plough,' the principal inn, with its low entrance 
leading into its large yard ; and then there were more 
houses and the London Road pike, and the open 

* The vale road through Shurdington to Painswick was not made 
until 1841. 


country, with its scattered houses, and Belle Vue on 
the left as you travelled London-wards. The discovery 
of the mineral waters in the middle of the eighteenth 
century had not affected the size of the place at all. 
When George III. was advised by his doctors to drink 
them, and came to Cheltenham in 1788 with Queen 
Charlotte and the Princesses, Cheltenham was, in the 
language of the Morning Post, " a summer village." 
But the Royal visit made the village fashionable, and 
in 1801, the year of Sir Howe's death, the speculative 
builder had already begun his dire operations. 

Sir William kept on the Belle Vue house when he 
inherited Witcombe, and came there every year for a 
period, and he played a considerable part in the affairs of 
the growing town. He sat on the Cheltenham Bench,* 
and in the old numbers of the Cheltenham Chronicle his 
name constantly appears as being present at public 
meetings. To his relations he was a little, frail man, 
with a puckered brow and a stuttering tongue, who 
was not expected to be too much in the foreground ; 
but, after the death of his indomitable parents, he 
developed an unexpected virility, and an unexpected 
temper, too ; for " milk and mildness," as was observed 
of Mrs. Tulliver, " are not the best things for keeping." 
Gloucestershire raised a tremendous regiment of mounted 
volunteers during the Napoleonic scare, and Sir William 
was captain of the Cheltenham troop, and was peppery 
enough to keep them all in very good order. But it 
is doubtful if, from first to last, he would not have been 
happier without the Cheltenham connection — it brought 
him disaster later, and, somehow, he does not seem to 
fit comfortably into the meretricious life of the Georgian 
spa. The Times of September 4th, 1807, records that 
Sir William and Lady Hicks were among the company 
present at the Cheltenham Theatre when His Royal 
Highness the Prince of Wales commanded The Rivals, 

* He was Chairman. 

(From a pastel picture at Coin St, Aldwyn.) 


which was performed to a very crowded house. The 
Duke of Beaufort, the Earl of Leicester, Lord and 
Lady Carherry, Lord and Lady Glerawley, Sir C. R. 
Boughton, Ladies Barrington and Myers, Sir John and 
Lady Callender and Dr. Jenner are all mentioned as 
being there too, and the plumes in Lady Hicks' turban 
would no doubt quiver contentedly in such good com- 
pany ; but Sir William has to be pictured as a meagre 
figure in the shade of the corner of his box, perfectly 
conscious of himself as a local magnate and the possessor 
of what his mother had called " an old family title," but 
somewhat lacking in the talent of making Royalty 
aware of his importance. Yet he was a better man than 
the poor Royal George on the other side of the theatre 
— " nothing but a coat and a wig and a mask smiling 
below it," says that severe censor of Georgian Royalty, 
Thackeray. " I look through all his life and recognise 
but a bow and a grin. I try to take him to pieces, and 
find silk stockings, padding, stays, a coat with frogs 
and a fur collar, a star and blue ribbon, a pocket hand- 
kerchief prodigiously scented, one of Truefitt's best 
nutty brown wigs reeking with oil, a set of teeth and 
a huge black stock, underwaistcoats, more underwaist- 
coats, and then nothing." The Prince — "Prince 
Florizel," Thackeray calls him — gave a great ball in 
Cheltenham, to which all the elite were invited, and, as 
George IV., he paid the town a brief visit many years 
later, in 1821 ; but after 1807 his brother, the Duke of 
Gloucester, came every year for twenty-nine years, and 
Witcombe Valley became accustomed to the passage 
through it of Royalty and fashion. The Bath Road 
from Cheltenham climbed the Cotswolds for six miles 
to Birdlip, and its famous ' Slack Horse ' inn, with 
the thatched tea-house Overlooking the vale, which 
Richard Dancer had lately erected. Fashionable Chel- 
tenham patronised the inn prodigiously, but, unless 
acquainted with Sir William, had to turn and go back 
the same way they had come, while Sir William's own 


friends might drive through Sir William's beech woods 
down to Sir William's house nine hundred feet below. 
The entrance to the road down the wood, which Sir 
Michael had made a century before, was just beyond 
the ' Black Horse' No house in Gloucestershire, as 
Sir William knew well, had a road to its door equal in 
beauty and interest to his Witcombe drive of over a 
mile long. The view of the vale from between the beech 
stems was pronounced later by Charles Darwin — if he 
were an authority on views — to be the most wonderful 
in the world. The manor house, with its walled garden, 
was not a very imposing goal after the glories of the 
hillside; but if the cookery books with Sir William 
Hicks' book-plate in them are to be believed, there 
was, at all events, nothing Liliputian about the dinner 
which awaited the arriving guests. 

But, after all, little Sir William's country seat was 
not his greatest social asset, for he had an only 
daughter. It was a day when the cult of the heiress 
was at its height, and Ann Hicks was not only the 
heiress of Witcombe, but, as was well known, was 
to inherit her uncle Thomas Chute's property of the 
Vyne in Hampshire as well. 

" A History of the Vyne," by Chaloner W. Chute, 
was published in 1888, and it says that the house 
was originally a Roman posting station, Vindomis, 
{vim domus, ' the house of wine '), on the military road 
between Winchester and Reading. But so different 
were the 'lie' of the eighteenth and the nineteenth 
century high- ways that there came to be a saying, " The 
Vyne is the end of the world and Beaurepaire is 
beyond it." 

At the Conquest, the manor of Sherborne, in which 
the Vyne is situated, was granted to Hugh de Port* 
with fifty-five other lordships in Hampshire. His 
grandson John, in conjunction with the feudal tefiant, 

* He is the reputed ancestor of the Marquis of Winchester. 


William Fitzadam, built and endowed a chantry 
chapel at the Vyne in the twelfth century. John de 
Port's son married an heiress of the St. John's, and their 
son William took the name of St. John. The 
St. Johns used the Vyne as a hunting resort. 

In the fourteenth century the manor belonged to the 
family of Cowdray, and Sir Thomas de Cowdray 
re-endowed the chantry chapel. In 1386 it passed to 
the Sandys family by marriage, and remained in their 
possession until the Commonwealth. 

The first Lord Sandys was Lord Chamberlain to 
King Henry VII., and, having married an heiress, 
he pulled down the old buildings and erected the 
present house and chapel. In 1535 the King and 
Queen Anne Boleyn were entertained by him, and 
in 1569 Queen Elizabeth stayed at the Vyne with his 
grandson William, the third baron. In 1643, during 
the siege of Basing, the Parliamentary troops under Sir 
William Waller* were quartered at the Vyne, and 
tradition has it that the painted glass of the chapel 
windows escaped destruction at Puritan hands by the 
simple device of taking it down and burying it under 
the adjacent stream. About 1650 William Sandys, 
the then owner, was obliged by poverty to part with the 
estate which was already heavily mortgaged, and he sold 
it to Chaloner Chute, a famous lawyer, who was made 
Speaker of the House of Commons in 1659.f His 
portrait by Vandyke hangs at the Vyne and there is 
a recumbent monument of him in a ' Tomb Chamber ' 
built out of the chapel. 

Succeeding Chutes went into Parliament, kept race- 
horses and played their part stoutly in Hampshire life. 
The Speaker's great-grandson John Chute, who suc- 
ceeded his brother in 1754, was the survivor of a family 
of ten children, and he had spent most of his life 

* Brother-in-law of Sir William Hicks. 

t The Chutes can trace a male descent from Alexander Chute of 
Taunton who died in 1268. 


travelling on the Continent. In Florence he had made 
friends with Horace Walpole and with the poet Gray, 
and letters from both of them are preserved at the 
Vyne. Walpole became a frequent visitor there, and 
suggested numerous alterations, such as the addition of 
two towers, a Roman theatre with an obelisk, and 
the complete metamorphosis of the garden. John 
Chute, however, had his own ideas, and the alteration he 
finally made was the construction of the present stair- 
case. He died unmarried in 1776, and with him the 
male line of the Chutes came to an end. His only 
relation was his cousin, Elizabeth Chute, who had 
married Thomas Lobb of Pickenham Hall, Norfolk. 
To their son Thomas, John Chute left the Vyne, with 
the proviso that he would take the name of Chute. 

Thomas Lobb Chute, the fortunate inheritor of the 
Vyne, married Ann Rachel, only daughter of William 
Wiggett, mayor of Norwich, and he was the father of 
Lady Hicks, Sir William's wife, and also, it will be 
remembered, of Mrs. Wither Bramston of Oakley Hall. 
He had a third daughter who died unmarried, and none 
of his three sons — two of whom succeeded to the Vyne 
— had children. The Wither Bramstons were childless 
also, and thus it came about that Ann Rachel Hicks 
was the Chute heiress. 

There is in life the frequent tragedy of character 
ill-matched with the meanness of opportunity. The 
other tragedy, of opportunity ill-rmatched with inade- 
quacy of character, is less frequent, and somehow not 
so tragic, because opportunity is not lost, but slips into 
more competent hands. Poor little Ann Hicks was 
physically and mentally quite inadequate to her back- 

" Little Ann has recovered from, the small pox and 
looks very sprightly and clear from any humour," wrote 
her mother to Williamstrip ; and a few months later 
(1795) her grandmother pronounced her " as good a 
child as can be, but have not cut a tooth yet." Later 


on Ann's cousin Michael alludes to her several times in 
letters to his sister Henrietta, and he makes it evident 
that her health was a family topic. He had been at Wit- 
combe with his brother William in order to go to balls and 
plays at Cheltenham, and gives it as his opinion that Ann 
would be very well if her mother would not force her to 
drink asses' milk ; but he says a year later that her growth 
is so gradual that it is imperceptible. She grew up to be 
not quite five feet high, and, from first to last, from 
childhood onwards, she was ugly — that is harshly 
definite, but she was in fact a feminine replica of her 
father, if without the stutter. And her ' Prospects ' — 
her background — dwarfed her hopelessly. " Whatever 
should I have done with that immense house, my 
dear ! " she said in old age, in her high, cracked voice, to 
Mrs. Beach of Oakley, who drove her over to the Vyne 
to see her lost inheritance. What indeed ! 

