Bernard Burke.

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

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on the lower side of the park, but having
gone to decay, the greater part of it was
taken down by Mr. Lock, the north end
Deing preserved for his farm. At the same
time he built a new mansion upon the brow
of the opposite hill — a site which, for the
extent and beauty of the views commanded
from it, has scarcely got its equal in the
southern parts of England. In other respects
the exterior of the House presented nothing
very remarkable. It was re-stuccoed by Mr.
Maitland, and there has since been added
a low wing at the end of the building west-
ward.

Internally, the principal feature is the
painted walls of the saloon or drawing-room,
the combined work of four artists ; Cipriani
having painted the figures, Gilpin the cattle,
Pastorini the ceiling, and Barrett the re-
mainder. The whole is thus described by
Gilpin, and so happily as to leave nothing
more to be wished for upon the subject.
" The walls," he says, " are covered with hard
and durable stucco, and are painted by Bar-
rett. The whole room represents a bower
or arbour, admitting a fictitious sky through
a large oval at the top, and covered at the
angles with trellis-work intervened with
honeysuckles, vines, clustering grapes, and
flowering creepers of various kinds. The
sides of the room are divided by eight painted
pilasters appearing to support the trellis
roof, and open to four views. That to-
wards the south is real, consisting of the vale
included by Boxhill and the hills of Norbury
and Dorking ; the other three are artificial.
The two end views cover the whole sides of
the room from the ceiling to the base. The
scene presented on the -west wall is taken
from the lakes of Cumberland ; it is an exact
portrait of none of them, but a landscape
formed from a combination of some of the
happiest circumstances, which belong to all.
A large portion of the lake, under a splendid
calm, is spread before the eye, surrounded by



mountains perfectly well shaped and sta-
tioned. Nature is not very nice in the
moulds in which she commonly cast these
enormous bodies, and as they have various
forms of beauty, so have they of deformity ;
but here we have some of the most pleasing
shapes called out and beautifully grouped.
Woods are scattered about every part, which
give to these scenes a greater richness than
nature hath given to any of the lakes in
Cumberland. All this scenery is contained
in various removes of distance ; for no part
of the lake comes close to the eye. The
nearer ground is composed of bold rocks
and other rough surfaces with which the
banks of lakes commonly abound. Among
these'a wild torrent, variously broken, pours
its waters under the surbace of the room
which intercepts it. This torrent the painter
has managed so well that its spirit and
brilliancy produce no lights which interfere
with the calm resplendency of the lake, but
rather contrast it. As the sun is represented
setting on the western side of the room, it
is supposed to illumine the several objects
in all the pictures ; and when the natural
hour corresponds with the hour represented
there is a coincidence of artificial and natural
light ; and all the landscapes, both within
and without the room, appear illumined with
the same sun. The union between the
natural and artificial landscape is still farther
assisted by a few straggling trees, which are
planted before the windows with a view to
connect the picture with the country."

Notwithstanding the excellence of the
painting so glowingly, as well as graphically,
described by Gilpin, we much doubt whether
there will not be always something incongru-
ous in this attempt to unite art and nature.
Most assuredly the contrast thus produced
will not be in favour. The attempt in any
case to realise art, to make it what it is
not, and never can be, must always end in
failure. It is in fact a mistaking of the great
end of art, which produces pleasure by re-
semblance, and not by reality. The associa-
tions in the two cases — and how much of
effect depends upon associations! — are totally
different. Hence it is that we often find
what is displeasing in its real form, such for
instance as a ruined shed, a pauper in rags,
or the like, may become extremely pleasing
in its imitative form under the plastic hand
of art.

The frescos above alluded to had become
somewhat injured by time, but have lately
been restored by Mr. E. J. Parris, the
painter of the large panorama in the London
Colosseum. It should also be observed that
the saloon which contains them is nine-and-
twenty feet long, by three-and-twenty feet
in breadth. A glazed door-way opens from
it to the lawn "and pleasure-grounds, first



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



221



laid out and planted by Mr. Sperling, who
also formed a new carriage-road, which from
its winding up the heights, instead of taking
a straight direction, made the ascent to the
house much easier than it had been before
his time. Since then another winding road has
been constructed, and new prospects admitted
towards the north-east by the removal of the
upper portion of a large chalk hill, which
had previously bounded the view in that
direction. In addition to this two other
improvements have been made, which con-
tribute greatly to the general beauty of the
place. On the Mickleham side, the water was
formerly crossed by a bridge ; this has been
removed, and a neat bridge of brick, with
three arches, has been substituted in its
place. A new lodge also has been erected
at the entrance to the park from Leather-
head.

