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History and antiquities of the county of Norfolk (Volume 9) online

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of mind. Writings and a-fHons bear the beft tefli-
mony to the real characters of the dead and living ;
they alone ftamp the true value upon all mankind;
title, family and fortun^)|tM'ill never recommend proud
and inlolent fools or tyrants to the notice of an hii-
torian, or to die consideration of pofterity.

The fubflance of a letter from fir Hamon L'Eflrange
to Dr. Speling, of Copenhagen, concerning the fhip
Bonuventura, Van Copenhagen, dated the iith of
June, 1649.

" I received


",I received your letter, dated the syth of April,
" on the 8th of June, in which you requeft to have
" an account of the fhip called the Bonaventura,
4 ' Van Copenhagen; which is as follows. About
" the latter end of September, 1647, there happened
" -a very violent ftorm ; and late in the evening, the
" inhabitants of the fea-port town where I live,
" heard a firing of guns near the fhore, which they
" imagined to be a fignal of diftrefs ; but the ftorm
" continuing very violent, and every thing involved
" in darknefs, no one would venture out to their af-
"' fiftance. The next morning the fhore (the great-
" eft part of which was upon my manor) was co-
" vered with timbers, planks and boards, that were
" thrown up from the wreck, and from other parts
' of the fhip there were fome chefts that were found
; empty, opened, and dafhed a-pieces againft the
fhore. The next day I fet out, from London for
my own houfe, and being better afcertained of
the lofs of the fhip and her cargo, I immediately
fummoned my fervants and vaffals, with fuch as
lived neareft my manor, and ordered their carts
and carriages to be loaded with the wreck, and to
be fafely depofited at my own eftate, and to prevent
its being ftolen, I maintained thefe men night and
day at my own expence, till the whole could be
fold. A fmall part of the fhip that was driven
afhore, or upon my premiffes, was fo clofely nail-
ed together, that it could not poffibly be ieparated
without greatly damaging t}ie planks, ib that the
the profit would fcarcely have balanced the trou-
ble. At a diftance from the fhore were obferved
fome ftill larger parts of the abovementioncd fhip,
and many of her planks floating in the fea ; but
the wind laying contrary, they were carried into
other people's manors. Though, doubtlefs, many
paffengers and failors were drowned, yet not a


S M I T H D O N. 47

" foul was found wafiied afliore by the waves. I
" put an entire confidence in what you fay in your
" letter, and make not the Icaft doubt that you are
" the real owner and proprietor of the above (hip and
"her cargo; in which I am moreover confirmed,
" by feveral letters and papers that were afterwards
" found, and dried from the falt-water by a gentle
" fire,

" So much for the hiflory and account of the
" fhip : let us now canvafs this bufmefs in a friend-
" ly manner. There is an old Englifh law, made
" in the ift year of Edward I. which runs thus, ' If
" there happens a fhipwreck, or wreck at fea r and
" no perfon on board, either a dog or a cat, fliould
" come to fhore alive-, then that fliip fo driven afhore,
" with whatever is in her, becomes the property of
" the lord of the manor, or of the king : but if any
" perfons aboard, eicher dog or cat, fliould come
" alive to fliore, and the owner of the fhip fliould
" claim her within a year and a day, then the fliip
' : and her cargo fliall be reftored to the right owner:
" in like manner, if any aftray cattle are taken up,
" and not claimed by the owner within a year and
" a day, they are feized of the king, or the lord of
" the manor.' From hence you may obferve, that
' all goods, whether loft at fea, and all cattle found
" aftray by land, are lubjecT; to this claim: from
" thefe premifes it appears likewife, that all goods
" fo loft by the inclemency of the weather, and cafl
" upon my manor are my property, and becaufe too
" they were not claimed by any body within the
44 time limited by the ftatute, viz. within a year and
" a day ; for, from the 2gth of November, 1647,
" to the end of February, 1648, is a year and three
" months, and in that interim no enquiry was ever
" made after them. I have not thought of, nor
*' mentioned any thing of the expence, the trouble



" and fatigue that I have been at, in colle&ing, pre-
' ferving, arid guarding of thefe goods, nor my fre-
" quent perfonal attendance and attention to them.
" However, in Chriflian fincerity, permit me to re-
" mind you of this precept of our great and ever-
" living Mailer, that whatfoever ye would that men
" fhould do unto you, even fo do unto them. I am
" ready to pay you, or any one you fhall appoint in
" your own name, and under your own hand, lool.
" fterling, (or 500 dollars) towards repairing the lofs
" you have fuftained.

