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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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MERKYATE, or MARKYATE CELL, com-
monly called The Cell, Hertfordshu-e, the
seat of Daniel Goodson Adey, Esq. It
was originally built by Geoffry, one of the
Abbots of St. Albans, for a nunnery, as
might be inferred from the name which it
still retains ; but was converted into a
family mansion in the reign of Edward the
Sixth, the whole ground floor of the pre-
sent mansion and offices, and some
portions of the first floor being evidently
the work of an earlier age. About
17.54 a large portion of the building, in-
cluding tlie chapel, was burnt and Jiever
restored, but a small convenient chapel,
now standing, was erected in the park. In
1842 a second conflagration took place,
when a great portion of the interior of the
present house fell a prey to the flames ; but
this damage, uidike the former, was speedily
made good, the great thickness of the walls
having preserved the exterior from any
serious injury.

After the dissolution of Monasteries it fell
like other property of the same kind to the
Crown, and in the reign of Edward tlie
Sixth was granted to one of the family of
Ferrers. Fi-om them it came to the Cop-
pins, one of whose descendants sold it about
the year 1800, and thus it came to the pre-
sent owner, Daniel Goodson Adey, Esq., of
Gloucestershire.

The mansion is partly gothic, but princi-
pally of that style called Elizabethan, a
vague designation which seems to include a
variety of anomalies, for which it would be
difficult to find any other name. It stands
upon the south side of a hill, on a project-
ing knoll, with a brook running at its







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SEATS OP GREAT BRITAIN.



123



foot, being protected at the back from the
colfl winds by a large rookery. Close to it
is the park, from which it is separated* by
an ornamental wall and terrace. The ele-

picturesque, and
the high road about a



vation is exceedingly

shows well from

quarter of a mile across the park.



CROFT HOUSE, Ashton-under-Lyne, co.
Lancaster, the seat of John Ross Coulthart,
of Coulthart and Collyn, Esq., banker, Chief
of his name. This mansion was built in 1810,
by Samuel Heginbottom, Esq., who died
there without issue, 19th March, 1829 ; one
of Mr. Heginbottom's collateral descendants
being William Heginbottom, Esq., the present
Mayor of the borough of Ashton-under-Ljme.

At about 300 yards to the east of Croft
House, is the locally noted " Gallows Mea
dow," where the Asshetons of Ashton-under-
Lyne were accustomed to execute sum-
marily their disobedient vassals,

" '\^^len lords could hang thek serfs at once,
Nor give u reiisou v^hy,
And ladies loved that tournaj' most
AATiere most were doomed to die 1 "

In connection with these arbitrary capital
punishments originated the remarkable
local custom called " The Eiding of the
Black Lad," which is carefully celebrated
every Easter Monday in the presence of be-
tween twenty and thirty thousand specta-
tors, the immber having been greatly aug-
mented since the introduction of railway
conveyance. The ceremony consists in the
parading through tlie streets of tlie town ou
horseback the effigy of a man clad in black
armour, and at the conclusion of the parade
tearing the effigy to pieces at the old Mar-
ket Cross, and burning the fragments, amid
the execrations of tlie populace. Thougli
the origin of this very singular custom is
involved in impenetrable mystery, yet the
prevailing tradition is, that it took its rise
in tlie feudal era, wlien estates were not
lield by owners absolutely and independ-
ently, as at present, but as conditional loans
only, the absolute property, or dominhim di-
rectum, remaining in the grantor. Sir J'auf
de Assheton, one of the feudal lords of the
manor of Ashton- under-] ^yne, living in the
thirteenth century, is generally reputed to
have been the prototype of " The Black
Lad," and the man tliat earned for himself,
by appalling acts of tyranny and oppression
on his dependents, the unenviable notoriety
which still attaches to his execrated name.
'Another tradition ascribes the origin of the
custom to Thomas de Assheton, another
feudal proprietor, who heroically captured
the standard of the King of Scotland at
the battle of Neville Cross, 17th October,
134G, and, being proud of the achievement,



afterwards instituted amongst his tenantry
the annual procession of " The Eiding of the'
Black Lord," in commemoration of his
prowess on that occasion. The former tra-
dition, however, is the one commonly re-
ceived ; and the abhorrence universally as-
sociated with the name of Sir Ranf de
Assheton amongst the labouring classes of
this busy hive of human industry, is per-
petuated in the following metrical ejacula-
tion, which has descended with the custom
to the present day : —

" S-svoet Jesu, for thy mercy's sake,
Ajid for thy bitter passion,
Oh, save me from a burning stake,
And from Sir Rauf de Assheton."

