Bernard Burke.

A visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 1) online

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Barrister at Law, and Genealogist,
Author of the, " Preraoc" and '■'■ Landed Gentry."

VOL. 1





The A'ikws of Seats have been lithographed by Messrs. Staiirjard and
Dixon, from drawings made principally by Mr. Angustus Butler. The
Engravings of Akms arc by Mr. Baker, from heraldic designs by Mv.
-Tlenry Manly.




Crastluootiljai), HMmpSljivf,



€\}i Siirtstral Ijuium nf i^mi %x\im



Bromptun, Feb., 1852


An interest of a very peculiar kind attaclies to the Castles, INlansions, and
Baronial Halls of England, of wliicli every class in its OAAai degree, and after
its own fashion, is alilce sensible. With the uneducated, as a mass, tliis
generally appears linked with the supernatural, or with deeds of violence and
bloodshed ; the man of imagination has the same feeling but under a higher
and more fanciful aspect. " To abstract the mind," says Dr. Johnson,
" from all local emotion would be unpossible if it were endeavoured, and
would be foolish if it were possible. AVhatever withdraws us from the power
of our senses ; whatcA' er makes the past, the distant, or the future, pre-
dominate over the present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings.
Tar from me and my friends be such frigid philosophy as may conduct us,
indifferent and unmoved, over any ground which has been dignified by
wisdom, bravery, or virtue. That man is little to be envied, whose
patriotism Avould not gain force upon the plaui of IMarathon, or whose piety
woidd not grow warmer among the ruins of lona."

To the modern mansion belong attractions of an equal amount, but of a
different nature. The most republican disposition has a natural, and we
may therefore infer a praiseworthy, curiosity, to become acquainted -v^dth the
site of crreat actions and the habits of illustrious characters. This kind of
interest cannot fail to hang aromid most of our country Halls and
mansions. Those who possess them are men placed in a position commanding
either a general or a local reputation ; — not infrequently, combining both.
It is wonderfid to see what a strong hold these seats of the great and
wealthy have upon the minds and affections of all who dwell in the same
county. No doubt, those in humbler situations do not ahvays view with


complacency the better fortunes of others ; but with this, for the most part,
mingles a vague feeling that the honour of their county is involved in the
great men and noble seats that adorn it, and that that honour is in some
manner their own. To all this must be added the beauty of the land-
scapes in which our Halls and Mansions are placed ; a beauty of a kind that
may be considered peculiar to England, where nature has been cultivated not
superseded, Avhile in other countries the scenery is altogether wild, or altoge-
ther artificial. Those who are insensible to such considerations may, perhaps,
find their imaginations more pleasantly stirred by the pictures, busts, relics,
and curiosities, that almost ever abound in the Seats of our territorial proprietors.

If we have not exaggerated the interest belonging to these abodes of "^ealth
and greatness — and we are not conscious of having done so — it must seem
strange that no work of a comprehensive nature has been published, giving
their history and traditional associations— a work, in fact, that should be the
same in reference to them, that the "^Peerage " and " Landed Gejj try "
are to the pedigrees of the nobility and others. Some counties, indeed, have
been pictorially described ; and Neale, in his Views, has given a meagre
sketch of many of our seats ; but with him the text has been only meant to
explain the plates, and not the plates to illustrate the text. It is a work,
therefore, more for the eye than for the mind — more to please the artist than
to gratify the literary reader : — though it well answers the purpose intended,
yet that purpose is manifestly defective.

The nature of the First Part of the present undertaking will be easily
gathered from these cursory remarks, without the necessity of entering
into lengthened explanation. The County Seats of Great Britain are
here historically described, and arc accompanied, in some instances, by pic-
turesque views ; this portion we have endeavoured to enliven Avith legends,
anecdotes, and traditional reminiscences ; with the descent of each property
shoA-vTi down to the present possessor, and with reference to the ultimate fate
of the different families which, in the course of time, have enjoyed and given
vitality to the inheritance.

We have, in fact, taken these picturesque estates and placed the living
figures, with their deeds, their honors, and their worth, upon them — imjjart-
ing thus to each inanimate fabric and silent landscape, its oAvn congenial and
appropriate soul.

"We have now to speak of Avhat is intended in the Second Part of the work;


but to make ourselves clearly understood by all, it may be necessary to say a
few words upon tlie Heralds' Visitations.