" I am, Sec."

The above letter, on the fubjecl: of a Danifh wreck
on the Norfolk coaft, in the year 1647, does much
honor to die memory of the worthy baronet who
wrote it : it is a noble example of humanity and ge-
nerofity : it is a leflbn to thofe, worfe than canibals,
who a'lemble too frequently on the beach, to plun-
der and not to fave : it is a brilliant record, and
reflects a luflre on the refpeclcd family of L'Eftrange.

A fhip foundering at fea in all the horrors of a
tempeft ! It is a dreadful profpecl ! The raging
winds, the mounting billows, the labouring velfel,
and expiring mariners, are objecls to chill the foul
with terror and difmay ! Can there be any being
then fo hardened and depraved, as to meditate on
rapine in thefe heart piercing moments of diflrefs ?
Humanity muft fhudder at the thought.

Yet fuch there are, loft to all fentiments of pity
and compaffion:- alas! too many fuch there are,
more cruel than the waves, more unfeeling than
the tempefts. Rocks have protected feamen from
deftruclion, but the long expected native fliore, co-
vered with our countrymen, has proved the bane of
thoufands : the fainting (hipwrecked failor eicaped



S M I T H D O N. 49

tlie fury" of the devouring ocean, is murdered on the
fhore, the Britifh (bore ! Howling winds and ratt-
ling peels of thunder, as preludes of approaching
ftorms, are mufick to the ears of plunderers. Per-
dition light on all fuch monfters !

Our baronet was formed of a fofter mould; when
all relief was ineffectual to fave the crew, his next
attention was to fave the fhattered remnants of the
fliip call upon his lands, or floating on the waves :
when the wreck became his property by law and fta-
tute of England, and all former right was forfeited
to the foreign owner, he generoufly returned it back,
in obedience to that divine command, "Do as thou
" wouldft be done unto."

May the prefent and fucceeding lords of manors
on the Norfolk coaft imitate the bright example of
the Hunftanton baronet ! Ads like thefe do honour
to a country.

A remarkable inftance of this philanthropy and
humanity to feamen in the cafe of fhipwreck, as
well as of extraordinary courage and refolution-, has
been given lately on the French coaft, near Dieppe,
as appeared by a letter from Monlieur De Crofne,
intendant of Roan, to Monfieur Necker, direclor-
general of the finances of France, Dec. 17, 1777,
and copied into all the Englifh papers.

Sir Hamon had three fons, namely Nicholas, Ha-
mon, and lir Roger L'Eftrange ; the latter of whom,
like his noble father, diftinguiihed himfelf by many-
celebrated writings. He was born at Hunftanton,
December the 17th, 1616; and upon the breaking
out of the civil war, he efpoufed the royal caufe,
for which he was a remarkable fufferer, and was
once in the moft imminent danger of lofing his life ;
G for