But the story of the forfeiture of the Vyne has yet 
to be told. 

Ann grew to womanhood, and, with a complaisance 
that seems criminal, her parents launched her into the 
strange whirlpool of Georgian fashion which Cheltenham 
had come to be. To carry on the metaphor — she was 
pushed into it, all sails set, and without an ounce of 
ballast. The only wonder is that the shipwreck did 
not come sooner. 

Three of her ball dresses have been preserved. Two 
are gauze over-dresses, white and deep yellow, with 
satin hems, and bands of coloured flowers embroidered 
in floss silk on the gauze. The line of the waist is just 
under the armhole, and the transparent sleeves reach 
to the waist. The third dress must have been copied 
exactly from a description of London fashions in the 
Cheltenham Chronicle of 1816. "Frock of white crape 
over white satin with crape bouillione, intercepted with 
bunches of riband and finished by an elegant festooned 
wreath of roses ; short sleeves of crape, not very full, 
trimmed with blond, and surmounted with imperial 


wings elevated. The hair," the account goes on to 
say, "arranged in bands, with very few curls, and 
short at the ears ; a bandeau of pearls surmounted by 
a bunch of full-blown roses." The only pictures of Ann 
which exist are in childhood and old age, so that she 
has to be imagined with her dwarf stature, and with 
her thin, sloping shoulders and long neck rising out of 
the glories of the Crape bouillione, and with the pearls 
and the roses on her poor head. Beauty, or even 
ordinary good looks, would have been such a safeguard 
in the extravagantly foolish world of fashion in minia- 
ture. " Beauty is usually proud, because of a conviction 
of its own worth : while a want of beauty often breeds 
vanity, which is the desire of rousing that conviction 
in others so that one may come to it at last secretly 
oneself." Ann was not the first plain heiress who was 
inordinately vain. But she was in her twenty-second 
year, had danced at many a Cheltenham ball before the 
catastrophe came. It was foreshadowed by a paragraph 
in the Cheltenham paper dated Thursday, February 22nd, 

" It is rumoured in the Fashionable circles that the 
only daughter of a worthy Baronet in this neighbour- 
hood is about to receive the flowery wreath of Hymen 
from the hand of a late wily visitor of good family 

The adventurer in question was an Irishman named 
William Lambart Cromie. It is true that he was the 
only son of a baronet, but that did not commend him 
to Ann's parents. William Playfair, in his " Baronet- 
age of Ireland," proses about the Cromie family: — 

"It is the lot of some families to derive their 
splendour from ancient ancestry, and a long series 
of distinguished actions : but, undoubtedly, however 
enviable or desirable these circumstances may be, 


yet, perhaps, in the eye of reason, the family that 
owes its rise to individuals, who have benefited their 
country by mercantile exertions, is equal, at least, if 
not in many instances superior, to the proudest, when 
those families can boast of nothing else but a highly- 
traced lineage." 

~o v 

Which is the preamble to the statement that a 
certain Michael Cromie, the son and grandson of 
Dublin merchants was M.P. for Ballyshannon, was 
made a baronet in 1776, and married the only 
daughter of the Earl of Cavan. In the year 1816, 
the said Sir Michael had been leading a wandering 
life abroad for many years ; his only daughter had 
married a Mr. West in 1801, and his only son, 
William Lambart, was seeking his fortune at the 
English Spas. 

Miss Hicks was too valuable a prize to be let slip by 
Mr. Cromie because of a little provincial parental opposi- 
tion, and the very next number of the Cheltenham 
Chronicle, February 29th, 1816, had the following 
startling piece of news : — 

" A great sensation was excited in this town, last 
week, by the sudden disappearance of Miss H. 
daughter of Sir W. H. and sole presumptive heiress 
to more than one large fortune. The young lady 
took the road to Scotland, by a circuitous route, 
accompanied by Mr. Cromy, to whom, according to 
a letter received from her, dated Carlisle, she has 
been united by the Gretna Parson. The previous 
proceedings and arrangements were, it seems, artfully 
concealed under love demonstrations directed towards 
another lady. A pursuit was ineffectually instituted 
for the purpose of bringing back the fair fugitive. 
We fervently hope that, as the first impulses of 
surprise and irritation have subsided, the return of 
natural fondness will produce the usual results of 

C.F. A A 


forgiveness and reconciliation ; particularly as there 
is not any circumstance of disparagement connected 
with the young lady's choice." 

The editor's pious aspiration was not destined to be 
fulfilled, for Ann Cromie was never forgiven — the 
sequel proved to be too humiliating. 

Nearly a hundred years have passed away, and the 
story of her elopement is now a cherished legend of 
which every scarce detail is valued, but at the time — 
oh dear, at the time! — how Sir William must have 
stuttered, how fast pens must have scratched over 
paper in those respectable strongholds, Williamstrip, 
Oakley Hall and the Vyne ! Alas, that it should all 
have been regarded so tragically ! for the result is that 
every single letter that was written about it at the time 
has been carefully destroyed. 

The " ineffectual pursuit " was undertaken by Ann's 
cousin, William Beach of Oakley, who must have been 
in Cheltenham at the time, and report has it that 
Sir William gave him a table for his pains — a comic 
enough descent into the matter-of-fact out of the heroic 
ragings of the moment ! There was a descent into the 
matter-of-fact for foolish Ann too, for, three weeks 
later, she was remarried in Marylebone Church ; tied 
securely with all the formalities of the Establishment 
to the husband who was already certain that domestic 
life, as interpreted by Ann, did not suit him at all. 
The date of this ceremony was March 16th ; it was 
performed by Luke Heslop, D.D., and the witnesses 
who signed the register were Mary Arundell, John A. 
Giffard and J. W. Fermot. The register states, "these 
parties having been heretofore married to each other in 

A honeymoon on the Continent, and a long honey- 
moon too, was an obvious sequel to the scandal, and all 
that poor Lady Hicks could do was to see to it that her 
daughter took a really competent maid with her. That 


accomplished, Sir William and she set out in their coach 
for Witcombe, and perhaps before they got to the end 
of the tedious journey they had resolved that they must 
make the best of the matter, and be as philosophical 
over it as they knew how. 

But Ann's first letter from Paris was a sufficiently 
rude shock to any philosophy, for it appeared that she 
was alone in her hotel and Lambart Cromie and the 
competent maid had disappeared in each other's 

Think of Sir William, as he crossed the Channel for 
the only time in his life, and of the hateful journey 
home again, for himself and Ann, to the valley, to the 
narrow house, to the familiar things and faces which 
were not to be evaded. Think of what the passing days 
meant to Ann after this. For it was Ann who was most 
to be pitied. She had to sit, on every day in every week 
in every year as it went by, at table with parents whose 
mood remained an unmodified one, and whom she 
herself had deprived of healthier distractions ; for 
the Cheltenham house was given up after that fatal 
year of her marriage, and life was confined mainly to 
Witcombe interests and to the society of relations. 
Cheltenham card-parties, if they had served no other 
purpose, would at least have been useful as a counter- 
irritation ! 

The derelict Ann was clearly no fitting mistress for 
the Vyne. Her uncle, William Chute, was M.P. for 
Hampshire, and he kept at his own expense a pack of 
foxhounds which were the origin of the Vyne pack 
of to-day. He is to be met with in all sporting 
annals, and he seems to have been a real character 
— a lovable man with a thousand small peculiarities. 
But he was not peculiar enough to look charitably 
on his niece's escapade. His immediate heir was his 
clergyman brother, Thomas Vere Chute, who was 
unmarried, and the two brothers were unanimous as 
to what was to be done. William had a godson and 

A a2 


namesake, the second son of a Wiggett cousin.* On 
the condition that he should take the name of Chute, 
William Lyde Wiggett, then a boy at Winchester, 
was solemnly decided on as heir to the Vyne in the 
place of Ann Cromie. For Ann herself, this decision, 
which seemed so momentous to her Chute uncles, 
which must have been the keenest mortification to 
her mother, had probably little or no importance ; for 
it needed an educated imagination to deplore a forfeited 
sovereignty of the red-brick Tudor pile, with its panelling, 
its tapestries, its statuary, its cabinets, and its other 
countless treasures. 

It is impossible to speak with any certainty about 
Ann's later relations with her husband. He eventually 
died in a madhouse, and it is a fact that for some years 
she visited him there annually. But it would seem that 
about the year 1827 he reappeared in Cheltenham, and 
that Ann, then over thirty years of age, was disposed 
to extend forgiveness to him. Mrs. William Beach 
of Oakley Hall, writing to WiUiamstrip, says, " I was 
much surprised and vexed to hear of Lady Cromie's 
conduct ; surely she has caused already her too indul- 
gent parents sufficient trouble without continuing 
to torment them, at least Sir William ; for it seems 
Lady Hicks' feelings are quite subdued ; still I think 
Ann is very much to be pitied, more especially as she 
has the misery of reflecting (did she reflect at all) that 
she has been the principal cause of their sufferings." 
In a letter of July, 1830, to her cousin Jane at 
WiUiamstrip Ann herself gives what seems, without 
any context, a startling piece of news. " I am going 
to Cheltenham to-morrow where Lambert will arrive 
to-day and look out for a house for us in the meantime, to 
save the trouble of going to an hotelfirst and then moving. 
I have not the least idea how long we shall stay there." 

