Bernard Burke.

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

. (page 19 of 73)
Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 2) → online text (page 19 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


have lost a near kinswoman, and a mistress,
but take here my hand, I will be a good master
to you, and will requite this service with
honour and reward." Notwithstanding this
royal pledge, however, full nineteen years
elapsed before Cary attained the peerage ;
and in his Memoirs he observes, " I only
relied on God and the king. The one never
left me ; the other shortly after his coming
to London, deceived my expectations, and
adhered to those who sought my ruin." The
earl died at Moor Park, 12th April, 1639,
leaving a daughter, Philadelphia, wife of Sir
Thomas Wharton, and two sons, Henry,
second Earl of Monmouth, and Thomas, who
obtained celebrity as a poet, and was so de-
voted a royalist that, upon the execution of
King Charles, he fell sick of grief and died
about 1648, in the thirty-third year of his
age. His only daughter and heiress, Eliza-
beth, wedded John, Viscount Mordaunt, of
Avalon, and was mother of Charles Mor-
daunt, the renowned Earl of Peterborough
and Monmouth. At the decease of the first
earl, Moor Park devolved on his elder son,
Henry, a nobleman whom Anthony Wood
describes as " a person well skilled in the
modern languages, and a generous scholar,
the fruit whereof he found in the troublesome
times of the rebellion, when, by a forced re-
tiredness, he was capacitated to exercise
himself in studies, while others of the nobility
were fain to truckle to their inferiors for
company's sake." He wrote much ; but, as
Walpole observes ; " we have scarce anything
of his own composition, and are as little

* The account of the blue ring which Lady Elizabeth
Spelman (daughter of Martha, Countess of Middleton,
who was daughter of the second Earl of Monmouth, and
granddaughter of the nobleman to whom the anecdote
refers j gave to Lord Cork, was this ; King James kept a
constant correspondence with several persons of the
English Court for many years prior to Queen Elizabeth's
decease, among others, with Lady Scrope (sister of this
Robert Cary) to whom his Majesty sent by Sir James
Eullerton, a sapphire ring, with positive orders to return
it to him, by a special messenger, as soon as the queen
actually expired. Lady Scrope had no opportunity of
delivering it to her brother Robert, whilst he was in the
Palace of Richmond ; but waiting at the window till she
saw him at the outside of the gate, she threw it out to
him, and he well knew to what purpose he received it.



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



83



acquainted with his character as with his
genius." '

Both his sons having died in early man-
hood — the elder, Lionel, in the ranks of the
royalists at Marston Moor — the earl felt no
longer a pride in keeping up the demesne of
the Moor, and at length alienated the estate
to Sir Richard Francklyn, of Willesden,
Middlesex, by whom it was, in ten years
after, bold to James Butler, Duke of Or-
mond, the royalist general, and his Grace
disposed of the property in 1670 to James,
Duke of Monmouth. To this ill-fated noble-
man is generally attributed the erection of
the present mansion, which, at the period of
its being built, was esteemed one of the best
pieces of brick work in England. On his
attainder, subsequent to the battle of Sedge-
moor, Moor Park became forfeited to the
crown, and was shortly afterwards granted
by James II. to the Duchess of Monmouth,
the duke's widow, who, in 1720, sold it to
Benjamin Haskins Styles, Esq., one of the
fortunate speculators in the South Sea
scheme. He almost rebuilt the whole, in a
style of great magnificence, from the designs
of a celebrated Italian architect. Giacomo
Leoni, aided by Sir James Thornhill, the
painter. The expense of the improvements
are stated to have been £150,000, of which
the carnage of the stone from London con-
sumed full £13,000. The principal or
southern front has a grand portico, the pedi-
ment of which is supported by four noble
columns of the Corinthian order, each shaft,
thirty-seven feet high, the capitals are six
feet in height, the base four, the entablature
is continued round the house, and is sur-
mounted by a balustrade. The interior is
uncommonly rich and possesses an air of
princely grandeur. The hall, of equal and
spacious proportions, is surrounded by a
noble gallery, on whose sides are painted in
fresco, the most celebrated statues of anti-
quity. Above is represented a dome, pro-
ducing an excellent effect. In the lower
part, four large compartments are painted
from the principal circumstances in the first
book of Ovid's Metamorphoses, containing
the story of Io and Argus. The artist of
these subjects is unknown, but they are re-
presented with much propriety and judgment,
in chaste but not brilliant colours. The
door-cases are of marble, and military tro-
phies, in a species of composition, complete
the decorations of the hall. The principal
staircase is painted with various subjects
from Ovid, executed with much brilliancy of
colours. The saloon is a handsome room,
wainscoted with oak, in the panels of which
are subjects representing the four seasons.
The ceiling of this apartment is copied from
one by Guido in the Respigliari Palace. The
sum of £3500 was obtained by a legal pro-



