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3 1822 00786 66
THE



KISE OF GREAT FAMILIES,



OTHER ESSAYS, AXD STORIES.



/\ r.



SIR



.^KvL



BY



A



BERNARD BIJRKE, C.B., LL.D.,

ULSTER KING OP ARMS,



AUTHOR OF THE " ^^CIS3IT0DES OF FAMILIES," ETC.



LONDON:

LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.

1S73.






CONTENTS.



THE RISE OP GREAT FAMILIES .....

THE STORY OF PAMELA ......

A TRUE ROMANCE CONNECTED WITH THE IRISH REBELLION
OF 1641

THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON, BIRTH, BIRTHPLACE, AND
EARLY HOME .......

THE STORY OF THE SWORD ......

RIVAL PRETENSIONS .......

SCROPE AND GROSVENOR, 11-3. BOCCACIo's DECA-

MERONE, 126. STAFFORD AND BAGOT, 132. THE

CLAN CHATTAN, 137. O'CONOR, 142. HERBERT AND

JONES, 146. — SCHAW OF GREENOCK, AND BRUCE OF
CLACKMANNAN, 1-54.

THE ABERDEEN ROMANCE .....

LADIES OF THE ORDER OF THE GARTER.

THE midwife's CURSE, AN EPISODE OF THE GREAT REBEL
LION ........

THE forester's DAUGHTER .....

MEMORIES OF THE VICE-REGAL COURT .

PERPLEXITIES OF PRECEDENCE ....

TOJI STEELE .......

EXTINCTION OF TIIK FA:\IILIES OF ILLUSTRIOUS MEN

HISTORICAL GALLERIES



PAGF
1

G5

87

94
108
113



155

182

191
203
226
251
277
289
315



IV CONTENTS.

PAOR

I>A BKLLE JENNINGS, DUCHESS OF TYRCONNEL . .319

FRAGMENTS OF FAJIHA' AND TERSONAE HISTORY . . 327

IVAN YORATII, 327. OLIVER CROMWELl's BAPTISM,

328. THE IIATTONS OP KIRBY, 328.^-EARL OF

ELDON, 330. FIELD-MARSHAL BRADY, 331. FIELD-
MARSHAL PRINCE NUGENT, 332. LADY ANNE BAR-
NARD, 335. EARLDO^il OF BERKELEY, 339. LORD

LYNDIIURST, 341. — MARRIAGE OF SIR PHILIP HERBERT

AND LADY SUSAN VERE, 344. MARRIAGE OF MR. YNYR

BURGES, 346. SOAME JENYNS, 347. HERALDRY AND

THE HERALDS, 347. ULSTER'S OFFICE, 348. KNIGHTS

OP THE GARTER, 350. LORD EDWARD FITZ-GERALD'S

DAGGER, 352. EARL OF ABERDEEN, K.G. AND K.T,

354, THE RISE OF THE ROTHSCHILDS, 356. — MAR-
RIAGE OF LORD CLIVE, 359. THE VALENTIA ANNES-

LEYS, 359. VICISSITUDES OP FAMILIES, 360.

DEGRADATION FROM KNIGHTHOOD, 362. — CANNING's

RISE, 362. — PRINCE Bismarck's- SUPPORTERS, 364.

SIR WILLIAM gull's HONOURABLE AUGMENTATION,

364.



ERE AT A.

PcKje 7, Uii'i 21. — Thore were 22 Howards Knights of the Garter.
Pa(je 143. — Mr. Arthur O'C.'onor, mentioned in line G, was first
coiisin, not uncle, of the late O'C'onor Ton.



^lic |li5c af ©rcat Jfamtltes.



"Wherever the distinction of birth is allowed to fomi a.
superior order in the State, education and example shoidd al-
ways, and will often, produce among them a sentiment and pm-
priety of conduct, Avhich is guarded from dishonour by their
own and the public esteem. If we read of some dlustrioas line
so ancient that it has no beginning, so worthy that it ought to
have no end, we sympathise in its various fortunes ; nor can we
blame the generous enthusiasm, or even the harmless vanity,
of those who arc allied to the honours of its name." — Gibbon.




