Bernard Burke.

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

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our limits compel us merely to record, that,
m the Wars of the Roses, the Lucys arrayed
themselves under the banner of the house of
York, and that at the battle of Stoke, Ed-
mund Lucy commanded a division of the
royal army. His great-grandson. Sir
Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, Avho rebuilt,
1 Queen Elizabeth, the manor house Avith
brickas it now stands, was an actiA'e justice of
the peace, and sat in Parliament as member
for his native shire. His persecution of
Shakspeare has, however, attached more
notoriety to his name than any of the honours
he enjoyed. The vmdictive spirit of the
knight, roused b}^ the lampoons of the bard,
compelled Shakspeare to abandon the plea-
sant baidvs of the Avon and to wander away
to London, Avhere he liecame an actor and a
play-Avriter ; and thus Stratford lost an in-



different woolcomber, and the world gained
an immortal poet. From Sir Thomas, Avho
figures ill the " Merry Wives of Wmdsor," as
Justice Shallow, the lands of Charlecote de-
scended, in the course of time, to George
Lucy, Esq., High Sheriff of Warwickshire in
1769, but with him the male line expired in
1786, when his extensive property devolved
on the Rev. John Hammond, grandson of
the Eev. John Hammond and Alice his wife,
daughter of Sir Fulke Lucy. This gentleman
assumed by sign manual, in 1787, the sur-
name and arms of LuCY, and was grandfixther
of the present Henry Spencer Lucy, Esq.
of Charlecote.

The manor house of this worshipful
family was erected, as we have already stated,
by Sir Thomas Lucy, the alleged prosecutor
of Shakspeare, and may be considered a tine
specimen of the residence of a wealthy coun-
try gentleman in the days of Elizabeth. It
stands in a luxuriant and extensive park,
shaded by deep and lofty woods, ornamented
by the graceful windings of the Avon, and
enlivened with herds of deer. Within the
demesne, immediately south of the house, the
river Hele, which rises at Edgehill, floAvs
beneath a beautiful Rialto bridge, and drops
into the neighbourmg stream.

A local poet, Jago, thus refers to the
Lucys' seat :

. . . . " CliM'lecote's fuir domain,
A\Tiere Avon's sportive stream delighted strays
Thro' tlie gay smiling meads, and to his bed
Ilele's gentle current woos, by Lucy's band
In every graceful ornament attired,
iVnd ■wortiiier such to share Ids liquid realms."

The mansion m its principal front still pre-
serves its antique grandeur, notwithstanding
some alterations have taken place. The ma-
terial is brick with stone dressings, and its
plan, that of a spacious centre, Avith two pro-
jectmg wings. The stone porch of entrance
is elaborately ornamented : over the door
appear the arms of Queen Elizabeth, and on
the svunmit of the whole, at the angles, the
Royal Supporters represented sittuig, each
with an upright banner ui his claws — in com-
memoration of her jMajesty's visit to Charle-
cote, in her royal progress from Kenihvorth
Castle. The four principal angles of the pile
are flanked each by a lofty octagonal turret
with a cupola and gilt vane.

The gateway is an imitation of the ancient
barbican ; the great hall, that noble feature in
an old manor-house, retahis much of the ap-
pearance of the sixteenth century, and the ar-
morial bearings emblazoned on the stained
glass windows, the wide hospitable fireplace,
and thearchcd and lofty ceilmgs, all recall the
days of feudal festivity.

WENTWORTH CASTLE, co. York, the seat
of Frederick William Thonuis Vernon
Wentworth, Esq. Weutworth Castle has

peculiar claims to a leading position
among the seats of England, from its
being situated in the great county of
York, and from its being still possessed
by a branch of the historic family of Went-
worth. It stands on the site of the old
hall of Stainborough, and was erected about
tlie year 1730 by Thomas Weutworth, first
Earl of Strafford, of the second creation.

