Bernard Burke.

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

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since the reign of George the Second, has
passed through a variety of hands. At that
period it belonged to the Hon. Charles Ha-
milton, youngest son of James, sixth Earl of
Abercorn, from wdtom it came by purchase to
Benjamin Bond Hopkins, Esq., maternally
related to the citizen of that name, stigma-
tized by Pope as Vulture Hopkins. Speaking
of riches, the satirist asks,

"What can they give? -to dying Hopkins, heirs? "

And m a note, full of yet more bitterness, he
adds, "Hopkins — a citizen, Avhose rapacity
obtained him the name of Vulture Hopkins.
He lived worthless, but died Avorth three
hundred thousand pounds, which he woidd
give to no person living, but left it so as not
to be inherited till after the second genera-
tion. His counsel representmg to him how
many years it must be before this could take
cftect, and that his money could only lie at
interest all that time, he expressed great joy




thereat, and said, ' they would tlieu be as
long in spending as he had been in getting it.'
But the Court of Chancer)' afterwards set aside
the will, and gave it to the heir at law."

This man lived in Old Broad Street, but
kis property extended through London,
Middlesex, Kent, Surrey, Northamptonshire,
Wiltshire, and other counties. He was of
low origm, and made the greater part of his
immense fortune during the mania of the
South Sea bubble, wliich, while it ruined
thousands, of course enriched a few adven-
turers. A long account of him is given in
the second, fifty-eighth, and sixty fourth
volumes of the Gentleman^ s Magazine.

Painshill next became, by purchase, the
property of Robert Hibbert, Esq., a West
India merchant, who, after possessing it for
about four years, disposed of it to William
Moffat, Esq., and with him it did not remain
for a much longer period. We next find this
estate in the hands of the Right Hon. Henry
Lawes Luttrell, second earl of Carhampton,
at whose decease it vested in liis coun-
tess. She dying in 1831, it was purchased a
few months afterwards jjy Mr. Cooper. In
1840 he also died, leaving it to his widow, by
whom it is still enjoyed.

The mansion was erected by Bond Hop-
kins, Esq., already mentioned. It is a square
buildmg, with a portico in front, of the Gre-
cian style of architecture, supported by four
tall columns; roses and festoons ornament
the frieze in succession. It stands upon the
broAV of a terrace sloping gradually to the
river ]\Iole, wliich bounds the estate on two
sides — the north-east and south-east, winding
along in a serpenthie course, and give to the
whole an irregular but picturesque appear-
ance. The way to the entrance-hall is by a
flight of steps, with stone-blockings, each
surmounted by a sphinx. This hall, about
thirty feet long and of an oval form, opens
to the back-front by means of folding-doors,
and there a second, but smaller, portico is
seen, with a double flight of steps, below
Avhich is a carriage-way. Witliin the house
are two drawing rooms, each being eighteen
feet m width, and iifty-five m length, Avith a
saloon and dinhig-room of nearly the same
proportions as the entrance-hall just de-
scribed. Scattered through these apart-
ments is to be found a valuable collection of
small pictures, some by Paul Veronese and
Guercino, but principally by Dutch masters
of the greatest eminence.

The grounds, which were laid out by Mr.
Hamilton, and are said to be amongst the
earliest specimens of that new style of land-
scape-gardening which superseded the stiff
and formal Dutch school, whereui,

" Grove nods at prove, each alley has its brother,
And half the platform just reflects the othei-."

