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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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Southampton. In 1761 he was made Lord
Chancellor, an office he held for nine years,
and during four administrations — namely,
Mr. Pitt's, Lord Bute's, the Duke of Bed-
ford's, and Lord Rockingham's. His early
days gave no indications of his future great-
ness, his wit, his gaiety, and his unbounded
love of pleasure, leading rather to seek the
society of men of pleasure, like himself, than
the graver company of those who were la-
boriously and steadily plodding up their way
to legal honours. Indulgence in wine was
the besetting vice of the day, and Henley
was in this respect no better than the world
about, the consequence of which was a mar-
tyrdom to gout in his after life. An anec-
dote is told of him, that one day, while
hobbling between the bar and the woolsack,
he was heard to mutter, " If I had only
known that these legs were one day to carry
a Lord Chancellor, I'd have taken better
care of them when I was younger." But,
with all this, he contrived to make himself a
sound, if not a great lawyer ; and, perhaps,
even if he had been more accomplished in
this respect than he really was, the world
would hardly have given him credit, his
brilliant social qualities being, according to
the usual mode of judging, incompatible
with severer studies. His character, how-
ever, for the most perfect honesty in his
high functions, was unquestioned by any
party ; and though he was far from being a
favourite with George II., he still continued
to advance in his profession, and in the suc-
ceeding reign (1764) he was created Earl of
Northington, and presided at the trial of
Earl Ferrers, having been constituted Lord
High Sheriff for the occasion.

The second Lord Northington dying with-
out issue in 1786, the title became extinct, and
his sisters, the co-heiresses, sold Grange
Park to Henry Drummond, Esq. By his
grandson it was disposed of to Alexander
Baring, Esq., now Lord Ashburton.

The mansion of Grange Park is at no
great distance from the little village of
Northington, about five miles from the cathe-
dral town of Winchester, and stands two
miles removed from the public road. It was
built after the plans of Liigo Jones, who has



received even more celebrity from the
rough satire of Ben Jonson, whom he had
offended, than from all his architecture.
Thus, quoth the rugged old poet, in one of his
surliest moods :

" Master Surveyor, you that first began
From thirty pounds in pipkins, to the man
You are, from them leap'd forth an architect
Able to talk of Euclid and correct
Both him and Archimede ; damn Archytas,
The noblest inginer that ever was,
Control Ctesibius, overbearing us
With mistook names out of Vitruvius ;
Drawn Aristotle on us, and thence shewn
How much architecture is your own ;
Whether the building of the stage or scene,
Or making of the properties it mean,
Visors, or antics ; or it comprehend
Something your surship doth not yet intend.
By all your titles, and whole style at once
Oftireman, mountebank, and justice Jones,
I do salute you. Are you fitted yet '.' .
Will any of these express your place, or wit ?
Or are you so ambitious 'Dove your peers
You'd be an Assinigo by your ears ?
Why, much good do't you ; be what part you will,
You'll be, as Langley said, ' an Inigo still.' "

If, however, we may believe Horace Wal-
pole — no especial praiser of anything that
did not come recommended to him by a
title — the Grange is one of the best of
Jones's buildings. " The Grange," he says,
" the seat of the Lord Chancellor Henley, in
Hampshire, is entirely of this master (lnigo
Jones). It is not a large house, but by far
one of the best proofs of his taste. The
hall, which opens to a small vestibule, with
a cupola, and the staircase adjoining, are
beautiful models of the purest and most
classic antiquity."

The opinion of Lord Henley, in the life of
Lord Northington, is totally opposed to that
of Walpole, and we quote it to show how
difficult it is to come to any just conclusion,
when, as in this case, the original has been
pulled down, or modified by subsequent
artists. He says, " The critic was, I sus-
pect, misled by the respect due to the name
of Jones. The current testimony of all who
remember it as it then was, represents it,
notwithstanding the merit of individual parts,
as, upon the whole, a heavy and gloomy
structure, utterly unworthy of the great ar-
chitect."

