Bernard Burke.

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

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all to be the pride of the county. As such
it is much resorted to by agricultiu-ists, the
cattle being particularly fine, and the nu-
merous improvements introduced serving as
models for profitable imitation. Mr. Buck-
land of Benenden goes so far as to say, that
if the plans in use here were generally
adopted, the country would in a great mea-
sure be rendered independent of foreign
corn for many years to come.

In the reign of Henry the Third, Votes
Court belonged to Henry de Sharsted, and
next to the Leybornes, by an heiress of which
family it passed to William de Clinton, Earl
of Huntingdon, who dying without issue, it
fell to the Crown for want of heirs. From
certain old deeds without date, it would ap-
pear that the place at one time belonged to
a family, wlio called it after themselves, but
this name was extinct in the reign of Richard
the Second, when it was possessed by the
Earl of Arundel, whose heiress married Lord
Abergavenny. Their only daughter brought
Votes by marriage to Edward Neville, fourth
son of the Earl of Westmoreland, who Avas
summoned to parliament in 1450, by the title
of Lord Abergavenny, and died seized, by
the courtesy of England, of jMereworth and
Votes in right of liis wife. Pie was suc-
ceeded by his son, who dying in 1491, Votes
devolved to his fourth son, Sir Thomas Ne-
ville. The heiress of Sir Thomas then
brouglit it in marriage to Sir Robert South-
well, Master of the Rolls, and he in 1543
alienated it to Sir Edward Walsingham,
whose great-grandson married the widow of
N. Master, Esq., brother of Sir Edward Mas-
ter, of East Langdon. Upon his decease it
came to his son-in-law, James Master, Esq.,
who died without issue, and was succeeded
by his sister Margaret, Viscountess Torring-
ton, great-great -grandmother of the present
noble proprietor.

BADGER HALL, Shifnal, Shropshire, in
the parish of the same name, the seat of
Robert Henry Clieney, Esq. For a very
long period this estate Avas possessed by the
Kynersleys, till it was bouglit of them in the
last century by James Hawkins, Browne,
Esq., who during many years was M.P. for
Bridgenorth. From him it came by in-
heritance to the present possessor, who is a




descendant of the great and ancient family
of Cheney of the Isle of Sheppey, ennobled
temp. Henry VII.

The oldest part of the buildhig, as it now
stands, cannot be earlier than Queen Anne's
reign, while the rest belongs to a yet more
modern date. In 1780 it was greatly altered
and enlarged by the elder Wyatt, and it has
undergone still further changes since 1840.
Externally the l;>uilding is quite plain and
unornamented ; Avithin it is of the Italian
style of architecture, and contains many in-
teresting objects of art. The grounds be-
longing to it include the " Dingle'' a rocky,
well-wooded glen, through which flows a
stream that afterwards joins the Worfe, the
aiatural beauties of the spot having been
considerably heightened by the inventive
taste of the late J. Hawkins Browne, Esq.,
by whom the pleasure grounds were planned
and laid out.

STONELEIGH ASBEY Kenilworth,the beau-
tiful seat of Lord Leigh, is situated in a fertile
part of Warwickshire, about three quarters
of a mile from the village of the same name,
and stands upon a spot that was once occu-
pied by a Cistercian monastery. Before the
Norman invasion, tlie Saxon king Edward
held Stoneleigh, Stonelcy, or Stanley, m de-
mesne, as did also William the Conqueror,
from which royal preference,— the two
monarchs being so difl'erent in their tastes —
we may infer some peculiar attraction in the
place, notwithstanding its appellation of stomj.
At the time in question, the woods belonging
to it extended to four miles in length and two
in breadth, wherein the king had feeding for
two thousand swine, a material item in the
budget of our Anglo-Saxon forefathers.

According to a very old tradition, this
abbey originated with two pious hermits, avIio
obtained a partial grant of the land from
Henry TL, the king reserving to himself cer-
tain manorial rights. As these, however,
proved a constant source of discord between
the monks and the foresters, tlie former at
length obtained from the monarch a confir-
mation of their charter, with all the usual
oppressive privileges of the feudal system.

When Henry VIII. dissolved the monas-
teries, he granted Stoneleigh to his favourite,
Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. In the
reign of Elizabeth it again changed hands,
passing into the possession of Sir Thomas
Leigh, who purchased more ground and
ei'ectcd a spacious mansion upon the site of
the former abbey. His great grandson was
created a baron by Cliarles I., with the title
of Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh. In the
eighteenth century, upon the death of the
last Lord Leigh, the estate devolved to his
pidy sister, the Hon. I\rary Leigh, at whose
decease in 180G, the property fell to the

Leighs of Adlestrop, in Gloucestershire, and
was lately enjoyed by Chandos, Lord Leigh,
the head of this branch of the liouse of
Leigh, who added fresli lustre to the name
by his talents as a scholar and a poet.

