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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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runs a Roman road, from fifteen to one-and-
twenty feet in width, formed of gravel and
red sandstone, and always covered with ex-
cellent soil, that varies in depth from ten to
twenty inches. This road leads to and ends
at the site of a Roman station at Wilders-
pool, upon the banks of the Mersey, which
late examination has shown to be unusually
extensive. Some antiquaries have supposed
it to be the Condate ; but notwithstanding
that there is much to be said in favour of the
conjecture, it is hardly safe to place in it
unlimited confidence. In these cases inge-
nuity often brings together arguments too
plausible for contradiction at the moment,
but which are fully contradicted by the re-
search of a later period. Still, whatever
may have been its real name and object, it is
beyond all question an interesting relic of
that great people, who seemed to have built,
as they conquered, for all ages.

CULZEAN CASTLE, Ayrshire, upon the Car-
rick coast, and about two miles from the
village of Kirkoswald, the seat of Archibald,
Marquess of Ailsa.

From time immemorial this property has
belonged to the powerful family of the Ken-
nedys, in regard to whom the ancient ballad
says —

*' Twist Wigton and the town o' Ayr,
Port Patrick and the Cruives of Cree ;

Nae men need think for to bide there,
Unless he court Saint Kenedie."

It was not until 1452 that this family was
first ennobled under the title of Lord Ken-
nedy. In 1509 they attained to further
dignity, being created Earls of Cassilis; and
in 1831 Archibald, the twelfth and late
earl, was elevated to the rank of Marquess of
Ailsa. In 1759 the main line of the Cas-
silis family became extinct, when the estates
and titles that had belonged to it passed to
Sir Thomas Kennedy, of Culzean, who suc-
ceeded as ninth Earl of Cassilis. He be-
came the subject of a fearful tragedy,



which tradition has thus handed down to
us: —

John Muir, of Auchindrane, had married
the daughter of Sir Thomas Kennedy o f Barga-
nie, who was the most important person in all
Carrick, excepting the Earl of Cassilis, and
had promised himself high advancement from
this union. But his father-in-law was only
second to the house of Cassilis, the head of
all the Kennedys ; and, though the earl was
still a minor, his influence was well main-
tained by his uncle, Sir Thomas Kennedy of
Cullayne, or Culzean. This determined Au-
chindrane to remove the latter, as being an in-
surmountable bar to his ambitious views, and
waylaying him one day in an orchard with a
band of accomplices, he endeavoured to de-
stroy him. The attempt failed, Sir Thomas
defending himself for a time, and finally es-
caping from his assailants into a ruinous
house, where he lay concealed till rescued by
the peasantry of the neighbourhood. For
this atrocious attempt he prosecuted Muir,
who finding himself in great danger from the
law patched up a hollow peace, and gave his
son's hand in marriage to the daughter of his
intended victim, but Avithout in the least
laying aside his animosity, or his determina-
tion to carry it into effect if possible. With
this view he soon persuaded young Gilbert
Kennedy of Barganie — for old Kennedy, his
father-in-law, was now dead — to brave the
Earl of Cassilis for usurping undue authority
over the rest of his name. In those days a
very slight affront, or even the shadow of an
affront, was held sufficient ground for a bloody
arbitrement. Instigated by Muir, the hot-
headed youth rode past the house of Cassilis
without calling upon the earl, or sending
in any message of civility. This was re-
sented, as he had expected, by a de-
fiance, when both parties took the
field with their followers, the numbers on
either side being about two hundred and fifty
men. But the earl and his adherents had
posted themselves under cover, and received
their assailants with so heavy a fire that Bar-
ganie was slain, and Muir severely wounded,
so that their retainers, thus deprived of any
acknowledged leader, were fain to retreat. .

In this quarrel the Knight of Cullayne had
remained neuter, on account of his near al-
liance with Auchindrane, a forbearance that
in no wise lessened the secret enmity of his
old opponent, as was soon made too fatally
manifest. Having occasion to go to Edin-
burgh upon business, and having not the
least suspicion of Muir's enmity, he sent
notice to him of his intention, pointed out the
road he meant to take, and requested a meet-
ing at Duppill for the purpose of receiving
any commission from his supposed friend for
the city. From some trifling cause the per-



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



129



son despatched upon this errand when he
arrived at Maybole, instead of carrying his
message to the house of Auchindrane in
person, got its import written down by a
school-master, and despatched the letter to
its destination by a lad of the name of Dalrym-
ple. Upon this, Auchindrane built a fresh
plan for the destruction of Kennedy. He
dismissed the boy with strict injunctions to
say he had not found him at his house, and
again waylaid the Knight of Cullayne. This
time the attempt succeeded. They not
only murdered Sir Thomas, but plundered
his dead body, and cut the gold buttons from
his jacket.

