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Bernard Burke.

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

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Fame, than many Avho have attained to
greater notoriety. He was the hero of
Wordsworth's poem " The Waggoner," and
had made a small fortune in the humble ca-



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



13



pacity of a common carrier, yet such was his
generosity and his love of letters, that he
.preferred havhig the poet for a tenant at
twenty-five pounds a year, to letthig his
house to a less disthiguished bidder at the
advanced rent of fifty guineas. Thither
Coleridge united his friend Southey, with
the following pleasant description of what
he proposed should be their joint abode —
" Our house," he says, " stands on a low hill,
the whole front of which is one field, and an
enormous garden, nine tenths of which is a
nursery garden. Beliind the house is an or-
chard, and a small wood on a steep slope, at
the foot of which flows the river Greta,
which winds round and catches the evening
lights in the front of the house. In the
fiont we have a giant's camp — an encamped
army of tent-like mountai)is, which by an
inverted arch gives a view of another valley.
Oil our riglit the lovely dale and the wedge-
shaped lake of Bassenthwaite, and on our
left Derwent water and Lodore full in view,
and the fantastic mountains of Borrodale.
Behind us the mossy Skiddaw, smootli, green,
high, with two chasms, and a tent-like ridge
on the larger.. A fairer scene you have not
seen in all your wanderings. . . Tlie house
is full twice as large as Ave want ; it hath
more rooms in it tlian Allfoxen ; you might
have a bedroom, parlour, study, &c., and
there would always be rooms to spare for
your or my visitors,"

This house — for the two are now made into
one — has been tenanted on lease since the
death of Southey by C. VV. Rotherv, Esq., a
gentleman possessed of property in York-
shire, and whose name will again appear in
its proper place as the owner of Littlethorpe,
near Bipon.

BADDESLEY CLINTON, or Badsley Clinton,
CO. Warwick, the seat of ]\larmion Edward
Ferrers, Esq., received the second portion
of its name from one of its early owners. Sir
Thomas Clinton, to distinguish it from
another Badsley in the same hundred. Like
so many old estates, it has passed at various
times into different hands, by the extmction
of the male heirs, and the marriage of a sur-
viving daugliter. Upon one occasion, the
possessor, finding tliat he held the estate by
a disputable title, and having a Avise objec-
tion to laAV in his own person, he parted with
it to John Brome, a laAvyer. The legal gen-
tleman managed Avith considerable dexterity
to keep his brethren of the long robe at bay,
but AA'as less fortunate in a martial encounter
with John Herthill, the steAvard to Nevill
the great Earl of Warwick. It appears tliat
the steward had mortgaged certam lands to
the laAvyer, Avhich he Avished to redeem ; but
the lawyer, preferring the estate to money,
resisted tooth and nail all attempts at en-
forcing a claim to redemption. The steAvard,



finding himself bafiied by the superior legal
tactics of his enemy, and having someAvhat
of his master's fiery disposition, he one day
called Mr. John Brome out of the White-
friars' church in l.iondon, where the latter
chanced to be at mass, and entered into a
hot dispute Avithhim respecting the aforesaid
mortgage. While they Avere yet in the
church-porch, the dispute grcAv so high, they
came to bloAvs ; SAvords Avere draAvn, and the
laAvyer fell mortally Avounded, his OAvn son
looking on and smiling as he received his
death-bloAv. So at least one must infer from
his will, in Avliich occurs the singular ex-
pression, that ^^ }te forgave Ids son, Thomas,
ivho smiled lohen lie saio him, run through by
Herthill, in the Whitefriars' church-porch.'''
He had, hoAvever, another son, by name
Nicholas Avho succeeded him ; and Avas so far
from indulging in any mirth upon the matter,
that he Avajdaid and killed the stcAvard in
Longbridge Field, on his way to hold acoiu-t
for the Earl of Warwick. Upon this, the
AA'idoAv of the murdered man took up the
cudgels, for in those times — the good old
times— a feud Avas seldom allowed to die Avith
those in whom it had originated ; a son suc-
ceeded as naturally to his father's quarrels,
as to his father's estate, and, there being no
son in this case to demand blood for blood,
the AA'idoAV appealed, as the plu-ase went, the
slayer of her late liusband. Friends, liow-
ever, interfered, and the feud Avas soldered
up by tlie payment of certain moneys to the
appellant, and of otliers to the Church, that
tapers might burn, and masses be duly said
for the soul's repose of the departed. And
here Ave cannot help pausing aAvhile to remark,
that Aviiatever objections may be made by
those opposed to Roman Catholic obserA^-
ances, still it cannot be denied they were
eminentl)^ calculated to promote peace, and
to calm the passions of a fierce race, Avho
Avere steeled against all other considerations.
Having got so Avell out of this aAvkAvard
business, the worthy Nicholas Avas not long
before he fell into another of the same kind,
for he was evidently of a hasty mood, and at
all times ready to appeal to the arbitremeut
of the SAvord, Avithout much distinction of
jDriest or layman. Upon one occasion, being,
for some supposed Avrong done him by the
Parish Priest at Baddesley, mightily enraged,
he made no more ado but ran the oft'ender
through the body. He obtained, hoAvever,
his pardon, both from the Kuig and the Pope,
upon condition of his doing something in the
way of expiation. The mode of atonement
Avould seem in a great measure to have been
left to himself, Avhereupon he rebuilt the
toAA'er-steeple at Baddesley from theground,
and, moreover, purchased three bells for it,
a steeple obviously being of no use without
bells. In addhion to this, he raised the
body of the church itselftenfeet higher than



