Picture of Thomas Pennant

Thomas Pennant

places mentioned

Combe Abbey to Stow Nine Churches

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Combe Abbey, or, to spell it with propriety, Cwm, from its low situation, lies about two miles farther. Notwithstanding its conversion to the seat of a nobleman, it retains in part the form of its conventual state. The cloisters are preserved on three sides of the antient court, glazed as when occupied by their former owners, and their walls enriched with the spoils of the chace. Methinks the jovial abbot is now before me, formed out of the monk so admirably described by old Chaucer .

A monk ther was, a fayre for the maistrie,
An out rider that loved venerie;
A manly man, to hen an abbot able;
Full many a deinte hors hadde he in stable.
And when he rode, men mighte his bridel here,
Gingeling in a whistling wind as clere
And eke as loude as doth the chapell belle.
Ther as this lord was keper of the celle,
The rule of Seint Maure and of Seint Beneit ,
Because that it was olde & somedele streit,
This ilke monk lette olde thinges pace,
And held after the newe world the trace.
He yave not of the text a pulled hen,
That saith that hunters ben not holy men;
Ne that a menk, when he is rekkeles,
Is like a fish that is waterles:
This is to say, a monk out of his cloistre,
This ilke text held he not worth an oistre.
And I say his opinion was good:
What shulde he studie, & make himselven wood,
Upon a book in cloistre alway to pore,
Or swinken with his hondes, & laboure
As Austin bit? How shall the world be served?
Let Austin have his swink to him reserved.
Therefore he was a prickasoure a right;
Greihounds he hadde as swift as foul of flight:
Of pricking, & of hunting for the hare,
Was all his lust; for no cost wolde he spare.

THE abbot is now represented by a jovial English baron,1 not less a lover of the generous exercise. He derives his right to the place from his ancestor Sir William Craven, Knight, great grandson of Henry Craven, elder brother to Sir William, lord mayor of London in 1610; one of the richest men of his time. It was purchased from that squanderer Lucy countess of Bedford, who inherited it from her brother Lord Harrington, who derived it from his mother Anne, daughter of Robert Kelway, who received it in lease after the forfeiture of John Dudley Duke of Northumberland, to whom it had been granted by Edward VI. It had been founded by Richard de Camville, in 1150, and peopled with Cistercian monks; who were at the dissolution found to be endowed with upwards of three hundred pounds a year.2 Robert Bates, alias Kymmer, was the last abbot; who, for his surrender, was rewarded with a pension of eighty pounds a year,3 and his thirteen or fourteen religious with small pittances, as the merit of the deed rested in the former.

THAT accomplished nobleman Lord Harrington was the refounder of this house; which Camden says arose from the ashes of the antient abbey. His taste is evident, in his preservation of the venerable cloisters. It is indebted to the owners of the present name for its instructive furniture of portraits, probably entirely to the hero William Craven, a most distinguished personage of this family.

IN the north parlour is a fine full-length of his great master in the art of war, Gustavus Adolphus; under whose banners he defended the Protestant cause in Germany, and, when very young, gained immortal honor at the desperate storming of the fortress of Creutzenach, in the palatinate.

A FULL-LENGTH of James Stewart Duke of Richmond, in black, with long flowing flaxen hair, and a dog by him. This illustrious nobleman forms one of the most amiable characters in the reign of Charles I. His attachment and affection to his royal relation was unequalled: he is even said to have offered his own life, to save that of his devoted master.4 He was permitted to attend the funeral of the beloved remains; then lingered away a few years, and died a victim to grief on March 30, 1655.

Frederick V. elector palatine, a full-length, in robes, and with the unfortunate crown which he wore, as short-lived king of Bohemia, elected by the revolted state in 1619, when it attempted to shake off the yoke of the emperor Ferdinand II. The battle of Prague, in the following year, deprived Frederick of his new kingdom and his hereditary dominions, and, from a potent prince, reduced him to a fugitive beggar in Holland. He survived his own misfortunes twelve years, but died with grief, on the death of his great friend Gustavus Adolphus, in 1632.

NEAR him is his queen, dressed in black, and with a melancholy look. She was the daughter of our peaceful monarch James I.; who, either through hatred of war, or disapprobation of his son-in-law's ambition, reluctantly undertook his defence, and made, under Mansfield, an unfortunate essay. His daughter Elizabeth supported her unhappy situation with uncommon dignity, and shewed, amidst the most distressful poverty, an illustrious example of magnanimity. She visited the army of Gustavus, which had in view her husband's restoration, as well as the giving liberty to the German Protestants. The English volunteers seem to have fought her battles, inspired by love. She was the admiration of the camp, and had votaries among every nation. The young Craven was among her warmest devotees, and continued his attachment to the last moment of her life; possessed her deserved confidence, directed all her affairs, and gave a most distinguishing proof of his esteem, by building for her use, at his estate in Berkshire, a magnificent palace. The difference of rank alone prevented the publication of their union, which is generally supposed to have taken place. Her spotless fame was never aspersed with improper connection.

