Copyright
Bernard Burke.

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

. (page 5 of 79)
Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 1) → online text (page 5 of 79)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


taking a sudden disgust at something he
became zealous in the cause of Royalty. No
one showed hunsclf more eager to brmg
about the Restoration. By a commission
sent to him from Charles at Brussels in 1659
he was constituted Commander of the Royal
Forces in Cheshire, Lancashire, and North



AVales, and amongst the various attempts
then simultaneously made to seize the
different strongholds in the kingdom his
was the only one that succeeded. At Win-
nington, however, he sustained a defeat,
Avhen he attempted to escape in female attire ;
but being taken, he was committed prisoner
to the Tower. In reward for his sufferings
and services he was, upon the Restoration,
made Baron Delamere of Dunham-Massey,
and for a time continued in high favoui-
with Charles. Pie was, however, of too un-
jielding a nature to succeed in a court like
that of Charles 11. , and it was not long
before he fell into disgrace with the merry
monarch. By James II. he was still worse
used. Yet all these apparently adverse
circumstances again turned out to the benefit
and advancement of his family. His son
was induced by them to become a zealous
agent for the Prince of Orange, who npon
attaining the English throne created him
Earl of ^Varrington. But the lineage so
long unbroken was now fast approaching
to its termination. In 1758 the second and
last Earl of Warrington of this fomily
died, when Mary, his only daughter and
heir, brought Dunham-]\Iassey and other
large estates to Harry Grey, Earl of
Stamford, whose son had the title of
Warrington conferred upon him by a new
creation hi 1796.

In the last century Dunham-i\Iassey would
seem to have been a large quadrangular pile,
finished with gables v^ithin and without. It is
represented in an old print as havmg stood
in the midst of formal gardens, designed
in the old trim fashion, and surrounded with
a broad moat, at one angle of Avhicli was
a large circular mound, the last relic per-
haps of the castle of Hamo de Masci. At
present Dunham-Massey is a plain, though
large quadrangular building of brick, with
a court in the centre, and having an aiv of
venerable grandeur from the fine old oaks
in its two parks, many of which have attained
an exti-aordinary growth. On the tops of
these magnificent trees sundry parties of
herons have built their nests, congregating
like rooks and crows. Of the parks one is
walled round, and there was a time when it
contained five hundred head of deer.

The interior of this mansion is rich in
valuable pictures, many of them painted by
Jansen, A^andyck, Sir Peter Lely, and other
distinguished artists. The visitor who is
best acquainted with galleries of this kind,
Avill be forced to admit that he has seldom
found himself in better company, so far as
the word applies to the waking up of old
recollections. Here, if he admires beauty,
he may ponder on the charms of the cele-
brated Duchess of Portsmouth, and contrast
her with her dangerous rival. La Belle

D



18



SEATS OF GUEAT BlilTAIN.



Stewart, whose Amazonian beauty turned
the heads of half the court, royalty itself
included ; if he be of a mercantile turn, he
may speculate upon the gra\e calculating
features of Sir 'I'homas Gresham, the patriarch
of trade : or if he delight in names of politi-
cal interest, he may physiognomically ques-
tion the Earls of Derby and Pembroke, the
first Earl of Sliaftesbury, and many others,
more or less distinguished in the records of
the past.

FOLLATON PARK, or as it was anciently
written, Foleton Park, Devonshire, about a
mile from Totness, tlie seat of George Stanley
Gary, Esq., a magistrate for the county of
Devon and borough of Totness, and deputy
lieutenant of the same. The family of Gary
has from very remote times ranked high
amongst the Devon worthies, the ancient
head of it appearing in the list of those who
accompanied the Norman Conqueror, and
also in tlie Chroniqiie de Brompton, where
it is recorded with singular marks of dis-
tinction. Their early residence in the county
may be traced in the twelfth century to the
neighbourhood of St. Giles in tlie Heath,
where they possessed an ancient mansion bear-
ing their name. Nor is this the only trace
left of their having once abided there. St.
Giles is flanked on one side by the river
Tamar, on the other by a small stream, and
this last is still called Gary's Brook, a more
lasting record of departed greatness than any
epitaph on brass or marble. Sir William Pole
traces to this seat of the family the residence
of Sir John Gary and his brother Sir "William
Cary, Kt., who were chosen the county re-
presentatives in the 36th and 42nd years of
Edward III. Sir .John's son, also Sir Joliu
Cary became Lord Chief Baron of the Ex-
chequer ; but liis eldest son, Sir Robert Cary
of Cockington proved a yet more distin-
guished character, for he was stout and chi-
valrous, and in those days the business and
almost amusement of life was Avar, and men

Ci\rvccl at the meal

"With gloves of steel,

And drank the red wine through the Iielniet barrel.

