Thomas Pennant.

The journey from Chester to London online

. (page 2 of 34)
Online LibraryThomas PennantThe journey from Chester to London → online text (page 2 of 34)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

" To guard his country, and to check his foes,

" By Randolph's hands this glorious fabric rose :

" Though now in ruin'd heaps thy bulwarks lie,

" Revolving time shall raise those bulwarks high,

" If faith to antient prophecies be due ;

" Then Edward shall thy pristine state renew." R. W.

The castle was restored to its former strength,
between the days of Leland and the sad conten-
tions betwixt the king and parlement, in the time
of Charles I. It was first possessed by the par-
lement; but on the 1 3th of September 1643, was Sieges.
taken by the royalists, under the famous partizan
Captain Sandford ; who scaled the steep sides of
the rock, and took it by surprize p . Steel, the

* Genethliacon Eaduardi Pr. Wallix, L. 749.



governor, was suspected of treachery, tried, and
shot to death.

The parlement made a vigorous attempt to
recover a place of such importance, and besieged
it for seventeen weeks : during which time it was
gallantly defended by Captain Valet. At length,
on the approach of prince Rupert, the enemy
abandoned the attack, on the 18th of March
I644 q .

In the following year it was taken, after a most
vigorous defence of eighteen weeks. The defend-
ants were reduced to the necessity of eating cats,
8$c. when the brave Colonel Ballard, out of mere
compassion to the poor remains of his garrison,
consented to beat a parley, and obtained the most
honorable conditions, for beyond what would be
expected in such extremity ; viz. to march out,
the governor and officers with their horses and
arms, and their own proper goods (which loaded
two waggons); the common soldiers with colors
flying, drums beating, matches alight, a propor-
tion of cannon and ball, and a convoy to guard
them to Flint Castle. On Sunday, the 16th of
March, he surrendered the castle to Sir William
Brereton, and, according to articles, marched out

* MS. account. Mr. Grose, article Beeston.


with his men, now reduced to about sixty 1 . The
fortress soon after underwent the fate of the other
seats of loyalty.

From Beeston Castle I continued my journey
about two miles to Bunbury ; a village, and the Bunbury.
seat of the parish church. This was the Boliberie
of Doomsday Book; which, with several neigh-
boring places in the antient hundred of Riseton,
now comprehended in that of Ledesbury, were
possessed by Robert Fitzhugh. The family who
assumed the name of the place, held it under him
and his successors, till, Humphrey dying without
issue, his sisters, Ameria and Joan, became co-
heiresses. Amerids share came to the Patricks,
and from them to the St. Piers. At length,
Isabel, daughter and heiress of Uriam St. Pier,
brought it by marriage to Sir Walter Cokesey ;
who sold his share of the advowson of the church
to the famous Sir Hugh de Calvely. Joans moiety
came to her son Alexander, who still continued the
name De Bunbury. Sir Hugh de Calvely ob -
taining likewise the other share of the church,
erected here a college for a master and six chap-
lains ; for which purpose he obtained licence,
dated March 12th, 1386, from Richard II. on
paying to the king the sum of forty pounds. It

1 Rushworth, vol. i. part 4. p. 136.

30 feUNBURY.

was instituted for the good state of the King and
of Sir Hugh, as long as they lived ; and on their
death, for the souls of them and their progenitors,
and those of all the faithful '. Its revenue was an
hundred marks, but at the dissolution, was 48/. Qs<
Sd. when the foundation consisted of a dean, five
vicars, and two choristers.

In the fourteenth of Queen Elizabeth it was
purchased of the crown by Thomas Alder sey, of
London, merchant-taylor, a second son of the
house of Spurstoxv, in this parish. Here he
founded a preacher's place, of 100 marks a year,
Avith a good house and glebe; an assistant or
curate, with 20/. a year ; the other for an usher ',
with 10/.; ten pounds a year to the poor; and
several other charitable gifts. The disposal of
the places here are in the haberdashers' company,
London ".

In respect to the succession of the manor, Sir
Thomas Cokesey, in the latter end of the reign of
Henry VII. having no issue, alienated his share to
the Bunburies. In the thirty-second of Henry
VIII. Richard Bunbury was lord of the manor ;
from whom the family of the Bunburies of Stanny,

* Dugdale Monast. iii. part 2, p. 107.

