Bernard Burke.

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

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battled wall and a porter's lodge. The
church, as already observed, came close upon
the mansion, and the same might be said of
the coach- houses, the stables, the brewhouse,
and those other out buildings, which with us
are always distinct, if not kept at some
distance.

The new House, which is built in imitation
of the monastic architecture of the middle
ages, was begun in 1819, and has been gra-
dually carried on up to the present time. It
does not occupy the site of the former man-
sion, but stands on a rising ground, that
slopes off to the south and west, and is built
of a warmly-tinted stone — a sandstone,
which lvis the double advantage of being soft
at first and easy to be worked, while it in-
durates by time and exposure to the atmo-
sphere. Some of it was brought from quarries
six miles off, some from pits at only half the
distance, and a third sort of a finer grain and
whiter colour, used in the cloisters and the
staircase, was fetched from Pinnock Farm
in the vicinity. A singular feature in this
building is that the west, north, and south
fronts, although essentially differing from
each other in detail, yet combine to form a
harmonious whole. Their general elevations
present two stories, a square tower forming,
as it were, the apex, and are much less orna-
mented than the southern front, which is
besides considerably higher, and has the
appearance of a chapel. This is the most
elaborate in architectural ornaments, and
at the eastern end presents a projecting wing
with panelled walls, a largo window with
pointed arch, and mullions rich in tracery in
the upper division. There is also a smaller
window with pointed arch, and mullions and



dressings underneath. At the west end
is a bay window of two stories, the lower
opening to the library, and the one above to
a state bed-room, surmounted with crocketed
turrets of ogee form, and an open embattled
parapet, richly decorated. Between these
two projections is one of a semi-octangular
form. This likewise consists of two stories,
and has large mullioned windows, with
panelled walls, and terminating in octagonal
turrets, pinnacles, and a dressed battlement,
corresponding with the western end already
described.

The western front is simpler than the
southern. It offers a uniform elevation that
consists of two semi-octangular bays at the
ends, while in the centre is a large bay of
two stories, and havmg intermediate walls
and lesser windows.

The entrance is at the northern front,
through an archway in the centre of a low
screen connecting two towers at either end.
They are two stories high, terminating in
decorated parapets and pinnacles. In the
second story are bay-windows that rest upon
fan groined corbels, and have niches with
statues on either side of them. Behind the
screen, already mentioned as connecting the
towers, are a vestibule and a portion of the
cloister.

The domestic offices branch off from the
north-eastern angle, and consist only of one
floor, the towers being excepted. The stables
and coach-houses are connected with these
upon the south-eastern angle, and surround
an open court, while the whole again is
encircled by a covered ride of about five
hundred feet in circumference.

The magnificence of the interior fully
answers the splendid external promise. The
first story being appropriated to bed-rooms,
the necessary details will be confined to
the ground- floor, of which the vestibule
first demands attention. This is twenty feet
square, its ceiling adorned with bold ribs and
bosses, its walls ornamented with panels,
columns, and tracery ; it has three door-
ways, and a large window filled with richly
painted glass, and having mullions, also
with tracery. Two door -ways of pointed
arches, open right and left from it into the
cloister, which in beauty of material and
execution may well bear a comparison with
some of the noblest productions of Gothic
architecture. The roof, the floor, the walls,
the seats, are all formed of a fine stone,
carefully wrought and jointed, with bold
ribs, three quarter columns, capitals and
bosses finely sculptured, and mullions with
tracery to the windows, which, twelve in
number, are glazed with richly stained glass,
obtained from the monastic edifices in Ger-
many, Switzerland, and Holland, The dates
upon these fragments are various, from 1480






SEATS OP GREAT BRITAIN.



207



to 1688, with the names of the different
painters recorded.

The vestibule occupies the centre of the
north walk of the cloister. The principal
staircase, crowned with a tower, holds a
corresponding place in the southern walk.
Its steps, consisting of a central and two
return flights, is composed of the same stone
as that used in the cloister. So also are its
walls and balustrade, but its ceiling is of
oak, with panels, ribs, and pendants, in the
style of the celebrated Crosby Hall in Lon-
don ; and a finer subject for imitation could
not possibly have been chosen. In it is a
high window with a pointed arch, which also
is filled with painted glass like those in the
cloister, and below in a niche is the statue
of a monk executed by Lough, one of those
natural geniuses that emerge from obscurity
by the mere force of talent.