The prospects from the Norbury Hills
are magnificent in the extreme, and not a
little heightened by the scenery that more
closely surrounds the House, and which is
infinitely diversified. In some parts the
grounds descend sharply to the winding banks
of the River Mole; in others it swells up,
more or less boldly, into rounded knolls and
heights commanding the most extensive pro-
spects. Every advantage, moreover, has
been taken of the natural capabilities of this
delightful spot. The trees, which comprise
almost every species of timber adapted to
the soil and climate, are disposed with much
taste and judgment, while the paths and roads
are so arranged as to lead to those points
that command the most picturesque and ex-
tensive prospects. The principal timber is
oak, beech, chestnut, elm, and larch, many
of them being of tine growth and venerable
age. A grove of yew trees is particularly
remarkable, its dark masses contrasting
gloomily with the lighter foliage of the
other plantations. Imagination would al-
most people it with Druids, while it recalls
to mind, though certainly with more softened
features, the dark grove described with such
terrible graces by the poet Lucan, which
even the priest entered with dread at mid-
day—

"Lucus crat longo nunqunm violatus ab revo
Obscurum cingens coimexis aera ramis,
Et gelidas alte. submotis solibus umbras.
Ilunc non ruricolffl Panes nemorumque potcntc3
Sylvani Nymphoeque tenent."

But if not visited by Nymphs or Satyrs, this
yew-tree grove is frequented by a tribe
almost as rare — the moths, called the Dotted
Chestnut (Glea Rubiginea). When the berries
of the yew are ripe, they come here to feed
upon them, and becoming intoxicated with
their juice are easily caught about the hour
of midnight. This visitation of the Dotted
Chestnut takes place in October.



Some of the yews are of great age, and
have attained a most unusual size, being in
girth full seven yards, at three or four feet
only from the ground. One is even two-and-
twenty feet in circumference, and had seven
enormous limbs, but two of these have been
lopt off; of those that remain the largest
is nearly nine feet in girth, a most portentous
magnitude for the mere branch of a tree.

A particular circumstance has been stated
with regard to the growth of timber in this
park, which it would be difficult to account
for, and which we do not believe to be gene-
ral : where the oak decays, the beech springs
up ; and where the beech rots away, it is
spontaneously succeeded by the oak.

The whole of this estate comprises some*
thing less than five hundred and twenty acres.
About three hundred acres are devoted to the
park and the pleasure-grounds ; one hundred
and ten acres are occupied by woods and
plantations ; ninety -five are meadow and pas-
ture land ; and the River Mole takes for its
own share no less than twelve acres, and like
Hotspur's Trent,



-"A comes me cranking in,



A huge half moon, a monstrous cantle out."

Another four acres are occupied by the
kitchen-gardens and by the farm adjoining
the site of the ancient manor-house ; they
form a part of the Priori/ Land, so called
because it belonged in olden times to the
Priors of Reigate, the whole of whose estate
consisted of about two hundred and eighty
acres, or perhaps somewhat more, in the
lower part of Norbury.

This seat, as we have already observed, is
encircled by some of the most beautiful
scenery in all Surrey ; yet full justice would
hardly be done to the subject if we quitted
it without a particular mention of the pro-
spects from the lawn. On the left hand are
the abrupt and chalking heights of Boxhill ;
upon the right, are the eminences of the park
itself, presenting every shade of green, from
the darkest to the most vivid, or in autumn
melting into rich and yellow tints, equally
varied, and perhaps even more picturesque.
In the middle, as it were of this splendid
picture, appear the vales of Mickleham and
Dorking, that gradually spread into the dis-
tant country, till the whole scene terminates
in the acclivities of that part of the Leith
Hill range called Hanstiebury, and yet far-
ther on in the dimly-seen horizon.

BRAMPTON HALL, in the county of Suffolk,
the seat of the Rev. Thomas Orgill Leman,
This property has for a very long period been
possessed by the same family, which was
formerly called Orgill, but in 1807, the Rev.
N. T. Orgill took the name of Leman.

The old Brampton Hall was destroyed by



222



SEATS OP GREAT BRITAIN.



fire in 1733. The present mansion was
erected by the Rev. N. T. Orgill, above men-
tioned, in 1795. It is a substantial building
of red brick, standing in grounds about
twenty acres in extent.

