Bernard Burke.

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

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rized introduction here. The print of Mary
Squires, who was tried for stripping Elizabeth
Canning, may be pointed out as a memento
of his lordship's attainment with the pencil ;
and the following sportive sally of his pen
occurs hi the New Foundling Hospital for
Wit, where he is characterized as a man of
fine parts, great knowledge, and original wit,
%vho possessed a light and easy vein of
poetry ; who was calculated by nature to
serve the public, and to charm society ; but
* This chapel is still in a state of perfect preservation.



who unhappily was a man of pleasure, and
left his gay associates a most affecting ex-
ample, how health, fame, ambition, and
everything that may be laudable in principle
or practice, are drawn into and absorbed by
that most destructive of all whirlpools —
gaming."

The poem alluded to by Lord Orford is the

" Fable of the Ass, Nightingale, and Kid.
Trahit sua quemque voluptas.
Once on a time it came to pass,
A nightingale, a kid, an ass,
A Jack one — set out together
Upon a trip, no matter whither,
And through a village chanced to take
Their journey where there was a wake,
Both lads and lasses all assembled.
Our travellers, whose genius them led
Each his own way, resolved to taste
Their share o' th' sport. ' We 're not in haste,'
First cries the nightingale, ' and I
Delight in music mightily ;
Let's have a time.' ' Aye, come, let's stop,'
Replies the kid, 'and take a hop.'
'Aye, do.' says Jack ; ' the meanwhile I
Will wait for you and graze hard by ;
You know that I for song and dance
Care not a fig ; hut if by chance,
As probably the end will be,
They go a romping — then call me.' "

It is not a little singular that the Christian
names of Piers and Richard should seem
to have alternated in this family for many
generations. Upon this, Fuller, quoting
from Carew, observes, " The names of
Pierce, or Peter, and Richard, have been
(saith my author) successively varied in this
family for six or seven descents. Such
chequering of christian names serves heraulds
instead of stairs, whereby they ascend with
assurance into the pedigrees of gentlemen ;
and I could wish the like alternation of
font-names fashionable in other families ;
for where the heirs of an house are of the
same name for many generations together,
it occasioneth much mistake ; and the most
cautious and conscientious heraulds are
guilty of making incestuous matches, con-
founding the father for the son, and so
reciprocally."

During the great civil war Mount Edg-
cumbe was garrisoned for the king as a
check upon Plymouth, then in possession
of the opposite party. It was, however,
surrendered to Colonel Hammond on the
21st of April, 1G46, being the last fortress
in Devonshire, except Salcomb, that held
out for Charles, whose fortunes were then
desperate.

A letter still exists signed by John Martin
(May, 1644), summoning the house to sur-
render. The answer which was returned by
the steward, who was then in charge of the
house, has been handed down. It was as
follows : —

"I do hold this house of Mount Edgcombe for Sir
Richard Edgcome, unto whom I believe it doth rightly
belong. I have the honor,

"&C &c."

The house was built about the year 1550, in



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



29



the castellated style,battlemented with round
towers at the corners ; but these being found
small and inconvenient were pulled down in
the middle of the last century, and rebuilt
in their present octangular form. The or-
naments round the doors and windows are
of granite, or moor-si one, the flight of steps,
that ascend to the principal front, being of
the same material. The hall, occupying the
centre of the interior, was originally in the
Gothic style, and reached up to the roof ;
it has, however, long been modernized, and
is now a handsome, lofty room, of two
storeys, of different orders, with galleries
supported by columns of Devonshire marble.
The tables and chimney-pieces exhibit vari-
ous specimens of Cornish granite, and are
loaded with busts of Italian workmanship
copied from the antique. In one of the galleries
is an excellent organ, which could hardly
be better placed, the room from its peculiar
construction being admirably adapted to give
effect to music. Occasionally in summer it
is used as a dining-room.

Extensive additions have been made at
various times to the west end of the old
house. Amongst other improvements, con-
tributing greatly to the general convenience,
are a large library and a dining-room, which
from their southern aspect are more pe-
culiarly suited to a winter residence. The
principal side of the house is to the north.

