Picture of Thomas Pennant

Thomas Pennant


places mentioned

Northampton to Gothurst

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FROM Northampton I visited Castle Ashby , the princely seat of the Comptons Earls of Northampton . It lies about six miles south-east of the town, in a wet country, and without any advantage of situation. It is a large structure, surrounding a handsome square court, with a beautiful skreen, the work of Inigo Jones , bounding one side. More is attributed to that great architect. Some is more antient than his time; yet he probably had the restoring of the old house, as the finishing appears, by a date on the stone ballustrade, to be 1624, preceded by the pious text, Nisi DOMINUS aedificaverit Domum, in vanum labor averunt qui aedificant eum .

ONE front is taken up by a long gallery, and at the end is a small room, the chapel-closet. In it is a full-length of Henry Compton , Bishop of London . He was youngest son of the famous loyalist Earl of Northampton ; went for a short time into the army, after the Restoration; but soon quitted it for the church. In 1674 he was promoted to the bishoprick of Oxford , and in the next year to that of London . His abilities were said not to be shining; but his discharge of his pastoral office gained him great reputation. He was firmly attached to the constitution and religion of his country; and, in the reign of the bigotted. James , underwent the honor of suspension, for not complying with the views of the court. He appeared in arms at Nottingham , in support of the Revolution; and lived till 1713, when he died, at the age of eighty-one.

IN the same closet is a good head of the Reverend Mr. Lye , who began the Saxon Dictionary, finished and published by the Reverend Mr. Manning , 1772. He also published Junius's Etymologicum Anglicanum , in 1743. He was born at Totness , in 1694; became possessed of benefices in this county; and died in 1767, at the rectory of Yardly Hastings .

THE drawing-room is remarkably grand; it is fifty feet five inches by twenty-four; and eighteen feet ten inches high. It is hung with tapestry, the meritorious labor of two aunts of the present lord.1 The chimney-piece is of an enormous size: a quarry of stone filled with shells from Raunce .


Basire sculpt .

JOHN TALBOT, EARL OF SHREWSBURY.
From the Original Picture at Castle Ashby.

Published May 1811 by White & Cochrane, &c.

MR. WALPOLE had made me impatient for the sight of the picture of the hero JOHN TALBOT, first Earl of Shrewsbury , by informing me that such a portrait existed in this house. I was at first much chagrined, by my attendant denying all knowlege of it. At length, after much search, I discovered it, and redeemed the earl and his second countess from beneath a load of paltry pictures flung into one of the garrets.

THE portraits are originals; coarse, and rudely painted on board, as might be expected from the artists of the period in which they flourished. It has on it this later inscription: "John Talbote Lord Talbote , created E. of Shrewsbury by Henry VI." His countenance is hard, his hair short and ill-combed, his hands stretched out in the attitude of prayer. He is in armour, but mostly covered with a mantle emblazoned with his arms. His sword, sum TALBOTI pro occidere inimicos meos , is wanted. He was the terror of France: his name put armies to flight. He had been victorious in forty several and dangerous skirmishes: at length was slain, in 1453, aged eighty, at Chastillon ; and with him perished the good fortune of the English during that unhappy reign. His herald, dressed in the surtout of the hero's arms, found his body, embraced it, took off the surtout painted with his master's arms, cloathed the dead corpse with it, and burst into these passionate expressions: "Alas! is it you ? I pray God pardon all my misdoings! I have been your officer of arms forty years or more; 'tis time I should surrender them to you."2


Basire sculpt .

MARGARET, COUNTESS OF SHREWSBURY.
From the Original Picture at Castle Ashby.

Published May 1811 by White & Cochrane, &c.

His Countess Margaret , eldest daughter and co-heir of Richard Beauchamp Earl of Warwick , is represented in the same attitude, and with a herald's surtout properly emblazoned. Her cap is worked with lions rampant, the arms of her husband: her neck ornamented with gold chains. She died June 14th, 1468, and was interred in St. Paul's cathedral. The body of her lord was brought over and buried at Whitchurch, Shropshire .

HERE is a portrait of Spencer Earl of Northampton (the justly-boasted character and hero of the house) represented in armour. His genius was so extensive, that in his youth he at once kept four different tutors in employ, who daily had their respective hours for instructing him in the different arts they professed. In the civil wars he was the great rival of Lord Brooks , whom he drove out of his own county of Warwick ; and was a most successful opponent to the Earl of Essex . He brought two thousand of the best-disciplined men in the army to the royal standard at Nottingham . At length fell in Staffordshire , in March 1643, desperately fighting; forgetting, as is too frequently the case with great minds, the difference between the General and common man.

His eldest son, James Earl of Northampton , is in armour, and with a great dog near him. He inherited his father's valour, and was wounded in the battle in which his father was slain. In all the following actions he maintained a spirit worthy of his name. On the fall of monarchy he lived retired. On the Restoration he was loaden with honors, and died in fullness of glory at this place, in December 1681.

A PORTRAIT, which I take to be Sir Spencer Compton ,3 his third brother, is dressed in a green silk vest, a laced turnover, and with long hair. This youth was at the battle of Edgehill , at a time he was not able to grasp a pistol; yet cried with vexation that he was not permitted to share in the same glory and danger with his elder brothers.