It was at one time the custom for tbe Heralds to make Visitations, as tliey
were called, amongst the various nobles and landed proprietors, for the pur-
pose of inquirmg into, and setting right, all ii'regularities connected with
armorial bearings, and for compiling the necessary records. Of so much im-
portance were these Visitations held at the time, that they took place by virtue
of a conunission rmder the privy seal, to the two provincial Kings of Arms,
authorising and commanding each of them, either personally or by deputy, to
visit the whole of his province as often as he should think fit, to convene before
Ir'm 'Q manner of persons who pretended to the use of arms, or where styled es-
quires and gentlemen, and to cause those thus summoned to show by what authority
they claimed the distinction. Great, and almost unreasonable powers were
granted to them for the carrying out of these objects. They had license, not
only to enter, upon reasonable request, and at reasonable hours of the day,
into all churches, castles, houses, and other places, to peruse therein all arms,
cognizances, crests, and other devices, and to record the same, with the de-
scents, marriages, and issue, in Register Books — which are now so well known
as the Visitations — ^but also to correct and reform all bearings unlawfully
usurped or inaccurately adopted, and in certain cases to reverse, pull do-\\ai,
and deface the same. The mode of procedure was this : — on arriving at the
place wherein the Visitation was to be holden, the provincial King issued a
warrant, directed to the high constable of the hundred, or to the mayor or
chief officer of the district, commanding him to warn the several knights,
esquu-es, and gentlemen particularly named in such M'arrant, as well as others
withm his jurisdiction, to appear personally before him, at the house and on
the day specified, and to bring with them such arms and crests as they then
bore, together with their pedigrees and descents, and such evidences and an-
cient An-itings as might justify the same, in order to their being registered.
On the day appointed the provincial King, or his deputy, attended, and so
long as the laws of chivalry were honoured and esteemed, general attention
and respect were paid to these summonses ; attested pedigrees were submitted
to the heralds, and thus were produced the important registrations of which
we are speaking, and which have preserved to the present period many a line
of descent that would otherwise have been irretrievably lost.

In process of time these ceremonies fell into neglect, if not into disrepute.


and chiefly from the want of honesty too frequently manifested by the deputies.
Even the severity of the punishment that followed upon detection could
not deter them fi'om their illicit practices, and yet Ave are told of one W.
Dekpis, " a notable dealer in amies and maker of false pedigrees, for wliich
fault about xx years past he lost one of his ears."

These Visitations ceased with tlie seventeenth century, and have never
since been resumed. To supply, in some measure, the want of sucli
valuable sources of heraldic and genealogical information, is one great
object of the present work, the utility, and even necessity, of which
is mucli too obvious to need further comment or discussion. An honour,
known only to him wlio bears it, or at most to the few in whose circle
he moves, ahnost ceases to be an honour at all. The more mdely the
knowledge of its possession is diffused, the greater becomes its value, and it
may be ahnost doubted whether there ever yet was monarch who would have
been content to wear his crown and robes if he had not had witnesses to his

In conclusion, the Author anxiously hopes that his present undertaking-
may be deemed worthy of that kind support that has so long sustained his
literary and genealogical endeavours, and that " the Visitation of the tSeats
and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain," may be
favoiu'ably received as a not inappropriate completion of " the Peerage "
and " the Landed Gentry."


vol.. I.

Bayons Manok, CO. Lincoln
HiGHCLERE Castle, co. Hants ...
Beaumanor, CO. Leicester
Flitwick Manor House, co. Bedford
Prestwold, co. Leicester
HoLMBUSH, CO. Sussex
Sudeley Castle, co. Gloucester
Stracatiiro' House, co. Forfar
NettlecOiMbe, CO. Somerset
Thornbury Park, co. Gloucester
Temple Newsam, co. York
dunsland, co. devon
CmciiELEY Hall, Bucks
Calke Ajjbey, CO. Derby
Croft House, co. Lancaster ...
Witton House, co. Lancaster ...
Broughton Castle, co. Oxford
PuDLESTON Court, co. Hereford
Broadwater, co. Surrey
Stapeley House, co. Chester . .
Henllys, co Anglesea
Iridge Place, co. Sussex
Whitton Park, co. ]\Iiddlesex . .
Pantglas, CO. Carmarthen
Glanusk Park, co. Brecon (Two Views)
Armitagb Park, co. Stafford ...
Hatherton Lodge, co. Chester
Bayons Manor, co. Lincoln
Nanteos, CO. Cardigan
Ansty Hall, co. Warwick
Dowdeswell, CO. Gloucester ...





































