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VV.K HASKL






/




TALES



OUR GREAT FAMILIES-



VOL. I.



OUK GREAT FAMILIES.



EDWARD WALFORD, M.A.

AND LATE 8CHOLAE OF BALLIOL COLL., OXFORD.
ATTTHOB OF

" THE COUNTY FAMILIES,"
&c., Ac.



IN TWO VOLUMES.
VOL. I.



LONDON:
HURST AND BLACKETT, PUBLISHERS,

13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.

1877.

All rights reserved.



(LT
715



PREFACE.



UNDER the title of Tales of our Great
Families," I have ventured to publish
a series of narratives relating to the families
of the titled and untitled nobility of this
country, in the hope of amusing my readers
with materials which for twenty years I have
been gleaning from various sources, and which
have grown so rapidly in my hands that my only
difficulty seems to lie in selecting amid such an
erribarras de richesses. If it be not literally true
that every house, whether high or low, has its
" skeleton in the closet," at all events the past
history of most of our ancient houses is replete
with incidents which, however artlessly they may
be told, will certainly make good the adage
that " truth is stranger than fiction."

In treating of these matters I wish by way of
preface to remark that my readers must not



VI PREFACE.

always look for novelty. I shall often, I know,
be telling a " thrice-told tale ;" for in the anec-
dotal writings of Horace Walpole, Mrs. Delany, Sir
Nathaniel Wraxall, the Hon. Grantley Berkeley,
Captain Gronow, Lord William Lennox, the late
Duke of Buckingham, and Dr. Doran, I have a
constant well from which to draw supplies. It
will be possible, however, to recast these mate-
rials and those taken from other sources, and to
mould them all into one harmonious whole,
which, I trust, may not be found devoid of
interest. I am treading on delicate ground, and I
am conscious that here and there I may wound
the tender susceptibilities of descendants and
relatives of the personages whom I may bring
upon the stage. But to these I would say that
the lives of the members of our old historic
houses are themselves historic, and that I have a
full right to wake up the memory of what already
stands recorded against them in the gossiping
pages of Sir Nathaniel Wraxall or Horace Wal-
pole, unless I have reason to believe that
the stories I tell are untrue. If these papers
shall have any result beyond the amusement
of the leisure hours of those who take an
interest in the fates and fortunes of our " Great
Families," I feel no doubt that, on the whole,
that influence will not be of an injurious



PREFACE. vii

nature, and that I shall not be justly chargeable
with lowering the esteem in which I hope that
the aristocracy of this land will long be held.
My papers may occasionally help to show up a
pretender and a charlatan in his true colours ;
but in the long run they will be found, I am
confident, rather to enhance the interest which
attaches to that body at whose head stand the
titled names of Howard and Stanley, Talbot and
Herbert, Courtenay and Cavendish, and the equally
noble though untitled name of Scrope.

It should be stated that some of these Tales
have appeared in the columns of " The Queen,"
while a few others saw the light in " Chambers'
Journal" and " The City Press."



CONTENTS



OF



THE FIRST VOLUME.



THE LADY BLANCHE ABUNDELL OP WAEDOTTR . . 1

THE Two FAIB GUNNINGS . . . .19

THE THELLUSSONB . . . . .41

THE NOBLE HOUSE OF CECIL . . . .52

LAURENCE, EABL FEBBEBS . . . .83

THE DUCHESS OF KINGSTON .... 105
THE DBUMMONDS, EABLS OF PEBTH . . . 130

THE THBEE Miss WALPOLES .... 147
THE WOOING OF SIB HENEAGE FINCH . . . 168

THE DUCAL HOUSE OF LEEDS .... 183
AN EPISODE IN THE HISTOBT OF THE CATHOABTS . 194
AN EPISODE IN THE NOBLE HOUSE OF HASTINGS . 207
THOMAS PITT, LOBD CAMELFOBD . . . 215

AN EPISODE IN THE EABLDOM OF PEMBBOKB . . 235

THE RISE OP THE ROTHSCHILDS . . . 250

AN EPISODE IN THE HOUSE OF HABLET . . 269

THE BAD LOBD STOUBTON .... 282

BENJAMIN, LOBD BLOOMFIELD .... 298



TALES



OP



OUR GREAT FAMILIES,



THE LADY BLANCHE ARUNDELL

OF WARDOUR.