I MUST step to another room, the picture-gallery, for the portrait of her admirer; a fine head, with the body armed, and crossed with a sash. Let me finish his history with saying, that after the death of Gustavus, he retired from the Swedish army into the service of the Dutch, and, notwithstanding he never interfered in the civil wars of his own country, yet, in 1650, his estates were confiscated by the parlement (as is said) through false accusations of favors done to the exiled king. On the restoration he came over, and in 1670, on the death of the Duke of Albemarle, he was appointed colonel of the Coldstream regiment of guards. His gallant spirit never forsook him: he braved the pestilence in its greatest fury, and, with a few other worthies, undertook the care of London in 1665, during the desolation of the plague; and in every fire, was so active in preventing the devastation of that other scourge, that it was said, "his very horse smelt it out."

I MUST return to the parlour, to mention a fine conversation-piece, consisting of Prince Rupert, Prince Maurice, and the Duke of Richmond at table, in the manner of Dobson, by Honthurst. Those of the king of Bohemia and his queen are by the same hand; Honthurst having had the honor of instructing that unfortunate princess and her family.

A HEAD of Raphael .

THE brazen serpent, surrounded by the terrified multitude: a fine performance.

Judith and Holofernes. Her maid, a swarthy old woman, is performing the operation of cutting off the head.

ON the stair-case is a large picture of Lord Craven on horseback, with a truncheon in his hand.

IN the breakfast-room is a fine scene among the Alps, by John Loten, a Dutchman, who, residing much in Switzerland, became celebrated for his wild romantic views.

IN the picture-gallery is a fine half-length of David, with the head of Goliah, by Guercino. Frederick Tromellus, count Lavella, a head. John Ernest duke of Savoy .

Gustavus Adolnhus, a half-length: and the heads of sixteen of his illustrious generals, by Mirevelt. These, and most of the other portraits of men of eminence in Germany, were brought over by the queen of Bohemia, and by her bequeathed by will to Lord Craven .

A HEAD of Mirevelt and another Honthurst, painted by themselves. The former resided chiefly at Delft, and was prevented visiting England by reason of the plague. The latter was here some time, by the encouragement of Charles I.

Christian Duke of Brunswick, a fierce hero in the army of Gustavus, subdued by the charms of our royal countrywoman. It is said, that he snatched a glove from her, put it in his cap, and swore he would never part with it, till he saw her husband in possession of the capital of Bohemia .5

SIR Edward Cecil, third son of the Earl of Exeter, a celebrated commander during thirty-five years in the Netherlands. He died in 1638, after being honored with the title of Lord Wimbledon .6 His picture is a head, with short grey hair; his body in rich armour, with a sash. From this the print by Simon Pass was taken.

A REMARKABLE legend of Otto, or Otho I. earl of Oldenberg, represented as wearied with the chace, and separated from his companions, on a wild mountain. When he was almost fainting with thirst, a beautiful virgin, in white, with long flowing hair, and a garland on her head, burst out of the side of the hill, and offered him drink out of a rich horn, which she put into his hand, assuring him, that if he drank, prosperity would attend him and his house. He disliked the proposal, suspecting deceit. Accordingly, pouring some of the liquor on the hind part of his horse, he found it so noxious as to take off the hair. He instantly rode off with the horn full speed, terrified at the adventure, and the spectre retired into the bowels of the mountain. The horn, which gave rise to this fable, is of silver, gilt, and of most exquisite workmanship, and is still preserved in the museum at Copenhagen .7 Instead of being of the age of Otho I. or about the year 918, it is proved to have been made by Christian I. in honor of the three kings of Cologne, whose names are inscribed on it; for it seems it was customary, among the northern nations, to dedicate their cups or horns to saints, and make large libations out of them, invoking the saint to assist the mighty draught: Help Got unde Maria dat Iw Got.8 What gave rise to the particular legend relative to the horn, is the figure of a woman on the recurvated tip, with a label, with this jovial exhortation, Drinc all wt; and round the lip, O mater Dei memento mei .

IN several apartments, whose names I have forgotten, are a variety of other paintings and portraits.

AMONG them is one of the founder of the family, Sir William Craven, lord mayor of London, by Jansen; two full-lengths of Earl Craven, in armour, one very spirited; and a portrait of Sir William Craven of this place, by Sir Peter Lely; Lucy countess of Bedford, by Jansen, in the same attitude and dress in which she is painted at Woburn and at Alloa. 9

AN elegant figure of Henry prince of Wales, in a gay silk jacket, crimson hose, roses to his shoes, a white silk hat and feather before him, and a glove in one hand. He stands in a room with a pretty view through the window. Drawn while that amiable prince was in his boyhood.