The other principal rooms are the library,
the drawing-room, the dining-room, and
the music-room, all of which are twenty
feet high, and present the same style of
architectural ornament, no expense having
been spared in any part of this noble mansion.
But it would be a tedious task to describe the
whole of the splendid interior, room by room,
and it is the less requisite as this has already
been done, with the utmost minuteness of
detail, by Britton, in his " Illustrations of
Toddington."

The park of Toddington comprises full
three hundred acres of excellent ground,
and contains nearly five hundred head of
deer. The pleasure grounds and gardens
occupy about fifty acres, besides which there
is a home farm of five hundred and forty
acres adjoining them. In the immediate vi-
cinity are the ruins of two ancient edifices
connected with this domain by certain his-
torical recollections — namely, Sudeley Castle,
and Hales, or Hayles Abbey. Some por-
tions of the former still remain, and serve to
illustrate the style of domestic architecture
in the reign of Henry the Sixth, at which
time the principal part was built. In the
chapel at one period rested, and perhaps
still rest, the remains of Catherine Parr, one
of the many wives of our royal Bluebeard.

The fragments left to us of Hales Abbey
are yet more scanty, but they gain an interest
from their picturesque situation, lying as
they do in a romantic hollow, thickly dotted
over with trees, and sheltered towards the
south, east, and west, by woody eminences
of uncommon beauty.



STOUR CLIFFE, near Christchurch, Hants,
the seat of Wadham Locke, Esq., eldest
son and heir of the late Wadhain Locke,
Esq., of Rowdeford House, Wiltshire, MP.
for Devizes, and a lineal descendant of the



family of Locke, of which was the famous
John Locke.

Stour Clirfe was built in 1849 by its pre-
sent possessor. It is situated on an emi-
nence near Hengistbury Head, and com-
mands a very fine sea view.



DUNSTER CASTLE, Somersetshire, in the
Hundred of Carhampton, about twenty-five
miles from Bridgewater, the seat of John
Fownes-Luttrell, Esq., who also possesses
Nethway House in the county of Devon, and
succeeded to his father's estates in 1816. It
takes its name from Dun or Dune — implying
a ridge of mountains, stretching out length-
wise upon the sea-coast, and the Anglo-Saxon
Torre, a tower, the compound being subse-
quently contracted from Dunestorre into
Dunster.

After the Norman Conquest, Dunster was
bestowed upon Sir William Mohun, the de-
scendant of an ancient house in Normandy,
and who had warmly supported William in
his attackupon England. The moment he came
into possession, he demolished the old struc-
ture, and raised upon its site another more
adapted to the improved Norman ideas of
castellation. This proved of no little use to
one of his descendants, who taking part with
the Empress Maud, made several successful
forays from his stronghold, for which services
he was made Earl of Somerset and Dorset.

" Quicquid delirant reges plectuntur Achivi."

From the Mohuns it passed by purchase
to the family of Luttrell, but not without hav-
ing originated a legal dispute which sorely
puzzled the judges, and gave occasion for the
interference of the king and parliament, and
so far as it appears, must have been ended by
some amicable compromise between the par-
ties.

In the early chronicles of this family, we
find many names illustrious in war or council.
All seem to have been passionately fond of
the glory that attaches to a successful sol-
dier, and to have been no less devoted to the
cause of royalty. One of them more
especially, Sir John Luttrell, who lived in the
reigns of Henry the Eighth and Edward the
Sixth, carried these appetites so _ far as
greatly to diminish his estate by their indul-
gence. His memory still lives in tradition,
though it has diminished almost to nothing in
the huge mass of history. There is a picture
in the castle of a man swimming in the sea,
and looking up to certain figures^ in the
clouds, to which a later and far inferior hand
has added the figure of a lady floating by
his side. This, if we may believe^ the still
extant legend, is the picture of Sir John,
and refers to his having saved a lady from



208



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



drowning, whom lie was then in love with,
and afterwards married.