* This cousin, their mother's nephew, James Wiggett, was rector 
of Crudwell in Wiltshire, where was Eastcourt, the home of the 


Whether this project was carried out or not, it is 
impossible to say, but the fact that Sir William put 
into concrete form at this date his determination to 
disinherit his daughter if she ever lived with her 
husband again, makes it seem as if the flitting from 
Witcombe was either prevented or was of very short 
duration. Sir William's Will was pretty drastic. It 
provided that if his daughter ever lived with her 
husband again, she was to have an income of anything 
between one shilling a week and one pound a day, as 
the trustees in their discretion should appoint. The 
same provision was to hold good if her husband died 
and she ever married another Irishman. Otherwise 
she might marry again with the written consent of the 
trustees and might inherit the Witcombe estate after 
the death of her mother. 

The discovery of a Roman villa at Witcombe in 
1818, two years after the Cromie catastrophe seems 
to posterity to have been discovery at an ironical 
moment. Fortune had turned her back on the 
owner of the wide, green combe ; his dwelling-house 
was again beginning to show signs of decay, and he him- 
self was daily deteriorating in temper because of his 
powerlessness to command the future, to impel in the 
coming centuries the continuance of his direct descen- 
dants on the property which, to him, was the world : 
and then the goddess Chance, who takes so many 
strange forms, took the form of a labourer's spade, 
and, with all her accustomed sarcasm, quietly brought 
to light on the hillside the site of the dwelling-place of 
him who had been the landowner of the valley sixteen 
centuries before. Opportunity was thus given to testy 
little Sir William to reflect that, sixteen centuries hence, 
the family of Hicks would be certainly unknown, and 
that the grass would be growing over the foundations 
of the house in which they had fretted out their lives ; 
but that, nevertheless, the young moon would still rise 


over the crest of the woods in her silver irony — that 
the world would in fact, still go round. 

Under the supervision of a famous local antiquarian, 
Mr. Samuel Lysons, Sir William proceeded with the 
excavation of the villa, and parts of it were protected 
with stone huts with thatched roofs. Mr. Lysons read 
a paper on the villa before the Society of Antiquarians 
in 1818 and 1819, and in February, 1908, Mr. St. Clair 
Baddeley read a paper on the same subject in the 
Guildhall, Gloucester, to the Gloucestershire Archaeo- 
logical Society. The antiquarian conclusion seems to 
be that the Witcombe Villa, lying between the two 
important towns of Corinium (Cirencester) and Glevum 
(Gloucester), was the abode of a magistrate and senator 
who owned all the land in the valley lying on either 
side of Ermine Street, and that it had been built early 
in the third century, after the grant of the Roman 
franchise to all free inhabitants of the Empire, when 
a great push was given to the building of country 

For the Roman landowner, as well as for Sir Michael 
Hicks of the seventeenth century, had been surely 
the rapture of creation ; and the Roman set his house 
and demesne between a foreground and a background of 
everlasting beauty. In the foreground beyond sloping 
meadows was that view of the vale which Van Deist 
painted for Sir Michael 1500 years later, with Ermine 
Street running across it like a spear to Glevum, and with 
all the recurring atmospheric glories and the eternal hills 
beyond. The colonnaded court and gardens of the villa 
looked towards this view, and the house was a much 
more considerable one than any the valley has known 
since. It was built of brick, of stone and of marble, and 
on either side of the court were groups of buildings — the 
service rooms on one side, and the baths on the other. 
It faced the morning sun in glistening dignity, and 
was outlined in such an hour with unearthly brilliancy 
against the purple and black of the beech stems, which 


towered on the hillside above it, with the belt of their 
foliage melting away into the mysteries of the sky. 
The house sheltered a whole population. There was 
the family priest, the steward, the secretary, the 
amanuensis, the janitor, the hairdresser, the bathing 
man, gardeners, woodmen, cooks, smiths, keepers of 
the stock, the keeper of the dogs, the chauffeurs for 
the furnaces, the textores or weavers of household 
linen, the delicatae or housemaids. The house was a 
centre of organised industrial life, and the position of 
its owner as a municipal magistrate and senator of 
Glevum made it a centre of Civil Justice as well ; of its 
luxury and beauty, the pottery, the silver plate and the 
toilet accessories that have been excavated tell their 
own tale. 

Yet, if to Oblivion so complete, to Silence so 
impenetrable, it is the lot of every generation to 
make its ultimate submission, why trouble to repeat, 
and repeat again and over again, in one small valley 
of the whirling earth, this country house life, that 
needs so much strenuous thought and care if, in its 
peaceable security, free from the struggle of creeds 
and tariffs, it is to be kept from gross materialism ? 
Would it not be wiser to withdraw, if opportunity 
should offer a dignified retreat, from a battle 
with untraceable Destiny, in which the things of 
inheritance, of creation, and of desire, must infallibly 
be obliterated? 

To Sir William Hicks, to whom grandchildren had 
been denied, an opportunity for this wisdom was offered, 
and he differed no whit from his Roman predecessor in 
that he rejected it passionately. In the year before his 
death, his daughter Ann was thirty-nine years old, and 
her husband (Sir Lambart by that time) was still alive. 
It was necessary to provide for the ultimate future of 
Witcombe, and, as his younger nephew at Williamstrip 
was already provided with the properties of Oakley 
Hall and Keevil Manor, Sir William directed that 


Witcombe should go to his grand-nephew William, the 
second son of his elder nephew Michael. A condition 
was attached to the legacy — William Hicks Beach was 
to become William Hicks.* 

* This provision was for himself only and not for his heirs. 



There is a saying of Lafcadio Hearne's that everyone 
meets the Sphinx in life, but that sometimes she doesn't 
kill people ; she only bites and scratches them. The 
Sphinx scratched the pigmy heiress of Georgian Chelten- 
ham pretty severely, but it is an enormous tribute to 
her inherited invulnerability that in later life only one 
person ever knew how much the scratches smarted, and 
that, for the world around her, they were completely 
hidden behind the disguising pomp of a spreading 
crinoline and the prestige of consistently living beyond 
her income. For, to the imagination of the twentieth 
century, Dame Ann Cromie steps at once from the 
Gretna Green episode into a grim old age as the lady 
of the manor of Witcombe, who was an old lady so long 
that her age became mythical. The interval between 
the two stages never seems to count at all, and yet there 
was a period of eighteen years, during which she sat at 
her father's table in an atmosphere of perpetual dis- 
approval, and became first thirty, and then forty years 
of age. Endless years they must have seemed — and 
dreadful years from every point of view one would 
suppose. That they affected her nerves there are 
curious scraps of evidence to prove. " Lady Cromie's 
tongue goes as fast as if worked by steam" wrote 
Caroline Hicks Beach after she had been staying at 
Witcombe ; and young William, her son, who was to be 
heir to the property, said, " Lady Cromie hasn't much 
the matter with her except a stiff knee which the doctors 
tell her requires rest — the only thing she seems 


determined it should not have as she is fidgetting up and 
down stairs and round and round the room perpetually." 
Poor restless Ann ! She had a sort of outlet in religious 
emotion, but perhaps that only made her the more tire- 
some ! When her uncle Michael died at WiHiamstrip 
in 1830, she wrote to her cousin Jane there saying that 
she had a bilious attack, and recommending a book 
called " Cecil's Visit to the House of Mourning " ! "I 
am well aware my dear Jane (having been taught by 
painful experience) that Religion is the only consolation 
in affliction, and then when the mind can be brought to 
dwell on the subject there is a comfort in reading books 
of this sort which nothing else in this world can give." 

Sir William died in 1834 when Ann was forty years 
old, but Lady Hicks* lived five years longer. She had 
been an invalid with gout for a long time, and many of 
her letters are dictated and are in Lady Cromie's hand- 
writing. For weeks and months at a time she was 
shut up in her bedroom looking on to the garden and 
the rather sprightly letters are about nothings. She tells 
her sister-in-law that she has collected in her room all 
the best china in the house, and all the things she brought 
from the Vyne, and that she keeps there two Chinese 
mice in a gilded cage tied up with pink ribbons and 
hung round with little bags of scented flowers and herbs ! 
She was of easier temperament than Sir William, was 
good natured, trivial and foolish, and was not able to 
keep up a life-long anger with her daughter. There was 
affection between them, and we can believe that Ann 
was lonely enough when her mother died. But it was 
the beginning of a healthier life for her. She was now 
mistress of the Witcombe estate, was of ' consequence,' 
and had independence and responsibility. Life was 
only half over and its profoundest emotion was still 

Of that emotion — her friendship for Francis Close, 

* Me Chute. 


Rector of Cheltenham — it is impossible to speak without 
a little gentle laughter. 

When Francis Close came to Cheltenham in 1824, it 
was as curate to the lately-built church of Holy Trinity. 
He married in the following year, and in 1826 he was 
made rector of Cheltenham. ' King in Jeshuran,' it is 
said he shortly became, and it is a fact that, during the 
thirty and odd years of his reign, he raised money for 
the building of eight churches, a hospital and a training 
college for elementary teachers, and was instrumental 
in founding the boys' college of to-day as well. In fact, 
he made the Cheltenham of to-day. He found it an 
overgrown country village with a stream of noisy 
fashion flowing through it, and he left it in his sixtieth 
year, for the Deanery of Carlisle, a town of ordered 
streets of peculiarly hard pavements, and with an 
established population. He left it, moreover, a strong- 
hold of Evangelicism. Gone for ever were the hey-ho 
tables and the pea-and-thimble tables which used to 
make the High Street such a diverting place at the 
times of the races ! " We went to the Old Church 
which was crowded to hear the Rev. Mr. Close preach 
against horse racing and the playhouses," says Dolly 
Dubbins in her Diary of the thirties. 