14



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



it had been before ; and " farther of liini,"
says the old historian, " I have not found
anything memorable, other than that he en-
closed this lordsliip, and that he departed
this world anno. 1517." His daughter Con-
stance marrying Sir Edward Ferrers, grand-
son of the Hon. Thomas Ferrers, of Tarn-
worth Castle, Baddesley, Clinton, has since
continued the inheritance of her descendants,
the Ferrers, and is now enjoyed by IMarmion
Edward Ferrkrs, Esq., the present male
representative of that illustrious house.

GWRYCH CASTLE, county Denbigh, at a
short distance from the market town of
Abergele, the seat of Lloyd Hesketh Bam-
ford-Hesketh, Esq. The front of tliis
elegant modern mansion extends nearly five
hundred yards, with a noble terrace on either
side, four hundred yards in length. The
lodge-entrance is through a lofty arch flanked
with two embattled towers, the principal
one of which, called Hesketh Tower, is about
ninety feet high. At the extremity of the
park, on the road to Conway, is a second
lodge, built under the cave of Tan-yr-ayo, a
place too remarkable to be passed over
without notice. The mouth of this natural
excavation resembles the entrance to some
vast Gothic cathedral. A few feet inside,
and immediately in its centre, is a rock rising
from the floor to the lofty roof, not unlike
a massive pillar rudely sculptured, which
divides the subterranean into two apart-
ments. That upon the left soon terminates ;
but the right-hand hollow spreads into a
large chamber, thirty feet in height, and ex-
tending to an uncertain depth, which, it is
believed, that no one hitherto has attempted
to penetrate. If we make a short turn a few
yards from the entrance and pass into the
bosom of the mountain, we find the remoter
parts lost in darkness ; nor is it thought
prudent to pursue its windings for more than
about forty yards, when the light totally
deserts us, and the flooring becomes dirty
and unsafe. The roof and sides of this ex-
traordinary cavern are wreathed with sta-
lactites that assume a multitude of beautiful
and fantastic forms, rem.inding the curious
of the caves in Derbyshire. At this pass,
wdiich affords a strong position for defence,
many hard battles were fought between the
Welsh, the Anglo-Saxons, and their Norman
invaders. To commemorate the exploits of
the Welsh chieftains, Mr. Hesketh has set up
several tablets on each side of the entrance-
lodge, with appropriate inscriptions.

Gwrych Castle is beautifully situated on
a rocky eminence, well sheltered with trees.
It commands an extensive view of the sea,
which on this part of the coast is generally
alive with shi)ii}iug, upwards of two hundred
vessels being often seen at the same time



witli sails full spread for different directions.
To the right, at some miles distance, are
tJie huge rocks, called Bhuo Fde7i,iind T7-wijn
Foel, or the Great Ormes Head, at tlie
base of which runs the channel ; but tliough
highly interesting to the lover of the pictu-
resque, affording no very agreeable prospect
to the mariner in a strong north west wind.
The northern extremity is an enormous pre-
cipice, the haunt of various sea-fowl in the
breeding season, the gulls occupying the
lowest part, while above them the razor-
bills have made tlieir haunt, and yet higher
up the cormorants may be heard croaking.
The topmost region is possessed by the
herons ; but the putlins and guillhnots seem
to be less restricted in the choice of their
habitations ; they are to be found in all parts
of the rock. Here also the peregrine falcon
builds its nest, a bird of infinite value in the
days of falconry.