Charles II. when young; his body armed with steel, the rest with buff.

GENERAL Monk, cloathed entirely in buff. This species of defence was usually made of the skin of the elk, and oftentimes of the stag, and was proof against a ball.

DUKE of Ormond, by Sir Peter Lely .

A PRETTY half-length of Lord Herbert, young, in armour, laced cravat, and his helmet before him.

THE punishment of sloth: a man whipping a woman out of bed.

A FINE decollation of St. John, by Albert Durer. The executioner sheathing his sword; Herodias's daughter receives the head with great satisfaction of countenance; and her swelling waist shews the price of the Baptist's destruction.

FOUR musicians: two, a Flemish gentleman and a lady; the other, peasants: a capital performance, by Frank Hals .

THE offering of the wise men in the east, by Paul Veronese, equally fine.

AN old woman and boy, heads, by candle-light, likewise fine.

Two fine paintings, by Rembrandt, of two philosophers; each with a noble pupil: one in a Turkish dress; the other in an ermine robe. These young figures are called Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice. The time of the residence of their mother in Holland, agrees entirely with that of Rembrandt in Amsterdam, which makes the conjecture probable.10

I RETURNED through Coventry, and, passing over the site of the Newgate, soon entered on a long common. At about a mile's distance from the city, on the left side of the road, stood the Chartreux, now inhabited by —— Inge, Esquire. Little of the antient building remains. The wall of the precinct is still standing, and in a wall in the garden are the marks of many small doors, the entrance into the cells of the austere inhabitants.

THIS religious house arose from the pious intentions of William Lord Zouch, of Harringworth, in Northamptonshire, who obtaining, in 1381, fourteen acres of land in this place from Sir Baldwyn Frevile the elder, determined on that to erect a monastery of Carthusians, and endow it with ample revenues. Death prevented the execution; but in his last illness he left sixty pounds towards a future establishment.

THE design was speedily completed by various pious persons. Richard Luff, a mayor of Coventry, and Richard Botoner, a fellow-citizen, bestowed four hundred marks on the church-choir, cloisters, and three cells: others followed their example. Richard II. on his return from Scotland, in 1385, assumed the honor of being the founder, and, at the instance of his queen Anne, laid the first stone of the church with his own hands, declaring, in the presence of his nobility, and of the mayor and citizens of Coventry, that he would bring it to perfection. After this, it received considerable endowments, and at the dissolution was found, according to Dugdale, to be possessed of £ .131. 6s. 8d. above all reprizes. The prior seemed to want the resolution of this severe and conscientious order; for more of this than of any other resisted the will of their cruel monarch, and underwent martyrdom in support of the trusts committed to them. It is probable that John Bochard, the last who presided over the house, was prevaled on to surrender for the consideration of the great pension of forty pounds a year; after which it was granted to Richard Andrews and Leonard Chamberlain .

A LITTLE farther I crossed the Sherbourn, leaving on the right Whitley, a large old house, in which Charley I. resided during the attempt upon Coventry .11 I was told, that the history of many of his actions had been painted on the wainscot. About a mile and a half from hence I passed the Avon, at Ryton bridge. This is the river that runs by Warwick and Stratford, and discharges itself into the Severn, near Tewkesbury; still retaining the British name Afon, or river, as is the case with several others watering English ground.

ASCEND an extensive brow, commanding a rich and vast view toward the north and west. On the summit is a tumulus, from which the spot, which gives name to the hundred, is called Knightlow, or mount. It seems to have been sepulchral, and to have covered the ashes of some Roman eques, or knight, from which it was denominated. It lies very near a great Roman road, as is customary with similar memorials. On it in aftertimes stood a cross, on whose base the inhabitants of several towns in this hundred still attend, and pay the dues to the lord on Martinmass-day : the sums are from 1d. to 2s. 3d. each. These rents are called Wroth-money, and Worth or Swarff penny, and are supposed by Dugdale to be the same as ward-penny: Vicecomiti aut aliis castellanis persoluti ob castrorum praesidium vel excubias agendas. They must be paid at this cross before sun-rise, and the party paying must go thrice round the cross, say wroth-money, and put it into the hole in the stone before good witness, or on omission to forfeit thirty shillings and a white bull.12

A SMALL distance beyond, the Roman foss-way crosses the road: it enters this county at High Cross, on the verge of Leicestershire, where it is intersected by the great Watling-street, and traverses direct to Stafford upon Foss, near the edge of Glocestershire .