He was moreover no less loyal than
valiant, and being strongly attached to king
Richard II., Avas dispossessed of his lands
by Henry IV., upon tlie triumph of the
Lancasterians. But the estate which he
lost by his fidelity, he Avas destined to re-
gam by liis courage. And thus it happened.
A certain knight-errant of Arragon, being
like the hero of Cervantes, troubled Avith
a passion for fighting and acquiring such
glory as might he avou by killing or muti-
lating those of less tliews and sinews than
himself, passed tlirough A'arious lands, doing
battle AA'ith all avIio could be persuaded to
enter the lists against him. So superior was



he to all in dexterity and strength that he
uniformly came off successful. At length he
arrived in England, and as usual challenged
any man of his rank and condition to make
trial of his A'alour and skill in arms. Sir
Robert accepted the challenge, a fierce battle
took place betAveen tliem inSmithfield, which
terminated in his \-anquisliing the Spaniard.
Henry V., Avho then reigned and held a
stout soldier beyond all other characters,
was so pleased with the result that he gave
him back the greater portion of liis forfeited
lands, authorising him in conformity with
the established laAvs of chiA'alry to bear tlie
arms of the conquered knight ; and they are
still borne by his noble descendants.

Prince, in his Wo?'thies of Devon, says of
this family, " There Avere living, at the same
time, of Carys, — tAvo earls, Monmouth and
Dover ; one viscount, Falkland ; and one
l^aron, Hunsdon ; an honour, Avhich few fami-
lies in England can pretend to."

Tlie present possessor of Follaton Park,
George Stanley Cary, Esq., is the nearest
collateral In-anch of the Carys of Tor Abbey,
Cockington, and Clovelly, in tlie respective
parish churches of whicli places remain many
tombs and monuments of their early ances-
tors. His motlier Avas the eldest daughter
of Gilbert Fane Fleming, Esq., and Lady
Camilla Bennett, sister of Charles, fourth
earl of Tankerville. He himself married
jMatilda, daughter of Sir llicliard Beding-
feld, Bart., of Oxburgh Hall in the county of
Norfolk ; and he is also connected Avith the
noble Catholic families of Stafford, Petre,
Lovat, Clifford, Dillon, Kenmare, and many
others.

The mansion, Avhich is surrounded by some
of the most beautiful DcA'onshire scener}^,
is of old date, but was considerably enlarged
during the early part of the last century by
Edward Cary, Esq., father of the present
proprietor, who several years since employed
Ilepton, the celebrated architect, in making
yet farther additions. The exterior is re-
markable for its pure simplicity, the exten-
sive front being enriclied Avith a double line
of projecting cornices, and a lofty portico of
the Ionic order.

VALE ROYAL ABBEY, Cheshire, the seat
of Lord Delamere. The original building
was a Cistercian monastery, founded by
Prince EdAvard, eldest son of Henry
III., in consequence of a a-ow made
to the Virgin, Avhen in peril of ship-
wreck upon his return from an expedition to
the Holy Land. The old chroniclers tell
the tale romanticall}', yet perliaps Avith no
great exaggeration as to tlie main facts.
"The vow Avas instantaneously accepted,
the vessel righted itself, and Avas miraculously
brought safe into port ; the sailors disem-



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



19



barked, and the prince landed last ; on which
the charm ceased, the vessel divided, and
every fragment of the wreck vanished under
the waters."

The monks, thus established, do not
appear to have bore their faculties, like the
gracious king Duncan, very meekly. In
utter contradiction to the usual monastic
rule, abbot after abbot proved to be sad
oppressors of tlieir dependents, the conse-
quence of which was a perpetual state of
feud between the parties. One rebellion of
the serfs was no sooner put down tlian
another arose, and was followed by the same
results, the battle in this case being uni-
formly to the strong. At length came the
dissolution of monasteries ; and tliougli the
abbot stood boldly upon his defence, it
availed little against Henrv VIII., who
seized upon Vale Eoyal, and gave it to Sir
Thomas Holcroft, an esquire of the body to
the king, and a principal agent in extorting
the deed of surrender. In his family
the estate continued for two genera-
tions, when it was sold in 161G to Mary,
Lady Chohnondeley, widow of Sir Hugh
Cholmondeley, and daughter and sole lieir
of Christopher Holford, of Holford. King
James on his visit here, designated her as
"the bold ladie of Cheshire," a compliment,
no doubt, to her lofty spirit. By her will,
the estate devolved to her fourth son,
Thomas Cholmondeley, Esq., and his heirs
male, in whose line it has remained ever
since ; but so much increased by purchases
at various times, that nearly the whole pro-
perty of Vale Royal Abbey in the parishes
of Over and Wliitegate, with tlie exception
of the granges of Darnell and Ileft'erston, is
now vested in this branch of the family of
Cholmondeley.

