Copyright
Bernard Burke.

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

. (page 18 of 79)
Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 1) → online text (page 18 of 79)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


round the castle-mill. So late only as 1822
there existed two square towers on the light
of the base court, the northernmost of which
had a communication with the moat, pro-
tected by a portcullis. In that year they
were partly pulled doAvn, but the lower
part containing the groove for the port-
cullis still remains. The whole fabric,
as it now stands, shows clearly enough
by its various stjdes that it has been the
work of ditferent ages, even if we did not
know that such were the fact, both from
chronicle and tradition. The original castle
was raised by Eobert de Crevequer, who
obtained the manor from William Kufus ;
but after the usual fashion of those turbulent
times it was ere long forfeited and granted
away, in what, from its frequent recurrence,
may be called the regular order of things.
Edward the First, wlio was an able soldier,
soon perceived the strength of the fortress,
and grew so jealous of it, that the possessor,
William de Leyborne, considered it advis-
able to surrender his stronghold to the Crown
before it was taken from him, and perhaps
with worse consequences. By Edward the
Second, this A-aluable possession was again
alienated from the Crown, he ha^ang given it
to liis favourite, Lord Badlesmere, who re-
paid this and other benefits by joining the
Earl of Lancaster in his attempt to put down
Piers Gaveston. If anything could have
rendered rebellion yet more odious in the
King's eyes it would have been such an ob-
ject, for, as was currently understood, he
valued this new favourite more perhaps than
the crown itself. But other grounds of pro-
A'ocation were not long wanting, and these
were afforded by Lady Badlesmere, who
seems to have been filled with the same dis-
loyal spirit as her husband. While the latter
was absent with the other barons engaged
against Hugh de Spenser, it so chanced that
Queen Isabel coming that way demanded
hospitality at Leeds Castle for the night.
The demand was not only refused, but several
of the royal servants were killed in the at-
tempt to force an entrance. Enraged at this
atiront offered to his consort, and reflectively
to himself, Edward besieged the castle, and
gaining possesion of it at'ter a severe struggle,



he hanged the castellan, and committed Lady
Badlesmere with her family to the 'i'ower.
The next year Lord Badlesmere sliared the
same fate as his castellan, but with some
improvements, for after being hanged at
Blean, near Canterbury, his head was cut
off and fixed upon Burgate in that city.

The castle, Avhich had sustained much
damage from the siege, was repaired and
considerably improved by William de Wyke-
ham, who was constituted by Edward the
Third, chief warden and surveyor, with full
powers for that purpose. In the reign of
Henry the Fifth, the castle attained yet
greater notoriety from being the place where
that monarch imprisoned his mother-in-law,
Joan of Navarre, for her traitorous attempt
against his life. There too, the Duchess of
Gloucester underwent her trial for sorcery
and witchcraft. In 1441, Archbishop Chiche-
ley resided at Leeds Castle, and in the fourth
year of the reign of Henry VIII. Sir Henry
Guldeford was appointed Constable of Leeds,
and Keeper of the Park. During his time
the castle was restored at the King's charge.
At a later period Edw-ard the Sixth granted
the fee simple of it to Sir Anthony St. Leger,
K.G., Lord Deputy of Ireland, and his son,
Sir Warliam St. Leger, sold the manor to Sir
Richard Smyth, who rebuilt the southern
portion of the castle, and died there 21 July,
1628. By his daughters and eventual co-
heirs, the demesne was alienated to Sir
Thomas Colepeper, of Hollingbourne, whose
descendant, the Hon. Catherine Colepeper,
wedded Thomas, fifth Lord Fairfax, of Ca-
meron, and invested him with this ancient
seat of her ancestors. The seventh Lord
Fairfax had the honour of receiving and
entertaining George HI. at Leeds Castle, on
his JMajesty's return from the camp at Cox-
heath, 9th Nov. 1779. His Lordship's dying
s. p. in 1793, the property devolved on his
nephcAv, the Pev. Denny Martin, and passed
at the decease of the Rev. gentleman's bro-
ther. General Philip Martin, to his kinsman,
Fiennes Wykeham, Esq., who assumed the
additional surname of his predecessor, and
was father of the present Charles Wykeham
Martin, Esq., of Leeds Castle, M.P.

