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with Hervey Bagot ; from which match sprung
a long line of peers of every rank. The elder
branch acquired this place by the marriage of Sir

* Mr. Alien* 9 MSS.

c Dugdalc, i. 158.


Ralph Bagot (before the reign of Henry IV.)
with Elizabeth, sole heiress of Richard Blithe-
Jield, lineally descended from a Saxon of the name
of Hereman, or the warrior.

The house d is built round a court, and still
retains, on the outside, the simplicity of appear-
ance of that of an antient baron ; and within, the
old hospitality. The best rooms are, the hall, the
library, and a large drawing-room, lately added*
The first is a noble apartment, unadorned, except-
ing over the chimney-piece, where is a representa-
tion in bold and good sculpture, in free-stone, of
an event dear as life to every true Englishman ;
that of King John granting to his subjects the
great charter of liberty.

Among the portraits, I observed on a board, T M 80t
in a flat manner, the head of lord treasurer Bur- Burleigh.
leigh, with a white beard, bonnet, collar of the
garter, the George, and a white wand. His abi-
lities as a statesman were inimitable ; his private
virtues, his honesty, temperance, moderation, in-
dustry, and justice, not beyond the power of the
great to copy ; his magnificence was attended with
hospitality ; his annual deeds of alms were to the

d Blithefield has within these few years received considera-
ble improvements, with an attention, to comfort and propriety,
not always observable in the alteration of houses of so antient
a date. Ed.


amount of five hundred pounds e . As his life was
excellent, so his death was happy ; dying in the
fulness of years and of glory, envied, as his greatest
enemy declared, only because his sun went down
"with so much lustre ; not clouded, as generally is
the fate of great ministers.
Henry a cotemporary of his is painted in the same

Earl of

Hunting- manner, with the collar of the garter; his beard


forked: the date 1588, set. 52. This preserves a
likeness of a very different character, Henry Earl
of Huntington, lord president of the north, and one
of the peers to whom the custody of the queen of
Scots was entrusted. Burleigh created a fortune
by his prudence ; Huntington dissipated his, by
being the dupe to the ministers of the rising fana-
ticism of the age, which, nurtured by such wooers
of popularity as Leicester, Essex, and this noble
peer, in the next age attained strength sufficient
to subvert the church it pretended to purify.

Sir Walter^ a neighboring statesman, Sir Walter Aston,

of Tival, is painted on board. He appears with

a firm countenance, short hair, and whiskers ; in
a black dress, laced with gold on the seams, and
graced with a triple gold chain. Sir Walter was
ambassador to Spain in the time of the negotia-
tions about the Spanish match, in the reign of

e Camden's Annals, year 1598.


James I. and favored the designs of the young
prince, and his favorite Buckingham. He was
resolute and prudent, and had great knowlege of
the importance of the English trade with Spain f .
He might serve his master, but he hurt his own
fortune ; dissipating great part of . 10,000 a year
in supporting the dignity of his character, and the
honor of his country. His reward was a Scotch
peerage ; being created by Charles I. in the third
year of his reign, Lord Forfar.

An half-length of Walter Earl of Essex, father Walter
to the unfortunate Robert. He is represented in Essex.
rich armor. On one side are the words Virtutis
comes invidia ; allusive to the constant ill usage
he met with from the worthless favorite of Eliza-
beth, the Earl of Leicester. He was a nobleman
of great merit and courage ; was sent to command
in Ireland, in 1573, and performed services wor-
thy of his character ; but at length, worn out by
the ill usage of the ministry, who with-held from
him the necessary support, he came over to Eng-
land, to lay his complaint before the queen. He
was artfully received, and sent back with the pro-
mises of better usage. Grief, or, as others say,
poison, administered by the instigation of Leices-
ter, who loved his wife, cut him off at the age of
'' . -

f Lloyd's Worries, ii. 248.


thirty-five, at Dublin, in 1576. Perhaps the in-
famy of Dudleys character, and the speedy and
indecent marriage of the countess with that fa-
vorite, might give rise to the scandal ; for an in-
quisition was made on his death, and the report
in consequence was, that he died of the flux ; a
disorder very frequent in Ireland in those days.
Here are several portraits of different persons,
Colonel of this worthy house. Among them is Colonel

Richard 7 t r i^ j t_ * n

Bagot. Richard Bagot, governor of Lichfield, who fell in
the cause of loyalty, in the fatal battle of Naseby.
He is dressed in a buff coat, and represented with
long hair.