Croft House is situated within the de-
mesne and borough of Ashton-under-Lyne,
on a piece of rising ground that gently
slopes to the banks of the Tame, which
river it finely overlooks, commanding pic-
turesque views of the beautifully romantic
township of Dukiufield, in the adjoining
county of Chester. It is in the Grecian
style of architecture, having a projecting
central compartment, flanked by wings on
the east and west. The front facade is
towards the south, and the principal en-
trance is decorated with a handsome ston.e
portico. The eastern, or dining-room front,
is pleasantly surrounded by shrubberies,
and a flower garden. This stately mansion
was built in 1810, by Samuel Heginbottom,
Esq., after designs by AVilliam Cowley,
Esq., architect, and in 18-46 Mr. Heginbot-
tom's executors sold the property to John
Ross Coulthart, of Coidthart and Collyn,
Esq., the present proprietor. The internal
apartments of Croft House are spacious, and
contain many choice pictures, rare speci-
mens of antiquity, and tasteful examples of
modern oak furniture. The library espe-
cially is worthy of notice, the walls being
finely panelled with oak, and the book-
cases, of the same material, containing about
7,000 volumes of rare, curious, and costly
works, v^dliL•h would greatly delight the
antiquary and bibliographer.

LONGPAEISH HOUSE, in the county of
Southampton, the seat of Peter HaAvker,
Esq., Lieutenant-Colonel of the North
Hants Militia, and Deputy-Lieutenant for
Hants. This gallant officer, upon _ being
severely wounded in one of the Peninsular
campaigns, retired to his seat in Hampshire,
and is well known to the world by Ms cele-
brated work on Sporting. The earliest part
of the building was erected about two hun-
dred years ago, at which time it was no-
thing more than a small sporting box, but in
fifty years afterwards considerable additions
to it Avere commenced by Governor Peter



124



SEATS OF GllEAT BRITAIN.



Hawker, and finished by his only eon Cap-
tain Hawker, upon his marriage with Miss
Ryves. Hitherto, the prospect around the
house had been much confined and ob-
structed ; but now fresh land was pur-
chased, and the river throAvn open to view,
vdth park-like meadows. Besides these im-
provements, the present Colonel Hawker,
in 1837, converted a dreary old common
into ornamental plantations, with a pond of
about five acres ; so that this once obscure
residence, with its ancient avenues and fine
old trees, is now, though not of large dimen-
sions, yet one of the prettiest seats upon the
river Test.

Longparish House has ever since its first
erection been occupied by members of the
present family, if we except two short
intervals. It was once tenanted for a sliort
time by the Marquess of Winchester, whose
eldest son, the father of the present jSIar-
quess, was born there. Upon another occa-
sion it was inhabited by Thomas Maitland,
Esq., whose son, Genei'al Sir Peregrine
Maitland, was also born there. This was
when Colonel Peter Ryves Hawker resided
in London, at the time he commanded tlie
first troop of Horse Guards, now called the
Life Guards.

STOKE EOCHFORD, Lincolnshire, the scat
of Christopher Turnoi', Esq., M.P. for South
Lincolnshire, a descendant of the celebrated
loyalist Sir Edmund Turnor, and son of the
eminent antiquary of the same name, who
composed a history of Grantham.

In 1794 a house was here built out of the
materials belonging to a yet older niansion-
liouse, erected by Sir Edmund Turnor, about
the middle of the seventeenth century. In
1845 the present structure was raised by the
gentleman now owning the property. It is
of the Elizabethan style of architecture, and
stands in a picturesque park, containing a
very fine spring, that throws out one and
twenty tons in a minute. Like the great
spfing at Holywell, in Flintshire, it comes
out of limestone, and never freezes.

At a very early period this manor be-
longed to the Rochfords, who took their
name from a town in Essex, of which they
were enfeoffed soon after the Conquest.

In 1477, .Joan, daughter and heir of Henry
Rochford, Esq., married Henry Stanliope,
Esq., and had issue Edmund Stanhope, who
left an only daughter, JMargarot, the wife of
Thomas Skettington, of Skeffington, in the
county of Leicester, Esq., after whose death
the manor devolved on iiis four daughters
and coheirs. In 1G2G a moiety was pur-
chased by Sir Thomas Ellys, and resold to
John Fountain, Esq., and Henry Healc,
in 1635. In two years afterwards Sir
John Harrison purchased this moiety, and
soon afterwards the remaining shares,



all which he gave to his daughter Marga-
ret previous to her marriage with Edmund
Turnor, Esq., in 1653.

In tlie neighbourhood of Stoke Rochford
is the little village of Woolsthorpe, where
Sir Isaac Newton was born, Avho succeeded
to the manor and estates. These after his
death were sold to Edmund Turnor, of Stoke
Rochford.

