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A visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 2) online

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Barrister at Law, and Genealogist,
Author of the "Peerage" and "Landed Gentry"


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The Views op Seats have been Lithographed by Messrs. Stannard and
Dixon, from drawings made principally by Mr. Augustus Butler. The
Engravings of Arms are by Mr. Baker, from heraldic designs by Mr.
Henry Manly.

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COMPTON PARK, Compton Chamberlayne,

Wilts, the seat of Charles Fenruddocke, Esq.,

This ancient mansion is situated in a fine
park, plentifully stocked with deer, and ren-
dered peculiarly attractive by its lake, rich
slopes, and venerable, well-grouped trees.
Mention of Compton occurs in Doomsday
Book, under the title of Contone. Its ad-
junct of Chamberlayne is derived from one
who held the office of Chamberlain, perhaps
under the King. In the " Nomina Villarum "
we find " Villa de Compton Chamberlayne
unde D'n's Rob'tus le Chaumberlayn."

It appears by ancient deeds that Richard
Grimsted, who married Edith de Tablier,
2 Edw. II., purchased the manor of Compton
Chamberlayne of Robert Chamberlayne, by
the licence of the King, to him and his heirs
for ever ; and had issue Thomas Grimsted,
and two daughters, Margaret, wife of Thomas
Benton, and Katharine, wife of Ralph Buck-
land. To the elder of these ladies were
allotted the manors of Fallersdon and Tablier
Hall; and to the younger, the manors of
Compton, Wilts, and Donton, co. Bedford.
Katharine, after the death of Ralph Buck-
land, married, for her second husband, John
Avenel, and had by him a daughter, Mary
Avenel, eventual heiress of Compton Cham-
berlayne, who married Sir Warren Bassing-
bourn. By her the estate was alienated to
Roger Herleston, and became in the sixteenth
century, by purchase, the property of the

Sir George Penruddocke, the purchaser of
Compton Chamberlayne, was standard-bearer
to William, first Earl of Pembroke, of the
name of Herbert, at the siege and battle of
St. Quentin, in Picardy. Here he greatly
distinguished himself, having fought a single
combat with a French knight of eminence,
whom he defeated, for which gallant action
he received much laud and honour, though
at a time when achievements of the kind
were by no means uncommon. A very fine


full-length portrait of him, and a half-length
of Anne, his second wife, both on boards, and
in a perfect state of preservation, may still be
seen hanging up in the large oak-panelled
parlour at Compton. They were painted by
Sir Antonio More in 1557, in the costume of
their day. Sir George is represented with a
chain of gold round his neck, attached to
which is a large triangular sapphire jewel, set
in the same metal, with other precious stones.
This curious relic still remains in the family,
and has the following inscription enamelled
on the back : — " Anna? et Georgio Penrud-
doco militi dedit Katherina Parr, Regina
Anglise, familise Penruddochipe sacrum, non
alienandum, a.d. 1547." The gift probably
originated hi the relationship of the Earl of
Pembroke to Katherine ; his lordship, who
was the great friend and patron of Sir
George Penruddocke, having married Anne
Parr, the Queen's sister.

The Penruddockes were originally seated at
Arkelby, in Cumberland; the first mentioned
in the family pedigree being Thomas Penrud-
docke, of Arkelby, who married Agnes, daugh-
ter of Sir John Lowther, Knt., of Lowther, in
the same county, ancestor to Lord Lonsdale,
Sir Wm Lowther, Bart., the Duchess-Dowa-
ger of Bolton, the Countess-Dowager of Dar-
lington, &c. A village, however, of the same
name as the family exists near Penrith, in the
parish of Greystock, whence it may be rea-
sonably inferred that they were settled at the
place called Penruddocke long before they
took up their abode at Arkelby. This would
only be in accordance with the prevailing
custom of those days, when families took
their names from their manorial possessions.
Camden, too, in his Britannia, gives us a use-
ful clue upon this subject. Speaking of Cum-
berland, he says, " It takes its name from the
inhabitants, who were real and German Bri-
tons, and called themselves, in their language,
Kumbri or Kambri ; for history testifies that
the Britons were long established here during
the incursions of the Anglo-Saxons ; and


Maiianus calls this part the land of the Cum-
bri '; to say nothing of British names, which
abound — such as Caer-luel, Caer-dronoc,
Penrith, Penrodoc, &c, which speak a plain