Go over Dunsmore heath (now inclosed), and after riding in a tedious avenue of elms and firs for five miles, reach Dunchurch, or the church on the hill; a small village, whose church once belonged to the monks of Pipwell, in Northamptonshire .

DESCEND the hill, and about three miles further go near Willoughby, or the place of willows; a little village, with a church dedicated to St. Nicholas, formerly appropriated to the hospital of St. John without East-gate, Oxford; now in the patronage of Magdalen College. This bottom, at present enlivened with the windings of the canal, assumes a commercial appearance, by the number of new buildings rising on its banks, and the magazines of coal and limestone laid up for sale. The former gives a most comfortable prospect to the half-starved inhabitants of Northamptonshire, by flattering them with the speedy approximation of the means of warmth, and giving to their poor good fuel, instead of the wretched substitute of horse-dung, which they collect in scanty portions for that purpose.

IT would be ungrateful to leave Warwickshire, without paying a tribute to the memory of Mr. Henry Brighton, author of the map of this county.13 As it was the earliest, so it was the best performance of the kind. He had an estate of about a hundred a year, in the parish of Coton, in this county. He assisted his income by surveying, in which, for elegance, accuracy, and expedition, he had few equals. He left behind him, in his neighborhood, numbers of excellent surveyors, who own him for their master. His account of London bridge, in the Philosophical Transactions, shews his skill in mechanics. He was interred at Chilvers Coton; where a small monument barely tells that he lived and died, without mentioning his merit: neglected by his countrymen during life, he never met wjth encouragement to publish his admirable map, which was done about the year 1750, by subscription, for the support of his widow.

FROM Willoughby I instantly entered


in the parish of Braunston. The village, church with spire steeple, and a number of narrow inclosures, appear on the side of a slope, on the left of the road. This is among the few places I neglected to visit. I must therefore speak from Mr. Bridges of its cross, twenty-four feet high; of the effigy of the Knight Templar in the church; and of the instance of the longevity of William Bren, of this village, who attained the age of an hundred and twenty-one.

After the Conquest, the D'Aiencourts and the Peverels held land here. From the last it fell, by marriage, to Albricius de Harcourt; by his daughter, to William de Trussebot, a man raised from a low situation, by his desperate valour, to great estates. In the reign of king Stephen, being attacked in Bonville, of which he was governor, he set fire to his own house in four places; which so terrified the enemy, that they instantly evacuated the town.

BY his daughter Roese, it fell to Everard de Roos; a family who flourished here for several centuries, a distinguished race. One of them, William, was clamant to the crown of Scotland, under the arbitration of Edward I.14 They became extinct in the male line, in the reign of Henry VII. when Elinor, eldest sister of the last lord Roos, conveyed it by marriage to Sir Robert Manners; and it was sold by his descendant, Henry Earl of Rutland (who died in 1563) to Gregory Isham of London, merchant, a younger son of the respectable and antient family of that name.

THE present lord of the manor is —— Web, Esquire, who keeps in the small manor-house a court-leet and baron. The tenure of a considerable portion of land in the parish is very singular. If a widow appears at the next court after her husband's death, and presents a leathern purse with a groat in it, she can keep her husband's copyhold lands for life; but she must attend every court after she has done this service.

FROM Dunchurch the country grows hilly, and till of late was uninclosed; pleasant during the verdure of the young, and the rich yellow of the ripened corn. About three miles from Braunston appears Daventry, on the side and top of a hill. The place is populous, and carries on a considerable manufacture of whips: it is an incorporated town, governed by a bailiff, twelve burgesses, and a recorder; has two Serjeants at mace, and one town-clerk. The bailiff for the time is justice of the peace, and also the year following, and is likewise coroner of the inquest. The Serjeants may arrest any one within their jurisdiction for a sum under one hundred pounds, and the cause is to be decided here. No county justice hath power in this place; the justices of the borough having power of commitment to the county-jail in criminal cases. The inhabitants also enjoy the privilege of exemption from serving on juries at the county assizes. Its charter is said to have been first granted by king John, and was renewed by queen Elizabeth .

DAVENTRY is of considerable antiquity; especially if we give into the derivation of its name, Dwy Afon tre, the town of the two Avons, or rivers, from its situation between them. Certainly it was a place of note at the Conquest; had in it sixteen plough-lands; in the manor three, with three slaves, twenty villeyns, a presbyter, and ten boors, and twelve acres of meadow. It had been worth three pounds; after that event improved to eight.

