Bernard Burke.

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

. (page 25 of 73)
Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 2) → online text (page 25 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


of the H nitons, and has regularly descended,
in unbroken male succession, to the present
proprietor, William Hulton, Esq., J. P., and
D.L., who, as Constable of Lancaster Castle,
had the honour of receiving her Majesty at
that ancient feudal fortress in 1851.



CHELSWORTH PARK, Suffolk, the seat of
Sir Henry Edmund Austen, is delightfully
situated on the banks of the Brett, five miles
distant from Hadligh.

This estate and manor were purchased,
in 1737, by Mr. Serjeant Pocklington, from
whom it descended to the late Sir Robert
Pocklington, K.M.T., who dying in 1841,
devised it to his widow, who, in 1843, mar-
ried the present owner, Sir H. E. Austen.
Sir Robert Pocklington distinguished him-
self in the campaigns of 1794 in Flan-
ders, and for his services in the action of
Villar en Cumhi, he received the decora-
tion of the order of Maria Theresa from
the Emperor of Germany. Chelsworth
formerly belonged to the Abbey of Bury,
and has passed through the hands of very
many noble families — the Blakenhams, St.
Philiberts, Howards, Venus, &c, previous
to its purchase by the Serjeant in 1737, and
is mentioned hi Doomsday. The mansion is
neat and elegant, though not on an extensive
scale ; and the grounds are remarkable for
their beauty and taste, as is the simple and
small village of Chelsworth.



110



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



ROWTON CASTLE, co. Salop, stands about
five miles from the county town, on the road
to Welsh Pool.

The mansion, which occupies the place of
the ancient castle, was originally a plain but
substantial edifice of brick. It has, how-
ever, of late years, received numerous addi-
tions in the shape of battlements and tur-
rets, which, though not in the best possible
taste, conspire to give a somewhat imposing
effect to the whole building. The situation
is very pleasant, the park abounding with
venerable oak timber, and commanding ex-
tensive prospects.

Rowton was anciently the lordship of the
Corbets, and afterwards of the Le Stranges,
out of ill-will to whom, Llewellyn, Prince of
Wales, burnt the castle and razed it to the
ground.

It passed by purchase to William Lyster,
of Shrewsbury, who was seated here in the
year 1451. Sir Thomas Lyster, a zealous
adherent of Charles I., was taken prisoner at
Shrewsbury, righting in the royal cause ; but
his lady gallantly held out the castle for
nearly a fortnight against the republicans
under Colonel Mytton, nor did she surrender
her post until she had obtained good terms
from that commander. The lineal descend-
ant of Sir Richard is the present proprietor,
Henry Lyster, Esq.

KILVINGTON HALL, near Thirsk, in the
county of York, the seat of Thomas Meynell,
Esq , a magistrate for the county of Dur-
ham, as also a magistrate and deputy-lieu-
tenant of the North Riding, the lineal
descendant and representative of Walter
de Meinill, who had a grant of lands
from his brother Roger de Hilton, in the
12th century.

Kilvington Hall was built by the present
proprietor, in 1835 and 1836, about a mile
distant from the site of an older mansion
pulled down by his father. It is beautifully
situated looking out upon the Hambleton
Hills, and with a very extensive prospect to
the west and south-west.

This gentleman also possesses,

THE FRIARAGE, near Yarm, of which he
is lord of the manor, and principal owner of
the soil.

" Yonder fair Yarm extended in the vale,
Along the Tecs as in a circle lies,
Ill-fated spot by inundation torn."

This land was originally granted by
William the Conqueror to Robert de Brus,
from whom it descended to the Thwengs,
Lords of Hilton, and from them again to the
family of the Meinills. Peter de Brus
the second, who died in 1222, founded here
a house of Black Friars, which was given
up by Miles Wilcock, prior, with five friars



and six novices in December 1539. The
habitations of these friars were seldom en-
dowed, they being by profession mendicants,
although we often find them possessed of
stately edifices, and churches of so much
magnificence, that they were not unfre-
quently selected by the rich and noble as
their place of burial. They had various
names, one branch of them being called
Dominicans from their founder, St. Dominic,
a Spaniard born at Calaguera, a little town
in the diocese of Osma, Old Castile; Black
Friars from their dress ; Preaching Friars,
from the principal object of their order
being to preach ; and in France they had
the name of Jacobins, because their first
abode in Paris was in St. James's Street. It
was not till the beginning of Henry the
Third's reign, that they came over to Eng-
land, when Yarm was one of the earliest
of their settlements.