"Who shall decide when doctors disagree,
And soundest casuists doubt, like you and me? "

When Mr. Drummond acquired this estate
he employed Wilkins, the architect, to en-
large and improve the mansion. These ad-
ditions were in the Grecian style, the ori-
ginal building having possessed more of a
Roman character. The most striking fea-
ture in it at present is the grand portico in
front, a Doric structure closely imitated from
the Parthenon at Athens, that work which
has lent so much celebrity to the name of the
accomplished Pericles, and the architects



70



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



employed by him. The massy pillars are
fluted, and stand upon bases without any in-
tervening plinths, exactly as we find the
columns in the Greek original. To do away,
as far as might be, with the religious cha-
racter pertaining to the temple-model applied
to a secular building, wreaths sculptured in
high relief have been added to the metopes.
With the exception of the triglyphs, these
are the only ornaments of the frieze. As
left by Inigo Jones, the mansion had five
stories, the uppermost of which was placed,
as it were, in the roof, a cumbrous structure,
and of unusual height. In the lowest part
had been the offices ; but these were re-
moved to the west end of the building, and
the basement floor is now hidden by a terrace
carried round the house. The ancient roof,
with the sub-lying chambers, have also been
removed, and as the attic windows are kept
out of sight by the entablature, the whole
appears, in its altered state, to consist of no
more than two storeys.

The house, standing upon a low, flat level,
is, of course, precluded from any extensive
views. But, to make amends, within its own
immediate circle the grounds and gardens are
laid out with much taste, and, so far as the
prospect does extend, it is one of much
beauty and variety.

BRONWYDD, Cardiganshire, South Wales,
the seat of Thomas Davies Lloyd, Esq.
This gentleman also holds the barony and
lordship of Kernes by the same tenure, and
exercises the Jura Regalia by peculiar pri-
vileges, which his ancestor Marteine de Tur ■
ribus, did in the time of the Conqueror.
The lordship thus held by him " con-
sisteth," as Camden says, " of 20 knights'
fees, and 26 parishes, with the three bo-
roughs of Newport, Fishguard, and St.
Dogmaels," and is fifty miles in circum-
ference. The walking of the boundaries, —
an office the lord is obliged to perform once
in every five years — occupies at least a
week. From every farm within that limit he
receives what is termed a. chief-rent, and
he appoints the Mayor of Newport, the
head of the barony, where the courts leet
are held at stated seasons. For fifteen
generations has Bronwydd been possessed
by the ancestors of the present Thomas
Davies Lloyd, Esq

The original building was erected about
three hundred years ago, though by whom it
is no longer known, the records of the house
having outlived its founder. Since then it
has received many additions that have con-
tributed not a little to its importance as well
as to its convenience. It is castellated, with
a Norman tower at the west front, sixty feet
in height, and stands upon a hill that is well
wooded from its summit the whole way down



into the deep sequestered valley at its base.
Through this dell runs a turbulent and rapid
stream, which falls at Hellan into the Teivy,
the scenery around becoming at every mo-
ment more and more picturesque and beauti-
ful. As the river goes on, its bed becomes
rocky, producing several interesting falls, the
most considerable of which is called Frwd-
Henllan, either from its junction with the
Frwd, or perhaps more generally from the
circumstance of Frwd signifying in Welsh,
a torrent, the origin no doubt of that name
being given to the water with which it is
united.

Bronwydd was at one time visited by Sir
William Jones, so celebrated for his Oriental
leairning at a time when such an accomplish-
ment was far from being common in the ex-
tent to which he carried it. The beauty of
the country seems to have made a strong
impression upon him, and he has recorded
his feelings in verses that bear all the stamp
of his early genius.

CHARLETON, the seat of John Anstruther
Thomson, Esq. This is the mansion-house
of an extensive estate in the eastern part of
the county of Fife. It was built about a
hundred and fifty years ago by the great -
great-grandfather of the present proprietor,
and like most houses of that period, it pos-
sesses neither architectural beauty, nor
quaintness of style. It is large and commo-
dious, but irregular and unadorned. It is
situated in the midst of a handsome park,
timbered with trees of the same age as
the house, and sloping gently from a high
rock-covered hill towards the sea. The view
of the Frith of Forth and the opposite coast
is of uncommon beauty.

The house is surrounded by extensive
shrubberies and gardens. On one side, the
pleasure-grounds and flower-gardens lead
gradually to a wood, while on the other side
there is a profusion of high, trimmed beech
and hornbeam hedges, and formal grass
walks. The house is built on a corner of
the estate, which extends through many
parishes in the county of Fife.

The property belonged for several genera-
tions to the family of Thomson, and is now
possessed by a younger branch of that of
Anstruther, who have assumed the additional
surname of Thomson, in consequence of the
entail winch gave them the succession.