The site of the mansion is exceedingly
picturesque, from the woods around, and
from the flow of the river Avon, which has
here attained an unusual width. Some ves-
tiges of the old Cistercian building yet re-
main, particularly a gatehouse erected by
the sixteenth abbot, Robert de Hockhele,
who also placed on the outer front a large
escutheon of stone in memory of Kmg
Henry II., the founder of the abbey.

The interior presents a splendid spe-
cimen of what may be effected by the
union of taste and opulence in these days
of luxury and mechanic skill. Much
more interesting to the genealogist will be
the series of family portraits of the Lords
Leighs, and the many painted heraldic win-
dov/s, exhibiting the various alliances of the
house. One thing, however, has been most
unaccountably forgotten. Amongst tliese
armorial achievements there is no allusion
to the descent of the present lord from the
Princess Mary Tudor, through the sister of
Lady Jane Grey, although it is an honour of
which few sidyects can boast, and Avell
deserved to be recorded.

COMBEEMEEE ABBEY, Clieshire, the seat
of Stapleton Stai)leton- Cotton, Viscount
Combermere. The abbey, which may be
called the ancestor of the present building
was founded early in the twelfth century, by
Hugh de Malbanc, Lord of Nantwich, for
Cistercian monks, and stands in one of the
most romantic S2:)0ts his Cheshire domains
could offer, being close to a natural lake,
named Cumber mere. • The banks between
which the mere rolls its deep waters are un-
dulating and Avell-M'ooded, and rise at a short
distance into elevations commanding ex-
tensive views over Cheshire, Shropshire, and
North Wales. The lake itself is half a-mile
in length, and extends over 130 acres. In
Leland's Itinerary is the following passage,
relative to a subsidence of the earth here,
Mdiich appears to have been produced by the
melting of the rock-salt through the agency
of subterranean springs : — " A mile from
Combermere Abbey, in time of mind, sank a
pease of a hill, having trees on hit, and
after in that pitte sprang salt water, a]ul
the abbate ther began to make salt ; but the
menne of the Avichis* componid (compound-
ed) Avitli the abbay that ther should be no salt

* Wicliis, from the Anglo-Saxon, means a village, ami
■nx still find tlic word in coini)otinds, as "baili^iclc."
SoniRlimos, liowever, it is used to signify " a castle ; "
and at otlicrs, " a bay made by the -winding banks of a



rnade. The pitto yot hath salt water, but
much filtJi is faullen into it."

Some of the walls of the old abbey form a
part of the modern building, but tlieir pecu-
liar character is concealed from view by the
alterations made in the style of the pointed
gotliic. The refectory is believed to be still
existing in the present library.

This delightful retreat continued witli the
monks till the dissolution of monasteries by
Henry VIII., when it was granted to George
Cotton, Esq.,* whose family is said to have
derived their name from Coton in Slu-opshire;
at all events, they were settled there before
the Norman conquest. Sir Robert Cotton,
the tirst baronet of his house received that
honour from Charles II. ; and the achieve-
ments of his descendant, Sir Stapleton Cot-
ton, both in India and in the Peninsular war,
have advanced the family to its present bril-
liant position. In reward for his services
he was promoted to the peerage, by the title
of Viscount Combermere.

In a conspicuous part of the park is the
so-called "Wellington Oak, planted .by the
Duke of Wellington himself, when on a visit
to his old Peninsular companion.

WALLINGTON, Northumberland, the seat of
Sir ^\'alter Calverley Trevelyan, Bt., who also
possesses Nettlecombe, in the county of
Somerset. The mansion is, comparatively
speaking, modern ; having been built by the
first Sir William Blackett, at the end of the
17th century, on the site of an old Border
Tower, which -was erected in the time of
Henry VI., by William del Strother. The
survey of 154*2, describes it as consisting " of
a stronge toure and a stone house of thin-
her}i:ance of Sir John Fenwyke, in good
reparacons." So profuse was the hospitality
kept up here, as to become the subject both
of song and legend, narrating the frays and
frolics that followed a luird day's chase ;
" Show us the way to Wallington ! " is an
old and favourite au' in the neighbourhood.

