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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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HAINES HILL, in the county of Berks, the

seat of Tliomas Colleton Garth, Esq. The
house is supposed to have been built about
the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign, or in
the beginning of that of James the First,
although here, as in so many other instances,
no authentic records have been preserved of
a fact that could scarcely have had much
interest at the time, and has only become
valuable to the curiosity of after ages. The
present front, we know, was added by
James Edward Colleton, Esq., in the reign
of George the Second.

At one time this estate belonged to
Secretary Windebank ; and here he was often
visited by the celebrated Archbishop Laud,
witli whom he would seem to have been
united by the ties of friendship as well as by
those of political and religious feeling.



The grounds, belonging to the mansion,
present a pleasing variety of landscape,
being interspersed with plantations, and in
many parts covered with timber of consider-
able growth. For the rest it partakes of
tlie general chai-acter of the Berkshire

HINCHINGBROOK HOUSE, anciently called
Hinchiubroke, Huntingdonshire, about three
quarters of a mile from the provincial
capital, the seat of John William Montagu,
seventh Earl of Sandwich. The house stands
on the site of a very ancient priory of Bene-
dictine nuns, who had been removed thither
from Eltesly in Cambridgeshire, where, as
Leland informs us, was sumtyme a nunnery,
where St. Pandouia, the Scottish Virgin, was
buried, and wher ther is a well of her name
}Ti the south side of the qiure." At the
dissolution of monasteries in 1538, Henry
the Eighth granted the site of this abbey to
Sir Richard Williams, Knt., who traced his
pedigree up to the ancient lords of Powis
and Cardigan. At the desire of that mon-
arch he assumed the name of Cromwell, his
father having married the sister of the
famous Earl of Essex ; for when the Welsh
became incorjjorated with the English,
Henry was anxious tliey should adopt the
custom of the latter nation in taking family

In a short time Sir Richard rose into high
favour with his despotic master, and, what
perhaps was not quite so easy a matter, con-
trived to maintain his ground with him.
Hence he obtained the lucrative appomt-
ment of one of the Visitoi'S of Religious
Houses, and received the lion's share of the
spoil derived from the ecclesiastics, becom-
ing by this and other means so wealthy that
his estates if now entire would produce as
large a revenue as that enjoyed by many an
Englishpeer. He was succeeded in these enoi'-
mous possessions by his son and heir, Sir
Henry, called from his exceeding munificence
" the Golden Knight." By him was built
the house at PImchingbrook, partly out of
the materials of the adjacent nuunery, the
memory of which is yet preserved by the
names " Nuns' Bridge," and " Nuns' Mea-
dow," continued by tradition to places on
the west side of the park. It was intended
by him as a winter residence, for during the
summer he lived at Ramsey, an abbey also
converted by him into a private dwelling.
In 1593 he was knighted by Queen Eliza-
beth, who held hmi in much regard, and hon-
oured him with a royal visit upon her return
from the University of Cambridge in 1564.
Sir Oliver Cromwell, the uncle of the future
Protector, lived in the same style that his
father had done, the consequence of which
was, that he found himself obliged to sell

llinchingbrook to Sir Sydney Montagu
and retired to his estate at Ramsey.
Before this time the young Oliver, then
no more than five or six years old, had
been a frequent visitor to his uncle and
guardian, and has lent to the place a portion
of his own celebrity. It has been even said
that he once met here the young Prince
Charles, and having in his play quarrelled
with the future monarch, he did not hesitate
to give him a bloody nose, a " bad presage,"
as one writer gravely observes, " for the latter
when the civil wars commenced." If this
ever did take place, — which dates make
most improbable, if not impossible — but if it
did, it must have been when James the
First visited llinchingbrook in his journey
from Scotland to talce possession of tlie
English Ci'own, that had just devolved to
him by the death of Elizabeth. Infinite were
the Knight's preparations to receive his
royal visitor, even to the building of an
elegant bay window to the dining-room, in
which were two shields of arms of his
family, impaling, the one his first, the other
his second lady's, painted upon the glass
with many quart erings, round the outside
were various other shields. Howe, in his
continuation of "StoAv's Annales," thus
describes the visitation. " The 27 of April
the King removed from Burleigh towardes
Hichingijrooke to Sir Oliver Cromwel's" —
"and about some halfe mile ere hee came
there, his Majesty was met by the Bayliflfe
of Huntington, who made to him a long
oration, and there delivered him the sword,
which his highncsse gave to the Earle of
Southampton to bcare before him to Master
Oliver Cromwel's House, where his highnesse
and his followers, with all comers, had
such entertainment, as not the like in any
place before, there was such plentie and
varietis of meates and diversitie of wines,
and the sellars open at any man's pleasure.
There attended also at Master Oliver Crom-
wel's the Heads of the Universitie of Cam-
bridge, all clad in scarlet gownes and corner
capps, wlio having presence of his Majestic ;
there w^as made a learned and eloquent
oration in Latine (by Mr. Mouuton, after-
wards Sir Robert) welcoming his Majestic,
as also intreating the confirmation of their
priviledges, which his highnesse most wil-
lingly graunted. Master Cromwell presented
his Majestic with many rich and acceptable
gifts, as a very great and fayre wrought
standing cuppe of gold, goodly horses, deepe
mouthed hounds, divers hawkes of excellent
wing, and at the remoove gave fifty pounds
amongst his Majestie's officers. The 29 of
April after breakfast his Majesty tooke
leave of Master Oliver Cromwell and of his
lady, late Avidow to Siguor Horatio Paulo
Vicino, saying to them in his broad Scotch