The Earl of Cassilis was bent upon aveng-
ing the murder of his uncle, and the assassins
found it necessary to secure themselves from
the law by flight ; Muir alone remaining, sus-
pected indeed, but with no sufficient evidence
to prove his guilt. He felt himself safe so
long as he could keep the boy Dalrymple,
out of the way, and with this view he de-
tained him in his own house for several
weeks. The boy tiring of confinement, Muir
then sent him to reside with a friend, Mont-
gomery of Skellmorly, in the wild island of
Arran, and then boldly demanded a fair trial,
at the same time offering his person in com-
bat for life and death against the friends of
the Earl of Cassilis who should dare to cast
a doubt upon his innocence. By such auda-
city his enemies were, if not satisfied, for a
while silenced.

But the boy had now grown weary of the
Isle of Arran, and returned to his friends in
Ayrshire, the news of which revived the alarms
of Muir, who again possessing himself of
this dangerous witness, confined him at Au-
chindrane till he found an opportunity of
transporting him to the Netherlands, and
getting him enhsted in Buccleuch's regiment.

Five or six years now passed, when Dal-
rymple having escaped the usual accidents
of war and climate, in some way got free
from his military servitude and returned to
Ayrshire, where it would seem that he prac-
tised upon the fears of Muir, who now
lodged him with a tenant of his own, called
James Bannatyne, preparatory to ending his
fears by a fresh murder. By his order, this
man met him at ten o'clock at night on the
sea-beach near Girvan, bringing with him
Dalrymple — for strange to tell, the intended
victim had no suspicion of any evil purpose,
though the place and hour might well have
excited doubt, especially considering whom
he had to deal with. Auchindrane was ac-
companied by his eldest son James, and
having taken Bannatyne aside communicated
to him his fears, and the bloody purpose
that grew out of them. Bannatyne earnestly
combatted this resolution. The dispute con-
tinued long ; the son became impatient, and

VOL. H.



beat Dalrymple to the ground, when the old
man coming to his assistance, they finally
contrived to strangle their victim. They now
endeavoured to hide the body in the sand,
but the tide rushing in prevented this by
filling the hole with water as fast as they
dug. As a last resource they carried
the corpse out to sea, trusting that the wind
and ebb would float it away where it might
no more be heard of. The reverse happened :
in a few hours it was thrown back on the
very place of the murder, where it was soon
recognised, and suspicion fell upon Auchin-
drane, who was known to have spirited the
lad so often out of the country. What was to
be done now ? — to fly his native land for so
poor a crime as the murder of an obscure lad
would be to forfeit all claim to the assistance
of his kinsmen, besides stamping him with
lasting infamy. He must therefore perpe-
trate some offence in which they could sym-
pathise ; and what could be better for the
purpose than an attack upon the Earl of
Cassilis, or some of his friends ? Such a
deed, though neither more nor less criminal,
belonged at least to the code of honour, as it
was then understood. In pursuance of this
plan he beset Hugh Kennedy of Garriehorne,
a follower of Lord Cassilis, and one towards
whom he bore an especial enmity. But Hugh
defended himself stoutly, beat off the assail-
ants, and wounded young Auchindrane in
the right hand so severely that he well nigh
lost the use of it. Muir now fled, declared
that he was ready to stand trial for the mur-
der of Dalrymple, of which he professed his
innocence, provided he could obtain a pardon
for having fired upon his enemy with pistols,
weapons declared by an act of parliament to
be unlawful. The king firmly convinced that
father and son were equally implicated in
both murders, used his influence with the
Earl of Abercorn to arrest and send them
prisoners to Edinburgh, an office for which
the earl was well calculated by his influence
in the western counties as well as in Ireland.
In consequence of his exertions Muir was
speedily secured in the Tolbooth at Edin-
burgh.

When this event became known to young
Auchindrane, who had hitherto escaped cap-
ture, he began to conceive the same fears of
Bannatyne that his father had entertained of
Dalrymple. It was exactly the same case
as that predicted of Macbeth by the witches ;

" 111 deeds are seldom slow
Or single ; following crimes on former wait ;
The worst of creatures fastest propagate."

