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

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Darcy, of Chiche, Viscount Colchester, and
Earl Rivers, in right of Mary, his countess.
In default of male heirs, and by the will of
Lord Rivers, the estate went to his daughter
Elizabeth, then the widow of Lord Savage,
who was much persecuted by the Republican
party in the Civil War. Her Will bears wit-
ness to her total contempt for conventional
observances. She ordered "that her body
should be borne to the grave by four poor
persons of the parish; that no sermon should
be preached at her funeral ; that there
should be no eating and drinking used on such
occasions ; and that no mourumg should be
given for her."

By the same will she settled Hengrave
upon her daughter Penelope, of whom the
following anecdote has been often told : —
" Sir George Tren chard, Sir John Gage, and
Sir William Hervey, each solicited Lady
Penelope in marriage, when, to keep peace
between the rivals, she threatened the first
aggressor with her perpetual displeasure, hu-
mourously telling them that if they would Avait
she would have them all in tlieir turns ; a pro-
mise which was actually perform ed. The gen-
tleman first favoured by her was Sir George
Trenchard, of Wolverton, in Dorsetshire,
who dj-ingi shortly after the marriage with-
out issue, she wedded Sir John Gage, of
Firle, in Sussex, AA'hose descendants have
continued owners of Hengrave till the pre-
sent day.

Hengrave Hall was begun by Sir Thomas
Kytson, about the year 1525, and completed
by him in 1538 ; " the gateway of Avhich,"
says Gough, " is of such singular beauty, and
in such high preservation, that perhaps a
more elegant specimen of the architecture of
the age in which it was erected cannot be
seen." At the time when this mansion was
Iniilt, the old form of the castle had given
Avay to the more convenient and less gloomy
embattled manor-houses, distinguished in a
particular degree by their richly ornamented
portals, turrets, bay windows, and oriels.
Great expense appears to have been incurred
in its erection, as we learn from the still ex-
tant book of disbursements. The materials
Avere derived from several sources ; a great
proportion of the brick was made on the
spot, and large quantities came from the
neighbouring kilns of the Abbot of Bury, and
others. Some of the free stone Avas brought
from King's Cliff in Northamptonshire, his
own men being sent to Avork the quarry there.
The cost of tlie Avhole might probably amount
to three thousand pounds.



Sir Thomas Kytsou built his manor-
house on a flat close to the parish church,
from wliich it may be conjectured to have
occupied the site of the more aacient hall of
the family of De Hengrave, The approach
to it was by a straight causeway, fenced on
each side by a deep ditch, lined with a triple
row of trees, its termination being at a large
semicircular fosse, over which a stone bridge
led to the outer court, at a short distance
from it. This court was formed by a central
or outer lodge, the residence of the keepers
and falconers, and by a range of low sur-
rounding buildings used for offices, including
a stable for the pleasure-horses. Beyond
was a moat including the mansion, a quad-
rangular edifice of freestone and Avhite brick,
embattled, having an octagonal turret at
each angle, with larger and more ornamented
turrets flanking the gate-house or entrance
into the inner court. The turrets in ques-
tion are somewhat remarkable. Those of
the gate -house resemble the mitre-headed
turrets of King Henry the Seventh's chapel
at Westminister, of King's College at Cam-
bridge, &c., while the others, without
crockets or other ornament, remind us of the
domes of eastern palaces. Of the chimneys,
some few on the west side are spiral, some
are reticulated ; and others, like those of St.
Osyth, are made to represent reeded pillars
with Capitols. But it is in the gate-house
that this Tudor magnificence is chiefly con-
spicuous. Its battlements assuming the ap-
pearance of sniairgables, the points of which,
crowned Avith richly carved hoop garlands
and vanes correspond with those of the
triple dome below, give height to the whole,
and complete the beauty and harmony of the

This building has anarch obtusely pointed,
in the spandrels appear the Kytsou crest, a
unicorn's head erased. The space above is
filled by a triple bay window, the domes of
which are rich in scale-work and crockets,
and have basements or brackets elegantly
terminated in pendant corbels. Each square
compartment in the lower division of the
window contains a shield ; that in the centre
displays the arms of France and England
quarterly, supported by a lion and a dragon,
and ensigned by the crown ot England, with
the motto " Honi soit qui mal y pense," in
a garter encircling the shield. In the frieze
is the royal motto " Dieu et mon Droit."

By the removal, in the seventeenth cen-
tury, of the outer court, and in 1775 of a
mass of building that projected at the east
and north side of the mansion, together with
a high tower, the house has been reduced at
least one-third from its original size. The moat
has been filled up. At one time there was
a bridge over it at the inner gate, figured with
devices in polished flint-work ; and also a
drawbridge communicating with the church.