POPULAR, notion prevails that it wouLI
be an invidious task to write the
history of the rise of our emi-
nent Houses, that the consequent
investigation would lead to the
discovery of the obscure source of
their greatness, that the details
would detract from the estimate in which tlic nobility
is held, that the subject had better be left unexamined,
and that, "where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be
wise." To all this I emphatically demur : few books

1



2 THE RISE OF GREAT FAMILIES.

would be more interesting or instructive, few abound-
ing more in deeds of fame and in instances of success
acliieved by intellect and genius, and of patriotism
and loyalty true to the death, than a faithful record
of the rise and progress of the distinguished families
that constitute the class known as the Aristocracy
of Great Britain and Ireland. That record would tell
of ancient pedigi^ees, famous titles and brilliant ser-
vices. There might be now and then a chance pre-
cedent, showing that " the royal hand had sometimes
laid the sword of chivalry upon a worthless shoulder,"
but the exception would only prove the general rule.

The best blood in Europe, and the most historic
illustration, belong to the noblesse of this empire.
Occasionally a naval or military Commander, a States-
man, a Lawyer, or a Merchant of comparatively
liumble birth — a Nelson, a Colborne, a Copley, or a
Lloyd — makes his way into the House of Lords; but this
infusion of new blood lends fresh vigour to the system :

" Le premier qui fut roy fut un soldat heureiix,
Qui sert bien son pays n'a besoiii d'aieiix."

It is surprising how strongly a false notion of the
inferiority of the British nobility has taken liold of
the public mind. This very year Lord Shaftesbury
is reported to have thus spoken of the peerage : —

" There were few persons of Norman descent in the
House of Lords, which represented a very large in-
fusion of every rank and profession — naval, military,
civil, legal, clerical, and mercantile. He once heard



THE RISE OF GREAT FAMILIES. 3

that gi'eat man, Lord Eldon, Lord High Chancellor of
England, say, ' Look at me, a peer and a Lord High
Chancellor, taking precedence of you all, and yet I can
look back and remember that I am the son of a coal
miner at Newcastle.' "

Even Mr. Disraeli puis into the mouth of his favou-
rite character, Millbank, heterodox assertions, which
Coningsby leaves unrefuted, or, at all events meets
with a general remark, that he had always " understood
that our peerage was the finest in Europe :" —

" Ancient" lineage !" says Millbank, " I never heard
of a peer with an ancient lineage. The real old
f^imilics of this country are to be found among the
peasantry ; tlie gentry, too, may lay some claim to
old blood. I can point joii out Saxon families in
this county who can trace their pedigrees beyond
the Conquest. I know of some Norman gentlemen
wliose fathers undoubtedly came over with the Con-
(pieror. But a peer with an ancient lineage is to me
(piite a novelty. No, no : the thirty years of the
wars of the Roses freed us from those gentlemen,
I take it, after the battle of Tewkesbury a Norman
liaron was almost as rare a being in England as a wolf
is now."

Mr. Millbank was better read in politics than gene-
alogy ; had studied Bentham, Adam Smith and Hallam,
rather than Camden, Dugdalo and Nicolas. Beyond
all question, the peers are " of ancient lineage." Amou'T
them, and not among the peasantry or gentry, are
"tlie real old families" to be found; and "a peer

1 -2



4 THE EISE OF GREAT FAMILIES.

with an ancient lineage" is most assuredly not a
novelty.