I must not omit a curious picture of a country-
Mrs. woman of mine, Mrs. Salusbury, of Bachymbed,
in Denbighshire, in a vast high sugar-loafed hat
and kerchief, bordered with ermine. Near her
are two of her grandchildren, Sir Edzvard Bagot,
and Elizabeth, afterwards Countess of Uxbridge,
by her daughter Jane, who married Sir J Fa Iter
Bagot, and conveyed the Welsh estate into the
family. A head of her son Charles Salusbury, in
long hair, and flowered night-gown, is also pre-
served here.

Lady Ma ry Countess of Ayksford, painted in her

Aylesford. ... .. . r .

old-age, by Hudson, sitting, is a most beautiful

portrait. She is dressed, simplex munditiis, in

pale brown sattin, white hood, handkerchief,


apron, and short ruffles : a reproach to the un-
suitable fantastic dress of these times, which at-
tempts to disguise respectful years, and renders:
that inevitable period the object of ridicule. .

Mary, daughter to Hervey Bagot,' Esquire, of
Pipehall, first married to Sir Charley Berkeley
Earl of Falmouth 5 } and afterwards to Charles
Earl of Dorset ; a brown beauty of the gay court
of Charles II. and, as Grammont says, the only
one that had the appearance of beauty and wis-
dom in the departments of maids of honor to the
Dutchess of York.

William Legge, first Earl of Dartmouth, and his
lady ; parents of the late Lady Barbara Bagot.

That eccentric statesman, Henry Earl of Bo-
lingbroke, when young, dressed in his robes.

A head of that great actor, and dramatic poet, Moliere.
Moliere. He lived the adoration of his country-
men ; but, dying in his profession, was, according
to a custom of the church of his nation, refused
Christian burial by Harlai de Chanvalon, a de-
bauched archbishop of Paris. The king (Lewis
XIV.) at length prevailed to have him buried in

8 According to Lord Clarendon's account, he was a very
worthless young favorite of Charles II. He was killed in the
great sea-fight with the Dutch, in 1-665. Charles wept bitterly
at his death. The loss of better men never went so near his
heart. Clarendon's Continuation, 268, - .

i 2


a church; but the curate would net undertake the
office. The populace with difficulty could be per-
suaded to suffer his remains to be carried to the
grave. Bouhours marks the injustice done this
great man, in the following lines :

Tu reformas et la ville et la cour,

Mais quelle en fut la recompense ?

Les Frangois rougiront un jour

De leur peu de reconnaissance.

II leur falut un comedien
Qui mit a les polir sa gloire et son etude ;
Mais Moliere, a ta gloire il ne manquera rien,
Si parmi les defauts que tu peignis si bien,
Tu les avais repris de leur ingratitude.

I quit the subject of paintings, notwithstand-
ing there are multitudes of pictures, by the best
masters, in this house. They were all undergoing
a removal ; therefore I avoid further mention of
them, until they are fixed in their permanent situ-
ations \ But I must not be silent about the col-
lection of coins, one of the most valuable and in-
structive in England, the bequest of his beloved
neighbor and friend Thomas Anson, Esquire.
Park. The park is at some distance from the house.

The oaks are of a very great size : a twin-tree was
lately sold for <.120, and some single ones for

h A catalogue of the pictures, according to their present
arrangement, will be given in the Appendix. Ed.


half that sum ; and I am told, that there are se-
veral now standing equally large.

The church is very near the house, in the gift Church.
of Sir William Bagot, dedicated to St. Leonard.
Within, are several sculptured tombs, of the fif-
teenth century ; some with imaged figures, others
engraven; mostly in memorial of the Bagot s: one
of an Aston of Broughton, and another expressed
by a little skeleton of a Broughton, a child of
three months old. The monument of Sir Edward
Bagot j who died in 1673, is mural, and supersedes
the ten commandments, being placed over the
altar. The inscription tells us, that he was a true
assertor of episcopacy in the church, and heredi-
tary monarchy in the state ; which probably enti-
tled him, in those days, to this sacred place. On
the outside of the church, two modest heaps of
turf, parallel to each other, mark the spot where
the remains of the last amiable owners of the place

I found myself here not very distant from
Whichenoure Hall, and could not resist the desire
of visiting the seat of the celebrated Flitch, the
desperate reward of conjugal affection.

In my road, not far from Blithefield, I again Hermitage.
met with the Trent, and the Canal: the last a
most fortunate embellishment to the neat seat of
Mr. Lister of Hermitage. The proprietors (with





the respect they usually pay to gentlemen) have
before this house given it an elegant form ; and,
to add to the scenery, luckily the aweful mouth of
a considerable subterraneous course of the naviga-
tion opens to view, and affords the amazing sight
of barges losing themselves in the cavern, or sud-
denly emerging to day from the other side.

