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well skilled in such matters, it seems only
reasonable to infer that had it been destroyed
by time, some ruins would liaA'e remamed for
many ages afterwards to attest its former
existence. As this is not the case, one may
conclude that it was pulled dovra to make
way for the mansion of Henry Earl of Hun-
tingdon. This Elizabethan building is sup-
posed to have been completed somewhere
about 1555, and stood for two centuries, till
in 1789 it had become so decayed that the
greater part was taken down. One wing
only was allowed to remain, as a memorial
harmonizing witli the landscape commemo-
rated by Gra)^ On taking down the tapestry
from the walls of a room called " Lady Cob •
ham's chamber," the foUowhig mscription
was discovered above the chimney m alter-
nate lines of black and red : —



Feare the Lohde.
Love tui Neighboue.

SrEKE THE TeUTH.



Obey thi Peixck.
Bewar op Peide.
Beaee no ]Mallis.



Upon the same wall, and not far from the
above apothegms, w-as a garter coarsely de-
picted, with its motto (beneath a coronet) ;
and " withm a figure defaced by cutting away
tlie plaster, the initials J. H. and E. II., and
an mscription in two lines, now nearly obli-
terated. On the opposite wall a garter with
its motto, surmounted l)y a ducal coronet,
the cognizance of the Warwicks, two bears
muzzled, between them a ragged staff, all on
a wreath, and below, the initials E. H. On
the north wall another gartei", coronet, and
maunclie of the Hastings family, faintly
draAvn."

The most curious part of this building is
a fine old kitchen, wiiich in ■Mr. Penn's time



was inhabited by one of his gamekeepers,
and is now used as a racket court. It has a
waggon -roof, and an enormous chimney, a
sufficient voucher for the hospitality of the
olden tunes.

Gray was often a visitor at this mansion,
when inhabited by Lady Cobham, who had
first been induced to seek his acquaintance
from her admiration of his Elegy in a Country
Churchyard. At that time the poet was
accustomed to spend liis summer vacations
from Cambridge with his mother and aunt,
at a cottage about a mile distant from the
mansion-house, which he has thus graphi-
cally described in his Long Story: —

"In Britain's isle, no mattei' "where,
An ancient pile of building stands ;
The Huntingdons .and Hattons there
Employed the power of fairy hands,

" To i-aise tlie ceiling's fretted height,
Each panncl in achievements clotliing,
Rich wuidows that exclude the light,
.\nd passages that lead to nothing."

Gray was buried m the churchyard here,
and there havmg been no uiscription upon
his tomb, John Penn, Esq., erected a hand-
some monument to his memory in a field
adjoinmg. It consists of a large stone sar-
cophagus, supported on a square pedestal,
and liaving on each side an inscription. Tliree
of these are from the Elegy and the Ode on
a distant Prosjyect of Eton College ; the fourth
runs as follows : —



This monument in honour of

THOMAS GRAY,

Was erected, A.n., 1799,

Among the scenery

Celebrated by that great Lyric and Elegiac Pott.

He died in 1771,

And lies unnoticed in the adjouihig churchyard ;

Under the tombstone

On Tvhich he piously and iiathetically

Recorded the interment

Of his aimt and lamented mother.



The view from this mommient may per-
haps be somewhat limited, but on a calm
summer's evening it is one of singular beauty.
Nor must the near churcliyard be forgotten
in the account. There is somethmg, it must
be 0A\med, mipleasant to the e3"e and heart
in these receptacles for " dirt and rottenness"
Avlien placed amidst the streets of a crowded
city ; they seem as it were to stand in the
way of life and its hundred occupations ; but
it is difiercnt in a scene like this, where the
profound stillness that reigns around oflers
nothing to disturl) the ideas that naturally
arise from the vicinity of the grave. Here,
too, the charm is heightened by the connec-
tion between the memorial of the poet, and
the churchyard to Avhich his Elegy has im-



parted

words,



a lasting interest. In his own



SEATS OF GREAT BRITAIN.



