Bernard Burke.

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

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of uncommon beauty.

In 1850, St. Clare was honoured Avith a
visit by the Queen and Prince Albert, ac-
companied by three of tlieir children, on
the occasion of the bazaar being held for the
Royal Isle of ^Vight Iniirmary.

IRIDGE PLACE, Hurst Green, in the county
of Sussex, the seat of Sir Sotherton Bran-
thwayt I'eckham Jilickletliwait, Bart., some
time a Captain in the 3rd Dragoon Guards,
who was created a baronet, 27th July, 1838,
for a personal service to lier Jlajesty and
the Ducliess of Kent, at St. Leonard's, in
1832. Iridge Place is a mansion of considera-
ble antiquity. At one time it belonged to
the family of Willigos, from whom it de-
scended, with the estate, about tlie com-
mencement of the seventeenth century, by
marriage, to the Fowles, and, in consequencQ
of one of that name marrying a Peckliam,
descended from tlie family of the Archbishop
of Cantcrbiuy, tlius came into the posses-
sion of the Peckhams ; the last heir male
of whom William Peckliam, died in tlie year
1789; the estate being tlien bequeathed by
him to his nephew, John Micklcthwait,



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Esq., the son of his sister, Elizabeth
Peckham, and he, the said John Mickle-
thwait, bestowed it on his brother's second
son, the present possessor, "who, in 1824,
assumed, by sign manual, the surname of
Peckham, in addition to, and before that of,
Micklethwait, and the arms of Peckham,
quarterly', with his paternal coat.

Iridge Place, in the parish of Salehurst,
seven miles from Battel, stands on a spacious
la■\^^l, ' with fine spreading trees, and
commands a view of Kent, with extensive
woods and pasture lands. The ground is
beautifully undulating, and exceedingly pic-
turesque. Silverhill, part of the estate, is
celebrated for the extent and beaut)'- of its
prospect over the Wealds of Kent and Sus-
sex, and, as tradition saj's, owes its name to
the circumstance of "William the Conqueror's
horse having cast there one of his shoes,
■which were of silver.

WESTOVER, Isle of Wight, contiguous to
the little village of Calbourne, the seat of
the Hon. W. H. A'Court Holmes. It formerly
had the same name as the village, being
called Calbourne — that is, the cold hrooh, —
and as such it appears in Domesday Book,
when it was possessed by AVilliam Fitz-
Stur. At a later period we find it held by
a younger branch of the Lisles, known as
Lisle of Gatcombe, and next by the family
of Bremshot, from whom it came to Sir
Geoffrey Pole, By the widow of the latter
it was sold to Earnley and Earlsmar, the
last of whom disposed of it to Sir Jiobert
Dillington. A descendant of his parted
with it to the fother of Captain D'Urry,
Avhose son sold it to Lord Holmes.

The house stands upon a gentle eminence
commanding some very fine prospects over
all the north-west part of the island. It is,
however, sheltered to the east and iiorth,
particularly the latter, by large masses of
trees. On the former side the wood is just
sutSciently removed not to produce a gloomy
effect, commencing in the A'alley of a small
stream, and extending along the opposite
upland with a very rich and picturesque
effect. The view is bounded by a near range
of downs, after passing over a beautiful
intermixture of undulating lawns and plea-

The house does not possess any remark-
able architectural features, having probably
been intended at first for little more than
a hunting lodge, though provided internally
with every convenience. TJie south front
is ornamented with a Doric colonnade in
the centre, with verandahs above and on
each side of it, which add not a little to its
general effect, especially when seen at a
distance, gleaming and glancing from out
the masses of green foliage.