" H^niham was headless, Bradford breadless,
Shaftoe picked at tlie craw;
Capheaton was a wee bonny place,
But WaUington banged tlieiu a' ! "

But this hospitality could not be sup-
ported after a frequent residence in London,
and the profligate habits of Charles the Se-
cond's court encroached too deeply upon tlie
rental. This led to the sale of the property,
and not improbably was the cause of Sir
John Fenwick, its last owner, being implica-
ted in the plot for the assassination of Kmg
"William III., for which he was beheaded on
Tower Hill, on the 28th of January, 1696;
all liis hopes of court-favour being extin-

* Britton calls Iiim ^YiIliam, probably by a lapse of
the pen, for ho has given no groimds for tliis deviation
from the usual account.

guished, disappointment and revenge were
likely enough to make him adopt any mea-
sures that might retrieve his broken fortunes.
Be this as it may, the estate passed by sale
from him to Sir W. Blackett, who found his
new dwelling to be a quadrangle of two
stories, built round a small court, and having
arched cellars on three sides. He added
the cornices round it, rebuilt the south front,
inade a new staircase, and carried covered
passages round tlie whole internal area, be-
sides embellishing the walls and ceilings of
the dining-room, saloon, and drawing-room
Avith good designs in stucco work, and ele-
gant marble chimney-pieces. He also built
the clock-house from designs by Payne.

From this family Wallington passed to the
Trevelyans, in whose hands the place has
lost none of its former interest. Some of the
walls of the old tower still remain in the
turning-room near the north-west corner of
the house ; and in the walls of the cellars
many stones with gotliic mouldings for door-
ways, and mullions of windows may be traced
as evidences that the stone-house of tlie Fen-
wicks, which was appended to the tower, was
not without its decorations.

TJiere is a museum in the mansion, more
particularly deserving of notice. It is not
only rich in shells and minerals — probably
the finest in the kingdom — but contains a
store of coins and antiquities, besides many
curious objects, amongst which is a model of
the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. In the
library are many valuable works ; a MS.
copy of Hegge's Legend of St. Cuthbert,
1625; Stobo3i Sententia3, edited by the cele-
brated Conrad Gesuer, whose autograph is
in the title-page ; a copy of the rare first
edition of the Icelandic Bible, pnnted in
Iceland, 1 584, &c. Amongst the portraits
is one doubly interesting ; first as it repre-
sents Joyce, the widow of Henry Calverley,
tlie only survivor of the Yorkshire Tragedy,
" my brat at nurse, ray beggar boy ; " se-
condly, as it is a ludicrous manifestation of
that vindictiveness which sometimes accom-
panies good professing Christians on their
death-bed. In tJiis portrait the spiteful old
dame is represented with a scroll in her right
hand, whereon these lines are inscribed : —

" Silence, Walter Calverley ;
Tliis is all that I will leave W. C.
Time was 1 might liave given tlieo mo',
Now thanke thyselfc tliat this is soe."

This Walter was her son, and whatever
may have been his faults, showed a gen-
tle spirit in not committing this legacy of
hatred to the flames.

To the family of Calverley, of which Sir
W. C. Trevelyan, Bart., is tlie representative,
a very tragical story attaches :— It has been
often told, and, much as Ophelia recommends •
her rue to be vrorn— that is, " with a diiier-



ence" — but being closely connected with the
subject inliand, we shall venture to repeat it,
as it was gathered many years ago by an old
inhabitant, while yet a boy, from the gossip
of the villagers. Some parts of it may no
doubt seem apocryplial ; the river that was
clear enough at its source, gets muddied in
its downward course, and a true story after
having passed through the mouths of two or
three generations, is likely enough to have
both lost and gained, and either way to have
become falsified. However this may be,
"We will a round unvarnished tale deliver,"
neither adding to, nor taking away, nor em-
bellishing, but detailing the plain facts with
all the simplicity of an ancient chronicler,
more intent upon the substance than the
manner of his telling.