THE CHASE, Herefordshire, the seat of
Dr. George Strong, a magistrate for the
county. The name of this family was
formerly written Stronge, a corruption of
Straunge or Storange.

The Chase in olden times was an extensive
forest, as its name imports, belonging to the
See of Hereford ; for, though it may sound
strangely in the present day, the good
bishops scrupled not to enjoy the amuse-
ment of hunting. Thus we learn from the
record " that when the Lord Bishop (Richard
Swinfield) was at Ross on the Monday next
before the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle,
in the year of our Lord 1286, his huntsman
with some of his men ran in the chase there
in Penyard, and took there a young stag ;
and since a dispute ensued concerning that
stag, and the place in which it was taken
between the same huntsman and the
king's foresters, afterwards in the
Lord's (Bishop's) absence an inquisition
was taken," the result of which was
that the jurors agreed in the stag having
been killed within the bishop's legal limits.
This verdict was a fortunate one for the pre-
late, as otherwise he would have been heavily
fined ; the kings of those days being peculiarly
tenacious of their forest rights and privi-
leges. It may not perhaps be amiss to
observe in this place, " a chase was a spot
of ground where animals were preserved
for the sake of hunting, and legally recog-
nized by grant, privilege, or prescription.
It differed from a park in being uninclosed,
and from a forest, in smaller extent ; the
latter of which belonged to the king only."

It would seem by the Harleian Manu-
script that Queen Elizabeth obtained the
royalty and demesnes of Ross, — of which
the Chase formed a part — in exchange for
other lands which she gave the See of
Hereford. Afterwards it " hath appertained
to the Devereuxes, 'till within these twelve
years by the death of the late Robert, Earl
of Essex (who died September 14th, 1646) for
want of issue of his body it went to his sisters,
by one of which it came to the Marquesse
of Hartford." Subsequently it was pos-
sessed by the Marquess of Bath, who in
1835 sold it to the family of Cooke. Dr.
Strong having married Charlotte, the only
daughter and heir of John Cooke, Esq.,
became possessed in her right of this estate.

The present House was erected about
five-and-thirty years ago. It is a handsome
structure in the Italian style of archi-
tecture.



ELFORD HALL, Staffordshire, about five
miles from Lichfield, the seat of the Honour-
able Mrs. Greville Howard, widow of the
Hon. Col. Pulke Greville Howard, and only
daughter and heir of Richard Bagot, Esq.,
by the Hon Frances Howard, his wife,
sister and heir of Henry, Earl of Suffolk and
Berkshire. Elford derives its name from the
village so called, upon the north bank of
the Tame, which had this appellation from
the number of eels with which the river
in its neighbourhood formerly abounded.
Such at least is the popular tradition, and it
does not want for probability; for this fish
was held in high esteem by our ancestors ;
and in many places, as at Alrewas and Mare,
the tenants were obliged to furnish the lord's
table. Still it is not impossible, nor even
unlikely, that this name may have originated
in some old Saxon word, that is now forgotten.

Previous to the Conquest this manor be-
longed to Earl Algar, a Saxon thane of high
repute, but it was seized by the Norman
monarch, and retained by him in his own
possession, when he had obtained the mas-
tery of the island by his hard-won victory at
Hastings, During the reign of Henry the
Third, it was held by William de Arderne,
and continued with his descendants until
Maud, sole heiress of Sir John Arderne, con-
veyed it by marriage to Thomas, second son of
Sir John Stanley at Latham. By a succession
of descents it passed in the same manner to the
Stantons ; from the Stantons to the Smiths ;
from the Smiths to the Huddlestons ; and
from the Huddlestons to the Bowes. In this
last-named family it continued through many
generations, until it passed to Craven Howard,
Esq., by his marriage with Mary, daughter
of George Bowes, Esq. Their son, Henry
Bowes Howard, became Earl of Suffolk and
Berkshire, and was grandfather of Henry,
12th Earl of Suffolk, whose sister Frances,
eventually inherited Elford, and married
Richard Bagot, Esq.

This House was commenced by Henry
Bowes Howard, Earl of Suffolk and Berk-
shire, with a design to make it his place of
abode, but he died before he could accom-
plish his purpose.

At the ancient mansion, Henry VII. is
said to have slept the night before the battle
of Bosworth Field.