NORTON HOUSE, near Stockton on Tees,
in the county of Durham, the seat of John
Hogg, Esq., M.A., F.R.S., F.L.S., and barris-
ter at law. This mansion was built in 1794, by
the late .John Hogg, Esq. It is a liandsome
brick edifice, wirli a stone basement and
stone cornices. The gardens are very good ;
and as they are sheltered from the prevailing
winds, and especially considering the vicinity
of the bleak N.E. coast, many of the more
delicate and southern plants flourish in the
open borders. The fields behind tlie house
are picturesque, the ground having a varied
character and being well-wooded, particularly
with ash trees, which are of large size and
abundant. Sloping to the south they present
several views of the Billingliam meadows,
the course of the river Tees, the towns of
Middlesbrough and Stockton, and a lovely
outlme of the distant Cleveland hills, A
hilly field, immediately east of the planta-
tion is remarkable for the quantity of bones
that have been dug, or ploughed up from
time to time, so much so, that the women
whilst weeding in tlie field, liave collected
them, and sold them at the neighbouring
water-mill, where machinery is at work in
crusliing bones for manure. The field is
called N'ldton^ or Newton Heads, a name
most proliably derived from the skulls or
heads of men found there not unfrequently.
At no time has anything appeared to denote
that these remains had been interred in
coflins, or after any regular jjlan of sepulture,
nor does there seem the least probability of
the spot having ever been the site of a
burial-ground attached either to church or
monastery. Mr. .J. Hogg, in endeavouring to
account for these reliques, examines the
three following accounts which have been
given to us in various local histoiies : —
First : — -Hutchinson in his History of Dur-
ham, says, " Billingham is memorable for a
great battle fouglit there by Ardulph, King of
Northumberland " And the same is related
by a later author — (Brewster, in his History
of Stockton), more fully, thus : — " xV civil war
broke out in the Kingdom of Northumber-
land, when the malcontents assassinated
Ethelred, tlie King, at Corbridge, a.d. 795.
Wada was chief of the conspirators, and was
attacked by Archilph, who after a short
interval had succeeded Etlielred (about
A.D. 800), and a pitched battle Avas fought
near Billingham, wliich is represented to



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



125



have been attended with a very great
slaughter."

Second : — In one of the h-ruptions of the
Danes, about a.d. 910, a king, called
Reingwald, landed a great force on the coast
of Northumberland, and expelled or murdered
several of the principal inhabitants ; and one
of his generals, called Scula, laid waste the
country from Eden Dene to Billingham.

Third : — In the tenth century, between
A.D. 920 and 925, Edward the Elder reduced
the Danes throughout Northumbria.

Those who are curious for a farther investi-
gation of this subject will find an interesting
- article in regard to it in the Report of
the eighteenth meeting of the British Asso-
ciation, p. 95. Report 1848. Transactions
of the Sections. — In the meanwhile Ave may
observe, that there seems no reason why all
causes should not have combined to produce
the results m question.

LOXLEYPAEK, co. Stafford, the seat of
C. T. Sneyd Kynnersley, Esq., a minor.
Tlie old house, which was of brick, with
pilasters, balustrade, and pediment of stone,
a)id parts of wliich were of very great anti-
quity, was nearly rebuilt by the late excel-
lent and respected proprietor, Tliomas Sneyd
Kynnersley, Esq., about tlie year 1817 ; be-
fore the revival of the taste for " old En-
glish" house architecture, and when the
Style of the exterior was less considered
than substantial comfort within. It has now
the character of a plain modern stone man-
sion, with low pitched roof and portico. The
curious and venerable entrance hall however
was retained unaltered. It is large and
loft)^, and wainscoted with oak. At the
north end is a gallery supported on fluted
columns — at the south a spacious open fire-
place, with richly carved pillars, and frieze.
It appears from the date on the Avainscot
to have been executed in 1607. In panels
on the walls are portraits of the apostles and
evangelists, and on tlie cornice, and also
over the fireplace are the arms of the nobility
of the kingdom, and the gentry of the
county, together with a table of the descent,
with the armorial bearings of James I. and
his sons, Henry Prince of Wales, and Charles
Duke of York, (Charles I.) from Edward
II.

Above the wainscot are several family
portraits. One, a fall-length of Thomas
Kiunersley, who was Sheriff of Staffordshire
and Shropshire, in the seventeenth century,
and whom an inscription at the back records
to have been a great pedestrian. Tradition
asserts that he frequently walked from
Badger, his estate in Shropshii-e, to Loxley,
between breakfast and dinner. Certainly
he would appear, from the portrait, to have



possessed length and strength of limb suffi-
cient for any amount of bodily exercise.

