Bernard Burke.

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

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nebule form, rests upon two diapered
cushions. The height of the effigy is four
feet ten inches, and of the entire compo-
sition eight feet three inches.

The next figure is that of Sir John de
Cobham, who founded the original college ad-
joining ; on this account he holds in his hands
the model of a church, a peculiarity of which
this and two other brasses at North Creak,
Norfolk, and Cowthorpe, Yorkshire, afford
the sole instances. Of the canopy, the
pediment only, and of the inscription, but
two small fragments, remain ; the latter,
which varies from the ordinary form, is thus
given by Gough : —



De trrrc fust fait et fotirmc Et eu ffftrtc ct a tttrt]
suis retournc 3of)an oe Cobfwm, founocr Be ccstt place
pul fut nomine [SJeren ?e ffialme eit la sefnte {Urinific ]

Sir John de Cobham died A.D. 1407, but
the date assigned to this brass, from the
style of the armour, is c. 1365, so that it
was in all probability laid down during his
lifetime, a custom not very unusual, parti-
cularly in the case of a founder or bene-
factor. This knight, the last Lord Cobham
of his family, played an important part in
the affairs of the state, and was condemned
to death for treason, but ultimately pardoned;
he also fortified the mansion of his family at
Cowling, a few miles from here, and built a
new bridge at Rochester.

The effigy of Sir Thomas de Cobham, 1367,
which follows, bears considerable resem-
blance to the preceding, and has about the
same quantity left of its canopy and in-
scription.

The next brass, that of Dame Jone de
Cobham, c. 1320, is the earliest of the famed
memorials of this church, and in point of
date, ranks second of the seven brasses that
remain to show the female costume previous
to the middle of the fourteenth century.
The figure is truly sublime ; the serenity
and dignity of the expression, the skilful
delineation of the dress, the graceful ease of
the position, and the boldness of the en-
graving, combined with the chaste elegance
and simple beauty of the canopy — the ear-
liest anywhere existing, and the only one of
its kind — render this brass one of unusual
interest and value. The dress consists of
the kirtle as already described, and over it
is a gown with loose sleeves reaching to the
elbows ; the head-dress is the well-known
wimple, so often seen in the architectural
decorations of the period. The marginal
inscription in Lombardic characters, is rather
a late instance of the occurrence of detached
letters, a narrow band of brass having been
used in the memorial of Sir Roger de Trump-
ington, at Trumpington, Cambridgeshire, as
early as 1289. The matrices of the letters,
which are bordered by two fillets of brass,
are now filled up, but the inscription is still
legible and runs as follows, the initial cross
being immediately above the finial of the
canopy : —

ZDame ; Jone : Te : fflotetiam : <Sist : jjist : IDebs :
JDe : 5>a : 3lme : ffilt : ffierci : Ulfcc : $br : 3Lc :
aime : ftiera : ©baaaonte ■■ Jobrs ; De : ^arooun :
libera

Four small shields are lost from the upper
part of this brass. The height of the figure
is five feet eight and a half inches, and of
the entire composition as it remains, seven
feet four and a-half inches.

Several brasses in the church offer great
temptations to the " restorers ;" and none
greater than this ; the figure is perfect, the



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



147



pinnacle, capital, and base of the canopy re-
maining furnish fac-similes of those which
are lost ; the matrices of the shafts and of
the letters of the inscription are plainly-
visible ; the shields only are irrecoverable ;
let us then pause to express an earnest hope
that no attempt of the kind may ever be
made. Restorations in matters of this nature
are to be deprecated exactly in the propor-
tion in which they are faithful to the old
work ; it is the skill with which the effigies
in the Temple Church have been restored,
rendering it impossible to distinguish be-
tween what is original and what Mr. Richard-
son's fancy may have added, that has de-
stroyed their value as authorities. May it
never be so with the brasses at Cobham : as
it is, all that we see is genuine ; let there be
no diminution, nor any addition, unless
some further portions of the originals be
recovered.

The indent of the brass of Sir Henry de
Cobham, now altogether lost, completes the
first row.

The figures in the second row it will be
convenient to take in a different order to
that in which they lie, and we shall therefore
begin with the centre one to the memory of
Joan Lady de Cobham, 1433, considered by
a high authority to be the best engraved
brass of its time. The lady is habited in
the ordinary attire of widows, but without
the usual barbe at the neck. Lady Joan,
the possessor of the vast patrimony of the
Cobhams, was five times married, her fourth
husband being Sir John Oldcastle the Mar-
tyr, who, on his marriage with her, assumed
the title of Lord Cobham ; to him, as he
died without the pale of the Church, it is
hardly necessary to say we need look for
no monument here or elsewhere. The acces-
sories of the brass, which are all perfect,
consist of six shields of arms, three scrolls,
two groups of children placed on either side
of the effigy, and an inscription at the feet.
This figure is four feet one inch in height.