To the east and west, at a short distance,
were detatched buildings, comprising the
dovecot, the grange, the great barn, the mill,
the forge, the great stable, and various
ofiices, separate kennels for the hounds and
spaniels, and the mews for the hawks. The
house had also its great and little park, a
vineyard or orchard and gardens, a hop-
ground, and a hemj) ground, and was well
provided with fish ponds. A bowling-alley
occupied the space between the north side
of the mansion and the moat, having the con-
venience of an open corridor communicating
with the hall ; and a pair of butts was placed
on an artificial mound still visible in the
upper part of the park. From the items on
the household expenses for the year 1575 it
may be infei red that the grounds were laid
out in the true Dutch style. The water-
works were finished in 1583.

The pillars, at the step of the entrance
partake of the character of the turrets of the
gate-house, and are extremely graceful. We
have instances in classical architecture, of
figures and animals elevated upon pedestals
in similar positions.

The inner court, of fine masonry, em-
battled, appears in its original state, and is
distinguished by the bay window of the Hall,
on the north side. On the doorway, as you
pass immediately from the gate-house tlu'ough
the cloister into the inner court is seen the
founder's monogram. ' There are two other
entrances into this court at the upper end,
by doorways opposite to each other, on the
east and west sides, with arches more pointed
than any other about the building. At the
angles on the top of the bay window are
placed the figures of animals hokUng es-
cutcheons. A unicorn supports the device
of the Mercers' Company, a maid's head ; a
greyhound, the portcullis; a dragon, the
rose ; and a lion, the fleur de lis.

The interior of Hengrave presents little
of its original character, the reduction of the
building in 1775, already noticed, having oc-
casioned an entirely new arrangement of the
different rooms. But the windows of the
cloisters, and of other parts of the building
are filled with stained glass representing
various coats of arms.

RIBSTON HALL, Yorkshire, near Wetherby,
and about four miles from Knaresborough,
the seat of Joseph Dent, Esq. It stands
upon an eminence, almost surrounded by the
river Mid, commanding a beautiful and er-
tensive prospect. In early times the manor
belonged to two Danish chieftains, who had
no doubt acquired it by the strong hand".
Availing himself of the same right, William
the Conqueror robbed the robbers, and be •
stowed the spoil upon two of his Norman
companions, AVilliam de Percy and Ralph
de Pagnal ; from them it passed into the



haii'ls of Lord Ros, who, in 1224, bestowed it
on the Knights Templars, who had a pre-
ceptory here, wliich Avas afterwards granted
to the Knights Hospitallers. At the disso-
lution of monasteries it came into the pos-
session of the Duke of Suffolk, who sold it in
1542 to Henry Goodricke, Esq., of the an-
cient family of the Goodrickes in Somerset-
shire. A descendant of that name devi^^ed
the Hall to a sporting acquaintance, Mr.
Holyoake, who assumed the testator's name,
but afterwards sold the estate to its present

Ribston has a peculiar celebrity of its
own, as being the ground where a certain
valuable kind of apple, brougjit from France,
was first cultivated in this country. Hence
the fruit obtained the name, which has since
grown so popular, of the Ribston-pippin.
About three miles olf is another curiosity
belonging to the vegetable kingdom — the
celebrated Cowthorp oak, which close to the
ground measures sixty feet in girth. In
Ribston Chapel are several memorials of the
Goodrickes ; and in the churchyard is a cunous
sepulchral monument, which was dug up at
York, in the Trinity-yard, Micklegate, A.D.
1G88. It is a testimonial to the standard-
bearer of the 9th Roman Legion, if we may
credit the antiquaries, who have endeavoured
to explain the meaning of the inscription and
of the tigure above it, with a standard in one
hand, and something like a basket in the
other. The tigure is supposed by some to
represent the Signifer himself.

Tliis interesting relic was presented by
Mr. Dent, when High-Sheriff of Yorkshire,
in 1847, to tlie Museum at York.