Mount Edgcumbe is situated high up on
the side of a hill, amidst some of the most
enchanting scenery to be found in broad
England. Tradition says that the Duke of
Medina Sidonia was so much struck by its
appearance from the sea, that in his abundant
admiration he at once determined it should
be his own share of the expected spoil when
he had conquered England. That he never
for a moment doubted of his success is
well-known to every reader of English or
Spanish history, and considering the great
disparity of force such an expectation
would not have been unreasonable, did we
not so often see that the race is not always
to the swift nor the battle to the strong.
The beauties of this spot are so varied, and
must be seen in so many points of vieAv,
that to give any idea of them it will be
necessary to go somewhat into details, with-
out paying much regard to connection.

Upon entering the park two roads offer
themselves to the choice of the tourist.
For the present we shall follow that to the
left, which at first ascends gently through
a beautiful grove, until, having crossed
another branch, it becomes steeper, while
at the same time the grove changes to a
wild and rugged wood. Arrived at the
White Scat on the summit of the hill, the
whole circumjacent country lies stretched
out at the feet of the spectator, who now



completely overlooks the Hamoaze, the
whole course of the River Tamer as high
as the town of Saltash ; the ships in the har-
bour ; the dockyard and town of Devonport ;
the fortifications and Government -house ;
the church 4 and village of Stoke ; the mili-
tary hospital; Stonehouse, with the naval
hospital and marine barracks ; the citadel
and churches of Plymouth ; Saltram, the
seat of the Earl of Morley ; Catwater, with
its shipping, enclosed by Mount Batten ;
and Saint Nicholas' Island, the Sound, and
Statton Heights beyond it. This magnifi-
cent prospect is bounded by a range of
lofty hills, amongst which the round top of
Hingston, or Hengist-Down, the peaked
head of Brent Tor, and the irregular sum-
mits of Dartmoor, are the most elevated and
conspicuous.

A grass drive, carried round the whole
summit of the hill, next conducts to Redding
Point. From this elevation the view is
equally striking, but of a totally different
character. The sea here opens upon the
spectator in a wide expanse, confined only
by Statton Heights and the Mew Stone upon
the left, and on the right by Penlee Point,
under which lies Cawsand Bay, with the
little town whence it takes its name. Im-
mediately in front appears the Break-
water, a stupendous work, built of rough
marble blocks from Dartmoor, and intended
to secure ships in the Sound from the effects
of the sea beyond. In clear weather the
Eddystone Lighthouse is also visible at a
great distance in the offing.

Westward of the White Seat — supposing
the tourist to return by the northern side
of the hill — he will again be struck by
several new prospects of the various rivers
and estuaries branching out of the Hamoaze,
the village of Millbrook, and a wide extent
of well- cultivated country. Part of Whit-
sand Bay is also discernible over the nar-
row isthmus that connects the peninsula of
Mount Edgcumbe with Cornwall. Indeed,
it should be observed that Mount Edgcumbe
naturally belongs to the latter county; but
geographers like conquerors, do not always
respect the boundaries set by nature. Carew
does actually treat ef it in his Survey of Corn-
wall, concluding, however, " a part of Mount
Edgcumbe and of this Milbrook, though
severed from Devon by the general bound,
have been annexed thereunto."

At the upper park gate, just outside the
enclosure, stands the parish church of
Maker, the high tower of which is a con-
spicuous object for many miles around. In
time of war it is used as a signal- house for
giving notice of Government ships coming
to the port, or passing along the Channel.

The grass drive, of which we have been
speaking, terminates in a gravel road that



30



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



runs through the park at its western ex-
tremity. An easy descent to the left con-
ducts the tourist round a wild valley, called
Hoe Lake. The prospect during this transit
includes Cawsand Bay in front, Cawsand vil-
lage, the surrounding hills, and the redoubts
on Maker's Heights. In the valley is a rustic
lodge, fitted up with deer-skins, horns, and
other appropriate ornaments.

Returning to the main road, from which
we have just digressed, we follow it as it
takes a short turn to the left, and leads to
the entrance of the great terrace. It then
proceeds on a perfect level through planta-
tions of fir and other trees, with the sea at
a great depth below at the right, until
another turn, equally sharp, discovers the
little valley of Pickle Combe, so regu-
larly scooped out by nature as to seem a
work of art. Its sides above the road are
planted with various trees ; the lower part
is overspread with heath and other wild
plants, a grass walk running down the centre.
At the upper end is an-ivy covered building,
composed of old raoorstone arches, niches,
and pinnacles, in the form of a chapel that
has gone to ruin. From the seat in it is
an uninterrupted view down this singularly
formed vale, terminated by a wide expanse
of sea. No place can produce a greater
impression of the most perfect solitude.