'J he present mansion of Vale Eoyal con-
sists of a centre with projecting wings of red
stone ; the right wing is continued behind
the centre. The first story of this continua-
tion is composed of wood and plaster, and
has been added by the Holcrofts. 'J'he
basement of stone seems, from the doors and
windows, to be a fragment of the old abbey.
With the exception of part of one wing
before mentioned, all was rebuilt by the
Holcrofts, in the time of Elizabeth, if we
may judge from the architecture ; since then,
however, everything that bore the semblance
of an abbey has been removed by modern
alterations, though certain monastic names
still continue to be attached to various parts,
such as " the high altar," " the nuns' grove,''
and many others of a similar character.

This building is seated in a deep valley
on the banks of the Weever, now confined
by artificial bounds, but formerly spreading
widely over the ground, which by the
limiting of the water has been converted



into fertile meadow land. The oak too thrives
well in the immediate neighbourhood, being
completely sheltered from the sea breezes.

Thomas Cholmondeley, the founder of the
Vale Royal family, distinguished himself on
the king's side, and paid the usual penalty
of such delinquents; as the Roundheads chose
to call the unlucky cavaliers. So completely
was Vale Royal plundered by the troops of
General Laml^ert, that the family for some
time were glad to support life by the milk of
a white cow, which had accidentally escaped
from the clutches of the soldiers. Whether
the tale be true or not, it is certain
that the race of this animal has been care-
fully preserved, white cows Avith red ears,
of the very same breed, being still kept at
this place. Eventually Thomas Cholmon-
deley managed to compound matters with
the republicans by paying a fine of four
hundred and fifty pounds, and thus atoned
for his so called malignancy. His eldest son,
also a Thomas, was the first of his line that
ever represented the county in parliament,
and appears amongst the benefactors to the
library of Brazenose College, Oxford, where
we may hence infer he had been educated.

As a mere matter of curiositj^, it may be
Avorth while to mention that here are de-
posited certain manuscripts purporting to be
the original prophecies of the plough boy,
Nixon, who had a habit of falling into
trances, and then waking up inspired. Many
strange traditions of liim are still current in
the neighbourhood of Vale Royal, where his
story is implicitly believed. He foreboded
his own death by starvation, and had the
good, or the ill luck to see his prophecy
realized. Beyond this, tlie critics and chro-
niclers cannot at all agree about him. Some
say he lived in the time of James I. ; others
are equally sure that he flourished in the
reign of Edward IV. But whenever he lived ,
it seems pretty clear that although a skilful
prophet, he was so exceedingly stupid in
other matters that all attempts to teach him
anything utterly failed, so that his patrons
were obliged, after many unavailing efforts,
to consign him again to his original occupa-
tion of guiding oxen at the plough.

GAWTHORPE HAIL Burnley, Lancashire,
the seat of Sir James Phillips Kay Shuttle-
worth, Bart., and Janet, his wife, only cliild
and heiress of the late Robert Shuttleworth,
Esq. This mansion was built in 1G05, by
Lawrence Shuttleworth, Esq., in the Eliza-
bethan style of architecture, but there was
one, immediately, before it, the character of
which is not known. At a yet earlier period,
a Manor House, supposed to have been a
castellated structure, with a lofty tower,
stood on the summit of Igliton Hill Pai-k,
which, while it commanded an extensive vicAv



20



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



of the sea and neighbouring valleys, must
have afforded an important post for watching
the marauding Scotch borderers. The pre-
sent Hall has also very much of a castellated
appearance onits northern side, where, indeed,
it closely resembles a border keep. In the
course of years it had suffered considerably
from abandonment and neglect, but it has
recently been restored and decorated under the
superintendence of the celebrated architect,
Charles Barry : the hall, a large wainscoted
room of two stories, has also been used as a
dining-room. The fine oak wahiscot is made
in the same style with that at Levens and
Sizergh, and inlaid in the same manner. The
plaster-work, with deep cornices and a sort of
stalactites from the roof, is rich and entire.
The fire-places are of the original massive
stone-work, each with elevated hearth and
stone-ridges, which make fenders unneces-
sary, and indeed nothing is left for ob-
jection but the exclusion of all external
objects by the height of the Avindows.
In the gallery upon the fourth floor of
the house are the numerous family por-
traits, presenting curious specimens of the
costumes of other days, and some of them
not a little interesting from the events with
which they are connected.

