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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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Mix'd gothic, such as artists all allow
Few specimens yet left us can compare

It stood embosomed in a happy valley.

Crowned by high woodlands where the Druid oak
Stood like Caractacus in act to rally

His host, with broad arms 'gainst the thunder-stroke ;
And from beneath liis boughs were seen to sally

The dappled foresters ;— as day awoke.
The branching stag swept down with all his herd.

To quaff a brook which murmured like a bird.

Before the mansion lay a lucid lake.

Broad as transparent, deep and freshly fed
By a river, which its softened way did take

In currents through the caln\er water spread
Around ; the wild fowl nestled in the brake

And sedges, brooding in their liquid bed ;
The woods slojjed downward to its brink, and stood

AVith their green faces fixed upon the flood.

Its outlet dashed into a deep cascade,

SparkUng with foam, until again subsiding,
Its shriller echoes— like an infant made

Quiet — sank into softer ripples, gliding
Into a rivulet ; and thus allayed.

Pursued its course, now gleaming, and now hiding
Its windings tlii'ough the woods, now clear, now blue.

According as the skies their shadow threw ! "

In plain prose, the abbey stood in the



midst of an extensive park, with a lake on
one side flowing almost up to its walls, while
on another side a second piece of water
wound its tortuous course at a little distance.
The one shore was covered with wood,
spreading over the edge of a hill down to
the water ; on the other were a grove and
park ; and either side was ornamented with
a castle, the cannon of which, however, Avere
levelled, by some unlucky arrangement, at
the parlour windows. When Mr. Young
saw it, " a tAventy-gun ship, Avith several
yachts and boats lying at anchor, thrCAv an
air of most cheerful pleasingness over the
Avhole scene." In the park, too, at one time,
Avere nearly three thousand head of deer.

Such was NcAvstead, till it came into the
possession of William, Lord Byron, avIio has
obtained so unwelcome a notoriety by his
duel Avith his relation and neighbour, Mr.
ChaAvorth. It took place at the Star and
Garter Tavern, in Pall ]\Iall, and Avas fought
Avithout seconds, by the dim Hglit of a cantlle.
From some words dropt by the dying man,
the coroner's inquest brought in a verdict of
Avilful murder; but the House of Lords, by
Avhom he Avas tried in A^irtue of his peerage,
pronounced him guilty of manslaughter, and,
on being In-ought up for judgment, he pleaded
the privilege of his rank. This affair, hoAv-
ever, set him at Avar with himself and all the
Avorld. He retired to Newstead, Avhere he
shut himself itp in absolute seclusion, shitn-
ning every one, and by every one shunned,
and not only suftering the place to fall into
decay, but stripping the ground of timber, so
that the fine Avoods that once sheltered the
Abbey are now no more. Lord Byron, the
poet, Avho ultimately succeeded to the pro-
perty, used to speak of this unhappy prede-
cessor in the terms of a very natural dislike.
" After his trial," says the noble author,"
" he shut himself up at NcAvstead, and Avas
in the habit of feeding crickets, which were
his only companions. At his death, it is said
they left the house in a body."

But, however Newstead might have been
injured by neglect, it was still, in the poet's
time, a noble mansion. There was a gran-
deur in its very desolation — tlie habitable
parts mingling strangely Avith the ruins — a
living body bound to a dead one.

" Huge halls, long ealleries, spacious chambers, join'd
By no quite lawful marriage of the arts.

Might shook a connoisseur ; but ^^•hen combin'd,
Formed a whole which, irreuular in parts,

Yet left a yrand impression on the mind.
At least of those whose eyes are in their hearts.

AA''e gaze upon a giant for his statute.

Nor judge at first if aU be true to nature.

A glorious'remnant of the gothic pile

(AATiile yet the church was Rome's) stood half apart
In a grand arch, v.hich once screened many an aisle.