THIS was a part of the great possessions of the countess Judith, niece to the Conqueror, whom he had married to the brave Waltheof Earl of Northumberland; and farther to engage his fidelity, he gave with her this county, and that of Huntingdon. Waltheof unfortunately engaged in a conspiracy, and, notwithstanding he repented, and flung himself at the king's mercy, was beheaded in 1074, at the instigation of his wife.15 It seems she had cast a favorable eye on another person, but was disappointed; for the king offered to her Simon de Liz, a noble Norman, lame of one leg: him she rejected; which so enraged her uncle, that he deprived her of the two earldoms, and gave them to De Liz, with her eldest daughter; which obliged Judith to a state of penitentiary widowhood during life.

HERE are some remains of the priory, inhabited by poor families. The place is easily discovered, by several gothic windows, and a door accessible by a great flight of steps. Four Cluniac monks were originally placed at Preston Capes, in this county, by Hugh de Leycester, sheriff of the county, and steward to Maud, sister to the first S. Liz. Earl of Huntingdon; but finding the situation inconvenient, for want of water, he built a priory, and removed them here, about the year 1090. It was dedicated to St. Augustine, and was subordinate to St. Mary de Ceritate .16 Its spiritualities were valued at £ .115 17s. 4d. per annum; its temporalities £ .120 10s. 2d. Cardinal Wolsey directed five of his emissaries to pick a.quarrel with the poor monks, about certain lands of theirs; and, causing the dispute to be referred to himself, took occasion to dissolve the house, and, as Stow says, to be given to his own college.

But of this irreligious robbery, done of no conscience, but to patch up pride, which private wealth could not furnish, what punishment hath since ensued by God's hand [sayeth mine author] partly ourselves have seen; for of those five persons, two fell at discord between themselves, and the one slew the other; for which the survivor was hanged: the third drowned himself in a well: the fourth, being well known, and valued worth two hundred pounds, became in three years so poore, that he begged till his dying-day: and the fift, called Doctor Allane, being cheefe executor of these doings, was cruelly maimed in Ireland, even at such time as he was bishop.17

—The pious historian then traces the judgment to the cardinal, who died under the king's displeasure: to the colleges which occasioned the sacrilege; that of Ipswich being pulled down; that of Christ-church never finished under Wolsey's patronage: and lastly to the pope, who permitted these violences on religious houses; for he was besieged in his holy see, and suffered a long imprisonment.

THE parish-church was formerly the conventual: of late years it has been handsomely rebuilt; but is no more than a curacy in the gift of Christchurch college. The arms of the college, and of the Earl of Winchelsea, lord of the manor, grace the east window.

FROM Daventry I visited the noted camps on Borough-hill, or Danes-hill, about a mile south-east of the town. It is lofty and insulated. The area is of an oblong or oval form, about a measured mile in length, and near two in circumference. The whole is surrounded by two, three, or four deep trenches, and the same number of great ramparts, or banks; according as the strength or weakness of the ground required. These run on the margin of the hill, and on the slope, having the entrance on the eastern and western sides opposite to each other.

WITHIN the area, near the middle, is a bank, which passes strait from the western side towards the eastern: the remainder is destroyed. Farther on is the vestige of another, running parallel. These, when entire, would have formed a rectangular camp, by the assistance of part of the ditches on the sides of the hill.

NEAR this camp are several tumuli of the sepulchral kind; but since Mr. Morton's time, their number is evidently lessened; for in his days, he informs us, there were eighteen.

THE northern end of the hill is formed into a third camp, of a circular shape, and of vast strength. Two ditches, of prodigious depth, with suitable ramparts, and a deep entrance, cross the area, and fall into the general surrounding ditches, which have been deepened to add to the strength of the third part. There are likewise the imperfect remains of another ditch and bank on the outside, a little south, designed to add to the security.

ON the north-west part of the great rampart of this round camp, is a large mount, either exploratory, or the spot where the chieftain pitched his tent.

I MUST differ with Mr. Morton about the makers of the first of these camps or posts, which were the Britons themselves. It has every agreement with the multitudes of others scattered over the kingdom, and suits exactly with the description left by Tacitus of the method of defence used by our ancestors, Tunc montibus arduis, et si qua clementer accedi poterant in modum valli saxa praestruit. I shall not here repeat what I have fully dwelt on in my Tours in Wales and Scotland .18

THIS post was in all probability made use of when the victorious Ostorius was traversing this island, to quell the commotions he found on his arrival in Britain. It is evident, that the Britons at this period made use of the same species of defence which is proved to have been common to the whole country. The Iceni lodged themselves within a post of this kind, against this very general, (Locum pugnae delegere septum agresti aggere et aditu angusto ne pervius equiti foret) 19 but it did not avale. The Coritani of these parts had recourse to the strong hold of what I dare say they called Ben Afon, or the head over the river; one of the streams which form the Nen, the river of this country, passing beneath.