THE celebrated Edward Sackville Earl of Dorset is painted in armour. His well-known spirit, in the duel between him and Lord Bruce , would make one imagine that he would have appeared with peculiar lustre in the field of action, during the civil wars; but fortune flung him but once into the bloody scenes of that period. He fought with distinguished bravery at Edgehill , and retook the royal standard, after its bearer, Sir Edmund Verney , was slain. Might not the weight of the sanguinary conflict at Tergose rest heavy on his mind, and make him shun for the future scenes of destruction? for HE could do it with unimpeached reputation. Certain it is, that his lordship acted chiefly in the cabinet, was a faithful servant to his master, and a true friend to his country; and spent the rest of his service in earnest and unremitting endeavours to qualify affairs, and restore peace to his country. After the king's death, he never stirred out of his house; and died in 1652, at his house, then called Dorset-house , in Salisbury-court .

HERE is a singular head, called that of George Villiers Duke of Buckingham ; bearded, whiskered, and represented as dead.

THE heads of the Duke of Somerset , Protector, Francis first Earl of Bedford , and Sir Thomas More , and another, the name of which I have forgotten, are beautifully painted in small size.

THAT favorite of fortune Sir Stephen Fox , is represented sitting, in a long wig and night-gown: a good-looking man. He was the son of a private family in Wiltshire , but raised himself by the most laudable of means, that of merit. After the battle of Worcester , in which his elder brother was engaged, he fled with him to France , and was entertained by Henry Lord Percy , then lord chamberlain to our exiled monarch. To young Fox was committed the whole regulation of the household; "who," as Lord Clarendon observes,

was well qualified with the languages, and all parts of clerkship, honesty, and discretion, as was necessary for such a trust; and indeed his great industry, modesty, and prudence, did very much contribute to the bringing the family, which for so many years had been under no government, into very good order.

On the Restoration he was made Clerk of the Green Cloth; and on the raising of the two regiments, the first of the kind ever known, he was appointed paymaster, and soon after paymaster-general to all the forces in England . In 1679, he was made one of the lords of the Treasury; and in the same year, first commissioner in the office of master of the horse; and in 1682, had interest to get his son Charles , then only twenty-three years old, to be appointed sole paymaster of the forces, and himself, in 1684, sole commissioner for master of the horse. James II. continued to him every kind of favor; yet Sir Stephen made a very easy transition to the succeeding prince, and enjoyed the same degree of courtly emolument. James thought he might have expected another return from this creation of the Stuarts: accordingly excepted him in his act of grace, on the intended invasion of 1692.

SIR Stephen made a noble use of the gifts of fortune: he rebuilt the church of Farly , his native place; built an hospital there for six poor men, and as many poor women; erected a chapel, and handsome lodgings for the chaplain, and endowed it with . 188 a year: he founded in the same place a charity-school; he built the chancel of a church in the north of Wiltshire , which the rector was unable to do. He also built the church of Culford in Suffolk , and pewed the cathedral of Salisbury: but his greatest act was the founding of Chelsea hospital, which he first projected, and contributed thirteen thousand pounds towards the carrying on; alleging, that he could not bear to see the common soldiers, who had spent their strength in our service, beg at our doors .4

HE married his second wife in 1703, when he was seventy-six years of age, and had by her two sons: Stephen , late Earl of Ilchester ; and Henry , late Lord Holland . His happiness continued to his last moment; for he died, without experiencing the usual infirmities of eighty-nine, in October 1716.

THE manor of Castle Ashby was called in the Doomsday-book, Asebi : it was afterwards called Ashby David , from David de Esseby , who was lord ot it in the time of Henry III. It fell afterwards to Walter de Langton , bishop of Lichfield ; who, in 1305, got leave to fortify it;5 from which it got the name of Castle Ashby . It afterwards passed through several owners. The Greys , Lords of Ruthin and Earls of Kent , possessed it for a long time, till Richard , who died in 1503, parted with it to Lord Hussey ; who alienated it, in the time of Henry VIII., to Sir William Compton , of Compton Vinyate , in Warwickshire , ancestor of the present noble possessor.

THE grounds have been laid out by Mr. Brown ; the church, dedicated to St. Nicholas , stands in them, at a small distance from the house. I took horse and rode through the park, and, after a mile and a half, reached Easton Mauduit ,6 one of the seats of the Earls of Sussex ; a large but low old house, with a quadrangle in the middle. This place probably took the addition of Mauduit from some antient owner. Sir Christopher Yelverton , third son of a very antient family in Norfolk , was the first of the name who settled at this place.

THE portraits in this house are numerous. In the hall is a full-length of Henry , seventh Earl of Kent, of the name of Grey , dressed in black, with a turnover; and another of his lady, Elizabeth , second daughter and co-heir of Gilbert , seventh Earl of Shrewsbury . She is also in black, with a great black aigret, light hair, bare neck, and ruff.

HER father, in white, with a black cloak, ruff, and George. He died in 1616. A misnamed portrait, called his great ancestor, the first Earl of Shrewsbury , is shewn here. It seems to be of some nobleman of the time of Edward VI. dressed in black, with a sword, the George, and the garter about his leg.

ON the stairs is an excellent painting of an old poultry-woman.

IN the dining-room is a half-length of Sir Christopher Yelverton , with a ruff, and in robes, as one of the justices of the King's Bench. He distinguished himself in the profession of the law in the reign of Queen Elizabeth , was appointed queen's Serjeant, and was chosen speaker of the House of Commons in 1597. His speech of excuse is singular, and historical of himself.7 His prayer (for in those days it was usual for the speaker to compose one, and read it every morning during the sessions) ran in a strong vein of good sense and piety.8 He was the purchaser of this estate; died here in 1607, and was buried in the adjacent church.

