Bernard Burke.

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

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tenant for the county, and also one of the
knights of the shire.

This place forms part of an old Benedictine
monastery, founded in 969, by Ailwin, Ayl-
wyn, or iEthelwin — for the name is variously
written— who, besides being Duke or Earl
of East Anglia,had the singular title of Alder-
man of all England. According to Dugdale,
it owed its origin to the following circum-
stances, which we give in an abridged form,
the original story being somewhat tedious
for those who are no main believers in
such mysteries.

The duke had for many years suffered
from the gout, and amongst other remedies
was accustomed to diet himself on fish
caught by his servant, Ulfget, in the waters
called Rammesmere. One day, when the
man as usual had gone out for this purpose,
he was unable to catch a single fish, though



24



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN



he toiled both with net and line for many
hours. Wearied out at length he fell asleep
in his boat, when St. Benedict appeared to
him in a vision, and thus addressed him : —

" To-morrow, at the dawn of day, cast
your nets, and you shall have an abundant
draught of fish. The largest of these, which
you call hake, you will carry in my name to
your master, and say to him, that receiving
my gift with a thankful heart, he must
build a monastery in this island, and dedi-
cate it to the holy Mother of Mercy, to my-
self, and to all the sainted virgins. That he
may with more certainty find the exact spot
for this purpose, let him watch his tired
herds as they lie down, and that spot which
he sees a bull strike with his right foot,
when he gets up, is the one appointed for
the building. To give him a more constant
belief in these my words, I now crook your
little finger, which he, having recovered from
his gout, shall again make straight."

The man, on awaking, punctually obeyed
the vision. Aylwin went to the island, was
immediately cured of his gout, watched the
cattle, and beheld them lie down in the
form of a cross, with the bull in the middle.
Upon getting up again, the animal struck
the ground with his right foot, according as
the saint had predicted.

The ground, on which the abbey stood,
was at one time an island, encompassed by
the River Ouse, and hence its name — Ram-
sey, that is, the Ram's Eye, or, Island of the
Ram ; the word eye, if we may believe the
old Latin chronicler of Ramsey, meaning an
island, and the rest of the name, he tells us,
was derived from this circumstance. Before
the island was inhabited by man or any
domestic animals, a ram, straying from the
rest of the flock, found his way thither at a
time when the marshy ground was suffi-
ciently dried up by the summer heat, or
hardened by the winter frost, to allow of his
getting over ground which was generally
impassable. When, however, he had once
got there, the fen returned to its usual
watery state, so that the creature was unable
to repass. The chronicler adds, that nature
had furnished him with prodigiously long
and crooked horns, and that thus a tem-
porary inhabitant left a lasting name to the
island. Whether true or not, the tale is
well imagined.

It is curious enough to read the same old
writer's description of what this island once
was, and compare it with what the same
ground now is : —

" It was separated," he tells us, " on the
west from the more solid land, for the dis-
tance of about two stones' throw, by a slug
gish stream, which formerly receiving be
tween its cheerful shores only ships carried
forward by a gentle gale; but it is now



approached by a public causeway, the muddy
stream being pent up by means of heavy
labour, and a great consumption of timber,
sand, and stones. It was abundantly encir-
cled with beds of alders, as well as by those
of reeds, and a luxuriancy of flags and bull-
rushes, and was formerly covered with many
different sorts of trees, but particularly with
the verdant wild ash ; yet now, by lapse of
time, the woods being partly destroyed, it
appears a rich arable soil, rich in fruits,
smiling with corn, planted with gardens, and
fertile in pastures ; its beautiful meads
seeming in spring as if painted with flowers,
by which the whole becomes a picture tinted
with a variety of hues. It is, besides, sur-
rounded with fenny meres full of eels, and
lakes breeding many sorts of fish and water-
fowl. One of these, called Rames-mere,
from the name of the island, excelling all
the others in beauty and fertility, affords
from that part where it flows gently along
its sandy shore, and where the largest wood
is most abundant, at a place called Mereham,
a most delightful prospect. In its vast
pools pikes of a wonderful size, called
habredes, are frequently caught, as well by
the sweep, or drag-net, as by other kinds of
nets, the baited hooks being let down, with
other implements of the fisher's art ; and
though day by day, as well as night, the
watery sportsman incessantly labours there,
and a variety of the watery brood is always
taken, yet there still remains an abundance
for future sport."

This account has been copied by Dugdale,
though with considerable abridgments. In-
deed, he seems to have derived most of his
materials, in regard to Ramsey, from the
same source.