He prevailed upon Bannatyne to go for a
while into Ireland, supplying him with mo-
ney, and undertaking the management of his
affairs during his absence. Thus secured,
as they thought, the culprits boldly prepared

s



130



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



to stand their trial, when unluckily for them
it was postponed, and King James, firm in
his original conviction of their guilt, ordered
young Auchindrane to be examined under
torture. This the young ruffian endured
without flinching, but James still refused to
give up his opinion, and by a stretch of
power that can scarcely be justified even by
the result, ordered him to be kept in custody.
Muir himself was at liberty under bail, but
haunted by unceasing fears that he might at
some evil moment be betrayed by Bannatyne.
He therefore laid several plots to take his
life, and when these had failed, devised one
of atrocious ingenuity, which, had it su-
ceeded, would have obliterated every trace
of his numerous crimes. This was to employ
a man, by name Pennycuike, to murder Ban-
natyne, and when his work was done,
Muir of Auchnull, a connexion of Banna-
tyne, was to be incited to avenge the assassi-
nation by slaying Pennycuike. The last
deed, being in the regular order of feudal
atrocities, would excitenoparticularattention.

So many attempts made against his life,
and which were only defeated by incessant
and wearying vigilance, determined Banna-
tyne at length to abide rather the utmost
severity of the law than endure such a perpe-
tual state of anxiety. He surrendered him-
self to the Earl of Abercorn, and confessed
the whole of the bloody affair as it happened
on the sands of Girvan. All three in conse-
quence were put upon their trial, and being
found guilty were condemned to be beheaded
— a sentence which was remitted in the case
of Bannatyne on account of his voluntary
confession, but fully carried out in the per-
sons of the Auchindranes.

Colzean Castle is situated upon the brow
of a huge cliff that beetles over the sea. It
covers about four acres of ground, with a
terraced garden in front, a bridge of approach,
and offices at a little distance on the left ;
the whole presenting an irregular but majes-
tic Gothic pile that harmonises admirably
with the savage grandeur of the surrounding
scenery Within is a large collection of ar-
mour, belonging to periods more or less re-
mote.

Immediately below the castle are the caves
of Colzean, once the haunt of fairies, if we
may believe popular tradition ; and who in
such a case would not willingly believe it? —
who would not willingly believe the poet
when he tells how

" Upon that night when fairies light

On Cassilis' Downans dance,
Owre the lays in splendid blaze,

On sprightly coursers prance ;
Or for Colzean the route is ta'en

lieneath the moon's pale beams,
There up the cave to stray and rove

Amongst the rocks and streams,
To sport that night."

These haunted caves are six in number.



It was here that Sir Archibald Kennedy of
Colzean found a refuge, when the revolution
succeeded to the high Tory days of Charles
the Second and his brother James, during
which the knight had been distinguished as
a notorious prosecutor. "And thus," as
Shakspeare's clown says, " the whirling of
time brings in his revenges."

THE ISLE HOUSE— The Isle of Up Ros-
8att, Shropshire, near Shrewsbury, the seat
of the Rev. Humphrey Sandford, a magistrate
for the county, and twenty-fourth in descent
from Thomas de Sandford, who came into
England with "William the Conqueror. This
family has also to boast of being connected
with the celebrated Plowden, Richard Sand-
ford, Esq., of the Lee, having married a
sister of that eminent lawyer, and hence
their possession of this estate. Mr. Plowden
having been entrusted with the management
of Shropshire lands belonging to his early
friend and patron, Sir Thomas Englefield,
and of which the Isle of Up Rossall formed
a part, he placed his brother-in-law in a
tenement there, and obtained from the nephew
and heir of Sir Francis, the promise of a
lease of the same to Sir Richard's son.

The Isle House is a plain mansion of red
brick, but very agreeably situated.

PLAS CADNANT, in Anglesey, the seat of
John Price, Esq., a magistrate and deputy-
lieutenant of the county, high sheriff for
Anglesey in 1818, and for Caernarvonshire
in 1844.

This property at one time belonged to the
Bulkeleys of Tyn y Caea. The present
mansion was built in 1813, by the gentleman
now owning the estate. It has a plain
chiselled front, and is less distinguished for
its architecture than for the pre eminent
beauty of its situation, being not far from
Bangor, — the city of the high choir — so
called from ancient religious associations.
From this account it will be easily under-
stood that Plas Cadnant is within a reason-
able distance of the Menai Bridge, that
wonder of North Wales, and stands amongst
the most romantic and interesting scenery.