In this instance the natural advantages of the
ground presented a fine scope for a man of
taste and judgment. If the Avest side of the
park is nearly level, that next to the ]\Iole is
infinitely diversified, here swelling up into
bold heights, and there sinkuig down again
into glades and valleys, more or less steep,
and branchuig out into different directions.
One of the principal ornaments contributed
by art to this charming landscape is a lake,
studded with small islands, and in many parts
fringed Avith Aveeping AvilloAvs intermixed Avith
firs, and oaks, and various khids of timber.
In other parts, the banks of the Avater are
completely shut out by thick plantations, so
tliat its Avhole extent can never be seen at one
view. Some Gothic ruins, skirting it on one
side, and two or three bridges from the main-
land to the islets, add not a little to the
general effect. The principal one of these
is in part ornamented Avith single trees —
many of them noble cedars — and in part
covered Avith dense thickets of laurel and
other evergreens, m the midst of Avhicli is an
artificial grotto constructed with quai-tz and
various kinds of spar. The chief room in
the grotto is about forty feet in its utmost
diameter, the dome-like roof bemg sup-
ported by a rude mass in the centre, Avhile
several glimpses of the lake are caught
through openings in the walls, the effect,
as the fancy may easily conclude, of time.
The AA'ay to this room is by a long and gloomy

At tlie upper part of the lake tlie ground
rises precipitately Avith a rugged surface till
it almost seems a cliff, OA-erhanging the river
]\Iole. Along the ridge of this is so tliick a
forest of pines, firs, and birch, overspread
ing the neighbouring heights and acclivities,
that it might Avell be taken for a real Avilder-
ness, the various AA-alks appearing not to have
been designed, but absolutely cut through the

Upon the brow of a steep ascent, somewhat
difficult of access from the thickness of the
Avoods, stand the ruins of a hermitage, which,
though sneered at byAValpole, isexceedmgly
picturesque. Not seeing, or not choosing to
see, the real purpose for which it AA-as placed
tiiere, he observes, " it Ls almost comic to
set aside a quarter of one's garden to be me-
lancholy in," a notion that most assuredly
never entered into the head of the builder.
It Avas erected, partly as commanding a fine
prospect, and partly as being a picturesque
object in admirable harmony Avith the scene

Farthei* on, in tlie midst of pines, oaks,
and other trees, is an embattled tower, about
sixty feet high, built of brick, and having
the venerable look of a Avatch-toAver of the
middle ages. Witliin are four rooms, of no



very great dimensions, and at one of the
angles is a circular-formed staircase, leading
upwards to the leads, from which several de ■
lightful views present themselves. At the
top it is cro^vned with a six-sided spire, taper-
ing up into the blue air. But the best pomt
of view, and that which may be said to pre-
sent at one glance all the surrounding beau-
ties, will be found at a little buildmg, fanci-
fully enough denominated " the Turkish
Tent." Below is the lake, with wood and
meadow, the groimd now rising, now smkmg,
the bridge on its five arches, the mansion, and
the hills of Surrey mingling in the far horizon
that bounds the prospect.

Painshill has been fortunate from first to
last in its various i)Ossessors, each of them
having in his day contributed some improve-
ment to what Avas already beautiful. At one
tune the estate was much smaller than it is
at present, but by purchases made at various
times, it has been increased from about nine
acres to n2:)H'ai-ds of four liundred. IMany of
the trees, particularly tlie oaks and cedars,
are remarkable for size and beauty. A con-
servatory, at the east end of the house, and
occupying the ground whereon once stood a
Gothic chapel, was the work of the late Mr.
Cooper. It is lofty, oblong, and of the oc-
tagonal form, the roof being supported by
pillars in the sluipe of cedars, and canopying
orange-trees and other rare exotics.

WALCOT HALL, Northamptonshire, near
Stamford, the seat of Henry Nexile, Esq.,
who also possesses Wellingore near Grant-
ham. This tine mansion has, at various
times, been possessed by Edward Wortley
Montague, Lady Irwin, and branches of the
Noel family. Lady Sophia Noel, youngest
daughter and eventually co-heiress of Bap-
tist, fourth Earl of Gainsborough, succeeded
to Walcot, wliich she brought in marriage
to Christopher Nevile, Esq., of Welliu-
gore, CO. Lmcolu, a lineal descendant of
the Lords Nevile of Raby. Their son, the
Rev. Henry Nevile, married INIiss Amelia
Mann, and was father of the present Henry
Nevile, Esq., of AValcot Hall and Wellin-

Walcot Hall was built sometime in the 17th
century, after a design of the celebrated Inigo
Jones. It has a high-pitched roof, very
much resembling an old French chateau,
but it is far from being deficient in con-
venience within.