We regret that the accounts of the suffer-
ings and persecutions of the venerable
martyr will not allow us to record how this,
his wife, despite the anathemas of the
Church, with true womanly sympathy con-
soled and comforted him ; and as after the
death of each successive husband she speed-
ily re-married, I fear we must conclude
that the great court paid to her, or to her
wealth, had the effect it has had in so many
instances, of deadening the nobler feelings,
the true devotion of her sex.

On the left of Lady Joan, is the figure of
Sir Reginald Braybrook, 1405, her second
husband, under a fine single canopy sup-
porting a pedestal, upon which is a figure
with crossed nimbus, holding a crucifix ; on
a pedestal at the Knight's feet, is a small



figure of his son. The whole is surrounded
with a long marginal inscription in Latin.

_ On the lady's right hand is the brass of
Sir Nicholas Hawberk, 1407, her third spouse,
the design of which is evidently taken from
the preceding one, though more elaborately
carried out, and very probably both memo-
rials are the work of the same artist. The
canopy supports three pedestals with figures
under canopies ; that in the centre is similar
to the figure in the last brass ; on the right
is the Blessed Virgin Mary with Child, and
on the left St. George and the Dragon. A
shield, with the arms of Hawberk impaling
Cobham, was originally affixed to each shaft
of the canopy; the arms of Cobham (gu. on
a chevron or. three lions ramp, sa.) on the
sinister side now alone remain. On a. pedes-
tal at the feet is the figure of a child as
before : the inscription is marginal, and to
precisely the same effect as the last, The
height of the effigy is 4 feet 11 inches, and
of the entire composition 7 feet 5^ inches.

The two outer brasses in the row respec-
tively commemorate Sir John Broke, whose
figure is lost, and lady, 1506, and Sir Thomas
Brooke and lady, 1529. Below each brass
are groups of children.

The canopy to the former, although
coarsely executed when compared with those
we have been describing, is worthy of note
as belonging to a period when these beau-
tiful enrichments were rapidly going out of
vogue. The shield with the instruments of
the crucifixion is also unusual.

The inscription to the latter brass, which
has shields of arms at its angles, is much
better executed than many of the same date,
but the great amount of shading in the
figures gives proof of the debasement which
ultimately destroyed all beauty in brasses.

The costume of this period, with its pre
posterous armour and fanciful ladies' head
gear, is so well-known from engravings that
we shall only observe, that the effigy of the
lady of Sir Thomas Brooke is a very late
instance of the use of the sideless robe pre-
viously described.

Before concluding, let us remind the
reader that Cobham is classic ground ; Mr,
Pickwick has been here ; at the little inn,
just outside the churchyard, thereafter sur-
named in honour of the event, the " Pickwick
Leather Bottle," did that renowned per-
sonage sojourn and here is constantly kept
the delightful record of Mr. Pickwick's
adventures.



LINLEY WOOD, co. Stafford, the seat of
James Stamford Caldwell, Esq., M.A. (Cam
bridge), a Barrister-at-Law, inherited from his
father, James Caldwell, Esq., a Deputy-Lieu
tenant and Magistrate for the county of Staf^



148



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



ford, and for many years Recorder of the Bo-
rough of Newcastle-under-Lyme.

The House stands on an eminence, embosom-
ed in trees, and commands a very tine and ex-
tensive view, over the Vale of Cheshire, of
the Peckforton Hills, and Beeston Castle,
and behind them of ranges of Welch moun-
tains — Dinas Bran (above Llangollen), Moel
Vamma, &c, and the summit of Snowdon is
distinctly seen, in favourable weather, with
the naked eye.

In the House are a few very good pictures
by Sir Peter Lely, Kneller, Vandyck, Jan-
sens, Mireveldt, &c.