FEW of the ruined homes of our ancient
families are surrounded with a brighter
halo of interest than the old Castle of Ward our,
which stands on the south-western border of
Wiltshire, about half way between Salisbury
and Shaftesbury ; and few heroines of our own
country have earned a fairer name for bravery,
courage, and devotion in the hour of danger than
the Lady Blanche Arundell of Wardour.

By birth the Lady Blanche came of a noble
and distinguished race, the Somersets, at that
time Earls of Worcester, now Marquises of

VOL. I. B



2 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

Worcester and Dukes of Beaufort. She was the
sixth out of seven daughters who were born to
Edward, the fourth Earl, by his wife Elizabeth,
daughter of Francis, Earl of Huntingdon ; and
early in the reign of James I. she became the
wife of Thomas, second Lord Arundell of
Wardour, whose father, known far and wide in
his day as " the Valiant," had been created Lord
Arundell of Wardour, and also a Count of the
Holy Roman Empire on account of his gallantry
at the siege of Gran in Hungary, where, serving
under the banner of the Emperor Rudolph of
Germany, he captured the Turkish standard with
his own hands.

The Emperor's patent or charter (A.D. 1695)
states expressly that the title was conferred on
him because " he had behaved himself manfully in
the field, and also had shown great proof of
valour in the assaulting of divers cities and
castles, especially in forcing the water-tower near
Strigonium, when he took from the Turks their
banner with his own hand." This honour was
extended to every oue of his children and de-
scendants of either sex, so that every infant
who is born an Arundell is born also a count
or countess of the Roman Empire. Collins, in
his Peerage, Vol. V. p. 119, gives an amusing
account of the reason which led to his being



THE LADY BLANCHE ARUNDELL 3

created au English Baron also. " On his return
home, a controversy arising among the Peers
whether that dignity, so conferred by a foreign
potentate, should be allowed here as to place
and precedence, or any other privilege, it occa-
sioned a warm dispute, which is mentioned by
Camden in his History of Queen Elizabeth. The
Queen, being asked her opinion of the case, is
reported to have answered that ' there was a close
tie of affection between the prince and subject,
and that, as chaste wives should have no glances
but for their own spouses, so should faithful
subjects keep their eyes at home, and not gaze
on foreign coronets ; that she, for her part, did
not care that her sheep should wear a stranger's
mark, or dance after the whistle of every
foreigner.'" The consequence was that the
precedence claimed on account of this foreign
honour was disallowed. King James, however,
soon after his accession, made amends for Eliza-
beth's jealousy by creating him Lord Arundell,
of Wardour, in the county of Wilts.

In 1639 Lady Blanche's husband succeeded to
his father's peerage, just as the Puritan storm
was gathering which was destined to burst on
the head of King Charles I. and of all his devoted
and loyal-heared followers and subjects, whether
Protestants or Roman Catholics.

B 2



4 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

In the history of the Civil War which is usually
known as " The Great Rebellion," few episodes
are more touching than that of the siege, capture,
and recapture of the Castle of Wardour; but 1
must first say a word or two about the castle
itself.

The manor of Wardour or Warder, as may be
seen in Sir R. C. Hoare's " History of Wiltshire,"
was in early times the property of a family
named St. Martin ; but the castle itself appears
to have been built in the reign of Richard II.,
the last of the Plautagenets, by John, Lord
Lovel of Tichmarsh. The Lovels inhabited it
for only three generations, as it was sold on the
death of the last-named nobleman's grandson in
1494, the next heir to the estate finding himself
involved in great difficulties by his adherence to
the failing cause of the Red Rose of Lancaster.

The property of the Lovels was at that time
as extensive as any in the kingdom, and it must
be owned that Lord Lovel showed great taste
in the selection of a site for his castle, which is
thus described in the Gentleman's Magazine for
August, 1867 : " It stands on a flat plateau,
supported by high wooded banks on every side,
except on the south-west, where the ground
slopes down to the park and the lake, admitting
a glowing sun to light and warm the haughty



THE LADY BLANCHE ARUNDELL. 5

building. A spot of greater beauty could hardly
have been found amongst all the scenes afforded
by that peculiarly rich part of Wiltshire where
it marches with the Dorsetshire border. On the
eastern side, flanked by two strong square
towers, was the great entrance, over which is
still to be read a Latin inscription relating how
the castle came into the hands of the Arundells."