Stainborough, Avhose name is almost for-
gotten in that of Wentworth Castle, was
purchased from the Everhighams at the
close of the sixteenth century, by the Cut-
lers, a family which, like so many others,
owed its rise to the profession of the law,
for all accounts concur in representing the
first John Cutler as Antient-Bearer to Sir
Nicholas Wortley. His grandson. Sir Ger-
vase Cutler, made two fortunate marriages ;
the first, with Elizabeth, coheiress of Sir
John Bentley, Kt., of Rolleston, in Stafford-
shire ; and the second, with one of the fair
daughters of John, Earl of BridgeAvater.
Tins latter alliance AA'as solemnised in 1633,
the year befoie the ^Masque of Comus Avas
presented by the lady's brothers and sisters
in the castle of LudloAV, and is commemo-
rated in some elegant verses by Abraham
France, the poet. Brief, hoAvever, Avas the
term of happiness that aAvaitedthe nuptials;
the civil AA-ar broke out ; Sir Gervase ar-
rayed himself under the royal banner,
raised a considerable force at his OAvn ex-
pense, and conveyed the family plate to
Pontefract to be coined for the lung's ex-
chequer. He there died in 1645, leaving
bis widoAV at eight-and-tA\-enty Avith a large
family and in much distress. Her son, the
second Sir GerA-ase Cutler, of Stainborough,
Avas not of a disposition to prop up the
falling fortunes of his house. He is stated
to haA'e been of extraA-agant and dissolute
habits ; but tradition has not handed doAvn
of him so sad a history as of his relative
and neighbour Sir William Reresby, of
Thrybergli, Avho staked and lost on a single
main his beautiful demesne of Dennaby.
Sir Gervase left but little to a A^ery nume-
rous family, and his descendants, who
througli his mother, the Lady I\Iagdalene
Egerton, Avere in direct line from the Tu-
dors and Plantagenets, sank into absolute
obscurity. About the period of his decease,
Avhich occurred in 1705, Stainborough Avas
sold to Tiiomas Wentwortli, Lord Raby, a
nobleman highly distinguished as a military
and diplomatic character in the reigns of
AVilliam III. and Queen Anne, and remem-
bered as the principal English Minister at
the treaty of Utrecht. His grandfather,
Sir William WentAVorth, of Ashby, in Lin-
colnshire (avIio fell at JMarston i\loor), Avas
brother of Thomas AVcutworth, the memo-
rable and ill-fated Earl of Strafford.



The purchaser of Stainborough, ou his
retu-ement from public Hfe, spent most of
his time there, rebuilding the mansion m
great splendour, and ornamenting it with
enlarged and beautified grounds. lie intro-
duceci many valuable paintings he had pur-
chased while abroad, and Stainborough,
under its ne^Y appellation of Wentworth,
assumed a far grander appearance than even
in the best times of its former owner. His
son and successoi*, William, second Earl of
Strafford, erected the east front in 1770,
rendering the present castle, with its noble
apartments, its sumptuous galleries, its
sylvan park, its verdant plains and exquisite
gardens, one of the finest seats in Yorkshire.
The interior of this stately pile accords well
with its outward grandeur. The right side
of the hall opens to a drawing-room forty
feet by twenty-five. The chimney-piece,
supported by two pillars of Sienna marble
wreathed with white, has a striking effect.
The dining-room measures tweut^'-five feet
by thirty, and the gallery, to which a hand-
some and lofty staircase conducts, is one of
the most magnificent in England, one hun-
dred and eighty feet long; by twenty-four
broad and thirty high. From the platform
of grass within the castle wall, a splendid
prospect presents itself on all sides, and in
the centre of the court stands a statue of
Thomas, Earl of Strafford, tlie pui chaser of
the estate. The third and last Earl, Frede-
rick Thomas Wentworth, died at his seat
Henbury, hi Dorsetshire, in 1799, leaving his
sister his heiress. That lady, Augusta Hat-
field Kaye, wife of John Hatfield Kaye, Esq.
of Hatfield Hall, in Yorkshire, bequeathed
by her will, dated 22nd April, 1801, Went-
worth Castle, &c., to the Right Hon. Thomas
Conolly and his issue male, and in default,
to Frederick William Thomas Vernon, Esq.,
grandson of Henry Vernon, Esq., of Hilton
Park, CO. Stafi'ord, by the Lady Henrietta
Wentworth, his wife, third daughter of Tho-
mas, Earl of Strafford. I\Ir. Vernon even-
tually inherited the estates, and having
assu'med the additional surname of Went-
worth, is their present possessor.

Little of historical recollection dwells
about the spot, and of romance, nothing.

The following remarkable discovery, which
was made at the foundation of the present
house, is narrated in tlie papers of Wilson of
Bromhead : —

" When Lord Strafford was making the
south front, the workmen, in digging the
foundations in 17(32 or 1763, found a square
place walled round like a grave, in which lay
a man in armour, which being touched fell to
ashes. ]\Iy lord sent some of the armour to
the Royal Society and Mr. Walpole, who
judged by the form that it was of the ago of
the Conquest, ^ly lord showed me two

pieces of the armour, which was made of
wire and studded with silver, one of which
he gave me, with two pieces of the cloth,
one thicker than the other, and some of
the bones."