223



"Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,

Oft have -we seen him at the peep of dawn,
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn."



The present mansion, which is chiefly of
brick covered with stucco, was commenced
in 1789, upon a site suggested by Field-
Marshal Sir George Howard, of Stoke
Place. Mr. NasmitTi at first superintended
the building, but it was afterwards com-
pleted by Mr. James Wyatt. It consists of
a large square centre, with four wings. The
north front has a colonnade of ten Doric
columns, and is approached by a flight of
steps leadmg to the marble hall. The south
front has a colonnade of twelve fluted
columns, belonging to that ancient Doric
order, presented to us in the ruins of the
Temple of Psestum in Calabria. Above
this rises a projecting portico of four Ionic
columns, sustaining an ornamental pedi-
ment. The marble hall above alluded to, is
of the oval form, and contains four marble
busts upon Scagliola pedestals, in imitation
of different coloured marbles. The entire
south front, exclusive of its Avings, is
occupied by a library, one hundred aud
twenty-six feet long, containing a number of
works, valuable eitber from their subjects or
their variety. In the various rooms are
many pictures from the hands of the best
masters, and other works of art.

The grounds about the mansion are well
wooded, and the surface is sufficiently
diversified by gentle undulations, although
not pretending to a character of boldness.
Two canals, supplied by a running brook,
form a handsome sheet of water that winds
around the house upon the south and east
fronts. The plantations were laid out by
Repton, but modernized by Richmond. The
pleasure-grounds were chiefly created by
Mr. Penn, who formed at no great distance
from the house a flower-garden, after the
manner pointed out by jMason in his poem
of the " English Garden." Here he built a
temple-seat with Ionic columns, designed
from an old Greek temple still to be seen on
the banks of the Ilyssus. The walks are
adorned, too, by numerous busts and urns
placed along their sides.



POULTON HAIL, Cheshu-e, five miles south
of Birkenhead, and eleven from Chester, the
seat of Thomas Green, Esq. 'WTien Wil-
liam the Norman conquered England, it
woidd seem that he granted Poulton to Os-
born Fitz Tezzon, the founder of the family
of Boidele, or Boydell, so far as this country
is concerned. At what precise period the
Lancel}ms came into possession of Poulton
is very doubtful ; all that can be said with



any certamty upon the subject is, that the
confirmation of Bebington Avas included in
the same charter as that of Poulton, and it is
beyond, question, that Bebington was pos-
sessed by their ancestors even before 1093.
In that year, Hugh Lupus and his Coun-
tess, the Lady Ermentrude, are found
confirming a donation of the chapel of
Bebmgton made by ScAvard de Lancelyn. It
is not improbable that this last-named place
formed originally a part of Poulton.

The male line of the Lancelyns came to an
end with William Lancelyn, in Avhat precise
year we are unable to say, but it must have
been after 1540, since at that time he was still
livmg. Elizabeth, his only daughter, married
Randle Green, or Greene, who sprang from
the knightly family of that name, settled at
Greoi's Norton, in Northamptonshire. Early
m the reign of Queen Elizabeth (1650) this
lady, m conjunction AAdth her husband, levied
a fine upon Poulton Lancelyn, as Avell as
upon some other estates, amongst which
Nether Bel)ington was included.

In 1751, the male line of the Greens also
came to a termination, Edward Green being
the last male heir, Avhen Poulton passed to
his sister, Priscilla, wife of John Parnell,
Esq. At her death, Priscilla bequeathed
these lands to the family of the present pos-
sessor, who was related to her through a
female Ime.