The terrace now leads to the other side
of the valley into the midst of a plantation,
formed solely of evergreens ; not a single
deciduous plant is to be seen ; the arbutus,
the laurustmus, and the Portugal laurel grow
here to an uncommon size, covering the
whole of the abrupt cliff as far down as the
soil allows of vegetation, while the sea
• lashes on the rocks below. As this beauti-
ful spot is protected from the cold blasts
and open to the south, the effects of winter
are never seen here.

The zig-zag walks are tortuous paths cut
in the side of the hill both above and below
the terrace, extending upwards to Redding
Point, where they enter the park, and down-
wards as low as the cliff is practicable.
They are too numerous, as well as too in-
tricate, for description — every turn of them
affording a new prospect of fresh and varied
beauty. The upper zig-zags are upon the
whole superior even to the lower; the cliff
in parts is more abrupt, the shrubs more
luxuriant, and the views from the heights
more commanding and magnificent.

It would be unnecessary to enter into any
further detail of the various roads and walks
about the hill; but something yet remains
In he said about the pleasure grounds. The
shrubbery is situated on a gentle declivity
immediately behind the house, and is con-
nected with its southern front. Towards
the further end of the garden, which is



completely shut out from any further pros-
pect, stands a bower with a trellised arcade,
enveloped in creeping plants ; and in a still
more secluded part is a semicircular covered
seat, lined with spars from the rocks in the
neighbourhood, intermixed with shells and
various fossils, chiefly the produce of Corn-
wall. Several fine cedars of Mount Lebanon
are to be seen here, and the arbutus, as
well as many other shrubs, grows here in
great abundance.

At the bottom of the valley before men-
tioned, which from its shape is denominated
the Amphitheatre, is the Temple of Milton,
an Ionic building half closed and supported
in front by open columns. The view without
presents Barnpool closed in upon all sides
by the irregular coast surrounding it, with
its various promontories and inlets ; the
whole having the appearance of a vast lake,
still further enlivened by the various vessels
that are constantly sailing in and out. Many
noble tulip trees, oriental and occidental
planes of a prodigious size, a large cedar of
Libanus, and a Carolina poplar of great
height, adorn this magnificent valley.

On entering the garden the first object
that strikes the eye is the Block House,
placed on the point of land which forms
one side of the narrowest part of the en-
trance into the harbour. It was built in
the reign of Queen Elizabeth for the de-
fence of the port, and is now a picturesque
ruin, much covered over with ivy. Against
one of its sides a plain portico of two moor-
stone columns has been erected for a seat,
and in front of it is a saluting battery of
twenty-one guns. A tablet in the wall gives
the following description from Carew's Sur-
vey of Cornwall, A.D. 1602 : —

" Both sides of the narrow entrance are
fenced with block-houses, and that next
Mount Edgecumbe was wont to be planted
with ordnance, which at coming and parting,
with their bass voices, greeted such guests
as visited the house."

The other Block House here alluded to still
remains upon the opposite rocks, mounted
with French eight-pounders, that were pur-
chased from prizes. The magnificent view
from this spot comprehends all Barnpool
and the Sound, the Island, Mount Batten,
and Mewstone, with the open sea beyond
it. From the same point a considerable
part of the hill and woods belonging to the
place itself may be seen to great advantage,
the towers of the house rising above the
woods that embosom it.

Close to the battery are the three gar-
dens, the English, French, and Italian, which
many consider the most remarkable part of
the place, from their beauty and the luxuri-
ous way in which orange trees, magnolia*,
and other delicate plants flourish in them.



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN,



31



Beyond the park as far as Penlee Point
and Rame Head are drives and plantations
of considerable extent, made by the present
owner, which, though wilder and less dressed,
rival in the opinion of visitors the most beauti-
ful parts of the park itself.