GUY'S CLIFFE, Warwickshire, about a mile
and a half from the town of Warwick, and
not far from Leamington, the seat of the
Hon. Charles Bertie Percy, a magistrate, and
at one time liigh sheriff for the county.

This, which is an immense cliff" on the
western side of the Avon, was chosen by
Saint Dubritius, hi the time of the Britons,
for a place of occasional retirement and de-
votion, his episcopal seat being in the to^vn
of Warwick. Here he built an oratory dedi-
cated to Saint IMary Magdalene, "to which,"
says Camden, " long after in the Saxons' days
did a devout heremite repair, who finding the
natural rock so proper for his cell, and the
pleasant grove, wherewith it is backed,
yielding entertainment fit for solitude, seated
himself here." To this same spot also came
the redoubted G-uy, Earl of Warwick, whose
final story has been told not only in verse
and by romancers, but by solid chronicler's
and grave antiquaries. The story in l)rief
is this : Guy, who like most of his brethren
in the trade of knight-errantry, had much to
answer for, bethinks himself at last that it is
time to repent and amend, for which purpose,
according to the most approved fashion of
his day, he sets out upon a tedious pilgrim -
age. On his return to Britain, he finds the
country being harassed by Danish invaders,
so that there was scarce a town or castle
that they had not burnt or destroyed almost
as far as 'Winchester. Inthe midst of their suc-
cess these ferocious mvaders proposed to King
Athelstan three things : either that he should
resign his crown to the Danish generals ; or
should hold the realm of them ; or that the
dispute should be ended m a single combat
by a champion of either side, when if the
Dane was beaten, his countrymen would free
England from their presence ; but if he pre-
vailed, then the country without more ado
should be given up in sovereignty to the
Danes. Athelstan accepted the last of these
propositions, but not one of his court felt
hiclined to match himself with the formidable
giant, Colbrand, the elected champion of the
Danes. At this crisis Guy appears in his pal-
mer's weeds, and is, with some difficidty, per-
suaded by the King to undertake the combat.
What it was that induced Athelstan to place
his fate and that of his kingdom in that of a
wayworn, uukno'mi pilgrim, is not explained
by the chronicler, but the romancer unties
the knot by the usual expedient in such
cases. — Athelstan had a vision instructing
him to trust his defence to the first pilgrim
he should meet at the entrance of his palace.



The day of battle arrives, when the two
combatants meet in the valley of Chilte-
cumbe. Guy appears in the custoniary
armour of a knight, but his adversary, tlie
giant Colbrand, comes to the field with
weapons enough to supply a whole host ;
he was " so Aveightilj^ harnessed that his
liorse could scarce carry him, and before him
a cart loaded with Danish axes, great clubs
with knobs of iron, squared bars of steel,
lances, and iron hooks to pull his adversary
to him." At this sight, notwithstanding his
valour, Guy began to quake, or, as the ro-
mancer emphatically exclaims —

"Never he was n' as so sore afcard sitli theu he vras

It would seem, however, as m the ease of the
renowned French marshal, that it was his
body, and not his soul Avhich was afraid, for
lie fought his battle right gallantly under
every disadvantage. His horse is killed, his
shield cleft in two, and his sword broken, but
he makes a prayer to the Virgin, and snatch-
ing up an axe cuts off the giant's arm, avIio
for all that " held out the combat till the
evening of that day," when he fainted from
loss of blood, and Guy incontinently smote
off his head.

Having thus achieved the victory, and re-
fusing all rewards and honours, he goes in
his pilgrim's weeds to Warwick, wheie he
" for three days together took almes at the
hands of his own lady, as one of those xiii.
poor people unto which she da}dy gave relief
herself." He then, without discovering him-
self, retreats to the hermit on the cliif, whom
he daily visits till the old man's death, when
he took possession of his cell, and remained
till as he himself says in the old ballad —

" At the last I fell sore sicke,

Yea sicke so soi'c that I must dye ;
I scut to her (Felice) a ring of golde
By which she knew me presently.

Then she repairintj to the cave
Before that I gave up the ghoste ;

Herself closed up my djing eyes,
My Phelis faire, wliom I loved most."

The last is a very necessary saving clause in
favour of his wife Felice ; for the good knight
had tlie prevaiUug sin of all his class, that of
being somewhat miscellaneous in his aficc

"At the greeiiTvood tree a vow made he,
But lie kept it very ill ;
A vow made he of chastity,
But he kept it very 01."