HIS son, Sir Henry , appears in the same habit with the father. The date is 1626, aet . 60. He proved as distinguished a lawyer as his father, but was less fortunate, in falling on more dangerous times. He owed his rise to the profligate favorite Ker Earl of Somerset . On the disgrace of his patron, Sir Henry had gratitude enough to refuse to plead against him,9 notwithstanding his office as solicitor-general might have been a plea for doing it. When he was attorney-general, he fell under the displeasure of the court: he was charged by the Commons with making out the patents for the monopolies, so justly complained of in that reign. In his defence he suffered to escape some indiscreet truths, which were interpreted as if his delinquency was not disagreeable to the king and the then favorite Buckingham . The rage of the court was directed against him: he was fined in ten thousand marks to the king, and five thousand to Buckingham ; who instantly remitted his share.10 Perhaps the favorite might fear him; it having been said, that one cause of his disgrace was the refusal of making out patents to the degree which the duke desired,11 whose brother was deeply concerned in this plunder of the public. A mean letter to Buckingham , and a submission in the star-chamber, acknowleging errors of negligence, ignorance, and misprision, restored him to favor.12 In the following reign he was made one of the judges of the Common Pleas, and died in January 1630.

HIS grandson, Sir Henry Yelverton , Baronet, is dressed in a brown mantle and large wig. He was a worthy character, with a most religious turn: a strenuous defender of Christianity in general, and of the church of England in particular, as appears by his writings in behalf of both.

HIS lady Susanna , daughter and sole heiress of Charles Longueville Lord Grey of Ruthin ; which title devolved to her, and afterwards to her son Charles . She is very beautiful, and represented by Sir Peter Lely with her head reclining on her hand. Anne , daughter to the second Sir Christopher ,13 is drawn by the same painter, in yellow, leaning on an urn. She was first married to Robert Earl of Manchester , and afterwards to Charles Earl of Halifax .

A LADY Bulkeley .

A HEAD of Frances Viscountess Hatton , daughter to the last Sir Henry Yelverton .

BARBARA, daughter to Sir Thomas Slingsby , second wife to Thomas Earl of Pembroke , by Dahl .

MRS. Lawson , a celebrated beauty of her time, bare-necked, in a loose habit clasped before, with a sort of veil flung over her head.

SIR John Talbot , a head, with a big wig and armour.

THE church is at a small distance from the house: it is now in the gift of Christ-church, Oxford ; but formerly belonged to the abbey of Lavendon, Buckinghamshire . Within are very expensive monuments. The first is in memory of Sir Christopher Yelverton , who died in 1607, aged seventy-six; and of his lady Margaret , daughter of Thomas Catesby of Ecton and Whiston , in this county. Their figures are placed recumbent, and painted: he in his robes, and square cap, and an artichoke at his feet; she, in a black jacket and petticoat, and great distended hood. At her feet a cat , allusive to her name.

OVER them are two arched canopies of veined marble, supported by six square pillars of lumachella . On one side of the tomb are eight females; on the other, two male figures, and a little girl.

THE other monument is of his son Sir Henry . He is represented in his robes: and on one side his lady Anne , daughter of Sir William Twisden of Rawdon-hall , in Kent , lies by him, wrapped in a black cloak from head to feet. Round her neck is a ruff: in one hand an open book. Above them is a vast canopy, with various statues on the top. This is supported on each side by two full-length figures of almsmen, in black gowns and hoods, with great white beards; the arch resting on their heads. This probably alludes to some charitable foundation with which I am unacquainted. In front, beneath Sir Henry , is an altar, at which kneel two men in armour, and two in cloaks, and five women. It does not appear that either Sir Christopher or Sir Henry left a number of children equal to those expressed on their respective tombs.

IN my return I saw at Little Billings the poor remains of the mansion of the great family of the Longvilles. John de Lungville was declared lord of the place in 1315. This was he who founded the Augustines in Northampton . It continued in the name till the time of Queen Elizabeth , or James I. when that succession expired in the person of Sir Edward Longeville .

NOT far from hence I visited Clifford's Hill , in the parish of Houghton Parva , a vast artificial mount, having once on it a specula , or watchtower. The coins found in and near it, prove it to have been the work of the Romans. Before the river Nen was diverted, by the building of Billings Bridge , the channel ran under this mount; which it is supposed to have guarded.14

REACH Northampton , and, after a short stay, pass over the river into the suburbs, called the South Quarters , and into the parish of Hardingstone . On each side is a fine range of meadows; those on the left are greatly enlivened by the beautiful plantations and improvements of the Honorable Edward Bouverie , whose house stands on the site of the Abbey de Pratis , or de la Pre; a house of Cluniac nuns, founded by Simon de St. Liz the younger, Earl of Northampton .15 It had in it ten nuns at the time of the dissolution. The last abbess, Clementina Stokes , governed it thirty years; obtained the king's charter for the continuance of her convent; but, fearing to incur the displeasure of the tyrant, resigned it into the hands of Doctor London , the king's commissioner, and got from him the character of a gudde agyd woman ; of her housse being in a gudde state ; and, what was more substantial, a pension of forty pounds a year.