" You must not to the races go, 
At least your pastor tells you so, 
Whose fraught with proper notions ; 
And if you to the Playhouse get. 
Old Nick will know it, for he'll set 
One CLOSE to watch your motions." 

Each generation has its popular preachers, and the 
undying secret of their power is, in the vernacular of to- 
day, the possession of a magnetic personality. It was 
towards the man, Francis Close himself, that the 
shrunken soul of Ann Cromie went forth, and so there 
came to her in the desert of middle age, the gift of a 
new initiative. All the circumstances combined to 
make it a comfortable friendship for them both. 


Many volumes of "Close's Miscellaneous Sermons" 
stand on Witcombe shelves ; they are much marked in 
pencil, and the tenour of the scored paragraphs is the 
same : — 

Those whom God loves, and whom He is training for eternity are 
chastened and afflicted most severely. The dearest objects of their 
affection are torn from them, their earthly prospect is clouded and 
darkened, one source of temporal enjoyment after another is taken 
away, and sometimes the servant of God seems left alone in the 
world, bereft of all that delighted his eyes and cheered his heart ; 
like the solitary blasted oak of the wilderness, spoiled of its leaves, 
with its branches torn off by the tempest. 

The underlining of the last sentence is a whole revela- 
tion — the revelation of a pose. With Ann's purely 
personal views of all things human, it is impossible that 
any blow of Fate could have obtained a permanent 
importance, but the suggestion from the pulpit that the 
blasted oak was for the preacher a more interesting 
object than the healthy growing tree, was an insidious 
temptation. The facts of her tragic story were undeni- 
able, and they made perfectly legitimate a demand on 
the sympathy of the busy divine. 

He gave that sympathy freely. Witcombe became 
eloquent of the fact that he was freely repaid — it is 
impossible to keep a little sarcasm out of the laughter. 
He came out to Witcombe not infrequently, and not 
infrequently he drove away again along the lanes with 
a cheque which brought some one of his many plans 
for the welfare of Cheltenham nearer to its accomplish- 
ment. He was a good man, and he prayed with the 
lady of the manor in the panelled parlour at Witcombe 
in all singleness of soul — but the single eye enabled 
him to see Cheltenham only : it never occurred to him 
that the panelling of the parlour was rotten, nor that the 
timbers which upheld the roof above his head would, 
with little provocation, fall on it ; it never occurred 
to him to have any practical surmises about the 
cottages and farms he passed on his road. 


And who can blame him if he supposed Lady Cromie 
to be a richer woman than she was ? Part of her appeal 
for him was, without doubt, her social position. She 
belonged by birth to a class with whom — at the begin- 
ning of his ministry, at all events, and because he girded 
at its amusements — he was very unpopular. To be a 
friend of her ladyship's was an asset for him, and perhaps 
her ladyship was not unaware of it. 

Yet the part of grande dame was, very likely, not 
assumed consciously at all — it may have been simply 
the outcome of strict adherence to the eighteenth- 
century tradition. The twenty servants, the pale-blue 
liveries, the over-abundance of food and drink, the 
continuous giving out at the back door — it was all part 
of a system which was rigidly adhered to decades after 
other country houses had modified or revolutionised it 
— it was adhered to long after conditions made it an 
economic impossibility. 

When Ann Cromie first came into her kingdom there 
is witness that she had the usual emotions of the new 
broom. There was a row of stone cottages close to the 
church which were in very bad repair, and she pulled 
them down and built for Witcombe a school and a 
schoolhouse ; and then, as there was stone left, she 
built, at the suggestion of her lawyer, a lodge at the 
portal of the wood, at the Birdlip boundary of her 
property. This was in 1845, and in that year her 
heir, her younger cousin at Williamstrip, William 
Hicks Beach, died unmarried. He had the power of 
appointing a successor to his Witcombe prospects, 
and had left directions that they were to devolve on 
his younger nephew, his brother Sir Michael's second 
son, who was another William Hicks Beach, and, at 
this time, a child of three years of age. 

This change of heirs, in which she had had no choice, 
made the future of Witcombe somewhat of an abstrac- 
tion to its female tenant for life ; and it is perhaps hardly 
a matter for declamation that, from this time onwards, 


she allowed her interest in the development of religious 
Cheltenham and the claims of an adopted family to 
outweigh her practical responsibilities towards the land 
from which she drew her income. Her sentimental 
responsibilities were never neglected — up to the last 
she was wheeled in her chair into the low-raftered 
kitchen to superintend the gifts of beef to the cottage 
tenants at Christmas time, and all the year round an 
ever-flowing stream of milk puddings and soup linked 
the big house to the village. But as the nineteenth 
century went on, and, together with Ann Cromie's own 
life, drew towards its close, the battle with deterioration, 
which has to go on persistently if deterioration is not 
to gain foothold, was given up altogether. 

In her ninetieth year Lady Cromie was awaked one 
day from the doze of old age by the entrance of her 
heir into the panelled parlour, and she startled him 
with a decisive utterance : " William, you must see 
that the road is in good order, for Sir Michael will 
want to bring his coach down it next week to Quarter 
Sessions." This is proof that the dozing dreams of his 
many-times descended granddaughter were not haunted 
by (the angry ghost of Sir Michael of 1700, who had 
made the wood road, and who might have had his 
spookish denuniciations for the person who had allowed 
the main artery of the property to become a mere 
timber track. Yet she had no feminine horror of 

An adopted family has been alluded to only, and it 
is not possible to tell the story with detail to make 
it interesting, because of those still living whom it affects 
nearly. Ann burdened the little estate with extraneous 
lives, but it was a reparation — and the only possible 
reparation — she could make for her own disastrous 
obstinacy and ill-judgment. 

Ann's elopement, it will be remembered, did not 
take place until she was twenty-two years old, and 
she must have reigned as an heiress of the Cheltenham 


season for several years before that, and Mr. Cromie 
was, of course, not the only aspirant to her hand and 
fortune. There had been a Colonel Donovan, a 
Welshman, who had served in the Peninsula, and who 
was afterwards at Waterloo — he eventually married a 
Miss Treherne, of a Glamorganshire family, and his 
wife died and left him with a young daughter, for 
whom Lady Cromie seems to have had a real affection, 
and the girl stayed at Witcombe for long periods. She 
grew up quickly, as girls will, and then there appeared 
the inevitable lover. The father disapproved of him 
entirely, and with all the good reasons in the world, 
beyond that he was, by birth, a gentleman ; but Ann 
Cromie, with her strong streak of inherited self-will, 
and her innate lack of worldly knowledge, saw fit to 
foster the affair, and the part she played put an end 
once for all to the half-romantic friendship between 
herself and Colonel Donovan. The marriage took 
place, Colonel Donovan was entirely justified in all 
his objections, and, in 1852, the poor wife, with two 
fair-haired little daughters, came back to Witcombe 
and lived there until she died. 

As life went on this heroism of Ann's became — as 
all acts of the will do become — its own justification. 
The girls grew to tall and slender womanhood in the 
house in the valley, and a perennial interest in their 
good looks, their ball dresses, and eventually, of course, 
their lovers, helped to keep for Ann a living heart behind 
the mask of a formality which grew to be impenetrable, 
and, because of that, to be awe-inspiring. Her grimness 
became a legend — was an aura, which had its radius 
far beyond the circle of her beechwoods. Witcombe 
women, themselves now in old age, still recall with 
bated breath the ordeal of Christmas morning, when, 
ranged before her ladyship in the servants' hall, all the 
village boys and girls had to produce for her criticism 
the stockings they had knitted. The ceremony was 
very likely two centuries old. The wool came from 


Witcombe sheep, was spun by the very old women 
who were pensioners, and was then given out to the 
youngsters who had to render their account. Holland 
enough for a smock was each boy's reward, and the 
girls got a straw bonnet with a plain riband ; and Ann's 
redoubtable grandmother, Martha Hicks herself, could 
could not have exacted profounder obeisances. 

The placing of persons in their proper places and the 
keeping of them there, which came to be, perhaps, the 
most conspicuous talent of Ann's middle age, tended 
at last, as talents will, to petrify, and the petrifaction 
had sometimes its grotesque features. A guest of the 
occasion has a recollection of a dinner at Witcombe 
when her ladyship missed a dish of stewed kidneys she 
had ordered, and which the cook, it would seem, had 
thought superfluous. " Tell the cook I mean to have 
the kidneys, and we will wait till they come," was her 
order to the butler. And wait the company did, and 
a very long time too 1 A later episode was related by 
herself to her heir. Dean Close of Carlisle was dead, 
but a clergyman, who had been his curate when he was 
in Cheltenham, had come there in charge of one of the 
new churches. This gentleman remembered the friend- 
ship, profitable and pleasant to both, which had existed 
between his old rector and the lady of Witcombe, and 
in a hired Cheltenham cab he set forth on his adventure. 
It was afternoon, and Ann was established on the sofa 
by the round table in the panelled parlour. " And 
before I could make out who he was or where he 
came from, he knelt down by the table and began 
to say a prayer," she related in high indignation. 
" I never before suffered such impertinence. I rang 
the bell at once and said, ' Kindly shew this gentleman 
out.' " 

That panelled parlour, with the battered family 
portraits crowded together on its pink painted walls, 
with the afternoon sun pouring in through the drawn 
white blinds, with the shining round table and its circle 


of books and the tight posy in the centre — that was the 
prison-house where, for the last twenty years of life, 
Ann Cromie made her soul : for the last ten years she 
never left it except to be carried to her bedroom. 

