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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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or somewhere about that period. Bridget,
daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Hunger-
ford, Knt., then conveyed it by marriage to
Edmund Dunch, Esq. It was next pur-
chased of the Dunch family by James Craggs,
Esq., Secretary of State to King George
the First. He bequeathed it to his daughters,
by the youngest of whom it was conveyed
in marriage to the Eliots.

The mansion of Down-Ampney stands
partly in Wiltshire and partly in Gloucester-
shire, retaining more of its baronial grandeur
than any existing residence of the Hunger-
fords, a family once so fortunate and so




glorious. This building still presents the
perfect remains of a noble gateway leading
to the mansion, in which also may be found
some relics of the olden times. This portal
is flanked by two noble towers, and is grand
as well as appropriate in its architecture,
doing no little credit to the taste and judg-
ment of the contriver.

A slight trace of the Hungerfords still
remains in the name of Hungerford Market.
It occupies the site of a house which at one
time belonged to the family, but which was
demolished by Sir Edward Hungerford, who
by his unbounded extravagance squandered
a princely fortune, and thereby acquired the
title of "The Spendthrift."

GWYSANEY, co. Flint, the seat of the
ancient and eminent family of Davies, the
maternal ancestors of Philip Davies Cooke,
Esq., of Owston, Yorkshire. It stands upon
high ground, nearly six hundred feet above
the level of the sea, and about t»vo miles
north of the town of Mold, which was an-
ciently called by the Romans Mons Altus ;
and by the Britons, Yr Wyddyriuj, meaning
a " lofty and conspicuous hill."

The mansion is of the old English or
Elizabethan style of architecture, and was
erected some time between the vears 1597


and 1603. It is built of micacious sandstone,
on a stratum of which it stands, but the
materials are supposed to have been brought
from a still older family residence about half
a mile distant. Of this a few traces only
are to be seen, although the field where we
find them is still called " Hen bias" or the
Old Place.

From the House and grounds is an exten-
sive view, stretching over the Dee and Mersey
Rivers to the east, the vale of Mold to the
south, and the Clwydian range of mountains
to the west. The soil is extremely favourable
to the growth of trees, which attain here to
an immense size, particularly sycamores and
Spanish chestnuts.

This family, being stanch adherents of
the Stuarts during the great civil war, at-
tempted to fortify and hold out their man-
sion for Charles against his opponents. They
were consequently besieged by Sir William
Brereton, a parliamentary general of emi-
nence, who took Gwysaney, after a short but
gallant resistance, on the 12th of April, 1645.
The remnant of its little garrison, twenty-
seven men in number, with their officers,
were made prisoners. Marks of the siege
are still visible, and a bullet yet remains
in the door of the mansion.

The Daviescs of Gwysaney have ranked for
centuries among the first families of North
Wales. They derived an unbroken male
descent from the famed Cynric Efell, Lord of

Eglwys Egle, living a.d. 1200, son of Madoc
ap Meredith, Prince of Powys Fadoc, sixth in
descent from, and heir of, Mervyn, King of
Powys, third son of Rhodri Mawr. In the
Landed Gentry a full history of this great
house appears. Suffice it, for our present
purpose, to state that the first who assumed
the name of Davies was John ap David, of
Gwysaney, great grandfather of the stanch
royalist, Robert Davies, Esq., to whose bold
defence of Gwysaney we have just alluded.
He served as High Sheriff of Flintshire in
1644, 1645, 1646, and 1660, and a release
granted to him by Oliver Cromwell, dated
1658, is still preserved. At the Restoration,
his name occurs among those deemed quali-
fied for the knighthood of the " Royal Oak."
and his estate was then estimated at £2,000
a-year ; a very considerable sum for those
times. By his marriage with Anne, daugh-
ter and co-heir of Sir Peter Mutton, Chief
Justice of North Wales, he acquired the fine
estate of Llanerch Park. His son and heir,
Mutton Davies, Esq., of Gwysaney and
Llanerch, High Sheriff of Flintshire in 1670,
married Elizabeth, only daughter of Sir
Thomas Wflbraham, Bart., of Woodhey, and
had, with junior issue, two sons : I. Robert,
of Gwysaney and Llanerch, High Sheriff cf
Flintshire in 1704, whose present representa ■
tive is Philip Davies Cooke, Esq., of Gwy-
saney; and II. Thomas, whose descendant
and male heir is the present Owen Davies,
Esq., some time resident at Chilwell Hall,
Notts, and Eton House, Kent.