accent — * Marry, mon, though hast treated
me better than any one syne I left Edhibro.'
Indeed it is said that the King, who had a
hunting seat close by, at Roystou, was
tempted to repeat his visit so often as
materially to damage the fortunes of his too
liberal entertainer. Wliether true or not it
is certain Sir Henry was at length so
much impoverished that he found himself
compelled to dispose of Ilinchingbrook, with
all the lands near it granted to his femily
by Henry VIH., the purchaser being Sir
Sidney Montagu, of Barnwell, ICnt. one of
the Masters of Requests. This gentleman,
from whom the Earl of Sandwich is de-
scended was the youngest son of Sir Edward
Montagu of Boughton, Knt., and was held
in particular regard by James the First, who
made him a groom of the bed-chamber, and
knighted him in July 1616. Notwithstand-
ing these favours, he supported for some
time the popular side in the dispute between
Charles and his people, and was returned to
the Long Parliament as one of the members
of Huntingdon. But when Essex was made
general of the forces raised by Parliament,
and an oath tendered to all members to live
and die with him, then, as we are told by
Sir Philip "Warwick, in his Memoris, our
Knight refused to take the oath, saying, " he
would not swear to live with him because
he was an old man and might die before him ;
nor would he swear to die with him since
the Earle was going with an army against
the King, which he did not know how to
free from treason ; and so he did not know
what end that great man might come to. "
The republicans howerer, — as in good,
truth they might even then be called, — Avere
not men to be jested with ; they immediately
expelled him from the House, and chose
another iu his place to serve for Hunting-

His sole surviving son, Edward, who
during the Civil War distinguislied him-
self upon the side of tlie Parliament, turned
romid upon the death of Cromwell, and was
highly instrumental in persuading tlie fleet
to declare for Charles the Second. For his
important services, the King in two days
after his landing at Dover appointed him
Knight of the Garter, and iu the July
following created him a baron by the title of
Lord Montagu of St. Neots, Viscount
Hiuchingbrook and Earl of Sandwich. At
the same time he was made master of the
King's wardrobe, Admiral of the narrow
seas, and Lieutenant Admiral to the Duke
of York. His subsequent career was even
3'et more illustrious than his early days had
been, and he at last perished in a battle against
the Dutch, the victim of too nice a sense of
honour. The Duke of York having some
time prior to the action taunted him with

being actuated by a sense of fear, he felt
the insult so keenly that when his ship had
taken fire he refused to leave her, and was
blown up with the remainder of his crew.

Since tliis period Ilinchingbrook has
regularly descended from heir to heir in this
family, but to pursue the fortunes of each
individual, where so many were distinguished,
would lead us far beyond our limits. It will
be enough to remark that there is no
family in England more ancient and
illustrious than that of Montagu. Maternally,
they are descended from an heiress of the
kings of Man, and through them from the
ancient kings of Denmark. They are allied
to the Bruces, kings of Scotland, and to the
royal house of Stuart.

Hinchhigbrook House is a large irregular
building, partly of stone, and partly of brick,
displaying the architectural taste of the
earliest as well as latest period of Queen
Elizabeth's reign. A small portion is yet
older. It is a fragment of tlie ancient nun-
nery, and retains on a broken stone cornice
the date, 1439.