Some remains of the castle, built in the
olden tune, by Seward de Lancelpi, might
have been traced for a long time after its
general decay or destruction, till they were
finally obliterated m the course of certain
alterations in the grounds. It stood on an
eminence overhanging the valley, and de-
fended on either side by deep ravines, while
a deep mere, formed by the tide beloAv, added
yet more to its security. This mere, which
exists no longer, was no doubt the cause of
the township and the adjacent raeadoAvs being
called by corruption Marford, the ford, that
is of the mere, originally pronounced ac-
cording to its olDvious derivation, mare. A
farther proof of such a water having once
floAved here is to be seen at the upper end of
the vale in the impression left by its Avaves
upon the rocks.

The old manor house stood within the area
of the castle, at a short distance from the
present hall. Upon the completion of the
new edifice, in the latter part of Queen
Aime's reign, the manorial building was oc-
cupied as a farm-house, till about twenty
j-ears ago, when it was pulled doA\Ti.

Poulton Hall is situated upon a slight
eminence, above the most beautiful portion of
the A'alley, embosomed in the thickest foliage.
The prospect it commands is no less delight-
ful than extensiA^e, and of a A'ery diflerent
character from the usual run of scenery in



224



SExVTS OF GUEAT BRITAIN.



Cheshire. Mucli, too, has been done by tlie
present owner for the unprovemcnt of tlie
house, which m 1846 was consideral^ly en-
larged by him. It contains a good library,
besides a few valuable pauitings, by the best
of the old masters, and a number of family
portraits, some mterestmg from the persons
represented, and others scarcely less so from
the skill and reputation of the artists who
have been employed upon them.

The vale at its extreme point takes a bold
semicircular sweep round the upper part of
the Poulton district, and at a short distance
from the hall itself unites with a second dale,
that passes to the Suttons through Phlmyard.
The boundary of this township, and of Brom-
borough, is formed by the conjoined rivulets
of the two valleys, which, feeling the influence
of the tide when they have got about half-a-
mile from tlie mansion, fall into a creek at
Bromborough Bridge, and then present so
deep a Avater as to be navigable up to the
Mersey. Here again is a third dell, stretch-
ing out towards the Avest, dividing the town-
ship from Nether Bebington by a natural
and picturesque boundary.



HATFIELD, Herts, the seat of the Mar-
quess of Salisbury. One of the possessions
of the Saxon King Edgar, Hatfield, was con-
ferred by that monarch upon the monks of
Ely, who held it at the time of the Domes-
day Survey, and until their foundation was
converted into a bishopric by Henry I.,
when it became a residence of the richly-
endowed prelates of that see, and was thence-
forward designated Bishop's Hatfield. In
the Wars of the Roses, the house appears to
have fallen to decay, was rebuilt in the time
of Henry VII. by Bishop Morton, and sub-
sequently was exchanged by Bishop Godrick,
for other lands, with Henry VIII. It was
then assigned as the dwelling-place of Prince
Edward, who was living there at the decease
of his father, and was escorted thence to
London by his uncle, the Earl of Hertford,
pi'eviously to his coronation. During the
last few months of Edward's reign, his sister,
the Lady Elizabeth, kept her state at Hat-
field, and, from the expenses of her house-
hold, it would appear, with no small cost
and splendour. At a subsequent period,
after her imprisonment at Woodstock, her
Highness obtained permission to reside once
more at this favourite abode, under the
guardianship of Sir Thomas Pope, the pious
founder of Trinity College, Oxford, who not
only extended to her the kindest care and
most respectful attention, but devised, at his
own cost, sports and pastimes for her amuse-
ment. " The fetters in which he held her,"
says Agnes Strickland, "were more like
flowery wreaths flung lightly around her, to



