Constance Charlotte Elisa Lennox Russell.

The rose goddess and other sketches of mystery & romance online

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in his will.

Sir Nicholas had erected in Hammersmith Church a ceno-
taph of black and white marble, " as a grateful commemora-
tion of that glorious martyr King Charles the First of Blessed
Memory," and on his deathbed he directed that his heart
might be placed in an urn at his master's feet, and devised
a sum of money to provide wine, which he desired should
be poured over it annually to refresh it ; his wishes were
strictly observed for over a hundred years, until the poor
heart was said to be so shrivelled as practically not to exist.
The monument and the urn are still to be seen in the south-
west corner of the church, and on the pedestal of the urn
is inscribed : " Within this urn is enclosed the heart of Sir
Nicholas Crispe, Knight and Baronet, a loyal sharer in the
sufferings of his late and present Majesty. He first settled
the trade of gold from Guinea, and then built the Castle
of Coromantin. He died 28th July 1665, aged sixty-seven."

Born in 1598, Nicholas Crispe came of a long line of

merchant princes who had amassed large fortunes in Bread

Street, Cheapside, and had held for successive generations the

position of Sheriff of London. At the death of his father,

Nicholas found himself heir to a great estate, and he further

225 p

A Loyal Heart

made a considerable addition to his fortune by his marriage
with Anne, daughter and co-heir of Edward Prescot, Salter
of London. Being a man of active and enterprising genius,
he did not confine himself to the ordinary routine of traders,
but occupied himself with new inventions and brought his
ingenuity into much practical utility. His inventions as to
paper-mills, powder-mills and water-mills all came into use,
and he is said to have been the inventor of the art of making
bricks as now practised. Some of his proposed improvements
he was not able to carry into effect. In 1656, John Evelyn
in his " Diary " says : " Sir Nicholas Crispe came to treate with
me about his vast designe of a Mole to be made for ships
in part of my grounds at Sayes Court " (Deptford). Evelyn
went to London about it, and some months later the Duke
of York, the Duke of Ormond, and other Lords visited his
grounds in connection with this project, which, however, was
laid aside as "a fancy of Sir Nicholas Crispe." Pepys talks
of it, and says that Nicholas Crispe "proposed making a wett-
dock to hold 200 sail of ships ; " but adds, " it seems, however,
that the ground was long since promised to Sir Richard Brown,
one of the Clerks of the Council."

Sir Nicholas's chief enterprise was on the coast of Guinea,
where he with five others ^ had the exclusive right of trading,
this being granted to him by King Charles L in 1632. He
there established the fort called the Castle of Coromantine on
the Gold Coast, and he was so successful that he and his
associates made a clear /|50,ooo a year, and carried on a trade
with Holland, France, Spain, Italy, Norway, Muscovy, and

* The five others were Sir Job Harvey, Sir John Wolstenhohn, Sir John Jacob,
Sir John Harrison, and Sir John Shaw. Pepys describes meeting the whole six
at Mr. Shand's, the merchant, and says they were "very good company."


SiK Nicholas Ckispe, Bart.

From an old Print at S'u'allo2i;/ield.

A Loyal Heart

Turkey, which supplied the King with nearly ;/^ioo,coo a year,
besides keeping his ships ready for service.

Nicholas Crispe was one of the King's Customs farmers,
and was knighted in 1641. Elected member for Winchelsea,
he was expelled from Parliament as a Monopolist in 1641.

As the times became more troublous his devotion to his
Royal master King Charles I. became more intensified, and he
was wont to say that he "honoured and revered him beyond all
other beings, honoured him as a King, loved him as a master."
When he saw King Charles in need of money, he raised, with
the assistance of his partners, the sum of ;^200,ooo upon a
short notice.

Lloyd gives us a very high idea of Sir Nicholas's activity as
well as of the signal services he rendered the King. All the
correspondence and supplies of arms (during the Civil War)
which were procured by the Queen in Holland and by the
King's agents in Denmark were consigned to his care, and he
had, we are told, " an incomparable address in bringing any-
thing to bear that he had once contrived." In matters of
secrecy and danger he seldom trusted any hands but his own,
and to facilitate this he made use of all kinds of disguises. A
writer says of him, "A polypus puts not on more shapes to
deceive the fisher than Sir Nicholas did to escape those that
laid snares for him." Letters of consequence he carried in the
guise of a porter ; when he wanted intelligence he would be at
the water-side with a basket of flounders upon his head, and
often passed between London and Oxford in the dress of a
butter-woman on horseback between a pair of panniers. His
life at this time was a most adventurous one, and his hair-
breadth escapes rivalled those of his modern prototype, " The

