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The parish of Selworthy in the county of Somerset, some notes on its history online

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army, the baroness Ruysdael, and the wives of two
other officers, Mrs. Hamage, and Mrs. Reynell. At
last the expected storm broke ; and at the commence-
ment of the engagement lady Harriet with the three
other ladies, took refuge in a small uninhabited log hut,
where they listened with horror to the unceasing rattle
of the musketry and the roar of the cannon. But they
were not long left alone in the hut, as it was soon
taken possession of by the surgeons as a refuge for the
wounded. We can well imagine the agony which
these poor ladies endured through these long hours,
surrounded by every form of suffering and anguish,
and expecting every moment to see their husbands
brought in wounded, or to hear that they were dead.
And indeed the sad news soon reached Mrs. Ramage
that her husband had been killed, and a little later
Mrs. Reynell was told that lieutenant Reynell had
been dangerously wounded. A period of longer sus-
pense was the lot of lady Harriet, for not until the
end of that terrible day, was she able to ascertain
major Acland's fate. Then, as it was growing dark,
she heard at last that he had been seriously wounded
and taken prisoner.

Straightway lady Harriet's extraordinary heroism
again asserted itself. Worn out as she must have
been with the long suffering of that terrible day, she
conceived the bold scheme of endeavouring to enter

Personal History. 187

the enemy's camp in search of her husband, and
gaining permission to nurse him. The night was
closing in, and there was not a moment to lose. With
the assistance of the chaplain to the Grenadiers,
Mr. Brudenell, lady Harriet found a small boat, and
accompanied by him, she dropped down the river to
the French outposts. When challenged by the sentry,
Mr. Brudenell held up a white handkerchief on a stick
to show their peaceful intentions, and endeavoured to
get the sentinel to understand the object of their
journey. But he refused to convey any message to his
commanding officer, and threatened to fire upon the
boat if they moved. So a fresh horror was added to
poor lady Harriet's many troubles. Surrounded by
a foe, infuriated by the heavy fighting of the previous
day, without a single wrap to protect her from the
biting cold of that bitter spring night, and without
food, through the long dark hours, she and her com-
panion remained in the boat, in imminent danger of
being at any moment fired upon from the bank.
With the morning her immediate troubles were
however over, and she was received by the enemy's
general, with all the respect due to such heroic
conduct. 1

Once more lady Harriet nursed her husband back
to health, and they soon were able to return to the old
homes at Pixton and at Holnicote. In the spring of
1778 a son was born to them ; but the joy of the quiet
home life was doomed soon to come to an end. In an
unpublished MS. of Mr. P. Rogers Webber's, we find
under the date "Nov. 11, i77 8 > CoL A cland fou S ht a

1. Polwhele's Devonshire , etc.

1 88 History of Selworthy.

duel on Bampton Down with Capt. Lloyd of the 20th
Regt. of which he " (colonel Acland) " was Major.
Died the 15th. Buried at Columb John the 18th."
The family tradition is that colonel Acland contracted
a chill during this encounter, which proved fatal. He
was buried at Broadclyst, and not at Culm John ; at
least that is the tradition in the family.

Killerton, the present Devonshire home of the
Acland family, originally belonged to a family of
the name of Killerton, from whom it passed by an
heiress to Sir John de Vege. After passing through
the hands of several owners, the estate was purchased
in the reign of Elizabeth, by Edward Drewe, serjeant-
at-law, who built himself a house on the site of the
present mansion. His son sold the estate to Sir
Arthur Acland, father of Sir John Acland, the noted
royalist. The present house was built in 1788. The
manor of Broadclyst was purchased by the last
baronet, about the beginning of the century. The
owner of this important manor at one time possessed
jura regalia, the right of life and death.

The Acland arms were of old, 3 oak leaves. At
present the family bears the following coat : Chequy
argent and sable a fesse gules ; and for a crest, a man's
hand couped at the wrist, in a glove, lying fesseways,
therein a falcon perched, all proper.

Arundell Family.