BETWEEN this place and the town, in 1460, encamped Henry VI. and his insolent nobility, immediately before the bloody battle of Northampton . The king (or rather queen) depending on the strength of their entrenchments and warlike engines, returned a haughty answer to the humble proposals sent by the Earls of March and Warwick . These spirited commanders led their troops instantly to the attack, and forced the camp, favored by the treachery of Edmund Lord Grey of Ruthen ; who, on some disgust, changed sides, and assisted the enemy in forcing their way into the works. "Ten thousand talle Englishmen and their king," says Halle, 16 "were taken, and numbers slain or drowned in the river;" for the fight was carried on with the obstinacy usual in civil dissension. Humphrey Duke of Buckingham, John Earl of Shrewsbury, John Viscount Beaumont, Thomas Lord Egremont , and Sir Thomas Lucy , were among those who fell. Multitudes of my countrymen also perished on that day.17 The slain were buried either in the church of this convent, or in the hospital of St. John .

ON the road-side, on an ascent near this place, stands one of the pledges of affection borne by Edward I. to his beloved Eleanor ; who caused a cross to be erected on the spot wheresoever her body rested, in its way from Hareby in Lincolnshire , where she died, in 1290, to Westminster , the place of her interment. It is kept in excellent repair: is of an octagonal form, and stands on a base of seven steps. Coats of arms and an open book adorn the lower compartments. Above, in six gothic niches, are as many female figures, crowned. Above them, are four modern dials, facing the four cardinal points; and above those is the cross.

AROUND this spot are frequently found Roman coins and medals: from which it is conjectured, that this might have been the site of Eltavon , or Eltabon (from the British Ael , a brow, and Afon , a river); and is supposed to have been the Eltanori , or Eltavori , of the geographer of Ravenna .18 The dry and elevated situation, and its vicinity to a river, makes it very probable that this was a Roman station, at least a summer camp.

NEAR this place, on the summit of the hill called Hunsborough , are some antient works, of a circular form; i. e . conforming to the shape of it; consisting of a foss and double rampart, with a single entrance. Mr. Morton 19 attributes this to the Danes , and imagines it to have been a summer-camp of one of the plundering parties which infested the kingdom of Mercia about the year 921. Another was raised, about the same time, at Temsford , in the county of Bedford , for the same purpose. This has very much the appearance of a British post; but as there is great similitude between the early fortifications of the northern nations, I will not controvert the opinion of that ingenious author; yet I have probability on my side, as he admits that the Danes had possession of Hamtune , i. e. Northampton , in 917. I think they would scarcely trouble themselves with raising these works so near their former quarters, which, for any thing that appears, were as open to them in 921 , as in the former year.

ABOUT five miles from Queens Cross I turned a little out of my road, to see Horton church, remarkable for a fine monument of William Lord Parr , uncle to Catherine , the last queen to Henry VIII. His lordship is represented in alabaster, recumbent, with his lady, Mary Salusbury , by his side; in right of whom he became master of this manor. He is dressed in armour, with a collar of SS, and a rose at the end. His head rests on a helmet, whose crest is a hand holding a stag's horn. His upper lip is bare, but his beard is enormous, regularly curled in two rows. He was called to the House of Peers on this second marriage of his niece, was appointed her chamberlain, and, during the queen's regency, on the king's expedition to France in 1544, had the respect shewn him to be named as a counsel to her majesty, occasionally to be called in.20 He died in 1548; left four daughters, the eldest of whom conveyed, by marriage with Sir Ralph Lane , the estate into his family.

ON the floor are the figures of Roger Salusbury , between his two wives, in brass. He died in 1482, first owner, of his name, of this estate; whose grandaughter became mistress of it on the death of her father William .

THE Lanes kept it for some generations. On the death of Sir William , it was found to be held of Sir Richard Chetwood , as of his manor of Woodhall , by the service of one knight's fee, suit of court, and the annual payment of 6s. towards the guard of Rockingham castle. The estate passed from the Lanes (I believe by purchase) to Sir Henry Mountague , first Earl of Manchester , and, by descent, fell to the Earl of Halifax ; and is now possessed by Lord Hinchinbroke ,21 in right of his lady, daughter and heiress of the last Earl.

THE house is in a very unfinished state; part modern, part antient and embattled.

FROM the Queens Cross to this place the country is uneven, unwatered, and far from pleasant. It is now, in general, inclosed; but the hedges are young, and, till within these few years, quite a novelty.

NEAR the fifty-eight mile-stone enter the county of

BUCKINGHAM.

Here the country improves. After passing Stoke Goldington , a small village, a beautiful vale opens on the left, watered by the Ouze , running through rich meadows, and embellished with the spire of Oulney church. This river rises near Sysam in Northamptonshire , and, after watering this country, becomes navigable above Bedford , by means of locks; runs by Huntingdon ; and, after creeping almost undistinguished amidst the canals of the fenny tracts, falls into the sea at Lynn Regis . The name is probably derived from the British , perhaps signifying a river;22 being, in common with Avon , the name of numbers of British streams.

ABOUT half a mile from its banks, on a rising ground on the right, stands Gothurst , antiently Gaythurst ; whose venerable form has not been injured by inconsistent alterations. It was begun in the forty-third of Queen Elizabeth , and was greatly improved, a few years after, by William Mulsho , Esquire. The windows are glazed with propriety: only part of the back-front is modernized. The lands are very finely dressed, and swell into extensive lawns. One before the house consists of a hundred and twenty-eight acres; and on the sides are others of great extent. The woods are vast, and cut into walks extensive and pleasing. Several pretty pieces of water, the view of the Ouze and its verdant meadows, and the old respectable house of Tyringham , with its church, on the opposite side, are no small embellishments to the place.