The oldest part of the castle, as it appears
at present, is the cellars, erected probably
in the time of Henry the Third. At one
period there was a Norman entrance to them,
formed by a plain semicircular work of Caen
stone, but which was covered up in 1822,
when the southernmost of the two great
divisions of the castle was pulled down and
rebuilt. A drawbridge originally supplied
the means of communication between the
old castle and this part of the building ; but
it was long ago replaced by timbers fixed
and floored, which at the time of the altera-
tion just mentioned, were in their turn taken



78



SEATS OJ'^ GKKAT IJRITAIN.



away, and a stone bridge of two arclies sub-
stituted in their place. Some parts oftlie
building date unquestionably from the reign
of Edward the First, others from tliat of
Edward the Third, and a very great portion
■was built by Sir H. Guldeford, in the reign
of Henry tlie Eighth. Since 1822, many
alterations have been made, Avhich must be
considered as allowable improvements, tlie
old building having so materially lost its
distinctive character that the changes have
been ratlier wrouglit upon a modern tlian
an ancient fabric. After all its mutations
the whole presents an appearance which may
be fairly styled both noble and imposing.

ICKWORTH, in the county of Suftolk, the
seat of the Marquess of Bristol. There Avas
here at one period an ancient manor-house
near the church, the site of AvJiich may still
be distinctly traced ; but it is said to have
been burnt down hi the lifetime of the first
earl, when a bouse in the park called the
Lodge, was adopted for the tamily residence,
and having at ditferent times received various
additions continued to be so until 1828.

About the year 1792, Frederick Augustus
Earl of Bristol, laid the foundation of the
present house, which was in a great measure
planned by himself, his intention being to
erect an edifice that should be at the same
time a mansion and a temple of tlie fine arts.
Unfortunately the loss of his fine collection
of paintings and sculptures, occasioned this
plan to be considerably modified and cur-
tailed of its intended greatness. It is now
a fabric of tile and brick stuccoed, consist-
ing of an oval centre, connected with Avings
by extensive corridors, and faced byaportico
on the nortli side. The wliole stands upon
a basement that includes the offices.

The extreme length of the edifice is six
hundred and twenty-five feet. The centre
croAsmed with a dome rises a hundred and
five feet, the diameter being a hundred and
twenty feet, nortli and south, by a lumdred
and six feet, east and west. The corridors
are quadrants of circles, intersecting the
centre, so as to leave two-thirds of its largest
diameter in advance on the south or prin-
cipal front.

The centre is composed of two orders, the
Ionic and Corinthian, three-quarter columns
supporting the entablatuies, the lower of
which is itself plain, while the space below
it is enriched with a series of subjects
modelled in relief. The upper entablature
has its frieze filled with reliefs. On the
summit oftlie dome is a balustrade conceal-
ing the fines. The portico is supported by
four columns, with a pediment of the Ionic
order.

Tlie south front has ;i noble ten-ace, and
is exceedingly imposing.



According to the original design of the
north front, the wings were intended to have
three-quarter columns, supporting an en-
tablature and pediment in the centre, and
pilasters on the sides. Chimneys being
altogether dispensed Avith, the flues were to
have been collected in a small dome rising
in the centre of each roof, and the vestibules
to the Avings were to have been croAvned
Avith domes

The reliefs, Avhich are of A-arious kinds,
are all modelled after Flaxman's designs
from the Iliad and Odyssey, Avith the excep-
tion of that in the centre, designed by Caro-
line, Lady Wharnclifte. All tlie reliefs of
the loAver circle, and part of the upper, Avere
modelled by Carabello and Casimir Donati,
brothers, from the Milanese ; and the rest
Avere executed by Coade.