TOTTERIDGE PARK, Hertfordshire, the
property of Dr. Lee, of Hartwell. The pos-
session of the manor can be traced no further
back than to Hugh Northwold, Bishop of
I'.l)^, at which time it belonged to tliat clinrch.
At a, later period it Avas given by
Cox, a successor to that see, to Queen Eliza-
beth, in consideration of an annuity of
£1500 per annum, payable out of the ex-
chequer to the bishop and his successors.
By Elizabeth it was granted in the thirty-
second year to Jolin Cage. Afterwards'it
was the property of Richard Peacock, who
married Rechard, one of the daughters of
Ivlichael Grigge, alderman of London. He
left this estate to his widow, who survived
all her sons, and sold this manor to Sir Paul
Whichcote, Kt. and Baronet, of Qui Hall, in
Cambridgeshire. From Iiim it was purchased
in the year 1720, by James Bridges, Duke
of Chandos, and in 1748, it was sold by Hen-
ry, second Duke of Clumdos, to Sir William
Lee, Kt., Lord Chief Justice of the Court of
King's Bench, second son of Sir Thomas lioe,
of Ilartwell, near Aylesbury, in Bucking-

hamshire, Bart. From him it descended to
his son, William, andtohisgrandson William
Lee, who, in pursuance of the will of Richard
Antonie of Colworth, Bedfordshire, Esq.,
took the surname of Antonie. Upon his
death in the year 181.5, this manor and es-
tate came to his nephew ,Tohn Fiott, who
took the name of Lee under the testator's
Will, and is tlie present possessor.

'I'he mansion-house stands upon an eleva-
ted site on the liorders of Middlesex, com-
manding a deliglitful prospect over the
neighbouring country. The groimds, which
are ornamented with alcoves and terraces,
present a surface varied with graceful undu-
lations. They are laid out upon tjie same
plan as those of White Knights near Reading,
another estate of the Duke of Marlborough's,
and are exceedingly beautiful, being also re-
markable for their matchless Pines andCedars.

It was here that the first Duke of Marl-
borough Avas brought up, and it is generally
believed that Lady Russell Avrote from this
place some of her letters to Lord William
during his imprisonment in the Tower. Here
also, James the First passed a night on his
way from Scotland to take possession of the
English croAvn, Avhich he had just inherited
by the death of Elizabeth, the maiden Queen
having bequeathed to him the throne with
as much ease as if it had been a part of her
real property. But the mansion is noAv used
for the purposes of education, and is proba-
bly one of the largest, and most numerously
attended private boarding schools in England
its inmates being nearly half the population
of the entire parish.

GRACE DIEU, co. Leicester, the seat of
Ambrose Lisle Phillipps, Esq. On the north
western boundary of Charmvood Forest, in
a little dell watered by a babbling brook,
stand some ivy-covered walls and two or
three farm buihiings, AvJiich scarcely attract
the notice of the ordinary stranger — the anti-
quary or ecclesiologist, however, soon dis
covers traces of an oriel, a Gothic doorway,
and a decorated windoAV, Avhich tell him a
tale not read by vulgar eyes.

Those crumbling walls, "The ivied ruins
of forlorn Grace Dieu," noAV dedicated to ig-
noble uses, are the remains of the old convent.
Tlie very name; like that of Valle Dei, Valle
Crucis, &c. — at once so poetical, and so ex-
pressive of humble and holy trust — suggests
the ])robability that the spot had been con-
nected with religion. It was so. It Avas
here that Roesiade Verdun, in 1240, founded
a " monastery of Nuns of tliC order o^ St.
Austin, to the honour of St. Mary, and the
Holy Trinity."

This eminent lady, Avho plentifully en-
dowed her foundation, Avas the daughter of
Nicholas de Verilun : on Avhose death in



1231, she, as sole heir, paid seventy marks
for tlie relief and livery of her inheritance,
as also that she wight not be compelled to
marrij. But it appears that she was at that
time a widow, for the King, in 1224, had
specially written to her recommending her
to marry Theodore le Butiller (a branch of
the noble Irish family of Butler), and also to
her father desiring him to back Butiller's
suit. Yet though she married a person of
so distinguished a family, neither Roesia
nor her descendants bore his surname, but
still retained that of De Verdon. She died
in 1247.

As from the rules of their Order the
nuns of Grace Dieu were prohibited from
leaving the limits of the Nunnery, King
Henry III., by his Royal Charter, gave the
Abbess liberty to constitute an attorney in
all cases in which they had cause to sue or
be sued. Agnes de Gresley appears to have
been the tirst Prioress, but eitlier from her
resignation or death Mary de Stretton, with
the approbation of the foundress, was
elected in 1243, and shortly after the Prior-
ess and couA'ent obtained permission for a
market and fair at their manor of Belton.

Amieia, widow of Archer de Freschevile,
Sir William de Wastneis (1279), and John
Corayn, Earl of Buchan (1306), were all
great benefactors to this house.