All this, however, was forgiven to him Ijy
the Avorld in consideration of his valour in
battle, and his piety towards his latter end
when he Avas no longer fit for fighting ; it
being the rule of those days that a good
knight should take u]) the palmer's staff when
he was unable to wield the sword. So higli
indeed was his repute, that the rock where
he resided Avas called after him Gin/s CUffe,

a name which it has retained to the present

Other hermits succeeded, though of far
inferior note, and it is even said that Henry
V. had au intention of founding a chantry
here for two priests, had he not been antici-
pated in his purpose by death. —

" Tlic flighty purpose never is o'ertook
Tiiless tlic deed go with it."

At a later period, a similar fancy took
Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, who
" bearing a great devotion to the place, —
whereupon there stood nothing but a small
chapel, and a cottage in which the heremite
dwelt, — in 1- K. C. he obtained a license to
do the like, s. e , for two priests, which shall
sing mass in the chapel there daily for the
good estate of him the said earl and his wit'e
during their lives, and afterwards for the
health of their souls, and the souls of all their
parents and friends, with all the faitlifid de-
ceased." This chapel is a plain Gothic
edifice, of irregular architecture, but in good
repair, though now diverted from its origmal
purpose, the monks' cells having been con-
A'erted hito stables. At a few yards from it
is the Avell Avhere tradition says the hermit -
warrior used to quench his thirst ; and from
the solid rock, on which the building abuts,
stands out a colossal statue of Guy carved
by order of the founder. It is noAV in a very
dilapidated state, partly owing to the effects
of time, and partly to the rough treatment it
received from Cromweirs soldiers, Avho had
little affection for saints or hermits, whether
m stone or in the body.

Amongst the chantry-priests who in suc-
cession resided here, Ave must not omit to
mention John Hous, the celebrated anti-
quary of Warwickshire. At the dissolution
of the monasteries, this endoAvment of course
shared the general fate of all such insti-
tutions in bemg broken up and seized as a
prey by the spoiler. Henry VIH. then
granted it to AndrcAv Flammock, of Flam-

About the middle of the eighteenth cen-
tury this estate (after being possessed by a
family of Edwards) passed to Samuel Great-
heed, Esq., aaIio built a new residence upon a
somcAvhat contracted scale. Great additions
Avere subsequently made by his son, and in
1818 the Avestern'fVont, towards the avenue,
Avas completely altered from its original cha-
racter, so as to make it harmonize Avith tlie
rest of the building. It is noAV a large and
commodious as Avell as handsome mansion,
standing upon the Avestern bank of the river

Guy's Cliffe came to its present OAAnier
fhrough his marriage Avith Anne Caroline
Greatheed, granddaughter and heir of the
late Bertie Bertie Greatheed, Esq.



Witliin tlie lioiise is a splendid collection
of paintings, many of them from the easel of
a young artist, Mr. Greatheed, a son of
the family. The talents of the youthful
painter were of such high promise, that when
he visited France during the short peace,
instead of sharing the fate of the other de-
tenus, he was allowed by the special grace of
Napoleon to retire to Italy. There, how-
ever, he unfortunately died of a fever at the
early age of twenty-three. In addition to
his works, many paintings by the most emi •
nent masters are to be seen here, — such as
Cuyp, Canaletti, Spagnoletto, Holbein, and
others of no less celebrit}'.

The grounds attached to this mansion are
of the most beautiful and romantic nature.
They have even had sufficient charms to in
spire antiquaries, and make them leave their
usually sober pace to mount the Pegasus of
poets. Camden calls it " the very seat of
pleasantness." Rugged old Dugdale ex-
claims, "a place this is of so great delight in
respect of the river gliding below the rock,
the dry and wholesome situation, and the fair
grove of lofty elms overshadowing it, that to
one who desireth a retired life, either for his de-
votions or study, thelike is hardly to be found."
Leland tells us that "it is a house of ]5leasure,
place meet for the Muses ; there is silence, a
pretty wood, antra in vivo saxo, the river
rouling over the stones with a pretty noyse,
nemusculum ibidem opaciuii, fonles litiuidl et
gemmei, p?'ato florida^ antra muscosa, riri
levis et per saxa discursus, necnon soUtudo et
quies Musis amicissima " — that is, " a thick
grove there, liquid and sparkling fountains,
flowery meads, mossy caverns, the gentle flow
of a river over rocks, and also solitude and
quiet most friendly to the jMusos."

The calm course of the river as described
above by the antiquaries is strictly in ac-
cordance with the general character of the
Avon, as indeed the name alone would prove,
Avon, Even, or Sevon, being a designation
common to rivers whose course is easy and

Several caverns have in early days been
he^\^l out of the rock here, and one, accord-
ing to tradition, was the work of Guy him-
self when he iirst came to visit the hermit,
and profit by his pious teaching and example.