for having, in 1654, obtained a commiffion of his
majefly for furprifing Lynn in Norfolk, then in pof-
feffion of the parliament, his defign was difcovered
by two of his afibciates; and he was accordingly
feized, conducted to London, and tried by a court-
martial, who condemned him to furTer death ; but
he was afterwards reprieved, and continued in New -
gate for upwards of three years. Efcaping thence in
1648, he retired beyond feas ; and returning to Eng-
land about five years after, he applied to Oliver
Cromwell, before whom, having once happened to
play on a bafs-viol, he*was, from that circumftance,
nick-named Oliver's Fidler. Being naturally a man
of lively parts, and of a fluent flyle, he begun, fooii
after the Reiteration, to eftablifh a news-paper, call-
ed, " The Public Intelligencer and the News ;" but
this was laid down to make room for the London
G-azette, the firft paper of which appeared on the 4th
of February, 1666. Mr. L'Eftrange, however, by
wav of compenfation, was appointed Licenfer of the
Prefs ; a poft, at that time, of fome truft and pro-
fit. He afterwards wrote a periodical paper, called,
" The Obfervator," in defence of the government*
and, upon the acceffion of king James the Second to
the throne, he was advanced to the honor of knight-
hood. After the Revolution he met with fome trou-
ble on account of his attachment to the abdicated
prince ; but he was fuffered, neverthelefs, to go to
the grave in peace. He died December the 1 1 th,
1704, in the 88th year of his age. His original
compofitions are but little efteemed ; his tranflations
are better known ; particularly his Seneca's Morals,
and ./Efop's Fables.

During Mr. L'Eflrange's confinement in Newgate,
he wrote the following lines on the walls of the pri-


S M I T H D O N. 51

BEAT on, proud billows ; Boreas blow ;

Swell, curled waves, high as Jove's roof :
Your incivility doth fhow,

That innocence is tempefl proof;
Though furly Nereus frown, my thoughts are calm ;
Then flrike, Affliction, for thy wounds are balm.

That which the world mifcalls a jail,

A private clofet is to me :
Whilft a good confcience is my bail,

And innocence my liberty :
J.ocks, bars, and folitude, together met,
Make me no prifoner, but an anchoret,

I, whilft I wiflid to be retir'd,

Into this private room was turn'd ;
As if their wifdoms had confpir'd

The falamander fliould be burn'd;
Or like thofe fophifts, that would drown a fifli,
J am conftrain'd to fuffer what I wifli.

The cynick loves his poverty ;
The pelican her wildernefs ;
And 'tis the Indian's pride to be

Naked on frozen Caucafus :
Contentment cannot fmart, floicks we fee
Make torments eafy to their apathy.

Thefe manacles upon my arm

I, as my millrefs' favours, wear;
And for to keep my ancles warm,

I have fome iron Ihackles there:
Thefe walls are but my garrifon ; this cell,
\Vhich men call jail, doth prove my citadel,

I'm in the cabinet lock'd up,
J-ike fome high-prized margarite,

G a Or,


Or, like the great mogul or pope,

Am cloyfter d up from publick fight :
Retirement is a piece of majefty,
And thus, proud fultan, I'm as great as thec.

Here fin, for want of food, muft flarve,
Where tempting obje$s are not feen;
And thefe ftrong walls do only ferve

To keep vice out, and keep me in :
Malice of late's grown charitable fure,
I'm not committed, but I'm kept fecure.

So he that ftrack at Jafon's life,

Thinking t'have made his purpofe fure,
By a malicious friendly knife

Did only wound him to a cure ;
Malice, I fee, wants wit ; for what is meant
Mifchief, ofdmes proves favour by th 1 event.

When once my prince affliction hath,

Profperity doth treafon feem ;
And to make fmooth fo rough a path,

I can learn patience from him:
Now not to fuflfer fhews no loyal heart,
When kings want eafe fubjecls muft bear a part,

, What though I cannot fee my king

Neither in perfon or in coin,
Yet contemplation is a thing,

That renders what I have not, mine :
My king from me what adamant can part,
Whom I do wear engraven on my heart ?

Have you not feen the nightingale,

A prifoner like, coop'd in a cage,
How doth fhe chaunt her wonted tale

In that her narrow hermitage ?



Even then her charming melody doth prove,
That all her bars are trees, her cage a grove.

J am that bird, whom they combine

Thus to deprive of liberty ;
But though they do my corps confine,

Yet, maugre hate, my foul is free:
And though iminuf d, yet can I chirp, and fing
Difgrace to rebels, glory to my king.