" I am sure I don't know what all this coming and 
going means," the high, fatigued voice behind the mask 
used to say ; and coldly and shrilly, in response to 
patient explanation, "No; I don't understand it at all." 
Behind the mask the mind was still alive, able to realise 
the existence of new and compelling conditions : and 
the will was still alive too, prompt to reject them if 
possible. " It was always so in my poor grandfather's 
time," was the steadfast answer to any revolutionary 
proposition — and how far that took all things back, for 
Sir Howe had probably said the same ! It is quite likely 
that Witcombe was the very last house in England 
where a pewter service was used in the servants' hall, 
and where the servants had beer for breakfast. And it 
is almost impossible to realise that, as late as 1885, 
there was an audit dinner-party which differed in no 
particular from a dinner-party of Georgian days, with 
a whole salmon in its dish on the table, with a joint 
and boiled chickens to follow at either end, and six 
side dishes beneath their silver covers. The rector,* 
the family lawyer, the doctor and, in the last years, the 
heir were the invariable guests at this biennial festivity, 
and all that made it seem an anachronism was their 
accumulating consciousness that it was so. Every year 
the fat coachman, who came in to help when there was 
a party, grew stouter ; every year the buttons in a row 
down his livery seemed larger ; every time the running 
rattle with which they twanked against the edge of the 
door when he inserted himself into the room, seemed 
louder. And then the twanking rattle played its part 
as a nineteenth-century joke for the last time, for Ann 
Cromie lay dying at last. 

* Ann's cousin, Charles Pettat, was rector of Witcombe from 1889 
to 1845. He married his cousin, Caroline Browne of Salperton. 

C.F. B B 


In the small bedroom over the servants' hall, in the 
narrow tent bed which she had used since childhood, 
she lay. From out her furrowed face her ninety years 
looked forth, with all their still-born passions, with their 
thin pleasures, with their patience of unfulfilment. 

" The Kingdom and the Power and the Glory " 

She heard the words, for she stirred faintly ; but those 
watching knew that she had heard them only as a 
trumpet blast upon another shore. 



Of the Witcombe of to-day all that can be said must 
be said tentatively — said with a hesitation none the less 
profound because of spiritual certainties. 

In the year 1855 the city of Gloucester, six miles off, 
needed a reservoir, and an Act of Parliament was passed 
compelling Lady Cromie to sell land for the purpose. 
Her trustees used the money to add to the property, 
and bought Cranham Wood, while William Hicks 
Beach's trustees bought land too ; so, when he inherited 
the Witcombe estate at last, it was considerably larger 
than it had been in Sir William Hicks' lifetime. But 
the house itself was no longer habitable. After Lady 
Cromie's death an architect was called in and his advice, 
if drastic, was inevitable. The whole of the timber and 
plaster frontage was pulled down and the older, stone 
servants' quarters were left standing and were let as a 

In the year 1891 it became a matter of immediate 
expediency to provide a house for the estate and, 
because of so much that was ready to hand, because 
of stables, greenhouses, garden walls, the old garden 
house and the servants' quarters of 1600 still intact, the 
owner of Witcombe raised, on the site of the old front- 
age, four walls and a roof to close them in. Between 
the walls, beneath the red roof, are partitioned spaces 
wider and loftier than the parlours of the old house, 
and at the back of the rooms which face the sunny 
garden and the towering woods, runs a long hall, where, 


between Juliana Hicks' tapestry from St. Peter's Hill, 
the grandchildren of the twentieth century — those 
keepers of unknown redemptions — may play battledore 
and shuttlecock. Into this hall is the entrance to the 
provisional house — and the adjective is used defiantly ; 
with the consciousness that the expediency, the com- 
fort, the decency of to-day, will be the least important 
things of to-morrow. 

O ghosts of the Valley Manor, have done with your 
hampering task ! You filled the hold of the Ship of 
Destiny with ballast, and that was well for its day and 
in its hour, but " the fear that the Ship may pitch or 
roll on leaving the roadstead is no reason for increasing 
the weight of the ballast by stowing the fair white sails 
in the depths of the hold. They are not woven to 
moulder side by side with cobble stones in the dark. 
Ballast exists everywhere : the pebbles of the harbour 
and the sand on the shore will serve for it. But sails 
are rare and precious things : their place is not in the 
murk of the well, but' amid the light of the tall masts, 
where they will collect the winds of space." 


Abbott, John, lawsuit of, against 

Sir M. Hicks, 235 
Adlam, Joan, marries William Beach, 

Ap Adam, Thomas, 212 
Axmine, Sir William, marries daugh- 
ter of Sir M. Hicks, 196 
Arthur, Juliana, marries Eobert 

Hickes of Cheapside, 57, 58 
Atkyns, Sir Eobert, County Families 

in History of Gloucestershire by, 

7, 8, 9 
Awpas, John, mention of, in Nomina 

Villarum, compiled by John Smyth, 


Bacon, Anne, 158 

Bacon, Francis, appointed Solicitor- 
General, 156; career of, 150-9; 
character depicted by Dean Church, 
148-9 ; essay of, on Marriage and 
Single Life, 158 ; friendship for 
Michael Hicks, 143 ; letters to 
Michael Hicks, 151-7, 158-9; 
marriage of, 157-8 ; on men in 
great place, 141-2 ; part played 
by in prosecution of Essex, 151-2 ; 
relationship to Eobert Cecil, 149 
Bacon, Sir Nathaniel, 178-80 
Bacon, Nicholas, 149 
Baddeley, St. Clair, 358 
Baker, Mrs. Lowbridge, 344 
Baptist's Head, The, in Clerkenwell, 

Barkers of Fairford, the, 8 
Barneby, Mrs., of Long worth, 344 _ 
Barnham, Alice, marries Francis 

Bacon, 157-8 
Bartylmew, Thomas, Eobert Hickes 

of Cheapside apprenticed to, 55 
Bathursts of Cirencester, the, 8 
Beach, Anne, marries Eev. William 
Wainhouse, 298-9 

Beach, Henrietta Maria, 281-343; 
correspondence of, with Hicks 
Beach family, 314-6, 338-40, 342- 
3; with Sydney Smith, 302-14, 
324-32, 334-5 ; death of, 343 ; 
fortune of, 294; marries Michael 
Hicks, 283 

Beach, Jane, 296 

Beach, John, 296 

Beach, Mary Jane, 336 

Beach, Thomas, 296 

Beach, William, son of Thomas 
Beach, 296 

Beach, William Hicks, 298; dis- 
cards name of Hicks, 301, 335 

Beach, William Wither Bramston, 

Beaumont, Nicholas, 107 

Beaumont, Thomas, letter of Michael 
Hicks to, 165-6 

Beche, Christopher, 295 

Beche, Nicholas, 295 

Beche, Eobert, 294 

Beecher, William, letter of, to 
Michael Hicks, 127-8 

Beeston, Sir Hugh, letters of Michael 
Hicks to, 139-41, 166 

Benet, Sir John, 191 

Bennett, Sir John, 156 

Berkeley, Lord, Beverstone Castle 
reconstructed by, 212 

Berkelevs of Berkeley Castle, the, 8 

Bermudas, The, 86 

Beverstone Castle, 187, 211-4 

Beverstone Manor, 187 

Black Death, the, 19, 20 

Blathwayts of Dyrham, the, 9 

Bodley, Sir Thomas, 156 

Bond, Sir William, 95 

Boston, Lord, 275 

Booth, Sir George, 218-9 

Bouchier, Margaret, 280 

Boveys (now Crawley-Boevey) of 
Flaxley Abbey, the, 9 




Bowland, Mrs., letter of Michael 
Hicks to, 163-4 

Bramston, Edmund, 286, 298 

Bramston, Wither, 286, 298 

Bright, Dr., 125 

Bristow, Barrington, marries Sir 
John Baptist Hicks, 263-4 

Browne, Caroline, marries Charles 
Pettat, 369 

Browne, Jane Henrietta, marries 
William Hicks Beaoh, 335 

Browne, Bev. John, 265 

Browne, Martha, marries Sir Howe 
Hicks, 266-9 

Browne, Sir Mathew, duel of, with 
Sir John Townshend, 178 

Burghley, Lord, 71-122 ; biographies 
of, 102 ; character, 102 ; death of 
121-2; Hicks family letters pre 
served among letters of, 64 
Michael Hicks, secretary to, 74 
first and second marriages of, 74 
policy of, 104 

Burghley, Thomas, Earl of, 133 

Campden', town of, benefactions of 
Baptist Hicks to, 97-8 

Campden, Viscount, 83-101. See 
Hicks, Baptist. 