The church of Hermitage, seated on a small
eminence, forms another beautiful object. This
belongs to the cathedral of Lichfield, and is stiled
the prebendary of Hansacre, a hamlet in this pa-
rish, founded by Bishop Clinton.

On the opposite side of the Trent is Maveston
Ridware, a rectory, whose church is dedicated to
St. Andrexv. This was the property of the Mave-
stons, at lest from the time of Henry I. to that
of Henry IV. Hugo Mauvesin was in this reign
Lord of Ridware, and founder of the priory of
Blithburgh, in Suffolk. He v^as son of Henry
Mauvesin, who came into England with the Con-
queror. The corpse of Hugo was discovered in
September 1785, after it had lain there six hun-
dred years. That of Sir Henri/, his great great
grandson, was discovered at the same time. The
tomb of Sir Robert Maveston, or Mauvesine, in
the parish-church, recals to memory a melancholy
story. In the beginning of the reign of the usurp-
ing Henry, when the kingdom was divided against


itself, two neighboring knights, Sir Robert Ma-
veston, and Sir William Handsacre, of Handsacre,
took arms in support of different parties : the
first, to assert the cause of Boling broke ; the last,
that of the deposed Richard. They assembled
their vassals, and began their march to join the
armies, then about to join battle, near Shrews-
bury. The two neighbors, with their respective
followers, unfortunately met, not far from their
seats. Actuated by party rage, a skirmish en-
sued : Sir William was slain on the spot. Sir
Robert proceeded to the field, and met his fate
with the gallant Percy. What a picture is this
accident, of the miseries of civil dissension ! What
a tale is the following, of the sudden vicissitude of .
hatred to love, between contending families ! Mar-
garet, one of the daughters, and co-heiress of Sir
Robert Maveston, gave her hand to Sir William,
son of the knight slain by her father ; and with her
person and fortune compensated the injury done
by her house to that of Handsacre l .

The other daughter, Elizabeth, married Sir
John Cawardine, whose posterity became extinct
in the male line by the death of Thomas Cazvar-
dine, Esquire, in 1592. David Cazvardine, one of

this antient line, had served under Henry V. at the

... . . -'

1 Erdesivik.


battle of Agincourt, and William was knighted at
the siege of Boulogne, where he attended Henri/

The tomb of Sir Robert is altar-shaped : his
figure armed and helmed, with a great sword on
one side, and a dagger on the other, is engraven
on the incumbent alabaster slab, with the follow-
ing inscription :

Hie jacet Dns. Robertas de Mauvesine, miles, Dns. de
Mauvcsine Ridware, qui occubu it juxta Salopiam, 1403,
stans cum rege, dimicansex parte sua usque ad mortem,
cujus aninaae propitietur Deus.

Here is a tomb of two Mawvesins, one cross-
legged, with each hand on his sword ; both under
arches in the wall. The cross-legged knight is
supposed to represent the Sir Henry before men-

Near the church is the gateway, part of the
antient mansion of the family of Mauvesi?i; and
on the other side of the Trent, beyond High
Bridge, is a moated fragment of the rival house of

At the distance of about two miles from Mcwe-

King's ston, I passed by Kings Bromley. Before the

Conquest, this manor had been the residence of

the Earl of Mercia. Here, in 1057, died the

pious Leofric*, husband to the famous Godiva.

k Dugdale's Baron, i. 1 0.



At that time, it was called Brom-legge. After
the Conqueror took it into his own hands, the
name was changed to that of King's Bromley. It
continued in the crown till the year 1258, or the
forty-third of Henry III. when Roger Corbet
died, holding it of the king in capite 1 . It con-
tinued in that family till the year 1451, or the
thirtieth of Henry VI. when it came by descent to
Praiers of Baddeleigh, in Cheshire ; from him to
one Partridge, who sold it to Francis Agard, of
Ireland; whose descendants possessed it for some
generations, when it was sold to John Newton,
Esquire, of Barbadoes ; in whose line it remains m .

From hence I passed by Or grave, one of the Orgrave.
seats of George Anson, Esquire, lately the pro-
perty of the Turtons. Afterwards, through the
village of Alrewas. The manor was in possession
of Algar Earl of Mercia; but on the forfeiture of
his son, the brave Edwin, was bestowed by the
Conqueror, with the following, on Walter de So-
mervil, one of his Norman followers.

