Bernard Burke.

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

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he appointed a deputy to fight in the judicial
combat on his behalf. The counier-claim-
ants were Ingelram de Kilton, Walter de
Garmondsway, and Ralph de Garmond-
sway. These also, perhaps on account
of their number, in like manner appointed
a deputy. The champion of the three
claimants was Peter de fCettleby. The
judicial combat was fought under the au-
thority of the episcopal Count Palatine,
and Ralph's champion proved victorious.
In gratitude for his success he gave a third
part of the vill of Garmondsway to Slier-

■Ji - ,-*

^. ^



burn Hospital, then newly founded 1)y
Pudsey, — " Nobile Xenodochium de Schire-
burn juxta pontem," as William of Newbury
describes it — and most probablyat the in-
stigation of the bishop. Fortunately for the
tenants of the hospital and then- descendants
the matter did not end here. Law is ex-
pensive, whether conducted at the point of
the lance or the point of the pen, and Ralph
found a heavy bill of costs brought against
him by the court of the Count Palatine, so
heavy indeed that he was unable to discharge
it. Hereupon the good bishop stepped in —
Qeos i'v fxrjxavT], and proposed to assist him,
but always under condition. — " If you, Ralph,
•will give to my hospital the whole of the
vill of Garmondsway, instead of only one-
third, I will defray the expenses of the com-
bat, and make you comfortable for the term
of your natural life by paying you sixty-
four marks annually." Poor Ralph having
no alternative consented, and thus Sherburn,
the " Nobile Xenodochium," became pos-
sessed of the lands of Garmondsway.

CLYFFE, near Dorchester, in the county
of Dorsetshire, the seat of Charles Porcher,
Esq. The name of this interesting place
has been variously written Clift, Cliff, Clyve,
and Clyffe, though the latter would seem to
be the more generally received ortliography,
and as we have no certain etymological data
to assist us in coming to a conclusion, we
cannot take a better guide than custom,
'i'he estate has successively passed through
the hands of the Baynards and Starts to the
present owner, who pulled down the house
originally built in the reign of James the
First, and erected a new mansion upon ano-
ther and more favourable site. This build-
ing, which is of the early Tudor style of
architecture, stands upon a gentle eminence,
protected by higher hills on the north and
east, and commands an extensive view over
the valley of the Frome, the fourth river of
that name m England, and which joins the
sea in Poole harbour. Further on the pros-
pect is bounded to the north by Blackdown
hill, to the east by the Purbeck hills, and to
the south by the Lalworth and Osmington
downs. The approach to the house is
through a noble avenue of Elms.

shhe, the seat of Evelyn John Shirley, Esq.
According to tradition the mansion was
originally built here before the Norman
Conquest, and afterwards modernized in the
reign of Queen Elizabeth, since Avhich time
it has undergone various alterations and
improvements. About 1650 it was repaired
by Sir Robert Shirley; in 1740 and 1767,
additions were made to it by the Hon. George

Shirley ; and again in 1824 and 1843, by the
present proprietor.

This seat was remarkable even in Dug-
dale's time as being the only place in the
county of Warwick, which could show an
uninterrupted succession of owners in the
male line from the Anglo Saxon period.
From the days of Edward the Confessor, it
has continued in the male line of the Shir-
leys, although since the death of the lirst Earl
Ferrers in 1717 it has been in the younger
branch. From the reign of Henry VIIL,
to that of Charles I. it was leased by the
Shirleys to their cousins, the family of
Underbill one of whom has obtained a place
in Fuller's Worthies. Here too the celebra-
ted musician and composer, William Croft,
was born in 1678.

The house having been altered at so many
different periods, exhibits, as might have
been expected, several varieties of architec-
ture, each owner consulting his own taste
rather than that of his predecessors ; yet it
may be doubted whether even this irregu-
larity has not its own peculiar interest,
although certainly not of the kind which
belongs to a uniform and graceful structure ;
just as a wild forest possesses its own cliarms,
though totally differing from those of a cul-
tivated pleasure-ground disposed according
to the rules of art. At all events the in-
ternal elegance and accommodation are un-
deniable, the rooms being large and hand-
some, and ornamented with many excellent
pictures by different masters. There is also
a good library, suited to a scholar or private
gentleman, and evincing much taste and
judgment in the selection. The park, which
is well stocked with deer, spreads over a
wild undulating ground, and is famous for
its hawthorn-trees, said to be some of the
finest in all England. The gardens too are
exceedingly picturesque. In the midst of
them may still be seen the Tower and ruins
of the old church of Eatington, the south
aisle of which has been converted into the
family chapel, wherein is a fine monument
of the first Earl Ferrers, the great-grand-
father of Evelyn John Shirley, Esq.