At one time, Ramsey Abbey was the re-
sidence of Sir Oliver Cromwell, uncle and
godfather of the great Protector, but who,
with all his family, was totally opposed in
politics to his nephew. One of them, Major
William Cromwell, we find engaged in a dis-
graceful plot to murder his cousin, for hav-
ing attained the regal seat, though without
the name of a king. Of another son, John,
a very curious anecdote is told, in connection
with Oliver Cromwell, and which has gene-
rally been interpreted into a new proof of
the Protector's signal duplicity, but wdiich,
with much more show of reason, might be
quoted in evidence of his very great reluc-
tance to bring King Charles to the block.
Notwithstanding the opposition that Oliver
invariably met with from his uncle's family,
who had taken up arms against him in the
Civil War, it would seem that he was often
on friendly terms with them. Upon one
occasion, when Charles was a prisoner to the
army of the Parliament, Oliver exclaimed, in
the presence of his cousin, " I think the



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



25



king the most injured prince in the world ;
but this," putting his hand to his sword,
" shall right him." From ihis John inferred
that the general and future protector was
not disposed to go so far as many wished to
do ; when, therefore, the king was condemned
to die, and certain of the royal friends be-
sought him to be a mediator with his all-
powerful relation, John willingly undertook
the task, and engaged to present the letters,
which had been signed both by the prince
and king, and confirmed by the states, offer-
ing Oliver his own terms if he would prevent
the fatal sentence against Charles from being
carried into execution. With some difficulty
the mediator obtained an audience, when,
after the usual compliments, he began to
expatiate upon the crime about to be com-
mitted, and which would be an indelible
stain upon all parties concerned, adding,
" that of all men living, he thought he would
never have had any hand in it, who, in his
hearing, had protested so much for the
king." To this Oliver replied, " It was not
he, but the army ; and though he did once
say some such words, yet now times were
altered, and Providence seemed to order
things otherwise," — adding, " that he had
prayed and fasted for the king, but no re-
turn that way was yet made to him." Sur-
prised but not yet baffled, the colonel stepped
nastily and shut the door, an action which,
for the moment, made Oliver believe it was
intended to murder him. But the other had
no such purpose. Taking some papers from
his pocket, he said, " Cousin, this is no time
to trifle with words ; see here, it is now in
your own power not only to make yourself,
but your family, relations, and posterity
happy and honourable for ever ; otherwise,
as they have changed their name before
from Williams to Cromwell, so now they
must be forced to change it again, for this
fact will bring such an ignominy upon the
whole generation of them, as no time will be
able to efface."

Oliver was evidently staggered at these
suggestions ; he paused for a few minutes
in some perturbation, and then replied,
" Cousin, I desire you will give me till night
to consider of it ; and do you go to your
own inn, and not to bed, till you hear from
me,"

The colonel instantly complied, and at one
o'clock in the morning he received a message
that " he might go to rest, and expect no
other answer to carry to the prince ; for the
council of officers had been seeking God, as
he had also done, and it was resolved by
them all that the king must die." A more
striking picture of a mind altogether unde-
termined, wishing, but not able, to find an ex-
cuse for shrinking from a deed suggested by
its own judgment, could hardly have been

VOL. II.



given. The question is not whether that
judgment was right or wrong; it was evi-
dently the opinion of Cromwell that it
would not be safe to let the king live, and
yet all the time he was seeking some excuse
to himself for acting contrary to his own
conviction.

Henry Cromwell, the grandson of Sir
Oliver, dying without male issue, the estate
devolved to his daughters, who sold it to
the famous Colonel Silas Titus, the supposed
author of Killing no Murder, either in 1674,
or in 1075. He also had no male heirs, and
the eldest of his surviving daughters, to
whom it at length fell, bequeathed it to her
two servants. From them the manor was
purchased by Coulson Fellowes, Esq., in
1730.

The Abbey stood at the upper end of
the town, towards the south, at a little dis-
tance from the present church. The princi-
pal remains of it still existing are the gate-
way, now used for a porter's lodge, and
formerly, according to Browne Willis, for a
prison. It is a fine fragment of very beauti-
ful architecture, one of the finest perhaps in
the kingdom. The same writer asserts, that
the manor-house and offices were built out of
the ruins of the ancient abbey. Gough says,
that the monks' hall, or abbot's parlour, and
dining-room, were converted into a house by
Sir Richard Cromwell, and that he saw
there, in 1782, a neglected abbotial chair.