STOURTON HALL, near Stottrbridge, Staf-
fordshire, tlie seat of William Bennitt, Esq.,
by whom the mansion was built in 1848,
upon an estate presented to him by the inha-
bitants of Dudley and the neighbourhood.
The occasion of this splendid gift, so honour-
able to botli parties, will be best explained by
the inscription upon the piece of plate that
accompanied it. " In testimony of tlie high
esteem and grateful remembrance in which
he is held by the inhabitants of Dudley and
its vicinity for his meritorious exertions in
the establishment of a troop of the Queen's
Own Worcestershire Yeomanry in the year
1832 ; his constant, ardent, and efficient sup-
port of it ; and for tlie firm, temperate, and
energetic conduct which he has invariably
displayed in the command of it, especially in
seasons of impiending danger and popular
commotion. March 25th, 1846."

The building is in the early English style
of architecture, a style, which whatever may
be its merits otherwise, certainly harmonises
well with the usual character of our island
landscape. It stands upon the side of a hill,
surrounded by woods and highly cultivated
grounds, and connnands a most picturesque
view of Enville Park, the far-famed Sheep-
walk, and other parts scarcely less inter-
esting. Indeed, it may be considered as one
of the most lovely spots in the whole county
of Stafford.

HEATHERTON PARK, near Wellington,
Somersetshire, the seat of Alexander Adair,
Esq. The mansion Avas built about eighty
years ago by Sir Thomas Gunston, after
whose decease it passed through various
hands, until, in 1807, it was purchased from
John Cave, Esq., of Bristol, by William
Adair, Esq., of Ballymena in Irehind, and of
Flixton Hall, in Suffolk. This_ gentleman



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



15



gave up the estate to his second son Alexan-
der, upon the marriage of the latter, anil in
his possession it still remains.

The house, which lias no particular archi-
tectural merit, was, in its original state, a
plain brick building ; but it has been much
enlarged and improved by the present owner,
and it now forms one of the most convenient
residences in the county. It stands, more-
over, in the midst of a beautiful park, com-
manding a fine view of the vale of Taunton,
bounded on one side by the Black Down
Hills, with the Wellington Pillar; and on
the other by the Quantock Hills, from which
there is a splendid prospect of the British
Channel, and the opposite coast of Wales.

In the house are some very excellent pic-
tures by Sir Joshua Reynolds, particularly
tlie portrait of the Marquis of Granby, con-
sidered the chef d'auvre of that celebrated
artist. Here also may be seen a very fine
picture by Schneider, witli others by Sir
Godfrey Kneller and Sir Peter Lely, and
many by more recent painters of high repu-
tation. The library contains a valuable col-
lection of books, ancient as Avell as mo-
dern.

CASTLE GORING, Sussex, six miles from
Arundel, the scat of Sir George Brooke
Pecliell, Bart. The castle stands upon an
elevated site, commanding an extensive view
of the sea, and of rich woodlands diversified
by hill and valley, amongst which Highdowii
Ilill is the most remarkable. It is in the
northern division of the parish of Goring,
and was built in 1791, by the late Sir Eysshe
Shelley, after a singular idea of his own as
regarded the general structure, but which
he did not live to complete. In fact, it ex-
hibits the strange anomaly of two houses
joined in the centre, each liaving a distinct
architectural style of its own; the one being
Palladian, the other modern Gothic ; and
either of them very correctly preserved both
in the internal ornaments of the cornices
and ceilings, and in the two fronts towards
the south-west and north-east. The Palla-
dian front, facing the south-west, was de-
signed by B. Eobecea, after the Villa Santi,
near Rome, and presents an elevation of con-
siderable beauty. The north-east front ex-
hibits an exterior built in imitation of Arun-
del Castle, slightly varied however, and with
diminished proportions. The apartments,
which are exceedingly handsome, contain
many valuable paintings, amongst which is
a series of curious family portraits. Some of
the latter have come from Montauban, in
France, near which town the De Pechells
resided for several generations, until the re-
vocation of the edict of Nantes obliged them
to leave their native land in 1 685.

For many years Castle Goring remained



neglected and uninhabited, until it was occu-
pied and suljsequently purchased of the Shel-
leys by Captain, now Sir George Brooke
Pechell, Bart. It then became an addition
to those more '.ancient possessions of the
Bisshopps of Parham, which liave de-
scended to the Pechell; family, by the mar-
riage of the present owner with the daughter
and co-heir of Cecil Bisshopp, 12th Lord
Zouche, of Haryngworth.