We learn that after the Lovels, its next owners
were the Touchets, Lords Audley (afterwards
Earls of Castlehaven), to whom it was given by
Edward IV. in reward of their adherence to the
White Rose of York. The Touchets, however,
did not long hold it ; for the second of that line
who owned it, having been taken in arms against
Henry VII. at the battle of Blackheath, was
beheaded on Tower Hill. His estates, of course,
were confiscated ; and Wardour Castle, after
having been held for a short time by Sir Fulke
Greville, was purchased by Sir John Arundell,
of Llanherne, in Cornwall, who presented it to
his second son, Thomas, who married a sister of
Catharine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII.
Attaching himself, however, very warmly to the
Duke of Somerset, in the next reign he shared
the Duke's fate, and perished on the scaffold.

The estates of Wardour were now again con-
fiscated, and granted to the Earl of Pembroke,



n TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

whose seat at Wilton lay but a few miles dis-
tant, and who, no doubt, was glad to join War-
dour on to his own domain. However, in the
course of a few years the Earl resolved to sell it,
when it was repurchased by Sir Matthew Arun-
dell, whose eldest son was the hero of Hungary,
and became the first Lord Arundell of Wardour.
The chief features of the building, as it was
erected by Lord Lovel, still remain to the
present day. It forms an irregular quadrangle,
flanked at the four corners by four large main
towers. Above the entrance are the large win-
dows of what was the great banqueting hall ;
they still remain, presenting but a few indica-
tions of the rich tracery with which they once
were filled. The form of the court was a hexagon.
Each tower had a staircase of its own, and a
door leading into the courtyard I can scarcely
call a six-sided space a quadrangle in the centre
of which was a deep well. Besides these, there
was one principal staircase, leading up from the
court into the great hall. Parts of these stair-
cases still remain, but not a floor or a roof now
stands entire ; and the great banqueting hall,
which once resounded with song and music, and
was gay with banners and tapestry, is now roof-
less and bare, inhabited only by owls and jackdaws,
which find a home in the ivy that clusters thick



THE LADY BLANCHE ARUNDELL. 7

and dark around the tenantless walls. But it is
time that I should hasten on to tell the story of
the siege of Wardour Castle, and of the heroism
of the Lady Blanche Arundell.

Thomas, the second Lord Arundell, having
always shown the warmest and most loyal at-
tachment to the royal cause, as soon as the Civil
War broke out, joined King Charles I. with a
regiment of horse, which he had raised and
equipped at his own expense, and was soon as
much distinguished by his bravery as by his
fidelity. Foreseeing the vengeance which his
loyalty would be sure to call down on his house
and family should the cause of the Roundheads
and Puritans triumph, before joining the King's
standard he exacted from his wife a promise that,
if his castle should be attacked in his absence, it
should be defended to the very last extremity.
How faithfully the Lady Blanche redeemed the
promise which she made to her lord, as he tore
himself from her embrace on quitting Wardour
for the last time, is proved by the written testi-
mony of both friends and enemies.

I will not waste time by dwelling long on the
picture which that parting scene must have pre-
sented, beyond saying that it is enough to have
inspired half our painters and poets. There is
the gate of the old grey castle, in deep shadow,



8 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

while the rays of the afternoon sun light up the
opposite bank with a golden glow, which catches
the plumes of the cavaliers and dances on their
long flowing hair, as their horses prance and
toss their heads impatient to start on their march
towards Lansdowne Hill and Bath ; and the first
of the troops are already defiling from the castle
yard. The standard of the Arundells (sable,
six swallows, hirondelles, arg.) waves in the
breeze, and the ringing bugle, the tramping of
the horses, the gay colouring of their housings,
and the bright equipments of their riders, all
combine to form a brilliant contrast to that
group of anxious and loving faces that cluster
round the great doorway, seeking the last em-
brace and the last words of those dear ones on
whom they know and feel they are possibly now
to look for the last time.

Alas, for the Lady Blanche ! Her fair face,
crowned with locks whitening with her sixtieth
summer, is raised to meet the lips of her true
lord, who lowers his casque and stoops from his
charger to give her the last kiss. Alas indeed
for her ! for, whatever fate may be in store for
the dear ones of her companion ladies, that kiss
and that look of her husband was destined to be
the very last. A few short months, and her
husband would come back indeed, but a corpse.



THE LADY BLANCHE ARUXDELL.

