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Title: Historic Sites of Lancashire and Cheshire - A Wayfarer's Notes in the Palatine Counties, Historical, - Legendary, Genealogical, and Descriptive.
Author: Croston, James
Language: English
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Internet Archive)



    HISTORIC SITES

    OF

    LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE.


    HISTORIC SITES

    OF

    Lancashire and Cheshire.


    A WAYFARER'S NOTES IN THE PALATINE COUNTIES,
    HISTORICAL, LEGENDARY, GENEALOGICAL,
    AND DESCRIPTIVE.


    BY

    JAMES CROSTON, F.S.A.

    _Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Great Britain; Member of the
    Architectural, Archæological and Historic Society of Chester; Member of
    the Council of the Record Society._

    Author of "On Foot through the Peak," "A History of Samlesbury,"
    "Historical Memorials of the Church in Prestbury," "Old Manchester and
    its Worthies," "Nooks and Corners of Lancashire and Cheshire," etc.,
    etc.


    JOHN HEYWOOD,
    DEANSGATE AND RIDGEFIELD, MANCHESTER;
    AND II, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS,
    LONDON.
    1883.



  TO
  JOHN LEIGH, ESQ.,
  OF
  THE MANOR HOUSE, HALE, CHESHIRE,
  THE PRESIDENT AND
  ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE
  REPRINTING OF THE RARER POETICAL LITERATURE
  OF THE SPENSERIAN AGE,
  IN TESTIMONY OF LENGTHENED FRIENDSHIP
  AND LITERARY OBLIGATION,
  AND
  IN APPRECIATION OF HIS EFFORTS
  TO RESCUE FROM OBLIVION THE LEGENDS AND TRADITIONS
  WHICH CAST THE HALO OF ROMANCE ROUND MANY OF
  THE OLD HALLS AND MANOR HOUSES OF
  LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE,
  THIS BOOK IS INSCRIBED WITH
  THE BEST WISHES OF HIS SINCERE FRIEND,
  THE AUTHOR.



PREFACE.


The favourable reception accorded both by the Public and the Press
to a former work--NOOKS AND CORNERS OF LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE--has
encouraged the Author to prepare the present volume, which is issued
with the hope that it may be found not less worthy of acceptance.
Like the one which preceded it, it illustrates, in a certain degree,
the history and romance of the two Palatine counties, the Author's
aim having been to give to particular localities an individuality
and freshness, by presenting in an entertaining and popular form the
"sites" of remarkable scenes and incidents of bygone days. "England,"
says a well-known writer, "is pre-eminently the country (compared with
the rest of Europe) in which the monuments that embody historical
associations, and link the present with a far-reaching past are
most thickly strewn;" and in Lancashire and Cheshire the soil is
plentifully studded with the memorials of ancient days, that stand out
in refreshing and instructive relief among the crowding evidences of
modern power and civilisation--places hallowed by associations and as
the homes of those whose memories we would not willingly let die, and
scenes that are identified with much of the history, tradition and
romance of the centuries that are gone. No pretention is made to what
is commonly called the dignity of history, which usually means the
placing of important personages and great events in prominent relief
without regard to minor incidents or the relations the figures in the
background bear to the occurrences recorded, the Author's purpose
having been rather to combine with well-attested facts, topographical
description, personal narrative and local legend, and to snatch from
Oblivion's spoils the shadowy fragments of tradition that have floated
down through centuries of time--things that the ordinary historian
casts aside as unworthy of his notice, but which, though oftentimes
inexact in detail, are generally founded upon a substratum of fact, and
tend therefore to throw additional light on human thought and action in
the past.

The agreeable duty remains for the Author to express his obligations
to those friends who, by information communicated and in other ways,
have aided him in his enterprise. His thanks are due to Miss Abraham,
of Grassendale Park, Liverpool; the Rev. Edward J. Bell, M.A., Rector
of Alderley; John Leigh, Esq., The Manor House, Hale; Thomas Helsby,
Esq., Lincoln's Inn, the learned Editor of "Ormerod's Cheshire;" J.
P. Earwaker, Esq., M.A., F.S.A., Pensarn, Abergele, the historian of
East Cheshire; Thomas Middleton, Esq., Springfield, Adlington; Edward
T. Cunliffe, Esq., the Parsonage, Handforth; Mr. John Owen, Mile End,
Stockport; and Mr. D. Bennett, Shakspeare Terrace, Ardwick.

  UPTON HALL, PRESTBURY, CHESHIRE,
  SEPTEMBER, 1883.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER I.                                                PAGE

  Swarthmoor Hall and the Founder of the Society of Friends    1

  CHAPTER II.

  Old Alderley and its Memories--The Stanleys--Edward
  Stanley, Pastor and Prelate--The Home of Dean Stanley       50

  CHAPTER III.

  Rivington and the Lords Willoughby--The Pilkingtons--The
  Story of a Lancashire Bishop                               104

  CHAPTER IV.

  Handforth Hall--The Breretons--Sir William Brereton        171

  CHAPTER V.

  Newby Bridge and the Lake Country--An Autumn Day at
  Cartmel--The Priory Church                                 249

  CHAPTER VI.

  Disley--A May Day at Lyme--Lyme Hall and the Leghs         278

  CHAPTER VII.

  "Jemmy Dawson" and the Fatal '45                           397

  CHAPTER VIII.

  A Morning at Little Moreton                                431

  CHAPTER IX.

  Wardley Hall                                               448

  L'Envoi                                                    483



ILLUSTRATIONS.

                                                           PAGE

  SWARTHMOOR HALL                                            5

  GEORGE FOX'S BIBLE                                         7

  GEORGE FOX'S CHAIR                                         8

  ULVERSTON CHURCH                                          17

  AUTOGRAPH OF MARGARET FELL                                21

  GEORGE FOX'S MEETING HOUSE                                22

  MEETING OF FOX AND CROMWELL                               29

  AUTOGRAPH OF THOMAS FELL                                  30

  FAC-SIMILE OF FOX'S HANDWRITING                           34

  GATEWAY, LANCASTER CASTLE                                 35

  AUTOGRAPH OF WILLIAM PENN                                 41

  AUTOGRAPH OF DANIEL ABRAHAM                               47

  DEAN STANLEY                                              51

  ALDERLEY CHURCH                                           54

  ALDERLEY SCHOOL                                           59

  ALDERLEY RECTORY                                          63

  AUTOGRAPH OF EDWARD STANLEY                               93

  AUTOGRAPH OF THE BISHOP OF NORWICH                        95

  AUTOGRAPH OF DEAN STANLEY                                103

  RIVINGTON CHURCH                                         127

  INTERIOR, DURHAM CATHEDRAL                               151

  DURHAM CASTLE                                            159

  NANTWICH                                                 209

  AUTOGRAPH OF SIR WILLIAM BRERETON                        217

  SIR WILLIAM BRERETON                                     245

  THE "SWAN," NEWBY BRIDGE                                 248

  LYME HALL                                                279

  WINDMILL AT CRESCY                                       293

  AUTOGRAPH OF SIR PETER LEGH                              361

  AUTOGRAPH OF RICHARD LEGH                                367

  TRAITORS' GATE, THE TOWER                                371

  LEGH ARMS                                                383

  MR. BYROM'S HOUSE AT THE CROSS                           399

  WARDLEY HALL                                             449



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  NASH, TOM, Esq., M.A., St. James's Square, Manchester.
  NEAL, JOHN, Esq., Borough Comptroller, Longendale Mount,
  Ashton-under-Lyne.
  NEEDHAM, JAMES, Esq., Anglesea Place, Stockport.
  NEWTON, JAMES THOMAS, Esq., Barton House, Upper Brook Street,
  Manchester.
  NIELD, GEO. B., Esq., 25, Queen's Road, Oldham.
  NIXON, EDWARD, Esq., Methley.

  OWEN, WM., Esq., F.R.I.B.A., Palmyra Square, Warrington.

  PARROTT, PETER, Esq., Greenbank, Sutton, Macclesfield.
  PATTESON, ALD., J.P., Manchester.
  PEACOCK, R., Esq., J.P., Gorton Hall, near Manchester.
  PILKINGTON, J., Esq., Swinithwaite Hall, Bedale, Yorkshire.
  PINK, W. D., Esq., King Street, Leigh, Lancashire.
  PEARSE, PERCIVAL, Warrington.
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  PERKINS, STANHOPE, Esq., 6, Healey Terrace, Fairfield, near Manchester.
  PIERPOINT, BENJAMIN, Esq., Bank, Macclesfield.
  POOLEY, C. J., Esq., Toft Road, Knutsford.
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  REID, WM., Esq., Bewsey Road, Warrington.
  REYNOLDS, Rev. G. W., St. Mark's Church, Cheetham.
  RICHMOND, JAMES, Esq., Moseley House, Burnley.
  RICHMOND, THOS. G., Esq., Ford House, Prestbury.
  ROBSON, THOS. WM., Esq., 18, Aytoun Street, Manchester.
  ROSE, JOSIAH, Esq., F.R.H.S., 59, Bond Street, Leigh, Lanc.
  ROTHWELL, CHAS., M.D., Chorley New Road, Bolton.
  ROYLE, JOHN, Esq., 53, Port Street, Manchester.
  ROYLANCE, E. W., Esq., Brookfield, Bury Old Road, Manchester.
  RUSHTON, JOHN LATHAM, Esq., M.D., Macclesfield.
  RUSHTON, THOS. LEVER, Esq., Moor Platt, Horwich, near Bolton.
  RYDER, T. D., Esq., Manchester.
  RYLANDS, T. GLAZEBROOK, Esq., F.S.A., F.R.A.S., F.L.S., Highfields,
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  RYLANDS, J. PAUL, Esq., F.S.A., 24, Stanley Gardens, Belsize Park,
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  RYLANDS, W. H., Esq., F.S.A., 64, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London.

  SAXBY, Miss, Brookhill House, Wokingham, Berkshire.
  SAXBY, CHARLES, Esq., 32a, George Street, Manchester.
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  STEVENS, ED., Esq., Alderley Edge.
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  SWINDELLS, G. H., Esq., Oak Villa, Heaton Moor.
  SWINDLEHURST, ROBERT HENRY, Chorley Old Road, Bolton.

  TAYLOR, HENRY, Esq., 2, St. Ann's Churchyard, Manchester.
  TAYLOR, THOMAS, Esq., 33, St. James Street, Burnley.
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  TOLLEY, THOS., Esq., Legh, near Warrington.
  TOPP, A. W., Esq., Dean House, Rochdale.
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  TWEEDALE, CHARLES LAKEMAN, Esq., Holmefield House, Crawshawbooth.

  UTTLEY, JAS., Esq., Sowerby Street, Sowerby Bridge.

  VEEVERS, HARRISON, Esq., C.E., Dukinfield.
  VICKERS, WILLIAM, Esq., Rose Hill, Smedley Lane, Cheetham Hill,
  Manchester.
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  WADDINGTON, WILLIAM, Esq., Market Superintendent, Burnley.
  WAKEFIELD, SAMUEL, Esq., Heaton Norris, Stockport.
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  WALMSLEY, GEO., Esq., J.P., Paddock House, Church.
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  WARBURTON, SAM, Esq., Sunny Hill, Crumpsall.
  WARBURTON, M. J., Esq., Fairleigh Villas, Fallowfield.
  WARRINGTON MUSEUM AND LIBRARY.
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  WHITTAKER, W. WILKINSON, Esq., Cornbrook, Manchester.
  WHITWORTH, JNO., Esq., Pitt and Nelson Hotel, Ashton-under-Lyne.
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  WILKINSON, AARON, Esq., Westbourne Grove, Harpurhey.
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  WILKINSON, T. R., Esq., Polygon, Ardwick.
  WILKINSON, WM., Esq., M.A., Middlewood, Clitheroe.
  WILSON, Rev. Canon, M.A., Prestbury Vicarage, Cheshire.
  WILSON, C. M., Esq., Broughton Park, Manchester.
  WILSON, WM., Esq., Savings' Bank, Stockport.
  WINTERBURN, GEORGE, Junior, The Freehold, Bolton.
  WOOD, JOHN, Esq., J.P., Arden, near Stockport.
  WOOD, RICHARD, Esq., J.P., Plumpton Hall, Heywood.
  WOOD, R., Esq., Mount Pleasant, Macclesfield.
  WOOD, ROBT. J., Esq., Drywood Hall, Worsley.
  WOOD, W. C., Esq., Brimscall Hall, Chorley.
  WRIGHT, E. A., Esq., Castle Park, Frodsham, Cheshire.
  WRIGLEY, FRED, Esq., Broadoaks, Bury.
  WRIGLEY, JAMES, Esq., Holbeck, Windermere.

  YOUNG, HAROLD, Esq., Wavertree, Liverpool.
  YATES, J. M., Esq., Ellesmere Park, Eccles.
  YATES, JAMES, Esq., Public Library, Leeds.

BOOKSELLERS.

  BROWN & SON, 50, Mill Street, Macclesfield.
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  DAY, T. J., Market Street, Manchester.
  DODGSON, JOSEPH, Leeds.
  DOOLEY, H., Stockport.
  DUNNING, THOS., Nantwich.
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  GRAY, HENRY, Cathedral Yard, Manchester.

  HALL, HENRY, Oldham Street, Manchester.
  HEYWOOD, A. & SON, Oldham Street, Manchester.
  HEYWOOD, JOHN, Ridgefield and Deansgate, Manchester.
  HOLDEN, A., 48, Church Street, Liverpool.
  HOWELL, E., Liverpool.
  HUTTON, T., Ormskirk.

  KENYON, W., Newton Heath.

  LITTLEWOOD, J., Ashton.
  LUPTON, J. & A., Burnley.

  MILLS, THOS., Middleton.
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  PLATT, RICHARD, Wigan.
  PEARSE, P., Warrington.
  PORTER, Miss, Ashton.

  SLARK, J. & A., Messrs., Preston.
  SMITH & SON, New Brown Street, Manchester.
  SMITH & SON, London.
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  STOCK, ELLIOT, 62, Paternoster Row, London. (27 copies).

  TRÜBNER & CO., Messrs., Ludgate Hill, London.
  TUBBS, BROOK, & CHRYSTAL, Messrs., Market Street, Manchester.

  WALMSLEY, GILBERT G., Liverpool.
  WARDLEWORTH, T. R., Manchester.
  WINTERBURN, G., Bolton.

  YOUNG, HENRY, Liverpool.



_LIST OF SUBSCRIBERS' NAMES_

OMITTED TO BE PRINTED IN THE FIRST SERIES OF

"NOOKS AND CORNERS OF LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE."


  AUCHINCLOSS, P. W., Esq., Prestbury.

  BAILLIE, EDMUND G., Eaton Road, Chester.
  BLAND, GEORGE, Esq., Park Green, Macclesfield.
  BOSTOCK, ROBT. CHIGNEL, Esq., Little Langtons, Chislehurst, Kent.
  BRADSHAW, J. E., Esq., Fair Oak Park, Bishopstoke, Hants.
  BROCKLEHURST, WILLIAM COARE, Esq., Butley Hall, Prestbury.
  BRYHAM, WM., Esq., J.P., Ince Hall, Wigan.
  BULLOCK, THOMAS, Esq. (the late), Rock House, Sutton, Macclesfield.
  BURTON, Mrs. R. LINGEN, Abbey House, Shrewsbury.

  CHESTER, The Very Rev. the Dean of, The Deanery, Chester.
  CLARKE, EDWARD, Esq., Park Cottage, Macclesfield.
  CLARKE, MATTHEW, Esq., 7, Cumberland Street, Macclesfield.
  COLLEY, THOS. DAVIES, Esq., M.D., Newton, Chester.
  DIXON, GEORGE, Esq., Astle Hall, Chelford, Crewe.
  DUNCAN, CHAS. W., Esq., Stanley Place, Chester.

  ECKERSLEY, J. C., Esq., J.P., Standish Hall, Wigan.
  EGERTON, The Honble. WILBRAHAM, M.P., Rostherne Manor, Knutsford.
  ENNION, THOS., Esq., High Street, Newmarket, Suffolk.

  FIELDEN, Miss, Mollington Hall, Chester.

  GOSLING, SAMUEL F., Esq., Biddulph, Congleton.
  GREENHALGH, JAMES, Esq., Greenhill, Deane, Bolton.

  HILTON, J. S., Esq., Cranbourne Terrace, Ashton-under-Lyne.
  HOWARD, J., Esq., Normanton.
  HUGHES, H. R., Esq., Kinmel Park, Abergele.
  HUGHES, THOS., Esq., F.S.A., The Groves, Chester.
  HULME, JAMES, Esq., Marple.
  HUMBERSTON, Col., Glan-y-Wern, Denbigh.
  HUMBERSTON, Miss A., Newton Hall, Chester.

  JACKSON, Miss EVA, Durley Lodge, Bishops Waltham, Hants.

  LEATHES, FREDK. DE M., Esq., 17, Tavistock Place, London, W.

  MASSIE, Admiral, Stanley Place, Chester.
  MAY, JOHN, Esq., Ridge Hill, Sutton, Macclesfield.
  MINSHULL AND HUGHES, Booksellers, Chester.

  PAINE, CORNELIUS, Esq., 9, Lewes Crescent, Brighton, Sussex.
  PARROTT, PETER, Esq., Greenbank, Sutton, Macclesfield.
  PIERPOINT, BENJAMIN, Esq., Bank, Macclesfield.
  POWELL, FRANCIS SHARPE, Horton Old Hall, Bradford, Yorks.

  RUSHTON, JOHN LATHAM, Esq., M.D., Macclesfield.

  SAINTER, J. D., Esq., King Edward Street, Macclesfield.
  STARKIE, Lieut.-Col. LE GENDRE, Huntroyde, Burnley.
  STURKEY, THOS., Esq., Newtown, Montgomeryshire.

  TOMKINSON, Mrs., 24, Lower Seymour Street, Portman Square, London.

  VICKERSTAFF, T. J., Esq., 6, Mill Street, Macclesfield.
  VILES, EDWARD, Esq., Pendryl Hall, Codsall Wood, Wolverhampton.

  WESTON, JOHN, Esq., The Heysoms, Hartford.
  WILSON, Rev. Canon, Prestbury Vicarage.
  WILSON, J., Esq., LL.D., Town Clerk of Congleton.



HISTORIC SITES

OF

LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE.



CHAPTER I.

SWARTHMOOR HALL AND THE FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS.


The traveller who, by chance, finds himself in the quaint old town of
Ulverston with a few hours at his disposal will find no difficulty
in occupying them pleasantly and profitably. In the busy capital
of Furness he is on the very threshold of that great storehouse of
English scenic beauty, the Lake Country; almost at his feet is the
broad estuary of the Leven, and beyond, spreads Morecambe Bay with its
green indented shores, presenting alternately a flood of waters and
a trackless waste of shifting sand. In that pleasant region there is
many a picturesque corner, many a place of historic note, and many an
ancient building that wakes the memories of bygone days.

One of the historic sites, and certainly not the least interesting,
is within the compass of a short half hour's walk--Swarthmoor Hall,
for years the resort, and, for a time, the home of George Fox, the
founder of the Society of Friends; and scarcely less interesting is the
primitive-looking little structure that stands within a few hundred
yards of it, the first regularly constituted meeting-house in which
Fox's disciples, the "Friends of Truth," or the "Children of Light,"
as they were indifferently called, worshipped. The locality is one he
always loved. Here he gained his most enthusiastic converts, achieved
his greatest triumphs, and suffered his severest persecutions; it was
here, too, he won his faithful wife, and here, also, in the later years
of his life, he loved to retire to recruit his weakened energies and
prepare himself for a renewal of his arduous work.

It was a warm summer's evening when we set forth upon our short
pilgrimage; the air was unusually clear, a dreamy quietude spread
around, and the sun, as it declined towards the west, glowed grandly
upon the distant woods and fells. As we slowly mounted the ascending
road we could see the lonely sands gleaming in the mellow light,
and the broad expanse of water that lay far out in the offing calm
and smooth as a mirror; while in rear, and upon the right, the wild
mountains stood out in picturesque disorder, dark, rugged, and
forbidding, save where here and there a golden radiance brightened
their loftiest peaks. A short distance beyond the railway we turned off
the road and struck into a pleasant meadow path on the right that soon
brought us to a green and bosky dell, at the bottom of which a mountain
stream, the Levy Beck, meandered freakishly beneath the embracing
trees, prattling with the rough boulder stones and aquatic plants
along its course, and telling its admiration in a never-ending song
of gladness as it rippled onwards towards the sea. The little bowery,
untrodden nook is just the place for fays and fairies to secrete
themselves, the spot of all others where John Ruskin would expect to
catch sight of Pan, Apollo, and the Muses. Every sight and sound is
suggestive of peaceful quietude, and, while the lazy wind stirs the
over-arching branches for the warm sunshine to steal through, we are
tempted to linger in the vernal solitude, watching the playful ripples
on the water and listening to the gentle murmuring around----

            Nature's ceaseless hum,
    Voice of the desert, never dumb.

An old-fashioned bridge bestrides the stream, and the stump of a tree
offers an inviting seat. While we stay to contemplate the scene, the
soft zephyrs that play about and the alternate sunshine and shade as
the light clouds float overhead induce a dreamy forgetfulness of outer
things. Then we are up again, and, crossing the stream, follow a rough
and miry cart-way that climbs up the opposite height, and brings us in
a few minutes to the breezy summit.

Swarthmoor, for that is the name, possesses historic renown. It lies
just where the parishes of Ulverston, Pennington, and Urswick join
each other, and is said by tradition to have derived its name from the
Flemish general, "Bold Martin Swart," or Swartz, a valiant soldier of
noble family, who, in 1487, with Lord Lovel and the Earls of Lincoln
and Kildare, encamped here with an invading army of 7,000 German and
Irish troops, who had landed at the Pile of Fouldrey with the object
of placing Lambert Simnel on the throne of England. But tradition in
this instance, is at fault; for the name has a much earlier origin,
and is met with as _Warte_ as far back as the time of Duke William
of Normandy. At a later date, when the soldiers of King Charles had
entered Furness and "plundered the place very sore," as the old
chronicle has it, Colonel Rigby, the Parliamentarian commander,
temporarily withdrew from Thurland Castle and started in hot pursuit;
and we are told that the Roundheads, after stopping on Swarthmoor to
pray, marched on to Lindale, a couple of miles further, where they
fought with such vehemence and resolution that the unlucky Cavaliers
were put to flight.

But Swarthmoor has other and more peaceful associations. On reaching
the summit of the moor, which is now enclosed, you see in front of you
a large, irregular, and somewhat lofty pile of building, of ancient
date, which, though by no means pretentious in its outward appearance,
still wears an air of sober dignity that well accords with the memories
that gather round. Evil times have fallen upon it, and it is now
occupied as a farmhouse; but in its pristine days it was successively
the home of Judge Fell and George Fox. From the high table-land on
which it stands you can look round upon a scene but little changed from
what it must have been when the father of Quakerism gazed upon it,
more than two centuries ago. The old hills and the wild fells still
lift their heads to the breezes of heaven; the tide ebbs and flows
over those broad sands as it did of yore; there are the same bleak
moorlands, the same broad fields, the same crops of golden wheat, and
the same sun ripening for the harvest; but how changed are all human
affairs since earnest George Fox, "the man in leather breeches,"
discoursed in Ulverston church, and Judge Fell's wife "stood up in her
pew and wondered at his doctrine, for she had never heard the like
before."

The hall evidently dates from the latter part of Elizabeth's reign,
and, though it has been altered from time to time to meet the wants
of successive occupants, it still retains many of the architectural
features of that period. The roof is gabled; the windows are square,
with the usual latticed panes and heavy mullions and transoms--they
have in places been bricked up, but their original position may be
determined by the moulded dripstones which still remain--and on one
side a square bay of three storeys projects from the line of the main
structure, the only feature specially noticeable in the building.
Externally the place has a forlorn and neglected appearance, and
exhibits unequivocal signs of heedless indifference and unseemly
disrespect. It is partially surrounded with barns, shippons, and
outhouses, and heaps of refuse and farmyard litter strewn about give
an air of meanness and disorder that but ill accord with its earlier
associations as the abode of a vice-chancellor and circuit judge.

[Illustration: SWARTHMOOR HALL.]

[Illustration: The Gift of GEORGE FOX to this MEETING]

We loitered about for some time, and then, pushing back the gate,
crossed a little enclosure which seems to have been at some time a
garden, but is now only so by courtesy, and entered by a narrow doorway
a passage that communicates with the "hall." Though shorn of its
original proportions, it is still a spacious apartment; plain, however,
to a degree, and exhibiting the gloomy character common to many houses
of the Tudor period; it has a plain flagged floor, some remains of oak
wainscotting, and a huge fireplace that seems to have been intended
to make up in warmth what was lacking in cheerfulness. In this room
the earlier meetings of the Friends were held, and here it is said
that for forty years they were in the habit of assembling, after which
the chapel on Swarthmoor was built by George Fox's order and at his
cost. On one side of the room is a deep embayed recess with a slightly
raised floor--a cosy nook, with mullioned and quaint latticed windows
lighting it on three sides, and here is preserved an old-fashioned oak
desk, a treasured relic of the great reformer. A couple of stone steps
lead into a small and dimly-lighted room which tradition affirms to
have been the study of Judge Fell and afterwards of George Fox. The
upper chambers are large and airy, and one of them, more pretentious
than the others, exhibits some remains of ancient ornamentation. An old
four-post bedstead of carved oak, on which it is said that Fox slept,
still remains, and we were told that the privilege of sleeping upon it
is never denied to any member of the Society of Friends, but that it is
one very rarely availed of. From one of the chambers on this floor a
door opens to the outside, though at a considerable distance from the
ground, leading to the belief that there has been at some time or other
a projecting balcony, and it is said that within the memory of persons
still living there was such a projection with a sort of canopy above
it. It is commonly affirmed that from this elevated position Fox was
wont to address his followers assembled in the garden below, when the
number was too large to admit of their being conveniently accommodated
in the house. We were standing upon the self-same spot where the hardy,
earnest, and fearless, though imaginative and rhapsodical, Puritan
preacher stood more than two hundred years ago, while on the green
sward below, the little band of his own faith listened with wondering
awe to the outpourings of his prayers and the torrent of his eloquence,
and worshipped with silent, contemplative, "waiting" reverence of soul.
As we gazed upon the scene the events of that period of tumult and
strife crowded upon the memory. A more fitting time for our visit could
hardly have been chosen. The shadows were drawing on, and the soft,
mellow sunshine fading into the warm grey light of evening, seemed to
wrap every object in its dreamy embrace; the distant hills were fading
from view and a calm and solemn stillness prevailed that well accorded
with the impressive memories associated with the place.

[Illustration: not captioned--chair]

Of the early history of Swarthmoor Hall comparatively little is known.
Shortly after the commencement of the troublous reign of the first
Charles, it was in the occupation of Thomas Fell, a barrister of Gray's
Inn, and afterwards a justice of the Quorum, a worthy legal brother
and contemporary of Sir Matthew Hale. Though nominally a Churchman,
the owner of Swarthmoor strongly inclined towards Independency, and,
on the breaking out of hostilities, took the side of the Parliament
party, but he does not appear to have at any time engaged in active
military operations, though it is more than probable his house afforded
hospitable shelter to Colonel Rigby and his friends, when they and
their small army marched to Lindale Close to give battle to the
Cavaliers under Colonel Huddleston. The year in which the first shot
in that great struggle was fired, an ordinance was addressed by the
Parliament to Lord Newburgh, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster,
requiring him to place certain gentlemen named on the Commission of the
Peace for the county, and the name of Thomas Fell occurs among the
fourteen mentioned. Three years afterwards (1645) he was returned with
his neighbour, Sir Robert Bindloss, of Borwick Hall, as representative
in Parliament of the borough of Lancaster. When the Parliament found
itself sufficiently powerful to sequestrate the estates of those who
had taken up arms in the cause of the King and had refused to take the
National Covenant, committees of sequestration were appointed, and on
the 29th of August, 1645, Mr. Fell was named on the one for dealing
with the estates of "Delinquents" in the county of Lancaster. In 1648
he, with Colonel Assheton and Major Brooke, was deputed to organise the
defence of the county against the anticipated advance of the army of
the Duke of Hamilton; in the succeeding year he was appointed to the
office of Vice-chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; and he was also
named as one of the judges of assize for the circuit of West Chester
and North Wales. His name also occurs in 1650 on the commission for the
survey of Church livings and the provision of a competent maintenance
for preaching ministers in the several parishes throughout England and
Wales. Fell was much esteemed in his own locality, and is described as
a wise and learned man, incorruptible as a judge, honoured and feared
as a magistrate, and beloved by his neighbours.

In 1632 John Fell took to himself a wife in the person of Margaret
Askew, a lady of good family and exemplary piety, the daughter of John
Askew, of Marsh Grange, in the adjoining parish of Dalton-in-Furness,
he being at the time 34 years of age, and his bride not quite 18. Mrs.
Fell inherited an historic name that she was in every way worthy of,
her great-grandmother being Ann Askew, the most notable of the victims
of the horrible persecutions which dishonoured the closing years of the
reign of Henry VIII. Ann Askew was well known at Court, if indeed, she
was not actually employed about the person of Queen Catherine Parr,
whose Lutheran tendencies were more than suspected, she herself being
an avowed believer in the reformed doctrines. She had been married
against her will, and had been discarded by her bigoted husband on
account of the strength of her convictions. Her religious zeal outran
her discretion, and, having expressed her opinions of the doctrine of
transubstantiation with imprudent frankness, she was subjected to an
examination by the Bishop of London; she escaped on that occasion,
but was subsequently examined before the council, when she was less
fortunate, being sentenced to be burnt at the stake in Smithfield
after having undergone the torture of the rack. The barbarous scene
is thus described in a letter addressed by a London merchant, Otwell
Johnson, to his brother at Calais:--"Quondam Bishop Saxon (Shaxton),
Mistress Askew, Christopher White, one of Mistress Fayre's sons, and
a tailor that came from Colchester or thereabouts, were arraigned at
the Guildhall, and received their judgments of my Lord Chancellor
(Wriothesley) and the council to be burned, and so were committed
to Newgate again. But since that time the aforesaid Saxon and White
have renounced their opinions; and the talk goeth that they shall
chance to escape the fire for this viage. But the gentlewoman and
the other men remain in steadfast mind; and yet she hath been racked
since her condemnation, as men say; which is a strange thing in my
understanding. The Lord be merciful to us all." Burnet says that he
had seen an original journal of the transaction in the Tower, which
shows that "they caused her to be laid on the rack, and gave her a
taste of it;" but he doubts the accuracy of the statement of Fox,
the martyrologist, that the Chancellor, when the Lieutenant of the
Tower refused "to stretch her more," threw off his gown, and himself
"drew the rack so severely that he almost tore her body asunder."
Lord Campbell gives this horrid story without noticing the doubt of
Burnet, and adds that Griffin, the Solicitor-general, assisted in the
detestable crime. Let us hope that in this case human nature was not
so utterly degraded as the somewhat credulous historian of the English
martyrs has represented. There was a disgusting scene in Smithfield
which soon followed the torture of the high-minded woman, who, amidst
her sufferings, would not utter one word to implicate her friends.
Upon a bench under St. Bartholomew's Church sit the Lord Chancellor,
the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Bedford, the Lord Mayor, and other
dignitaries. There are three martyrs, each tied to a stake. The
apostate Shaxton is to preach the sermon. It is rumoured that gunpowder
has been placed about the condemned to shorten their sufferings. The
Chancellor and the other high functionaries have no compunction for
their victims, but they are in terror for their own safety. Will not
the exploding gunpowder drive the firewood where they sit? They hold
a grave consultation, and are persuaded to sit out the scene. The
gentlewoman and her fellow sufferers die heroically--a noble contrast
to the cowardice that quakes in the extremity of its selfishness upon
the bench under St. Bartholomew's Church. Such was one of the scenes
that marked the closing days of the life of Henry the Eighth.[1]

Ann Askew had a son, William, who became heir to the Marsh Grange
estate on the death without issue of Hugh Askew, on whom it had
been bestowed by the crown in 1542. This William had a son, John,
the father of Margaret Askew, who, before she had well attained
to womanhood, became the wife of Lawyer Fell, and the mistress of
Swarthmoor. Margaret Fell, as we shall see, proved herself a worthy
great-granddaughter of the martyr Ann Askew.

The period that immediately preceded the great and bitter conflict
in which many of the dearest interests of England were involved, and
much of her best blood shed, was one of great religious activity
and excitement. The seeds sown at the Reformation had ripened, and
there had been a steady continuity and successive advance towards
Calvinism and the rejection of all ceremonial not directly authorised
by Scripture. The Church had been purged of the most flagrant of the
Romish superstitions, but the Book of Common Prayer retained many
things in the ritual it enjoined which, to those who assumed a superior
sanctity and claimed to hold the Bible as their only rule, were held
to savour of Popery and idolatry. Preferring to do what was right
in their own eyes, they rejected the Liturgy and the Episcopal form
of government. They disliked the surplice and would not wear it, and
they objected to many of the ceremonies the Church prescribed. There
were great divergencies of opinion; the public mind was much exercised
with the controversies that arose; and the feeling of hostility was
increased by the intolerant and persecuting spirit manifested by the
authorities of the day. The Puritans, as they were called, had gained
considerable ascendancy, and, though they had not withdrawn themselves
from the Church, they had become a powerful party within its pale,
and asserted their peculiar views with much tenacity. It is difficult
to say what a more moderate policy might have produced, but the
determination of Laud to reduce them to submission, instead of serving
the interests of the Church, only drove them into more open resistance,
and converted religious enthusiasts into political agitators.

Such was the condition of religious parties in England at the time
when Thomas Fell and his youthful spouse became the occupants of
Swarthmoor Hall. At that time there was living in the little rural
hamlet of Drayton-in-the-Clay, in Leicestershire, a weaver of the
name of Christopher Fox, a zealous attender on the ordinances of the
Church, and who, from his integrity and piety, was known among his
neighbours by the _sobriquet_ of "Righteous Christer." His wife, Mary
Lago, was a woman imbued with strong religious feelings, well read,
and of an education superior to that usually possessed by persons in
her station of life. To this couple was born a son--George Fox--who
at the time of Thomas Fell's marriage with the great-granddaughter
of the martyr, Ann Askew, was eight years of age. His childhood and
youth were passed in the quietude and seclusion of his Leicestershire
home, with little idea of the great world beyond or the questions
that were then stirring the minds of men. He grew up silent, pensive,
and thoughtful. After receiving a scanty education, he was placed
with a relative who combined the several occupations of wool dealer,
shoemaker, and grazier. In pursuing his humble calling, young Fox
frequently attended the country fairs, but, finding his occupation
distasteful, he forsook his wool dealing and sheep-herding and betook
himself to the neighbouring town of Lutterworth, the place from which,
two centuries and a half previously, John Wycliffe had sent forth his
itinerant preachers--the "Poor Priests," as he designated them--who
traversed nearly the whole kingdom, disseminating his opinions as
they went. Of a taciturn and meditative turn of mind, with no settled
occupation, but possessing an earnest desire for holiness, Fox became
unsettled in his views and controversial in his habits. He conferred
with one divine after another in his efforts to obtain light and
peace--Churchman and Presbyterian, Independent and Baptist, each
in their turn, but could not satisfy himself with any. He remarks:
"Neither them (the Episcopalians) nor any of the dissenting people
could I join with, but was a stranger to all, relying wholly upon the
Lord Jesus Christ." As Macaulay says: "He wandered from congregation
to congregation; he heard priests argue against Puritans; he heard
Puritans harangue against priests; and he in vain applied for spiritual
direction and consolation to doctors of both parties.... After some
time he came to the conclusion that no human being was competent to
instruct him in divine things, and that the truth had been communicated
to him by direct inspiration from heaven." He had spent much of his
time in studying the Scriptures alone, in the fields and orchards, and
in the deep gloom of his native woods, and in this way had acquired a
ready aptitude in quoting particular texts. Believing that the time
had arrived for promulgating his own peculiar views of Christian truth
and ecclesiastical polity, he wandered from place to place disputing
with some and rebuking others. In 1647 he began to hold meetings,
and astonished those who heard him by his earnestness and fluency
of speech. The quiet pastoral regions of the Trent Valley and the
Derbyshire hills formed the scene of his earliest labours, and here
Quakerism may be said to have had its birth. At Nottingham, seeing
the church upon a hill, he went there, and found, as he expressed
it, that "the people looked like fallow ground, and the priest like
a great lump of earth stood up in the pulpit above." He interrupted
the preacher, and for doing so was cast into prison. On regaining
his liberty he proceeded to Mansfield-Woodhouse, where he was again
"moved to go into the steeple-house and declare the truth to the priest
and people;" but the people fell upon him, put him in the stocks,
and threatened him with "dog-whips and horse-whips." Continuing his
itinerant ministry, we next find him at Derby, where, in accordance
with his usual practice, he proceeded to church, and after the service
stood up to address the people. For uttering "blasphemous opinions"
he was taken to prison, and brought before Justice Bennett, whom he
bade to "tremble at the word of the Lord," an expression which caused
the magistrate to apply to him the term _Quaker_--a nickname that has
ever since attached to his followers, who previously had designated
themselves the "Children of Light."

After these rough experiences he visited Yorkshire, traversed the
picturesque Wensleydale, Grisedale, and Lunedale, and thence passed
into Westmoreland. Here, on the high fells between Kendal and Sedbergh,
he preached a sermon memorable in the annals of Quakerism. It was
delivered from the summit of a weather-beaten rock adjoining the
bleak moorland chapel of Firbank, whither a great company of zealous
preachers and laymen had assembled from the surrounding district for a
conference. Fox preached a sermon of three hours' duration, and with
such earnestness that many of his hearers in their enthusiasm resolved
to devote themselves to the work of promulgating his views. In all,
it is said that about sixty energetic preachers formed the harvest of
this northern mission, who traversed the country on foot, spreading
the Quaker doctrines over the entire kingdom, many of them wearing out
their lives in the hardships, privations, and persecutions they had to
endure. Journeying southwards, Fox climbed to the top of Pendle Hill,
which rises within the borders of Lancashire. "As we travelled," he
says in his _Journal_, "we came near a very great hill, called Pendle
Hill, and I was moved of the Lord to go up to the top of it, which
I did with difficulty, it was so very steep and high. When I came
to the top, I saw the sea bordering upon Lancashire. From the top of
this hill the Lord let me see in what places He had a great people to
be gathered. As I went down I found a spring of water in the side of
the hill, with which I refreshed myself, having eaten or drunk but
little for several days before." The spring is still there, and in the
neighbourhood is commonly known even at this day as George Fox's Well.

[Illustration: ULVERSTON CHURCH.]

The district comprehended within his view became the scene of his most
important labours. He spent several years among the pleasant valleys
of the Lune and the Kent, and along the breezy shores of Morecambe
Bay. In his wanderings he never missed an opportunity of rebuking the
"priests," in their "steeple-houses." At Staveley, close by the foot of
Windermere, he disputed with the minister, and was roughly treated in
consequence. The same afternoon, at Lindale-in-Cartmel, a picturesque
spot a couple of miles north of Grange, he, with more prudence, waited
till the service was over before he commenced his harangue. Thence he
proceeded to Ulverston; his fame had gone before him, and the people
flocked to listen to his utterances. The visit was a memorable incident
in his life, for it was the occasion on which he first met the courtly
but courageous woman who afterwards became his wife. He was taken by a
friend to Swarthmoor Hall, where he stayed all night; the next morning
being a fast-day, he attended service at the old church of St. Mary's.
When he entered, Lampitt, the Puritan vicar, whom he describes as "a
high notionist, who would make it appear that he knew all things, was
singing with his people; but his spirit was so foul, and the matter
they sang so unsuitable to their states, that, after they had done
singing, I was moved of the Lord to speak to him and the people"--a
practice that was sometimes permitted in that age, provided it was
done with courtesy and decorum; conditions, however, that Fox did
not always observe. It must have been a stirring scene; the tall and
powerfully-built "man in leather breeches"--the stern, uncompromising
reformer, who had almost turned the religious world upside down--clad
in his strange, uncouth garb, wearing his broad-leaved immovable
hat--which, by the way, had not then become the accepted badge of
Quakerism--his long, lank hair depending upon his shoulders, and
his eyes flashing with light as he declaimed against "hypocritical
professors," and "hireling priests." Standing on one of the seats, he
delivered a stirring address on the necessity of sincerity in religious
profession. The people marvelled at his eloquence, and many of them
were moved by his earnestness. As he proceeded the fervour increased
and rose to a pitch of intense excitement, the heart of many a listener
was touched, and the stifled sob and the heaving sigh told of the
powerful effect of his utterances. Judge Fell was not there, being away
at the time discharging his judicial functions on the Welsh circuit,
but his wife, Margaret Fell, was present, and her heart was stirred
by the enthusiasm of the preacher. "I stood up in my pew," she says,
"and wondered at his doctrine, for I had never heard such before;"
and then, after describing the sermon, she adds, "I saw clearly we
were all wrong; so I sat down in my pew again, and cried bitterly;
and I cried in my spirit to the Lord, 'We have taken the Scriptures
in words, and know nothing of them in ourselves.'" Fox's hearers were
not, however, all moved by the same spirit. Justice Sawrey, who was
amongst the congregation, denounced the intruder, and ordered him to
be taken away, but he continued his address until he was forcibly
removed, and then preached in the churchyard, when a crowd gathered
round, maltreated him, and drove him out. According to his own version
his sufferings were cruelly severe. He thus describes in his _Journal_
the scene that occurred on the occasion of another of his visits to the
"steeple-house" at Ulverston:

 The people were in a rage, and fell upon me in the steeple-house
 before his (Justice Sawrey's) face, knocked me down, kicked me, and
 trampled upon me. So great was the uproar, that some tumbled over
 their seats for fear. At last he came and took me from the people,
 led me out of the steeple-house, and put me into the hands of the
 constables and other officers, bidding them whip me, and put me out
 of the town. Many friendly people being come to the market, and some
 to the steeple-house to hear me, divers of these they knocked down
 also, and broke their heads, so that the blood ran down several; and
 Judge Fell's son running after to see what they would do with me,
 they threw him into a ditch of water, some of them crying: "Knock
 the teeth out of his head." When they had hauled me to the common
 moss-side, a multitude of people following, the constables and other
 officers gave me some blows over my back with willow rods and thrust
 me among the rude multitude, who, having furnished themselves with
 staves, hedge-stakes, and holme or holly bushes, fell upon me, and
 beat me upon the head, arms, and shoulders, till they had deprived me
 of sense; so that I fell down upon the wet common. When I recovered
 again and saw myself lying in a watery common, and the people standing
 about me, I lay still a little while, and the power of the Lord sprang
 through me, and the eternal refreshings revived me, so that I stood up
 again in the strengthening power of the eternal God, and stretching
 out my arms against them, I said with a loud voice: "Strike again!
 here are my arms, head, and cheeks!" Then they began to fall out among
 themselves.

Whilst we honour the great Quaker evangelist for the unfaltering
testimony he bore to his principles and admire his honesty and
fortitude, it must be admitted that he provoked much of the persecution
he was subjected to by his obtrusive and intolerant disputations, and
his disregard for ministerial authority and ecclesiastical sanctities.

Swarthmoor Hall, the home of the Fells, was then known far and wide
for the hospitality of its owner, and to none was a heartier welcome
accorded than to the professors and teachers of religion. The evening
following his first harangue in the church at Ulverston Fox was a
guest within its walls; at the request of his hostess he preached to
the family and servants, and with such effect that the whole household
became converted to his principles. Two or three weeks afterwards Mrs.
Fell's husband returned to his Lancashire home. As he crossed the
trackless waste of the Leven Sands, the only way at that time from
Lancaster into Furness, a company of his friends and neighbours went
out to meet him and apprise him of the events that had occurred at
Swarthmoor in his absence. "A deal of the captains," writes Margaret
Fell, "and great ones of the county went to meet my then husband as he
was coming home, and informed him that a great disaster was befallen
among his family, and that they were witched, and that they had taken
us out of our religion; and that he might either set them away, or
all the country would be undone." The judge, as may be supposed, was
greatly concerned at the intelligence and much incensed against the man
who had "bewitched" his family and wrought such trouble in his house.
Mrs. Fell told her husband the true state of things, and at night Fox,
who was still in the neighbourhood, was sent for. On his arrival he
answered all his interrogator's objections in so satisfactory a manner
that the judge "assented to the truth and reasonableness thereof;"
he set forth in detail the points of his new doctrine, and inveighed
against the conduct of the clergy. Margaret Fell thus records the
result of the interview:--"And so my husband came to see clearly the
truth of what he spoke, and was very quiet, that night, said no more,
and went to bed. The next morning came Lampitt priest of Ulverston,
and got my husband into the garden and spoke much to him there; but my
husband had seen so much the night before that the priest got little
entrance upon him." The judge must have been greatly impressed with
the arguments of his guest, for from that time he offered no further
objection to the Quakerism of his household; though he himself remained
a Churchman to the end of his days he was a steady friend to the
members of the new sect and its founder on all occasions when it was
in his power, and in token of his sympathy gave them permission to
hold their meetings in his house, there being no other place in the
neighbourhood where they could assemble. "He let us have," said his
wife, "a meeting in his house the next first day after, which was the
first public meeting that was at Swarthmoor; our meetings being kept
at Swarthmoor about thirty-eight years, until a new meeting-house was
built by George Fox's order and cost, near Swarthmoor Hall."

[Illustration: handwritten as follows;

  Thy dutyfull wife till
  death Margaret Fell

  '8 Feb: 1652]

[Illustration: not captioned--meeting house]

The "new meeting-house" remains to this day, and is still resorted to
for religious worship by the Friends of Ulverston and the surrounding
district. It is a modest, unpretending structure, standing within a
little walled enclosure, and, of course, perfectly unadorned. In the
house, which forms part of the structure, is still preserved the Bible
given by Fox, with the original chain by which it was fastened to the
reader's desk, and also his "great elbow chair."[2] We passed through
the open gate into the flagged space in front to make a sketch of the
building, on which at the time of our visit the sun was casting its
evening benison of golden radiance. In front is a small gabled porch
with a panel over the doorway bearing the inscription:--"Ex dono, G.
F., 1688," the year of English freedom. That modest little structure,
unostentatiously religious and impressive in its simplicity, was to us
more "spirit-moving" than many a more pretentious monument. In that
lowly building Quakerism was cradled.

The Quakers may almost be called a Lancashire sect, for the palatine
county was the scene of the earliest and most successful labours of
the founder, and it was from the immediate district that the largest
accessions to their ranks were obtained, results that were no doubt
largely due to the influence which George Fox acquired over the
household at Swarthmoor, and to the protection and encouragement given
to him by Judge Fell himself. After the disorderly scene in Ulverston
Church and churchyard, Fox proceeded to the market place, where he was
subjected to the same rough treatment, and beaten with sticks until he
lost consciousness.

    Close behind him, close beside,
    Foul of mouth and evil eyed,
      Pressed the mob in fury.

On recovering his senses he returned to Swarthmoor, where he found the
inmates of the hall busy dressing the heads of the Friends who had
tried to protect him from the violence of the mob in the town.

A fortnight afterwards he visited the Isle of Walney, off the adjacent
coast, where he met with similar treatment, so that his friends had to
hurry him back to the boat for safety; but here they found themselves
in a dilemma, for when they attempted to land on the other side the
people of Dalton "rose up with pitchforks, flails, and staves, to keep
him out of the town, crying 'Kill him, kill him, knock him on the
head, bring the cart and carry him away to the churchyard.'" Mrs Fell,
hearing of his misfortune, sent a horse to convey him to Swarthmoor,
when Thomas Fell issued warrants against his assailants, some of whom
deemed it expedient to leave the country. Shortly afterwards warrants
were issued by two magistrates, Sawrey and Thompson, against Fox
himself for having spoken blasphemy, and he was required to appear
at the sessions at Lancaster to answer the charge. Thomas Fell and
Colonel West were present, and stood him in good stead on the occasion,
pointing out the discrepancies in the evidence and reproving the
witnesses. The charge could not be sustained and Fox was liberated,
having achieved a triumph in that he had had an excellent opportunity
of proclaiming his principles to a large assembly of the local
magistracy. After the sessions he held a meeting in the town and gained
many converts, among them being Colonel Gervase Benson, Major Ripon,
then mayor of Lancaster, and Thomas Briggs, who afterwards became an
active missionary among the Friends and accompanied the founder when
he went out to the West Indies in 1671. Having held several meetings
in the town, in spite of the threats of the "baser sort of people"
to throw him over the bridge into the Lune, he returned to his old
quarters at Swarthmoor, but was not long before he found that another
information had been laid against him. At the following assize at
Lancaster, Windham, the presiding judge, directed a warrant to be
issued, but Colonel West, the clerk of assize, spoke boldly in his
defence, and resolutely refused to prepare the warrant, and so the
matter fell to the ground.

From Lancaster Fox again returned to Swarthmoor, and occupied the
closing months of the year (1652) in visiting various parts of North
Lancashire and adjoining parts of Westmoreland, exhorting the people,
declaiming against "steeple-houses," and unceremoniously interrupting
those who taught therein by loudly contradicting their statements of
doctrine and proclaiming them to be "hypocritical professors." Before
quitting Swarthmoor he addressed several vigorous protests to the local
magistrates and ministers, especially those who had been the most
active among his opponents, including Sawrey and Lampitt, the vicar of
Ulverston, and some of the epistles he was "moved" to write it must
be confessed were not remarkable as manifesting a spirit of meekness
and forgiveness. Thus he writes to his old enemy, Sawrey:--"Thou was
the first stirrer up of strikers, stoners, persecutors, mockers, and
imprisoners in the North, and of revilers, slanderers, railers, and
false accusers! How wilt thou be gnawed and burned one day, when thou
shalt feel the flame, and have the plagues of God poured upon thee, and
then begin to gnaw thy tongue because of the plagues! Thou shalt have
thy reward according to thy works. Thou canst not escape. The Lord's
righteous judgments will find thee out."[3] Lampitt, the Puritan
vicar, he designates "a deceiver, surfeited and drunk with the earthy
spirit," and "a right hypocrite in the steps of the Pharisee," adding
"when thou art in thy torment (though now thou swellest in thy vanity
and livest in wickedness) remember thou wast warned in thy lifetime...."

Having thus cleared his conscience to the priest and people of
Ulverston he went into Westmoreland, but returned in the spring of
1653 to his friends in Furness, and about this time he writes in his
_Journal_:--"Being one day in Swarthmoor Hall, when Judge Fell and
Justice Benson were talking of the news, and of the Parliament then
sitting, which was called the Long Parliament, I was moved to tell
them, that before that day two weeks, the Parliament should be broken
up, and the Speaker plucked out of his chair. And," he adds, "that
day two weeks, Justice Benson coming thither again, told Judge Fell,
that now he saw George was a true prophet, for Oliver had broken up
the Parliament." That event, which will be ever memorable in the
annals of England, occurred on the 20th April, 1653; Colonel Worsley,
Manchester's first parliamentary representative, on a signal from
Cromwell, entered the house with a force of 300 men, expelled the
members from their chamber, and "took away the bauble," and so the
Long Parliament, which for twelve years, under a variety of forms, had
alternately defended and invaded the liberties of the nation, fell by
the parricidal hands of its own children without a struggle and without
regret.

From Swarthmoor Fox travelled further north, visiting Cumberland,
Durham, and Northumberland, where he frequently came in contact with
the Baptists, a sect that had anticipated many of the doctrines and
much of the system of discipline adopted by the Friends, and many of
whom became followers of Fox. In the border city he preached in the
Castle, at the Market Cross, and then went into the "steeple-house,"
where a tumult arose. "The magistrates' wives," he says, "were in a
rage, and strove mightily to be at me;" then "the rude people of the
city rose and came with staves and stones into the steeple-house,
crying 'Down with these round-headed rogues.'" For interrupting the
services in the church he was committed to gaol and subjected to many
hardships; Wilfrid Lawson, a predecessor, but not an ancestor of the
present baronet of that name, who was then high sheriff, "stirred
them up to take away his life," and his peace was disturbed at night
by "a company of bitter Scotch priests, Presbyterians made up of envy
and malice" and "foul-mouthed." He lay in the prison at Carlisle for
several months. On regaining his liberty he passed into Westmoreland,
and thence to his constant friends, the Fells, of Swarthmoor.

Fox had now fought and won the decisive battles of his life; Quakerism
had become an established fact, and had taken a firm hold on the minds
of many of the people in the north, and not a few of the converts
had begun to preach the new doctrines in other parts of the country.
Having, as he considered, concluded his great pioneering work, he took
his departure from the hospitable mansion at Swarthmoor in the spring
of 1654, and travelled through the midland and southern districts of
England. While in his native county, preaching, disputing, and holding
conferences, he was taken prisoner by a company of the Parliamentary
troopers, and sent by Colonel Hacker to Cromwell under the charge of
Captain Drury. When in the presence of the Protector, at Whitehall, he
exhorted him to keep in the fear of God; and Cromwell, having patiently
listened to his lecture, parted with him, saying, "Come again to my
house, for if thou and I were but an hour a day together, we should be
nearer one to the other. I wish no more harm to thee than I do to my
own soul." Fox found a friend in Cromwell, and on another occasion,
when he and some of his friends had been dispersing "base books against
the Lord Protector," as Major-General Goffe informed Thurloe, Cromwell
sent the Quaker away, on receiving from him a written promise that he
would do nothing against his government.

The age was characterised by much religious enthusiasm and
extravagance. George Fox and his "quaking men in their leather coats"
were becoming formidable from their increasing numbers, and attracted
much attention. Their opposition, obstinacy, and self-sufficiency,
too, in denying the authority of Presbyteries and Synods, and all
ecclesiastical officers, frequently brought them into collision with
the magistrates. So numerous had they become that it has been computed
there were at this period seldom fewer than I,000 of them in prison,
some for disturbing the peace, some for refusing to pay tithes, and
others because they would not do violence to their principles by taking
the oath of allegiance or uncovering their heads in the presence of
the magistrates. So frequent and severe were the prosecutions to which
the Friends were then subjected that Margaret Fell addressed several
letters to Cromwell, drawing his attention to the sufferings they were
compelled to undergo. In one of them, written in 1657, she warned the
Protector that the wickedness of the oppressor would come to an end,
and praying that his understanding might be lightened, and that he
might exercise justice and judgment without fear, favour, or affection.

In the three years from 1654 to 1657 Fox travelled over nearly the
whole of the south of England and Wales. In the autumn of 1657 he
turned his steps in the direction of Swarthmoor, passing through
Chester and Liverpool on the way, and calling at Malpas; whence he
proceeded to Manchester. His reception in the last-named town he thus
describes in his _Journal_:--

 Thence we came to Manchester; and the sessions being there that day,
 many rude people were come out of the country. In the meeting they
 threw at me coals, clods, stones, and water. Yet the Lord's power bore
 me up over them, that they could not strike me down. At last, when
 they saw that they could not prevail by throwing water, stones, and
 dirt at me, they went and informed the justices in the sessions; who
 thereupon sent officers to fetch me before them. The officers came in
 while I was declaring the word of life to the people, plucked me down,
 and haled me up into their court. When I came there all the court was
 in disorder and noise. Wherefore I asked, where were the magistrates
 that they did not keep the people civil? Some of the justices said
 they were magistrates. I asked them why then did they did not appease
 the people, and keep them sober? for one cried "I'll swear," and
 another cried, "I'll swear." I declared to the justices how we were
 abused in our meeting by the rude people, who threw stones, clods,
 dirt, and water; and how I was haled out of the meeting and brought
 thither, contrary to the instrument of government, which said, "none
 should be molested in their meetings that professed God and owned
 the Lord Jesus Christ;" which I did. So the truth came over them,
 that when one of the rude fellows cried "he would swear," one of the
 justices checked him, saying, "What will you swear? Hold your tongue."
 At last they bid the constable take me to my lodging; and there be
 secured till morning, till they sent for me again. So the constable
 had me to my lodging; and as we went the people were exceedingly
 rude; but I let them see "the fruits of their teachers, and how they
 shamed Christianity, and dishonoured the name of Jesus, which they
 professed." At night we went to a justice's house in the town, who was
 pretty moderate; and I had much discourse with him. Next morning we
 sent to the constable to know if he had anything more to say to us.
 And he sent us word "he had nothing to say to us; but that we might
 go whither we would." "The Lord hath since raised up a people"--he
 adds--"to stand for His name and truth in that town over those chaffy
 professors."

From Manchester he went to Preston, and thence to Lancaster, where,
at his inn, he met with his former friend, Colonel West. Shortly
afterwards he crossed the sandy shores of Morecambe Bay to Swarthmoor,
where, he says, "the Friends were glad to see me;" and, he adds,
"I stayed there two first days, visiting Friends in their meetings
thereaways."

From Swarthmoor he went through Westmoreland and Cumberland into
Scotland, where he remained some time, visiting Edinburgh, Glasgow,
Stirling, Dunbar, the Highlands, and other places; returning through
Durham and Yorkshire into Furness, where for a few weeks during the
winter he was again the guest of the Fells. In the beginning of 1653 he
made another journey into the southern counties, and on that occasion
he had another interview with Cromwell--a very brief one, and his last,
for it was a few days before the Protector's death. In his _Journal_
he tells us something of the great man's appearance at the time
when London was gay with ambassadors extraordinary from France, and
Mazarin's nephew was assuring the Protector of the profound veneration
his uncle had for him--"the greatest man that ever was." But the day
was passed for pomps and flatteries.

 "Taking boat," says Fox, "I went to Kingston, and thence to Hampton
 Court, to speak with the Protector about the sufferings of the
 Friends. I met him riding into Hampton Court Park; and before I came
 to him as he rode at the head of his life guard I saw and felt a
 waft (or apparition) of death go forth against him; and when I came
 to him he looked like a dead man. After I had laid the sufferings of
 the Friends before him, he bid me come to his house. So I returned to
 Kingston, and next day went to Hampton Court to speak further with
 him. But when I came he was sick, and--Harvey, who was one that waited
 on him, told me the doctors were not willing I should speak with him.
 So I passed away, and never saw him more."

Carlyle thus characteristically comments upon Fox's narrative:--

 "I saw and felt a waft of death go forth against him." Or in favour
 of him, George? His life, if thou knew it, has not been a merry thing
 for the man, now or heretofore! I fancy he has been looking this
 long while to give it up, whenever the Commander-in-chief required.
 To quit his laborious sentry-post, honourably lay up his arms, and
 begone to his rest--all eternity to rest in, George! Was thy own life
 merry, for example, in the hollow of the tree, clad permanently in
 leather? And does the kingly purple, and governing refractory worlds
 instead of stitching coarse shoes, make it any merrier? The waft of
 death is not against _him_, I think--perhaps against thee, and me, and
 others. O George, when the Nell Gwynne defender and two centuries of
 all-victorious cant have come in upon us, my unfortunate George.

[Illustration: MEETING BETWEEN FOX AND CROMWELL.]

Cromwell died on the 3rd September; and in little more than one short
month Fox lost another, and that his truest, friend. For some time
previously the health of Judge Fell had been declining; on the 8th of
October he passed away from the scene of his earthly labours, and a
few days later was buried by torchlight in a grave under his family
pew, in the old church of St. Mary, at Ulverston.

Writing long afterwards, his widow, Margaret Fell, thus recorded her
loss:--

 We lived together 26 years, in which time we had nine children, and
 one that sought after God in the best way that was made known to him.
 He was much esteemed in this country, and valued and honoured in his
 day, by all sorts of people, for his justice, wisdom, moderation, and
 mercy.... He was about 60 years of age. He left one son and seven
 daughters, all unpreferred; but left a good and competent
 estate for them.[4]

[Illustration: Tho: Fell]

By his will, which bears date September 23, 1658, he left various
legacies in trust for poor and aged persons in the parishes of
Ulverston and Dalton, and also for the maintenance of a schoolmaster
at Ulverston. Among other bequests is one to his "very honourable and
noble friend, the Lord Bradshaw" (John Bradshaw, the regicide), of "ten
pounds to buy a ring therewith, whom I humbly beseech to accept thereof
as all the acknowledgment I can make, and thankfulness for his ancient
and continued favours and kindness undeservedly vouchsafed unto me
since our first acquaintance." Bradshaw did not live long to wear the
memento of the departed judge's friendship, for within a year he had
found a grave in the mausoleum of kings at Westminster.

Under the provisions of Thomas Fell's will, Swarthmoor Hall, with its
appurtenances and fifty acres of land, were reserved to the use of his
widow during the remainder of her life, or until such times as she
should marry again, when the property was to pass to Daniel Abraham,
the husband of his daughter Rachel. Mrs. Fell remained in the occupancy
of the old mansion, and the meetings of the Friends were held in the
house weekly, as they had been during the judge's lifetime. It was not,
however, until after the Restoration that George Fox paid another visit
to the place. In 1660, he returned from the south, and, after holding
a general meeting for all the Friends in Westmoreland, Cumberland, and
Lancashire at Arnside, he proceeded once more into Furness, and took
up his abode at Swarthmoor; but he had scarcely done so when Major
Porter, then mayor of Lancaster, issued a warrant for his apprehension.
He was forcibly carried away from the hall to the constable's house at
Ulverston, where he remained for the night; and the following morning
was conveyed across the sands to Lancaster, when he was committed by
Porter on the charge of being "an enemy to the King, and that he had
endeavoured to raise a new war, and imbrue the nation in blood again."
In vindication of his innocence, Fox denied that he was "a disturber
of the nation's peace;" and affirmed that he was "never an enemy to
the King, nor to any man's person upon the earth." Margaret Fell,
who considered that an injustice was done to herself by his removal
from her house, also addressed a letter of remonstrance to "all the
magistrates concerned in his wrong taking up and imprisoning;" and,
failing to obtain redress, determined on proceeding to London, in order
that her case might be laid before the King.

 "Having a great family," she says in her "Testimony," "and he being
 taken in my house, I was moved of the Lord to go to the King at
 Whitehall; and took with me a declaration, and an information, of
 our principles; and a long time, and much ado, I had to get to him.
 But, at last, when I got to him, I told him if he was guilty of these
 things, I was guilty, for he was taken in my house; and I gave him the
 paper of our principles, and desired that he would set him at liberty,
 as he had promised that none should suffer for tender consciences; and
 we were of tender consciences, and desired nothing but the liberty of
 our consciences. Then, with much ado, after he had been kept prisoner
 near half a year at Lancaster, we got a Habeas Corpus, and removed him
 to the King's Bench, when he was released."

To send the delinquent Quaker all the way to London guarded by a party
of horse was a serious matter, and after much deliberation George
Chetham, of Clayton and Turton Tower--a nephew of Humphrey, the founder
of the Chetham Hospital at Manchester--who was then sheriff, to avoid
the expense of conducting his prisoner, liberated him on his promise
to appear before the judges in town on a day fixed. From Lancaster he
went straight to Swarthmoor, where he stayed two or three days; and
then set out for London, passing through Cheshire and Staffordshire,
and holding meetings at several places on the way. When he arrived in
London "multitudes of people," he says, "were gathered together to
see the burning of the bowels of some of the old King's (Charles I.)
judges, who had been hung, drawn, and quartered." The following morning
he proceeded to the King's Bench, and, pulling out of his pocket the
writ charging him with embroiling the nation in blood and making a new
war, presented it to the judges, who, as may be supposed, were a good
deal astonished and amused at the inconsistency of paroling a prisoner
accounted such a dangerous personage, and permitting him to travel a
distance of 250 miles without guard or restraint. None of his accusers
appearing, and there being nothing sufficiently serious to warrant his
committal, the matter was referred to the King, who at once gave orders
for his release.

In the summer of 1663 Fox was again at Swarthmoor, when, after a brief
stay, he went over to Arnside to attend a meeting, and thence travelled
through Northumberland and Cumberland, returning to the hospitable
home of Mrs. Fell in the autumn of the same year. On his arrival he
was informed that Colonel Kirkby, a neighbouring justice and a member
of Parliament, had, on the preceding day, sent his officers to search
the house in the expectation of finding Fox there. Undismayed, Fox
went the next morning to the colonel's house, Kirkby Hall, when he
found the Flemings, of Rydal, and several other of the neighbouring
gentry assembled to take leave of the colonel before his departure to
London to attend to his Parliamentary duties. Fox, in the presence of
the company, asked if there was any charge against him; and he was
told, in reply, that "as he," Colonel Kirkby, "was a gentleman, he
had nothing against him. But," he added, "Mistress Fell must not keep
great meetings at her house, for they meet contrary to the Act."[5]
A few days later he was again apprehended and conveyed to Holker
Hall, the residence of Justice Preston, the brave-hearted Margaret
Fell accompanying him; when, after being examined, he was ordered
to appear at the sessions at Lancaster. He then returned with Mrs.
Fell to Swarthmoor; and shortly afterwards, while the Friends were
peaceably assembled at a meeting in the hall, the door was opened,
and William Kirkby, of Adgarley, a half-brother to Colonel Kirkby,
entered with the constables, exclaiming, "How now, Mr. Fox! You have a
fine company here!" and at once proceeded to take the names of those
present; any who refused being handed over to the custody of the
officers. This proceeding led to Margaret Fell herself being examined
and committed for trial. Having traversed from the spring assizes, she
was brought up on the 29th June, 1664, her chief offence being that of
having had meetings for worship in her house at Swarthmoor. It would
appear from the evidence she had received an intimation that, on her
giving security to discontinue the meetings, the prosecution would be
abandoned; and the offer was again made that, if she would give the
required security, the case against her would be dismissed. But she
refused, and the jury found for the King. A respite was allowed; but,
she remaining obstinate, sentence of premunire was passed against her
in September of the same year, and she was committed to prison, where
she remained until the summer of 1668. Fox, who was also a prisoner
for being a "rebel" and a dangerous character, was for a time more
successful, his shrewdness and acumen enabling him to discover several
errors in the indictment; but he was immediately questioned again, the
oath was tendered and refused, and, being once more put upon trial, he
traversed to the next assizes. The sufferings of both were very severe;
each prisoner wrote an account of their trials, and the descriptions
they give furnish some interesting particulars respecting the condition
of the prison at Lancaster at the time. From the narrative of Margaret
Fell it appears that, after her trial, the judge said:--"Mistress Fell,
you wrote to me concerning your prisons, that they are bad and rain
in, and are not fit for people to lie in; and (she says) I answered,
the sheriff doth know, and hath been told of it several times; and now
it is raining, if you will send to see, at this present, you may see
whether they be fit for people to lie in or no. And Colonel Kirkby
stood up and spoke to the judge to excuse the sheriff and the badness
of the room, and I spoke to him, and said if you were to lie in it
yourselves you would think it hard; but your minds is only in cruelty
to commit others, as William Kirkby hath done, who hath committed ten
of our friends, and put them into a cold room, where there are nothing
but bare boards to lie on, where they have laid several nights, some of
them old ancient men, above three score years of age, and known to be
honest men in their country where they live. And when William Kirkby
was asked why they might not have liberty to shift for themselves for
beds, he answered and said, they were to commit them to prison, but not
to provide prisons for them. And we asked him who should do it, then?
and he said the King; and then the judge spoke to him, and said, they
should not do so, but let them have prisons fit for men." George Fox
also made complaint. He says:--"I desired the judge to send some to
see my prison, being so bad, they would put no creature they had in it,
it was so windy and rainy; and so I was had away to my prison, and some
justices, with Colonel Kirkby, went up to see it; and when they came up
in it, they durst scarcely go in it, it was so bad, rainy, and windy,
and the badness of the floor, and others that came up said it was ...
I being removed out of the prison I was in formerly; and so Colonel
Kirkby told me I should be removed from that place ere long." While
lying in this deplorable state in the gaol at Lancaster, he says he was
so starved with cold and rain that his body became greatly swelled, and
his limbs much benumbed. Well might Macaulay say of those times, "The
prisons were hells on earth, seminaries of every crime and of every
disease. At the assizes the lean and yellow culprits brought with them
from their cells to the dock an atmosphere of stench and pestilence
which sometimes avenged them signally on bench, bar, and jury."

[Illustration: Handwritten note]

[Illustration: GATEWAY, LANCASTER CASTLE.]

After some time Fox was transferred from Lancaster to the castle at
Scarborough, where, during his incarceration, he was visited by the
widow of General Fairfax. His condition there was no better than at
Lancaster. The room in which he was placed, he says, "being to the
seaside, and lying much open, drove in the wind forcibly, so that the
rain came over my bed and ran over the room, that I was fain to skim it
up with a platter. And when my clothes were wet I had no fire to dry
them; so that my body was benumbed with cold and my fingers swelled,
that one was grown as big as two." His friends were forbidden to supply
him with any comforts, and he remarks, "Commonly a threepenny loaf
served me three weeks and sometimes longer, and most of my drink was
water with wormwood steeped or bruised in it."

After he had been two years in confinement an order for his release
was obtained from the King, procured, as it would seem, through the
influence of a friend at Court, one "Esquire Marsh," to whom he had
been long known, and who declared that, if necessary, "he would go a
hundred miles barefoot for the liberty of George Fox." He was set at
liberty on Saturday, the 1st of September, 1666, and he notes in his
_Journal_ that "the very next day after my release (Sunday, September
3), the fire broke out in London and the report of it came quickly down
into the country." The date is confirmed by the gossiping Secretary of
the Navy, Samuel Pepys, who, as he tells us in his "Diary," on that
said Sunday morning rose at three o'clock, slipped on his nightgown,
and looked out of the window of his house in Seething Lane, at the east
end of the city, but, thinking the fire far enough off, "went to bed
again and to sleep."

After his release from a severe imprisonment of two years and nine
months, Fox was greatly weakened in body, and it seemed at the time
unlikely he could long survive the hardships he had had to endure. On
his release, he thus moralises upon his oppressors:--"And, indeed, I
could not but take notice how the hand of the Lord turned against those
of my persecutors who had been the cause of my imprisonment, or had
been abusive or cruel to me in it. For the officer that fetched me to
Howlker Hall wasted his estate, and very soon after fled into Ireland.
And most of the justices that were upon the bench at the sessions when
I was sent to prison died in a while after," and, he adds, "when I came
into that country again, most of those that dwelt in Lancashire were
dead, and others ruined in their estates. So that, though I did not
seek revenge upon them for their acting against me contrary to law, yet
the Lord had executed his judgments upon many of them."

It was not until 1667 that George Fox again visited Lancashire. In
that year he was at William Barnes's, near Warrington, whence he sent
letters into Westmorland and other places by Leonard Fell and Robert
Widders; monthly meetings of the Friends were held, and to one of them
he says:--"Margaret Fell, being a prisoner, got liberty to come, and
went with me to Jane Milner's in Cheshire, where we parted." In the
summer of the following year (1668) Mrs. Fell was set at liberty, and,
on regaining her freedom, went into Cornwall with her daughter Mary,
and her son-in-law, Thomas Lower. Shortly afterwards Fox proceeded to
Ireland, and on his return he met with Margaret Fell at Bristol, she
being, at the time, on a visit to another married daughter, Isabel
Yeomans. "I had seen from the Lord a considerable time before," says
Fox, "that I should take Margaret Fell to be my wife, and when I first
mentioned it to her, she felt the answer of Life from God thereunto.
But, though the Lord had opened this thing to me, yet I had not
received a command from the Lord for the accomplishment of it then.
Wherefore I let the thing rest, and went on in the work and service
of the Lord as before, according as he led me; travelling up and down
in this nation and through Ireland." His conduct in respect to his
marriage was honourable and disinterested. Before finally deciding, he
consulted the seven daughters of his intended wife and her sons-in-law,
and obtained their sanction to the proposal, and, further, took care
that the provision for the children of Judge Fell was settled and
secured before the marriage. The judge's son was the only member of
the family who disapproved of the union, but, as he is described as
irreligious and of irregular habits, his opinion was disregarded. In
his _Journal_ Fox thus records the attendant circumstances:--

 But now, being at Bristol, and finding Margaret Fell there, it opened
 in me from the Lord, that the thing should be accomplished. After
 we had discoursed the matter together, I told her, "if she also was
 satisfied with the accomplishing of it now, she should first send for
 her children," which she did. When the rest of her daughters, were
 come, I asked both them and her sons-in-law, "if they had anything
 against it, or for it," and they all severally expressed their
 satisfaction therein. Then I asked Margaret (Mrs. Fell) "if she had
 fulfilled and performed her husband's will to her children." She
 replied, "the children knew that." Whereupon I asked them, "whether,
 if their mother married, they should not lose by it?" And I asked
 Margaret, "whether she had done anything in lieu of it, which might
 answer it to the children?" The children said she had answered it to
 them, and desired me to speak no more of it. I told them, he adds,
 "I was plain, and would have all things done plainly; for I sought
 not any outward advantage to myself." So, after I had thus acquainted
 the children with it, our intention of marriage was laid before the
 Friends, both privately and publicly, to their full satisfaction;
 many of them gave testimony thereunto that it was of God. Afterwards,
 a meeting being appointed for the accomplishing thereof, in the
 meeting-house, at Broadmead, in Bristol, we took each other, the Lord
 joining us together in the honourable marriage, in the everlasting
 covenant and immortal seed of life.

The marriage of George Fox with Margaret Fell, which took place on the
18th of October, 1669, eleven years after the death of Thomas Fell,
occasioned very little interruption to Fox's ministerial activity.
After a brief "honeymoon" of ten days they took leave of each other,
he going on a religious mission through the country, while his wife
returned to her own home at Swarthmoor.

A few months after Margaret Fox's return her old adversary, Colonel
Kirkby, caused her to be again arrested and recommitted at the age of
56 to Lancaster Castle. "The Sheriff of Lancaster," she writes, "sent
his bailiff and pulled me out of my own house, and had me prisoner to
Lancaster Castle (upon the old _præmunire_[6]), where I continued a
whole year, and most of that time I was sick and weakly." At length,
in April, 1671, through the intercession of influential Friends, a
discharge under the Great Seal was obtained and she was set at liberty,
the sentence of _præmunire_ passed seven years before being annulled.
"Then," she says, "I was to go up to London again, for my husband was
intending for America."

[Illustration: Handwritten note]

The founder of Quakerism had determined upon a voyage across the
Atlantic for the purpose of organising the numerous Friends who had
been gathered in the far West by the earlier Quaker preachers. In these
days such a voyage is accounted as little more than a mere pleasure
trip to those who like, or do not absolutely dislike the sea, but in
the days of the Stuart Kings it was a serious undertaking; nothing,
however, could daunt the spirit of Fox or obstruct his progress when
once an enterprise was determined upon. On the 12th of June, 1671,
the little yacht, the "Industry," with its living freight of fifty
passengers, including Fox and the twelve preachers, who had agreed to
accompany him on his mission, sailed down the Thames, Margaret Fox and
several Friends going with them as far as Gravesend. On the voyage they
were chased by Barbary pirates, and after their landing they underwent
many perils and hardships, for travelling in the then primitive
condition of the American colonies was arduous work, involving constant
camping out at night, fording deep rivers, wading through swamps and
quagmires, and penetrating vast forests and wildernesses. Fox was
generally welcomed, and received more kindness and courtesy from all
classes than in his own country. The journey occupied two years, and in
one of his letters he thus summarises it: "We have had great travail
by land and sea, and rivers and bays and creeks, in New England, New
Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Carolina; where we have had great
service among Friends and governours and others, and with the Indians
and their King and Emperor." On the 21st March, 1673, he set sail
for England, and after a tempestuous voyage reached Bristol harbour
on the 28th of the following month. His wife went up from Swarthmoor
to meet him, accompanied by her son-in-law, Thomas Lower, and two of
her daughters. It was the time of Bristol fair; great meetings were
held, and the occasion was a memorable one, for it was amid the rant
and turmoil of the fair that George Fox first made the acquaintance
of William Penn. The great reformer had just landed from America, and
there can be little doubt that this meeting led Penn to investigate
human nature in the New World. A close intimacy sprang up between the
two; they travelled much together, and in Fox's journal the name of the
fearless and honest lawgiver--the future founder of Pennsylvania--is
frequently mentioned. They visited at each other's houses. Fox was a
guest at Worminghurst while Penn and his family resided there; and
there is a well-founded tradition that he visited Fox at his abode at
Swarthmoor, in Lancashire.

In January, 1674, Fox again found himself placed in durance on account
of his preaching at Worcester; Thomas Lower, Margaret Fox's son-in-law,
being imprisoned with him. He suffered from a lingering sickness, his
life at one time being despaired of. After remaining in attendance upon
him for seventeen weeks, his faithful wife went up to London, wrote
a letter to the King beseeching him to release her husband, and took
it herself to Whitehall, where she had an interview with Charles. Her
pleading was unsuccessful; but eventually, after being in confinement
for a year or more, a writ of Habeas Corpus was again obtained. He
was paroled until the time of his trial, when the indictment against
him was quashed, and he was set at liberty, being allowed to pass the
remaining fifteen years of his life in peace, unmolested by gaolers,
writs, or assizes. While he lay in the gaol at Worcester his aged
mother died, her end being hastened, it is said, by bitter sorrow at
her son's inability to come and take leave of her.

On regaining his liberty Fox returned northwards, accompanied by his
wife. At Lancaster there was great gathering of the Friends; and
having stayed there two nights and a day, they went over sands to
Swarthmoor, where they arrived on the 25th of June, 1675. Here they
were visited by many friends from different parts of the country, and
among others their old antagonist, Colonel Kirkby, called to bid them
welcome into the country, and, as the account says, "carried himself in
appearance very lovingly;" though he immediately afterwards instructed
the constables of Ulverston to inform Fox that "they must have no
more meetings at Swarthmoor; for if they had, they were commanded to
break them up." The imprisonment at Worcester had told seriously upon
his health, and it was a year and eight months before he was again
able to leave Swarthmoor. His time, however, was fully occupied in
writing pamphlets, epistles, and controversial papers. Early in 1677
Fox left his northern home, his spirit being "drawn again towards the
south;" and he did not return until the summer of the following year.
In the interval, in company with William Penn and Robert Barclay, he
spent several months preaching in Holland and Germany, after which he
returned to London, where he stayed some time, and then proceeded to
Swarthmoor, remaining there uninterrupted for a period of two years.

During his absence from Swarthmoor he vigilantly watched over
his wife's interests, and took measures to protect her from the
persecutions of some of the neighbouring clergy and magistrates.
Thus, in a letter written from London on the 8th August, 1681, he
says:--"Dearly Beloved,--There is a rumour here that one of the Justice
Kirkbys (but which I cannot tell) took one of our fat oxen and killed
him for his own table, in his own house, which ox was destrained and
taken away from thee on account of your meeting at Swarthmoor. Now
of the truth of this I desire to know, and, with a witness or two,
to prove it; for justices of peace do not deny appeals here." And he
concludes with the words: "Therefore, sweetheart, I do entreat thee to
let me soon know the truth of all these things, and what thou writes
let it be proved by witnesses."

It was in the same year that Fox and his wife were sued in the Cartmel
Wapentake Court for the small tithes of the Swarthmoor Hall estate;
he demurred to the jurisdiction of the court, when the plaintiffs
carried the suit into the Exchequer Court at Westminster, where, he
says, "they ran us up a writ of rebellion for not answering the bill
upon oath, and got an order from the sergeant to take me and my wife
into custody." In his answer to the plaintiffs' bill he stated that
his wife had lived forty-three years at Swarthmoor Hall, and that
during all that time no tithes had been either paid or demanded. Other
proofs were given, but the answer could not be received without an
oath, which the uncompromising Quaker would not take, and so, he says,
"the court granted a sequestration against me and my wife together.
Thereupon, by advice of counsel, we moved for a limitation, which was
granted, and that much defeated our adversary's design in suing out the
sequestration, for this limited the plaintiff from taking no more than
was proved." On the same occasion William Mead, who had married one of
Judge Fell's daughters, bore testimony to Fox's disinterested conduct,
and informed the court that "he had before marriage engaged himself
not to meddle with his wife's estate;" a statement the judges could
scarcely credit until the documents in proof of it were produced.

Fox derived from his own property an income amply sufficient for his
personal requirements without trenching upon that of his wife. Though
he had never actively embarked in business he held shares in two small
vessels trading from the port of Scarborough, and he had also an
interest in other undertakings, besides moneys deposited in the hands
of various friends. In addition, he had in Pennsylvania a thousand
acres of land which were given to him by William Penn, though there
is no evidence that he ever received any income from that source. The
only lands he possessed were about three acres he had purchased at
Swarthmoor for the maintenance of the meeting house, which, in 1688,
the year of English freedom, he had there erected for his disciples,
and which, shortly before his death, he conveyed by a deed of
assignment to the Friends for ever. "It is," he says, "all the land and
house I have in England; and it is given up to the Lord, for it is for
his service, and for his children."

The declining years of his life were passed in comparative
tranquillity, and its evening was soothed with the sunshine of many
precious friendships. His time was spent chiefly either at Swarthmoor
Hall or in London, where he had many followers, and where several
meeting-houses had been established, the most notable being the one
in Aldgate Street, named from its proximity to the celebrated old
hostelry, the Bull and Mouth, now, as Mr. Cunningham justly says,
"foolishly called the Queen's Hotel;"[7] and occasionally he made
quiet journeys through some of the counties. In April, 1690, he was
present for the last time at the annual gathering of the Friends from
all parts of the kingdom, held in London; through the following winter
he continued to attend the meetings of the society; and on Sunday,
January the 11th, 1690-1, he attended a large meeting at Gracechurch
Street, when he preached for the last time "fully and effectually."
On leaving he went to Henry Goldney's in White Hart Court, close by,
when he remarked that he "felt the cold strike to his heart as he
came out of the meeting." He survived but two days, dying on Tuesday,
January 13th, in the 67th year of his age, his last words being, "The
power of God is over all." Three days after his remains, followed by a
procession of 3,000 friends, were conveyed to their last resting place
in that _campo santo_ of Nonconformists--Bunhill Fields.

Fox lived long enough to see a considerable relaxation in the severity
of the penal laws against Nonconformists, and the dawn of more
peaceful times. After the accession of James II., the condition of the
Quakers was much improved, the King permitting them to substitute an
affirmation for the oath, when one of the chief causes of persecution
was removed. William Penn, too, was high in favour at Court at this
time; he had opened an asylum for the Friends in his new State of
Pennsylvania, and, enjoying the personal favour of the King and the
chief officers of the State, he won the means of securing further
toleration for his co-religionists. Then followed the peaceful
revolution which placed William of Orange upon the throne of England,
when the rights of conscience were still more fully recognised, and
the Act of Toleration put an end to the miseries and persecutions the
Friends had so long been subjected to. If the Church was too severe
in the punishments she awarded to her truant children, and oftentimes
provoked them by her harshness to forsake the sanctuary and wander
forth until new tabernacles sprang up in the wilderness of the world,
it cannot be said that Quakers fared better under the sway of the
Presbyterians or the rule of the Protectorate, for Puritanism itself
was then a grinding social tyranny, too strict in its discipline, too
little regardful of human weaknesses, and too fully persuaded that
there could be no truth or godliness outside its own conceptions.
Unfortunately for themselves, the Quakers were accounted a distinct
community, with whom neither Episcopalians nor Protestant Dissenters
had any legal or religious connection. The religious mind of the nation
was entrenched within what it persuaded itself were the limits of
Christianity, and the new sect which had sprung up was declared to be
beyond the pale. The bitterness of spirit with which the disciples of
Fox were regarded may be gathered from the resolution passed by the
delegates and ministers of the Congregational churches in London who
assembled on the occasion of the abdication of Richard Cromwell. They
then declared, among other things, that while "we greatly prize our
Christian liberties, yet we profess our utter dislike and abhorrence
of a universal toleration, as being contrary to the mind of God in
his word.... It is our desire that countenance be not given, or trust
reposed in, the hands of the Quakers, they being persons of such
principles as are destructive to the Gospel, and inconsistent with
the peace of civil societies." It was a persecuting age, and not on
one side alone of the great civil strife of the 17th century does
the stigma of bigotry and intolerance remain; happily, out of the
weakness, the foulness, and the darkness of those times, the nation,
the Church, and the people have emerged with a strong hold on better
things, the ascetic piety of the Puritan and the breadth of view of
the Churchman--the religion of Herbert and of Laud, of Sibbes and of
Milton--have mingled together and become elements of the national life
and fruitful for the common good.

The followers of Fox were subjected to unparalleled hardships, but
to their honour be it said their general acts were in strict accord
with their religious professions, for during those long years of
suffering for conscience sake there is not a single instance recorded
of vindictive retaliation on their part, or of recourse being had to
any weapon sharper than a text of Scripture. Fox, it is true, shared
the extravagances of his age, and, like all teachers of his class
and time, he was for a period more of an alarmist than a comforter;
prone, like pious enthusiasts of the present day, to plough up the
hearts of the people and discover sins which before they dreamt
not of. In one respect he and his followers were certainly most
reprehensible, in disturbing the worship of those differing in religion
with themselves, for it must be admitted by those who respect their
principles and admire their honesty and fortitude that they provoked
much of the persecution they so patiently endured. The best principles
of Quakerism--peace, and love, and brotherhood--remain, but the
distinctive formula is on the decline, and those characteristics which
made them obnoxious to other religious professors have disappeared
altogether. As Dr. Halley justly observes, "A modern 'Friend,' mild,
pleasant, neatly dressed, carefully educated, perfected in proprieties,
is as unlike as possible, except in a few 'principles,' to the
obtrusive, intolerant, rude, coarse, disputatious Quaker of the early
days of their sect."[8]

Margaret Fox survived her husband 11 years, her death occurring at
Swarthmoor on the 23rd February, 1702, in the 88th year of her age. At
the time of her marriage with the Founder of the Society of Friends she
had one son and seven daughters. Swarthmoor Hall, at her death, passed
to her youngest daughter, Rachel, who had become the wife of Daniel,
son of John Abraham, of Manchester; to them was born, in 1687, a son,
John Abraham, who succeeded to the property, and who appears to have
made some alterations and additions to the old mansion, as evidenced
by a stone in the wall of one of the outbuildings, inscribed T F,
1651, and J A, 1715; the initials answering to Thomas Fell and John
Abraham. Owing, as is supposed, to losses from some unsuccessful mining
speculations in which John Abraham had embarked, the property became
much encumbered, and in 1759, was finally brought to the hammer and
disposed of in lots, when the family removed to Skerton, near Lancaster.

[Illustration: Handwritten signature]

Of the descendants of Margaret Fox by her first husband, Thomas Fell,
it was recorded a few years ago that there were then living ninety, of
whom forty-three were members of the society which their ancestress had
so largely helped to found.