THIS post proved no obstacle to the Conqueror; he found it fit for a station: he contracted its limits east into the shape of the camps of his people, and made this a summer, as he did the warm bottom, near the fort, a winter station. Numbers of Roman coins found on the spots, confirm this conjecture. The Romans, as was usual with them, latinized the British name, and formed from it their Benvenna; which I beg leave to place here, rather than at Wedon, a place destitute of all classical traces.

I MUST add, that on the south-east side of Borough-hill, about two or three hundred yards below the ditches, is a lesser camp, surrounded by a foss and bank. Mr. Morton guesses it to have been the receptacle of the carriages of the greater camp: I imagine it to have been a procestria, a sort of free post attendant often on camps, where provisions and other necessaries were brought.

As to the third division of the area of this hill, it is probably Saxon; the words borough, burgh, berry, and bury, being the constant appellation given by the Saxons to similar places. It is my belief, that every post of this nature, occupied by that nation in our island, had been originally British; which the Saxons altered to their conceptions of strength and defence; this was usually done by deepening the ditches, raising the ramparts, and clearing the area, and often by exalting one part into what was called the donjeon, or keep. These places were stationary, not properly camps; for the antient Germans, from whom these invaders were derived, and whose customs they retained, made use of no other defence to their camps than a barrier of waggons, with which they formed the precinct. Omnes Barbari, says Vegetius, carris suis in orbem connexis ad similitudinem castrorum securas a supervenientibus exigunt noctes. 20 Caesar twice21 mentions this custom among the German nations; and I am told, that even in later days, this mode of defence has been used, and called Waggenburg, or the camp of waggons .

EVERY thing on this hill must not be attributed to remote antiquity; for Charles I. a few days before the fatal battle of Naseby, occupied this post, and fortified it: so possibly some of the entrenchments might be the work of that unfortunate monarch.22

I MUST not quit this place without mentioning a spot which I overlooked. This is what Mr. Morton calls the Burnt Walls; where many loads of walls and foundations have been dug up. The precinct is about six acres, and was moated round. The water that filled the moat was conveyed from pools in Daventry Park, a place not remote. Tradition says, that within the area stood a seat of John of Gaunt; which is probable, as this manor was once possessed by the earls and dukes of Lancaster, in Edward III's time, annexed to that dutchy, and assigned to that great duke.23

CONTINUE my journey: turn a little out of my road, on the left, to Dodford church, and find there a tomb of a cross-legged knight, armed in mail, with both hands upon his sword, as if in the attitude of drawing it. On his shield are, ill-blazoned, vaire, argent and azure; two bars gules, which denote the person here deposited to have been a Keynes, one of the antient lords of the place; and, from the attitude of his legs, to have lived during the fashionable madness of crusades.

Two ladies, in hoods, recumbent, said to have been two sisters, co-heiresses of the manor, and probably Margaret and Maud de Ayote, who were possessed of it, I think, in the time of Richard II; which manor descended to their father, Laurence, from his mother Lettice, sister to William de Keynes .

A BRASS plate of William Wyde, who died owner of this place in 1422, and another of his wife.

AN alabaster figure, armed, of John Cressy, a successor of the former; who distinguished himself in the French wars, under the duke of Bedford, was captain of Lycieux, Orbef, and Pontesque, in Normandy, and privy-counsellor in France. He died in 1443, at Tove, in Lorrain. 24

IN this manor, the Watling-street crosses the road to Wedon: it enters the county at Dowbridge, on the edge of Leicestershire, passes close by Borough-hill, and proceeds from Wedon to Toucester and Stoney Stratford, where it enters the county of Bucks.

NEAR the sixty-eighth mile-stone is the entrance to the new turnpike-road to Northampton, which is above seven miles distant; and on an eminence, a little to the left, is pleasantly seated the church and village of Flore, or Flower.

A LITTLE beyond, on the right, lies the village of Wedon on the Street, or Weedon Bec; from which I chuse to transfer the old Bennevenna to Borough-hill, on account of deficiency of classical evidence at this place, and the little difference of distance from the other stations.

SUFFICIENT honor will remain to Wedon ,25 in allowing it to have been the site of the royal palace of Wulfere ,26 the Mercian monarch; afterwards converted into a nunnery, at the instance of his daughter, St. Werburg, who presided for a time over it. Here she performed the miracle of the wild geese; who, at her word, forgot their nature, were driven by her steward from their ravages among the corn, into the grange, and, after receiving from her a severe check for their depredations, were commanded to take wing, and never appear in her demesnes. They obeyed in part, but kept hovering about, till one of their companions, which had been stolen (and some say eaten) by a servant, was restored; on which they bid an eternal adieu to the fields of Wedon. 27

THIS nunnery was destroyed by the Danes; but the memory of the foundress was preserved in Leland's day, by a fair chapel dedicated to that saint.28