Scarlet Pimpernel." He went through so many perils by land


A Loyal Heart

and by water that he seemed to have a charmed life. He was
the principal author of that well-laid design for publishing the
King's Commission of Array at London, which was defeated by
another design that Edmund Waller the poet (who, by the way,
was related to Sir Nicholas) through fear betrayed. By the
discovery of this business Sir Nicholas found himself obliged to
declare openly the course he meant to take, and having at his
own expense raised a Regiment of Horse for the King's service
in 1643, he put himself at the head of it and distinguished
himself as remarkably in his military as he had ever done in his
civil capacity, and behaved with the greatest gallantry. He was,
however, in September of this year the cause of a most unfor-
tunate affair. Sir James Enyon, Bart., who was also a volunteer
in the Royal cause and a friend of Sir Nicholas, had a quarrel
with him at their quarters ; they fought a duel, and Sir Nicholas
killed Sir James. He was brought before a court-martial and
most honourably acquitted, but the fatal result made an in-
delible impression on the mind of Sir Nicholas, who ever after
wore mourning, except in the field of battle, when he cherished
the hope of being united to his friend by a fortunate bullet, and
through the remainder of his life at every return of the
anniversary he closed his room in darkness and devoted himself
to fasting and prayer.

In 1 645 his property was sequestrated by the Parliament and
his house in Bread Street ordered to be sold. Furthermore, the
Parliament directed that ^6000 a year should be taken from
his estates and those of Lord Culpeper to make up the re-
mainder of the pension which it had resolved to grant the
Elector Palatine. Sir Nicholas then recommenced in business
with the same spirit and the same success as before, and he
was therefore able to contribute largely for the relief of Charles


A Loyal Heart

11. and greatly helped General Monk in the Restoration, after
wh,ch he was re-instated as "Farmer of the Customs" and
made a Baronet. It was shortly after this that a chartered
company was formed prosecuting the African trade under the
name of 'The Company of Royal Adventurers of England " •
but before long war broke out with Holland, which was it^
death-blow, and in 1667 the Royal Adventurers were left with
only one fort-that at Cape Coast Castle; Coromantine and
.ts dependent factories fell into the hands of the Dutch, owing
to the successes of the great De Ruyter, and the Company!
exhausted by the expenses of the war, surrendered their Charter
to the Crown. Sir Nicholas did not live long enough to see
the complete downfall of his favourite enterprise, for he died in
1666, brmgmg his eventful life to a close peaceably in his bed
at his house m Hammersmith, respected and beloved by all
H.S body was interred with his ancestors in the Parish Church
of St. M, dred in Bread Street, Cheapside, where there was at the
upper end of the chancel a most beautiful glass window, placed
there by h,m, and in one compartment of which appeared
portraits of h.mself and his wife and children; but this church
was one of the many entirely destroyed in the Great Fire
H,s heart, as we have said, was taken to St. Paul's Church
Hammersmith. '

Sir Nicholas's house at Hammersmith went through almost
as many varied changes as he did himself It was first of all
sold to Prmce Rupert, who gave it to Margaret Hughes the
actress, who lived there ten years ; then it was purchased in '169%
by Timothy Lannoy, Esq., a man of very old Huguenot family
who made a fortune as "a scarlet dyer." Fron, him it passed
to George Bubb Dodington, Lord Melcombe, who left it to
Thomas Wyndham. Subsequently it was the property of Mrs

A Loyal Heart

Sturt, who gave there the celebrated entertainments honoured
by royalty and the elite of fashion, tempo George III. In 1792
it was sold to the Margrave of Brand enburg-Anspach, and
was reigned over for twenty years by that wonderful lady,
formerly Lady Craven, and nee Berkeley, who became his wife.
She continued to entertain there, and gave dramatic representa-
tions. Not last in notoriety was its final occupant, Caroline,
wife of George IV., who in its walls tried to keep a small court,
pending her trial in the House of Lords, and died there in 1821.
Soon after this house, so replete with interesting associations,
was pulled down, and the materials sold by auction, and a large
factory now occupies the site.