cess for the painting, which is one of the
finest works of Sir James Thornhill. The
ball, or long drawing-room, was fitted up by
Sir Lawrence Dundas, Bart., in a most superb
style, at an expense of £10,000, the ceiling
is in compartments of various forms, filled
with fanciful ornaments, executed with much
taste. The chimney pieces throughout the
mansion are of marble ; this has two female
figures as large as life, beautifully sculptured
and finely polished, supporting the frieze.
The apartments are adorned with collections
of pictures, some of which are scarce and
very valuable.

The views from the south front are con-
tracted, but on the north is a most extensive
prospect opening upon a fertile vale, animated
by the meanderings of the Gade and Coin
rivers, and rendered beautiful by a luxuriance
of verdure, intermingled with noble seats,
villages, and farm houses, together with the
towns of Rickmansworth and Watford. This
delightful view was obtained in 1725 by
lowering a hill at the expense of £5000.
Pope has satirized the possessor of the man-
sion for this circumstance in his moral essays ;
but the satire was more severe than just, and
the prospect completely belies the poet.
After the decease of B. H. Styles, Esq, the
house was purchased by George, afterwards
Lord Anson, who expended about £80,000
in the improvement of the grounds. As true
taste regained her rights, the formal style in
which the grounds were laid out appeared
tame and insipid, and in effecting the altera-
tions here Lord Anson employed the far-
famed Browne. In 17G5 the whole was dis-
posed of to Sir Lawrence Dundas, Bart.,
whose son, Sir Thomas Dundas, Bart, in
1787 sold it to Thomas Bates Rous, Esq.,
M.P. for Worcester, of whose executors in
1799 it was purchased by Robert Williams,
Esq., an eminent banker of the city of Lon-
don, and some time M.P. for Dorchester. He
resided occasionally at Moor Park, but at
length that estate was sold to the noble
family of Grosvenor, since which it has
undergone a thorough repair at a great ex-
pense. The domain also has been increased,
and is now very extensive. The park is
about five miles in circumference, having its
surface finely diversified ; it is well wooded
and includes almost every species of timber,
particularly oak, elm, and lime. In the
vicinity of a circular bason is planted a grove
or wilderness of firs, cypress, laurels, both
Portugal and common ; and the kitchen gar-
den is celebrated for a peculiar apricot, called
the Moor Park, originally planted by Lord
Anson. " Moor Park, when I was acquainted
with it" says Sir William Temple, " was the
sweetest place, I think, that I have ever seen
in my life, either before or since, at home or
abroad."



84



SEATS OF CfREAT BRITAIN.



STICHILL PLACE, called by some writers,
Stichill House, Roxburghshire, the seat of Sir
John Pringle, Bart., vice-lieutenant of the
county. This family of Pringle, which ol -
tained Stichill by purchase in 1628, from Sir
John Gordon of Lochinvar, maybe traced
back to a very remote period, and seem to
have had their full share of that overboiling
spirit, that " perfervidus genius," which the
elegant Buchanan objects to his country-
men. We see them, like so many of the landed
proprietors of those days, coming in constant
collision with the law, sometimes defeated,
but more frequently defeating, all of which
formed no impeachment to the character of a
gentleman. On the contrary, to take a ten-
fold revenge for injury was as essential to a
good name, then, as duelling was a few years
since ; and as this private code was totally
opposed to the public law, it will not be a
matter of surprise to any one that we find
various members of the Pringle family at
times called upon to answer for deeds of
violence and bloodshed. Hence the name
may be met with more than once in Pitcairn's
Criminal Trials, that interesting and highly
curious picture of the Scottish feudal times.

The etymology of this name — Stichill —
has been derived from Sti., i. e., " steep." and
" hill," and the house is on high ground, being
five hundred feet above the level of the
sea. It is no doubt that "to stye" is a
northern term, signifying "to ascend, to
mount;" but still the word is just as likely to
have been compounded of the old term sty,
i. e., a path, and " hill."

The house, which is in the old Dutch style

of architecture, such as may yet be seen in

many a Flemish town, was built about the

year 1570, but it is not known by whom.