attach her to a bower of royal pleasaunce,
than aught which might remind her of the
stern restraints by which she Avas sur-
rounded dvu'ing her incarceration in the
Tower, and subsequent sojourn at Wood-
stock." Of the pageantry which graced
Elizabeth's court at Hatfield, a contempo-
rary MS. has handed doAvn the following
quaint description : — In Shrovetide, 1556,
Sir Thomas Pope made the Ladie Ehzabeth,
all at his owncostes, a greate and rich mask-
inge in the great halle at Hatfelde ; Avher
the pageants were marvellously furnished.
Tliere were there tAvelve minstrels, antickly
disguised ; with forty-six or more gentlemen
and ladies, many of them knights or nobles,
and ladies of honour, apparelled in crimsin
satten embrothered uppon Avith Avrethes of
golde, and garnished Avith bordures of hang-
ing perle. And the dcAase of a castell of
clothe of gold, sett with pomegranates about
the battlements, Avith shields of knights
hanging tlierefrom, and six knights in rich
harneis turneyed. It night, the cuppboard
in the halle Avas of twelve stages, mainlie
furnished Avith garnish of gold and silver
vessels and a banket of seventie dishes, and
after a voidde of spices and suttleties Avith
thirty sjjyse plates, all at the chardgis of
Sir Thomas Pope ; and the next day, the
play of Holophornes ; but the Queen
jMary percase misliked these folleries, as
by her letters to Sir Thomas Pope, hit
did appear, and so their disguisinge Avas,
ceased." In the following year, we learn
from another ancient Avriter that " the fair
Princess Avas escorted from Hatfield to
Enfield chase, by a retinue of tAveh^e ladies,
clothed in wliite satin on ambling palfreys,
and twenty yeomen in green, all on horse-
back, that her Grace miglit hunt the hart.
At entering the chase or forest, she was met
by fifty archers in scarlet boots and yelloAV
caps, armed with gilded bows ; one of whom
presented her a silver-headed arrow winged
with peacock's feathers. Sir Thomas Pope
had the devising of this shew. At the close
of the sport, her Grace Avas gratified with
the privilege of cuttmg the buck's throat.

When Queen Mary visited her sister at
Hatfield, Elizabeth adorned her great state
chamber, for Her Majesty's reception, whh
a sumptuous suit of tapestry, representing
the siege of Antioch, and had a play per-
formed after supper by the choir boys of St.
Paul's : at the conclusion of which one of
the children sang, and was accompanied on
the virginals liy no meaner musician than
the Princess herself.

Thus it was that amid tlie peaceful enjoy-
ments of this favourite retreat, Elizabeth
passed the four years preceding her acces-
sion to the throne. That event took place
on the 17tli of November, 1558, and Avas pro-



SEATS OF Gl!r,AT BUITATN.



225



claimed on the 19th, with much pomij, before
the gates of Hatfield. For this ancient man-
sion, which had so long and so agreeably
sheltered her in her adversity, Her Majesty
seems to have ever retained tlie greatest par-
tiality, and during Jier reign it remained
vested in the crown. At her decease,
however, her successor. King James, ex-
changed it with Sir Robt. Cecil for the palace
of Theobalds, and thenceforward it has con-
tinued uninterruptedly in the possession of
the noble family of Salisbury. Sir Robert
Cecil, with whom tlie Kmg made the ex-
change, was tlie youngest son of William
Cecil, Lord Burghley, Queen Elizabeth's
celebrated High Treasurer, and became him-
self, as Secretary Cecil, one of the most dis-
tinguished statesmen of his time.