ERLESTOKE PARK, Wiltshire, about seven
miles south-west of Devizes, the pro-
perty of Mrs. Watson Taylor, by whom it
is let on a yearly lease to Lord Broughton
de Gyfford. This estate, together witli that
of Eddington, where formerly stood an old
family mansion of the Dukes of Bolton, be-
longed at one time to Peter Delme', Esq., and
of him it was purchased about the year 1780,
by Joshua Smith, Esq., M.P. for Devizes,
who so completely altered the whole domain,
as scarcely to leave it a single trait of its
original character. The fine old trees in the
park may be said to be almost the onty re-
mains of the bygone period. The pleasure
grounds, the plantations, all sprang up under
the hand of the energetic proprietor ; even
a new village started into life, like a second
Aladdin's palace. The old house at Stoke
Park, which was built close on the edge of a
small stream at the foot of the hill, was pulled
down, and a new mansion erected on the
brow of a steep knoll, or eminence, partly
embosomed in noble forest trees, and
partly open to distant prospects. The
building, composed of a fine white free-
stone, Avas begun in 1786, and finished in



five years. Together with the offices, it
extends from east to west three hundred and
fifty-six feet in front, in the centre of which
is a Doric colonnade, opening into a very
handsome hall, forty feet in length, and two-
and-thirty feet in breadth. It is ornamented
witli a screen of six fluted Corinthian
columns, and communicates with the draw-
ing-room, dining-room, library, and other
apartments. The first of these is thirty feet
by twenty-four, its length being apparently
enlarged, from the effect produced by two
mirrors, placed at the opposite ends of the

The dining-room, to the east, communi-
cates with the. library, which faces the north,
the former being thirty-six feet by twenty-
four, while the latter is forty feet long, and
twenty -six feet wide. 'West of this is the
breakfast-room, which, with a large dressing-
room, constitutes the ground suite of apart-

In this noble mansion lived the family of
the Smiths, in a manner worthy of its splen-
dour ; but they have now all descended to
the grave, or are scattered and dispersed.
In 1820, the executors of the late Simon
Taylor, Esq., bought the manor and estate
of Erie Stoke, with those of Edington and
Coulston, for two hundred and fifty thousand
pounds. They were settled upon Mrs. Wat-
son Taylor, as sole heiress of her uncle, on
the death of her only brother, Sir Simon 11.
B. Taylor (who died unmarried in the year
1815), the whole, with other landed pro-
perty, being entailed on the heirs male and
female in succession, of George Watson
Taylor, Esq., M.P., and his wife, the above
lady. Many large additions have been
made to these extensive domains.

The present park and pleasure grounds
consist of about six hundred acres, distin-
guished by a great variety of surface, with
bold eminences, narrow, winding valleys,
and wood and water in abundance. About a
mile to the south of the House is the north-
ern boundary of Salisbury Plain, present-
ing a lofty ridge, that extends in an undulat-
ing and irregular line, from west to east, for
the distance of several miles. Towards the
north this plain slopes rapidly, abounding
in deep romantic dells, that are mostly
covered with a thin turf; but on the Erie
Stoke estate, it is clothed with thick and ex-
tensive plantations of firs, beech, larch, and
other indigenous timber. Prom one of these
hollows rises an abundant spring of fine
water, that meanders through a secluded
pleasure ground, and in places expands into
small lakes, having in its passage over the
ridges of rock formed several beautiful cas-
cades. Upon reaching the park, the accu-
mulated waters swell into a broad and noble
sheet, that from the north and west sides of

the House presents a most pleasing feature in
the landscape.

The approach and entrance to the mansion
were formerly on the south ; but on that
side, a few years ago, a flower garden was
laid out, and enclosed from the park by a
light, high, wire fence ; a new road was also
made, and an entrance portico erected, on
the north side of the House. Other improve-
ments have been effected, the only change
for the worse bemg the dispersion of the
excellent collection of pictures made by Mr.
Watson Taylor, some of which present very
choice specimens of ancient and modern

Amongst the numerous additions to this
splendid estate should be particularly re-
membered, —

ERCHFONT, or TTRCHFONT, in the county
of Wilts, the residence of Simon Watson
Taylor, Esq., the son of Mrs. Watson
Taylor. This property was bought by his
late father, of William Salmon, Esq., who
himself purchased it of the last Duke of
Quetnsbury; the house and lands having
been sold to that nobleman by Lord Chat-
ham, to whom they had been left by Sir
William Pinsent, of Burton Pmsent, in So-