Whoever will take the trouble to examine the
pedigrees of the gi'eat European families, with a view
to comparison, must come to the conclusion that the
nobility of this empire need give place to none other.
The official lists of the Peerage enumerate in " a
long bede roll," the names of Nevill, Howard, Cour-
tenay, Percy, Devereux, Hamilton, FitzGerald, Talbot,
Stanley, Lindsay, Butler, O'Brien, Douglas, Seymour,
Russell, Cavendish. Berkeley, Manners, Montagu,
Campbell, Murray Graham, Grosvenor, Poulett, Gor-
don, Stuart, Hastings, Feilding, Fane, Bruce, Grey,
Stanhope, Lumley, Yilliers, De Burgh, Lyon, Erskine,
Shirley, Ashburnham, Greville, Spencer, Edgecumbe^
Fortescue, Eliot, Lowther, Gage, Crewe, Drummond,
Walpole, Lambton, Wodehouse, St. John, Stonor,
Wingfield, Nugent, Stourton, Petre, Arundel, Clifford,
Astley, Bertie, Fiennes, De Courcy, Preston, McDonnell,
Perceval, St. Lawrence, Digby, Bagot, Littleton, Plun-
ket, Ramsay, Eraser, and many a one beside that is
" famous in story." The noblemen, the chiefs of these
distinguished names, are, in nearly every instance,
either the heirs male or the heirs general of their
respective families, and several of them still keep
their state in the very Halls or Castles transmitted to
them from Plantao-enet, and in some cases from Nor-
man, times. Their peerage creations they derive from
ancient feudal jDroprietors, from warriors who led
armies to victory, from statesmen who in critical



Til]-] RISi: OF GREAT FAMILIES. •>

times guided tlie councils of their eountiy, or from
lawyers who, as Lord Chancellors and Judges, framed
and administrated our laws.

Out of this long list, let me take haphazard a fev/
names, Nevill, Talbot, Howard, FitzGerald, Hamilton,
Dcvereux, Courtenay, Butler, and Douglas. Where
in tlie history of foreign nobility can they be surpassed
for ancient lineage or public services ? The sound of
their names is the echo of the war trumpet of the
middle ages.

'>The Earl of Abergaveny is chief of the Nevills,
and but for their attainder, would, as their heir, be Earl
of Westmorland, of a patent dating back as far as 1397.
Raised to the height of glory and power by Richard,
Earl of Warwick, the King-maker, the Nevills of Raby
were of Baronial rank shortly after the Conquest. The
mere summary of the honour's they achieved would fill
pages of my book. Queens, Archbishops, Lord Chan-
cellors, Knights of the Garter, they fairly won the
numerous coronets, Baronial to Ducal, which their
Sovereigns bestowed on them.

Then there is the Earl of Shrewsbury, the direct
descendant, through the first and illustrious Earl, the
hero of forty battles, of the Talbots, of which family-
Sir Philip Sidney writes, " There is not in Europe a
subject house which hath joined longer continuance of
nobility with men of gi'eater service and loialty."

The Geraldines and the Hamiltons, mth pedigrees
of " ancient lineage " and historic fame, identified with
the chief events of the rival kinirdoms of Ireland and



G THE RISE OF GREAT FAJtIILIES.

Scotland, are still represented by the two Irish Dukes,
Leinster, and Abercorn. In the sixteenth century, th&
Hamiltons were next in succession to the crown of
Scotland after_Mary Stuart, the Queen regnant.

Viscount Hereford, the Premier Viscount of
England, is the heir of the Devereuxes, Earls of Essex,
of Baronial rank m the Wars of the Roses, and of
historic distinction for centuries before and after.
The Earls of Devox, whose very name, Courtenay,
recalls Emperors and Kings, can be clearly traced back
to feudal Barons of the time of Henr^^ II.



lUST four centuries of ducal rank and just
eight centuries of unsullied ancestry are
associated with the name of Howard.
In the combination of antiquity of de-
scent, and the possession of the highest
peerage honours with the most brilliant
public services and the most illustrious alliances, the
family of the Duke of Norfolk is unrivalled. Next
to the blood-roj'al, Norfolk is not only at the head
of the titled ranks of this empire, but also, I maintain,
at the head of Euroj)ean nobility. In historical pre-
eminence, no dukedom in Europe stands so exalted as
this.

Dugdale was at a loss to ascertain the parentage of
William Howard, . the Lord Chief Justice of the reign
of Edward I. ; but recent researches have led me to
the conviction that his descent from Herward, " Exul,"




THE RISE OF GREAT FAiflLIES. 7

or " the Exile," a contemporary of William the Con-
4Ucror's, is quite capable of proof.