No lineal descendant of Sir Nicholas Crispe in the male line
now exists, the Baronetcy becoming extinct at the death, in
1740, without issue, of his grandson. Sir Charles Crispe, fifth
Bart. ; but several collaterals of his house were remarkable even
in their day, the one perhaps most known to modern readers
being Samuel Crispe of Chessington, a man of letters and
fashion, the *' Daddy Crispe " of Miss Burney's " Letters," and
the friend of Doctor Johnson. In the female line many families
can trace their descent from he of the Loyal Heart.




z S

C2 ?•


In the city of Bath, where the medieval Roman baths, said to
exceed in interest anything of the kind, excepting possibly the
baths of Caracalla at Rome, are still existing, is to be seen at the
entrance from the King's Bath to the Queen's Bath a massive
ring on which is inscribed the follow-
ing words : —

"I John Revet ^ His Majestys
Brazier At 50 Y';? of Age of July
1674 Received Cure of A True
Palsie From Head to Foot on One
Side. Thanks to God." -

Fourteen years before, at the time
of the Restoration, when this John
Rivett was living at the Dial, near

Holborn Conduit, an action was brought against him by
Jerome Weston, second Earl of Portland, for the restitution
of a brass statue of King Charles I., which had formerly be-
longed to his father and which he consequently claimed as his
property. The history of this statue is a curious one.

Richard Weston, the first Earl of Portland, was a remarkable
man constantly employed in diplomatic matters by King James I.,

' Rivett was his real name. Mr. Rivett, M.P. for Derby in the last century,
claimed descent from him, and the present Rivett-Carnacs are said to be the
same family.

^ Early in the seventeenth century many persons left some memorial of the
benefits they had received from the waters of Bath. This mark of gratitude
assumed the form of large copper or brass rings fixed in the wall of the bath and
inscribed with the name of the donor, and they served at the same time the
purpose of helping the bathers to keep their feet.


The Brazier and the Earl

and was rewarded by very considerable grants of money and
raised to the peerage as Baron Weston of Nayland. With
James's successor he became a still greater favourite, and King
Charles I., in consequence of his great financial abilities and his
zeal for the Royal Prerogative, made him Lord High Treasurer.
Honours v/ere multiplied fast upon him ; he was elected one of
the Knights of the Garter and created Earl of Portland, and had
large estates bestowed upon him, including Putney Park, formerly
called Mostlake Park. Here he built himself a stately mansion,
which he called Roehampton House, where he lived in great
state and magnificence.

Furthermore the King arranged a marriage for his eldest son,
Jerome, with his Majesty's cousin, Lady Frances Stuart,
daughter of Esme, Duke of Lennox, which marriage took place
in 1632 in Lord Portland's private chapel at Roehampton
House, lately consecrated by Laud, Bishop of London. The
King gave away the bride in person, and Ben Jonson wrote the
" Epithalamion," which finishes with the following lines : —

" See ! now the Chapel opens, where the King
And Bishop stand to consummate the rites ;
The holy Prelate prays, then takes the ring.
Asks first ' Who gives her ? ' — ' I, Charles,' then he plights
One in the other's hand
Whilst they both stand
Hearing their charge, and then
The solemn choir cries, ' Joy ' and thev return ' Amen ! ' "

In 1633 Lord Portland gave a commission to the celebrated
Hubert Le Sueur ^ for an equestrian statue in brass of King
Charles I., which he proposed erecting in front of Roehampton
House. There is a memorandum in the Record Office of a

^ Le Sueur, who was a Huguenot refugee, had been a pupil of John of



tSl££rJL„ , - .^g?^-y^v •■■'-??" vii^py?^^^.£ .:•". ^tv^^T-ivt^i-. n-v.ytf -;-

IfV.VI. WPI V..|

Jerome Westox, Second Earl of Portland, K.G.

From an Engraving at Swallowjield by Hollar, after VanJyck.