The buildings surround an open court,
the two principal fronts being to the north
and east. The great court-yard, leading to
the entrance on the north front is crossed di-
agonally by a walk ornamented with clipped
yews. At the lodge, or entrance-gateway are
four savages with clubs, carved as large as
life, gigantic warders, either real or fictitious,
being the common appendage in those days
at the gate of all large mansions.

The so called great room still retains its
original character, and, so far as interesting
associations are concerned, may be regarded
as the most remarkable pi'ii't of the building.
It was here that Queen Elizabeth was mag-
nificently entertained ; here too, as we have
already mentioned, her successors, James,
and Charles the First, were feasted by the
opulent Lord of the mansion Avith the
utmost luxury tliat the appliances of the
time admitted. The large bay window was
erected in 1602, as appears from the date on
the stone- work outside, over which are the
royal arms of Tudor. The offices on the
north side include what was the common
room of the nuns, now the kitchen ; and
about eight or nhie of the nuns' cells, whicli
are at present used as lodging-rooms by the
lower servants, being small cheerless abodes
of stone, ranged on each side of a narrow
gallery, and each lighted by one small Avin-
dow. The floors are solid, of some stone-
like composition.

The Hall was iu other days the refectory
of the priory. The old framed timber roof
is hidden by a modern ceiling, but is still to
be seen in the chambers above. It is prin-
cipally lighted by a large bay Avindow, and
contains a variety of portraits, amongst



which may be enumerated the Emperor
Charlee the Fifth: John Wihuot, the
profligate but witty Earl of Rochester;
Edward, first Earl of Sandwich, when a boy;
Archbishop Laud ; Anne Hyde ; and Sarah,
Duchess of Marlborough.

" Scarce e'er herself, by turns all -womaiikincl."

The dining-room is small, but is rendered
interesting by several valuable ]iortraits,
Charles tlie Second, and Queen Henrietta
Maria being amongst the principal.

In the velvet-room, so named from an
ancient bed, there is a singular Bacchana-
lian picture, well painted, but not remaikable
for delicacy. Here too are portraits of Anna
Maria Queen of Sj^ain, in a nun's habit, and
of Charles the Second, of Spain, while lie
was yet a boy.

Historically speaking, the most inter-
esting portraits are in the Library, where
may be seen two very curious pictures of
Cromwell's parents, the head of Oliver him-
self in an oval, and half-lengths of Prince
Rupert and Ireton. The latter is in a red
dress, with body armour, a sash over it, and
dashed sleeves ; his countenance is pecu-
liarly expressive and intelligent.

Hinchmgbrook House stands ou the
north-west side of a gentle eminence, com-
manding an extensive and pleasant pros-

About nine miles off is the line tower of
St. Neots' church ; and on the south of the
pleasure-ground is a high terrace overlook-
ing the road from Brampton to Huntingdon.

BCETHVEW CASTLE, Perthshire, the seat of
^Yilliam Smythe, Esq. In the year 970,
Rohard is said to have been Thane of Meth-
ven. The lauds were afterwards acquired by
the Norman family of Mowbray, but King
Robert the First, of Scotland, confiscating
them to his own use, bestowed Methven
upon his own son-in-law, Walter the Ste-
ward, whose son succeeded to the throne
as Robert the Second, and was ancestor
of the Stuart line of kings. By him the
Lordship of Methven was granted to bis
second son, Walter Stewart, Earl of Athol,
but again by forfeiture reverted to the
Crown. Upon the death of James the Fourth
of Scotland, it became the dowery-house and
residence of his widow, Margaret Tudor,
eldest daughter of Henry the Eighth. She
died here in 1540. In 1584 it was conferred
upon Ludovic, Duke of Lennox, from whose
famil}' it was purchased in 1664 by Patrick
Smythe of Braco, great-great-grandfather of
the present proprietor.

This neighbourhood is celebrated as having
been the spot where the battle of Methven
was fought in 1306 by Robert the Bruce
against the Earl of Pembroke, when the
Scottish chief was totally defeated.

Methven Castle is an excellent specimen of
the ancient baronial style. It stands upon a
bold and steep eminence, with an extensive
park and woods.