In the time of the great civil war, Dunster
Castle became a place of importance from its
reputed character for strength, and before
the invention of artillery no doubt deserved
the character, being situated on a steep
conical hill, and otherwise well arranged for
resisting the attacks of the early mode of
warfare. But when cannon was brought
against it, the case was much altered, for it
is commanded by higher ground on all sides
except the east. Notwithstanding the real
facts of the case, it became a great subject
of triumph amongst the royalists when they
got possession of it ; for, says Clarendon, " it
was so much stronger than both the other
— i.e., Taunton and Bridgewater — that it
could not have been forced ; yet by the dex-
terity of Francis Wyndham. who wrought
upon the fears of the owner and master of
it, Mr. Lutterel, it was, with as little blood
as the other, delivered up to the king, into
which the Marquess (of Hertford) put him
that took it as governor."

While Colonel Wyndham still retained
this office, he was paid a visit by the Prince
of Wales, afterwards Charles II., who was
ordered by his father to remain at the castle
to encourage the new levies. A room is
still shown there which goes by the name of
King Charles's Room.

Upon the raising of the siege of Taunton,
in 1646, Colonel Blake marched with a party
of his own troops, and what forces he could
draw from the neighbouring garrison, to be-
siege Dunster. Of the real conduct of the
siege little certain is now known, but it
seems probable that the besiegers planted
their cannon at the northern end of a street
called Fore Street, and in a field adjoining
the garden of the Luttrell Arms inn, where
the ground appears to have been broken for
platforms at the western extremity of a
ridge, which would effectually screen his
men from the fire of the castle. The shot,
through a timber of the Yarn Market, was
directed to the northern end of the Fore
Street ; but much firing could not have
taken place on either side. In spite of the
royalists, the place seems to have been
taken easily enough by Colonel Blake.

W r e next find Dunster Castle obtaining a
sort of celebrity as being the place in which
Prynne was confined for his fierce attacks
upon Oliver Cromwell. This was in 1650.
The confinement, however, of this intem-
perate, but perhaps honest, polemic was
anything but severe, behig much relieved by
the generous hospitality of Mr. Luttrell. So
much, indeed, was he gratified by the kind-
ness of his host, that he examined all the
charters and muniments of the Luttrells and
the Mohuns, and arranged them in the most



complete order in numerous boxes that re-
main to this day, though not in the state
wherein he left them. He compiled also a
calendar of the whole, which is yet extant in
a volume now in the possession of the family.
The commencement of it is as follows .
" An exact kalendar and table of all writings
and evidences which concern all and singular
the manors, lands, and inheritance of George
Luttrell, of Dunster Castle, hi the county of
Somerset, Esq., or his ancestors, on the ho-
nour, antiquity, pedigree, privileges, and
offices of his family. Dygested for the most
part into chronologycal order, and distri-
buted into several classes, out of a confused
chaos, by William Prynne, of Swainswicke,
Esq., during his illegal imprisonment in
Dunster Castle, in the month of October,
anno 1650."

The volume is concluded thus : " Mr.
George Luttrell, Esq., his pedigree, and the
history of his ancestors and family, exactly
drawn out of his writings, by William
Prynne, of Swainswicke, Esq., in the eight
months of his illegal, causeless, close im-
prisonment in Dunster Castle, by Mr. Brad -
shaw and his companions at Whitehall.
February 18th. Anno Domini, 1650-2,
Car. ij."

The ancient castle, so far as we have the
means of judging, was a quadrangle, while
the keep was in all probability circular. The
present castle was erected, in the reign of
Queen Elizabeth, upon the site of the older
building — that is, upon the south-eastern side
of the conical hill called the Torr, command-
ing a view of the whole length of the Fore
Street, beyond which is Conygar Hill, Avhose
crest and sides, to the extent of nearly thirty
acres, are clothed with wood. The top of
this hill is no more than a thin ridge, with
the shell of a tower at its eastern extremity.
The tower, which was built by a former Mr.
Luttrell, is overgrown with ivy, has the ap-
pearance of being in ruins, and serves as a
landmark to seamen navigating the British
Channel. Some artificial ruins occupy the
other end of the ridge, but these cannot be
seen from the castle.

Immediately upon passing through the
present gateway is the door of the old
building yet remaining. It is studded with
iron, and on the right of it are the ruins of
one of the towers which flanked the entrance
into the ancient castle.