Concerning John, the father of Daniel Abraham, who married the daughter
of Margaret Fell, the following particulars are given in a publication
called the _British Friend_, published at Glasgow, 1845:--

 In Market Street (Manchester) is a pile of building called Abraham's
 Court. This was the property of John Abraham. He was a man of good
 parentage, and of standing and estate, of a family originally
 descended, it is said, from the Abrahams of Abram near Wigan; but
 his immediate ancestors resided at or near Warrington, where he was
 brought up to the trade of a grocer.[9] After his marriage he carried
 on his business in Manchester with great prudence and honesty, and
 to a large extent. He was one of the first who joined Friends, and
 suffered in the cause of truth. In 1675 he travelled southward.
 In Kent he was pulled down by the informers whilst preaching in a
 Friend's house, and taken to an inn with other Friends, but soon
 after dismissed: but the magistrate seized his horse, and two others,
 belonging to a poor man, which they ordered to be sold; the owner of
 the house was fined £20 for allowing the meeting to be held, and £7
 for the pretended poverty of John Abraham, though he told them where
 he dwelt, and that he had an estate of his own at Manchester. For
 these fines, the owner of the house suffered distraint of goods from
 his house and warehouse to the amount of £77, equivalent to upwards
 of £150 in those days. No account of John Abraham has ever appeared.
 He was interred in the Deansgate burial ground; a stone marks his
 corporeal resting-place, and the Society's register of deaths records
 that "he was a minister, and travelled in Ireland and Scotland."

John Abraham had, in addition to his son, Daniel, a daughter, Mary,
who became the wife of Edward Chetham, of Cheetham, Nuthurst, and,
ultimately, of Turton Tower, the representative of Manchester's great
benefactor, Humphrey Chetham, the founder of the hospital and library
which bears his name, and from the marriage descends the present Right
Hon. Sir Henry Bartle-Frere, Bart., G.C.B., G.C.S.I.

The third in descent from John Abraham, who removed to Skerton, was
likewise named John; he married in 1844 Maria Hayes, daughter of John
Tyerman, of Liverpool, and his wife, Mary Mitford. He resided at
Grassendale, a pleasant suburb of Liverpool, and died February 20th,
1881, leaving as his heir Thomas Fell Abraham, and, with other issue,
Emma Clarke Abraham, a lady to whom the author is indebted for many
interesting particulars concerning the Fell and Abraham families.

Such are some of the memories of Swarthmoor. By the time we had
completed the inspection of the old mansion and the primitive-looking
little meeting-house, impressive in its severe and unostentatious
simplicity, the sun was rapidly sinking in the west, and the shadows of
objects were growing longer and longer, as if drawing themselves closer
to the earth; the dark range of hills looked solemnly down upon us, and
night's sable curtains were gradually closing over the scene. Turning
to depart, we retraced our steps and descended the rugged track which
soon brought us to the bottom of the dingle again. Then mounting the
opposite eminence we reached the highway, and a few minutes later were
comfortably settled in a cosy room in the "Sun," at Ulverston.



CHAPTER II.

 OLD ALDERLEY AND ITS MEMORIES--THE STANLEYS--EDWARD STANLEY, PASTOR
 AND PRELATE--THE HOME OF DEAN STANLEY.


Men travel far to see the dwelling-places and the costly tombs of Kings
and Conquerors in their desire to recall the memory and the mighty
deeds of the great ones who have gone before, and surely the homes of
those who have taught goodness by example to high and low, and shed a
holy and a happy influence through their country, are shrines equally
worthy of our homage. It is in that spirit, and with the desire to keep
green within the sanctuary of the heart the memory of good men, that
we enter upon our present pilgrimage. It is to the place where Bishop
Stanley spent his happiest years, and where his son, Dean Stanley,
passed his boyhood's days--the one, the "good bishop" who united in
himself the apostolical charity of a Tillotson and the pastoral energy
of a Burnet; and the other, that loving and large-hearted divine who so
lately passed into his rest, and whose removal from our midst sent a
thrill of sadness through the land, and moved the sensibilities not of
Englishmen alone but of the world.

[Illustration: DEAN STANLEY.]

Alderley, or Old Alderley as we prefer to call it in contradistinction
to the aggregation of modern Swiss chalets, Italian villas, and
imitation castles which Manchester's merchant princes have built for
themselves on the wooded hill yclept Alderley Edge, is one of the most
charmingly picturesque spots in the county--we had almost said in
the kingdom; the sort of place where, if lowered with overwork and
worry, you would wish to retire to for perfect peace and quietude--and
of a truth the wearied toiler might wander hither and thither for many
a day before he could find a retreat more to his liking. The country is
rich and varied, and there is an air of wild and untrimmed prodigality
in the woods and plantations that is delighting to the eye. It is not
a village--it can hardly be called a hamlet, the houses are so few. On
a little triangular spot where four roads meet is what is emphatically
called "the Cross," and a little way above, standing by the wayside,
may be seen an antiquated hostelry that might be called the house
of many gables. Time was when the tired wayfarer might find within
its cosy parlour a hearty welcome, and be able to refresh himself
with nut-brown ale; but good things are oftentimes abused, and so,
now-a-days, to enforce sobriety, though the traveller may receive the
welcome he must content himself with tea and coffee or such harmless
beverages as lemonade and ginger ale. Near the inn is the old corn
mill, a building that, with its surroundings, has formed the subject
for many a picture, as the walls of our local exhibitions testify; in
the rear, half hidden among the trees, is the old-fashioned rectory,
standing in the midst of its equally old-fashioned garden, in which
the old mulberry trees still flourish. The garden reaches up to the
churchyard, reminding us of Wordsworth's exquisite description--

    Where holy ground begins, unhallowed ends,
    Is marked by no distinguishable line.
    The turf unites, the pathways intertwine,
    And wheresoe'er the stealing footstep tends,
    Garden, and that domain where kindred, friends,
    And neighbours rest together, here confound
    Their several features, mingled like the sound
    Of many waters, or as evening blends
    With shady night.

The place belongs entirely to the past; the shadows of bygone
centuries seem to spread around, and everything bears the impress of
hoar antiquity and undisturbed respectability; while even the few
homesteads you see retain the picturesque features their builders
imparted to them long ages ago. The church tower, grey and weather
worn, and overgrown in places with ivy, looks with placid serenity over
the broad pastures and the green country that stretches southwards
and away to the west until it seems interminable, and the eye becomes
wearied in trying to follow it to its furthest limits. A sombre-looking
yew that has braved the winter's blasts through long centuries of
time flanks the gateway; the tall trees that partly surround the
churchyard throw their shadows across the grass-grown hillocks, the
grasshopper skips about and the white moth flits to and fro, and above
the blackbirds and the thrushes pour forth their sweetest music.
The ancient fane itself is thoroughly English in its character, a
church such as an artist loves to paint, and of which a true-hearted
Englishman would carry away many a pleasant remembrance. It exhibits
many architectural diversities; the tower is broad and massive, and
nave, and chancel, and porch are picturesque in their grouping. On
the north side a curious dormer window rises above the roof, and on
the south the attention is arrested by the old stone staircase that
leads up from the outside to the Stanley pew, a feature that may
smack somewhat of exclusiveness, but quaint and pleasant to look upon
notwithstanding. As you enter you see at a glance that the fabric has
been cared for both within and without, for though the "restorer" has
been at work he has dealt tenderly and lovingly with it, repairing
only where repairs where needed. The old pews in which somnolent
bucolics were wont to recline during sermon-time have been taken away;
the flat painted ceiling has disappeared and the whitewash of a dozen
generations of churchwardens has been removed from wall and pillar, but
everything that was worth preserving has been carefully retained, and--

    So absent is the stamp of modern days
    That, in the quaint carved oak, and oriel stain'd
    With saintly legend, to Reflection's gaze
    The Star of Eld seems not yet to have waned.

[Illustration: ALDERLEY CHURCH.]

The only part that has been modernised is the chancel. It was rebuilt
thirty years ago, and in it you may see many sepulchral memorials of
the Stanleys and other local notabilities. On the south side is the
monumental effigy of John Thomas, the first Lord Stanley, who died in
1850, and on the opposite side, on an altar-tomb, richly inlaid with
mosaic work, is the sculptured form of the last lord, who died in 1869;
it is an exquisite work of art, and as you gaze upon the chiselled
features you are struck with the remarkable resemblance they bear to
the late Dean of Westminster. Against the wall on the same side of the
chancel is a tablet of white marble in memory of Edward Stanley--the
Bishop of Norwich--and his wife and their two sons, Charles Edward and
Owen Stanley, and their daughter Mary.

From these marble memorials of the dead you turn to the galleried pew
where, in life, those they commemorate were wont to worship. The front
of that little enclosure is resplendent with heraldic blazonries,
and tells, in the language of the "noble science," the story of the
marriages of the lords of Alderley for a couple of centuries or more.
The Stanleys are evidently proud of their armorial ensigns, for they
are displayed on every hand, and as you gaze upon the oft-repeated
shields the memory wanders back along the dim avenues of the past
to the time when, ages ago, a Sir William Stanley, by his marriage
with the heiress of Bamville, obtained the forest of Wyrral, and with
it the right to bear, as his device, the three bucks' heads upon
a cross-belt of cerulean hue; and to the time, too, when that Sir
William's great-grandson married the heiress of the house of Lathom,
and thereafter assumed as his crest the eagle and child--the "brid
and babby," as Lancashire people prefer to call it--which tradition
commemorates the circumstance of an infant being found in an eagle's
nest by a Lathom, who adopted it, and, being childless, made it heir of
all his lands.

The church is not a large building, but it is exceedingly picturesque,
and its interest is nothing lessened by the consciousness that within
its walls the voice of praise and thanksgiving has been heard for five
hundred years and more. Everything about it is decent and comely, as
befits the house of God, and if a stranger should happen to be there on
a Sunday he will find the services creditably sung by a choir of boys,
and the prayers devoutly read by a clergyman who is a sound Churchman,
and a worthy successor of good old Edward Stanley.

On one side of the entrance to the churchyard an aged yewtree,
weather-beaten and decayed, but still fighting time gallantly, flanks
the churchyard gate--the emblem of immortality reminding the living
that the spirits of those laid low have passed to the life beyond. On
the other side is the little school-house, with its quaint windows, and
mullions and masonry of red sandstone, a structure that was not reared
yesterday, as its grey lichen-stained walls testify. As you enter the
garden of the dead your ears are greeted with the pleasant music of
young voices, and your attention is arrested by the number of green
mounds where successive generations are sleeping their last sleep. A
summer's day might be spent here in meditation among the nameless but
hallowed graves, and in conning over the "uncouth rhymes" that the
weather and the green moss are fast obliterating from the crumbling
memorials on which they are inscribed. You may note, too, in places
bunches of simple wild flowers that have been placed by loving hands
upon the newly upheaved turf--the offerings of that tender affection
which longs for "the touch of a vanished hand and the sound of a voice
that is still." Near the east end, under the shade of a yew, is a plain
white marble cross, with a small tablet at its base, embedded in the
rock, on which is the following inscription:--

          Here
          Rests
    CATHERINE STANLEY
    Died March 5 1862, aged 69
        The wisdom
      That is from above
        Is first pure,
    Then peaceable, gentle,
      Easy to be entreated,
        Full of Mercy
      And good fruits
     Without partiality
    And without hypocrisy

[Illustration: ALDERLY SCHOOL.]

It is to the memory of the wife of Bishop Stanley--the mother of the
late Dean of Westminster--who entered into the dark valley while
her son was accompanying the Prince of Wales on his journey through
Egypt and Palestine. That grave has been once reopened--on the 2nd of
December, 1879, it received the remains of the Dean's sister, Mary
Stanley, a lady whose memory will be gratefully remembered for her
heroic efforts to mitigate the sufferings of our soldiers during the
Crimean War. The 5th of March, on which Catherine Stanley passed away,
was Ash Wednesday, a day that ever after had its saddening associations
for her son, who on another Ash Wednesday (March 1st, 1876), had to
endure another and more terrible trial, for on that day he stood by the
death bed of her who had loved, supported, and comforted him when the
spirit of his mother had passed away--his wife.

    My mother--on that fatal day,
      O'er seas and deserts far apart,
    The guardian genius passed away
      That nursed my very mind and heart--
    The oracle that never failed,
    The faith serene that never quailed,
    The kindred soul that knew my thought
    Before its speech or form was wrought.

    My wife--when clos'd that fatal night,
      My being turned once more to stone,
    I watched her spirit take its flight,
      And found myself again alone.
    The sunshine of the heart was dead,
    The glory of the home was fled,
    The smile that made the dark world bright,
    The love that made all duty light.

    Now that those scenes of bliss are gone,
      Now that the long years roll away,
    The two Ash Wednesdays blend in one,
      One sad yet almost festal day:
    The emblem of that union blest,
    Where lofty souls together rest,
    Star differing each from star in glory,
    Yet telling each its own high story.

In another part of the graveyard is an altar-tomb with a Latin
inscription perpetuating the name of Thomas Deane, of the Park--a house
near Monk's Heath--who endowed the parish school, and who is described
as a lover of God, his Church, his King, and of all good deeds. Not
far distant is an old disused font that was dug up half a century ago;
it has a circular bowl capacious enough to immerse a child in, and, in
its general outline, much resembles the one at Prestbury, both being
probably of the same age.

From the churchyard we step into the rector's garden. The rectory
house presents much the same appearance that it did fifty years ago,
when Edward Stanley was its occupant; indeed, so little is it changed
that it would require but little stretch of the imagination to picture
the kindly-hearted old pastor watching the movements of his feathered
friends, or, mounted upon his little black cob, setting out on a
mission of mercy to some member of his rustic flock, his pockets the
while filled with sweets and gingerbread for the children, with whom
he was ever a favourite. The house is the _beau-ideal_ of a country
clergyman's home. It has no architectural beauties or peculiarities
to boast of, and there is nothing pretentious about it; but it is a
roomy, enjoyable sort of place, with an air of comfort and contentment
pervading it that suggests the idea of the happy domestic life
peculiar to England. A trellis work that forms a kind of verandah
extends along the front, with honeysuckles, roses, and creeping plants
climbing round the supports, and meeting overhead in a bower of vernal
beauty. Of that verandah, which forms a kind of balcony, the Dean's
mother thus wrote in one of her letters:--

 Give me credit for coming from my balcony, from the sky, the stars,
 the moon, the heavenly air, to write to you. But it is not quite
 coming from them; my door is open, and I look now and then to the
 church tower, standing out so clear from the moonlight sky, which
 has scarcely yet lost its sunlight tinge--and my summer furniture of
 mignonette and sweet peas outside, to say nothing of the roses below
 or the trellis and the honeysuckle above--their united perfume all
 come streaming in the air. When I think of your imprisonment and your
 present deprivations of such a day as this, whose healing influences
 you so well would feel, I rejoice in your power of sympathy with the
 enjoyments as well as the sufferings of others, which makes me feel
 that I am refreshing rather than tantalizing you by placing my present
 position before you.

The door of the house stands invitingly open, and the wide entrance
hall into which the visitor is ushered is in itself suggestive of the
welcome awaiting the coming guest. The rooms are spacious, and lead
one into another in a social sort of way, and the windows, reaching
down to the floor and opening on to the lawn, give a bright prospect
of the beautiful world without, of the pleasure grounds and the green
grass carpet, chequered as we look upon it with the woodland shade and
a moving group of laughing, bright-eyed nymphs engaged in a garden
game. Oftentimes from those windows, as well as in his walks and rides,
did the good old rector pursue his favourite study. "Close before
the window of our observation," he says in his "Familiar History of
Birds," "a well-mown, short-grassed lawn is spread before him (the
starling)--it is his dining-room; there in the spring he is allowed to
revel, but seldom molested, on the plentiful supply of worms, which
he collects pretty much in the same manner as the thrush, already
described. Close at hand, within half-a-stone's throw, stands an
ivy-mantled parish church, with its mossy grey tower, from the turreted
pinnacle of which rises a flagstaff, crowned by its weathercock; under
the eaves and within the hollows and chinks of the masonry of the
tower are his nursery establishments. On the battlements and projecting
grotesque tracery of its Gothic ornaments he retires to enjoy himself,
looking down on the rural world below; while, at other times, a
still more elevated party will crowd together on the letters of the
weathercock, or, accustomed to its motion, sociably twitter away their
chattering song, as the vane creaks slowly round with every change of
wind."

But Alderley has other attractions besides its venerable church and its
pleasant old-fashioned rectory. We are not now going to speak of the
Edge--of the Castle Rock, of the Holy Well, of Stormy Point, of the
weather-beaten Beacon and the glorious view over the Cheshire Plain
which it commands; nor yet to repeat the legend of the Wizard, the Iron
Gates, and the Enchanted Cave in which stand the innumerable milk-white
horses with the warriors beside them, all in a profound sleep and so--

    Doomed to remain till that fell day,
    When foemen, marshalled in array,
    And feuds intestine, shall combine
    To seal the ruin of our line.

The park, the beech woods, and Radnor Mere are well worthy of a
passing notice, and the story of the Stanleys deserves to be told, for
Alderley, though a small place, has a history behind it, and one which
it need not be ashamed to own.

[Illustration: ALDERLEY RECTORY.]

Alderley Park, "the fair domain" of the Stanleys, lies on the opposite
side of the road to the church and the rectory. It is not so extensive
as Tatton or Lyme, but it is equal to either for sylvan beauty and
the charming views it affords. The rising grounds that extend in the
direction of the Edge are clothed with a thick umbrage, the tall
"patrician trees" mingling with the "plebeian underwood;" many of the
older denizens of the wood are curled and distorted into all sorts of
weird shapes, and bear the marks of the rough warfare they have had
for ages to wage against the elements. Here and there pleasant vistas
open out and from the high ground you can look over the fairest portion
of the Vale Royal of England, over miles and miles of woodland and
pastures and green fields, dotted at intervals with old farm houses
and still older churches, a prospect such as no other country but our
own can show, and which many a wanderer in distant lands would give a
year of his life to see again. It is thoroughly pastoral in character,
and imparts an undefinable sensation of quietude and rest, suggesting
the idea of eternal tranquillity and peace. The view is charming at all
seasons, but never more so than in the spring-time, when the trees have
put on their fresh leafage, when the air is laden with the sweet odours
of the scented thorn, and the thrush and the blackbird pour forth their
melodious notes as if to make perfect the charm and witchery of our
English scenery.

From among the time-worn fathers of the grove a little rindle winds
its way with many a curve and sinuosity until it empties itself in a
broad lake, formerly called Radnor Mere, but now more commonly known as
Alderley Mere--a relic, so tradition affirms, of the great lake that in
pre-historic times is believed to have extended as far as High Legh, a
dozen miles or so away, and of which Tatton Mere, Rostherne Mere, and
Mere Mere formed a part. But the glory of the park is the beech wood
which reaches down almost to the edge of the mere; it was planted, so
the local chroniclers tell us, more than a couple of centuries ago by
Sir Thomas Stanley, the first baronet, who obtained a supply of beech
mast from his father-in-law's grounds at Kyre, in Worcestershire,
the tree being then uncommon in Cheshire. Possibly he was influenced
by the advice which John Evelyn about that time had been giving in
his "Discourse of Forest Trees," and desired to supply his tenantry
with stuffing for their beds. The author of "Sylva" says:--"But there
is yet another benefit which this tree (the beech) presents us; its
very leaves, which make a natural and most agreeable canopy all the
summer, being gathered about the fall, and somewhat before they are
much frost-bitten, afford the best and easiest mattresses in the world
to lay under our quilts instead of straw, because, besides their
tenderness and loose lying together, they continue sweet for seven or
eight years, long before which time straw becomes musty and hard." It
would be interesting to know if the primitive custom to which Evelyn
referred continues in any part of rural England at the present day, or
if it has been entirely discarded. More stately trees than the Alderley
beeches we have seldom seen in any part of the country; they stand
thick in the background, giving a forest-like character to the scene,
and the pathways that wind beneath them in a wild and wandering sort of
way afford as delightful a sylvan walk as the foot of man can tread.
The dead leaves lie the whole year round upon the turf, and overhead
the branches meet in a verdant canopy, imparting a mysterious gloom
that seems like a perpetual twilight. No one who longs for seclusion
needs "fly to a lodge in some vast wilderness," for here he may wander
for a day without the sound of a fellow mortal to disturb him or
hearing any footfall but his own, and can, if so disposed, realise the
full meaning of the words--

    One impulse from a vernal wood
      Will teach thee more of man,
    Of moral evil, and of good
      Than all the sages can.

Well do we remember a summer evening's saunter through the park and the
old beech wood in the pleasant companionship of the worthy rector of
Alderley, beguiling the time with cheerful chat.

    'Twas Summer tide; the eve was sweet
      As mortal eye has e'er beholden;
    The grass look'd warm with sunny heat;
    Perhaps some Fairy's glowing feet
      Had lightly touch'd and left it golden.

Entering by a gate near the old corn-mill we struck across the park
in an easterly direction and soon reached the edge of the wood, from
which there is a good view of the hall and the old deer house, with the
mere in front, feathered down almost to the water's edge with stately
trees. The wilder parts of the grounds are alive with rabbits, and as
we strode over the green sward they started up from the fern and the
thick grass and scampered off to their warrens in all directions; but
no other sign of life was visible, and, save that now and then we could
hear the distant croaking of the corn-crake and the thrush chanting a
requiem to the departing day from a neighbouring copse, even the birds
seemed to have sunk to rest in their foliaged homes. The woods were
in the fulness of their summer verdure, displaying a thousand varied
tints of green and yellow; to the right we could see the great plain of
Cheshire stretching away towards the Frodsham hills and the estuary of
the Dee, the green meadow-breadths looking almost golden in the sunset
sheen. A warm aërial haze suffused itself over the landscape, softening
into beauty every object; the breeze which so lately frolicked through
the trees had died away, and the wide mere lay spread before us calm,
and still, and bright as a mirror, while its surface, unruffled by a
single ripple, gave back with wonderful minuteness the outline of the
plumy woods, the amber radiance of the sky, and the moving forms of
the reeds and water flags that fringe its margin; the effect being
heightened as now and then a shaft of ruddy light quivered through the
foliage and shed an almost unearthly splendour upon the water.

            No stir of air was there,
    Not so much life as on a summer day
    Robs not one light seed from the feather'd grass,
    But where the dead leaf fell there did it rest.

That scene has been so exquisitely described in the "Journal" of
Catherine Stanley that we are tempted to transcribe it:--

 The purplish brown of the wood rising above the softened reflection
 of it in the water, and a few touches of brighter brown in the shrubs
 and ferns near the edge; the boathouse relieved by the dark wood
 behind it; a line of yellowish brown reeds breaking the reflection of
 it in the water, and another still brighter yellow-and-brown island
 coming immediately before it; the soft blue haze spread over the water
 and softening the reflected outlines of the wood without weakening
 the effect, contrasted here and there with the vivid and determinate
 outline of a few leaves or weeds lying on the surface of the water;
 the scene enlivened now and then by a wild duck darting from the reeds
 across the lake, making a flutter and foam before her, and leaving a
 line of clear light behind her on her path, her wild cry distinctly
 echoed from the wood and deerhouse together--such a simplicity yet
 variety of tint, such a force of effect, and such a softness of shade
 and colour! Artists, one and all, hide your diminished heads!

The home of the Stanleys is a stone building of no great antiquity and
very little architectural merit, and, considering the many advantageous
sites the park affords, has been placed with a singular disregard for
the charms of situation. Until 1779 the family resided at the old
hall near the church, but in the spring of that year it was burnt
down, and until the present mansion was built they were obliged to
take up their abode at the Park House, a tenement formerly part of
the estates held in Alderley by the Abbey of Dieulacres, near Leek.
The Hon. Miss Stanley, in her description of "Alderley Edge and its
Neighbourhood," says: "The old hall of Alderley was burnt down in the
spring of the year 1779. Sir John Stanley was absent at the time;
he was on the road home, returning from Chester, where he had gone
the day before--he arrived when the whole was nearly consumed--very
little of the furniture was saved. It was never known how the fire
originated. The house stood in the village of Alderley, close to the
mill. It was surrounded by a moat spreading out into a large sheet of
water on the east side, and on the west filling a channel cut out of
the solid rock. When the house was burnt, it consisted of three sides
of (comparatively speaking) a modern built mansion, a large hall of an
older date occupying the other side, and offices behind the hall. A
handsome stone bridge of two arches crossed the moat from the ground
entrance and west side to a stone terrace, which commanded views of
the Park, the church, and the plain of Cheshire, and by a flight of
steps led to a handsome stone arched gateway close to the road, built
by Sir Thomas, the first Baronet." The inscription on the tombstone
in Alderley church of Sir Thomas Stanley, who died in 1591, says: "He
rebuilt the houses of Alderley and Weever," from which it is evident
there was a still earlier mansion upon the site; the house he erected
was doubtless the "large hall of an older date" referred to by Miss
Stanley, the other portions of the building having been added about the
beginning of the last century. The two end pillars, bearing the crest
of the Stanleys--the eagle and child--with a portion of the wall, may
be seen abutting upon the roadside; but, with these exceptions, not a
vestige of the old mansion remains.

The connection of the Stanleys with Alderley dates back about four
hundred and fifty years or thereabouts, when the estate was acquired
by the marriage of John Stanley, a brother of the first Earl of Derby,
with Elizabeth, the daughter and heiress of Thomas Weever, of Weever
and Alderley. This John's father, Sir Thomas Stanley, of Lathom, after
serving as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, emerged from among the country
gentlemen as Lord Stanley, and was made controller of the household of
the "meek usurper," Henry VI., when, in consideration of his services,
he had granted to him by favour of the King the wardship and marriage
of Thomas Weever's heiress, and he, with commendable care for the
worldly well-being of his younger son, bestowed the lady and her lands
upon him.

The house of Stanley, which ranks among the greatest of our governing
families, is one of the most ancient as it is one of the most
distinguished in the page of history, comprising at the present day, in
addition to the baronetcy enjoyed by the elder line--the Stanleys, of
Hooton in Wirral--two peerages, the Earldom of Derby of Knowsley, in
Lancashire, and the Barony of Stanley of Alderley, in Cheshire, besides
the younger branches in Staffordshire, Sussex, Kent, and Hertfordshire.
The first known ancestor was one Adam de Aldithlegh, so named from
his paternal estate of Audithlegh, in Normandy, who came over with
William the Conqueror. Acquitting himself bravely on the field of
Hastings, he was rewarded with large territorial estates in the newly
conquered country. He was accompanied in the expedition by his two
sons, Lydulph or Lyulph and Adam de Aldithlegh. These sons married, and
in due course two grandsons were born to the old Norman warrior, both
of whom married into a Saxon family of noble rank and ancient lineage,
which had been fortunate enough to retain possession of its estates,
while confiscation had been the lot of those around it. The family
derived its name from the manor of Stanley or Stoneley, the stony lea
or stony field according to the Anglo-Saxon meaning, a little hamlet
lying about three miles south-west of the small manufacturing town of
Leek, in Staffordshire, a place which, Erdswick, the old topographer,
remarks "seems to take its name of the nature of the soil, which,
though it be in the moorlands, is yet a rough and stony place, and many
craggy rocks are about it." One of the grandsons, Adam, the son of
Lyulph de Audithlegh, became in right of his wife lord of Stanley, and
was ancestor of the Lord Audley of ancient times, and is represented
through the female line by the Touchets, Lords Audley of the present
day. The other grandson, William, the son of Adam de Audithlegh,
acquired with his wife the lordship of Thalck, better known as Talk o'
th' Hill, in the same county. This William seems to have conceived a
liking for the stony lea before referred to, and exchanged his lordship
of Talk with his cousin for it. Thenceforward he made Stanley his
seat, and, as the old chronicles tell us, in honour of his wife and of
the great antiquity of her family, assumed her maiden name and became
immediate founder of the Stanleys, a race the most illustrious in the
country's annals, and associated with the most stirring events of
history.

Sir William Stanley, the fourth in descent from the William who first
assumed the name, gave an impetus to the fortunes of the family by
one of those matrimonial alliances to which the house of Stanley owes
so much of its prosperity. He took to himself a wife in the person of
Joan, the youthful daughter and co-heir of Sir Philip Bamville, master
forester of Wirral, and lord of Storeton, a place some few miles south
of Birkenhead.

Associated with this match is a love story that in its romantic
incidents is scarcely less interesting than the one related of the
fair heiress of Haddon, Dorothy Vernon. The daughter of the house
of Storeton had given her heart to young Stanley, and to escape the
misery of a forced marriage with one for whom she had no love she
determined to elope. While a banquet was being given to her father,
she stole unobserved away, and, being joined by young William Stanley,
the anxious lovers rode swiftly across the country to Astbury Church,
and there, in the presence of Adam Hoton and Dawe Coupelond, plighted
their troth to each other. Six hundred years have rolled away since
that scene was enacted, but it requires little stretch of the
imagination to picture the resolute maiden hastening with tremulous
steps from her father's house, the exciting ride across country, and
the hurried joining of hands and hearts in the old church at Astbury,
and forgetting that all this occurred long ages ago, we wish from our
hearts all happiness to the pair. The story is no mere legend, for
the facts are to be found in those musty and unromantic records, the
Cheshire Inquisitions, which have been unearthed, and their contents
made accessible to the world, by the Deputy Keeper of the Public
Records. In a return to a writ of enquiry as to the betrothal of
William Stanley, the Inquisition sets forth--

 That on the Sunday after the Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle and
 Evangelist, two years ago, viz., on the 27th September, 1282, Philip
 de Bamville, with his wife and family, was at a banquet given by
 Master John de Stanley (an ecclesiastic apparently, priests at
 that time who had an academical degree being entitled to be called
 master), on which occasion Joan (Bamville), suspecting that her father
 intended to marry her to her step-mother's son, took means to avoid
 it by repairing with William de Stanley to Astbury Church, where they
 uttered the following mutual promise, he saying, "Joan, I plight thee
 my troth to take and hold thee as my lawful wife until my life's end,"
 and she replying, "I Joan take thee William as my lawful husband." The
 witnesses were Adam de Hoton and Dawe de Coupelond.

By this marriage William Stanley became owner of one-third of the manor
of Storeton (the remaining two-thirds he subsequently acquired), and
also the hereditary bailiwick or chief rangership of the Forest of
Wirral, which then overspread the peninsula lying between the estuaries
of the Mersey and the Dee, and which was so thickly wooded that,
according to the old saying:--

    From Blacon point to Hilbree
    A squirrel may leap from tree to tree.

After this marriage the Stanleys migrated from the Stony-lea in
Staffordshire to their newly acquired home in Cheshire, and at the same
time Sir William, in allusion to his office of hereditary forester
of Wirral, assumed the arms which have ever since been used by his
descendants in place of those borne by his ancestors, viz., _argent_,
on a bend _azure_, three bucks' heads caboshed _or_; in other words,
over a shield of silver a belt of blue crossed diagonally with three
bucks' heads displayed thereon.

Another and still more important addition was made to the patrimonial
lands of the Stanleys through the marriage of Sir William de Stanley,
the fourth in direct descent from the first of the name who held the
forestership of Wirral, with Margery, only daughter and heir of Sir
William de Hooton of Hooton, a township midway between Chester and
Birkenhead, and occupying one of the most delightful situations which
the banks of the estuary can boast, commanding, as Ormerod says, "a
peculiarly beautiful view of the Forest Hills, the bend of the Mersey,
and the opposite shore of Hale, and shaded with venerable oaks which
the Wirral breezes have elsewhere rarely afforded." From this marriage
descended the Stanleys of Hooton and their offshoots, among whom may
be mentioned that Sir William Stanley who, in the reign of Elizabeth,
betrayed the trust committed to him by the English Government in the
base surrender of Deventer to the King of Spain.

The younger line of the Stanleys, with whose fortunes we are more
immediately concerned, commences properly with a younger brother of
Sir William Stanley of Hooton, Sir John Stanley, who married Isabel,
the daughter and sole heir of Sir Thomas Lathom, lord of Lathom,
whose ancestress had also been heir of Sir Thomas de Knowsley, lord
of Knowsley, and who thus, in right of his wife, became master of the
extensive estates around which his descendants' princely property has
accreted. By the marriage with the heiress of Bamville the Stanleys
acquired the three bucks' heads which have continued ever since to
be the distinguishing charge on their heraldic coat; and in like
manner, by the marriage with the heiress of Lathom, they obtained
the remarkable crest which to the present day continues to surmount
their arms, the well-known Eagle and Child, in heraldic language
described as--on a chapeau _gules_ turned up ermine, an eagle with
wings elevated _or_, preying upon an infant swaddled of the first,
banded _argent_. Many are the stories that are told respecting Sir
John's elopement with the heiress of Lathom, and great is the amount
of legendary lore that gathers round the crest which he adopted in her
honour. The tradition has often been related, and the curious who wish
to know more respecting it will find much interesting information in
the _Miscellanea Palatina_ (1851) and in a contribution to Nichol's
_Collectanea_ by the learned historian of Cheshire. The greatness of
the Stanleys may be said to have commenced with Sir John--a cool,
shrewd, and efficient man--who in his lifetime raised the family
from the rank of simple country gentlemen. We need not recount all
the honours and distinctions bestowed, or the steady shower of royal
benefactions that descended upon him. A knight _sans peur et sans
reproche_, he was a rare instance of a courtier who could carry himself
through four successive reigns with ever increasing prosperity--and
without once sustaining a reverse. His eldest son, Sir John Stanley,
fully sustained the dignity of the family, and his grandson, Sir
Thomas, in whose person the elevation of the Stanleys to the peerage
took place, increased it. But it remained for the son of the last-named
Sir Thomas to carry the fortunes of the house to heights before
unknown. Living in an age when the spirit of chivalry had given place
to a policy of subtlety and success depending less on strength of arm
than astuteness of head, he ran a career of successful faithlessness
that has scarcely a parallel in English history. Looking always to his
own interest, fighting always for his own hand, and changing sides
at his own discretion, but always changing to the dominant party, he
received as the reward of his consummate tact enormous royal grants
which went to swell the originally great possessions of his house; and,
finally, by the boldest and most adroit stroke of his whole life--when
the rival Roses met on the field of Bosworth and he had beguiled both
combatants with promises of sympathy, after the fate of the battle
was decided he went over to the side of the victor, and completed his
services by placing the battered crown of the vanquished Richard upon
the brow of the triumphant Richmond, exclaiming--

    Courageous Richmond, well hast thou acquit thee!
    Lo, here, this long-usurped royalty,
    From the dead temples of this bloody wretch
    Have I plucked off, to grace thy brows withal;
    Wear it, enjoy it, and make much of it.

Thus Thomas Stanley earned for himself and his descendants the Earldom
of Derby. Through his eldest son, George Lord Strange, who succeeded
to the title, Thomas, Earl of Derby, was progenitor of a race of
illustrious men, conspicuous among whom were James, the "Martyr Earl,"
distinguished for his attachment to the Royal cause during the Civil
Wars, and the eminent statesman of more recent times, Edward Geoffrey
Smith-Stanley, 14th earl, who died in 1869--the father of the present
holder of the title.

The Stanleys of Alderley trace their descent from John, a younger
brother of Thomas the first Earl, who became possessed of the manor
of Alderley by his marriage with the heiress of Thomas Weever, lord
of Weever and Alderley. When Duke William of Normandy parcelled out
the land in the newly-conquered country among his faithful followers
Alderley fell to the share of William Fitz Nigel, the builder and
fortifier of Halton Castle, and was held by him as of his manor of
Halton. In 1294 he granted Over Alderley to one Roger Throsle, who
in turn gave it as a marriage portion to his daughter Margery when
she became the wife of Edmund Downes. Subsequently it passed into the
possession of the Ardernes, who held it for two or three generations.
Peter de Arderne, the last male representative of this line, had an
only surviving daughter, the heiress of all his lands; wishing in
his life-time to secure a suitable match for her he, in the reign of
Edward III., purchased from Sir John de Arderne, lord of Aldford and
the paramount lord of Weever, the wardship and marriage of Richard,
son and heir of Thomas de Weever, paying for the same 40 marks (£26
13s. 4d.), an investment he turned to profitable account by marrying
his young ward to his daughter. In this way the estates of Weever
and Alderley became united, and so they continued until the reign of
Henry VI. In 1445 Thomas de Weever, the great-grandson of Richard de
Weever and Margaret Arderne his wife, died, leaving an only daughter,
Elizabeth, who thus became heiress of the lands in Weever and Alderley.
Being under age at the time of her father's death she became a ward of
the King, and he, as previously mentioned, gave the disposal of her in
marriage to his favourite, Thomas, the first Lord Stanley, who made
the most of his opportunity by marrying her to his third son, Thomas
Stanley, thus securing for him and his descendants a very handsome
patrimony, embracing the manor of Weever and the lands in Over and
Nether Alderley, &c.. Weever remained in their possession until 1710,
when it passed by sale to the Wilbrahams of Townsend, now represented
by George Fortescue Wilbraham, Esq., of Delamere House, but Alderley
was retained and still continues the chief residence of the family, who
have held it in continuous succession for a period of more than four
hundred years.

It is not our purpose to trace the descent of the Stanleys through
successive generations, we therefore pass over the history of the
ancient house to the time of Sir Thomas Stanley, the sixth in direct
descent from John Stanley, who married the heiress of Weever, and the
one who added a baronetcy to the honours of the Alderley line--an
interval of nearly two centuries, during which time the family
estates had been largely increased, partly from the possessions of
the dissolved abbey of Dieulacres, and partly from lands acquired
at different times through prudent marriages, as evidenced by the
Inquisition taken in 1606, after the death of Sir Thomas Stanley,
Knight, who had married the heiress of Sir Peter Warburton of Grafton,
Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and which shows that at his
decease he held the manors of Weever, Over Alderley, Nether Alderley,
Clive, Little Meols, and Pulton Launcelyn; and lands in those and the
following places: Barretspool, Wimbaldesley, Stanthorne, Spittle,
Middlewich, Rushton, Bredbury, Upton near Macclesfield, Chorley, Hough,
Warford, Chelford, Astle, Birtles, Mobberley, Ollerton, Torkington,
Offerton, Norbury, Occleston, Sutton, &c., all in the county of
Chester. This Thomas, who had been knighted by James I. while at
Worksop Manor on his progress towards London, after the death of
Elizabeth, a journey during which he shed the honours of knighthood on
no less than two hundred and thirty-seven gentlemen who were presented
to him, was succeeded by his eldest son, Thomas Stanley, who was only
eight years of age at the time of the father's death.

Shortly after he came of age Thomas Stanley married Elizabeth,
daughter of Sir James Pytts, of Kyre, in Worcestershire, and in 1634
he was honoured with the shrievalty of his native county. The time
was an anxious one. It was the year preceding the arbitrary levy of
ship-money, when the storm was gathering that ere long was to break
with such disastrous force upon the head of the ill-fated Charles. When
the sword was drawn the head of the Alderley Stanleys ranged himself
on the side of those who contended for the privileges of Parliament in
opposition to Kingly prerogative, and who were resolved upon upholding
the bulwark of the national liberties; he does not appear, however, to
have engaged in any of the great military enterprises which marked that
stirring period, the help he rendered to the cause being limited in a
great measure to the discharge of the civil functions which devolved
upon him as a magistrate, and in the performance of which he was very
zealous and energetic. His name is of frequent occurrence in the church
books in his own part of the county, and when, during the time of the
Usurpation, marriage, as a religious ceremony, was forbidden by the
law, and transformed into a civil contract to be entered into before
a justice of the peace, Mr. Stanley appears to have been one of the
magistrates most frequently performing the office. Though a staunch
Puritan, he can hardly be said to have been a violent supporter of the
party, and except in the assiduous discharge of his magisterial office
he took little part in the events that were then transpiring. Possibly
it was the moderation shown in those exciting times that led to his
being one of the Cheshire gentlemen selected for a baronetcy on the
occasion of the Restoration of Charles II., and curiously enough his
name appears first on the list from the county on whom that dignity was
conferred. The hall at Weever had up to this time been the principal
residence of the family. Some time before 1640 Thomas Stanley added
to his possessions by the purchase of Chorley Hall, an old mansion of
the Davenports, in Wilmslow parish; afterwards he greatly improved
the ancestral home at Alderley, and erected in front of it a handsome
stone-arched gateway, two of the pillars of which may still be seen in
the wall bordering the roadside; it is said that he also planted the
beech woods bordering upon the Mere, which now form such a pleasant
adjunct of the park.

Until the present century the succeeding generations of the Stanleys
took little active interest in national affairs, preferring the
quieter and less exciting life of country gentlemen, passing much of
their time in Cheshire improving their estates, and spending much of
their leisure in the indulgence of their literary tastes. Sir Peter
Stanley, who succeeded as second baronet on the death of his father,
Sir Thomas, in 1672, served the office of sheriff in 1678. He died in
1683, having had by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Leigh of
Northcourt, in the Isle of Wight, two sons and seven daughters. Thomas
Stanley, the eldest son, who succeeded to the barony and estates, was
born at Alderley on the 25th March, 1652, and baptized there on the
15th April following. He added to the family estates by his marriage
with Christiana, daughter and heiress of Sir Stephen Leonard, of
West Wickham, Kent, Bart. During his time the old hall of Weever, a
half-timbered mansion, pleasantly situated on an acclivity that rises
from the banks of the river of the same name, and which had come into
the possession of the Stanleys as early as the reign of Henry VI., and
been their principal residence until 1660 or thereabouts, was sold,
the purchaser being Randle Wilbraham, of Townshend, direct ancestor
of the Wilbrahams of Delamere House. Lady Stanley, who died February
16, 1711-12, bore him in addition to two daughters, both of whom died
unmarried, two sons, who in turn succeeded to the honours and estates
of the family. Sir Thomas Stanley died at West Wickham in 1721,
when the eldest of his two sons, James Stanley, succeeded as heir.
He married in November, 1740, Frances, youngest daughter of George
Butler, of Ballyragget, in the county Kilkenny, in Ireland, but by her
had no issue. He seems to have been a somewhat eccentric personage, if
we may judge from a remark made by Miss Stanley. She says, quoting from
the recollections of John Finlow, an old retainer of the family, that
"Sir James used to drive up to the Edge almost daily in his carriage
drawn by four black long-tailed mares, always accompanied by a running
footman of the name of Critchley." She adds that her informant, Finlow,
was a lad then, and used to get up behind the carriage. Notwithstanding
his little foibles the old baronet is represented as having been of a
remarkably mild and placid temperament, a character that seems to be
borne out by some lines he is believed to have written, and which were
found among his papers after his death--

    The grace of God and a quiet life,
    A mind content, and an honest wife,
    A good report and a friend in store,
    What need a man to wish for more.

Sir James Stanley died March 17th, 1746-7, when the baronetcy as well
as the patrimonial lands devolved upon his younger brother, Edward, who
succeeded as fifth baronet. He did not, however, long enjoy possession
of the estates, for in 1755, while returning from Adlington, where he
had been on a visit to Charles Legh, he was suddenly seized with a fit
of apoplexy, and died in his carriage before he could be conveyed home.
By his marriage with Mary, daughter of Thomas Ward, a wealthy banker,
of London, who survived him and died at Bath in 1771, he had two sons,
James Stanley, who died in infancy, and John Thomas, born 26th March,
1735, who succeeded as sixth baronet. He was in his twenty-first year
at the time of his father's decease, and married in April, 1763,
Margaret, daughter and heiress of Hugh Owen, of Penrhos, in Anglesey,
a well-wooded estate, about a mile from the town and harbour of
Holyhead. When he came into possession of the family estates the steep
rocky promontory known as the Edge, and with which every Manchester
holiday-maker is familiar, was a wild dreary common, without any sign
of cultivation, except the few clumps of hardy fir trees which had been
planted by his father and by his uncle, Sir James Stanley, between the
years 1745 and 1755. It is recorded that in 1799 he enclosed the Edge,
with other waste lands on the estate, and, at the same time repaired
or rebuilt the old Beacon which had been in existence from the time of
Elizabeth, if not from a still earlier date, and which was then in a
state of decay, covering in the square chamber with the pyramidal roof
which, until it became obscured by the thick umbrage around, made it
one of the chief landmarks in Cheshire.

Sir John Thomas Stanley died in London, November 29th, 1807, and
was buried at South Audley. By his wife, who survived him, and died
February 1st, 1816, he had a numerous family--two sons and five
daughters. Of the sons, the eldest, born November 26th, 1766, and named
after himself, succeeded as seventh baronet, and in 1839 was elevated
to the peerage by the title of Baron Stanley of Alderley. The other
son, Edward, the youngest of seven children, was born at his father's
residence in London, January 1st, 1779.

While the baronetcy and the broad lands of Alderley were reserved for
the eldest son of Sir John Thomas Stanley, the family living--the
rectory and the pleasant old rectory house--was the portion that
Edward, the youngest son, could look forward to, for the Stanleys were
then, as now, patrons of the church, as well as lords of the manor of
Alderley.

The future rector, as we have seen, first saw the light on New Year's
Day, 1779. He was born at his father's residence in London, and
his birth and baptism are thus recorded in the church register at
Alderley:--

 1779. Feb. 21.--Edward, son of Sir John Thomas Stanley and Margaret,
 Lady Stanley, was born in the parish of St. George's, Hanover Square,
 co. Middlesex, the 1st of January, 1779, and baptized on the 31st of
 the same month (by the Rev. Ralph Carr, rector of Alderley) at Sir
 John's house, in the said parish of St. George's.

Though born, as it were, to the prospect of taking Holy Orders, Edward
Stanley's sanguine temperament, his love of adventure and spirit of
enterprise, led him in early years to long for the excitement and the
perils of a naval life, a passion that is said to have been inspired
by a visit he made, when a child of three or four years, to Weymouth,
where he first saw an English man-of-war. Though the boyish fancy was
overruled by circumstances beyond his own control, the impression made
upon his mind was never eradicated, and his enthusiastic love for a
profession from which he was excluded remained and gave a colour to his
whole after life. As his son in later years observed, "the sight of a
ship, the society of sailors, the embarkation on a voyage, were always
sufficient to inspire and delight him wherever he might be."

A bright, happy, eager childhood seems to have been his. Of amiable
disposition, with a cheerful flow of animal spirits, fertility of
resource, activity of mind and body, and an exuberance of boyish
mirth and daring, he carried with him into the active business of
life those natural characteristics which enabled him, when he had
attained to manhood, to overcome whatever difficulties might beset
his path--characteristics that were especially useful to him when he
entered upon his University career, for it can hardly be said that
up to that time his education and training were such as to specially
fit him for the sacred calling in which he was to find his vocation,
or such as were ordinarily given to boys destined for the Church. His
early life was passed in a succession of removals from one private
school or tutor to another; subsequently he was placed in the Grammar
School at Macclesfield, under the Rev. Dr. Inglis, whose classical
attainments had earned for the school a high reputation in the
Universities. In 1798 he entered at St John's College, Cambridge, to
find, however, that he had to begin his course of study almost from
the very foundation. Dean Stanley, in his "Memoirs," to which we are
indebted for many interesting particulars of his life, says: "Of Greek
he was entirely, of Latin almost entirely, ignorant; and of mathematics
he knew only what he had acquired at one of the private schools where
he had been placed when quite a child." His earnest application and
indomitable perseverance, however, soon enabled him to make up for
these deficiencies, and to make such progress that in 1802 he appeared
as 16th Wrangler in the mathematical tripos. Of him it might with truth
be said that "he applied his heart to know, and to search, and to seek
out wisdom," and we might almost fancy him to have been the subject of
the portrait of an English clergyman which a Fellow of his own college,
W. Mackworth Praed, drew with such a skilful hand--

    Sit in the Vicar's seat: you'll hear
      The doctrine of a _gentle Johnian_,
    Whose hand is white, whose tone is clear,
      Whose phrase is very Ciceronian.

He cherished a grateful recollection of the advantages he gained from
his academic course at Cambridge, and his affection for his _alma
mater_ was shown in the spirited letter he addressed to a local journal
when, a generation later, an attack was made upon the University by Mr.
Beverley. "I can never," he says, "be sufficiently grateful for the
benefits I received within those college walls; and to the last hour
of my life I shall feel a deep sense of thankfulness to those tutors
and authorities for the effects of that discipline and invaluable
course of study which rescued me from ignorance, and infused an abiding
thirst for knowledge, the means of intellectual enjoyment, and those
habits and principles which have not only been an enduring source of
personal gratification, but tended much to qualify me, from the period
of my taking orders to the present day, for performing the duties of an
extensive parish."

Having taken his B.A., he made a Continental tour, visiting
Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. On his return he was admitted
to Holy Orders and ordained to the curacy of Windleshaw, in Surrey,
where he remained for about three years, when the rectory of Alderley
became vacant, by the resignation of the Rev. Ralph Carr, who had held
it for the long period of forty-three years, the greater part of which
time he had been non-resident. This was in 1805--the year in which
he proceeded to his degree of M.A.--and he was then presented by his
father to the vacant living and inducted November 15th.

Though little of his early life had been passed at Alderley, the place
was endeared to him by many family associations, and from his first
entering upon the ministerial office the ardent desire of his heart
was to do something for the people, who, through the apathy and long
continued absence of his predecessor, had been as sheep having no
shepherd.

At that time the religious life of England was at a very low ebb;
ministerial neglect was the rule rather than the exception, and the
conduct of the clergy generally was not regulated by any very high
standard of morality or excellence. Among the changes that have been
wrought in our national institutions during the present century none
have been more remarkable than those in the Church--not in its abstract
constitution, but in the character and conduct of its ministers. The
clerical "lights of other days" shone but dimly. Those who resided
upon their benefices were content to spend their days in an easy
hand-in-glove kind of association with their people, but seldom or
never rose above the ordinary routine of the stated services of the
Church. With the wise man they believed that "in much study is a
weariness of the flesh," and to avoid that "weariness" they were
wont to give more time to the foxes than to the Fathers. The typical
clergyman of eighty years ago preferred conviviality to controversy;
he was more concerned about his pigs than his preaching, and dreaded
distemper in his herd a great deal more than he did dissent in his
flock. Alderley was no exception to the general condition of the
country, and many are the stories of clerical shortcomings that still
linger in the memory of the older inhabitants. Rector Carr had made it
his boast that he "never set a foot in a sick person's cottage," and it
is related that when service was held in the church "the clerk used to
go to the churchyard stile to see whether there were any more coming to
church, for there were seldom enough to make a congregation."

A parish which had remained so long in a state of spiritual torpor
presented many difficulties to a new comer filled with a desire to
promote the well-being of his people, and whose creed was--

    Of hope, and virtue, and affection full.

Surrounded by so much ignorance and indifference the enthusiasm of his
fervent spirit was enkindled, and his ardent nature, combined with his
strong sense of duty, acted as an incentive, and increased the desire
to minister to the wants, both temporal and spiritual, of his flock,
and faithfully to fulfil the sacred trust committed to him in his
parochial cure. But those among whom he was called to minister were
untaught in the first rudiments of the Christian faith, and upon ground
so unprepared it was clear that the seed of the Word read and preached
in the church, and the services of the liturgy, however reverently
said or sung, could profit little, and that it was only by clothing
his thoughts in language suited to their capacity--by giving in the
plainest words such simple instruction as should touch their hearts,
and by a kindly sympathy in all their concerns that he could hope to
become "a father and a leader" to his hitherto neglected parishioners,
and sustain among them a higher standard of conduct than was then
common among an agricultural population. To be, in short--

    A pastor such as Chaucer's verse portrays;
    Such as the heaven-taught skill of Herbert drew;
    And tender Goldsmith crown'd with deathless praise.

With him duty seemed to be a delight, and piety an instinct; though
among the indolent, easy-going divines of the old school, in whom the
true liturgical teaching of the Church had withered down into a mere
lifeless form, his unwearying devotion to the charge committed to
his care was looked upon as only the fervid zeal of an enthusiastic
visionary.

Edward Stanley had nearly completed his twenty-seventh year when he
entered upon his ministry at Alderley. In his twenty-ninth year he
became engaged to the lady who may with truth be said to have been
the sunshine of his heart, who took an unfailing interest and pride
in his labours, and who was his constant stay and support through
life--Catherine Leycester, the eldest of the two daughters of the Rev.
Oswald Leycester, at the time rector of Stoke-upon-Terne, but who, in
Edward Stanley's boyhood, had been curate of Alderley, a position he
resigned on being presented by his brother, George Leycester, to the
living of the neighbouring church of Knutsford. They were married in
1810, as Maria Leycester in her family notes, transcribed in "Memorials
of a Quiet Life," thus records: "On the 8th of May, 1810, my sister
was married in Stoke Church, to Edward Stanley, Rector of Alderley.
Upon her marriage I left Leighton Cottage, and until my mother's
death I remained at home. My father gave me lessons in--it must be
confessed--_bad_ French and Italian, but it was my sister who still
directed my studies by letter, constantly sending me questions on the
books which I read, and expecting me to write her the answers....
Edward Stanley was to me the kindest of brothers, and great was the
amusement he gave by the playful verses he wrote to please me."

The Leycesters of Toft, of which house Oswald Leycester was a younger
son, were an offshoot of the Leycesters of Tabley, now represented
by Lord de Tabley. The family held high rank among the Cheshire
squirearchy, and between them and the Stanleys a friendship had
long existed, the intimacy being increased by near neighbourship,
for Toft, their ancestral home--a charmingly situated manor-house,
where, before his removal to Stoke, Oswald Leycester resided with
his widowed mother--was only a few miles distant, and a continuous
intercourse was kept up between the two families. "My great delight,"
wrote Maria Leycester, "was to go to Alderley Park and play with the
'Miss Stanleys;' and it was a joy when, standing by the breakfast
table, I heard it settled that the carriage was to be ordered to go
to Alderley, and that I was to be of the party." The Leycesters could
boast a lineage as ancient as that of the Stanleys, and through the
Tofts, whose estates they had acquired by marriage with a heiress of
that family in the reign of Richard II., were able to trace their
descent from Gunnora, Duchess of Normandy, the grandmother of William
the Conqueror.

Edward Stanley was approaching his thirty-second year at the time of
his marriage--his wife had then just passed her nineteenth birthday.
But, young as she was, she had, owing to the delicate health of her
mother, been taught, almost from the time of leaving school, to think
and act for herself, and had had moreover the responsibility cast
upon her of educating her younger sister, Maria Leycester. "Hers was
a porcelain understanding," said Sydney Smith; her journal and the
letters written in her earlier life give a true reflex of her mind,
and justify the remark of her son that "there was a quiet wisdom, a
rare usefulness, a calm discrimination, a firm decision, which made her
judgment and her influence felt through the whole circle in which she
lived."

To the old rectory house at Alderley, Edward Stanley took his bride,
and in that happy home five children were brought up. Of the every-day
life in that household we get many pleasant glimpses in the journal of
Maria Leycester, to which reference has already been made. She writes
upon one occasion:--

 We live here (Alderley Rectory) in such perfect retirement and
 tranquillity that it is more like Stoke than Alderley, and I enjoy
 excessively the exemption from all interruption to the happiness of my
 life here. I believe you will not have any difficulty in imagining how
 great that happiness is, in the society of two people that one loves
 excessively, with children that are as interesting to one as if they
 were one's own, and with all the luxury of delicious spring weather
 (this was written May 10, 1819) in beech woods and green fields. I
 would defy you to tantalise me with the greatest temptations London
 could offer; as far as happiness, real _true_ happiness is concerned,
 nothing in London could present to me half as much as one perfectly
 retired uninterrupted day at Alderley.

In one of her letters to Miss Clinton, written from Stoke Rectory in
the early summer of 1825, she says:--

 That I have not written to you before you will easily understand to
 have arisen from my unwillingness to lose a single hour of my last
 days at Alderley. They were indeed very precious to me, and after
 staying there for four months uninterruptedly you may well imagine how
 painful it was to me to leave all those who were more than usually
 endeared to me by the comfort they had offered me during a time
 when nothing else could have pleased or interested. Certainly, too,
 altogether, with its inhabitants, its abundance of books, of drawing,
 liberty unrestrained, beautiful walks and rides and seats, luxuriance
 of flowers, and, in delicious weather, there cannot on earth be so
 perfect a paradise. During the hot weather we generally went on the
 mere--or rode in the evenings. Every morning, before breakfast, Lucy
 and I met in the wood at the old Moss House, where we spent an hour
 together, and Owen (Edward Stanley's eldest son) came to ferry me
 home. With so much around to interest and please me, I put away self
 as much as possible, and endeavoured as much as I could to enjoy the
 present. You know how dearly I love all those children, and it was
 such a pleasure to see them all so happy together. To be sure it would
 be singular if they were not different from other children, with
 the advantages they have, when education is made so interesting and
 amusing as it is to them.... While others of their age are plodding
 through the dull histories, of which they remember nothing, of
 unconnected countries and ages, K.'s (Katharine Stanley's) system is
 to take one particular era, perhaps, and upon the basis of the General
 History, pick out for them from different books all that bears upon
 that one subject, whether in memoirs or literature, making it at once
 an interesting study to herself and them.

The old rectory house at Alderley was not the home of the parson
only--it was, in a sense, the home of the parish, and became the
resort of all who were in trouble or difficulty, or who needed counsel
or assistance. The house was, as it were, thrown open, and every one
knew that in it they had a friend ready to listen to their little
grievances, and equally ready to remedy them where it was in his power
to do so--one who could "weep with them that wept, and rejoice with
them that rejoiced"--who had a kindly sympathy in all their concerns,
and could enter into their interests with the feelings of a father
and a friend. The good man's delight in ministering to the temporal
comforts of his people was extreme, and he took an especial pleasure
in drawing them around him, in order that he might turn any passing
circumstance to profitable account, and speak to them more familiarly
and more directly upon matters connected with the parish that might
be commented upon or set right. He preferred kneeling by the sick
bed in a cottage to the cushioned ease of a mansion, and a serious
conversation with the poor to the small talk of the drawing-room. It
was this feature in his ministerial career that left a never-fading
recollection in the minds of those he ministered to, and many a good
deed done in secret only came to light when he was removed to another
sphere of duty, and but for that removal would probably never have
been disclosed. Mounted upon his little black cob, he might be seen
daily going his rounds among his parishioners, advising them in their
difficulties, comforting them in their sorrows, and encouraging or
reproving them as he saw occasion. The sound of his horse's feet was
as music in the ears of the rustic cottagers, who would hasten to
their doors to greet his approach, while their children, with bobbing
courtesies, would stand in eager expectation of the "goodies" that
were sure to be the reward of those who were clean and tidy. "When
he entered a sick chamber," it was said, "he never failed to express
the joy which order and neatness gave him, or to reprove where he
found it otherwise," and whatever was proposed for the general good
was sure to receive his active support; he took so much trouble, the
people said, in whatever he did--never sparing himself in whatever he
took in hand. He felt that he was in a measure a temporal as well as a
spiritual guide, a leader and encourager of sobriety, good order, and
peacefulness, as well as a teacher of sound doctrine and an example of
Christian practice, and that his mission was rather to raise the rude
and uncultivated to his own level than to lower himself to theirs.

In those days pastoral life was not so charmingly innocent, nor the
Colins and Phoebes nearly so amiable and virtuous, as imaginative
poets and painters have pictured them to us. In Alderley, as in many
other places, drunkenness was the besetting sin; immorality, as a
matter of course, followed in its train; and what should have been a
kind of Arcadia was oftentimes the scene of riotous disorder. The good
rector spared no pains to repress the evil, and whenever he heard of
any drunken fight in the village he would, with the dash and daring
of an English sailor, hurry off to put a stop to it. It is related
that on one occasion word was brought to him that a riotous crowd had
assembled on the confines of his parish to witness a desperate prize
fight. "The whole field," so a rustic spectator described it, "was
filled, and all the trees round about, when in about a quarter of an
hour I saw the rector coming up the road on his little black horse as
quick as lightning, and I trembled for fear they should harm him. He
rode into the field, and just looked quick round (as if he thought the
same) to see who there was that would be on his side. But it was not
needed--he rode into the midst of the crowd, and in one moment it was
all over; there was a great calm; the blows stopped; it was as if they
would all have wished to cover themselves up in the earth--all from
the trees they dropped down directly--no one said a word, and all went
away humble." The following day he sent for the two men, but instead of
scolding he reasoned with them, and sent each away with a Bible in his
hand.

He was the centre from which whatever there was of spiritual life in
the parish emanated. Self-reliant, resolute and unwearied, but kind
and conciliatory, and withal cautious and discreet in his operations,
he exhibited a thoroughness of character that enabled him to exercise
a controlling influence over his charge, and his self-devotedness
was often gladdened by the sympathy and encouraged by the affection
of those whom he had won from the slavery of sin to the freedom of
Christian life. When he settled down with his young wife among the
scattered units that in the aggregate constituted his flock, he found
them for the most part sunk in ignorance, mental and moral; and the
parents, indifferent themselves, had allowed their children to grow up
in the same indifference. To reclaim the young, he set about gathering
them into the village schools, in the successful working of which he
ever manifested the deepest interest. Public elementary education had
then made but little progress, and the proverbial three R's, with
perhaps a dash of unintelligible geography and history, made up the
total of the knowledge usually imparted. Edward Stanley was far in
advance of many of his clerical brethren in the desire to place the
means of instruction within the reach of even the poorest classes of
society, as well as to improve the methods of conveying it; and his
zeal in this direction has been testified to by a former Chancellor of
the diocese of Chester, the Rev. Henry Raikes.

 "He was the first," said the Chancellor, "who distinctly saw and
 boldly advocated the advantages of general education for the lower
 classes. Schools had been founded; he had borne his part--and a
 most active part--in the first movement, but I think that he first
 set the example of the extent to which general knowledge might be
 communicated--and beneficially communicated--in a parochial school. I
 well remember the appearance," he says, "of the school at Alderley,
 where, in addition to the usual range of desks and books, the
 apparatus for gymnastic exercises was seen suspended from the roof.
 I remember the admiration excited at a lecture which he delivered in
 Chester, where he exhibited a 'hortus siccus' of the plants found in
 the parish, made by one of the girls in the school; and, though few
 or none did more than wonder at what was accomplished at Alderley, an
 impression was created that a large amount of useful secular knowledge
 might be added without any deduction from what would be considered the
 proper objects of a school."

His love of learning manifested itself in other ways. When half
a century ago the British Association had sprung into existence,
causing a flutter among Church dignitaries, who failed to see that
Christianity had everything to hope and nothing to fear from the
advancement of science, and very reverend deans were addressing letters
of remonstrance to its promoters on the "Dangers of Peripatetic
Philosophy," Edward Stanley courageously came forward as its advocate,
and was enrolled as one of its early vice-presidents. A one-sided
development of the mind was then the characteristic of the older
universities, and men often-times left college without a single idea
concerning the common things of every-day life or the slightest
knowledge of any of God's works. The rector of Alderley was in many
respects self-educated; dependent in a great measure upon his own
resources, he had discovered that dead literature could not be made the
parent of living science or active industry, and was one of the first
clergymen to direct popular attention to the wondrous history of the
stones of the field, the birds of the air, and the "gnats above the
summer stream." "The perversions of men," he was wont to say, "would
have made an infidel of him but for the counteracting impressions
of Divine Providence in the works of nature." Like Gilbert White, at
Selborne, he devoted much of his leisure in noting the instincts of
animals and the phenomena of ever-changing nature. Ornithology was his
favourite subject of study, and the staircases and corridors of his
rectory house, adorned as they were with cuttings from "Bewick," bore
testimony to his love of birds, while their habits and peculiarities
formed a constant source of interest and amusement to him in his
rambles through the fields and along the rural lanes of his parish.
The result of his labours he embodied in a pleasantly-written work,
published by the Christian Knowledge Society--"A Familiar History
of Birds: their Nature, Habits, and Instincts"--a work that has
passed through several editions--in which are recorded many of the
observations made at Alderley.

On the 13th of June, 1811, the rector's heart was gladdened by the
birth of a son, who, in compliment to his grandmother, was named Owen.
Owen Stanley inherited his father's passionate desire for the naval
profession, and the wish was indulged from a recollection of the
painful effort it cost the father in his boyhood to overcome the same
impulse. Another child, a daughter, was born on the 14th December,
1813, Mary Stanley, and his happiness was added to by the birth of
a second son, on the 13th December, 1815--Arthur Penrhyn Stanley,
the future Dean of Westminster. Of the home life in the pleasant old
parsonage house many glimpses are given us in that tribute of filial
affection from the pen of Arthur Penrhyn Stanley to which reference
has previously been made, as well as in that delightful chronicle of
English domestic life--its comfort, its quiet, and its innocence,
written by Arthur Stanley's kinsman--"Memorials of a Quiet Life."
Writing to her sister in May, 1818, Mrs. Stanley remarks:--

 How I have enjoyed these fine days--and one's pleasure is doubled, or
 rather, I should say, trebled, in the enjoyment of the three little
 children basking in the sunshine on the lawns, and picking up daisies,
 and finding new flowers every day--and in seeing Arthur expand like
 one of the flowers in the fine weather. Owen trots away to school at
 nine o'clock every morning, with his Latin grammar under his arm,
 leaving Mary (his sister) with a strict charge to unfurl his flag,
 which he leaves carefully furled, through the little Gothic gate, as
 soon as the clock strikes twelve. So Mary unfurls the flag and then
 watches till Owen comes in sight, and as soon as he spies her signal
 he sets off full gallop towards it, and Mary creeps through the gate
 to meet him, and then comes with as much joy to announce Owen's being
 come back as if he was returned from the North Pole. Meanwhile I am
 sitting with the doors open into the trellice, so that I can see and
 hear all that passes.

Two years later the fond mother writes:--

 I have been taking a domestic walk with the three children and the
 pony to Owen's favourite cavern, Mary and Arthur taking it in turns to
 ride. Arthur was sorely puzzled between his fear and his curiosity.
 Owen and Mary, full of adventurous spirit, went with Mademoiselle to
 explore. Arthur stayed with me and the pony, but when I said I would
 go, he said, colouring, he would go, he _thought_. "But, mamma, do
 you think there are any wild dogs in the cavern?" Then we picked up
 various specimens of cobalt, &c., and we carried them in a basket, and
 we called at Mrs. Barber's, and we got some string, and we tied the
 basket to the pony with some trouble, and we got home very safe, and I
 finished the delights of the evening by reading _Paul and Virginia_ to
 Owen and Mary, with which they were much delighted and so was I. You
 would have given a good deal for a peep at Arthur this evening, making
 hay with all his little strength--such a beautiful colour, and such
 soft animation in his blue eyes.

Among the letters of Mrs. Stanley is one that has more than a local or
domestic interest. She was one of the spectators on the occasion of
the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester railway on that memorable
15th September, 1830, when the Duke of Wellington, who was then Prime
Minister, came down to preside at the ceremony, and poor William
Huskisson, who had been such a strenuous and eager supporter of the
enterprise, met his death. After a vivid account of the scene and the
incident that gave such a mournful interest to it, she describes a
visit she made a year or two after to High Legh. She says:--

 We are a party of twenty-six in the house. There are so many that
 one's presence or absence is perfectly immaterial and unremarked.
 There is one person who interests me very much--Mrs. Tom Blackburne,
 "the Vicaress" of Eccles, who received poor Mrs. Huskisson, and
 immortalised herself by her activity, sense, and conduct all through.
 She made one ashamed of the ease and idleness of one's own life,
 compared with hers. They have to deal with such a population--25,000
 souls. She has been the ruling spirit evidently; and under her
 guidance, and the help of a sound head and heart her husband has
 become the very man for the place, with quickness and presence of mind
 for any sudden emergency: and she describes the people--all Manchester
 weavers--as grateful and sensitive, far beyond our agricultural
 experience. He is in general at home to parishioners from 8 till 12
 and from 4 to 6 every day, and often fully occupied all the time; but
 during the four days Mrs. Huskisson was in the house, none of them
 entered the gates. She asked afterwards why it was, and one of them
 said, "Eh, we knowed what you were at, and so we did without."

 I made her give me the details of those days. She said the most
 painful thing she had to do was waking Mrs. Huskisson out of her sound
 heavy sleep the morning after. She went three times into the room
 before she had resolution to wake her outright, as was necessary. Mrs.
 H. went into the most violent hysterics the moment she opened her
 eyes and saw Mrs. Blackburne. Lord Granville, hearing her screams,
 came to Mrs. Blackburne's assistance. He and his valet were her chief
 assistants all through. She said the advantage of having such people
 to deal with was great. Many would have thought it an additional
 trouble to have great people in such circumstances--she found it just
 the reverse; the high breeding and true gentlemanliness that come out
 smooths over every difficulty and awkwardness of strangers in such
 close quarters. Lord Granville, in particular, entered into every
 feeling with a woman's delicacy. Poor Mrs. Huskisson was alternately
 in paroxysms of grief and a still more dreadful calmness, especially
 the day after, when it was wished to relieve her of all business, and
 she insisted on doing everything herself.

 Just before she left the house, she locked herself into the room, and
 after violent hysterics, during which Mrs. Blackburne tried in vain to
 get to her assistance, she heard her praying for her and her husband,
 and all connected with them.

 She desired Mrs. Blackburne to remember her to Lady Elizabeth
 Belgrave, and to hope she had not suffered from the shock (she was
 near her confinement). "What should I have felt if you had been in
 her situation?" This she said to Mrs. Blackburne, who was at the
 moment within three months of her time. Of course Mrs. Blackburne said
 nothing, but wrote to her after her confinement, and Mrs. Huskisson
 answered her that it was the first ray of sunshine that had come to
 her, for she had afterwards found it out, and it had weighed heavily
 upon her.

 Some months afterwards she sent Mr. Blackburne a Bible with gold
 clasps, and in the purple silk lining inside, these words in gilt
 letters:--"I was a stranger and ye took me in." Both last Christmas
 and this she sent also £20 to him to distribute amongst his poor, well
 knowing that she could not make him a more acceptable present.

[Illustration: Handwritten signature]

For thirty-two years Edward Stanley continued to minister to the
wants--temporal as well as spiritual--of the population of his pleasant
little rural parish, looked up to by the cottage as a father and
a friend, and endeared to all by his earnestness, his simplicity,
and his geniality; his faithful coadjutor during the whole of that
long period being the Rev. Isaac Bell, his curate, the father of the
present worthy rector of Alderley, the Rev. Edward John Bell. For a
time (1824 to 1829) he enjoyed the friendly co-operation of the rector
of the adjoining parish of Wilmslow--the Rev. J. Mathias Turner,[10]
who afterwards became Bishop of Calcutta, and many were the schemes of
parochial improvement then formed, and which, doubtless, afterwards
influenced in no small degree the Church work in the dioceses to which
the two rectors were respectively appointed. Stanley could never find
happiness in repose; his intervals of leisure, as we have said, were
mainly devoted to the study of ornithology, but he also found time
for literary pursuits. In addition to the pamphlets which he issued
from time to time in the form of addresses to his people--"A Few Words
on behalf of our Roman Catholic Brethren," "A Few Observations on
Religion and Education in Ireland," and "A Country Rector's Address
to his Parishioners"--he contributed to the "British Magazine," to
"Blackwood," and to other periodicals, the results of his studies and
the records of his brief holiday excursions; one of these latter, an
account of an adventure in the Alps, on the "Mauvais Pas," is believed
to have suggested to Sir Walter Scott the opening scene in his novel
of "Anne of Geierstein." Among the results of his scientific and
antiquarian investigations is a history of the parish of Alderley,
still preserved in MS., which it is hoped will at no distant day be
given to the world.

But the time came when the literary occupations and the scientific
investigations with which he had so pleasantly beguiled his leisure
hours at Alderley were to be laid aside--when he was to be wrenched
out of his rural surroundings to undertake the episcopal supervision
of an important diocese. When it was proposed to erect Manchester into
a see the rector of Alderley declined the invitation to become its
first bishop, but in 1837, at the instance of the then Prime Minister,
Lord Melbourne, he was, after much deliberation and a severe struggle
which almost broke down his health, induced to accept the nomination
to the bishopric of Norwich. To leave the quiet, peaceful parsonage
where so many happy years had been passed, and where all his children
had been born and reared--to part from those among whom he had so long
laboured--was a sore trial, and the news of the preferment which was to
sever the tie that had so long bound pastor and people was received by
the parishioners amidst an uncontrollable outburst of grief.

It is not our purpose to dwell at any length upon the labours of Edward
Stanley as a bishop of the Church of England; suffice it to say that
on leaving Alderley, where so many years of his useful life had been
spent, and which was endeared to him by so many ties of affection and
sympathy, he turned with alacrity to the work which lay before him, and
with the same spirit of energy, and the same dauntless courage, applied
himself to the development of those schemes of practical usefulness
that lay within his grasp, in order that his cathedral city might
become the centre of the moral and religious life of the diocese. Broad
in his sympathies, courageous in his outspeaking, and impetuous in his
temperament, he oftentimes brought himself in conflict with those who
were content with things as they had been, and in the earlier years of
his episcopate he found his diocese anything but a bed of roses, for
during the closing years of the long rule of his predecessor, Bishop
Bathurst, Norwich had been a byword for laxity among the sees of
the English Church, a condition of things the new prelate could not
endure. Stanley's whole life had been a protest against the lethargy
and inactivity which was then only too common a characteristic of
the clergy, yet his broad liberality, his fatherly sympathy, and his
geniality and simplicity enabled him, while correcting abuses, always
to leave peace behind. His personal kindness won the hearts of the
clergy of his diocese as thoroughly as it had previously won those of
the cottagers in his parish. "I felt," said one of them, after a visit
from the bishop, "as if a sunbeam had passed through my parish, and had
left me to rejoice in its genial and cheerful warmth. From that day I
would have died to serve him; and I believe that not a few of my humble
flock were animated in a greater or less degree by the same kind of
feeling."

[Illustration: Handwritten signature]

Amid the cares inseparable from the active supervision of an important
diocese, he never forgot his old parish of Alderley, and his attachment
for the scene of his early labours continued unshaken. "It would be
vain and useless," he said, on commencing his primary visitation, "to
speak to others of what none could feel so deeply as myself. What it
cost me to leave Alderley, it is for myself alone to feel." On parting
with his parishioners he had given a sacred pledge that he would visit
them every year, and the annual recurrence of the time when he could
again make the familiar round of visits to those he had known and loved
during his long ministerial intercourse, and who themselves looked
forward to his coming as the greatest pleasure of their lives, was
anticipated with fond delight. "I have been," he wrote to a friend, a
few months before his death, "in various directions over the parish,
visiting many welcome faces, laughing with the living, weeping over
the dying. It is gratifying to see the cordial familiarity with which
they receive me; and Norwich clergy would scarcely know me sitting by
cottage firesides, talking over old times, with their hands clasped in
mine, as an old and dear friend."

On the last day of December, 1848, the eve of his seventieth birthday,
he wrote in his Journal:--

 In a few hours I shall have attained the threescore years and ten and
 closed the eleventh year of my episcopal life ... and though these
 latter years have been accompanied with much labour and pain and
 sorrow, more and more alive as I am to the difficulties presenting
 themselves, still I feel satisfaction in what I have been instrumental
 in doing. How many parishes have been supplied with resident clergy,
 in which no pastoral care had been for years manifested? How many
 churches have had the full measure of services prescribed, in which
 from time immemorial the most scanty administration had sufficed?
 And how many schools have been established for the benefit of the
 thousands who had been, with the most culpable negligence, permitted
 to remain brutalised and uncivilised and perishing for lack of
 knowledge?

Before another year had passed away, the good prelate was numbered
among those who "fell asleep and were laid unto their fathers." During
the summer the state of his health had been such as to cause anxiety
to his family; his overtaxed faculties needed rest, and, after an
ordination at Norwich, he was induced to start with his wife and
daughters on a short tour in Scotland. While at Brahan Castle, in
Ross-shire, a change for the worse occurred; this was on the 3rd of
September; on the following day he rallied a little, and expressed a
desire to go down to the warm sunshine of the bright autumnal morning
which lay on the greensward under his window, and rose to attempt it,
but the effort was more than his strength would bear, and he sank down
upon the bed never in life to rise again. For two days the struggle
with nature continued, and on the evening of the 6th, in the presence
of his wife and daughters and his son, Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, calmly
and unconsciously, as if in a dream, he passed into his rest.

In life he had expressed a desire to be buried in the churchyard of
Alderley, among those with whom he had so long lived, unless that
"circumstances and the wishes and judgment" of those on whom he most
confided "might decide upon the spot which had been the last scene
of his ministerial labours." Their decision was that he should rest
within the precincts of his own cathedral; and there, on the 21st of
September, his remains were interred, a vast multitude attending to
pay the last tribute of respect to his memory. "I can give you the
facts," wrote one who was present, "but I can give you no notion of
how impressive it was, nor how affecting. There were such sobs and
tears from the school children, and from the clergy who so loved their
dear bishop. A beautiful sunshine lit up everything, shining into the
cathedral just at the time. Arthur was quite calm, and looked like an
angel, with a sister on each side."

In the centre of the nave of Norwich Cathedral, where the warm rays of
the setting sun as they steal through the great west window which he
had desired should be restored as a memorial of him, dye the pavement
with rainbow hues, a plain black marble tablet marks the spot where his
ashes lie. It is inscribed:--

          Installed Aug. 17, 1837

              Born Jan. 1, 1779.

            In the faith of Christ
          Here rests from his labours
              EDWARD STANLEY
          32 years Rector of Alderley,
          12 years Bishop of Norwich;
            Buried amidst the mourning
      of the diocese which he had animated,
          the city which he had served,
          the poor whom he had visited,
        the schools which he had fostered,
          the family which he had loved,
            and of all Christian people
    with whom, howsoever divided, he had joined
      in whatever things were true, and honest,
              and just, and pure,
          and lovely, and of good report.

            Died Sept. 6, 1849, aged 70.

              Interred Sept. 21, 1849

While the solemn sound from the great bell-tower of the cathedral
announced to the citizens of Norwich that the mortal frame of him
who had won the hearts of all sorts and conditions of men was
being committed to the tomb, a mournful knell echoed from the grey
tower of the quiet old church of Alderley, cleaving the silent air
with its funereal tone--the tongue of death with mournful accents
laden--conveying

    A message to the living from the dead

that awoke a feeling of sorrow as touching and unfeigned as that more
openly manifested at Norwich; for though twelve years had gone by since
Edward Stanley had been withdrawn from the parish, and many changes
had taken place, the feeling of affection which had gathered round him
during the thirty-two years of his ministry was fresh and green in the
hearts of the people, and the tidings of his death were received with a
burst of grief that was all the more affecting from the simple language
in which it found utterance; a sorrowful gloom spread over the parish,
many a cottage was darkened, and many an eye was dimmed with tears at
the consciousness that the same hand which had deprived the Church
of one of her worthiest sons had reft them of a sincere and devoted
friend. When the bishop's papers came to be examined, it was found he
had not forgotten those who held him in such loving regard. Among the
documents were two addresses, one to the parishioners and the other to
the school children of Alderley, with a request that a copy of each
might be sent to every house in the parish.

Bishop Stanley was spared one affliction. His youngest son, Charles
Edward Stanley, who had entered the service of the Royal Engineers,
and was afterwards appointed private secretary to Sir William Denison,
Governor of Van Diemen's Land, was suddenly cut off by fever at his
official post in Tasmania on the 13th of August, 1849. The news had not
reached England at the time of the prelate's decease, and it was not
until December that the widowed mother became acquainted with the fact
of her son's death. To add to her sorrow, intelligence was received in
the course of the following summer that the eldest son, Captain Owen
Stanley, had been found dead in his cabin on board ship at Sydney, a
few days after receiving the tidings of his father's and his brother's
death. The two brothers remain in those distant regions, one in St.
George's churchyard, Hobart Town; the other in a secluded spot in
the graveyard of St. Leonard's, which Owen Stanley had chosen as his
resting-place in the event of his dying in Australia.

Thus, of the three sons of Edward Stanley, only one survived to be a
stay and comfort to the widowed mother--Arthur Penhryn Stanley, the
profound scholar and the earnest and fearless thinker, who afterwards
became Dean of Westminster. Born and brought up in his father's
rectory, he to the last retained an affectionate interest in the place
where his boyhood was passed; when he had attained to manhood he was in
the habit of regularly visiting his old nurse, Ellen Baskerville, and
when she died, only a few years ago, he came down from Westminster to
read the burial service over her body.

A brief notice of Arthur Stanley's early days may fittingly conclude
our notice of Alderley and the Stanleys. The letters already quoted
have given us a side glance into the happy home in which his boyhood
was passed. Unlike his brothers, who were strong, robust, and full
of spirit and adventure, the little Arthur was weak and delicate,
thoughtful and reserved in his manner, with a shyness in his
disposition that caused him to shun the companionship of other boys
of his own age. Mrs. Stanley's happy method of imparting instruction
had awakened in his young mind a passion for poetry and romance, and
his imagination was stirred by the many weird legends and quaint
traditions that gathered around the neighbourhood of his home, and
which, though now fast dying from the memories of the inhabitants,
were then implicitly believed. His ideas frequently found vent in
rhyme, and at the early age of twelve he is said to have written some
verses on the occasion of his watching the sun rise from the tower
of Alderley church. When nine years of age he was sent to a private
school at Seaforth, near Liverpool. Twelve months after his aunt, Maria
Leycester, who was on a visit at his father's rectory, wrote to one of
the family:--

 July, 1825.--You know how dearly I love all these children and it has
 been such a pleasure to see them all so happy together. Owen, the hero
 upon whom all their little eyes were fixed, and the delicate Arthur,
 able to take his own share of boyish amusements with them, and telling
 out his little store of literary wonders to Charlie and Catherine.
 School has not transformed him into a rough boy yet. He is a little
 less shy, but not much. He brought back from school a beautiful prize
 book for history, of which he is not a little proud; and Mr. Rawson
 has told several people, unconnected with the Stanleys, that he never
 had a more amiable, attentive, or clever boy than Arthur Stanley, and
 that he never has had to find fault with him since he came. My sister
 finds in examining him, that he not only knows what he has learnt
 himself, but that he picks up all the knowledge gained by the other
 boys in their lessons, and can tell what each boy in the school has
 read, &c. His delight in reading _Madoc_ and _Thalaba_ is excessive.

Again, writing from her father's rectory at Stoke-upon-Terne, under
date August 26, 1826, Maria Leycester remarks:--

 My Alderley children are more interesting than ever. Arthur is giving
 Mary quite a literary taste, and is the greatest advantage to her
 possible, for they are now quite inseparable companions, reading,
 drawing, and writing together. Arthur has written a poem on the Life
 of a Peacock Butterfly in the Spenserian stanza, with all the old
 words, with references to Chaucer, &c., at the bottom of the page....
 I never saw anything equal to Arthur's memory and quickness in picking
 up knowledge; seeming to have just the sort of intuitive sense of
 everything relating to books that Owen had in ships--and then there is
 such affection and sweetness of disposition in him.... You will not
 be tired of all this detail of those so near my heart. It is always
 such a pleasure to me to write of the rectory, and I can always do it
 better when I am away from it and it rises before my mental vision.

At the age of thirteen, that is in 1828, Arthur Stanley had his
first experience of foreign travel, having in that year accompanied
his parents and some other relatives in a tour to Bordeaux and the
Pyrenees. The sight of the snow-tipped peaks rising above the masses of
cloud filled his mind with wonder, and in a thrill of childish delight
he exclaimed, "What shall I do? What shall I do?" In the spring of
the following year he was sent to Rugby, where Dr. Arnold had, only
a few months before, been appointed to the head-mastership. It was an
anxious time for all at the rectory, for the weak, timid, bashful boy,
accustomed only to the peaceful seclusion of his native village and the
quietude of the private school at Seaforth, was but ill-fitted to cope
with the active, strong-limbed youths he would be sure to encounter
in a large public school, where might oftentimes takes the place of
right, to say nothing of the terrors of prepostors and fagging. Under
the judicious training of Dr. Arnold, however, his native diffidence
was in a great degree overcome; he began to take his part in the manly
exercises in which all Rugbeians were expected to perfect themselves,
and made for himself many friends, among them being one who in after
life became associated with him by closer ties--the Rev. Charles J.
Vaughan, D.D., Master of the Temple, who in 1850 married his youngest
sister, Catherine Maria Stanley. We get a glimpse of him during his
school life from one of his mother's letters written in February, 1831.
She says:--

 Charlie writes word from school, "I am very miserable, not that I
 want anything, except to be at home." Arthur does not mind going half
 so much. He says he does not know why, but all the boys seem fond of
 him, and he never gets plagued in any way like the others; his study
 is left untouched, his things unbroke, his books undisturbed. Charlie
 is so fond of him and deservedly so. You would have been so pleased
 one night, when Charlie all of a sudden burst into violent distress
 at not having finished his French task for the holydays, by Arthur's
 judicious good nature in showing him how to help himself, entirely
 leaving what he was about of his own employment.

From a child he had manifested a tender spirit of piety, and it is
related on good authority that he was the original Arthur who won the
heart of Tom Brown at Rugby, by kneeling down at his little bed in
the presence of a rough crowd of boys, and saying his prayers before
retiring, the practical effect of which was that several of his
schoolfellows who from shame had given up all habit of prayer were
emboldened to begin the practice again.

For five years Arthur Stanley was the favourite pupil of Dr. Arnold,
but the friendship then formed continued until the great schoolmaster's
sudden and memorable death on the eve of his birthday in 1842. In
1834 Stanley entered at University College, Oxford, and was elected
a scholar on that foundation in 1837, the year in which his father
removed from Alderley to Norwich. On the 7th of June in the same year
he recited in the Sheldonian Theatre his Newdegate prize poem, "The
gipsies;" his father was a listener, and when he beheld the tumult
of applause with which it was received, he burst into tears. In the
following year he graduated B.A.; shortly after he proceeded to the
higher degree of M.A., and in the Autumn of 1839 was ordained.

It does not come within the scope of this brief sketch to relate in
detail his progress at the University, or his career as a divine of
the Church of England--they are familiar to everyone. As was truly
remarked in a sermon preached in the old church of Alderley by the
present rector on the occasion of his death, he "combined in a singular
degree not only the excellences of his father and the virtues of his
accomplished mother, but he inherited also their combined intellects.
It was not, however, so much his high and refined intellect or his
graphic writings which endeared him to those who knew him, as the
more genial and gentle virtues of his private life." He had the
widest sympathies, and he manifested them with remarkable tact and
delicacy; indeed, the great work of his life seemed not so much the
writing of books or the preaching of sermons as the broadening of the
foundations of Christian charity, and the furthering of a spirit of
Christian union. Few men were less influenced by theological dogma.
He was always ready to draw moral lessons from Christian doctrines,
but it is doubtful if he had any very definite conception regarding
those doctrines, or subjected them to any serious sifting. It was this
loose hold on theology--this indifferentism in regard to inspiration
that, while it made him popular among laymen, created a feeling of
irritation among those of his brethren who had definite ideas on the
most momentous of subjects. To him such questions served mainly as a
background to a high morality and wide charity.

    With clear calm eye he fronted Faith, and she,
      Despite the clamorous crowd
    Smiled, knowing her soul-loyal votary
      At no slave's altar bowed.

    With forward glance beyond polemic scope,
      He scanned the sweep of Time,
    And everywhere changed looks with blue-eyed Hope,
      Victress o'er doubt and crime.

    But inward turning, he, of gentle heart,
      And spirit, mild as free,
    Most gladly welcomed, as life's better part,
      The rule of Charity.

[Illustration: Handwritten note]

After a brief illness, which was not at first regarded as serious,
erysipelas supervened, and shortly before midnight, on Monday, the
18th of July, 1881, in the Deanery House, at Westminster, quietly and
without suffering, the spirit winged its flight from earth. On the
Monday following his body was deposited in the grave in Henry VII.
Chapel, Westminster, where, on the 9th of March, 1876, his wife, Lady
Augusta Stanley, had been laid to rest.