Capell, Lord, 217 

Carleton, Dudley, letter to Sir John 
Chamberlain, 157 

Castleman, Jonathan, marries 
Susannah Hicks, 240; letters to 
Howe Hicks, 244-6, 251-4 

Castleman, Susannah. See Hicks, 

Cave, Sir Ambrose, 206 

Cavendish, Mary, marries Earl of 
Shrewsbury, 182 

Cecil, Elizabeth, 132 

Cecil, Henry, 77 

Cecil, Bobert, Earl of Salisbury, 118- 
142 ; account of affairs in Prance 
by, 130-1 ; bribes accepted by. 115 ; 
correspondence of, with Sir James 
Harrington, 128-9, with Michael 
Hicks, 78, 84, 119, 120, 131-3, 137- 
8, 177, with Juliana Penn, 75-6 
death and character of, 141-2 
described by Francis Bacon, 129 

grants by, to Michael Hicks, 
135-6 ; peace with Spain nego- 
tiated by, 85 

Cecil, Thomas, becomes Earl of 
Exeter, 74 

Chamberlain, Sir John, correspon- 
dence with Sir Dudley Carleton, 
157, 205 

Chamberlayne, Sir John, 197 

Chamberlayne, Sir Thomas, 197 

Chamberlaynes of Maugersbury, 
the, 8 

Cheapside, description of, in six- 
teenth century, 50, 51 

Cheke, John, 74 

Cheke, Mar y, marries Lord Burghley, 

Cheke, Sir Thomas, 204 

Chester, Charles, 75 

Chester, Doroinick, 75 

Chester, Henry, 75 

Chester, Thomas, 75 

Chesters of Almondsbury, the (now 
Chester Master), 9 

Chigwell, 258 

Chiswell, Bichard, sells Burghley 
papers to John Strype, 64 

Church, Dean, on Prancis Bacon, 

Churchyard, Thomas, 72 

Chute, Ann Bachel, marries William 
Hicks, 286 

Chute, Chaloner, Speaker of 
House of Commons, 1569. ..349 

Chute, Chaloner W., "History of 
the Vyne," by, 348 

Chute, Elizabeth, 350 

Chute, John, 349-50 

Chute, Mary, 286, 298 

Chute, Thomas Lobb, 350 

Chute, Thomas Vere, 355 

Chute, William, 355 

Cleveland, Caroline Chichester, 
marries W. W. B. Beach, 336 

Cliffords of the Grange, Gloucester- 
shire, 8 

Close, Prancis, Bector of Chelten- 
ham, 362-4 

Cloth trade in Gloucestershire, 36-7 

Clutterbuck, Elizabeth, 39 ; marries 
Thomas Hicks, 47 

Cobberley Manor, 240 

Codringtons of Dodington, the, 9 

Coke, Attorney-General, 150 



Colchesters of Westbury (now Col- 
ohester-Wemyss), the, 9 

Coin St. Aldwyn Manor, 267 

Colston, Elizabeth, marries Henry 
Parvish, 171 

Colston, Gabriel, father-in-law of 
Michael Hicks, 170 

Colston, Robert, of Corby, 170-1 

" Complaint of Piers Ploughman,'' 

Compton, Lord William, 171 

Coningsbv, Sir H., marries daughter 
of Sir W. Hicks, 222 

Cooke, Sir Anthony, 74 

Cooke, Mildred, second wife of Lord 
Burghley, 74 

Cooke, Sir William, 187 

Cooper, Lady, 101 

Cope, Sir Walter, 96, 141 ; builds 
Holland House, 185-6 

Copyhold, technical definition of, 33 

Corsham, 140 

Cotton, Sir Robert, letter to, from 
Baptist Hicks, 84 

Cranborne, Lord, 186 

Crane, Anne, 196 

Crawshaw, Lady, 344 

Crewe, Marget, second wife of Mor- 
gan Hixe, 46 

Crewe, William, mention of, in 
Nomina Villarum, 46 

Cromhall Church, Hicks monuments 
in, 48, 49 

Cromhall Court House, 34 ; descrip- 
tion of, 42-4 

Cromhall Manor, mentioned in 
Domesday Book, 30 ; grant of, to 
Thomas Hicks, 35 

Cromie, Lady, friendship with 
Francis Close, 361-2 ; life at Wit- 
combe, 365-70 

Cromie, Michael, 353 

Cromie, Sir William Lambart, elope- 
ment of Ann Hicks with, 353-4 ; 
death of, 356 

Cromwell, Thomas, 29 

Curnocke, John, 46 

De Gouhnay, Anselm, 211 
De Gournay, John, 212 
De Gournay, Robert, 211 
De la Beche, history of family of, 

De la Beche, Nicholas, 294 
De la Beche, Philip, 295 
De la Beche, Roger, 295 
De la Beche, Thomas, 295 
Delahay, John, legacy of Lady Hicks 

to, 200 ; marries Ellen Parvish, 

De Vere, Earl, 204 
De Weare, Maurice, 211 
De Weare, Robert, 211 
Dightons of Clifford, the, 9 
Domesday Book, names of owners of 

manors recorded in, 25 
Donee, Francis, catalogues Lans- 

downe MSS., 114-5 
Donegall, Lady, 221, 223, 227-8 
Donegall, Lord, 221, 223 
Donovan, Colonel, 357 
Drake, Francis, 72-3 
Dryden, Sir John, 194 
Ducie, Lord, 49 
Dutton, Sir Ralph, 229 
Duttons of Sherborne, the, 8 
Dyer, John, marries Elizabeth 

Llewelin, 49 
Dyer, John, sells Cromhall property 

to Lord Ducie, 49 
Dyer, Samuel, of Paignton, 39 
Dyrham, Huiccian victory at, 12, 13 

Earle, Giles, 280 

Earle, Susannah, 271, 280-1 

Earle, William, 238, 280 

Earle, William, letters to Michael 
Hicks Beach, 303-5, 337-8 

Eastcourt House, 280 

Eastington, cloth mills belonging to 
Hicks family at, 39 

Eliot, George, extracts from writings 
of, applicable to lives of the Hicks, 

Eliot, Sir John, 207 

Elizabeth, Queen, 71, 73 ; character, 
137; displeasure of, with Lord 
Burghley, 104 ; distich on Sir 
Andrew Noel, 180; visit of, to 
Ruckholt Manor House, 175-6 

Erondelle, P., 196 

Essex, Earl of, 150-1 

Estcourts of Shipton, the, 8 

Evelyn, Sir John, 186 

Evelyn, John, diary of, 219-20 

Everard Samuel Beaumont, 224 



Everard, Susannah, marries Sir 
Michael Hicks, 224 

Ferrers, Earl, 273 
Eittleton Manor, 296 
Eitzharding, Maurice, 211 
Fitzharding, Robert, 211 
Fitzwylliams, Sir William, 113 
Eorster, Sir Thomas, house of, in 

Olerkenwell, 97 
Fortescue, Sir John, 93 
Foxe, Michael, father-in-law of 

Michael Hicks, 170 
Eranklyn, Sir W., 227 
Freemans of Batsford, the, 9 
Frobisher, Martin, 75 
Fuller, Mrs., of Neston Park, 344 
Fusts of Hill (now Jenner-Fust), the, 


GAiNSBOROTjaH, titles of Campden 
and Noel merged in that of, 181 

Garnet, Jesuit Father, Sir Baptist 
Hicks' part in trial of, 87 

Gaule, Bev. John, writes commemo- 
ration of his patron, Viscount 
Campden, 100 

Gewissas, the, or Hwiccas, Saxon 
ancestors of Hicks family, 12 

Gifford, Mary, marries William 
Beach, 296 

Gloucestershire, architectural cha- 
racter of buildings in the Middle 
Ages, 26-7 ; wide diffusion of 
name of Hicks in, 19 ; names of 
lords of manors recorded in 
Domesday Book, 26 ; old county 
families of, 8, 9 

Green, J. B., historian, on Battle of 
Crecy, 2 ; on England at the be- 
ginning of the Wars of the Boses, 
24 ; on exactions of Charles I., 

Greville, Fulke, character of, praised 
by Francis Bacon, 144 ; favourite 
of Queen Elizabeth, 144 ; hostility 
of Bobert Cecil towards, 145 
letter of Francis Bacon to, 151 
letters to Michael Hicks, 145-8 
peerage conferred upon, 145 

Harding, James, 296 
Harding, Jane, marries Thomas 
Beach, 296 

Hard wick, Mr., letter of Juliana 

Penn to, 68 
Harleian MSS., Sir William Hicks of 

Beverston, 1st baronet, records 

pedigree in, 7 
Hatfield House, 186 
Hatton, Lady, 157 
Hayes, Sir Thomas, indebtedness of 

James I. to, 86 
Hayman, Sir William, marries into 

Colston family, 170 
Haynea, Major H., 218 
Herbert, Dr., 85 
Hicckes, Bobert of the Hundred of 

Berkeley, 24 
Hicke, Arthur, 101 
Hicke, Baptist, 101 
Hicke, Elizabeth, 101 
Hicke, Julian, 101 
Hicke, Marie, 101 
Hickes, Adrian, 52 
Hickes, Alice, 19 
Hickes, Baptist, son of Bobert 

Hickes, of Cheapside, 52 
Hickes, Baptist, grandson of Bobert 

Hickes, of Cheapside, 56 
Hickes, Christopher, 54 
Hickes, Clement, 52, 59 
Hickes, John, of Asshton, 19 
Hickes, John, of Guytyngs Poer, 19 
Hickes, John, of Little WTayticombe, 

Hickes, John, of Tettebury, 19 
Hickes, Margaret, 52 ; will of, 57 
Hickes, Michael, 52 
Hickes, Nicholas, 16, 19 
Hickes, Bichard, 45-6, 52, 54 
Hickes, Bobert, of Aston Super 