"While the alterations just alluded to were
in progress, a considerable quraitity of gold
coins, — for the most part Spanish and Por-
tuguese, — -were found under the oaken sill
of a window in a panelled bed-room. Some
few, however, were English, the latest date
upon them being 1742, from wliich it lias
been conjectured that they wei-e hidden here
by some adherents of Charles Edward when
the Prince's army passed through Lancashire
in his expedition of 1745.

This estate has experienced none of the
mutations in its owners, which we have so
frequently had to recoi d of other halls and
seats. From the time of Eichard IT. the es-
tate and mansion have never been possessed
even temporarily by any but the family of
Shuttlcworth.

PHILIPHAUGH, Selkirkshire, the seat of
John Nesbitt i\Iurray, Esq., in whose favour
it was resigned by his father, James JMurray,
Esq., in 1849. The old mansion on Pliilip-
haugh was pulled down, and a new house
built in a more romantic spot, in the midst
of a forest of oak copse wood, called Hare-
head wood, overhanging the rugged and rocky
bed of the Yarrow. Tlie architecture is in tlie
old English style with several flights of ter-
races in front. It was first commenced in
1835, upon a small scale, by James JNIurray,
Esq., and still farther enlarged and beautiiied
by liis eldest son, wlio now resides there.

The lauils of Pliiliphaugh were granted by
King James 111., in 14Gl,to John de Moravia,



of Faulohill, whose ancestors, for upwards
of two centuries, made Faulohill their chief
abode. In 1509, the estate of Hangingshaw,
with many others in the county of Selkirk,
was granted by King James IV. to John
JMurray, the celebrated Border Outlaw; a
man of prodigious strength. His residence
was at Newark Tower, a strong castle on the
Yarrow, where, as the old ballad tells us, the
outlaw —

" kepis five hundred men ;

He kepis a royalle cumpanie,
His menymcn arc a' in ae liverye clad,

O' the Linconnc Green sae gayc to see,
He and liis ladyc in purple clad,

O ! gin they lived not voyallie."

The manner of liis getting into tlie royal
grace was quite in character with the rough -
handed Avay of doing things so common in
those times, though in our day it was much
more likely to have ensured him a short
shrift and a high gallows, for as to the King —

" He counted him nought nor a' his coimtry gay."

Hereupon James sent a messenger to say
that he meant to make a widow of his "gaye
ladye," and hang his merry men pair by
pair wherever he could catch them. To
this the outlaw gallantly replied —

" I ken uac King in Christeutie ;
Fl'ae Soudrou I tliis foreste wan,
When the Ivmg nor luiightis were not to see."

"\\1ien, however, he found that the King
was raising all Scotland against him, he
somewhat lowered his tone and said —

" I'll give thee the keys of my castcll,
Wi' the blessing of my gay ladye,

Gin thou'lt make me Sherifl of this foreste,
And a' my offspring after me."

To this compounding of felony the King
agreed, for —

" All the nobilis the King about,
Said pitie it were to see liini dee."

So he was made heritable Sheriff of tlie
county, wliich office was enjoyed by his
successors till the final abolition of such
jurisdictions, in the time of George II. But
in the long run he met with the end that
might have been expected from his violent
course of life, being killed by Scott of
Haining by an arroAV shot from the ruins of
a cottage on the opposite side of Yarrow.
The son of this gallant outlaw, — a word
which, in those days, conveyed no reproach,
— built mansion-houses both at Hangingshaw,
and Pliiliphaugh. The former Avas the chief
scat of the family until 1768, Avhen it Avas
burnt to the groinid and the estate Avas sold.
Philiphaugh itself, along Avith other portions
of the before-mentioned royal grant, is still
enjoyed by tlie direct male representatives



SEATS OF GUEAT BRITAIN.



21



of John de Moravia. The ground so called
is an elevated plain about three miles in
length, and two miles and a half broad,
defended to the northward by the hills
■which separate the Tweed from the Yarrow,
by the river Ettrick in front, and by high
grounds on either flank. It is a remarkable
spot in Scottish history, as having been the
place where the covecanting General Lesley
surprised and defeated the great Montrose.

" On Philiphaugh a fray began,

At Hairhead - woocl it ended.
The Scots out o'er tlie Greemes they ran,
Sae merrily they bended.

" Now let us a' for Lesly pray,

And his brave company !
For they hae vanquishetl great Montrose,

Our cruel enemy."