Dean Stanley's visits to Alderley were frequent. The last time he
occupied the pulpit of the old church was on the 5th of May, 1878,
when he preached before a crowded congregation in aid of the fund
for restoring the church. On a more recent visit, though pressed for
time, he stopped by the way at the cottage of a suffering parishioner,
offered words of comfort and prayer by his bedside--"the same prayer,"
as he afterwards remarked, "that he had used by the bedside of his own
dear wife." His final visit was in the autumn of 1880, on his return
from a short sojourn in the Isle of Man, when he visited the rectory
and his mother's and sister's grave, accompanied by his friend, the
Bishop of Manchester.



CHAPTER III.

RIVINGTON AND THE LORDS WILLOUGHBY--THE PILKINGTONS--THE STORY OF A
LANCASHIRE BISHOP.


"No, sir, hardly a vestige of the old house remains, and even the
Willoughby coat of arms with the supporters, the ivy-wreathed savage
and the horseshoe-eating ostrich, that once adorned and gave dignity
to the outbuilding, has been taken away by sacrilegious hands, and now
only a blank space remains to show where once it was." Such was the
remark of a friend at whose hospitable abode in Heath-Charnock we were
spending a few days, a year or two ago, in reply to our inquiries as
to the present condition of Shaw Place, an ancient habitation on the
confines of Rivington, once the home of the Lords Willoughby of Parham.

But Rivington and its vicinity have other associations to claim
attention not less interesting than the fading memories of the extinct
Willoughbys. The tower-crowned summit of the Pike, rising to the height
of 1,545 feet above the sea level, calls to remembrance the stirring
times of the Armada, and the scarcely less anxious days of nearly a
century ago when our grandfathers were in daily dread of invasion, and
constant watch was kept in order that the beacon fire might flash the
signal of danger from hill to hill should their fears be realised; and
the "Two-lads," a double pile of stones on the further side, has its
tale of disaster to beguile the time if we care to listen to it. Those
bleak mountain ridges that stretch away towards the south were once
included within the limits of the great forest of Horwich, "a place
of great sport," as the old chroniclers have it, with its aëries of
eagles, of hawks, and of herons. Rivington was for centuries the home
of the Pilkingtons, "gentlemen of repute in their shire before the
Conquest," as old Fuller tells us; if tradition is to be relied on,
the chief of them bore himself bravely upon the red field of Hastings,
and when sought for by the victors for espousing the cause of the
defeated Harold, to avoid discovery, disguised himself as a mower, in
commemoration of which circumstance his descendants have ever since
borne the man and scythe for their crest. A scion of this ancient
house, Richard Pilkington, in the days of the Eighth Harry or shortly
after, founded the church of Rivington, and his son, James Pilkington,
who had suffered exile for the reformed faith in the time of the Marian
persecutions, was nominated by Queen Elizabeth first Protestant bishop
of the palatinate see of Durham, and was also founder of the Grammar
School at Rivington, an institution that to this day perpetuates his
name.

Our host having suggested a walk as far, we were nothing loth to act
upon his advice and renew acquaintance with a locality familiar to us
in earlier years. It was not the most favourable day for a pedestrian
ramble, for, though the rays of the February sun had made some feeble
attempts to wake the firstlings of the year from their long winter
sleep, the indications of spring had proved delusive, and King Frost
still held the vegetable world fast bound in his icy fetters. Of a
verity it might be said that the lingering winter chilled the lap of
spring, for though we had entered upon the month of March the crocus,
which, according to the old saw--

              Blows before the shrine
    At vernal dawn of St. Valentine

had not yet ventured forth as the harbinger of returning animation,
and even the tiny snowdrop, forerunner of the glorious train of summer
flowers, hid its drooping head beneath the fleecy robe of nature's
weaving from which it takes its name. Winter had returned upon us with
old-fashioned severity, and his keen breath had again begun--

    To glaze the lakes, to bridle up the floods,
    And periwig with snow the bald-pate woods.

The snow, which had fallen heavily during the night, enfolding the
earth in a downy mantle, had nearly ceased, and only a few stray
feathery flakes descended; the broad breezy moors that stretched their
length across the landscape were thickly covered, and it lay deep in
the cloughs and dingles that the storms of ages had channelled down
their sides. The hedgerows in their fleecy garniture assumed quaint and
indefinite shapes, and chequered the cold snow with their fantastic
shadows, and the few trees bordering the wayside stretched their naked
boles across the path, looking weird and gaunt and grim; but there
was neither colour nor savagery enough to make a picture--nothing but
a dull leaden gloom that left a saddening and depressing influence
upon the senses, instead of making glad the heart of the beholder. The
eddying wind that blew from the west broke in fitful gusts, and drove
the dark leaden cloud-rack and drifted sea-fog swiftly athwart the sky,
betokening a coming change; there was a rawness, too, in the atmosphere
that sent a chill through your veins, and everything seemed cold and
comfortless; while the few wayfarers you met looked sad and woe-begone,
and as sullen and ungenial as the weather. We missed the cheery
sunshine, and the sharp, crisp, nipping air of a clear, frosty day; but
for all that we trudged along with light heart and steady step, though
the roads were heavy, for the snow had melted in places, and now and
then we plunged ankle-deep in thick icy sludge that oozed through the
sodden ground.

The rounded summit of Rivington Pike--Riven Pike, as it was anciently
written--stands out boldly against the dull background of mist and
murkiness, and the little square tower that crowns its highest point
looks as if it had suddenly thrust its dark form up through the
surrounding whiteness. As we mount the higher ground the prospect
widens, and looking round the eye takes in a broad expanse of country.
In front, in addition to the "Pike," are the bleak moors of Rivington
and Anglezark; below, half hidden by the leafless woods, we get
occasional glimpses of the long lake-like reservoirs of the Liverpool
Corporation Waterworks. Northwards, where the smoke hangs like a
pall, is Chorley; and further on, had the day been clear, we might
have seen the tall chimneys of Preston and the gleaming waters of the
Ribble estuary. Duxbury, for centuries the home of the Standishes,
reminds us of the Puritan captain, Miles Standish, whom Longfellow has
immortalised:--

 He was a gentleman born, could trace his pedigree plainly Back to Hugh
 Standish, of Duxbury Hall, in Lancashire, England, Who was the son of
 Ralph, and grandson of Thurstan de Standish--Heir unto vast estates,
 of which he was basely defrauded; Still bore the family arms, and had
 for his crest a cock, argent--Combed and wattled gules, and all the
 rest of the blazon.

Hall-o'-th'-Hill was the dwelling place of the Asshawes, who were
also lords of Flixton; one of them--Sir Ralph--Mr. M'Dougall has made
the subject of the most pathetic of his legendary ballads; while
another--Ann--was the wife of that Richard Pilkington who built
Rivington Church, and the mother of James, the Puritan prelate, who
founded the school. Adlington lies below us; and beyond the view
takes in the great plain that stretches away to the Fylde, dotted
over with collieries and mills and loomsheds, that bear testimony
to the active industry of the people. Westwards, crowning a rocky
ridge that rises abruptly from the banks of the Douglas, we see the
village of Blackrod, with the battlemented tower of its ancient church
rising above the lowly habitations that gather round. The remains of
a Roman causeway, it is said, may still be traced along the summit,
and learned antiquaries confidently assure us that here the subjects
of the Cæsars had a military station--the _Coccium_ of Antoninus, and
the _Rigodunum_ of Ptolemy; though other antiquaries, equally learned,
with no less confidence and much more show of reason, tell us that
the old Roman station was not at Blackrod, but further north, at
Walton, on the Ribble. Whether the masters of the ancient world bore
the imperial eagles along those heights, and awoke the echoes with the
cry of "Ave! Cæsar Imperator!" we will not stay to inquire, but leave
others to determine. The snow lies like a great white carpet upon
the scene, spreading over moss and moor, and field and fell--a wide
wilderness of unsullied purity, broken only where the lanes wander and
the hedgerows cross and recross each other, or where a wooded bluff,
a solitary homestead, or some manufacturing hamlet stands out in
bold relief. Occasionally a faint gleam steals through a rift in the
shifting clouds, lighting up and beautifying some distant spot upon the
landscape; but the brightness is only transient, and the scene soon
resumes its cold grey monotonous gloom.

Presently the road bends to the right, and in a few minutes we reach
the entrance to a long straight avenue of beeches that leads down to
where the home of the Willoughbys once stood. Tall patrician trees
they are that border the way, and meet almost in a canopy overhead,
very patriarchs of their kind, that have withstood the winter's blast
and summer's sunshine, and budded and blossomed and shed their leaves
through long ages; but what time has failed to do sulphurous fumes
from a neighbouring tile kiln have effectually accomplished, and now
they present only the scathed and blighted semblance of their former
glory. At the end of the gravelled walk may still be seen the two tall
gate-posts that once flanked the entrance to the garden court; they
are massive in character, rusticated at the joints, and surmounted
by ball ornaments of ponderous size. To the right is a long range of
outbuilding, with a tablet high up on the gable bearing the inscription

   W
  H H

and the date 1705, from which we gather that it was erected by Hugh,
the twelfth Lord Willoughby, and the Lady Honora, his wife, in the
earlier years of Queen Anne's reign. On the side is a square panel
that was formerly adorned with the armorial ensigns of the house, but
the carved stone-work was taken away some few years ago, and, as we
were told, when last heard of was waiting for a claimant at a remote
railway station. The house itself has been rebuilt, and is now tenanted
by a farmer, a fragment of masonry on one side being the only portion
of the original mansion remaining.

The connection of the Willoughbys with this part of Lancashire
dates from about the middle of the seventeenth century, when Thomas
Willoughby acquired lands in the neighbourhood by his marriage with
Eleanor, daughter of Hugh Whittal, or Whittle, of Horwich, the
representative of an old Puritan family, ranking as substantial yeomen,
and a descendant, in all likelihood, of that Ralph Whittal of whom
Oliver Heywood makes mention when, alluding to his boyish experiences,
he says:--"Many days of prayer have I known my father keep among God's
people; yea, I remember a whole night wherein he, Dr. Bradshaw, Adam
Fearniside, Thomas Crompton, and several more did pray all night in a
parlour at Ralph Whittal's, upon occasion of King Charles demanding
the five members of the House of Commons.[11] Such a night of prayers,
tears, and groans I was never present at in all my life. The case was
extraordinary and the work extraordinary."[12]

The Willoughbys were a family of ancient and illustrious lineage,
deriving their patronymic from the manor of the same name in
Lincolnshire, where the parent stock had been seated almost from the
time of Duke William of Normandy. One of them, Sir William Willoughby,
in the reign of Henry III., signed the cross--in those days the highest
object of human ambition--and accompanied the young Prince Edward in
the expedition to Palestine to recover the holy places from the Moslem,
and, in allusion to some now long forgotten exploit there, adopted a
Saracen's head for his crest, which, on the Darwinian principle, has
since developed into the "Black Lad," the sign, at the present day, of
the village hostelry at Rivington. His warlike spirit was inherited by
his descendants, who shared in the glories of Crescy, Poitiers, and
Agincourt, and on many a well-fought field besides; bore their part in
the sanguinary struggle between the rival houses of York and Lancaster,
and were present at the final fight on Bosworth field--which alike put
an end to feudalism and the power of the barons--when the victorious
Richmond ascended the throne and terminated the fratricidal strife
by twining the white rose with the red. In acknowledgment of their
valorous deeds, they were at different times ennobled by the titles of
Lords Willoughby of Eresby, of Broke, of Parham, and of Monblay and
Beaumesguil.

Of this illustrious stock was one of whom we know just enough to make
us wish to know more--the brave Sir Hugh Willoughby, who defended
Lauder Castle in Berwickshire against both the French and Scots; and,
though suffering the severest privations, with a mere handful of men,
held it until peace was proclaimed; and who, as we are told, "by reason
of his goodly personage, as also for his singular skill in war," was
in 1553 chosen by "The Mystery, Company, and Fellowship of Merchant
Adventurers," to command the first Arctic expedition that ever left
the English shores--an expedition that was fated never to return, for
before a year had passed Sir Hugh, with the crews of two of his ships,
in all about 70 men, were frozen to death in the North Sea, about the
very time that his grand-niece, the Lady Jane Grey, and her husband,
Lord Guildford Dudley, perished upon the scaffold.

                      Such was the Briton's fate,
      As with first prow (what have not Britons dared!)
      He for the passage sought attempted since
      So much in vain, and seeming to be shut
      By jealous Nature with eternal bar,
      In these fell regions in Arzina caught,

      And to the stony deep his idle ship
      Immediate seal'd; he with his hapless crew
      Each full exerted at his several task,
      Froze into statues; to the cordage glued
      The sailor, and the pilot to the helm.

Scarcely had the solemn sound heard from the bell-towers of England,
announcing the decease of King Henry the Eighth, died away, when Sir
William Willoughby--descended through a younger line from William,
fifth Lord Willoughby de Eresby--was raised to the dignity of Baron
Willoughby of Parham, in Suffolk, the patent of his nobility bearing
date February 16, 1547, the very day on which the remains of the
defunct king were committed to the dust at Windsor. This Lord William,
from whom the future owners of Shaw Place derived their descent,
lived to a ripe old age, and died in 1574, leaving a son Charles, who
succeeded to the barony, and who was then married to the Lady Margaret
Clinton, a daughter of Queen Elizabeth's Lord High Admiral, Edward
Clinton, first Earl of Lincoln. By her he had several sons, among
them William, the eldest, who died in the lifetime of his father; Sir
Ambrose; and Thomas, whose descendants we shall have occasion to refer
to hereafter. Charles Lord Willoughby died in 1603, and was succeeded
in the honours of his house by his grandson William, who had espoused
the Lady Francis Manners, daughter of John, fourth Earl of Rutland, by
whom he had three sons, Henry, Francis, and William, who successively
became fourth, fifth, and sixth Lords Willoughby. Henry enjoyed the
title only for a short time, and died before attaining his majority.
Francis, who succeeded, married Elizabeth Cecil, a great granddaughter
of the famous Lord Treasurer, William Cecil, Lord Burghley. On the
breaking out of the great Civil War, he took sides against the King,
and had a command in the Parliament's army, but did not achieve any
great distinction; indeed he seems rather to have lacked the qualities
that generals are made of. Early in the summer of 1643 he seized
Gainsborough, and held it for the Parliament; but on the news reaching
the Marquis of Newcastle, he despatched a force out of Yorkshire under
General Cavendish, who laid siege to the town, whereupon, Cromwell, who
had just taken Burleigh House, the seat of the Cecils, hastened with
his Huntingdonshire troopers, and a few regiments of Lincolnshire and
Nottinghamshire horse to the relief of the beleaguered garrison, and
attacked and defeated the Royalist forces, Cavendish being killed in
the encounter.

In connection with Lord Willoughby's occupation of Gainsborough an
incident occurred which is worth recording. On the capture of the
town several persons of rank were made prisoners, including Robert
Pierrepoint, Earl of Kingston, surnamed the "Good." When it was known
that the Royalists were advancing, Willoughby, to prevent the Earl's
escape, had him placed in a pinnace and conveyed to Hull. While on
the voyage Cavendish, in ignorance that so distinguished a companion
in arms was on board, ordered his men to fire upon the vessel, and
an unlucky shot struck his lordship and killed him on the spot. Mrs.
Lucy Hutchinson, in her "Memoirs" of her husband, gives the popular
version of the story, from which it appears that when Kingston was
first invited to join the Royalists, "he made a serious imprecation
on himself: 'When,' said he, 'I take arms with the King against the
Parliament, or with the Parliament against the King, let a cannon
bullet divide me between them,'" "which God," she says, "was pleased to
bring to pass a few months after; for he, going into Gainsborough, and
there taking up arms for the King, was surprised by my Lord Willoughby,
and, after a handsome defence of himself, yielded, and was put
prisoner into a pinnace, and sent down the river to Hull, when my Lord
Newcastle's army, marching along the shore, shot at the pinnace, and,
being in danger, the Earl of Kingston went up upon the deck to show
himself, and to prevail on them to forbear shooting; but as soon as he
appeared a cannon bullet flew from the King's army and divided him in
the middle, being then in the Parliament's pinnace; who thus perished
according to his own unhappy imprecation."

The "notable victory," as he phrased it, gained by the embryo Lord
Protector at Gainsborough, though it proved insufficient in raising
the siege, yet afforded an early example of that decision, energy, and
valour for which Cromwell subsequently became so famous. Whitelocke,
in his "Memorials," says that this gallant encounter with Newcastle's
forces was "the beginning of Cromwell's great fortunes, and he now
began to appear in the world." If it made the name of the Lord of the
Fens, as he had been previously designated, a familiar word throughout
England, it did not add much lustre to that of Lord Willoughby. He
was obliged to surrender Gainsborough; and Lincoln, whither he had
retreated, had also to be given up to the victorious Royalists. In a
desponding letter to Cromwell, written from Boston, August 5th, 1643,
he says:--"Since the business of Gainsborough the hearts of our men
have been so deaded that we have lost most of them, by running away,
so that we were forced to leave Lincoln upon a sudden; and if I had
not done it then I should have been left alone." His position even at
Boston seems to have been very precarious, for he adds, "If you will
endeavour to stop my Lord of Newcastle, you must presently draw them
(the Parliamentarian forces) to him and fight him, for without we be
masters of the field we shall be pulled out by the ears one after
the other." In the same letter he pathetically remarks, "You see by
this how sadly your affairs stand. It's no longer disputing, but out
instantly all you can; raise all your bands, send them to Huntingdon;
get up what volunteers you can; hasten your horses; send these letters
to Norfolk, Sussex, and Essex, without delay. I beseech you spare
not, but be expeditious and industrious. Almost all our foot have
left Stamford; there is nothing to interrupt the enemy but our horse.
You must act lively; do it without distraction. Neglect no means."
Willoughby was evidently not the kind of general that a soldier of
Cromwell's daring and resource could patiently act under, and that
worthy was not long in expressing his opinion to the Parliament, for we
find him a few months later in the House of Commons complaining of "my
Lord Willoughby's backwardness as a general." He who could not "hold
out" at Gainsborough and Lincoln, and who wrote from Boston expecting
himself and his men to be "pulled out by the ears one after the
other," was certainly not the right man in the right place according
to the Ironside standard; and it was not long, therefore, before he
was, on Cromwell's suggestion, removed from his command and the Earl of
Manchester appointed in his stead.

Though as a general Lord Willoughby might not come up to Cromwell's
standard, he nevertheless did "very considerable service for the
Parliament in Lincolnshire," as Whitelocke affirms, "and manifested
as much courage and gallantry as any man in the service," and it is
evident that, for some time at least, he retained the confidence and
esteem of the ruling powers, for in December, 1645, on the close of
the first war, his name appears among those who were to have dignities
and honours conferred upon them, an earldom being assigned to him; and
about the same time, in the overtures for pacification, he was named
one of the commissioners to the Scots' army, then lying before Newark,
an appointment that gave great umbrage to the war party. Willoughby was
a staunch Presbyterian, determinedly opposed to kingly prerogative,
a devoted admirer of the Parliament, and possessed withal of much
real zeal for the liberties of his country, but he was not altogether
destitute of loyal feeling or prepared to

        Hew the throne
  Down to a block.

Dissension had sprung up in the ranks of the two great rebel factions,
resulting in a general confusion of political principles in the dread
of political supremacy. Fearing for the safety of the Constitution, and
believing that his associates were proceeding to too great lengths, he
went over to the side of the King, a procedure that aroused the hatred
of the Parliament party, who became as eager to effect his overthrow as
they had previously been to compass the death of Strafford. On the 8th
of September, 1647, he was impeached of high treason by the Commons,
but, the impeachment for some cause or other not being proceeded with,
he appealed to the Lords, on the 17th January following, to be set at
liberty. His request was complied with, and on regaining his freedom
he immediately sought refuge in Holland, the House subsequently,
"being in a good humour," as we are told, discharging the impeachment.
Whitelocke says:--

 He was in the beginning of the troubles very hearty and strong for
 the Parliament, and manifested great personal courage, honour, and
 military as well as civil abilities, as appears by his actions and
 letters, whilst he was in the service of the Parliament. In whose
 favour and esteem he was so high that they voted him to be general
 of the horse under the Earl of Essex, and afterwards to be an Earl.
 But having taken a disgust of the Parliament's declining of a
 personal treaty with the King, and being jealous that monarchy, and
 consequently degrees and titles and honour, were in danger to be
 wholly abolished, he was too forward in countenancing and assisting
 the late tumults in the city, when the members of Parliament were
 driven away from Westminster to the army. Upon the return of the
 members he was, with other lords, impeached of high treason for that
 action, and rather than appear and stand a trial for it he left his
 country and revolted to the King, and was now with the Prince in his
 navy, for which the Commons voted his estates to be secured.

Rupert was at the time carrying on privateering hostilities against
the Parliament with such energy that, as was said, a packet-boat
could hardly sail from Dover without being pillaged, unless it had a
convoy. Willoughby accepted a commission, and became admiral of the
Prince's fleet, and in the month of August, 1648, while in the Downs,
was fortunate enough to intercept and capture a vessel returning from
Guiana with a cargo of merchandise and £20,000 in gold.

The year following the execution of the King he went out to Barbadoes,
established himself as governor, and proclaimed Charles II. king.
On hearing of this exploit, Cromwell's government despatched Sir
George Ascue with a fleet to effect the reduction of the place; after
several ineffectual attempts to obtain submission he landed a force
and stormed the fortress, when Lord Willoughby, fearing a revolt of
the garrison, yielded on honourable terms, which included protection
for the enjoyment of his estates. He then returned to England, but
the Republicans, being doubtful of his loyalty to the Commonwealth,
caused him to be committed to the Tower (June, 1655) on the charge of
high treason. He must have remained in confinement for a considerable
period, for two years later we find him petitioning Cromwell for
permission to go into the country to despatch some necessary business
in relation to his estates, and promising to return to prison--a
request that was complied with. He subsequently obtained his release,
and, after the death of Cromwell, appears to have co-operated with Monk
in effecting the dissolution of the Commonwealth and the recall of the
exiled Stuarts.

The year which followed the Restoration was to Lord Willoughby a year
of sorrow, and the joy with which he had greeted that event was quickly
overshadowed by a great domestic affliction. Ere a year had rolled
round from the time when Charles landed at Dover he lost, within the
short space of a few days, both his eldest son and his wife. Samuel
Hartleb, in two of his letters written at the time to his friend Dr.
Worthington,[13] alludes to these painful events. Writing on March
26, 1661, he says: "My Lord Willoughby's eldest son is dead. My Lady
Willoughby is also dangerously sick, which is all I have to add;" and
a week later he writes: "His (Mr. Brereton's)[14] mother-in-law (Lady
Willoughby) is dead also."

Shortly afterwards Lord Willoughby was appointed to the governorship
of Barbadoes, a post he continued to hold until 1656, when he was
unfortunately drowned during a hurricane that swept over the island, an
occurrence that Pepys thus alludes to in his "Diary:"--

 November 29th (1666). I late at the office, and all the news I hear
 I put into a letter this night to my Lord Brouncker at Chatham,
 thus--"I doubt not of your lordship's hearing of Sir Thomas Clifford's
 succeeding Sir H. Pollard in the Controllership of the King's house;
 but perhaps our ill (but confirmed) tidings from the Barbadoes may
 not have reached you yet, it coming but yesterday; viz., that about
 eleven ships (whereof two of the King's, the Hope and Coventry), going
 thence to attack St. Christopher's, were seized by a violent hurricane
 and all sank, two only of thirteen escaping, and these with loss of
 masts, &c. My Lord Willoughby himself is involved in the disaster, and
 I think two ships thrown upon an island of the French, and so all the
 men (500) became prisoners."

Lord Willoughby having no surviving male issue, the titles and estates
devolved upon his younger brother, William, who, in 1672, was also
appointed Governor of Barbadoes, and to whom Evelyn, in his diary, thus
refers:--

 April 16th (1672). Sat in Council preparing Lord Willoughby's
 Commission and instructions as Governor of Barbadoes and the Caribbé
 Islands.

He died at Barbadoes, April 10th, 1673, having held the post barely
a year. His lordship married Ann, one of the daughters of Sir Philip
Carey, of Stanwell, county Middlesex, who bore him with other issue,
three sons--George, his heir, and John and Charles, who eventually
through failure of direct descent successively inherited the honours of
the house.

George, the eldest son, who succeeded, died in the following year,
leaving by his wife Elizabeth, eldest daughter and co-heir of Henry
Fynes-Clinton, of Kirkstead, in Lincolnshire, grandson of Henry,
second Earl of Lincoln, a son, John Willoughby, who succeeded, but he
dying issueless in 1678, the barony reverted to his uncle, John, son
of George, the seventh lord. This nobleman died before the close of
the year, and, having no surviving male issue, the title and estates
passed to his younger brother, Charles, who succeeded as tenth baron,
and who was then married to Mary, daughter of Sir Beaumont Dixie. He
did not, however, long enjoy the honours, his death occurring in the
following year, and being, like so many of his predecessors, childless,
the barony remained for a time in abeyance; the vast estates in
Lincolnshire passing meanwhile, in accordance with the provisions of
his will, to his niece Elizabeth, only daughter of George, seventh Lord
Willoughby, and then wife of the Hon. James Bertie, eventually second
Earl of Lincoln.

On the failure of the elder line by the death of Lord Charles without
issue, the barony should by right have reverted to the heir of Sir
Ambrose, second son of Charles, the second Lord Willoughby; but Sir
Ambrose's grandson, Henry Willoughby, being then settled in Virginia,
whither the "Pilgrim Fathers," who, "well weaned from the delicate milk
of their mother-country," had gone some years before, and having no
knowledge of the failure, took no steps to establish his claim. Under
these circumstances, and in the belief that the line of Sir Ambrose was
extinct, the barony was erroneously adjudged to Sir Thomas Willoughby,
son and heir of Sir Thomas, the fifth and youngest son of Charles, the
second lord, who, as previously stated, was then settled in Lancashire,
having married Eleanor, daughter of Hugh Whittle, of Horwich, the
representative of a noted Puritan family, whose religious opinions he
had embraced.

The broad lands of the oldest line of the Willoughbys, as we have
seen, passed by distaff to the Earls of Abingdon; the representative
of the younger stock, who had summons to Parliament 19th May, 1685,
being left the while to support the title with an estate of very
modest proportions--the fortune his father had acquired in marriage
with a yeoman's daughter. Sir Thomas Willoughby had attained to the
ripe old age of 82 when he succeeded to the barony, and he lived to
enjoy it for a period of nearly seven years, his death occurring in
February, 1691-2. Born in the last year of Elizabeth's golden reign, he
had witnessed the accession of James, and lived through the eventful
reigns of the Stuart sovereigns. He had passed the meridian of life
when Charles was brought to the block; had experienced Republicanism
under Cromwell; had seen the restoration of Monarchy in the person
of Charles's son; the re-establishment of Episcopacy, and the "Black
Bartholomew," as the Dissenters love to designate the day on which the
Nonconforming divines, preferring conscience to emolument, withdrew
from the Church; and had lived long enough to see the feudal supremacy
of the Crown, which had lasted for nearly six hundred years, abolished,
when the second James was sent by his betrayed subjects to expiate
his offences in exile, and the "bloodless revolution" set the Prince
of Orange upon the throne, and paved the way for the succession of the
House of Brunswick. Lord Willoughby's wife, Eleanor Whittle, who died
in 1665, bore him, with other issue, two sons--Hugh, who succeeded as
his heir, and Francis, who married Eleanor Rothwell, of Haigh, and by
her had three sons, Thomas, who died unmarried, and Edward and Charles,
who, on the death of their uncle, succeeded in turn to the title and
estates.

Hugh Willoughby, who, on the death of his father in 1691-2, succeeded
as twelfth baron, was then 65 years of age, having been born in 1627.
He had married in early life Anne, daughter of Lawrence Halliwell,
of Tockholes, in Blackburn parish, and by her had a son, Thomas, who
died in infancy; she died in 1690, at the age of 52, and shortly after
his accession to the barony he again entered the marriage state,
taking for his second wife the youthful widow of Sir William Egerton,
K.B., of Worsley, brother of John, third Earl of Bridgewater--the
Lady Honora, daughter of Sir Thomas Leigh, son and heir of Thomas
Lord Leigh, of Stoneleigh, and the great-granddaughter of Sir Thomas
Egerton, the renowned Lord Chancellor--the lady numbering 19 summers,
while Lord Willoughby had attained the mature age of 55. His lordship
was an uncompromising, and, it is to be feared, not over scrupulous
Presbyterian. Sir Henry Ashurst, in a Dedication of the Life of
Nathaniel Heywood, the Puritan Vicar of Ormskirk, written by his
brother Oliver, to this Lord Hugh, speaks of his "exemplary piety and
zeal for our holy religion in such a degenerate and licentious age, and
the countenance he gave to serious piety, wherever he found it, among
all the different parties into which we are so unhappily broken," but
the occasional references to him in Henry Newcome's autobiography,
leads us to doubt the justness of the Presbyterian writer's panegyric.
Under date Thursday, September 7, 1693, Newcome writes:--

 We went with several others to welcome the Lord Willoughby to house,
 and stayed till after eight, in much freedom; and parted with a psalm
 and prayer.

The occasion would probably be that of his lordship's first coming to
his wife's house--the old hall of Worsley, in Eccles parish, where
he spent a good deal of his time--but it was not long before the old
Puritan divine had occasion to speak in a less cheerful tone. Thus, he
writes:--

 May 5 (1694). The Lord Willoughby was with me, and the Lord helped me,
 to deal plainly with him, and he took it as I could desire.

And a few months later:--

 Aug. 4. I was troubled about Lord Willoughby and went out to have
 spoken with him, but though he was not at home, he called on me on his
 return, and I eased myself by speaking freely to him; and he seemed to
 take it well, and I hope it may do him good. This greatly revived me.

Lord Willoughby busied himself greatly in the religious affairs of
the county, and was not unfrequently a cause of disquiet to Episcopal
dignitaries from his confused ideas of _meum_ and _tuum_ in regard to
ecclesiastical funds. The parson of Horwich found him an exceedingly
unpleasant neighbour, and poor James Rothwell, the vicar of Dean,
complained bitterly to the bishop of his wrong doing. Rothwell's
predecessor, Richard Hatton, had not renounced the Covenant; but had,
nevertheless been inducted into the vicarage by a kind of dispensing
power. One illegal appointment led to another. The Nonconforming vicar
of the church appointed a Nonconforming preacher to the Episcopal
chapel. The Dissenters having thus got the chapel into their hands
through the "contrivance" of Lord Willoughby, held possession for
many years, and were only induced in the long run to surrender to
the ecclesiastical authorities to escape a costly litigation. When
Rothwell had got rid of the intruders, and recovered possession of the
chapel, he found that he could not get possession of the endowment,
as the trustees, who were Presbyterians, were appropriating it to the
support of a minister of their own persuasion, and, "against justice
and honesty," were going to "build a meeting house with part of the
money, and apply the remaining part towards supporting a Presbyterian
teacher." He had complained to the bishop, but failing, as it would
seem, to obtain redress, addressed the following letter to Dr.
Wroe--"Silver-tongued Wroe"--the warden of Manchester, urging his
intercession:--

  Bolton Sep. 21, 1717.

 Revd Sr.--I thought it necessary to send you ye following account of
 Horwich Chappel, wch I desire you to transmit to my Lord Bishop of
 Chester. This Chappel is three miles distant from ye Parish Church, &
 ye revenue belonging to it is commonly said to be about 9 or 10li. p.
 ann. being ye Interest of about 200li. belonging to it, & for a more
 full proof of ys, I here give my following Testimony.

 But in ye first place it may be convenient to acquaint you yt ys
 Chappel has for above ys 20 years last past been in ye hands of ye
 Dissenters through ye contrivance of ye late Lord Willoughby, and ye
 connivance of my Predecessour (Richard Hatton.) But wn my Lord Bp.
 of Chester was upon his visitation at Manchester, I acquainted his
 Lordship wth ys matter, & his Lordship commanded me to give Mr. Walker
 ye Dissenting Teacher notice to desist, wch accordingly I did, & he
 submitted to his Lordship's commands. Immediately after ys I put into
 ye Chappel a Conformable clergyman, who has supplied ye Cure ever
 since, wch is above one whole year; and tho' I gave him ye Surplice
 Dues of ye Chappelray wch is all yt belongs to me in yt part of ye
 Parish, & two pounds p. ann. besides, yet ys wth his contributions,
 wch is all yt he has had to subsist on thus far, has not exceeded
 14li. And when he demanded ye Interest of ye Chappel Stock during ye
 time of his Incumbency, ye Trustees for ys money being Dissenters,
 tell me they will not pay it, till they be forced to do it. Now one
 of these Trustees has told me, & several others, yt ye Chappel Stock
 is one hundred & ninety pounds; & about two months ago he showed Some
 bonds yt was made unto him upon ye account, to ye Sum of about 80li.
 And there are now several living witnesses, yt can & do testify, yt
 ye Interest of ye said Chappel Stock was paid to Episcopal conforming
 clergy men, yt officiated at Horwich Chappel during ye Reigns of
 King Charles ye 2nd: King James ye 2nd: And till some time after ye
 Revolution; and tho' ys money as it is said was given to all intents &
 purposes towards mentaining a Curate yt should supply ye sd Chappel,
 yet both against justice and honesty these Trustees have sent me word,
 yt they will build a meeting house wth part of ys money, & apply ye
 remaining part towards Supporting a Presbyterian Teacher; wt now is to
 be done in ys affair, I humbly desire my Lord Bp. of Chester's opinion
 & direction with your own,

  Who am your most Humble & most obedient Servt: JA: ROTHWELL
  For The Reverend Dr. Wroe, Warden of Manchester.

Bishop Gastrell, in his "Notitia," describes the chapel as "ancient"
and "consecrated." It certainly was in existence in 1565, for in that
year it was visited by the commissioners for removing superstitious
ornaments. The money which through the "contrivance" of Lord Willoughby
and the Dissenting trustees was being thus misapplied is said to have
been recovered (that is, so much of it as was not lost in expensive
litigation) in 1724. On another occasion, at Coppul, a neighbouring
township, we find Lord Willoughby busying himself in church affairs,
and joining with others in open resistance to constituted authority;
breaking open the doors of the Episcopal Chapel, and defying the bishop
when he sought to remove an unlicensed curate, Mr. Ingham, who had
given offence by his immoral life and the solemnisation of clandestine
marriages. Ellenbrook, also an Episcopal Chapel, in close proximity
to Lady Willoughby's house at Worsley, had also unpleasant experience
of his lordship's active but mistaken zeal, for Bishop Gastrell, in
his "Notitia Cestriensis," remarks:--"There was a Suit depending about
this Chap.(el) an.(no) 1693, bet.(ween) the Bp. and Ld. Willoughby of
Parham. V.(ide) Mr. Kenyon's Letters." The chapel had been endowed
in 1581 by Dorothy, daughter of Sir Richard Egerton, of Ridley, and
wife of Sir Richard Brereton, of Worsley, who in her widowhood married
Sir Peter Legh, of Lyme, Knt., and her endowment would appear to have
fallen into the hands of Nonconformists during the period of the
Usurpation.

Lord Willoughby died in June, 1712, at the age of 75; his wife the Lady
Honora, survived him and maintained her widowhood for the long period
of 38 years, dying in 1750, at the age of 77. Having no surviving
issue, the title and estates devolved upon his nephew, Edward--the
eldest surviving son of Francis, second son of Thomas, the eleventh in
succession in the barony, and his wife, Eleanor Rothwell, of Haigh--who
was at the time serving as a private soldier in the confederate army
in Flanders. He enjoyed the title only for a few months, his death
occurring in April of the following year. Being childless, the family
honours and possessions reverted to his younger brother, Charles,
who married Hester, daughter of Henry Davenport, of Darcy Lever, an
offshoot of the old Cheshire family of that name, and by her had
issue, in addition to a son Hugh, his heir, two daughters, Helena and
Elizabeth.

Hugh, who succeeded as fifteenth Lord Willoughby, was an infant at the
time of his father's decease (July 12, 1715). He was brought up in
the Presbyterian faith, but appears to have been less demonstrative
in the assertion of it than some of his progenitors; at all events
his neighbours found him much less troublesome in that respect than
his grandfather had been. Cole, the Cambridge antiquary, describes
him as a Presbyterian "of the most rigid class," and remarks that he
had heard "Mr. Coventry, of Magdalen College, Cambridge, declare that
his conscience was so nice that he could not bring himself to receive
the sacrament in the Church of England on his knees without scruple
and thought it idolatry." He resided for the most part in London, but
when at Shaw Place he usually attended the Nonconformist chapel at
Rivington. It is said, though apparently on slender foundation, that
when in London he professed himself a strict Churchman, and that some
of his friends there, hearing that he was in the habit of worshipping
with the Nonconformists when at Rivington, took him to task, whereupon
he forsook the chapel and became a worshipper at Horwich Church. The
accuracy of the story may very well be doubted. His lordship lived
and died in the faith of his fathers; the canopied pew he was wont to
occupy in Rivington chapel may still be seen, though the glories of its
decoration have become somewhat faded; and at his death he bequeathed
£100, the interest of which helps to pay its minister's stipend at the
present day. He was more of a philosopher than a polemic, and a liberal
patron of literature and art. In 1752 he succeeded Martin Foulkes as
Vice-president of the Royal Society, and two years later he was elected
to the honourable position of President of the Society of Antiquaries.
It was in this latter capacity that John Byrom, of Manchester,
addressed to him his famous poetical letter "On the Patron of England,"
and facetiously started the question whether _Georgius_ was not a
mistake for _Gregorius_, contending for the non-existence of St.
George of Cappadocia or any other George as patron saint of England,
and calling upon the society to say whether England's patron was a
knight or a pope. The _jeu d'esprit_ startled the sedate president,
and drew forth a serious rejoinder from the learned Dr. Pegge in his
"Observations on the History of St. George."[15] Lord Willoughby filled
the office of Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords for a
considerable period; he was also a Trustee of the British Museum, one
of the Commissioners of Longitude, and Vice-president of the Society
for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts. When the Dissenting Academy,
at Warrington, was founded in the latter half of the last century, his
lordship was chosen to be the first president, the Presbyterians, as
Dr. Halley says, being "with pardonable vanity in their declension fond
of exhibiting the relics of their former glory." He died unmarried, at
his residence in London, February 9, 1765, at the age of 54, and, in
accordance with his expressed desire, was buried in the family vault at
Horwich Church. When some years ago the present fabric was erected on a
site a few yards distant from the old structure, his remains were, at
the expense of his grand-nephew, Mr. Charles Leigh, of Wigan, removed
from their resting place in front of the communion rails, and placed in
a vault in the churchyard, over which a stone bearing the family arms
and the following inscription was placed:--

 In memory of the Right Hon. Hugh, 15th Baron Willoughby, of Parham,
 who resided at Shaw Place, in this county, and who died on the 21st
 of January, 1765, at his house in London, unmarried, aged 54 years.
 Also of Eleanor, daughter of William Wood, of Aspull, Esq., and wife
 of Charles Leigh, grand-nephew of the above Hugh. She died 21st of
 January, 1858, in the 57th year of her age.

Of the two sisters of Lord Willoughby, Helena, the eldest, became
the wife of Baxter Roscoe, by whom she had two daughters and a son,
Ebenezer Roscoe, who married his cousin Hannah, daughter of John Shaw,
and dying in January, 1766, left an only daughter, Helena, who died
at the age of 19 in 1794. The eldest of the two daughters married
Mr. Fisher, and the younger became the wife of Mr. Leigh, from whom
Mr. Charles Leigh, mentioned in the inscription just cited, claimed
descent. Elizabeth, the younger sister of Lord Willoughby, became the
wife of John Shaw, of Rivington, and had by him a son, named after his
father, and a daughter Hannah, who, as already stated, married her
cousin, Ebenezer Roscoe. Surviving him, she again entered the marriage
state, her second husband being the Rev. William Heaton, incumbent of
Rivington, and Head Master of Bishop Pilkington's Grammar School.

On the death of Lord Willoughby the barony again fell into abeyance.
For a period of 80 years, that is from 1685, when Sir Thomas Willoughby
had summons to Parliament, to the decease of Hugh, Lord Willoughby,
in 1765, the bearers of the title had been only suppositious lords.
As previously stated, the honours should of right have reverted to
the descendants of Sir Ambrose, the second son of Charles, the second
baron, but they, having settled in America and remaining in ignorance
of the default, did not put forward their claim, and hence the barony
was erroneously adjudged. Henry Willoughby, the grandson of Sir
Ambrose, who settled in Virginia, died there in 1685, leaving a son of
the same name, who married Elizabeth, daughter of William Pidgeon, of
Stepney, near London, and by her had, with other issue, two sons, Henry
and Fortune. This Henry, when the barony fell into abeyance in 1765,
claimed to be the representative of Sir Ambrose, and in 1767 his right
was established by a decree of the House of Lords as the great-grandson
and heir male of the body of Sir Ambrose, and consequently heir male of
Sir William Willoughby, who was elevated to the dignity of a baron by
the title of Lord Willoughby of Parham in 1547. Mr. Henry Willoughby
thereupon became sixteenth lord, and took his seat in the Upper House
on April 25th, 1767. He died January 29th, 1775, leaving by his wife
Susannah, daughter of Robert Gresswell, an only daughter, Elizabeth,
who married (first) John Halsey, of Tower Hill, London, and (second)
Edward Argles. His lordship having no male heir, the title devolved
upon his nephew George, son of Fortune Willoughby by his wife Hannah,
daughter of Thomas Barrow, and widow of Cooke Pollitt, of Swanscombe,
who succeeded as seventeenth baron, but dying issueless in 1779 the
barony, which had been in existence from the first year of Edward the
Sixth's reign, became extinct.

After a brief inspection of the modernised home of the Willoughbys
and the ancient outbuilding adjacent, which happily still
remains--"standing," as has been well said, "like a faded, tarnished
court-train wearing out in the service of the descendants of its
original proprietor's lady's maid"--we bent our steps in the direction
of the old chapel at Rivington, where the family worshipped, and where
many of their kin sleep their long sleep.

Descending into the valley, we pass through a plantation that has been
formed by the side of one of the large reservoirs of the Liverpool
Corporation Waterworks. The tall trees stand out in all their nakedness
against the background of snow, looking black, and grim, and spectral
like, though relieved in some measure by the bright-hued holly bushes,
the glossy-leaved laurels, and the other hardy shrubs, that try to
look cheery and make a pretty show. Below, where, in summer time,
the far-spreading water reflects the surrounding beauty and flashes
and glitters in the mellow sunlight, there is now only a dull leaden
glaze, for the returning spring has not yet thawed the mantle of ice
in which the hard hand of winter has enfolded it. Across the valley
the smoke curls upwards from some unseen habitation, else we might
fancy the inhabitants had fled, for neither flocks nor herds are to
be seen in the fields; even the rook as he sails listlessly overhead
looks dull and dejected, and the fieldfares huddle themselves up in the
leafless branches as if they had lost heart; all around is still and
cold and lifeless, save that now and then the hedge sparrows set up a
twittering as unmusical as the grating of a knife-grinder's wheel, and
that sprightly little fellow, the red-breasted robin, trills out his
song from the naked hawthorn spray where the tiny buds are striving to
break forth. Presently we come to a little lodge, and then, turning
to the left, cross the embankment that separates the lower from the
upper and larger Rivington lake. At the other end a short length of
road straggles upwards towards the village--rough and stony withal, and
fenced in places with patches of broken wall, built up of loose stones
that time has softened into beauty and decked with moss and lichen and
a wealth of clingy ivy.

[Illustration: RIVINGTON CHURCH.]

A quiet, picturesque spot is this same little village of Rivington.
There is an air of calm repose and pastoral serenity about it that
is pleasant to contemplate. Here the busy hum of looms and spindles
is never heard, and, though the shrill whistle of the locomotive may
occasionally find an echo, the railway itself maintains a respectful
distance, and hides away as if afraid to disturb the peaceful quietude.
The church stands a little way back from the road upon a gentle
acclivity, from which it overlooks the humbler dwellings that gather
round, but without the least air of pretentiousness. It has an ancient
and weather-worn appearance, though the present fabric dates no further
back than the time of the second Charles; a little octagon cupola rises
from the western gable, and the crumbling ruins of an old campanile
that now serves as a depository for lumber may be seen in a corner of
the quiet graveyard. A little higher up on the other side, crowning a
grassy knoll, is the modest meeting-house we are in search of; on the
lower slope of what answers for the village green two or three cottages
stand at irregular distances from each other and on the opposite side
of a little hollow that intervenes is, or rather was, the old grammar
school, for it is "old" no longer, the reforming Charity Commissioners
having lately overhauled the good bishop's foundation, and caused a new
elementary school to be erected on the site; and, in addition, have
built a larger and more convenient grammar school near the southern
end of the lower lake. The houses are few in number, and are scattered
irregularly about in a promiscuous, hap-hazard, stand-at-ease sort of
way, without any regard to order or uniformity, so that it is hard to
say where the village proper really begins, unless we assume that the
village hostelry below the church bank, standing, as it does, with its
door invitingly open, may be taken as indicating the threshold. But the
"Black-boy," which perpetuates, though very imperfectly, the heraldic
honours of the Willoughbys, submitting to the onward march of events,
has had to change its position, the site its more primitive possessor
occupied having been absorbed when the adjacent reservoir was made.

The memory of a former Boniface of that ancient hostelry is still
cherished by the villagers, and quaint stories are told respecting
him. The old worthy, it seems, combined with the duties of host on
week-days those of chief musician at the chapel on Sundays; his chosen
instrument being the violoncello, or "th' great-gronfaither fiddle,"
as the inhabitants of the little Arcadia were wont to call it; a
clarionet and a deep-mouthed but somewhat hiccupy bassoon completing
the orchestra, the performers being chosen, like Cremona fiddles, more
for age than looks or excellence, enough if only they could produce a
sufficient foundation of sound whereon the congregation might raise
their superstructure of song. Anniversary sermons and similar high days
and festivals were those on which the host of the "Black-boy" put forth
his utmost energies, and showed to greatest advantage. Surrounded by
a troop of school children, and a galaxy of rustic beauty arrayed in
white, and his choir strengthened by the addition of

                              The flute,
  And the vile squeaking of the wry-necked fife,

he then laboured at his bass viol with such energy, that, as is
related, on one occasion, being overcome with the sense of his own
importance, and the extra exertion necessary for the successful
rendering of "Fixed in his everlasting seat," he missed the centre of
gravity, toppled over and smashed his monster fiddle.

The chapel in which the Willoughbys worshipped stands, as we have
said, at the further end of the village; it is a modest looking
structure, and, in its externals at least, plain and simple enough to
satisfy the requirements of the most rigid and lugubrious Puritan. But
the authoress of "Lancashire Memories" has given such an exquisite
description of it that we cannot refrain from reproducing her sketch:
"A little gray, old stone building," she says, "half covered with ivy,
and one bell that rang, and rang, from ten o'clock until the minister
was fairly seated in the pulpit. The pews were gray and worm-eaten,
of all sizes and shapes. Some seemed not to have borne age so well as
their neighbours, and to have sunk a little on one side under their
infirmities. One was distinguished by a wooden canopy over it, and
had once belonged to that _rara avis_, a dissenting peer. One of his
descendants, no other than the village schoolmaster, occupied the pew,
and in the pride of his descent had painted on the door 'Lord Hugh
Willoughby.' When did Dissenters know anything of heraldry? Or the
difference between Lord Hugh and Hugh Lord? It converted the baronial
ancestor into quite another person. But it did just as well; a lord's
a lord all the world over, and Burke's Extinct Peerage had not come
out. There was no vestry in the chapel; but the minister wore no gown,
so no robing room was required. The bier stood at one end, a perpetual
_memento mori_, and over it hung the bell-rope, looped up on a peg.
The minister walked straight into the pulpit from the outer door,
and the service began with the clerk giving out the hymn in a thin,
feeble, snuffling voice, and, lest any of the congregation had not
caught the number, assisted their memories by writing it in chalk on
a slate, and suspending it from a nail from the pulpit over his head;
the rubbing out of this chalk, ready for the next hymn, occupying a
good deal of his time and attention during the succeeding prayer. The
music was a bassoon and a violoncello, with a pitchpipe to enable
them to start fair, and the singing was confided to the congregation
in general. The doors and windows were left open in summer, for no
sound could enter more disturbing than the twitter of a bird or the
bleat of a lamb. Flies came buzzing in, or a bee hummed her way round,
and perhaps settled in one of the posies carried on Sundays by the
country girls, and esteemed a sovereign remedy against sleeping during
service. It would be difficult to sleep anywhere with such a rich
combination of sight and scent as those nosegays of lad's-love and
thyme, wall flowers, pinks, and roses. The graveyard was grassy, still,
and peaceful; not a gravel walk up to the door; all was grass, silent
and calm. The weekly worshippers held it in affectionate reverence,
for there they had laid their own kindred, and there they expected to
be laid in turn. After service the congregation dispersed seriously
and quietly; those who lived in the same direction walking together,
discussing the sermon or enquiring after each other's affairs; but all
in a hushed, subdued tone that belongs to Sunday in the country. I
could fancy there was a stillness in the air peculiar to the day, as
if all nature, animate and inanimate, rested the one day in seven, and
worshipped in reverential silence."

The chapel of Rivington, with which the memory of the Willoughbys is so
closely associated, presents a venerable aspect, though it has no very
great antiquity to boast of. At the passing of the Act of Uniformity,
Samuel Newton, who had been minister of the Episcopal Chapel, withdrew,
but returning some time after and his place remaining unoccupied, he
was allowed "to preach in the church without disturbance." When the
Conventicle Act was in force the good people of the place frequently
assembled to celebrate public worship in the open air at a place called
Winter-hill, a part of the mountainous ridge of which Rivington Pike
forms so prominent a feature. Seats were cut out of the side of the
hill so as to form a kind of amphitheatre, and in the centre a stone
pulpit was erected from whence the assembled throng were usually
addressed.

The present chapel was built in the early part of Queen Anne's
reign--in 1703, it is said, and about the time that Hugh, Lord
Willoughby, the first of that name, with his co-trustees were causing
so much anxiety to poor Vicar Rothwell by retaining the funds of
Horwich Episcopal Chapel, and threatening "against justice and honesty"
to build a meeting-house with them. Like many other chapels erected
contemporaneously, it was built and endowed for the promulgation
of doctrines accordant with those of the Church, but enforced by a
Presbyterian form of government; eventually Arian sentiments were
introduced, and it has experienced the declension almost universal with
English Presbyterian congregations. There is a tradition current that
when these changes were introduced they were received with so much
disfavour that a worthy couple in the neighbourhood who had a child
born to them at the time, determined that it should be named Ichabod,
believing, as they said, the glory to have departed.

The building, clothed in its mantle of verdant ivy, stands a little way
back from the wayside in the midst of its own graveyard and encompassed
by a grey stone fence that looks as old as the structure itself.
Having obtained the key, we passed through the little wicket into the
enclosure--

  Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap.

A few shrubs grasp the cold earth, and you can see where flowers have
been planted by loving hands, but there is no gravelled path, and so
you have to pick your way round the grass-grown hillocks, stepping from
dwelling to dwelling of the listless dead, and over the half-sunken
flag-stones, many of them bemossed with age and appearing as if about
to sink into the graves of those they commemorate. Time, as Hawthorne
says, gnaws an English gravestone with wonderful aptitude. Our climate
soon gives an antiquity of aspect, and the moisture encourages the moss
and lichens to fill up the lettered furrows with a living green that
obliterates the inscription while the beloved name it records is yet
fresh upon the survivor's heart--

  The record some fond hand hath traced,
  To mark thy burial spot,
  The lichen will have soon effaced,
  To write thy doom--forgot.

Unlocking the door, we entered the little sanctuary, which looks as
though it had remained undisturbed since the time when the Willoughbys
were in the heyday of their power. The interior is plain and simple
almost to ugliness, and a chill pervades the place that tends more
to inspire a melancholy gloom than to attune the mind to reverent
devotion; the pavement is damp and uneven, and the mildewed and
worm-eaten pews, though doubtless favourable to the quiet slumbers of
bucolic Rivingtonians, suggest the idea that the worshippers in this
Nonconformist Zion have little sympathy with demonstrative worship,
and are not much given to indulgence in æsthetic gewgaws--at all
events, that whatever their tabernacle may have done for the promotion
of piety, it is not likely to do much for the cultivation of taste.
The pulpit is placed in the centre against the wall, and directly
opposite is the high seat of the synagogue--the pew or enclosure set
apart, when the chapel could boast a peer among its worshippers, for
the lordly owners of Shaw-place--importance being given by a wooden
canopy, somewhat faded and decrepid in appearance, that overshadows it,
and nowadays spinsters or bachelors who occupy the seat of honour are
liable to have their thoughts distracted by the notice that stares them
obtrusively in the face, "Marriages may be solemnised in this chapel,"
a reminder that might have been useful in former days when, as we have
seen, there was an apparent forgetfulness, if not reluctance, on the
part of some of the lordly occupants to enter the holy estate.

There is not much display of mural literature; a small marble tablet
perpetuates the name of Thomas Lowe, of Rivington, and Alice his wife,
but the only sepulchral memorial deserving of especial notice is a
singular coffin-shaped slab, inscribed with a pretentious pedigree and
a long laudatory epitaph, erected in recent years by a descendant of
the Willoughbys who had evidently less mercy for the marble-cutter than
admiration of the hereditary dignities of his departed ancestors.

It is about four or five yards in height, and adorned with a number
of small shields blazoned with the armorial ensigns of the family
alliances. Here is the inscription:--

 In memory of Thomas eleventh Lord Willoughby of Parham in Suffolk, of
 Horwich, Adlington and Shaw-Place in this county who died February
 20th, 1691, aged 89. Also of Eleanor, Lady Willoughby, who died in
 1665, aged 67. And Hugh their eldest son, twelfth Lord Willoughby, who
 died in June 1712, aged 75. Also of Anne, his Lordship's first wife,
 who died in 1690, aged 52. Likewise the Lady Honora, his second wife,
 eldest daughter of Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh, and relict of Sir William
 Egerton of Worsley, Knight of the Bath, second son of John, Earl of
 Bridgewater and his countess Elizabeth, daughter of his Grace the
 Duke of Newcastle. She died in 1750, aged 77. A truly congenial pair,
 fondly attached to rural scenes and retirements, and endeared to all
 around them by the urbanity, benevolence, and purity of their lives,
 evinced at their favourite retreat Worsley Hall, Lord Willoughby
 in pursuits like the Noble Earl himself, a spirited agriculturist
 affording employment to vast numbers on that fine domain, a dower
 possessed in right of her ladyship's first espousal, having issue
 thereby John and Honora Egerton.

 Also in memory of Edward the thirteenth Lord who died unmarried, in
 Flanders, valiantly fighting under the renowned Duke of Marlborough,
 in April 1713, aged 37 years.

 Also of Charles, his brother, the fourteenth Lord, who died June 12th,
 1715, aged 34, sons of the Honourable Francis.

 Also Hester, Lady Willoughby, his wife, who died in 1758, aged 73
 years, youngest daughter of Henry Davenport, Esqr., of Darcy Lever, a
 surviving branch of the ancient family of the Davenports of Davenport
 in the county of Chester, and eventually heiress to her brother and
 sister, an eminently distinguished family amongst the Dissenters of
 that period. Educated in the adjoining township under their relative,
 the venerable Oliver Heywood, M.A., the Father of the Nonconformist
 Divines, and a native of Little Lever.

 Lastly in memory of the Right Honble. Hugh, their only son, and
 fifteenth Baron Willoughby of Parham, who expired at his house in
 London, unmarried, January 17th, 1765, aged 51. Interred by his
 Lordship's express desire in the family vault of his ancestors within
 Horwich Church, February 9th, and had a befitting funeral for so
 exalted a character and Peer of the Realm; the Nobility, Officers
 of State, Patrons and Directors of the various Institutions joining
 the solemn cavalcade through the City to St. Alban's on its route to
 Lancashire which journey occupied nigh three weeks; in whom too the
 male line of this branch became extinct.

 A constant attender and supporter with his revered and early widowed
 and exemplary mother of this Chapel and to which he bequeathed the sum
 of £100. Here, as the Son, the Brother, the Friend, above all as the
 Christian his name is perpetuated. An elegant and accomplished scholar
 who, after enjoying the advantage of foreign travel for some years
 returned to England, filled with a patriotic devotion for his native
 country. Open, kind-hearted, and magnanimous, he commenced his onerous
 Parliamentary duties, and soon gave evidence of that legislative
 talent which afterwards shone forth with so much splendour, conferring
 upon him, by being unanimously chosen Chairman of the Committees of
 the House of Peers, an official reward and the lasting esteem of
 his most gracious Sovereigns George II. and III. to the close of
 a transcendently brilliant political career. With his universally
 acknowledged refinement of taste, enriched abroad and extensively
 cultivated at home, and his judicious bestowal of patronage, exercised
 in the promotion of Literature, Science and the Arts, in whatever
 walk his comprehensive mind discerned genius or oppressed worth, his
 fostering hand brought forth the "flower born to blush unseen," which
 in speedy requital for such true greatness of soul obtained for him
 the additional very high appointments, viz., President of the Society
 of Antiquaries, and Vice-president of the Royal Society, succeeding
 the learned Martin Foulkes, Esq., Vice-president of the Society for
 the Encouragement of the Fine Arts; a trustee of the British Museum,
 and one of the Commissioners of Longitude. A nobleman who adorned the
 title derived from his forefathers by his own social and domestic
 virtues; leaving a grateful nation to deplore his unexpected removal
 from this sublunary state and two sisters, his co-heiresses at law,
 the Honble. Helena, wife of Baxter Roscoe, Esqr., and the Honble.
 Elizabeth, the wife of John Shaw, Esqr.

 As a tribute of affectionate regard due to so lamented a Servant,
 Philanthropist and Relative, this monument is erected by his
 grand-nephews and nieces.

        Friends we have had--the years flew by,
        How many have they borne away?
        Man like the hours is born to die,
        The last year's hours, oh, where are they?
        Catch then, O catch the transient hour,
        Improve each moment as it flies,
        So teach us in our solemn hour,

        That we ourselves are dying flowers.
        He dies--alas! how soon he dies,
        Yet all these flowers now lost by death
        In other worlds shall brightly bloom,
        Spring with fresh life, immortal breath,
        And burst the confines of the tomb.

 Recorded in the Museum:--"The illustrious Lord Willoughby, who holds
 a distinguished place in the Temple of Science and as a pre-eminent
 personage elected to fill the two offices vacant by the demise of
 the justly celebrated Martin Foulkes, Esqr., powerfully aided in
 design and furtherance of its object this stupendous structure, by
 his unremitting zeal and matured conception as a virtuoso. Founded
 in his 39th year A.D. 1753." Extract from Lysons:--"His Lordship's
 stipend from Government was 1,200 guineas per annum. He was a father
 to the poor, a benefactor and protector of indigent deserving authors,
 a munificent patron of learning, music, painting, and poetry, and a
 statesman who sought without fear or favour the common good." These
 mementoes of five generations and alliances of a patrician race
 summoned to Parliament 7th Edward II., 1313, are faithfully detailed
 from authentic documents possessed only by the writer himself, who
 snatched them from oblivion, and compiled chiefly for the Antiquary
 and Herald, every vestige beside regarding them being flagrantly
 destroyed with the ancient sacred edifice wherein reposed their bodies.

After this fulsome eulogy, which offends alike against piety,
simplicity, and truth, may we not exclaim with Sir Thomas Browne in his
_Hydriotaphia_, "Man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes and pompous
in the grave, solemnising nativities and deaths with equal lustre."

Any account of the Willoughbys would be incomplete that did not make
mention of that _preux chevalier_, the hero of Zutphen, the friend
of Sir Philip Sidney, and the idol of popular fame, who, if he did
not bear the name, was yet of the blood of the Willoughbys--Peregrine
Bertie, Lord Willoughby of Eresby, whose valour was proved on many a
hard-fought field, and whose name so often rang on the plains of the
Netherlands--

  The brave Lord Willoughby,
    Of courage fierce and fell,
  Who would not give one inch of way
    For all the devils in hell.

His mother, the Lady Katharine Willoughby, the only daughter and
heiress of William the ninth lord by a Spanish lady of high birth, Mary
Salmes, after the death of her first husband, Charles Brandon, Duke
of Suffolk, brother-in-law of King Henry VIII., became the wife of
Richard Bertie. On the accession of Queen Mary she was forced to fly
from her own country to escape the cruelties and persecutions of Bishop
Gardiner, whose enmity she had drawn upon herself by some imprudent
manifestations of her dislike of his character in the preceding reign.
Accompanied by her husband, she sought refuge in the Low Countries.
"On an October evening," says Lucy Aikin in her "Memoirs of the Court
of Elizabeth," "followed only by two maid-servants, on foot, through
rain and mire and darkness, the forlorn wanderers began their march
to Wesel, one of the Hanse towns. On their arrival, their wild and
wretched appearance gave them, in the eyes of the inhabitants, so
suspicious an appearance that no one would harbour them; and while her
husband ran from inn to inn vainly imploring admittance the afflicted
duchess was compelled to betake herself to the shelter of a church
porch; and there, in that misery and desolation and want of everything,
was delivered of a child, to whom, in memory of the circumstance, she
gave the name of Peregrine." The son who first saw the light under
these inauspicious circumstances was, at her death in 1580, and in
her right, summoned to Parliament as tenth Lord Willoughby. Two years
afterwards, when Elizabeth, on account of the hostility of Philip
of Spain, was desirous of cultivating a closer friendship with the
Northern Powers, Lord Willoughby was selected as her special envoy
to the King of Denmark to invest him with the Garter as a token of
her goodwill. Subsequently, when the battle between the two great
principles that divided Europe was being fought out by England and
Spain, he had many opportunities of distinguishing himself and won
undying fame.

Elizabeth had sent an army to assist the Protestant people of the
Low Countries to maintain their civil privileges and their religious
faith against Philip and against Rome. Leicester, who had the
chief command, was unable to cope with so skilled a general as the
Prince of Parma, and the campaign was a disastrous one. Among the
heroes in that little band was the rare scholar, the accomplished
writer, the perfect gentleman, the darling of the English people, Sir
Philip Sidney, and with him his intimate friend, the brilliant and
quick-witted--the bravest of the brave on the battle-field--the "good
Lord Willoughby"--"Good Peregrine," as his "most loving sovereign,"
Elizabeth, familiarly styled him in one of her letters. The following
story of his prowess at the battle of Zutphen, in which Sidney received
his mortal wound, is related in a comparatively modern work, "Five
Generations of a Loyal House":--

 On the 22nd September, 1586, an affray took place, in which Lord
 Willoughby pre-eminently distinguished himself by valour and conduct,
 and many others with him upheld the glory of the English name. Sir
 John Norreis and Sir William Stanley[16] were that day reconciled;
 the former coming forward to say, "Let us die together in her
 Majesty's cause." The enemy were desirous of throwing supplies into
 Zutphen, a place of which they entertained some doubt; and a convoy,
 accordingly, by orders of the Prince of Parma, brought in a store,
 though an insufficient one, of provisions. A second, commanded by
 George Cressiac, an Albanois, was despatched for the same purpose,
 the morning being foggy. Lord Willoughby, Lord Audley, Sir John
 Norreis, and Sir Philip Sidney encountering the convoy in a fog an
 engagement began. The Spaniards had the advantage of position, and
 had it in their power to discharge two or three volleys of shot upon
 the English, who, nevertheless, stood their ground. Lord Willoughby
 himself, with his lance in rest, met with the leader, George Cressiac,
 engaged with, and, after a short combat, unhorsed him. He fell into a
 ditch, crying aloud to his victor: "I yield myself to you, for that
 you be a seemly knight," who, satisfied with the submission, and
 having other matters in hand, threw himself into the thickest of the
 combat, while the captive was conducted to the tent of the general,
 Lord Leicester. The engagement was hot, and cost the enemy many lives,
 but few of the English were missing. Willoughby was extremely forward
 in the combat; at one moment his basses, or mantle, was torn from
 him, but recaptured. When all was over, Captain Cressiac, being still
 in his Excellency's tent, refused to acknowledge himself prisoner to
 any but the knight to whom he had submitted on the field. There is
 something in this and the like incidents of the period, which recall
 us very agreeably to the recollection of earlier days of chivalry
 and romance. Cressiac added, that if he were to see again the knight
 to whom he had surrendered himself, in the armour he then wore, he
 should immediately recognise him, and that to him and him only would
 he yield. Accordingly, when Lord Willoughby presented himself before
 him, in complete armour, he immediately exclaimed: "I yield to you!"
 and was adjudged to him as his prisoner. It was in this skirmish that
 the gallant and lamented Sir Philip Sidney, the boast of his age, and
 the hope of many admiring friends, received the fatal wound which cut
 short the thread of a brief but brilliant existence. During the whole
 day he had been one of the foremost in action, and once rushed to the
 assistance of his friend, Lord Willoughby, on observing him "nearly
 surrounded by the enemy," and in imminent peril: after seeing him in
 safety, he continued the combat with great spirit, until he received
 a shot in the thigh, as he was remounting a second horse, the first
 having been killed under him.

The story of Sidney's death has been told by his friend Lord Brooke,
and the affecting anecdote of his demeanour when he was carried
faint and bleeding from the walls of Zutphen inspires a love and
reverence for his name, which never ceases to cling about the hearts
of his countrymen. "Passing along by the rear of the army," says his
biographer, "where his uncle (the Earl of Leicester) the general was,
and being thirsty with excess of bleeding, he called for some drink,
which was presently brought him. But as he was putting the bottle to
his mouth he saw a poor soldier carried along, who had eaten his last
at the same feast, ghastly casting up his eyes at the bottle; which Sir
Philip perceiving took it from his head before he drank, and delivered
it to the poor man with these words,'Thy necessity is yet greater than
mine.'"

When the Earl of Leicester abruptly left for England Lord Willoughby
was by his direction appointed to the chief command, in which he
was subsequently confirmed by the Queen herself. He was not less
magnanimous than brave; and, disdaining the servility of a Court life,
is thought to have enjoyed on this account less of the Queen's favour
than her admiration of military merit would otherwise have prompted her
to bestow upon him. Some time after the defeat of the Armada he retired
to Spa, ostensibly for the recovery of his health, but more probably
in resentment of some injury inflicted by a venal and treacherous
Court, the intrigues of which his noble nature scorned; but Elizabeth,
unwilling to lose the support of one of her bravest and most popular
captains, addressed a letter of recall to him. He does not appear,
however, to have been actively engaged in any of the expeditions
against Spain which ensued; though he was subsequently appointed
Governor of Berwick, an appointment he held until his death in 1601.
His son was afterwards created Earl of Lindsay, and the title of Duke
of Ancaster has been borne by his descendants.

There are other names associated with the annals of Rivington of equal
historic interest with those of the former lords of Shaw Place, and
foremost among them must be ranked that of the worthy prelate, who in
the golden days of the maiden Queen, when he had risen to be Bishop
of Durham, and out of the love he bore to his native county founded
the free school at Rivington for the "bringing up, teaching, and
instructing children and youth in grammar and other good learning,
to continue for ever." In good Bishop Pilkington's early days the
opportunities of learning were few; the well-born might get admission
to the house of some great territorial lord and there receive a
scholastic training, but to those of lowlier birth the monasteries
were almost the only available sources, and the youths there educated
were usually trained for the priesthood. The heaviest reproach that
Shakespeare's Jack Cade could heap upon Lord Say was "that he had most
traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a grammar
school." Little progress had, however, been made in "corrupting the
youth" of Lancashire, for at the time of the Reformation there were
only three such schools in the county--Farnworth, Manchester, and
Warrington--and they had then been only recently founded; hence the
common people, as may be supposed, were rude and uncultured, and,
though the merriest of Englishmen, were as illiterate as they were
merry; even the thrifty manufacturers were in very little better
case, for in only very few instances did they know how to write their
names.[17]

The Pilkingtons derived their patronymic from the manor of that name in
Prestwich parish, where they were located shortly after the Conquest,
though Fuller in his "Worthies of England" assigns, but without any
apparent authority, a much earlier date, and tells us that one of them
fought under Harold at the battle of Hastings, and, being pressed, put
on the dress of a thatcher and so escaped; whence the family crest and
the allusive motto, "_Now thus, now thus_." But in this the pleasant
old chronicler is clearly at fault, for the crest of the Pilkingtons is
not a thresher but a mower, and the motto imputed to the family belongs
to the Traffords. Fuller says he had the story from his "good friend,
Master William Riley, Norroy King of Arms," a Lancashire man. Whatever
its origin--and tradition, if never wholly accurate, is seldom entirely
destitute of foundation--it is a singular coincidence that the same, or
nearly the same, story is applied to the Traffords, the Levers, and the
Bridgeman family.

An offshoot of the Pilkingtons was settled at Rivington in the first
half of the fourteenth century, and the old hall was the residence of
this branch of the family for many generations. The earlier history
of the family is involved in much obscurity, but in the 10th Edward
III. (1336-7) Robert, a younger son of Sir Roger de Pilkington and
his wife Alice, sister and heiress of Henry de Bury, obtained a grant
of the manor of Rivington from Alexander, son of Cicely de Rivington.
This Robert Pilkington was in the time of Richard II. a juror in the
great Scrope and Grosvenor cause, which occupied the court of the Lord
Marshall of England four years in determining the conflicting claims
of Sir Richard le Scrope and Sir Robert le Grosvenor to bear for arms
on a field azure, a bend or--a golden bar placed diagonally across the
shield. Heraldry in those days was the recognised mark of hereditary
honour and gentility, and coat armour had an intrinsic value. The suit
in which Robert Pilkington, of Rivington, took part has scarcely a
parallel in history; deeds, chronicles, monastic records, and muniments
that purported to date back to the fabulous days of King Arthur were
submitted; and John O'Gaunt, Owen Glendower, Geoffrey Chaucer, and
scores of lords, knights, and esquires, the surviving veterans from the
wars of Edward III., who had beheld the blazonry borne before the walls
of Ascalon, in the Crusades, in northern France, under the standard of
the Black Prince, on the plains of Crescy and Poictiers, and many other
famous places and fields of fame, were called as witnesses. As the
humourist has it--

  Would you know more, you must look at "The Roll,"
          Which records the dispute,
          And the subsequent suit,
  Commenced in "Thirteen sev'nty-five,"--which took root
  In Le Grosvenor's assuming the arms Le Scroope swore
  That none but _his_ ancestors, ever before,
  In foray, joust, battle, or tournament wore,
  To wit "_On a Prussian-blue Field, a Bend Or_;"
  While the Grosvenor averr'd that his ancestor bore
  The same, and Scroope lied like a--somebody tore
  Off the simile--so I can tell you no more,
  Till some A double S shall the fragment restore.

Robert Pilkington, by his wife Katharine, daughter of J. de Aynesworth,
had a son Alexander, his heir, who, as appears by an inquisition taken
9th Henry V. (1421-2), held seven parts of the manor of Rivington
of his cousin, Sir John Pilkington, Knight; he settled his estates
8th Henry VI. (1429-30), and was succeeded in turn by his son, Ralph
Pilkington, who died 30th January, 15th Edward IV. (1476). His
inquisition was taken at Eccles on Monday before the Purification of
the Virgin, 17th Edward IV. (26th January, 1478), when it was found
that Robert Pilkington, who was then 28 years of age, was his son and
next heir.

The Battle of Bosworth Field proved as fatal to the fortunes of the
parent stock of the Pilkingtons as to the power of their royal master,
Richard III. They were devoted adherents of the house of York, and
bore a part in the bloody contest which ended the struggle between
the Red and White Roses, and alike terminated the power of the feudal
barons, the line of the Plantagenet kings, and the political system
under which England had been governed by them for more than three
centuries. For his adherence to the fortunes of the fallen monarch Sir
Thomas Pilkington's estates were forfeited to the victorious Richmond,
and by him bestowed upon his crafty stepfather, Thomas, Lord Stanley,
first Earl of Derby, the only noble who survived the wars of the Roses
with added power and splendour, he having given to him almost all
the lands forfeited in the north; the originally great possessions
of his house being swollen by enormous grants of the estates of Sir
Thomas Broughton, of Broughton; of Sir James Harrington, of Hornby;
of Francis, Viscount Lovel; of Sir Thomas Pilkington, and what Sir
Thomas had inherited by descent from the heiress of Chetham--in fact,
from these forfeited possessions of the Pilkingtons came all the lands
which the Stanleys obtained in the Salford Hundred. If there is any
foundation for the story of a Pilkington having disguised himself
to escape his pursuers, it must have been after the fatal fight at
Bosworth, and not at Hastings, as Fuller affirms. There is a common
belief that Sir Thomas Pilkington was captured on the occasion of
Richard's overthrow, sent prisoner to Leicester, and there put to
death; but the statement is incorrect, for this devoted servant of the
fallen king was afterwards in arms against Henry VII., and took part in
the action at Stoke Field, near Newark, where he lost his life, June
6, 1487, the occasion being that on which Lambert Simnel, the pretended
Edward Plantagenet, was taken prisoner.

Though Robert Pilkington, of Rivington, also fought on the side
of the Yorkists at Bosworth, his lands appear to have escaped the
general wreck, and his descendants continued in the occupation of the
ancestral home for several generations. Richard Pilkington, a son or
grandson of this Robert, was born in 1480, and had to wife Alice,
daughter of Lawrence Asshawe, of Hall-on-the-Hill, in Heath-Charnock,
a township adjoining Rivington, which would appear to have come into
the possession of the Asshawes by marriage with a heiress of the
Harringtons of Westby. The Asshawes at a later date also owned lands in
Flixton, where they had a residence, Asshawe Hall, which still exists.
Round this family Mr. M'Dougall has thrown the halo of romance, and
under the title of "The Ladye of Asshawe" has enshrined in verse a
lingering tradition that possibly possesses some faint glimmerings of
truth, with, however, much that is undoubtedly apocryphal.

A branch of the family was seated at High Bullough, in Anglezark, in
the reign of Henry VIII.; and from this line, through James, younger
son of John Asshawe or Shaw, as the name began to be written, who
married Mary Gerard, a daughter of the house of Ince, descended the
Shaws who were seated at Shaw Place, in Heath Charnock, before that
mansion passed into the possession of the Willoughbys, and were
residing there when Sir William Dugdale, Norroy King of Arms, made
his visitation in 1664, Peter Shaw then registering a pedigree of six
descents. We shall make acquaintance with the Shaws of High Bullough
and Shaw Place in the course of our inquiries.

Fuller says, and the statement has obtained currency by frequent
repetition, that Richard Pilkington, who married the daughter of
Lawrence Asshawe, built the church of Rivington, but the statement is
not strictly accurate, though it was no doubt through his exertions
that the building then existing received consecration. That there was
an ecclesiastical foundation here at an earlier date is evident from
the "humble complaint" which Richard Sim, the churchwarden, and other
inhabitants of the chapelry in 1628 addressed to Bishop Bridgeman.
It appears that a claim had been set up by one Thomas Breers to the
inheritance of the church and churchyard as his lay fee, on the ground
that it had formed part of the possessions of Richard Pilkington, and
had been conveyed by his grandson, Robert Pilkington, to Thomas Breers,
the elder, the claimant's father. A reply was filed declaring that long
before the inquisition taken on the death of Richard Pilkington (1551)
the inhabitants of Rivington, Anglezark, Hemshaw, and Foulds, in the
parish of Bolton-le-Moors, and who were then reckoned to number five
hundred, at their own cost had built the said chapel "upon a little
toft and quillit of land" in Rivington, there to celebrate divine
service, sacraments, and sacramentals, which were performed accordingly
"for manie yeres of antiquitie;" and that afterwards Richard Pilkington
made great labour and took great pains with Dr. Bird, the Bishop of
Chester, and desired him to dedicate the same chapel and chapelyard to
God and His Holy and divine service, and the same was consecrated the
11th day of October, 1541. They further showed that Queen Elizabeth,
by a grant under the great seal dated at Westminster 13th May, in
the eighth year of her reign (1566), did, amongst other things, at
the petition of James Pilkington (son of Richard), Bishop of Durham,
grant to the governors of the Grammar School in Rivington and their
successors, that from time to time and ever afterwards there should
be in the said chapel sacraments and sacramentals celebrated, and
other divine services used, and also baptising of infants, celebration
of matrimony, burying and inhumation of the dead within the said
chapel and chapelyard, and all other rites, celebrations, prayers,
and services in the said chapel for ever, there to be used in all and
every construction and purpose, as is, are, or ought to be used in
the parish church of Bolton-in-the-Moors. And that ever afterwards
the people and inhabitants within Rivington, Anglezark, Hemshaw, and
Foulds on their own proper costs should find, from time to time, one
discreet, learned, and fit chaplain or minister to serve in the said
chapel, and make his residence there, and to perform all divine offices
in the said chapel, and all other things there which may or ought to
belong to the office of rector (_sic_) of the said parish church of
Bolton, or any other rector or curate or parish church of England. And
that the said inhabitants should not be compelled or bound to repair
to the parish church of Bolton, or to any other church or chapel, to
hear divine service, or to receive the sacraments, to bury their dead,
or to celebrate matrimony, but only to the chapel of Rivington. They
also offered to depose and prove that, time beyond the memory of man,
they and their ancestors had quietly enjoyed the said church or chapel
and chapelyard, with all the freedoms, privileges, and immunities
thereof, and had continually repaired, maintained and upholden the
same, and had also as then kept and provided a sufficient minister
and preacher at the same, and they therefore besought the Bishop to
continue the privileges to them, their heirs, and successors for ever.
The inhabitants established their case, and under date November 15th,
1628, the Bishop confirmed all their rights to them.

It would thus seem that originally Rivington had been a kind of minor
(succursal) chapel of ease, erected for the accommodation of the
people, who, residing in a remote hamlet, found it inconvenient on all
occasions to resort to the mother church, and had been licensed for
public worship, without, however, possessing the full privileges and
characteristics of a church until, through the influence and exertions
of Richard Pilkington, the Bishop of Chester was induced to consecrate
it.

It will be seen that at that early date the good people of Rivington
appointed their own minister, a circumstance that goes far to confirm
the belief that, though the Pilkingtons might have been liberal
benefactors, they were not the actual founders of the church. The
inhabitants have ever since continued to exercise the right of
patronage, the incumbent whenever a vacancy occurs being elected by
the votes of the ratepayers, a practice that is not without its
disadvantages, as people of all religious beliefs and of no religious
belief at all have equal rights in the selection of the minister, and
exercise them, not always with a view to the church's efficiency or
usefulness.

The old chapel--doubtless a very primitive-looking structure--was
rebuilt in 1666, and within the last few years has undergone a
thorough restoration. By whomsoever founded, it is clear that one of
the most liberal contributors to the endowment was George Shaw, of
High Bullough, a kinsman of Richard Pilkington's wife, whose name is
perpetuated in the following inscription on a small brass placed below
one of the windows on the north side:--

 Here Lyeth the Bodye of George Shaw, Gentleman, who was the fourth
 sonne of Laurence Shaw of High Bullough in the county of Lancaster,
 who in his Lyfe time gave £200 to be as stocke for ever for the use
 of the Church of Rivington, the profitts whereof to be paid yearly
 to a Preaching Minister at this Church. And at his death hee gave,
 besides other large legacies to his kinsfolkes and friends, the sume
 of £100 to be as stocke for ever, the profitts whereof to be yearly
 distributed amongst the Poor Inhabitants of Rivington, Andlesargh,
 Heath Charnock and Anderton, on Peter's Day and Michael's Day, by
 even portions; And £190 (being the remainder of his Estate) hee also
 gave to be bestowed on land or laid upon a rent charge for ever, the
 profitts whereof to be lent from tyme to tyme gratis to the poore
 tennants within the townes aforesaid towards the paying of their Fynes
 for such tyme and at the discretion of Mr. Alexander Feeilden and Mr.
 George Shaw his Executors, and their heires, and others named in his
 last Will. Hee dyed November the VIII day, anno Doni, 1650, being of
 the age of 73 years.

The memory of the Pilkingtons is preserved in the following inscription
on a memorial in the church:--

 _Vivit post Funera Virtus. Richard Pilkington qui Templum hoc condidit
 hic sepeliebatur año Dñi 1551, et maii 24, tunc doñica Trinitatis, ac
 ætatis suoe 66, bonæ memoriæ Vir._

 _Alicia Asshaw ei uxor 12 liberos ei peperit, è quibus tres
 concionatores fuerunt et Cantabrigiensis à Collegio S. Johannis ac ea
 vivit octogenaria._ Fathers teach yor children nurtur & learning of
 the Lorde.

  _Jacobus istorum filius creat' Episcop' Dunelme 2 Martii año 1660,
 et ætatis suæ 42, hanc Scholam aperuit anno 1566 et Templum._ Children
 obey yor parents in ye Lord.

Richard Pilkington, who married Alice Asshawe, and died on the 24th
May, 1551, had a numerous family. One of his daughters, Katharine,
became the wife of John, son of James Shaw, of Shaw Place, in Heath
Charnock. Of the sons, Charles, the eldest, died young; George
succeeded to the family inheritance, and left a son, Robert, his
heir, who by his will dated 16th November, 1605, left the manor of
Rivington, with his other estates, in trust to Mr. Serjeant Hutton,
Thomas Tildesley, Esq., and Mrs. Katharine Pilkington, who sold the
manor to Robert Lever, of Darcy Lever. His only daughter and heiress,
Jane, in 1653, became the second wife of her kinsman, John Andrews,
of Little Lever, son and heir of Nicholas Andrews, of the city of
London, an offshoot of the old Northamptonshire family of the Andrews
of Charwelton, and his wife, Heath, daughter of Thomas Lever, of
Little Lever Hall, a captain in Cromwell's army; and the lordship
has continued in their descendants to the present time. James, the
third son of Richard Pilkington, became Bishop of Durham, and of this
distinguished member of the family we shall have more to say anon.
Francis Pilkington, the fourth son, died in 1597. Leonard, the fifth
son, became master of St. John's College, Rector of Whitburne and
prebendary of Durham; his grandson, a stout Church-and-King man, who
had to compound for his estates on account of his adherence to the
cause of the unfortunate Charles I., acquired extensive possessions
in Ireland, and founded the line of the Pilkingtons of Tore, in the
county of Westmeath, represented at the present day by Henry Mulock
Pilkington, Esq., as well as that of Pilkington of Carrick, in Queen's
County. John, the sixth son, like his brothers, James and Leonard,
was in holy orders, and became archdeacon of Durham with a prebendal
stall in that cathedral, three of the sons of Richard Pilkington thus
attaining to distinguished positions in the Church, and holding,
respectively, the offices of bishop, archdeacon, and prebendary of
Durham.

James Pilkington, "the good old Bishop of Durham," as Strype calls
him, first saw the light in the year 1518, three years after good
Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter, had founded his grammar school at
Manchester, when Wolsey was in the plenitude of his power, and the
learned Erasmus was winning renown by his Greek translation of the New
Testament; the year in which Martin Luther, by his denunciation of
the new-fangled doctrine of indulgences, shook the foundation of the
Papacy, and cleared the way for that mighty change in religious thought
and sentiment the full meaning of which is tersely comprehended in
the one word which marks the epoch--the Reformation. Young Pilkington
received his earliest instruction in the seminary where so many
Puritans were trained--the Grammar School at Farnworth, which had been
then lately founded by William Smyth, of Widnes, Bishop of Lincoln, the
companion in his boyhood's days of Hugh Oldham, of Exeter, Manchester's
great benefactor. It is probable that Thomas Lever, a younger son of
John Lever, of Lever Hall, so intimately associated with Pilkington
in later years of study, labour, and exile--the future master of St
John's, Cambridge, and the favourite preacher of Queen Elizabeth--was
attending the same school at the time, so that the two, being about the
same age, may very likely, as Dr. Halley suggests, have been taught by
the same teacher, and whipped with the same birch.

Pilkington subsequently entered at St. John's, Cambridge, at that
time a stronghold of the reformed doctrine and a favourite resort of
Lancashire men, where he had his quondam schoolfellow, young Lever, as
a fellow collegian. At the University he greatly distinguished himself
by his zeal in promoting the revival of Greek literature. In due time
he obtained the degree of doctor of divinity, and was also elected
a fellow of his college. He became famous for his eloquence and his
success as a preacher of the reformed doctrines; and in December, 1550,
he was presented by the young King Edward to the vicarage of Kendal,
but did not enjoy that preferment very long. On the death of his royal
patron he ranged himself on the side of the partisans of the hapless
Lady Jane Grey, but he does not appear to have been very actively
concerned in the futile attempt to place her upon the throne. On the
accession of Queen Mary the fires of martyrdom were kindled. John
Bradford's preaching brought him to the stake, and Pilkington would
doubtless have shared the fate of the Manchester martyr had he not
prudently withdrawn from his vicarage and sought safety abroad, where
he remained for some years a voluntary exile, three other Lancashire
men being his associates in adversity--his old companion, Lever, who
afterwards became Archdeacon of Coventry; Alexander Nowell, of Read,
in Whalley parish, the future Dean of St Paul's; and Edwin Sandys, of
Hawkshead, in Furness, whom Queen Elizabeth promoted to the Bishopric
of Worcester, and who subsequently became Archbishop of York. While
at Geneva, Basle, and Zurich Pilkington read lectures and became
associated with the leading Calvinistic Reformers, whose views in
relation to ecclesiastical rites and ceremonies he warmly espoused,
though when he attained to power, strict Puritan as he was, he was
never so rigorous in enforcing them as his friend Lever.

With the close of the short reign of Mary the glare of the Smithfield
fires died out. On the accession of Elizabeth, Pilkington, being no
longer in peril, returned to his own country, and on the 20th of July
in the following year (1559) was elected master of St. John's College,
Cambridge--that in which he had graduated. He was one of the six
divines appointed to revise the Book of Common Prayer, and for these
and other services he was, on the 26th December, 1560, nominated to the
vacant see of Durham. On the 20th February following, Elizabeth issued
her warrant for his election to the palatinate. He was consecrated on
the 2nd of March, received part of the temporalities on the 25th, and
on the 10th of April following was enthroned at Durham,

  Where his Cathedral, huge and vast,
    Looks down upon the Wear,--

the "great high place"--

  Deep in Durham's Gothic shade,

where in earlier days the prince-bishop, whose worldly franchises
invested him with a faint shadow of sovereign power, bearing alike the
sword and the pastoral staff, "looked down," as Dr. Freeman says, "from
his fortified height, on a flock which he had to guard no less against
worldly than against ghostly foes."

There is a wide-spread belief among the people of Rivington that
Pilkington was the first Protestant bishop appointed by Queen
Elizabeth, but this is undoubtedly an error. Parker had been appointed
to the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury in the preceding year, and many
other vacant sees had also been filled up, but those of York and Durham
had been purposely kept open for a year, in the hope that the former
holders--Heath and Tunstall--would conform.