This manor belonged originally to a
family bearing the local name, Avhereof
Thomas Ickworth, whose Avill bears date
1373, left a daugiiter and heir, Agnes, avIio
married Drury, of Hawsted, and thus con-
veyed the estate to tliat distinguished race.
From the Drurys it eaiiie, by the marriage
of Jane Druiy, their heiress, to the Herve3's,
by Avliom it is still enjoyed. At present the
wjiole parish has been converted into a park,
eleven miles in circumference, and contain-
ing eighteen hundred acres, in which stands
tlie noble mansion of Avhicli we have been
speaking.

In 1703 John Ilervey Avas created a peer
of the realm by Queen Anne, Avith the title
of Baron Mervey of Ickworth, and in 1714,
he Avas made by George the First, Earl of
Bristol. Frederick ^\'illiam, Avho succeeded
his father in 1803. as fifth earl, Avas created
JMarquess of Bristol, and Earl Jermyn in
June, 1826.

ALNWICK CA3TI.E, in the county of Nor-
thumberland, the principal seat of the Duke
of Northumberland. '1 his castle was pro-
bably founded by the Romans, " for," says
Grose, " when a part of the castle keep was
taken down, under the present Avails were
discovered the foundations of other buildings,
which lay in a difierent direction from tlie
present, and some of the stones appeared to
have Roman mouldings. 'J'he fret-Avork
round the arch leading to the inner court is
evidently of Saxon architecture, and yet
this Avas, probably, not the ancient entrance,
for under the Flag Tower, before that part
Avas taken doAvn and rebuilt, Avas the ap-
pearance of a gateAvay that had been walled
up, directly fronting the present outward
gateway into the town."

At a subsequent period it belonged to
William Tyson, a Saxon baron, who Avas
slain at the battle of Hastings, when both
his daughter and his lands were bestowed



SEATS OF CHEAT BRITAIN.



79



by Uie Norman conqueror, upon Ivo de
Vescy, one of his followers. William de
Vescy, the last baron of this name, left it to
Anthony Bee, bishop of Durham, in trast
for his son, then a minor, but after holding-
it for seven j'ears, the bishop in 1310 sold
it to Henry, Lord Percy, whose ancestors
are said to have come from Denmark into
Norway before the time of EoUo.

Alnwick Castle would seem at all times to
liave been an unlucky place for tlie Scottish
kings. In 1093, it was besieged by Malcolm
the Third, king of Scotland, the celebrated
Malcolm Canmore, wlio not only made a
complete conquest of Lothian, but threatened
also to ]50ssess himself of the great English
province of Northumberland In all these en-
terprises he was greath^ assisted by the number
of discontented Normans who flocked to his
court, and lent the aid of their superior
skill, against their eovmtrymen. At
length it was his ill fortune to besiege Aln-
wick Castle, Avhich, as a strong border
fortress, it was particularly desirable t(»
possess. But here he was unexpectedly
attacked by a great Norman baron, called
Robert de Moubray, who totally defeated the
Scotch army. Canmore was killed in the
action, and his son, Prince Edward, fell by
his side. To commemorate this event, a
cross was erected on the very spot were
Malcolm fell, one mile north of the castle.
This monument had fallen into decay, but
in 1774, the Duchess of Northumberland
restored it, her Grace being lineally de-
scended from him through his daughter
Maude,theQucenof Henry I. king of England.