He would come back with glory and honour to
Wardour, but not to her ; he would come back
to his grave in the church hard by. He would
come back ; but it would not be in his power to
give her that which she coveted most of all
things in this world the smile of approval, the
thought of which was to be her solace through
the weary and toilsome hours of the coining siege.
There too stands her son's wife, Cicely, the
daughter of Sir Henry Compton, of Brambletye
House, Sussex, and widow of Sir John Fermor,
young and delicate, and half heart-broken at
having to part with her husband, the father of
her three young children, who cling to her, half
sobbing, half smiling, puzzled at the grief of
their mother and their grandmother, and at the
pretty sight of the warlike cavalcade.

As Lord Arundell rode away, gazing back on
his home, well may we imagine that the Lady
Blanche would raise her hands to heaven and
vow before saints and angels that she would keep
the word which she had given to her lord, and
that the vow was echoed back firmly and quietly
by Cicely, and somewhat more loudly and
emphatically by the fifty serving men who were
to form the garrison, and the bevy of waiting
maids who stood crying in the background.
Though sixty years old, she joined to the



10 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

firmness and wisdom of that age the energy of
youth and the spirit of a Somerset ; and it was
without the smallest signs of fear or of any weak
emotion that on the 2nd of May, 1643, she
received the news that the Puritan leader, Sir
Edward Hungerford, was at her doors, and that,
in the name of the Parliament, he required
admittance in order to search for cavaliers and
" malignants."

It is needless to say that Sir Edward's demand
was disdainfully refused, and that he saw enough
to convince him that it would be no easy task to
effect an entry into that castle in its owner's
absence. He therefore sent for Colonel Strode and
some troops under his command, which raised
the force at his disposal to a total of thirteen
hundred men. He then sent a messenger to the
Lady Blanche, demanding the surrender of the
castle in due form ; but the only reply that he
received was that " she had a command from her
lord to keep it, and would obey that com-
mand."

For the last time on that evening, Lady
Arundell looked out in freedom from her chamber
in the tower; and it must have been with a
heavy heart that she gazed on the lake below
her windows that lake which still spreads its
peaceful waters to reflect the glowing sunsets



THE LADY BLANCHE ARUNDELL. 11

and noted the splashing of the carp as they
played on its surface, and the song of the black-
bird, the thrush, and the cuckoo. But, together
with that heavy heart, she nursed and inwardly
cherished the firm resolve that she would dare
and do all that woman could and might, for the
sake of her husband who had gone to the
war.

Late at night, a harsher sound must have been
borne on the breeze to her ears the rattle of
heavy guns and of soldiers escorting them along
the road that wound through the woods. The
Puritans, at all events, had lost no time, for in
the morning her waiting-maid aroused her by the
news that the guns were already in position to
bear full upon the walls. Unfortunately, too, for
herself and for Wardour, the castle was placed
in a situation chosen rather for its beauty than
for its military capabilities. It lay low, and the
ground, rising around it on three out of the four
sides, gave her enemies a great advantage, of
which the Roundheads were not slow to avail
themselves.

Next day commenced a fierce cannonade, and
the first shot fell with deadly force in the
banqueting hall, where it cruelly damaged the
great chimney-piece, richly carved in dark red
marble, and said to have been worth .2000 even



12 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

at that time a far larger sum than that which is
now represented by those figures. Portions of
this mantel-piece are still preserved in the
grounds, worked into a sort of rockery, and some
of the cannon balls have also been kept as relics
and memorials of the siege. For six long days
and nights, almost without intermission, the
battery continued to hurl its deadly missiles on
the besieged garrison, who stoutly and valiantly
rejected the conditions proffered over and over
again by the Roundheads, who promised quarter
to the ladies alone and not to the men under
arms. The number within the walls was small,
for out of the fifty males only twenty-five were
trained fighting men ; and had it not been for the
assistance of the maid-servants, who steadily
loaded their muskets, they would have been ex-
hausted with fatigue and want of sleep before
they could have held out long enough to obtain
honourable terms for all.

On the fourth or fifth day of the siege two mines
were sprung. The first did but little damage,
as fortunately it proved to be outside the walls of
the castle ; but the second, which exploded inside
one of the smaller vaults, greatly shook the
building, and showed that the fabric was in
danger of destruction. Still, however, the Lady
Blanche resolved not to yield ; and it was not



THE LADY BLANCHE ARUNDELL. 13

until the sixth day, when the rebels brought
petards and applied them to the great door, and
balls of wild-fire to throw in at the windows, that
the gallant defender found herself obliged to
" sound a parley."