Nothing, perhaps, more forcibly illustrates the sturdy independence
and inflexible determination of the old Lancashire divine than his
uncompromising resistance to the unjust attempt made by Elizabeth
to appropriate to her own use, or that of some of her favourites,
a portion of the temporalities of his bishopric. The revenues of
the Cathedral church of Durham had attracted the cupidity of the
sordid minions of the Court, who were anxious to enlarge their
hereditary estates by the seizure of the Church's lands, and, at
their instigation, the Queen, following the example of her father,
Henry VIII., on Pilkington's nomination, had excepted out of the
restitution several valuable manors and estates, a procedure that the
newly-enthroned prelate, whose manly spirit, disdaining the slavish
obsequiousness which characterised many of his episcopal brethren,
refused to acquiesce in. He at once took measures for the recovery of
the detained estates, and prosecuted his claim with so much firmness
and energy, that Elizabeth, who was wont to speak of "unfrocking"
contumacious bishops, had in the long run to yield, and Pilkington in
1566 had the good fortune to obtain the restoration of the whole of
his lands, with the exception of Norhamshire, charged, however, with
the payment of an annuity to the crown of £1,020. The bishop was no
respecter of persons. If he was ready to brave the displeasure of the
Queen in guarding the rights of the Church in his own diocese, he was
equally willing to defend her interests elsewhere, and, as we shall
hereafter see, did not scruple even to rebuke both a bishop and an
archbishop in doing so.

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF DURHAM CATHEDRAL.]

The Church has seldom had a more faithful pastor or zealous
administrator than worthy James Pilkington. In the month of October,
1561, the first year of his episcopate, he made a visitation of his
diocese, passing through his native county on his way north, and that
would appear to have been the occasion on which he addressed a letter
of admonition to Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, on the lamentable
state of ecclesiastical affairs in Lancashire, and a deplorable
picture his letter presents of the Church at that time. The Archbishop
was the patron and rector of the three great parishes of Rochdale,
Blackburn, and Whalley, then embracing within their limits a large
number of chapelries, the incumbents of which were as ill-paid as
their cures were badly served; indeed, the position of the clergy was
much worse after the Reformation than before, partly because of the
extensive confiscations of parochial property, and partly because they
lost many of the fees that had been customarily paid for religious
services. William Downham was Bishop of Chester at the time--an
easy-going prelate, who was not much troubled with earnest scruples
of any kind. The Bishop was negligent, and, as might be expected, his
clergy were, for the most part, wanting in earnestness; many of them,
too, were miserably poor, lamentably incompetent, sadly ignorant, and
some grossly immoral. The Archbishop of York had compounded with the
Bishop of Chester for the visitation of the diocese, and that prelate
contented himself with simply receiving the visitation fees, which
were collected for him by a deputy, alleging, as an excuse for his
personal negligence, the difficulty of travelling in the wild parts
of Lancashire; while the jocund demeanour of the Bishop of Man, who
had taken up his abode in the county away from his own charge, was
not likely to induce much veneration for his episcopal office. Two of
the Archbishop's parishes--Blackburn and Whalley--were very sorrily
supplied, James Hylton, the vicar of the first-named, being obliged
eventually to resign on account of his ignorance, negligence, and utter
incompetence; whilst George Dobson, the vicar of Whalley, was a cleric
of low habits and licentious character, grossly ignorant, unable to
read intelligently, and altogether incapable of discharging the duties
of his office. The dependent chapelries were in even worse plight; in
many, the services were neglectfully performed, and in some not at
all, or only on the occasion of the visit of some itinerant preacher.
Such was the condition of affairs at the time Pilkington visited his
native county. No wonder that so energetic and zealous a worker should
have addressed the following letter of complaint to the negligent
Archbishop:--

 It is to be lamented to see and hear how negligently they say
 any service, and how seldom. I have heard of a commission for
 ecclesiastical matters directed to my Lord of York, &c. But because
 I know not the truth of it, I meddle not. Your cures all, except
 Rachdale, be as far out of order as the worst in all the country. The
 old Vicar of Blackburn resigned for a pension, and now livest with
 Sir John Biron. Whalley hath as ill a vicar as the worst. And there
 is one come thither that has been deprived or changed his name, and
 now teacheth school there; of evil to make them worse. If your Grace's
 officers list, they might amend many things. I speak this for the
 amendment of the country, and that your Grace's parishes might be
 better spoken of and ordered. If your Grace would, either yourself or
 by my Lord of York, amend these things, it were very easy. One little
 examination or commandment to the contrary would take away all these
 and more. The Bishop of Man liveth here at ease, and as merry as Pope
 Joan. The Bishop of Chester hath compounded with my Lord of York for
 his visitation, and gathered up the money by his servants; but never a
 word spoken of any visitation or reformation. And that, he saith, he
 doth of friendship, because he will not trouble the country, nor put
 them to charge in calling them together. I beseech you, be not weary
 of well-doing, but with authority and council help to amend that is
 amiss. Thus after commendations I am boldly to write, wishing good
 to my country, and furtherance of God's glory. God be merciful to
 us, and grant _ut liberè currat Evangelium_. _Vale in Christo, Cras
 profecturus Dunelmum, Volente Deo._

  _Tuus Ja._ [Greek: Dunelmen]

Though Pilkington kept his Puritanism well under control, he was
uncompromising in the assertion of his Protestant principles, and the
boldness with which he proclaimed them not unfrequently provoked the
anger of the Papal party. The beautiful spire of St. Paul's Cathedral,
the loftiest in the kingdom, which had been restored so recently as
the year when Queen Mary ascended the throne, was in 1561 stricken, as
was alleged, by lightning[18] and destroyed, together with the bells
and the roof of the nave and aisles. The Roman Catholics represented
the accident as a judgment of Heaven for the discontinuance of the
matins and other services which had used to be performed in the church;
whereupon the Bishop preached a sermon at Paul's Cross in which he
accepted it as a judgment, but on the sins of London in general, and
particularly on the abuses by which the church had formerly been
polluted, and concluded by exhorting his hearers "to take the dreadful
devastation of the church to be a warning of a greater plague to follow
if amendment of life were not had in all estates." His observations
were supposed to reflect upon the Papists, who immediately circulated
a paper about the city declaring the chief cause of the destruction
to be "that the old fathers and the old ways were left, together with
blaspheming God in lying sermons preached there, polluting the temple
with schismatical service, and destroying and pulling down altars set
up by blessed men, and where the sacrifice of the Mass was ministered."
Pilkington, in vindication of his sermon, published a tract giving an
animated description of the practices that had prevailed, and which
is interesting at the present day as pourtraying the curious scenes
and incidents of which St Paul's was then the theatre. "No place," he
said, "had been more abused than Paul's had been, nor more against the
receiving of Christ's Gospel; wherefore it was more wonder that God had
spared it so long, than that he overthrew it now.... From the top of
the spire, at coronations or other solemn triumphs, some for vain glory
had used to throw themselves down by rope, and so killed themselves
vainly to please other men's eyes. At the battlement of the steeple,
sundry times were used Popish anthems, to call upon their gods, with
torch and paper in the evenings. In the top of one of the pinnacles
was Lollard's Tower, where many an innocent soul had been by them
cruelly tormented and murdered. In the middest alley was their long
censer, reaching from the roof to the ground; as though the Holy Ghost
came down in their censing, in likeness of a dove. In the arches men
commonly complained of wrong and delayed judgments in ecclesiastical
causes; and divers had been condemned there by Annas and Caiaphas for
Christ's cause. Their images hung on every wall, pillar, and door, with
their pilgrimages and worshippings of them; passing over their massing,
and many altars, and the rest of their popish service. The south alley
was for usury and popery, the north for simony and the horsefair, in
the midst of all kinds of bargains, meetings, brawlings, murders,
conspiracies. The font for ordinary payments of money as well known to
all men as the beggar knows his dish.... So that within and without,
above the ground and under, over the roof and beneath, from the top of
the steeple and spire down to the low floor, not one spot was free from
wickedness."[19]

In his prosperity the Bishop was by no means unmindful of those who had
been his associates in adversity. Shortly after his elevation to the
Bishopric of Durham, Thomas Lever, the companion of his boyhood, his
fellow-collegian at Cambridge and his friend in exile, was collated
to a prebendal stall in his cathedral; and his brother, John Lever,
was appointed archdeacon of Northumberland, and subsequently became
Prebendary of Durham.

In 1567 Pilkington made another visitation of his cathedral,
when, doubtless, he felt little or no reluctance in carrying out
the instructions of the Queen's Commissioners for the removal of
superstitious books and ornaments and effacing idolatrous figures
from church plate. It was shortly after this visitation, and while he
occupied the see of Durham, that the unhappy enterprise, the "Rising of
the North," occurred, when the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland
took up arms and proclaimed their design of restoring the old religion.
The insurrection was precipitated by the arrest of Thomas Duke of
Norfolk, "the most powerful and the most popular man in England," but
who, allured by ambition, and animated by a chivalrous feeling for
the beautiful but ill-fated Queen of Scots, then the captive of the
implacable Elizabeth, formed the intention of effecting her release
and then marrying her, a project that eventually proved fatal to his
own peace and life. The Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, who
were believed to be implicated, were ordered to repair to Court, but,
apprehensive of the fate that might await them, Northumberland marched
with his vassals to join Westmoreland at Brancepeth Castle; Richard
Norton, of Rylstone, had been called to their aid, and a proclamation
was issued to those professing the Catholic faith, who in the
thinly-inhabited border counties were numerous as well as desperate.
Bishop Pilkington, by his energetic zeal in the cause of Protestantism,
had made himself particularly obnoxious to the insurgents, and their
first efforts were directed against his episcopal stronghold. They
entered the city without opposition, and thence proceeded to the
Cathedral, where they tore up and trampled under foot the English
Bibles and Books of Common Prayer, and then celebrated Mass. The rebels
marched under a banner representing the bleeding Saviour--"the banner
of the five wounds"--

  The wounds of hands and feet and side,
  And the sacred cross on which Jesus died,

which was borne by the venerable lord of Rylstone, Richard Norton, a
brave old man, whose fate and the fate of his eight sons have been
preserved from the oblivion of dry annals, by the legends which a true
poet[20] has invested with almost historical reality:--

      Now was the North in arms; they shine
  In warlike trim from Tweed to Tyne,
  At Percy's voice: and Neville sees
  His followers gathering in from Tees,
  From Wear, and all the little rills
  Concealed among the forked hills.
  Seven hundred knights, retainers all
  Of Neville, at their master's call
  Had sat together in Raby Hall;
  Such strength that Earldom held of yore;
  Nor wanted at this time rich store,
  Of well appointed chivalry,
  Not loth the sleepy lance to wield,
  And greet the old paternal shield.
  They heard the summons; and, furthermore,
  Came foot and horseman of each degree,
  Unbound by pledge of fealty;
  Appeared, with free and open hate
  Of novelties in church and state;
  Knight, burgher, yeomen and esquier,
  And the Romish priest, in priest's attire,
  And thus, in arms, a zealous band
  Proceeding under joint command,
  To Durham first their course they bear,
  And in St. Cuthbert's ancient seat
  Sang Mass,--and tore the book of prayer,--
  And trod the Bible beneath their feet.

The revolt was quickly suppressed, and a terrible vengeance followed.
Martial law was carried out and the triumph of 1569 was disgraced by
fearful executions; an alderman, a priest, and above sixty others were
hanged in Durham alone, and many others suffered in every market town
between Newcastle and Wetherby, the "reverend grey beard," Richard
Norton, and his eight sons being among the number.

  Thee, Norton, with thy eight good sons,
    They doom'd to dye, alas! for ruth!
  Thy reverend lockes thee could not save,
    Nor them their faire and blooming youthe.

The princely house of Neville was entirely ruined, and the immense
estates of the castles of Raby and Brancepeth, with the dependent
manors, were seized by the Crown. These properties should, by
right, have vested in the bishopric, according to the full right
of forfeitures for treason and felony within the palatinate, but
Elizabeth continued to retain possession on pretence of covering the
expenses incurred in suppressing the rebellion. Pilkington claimed the
forfeitures in right of his palatinate, and, in support of his claim,
brought an action against the Queen for the recovery of the forfeited
estates, which he prosecuted with so much vigour and success that
nothing but the interposition of Parliament prevented the Sovereign
being beaten by a subject in her own courts; the Act decreeing that
"the convictions, outlawries, and attainders of Charles, Earl of
Westmoreland, and fifty-seven others, attainted of high treason, for
open rebellion in the north parts," should be confirmed, and "that her
Majesty, her heirs, and successors, should have, for that time, all the
lands and goods, which any of the said persons, attainted within the
bishopric of Durham, had, against the bishop and his successors, though
he claimeth _jura regalia_, and challengeth all the said forfeitures
in right of his church." After the failure of his suit the Bishop,
whose health seems to have given way under the anxieties of prolonged
litigation, petitioned for liberty to pass the winter in the South,
with the hope, perhaps, and the desire of being removed to some other
diocese.

On the first alarm of Northumberland and Westmoreland's rising,
Pilkington, conscious that his reforming zeal, as well as the fact
of his being a married prelate, would be likely to provoke the fury
of the insurgents, removed with his family into the South, and
there remained until all danger was passed. Fuller says that his
two daughters were conveyed away in beggars' clothes to prevent the
Papists killing them; there was, however, only one child of the
marriage born at the time of the outbreak. His wife, Alice, was a
daughter of Sir John Kingsmill, a Hampshire knight, but it is not
known with certainty when they were married, the fact having probably
been kept secret for some time on account of the strong prejudice
that society--Protestant as well as Roman Catholic, acting under the
influence of old traditions--had against married priests; for marriage
with the clergy was then accounted as hardly respectable, and even the
wives of bishops--bishops' women as they were sometimes contemptuously
styled--occupied an unpleasant position in the ranks in which their
right reverend husbands were accustomed to move.

 [Illustration: DURHAM CASTLE.]

Elizabeth had a rooted aversion to married priests, and took
delight in subjecting them to annoyance and humiliation. It is recorded
that in a progress she made into Essex and Suffolk in 1561, the year of
Pilkington's appointment to the see of Durham, she expressed high
displeasure at finding so many of the clergy married and the cathedrals
and colleges so filled with women and children. In consequence she
addressed to Archbishop Parker a royal injunction, "that no head or
member of any college or cathedral should bring a wife or any other
woman into the precincts of it, to abide in the same, on pain of
forfeiture of all ecclesiastical promotion," and when the Archbishop
ventured to remonstrate with her against the Popish prohibition she
replied that she repented having made any married bishops. It was to
Parker's own wife that, in a fit of ill-humour, she addressed the
ungracious and humiliating remark, when acknowledging the magnificent
hospitality with which she had been entertained at the archiepiscopal
palace: "Madam, I may not call you; mistress, I am ashamed to call you;
and so I know not what to call you; but, howsoever, I thank you."[21]

Pilkington's wife bore him four children, two sons and two daughters,
all of whom were born during his occupancy of the see of Durham. The
sons, Joshua and Isaac, both died young, and concerning them there is
a curious tradition still current in the neighbourhood of Rivington,
though possessing no historical value. On the highest point of Wilders
Moor, a bleak mountain ridge within the limits of the old forest of
Horwich, and about three-quarters of a mile to the south-east of
Rivington Pike, are two rude piles of stone known as the Wilder Lads,
or, more commonly, the Two Lads, which, according to popular belief,
were erected in memory of two unfortunate youths who were "wildered"
(_i.e._ bewildered) and lost in the snow at this place. Baines says
(Hist. Lanc.) a tradition prevails in the neighbourhood that the two
unfortunate youths lost in the storm, to whose memory these two piles
are supposed to be erected, were the sons of Bishop Pilkington, but,
he adds, there is no evidence to support this supposition except the
coincidence that the bishop had two sons and they both died young. Of
the prelate's two daughters, Ruth became the wife of -- Dantze or
Dauntesy, of Bucks, a representative probably of the family of that
name of West Lavington, in Wiltshire, and Agecroft, in the parish
of Prestwich, in Lancashire, and Deborah, baptised at Auckland,
October 8th, 1564, who, at the time of her father's decease, was said
to be engaged to Sir Thomas Gargrave, Knight, but who married Sir
Henry Harrington, of Exton, son of Sir John Harrington by his wife
Lucy, daughter of Sir William Sidney, of Penshurst, and had by him a
daughter, Anne, who became the wife of Sir Thomas Roper, Knight, who
for his military exploits was ennobled by the titles of Baron Bantry
and Viscount Baltinglass, and was mother of, with other children, Mary,
who became the wife of the wise and witty divine, Dr. Thomas Fuller,
the church historian and the author of "England's Worthies"--quaint old
Fuller--the "dear, fine, silly, old angel," as Charles Lamb delighted
to call him.

Of the three Lancashire reformers, the friends in exile during the
Marian persecutions, James Pilkington was the first who finished his
work. On the 23rd of January, 1575-6, "the good old Bishop of Durham,
a grave and truly reverend man, of great learning and piety, and such
frugality of life as well became a modest Christian prelate," entered
into his rest. He died at Bishop Auckland, and was buried there in
accordance with his expressed desire with "as few Popish ceremonies as
may be, or vain cost," but his remains were subsequently transferred
to his cathedral at Durham, where a sumptuous monument, bearing a
long Latin inscription, was erected to his memory. His "frugality
of life"--for the pomp and estate usually observed by the prelates
of Durham, prince-bishops of the palatinate see, were not much to
his mind--enabled him to accumulate, what in those days was deemed a
considerable estate, sufficient to admit of his giving his daughters,
when they married, portions equal in amount (_£_4,000 each, it is said)
to those possessed by the Princesses Frances, Duchess of Suffolk,
and Eleanor, Duchess of Cumberland, nieces of Henry the Eighth, a
circumstance which so greatly excited the jealousy of Queen Elizabeth,
who "scorned that a bishop's daughter should equal a princess," that
she afterwards took _£_1,000 a year from the see and gave it to the
town of Berwick for garrison expenses. Possibly the Queen had not
forgotten the courageous manner in which the sturdy Lancashire prelate
had asserted the right of the Church to retain her ancient patrimony
and the fearlessness with which he had resisted her unconstitutional
exercise of the Royal prerogative.

Pilkington's will was proved on the 18th of December, 1576, by his
widow and executrix, whom he therein names as "Alice Kingsmill, my
now known wife," an expression that tends to confirm the belief that
his marriage was, for some time at least, kept secret, though it must
have been openly avowed at the time, or shortly after his elevation to
the see of Durham, for in his _Confutation of an Addition_, printed
in 1561, the year of his preferment, in his argument against the
prevailing prejudice with respect to the marriage of ecclesiastics, he
says, "I am sure that many will judge that I speak this to please my
wife," an evidence that his own marriage was then generally known.

Though some of his contemporaries might be indolent in the discharge
of their episcopal duties, Pilkington himself was a worthy son of the
Church, and performed the functions of his office with all diligence
and fidelity. "A bishop," he wrote, "is a name of office, labour, and
pains, rather than of dignity, ease, wealth, or idleness. The word
_episcopus_ is Greek, and signifies a scout-watch, an overlooker, or
spy; because he should ever be watching and warning that the devil
our enemy do not enter to spoil or destroy." Though he had, while at
Geneva, imbibed the principles of Puritanism, he duly conformed to the
practices of the Church, from his respect to constituted authority,
but all through his episcopate he manifested a strong disposition
to deal tenderly with his nonconforming brethren. He was a prolific
writer as well as an able and energetic administrator, and his literary
productions, which are, for the most part, of a controversial
character, are marked by much colloquial force, and a terseness and
vigour of language that is strongly indicative of the Lancashire mind.
His collected works were reprinted in 1842 by the Parker Society,[22]
and include his "Sermon on Bucer and Phagius, 1560;" "Exposition
upon the Prophet Haggai, 1560-1562;" "Exposition upon the Prophet
Obadiah, 1562;" "The Burning of St. Paul's Church;" "Confutation of
an Addition, 1563;" "Answers to Popish Questions, 1563;" "Letter to
the Earl of Leicester on behalf of the Refusers of the Habits, 1564;"
"_De Prædestinatione, tractatus Jacobi Pilkington dum erat studens
Cantabrigiæ_; _Epistola ad Andriam Kingsmill_, 1564;" and "Exposition
upon certain Chapters of Nehemiah," the last-named work having been
published after his death by his friend Foxe, the Martyrologist, in
1585.

In one respect Pilkington may be said to have been in advance of his
age. Brought up in a county where the practice of astrology and alchemy
extensively prevailed, where the belief in supernatural powers was
cherished and preserved long after an improved education had driven it
from more civilised communities, and where witchcraft could boast its
greatest number of votaries; living at a time, too, when a conjuror was
reckoned a necessary official in the household of an Earl of Derby,
when bishops gave authority and a form of licensing to their clergy to
cast out devils, when Jewell, in a sermon preached before the Queen,
could lament "the marvellous increase of witches," and when Elizabeth
herself was consulting the English Faust, Dr. Dee, the future Warden of
Manchester, as to the most lucky day for her coronation, it is pleasant
to find the old Lancashire divine, with all the vigour of his robust
intellect, exposing the generally prevailing delusions, and protesting
against the casting of horoscopes and the belief in lucky and unlucky
days. "What can we say for ourselves," he remarks, "but that we put
great superstition in days, when we put openly in calendars and
almanacks, and say, These days be unfortunate, and great matters are
not to be taken in hand these days, as though we were of God's privy
council? But why are they unfortunate? Is God asleep on those days?
or doth He not rule the world and all things those days as well as on
other days? Is He weary, that He must rest Him in those days? Or doth
He give the ruling of those days to some evil spirit or planet? If God
gave to stars such power that things cannot prosper on those days, then
God is the author of evil. If stars do rule men those days, then man is
their servant. But God made man to rule, and not to be ruled; and all
creatures should serve him."

Though himself of ancient and honourable lineage, Pilkington had little
respect for the "pride of ancestry" or reverence for mere "gentle"
descent, as will be seen by the following passage in his writings:--

 And to rejoice in ancient blood, what can be more vain? Do we not all
 come of Adam, our earthly father? And say we not all, "Our Father
 which art in heaven, hallowed, &c."? How can we crack then of our
 ancient stock, seeing we came all both of one earthly and heavenly
 Father? If ye mark the common saying, how gentle blood came up, ye
 shall see how true it is:--

  When Adam delved, and Eve span,
  Who was then a gentleman?
  Up start the carle, and gathered good,
  And thereof came the gentle blood.

 And although no nation has anything to rejoice in of themselves, yet
 England has less than any other. We glory much to be called Britons;
 but if we consider what a vagabond Brutus was, and what a company he
 brought with him, there is small cause of glory. For the Saxons, of
 whom we came also, there is less cause to crack. So that of Brutus
 we may well be called brutes for our brutish conditions, and of the
 Saxons _saxi_, that is, stout and hard-hearted; but if we go up to
 Cain, Japhet, and such other fathers of us gentiles, we may be ashamed
 of our ancestors, for of all these we came, that knew no God.

All this is doubtless true, but the converse equally holds good, for
however we may affect to despise hereditary rank there can be no doubt
that the personal virtues as well as the heroic deeds of ancestors
who have signalised themselves in tournament, or on the tented
field, tends to inspire a feeling of emulation in the breast of their
descendants, and even Pilkington himself was not unmindful of the
outward marks of honour, gentility, and family distinction. The great
legal luminary, Lord Chief Justice Coke, affirmed that every gentleman
must be "_arma gerens_," and that the best test of gentle blood was
the bearing of arms; so we find Pilkington, on his preferment to
Durham, showing his regard for hereditary distinctions, as well as his
respect for the noble science, by establishing his claim to bear arms,
and obtaining from Sir Gilbert Dethick, Garter King, an honourable
augmentation--_quibus ex antiquo tempore ulebatur_. The grant, which
bears date February 10, 1561, sets forth that the _Reverendus in
Christe pater D. Jacobus Pilkenten Theologiæ baccalaureus Dunelmensis
Episcopus est ex nobili et antiquâ familiâ ortus gerens arma vel
insignia_; the hereditary coat--_argent_, a cross patonce, voided
_gules_--having the addition of a chief _vert_, thereon three suns
_or_; and examples of this coat may still be seen in the restored
picture in Rivington Church, one impaling the arms of the see of Durham
and the other those of Kingsmill, the bishop's wife--_argent_, semée
of cross-crosslets fitchée _sable_, a chevron _ermine_, between three
mill-rinds of the second; a chief _ermine_.

Of the monument erected to Pilkington's memory in Durham Cathedral
scarce a fragment remains, but one of a more enduring character
survives to perpetuate his name--the free Grammar School which he
founded in his native village, and endowed with lands and rents,
situate in the county of Durham, for the "bringing up, teaching, and
instructing children and youth in grammar and other good learning,
to continue for ever;" the school to be open, as the Queen's patent
expressed it, to "all our faithful and liege people, whosoever they
bee." The statutes for the government of the school contained many
curious directions. The management was vested in six governors, who
were "to choose one of the wisest and discreetest among themselves to
be spokesman (_i.e._, president) for the year." The voters had to take
an oath before the election, the governors and spokesman at election.
The regulations respecting the election of voters and those entitled
to vote were carefully laid down, and the oath to be taken by the
voters as well as that to be made by the governor-elect is prescribed.
The duties of the governors, of the scholars, and of the masters and
ushers are also defined, those regulating the conduct of the scholars
in regard to their apparel, their pastimes, and their manners at meals
being curiously minute, and throwing much light on the school-life of a
grammar-school boy, as well as on the habits of the poorer classes of
the time. The devotional exercises for early morning, as well as the
prayers for midday and evening, and the grace before and after meat
are set forth. "After that they have prayed in the morning they shall
dress their beds, comb their head, wash their hands, and see their
apparel be cleanly; their hose shall not hang about their heels, nor
out of their shoes, nor their shoes be torn; for though their apparel
need not be costly, yet it is a shame to wear it slovenly; their coats
and hosen shall not be costly furnished, cut, graded, nor jagged;
no nor torn, slovenly worn, nor ragged; nor caps with feathers or
aglets. No kind of staff-dagger nor weapon shall they wear, except a
penknife, nor go to the fencing school, but their chief pastime shall
be shooting, and that in honest company and small game, or none for
money. At meat they shall not be full of talk, but rather hear what
their elders and betters say; if they be asked a question they shall
reverently take off their cap and answer with as few words as may be;
and they shall not eat greedily nor lye on the table slovenly." No
doubt these precepts were necessary in an age when there was little
disposition to value manners above morals, or to regard pleasantness
as better than honesty; and when, if one may judge from the "Bokes of
Nurture" and "Curtasy" then in vogue, the hopes-of-England even in the
higher ranks were but dirty, ill-mannered, awkward young gawks. It
was strictly enjoined that neither the schoolmaster nor usher should
serve as curate of the church; the holidays were specified, and the
modes of correction particularised. As the school was not intended
for rudimentary instruction, none were to be admitted who could not
read "except in great need," when the usher should teach it; but "in
learning to read much time was not to be spent, for the continual
exercise of learning other things should make it perfect." The children
were to be taught English grammar, and the usher was to teach them the
Latin of every noun and verb, "that by this means he and others that
hear may learn what everything is called in Latin, and so be more ready
to understand every word what it signifieth in English when they come
to construction. As first to begin with Latin words for every part of
a man and his apparel; of a house and household stuff, as bedding,
kitchen, buttery meats, beasts, herbs, flowers, birds, fishes, with all
parts of them; virtues, vices, merchandise, and all occupations, as
weavers, tanners, carpenters, ploughers, wheelwrights, tailors, tilers,
and shoemakers; and cause them to write every word that belongs to one
thing, together in order."

Some interesting particulars respecting the state of Pilkington's
school a century after his death are given in a return made to Mr.
Christopher Wase, one of the Superior Bedells in Oxford University,
who, in the latter half of the seventeenth century had conceived the
idea of publishing an account of the whole of the grammar schools in
England, with a view of showing whether those foundations were being
rightly used or not. The work was never published, but the returns
obtained are included in the MS. collection of Mr. Wase, now preserved
in the library of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. For the following
transcript of that relating to Rivington we are indebted to the
industrious research of Mr. J. P. Earwaker, F.S.A. There is no date
appended to the return, but it was presumably written in 1673-4:--

RIVINGTON FREE SCHOOLE.

 Sir,--I received a paper from your office purportinge a designe
 of a gentleman in Oxon to report the state of the present English
 ffree schoolis, which paper desires my Answer to and Resolution of
 Sundry Queries touchinge the free Gramar School of Rivington, which
 accordinge to desire is done and herewith sent to your office, which
 you may please to take and represent as followeth.

 _Imprimis._--The fabrick of the free Gramar School of Rivington in the
 parish of Bolton was built at the charge and by the appointment of
 the pious and Learned prelate James Pilkington, Bishopp of Duresme,
 son of Richard Pilkington of Rivington aforesaid Esqr. who also
 endowed the said school with lands and Tenements of the clear yearly
 value of 27li. 14s. 10d., part whereof ariseth out of lands lying
 in Lancashire viz. 2li. 13s. 4d. The remainder ariseth out of lands
 scituate and lying in the Bishoprick of Durham. Other accession of
 revenue by benefactors the school hath none, except with improvement
 the Governors of the said school successively have made, which amounts
 not to above 6 or 7 li. per annum.

 (2). The said schoole at the humble suite of the said reverend and
 pious prelate made to Queen Elizabeth of happy memory was founded,
 created, erected and established by her Royal Grant in the nature of
 Letters patents (bearinge date the 13th of May in the eighth year of
 her reigne) by the name of the free Gramar School of Queen Elisabeth
 in Rovington _alias_ Rivington, whereby one master or teacher and one
 usher or under teacher are ordained to continue for ever, and also six
 governors by the name of the governors of the possessions, revenues,
 and goods of the free Gramar School of Queen Elizabeth in Rovington
 _alias_ Rivington to bee one body corporate and politick of themselves
 for ever incorporate and elected by the name of the governors of the
 possessions, revenues, and goods of the free Gramar School of Queen
 Elisabeth in Rovington _alias_ Rivington in the county of Lancashire.

 (3). The names of the Governors expressly assigned chosen nominated
 and appointed by the foresaid Grant or Letters patents were Thomas
 Ashawe, Esq., George Pilkington, Esq., Thomas Shaw, Gentleman, Richard
 Rivington, John Green, and Ralphe Whittle, yeomen. The names of the
 Governours now in beinge are Thomas Willoughby, gentleman, John
 Walker, clark, Thurstan Bradley, George Shaw, Richard Brownlow, and
 Thomas Rivington, yeomen.

 (4). Patron of the said school was the good Bishop himself _durante
 vita_, and after his decease, the Master and Seniors of the Colledge
 of St. John the Evangelist in the University of Cambridge for the
 time being, as also the Bishops of Durham and Chester all which are
 instructed and authorised by the said Grant in some Cases and with
 some Limitacons to chuse nominate and appoint who shall succeed in the
 Governors school Master and Ushers office h. e. when and so often as
 the Governors of the said school shall faile in and not execute the
 power and trust committed to them.

 (5). To whom of right it belongs to visit I can not say, but 'tis
 averred by some intelligent persons that it peculiarly appertains to
 the jurisdiction of the Dutchy of Lancaster and that it is solely
 subjected to the inspection of the Honourable Chancellor of the
 Dutchy. _Sed de hoc quære._

 (6). The school hath not any Exhibition in either of the Universities.

 (7). School Masters of the foresaid school I find to have been many,
 but have not seen or heard of anything printed by any of them, a
 catalogue of their names you may take as followeth. Mr. Robert
 Dewhurst, Master of Arts was appointed schoolmaster by the said patron
 or donor himself. Mr. Hallstead, Mr. Saunders, Mr. Brindle, Mr.
 Ainsworth, Mr. Rudall famous, Mr. Bodurda, Mr. Shaw, Mr. Duckworth,
 Mr. Crook, Mr. ffielden famous, Mr. Breeres, whose successor I was.

 (8). Some bookes (and by many tis believed a considerable quantity)
 were left by the patron or donor to the School. But by one ill means
 or other how or when is not known they are reduced to a small and
 inconsiderable number. Neither is there any Library within any Town
 near adjoining except such as the School near of Bolton can give a
 more perfect accompt of them I.

  from Schoolmaster of
  Rivington.

  John Bradley.

Leave this at the Regesters office in Chester according to desire and
direction to bee communicated to whom it concernes.

In later years the trustees obtained from Parliament an Act by which
they were enabled to exchange the lands and tenements in Durham for
property in the more immediate neighbourhood of the school, and the
revenues having largely increased the Charity Commissioners have lately
propounded a scheme for the better regulation of the foundation, under
the provisions of which the old school has been rebuilt, and is now
used for the purposes of an elementary school, and a new grammar school
has been erected on the confines of the township.

Such is the story of the school that good Bishop Pilkington launched
three centuries ago, and which, through many changes and vicissitudes,
has floated down the stream of time to our own day and generation.
Well does the generous-hearted founder deserve the niche which Fuller
has accorded to him in his gallery of "The Worthies of England." If he
gathered wealth he did not forget the Divine injunction, "to do good
and to distribute;" he did his best according to his lights to make his
surplus wealth available for the benefit of the community to which he
belonged. Though "pillared bust" or "storied urn" may no longer mark
his resting place, he has himself left a more enduring monument, for

  The glory of one fair and virtuous action
  Is above all the 'scutcheons on our tomb,
  Or silken banners over us.

His name will ever be held in honoured remembrance by Lancashire
men, who will be ready to say, as Fuller said of another "Lancashire
worthy"--Humphrey Chetham--"God send us more such men."



CHAPTER IV.

HANDFORTH HALL--THE BRERETONS--SIR WILLIAM BRERETON.


The stranger who perchance for the first time finds himself a
worshipper within the ancient church of Cheadle, in Cheshire, may
haply have his mind diverted from his devotions by the sight of a
curiously-wrought oaken screen which separates an old chantry chapel,
at the east end of the aisle, on the south side, from the remaining
portions of the church. It is an interesting relic of bygone days,
black with age, and carved with many a quaint device, and, withal, of
such excellent design and workmanship as to prove that our forefathers
were by no means deficient in the higher graces of architecture; the
cornice is battered and broken in places, but upon it you may still
trace a running figure representing the stem and foliage of the briar,
with the figure of a cask or tun, and the letters V and B frequently
repeated. In the east window are some fragments of heraldic glass
commemorating one of the heroes of Flodden Field, and within the
enclosure, placed side by side, is a group of altar tombs of more than
passing interest; upon them are the recumbent figures of knights armed
cap-à-pie, each with his hands uplifted and conjoined upon his breast
as if in supplication. Two of them are of alabaster and of ancient
date; whatever there may have been of armorial insignia among their
decorations has long since disappeared, but a collar of SS round the
neck of each denotes the rank of Esquire of the Body of the Sovereign,
and the character of the armour in which they are encased shows that
they must have played their parts in the time of that long and bloody
struggle between the adherents of the rival Roses which terminated on
the Field of Bosworth when the sun of the Plantagenets went down and
the flower of English chivalry was destroyed.

                              Those days of ruin
  When York and Lancaster drew forth the battles,
  When, like a matron butchered by her sons,
  And cast beside some common way, a spectacle
  Of horror and affright to passers by,
  Our groaning country bled at every pore.

The third of these sepulchral memorials, the only one that bears an
inscription, is of stone, and perpetuates the name of the last scion
of an illustrious house. The verger, if encouraged, will recount, with
delight, the valorous deeds of--

  The ancient knights whose sculptured glories
                 The aisle adorn

and tell you that the grim warriors graven in stone represent some of
the earlier lords of Handforth, one of the manors within the parish;
that this old chantry was their burial place; and that the letters
with the briar and the tun that have attracted your attention are the
initials and the punning rebus of Sir Urian Brereton, who, in the reign
of Henry the Eighth, of pious memory, acquired the Handforth estate
by his marriage with the heiress of that name; "buylded" or rather
rebuilt the "haulle" there, and erected the curious piece of carpentry
in Cheadle Church for the greater sanctity of the place where repose
the remains of his wife's progenitors. Within that little enclosure the
gathered ashes of long centuries rest; there many a warlike Honford and
many a valorous Brereton sleep in peace; but tabard and helm, sword and
buckler, have disappeared, and scarce a relic remains to remind us of
their daring and their prowess, or even to perpetuate their names, for--

  Monuments themselves memorials need.

The frail carving on the screen commemorates the first of the
Breretons, who resided at Handforth, and the name of the last of
them is written upon one of the altar-tombs, but of that Sir William
Brereton whose name figures so prominently in Cheshire history, and who
played so conspicuous a part in the great struggle between King and
Parliament that preceded the Commonwealth, not a single memento has
been preserved. The church registers thus record his death:--

 1661. Sir William Brereton, Barronet, died at Croyden ye 7th of April.

This, and nothing more. He died at the Archiepiscopal Palace, which had
been granted to him by the Parliament after the execution of Laud, and
where he resided during the Protectorate, and his body was sent down
into Cheshire for interment in the sanctuary that canopies the bones
of so many of his ancestors. Did he find a resting-place there? Old
gossips shake their heads mysteriously when you inquire, and relate
the strange legend that has shaped itself in the popular mind, and
which, through the medium of oral tradition, has floated down through
the long avenues of time--how that fate, which had permitted the stern
Republican to see the King "enjoy his own again," willed that his body
should not, after death, find a resting-place in the church which,
in life, he had despoiled; that when those who accompanied the body
from London were approaching the village of Cheadle a fearful storm
arose in the night; trees were blown down, houses were unroofed, the
rain descended in torrents, and the rivers were flooded, so much so
that when they came to ford one of them the coffin, with its lifeless
occupant, was swept away by the surging current, and never seen again.
Such is the legend that has been handed down through successive
generations, but which, in this unromantic age, is fast fading from
the memory of the inhabitants. For its trustworthiness we fear we can
ascribe no higher authority than--

        Tradition's dubious light,
  That hovers 'twixt the day and night,
  Dazzling, alternately, and dim--

It belongs, we suspect, to that native spirit of romance that gilds to
its own satisfaction, and without which the world with all its natural
delights would be but a dull reality. Certain it is, that there has
not been preserved a single memento of Cheshire's greatest Puritan
soldier--the captor of her Cathedral City, and the despoiler of the
stronghold of Beeston.

Any particular description of these tombs, or of the individuals whose
dust they enshrine, we will defer until after our visit to the ancient
and somewhat dilapidated mansion in which their occupants lived and had
their being.

From Cheadle the old Hall is distant a good three miles, but from the
railway station at Handforth it is only a few minutes' walk. It was
a cold December morning when we started upon our quest; the sunshine
and the warmth of summer had passed away, winter was upon us, and the
year was fast hastening to its close. There was a stillness in the
atmosphere and a dull leaden light in the sky that betokened a fall;
the meadows far and near were covered with a thin coating of crisp
white snow that gathered in heaps about the twisted roots of the trees,
and through the haze we could see the umbraged heights of Alderley Edge
looming spectral-like, while the hills, forming the eastern boundary
of the county, were thickly covered with a fleecy mantle of Nature's
weaving; the little pools and runnels by the wayside were congealed,
the ice-gems decked the branches of the trees, making them look like so
many fairy fountains, and the hoar-frost glittered on every plant and
shrub. There were not many signs of human life about; some sheep were
vainly endeavouring to find pasturage, and a few stirks stood gazing
vacantly in the meadow, their breath visible in the frosty air. As we
strode along the sound of our steps reverberated from the hard and
frost-bound road, the crisp brown autumn leaves crackled beneath our
feet, and the keen air drove the blood from the surface of the skin and
sent it back into the heart like freezing water.

Handforth, or Handforth-cum-Bosden, as it is officially called--the
manor of Handforth with that of Bosden forming a joint township
in the parish of Cheadle--is still only an inconsiderable village,
though in its outward aspect it has changed materially since the time
when, in 1534-5, Sir William Brereton, then a young man of thirty or
thereabouts, recorded his adventures in other lands and made favourable
comparisons between his native place and those he visited. Thus,
complaining of the scanty provision he had to put up with after a forty
miles' ride in Ayrshire, he says: "The entertainment we accepted, in a
poorer house than any upon Handforth Green, was Tharck-cake (_i.e._,
oatcakes), two eggs, and some dried fish buttered;"[23] in Ireland he
fared no better, for at Carrick, he says, "Here, in this town, is the
poorest tavern I ever saw; a little, low, thatched Irish house, not
to be compared unto Jane Kelsall's, of the Green, at Handforth."[24]
Of poor Jane Kelsall and her humble hostelry, in which, possibly, the
lord of Handford, before he went a "colonelling," may have occasionally
enjoyed his cup of sack, not even a memory has been preserved, and
the village green is now only so called by courtesy, for the railway
traverses a part, and what remains has been enclosed, though the name
lingers in a meadow which is still known as the "Green" field.

From the railway station a pleasant rural lane that crosses the line
descends into a little valley, at the bottom of which a tiny rindle
hurries on to add its tributary waters to the river Dean; crossing this
the road ascends and presently brings us in front of the old mansion,
a quaint half-timbered structure with black beams and a diaper-like
pattern traced in places upon the white ground of intervening plaster,
and built after the fashion of so many of the Cheshire houses with
projecting gables and overhanging chambers. Approaching more nearly we
note that much of the old timber work has been removed and replaced
with brick painted in imitation of the original oaken framework to
deceive the eye of the casual observer; the old mullioned windows, too,
have disappeared, and their place has been supplied with others of
later date, though of a considerable age, as evidenced by the small
latticed panes. Ormerod says the building was originally quadrangular
in plan; though there is nothing to indicate that such was the case
there can be no doubt it has been shorn of its former proud and
graceful proportions; its palmy state belongs to other days, but there
is, nevertheless, much left to show what it has been, with the added
interest that the halo of antiquity and romance throws around it. The
portion that remains has for many years been used as a farmhouse, and
the occupants, as may be supposed, have attached but small import to
the interest it derives from old associations--alterations have been
made to adapt it to its present purposes, and repairs that have been
effected have not always been done in the most judicious manner or in
the best taste. It is an oblong structure with two gables projecting
from the principal front, one of them forming the porch or main
entrance, and this constitutes one of the principal features of the
exterior. The sideposts and the lintel of the wide open doorway are
elaborately carved, and on the transverse beam above is the following
inscription in old English characters:--

 This haulle was buylded in the yeare of oure Lord God mccccclxii
 by Uryan Breretonn Knight whom maryed Margaret daughter and heyre of
 Wyllyam handforth of Handforthe Esquyer and had Issue vi sonnes and ii
 daughters.

The inner mouldings of the sideposts are enriched with the running
figure of the stem and foliage of the briar, similar to that carved
on the screen in Cheadle Church, and the same ornament is continued
along the under side of the lintel, with the addition of a tun in the
centre, and the initials V and B placed one at each angle. The outer
face of each sidepost had an arabesque ornament carved in low relief,
the one on the left terminating in a shield of arms now so much worn by
exposure to the weather as to be scarcely decipherable, though in its
perfect state it represented the coat of Brereton impaling Honford or
Handforth--the sinister half, quarterly, first and fourth, _argent_ two
bars _sable_, on the upper bar a crescent of the first, between the
bars a cross fleury _gules_, charged with five bezants for Brereton;
second and third, _argent_ a chevron between three crescents _gules_
for Ipstones. On the dexter half, quarterly, first and fourth, _sable_
an estoile _argent_ for Honford; second and third _gules_, a scythe
_argent_ for Praers. On the sidepost on the right of the doorway the
carved ornamentation terminates in the Brereton crest--a bear's head
erased ppr., muzzled _or_, on the neck a cross patée for difference.

The interior in its general arrangement has in the course of years
undergone considerable change, alterations having been made from time
to time as the requirements or convenience of successive occupants have
dictated; but, notwithstanding the altered purposes to which many of
the apartments are now applied, it still exhibits a good deal of its
ancient character, and happily the oaken panelling and other carvings
that remain have escaped alike the common infliction of whitewash and
the sacrilegious touch of the painter's brush. The most remarkable
feature is the wide and handsome oak staircase that is no doubt
coeval with the erection of the building. It is in a perfect state,
and furnishes a more than usually good example of the carpentry of
the Elizabethan period; the balusters of the same material are flat,
the upper portion being enriched with a series of small enarchments
and other decorations, with the addition of a broad heavy handrail,
bright with the rubbings of successive generations. This staircase
communicates with a landing on the upper storey, admission to which is
gained by a large panelled folding-door, black with age and ornamented
with fleurs-de-lis, &c.

On the slope below the hall the searching eye may still discover traces
of the old plesaunce with the fish-ponds and terraces that existed when
it was in truth a pleasure ground, when the parterres were garnished
with thick borders of yew and thyme and bushes of sweet-smelling briar,
and the dainty masses of greenness were bespangled with flowers of
every hue, for our forefathers knew the true uses of a garden as well
as of a house, and were not restricted by the ideas that guide their
successors in the present day.

The hand of improvement, like the "Spectral bunch of digits," in
the fairy tale, is fast plucking our ancient monuments from the
soil. Handforth remains, but its palmy days have long since passed
away, never to return; but even in its present abject state, whether
considered as a relic of antiquity or as associated with some of the
most important events in the history of the county and the country,
it will, while it exists, have strong claims upon attention and call
up imaginative fancies as to the fate of those who lived and died
within it, for how many a volume of happy or mournful history--of
deep affection and patient endurance--of daring deeds and heroic
actions--may we not read as we tread its dismantled apartments and gaze
upon its venerable walls, for--

                        Here the warrior dwelt,
  And in this mansion, children of his own,
  Or kindred, gathered round him. As a tree
  That falls and disappears, the house is gone;
  And, through our improvidence or want of love
  For ancient worth and honourable things,
  The spear and shield are vanished, which the knight
  Hung in his castle hall.

The manor of Handforth was owned for many generations by a family
who derived their patronymic from their estate. It is not known with
certainty when or how they acquired possession, but the name occurs in
the local records as early as the reign of Henry III., at which time
(circa 1233-6) Robert de Stokeport granted to Henry de Honford the
ville or town of Bosden, forming part of the lands of his barony of
Stockport. A descendant of this Henry, Roger de Honford, accompanied
Edward the Black Prince in his expedition against the King of France,
and, as we learn from an entry on the Cheshire Recognisance Rolls
preserved in the Record Office, he was rewarded by the Prince, who was
also Earl of Chester, for his "services in Gascony, and particularly at
the battle of Poitiers." Those were days in which--

    Each sturt bowman, dauntless, ready, true,
    Scoured through the glades and twanged his bow of yew.

The men of Cheshire were noted for their skill in archery. They looked
upon the earls of their palatinate as their titular sovereigns, and
fighting under their banner gained much renown in the wars of the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and nowhere did they display
greater bravery or win more renown for England than on the morning of
that memorable Monday in September, 1356--ten years after the fight
at Crescy--when the Black Prince, with his small force of 8,000,
found himself surprised by the King of France, with an army of 60,000
men. The result we know; rather than beat a dishonourable retreat
or yield to superior numbers, the Prince accepted battle, and, ere
midday was reached, the red Oriflamme, with its golden lilies, was
laid in the dust; the mighty host of France was completely routed,
those who escaped with life flying from the fields of Beauvoir and
Maupertuis to the very gates of the city of Poitiers; and the French
King himself, with his youthful son, Prince Philip, were prisoners
in the English camp. In a locality full of the recollections of the
glory of France; where Clovis defeated Alaric, King of the Goths, and
established the faith of the creed of St. Athanasius--where Charles
Martel drove back the host of invading Saracens and saved Europe from
Mahometanism--England added to her laurels her proudest and most
brilliant victory--Poitiers. In that death struggle the flower of
Cheshire chivalry were engaged, and the Cheshire bowmen bore themselves
bravely and well. Roger de Honford shared in the glories, and greatly
distinguished himself on that memorable day; and it was well for him,
perhaps, that he had the opportunity of atoning by his bravery for
certain offences that he would seem to have been previously guilty of,
for it is recorded on the Recognisance Roll that on the 25th May in
the following year (1357) a warrant was granted by Edward the Black
Prince for a pardon to him and one William de Neuton or Newton, of all
felonies, &c., committed by them in the county of Chester, except the
death of the Prince's ministers and of Bertram de Norden and Richard de
Bechton.

Mr. Earwaker, in his "History of East Cheshire," tells us that another
member of the family, Geoffrey, son of John de Honford, met with his
death in 1360 by foul means. In what way is not stated, but in all
probability it was in one of the forays that in those days were of such
frequent occurrence between the owners of neighbouring lands, when in
the case of a feud one or other of the disputants, impatient of the
dilatory and uncertain processes of the law, would be tempted to adopt
the simpler and less tardy method of taking the adjustment of his
differences into his own hands and making a raid upon his adversary's
possessions, for on the 23rd November, 35 and 36 Edward III. (1363),
Edward Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester, granted a pardon to John de
Hyde, Knight, apparently the head of the house of Norbury and Hyde;
William, son of John de Hyde; John, son of William de Hyde; and Hugh
Frensshye, servant of Sir John de Hyde, for the death of Geoffrey, son
of John de Honford, on the payment of 200 marks (£133 6s. 8d.). The
name of the servant implicated, Frensshye, suggests the idea that he
may have been brought over, possibly as a captive, from France by some
representative of the house of Hyde.

Geoffrey de Honford left an only daughter, Katharine, his heir, then
under age, and as appears by an enrolment of January 13, 1360-1, Robert
de Legh, the younger, had a grant of the custody of the lands, together
with the wardship and marriage of the said Katharine.

Subsequently to this time the name is of frequent occurrence in the
public records, but the actual relationship of the persons mentioned
has not been ascertained, and it is not until near the close of the
century that we meet with anything like a continuous record. In 1393
an inquisition was taken after the death of John, the son of Henry
de Honford, who had by his wife, Margaret, the daughter and co-heir
of William de Praers, who predeceased him, an elder son, John, who
succeeded as heir; and in addition a son, William de Honford, who
attained to considerable note in the county. In 1402 he was appointed
with Robert de Newton, of Longdendale, and others, collector of a
subsidy in the Hundred of Macclesfield granted to the King. There
appears to have been some irregularity respecting the descent of the
land which he inherited from his mother, Margaret, one of William de
Praers's co-heiresses, for, in 1407, Henry Prince of Wales granted
him a lease of the lands and tenements in Wylaston, near Alvendeston,
belonging to Alexander de Venables and his wife, and which were then in
the Prince's hands by reason of their having been alienated to William
de Praers without licence being first obtained. He married Isabel, the
widow of her kinsman, Robert de Legh, of Adlington, who had died of the
pestilence at Harfleur, just before the battle of Agincourt was fought,
in 1415, and having, in 1420, acquired lands in Chorley, in Wilmslow
parish, he founded the line of the Honfords, of Chorley Hall.

In 1397 John de Honford, who, four years previously, had succeeded as
heir to the paternal estate of Handforth, had a grant from the Crown of
an annuity of 100s., the King having retained him in his service for
life. He did not, however, long enjoy it, his death occurring in 1400,
when John de Honford, his son, then only nine years of age, succeeded
as heir.

This John, on attaining to manhood, well sustained the martial fame
of his progenitors, and served with distinction in the French wars
in the reigns of Henry V. and VI. In 1424 he took part in the famous
battle of Verneuil (August 17), when the Regent, the Duke of Bedford,
utterly routed the French army in an engagement that is described on
the rolls of Parliament as "the greatest deed done by Englishmen in our
days, save the battle of Agincourt," and it is not unlikely that it
was here he won his spurs; so conspicuous was he in the battle that in
acknowledgment of his bravery a pension of £100 Tournois was granted
him for life out of the forfeited possessions of John Tancrope, as
fully set forth in an ancient document preserved among the Adlington
MSS. in the Chetham Library. The victory at Verneuil was followed by
a reverse in 1427. For some time the war was carried on without any
decided success on either side, but in the year just named the forces
of the Duke of Bedford sustained a severe defeat, which compelled them
to raise the siege of Montarges, and it is more than probable that Sir
John de Honford, who had participated in the glories of the previous
victory, shared in the mortification of that disaster, for his name
occurs on the Cheshire Rolls in that year as being "about to depart for
France."

From that time misfortune followed upon misfortune. A simple country
girl--Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans--had been wonderfully raised up
to serve her country's need; victory followed wherever she led, and
after several actions the English, in 1429, were compelled to raise
the siege of Orleans. No story of ancient heroism reads more like
a romance. The English never recovered the blow struck by the maid
for the freedom of her country. Their hold upon the soil of France
gradually relaxed, and one by one the territories which had been won
by the sword were surrendered. The Duke of Bedford gathered a vast
force for the prosecution of the war; Sir John de Honford was in his
retinue, and in a contemporary document his name occurs as holding,
in 1434, the important post of Keeper of the Bridge over the Seine at
Rouen for the Regent Bedford, with one horseman, three lance soldiers
on foot, and twenty bowmen. ("_Pons de Rone super aquam de Sayne:
Johannes Hanneford, chevalier locum tenens domini regentis (cum) i
lanceam equestrem iij lanceas pedesires et xx archers._") Those were
evil times for England; Harfleur, the first trophy of Henry V., had
been recaptured in 1432, and in 1435 the peace of Arras was concluded
between Charles VII. and the Duke of Burgundy, the news of which caused
the young King Henry to weep. At this important crisis in her history
England sustained an irreparable loss by the death of the Duke of
Bedford, who expired at Rouen September 14, 1435, at the very time the
negotiations for the peace were being concluded.

Sir John de Honford must have quitted his post at Rouen, for before the
close of the year he with other influential knights and gentry of the
shire were summoned to the King's council at Chester for the purpose
of granting a subsidy to enable him to carry on the war. Whether he
returned to Normandy with the reinforcements or took part in the
engagements in which Harfleur was retaken, and the brave Lord Talbot
won such renown, is not clear, but his martial spirit could not find
happiness in repose, and in 1441 (October 26) we find him entering
into an engagement with Humphrey Earl (afterwards Duke) of Buckingham,
then owner of the fortified stronghold of Macclesfield, to serve him
in a military capacity for the remainder of his life in consideration
of an annual fee of £10 chargeable on the manor of Thornbury, in
Gloucestershire.

There was no standing army in England then; fighting was done
by contract, and such agreements were therefore not of uncommon
occurrence. Upon emergencies forces were raised by the King's letters
under the Privy Seal; lords, knights, and esquires quickly responded
to the summons of the sovereign, and an army was readily got together
if the means of paying the adventurous spirits who comprised it were
forthcoming. But it must not be supposed that the fighting Englishmen
of those days were taken from the plough without any previous military
training. The casque and the morion were hung up in the cottage of the
serf as well as in the castle of the feudatory chief, and the good yew
bow was suspended in the halls of the knights and esquires for the use
of their servants and retainers, in accordance with the statute (II
Henry IV.) to shoot at the butts on every Sunday and high festival, the
municipal authorities at the same time being required to see that the
youths in their respective districts were taught to send the "light
flight-arrow" to the legal distance of 220 yards, so that when they
had grown to lusty manhood they might perform the same feat with the
heavy war-arrow. Hence, in those days there were to be found Locksleys
in every village to whom the long range offered no difficulty when the
King's letter came, whether direct or through the chief landowner to
his subinfeudatory tenants and partisans.

Three years after Sir John Honford had entered into the agreement with
the Earl of Buckingham he was appointed one of the Justices in Eyre for
the three Hundreds of Cheshire, and in 1449 he is again found on active
service in Normandy--this time with the army commanded by the Duke of
Somerset. The truce agreed to in 1444 had been broken, complications
had arisen, the town of Fougiers in Brittann had been seized, and in
the month of April Sir John ("Messire Jehan Hanneford, chevalier,"
as he is styled) was specially commissioned to return to England and
report to the King the outrages that had been committed. It was the
beginning of the end. One by one the provinces which had been won had
been surrendered, and even those which Henry had inherited were given
up. In July the French King invaded Normandy, Somerset had to submit
to the capitulation of Rouen. Cherbourg was the last town to yield, it
surrendered August 12, 1450, and thus in one campaign, almost without
a struggle, England lost the large and fertile province of Normandy,
containing more than a hundred fortified towns; Calais was the only
possession retained in France, and that Queen Mary lost a century
later; yet with a strange infatuation the Kings of England paraded the
empty title of Kings of France and bore the golden lilies upon their
heraldic shield until the first day of the present century, when by
Royal Proclamation they were removed.

Of Sir John Honford's subsequent adventures little or nothing is known,
and even the time of his death has not been ascertained with certainty;
but it must have been about 1461, for in that year the manor of Honford
was conveyed to his son, also named John. Mr. Earwaker says it is
possible he died abroad; but this is scarcely likely, for there was
then little for an English soldier to do abroad, and much to occupy
his attention at home; and we can hardly suppose that such a veteran
as Sir John de Honford would let his sword remain in the scabbard when
in England the storm-cloud of war had burst, and the rival houses of
York and Lancaster were in their death struggle--"the convulsive and
bleeding agony of the feudal power." It was the year which ended the
inglorious and unhappy reign of the "meek usurper" Henry VI., that
in which Edward of York was borne to the throne upon the shoulders
of the people--the year of Mortimer's Cross, of the second battle of
St. Alban's and of Towton, the crowning victory of the White Rose.
Though there is no record of the fact, it is more than probable that
his remains were interred in the chantry at Cheadle, and from its
appearance and general characteristics it would seem likely that the
older of the two alabaster effigies there was placed over them to
perpetuate his memory. Though the sword has disappeared, the figure of
the old warrior, in its rich suit of ornamented armour, still remains
comparatively perfect; the uncovered head resting upon his helmet, a
pillow not much softer than that which Henry V. regretted that his
faithful follower, Sir Thomas Erpingham, had to repose on, when, on the
night before the fight at Agincourt, he exclaimed--

  A good soft pillow for that good white head
  Were better than a churlish turf of France.

John Honford, who succeeded as heir on the death of his father, had
married in 1422 Margery, one of the daughters of Sir Laurence Warren,
of Poynton. He died in October, 1473, and was succeeded by his son,
also named John, who had to wife Margaret, daughter of Sir John Savage,
of Clifton. By this lady, who survived him and married for her second
husband Sir Edmund Trafford, of Trafford, he had two sons; John, the
eldest, predeceased him, and William, the younger, succeeded as heir.
He was under age at the time of his father's death in 1487, and,
fortunately for him, the wardship of his lands and the sale of his hand
in marriage was given to his grandfather, Sir John Savage, who in turn
granted them to his stepfather, Sir Edmund Trafford. Of this member of
the family but few records have been preserved. In 1513, in the month
of May, he appeared in the amiable character of a peacemaker between
Sir John Warburton and Sir William Boothe, two neighbouring knights,
who had quarrelled over the rights they respectively claimed to cut
turf on Warburton Moss; and William Honford, Sir Thomas Boteler, Sir
Richard Bold, and Laurence Marbury drew up a deed by which the matters
in dispute were amicably adjusted. It was one of the latest acts of
William Honford's life, for ere four months had passed, or the warm
golden tints of autumn had deepened upon the landscape, he had met a
soldier's fate. On the 9th of September, 1513, the battle of Flodden
Field was fought, and when night closed upon the scene the moon looked
down upon Sir William's corpse as it lay stiffening on Branksome Moor.

There is, perhaps, no event in the annals of the country that has
been the subject of so much exultation on the part of Lancashire and
Cheshire men, or that has formed the ground-work of so many traditions
and furnished so fruitful a theme for ballad writers as the victory of
Flodden Field. Contemporary records are full of the achievements of the
heroes of that memorable day, and the valiant deeds of those who bore a
part in the fight have oft been celebrated in prose and rhyme.

  To town and tower, to down and dale,
  To tell red Flodden's dismal tale,
  And raise the universal wail,
  Tradition, legend, tune, and song,
  Shall many an age that wail prolong;
  Still from the sire the son shall hear
  Of the stern strife, and carnage drear,
          Of Flodden's fatal field,
  When shivered was fair Scotland's spear,
          And broken was her shield.

It was an overthrow which spread sorrow and dismay through Scotland;
patriots bewailed it, poets sang dirges over it, and long was it
remembered as one of the greatest calamities that country had sustained.

Henry VIII. was at the time besieging Terouenne, and the Scottish
King, thinking it a favourable opportunity for a descent upon England,
mustered a large force, crossed the Tweed, and sat down before the
castle of Norham, which surrendered in a few days; three other border
fortresses fell in quick succession, when the invading host continued
its march southwards. The report of this plundering raid fired the
ardour of the English people, and roused the men of Lancashire and
Cheshire to enthusiasm. The war note which had been sounded met with a
ready response; William Honford prepared himself for the field, and
he and many of his neighbours summoned their retainers, and, mustering
under the banners of their respective leaders, marched to meet King
James of Scotland, their force consisting for the most part of archers
and billmen, and, as the tablet formerly preserved in the old church of
Bolton-le-Sands expressed it--

  The bolt shot well, I ween,
  From arablast of yew tree green,
  Many nobles prostrate lay
  On the glorious Flodden day.

On reaching Hornby the Lancashire and Cheshire forces placed themselves
under the command of Sir Edward Stanley--

  From Lancashire and Cheshire, too,
    To Stanley came a noble train
  To Hornby, from whence he withdrew
    And forward set with all his train.

The two armies met on the 8th September, on the banks of the Till,
a branch of the Tweed, that flows by the foot of the Cheviot Hills,
and the battle began on the afternoon of the following day, the Scots
having descended from their position on the heights of Flodden. The
Earl of Surrey, who had been entrusted by the Queen Regent with the
command, divided his forces into two parts; the vanguard he confided
to his son, the Lord Admiral, and the rear he headed himself. Sir
Edmund Howard commanded the right wing, and Sir Edward Stanley the
left. The fight began about four o'clock, and the contest was fierce
and furious. The first report was that the Cheshire men, overwhelmed by
a large body of Scottish spearmen, had wavered and fallen back; and,
as ill news always travels apace, this report, it is said, was the
first that reached King Henry, then at Terouenne. The battle swayed
to and fro for some time until the Scottish ranks were thinned by the
murderous discharges of the English archers; their King, James IV.,
surrounded by a strong body of knights, fought on foot, and seeing the
English standard almost, as he thought, within his grasp, marched with
steady step to secure it. It was the agony and very turning point of
the contest, for at the same moment Sir Edward Stanley, heading the
Lancashire and Cheshire bowmen, led the famous charge which Scott has
enshrined in imperishable verse--

              Victory!
  Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on!
  Were the last words of Marmion.

It turned the fortunes of the day. The shock was irresistible, and the
Scottish force fell into disorder; 10,000 of the bravest of Scotia's
warriors were slain, and her King fell a lifeless corpse almost within
a spear's length of the feet of Surrey. Among those who bit the dust
that day were the Archbishop of St. Andrews, two bishops, two abbots,
twelve earls, thirteen barons, five eldest sons of barons, and fifty
other persons of distinction, including the French Ambassador, the
King's secretary, and, last and saddest of all, the King himself.
"Scarce a family of eminence," says Scott, "but has an ancestor killed
at Flodden," as the Scottish minstrel laments:--

  Dool and wae for the order, sent our lads to the border!
    The English for ance, by guile wan the day;
  The flowers of the forest, that fought aye the foremost,
    The prime of our land, are cauld in the clay.

  We'll hear nae mair lilting at the ewe milking;
    Women and bairns are heartless and wae;
  Sighing and moaning on ilka green loaning--
    The flowers of the forest are a' wede awae.

The English loss was also very severe, the number slain being estimated
at seven thousand; but the men of rank who fell were not nearly so
numerous. Cheshire lost many of her sons, among them William Honford,
of Handforth, with his neighbours, Thomas Venables, the Baron of
Kinderton; Christopher Savage, the valiant Mayor of Macclesfield; and
many substantial burgesses of that town.[25] As the ancient poem of
"Scottish Feilde," believed to have been written by a Cheshire man--a
Legh, of Baguley--expresses it--

  The Barne (Baron) of Kinderton full kenely,
  was killed them beside;
  So was Honforde, I you hete,
  that was a hynde swyer![26]
  Fulleswise[27] full feil,
  was fallen to the grounde!
  Christopher Savadge was downecaste
  that kere[28] might be never!

Another of the heroes of Flodden, more fortunate than William Honford,
we shall meet with anon--Sir John Stanley, who afterwards became lord
of Handforth Hall.

With the death of William Honford the direct line of the house of
Honford terminated, the estates devolving upon his only daughter,
Margaret, a child of ten years at the time her father lost his life.
His widow, Sibyl, some twelve years later became the second wife of
Laurence Warren, of Poynton, Esquire. William Honford's Inquisition,
from some cause or other, was not taken until January, 1516; his
daughter Margaret, then twelve years of age, was found to be his heir,
and in the interval between the victory at Flodden and the taking
of the Inquisition she had been married by her feoffees to Sir John
Stanley, William Honford's companion in arms.

Sir John Stanley, who was about seven years older than his youthful
bride, was an illegitimate son of James Stanley, warden of Manchester,
and afterwards Bishop of Ely, a younger son of that Thomas, Lord
Stanley, who according to popular tradition, which, by the way, is
in this instance a popular error, placed the crown of the vanquished
Richard upon the head of the victorious Henry of Richmond on the field
of Bosworth.[29] The mother of Sir John was doubtless the lady to
whom Fuller in his quaint fashion refers, when, commenting upon the
Bishop's frailty in the infraction of his vow of celibacy, he says that
he blamed him not "for passing the summer with his brother (? nephew)
the Earl of Derby, in Lancashire, but for living all the winter at
Somersham, in Huntingdonshire, with one who was not his sister, and who
wanted nothing to make her his wife save marriage."

When the war note had been sounded, and the enthusiasm of the
Lancashire men had been roused by the threat of invasion, Bishop
Stanley, with ready response, summoned his retainers and dependents,
but, unlike the Abbot of Vale Royal, who led his contingent to the
field in person, and by his presence gave the sanction of religion
to the cause, placed them under the charge of his young son, John
Stanley--"that child so young," as Weber calls him in one of his
ballads--to whom the writer of the metrical story of the "Scottish
Feilde" has incorrectly assigned the place of honour as the real
commander in the decisive attack in the battle, instead of his uncle,
Sir Edward Stanley, who, as we know, for his bravery, was in the
following year created Lord Monteagle.

  Sir John Stanley that stowte knight,
  That stern was of deedes!
  With four thousand fursemen[30]
  That followed him after;
  They were tenantes that they tooke,
  that tenden on the bishopp.
  Of his household, I you hete
  hope ye no other,
  Every burne had on his breast
  browdered with goulde;
  A fote of the faireste foule
  that ever flowe on winge!
  With their crownes full cleare
  all of pure goulde!
  Yt was a semely sight,
  to see them togeder,
  Fourtene thousand egill feete,[31]
  feteled in arraye.

That the Bishop of Ely raised so large a contingent as 4,000 may be
very much doubted, but, whatever their number, his son, who had the
command, displayed such prowess that he was knighted upon the field.

About the time of Sir John Stanley's marriage with the heiress of
William Honford, his father, the Bishop of Ely, died. While holding
the wardenship of Manchester he had built the spacious chapel on the
north side of the Collegiate Church, now the Cathedral, known in the
present day as the Derby Chapel; this was completed in the year in
which Flodden was fought, and at the time of his death, in 1515, he
was employed in erecting a smaller chapel adjoining it, in which his
tomb is placed. This chapel Sir John, in accordance with his father's
directions, completed, and placed over the door the arms of himself and
his wife with a supplicatory inscription, prefaced by his favourite
motto, _Vanitas Vanitatum et omnia Vanitas_.

In 1519 he was appointed with Sir Peter Legh, of Lyme, William
Swetenham, of Somerford, and John Holynworth, collector of a subsidy
within the Hundred of Macclesfield. Four years afterwards he became
involved in a dispute with his neighbour, George Legh, of Adlington,
respecting the renewal of the lease of the tithes of Prestbury, a grant
of which he had contrived to obtain from the Abbot of St. Werburgh,
at Chester, the particulars of which are more fully set forth in the
account of Adlington Hall and the Leghs.[32] Sir John, having refused
to surrender his lease, was committed to the Fleet at the instance of
Cardinal Wolsey, a high-handed procedure that subsequently formed one
of the charges in the articles of impeachment exhibited against that
ecclesiastic, and it was not until he had undergone a twelve months'
imprisonment that he could be induced to yield.

The ardent soldier who had displayed such valour in the field at
Flodden on attaining maturer years became somewhat of a religious
enthusiast, and while yet comparatively a young man, being little more
than thirty, retired from the world, and sought the seclusion of the
cloister, from, as has been said, "displeasure taken in heart" at the
treatment he had received at Wolsey's hands.

In 1527-8 he obtained "letters of fraternity" from the Abbot of
Westminster, and in a volume of MS. pedigrees at Tabley, near
Knutsford, there is still preserved the original grant under the
convent seal of the abbey, dated January 5th, under which John, abbot
of that house, grants to Sir John Stanley and dame Margaret, his wife;
John Stanley, their heir; and Anne Stanley, their sister; that they
shall be prayed for in that monastery, "_in vita pariter et in morte_,"
and all other places in their order through England, and that their
names shall be enrolled on the fraternity's martyrology _post obitum_.
Whatever may have been the cause of Sir John's withdrawal from society,
certain it is that, having arranged all his worldly affairs, he and his
wife, in 1528, prayed for a divorce in order that they might severally
devote themselves to a religious life and be quit of the world. The
divorce was granted, Sir John and his wife were released from their
marriage vows, and put asunder one from the other for ever. He entered
the Abbey of Westminster, and assumed the cowl and tonsure of a monk,
and it is believed that his death occurred shortly afterwards.

Mr. William Beamont, in his "Notes on the Lancashire Stanleys,"
thus sums up his character:--"His mind turned towards seriousness
if not sadness. He loved the Preacher's motto 'All is vanity,' and
where he could he liked to inscribe it openly. This natural tendency
was deepened and increased by the stigma of his birth and other
circumstances which he could not forget. The stain on his father's
life, and his death excommunicated, would not let him, even in the
inscription on his grave, where he supplicates for him the prayers of
the faithful, call the bishop by the sacred name of father, and in the
letters of fraternity all mention of his father's name is avoided.
Sir John's mind dwelt too much upon chantries, burial-places, obits,
indulgences, and the like. It was his favourite subject, and he crowned
this part of his career by retreating from the world and disappearing
in the deep shadow of the cloister."

Sir John left an only son, bearing his own baptismal name, who was an
infant at the time of his parents' divorce. His father's will provided
that he should be placed under the care of the Abbess of Barkyng until
he should attain the age of twelve years, when he was to be transferred
to the care of the Abbot of Westminster, with whom it was directed he
should remain until he was twenty-one, when, and not before, he was to
be at liberty to choose himself a wife, with the advice of the Abbot of
Westminster and Edmund Trafford, Esq. Of his subsequent career little
is known. He attained to manhood, when he married Ellen, daughter of
Sir Edward Fitton, of Gawsworth, Knight, but does not appear to have
had any issue by her. He was living in 1551, but after that all trace
of him is lost, and with him the line terminated.

In the east window of the little chantry chapel in Cheadle Church,
to which reference has already been made, there are some remains of
heraldic glass, very fragmentary in character, but which still serve
to perpetuate the memory of Sir John Stanley and his wife Margaret,
the heiress of Handforth. The mantling and the helmet, with a part of
the crest, are there; but the shield itself has been much mutilated.
Sufficient, however, remains to indicate what the charges have been,
and on one side may still be seen a label bearing the words "_Vanitas
Vanitatum_," the other side, doubtless, having had at one time a
corresponding label inscribed with the remainder of Sir John Stanley's
mournful motto--"_et Omnia Vanitas_." In its pristine state the shield
was divided paleways, the dexter half--_or_, three eagles' feet erased
_gules_, on a chief indented _azure_ three stags' heads caboshed _or_
for Stanley of Handforth; the sinister half--quarterly first and
fourth, _sable_, an estoile _argent_ for Honford, second and third,
_gules_, a scythe _argent_ for Praers. Crest an eagle's head erased
_or_, holding in its mouth an eagle's claw erased _gules_. Only the
chief of the Stanley coat and the second and fourth quarters of the
sinister pale with a fragment of the crest remain.

Dame Margaret Stanley, the wife of Sir John, who appears to have shared
in some degree the religious fervour of her husband, had also evidently
intended entering a religious house, but when the divorce was obtained
and Sir John had been comfortably settled among the monkish fraternity
at Westminster her opinions underwent a change. She was still young,
being only about five-and-twenty, and the world, it would seem, had not
altogether lost its attractions, for she abandoned the idea of becoming
a recluse, and again entered the marriage state, choosing for her
second husband a scion of the ancient house of Brereton, a family that
boasted an antiquity equal to that of any house in Cheshire, tracing
its descent back very nearly to the time when Duke William of Normandy
parcelled out the newly-conquered country among his warlike followers.
The original Breretons, who derived their patronymic from the manor of
that name, if we may judge from the arms they bore, were kinsmen, if
not actually direct descendants of Gilbert Venables, the first Norman
Baron of Kinderton, and from them descended Sir Urian Brereton, who
became the second husband of William Honford's daughter and heiress,
and the builder of the present Hall of Handforth.

Sir William Brereton, who was lord of Brereton in the reign of
Edward III., had by his second wife, Margaret, daughter of Henry
Done, of Utkinton, a younger son, Randolph, who received the honour
of knighthood, and had to wife Alice, daughter and heir of William
de Ipstones, through whom he acquired considerable territorial
possessions, and became the founder of the line of Brereton of
Shocklach and Malpas, in Cheshire. His great-grandson, also a Sir
Randle, was Chamberlain of Chester in the reign of Henry VII., and one
of the knights of the body to that King. He is mentioned generally
as Chamberlain to Henry VII., and he acted in the same capacity to
Henry's son and successor, Henry VIII., holding the same office under
both sovereigns for the long period of twenty-six years. At the time
that William Brereton, of Honford, and his compatriots were engaged in
the death struggle at Flodden, King Henry, as previously stated, was
with an army at Terouenne; Sir Randle Brereton was with him, and for
his distinguished services there and at Tourney he was made a knight
banneret. He built the Brereton chancel in Malpas Church in 1522, and
carved upon the oaken screen this supplication:--

 Pray good people for the prosperous estate of Sir Rondulph Brereton,
 of thys werke edificatour, wyth his wyfe dame Helenour, and after thys
 lyfe transytorie to obtegne eternal felicitie. Amen. Amen.

His wife, "Dame Helenour," bore him a family of nine sons and three
daughters. Sir Randle, the eldest, continued the Malpas line; Sir
Richard founded the line of Brereton of Tatton; Sir William Brereton,
the seventh son, succeeded his father as Chamberlain of Chester, and
was also made Groom of the Chamber to King Henry VIII., an office that
involved him in the ruin that befell the second of that sovereign's
wives. He married Elizabeth, widow of Sir John Savage, and the daughter
of Charles Somerset, Earl of Worcester; and on the 17th May, 1536, when
only twenty-eight years of age, and then recently married, was beheaded
along with Lord Rochfort, the Queen's brother; Sir Henry Norris,
Groom of the Stole; Francis Weston, a Gentleman of the Bedchamber;
and Mark Smeaton, a musician, on the questionable charge of criminal
intercourse with Queen Anne Boleyn, the Queen herself submitting to
the same unhappy fate on Tower Green two days later; a hideous crime
that has found an apologist in a modern historian--Froude--who, in his
exuberant admiration of Henry's self-asserting force of character, has
sought to prove a "human being sinful whom the world has ruled to be
innocent," oblivious of the fact that, while on the one hand there is a
total absence of satisfactory proof against Anne, there is undeniable
evidence of heartless cruelty, wilfulness, revenge, and shameless lust
on the part of her husband. On the morrow of her death the King married
Jane Seymour; but getting rid of one wife in order to obtain another
was not a solitary act in the life of Henry.

The memory of that cruel wrong long rankled in the mind of the
Breretons, and the recollection may not improbably have had its
influence on Sir William Brereton, who a century later did so much
to accomplish the overthrow of monarchy, and who in this way may be
said to have avenged the death of his kinsman, and thus have added
one of those retributive parallels of which history furnishes so many
instances.

Sir William Brereton, who came to so untimely an end in 1536, had a
younger brother, Urian Brereton, who in his earlier life was also one
of the Grooms of the Privy Chamber. In 1526 he was appointed Ranger of
Delamere Forest, and the same year Escheater of Cheshire, the latter an
office he also held in the successive reigns of Edward VI., Mary, and
Elizabeth, until his death in 1577. On the voluntary seclusion of Sir
John Stanley, Urian Brereton married his divorced wife, Margaret, the
daughter of William Honford, and thus became the founder of the line of
Brereton of Handforth.

The vindictive feeling which Henry manifested towards Sir William
Brereton was not extended to the person of his younger brother, for the
King, as if to mark the appeasement of his wrath, not only retained
him in his position as Groom of the Privy Chamber, but also conferred
other offices of distinction upon him. On the 8th July, 1538, he had a
grant for life of the office of Attorney of the King in the counties
of Chester and Flint; and on the 1st of August following he had a
grant for life in survivorship of the office of Sheriff of the county
of Flint on the surrender of the same by his kinsman, John Brereton,
on whom it had been bestowed four months previously, and on the 16th
of June, 1543, he and Randle Cholmondeley had conferred upon them
the appointment for life, in survivorship, of the office of Attorney
of the Earl of Chester (the young Prince Edward) in the counties of
Chester and Flint. In 1544 he accompanied the Earl of Hertford in the
expedition to Scotland to demand the infant Queen Mary, who had been
promised in marriage to the King's son, Edward Earl of Chester, and he
was present at the burning of Leith, where, in acknowledgment of his
valorous deeds, he received the honour of knighthood.

Shortly after the expedition to Scotland Sir Urian Brereton had the
misfortune to lose his wife, Dame Margaret, who died at Handforth Hall,
though the exact date of her decease has not been ascertained, the
registers of Cheadle, where doubtless she was buried, not commencing
until 1558. Her manors and lands descended to the son by her first
husband, John Stanley, who on the 24th May, 1 Edward VI. (1547) entered
into a covenant with Sir Urian Brereton under which the estates were
settled between them.

On the 7th of July, 1550, Sir Urian and his relative, Richard Brereton,
Esq., had conferred upon them for life, in survivorship, the office
of Escheater of the county of Flint, and shortly after he commenced
the rebuilding of the Hall of Handforth, completing it in 1562, as the
inscription over the door, which has been already given, testifies. He
also about the same time erected the handsome carved oak screen in the
Brereton chantry at Cheadle church, placing upon it his initials, V.
B., and his punning rebus, a briar and a tun.

After the death of Dame Margaret Sir Urian again entered the marriage
state, his second wife being Alice, the third daughter of Sir Edmund
Trafford, of Trafford, Esq., and the widow of Sir William Leyland, of
Morleys Hall, in Astley. His death occurred at Handforth Hall on the
19th of March, 1577, and twelve days later his remains were interred
at Cheadle. By his first wife he had, as the inscription over the
porch at Handforth records, six sons and two daughters, and by his
second wife, who survived him little more than a year, one son and
four daughters. His Inquisition was taken at Knutsford on the 28th
March, 1580, when Randle Brereton, his eldest son, then of the age
of forty, was found to be his heir; he did not, however, long enjoy
possession, his death occurring on the 30th December, 1583, when, being
unmarried, the estates, in accordance with a deed of settlement of
1575, devolved upon his younger brother, William Brereton, who five
years previously, had been united in marriage with Katherine, daughter
of Roger Hurleston, of Chester, and who was at the time described as
"of the Nunneryes, Chester," a house and lands which the "Defender
of the Faith" had taken from the fair nuns of Chester and given to
his favourite, Sir Urian Brereton, the founder of the Handforth line.
This William served the office of Sheriff of the county in 1590, and
died at Handforth on the 5th June, 1601, at the age of fifty-three. He
was buried at Cheadle, and Mr. Earwaker gives a copy of his funeral
certificate transcribed from the Lansdowne MSS. in the British Museum
(879 fo. 18):--

 William Brereton of Honford Esquier died the fifth day of June A.D.
 1601; he maryed Katherine daughter of Roger Hurlestonne of Chester,
 gent. and has issue three sonnes and two daughters, viz. Urian first
 sonne died young, Richard third sonne died young, Jane eldest daughter
 died young. William Brereton sonne and heire married Margaret daughter
 of Richard Holland of Denton in the county of Lancaster Esq. Dorothie
 Brereton only daughter now living.

His widow, Katherine, became the second wife of Sir Randle Mainwaring,
of Over Peover, Knight. William Brereton, the second and only surviving
son, who succeeded as heir, was only sixteen years of age at the
time of his father's death. By this marriage he became allied with a
family which had for many generations been resident on their lands at
Denton, and who claimed descent from the Hollands of Up-Holland, in
Lancashire, a family whose members played an active part in the most
picturesque and chivalrous period of English history; who figured among
the founders of the Order of the Garter, allied themselves repeatedly
with the royal family, attained the highest rank in the peerage, and
it may be added, experienced the greatest vicissitudes of fortune;
one of them, Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter, doubly descended from the
Plantagenets and the brother-in-law of King Edward IV., being reduced
to such extremities that Philip de Commines, as he relates, saw him
"walking barefoot after the Duke of Burgundy's train, and earning his
bread by begging from door to door." The Denton Hollands from the
time of the Reformation had been noted for their leanings towards
Puritanism. Richard Holland, the father of William Brereton's wife,
when High Sheriff of Lancashire, received the thanks of Queen Elizabeth
for his services in prosecuting Popish recusants and zealously
promoting the Protestant religion, and his nephew, Colonel Holland, was
one of the earliest to take up arms in the Puritan cause in the great
struggle between Charles and his Parliament, and had the command of
Manchester when it was besieged by the Royalist forces in 1642.

William Brereton died on the 18th February, 1609-10, and was buried at
Cheadle on the 26th of the same month, his widow surviving him only
a few days, the Cheadle registers recording her burial there on the
14th April following. He left issue--in addition to two younger sons,
Richard and Urian, and a daughter, Margaret--a son, William, then
only five years of age, who succeeded as heir, and who in after years
was destined to play a conspicuous part in his country's affairs, his
military exploits becoming inseparably interwoven with the history of
his native county.

It is not known with certainty when the future Parliamentarian General
first saw the light, but, as he was baptized at the Collegiate
Church of Manchester, the probabilities are that he was born at his
grandfather's house, Denton Hall, which is situate within the limits of
the ancient parish of Manchester. Of the events of his early life but
little is known. They were apparently few, simple, and common-place,
and there is nothing in the record of them to foreshadow those strong
political and religious prejudices which afterwards developed in his
mind, or to indicate the possession of that military genius for which
he became so distinguished. He succeeded to the family inheritance at a
very early age, and being deprived of the guidance of both father and
mother was left to the care of his mother's relatives, and doubtless
imbibed from them those strong Puritan sentiments which had then become
traditional in the Holland family. He came of age in 1625, and on the
10th March, 1626-7, he had a baronetcy conferred upon him by Charles
I., who had only recently ascended the throne, though the gathering
clouds were even then heralding a political tempest. Whether he had
undertaken to perform the conditions on which the distinction was
supposed to be conferred--the furnishing of thirty men at 8d. per
day for three years for the settlement and defence of Ulster--or had
compounded by the payment of a lump sum, to replenish an exhausted
exchequer, is not recorded, but we may be well assured that William
Brereton was made of sterner stuff than to have bowed in the ante-room
of either the coarse and faithless James or his successor, the proud
and dignified Charles. In the following year (1628) he was elected
as the representative of his native shire in the Parliament which
assembled on the 27th March,--a year famous as that in which the name
of Oliver Cromwell for the first time appears, and in which, to secure
the voting of supplies for the war, Charles assented to the demands
of the Petition of Rights, confirming those liberties which were
already the birthright of Englishmen. He also represented the county
in the Parliament which met on the 13th April, 1640, to be so speedily
dissolved, and, again, in that which assembled on the 3rd November in
the same year--the most extraordinary and eventful of any in England's
history--the Long Parliament.

William Brereton loved worthily, and, when he had attained to man's
estate, he married whom he loved--the daughter of Sir George Booth, of
Dunham, "free, grave, godly, brave Booth, the flower of Cheshire," as
he was described by writers of the day--a "person," as Clarendon says,
"of one of the best fortunes and interest in Cheshire, and, for the
memory of his grandfather, of absolute power with the Presbyterians,"
and the "chief corner stone" of their cause in the county. His lot
seemed an especially happy one. Boasting an old and honourable lineage,
possessed of an ample estate, which had doubtless been increased
during his long minority, successful in his marriage, endowed with
every domestic enjoyment, and surrounded by the children of his love,
of cultivated taste, too, with a mind stored with knowledge which had
expanded and ripened under the experience gained in foreign travel,
and, withal, possessing a healthy and vigorous frame that enabled him
to enjoy all outdoor pursuits, the cultivation of his lands, and the
participation in such harmless sports as country gentlemen in his day
were wont to indulge, he could only have been induced to leave the
privacy of the home life he so much loved by the stern duties of times
in which pleasure and self-gratification must unmurmuringly yield.

Clarendon speaks of his notorious aversion to the Church. This was
undoubtedly true, so far as her form of government was concerned, and
was in all likelihood heightened by the circumstances under which he
received his early training, as well as by the connections formed
in later life. Yet he was a professed member, and in 1641 his name
occurs in the parish register of Wanstead, in Surrey, with those of
about fifty of the principal inhabitants, as signing a protestation
expressive of their attachment to the Church of England and their
abhorrence of Popish innovations. He was of a sober, serious turn, and
imbued with strong religious feelings, but his attachment to the Church
could neither have been very strong nor very exclusive; he was fond of
"spicy" sermons, and seems to have listened with equal satisfaction
and delight to the discourses of a Brownist or Anabaptist as to the
ministrations of the most eminent of the preachers of the Church of
which he professed himself a member.

In 1634, when the great and awful conflict in which many of the dearest
interests of England were involved seemed as yet far distant, Sir
William Brereton made a lengthened tour in Holland and the United
Provinces, and in the following year he travelled over a great part
of England, Scotland, and Ireland. On his return he wrote an account
of his journeyings from the brief notes made on the way, and this
journal, the original MS. of which is in the possession of Sir Philip
de Malpas Grey Egerton, of Oulton, has been published by the Chetham
Society. Singular to say, there is nothing in it to lead us to suppose
that at that time the writer felt any interest in military affairs; nor
is there any reference to the great political and religious questions
which were then agitating the public mind in his own country, and in
which it might naturally be supposed he would feel much concern. The
narrative is, as Mr. Hawkins, the editor, expresses it, "a plain,
unimpassioned statement of what he saw and observed. The beauties of
nature never warm him into admiration; nor do the feelings, habits,
or phenomena of the people, or the countries which he visited, seduce
him into any philosophical investigation." He was not a deep thinker,
and evidently looked at things from a purely matter of fact point of
view; his observations are confined in a great measure to a description
of what he saw and heard, and not unfrequently comparison is drawn
between the places he visited and those of a kindred character in his
own country, generally to the advantage of the latter. He describes
pleasantly the "stately city of Rotterdam" and the "fair maiden town
of Dort;" Schiedam he describes as a "dainty, sweet, pleasant town,
larger than Namptwich," with "a delicate, spacious, market-place, a
fine church, and a great channel walled on both sides with free-stone,
running along the middle of the street, whereunto their ships come." He
descants upon land tillage, tells the prices of dairy and farm produce,
and generally expresses his opinion on the system of agriculture
pursued; but that which seems most to have attracted his attention was
the method adopted in different places of taking wild fowl by decoys,
a hobby he appears to have indulged in at his Cheshire home, where he
says he also had a decoy, probably in the low-lying grounds, watered by
the Deane in the valley below Handforth Hall. At Amsterdam he "dined
with Mr. Pageatt," where he had "a neat dinner and strawberries." It is
pleasant to find him thus making acquaintance with a noted Cheshire
worthy, John Paget, the author of "The Defence of Presbyterian Church
Government," who had been minister of Nantwich in 1598, but who, in
1605, the year following that in which Brereton was born, had been
compelled to retire on account of his nonconformity, when he settled
at Amsterdam, where, in 1607, he had a call to the pastorate of the
English church, in which he continued to minister for the long period
of thirty years.[33]

In 1635 Sir William Brereton returned from his travels in Ireland. In
May of the following year he was in London, visiting, at Westminster
and the Temple, his younger brother Urian, whom Mr. Earwaker
incorrectly represents as dying in 1631,[34] but who in 1636 was
apparently following the law. While there he was laid up with sickness,
and "feared a violent, burning fever," but happily was soon restored to
health.