WENVOE CASTLE, near Cardiff, in tlie
county of Glamoi'gan, the seat of Robert
Francis Jenner, Esq., a Magistrate and
Deputy-lieutenant for the same, and High
Sheriff in 1828. Leland speaks of a castle of
this name,which even at the time of his visiting
Wales, had fallen into ruin. The more recent
building was erected in 1760, by Peter Birt,
Esq., the maternal grandfather of the gentle-
man now possessing the estate. It is a
stately castellated mansion in the modern
style of architecture, consisting of a centre
and two wings. The principal front, which
faces the south, is three hundred and seventy-
eight feet in extent, and four stories high.

Not far from the Castle, is a AVell, enclosed
by a wall, from Avhich issues a stream noted
for its petrifying qualities. It is called
Silly-Brook, a curious name, which it is
impossible to explain sati&factoi-ily, though
it would not be diflicult in antiquarian fashion
to imagine for it more than one plausible
etymology. The grounds are extensive, and
laid out witli much taste, every advantage
having been taken of the natural capabilities
of the place, which are of no mean order.
The estate is supposed to contain a great
quantity of lead, and the proprietor is about
to commence working a mine.

thumberland, the seat of William Dent, Esq.,
formerly a lieutenant in the navy, and now
in the commission of the peace for the same
county, having assumed his present surname,
in lieu of his patronymic Hedley, upon suc-
ceeding to the propert}' of his great uncle,
John Dent, Esq. of Shortllatt Tower.

In the list of border fortresses existingin the
beginning of the fifteenth century, Shortflatt
is called a fortalice, and was then the residence
of Robert Ramese, whose descendants con-
tinued here till the estate went to Roger,
third son of Sir William Fenwick of Wal-
lington, and ancestor of the Fenwicks of
By well, with whom it continued till 1690,
when it Avas sold by Sir Robert Fenwick,
Rut., under authority of an act of parlia-
ment to ]Mr. 'J'homas Ilayton ; and after-
wards resold by William Hayton, grocer and
citizen of London in three parts, when the
mansion house, tower, and estate of Short-
flatt were purchased by John Dent, Esq.,
father of Lieutenant-Colonel William Dent,
whose ancestors at one time resided at Byker.
The village on the T}me, called Dent's Hole,
had its name from a pool there in which ships
belonging to the family used to anchor.

The tower was built in the year 1380,



probably bj^ Sir Eoger de Bolam whose statue
is in the Shortflatt aisle of the diurch. The
more modern part belongs to the time of
Elizabeth. On the north side of the wood,
which encircles tlie tower and house, flows
a rivulet, and about half a mile beyond is
a small lake. This marshy situation, so
usual in those days upon the borders, was
chosen with a view to defence against
the Scotch marauders, who were thus com-
pelled to make a detour, which, as they
were tolerably sure to be seen from the
tower, allowed the inhabitants of the neigh-
bouring villages time to drive their cattle
into the Keep, and seek safety there for
themselves. The tower is a plain build-
ing with Gothic windows, and with solid
stone walls, six. feet thick, a sufficient defence
against the hasty attacks of freebooters, who
in the meantime were kept at a distance by the
pouring down of hot water, lime, and stones
from the turreted roof of the stronghold.

The mansion-house is built against tlie
towei", and is covered with grey freestone
slate. The approach to it is by a doorway
in a garden-wall, finely overhung with ivy.

HAWTHORNDEN, Laswade, in the county
of INTid-Lothian, about three miles to the
west of Dalkeith, the seat of Sir James
Walker Drummond, Bart., Avho belongs to a
younger branch of the noble family of Drum-
mond of Perth, descended from Maurice
Drummond, a native of Hungary.

Hawthornden is situated amongst some of
the most beautiful and romantic scenery in
all Scotland. It is a small fortalice, or cas-
tellated mansion, grafted as it wore upon a
high projecting rock which overhangs the
river of North Esk, about two miles below
Rosslin Castle. Like most of the old Scot-
tish mansions, it consists of a square vaulted
tower, with walls of great thickness, so as to
serve for a stronghold in case of civil insur-
rection, or invasion from aln-oad. Adjoining
to it were some additional buildings, also
constructed for defence, but which, like the
former, are now in ruins, though some part
of the latter had a habitable room within the
memory of those who were living only a few
years since. At present a sycamore tree of
considerable size is growing in the upper
story of this building. Grose, who wrote in
1789, says, "The gate of entrance, thougli
of more modern date than the tower, is pro-
bably older than the dwelling-house ; the
iron door was lately remaining ; and over the
gate are loop-holes answering to others at
the bottom of the tower. At what time,
or by whom this tower Avas built, is
im certain."