Walter Calverley, having married Phi-
lippa Bi'ooke, the daughter of Lord Cobham,
became soon after his marriage jealous of
the then Vavasour of Weston. In a moment
of ungovernable fury arising from suspicion
of his wife's fidelity, he killed his two eldest
sons, and then with his dagger attempted to
destroy tlie lady herself. Luckily, however,
she wore a steel stomacher according to the
fasliion of the day, and the weapon glancing
aside only inflicted a slight wound, or one at
least that did not prove fatal. Li the mean-
while the terrified nurse had caught up the
youngest son, and fled with him to a singular
square building about half a mile from the
village, said to have been a banqueting -hall
of the family, but which, about fifty or sixty
years ago, was called " The Lodge," having
been converted into a respectable farm-
house. It was situated by a large oak-wood
that forms a striking feature in the propert3^

After the inurder Mr. Calverley mounted
his horse, and endeavoured to escape, but
about ten miles from his dwelling the animal
stumbled upon a perfectly smooth turf,
throwing him at a time when such a thing
was lea(St to be expected. This accident
enabled his pursuers to overtake the fugitive,
when they immediately seized and brought
him before Sir John Bland of Kippax, who
committed him to York Castle.

It was now that by some mean.s, — we are
not told how — he became convinced of his
wife's innocence and the legitimacy of his
children. This change of feeling determined
him to repair the past, so far as it was in his
power, by saving his estate for them by an
obstinate refusal to plead ; for, otherwise, in
the case of his conviction, of which there
could be little doubt, all his property would
escheat to the Crown. He was therefore
condemned to be pressed until he yielded or
died, according to tlie old law, Avliich has
been repealed only within the last fifty or
sixty years. While he was under this hor-
rible torture, a faithful servant — and it is

saying much for the culprit that he had a
servant so attached — requested permission
to see his master. His prayer was granted,
Avhen Calverley, in the agonies of this atro-
cious infliction, begged the poor fellow to
sit upon his breast, and thus at once free
him from his tortui'es by present death. The
man complied, and was rewarded for his hu-
manity by being tried at York, and con-
dennied to death for murder, a sentence
which was actually carried into effect. The
victims m this tragedy, the two unhappy
children, are simply entered in the parish
register as having died, Avithout any further
particulars as to the manner of their decease.
The old Hall still exists, or did exist, in the
younger days of our informant ; but even
then it was divided into tenements, and what
bore the name of the hall-fold was built up
with houses for clothiers.

The younger son of Calverley, who, as we
have seen, had the good fortune to escape,
obtained a baronetage, and continued the
family; but the last baronet of that name,
having inherited large property in Northum-
berland from the Blacketts, sold both his
old possessions of Calverley, and his acquired
property of Edshall, where he had always
lived till he thus finally left the county.

The family in the direct male line is now
extinct, but is represented in the female line
as we have already stated by Sir Walter Tre-
velyan. The Vavasours of AVeston are also
extinct, the last of them having died twenty
years ago without issue, when Weston passed
to a son of his sister. With a peculiar sort of
pride, in utter opposition to that of most
landed proprietors so situated, he forbade his
elected heir to take the name of Vavasour, de-
claring that he would be the last Vavasour of
Weston, which estate he maintained had been
in his fiimily since the,time of Henry II.

The tradition just related is the basis of
the drama called The Yorkshire Tragedy^ a
play ascribed by some to Shakspeare, with-
out having even a single Hne that could
be fairly supposed to have emanated from
him at any period of his life, unless, indeed,
he wi'ote plays before leaving off his school-
boy jacket. In our days the novelist Ains-
Avorth has adopted it in his tale of Eook-
wood, and has considerably marred its
genuine' interest by transferring the date
of action from its proper era to the
prosaic times of George the Second, for
no other reason, as it would seem, than
to introduce the highwayman, Turpin.
" I remember," says our venerable informant,
" detailing the tradition, with its appended
superstitions to the late Mr. Surtees, our
Durliam antiquary, expecting him to deliver
it to Sir Walter Scott, who, I felt sure,
Avould manufacture it into a clever romance
by keeping it to its true time, the beginning



of the re'ign of James the First. He pro-
mised to do so, but ere long both he and Sir
Walter Scott were called away."

"I have mentioned the appended supersti-
tions, and my account would be detective
without them. It was currently reported
that Mr. Calverley and his men galloped
about through the extensive woods at dead
of night on headless horses, their cry being

* a pund of more weight lig on, lig on.' So
ran my native vernacular. As you are per-
haps a Southron, 1 give you the English —
'a pound more of weight lay on, lay on.'
Their favourite haunt — a place often haunted
by myself — was said to be the Cave, a ro-
mantic natural cavern in the midst of the
wood, though I cannot say that I ever
chanced to encounter them. Sometimes the
ghosts of the two murdered children were
thought to appear, a remarkable instance
of which occurred to my father's old clerk
in his younger days, though he admitted
that he had set up drinking and carding to

* the sabbath day morning,' It was said
that at one time master and men were wont
to ride their infernal horses into the very
village, to the great terror of all quiet peo-
ple; however, a skilful exorcist prohibited
them from passing the church so long as
hollies grew green in Calverley wood; and,
occulatus testor, tliere was ui my time no
lack of hollies m the wood.