In addition to these
((

The good old hall is himg about Avith pikes and guns
and bows,
Aud swords and good old bucklers that have borne some
good old blows,

and never was there a more worthy represen-
tative of the " good old English gentleman,
all of the olden time," in kindness to old
and young, rich and poor, and genuine, un-
ostentatious, ungrudging hospitality, than he
whom we haA'e above commemorated as
the second founder of the house.

He succeeded to the estate on the death of
his uncle, Clement Kynnersley, Esq., in 1815,
and between that year and the year of his
own death, 1844, ho spent large sums in
rebuilding and improving farm-houses and
cottages, draining tlie cold clay land, and
planting numerous woods and coppices, in
the pruning and care of which he took great
delight, and possessed much skill and expe-
rience. The house staiids on an eminence,
and looks over the park, and a well-timbered
and pictiQ'esque country.

Loxley has been in the same name and
family since the reign of Edward II. in the
early part of which John de Kynnardsley
(a nephew of John de Kynnardsley, secre-
tary to the patriot Thomas of Lancaster,
and in immediate descent from KynnardrJcy,
of Kynnardsley in Herefordshire, at the
time of the Norman Conquest), became
possessed of it by marriage with Johanna,
daughter and heiress of Thomas de Ferrers,
of Loxley. It appears to have been part of
the possessions of Ferrers, of Tutbury, and
to have been granted to the English founder
of that" family, Henry de Ferrers, by the
Conqueror. Thomas de Ferrers was grand-
son of Robert de Ferrers, of Loxley, fourth
son of William, Earl Ferrers, Nottingham
and Derby, by Agnes, his wife, sister and
heir of Ranulph de Meschines, Earl of
Chester. The estate therefore can hardly
be said to have changed hands from the time
of the Conquest to the present day. There
is a perfect chain of evidence, shown by deeds
and family settlements at Loxley, from the
time of Henry the Third downward. Many
of the most ancient are very small strips of
parchment with seals attached, being feoff-
ments of laud m and about Loxley, to Thomas
de Ferrers, and John and William de Kyn-
nardsley. Several of the parcels of land
described in tliem are still recognizable by
name. Others cannot be traced. It is a
singular, and, unhappily, a significant fact
that while many lands are described as lying
"juxta Ecclesiam de Lockesle," "juxta Cru-
cem," and "juxta furcam," all tradition of
even the locality of Church aiid Cross should
have passed away, but that the name of the



126



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



"Gallows tree field" should be still pre-
served.

DINEVOR CASTLE, Carmarthenshire, the
seat of George Talbot Rice de Cardonnel,
Lord Dynevor, Lord-lieutenant of the county,
and custos rotulorum, as well as Colonel of
the Carmarthenshire Militia. The ancient Cas-
tle of Dinas-Fawr, as it was called, and which
was the habitation of the Princes of South
Wales, stands upon a bold and woody emi-
nence overlooking the river Towe}', while in
the valley beneath, at about a mile distance,
is situated the more modern mansion which
has succeeded to the name of Dynevor Castle.
The beautiful scenery around has been well
described by Dyer in his poem of Grongar
Hill, so well, indeed, and graphically as to
make any prose account of the same land-
scape seem tame and vapid after it :

" Below me trees unnumber'd rise,
Beautiful in various dyes ;
The gloomy pine, the poplar blue,
The yeUow beech, the sable yew,
The slender fir that taper grows,
The sturdy oak with broad spread boughs.
And beyond, the purple grove,
Haunt of Phyllis, queen of love ;
Gawdy as the opening dawn,
Lies a long and level lawn,
On wMch a dark liill, steep and high,
Holds and charms the wandering eye.
Deep are his feet on Towj-'s flood,
His sides are clothed with waving wood.
And ancient towers crown his brow
That cast an awful look below,
"Wliose rugged walls the ivy creeps,
And with her arms from falling keeps ;
So both a safety from tlie vrmd
In mutual dependence find.
'Tis now the raven's bleak abode,
'Tis now the apartment of the toad,
And there the fox securely feeds,
And there the poisonous adder breeds
Concealed in ruins, moss, and weeds ;
While ever and anon there falls
Huge heaps of lioary, mouldered walls.

And see the rivers how they nui,
Through woods and meads, in shade and sun.
Sometimes SAvift, and sometimes slow,
A\'ave succeeding Mave they go,
A various journey to the deep.
Like human life to endless sleep."