Playfair states that Roger de Arundell came over
with the Conqueror, and that he was possessed of
twenty-eight manors in Somersetshire, in the reign
of that monarch. On the other hand, the Cornish

Personal History. 189

historian, Gilbert, tells us that although the name of
the family appears on the corrupted Roll of Battle
Abbey, it appears more likely to have been derived
from the town and castle of Arundell, in Sussex,
which were held before the Conquest by the thane
Ederic, who was then dispossessed. Sir John Arundell,
the last owner of the ancient Cornish home of the
family, stated to Mr. Gilbert that he could never
understand that there was any such local place in
France, as Arundell. But whatever doubt may exist
with regard to their first origin, it is clear that for
many centuries the Arundell family was one of the
foremost, and the most widely ramified families in
Cornwall. Polwhele tells us that in the seventeenth
century, there were no less than ten families of the
name existing in his native county. For the following
short account of the family the writer is indebted to
many sources, notably to colonel Vivian's Visitations
of Cornwall, Polwhele's and Gilbert's Histories of
Cornwall, kind assistance given by Mr. A. J. Jewers, etc.
Maude, the heiress of Lansladron, married John
Goviley, of Goviley. They had a daughter and
heiress, Rose, who married Trerise, of Trerise. Their
grand daughter, and ultimate heiress, Jane, married
Ralph Arundell, the second son of Ralph Arundell, of
Caerhayes, a descendant of Sir Oliver de Arundell,
of Carshayes, who was living temp. Henry III ; and
this Ralph Arundell had one son, Nicholas Arundell,
of Trerice, who married Elizabeth, daughter and
heiress of Martin Pellor, of Pellor, co. Cornwall. In
the east window of the north aisle of Selworthy church
is a coat of arms Quarterly 1 and 4 arg. three chevrons

190 History of Selworthy.

sable (the colours curiously enough are wrong and
should be reversed) 2 and 3 az. three pellets or (Pellor)
Imp. — 1 gone 2 and 3 vert, St. Andrew's cross gules
between four eagles displayed gules (Leigh) 4 arg.
three buckles ? Leigh Barton, near Tiverton, passed
to the Arundell family by a marriage of an Arundell
with the heiress of that estate, and it is still the
property of Sir Thomas Acland.

Sir John Arundell, the son of Ralph and Elizabeth,
married Jane, daughter and heiress of John Durant.
At that time, Sir John's cousin, Sir John Arundell of
Lanherne, and the head of the family, was the largest
landowner and most important man in Cornwall. He
was also vice-admiral of Cornwall, and held the rank
of general in the French wars. We find John, earl of
Huntingdon, who states himself to be lieutenant-
general to John, duke of Bedford, constable and
admiral of England, writing to Sir John for the release
of a ship, which he had arrested by virtue of his office. 1
Holinshed tells us that Sir John and the lord Camois
and Sir George Seemor having had the government
of Gascony entrusted to them, they " manned towns,
gathered people, and comforted the fainting hearts
of the Gascoigners." This Sir John, in 1379, re-
pulsed an attack of the French, on the coast of Devon-
shire, and sailed for Brittany with a considerable force
to aid the brave resistance the Bretons were making
against the attempts of Charles V of France 2 to annex
that duchy to his crown.

The expedition, however, was unfortunate. The

1. Carew, fol. 146.

2. Baker's Chronicle, p. 137,

Personal History. ioj

squadron was overtaken by a violent storm and dis-
persed, and some of the ships were driven upon the
coast of Ireland, some on that of Wales, some on the
Cornish cliffs ; and Sir John and 1,000 men of his little
army perished. It is related, to show the magnificence
of the nobles of that day, that Sir John Arundell was
reputed to have had in his " furniture," fifty-two new
suits of apparel of cloth-of-gold and tissue, which
were all lost in the sea.

But to return to Sir John Arundell of Trerice. By
the above mentioned lady he had an eldest son,
Nicholas, who married Joan, daughter and heiress
of Edward St. John, of Luccombe. By this marriage
the manors and advowsons of Luccombe and Selworthy
came into the Arundell family, with whom they
remained until the family became extinct, and the
Arundell estates devolved on the late Sir Thomas
Acland. Johanna survived her husband, and died
5th July, 1463. The writer is inclined to think that
the church of All Saints was built, or rather re-built,
by this lady and her husband.

The date of the older part of the church agrees
with this theory, which is also supported by the repe-
tition of the emblems of St. John the Evangelist and
of the head of St. John the Baptist, on the roof of the
nave and chancel. Immediately over the altar too are
the head and shoulders of a man wearing a helmet of
the character of this period, which looks as if it might
represent the founder of the church, or the person in
memory of whom it was founded, or rather rebuilt.