HIGHCLERE CASTLE, Hants, the seat of
the Earl of Carnarvon. There are few Avho
have not heard at least of the many beauties
of Hampshire, its wild forests, its warm
and lovely valleys, its downy hills and its
woodland glades. And in this favoured
county no residence unites within itself so
many advantages and so many points of
interest, whether as regards scenery,
antiquity, or achitecture, ns Highclere Castle.
It is situated in a beautiful and extensive
Park about fivd miles south of Newbury,
and from its elevated site the towers of the
noble edifice are visible to all the surrounding
country, rising grandly from the deep woods
that environ them. Highclere was one of the
most ancient demesnes of the Church, and
appertained to the see of Winchester, from
the remotest time. " Semper fuit in ecclesiam
tempore regis Edwardi," saith Doomsday
Book. The Bishop of Winchester had a
house and pai'k here, and here the celebrated
William of Wykeham resided. In the reign
of Edward VI. Highclere was taken pos-
session of by the Crown, and eventually,
after various vicissitudes as to ownership
was bequeathed by Sir Robert Sawyer to
the Hon. Robert Herbert, by whose noble
descendant it is now enjoyed.

The castle of Highclere, as we have
before observed, occupies an elevated site,
and commands to the north and west rich
and extensive views over the neighbouring
counties. On the south it looks into a deep
and verdant vale, forming a portion of the
park, and bounded by the two romantic hills
known as Siddown (the hill of the Thane)
and Beacon hill, the former wooded to its
very summit, and the latter standing out
bare and clear, and exhibiting on its apex,
one of the boldest and deepest British en-

trenchments in the south of England.
There is no doubt but that tlie present struc-
ture occupies the site, if it do not indeed in-
clude within its walls the dwelling, of the
ancient Saxon possessors of these manors.
The Castle Hall is of great antiquity, and in
perforating its walls during some recent
alteration, a spur was found of that kind
which M'as in use before armour was made
to bend, and also other rude implements
of an earlier age. The gigantic tire- place,
where the feudal retainers were wont to
assemble round a blazing pile of enormous
logs of oak, was also discovered, and passages
were traced within the massive walls, con-
structed probably as a means for conceal-
ment, or of secret communication during those
turbulent ages. The building has at various
times been much altered and enlarged by its
various possessors, but the late noble pro-
prietor, with a taste and energy which pos-
terity will appreciate, has rendered the
castle worthy of the domain, and of the
noble race to whom it has descended. The
style is of the period of James the First.
The elevated portions of the north and south
fronts, and the pinnacles and perforated work
which surmount the building, liave a light
and yet imposing appearance. The Herbert
griffin holdmg in its mouth the bloody hand
appears beautifully carved in stone in every
variety of attitude, and the portcullis, so
long borne on their banners by that family,
is continually seen mixed up with badges,
shields, and heraldic devices, introduced at
diflerent periods by alliances with other
noble families, mcluding the Howards, Mar-
mions, Aclands, Nevilles, Veres, Parrs, &c.
&c. Each angle of the fabric is flanked by
a tower, of elegant proportions, and on the
western side arises, from the site of the old