In 1G97, J. Mayes, Esq., who then
possessed the property, made large additions
to the old monastery, so as to make it more
suited for a modern residence. Subse-
quently it was left to the Meynells, by
John Mayes, Esq., in default of male issue
to his daughter, the wife of James Fermor,
Esq., but it is now rented by J. Weld, Esq.,
eldest son of Gr. Weld, Esq., of Legrim.

The house is situated on the banks of the
" thundering Tees," as it is styled by the
poet Mason, a name which in some parts it
well deserves from the violence with which
it rolls over its rocky and shallow channel,
until it joins the sea, expanding into a mag?
niricent estuary or bay called the Tees Month.
It abounds in fish of various kinds, parti-
cularly flounders, salmon, eels, and sparlings.
No river has been more frequently celebrated
by the poets, from the age of Spenser down
to the days of Walter Scott. The former
says : —

"Then came the bride, the loving Medway came,
Her gentle lockes adowne herbacke did fiowe
Unto her waste with flowers bescattered,
The which ambrosial odours forth did throwe
To all about, and all her shoulders spred
As a new spring ; and likewise on her head
A chapelet of sundrie flowers she wore ;
On her two pretty handmaids did attend,
One called the Theise i Tees) the other called the Crane,
Which on her waited, things amisse to mend,
And both bebinde upheld her spredding traine."

Walter Scott describes the river under a
very different aspect.

" When Denmark's raven soared on high,
Triumphant through Northumbrian sky,
'Till, hovering near, her fatal croak
Bade Keged's Britons dread the yoke ;
And the broad shadow of her wing
Blackened each cataract and spring,
Where Tees in tumult leaves his source,
Thund'ring o'er Caldron and High Force ;
Beneath the shade the Northmen came,
Fixed on each vale a Runic name
Reared high their altar's rugged stone,
And gave their gods the lands they won."



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



Ill



EAST HORSLEY TOWER, Surrey, the seat
of the Earl of Lovelace, lord-lieutenant and
custos rotulorum of the county. Prior to
the dissolution of monasteries by Henry the
Eighth, the manor appertained to the monks
of Christchurch, but after that period it re-
mained for a short time in the possession of
the crown, till Queen Mary, in her efforts to
revive the old religion, presented it to the
monastery of Shene, which had then been
re-established. The death of Mary and the
succession of her sister, occasioned a second
dissolution of the re-founded establishment,
and East Horsley once more devolved to
the crown. In the second year of her
reign, Elizabeth granted it to John Agmonde-
sham, of East Horsley, and John White, of
Southwick, Hants. The son of the former,
dying without issue, it eventually passed to
his sister, who had married William Mus-
champ, of Godalming, in the same county.
From this family it passed in 1701 to the
Viscountess Lanesborough, being conveyed
to her by Ambrose Muschamp, brother to
her deceased husband, Denny Muschamp,
Esq. It then successively passed into the
hands of the Foxes, of Sir Robert Mackreth,
of Thomas Page, Esq., of Charles Dumbleton,
Esq., of William Currie, Esq., and finally of
the Earl of Lovelace, with whom it still re-
mains. The four last changes were the
result of sale and purchase.

The old house, called the Place, stood
nearer the church than the new mansion,
which was built by Mr. Currie, after the de-
signs of the celebrated Barry. The last-
named is in the Elizabethan style of archi-
tecture, with a handsome porch, pinnacled
gables, and square-headed windows. In the
years_ 1847 and 1848 however, several large
additions were made to the house, comprising
—besides several new family chambers, ser-
vants' rooms, and offices — a tower, hall, and
library. The tower rises to the height of
six storeys, and from its summit is a panora-
mic view that extends into the counties of
Middlesex, Berks, Hants, Herts, Bucks, and
Oxon. The new additions have been assi-
milated both in style and material to the
original edifice by Barry, so that both the
exterior and the interior have all the appear-
ance of having been built at the same time
and with the same object.
_ In the new library, which is about thirty-
six feet long, by eighteen wide, are the books
brought from Ockham, and the escretoire of
the celebrated John Locke, containing his
manuscripts and papers. In the drawing-
room is a choice collection of pictures, the
principal of which are by Canoletti, Vernet,
and Hackkert. In the dining-room are also
several paintings by Canoletti, and a master-
piece of Murillo's, a " St. John and the
Lamb," similar to that in the National
Gallery.



Through a splayed niche, over the chim-
ney piece in the library, is a view of the
upper portion of the great hall, whose vast
open timber roof, and stained windows, are
thus agreeably enjoyed from that apartment,
and the illusion is enhanced by their reflec-
tion from mirrors introduced in the jambs of
the niche.