After a series of generations of gi'eat county gentle-
men, the Howards were raised from knightly degree
and provincial celebrity to the most elevated rank in
the kingdom. They sprang, per saltum, from simple
cliivalry to ducal position. The cause of this was
the splendid alliance formed in the early part of
the fifteenth century, by Sir Robert Howard with
the Lady Margaret de Mowbray, daughter of Thomas
De Mowbray, first Duke of Norfolk, and cousin and
co-heiress of John De Mowbray, the fourth duke. This
it was which brought eventually to the Howards the
inheritance of royal blood, vast possessions and mag-
nificent heirships. The Lady Margaret's mother was
sister and co-heiress of Thomas Fitzalan, Earl of
Arundel, and her father was, through his mother, great
grandson of Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Norfolk,
eldest son of King Edward I., by Margaret of France,
his second Queen.

No less than nineteen Howards have been Knights ot
the Garter — no other family can boast as many — and
full twenty distinct peerages have at various times
been conferred on this illustrious house. No one was
more capable of forming an opinion on the relative
position of the nobles of England than the late Sir
Harris Nicolas, and he thus speaks of the Howards : —
" In point of mere antiquity there are several nobles
which far exceed the Howards; but what other family
j)ervades all our national annals with such frequent



8 THE RISE OF GREAT FA3IILIES.

mention, and often involved in circumstances of such
intense and brilliant interest ? As heroes, poets, poli-
ticians, courtiers, patrons of literature, state victims to
tyranny and revenge, and feudal chiefs, they have
constantly been before us for four centuries !"

For a period, their history was as tragic as it was
glorious. The first Duke of Norfolk, true to his king,
fell at Bosworth. The second duke won Flodden, but
nevertheless, his son Thomas, the third duke, was
attainted, and would have been beheaded, but that the
king's death, the day before Norfolk's was intended,
arrested the axe in its course ; his twojiapless nieces.
Queen Anne Boleyne and Queen Catherine Howard,
had already passed to the scaffold. The third duke's
son, the brightest jewel in the coronet of Howard, was
Henry, Earl of Surrey, K.G., the statesman, warrior,
and ]Doet:

" The gentle Surrey loved his lyre ;
Who has not heard of Surrey's fame ]
His was the hero's soul of fire,
And his the Bard's immortal name."

Surrey's cruel and iniquitous execution* was the last

* The charge on which Surrey was convicted and beheaded
was that he had assumed the heraldic bearings of King Edward
the Confessor ! His sister, Mary, Duchess of Riclnnond, was
the principal witness against him ; and his own father, the
Duke of Norfolk, Avent so far as to declare that his son, Lord
Surrey, liad presumptuously used the arms of St. Edward, and
that he himself had, ever since the death of his father, borne in
the first quarter of his shield the arms of England, with a dif-
ference of three labels of silver, which he admitted was High
Treason. This confession was made under fear of death. The



THE rJSE OF GREAT FA5IILIES.

act of the tyranny of Henry VIII. His son, the
fourth Duke of Norfolk, met a like doom as his father,
and was beheaded in the time of Elizabeth, on an accu-
sation of having conspired with Mary, Queen of Scots.

An entry in the Journal of Mr. E. Browne, " Sloans
MSS." (Brit. Mus.), gives a striking description of
the celebration at Norwich of the birthday of Henry
Howard, afterwards Duke of Norfolk, a description,
obviously the source from which Macaulay derived
the materials for the following graphic account of the
gorgeous state kept up by the Norfolk family two
hundred years ago : —

" In the heart of the city (Norwich), stood an old
palace of the Dukes of Norfolk, said to be the largest
town house in the kingdom out of London. In this
mansion, to which were annexed a tennis-court, a
bowling-green, and a wilderness, stretching along the
banks of the Wensum, the noble family of Howard
frequently resided, and kept a state resembling that of
petty sovereignty. Drink was served to guests in
goblets of pure gold. The very tongs and shovels were
of silver. Pictures by Italian masters adorned the
walls. The cabinets were filled with a fine collection
of gems purchased by that Earl of Arundel, whose
marbles are now among the ornaments of Oxford.
Here, in the year 1071, Charles and his court were
sumptuously enterUiined. Here, too, all comers were

quartering, the use of wliich was considered so heinous, belonged
of right to the Howards by descent, and has been ever since,
even to this day, borne by the Howards.