For three centuries liad the secluded
sisterhood of Grace Dieu been regarded by
the neighbouring foresters almost as beings
of brighter sphere — their convent the sole
briglit spot in the wilderness — and their
convent-bell the only one that called to
prayer and praise, when the dissolution of
the smaller monasteries was decided on, and
three commissioners, Leigh, Layton, and
John Beaumont* (the last living at the ad-
joining hamlet of Tln-ingstone) carried
alarm and consternation to the Prioress and
nuns by entering their quiet refectory and
commencing an inquiry into their "lives
and conversation." The Compendium com-
pertorum soon tells the result.

" Incontinentia | k^J^^^^^^S,, ] pepererunt."

When it is stated that the convent and
its demesnes were tlie next day conveyed to
one of the commissioners — that this com-
missioner had long coveted his neighbour's
goods — that he after confessed to " forgeries
and misdemeanours, against the State and
Lady Powis, to the amount of £20,861— the
posthumous reputation of the poor nuns of
Grace Dieu can scarcely be said to be aft'ected
by a report wliicli has on the face of it strong
evidence of its having been a foregone con-
clusion. Tire Prioress, Agues Lytherland,

* Grandson of SirThonms Beaumont of Coleorton, and
subsequently Master of the Rolls.

and the fifteen sisters, may well be supposed
to have left a home so dear to them much
as Priam's wife and daughters left their
own :

"Hie Hecuba et natoe nequicquam altaria circum,
Prsecipites atra seu tempestate columba?,
CoutlenssB et di\'uin aniplexoB simulacra sedebant."

" Mr. Beaumont," says Nichols, " was soon
interrupted in his newly- acquired property,
by a claim of the Earl of Huntingdon, — on
which he addressed a letter to Lord CromAvell,
couched in terms of cringing servility, stat-
ing his fear of Lord Huntingdon to be very
great, and that he had " had secret warnyng
to wayre a privy Coate."* In 1 541 he was
cited to show by what title he held the site
of the Priory ; and he appears to have
answered this citation satisfactorily, for he
still retained possession. In 1550 he was
elected Recorder of Leicester, and in the
same year was appointed Master of the
Rolls. In 1551 he levied a fine with pro-
clamations of this lordship, to the use of
King Edward VI. and his successors ; and
in 1552, when on his " misdemeanours " be-
coming fully detected, he surrendered this
and other estates, Francis, Earl of Hunting-
don, by the King's letters patent obtained a
grant in fee farm, of the capital mansion of
the Manor house of Grace Dieu, with the
whole manor of Grace Dieu and the Grange
called Myral Grange, and several otiier
lands, all lately part of the possessions of
John Beaumont, Master of the Rolls. He
did not long survive the loss of his reputa-
tion and estates ; in five years after, Eliza-
beth, his widow, claimed and regained pos-
session of Grace Dieu. The glory shed
around the spot by the succeeding Beau-
monts may well be said to have wiped away
this, the only stain that ever sullied tlie
lustre of their escutcheon. Of these good
and gifted men our space only permits us to
give a mere enumeration, instead of the
lengthened notice which their virtues, and
their contributions to literature, deserve.

Francis Beaumont, eldest son of the Mas-
ter of the Rolls, and of his second wife,
Elizabeth, daugliter of Sir William Hast-
ings, succeeded to the estate on the death of
his mother. He had been educated for the
bar, and in 1593 became one of the Justices
of Common Pleas, and was afterwards
knighted. Burton speaks of him as " that
grave, learned, and reverend Judge, Francis
Beaumont, Esq."

Sir Francis Beaumont married Anne,
daughter of Sir George Pierrepoint, of
Holme, and dj-ing April 22, 1598, left by
her three sons, Henry, John, and Francis.
Henry, who was only sixteen at his father's-
death, was knighted by James I. at Worksop,

» Cotton MS.-;., Cleopatra IV., 132.



in 1603, on his Majesty's journey from the
Scottish to the English capital. He died in
1606, leaving his lady (Barbara, daughter
of Anthony Faunt, of Foston, Esq.) then
pregnant. This posthumous child proving
a daughter (who afterwards married first
John Haii^ur, Esquire, and secondly Sir
Wolstan Dixie), the estate devolved on John
Beaumont, Sir Francis's second son, who
married Elizabeth Fortescue (a descendant
of George, Duke of Clarence, brother of
Edward IV.), was created a baronet in 1626,
and died in 1628, having obtained consider-
able reputation both as a poet and a sol-
dier. His poem of " Bosworth Field," pub-
lished, with several minor poems, by his
son, in 1629, was praised by Jonson, Dray-
ton, and several other contemporary writei-s.
Francis Beaumont, the great dramatic
writer, whom Wordsworth calls

That famous youth full soon removed
From Earth, perhaps by Shakspcare's self approved —
Fletcher's associate— Jonson's friend beloved—

the third son of Sir Francis, was born at
Grace Dieu in 1586, and died in his thirtieth
year ; having, in conjunction with Fletcher,
added fifty-three plays to English dramatic
literature, and written many poems of ex-
quisite pathos and beauty.