The hall is paved with Anston stone, re-
lieved with encaustic armorial tiles, producing
a mellow, quiet effect. For seven feet above
the floor the walls are lined with oak wains-
cot, bearing coloured and carved armorial
shields, and linen pattern panels. A music
gallery, at the south end, exhibits a corre-
sponding ornament. Above the wainscoting
are disposed a collection of family portraits,
armour, and trophies.

The effect of these three rooms — namely,
the two libraries and the drawing-room — is
considerably heightened by their opening
by folding doors into each other, so that from
end to end there is a long vista, to which an
almost magical effect is lent by the colour
and enrichments of their several ceilings.

PACKINGTON, in the county of Warwick,
four miles south of Coleshill, and six from
Coventry, the seat of Heneage Finch, Earl
of Aylesford. This place anciently be-
longed to the priory of Kenilworth, having
been granted to it "by Geoffrey de Clinton,
chamberlain to Henry II. At the dissolu-
tion of monasteries, it was sold to John
Fisher, Esq., gentleman-pensioner to Henry
VIII. , for the sum of six hundred and
twenty-one pounds. " He it was," says Dug-
dale, " that built the whole body of the pre-
sent fabric here at Pakington, as may be
seen by the arms carved on the timber-work,
and set up in glass through sundry parts
thereof To whom succeeded Clement, his
son and heir, a person so much esteemed for
his integrity and prudence by Robert, Earl
of Leicester, that he constituted him his
treasurer for that w T ar-like expedition into
the Netherlands, when he was general of the
English auxiliaries. After which, being
knighted by King James, he made a park of
the out wood and some other grounds here.
His son, Sir Robert, raised that
large pool eastwards from the house, built
the lodge in the park, and much adorned
this seat, with other places of delight "

By the marriage of Mary, daughter and
heiress of Sir Clement Fisher, with Heneage,
second Earl of Aylesford, this place was trans-
ferred to the family of Finch. But before his
death, he had " erected from the foundation
the ancient seat of his family at Packington,
having adorned it with delightful gardens,
statues, canals, vistas, and other suitable
ornaments, and also re-built the house in the
middle of the great pool."

Heneage Finch, second son of the Earl of



112



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



Nottingham, was the principal of those distin-
guished counsel who pleaded the cause of the
seven bishops, charged with having written
or published a false, malicious, and seditious
libel against King James II.

The grounds at Packington are exceedingly-
well wooded, while the inequalities of the sur-
face are singularly favourable to the pictur-
esque. Neither is there any want of water to
add to the other natural and artificial beauties
of this delightful spot. Some of the ground in
the neighbourhood is said to be the highest in
England, and, at all events, if not absolutely
entitled to this distinction, there are many
points here that command the most various
and extensive prospects.

In the vicinity of this noble mansion is a
small building, called the " Forest Hall of
Arden," where are annually held the meetings
of the Woodmen of Arden, supposed to be
the most ancient archery club in the king-
dom. It consists of eighty-one members,
selected from the nobility and gentry of the
county. The grand meeting is held every
year in the month of August, and lasts three
days, when the Woodmen vie with each
other to gain the ancient forest bugle, which
is worn by the successful archer till he is
outshot by some better bowman. Originally
the number of the society was no more than
eighty, and it so continued till the last jubilee,
when the late Sir Robert Peel being present,
he was elected a member by acclamation.

Within the circuit of the park stands the
parish church. It is a small but elegant
edifice, erected by the Earl of Aylesford,
in the year 1790, from a design by Bonomi.

THE HOLME, Lancashire, about four
miles from Burnley, the seat of Thomas
Hordern Whitaker, Esq., a Magistrate for
this county and the West Riding of Yorkshire.

This property has been in the hands of the
Whitakers at all events since 1431, and pro-
bably from a much earlier period. So long
too, the house is known to have existed,
though the precise time of its erection is
unknown. Like most of the old structures
in the neighbourhood, Holme was originally
built of wood ; but in 1G03, or before, the
centre and eastern wing were rebuilt, as ap-
pears by a date remembered in the plaster of
the hall. The west end remained of wood
till the year 1717, and had several secret
closets for the concealment of priests, for
the family continued to be recusants until
nearly the close of Queen Elizabeth's reign,
and perhaps even later. "By successive alter-
ations the house has gained in convenience
what it has lost in regularity, and in its
general character may be said to belong to
the Elizabethan style of architecture.