He was styled b}^ liis royal mistress,
Elizabeth, " tlie staff of her declining age,"
and so highly esteemed by King James,
that His Majesty created liim successively
Baron Cecil, Viscount Cranbourne, and Earl
of Salisbury, conferred on Iiim the blue
ribbon of the Garter, and finally appointed
him Lord High Treasurer of England.
About the period he recei^ed this high ap-
pointment, his lordship laid the fuundatious
of the present mansion of Hatfield, which he
finished in 1611, in a style of equal splen-
dour with that of Burghley, which his
father had raised in the preceding reign.
Brief, however, was his term of enjoy-
ment of the princely edifice he had erected.
The year after its completion, worn out
by the cares of state, he died at Marl-
borough, in Wiltshire, on his way to
London, and was interred at Hatfield under
a stately monument. Fortune and merit
elevated this, the great Earl of Salisbury, to
the first place in the country; yet how
striking an example do the closing years of
his life ofter of the vanity of all human
greatness ! In his last illness, he was heard
to say to Sir William Cope, " Ease and
pleasure quake to hear of death ; but my
life, full of cares and miseries, desireth to
be dissolved." He had some years pre-
viously (1603) addressed a letter to Sir
James Harrington, the poet, in pretty much
the same tone. " Good knight,'' saith the
minister, " rest content, and give heed to
one that hath sorrowed in the bright lustre
of a court, and gone heavily on even the
best seeming fair ground. 'Tis a great task
to prove one's honesty, and yet not mar
one's fortune. You have tasted a little there-
of in our blessed Queen's time, wJio was
more than a man, and, in truth, sometimes
less than a woman. I wish I waited now in
your presence chamber, witli ease at my
food and rest in my bed. 1 am pushed from
tlie shore of comfort, and know not where
the winde and waves of a court will bear me.



I know it bringetli little comfort on earth ;
and he is, I reckon, no wise man that looketh
this way to heaven." At his lordship's
death, Hatfield and his other extensive pos-
sessions devolved on his son, William, second
Earl of Salisbury', and have since descended,
in unbroken succession, to his present noble
and worthy representative, James, j\[arquess
of Salisbury, who, on inheriting the family
title and estates, restored his seat of Hat-
field to its primitive grandeur, uniting, at
great expense, the two parks, Avhich had be-
fore been separated by the Great North
Road.

The house, which is a fine specimen of the
domestic architectuie of the period of its
erection, is situated in a demesne of con-
siderable extent, Avatered by the river Lea,
and sheltered on the north by stately avenues
of elms and oaks of venerable growth. The
building is constructed of brick and stone,
in the shape of an oblong, surmounted by a
lofty clock tower, with wings projecting
from tlie south front. Hanked at tlieir corners
with square towers. Along the whole length
of the front runs a Doric colonnade, sup •
porting a gallery, divided into two equal
parts by a frontispiece of three stories, in
the Doric, Ionic, and Corintliian orders. In
the third story is a stone shield, with the
quartered arms of Cecil thereon sculptured,
encircled by a garter, and supported by two
lions, and the family motto, " Sero sed serio."
The interior, with its baronial hall, its
sumptuous gallery, its costly pictures, and
its royal apartments, vies in magnificence
with the splendid exterior. In June, 1800,
this noble residence was graced once again
with the presence of royalty, on the oc-
casion of George the Third's reviewing the
yeomanry and volunteer force of Hertford-
shire in Hatfield Park.

ST. PIERRE, CO. Monmouth. I\Ionmout]i-
shire may be justly considered the con-
necting link lietween England and Wales,
uniting as it does the scenery, manners, and
language of both, and partaking of the beauty
of each. The birth-place of the most re-
nowned of the Plantagenets— " Plarry of
Monmouth," — the hero of Agincourt, this
picturesque county has many pleasing as-
sociations connected with it. and is sur^Das-
singly rich in monastic remains. ^Vt the
present day, numerous '' stately homes " are
scattered over its fair expanse ; all attrac-
tive from the natural beauty of the district,
and several remarkable for their architectural
grandeur, or their former celebrity. Among
the latter we may mention Tredegar, Clytha,
Llanwern, Ijlantarnam, Court-field, Troy
House, and St. Pierre. St. Pierre stands
at a short distance from the Severn, nearly
half a mile from tlie high road leading to

G G



226



SEATS OF GIIRAT Rr.ITAIX.