Tliese last had disappeared— a loss to art ;
The first vet frowned superbly o'er the soil,

And kindled feelurgs in the roughest heart,



96



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



Which mourned the power of time's or tempest's

marcli,
In gazing on that venerable arch.

AVithin a niche, nigh to its pinnacle,

Twelve saints had once stood, sanctified in stone ;
But these had fall'n, not when the friars fell.
But in the war which struck Charles from his throne,
■\Vlien each house was a fortalice— as tcU

Tlie annals of full many a line undone—
The gallant cavaliers, who fought in vain
For those who knew not to i esign or reign.

But in a higher niche, alone, but cro^^^led,
The Virgin Mother of the God-born child,

With her son in her blessed anus, looked roimd,
Spared by some chance, when all beside was spoiled;

She made the earth below seem holy giound.
This may be superstition weak or wild,

But even the faintest relics of a shrine

Of any worship wake some thoughts divine.

A mighty window, hollow in the centre,
Shornof its glass of thousand colouiiugs,

Through wliich the deepened glories once could enter.
Streaming from off the sun like seraph's wings,

Now yawns all desolate ; now loud, now fainter.
The gale sweeps througli its fi ctwork, and oft sings

The owl bis anthem, where the silenced quire

Lie with their hallelujahs quenched like fire.

But in the noontide of the moon, and when

The wmd is winged from one jjoint of heaven.
There moans a s^^'-ange unearthly somid, which then
Is musical— a dying accent driven
Through the huge arch, which soars and sinks again.

Some deem it but the distant echo given
Back to the night wind by the waterfall.
And harmonised by the old choral wall.

Others, that some original shape or form
Shaped by decay, perchance, hath given thepnwer

(Though less than that of Memuon's statue, warm
In Egypt's rays, to harp at a fixed hour)

To this grey ruin, with a voice to charm.

Sad, but serene, it sweeps o'er tree or tower."

The place of tliese remarkcable echoes is
still called the '' sounding gallery," and is
next to an apartment wlilch bears the name
of King Edward the Third's room, from a
tradition of that monarch* having slept there.
The cloisters, so graphically described by
the poet, exactly resemble those of West-
minster, but are perhaps even more venerable.
Such an abode, where the past so completely
overwhelmed the present, and wliere every-
thing spoke of decay and the nothingness of
life, was peculiarly calculated to feed Byron's
natural tendency to gloom. It is said that
he was wont to hold here strange Odin-like
orgies with a few of his more intimate
friends, on which occasions they used for a
drinking goblet a dead man's skull, that had
licen found by the workmen in repairing the
abbey. As may be supposed, such satur-
nalia gave rise to all sorts of rumours in the
neighbourhood. VVlieie a part only of the
truth could be known, that part was sure to
be exaggerated into something wild and
fearful. Byron did his best to encourage
the feeling, by adorning the place witli other
spoils from th.e grave, to the great awe and
wonder of those who heard of such things,
or were allowed, as visitors, to penetrate
into the interior, and catch a passing
glimpse of them. But in all tliC great poet



said or did there Avas ever an odd mixture
of the fanciful, the gloomy, and the super-
stitions. On his first arrival at Newstead,
in 1798, he planted an oak in the garden,
and nourished the idea that as the tree
prospered, or otherwise, so Avoiild it be with
himself. On revisiting the abbey, during
Lord Grey de Ruthven's residence there, he
found the oak choked up by Aveeds, and
almost destroyed, Avhich circumstance gave
rise to one of his occasional poems : —

" Young oak, when I planted thee deep in the ground."

Soon after the present proprietor. Colonel
Wildman, had taken possession of the estate,
lie one day noticed this tree, and said to the
servant Avho Avas Avith him, '' Here is a fine
young oak ; but it must be cut doAvn, as it
grows in an improper place." " I hope not,"
replied the man ; " for it's the one my Lord
Avas so fond of, because he set it himself."