It is curious, and may be worth while, to
compare with this account the description
given by Carew in 1602, which was no doubt
faithful at the time when it was written,
and Avhich is exceedingly piquant and in-
teresting from his quaint old-fashioned style :
" Upon this south shore, somewhat within
the island," (St. Nicholas 1 Island) " standeth
Mount Edgecumb, a house budded and
named by Sir Richard Edgecumb, father to
the now possessioner " (that is, in 1602) ;
" and if comparisons were as lawful in the
making, as they prove odious in the match-
ing, I would presume to rank it for health,
pleasure, and commodities with any subject's
house of his degree in England. It is seated
against the north, on the declining of a hill,
in the midst of a deer-park, near a narrow
entrance, through which the salt water
breaketh up into the country, to shape the
greatest part of the haven. The house is
budded square, witli a round turret at each
end, garretted on the top, and the hall rising
in the midst above the rest, which yieldeth
a stately sound as you enter the same. In
summer the open casements admit a re-
freshing coolness ; in winter, the two
closed doors exclude all offensive coldness.
The parlour and dining-chamber give you
a large and diversified prospect of land and
sea ; to which underly St. Nicholas' Island,
Plymouth Fort, and the towns of Plymouth,
Stonehouse, Milbrook, and Saltash. It is
supplied with a never-failing spring of water,
and the dwelling stored with wood, timber,
fruit, deer and conies. The ground abund-
antly answereth a housekeeper's necessities,
for pasture, arable, and meadow, and is re-
plenished with a kind of stone, serving both
for building, lime and marie. On the sea
cliffs groweth great plenty of the best ore-
wood, to satisfy the owner's want, and ac-
commodate his neighbours A little belosv
the house in the summer evenings sein-boats
come and draw with their nets for fish,
whither the gentry of the house walking
down take the pleasure of the sight, and
sometimes at all adventures buy the profits
of the draught. Both sides of the fore-
mentioned narrow entrance, together with
the passage between — much haunted as the
highway to Plymouth — the whole town of
Stonehouse, and a great circuit of the land
adjoining, appertain to Mr. Edgecumb's
inheritance. . . . Neither hath the op-
portunity of the harbour wanted occasions
to bring guests, or the owners a frank mind
to invite them ; for proof whereof the earst



remembered Sir Richard during Queen
Mary's reign entertained at one time for
some good space the admirals of the English,
Spanish, and Netherland fleets, with many
noble men besides.

" Certain old ruins, yet remaining, confirm
the neighbours' report that near the water's
side there stood once a town called West
Stone House, until the French by fire and
sword overthrew it.

"In the year 1599 the Spaniards' vaunts
caused the Cornish forces to advance there
a kind of fortification, and to plot the making
of a bridge on barges over that strait, for
inhibiting the enemy's access by boats and
gallies into the more inward parts of the
haven. But it may be doubted whether
the bridge would have proved as impassible,
as the sconce fell out unnecessary."

CASTLE HUNTLY, co. Perth, the seat of
George Paterson, Esq. When Castle Huntly
was originally built, as there is no date on any
part of the old castle, is unknown, but there
is a charter in the possession of the family
of Gray (to whom this estate then belonged),
from James II., in 1452, to Andrew, the
second Lord Gray, of Foulis, giving him
leave to build afortalice on any of his estates.
In consequence of which, he is said to have
raised this castle upon a very remarkable
rock, a little to the south-west of Forgund,
and called it Huntly, in honour of his wife,
who was a daughter of the Earl of Huntly.
It is probable, however, that there was a
place of strength on this rock many years
before 1452, especially if there be any foun-
dation for the tradition, which is prevalent in
the county, that the materials were all
brought by water to the spot ; there is cer-
tainly every appearance of this rock, at
some very distant period, being washed, if
not surrounded by water. This conjecture
is strengthened by the fact that, some time
between the years 1660 and 1670, Patrick,
Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorn, had thought
it necessary to build a massy buttress on the
south- west face of the rock, to protect that
side of the castle. Now, it is hardly probable,
that from 1452 to 1660, so great a waste
could have been made on the face of a whin
rock, by the common operation of wind and
weather as to make such a facing necessary ;
but it is exceedingly likely that this was
caused by the washing of the river ; and if
so, especially as the estate had been long in
the family before, the probability is, that the
original building was much more ancient,
and that it had only been repaired, perhaps
enlarged, and its name changed by the Lord
Gray who obtained the charter from James
II.