My foul is free, as ambient air,

Although my bafer part's immew'd,
Whilft loyal thoughts do Hill repair

T' accompany my folitude :
Although rebellion do my body bind,
My king alone can captivate my mftid.*

Sir Hamon L'Eftrange was fucceeded by his eldeft

Sir Nicholas L'Eftrange, bart. He was created
the 28 8th baronet on the i ft of June, 1629, in the
5th of Charles I. and married Ann, daughter of fir
Edward Lewkner, of Denham in Suffolk, by whom
he had feveral children, who married into many
honorable families. Sir Nicholas's eldeft fon, fir
Hamon L'Eftrange, dying the 15th of February, i6 r ,5,
before his father, (who died the 24th of July, it;yj,
8th of Charles II. aged 52) he was fucceeded by

Sir Nicholas UEftrange, bart. the fixtecnth lord
of Hunftanton. His firft wife was Mary, daughter
of John Coke, of Holkham, efq. fon of fir Edward,
lord chief juftice, by whom he had a fon and daugh-
ter, who died young. His fecond lady, Elizabeth,
daughter of fir Juftinian liham, bart. of Lamport in
JN T orthamptoufhire, had by him a fon and two daugh-

* Beliqucs of Ancient Englift Poetry, by Dr. Percy.


ters. Sir Nicholas died in 1669, and was fucceedcd
by his only fon and heir,

Sir Nicholas L'Eftrange, bart. who married Ann,
daughter of fir Thomas Wodehoufe, bart. of Kim-
berley. He died the iSth of December, 1724, in
the nth of George 1. and had three fons and two
daughters, viz.

1 . Hamon L'Eftrange, who died on his travels in
Italy, unmarried.

2. Sir Thomas L'Eftrange, bart. who married Ann,
daughter of fir Chriftopher Galthorpe, but died with-
out iffue.

3. Sir Henry L'Eftrange, bart. the eighteenth and
laft lord of Hunftanton of the name. He married
Mary, daughter of Roger North, efq. of Rougham,
and died September the gth, 1 760, alfo without iffue.

Lady L'Eftrange, relict of the above fir Henry,
daughter to the Hon. Roger North, iblicitor-general
to the queen in the reign of Charles II. and filler to
the late Roger North, efq. of Rougham, ftill fur-
vives, to the joy of all her friends and acquaintance,
being a lady univerfally efteemed for her great bene-
volence of heart, and many other moft amiable ac-
compliihments : (he has long lived an honor to both
the illuftrious families to which fhe is united by
birth and marriage. The late fir Henry, for his
noble hofpitality, his refiding conflantly in the coun-
try, and his focial virtues, acquired an influence and
weight in the county of Norfolk, fuperior to any gen-
tleman of his time.

4. Armine L'Eftrange, who married Nicolas Style-
jnan, efq. of Snettifham in Norfolk,

5. Lucy

S M I T H D O N. 55

5. Lucy L'Eftrange, married to fir Jacob Aflley,
bart. of Mekon-Conftable in Norfolk.

Armine L'Eftrange, fifter to fir Henry UEftrange,
of Hunftanton, and married to Mr. Styleman, had
two fons, namely,

1. Nicolas Styleman, efq. of Snettifham, the pre-
fent worthy lord of Hunftanton, jointly with fir 'Ed-
ward Aftley, bart. He married Catherine, daughter
of Henry Holt Henley, efq. of Leigh in Somerfet-
fliire, by whom he has no iffue.

2. The Rev. Armine Styleman, of Ringftead in
Norfolk, who married Ann, daughter of James
Blakeway, efq. of the royal navy, and has fons and

Lucy L'Eftrange, fifter to fir Henry L'Eftrange,
bart. of Hunftanton, married fir Jacob Aftley, barr.
of Melton-Gonftable in Norfolk ; by whom were,

1. Ifabella, who died young.

2. Blanch, married to Edward Pratt, efq. of Rif,
ton in Norfolk, and has a Ion and two daughters.

3. Sir Edward Aftley, bart. of Melton-Gonftable,
joint lord of Hunftanton with Mr. Styleman of Snet-
tifham, and knight of the fhire for the county of
Norfolk. An eulogium to whofe public virtue as a
national fenator, and amiable conduct as a gentleman
and magiftrate, would be offering an inlult to the
underftanding and feelings of his conftituents, and
the kingdom at large ; whiift every action of his life
is marked with the patriotifm, hofpitality, and po-
litenefs of his noble anceftors. Sir Edward married,
ift. Rhoda, daughter of Francis Blake Delaval, efq.



of Seaton-Delaval in Northumberland, by whom lie
had two fons, Jacob and Francis, sd. Ann, daugh-
ter of Milles, efq. of Nackington in Kent, and

fifler to Richard Milles, efq. of Elmham in Norfolk,
reprefentative in parliament for the city of Canter-
bury, by whom fir Edward has feveral fons.