WOODHALL PARK, Hertfordshire, in the
Hundred of BroadAvater, the seat of Abel
Smith, Esq. The mansion, which formerly
stood here, and which belonged to the
ancient family of the Botelers, was called
Watton Woodhall, from the name of the
manor ; the additional appellation of Wood-
hall being derived from the great abundance
of wood around it. Sir Henry Chauncy,
knight, and seijeant-at-law, describes the
old house as "a large pile of bricks, with a
fair quadrangle in the middle of it, seated
upon a dry hill in a pleasant park, well
Avooded and greatly timbered, where divers
crystal springs issue out of the ground at
some distance before the house, which run
on the south side hereof to tlie Bcane. They
do greatly adorn the seat ; and the park, and
the liills, the timber trees and these waters
1 ender this place so very pleasant and de-
licious to the eye, that it is accounted one
of the best seats in this county." This
quaint and graphic, though not very elegant
description, is evidently not exaggerated;
for another historian tells us of one tree so
large that it required eighteen horses "to
draAv one part of it when slit, and out of it
was made the cutwater to the Royal Sove-
reign. It sold for forty pounds." A second
tree, in the same park, called the Wcdlcing-
sdck, might have been sold for fifty guineas,
but this offer Avas refused. Unfortunately
it was brought to a premature decay by the
rabbits burrowing under it.

The house, described by Sir Henry
Chauncy, took fire accidentally upon tlie
l'2th of October, 1771, when it was more
than half consumed by the flames, at the
time of its being possessed by Sir Thomas
Eumbold, Bart., who had purchased it of
the Botelers. Thereupon he caused the
remainder to be pulled cloAvn, and built upon
the same site a handsome modern edifice, of
a quadrangular form, to which, Avings of the
same shape were afterAvards added by Paul
Benfield — the next purchaser of the estate —
in 1794. The Avhole uoav forms a large
mansion, of the plain English style of archi-

Sir Thomas dying in 1791, the property
was sold b}'' the trustees under his will,
three 3''ears afterAvards, to Paul Benfield,
Esq. In 1801 it was again sold, pursuant to
an order of His JNIajesty's Exchequer, when
it Avas purchased by Samuel Smith, Esq., the
father of the present owner, who was elected
in 1788 to serve in Parliament for the borough
of St. German's, Cornwall; in 1790, and in
the five succeeding Parliaments for Leices-
ter; and in 1818 for Midhurst, in Sussex.

WHITTON PARK, in the county of Middle-
sex, tlie seat of Mrs. Gostling, relict of the
lute Augustus Gostling, Esq., LL,D. The



house was begun by Archibald, tliirtl Duke
of Argyle, as an occasional rural retreat
from the metropolis ; but was completed by
George Gostling, Esq. It stands upon the
borders of Hounslow Heath and near the
village of Wliitton.

The house is adorned witli a colonnade ;
the elevation linishes with a pedhnent, on
the tymphanum of which is a bas relief re-
presenting the destruction of the Titans by
Jupiter (mentioned in the life of Nollekens).
The rooms contain some finely sculptnred
marble mantel pieces, and pictures by Zuc-
charelli, tSneyder, Wouvermann, Teniers,
Andrea del Sarti, Gainsborough, Sir Jo.shua
Reynolds, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and De
Witt. In the library is a choice collection
of books consisting of twenty tliousand
volumes, many of them extremely valuable.

The grounds still retain a considerable
portion of their early magnificence as laid
out by the Duke of Argyle. In them is a
tower built uj^on an arch from wliich there
is an extensive view, while about an artifi-
cial lake fifty cedars arc growing, said to be
the finest in the kingdom. Scarcely less
i)iteresting is the Lombardy Poplar, one
hundred and twenty feet in height, and in
girth twenty-five feet. The immediate
grounds are enclosed on three sides by a
moat, which was dug in the Duke of Argyle's

For the entry to Whitton is an inscrip-
tion attributed to Pope, who is supposed to
have Avritten it in 1731, when he was forty-
four years of age.

In this small spot whole Paradise you'll see
AVith all its iiUuits but the l-'oibiddeu Tree,
Here every sort of animal you'll find
Both of the forest and the feathered kind;
All sorts of insects for their shelter take
Witliiii these happy groves except the snake.
In fine, there's nothing noxious lierc cnclos'd,
But all is peace, as Heaven at fiist disposed.