From hence I visited Whichenoure, or Wichnor,
where I crossed a bridge of the same name over
the Trent, not far from the place where it receives


1 Erdemik.

m After the death of the last Mr. Neivlon it became the pro-
perty of John Lane, Esq. Ed.




the Tame. The Roman road passes this Way,
and on this marshy spot was formed upon piles of
wood. It runs from the east side of Lich/ield,
and points to the north-east. Much brass money
has been found, and, as I am informed, there are
Testiges of a Roman camp in IVhichenoure park.

The church stands on an eminence, on the
north side of the river. The house is at a small dis-
tance, and enjoys a most beautiful view. I believe
this to have been on the site of a very antient man-
sion, which Leland observes to have been quite
down in his days : and that the seat was then
below, much subject to the risings of the Trent.
Singular The p resen t house is a modern building, remark-

lENURIi. r

able for the painted wooden bacon flitch, still hung
up over the hall chimney, in memory of the sin-
gular tenure by which Sir Philip de Somervile, in
the time of Edward III. held the manors of
Whichenoure, Sirescote, Ridware, Netherton, and
Cowlee, of the Earl of Lancaster, then lord of the
honor of Tutbury. The services clamed were
these, viz. two small'fees; " that is to say, when
" other tenants pay for releef one whole knight's
ft fee, one hundred shillings ; he, the said Sir
" Philip, shall pay but fifty shillings; and when
" escuage is assessed throghcout the land, or ayde
" for to make the eldest son of the lord knyght, or


" for to marry the eldest doughter of the lord, the
" sayd Sir Philip shal pay bot the moiety of
" it that other shal paye.

" Nevertheless, the sayd Sir Philip shal fynde
" meyntienge and susteiyne one bacon flyke hang-
" ing in his halle, at JVichenore, ready arrayed
" all tymes of the yere, bott in Lent, to be given
" to everyche mane or womane married, after the
" dey and yere of their manage be passed ; and
"to be given to everyche mane of religion, arch
" bishop, prior, or other religious ; and to everyche
" preest, after the year and day of their profession
" finished, or of their dignity reseyved, in forme
" following. Whensoever that ony such before
" named wylle come for to enquire for the baconne
" in their owne person, or by any other for them,
" they shall come to the bayliff or porter of the
" lordship of Whichenour, and shall say to them in
" the manere as ensewethe :

" Bay life, or Porter, I doo you to knowe,

" that I am come for my self (or, if he

" come for any other, shewing for whome)

" one bacon flyke, hanging in the halle of

" the lord of IVhichenour, after the forme

" thereunto belonginge.

w After which relation the bailiffe, or porter, shal

" assigne a daye to him, upon promise by his

" feythe to return, and with him to bring tweyne


" of his neighbours ; and in the meyn time the
" said bailif shal take with him tweyne of the free-
" holders of the lordship of JVhichenoure, and they
" three shal goe to the mannour ofRudlowe, belong-
" ing to Robert Knyghtley, and there shall somon
" the foresaid Knyghtley, or his bayliffe, com-
" manding him to be ready at Whichenour the
" day appoynted, at pry me of the day, with
" his carriage; that is to say, a horse and a sadyle,
" a sakke, and a pryke, for to convey and carry
" the said baconne and corne a journey out
" of the county of Stafford, at his costages ; and
" then the sayd bailiffe shal, with the said free-
" holders, somon all the tenants of the said manoir
" to be ready at the day appoynted at Whichenour ',
" for to doe and performe the services to the
" baconne. And at the day assigned, all such as
" owe services to the baconne, shal be ready at
" the gatte of the manoir of Whichenour, from the
" sonne risinge to none, attendyng and a way ting
" for the comyng of hym and his felowys cha-
" paletts, and to all those whiche shal be there, to
" doe their services deue to the baconne : and
" they shal lede the said demandant, wythe tromps
" and tabours, and other manner of mynstralseye,
H to the halle dore, where he shal fynde the lord
f* of Whichenour, or his steward, redy to deliver
" the baconne in this manere :


" He shal enquere of hym which demandeth
" the baconne, if he hath brought tweyne of his
" neighbours ; who must answere, They be here
" redy; and then the steward shal cause theis two
" neighbours to swere yf the said demandant be a
" weddyt man, or have be a man weddyt, and yf
" syth his marryage one yere and a day be passed,
" and yf he be a freeman or a villeyn : and yf his
" seid neghbours make othe that he hath for hym
" all theis three poynts rehersed, then shal the
" baconne be take downe, and brought to the
" halle dore, and shal there be layd upon one
" half a quarter of wheatte, and upon one other of
" rye : and he that demandeth the baconne shal
" kneel upon his knee, and shal hold his right
" hande upon a booke, which shal be layd above
" the baconne and the corne, and shall make oath
" in this manere :