* A schoolmaster, with 201. a year.
King's Vale Rayal, ii. 104, 105.


in TVirral, and the present Sir Charles, is lineally

The church is a handsome building, embattled, Church.
and the tower ornamented with pinnacles. The
architecture seems of the time of Henry VII. It
is dedicated to St. Boniface ; from whom the place
takes its name. Whether the patron was Boniface,
an Englishman, first archbishop of Mentz, who
died in 754, or Pope Boniface the First, who died
in 423, I cannot determine; for both received
their apotheosis.

The church is distinguished by the magnificent Tomb.
tomb of Sir Hugh cle Calvely, whose effigies in
white marble lies on it recumbent. He is armed
in the fashion of the times ; and, to give an idea
of his vast prowess, his figure is represented seven
feet and a half long. He was the Arthur of
Cheshire; the glory of the county: accordingly
the most prodigious feats are recorded of him.
Whether, like Milo, he could kill a bull with a
blow of his fist, is not said ; but our ballads give
Sir Hugh no more than the honor of devouring a
calf at a meal. His head rests on a helmet, with
a calf's head for the crest, allusive to his name;
yet probably gave rise to the fable.

Sir Hugh sprung from a neighboring hamlet (of
which I shall have occasion to speak) from whence
be took his surname. According to the cast of


the times, he sought adventures in the military
line ; and, like a soldier of fortune, first appeared
a principal commander of the Grandes Compagnies,
Tarcl venus, or Malandrins, a species of banditti,
formed out of the disbanded soldiery of different
nations. On the captivity of king John, at the
battle of Poitiers, they amounted at least to above
forty thousand veteran troops. They lived upon
plunder; yet were ready to join the side most
adverse to France. At the battle of Anray, in
1 364, Sir Hugh x served with a considerable body
of them, under the English general, Lord Chandos ;
and had the honor of turning the fortune of the
day, in which was taken the great De Gueselin.

In 1366, Sir Hugh was won over by that illus-
trious general (again at the head of the armies of
Finance), to join him in an expedition into Spain, to
dethrone Peter the Cruel, king of Castile. The
enterprize was successful; but, on the express
command of Edward III. to Lord Chandos, Sir
Hugh de Cafoely, and others of his subjects,
leaders of the companies, to forbear hostilities 7
against Peter, they deserted the quarrel they had
espoused; and, on the appearance of the Black
Prince in Spain, who, to his disgrace, took part
with the tyrant, Sir Hugh, and a great body of

x Froissart, i. ch. ccxxvi. * Bymer, vi. 480.


the companies, joined him. The prince reinstated
Peter on the throne, after the great victory of
Najara over his rival Henry of Trastamare; to
which the bravery of Sir Hugh and his troops
highly contributed. On the recall of the Black
Prince, by his father, in 1 367, Sir Hugh was left
commander of the companies. History gives him
a royal consort, in reward of his valour, and
marries him to the queen of Arragon. If at this
period, he took a most antiquated piece of royalty ;
for I can find no other dowager of that kingdom,
unless Leonora, relict of Alonso IV. who became
a widow in 1335, was then alive. There was no
issue by this match 2 ; but by his second wife*,
heiress to Mot tram Lord of Mottram, his line was

In 1376, the last year of Edzvard III. he was
appointed to the important government of Calais\
In 1378, he plundered and burnt Boulogne, with
several vessels which lay in the harbour : he also
retook the castle of Mark, lost before by neglect.
In 1379, he resigned the place to the earl of

z Salusbury Pedigrees, 72.

a Mess rs Lysons, in their account of Cheshire, p. 544, produce
arguments to shew that Sir Hugh Calvely was never married,
and that the line was continued from his brother David, who
espoused the heiress of Mottram. Ed. .

b Hist. Calais, ii. 55.


Salusbury, and was appointed by Richard II.
admiral of his fleet c .

In 1382, we find him governor of Guernsey,
and the adjacent isles. The last mention we find
of him, is in a cause that was to be determined in
1388 d ; after which, history is silent in respect to
this hero. Fuller remarks, " It was as impossible
" for such a spirit not to be, as not to be active."
Probably old-age might subdue his enterprizing
soul; for I find that he lived to the reign of Henry
IV e ; but mention is made of the weak state of
his body in Rymers record of the cause f .

This tomb is kept always very neat ; which is
owing to the piety of Dame Mary Calvely, of
Lea, who, in 1705, left the interest of an hundred
pounds, to be distributed annually among certain
poor of this parish, on condition they attended
divine service while they were able, and swept the
chancel, and cleaned the monument.