Many alterations have been made since
the property came into the hands of the
family now owning it. In 1806 the late
W. H. Fellowes, Esq., made several im
provements in the existing building, to
adapt it to the ideas of modern taste and
convenience, though, upon the whole,
even then the general character was not
much changed from what it Avas before.
Still more extensive improvements were
undertaken and carried out in the years
1838 and 1839, by the present proprietor,
from the plans of Mr. Blore, an architect of
eminence. It now offers the appearance of
a large and handsome mansion, commanding
a wide and diversified prospect, and situated
in the midst of a noble property, which has
been much increased by the gentleman now
in possession of it. He also owns Haver-
land Hall, nine miles from Norwich, and
six from Aylsham, in the county of Norfolk
This estate was purchased in 1774, of the
Heme family, by W. H. Fellowes, Esq. It
was an old baronial house, situated in a well-
timbered park, with an extensive piece of
water, and a large wood of three hundred
acres. But this building was pulled down
in 1840, by the present proprietor of the
estate, who, the year before had commenced
a new mansion upon another site. This last
edifice, in the Italian style of architecture,

E



26



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN'.



was completed in 1843. It is built of Bath
stone, and stands upon a rising ground, with
a south-east aspect, commanding a fine view
of mingled wood and water. The gardens
and grounds belonging to the house are
entirely a new formation, and considerable
improvements are going on in them even
now, that evince both the taste and the
liberality of the proprietor.

GLANGWILLY, Llanllawddog parish, Car-
marthenshire, South Wales, the seat of John
Lloyd Price, Esq., a magistrate for the
counties of Carmarthen and Cardigan, and
deputy-lieutenant of the former, for which he
served as high sheriff in 1840, the representa-
tive of a very ancient "Welsh family of the
name of " Lloyd," which (as appears by the
Heraldic Visitations of Wales, returned
under authority to the College of Arms, in
1586, by Lewis Dwnn, deputy herald-at-
arms, and published by the Welsh MSS.
Society), was descended from Trehairn, the
eldest son of Cadivor-vawr, Prince of Dyfed,
who died about the year 1089, and was
buried in the priory at Carmarthen.

The present house, which is built in the
Tudor style of Gothic architecture, is of con-
siderable dimensions, and was erected about
the year 1835, by the present owner, Mr. J.
Lloyd Price, upon the site of the very old
mansion which he then almost entirely pulled
down, and the age of which cannot now be
ascertained. It is situated on the banks of
the River Gwilly, near to its source, and in a
beautifully wooded valley, about seven mdes
distant from the town of Carmarthen.

Mr. Price's ancestors, the Lloyds of Glan-
gwilly, have, for several centuries, as appears
from family records, owned this property,
and no trace can be found that it ever
belonged to any other family, each succes-
sive owner always residing on the family
estate ; and as it is proved by ancient manu-
scripts, that Trehairn, the son of Cadivor-
vawr, owned the lordship of Whittigada, in
which lordship this property is situate, it
may fairly be presumed, that the Glangwilly
estate was a portion of his vast possessions,
and came to the Lloyd family through him.
The list of sheriffs for Carmarthenshire
shows, that David Lloyd ap Griffith, one of
the family, who lived on the Glangwilly
estate, in 1586, served that office in respect
of this property, in the years 1590 and 1601 ;
that his son, John Lloyd, also served the
same office hi 1609, and that Thomas Lloyd,
his grandson, was also sheriff in 1 656. This
Thomas Lloyd, married Anne Vaughan, one
of the two daughters and co-heiresses of
Henry Vaughan, Esq., of Cilcennen, co.
Cardigan (a brother of Sir John Vaughan,
Esq., Bart., of Crosswood, in that county),
whose mother was Mary, the wife of John



Stedman, Esq., one of the Stedmans of
Strata Florida, in the same county ; and in
" The History of the Royal Families of Great
Britain" it appears, that Mary Stedman was
lawfully descended from the Plantagenets,
through the Norfolk and Lancaster families.

Previous to the year 1700, the Glangwilly
estate descended to two sisters and co-
heiresses, Anne and Mary Lloyd, the daugh-
ters of John Lloyd, Esq., of Glangwilly
(living in 1684), the son of the said Thomas
Lloyd and Anne Vaughan. The eldest of
such daughters, Anne Lloyd (as appears
by documentary evidence), married Walter
Lloyd, Esq., second son of David Lloyd,
Esq., of Crynfryn, co. Cardigan, and
they resided at Glangwilly. The other
daughter, Mary Lloyd, married Miles Sted-
man, Esq., of Dolegaer,co. Brecon, where they
resided ; and Mr. and Mrs. Stedman, pre-
vious to 1710, sold their moiety of the Glan-
gwilly and Ystradcorwg estate to her uncle,
Henry Lloyd, Esq., of the Inner Temple,
London, serjeant-at-law (the second brother
of Mr. John Lloyd, of Glangwilly), and on
his death, that moiety came to his niece, Mrs.
Anne Lloyd, of Glangwilly, and his grand-
nieces, Jane Stedman and Dorothy Stedman,
the daughters and only children of his then de-
ceased niece, Mary Stedman, as his right heirs.