THIS manor, at the time of the compilation of the Doomsday-book , was held by Robert de Nodavirs , or de Nouers , under Odo bishop of Baieux , Earl of Kent , and half-brother to the Conqueror. The De Nouers became possessed of it in their own right in the time of Henry II; perhaps earlier:23 but the first I meet with is Radulphus , and his son Almaric , who lived in 1252, the thirty-seventh of Henry III. It continued in that family till 1408,24 the tenth of Henry IV. when it became the property of Robert Nevyll , descended from Hugo de Nevyll , who had lands in Essex in 1363, or the thirty-fifth of Edward III. Robert Nevyll possessed himself of Gothurst , by marrying Joanna , sister and sole heir to the last Almaric de Nouers ; his two other sisters, Agnes and Gratia , having preferred a monastic life.25

THE Nevylls remained owners of it till the reign of Henry VIII. when Maria , only daughter of Michael Nevyll , on the death of her two brothers, became possessed of it; and she bestowed it, with her person, on Thomas Mulsho of Thingdon , in the county of Northampton ,26 a respectable family. I find sheriffs of the name, as early as the time of Richard II; and one of that house governor of Calais in the reign of Henry VI. But the first mention of the name is in 1370, when lived John Mulsho of Goddington .

Gothurst continued with the Mulshos till the beginning of the reign of James I; when Maria , daughter and sole heiress to William (who died in 1601) resigned herself and great fortune to Sir Everard Digby ,27 one of the handsomest and completest gentlemen of his time: but

Eumenides tenuere faces de funere raptae:
Eumenides stravere torum.

She had not been married three years, before her husband was snatched from her by an ignominious and merited death, for his deep concern in the plot, which, thanks to the charity of the times, is execrated by each religion. It is very probable, that a mind so tinctured with bigotry as his was, soon devoted itself to the most desperate resolutions, for the restoration of the antient church. He foresaw the certain consequences of ill success, and, preparing against the event, took every method to preserve his infant son from suffering from the fault of the father. Before he committed any acts of treason, he secured to his heirs his estates, in such a manner as to put it out of the power of the crown to profit by their confiscation.28

THIS illustrious line was the chief of the Digby family; the peers of that name springing from younger branches. The origin is Saxon . The first, of whom notice is taken, is AElmar , who had lands at Tilton in Leicestershire , in 1086, the twentieth of William the Conqueror. They afterwards took the name of Digby , from a place in Lincolnshire ; and became owners of Stokedry in Rutlandshire (which, till the acquisition of Gothurst , was their usual residence) by the marriage of Everard Digby , Esquire, in the reign of King Henry VI. with Agnes , daughter of Francis Clare of Wyssenden and Stokedry , Esquire. This gentleman, with three of his sons, fell in the bloody field at Towton , fighting in the cause of the house of Lancaster .29

MOST of the particulars relative to this great family, I owe to the friendship of my worthy neighbor Watkin Williams , Esquire, who favored me with the use of the famous genealogy of the Digbys of Tilton ; a book compiled by the direction of Sir Kenelm , in 1634, at the expence of twelve hundred pounds. This tradition is very credible, to those who have seen the book: a large folio, consisting of five hundred and eighty-nine vellum leaves; the first hundred and sixty-five ornamented with the coats of arms of the family and its allies, and with all the tombs of the Digbys then extant, illuminated in the richest and most exquisite manner. The rest of the book is composed of grants, wills, and a variety of other pieces, serving to illustrate the history of the family; drawn from the most authentic records, as the title sets forth. Several of the wills are curious proofs of the simplicity of the manners of the times; and one of the magnificence, superstition; and vanity, of our greater ancestors. A specimen of the first kind I shall give here; the latter, being of great length, is reserved for the Appendix.