The Manor House of Erchfont is about
five miles from Davizes. The country
around it is extremely picturesque and

TR0ST0N HALL,, in the county of Suffolk,
the property of Henry Capel Lofft, Esq.
Originally this manor belonged to the Abbey
of Bury St. Edmunds. In the year 1680 it
was purchased by Robert Maddox, Esq., whose
father's life affords a singular instance of
the decadence of the highest families, and of
their again rising into place and fortune by
the talents and industry of an individual.
According to the received tradition he de-
scended from the Maddox's of Wales, who
formerly ruled that principality as sovereigns;
but the same event which had robbed his an-
cestors of a crown, reduced him, while yet a
boy, to extreme poverty. At the age of
thirteen he travelled on foot to London, alone
and friendless, with the hope of finding em-
ployment in that supposed Eldorado, tin
streets of which were paved, by popular
belief, with gold. Upon inquiry he was told
that Cheapside was the place most likely to
gratify his wishes. Thither therefore he
bent his steps, and observing a merchant soil
his shoe as he crossed the street, he hastened
to offer his services in cleaning it. Struck
by the boy's attention, the merchant inquired
into his condition, and being satisfied with
his intelligence and apparent honesty, took



him at once into his service. From this
menial state he was, after a time, raised to
the counting-house, where the same zeal in
clue course led to his being taken into part-
nership, and eventually to his acquiring
a large fortune.

From the family of Maddox, Troston
Hall passed to the Brandishes, from them to
the Capels, and rinally to the Loffts.

This place has been noted as having been
the residence of more than one eminent cha-
racter. Here in 1713 was born Edward Capel,
who was amongst the earliest editors of Shak-
speare, but who seems to have received much
the same treatment from Stevens and others
that Stephanas experienced from Scapula when
the latter anticipated his famous Thesaurus,
and robbed him, if not of his glory, at least
of a considerable portion of his expected pro-
fits. Capel, who held the office of Deputy
Inspector of Plays, published an edition of
Shakspeare in ten volumes, 8vo., the result
of twenty years' labour. In the preface to
this edition he announced his purpose of giv-
ing to the world another work upon the
various readings of Shakspeare, with com-
mentaries and remarks, and was proceeding
quietly with his plan, when a host of com-
mentators, with Stevens at their head,
adopted his ideas, and using greater expedi-
tion laid the promised treasures prematurely
before the public. It was of this learned and
laborious writer, Edward Capel, that Dr.
Johnson so ill-naturedly remarked, "If the
man would have come to me, I would have
endeavoured to endow his purposes with
words ; for, as it is, he doth gabble mon-

Here also resided after him his nephew,
Capel LoM't, Esq., an eminent barrister and
distinguished writer upon legal as well as
political subjects. Nor was he less noted as
being the friend and patron of literary
talent. Even the grounds bear marks of
his passionate admiration of genius, almost
every tree having a name of interest
attached to it. Some he consecrated, as it
were, by giving them classic appellations,
such as Demosthenes, Cicero, Homer, Milton,
and such like. One fine elm he denominated
the Evelyn Elm, because Evelyn was cele-
brated for his skill in arboriculture ; while
to commemorate a visit of the philanthropist
at Troston Hall in 1786 a laurel was planted
which still retains his name.

Capel Lotft died in 1824, leaving one son,
Robert-Emlyn, father of Henry Capel Lotft,
Esq., the present proprietor of Troston.

It is not known at what time or by whom,
this mansion was erected ; but it is a homely
building of lath and plaster, and gives an
idea of comfort and hospitality rather than of
cold magnificence. In front there is a court-
yard, with a large and pleasant garden, and a

fish-pond, for the recreation of those who
delight in the quiet amusement of angling.

The House is at present tenanted by Lieu-
tenant General Morse, of the Hon. East India
Company's service.

MOUNT MELVILLE, Fifeshire, near St.
Andrew's, the seat of John AYhyte Melville,
Esq. The date of its erection is uncertain,
but it was considerably enlarged by General
Robert Melville towards the end of the last
century. It is in the Grecian style of
architecture, and stands in an elevated
position in a well-wooded park. On one
side it has a view of the city of St. An-
drew's, and the venerable ruins of its once
extensive cathedral ; upon the other side
it commands the Bay of St. Andrew's with
the Rivers Tay and Eden, and the opposite
coast of Forfarshire bounded in the distance
by the Grampian Hills, to which poets and
travellers have given so much celebrity.

of Somerset, the seat of Francis Popham, Esq.