It is in the woods of Dynevor that Spenser
also has placed his imaginary cave of Merlin,
and decorated the scene after his own Avon-
derful fashion. There is something so vivid
in his description, and so truly applicable to
the spot in question, that we are tempted to
borrow from fiction the colours of reality :

"To Maridunan, that is now by chaunge

Of name Cayr-Mcrdin cald they tooke their way ;

There the wise Merlin whylome wont (they say)
To make his wonne low underneath the groimd.

In a deep delve, farre from the veu of day
That of no living wight he mote be found,
Whence he counsell'd with his sprights cucompest round.
And if thou ever happen that same way

To travell, go to see that dreatlful lAace j
It is an hideous hollow cave, they say,

Under a rock that lies a little space

From the swift Tyri, tombling do^ni apace
Emongst the woody hilles of D\nienowr'e ;

But dare thou not, I charge, "in any cace
To enter into that same balefel bowre,
For fear the cruel fecudcs should thee imawares devowre.



But standing high aloft low lay thine eare.

And there sucli ghastly noyse of yron chaines
And brasen caudrons thou shalt rombling heare,

'S^^lich thousand sprights with long enduring paines.
Doe tosse tliat it vriW stomi thy feeble braines ;

And oftentunes great grone's and grievous stownds
When too huge toile and labour them constraincs ;

And ofentimes loud strokes andringmg sowndes
From under that deepe rock most horribly rebo-mides."



The first castle was built upon this spot
by Roderic the Great, and by him bequeathed
to his son, Cadell ; but it is no longer pos-
sible to say with whom the fortress orginated,
of which we now see the remains. These
ruins comprise an open area about one
himdred and five feet long by ninety feet
wide, whicli was enclosed by walls of great
thickness. It would seem also that origin-
ally there were strong towers at each of the
angles. Two of these are yet in existence —
a square one upon the north-east, and a large
round tower immediately above a tremen-
dous precipice on the south-east. In the
latter was an apartment kept for visitors,
till a few years ago it was destroyed by fire.

The successors of Cadell removed the seat
of government to Carmarthen, and there it
long continued to be till the progress of the
English arms and the settlement of the
Anglo-Norman invaders along the coast
compelled them to return to Dynevor, where
the castle was repaired or rebuilt. It was
one of the last places lield by the descend-
ants of the great Roderic.

Henry the Seventh granted the Dj-nevor
estates to Sir Rhys ap Tliomas Fitz Uryan
for his services in the bloody field of Bos-
worth, and he was afterwards made a knight
companion of the garter, upon which Fuller
observes in his quaint fashion, " AVell miglit
Henry give him a garter, by Avhose effectual
help he had recovered a crown." His
grandson, Rice ap Griffith Fitz Uryan, Esq.,
becoming suspected of a design to assert
the independence of the principality and
separate it from the English Government,
lie was arraigned for high treason, found
guilty and beheaded. On the accession of
JNlary, his only son, Grifiith, had his blood
restored, and got back a portion of the
estates. At a yet later period King Charles
the First relinquished to Henry Rice, Esq.,
all that part of the property which still re-
mained in the hands of tlie Crown ; but even
tlien the Avliole formed but a small fragment
of the original family possessions.

The barony of Dynevor was at an early
period granted to William, the first Earl
Talbot. He married Mary, daughter and heir
of Adam de Cardonnel, and their daughter,
Cecil, became the wife of George Rice, Esq.,
the descendant of Sir Rhys ap Thomas.
Upon the death of the first Lord Dynevor,
in 1782, his daughter became Baroness Dyn-
evor, and, by tlie will of the late Counfes.'',
took the name and arras of De Cardoncl, in



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



127



1787. Her ladyship died on tlic 14th of
March, 1793, and was succeeded by her
eldest son, George Talbot Rice Baron
Dynevor.

The modern mansion of Lord Dynevor is
a large quadrangular structure, approached
through an avenue of noble oaks and chest-
nuts tliat extends to a considerable distance.
Amongst many objects of interest to be
found in it are tM-o curiously decorated
chairs, which are said to have been used by
Sir Rhys ap Thomas, and are good speci-
mens of the furniture peculiar to the Tudor
era. From the castle may be seen Grongar
Hill, Dryslyn Castle, Middleton Hall, and
Golden Grove.

Nothing can .be more happily situated
than the park, for the mountains in the
neighbourhood cross the country at right
angles, and bound three vales, each possess-
ing a clistinct character of its own. It ex-
tends up to the town itself, and contains
within its limits the ruins already mentioned,
the chief features of wliich are a massive
keep, an apartment called the Ladies' Dress-
ing Room, and a siibterranean passage.

NESTON PARK, Wiltshire, the seat of John



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