The Brazier and the Earl

draft of the agreement between Lord Portland and Le Sueur.
The statue was to cost £600, which was to include the setting
up, and it was to be completed in eighteen months. Lord
Portland desired that it should be a foot larger than life-size,
and the sculptor was to " take advice of his Majesty's riders of
greate horses, as well for the shape of the horse and action as
for the graceful shape and action of his Majesty's figure on the
same." The statue was cast at Covent Garden "near the
Church" in 1633. Polnitz says by the same workmen that
cast the horse of Henri IV. at Paris. The Lord High
Treasurer died soon after its completion. Notwithstanding
all the benefits and favours bestowed upon him, the latter part
of his life was anything but a happy one. The natural haughti-
ness and irritability of his temper became greatly increased by
a complication of illnesses which caused him acute sufferings.
His wife and daughters were avowed Catholics, and his own
inclination tended that way, all of which added to his un-
popularity, and at the time of his death it was said that no one
regretted him excepting King Charles, whose regard continued
undiminished, and who sat by his dying bedside till the end,
though the ordeal was almost unbearable. Lord Portland was
buried with great honours in Winchester Cathedral in the
Guardian-Angel Chapel, which was converted into a chapel for
the Weston family, and where there is a fine recumbent figure
of him in bronze by Le Sueur. By the King's orders the whole
court went into mourning for him on Palm Sunday. Richard,
Lord Portland, left many sons and daughters. Benjamin
Weston, his fourth son, married Elizabeth, Countess of Angle-
sey, and from their daughter, who married Sir Charles Shelley,
Bart., are descended the Russells of Swallowfield, where there
is a very fine portrait of Lord Portland by M. Jansen Mirevelt.


The Brazier and the Earl

Jerome Weston succeeded his father as second Earl of
Portland, and held two of his appointments, Captain-General
of the Isle of Wight and Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, which
were lucrative posts in those days. The latter one he held
conjointly with his brother-in-law James, Duke of Lennox and
Richmond, but in 1642, when Portsmouth declared for the
King, Lord Portland was displaced by the Parliament and
committed to the Tower on the ground that he favoured
Popery, and he was also accused of too great expenditure in
entertainments and in the drinking of loyal toasts. The prin-
cipal inhabitants of the Island drew up a petition in favour of
their " noble and much honoured and beloved Captain and
Governor," and stated that not only was he a good Protestant,
but that there was not one Papist in the Isle of Wight. On
the other hand, the lower orders, led by Moses Read, Mayor
of Newport, declared in favour of the Parliament, and the
latter received orders from it to seize the fortress of Carisbrooke,
secure Lady Portland and her five children, who were living
there, and other relations who had taken shelter with her, as
well as Colonel Brett, the Warden. Accordingly Read marched
upon Carisbrooke with the Militia and four hundred sailors.
The garrison of the Castle did not exceed twenty men, but
Lady Portland would not surrender excepting upon honourable
terms. With a lighted match in her hand she walked deliberately
to one of the bastions, declaring she would fire the first cannon
at the foe. Moses Read was astounded ; he expected no resist-
ance — but women must have been made of sterner stuff in those
days than now, for we doubt if any fair Countess would at the
present day be found to defy the enemy as did Frances, Countess
of Portland, unless indeed it were another still fairer Frances!

Moses Read agreed to come to terms with the bold


Frances Stuakt, 2.\i) Colxtkss of Pohtland, nAuonTHH of I - s\ik Sti-aht,

Dlkk of Lknnox.
(From an cnoravino at SwallouHeld by Hollar, after X'andyck)

The Brazier and the Earl

Countess, and the Castle was surrendered on conditions. This
episode was depicted in the Pageant held at Carisbrooke in the
summer of 1907, but in the accounts of it given in the papers
the heroine was incorrectly described as " Duchess " of Portland.-^
The following year Lord Portland was denounced by his
cousin, that turncoat Edmund Waller the poet, as being privy
to the association in favour of the King known as " Waller's
Plot." He was, however, soon discharged, but his estate re-
mained under sequestration, and he lived in retirement until
the Restoration. And now comes the curious adventures of
the brass statue of King Charles, which had been erected by
the first Earl. In " Domestic and State Papers " we find in the
Reports of the Committee for the advancement of money, that
"on the nth September 1644 the Statue of the King on horse-
back in brass at Roehampton House is to be sold by the candle
towards the Earl of Portland's assessment," When the day of
the sale arrived, John Rivett, the late King's brazier, to whom
we have already alluded, appeared on the scene, and, pretending
that the metal would be most useful to him in his trade, bought
it. He was given strict orders to break it up, which he agreed
to do, and soon after drove a thriving trade by selling to
Royalists small articles of brass, such as knives and forks
and various handles, &c,, supposed to be made by him from the
metal of the statue, and which the buyers valued as mementoes
of their murdered King. Their Royal sentiment, however, was
misplaced, for the astute brazier, foreseeing better times, did
not break up the statue, but hid it away safely in his cellar !
and when the Restoration came he proudly produced it.
Jerome, Earl of Portland, then thought it should be his and

' The Bentincks, Dukes of Portland, have of course nothing to do with
the Westons, Earls of Portland.