Nor was William ILL much more success
ful. In 1174 he laid siege to AbiAvick, and
was taken prisoner, an event which is also com-
memorated by a monument, with this inscrip •
tion, " William, the Lion, King of Scotland,
besieging Alnwick Castle, was here taken
prisoner "

The ravages of time and warfare had pro-
duced their usual effects upon this nob^e
pile, reducing it almost to a ruin, when by
the dc.Tth of Algernon, Duke of Somerset,
in 1750, it devolved to Hugh, grandfatlier
to the present Duke of Northumberland.
He immediately began to repair the build-
ing, adhering as much as possiljle to the
castellated style of the ancient edifice. It
has three courts or wards, the inner one be-
ing entered by a very old gateway, flanked
bv two octagonal towers, erected about
13.50. From the inner court, in the centre
of the citadel, we come upon a staircase of
a very unusual form, that expands like a
fan, and has a roof enriched with a series of
one hundred and twenty armorial escutcheons
of the alliances of the Percy family. The
battlements of the towers, as we see in so
many of the nortliern castles, are adorned



with grotesque figures of Avarriors in stone,
many of them very ancient.

The saloon and the drawing-room are both
of considerable extent. The dining-room
has been modelled after the fashion of an
old baronial hall, and has a bay- window so
large that the family dine in its recess when
they are alone ; while upon festive occasions,
it is occupied by a second table, spread for
the superabundant guests.

The library is a beautiful room, fitted up
in the ancient style, and leading to the
family chapel, which presents a faithful imi-
tation of the best ecclesiastical architecture.
Tlie groining of the room is modelled after
King's College Chapel, Cambridge ; tlie great
east window is a transcript from oiie in York
Minster ; and the walls are painted like the
great church at Milan. Altogether the
building occupies about five acres within the
enclosure of its outward walls, standing upon
elevated ground on the south side of the
river Alne, from which it takes its name.

WHITFIELD, Herefordshire, tlie seat of the
Eev. Archer Clive. This mansion Avas built
about the middle of the last century by Mr.
Booth, an eminent barrister of his day, who
boueht the estate of the Pycs. The family
of Clive became possessed of tlieir Hereford-
shire pro]ierty by the marriage of George
Clive, of Styche, in Shroiishire, Avith Maiy,
the daughter and heir of Martin Husbands of
W^ormbridge, Herefordshire. By an arrange-
ment between the brothers in the next genera-
tion the estate at AYormbridge came into tlie
possession of EdAvard Clive, the second son
of George and Mary, and Styche remained
with the elder brother, Richard Avhose first
son, Robei-t, AA'as the celebrated Lord Clive,
the undoubted founder of our Indian empire.
From him the present Earl of PoAvis is
descended.

Tlie branch in possession of "Wormbridge
failed in the third generation by the death,
Avithout issue, of Sir EcbA'ard Clive, Kt., one of
the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas,
Avho bequeathed his estate to the late Edward
Bolton Clive, Esq., descended from a younger
son of tlce Styche branch. At the time of
this last-named gentleman's succeeding to
the estate in 1796 the mansion-house
at AVorrabridge was in a very decayed state,
and Mr. CliA^e purcliased the adjoining pro-
perty of "Whitfield, Avhich in 1770 had been
enjoyed by Lady Catherine Stanhope.
Here he took up his abode, and pulled doAvn
the old house at Wormbridge. EdAvard Bol-
ton Clive, Esq , iM.P. for the city of Here-
ford, married Harriett, daughter and co-
heir of AndrcAv, last baron Archer of Um-
berslade, in WarAvickshire, and died in 1845.
He was succeeded by his second, but eldest
surviving son, the Rev. Archer Clive Avho



80



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



married Caroline, daughter of Edmund ]\Iey-
sey Wigley Esq., of Shakenhurst, in the
county of Worcester.

This mansion is in the Laterician style of
architecture of the eighteentli century.

PENKHYN CASTLE, in the county of Car-
narvon, the residence of the lion. Colonel Ed-
ward Gordon Douglas Pennan t, who succeeded
to it in right of his deceased wife, Juliana Isa-
bella Mary, eldest daughter and co-heir of the
late George Hay Dawkins-Pemiant, Esq. In
consequence of this alliance, Colonel Douglas
added the name of Pennant to his patronymic.