HAGLEY, CO. AVorcestcr. This ancient
Manor, the classic ground of poetry and
wit, the theme of Thompson, and the home
of the Lytteltons, is one of the most attrac-
tive of our county seats. Here ait and
nature seem to go, hand in hand, in friendly
rivalry, and here all the charms that natural
beauty and landscape gardening can impart,
combine to please the eye and delight the
mind. How truly and how exquisitely
does Thomson picture Ilagley. He Avas
the friend of its honoured lord, and many
and many a time did he wander, with poetic
inspiration, through its verdant groves.

Courting the I\ruse, thro' Ilaslcy Tark vou stray,
The British Tempe! There aloiig the Dale,
AVith woods o'eruuiig, and shag'd with mossy rocks,
AVhence on each hand the gushing -.vaters play,
And down the rough cascade vrhite-dasliing fall,
Or gleam in h ngtnou'd vista Uno' tlic trees,
You silcut 3tcal j or sit beneath the shade

Of solemn oaks, that tuft the swelling mounts
Thrown graceful round by nature's careless hand,
And pensive listen to the various voice
Of rural peace : the herds, the flocks, the birds,
'J'he hollow whispering breeze, tlie plaint of riUs
That, purling down amid the twisted roots
AAHiich creep around, tlicir dewy murmurs shake

On the sootli'd ear

Meantime you gam the height, from whose fair brow

The bursting prospect spreads immense around ;

And snatched o'er liill and dale and wood and lawn,

And verdant held, and darkening heath betw een,

And villages embosomed soft In trees,

And spiry towns by dusky columns mark'd

Of rising smoke, your eye excursive roams ■

Wide-stretching from tl{e hall, in whoso kind haunt

The hospitable genius luirbours still.

To where the broken landscape, by degrees,

Ascending, ]-oughens Luto ridgy lii'Us ;

O'er wiiicli the Cambrian mountains, like far clouds

That skirt the blue horizon, doubtful, rise.

In Domesday book, Ilagley, Avritten
Hageleia, and derived from the Saxon Haga,
clomus, and Lega, locus, indicative of its being
the chief residence or manor-jilace of a
great Saxon Thane, is recorded as one of
the fourteen lordships which William Fitz-
Ansculph possessed in Worcestershire,
Spectans Baroniuin ch Dudley. Before the
Conquest, Godirc, a Thane of Edward the
Confessor, held it, and the annual value at
that period was stated to be sixty shillings.
Fitz-Ansculph died without male issue, and
the Paganels and Somerys, successive Barons
of Dudley, became lords paramount of
Ilagley. Under them and subsequently
under the great Baronial House of Botetouit,
a family, bearing the local designation of de
Ilaggale, enjoyed the lands, and lor a series
of generations maintained a distinguished
position among the gentlemen of the shire.
From them the manor passed by sale, a. d.
1411, to Thomas AA'alwyn, Esq., M.P. for
Herefordshire (ancestor of the Walwyns of
Longworth), who, very soon after the pur-
chase, alienated it to Jane Beauchamp, Lady
Bergavenny, and her ladyship devised it to
her grandson. Sir James Butler, Knt., son
and heir of the Earl of Ormonde. Tlie
wars of the Hoses breaking out Avitliin a
brief period, Sir James Butler, created Earl
of Wiltshire, by Henry VI., participated in
the misfortunes of the Koyal House of Lan-
cester, was taken prisoner at Towton Field,
and beheaded at Newcastle ; all his lands
being confiscated, and disposed of among
tlie Yorkists. The manor of Hagley, Edward
ly., by letters patent, granted innnediately
afterto Fulk Stalford, Esq., but atthat gentle-
man's decease in the following year, it re-
verted to the crown, with the exception of
that part which Margaret his widow held in
dower ; whereupon the king conferred the
property on Thomas Front, Esq., who occurs
as lord of the manor in 1465. At this period
the succession of proprietors seems to have
been very rapid ; for in 1473, a grant occurs
of Hagley, togetlier with Cradley, to the
royal consort Elizabeth VvidviHe, and in