10 THE RISE OF GREAT FAMILIES.

annually welcomed, from Christmas to Twelfth Night.
Ale flowed in oceans for the populace. Three coaches,
one of which had been built at a cost of five hundred
pounds to contain fourteen persons, were sent every
afternoon round the city to bring ladies to the festivi-
ties; and the dances were always followed by a
luxurious banquet. When the Duke of Norfolk came
to Norwich, he was greeted like a king returning to
his capital. The bells of the cathedral and of Saint
Peter Mancroft were rung : the guns of the castle were
fired ; and the mayor and aldermen waited on their
illustrious fellow citizen with complimentary ad-
dresses."

What Howard is to Eno-land, Douglas is to Scot-
land.

I HE first title on the Union Roll after
that of E,othesay, inherited by the
Prince of Wales, is " Hamilton," now
possessed by the representative of the
illustrious house of Douglas. Of the
Hamiltons, the heir-male is the Duke
of Abercorn, and the heir-general, the
Earl of Derby. The Dukedom of Hamilton descends
to its present holder, Douglas, by the special limita-
tion of the patent of creation.

The family of Douglas, long the rival of royalty, has
been, time out of mind, connected with the first nobles
of Scotland, England, and France; and it has inter-
married no less than eleven times with the roval house




THE RISE OF GREAT FASIILIES. II

of Scotland, and once with that of England. There are
few races in Europe so dignified as it, whether we con-
sider its long line of illustrious ancestors, its princely
inheritance, or its historic renown. The original
settlement of the clan was far north, in Morayshire ;
and the pedigree Ls deduced from Theobald le Fleming,
to whom the Abbot of Kelso gi-anted lands on the
Water of Douglas, whence came the far-famed name of
his descendants.

At Bannockburn, the centre of the Scottish army was
commanded by the good Sir James Douglas, and on
that famous field, under the royal standard, he was
created a knight banneret. The good Sir James, long
after, journeyed to Jerusalem, for the purpose of depo-
siting Bruce's heart in the sepulchre of Our Lord ; and
the event has ever since been commemorated in the arms
of Douglas. James, the second Earl of Douglas, won
Otterburn (Chevy Chase) against Percy of Northum-
berland, but fell in the moment of victory. As he lay
wounded, one of his knightly companions (Sinclair)
enquired, " How goes it, cousin ? " " But so-so," replied
the sinking soldier ; " praise be to God, few of my
ancestors have died in chambers or in beds. Avenge
me, for I die; raise again my banner, but tell not friend
nor foe how it fares with me, for my enemies would
exult, and my friends be disconsolate."' Sir Philip
Sidney delighted in this episode of the story of the
Douglases. " I never heard," he used to say, " the
old song of Percy and Douglas, that I found not my
heart moved more than with a trumpet."



12 THE RISE OF GREAT F^VMILIES.

The third, the gi'im Earl of Douglas, about whose
legitimacy there is grave doubt, was the most
powerful subject of his time ; and his son, Archibald,
fourtli Earl, one of the most distinguished soldiers in
Europe. He commanded the Scotch at Homildon, and
having been made Duke of Touraine, in France, and
created lieutenant-general of the French forces, was
slain at the battle of Verneuil. His son, the fifth Earl
of Douglas, and the second Duke of Touraine, exhibited
the martial sj)irit of his race at the battle of Beaug^.
His sou, William, sixth Earl of Douglas, third Duke of
Touraine, and second Count of Longueville, a youth of
princely magnificence, was inveigled into the Castle of
Edinburgh, and basely beheaded in 1440. At his
death, his gi"and-uncle, James, Earl of Avondale, suc-
ceeded to the Scottish dignity, and was father of
William, eighth Earl of Douglas, lieutenant-general of
Scotland, who restored the splendour and power of his
house by marrying his cousin, " the Fair Maid of Gal-
loway," only sister of the last Duke of Touraine. The
fate of this Earl, whom King James II. of Scotland
stabbed in Stirling Castle with his own hand, and
while under the royal safeguard, is familiar to all who
read Scottish history. His brother, James, ninth Earl
of Douglas, bent on revenge, took up arms, and rapidly
•collected 40,000 men; but, deserted by the chieftains,
his troops melted away, and Douglas himself, with a
few attendants, effected his escape to England, wliere
he was granted a pension by Edward IV"., and was
made a Knight of the Garter, the first Scotchman who



THE RISE OF GREAT FAMILIES. 13

received the honour. The miglity power of the senior
line of the house of Douglas was destroyed in him. In
the words of Sir Walter Scott, " It can only be com-
pared to tlic gourd of the prophet, which, spreading in
such miraculous luxuriance, was withered in a single
night."