If we carryback our inquiries to the early
period of 720, we shall find that Penrhyn
Castle was the residence of Roderick Mol-
■wynog, who was Sovereign of North Wales
in the early part of tlie eighth century.
During the contention of the rival princes it
was levelled to the ground by Meredydd ap
Owen in 987, who the same year invading
this country, slew the reiguing monarch,
Cadwallan ap Jevaf. In the time of Lle-
welyn it was granted, with other estates, to
Yarddur ap Trahaiarn, from whom, by the
law of gavelkind, it descended to a female,
who conveyed it by marriage to one of tlie
posterity of Ednyfed Vychan.

Ir the reign of Henry VI. it was possessed
by Gwillym ap Gryifydd, who was made a
denizen of England, and obtained the here-
ditary chamberlainship of North Wales upon
his intermarriage with Alice, daughter of
Sir Richard Dalton, of Althorpe, in North-
amptonshire. His son, William Vychan,
obt'iined the same privilege upon the sole
condition of not intermarrying with any of
his countrywomen. Such were the severe
regulations adopted in that age to keep the
Welsh firm in their allegiance to England.

In the reign of Henry VIII. we find a
Sir William Gryffydd accompanying tliat
monarch in his French wars, and assisting
at the siege of Boulogne. But whatever
honour he might have earned by his courage
and military talent, the world is much in-
d(^bted to him for the patriotic spirit whicli
has preserved the valuable Welsh records
that, but for his zeal, had been lost to us for
ever. These are contained in two parch-
ment volumes, one of which — called "The
Extent of North Wales" — is now in tlie
Chamberlain's office; the other is in that of
tlie Auditor, in London. In his own day he
would seem to have been even more cele-
brated for his bounty and hospitality. The
Welsh bards, with whom the open hand was
naturally enough the first of all virtues, or
second only to that of valour in the fight or
tourney, have been loud in his praises. The
misfortune, however, is that these vates sacri,
these dispensers of fame, wrote and sung in
a language, which with many claims to



notice, is yet preserved only by the zeal of a
few patriotic individuals, and is never likely
to spread beyond its respective limits.

Piers Gryffydd, the grand nephew to Sir
William, sailed ftom Beaumaris in April,
1588, in his own ship properly fitted out, and
joining the celebi'ated Sir Francis Drake, had
his share in the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
Dying without male issue, the direct line of
Gwillym ap Gryffydd of Penrhyn became in
him extinct. There was, however, another line
called Cochwillan from the same stock, and
this continued to flourish in the county in se-
veral branches. From the one, which resided
atConway, descended Dr. John ^^'illiams,Lord
Keeper and Archbishop of York, by wliom
the estate of Penrhyn w^as purchased from
his cousin, Piers Gryffydd, and that of Coch-
willan from the Earl of Pembroke. Of tliis
line at an earlier period came also William
ap Gryffydd ap Robin, who at the battle of
Bosworth Field headed a troop of horse
formed solely from his own retinue, and
assisted in placing his relative, the Earl
of Richmond, upon the English throne ; for
of him the minstrels might have sung, as they
did of others of his name :

" Uu llin a' i frenin fu'r acli."

His descent is the same as that of his sovereign.

By the death of the archbishop in 1649,
this enormous property devolved to his
nephcAV, Gryffydd Williams, who in 1661
was created a baronet, and became the
father of nineteen children. So great
were the estates at this time, tliat when Sir
Gryflydd died, he was possessed of nearly
a third of the Avhole county of Carnarvon,
which he divided between six sons, leaving
to each of them, even in this division,
a noble fortune. Upon the demise of his
eldest son. Sir Robert Williams, Bart., Pen-
rhyn and Cochwillan, with their dependen-
cies, fell to his elder son, Sir John, who
died unmarried in 1083, and was succeeded
by his brother, Sir Gryffydd ; at whose
decease, also unmarried, the estates passed
to his three sisters and co-heirs. Of these
ladies, Frances married Lord Edward
Russell, son of the Duke of Bedford ; Anne
married Thomas AVarburton of Wiunington,
in the county of Chester, Esq. ; and Gwen
married Sir Walter Yonge of Escot, in
Devonshire, Bart. Lady Edward Russell
dying without issue, her huslDand, who sur-
vived her, gave up his portion of the estate
in favour of her sisters. The property was
thus again broken into parts, but only to
be reunited in the same hands at a later
period— for John Pennant, Esq., father of
Lord Penrhyn, purchased from the Yonge
family their moiety, while Lady Penrhyn
enjoyed the other half in her own right as
the daughter and sole heiress of General