Carent, 19 
Hickes, Bobert, of Kynmaresforde, 

Hickes, Boger, juror in the inquisi- 
tion before the Abbot of Wynche- 

cumbe, in 1341. ..19 
Hickes, William, Mayor of Bristol in 

1587. ..57 
Hicks, the, of Gloucestershire, 

various spellings of name in records 

and registers, 10 ; derivation of 

name, 11 
Hicks, Alice, marries William 

White, 238 
Hicks, Alice, daughter of Sir Howe 

Hioks, 272, 277 



Hicks, Ann, daughter of Sir Howe 
Hicks, 272 ; marries James King, 
of Stanton, 277 

Hicks, Anne, daughter of Sir Harry- 
Hicks, 3rd baronet, 256 

Hicks, Ann Bachel. See Cromie, 

Hicks, Austin, of ABhleworth, 
present representative of East- 
rngton branch of Hicks family, 39 

Hicks, Sir Baptist, Baron Ilmington 
and Viscount Campden of Camp- 
den, 83-101 ; benefactions of, 96-8 ; 
grant of arms to, 7 ; letters of, 84, 
86-91 ; manors and property pur- 
chased by, 95-6; marriage of, 
91-2; offices held by, 94-5; 
petition of, to Privy Council, 92-3 ; 
share of, in purchase of Bermuda 
Islands, 86 ; tomb and inscription 
in memory of, 98-9 

Hicks, Charles, 256 

Hicks, Clement, 79-81 ; will of, 81 

Hicks, Edith, 30 

Hicks, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir 
Michael Hicks, 195 

Hicks, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir 
William Hicks, 1st baronet, 221 

Hicks, Dame Elizabeth, 194; suit of, 
against Sir John Chamberlayne, 
197-8 ; will of, 200, 201 

Hicks, Ellen, 81-2 

Hicks, Sir Ellis, St., portrait of, 
at Witcombe Park, 1, 233 ; fightB 
under Black Prince at Crecy, 1, 3 

Hicks, Esther, marries Ambrose 
Marklove, 47 

Hicks, Genevieve, 263 

Hicks, Sir Harry, 3rd baronet, 222 ; 
marriage, 256 ; wills of, 259 

Hicks, Henrietta Howe, 272 

Hicks, Howe, son of Sir Michael 
Hicks, Kt., 239; marries Mary 
Watts, 240 ; household accounts of, 
241, 242 ; correspondence with J. 
Castleman, 243-55 

Hicks, Sir Howe, 6th baronet, son of 
H. Hicks, 256, 265-9; Chancery 
lawsuit, 270-1, 272-93 

Hicks, John, 48 

Hicks, Sir John Baptist, 5th baronet, 
256, 263, 288 

Hicks, John Phillimore, diary of, 
40, 41, 42 

Hicks, Juliana, 62, 65-6 ; corre- 
spondence, 69-78 ; will of, 79 

Hicks, Juliana, daughter of Charles 
Hicks, 263 

Hicks, Lady, wife of Sir William 
Hicks, 7th baronet, 362 

Hicks, Letitia, daughter of Sir W. 
Hicks. See Donegall, Lady. 

Hicks, Letitia, daughter of Sir M. 
Hicks, Kt., 225 

Hicks, Margaret, wife of Sir W. 
Hicks, 1st baronet, burial of, in 
Westminster Abbey, 206, 218 

Hicks, Martha, wife of Sir Howe 
Hicks, 6th baronet, 267-70, 288-9, 

Hicks, Martha, daughter of Sir 
Harry Hicks, 3rd baronet, 256 

Hicks, Martha, daughter of Sir Howe 
Hicks, 6th baronet, 272 ; marries 
Rev. John Pettat, 276-7 

Hicks, Mary, last of the Hicks of 
Cromhall Court House ; death in 

Hicks, Mary, will of, proved in 
Bristol Diocesan Registry, 1631... 

Hicks, Mary, daughter of Sir Howe 
Hicks, 242, 272, 276 

Hicks, Sir Michael, Kt., 222-3; 
marries Susannah Everard, 224; 
children of, 225-6 ; legacy from 
Lady Donegall, 228 ; lawsuit with 
John Abbott, 235-6 ; monument 
to, in Witcombe Church, 238 

Hicks, Sir Michael, Kt., secretary to 
Lord Burghley, 74-8, 86-7, 102-6, 
115, 167 ; correspondence of, with 
Francis Bacon, 151-7, with 
Lord Burghley, 107-14, 177-8, 
with Lord Salisbury, 126, with 
Sir John Stanhope, 175-6, with 
Lady Willoughby, 161-3, with 
Mrs. Woodcocke, 167-70 ; marries 
Elizabeth Parvis, 170, Queen 
Elizabeth entertained at Buckholt, 
175-6; schedule of property of, 
186-8 ; epitaph in Leyton Church, 

Hicks, Morgan, will of, 1565... 30 

Hicks, Nicholas, rector of Charfield, 

Hicks, Eichard, will of, 1558. ..29, 



Hicks, Robert, of Cheapside, of kin 
to Hicks of Gloucestershire, 10 ; 
lays foundations of family fortunes, 
2 ; will of, 52-63 

Hicks, Sir Robert, 4th baronet, 256 ; 
correspondence with Michael 
Hicks, 260-2 

Hicks, Sarah, 225, 237 

Hicks, Sibilla, 22,23 

Hicks, Susannah, 242, 272, 276 

Hicks, Thomas, of Cromhall Court 
House, 30, 32 

Hicks, Thomas, mentioned in 
Diocesan Records, 47 

Hicks, Sir William, 7th baronet, son 
of Sir Howe Hicks, 272, 277, 279, 
280, 284 ; marries firstly, Judith 
Whitcomb, and secondly Ann 
Rachel Chute, 286 ; account of, 
345-6 ; provisions of will as re- 
garded his daughter, 357 ; super, 
vises excavation of Roman villa 
at Witcombe, 357-9 ; legacy to 
William Hicks Beach, 360; death 
of, 362 

Hicks, Sir William, 1st baronet, part 
played by in Civil War, 215-6 ; 
imprisonment and confiscation of 
estates of, 217 ; life in Essex, 
201-3 ; marriage to daughter of 
Lord Paget, 205-6 ; Parliament 
fines, 210-11; pedigree recorded 
at Visitation of Gloucester in 
1623. ..7 ; political indecision of, 

Hicks, Sir William, 2nd baronet, 
221 ; marries Marthagnes Con- 
ingsby, 222 

Hicks Beach, Ann, 316 

Hicks Beach, Caroline, 361 

Hicks Beach, Lady, 343 

Hicks Beach, Henrietta Maria, letters 
to Mr. Hicks Beach, 314-6, 338- 
40 ; letters of Sidney Smith to, 
325-35 ; letter to, from Michael 
Hicks Beach, 342-3 

Hicks Beach, Jane, marries Edward 
St. John, 316 

Hicks Beach, Michael, son 'of Sir 
Howe Hicks, 272, 277, 280 ; marries 
Henrietta Maria Hicks Beach, 
283 ; letter of William Earle 
to, 303-5 ; sits in Parliament, 

Hicks Beach, Michael, grandson of 
Sir Howe Hicks, 316 ; education 
of, 318-25 ; marriage of, 338, 340 

Hicks Beach, Sir Michael. 8th baronet, 
342 ; letter to Henrietta Maria 
Hicks Beach, 342-3; marriage, 343 ; 
inherits Williamstrip Park and 
Beverstone Castle in Gloucester- 
shire, and Netheravon House, and 
Eittleton Manor in Wiltshire, 343 ; 
successfully contests East Glouces- 
tershire in 18 54... 343 

Hicks Beach, William Frederick, 344 

Hicks Hall, account of, in " Middle- 
sex County Records," 97 

Hickus, Agnes, 21 

Hickus, Avice, 22 

Hickus, Christine, 21 

Hickus, Emma, 21 

Hickus, John, 21 

Hickus, John, of Clopton, 22 

Hickus, Margery, 21 

Hickus, Philip, 21 

Hickus, Robert, 21 

Hickus, Sibilla, 21 

Hickus Thomas, 22 

Hickus, Walter, 21 

Hikkes, — , juror in the inquisition 
before the Abbot of Wynchecumbe, 
1341. ..19 

Hikkes, Robert, 19 

" Historical Account of the Family 
of Hicks," by Rev. J. Strype, 65 

Hixe, Arthur, 46 

Hixe, Morgan, will of, 46 

Hixe, Thomas, mention of, in 
Nomina Villarum compiled by 
John Smyth, 46 

Holfords of Westonbirt, the, 9 

Holland, Mr. Edward, defeated by 
Sir M. Hicks Beach in contest for 
East Gloucestershire, 343 

Holland, Lady, 325 

Holies, Denzil, 208 

Holmes, Elizabeth, marries Sir 
Harry Hicks, 256 

Holmes, Admiral Sir John, 256 

Howard, Lady Catharine, marries 
Lord Cranborne, 186 

Howe, Lady, 227 

Howe, Sir Richard, 224, 227 

Hume, Major Martin, author of 
' ' Life of the Great Lord Burghley," 



Hundred Tears War, the, effects of, 

on social and economic life in 

England, 20, 21 
Hwiccas, or Gewissas (Saxon tribe 

in_ Gloucestershire), ancestors of 

Hicks family, 11, 12 
Hyocke, Cecilia, 21 
Hyccke, Richard, 21 
Hyetts of Hunt Court, 266 
Hykes, Walter, 19 
Hykkys, Simon, 25 

Jenkinsons of Hawksley, the, 9 
Johnson, Barbara, marries Sir Harry 
Hicks, 3rd baronet, 256 

Keevil Manor, 281-96 

Kennedy, Mr., "History of Ley ton" 

by, 171-2 
Kildare, Earl of, letter to, from 

Juliana Penn, 69, 70 
King, James, marries Ann Hicks, 277 
Kingscotes of Kingscote, the, 8 
Kneller, Sir Godfrey, picture of Lady 