In the reign of Henry V. Walcot manor
belonged to the priory at Catesby, and we
find m the account kept by Elizabctli Swyn-
ford, the lady abbess at tlie time, an acknow-
ledgment for the rent of Walcot by the
year, amounting to six sliillmgs and eight-

6WALL0WFIELD, Berkshire, in the Hun-
dred of Charlton, about six miles to the
south-east of Reading, the seat of Sir Charles
Russell, Bart. At the time of the Norman
conquest, SwaUoM'field was a royal demesne ;
in the reign of Henry III. it appertamed to
the Earl of Warwick ; in that of Edward II.
it belonged to John le Despenser ; it tlien
passed to the De la Beches, and next to John
Duke of Bedford, who died seized of it in
1435. By his Avill it went to Henry VI.,
who granted it to John Penicoke. About
the year 1600 it was possessed by the Back-
house family, from whom it passed to Henry,
second Earl of Clarendon, by marriage with
the widow of Sir AVilliam Backhouse, who
died in 1649 without any lineal issue. In
1719 it was sold to the celebrated Governor
Pitt — generally knoA\'n under the name of
"Diamond Pitt"— by Edward, Earl of Cla-
rendon, the grandson of the historian. After-
wards it passed through the families of Dodd,
Bevan, and Earle, to the present owner.

SwalloAvfield, as we now see it, was built
in 1678 by Henry, second Earl of Clarendon.
It is a quadrangular edifice, havuig in the
centre of the front a pediment upon four
Ionic pillars, and built, as Evelyn tells us in
his Diary, " after the autient building of
honourable gentlemen's houses, when they
kept up antient hospitality ; but the gardens
and waters as elegant as 'tis possible to make
a flat by art and Industrie, and no means
expense, ray lady bcuig so extraordinarily
skiU'd in ye flowery part, and my lord in
diligence of planting ; so that I have hardly
scene a seate which shews more tokens of it
than Avhat is to be found here, not only in
the delicious and rarest fruits of a garden,
but m those innumerable timber-trees in the
ground about the seate, to the greatest orna-
ment and benefit of the place. There is one
orchard of 1,000 golden, and other cyder
pippins ; walks and groves of elms, liuies,
oaks, and other trees. The garden is so
beset with all manner of sweete shrubbs that
it perfmnes the aire. The distribution also
of the quarters, walks, and pastures is ex-
cellent. The nurseries, kitchen garden
full of ye most desii-able plants ; two
very noble orangeries well furnished ; but,
above aU, the canall and fishponds, the one
fed with a white, the other with a black
running water, fed by a quick and swift
river, so well and plentifully stor'd with fish,
that for pike, carp, breame, and tench, I
never saw anything approaching it. We
had at every meale carp and pike of size fit
for the table of a prmce ; and what added to
ye delight was to see the hundreds taken by
the drag, out of which, the cooke standing
by, we pointed out what Ave had most mind
to, and had carp thatAvould have been Avorth
at London twenty shillings a piece. The



•waters are flagg'cl about with Calamus
Aromoicus, Avitli Avhicli my lady has hung
a closet that retains tlie smell very perfectly.
There is also a certaiiie sweete willow and
other exotics ; also a very fine bowling-
greene, meadow, j^asture, and wood ; in a
word, all that can render a country seate de-
lightful. Tliere is, besides, a well-furnishVl
library in ye house."