The whole district is rocky, so much so
indeed that the township received its name
of Clivijer from this circumstance : cl>Jj)ig % or



clijlg, signifying " rocky " in Anglo-Saxon,
and scire meaning " a district." It was once
the abode of Dr. Whittaker, the celebrated
historian of Whalley (grandfather of the pre-
sent proprietor), who thus describes the coun-
try: — " The bare' and rocky brows, the glens
and gullies upon the estate of Holme have in
the interval betwixt the years 1784 and 1799
been filled with trees of various species, the
whole number of which amounts to 422,000 ;
and though the owner, consulting at once his
own resources and the genius of the place
rejected every temptation to minute and ex-
pensive decorations, he has cut, in various
directions, simple pathways along the planta-
tions several mdes hi circuit, which exhibit
many home and distant views by no means
uninteresting."

COPFORJ) HALL, in the county of Essex,
between forty-six and forty-seven miles
from London, the seat of Fiske Goodeve
Fiske Harrison, Esq., a Magistrate for Essex,
and who has served as High Sheriff for the
same. The name of the place is derived
from the Anglo-Saxon, cop, " the top," or
head of any thing, and ford, on occasion of
the " ford " running through a brook that
here crosses the road. It has also been spelt
Copeford and Coptford.

Copford Hall with the manor at one time be-
longed to the See of London. Tradition still
remembers how Bishop Bonner resided there
in the time of Queen Mary ; and it is not
many years ago that there was a walk in the
parish, between an avenue of trees, commonly
known by the name of Bishop Bonner's Walk.
The trees have since been felled, and the land
enclosed and added to the adjoining field.

From the See of London this estate passed
to the family of the Mountjoys, who appear
to have been of Irish descent, and who,
by will, founded some almshouses in the
parish. Toward the latter end of the six-
teenth century it came into the possession,
probably by purchase, of the Haynes', a
family which is now extinct, the last of that
name having died in 1764, when he be-
queathed Copford Hall to his cousin, the
Rev. John Harrison, of whom the present
owner is a grandson.

In early days the building here was pro-
bably nothing more than a farm-house, which
at a subsequent period was converted into
offices for the convenience of the newer
mansion. This last was erected on a spot
adjoining the elder pile, but at what time or
by whom is uncertain. It is a plain house
of red brick, but handsome and substantial.
The pleasure-grounds, which lie in the rear
of the Hall, were laid out with much taste
by the celebrated "capability" Brown. They
contain some fine artificial sheets of water,
and are not deficient in trees, and the other
adjuncts of a pleasing landscape.



SEATS OF GUEAT BRITAIN.



113



KNOWSLEY, co. Lancaster, the seat of the
Earl of Derby. This splendid demesne is
situated in the parish of Hnyton, seven miles
from Liverpool, and two from Prescot, and is
the great ornament to the hundred of West
Derby, whence the noble proprietor derives
the title of Earl.

Knowsley Hall has, perhaps, more of the
grandeur created by ample dimensions than by
architectural style ; having been added to and
altered according to the taste of various
possessors on numerous occasions. The
original mansion was greatly enlarged by the
first Earl of Derby, so celebrated as Lord
Stanley at Bosworth Field, who at vast ex-
pense prepared this residence for the recep-
tion of the victorious Earl of Richmond. His
lordship had married for his second wife, Mar-
garet, widow of Edmund Tudor, Earl of Rich-
mond, and mother of King Henry Vll. The
alterations made by successive Earls have
reduced the ancient building to a small sec-
tion of its original dimensions, and the re-
maining part has been rebuilt from the designs
of Foster, of dark freestone in the embattled
style. The principal part of the mansion that
now stands was erected by James, tenth Earl,
in the reign of George II. The front facing
the west consists of an extensive range of
building regularly disposed in three parts of
equal height, the principal entrance being in
the centre. The front is composed of red
brick, with stone quoins and dressings to the
numerous windows, the whole being sur-
mounted with a balustrade and scroll orna-
ments. A domestic chapel occupies the east
front, and on the south is a corridor of the
Ionic order, over which are the armorial
bearings of the tenth Earl, with this inscrip-
tion : — " James Earl of Derby, Lord of Man
and the Isles, grandson of James Earl of
Derby, and of Charlotte, daughter of Claude
Duke de la Tremouille, whose husband,
James, was beheaded at Bolton, 15th October,
1652, for strenuously adhering to Charles
the Second, who refused a bill passed unani-
mously by both Houses of Parliament, for
restoring to the family the estates lost by his
loyalty to him, 1732."