The Ridley chapel, founded in 1527, belonging
to the Egertons of Ridley, is separated from the

e Rymer, vii. 223. A Rymer, vii. 576.

e Two visitations of Cheshire, &c. MSS. in my possession :
one in 1566; the other in 1580.

f This satisfies me that his royal consort was not Sybilla
Fortia, relict of Pedro, fourth king of Arragon, who lost her
6pouse in 1388 ; as was suggested to me by a most ingenious


church by a wood-work skreen, painted. This had
been their place of interment; but nothing monu-
mental remains, except the impression of a plate
of a kneeling man, against one of the walls.

In the chancel is a recumbent figure of Sir
George Beeston, who died in 1600. This monu-
ment was erected by his son Sir Hugh, the last
male of this antient line ; who for some time sur-
vived his only son George*.

At a small distance from Bwibury, I fell into
the great road, opposite to Alpram, a hamlet,
whose name is corrupted from the Savon Alburg-
ham, in the Doomsday Book. In after-times it was
the seat of the Pages, now extinct.

A little farther lies Calvely, long the property
of that illustrious family, now likewise lost. The
place was bestowed on a Hugh, by Richard
Vernon, Baron of Shipbrbok, about the time of
Richard I. In Edward the III.'s time, it came to
the Davenports, by the marriage of Arthur to
Catharine, daughter and heiress of Robert de
Calvely: in which family it has continued till the
present time\

My road lay along the low unpleasant lane that

He died in 1640.

h Calvely is now vested in John Hromley, Esq. who married
the eldest daughter, and co-heiress, of Richard Davenport,
Esq. deceased in 1771. Ed.


led towards Nantwich ; the prospect frequently
deformed by the great fosses of the unfortunate
canal \ falling in on each side of the road ; for it
crosses at Barbridge, and is finished from thence
to Nanftcich. This was only a secondary consi-
deration, executed on the hopes of considerable
profit in the carriage of salt and cheese. The
original and principal object was, to continue the
main trunk by Church Minshul to the great Staf-
fordshire canal, near Middlexvich, and by that
means share in the freight of the goods of the
opposite side of the kingdom : but various causes
have frustrated all hopes of that benefit ; and this
part of the plan remains unattempted.
Acton. At Acton the prospect mends a little. That
village, with its handsome new church, stand on a
small rising, and commands another great extent
Earl M or- f A 3 ^ beyond Nantwich. This place, before the
car s. Conquest, was possessed by Morcar, the gallant
brother of the gallant earl Edzvin, last earl of
Mercia. At that time, the hundred it lay in was
called JVarmundestrcu, at present Nantzcich.
Actune, as it is stiled in Doomsday Book, was a
-very considerable place. There were eight hides
of land taxable : there were thirty plough-lands ;

1 A branch of the EUcsmere canal, which unites the Severn
and the Dec, now falls into it between Tarporley and Niml-
xaich, and occasions some commercial intercourse. Lb.


in the lord's demesn three : two servants, thirteen
villeyns, and fifteen boors, with seven plough-
lands, a mill for the use of the court (curia), and
ten acres of meadow : a wood six leagues long,
and one broad : an aery of hawks : two presbyters,
who had a* plough-land : two aliens, having a
plough-land and a half: a servant: six villeyns :
seven boors, with four plough-lands.

This not only shews the greatness of this Saxon
manor, but that it was the seat of Morcar, by the
provision made for his support. The tenants had
likewise the right of pleas in the hall of their lord,
and one house in JVich (Nantxvich), where they
might make salt without interruption. In the
time of the Confessor, the manor was valued at
ten pounds a year ; at the Conquest, at only six.
It may be observed, once for all, that the troubles
occasioned by that event, and the ravages com-
mitted, instantly sunk the value of the land.

The manor of Acton, which had been antiently
a portion of the Barony of Wich Malbang, passed
to the Vernons, and by a co-heiress of Warren de
Vernon to the Littleburies, who sold their share
to John de Wetenhall. At a subsequent period it
became, by marriage, the property of the Ar-
dernes ; yet about the year 1464 it was conveyed
by the heirs male of the IVetcnhalls to feoffees in
trust, for the use of Sir John Bromley, in whose


heirs it remained till about the year 1600, when it
was purchased from them by Sir Roger Wil-
braham, master of the requests, and conveyed by
him to his younger brother Ralph, of whose
descendants it was bought, in 1752, by the father
of Henry Tomkinson, Esq. the present possessor k .
Church. About twenty years ago, the steeple and roof
of the church were destroyed; but the whole has
since been restored, in a very handsome manner.
One monument is in good preservation, notwith-
standing this church was a temporary prison after
the battle of Nantwich, in the civil wars of
Charles I.; but the prisoners were of the party
which respected these memorials of the dead.