4. The Rev. John Aflley, of Thomage in the
hundred of Holt, L. L. B. who married Catherine,

daughter of Bell, efq. of Wallington in Clack-

clofe hundred, and fifler to the prefent Henry Bell,
efq. of the fame place.

From what has been abovementioned of this fa-
mily, it evidently appears to be of great antiquity,
and to have been poffeffed of this lordfhip from the
beginning of the reign of Henry I. (if not before)
about 650 years. Parkin feems to doubt the authen-
ticity of fir ^yilliam Dugdale's account of the origin
of this family, but with how much forcibility of ar-
gument and proof, we will not venture to determine ;
it being, in our confideration, a matter of little mo-
ment to poflerity. We will, however, do Mr. Par-
kin the jufticc to offer his reafons to the option of
our readers notice.

" Guy, the founder of it in England, was not a
fon of the duke of Brettaigne in France, but came
into England with Alan, fon of Flaald, anceftor of
the earls of Arundel-, at the Conqueft.

All the lordfliips and fees that they anciently held,
both in this county, and that of Shropshire, (where
they had very great and valuable pofleffions) being
teld of the faid Alan and his defendants.

If this family had been fo nearly, or any way re-
lated to the dukes, or earls of Brettainge, what might


S M I T H D O N. 57

they not have enjoyed and been enfeoffcd of by Alan
Rulus, or Fergeant, earl of Brettaigne in France?

Alan mairied a daughter of the Conqueror, was
made earl of Richmond, in England, on the Con-
quefr., and rewarded with 436 lordfhips, 81 of which
(as Dugdale fays) were in Norfolk, whereas in none
of thefe (as far as I have feen) had the Stranges any
interefl. Another prevailing reafon or proof is from
the arms of this family.

It is very well known, that in ancient days it was
a common practice for thofe who were enfeoffed of
any lorcUhip, to take up the chief bearings of their
capital lords, only changing or varying the colour?,
or pofition of their bearings, and as earl of Arundel
bore gules, a lion rampant, or, fo the L'Eftrange's
alfumed the lion ; whereas the dukes of Brettaigne
bore a field, ermine.

It is mod probable, that Guy Le Strange afore-
faid, and fo called in the time of the Conqueror,
brought that name with him from France, and did
not' aflume it as being a ftrangcr, but took it (as moft
of the Norman chiefs and leaders did) from fomc
town or lordfhip that they held in France.

Charles, marquis de Chateauneuf, fecond brother
of Henry, ~duke de la Ferte, 8cc. peer and marfhal
of France, married Mary de Hautefort, daughter and
heir of Claude de Hautefort, vifcount de la Strange,
and had iflfue, Henry, marquis de Chateauneuf, and
vifcount Le Strange. William Le Strange was arch-
bifhop of Roan in Normandy, legate of Pope Cle-
ment VI. and died 1388.

The family is highly ancient in France, originally

ef the province of Limofin, where is the caflle of

H Le


Le Strange, in a parifli of the fame name, and very
lately, if not at this lime, there were two branches
of it, one in the county of Vivanois, in the province
of Languedoc, and the other in the county of La
March, who were allied to moft of the houfes of
France ; and here in England there were the lords Le
.Strange, barons of Knockin, the lords Le Strange of
Blackmere, alfo the lords of Elleiinere, and of Cor-

The lord Le Strange of Knockin, in the reign of
king John, bore gules, 2 lions paffant, argent; and
Le Strange, lord of Blackmere, argent, 2 lions paf-
fant, gules ; fo this family bore the lions as the lord

John Le Strange, lord of Hunftanton, and Ralph
Le Strange, were living about the year 1 1 73"".''