From Robert and George Penruddocke —
the two sons of Edward, who married the
daughter of Robert Highmore, hi the county
of Cumberland — the family afterwards came
to be divided into two branches, distinguished
respectively as the Penruddockes of Hale
(Hani] ishire), and the Penruddockes of Comp-
ton Chamberlayne (Wiltshire). The Hale
branch became extinct by the death, without
issue, of Charles, Edward, and George, of
Chalk, when the estate descended to Eliza-
beth, wife of Joseph Gage. Sir John Pen-
ruddocke lies buried in the church at Hale,
with this quaint inscription on a brass plate,
with arms and quarters : —

"Fuiquodes; quod sum eris. a.d. 1600."

In a vellum roll, containing the notitia of
Salisbury, we find the following curious me-
morandum : —

"A.D. 1585.— The King of Portugal came
to Sarum, and was lodged at Mr. John Pen-
ruddocke's, at which time Mrs. Penruddocke
was delivered of a son and daughter, and the
king was godfather to them."

The King of Portugal here alluded to was
in all probability Antonio, Prier of Crato,
who got himself proclaimed King of Portugal,
but was dethroned, about 1580, by Philip II.,
King of Spain. We are told that he visited
both France and England. At the Court of
the latter he was received with signal marks
of favour.

The unfortunate end of Sir John Penrud-
docke forms a dark page in the history of the
great civil war, and should not be passed over
unnoticed in this brief record of the family.
He was a zealous adherent of the Stuarts, and
having joined several others in proclaiming
Charles II. King of England, he was made
prisoner by the victorious troops of Crom-
well, and lodged in the gaol at Exeter, pre-
paratory to his trial. Some of his companions
in misfortune had the good luck to escape
theworst penalties of the law; for Heath, in his
account of Charles I. — " Carrion Heathy as
he is called by Carlyle— tells us that " Crom-
well caused those unfortunates who were
taken with Colonel John Penruddocke, and
not either beheaded or hung, to be sold as
slaves to some of those Turkish merchants
who trade in the lives of men, as this butcher
Cromwell in their deaths."

Penruddocke and his countryman, Hugh
Grove, may perhaps be considered less for-
tunate. They had played too important a
part in the late rising, and even at this last
hour showed too little inclination to give up
their principles, for Cromwell to spare then-
lives ; yet he listened to the prayer of the

condemned so far as he could with safety, and
commuted the ignominious sentence of hang-
ing for a more honourable death by the axe
of the headsman. The following is a copy of
their sentence, the original of which, with
Cromwell's own signature, is still preserved
in the family of Penruddocke :

"Whereas, John Penruddocke, Hugh Grove,
&c.,were indicted, convicted, and attainted of
high treason at Exeter, and have received
sentence of death to be executed as traitors,
we have thought fit, and our will and plea-
sure is, that the said John Penruddocke and
Hugh (Trove, instead of being hanged by the
neck, be put to death by the severing their
heads from their bodies, and that the others,
viz., ... be only hanged by the neck till
they are dead.

" And for so doing this shall be your
"Given at Whitehall, the 3rd of May, 1655.

" To John Copplestone, Esq., High Sheriff
for our countie of Devon, or his deputie."

After their condemnation, they sent the
following letter to their judges, which was
delivered at Chard, and which, as an example
of pathetic, but manly, pleading for life well
deserves to be remembered :
" Honourable Sirs,

"We know that our Redeemer — blessed
for ever — hath pulled out the sting of death,
and therefore hope we shall never be so little
as to fear dying ; again, we know long life to
be one of God's greatest blessings, and there-
fore hope we shall never be guilty of the neg-
lect of any lawful means in the acquiring of it.