WEAY CASTLE, in the parish of Hawks-
head, co. Lancaster, the seat of James
Dawson, Esq., a county magistrate, is a
massive structure, standing on a promontory
near the head of Windermere, and com-
manding, from its windows, terrace, and
tower, a varied and extended view of bold
and beautiful scenery. The grounds are
one continuous undulating surface down to
the edge of the lake, and, although, during a
former greedy and wasteful occupation, they
were reduced to a most impoverished condi-
tion, the present proprietor, by judicious ma-
nagement, and liberal nurture, has made them
assume a really picturesque character. The
building of the mansion, the style of which is
castellated Gothic, was commenced in 1840,
and completed in 1847. The late Mr. Words-
worth remarked, in allusion to Wray Castle,
that " it had added a dignified feature to the
interesting scenery in the midst of which it
stands." The Poet of the Lakes honoured
" The Wray," by planting a mulberry tree
on one of its slopes, and, at the moment
when the ceremony was finished, a gentle-
man repeated and applied the lines addressed
to the mulberry tree planted by Shak-
speare : —

" Bend to thee, blest mulberry !
Matchless was he who planted thee,
And thou, like him, immortal shalt be."

GLENERICHT, near Blair Cowrie, co.
Perth, the seat of Major General Sir William
Chalmers, C.B., K.C.H.

This beautifully situated residence, erected
in 1800 by the present owner's father, the
late William Chalmers, Esq., is a quad-
rangular cottage, on an eminence close
to the north bank of the River Ericht,
over which an iron suspension bridge
of unusual structure was erected by Sir
William Chalmers in 1824. This bridge
forms a communication, by the approach,
between the House and the public road
leading from Blair Cowrie to Cally and
Braemar. The road is about a mile distant
from the House, which is visible from all



points in passing. The whole surrounding
grounds are covered with natural coppice
and planted woods.

PENHELE, Cornwall, the seat of the Rev.
Henry A. Simcoe, is between four and
live miles from Launceston, in the parish of
Egloskerry. At the time of the Doomsday
survey, this manor formed part of the vast
possessions of Robert de Moreton, Earl of
Cornwall, half-brother of the Conqueror ;
and within a century after was included in
the estates of the great family of Botreaux,
so continuing until conveyed in marriage by
Margaret, only daughter and heir of William
Lord Botreaux, to Robert, second Lord
Hungerford, whose descendant and heiress,
Mary Hungerford, Baroness Hungerford,
Botreaux, and Molines, married Edward,
second Lord Hastings, and was mother of
George, first Earl of Huntingdon. Penhele
thus vested in the noble house of Hastings,
and was sold, temp. Queen Elizabeth, by
George, Earl of Huntingdon, to George
Grenville, Esq. whose arms are cast in plas-
ter on the ceiling of two of the apartments
at Penhele. Erom the Grenvilles the estate
passed, by sale, to John Speccott, Esq., who
served as High Sheriff of the county in 1622.
His grandson, John Speccott, Esq., who re-
presented Cornwall in three parliaments of
King William III., devised Penhele to the
heirs male of his aunt, Mrs. Long, one of
whom, John Long, Esq., of Penhele, was
High Sheriff in 1724. Margaret, daughter
and heir of John Long, married John P.
Herring, Esq., who took up his abode at
Penhele, and there resided until his death
in 1806. Subsequently the property was
the subject of litigation, and eventually came
by purchase into the possession of the present
proprietor, the Rev. 11. A. Simcoe.

It is uncertain at what time, or by whom,
the mansion was built. It was re-fronted in
granite by one of the Speccotts, his own and
his wife's initials, "P. S.," "G. S.," being cut
over the entrance door. There is a tradi-
tion that this Paul Speccott, a stanch Cava-
lier, and Privy Counsellor to Charles I., kept
a company of horse for the king's service,
which the extent of the stables, and the large
loft above, seems to justify. The House is
Elizabethan, enclosing a quadrangle, of
which two sides only are occupied with
buildings; the granite front forming the
south, and a colonnade, with rooms over,
the north.

The site of the old Bowling Green, with its
terrace (the former converted by its present
owner into a kitchen-garden,) still remains, as
also the fish-ponds and rookery, in which are
some fine old Spanish chesnuts. The Gren-
ville and Speccott arms, with various quar-
terings, decorate the ceilings of two of the



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



149



apartments, and on the principal staircase
are two shields on painted glass.

KNOLE PARK, Gloucestershire, in the
parish of Ahnondsbury, about seven miles
from Bristol, the seat of William Chester
Master, Esq., late Lieutenant-Colonel in the
third regiment of Guards. This estate was
possessed by the Lords of Berkeley until
1148, when Robert Fitzharding, having
founded the Abbey of Saint Augustin in
Bristol, endowed it with the manor of
Ahnondsbury. At the dissolution of monas-
teries by Henry the Eighth, it was granted,
but with a reserved rent, to Miles Partridge,
Esq., who, in the reign of Edward the Sixth,
conveyed it to Henry Darcy, Esq. By him
it was afterwards sold to Thomas Chester,
whose father, William, belonged to a younger
branch of the Chesters of Huntingdonshire,
and was gentleman of the horse to the Duke
of Buckingham, beheaded in 1522.