Thus reduced to the last straits, she agreed to
a surrender, but on condition of obtaining quarter
for all within the castle. It was also agreed that
the wearing apparel of the ladies should be at
their own disposal, and they should be allowed
six serving men to attend upon them wherever
their captors s'hould dispose of them ; and it
was further agreed that all the furniture in
the castle should be safe from plunder.

Finding themselves, however, in possession of
the castle walls, these " saints of the Lord" did
not feel bound to observe any of their promises
except the first. " Faith is not to be kept with
heretics," it would appear, is a principle current
in society at large, and acted on by many others
besides those whom the world calls " Romish
bigots." It is true that they spared the lives of
the gallant defenders of the castle, though the
latter had used their guns and cross-bows so well
as to kill above sixty of the besieging force.
The ladies and the three children were at once
led off as prisoners of war to Shaftesbury, just
over the Dorsetshire border, where they had the



14 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

mortification of seeing five cartloads of the spoils
of Wardotir driven in triumph through the streets
of the town on their way to Dorchester, which
was then in the hands of the Parliamentary
army.

After a time, considering, or pretending to
consider, that the captive ladies and children
were not safe at Shaftesbury. the rebels pro-
posed to remove them to Bath, where the plague
was then raging, and where the " saints" pro-
bably hoped that death would do the work which
they dared not try with their own hands. But
here the high spirit of Lady Arundell was fully
roused, and, as she lay at the time in bed, worn
out with fatigue and anxiety, she refused to be
removed unless she was dragged by actual main
force. Dreading the unpopularity which such
severity would draw down upon their cause in
the Western counties, where the name of Arun-
dell was held in high esteem, at length the
" saints" abandoned their designs ; so they con-
tented themselves with wresting from Cicely
Arundell her two little boys, aged nine and seven
respectively, whom they considered such objects
of alarm that they sent them under a strong
guard to Dorchester.

Meantime my readers may wish to know how
it fared with the fabric which had stood the



THE LADY BLANCHE ARUNDELL. 15

siege, and with the estates that surrounded it.
If so, I will tell them.

Sir Edward Hungerford and his troops, out
of pure revenge and spite, laid waste the whole
place with a frantic zeal, the effects of which
are felt down to the present day. They tore up
the park railings several miles in extent, let
loose or killed the red and fallow deer which
have never since been replaced burnt the park
lodges and entrances, and cut down the trees,
which they sold for fourpence and sixpence
apiece, though they must have been worth as
many pounds. They drove away all the horses
and cattle, and even cut to pieces and sold
as waste metal the leaden pipes which con-
veyed water underground to the Castle ; and,
in short, it is computed by local antiquaries that
the havoc which they caused would scarcely be
repaired for a hundred thousand pounds. Sir
Edward Hungerford placed the Castle under the
command of Colonel Ludlow, who held it from
May 1643 to the March of the following year.

Just at this time of Ludlow's taking posses-
sion, news was brought to Wardour that Lord
Arundell, the husband of the Lady Blanche,
had died at Oxford of wounds which he had re-
ceived at the battle of Lansdowne. A fortnight
had scarcely elapsed when hie son, young Lord



16 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

Arundell, the husband of Cicely, appeared before
the walls, and summoned Ludlow and his crew
to deliver up the place to him, " for his Ma-
jesty's use." This summons was of course
refused ; and, burning with rage at his father's
death, his mother's capture, and his children's
imprisonment, he withdrew for a time to collect
materials for the siege of his own castle. Early
in the following year, accordingly, he sat down
before it, determining to retake it, either by
siege or by blockade. At length, despairing of
being able to effect his object by any less violent
means, he resolved to blow up the towers and
walls rather than to leave it in the hands of the
rebels. Accordingly, in the middle of the month
of March, he sprang beneath it a mine which
shattered its walls and western towers, and did
so much damage also to the stores of corn and
other provisions, that the garrison found them-
selves reduced to only four days' rations. Seeing
at length that all hope was at an end, Colonel
Ludlow capitulated, on terms which were ob-
served by the Royalists, and the Castle came
back again into the hands of its rightful
owners :

" And Bertram's right and Bertram's might
Did meet on Ellangowan height."

But the fabric came back into the hands of



THE LADY BLANCHE ARUNDELL. 17

the noble and gallant Arundells sadly shorn of
its chief ornaments, and of all that makes a
house to be a home ; and bitter indeed must have
been the feelings of the young Lord Arundell
when he once again entered the well-known


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