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1478, both these lordships were assigned
to the Abbot and Convent of Westminster,
for the maintenance of a charity in St.
Erasnms's Cliapel adjoining to the Abbey
Chnrch ; with an appointment of two " monks
to celebrate daily masses tlierein, for the souls
of the said king and queen after their decase;
and the convent to erect a hearse in the said
chapel, with wax candles of six pounds each,
constantly burning therein." The pious breth-
ren, however, held brief possession. Thomas
Butler, the Earl of Wiltshu e's brother, win-
ning the king's favour, procured a restora-
tion of Hagley, together with other forfeited
lands and manors of the deceased earl.
What compensation the church of West-
minster received does not appear; but,
doubtless, m those days of religious obser-
vances, the convent had ample satisfaction.
In the sequel, Thomas Butler succeeded to
the Earldom of Ormonde, and in his lord-
ship's undisturbed possession Ilagley re-
mained until a great contest arose respecting
it Ijetween the earl on the one part, and Sir
Henry Willoughby, Sir Thomas Ferrers, and
Sir John Aston, on the other. Mucli litiga-
tion ensued, but the dispute was finally ad-
justed by an award made 10 Henry VH.,
by which tlie several manors in question
were confirmed to Ormonde, on his paying
£800 to the other claimants. Not long
after, in 1495, this nobleman was summoned
to the English Parliament as Baron Roch-
ford. He died in 1515, leaving by Anne,
his wife, daughter and sole heir of Sir Ri-
chard Ilankford, Knt., two daughters, Mar-
garet, wife of Sir Wihiam Bolejai, of Blick-
ling, Norfolk, (grandfather by her of Anna
Buleyn, King Henry's ill-fated consort,) and
Anne, wife of Sir James St. Leger, of An-
iiery, in Devon. Tlie latter, on the partition
of her father's lands, took for her share the
lordship and advowson of llagiey, and these
descended, in course of time, to her grand-
son, Sir John St. Leger, by who]n tliey were
sold in 1564 to Sir John Lyttelton, Knt., of
Frankley. Thus Hagley became associated
with the distinguished race in Avhose de-
scendant it still vests, and thenceforward, in
coimection with the genius, wit, and emi-
nence of its subsequent lords, and their
noble patronage of literary merit, it has
gained a classic name- -far more lasting, and
far more brilliant than could have Ijeen de
rived from the warlike pursuits of its early
feudal chiefs, whose remains, " unhonoured
and unsung," repose in the neighbouring
churchyard. Sir John Lyttelton, the pur-
chaser of Hagley, was granted by Queen
Mary, the office of Constable of Dudley
Castle, and receiA'ed from Queen Elizabeth
the honour of knighthood at Kenilworth,
when her Majesty visited the Earl of
Leicester there. His grandson, John Lyt-

telton, Esq., appears to have resided con-
stantly in Worcestershire, and to have sat
in Parliament as knight of that shire. Sub-
sequently, participating in the ill-advised
conspiracy of Essex, he lost his estate, and
died in p]-ison ; but his widow, Muriel,
daughter of Sir Thomas Bromley, a lady of
incomparable prudence, obtained, upon the
accession of James L, a reversal of the at-
tainder, and a restoration of the lands of
Hagley. For the next three generations,
the chiefs of the house of Lyttelton acted a
prominent part in the cause of royalty, and
suffered in consequence imprisonment and
confiscation. The fidelity of the family
seems to have been fully appreciated by the
king, as we learn from the following letter,
addressed to Sir Henry Lyttelton, in the
exiled monarch's own hand, a short time be-
fore his restoration : —

"To Sir Henry Lyttelton, — I am welll informed how
much nnd how often you have suffered for me, and how
much I beholding to all your relations ; and you nlay
ho very sure I have the sense of it I ought to have, of
wliich you shall one day have evidence : in the meantime,
cherish your health and prepare for better times, which
vre sliali enjoy together. Commend me to all your
friends, and be confident you shall always find me to"be,
" Vour affectionate fi'iend,

" Chakles R."