Chepstow. It is an ancient structure, much
altered and modernized, but still bearing
marks of the period of its erection, which
appears to have been in the fourteentli cen-
tury. The old gateway, a gothic portal
flanked by two pentagon embattled turrets,
still lemains, and is evidently a part of the
castellated mansion of feudal times :

The broad brown oak
Stretches its ancient arms, and length of shade,
High o'er the nearer plens ; and the iviUl asli
Hangs wavering on tlie upland croft, whose ridge,
AVith distant sheei), amid the goss and fern,
Is dotted: gleams of momentary light
Shoot o'er the long retiring sands, and fall
Direct upon the battlement and tow'rs
Of St. Pierre's moiddering castle.

The first Norman lord of the estate was,
in all probability, LTkii:n de St. PiEKiiE.
In 1764, two curious sepulchral stones were
discovered, in laying the foundation of a
building adjoining the house, and are now
deposited in the church porch.

On one of these stones is carved a plain
cross and a sword, with an inscription round
the verge in old French rhyme :

lei git le cors v de sene pcre
Preez pnr li en bore manere ;
Qe Jesupiir sa pasinn,
De phecez li done pardun.

Amen, R. P.

" Here lies the body of Urien St. Pierre ;
pray devoutly for his soid ; that Jesus, for
las passion's sake, would give him pardon
for his sins."

The other stone being exactl}'- of the same
size and shape, is supposed to have been a
partner to the former ; it contains no in-
scription, but bears the tigure of a hand
holding a cross, the stem of which is orna-
mented with rude figures, representing three
falcons, a dragon, and a lion. Above the
cross is a vacant space for a coat of arms
with ten pellets or bezants.

Dr. ]\lilles, late Dean of Exeter, con-
cludes, from the sculpture and inscriptions,
that these stones were about the age of
Edward I., and suppose the words c(n's v. to
be corsu, the old French term for body.
Others conjecture with great probability
that V is intended for Urien, and that it is
the tomb of Urien St. Pierre, Knt. Ac-
cording to Dugdale, he lived in the reign of
Henry III., and died 1239, leaving by his
wife ]\fargaret a son, Urien de St. Pierre,
then sixteen years of age. He was also a
knight, and left issue John de St. Pierre, 8th
Edward III., who was probably the last male
heir of that line ; for Isabella de St. Pierre,
his sister and heiress, about .oOth Edward
ni., was married to Sir AValter Cokesey,
who died Gth Henry IV. About this period,
David, son of Philip ap Lewellin, was pos-
sessor of St. Pierre ; but whether it de-



volved on him by purchnsc or by marriage,
there are no documents to determine. Philip
ap Lewellin, founder of the line of Lewis of
St. Pierre. Avas a younger son of Lewellin,
Lord of St. Clere, co. Carmarthen', Avho be-
came Lord of Tredegar, by m.arrying An-
gharad, daughter of Sir Morgan Meredith.
The succession has contin'^ied in an uninter-
rupted line from the first settlement of David
ap Philip at St. Pierre to the present time.

The ferry over the new passage, which
is certainly not less ancient than that over
the old passage, has from time immemorial
belonged to the Lewises of St. Pierre. An
interesting incident in the life of Charles I.,
occasioned its suppression by Oliver Crom-
Avell. The king being pursued by a strong
party of the enemy, rode through Shire
Newton, and crossed the SeA'ern to Chisell
Pile, on the Gloucestershire side. The boat
had scarcely returned before a corps of
about sixty republicans followed him to the
P)lack Rock, and instantly compelled the
boatmen, Avith draAvn swords, to terry them
across. The boatmen, who were Royalists,
left them on a reef called the English
stones, which is separated from the Glou-
cestersliire shore by a lake fordable at
loAv water; but as the tide, which had just
turned, floAved in with great rapidity, they
were all drowned in attempting to cross.
CroniAvell, informed of this event, abolished
the ferry, and it Avas not renewed till 1718.
The renewal occasioned a law-suit between
the fiimily of St. Pierre and the Duke of
Beaufort's guardians. In the course of tlie
suit, several witnesses were called, and de-
positions taken, before a commission of the



Online LibraryBernard BurkeA visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain (Volume 1) → online text (page 50 of 79)