This mansion was built about thirty years
ago by Thos. Popham, Esq., grandfather of
the present possessor. The House stands in
a lawn of nearly thirty acres.

The Pophams of Bagborough and Hunt-
worth are the male representatives of the
famous old family of Popham.

CARBETH GUTHRIE, in the county of
Stirling, the seat of William Smith, Esq.

This was originally part of the great Mon-
trose estate, alienated by the second Mar-
quess, who retained only the ancient Castle
and Park of Mugdock, and afterwards pur-
chased the estate of Buchanan, now the prin-
cipal seat of that noble family.

The building of this mansion was com-
menced in 1809 by the late John Guthrie, Esq.
and completed in 1810. It is an elegant and
compact house in the modern style of archi-
tecture, possessing every requisite for a pri-
vate family. The grounds are well-wooded,
and laid out with much taste and judgment ;
every advantage being taken of the oppor-
tunities offered by the natural landscape.

DINTON HALL, Buckinghamshire, about
six miles from Aylesbury, upon the road to
Thame, the seat of the Rev. James Joseph
Goodall. The Hall has evidently received
its name from the manor, which has been
variously written, Dinnington, Dunnington,
and Donyngton. At the time of the Norman
Conquest this manor was given by King
AVilliam to his uterine brother, Odo, Bishop
of Baieux, who appears to have been as much
a soldier as a prelate. When Odo forfeited



his lands in the reign of Rufus, Dinton
fell to the Monchensys.

Dinton Hall was originally built in the
year 1500, by William of Warham, Arch-
bishop of Canterbury, in Henry the
Seventh's time, who employed him, then a
layman, as his envoy to the Court of Bur-
gundy, to induce Charles to give up Perkin
Warbeck. Although he failed in his mission,
the king was so well satisfied with what he
had done, that he promised to provide for
him handsomely if he would enter the church.
For many centuries the Hall was pos-
sessed by the Maynes, lords of the manor of
Dinton with four other manors dependent
thereon. Simon Mayne of this family, was
one of the judges who signed the warrant
for King Charles the First's execution. In
the Mystery of the good Old Cause, printed in
1660, he is styled, " one of the Long Par-
liament, a great committee-man, wherein he
licked his fingers ; one of his Prince's cruel
judges, and a constant rumper to the last."
When the royalists once again found them-
selves in power, Mayne, upon the Restoration
was one of those specially exempted in the act
of pardon and indemnity, passed in the 12th
Car. II., with provision that upon conviction
the king might suspend the execution of the
sentence, but his estates to be forfeited.

It is said that Mayne for a long time
eluded the vigilance of his persecutors by a
singular contrivance, which is still, or was
very lately to be seen. He made a secret
retreat, or hiding-place at the top of his
house under the gables of the roof, to which
he ascended by means of an inclined plane
through a tunnel, lined with tapestry and
flannel, as was also the room itself. Three
of the bottom-stairs, being made to lift up,
afforded access to this passage, which when
they were down remained perfectly invisible.
Notwithstanding the act just mentioned,
Simon Mayne, the younger, was permitted to
enjoy his paternal manor ; and, though we
have no authority for saying it was secured
to him by any formal grant, yet it remained
in the family till 1727, when another
Simon Mayne disposed of it to John Van-
hattem, Esq, This last-named purchaser
was a descendant of Leibert Vanhattem,
who had served in the fleet, and married the
daughter of Admiral de Ruyter — " mad de
Ruyter," as he was called from his boast
that he would sweep the Thames of every
English vessel, large or small. It must be
owned, however, extravagant as the boast
may now seem, he accomplished it for a
time, at least as far as Woolwich. It is
perhaps hardly necessary to add that the
memory of this achievement is still preserved
amongst us by affixing in imitation of the
Dutchman, a broom to the mast-head of any
vessel exposed for sale.

The descendant of Leibert came over to
England with William, Prince of Orange,
and in his family Dinton Hall, and the Park
• — as it was then designated — -continued,
until it passed to the Goodalls, by the mar-
riage of the Rev. William Goodali with Re-
becca, daughter of Sir John Vanhattem.
By her he had sixteen children, and the lady
still survives, being hale and hearty, although
not less than eighty-five years of age.