Considerable additions, however, have been

mule to it by the late as well as the present

baronet, so that it has the appearance of a

solid and extensive mansion. From the house

is a remarkably fine view of the valley of the

Tweed, and in the neighbourhood are various

objects of curiosity, some indeed in the same

parish, or rather in the united parishes of

Stichill and Hume. Amongst these Hume

Castle stands predominant. During the

border wars it was a noted stronghold and

place of defence against the Southrons, when

inarching from the northern parts of England.

" They lighted down on Tweed water,
And blew their coals sae het,
And fired the March and Teviotdale
All in an evening late."

As may be supposed from its situation,
Hume Cast If was often subjected to attack
from the English borderers, who must have
constantly found if a. stumbling-block in the
way of their projected inroads, and no less
dangerous if left behind them, and their ad-
vance was attended by any serious disaster.
In the year 1547 it was given up to the Duke



of Somerset, but it was retaken by the Scotch

in 1549. A tale is told of Oliver Cromwell,

that when at Haddington he sent a summons

to the Governor of Hume Castle peremptorily

demanding its immediate surrender. To this

the governor, being equally valiant and

poetical, replied

"I, Willie Wastle,
Stand fast in this castle ;
And all the dogs in the town
Shall not drive Willie Wastle down."

Hereupon Cromwell, who seldom under-
stood jesting on such matters, replied to the
governor's rhymes with his cannon, and so
effectually did he " do the work of the Lord"
— to use his own phrase — that Willie Wastle
was in the end " driven down," and, the
castle being taken, it was in a great measure
demolished. Within the park and grounds
of Stichell Place is a hill now covered
with wood, popularly known under the name
of the Queen's Cairn; a designation which it
is said to have acquired from the following
circumstance. When James II. went to
besiege the Castle of Roxburgh, he left his
queen, for greater security, at Hume Castle.
She was then in a state of pregnancy, but
the places not being far distant from each
other, she was accustomed occasionally to
visit her husband in his camp. One day,
when she had set out for this purpose, she
was met by a messenger with tidings that
the king had been killed by the accidental
bursting of a cannon. This sad news instantly
brought on the pains of travail, and she was
delivered of a child on the spot, which ever
afterwards went by the name of the Queen's
Cairn.

THTJRNING HALL, Norfolk, the seat of
James Gay, Esq. This mansion was built
about 1760, by Caleb Elwin, Esq., who
married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Philip
Astley, Bart.

The old Hall which stood a short distance
from the present modern structure, was for-
merly the property of Robert, Earl of Sussex,
who in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, sold it
with the demesne lands, then consisting of
a I tout 300 acres of pasture, arable, and wood,
to Peter Elwin, of Thurning, Gent., as
appears by an indenture, bearing date 14th
April, 1597, signed by the earl, and by the
Lady Bridgett, his countess. Subsequently
the estate was possessed by the Elwin family,
from that time until sold in the year 1837, to
James Gay, Esq., the present possessor, who
has considerably enlarged the estate, which
now consists of upwards of 1400 acres
around the house.

A small portion of the old Hall is still
standing, having been converted into a dairy-
house. It appears to have been erected about
the time of Henry VIL, or a little earlier.

The present mansion is situated in a pad-



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



85



dock of undulating grounds, well screened
by woods, and having a small ornamental
lake of water, formed by the embankment of
a river which runs through the demesne.

KELVEDON HALL, in the parish of Kelve-
don Hatch, Essex, the seat of John Francis
Wright, Esq. This place, or rather the
village, from which it derives its name, has
been written Keldon. Dun, in Anglo-Saxon,
signifies a hill, and the prior syllable is most
probably derived from held, a fountain ; or
from cele, " extreme cold," the c being pro-
nounced like k in the Anglo-Saxon. Dr.
Stukeley, whose learning is undeniable, but
who seems to have allowed it to run away
with him in this matter, derives Kel from
Celn, " mysterious," or " to conceal," whence
Cell the name of God ; and thus it woidd
imply the " Hill of God," or " God's Hill,"
a name that is certainly by no means un-
common, though it seems by no means war-
ranted on this occasion.

Kelvedon came hi 1538 to the Wrights by
purchase from Richard Bolles, Esq., whose
ancestors had possessed it from 1464, prior
to which time — from 1383— it appears to
have belonged to a family named De Hagh.

Kelvedon Hall stands close by the west
end of the parish church, on the site of a
much older mansion. It was built in 1742,
and is a plain red brick structure, consisting
of a centre and two wmgs. Within the
house is a Roman Catholic chapel, the family
having always adhered to that religion. It
is adorned with a fine altar-piece, painted by
De Bruyn, in chiaro-oscuro, and represent-
ing the Nativity.