" Endeavours for the last are no ways in-
consistent with preparation for the first ; a
diviue and a physician are used at the same
time. Being, therefore, encouraged from the
character we have received of your eminent
piety, which above all outward actions inclines
the heart to mercy and deeds of charity ; and
considering how improbable it is that so
many persons of honour, interest, and merit,
should be denied any request, we presume to
make these humble addresses to your honours
that you will be pleased to become interces-
sors to the Lord Protector on our behalfs,
either by letter or otherwise, as your honours
shall think fit. Nor yet can we think our
inconsiderable lives in themselves of moment
sufficient for your troubles ; but when we shall
lay the ruin of so many tender and innocent
relations, whose dependencies are solely on
our lives, and are too numerous to be made
miserable by our deaths, we cannot despair of
bowels of compassion in you. We dare not
prescribe rules, but if we may not be thought
fit to live in this Commonwealth, we hope at
least we may be suffered to spend the re-
mainder of our days in her defence, together
with the rest of Christendom, against the too
powerful and common enemy, the Turk ; and








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when it shall be considered that the satisfac-
tion of no man's death lies upon us; that
none of our brothers' blood cries for ours ;
and withal that we had, on capitulation, the
protection of the sword for our lives, —
which we dare not touch with the loss of our
soul, — we hope we shall not appear subjects
for nothing but vengeance.

" And your honours' favour shall not be
cast away, nor ever bestowed upon men that
can more value and set higher price upon
them than,

" Your Honours' most humble servants,
"John Penruddocke,
" Hugh Grove."

This petition, however, for mercy failed.
This sentence was destined to be car-
ried out in all its severity. As Penrud-
docke was ascending the scaffold, he pathe-
tically exclaimed, " This, I hope, will
prove like Jacob's ladder ; though the feet of
it rest on earth, yet I doubt not the top of it
reacheth to heaven."

Having made an affecting speech to the
assembled people, he knelt down and prayed
devoutly. He next desired to see the axe,
which, being presented to him, he kissed it,
exclaiming, " I am like to have a sharp pas-
sage of it, but my Saviour hath sweetened it
unto me." He then said, no doubt in allu-
sion to some secret offers of mercy if he re-
canted, " If I would have been so unworthy
as others have been, I . suppose I might by a
lie have saved my life, which I scorn to pur-
chase at such a rate. I defy such tempta-
tions, and them that gave them me.

" Glory be to God on high, on earth peace,
good will towards men, and the Lord have
mercy upon my poor soul ! Amen."

So saying, he laid his neck upon the block,
and after some private ejaculations, he gave
a sign with his hand to the executioner, who
at one blow severed his head from his body.

The night before this closing scene, Pen-
ruddocke received the following letter from
his wife : —

" My dear Heart,

" My sad parting was so far from making
me forget you, that I have scarce thought
* upon myself since, but wholly upon you.
Those dear embraces, which I yet feel, and
shall never lose, being the faithful testimonies
of an indulgent husband, have charmed my
soul to such reverence of your remembrance,
that, were it possible, 1 would with my own
blood cement your dead limbs to life again;
and, with reverence, think it no sin to rob
heaven a little while longer of a martyr. Oh
my dear ! you must now pardon my passion,
this being the last — oh fatal word ! — that ever
you will receive from me; and know that un-
til the last minute that I can imagine you shall
■live, 1 will sacrifice the prayers of a Chris-
tian and the groans of an afflicted wife ; and

when you are not — which sure by sympathy
I shall know — I shall wish my own dissolution
with you, so that we go hand hi hand toheaven.

" 'Tis too late to tell you what I have, or
rather have not, done for you ; how turned
out of doors because I came to beg mercy ; the
Lord lay not your blood to their charge. I
would fain discourse longer with you, but
dare not ; passion begins to drown my reason,
and will rob me of my devoir, which is all I
have left to serve you.

" Adieu, therefore, ten thousand times, my
dearest dear! and, since I must never see
you more, take this prayer, May your faith
be so strengthened that your constancy may
continue, and then I know Heaven will re-
ceive you whither grief and love will in a
short time, I hope, translate, my dear, your
sad but constant wife.

" Arundel Penruddocke.

"May 15th, 1655.

" Eleven at night — Your children beg your
blessing, and send their duties to you."

To his wife's affectionate epistle, Penrud-
docke returned the following answer, which,
even at this distance of time from the me-
lancholy event, will hardly be read without
the strongest feelings of sympathy. It is
written with a pen of fire, that leaves be-
hind it deep traces.