The church, village, and house, form a very
pleasing group of objects on the banks of the
Tame, which is here a beautiful river. Pen-
nant tells us that he forded the river and
went by Elford -low, a verdant mound, which
Dr. Plot proved from examination to have
been sepulchral, but from its situation and
elevation he suspects it might have had on
it a specula, or watch-tower, and that all the
others — for there are several in the immediate
neighbourhood — might have been for the



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



223



same use, to repeat signals in time of
danger.

Dr. Wilkes speaks of it thus : —
"About half a mile from the mansion-
house, near the road to Tamworth, on the
left hand is a round little hill, by some called
Elford-low, and about a mile further on the
right is another ; but by whom, or on what
occasion they were made, is uncertain. By
the country people they are called Robin
Hood's Shooting Butts, and they believe that
he was sometimes here and able to shoot an
arrow from one of them to the other. In this
county, and indeed all over the kingdom, such
little hills, or lows, are common; some of
which are natural, and some made by hand
on some particular occasion or other ; either
after a battle to cover the dead bodies ; for
the interment of some great man, died in
peaceable times ; for pleasure, by yielding an
agreeable prospect to kings and great men
when hunting; or lastly for profit, either to
fix a windmill upon, or for a coney-burrow
&c. In the places about Cheaclle, a delph-
low is composed of the earth drawn out
of a coal pit, and placed round the eye of it."

SHIKBURN CASTLE, Oxfordshire, near Pir-
ton, and one mile from Watlington, the seat
of the Earl of Macclesfield. The name was
originally written Sherborn, and Shireborne.

The first satisfactory notice of this place
is in the reign of King Stephen, about the
year 1141, when Brien Fitz-Count, Lord of
Wallingford "received under his custody
William Martel, sewer to the king, taken at
Winchester, and put into his closest prison
called Cloere Brim, and for his ransom had
the Castle of Sherborn delivered to the
empress."

We next find Shirborn in the possession
of Henry de Tyes, who held it by the grant of
Richard, Earl of Cornwall, it being a part of
the barony forfeited to the crown by Robert
Earl of Dreux. Here too it was that the
barons, who had entered into a confederacy
against the king's unworthy favourites, the
two Despensers, met under the command of
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, and thence
marched to London, obtaining a temporary
triumph over the king. The next year the
face of things was totally changed ; Edward
defeated his insurgent subjects at Borough-
bridge, and Henry de Tyes, like his leader,
the Earl of Lancaster, and so many others of
the confederates, was put to death. Alice,
his sister and heir, who was of full age and
married to Warine de St. Isle, then suc-
ceeded to the estate. This Warine, who
had particularly distinguished himself in the
wars against Scotland, was made governor of
Windsor Castle, and warden of the forest.
But he too had unfortunately joined the
Earl of Lancaster in his rebellion against



Edward, and upon the total defeat of the in-
surgents at Boroughbridge, as we have just
related, was hanged at York with Lord
Mowbray and many others. Gerard, his son
and heir, was at that time three-and-twenty
years old. In the succeeding reign, his
widow Alice procured the royal pardon for
her husband's transgressions, and amongst
other favours obtained a charter of free war-
ren at Sherborne, as also liberty to enclose
one hundred acres of wood, with forty acres
of waste land, that the whole might be con-
verted into a park.

From this family in process of time Sher-
borne passed to Thomas Lord Berkley, by
his marriage with Margaret, the daughter
and heir of the house in default of heirs
male. Upon their decease they left no child
but a daughter named Elizabeth, who having
long before been married to Richard Beau-
champ, Earl of Warwick, the estate devolved
to him. It appears that this Earl of War-
wick died in the seventeenth year of Henry
the Sixth's reign leaving three daughters and
coheirs, of whom the eldest, Margaret, had
become the wife of John Talbot, Earl of
Shrewsbury ; " and as these three daughters
were heirs to Elizabeth their mother (dau.
and heir to Thomas Lord Berkley), he had
livery of the lands which thereupon belonged
to her. Their son had the title of Lord
LTsle ; but whether Sherborn was among the
lands of this Countess of Shrewsbury, or had
become the property of the Quartermayne
family, remains to be discovered." At all
events Sherborne, if not then, did yet at a
subsequent period belong to the Quarter-
maynes. Leland tells us that " the house of
the Quartermains in Oxfordshire hath beene
famous and of right fair possessions. Their
chief house was at Weston by Ricote, wher
Mr. Clerk now dwelleth. And Sherborne,
withyn a mile of Wathelington Church, wher
is a strong pile or castelet, longed to Quatre-
mains ; sins to Fowler ; and by exchange
now to Chambrelein of Oxfordshire.