Longford by, 233 
Knollys, Sir Francis, son-in-law of 

Mary Boleyn, the sister of A™ 

Boleyn, 206 
Knollys, Lettice, 206 

Lansdownb MSS. in British 
Museum include many Hicks 
family letters, 64 

Latimer, Bishop, 26 

Lawrence, Mrs., 46 

Leighs of Adlestrop, the, 8 

Lely, Sir Peter, picture of Lady 
Donegall by, 233 

Limminge, Robert, architect, Hat- 
field House constructed by, 134 

" Lives of the Berkeleys, The," valu- 
able genealogical details afforded 
by, 34 

Llewelin, Elizabeth, of Bridgend, 49 

Llewelyn, Lady Dillwyn, 344 

Longford, Countess of, 13, 14, 227 

Lowe, Mrs., 183 

Lowe, Thomas, Alderman, 184-5 

Lowe, Sir Thomas, 156 

Lowfield, Mr., marries Alice Hicks, 

Lucas, Sir Charles, 215-6 

Luddingten, Elizabeth, 197 

Luter, Henry, second husband of 

Anne Parvish, 193 
Lychefeld, Thomas, letter to Lady 

Gerrard, 78-9 
Lysons, Samuel, antiquarian, super- 
vises excavation of Roman villa 
at Witcombe, 358 

Malory, John, 171 

Malory, Katherine, 171 

Manor, system of tenure under a, 

Marklove, Ambrose, marries Esther 

Hicks, 47 
Marklove, John, 47 
Marklove, Thomas, 47 
Massie, Colonel, attacks Beverston 

Castle, 213 
Mathew, Frances, epitaph in York 

Minster, 116 
Mathew, Dr. Tobias, 115-8; becomes 

Archbishop of York, 121 
May, Elizabeth, marries Sir Baptist 

Hicks, 92 
May, Sir Humphrey, 92 
Maynard, Henry, letters of, to 

Michael Hicks, 174-5, 184 
Mildmay, Sir Henry, 204 
Montaigne, George, Dean of West- 
minster, 185 
Morison, Sir Charles, 99; letters to 

Michael Hicks, 123-4 ; marries 

Mary Hicks, 181 
Morison, Lady, 99 
Mortons of Tortworth, the, 9 
Mottoes connected with arms of 

Hicks family, 7 
Mount, Caroline Jane, marries 

Michael Hicks Beach, 338 ; widow- 
hood of, 341-2 

Nabes, Dr., author of " Life of Lord 

Burghley," 102 
Netheravon House, 282 
Noel, Sir Andrew, 180-1 
Noel, Sir Edward, marries Juliana 

Hicks, 180 
Noels of Campden, the, 9 
Norman survey, the, objects of, 

treated by Mr. Hone in his "Manor 

and Manorial Records," 31 



Norton Court, 266 

No well, Dean, letter to Michael 
Hicks, 115 

Oglethorpe, Colonel, 211, 213 
Ormond, James, Marquess of, 227 
O'Rowghane, Denis, employed as a 

spy by Lord Deputy of Ireland, 

Oxford, Earl of, letter of Juliana 

Penn to, 71 
Oxford, Lady, daughter of Lord 

Burghley, 74 
Oxford, Lady, wife of 5th earl, 

friendship of, with Lord Byron, 


Packington-, Sir John, 157 

Paget, Margaret, marries Sir William 

Hicks, 206 
Paget, Thomas, Lord, 206 
Paget, William, Lord, 205-6 
Parvish, Anne, 191, 194 
Parvish, Elizabeth, marries Michael 

Hicks, 170. See alio Hicks, 

Parvish, Ellen, 191, 194 
Parvish, Gabriel, 191 
Parvish, Henry, tomb of, in Leyton 

Church, 190-1 
Parvish, Henry, 192-3 
Parvish, Mary, 191, 194 
Parvish, Thomas, 191-2 
Penn, Anthony, marries widow of 

Robert Hicks, of Oheapside, 62 ; 

letter to Michael Hicks, 105 ; 

will of, 67 
Penn, Juliana. See Hicks, Juliana. 
Pepys, Samuel, visits Sir W. Hicks, 

Perrot, Sir John, 113-4 
Pettat, Charles, 369 
Pettat, John, 276-7 
Pettat, Martha Susannah, 277 
Pettat, Susan, 292 
Pettat, Thomas, 277 
Playfair, William, account of Hicks 

family in " British Family Anti- 
quity " of, 4, 5 
Pontz, Norman, ancestor of Clifford 

family, 8 

Portal, Sir Wyndham Spencer, 

baronet, 336 
Pratt, Charles, marries Elizabeth, 

daughter of Henry Parvish, 193 
Pym, John, political genius of, 209, 


Raleigh, Sir Walter, 159, 160 
Beade, Thomas, letter to Juliana 

Penn, 72 
Bich, Lady Frances, 206 
Bidlington, Baron, son-in-law of Sir 

Baptist Hicks, 95 
Rogers of Dowdeswell (now Coxwell- 

Rogers), the, 9 
Buckholt Manor, history of, 257-8 
Ruckholt Manor House, home of 

Hicks family until 1720.. . 171-3 ; 

visited by James I., 178 
Rushouts of Upper Swell, the, 9 

St. Aldwyn, Viscount, 344 

St. John, Edward, marries Jane 
Hicks Beach, 316 

Salisbury, Lady, reference to, in 
diary of John Phillimore Hicks, 

Salisbury, Robert, Earl of, son of 
Lord Burghley, ancestor of present 
Salisbury family, 74 

Salperton Park, 266 

Sandys, Lord, 349 

Saxon Chronicle, the, shows settle- 
ment of Saxon ancestors of Hicks 
family in Gloucestershire, 12 

Sevill, Mr. Samuel, 38 

Sharpe, William, 6 

Shrewsbury, Earl of, 159, 181-3 

Shrewsbury, Lady, 141 ; letter to 
Michael Hicks, 138-9 ; visits 
Ruckholt Manor, 181 ; letters to 
Hicks family, 182 

Sidney, Philip, friendship with Eulke 
Greville, 144 

Smith, Sydney, 301-2; correspon- 
dence with Hicks Beach family, 

Smyth, John, author of "Lives of 
the Berkeleys," 34 

Somerset family, descent from John 
of Gaunt, 8 



Sprynt, John, cousin of Michael 

Hicks, 164 
Stanhope, Sir John, letter of Michael 

Hicks to, 175-6 
Stevenson, E. L., 3 
Stiffkey Manor, description of, 178-9 
Stratton, Miss, marries Michael 

Hicks Beach, 342-3 
Strype, Eev. J., author of " Historical 

Account of the Family of Hicks," 

65, 115-6, 159, 167, 174 
Suliard, Sir Edward, 134, 184 
Surnames adopted about the time 

of the Domesday Survey by 

Huiccians of Gloucestershire, 25 

Talbot, Gilbert, 71 

Talbot, Lady Mary, 322 

Temple, Sir William, 3 

Theobalds, 133-4 

Throgmorton, Sir William, Articles 

of Indenture of Feoffment between 

Thomas Hicks and, 35 
Thynne, Sir Thomas, 197 
Topham, John, 219 
Townshend, Anne, 178 
Townshend, Sir John, duel with Sir 

Matthew Brand, 178 

Van Dibst, Adrian, Witcombe pic- 
ture by, 234-5, 358 

Van Somer, Paul, portrait of Sir 
Baptist Hicks by, 97 

Wahthouse, Eev. William, marries 

Ann Beach, 298-9 
Waller, Edmund, trial of, 210 
Waller, Sir William, 206 
Wallington, Colonel Sir J. W., 336 
Warwick, derivation from Hwicca, 

Watts, Jeffry, 240 
Watts, Mary, marries Howe Hicks, 

Webb, Mary, marries Thomas Hicks, 

44-5, 48 

Webb, Thomas, marries Catherine 

Llewelin, 49 
Wells, Eev. Thomas, marries 

Susannah Hicks, 271 
Wentworth, Lady, daughter of Lord 

Burghley, 74 
Whitcombe, Judith, marries William 

Hicks, 284 
White, Susannah, marries William 

Earle, 238 
White, William, marries Alice Hicks, 

White Bear, the, shop of Eobert 

Hicks, of Cheapside, 50, 51 
Whitmores of Lower Slaughter, the, 

Whittingham, Timothy, 193 
Wiccia, Kingdom of, mentioned in 

Saxon Chronicle and by Venerable 

Bede, 11 
Wickwar, derivation from Hwicca 

or Huicca, 11 
Wiggett, Ann Eachel, marries 

Thomas Lobb Chute, 350 
Wiggett, William Lyde, 356 
Wilkes, Sir Thomas, 85 
Williamstrip Park, 301 
Willoughby, Elizabeth, 144 
Willoughby, Lady, letter of Michael 

Hicks to, 161-3 
Wilson, Arthur, 216 
Winnyats of Dymock, the, 9 
Witcombe, 13, 197-8, 348, 357-9, 

369, 371-2 
Withens, Sir William, 95 
Wither, Ann, marries William 

Beach, 296 
Wither, Ann, 297 
Wither, Charles, 286, 297 
Wither, Henrietta Maria, 297 
Wither, Eobert, 297 
Wither, Thomas, 297 
Woodcocke, Mrs., letter to, from 

Michael Hicks, 167-70 
Worcester, derivation from Hwicca, 

Wroth, Sir Eobert, letters to Michael 

Hicks, 183-4 
Wyatt, Mr., of Stroud, 38-9