feudal keep, a magnificent and massive
towei-, giving an effect of height and gran-
deur to tlie whole, which no description
can adequately convey. The park is ex-
tensive, and in its variety of scenery would
appear to include in itself all the pe-
culiar beauties of the county in which it
is situated. Tlie magnificent avenues, the
dark groves of oak, the boundless woods,
and the open glades of this favoured spot,
form combinations of scenery which in
variety and eifect have not often been
exceeded. Towards the northern verge of
the park, a lake embosomed in the forest
presents a rare scene of tranquil beauty.
In this seduced spot the late Earl restored a
Casino, built on the margin of tlie water by
his ancestor, Henry Herbert, Earl of Pem-
broke, in the 17th century, and there his
Lordship resided with his family, while the
recent alterations were carried on at the
Castle. Looking across the water, heath-
clad islands and deep glades in the forest
give unusual interest to this delightful
scene. In the spring, banks clothed with
exotic vegetation present masses of sparkling
bloom, and a profusion of azeleas of every
varying hue load the air with their perfume.
It is admitted that for the beautj^,
luxuriance, and variety of its American
plants, Ilighclere, as it was the first place
in the kingdom where they attained perfec-
tion, surpasses every other at the present
day. In the centre of the park,_ and com-
manding a view which of its kind is un-
rivalled, stands the Pavilion or Temple.
The waters of the upper lake wash the foot
of the abrupt emmence on which it stands :
and while the Castle, the Casino, the
Siddown and Bcacon~4ullSj thejioble woods
and spreading lakes, fill the eye with wonder
and delight, an exquisite woodland view of
the country far to the North and _ West
completes a scene, which it were difficult
indeed for the most skilful artist to delineate.
Plere, with a liberality worthy of imitation,
the noble Earl provided rooms of recep-
tion for the numerous parties who visit
this domain ; and here, without interruption,
they may wander as they will, amid scenes
of 'beauty and grandeur which the most
insensate must enjoy. But perhaps the
peculiar feature of tliis interesting property
is its free Warren and free Chase. These
almost immemorial rights here still remain,
and constitute in themselves a species of
feudal superiority in the very heart of tlie
kingdom, which has no parallel. Given in
the earliest days of the monarchy, confirmed
by successive grants, and when the feudal
confirmation ceased to be issued, main-
tained on the score of ancient privilege
and ancient grant, with singular and praise-
worthy determination, by the present

family down to the present Earl, these
rights survive, a solitary specimen of those
great and exclusive Norman free chases
which Avere once the appanage of the more
powerful barons of those days. In virtue
of these singular rights the game over all
the district, whether on waste lands or on
private properties, belongs exclusively to
the Earls of Carnarvon.

GARENDON ABBEY, Leicestershire. Ga-
REN'DON, or, as it was anciently styled,
Geroldo7iia, is the beautiful seat of Charles
March Phillipps, Esq., formerly M.P. for
Leicestershire. The mansion stands on the
site of the mitred abbey founded by Robert
Bossa, ^Earl of Leicester, in ILSS (ofwjiich
the oflices still retain a portion) ; and it
aflfords another proof that the monks of those
days not only knew ?ioiv, but whej-e, to build.
At the dissolution tlie manor was granted
to the Earl of Rutland, whose daughter be-
came the wife of George Villiers, the cele-
brated Duke of Buckingham, and her resi-
dence here formed a happy sulyect for Sir
John Beaumont's muse. In 1G52 it was sold
to John Thurlow, and in 1G82 it was pur-
chased by Sir Ambrose Pliillipps for £28,000.
An appai-ently hereditary taste for architec-
ture and landscape gardening in the Phillipps'
family has rendered Garendon one of the
finest seats in the midland counties. The
mansion, which retains no trace of the mo-
nastic style, was erected by Samuel Phillipps,
Esq., from a design which he brought from
Italy. The western and principal front is
exceedingly chaste and beautiful. In the
centre Ionic pillars support a veiy handsome
pediment and entablature, flanked by wings
of graceful proportions. Before this front
extends a lawn, which has been pronounced
" velvet and verdure in perfection" ; and
through vistas of ancient beeches the Cliarn-
wood hills are seen as through a telescope.
A park of nearly 500 acres surrounds tlie
abbey, and enriched by magnificent groves
and clumps of finely-grown timber trees,
lakes, temples, and obelisks, it forms a scene
of almost unrivalled beauty. Tlie park has
three g]-and entrances. That on tlie Sheep-
shed side, erected by Ambrose, nephew of
Sir Ambrose Phillipps, is a triumphal arch of
exquisite design, containing a fine relief of
Acta30n's metamorphose. '1 he Dishley
Gateway, erected by the present proprietor,
is in the Tudor style. The Forest Entrance
is remarkable for its pillars of the Charn-
wood porpliyry — the first ever composed of
that material. This last conducts to the ex-
tensive green rides over the rich scenery of
tlie forest, a large portion of which is pos-
sessed by Mr. i\Iarch Pliillipps, and forms a
pendant to the domain of extreme interest
and value. Wending by a gentle ascent,


amidst groves of rhododendrons, these green
rides lead to tlie summits of the loftiest
cliff, and afford enchanting views of the
whole Valley of tlie Soar, and of a great
portion of tlie midland district. Five appur-
tenant and contiguous lorships, viz.. Sheep-
shed, Halten, Dishley, Thorpe Acre, and
Knight-thorpe, combine to render the Ga-
rendon estate as complete as it is beautiful.
The abbey contains among other choice spe-
cimens of art, two splendid originals of