" About King Henry the V.'s dayes, dyvers
brethren dyed of the Quatremains, one after
another ; and by a great onlykelihod al the
landes descended to one Richard, the youngest
of the brethren, that was a marchant of Lon-
don, and after custumer there.

"This Richard had a servaunt callid Tho-
mas Fowler, his clerk, a toward felow that
after was Chauncelar of the Duchy of Lan-
castre.

" Richard Quatremain bare greate favor to
this Thomas.

" Richard was Godfather to Thomas' sunne,
and named hym Richard Quatermaine Fow-
ler.

" Richard Quatermains lay at Ricote, and
caussid Thomas Fowler to lay at Weston.

" Richard Quatermaines made Richard



224



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



Thomas Fowler sunne heir of most part of
his landes, because he had no children.

" Richard Quartermains, godfather to
Richard Fowler, made a right goodly large
chapelle of ease hard without the manor
place of Ricote, and founded ther 2 chauntre
prestes to sing perpetually for his soule,
enduing the cantuaries with good landes,
and made a fair house for the prestes there-

by."

" Richard Fowler, heir to Quatermains,
was a very onthrift, and sold al his landes,
levying his children ful smaul lyvinges."

At a later period Sherborn Castle became
for a short time the property of the Gage
family, from whom it was purchased by
Thomas Parker, first Earl of Macclesfield.

During the great civil war, this strong-
hold, like so many others, was a grand cause
of contention between the Cavaliers and
Roundheads.

The wife of one of the Chamberlains, who
it seems was a zealous loyalist, thought
proper to garrison and hold it for the king,
but the cannon of General Fairfax soon
brought the lady to submission. This oc-
curred in 1646.

A castellated building was first raised here
in the fourteenth century. It is a quadran-
gular pile with a circular tower at each cor-
ner, and is entirely surrounded by a moat,
which is broad as well as deep, and filled
with running water. It is accessible only by
three drawbridges, the chief entrance being
guarded by a portcullis. Flat ranges of
buildings occupy the space between the
towers, and along the whole top is an em-
battled parapet. There would seem to be
something singular in the construction of
the foundation-walls ; for although some
rooms are situated below the level of the
water that surrounds the place, yet they are
nearly as dry as any of the higher apart-
ments. The most ancient part of this struc-
ture is the hall.

Within this fine old building is a long
room fitted up as an armoury and in admira-
ble keeping with its external appearance.
It is filled with all the appliances of ancient
as well as modern warfare, with various
pieces of mail, tilting spears, shields, swords,
&c, while in its proper place stands the
chair of baronial dignity. The other rooms
are of a more modern character, but though
not very large, are in general well propor-
tioned. There are two extensive libraries,
containing many rare volumes as well as a
highly valuable collection of manuscripts,
and tastefully adorned with sculpture and
paintings. The most interesting perhaps
amongst the latter, is an original portrait of
Catharine Parr, one of the many wives of
the English Blue-beard. She is represented
as standing behind a vacant chair that is re-



markable for the quantity of its ornaments,
and her hand is placed upon the back. The
whole of her costume is splendid in the ex-
treme, her fingers are loaded with rings, and
in one hand she carries a handkerchief edged
with deep lace. In a lone part of the frame
and carefully protected by glass, is inserted
a lock of hair that was cut from her head in
1799, when her coffin was opened at Sudeley
Castle. The hair is auburn, corresponding
exactly with that ascribed to her in the
portrait.

The flower-garden is 'laid out with much
taste, and an extensive conservatory of stone
and. cast-iron was erected a few years since.
In a retired spot is a pavilion for the recep-
tion of flowers in the more genial part of
summer. The Park comprises about sixty
acres of good land, but too flat to be pecu-
liarly interesting.

GADGIKTH, Ayrshire, the seat of John
Joseph Burnett, Esq.

The early possessors of Gadgirth >vere
the family of Chalmers, whose origin is so
remote as to be uncertain. It is even im-
possible to say whether they were originally
native to Scotland, or of Saxon or Norman
lineage, since nothing can be gathered from
their surname, which would seem to have been
assumed from the office they held at an early
period. If we might put faith in a birth-brieve



Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 2) → online text (page 49 of 73)