" A good deal of the superstition was
still in existence a few years ago, as I ga-
ther from a ludicrously impudent account,
which I then saw in a magazine,

" In going his rounds, a methodi&t preacher
Avas hospitably received by a clothier who
lived m the old Hall. Whether to account
for the fact by the goodness of the cheer, I
pretend not to say ; but as the detail ran,
the old haunted hall was close to the church,
and the window of the room, where the gen-
tleman slept, looked very awfully into the
churchyard. In the dead of the night he
felt his bed repeatedly raised from the floor,
and then let down again, AVhereupon he
called up his host ; but the bed-mover was
provokingly invisible, and nothing could the
two worthies fuid,

" Now to a native like myself the amusing
part of the story Avas its local geography.
The old Hall is about a quarter of a mile
from the church, with the whole village in-
tervening, so that if the good man saw into
the cliurchyard from his window, he must
have rivalled Lynceus by looking through a
dozen good stone walls, for all the houses
are built of stone,"

The character of the scenery about AVal-
lington is breadth and variety. From the ter-
race in the south front, the park lawn Avitli
its line old trees slopes ofl to the Wansbeck,
the opposite side of which is shaded with

hanging woods, beyond which the prospect is
closed in by the dark, rugged brow of Shaftoe
Crags, On the road about half way from
the bridge to the house, the view through the
park into the woody and undulating grounds
of Little Harle is beautiful and diversified.
Perhaps, however, the finest view of the place
is from different points of the knoll in tlie
Deenhara grounds, over which the Alemouth
road passes eastwards from Shillaw Hill ;
the winding banks of the Wansbeck, the
Rothloy Crags, the purple moors, and the
blue summit of Simonside, forming a splendid
foreground, which at every change of season
has its own peculiar beauty,

STANFORD PAEK, Notts. This charming
demesne, the seat of the Rev, Samuel Vere
Dashwood, is situated at the southernmost
point of Nottinghamshire, and about two
miles north-east of Loughborough, The lord-
ship, of which the Hall and park are now
the distinguished ornaments, was anciently
(temp. Ed. IV,) the possession of Sir
Richard Illingworth, It Avas granted by
King Philip and Queen Mary to Robert
Raynes, the queen's goldsmith, by Avhose
descendant it was alienated to Thomas LcAvis,
Esq., alderman of London, and passed by mar-
riage to the ancestor of the present posses-
sor. The Hall, wliich was rebuilt by Mr.
DashAvood's grandfather in 1771, from a
design of Anderson's, is of faced brick with
stone dressings, and has Avings and a cor-
ridor. The site is one of the finest in the
county — a knoll overlooking a well-Avooded
park, and commanding delightful views of
the Valley of the Soar and the distant
Charnwood hills. The limes and elms of
Stanford Park have long been famous for
tlieir size and beauty. Some of the former
have Jiuted shafts, ivith moulded base and
capital, very closely resembling the pillars of
a cathedral. An extensive lake, Avell stocked
with Avild fowl, forms a noble object on
the verge of the park, while the secluded
village and its ancient church greatly en-
hance the beauty of the landscape. The
entire lordship of 1500 acres, the manor,
the advowson, and the fishery, are in Mr,
Dashwcod's possession ; and it may Avith
truth be said of him, that the duties of land-
lord and village pastor Avere rarely ever
more advantageously combined in one

MOHETON HOUSE, Lancashire, the seat of
John Taylor, Esq, The old mansion of this
name was built in the year 1490, and is
supposed to have been the residence of the
mortuary collector of the abbey ; but in 1829
it was pulled down, and a ncAv building
erected on its site by the present proprietor,
Avho comes of the respectable yeoman family



of the Taylors of Accrington. It is in the
Elizabethan style of architecture, and stands
upon the banks of the river Calder, one mile
north of the village of Whalley. The park,
which forms a portion of the laud formerly
belonging to the abbey of Whalley, is a
striking feature in the landscape, and adds
not a little to its general beauty.

Before the reign of Edward I. this estate
gave name to a family, of whom was Syward
de Mortun ; and in the reign of Elizabetli,
William Halstead of AVorsthorne and Isa-

Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 1) → online text (page 12 of 79)