Independently of these considerations,
Castle Goring has a peculiar interest from
its connection with the name of the ill-
starred, but noble-minded, Percy Bysshe
Shelley, the friend of Byron, and with all
his errors, religious as well as poetical, a
genius of the highest order. But—

" All thy good now 'blazes,
All thy guilt lies buried in the grave."

MOSTYN HALL, co. Flint, the seat of the
Hon. E. M. Lloyd Slostyn, M.P., elder son
of Lord IMostyn, and representative of one
of the oldest and most illustrious families in
AYales. It is surrounded by an extensive
park of fine old trees of various kinds, and
abounds in deer. The old mansion is sup-
posed to have been erected as early as the
reign of Henry VI., and at one time resem-
bled that at Boulton-in-Bowland, which is a
pile of great magnificence; but it has been
greatly enlarged by the present proprietor,
the additions and various alterations being
in the Elizabethan style, increasing its in-
ternal convenience while rendering its out-
ward appearance much more imposing.

It would hardly be possible to name an
old mansion that is richer in curious objects
of antiquity than ^lostyn Hall ; such for
instance as the golden torque, formerly a
badge of military honour, and worn by the
Prince of Wales ; the silver harp presented
by Queen Elizabeth to the jMostyn of those
days, the giving and receiving friendly to-
kens being a favourite practice of the maiden
queen, but always with an eye on her part
to the more valuable return ; the collection
of ancient armour and warlike instruments,
in use before the introduction of fire-arms ;
the rare and beautiful tapestry worked by
the nuns, who had their abode here in the
conventual ages ; the pedigree of the family
drawn by the celebrated Randle Holme,
Chester herald, a singular document no less
than forty-two ieet in length.

Of the library tlie historian Pennant speaks
in the highest terms. " Few," says he, " if
any can boast of such numbers of manuscripts,
or of such beauty ; of the first, especially the
illuminated ; and I suspect that the number,
rarity, and value of the ancient classics, me-
dallic histories, gems, and variety of every
species of polite literature is without paral-
lel." To these various treasures the present



16



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



jiroprietor lias added a valuable library from
Gloddaeth, consisting chiefly of old English
history, and rare Welsh manuscriepts, col-
lected with great care and expense by hi.s
great grandfather.

Where so much has been done in other
matters, it will he easily imagined that pic-
tures liaA^e not been forgotten. The walls
of the different rooms are thronged with
family portraits by the old masters, and
many by Vandyke. The artist, seeking
only for a work of art, would no doubt pre-
fer an equal number of paiutbigs upon other
subjects, and in his point of view he is un-
questionably right ; but still about such
portraits there is an interest of a kind that
does not, and cannot, attach itself to land-
scapes, or even to historic paintings, however
superior they ma}' be in other respects ;
most of us feel a peculiar satisfaction in
dwelling upon such shadowings of the intel-
lect and chai-acter of those wlio in their da}'
were placed above the rest of the world by
birth or talent ; we strive to find a connec-
tion between their lives and their features,
or, if we know nothing of them, the fancy
reverses the operation, and from their f;ices
imagines their minds and actions. Tlie
.cource of this pleasure is jjerhaps not very
intelligible, but it is not the less certain.

]Mostyn Hall is one of the few remaining
places in Wales, where the old baronial hos-
pitality continues to be maintained in its
full extent. The stranger would be deemed
by the frank-hearted lord of the mansion
most uncourteous if he should decline the
cup and viands that are always ready on tlie
talde for him, Avhile at dinner-time an extra
knife and fork are invariably laid for any friend
who may happen to drop in. This last custom
may perhaps have originated in an ancient
and honourable tradition, which is still well
remembered, and bears u]Don it the stamp of
truth. The story runs thus : — -The Welsh
had always been favourably inclined to
Henry, Earl of liichmond, from the love they
had borne to his grandfather, Owen Tudor.
When, therefore, he was forniinghis ambitious
plans against the house of York, and passed
secretly about from place to place amongst
them, in order to take advantage of this feel-
ing, and win over as many adherents as pos-
sible for the approaching struggle. This
beating up fi;)r recruits, however, was not so
privately carried on, but that the friends of
Richard the Third got an inkling of it, and
were soon on the alert to seize him. Thus
it happened, that at one time when he was
at Mostyn, just about to sit down to dinner,
a party of Yorkists surprised the house. As
good luck would have it, he, by some means,
got a moment's notice in advance that the
enemy were upon him, and, brief as the space
was, contrived to escape through a hole.



which to this day is called " the king's win-
dow.'' Immediately afterwards the Yorkist
leader rushed into the dining-room with his
party, when the following colloquy is said to
have occurred between himself and the wary
host : — " My Lord, we have come here in
quest of Henry, Earl of Richmond, who we
are informed, is now staying with you."
" Your information is not correct," replied
the other, " for he has left here." Upon this,
the Yorkist, who appears to have had all his
wits about him, and observed that there was
one plate too many for the guests present,
exclaimed, " How is this, my lord ? I see you
have more knives and forks laid on your
table tlian you have company to dinner."
" It is always my custom," answered
Mostyn, " to have an extra knife and fork
on my table in case a friend should drop in,
and as I cannot look upon you in any other
liglit, I shall be happy if you will sit down
along with us, and make use of them."