The buildings uoav inhabited, were partly
re-edified by William Drummond, the poet,
in 1G38, and partly by his son and successor,

Sir William Drummond, as appears from an
inscription ou a wall m the back court.
From the windows of this half-antique man-
sion, as well as from the neighbouring gai*-
dens, is a most beautiful and romantic
prospect, that almost seems to realize some
of the happiest descriptions of fairy land.
Close under the eye flows the river Esk, mur-
murs along through a deep rocky glen, the sides
of which are clothed with wood to the very
edge of the stream, that breaks here and
there against the large stones or projecting
rocks. These, too, assume a variety of pic-
turesque forms, and are tinged with all sorts
of colours, while occasionally bare spots
occur in the banks, and through them the
rocks contrast most delightfully with the
abundant foliage.

A yet more remarkable feature are two
ranges of caverns scooped out of the rock,
under and near the mansion, which, accord-
ing to popular tradition, have been the work
of the Picts. Maitland, however, in his his-
tory of Edinburgh, who says, truly enough,
that the vulgar in those parts ascribe to
tlie Picts all works of which they do not
know the origin ; indeed, we may add that
these Picts seem to play the same part in
Scotland with regard to all unowned caverns
that the Duergar do in Denmark and other
northern countries. The same writer goes
on to say — "These caves, instead of having
being a castle or a palace"— videlicet, the
King of Pictland's — " I take either to have
been a receptacle for robbers, or places to
secure the people and their effects in, during
the destructive wars between the Picts and
English, and Scots and English, which is in
some measure confirmed by a number of
works of the same kind on the English and
Scottish borders, and in the northern parts
of Scotland, to secure the people and their
eflects against the English and Danish

Whoever may have made them, the en-
trance into these caverns is in the side of a
perpendicular rock of great height above
the river, to which you descend by twenty-
seven high steps cut into the face of the
cliff. Then passmg along a board, about
five feet in length, and ten inches broad, you
mount the rock by eight steps and arrive at
the mouth of the cavern. IVithin the en-
trance, on the left-hand side, cut in the rock,
is a long narrow passage, reached by two
steps, seventy-five feet in length, and six
feet in breadth, vulgarly called the King's
Gallery, near the upper end of which— like-
M'ise cut in the rock — is a narrow dungeon,
denominated the King's Bed-chamber; and
on the right-hand side of these is another
cave, twenty-one feet long and six broad,
approached by a descent of two steps, de-
nominated the King's Guard Room.



It -was in these recesses that Sir Alexander
Ramsay, Avho performed such valiant ex-
ploits during the contest for the crown be-
tAveen Bruce and Baliol, used to conceal
himself. Here he was resorted to by the
young heroes of his day, most of whom con-
sidered it as a necessary part of their military
education to have belonged at some time to
his band. From this retreat it was his wont
to sally forth as occasion presented itself,
and attack the English then in possession of

Detached from the principal cave is a
smaller one — but of modern workmanship,
and no part of the imaginar}' palace — called
the Cypress Grove, where the celebrated
William Drummond is said to have composed
many of his works. We have an instance
of this in his essay on death, which he has
named after the cavern, The Cypress Grove,
unless, indeed, the essay gave, instead of re-
ceiving a name ; in either case the inference
is the same, that the work was composed there.

It was to this mansion that Ben Jonson
paid his celebrated visit, the cause of so much
after calumny upon tlie great poet, and the
cause of so much dissension amongst his
critics. For a long time it was said and be-
lieved, without the least grounds, that Rare
Ben went to Scotland for no otlier purpose
than to see Drummond, no very likely cir-
cumstance, considering the low opinion he
had of his host's jjoetry. Of this he says that
"it smelled too much of the schools;" and
that, inerehj to please the Idug, he wished he
had been the author of Forth Feasting. The
fact seems to be, that Jonson, who had many
noble friends in Scotland, whicli, in one
sense, might be considered his native country,
was seized with a very natural desire to pay
that land a visit. He was then in his foity-
fifth year, and resolved to walk the whole
way, both coming and going, a resolution l^y
which he probably did not lose much with
regard to speed, wliile at the same time he
had thus a better opportunity and more con-
venience for calling upon the several friends
that lay near to his intended route. After
having staid at Edinburgh for some time, his
last Scottisli visit was paid to Hawthornden ;
but though Drummond kept notes of the
convei'sations that passed between them,
these have, unfortunately, been lost or de-

Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 1) → online text (page 25 of 79)