His brother, Sir John Beaumont, the first
baronet, left by his wife, Elizabeth For-
tescue, seven sons and five daughters ; of
these sons, two were distinguished poets —
John and Francis. Sir John, the second
baronet, who edited his father's jDoems, was
as renowned for his astonishing feats of
strength and agility, as for his cultivation
o? t\\Q belles letli'es oi^ i\\o&e days. He died
at the siege of Gloucester, 1641, bravely
fighting for his royal mastei-, and was suc-
ceeded by his brother Thomas, the third

Sir Thomas married Vere, daughter of
Sir AYilliam Tufton, brother to the Earl of
Thanet, and dying in 1686, left four daugh-
ters, only the eldest of whom inherited
Grace Dieu, and married her distant rela-
tive, Robert Beaumont of Barrow upon
Trent, Esq., who sold the estate to Sir Am-
brose Phillipps of Garendon, whose lineal
descendant, Ambrose Lisle March Phillipps,
Esq., erected, and now inhabits, the beauti-
ful neighbouring mansion called Grace Dieu

About a mile from the ruins, stands the
now celebrated modern monastery of Mount
St. Bernard, one of Mr. Pugin's happiest
productions ; and this, with the ruins, which
have been the subject of our narrative, and
the manor-house, and contiguous chapel —
all situated amidst scenery remarkable for
the rugged character of its rocks — render
the locality as interesting as any similar
area in our island.

EMMOTT HALL, Colne, Lancashire, the seat
of George Emmott Green, Esq. The man-
sion, which is substantial and convenient,
with a front of handsome modem archi-
tecture, was built in the thirteenth century,
by Robert de Emott, who died in 1310. The
modern front just alluded to, was erected
by Christopher John Emmott, Esq. ; but
since then it has undergone many alterations'
and impros-ements.

By the Avayside, at no gi-eat distance from
the mansion, is a perfect cross, with the
cyphers, half obliterated, upon the capi-
tal ; of which Whittaker says : " It is
the only instance that I recollect of the
kind by a wayside, though the bases of
gi'eat numbers remain in similar situations."
A very copious spring in an adjoining field,
now an excellent cold bath, is called the
IluUown, i.e., the Hallown, or Saints' Well,
and hence, perhaps, comes the name of the-
place — eamund, or " the mouth of the watei-,"
corrupted by time and the- usual looseness
of pronunciation into Emmott. In oppo-
sition, however, to tliis etymology, it should
be observed that there was at one time in
the possession of the family, a genealogical
tree, tracing it to the Due de Emut, who
came over to England at the time of the
Conquest by the Normans. This has, by
some unfortunate accident, been lost, though
tliat such a document did exist, is beyond
all question, and as there could be no pos-
sible motive for destroying it beyond care-
lessness, we may yet hope for its recovery.

TYNEHAM, in the Isle of Purbeck, Dor-
setshire, the seat of the Kev. William Bond.
This mansion, as early as the thirteenth
ccnturj', belonged to the Russels, having
been first brought into that family by
the marriage of Royse, daughter and heir
of Thomas Bardolf, with Walter Russels,
and with his posterity it for a long time re-
mained. They made it their chief place of
residence. From this point, the successive
owners are not distinctly made out, till in
the sixteenth century we find it possessed
by the Williams', by whose descendant, John
Lawrence, Esq., of the Grange, it was con-
veyed in 1683 to Nathaniel Bond, Esq. of
Ivutton, in the adjoining parish of Steple.
From that time it has continued in his de-
scendants, the present proprietor being the
fourtli son of John Bond of the Grange.

The mansion-house is a handsome struc-
ture of Purbeck stone, partly erected by
Henry Williams, Esq., in 1567, and the rest
having been added in 1583. A portion of
this has been taken down, and rebuilt by
the present owner.

LEEDS CASTLE, Kent, the seat of Charles
Wykeham Martin, Esq., M.F., is a place of



deep interest. It is about five miles from
Maidstone, and stands in a moat covering
nearly twelve acres of ground, and contains
within its walls about three more. As op-
posed to tlie military skill of the feudal age
it must have been well nigh impregnable.
Three causeways afford a narrow and defen-
sible access from the north, south-west, and
south-east, leading to the outworks of a
gateway, which, judging from what remains,
w'as fortified with unusual skill. These out-
works were most probably erected by Ed-
ward the First, and contain within their

Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 1) → online text (page 17 of 79)