The exiled lord made one more foint effort, in 1483,
to retrieve his position, but was surrounded and cap-
tured at Lochmaben. Brought into the royal presence,
the aged w^arrior turned his back on the son of James
II., the destroyer of his house. The king, however,,
touched by pity, merely sentenced Douglas to the
retirement of Lindores Abbey, and in that holy retreat
the broken-hearted Earl died a monk four years after.

On the extinction of the Black Douglases, the branch
of the family which became the most powerful was that
of the Red Douglases, the Earls of Angus, descended of
a younger son of the first Earl of Douglas. Archibald,
the fifth Earl of Angus, is known in history as " Bell
the Cat." His son, Archibald, the sixth Earl, manied
the Princess Margaret of England, Queen Dowager of
Scotland, by whom he had an only child, Margaret,
Countess of Lennox, mother of Henry, Lord Darnley,
husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. From the brother
of the sixth Earl of Angus, the present Duke of
Hamilton directly descends.

Of the house of Douglas, besides the Earls of Douglas
and Angus, there have been Dukes of Douglas, Dukes
of Touraine, Dukes of QueensbeiT}^, Dukes of Dover,
Hamilton, and Brandon ; ^larqucsscs of Bcverle}' and




1-^ THE RISE OF GREAT FAMILIES.

Queensberry, Earls of Atliole, Buclian, Morton, Selkirk
March, Dumbarton, Forfar, and Butler ; and Barons
Douglas, Rijoon, and Solway.

IDE by side with the Howards of
Enofland and the Douglases of
Scotland, Ireland can fairly place
her own Geraldines of Kildare
and Desmond, and her Butlers
of Ormonde, both dating their
rise to greatness from the first invasion of Ireland and
from their share in the territories then won. The
Anglo-Norman founder of the House of Ormonde was
Theobald Walter, to whom King Henry II. granted
the Chief Butlerage of Ireland, and thus originated a
name, destined to become one of the most distinguished
in the annals of that country. Hubert Walter, brother
of the first Chief Butler, happened to fill the primatial
see of Canterbury when Hichard I. died leaving the
<3rown to his brother John, and it was mainly through
his influence that the latter was enabled to succeed to
the throne, to the prejudice of his unfortunate nephew
Arthur; and in return for the service thus done to
John, that King added to the wealth and power of
the Butlers in Ireland.

In Camp, Court, and Council, the Butlers have figured
for ages. Dry den styles them, " one of the most ancient,
most conspicuous, and most deserving families in
Em-ope." The height of their renown was attained by
the great Duke of Ormonde, K.G., the head of the



THE RISK OF GllEAT FAMILIES. 15

Irish Cavaliers. A Duke in Ireland, and a Duke
in England, he preferred to all other titles, for these
Peerage lionours, the one historic name of Ormonde.
He married his cousin Elizabeth Preston, Baroness
Ding\yall, who was heir-general to the tenth Earl of
Ormonde and to the eleventh Earl of Desmond : and
whom James I. had meant to be the wife of George
Feilding, a young, nephew of his favourite the Duke of
Buckingham. Love laughs at Kings' decrees, but the
self-sufficient James could not imagine such rebellion :
and having created Lord Dingwall Earl of Desmond in
Ireland, he gave that title in reversion after his death
to the son-in-law he had fixed upon for the Earl. The
lady married Ormonde, whose father had spent eight
gloomy years in the Tower because he would not, on
the king's command, surrender his ancient patrimony'-
to her family; whilst Feilding married a Stanhope,
and was the progenitor of a distinguished race, who
inheriting the Englisli title of Denbigh from the senior
Ime of tlicir family, still bear the historical Irish
Earldom of Desmond without any descent from or


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