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THE



JOURNEY



FROM



CHESTER TO LONDON.



Primed by S. Hamilton, Weypridje.




:t..|lllillli!|l!iWl!lil|lliii-!i"ll'!




IN
S



THti



JOURNEY



FROM



CHESTER TO LONDON,



BY



THOMAS PENNANT, ESQ.



WITH NOTES.



LONDON:
PRINTED FOR WILKIE AND ROBINSON J J. NUNN J WHITE AND
COCHRANE ; LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN ;
VERNOR, HOOD, AND SHARPE ; CADELL AND DAVIES ; J.
HARDING J J. RICHARDSON J J. BOOTH J J. MAWMAN ', AND
J. JOHNSON AND CO.

1811.



Co T^O

\t\r-



ADVERTISEMENT.



X HE ground which is described in the following
sheets, has been for some centuries passed over
by the incurious Traveller ; and has had the hard
fortune of being constantly execrated for its dul-
ness. To retort the charge, and clear it from the
calumny, is my present business. To shew that
the road itself, or its vicinity, is replete with either
antient historic facts, or with matter worthy of pre-
sent attention, is an affair of no great difficulty.
Possibly my readers may subscribe to the opinion,
that the tract is not absolutely devoid of entertain-
ment, and that the blame rests on themselves, not
the country.



Whatsoever entertainment they may meet
with, let them join with me in thanks to the fol-
lowing contributors. Firstly and chiefly, to the



V i ADVERTISEMENT.

Reverend Mr. Cole of Milton, near Cambridge ;
after him, to the Reverend Doctor Edwards, of
Nuneaton, near Coventry ; to Mr. Greene, Sur-
geon, in Lichfield; and to the Reverend Arch-
deacon Coxe, of Flitton, Bedfordshire. To these

Gentlemen I owe great obligations for their assist-
ance.

Public ! smile on what is right : candidly con-
vey correction of what is wrong.

THOMAS PENNANT.

Downing, March 1782.



.



.



ITINERARY.



vU



PART I.

Chester
Christleton .
Tarvin . .
Torporley
Beeston Castle
Bunbury
Acton . .
Nantwich
Wybunbury
Doddington Hall
Wore . . .
Swinerton .
Darlaston
Stone . . .
Sandon . .
Chartley . .
Stow Church
Heywood
Shugborough
Tixal . .
Jngestre . .
Stafford . .



1
2
5
9
14
19
26
32
49
53
60
65
66
77
80
84
87
89
91
94
97
99



Page

Colwich . . '. . . 107
Blithefield . . . .110
Maveston Ridvvare . 118
King's Bromley . . 120
Wichnor . . . . .121
Rudgley . . * . . .128

Longdon 129

Beaudesert .... 130
Lichfield . . . .136

Ilford 159

Croxal 162

Tamworth . . . .164

Lichfield 171

Canwell 172

Moxhull . . . . . 173

Coleshill 174

Blithe Hall ... . 179
Maxstoke Castle . . 182
Packington .... 184

Mireden 185

Coventry 188

Combe Abbey . . . 237
Knightlow .... 250



vm



ITINERARY.



Dunchurch .
Braunston . .
Daventry . .
Borough Hill .
Wedon . . .
Stow Nine Churches
Toucester . .
Easton Neston .
Stoney Stratford
Blecheley . .
Fenny Stratford
Little Brickhill .
Hockliffe . .
Dunstable . ,
Market Cell . .
Redburn . . .
Gorhambury
Verulamium
St.Alban's . .
Hadley . ; ,
Barnet . . ,
London . . ,



PART II.



251

253

255

258

264

267

272

275

284

ib.

289

290

291

292

, 299

301

, 304

339

. 348

, 386

. 390

, 392



Daventry
Badby .
Fawsley .



393
393
394



Flore ....
Northampton .
Castle Ashby
Easton Mauduit
Northampton .
De la Pre Abbey
Eltavon . . .
Horton Church
Gothurst . . .
Tyringham . .
Newport Pagnel
Woburn Town .

Abbey

Ampthill . . .
Houghton Park
Maulden Church
Wrest . . .
Flitton Church
Luton . .

-Ho .

Hatfield . .
Gobions . .
Enfield Palace
Waltham
Copthall . .
Theobalds .
London . .



Page

400

402

418

426

432

ib.

434

435

437

455

458

463

464

498

505

507

. 503

. 521

. 524

. 529

. 533

. 559

. 560

. 562

. 566

. 567

. 568



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GEOIGE CAJLTJEMT, THE F3BST LOID BAIL TIM ME,
From the Original Ftaturc ,ii Gorhambury.