By a partition deed, dated in 1731, in
which Mrs. Anne Lloyd, and her son, John
Lloyd, Esq. (then of Glangwilly), and her
nieces, Jane and Dorothy Stedman, together
with their father, Miles Stedman, Esq., and
Grismond Philipps, Esq. (the Chancery guar-
dian of Dorothy Stedman, then a minor),
were parties, the Glangwilly estate (therein
called the Llanllawddog estate), was par-
titioned, pursuant to a decree in Chancery,
under which three-fourths of that estate were
allotted to Mrs. Anne Lloyd, and her son,
John Lloyd, Esq. (who, in their own right,
were entitled to one moiety, and, as one of
the heirs of Mr. Serjeant Lloyd, owned one
half of the other moiety), and two-farms hi
Llanllawddog parish, and other property in
two adjoining parishes, being the remaining
fourth share of the entirety of that estate,
were allotted to Jane and Dorothy Stedman.

CASTLE PIGGIN, in the parish of Aber-
gwilly, co. Carmarthen, and within two
miles of the town of Carmarthen, the seat of
Walter Owen Price, Esq., the second bro-
ther of Mr. John Lloyd Price, of Glangwilly,
in the same county, is pleasantly situated on
an eminence, overlooking the portion of the
beautiful and rich Vale of Towy which sur-
rounds the town of Carmarthen, and the
confluence of the Rivers Towy and Gwilly.
This property was acquired by Mr. Price by
purchase.

The present house, erected by him in 1838,



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



is built in the pointed or gable-end style,
about fifty yards from the site of the former
mansion, which was built in the year 1711.
The Castle Piggin estate, in 1604, was
in the ownership of a Mr. George Her-
bert, who in respect of it served the office of
sheriff for the co. of Carmarthen for that year,
and about 1680 it belonged to a gentleman
of the name of Brigstocke, who resided on
it, and whose daughter and heiress, in 1709,
sold it to a Mr. John Griffiths, who, in 1711,
pulled down the then old mansion house and
rebuilt it, and who was sheriff for the co. of
Carmarthen in 1722.

Subsequently we find it, by inheritance, in
the hands of Mr. Griffith's grand-daughter,
Miss Jane Jones, who married Richard
Gwynne, Esq. of Taliariss, co. Carmar-
then, and died his widow, and in possession,
in 1786, intestate, and without issue.

On her death, a Mr. Gryffydd Price, who
claimed it as her paternal heir, took posses-
sion, and after thirty years' litigation in the
Court of Chancery, during which time the
house erected in 1711 fell into ruin, a
gentleman of the name of Jones was declared
entitled as Mrs. Gwynne's maternal heir,
and the greater portion of the property was
sold, under a decree of the court, to pay off
incumbrances.

FETTERNEAR HOUSE, co. Aberdeen, the
seat of Col. Leslie, K.H., of Balquhain, was
formerly the summer Palace of the Bishop of
Aberdeen. It is a place of great antiquity. We
find in ahull of Pope Adrian IV., dated 1157,
addressed to Edward, Bishop of Aberdeen,
confirming the grants made by the kings of
Scotland to the church of Aberdeen, that it
is styled "Villain de Fetherneir et Ecclesiam
cum suis pertenentiiss ; " it appeai-s to have
been enlarged by Alexander de Kyninmund,
in 1330.

William Gordon, last Catholic Bishop of
Aberdeen, assigned the barony of Fetternear,
in 1566, to Wfiliam Leslie, of Balquhain,
who had, as sheriff of the county, protected
the cathedral of Aberdeen from destruction
against the fury of the mob. This grant was
afterwards confirmed by royal charter, and
afterwards, as above stated, became the perma-
nent residence of the family, which it now is.
It was previously of a castellated form,
and styled, in all charters, " the tower and
fortress of Fetternear," and one of the
towers was called " Wallace's Tower," there
being a tradition, that this great patriot had
once occupied it. This appears probable,
as through the thick wall there was a secret
narrow stair, leading to a small chamber at
the top. The style of the house has been
unfortunately modernised.