Tlie Colonel, of course, has since tliat time
taken every possible care of it. Strangers
already, when they visit the place, begin to
inquire after Byrons Oak, so tliat it pro-
mises one day to share the celebrity of
Sliakspeare's Midbernj, so barbarously, not
to say sacrilegiously, cut doAvn by the
clerical possessor of the poet's grounds and
dAvelling.

STOWS, Buckinghamshire, about three miles
from tlie county-tOAvn. The name is deriA'cd
from the locality, for Stowe stands upon a
rising ground, and the Avord signifies, a strand,
station, or eminence. Upon the dissolution of
monasteries, being abbey-land, it Avas granted
by Henry VIIL to Robert King, the first
Bishop of Oxford, Avho had been Abbot of
Osney, and to his successors in that sec. In
1590, the Bishop having previously surren-
dered it to the Crown, it Avas granted to
Thomas Compton and another person, who
immediately conveyed it to John 'I'emple
Esq., Avhose son, Sir Thomas, was created a
Baronet in 1612. His deccndant. Sir Richard,
in the reign of \Mlliam III. distinguished
himself highly in the wars under Marl-
borough, and on the accession of George I.
Avas made Baron Cobliam of Cobham in
Kent; and in May 1718 he Avas yet farther
ad\-anced by the title of Viscount and
Baron Cobham. In default of heirs the
dignit)' Avas to go to his second sister,
Ilesther Grenville, and, her issue failing, to
Uame Christian Lyttelton. On the death
of Lord Cobham the title of Baronet de-
scended to a younger branch of the Temple
family. Mrs. Grenville became Vicountcss
Cobham, and was soon afterwards created
Countess Temple. Her eldest son, Richard
Earl Temple, dying Avithout issue, Avas suc-
ceeded in title and estates by his nephcAV,
George, who in 1784 Avas created jNlSrquis



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



97



of Buckingham. In 1822, Richard Greu-
ville Nugent Chandos Temple was made
Duke of 13uckingliam and Chandos.

The house at Stowe was originally built
by Peter Temple, Esq., in the reign of
Queen Elizabeth, and rebuilt by Sir Richard
Temple, who died there in 1697. Ilis son,
Lord Cobham added wings, and erected a
new front, which has since been again re-
built, so that tlitJ whole now extends 916
feet, the central part being 454 feet. It is
approached, through a Corinthian arch 60
feet high, by a perfectly straight line of
road, two miles in length, conducted over a
great number of eminences, from each of
which, as you reach their crest, the house
is Seen amidst rich plantations and flanked
by an avenue of lofty trees. A noble ascent
of one and thirty steps leads to the .Portico
Or Loggia, on each side of which is a flower
garden, that stretches along the whole front
and is enclosed by a balustrade of iron and
Portland stone, surmounted at intervals by
vases. At the base of the ascent are two
massive pedestals, forming right angles,
whereon are lions of immense size, copied
from tlie oViginal hi the Villa de Medici,
former!}' at Rome, but now at Florence.
The whole is enclosed within a sunk fence,
of nearly four miles in extent, and bounded
by a wide gravel path amidst rows of lofty
elms. In one i^art are two Ionic pavilions,
in the front of which is a considerable lake,
which divides into two branches, and re-
tires through l^eautiful valleys to the East
and North, tillthe upper end is concealed
in thick woods. Here it falls over some
artificial ruins, and then again expands into
one broad sheet of water.

The house stands upon an eminence
rising gradually from the lake to the south
front, which is the principal entrance, and
was full of i^aintiugs, sculptures, curiosities,
and everythmg that wealth, directed by
taste, could possibly collect together. To
name a fgw only of the valuable portraits,
since to name all would far exceed our
limits : — Edward Seymour, Duke of Somer-
set, and Protector in the early part of
Edward the Sixth's reign ; Thomas SejmQur,
High Admiral, and brother to the Protector;
Mrs. Siddous ; Queen Catherine Parr ;
Anne Boleyn ; Henry VIII. ; Charles I. ;
Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury; Lord
Viscount Cobham ; William Pitt, first Earl
of Chatham ; IMartiu Luther, by Holbein ;
Lambert, tlie famous parliamentarian general
in the time of the Civil War ; Oliver Crom-
well ; Richard Desborough ; William III. ;
Dean Swift ; Nell Gwynne ; Lady Jane
Grey ; Lord Bacon ; Lord Burleigh ; Cam •
den ; Addison ; Titian's mistress, by Titian ;
Rembrandt's wife, by Rembrandt, &c., &c.
We have spoken of Stowe in the present