IN the name of God, Amen . The xvi day of the moneth of January , the yere of our Lord God a thousand fyve hundred and VIIIth, I Everode Dygby of Stoke dry , in the countie of Rutland , of the diocese of Lincoln , seke in body and hole in mynde, make my testament and last will in this fourme following. Fyrst, I bequeth my soul to God Allmyghty, our blessed lady seynt Mary , and all the seynts of heven. My body to be buryed in the parishe churche of Seynt Petr at Tylton , before the ymage of the blessed Trinitie, at o' lady autther. Itm . I bequeth to reparacon of the said church, for my buryall ther, vis. viijd. Item . I bequeth to the said church a webe of land; whiche the churh-masters of the said churche have in their kepyng. Item . I bequeth to the high aiot. of the parish church of Stokedry , for tythes by me forgotten, ijs. Itm . I bequeth to the reparacons of the said churche of Stokedry vis. Viijd. Itm . I biqueth to the cathedrall churche of Linc. ijs. Itm . I biqueth to John Dygby , my son, all my rents, lands, and tenementes whiche I have prchased, by dede or by copyhold, in the townes and fields of Vipinghm, Preston, Pysbroke , and Elynden , to have and to hold, to hym and his assigneys, duryng the terme of his lyff; and aftr his decease, I will that the said rentes, londes, and tenementes, shall remayne to Everod Dygby , my eldest sonne, and to his heyres and assignes for ever. Item . I biqueth to Alice, my daughter, all my rentes, landes, and tenementes, wth all proufetts and comodities to them belongyng, whiche I have pr chased, by dede or by copy, in the townes and feldes of Hareborow , Bowden , and Foxton , to have and to hold to hyr, hyr heyres and assigneyes for ever. Itm . I biqueth to the foresaid John Dygby , my son, ij geldyngs, iij maires for his ploughe, with all barnes and other thynges to it belongyng, and also a pair of cart wheles unshode. Itm . I biqueth to my forsaid doughter Alice , a fetherbed, a matras, a bolster of fethures, with pillowes, blanketts, shetys, coverletts, and covyng. with all the hangyng of rede say pertenyng to the bed whiche I now ly in. Itm . I biqueth to Elyn , my dowght. Lxxxl. of gode and lawfull money, to be payed to hir by my sone Everode, within the space of iij yeres next following aftr my decease, if she within that tyme be maryed; and if she be not maried within iij yeres next after my decease, then I will that my sone Everad shall delyv. hir 10l. in gode money; and the residue of the Ixxxl. , I will be put into stock, and be occupyed by my said sonne Everad to hir use and proufitt, untill the tyme that she be maryed, and then to be delyvered to hir: and if she decease before that she be maryed, then I will that the said residew of lxxxl. besids the xl. paid to her, be gyven and payed to the fynding of a preste to syng for my soul, as long as the money will extend to, after the discrcion of my executo. Itm . I biqueth to my said dought. Elyn , a fetherbed, a matras, a spaiver wt hangynge, blankette, shetis, and coverlitts, and other things to it belongyng, as it lies in the chamber called the Norcery, within my place of Stoke bifor said. Itm . I bequeth to Everad my sone, and Alice my daughter, iiij pair of my best and finest shetis, to be devided equallie bitwixt them. Itm . I biqueth to my said daughter Elyn , the next best pair of shetis that I have, and other v pair of fflexyn shetys, and ij pair of hardyn shetis. Itm . I bequeth to my daughter Alice aforsaid, x other pair of flexyn shetis, and ii pair of harden shetis. Itm . I bequeth to my daughter Kateryn , nunne at Sempinghm. xxs. in money, and a pair of flexyn shete, and a white sparnar. Itm . I bequeth to Darnegold , my daughter, ij kyne and 12 ewes. Itm . I bequeth to my sonne Everad Dygby, my grettest bras pot, to be kept for a standard of that hows, and the next bras pott and twe little bras pottes, and halfe a garnysh of pewter vessell, with all other ledy fattys, tubbys, and bolles wt in my hows, and my grettest bras pane, wt two other lesser pannes: and all other my brass pottes, panes, and pewt. vessel, I will be devided betwene John Dygby my sonne, and Alice and Elyn my doughters. Itm . I biqueth to my said sonne Everod , a plough, wt all harnes pertenyng to it, and six of my plough horses, for his said plough, and my waynes, and viij of my best oxen, wt all thinges pertenyng to the same waynes, and six of my best keyn, and lx of my best shepe. Itm . I will that the residew of all my shepe, keyn, calves, and oxen, not by me biquested, divided bitwen John Dygby my sonne, and Alice and Elyn my forsaid doughters, equally. Itm . I biqueth to Rowland of Lee , my susters sonne, ij keyn and a young black ster, and vj ewes. Itm . I bequeth to Everard Ashby , my godson, iiij of my best calves, which be goyng in Tylton feilds. Itm. I biqueth to Margaret Kynton , my hunte, a matras, a gode coverlitt, a bras pott, a pair of flexvn shete, a kow, and vj ewes, and xiijs. iiijd. in money, for hir wages. Itm . I biqueth to Elyn Hall , my hunte, at Tylton , a kow and xls. in money. Itm . I biqueth to the parishe church of Skevyngton vjs. viijd. Itm . To the parishe churche of Vpinghm , xs. Itm . To the parishe churche of Lidington iijs. iiijd. Itm. To the abbot of Wolston vjs. viijd. . and every chalon. of his hous viijd. if they be at my buriall. Itm . I gyve to the couent there, to have placebo and dirige song in their church for my soul, xs. Itm . I biqueth to Sir Robert Kyrkby , chalon. ther, to py. for my soul, XXs. Itm . I will that my executo. doe fynde an able prest, to syng for my soull, and the soulles of my father and mother, and all Cristen soules, by the space of iij yere next following after my decease, in parishe church of Tylton . The residue of all my rentes, londes, and tenementes, dettes, and all other my godes, moveable and unmoveable, I give and biqueth them to Everad Dygby , my eldist sonne and myn heyre, whom I ordeyne and make my sole executor, to pay therwith my dette, and to dispose the residew thereof att his discretion, for the helth of my soulle and my friendes. Thyes beryng witness, Mr. Thomas Dalyson , pson. of Stoke dry , William Skevyngton, Everod Darby , and John Dalyson , gentilmen, Sir Robart Kyrkby , chalon. of Wolston , and Sir Thomas Northmpton, chalon. of Laund, of the diocese of Lincoln above rehersed.               E. Watson .