In the early summer of the succeeding year a great sorrow fell upon
him, and the gloom of sadness overshadowed his house. On the last
day of May, 1637, the solemn knell that echoed from the bell towers
of Cheadle and Bowdon churches proclaimed to hall and hamlet that
the mistress of Handforth, the beloved and cherished wife of William
Brereton, had passed away, and on the 6th of June her remains were laid
beside those of her progenitors in the quiet old church of Bowdon.

The tender and affectionate wife, the woman of his early love, the
mother of his young children, for they were still in their infancy,
was taken from him at the time when her counsel was needed most.
The trial was a sore one, and his domestic sorrow seemed to have
loosened the cords of life; his habits were entirely changed; the
green lanes, the wooded uplands, and the bosky dells that surrounded
his Cheshire home were no longer pleasant to look upon; his decoys
had lost their attractions, and he ceased to find enjoyment in those
rural pastimes and pursuits in which he had previously delighted. It
was a sorrowful episode in his life, but there was another sorrow
deepening in the country that helped to obliterate the remembrance
of it. The funeral plumes that waved over the coffin of his wife
were stirred by the trumpet blast of discontent that swept over the
country. A blow had been struck at the liberty of Englishmen; the
writ for the levying of "SHIP MONEY"--that word of lasting memory in
the annals of the nation--had been issued; a tax as startling as it
was novel, that had been raked up from among the dust of forgotten
records, had been reimposed. Hampden had resisted it, and earned for
himself thereby a cheap immortality. Ship money was in all men's
ears a hated word; Brereton's heart was stirred within him, and he
quitted his rural retirement, with its mournful associations, to join
in the great struggle against kingly prerogative. It was the levying
of this obnoxious tax that first brought him into collision with the
constituted authorities. As previously stated, he had inherited an
estate in Chester--the Nunneries, given by Henry VIII. to his ancestor,
Sir Urian Brereton. He maintained that these lands were exempted from
rating. The Mayor of Chester ignored his claim, and much personal
animosity between himself and the city was engendered in consequence.
The blood of Sir William Brereton, which had been so unrighteously
shed by King Henry, had not been avenged; the memory of that cruel
wrong still lingered, and when, in obedience to the command of Charles,
a levy was made upon his property for the payment of the hated ship
money, the slumbering feeling of discontent was fanned into the flame
of open resistance; and when the Commission of Array was issued he was
the first to incite the citizens of Chester into insurrection.

On the 27th June, 1642, Thomas Cowper, of Overleigh, then Mayor of
Chester, the Earls of Derby and Rivers, and Viscount Cholmondeley, were
appointed by Charles the Commissioners of Array for the county of the
city; and on the Monday, the 8th August, Sir William Brereton, being
at the time one of the members for the shire,[35] caused a drum to be
beaten publicly in the streets for the purpose of enlisting recruits
in the service of the Parliament, in consequence of which he narrowly
escaped falling a victim to the indignation of the populace, whose
sympathies were on the side of the King. Hemingway, in his _History of
Chester_, thus records the circumstance:--

 Information of this treason having been given to the Mayor, Mr. Thomas
 Cowper, this intrepid magistrate immediately directed some constables
 to apprehend the leaders of the tumult, but the latter forcibly
 resisted, and compelled the constables to retire, upon which the Mayor
 stepped forward in person to expostulate with them on their conduct,
 and upon being disrespectfully treated, he boldly advanced up to one
 of the Parliamentarians, and, seizing him by the collar, delivered him
 to the civil officers, at the same time wresting a broad sword from
 another of the party, with which he instantly cut the drum to pieces,
 securing the drummer and several others. The firm and manly demeanour
 on the part of the Mayor effectually put an end to the tumult, and
 finally repressed it. During the affray the common bell was rung,
 the citizens lent their cheerful aid to the chief magistrate, and
 when they had seen him in a state of personal security the city was
 restored to peace. Sir William Brereton, a gentleman of competent
 fortune in the county, and knight for the shire, and who was a strong
 partizan for the Parliament, was brought before the magistrates at the
 Pentice, to answer for the part he had taken in the above disturbance,
 though he owed his rescue from the popular fury to the personal
 interference of the Mayor; he was, however, discharged.... His
 subsequent severities are stated to have proceeded from his resentment
 on this occasion, and [Hemingway adds] it has been a subject of regret
 to many of his political opponents, that the active interposition
 of the Mayor had rescued from the popular fury a man who afterwards
 proved to be so severe a scourge to the city.[36]

If the men of Chester were loyal to their Sovereign, the prevailing
feeling in the county was decidedly in favour of the Parliament; the
popular party were able to prevent the Commissioners of Array from
carrying the Royal proclamation into effect, while at the same time
their own levies proceeded with little interruption. The attempt to
maintain the neutrality of the county by the Treaty of Pacification,
as it was called, which enjoined an absolute cessation of arms and
the demolition of the fortifications made by either party in Chester,
Nantwich, Stockport, Knutsford, and any other town, having failed,
each of the hostile parties set to work to procure military stores
in anticipation of the approaching conflict. The Commission of Array
established itself at Chester, Nantwich being at the same time made
the head-quarters of those in arms against the King. Sir William
Brereton was entrusted by the Parliament with the arming of the county,
to him was also confided the seizure of the goods and weapons of the
"delinquents," as the Royalists were called, and he was subsequently
appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Parliamentarian forces in Cheshire,
Staffordshire, and Shropshire, his kinsman, Colonel Robert Dukenfield,
of Dukenfield, and Colonel Henry Bradshaw, of Marple, the elder brother
of the future judge of the High Commission Court, being two of his most
active officers.

Eager for the conflict, Sir William Brereton was unable to restrain
his impetuosity. Before any commissions were issued the sword of the
restless and robust Puritan had left the scabbard, and the blast of
his trumpet had been heard as he gathered together his dependents
and the friends of the "cause," and trained them to the use of arms;
staunch and stern enthusiasts they were, who quickly caught the spirit
of their leader, whom we can picture in imagination marshalling them in
the leafy valley of the Deane, or upon the broad plateau of Handforth
Green.

On the 25th of August, 1642, Charles appeared at Nottingham, with
a few troops of horse, and about six hundred foot, the mere shadow
of an army; the blood-red ensign, blazoned with the royal arms, and
bearing the suggestive motto, "Render unto Cæsar the things which
are Cæsar's," was set up on the hill adjoining the castle. It was a
hasty and imprudent act--a terrible symbol, reviving the traditions of
feudality, and virtually proclaiming that the kingdom was in a state of
war and the ordinary course of law at an end. Such a ceremony had not
been witnessed in England since the time when Richard III. raised his
standard on the field of Bosworth, a century and a half previously. The
auspices were not favourable; the weather was sullen and tempestuous;
the dark clouds heralded a storm, and the gloom of the lowering sky
was in harmony with the shadow that lay on men's minds. Scarcely had
the streamer been unfurled than a fierce gust of wind swept with wild
moan over the hill top and laid the emblem of sovereignty prostrate
upon the ground. It was an unhappy omen, and whispered words of
sorrowful misgiving passed from man to man. The next day the ceremony
was repeated, the trumpet sounded, the herald read the proclamation,
and the few friends assembled shouted, "God save the King." Thus the
olive branch was cast aside, King and Parliament were divided, and
the royal sanction given to the wasting calamity of war--war that was
to determine whether the monarchical or the democratic estate of the
kingdom should possess the ruling power, and in which the best and
bravest blood of England was to be shed.

In that memorable struggle which convulsed the kingdom and drenched
it in civil slaughter--a struggle that may be said to have begun
with a tumult in Manchester, when a poor linen weaver looking on
was accidentally shot,[37] and Parliament, to inflame the people,
magnified the event into "The Beginning of the Civil Wars in England,
or Terrible News from the North," and which ended with the restoration
of monarchy in the person of Charles II., when the same old Puritan
town, to do honour to the occasion, put on its peacock's feathers,
and made the conduit to flow with wine, and the gutters to swell with
strong beer--the Lord of Handforth played a very conspicuous part, and
there can be little doubt that much of the ultimate success of the
Republican party was due to his unwearying energy and military skill.
His delight lay in the din of arms, the rattle of musketry, and the
clatter of troops; and a record of his doings would be little else than
a chronicle of the events that were then occurring in the northern
parts of the kingdom. A circumstantial account of his military exploits
is given by contemporary writers. Burghall, the Puritan Vicar of Acton,
in his "Providence Improved,"[38] makes frequent mention of him, and in
Josiah Rycroft's "Survey of England's Champions and Truth's Faithfull
Patriots," 1647, and John Vicars's "England's Worthies," published in
the same year, are "lively pourtraitures" of Cheshire's famous general.

The rejection of the Bill for regulating the militia, passed by
the Commons in February, 1642, and which, if confirmed, would have
transferred the power of levying armies to the Republican party,
widened the breach between King and Parliament. From that hour the link
which bound them together was riven. It was evident that the difficulty
could be only adjusted by an appeal to arms, and, as the spring
advanced, both sides began in earnest to prepare for the conflict,
though each was anxious to avoid the responsibility of commencing
it. The fast decaying traditions of the miseries attendant upon the
old domestic feuds--the struggles of the Barons, and the Wars of the
Roses--were wholly drowned by the loud beating of the warlike pulse;
men were suddenly withdrawn from the plough, the anvil, and the loom;
the services of foreign mercenaries were eagerly sought, and on every
hand the signs of preparation were apparent.

[Illustration: NANTWICH.]

Sir William Brereton, one of the deputy-lieutenants, as well as one of
the members for Cheshire, was authorised by the Parliament to put in
force the ordinance concerning the militia, and as the harvest-time
approached he proceeded to Nantwich for that purpose. The King's
Commission of Array, who were at Chester, hearing of his intention,
marched with a body of men towards Ravensmoor to prevent him. On
the 12th August both parties met on Beam Heath, when an altercation
arose, which would most likely have ended in bloodshed but for the
mediation of Mr. Werden, of Chester, on the one side, and Mr. Wilbraham
of Dorfold on the other. Nantwich commanding, as it did, one of the
approaches into North Wales, was an important strategical position,
and the inhabitants being for the most part favourable to the Puritan
cause, the place was barricaded, and made the head-quarters of the
Parliament party, of which, as we have said, Sir William Brereton had
the chief command.

Charles remained at Nottingham after the Royal standard had been
erected until his army had been increased by reinforcements from
various quarters, when he set forward, marching across Derbyshire
in the direction of the Welsh borders, intending to establish his
head-quarters at Shrewsbury, where considerable promises of support had
been given. About the same time Lord Grandison, on behalf of the King,
presented himself at Nantwich, and on the 12th September, accompanied
by Lord Cholmondeley and a considerable body of horse entered the town,
the inhabitants, fearing the approach of the royal army, which was then
at Shrewsbury, having quickly made terms for the surrender of the same,
as well as of their arms, ammunition, and accoutrements; and at the
same time Woodhay, Doddington, Haslington, Baddiley, and other houses
in the neighbourhood, the owners of which were known to be disaffected,
were subjected to the same treatment. Two days later the king, having
advanced from Shrewsbury, entered the ancient city of Chester, where
he received a welcome as enthusiastic as that accorded to his father,
five-and-twenty years before. The mayor and corporation entertained him
sumptuously at the Pentice and presented him with £200, bestowing at
the same time £100 upon the Prince of Wales, their titular Earl, who
accompanied him. His Majesty took up his abode at the Episcopal Palace,
whence a summons was issued through the sheriff requiring Sir Richard
Wilbraham of Woodhay, Sir Thomas Delves of Doddington, Mr. Mainwaring
of Peover, and Mr. Wilbraham of Dorfold, to await the King's pleasure.
They repaired to Shrewsbury in charge of the sheriff, and remained
there for three weeks in the hope of being discharged, but the two
Wilbrahams were detained prisoners, Sir Richard dying in April of the
following year, while still in confinement there.

The King returned to Shrewsbury, and thence proceeded towards London.
On the 23rd October, when the morning dawned, he saw from the brow of
the wild ridge of hills that overlook the vale of the Red Horse, near
Kineton, in Warwickshire, the army of the Earl of Essex drawn up in
order of battle upon the plain below. On that day Edgehill, the first
great battle of the great civil war, was fought; thirty thousand of
the best and bravest of Englishmen were put in array against each
other, and on that cold autumn night, as the keen searching wind
sighed through the heath and furze and along the unsheltered slopes
of Edgehill, darkness closed upon the field of carnage, where five
thousand men lay in their death agony--so many sacrifices to the Moloch
of intestine strife--without any substantial advantage having been
gained by either side.

After the battle, the King continued his march southwards; but Colonel
Hastings, who had also taken part in it, repaired into Cheshire with
a small force, and occupied himself during the winter months in
harassing those opposed to the Royalist cause. On the 23rd of December
a kind of peace--the Treaty of Pacification, as it was called--was
entered into at Bunbury, but was immediately afterwards broken. In
January, 1642-3, a skirmish took place outside Nantwich between a
small force of Royalists, led by Sir Thomas Aston, and a company of
Parliamentarians, commanded by Captain Bramhall, the former being
compelled to retire, when Sir William Brereton followed in hot pursuit,
took one hundred prisoners, and pillage to the value of £1,000; at
the same time, as Vicars affirms, "making Sir Vincent Corbet fly in a
pannick feare for his life." In the same month a list of instructions
was drawn up by Parliament and transmitted to Sir William for his
guidance in relation to the conduct of military affairs in the county,
and in accordance therewith he sent out his warrants requiring the
train bands and other forces of the shire to muster at Tarporley and
Frodsham on the 21st of February, hearing of which the Royalists issued
from Chester with two pieces of ordnance, and entrenched themselves
at Ruddyheath, when, on the morning of the 22nd, the opposing forces
met. A few shots were fired on both sides, but little or no harm was
done. What, however, was of more importance occurred on the preceding
night, when a small force of Parliamentarians from Nantwich, taking
advantage of the darkness, scaled the lofty eminence of Beeston and
took possession of the castle, which was at once repaired and put in
a state of defence. Some of them coming down to Brereton's assistance
were met by a troop of Royalist horse on Tiverton Town field, when a
slight skirmish took place, and lives were lost on both sides.

The army at Nantwich had by this time been largely reinforced, Colonel
Mainwaring, Captain Dukenfield, Captain Hyde, Captain Marbury, with
other gentlemen, and their companies of horse and foot, having joined.
On the 10th of March, Sir Thomas Aston having made a descent upon
Middlewich and plundered the town, Sir William Brereton advanced from
Nantwich to give him battle; an engagement ensued, the Royalists were
driven out of the town, and many prisoners taken. A characteristic
account of the attack, from the pen of a Puritan writer, who appears to
have been present and to have taken part, is thus given in a pamphlet
published at the time:--

 Sir Thomas Aston and his partie, recovering strength after their late
 overthrow, exercised the same in mischiefe, and all wicked outrages;
 for besides their plundering and wasting of all the countrie neere
 Chester, they laid such intolerable taxes both on the citie and
 countrie thereabout, that their own partie was embittered against
 them; yea, before we secured Northwich, whiles some of our forces were
 in that countrie, they plundered Weverham and the county about; they
 carried old men out of their houses, bound them together, tyed them
 to a cart, drave them through mire and water above the knees, and so
 brought them to that dungeon, where they lie without fire or light,
 and now through extremities are so diseased, that they are ready to
 yield up the ghost. On the Sabbath, March 12, having a little before
 advanced to Middlewich, they plundered all that day, as a most proper
 season for it, commanded the carts in all that countrie about to
 carrie away the goods, kept a faire that day neere Torperley to sell
 these goods. In Over when they had plundered they left ratbane in the
 house wrapt in papers, for the children, which by God's providence was
 taken from them before they could eate it, after their parents durst
 returne to them; and being a considerable body they sent for more
 strength, and by their warrant to the churches about, commanded all
 the countrie to come in with such insolent and imperious expressions,
 that they were hatefull to some malignants, and concluded to give
 no quarter to any roundheads, and were confident quickly to carry
 all downe before them. Sir William (Brereton) was at that time at
 Northwitch with a considerable partie; many gentlemen of his partie
 were at Namptwich, with about seven or eight hundred armed men; their
 generous spirits were enrag'd to see such outrages committed; it
 wrought alike in all Sir William's forces to provoke us for to fall
 upon the enemy, though wee could not easily communicate our purposes
 one to another. At Namptwich we agreed to assault them the next
 morning, signified the same to Sir Will(iam). He was as forward as
 we. Our gent. desired a minister to come to their Chambers, upon the
 alarum to be given at twelve o'clock, that commending them to God in
 prayer, they might speed the better. Some ministers and others fell to
 the worke that day by prayer and fasting, though not as Moses, Aaron,
 and Hur, in prospect of the armies, yet wrestling as Jacob did, and
 putting their mouthes in the dust, if so bee there might be hope, of
 which they had a gracious returne by three o'clock. The business of
 that day was carried thus:--Sir William being foure miles from the
 enemy, assaulted that side of the towne by eight o'clock, March the
 13th, and continued the fight for about three or foure houres before
 we came to his help; in which time this accident fell out, that his
 powder was all spilt, excepting about seven pound they tooke councell
 upon it, and it was concluded they must retreite because their partie
 from Namptwich was not come in to their assistance, but Sir William
 was resolute not to retreit but to send to Northwitch for more powder,
 and to keep them in play as well as they could till the powder came,
 which accordingly they did; betwixt eleven and twelve o'clock we came
 to their assistance, which they knew not of till they heard us in hot
 service on the other side of the town; when we began their powder came.

 The enemy had chief advantages, their ordinance planted; we had none;
 they layd about 150 musquetiers in an hole convenient for them. They
 layd their ambuskadoes in the hedges, musquetiers in the church and
 steeple, and had every way so strengthened themselves that they seemed
 impregnable; but God led on our men with incredible courage--Captaine
 George Booth fac'd the towne with his troope whilst they plaid on
 with their ordinance, which once graz'd before them, and then mounted
 cleare over them in another; in another that it dash't the water and
 mire in his and two other captaines faces, but there it dies. This was
 no discouragement to our men; they marched upon all their ambuskadoes,
 drave them all out of them into the towne, entered the towne upon the
 mouths of the cannon and storme of the muskets, our major (a right
 Scottish blade)[39] brought them up in two files, with which he lined
 the walls and kept the street open, went up to their ordinance, which
 he tooke; then the enemy fled to the church; Sir Thomas Aston would
 have gone after them but they durst not let him in, lest we should
 enter with him: then he mounted his horse and fled with all speed by
 Kinderton, and divers others with him, for that way only was open,
 all the rest we had surrounded; we slew divers upon the top of the
 steeple, and some, they say, within the church.

In this encounter 400 Royalists were taken prisoners, among them
several officers of rank, including Captain Massie, of Coddington,
Captain John Hurleston, Colonel Ellis, Major Gilmore, Captain Corbet,
Captain Starky, of Stretton, and Captain Morris; a Lancashire man was
also numbered among those captured--Sir Edward Mosley, of Hough End and
Aldport Lodge, in Manchester, at that time sheriff of Staffordshire,
who for his "delinquency" had to compound for his estates by the
payment to the Committee of Sequestrations of £4,874, which greatly
impoverished him.

By the defeat at Nantwich the Royalist army was greatly weakened, and
Brereton found himself free to turn his attention in other directions.
Hearing that the Earl of Northampton was marching northwards, he
immediately set out to the assistance of Sir John Gell, who was then in
the neighbourhood of Stafford.

It was a short fortnight after the siege of Lichfield Close, whither
Sir John, with a body of fighting men, had gone to reinforce the army
of Lord Brooke, who had himself fallen a victim to the unerring aim of
the keen-eyed Dyott, a bullet from whose arquebus had passed through
the visor of his helm and pierced his brain--the time

                  When fanatic Brooke
  The fair cathedral stormed and took,
  But, thanks to heaven, and good St. Chad,
  A guerdon meet the spoiler had.

Hearing of the attack on

  Moated Lichfield's lofty pile,

the Earl of Northampton hastened with a strong party of horse to
relieve the beleaguered city, when Gell, knowing himself to be in no
condition to cope with him, retired towards Stafford. Brereton, whose
new strung vigour and eager impetuosity seldom permitted him to leave
the saddle or let his sword rest in the scabbard, marched at once with
1,500 horsemen from Nantwich, by way of Newcastle and Stone, until he
reached Salt Heath, a place about three miles north-east of Stafford,
where, on the 19th of March, a week after the fight at Middlewich, he
joined the forces of Sir John Gell. At Hopton Heath, adjoining Salt
Heath, the Earl of Northampton fell upon their rear, and an engagement
ensued. The Parliamentarians numbered in all 3,000 horse and foot,
and the Royalists about half that number. Brereton posted his horse
in two bodies in front of the infantry, and awaited the attack from
the Earl, who charged the main body and dispersed them, the second
attack being followed by the same result; but the Royalist victory
was quickly turned to mourning. The Earl's cavalry, pursuing their
advantage with rash precipitation, threw themselves among the ranks of
Sir John Gell's foot; in this encounter the Earl of Northampton had
his horse shot under him, and while on foot was quickly surrounded
by his foes. Quarter was offered but refused, when a trooper with his
heavy matchlock smote off his helm, and another from behind dashed his
halberd into his brain. Sir Thomas Byron, who commanded the Prince of
Wales's troop, followed up the attack, but night coming on both armies
drew off, each claiming the victory. The advantage, however, would
appear to have remained with the Parliamentarians, who were enabled to
drive their opponents out of the county. Sir William Brereton, in the
fanatical phraseology so characteristic of the time, thus concludes his
account of the transaction:--

 In the success of this battle the Lord was pleased much to shewe
 himselfe to bee the Lord of Hosts and God of Victory; for, when
 the day was theirs and the field wonne, he was pleased mightily to
 interpose for the rescue and deliverance of these that trusted in him.
 And, as my lord generall (Essex) said concerning Keinton (Edge-hill)
 battle, soe may it bee said of this, that there was much of God
 and nothing of man, that did contribute to this victorie. To him I
 desire the sole glory may be ascribed, and that this may be a further
 encouragement to trust in him, and an engagement to adhere unto this
 cause, as well in the midst of daungers and streights as when they are
 more remote. To this end I beseech you assist with your prayers those
 who often stand in neede thereof; and believe that there is none that
 doth more earnestly pray for and desire the encrease of all comfort
 and happiness then Your most faithfull frend,

[Illustration: Handwritten signature]

Apart from the horrors inseparable from fratricidal strife, or the
results which civil war may ultimately secure, there are attendant
circumstances that make such an upheaval of the national life not
altogether an unmixed evil. If in the great social convulsions of the
past there has been much that we must deprecate and condemn, much that
must lead us to rejoice that our lot has been cast in more peaceful
times, there has been also much that is morally good and dear to our
every feeling of existence. If there were barbarism and selfishness and
ruthlessness, there were also high achievements and flashes of heroism
that will not be forgotten while great qualities find a sanctuary in
the human heart, even though we may not be able to approve the ends to
which they were devoted. While the coarser passions may have found vent
in heartless violence, honour has been as often roused from the embrace
of luxury, and a spirit of patriotism evoked that might never else have
struggled into light. Through the fissures caused by such dislocations
of the social strata, genius and virtue and devotion have forced their
way; men have struggled for principles as men struggle for life, and
have renewed their nobility in something nobler than in name.

Accustomed to a life of luxury and ease, upholding the Puritan
doctrines in which he believed, and watching, it may be from afar, the
widening breach between King and people, William Brereton had taken but
little active interest in public affairs; but when the trumpet-blast
of war sounded in his ears his courage, promptitude, and zeal were
instantly aroused. Forced by the troublous times from the lethargy of
security and passionless ease, he quickly evidenced the possession of
qualities of which he had never given even a crude or ostentatious
promise. In what he conceived to be the path of duty he was prodigal
of his personal safety, and in that great struggle against prerogative
no man was less mindful of the hardships and the dangers inseparable
from a soldier's life. It was no boyish enthusiasm that led him to
take down the spear and the arquebus from the ancestral wall and to
don the armour of his forefathers; for, when he entered the arena of
civil strife, he was verging upon forty years of age, and the blaze
of youth had sunk into the burning fire of middle life. Noble was the
idea he had set before him. To contend with the oppressor and to battle
for right and justice was a high work. It is not our province to enter
upon the merits of the great civil war of the seventeenth century; we
reverence the principles of civil and religious truth for which the
Puritans professed invincible attachment, but we cannot close our eyes
to the fact that some of those who pleaded so loudly for conscience,
and offered such uncompromising resistance to despotism, when they got
the power into their own hands, instead of righting the wrongs of
which they had complained, merely changed the venue and transferred
a grinding social tyranny from the hand of one faction to that of
another. As old Fuller, in his quaint way, observes, "they girt their
own garment closest about the consciences of others." We can sympathise
with the Puritanism of Brereton in the effort for the advance of civil
and religious liberty and the purity of moral life, but we cannot
sympathise with the Puritanism that manifested itself in fanatical
excesses and the profane handling of things that ought to have been
sacred, even to fanatics, if they believed in the cause for which they
contended.

Sir William Brereton could no longer find happiness in repose; his
new-born zeal knew no restraint. Scarcely had he returned from the
fight at Hopton Heath than he was again in the saddle, and marching
with his troops to Northwich. On Easter Monday, April 3rd, he advanced
from that place towards Warrington, with the object of assisting the
Manchester men in wresting that town from the Earl of Derby, who then
held it for the King. An engagement took place at Stockton Heath, when
the Earl, being worsted, fell back upon Warrington, which was shortly
afterwards invested; but as he destroyed some of the buildings, and
threatened to lay the remainder in ashes rather than surrender, the
siege was raised, and Brereton with his army returned to Nantwich.

The period which followed was one of considerable activity. Before
the month had closed he was again in Staffordshire, and at Drayton
encountered Sir Vincent Corbet, whom he a second time defeated, Sir
Vincent, as Burghall tells us, escaping "in his shirt and waistcoat,
leaving his clothes behind him, which Captain Whitney took, with all
his money and his letters found in his pockets." On the 15th May,
Brereton's dragoons, having been joined by some companies from Leek and
Newcastle-under-Lyme, entered the town of Stafford in the middle of
the night, while the people were in their beds, took possession, and
made several prisoners; among them Captain Biddulph, probably of the
family of Biddulph Hall, and Captain Legh, of Adlington. From Stafford
the victorious Parliamentarians proceeded to Wolverhampton, which
was speedily taken; they then returned into Cheshire, and advanced
to Warrington to join the Manchestrians in renewing the attack upon
the town, which had been left by the Earl of Derby to the care of
Colonel Edward Norris, of Speke; and on Saturday, May 27th, "after a
week's siege, the Royalists were obliged to surrender this key of the
county," when, as we learn from Burghall, "Sir George Booth (Brereton's
brother-in-law), being lord of the town, entered it, and was joyfully
entertained by the inhabitants." Sir William knew no rest. Two days
later we find him marching at midnight from Nantwich with a force
of eight hundred men to Whitchurch, where Lord Capel had fixed his
head-quarters, arriving there at three o'clock in the morning; when,
after two hours' sharp fighting, the place surrendered, and the victors
returned to Nantwich laden with "cheese, malt, wheat, bacon, and
ammunition," and other spoils of war.

During the preceding months the Vale of the Weaver had been harassed
and made the scene of many a predatory descent from Capel's forces,
aided occasionally by the Royalists from Cholmondeley; the country
round, but Nantwich more especially, had been plundered, the rich
meadows and pasture lands which had been brought under cultivation in
pre-Reformation times by the monks of Combermere being more productive
than other parts of the county offered a strong inducement; whilst
the inhabitants, having for the most part sided with the Republican
party, were accounted as fitting subjects for Royalist vengeance. Moss
House, near Burley Dam, Dorfold Hall, Acton, Ravensmoor, and Sound are
named as being plundered of horses, cows, young beasts, and household
stuffs during the occasional absences of General Brereton from
head-quarters. In retaliation, Cholmondeley Hall was itself attacked,
the Nantwich troops issuing from their entrenchments by the north
road; then, passing Mr. Wilbraham's house at Dorfold, they quitted the
Chester Road and proceeded by Monk's Lane, passing Acton Church and
Vicarage--the latter at the time the residence of Edward Burghall, the
Puritan diarist--and thence over Ravensmoor to the stone cross near
where stood the entrance to Woodhay, the owner of which, Sir Richard
Wilbraham, had died only a few days before, a prisoner in the castle
at Shrewsbury. Soon Cholmondeley was reached. The Royalists, being
apprised of their intention, turned out to meet them, and an engagement
took place, when the Cavaliers, having sustained some loss, withdrew to
the shelter of the hall, and their opponents returned to Nantwich with
a booty of six hundred horse.

Shortly after this some of the Nantwich men sustained a severe reverse.
The troops left in possession of Whitchurch, having imprudently
advanced beyond Hanmer into Wales, were met by Lord Capel and the Welsh
forces of the King, who had been lying in ambush. They were attacked
and dispersed, several of their number being killed or wounded, and
many taken prisoners. It was a sorrowful day for them, and Burghall
laments that it was "the worst day's work the Nantwich soldiers did
from the beginning of the war." It was a sorrowful day elsewhere, for
on the preceding day John Hampden--

  The noblest Roman of them all,

received his death wound on Chalgrove Field, the avenging ball of a
Royalist having shivered his vigorous right arm on the very spot where
he had first executed the ordinance of the militia and engaged his
tenantry and serving men in rebellion, and he then lay at Thame, where,
with the grace and dignity of the old Roman, but with the fortitude and
trusting faith of the true Christian, he died after six days' agony.

It does not appear that Sir William Brereton was present at the
disaster which befell his troops in the Welsh Marches; had he been,
it is possible the result might have been different. A few days
before, he was at Liverpool, directing the unlading of a ship which
had arrived freighted with ordinance and ammunition from London.
This misfortune was, however, speedily made up for by an attack on
Eccleshall Castle, which surrendered with all its ordinance, arms, and
ammunition on the 26th June, and on returning to Nantwich he was, we
are told, "received with much joy." On Thursday, July 17th, having
received reinforcements from Staffordshire and Manchester, he set out
for Chester; but there his usual good luck failed him; an assault was
made, but the city was found to be strongly fortified, and learning
that Lord Capel, with the Shropshire forces, was advancing, he deemed
it prudent to withdraw his men and return to Nantwich. He did not
long remain there, for, hearing that Colonel Hastings had marched
with four hundred horse from Lichfield to relieve the Royalists, who
were then holding out at Stafford Castle, he set out with 1,000 men
to the help of the besiegers, bivouacking for the night at Stone. On
his approach the garrison fled in dismay, when the castle was taken
and demolished, except the keep. Taking advantage of his absence, the
Royalists, who, though driven out of Whitchurch, still hung about
the Welsh border, determined upon attacking Nantwich. Lord Capel
advanced with a considerable force by way of Baddington-lane, when
the Parliamentarians, fearing they might be outnumbered, prudently
retired within the town, having sustained but slight loss. On that warm
summer's night, August 3rd, the Royalists lay on Ravensmoor, and the
next morning, taking advantage of a thick mist that hid them from view,
set upon the town, directing their fire from the meadows lying between
Marsh Lane and the left bank of the Weaver. The attack lasted from
six o'clock in the morning until nine or ten, when the sun dispelled
the mist, and Capel, finding himself too near, withdrew his men. The
report that Capel had threatened the town caused reinforcements to
be sent from Lancashire and Staffordshire to the aid of the Cheshire
men, but finding he had fallen back they returned to their respective
counties, the "Moorland Dragoons" from Staffordshire marching by way
of Aslington, where they quartered on the night of the 5th of August,
and then, continuing their march, "they gave," as the Puritan Vicar of
Acton relates, "a strong alarm to Mr. Biddulph's house (Biddulph Old
Hall) in Staffordshire, where was a garrison. This Biddulph," he adds,
"was a great Papist," a name of reproach applied by the Presbyterians
to many a good Protestant.

At the time of Capel's descent on Nantwich, Brereton was with the
Parliamentary army in the neighbourhood of Wem, where he remained for
some time, having fortified the town, and being thus enabled to make
frequent predatory incursions from it into the surrounding country,
to the alarm of the Royalists who then garrisoned Shrewsbury. Taking
advantage of his prolonged absence, Lord Capel resolved once more on
attacking the great Puritan stronghold of Nantwich. On the 14th of
October, he set out with a force of 3,400 men and artillery, moving
by way of Whitchurch, Combermere, and Marbury; his men reached Acton
at noon on the 16th, when, finding that some of the Nantwich troops
were approaching, they took up a position in the church, which they
fortified along with the neighbouring mansion of Dorfold, but hearing
that Brereton was returning from Wem they deemed it unsafe to hazard an
engagement, and, during the night, withdrew.

Brereton did not remain many days at Nantwich. On the 7th November,
accompanied by Sir Thomas Middleton, he set out for Wales. When
night closed on that short November day they had got no further than
Sir Richard Wilbraham's house at Woodhay, where they bivouacked for
the night. On the following day they were joined by the Lancashire
forces, when an attack was made upon Holt Castle, the Royalists were
driven out, and the victors then marched to Wrexham, whence they would
seem to have directed their march towards Chester, for on Saturday,
November 11, Sir William, in company with Alderman Edwards, who had
been mayor of the city in 1636, and a small force, set out for Hawarden
Castle, which surrendered on their approach without so much as a shot
being fired. On the Thursday following Brereton sent a summons from
Hawarden to Sir Abraham Shipman, the governor of Chester, demanding
the surrender of the city, and threatening severe punishment in case
of refusal. To this demand the gallant old Royalist sent a curt and
characteristic reply assuring Sir William that he was not to be
terrified by words, and that if he wanted the city he must first come
and win it. In the meantime, in anticipation of any attack that might
be made, he caused the Handbridge suburbs to be destroyed to prevent
the Roundheads sheltering in them, and at the same time demolished
Overlegh Hall, Bache Hall, and Flookersbrook Hall, with their
outhousing, lest enemies from other quarters might effect lodgments
therein.

Happily for the inhabitants the landing at Mostyn of a body of the
King's troops, returning from employment against the rebels in Ireland,
saved the city from immediate danger. Brereton returned to his quarters
at Nantwich, and the Lancashire men hastened homewards. Burghall says
"it was a wonder they made such haste to relieve Hawarden Castle, a
stronghold, lately taken, only they left one Mr. Ince, an able and
faithful minister, and about 120 soldiers in it, with little provision,
and in great danger. It was also thought strange, that they should
leave Wales, which in a manner, was quite subdued a little before, and
so many good friends who had come to them, were left to the mercy of
the enemy." Brereton was doubtless a better judge of the exigencies
of the case than the Puritan divine whose ideas on military tactics
were in this instance at fault. Retreat had become necessary, for had
the Royalists with the large reinforcements from Ireland have moved
on Nantwich in his absence they would in all likelihood have been
successful, and not only have deprived the Parliamentarians of that
important position, but also have cut off the retreat of their army,
and have forced them to fight under great disadvantage in the rocky
defiles of the Welsh border, which at that season of the year would
have been all but impassable for troops encumbered with heavy ordinance.

Hawarden Castle, being left comparatively unprotected, was, as Burghall
says, "in great danger," but the little garrison held out bravely.
On the 21st of November Colonel Mann sent a trumpeter to demand the
castle for his Majesty's use; the demand was refused, and a week latter
Captain Standford, who commanded the Irish force then just landed, sent
the following peremptory summons:--

 Gentlemen,--I presume you very well know, or have heard, of my
 condition and disposition, and that I neither give or take quarter;
 I am now with my firelocks, who never yet neglected opportunity to
 correct rebels; ready to use you as I have done the Irish, but loth I
 am to spill my countrymen's blood; wherefore, by these, I advise you
 to your fealty and obedience towards his majesty, and shew yourselves
 faithful subjects by delivering the castle into my hands for his
 majesty's use; in so doing you shall be received into mercy, &c.
 Otherwise, if you put me to the least trouble, or loss of blood, to
 force you, expect no quarter for man, woman, or child. I hear you have
 some of our late Irish army in your company; they very well know me,
 and that my firelocks used not parly.--Be not unadvised, but think
 of your liberty, for I vow all hopes of relief are taken from you,
 and our intents are not to starve you, but to batter and storm you,
 and then hang you all, and follow the rest of that rebel crew. I am
 no bread and cheese rogue, but as ever a loyalist, and will ever be
 whilst I can write or name

  Nov. 28th, 1643. THO. SANDFORD, Cap. of Firelocks.

 I expect your speedy answer this Tuesday night at Broadlane hall,
 where I now am your near neighbour.

 To the officer commanding in chief at Hawarden castle and his consorts
 there.

On this summons the stout-hearted defenders of Hawarden also refused
to surrender. The besiegers then made application for assistance from
Chester, and a force of 300 of the citizens and trainbands having
arrived, the attack commenced on the 3rd December; on the following
day a white flag was hung out and the garrison capitulated; the castle
being surrendered early on the next morning on the condition that its
defenders should be free to march out with half arms, and two pairs of
colours, one flying and the other furled, and to be safely conveyed
either to Wem or Nantwich.

The Cheshire men who sided with the Parliament party appear to have had
a wholesome terror of Captain Sandford and his notorious firelocks. An
assailant whose cardinal principle is neither to ask or give quarter is
not a pleasant person to encounter, and hence the Cestrians were by no
means desirous of cultivating acquaintance with a soldier who had not
only declared his intention of putting to the sword all who presumed to
offer opposition to his demands, but who, on previous occasions, had
shown that he could be as good as his word.

Following up their success at Hawarden, the Cavaliers advanced to
Beeston; the garrison there, having heard of Brereton's retreat, had
become demoralised, and surrendered the castle to Sandford without even
the semblance of a struggle. Burghall thus relates the story of the
capture:--

 December 13th (1643) a little before day Captain Sandford (a zealous
 Royalist) who came out of Ireland, with eight of his firelocks, crept
 up the steep hill of Beeston Castle, and got into the upper ward and
 took possession there. It must be done by treachery for the place was
 most impregnable. Captain Steel, who kept it for the Parliament, was
 accused and suffered for it; but it was verily thought he had not
 betrayed it wilfully; but some of his men proving false, he had not
 courage enough to withstand Sandford to try it out with him. What made
 much against Steel was he took Sandford down into his chamber, where
 they dined together, and much beer was sent up to Sandford's men, and
 the castle after a short parley was delivered up; Steel and his men
 having leave to march with their arms and colours to Nantwich, but
 as soon as he was come into the town the soldiers were so enraged
 against him that they would have pulled him in pieces had he not been
 immediately clapped in prison. There were much wealth and goods in
 the castle belonging to gentlemen and neighbours, who had brought it
 thither for safety, besides ammunition and provisions for half a year
 at least; all which the enemy got.

The surrender of Beeston was a great discouragement to the
Parliamentarians, and so exasperated were the Nantwich men at what they
believed to be the treachery of Steel, that shortly after he was "shot
to death" in Tinker's Croft, by two soldiers, according to judgment
against him. Whether Steel was actuated by treachery or cowardice is
a matter of doubt, but, in any case, an example was required to be
made, and the stern Puritans could hardly have pronounced a milder
sentence; for the dining with Sandford, and the regaling of his men
with "much beer" must have told greatly against him. With the loss of
Beeston the way lay open from Chester; the garrison at Nantwich had
in consequence a busy time of it, being kept in a state of perpetual
alarm by the oft repeated rumours of the approach of Sandford and the
much-dreaded firelocks. The town, we are told by an old chronicler,
had no rest day or night, and a guard had to be kept continually
upon the walls to give warning in the event of the enemies coming.
Danger increased on every hand, the Royalists had been reinforced by
the Anglo-Irish contingent sent over by the Marquis of Ormond, and
the whole district lay at the mercy of Lord Byron, who had the chief
command, and who, elated with his successes, advanced without much loss
of time with the intention of attacking Brereton in his own quarters.
On the Sunday following the capture of Beeston, "during sermon time,"
as we are told, news came that the Cavaliers were at Burford, a
place about a mile distant. Sergeant-major Lothian, with a company
of soldiers, went out to meet them, but the sergeant got the worst
of it, and in the encounter was made prisoner, when his men took to
their heels. Immediately after Stoke, Hurleston, Brindley, Wrenbury,
and the country round was ravaged, and much injury was inflicted. On
the 22nd December the Royalists crossed the river to Audlem, Hankelow,
Buerton, and Hatherton; on the Saturday they reached Barthomley and
dispersed a number of Brereton's men, who had established themselves
in the church; and on Christmas day and the day after they plundered
Barthomley, Crewe, Haslington, and Sandbach. On the last-named day
Brereton, having left a guard at Nantwich, marched with a considerable
force towards Middlewich, Holmes Chapel and Sandbach, and at Booth
Lane, about a mile from the last mentioned town, he was overtaken by
the Royalists, when a fierce battle was fought, and he had to retreat
to Middlewich, whither he was pursued, again attacked, and finally
compelled to seek safety in flight, leaving his magazines behind
him and two hundred prisoners. After this disaster he made his way
northwards, when, as we learn from the "Briefe Summary" of the troubles
Mr. William Davenport had to undergo, he was on New Year's Day "about
Stopport, when with Captain Sankey, Captain Francis Dukinfield and a
few soldiers, he made a raid upon Mr. Davenport's house at Bramhall,
helped himself to what he could find, took away all the horses, about
twenty in number, and all the arms he could lay his hands on. Meanwhile
the victorious Cavaliers were by no means inactive; Crewe Hall was
captured, but surrendered again the next day; Dorfold was taken on the
2nd of January (1643-4) and on the 4th Doddington yielded without a
struggle. Nantwich had been invested and subjected to intermittent
attacks, and on Thursday, January 17," after being besieged for five
weeks and suffering great privation, it was assaulted on all sides; in
the attack Captain Sandford met a soldier's death under the guns of
his own hot battery, and within a few days of that on which Captain
Steel was led out to execution. The siege lasted for more than a week,
when General Fairfax, fresh from his victories in Yorkshire, passed
through Manchester, and, being joined by the forces of Sir William
Brereton, marched to the relief of the beleaguered town. The advancing
army mustered in all three thousand five hundred and fifty horse,
and five thousand foot; after a slight skirmish in Delamere Forest,
in which forty prisoners were taken, their progress was arrested for
a while at Barr Bridge, where a small force of Royalists had posted
themselves behind Hurlestone Brook, the main body of Byron's army,
however, remaining in the neighbourhood of Acton Church. The frost
which had continued for some time, suddenly broke up, and the flooding
of the Weaver, consequent upon the rapid thaw, placed the Royalists
at a considerable disadvantage; a temporary bridge which they had
constructed was swept away; communication between the cavalry and the
infantry was thus cut off, and the former, being confined in deep lanes
with great high hedges, were unable to sustain or relieve the suffering
infantry, and, in fact, could only reach them by a detour of five
miles. About half-past three in the afternoon of the 25th of January
the two armies were put in array against each other in the fields
lying between Acton Church and Ravensmoor, and on that raw winter's
afternoon, before darkness had closed upon the scene, the Royalist
infantry had given way and sought refuge in Acton Church, where they
were surrounded and compelled to surrender. About one thousand six
hundred of their number were made prisoners, among them Colonel Monk,
who was sent to the Tower, the same who, after he had brought about
the Restoration, developed into the Earl of Albemarle. The slain were
very few, considering the large number of men engaged, only about fifty
in all; their bodies were buried in a field belonging to Sir Thomas
Wilbraham of Woodhay, which to this day retains the name of the "Dead
Man's Field." The relief of the town was an occasion of much rejoicing;
thanksgivings were held, and for many years after, on St. Paul's Day
(January 25th), the anniversary of their deliverance, the townsmen wore
sprigs of holly in their hats in commemoration of the event.

Clarendon, in his History of the Rebellion, observes that Nantwich was
the only garrison which the Parliament had then left in Cheshire, and
that from the beginning of the troubles it had been the only refuge
for the disaffected in that county and the counties adjacent. He adds
that the pride of the late success, and the terror which the Royal
soldiers believed their names carried with them, led them before this
place at the most unseasonable time of the year, but that "it cannot be
denied that the reducing of this place at that time would have been of
unspeakable importance to the King's affairs, there being between that
and Carlisle no one town of moment (Manchester only excepted) which
declared against the King; and those two populous counties of Chester
and Lancashire, if they had been united against the Parliament, would
have been a strong bulwark against the Scots." With the disaster at
Nantwich the power of the Anglo-Irish army which the Marquis of Ormond
had sent over to the help of the Royalist cause in England was wholly
destroyed, and Fairfax was free to return to Yorkshire, where some
months after he took part in the decisive battle of Marston Moor.

Shortly after the raising of the siege of Nantwich Brereton's men made
an assault on Crewe Hall, which surrendered on the 4th of February.
Three days later Doddington Hall was given up, and on the 14th
Adlington Hall, after bravely holding out for a whole fortnight, was
delivered up to Colonel Dukinfield, who, a month later, in accordance
with an order of Parliament, handed over the possession to Colonel
Brereton, who pillaged the house, and seized the family possessions
into his own hands.

While these events were transpiring a kinsman of Sir William
Brereton's, Lord Brereton of Brereton, who had been collecting arms
and ammunition for the King's service, became alarmed, forsook his
own residence, Brereton Hall, and, with his wife and son, took up his
abode at Biddulph Hall, a fortified manor-house on the confines of
Staffordshire, which was at once put into a state of defence. Angry at
this proceeding, Sir William Brereton determined on its reduction, and
at once set out with an armed force to accomplish that object. On the
way one of the unlovely elements in the Puritan character manifested
itself--the fanatical soldiery broke into the church at Astbury, one of
the most beautiful ecclesiastical edifices in the county, defaced the
costly architecture, broke the painted windows, demolished the carved
screen-work, turned the fabric into a stable, and carried the organ
away to a field close by, where they set it on fire--the spot retaining
the name of the "Organ Field" to this day. Having performed these
exploits, Brereton and his men resumed their march towards Biddulph,
passing over Congleton Edge on the way. On the 20th of February the
siege began, but the besiegers held out for a lengthened period--three
months, it is said. Mr. J. Eglinton Bailey, in a paper recently read
before the members of the Manchester Literary Club, gives the following
interesting particulars:--

 The ordnance was first planted on Congleton Edge, but little or no
 mischief was done from that standpoint. A fragment of an old song is
 remembered in which Lord Brereton, seeing Sir William on the Edge, is
 made to say--

  "Yonder my uncle stands, and he will not come near,
  Because he is a Roundhead, and I a Cavalier."

 ... During this time the investment was pretty close. Communication
 with the neighbourhood is said to have been held by means of a servant
 appropriately named "Trusty," who had nightly egress by an underground
 passage, through which victuals were taken in. The Parliamentary army
 frequently changed the position of their camp. Meanwhile the garrison
 became expert marksmen. A person riding through Whitemore Wood towards
 the army at Congleton Edge had his horse struck by a shot, and the
 rider took to his heels, not staying to remove the horse's bridle. It
 is also said that when Mr. Bowyer, of Knypersley Hall, was galloping
 over Bradley Green a ball from Biddulph took off the heel of his boot.
 At length the besieging party fetched from Stafford a large cannon,
 bearing the feminine name of "Roaring Meg," which was planted on the
 west side. The gun was next tried on a battery on the rising ground
 on the east side, the country people having informed the general that
 that was the weakest side of the hall. The old record is that from
 this site the artillerymen battered furiously for some time; that at
 last a ball accidentally struck the end of a beam supporting the hall,
 thus giving the building such a shake that its defenders thought it
 would have fallen down; and that thereupon Lady Brereton was so much
 affrighted that at her earnest entreaty the place was surrendered.

A number of prisoners were taken, including Lord and Lady Brereton and
their son and heir; three hundred stand of arms, with ammunition, also
fell into the hands of the victors, who sacked the mansion and bore off
the plunder to Stafford Castle.

In the accounts of the old corporate town of Congleton there are
several entries of moneys expended on the occasion of the visit of Sir
William Brereton and his followers while on their way to Biddulph. They
appear to have had a fondness for the good cheer for which the place
was even then noted; thus we read of "Meat and drink to Sir William
Brereton's men on the way, £1 13s. 3d.;" "Paid in meat and drink to
Sir William Brereton's men, £0 18s.;" "More, £0 18s. 3d.;" "Spent
on Captain Manwaring and Captain ---- from London in burned ale and
victuals, £0 10s. 0d.;" "Burned ale to Colonel Duckenfield, £0 1s. 8d."
"Burned ale" was a beverage the Puritan soldiers seemed to have been
rather partial to, and they had almost an equal fondness for Congleton
sack[40], if we may judge from the frequency with which they were
regaled with it.

The attack made by Sir William Brereton upon his relative, Lord
Brereton, at Biddulph, furnishes a characteristic picture of the social
disorder and confusion that prevailed in every rank and station of
life during that unnatural struggle; the ties of consanguinity were
forgotten in the bitterness of party strife, and relationship was no
longer recognised as influencing families or individuals, except in so
far that men oftentimes found their most inveterate foes were those of
their own household.

In the depth of the inclement winter, after the relief of Nantwich, Sir
Thomas Fairfax, in obedience to the orders of the Parliament, marched
back into Yorkshire to join his father, Lord Fairfax, who was hastening
to unite his forces with the Scottish army, which, led by Lesley, Earl
of Leven, had crossed the border and marched knee-deep in snow upon
the soil of England, preparatory to an attack upon York. Brereton,
after the fall of Biddulph, would appear to have followed him, for in a
contemporary document which Mr. Earwaker discovered among the Harleian
MSS.--"Accompts made and Sworne unto by Sev'all Inhabitants of the
Towneshippe of Hollingworth in the p'ish of Mottram in Longdendale and
County of Chester"--the following entry occurs:--

In the "Accompts" of Mr. John Hollingworth, of Hollingworth:

                                                           li s d
  Itm. When Sr William Brereton Kt. marched wth his fforces
  towardes Yorke there was quartered wth mee Seaven score
  horse whereby I was dampnified                            8 0 0

  Itm. When Sr William Brereton marched towards Yorke wth
  Cheshire fforces ffor ye assistance of that County, there
  was 250 horse and rydrs quartered at my house; the
  damage I had by them in eatinge my meadowe, killinge
  my sheepe and plunderinge some of my goods privily, and
  consuminge my victuals they found in my house, to ye
  value att ye least of 20tie markes                       13 6 8

These particulars give some idea of the losses and annoyance the people
were then subjected to, and furnish some interesting details of the way
in which the war was conducted.

Ere the month of June was ended, the fiery Prince Rupert, in obedience
to the King's command, had marched from Lathom House, in Lancashire,
and effected the relief of York. On the 2nd of July 50,000 subjects of
the King met upon the heath and among the corn fields on Marston Moor,
almost within sight of the walls of York city, where the boom of the
distant cannon would strike upon the inhabitants as the death knell of
friend or brother. For two long hours they remained gazing with silent,
yet settled determination, each waiting from the other the signal of
battle. The sun was sinking in the west on that warm summer's evening
when the strife began. By the time it had set, and the twilight had
deepened into night, the carnage was ended, and five thousand dead
bodies of Englishmen lay heaped upon the fatal ground. The distinctions
that in life had separated those sons of a common country seemed as
nothing now. The plumed helmet and the rude morion, the glistening
corslet and the buff jerkin, embraced as they rolled on the heath
together, and the loose love-lock of the careless Cavalier lay drenched
in the dark blood of the stern and uncompromising Roundhead.

              On Marston Heath
  Met front to front, the ranks of death;
  Flourished the trumpets fierce, and now
  Fired was each eye, and flushed each brow;
  On either side loud clamours ring,
  "God and the cause!"--"God and the King!"
  Right English all, they rushed to blows
  With nought to win and all to lose.

It was the first great battle in which Cromwell and his invincible
Ironsides had borne a part, and it was their irresistible bravery that
decided the day. Rupert was fairly swept off the field, and the hopes
of Charles were completely wrecked. It was the greatest achievement
of the war, and left the whole of the northern counties open to the
Parliament's sway.

The discomfited Rupert, with the wreck of his army, retreated towards
Chester, and thence into Lancashire, where he had the mortification to
see all the strongholds he had recently gained speedily retaken, and
among them the castle of Liverpool. Brereton was quickly marching in
the same direction. Halton Castle still held out for the King, though,
as we learn from a letter addressed by Goring to Prince Rupert, it was
then threatened by the garrison of Warrington. It shortly afterwards
surrendered, and on the 22nd July was taken possession of by the
Parliamentary troops under Brereton. A few weeks later Colonel Marrow,
the governor of Chester, with a small force marched from that city
towards Northwich, "plundering some poor men's cattle by the way;"
when near Hartford he was met by a party of Brereton's men. Marrow
retreated towards Sandiway, and there faced about, when a skirmish took
place. Fifteen of Brereton's soldiers were captured, but the victory
was dearly bought, for Marrow himself, "a most pestilent Atheisticall
Royalist," as Vicars calls him, received a shot, from the effects
of which he died the following day. This was on Sunday, the 18th of
August. A few days later the Nantwich men, with the assistance of
Brereton's cavalry and some troops from Halton, attacked the Royalists
in their quarters near Tarvin, and defeated them, and on the 26th they
were again engaged near Malpas, when the Cavaliers sustained some
serious losses.

Hearing that Lord Herbert, of Cherbury, was besieged in Montgomery
Castle, Brereton, with Sir Wm. Meldran, Sir Wm. Fairfax, and thirty-two
troops of horse out of Lancashire, and other companies out of
Staffordshire, in all about three thousand men, set out to relieve him.
On Tuesday, the 17th September, they compelled the Royalists to raise
the siege, which led to a desperate encounter on the following day,
when the King's troops were defeated with a loss of five hundred slain
and fourteen hundred prisoners, among the latter being that "_Chevalier
sans peur et sans reproche_," Major-general Sir Thomas Tyldesley. Among
the slain on the Parliament side was Sir William Fairfax. A week after
this exploit Brereton and his forces returned to Nantwich. In the
scattered but authentic records of the period we get frequent glimpses
of him hurrying hither and thither during the dark winter months. In
February, 1644-5, the town and castle of Shrewsbury, with the ordnance,
arms, and ammunition, and a considerable body of prisoners, surrendered
to him, and, as the spring advanced, his forces began to gather by
degrees round the castle of Beeston and the city of Chester, which
still held out for the King; but news coming that the Princes Rupert
and Maurice were approaching to the relief, his men fell back upon
Nantwich, and the relieving force of Royalists, having accomplished
their object, retired, first plundering Bunbury and burning Beeston
Hall. Scarcely had they departed, however, when the siege of Chester
was renewed. On the 7th of May the King left Oxford, and marched with
his forces in the direction of the city, but when within twenty miles
of it Brereton, hearing of his advance, raised the siege and retired
into Lancashire. This movement left his Majesty free to commence
operations in another direction, and he suddenly appeared before
Leicester and carried the town by storm.

On the 14th of June the battle of Naseby was fought--the most decisive
and disastrous to the King of all his military engagements--the
Royalists losing all their artillery, baggage, the King's private
cabinet, and eight thousand stand of arms, while the Parliamentarians
were put in possession of nearly all the chief cities of the kingdom.
The siege of Bristol followed; on the 9th of September the city
was stormed and taken, and victory seemed everywhere to attend the
movements of the King's opponents. Charles, who was now at Hereford,
resolved on proceeding to Chester, hoping to reach it by a circuitous
route over the Welsh mountains, and intending thence to make his way
northward by Lancashire and Cumberland, to join Montrose. The march
through that wild and inhospitable region occupied five days, the King
and his party being exposed the while to many hardships and privations.
He had arranged his plans in the full belief that Chester was safe
from any meditated attack, but, to his dismay, on approaching the city
he found the people in a state of excitement and alarm, Sir William
Brereton having collected a powerful body of troops, including the
force with which Colonel Jones and the redoubtable Adjutant-general
Lowthian had been investing Beeston Castle, and was then preparing to
attack it, having, indeed, on the very day his Majesty left Hereford,
surprised and possessed himself of the mayor's house, and with it the
sword and mace of the corporation, as well as of St. John's Church,
Boughton, and some of the eastern suburbs.

On learning the position of affairs, the King ordered Sir Marmaduke
Langdale--he who had fought so gallantly at Naseby--to cross the Dee
eastwards above Chester, whilst himself, with his guards, Lord Gerard,
and the remainder of the horse, would enter the city by the west,
intending thus to dislodge the republican soldiers by a simultaneous
attack upon their front and rear. But these plans were disconcerted
by the unexpected appearance of Major-general Poyntz, who had been
following in the King's track, and had advanced from Whitchurch to the
help of Brereton's forces.

The King reached the city, on the night of Wednesday, the 24th of
September, 1645, Sir Marmaduke Langdale having in the meantime crossed
the river at Holt Bridge, and drawn up his men on Rowton Heath, some
two miles distant. On the following morning Poyntz came upon the scene,
when he was attacked by Langdale and repulsed with considerable loss,
but a party of Brereton's men, headed by Colonel Jones and Lowthian,
hastened to their assistance, when Langdale was in turn overpowered
and compelled to seek shelter beneath the city walls, where the Royal
Guards, commanded by the young Earl of Lichfield and the Lords Gerard
and Lindsey, were ready to support them. The contest now became fierce
and general. From the leads on the Phoenix Tower on Chester walls
the ill-fated Charles watched the fluctuating progress of this last
effort for the maintenance of the Royal power; amid the broken surges
of the battle he saw his own battalions alternately retreating and
rallying until at length, overpowered by numbers, they were compelled
to retreat, and he saw, too, his gallant kinsman, Bernard Stuart, Earl
of Lichfield--the third brother of that illustrious family who had
sacrificed their lives in the cause--with many a gentleman besides fall
dead at his feet, and all that had hitherto survived of his broken
remnant of a host either taken prisoners or driven in headlong rout
and ruin from the fatal field. "Thenceforward the King's sword was a
useless bauble, less significant than the 'George' upon his breast."

Charles bore his misfortune with a dignity and composure that reminds
us of his valorous predecessor, the fifth Harry, when in similar peril.

  Upon his royal face there is no note
  How dread a peril hath enrounded him;
  Nor doth he dedicate one jot of colour
  Unto the weary and all-watched night;
  But freshly looks, and overbears attaint,
  With cheerful semblance and sweet majesty.

Chester still held out, and its preservation was of the utmost
importance to the Royal cause, for it was the only place at which the
King could hope to land the reinforcements expected from Ireland. It
was inexpedient, however, for him to incur the risk of being shut up
within the beleaguered city, and so at the close of that fatal Thursday
when the fight on Rowton Heath was ended, and the grey twilight of
the autumn evening was deepening into the sombre gloom of night, the
ill-starred monarch--a monarch only in name--accompanied by a small
guard and a few faithful followers, passed over the Dee Bridge a
fugitive on his way to Denbigh.

Everything which Charles or his friends attempted seemed to bear upon
it the impress of a failing or utterly fallen cause. The defeated,
powerless, almost friendless monarch was as unsuccessful in the
business of diplomacy as he was in that of war; and whatever was
indiscreetly planned was sure to be as rashly undertaken. Power had
passed from his grasp; but suffering had hardly as yet wreathed its
halo round his discrowned brow or

  Lent his life the dignity of woe.

While at Denbigh, whither he had sought refuge on the discomfiture of
his troops before Chester, he received the mortifying intelligence
that Montrose had been surprised near Berwick by Lesley's steel-clad
troopers, and that his men, after a brief but gallant resistance,
had laid down their arms on the promise of quarter. All hope from
that direction was now at an end, and the idea of moving northwards
was abandoned. Turning his steps southwards, the fallen monarch,
accompanied by a few broken squadrons, retreated by way of Chirk,
Bridgenorth, and Lichfield to Newark: whence the march was continued
until the evening of the 5th of November, when the tired fugitives
entered the city of Oxford, Charles having, as his affectionate
historian writes, "finished the most tedious and grievous march that
ever King was exercised in."

On the 16th of November, three weeks after the defeat of the Royalist
army on Rowton Heath, the garrison of Beeston, after bravely holding
out for well-nigh twelve months, and undergoing the severest
privations, surrendered to Sir William Brereton. The loss of the great
Cheshire stronghold was a severe blow, but the hopes of Charles had
not entirely vanished. Chester still held out, and through the long
months of that dreary winter its gallant defenders persistently refused
to yield. On the 10th of December Brereton's army was reinforced, in
accordance with an order of the Parliament, by the Lancashire forces
commanded by Colonel Booth, who were then flushed with their recent
successes at Lathom House; but rather than surrender the loyal citizens
elected to keep a "Lenten Christmas," and, as the old chronicler has
it, "to feed on horses, dogs, and cats." On the 1st of January, 1645-6,
Brereton sent a preliminary summons to the governor, Lord Byron,[41]
demanding that the city should be immediately given up; but the
summons was disregarded; and subsequent demands were treated with the
same contumely, until at last, on the 3rd of February, when the brave
defenders had become reduced to the last extremity by famine, the city
and castle were given up to Brereton, after having withstood a close
siege for fully twenty weeks.

The following extract from a letter preserved among the MS. collection
of Walker, the historian, of "The Sufferings of the Clergy," in the
Bodleian Library, in which the writer, Mr. Edward Seddon, a native of
Chester, describing the sufferings his father had to endure during and
after the siege, gives a vivid picture of the hardships our forefathers
had to face in that great struggle:--

 In pursuance of a promise I formerly made in a letter to Mr. Webber, I
 have here sent you the following account of my most honoured father's
 sufferings in the late times of rebellion and confusion, wherein,
 though, perhaps, I may be under some mistakes, in not adjusting every
 passage to its proper time, or mis-nomen of some persons mentioned in
 it, yet I have not willingly and knowingly trespas'd upon ye truth in
 any material part of my relation, which I hope you'l therefore peruse
 with candour as follows;--The Reverend Mr. William Seddon M.A. of
 Magdalen Coll. in Camb., being about the year of our Lord 1636, setl'd
 a preacher in one of ye parish Churches, I think St. Maries in ye City
 of Chester, was then also possess'd of a Vicarage at Eastham (about
 six miles distant from ye City, value 68li. per annum), where he liv'd
 with his wife and family in a very happy condition, till ye Civil
 Wars breaking out, and ye Parliament forces drawing on to besiege
 Chester, he was compel'd to withdraw his family and effects into ye
 City for succour, where his great and good Friend and Pastor, ye Lord
 Bishop Bridgman, then Lord Bishop of Chester, accommodated him with
 several rooms and lodgings in his own Palace; and yet the aged Bishop
 dreading the hardships of a siege, voided the place, leaving my father
 in his Palace, who continued diligent in his ministry, and frequent
 Preaching to ye Garrison there. And the City being closely besieg'd
 and frequently storm'd, my Mother was on ye 12th day of Octob., 1645,
 delivered of me, her 9th child (all the 9 then living) and said to be
 ye last yt was publickly baptiz'd in ye Font of yt Cathedral there
 before ye restoracion in 1660. The City being surrendred upon Articles
 my Father was shortly apprehended and made Prisoner, and after some
 short durance was demanded by ye prevailing Powers, why he had not,
 according to ye Articles of surrender, march'd off with ye Garrison
 to ye King's Quarters, to which he reply'd, yt he thought his Cassock
 had vnconcern'd him in those Articles, being a Minister in ye City,
 but above all he had a wife, and many small children there, which if
 he could see tolerably dispos'd of he would, not vnwillingly, accept
 the Articles. But many complaints being made against him, yt he had
 in his preaching reflected upon the proceedings of the prevailing
 party, had animated ye Garrison to resist even unto blood, &c., he
 was remanded to Prison again, and his house permitted to be plunder'd
 by ye souldiers, who despoil'd him not of his goods only, but of his
 books and papers, which they exposed to sale at a very low rate; and
 so by private directions to some of his friends, he repurchas'd some
 of the most necessary for his own use. But then an order was drawn
 up to export his wife and children out of ye City to Eastham (which
 accordingly was done, several of ye younger sort being put into a
 wagon with other goods which had escap'd the pillage) where though
 they had only ye bare walls of a Vicarage house to resort to, yet they
 found a hearty welcome from ye loial part of the parishioners there,
 amongst whom they dispers'd themselves, and in a short time after, my
 Father's confinement was somewhat enlarg'd and his escape conniv'd
 at, which gave him ye liberty of going in quest of his wife and
 children, whom he found in pretty good circumstances among his loial
 friends. But another minister (whose name and character I have utterly
 forgot)[42] being despatch'd with orders from ye ruling powers at
 Chester to supply the vicarage at Eastham, and a rumour dispsd, yt my
 father must be apprehended again, and reduc'd as prisoner to Chester,
 he scamper'd about privately to the houses of ye loyal Gentry, to whom
 his character and condition were well known, and then despatched a
 letter to his elder Brother Mr. Peter Seddon of Outwood in Lancashire
 (ye place of my Father's nativity) who was then, at that rate of ye
 times, turn'd zealous Presbiterian too, and had a son a Captain in
 ye Parliament's army, acquainting him with ye storm he was under,
 and requesting him to cover either all or part of his ffamily, till
 he could weather ye storm; _to which letter ye main of ye answers he
 had was yt would he conform himself to ye Godly party, his own merits
 would protect and prefer him_, which so incens'd my Father yet he
 never more held any correspondence with him.[43]

After the reduction of Chester, Brereton was free to turn his
attention in other directions. Lichfield surrendered to his arms on
the 5th of March; on the 21st of April Tutbury was delivered into his
possession; seven days later Bridgewater yielded, and on the 12th of
May Dudley Castle was taken. "These, with many other victories," says
Rycroft, "hath this valiant knight performed which will to after ages
stand a monument to his due praise."

  Thus restless souls send to eternall rest!
  And active spirits in a righteous way
  Find peace within, though much with war opprest;
  This bravest Brereton of his name could say.
  And now triumps, maugre those Nimrods dead,
  _Aston_, _Capell_, _Byron_, and _Northampton_ dead.
  The slaughter'd Irish, and his native soile
  Now quiet show his courage, love, and toile.

The Parliament was not slow in rewarding him for the important services
rendered to the cause. In addition to being made Commander-in-Chief of
the Parliament's forces in Cheshire, Staffordshire, and Shropshire, he
had conferred upon him the chief Forestership of Macclesfield Forest,
as well as the Seneschalship of the Hundred; he received other rewards,
too, in the shape of grants of money and lands out of the sequestered
estates of "delinquent" Royalists and Papists, and on the termination
of the war had bestowed upon him the archiepiscopal palace of Croydon,
in which he fixed his residence during the Protectorate.

Brereton, though professedly a Churchman, was notorious for his
aversion to the episcopal form of Church government; anxious that his
country should enjoy the blessings of the kirk discipline, he busied
himself in the brief intervals he could snatch from his military
engagements in the direction of the ecclesiastical affairs of his
native county, and the accounts and other memoranda preserved in the
parish chest of many a village church in Cheshire bear testimony to
the suffering and misery inflicted on many a worthy clergyman by his
rough and ready method of effecting reforms. Poor William Seddon was
not the only one who felt the weight of his displeasure, for the
Cheshire parsons had in many instances the mortification of seeing
their churches and rectory houses sacked, their livings sequestered,
and themselves driven from their flocks and their homes, and, being
non-combatants, left powerless to help themselves or their families.
Liberty had been clamoured for, but those who clamoured when they got
the power, as Fuller says, "girt their own garment closest about the
consciences of others." Presbyterianism was as bigoted as Episcopacy,
and Independency, which followed, was as intolerant as either.

Brereton lived to see the restoration of monarchy in the person
of Charles II., but he did not long survive that event, his death
occurring at the palace of Croydon, April 7th, 1661. His remains were
brought down into Cheshire for interment in the Honford Chapel attached
to Cheadle Church, where many of his progenitors lie, but there is
no record of his burial there, though curiously enough in the parish
register there is an entry of his death at Croydon. As previously
stated, there is no memorial of him in the church, and tradition
accounts for the absence by the story that while the body was being
conveyed to what was intended to be its last resting place a river
that had to be forded had become swollen by a storm during the night,
and that, when endeavouring to cross, the coffin, with its ghastly
occupant, was carried away by the surging waters and never recovered.
Whether the deft and inquiring local antiquary will ever discover any
genuine metal by the smelting of the rude ore of this old wife's fable
remains to be seen.

That Sir William Brereton possessed great natural talents and abilities
no one can doubt, for without any proper military training he rapidly
rose to distinction, and was incontestably one of the greatest military
characters that his county has produced. The exigencies of those times
demanded military rather than political celebrities, and Brereton was
one of the few men possessing the genius needed. It was the great
upheaval in the national life that brought him into prominence and gave
him the opportunity, and but for that it is more than probable he would
never have attained to any special pre-eminence. His character exhibits
a happy blending of adroitness and force, and illustrates in a strong
degree the prodigious but coarse energy which marked that unhappy age.
His thirst for freedom hurried him into open resistance to prerogative,
while his religious feelings deepened into something approaching very
nearly to fanaticism. The gospel as exhibited in Presbyterianism, and
liberty as exemplified in the Parliament, constituted, in his belief,
the cause of God and truth, and this was the secret of his influence.
His discernment enabled him to gather around him those in whom the
same sentiments were blended--stern, dogged, self-reliant Puritans,
who believed in God and in the destinies of their leader--and by the
master-power of his energy and zeal he succeeded in moulding them to
his will. Clarendon speaks of the devotion of the lower orders to "Sir
William Brereton and his companions, and their readiness to supply
them with intelligence;" and, though he allows their education had
but ill-fitted them for the conduct of a war, praises their execution
of "their commands with notable sobriety and indefatigable industry
(virtues not so well practised in the King's quarters), insomuch as
the best soldiers who encountered with them had no cause to despise
them." Brereton shared the opinion which Cromwell expressed to his
cousin Hampden that an army of "decayed serving men and tapsters" would
never be able to encounter "gentlemen that have honour and courage and
resolution in them," and therefore he chose only "such men as had the
fear of God before them and made some conscience of what they did."
Such enthusiasts knew no fear, and had small respect for rank and power
so far as outward demeanour was concerned; they had an ever-present
belief that they were doing "the Lord's work," and, whether starving in
a fortress or ridden down by men in steel, they would not be moved

  With dread of death to flight or foul retreat.

Brereton was their chief, but he was their comrade also; if he trained
and disciplined them he shared also their hardships, their dangers,
and their privations. He was prodigal of his own safety, and his
prodigality increased their faith and inspired their confidence,
and thus enabled them not only to withstand the reckless daring--the
chivalrous bravery of the Cavaliers--but eventually to overcome and
scatter those who counted their lives as nothing in defence of their
sovereign's cause.

Both Rycroft and Vicars[44] give what purport to be portraits of
Brereton, but they are rude and unsatisfactory, and there is a doubt
as to their authenticity. An unfriendly hand ("Mysteries of the Good
Old Cause," 12mo., 1663, p. 3) has described him as "a notable man at
a thanksgiving dinner, having terrible long teeth and a prodigious
stomach to turn the archbishop's chapel at Croydon into a kitchen, also
to swallow up that palace and lands at a morsel."

The subsequent history of Handforth Hall is soon told, As previously
stated, Sir William Brereton lost his first wife--a daughter of Sir
George Booth, of Dunham--before the breaking out of the Civil Wars;
he again entered the marriage state, his second wife being Cicely,
daughter of Sir William Skeffington, of Fisherwick, in Leicestershire,
the widow of his former comrade in arms, Edward Mytton, of Weston,
in Staffordshire, but as no mention is made of this lady in his
will the presumption is that she also predeceased him. At the time
of his death there were living four daughters, two by the first and
two by the second marriage, and one son, Thomas Brereton, the sole
heir, who succeeded to the baronetcy, and who was then married to
the Lady Theodosia, youngest daughter of Humble, first Baron Ward,
of Birmingham, ancestor of the present Lord Dudley. This Sir Thomas,
who was born in 1632, died childless on the 7th of January, 1673, and
was buried on the 17th of the same month in the Handforth Chapel, at
Cheadle, where there is now a handsome altar tomb to his memory with
his recumbent effigy resting thereon. He is represented in the plate
armour of the period, with the hands uplifted and conjoined as if in
supplication; the figure is bareheaded, with the long-flowing hair
characteristic of the later Carolinian period, and the head rests upon
a helmet surmounted with a plume of feathers. At one end is a shield,
representing the arms of Brereton impaling those of Ward, and on the
side are two shields--Brereton with a crescent as a mark of cadency and
the badge of baronetcy, and Ward, and between these on a tablet is the
following inscription:--

 Here Lyeth the Body of Sr Thomas Brereton of Handforth, Barronett, who
 Married Theodosia Daughter to the Right Honourable Humble Lord Ward
 and the Lady Frances Barronesse Dudly. hee Departed this Life the 7th
 of January Anno Dom: 1673

  Ætatis Suæ 43.

[Illustration: SIR WILLIAM BRERETON.]

With the death of Sir Thomas Brereton the line once so firmly
established in Cheshire terminated, and nothing now remains but the
old ancestral home, the recollections of the name, and the memories
that surround it. After the decease of his widow, who remarried Charles
Brereton, and died in childbed, February 23, 1677, frequent disputes
respecting the disposition of the estates arose between Nathaniel
Booth, of Mottram-Andrew, who claimed as heir under a deed of trust
executed in the lifetime of Sir Thomas, and William Ward, the eldest
son of Frances Lady Ward, who claimed on the ground of kinship.
Eventually they descended to Nathaniel Booth, of Hampstead, heir to
Nathaniel Booth, of Mottram-Andrew, who succeeded to the baronetcy,
and also to the barony of Delamere. On the 14th of June, 1764, the
manor, &c., passed from this Nathaniel by purchase to Edward Wrench,
of Chester, and his nephew and heir, Edward Omaney Wrench, sold the
same in 1805, to Joseph Cooper, of Handforth, yeoman, whose trustees
in turn resold it in 1808 to William Pass, of Altrincham, from whom
it was purchased by the late Stephen Symonds, then of Handforth, but
subsequently of Broadwater Hall, Worthing, the father of the present
rector of Stockport, and James Cunliffe, who held the manor jointly
until the dissolution of their partnership in 1875, when it continued
in the sole possession of Mr. Symonds until the year 1878, when he
resold it to Edward T. Cunliffe, who is the present lord of the manor.

[Illustration: THE "SWAN," NEWBY BRIDGE.]



CHAPTER V.

 NEWBY BRIDGE AND THE LAKE COUNTRY--AN AUTUMN DAY AT CARTMEL--THE
 PRIORY CHURCH.


It was Theodore Hook, if we remember rightly, who, when the _New
Monthly_ was in its prime and he was in one of his most playful moods,
sang the praises of the "Swan" at Ditton. Our own memory recalls a
pleasant visit to that quaint resting place, famous in the records of
Thames anglers and Cockney pleasure parties, when, after much happy and
harmless enjoyment upon

  The rippling silver stream
  That in the sunshine bubbles,

we steered our tiny bark through a small flotilla of boats, round the
picturesque aits, and beneath the overhanging willows, to seek the much
needed refreshment the ancient hostelry affords. But while we would not
willingly decry the attractions of the "snug inn" that Hook's rhyming
fancy has made for ever famous, or deny that--

  The "Swan," snug inn, good fare affords
    As table e'er was put on,
  And worthier quite of loftier boards
    Its poultry, fish, and mutton;
  And while sound wine mine host supplies,
    With beer of Meux or Tritton,
  Mine hostess, with her bright blue eyes,
    Invites to stay at Ditton,

we must confess that, for peaceful quietude, the beauty of the scenery
without and the comforts to be found within, we give a preference to
the "Swan" at Newby. The old mansion-like inn is familiar, if not
indeed endeared, to everyone who has sojourned upon the green shores
of wooded Windermere, and in the old coaching days, ere the shrill
whistle of the locomotive had awoke the echoes in those peace-breathing
valleys, it was as much in favour with the turtle doves and as much
sought after by the votaries of Hymen as the "Low Wood" is at the
present time. It stands on the banks of the Leven, near its outlet
from the lake, and at the very foot of that bleak range of fir-clad
melancholy hills that rise like a mountain barrier to guard the Lake
country from the inroads of the treacherous sea. The clear river
glides smoothly along by the front of the house, a quaint old bridge
of five arches with queer little recesses on either side bestrides
the stream, and, just below, its waters are dammed up by a weir, over
which they fall in sheets of whitened foam, making a perpetual music
that awakes the drowsy echoes of the vale. Simple are the details, but
charming is the combination--the old bridge, grey and weather-worn and
lichen-stained, the white front of the pleasant old hostelry repeating
itself in the still clear waters of the Leven, the little patch of
unpretentious garden with a trim pleasure-boat moored to its bank, and
the clump of tall trees at the foot of the bridge that bend gracefully
over the stream and now and then dip their pensile branches in the
current, together make up as attractive a picture as the eye of an
artist would wish to rest upon.

If you have an hour to spare, you cannot better employ it than by
climbing the wooded hill that rises from behind the inn, crowned with
a square tower, the "Folly," as it is called, erected in memory of
England's naval victories. From the top of Finsthwaite, for that is
the name, you have one of the most varied and charming prospects that
even the Lake country affords. Beneath you, lying like an outstretched
panorama, may be seen the whole length of Windermere, with its verdant
slopes, its green isles, its wooded hills, and heather-clad fells.
The water, in the intensity of its blueness, rivals the azure dome
above; and the eye, as it ranges along the placid surface, can trace
the river-like course of the lake and note every jutting headland and
every indentation along its shores. Just beyond the Ferry is Bowness,
and, further north, near the head of the lake, is a cluster of mountain
peaks, the advanced guard of the mighty Helvellyn, Wansfell, Loughrigg,
and the twin pikes of Langdale rising prominently among them. From the
summit of this tree-clad eminence the prospect is delightful at all
seasons--in the early morning when the thin filmy mists of night are
gathering up their skirts and stealing lazily up the mountain sides,
or when evening comes on calm, and golden, and the slanting beams of
the declining sun stream upon you with dazzling, almost blinding,
brilliance. If you can choose your opportunity at the season when
the summer's green is changing to the russet brown which tells of
the waning of the year and are fortunate enough before the gloaming
begins to catch the sunset effects as the warm rays tip with roseate
hue the stony coronal of Gummer How, and shed a flood of golden light
upon the wild fells already purpled with autumnal splendour, you will
linger long to gaze upon the scene of ever-changeful beauty, and mark
the varied combinations and the exquisite gradations of colour as the
yellow light changes into a gorgeous crimson and the crimson deepens
into purple until all becomes shadowy and vague.

Southwards the view is of an entirely different character. You
may trace the course of the Leven as it winds its way beneath the
precipitous hills, through the deep-wooded glen, and by the rocky gorge
at Backbarrow, where there is a cotton mill that seems strangely out of
place, to the shores of Morecambe Bay; the puffs of white steam that
ever and anon steal through the umbrage mark the line of the railway
from Lakeside to Ulverston, and show the close companionship the rail
and the river keep. Eastwards, across the valley where the lower slopes
of the bleak Cartmel Fells sink down into a carpet of verdure, is the
little village of Staveley, with its modest house of prayer in which
good old Edmund Law,[45] the father of a bishop, the grandfather of
two bishops and a Lord Chief Justice, and the great-grandfather of a
Governor General of India (Lord Ellenborough), ministered for half a
century in consideration of the modest stipend of £20 a year.

But we are wandering from our story, for it is not Newby Bridge and its
surroundings, but Cartmel and its venerable priory church--the only
monastic institution that escaped mutilation when the Defender of the
Faith suppressed the religious houses--that now attract our attention.
A part of the hamlet of Newby Bridge is in the parish of Cartmel, but
the mother church lies on the other side of the Fell, and is at least
six miles distant. If the visitor is stout in lung and strong of limb
he cannot do better than make the journey afoot, taking the way over
the breezy moors, where every turn of the roads reveals some new object
of interest, and when he has scaled the last ascent he can look down
into the peaceful valley, at the bottom of which the quaint old village
with its ancient church, almost cathedral-like in its proportions, may
be seen nestling in serene seclusion. The less adventurous will find a
more easy way by rail from Lakeside to Ulverstone, and thence to Cark
or Grange, from which places it is distant a couple of miles or so,
though, to our thinking, the pleasantest way is to secure the box-seat
on Mr. Rigg's coach, which calls every day at the "Swan" on the way
to and from Grange. You are sure of a capital team and a chatty and
communicative driver, who knows all the places of interest about, and
possesses an inexhaustible fund of anecdote. For a distance of three
miles the road is a continuous ascent, the country presenting little
else than an undulating expanse of wild moors, relieved in places with
plantations of fir and larch. At Newton, a little straggling village,
cold, bleak, and stony looking, you come in sight of the valley through
which flows the Winster, the Milnthorp Sands, and the broad expanse of
Morecambe Bay. Then the road begins to descend; Buck Crag, at the foot
of which Edmund Law had his dwelling, is on the left; presently the
pretty little hamlet of Lindale--the scene of one of Mrs. Gaskell's
most charming stories--is reached, after which you pass beneath the
wooded heights of Blawith and Aggerslack, and a few minutes later
reach the seaside village of Grange. From this place the walk is about
three miles, and a good part of it is uphill. Passing along the steep
straggling street that comprises what ever there is of town, you
reach the church, a modest little Gothic structure crowning a grassy
knoll that overlooks the bay, the groves of Yew-barrow, and the long
stretch of coast that sweeps round by Silverdale and Carnforth towards
the Lune. Here the road tends to the right, skirting the slopes of
Hampsfell, on the summit of which is the well-known "Hospice," a square
stone tower, built by a former incumbent of Cartmel, the Rev. Thomas
Remington, for the comfort and convenience of those who traverse the
lonely fell. Continuing for some distance along a pleasant tree-shaded
lane, where the scenery is fresh at every turn, you come presently to
the summit of the high ground where the road divides, one path leading
to Allithwaite, another to Cark, and the third, taking a northerly
course, descends into the vale of Cartmel. Hedgerows border the way,
alternating now and then with patches of stone wall, grey and jagged
and lichen-stained, and half hidden in places with copse and brushwood.
On the left the slope is steep, and at the bottom a small stream--the
Ea--winds its way freakishly in and out, circling with playful eddies
round the moss-clad stones that Nature's careless hand has strewn along
its channel, and then hurrying on to go with the Leven to the sea. The
plumy woods about Holker come well in view, and in front are the green
acclivities of Broughton, backed by a cluster of swelling hills, with
the Furness Fells and the range about Coniston--the Alt Maen or Old Man
and its hoary companions stretching away into the shadowy distance. We
meet few wayfarers, and, with the exception of a solitary homestead or
two, we do not see a house until we come close upon the town. Near the
entrance, on the left, is a small, unpretending building, half chapel,
half school in appearance; a meeting house of the Society of Friends,
which some would-be humorist has described as a centre of gravity. A
few yards further on is the village school, and, passing this, we enter
the town, which comprises a few groups of houses scattered irregularly
round the grand old priory church, the lofty battlemented walls of
which, whitened by the storms of six hundred years, tower above them
with an air of solemn grandeur. It is a secluded out-of-the-world
sort of place, with a quaintness about it that almost leads you to
believe it has seen little change since William Mareschall, Earl of
Pembroke, in the year 1188, gave its lands to the monks of the order
of St Augustine--the same earl whose name is brought before us in
Shakespeare's "King John," and whose recumbent effigy may still be seen
in the round tower of the Temple Church in London.

Antiquaries tell us that the name Cartmel is of British origin,[46]
and signifies the entrenched camp of fortification among the fells,
an opinion that is in some measure borne out by the number of British
as well as Roman antiquities that have been discovered at different
times. The site of the camp is supposed to have been in the fields
on the bank of the little river Ea, now called the Beck, a little to
the north-west of the church, and which to this day are known as the
Castle Meadows. The earliest mention we have of it is in the Life of
St. Cuthbert, written by one of the monkish historians, from which it
appears that some time between the years 677 and 685, Ecgfrith, King
of the Northumbrian Angles, having conquered Cumberland, Westmoreland,
and the adjoining districts, gave to Cuthbert, whom he had caused to
be consecrated Bishop of Lindisfarne, "the whole of the lands called
Cartmel, with all the Britons in it," a phrase which goes to show
that, though the aboriginal Britons had been reduced to slavery by
their Saxon oppressors, they had for two centuries and a half been
permitted to retain their ancient home among the hills of this wild and
almost insulated tract of country. From this time a chasm of something
like five centuries occurs in the history. Whether the monks retained
possession of the lands after the death of Cuthbert, or whether the
place was ravaged by the Danish invaders, is not known with certainty,
but, as no mention of it occurs in the Doomsday Survey, it is not
unreasonable to assume that the place had been laid waste during
some of the Danish incursions, and the church which Cuthbert reared
destroyed. There is, however, undoubted evidence that a religious
establishment existed at Cartmel before the priory church was founded,
several of the deeds conveying lands to the neighbouring Abbey of
Furness being attested by ecclesiastics of Cartmel; for example, in
1135 the name of "Willelmus Clericus de Kertmel" appears as witness to
a deed of gift, and in 1155 that of "Uccheman, Parsona de Chertmel,"
occurs in a like capacity.

Some time during the reign of the lion-hearted King, Richard the
First, William, Earl of Pembroke, influenced by the spirit of the
times, conceived the idea of founding a house for a fraternity of
canons regular of the order of St. Augustine, the brotherhood being so
named to distinguish them from those secular canons who abandoned the
practice of living in community. To carry out his purpose he obtained
from John, Earl of Morteign, afterwards King John, a grant of lands
in Cartmel for the permanent endowment of his house. Here tradition
comes upon the scene, and with the warm colouring of romance fills
in the cold outlines of historic fact. As in many other places, a
marvellous story is related of the way in which Earl Pembroke's pious
canons discovered and were led to make choice of this green nook hidden
away among the bleak mountain solitudes. Wandering about, it is said,
in search of a settlement, they somehow or other found their way
into this remote corner of Lancashire, where they discovered a hill
commanding an agreeable prospect and suitable in every way for their
purpose. Having marked out their foundation, they were proceeding to
build, when a mysterious voice was heard directing them to remove to
another locality, described as "a valley between two rivers, where the
one runs north and the other south." Why the particular spot was not
more clearly defined the old monkish chroniclers have omitted to tell
us, but the poor homeless fathers in obedience to the supernatural
command, abandoned their work, and wandered up and down in search of a
spot answering to the description so vaguely given. Failing in their
efforts, they determined on retracing their steps; plodding their
way wearily through the tangled forests, they eventually reached the
pleasant vale of Cartmel, when, to their joy, they came unexpectedly
upon a small stream, the flow of which was towards the north, and,
crossing it, they arrived presently at another running in the opposite
direction, the hill which they had originally selected being in
close proximity. Here, then, midway between the two streams, they
determined on erecting their church, dedicating it when completed to
the Virgin. Afterwards they built a small chapel on the hill where they
had heard the mysterious voice, dedicating it to St. Bernard, though
St. Vox, if there is such a saint in the Roman calendar, would have
been more appropriate. The church remains a lasting monument of their
architectural skill, but the chapel has long since disappeared, though
the tree-clad hill on which it stood still retains the name of St.
Bernard's Mount.