tense, as if it still existed, being willing to
keep up the pleasing illusions of memory
as long as possible. But alas ! the proud
mansion of Stowe has been despoiled. Its
contents have passed by purchase into a
thousand different channels.

RTJDDINGTON GRANGE, Notts : for many
years Ruddington has been celebrated as
the abode of the Breedon family, at one
period the most celebrated agriculturists in
the Midland counties. This estate was pur-
chased about thirty years ago by Charles
Paget, Esq., a member of an ancient Leices-
tershire family.

Mr. Paget immediately commenced a
series of improvements the results of which
are a noble mansion and park, a cottage
ome'e, and a farm of xinrivalled fertility,
order and convenience. The mansion, which
is situated at the foot of Wilford Hills, is
approached from the Nottingham turnpike
by a very appropriate rustic lodge. Seated
on a pleasant slope it commands a rich
landscape of town and tower bounded by
the Bunny Plills. The interior is all that
could be desired and the exterior, without
possessing any decided architectural charac-
ter, has a very pleasing effect. AVlien it is
considered that the whole is the creation of
the present owner, and that a very few years
have sufficed to effect tlie wondrous changes,
it may fairly be allowed that few counties
afford such an instance of what energy and
good taste can do in so short a time.

Mr. Paget was High Sheriff for Notting-
hamshire a few years ago, and he is an
active county Magistrate and a leading
agriculturist.

OULTON HALL, Cheshire, the property of
Sir Philip De Malpas Grey-Egerton, Bart.,
of Egerton and Oulton, the male represen-
tative of the Egertons. The manor of
Oulton (formerly Aklingi:on, or Aldeton)
was successively in the families of Kingsley,
Oulton, and Beclieton. From the latter it
was purchased by Hugh Done, whose
daughter and heir brougiit it in, or near,
1500, to John Egerton, Esq., the ancestor
of the present proprietor. The old mansion,
which had been built in Henry the VIII.'s
reign, was pulled down in 1716, and tlie
present structure raised on its site. Sir
John Vanburgh is said to have been the
architect.

WANLIP HALL, Leicestershire. W^anlip,
anciently Anlep, the seat of Sir George
Joseph Palmer, Bart., is four miles North
of Leicester. The j^resent mansion, erected
about 1750, by Henry Palmer, Esq., ances-
tor of the present baronet, is a liandsome
stuccoed house in which thoroughly English





98



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN'.



comfort has been moi'e considererl thau
architectural effect. The eastern front looks
on very delightful grounds, at the edge of
which the river Soar, and beyond that a
fine champaign country form a truly Eng-
lish landticape. It has been well observed
that too few of our country mansions have
rooms that commaml the early sun. For
a lireakfast room, this arrangement is a
grand requisite, and conduces more to the
comfort and cheerfulness of the inmates
than the costliest furniture and adornments.
At Wanlip Hall this luxury is enjoyed in
perfection. The estate is a very tine and
fertile one, and the whole is the property of
Sir George. The village church, formerly
a chapel to Temple Rothley, contains one of
the finest monumental brasses in England,

that of '">)'()<'''>« ffldlsl) aiib Same SnttiiiE I)i)« ftiifc wl)o in
I)ir lime boljlbeb tf)f itirt aiib I)oiveb tlje Silt ijarb, fitSt in Ijonout

of ®ob tdeii of out Sab? oub St ifi>)ci)oi«e. The date is
1377.