The interior arrangements of the man-
sion correspond with its outward extent.
The pictures are numerous, and many of
them splendid, particularly Belshazzar's
Feast, by Rembrandt, and Seneca in the
Bath, by Reubens. There are also many
valuable family portraits by eminent artists.

The Park of Knowsley is the largest in the
county, being between nine and ten miles in
circumference. Rich plantations and trees of
ancient growth decorate the surface ; and a
lake of nearly a mile in length adorns the
centre.

Chenulneslei — as the name is given in
Doomsday — was held, at the time of the sur-

VOL. II.



vcy, by Uchtred, together with other manors.
Afterwards it was the property of the De
Knowsleys. The Lathoms acquired the
estate by marriage with the heiress of the
Knowsleys, and it again passed by marriage,
at the commencement of the fifteenth cen-
tury, when Sir John Stanley, Lord Deputy of
Ireland, married Isabella, daughter and heir
of Sir Thomas Lathom. From this period
the Stanleys, whose long and illustrious lineage
is second to none hi the Peerage of England,
have made Knowsley their principal seat.

BLENHEIM, co. Oxford, the magnificent
seat of the Duke of Marlborough — the me-
morial of a nation's gratitude to a general
and a statesman — lies about eight miles north
of Oxford, immediately contiguous to the
town of Woodstock.

The house is a magnificent pile of white
stone, erected in 1705, after a design of Sir
John Vanbrugh, in pursuance of an Act of
Parliament granting £500,000 for the purpose.
The apartments, which are too numerous to
be particularised, are spacious, and abound
in objects of taste and vertu. In the library
which contains one of the largest collection
of books in the country, is a statue of Queen
Anne hi her coronation robes, by Rysbrach,
as also a bust of Alexander the Great, from
Herculaneum. In the chapel is the monu-
ment, by Rysbrach, of the great Duke
of Marlborough, 1722. The house has
also an observatory and a theatre. The
collection of paintings is very fine, comprising
some of the best specimens by Reubens and
Titian, and the celebrated picture, by Van-
dyke, of Charles I. on horseback.

The park, which includes the ancient
royal park of Woodstock, comprises 2700
acres of land, and is more than twelve miles
in circumference. There is a fine expanse of
water, of which " Capability " Brown, the
designer, said, " The Thames will never for-
give me for what I have done at Blenheim."
Over it is abridge of three arches, the central
one 101 feet span, being larger than that of
the Rialto at Venice. In the grounds are
also a temple of Diana, built by Sir William
Chambers ; a column, 130 feet high, with a
colossal statue of the great Duke at the top,
and a record of his principal achievements
on the pedestal ; a triumphal arch, an aviary,
a china gallery, and numerous pieces of sta-
tuary. On the spot where the old Wood-
stock Palace stood have been planted two
sycamore trees, where is a remarkable echo,
though, from local causes, now somewhat
inferior to what it was in Dr. Plot's time
(1704). In the park the locality of fair Rosa-
mond's Bower is indicated by a spring, called
Rosamond's well.

Blenheim is held by the Marlborough
family by the service of presenting at Windsor

Q



114



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



Castle on the 2nd of August — the anniver-
sary of the battle of Blenheim — a standard
with three fleurs-de-lis painted thereon, "as an
acquittance for all manner of rents, suits
and services due to the Crown."

BOTHWELL CASTLE, in the county of
Lanark, the seat of Lord Douglas. It is
unknown at what time, or by whom, this
castle was first erected ; but in the wars be-
tween Bruce and Baliol, we find Edward the
First of England making a grant of it to the
gallant Norman knight, Aymer de Valence,
whom he had appointed governor of Scot-
land. After the fatal battle of Bannock-
burn, many of the English nobility sought a
refuge here ; but being besieged by an over-
whelming force, were quickly obliged to
surrender. Bruce then bestowed the castle
on Andrew Murray, his sister's husband ;
but it afterwards passed to Archibald, the
Grim, Earl of Douglas, who had married the
grand-daughter of the same Andrew. Upon
the forfeiture of this powerful family in 1445,
it was successively held by the Crichtons,
John Ramsay, a favourite of James the Third
of Scotland, and the Hepburns, Earls of
Bothwell. Having been again forfeited by
the attainder of the notorious nobleman of
that name, it passed through several fami-
lies, till at length it came back to the house
of Douglas.

The modern house, with the exception of
the wings, which are old, was built by Archi-
bald, Lord Douglas, father of the pre-
sent lord. The site of it, which is pre-emi-
nently beautiful, has been thus described by



Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 2) → online text (page 25 of 73)