" Here ye Sir Philip de Somervyle, lord of
" Whichenour, mayntayner and giver of this ba-
" conne, that I A., syth I wedded B. my wife,
" and syth I had her in my kepyng and at wylle,
"by a yere and a daye after our marryage, I
" would not have changed for none other, farer ne
" fowler, richer ne powrer, ne for none other
" descended of gretter lynage, slepyng ne waking,
11 at noo tyme; and if the seid B. were sole, and
" I sole, I wolde take her to be my wife before all


" the wymen of the worlde, of what condytions
* soevere they be, good or evyle, as helpe me
" God, and his seyntys, and this flesh, and all
" fleshes.

" And his neghbours shal make oath, that they
" trust verily he hath said truely. And yf it be
" founde by his neghbours before named, that he
" be a villeyn, there shal be delyvered to him half
" a quarter of wheatte and a cheese ; and yf he
" be a villein, he shal have half a quarter of rye,
" withoutte cheese, and then shal Knyghtley, the
" lord of Rudlotv, be called for, to carry all their
" thyngs to fore rehersed ; and the say d corne shal
" be layd upon one horse, and the baconne apper-
" teyneth shal ascend upon his horse, and shal take
" the chese before hym, if he have a horse ; and
" yf he have none, the lord of Whichenour shall
" cause him have one horse arid sadyl, to such
" tyme as he passed his lordshippe; and soe shal
" they departe the manoyr of Whichenour with the
" corne and the baconne to fore him, him that
" hath wonne ytt, with trompets, tabourets, and
" other manoir of mynstralsce. And all the free
" tenants of Whichenour shal conduct him to be
" passed the lordship of Whichenour ; and then
" shall they retorne, except hym to whom apper-
" teiyneth to make the carriage and journy with-
" outt the countye of Stafford, at the costys of his


" lord of Whichenour. And yf the seid Robert
" Knyghtley doe not cause the baconne and come
" to be conveyed as is rehersed, the lord of
" Whichenour shal do it to be carryed, and shall
" distreigne the said Robert Knyghtley for his
" default, for one hundred shillings in his manoir
" of Rudlowe, and shall kepe the distresse so
" takyn irreplevisable"."

Such is the history of this memorable custom.- Present

t c State ofthe

I wish, for the honor of the state matrimonial, Flitch.
that it was in my power to continue the register of
successful clamants, from that preserved in the
60 8th Spectator ; but, from the strictest enquiry,
the flitch has remained untouched, from the first
century of its institution to the present : and we
are credibly informed, that the late and present
worthy owners of the manor, were deterred from
entering into the holy state, through the dread
of not obtaining a single rasher from their own

The first possessor of this manor was Sir
Walter de Somervile, a Norma?i, on whom it was
bestowed by the Conqueror. It rested in his.
family till the death of the above-mentioned Sir
Philip de Somervile, who left two daughters, Joan,
wife to Sir Rhys ap Gryffydd, Knight ; and Maud,

n Blunt' s Tenures, 95.


married to Edmund Vernon. This estate fell to
the former, and remained in the family till the
year 1661, when it was sold by Sir Francis
Boynton to Mary, widow of John Offley, Esquire,
ancestor to the late owner ; who, within these few
years, alienated it to the present owner, John
Levet, Esquire.

In pursuance of my original plan, I took the
same way, in order to return into the great road.
Soon after, repassing the Trent, at Colton bridge,

Rudgley. J reached Rudgley, a small town, celebrated for
its great annual fairs for horses of the coach

Church. The church, which stands a little north of the
town, is dedicated to Saint Augustin, and is
a vicarage belonging to the chapter of Lichjield.
Opposite to it is a very antient timber-house,
which once belonged to the Chetxvynds ; and is
now the property of Mr. Anson. On an eminence
above the town, is beautifully situated a large
house, formerly belonging to the Westons, greatly
enlarged and improved by the present owner,
Ashton Curzon*, Esquire.

The antient owners of Rudgley were of the

From whom it has since descended to a nephew of the
same name. Ed.

p Created Baron Curzon of Penn in Buckinghamshire in the
year 1794-. Ed.


same name with the town : some of the family had
the honor of being sheriffs of the county, in the
reign of Edward III : another was knight of the
shire, at the same period. The name continued

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