A vulgar tradition prevails that the
original name of this place was derived from
the circumstance of the Demon of the
Forest having mounted his sorrel horse at
l\Iountso7Tel — and reached this spot at one
leap — finishinghis nocturnal ride by his steed
bursting at Bur stall.

WALWORTH, county of Durham, the
venerable seat of John Harrison Aylmer,
Esq., J. P., is a noble mansion of the Tudor
or Jacobean period, but the north front may
be of older date. The southern view com-
prises a long suite of soft even ground,
sloping through rich sprinklings of wood to
the Tees. Two gallant chestnuts mark the
site of an avenue to the north front, of 18
and 16^ feet, respective^, in circumference
at two feet from the ground. The extreme
boughs of each touch the ground at 60 feet
from the stem ; thus forming a dense shade
of 120 feet in diameter; the branches in the
centre are completely intermixed. Of these
wedded trees, the larger is the male. "Wal-
worth has successively passed through the
knightly Hansards (a younger branch of the
Fitz-Mildreds, Lords of Raby, who after-
wards became the Nevilles of history) the
Ayscoughs of Lincolnshire who married the
Hansard heiress, the Jenisons purchasers in
Elizabeth's time, and now Counts of the
Holy Roman Empii-e ; and the Harrisons,
whose heiress married the late General
Aylmer, and sm-viveshim. ^Yal\vorth man-
sion is said to have been reared from a
ruinous predecessor by Thomas Jenison the
purchaser. An old Norman chapel turned
into a barn connects it with its early owners,
and the moundy relics of ancient founda-
tions mark the forgotten village, whose
inhabitants once assembled within its walls.
The Jenisons entertained James L at AVal-



worth on his first beatific progress into
England. A lady then presided in the
house. In her will, dated within a year of
the Royal visit, she mentions her sons as
' contrary in religion,' a circumstance per-
haps explaining the lack of knighthood
which one would have thought would have
succeeded almost as a matter of course.
The De AYalworths do not occur in connec-
tion with their fatherland. They left the
Hansards to keep that, and wandering into
the soft meadows of the Skerne, married
heiresses, and accumulated fields " as plenty
as Ijlackbcrries." But their wealth would^
have been forgotten, their name devoid of
story, had they not, by indisputable evidence,
been the progenitor? of that valiant Lord
MnyoY and true. Sir William Walworth ;
he Avho braved Wat Tyler, and saved
"Richard that sweet rose," for the storms
of a licentious court, and the violent death
of uncrowned kings.

Walworth is one of the villages mentioned
in a MS. of 1634 as turned into a demesne,
and depopulate. About that time, among
various other causes operating to destroy the
feudal system, was a fashion of lords forcing
their tenants, by various legal tricks to take
new leases of their farms, instead of paying
their ancient rents. The leases expire, then
the lord says that he is determined to take
up halfthe town to demesne, nevertheless, as
thev were ancient retainers, he will renew on
their giving a heavier rent. They do this
and are ruined ; and then he acts with the
whole lordship as he pleases. Such wastlie
complaint.



MOUSEHOLD, near Norwich, in the county
of Norfolk, the seat of Major General Sir
Robert John Harvey, CB. This house was
built in 1821 by the present proprietor and
orcupicr. It is a"^haudsome residence, adorned
with a portico at the west end, supported by
four Doric columns, under which is the car-
riage road.

The Park and grounds, attached to the
house, contam about two hundred acres, of
which fifty are wood, intersected by deep
ravines terminating in the valley of the
river Yare. The river itself is about half a
mile distant from the mansion.