This barony and peerage now remains in obey-
ance, and is fubjecl; to the claim of Nicolas Style-
man, efq. the prefent lord of the capital manor of
Snettifham, in right of his mother, and to that of
his heirs.

There are three manors belonging to Hunftanton,

MUSTRELL'S Manor, and

This laft is fubjecl to the claims of the Honor of
Clare, lately revived by Mr. Jenney, of Bungay in



S M I T H D O N. 59

There was an ancient family of the name of De
Hunftanton. In the 4th of king John, it appears
by a fine, that Ralph Hunftanton bought of Ralph
Le Strange, 40 acres of land here ; and Roger de
Hunftanton was living in the reign of king Hen. II.
and had exported corn without licenfe, which was
not then lawful to be done, and was fined on that

Elfride de Hunfton was one of the jury for this
hundred in the gd of Edward I.

Hunftanton hall, the ancient feat of the family of
Le Strange, was built at feveral times, and confifts
chiefly of an oblong fquare : before the front runs a
pretty ftream, or rivulet, (which we have before men-
tioned) walled on each fide, to preferve it clean and
regular, ferving not only as an ornament, but as a
moat or guard to the houfe ; over this is a bridge,
leading to the gate-houfe, which, with the wings and
buildings on each fide, were ere&ed by fir Roger Le
Strange, in the reign of Henry VII. as may be
feen by his arms, carved on the ftone work, on one
fide of the great arch, and by that of his lady, a
Heydon :

Quarterly, argent and gules, a crofs ingrailed,
counterchanged on the other.

In the windows of the hall were, in the painted
glafs, many arms of the families into which the Le
Stranges married ; and in the great dining-room which
is above flairs, on the fummit of the wainfcot, are
painted in their proper colours the fhields of their

By the fea fide, on the cliff, ftands fome remains
old chapel of St. Edmund, built chiefly of the
H 2 chalk-Hone


of the


chalk-ftone out of the cliff; it had one window on
the north fide to the fea, with a north door, and a
door on the fouth fide, with three windows, and one
^t the eaft end: it is now all open, great part of the
walls, which were about five feet thick, being dila-
pidated, and feems to have been built about the reign
of Edward I.

Near to this old chapel flood a light-houfe for

This light-houfe being burnt down, another of a
new conftruclion, and improved from that of Liver-
pool, has lately been creeled by Edward Everard, eiq.
alderman of Lynn, who has a grant or leafc of the
light-houfe upon this cliff. The old one burnt down
was a fire light by coals, but the prefent light is
thrown out by a lamp of oil, which plays upon a
great Variety of pieces of glafs, artfully difpofcd, by
which the flame from the lamp is multiplied and re-
flecled, and clearly diftinguiihed at fea at the dif-
tance of feven leagues. By this conftruclion the
light is coiaflant and certain, whereas the feamen were
fometimes obliged to awaken the old gentleman at
the former light-houfe with a fhot, to put him in
mind that his fire wanted blowing.

St. Edmund's chapel, on this promontory, takes
its name from St. Edmund, king and martyr, who
being adopted by Offa, king of the Eafl-Angles, is
thought to have landed here, to take poffeffion of his
kingdom. Being arrived, he was joyfully received,
and without any oppofition made king of the Eaft-
Angles, anno domini 870. He ruled fome years
quietly and without interruption, and gave great fa-
tisfaclion to his people, being a Chriftian himfelf,
and his fubjeds Chriiliansalfo: but in his reign the
Danes; bitter enemies to Chriflianity, entered the


S M I T II D O N. 61

mouth of the Huraber, and having miferably ravaged
York, Northumberland, and Nottingham, turned their
arms againft the territories of king Edmund ; befieged
and took Thetford, at that time a populous and
much frequented city. The king fled for fafety to
the caftle of Framingham, but was drove out, and
obliged to leave it, and being foon after taken by the

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