To ask if the Yorkist accepted this courte-
ous offer, would be, as Ploratio says upon
another and more serious occasion, to " in-
quire too curiously."

This worthy Lord of Mostyn, Richard ap
Howel, joined in the sequel Henry of Rich-
mond at Bosworth, and upon the victory,
received from the king, in token of gratitude
for his preservation at Mostyn Hall, the belt
and sword he wore on that day. He also
pressed his host to follow him to Court, but
IMostyn nobly answered, like the Shunami-
tish woman, '' I dwell among my own people."

INCE BLUNDELL.— The manor of Ince
Blundell is situated in the parish of Sefton,
Lancashire, about nine miles north of Liver-
pool. In the midst of the park, wliich is
called after the manor — Ince Blundell park
— stands the hall, a handsome seat with
stone-dressings, richly stored with works
of art both ancient and modern, and having
a Roman Catholic chapel within it from
time immemorial. Henry Blundell, Esq.,
the father of the late possessor of this noble
mansion, Avas distinguished by his passi-
onate love of the fine arts, and in his time
the various statues, busts, urns, and sarco-
phagi, had so much increased that he found
it necessary to erect a new building for
their reception at the eastern angle of the
old hall. To this, whicli was an exact but
diminutive copy of the Pantheon at Rome,
he gave the same name ; and with undoubted
propriety, for it contains some of the finest
specimens of ancient Greek art, with other
Avorks, only less admirable, of a more re-
cent period. Amongst them Avill be found
also some Egvpfian relics of a very curious
nature, so that upon the Avhole it stands
almost unrivalled as a priA'ate collection in
this country.



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



17



■ Ince Bluutlell is said to have been pos-
sessed by the Bkmdells from tlie time of
tlie Conqueror. Unquestionably William
Blundell had a seat there in the reign of
Henry III., and after him it descended to
John Blundell. After an interval not very
distbictly filled up by the genealogical
records, we find this estate in the possession
of Robert Blundell, Esq., who died in 1763,
and transmitted it to the virtuoso, whom we
have already mentioned, Henry Blundell.
The latter died in 1810, aged eighty-six,
leaving a son, Charles Blundell, Esq., the
owner of the greater part of the township,
at whose decease in 1837, the estates —
including Ince Blundell, passed by his
will to the present Thomas Weld Blun-
dell, Esq.

DUNHAM-MASSEY, Cheshire, the seat of
the Earl of Stamford and Warrington, six
miles and a half from Knutsford. It has its
name from Dun, a f/o!f?i ,• and Ham, a house ;
while it derives the second lialf of this appel-
lation from havingbeen in early times the abode
of the JMasseys, a powerful baronial family.
The whole when put together signifies the
home of the JNIasseys upon the down, and it
is thus distinguished from " Dunham on the
hill" in the same county. Dunham ]\Jassey
was the seat of the Barony of that name,
and was held by the Barons ]\Tassey under
the Earls of Chester by Military Service.
Hamo, the last Baron of Dunham Massey,
died without male issue in 1341, having sold
the reversion of this estate to Oliver
Ingham, justice of Chester, whose heirs,
the Stranges, Lords of Knockin, were for
awhile possessed of it ; but not without
disturbance from the Eittons, John Eitton
having married the elder sister and co-heir
of the last Baron of Dunham Massey. The
heiress of Eitton marrying into the Venables
family, and the co- heiress of William
Venables of Bollin marrying Robert, after-
wards Sir Robert Booth, the claim was by
him renewed in the reign of Henry VI.,
and it was at length agreed that he should
have lialf of the manors of Dunham-Massey,
Atlricham, and Hale. Sir Robert then
settled at Dunham-Massey, which by sub-
sequent purchases became wholly vested in
his descendants, from whose time the family
went on constantly increasing in wealth and
honours. At the outbreak of the Civil
War Sir George Booth highly distinguished
himself on the side of the Parliament, but



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