The Brazier and the Earl

laid claim to it, and in the Convention Parliament of May 1660
he petitioned that, as the Courts of Law were shut, the House
would order it to be protected until his title to it was decided.
In July of the same year complaint was made that John Rivett,
brazier, refused to deliver to the Earl of Portland the statue,
and consequently a replevin was served on the said statue. A
great deal of litigation ensued between the Earl and the brazier.
Apparently John Rivett established his claim, for he presented
the statue to King Charles II., who had it set up at Charing
Cross by an order from the Earl of Danby in 1674. It was
placed on a pedestal, generally stated to be the work of Grinling
Gibbons, but also attributed to Sir Christopher Wren, whose
work it resembles and who was Surveyor-General of the works
at the time. The carvings on each side, which are chiefly
heraldic, have been much destroyed by our climate. Waller
celebrated the erection of this statue in a well-known sonnet
with a most courtly panegyric, while Andrew Marvell made it
the subject of a clever satire. Horace Walpole, who observes
that "the commanding grace of the figure and the exquisite
form of the horse are striking, even to the most unpractised
eye," is not correct in its history as given in his " Anecdotes of
Painting," &:c., inasmuch as he attributes the order for the
statue to Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel. The sword is
a modern one ; the original one fell to the ground with its
appendages in 1810, the belt having given way ; it was replaced,
but finally disappeared about the time of Queen Victoria's Coro-
nation, when the scaffolding erected about the statue afforded
an easy manner of carrying off the sword. Shortly after it found
its way into the so-called Museum of the notorious Captain
D , where it was carefully numbered and labelled ! For-
merly on Restoration Day the statue was regularly decorated






7D Weston, Second Earl of Portland, K.G.

From a Portrait at Swallo-afield by Mirevett.

The Brazier and the Earl

with oak boughs, which has now given place to wreaths and
flower tokens, placed there by members of " The White Rose
Society " and other admirers of the Martyr King, who flock to
Trafalgar Square on the 29th May.

After the Restoration Jerome, Lord Portland, constantly
attended in Parliament, but he died in 1662-63 at Ashley
House, near Walton-on-Thames, and was buried in Walton
Church, where there is a slab to his memory. He was succeeded
by his only son, Charles, third Earl of Portland, who went as a
volunteer with the Duke of York when he took the command
of the English fleet against the Dutch, and was killed in action
off Lowestoft, fighting most valiantly. Earl Jerome's four
daughters all became nuns in the convent of the Poor Clares
at Rouen, so that their widowed mother, Frances, Countess of
Portland, whose early life had been so brilliant, found herself
alone, and she had the misfortune to outlive the dynasty of the
Stuarts, and to see the honours of her father's and her husband's
families bestowed on strangers.^ Her three brothers, Lords
John, Bernard, and George Stuart, all fell fighting for King
Charles. Lord George left one son, whose wife was " La Belle
Stuarr." She had no children, so the Dukedom of Lennox and
Richmond expired in 1672. Her only son having also died
fighting for his country, the Earldom of Portland became ex-
tinct in 1688 at the death of his brother-in-law Thomas, fourth
Earl of Portland.

During her long widowhood, Frances, Countess of Portland,
was allowed the rents of the Portland estates in the Fens, and
the Crown granted her a pension of ;^iooo a year. She died
in 1693, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

' In 1675 Charles Lennox, son of King Charles II. and Louise de Keroualle,
was made Duke of Richmond and Lennox, and in 1689 Hans WilHam Bentinck,
a Dutch gentleman, was created Duke of Portland by William III.


" The rage of malice
Conjures fresh spirits with the spell of York."

" No Plantagenet, by'r lady.
By red rose or by white."

— Ford.

That history repeats itself is a trite saying, but there is no
truer one, and especially do we find it so in the matter of false

The greatest impostor of modern times/ the Tichborne
Claimant, had his prototype in the fifteenth century in the
person of Perkin Warbeck, who for eight years personated the
young Duke of York, son of Edward IV. There were many
points of resemblance between the two pretenders ; in each case
they had their " greatness thrust upon them " ; in each it was a
case of " Cherchez la femme," and both were backed by a
woman to spite others. We even find " Bogle " ^ in the fifteenth
century, in the shape of one John Hayes, who had been a
servant of Clarence and who primed Warbeck with circum-
stantial details of places and persons, which, we are told,
" seemed very convincing first of all to the rude and barbarous
people of Ireland, and afterwards to men of wisdom and high

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Online LibraryConstance Charlotte Elisa Lennox RussellThe rose goddess and other sketches of mystery & romance → online text (page 18 of 22)