Sir John Arundell, his eldest son, succeeded Nicholas
Arundell. He married a daughter of Sir Hugh

192 History of Selworthy.

Courtenay, kt., by which lady he had two sons who
died young. He married secondly, Anna, daughter of
Sir Walter Moyle of Eastwell, by whom he had issue
Robert Arundell who succeeded him. His death in
the year 147 1, fulfilled, very curiously, a prophecy
which had been uttered concerning him. Sir John
had left the ancient house of the Arundells, Efford
near Bude, and gone to reside at Trerice, because of
a prophecy which declared that he " should die on the
sand." Now in 147 1 the earl of Oxford, a zealous
Lancastrian, suddenly seized St. Michael's Mount by
a clever stratagem. Sailing with a small body of troops
from Milford Haven, he anchored under St. Michael's
Mount. Disguised as pilgrims, and in friars' apparel,
under which each had lodged a small sword and a
dagger, he and his company went ashore. They pre-
tended that they had come on a long pilgrimage from
the remotest parts of the kingdom, to perform a penance
laid on them by their father confessors, and to pay their
vows at the altar of St. Michael, and they were admitted
within the walls by the unsuspicious monks. But no
sooner were they within the gates, than they seized the
mount in the name of king Henry. The earl then re-
newed the fortifications and prepared to stand a siege.
King Edward IV on hearingof the capture of this strong-
hold, sent word to John Arundell, then sheriff of Corn-
wall, to gather a force and march to the relief of the
inhabitants of the mount. Sir John hastened to gather
his troops together and invest the place. But his forces
were repulsed by a vigorous sortie, and Sir John himself
was slain " on the sand " between the mount and the
mainland. He lies buried in the chapel of the castle.

Personal History. 193

Robert Arundell, his son and successor, married
Ellen, daughter of John Southwood, and had one son
who died without issue in Dec. 149 1, and was suc-
ceeded by his uncle, Sir John Arundell. In the contest
between Richard III and the earl of Richmond, the
gentlemen of Cornwall and Devon were for the most
part hostile to Richard. The king however, with the
activity natural to his character, came down to Exeter,
and tried by all the means in his power to conciliate
the affections of his people. But suspecting disloyalty,
from his own observation of the movements of the
nobility, and struck by a circumstance which he con-
sidered ominous, he left the city with a melancholy
presentiment of his fate. 1

" Richmond ! When last I was at Exeter,

The mayor in courtesy show'd me the castle,

And call'd it Rougemont : at which name I started,

Because a bard of Ireland told me once,

I should not live long after I saw Richmond." 2

The result of the king's investigations was that he
sent down lord Scroope with a commission to hold a
Sessions. This nobleman established his court at
Torrington, and at this court a large number of the
gentry of Cornwall, amongst whom we find Thomas
Arundell, kt, John Arundell, dean of Exeter, were
indicted of high treason, " all which fled and shifted
for themselves, some into Britaine (Brittany) and
some elsewhere. Saving Sir Thomas Sentliger and
one Sir John Kame who were brought to Excester
and there at the Carfox beheaded." 3

1. Polwhele, p. 43.

2. Richard III. Act iv, scene ii. 3- Hooker.

194 History of Selworthy.

December 5, 1485, 1 Henry VII, the king named
John Arundell, dean of St. Peter's in Exeter, and one
of his privy council together with Sir Richard Edge-
cumbe " to meet and treat with all captains, lieutenants,
officers, persons paying tribute or inhabitants in the
town of Callis, tower of Resetant, tower and castle of
Guynes, castle of Hammes and marches thereof re-
lating to all nations that concerned the crown of
England in said places, and to admit all persons
therein to their allegiance." 1

Robert's successor, Sir John Arundell, was a very
leading man in Cornwall in his time. He was sheriff
of Cornwall, and also vice-admiral of the West to
Henry VII and Henry VIII, and we find the queen in
1488 advertising " John Arundell of Trerice Esqre. that
she was brought to bed of a prince." 2 In the second
year of Henry VJ'II, Sir Piers Edgecombe, with
Robert Willoughby de Broke, kt, John Arundell, kt.,
and Richard Carew, kt., were empowered to array and
review all men at arms, archers and others who were
to accompany Sir Thomas Darcey, kt., captain of the
castle of Berwick, in his expedition against the Moors
and other infidels, and to certify to the king and to
his council the number of men at arms, archers, and
others under Sir Thomas's command. In 1520 the
king wrote to Sir John Arundell of Trerice, that he
should expect his attendance at Canterbury about the
" entertaynment of the emperor," whose landing was
immediately expected.