In regard to situation this spot does not
yield hi pleasantness to any in the county.
The grounds about the house are well-
wooded, and the prospect over the adjacent
country is extensive.

ASTLEY CASTLE, in the woodland district
of the Forest of Arden, about eight miles
from Coventry, the residence of the Right
Hon. James Hewitt, Viscount Lifford ; a
large structure in the Elizabethan style,
situated in a court surrounded by a broad
moat, with a bridge conducting to the
mansion, in the place where the draw-bridge
used to be.

The principal front is to the south-east.
The vestibule has some ancient armour
and furniture belonging to the Astley and
Grey families, who formerly resided here.
The hall is used as a dining-room, and
contains several fine pictures. Adjoining the
hall is the library (with heavy Elizabethan
windows) opening into the conservatory.
Beyond the moat is a small park containing
a handsome sheet of water.

This place was the seat of the Astleys as
early as the reign of Henry II., and con-



tinued with them till that of Richard II., when
it fell into the hands of an heiress, Joanna
Astley, who married Reginauld Grey de
Ruthin, the direct ancestor of the Duke of
Suffolk, father of Lady Jane Grey. The
duke made this one of his principal residences,
and here he was taken by the Earl of Hunt-
ingdon, hi an old hollow tree in the park,
and conveyed to London, and there beheaded.
He had been hidden several days in this old
tree, and was at last betrayed by his own
park-keeper, named Underwood. After his
death, Astley went as part dowrie to his
widow, who re-married Adrian Stokes, Esq.,
who defaced the beautiful collegiate church
and pulled down the spire,which was called the
" Lanthorn of Arden." The property after-
wards passed to the Chamberlains of Shir-
burn, in Oxfordshire, and from them to the
Newdigates of Arbury. The castle was the
residence of Lady Newcligate, the mother of
Sir Roger Newdigate, the distinguished M.P.
for the University of Oxford, and the
founder of the Newdigate Prize. It after-
wards fell into decay, and so remained
until restored by Francis Newdigate, Esq.,
of Blackheath, who took a lease from his fa-
ther (then the owner of the Arbury estate),
and subsequently disposed of the remainder
of his term to Viscount Lifford.

The church joins the castle -moat, and is
the remains of great magnificence, the present
structure being only a small portion of the
original building. It contains alabaster full-
length figures of the Duke and Duchess of
Suffolk, and another of a lady with a coronet
on her head, which by some has been sup-
posed to be Lady Jane Grey.

ALBTTRY PARK, near Guildford, Surrey, the'
seat of Henry Drummond, Esq., M.P. The
original mansion at Albury was erected pro-
bably before the Conquest. The most an-
cient representation is found hi some plates
by Hollar, in whose time it appears to have
been a timber-framed house, filled up with
rubble. The building now used as the laun-
dry is mentioned in Doomsday Book as the
parish mill, and the watercourse which fed it
feeds it still. The most celebrated possessor
of the estate was Thomas Howard, Earl of
Arundel, for whom, during his banishment in
Venice, Evelyn laid out the gardens as they
now exist. There is an ancient Roman resi-
dence on the heath, from which many corns
and other remains have been dug. The old
parish church, now no longer used, has a
tower with Saxon windows, and the pew be-
longing to the mansion, has been recently
fitted-up as a mortuary chapel.

From the Howards the property was
bought by the Attorney-General, Heneage
Finch, known as silver-tongue, celebrated at
the trial of the seven bishops. He was raised
to the peerage as Baron Guernsey in 1702,



86



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



and created Earl of Aylesford in 1714. By
him the mansion Avas rebuilt. In 1800
Albury passed from the Finches by sale to
Samuel Thornton, Esq., Governor of the
Bank of England, and M.P. for Hull, and in
1811 was sold by him to Charles Wall, Esq.,
from whom the property was purchased in
1819 by its present owner, Henry Drummond,
Esq., grandson of the Honourable Henry
Drummond, of the Grange, Hants, fourth son
of William, fourth Viscount Strathallan, who
was slain at Culloden.

The architecture of the house is Elizabe-
than ; the gardens have a magnificent terrace,
and yew hedge of a quarter-of-a-mile long
each ; and abound with a great variety of
rare trees. The park is much diversified,
and filled with large timber, particularly oak,
chesnut and fir.

AUDLEY END, Essex, the magnificent
seat of Lord Braybrooke, whether regarded
in relation to its present splendour, or the
hauntingassociations of its earlier possessors,
holds a foremost rank among the baronial
halls of Great Britain.