Leaving the shadowy realm of legend and romance, and confining
ourselves to the prosaic facts of history, we find that in 1188, when
the pious Pembroke endowed the religious house at Cartmel, he directed
that it should be free and released from all subjection to any other
house. With the view of preventing its ever being transformed into an
abbey he further directed that from time to time, on the death of a
prior, the canons should select two of their number and present them to
him as the patron, or his heirs, and from them should be chosen the one
that should serve as prior in succession, and who should have the name
and office of prior only, and that an abbey should never be made of the
Priory, the charter of foundation concluding in these words:--"This
house have I founded for the increase of holy religion, giving and
conceding to it every kind of liberty that the mouth can utter or the
heart of man conceive: whosoever, therefore, shall cause loss or injury
to the said house or its immunities, may he incur the curse of God, and
of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of all the other saints of God, besides
my particular malediction." How far the invoked curses of the Blessed
Virgin or the "particular malediction" of William Earl of Pembroke
tended to the protection of the Priory of Cartmel we shall hereafter
see.

William Mareschall, Earl of Pembroke, the founder of the Priory of
Cartmel, was a notable personage, and filled a large space in the
history of his generation. His first wife was a daughter of the
redoubtable Strongbow, the real conqueror of Ireland, and the one who
in the reign of Henry II. first brought that country under the dominion
of the English Crown. After her death, he married for his second wife a
daughter of that faithless tyrant King John, a fortunate circumstance
for both King and country, for the Earl became the trusted adviser of
the sovereign, and by his tact and judgment won from him the great
charter of English liberties, and in so doing enabled the recreant
monarch to retain his crown.

When Pembroke founded his Priory of Canons at Cartmel the sturdy old
warrior and statesman made ample provision for its future maintenance,
for he endowed it with the manor and all his lands in the district
of Cartmel, together with the advowson of the then existing church,
the funds of that more ancient ecclesiastical foundation being merged
in the Priory revenues, the parishioners in turn being permitted to
retain a part of the Priory as their parish church, and one of the
canons being required to officiate as their priest. The earl further
bestowed upon his foundation the fishery of the Kaen, the church
of Balifar, and chapel of Balunadan with its appendages, and the
town of Kinross in Ireland, with the advowson of its church and all
that pertained thereto. The "Priory of the Blessed Virgin Mary of
Kartmele," as it was anciently written, was subsequently enriched
by many grants, donations, and other "offerings of the faithful."
When King John ascended the throne he confirmed by Royal charter the
foundation grant of the Earl of Pembroke, the only thing he did for his
son-in-law's foundation, for that not very religious, or at all events
not very scrupulous, monarch was more anxious to "shake the bags of the
hoarding abbots" than to add to their contents, and if we except the
Abbey of Beaulieu, in Hampshire, and the monastery of Hales Owen, in
Shropshire, there is no record of his having either founded or endowed
any religious house during his lifetime. The charter confirming the
foundation grant also ratified the gift of Gilbert de Boelton of lands
on the rocky promontory of Hunfride-heved, or Humphrey Head as it is
now called, where, as tradition affirms, the last wolf in England was
hunted down; and also an acre of land there and the close of Kirkepoll,
the present Kirkhead, which one Simon, the son of Ukeman, had bestowed.

William de Walton was appointed the first prior of the newly-founded
house. Settling down in this quiet green nook in Lancashire--the very
spot for a life of religious seclusion--under the protection of their
pious patron, the powerful Pembroke, the fraternity continued to lead
a life of sanctity and single-blessedness, and on the whole they must
have had rather a pleasant time of it, for, if history is to be relied
on, the monotony of a religious life was varied by a considerate
attention to their worldly well-being; they tilled their lands, made
home improvements, now and then they busied themselves in building a
grange in which to garner their produce, and occasionally a mill, where
they and their tenants might grind their corn. The prior seems to have
been early imbued with the principles of free trade, for as far back
as the year 1203 we find him "obtaining letters patent" empowering him
to export corn from his possessions in Ireland; later on we find the
same worthy in a court of law defending his fishery rights, when Ralph
de Bethom had been poaching in the waters of the Kaen, and it would be
unjust to the memory of the fraternity to say that they ever neglected
any opportunity of augmenting the privileges or the wealth of their
house. Numerous additions to the original endowments were made by pious
benefactors, and, as an incentive to benevolent effort, Walter Gray,
Abbot of York, promised an indulgence of twenty days of pardon to all
who should charitably relieve with their goods the fabric of the church
of St. Mary, of "Kertmell."

In 1233, Cartmel having submitted to the authority of the Holy Roman
Father, received a special mark of his paternal regard. Among the
duchy muniments, transferred some years ago to the Record Office,
London, is a Papal Bull of protection granted by Gregory IX. "to his
beloved children the Prior of St. Mary of Karmel and to his brethren,
present and future, professing the religious life for ever." Mr.
Herford, the editor of the second volume of Baines's "Lancashire," has
given a careful translation of this remarkable document, which is of
considerable length. It begins with the declaration that "It is fit
that apostolic succour should attend those who choose the religious
life, lest by chance some fit of rashness should call them back from
what they have proposed, or take away the sacred power of religion.
Therefore my chosen children in the Lord, we graciously assent to your
just request, and have taken the Church of the Holy Mother of God,
the Virgin Mary of Kermel, in which ye are engaged in divine service,
under the protection of the blessed Peter and ourselves, and favour
you with the privilege of the present writing." The grant then decrees
that the church shall enjoy certain immunities, ordains that the
canonical orders of St. Augustine shall be observed, and confirms to
the church all its possessions, and, further, gives licence to perform,
during a general interdict, religious service, provided it was done
in a low voice and without ringing of bells, those interdicted and
excommunicated being excluded, and the doors kept closed--a general
interdict being the occasion when, under the orders of the Sovereign
Pontiff, public prayers and all ecclesiastical rites were to be laid
aside, the sacraments to be no longer administered, except to infants
and dying persons, and the dead to be cast into ditches by the wayside
without any religious ceremonial. Power was also given to prohibit the
building of any chapel or oratory within the limits of the parish, and
any ecclesiastic or layman knowingly contravening the provisions of the
Bull was threatened with the terrors of excommunication.

During the palmy days of its prosperity the head of the house at
Cartmel was an important personage; his priory not only held the
privilege of exemption from general interdicts, but he himself was
free from the various spiritual and temporal ills that monastic flesh
was heir to, and had, moreover, the right of holding his court and
trying and deciding disputes within the manor, with liberty to inflict
punishment upon offenders; and when his claim was disputed, as it was
in 1292, though the rights to wreck of the sea and waifs which he had
claimed were declared forfeit to the King, his demand of the privileges
of sok, sak, tol, theam, infangthef, and utfangthef, as they are
expressed in the jargon of the day, was conceded, which means that he
was entitled to the privileges of a manorial lord to hold the pleas in
his own court in matters arising out of disputes with his own tenants;
of imposing fines therein and enforcing his decrees; of judging
bondsmen and villeins as well as of punishing thieves found within his
own lands, and requiring that those dwelling within his manor, if taken
for felony beyond, be tried within his own court.

The time was, however, approaching when the iron rod of this disposer
of the lives and liberties of those settled around him was to be broken
in pieces and the people delivered from priestly domination. A mighty
change in religious thought and action was taking place which gradually
gained strength, and culminated in that great event which swept like
a tornado over the land when the once zealous champion of the Romish
system, to replenish his exhausted exchequer, became the plunderer
of the Church that had bestowed on him the title of "Defender of the
Faith," and swept away prior and abbot, pride, pomp and power, and
shrines and relics from their ancient and accustomed places.

In 1535 the King ordered a general visitation of the religious houses.
In the autumn of that year Leyton, Lee, and Petre, with Dr. John
London, Dean of Wallingford, the commissioners, made their appearance
and summoned the prior and monks to give an account of their worldly
possessions. In the MS. surveys then made the total income varies in
amount from £89 4s. 7d. to £91 6s. 3d., while Speed, the antiquary,
rates it at £124 2s. 1d., the lowest computation being equal to an
annual income of £2,141 10s. at the present day. In the following year
the Act was passed confiscating to the Crown all the religious houses
whose yearly income did not amount to £200, and Cartmel was included in
the list of those doomed by the King. We need not dwell upon the way in
which the Royal tyrant's edict went forth, or how the good and the bad,
the honest and the corrupt, among the religious houses were ordered to
be dismantled.

The brotherhood of Cartmel, however, made a vigorous protest against
this invasion of their rights, and petitioned for a new survey on
the ground that the previous valuation did not include the whole of
the sources from which their income was derived. Commissioners were
again sent down, when the Prior presented a return which included the
income derived from lands and the tithes collected at the tithe-barns
of Godderside, Flookburgh, and Allithwaite, and also the oblations
made "at the Relyke of the Holy Crosse," preserved within their Priory
Church, the total revenue being thus increased from £89 4s. 7d. to £212
12s. 10d. A copy of this survey is preserved among the Duchy Records in
the Record Office, and is especially interesting from the circumstance
of its giving the names of the canons on the foundation at that time,
the number and names of the servants, artificers, and husbandmen
employed about the establishment, with the nature of their respective
occupations. Richard Preston was then the prior, and "of the age of
forty-one yerys;" James Eskerige was sub-prior, and there were in
addition eight canons. The "waytyng s'v'ntes" numbered ten "wayters,"
two "woodeleaders," two "shep'des," and one hunter. The "comon officers
and artyfycers of the house" included the brewer, baker, barber, cook
"skulyan," "butler of the ffratrye," "keeper of the woode," milner,
ffysher, wryght, pulter, ffestman, and maltmaker, with two others whose
occupations are obliterated in the manuscript, and in addition to these
there were eight hinds, making a total of thirty-eight, in addition
to the ten ecclesiastics, a number that seems out of proportion to
the religious inmates of the house, notwithstanding that there were
considerable demesne lands under cultivation. But the protestations of
the Prior were of little avail. Thomas Holcroft had conceived a desire
to become owner of the groves of Cartmel, and that mighty trafficker
in church lands was a man not easily moved from his purpose; Cartmel
was doomed, and Richard Preston had no choice but to surrender his high
trust or run the risk of being hanged at the gate of his own Priory, as
some ecclesiastics were who hesitated to avow their belief that Henry
VIII. was God's vicegerent on earth, or who refused to voluntarily give
up to his minions the fair places that had been their homes to become
wanderers like so many Cains over the face of the earth.

Though the Act which authorised the suppression of the Priory was
passed in April, 1536, it was not until the following year that the
King's Commissioners proceeded to the accomplishment of their task.
The Earls of Derby and Sussex, with their satellites, Southwell,
Tunstall, Leybourne, Byron, Sandford, and Holcroft, were deputed to
undertake the work; fit instruments they were, and very effectually
they accomplished their purpose. They demolished the walls of the
cloisters and levelled to the dust the other portions of the monastic
buildings which then extended across the river on arches up to the
tower gateway, the only vestige of the house which now remains. The
work of destruction fell less heavily upon the church, not because
it was less suited to the purposes of the levellers, but because it
was parochial as well as monastic, and the parishioners claimed it as
belonging to them, though it must be confessed they had not done much
to entitle them to consideration at the hands of the rapacious Henry.
If tradition is to be relied on, they had urged their prior to join the
insurrection instigated by the northern monks, commonly known as the
"Pilgrimage of Grace," but that cautious and time-serving ecclesiastic
fled to Preston, where the Earl of Derby was engaged raising an
army for the suppression of the revolt, and claimed his protection,
returning to his Priory only to be a few short months later ejected
from it for ever. When the parishioners interposed, pleading that the
church was parochial and therefore beyond the control of his Majesty's
Commissioners, the matter was referred to head-quarters in these
words:--

 Item, for ye Church of Cartmell, being the Priorie and also ye P'ich
 Church, whether to stand unplucked down or not?

 Answer--Ord. by Mr. Chancellor of the Duchie to stand styll.

 It'm, for a suet of coopes (suit of copes) claymed by ye inhabitants
 of Cartmell to belong to ye Church thereof, the gift of oon Brigg?

 Answer--Ord. that the P'ochians shall have them styll.

 Item, for a chales (chalice), a Masse Booke, a Vestyment, with other
 things necessarie for a P'sh Church claymed by saide P'ochians to be
 customablie found by ye P'son of said Church?

 No answer.

Though the commissioners were restrained in their "unplucking down" of
the church, much havoc and destruction had been done to the sacred fane
before their hands were stayed. They destroyed the painted windows,
mutilated the carved work, stripped off the roof of the Piper choir and
other parts of the fabric, and thus effectually got rid of the inmates,
and in that state the church was allowed to remain for a period of
eighty years, when Mr. George Preston, of Holker, with some assistance
from the parishioners, repaired the dilapidated edifice generally, and
decorated the inside with a stuccoed ceiling, and the choir and chancel
with a profusion of curiously and elaborately carved wood work.

In 1541 Henry VIII. granted the site of the Priory to Thomas Holcroft,
an unscrupulous agent whom an unscrupulous master afterwards knighted,
but he did not keep it long, having in 32 Henry VIII. exchanged it with
the King for other lands in the south of England, when it again came
into possession of the Crown as part of the Duchy of Lancaster, and so
continued until the time of Charles I., when, with other lands forming
part of the manor of Cartmel, which had been granted by King James to
Thomas Emmerson and Richard Cowdall, it was conveyed to George, son of
Christopher Preston, of Holker, whose great-granddaughter Katharine
conveyed it in marriage to Sir William Lowther; and her grandson, also
Sir William Lowther, dying issueless in 1756, the property passed to
his cousin, Lord George Augustus Cavendish, from whom it has descended
with other Cartmel property to the present Duke of Devonshire, who is
also patron and lay rector; the advowson with the tithes of Cartmel,
which, in 1561, were annexed to the see of Chester, having been granted
in 1561 by the Bishop of Chester to the George Preston, of Holker,
before named.

Cartmel has a quiet, staid respectable aspect, with a dignified and
decorous serenity about it that almost leads you to believe the old
place must be conscious of its claim to consideration. You might
fancy it to be a minster town, the air of cloisteral seclusion that
prevails so well according with the superiorities of the church. Many
of the houses have an old-world look about them, and, with a searching
eye, you may find bits of unmistakable antiquity--random corners and
architectural phantasies--enough to store the note-book of any artist
fond of crooked and accidental diversities of grouping. The market
place, which, with one or two straggling streets, constitutes what
there is of town, is an irregular square with a tall stone obelisk that
serves the double purpose of market cross and lamp-post standing in the
middle; the fish stones are on one side, and surrounding it are a few
old-fashioned dwellings ranged in an in-and-out sort of fashion, as if
elbowing one another for frontage. On market days, when the farmers and
the country people come in from the surrounding villages, the place
puts on an air of bustle and activity, but at other times it is quiet
and dreamy enough for the grass to grow upon the pavement. But for a
chance pilgrim from Grange or Cark you might look in vain for a passer
by; the people, too, seem as if the railway had not yet accustomed them
to the novelty of strange faces, for as you go by they peer at you
from their windows, and the shopkeeper who deals in groceries, drapery,
and hardware, and everything besides, comes out on to his doorstep to
gaze after you, wondering what possible business can have brought a
stranger to such a secluded by-way of the world.

On one side of the square is a picturesque relic of the middle ages,
the ancient gateway that once formed the principal approach to the
conventual buildings. It has fallen from its former dignity and been
roughly dealt with by the modern Goths and Vandals, but in its forlorn
and dilapidated state it retains the unmistakable hoariness of age
upon it. The walls are of considerable thickness, and within them are
queer recesses and secret passages that were, doubtless, intended for
safety in time of danger. The groining of the arch has disappeared,
and it is now covered with a coating of plaster; the niche which,
doubtless, once contained the image of the Virgin is tenantless, and
the window lighting the room in which it is said the priors of Cartmel
were wont to hold their manorial court and deal out a rough and ready
kind of justice to their tenantry has lost its mullions, though
happily the trefoil carvings still remain. After the prior and his
canons had been turned adrift, the old gatehouse was purchased by the
inhabitants from George Preston for the sum of £30 and converted into a
"publike schoole-house," and for a period of one hundred and sixty-six
years,--from 1624 to 1790, when another school was built--it continued
to be used for that purpose, the children aforetime having been taught
in the church by a "scriphener."

From the gateway you can trace the outer walls and note the general
arrangement of the priory buildings, the area comprising all being
about twenty-two statute acres.

But the old Priory Church is the great attraction of Cartmel. It is a
noble monument of architectural skill, and we may thank the guardians
of the centuries that the hand of Time has been restrained from
pressing heavily upon it. It overshadows every other building, and
gives an air of dignity and importance to the humble erections that
gather round. Let us take our stand by the low wall that forms the
boundary of the quiet graveyard while we gaze upon the venerable fabric
and drink in the genius of the place. It is an October evening, and
the sun is sinking like a great red ball behind the darkening hills;
the woods are touched with russet and gold, and though the air is
breathlessly calm a few leaves flutter down from the trees that skirt
the churchyard wall. The ancient fane is worth going far to see--a huge
pile of masonry, grey with age, and picturesque by its very diversities
of style. It is cruciform in plan, with a low square tower--low by
comparison, for the apex of the nave roof is nearly as high--rising
from the intersection of the cross to a height of 85ft., and surmounted
by another tower of smaller dimensions, also square in plan, but placed
diagonally to the base of the lower one, as if it were an afterthought
of the builder's, an arrangement so unusual that your attention is
arrested by its oddness. The western front is good, but the master work
is the choir, with its majestic window of nine lofty mullioned lights,
and richly traceried head, 40ft. in height, and occupying nearly the
whole of the eastern gable. A cursory glance is sufficient to show that
the building has been erected at different periods--Norman and Early
English--Decorated and Perpendicular mingling in curious combination.
How thoroughly the old monastic builders understood their work.
Whatever may have been their faults and frailties, they were imbued
with a noble enthusiasm which in its religious development found vent
in the sublime conceptions embodied in the magnificent structures which
adorn the land, and which illustrate the rise, the progress, and the
decay of Gothic art. Unfettered by the rules which curb and restrain
the hand of the architect of modern days, their genius imparted its
own spirit to the hand of the mason, whose skill is manifested in
the glorious creations which command our admiration by the vastness
of their proportions, the simple grace and beauty of their design,
and the elegance of their ornamentation; while their sculptures and
carvings, in which burlesque and satire oftentimes ran riot, were
marked by a quaintness of conceit, every touch of the chisel seeming
to impart a life and character and spirit that you look for in vain
in the productions of the craftsman of modern times. Look with loving
eyes upon the grand old pile as it reposes in the evening sunshine;
a saintly stillness prevails, and a soft, shadowy haze is gradually
shrouding the distant landscape from view. The mellowing light, as
it falls on battlement and buttress, corbel and gargoyle, brings out
every projection and inequality with wondrous effect, and softens into
beauty every scar and furrow which the corrosive hand of Time has made
upon it. You long to linger upon the scene, and not without a wish that
Time would retrace his steps and show you the place as it was in its
pristine glory before the men of religion had begun "to draw too proud
a breath" and General Aske and his 40,000 ragamuffins had entered upon
that perilous enterprise "the Pilgrimage of Grace."

But our reverie is cut short; for while we have been gazing upon the
scene of quiet beauty, William Lancaster, the parish clerk, has left
his saddlery and brought his keys, in order to show us over the fabric,
and an intelligent and companionable guide he is, neither fussy nor
obtrusive, but possessing a fund of reliable information that is
serviceable to the stranger who wishes to spend a pleasant hour in
examining the details.

The first thought that strikes the visitor on entering is the loftiness
of the interior, and the long perspective of the nave and choir. The
pillars which support the central tower are of Norman character and of
massive proportions, the arches springing from them being pointed and
of somewhat later date. In the centre of the roof is a panel with the
inscription, _Gloria in Excelsis Deo Aedif._, 1188. _Renov._ 1850, upon
a garter, and on the other parts are four heraldic shields, on which
are blazoned the arms of (1) William Mareschall, Earl of Pembroke,
the founder; (2) the Prestons, of Holker; (3) the archiepiscopal see
of York; and (4) the arms of the see of Carlisle. The inscription
on the centre panel shows that the church was renovated in 1850.
The work has been thorough and complete, under the direction of Mr.
Paley, of Lancaster, who, while carefully retaining whatever was
worth preserving, has succeeded in bringing to light many interesting
features that were previously hidden from view, and has thus entitled
himself to the gratitude of every lover of mediæval art. The flat
ceilings have been removed, the galleries cleared away, the walls
stripped of their plaster covering, the triforium arcade reopened,
and the carved masonry relieved of the paint and whitewash with which
successive generations of churchwardens had industriously clogged every
bit of ornament they could find, so that the building now presents much
the same appearance that it must have done in its palmy days. The choir
is of unusually large dimensions, and worthy almost of a cathedral.
It is separated from the chapels by two circular arches of Norman
character, with elaborately ornamented mouldings; above them is a fine
triforium arcade of twenty-two pointed arches on each side, springing
from cylindrical shafts, with a passage running behind that seems
to have been originally carried round the east end. The grand east
window contains some remains of ancient glass, sufficient to show how
exquisitely beautiful it must have been ere "Maister Thomas Houlcrofte"
and his myrmidons made such havoc with it. The reredos occupying the
space between the sill of the window and the top of the communion
table is divided into panels and filled in with a series of frescoes
in gold and colour that display considerable artistic skill; they are
the work of Lady Louisa Egerton, the wife of Captain Egerton, R.N.,
and daughter of the Duke of Devonshire. An interesting feature in the
choir is the series of stalls, twenty-six in number, that were used by
the canons before the priory was dissolved; they are of Perpendicular
character and handsomely carved, though unfortunately the ornamentation
has been much injured by exposure to the weather during the long years
the church remained unroofed. Each stall has its miserere or projecting
bracket on the under side of the seat, which, as was customary in
pre-Reformation times, works upon a kind of hinge, so that when turned
up it would, without actually forming a seat, afford considerable
relief to the ecclesiastics during those long services of the Roman
Catholic Church in which they were required to remain in a standing
posture. These seats will well repay examination; each is elaborately
carved, and the artist has given full play to his fancy. One of them
displays the emblems of the Saviour's Passion, but, in addition to
the usual crown of thorns and the nails, we have the ear which Peter
struck off the head of the High Priest's servant, the sword with which
that rash act was performed, the basin in which Pilate washed his
hands, the dice with which the soldiers cast lots for the Saviour's
vesture, and the sponge that, when filled with vinegar, was presented
to him while on the cross. Another seat symbolises the Trinity by the
carving of three faces on one head; the favourite device of the mermaid
with the usual attributes--the comb and mirror--also appears, and a
common subject of mediæval sculpture--a pelican feeding its young,
or "in piety," as the heralds phrase it--is also represented. The
other carvings are for the most part grotesque heads, winged beasts,
and foliage. The canopies over the stalls are of much later date,
and were the gift of George Preston, of Holker, who in 1619 repaired
and re-roofed the building. The columns supporting them have richly
carved Corinthian capitals, and are interesting as showing that in that
comparatively early period the classic forms of ornamentation had come
into vogue in this remote corner of Lancashire, and that Grecian had
then begun to take the place of Gothic art.

The year 1850 marked the inauguration of a happy era in the history of
Cartmel; it was that in which the much-needed renovation of the church
may be said to have begun. The zeal which prompted George Preston in
1616 to restore the ruined sanctuary to something like its pristine
beauty found imitators. In that year Mr. Remington, the vicar, appealed
for funds to enable him to put the decayed and crumbling edifice in
a state of decent repair. His appeal was liberally responded to, and
he had the satisfaction of seeing many of the hideous obstructions
which past ages had crowded together removed, the flat plaster ceiling
which disfigured the centre of the church cleared away, and the walls
and pillars denuded of their accumulations of paint and whitewash.
The work which he began was carried on with increased energy by his
successor, Mr. Hubbersty, and extended throughout the nave and the
north and south transepts. The progress was slow, but continuous;
seventeen years were occupied upon it, and in the autumn of 1867 it was
pronounced to be complete.

The windows--

  All garlanded with carven imageries
  And diamonded with panes of quaint device--

which once told the story of the line of Jesse and dyed the pavement
with their many-hued reflections had been despoiled of their painted
glass, not by the ruthless reformers of the sixteenth century, but, as
Mr. Stockdale, the historian of Cartmel, with good reason affirms, many
years before, when a portion of the glass was carried off to beautify
the church at Bowness, where it may still be seen; the few fragments,
however, that remained were carefully preserved and protected from
further risk of injury. That monopoliser of Church property, Thomas
Holcroft, took away everything he could lay his hands on, including, as
the survey expresses it, the "Belles, Lede, and Goodes," destroying at
the same time whatever in his opinion might be described as relics of
superstitious devotion. What he left undone the Iconoclasts of a later
date very effectually accomplished. It is worthy of note, however,
that in the troublous times of the Civil Wars Cartmel suffered little
as compared with many other churches in the kingdom, the only injury
it sustained being the perforation of the door at the west end of the
south aisle with a number of shot holes--the work, as the inhabitants
assure you, of Cromwell's troopers, which, if the story is to be relied
on, must have been in 1644, when Colonel Rigby and his men, after
plundering Dalton, passed the night at Cartmel on their way to Thurland
Castle. It is more likely, however, to have been some of Prince
Rupert's soldiers who thus left their mark behind them, for though
Thomas Preston, of Holker, the patron of the church, was a staunch
Royalist, the parson and the people of Cartmel were attached to the
cause of the Parliament; and John Shaw, the puritan rector of Lymm,
records in his diary that when he was there for a time, "preaching
and catechising in season and out of season," he had "frequently
some thousands of hearers," and that "usually the churches were so
thronged by nine o'clock in the morning that he had much adoe to get
to the pulpit." The diarist adds, "How the Prince Rupert's soldiers
there caryed themselves at and near Cartmel, that country will tell
to posterity," though, if it did, the "posterity" to whom it was told
neglected to hand down the story.

It is only fair to say that some of the most reprehensible acts of
vandalism to which the edifice has been subjected have been perpetrated
within the present century. From the time of the Commonwealth until
the Victorian era ecclesiastical architecture was comparatively
neglected, and it is perhaps fortunate for the present generation that
it should have been, else we might have seen many a grand old Gothic
pile of pre-Reformation date destroyed to make room for miserable
monstrosities of brick of the fashion of the Queen Anne and the
Georgian periods, a style that a wretched taste has within the last
few years sought to resuscitate. Little more than two generations
ago architectural art was at its lowest ebb, with little prospect
of its ever being revived. Utilitarianism was the order of the day,
and, much as we are disposed to blame country churchwardens for their
misdoings, half our indignation vanishes when we remember that they
only followed the example set them by their betters. Fifty years ago
or thereabouts the "Improvers" were let loose upon the ancient fane at
Cartmel, when, as Mr. Stockdale in his _Annales Caermoelensis_ tells
us, "the wooden rails of the Harrington monument, split with the axe
out of logs of oak, before the use of the plane or the general use
of the saw (indices of high antiquity), were torn down and committed
to the flames, and a smart iron railing put up in their stead. The
quaintly-fashioned old font, at which the whole population of the
parish of Cartmel--generation after generation--had been christened
for nearly seven hundred years, was subjected anew to the mason's
chisel, and fashioned into its present shape, and a modern date (1832)
cut in large figures upon it. The old Matin Bell, which had summoned
the monks of St. Mary to prayers for three hundred and fifty years,
and afterwards the townspeople of Cartmel and the neighbourhood to
their duties on saints' days and Sundays for nearly three hundred and
fifty years more, was torn down from its resting place, and sold to a
neighbouring gentleman--not to call his workmen and labourers to their
prayers, but to warn them that the hour for the commencement of their
daily toil had arrived." Since then, however, happier days have dawned
upon the place.

It is somewhat remarkable that a church of so much historic interest
and antiquity should possess so few sepulchral memorials of
pre-Reformation date. The oldest known to exist is the tomb of William
Walton, the first prior; it stands beneath a plain pointed arch on the
north side of the high altar, and is covered with a grey marble slab,
in the centre of which is an incised cross of floreated character, and
the following inscription in Longobardic characters carved upon the
edge--

  HIC. IACET. FRATER. WILELMVS. DE. WALTONA.
  PRIOR. DE. KERTMEL.

There are some other memorials of departed priors, though the
inscriptions are too much worn to admit of their being deciphered;
but the most imposing is a canopied tomb on which are the recumbent
figures of a knight and his lady, placed beneath an arch on the south
side of the choir. It is commonly known as the Harrington monument, and
has long been a source of perplexity to antiquaries; there is no date
discernible upon it, and considerable doubt exists as to where it came
from--for it is clearly not _in situ_--and which of the Harringtons
it was intended to commemorate. It has been variously assigned to
Sir John Harrington of Hornby, who was knighted by Edward III. in
recognition of his services in Scotland; to Sir Thomas Harrington,
who married a daughter of the house of Dacre, and fell fighting on
the side of the White Rose at Wakefield on the 31st of December,
1460--a day fatal to the House of York and scarcely less fatal to the
victorious Lancastrians--and also to his son, Sir John Harrington, the
brother-in-law of the black-faced Clifford, who received his death-blow
fighting by his father's side in the same battle.

For the benefit of those who are curious in epitaphs we quote the
following from a marble slab on one of the walls of the south
transept:--

  1600
  HERE BEFORE LYETH INTERRED
  ETHELDRED THORNBVRGH CORPS IN DVST
  IN LYFE AT DEATH STYLL FYRMELY FIXED
  ON GOD TO REST HER STEADFAST TRVST
  HIR FATHER JUSTICE CARVS WAS
  HIR MOTHER KATHERINE HIS WIFFE
  HIR HUSBAND WILLIAM THORNBVRGH WAS
  WHYLST HERE SHE LEDD THIS MORTAIL LYFF
  THE THYRDE OF MARTCH A YEAR OF GRACE
  ONE THOWSAND FYVE HUNDRED NINETIE SIX
  HIR SOWLE DEPARTED THIS EARTHLY PLASE
  OF AAGE NIGHE FORTIE YEARES A SIX
  TO WHOSE SWEET SOVLE HEAVENLYE DWELLING
  OVR SAVIOVR GRANT EVERLASTINGE.

There are other parts of the church that bespeak our attention. The
north aisle, commonly known as the Piper Choir--though how it acquired
that name nobody seems to know--retains its original stone vaulting,
and is lighted by Perpendicular windows, in which some fragments of
mediæval painted glass still remain. The south aisle is perfect, and
appears to have been widened at some period subsequent to its original
foundation. In the church books it is described as "Lord Harrington's
Queare," but is now usually designated the parish or town choir, from
the supposition that it constituted the former parish church, which the
prior and his canons had been obliged to enlarge owing to some dispute
between the parishioners and themselves. The windows lighting it are
of early Decorated character of varied design, and on one side is the
original sedilia for the officiating priests, as well as the piscina
in which it was their custom to rinse the chalice at the time of the
celebration of the mass.

Having completed our inspection of the various chapels, the faithful
custos who accompanied us, and who, by the way, though a _rusticus
abnormis sapiens_, is an enthusiast about the church, led the way up
to the triforium, and thence to the top of the lower lantern or tower,
where we had an opportunity of examining more closely the peculiar
disposition of the superstructure. It would seem that a century or
two after the completion of the original tower the fraternity took
it into their heads to erect a bell-tower, but instead of removing
the parapet and raising the walls of the existing structure, as at
Kirkstall, or building a new tower like that of prior Moon at Bolton
Abbey, they determined on making the most of the one they possessed,
and constructed four cross arches, each springing from the centre of
the side walls, on which they reared their campanile with a result that
said more for their originality than their regard for architectural
effect. A few steps lead up to the roof of the second tower, whence a
good view of the surrounding country is obtained, though the range is
somewhat restricted by reason of the comparatively low position the
church occupies and the nearness of the hills which environ the Cartmel
Vale.

Descending again into the body of the church, we passed through
the Piper Choir, and were next ushered into the vestry, where, to
our surprise, we found in addition to the ordinary registers and
churchwardens' accounts a library of some three hundred volumes,
including many rare and curious works bequeathed to the parish in
1692 by Thomas Preston, of Holker, including a black-letter Bible
in six volumes, printed at Basle in 1502; a copy of the works, also
in black-letter, of Thomas Aquinas, printed at Vienna in 1509; an
incomplete copy of Spenser's "Faerie Queene," dated 1596; a Virgil of
the same date; a curious little volume, "Apophthegemes New and Old,
collected by the Right Honourable Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount St.
Albans, 1625;" and a folio copy of Foxe's Book of Martyrs. The old
clerk sets great store by his literary treasures, and well he may, for
they are such as few church libraries can equal, and are in themselves
enough to make a collector covetous.

The parish registers, which begin in 1559, contain many curious entries
relating to local families, and many a sad story of lives lost in
crossing the treacherous sands of Morecambe Bay; one of the entries
records the disaster which befel a pleasure party, of whom nine were
drowned, while crossing the Leven Sands on their return from Ulverston
Whitsuntide fair, where they had been to purchase the wedding garments
for two of their number who were about to be married.[47] The church
accounts contain, among other things, a very complete record of the
doings of the "twenty-four sworn men,"[48] an influential body whose
jurisdiction extended over a parish nearly fourteen miles in length,
and whose duties were as multifarious as they were onerous, embracing
almost everything, from exterminating mouldiwarpes (moles) and choosing
churchwardens to repairing organs and regaling fox-hunters. But there
are other curiosities preserved in the vestry at Cartmel; among them
is an umbrella of ancient date and cumbrous proportions, which our
cicerone tells us was used in times past to protect the clergyman from
the weather when performing the burial service in the graveyard.[49] It
is of immense weight, and has a thick oilcloth cover that reminds us of
Swift's lines in the _Tatler_--

  The tuck'd-up seamstress walks with hasty strides
  While streams run down her _oiled umbrella_ sides,

as well as of Gay's _Trivia_--

  Good housewives all the winter's rage despise,
  Defended by the riding-hood's disguise;
  Or underneath th' _umbrella's oily shed_,
  Safe through the wet in clinking pattens tread.

The twilight was deepening when we passed out of the stately old pile,
and, bidding adieu to our pleasant, gossiping guide, turned to depart.
The sun had gone down in the western heavens, and the mists were
gathering thick among the surrounding hills, shrouding them in a dreamy
obscurity; the lofty gables and broad squat tower clad in night's sober
livery seemed to have gained additional massiveness and seen through
the dun medium assumed a shadowy weird-like form; the old market-place
seemed to have lulled itself into a still deeper quietude; a few of the
villagers were lingering about their cottage doors, and as we passed on
our way a light might now and then be seen glimmering from the casement
of some humble dwelling, but there was nought to disturb the sense of
calmness and repose. The stillness deepened as the light declined, and
everything seemed to have become wrapped in slumber, save that now and
then we could hear the faint gurgling of some tiny rill trickling down
the hill side, or the baying of a watchdog at some distant moorland
farm mingling with the subdued rumble of a railway train bearing its
living freight across the Leven Sands. One by one the silent watchers
came forth to begin their nightly vigil, guarding the slumbering
earth as 'twere a sleeping child, and then the pale queen of night,
rising slowly from behind the lonely fells, hung her silver crescent
in the blue vault above, and spread a tender radiance on the tranquil
world below. Keeping the dark woods of Holker on our right, a short
half-hour's walk along a lonely road brought us to the little village
of Cark, where--

  Somewhat back from the village street
  Stands the old-fashioned country seat--

Cark Hall, an old gabled manor house, for generations the residence
of the Curwens and the Rawlinsons. Cark is a station on the Furness
line, and a few minutes after our arrival we were seated in the railway
carriage and rolling along at a rapid rate beneath the wild limestone
crags, over the wild estuary of the Leven, and through the devious
windings of the valleys of Greenodd and Haverthwaite on the way to our
comfortable resting place upon the shores of Windermere, bent on doing
justice to the good fare the "Swan" at Newby Bridge affords, and with
the mind stored with pleasant memories of quiet Cartmel and its grand
old priory church.



CHAPTER VI.

DISLEY--A MAY DAY AT LYME--LYME HALL AND THE LEGHS.


Lyme! What a host of memories are conjured up on the very mention of
the name! What a world of legend and tradition; what tales of love
and gramarye, of chivalry and romance gather round. To cross the
threshold of the old mansion is to step back into the shade of vanished
centuries; the spirit of the past breathes through the place; and as
you pace the tapestried halls and panelled chambers visions of Crescy,
of Poictiers, and of Agincourt float before the eye, for the lords of
Lyme--men

  Stout of heart and steady of hand--

bore their part in many a gallant exploit and in many a daring
enterprise in the stirring times of the Edwards and the Henrys. Their
dwelling place is a perpetual reminder of the England of yore, and,
though its history may be more associated with peace and hospitality
than with predatory war and feudal strife, the storied and poetical
associations that are interwoven with its annals place it in the
forefront of the historic homes of which the fair and fertile county of
Chester possesses so many notable examples. Placed, too, in a district
remarkable for its natural beauty, and on the very border-land of that
great storehouse of English scenery--the Peak of Derbyshire--and withal
within easy distance of the great hives of manufacturing industry,
no wonder that it should have become one of the favourite resorts of
holiday makers.

                   Why don't those acred sirs
  Throw up their parks some dozen times a year,
  And let the people breathe?

asks the Poet Laureate, in a spirit that savours of reproach; but here
at least his desire has been anticipated, for by the kindness and
liberality of the present worthy representative of the ancient lords
of Lyme, not only the park, but the state apartments, with their many
historic mementoes, are made accessible alike to peer and peasant, a
welcome boon to the sons and daughters of toil, who may obtain health
and amusement beneath the tall patrician trees, and intellectual
enjoyment in the contemplation of the valued heirlooms and countless
treasures that the mansion enshrines.

[Illustration: LYME HALL.]

Disley is a convenient starting point for our visit; it is within a
mile of the park gates, and can be easily reached by road or rail; it
possesses, too, one of the pleasantest and cosiest inns in the kingdom,
and that, to say the least, is a recommendation. The "Ram's Head,"
for that is the name, was a noted house of entertainment long ere
the shrill whistle of the locomotive had broken in upon the peaceful
quietude of this happy valley or a "line" had been thought of. It is a
relic of the pleasant old coaching days when the well-appointed Derby
"mail" was an institution, and old Burdett, gorgeously apparelled
in gold lace and scarlet, awoke the echoes with his bugle to the
heart-stirring strains of "The girl I left behind me." Unlike many of
its contemporaries, however, it still retains its popularity, and is
in as high favour as ever, if we may judge from the numerous pic-nic
and pleasure parties, the field flirtations, and what our Yankee
cousins irreverently term "bug-hunters," who avail themselves of its
hospitality. The house stands away back from the road, with the crest
of the Leghs (the ram's head) carved in stone over its ample portal,
and in the rear is an old-fashioned but pleasant and well-trimmed
garden that a month hence will display quite a world of floral
beauty--a tranquil resting place where, beneath the spreading trees
or in the quiet shadowy nooks, you can calmly contemplate the natural
charms of the surrounding scenery.

Very inviting is the open door of the old hostelrie, but it is the
ancestral home of the Leghs that claims our attention at the present
moment, and we are not to be lured from our purpose.

The time of our visit is a bright sunny afternoon, and the month that
one proverbial for its mirth and gladness; the one of which Milton
sings--

  The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
  The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.

A road leads up from the end of the hotel, and crowning the summit of
a gentle eminence that rises on the left is the church, an antiquated
structure, grey with the weather strains of more than three centuries,
with an embattled tower and a curious porch that looks like an
excrescence projecting from the front of it. It was originally a
chantry chapel, dedicated to "Our Lady," and built in the earlier part
of the Eighth Harry's reign by Sir Piers Legh, of Lyme, a gentleman,
a soldier, and a priest, in atonement, as was long believed, and as
popular tradition still affirms, for his having slain Sir Thomas
Butler, of Bewsey; though trustworthy antiquaries of modern times
assure us there is no foundation for the story, inasmuch as Sir Thomas
had yielded up the ghost before Sir Piers was born. But this is an age
of scepticism and unbelief, a time when our most cherished fancies
are in peril of being dispelled by the prosaic logic of facts and the
ruthless researches of unimaginative Dryasdusts, who would take as much
delight in proving the Swan of Avon to be an impostor as they do in
proclaiming that Robin Hood was a myth and "Cinderella and her slipper"
only a Scandinavian conception.

                      A history
  Handed from ages down; a nurse's tale
  Which children opened-eyed and mouth'd devour,
  And thus, as garrulous ignorance relates,
  We learn it and believe.

The interior of the church well deserves inspection. There are some
mementoes of the Leghs though none of ancient date, and the usual
complement of sepulchral memorials. There are also some interesting
examples of old foreign stained glass, collected by the late Thomas
Legh, and placed here in lieu of some of heraldic character that were
at the same time removed to the hall, where they may still be seen.
But we must defer our examination of the old edifice for another
opportunity.

For some little distance the road runs parallel with the railway, which
lies below us on the right, and from our elevated position we can
overlook the village and the wild expanse of country environed with the
long ridges of bleak moorland that stretch away to the Peak country.
Though May has come in, there is a chilliness in the atmosphere that
reminds us that we have not yet done with the east winds Charles
Kingsley affected to delight in, but the coldness is tempered by the
warm sunbeams which steal down between the ponderous white cloud peaks
that sail majestically overhead, looking like floating islands in an
azure sea. What a change the refreshing rains of the last few days have
brought about; it seems as if nature had undergone a transformation;
Mother Earth has cast aside her russet robe and donned a mantle of
brightest emerald. The fruit trees against yon garden wall are just
beginning to put forth their snow-white petals, safe we would hope now
from being, as is too often the case--

  Nipp'd by the lagging rear of winter's frost.

On the wooded bank that rises from the opposite side of the pool which
the railway intersects there is abundant evidence that the green is
asserting itself over the grey, for--

  The dark pine-wood's boughs are seen
  Fringed tenderly with living green.

The oaks and the ash trees are almost as black and bare as they were in
the depth of winter, and there are dark, unrelieved patches here and
there, but the golden palm-like foliage depending in graceful festoons
from the tall spines of the larches show with distinct vividness;
whilst the luminous, almost golden, yellow of the poplars is contrasted
by the sombre brown of the limes and birches, whose budding twigs have
not yet

            Spread out their fan
  To catch the breezy air.

Presently the road descends, and we continue along a wild old wandering
gipsy-haunted lane that looks like an avenue in places where the trees
almost meet overhead; the sun-light falls in leafy shadows and works
a flickering pattern on every foot of the causeway, and the broad
strips of grass on either side encroach upon it as if striving for
the mastery. On the sloping meadow breadths the daisy--"day's eye,"
as the poets loved to call it--with its "golden bosom fringed with
snow," displays a little galaxy of star blossoms, and helps to remind
us of Chaucer's "Legend of Good Women;" of the unfortunate Margaret of
Anjou, who chose it as her device, and whose nobles in the sunshine of
her prosperity wore it embroidered upon their robes; and of another
Margaret--she of Valois, the friend of Erasmus and of Calvin, the
Marguerite of Marguerites, who had it worn in her honour. On the bank
sides and beneath the hedgerows the

  Dewcup of the frail anemone

peeps above the wreck of last year's vegetation. Here and there the
pale primrose may also be seen lifting its delicate blossoms to the
passing zephyrs, that prettiest of woodland flowers that folds its
shamrock-shaped leaves when "the storm sings in the wind;" the wood
sorrel--Alleluya, as the apothecaries of old times were wont to call
it--studs the high banks, and if we thrust aside the tall grass and the
crumpled leaves and withered bracken that yet remain we may see the
young ferns unfolding their Corinthian scrolls.

The sun seems to have the same influence on the birds that it has
on leaf and blossom. Every bush and thicket is vocal. Perched on
the topmost twig of a spreading lime a thrush makes the welkin ring
again with his mellifluous lay, challenging like a troubadour of old
the admiration of his lady love, who makes responsive call from her
nest near by; and high overhead--a speck in the blue above--a lark
rains down his "harmonious madness;" the plaintive wail--"pewit,
pewit"--comes clear and strong from the white-breasted plover, anxious
to distract our attention from its nest in the thick grass, and from
the distant copse the soft, mysterious, dreamy note of the cuckoo
proclaims that the long looked for harbinger of summer has at last
arrived.

  O! Cuckoo, shall I call thee bird,
  Or but a wandering voice?

Presently our ears are assailed by the merry voices of children, and a
troop of youngsters come struggling through a gap in the fence, laden
with buttercups and daisies, and laughing and crowing with infantile
delight, as they bear their floral treasures away.

A few minutes brings us to the lodge entrance. Here the road forks, and
passing through the gate we wind away towards the left, mounting the
upper slopes as we advance. To the right the ground falls away, and
in the hollow, between us and Elmer Hurst, a tiny rindle threads its
way, after performing some little industrial service at the mill higher
up. Across the green expanse there is a good sprinkling of trees, oaks
and thorns, some of them aged, and wrinkled and weather-beaten enough
to have borne the blasts of centuries; lime trees too are plentiful,
sufficient to suggest the idea that they had given name to the place,
did we not know that the true derivation was from the limes,--_i.e._,
the limits or confines of the county. Eastwards the ground rises in
hilly ridges, backed by great treeless wastes of moorland that rise and
fall like the heaving billows of a tempestous sea suddenly arrested in
their motion--a picture of bleak desolation, the dreariness of which is
only relieved by a few patches of plantation, or a clump of storm-rent
pines here and there dotting their heathy slopes. The green expanse
before us lacks the fertility and richness of detail the southerner is
accustomed to, and, when we remember that the park forms part of what
was once the great forest of Macclesfield, we are apt to think that
the forests of those days but ill accorded with our notions of what a
forest should be.

As we round the shoulder of a grassy slope, Lyme Cage comes in sight--a
square, grey, tower-like structure of stone, crowning an eminence on
the left, that rises to the height of eight hundred and eighty-two
feet It is three storeys high, and flanked at each angle with square
projections that rise above the roof in the form of turrets, and is
surmounted by a cornice and open balustrade. The building is now
occupied as a dwelling by one of the shepherds; when it was built, or
for what purpose, is not known with certainty, but in all probability
it was originally designed, like the hunting tower at Chatsworth, as a
place where the ladies of Lyme might enjoy the pleasures of the chase
without danger or fatigue, though tradition, which delights in the
tragic, assigns a different origin, and, reckoning back its history
for centuries, tells us that it was designed for the incarceration of
offenders against the forest laws when Lyme Chase was in its glory,
and its owners gave short shrift to those who made too free with their
venison. The Cage forms a prominent landmark, and from the summit
a delightful prospect is obtained in a westerly direction of the
great Cheshire plain--a broad, picturesque panorama of villages and
undulating meadows and pastures, including the high grounds of Alderley
and Bowdon, and extending, when the day is clear, to the Frodsham Hills
and Chester, and the line of Welsh mountains beyond. Northward, where
the smoke overhangs the landscape, is Stockport, and sweeping round,
we catch sight of the tower of Marple Old Church--the new church has
not yet got its tower completed--standing, sentinel-like, on the summit
of a lofty ridge, and the shadowy peak of Kinderscout--the highest
point of the Peak range--rising far behind; while eastwards the view
is shut in by Whaley Moor, and the long range of heathery wastes and
lonely promontories that enclose the picturesque valley of the Goyt.
The sunlight reveals every inequality and every indention that time and
storm have furrowed down the hillsides; it brings out, too, an infinite
variety of colour that adds an ineffable charm, and we can note the
changing effects of the cloud-shadows, as they slowly chase each other
across the broad and breezy expanse. A few sheep are cropping the
herbage on the uplands, and the "full-uddered kine" are grazing upon
the sunny slopes, and luxuriating in the lush pastures below; but the
wild cattle for which Lyme was once so famous, are nowhere to be seen,
the few that still survive being herded in another and more secluded
part of the park.

The Lyme cattle, by the way, deserve a passing note, for, like the
Lyme mastiffs, they are accounted among the peculiarities of Cheshire.
Thirty years ago there was a considerable number of them, but since
then, from various causes, the stock has been reduced, until now only
very few remain, and there is danger that they may at no distant date
become extinct, a circumstance that would be much to be regretted.
These ancient British wild cattle are indigenous, and for centuries
past have formed one of the features of Lyme; they are of a sand white
colour, with red ears, and in some respects resemble the wild cattle
at Chillingham and Chartley, and those at Gisburne, in Yorkshire.
Unfortunately little is known about them, but from their peculiarities
of form and their immense strength they are evidently of the buffalo
type. They are untameable, and could never be brought to herd with the
other cattle in the park, though occasionally cross breeds have been
obtained, and so unmanageable are they that no keeper can ever approach
them, a rifle being necessary whenever they have to be slaughtered for
the table. These wild bovines are not, however, without their uses,
for it is said that that part of the park in which they are placed,
though literally overrun with game, is always secure from the predatory
incursions of the poacher.

A treatise on natural history is not, however, our present theme, and
so we resume our journeying. The birds are all alive, and are looking
alive too, with no end of business which they are striving to get
through with all possible alacrity. On the sunny sward below a company
of rooks are grubbing away with commendable diligence, gathering food
for their young offspring at home. A many-wintered crow who long has
"led the clanging rookery home" sits aloft in a tree to give warning of
the approach of danger; with quick eye he watches our movements, and
as they are pronounced unsatisfactory, the alarm is sounded, when, in
an instant, every bird is upon the wing and off in search of pastures
new, with a sonorous, dignified cawing that sounds like a chorus of
corvine laughter, contrasting oddly with the pert, consequential
"jackle" of a self-assertive jackdaw who has attached himself to
the community. The green expanses around us, if wanting somewhat in
fertility, possess a charm in their natural wildness, and the bright
sunlight adds to the sense of beauty. As we advance we notice a few
rugged thorns by the wayside that have already put on their attire
of fresh green leaves, but the ash trees close by are still nude,
reminding us of the poet's pretty imagery--

  Delaying, as the tender ash delays
  To clothe itself when all the woods are green;

and we begin to furbish up our weather wisdom, and speculate as to
whether it or the oak will leaf first, for, as the knowing ones tell
us--

  If the oak's before the ash,
  We shall only get a splash;
  If the ash precede the oak,
  We shall surely get a soak.

A few minutes more and we come to a bend in the road, and then the
stately mansion of Lyme, with its long lofty front, unexpectedly bursts
upon the view, lying in a deep wooded hollow, and sheltered from the
winds by the encircling hills.

Lyme Park was originally included within the bounds of the royal forest
of Macclesfield--a vast tract of country that comprised little of wood
and much of wilderness--and so continued until the time of Richard II.,
when it was granted to an ancestor of its present owner. Common report
says there was a house here as early as the reign of King John, but the
story is unsupported by any existing evidence; if there were a dwelling
at all it could only have been a kind of hunting lodge. Certainly
there was no "faire hall" existing before the close of the fourteenth
century, and the earliest mention we have is in a Rental of the manor
in 1466, when there was said to be "one fair hall with a high chamber,
a kitchen, a bakehouse, and a brewhouse, with a granary, stable, and
bailiff's house, and a fair park surrounded by palings, and divers
fields and hays (_i.e._, hedged enclosures)" of the value of £10 a year.

There is a widespread belief that the manor of Lyme was granted to
Sir Piers Legh, commonly called Perkyn a Legh, for his good services
at the battle of Crescy, where he is said to have taken prisoner the
Count de Tankerville, the Chamberlain of France, and to have relieved
the standard of the Black Prince when it was in danger of being
captured by the enemy. But as Piers Legh, to whom, with his wife, the
grant was made, was not born until 1361, fifteen years after Crescy
was fought, it is tolerably certain that he could not have rendered
any very distinguished services on that memorable occasion. Yet the
story is generally credited. Like many another popular legend, it has
floated down through the mists of centuries and become distorted in
its transmission through various media. Everybody believes it, and
the domestics who show you over the house accept it as unimpeachable
history, which to doubt, even, would be rank heresy. They repeat the
tradition with variations, with many embellishments, and not a few
anachronisms; tell you how the valorous Perkyn a Legh cut down the
standard-bearer of the King of France, for that is the popular version,
and, if you venture to hint a doubt as to whether that functionary
ever was annihilated, will show you the heraldic device of the arm
and banner emblazoned on ceiling, wall, and window, and point with
confidence and pardonable pride to the armour Sir Perkyn wore on that
eventful day, to the golden spurs which the Black Prince gave him when
he knighted him upon the field, and, more than all, to the veritable
sword, a huge, two-handled blade, with which the doughty deed was
done--in their eyes confirmation strong as proofs of Holy Writ. This
usually settles the business, even if it fails to carry conviction,
though upon one occasion we remember a facetious unbeliever, taking up
the ponderous weapon and the parable, exclaiming in the nasal twang
which sight-showers seem to think indispensable--

  This is the sword of Perkyn a Legh,
    A blade both true and trusty,
  That Frenchman's blood was ne'er wiped off;
    Which makes it look so rusty--

when the stately cicerone strode out of the room, evidently offended at
his unbecoming levity.

Poor old Flower, Norroy King of Arms, we fear has much to answer for
in giving the stamp of his authority to, and thus perpetuating the
fable. But in the days of the maiden Queen the heralds were somewhat
credulous genealogists, and much less exacting than their predecessors
in the stirring times of the Plantagenet Kings. In 1575, during his
"visitation" of Cheshire, Flower was a guest at Lyme, when, influenced
possibly by the sumptuous hospitality of his entertainer, he not only
allowed the then lord of Lyme the arms his progenitors had borne, but
added to them an honourable augmentation in the shape of "an escucheon
or shield of augmentacon Sable, replenished with mollets Silver,
therein a man's arme bowed, holding in the hand a standard Silver, to
be by the sayd Piers and his posterity for ever hereafter borne and to
be used as a testimony of his ancestour's good deserts." The "shield
of augmentacon," which we now see so profusely displayed at Lyme, was
a handsome and well-merited addition to the coat armour of the family,
but the garrulous old herald--he was then approaching eighty--in
granting it, unfortunately repeated the old story, which ascribed to
Sir Piers Legh, instead of to his wife's father, Sir Thomas D'Anyers,
the valorous deeds by which Lyme was won, and on the strength of that
grant Sir Peter added the following lines to the inscription on the
monumental brass of his ancestor, which may still be seen in the Lyme
Chapel in Macclesfield Church:--

 This Perkin serv'd King Edward the Third and the Black Prince his
 sonne in all their warres in France and was at the Battle of Cressie,
 and had Lyme given him for that service.

Raphael Hollinshead, the chronicler, a Cheshire man and a contemporary
of Flower, in his work, published in 1577, repeats the statement with
much circumstantial detail and an equal lack of accuracy. Describing
the scene on that glorious August day, he says:--

 When the Constable [of France] understood the good will of the people
 of the town [to go forth and fight the English outside the town] he
 was contented to allow them to follow their desire and so forth they
 went in good order, and made good face to put their lives in hazard;
 but when they saw the Englishmen approach in good order divided into
 three battles, and the archers ready to shoot, which they of Caen had
 not seen before, they were sore afraid and fled away toward the town,
 without any order or array, for all that the constable could do to
 stay them. The Englishmen followed, and in the chase slew many and
 entered the town with their enemies. The Constable and the Earl of
 Tancarville betook themselves to a tower at the bridge-foot, thinking
 there to save themselves; but perceiving the place to be of no force,
 nor able to hold out long, they submitted themselves unto Sir Thomas
 Holland.

But here he adds:

 Whatsoever Froissart doth report of the taking of this tower, and the
 yielding of these two noble men, it is to be proved that the said
 Earl of Tancarville was taken by one surnamed Legh, ancestor to Sir
 Peter Legh now [1577] living, whether in the fight or in the tower,
 I have not to say; but for the taking of the said Earl and for his
 other manlike prowess showed there and elsewhere in this journey, King
 Edward in recompense of his agreeable service, gave to him a lordship
 in the county of Chester, called Hanley [Lyme Handley] which the said
 Sir Peter Legh now living doth enjoy and possess as successor and heir
 to his ancestor, the foresaid Legh, to whom it was so first given.[50]

It is curious how many different versions of this notable incident in
England's greatest victory have been given by the old chroniclers, and
what a cloud of doubt and mystery they have in consequence created.
To the statement that Sir Piers was present at Crescy, Dugdale adds
that he acted as standard bearer to the Black Prince on that memorable
occasion; equally fallacious is the statement given in Gregson's
"Lancashire Fragments" that the augmentation was an honourable addition
after the battle of Poictiers, in which he served under the Black
Prince, for that battle was fought in 1356, five years before he was
born, and two years after Sir Thomas D'Anyers had been laid in his
grave. Gregson's statement was doubtless made on the authority of an
old pedigree still preserved among the muniments of Lyme, and which,
after representing him as receiving a free gift of Lyme and Hanley,
for his valuable services at Poictiers, makes a curious mistake by
assigning an erroneous day and year as that on which the battle was
fought. It is somewhat remarkable that Froissart, who was a witness of
many of the scenes he describes, and probably bore a part in the fight
at Crescy, makes no mention of either Piers Legh or his father-in-law,
Sir Thomas D'Anyers, but ascribes the capture of the Earl of
Tankerville to Sir Thomas Holland, a Lancashire knight. He says:--

 When the French were put to flight, the English, who spared none, made
 great havoc among them, which, when the Constable of France, the Earl
 of Tancarville, and those with them, who had taken refuge within the
 city gate, saw, they began to fear lest they themselves should fall
 into the hands of some of the English archers who did not know them.
 Seeing, therefore, a knight named Sir Thomas Holland, who had but one
 eye (whom they had formerly known in Prussia and Grenada), coming
 towards them in company with five or six other knights, they called to
 him and asked him if he would take them as his prisoners. Upon which
 Sir Thomas and his company advanced to the gate, and dismounting,
 ascended to the top with sixteen others, where he found the Constable
 and the Earl and twenty-five more who surrendered themselves to Sir
 Thomas.[51]

[Illustration: WINDMILL AT CRESCY.]

The omission of D'Anyers name may be accounted for by the fact that Sir
Thomas Holland, who had married the heiress of Edmund Plantagent--Joan,
"The Fair Maid of Kent," the future wife of the Black Prince--had a
chief command in the Prince's army, and that Sir Thomas D'Anyers, who,
we know, was in the retinue of the gallant young Prince, his engagement
to serve being dated 18th May, 1346, may be assumed to have been in
Sir Thomas Holland's company, and therefore one of those who ascended
the tower and received the Earl of Tankerville's surrender. One thing
is very certain; it was at Caen and not at Crescy that the French
King's Chamberlain was captured, though it was at the last named place
that the stalwart warrior, with his strong right arm, drove back the
advancing host, and rescued the standard of the "Boy Prince"--his
palatine earl--at the time when King Edward watched his exploits from a
neighbouring height, refused his succour, and with more chivalry than
sound generalship "bade his boy win his spurs and the honour of the day
for himself." Amid all this conflicting evidence, there is one document
that has been unearthed by Mr. Beamont, in which the services of Sir
Thomas D'Anyers are duly recognised--the original record of the grant
of land, made jointly to Sir Peter Legh and Margaret, his wife, which
appears on the Cheshire Recognisance Rolls, now preserved in the Rolls
Office, London, of which the following is a translation:--

 Letters patent to Piers de Legh and Margaret his wife of a certain
 piece of land called Hanley.

 Richard, by the grace of God, King, &c. To all to whom these presents
 shall come greeting. Know ye that whereas our well-beloved squire
 Piers de Legh and Margaret his wife the daughter and heir of Sir
 Thomas D'Anyers, Knight, deceased, have made known to us that our most
 honourable lord and father, whom God asoyle, for the good and gracious
 service which the said Thomas had rendered to him, not only by taking
 prisoner the Chamberlain de Tankerville, but also by rescuing our
 said father's standard at the battle of Crescy; by his letters patent
 had granted to the said Thomas forty marks a year out of his manor of
 Frodsham in the county of Chester, at the feasts of the Annunciation
 of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Michael in equal portions, until
 our said father should provide him the aforesaid Thomas with lands of
 the value of £20 a year in some convenient place, to have and to hold
 to him and his heirs for ever as in the said letters patent of our
 said lord and father is more fully contained; the which said annuity
 of forty marks, after the death of the said Thomas, came into our
 hands (to pay) before any grant of the aforesaid £20 in lands or any
 part thereof, had been made him according to the tenor of our said
 father's grant, as the aforesaid Piers and Margaret have given us to
 understand. Wherefore of our special grace and in consideration as
 well of what has been recited, as of the good and gracious service
 which the said Piers hath rendered and will render to us, and because
 the aforesaid Piers and Margaret are willing to give the said letters
 patent of our said father of the said annuity of forty marks to the
 said Thomas into our Exchequer at Chester to be cancelled We have
 given and granted to the said Piers and the aforesaid Margaret his
 wife a piece of land and pasture called Hanley, lying in our Forest
 of Macclesfield in the county of Chester, which aforetime was let to
 farm at twenty marks a year, as we are given to understand. To have
 and to hold the same to the aforesaid Piers and Margaret his wife
 and the heirs male of their bodies lawfully begotten, of us and our
 heirs by the payment of six pence to us and our heirs yearly at the
 feast of St. Michael the Archangel for all service in satisfaction
 of the said £20 of land and notwithstanding that the said piece of
 land is situated within the demesne of our forest aforesaid. Saving
 altogether to us and our heirs all oaks growing there, and also
 sufficient pasture for our deer there, as much as to the extent of
 land within our forest aforesaid appertaineth. In testimony whereof we
 have caused these our letters patent to be sealed with the seal of our
 Exchequer at Chester. Dated at Chester the fourth day of January in
 the twenty-first year of our reign (1398) By writ of Privy Seal.

In this grant we have incontrovertible evidence of the real hero whose
achievements in arms are commemorated on the armorial shield of the
Leghs, of Lyme, in itself a notable illustration of the true character
and intent of heraldic blazonry. Sir Thomas D'Anyers, who bore himself
so bravely at Caen as well as on the field at Crescy, when, if popular
story is to be believed, "villainous saltpetre" was first employed and
the roar of artillery first heard, fighting by the side of the gallant
prince--

  Who on the French ground play'd a tragedy,
  Making defeat on the full power of France;
  Whilst his most mighty father on a hill
  Stood smiling to behold his lion's whelp
  Forage in blood of French nobility--

was the representative of a family who owned lands at Bradley, in
Appleton. William D'Anyers, who, in 1291, purchased lands in Daresbury
from Henry de Norreys, married Agnes, daughter of Agnes, heir of
Richard de Legh, of High Legh, by the first of her three husbands,
Richard, younger son of Hugh de Limme, who took the name of Legh after
his marriage. By him she had, in addition to a son, William D'Anyers,
of Daresbury, Thomas D'Anyers, of Bradley, in Appleton, who, by his
first wife, Margaret, daughter of Adam de Tabley, was the father of
Sir Thomas D'Anyers, the hero of Crescy, and also of John D'Anyers,
of Gropenhall, a soldier who for his services, likewise received a
grant from the Crown. Sir Thomas D'Anyers, who must have been early
initiated in the exercise of arms, was twice married; by his first
wife, Matilda, he had no surviving issue, and at her death he married
Isabel, the daughter and heir of Sir William de Baguley and his wife,
Clemence, daughter and co-heir of Sir Roger Chedle, _alias_ Sir Roger
Dutton, of Chedle in Cheshire, who survived him, and by whom he had
an only daughter, Margaret, who became his heir. After the battle of
Crescy he appears to have retired to his house at Bradley, but the
laurels he had won in his campaigns abroad had helped to shorten his
days, and in 1354, while yet comparatively young, he was carried to the
grave, having predeceased his father. An inquisition was taken after
his death of the lands he held, and the jury found that his daughter,
whose name they did not know, was his next heir. His estate, which
was never at any time large, had not improved during his absences in
the wars, and Margaret D'Anyers, who at the time of his death could
only have been very young, succeeded to an inheritance that had become
considerably attenuated, for in an extent of the manor the jurors
found that "the messuage (Bradley Hall), with its enclosures, which
had belonged to Sir Thomas, in Bradley, with the gardens there, was
not worth anything; that the dove-house was not worth anything, being
destroyed by a weasel; that the fishery in the moat round the house was
not worth anything, being destroyed by an otter; but that there were
two carucates of land there containing sixty acres, worth sixpence an
acre."

Margaret D'Anyers, who was doubly an heiress, having inherited Clifton,
Gropenhall, and a moiety of Chedle from her mother, was three times
wooed and won. Shortly after her father's death she was taken from her
mother by John de Radcliffe, who had obtained a grant of her marriage,
and eventually married her himself. There was no issue of the union,
and their married life must have been short, for before the month of
April, 1382, he had died, and she had again bestowed her hand, her
second husband being Sir John Savage, of Clifton. By him she had a
son, John Savage, to whom, in 1415, she granted the heraldic coat of
D'Anyers, without any difference, together with the white unicorn's
head, the crest of her father--a coat he might well be proud of,
though it was in reality that which his ancestress, Agnes de Legh,
had inherited from her father, Richard de Limme, with the tinctures
changed--and this coat continued to be borne by the Savages down
to the reign of Elizabeth.[52] Sir John Savage died about the year
1387, and in the following year negotiations were set on foot for a
marriage between his widow and Piers, younger son of Robert de Legh, of
Adlington, by his second wife, Maud, daughter and heiress of Sir Adam
de Norley. As they were within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity,
Piers de Legh being descended from Agnes de Legh, by her third husband,
William Venables, and his intended bride from the same Agnes, by her
first husband, Richard de Limme, a dispensation for the marriage was
deemed necessary. This instrument, which bears date November 26th,
1388, was "given in the house of the Carmelite brethren at London," and
within a few days of its being granted Margaret D'Anyers, successively
the widow of Sir John Radcliffe and Sir John Savage, had become the
wife of her kinsman, Piers Legh. Piers Legh was then twenty-seven
years of age, and his wife, if not fat, fair, and forty, had at all
events reached her thirty-ninth year. They became--he on the paternal,
she on the maternal side--the founders of the house of Legh, of Lyme.
Piers Legh's mother, as already stated, was the heiress of Sir Adam de
Norley, the owner of the manor of that name in Lancashire, and she in
her husband's lifetime had executed a deed conveying all her estates
in trust for the benefit of her son upon his coming of age, and, in
accordance with the custom of the time, Piers Legh on succeeding to his
mother's inheritance relinquished his paternal coat and assumed that of
Norley--_gules_, a cross engrailed _argent_, which has ever since been
borne by the Leghs of Lyme, with the addition since Elizabeth's reign
of the escutcheon of pretence, which old Flower, the herald, gave them.

Cheshire, which plumes itself on being "the seedplot of nobility,"
and of possessing a greater number of old county families than any
other English shire, boasts no worthier or more ancient stock than the
Leghs; their history is closely interwoven with the history of the
palatinate, and they claim a high antiquity, tracing their descent in
this country back to the time of the Conquest, when an ancestor came
over in the retinue of Duke William, the Norman invader. The Leghs of
Adlington, of which house was Piers Legh, the founder of the house
of Lyme, were descended from Gilbert or le Galliard, the younger son
of Eudo or Eules, the second of that name, Earl of Blois, Byre, and
Chartres, and the ancestor of Stephen, Earl of Blois, who, on the death
of Henry I., usurped the English crown. This Gilbert, who from the
patronymic he adopted, Venables (_venator abilis_), we may assume to
have been a mighty hunter, was in the retinue of William of Normandy,
and for his bravery at Hastings was knighted by the Conqueror upon the
battle-field. Afterwards, he had considerable estates bestowed upon
him out of the newly-conquered country in requital of his services
against Edgar Atheling and the Welsh, and when that singular compound
of sensuality and ferocity, Hugh D'Avranches, more generally known
as Hugh Lupus, the Conqueror's nephew, was made Earl Palatine of
Chester, he conferred upon Gilbert Venables the barony of Kinderton.
Sir William Venables, the sixth in descent from this Gilbert, had a
younger son, also named William, to whom he gave the manor of Bradwell,
near Sandbach. William Venables, the younger, was twice married, his
second wife being Agnes, the daughter and heir of Richard de Legh,
of the West Hall, in High Legh, and the widow of Richard de Limme or
Lymm, the common ancestress of the Leghs of Adlington and the D'Anyers
of Bradley. Their son, John de Venables, adopted the name of Legh,
the maiden name of his mother, as well as of the place where he was
born. He married Ellen de Corona, the great-aunt of Thomas de Corona,
the last of the family of that name, who owned the extensive manor of
Adlington, and about the year 1299 he purchased the estate of Norbury
Booths, near Knutsford, where he fixed his residence. Thomas de Corona
does not appear ever to have married; certainly he had no issue, and
before his death he settled his estates, when, by an agreement made
at Chester, October 7th, 1315, and another dated at "le Bouthes" in
the following year, he granted all his lands at Adlington, after his
death, to his grand-niece Ellen and her husband, John Legh, for their
lives, with remainder to their son, Robert de Legh. Thomas de Corona
died about the year 1323, and John Legh must have pre-deceased him, for
at the time Ellen de Corona was a widow, and obtained the grant of a
pardon from Isabella, queen of Edward II., who styled herself "Lady of
Macclesfield," and who had claimed Adlington that it was held of her as
of her manor of Macclesfield, and had been alienated without licence.

Ellen Legh survived her husband for the long period of twenty-seven
years, and continued in the enjoyment of the manor of Adlington,
which had been re-granted to her on the purchase of the pardon before
referred to, until her death in 1350, when her son, Robert de Legh,
succeeded, in accordance with Thomas de Corona's settlement, and became
the ancestor of a family whose direct male heirs held the manor of
Adlington for the long period of four hundred years. Robert de Legh
was twice married, his first wife being Sybil, daughter of Henry de
Honford, of Handforth, and after her death he espoused Matilda, the
daughter and heiress of Sir Adam de Norley, of Norley or Northleigh,
in Lancashire, who, according to an old MS. pedigree, was his second
cousin and very much his junior. The eldest of the two sons of this
second marriage was Piers Legh, who, as previously stated, in 1388
became the third husband of his kinswoman, Margaret, daughter and heir
of Sir Thomas D'Anyers, the hero of Crescy, and the widow successively
of Sir John Radcliffe and Sir John Savage, and from them descended the
Leghs of Lyme and the Leghs of Ridge, near Macclesfield.

Concerning the mother of Piers Leigh, an incident is recorded which
puts her character in an unfavourable light. Robert de Leigh, her
husband, before his death settled certain of his lands in Broome, near
Lymm (not Lyme, as is sometimes supposed,), upon two of his sons by his
first marriage. He died about the year 1370, and five years afterwards
his widow was indicted for having, in conjunction with one Thomas Le
Par, forged a settlement in the name of Adam de Kingsley, the trustee,
in fraud of her two stepsons and in favour of her own son, Piers Leigh,
and his two younger brothers.

Piers Leigh was a person of considerable importance, and held many
offices of trust and responsibility. Shortly after his coming of age,
in 1382, he was, with his brother John, appointed by Joan, Princess
of Wales, once the "Fair Maid of Kent," and the widow of Edward the
Black Prince, bailiff of her Manor of Macclesfield, and steward of all
her courts within the hundred and forest, an office his father held
previously. In the following year he obtained a lease of the herbage
of Hanley within the forest, and was entrusted by the Princess with
the conduct of her affairs with other of her tenants within the manor
and forest. In the following year he had a lease of the herbage of the
forest of Macclesfield, and about the same time, the Princess Joan
being then dead, he and his brother John were appointed attorneys to
serve for the surveyor of the forest of Macclesfield.

In 1387, Richard II., who had then been ten years upon the throne,
attained his majority. A self-willed youth, impatient of the restraint
which had been imposed upon him while under the guardianship of his
three uncles, the Dukes of Lancaster (John o' Gaunt), York, and
Gloucester, he determined to free himself from their control. With a
view of ingratiating himself with his Cheshire subjects, between whom
and the sovereign, from the time when a king's son was first created
palatine earl, there had been a close relationship, he made a progress
into the county and remained some time at Chester, where he received
many marks of popular favour. He confirmed many of the Cheshire men
in the offices and emoluments previously conferred upon them by his
uncle, John o' Gaunt, who was Constable of Chester and Lord of Halton,
and amongst other things confirmed to Piers Leigh the annuity of Cs,
which had been made to him by John o' Gaunt's son-in-law, John de
Holland. In the following year, however, Piers Legh had the misfortune
to fall under the King's displeasure. In that year the real struggle
between Richard and his uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, began. Under the
pretence of removing the King's favourites, and especially Robert de
Vere, Earl of Oxford, whom he had created Duke of Ireland--one of the
five obnoxious members who had met at Nottingham, and all of whom had
been accused of treason before the King at Westminster--he assembled
an army at Highgate, whereupon De Vere fled into the north, and on
the authority of the Royal letters summoned the Cheshire forces, and
with them, and some auxiliaries from Lancashire, numbering in all
about 5,000 men, set out to meet him. The two armies encountered each
other at Radcot Bridge, in Oxfordshire, on the 20th of December, and
a battle was fought in which the soldiers of the Duke of Ireland were
completely routed. The Duke himself only escaped by swimming the Isis,
and fled to the north, whence he sought refuge in the Low Countries.
Piers Legh would seem either to have shared in the general indignation
against De Vere, or to have been brought under the influence of the
Duke of Gloucester, for he immediately seized the whole of the Duke
of Ireland's movables in Cheshire and lodged them in Chester Castle.
Angered at this treatment of his fallen favourite, the humiliated
King issued his warrant, dated January 21st, 1388, commanding Piers
Legh, under a penalty of £1,000, to surrender and restore the goods he
had taken. Whether the mandate was obeyed and the goods and chattels
restored is not stated, but probably the difficulty was removed by the
death of De Vere, which occurred shortly afterwards.

While these events were transpiring negotiations were set on foot for
a marriage, for which a dispensation was obtained, the contracting
parties being, as stated, related in the fourth as well as the third
degree of consanguinity, and before the year had closed Piers Legh
had taken to himself a wife in the person of his kinswoman, Margaret
D'Anyers, the widow of Sir John Savage.

By this time, or shortly after, he must have regained the King's
favour, for in August, 1390, a commission was issued directing him
and others therein named to hear and determine all felonies committed
within the borough of Macclesfield, and a second commission empowered
him to determine in like manner all felonies, misdemeanours, and
breaches of the peace committed within the forest and hundred of
Macclesfield. At that time the forest comprised about one-third of the
entire hundred, and included within its limits the larger portion of
the great parish of Prestbury. It had belonged to the Earls of Chester
until the extinction of the local earldom in 1237, when it passed to
the Crown, and was thereafter reserved for the Royal hunting and made
subject to the forest laws, which were very severe against any who
should presume to make free with the King's venison--the killing of a
deer being accounted an offence as serious as the killing of a man, and
punishable with equal severity.

A further evidence of the renewed confidence of the King is found in
the fact that on the 6th April, 1391, Piers Legh was appointed by
the Queen Consort--"the good Queen Anne," as she was called by the
people--steward of her lands in the Macclesfield Hundred. In the month
of August following, he was commanded to arrest all malefactors and
disturbers of the peace within the hundred, and made one of the King's
justices for the same, with directions to hold three courts itinerant
or _in eyre_, the proceedings at which were of the nature of those
at a court of assize, the penalty for non-attendance when summoned
thereto being outlawry, with forfeiture of goods. In January, 1395, he
was named equitator or rider of the forest, his special duties being
to attend the King in person whenever he should hunt in the forest;
and this office he had subsequently conferred upon him for life, and
also, in conjunction with his brother, that of keeper of the park of
Macclesfield.

The struggle for supremacy between Richard and his uncle, the Duke of
Gloucester, was now approaching a crisis, and, by a proceeding which
resembled very much what is known in modern times as a _coup d'état_,
he resolved to break the power of the turbulent Gloucester and his
cabal of nobles. The Duke was surprised in his castle at Plashy, in
Essex, hurried on board ship, and conveyed to Calais; at the same time
the Earl of Warwick, while enjoying the royal hospitality, was seized
and sent to Tintagel Castle, in Cornwall, and, simultaneously, and with
equal duplicity, the Earl of Arundel was summoned to a conference, and,
while there, arrested and lodged in Carisbrook Castle. A Parliament was
immediately summoned to meet at Westminster, at which the fate of the
three captive nobles--one a prince of the blood--was to be determined.
Great were the preparations made, and a wooden building of large extent
was erected near Westminster Hall for the reception of the numerous
assembly. On the 17th September, 1397, the Parliament met; the assembly
was surrounded by the King's troops, and the Sovereign himself had a
body guard, consisting mainly of his Cheshire archers, all of whom wore
his cognizance of the White Hart lodged--the badge of his mother, Joan
of Kent, which he had adopted--and there is every reason to believe
that Piers Legh held a command among the feudal retainers--the archers
of the Crown, as they were called--who rendered personal service on
that memorable occasion; memorable as the time when the chief objects
of the King's displeasure were condemned for high treason and a
despotic power established under the sanction of Parliamentary forms.
It is worthy of note that in this short-lived Parliament Cheshire was
raised to the dignity of a principality, the King adding to his titles
that of Prince of Chester; but the honour was not long enjoyed, the Act
under which it was created being repealed in the first year of Henry
the Fourth's reign.

In the following year Piers Legh had an annuity of Cs granted him by
the King, probably as a reward for his services on the occasion just
referred to, and about the same time the annuity of forty marks (£26
13s. 4d.) which had been granted to Sir Thomas D'Anyers was exchanged
for the lands in Lyme Hanley--an exchange that may be said to have been
the foundation of the fortunes of the House of Lyme.

In the succeeding year Richard had again occasion for the services of
his trusty Cheshire Archers. To avenge the death of Roger Mortimer,
Earl of March, the presumptive heir to his crown, he determined on
bringing the kingdom of Ireland to a more perfect subjection. With this
view, and for the purpose of increasing the strength of his Cheshire
guard, he had a levy made of the archers within the several hundreds
of the palatinate qualified to serve, and with these he set sail from
Milford Haven on the 4th June, 1399. While he was leading his forces
into the Irish bogs and thickets to chastise the presumption of the
native chiefs, Henry Bolingbroke, the son of the old Lancastrian
duke, John o' Gaunt, who had been banished the kingdom, landed with a
force at Ravenspur, in Yorkshire, and marched southwards; castles and
towns surrendered to him, and in an incredibly short space of time he
had made himself master of half the kingdom. Rebellion had stalked
unchecked through the land for weeks before the absent monarch could
receive intelligence of Bolingbroke's designs, and ere he could reach
the English coast on his return the revolution was accomplished. On the
9th August, little more than a couple of months from the time of his
departure, he landed in Wales; a number of his faithful Cheshire men
met him on his arrival, though Piers Legh was not of the number, being
at the time in command at Chester, and this may have been the occasion
when, as the old chronicler says, the Cheshire men exclaimed--"Dycon,
slep secury quile we wake, and drede nought quile we lyve sefton; for
giff thou hadst wedded Perkyn, daughter of Lye, thou may well holde
alone day with any man in Cheshire schire, i' faith." Piers Legh's
daughter Margaret was then only in her infancy, but that must have been
a matter of small consequence in the days when children were accounted
as of marriageable age. The unhappy monarch, with a few followers,
wandered from castle to castle, and at length found a resting-place
at Conway. Meanwhile the victorious Henry was advancing by rapid
marches through Gloucester and Herefordshire towards Shrewsbury, with
the intention of occupying Chester, crying, "Havoc and destruction
on Cheshire and the Cheshire men." On the 9th August, the day that
Richard landed from Ireland, he entered the city and promised peace
to the people, a promise, however, that was to be quickly violated,
for on the next day he gave orders for the seizure of the King's
loving and loyal subject, Sir Piers Legh, who must have been actively
defending the interests of his master. Probably he had the command of
the castle, though he is said to have been at the time Chief Justice of
Chester.[53] Whatever his office his motto was _loyal à la mort_, and,
like Old Adam in "As You Like It," he might have exclaimed--

  Master, go on, and I will follow thee
  To the last gasp with love and loyalty.

To remove an obstacle to the accomplishment of his ambitious designs
Bolingbroke hurried him away to execution. His policy, so our greatest
dramatist tells us, was to--

                    Cut off the heads
  Of all the favourites that the absent King
  In deputation left behind him,
  When he was personal in the Irish wars.

And the "absent King" had no greater favourite or more faithful
follower than Piers Legh.

The Rev. John Wall, the translator of the French Metrical History of
the Deposition of Richard II.[54] in referring to his tragic end, says
the King was at the time at Conway; and Daniel, in his "Civil Wars
between York and Lancaster," thus alludes to the event:--

  Nor thou, magnanimous Legh, must not be left
  In darkness; for thy rare fidelity
  To save thy faith content to lose thy head,
  That reverent head, of good men honoured.

By the order of Bolingbroke, the head of Sir Piers was placed on the
highest gate of the city, and there it remained for a time, when it
was removed by the Carmelite Monks and buried with his body within
their own church. Afterwards it was conveyed to Macclesfield, where,
on the south side of the Lyme chancel of the old church, the following
epitaph, once cut in stone, but now graven in brass, may still be
seen:--

  Here lyeth the bodie of Perkyn a Legh
  That for King Richard the death did die
          Betrayed for rightevsnes
  And the bones of Sir Peers his Sonne
  That with King Henry the fift did wonne
                In Paris.

To which, as we have previously stated, after old Flower's grant of an
heraldic augmentation, Sir Peter Legh in Elizabeth's reign added the
apocryphal inscription regarding his doings at Crescy.

For loyally serving his fallen master and King, and while yet a young
man, for he was only thirty-eight years of age, thus perished the first
of the Lords of Lyme.

The distance between the throne and the grave of a deposed monarch is
but short. Bolingbroke, finding himself everywhere enthusiastically
received, resolved upon wresting the sceptre from the feeble grasp
of his vacillating cousin, and within a few short months of the
decapitation of Piers Legh, Richard of Bordeaux had lost both his crown
and his life. When the revolution had seated the house of Lancaster
upon the throne, Richard, on relinquishing his sovereignty, expressed
the hope that his cousin would be "good lord to him," but the hope was
delusive. He was deposed in September, and ere the snows of winter had
melted his end had been accomplished, either by the pole-axe of the
assassin, or the more protracted misery of famine.

Of a verity, those were stirring times, and whatever tenure men might
have of their lands they had but little of their heads. Henry gained
the throne almost without a struggle, but his daring act of usurpation
was but the sowing of the seed which ripened and bore fruit in that
"purple testimony of bleeding war," the fierce struggle of the Red
and White Roses--a contest which, after having for well nigh half a
century filled the country with commotion and drenched it in civil
slaughter, left it in a state of exhaustion, with the flower of its
nobility destroyed.

Piers Legh had not completed more than ten years of his married life
when the unrelenting Bolingbroke caused his head to be placed on the
highest pinnacle of the east gate of Chester. His widow, Margaret
D'Anyers, survived him nearly thirty years, her death occurring June
24, 1428. The issue of the marriage was, in addition to a daughter,
Margaret, who became the wife of Sir John de Ashton, two sons--Peter,
who succeeded as heir, and John, who married Alice, daughter and
heiress of John Alcock, of Ridge, an estate in the township of Sutton,
near Macclesfield, and from them sprang the Leghs of Ridge, Rushall,
Stoneleigh, and Stockwell; the last representative of the parent line,
Edward Legh, up to the time of his death, which occurred only a few
years ago, residing at the Limes, Lewisham, near London.

Peter, the eldest son of Piers Legh, could only have been a youth of
some eight summers when his father met his untimely end. If--

  Left by his sire, too young such loss to know,

it was well for him that he had a prudent counsellor in the person of
his widowed mother. In 1403 she gave him her moiety of Gropenhall,
which had been acquired by one of the D'Anyers in marriage with the
heiress of Boydell, of Gropenhall and had come to her through failure
of male issue in her father's family; and he, thereupon, quartered
the arms of Boydell with his paternal coat, an augmentation that has
ever since been retained. About the same time he added largely to his
possessions by his marriage with Joanna, the daughter and heiress
of Sir Gilbert de Haydock, of Haydock, near Newton-le-Willows, a
wealthy Lancashire Knight; by this alliance he ultimately acquired the
extensive estates of the Haydocks, viz.: Haydock, Bradley, Burtonwood,
Warrington, Overford, Sonkey, Bold, Newton, Lowton, Golborne, and
Walton-le-Dale, an acquisition that explains the close connection of
the Leghs of Lyme with Lancashire. His mother was yet in possession
of Lyme, and he therefore fixed his abode at Bradley, in Burtonwood,
which became the principal residence of the family and so continued
until about the year 1569, when the erection of the present mansion of
Lyme was begun. Leyland, the antiquary, writing in the time of Henry
VIII., says:--"Syr Perse de Lee hath his place at Bradley in a park
two miles from Newton." The old house has long since disappeared, but
the picturesque ruins of the arched and buttressed gate tower, which
formed the principal approach, with a portion of the bastille above
for the detention of offenders and doubtful visitors, still remain, a
memorial of its ancient stateliness. The manor continued in possession
of the family until after the death of Thomas Peter Legh, of Lyme, when
it passed by settlement to his son, the Rev. Peter Legh, incumbent of
St. Peter's, Newton, who sold it to the late Samuel Brooks, Esq., of
Manchester.

Though Peter Legh was old enough to take to himself a wife it was
fortunate for him that he was as yet too young to take part in the
stirring scenes that marked the opening years of the usurper's reign,
when

  The blood of Richard, shed on Pomfret stones,

called for retribution, and the realm was filled with turbulence and
disquiet, else he might have shared the fate which befel so many other
Cheshire men, who, unable to forget the misfortunes of their former
master, met at Sandiway, in Delamere Forest, and joined the valiant
Hotspur, renowned in song and story,

  Who was sweet Fortune's minion and her pride,

and Glendower, the Welsh chieftain, in their insurrection, when at the
market cross of Shrewsbury, after the bloody strife on Hately field,
where Falstaff "fought a long hour by Shrewsbury clock," and his
ragamuffins got well peppered, the Baron of Kinderton and Sir Richard
Vernon, the Baron of Shipbrooke, with the Earl of Worcester, paid the
penalty of their revolt with the same horrible barbarities that a
hundred years before had been inflicted upon David, Prince of Wales,
the brother of Llewellynn.