" Dearest, best, of Creatures, — I had
taken leave of the world when I received
yours, and did at once recall my fondness for
life, and enable me to resign it. I am sure I
shall leave none behind me like you, which
weakens my resolution to part from you ; so
when I reflect I am going to a place where
are none but such as you, I discover my
courage. But fondness breaks hi upon me,
and as I would not have my tears flow to-
morrow, when your husband and the father
of our dear babes, is a public spectacle, do
not think meanly of me that I give way to
grief now in private, when I see my sands
run so fast, and within few hours am to leave
you helpless, and exposed to the merciless
and insolent that have wrongfully put me to a
shameless death, and will object that shame
to my poor children. I thank you for all
your goodness to me, and will endeavour so
to die as to do nothing unworthy that virtue
in which we have mutually supported each
other, and for which I desire you not to re -
pine that I am first to be rewarded. Since
you ever preferred me to yourself hi all
things, afford me with cheerfulness prece-
dence hi this. I desire your prayers hi the
article of death, for my own will then be
offered for you and yours.

" J. Penruddocke."

There is still extant in the family the

original warrant for his execution, signed

"Oliver, P.," and dated from Whitehall, 3rd

of May, 1655, a copy of which has already


been given. They have also many other
curious documents in connection with him,
such as, — his wife's last letter, his answer
thereto, his defence in court, his petition, his
prayer composed when in prison, his speeches,
autographs of the commissioners of the trea-
sury, Thomas Widdrington and B. White-
locke ; his petition for being beheaded in pre-
ference to being hung, the original punish-
ment intended for him by the Protector ; se-
veral affecting petitions from Arundel Pen-
ruddocke hi behalf of her husband, and others
in favour of her children, who were deprived
of their father's real and personal estates by
his attainder. Portions of them, and only
portions, were recovered upon the restora-
tion of Charles II. to the throne; the rest
had probably passed into the hands of indi-
viduals too powerful to be offended by an act
of justice so detrimental to their interests, or
who enjoyed a greater influence with the court.

In addition to these documents, other re-
lics are preserved in the family, which,
without any great degree of intrinsic value,
are yet such as the imagination loves to
dwell upon, investing them with an adventi-
tious interest. Amongst these are the cam-
bric nightcap, trimmed with point lace, which
the colonel wore when he was beheaded ; a
portion of his household linen ; and a letter
from King Charles I. soliciting the loan of
a hundred pounds.

There is a tradition still extant that one of
Lady Penruddocke's people, during the Civil
War, flung the chain and jewel already men-
tioned into the water before the house. On
the return of domestic peace within the king-
dom, the jewel was recovered, but the chain
had either fallen into the hands of some lucky
adventurer, who had been beforehand with
the real owners, or it had sunk too deep into
the mud to be found. At all events, it has
never since come to light.

The old house at Compton was built by
Sir Edward, the eldest son of Sir George
Penruddocke. The principal room belonging
to it — the great hall — still remains in its ori-
ginal state, the wainscot and carvings hav-
ing been carefully preserved. It is thirty
feet long, twenty-three feet wide, and flfteen
feet in height, with a recess over the north
door, which at one time opened into a
large music gallery. The building is sub-
stantial and roomy, with little in it re-
markable, except some fine oak carvings,
by Gibbons, in the dining-room, and a hand
some ceiling in the huge drawing-room. The
windows formerly bore an Elizabethan cha-
racter, but have since been modernized, and
now belong to the Italian style of architec-
ture. At the same time the bouse received
the addition of two wings, which completely
altered its original appearance of a Roman i.

The church, which is dedicated to St.

Michael, adjoins the family mansion. It has
a square embattled turret, with two small
transepts. In that to the north is an old
stone coffin, with a cavity intended for the
head, and upon a flat slab a cross is sculp-
tured. On the pavement leading to the altar
is the impression of a large brass represent-
ing the figure of an ecclesiastic with his arms
crossed, and habited in long robes. This
building is neatly floored with oak, and the
ground about it has been recently freed from
the laurels and other trees by which it was

On a very large tablet of white marble is
a correct obituary of the family of Penrud-
docke. It commences with Edward Penrud-
docke, in 1598, and is continued down to the
last possessor. The historian of Wiltshire
remarks : " We seldom find such family me-
morials of obits, a circumstance much to be
regretted, as they form faithful illustrations
of family pedigrees."