Such was Swallowfield m the time of
Evelyn, who seems to have exhausted all his
powers of fancy and panegyric in expressing
the pleasure it had given him. Other recol-
lections cling too about this favoured seat.
Here the celebrated Lord Chancellor Cla
rendon resided with his son, upon his retire-
ment from public life, and here he is said
to liave written — if not the whole — the greater
part of his " Historj^ of the Rebellion."

The church of SwalloM'field, Avliich was
built in the reign of Henry III., stands in
a corner of the park, through which flows
the river Bla kwater, a'ld on the north is the
Loddeu — Pope's Lodona : —

" Above the rest a rural nyn^ph -waf; fam'cl,

Thy offspring, Thame?, tlic fair Lodona uainM ;

(Lodona's fate in long oblivion cast,

The muse shall sing, and ■(vhat she sings shall last.)

Scarce could the Goddess from her nymph be Icnown

But by the crescent and the golden zone.

She scorn'd the jiraise of beauty and the care ;

A belt her waist, a fillet binds her hair ;

A painted quiver on her shoulder sounds,

And -nith her dart the flying deer she ■\vouuds.

It chanc'd, as eager of the chase, the maid

Beyond the forest's verdant limits stray'd,

F.-.n saw and lov'd, and burning v\-ith desire

Pursu'd her flight, her flight encreas'd his fire.

Not half so swift the trembling doves can fly

A\'hen the fierce eagle cleaves the liquid sky ;

Not half so swiftly the fierce eagle moves

AVheu tlu-ough the clouds he drives the trembling doves.

As from the god she flees with furious pace,

Or as the god more furious urg'd the chase.

Now fainting, sulking, pale the nymph appeals,

Now close behind his sounding step slie hears ;

And now his shadow reach'd her as she run,

His shadow lengthen'd by the setting sun ;

And now his shorter breath with sultry air

Pants on her neck, and fans her parting hair.

In vain on Father Thames she calls for aid,

Nor could Diana help her injur'd maid.

Faint, breathless, thus she pray'd, nor pray'd in vain—

' Ah, Cynthia, ah ! though banish'd from thy train,

Let me, oh let me to the shades repair,

IMy native shades,— there weep and murmur there.'

She said, and melting as in tears she lay,

In a soft silver stream dissolv'd away.

The silver stream her virgin cokhiess keeps,

For ever murmurs, and for ever weeps ;

Still bears the name the hapless virgin bore,

And bathes the forest where she rang'd before.

In her chaste current oft the goddess laves.

And with celestial tears augments the waves.

Oft in her glass the musing shepherd spies

The headlong mountains and the downward skies.

The wat'ry landskip of the pendent woods

And absent trees that tremble in tlic floods ;

In the clear azure gleam flic flocks arc scon,

And floating forests paint the waves with green.

Through the fair scene roll slow theling'riiig siicams.

Then foaming pour along, and rush into the Thames."'

STOKE PARK, Buckmghamshire, the scat
of the Right Hon. Henry Labouchcrc. There
is, perhaps, no seat in "England to which so

many names, historically illustrious, are
attached as this of Stoke. In almost every
change of owners we find ourselves intro-
duced to some character as familiar to us as
household words, — characters that stand out
broadly and vividly amidst the dimness of
the past, the bare mention of which awakes a
multitude of slumbering recollections.

Before the Norman Conquest, the manor
of Stoke Poges was held by Siret, a man of
p]arl Harold ; sul^scquently it was given by
the Norman monarch to one of his followers,
named William Fitzausculf, the usual fate of
all Saxon lands after the battle of Hastings.
He was connected, by the marriage of his
daughter Beatrice, with the Paganells, and
hence Stoke, with other manors, would ap-
pear to have passed from the line of Fitz-
ausculf, and then to the Barons de Somerie,
by the marriage of Ha^\yse Paganell to John
de Somerie about the close of the twelfth
century. It should, however, be borne m
mind tliat a family called De Stoke were the
iimncdiate proprietors of the property so
early as 1086, although the lordship was,
nominally at least, vested in three nolile
houses. The Poges acquired it by the
marriage of Amicia de Stoke to Robert de
Poges — at what precise time is doubtful, but
certainlj"- before 1291, for the manor was
tlien designated as Stoke -Poges, a name
evidently used to represent the two united