Henry, Prince of Wales, the whilom roysterer and tavern
brawler--Hotspur's "nimble-footed, madcap Harry"--was also Earl of
Chester, and passed much of his time within his palatinate. Anxious, as
it would seem, to make some amends for the wrongs his

  Father made in compassing the crown,

he took the youthful Peter Legh into his favour. By a deed, dated 26
July, 12 Henry IV. (1411), he granted him certain lands in Macclesfield
Forest, near to his domain of Lyme, called Heghlegh, together with the
office of forester, which had been held by the Hegleghs and Savages
successively, designing his gift apparently as a peace-offering and a
token of his royal favour, and with a view probably to services that
might be rendered him in the future.

On the 20th of March, 1413, the troubled reign of Henry the Fourth drew
to a close. The throne of the usurper had proved but a bed of thorns,
for no sovereign ever was more harassed by plots and insurrections. The
violent animosities and contentions that prevailed during his reign
reduced his frame to premature decay, and at the early age of forty-six
he breathed his last in the abbot's lodgings at Westminster.

His son and successor, Henry the Fifth, was not slow in observing
the dying injunctions of his royal father not to allow the kingdom
to remain long at peace lest it should breed intestine commotion.
Wise in his generation, he believed that a foreign war might divert
the attention of his subjects from a too close examination of the
justness of his own pretensions to the crown, and the excuse for such
an enterprise was not far to seek. France was at the time in a state
of deplorable disorder; and as the victories of Crescy and Poictiers
were yet fresh in the memories of the English people and the favourite
theme of song and story, France seemed to furnish the opportunity which
the new King so greatly desired. Anxious to quarter its lilies with
the lions of England, Henry, shortly after his coronation, resolved
upon asserting the claim to the crown of that kingdom which his great
grandfather, Edward the Third, had urged with so much confidence and
success--a crown to which, it must be admitted, he had about as much
right as Rob Roy had to the cattle he "lifted," or to the spoils of the
raids and forays he engaged in. Parliament made him a liberal grant in
aid of the expedition; free gifts were received from the clergy; he
borrowed from all who could be prevailed upon to lend, and to procure
money pawned his plate, jewels, and even his crown. With much diligence
he collected men, arms, provisions, ships, and, in short, everything
necessary to enforce his demands and aggrandise himself at the expense
of his distracted neighbours.

The armies of the Kings of England in those days were made up of
contingents, brought into the field by adventurous spirits, who entered
into indenture with the Sovereign to serve in person with a certain
number of followers for a fixed period, and on such terms as were
agreed upon--men of strong limbs and daring spirit, who were influenced
less by the abstract justice of the cause for which they were to fight
than the consciousness that they would receive their due share of the
_gaines de guerre_. Copies of many such indentures or contracts between
the King and the persons who undertook to provide a stated number of
men at arms and archers, as well as with those who agreed to procure
carpenters, masons, waggons, bows, arrows, &c., are printed in Rymer's
_Foedera_, and these documents furnish much interesting information
on the military arrangements of the age. Among the persons who entered
into such a covenant was Peter Legh, of Bradley and Lyme, and in the
muster roll printed in Sir N. Harris Nicolas's "Battle of Agincourt" we
find him thus entered:--

  Monsr. Piers de Legh, ov sa retenu,
          Robert Orell
          Hugh de Orell
          Thomas Sutton
          John Pygott
          George de Asheley.

Those who formed his retinue, were probably archers; the two first
named men, apparently Lancashire men, hailing from Orell, near Wigan,
and the others, judging by their patronymic, were Cheshire men. Indeed,
from the liberal contingents sent up, the two counties seem to have
furnished a very large proportion of the eight thousand fighting men
who mustered at Southampton. As the rhyming chronicler has it--

  They recruited Cheshire and Lancashire,
    And Derby hills that were so free;
  Tho' no married man, nor no widow's son,
    They recruited three thousand men and three.

Great was the bustle and preparation, and exciting were the scenes then
witnessed. Michael Drayton, writing three centuries ago, thus describes
the separation between those comprising the invading force and their
relatives and friends:--

  There might a man have seen in ev'ry street,
  The father bidding farewell to his son;
  Small children kneeling at their father's feet;
  The wife with her dear husband ne'er had done:
  Brother, his brother, with adieu to greet;
  One friend to take leave of another run;
      The maiden with her best belov'd to part,
      Gave him her hand, who took away her heart.

  The nobler youth, the common rank above,
  On their curvetting coursers mounted fair;
  One wore his mistress' garter, one her glove;
  And he a lock of his dear lady's hair;
  And he her colours, whom he most did love;
  There was not one but did some favour wear:
      And each one took it, on his happy speed,
      To make it famous for some knightly deed.

Many of those engaged in the expedition entered into arrangements
for their wives and families that they might have some safe retreat
during their absence; in the case of Peter Legh's wife, however, the
probabilities are that she would take up her abode with her widowed
mother-in-law, Dame Margaret Legh. On the 7th of August (1415) the
Royal standard was unfurled, the trumpets flared, and with all the
pomp and circumstance of war, the King and his suite embarked on board
the Trinity Royal. The ships cast off their moorings, and Peter Legh,
with Fluellen and Williams, and Nym--who was hanged for stealing a
"pyx"--a very motley force indeed, drifted slowly down Southampton
Water upon their venturous quest. Fifteen hundred vessels were
comprised in the fleet, and fifteen hundred sails were set; but more
than a week elapsed before the voyage, which can now be made in a few
hours, was accomplished, and the vessels had cast anchor in the Seine
off Kidecaws (_i.e._, Chef de Caux), about three miles from Harfleur,
a place not unknown in Cheshire annals, for it was a knight of that
country who bestowed honours upon the Du Guesclin, when he succeeded in
capturing the great Cheshire hero, Sir Hugh Calveley.

After a siege of thirty-six days, Harfleur surrendered to the English
King, whose triumph the poet sings:--

  He sette a sege, the sothe for to say,
  To Harflue toune with ryal array;
  That toune he wan, and made a fray,
  That Fraunce will rywe 'tyl domesday.
      Deo gratias Anglia
      Redde pro victoria.

The victory, however, was dearly bought, for while the siege was
proceeding, dysentery broke out in the English camp from the
overflowing marshes, and raged with such severity that about five
thousand fell victims, among them being Peter Legh's kinsman, Sir
Robert de Legh, of Adlington, who died five days after the city
surrendered. On the 22nd September, the governor of Harfleur, having
failed to obtain succours, opened the gates, exclaiming--

  Our expedition hath this day an end.
  The Dauphin, whom of succours we entreated,
  Returns us that his powers are not yet ready
  To raise so great a siege. Therefore, great King,
  We yield our lives and town to thy soft mercy.
  Enter our gates, dispose of us and ours,
  For we are no longer defensible.

The Earl of Dorset was put in possession of the town and garrison, and,
after a short rest, Henry moved forward with the remnant of his army
towards Calais, intending to ford the Somme at Blanchetaque, where
Edward III. had crossed before the battle of Crescy, but on arriving at
Maisoncelle, on the evening of the 24th of October, he found an army
of fifty thousand men prepared to dispute his further progress, their
position being between the woods of Agincourt and Tramecourt. When
the day dawned on the morrow, St. Crispin's Day, the two armies were
face to face, but for some hours neither made any movement, when at
last old Sir Thomas Erpingham, an English knight, grown grey with age
and honour, flung his truncheon into the air, and called "Nestrocque"
(now strike), and dismounted, and every man advanced shouting the
national "Hurrah." The first discharge of the cloth-yard shafts by
the Lancashire and Cheshire bowmen threw the enemy's men-at-arms into
confusion, their horses became unmanageable, and the fight raged with
uncommon fury; the English archers when they had discharged all their
arrows, threw away their bows and fought with their swords and bills;
the contest becoming more a slaughter than a battle. In three hours the
struggle was ended, and more than ten thousand Frenchmen had been made
to bite the dust.

Our great dramatist represents Henry as exclaiming just before he
entered upon the fight:--

  We few, we happy few, we band of brothers:
  For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
  Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
  This day shall gentle his condition!

Peter Legh was one of the "band of brothers;" he was in the thick of
the fight, shed his blood, and for services was knighted and made a
banneret upon the field. As an old ballad expresses it:

  Than for sothe that knyght comely,
  In Agincourt feld he faught manly;
  Thorow grace of God most mighty,
  He had bothe the felde, and the victory.
          Deo gratias Anglia
          Redde pro victoria!

It is very commonly asserted that he died in Paris of the wounds he had
received at Agincourt, but the statement can hardly be correct, for
six years after the battle was fought his name occurs as party to a
marriage settlement, and his death did not take place until 1422.

The wound he received at Agincourt did not incapacitate him from taking
part a few years later in a foray that arose out of some quarrel
between Sir Peter Dutton of Dutton, in Cheshire, and Sir William
Atherton of Atherton, in Lancashire, knight, the two having made
inroads on each other's possessions. The circumstance is related by Sir
Peter Leycester, who says that--

 Great contention fell between Sir Peter Dutton and Sir William
 Athurton, of Athurton, in Lancashire, insomuch that they made inroads
 and invasions one upon the other; and the said Sir Piers Dutton
 and his adherents, to wit, Sir Rafe Bostock of Bostock, Richard
 Warburton of Budworth, Thomas Warburton of Halton, John Done of
 Utkinton, junior, John Manley of Manley, Hugh Dutton of Halton,
 the elder, William Leycester, of Nether-Tabley, Sir Peter Legh of
 Clifton,[55] and John Carington of Carington, were all sued by Sir
 William Athurton, for taking away forty of his oxen and forty cows,
 out of his closes at Athurton, and for beating of his servants. But
 the variance was composed between them by the award of John Duke of
 Bedford, Earl of Richmond and Kendal, constable of England, and regent
 of the kingdom in the absence of Henry the Fifth, dated 9 Aprilis 7
 Hen. V. 1419, restitution being awarded on both sides: the horses and
 saddles taken by Sir William to be restored to Sir Piers Dutton, and
 the cattel taken by Sir Piers to be restored to the said Sir William.

Our ancestors, it is to be feared, were of a quarrelsome disposition,
and, much as we may boast of "the good old times," it must be confessed
that they lose much of their charm when from our modern standpoint we
begin to examine closely the lives and habits of those who figured
in them. There is no reason to suppose that Sir Peter Legh was more
disorderly than his neighbours, similar outrages to those committed on
Sir William Atherton's lands being then of common occurrence.

Sir Peter Legh was not the man to find happiness in repose. When, in
the summer of 1417, the King embarked on his second expedition to
France, he again unsheathed his sword and served under the standard
of his Sovereign. He had returned to England in 1421, though his stay
could only have been very short, for in the following year he was again
with the army of the King, and took part in the protracted siege of
Meaux, when Henry lost so many of his soldiers by epidemic sickness.
The fortress held out for seven months, the garrison only yielding
when starved out. In the attack, Sir Peter would seem to have received
a wound which eventually proved fatal, his death occurring in Paris
on the 22nd June, 1422, a few days after the festivities with which
the public entry into that city was celebrated. His body was brought
over to England, and buried in the church of Macclesfield, in the
rebuilding of which he had in his lifetime been a liberal contributor,
as evidenced by the prominent position assigned to his armorial shield
on the west front of the tower. Thus the second of the house of Lyme
died from the wounds he had received while fighting under the banner
of the son and successor of the Lancastrian usurper who had condemned
his father to the block for his loyalty to his lawful sovereign and the
house of York.

Sir Peter Legh could have been little more than thirty years of age
when he died of the honourable wounds he had received while serving
under the standard of his king. Among those who had fought by his side
at Agincourt was Sir Richard Molineux, of Sefton, a Lancashire knight
of considerable wealth and influence.

Sir Richard was himself a widower at the time, and naturally felt
compassion for his comrade's widow in her bereavement. His compassion,
however, ripened into a warmer feeling; the feeling was mutual, and
when the days of mourning were accomplished Sir Peter Legh's youthful
relict bestowed her hand upon him, and thus became ancestress of the
Earls of Sefton as well as of the Leghs of Lyme. She survived her
second husband several years, her death occurring at Croxteth on the
31st of January, 1439. She was buried at Sefton Church, where a stately
stone altar-tomb was erected over her remains, which may still be seen
with a long Latin inscription upon it, now in part obliterated, but
interesting as showing the extent of the possessions which she, as
heiress of the house of Haydock, added to the patrimonial lands of the
Leghs.

  Hic jacet domina Johanna, quonda uxor
  Petri Legh militis, et postea uxor Richardi
  Molineux militis, quæ fuit dña de
  Bradley, Haydoke, et similiter tertiæ
  Partis villar. de Werington, Mikille
  Sonke, et Burtonwode ac eciam dña
  Diversarû parcellarû terrarû et
  Tenement, infra villas de Newton,
  Golborn, Lauton, Bold et Walton
  Le dale. Quæ obiit in festo S.
  Sulpitii Epi. A. Dni mccccxxxix
  Cujus animæ ppitietur Deus. Amen.

Sir Peter Legh's only son, who bore his own baptismal appellation,
was born at Clifton, near Halton Castle, a seat of the Savages, on
the 4th of June, 1415, the eve of the father's departure to engage
in the contest at Agincourt, and had therefore just completed his
seventh year. When his mother remarried he was removed from Clifton
and brought up in the household at Croxteth, where, in addition to his
mother's guardianship, he had the advantage of the friendly interest
and supervision of the head of the great Lancashire house of Molineux.
In 1426 his grandmother, Margaret, D'Anyers, settled a portion of
her Cheshire estates upon him, and the remainder, including Lyme, he
succeeded to on her death, June 24, 1428. He had then, at the early age
of thirteen, become the owner of large territorial estates, and for
the better protection of the fair patrimony that had come to him his
stepfather in the same year obtained the custody of all his lands in
Cheshire until he should be of age, as well as the right of contracting
him in marriage, a right he exercised by covenanting to marry him to
his own daughter, Margaret, whom he had had by his first wife, Ellen,
daughter of Sir William Haryngton, of Hornby. The year 1432 saw the
contract carried into effect and the betrothed couple united. Doubtless
it was a season of bustle and business, and we may suppose the stately
halls of Croxteth to have been crowded with a gay company assembled to
witness and do honour to the espousals of the young people.

Four years later he made proof of age, the inquiry being held at
Macclesfield, and he was then put in possession of the splendid
inheritance which, by their successful marriages, his progenitors
had accreted. During his minority his patrimony had been greatly
improved under the careful management of his stepfather, and in the
critical times in which his earlier life was passed he appears to
have acted with much prudence and caution, taking more interest in
the development of his estate than in the fierce contests that were
then being waged. It was a time when craft and subtlety had gradually
superseded the old spirit of chivalry--when strength of arm was of
little avail without astuteness of head in shifting from side to side
in the changing fortunes of contending parties; and, living in this
age of political chaos, the youthful lord of Lyme skilfully contrived
to keep neutral between the factions into which the dominant party was
split. Though holding no higher rank than that of esquire, his large
territorial possessions gave him considerable influence in the two
palatine counties; in the Cheshire records his name is of frequent
occurrence, and, like many of his ancestors, he had various offices
of trust in connection with the hundred and forest of Macclesfield.
Though his father had received many marks of favour from, and had died
in the service of, the Lancastrian King, he inherited a predilection
for the house of York, from the representative of which, Richard II.,
his grandfather had received many substantial benefits, including the
grant of the manor of Lyme. He was too shrewd and cautious, however,
to allow his preferences to betray him into any act of open hostility
to the reigning sovereign, though his intimate relations with a
powerful Lancashire Baron, Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter, who had
married the sister of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, and who, in
opposition to the wishes of Henry VI. and his intrepid wife, Margaret
of Anjou, had been made regent during the King's sickness, brought
him under suspicion and resulted in a letter being addressed by the
King to the Sheriff of Lancashire in 1454, commanding him to deliver
letters of Privy Seal to "Thomas Pilkington and Piers Legh, squires,"
a significant warning which had the desired effect in restraining
Peter Legh, for a time at all events, from engaging in any perilous
enterprise or openly espousing the cause of either party.

A few years before this he had the misfortune to lose his wife, her
death occurring at Bradley, May 13, 1450. She was buried at Winwick, in
the chantry chapel which Sir Gilbert Haydock, her husband's maternal
ancestor, had founded. In October of the following year Peter Legh
again entered the marriage state, his second wife being Elizabeth, the
widow of Sir John Pilkington, of Pilkington, and one of the daughters
of Edmund Trafford, of Trafford, by his wife, Alice, eldest daughter
and co-heir of Sir William Venables, of Bolyn.

The great struggle between the Red and White Roses was now in its
birth-throes. The Duke of York had been expelled from the regency;
thirsting for revenge, he levied an army in the north and marched to
St. Albans, where he found the King's forces encamped in the town,
which was assaulted with great fury. The battle lasted but one short
hour, but it was disastrous to the cause of Henry; five thousand of his
troops were left dead upon the field, among the slain being the Dukes
of Somerset and Buckingham, the Earls of Northumberland and Stafford,
and Lord Clifford, while the King himself, who during the fight had
been wounded in the neck by an arrow, was made prisoner.

The blood shed at St Albans on that fatal 22nd of May, 1455, was the
first that flowed in the bitter contest which came to an end only when
thirty years had come and gone, when thirteen pitched battles had been
fought, and the victory on Bosworth Field had been achieved--a strife
so deadly that, as Michael Drayton tells us, the ties of blood and
kindred were forgotten, and the nearest relations fought on opposite
sides--

  Then Dutton Dutton kills, a Done doth kill a Done;
  A Booth a Booth, and Leigh by Leigh is overthrown;
  A Venables against a Venables doth stand;
  A Troutbeck fighteth with a Troutbeck hand to hand;
  There Molineux doth make a Molineux to die;
  And Egerton the strength of Egerton doth try.

Peter Legh doubtless rejoiced in the Yorkist victory at St. Albans,
but the warning which Henry VI. addressed to him the year before had
deterred him from bearing any part in it, and he appears to have acted
with equal prudence four years later, when the reconciliation between
the Duke of York and Queen Margaret--the "dissimulated unity and
concord," as the city chronicler called it--came to an end and civil
war broke out afresh. In that year (1459) the Yorkist forces were once
more marshalled against those of the King. The Earl of Salisbury raised
the standard of the White Rose, and with an army of 5,000 men marched
through Cheshire into Staffordshire, almost within sight of Lyme, and
then by way of Congleton and Newcastle-under-Lyme to Drayton. Before
he could join the Duke he was overtaken by Lord Audley at the head of
a superior force of Lancastrians, and on the 23rd September the battle
of Blore-heath, where the head of the house of Stanley amused both
sides with promises of support without venturing to strike a blow for
either, was fought. The struggle was long and sanguinary, but victory
again declared in favour of the Yorkists, Henry's adherents leaving
2,400 dead upon the field, many of whom were from Lancashire and
Cheshire, among them being the brother of Peter Legh's first wife, Sir
Richard Molineux, who fell fighting in the cause to which Peter Legh
was in his heart opposed. At Northampton in July of the following year
the fortunes of the Yorkists were again in the ascendant, and we read
that Queen Margaret and her son, who had sought safety in flight, had
a narrow escape of being captured near Chester by a retainer of the
Stanleys.

The struggle of the Roses was now at fever heat, and in the short
space of a single year no less than three great and bloody battles
were fought. Peter Legh's prudence and circumspection failed him;
his sympathy with the House of York could no longer be restrained,
and, drawing the sword, he openly cast in his lot with the insurgent
Yorkists who were then gathering at Sandal Castle in Yorkshire.
Margaret of Anjou, repudiating the compromise by which on the death
of Henry VI. the Duke of York was to succeed to the crown to the
exclusion of her son, collected a numerous army out of Lancashire and
Cheshire, and posted herself near Wakefield, whither the Duke of York
advanced to meet her, but with a much inferior force. Conceiving that
his courage would be compromised if he refused to meet a woman in
battle, he, without waiting for his expected reinforcements, risked
a contest, hoping by skill and daring to make up for deficiency in
numbers. In that bloody fray Peter Legh "fleshed his maiden sword;" he
was conspicuous for his valour, and for his daring deeds his princely
leader made him a banneret upon the field. But the tide of success
had turned; the Yorkists were entirely routed, and the triumph of the
Lancastrians was complete. After performing prodigies of valour the
Duke of York himself was slain. The Queen, proud of such a trophy,
ordered the Duke's head to be struck off and placed upon the gates of
York, adorned with a paper crown to indicate the frailty of his claims--

  Off with his head, and set it on York gates;
  So York may overlook the town of York.

An unfeminine speech that did not cause her much feeling of remorse,
for afterwards, when gazing upon the terrible spectacle as she entered
the city, she exclaimed to Henry--

  Welcome, my Lord, to this brave town of York;
  Yonder's the head of that arch enemy;
  Does not the object cheer your heart, my lord?

And Lord Clifford--the "Black-faced Clifford," as he has been
called--more sanguinary than his Royal mistress, when the battle was
over plunged his sword into the breast of the Duke's youngest son, the
Earl of Rutland, in revenge, as he alleged, for the death of his father
at St. Albans.

If the battle of Wakefield was fatal to the house of York, it proved
no less fatal to the victors, for the cruelties perpetrated by the
Black Clifford were repaid a few months after with tenfold vengeance
at Towton, a contest in which, there is reason to believe, Peter Legh
also bore a part. On the 4th of March (1461), the young Duke of York
assumed the crown and sceptre, but the ceremonies attendant upon his
accession to the throne were few and brief. Queen Margaret was in the
field with a powerful army, and on the 12th of March Edward marched
out of London northward to give her battle. On the eve of Palm Sunday
(March 29th) the opposing forces met on Towton Heath; at four o'clock
the battle began; the hours of darkness brought no rest, and through
the long night and until the afternoon of the next day, amidst a fall
of snow, it raged with unrelenting fury. It was the bloodiest battle
in all the wars of the Roses, and when the sun went down thirty-three
thousand Englishmen lay dead upon the field. Some of them were buried
in the neighbouring church at Saxton, but by far the greater number
sleep where they fell, and the red and white roses which bloom on the
field of their last strife form their touching and appropriate memorial.

The carnage of this terrible field is appalling. If we are to believe
the statements of contemporary writers, for weeks afterwards the blood
stood in puddles and stagnated in the gutters.[56] Among the slain
was the "Black-faced" Clifford, who slew Rutland at Wakefield, and of
those whom the sword spared upon the field not a few fell beneath the
headsman's axe. Well might Warwick, dealing out a poetic justice, then
say to the victorious Edward--

  From off the gates of York fetch down the head--
  Your father's head which Clifford placed there;
  Instead whereof let this supply the room,
  Measure for measure must be answered.

The fate of the Cliffords has been consecrated by the poet. The widow
of the "black-faced" lord and her infant boy fled "to the caves and to
the brooks;" the child led a solitary life--

  On Carrock's side a shepherd boy--

wandering at will through "Mosedale's groves" and in "Blencathra's
rugged caves" until the--

                          Weary time
  That brought him up to manhood's prime.

When the victory at Bosworth again placed the Lancastrians upon the
throne his estates and honours were restored. Though unable to read
or write when called to Parliament, he had, during his shepherd life,
learnt purer and wiser lessons than those through which his progenitors
had brought destruction on themselves.

The triumph at Towton Field broke the hopes of the Lancastrian party,
and left Edward unquestionably King. The services which Peter Legh had
rendered at Wakefield and elsewhere did not long remain unrewarded;
within six weeks of the fight he was appointed governor and constable
of the Castle of Rhuddlan in Flintshire, for life, with a salary
of £40 a year, and two years later he was made escheater of Flint
during the King's pleasure. It was not long before his services were
again called in requisition. In 1462 the unconquerable activity of
the resolute Queen Margaret had once more inspired the hopes of the
Lancastrian party. Having raised an army of adventurers in France,
she landed on the northern coasts in October; Edward was quickly at
the head of a great force to meet her, and among those who went out
with him, on the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, as we learn from
old Stowe the chronicler, was Peter Legh, of Lyme, who appears on the
list as "Sir Peirce A'Leigh," and is included among the knights who
engaged in the enterprise, from which it is evident that that honour
had been conferred upon him either at Towton or immediately after.[57]
There was little occasion for his services. On the advance of Edward,
Margaret escaped to her ships, which were scattered by a tempest, and
a portion of her forces, being cast on Holy Island, were pursued and
destroyed.

For a time the country was comparatively tranquil, and Sir Peter Legh,
if he did not turn his sword into a pruning hook, was content to lay it
aside and repair to his home at Bradley, where he employed his leisure
in adorning his mansion and improving his estate. While so engaged
he drew up a minute account of the territorial possessions of the
family in Lancashire and Cheshire, which is still preserved among the
muniments at Lyme. It is closely written in Latin on vellum, and forms
a thick volume of 333 folios. That portion which relates to Warrington
has been transcribed and translated for the members of the Chetham
Society[58] by Mr. William Beamont, and to the same authority we are
indebted for the following description of Lyme, which shows that it had
been emparked and that a mansion had been erected there as early as
1466:--

 Rental of Lyme, its manor and park, with Over Hanley and Nether Hanley
 in the Forest of Macclesfield, in the parish of Prestbury and county
 of Chester, belonging to Sir Peter Legh, Knight, at the feasts of the
 Nativity of St. John the Baptist and St. Martin in winter, written
 and described on the 29 March in the year of our Lord 1466 and in the
 sixth of King Edward IV. after the Conquest.

 In the first place the said Peter holds the aforesaid manor of Lyme,
 in the county of Chester, to him, his heirs and assigns for ever; that
 is to say, one fair hall with a high chamber, a kitchen, a bakehouse,
 and a brewhouse, with a granary, stable, and a bailiff's house, and a
 fair Park, surrounded by palings, and divers fields and hays (hedged
 enclosures) contained in the same park, with the woods, underwoods,
 meadows, feedings, and pastures thereunto belonging, which are worth
 to the said Peter xli (£10) a year.

The other lands belonging to the estate are then described, the total
rental being set down at £42 9s., but no mention is made of any deer or
of the famous wild cattle.

Occupied in more peaceful pursuits, we do not meet with the name of
Sir Peter at Hedgeley Moor, at Hexham, or in any other of the contests
that occurred in the subsequent years of Edward's reign. In 1468 a
sorrow fell upon his home caused by the death of his only son, Peter
Legh, which occurred at Macclesfield on the 2nd of August, and on the
4th April, 1474, his second wife was taken from him. Both were buried
by the side of his ancestors at Winwick. Four years later he set about
the fulfilment of a project he had long had in contemplation, the
endowment of the chantry chapel of the Holy Trinity in Winwick Church,
which his mother's kinsman, Sir Gilbert de Haydock, had founded. His
charter bears date 16th November, and he must then have felt his end
approaching, for he died at Bradley on the 27th of the same month at
the age of 63; and a few days later, amid the sorrowing regrets of his
dependents and neighbours, he was borne to his last resting place in
the family chapel to which he had so recently been a liberal benefactor.

Sir Peter Legh's only son, who had predeceased him, and who bore the
same baptismal name, married at a very early age a rich Lancashire
heiress--Mabel, the elder of the two daughters and co-heirs of James
Croft, of Dalton-in-Lonsdale--Sir James Croft, as Flower, the Herald,
erroneously styles him--acquiring in right of his wife, as a note to an
ancient Latin pedigree of the Leghs expresses it, "the inheritance of
the manor of Dalton and ye presentation of ye parsonage of Claughton
_alternis vicibus_," thus greatly enlarging the already extensive
possessions of his house. Alison, the sister of Mabel Croft, conveyed
her portion in marriage to Geoffrey Middleton, of Middleton in
Kirby-Lonsdale. These two ladies were double heiresses, their mother
being a heiress of the Butlers, who owned lands in Freckleton, within
the parish of Kirkham. The alternate advowson which the Leghs thus
acquired remained in their possession until 1807, when it was sold to
the Fenwicks, and once more became united with the lordship of the
manor.

While Sir Peter Legh was busied in repairing and enlarging the
ancestral home at Bradley, his son Peter and his young wife took up
their abode at Lowton, an estate inherited from the Haydocks. The
times were full of trouble, for though Edward IV. was seated upon the
throne, and, as Stowe, the ancient chronicler, solemnly assures us, an
angel had come down from heaven and "censed him" when the crown was put
upon his head in St Paul's, and the Pontiff had written him a letter
of congratulation, the angry billows of civil war were heaving and
breaking in different parts of the country and kept the government in
continuous alarm. The King's secret marriage with Elizabeth Woodville,
the widow of a Lancastrian, led to an estrangement with Warwick
which threatened a renewal of internecine strife. The wise caution
and far-sighted sagacity which had so often kept Sir Peter Legh from
embarking in rash and dangerous enterprises was not exemplified in his
son, who, forgetting the traditions of his house, would seem to have
fallen under suspicion of favouring the Lancastrians and sympathising
with the efforts made by the King-making Warwick to restore the same
Henry VI. whom his father had helped to dethrone. Mr. Beamont inclines
to the belief that for some imprudent act he had been bound over to
keep the peace, and unable to find sureties had been committed to the
gaol at Chester. We learn from the Cheshire Records that under date
September 8th, 6th Edward IV. (1466), Peter Legh, of Lowton, Esquire,
was lodged in the city prison in the custody of Agnes Darby--a fact we
commend to the notice of the advocates of women's rights, for women
must surely have been exercising their rights when one of them could
hold such an important trust. The nature of Peter Legh's offence is
not stated, but in an age when knights and gentlemen not unfrequently
had recourse to acts of violence in preference to the slow processes
of the law, in defence of their fancied rights, it is just possible
that it was some such rough-and-ready dispensation of justice and
not a political offence that subjected Peter Legh to the ward of
Agnes Darby. In any case he must have quickly recovered his liberty
and the King's favour as well, for in the following year he was free
and had demised to him for a term of six years (18th October, 1467)
the King's town of Vaynoll, with the pleas and issues of his court
of the town of Rhuddlan, with the tolls of the markets and fairs
(excepting the pleas of the Crown), and also the town of Bagilt--then
written Baghegre--together with a corn-mill there with its toll and
mulcture. His death occurred in the following year at the early age
of thirty-five. His widow survived him a few years only, and died at
Dalton, in 1474, where she would appear to have been living after his
death. Her will, which has been printed by the Chetham Society, bears
date 8th July in that year, and in it she names four of her sons, but
omits all mention of the fifth, Robert, who is known to have been
living in 1527.

It will thus be seen that Sir Peter Legh outlived both his son and
his son's widow. After his death in 1478 an Inquisition was taken
in accordance with custom, when it was found that Piers Legh, his
grandson, then twenty-three years of age, was his next heir. This Piers
or Peter, who was the fifth in direct succession bearing the same name,
had succeeded to his mother's estates on her death in 1474. Seven years
previously, and when he could only have been about twelve years of
age, he had, with the consent of his father, been united in marriage,
with Ellen, the daughter of Sir John Savage, of Clifton, an alliance
that brought him in close connection with the Stanleys, his wife's
mother being Katherine, daughter of Thomas Lord Stanley, of Lathom,
and sister of the first Earl of Derby. They were in close kinship, and
hence it was necessary, to make the marriage valid, to obtain a Papal
dispensation, which was accordingly done.

In mediæval times mercenary considerations entered rather largely into
matrimonial arrangements, and marriages were frequently contracted at
a very early age, the parties most directly concerned being rarely
consulted as to the choice of their respective partners, a practice
that the then state of the law almost necessitated. Indeed, a prudent
father generally deemed it a parental duty to seek out a suitable
match for his heir and marry him in his lifetime, lest, in the event
of his dying and leaving him unmarried, he might fall into the hands
of some greedy courtier, who under pretence of taking care of his
lands, but in reality to enrich himself, might obtain his wardship and
dispose of him in marriage to the highest bidder without any regard to
inclination or mutual liking. This state of things will sufficiently
account for Piers Legh, the heir apparent to so large an estate, being
married at such an early age.

The name of this Piers is unpleasantly associated with a tragic act
alleged to have been committed at Bewsey Hall, near Warrington,
the recollection of which tradition, that delights in passion and
revenge, has preserved. Much mystery hangs about this terrible deed,
and the versions that have come down to us through succeeding ages
are manifestly untrue in many particulars, though the main facts are
doubtless correct. In the Dodsworth MSS., in the Bodleian Library, the
story is told as follows:--

 Sir John Boteler, Knight, was slain in his bed by the Lord Stanley's
 procurement, Sir Piers Legh and Mister Willm Savage joininge with him
 in that action, corruptinge his servants, his porter settinge a light
 in a windowe to give knowledge upon the water (_i.e._ the moat) that
 was about his house at Bewsaye when the watch that watched about his
 house at Bewsaye where your way to ... (Bold?) comes, were gone awaye
 to their own homes and then they came over the moate in lether boates
 and soe to his chambre where one of his servants called Houlcrofte was
 slaine, being his chamberlaine, the other brother betrayed his mr.
 They promised him a great reward and he going with them a way they
 hanged him at a tree in Bewsaye Park. After this Sir John Boteler's
 lady pursued those that slewe her husband, and indyted xx men for that
 sarte (_i.e._, assault), but being marryed to Lord Gray, he made her
 suites voyd, for which cause she parted from her husband, the Lord
 Graye, and came into Lancastershyre and sayd if my Lord wyll not helpe
 me that I may have my wyll of mine enemies, yet my bodye shall be
 berryed by him, and she caused a tombe of alabaster to be made where
 she lyeth upon the right hand of her husband, Sir John Boteler.

Another paper in the Dodsworth collection represents the murder as
being perpetrated in the reign of Henry VII., and assigns as the cause
of the quarrel the refusal of the Botelers to wear the livery of the
Stanleys on the occasion of King Henry's visit to his brother-in-law,
the Earl of Derby, in the summer of 1496. The Earl is stated to have
sent a messenger to Bewsey desiring its lord to wear "his cloath at
that tyme," but, in the absence of Sir John, his lady, with becoming
regard for her lord's dignity, said, "She scorned that her husband
should wayte on her brother, being as well able to entertayne the King
as he was." A note in the Shakerley Papers states that "sir Peter
(Legh) slewe sir Thomas Butteler of Bewseye knight, and for the same
was forced to build Disley church for his penalty at his own cost and
charges 1527." The late Mr. Roby, in his "Traditions of Lancashire,"
has made the tragedy the theme of one of his legendary lyrics, and
describes the struggle with much circumstantial detail; and since then
a resident of Warrington, Mr. John Fitchett, in a poem of considerable
merit, "Bewsey," has told the story, incorporating in it an incident
traditionary in the neighbourhood, though not referred to in the
Dodsworth papers--that when the assassins broke into the hall they were
resisted by a faithful negro, who was killed in the melée:--

  Tradition tells, a faithful negro brav'd
  Singly their savage rage, and bold oppos'd
  Their passage to the room where thoughtless slept
  His dearly honour'd master, till at last,
  O'erpower'd by numbers, and o'erwhelm'd with wounds,
  Alas! he nobly fell. Their reeking hands
  Unsated yet, had still to execute
  Deeds of black import, and dire schemes of blood:
  For ah! unarm'd, and in his bed surpris'd,
  Vilely they butchered the devoted Lord!
  Meanwhile a servant maid, with pious guile,
  Bore in her apron, artfully conceal'd,
  The infant heir; and many a danger brav'd,
  Saved him uninjured from the ruffian's sword,
  The Negro's valour fav'ring his escape.

The interest in the story has been rather increased than lessened by
the recovery of the ancient ballad of "Sir John Butler," printed by
the Early English Text Society from Bishop Percy's folio MS. (v. iii.
p. 210). In the following ballad the story as related in the Dodsworth
MSS. is adhered to with tolerable accuracy:--

        Listen, lords and ladies fair
          And gentles, to my roundelay.
        List, youths and maidens debonnaire,
          To this most doleful tragedy.

        Of Pincerna, the noble race,
          That Botiller was yclept, I say;
        And Bewsey Hall, that goodly place,
          Where traitors did the Butler slay.

        Fatal the feud 'tween him and one
          Whose sister was his wedded wife;
        The proud Earl Derby, whose false son
          Did plot to take the Butler's life.

        Savage by name and nature too,
          Piers Legh, that pierced all too free,
        Join'd with Lord Stanley and his crew,
          And bought the warder's treacherie.

        A light shone from the warder's tow'r,
          When all the house lay sunk in sleep,
        To guide those murd'rers, fell and stour,
          Across the moat, dark, wide, and deep.

        In leathern boats they cross'd and then
          The warder softly oped the gate:
        Bold fronted them the chamberlain;
          Holcrofte his master warn'd too late.

        Him they slew first, and then the Knight,
          While sleeping, 'neath their daggers bled:--
        A faithful negro, black as night,
          Snatcht up the infant heir and fled.

        The felon porter craved reward
          For treach'rous guiding in the dark:
        They paid him; then for his false guard
          They hung him on a tree i' th' park.

        In vain they sought--the child was saved;
          But gallant Butler was no more:
        That night his wife in London dreamt
          That Bewsey Hall did swim with gore.

        When that she learn'd the foul deed done,
          She pray'd they might have felon's doom;
        But might 'gainst right the struggle won;
          Then sigh'd she forth in bitter gloom:--

        "If by my lord's fell foes and mine
          "My will in life is thus denied;
        "And I must live, bereaved, to pine,
          "Death nor the grave shall us divide,"

        An alabaster tomb she made,
          To her lov'd husband's mem'ry true;
        And on her death her corse was laid
          Close by his side, 'neath aged yew.

        Mourn for the brave, the fair, and true,
          Sleeping in love, and hope, and faith;
        May ruthless ruffians ever rue
          Their murder foul, brave Butler's death!

The "alabaster tomb" in the Butler Chantry in Warrington parish church
still exists, and the effigies of Sir John and his wife are recumbent
upon it; and there also is an effigy of the faithful negro reposing
near to that of his murdered master, or at least what common report
proclaims as such, only that, unfortunately for the story, the darkened
figure is that of a former lady of Bewsey, and not the faithful
servitor of the Botelers, and is, moreover, believed to have been
brought from Warrington Friary, since the time when Randle Holme made
his Church Notes in 1640.

The tragic story of Bewsey, which is so involved in obscurity and
contradiction, and overlaid with so much legendary exaggeration, has
been a cause of perplexity for many a long year to local antiquaries.
No one of the alleged actors, no one of the facts, and no one of the
causes of the supposed quarrel can be true. Sir John Butler's death
occurred before the Earldom of Derby had been conferred on Lord
Stanley; when King Henry visited Lathom, the Earl's sister, Sir John
Butler's widow, was sleeping her last sleep, and at the time of Sir
John's death Piers Legh was a mere child of eight years, so that unless
he was very precocious his share in the outrage is purely mythical,
and we may therefore dismiss the story of his being sentenced, as a
penance for his participation in the murder, to build Disley Church.
And yet the story has, doubtless, a foundation in fact, though the
_actores fabulæ_ may be phantoms. Sir John Butler died on the 26th of
February, 1463; the cause of his death is shrouded in mystery, but that
he died by violence is not altogether improbable. In those days, when
feuds were rife and outrages of daily occurrence, the crime of murder
was held of small account, and one that ofttimes might be expiated
by the payment of a sum of money. The Botelers had ranged themselves
on the side of the Lancastrians. Lord Stanley, who was a consistent
supporter of the party of good luck, was then a Yorkist, as was also
his nephew, Piers Legh, and Piers Legh's brother-in-law, William
Savage. Was the Boteler, whichever of the family he might be, whose
life was sacrificed the victim of some political feud arising out of
the contentions of the rival houses of York and Lancaster?

In the summer of 1482 England was in a state of commotion; Edward
had quarrelled with James III. of Scotland and concluded a treaty of
alliance with the Duke of Albany, the brother of the Scottish King,
who was then aspiring to the royal authority, and had agreed to hold
Scotland as a fief of England in return for the support that had
been promised him. The Duke of Gloucester--so soon to become Richard
III.--who was lord of the marches, had the chief command of an invading
force and marched northwards. The wily chief of the house of Lathom,
Thomas Lord Stanley, commanded the right wing, some 4,000 strong, and
Piers Legh, of Lyme and Bradley, who four years before had succeeded
to the full enjoyment of his patrimony, buckled on his armour and
marched under his banner. By July they had reached the old border town
which overlooks the estuary of the silvery Tweed, the scene of so
many stirring events--Berwick, which the "meek usurper," Henry VI.,
had surrendered when he fled to Scotland after his defeat at Towton.
The town quickly yielded, but, as the castle held out, Gloucester,
unwilling to lose time, marched northwards towards Edinburgh, leaving
Lord Stanley and his force to prosecute the siege. On the 24th of
August the garrison capitulated, and from that time to the present
Berwick has remained severed from the sister kingdom. Peter Legh by his
dash and daring gained golden opinions, and gained the right to wear
his golden spurs as well, for he was made a banneret on Hutton Field.

Had Gloucester had sufficient discernment he might during that
expedition have discovered how little reliance was to be placed on the
fidelity of a Stanley. Tradition says that either in going or returning
dissensions and jealous bickerings arose between the two commanders;
the spirit of hostility spread to the ranks of their followers, and
several frays occurred between Richard's and Stanley's men, in one of
which, near Salford Bridge, the latter had the best of it and succeeded
in capturing one of Gloucester's banners, an incident commemorated in
Glover's rhyming chronicle--

  Jack of Wigan he did take
    The Duke of Gloucester's banner,
  And hung it up in Wigan church
    A monument of honour.

On the 9th of April in the succeeding year Edward IV. died. Gloucester
was at the time at York, and it is said that he attended the minster
with a retinue of six hundred knights and esquires to observe the
obsequies of his departed brother, and swear fealty to his nephew, the
boy-King--Edward V.--the King whose death he was so soon to compass.
Having performed these duties he hastened southwards with the intention
of intercepting the King before he could reach London, and it is
said that on his way he spent a night under Sir Peter Legh's roof at
Bradley, when, in the hope, as it would seem, of securing the future
services of his host, he granted him an annuity of £10 for life.

On the 6th of July Richard and his Queen, Anne, were crowned at
Westminster, when, "the Lord Stanley bare the mace before the King,
and my Lady of Richmond (his wife) bare the Queen's train," for the
Stanleys were fated to flourish whatever party was in the ascendant.
But "uneasy lies the head that wears a crown," especially when the head
is that of a usurper, as Richard had painful experience. His cruelties
had made him unpopular with the people; the Lancastrian party, which
still numbered many adherents, took heart in the hope of being able to
displace him and seat Henry of Richmond, Lord Stanley's stepson, upon
the throne, and ere long the standard of revolt was raised. In January,
1485, commissions were addressed "to all knights, esquires, gentlemen,
and all other of the King's subjects" in the counties of Lancaster
and Chester. The Cheshire commission notified all concerned that "the
King hath deputed the Lord Stanley, the Lord Strange, and Sir William
Stanley to have the rule and leading of all persons appointed to do
the King's service when they be warned against the King's rebels, and
if any rebels arrived in those parts that then all the power that they
could make should be ready to assist the said lords and knight upon
their faith and (al) legiances." The Lancashire commission required the
"knights, esquires, and gentlemen, and others" of the county "to give
their attendance upon the Lords Stanley and Strange to do the King's
Grace service against his rebels in whatsover place within this Royaume
(realm) they fortuned to tarry." Yet at that very moment Lord Stanley
was pledged to Richmond's cause, and as steward of the Royal Household
was sending him information of all Richard's plans. Thus did the
misguided Crouchback thrust into the hands of the Stanleys the power
which, a few short months later, upon the field of Bosworth, was to be
used against him with such fatal effect.

The records of Lyme as well as the old annalists and chroniclers are
silent as to the part which Sir Peter Legh bore in the great struggle
on Redland Heath[59] when the sun of the Plantagenets went down, and
the claims of the rival Roses were finally decided; but we may be
well assured that when commissions were addressed to "all the knights,
esquires, and gentlemen" of Lancashire and Cheshire, and Lord Stanley
was to "have their rule and leading," Sir Peter would not be idle or
allow his armour to rust unused. His house owed allegiance to the White
Rose. Richard had been his guest at Bradley, and had then conferred an
annuity upon him; duty and gratitude should, therefore, equally have
bound him to the cause of his Sovereign, but whether he was with the
"stout fellows in white surcoats and hoods" who followed his cousin
Sir John Savage into the thick of the fight, or in the camp of Lord
Stanley, who looked down upon the fray with calculating judgment,
beguiling both combatants with promises and assurances of sympathy
while waiting to see on which side victory was likely to fall, we have
no means of knowing. At ten o'clock on the morning of that memorable
22nd of August, 1485, while the sun, mounting high in the heavens,
flashed on pike, and corslet, and helm, and brightened every pennon
that lagged in the lazy air, with a great shout and a rattling shower
of arrows the fight began. "Lord! how hastily," says Holinshed, "the
soldiers buckled their helmets--how quickly the archers bent their bows
and frushed their feathers--how readily the billmen shook their bills
and proved their staves, ready to approach and join when the terrible
trumpet should sound the bloody blast to victory or death." The Duke
of Norfolk, who led the van of the royal army, singled out the Earl of
Oxford, and engaged him in a personal encounter, for in those days the
leaders deemed it a point of honour to fight hand to hand; his vizor
was hewn off by a single blow, an arrow from a distance pierced his
brain through his broken helmet, and he fell lifeless to the ground.
The brave Surrey, hurrying up to avenge the death of his father, was
overpowered by Sir John Savage, who led the left wing of Richmond's
army, when he requested that his life might be taken to save him from
dying by an ignoble hand. He was led to the rear, but lived to be
the Surrey of Flodden Field, and the worthy transmitter of "all the
blood of all the Howards," But the men whom Richard had loaded with
benefits deserted him in the hour of his need with a treachery that
proclaimed that the knell of chivalry was rung. Lord Stanley, who three
nights before had held a secret interview with Richmond at Atherstone,
stirred not a finger, nor moved a man, until the fate of the battle was
decided, when he threw off his disguise and charged boldly against his
master on his stepson's side. No strategy could now be of avail, and,
in the effort of despair, Richard made the final charge upon his rival.
Descrying Richmond, he put spurs to his horse, and with lance in rest
rushed towards him, when, in the nick of time, Sir William Stanley,
"with three thousand tall men," closed in and Richard fell overpowered,
with wounds enough to have let out a hundred lives, and murmuring with
his last breath, "Treason! Treason! Treason!" The royal army was but a
rope of sand, and when the shout went up that Richard King of England
had bitten the turf his troops, three-fourths of whom were ready to
side with the strongest, rushed in inglorious retreat, the victors
following in hot pursuit The fight lasted but two short hours, yet on
the morrow many a whimpled dame mourned the loss of her belted lord,
and many a sobbing Joan and village Winifred grieved for husband and
lover slain at Bosworth Field.

When the fight was ended, Lord Stanley, ever the faithful adherent of
the party of good luck, led the descendant of Cadwallader to the slope
of the hill at Stoke Golding, ever after called Crown Hill. A knight
handed him the battered circlet of gold which adorned the chapeau of
estate Richard had worn upon his salade or head piece, and, commanding
the attendants to kneel, he placed it on the brow of the victorious
Earl and proclaimed him "Conqueror and King." Meanwhile the stripped
and mutilated corpse of him who at the morning's rise led a gallant
army to assured victory, "trussed like a calf and naked as he came into
the world," was flung across a horse and carried in triumph behind a
pursuivant at arms to Leicester, where, after being exposed to the gaze
of the scornful mob for two hot summer days, it was buried without
ceremony in the church of the Gray Friars.

Henry of Richmond came out of the field of Bosworth a victor to ascend
the throne of a nation bleeding at every pore, and the leading nobles
of which had been swept away. He was not ungrateful. One of his first
acts was to seize the estates of the adherents of the fallen Richard.
With them he was able to reward his faithful followers, and the
originally great possessions of the Stanleys became swollen by enormous
grants out of the Yorkists' confiscated lands. The Leghs of Lyme fared
but indifferently in comparison; at all events, there is no evidence
of Sir Peter having come out of that struggle with any addition to his
territorial possessions. On the 14th of January following the houses
of York and Lancaster were united by the marriage of the King with
Elizabeth of York, and on the 20th of September, with almost undue
punctuality, the popular wish was realised in the birth of a Prince--a
bud from the peaceful grafting of the White Rose upon the Red--for whom
Lord Stanley, or rather Lord Derby, for he had then been elevated to
the earldom, was one of the two sponsors.

But the partiality for the house of York was not yet extinguished among
the men of Lancashire and Cheshire. As Lord Bacon says, the memory of
the ill-fated Richard "lay like lees at the bottom of their hearts, and
would come up if the vessel was but stirred;" it was not long before a
spirit of resistance began to manifest itself, and Henry found himself
threatened with the loss of his ill-gotten sovereignty from a source as
unexpected as it was deemed contemptible. In 1487 a youth appeared in
Ireland calling himself Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick, but whose
real name was Lambert Simnel. He was proclaimed as Edward VI., and the
Duchess of Burgundy, favouring the imposture, sent over from Flanders
an experienced captain, Martin Swartz, with two thousand men to his
aid. In the "merry month of May" they landed on the barren island of
Fouldrey, and took possession of the castle--the Peel of Fouldrey, as
it was called--a fortress commanding the entrance to Morecambe Bay,
which had been built by the monks of Furness as a retreat from the
ravages of the Scots. Thence they marched southwards through Yorkshire
into Nottinghamshire, where they were joined by Lord Lovel. Henry,
with his usual promptitude, hastened to give the insurgents battle;
Sir Peter Legh, who had again buckled on his armour, served under
the banner of the King, and bravely bore his part in the battle of
Stokefield, near Newark, where, on the 6th of June, the two armies
were put in array against each other. The issue was quickly decided,
and resulted in the complete overthrow of the insurgents, one half of
whom were slaughtered. This appears to have been the last military
exploit in which Sir Peter Legh had any share. The sword was returned
to the scabbard, never again to be unsheathed, the remainder of his
days being passed in more peaceful pursuits. It is not unlikely that
his abandonment of the profession of arms thus early--for he was only
in his thirty-second year when the battle at Stokefield was fought--was
caused by the death of his wife, which occurred on the 7th May, 1491,
at Bewgenet, a small village in Sussex, where she appears to have been
staying, and where her body was buried.

Though wealth and honours were not lavished on Sir Peter Legh in the
way they had been on the Stanleys, yet the services he had rendered at
Stokefield and elsewhere were not allowed to go entirely unrequited,
though it must be admitted that his reward came somewhat late. By
letters patent, dated at Lancaster, 3rd March, 20 Henry VII. (1505), he
was, in consideration of services he had rendered to the King, as the
grant states, appointed successor to the Earl of Derby in the important
and lucrative office of seneschal or steward of Blackburnshire,
including Tottington, Rochdale, and Clitheroe, within the county of
Lancaster--a vast tract of country embracing within its limits the
forests of Blackburnshire and Bowland. These forests or chases were
extensive wastes inhabited by the roe, the stag, and the wolf, and
also the wild ox, which latter is said to have been imported into
these northern wilds from the Forest of Blackley, on the confines of
Manchester. According to popular tradition, the wild cattle which
still constitute one of the peculiarities of Lyme date their existence
there from the time that Sir Peter Legh held the seneschalship of
Blackburnshire, having, it is said, been conveyed by him from the
Lancashire forests to his chase at Lyme.

Sir Peter continued in his office for a period of six years, and with
the exception of an occasional lawsuit, when he was supposed to have
exceeded his powers, he appears to have discharged the duties of his
office to the general satisfaction of both sovereign and subject. In
1511 he resigned his post, the reason for which will hereafter appear.
He was then verging upon sixty, and had been a widower twenty years;
his sons had all attained to man's estate, and his only daughter had
been suitably mated, her husband being Lawrence, son and heir of Sir
John Warren, of Poynton. He seems, therefore, to have had a desire to
withdraw from the more active duties of life, and to spend his few
remaining years in peaceful quietude. The year which followed his
wife's death was that in which her brother, Thomas Savage, was made
Bishop of Rochester, from which see he was subsequently translated
to London, whence he was elevated to the Archbishopric of York, and
doubtless his brother-in-law's advice and counsel would be sought. Be
that as it may, Sir Peter Legh determined upon entering the Church, and
took orders, thenceforward describing himself as "knight and priest,"
and about the same time he set about the foundation of a chantry chapel
upon his estate at Lyme--the present church at Disley. The time was
one of much religious energy and life, notwithstanding that the faith
might be in a dim lantern and obscured by not a few superstitions and
scandals, but it must not be assumed that the only object of Sir Peter
Legh's foundation was that prayers might be offered for the dead by
the officiating priest. The place was removed from the mother church,
which at some seasons would be almost inaccessible, especially to the
aged and infirm; it would seem therefore to have been intended more as
a kind of oratory or domestic chapel appurtenant to his manor house,
and available for the neighbouring population, who would thus have
some of the ministrations of religion if not all the public means of
grace carried almost to their own doors. In the erection of it he took
counsel with the parsons of Wilmslow, Prestwich, and Gawsworth, and
also with Mr. Brygges, the master of Sir John Percival's Grammar School
at Macclesfield, then just founded; but curiously enough no mention is
made of the parson of Stockport, in whose parish it was to be situate,
and who would claim sacerdotal superiority. Sir Peter died before his
work was completed, but prior to his decease he bound his son by solemn
promises to finish the work he had begun. His idea seems to have been
to found a kind of Ecclesiastical College, with three priests and two
deacons, but unfortunately he did not define the exact character of the
foundation he contemplated, and the omission gave rise to protracted
litigation and much ill-feeling between the executors under his will
and his son and successor. It was of little consequence, however, for
within a very few years the Act was passed for the suppression of the
minor religious houses, and Sir Peter Legh's chantry chapel at Disley
shared the common fate, the various lands and tenements belonging to it
being seized into the hands of the King's Commissioners.

Sir Peter, who must have begun to feel the weight of years upon him,
made his will in 1521, but omitted to name his executors. In the
following year he executed two other wills, the latest of which, dated
December 1, 1522, has been printed by Mr. Earwaker from the original
in the muniments at Lyme, and is interesting from the very specific
directions given respecting his funeral, the ceremonies to be observed
at it, the monument to be erected over his remains, and especially the
adorning of it "wt a pictor aftr me and my wieff and or Armes," all
which his executors carefully observed. Two years after the execution
of his last will he is said to have erected the structure known as
Lyme Cage, the precursor of the present building, the precise purpose
of which it is difficult to define, unless it was intended as a stand
from which the ladies of Lyme might, without fatigue, enjoy the
pleasures of the chase. About the same time, too, he is found helping
in the work of rebuilding the tower of Lyme Church, and inviting the
"contributions of all pious persons," without whose help, so the appeal
declares, "the parish was not able to finish the work." His death
occurred at Lyme, August 11th, 1527, at the ripe age of seventy-two,
and in accordance with his testamentary instructions his body was
removed for burial by the side of his ancestors in the old church at
Winwick, where a sepulchral brass, with the "pictors" of himself and
his wife, was placed to his memory, which still remains in a tolerable
state of preservation, and which is more than usually interesting on
account of the peculiar character of his effigy. He is represented in
the plate-armour of the period, with a sword upon his side, and wearing
the spurs of knighthood; whilst over the armour of the soldier is
represented the chasuble and other vestments of the ecclesiastic. His
head is bare, with a tonsured crown denoting his priestly office. His
hands are uplifted, though not closed, and between them is a shield
of six quarterings. By his side is the effigy of his wife, habited
in a long robe, and wearing a headdress with lappets that depend on
each side; a girdle encircles her waist, and the hands are uplifted
as if in supplication. At their feet are graven the figures of their
several children, and there is also this inscription in black-letter
characters:--

 ORATE PRO AIAB' PROVI VIRI, DNI PETRI LEGH, MILITIS, HIC TUMULATI,
 ET DNÆ ELENE, UX. EJUS, FILIE JOHIS SAVAGE, MILITIS, CUJUS QUID
 ELENE CORPUS SEPELITR. APUD BEWGENETT 17° DIE MENSIS MAIJ, ANNO
 DOMINI MILLESIMO CCCCLXXXXJ. IDEMQ. PETRUS, POST IPIUS ELENÆ MORTEM
 I. SACERDOTEM CANONICE, CONSECRAT OBIIT APUD LYME I. HANLEY XI. DIE
 AUGUSTI AO. DI MVCXXVIJ.

Sir Peter Legh had issue five sons and one daughter. His third son,
Galfred or Gowther Legh, who resided at Woodcroft, founded the grammar
school at Winwick; his will bears date "Apryll 14, 1546," and a lengthy
abstract from the original in the registry at York will be found in
the "Lancashire Chantries," edited for the Chetham Society by the late
Canon Raines.

When Sir Peter Legh's body had been peacefully committed to the grave,
and his executors, in accordance with his expressed desire, had
provided the sumptuous tomb with its coverings of "marbull" and its
"pictors in brass," an inquiry was held before the Escheator of the
County of Chester respecting the lands he had held at the time of his
death, and it was then found that Peter Legh was his son and heir, and
of the age of 48. On the 22nd June, 1528, he had writ of livery granted
him of his patrimonial estates, and he then entered upon possession.
The document, which is on the Recognizance Rolls of Chester, is a
lengthy one, and recites several family deeds and settlements, and
gives a clear idea of the extent of the family estates at that time.

Peter Legh had then passed the meridian of life, and had been twice
married. His first wife, Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Gerard, of Bryn,
to whom he had been contracted in marriage by his father in 1487, when
he was only seven years of age, died on the 5th May, 1510, leaving him
two daughters, the eldest of whom, Cicely, had been given in marriage
three years previously to Thomas, son of Sir Thomas Boteler, of Bewsey,
the match having probably been arranged with the hope of putting an end
to the feud that had so long existed between the two families, just
as in the year before the contention of the rival houses of York and
Lancaster had been terminated by the union of the red and white roses;
though if this were the expectation of the promoters of the match their
hopes were doomed to disappointment, for the heads of the houses of
Lyme and Bewsey had still to appeal very frequently to the law courts
for help in the adjustment of their difficulties.

A year or two after the death of his first wife Peter Legh entered
into a marriage with Margaret, daughter of Nicholas Tyldesley, and by
her he had a numerous family--three sons and seven daughters. He is
said to have been afflicted with lameness, the result, it is supposed,
of a wound he had received at Flodden, in 1513, when his kinsman
Christopher Savage, the valiant mayor, and so many of the burgesses
of Macclesfield were numbered among the slain. Possibly the pain and
inconvenience experienced from his lameness had tended to sour his
temper, for he appears to have been of a more than usually litigious
disposition if we may judge from the many occasions in which he figured
in the law courts, sometimes at the instance of his neighbours, often
in connection with the Botelers, and occasionally to answer charges
brought by his father's trustees, who accused him of improperly
receiving and retaining the rents and property belonging to the Chantry
at Disley, which he had founded. How far these last-named accusations
were well founded is not clear. Possibly the religious feelings of the
son were not as intense as those of the sire, and hence the neglect
of a duty on the delegated performance of which the father had partly
rested his hopes of salvation; or it may be that he took a charitable
view of things and believed that his father's faults were not of a
very flagrant or inexpiable character, and therefore not requiring
a continuance of the posthumous invocations he had provided for.
Certain it is that when Peter Legh the younger made his own will in
anticipation of his approaching end, he made provision for the services
of a chaplain who should continue "only for seven years," evidently
believing that that period would be sufficient for his probation in the
purgatorial region.

Peter Legh ended his days at Bradley on the 4th December, 1541, and on
the 24th January following, an inquisition as to his Cheshire estates
was taken at Chester, when his eldest son by his second wife, who also
bore the name of Peter, and was then aged twenty-eight years, was found
to be his heir.

The year in which the battle of Flodden was fought was that in which
Peter Legh the younger first saw the light. In 1518, while still an
infant, for he was only five years of age, he was united in marriage
with his kinswoman, Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Gerard, of Bryn,
the Church's dispensation having been first obtained--a match that
brought him, it may be hoped, more happiness than fell to the lot of
his younger sister, Joan Legh, who when six years old was married
to his wife's brother, the son and heir of Sir Thomas Gerard, from
whom she was afterwards divorced. In May, 1544, two years after he
had entered upon his patrimony, he joined the expedition headed by
the Earl of Hertford to demand the surrender of the infant Queen of
Scotland, whom Henry had intended uniting in marriage with his son, and
in this way securing the union of the two kingdoms. The force marched
upon Edinburgh, which was speedily captured, pillaged, and burnt.
After this rough kind of courtship, and when they had plundered and
destroyed the towns and villages in the neighbourhood, the army moved
on to Leith, which was also demolished. Before taking ship on their
return the Earl of Hertford distributed honours to those who had been
conspicuous by their bravery; Peter Legh, of Lyme, was one of them, and
was then advanced to the rank of banneret.

After the accession of Edward VI. he was entrusted with the shrievalty
of Lancashire, and on the 17th November, 1553, the first year of Queen
Mary's reign, he was appointed to the office of sheriff of the county
of Chester, and re-appointed to the same office "during pleasure" in
the following year, an evidence that he enjoyed the confidence of both
sovereigns. The times were, however, troublous. A great religious
revolution, the seeds of which had been sown by "the preacher of
Lutterworth," attained to maturity in the time of Henry VIII. In the
"infant reign" of Edward VI. the Reformation continued to advance with
steady step, but at his death his sister Mary ascended the throne,
Popery was restored, and many of the people returned to the religious
observances of their fathers. The then Earl of Derby, acting upon the
maxims of his family, had been able to accommodate himself to the
changing circumstances of the times. Though a staunch Protestant under
Edward, he became an uncompromising Roman Catholic under Mary, orthodox
in every article of the faith except the restitution of the property
which he had filched from the Church, and about which his conscience
was somewhat tender, restitution being, in his estimation, inconsistent
with the traditional canon of "good luck;" his heresies on this head,
however, were amply atoned for by his readiness to persecute those who
adhered to the reformed doctrines. When George Marsh, the Lancashire
martyr, was taken before Justice Barton, at Smithell's Hall, for
preaching false doctrine in the church of Dean, the justice sent him
to the Earl of Derby, at Lathom, for further examination. "Then was I
called," says Marsh, "to my Lord and his council, and was brought into
the chamber of presence, where were Sir William Norris, Sir Piers a
Lee (Sir Peter Legh), Mr. Sherburn, the parson of Grapnel, Mr. Moore,
and others. My Lord asked me whether I was one of those that sowed evil
seed and dissension amongst the people; which thing I denied, desiring
to know my accusers, and what could be laid against me, but that I
could not know. Then he and his counsel would examine me themselves."
Sir Peter does not seem to have liked the office of Inquisitor, for,
though an active member of Lord Derby's council, he took care to absent
himself when Marsh was brought up a second time for examination. Very
likely his own religious opinions were a little undecided, and the
patience, meekness, and tranquillity of the martyr may have inclined
him towards the faith for which so worthy a man was to suffer so
terrible a death.

In the year in which Sir Peter was appointed to the shrievalty of
Cheshire a general muster of soldiers was ordered from the respective
hundreds of the county of Lancaster, and his name occurs in the muster
for West Derby as holding a command under the Earl of Derby. Three
years later a commission was issued to array, inspect, and exercise all
men-at-arms, and men capable of bearing arms, as well archers as horse
and foot men, so that they might be arrayed in arms to serve their
country in case of need. But all this preparation was of little avail,
for, after a short siege of eight days, the fortress of Calais, which
had cost the conquerors of Crescy eleven months to acquire, and which
for two hundred years had been held as the key to the dominions of the
the French King, was surrendered, and England found herself expelled
from the continent of Europe. The loss filled the kingdom with murmurs,
and overwhelmed the Queen with despair, and at the age of forty-two
years she descended childless to the grave, leaving the throne to her
half-sister Elizabeth, whose masculine habits and resolute will made
her better fitted to wield the sceptre.

In the year of Elizabeth's accession Sir Peter Legh caused the church
at Disley to be consecrated for Protestant worship, and dedicated to
the Virgin Mary. At the same time he added a peal of bells,[60] one of
which bore the following inscription:--

  All people may behold and see
  The works of good Sir Peter Legh.

and, as Bishop Gastrill states in his _Notitia_, the church was "made
parochiall upon a composition between Sir Peter Legh of Lyme and other
Inhabitants of Disley, and Sir Edward Warren, Patron of Stockport, and
the Inhabitants of that Parish. The Inhabitants of Disley to repair
their chapel, and to pay all dues to the mother church (of Stockport)."
The building which Sir Peter's grandfather had caused to be erected
would seem to have remained unoccupied, for between the legal
disputations and the religious commotions that were simultaneously
taking place the property intended for the endowment had never been
actually conveyed.

Having performed this duty, Sir Peter next set about the improvement of
his Cheshire estates, and obtained licence from the Queen to enclose
and empark his estate of Lyme, and to have free warren therein, as
well as in his adjoining lands. Hitherto the family had resided
chiefly at Bradley, a larger and more stately mansion than Lyme,
which, if a house of much antiquity, was one of comparatively small
dimensions. Sir Peter Legh was a man of considerable culture; he was
a scholar and an architect as well as a soldier, and during his time
some important additions were made to his Cheshire home. With his
love of architecture it was natural he should combine a taste for
heraldry, and in the pursuit of this study he received considerable
help from William Flower, Norroy King of Arms, who had previously
held the post of Chester Herald. About this time Flower was making
his "Visitation" of Cheshire; he was a welcome guest at Lyme, and,
doubtless, he was equally pleased to find a congenial spirit, for in
that age of religious zeal, persecution, and piety there were many
who, acting upon St. Paul's advice to Timothy, avoided "giving heed to
fables and endless genealogies which minister questions rather than
godly edifying," and who were indifferent about preserving their
distinctions of rank, and others who had no special taste for the
investigations of their descent, and were unable therefore to render
the professional herald any substantial help in the elucidation of
their family lineage. Very pleasant, no doubt, were the discourses and
learned the discussions of those two worthies as they roamed about the
chase, wandered over the Knight's Low, or sauntered beneath the shadow
of the Lyme Hills. But heralds are human, and are apt to be credulous
when dealing with knights and gentlemen possessing kindred tastes
and given to hospitality. Flower listened to the story of the former
Peter Legh's supposed share in the victory at Crescy, accepted parole
evidence, and endorsed the fable, giving it the stamp of official
confirmation in the special armorial augmentation--the hand and banner
to which we have previously referred--which Sir Peter caused to be so
profusely displayed in his mansion; he would seem also to have rendered
assistance in the tricking out of the fine series of heraldic shields
that were placed in the church of Disley, but which were removed some
fifty years ago to grace the windows of the drawing-room at Lyme, where
they may still be seen.

But other and more urgent matters demanded the attention of the lord
of Lyme. The country was much divided on the subjects of religion and
politics, and many of the old county families were anxious to see the
Catholic faith re-established. In November, 1569, occurred the "Rising
in the North," headed by the Earl of Northumberland.

  Earl Percy there his ancyent spread,
    The half moone shining all soe faire;
  The Norton's ancyent had the crosse,
    And the five wounds our Lord did beare.

No sooner was it suppressed than another abortive act of treason
occurred. The Earl of Derby was at the head of the lieutenancy of
Lancashire and Cheshire, and to guard against any fresh attempt to
disturb the public tranquillity, levies of troops, armour, and money
were made. Forced loans were also had recourse to--loans that might
more correctly have been termed benevolences or compulsory gifts, for
they were never intended to be repaid. In April, 1570, a letter under
the Privy Seal was sent to Sir Peter Legh, requiring him as the owner
of estates in Cheshire to furnish a "loan" of one hundred marks, and
simultaneously, as a Lancashire landowner, to lend £100.

On the 24th October, 1572, died Edward, the great and munificent Earl
of Derby, with whose death, in the opinion of Camden, "the glory of
English hospitality seemed to fall asleep." The funeral obsequies
were characterised with a splendour and magnificence that befitted
the semi-regal state he had maintained when living. Such a funeral
Lancashire had never seen before. The representatives of all the great
county families, with their banners and other heraldic insignia,
were there. Sir Peter Legh was present as one of the mourners, and
was joined with another mourner in offering the deceased Earl's
sword. It must have been a sorrowful day for him, for he had enjoyed
a large share of the Earl's confidence, and often had they taken
counsel together on the great questions that were then occupying the
public mind. But the confidence which had been shown by the father
was manifested in an equal degree by the son, and the letters still
preserved among the Lyme muniments show that Sir Peter Legh's advice
and counsel on private, as well as on public questions, was frequently
sought by the "great" Earl's successor. In 1585, when the Spaniards
were threatening a descent on the English coasts and the alarm of
invasion spread through the country, Henry, Earl of Derby, was
appointed by the Queen Lord Lieutenant of the two counties of Lancaster
and Chester, with power to appoint his own provost marshal, whose duty
was to enforce discipline and maintain order among the troops who were
to be drilled and trained and kept in readiness to repel the common
enemy. Sir Peter Legh owned extensive estates in both counties. He was
the tried and trusted friend of the Stanleys, and to him, therefore,
was committed the responsible office of provost marshal for the two
shires. We next hear of him, in his capacity of "provost marshal and
justice of peace for Lancashire and Cheshire," committing one Randolph
Norbury--who had been charged with "uttering very heinous words"
against the Queen's favourite, the Earl of Leicester, who had succeeded
to the Lancashire estates of the Botelers of Bewsey--to the keeper of
the Castle of Chester to be detained until he should be discharged by
due course of law.

The storm which had long been threatening was now about to burst. The
haughty Spaniard, impatient for conquest, and offended at Drake's
threatening to "singe his beard," ordered the "Invincible Armada," as
he presumptuously phrased it, to be prepared for sea. Great was the
preparation and intense the excitement in England. All along the coast
anxious watch was kept for days; from tower and turret and from every
vantage ground warders scanned the horizon with eager eyes. At length
the beacon fires were lit, proclaiming to Englishmen that the enemy was
in view, and tongues of flame shot up from every cliff and hill--

  For swift to east and swift to west the warning radiance spread--
  High on St. Michael's Mount it shone--it shone on Beachy Head.
  Far o'er the deep the Spaniard saw, along each southern shire,
  Cape beyond cape, in endless range, those twinkling points of fire.

Sir Peter Legh's kinsman, Thomas Legh, of Adlington, was the "stout old
sheriff" of Cheshire that year. He himself was still provost marshal
of the two palatine counties, and we may be sure at such a time he
would be by no means idle. He was too old to again unsheath the sword,
but if he were unable to render personal help he could yet render
pecuniary aid, and that he readily did, for we read that in response
to the Queen's appeal he contributed one hundred pounds--a substantial
sum in those days, and a welcome addition to an exchequer by no means
overflowing. It was almost his last public act, for before two more
winters had passed over his head he had sunk peacefully to his rest,
full of years and honours. He died at Lyme, on the 6th December, 1589,
at the age of seventy-six; his body was carried to Winwick, and there
buried in the family chapel where so many of his race had been laid
before him.

What has been truly called the "great Eliza's golden time" seems to
have been the golden era of Lyme as it was the golden age of England.
The Sir Peter Legh of that day was a scholar as well as a gentleman,
a courtier as well as a soldier; brave and generous, graceful and
gifted, with a knowledge of the world, and a large experience,
united with consummate prudence. He was the friend of Essex and of
Leicester, and the trusted counsellor of two successive Earls of Derby;
a frequent visitor at Lathom, he was familiar with the semi-regal
state and munificence there maintained, and in his own house at Lyme
he observed a dignity and bounteous hospitality such as none of his
predecessors had equalled. The age was one of growing refinement and
general activity of intellect, resulting from the growing opulence of
the country. England had recovered from the state of exhaustion in
which the Wars of the Roses had left her, and men had more leisure for
the cultivation of the elegances of life. While those daring spirits,
Drake and Hawkins, and Howard, and Frobisher, were founding our naval
supremacy, Sackville and Spencer, and Marlowe and Sidney were calling
up a great native literature. Raleigh was in his teens, and in the
yeoman's house at Stratford was budding into manhood he who was to

  Show, sustain, and nourish all the world.

England had then become a true garden of the Hesperides; musical talent
had spread from the Court to the people; literature was cultivated;
and the drama, "which taught the unlearned the knowledge of many
famous histories," was emerging from childishness into vigorous life,
and producing its effect upon the national character. With the great
diffusion of wealth men took pleasure and pride in adding to the
stateliness and beauty of their permanent abodes. Architecture is said
to mark the growth and development of human society, and to express the
needs and ideas of changeful centuries. The age of Elizabeth was truly
a building age; the day of the gloomy keep, the drawbridge, and the
portcullis--the time

  When men built less against the elements
  Than their next neighbours

was passed. Property was secure; and the fortified castle had given
place to the stately mansion, and in almost every parish the country
gentleman had taken the place of the feudal barons or the mitred abbots
who had previously been the owners of vast territorial districts. As
William Brown, in his "Pastorals," remarked--

  Here on some mount a house of pleasure vaunted,
  Where once the warring cannon had been planted.

Sir Peter Legh, as we have seen, greatly enlarged, if he did not
entirely rebuild, his mansion at Lyme; he greatly improved his estate,
and had his demesne emparked, so that the fallow deer which tenanted it
could be separated from the wild cattle that roamed over the moorland
wastes of Macclesfield Forest. His progenitors for generations had been
foresters in fee; he not only enjoyed the privilege, but, as the deputy
of the Earl of Derby, exercised various offices in connection with the
forest. Hunting was his favourite pastime, and he appears to have been
generous in the distribution of game and venison among his friends
and neighbours. In the "Shuttleworth Accounts" there are frequent
references to Sir Peter's bounty. Thus we read--"Paid for twoe pounds
of peper that wente to Lyme when the staggs were sent to London, 5s.
8d.;" "To the keeper at Lyme for killing two staggs, 4s.;" "Unto a man
who broughte a shoulder of a stagge from Lyme, xijd.;" "Unto a keeper
of Sir Pyeres Legh who brought venison, 5s." Later on we read--"Given
unto a mane of Sir Peteres Lyghte which broughte rabettes and pigiones,
xijd.;" "To a man of Sir Peter Lyghe, which broughte fisshe to the
Smitheles, ijs.;" "To a mane of Sir Peter Lyghe, which broughte a fatte
buke to Smytheles, vs.;" "To Lytell Robin which brought smelts from my
Ladie Lyge, iiijd.;" "To Sir Peter Lyghe's mane which brought a fatte
buke to Smytheles, vis.;" "Sir Peter Lyghe's keeper, which brought
the buke to Gawthorpe, xs." In 1584 the great Earl of Leicester,
Elizabeth's favourite, is found writing to Sir Peter, thanking him for
a hind he had sent, and also for a hound, probably one of the Lyme
mastiffs, a breed that was famous it seems even then. We have already
said that the lord of Lyme enjoyed the friendship of the Earl of Essex,
Leicester's great rival. Essex was a guest at Lyme, and Wilson, the
historian, who was in his retinue, in his journal records a curious
incident respecting the hunting of the deer on that occasion. He
writes:--

 Sir Peter Lee, of Lime in Cheshire, invited my Lord one summer to
 hunt the stagg. And having a great stagg in chase, and many gentlemen
 in pursuite, the stagg took soyle; and divers (whereof I was one)
 alighted and stood with swords drawne to have a cut at him at his
 coming out of the water.

 The staggs there being wonderfull fierce and dangerous made us
 youthes more eager to be at him. But he escaped us all. And it was my
 misfortune to be hindered of coming near him, the way being sliperie,
 as by a fall; which gave occasion to some who did not know mee, to
 speake as if I had falne for feare, which being told mee, I left the
 stagg, and followed the gentleman who first spoke it. But I found him
 of that cold temper, that, it seems, his words made an escape from
 him, as by his denial and repentance it appeared.

 But this made mee more violent in persuite of the stagg, to recover
 my reputation. And I happened to be the only horseman in when the
 dogs set him up at bay; and approaching nere him on horseback, he
 broke through the dogs and run at mee, and tore my horse's side with
 his hornes close to my thigh. Then I quitted my horse, and grew more
 cunning (for the dogs had set him up again), stealing behind him with
 my sword and cut his hamstrings, and then got upon his back and cut
 his throate: which as I was doing, the company came in and blamed my
 rashness for running such a hazard.

Sir Peter Legh believed that--

  The forest music is to hear the hounds
  Rend the thin air and with a lusty cry
  Awake the drowsy echo, and confound
  Their perfect language in a mingled voice.

But though, like Percy, in Chevy Chase, he delighted--

  To drive the deer with hound and horn,

hunting the stag was not the only amusement he provided for his
friends. The Mysteries and Miracle Plays had then given place to
"stage-plays, interludes, and comedies;" though the drama was only
in its puling infancy, it was rising into popular favour. My Lord of
Leicester had his company of players, who performed before the Queen
at the Kenilworth revels in 1575, when the whole country side flocked
to the great earl's great castle. Doubtless there was amongst the
spectators the bright son of the well-to-do burgess of Stratford, who
would probably there received his first impressions of the drama, as
he witnessed the rude masques, the storial shows of Gascoigne, and
the allegory of the Lady of the Lake. The great Earl of Derby had
a company of players in Lancashire, who, according to the Stanley
papers, relieved the dulness of the Puritan chaplain's preaching on
the Sunday morning by a theatrical performance before the household
in the same mansion on the Sunday evening; and Sir Peter Legh, not to
be behind hand, had a company of his own. The severe moralists of the
age were strongly opposed to stage plays, and accounted them greater
abominations than drinking, dicing, bear-baiting, and cock-fighting,
and the law defined as "vagabonds" all players who were "not belonging
to any baron of this realm, or towards any other person of greater
degree." Sir Peter Legh's actors not only performed at Lyme and
enlivened the houses of his neighbours, but we read in the Shuttleworth
accounts already referred to that in the "Armada" year they appeared
at Gawthorpe and were paid for a performance in the hall there. Sir
Peter's liberality and munificence added to his popularity, and caused
him to be looked up to with reverence and respect as well by his equals
as by the common people. As we have said, he died in 1589, at the ripe
age of 76; but Dame Margaret, his wife, must have survived him several
years, for among the family portraits at Lyme there is one of her,
taken in 1595, when she was in her ninetieth year. By her Sir Peter had
a numerous issue--five sons and two daughters. The youngest of the two
daughters, Margery, married for her first husband Sir Robert Barton, of
Smithells, in Lancashire, and concerning their union tradition tells a
pathetic story which Mr. Leigh has enshrined in verse and given to the
world in his entertaining "Lays and Legends of Cheshire," under the
title of "The Loves of Sir Robert Barton and Margery Legh."

Sir Peter Legh outlived his eldest son, also named Peter, who died
at Haydock about the year 1570, and was succeeded by his grandson,
who bore the same baptismal name. He was born in 1563, and must
therefore have been in his twenty-seventh year when he succeeded to the
patrimonial lands. While yet a minor he had received a training well
fitted to enable him to discharge the duties that would devolve upon
him as the owner of extensive estates. He had been a frequent guest of
the Earl of Derby, and in the lordly hall of Lathom and at the kingly
court of Castle Rushen he acquired a grace and dignity of manner, and
at Gray's Inn, where he entered as a student, he gained a knowledge of
the laws which in due course he would be called to administer. When a
youth of fourteen he acted as page to Henry, Earl of Derby, and held up
his train when he made a visit of ceremony to the town of Liverpool,
and seven years later he was in the same Earl's suite as "one of his
gentlemen waiters," when, as Elizabeth's ambassador, he went to invest
the King of France with the Order of the Garter. In September, 1585,
four months after he had entered at Gray's Inn, he married Margaret,
daughter of Sir Gilbert Gerard, of Bromley, Master of the Rolls. For
some cause or other the marriage had been delayed, as the settlement
bears date 1st June, 1579. In the following year he was called upon
to bear his part in the Great Council of the Nation, being chosen
one of the representatives in Parliament for the ancient borough of
Wigan, his wife's kinsman, William Gerard, being his co-representative.
The time was one of much anxiety, consequent upon the well-founded
apprehensions of a Spanish invasion and the decisive indications of
plots for the deposition of Elizabeth and the recognition of Mary's
claim to the English crown--that in which the fierce indignation in
England against the bigoted King of Spain led the Government to break
through the superstitious love of peace and boldly encounter Philip
on his own territory. In 1589 Mr. Legh was again elected one of the
representatives of Wigan, and in the following year his grandfather,
Sir Peter Legh, passed to his rest, when he succeeded as next heir male
to the family estates. His wealth and social status marked him as a
fitting person to be entrusted with the shrievalty of Cheshire, and in
1595 that dignity was conferred upon him. Proud of his ancestry, he was
no less proud of the home of his ancestors. His grandfather had rebuilt
the mansion at Lyme and spent much of his time there, maintaining
great estate; the older mansion of Bradley had in consequence been
comparatively neglected and allowed to fall into decay, and in 1597, as
appears by an inscription on one of the beams, he set about repairing
the ravages which time had made, thoroughly reinstated it, and at the
same time adorned the wall of the great staircase with an heraldic
shield of eight quarterings, which may be seen at the present day. On
the 2nd July, 1598, just a month before the death of the illustrious
Lord Burleigh, the hoary minister, in whom

            Old experience did attain
  To something like prophetic strain,

he attended at the Royal Palace in Greenwich, and there received
the honour of knighthood at the hands of Queen Elizabeth. Two years
later--43 Elizabeth--he was elected to represent the county of Chester
in Parliament, in the place of Sir William Beeston of Beeston, Knight,
his co-representative being Sir Thomas Holcroft, of Vale Royal, and the
same year, having completed the restoration of his house at Bradley,
he rendered the like good service to the church which his ancestors
had founded at Disley, re-roofing it and putting the fabric in a state
of complete repair. While this work was going on he was busied in
making important additions to his territorial estate, having entered
into a contract with Roger and Hamer Bruche for the purchase of their
ancestral domain of Bruche, with the hall and lands pertaining to it,
which thenceforward formed part of the Legh estates.

On the 24th March, 1603, the most glorious reign in our country's
annals was brought to a close; it was a sad day for "merrie England,"
for it was that on which, in the royal palace at Richmond, in the
seventieth year of her age, and the forty-fifth of her reign, worn out
with the cares of State and wearied with the fierce contest between her
intensely womanly nature and her sense of duty as the queen of a great
people, the most powerful and most beloved monarch in Europe, Queen
Elizabeth, lay upon her cushions wrestling with death, and terminated
a long life of power, prosperity, and glory. Within three short months
of that day death had cast a shadow over the home of Sir Peter Legh.
On the 23rd July, 1603, he had the misfortune to lose his wife, the
Lady Margaret Legh, who was then in her thirty-third year. She appears
to have been staying in London at the time, for her body was buried in
the church of Fulham, in Middlesex, where a sumptuous monument with
her effigy upon it was erected to her memory, and which may still be
seen near the north door of the chancel. She is represented as seated
beneath an arched canopy with an infant upon her lap and another by her
side. Over the head is a shield of arms, and on the face of the tomb is
the following inscription:--

 To ye memy. or what else dearer remayneth of yt verteous Lady, La.
 Margaret Legh, daughter of him yt sometimes was Sir Gilbert Gerrard,
 Knt. and mr of ye Rolles in ye Highe Court of Chancery, Wife to Sir
 Peter Legh of Lyme, in ye county of Chester, Kt., and by him ye mother
 of seven sons, Pierce, Frauncis, Radcliffe, Thomas, Peter, Gilbert,
 and John, with two daughters, Anne and Catherine; of wch Radcliffe,
 Gilbert, and John, deceased infants, the rest yet surviving to the
 happy increase of ther house. The years she enjoyed ye world were 33.
 yt her husband enjoyed her 17, at which period she yielded her soul
 to the blessedness of long rest and her body to the earth, July 3rd,
 1603. This inscription in ye note of piety and love by her sad husband
 is here devotedly placed.

Among the family portraits at Lyme there is one in the "state bedroom"
of the deceased lady--a full length--"Sir Peter Legh's first lady
that was Lord Gerard of Bromley's daughter, master of the rolls." She
is represented in the costume of the Elizabethan era, with the large
hooped petticoats, ruff, &c.

When James of Scotland was proclaimed as the successor of Elizabeth on
the English throne, Sir Peter Legh deemed it expedient to sue out a
general pardon; not that he was conscious of having done any wrong, but
in those days it was a convenient mode of settling old scores, for by
paying a fine into the exchequer a general absolution could be obtained
for all sins of omission or commission, real or imaginary.

Having paid his money and obtained the bill of indemnity which enabled
him to begin the new reign without a blot, he was free to take unto
himself a second wife, and he found a suitable partner in the person
of Dorothy Egerton, the daughter of Sir Richard Egerton, of Ridley,
and the widow of Richard Brereton, of Worsley, in Lancashire, and
Tatton, in Cheshire--the _quasi_ sister of Thomas Egerton Lord Viscount
Brackley, Elizabeth's Lord Keeper, and subsequently James the First's
famous Lord Chancellor, the progenitor of the Earls and Dukes of
Bridgewater that were, and the Earls of Ellesmere, and Lords Egerton
of Tatton that are. The marriage settlement, which is among the Lyme
deeds, bears date 11th March, 1604, Dame Brereton having then been a
widow more than five years, while Sir Peter had been a widower only
eight months. The match was in many respects a wise one; the lady was
of good birth, richly dowered, kind hearted and benevolent, and, being
childless herself, she had the good fortune to gain the affection and
respect of Sir Peter's children. A few years after the marriage, Sir
Peter, who united with the love of letters a love of art, had her
portrait painted as he had previously had those of himself and his
first wife. The picture is said, though on somewhat doubtful authority,
to be the work of Cornelius Jansen; it is a three-quarters, and one
of the finest in the collection at Lyme. The lady is represented as
habited in the costume of the time, with a lace ruff and necklace of
beads, and a pet dog sitting upon the table by her side. In one corner
is depicted a shield, with the arms of Egerton, of Ridley, and three
other quarterings, and in the opposite corner is the inscription:--
"_Ætatissuæ 50, Anno Dni. 1615._"

For some years after his second marriage, Sir Peter seems to have led
a comparatively uneventful life. When not engaged in the fulfilment of
his duties as Lieutenant-governor, or Captain of the Isle of Man, he
spent much of his time on his Lancashire and Cheshire estates; Lyme
was his favourite residence, and was frequented by the best company,
and often the scene of much gaiety and display. The only shadow that
darkened his path was cast by his eldest son, Piers, who, while at
Magdalene College, Cambridge, appears to have disappointed his hopes,
or been guilty of some irregularity that necessitated his sending for
him home, being, as he says, "enforced to do so for cause." This was
not the only trouble, for about the year 1619 the young man married,
presumably without his father's consent, and probably without his
knowledge, though the lady was in every way of equal rank with himself,
being the daughter of Sir John Saville, of Howley, in Yorkshire, the
first Lord Saville of Pontefract. Mr. Beamont inclines to the opinion
that the great difference between the political views of the two houses
of Lyme and Howley was very likely the reason which occasioned Piers
Legh to marry Anne Saville without waiting for his father's consent. Be
that as it may, the father was much displeased, an estrangement ensued,
and his intercourse with his son was never renewed. Piers Legh's
married life seems to have been brief; little is known respecting him,
and it is not known with certainty when he died or when he was buried,
but it was commonly believed, though erroneously, as will hereafter be
seen, that he predeceased his father some years, having by his wife,
who survived him many years, one son and three daughters.