In 1763, the Thomas Chester, then posses-
sor of the estate, dying without issue, be-
queathed it to the daughter and only child
of his brother, Richard Howe Chester, who
conveyed it by marriage to William Bromley,
Esq., of Warwickshire, whereupon he as-
sumed the name and arms of Chester.

The ancient mansion-house stood near the
church, but is now converted into a farm-
house. The present mansion, which is
Elizabethan, stands upon the highest spot
of an old Saxon fortification, whence the
ground drops suddenly to a grass terrace,
edged with large timber trees, and thence
again to the Park below. This camp, ac-
cording to tradition, was the work of Offa,
King of the Mercians, whose coffin, if we
may believe the vulgar, was dug out of a
tumulus at Over, in this parish, in the year
1650. In the excavations then made, there
were found the entire bones of two men.
One of the skeletons was of unusual size,
enclosed in a stone coffin so artificially
cemented that no joint could be discovered
in it. The stone which covered the coffin
was very ponderous, of a greyish colour
without, but reddish, and studded with
a shining sparry substance within. Two
coins were also found, that at the time were
supposed to be Roman. But how could this
be? How could Roman coins find their
way into a Saxon coffin ? and that it was
Saxon there can be no doubt ; the corpse
was found in a sitting posture, which Dre-
selius says was the customary mode of
burying kings and princes, as emblematic of
eternity.

The view from this hill is equally beau-
tiful and extensive. It looks over the mouth
of the Severn — about two miles off — the
Avon, the Usk, and the Wye, as far as the
Black Mountain in Wales.



BLAIR HOUSE, Ayrshire, in the parish of
Dairy, the seat of William Fordyce Blair,
Esq., Captain R.N. It has always belonged
to the family of Blair, which by numerous
intermarriages is connected with the first
houses in the west of Scotland.

This mansion which stands on a hard blue
whin rock, was certainly erected before
the year 1200, and there is a stone in the
wall with the date 1130 upon it. There can,
however, be no doubt of its having been
built by Roger de Blair, who married Mary
Mure, of the Rowallan family, and aunt to
Elizabeth Mure, Queen of Robert II.
He was himself an adherent of that
successful soldier. Originally the build-
ing was a square tower, but additions
have been made to it from time to time, till
the whole forms a singular, but picturesque
old mansion, standing in a park of nearly
three hundred acres. Some of the walls of
Blair are fourteen feet thick, and the whole
of the lower part of the house is arched.
In 1616, Lady Margaret Blah ornamented
the windows and the outside of Blair in
representation of her own family residence,
Hamilton Palace. Her initials are curiously
blended over the windows with the letters
W. B., and her arms are impaled with those
of Blair over the front door. Within the last
forty years extensive plantations have grown
upon steep rocky banks, which before had pro-
duced little or nothing. These consist of
silver, and spruce firs, larch, plane, oak,
beech, chesnut, ash, horse-chesnut, and
willow. One of the largest sweet chesnuts
in Scotland is at Blair, measuring twenty-
three feet round, six feet up.

Perhaps the most picturesque feature of
this estate is the romantic and wooded glen
of the Dusk, in which there is a natural
cavern forty feet above the bed of the little
river. It has been hollowed by some of the
accidents of time out of a limestone bank,
and has two entrances. Of these the main,
or western, entrance is situated below a huge
overhanging cliff, the top of which is covered
by hazel, mountain-ash, and two large plane-
trees. The interior, by a little aid from
fancy, may be thought to resemble a Gothic
arch, the roof being in part supported by two
massive columns, and having over it about
thirty feet of rock and earth. Its utmost
breadth does not exceed twelve feet, but it is
full a hundred and eighty feet long, if not
more; and near the middle it expands into a
sort of chamber, the internal surface being
covered by calcarious incrustations. In olden
times it was popularly held to be the abode
of fairies, and hence it obtained the name of
the Elf-House. At a later period it served
as a hiding place for the Covenanters, when
flying from the religious persecutions of
Charles II.



150



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



Various tumuli and other reliques have
been found in this parish ; and near Blair
House itself, about ten years ago, an urn was
discovered, containing burnt bones and a
quantity, as it seemed, of coal ashes.

Lately, too, various coins and pieces of old
swords and helmets have been turned up on
the hill of Pencote, where a battle was fought
in Charles the Second's time.