It is situated in a finely wooded park, on
the banks of the River Don, along which



there are approaches three miles long, over-
hanging the water. The grounds possess
many natural beauties.

BALQUHAIN CASTLE, the baronial resi-
dence of the Leslies, of Balquhain, is situated
in the district of the Garioch, about nineteen
miles from Aberdeen. It must have been
erected at a very early period, because
George Leslie, first Baron of Balquhain, got,
in 1340, the barony of Balquhain from his
father, Sir Andrew de Leslie (sixth baron of
Leslie, from Bartholomew, the founder of the
family, in 1067), and it has remained in the
possession of his descendants from that date
to the present time. It appears originally
to have consisted of a quadrangular, turretted
building, with a central court. The noble
square tower, or keep, was erected about
1530, by Sir William Leslie, of Balquhain,
when he repaired the ancient castle, which
had been burned down in the memorable feud
with the Forbeses, in the year 1526. That
it was a place of elegance and comfort is
unquestionable, as we find, "that Sir William,
ninth baron, had the honour of entertaining
his royal mistress, Queen Mary, in his Castle
of Balquhain. The Queen being at Aber-
deen, on her progress to the north, received
an invitation from Leslie, to visit him in his
baronial residence ; she accepted it, and
passed a night or two there in the month of
September, 1562."

About 1694, Patrick Count Leslie, finding
the castle of Balquhain incommodious, it
having been constructed as a place of
strength, he removed thence to his other
seat at Fetternear, after which, this ancient
baronial residence fell into decay, and is now
in ruins.

MOUNT EBGCUMBE, Devonshire, the seat
of the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, Aide-de-
Camp to the Queen, and Colonel of the
Cornwall Militia. This place was formerly
called West Stonehouse, and was the pro-
perty of an ancient family of the same name,
whose heiress eventually brought it to Ste-
phen Durnford, Esq. ; and he dying without
issue male, his daughter, Jane, conveyed it
by marriage to Sir Piers Edgecombe, K.B.
This gentleman belonged to a family of great
antiquity in the county of Devon, his sur-
name being derived from Eggecomb, Ege-
comb, or Edgcomb, in the extensive parish of
Cheriton Fitzpain, near Crediton. Amongst
the many distinguished characters of this
race Sir Richard Eclgcombe, Knt., deserves
to be particularly remembered, having been,
as Fuller records of him, " memorable in
his generation; for being zealous in the
cause of Henry, Earl of Richmond — after-
wards King Henry VII., he was, in the time
of King Richard III. so hotly pursued, and



28



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



narrowly searched for, that he was forced
to hide himself in his thick woods at his
house in Cattail, in Cornwall. Here ex-
tremity taught him a suddam policy, to put
a stone in his cap, and tumble the same into
the water, wildest these Rangers were fast
at his heels ; who, looking down after the
noise, and seeing the cap swimming therein,
supposed that he had desperately drowned
himself, and deluded by this honest fraud,
gave over their further pursuit, leaving him
at liberty to shift over into Brittany. Nor
was his gratitude less than his ingenuity,
who, in remembrance of his delivery, after
his return built a chappel * in the place
where he lurked, and lived in great repute
with prince and people."

This zealous Lancastrian was made a
Knight Banneret on the field of Bosworth,
and tradition says that the family crest,
which was certainly up to that period a boar's
head, was then turned into a whole boar, the
crest of Richard III., which it still remains.
Sir Richard was at a later period sent Lord De-
puty to Ireland, and died, in the office of Am-
bassador to France, at Morlaix hi Brittany.

His son or grandson, who was made a Knight
Banneret at the Battle of Spurs, seems on all
occasions to have been devoted to the cause
of his adoption.

At a later period we find a Piers Edgcomb
sitting in parliament for Newport, and upon
all occasions showing himself a stanch
adherent of Charles I. In the words of the
inscription upon his monument he was " a
master of languages and sciences, a lover of
the king and church, which he endeavoured
to support in the time of the civil wars to
the utmost of his power and fortune."

Richard, Lord Edgecumbe, in 1761 would
seem to have been a no less eminent charac-
ter, though a single failing was enough to
throw a cloud over it and deprive him of that
fair niche in the temple of fame to which
nis talents might otherwise have aspired.
Lord Orford, in his Catalogue of Royal and
Noble Authors, thus characterizes him : —
" His lordship's skill as a draughtsman is
said to have been such as might entitle him
to a place in the Anecdotes of English
Painting, while the ease and harmony of
his poetic compositions give him an autho-



Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 2) → online text (page 6 of 73)