AFTER the Conquest, Roger de Thebovil gave a moiety of lands in this monastery to the abbey of Bec in Normandy; which was, with many other grants to the same house, confirmed by Henry II. That abbey afterwards became possessed of the whole, when it was made dependent on their great cell or priory at Okeburn, in Wiltshire. Vast privileges were bestowed in favor of the monks of this abbey; such as exemption from suit and service to the county and hundred courts; from toll passage and pontage; and exemption from forest laws. They had also free warren, and right of determining in murder, manslaughter, &c. &c. all which perished at the dissolution of the priories; and this manor, as part of the possessions of Okeburn, was vested in the provost and fellows of Eton college, by Henry VI; in which it still continues.29

FROM hence I was led by my curiosity about two miles westward, to Castle Dikes, in the parish of Farthingstone, remarkable for some antient works attributed to the Saxons. They are placed on the brow of a steep hill, commanding a vast view; but at present so overgrown with thick woods, that I had but a very indistinct sight of them. They appeared to comprehend near thirteen acres of ground, and to consist of strong holds, divided from each other by a ditch of stupendous breadth and depth. A plot, called the Castle-yard, stands to the south-west of these, entrenched on all sides but the south-west, comprehending about seven acres, on which, tradition says, a town was situated.

MR. Morton informs us, that a vaulted room, formed of squared stones, was discovered in his time, and beneath that another, which falling in accidentally, a smell, resembling that of putrid carcases, issued from it. Two or three rude sculptures were also discovered among the rubbish.

IT is conjectured that this place was burnt by the Danes; for vast masses of cinders, mixed with pebbles and clay, have been found in different parts; and many of the stones had on them the marks of fire.30 There is no account left of the particulars of their ravages; so this rests upon conjecture, as well as the notion of Ethelfleda having been founder of this place, among her other great works performed in 913.

ON my return to the great road, about two miles from the place, I visited the church of Stow-nine-Churches, to see the most elegant tomb which this or any other kingdom can boast of; that of Elizabeth, fourth daughter of John Lord Latimer, wife, first to Sir John Danvers, of Dantrey, Wiltshire, and afterwards to Sir Edmund Gary, third son of Henry Lord Hunsdon. Her figure is of white marble, lying recumbent on a slab of black. The attitude is the most easy possible, that of one asleep; her head, covered with a loose hood, reclines on a rich cushion. One hand is placed on her breast, the other lies on one side. Round her neck is a quilled ruff. The fashionable stiffness of her embroidered stays is a disadvantage to this elegant sculpture. Her gown flows to her feet in easy folds, and covers them. She lies on a long cloak, lined with ermine, fastened at her neck with rich jewels. At her feet is a griffin holding a shield of the family-arms. The whole rests on a white marble altar-tomb, with inscriptions and arms on the sides. After informing us of her parentage, marriages, and children, are these lines:

Sic familia praeclara }{ AEtatis 84,
Praeclarior prole   Anno
Virtute praeclarissima Dni. 1630.
Commutavit Saecula; non obiit.

She left three sons and seven daughters by her first husband. Sir Charles, the eldest, lost his head through his unfortunate attachment to the ill-fated Earl of Essex; Henry, an able warrior, died Earl of Danby, full of years and glory; Sir John married into the great family of the Newports, in Shropshire.

THIS noble monument was erected by the lady in her life-time, and was the chef d'oeuvre of that great statuary Nicholas Stone, master-mason to king James and Charles I. statuary and stonecutter; so humbly does he stile himself. It appears by a note of his, that,

March the 16. 1617. I undertook to make a tomb for my lady, mother to Lord Davers; which was all of whit marbell & touch;31 and I set it up at Stow of the nine Churches, in Northamptonshire, som 2 yeare after. One altar tombe: for the which I had 220 li.32

OPPOSITE to this is a very handsome cenotaph, in memory of the Reverend Doctor Thomas Turner, born at Bristol in 1645, and buried in 1714, at Corpus Christi college, Oxford, of which he had been president.

HE laid out his great income in acts of hospitality and charity; and on his death, after bequeathing £ .4000 to his relations and friends, left the rest of his wealth to pious uses. He augmented the stipends of the poorer members of Ely cathedral, in which he was prebendary: he left £ .100 to be expended in apprenticing poor children of that city: he left £ .6000 for improving the buildings of the college he presided over: and finally, left £ .20,000 to be laid out by his executors in estates and lands, to be settled by them on the governors of the charity for the relief of the poor widows and children of the clergy. Accordingly they purchased this manor, and other estates here, and at West Wratling in Cambridgeshire, to the amount of upwards of £ .1000 a year, and settled them, in 1716, agreeable to his will.33 This manor was purchased from Edward Hooley, Esquire, for £ .16,000; which occasioned the honorable mark of gratitude in this church. It is singular, that Francis Turner, bishop of Ely, lost his preferments in 1690, for refusing the oaths to William and Mary, when this gentleman, his brother, had the good fortune to preserve his, without injuring his conscience.