PiML-/ml Mnv idn.bv ll'/iitr H- <}>r/ir<uu-,&v.




>UK"TJESS OF SlTFOLK.

From tfw Original /'inure ,it doHuimbury.



p. ./!<>




H^ TAJLBOT, JEAELL OJF HBJE WSB URT".
From die Original Fw/n/r ,it Gude Ashby.

Jhblit/url Mm ldn, by >f/u/F X- detnaM Xr.



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riWIrTilf m$?

..MAHGAIET, COUHTESS OF Cl T MBEllAl"I).
Trom the ('riai/i.iJ /Vr/wr ,// /I','/'///-// .

/'/,/,.,/;/ ,11,, i I, 'in by ll'/iilr tii,V,nmr ..<!; .



JOURNEY



LONDON.

IN March 1780, I began my annual journey to
London. At Chester some improvements had
taken place since my last account of the city. A
very commodious building has been erected in the
Yatchfield, near the Watergate street, for the sale
of Irish linen at the two fairs. It surrounds
a large square area; on each side of which are
piazzas, with numbers of shops well adapted for
the purpose.

In digging the foundation for certain houses
near the street, were discovered some Roman
buildings, and a large Hypocaust with its several
conveniences ; and some other antiquities, parti-
cularly a beautiful altar*, dedicated Fortiuue
Rcduci et JEsculapio. Much of its inscription is

* Engraven in Moses Griffith's Supplemental Plates to the.
Tours in Wales, tab. X.

B



4 CHRISTLETON.

abbey. In the Saxon times, every man was allowed
to kill game on his own estate, but on the Conquest
the king vested the property of all the game in him-
self, so that no one could sport, even on his own
land, under most cruel penalties, without permission
from the. king, by grant of a chase or free warren.
By this, the grantee had an exclusive power of
killing game on his own estate, but it was on con-
dition that he prevented every one else ; so that,
as our learned commentator e observes, this seem-
ing favour was intended for the preservation of the
beasts and fowls of warren; which were roes,
hares, and rabbits, partridge, rails, and quails,
woodcocks and pheasants, mallards, and herons,
for the sport of our savage monarchs. This
liberty, which they allowed to a few individuals,
being designed merely to prevent a general de-
struction.

Christleton passed from the Birmingham*, in
Richard 'II.' 's time, to Sir Hugh Brower : Sir Hugh
lost it by his attachment to the house of York;
and Henry the IVth, in the fourth year of his
reign, bestowed it on John Manxvaring, of Over
Peover, an attendant on his son, afterwards
Henry V f . Manxvaring having no lawful issue,
bestowed this place on Sir Thomas le Grosvenor,

e Judge Blackstone. f Leicester, 333.



CHRISTLETON. TARVIN.

lord of Hulme; but it passed immediately from
him to John de Macclesfield, in the 10th of Henry
V. One of his descendants alienated it, in 1442,
or the 21st of Henry VI. to Humphrey (afterward
Duke) of Buckingham. Henry Lord Stafford,
son to Edzvard Duke of Buckingham, sold it to
Sir William Sneyde, of Keel; and Sir Ralph Sneyde,
to Sir John Harpur, of Swerston, in Derbyshire ;
one of whose descendants sold it to Thomas Brock 5 ,
Esquire, the present lord of the manor. The
living is a rectory, in the disposal of Sir Roger
Mostyn : the church is dedicated to St. James.

From hence I took the horse-road across
Brownheath, by Hockenhall, formerly the seat of
a family of the same name. The rising country
to the left of this road appears to great advantage,
opposing to the traveller a fair front, beautifully
clumped with self-planted groves.

Passed over a brook, and reached the small
town of Tarvin, which still retains nearly its
British name Terfyn, or the Boundary, being so
to the forest of Delamere. In Doomsday book it
is stiled Terve : the bishop at that time held it.
It then contained six taxable hides of land. The
bishop kept on it six cowmen, three radmen, seven

8 On Mr. Brock's decease, the manor devolved on his nephew
John Brock Wood, Esq. Ed.



6 TARVIX.

villeyns, seven boors, and six ploughlands. The
first were to keep his cattle; the second to attend
his person in his travels, or to go wheresoever he
pleased to send them ; the third, by their tenure,
to cultivate his lands ; and the fourth, to supply
his table with poultry, eggs, and other small
matters. The plough land, or caruca, was as much
as one plough could work in the year. This shews
the establishment of a manor in those early times ;
which I mention now to prevent repetition.