STRACATHRO HOUSE, in the parisli of
the same name, Forfarshire, the seat of
Sir James Campbell. This is an elegant
modern mansion of the Grecian style of
architecture, built by Alexander Cruikshank,
Esq., in 1828, and is remarkable for the exceed-
ing beauty of the scenery by which it is sur-
rounded. It stands in the vale of the North
Esk, about five miles from Brechin, by the
great northern road through Strathmore to
Aberdeen, 'i'radition too, whether false or
real, has lent its interest to the neighbour-
hood, pointing out the parish clnu'chyard
as the place wiiere John Baliol did homage



to Edward the First of England for the Scot-
tish crown. It is also said that at some very
remote period a great battle was fought liere
between three kings — PIctish, Scottish, and
British or Danish — in which all three were

Being at no great distance from Cattertluui,
the 'i'emple Hill, the name Stracathro' is
thought to be derived from it, and to signify
the Temple Strath, or Valley, in wliich case
Stracathro' must be taken for a corrupted
abbreviation of Strath Caithir.

Till 1847 this place was the seat of the
Cruikshank family, but in tliat year it was
purchased by the present owner, Sir James
Campbell, a descendant of the family of
Campbell of Melford, a scion of the Argyll

TREVARNO, Cornwall, the seat of Chris-
topher Wallis Popliam, Esq. The mansion,
as it now appears, was built in 1839 by the
present owner upon the site of the old edifice,
which had existed for at least three hundred
years before, and probably for a much longer
period. It is of the Grecian style of archi-
tecture, with a lai'ge Doric portico of solid
granite. The grounds are extensive, leading
to a picturesque valley below, that contrasts
beautifully with the more rugged features of
the prospect.

This estate originally belonged to a family
called Trevarno ; then to the Arundels ; and
from tliem it was purchased about tlie year
1770 by the late Christopher Wallis, Esq.,
maternal grandfather of the gentleman now
possessing it. A pleasing instance of canine
affection attaches itself to the memory of
Mr. Oliver, the last representative of the
Trevarnos. When he died, his dog, as if
really monrnhig for the extinction of the
race, refused to be separated from his master,
and like the idiot in Southey's pathetic
ballad proceeded to dig up tlie body on the
night of its interment. So determined was
the faithful animal in his purpose that it
was eventually foiuid requisite to protect
the grave from him by placing over it a
heavy tomb-stone.

ABBEY CWMHIR, Radnorshire, the seat of
Francis Aspinall Pliilips, Esq. The old man-
sion of Cwmhir, wliich for many generations
was the residence of the ancient f^imily of the
Fowlers of Radnorshire, is now converted
into a farmliouse. The present edifice was
built in 1833 by Thomas Wilson, Esq., at
that time the owner of the property. On
the estate are the ruins of a Cistercian
monastery, said to 1)0 the largest in England,
little of which now remains, though some in-
teresting fragments of it may still be seen
in the churches of Llanidloes and New-
town, Montgomeryshire. Some portions, too,

of the stone of the old building have been
used in the erection of the more modem

Tlie monastery was called — and the place
still retains tlie name — Abbey Cwmhir, the
site forming the latter part of the appellation,
agreeably to the \Yelsh idiom ; and it de-
rives its name from standing in a long dingle,
or narrow vale, of considerable length, which
is tlie meaning of the word Cwmhir. Tliose
who are curious in such matteis will find a
long and exceedingly minute account of this
abbey in the Archteologia Canibrensis, No.
XVI., October, 1849, p. 2.33.

For a long period Cwmhir remained in the
possession of the Fowlers, who at one time
must have been a wealthy family. One of
them is believed to have built the neigh-
bouring mansion of Divamier, and to have
enclosed the adjacent park, which circum-
stances, with the report of his wealth in tlie
vicinity, gave rise to the following popular
saying :—

" There is neither a park 7ior a deer
To be seen in all lladiiorshire ;
Nor a nian witli five hundred a year,
Save Sir ^^'illiam Fowler of Alibey Cwniliir."