The estate and castle were possessed by
the family of Gray till 1615, when they



32



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



passed to the Lyons, then Earls of King-
horn, and became a favourite residence of
Earl Patrick, who made many alterations,
all of which bore his initials and the
date 1667. One very remarkable addition
made by him was enlarging the dining-
room, by digging four feet out of the front
wall for its whole length of thirty-four
feet ; so that, while the wall of the rooms,
both above and below, are ten feet thick, the
front wall of this room is only six feet thick ;
and when the castle was repairing in 1778,
the upper part of this excavation was found
to project and hang over, like a solid im-
penetrable rock. The name was changed it
is supposed in 1672, from Castle Huntly to
Castle Lyon.

In 1777, the property passed to the family
of Paterson, and the grandfather of the pre-
sent proprietor having married a daughter of
Lord Gray, restored the ancient name of
Castle Huntly. Castle Huntly stands on the
point of a very singular rock, which rises in
the middle of the plain. The mansion, all of
which is now inhabited, seems as far as one
can at this distance of time make out, to be
formed of four distinct buildings, viz. : the
original fortalice of a date long antecedent to
1452— the Castellum de Huntly of 1452—
the addition by Patrick, Earl of Strathmore
and Kinghorn, in 1667, and the wings and
battled walls, round tower, and corner turrets,
erected by Mr. Paterson in 1778. The fol-
lowing is an account of the old castle now
existing : — The most ancient part was an
oblong square, built upon the most project-
ing part of the rock, in such fashion, that the
first set of apartments, consisting of three
vaults, all arched with strong masonry, had
one end solid rock, and the other a wall of
fourteen feet thick, with a window to each,
about six inches wide, and four feet high. In
the middle vault, there was a well, which
is now filled up. Opposite to the southern-
most vault, the rock projects a little further
to the westward, and is lower than the rest,
upon which the pit, or prison, was built,
with walls fourteen feet thick, and a nar-
row slit of a window ; the only passage
to the pit was by a trap door, and over
it stood a square apartment of twenty feet
high, arched at top, with a window of four
feet square, and thirty-eight feet from the
ground, which is supposed to have been
the guard room, the only door of which is
arched ; not the least vestige can be traced
of any other way to get access to the castle,
even for one man at a time, but over the
shelving rock on the south-west. This door
had been built up probably by Earl Patrick, .
and another, on the north-east side, had been
struck out, to make the access more con-
venient. On opening that old door in 1777,
a very large iron gate was found enclosed in



a ten feet wall, built of solid masonry. To
make the fortress still more secure, it appears
that the original builders had left no other
way of ingress but through the guard room ;
and then by a hole of about three feet square
in the top of one of the arches, which was
reached by a ladder. This entrance, though
built up, is still perfectly distinct. It is
probable, that after mounting, the ladder was
drawn up, and the Lord of the Castle slept in
security.

The gate is very remarkable, and was ori-
ginally built by Earl Patrick, at the west
end of the village. He named it Port
Patrick, after himself, but, from a vulgar
corruption, it has always heen called Port
Patience. It was one of six, which he made
in a straight line, on the approach between
Langforgan and the castle. It consists of a
middle space of sixteen feet wide, and an
arch on each side of seven feet — ornamented
on both sides with Tuscan semi-columns
and crowned with fine pyramids. It was
taken down about the end of last century,
and rebuilt with great care, on its present
site, nearer the castle. The grounds are not
extensive, but the park contains a great
number of very old trees, horse-chesnut,
Scotch fir, ash, elm, and plane, as also oak.
Among others, an ash, called the Glammis
Tree, measures twenty-seven feet round,
near the root and seventeen feet, a yard high;
another ash nineteen feet near the root, and
fourteen yards high ; there are elms, eleven
feet ; horse-chesnuts and poplars, ten feet ;
firs and planes, nine ; and one thorn, six
feet ten inches, all breast high. A fir close
to the castle measures at the root nine-
teen feet, a yard high thirteen feet six inches,
and the diameter of the top is twenty-two
yards.

The garden is large, with a great extent
of glass. An old cross, removed from the
village, stands within the grounds. Though
not exactly connected with the castle, there
are on the estate many tumuli, and about a
mile and a-half from the house, the remains
of a fort, or fortified camp, evidently Roman
from its form, and its name Catter Mellie,
probably a corruption of <.))t<iiu<>r Mille.
The remains also of a fortification, evi-
dently Danish or Scotch, are still visible.



Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 2) → online text (page 7 of 73)