In Hairy VI.'s time the village and manor were
estimated at 23/. a year, and were held by Regi-
nald, bishop of Lichfield, in the same manner as
they were held by his predecessors, under the
Prince of Wales, as earl of Chester. They conti-
nued possessed by them till the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, when they were alienated to Sir John
Savage, who procured for the town the privilege
of a market. The church is a rectory, and still
continues part of the see of Lichfield ; being a
prebendary, originally founded about the year
1 226, by Alexander de Stavenby, bishop of that
diocese. It is valued at 26/. 1 3*. Ad. the highest
endowment of any prebend in that cathedral. It
is called the prebend of Tarvin, which presents to
the living.

The same prelate also bestowed this church



TARVIN. 7

on the vice-prebendal church of Burton, in
Wiral*; and formed out of its revenues an hos-
pital for shipwrecked persons. This hospital was
probably at Burton, Tarvin being too remote from
the sea for so humane a design.

Against the church-wall is a monument, in
memory of Mr. John Thomasine, thirty-six j r ears
master of the grammar-school. The epitaph de-
servedly celebrates the performances of this ex-
quisite penman, as " highly excelling in all the
" varieties of writing, and wonderfully so in the
" Greek characters. Specimens of his ingenuity
" are treasured up, not only in the cabinets of
" the curious, but in public libraries throughout
" the kingdom. He had the honour to tran-
" scribe, for her Majesty Queen Anne, the Icon
" Basilike of her royal grandfather. Invaluable
" copies also of Pindar, Anacreon, Theocritus,
" Epictetus, Hippocrates s Aphorisms, and that
" finished piece the Shield of Achilles, as described
" by Homer, are among the productions of his
" celebrated pen.

" As his incomparable performances acquired
" him the esteem and patronage of the great and
" learned ; so his affability and humanity gained
" him the good-will of all his acquaintance ; and

h Awlia Sacra, i. 4-46.



STAPLEFORD. UTKINTON.

" the decease of so much private -worth is re-
" gretted as a public loss."

From Tarvin I travel on the great road, and at
about two miles distance, leave on the right Sta-
pleford, which retains the name it had at the
Conquest, when it Mas held by Radulpus Venator
from Hugh Lupus. After a long interval, it fell to
the Breretons. In 1378, or the second of Richard
II. it was held by Sir William Brereton of the
king, as earl of Chester. From that family it
passed to the Bruyns, and was purchased by the
late Randle JVilbraham, Esquire.

Two miles farther, on the left, stood Utkinton
Hall: the manor, with Kingsley, and the bailey-
wick of the forest of Delamere, was given by
Randle Meschincs, earl of Chester, to Randle de
Kingsley ; whose great grand-daughter Joan,
about the year 1233, conveyed it to the Dories.
Richard Done was possessed of it in 1311, the
sixth of Edward II. He held it by a quarter
part of a knight's fee, and the master forcstership
of Merc {Delamere) and Mottram, by himself,
and a horseman, and eight footmen under him, to
keep that forest, then valued at 10/. 106'. 3d.

Upon the failure of issue male of Sir John
Done, in the beginning of the seventeenth century,
the manor of Utkinton came to his daughters, and
has been since held by them, or persons claming



THE DONES. TORPORLEY.

under them. Mary, the second daughter, mar-
ried, in 1636, John, second son of Sir Randle
Crew, of Crew j and Elinor, the younger, Ralph
Ardeme, Esquire.

The Dones of Flaxy ard, in this neighborhood,
were another considerable family, at constant feud
with the former, till the houses were united by the
nuptials of the heir of Flaxy ard with the heiress
of Utkinton. But at this time both those antient
seats are demolished, or turned into farm-houses.

From hence I soon reached Torpor ley, a small
town, seated on a gentle descent. It had once
been a borough town, of which Richard Francis
was mayor in the twentieth of Edztard I. In the
tenth of the same reign, Hugh de Tarpoley had
licence to hold a market here every Tuesday, and
a fair on the vigil, the feast day, and the day after
the exaltation of the Holy Cross ; but he alienated
this privilege, with this property, to Reginald de
Grey, chief justice of Chester.

In the eighth of Richard II. this manor was
divided into two moieties ; one of which was held
by John Done, the other by Reginald Grey, of
the family of Lord Grey, of Ruthin.

The manor and rectory of Torpor ley are now
divided into six shares: four belong to the Ar-
dcns ; one to the dean and chapter of Chester ;



10 TORPORLEY.

and another to Philip Egerton 1 , Esquire, of
Oulton.