CLYFFE HOUSE, Wiltshire, the seat of
Horatio Nelson Goddard, Esq., a magistrate
and deputy-lieutenant for the county, and
captain in the Wilts militia.

The free warren of Clyffe Pypard was
granted in 1305, to Roger de Cobham by
Edward the First, from whose descendants
it came into the possession of John Goddard.
The advowson of the vicarage and the rec-
torial tithes were subsequently purchased
by the family of Goddard in the time of
Henry the Eighth, a.d. 1541.

There is no record to fix the date of the



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



131



■original building, of which the present Manor
House forms a portion only. Everything,
however, shows that it was of great antiquity.
At one time oak trees, their ends-resting in the
ground, in a perpendicular position, sup-
ported the roof, and it seems most probable
that the walls were formed of crossed timbers
of the same wood, which in the course of
years were replaced by masonry. When the
house was repaired a few years since, the rough
unhewn trees, in a sound and solid condition,
of a fine dark colour, were discovered
standing within the walls as just described.
One of these has been preserved in its ori-
ginal position, and appears in perfect preser-
vation, now level with the surface of the in
side wall.

The style of architecture of the present
Manor House, which of late years has been
almost entirely restored by the present pos-
sessor, is what is usually known as the mo-
dern Elizabethan. It has two fronts ; the
principal, or east one, looking to the Hills,
over the old bowling green, which is of re-
markable beauty ; the other, on the north,
commanding a most extensive and varied
view of the richly-wooded valley, through
which the Great Western Railway passes.
The ancient dinner-hall, which ran along the
whole length of the east front of the old
manor-house, was partly taken down, and
partly altered about a century ago. Since
that period the size of the house has been
considerably diminished.

The grounds are extensive, presenting in
every part those charming vistas of hill and
dale for which the place has always been
remarkable, and from the former of which it
derives its name of CUffe or Glyffe, an abrupt
precipice. It is also sometimes called Cleave,
signifying a sloping hill.

CHILWELL HALL, Nottinghamshire, the
seat of Thomas Broughton Charlton, Esq., a
magistrate for the county. In the manuscript
in the British Museum — Harleain Cull. 363.
53, we are told, "against Clifton on ye north
side of the Trent standith Chilwell, where is
an ancient house builded by Sir William
Babyngton, sometime chiefe hushier of the
Common Pleas ; and before was the house
of one Martell, an ancient gentleman, whose
heire the said Babyngton married ; and lately
the lord Sheffield possessed it, as heire to
Babyngton, who sould it ; and now one
Christopher Pymm, gent, has it."

A daughter of the Pymm family intermarried
with Thomas Charlton of Sandiacre — an ad-
joining parish of Derbyshire -in the reign of
Queen Elizabeth. Their son, Nicholas Charlton
became possessed of his maternal relative's
house and lands, either by purchase or be-
quest, and from him they have descended to
the present owner.



The old mansion belonged to the archi-
tecture of the Elizabethan age. This was
in a great measure pulled down and rebuilt
by Lieutenant-Colonel Charlton in the be-
ginning of the present century, and it now
offers the appearance of an unpretending but
comfortable mansion.

YAIR, in the parish and county of Selkirk,
the residence of Alexander Pringle, Esq.,
of Whytbank, Vice-Lieutenant of Selkirk-
shire, Member of Parliament for that county
from 1830 to 1846, and a Lord of the Treasury
during the last administration of Sir Robert
Peel.

The estate of Yair, which runs for about
four miles along the banks of the Tweed, is
situated in Ettrick Forest, and from an early
period when all the lands in the Forest were
held by the tenure of crown rentallers, it
belonged to a family of the name of Ker,
the earliest cadets of the stock of Fairnihirst,
which is now ennobled in the person of the
Marquess of Lothian. The Kers of Yair were
then a family of some consequence, and
held the hereditary office of coroners of
Selkirkshire. About the commencement of
the seventeenth century, they seem to have
contracted embarrassments, by which then-
estates became the subject of legal ddigence —
to use the appropriate Scotch phrase — and
passed into other hands, with the exception of
Sunderland Hall, which is still the property
of their heir of line, Charles Scott Plummer,
Esq. The male heirs are extinct, though
their memory is perpetuated by the well-
known inscription on their ancient burial-
place in Melrose Abbey — " Here lies the race
of the House of Zair." The lands of Yair
were acquired in 1736 by Sir Patrick Ruthven,
a distinguished general in the armies of Gus-
tavus Adolphus, who for his services in the
Civil Wars was created by King Charles I.
a Scotch peer, by the titles of Earl of Forth,
and Baron Ettrick, and afterwards upon
gaining the battle of Brentford, was made a
peer of England, as Earl of Brentford. As he
was a devoted royalist, his fortunes were
ruined in the cause of the monarch, and he
retired to Sweden, where he found shelter at
the court of the sovereign whom he had
served so long, and died there a few years
afterwards. His only son, Alexander, Lord
Ettrick, having predeceased him, the wreck
of his fortune was divided amongst his
daughters, the eldest of whom was married
to Lord Forrester of Corstorphine. One of
them was the wife of George Pringle, of
Balmungo, brother to the Laird of Whyt-
bank, who had served with her father in the
Swedish armies, and from whom the present
Whytbank is descended. His eldest brother
James Pringle of Whytbank, was a great
friend of General Ruthven, whom he had