Mr. Anstruther Thomson is a magistrate and
Deputy-Lieutenant for the county of Fife, and
was formerly an officer in the 9th Lancers and
13th Dragoons. He is the twentieth in direct
male descent from William de Candela, who
lived in the reign of King David the First, of
Scotland, and was Lord of Anstruther before
the year 1150. Henry, the fourth in direct male
descent from the first Lord of Anstruther,



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



71



accompanied St. Louis in his crusade. Sir
John, the thirteenth in descent, was appointed
hereditary grand carver to the king. His son,
Sir Robert, was a very distinguished diploma-
tist, and was sent on most important missions
by James the First and Charles the First. His
son, Sir Philip, was a devoted royalist, and
suffered severely during the Commonwealth.
He had rive sons, who were all baronets and
knights. From the eldest is descended the
present Baronet of Anstruther ; from the
third is descended this family. The young-
est was father of William and Alexander,
Lords Newark.

Sir Robert, the third son, and the sixteenth
in descent, was, by King Charles the Second,
created a baronet. His son, Sir Philip
Anstruther, the seventeenth in descent, by
his wife, Catherine Hay, granddaughter of
John Hay, Marquis of Tweeddale, had two
sons, Sir Robert, who, by the daughter of the
Earl of Kellie, was grandfather of the present
baronet ; and Colonel John Anstruther, who
married Miss Thomson, heiress of Charleton,
by whom he had a son, John, who married
Clementina, only daughter of the Right Hon.
William Adam, and grand-daughter of the
tenth Lord Elphinstone,* by whom he had the
present proprietor.

The intermarriages of the Anstruther
family, besides those already mentioned, have
been with the families of Balfour Lord Bur-
leigh, Sandilands Lord Torphichen, Douglas
Earl of Morton, Abercrombie of Aber-
erombie, Clephane of Carslogie, Swift Vis-
count Carlingford, and Hamdton Earl of
Haddington.

But Mr. Anstruther Thomson is the
representative of a family much more distin-
guished than his paternalhouse of Anstruther.
His grandmother, the heiress of Charleton,
was also heiress of line of the St. Clairs,
Earls of Orkney, and Lords Sinclair of
Ravensheugh ; and we must be permitted to
addafewwords on this very illustrious descent,

" The lordly line of high St. Clair."
The ancient Scandinavian Earldom of Ork-
ney, founded in the ninth century, passed by
marriage to the potent family of St. Clair,
Lords of Rosslyn. There were three earls of
this line, of whom the second married Egidia
Douglas, granddaughter of King Robert the
Second, and the third married Margaret
Douglas, granddaughter of King Robert the
Third. This great potentate, being too
powerful for a subject, was compelled by
King James the Third, to resign his Earldom
of Orkney, receiving the inferior one of
Caithness. He disinherited his eldest son,
William, " the waster," and at his expense he
enriched his second son, ancestor of the
branch of Rosslyn, now extinct, and his third

* By the Lady Clementina Fleming, heiress of the
Earls of Wigton and Earls Marischal.



son, the Earl of Caithness. The disinherited
WUliam, Master of Orkney, received as com-
pensation from his younger brother the Castle
of Ravensheugh, and extensive possessions in
the co. of Fife ; and his son was created Lord
Sinclair in 1488. His descendant, John,
seventh Lord Sinclair, was succeeded by the
son of his only daughter, who had married a
gentleman of the name of St. Clair of Her-
mandston, but of a totally distinct family, in
no way connected with Lord Sinclair.

Henry St. Clair succeeded his maternal
grandfather as eighth lord, and in 1677,
without resigning his title to the cro>vn, he
obtained a new patent, appointing (on failure
of his own male issue), a new set of heirs, alien
from the blood of the Lords Sinclair, in virtue
of which remainder the present Lord Sinclair
claimed and obtained the peerage of 1677.
But the original Sinclair peerage of 1488 is
still in existence, though dormant ; and the
rightful heir to it is Mr. Anstruther Thomson.

Henry, Lord Sinclair's male issue failed ;
but he left three daughters : the first married
John Paterson, of Preston Hall, son of the
last Archbishop of Glasgow ; and, as heiress
of line of the Earls of Orkney and Lords
Sinclair, she transmitted her rights to her
daughter, the wife of John Thomson, of
Charleton, and grandmother of the present
Mr. Anstruther Thomson ; the second mar-
ried Sir John Erskine, Bart., of Alva, and
was great-grandmother of the present Earl
of Rosslyn ; the third married the Earl
of Wemyss, and is now represented by the
Duke of Sutherland.