The living is a rectory, the advowson of which
is divided into the same portions as the manor.
The church is dedicated to St. Heien, the Empress
of Const ant his, the daughter of Coel, a British
prince, a popular saint among us, if we may judge
from the number of churches under her protection.
That in question is of no great antiquity, in respect
to the building ; nor has it any beauty. Within is
much waste of good marble, in monumental
vanity.

The best are two monuments in the chancel,
seemingly copied from half-length portraits. Two
figures in mezzo relievo are included in carved
borders of marble, in imitation of frames: that
of Sir John Done, Knight, hereditary forester and
keeper of the forest of Delamere, who died in
1629, is picturesque. He is represented in a
laced jacket, and with a horn in his hand, the
badge of his office : which horn descended to
the different owners of the estate, and is now in
the possession of John Arden, Esquire.

When that Ninwod, James I. made a progress
in 1617, he was entertained by this gentleman at
Utkinton ; " Avho ordered so wisely and content-

1 His son John Egerton, Esquire, is the present proprietor.
Ed.



TORPORLEY. U

"fully" says King*, "his Highness's sports, that
" James conferred on him the honor of knighthood."
He married Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Wil-
braham, Esquire, of Woodhey ; who left behind
her so admirable a character, that, to this day,
when a Cheshire man would express some excel-
lency in one of the fair sex, he would say, "There
" is Lady Done for you.' 7

The other figure is of John Crezv, Esquire,
second son of Sir Randle Crew, of Crezv, Knight,
married to Mary, daughter of Sir John Done.
His face is represented in profile, with long hair.
He died 1670.

His lady, and her elder sister Jane Done, an
antient virgin, lie at full length in the Utkinton
chapel, with long and excellent characters. One
lies recumbent; the other reclined and strait laced^
which gives little grace in statuary. Jane died in
1662; Mrs. Crew, in 1690, aged 86.

Sir John Crezv, Knight, son of Mr. John Crezv,
lies reclined on an altar-tomb, with a vast perri-
wig, and a Roman dress, with a whimpering ge-
nius at his head and feet. Sir John married, firsts
Mary, daughter of Thomas Wagstaff, of Tach-
brook, in Warwickshire, Esquire ; and secondly,

k Vale Royal, ji. 106.



n BEESTON HALL.

Mary, daughter of Sir Willughby Aston, of As-
ton, Baronet. He died in 1711, aged 71.

I must not quit this place without letting fall
a few tears, as a tribute to the memory of its ho-
nest rector John Allen ; whose antiquarian know-
lege and hospitality, I have often experienced on
this great thoroughfare to the capital. From the
antient rectorial house, at the bottom of the
town, is an aweful view of the great rock of Bees-
ton, backed by the Peckfreton hills, tempting me
to take a nearer survey.

The distance is about two miles. In my way
I crossed the canal at Beeston Bridge, and called
at the poor remains of Beeston Hall, the manor-
house, inhabited by the agent for the estate.
This place was burnt by prince Rupert, during
the civil wars. There is a tradition, that he had
dined that day with the lady of the house. After
dinner, he told her, that he was sorry that he was
obliged to make so bad a return for her hospita-
lity; advised her to secure any valuable effects
she had, for he must order the house to be burnt
that night, lest it should be garrisoned by the
enemy.

This manor had been part of the barony of
MalpaSj and was held under the lords, by the fa-
mily of Dc Bunbury ; who changed their Norman



BEESTON HALL. 13

ftame, St. Pierre, and assumed that of the place
where they first settled.

In 1271, or the fifty-sixth of Henri/ III. Henry
de Bunbury, and Margery his wife, gave it to
their nephew Richard, who made the place his
residence, and assumed its name. It continued
in his family for many generations. Sir George
Beeston possessed it in the forty-fourth of Queen
Elizabeth. At length, by the. marriage of Mar-
garet, daughter of Sir Hugh Beeston, with Wil-
liam Whitemore, of Leighton, it was conveyed
into that house ; and as suddenly transferred, by
Bridget, heiress of Mr. Whitemore, to Darcie
Savage, second son to Thomas Viscount Savage,
of Rock Savage ; whose grand-daughter, another
Bridget, brought it by marriage to Sir Thomas
Mostyn, Baronet, with the lordships of Pcckf re-
ton, Leighton, and Thornton ; in whose house
they still remain. This lady was a Roman Ca-
tholic. Tradition is warm in her praise, and full
of her domestic virtues, and the particular atten-
tion that she shewed in obliging her domestics, of
each religion, to attend their respective churches.
Her husband and she ' were lovely and pleasant
in their lives, and in their death they were not
divided:' they died within a day or two of each
other, at Gloddaeth, in Caernarvonshire, and were



14 BEESTON ROCK, AND CASTLE.

interred in the neighboring church of Eglwys
Rhos.