IN 1702, the last year allowed for undergoing the test, he left London on the 28th of July, and went to Oxford with a full resolution to sacrifice all his preferments on the first of August, the last day allowed by the act. He wisely made no resignation, well knowing that his refusal would be ample deprivation. Whether he was forgotten, or whether the omission was winked at, does not appear; but he retained all his benefices to his dying day.34

THIS charitable divine is placed standing in a graceful attitude, in his master of arts robes, in his own hair, under a canopy supported by two fluted pillars of the Corinthian order, of colored marble. On the side of him is Religion, represented by a woman on a celestial globe, with a cross in one, and a font in the other hand. On the last is inscribed [[GREEK_1]]. The doctor stands on a terrestrial globe, with a book in his hand, in which is written [[GREEK_2]]. The account of his various charities is placed on the pediment.

To the corner of an aile, to make room for this sumptuous monument, was removed the tomb of a cross-legged knight, armed in mail, and partly covered with a surtout. One hand is on his breast, the other on his sword. On an enormous shield, which is belted to his body, is a rude figure of a lion passant guardant, and crowned. He is supposed to be one of the Gilbert de Gants, the antient owners. There were five of them. The first was great nephew to the Conqueror; the last died in 1295.

1 The Lord Craven here alluded to died in 1791. ED.

2 Tanner .

3 Willis, ii. 241.

4 Perichef, as quoted by Mr. Hume.

5 Harte's Gustavus Adolphus, i. 177.

6 He is buried in a chapel erected for the purpose, opening to the chancel of Wimbledon church, under a very handsome tomb, with the following inscription: "Sir Edward Cecil, Knt. Lord Cecil, Baron of Putney, and Viscount Wimbledon, son of Thomas earl of Exeter, and Dorothea Nevil, one of the coheirs of Lord Nevil, and grandchild of Lord Treasurer Burleigh. 1638."

7 Museum Regium Havniae, &c. pars II. sect. iii. par. 60. tab. v.

8 Museum Regium Havniae, &c. pars II. sect. iii. par. 62.

9 Tour Scotl. 1772, part ii. p. 222.

10 When the editor visited Combe Abbey in 1809, the house and grounds were undergoing considerable alterations, and most of the pictures were taken down. Among the few portraits unnoticed by Mr. Pennant, he remarked six heads of the children of the Elector Palatine, all handsome, particularly the princess Sophia, the future electress of Hanover. Here are also shewn five portraits of Palatine princesses, said to have been painted by the hand of Sophia. ED.

11 Now belonging to, and the residence of, the right honorable Lord Hood, who married the only daughter and heiress of its late owner, Francis Wheler, Esq. ED.

12 Dugdale, i. 4.

13 He begun his surrey in 1725, and finished it in 1729.

14 Sir David Dalrymple's Annals Scotl. i. 203.

15 Order: Vital.

16 Tanner, 375.

17 Annals, 522.

18 Tour Scotl. 1772, part ii. 159. Tour Wales, 413. 8vo. ed. ii. 62.

19 Taciti Annal. lib. xii. c. 31.

20 Lib. iii. c. 10.

21 Bell. Gal. lib. i. & lib. iv.

22 Whitelock, 150.

23 Hist. Northampt. 44.

24 Hist. Northampt. 51.

25 Near Wedon the bank is covered with immense buildings for the reception of all kinds of military stores; a national depot rendered too necessary by the exigency of the times. The Grand Junction canal passes beneath, and forms a ready communication by other canals from this central spot with all parts of the kingdom. ED.

26 Bridges, 93.

27 Cressy's Ch. Hist. 427.

28 Leland Itin. i. 11.

29 Hist. Northampt. 93; in which Mr. Bridges denies that there ever was a priory here, as Sir W. Dugdale and Bishop Tanner imagine.

30 Mr. Morton, 543.

31 Touch, Pierre de Touche was a name applied to any black stone which was used for the touching or trying of gold. At length the statuaries bestowed it on all the black marbles, because they were sometimes used for that purpose.

32 Mr. WALPOLE, in the 2d vol. of his Anecdotes of Painting, p. 23, informs us, that this able artist was born at Woodbury, near Exeter, in 1586, and died in London, 1647. I refer the reader to that elegant performance for a list of his works. Let me add, that the first time I saw this beautiful tomb, it was going fast to decay; but, since that time, has been fully restored, by the care of the worthy rector and (I think) patron of this church, Doctor Lloyd .

33 Willis's Cathedrals, ii. 389.

34 Bentham's Hist. Ely, 263.

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

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