It is situated in the county of Essex, where,
in the parish of Saffron Walden, there was
a manor anciently vested in the crown, as
well as an abbey called Walden, appro-
priated by it at the dissolution. The two
properties, when united, were granted by
Henry VIII. to Sir Thomas Audley, wbo
succeeded the illustrious Sir Thomas More
in the tenure of the Great Seals ; and the
whole estate has been, from the name of
this proprietor, henceforward called Audley
End. The Chancellor, thus rewarded with
spoils of the monastic corporations, the dis-
solution of which he had actively promoted,
was in 1538 raised to the peerage by the
title of Baron Audley of Walden.

Margaret Audley, his daughter and heiress,
married first, Lord Henry Dudley, younger
brother to the husband of the Lady Jane
Grey, and afterwards, on his decease with-
out issue, she became the second wife of
Thomas Howard, fourth Duke of Norfolk.
After the early death of his three wives, the
latter nobleman entered into a treaty of mar-
riage with Mary, Queen of Scots, when the
blood which aspired to a throne flowed upon
the block. Margaret Audley was thus suc-
cessively allied to the two most ambitious
houses that appeared during the dynasty of
the Tudors, and which each in turn endea-
voured to grasp a crown matrimonial.

From the first marriage of the fourth
Duke of Norfolk, the bearer at the present
day of that illustrious title is descended.
Of the second marriage were two sons —
William, the younger, ancestor of the Earls
of Carlisle, and the Howards of Corby ; and
Thomas, the elder, who inheriting from his
mother the estate of Audley End, was, in



consideration of his noble birth, and in re-
ward of his naval services, summoned to
Parliament by Queen Elizabeth, as Baron
Howard of Walden.

As the bright but baneful influence of the
malignant star of the Scottish Queen had in-
volved the house of Howard in ruin, James,
through perhaps some sentiment of filial
piety and gratitude, commenced his reign
with a determination to re-establish it in
surpassing honour ; and, as an earnest of his
intention, he, on the 21st of July, 1C03,
raised Lord Howard to the title of Earl of
Suffolk, and shortly afterwards appointed
him Lord High Chamberlain. In execution
of the routine of his office, it was the earl's
duty to ascertain that the necessary prepa-
rations were made for the opening of each
session of parliament ; hence, on the 4th of
November, 1605, he visited the Houses of
Parliament in company with Lord Mont-
eagle, a letter to whom had given the first
intimation of the Gunpowder Plot ; and then
entering the cellars under them, and casting
an apparently careless glance on the coal
under which the barrels of gunpowder were
concealed, he observed to Guy Faukes, who
was present under the designation of Percy's
servant, that his master had laid in an
abundant provision of fuel. The next morn-
ing, a little after midnight, Faukes was
arrested at the door of the vault. In 1618
the Earl of Suffolk was constituted Lord
High Treasurer of England ; but in about
four years more, having, as the father-in-law
of the fallen courtier, Robert Carr, Earl of
Somerset, become obnoxious to the new
favourite, Buckingham, he was charged with
peculation, deprived of his staff of office, and
committed for a short period to the Tower,
together with his countess, to whose rapacity
the ground afforded for this painful accusa-
tion has been principally ascribed. It was
this earl who erected the magnificent palace
of Audley End. He died in 1626, leaving
a large family. Of his younger children, his
second son, Thomas, was created Earl of
Berkshire, and is ancestor of the present
Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire. His fifth
son, Sir Robert, a gallant cavalier soldier,
was but too notorious in his own day for his
intrigue with the Viscountess Purbeck, the
beautiful and ill-assorted daughter of the
Chief- Justice Coke; and his sixth son, Ed-
ward, was created Baron Howard of Escrick.

Theophilus, the eldest son of the first
Earl of Suffolk, succeeded to the title and
the chief mansion of his father, and had a
son and successor, James, the third earl,
who, about the year 1668, sold the park and
mansion of Audley End to King Charles II.
Henceforward this now royal palace often
became the resort of the gay court of the
witty monarch, the hereditary residences
of whose ancestors had, in several instances,



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



87



been destroyed during the wars of the Com-
monwealth. Earl James left at his decease
two daughters, the co-heirs of the Barony of
Howard of Walden. His Earldom of Suffolk
passed successively to his surviving younger
brothers, and then remained for some time
with the descendants of the youngest of
them.

The purchase-money of Audley End was



Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 2) → online text (page 19 of 73)