SHAEDLOW HALL, Derbyshire. This
ancient mansion of the Fosbrookc family
passed by purchase to the late James Sutton,
Esq., of Broughton House, and is now tlie
seat of his sou James Sutton, Esq., a Deputy
Lieutenant, and lately Higli Sheriff of
Derbyshire. The Hall is a handsome stone
building of the sixteenth century. It is
ilat roofed and had formerly an embattled



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



99



parapet which tlie modernising taste of the
last century removed. The eastern front
has a receding centre with two wings — the
western is in tlie ItaUan style. The pleasure
gromids and gardens are very beautiful. At
a short distance from the Hall is the newly
erected parish church of St. James — a neat
and well designed structure, erected by the
mhabitants. Shardlow Hall is six miles from
Derby, and is one of tlie many country seats
which, before the introduction of railways,
rendered the road from Loughborough to
Derby the admiration of travellers.

TERREGLES, Dumfrieshire, the seat of
Marmaduke Constable Maxwell, Esq. So
early as the fourteenth century this seat was
the residence of the fixraily of Herries, nor
has it ever been out of the possession of the
Herries's and Maxwells and their lineal de-
scendants from that time up to the present
period. Fewfamiles are more memorable in
Scottish history than those of Herries and
Maxwell, whether we meet with them under
the title of Lord Herries or tlie Earl of Niths-
dale. Agnes, eldest daughter and coheir
of \Yilliam, fourth Lord Herries, married Sir
John ^Maxwell, and conveyed to him the
lands of Teri-egles. Not long after Sir John
took his seat in parliament as Lord Herries.
Li the subsequent political events of his
time this nobleman was a prominent actor,
and appears as one of the most devoted ad-
herents of Queen Mary, serving her often
with a candour that is not usually agreeable
to crowned heads. When the report of her
intended marriage with Bothwell got into
circulation, he hastened to Edinburgh, and,
urging the suspicions against that nobleman
as the murderer of the king, besought the
Queen upon his knees to remember her
honour, and dignity, and the safety of the
prince, all of which would be endangered if
she married a man so loaded with infamy.
This salutary advice was disregarded, and
he lost no time in returning to the coimtry,
attended by a guard sufficient to protect him
from any attack of Bothwell, who in such
a case was not likely to be scrupulous in
his mode of retaliation. Lord Herries was
engaged on the Queen's side, notwithstand-
ing this neglect, at the battle of Langside,
and when upon losing the day she resolved
to seek refuge in England, he conjured her not
to rely upon the generosity of Elizabeth ; but
as before, his advicewas rejected. Even then
he did not cease to exert himself strenuously
in the cause of his unfortunate mistress, how
unavailiugly it would now be unnecessary to
rejjeat.

William, fifth Earl of Nlthsdale, fifth in
descent from Queen Mary's partisan, has ob-
tained a more unfortunate celcljrity. It was
his evil fate to embark in the rebellion of



1715, when he was made prisoner at Preston
in Lancashire, and sent to the Tower of
London. Being brought to trial before the
Peers, he was found guilty and sentenced to
be executed, along with the Earl of Derwent-
water and the Viscount of Kenmure, on the
24th February, 1716. Every exertion was
made to obtain for him the royal pardon ;
mercy, however, was not the order of the
day ; the King was obstinate and revengeful;
the English people, although' sufficiently
disposed in general to be lenient towards a
beaten enemy, had been too much alarmed
in the midst of their peaceful habits to be
magnanimous. But the often told tale of
woman's fidelity and heroism was here to
be exhibited in its brightest colours. AVini-
fred Herbert, the Countess of Nithsdale,
was ill the North when the news of this
event reached Jier, and immediately rode to
Newcastle whence she took the stage to
York. " When I arrived there," says the
heroic Countess, " the snow was so deep
that the stage could not set out for London.
The season was so severe, and the roads so
extremely bad that the post itself Avas
stopped. However, I took horses and rode
to Loudon, although the snow was generally
above the horse's girths, and arrived safe
without any accident. On my arri^'al I
went immediately to make what interest I
could among those Avho were in place. No
one gave me any hopes, but they all, to the
contrary assured me that, although some of



Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 1) → online text (page 22 of 79)