Early in the reign of Edward III. we find
Stoke passing to John de I\Iolins, by his
marriage witli Egidia, daughter of John
IMauduit, of Somerforcl, m Wiltshire. From
tliis family, in the lapse of time, the manor
was conveyed to Sir Robert Ilimgerford,
Knight, by his marriage with Alianore, sole
daughter of Sir William Molins, when Sir
Robert, in right of his wife, took the title
of Lord Molins. Unfortunately for himself,
Lord Hungerford and Molins sided with tlie
Lancastrians at ToAvton Field, and at the
battle of Hexham, when he was taken pri-
soner. His son, at a somewhat later period,
underwent a similar fate from adherence to
the same cause. Upon the final success of
the Lancastrians his attainder was reversed,
and his descendants again became possessed of
the family estates, and Jlary, his sole daughter
and heir, liavingmarricd Edward Hastings, son
of William, Lord Hastings, the property thus
devolved to him. I^y one of their descendants
it subsequently passed to the celebrated Sir
Edward Coke, Ivnight^ who sprimg from an
ancient tamily in Norfolk, and was born at
Mileham, in that county, in 1549, the second
year of Edward VI. The manner of this
cliange is thus related by Lipscombe in his
valualjle History of Bucks: —

"HiMriy, tliird Earl of Huntingdon" (fur
in 16'2'J uiic of that family was advanced to



that earldom,) " had borrowed large sums of
Serjeant Braithwaite ; but a little before his
death, upon conveying the manors of Christ-
church and Ringwood, co. Hants, to liis
creditors, the mortgages on all other parts
of the earl's estates were discharged, except
that on Stoke Poges, which was to continue
for the security of £1,500, interest unpaid.
As that estate was part of his wife's jomture,
apro-sdsion was made that his brother George,
and his successors in the earldom to the third
generation might, when the inheritance fell
to them, pay off the incumbrance of £1,500
without any additional charge of interest.
Coke being attorney-general, and concerned
in the countess's affairs, made an easy com ■
position with Braitliwaite (who knew not
when he should receive his money) for an
assignment of his mortgage, and then, by au
agreement with the countess for her life, got
immediate possession of her estate. Kath-
arme lived till the middle of August, 1620;
and had Sir John Davys lived, Plenry (the
grandson of George), Earl of Huntingdon
(whose eldest son, Ferdinando, had married
Sir John's eldest daughter), might probably
have recovered it ; but DaAys dying just
when Coke was made Lord Chief Justice
of England, no la■\^'yer durst plead against
him. There are among the fomily writings
several petitions presented from time to time
by Henry Earl of Huntingdon to the Privy
CouncU, praying that he might have the
liberty of bringing his cause into the Cou.rt
of licquests for adjudication ; but all signi-
fied nothing ; and the troubles of the nation
breaking out soon after put an end to the

It should here be observed that, prior to
Coke's gaming possession of this estate, the
mansion was tenanted ]jy Sir Christopher
Hatton, though it is impossible to fix the
precise period. The favour of Sir Christo-
pher with Queen Elizabeth is a matter of
notoriety. Camden says, that "Being young,
and of a comely tallness of body and coun-
tenance, he got into such favour with the
Queen that she took him into her band of
fifty gentlemen pensioners." This court
favour, from whatever cause it arose, ex-
cited the jealousy of Leicester, who m ridi-
cide of the accomplishment Avhich first
brought Hatton into notice, proposed to m-
troduce to Elizabeth a dancing-master of
far superior skill. " Pooh !" replied the
Queen, " I will not see your man ; it is his
trade." TJie consequence of all this was
that both Elizabeth and Hatton were grossly"
calumniated, and that not only by meaner
people, but by Mary Queen of Scots, as well
as by Cardinal Allen. ]\Iuch has been said
of Hattou's dancmg when Lord Chancellor,
and Gray, m liis Lonrj Story, has thus
humourously depicted it —

" Full oft within the spacious walls.
When he had fifty -wiuters o'er him,
Bly grave Lord Keeper led the brawls,
The seal and maees danced before him.