Two years later we find that "John Arundell of

1. Rymer's Foedera, vol. 12, p. 279.

2. Carew, p. 146.

Personal History. \gc

Trerice, esq., tooke prisoner Duncane Campbell a
Scott " in a fight at sea. On this, Thomas, duke of
Norfolk, " to whom he then belonged," writes to him •

" Right well beloved in our hearty wise we commend us unto
you telling you wit, that by your servant this bearer wee have
receyved your letters dated at Truro the 5th. dy of April, by
which we perceyve the goodly valiant and jeopardous enter-
prise it hath pleased God of late to send you, by the taking of
Duncane Camel and other Scots on the sea : of which enter-
prise we have made relation unto the king's Highnesse who is
not a little joyous and glad to heare of the same your so doing,
we doe not only thanke you in one most effectuall wise but also
promise you, that during our life, wee will be glad to advance
you to any preferment we can. And over this you shall under-
stand our said Sovereigne Lord's pleasure is, that you shall
come and repaire to his Highnesse with diligence in your own
person, bringing with you the same captive and the master of
the Scottish ship : at which time you shall not only be sure of
his special thanks by his mouth and to know his pleasure
therein but also of us to further any your reasonable pursuits
unto his highness, or any other during our life, to the best of
our power accordingly. Written at Lambeth the nth dy of
Aprille aforesaid," Endorsed " to our right well beloved John
Arundell of Trerice." 1

In 1 544 the king wrote to Sir John Arundel of
Trerice touching his discharge from the admiralty of
the fleet lately committed unto him, and directing that
he should deliver the ship in which he sailed unto Sir
Nicholas Poyntz. "The same yeare the king wrote
to him againe that he should attende him in his warres
against France, with his servants, tenants and others
within his roomes and offices, especially horsemen."

1. Carew, f. 146b.

196 History of Selwor thy.

" Again the king writes to his servant John Arundell
of Trerice, Esq., willing him not to repaire with his
men and to waite in the rereward of his army, as hee
had commanded him ; but to keepe them in readinesse
for some other service." A little later he writes again
" to Sir John Arundel of Trerice, Esq., praying and
desiring him to the court the quindene of St. Hilarie
next wheresoever the king shall then bee within the

A little later we find the king was himself in Corn-
wall, having gone down to see to the fortifications of
the castles of Mawes and Pendennis. Henry made
Talverne, the principal house of the Arundel family,
his residence during his sojourn. It was then the pro-
perty of Sir John Arundel, the " kind and valiant" Sir
John, as Carew calls him.

The great Cornish insurrection temp. Edward VI,
was, it was said, first stirred up by one Kilter of St.
Keverne, who murdered Mr. Body, the king's com-
missioner, as he sat at Helston on the matter of the
proposed reforms. Mr. Body was endeavouring to
carry out the injunctions of Edward, and seeing to the
destruction of the images in Helston Church, when a
priest, accompanied by Kilter, came behind him and
stabbed him to death. Kilter was sent to London
and executed, but the revolt continued to grow apace.

Next year the revolt became general, and Hum-
phrey Arundell, at that time owner and governor of
the priory or abbey of St. Michael's, which had been
dissolved and given to the king (33 Henry VIII,
1 533 ) agreed to become its leader with an army of
6000 men. On his leaving the mount the inhabitants

Personal History. 107

garrisoned it against him, but he despatched a party
of horse and foot against it from his camp at Bodmin
and soon reduced it. This success increased the pop-
ularity of his cause, which was looked upon as the
cause of religion. The pyx was pourtrayed on his
banner ; and the holy vessel itself, containing the
host, together with crosses and candlesticks, and with
the banners of the patron saints of the leaders waving
above it, was brought into the field in a carriage, like
as the ark in the time of Eli went out to war. The
people were told that these sacred emblems which
always accompanied the camp, would defend them
from " devils and adverse power." Encouraged by
the religious character of the campaign, as the York-
shire men were at the Battle of the Standard, the
rebel army grew stronger and stronger, and Job
Militon, then sheriff of Cornwall, though backed by a
strong force, durst not attack or encounter it. The
leaders, confident in the popularity of their cause, pro-
ceeded to draw up a petition to the king. It was long
before its terms could be agreed upon ; but at last the
well-known seven articles were sent up to the court.
To each of these articles the king replied, offering a
general pardon to all who would lay down their arms.
His overtures however were rejected, and the scarcity
of funds and provisions necessitated the taking of
some decisive step. The rebel army marched into
Devonshire, Sir Peter Carew, the High Sheriff, falling
back before it, and called upon Exeter to surrender.
But the bishop and the mayor and the stewards,
among whom was a relative of the rebel general, one
Geoffery Arundell, defied them. Arundell then laid

1 98 History of Selworthy.

formal siege to the city " boasting that his men would
shortly measure all the silks and sattins in it by the
length of their bows." The attacking party pushed
up to the very gates of the city, which Arundell
ordered his men to fire. The gates quickly kindled
and fell in, but not before the citizens had had time to
throw up a barricade which the enemy were unable to
storm. Attempts to undermine the walls and to scale
them were defeated by the watchfulness of the citizens,
and the only hope left to the besiegers was to starve
the defenders out.