The present mansion of Hagley was
erected by George, first Lord Lyttelton, the
distinguished poet and historian, and still
remains an elegant memorial of his architec ■
tural taste. His lordsliijj also improved the
surrounding demesne (which appears, from
an old rental in Sir John Botetourt's time, to
have been a park as early as tlie reign of
Edward IIL), and thus rendered the seat of
the Lytteltons the most beautiful in the
county of Worcester. The care of the sub-
sequent proprietors has never alloAved its
attractions to decrease, and the whole is kept
in such order, that there is perhaps scarcely
a shade of difference since its Augustan
days. A short distance from the house, an
octagon temple, to the memory of Thomson,
the poet, records the affectionate regard in
wliich the bard was held by the noble
founder of these sylvan scenes ; and a Doric
temple, with the inscription " Quieti et
Mttsis," still further attests the poetic taste
of the Lytteltons. The Ruined Tower, a
masterly deception, stands on the highest
ground in the park, and commands an exten-
sive prospect bounded by the Clent and
Malvern Hills, the black mountains of Wales,
the Wrekm, and the Radnor TruuTp. ^

Thomas, the second Lord l^yftelton,
formed a sad contrast to his distinguished
father. " With great abilities, generally
very ill applied ; Avith a strong sense of re-
ligion, which he never suffered to influence
his conduct, his da3'S were mostly passed in
splendid misery, and in the painful change of



tlie most extravagant gaiety and the deepest
despair. Tlie delight, when he pleased, of the
first and most select societies, he chose to
pass his time for the part witli the
most profligate and abandoned of both sexes.
Solitude was to him the most insupportable
torment, and to banish reflection he flew to
company whom he despised and ridiculed."
He closed his unhappy life Nov. 27, 1779.

Two volumes of " Letters," published in
1780 and 1782, though attributed to him,
are known to have been the production of
another writer ; and a quarto volume of
"Poems," published in 1780, was, as well as
the " Letters," publicly disowned by his

In connection 'vN'ith his lordship, we can-
not omit referring to circumstances too pub-
licly known to require any delicacy of
concealment, which, in fact, are not drawn
behind the veil of secrecy by remaining rela-
tives ; for Mr. Warner, in his tour, observes,
that the gliost stonj respecting the late pos-
sessor of Hagley, is actually believed by
some of the family, so far as regards the
reality of the supernatural appearance to his
lordship, as a very near relative of bus had a
painting drawn of the occurrence, in which
he is represented in bed, at the foot of
which stands a small female figure, bearing
upon her finger a little bird, wliilst several
spiiits of a different nature are hovering
round his head: such being the vision, ac-
cording to the account of his valet, that liad
notitied to him his death at a particular
hour. To this he adds a story, whicli though
simple in details, may not prove iniiutercst-
ing: — he observes that amidst all those
coruscations of wit and ilashes of merriment
which incessantly emanated from the young,
gay, and dissipated, though actually not uu-
amiable nobleman, his heart was wrung
with everlasting care, and his soul harrowerl
by superstitious alarms, of the truth of which
he adduces the following instance :~