The most antient is one in St. Marys chapel,
in memory of Sir William Marrwaring, of Over
Pexer, and of Badcly, in this neighborhood.
-This knight, before his departure on an expedition
to Guienne, in 1393, settled his estate, and next
year made his will ; by which he bequeathed his
body to this church, and ordered a picture in
alabaster, to cover his tomb. He also left to the
same church part of Christ's cross, which the wife
of his half-brother had shut up in wax, and a suf-
ficient salary for a chaplain to say a competent
number of masses, in St. Mary's chapel, for the

k hyson*, Mag. Brit. art. Cheshire, p. 469.


sake of his soul, for seven years, when it might
be supposed to have been redeemed from Purga-.
tvry, and

" The foul crimes done in his days of nature
** Were burnt and purg'd away."

After his death, which happened in 1399, a mag-
nificent tomb was erected beneath a Gothic arch,
with a large embattled superstructure. Under the
arch lies Sir William in full armour, with suppliant
hands. His head is cased in a conic helm, bound
with a fillet entwined with foliage. From his
helmet is a guard of mail, which covers his neck,
and rises to his lips ; over which flow two great
whiskers. His head rests on a casque, with an
ass's head for a crest. Above, within the arch, is
a row of half-lengths, with a book opposite to
each; probably religious, chaunting his requiem.
The whole is painted. On the edge of the tomb
was this inscription, now much defaced by time :
Hie jacet William Manwaring quondam dominus
de Badeleye, qui obiit die Veneris ##" ante f est um
Pentecostce, anno Dni. m n ccc nonogessimo nono.

The tomb of Sir Thomas Wilbraham, Baronet,
and his lady Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Roger
Wilbraham, Knight, and one of the masters of
request to James I. is very handsome. Their
figures are placed on an altar-tomb, in white


marble, recumbent: he in armour, long curled
hair, and a turn-over, with one hand in his breast,
the other by his side. Beneath him is spread
a large cloak. The lady has a book in one hand ;
the other, like his, reclines on her breast. He died
in 1660.

This tomb is a specimen of the first deviation
from the old form : a greater ease of attitude
began to prevail. The hands, which used to be
erect, close, and suppliant, here vary in the atti-
tude, and shew a dawning of the grace that
reigned on the revival of sculpture. In England,
monumental beauty was soon ruined by servilely
copying the dress of the times ; by having night-
gowns and flowing perriwigs cut out of the Parian
blocks ; or adding the great wig to the absurdity
of the Roman habit.

The church had been long the place of sepul-
ture of the houses of JVoodhey and Badeley. The
vain attention of our forefathers to posthumous
honors and superstitious rites, is well exemplified
in the will of William WilbraJunn, of JVoodhey,
who died in 1536; by which " he bequeaths his
" body to be buried before the image of our Lady,
" in the chancel of the church of Act on, and f>
" bestows x\ to be laid out on a tenor bell, if the
" parish will provide the rest; but if not, then the
" money to be laid out on a pax and two cruytt*


9 of silver, to serve at the high altar on good
" days. He further wills, that 12 white gowns
" be given to 12 poor men; as also, that 12
" torches be mdde, to hold about his body the day
" of his burial; and that a light be over him, with
" viii tapers, in the middle whereof a bigger taper
" should spring out; also, that penny-dole should
" be given at his burial, to every person that
" would take it.

" He, moreover, requires his executors to buy
" a stone of marble to lie on him, in the said
" chancel of Acton, with pictures of himself and
" his wife, and their arms ; also, that they put
" out xi^. under sure keeping, to pay xi s . yearly to
" a well-disposed priest, to sing (during twenty
" years) for him and his wife, children, father,
" and mother, and all that God would be prayed
" for; and the said service to be performed in his
" chapel of Woodhey ; which priest should likewise
" have \w. more yearly for his salary, if so be his
" heir is not pleased to give him his board and
" chamber-room V

The monument alluded to, either never was
executed, or was destroyed by the fall of the

From Acton, I went down a gentle descent

J Collins** Baronets, ed. 1725, vol. ii. 291.


to Xantwich, about a mile distant. Antiently this
place was known only by the name of Wich m , an
Anglo-Saxon word for district or habitation ; and
a very common termination of a multitude of
places. Here the British Nant is added, to shew
its low situation.