132



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



assisted in his difficulties. From the consi-
derable suras he had lent the General, the
estate of Yair ultimately came into his pos-
session, and the chief residence of the family
was transferred to it from the old Tower of
Whytbank. On failure of the main line, it
afterwards passed with Whytbank to the des-
cendants of George Pringle, of Balmungo, and
remained with them, until his great-grandson,
Alexander Pringle, of Whytbank, pressed by
the expenses of a numerous family, was obliged
to part with it to the guardians of Henry, Duke
of Buccleuch, about the year 1759. It was in
his grace's possession till the year 1784 when
the late Alexander Pringle, of Whytbank,
son of the former, having recovered his for-
tune in the civil service of the East India
Company, his grace generously put it in his
power to reacquire the family residence, an
opportunity of which he gladly availed him-
self. In 1789 he built the present mansion
on the site of the one that had previously
stood there. It is a substantial square build-
ing in the style peculiar to the period, with a
lawn sloping gently to the Tweed, which is
here a stately stream, filling its banks and
flowing with a rapid current. The house is
most picturesquely situated, about a hundred
yards from the river, embosomed in lofty
trees, and closely pent in by hills, the near-
est of which is covered with wood, while
those behind tower up majestically above
them. But the description of this place
by Sir Walter Scott, in the introduction
to the second canto of Marmion, gives a
much more vivid picture than any that can
be conveyed by simple prose. It was written
by the immortal romancer during his resi-
dence, one winter, at Ashysteel in the near
neighbourhood : —

" From Yair which hills so closely bind,
Scarce can the Tweed his passage find,
Though much he fret, and chafe, and toil
'Till all his eddying currents boil.
Her long descended Lord is gone,
And left us by the stream alone.
And much I miss chose sportive boys,
Companions of my mountain jovs,
Just at the age 'twixt boy and youth
When thought is speech, and speech is truth.
Close to my side with what delight,
They pressed to hear of Wallace wight,
When pointing to his airv mound
I oall'd his ramparts holy ground ;
Kindled their brows to hear me speak,
And I have smiled to feel mv cheek,
Despite the diffi once of our years,
Return again the glow of theirs.
Ah, happy boys ! such feelings pure,
'l hey will not, cannot, long endure ;
Condemned to stem the world's rude tide,
You may not linger by my side ;
For fate shall thrust you from the shore,
And passion ply the sail and oar.
Yet cherish the remembrance still
Of the lone mountain and the rill ;
For trust, dear boys, the time will come
When fiercer transport shall be dumb,
And you will think right frequently,
But, well I hope, without a sigh,
On the free hours that we have spent
Together, on the brown hill's brut "



SISTED HALL, Essex, the seat of Onley
Savill Onley, Esq., a magistrate and deputy
lieutenant for the county. In the old re-
cords the name is variously spelt — Stigested,
Styestede, and Sty stead ; and is probably
derived from the Saxon, Stige, " a path; " or
Stiff), "rough;" and Stede, "a place," a
word still retained, in compound phrases,
with the same meaning.

Stisted was originally granted by Godwin,
the great Earl of Kent, to the monks of
Christ's Church, in Canterbury. At the dis-
solution of monasteries, Henry the Eighth
granted it to the Dean and Chapter of Can-
terbury, who exchanged it after a short time
with him for other lands. The king bestowed
it on Sir Richard Rich. It next passed suc-
cessively through the hands of Henry Pigott,
of Abingdon, hi Cambridgeshire ; of Thomas
Wiseman, Esq., of North End, in Great Wal-
tham, in 1549 ; of Edward Stabbs ; of Thomas



Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 2) → online text (page 29 of 73)