DODEESHALL, Doddershall, or Doddersal
Hall, Winslow, Buckinghamshire, the seat of
Geo. Grenville Wandesford Figott, Esq. Tlie
first notice of Dodersiiall seems to be in tlie
reign of King John, when it was possessed
by the Cianfords, of Norman extraction. In
1479. Richard Cranford conveyed all his
rights to John le Knight, and Robert Moore,
by whom, iu. or about 150.3, this estate was
passed to Thomas Pigott, Esq., Serjeant-at-
law. The ancestors of this last named
gentleman had migrated out of Yorkshire,
where they had been established soon after
the Norman conquest. Richard Pigott, the
first settler in Pucks, went tliere in tlie suite
of Cicely, Duchess of York, and was Steward
of all the I\Tanors of the great Duke of York
on tliis side of Trent. From tlie Duke lie
obtained the wardship of ]\Iargaret, sole
heiress of John Giffard, and married tlie rich
maiden to his son, Robert Pigott, father of
the learned Serjeant, to whom we have al-
ready referred. Through this Margaret Gif-
fard, the Manor and Rangership of AVhaddon
came to the Figotts. The Serjeant Avas twice
married. DodersluiU descended to his issue by
Elizabeth, his second wife, with remainder
to their son, Thomas Figott, and the heirs
of his body. Amongst the descendants of
Serjeant Pigott, who may be considered
the founder of his i^imily, so far as Pucking-
harashire is concerned, were several charac-
ters that belong to history — Sir Christopher
Pigott, of no little notoriety in his day by
the attack he made in parliament upon the
Scottish nation, — "Let us not," he exclaimed,
_ "join murdereis, thieves, and the roguish
Scots, witli tlie well deserving. Tliey liave
not suftered above two Kings to die in their
beds these two hundred years. Our King
hath barely escaped them. They have
attempted him. Now he is come from
amongst them, let us free him from such
attempts hereafter." The house was too
much astounded Ijy this sudden and furious
attack to take any notice of it at tlie time.



They remained, Ave are told, gazing like men
stupified ; and when they did at last re-
cover themselves, it was to pass on to other
matters. Being, however, in about a day
afterwards stimulated by an angry message
from the King, they at once discovered that
he had been a culpiit in the highest degree,
and maugre all his excuses ordered him off
to the Tower ; dismissing him, at the same
time, from his place as Knight of the Shire
for Buckingham. Here he was confined for
ten days, when, upon his pleading extreme
ill-health, and that death would probably be
the consequence of any prolonged imprison-
ment, he was released by a vote of the house,
though not without a sharp debate upon the
question.

Upon the decease of John Pigott, Esq.,
who possessed this estate in 1751, it Avas
held in jointure by his widow. Christabella.
Not long afterwards she married Richard,
sixth Viscount SaA'e and Sele, retaining
Dodcrshall till her "death, in 1789. It is
supposed, the register of her birth no longer
existing, that she lived to be more than a
hundred years old. In her youth she was
distinguished for her beauty, and at all
periods of her life for wit and cheerfulness,
Avith a strong dash of eccentricity, Avhile her
munificence would seem to have been almost
unbounded. Dancing slie Avas passionately
fond of, even when according to the general
notation she had passed her ninetieth year,
and used to say of herself that " she con-
trived to secure a good partner by an annual
present of a side of venison to a gentleman
Avho danced remarkably Avell ; but she began
to think he seemed to like young ladies
better, and believed she must increase her
bribe to a AAdiole buck that slie might not
lose so agreeable a partner."

Her ladyship was succeeded in the pos-
session of Dodershall by William Figott,
Esq. of Colton in Staflbrdshire, at Avhose
death in 1802 this estate descended to his
son and heir of the same name— William —
Avho Avas Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of
the 3rd Regiment of Local j\lilitia. He died
in 1838, leaving a son and successor, the
present G. G. W. Pigott, Esq.

Dodershall Hall still retains a part of the
old wood and plaster building in the east
front of tlie time of Henry Vill. The an-
cient house enclosed a quadrangle Avith do-
mestic olfices tOAA'ards the north ; and in the
centre of the west front was a portal, Avitli
strongly latticed and studded doors, iu one
of Avhich was a small Avicket, and on the roof
a bell-turret and clocic. The south front, as
we learn from a date on the leaden spouts,
was erected in 1689, and therefore by Thomas
Figott, Esq. It had tAvo AAnngs, both lower
than the main building, and extended to
about 120 feet in length, but in 1790 the



22



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



western wing was taken clown, and other
considerable alterations made so as to leave



Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 1) → online text (page 5 of 79)