At a small distance from the hall, is the great
insulated rock of Beeston, composed of sand-stone,
very lofty and precipitous at one end, and sloped
down into the flat country at the other. Its
height, from Beeston Bridge to the summit, is
three hundred and sixty-six feet. From the sum-
mit is a most extensive view on every side, ex-
cept where interrupted by the Peckfreton hills.
The land appears deeply indented by the estuaries
of the Dee and Mersey, and the canal from Ches-
ter appears a continued slender line of water from
that city to almost the base of this eminence. To
this place its utility has been proved to all the
market-women of the neighboring farmers, who
have the benefit of Treek-schuyts to convey their
merchandize to their capital : a few coals also
come up, and a little timber ; and these form the
sum of their present commerce.

This rock is crowned with the ruins of a strong
Beeston fortress, which rose in the year 1220; founded by
Handle Blondevil/e, earl of Chester, on his return
out of the Holy Land ; for which purpose, and for
the building of Chartley Castle, he raised a tax
upon all his estates \ At that time it belonged

1 Polychronicon, cccvi.



BEESTON CASTLE. 15

to the lords of the manor of Beeston ; from whom
he obtained leave to erect his castle. It devolved
afterwards to the crown; for, according to Er~
deszvick, Sir Hugh Beeston purchased it from
Queen Elizabeth, and restored it to his lordship.

It had been a place of very great strength. The
access, about midway of the slope, was defended
by a great gateway, and a strong wall fortified
with round towers, which ran from one edge of
the precipice to the other, across the slope ; but
never surrounded the hill, as is most erroneously
represented in the old print. Some of the walls,
and about six or seven rounders, still exist. A
square tower, part of the gateway, is also stand-
ing. Within this cincture is a large area, per-
haps four or five acres in extent. Near the top
is the castle, defended, on this side, by an ama-
zing ditch, cut out of the live rock ; on the other,
by the abrupt precipice that hangs over the vale
of Cheshire.

The entrance is through a noble gateway,
guarded on each side by a great rounder, whose
walls are of a prodigious thickness. Within the
yard is a rectangular building, the chapel of the
place. The draw-well was of a most surprising
depth ; being sunk through the higher part of the

m Potychronicon, cccvi.



16 BEESTON CASTEE.

rock, to the level of Bceston brook, that runs be-
neath ! In the area just mentioned, was another
well : both at this time are filled up ; but King
remembered the first to have been eighty, the
other ninety-one, yards deep, although the last is
said to have been half filled with stones and rub-
bish".

We are quite unacquainted with the events
that befel this strong hold, for several centuries
after its foundation. Stozv says, that Richard II.
lodged here his great treasures during his expedi-
tion into Ireland, and garrisoned it with an hun-
dred men of arms, chosen and able ; who, on the
approach of Henry duke of Lancaster, yielded
it to the usurper. But other historians assert,
that his treasures were placed in the castle of
Holt.

The fortress certainly fell into decay soon after
this reign ; for Leland, in his poem on the birth
of Edward VI. speaks of it as in ruin, when he
makes Fame to alight on its summit, and foretell
its restoration.

Explicuit dehinc Fama suas perniciter alas,
Altaque fulminei petiit Jovis atria victrix,
Circuiens liquidi spatiosa volumina cceli.
Turn quoque despexit terram, sublimis, ocellos
Sidereos figens Bisdimi in moenia castri, &c.

n Vale Royal, iii. Annals, 321.



BEESTON CASTLE. 17

Thence to Jove's palace she prepar'd to fly

With out-stretch'd pinions through the yielding sky ;

Wide o'er the circuit of the ample space,

Survey'd the subject earth and human race."

Sublime in air she cast her radiant eyes,

Where far-fam'd Beeston's airy turrets rise :

High on a rock it stood, whence all around

Each fruitful valley, and each rising ground,

In beauteous prospect lay; these scenes to view,

Descending swift, the wondering goddess flew.

Perch'd on the topmost pinnacle, she shook

Her sounding plumes, and thus in rapture spoke :

" From Syrian climes the conquering Randolph came,

" Whose well-fought fields bear record of his name.



Online LibraryThomas PennantThe journey from Chester to London → online text (page 1 of 34)