SEDBURY PAEK. The hamlet of Sedbury,
in the parish of Tidenham, Gloucester-
shire, occurs in Kemble's Diplomata, as part
of the Royal demesne of the Saxon kings,
and is named in Edwy's grant of Tidenham
to Bath Abbey, in 956, under the designa-
tion of Cingestune, being clearly identified
by its boundaries, the AVye, the Severn, and
the Saxon Dyke. Sedbury derives subse-
quent interest from its connection with that
elder line of the Monmouthshire Herberts,
known to genealogists as Herbert of Llanllo-
well and Betteslegh, the ancient name of
Keachley contiguous to Sedbury. Badam's
CouKT, in Sedbury, with a " Ilaia," or small
park, and mill attached, was a princijml seat
of this family before their greater acquisi-
tions, and derived its name from tlie Ab
Adams, heirs male of Adam Herbert, the
chief of the ilonmouthshire line.

Sir John Ab Adam or Herbert, "Dominus
de Beverstouc," a baron by summons of
Edward I., and acquirer of great estates by
marriage with Elizabeth de Gournay, was
father by lier of Sir Tliomas Ab Adam, Avho
dissipated most of them. Fossession of tlie
Sedbury property by Sir John, is sliown by
two inquisitions of 1312, confirming its in-
dependence of Strigul or Cliepstow and te-
nure in capite from the Crown ; and Jolm
de Huntley, styled " ap Thomlyn, Dominus
de Beatislegh," tlie heii general of Ab Adam,
is proved by title deeds to have retained
possession in 1499.

Among later oAvners were John Syminges,
M.D., (noticed in Wood's Fasti), who sold
Badam's Court and Betteslegh to William
Lewis of St. Pierre, Esq., in 1580, and Lt.-
General Sir Henry Cosby, purchaser from
assigns of the Lewis family, whose executors
sold Badams Court combined Avith adjacent
parts of the AVcobley estates, in 1825, to
George Ormerod, D.C.L., F.Tl.S., the pre-
sent proprietor.

The mansion at Sedbury Park is a stone
fabric, enlarged under direction of Sir R.
Smirke, and seated on an eminence com-
manding views of the Bristol Channel, the
AVye and the Severn, with the rich vale of
the last from AA'orcestershire to Devonshire,
and nearer prospects of Piercefiekl and

Wyndcliff, and the castles of Cliepstow,
Thornbury, and Berkeley. On a lofty cliff,
overhanging tlie Severn, Offa's Dyke before
mentioned terminates its southern course
within the park, deriving additional interest
from having been here the scene of conflicts
in the great Civil AA^ar betAveen AA^yntour
and General Massey, in Avhicli Badams
Court, the more ancient mansion, still indi-
cated by its moat and ruins, is believed to
have perished by fire.

near York, the

Dawnay, second

sixth viscount

of Sessay and


seat of the Hon. Payan
son of AVilliam Henry,
DoAvne, sometime rector
Thormanby. According to Drake in his
Eboracum, the name is derived from hiiry,
a fortified tOAvn, and bene, signifying prayer,
this place haA'ing been anciently given to
some religious houses in York, that prayers
might be duly said there for the souls of the
donors. A great portion of the lands at-
tached to it originally belonged to St. Mary's
Abbey, York, the abbot of which had a
game-preserve in Beningbrough Park, liis
chief country seat being at Overton, a A'il-
lage on the estate.

The present mansion Avas built for John
Bourchier, Esq., by Sir John A^anburgh
and the date, 1716, may be seen upon the
staircase. The architecture is Italian, tlie
material being Dutch brick with stone
groinings. There Avas at one time, Iioav-
ever, a much more ancient edifice on the
site of the present building, Avhich Jiad
long been the residence of the Bourchier
family, but which was pulled down Avhen the
noAv house was in contemplation. Sir John
Bourchier, avIio AA-as one of those who signed
the death Avarrant of king Charles, lived at
Beningbrough, and the seal he affixed to
the fatal deed is still in the possession of
the OAA-ner of the mansion.

Beningbrough Hall Avas left to the sixth
Viscount DoAvne by Mrs. Earle, the last of
this, the chief branch of the Bourchier fomilj^.
This lady Avho descended from the Lords
Berners, and conceived she had a claim to
the title, married Giles Earle, Esq., and had
issue two sons and a daughter, avIio all died

Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 79)