Lord Russell however, a soldier of much experience,
was now on his way to relieve the city. At Honiton
he was reinforced by a strong body of troops under
lord Grey, and the uniled army marched upon the
rebels and offered battle on August 6, 1549. The
Cornishmen fought boldly, but were at length obliged
to retire, and the siege was thus relieved after a dura-
tion of nearly five weeks. The inhabitants had shown
through the whole time the most undaunted courage,
although provisions had run so short that they had
been obliged to eat " horses, moulded cloth, and bread
made of bran." After the raising of the siege Arundell
rallied his dispirited troops and made a desperate
stand. His men fought with the courage of despair,
but they were utterly routed and the greater number
of them were slain on the spot. Arundell himself and
some of his chief officers were taken prisoners and
sent up to London, where they were tried and executed.

A certain Sir A. Kingston, who had married a
Courtenay heiress and lived at Cathays, near Honiton,
was appointed by the king to restore order, and appears

Persona/ History. jqo

to have acted with a cruelty worthy of Judge Jefferies.
It is recorded that amongst his many victims was the
mayor of St. Columb, whom he hung on the sign of
the principal inn. The mayor's wife had been advised
to plead for his pardon ; but it is related that she was
so long putting on her new French hood, then the
latest fashion, that her husband was hung before her
arrival. 1

We are also told that Kingston wrote to one
Boyer, the mayor of Bodmin, who had been forced to
take part in the rebellion, telling him he would dine
with him at his house on a day appointed. The
mayor prepared a great feast, to which Kingston
duly came with a great company, and was received
with much ceremony. A little before dinner he called
the mayor aside, and whispered in his ear that an
execution must be done that day in the town, and
therefore required that a pair of gallows should be
made and erected against the time dinner were ended.
The mayor was diligent to fulfil his command ; and no
sooner was dinner ended than Kingston asked if the
work was finished. The mayor answered all is ready.
"I pray you," said Kingston, "bring me to the place;"
and " therewith took him friendly by the hand, and
beholding the gallows he asked the mayor whether he
thought them strong enough." "Yes," said the mayor,
"doubtless they are." " Well," said the provost, "get
you up speedily, for they are prepared for you." " I
hope," answered the mayor, " you do not mean as you
speak." "In faith," saith the provost, "there is no

i. Hals MSS.

200 History of Selworthy.

remedy, for you have been a burly rebel;" "and so he
presently hung him up. 1 "

" Letters exist directed to Sir John Arundell, of
Trerice, from the King's Counsell : by some of which
it appeareth that hee was Vice Admirall of the King's
shippes in the West Seas, and by others, that hee had
the goods and lands of certain rebels given him for
his good services." 2

Cornwall was no more than a spectator of the
stormy times of Mary. " It is a happy circumstance,"
says the author of Magna Britannia, " when good
people are out of harms way." But through this
reign the Arundell family appears still to the fore.
When Philip of Spain was coming to England the
queen wrote to Sir John Arundeli, of Trerice, " pray-
ing and requiring him that hee with his friends and
neighbours should see the Prince of Spain most
honourably entertained if he fortuned to land in
Cornwall." She wrote to him (being then sheriff of
Cornwall), " touching the election of knights of the
Shire and burgesses for the Parliament." And on
another occasion, with a double dealing worthy of
herself, we find the peerless Gloriana desiring him
privately (contrary to the public directions to the
justices) to gather together a force "for the defence
and quieting of the country," and " to certifye what
force of horse and foot he could arme." 3

It is curious that in the time of the Armada no
record appears to exist of the part taken by the

i. Baker's Chron., p. 305.

2. Carew, f. 147, 6.

3. Carew, f. 147, 6.

Personal History. 201

Arundell family. Their name does not appear
amongst the lists of the justices of the peace for
Cornwall at that time, nor, as far as the writer can find,
amongst the officers appointed to levy forces.

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Online LibraryFrederick HancockThe parish of Selworthy in the county of Somerset, some notes on its history → online text (page 13 of 21)