' His bushy beard, and shoe-strings green.
His high-crowned hat and satm doublet,
Moved the stout heart of England's Queen,
Though Pope and Spaniard could not trouble it."

But censure or satire is alike out of place
m this respect. Sir Christopher Hatton
complied only with the customs of his time,
and we find it not oidy practised m the inns
of court, but even made imperative upon the
students ; the neglect of dancmg at certain
times and occasions subjected the offender
to fine and punishment. Some curious in-
formation upon this topic will be fomid ui
Soane's Neio Curiosities of Literature.

Upon the death of Sir Edward Coke, the
manor and estate of Stoke Poges came to his
son-in-law, Sir John Villiers, Lord Viscount
Purbeck, elder brother of that Duke of
Buckuigham who Avas assassmated by Fel-
ton. In 165G Robert Villiers, or Danvers,
— for the family Iiad assumed the latter
name in the time of Cromwell, when Robert
Villiers married the granddaughter and heir
of Sir John Danvers, Kt., one of the regi-
cides — sold his reversionar}'- mterest in the
estate to John Gayer, Esq., who, dying in
1657 without male issue, bequeathed his
lands to his elder brother, Robert Gayer.
This gentleman Avas made a Knight of the
Bath at the coronation of Charles II., and
at his death devised his estate to trustees to
be sold. It then passed to Edward Halsey,
Esq., J\r.P. fur Soutlnvark. His daughter
and heir, Anne, Avhohad married Sir Richard
Temple, Bart. — afterwards Baron and Vis-
count Cobham — dying Avithout issue. Stoke
was conveyed by her trustees to the Hon.
Thomas Penn, son of William Penn, the cele-
brated and original proprietary of the pro-
A'iiice of Pcnsylvania. This family may be
traced to the tune of Edward II., when John
de la Penn is found serving as a Kjiight of
the Shire. The name points to a yet older
origin, to those early times A\dien the 0A\aiers
of land were accustomed to call themselves
after their estates ; the word Penn signifies
a " head" or " summit," an apt description
of the elcA'ated ground on Avhich they at one
period resided, and Avhich still retains the
name of Penn. Many distmguished persons
occur in the history of this race, but their
fame is ui a measure eclipsed by that good
— we might almost call him great — man, the
celebrated quaker, William. To his courage
and wisdom England mainly owes that the
trial by jury is sometliing more than an empty
Avord, a coAi^er mider which a corrupt or pre
judiced judge might commit the highest
Avrong with impunity. The noble stand he



made at his own trial, wlieii the jury were
bullied, threatened, and well nigh starved
into delirium to comiDel a verdict, is matter
of lasting record; and his successful attempt
afterward, to bring his judges to a legal
account for then* conduct at once established
the independence of juries, who till then
had always been made to bring m whatever
verdict the court directed. "Wliat he did for
Pensvlvania would afl'ord a tale of mterest not
easily exhausted, but to do justice to such a
theme would far exceed om* Imiits.

The records present us with at least three
manor-houses m succession that stood upon
this estate. It is beyond doubt that Sir Jolm
Molines had a house at Stoke, in the early
part of the fourteenth century, and most
probably it existed before his time, for we
are told that " he obtained permission to
fortify his abode," a phrase seeming to in-
dicate a building of an earlier date. How,
or when, this edifice perished we cannot
say from any certain information, but being
a solid structure, intended for defence by one

Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 1) → online text (page 49 of 79)