The rest of this charming spot has been
admirably described by a provincial writer,
who was evidently familiar with the place,
and saw it under various aspects. His ac-
count of it supersedes the necessity of any
other description :

" To the east of the town are some fields,
in which are numerous fine old oak, elm, and
ash trees, and a rookery ; a long row of






SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



209



these trees, and a low ridge of ground, hide
from the view of the castle the road from
Luxhole Bridge to the town. Farther to
the east is a beautiful lawn of more than
three hundred acres, of excellent pasture
ground, between which and the open fields
just described runs the river, its banks
studded with clumps of trees ; the southern
and eastern sides of this lawn, where the
ground undulates, are skirted by hanging
woods ; and beyond it, to the left, is a tract
of watered meadow extending down to the
sea. Beyond these, eastward, the eye runs
over a beautiful country of hill and dale,
corn-fields, and meadows, with hedge- rows
and plantations of timber, 'till it rests on the
Quantock Hills. The spectator has also
a fine view of the Channel, with the trackless
wanderers traversing its dark surface ; the
coast of South Wales, and its mountain-
ous interior ; the Steep and Flat
Holmes ; the isolated, terraced hill of Brent
Knoll, once one of the strongest military
posts in the county ; the bay of Blue
Anchor, with its inn, lodging-houses, and
cottages ; and the high rocks on its eastern
extremity, against which the sea is often
seen breaking in the wildest grandeur. To
the left of the lawn is the Park, several
miles in circumference, and in which are
generally kept five or six hundred head of
deer. In it are several woods ; and on its
highest part is an ancient camp, the rain-
parts of which are seen from the castle. The
way up to this camp is through a deep glen,
skirted on each side by timber, through
which runs a small stream. Between the
park and the bottom of the Torr, a narrow
slip of the lawn intervenes The west front
of the castle looks upon a lawn on the Torr,
above an acre in extent ; it is quite level,
and is skirted on the north and east by a
wall and the ruins of one of the towers of
the old castle, which once, no doubt, covered
the greater part of this level; above the
wall are seen the tops of trees ; in front, on
the west, are evergreens and trees, with
Grabhurst towering behind. On the left,
on the south, rises the highest part of
this beautiful mound, covered with ever-
greens, flowering shrubs and trees, to its
top, where is a bowling-green, encircled by
a wall, skirted with laurustinus and other
shrubs, between the openings of which are
some of the most beautiful views in the
kingdom, and to which the most glowing
writer could scarcely do justice ; they must
be seen to be truly appreciated, and consist
of endless variety of sea and land, hill and
dale, wood and water, cultivated and forest,
mountain and plain, rivers, roads, woods,
towns, a harbour and shipping, and the
cheerful countenances of a happy and hos-
pitable people. The Torr itself, except the

VOL. II.



lawn and bowling-green, is covered with
timber, and almost every variety of ever-
greens and flowering shrubs, whose odour
is delightful, and among which an infinite
number of singing-birds delight to harbour
and build, charming the heavens with their
varied, ceaseless songs, only excelled by that
of the nightingale, which frequents this
neighbourhood in great numbers in the sea-
son. Nearly twenty of these birds have
been heard singing from one spot on a fine
moonlight night. The Torr is laid out in
gravel walks, which encircle it from its
base till they terminate in the bowling-
green. Openings are left for the spectator
to enjoy the ever-changing scenery ; from
one of them, where he can scarcely see
anything else in that line, at a great height,
he looks down upon a water-wheel of the
mill at its foot. There are some seats and
grottos by these paths. There is a rookery
among the trees on the west side, and
abundance of game harbours here, especially
pheasants. The bowling-green is supposed
to have been the site of the keep of the an-
cient castle of the Mohuns. The park, woods,
and plantations, have distinguished claims on
the lovers of picturesque beauty. The pre-
sent coach-entrance to the Castle is from the
north ; it winds round the Castle up the Torr
to the lawn before the west-front. The foot-
path is steep, and goes under an old em-
battled tower, past the inner iron -studded
door of the old Castle, and along by the foot
of the wall to the corner of the present Castle,
where a flight of stone steps leads up to the
lawn, while the path runs round the eastern
front until it joins the coach-road.

The ruined turrets of Kendworth show
that once, as the proud towers of Warwick
and Berkeley do still, that they were'superior
to Dunster as it now is ; but hi point of local
scenery they fall far short of it, as well in
picturesque beauty as in stately romantic
grandeur. The Castle was supplied with
water from a spring, over which a conduit
is built, on the side of Grabhurst Hill, and
which may be presumed to be the well of St.
Leonard, mentioned in ancient writings.