Many curious family portraits are to be
seen in the various rooms of this mansion.
The principal are, Sir Edward Penruddocke;
Sir George Penruddocke, and Anne, his wife,
1557; Sir Edwd.Penruddocke,1594; Frances,
wife of Colonel Thomas Penruddocke ; Sir
John Penruddocke, and Joan, his wife ; ( !ol.
Thomas Penruddocke, concerned in the trial
of Lady Lisle ; Colonel John Penruddocke,
beheaded at Exeter, and Arundel, his wife,
as also their children ; Sir J ohn Penruddocke,
his wife, and brothers, 1G19 ; the daughters
of Colonel John Charles Penruddocke; John
Ilungerford Penruddocke, son of Charles,
M. P. for Wiltshire, and Maria Anne, his wife ;
John Penruddocke, created Doctor of Civil
Law, Feb. 21, 1621, and three days after-
wards advanced to the honours of knight-
hood, &c. There are also some unknown
portraits: and two by Vandyke, more parti-
cularly deserving of attention.

The grounds connected with the house are
well timbered, and beautiful from their con-
tinued undulations. In front of the mansion
is a handsome sheet of water, that adds not
a little to the general attractions of the

DENTEEATH, in the parish of Strathblane,
and county of Stirling, the seat of Sir Ar-
chibald Edmonstone, Part., is situated in a
narrow and picturesque valley, watered by
the small stream of the Blane, opening west-
ward upon the fine range of mountains which
surround Loch Lomond. Of these Pen Lo-
mond forms the chief object, at a distance of
about ten miles. The valley, which is very
narrow, is commanded by two detached wooded
hills, standing like sentries to the defile;
above which, on the north side, the Campsie
range is terminated by two bold heads, which
are marked features all oyer the district.


The old house or castle of Duntreath is
built round a square. Three Bides are in
ruins, and have a picturesque effect, being
covered with ivy; a tower on the western
side being the only portion occupied. Of its
foundation there is no record, but it has
been much added to at different times : the
latest additions, however, are not of more
modern date than the end of the seventeenth

Duntreath formed originally part of the
vast territory of the Levenax (valley of the
Leven), or Lennox. On the return of James I.
from his long captivity in England, Duncan,
Earl of Lennox, with two out of his three
sons, having been executed along with his
son-indaw, Murdoch, Duke of Albany, the
estates remained in possession of the Duchess
of Albany, as eldest daughter and heiress of
the Earl of Lennox. She made a grant of
tliis portion to Sir William Edmonstone, who
had married Mary, Countess of Angus, her
hear relation, and sister to James 1. This
grant was continued by James II. on the
marriage of Sir William's eldest son with
Matilda Stewart, the Duchess of Albany's
granddaughter. The original charter bears
(late 1445. The family subsequently obtained
extensive possessions and lived much in the
north of Ireland, near Belfast, which was
the cause of the deterioration of the pro-
perty and of the house of Duntreath falling
into decay.

The possessor of the barony of Duntreath
(a territorial division conveying in Scotland
no titular rank) enjoyed the fullest feudal
powers, and the dungeons and stocks still
remaining attest the extent of authority once
exercised by the nobility and higher gentry
of Scotland. Near many of the older resi-
dences the " gallows-hill" is still pointed
out. The power of executing summary jus-
tice on a thief detected with the spoil is a
privilege specified, among many more, in the
charter of confirmation, by James II., of the
barony of Duntreath to Sir WUliam Edmon-
stone and the "king's aunt," the Countess of

A conical hill, now covered with wood,
very near the castle, has the top artificially
levelled. It still preserves the name of the
Court Hill, and there is little doubt that it
was used in early times as a " moot hill," for
holding justiciary courts,

COLZIUM, in the parish of Kilsyth, and
county of Stirling, is a modern house of no
pretension, and very moderate dimensions.
It nearly occupies the site of a fortallice or
tower overhanging a picturesque glen, once
in the possession of the powerful family of
Livingstone. The district had been divided ;
the eastern portion, in which Colzium stands,
having been retained by the elder branch of

the Earls of Linlithgow ; the western went to
a younger son, from whom the Livingstones
of Kilsyth descended. Early, however, in
the seventeenth century, the younger branch
obtained possession of the Avhole, not long
after which the Tower of Colzium, as well
as another castle contiguous, occupied by
Sir James Livingstone, was destroyed by
Cromwell's army. On the Restoration, Sir
James having suffered much in the royal
cause, was created Viscount of Kilsyth, and,
his old residences being destroyed, he built a
new house close adjoining the village, which

Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 73)