The Dysart and Ravensheugh estates were
left by a special entail to the father of the
present Earl of Rosslyn ; Avhile the honour
of representing the ancient Earls of Orkney,
and a claim to the Sinclair peerage of 1488,
belong to Mr. Anstruther Thomson. The
female descents of the Lords Sinclair, be-
sides those above mentioned, were the
Earls of Douglas, Earls of Rothes twice over,
Earls of Bothwell, Earls Marischal, Earls of
Wemyss ; and their descents from the royal
family were direct and numerous.

HAYNE. co. Devon, the seat of Christopher
Arthur Harris, Esq. In Doomsday Book
the manor of Stowford is registered as belong-
ing to " Hugo comes," the son of Robert,
Earl of Mortain and Cornwall, a uterine
brother of the Conqueror. On the maternal
side he might boast of a descent scarcely less
illustrious, his mother being Matilda, daughter
of Roger de Montgomeri. The title by
which we find him afterwards distinguished,
he assumed, or it was granted, upon its being
forfeited by the original and proper owner of
it, Baron Roger de l'Lanlne,* to whom the
designation of right appertained, and who
* Eaulne is a river in Normandy.



72



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



had greatly exerted himself on William's side
at the battle of Mortemer, so disastrous to
the French king and all his army. " From
the rising of the morning sun," says Wace,
" till three in the afternoon the assault lasted
in its full force, and the battle continued to
be hot and fierce. The French could not
escape, for the Normans would let no one
pass;" and while, in consequence of their
being thus hemmed in by a triumphant
enemy, multitudes were either killed or
wounded, not a few of the better sort were
made prisoners and held to ransom. Amongst
these was a certain Count Raoul de Mont-
Didier, for whose safe-keeping William seems
to have been not a little anxious, whether
from motives of revenge or policy, or it may
be from both united. This prize he con-
signed to the custody of the Baron de
l'Eaulne, as one who was bound to himself
by so many and so deep obligations, and
who, therefore, of all men was the one least
likely to betray his trust. But it so chanced
that the baron owed fealty to his prisoner,
and the latter availing himself of this circum-
stance, demanded that his vassal should set
him free. In all probability the whole was a
mere juggle between them, a preconcerted
scheme in order that De Mortemer might
have some excuse for his breach of trust.
But the plotters found themselves egregiously
mistaken ; Duke William would allow of no
such flimsy pretexts ; he at once banished
the traitor from Normandy, confiscated his
estates, and gave the keeping of Mortemer
Castle to his own nephew, Huso, who here-
upon assumed the name of Mortemer de
l'Eaulne. Thus attached to Duke William
as much by gratitude as by kinship, Hugo
accompanied his uncle in his invasion of
England, and conducted himself with so
much skill and courage that he has earned
what men love to think a lasting record both
in romance and chronicle. Unfortunately
the record itself grows obsolete ; and even
if that were not the case, the world is too
much occupied with its own immediate inte-
rests to give more than a few hasty glances
at the past, and then only when the actors
and the occurrences stand out with unusual
prominence, or are in some way connected
with the present.

The father of our Hugo, the Earl of Mor-
tain, had also played a conspicuous part at
the battle of Hastings, for which he reaped
an ample recompense in the division of the
spoil that followed, while the discomfited
Saxons invoked heaven and earth for ven-
geance upon their oppressors ; as if they had
themselves any other title to the land they
held, than what followed from the real or
imaginary rights of conquest. On this occa-
sion the Duke, now King William, distri-
buted his bounties with the proverbial and



easy generosity of those who are giving away
the property of others. Prudence no doubt
recommended the binding his associates to
him by the strong chains of interest ; yet
even this consideration will hardly account
for his bestowing no less than seven hundred
and ninety-three manors on the fortunate
Robert, whom, at the same time, he created
Earl of Cornwall.

If the new-made earl had been thus for-
tunate hi receiving, he was no less frank in
giving. With a liberality that is not often
exercised by living fathers towards their
children, he at once made over the manor of
Stowford, and other lands in the neighbour-
hood, to his son Hugo, who finally settled
there, and called the castle appertaining to
it by his own Norman name of De l'Eaulne ;
this appellation in time came to be corrupted
into Eaune — Ayne — and Hayne, by which
last title it is known at present. From this
period it continued in the possession of his
descendants until the beginning of the six-
teenth century, when Thomasine, the heiress
of Walter of Hayne, married the son of
Harris of Stone, who had obtained that pro-
perty in the same way that his son now be-
came possessed of Hayne ; that is, by inter-
marrying with the heiress. He was himself
a younger son of the Radford family.