Tenore putm. nos Willmus . permissione divinae Cant' Archiepus totius Anglie primus et Aplice sedis legtus notum facimus universis quod duodecimo die mensis Februarij anno Dm. millimo quingentesimo octavo, apud Lamehith probatum fuit coram nobis ac p. nos approbatur et insinuatur testm. Everardi Dygby defuncti putib. annexu. trents. dum vixit & mortis sue tempore bona in diversis dioc nre. Cant. provinc. cujus pro textu ipsius testamenti approbatio et insinuatio ac administrationis bonorum & debitorum concessio nec non compoti calculi sive rationarii administrationis hinor. auditio finalisq. liberatio sive dimissio ab eadm. nos solum et insolidum et non ad alium nobis inferiorem cudicem de nre prerogativa et consuetudine nris ac ecclie. pre xpi. tant hactenus quiete pacifice et inculle in hac pte. usitat. et obsuat. Itimeq. prescript dmonstrat. notorie pertinere comissaq. fuit admistratio om. et singulor. bonor, et debitor: dri. defuncti Everardo Dygbi executori in timor. testamento noiat. de bene et fidelit. admistrando eadm. ac de pleno et fideli inuentario omni. &c. singlor. bono. et debitoru. timoi. conficiend. et nobis. citra festid. annunciationis beate Marie Virginis px. futur. exhibendo, nec non de plano et vero compoto calculo sive ratiotino nobis aut successoribus nris. in ea pte. redend. ad fta. dei eungelia. in rat dat. die mensis, anno Dni. et loco predicto et nre. trans anno sexto.

                                                                        Exam. A. concard. Recordia
                                                                                    J. Hen. Lilly,
                                                                                                Rouge Rose.

I NOW return to the period when the family emerged from its misfortune, and in the person of SirKenelm , the son of the last Sir Everard, was restored to its former honor, by his uncommon merit. He married Venetia , daughter of Sir Edward Stanley of Tongue Castle, Shropshire , Knight of the Bath. His eldest son, Kenelm , was slain in 1648, in the civil wars, at St. Neots: his second son, John , succeeded to the estate, and survived his father many years. He left by his wife Margaret , daughter of Sir Edward Longueville of Wolverton , in this county, Baronet, two daughters; the eldest, Margaret Maria , married Sir John Comvay of Bodryddan , in Flintshire ; the younger, Charlotta , married Richard Mostyn of Penbedw , in the same county, Esquire. These two gentlemen, in 1704, sold this manor, with Stoke Goldington , and the advowson of both the churches, to George Wright, Esquire, son of the lord keeper, Sir Nathan Wright ; in whose posterity it still remains. By the preceding owners, the reliques of Sir Kenelm's collection came into my country; but the leaving behind the two beautiful busts of lady Venetia , impresses no favorable idea of their taste.

SOME portraits, belonging to the former possessors, still keep a place in the house. In the parlour is a full-length of old Mr. Digby , father to the unhappy Sir Everard . He is represented in a close black dress, a laced turnover ruff, and with lace at his wrist: his hair black, his beard round, with one hand on his sword. The other, of.

HIS lady, Mary daughter of Francis Neile , Esquire, of Prestwold and Keythorp> in Leicestershire , and widow to the Staffordshire antiquary, Sampson Erdeswik . Her dress is black, pinked with red; she has a high fore-top adorned with jewels, a thin upright ruff, round kerchief, a farthingale, with gloves in her hand.

THEIR son, the victim to bigotry, is here at full-length, in a black mantle and vest, the sleeves slashed, and pinked with white, large turnover, and turn-ups at his wrists: one hand holds his gloves; the other is gracefully folded in his mantle.

A REMARKABLE portrait, of a young man of large size, in a quilled ruff, white jacket, black cloak, purple hose, flowered belt, a bonnet with a white feather in it, with one hand on his sword. Above him, in a tablet, is represented a lady, in a most supplicatory attitude, with a lute in one hand, and a purse in the other, offering it to him. He stands by her, with averted look, one hand on his breast, and with an air which shows his rejection of her addresses, and horror at the infamy of mercenary love; and as if uttering to her the words inscribed near to him, his majora .30

THIS I suspect is a portrait of the famous Sir Kenelm , in his youthful days; that prodigy of learning, credulity, valour, and romance, whose merits, although mixed with many foibles, entirely obliterated every attention to the memory of his father's infamy. The circumstance of the lady painted along with him, is a strong confirmation of the truth of the story related by Lloyd , that an Italian prince, who was childless, earnestly wished that his princess might become a mother by Sir Kenelm , whom he esteemed as a just model of perfection. It is probable that the princess would not have disobeyed the commands of her lord: but whether the painting alludes to our knight's cruelty on this occasion, or whether it might not describe the adventure of the Spanish lady, recorded in an elegant old ballad,31 I will not pretend to determine.

IN the long room above stairs, is the picture of his beloved wife Venetia Anastatia Stanley , in a Roman habit, with curled locks. In one hand is a serpent; the other rests on a pair of white doves. She is painted at Windsor in the same emblematic manner, but in a different dress, and with accompaniments explanatory of the emblems. The doves shew her innocency; the serpent, which she handles with impunity, shews her triumph over the envenomed tongues of the times. We know not the particulars of the story. Lord Clarendon must allude to her exculpation of the charge, whatsoever it was, when he mentions her as "a lady of extraordinary beauty, of as extraordinary fame."32 In the same picture is a genius about to place a wreath on her head. Beneath her is a Cupid prostrate: and behind him is Calumny, with two faces, flung down and bound; a beautiful compliment on her victory over Malevolence. Her hair in this picture is light, and differs in color from that in the other. I have heard, from a descendant of her's, that she affected different hair-dresses, and different-colored eyebrows, to see which best became her.