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



81



Warburton. From Lord Penrliyn tlie estate
was inherited by his cousin, the late George
Hay Dawkins, Esq., wlio assumed in conse-
quence the surname of Pennant. His
daughter brouglit the property in marriage
to the Hon. Colonel Douglas, M.P., and died
25th April, 1842, leaving several children.
About four years after, her widower mar-
ried a second time, his present wife being a
daughter of the Duke of Grafton.

The house is supposed to have been re-
built by Gwillim ap Gryffydd, in the time
of Henry the Sixth, long after its demolition
by JNIeredydd ap Owen. When Lord Pen-
rnyn came to reside here he found a ruinous
old building, with one castellated tower, and
an old hall, both of which he preserved, and
immediately set about erecting the present
noble castle. He did not, however, live to
complete it as it now appears. The task of
finishing what he had so well begun was
reserved for his late successor, G. H. Daw-
kins-Pennant, Esq. Years were employed
in raising this magnificent pile, which may
now be considered as one of the completest
castellated mansions in the kingdom ; and
for the costliness of its materials, stands al-
most without a rival, being constructed, not
of brick or stone, but of Mona marble. It
is in the ancient style of architecture, and
presents a noble range of buildings, crowned
with lofty towers, five of which are circular.
The keep and another of the principal
towers are square, with angular turrets.
Within the walls everything is in the
highest style of magnificence, though the
attention of the antiquary will be more
caught by a specimen of the ancient Welsh
drmkijig-horn — " hirlas its appellation ; its
cover, gold" — similar to the wassail-bowl of
tlie Saxons. It is formed of the huge horn
of an ox, chased with silver, and suspended
by a chahi of the same metal, the initials of
Piers Gryffydd and his family being engraved
at one end. On festive days the imperious
custom was to empty the horn at one
draught, and instantly blow it as a proof
that it had been fairly emptied : —

' ' Fill the horn with foaming liquor,
Fill it up, my boy, be quicker ;
Ilenco, away despair and sorrow,
Time enough to sigh to-morrow.
Let the brinuning goblet smile,
And Ednyfed's cares bcguQe.
Gallant youth, imus'd to feai'.
Master of the Ijroken spear,
And the arrow-pierced shield
Brought with borons from the field."

The out-bnildings are upon an extensive
scale, full}'- commensurate with the magnifi-
cence of the castle itself, the horses in par-
ticidar being lodged after a princely fashion
that might have satisfied tlie noblest and
most fastidious of Gulliver's Houyhnhnms.
But the extent of the park will perhaps con-



vey a yet livelier idea of this vast property.
It extends from Llandegai to Bangor, and
is seven miles in circumference, surrounded
by a wall tliirteen feet high, a thing almost
without a parallel in this country.

The site of the castle is one of surpassing
beauty, so far as that phrase may be thought
compatible with grandeur and sublimity. It
stands upon the highest ground of the park,
below which on the east side runs the moun-
tain river Ogwen, not unfrequently dashing
down in a roaring torrent. On the other
side spreads the picturesque town of Bangor.
In front is a glorious view of the Menai Sus-
pension Bridge, as well as of Beaumaris, with
its semilunar bay, formed by two enormous
headlands, the one called "the Green" and



Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 1) → online text (page 18 of 79)