Such was the origin of a family which, in
the time of the great civil war, stood first
among the first of those who devoted life and
fortune, heart and soul, to the cause of loy-
alty. When the king put himself at the
head of his adherents in the west, Mr. Harris
had, by his union with Cordelia, the heiress
of Lord Mohun of Okehampton, acquired a
right to share the large possessions of that
family with Lord Courtenay, and he now
hastened frankly and freely to peril all in the
royal service. He got together a gallant
troop of a hundred horse, whom he mounted
and equipped at his own expense ; his cousin,
Sir Bevil Grenville, did the same, and the
two, marching out together, joined the king
on the confines of Okehampton Park, whence
they escorted him to Hayne. Here the mag-
nificent owner entertained Charles for three
days, an honour which to his enthusiastic
loyalty, was no doubt the highest reward that
could be offered, though, all things considered,
it came fraught with near and substantial
danger. But then, it was this state of affairs
that brought the king and those who adhered
to him into closer connexion, and tightened
the bonds of union between them. In ordi-
nary times the subject has seldom an oppor-
tunity of showing his attachment to the
person of his monarch, or even of approach-
ing him, except amidst the forms of a distant
ceremonial, which may indeed increase re-
spect, but most assuredly does not invite
affection. Now all was altered, and greatly



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



73



for the better, as regarded the kindly feelings
of either party. To-day they feasted at the
same table, to-morrow they shared the same
dangers, and the usual barriers of rank were
to a certain degree broken down by this
brotherhood in pain and pleasure, till the
monarch was lost sight of in the guest and
comrade. It was a time, too, that of neces-
sity showed him under the most favourable
colours. Even if we suppose, as is too often
the case, that the royal gratitude would not
long have outlived the occasion which gave
rise to it, still, for the moment, Charles must
have had strong feelings of kindness for those
whose service was so eminently disinterested ;
and this feeling, to say nothing of his own
interests, must have brought out all the bet-
ter parts of his character. We may there-
fore be allowed to picture, without going
beyond a modest exercise of the imagination,
the three days that Charles spent at Hayne,
enjoying the moment, yet not without a
passing cloud of apprehension for the future.
And then again, the redoubled zest with
which he would give himself up to the plea-
sures that courted him, as soon as the dark
moment had passed away, and he was once
more wholly possessed by the present. These
hours must have been rendered yet sweeter,
by the conviction that they could only be few,
and might, perhaps, never return, as indeed
they never did ; for of the brave spirits that
now gathered about him, how many of the
noblest were destined to perish long before
his own career had terminated ! On the third
day he quitted Hayne to set out for Boconnoc
in Cornwall.

It will be doubted by some, who may yet
admire our stout-hearted Cavalier, whether
his zeal did not at tunes rather outrun his
discretion. On one occasion it was his for-
tune to capture a ringleader of the rebels, as
he of course designated all opponents to the
royal cause, for whose benefit he immediately
determined to revive a dormant privilege,
belonging to him as the lord and custodian of
Lidford Castle. By virtue of this office, hi
times gone by, the several owners had pos-
sessed a jurisdiction separated and distinct
from the common law of the realm, though
it had long ceased to be exercised, at least in
its full extent. Availing himself, however,
of the privilege, he summoned the local and
feudal court of Lidford, who sat hi judgment
upon the prisoner more majorum, found him
guilty of high treason, and condemned him to
death, a sentence that was carried into effect
upon the castle mound with as little cere-
mony as it had been pronounced. This, it
seems, was taken exceedingly ill by the de-
funct Roundhead; he could not rest quietly
in his grave, but ever since — as the people
say and believe— when any chief of the
Haynes is about to die, he shows his joy at

VOL. II.



the event, by perambulating the park -terrace
' at night, with his head under his arm. If,
however, the accounts given of the castle-
dungeons are not exaggerated beyond all
conscience, the prisoner ought to have been
thankful to his judges for taking off his head
as they did, for anything must have been
better than confinement in such an abomin-
able hole. In 1512 an Act of Parliament
described it as " one of the most heinous,
contagious, and detestable places in the



Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 2) → online text (page 16 of 73)