UGBROOKE, Devonshire, about one mile
south-west of Chudleigh, the seat of Lord
Clifford, Baron of Chudleigh.

This building was left unfinished, in 1G73,
by Thomas, Lord Clifford, but was completed
in 17G0 by Hugh, Lord Clifford. It stands
on the side of an eminence, and is in form
quadrangular, having two fronts and four
towers, battlemented, and, as Prince
quaintly says of it, " is a pleasant and noble
seat, much enlarged by the addition of
a curious chapel, and very useful apart-
ments." The main front has eleven windows,
besides the library and chapel, which are
contiguous. The side front has ten windows
looking into the Park upon a sheet of water,
formed from the River Ugbrooke, which has
given its name to the seat. Ugbrooke, or
Wogbrooke, signifies, according to Chappie,
the crooked, bending, or serpentine brook, from
the Saxon vjoq, " curous."

The entrance to the mansion is by a spa-
cious hall, which leads into a dining-parlour,
thirty-six feet long by twenty-four wide. In
this apartment are some valuable portraits by
Sir Peter Lely. It opens into a drawing-
room of nearly the same size, containing
amongst other pictures the " Woman taken
in Adultery," by Titian, a rare work of art,
for which the owner was offered fifteen hun-
dred guineas. Here also are two handsome
marble slabs cut from a rock in the park, and
presenting fine specimens of the Devonian
marble. The library is spacious, and filled
with an excellent collection of books, ancient
as well as modern, and embracing a large
round of literature; while every room exhibits
eithert he rarities of the olden time, or the
luxuries of modern art.

The Park was made by the first Lord
Clifford, and "his successor Hugh Lord
Clifford planted the spacious walks with
horse-chesnut, lime, and other trees, which
in their season yield a pleasant and fragrant
entertainment to the passenger." At a yet
later period considerable plantations Avere
added, of beech, poplar, laurel, and all kinds
of fir, through the midst of which runs a noble
walk, twenty-four feet wide, and winding on
to a considerable extent. Taken altogether,
the grounds are not less than seven miles in
circumference, comprising an almost endless
variety of landscape, and all equally enchant -



" Collected here,
As in one point all nature's charms appear ;
Hills strive with woods, with waters woods agree,
Of Devon's charms the grand epitome.
To those who judge by studied rules of art,
And make the whole subservient to a part,
Whose taste the neat parterre and formal line,
Or studied clumps and circling path confine,
M isshapen, rude, and rough, the draught may seem ;
The great sublime was never meant for them.
O'er opening vales see hills on hills arise,
New objects vary still, and still surprise.
Through all those wilds our eyes unbounded roam
O'er half the sphere, and still confess their home ;
For still no bounds the several parts control
Rocks, hills, and plains form one united whole.
See, Haldownhere his russet length extends,
There Dart's high Torr in cloud-capp'd pomp ascends.
Around th' horizon, broken and uneven,
Rocks frown o'er rocks, and prop the bending heaven.
Scoop'd out by nature's hand there back they slide
In wild disorder, and the chain divide ;
With bulky pride then swelling out again,
They crowd along, and break upon the plain.
The lovely plain, in pleasing contrast, now
More brightly smiles, and softens all below.
Here the majestic Tring, with conscious pride,
Pours from his urn the tributary tide ;
Now, hid in shade, he works his silent flood
Thro' the dark mazes of the pendant wood ;
Now murmurs on, and bursting into day,
O'er chiding pebbles rolls himself away ;
Then turns, and winds his current back again,
As loth to leave the sweet, alluring plain,
Till, sweeping through the fields with wider sway,
He rides along, and rushes to 'the sea.
Here rich Pomona, too, with apples crown'd,
Scatters her fruits and sparkling nectar round.
See, cheerful industry walks o'er the plain
With all the rural graces in her train,
On verdant slopes while Pan his flocks surveys,
And golden Ceres all her stores displays."

The plain prose of the county historian
gives a yet more graphic description of this
favourite spot, and, perhaps, even in essence
a more poetical one. "The scenery of
Ugbrook," says Polwhele, " is very different
from that of Mamhead and Powderham. The
romantic wilderness of the former may be
contrasted with the comparatively tame
beauties of the latter. Ugbrook hath all
within itself. Powderham and Mamhead,
particularly the latter, derive half their
charms from distant prospect. Here the
woods sweep wildly round, pursuing the
course of the valley. Here the park pre-
sents to us the finest features of extensive
lawn, smooth and verdant, noble eminences,
and magnificent masses of shadow. Here
the gigantic oaks, and other forest trees,
some throwing their extravagant arms across



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