The dwelling of the Maynes and Van-
hattems, adjoining the church-yard on the
west, stands upon the site of a still more
ancient mansion, which we have already men-
tioned as having been erected by William of
Warham in 1500. It is built of red brick,
discoloured —or perhaps we should say, mel-
lowed by old age, and some portions of it
belong to the time of James the First, partly
modernized by the possessors at different
periods. Sashed windows were introduced
by Sir John Vanhattem, into the south front,
and neither that part, nor the offices on the
east side of the House, retain much of the
original style, beyond the mullioned windows,
and heavy stacks of angular chimneys that
crowd the roof. The north front opens into
a small court, lately converted into a garden T
having a terrace-walk on its northern verge,
close to a high wall, which excludes the
building from view, the entrance on that
side being by a descent of several steps
into the house. This north front, wherein
many changes have been made, is now
completed ; the windows of painted glass
perfect, containing numerous coats of arms,
amongst which are conspicuous those of
William of Warham, impaled with the arms
of the Archbishopric of Canterbury. A
wilderness with several large fish-ponds
adjoin it. Parallel with the north front, to
which the approach was by a portal, stood at
one time a row of venerable elms, that had
attained a gigantic size, but although some
still remain, the greater part of them have
been blown down.

The mansion, now a farm-house— of the
Ingoldsbys, with the estates belonging
thereto, was purchased in 1850, and added
to Dinton Hall by the Rev. J. J. Goodali.

In this House are several very valuable
paintings. Amongst them the most pro-
minent, are, an original of Oliver Cromwell
and his Secretary Thurloe ; Portrait of Ad-
miral Anson ; small Head of James the First ;
Christ at the Tribunal of Pilate ; the Judg-
ment of Solomon ; and various landscapes of
interest. Here also is preserved a collection
of fossils, shells, minerals, coins, and many
reliques of antiquity, some of which were
discovered in the immediate vicinity.
Amongst them are portions of weapons,
armour, &c, found in Dinton field. A glass
vessel and some spear-heads have parti-



cularly attracted attention, and are thus
spoken of by an eminent antiquary in a
letter addressed to the Rev. Mr. Brand : —

" They were dug up in an arable field in
sinking a trench for the foundation of a
building in the castle style, which Sir John
Vanhattem erected in 1769, now surrounded
with a small plantation enclosed, adjoining
the turnpike road leading from Dinton to
Thame; or more correctly from Aylesbury to
Dinton and Thame, being a little north-east
of Dinton Church and Hall, on an emi-
nence ; where likewise were at the same
time found many human bones — one of the
skulls being coated with clay, which, on
being taken up, separated from it. The
bones were collected together and deposited
in a coffin in the earth, near the place in
which they were originally discovered, and
upon the spot Sir John Vanhattem, who was
himself an admirer of the study of antiqui-
ties, built an arch, and interspersed amongst
the walls great numbers of the cornua ammo-
nis, and other formed stones, found in the
clay and limestone strata here in vast abun-

The vessel first alluded to is of thin green
glass, of a conical form, much in the shape
of a horn, and indeed entirely resembling the
drinking cups used in many parts of Germany.

Here also are many other curiosities, suck
as, a bottle with the portrait and arms of
King Edward the Fourth, — several small
models of fire-arms, ancient match-locks,
&c. ; a sword reputed to have belonged to
Oliver Cromwell, who left it at Dinton when
(as is traditionally said) he slept here, whilst
the king was besieged in Oxford ; a curious
highly finished steel key ; with a crown and
cypher at the bow, variously conjectured to
have been a pass key, and a personal orna-
ment worn by some lord of the bed-cham-
ber, at a time when the precious metals had
been melted down to supply the exigences
of the civil war ; and one of the shoes worn
by John Bigg, the Dinton Hermit, its fellow
being preserved in the Ashmolean Mu-
seum at Oxford. John was an old man, who
having officiated as a clerk or secretary to
Simon Mayne, the regicide, is described as a
native of Dinton, where he lived during
many years, in the latter part of his life, in a
hut or cave, the site of which is still pointed
out south west of the Hall ; in the summer
months, according to the same tradition, he
retreated to the woods near Kimble. Hearne,
the antiquary, thus speaks of him in a letter
to Brown Willis —

" The shoe is vastly large, made up of
about a thousand pieces of leather. It
belonged to John Bigs, who was clerk to
Judge Mayne, one of the judges wdio gave
sentence upon King Charles I. He lived
in a cave underground, and had been a man

of tolerable wealth, was looked upon as a
pretty good scholar, and of no contemptible
parts. Upon the restoration he grew me-
lancholy, betook himself to a recluse life,

Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 2) → online text (page 52 of 73)