SIR Kenelm was so enamoured with her beauty, that he was said to have attempted to exalt her charms, and preserve her health, by a variety of whimsical experiments. Among others, that of feeding her with capons fed with the flesh of vipers;33 and that, to improve her complexion, he was perpetually inventing new cosmetics. Probably she fell a victim to these arts; for she was found dead in bed, May 1st, 1633, in the thirty-third year of her age. She was buried in Christchurch, London , under a large insulated tomb of black marble, with her bust on the top. This perished in the great fire; but the form is represented in the Pedigree-book , and from that engraven in the Antiquaries Repertory .

BOTH the pictures are the performances of Vandyck . In this at Gothurst are two of her sons, of a boyish age, and in the dress of the times.

HERE are, besides, two most beautiful busts of the same lady, in brass; whether by Le Soeur or Fanelli , I am not certain. One is in the dress of the times: an elegant laced handkerchief falls over her shoulders, leaving her neck bare. Her hair is curled, braided, twisted, and formed on the hind part of her head into a circle; beneath which fall elegant locks. On this bust is inscribed,

Uxorem vivam amare voluptas, defunctam, religio.

THE other is a l'antique . The head is dressed in the same manner, only bound in a fillet: the drapery covers her breast; but so artificially, as not to destroy the elegancy of the form.

I KNOW of no persons who are painted in greater variety of forms and places, than this illustrious pair: possibly because they were the finest subjects of the times. Mr. Walpole is in possession of several most exquisite miniatures of the lady, by Oliver , bought from the heirs of Bodrhyddan and Pembedw , at a very high price. The most valuable one is in a gold case, where she is painted in company with her husband. There is another, said to be painted after she was dead: and four others, in water-colors.

THE same gentleman is in possession of a beautiful miniature of her mother, Lady Lucy Percy , purchased at the same time. She is dressed like a citizen's wife, and with dark hair.

AMONG other portraits,34 is a full-length of the lord keeper, Sir Nathan Wright , in his robes, and a head of Sir Joseph Jekyll , in a long wig and robes. The first received his appointment in the year 1700, unfortunately for him, as successor to Lord Somers ; whose precipitate dismission, in favor of a Tory, hardly allowed time for reflection on the impropriety of the choice. Sir Nathan kept his place till the year 1703, when he was dismissed, not without disgrace; more through defect of ability than want of integrity: but contemned by both parties.

SIR Joseph was a very different character: a staunch Whig, and a man of great abilities and worth. He died Master of the Rolls, in 1738. His wig was probably none of the best, if we are to trust these complimentary lines of Pope: 35

A horse-laugh, if you please, on honesty;
A joke on Jekyll , or some odd old Whig
Who never chang'd his principle or wig.

THE church lies at a little distance from the house; it is new, and very neat, having been rebuilt, in pursuance of the will of George Wright , Esquire, son of the keeper. The figures of father and son face you as you enter the church: the first in his robes: the other in a plain gown: both furnished with enormous Parian perriwigs.

IN the old church was a grave-stone, lying in the chancel, supposed to ha,ve been laid over John de Nouers , who lived in the time of Edward III. The inscription was in French .36

JO : DE : NOVERS : GIST ICI
DIEV : DE : S'ALME : EIT : MERCI : AMEN.


1 Spencer Compton , Earl of Northampton , died in 1796. ED.

2 Collins , iii. 12. last edit.

3 In the house he is called Earl of Northampton .

4 Collins , v. 368.

5 Bridges , 341.

6 Upon the death of the late Earl of Sussex, Easton Mauduit estate passed by purchase to Lord Northampton , who pulled down the house, and disposed of the pictures by public sale. ED.

7 Drake's Parliam. Hist . iv. 411.

8 The same, 413.

9 Lloyd's Worthies , ii. 86.

10 Carte , iv. 73.

11 Wilson .

12 Cabala , 409, &c .

13 Son to Sir Henry Yelverton , the solicitor-general, and father to the second Sir Henry .

14 Morton , 518.

15 Dugdale , i. 1011; in which is the recital of the old charters.

16 xxiv. xxv.

17 The battle was fought July 9th.

18 Morton Northampton , 504. Gale's Iter Br. Com . 145.

19 Morton , 538.

20 Herbert's Henry VIII . 577.

21 This nobleman succeeded to the earldom of Sandwich on the death of his father in 1792. ED.

22 Skinner .

23 Mr. Cole .

24 Digby Pedigree , 46 to 47.

25 Digby Pedigree , 44, 47.

26 The same, 45.

27 The same, x. 43.

28 Wright's Antiq. Rutlandshire , 114.

29 Collins's Peerage, vii. 631.

30 This portrait is inscribed on the back John Digby ; but from the romantic circumstance attending it, the dress, and the likeness to other pictures of Sir Kenelm , I cannot help supposing it, to be his.

31 Antient Songs and Ballads , ii. 231.

32 Lord Clarendon's Life , 34.

33 I am told, that the great snail, or Pomatia, (Br. Zool . iv. No . 128) is found in the neighboring woods, which is its most northern residence in this island. It is of exotic origin. Tradition says, it was introduced by Sir Kenelm , as a medicine for the use of his lady.

34 Here is also preserved a good portrait of Sir Leoline Jenkins , plenipotentiary at Cologn and Nimeguen , and secretary of state in 1680. ED.

35 Epilogue to the Satires .

36 Communicated by Mr. Cole , from church-notes, taken in 1634.

Thomas Pennant, The Journey from Chester to London (London: Wilkie and Robinson, 1811)

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