The male branch of the Fowlers having
become extinct, this estate was purchased in
1824 by Thomas Wilson, Esq. of London ;
and was again sold in 1836 to Francis
Philips, Esq. of Bank Hall, county of Lan-
caster. This gentleman, who was father
of tlie present proprietor, increased the
property by numerous purchases, besides
adding greatly to its value by draining,
planting, and other improvements. He died,
deeply lamented. May 4, 1848, at the ad-
vanced age of seventy-eiglit-

ALDERMASTON, Berkshire, the seat of
Daniel Higford Davall Burr, Esq. Tlie
present mansion, a building in the Eliza-
bethan style of architecture, was built
in 1850, the old Hall, erected by Sir
Ilumplirey Forster, a.d. 1636, having been
partially destroyed by fire in 1844. The
manor, according to Leland, was said to
have been given to Richard Achard by
King Henry the First. It certainly was
possessed by one of that name and
family as early as 1229, and continued in
tlie male line of the same till about 1358,
Avhen it passed by marriage to the Do la
Mares, and from them in like way to Sir
George Forster, he liavhig married the
daughter and heiress of John de la i\Iare,
Esq. This gentleman was Sheriff of Berlcs
and Oxfordshire in 1516, and his son, Sir
Humphrey, who succeeded him in the estate,
was one of the knights of the body to King
Henry tlie Eighth. His descendant, also a



m I

■2^ if



Sir Humphrey, had the honour of a royal
visit from Queen Elizabeth in 1601.

About 1740 the estate again passed by
maniage from the family possessing it,
tind this time to Ralph Congreve, Esq. ;
but it -was sold by tlie executors of one of
his descendants in 1847 to the present pos-

BODELWYDDAN, Flintshire, near St. Asaph,
the seat of Sir John Hay Williams, Bart.
The word, Bodelwyddan, usually signiiles
*' a little mountain," but in this case Welsh
antiquaries have supposed it to mean " the
abode of the chieftain ;" and they hold their
interpretation to be confirmed by its having
been the residence of Gweryd ap Rhys
■Groch, a founder of one of the fifteen tribes
of North Wales. To him it had been given
by Edward the First in exchange for Henllys,
in the Isle of Anglesea, his former residence,
and where the king soon afterwards built
the Castle of Beaumaris.

About the year 1690, Bodelwyddan was
possessed by the Humplneys, who sold it to
♦Sir William Williams, Bart., Speaker of the
House of Commons, the common ancestor of
the Wynnstay and Bodelwyddan families.
He himself could boast of having been de-
scended from Cadrod Harrd, or Cadrod the
Handsome, Lord of Talsy-bolion in Anglesea.

The mansion is a castellated building,
upon rising ground, at the opening of the
Vale of Clwyd, and commands an extensive
view of the vale and the open sea. To it
is attached a deer-park, with gardens well
laid out, and kept in a high state of cul-

Sir J. H. Williams possesses also two es-
tates upon a smaller scale, and of less value — ■
Tyfry, near Pentraeth, and Rhiauva, near
Beaumaris, in the Isle of Anglesea.

EDGCOTT, Northamptonshire, the seat of
Mrs. Cartwright. This estate was at one time
possessed by Thomas Cromwell, Esq., and
upon his attainder escheated to the Crown. In
1540 it was granted for life to Anne of Cleves,
and from her it passed into the hands of
W. Chauncy, Esq., whose family retained
it until 1795, when it went to the late Thomas
Carter, Esq., imder tlie will of the late W.
Chauncy, Esq. By him Edgcott was de-
vised — after his sister Martha, who died in
1848 — to his cousin, Julia Frances Aubrej^,
with remainder to her children, this lady
having married. May 29, 1810, W. R. Cart-
wright, Esq. Her eldest son married in 1848
the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Freman-
tle, Bart.

The old mansion was taken do-nm about
the middle of the last century, aud in 1752
the present handsome edifice was erected

nearly on its site, by Richard Chauncy, Esq.
The brown stone, of which it is built, came
from quarries in the lordshijj, that material,
and of a good quality, being abundant in the
neiglibourhood. It is an oblong erection of
three stories, on a basement of the stone just
mentioned, while the copings are of a whitish
stone brouglit from Warwickshire. Although
there is no regular park, properly so called,
yet there is no want of fine timber, and the
ground about the house is diversified Avith
hill and dale, the natural beauty of the spot
being considerably heightened by an artifi-
cial lake, the work of the Rev. R. Charwell.
It extends over ten acres.

An additional interest is flung over this
place by historical recollections. It was here
that Charles the First rested on the 22nd of
October, 1642, before the battle of Edgehill
at Edgcott. The bed in which he slept is
still preserved in the house as a precious
relique of times gone by, a feeling more or
less common to all cultivated minds — to the no less than to the antiquary — and
Avhich in truth is scoffed at by none but the
mei'est utilitarians.