IGHTHAM COUET, in the county of Kent,
the seat of Demetrius Grcvis-James, Esq.,
who served as High Sheriff for Kent in 1833.
In the reign of King John, Ightham was
possessed by Hamon de Crovequicr, from
whom it passed through the families of De
Criol, De Inge, Zouch of Harringworth, Read,
and Willoughby, to the house of James, by
whom it is now enjoyed. The founder of
this family in England was Jacob van
Hoestrecht, who was so called from the lord-

ship he possessed at his native place, Cleves,
near Utrecht ; when he Avas made a denizen
of England in Henry the Eighth's reign, his
original ap[)ellation was anglicized into Roger

It is unknown by whom, or at what time,
the mansion was built, its origin having been
lost in the lapse pioliably of many ages. By
some it is supposed to date from the time of
King Stephen. The house was, however,
modernized in the reign of Elizabeth, and is
now a pieashig specimen of Tudor architec-
ture. The ornamental trees that enrich the
demesne are very old and tine. In the
grounds was once a Roman station, and a
Roman encampnumt may still be traced on
Old Bury Hill belonging to the estate.

The name of Ightham is a corruption of
Eightham, which title it received from its
containing eight hams or boroughs within its
bounds. It lies at a short distance west of

LEIGH COUHT, in the county of Somerset,
about four or five miles from Bristol, the seat of
William Miles, Esq. This property belonged
in early times to the Augustine monks of
Bristol, and remained witli them until the
dissolution of monasteries, Avhcn Henry VHI.
granted it to the Bishop of Bristol. At a
later period it was bestowed by Edward VI.
upon the Noitons. After having continued
in that family for more than two centuries
and a half, it was bought in 1808 by Philip
John Miles, Esq., 51. P., father of the present

Wliile Leigh Court was yet in the pos-
session of the Nortons, it received and con-
cealed King Charles II. after his defeat at
Worcester, and when upon his way towards
the sea coast with a view of making his
escape to France. The story, though vari-
ously told by Clarendon and in the Boscobel
Papers, amounts in the main to this :

Colonel Lane having brought the king
safely to his oato house at Bentley,

it was


agreed that Charles
assume tlie name of Will Jackson,
and then " as a tenant's son, — a quality far
more conA'enient for their intention than that
of a direct servant — he was ordered to rida
before ]Mrs. Jane Lane," who had a cousin
married to ]Mr. Norton of Leigh Court, and
assigned the relationship as a pretext for
travelling thither. The preparations for this
journey, and the manner of it, are related
amusingly enough by the writer of the Bos-
cobel Papers.

"The colonel (Lane) conveyed Charles a
back way into the stable, where he fitted his
stirrups, and gave him some instructions for
better acting the part of Will Jackson,
mounted him on a good double gelding, and




directed liim to come to the gate of the
house, which lie punctually peiformed, with
his hat under his arm.

" By this time it was twilight, and old]\Irs.
Lane — who knew nothing of this great secret
— would needs see her beloved daughter take
horse, which whilst she was intending, the
colonel said to the kuig, ' Will, thou must
give my sister thy hand ;' but his Majesty
(unacquainted with such little offices) offered
his hand the contrary way, which the old
gentlewoman taking notice of, LTUghed, and
asked the colonel her son, ' What a goodly
horseman her daughter had got to ride before

"That night (according to desigiuuent)
]\Irs. Lane and her company took up their
quarters at Mr. Tomlj's house at Long
]\Iarston, some three miles west of Stratford,
with whom she was well acquainted. Here
AVill Jackson being in the kitchen, in pur-
suance of his disguise, and the cook-maid
busy in providing supper for her master's
friends, she desired him to wind up a jack.
Will Jackson was obedient, and attempted
it, but hit not the right way. which made the
maid in some passion ask, 'What countryman
are you, that you know not how to Avind up
a jack?' Will Jackson answered very satis-
factorily, ' I am a poor tenant's son of Colonel
Lane in Staftbrdshire; we seldom have roast
meat, but when we have we don't make use
of a jack' — which in some measure assuaged
tlie maid's indignation."

As a further means of escape from inquiries
that might prove dangerous, and as an excuse
for always letting the kmg have the liest
chamber when they came to rest at night
during this journey, Mrs. Lane gave out that
tlie pretended tenant's son liad been lent by
his father " to ride before her, in hope that
he would the sooner recover from a quartan
ague, with which he had been miserably
afflicted, and was not yet free. And by this
artifice she caused a good bed to be still
provided for him, and the best meat to be
.sent ; which she often carried herself to
hinder others from doing it."

At length the fugitives arrived safely at
Leigh Court, after having had at least one

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