Immediately before the Conquest its reve-
nues were divided between the king and earl
Edwin. After that event it was bestowed by the
great proprietor of Cheshire, Hugh Lupus, on
William de Malbedeng, or de Malbang, a Norman
chieftain ; from whom it was called JVich Malbang.
Hugh erected it into a barony, in favour of
Malbedeng, and honored him with a seat in his

William de Malbank, the third baron, died in
the reign of Edward I. without issue male, leaving
three daughters, Philippa, Aude, and Eleanor.
Philippa married Thomas Lord Basset of Heding-
ton ; Aude, Warren de Vernon, baron of Ship-
broke ; Eleanor, who died unmarried, conveyed
her share to Henry Audleij and his heirs n .

m See Skinner's Etymologicon: Notwithstanding the word
does not appear to have any thing to do with salt, yet wich,
or wych, is always applied, with us, to places where salt is
found ; as Droitwich, Nantwich, &c. and the houses in which
it is made, are called wych houses.

n Lysons, Mag. Brit. art. Cheshire, p. 705.


By these means the barony became divided into
four, reckoning the part which had been given by
Hugh Malbang to the abbey of Cumbermere ;
and soon after, by different alliances, became split
into multitudes of other shares.

When entire, it was under the government of
the lord, or his steward ; who were vested with the
usual baronial powers. This town had been
governed by a bailiff; but the election of that
officer being dropt, it is at present under the
government of the constables. It has likewise
several other officers, such as the rulers of walling,
who were guardians of the salt-springs, and regu-
lated all matters respecting that important staple
of the place .

After them came the ale-tasters ; whose office
related to the assize of bread and drink.

The next were the heath-keepers ; who attended
to the right of the beam-heath, antiently called
the creach; and took care to preserve it from all
incroachments, or trespassers.

The leave-lookers superintended the markets,
inspected the weights, and destroyed unwholesome
meat of every kind. These corresponded a good
deal with the Mdiles cereales of the Romans ; as
the next officers, the f re-lookers, did to the triam-

History of Nantwich, 1774.


viri nocturni. They had the care of the chimnies,
and were to guard against all accidents that might
arise from fire.

The town is large, but consists chiefly of old
houses. The JVeever, which divides it in unequal
parts, is here a small stream, and not navigable
higher than JVinsford Bridge. The inhabitants of
Nantzvkh had, many years ago, an act for making
this river navigable from that place to their town ;
but they never earned the power into execution.
The Chester canal is now completed from that
city, and finishes in a handsome broad bason, near
the road between Acton and the town ; but at this
time, it remains an almost useless ornament to
the country : nor has it, as might have been ex-
pected, given the least increase to the salt-trade,
for which this antient town was once so distin-
guished. Unfortunately for it, the other salt-
towns lie more conveniently for commerce, and
abound almost to excess with that useful article.

The chief trade of the place is in shoes, which
are sent to London. Here is a small manufacture
of gloves ; but those of bone-lace and stockings,
once considerable, are now lost. In the reigns of
Queen Elizabeth, and James I. the tanning busi-
ness brought much wealth into the town.

The salt made from the adjacent brine-springs
formed once a very important business. In the


reign of Queen Elizabeth, here were two hundred
and sixteen salt-works, of six leads-walling each :
in 1774, only two works, of five p large pans of
wrought iron. The duty produced from them
amounts annually to near five thousand pounds :
from the whole district, including the works at
Lazvton, and a small one at Durtwich, from
eighteen to twenty thousand pounds. The tax on
this useful article is very considerable, which it
bears, as being of most cheap fabrick, and most
universal use. It seems, for that reason, to have
been one of the earliest taxes of the Romans ; for
Ancus Martins, near 640 years before Christ,
salinarum vectigal instituit q . This tribute was
continued on the Britons when the Romans pos-
sessed our isle.

The latter also made salt part of the pay
of their soldiers, which was called solarium ; and
from which is derived our word salary.

The art of making salt was known in very early
times, to the Gauls and Germans : it is not, there-
fore, likely that the Britons, who had, in several
places, plenty of salt-springs, should be ignorant

p In August IS 10 only one pan was employed at Nantwich,
the monthly duty on which amounts to sixty pounds. The
works near Lazvion, belonging to the reverend Sir Thomas
Broughton, B l . have increased to a great degree. Ed.

* Aurdius Victor, c. v.

J> %


of it. The way of making it was very simple, but
very dirty; for they did no more than fling the
water on burning wood ; the water evaporated by
the heat, and left the salt adhering to the ashes, or
charcoal r .

It is very probable that the Britons used the
spring of Nantxoich for this purpose ; numbers of

Online LibraryThomas PennantThe journey from Chester to London → online text (page 2 of 34)