NETTLECOMBE, Somersetshire, the seat of
Sir Walter. Calverley Trevelyan, Bart., about
six miles from Dnnster Castle, on tlie road
leading thence to Taunton. The parish
in whicli it stands, of the same name,
lies on the south side of St. Decumans, in a
bottom near that part of Brendon Hill, called
Raleigh's Down, and Avatered by a rivulet,
wliich falls at Dunniford into the sea. The
lands are fertile, and mostly in tillage, the
soil being a red loam. Some j^ears ago when
the labourers were digging stones for the
roads in a field called Knapp-Dane, they
found several bushels of bones, which were
supposed to have belonged to a party of
Danes, who in the year 918 havhig landed
at Watchet, were roughly handled by
those they had come to enslave, if not to

The existing mansion of Nettlecombe Avas
built about 1600. It stands quite close to
the church, a situation that might seem
oddly chosen but for its exceeding pictaresqe-
ness. The old structure has been much
changed by modern alterations, with Avhich
it is still in parts blended, many additions
having been made by the great-grandfather
of the present OAvner, Avho has himself con-
siderably improved it. In the front is a
porch over the first entrance door, upon
Avhich are carved the arms of the family.
Here too are several pointed gables, Avith
small pinacles. The second, or principal
hall is large and lofty, Avith the armorial
bearings of its possessors over the chimney,
and portraits of the Trevelyans, and their
connections for many generations, upon the



walls. Amongst them is the celebrated Sir
Walter Raleigh, to the eldest branch of
whose family the Nettlecorabe estate had
originally belonged.

The grounds are exceedingly beautiful
from their verdant undulations, and the
quantity of fine timber that clothes both
wood and valley, and intermingles with the
pastures. On approaching tlie house by a
way called the Elm Walk, you come upon
three roads, when to the right lies the Mead,
and to the left extends the great Oak Park.
Near the first gate, on the right hand, are
two artificial ponds, well stocked with fish,
principally eels, carp, and tench. The
largest of these is called the Island Pond.

KINGSTOKE HALL, Nottinghamsliire, about
a mile and a half east of Kegworth, the seat
of the Right Honourable Edward Strutt,
a magistrate in the county and M.P. for
Arundel. This estate came into the family
more than fifty years ago, William Strutt,
Esq., of St. Helen's House, Derby, having
then obtained it by purchase. The present
possessor, who succeeded his fatlier in 1830,
has improved his grounds by adopting the
system of transplanting full-grown trees, so
warmly recommended by Sir Henry Steuart,
Bart., in his excellent work, called " The
Planter's Guide, or a Practical Essay on the
best manner of giving immediate efi'ect to
Woods by tlie removal of Large Trees and
Underwood." It is not a little in favour of
this system that it has met with tlie sanction
of Sir Walter Scott, liimself an experienced
and judicious planter, who managed to
convert rocks and wastes into beautiful and
picturesque landscapes. In his masterly
review of Sir Henry's Avork he has entered
into the subject with enthusiasm, explaining
the details with his usual perspicuity, and
setting the whole in so interesting a light,
that it might well have made proselytes of
half the landlords in the kingdom. That it
has not done so appears to be altogether

The mansion is large and convenient, pre-
senting externally some resemblance to a
Norman chateau. At one time this loidship
was the seat of the Babingtons. In the reign
of Elizabeth, by the attainder of Anthony
Babington for treason, in having adopted tlie
cause of Mary Queen of Scots, and by the
extravagance of his brother, Francis, the
property came into the hands of Gilbert,
Earl of Shrewsbury, whose daughter, the
Countess of Kent, disposed of it to Lady

The church here has always been a place
of particular regard amongst antiquarians.
In the eye of taste and judgment its exter-
nal appearance has been much improved by
the removal of a wretched, barn-like

structure, a modern and most unsightly ad-
dition to the old church, while everything
of the slightest real interest has been care-
fully preserved.

The most valuable monument in this
church is one belonging to the Babing-
tons, which many have believed to be
the tomb of Anthony Babington. The
matter, however, is very questionable, the
architecture seeming to denote a period far
anterior to the time of that unfortunate
conspirator against Elizabeth, nor are there
any means at liand by which we may de-
termine to whom it referred.