Amongst other remarkable features in these
grounds is an exceedingly fine lemon-tree,
that grows in the open air during summer
before the Castle. It is in constant bearing,
and produces a quantity of good-sized fruit.
In the winter time it Is carefully sheltered by
a sort of moveable shed to protect it from the
frosts and the sea-breezes, which then blow
too coldly for it, even in this mild part of the
country.

SHEUBLAND PAKK, near Ipswich, in the
county of Suffolk, the seat of Sir William-
Fowle Fowle-Middleton, Bart.

At one time there had been a religious

E E



210



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



house here, as indeed we shall find was the
case with most of the oldest and fairest seats
m the county ; churches, chapels, convents,
priories and monasteries overspreading its
face in great abundance.

Edward, third son of the Lord Keeper
Bacon, became seated here by his marriage
with the heiress of Little, and here received a
royal visit from Queen Elizabeth. One of his
descendants erected a new mansion hi the
midst of a park, which however was pulled
down about a hundred years ago. In its
place arose a structure of a more modern
character.

It is about eighty years since the late Sir
William Middleton bought this property, and
added it to his adjoining family estates. His
son, the present owner, has considerably
improved and embellished it by the help of
the celebrated architect, Sir C. Barry, and
it now presents the appearance of a hand-
some Italian villa, standing upon an eminence,
in the midst of a park, which is said to con
tain some of the finest chestnut trees in
England. The pleasure-grounds are remark-
able for extent, and afford every variety of
gardening, from the highly decorated Italian
parterre to the simple English lawn ; yet so
artfully is the whole arranged that the eye
can nowhere take in more than one of these
same styles at the same moment. Never
were variety and uniformity more skilfully
blended within the same limit. The apparent
extent, too, of the whole is greatly increased
by means of long walks and vistas intersect-
ing the grounds in appropriate directions.

The grounds can be seen by strangers on
any Friday during the summer upon previous
application by letter to the proprietor.

DANE COURT, in the Isle of Thanet, Kent,
the seat of Robert Sackett Tomlin, Esq.. a
magistrate and Deputy-Lieutenant for North-
amptonshire, of which county he has also
been twice sheriff.

Certainly for more than four centuries, and
probably for much longer, this estate be-
longed to the family of Sackett. The law
of gavel-kind, which prevails in Kent, has
frequently occasioned a breaking-up of this
property, but it was as often re-united, until
the time of Charles II., when it was again
split, and has continued to be so ever since.

The front of the House is built of flint, as
was a common custom in those days, which
carries withit a peculiar and not unpicturesque
effect. It was erected hi 1434 by John Sackett,
direct ancestor of the present proprietor.

The grounds are well timbered for the
coast of the Isle of Thanet, which in general
is by no means favourable to the growth of
trees or shrubs. The geranium and the
sycamore seem to flourish hi this neighbour-
hood better than any other. The first-named



in particular may be seen without much care
attaining an enormous size, as if the salt air
were suited to its constitution.

WALFORD, hi the county of Somerset, near
Taunton, the seat of Richard King Meade-
King, Esq., a magistrate and Deputy-Lieute-
nant for Somersetshire. This estate has been
successively possessed by the families of Sel-
lick, Sandford, Chichester, Beauchamp, and
King, with which last it still remains.

The old House was erected about the year
1700 by John Sellick, Esq., but it has since
been rebuilt hi the modern English style of
architecture. The grounds are park-like, and
abundantly covered with fine wood of various
descriptions. Through them runs a handsome
piece of water, and from the higher portions
are pleasing views of the rich and cultivated
vale of Taunton Deane, so rich indeed, as
to have given rise to a local proverb — Where
should I be born, else than in Taunton Deane ?
" This," as Fuller tells us, " is a parcel of
ground round Taunton, very pleasant and
populous — as containing many parishes — and
so fruitful, to use their phrase, with the zun
and zoil alone, that it needs no manuring at
all. The peasantry therein are as rude as
rich, so highly conceited of their good
country — God make them worthy thereof —
that they conceive it a disparagement to be
born in any other place ; as if it were emi-
nently all England."

HANBURY HALL, in the county of Wor-
cester, the seat of Thomas Bowater Vernon,



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