A very few months before he died, he

made a visit to the seat of Lord , an

old friend and neighbour. The mansion was
then old and gloomy, and well calculated to
affect an imagination that could easily be
acted iq^on; the spirits of his lordsiiip ap-
peared to be agitated on entrance, but after
a time his accustomed hilarity returned —
the magic of his tongue enraptured the circle,
and all apparentl}'' was festivity and delight.
As the night waxed and the hour of repose
approached, his lordship's power of conversa-
tion became still more extraordinary; the
company were riveted to their cliairs, and,
as often as the clock admonished thera to
depart, so often did he prevail upon them to
forget the admonition, by a fresh stock of
anecdote or a new chain of witticisms. At
length-, however, tlie party broke up, and

retired to their rooms, wdierc after a shol't

time Lord Avas surprised by the hasty

intrusion uf his friend Lord Lyttelton, who,
with a countenance of horror and consterna-
tion, requested that lie might be allowed to
sleep in the same room with him, as he had
been frightened by the creaking of the floors
when he first entered tlie house, and was not
alile to conquer the alarm which the noise
had excited in his mind- From this it may
be easily conceived that the so-much-talked-
of A'ision Avas nothing more than a dream
working upon a disturbed imagination, par-
ticularly if it be true that on the night of his
death, one of his part}^ of friends, consider-
ing the -whole as a silly alarm, put the clock
forward about ten minutes, so tliat his lord-
ship was alone at midnight apparently, when
the company, laughing at his fears, imme-
diately separated to their apartments. His
lordsiiip retired to his room, and sent his
valet for something, Avho, when he returned,
found him dead, with his watch in his hand,
then just past the hour of tAvelve ; so that it
has been rationally conjectured that Lord
Lyttelton, looking at his watch, and finding
the so-much-dreaded hour not past, but just
arrived, may have been terrified l^y the cir-
cumstance, and thus verified the prediction,
which, owing io the unfortunate offieiousness
of his friend, he thought he had escaped.

With one more interestfng reference to
this ancient estate, we Avill conclude : —

At the time of James I. Hagley Avas the
scene of a A'ery remarkable event, — the con-
cealment and strange discoA-er}' of two of the
poAvder conspirators, a particular account of
Avhich is given in a MS. in theHarleian Col-
lection. The title is " A true declaration of
the flight and escape of Eobert Winter, Esq.,
and Stephen Littleton, Gent., the strange
manner of their living in concealment so long
a time, how they shifted to several places,
and in tlie end Avere descr3-ed and taken at
Hagley, being the house of Mrs. Littleton."
It begins thus; — "The bloody hunting match
at Hunchurch being ordered and appointed
by Sir Everard Higby, Knt, for surprising
the Princess Elizabeth, Avhose residence Avas
near that place, Master Catesby Avrote unto
jMaster Humphrey Littleton, entreating him
to meet him at Dunchurch, which lie com-
plied Avith ; and on his arrival there demand-
ing of him the matter in liand, Catesby told
him, that it Avas a matter of weight, and for
the special good and benefit of them all,
Avhich it was all that he Avould declare imto
him at that time; but Avhen the powder plot
Avas disappointed, they scampered about tlie
country, and coming to HcAvel Grange, Lord
Windsor's house, they carried from thence
arms and gunpowder, Avhich in passing
through the river was much Avettcd. Away
they passed by Lcll Inn, and so over the



heath to Holbeach, a house on the high road
between King's Svvinford and Stourbridge,
belonging to Stephen Littleton, where drying
their powder, it by accident took fire, blew
up part of the house, and disfigured the
ftices of several." The chief conspirators,
as Catesby, Rookwood, Grant, being thus
disabled, opened their doors, Catesby and
Percy were shot, and Thomas Winter taken
alive ; Master Stephen Littleton and Robert
Winter escaped and fled to Rowley Regis.

Tn the 14th vol. of Rymer's Fcedera is a
proclamation for apprehending Robert Win-
ter and Stephen Littleton, dated 8 Nov.
1605. Littleton's person is thus described,
— a very tall man, swarthy of complexion, of
brown coloured hair, no beard or little, about
thirty j'ears of age. After various adven-
tures they came to Hagley, and concealed
themselves there, but were betrayed by an
under cook, and in tlie stable yard Winter

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