GREGORIES, or Butler's Court, Bucking-
hamshire, about one mile north-west of
Beaconsfield, the seat of the late Right Hon.
Edmund Burke. The site of the buikling,
with the grounds attached to it, forms a por-
tion of a large estate that at one time belonged
to the poet Waller. The name is said to have
been derived from the family of the Gregories,
citizens of London. One of them, Mrs.
Martha Gregory, who was buried at Bea-
consfield in November, 1704, built a house
there, wliich afterwards came into the pos-
session of the illustrious Edmund Burke,
who, according to an idle story at one time
current was enabled to purchase it by the
politic liberality of Earl Verney, a staunch
adherent of Lord North. This wortliy no-
bleman — so says the tale in question — an-
xious to secure the talents of Burke to his
party in the state, placed twenty thousand
pounds at the orator's disposal, with which
the latter bought Gregories. It does not
however appear that there is the slightest
trutli in any part of this legend, the result
rather of that spirit of detraction, which is
always busy in inventing, wliere it cannot
find, a flaw in the greatest characters —

" Amongst tlie sons of men how few are kno-mi,
Who dare be just to merit not theii- own."

Unquestionably a considerable part of the
purchase-money arose from the bequests of
his father and brother; the remainder was
to have been procured on mortgage, when
the Marquis of Rockingham stopt in, and
voluntarily offered to lend the sum necessary
to complete the purchase. It is even said
that his lordship pioposed a yet greater
loan, which was declined l)y Burke ; he
Avould accept no more than was absolutely
indispensable to ins purpose, and that upon
a perfect understanding of its being a loan
to be returned with the first opportunity.
The money was not, Ave l^elieve, ever re-
claimed, a generous act no doubt on the
part of the marquis ; but it should also be



considered that he was under great obliga-
tions to Burke both of a public and private
nature ; tlie public services belong to the
histoiy of the day ; as regards the latter
Burke had been eminently useful to him,
when in Ireland, by the time and attention
he had devoted to the business of his lord-
ship's extensive estates there.

With the house our great orator an<l
statesman was obliged, much against his in-
clinations, to take the seller's collection of
pictures and marbles, and thus, as he writes
to his friend, Barry the painter, " went to
an expense he would not otlierwise have
incurred." But he soon tripled the A^alue of
the estate by his agricultural management.
A dislike to the usual modes of killing time,
and a i-estless activity of spirit drove him
to his fields at an early hour in the morning,
and following the occupations of the farm
with the sarne energy that he had devoted
to literary and political pursuits, it was not
long before he came to be an excellent prac-
tical farmer, at the same time the house
itself was not neglected. His friends were
astonished to see tlie plain sombre mansion
changed by the addition of splendid colon-
nades into a miniature resemblance of Queen
Cliarlotte's palace in St. James's Pjark,
known as Buckingham House, while the
gi'ounds, though far from being extensive,
assumed a likeness to Chilton, Wotton, and
Cliefden. The rooms at Butler's Court
contain some excellent paintings by Sir
Joshua Reynolds as Vi^ell as by Barry, and
some valuable marbles, which Burke had
obtained from Italy by the grateful attention
of the latter artist.

It WS8 here too that this great man died.
After having been at Bath for several months
to no purpose, he determined to return to
Beaconsfield, that as he himself expressed it,
he might be " nearer to a habitation more
permanent, humbly and fearfully hoping
that my better part may find a better man-
sion." According to his own directions he
was buried in Beaconsfield church, in the
same grave with his son and brotlier.

YOTES COURT, formerly called Votes'
Place, near Mereworth, Kent, the seat of Vis-
count Torrington. There was an old house oai
this site, which was pulled down in 1659 by
James Master, Esq., when he erected the pre •
sent mansion, a brick building with stone
quoins and dressings. A smallCorinthian porch
opens upon a hall, fifty feet in length by nine-
teen in width,from a design by Inigo Jones. On
the right of this is a dining-room, and on the
left is a suite of drawing-rooms. The man-
sion, however, was greatly improved by the
last owner of it bearing the name of Master.

Votes Court stands upon a rising hill, from
which it commands a magnificent prospect

over the entire Weald of Kent into Surrey
and Sussex. The grounds themselves are
naturally beautiful, and the noble owners,
availing themselves with excellent taste and
judgment of their undulating character, have
rendered this one of the loveliest spots in
Kent. For size and brilliance of colour the
flowers here are unrivalled, A sufficient testi-
mony to the goodness of the soil and the
horticultural skill employed in their produC'
tion ; while the home-farm is considered by

Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 79)