Sir Peter Legh attained to a greater age than many of his ancestors;
born near the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, it was his lot to serve
three successive sovereigns--the Maiden Queen, James the First, and
Charles the First--and he appears to have been hale and strong until
within a short period of his death, which occurred at Lyme on the 17th
February, 1635-6. Three days after, his body was buried at Winwick
in accordance with his expressed desire, and from the unusual haste
with which the funeral arrangements were carried out it has been
surmised that he must have fallen a victim to the plague or some other
infectious disease. In his will, which was executed on the 18th January
immediately preceding his death, he desired that his body might be
buried with little pomp, and a stone with a brass placed over his
grave. The brass still remains, the only memorial recording his burial,
and bears this inscription:--

 Here underneath this stone lyeth buried the body of Sir Peter Legh,
 Kt., who departed this life, February 17th, 1635. Ætatis suæ 73.

Sir Peter's _Inquisition post mortem_ was taken at Wigan on the
18th April, 1636, and some idea of the extent of the territorial
possessions of the family may be gathered from the following list of
messuages, mills, lands, wards, rents, &c., in Lancashire, Cheshire,
and Westmoreland, given as having been held by him at the time of
his death:--Bradley Manor, Burtonwood Manor, Haydock Manor, Bruch
Manor, and Hanley Manor; Halton, Pemberton, Norley, Bridgemore,
Newton-in-Makerfield, Lawton, Golborne, Fernhead, Hindley, Kenion,
Warrington, Sankey Magna and Parva, Overforde, Wolstone, Penketh,
Garston, Ollerton, Much Woulton, Much Hoole, Walton-le-Dale, Ulnes
Walton, Bretherton, Eccleston-juxta-Crofton, Bold, Childwall, Croston,
Poulton, the advowson of Claughton-juxta-Horneby, the church of
Shevington, and the church near Prescott. Lands, &c., in Westmorland,
Lyme, Grapnall, Disley, Broome, Heatley, Sutton, Marple, Offerton,
Norbury, Weyley (Whaley), Macclesfield, Latchford, Warburton,
Kettleshulme, and Bridgemoor.

By the same inquisition it was found that Sir Peter Legh's next heir
was his grandson, also named Peter, and that he was then of the age
of thirteen and upwards. Being a minor, his mother, then describing
herself as "Anne Legh, of Ripley in the countie of Yorke, widowe,"
obtained from the courts of wards and liveries the custody, wardship,
and marriage of her son Piers, paying to the King the sum of £2,000
as the consideration. Before he had attained his majority the young
Lord of Lyme was chosen as one of the representatives of Newton in
the Parliament which assembled at Westminster on the 3rd November,
1640--the most memorable in the annals of England--the Long Parliament,
which endured for thirteen years, and which has been the theme of the
most extravagant hatred and the most exaggerated praise. He did not,
however, long enjoy his senatorial honours, for happening to become
involved in one of the quarrels so common in those days, a duel was the
result, and he was mortally wounded in the encounter. The affair is
thus referred to in "The Perfect Diurnall of Passages in Parliament,"
under date Friday, January 28th, 1641-2:--

 This evening Sir Peter Lee, a member of the House of Commons, was hurt
 dangerously in a duell by one Master Mansfield.

There is an inaccuracy in styling him "Sir" Peter, for he had not
received the honour of knighthood, and there is an error, too, in the
name of his antagonist, whom Lord Herbert of Cherbury describes as his
nephew, the son of Sir John Browne, and who, he says, "had the fortune
to kill one Lee of a great family in Lancashire."[61] He lingered for
some days--sufficiently long to enable him to dispose of his affairs,
as will be seen by the following copy of his will with the codicil
annexed:--

 28 January, 1641.--Peter Legh, esqr., being dangerouslie wounded
 maketh his desires and requests as followeth, viz. The barron of
 Kinderton to take the moneyes in his trunk which is about 70li.
 Desired him to speake to his unckle Frauncis to be good to his mother
 and sisters. Sir Willm. Gerrarde to have his dun nage.

 1 February, 1641.--He desireth his unckle Frauncis over and above his
 owne bountie to his sisters, that he will for his sake give them cli.
 a peece. To his man Ralph Arnefielde the xiiijli. he oweth him to be
 made upe xlli. The boy here with him, Myles Leighe vli., his footboy
 at Blackley vli., and every servant at Blackley xs. a peece. Ralphe
 Swindells xli. He giveth his greye nage he had of Mr. Brathwates [his
 sister's husband] to Captain Broughton. His sword at his lodging in
 towne to Mr. Carrel Mulineux and praieth God he may make better use
 of it than he hath done, and his case of pistoles. His watche to his
 aunt Lettice Leigh. His cloathes to his three servants, the boy at
 Blakeley, Ralphe Arnfield, and Myles Leighe. Desireth his father to
 see his bodie buried at Winwicke, and Mr. Jones, who hath beene with
 him at his sickness, to preach at his funerall. To his brother Tom his
 sword at Blakeley, and a gray nage he bought of the barron. To his
 father his white mare and best saddle. Praieth his unkele Frauncis
 to consider the debts he oweth Sir Wm. Gerrarde and all the debts
 he oweth to others. To his friend Mr. Roger Moston his caen. To his
 unkele Frauncis the sword that was his grandfather's, his great seale
 ringe, and his greate fowlinge piece. Desireth his unkle to give his
 mother cli. a year during her life if she give the porcon in money she
 hath to his sisters, which if she otherwaies dispose of them cli. in
 money.

 [Illustration: Handwritten signature]

  I say my hand.

  Witnesses hereof
  Raphe Assheton K.
  John Jones
  Roger Mostyn
  Tho. Munckas.
  1641.

In this will he expressly mentions his father as then living, a
statement that is in conflict with the decree of the Court of Wards and
Livery of November 22nd, 1624, which represents him as having "dyed in
his (father's) displeasure." The later years of the father's life are
shrouded in much mystery, and it may be that after the quarrel with Sir
Peter Legh he had disappeared, and, being for a time unheard of, was
supposed to be dead; certain it is that he was not among the mourners
at Sir Peter's funeral at Winwick, in 1635, and he is not named in the
inquisition taken after his death, his son being therein named as the
heir to his grandfather.

The "unkele Frauncis" whom young Peter Legh so affectionately remembers
in his will was the second son of Sir Peter. He resided at Blackley
Hall, near Manchester, which, with the demesne, had been conveyed to
him in 1636 by Ralph Assheton, of Middleton, "in consideracon of the
full somme of two thousand pounds of currant English money."

Peter Legh died on the 2nd February, the day after he had added the
codicil to his will. His body was brought from London and interred in
the family vault at Winwick, the burial being thus recorded in the
parish register:--

 1641-2 Feb. 14. Mr. Peter Legh grandchild of Sir Peter Lee of Lime,
 slaine in London by Mr. Browne, and buried at Winwicke ye 14 day.

Peter had never married, and by this fatality the direct succession
to the territorial possessions of the family was broken after having
passed uninterruptedly through eleven generations, in every one of
which the eldest son bore the name of Peter or Piers.

On the 14th April, 1642, an inquisition was taken at Wigan before the
Escheator of Lancashire. It is a lengthy document, and, after reciting
many family deeds and settlements, states that Peter Legh had died
while under age; that his sisters Frances, Margaret, and Elizabeth
were his heirs, and that Francis Legh (of Blackley, his uncle) was
heir male of the body of Sir Peter Legh, and then of the age of fifty
and more. He did not long enjoy possession of the estates, his death
occurring February 2nd, 1643-4. He had to wife Anne, the daughter and
heiress of Sir Edward Fenner, of Hampton, in Oxfordshire, knight; but
as this lady, who survived, bore him no issue, the estates at his
death, reverted to his nephew, Richard Legh, the second surviving
son of his brother, the Rev. Thomas Legh, D.D., rector of Sefton and
Walton, in Lancashire, by his wife, Lettice, daughter and co-heiress
of Sir George Calveley, of Lea, a descendant of Sir Hugh Calveley, the
famous Cheshire hero, who fought so gallantly at Auray and Navarette in
the days of the third Edward. Born on the 7th May, 1634, Francis Legh
was under ten years of age when he succeeded to the family inheritance;
his father had been dead five years, but his mother was still living,
though she did not survive many years, her death occurring October 14,
1648. Her body was interred in the Lyme Chapel in Macclesfield Church,
where, against the east wall, there is a black marble tablet to her
memory bearing a long Latin inscription.

It was a fortunate circumstance that Richard Legh, when he so
unexpectedly succeeded to the lordship of Lyme and the vast territorial
possessions in Lancashire and Westmorland his progenitors had acquired,
was too young to be entrusted with the control of his own affairs. He
had not completed his tenth year at the time of his uncle's decease.
It was an eventful period in England's history: the storm which had
so long been gathering upon the political horizon had burst; eighteen
months before, the shot which signalled the commencement of the great
civil war had been fired at Manchester; Edgehill had been fought;
and England's purest patriot had been laid to rest, uncenotaphed but
not forgotten, in the church at Great Hampden, beneath the shadow of
the Chiltern Hills. Sovereign and subject were separated for ever,
and each, wearied of the other, no longer sought for peace; the loud
beating of the warlike pulse drowned the faint, decaying traditions
of the miseries which had attended the ancient domestic feuds;
hostile armies were marching and countermarching; every manor house
was put by its owner in a position of defence, and every Englishman
declared for King or Parliament and prepared himself for the struggle,
never swerving for a moment from what he believed to be the path of
honourable, though perilous duty. Amid these political distractions
Richard Legh's youthfulness stood him in good stead; too young to
take any part in the strife then being waged, he escaped many of the
services and exactions he would otherwise have been subjected to had
he been suspected of any strong partiality either for the Cavaliers
or the Roundheads. On the 7th May, 1655, he attained his majority,
and in the following year he was returned as one of the members for
Cheshire in the Parliament which assembled at Westminster on the 7th
September, 1656, his colleagues in the representation being Sir George
Booth, of Dunham; Thomas Marbury, of Marbury; and Peter Brooke, of
Mere--a Parliament notable as that in which the ancient privileges
were violated on the broadest scale, no member being admitted who
could not produce a certificate that he was "approved by his Highness's
Council." As Richard Legh was not among the excluded members, he must
have satisfied the requirements of the "Council," and been therefore
accounted one of the "betrayers of the liberties of England;" but he
took little part in the proceedings, and when his name was called on
the memorable occasion when it was intended that the Protector should
be invested with the powers and the title of King he was reported to
have gone away into the country "dangerously sick." After the death
of Cromwell, in 1659, and when his son Richard had been proclaimed as
his successor in the Protectorate, a new Parliament was called, and
Mr. Legh was again returned as one of the members for Cheshire; John
Bradshaw, the regicide, being returned with him. It had, however, but a
very brief existence. The members assembled on the 29th January (1659);
on the 27th April a proclamation was issued dissolving it, and the
members returned to their own homes. With the fall of the Parliament
fell Richard Cromwell; the sceptre which had proved too heavy for
his grasp, was laid aside, and, as Thurloe wrote to Lockhart, he was
"excluded from having any share in the Government," and "retired as
a private gentleman." Mr. Legh appears to have been concerned in the
Royalist insurrection--the "Cheshire Rising," as it was called--which
occurred in the following year, when Sir George Booth appeared in arms
and obtained possession of the city of Chester, the object being the
recall of the exiled Stuarts, and he was for a time incarcerated in
York Castle; but the unsuccessful "Rising" was quickly followed by the
accomplishment of the design it failed in; Charles was restored to the
Crown, and Mr. Legh regained his liberty.

On the 29th May, 1660, Charles the Second passed in triumphal
procession through the streets of London. The delirium of joy
manifested on that occasion was no mere exuberance of delight, but
the expression of the nation's belief that the Government of England
had again a solid foundation upon which peace and security, liberty
and religion, might be established. Peace and good order being
restored, Mr. Legh, who had now attained the age of twenty-six, had
time to attend to matters affecting his own domestic happiness. On
the 1st January, 1660-1, he took to himself a wife in the person of
Elizabeth, one of the daughters of Sir Thomas Chicheley, of Wimpole,
in Cambridgeshire, descended from a brother of Archbishop Chicheley,
the munificent founder of All Souls', Oxford, and himself Charles the
Second's Master of the Ordnance and the Chancellor of the Duchy of
Lancaster.

On the 23rd of April following the King was crowned at Westminster, and
it is not improbable that Richard Legh and his young bride were among
the guests in Westminster Hall on the occasion when Samuel Pepys was so
dazzled with the fine hangings, and the brave ladies, and the "musique"
of the violins; though they could hardly have been among the "many
great gallants, men and women," who laid hold of the garrulous diarist,
and would have him drink the King's health upon his knees, kneeling
upon a faggot, which he did. Certain it is that the lord of Lyme was in
favour with the Court, and when Charles proposed to found the new order
of the "Knights of the Royal Oak," in which only those distinguished
for their loyalty were to be admitted, his name was placed among those
on whom the distinction was proposed to be conferred. The order was,
however, soon abolished, "it being wisely judged," as Noble, in his
"Memoirs of the Cromwell Family," remarks, "that it was calculated only
to keep awake animosities which it was the part of wisdom to lull to
sleep."

In the same year Mr. Legh purchased from Sir Thomas Fleetwood the
barony of Newton-in-Makerfield, or Newton-in-the-Willows, as it is
more generally styled, thus adding considerably to the territorial
possessions of his house as well as to his social status in the county.
Newton, which in Saxon times was of sufficient importance to give name
to one of the hundreds of Lancashire, by virtue of a charter granted in
the first year of Elizabeth's reign, had the privilege of returning two
members to Parliament conferred upon it, a dignity it retained until
disfranchised by the Reform Bill of 1832. The nomination of members
was in the Baron of Newton until the year 1620, when the franchise
became vested in the burgesses possessing freeholds of the value of
40s. a year and upwards, but this was only a nominal change, for, the
burgage tenures being chiefly in the lord of the manor, the election
was as much in him after the right came nominally into the hands of
the burgesses as it was before, the place continuing to rank among the
nomination boroughs until the Reform Act, and thus the Leghs acquired
with the barony a seat in the legislature whenever they might choose to
seek that honour. Mr. Legh sat as one of the members for the borough in
the Convention Parliament of 1660, and again in that which assembled a
few days after the King's coronation. In the succeeding year (September
20, 1662) he was appointed a deputy-lieutenant of Cheshire, and on the
26th April the same office in Lancashire was, by the King's command,
conferred upon him by the Earl of Bridgewater. It was while holding
these offices that Mr. Legh found himself in a position of some
difficulty with regard to a distinguished visitor who it was intimated
had expressed his intention of becoming a guest at Lyme. The Duke of
Monmouth, the eldest of the many illegitimate children of Charles
II.--"the Duke whom," as Evelyn says, "for distinction they called the
Protestant Duke, though the son of an abandoned woman the people made
their idol," had suddenly returned from temporary exile and set up a
claim to be considered the legitimate heir to the throne in opposition
to the Duke of York, who, on account of his Popish proclivities, the
Whigs of the time sought to disinherit. The vanity of the bastard son
of Lucy Waters being inflamed by the enthusiastic demonstrations of
the people, he made a "glorious progress" through the country, which
is referred to by Dryden in his "Absalom and Achitophel," who thus
represents the Earl of Shaftesbury as remonstrating with him on his
doubts and apprehensions when a crown was within his view:--

  Did you for this expose yourself to show,
  And to the crowd bow popularly low?
  For this your glorious progress next ordain,
  With chariots, horsemen, and a numerous train?

Cheshire was among the counties in which he sought to keep alive the
political cry by appealing to popular opinion against the dreaded
predominance of Popery, and in 1683 we find one of his partisans,
Caryll, Lord Molineux, thus writing to Mr. Legh:--"At Chester they
are in consternation how to treat the Monmouth Duke. You, I hope, are
settled in your resolution of entertaining him when he comes to Lyme,
which, I hear, will be very soon." But Mr. Legh was not so "settled;"
on the contrary, we find him with two of his brother magistrates busied
in taking the depositions of certain individuals respecting the Duke
and his progress, and transmitting them to the Secretary of State, for
which he received his Majesty's thanks.

[Illustration: Handwritten signature]

Monmouth's progress through Cheshire was attended with considerable
tumult, and he is said to have given countenance to riotous assemblies,
whose violence was such that they forced open the doors of the
Cathedral at Chester, destroyed most of the painted glass, and tore
the surplices of the clergy into rags; they also broke the font to
pieces, pulled down some of the monuments, attempted to demolish the
organ, and committed other outrages. A memoir of his reception in the
city mentions several arts to gain popularity not unworthy of notice.
The infant of the Mayor was christened Henrietta, Monmouth acting as
sponsor, and the following day (August 25, 1683,) it is said that he
went to the horse races at Wallasey in Wirral, where he rode his own
horse and won the plate, which he presented in the evening to his
goddaughter.

While these events were transpiring Mr. Legh occupied himself with
rebuilding the old Episcopal chapel of St. Peter on his Newton
estate, and providing for the better maintenance of the incumbent.
Two years later, on the accession of James II., he was reappointed
Deputy-lieutenant of Cheshire, but he did not long retain the office,
his death occurring at Lyme on the 31st August, 1687, at the age of
53. His body was removed to Winwick, and there interred in the family
vault on the 6th of the following month, when a sermon, entitled "The
Christian's Triumph over Death," was preached by the Rev. William
Shippen, Rector of Stockport. This sermon, which was afterwards
published, contains a brief sketch of his life and character, which Mr.
Earwaker, in his "East Cheshire," thus summarises:--

 The greatest Excellencies of his Ancestors seem'd to Concenter in
 his Person. The singular Piety of his Grandfather, Sir Peter; the
 extraordinary Charity and Benignity of his Uncle, Francis; the
 Constancy and Fixedness of Religion of his Father; the quickness and
 Gaiety of Spirit of his Mother. Educated at the University in his
 "Blooming Youth", and "refined and finished afterwards at City and
 Court," he was "rendered a most accomplished and useful gentleman both
 to his Prince and Country." He added "the Parliamentary Burrough and
 Barony of Newton" to his other estates, and his "Mansion House (Lyme
 Hall) he so far Rebuilt and Ennobled, partly in Effect, and partly in
 Design and preparations for its finishing." ... "There was such an
 Affluence of all things, so great a resort of Persons of Quality, ...
 that his house might very well be styled a Country Court, and Lime the
 Palace to the County Palatine of Chester."

 He engaged in the Cheshire rising to restore his Exiled Sovereign,
 though being surprised by the Enemy, he was prevented from appearing
 in that successful Enterprise, of which both the Palatine Counties
 (the Stage of the Action) and York Castle (the place of his
 Imprisonment) are unquestionable Witnesses. "Although he was actually
 in every Parliament during his whole Reign (i.e., of Charles II.), yet
 he never joyn'd any Faction in the House." ... "His present Majesty
 (James II.) in his Royal Progress at Chester heard of his last fatal
 Indisposition." ... "He never fail'd of his Daily Service in his
 Domestick Chapel." ... "His Love and Zeal for the Church of England"
 are shown "in his Parish (Winwick) where he has at his own proper
 Charges built a Decent and Elegant Chapel, and taken care to Establish
 a Competent Maintenance for the constant Ministry therein for the
 Publick Worship of God."

In the church at Winwick there is a handsome monument to his memory
with marble busts of himself and his wife, and in the hall at Lyme
there are several portraits of both. By his wife, who survived him and
retained her widowhood for the long period of forty-one years, he had a
family of six sons and seven daughters, all of whom, with the exception
of two daughters, Sarah and Anne, who died in infancy, were living at
the time of his decease.

Peter Legh, the eldest son, who succeeded, though under age, had been
married some few months at the time of his father's death, the lady
being his own cousin, Frances, only surviving daughter of Piers Legh,
of Bruche, and eventually heiress of her brother of the same name; the
Bruche estates thus becoming reunited with the patrimonial lands. Peter
Legh, like his father, was a staunch adherent of the Stuarts, and after
the abdication of James II. and the "Peaceful Revolution" had placed
the Prince and Princess of Orange upon the English throne, it is not
surprising that he should have been suspected of entertaining opinions
hostile to the reigning family, and of opening communications with the
Irish supporters of King James, with a view to the restoration of the
exiled monarch. Many Protestant Royalists, whose fathers had fought for
Charles the First, although opposed to the designs of James upon the
Church, avowed their attachment to his inviolable person and crown, and
professed themselves bound by their oath of allegiance, from which, as
they affirmed, no personal misconduct of the King could release them.
Some of the more enthusiastic armed their tenantry in defence of the
Stuarts, and began to prepare themselves, as they had done fifty years
before, to unite in rallying round the standard of their legitimate
King. Suspicion having been excited by the landing of several Irishmen
on the coast, and by the discovery of arms in transit from London to
Lancashire, Lord Delamere issued a proclamation summoning the friends
of liberty, and the new Government to meet him on Bowdon Downs, a
proceeding that served to quell the spirit of disaffection among
the Jacobites, and preserve the tranquility of the two counties. At
this time an attempt was made by a common informer, one John Lunt,
to fix on Mr. Legh the charge of treason, in having, as was alleged,
accepted a colonel's commission in King James's service. Mr. Beamont
gives the following interesting particulars respecting his arrest and
imprisonment:--

  On the 19th of July, 1694, while Mr. Legh was still a very young
 man, a King's messenger, with Lunt, the informer, attended by fourteen
 Dutch troopers, each wearing a blue cloak, and armed with a case
 of pistols, arrived at Lyme, where Mr. Legh was living, between
 the hours of six and seven in the morning. The messenger, with one
 Oldham, their guide, and two or three of the troopers, immediately
 ascended the great staircase, and having found Mr. Legh, who was in
 his dressing-room and not yet dressed, they apprehended him under a
 Secretary of State's warrant, charging him with high treason. From his
 dressing-room they led him, attired only in his night gown, to his
 closet, where were Mr. Lunt and two or three more of the troopers.
 There the messenger and Mr. Lunt began to search his papers, and
 continued their search until noon, selecting and putting by from time
 to time, to be carried away, such of them as they thought fit. The
 alleged colonel's commission, had it been found, would have raised a
 damning presumption; and the only wonder is that, like the witness
 against Spratt, Bishop of Rochester, Lunt, who was evidently aware
 of this practice, had not so contrived as to hide where it should
 be found a forged commission somewhere in the house at Lyme. After
 being allowed to dress himself, Mr. Legh was taken downstairs into
 the parlour, and there left in charge of two of the troopers, while
 a search for arms was made in every part of the house; the result,
 however, must have disappointed the searchers, for, except a case of
 pistols and a carbine found in Mr. Legh's closet, which they seized
 and carried away, nothing whatever was found. Their quest being ended,
 Mr. Legh was taken from his house, and conveyed the same night,
 guarded by twelve troopers, to Knutsford, Lunt setting his own saddle
 on one of Mr. Legh's horses and riding away with it. From Knutsford
 Mr. Legh was conveyed by the troopers to Chester Castle, where he
 remained a prisoner until about the first of September following,
 when Lord Molyneux, Sir William Gerard, Sir Thomas Clifton, Philip
 Langton, Esq., William Blundell, Esq., and some others were conducted
 to London, guarded by four messengers, and an escort of twenty-one
 Dutch troopers, commanded by Captain Baker. On arriving at St. Giles's
 the prisoners were all committed to the custody of the messengers,
 who, at the end of three days, brought them, by command, before the
 Duke of Shrewsbury, his Majesty's Principal Secretary of State,
 when his Grace, having heard and considered the charge against Mr.
 Legh, remanded him for three days, and then committed him to the
 Tower on a warrant, of which the following is a copy:--'These are in
 their Majesty's names to authorise you to receive and take into your
 custody, the body of Peter Legh, of Lyme, Esquire, herewith sent you,
 being charged before me for high treason in levying warr against their
 Majestys, and adhering to their Majesty's enemies; and you are to keep
 him safe and close until he shall be delivered by due course of law,
 and for so doing this shall be your warrant. Given at the Court at
 Whitehall, the 12th September, 1694.--SHREWSBURY. The Right Honourable
 Robert Lucas, Governor-in-Chief of the Tower, or his deputy.'

[Illustration: TRAITORS' GATE,--THE TOWER.]

The closing years of the seventeenth century were distinguished
if not disgraced by a succession of intrigues and conspiracies
for the overthrow of the reigning dynasty. The country was in a
state of political ferment, and the public mind, ever eager for
some new sensation, caught with avidity and believed every story
of real or pretended attempts to involve the nation in bloodshed.
Plots were innumerable, and plot-hunting became as gainful a trade
among unscrupulous knaves as witch-finding had been with their
great-grandfathers nearly a century previously. That Peter Legh
entertained strong Jacobite sympathies and desired to see the return
of King James there can scarcely be a doubt, but that he took up
arms or engaged in any treasonable enterprise against the person and
government of the "Dutch usurper," as the disaffected styled the Prince
of Orange, is extremely improbable. John Lunt, who seems to have taken
the leading part in attempting to fasten the charge of treason upon
him, was a miscreant of the most infamous type and actuated by the
basest of motives; he had been a highwayman, one of his accomplices was
a convicted cattle lifter, and at the time of the trial he made such a
ridiculous figure that the jury were compelled to treat his evidence as
altogether unworthy of belief.

For some time after his committal to the Tower Mr. Legh was subjected
to very harsh treatment, and denied all communication with his friends
or counsel. At no time could the Tower be said to be an agreeable
place of residence, but lodged as he was in its worst room, with the
atmosphere poisoned by the polluted exhalations of the surrounding
ditch and the ague-giving marshes which then stretched east and west,
and without any opportunity for outdoor exercise, the confinement must
have been exceedingly trying, and especially to a constitution such as
his, accustomed to the breezy moors of Lyme. Happily the rigidity of
his imprisonment was after a while relaxed, and at the instance of the
Queen permission was given for Mrs. Legh and a maid-servant to be with
him if they were willing to share his confinement; and subsequently a
further order was given that he should be allowed "such liberty of
walking within the Tower at convenient times" as might be consistent
with his safe keeping--conversation, however, being strictly forbidden.
This latter injunction seems to have been strictly enforced, for it
is recorded that when Mr. Legh's mother, Madam Legh, who was busied
in getting up the evidence for his defence, came under the window of
the room in which he was confined to inquire how he was, the sentinel
pointed his musket and declared he would shoot her if she spoke another
word. At length the order came that he was to prepare for trial at
Chester,[62] and, guarded by a party of horse, the gentleman porter,
gentleman gaoler, and two warders of the Tower, he was reconducted
to Chester Castle, when, without even being put on his trial, he was
called to the bar and discharged, the evidence in support of the
accusation which the informer Lunt had trumped up having, it would
seem, been of so worthless and unsatisfactory a character as to leave
no doubt of his innocence.

Barely eighteen months, however, elapsed before Mr. Legh was again
arrested and lodged in Chester Gaol charged with similar treasonable
offences, but no evidence was adduced, and when he was placed at
the bar, no witnesses appearing, he was at once acquitted, and
in accordance with the following order, dated June 2nd, 1696,
and addressed to the High Sheriff directing his release, was
discharged:--"Mr. Legh, charged with high treason and treasonable
practices, in consequence of his Majesty's gracious directions."

The treatment Mr. Legh received at the hands of the State left upon his
mind a sense of injustice that was never wholly removed, for in some
directions respecting his burial, given nearly half a century after
these occurrences, he wrote as follows:--

 I would have no monument set over me, but a plain brass nailed to the
 wall to express my innocency in that wicked conspiracy (to ruin me)
 by false witnesses, imprisonments, and trials in 1694 and 1696, and
 that I die a member of the Church of England, looking on it to be the
 best and purest of churches; and that I do most sincerely wish it may
 continue for ever.

On the whole, however, it was perhaps not an unmixed evil that at
so early a period of his career Mr. Legh should have had painful
experience of the perils that political partizanship sometimes entails;
for the remembrance of the dangers he had so narrowly escaped would
necessarily have a salutary effect, and, on a later occasion, doubtless
inspired that prudence which saved him from the ruin and destruction
that befel so many of the partizans of the House of Stuart after the
abortive rising in favour of the Chevalier de St. George in 1715.
Certain it is that when in that year the members of the Cheshire
Jacobite Club met to discuss the prospects of the rising in favour of
the Stuarts, Mr. Legh's advice that they should abstain from taking
any part in the revolt was acted upon, and, finding it difficult to
harmonise their belief in the divine right of kings with their faith
in the principles of the Reformation, they contented themselves with
drinking the health of the King over a bowl of water, thus figuratively
expressing their allegiance to the exiled monarch "over the water."[63]


Though Mr. Legh never entered Parliament and took but little interest
in the conduct of public affairs, not being even upon the commission
of the peace, he was by no means neglectful of the social duties that
lay nearer home. In him the reputation of the ancient lords of Lyme
was well sustained, and the old ancestral home continued to be the
scene of munificence and hospitality, being accounted the centre of
whatever there was of society and life in the county. John Byrom,
the laureate of the Jacobites, as he has been sometimes styled, was
frequently a guest at Lyme at this time, and Mr. Legh, who was one of
his shorthand pupils, is often named in his letters to Mrs. Byrom.
Another visitor was the eccentric genius, Samuel Johnson, better known
by his _sobriquet_ of Lord Flame, who, in the epistle dedicatory of his
play of "Hurlothrumbo'" enumerates "the integrity of Leigh of Lime"
among the many virtues possessed by his patroness, the Lady Delves. In
1699 Mr. Legh found employment for his time in founding and liberally
endowing the school at Newton-in-Makerfield; and ten years later he was
busied in erecting the Church of the Holy Trinity for the spiritual
benefit of the tenantry on his Warrington estates, and, as the trust
deeds recite, "upon trust and confidence, that the same might be used
and employed for a chapel, for all the inhabitants of Warrington
to resort unto and hear Divine service and sermons, according to
the liturgy, rites and usage of the Church of England, as by law
established."

In 1725 Mr. Legh had the misfortune to lose his son and heir, the
only issue of his marriage, Piers Legh, who died unmarried, and was
buried at Winwick on the 14th of June, and not long after (February
17, 1727-8) his fond and faithful wife, who had so cheerfully shared
the privations of his prison life in the Tower, Madam Frances Legh,
was called to her rest, her remains being laid beside those of her son
on the 23rd February. Before the close of the year, having no direct
heir, he made a settlement of Lyme and the other estates in favour of
the four surviving sons of his younger brother, Thomas Legh, of Bank,
who, in the event of his own death without issue, were to inherit
in succession in tail male. These sons were Peter, who eventually
succeeded; Piers, a merchant of Liverpool, engaged in the African
trade, who died unmarried May, 1774; Ashburnham Legh, who became rector
of Davenham, in Cheshire, and died at Golborne in 1775, and Henry, who
died young.

Mr. Legh survived his wife several years, his death occurring in
January, 1743-4, at the ripe age of 73, and on the 16th of that month
his body was committed to its last resting place at Winwick.

Peter Legh, the second, but eldest surviving son of Thomas Legh,
of Bank, who succeeded, was thirty-six years of age at the time of
his uncle's decease, and had then been married several years, his
wife being Martha, the only child of Thomas Bennet, of Salthrop,
in Wiltshire. In November of the year following his accession to
the estates the country was thrown into a state of ferment by the
announcement that Charles Edward Stuart, the young Pretender, at the
head of an army of Highlanders, had crossed the Borders, taken the city
of Carlisle, and was then marching southwards--

              The Stuart leaning on the Scot,
  Pierc'd to the very centre of the realm,
  In hopes to seize his abdicated helm.

In Cheshire the partizans of the exiled family were greatly excited,
and a meeting of such of the members of the old Jacobite Club as still
survived was held. Peter Legh was present, but, profiting by the
experiences of his uncle, he counselled caution, and his counsel was
acted upon, the more ardent spirits who had been anxious to don the
white cockade having cause to rejoice that they had taken his advice.
He subsequently entered Parliament as representative of the family
borough of Newton, in November, 1747, and he was also returned to the
Parliament which sat from May 31, 1754, to March 20, 1761, and in those
which assembled in 1761, 1762, and 1768, the last-named continuing
until 1774, the year which witnessed the beginning of the struggle
between England and her Transatlantic colonies which culminated in
American independence.

The year which followed Mr. Legh's second return to Parliament was a
year of sorrow, for it was that in which he lost his only surviving
son, Benet Legh, who died on the 8th July, aged eight years; his eldest
son, Peter Benet Legh, who also died in childhood, he had buried a few
years previously, and thus the lord of Lyme was again left without a
direct heir to succeed him in the possession of the ancestral lands.

After his retirement from Parliament Mr. Legh took little part in
public affairs, occupying his time chiefly in dispensing hospitalities
and discharging those minor duties which devolved upon him as a
country gentleman. In the later years of his life he began the work of
remodelling the mansion at Lyme, under the direction of the then famous
architect Giacomo Leoni; a great portion was rebuilt, and what of the
original was left was so altered as to entirely change its appearance
and give it the characteristics of an Italian building. After fifty
years' enjoyment of married life he had the misfortune to lose his
wife, Madam Martha Legh, who died at Lyme on the 21st June, 1787;
shortly afterwards (October 9, 1787) he made his will, and on the 20th
May, 1792, having reached the patriarchal age of eighty-five, he was
removed by death. His remains were interred in the church at Disley,
where on the south side of the nave is a tablet to his memory, with a
shield quartering the arms of himself and his wife, and the following
inscription:--

  Sacred to the memory of Peter Legh, Esqre, once the owner of Lyme
  Park, and all its large appendages.... Obit May 20, 1792. Ætat 85.

Having no male heir, the entailed estates passed in accordance with the
terms of the settlement to his nephew, Thomas Peter, the eldest son of
his younger brother, Ashburnham Legh, rector of Davenham, by his wife,
Elizabeth Charlotte, daughter of Sir Holland Egerton, of Heaton Park,
near Manchester. Mr. Legh was a bachelor of the mature age of forty at
the time his uncle's death placed him in possession of the estates,
and he had then sat in Parliament for several years as representative
of the family borough of Newton, having been returned in 1783, in
1784, and again in 1790. He was a man of much public spirit, and on
the breaking out of the war with France at the time of the Revolution
in 1794, he raised a regiment of horse for the defence of the country.
Reilly, the historian of Manchester, says, "He proposed to raise six
troops of cavalry, and did so in fourteen days." Of this regiment,
the Third Lancashire Light Dragoons, he had the colonelcy, and it is
recorded that, in addition to the Government grant, he expended upon
it no less a sum than £20,000 of his own money. He was again returned
as representative of Newton, in the Parliament elected in 1796, but he
did not long enjoy the dignity, his death occurring suddenly on the
7th August, in the following year, while serving with his regiment at
Edinburgh. His body was removed to Winwick, and there buried in the
family chapel. Colonel Legh, who was only forty-four years of age at
the time of his death, had never married; having no legitimate issue,
and his only brother having predeceased him, he bequeathed Lyme and
the other possessions of the family, with the barony of Newton, to his
eldest (natural) son, Thomas Legh, for life, with remainder to his
issue in tail male, and on failure with like remainder to his second
natural son, William Legh.

Thomas Legh, who thus succeeded as tenant for life of the family
estates, was only four years of age at the time of his father's
decease. He entered at Oxford, but before he had completed his
curriculum in that University, hearing that Napoleon had escaped from
Elba and was then at the head of a large army, he, like many other
adventurous spirits, made his way to Belgium, and was at Brussels
on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo where he offered himself as
a volunteer, and served as an extra aide-de-camp to the Duke of
Wellington during the whole of that memorable engagement. Shortly
afterwards he went a voyage to Greece and Albania, whence he extended
his researches to Egypt and Nubia. Early in his travels he was at
Zante, where he witnessed the arrival of the celebrated frieze
discovered in the Temple of Apollo, at Phigalia. In the excavation and
removal of the beautiful sculptures composing that frieze, now one
of the chief ornaments of the British Museum, Mr. Legh was largely
instrumental, both by his purse and his active personal exertions,
and he was fortunate enough to obtain a complete set of the casts
of these sculptures, which, with the various other treasures of art
and antiquity he collected in his travels, now adorn the corridor
of the mansion at Lyme. He subsequently published an account of his
journeyings in Egypt and the country beyond the Cataracts, in which he
also drew attention to the slave trade, with its attendant horrors,
as then existing in the country of the Pharaohs. In 1816, the year in
which he attained his majority, he was returned to Parliament for the
borough of Newton, and re-elected in 1818; but after the dissolution
in 1820 he did not again seek Parliamentary honours, his tastes and
inclinations leading him to prefer a more adventurous life in the
exploration of distant and unknown lands.

He married, at Prestbury, January 14, 1828, Ellen, daughter and
heiress of William Turner, M.P., of Shrigley Park, adjacent to Lyme,
the innocent subject of the Wakefield abduction case,[64] and by her
he had an only daughter, Ellen Jane Legh, who married in 1847 the
Rev. Brabazon Lowther, since deceased, the brother of her father's
second wife, and on whom the Shrigley estates were settled. Mrs. Legh
died on the 17th January, 1831, at the early age of 19. Her remains
are deposited in the family vault at Winwick, where Mr. Legh erected
a handsome sculptured monument to her memory bearing the following
inscription:--

  In the vaults of this chapel are deposited the remains of Ellen, the
 dearly beloved wife of Thomas Legh, Esquire, of Lyme Hall, Cheshire,
 and daughter of William Turner, Esquire, of Shrigley Park, in the
 same county. Born 12 Feb. 1811. Died 17 Jany. 1831. Leaving an only
 surviving child, born 20 Feb. 1830.

Mr. Legh again entered the marriage state, his second wife being Maud,
fourth daughter of George Lowther, of Hampton Hall, Somersetshire,
descended from William, fifth son of Sir Christopher Lowther, of
Lowther, who, surviving him, married, secondly, A. J. Deschamps De la
Tour, Esq., of Milford, Hampshire, but by her he had no issue. Mr.
Legh, who was a magistrate and Deputy-Lieutenant for the counties
of Lancaster and Chester, LL. D. and F.R.S., died at Milford Lodge,
Lymington, Hampshire, on the 8th May, 1857, in the 65th year of his
age, and was buried at Disley, when the Cheshire estates, with the
extensive properties in Lancashire, passed to his nephew, William John
Legh, the fourth but eldest surviving son of his younger brother,
William Legh, of Brymbo Hall, in Denbighshire, and of Hordle,
Hampshire, by his wife, Mary Anne, eldest daughter of John Wilkinson,
of Castlehead in Furness, the celebrated ironmaster.

William John Legh, the present owner of Lyme, was born in 1828, and at
the time his uncle's decease placed him in possession of the family
estates, was serving as captain of the 21st Fusiliers in the Crimea,
where he greatly distinguished himself; he was in the trenches, and
also shared in the glories of Inkermann. At the general election in
1859 he was returned as one of the members for South Lancashire, and
in 1868 he was elected senior representative of the Eastern Division
of the county of Chester, a constituency for which he has ever since
sat. Mr. Legh married in 1856 Emily Jane, daughter of the Rev. Charles
Nourse Wodehouse, canon of Norwich, by his wife Dulcibella Jane Hay,
daughter of William, fifteenth Earl of Errol, by whom he has, with
other issue, Thomas Wodehouse Legh, born March 18, 1857, his eldest
son, and the heir-apparent of the ancestral home and the broad lands of
the historic house of Lyme.

The old ancestral abode of the Leghs--the lordly House of Lyme, as it
is often styled--ranks among the more important of the "stately homes"
that glorify and give dignity to the county which claims to be the Vale
Royal of England. "Stately" it is from its architectural merits and
peculiarities, its picturesque surroundings, its stores of natural
beauties and acquired treasures, its historical associations, and, more
than all, as a perpetual reminder of the eventful past, its memories
being indissolubly linked with those of the leading heroes and worthies
of the shire.

No precise date can be fixed as that of its erection, but well nigh
five centuries have passed since the progenitors of the present owner
first held sway over its destinies. Tradition tells us that a house--a
hunting lodge, as it would seem--existed here in the days of King John,
at which time the domain of Lyme was included within the limits of
the royal forest of Macclesfield. From a document we have previously
quoted, we know that a Sir Peter Legh had his "fair hall with a high
chamber" here more than four hundred years ago, and, though since
his day the house has received many additions and undergone many
changes, it still retains some of its more ancient rooms in a state
of excellent preservation. Thanks to the generosity of its owner, not
only is the park open to all comers, who are free to make holiday
and seek health and pleasure upon the verdant sward and beneath the
shadow of the "tall patrician trees," but under certain regulations
the public are admitted to the hall and shown the more interesting and
attractive of its apartments. And much that is curious and interesting
do those apartments contain. They are literally full of treasures of
art--costly examples of the artists of the middle ages, as well as
of those who have earned renown in more modern times; the walls are
covered with historical portraits of fair women and brave men, that
look down with stately dignity, and carry the mind back into the
mists of bygone centuries; "storied windows" there are that glow with
the rich colourings of their heraldic blazonries, and dye the oaken
flooring with their rainbow hues; tapestries on which the Gobelins have
lavished their skill and taste, relating in embroidery the stories of
the gods; marble treasures from Egypt and the East; carvings, rich and
rare, that have been produced by the magic hand of Grinling Gibbons;
and specimens of English handicraft, the work of bygone days, when
unstinted labour was bestowed on even the most common-place articles
of every day use. There are stately apartments, rich in the grandeur
of their fittings, their upholstery and their decorations; and there
are, too, old and dimly-lighted chambers--panelled, roofed, and floored
with oak, containing specimens of antique furniture that might serve as
models for æsthetic revivalists of the present day; chairs, presses,
and seats of various kinds, and stately beds withal that have been
honoured with the repose of royal personages, so tradition alleges, the
ill-fated Mary of Scotland being among the number; and where is the
house of ancient fame in which that hapless Queen has not at some time
or other sought repose? Armorial blazonries are displayed on wall and
window, on ceiling and corridor, and the much-prized hand and banner,
commemorative of the great deed at Crescy, meets the eye at every turn.
Here, too, are examples of ancient arms and armour, suits of mail,
helmets, breast plates, and battle-axes, with pikes, and pistols, and
petronels, and two-handed swords too ponderous for anyone in these
degenerate days to wield, but which, in the grasp of a stalwart Legh,
may have been

              Bathed in gore
  On the plains of Agincourt.

[Illustration: Shield]

As we have before said, the mansion in all its antique stateliness
comes unexpectedly upon the view, being hidden from sight on all sides
by the high grounds of the park and the bleak moorlands beyond that
stretch away in the direction of the Peak hills. It looks, indeed,
as if, in selecting the situation for his building, the architect
had sacrificed effect to protection from the weather, and the noble
appearance it would have possessed if built upon an eminence is
entirely lost. The plan is quadrangular, enclosing an extensive
court, and the architecture like that of many other old mansions,
of different periods, a portion dating from the time of the last of
the Tudor sovereigns, whilst another part--the south front, with its
noble Corinthian columned portion--is a fine specimen of Palladian
architecture, erected by Leoni, a century and a half ago; though
the effect is greatly marred by a modern square lantern, with stone
balustrades, that was added by Wyatt in 1822.

The north front, which is first seen on approaching from the Disley
side,--that by which visitors are generally admitted--is not
particularly striking in appearance; it is approached through a square
court enclosed by iron palisades, and entered by an arched gateway.
The main entrance is in the centre of this front, which projects
slightly from the main structure, and constitutes the oldest and most
characteristic part of the building, having been left comparatively
untouched by Leoni, his alterations having been restricted to the side
wings, which are of more modern construction, and ornamented with
Corinthian pilasters. A couple of hunting horns, relics of the old
forestering days, depend from the wall, and over the rounded archway
is a shield of eight quarterings, representing the principal heraldic
achievements of the family, the arms being:--(1), Corona; (2), Legh,
with an escutcheon over both representing the Crescy augmentation
granted by Flower; (3), Boteler; (4), Croft; (5), Haydock; (6), Boydell
of Poulscroft; (7), Boydell of Gropenhall; and (8), Ashton. The shield
is encircled by a garter bearing the motto _En Dieu est ma Foi_, and
over all is the ram's head, the crest of the family. A sun-dial is
placed above the shield, and formerly the structure was surmounted by a
lofty octagon lantern, which Leoni removed to an elevated part of the
grounds, and replaced by a statue of Minerva.

A noble mastiff of the Lyme breed--a lion couchant in
appearance--guards the entrance; a brief survey satisfies him,
apparently, as to the harmlessness of our intentions, and we are
permitted without molestation to pass through the archway, when we
are handed over to the care of a prim and somewhat stately domestic,
who obligingly condescends for the time to lionize us. The entrance
communicates with a spacious quadrangle, round three sides of which
a piazza is carried, the fourth, or east side, being occupied by a
flight of stone stairs leading to the entrance hall, to which we are
first conducted. It is a large and well proportioned room, fifty feet
by forty-two, but much modernised, having been remodelled by Wyatt
in 1822, the decorations being of the Ionic order. It is divided
lengthways by lofty columns, and surrounded by a deep cornice, adorned
with the horns of the red deer and other trophies of the chase. The
stone chimneypiece was erected by Wyatt, but, though massive, it is
poor in detail when compared with the one in the drawing-room, which
dates from the time of Elizabeth. Over the fireplace, with one hand
grasping his sword, and the other resting upon a helmet, is a portrait
of Sir Peter Legh, the "founder" of the family, as our cicerone
assures us, and the one who for his loyalty to King Richard, suffered
decapitation at Chester in 1399, but which in reality represents Sir
Peter, who was knighted at Leith in 1544, the friend of Flower, and
the restorer and rebuilder of Lyme. We gaze upon the lineaments of the
ancient worthy and think of the doughty deeds in which he bore a part,
but our reverie is rudely dispelled when our garrulous guide informs
us that the gorgeous frame in which the picture is placed belonged to
the Duke of York, and was purchased at a sale of his Royal Highness's
effects--a piece of information we would most willingly have dispensed
with. A noteworthy feature in the room is an opening concealed by
panelling near the centre of the north wall, that affords a glimpse
of the drawing-room beyond; on one side of the panel which forms the
door is a full length portrait of Edward III., armed cap-à-pie, and
on the other a full-length of his gallant son, the Black Prince. In
the same room we are shown some specimens of ancient armour, a pair
of long-rowelled gilt spurs, said to have been presented by the Black
Prince, and the famous two-handed sword--"the blade both true and
trusty"--which credulous sightseers are gravely told is the veritable
weapon with which Perkin a Legh cut down the standard-bearer of
the King of France, and earned for himself the broad lands of Lyme;
for here, as in many another "ancestral home," the attendants who
undertake to enlighten you on the past fortunes of the house generally
contrive to blend fable with fact in pretty equal proportions, so that
the thoughtful enquirer is apt to become perplexed with the curious
mosaic of history and romance that is put before him. The walls are
hung with family portraits, some of them of considerable interest; two
are believed to be those of the Sir Peter Legh before referred to,
but taken at different periods of his life; on one side is a portrait
of Richard Legh, who represented Cheshire in Parliament during the
Commonwealth; there is also one of his wife's father, Sir Thomas
Chicheley, of Wimpole, Charles the Second's master of ordnance; close
by is a portrait of Richard Legh's son, Piers Legh, whose Jacobite
leanings brought him into trouble, and occasioned his being charged
with treason and imprisoned in the Tower; and there is another of the
late Thomas Legh, the enterprising Eastern traveller, who is depicted
in an Albanian costume, with one arm resting upon his horse's neck, and
an Arab attendant reclining at his feet.

"Would you like to see the chapel?" inquires our guide. "Certainly,"
is the reply, and accordingly we descend from the entrance-hall by a
flight of stairs to the domestic sanctuary of the lords of Lyme, which
is situate immediately beneath the drawing-room, at the north-east
angle of the building. The date of its erection is uncertain, but it
was probably added at the time Sir Peter Legh re-edified and enlarged
the hall, near the close of the sixteenth century. The font, in which
for generations past the scions of the house have been baptised, is
adorned with shields of arms, and is said to have been removed from the
old home at Bradley; here are also preserved two ancient Runic crosses
that were dug up on a farm at Disley about forty years ago; they are of
sandstone, completely covered with the interlaced Saxon knot, and are
exceedingly interesting, one remarkable feature being the Greek key,
which is introduced as an ornament on the edge of each.

The drawing-room, to which we are next conducted, is a spacious
apartment, forty-three feet by thirty, and remarkable for the richness
of its decoration. The walls are covered with wainscot, elaborately
carved, the lower stage being worked in a succession of intersecting
arches. The mantel-piece, which reaches nearly to the ceiling, is a
good example of renaissance work; duplicated columns of Ionic character
support the entablature, and above that are caryatides bearing a
pediment, the intervening compartment being occupied with the Royal
arms of Elizabeth--France (modern), and England, quarterly--carved in
high relief; the shield is encircled by the garter, and has the lion
and dragon for supporters. Additional beauty is given to this room
by a deeply-recessed oriel, lighted on three sides by long windows
filled with stained glass that is said to have been brought from
Disley Church in the beginning of the present century. In the upper
part of the central light appear the Royal arms of the Tudor period
in old glass, but by an unaccountable blunder some modern herald has
added the lion and unicorn, which were not assumed as supporters by
the English sovereigns until after the accession of James. Beneath is
a small portrait of the Sir Peter Legh at whose instance, no doubt,
these heraldic decorations were originally designed, with the favourite
cognizance--the hand and banner--on one side, and the ram's head, the
crest of the Lyme Leghs, on the other, and beneath are several shields
representing the alliances of the family. The two side lights are
also enriched with heraldic shields, the greater portion being those
of Knights of the Garter living in Elizabeth's reign. There are three
other windows in this room similarly decorated, and, taken altogether,
they form perhaps the finest and most interesting collection of
heraldic insignia in glass to be met with in any house in the kingdom.
We have not space at our disposal to enumerate even the ancient
worthies whose--

      Devices blazoned on the shield
  In their own tinct

are here displayed. They are, doubtless, the joint production of Sir
Peter Legh and Flower about the time of that famous herald's visit to
Lyme in the sixteenth century.[65]

The Stag Parlour--an ante-room between the drawing and dining
rooms--next invites our attention. It retains much of its ancient
character, and is so named from the decorations upon the frieze and
cornice, representing in twelve compartments the various incidents of
the chase worked in stucco. One of these compartments, the one over the
fireplace, has a representation of the hall of Lyme, as it appeared
three hundred years ago, with a gay company of horsemen engaged in
the exciting pursuit of "driving the deer," a custom that must have
been observed at Lyme from the golden days of the Virgin Queen. The
custom was usually observed about the months of May and June; the deer
were collected in a drove before the house called the Deer Clad, and
then made to swim across a piece of water, with which the exhibition
ended. There is an engraving at Lyme by Vivarres, after a painting by
T. Smith, representing this custom. The same custom is traditionally
said to have been observed at Townley Hall, in Lancashire, formerly
the seat of a collateral line of the Leghs. The ceiling of the Stag
Parlour is panelled and the walls are draped with tapestry, and hung
with family portraits, and other pictures. The central compartment of
the chimney-piece has a shield representing the coat of Legh quartering
those of the family alliances, the Crescy cognizance occupying one
of the side panels, and the ram's head the other, the whole being
surmounted by the Royal arms of James I., with the garter and motto,
between two allegorical figures of Peace and Plenty. In this room we
were shown the dagger of Charles the First, on which the name "Carolus"
may still be discerned, and the gloves he wore; and another memento of
the ill-fated monarch--six antique chairs, the coverings of which are
said to have been made from the cloak in which he appeared when on the
scaffold.

In continuing our examination of the interior of Lyme, we pass from
the Stag Parlour, as it is called, to the dining-room, which extends
along a portion of the eastern front. The general characteristics of
this room are of later date than of the one we have just left; the
ceiling is highly ornamented, and the walls are divided into panelled
compartments, the upper portions being adorned with scrolls carved
in high relief, that form a kind of frieze. Over the fireplace is an
exquisite carving in wood by Grinling Gibbons, the finest we remember
to have seen, except, perhaps, that in Trinity Chapel, Oxford, which,
by the way, is from the same hand. The group comprises fish, fishing
tackle, and wild fowl, so truthfully rendered that we may almost fancy
them to have been just brought in by the sportsman, and that the
unyielding wood is even yet quivering with life. Well might Walpole
say of Gibbons:--"There is no instance of a man before him who gave to
wood the loose and airy lightness of flowers, and chained together the
various productions of the elements with a free disorder natural to
each species." And surely no finer examples of the artist's skill are
to be found either at Burleigh or at Chatsworth. The furniture in this
room calls for little note, but the portraits which adorn the walls
have especial interest. The melancholy visage of Charles I., painted
by Vandyke, looks down from the framed canvas; there are portraits,
too, of successive owners of Lyme, and one by Housman of the Lady
Anne, daughter of Lord Keeper Coventry--the mother of the last of the
Savilles who held the marquisate of Halifax.

The ante-room through which we have to pass to the library is hung with
tapestry of ancient date, illustrative of the rape of Europa, and we
see--

  The sweet Europa's mantle blue unclasp'd
    From off her shoulder backward borne;
  From one hand droop'd a crocus; one hand grasp'd
    The wild bull's golden horn.

The library itself is a spacious apartment remodelled by Wyatt, and
stored with--

  Many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore.

It contains some basso-relievos brought from Greece by the late Mr.
Thomas Legh, rare antiques from the East, and an ancient urn from
Pompeii, that once contained the ashes of a semi-illustrious hero,
but which is now applied to less sacred uses, being filled with dried
rose-leaves.

  Imperial Cæsar, dead and turned to clay,
  Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.

On one side a deeply-recessed bay-window lures you to enjoy the
quietude, and dream the hours away in the luxurious ease it offers.
Delightful is the prospect from this window; in front are seen the
smooth shaven lawns and terraces, with their richly-coloured parterres,
and the water flashing in the bright sunlight; and, beyond, the natural
landscape with its wooded slopes and the brown heathy wastes that shut
out the view of the more distant hills.

But the time is passing rapidly, and we must not loiter, so we follow
our conductress up flights of stairs, along galleries and corridors,
and through interminable suites of rooms, where we have to look to
our footing, the polished oak parquetrie being perilous to walk upon.
The grand staircase, which leads to a corridor above, resting on six
Corinthian columns, is of oak, with a handsome ceiling adorned with
pendants and armorial ensigns of the family. It is hung with pictures,
two of them being by Sir William Beechy, and representing George IV.
and his brother the Duke of York. Facing us as we ascend the first
flight is an interesting portrait, a full length, of John Watson, the
famous keeper,--an ancient servitor, who died in 1753, at the age of
104 years. It bears this inscription:--

 Io Watson, who in the 26th year of his age, Anno 1674, commenced
 keeper of Lime Park; in wch service he continued 70 years, and Anno
 1750, in the 102nd year of his age. He hunted a Buck, a chase near
 Six hours, at wch Hunting one gentleman was present whose Ancesters
 he had hunted with for four Generations before, he being the fifth
 Generation he had hunted with.

Watson, who was grandfather of the celebrated Rev. John Watson, M.A.,
F.S.A., rector of Stockport, and author of "Memorials of the Earls
of Warren and Surrey," lies buried at Disley, where, in the middle
aisle of the church, is a tombstone with an inscription to his memory.
Concerning this ancient worthy we have the following obituary notice:--

  Mr. Joseph Watson died in the 105th year of his age, and was buried
 at Disley in Cheshire, the 3rd of June, 1753. He was born at Mossley
 Common, in the parish of Leigh, in Lancashire, and married his Wife
 from Eccles, near Manchester, in the same County. They lived a Happy
 Couple 72 years. She died in the 94th year of her age. He was Park
 Keeper to the late Peter Legh, Esqre., of Lyme and his Father 64
 years. He drove and shewed the Red Deer to most of the Nobility and
 Gentry in that Part of the Kingdom to the Surprise and Satisfaction
 of them and all others that saw that Performance, as he could command
 them at his Pleasure the same as if they had been common Horned
 Cattle. In the reign of Queen Anne Sqr. Legh was in company with some
 Gentlemen at Macclesfield, in Cheshire, amongst which was Sir Roger
 Moston then one of the Members of Parliament for the same County.
 For their merry Conversation Sqr. Legh said his Keeper should drive
 12 Brace of Stags to the Forest of Windsor a Present to the Queen.
 Sir Roger, thinking it impracticable, proposed a Wager of £500 that
 neither his Keeper nor no other Person could drive 12 Brace of Red
 Deer from Lyme Park to Windsor Forest on any account whatever. Sqr.
 Legh accepted the Wager and immediately sent for his Keeper, who
 directly came to his Master, who told him he must directly prepare to
 drive 12 Brace of Stags to Windsor Forest upon a Wager. He gave his
 Master for answer, that upon any Wager or upon his Command he would
 drive him 12 Brace of Stags to Windsor Forest or to any other part of
 the Kingdom when he pleased to direct, upon forfeiture of his Life and
 Fortune. He was a man of Low Stature, not Bulky, fresh complexion,
 and pleasant countenance. He believed he had drunk a Gallon of Malt
 Liquor a Day, one Day with another, for 60 years; he drank plentifully
 the latter part of his Life, but no more than was agreeable to his
 Constitution and a comfort to himself. He was of a mild Temper,
 engaging Company, and fine Behaviour, and allowed to be the Best
 Keeper in England, in his Time. In the 103rd year of his age he was
 at the Hunting and Killing a Buck with the Honble George Warren, in
 his Park at Pointon, whose activity gave pleasure and Surprize to all
 Spectators then present. Sir George was the 5th Generation of the
 Warren Family he had performed that Diversion with in Pointon Park.

As we pass along the corridor our attention is arrested by two marble
busts, one of the massive head and rugged features of the late Thomas
Legh, the famous traveller, and the other that of his second wife, Maud
Lowther. We are next ushered into the long gallery, a noble chamber
one hundred and twenty feet in length and twenty-eight feet wide,
fronting the east, and exhibiting the architectural characteristics
of the Elizabethan era--one of those long narrow galleries that are
frequently met with in mansions of that period, and, like the one at
Haddon, used as a ballroom and on occasions of special festivity. The
walls are of dark oak, elaborately ornamented, the panels being wrought
in intersecting arches and relieved at intervals with flat pilasters;
in the centre a huge fireplace reaches from floor to ceiling, it is
handsomely carved and bears the arms of Queen Elizabeth with the
lion and dragon as supporters, an evidence that it dates from that
sovereign's reign. On one side we noticed an antiquated spinet that
has been doubtless played upon by many a fair daughter of the house
of Lyme. A few portraits adorn the walls, among them one of the Lady
Margaret Gerard, wife of Sir Peter Legh, holding in her arms her
great-grandchild, Anne Legh, who afterwards married Richard Bold, of
Bold. The picture bears the following inscription, apparently added
at a later date:--"Sir Piers' lady ætatis suæ 90, A.D. 1595," and
underneath the child--"ætatis suæ anno primo after marryed to Bold;"
there is also a portrait of the Rev. John Dod, the decalogist, and
another of the unfortunate divine Dr. John Hewitt, a son of Thomas
Hewitt, of Eccles, who was chaplain to Charles I., and who for his
loyalty to Charles II. was beheaded on Tower Hill, June 8th, 1658;
here, too, are portraits after the style of Holbein, one of the warlike
Henry IV., and another of Bluff King Hal, the first Defender of the
Faith.

Continuing our tour of inspection, we are led from corridor to corridor
and from room to room, pausing now and then, as a relief from the
examination of the treasures within, to look upon the glad world
without, where the sun is shining brightly on the green sward and the
lush pastures. Then we are hurried on through tapestried chambers and
state bedrooms with grotesquely-carved four-posters shadowed with a
huge pomp of stiff brocade. In one of them we are shown the bed used
by Mary Queen of Scots on the occasion of her visit to Lyme, with
its original hangings of crimson silk, now, alas, much tarnished and
dilapidated, and, if we are so disposed, we may refresh our memories
with the tragic story of Hero and Leander as in part pourtrayed on
the faded tapestry that adorns the walls of this and the adjoining
dressing-room. There are other chambers on this floor that deserve
inspection--the state bedroom, the mahogany, the velvet, and the yellow
bedrooms, with their corresponding dressing-rooms, all hung with
portraits more or less interesting. Then we pass to an oaken-panelled
chamber called the Knight's Room, and to the stone parlour--two
apartments that have remained untouched since Elizabeth's time--and so
to the gallery which extends on the upper floor round the quadrangle,
the walls of which are adorned with casts from the Phigalian
marbles--antique friezes, representing the contest between the Centaurs
and Lapithæ, and the Greeks and Amazons, which formerly ornamented the
Cella of the Temple of Apollo Epicurus at Phigalia in Arcadia, and the
originals of which are now in the British Museum, having been brought
to England by the late Thomas Legh. Another chamber is pointed out
which is said to be the oldest in the building, and on that account is
called King John's Room, though we should be much inclined to doubt the
fact of its having been in existence in that monarch's reign; then we
are ushered into another apartment named after the Black Prince, which
is also known as the Ghost Room, for Lyme, like every other old mansion
of respectability, has its ghost story, as the talented author of "Lays
and Legends of Cheshire," who, besides being laureate of Lyme, can
claim kindred with its ancient lords, can tell us; and we are asked to
believe that a secret passage leads from it to the "Cage," a mile away,
though we cannot learn that anyone within the recollection of that
respectable personage, the oldest inhabitant, has ever explored it,
but such means of exit we are assured were necessary in the turbulent
times when this part of the hall was built. Having completed our
perambulation, we ascended to the gallery at the top of the house,
from whence we can survey the country that lies spread like a rich
panorama at our feet, looking more than usually fair and brilliant as
the mellow sunlight brings out every inequality and brightens every
object with its magical radiance. But we may not loiter, for there
are yet other things to interest us, and so, having seen all that is
usually shown to visitors, we take leave of our courteous attendant and
wend our way across the park in a south-easterly direction and then
mount the hill, on the summit of which is an ancient memorial that has
long exercised the ingenuity of antiquaries to discover its age and
purpose--the Bowstones, as it is called--two upright pillars, much worn
with age, springing from a double-socketed base. They are believed to
have been of Saxon or Danish origin, though some authorities incline to
the opinion that they are of later date and were intended as boundary
stones.

Half a mile westward of the Bowstones is a conical hill to which the
name of "the Knight's Low" has been given, from a tradition that has
floated down through long centuries of time that it was the burial
place of one of the earlier lords of Lyme. The shaping power of the
imagination has supplied the minor accessories of the story, and the
dependents of the family delight to relate how that at midnight a
muffled sound, as of a distant funeral peal, is often borne on the
wind, and that at this time a shadowy procession of mourners may be
seen wending its way towards the Knight's Low, bearing a coffin and
pall, and followed by a lady arrayed in white and apparently in deep
distress. To add to the mystery there is a tale that the shadowy
form of the old knight's wife--the lady "draped in white and silver
sheen"--issues forth at midnight from a field adjoining a stream that
runs through the park, commonly known as "The Field of the White
Lady," or "the Lady's Grave," and flits silently across the grass in
the direction of the Knight's Low. Mr. Leigh has made the tradition
the theme of one of his legendary ballads, "Sir Percy Legh," though
to suit the purposes of his story he has dealt rather unceremoniously
with history and dates, things the votaries of the Muses do not always
stand much in awe of--

  They buried him within the park
    Which he had left so blithe of blee;
  And followed in the mourners' track,
    All gaily dressed, poor Agnes Legh.

  They heaped a mound upon his corse--
    A mound whereon the fir trees grow;
  And many a wail is heard at night,
    Coming from the good Knight's Low.

  She rambled all the night forlorn,
    She rambled forth all drearilie,
  Till on the river's bank one morn
    Was found the corse of Agnes Legh.

  They buried her where she was found--
    They buried her near the river's wave;
  And ever since the land around
    Is known but as the Lady's Grave.

At length our progress is ended. While the westering sun and the
lengthening shadows remind us that evening is rapidly drawing on, we
retrace our steps, passing by the north front of the hall, along the
grassy slopes where the deer are crouching and the kine are ruminating
at will, past Lyme Cage, through the gates by which we originally
entered, and along the quiet tree-shaded road to Disley, and in a few
minutes find ourselves in the cosy parlour of the "Ram's Head," with
the mind laden with the lore of ancient days, and impressed with a
succession of pictures of endless suites of rooms stored with carvings
of cunning device, curious enamels, and cabinets of costly workmanship;
with tapestry, pictures, and a wealth of natural and artistic treasures
such as few, if any, of the "stately homes" of Cheshire can equal and
none surpass.

We have not attempted in our notice of this old historic mansion to
speak of every room, to notice every object of interest, and many
details have been purposely omitted. In recounting the fortunes of
the former lords we have endeavoured to call up visions of the
past--to arrest momentarily the hand of Time, which is fast drawing the
curtain of oblivion over bygone scenes, and, though our task has been
but imperfectly performed, at least we may hope to have contributed
something towards a better knowledge and appreciation of "Lyme Hall and
the Leghs."



CHAPTER VII.

"JEMMY DAWSON" AND THE FATAL '45.


Who that has read Harrison Ainsworth's story of the "Manchester Rebels"
can fail to remember the vivid picture he has drawn of the ferment into
which the whilom Puritan town was thrown when, on the morning of the
28th November, 1745, a recruiting sergeant, with a drummer boy and a
Scotch lassie, crossed the old Salford bridge into Manchester, passed
along Cateaton Street and the Millgate, to the Market Cross, and after
proclaiming "King James the Third," began beating up for recruits for
"The yellow-haired Laddie," who on the following day joined them with
the main body of the rebel clans; of the rejoicings and festivities,
the illuminations and the fireworks; of the enthusiasm of the Jacobite
ladies, who sat up all night at Mr. Byrom's at the Cross making white
cockades, and the joyous excitement of John Byrom's gossiping daughter,
"Beppy" Byrom, who, as she confesses, got completely "fuddled" with
drinking the Prince's health in champagne after having had the honour
of kissing his hand; when the orange plumes paled before the blaze
of tartan in which female Manchester had arrayed itself, and Colonel
Townley laboured with unwearying zeal in mustering and enrolling a
Manchester regiment, and Parson Coppock and the irrepressible Tom
Syddall exhorted their fellow townsmen in the name of their God to
enlist in the service of their rightful sovereign. And who that has
read Shenstone's pathetic ballad, "Jemmy Dawson," that tale

  So sad, so tender, and so true,

but has "heaved a sigh" at the touching episode connected with
Lancashire's share in the rebellion which it records?

But for Mickle's wonderfully woven web of truth and fiction,

  The haunted towers of Cumnor Hall

and the sorrows of Amy Robsart would never have excited special
interest; and had not Shenstone, with the same marvellous gift of
nature, commemorated in imperishable verse the sad fate of the plighted
fair one of Captain Dawson, our interest and our sympathy with the
victim of that revolting tragedy might never have been awakened, and
the name even of the amiable and unfortunate subject of the stanzas
have become forgotten.

But who, it may be asked, was "Jemmy Dawson," where was his abode,
and what was the name of the hapless maid whose fortunes were so
sadly linked with his own? Mr. Robert Chambers, in his History of the
Rebellion of '45, says:

 James Dawson, the son of a Gentleman of Lancashire, was attached to
 a young Lady of good family and fortune, when some youthful excesses
 induced him to run away from College and join the insurgents. Had he
 obtained the Royal Mercy or been acquitted, the day of his enlargement
 was to have been that of his marriage. When it was ascertained that
 he was to suffer death, the inconsolable young lady determined to
 witness the execution, and she accordingly followed the sledges in
 a hackney-coach, accompanied by a Gentleman nearly related to her
 and one female friend. She got near enough to see all the dreadful
 preparations without betraying any extravagant emotions; she also
 succeeded in restraining her feelings during the progress of the
 bloody tragedy; but when all was over, and the shouts of the multitude
 rang in her ears, she drew her head back again into the coach and
 crying, "My dear! I follow thee--I follow thee! Sweet Jesus receive
 both our souls together!" fell upon the neck of her companion and
 expired in the very moment she was speaking.

[Illustration: MR. BYROM'S HOUSE AT THE CROSS.]

The information thus given is of the scantiest nature, and, meagre as
it is, it is inaccurate in some details. Of the family of "Jemmy
Dawson" unfortunately but few particulars can be gleaned, but the
little we know is sufficiently interesting to make us long to know
more. Of the lady to whom he was betrothed we know absolutely nothing,
and her name even has never been satisfactorily established. In the
"Legends of Lancashire" (p. 159) it is stated, though on what authority
does not appear, that her name was Katherine Norton, that she was an
orphan, and that her parents had been of illustrious rank. "She had
travelled," it is said, "with a maiden aunt, and as they were residing
for a few weeks in the vicinity of Cambridge, she had met with young
Dawson, and thus commenced an ardent attachment between them."

The Dawsons, who were a family of some note in Manchester, came
originally from Yorkshire, where, at Barnsley, towards the close of
the seventeenth century, was residing James Dawson, who is described
as a trader, a phrase that had a different significance a couple of
centuries ago than it has now, a trader then being equal in social
status to the merchant or manufacturer of the present day. The trader
of Barnsley in due time took to himself a wife in the person of Jane
Wolstenholme, of Hopwood, near Middleton, and to this worthy couple was
born on the 5th March, 1695-6, a son and heir, William Dawson, who,
after he had attained to man's estate, settled in Manchester, where
he practised as an apothecary, and was known to his neighbours as Dr.
Dawson. He was successful in his profession, and eventually became the
owner of a considerable real estate, including a house at Barnsley,
which he had probably inherited from his father, and another called
"The Cottage," in Manchester; the latter a dwelling-house with gardens
and pleasure grounds attached, occupying the site of the present
Concert Hall--then a pleasant suburb of the town, to which we shall
have occasion hereafter more particularly to refer. Dr. Dawson appears
also to have had in the later years of his life a town residence near
the top of the present King Street, a fashionable quarter, where some
of the clergy of the "old church" had located themselves, and which was
then known as St. James's Square, a name that was abandoned when the
Hanoverian sovereigns had finally asserted their prerogative against
the claims of the Jacobite Pretender; the two squares--St. James's and
St. Ann's--being memorials of a conflict which is now but a matter of
history.

William Dawson, the apothecary, married for his first wife Elizabeth,
one of the daughters of Mr. Richard Allen, a gentleman residing at
Redivales, near Bury, the representative of a family of somewhat more
than local fame, claiming descent from the stock of the same name
seated at Rossal, in Lancashire, of which house was the well known
Cardinal Allen, the apologist of Sir William Stanley's perfidy and
treason in surrendering Deventer to the King of Spain, and a branch of
which was located in Salford, their home being the quaint old black
and white gabled building still standing in Greengate, and for many
years past occupied as a tavern, and bearing the sign of the "Bull's
Head." This match brought the young apothecary in close alliance with
some of the best families in the neighbourhood. Mrs. Dawson's aunt,
Dorothy Allen, had married the wealthy draper of Kersall, and she
was, therefore, own cousin to his sons, Edward Byrom the younger, and
John Byrom, the amiable and gifted poet and strong, though prudent,
partisan of the Jacobite cause. Her great-grandmother was the wife of
the Rev. Isaac Allen, Rector of Prestwich, a staunch Churchman and
Royalist, who, for refusing to take the Covenant, was turned out of his
living during the Cromwellian period, but reinstated shortly after the
Restoration in 1660.

The children of William Dawson, by his first wife, Elizabeth Allen,
were James, the hero of Shenstone's ballad, of whom anon; William,
who was educated for the law and entered at Lincoln's Inn, and two
daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah. In 1737, the year in which his eldest
son entered at the university, Mr. Dawson had the misfortune to
lose his wife, her death occurring on the 3rd of May, at the age of
forty-one. Some time afterwards he married for his second wife Mary,
the eldest daughter of William Greenwood, of Liversage Hall, previously
of Middlewood Hall, near Barnsley, and the widow of Joseph Greenwood,
of Leeds; but by this lady, who survived him nearly twenty years, and
died January 25, 1782, he had no children.

James Dawson, the eldest son, the rebel captain, who was born about the
year 1717, would, in all probability, receive his early education at
the Grammar School of his native town, where Thomas Coppock, the pseudo
Bishop of Carlisle, was also a pupil. In 1737, being then twenty years
of age, he proceeded to Cambridge, where, on the 21st October, he was
admitted to St. John's College, the register describing him as:--

 Jocobus Dawson, Lancastriensis filius natu major Gulielmi Dawson
 pharmacopolæ Mancunii natus et literis institutus apud Salford in
 eodem Comitatu sub Magistro Clayton, admissus pensionarius minor
 Tutore et fide Jussore Magistro Wrigley, Oct. 21, 1737, anno Ætatis
 20^(mo.)

The "Magistro Clayton" referred to was doubtless the Rev. John Clayton,
of the Sacred Trinity Church in Salford, an ardent Jacobite, who
preached in the church and prayed openly in the street in Salford
for Charles Edward at the time of his visit to Manchester, and whose
appearance in the pulpit of St. Ann's in the interval between the
death of one rector and the appointment of another caused so much
dissatisfaction to the Hanoverian worshippers that, as Miss Byrom
in her diary tells us, some of them "went out of church because he
preached." The story related by Chambers and others that young Dawson
had been induced to run away from his college, fearing that he might be
expelled on account of some youthful excesses, and that after leaving
Cambridge he joined the ranks of the young Pretender, does not appear
to rest on any reliable foundation. There is extant a letter written by
the Registrar of the University of Cambridge, dated 24th October, 1833,
which states that "the only document concerning him in the University
Records is his signature on matriculation, which took place on the 17th
of December, 1737, when he was matriculated as a pensioner. He wrote
a bold hand. He never took a degree, nor does he appear to have been
subjected to any punishment for irregularity in the University Court
held by the Vice-chancellor."

A century had wrought a mighty change in the political sentiments of
the people of Manchester. When the great struggle between Charles
the First and his Parliament began, led by the eloquence of Warden
Heyricke, they took sides against the King, but they quickly changed
their opinions, and when Charles's son, the "Merry Monarch," was
restored to the crown they were jubilant, and in the exuberance of
their joy caused the conduit to flow with wine and the gutters to swell
with strong beer. The sons of those men held by the political opinions
of their fathers, and were, for the most part, ardent supporters of
the hereditary claims of the House of Stuart. There were two factions
in the town--Whigs and Tories, or Hanoverians and Jacobites as they
were more commonly called, the latter being by far the more numerous
and influential. They met at their respective taverns--the Hanoverians
at the "Angel" in the Market Street Lane, and the Jacobites at "John
Shaw's" and the "Bull's Head" in the Market Place--drank punch, a
beverage for which they seem to have had a special partiality, and
toasted the King, and denounced the Pretender with a mental reservation
as to

  Who Pretender was, and who was King.

Thirty years previously the town had been stirred to its inmost
depths by the claims the first Pretender had advanced. Many of the
sympathisers of '15 were still alive, and the old spirit of strife,
though it might have slumbered, was still strong. James Dawson's
kinsman, Dr. Byrom, who was then in the heyday of his popularity, was
warmly attached to the cause of the exiled Stuarts, and was accounted
the laureate of the party; his Jacobitism was, however, under the
control of a cautious possessor, and in proclaiming his political faith
he was sufficiently prudent to avoid imperilling either his personal or
his family interests. He nevertheless exercised a marvellous influence
over his fellow townsmen, and largely helped to fan the flame of
disaffection. A wit, a scholar, and a poet, his playful epigrams and
clever _jeux d'esprit_ caused his society to be sought after by both
parties, and linked him in close intimacy, if not, indeed, in close
friendship, with men whose political creeds were at variance with
his own. Byrom's versatile powers and refined and courteous demeanour
acted as a charm, and enabled him, if not to turn Hanoverians into
Jacobites, at least to bias their practice and take the sting out of
their Whiggism.

Brought within the range of his seductive influence, we can scarcely
wonder that Byrom's relative, young Dawson, then fresh from college,
impressionable, impulsive, and enthusiastic, should have imbibed
his Jacobite principles. The time was one of political excitement.
England was in a state of agitation, and the rumours which had reached
Manchester of the successful rising in the North sufficed to stir the
fire of youthful enthusiasm and inspire devotion to the Pretender's
cause. The young Chevalier was in the field at the head of the Highland
clans; France had promised substantial support, not because France
had any particular liking for the Stuarts, but because she was not
unwilling to pay off some old scores by finding occupation for her
traditional foe; Sir John Cope had been beaten at Prestonpans, and
the victorious Charles Edward was then at Carlisle on his way south.
Francis Townley, a scion of an old Lancashire family, who had figured
at the Court of Louis XV. and seen service and earned distinction
abroad, was entrusted with a colonel's commission from the French King;
the commission authorised him to raise forces on behalf of the Prince,
and with that object he repaired to Manchester, the reputed stronghold
of the Jacobite party, to beat up for recruits; the town was excited,
the bolder spirits were jubilant and eager in their desire to don the
white cockade, some money was raised and more was promised but never
paid, and what is known to history as the "Manchester Regiment" was
enrolled. In that regiment James Dawson was honoured with a captaincy;
what that captaincy cost him we shall hereafter see.

Saturday, the 29th of November, 1745, was an eventful day for
Manchester, and one the townsmen had cause long to remember, for it
was that on which the young Chevalier, Prince Charles Edward, made his
appearance, after having taken Lancaster, Preston, and Wigan, on his
progress from the North. About ten o'clock in the morning the main body
of his army entered the town; regiment after regiment, with their
glittering firelocks, their tartan sashes, and gay and picturesque
dresses, marched over the Old Bridge and into St. Ann's-square, then
lately built, where they halted. It was an inauspicious moment, for at
the precise time the remains of the first rector of St. Ann's, the Rev.
Joseph Hoole, were being committed to the grave. As the men entered
the square, the warlike notes of the bagpipes were instantly hushed,
and, with instinctive reverence for the dead, the officers drew near
the churchyard, unbonneted, and joined devoutly in the service while
the coffin was being lowered to its final resting-place. It was an
ominous incident, and seemed premonitory of the fate that was shortly
to overtake so many of those assembled. As the historian of St Ann's
observes:--"White cockade and black scarf were at one in the presence
of death. Many a white cockade was laid low ere a month was gone."

Scarcely was the mournful scene ended than Prince Charles himself,
dressed in Highland garb--the Stuart plaid belted with a blue sash,
and wearing a light wig with a blue bonnet, in which was fixed a white
rose, entered the town amid the applauding acclamations of the people.
As he passed through Salford on his way, Parson Clayton, then one of
the chaplains of the Collegiate Church, and previously young Dawson's
instructor at the Grammar School, dropped on his knees, and in fervent
tones prayed that the enterprise might be successful, and that the
divine blessing would rest upon the Prince's head. Colonel Townley
had made previous arrangements for his reception, and on his arrival
he was conducted to his quarters at the house of Mr. Dickenson,[66] a
residence in Market Street Lane, thenceforward dignified with the name
of "The Palace," a name still perpetuated in Palace Buildings, which
mark the site. The head-quarters of the officers were fixed at the
"Bull's Head," in the Market Place, then the principal inn in the town,
and Lord George Murray, the Prince's secretary, stationed himself at
the Dog Inn, in Deansgate, for the purpose of distributing the French
King's commissions to officers who were willing to purchase. In the
course of the day "His Majesty King James the Third" was proclaimed at
the Market Cross, poor James Waller, of Ridgefield, a loyal subject
of the House of Brunswick, who was content with monarchy as it stood,
being compelled to pocket his political principles, and become the
medium of communication between Prince and people, by conveying the
demands of the rebel army to his fellow-townsmen for the payment of all
the money they had collected for the taxes; and in the evening bonfires
were lit, the streets were illuminated, drums beat, pipes played, and
the bells rang loud peals from the Old Church steeple in honour of the
event. No pains were spared to fan the flame of enthusiasm. Receptions
were held by the Prince, and Jacobite sympathisers of both sexes,
wearing tartan favours, thronged the house of Mr. Dickenson, anxious
to be presented and to have the honour of kissing the Prince's hand.
Recruiting, meanwhile, was carried on with energy; the Manchester
Regiment was enrolled, and by the Chevalier's orders Colonel Francis
Townley, who had joined the forces at Preston, was nominated commander;
Thomas Coppock, the son of a Manchester tailor, residing in the Old
Millgate, and a quondam companion of James Dawson, who had lately
graduated at Brasenose, Oxford, where he had been an exhibitioner from
Hugh Oldham's Grammar School, was appointed chaplain; Tom Syddall,
the son of a peruke-maker, who had been hanged and his head fixed on
the Market Cross for the share he had in destroying the Cross Street
meeting-house in 1715, and who, from the hour he had seen his father's
exposed and insulted countenance, had conceived an implacable hatred
for Dissenters, Whigs, and all the Hanoverian race, was made adjutant;
and James Dawson was one of the first to be enrolled as captain.

Coppock, dressed in full canonicals, accompanied a drummer through the
town, exhorting the people to take up arms in the Stuart cause, and
his efforts were ably seconded by Dr. Deacon,[67] the minister of a
non-juring congregation assembling in Fennel Street, whose three sons,
on the advice of the father, and with his prayers and blessings, were
among the earliest to obtain commissions; but the number recruited
through their efforts fell far short of their expectations, not more
than three hundred men being added to the strength of the rebel army,
and of those comparatively few were resident in the town. The people
were noisy and enthusiastic enough, but they were not sufficiently
ardent to risk their lives and property in the chivalrous defence of
the antiquated doctrine of the divine right of kings. The reason may
not be far to seek. Manchester men had thriven upon their manufacture
of fustians and dimities, and become a comparatively wealthy
community--they had something to lose; their interests were bound
up with more peaceful pursuits; insurrection and civil war do not
generally conduce to the prosperity of trade, and hence they had little
fondness for fighting.

The day which followed the Prince's arrival was a great day for the
Jacobites. It was Sunday, and St. Andrew's day withal. The bells
rang out from the old church tower; the streets were filled with
Highland soldiers; Colonel Townley's Manchester Regiment mustered in
the churchyard, the men in their blue and white cockades gathering
round their flag, which bore on one side the inscription "Church and
Country," and on the other "Liberty and Property." Never did the
ancient fane itself present a brighter or more animated appearance;
the nave was crowded with armed men, whose gaily-coloured attire and
glittering claymores, targets, and other accoutrements produced a
striking effect. The townspeople occupied the side aisles, and such
a display of tartan had never before been witnessed; everybody wore
Stuart favours, and the ladies were ablaze with tartan ribbons, shaws,
and furbelows. The Prince occupied the warden's seat in the choir,
his retinue being accommodated in the stalls close by. Warden Peploe,
a staunch Whig, but lacking the spirit of his father, who, thirty
years before, when the insurgents occupied Preston, had stood before
the Pretender's soldiery and prayed for King George and the House of
Brunswick,[68] had consulted his safety by withdrawing from the town.
Young Parson Coppock, the chaplain of the Manchester Regiment, supplied
his place, and preached from the text, "The Lord is King; the earth
may be glad thereof" (Psalm xcvii., v. 1); and from the same pulpit
whence, a century before, Warden Heyricke, on his "drum ecclesiastic,"
had stirred the hearts of the Manchester people by his trumpet-tongued
sermons, and roused them into active resistance to the Stuart King and
the "Papistical malignants" who had gained possession of him, was now
only heard a mild oration larded with flattering eulogies of his Popish
descendant.

When the service was concluded, the Manchester Regiment was inspected
by the Prince, and on the following day, with the rest of the rebel
army, they set forward on their march southwards, advancing in two
divisions by different routes towards Macclesfield, which had been
fixed as the limit of the first day's march. At Cheadle Ford, where
the bridge now bestrides the Mersey, a temporary bridge, formed of the
trunks and branches of poplar trees, was constructed for the horse
and artillery to pass over, and here the Prince, with two regiments,
crossed, buoyant with hope and full of energy. On reaching the opposite
bank he was welcomed by a number of the Cheshire gentry, who had come
out to meet him; with them was the venerable Mrs. Skyring, of whom
Lord Mahon relates the following affecting story ("Forty-Five," p.
84):--"As a child, she had been lifted up in her mother's arms to view
the happy landing at Dover of Charles the Second. Her father, an old
Cavalier, had afterwards to undergo, not merely neglect, but oppression
from that thankless monarch; still, however, he and his wife continued
devoted to the Royal cause, and their daughter grew up as devoted as
they. After the expulsion of the Stuarts all her thoughts, her hopes,
her prayers, were directed to another restoration. Ever afterwards she
had, with rigid punctuality, laid aside one-half of her yearly income
to remit for the exiled family abroad, concealing only the name of the
giver, which she said was of no importance to them, and might give
them pain if they remembered the unkind treatment she had formerly
received. She had now parted with her jewels, her plate, and every
little article she possessed, the price of which she laid in a purse at
the feet of Prince Charles, while straining her dim eyes to gaze on his
features, and pressing his hand to her shrivelled lips, she exclaimed
with affectionate rapture, 'Lord! now lettest Thou thy servant depart
in peace!'" It is added that she did not survive the shock when, a few
days afterwards, she was told of the retreat. The ancient lady, who is
represented as somewhat irreverently employing the sacred words of the
_Nunc Dimittis_, may be a pretty object to contemplate through the haze
of a century or more, but the story Lord Mahon so pathetically relates
is of doubtful origin, and should be received with caution.

On reaching Macclesfield the two divisions of the Prince's army were
united, and the Manchester men were drawn up in the churchyard, when
arms were distributed to those who had not previously received them.
The rebel forces met with little encouragement in the town, and the
next day, after having searched Adlington Hall and some other houses
of note in the neighbourhood, and taken what arms they could find,
they continued their march by way of Congleton and Leek to Derby,
which town was reached on December 4th, having, incredible as it may
appear, met with little or no opposition on the way. Of the subsequent
movements of the Manchester Regiment we need not say much; the record
of its doings is part of the country's history. Some who joined may
have been led by a love of adventure, but others were influenced by
higher considerations. Sincere and enthusiastic in their support of
the exiled dynasty, they were willing to forfeit their lives for their
Prince, and the forfeit, as we shall see, was rigorously enacted.
Their progress was as disastrous as it was brief. Hearing, while at
Derby, that the Duke of Cumberland, with an army of veterans, was in
the neighbourhood, and distrusting the skill of their own officers,
they beat a retreat northwards, carrying with them whatever in the
way of booty they could lay their hands on. On the 9th December the
advanced guard reached Manchester, where, instead of meeting with the
welcome they had received ten short days before, they were assailed by
a shower of stones from the mob; the regiment raised by Captain Townley
was broken up, and many of the men dispersed, but Captain Dawson,
with Coppock, Syddall, the three Deacons, and several other of the
more resolute supporters of the Prince, determined upon sharing his
fortunes, and pushed on with him to Carlisle, hotly pursued by the Duke
of Cumberland. In opposition to the advice of Lord George Murray, it
was determined that a garrison should be left in the border city. There
was at the time a gloomy anticipation of the fate awaiting those who
should remain, yet none hesitated to make the almost certain sacrifice;
Colonel Townley volunteered for the desperate service, and was
accordingly made governor of the city; with him were Captain Dawson,
Adjutant Syddall, the Deacons, Coppock, who had been dubbed Bishop
of Carlisle, and the remnant of the Manchester Regiment, one hundred
and twenty strong, with two hundred and seventy of the Highlanders
and Lowland Scots, and a handful of French officers and privates.
Soon after the Prince's departure the Duke of Cumberland, with
Marshal Wade, appeared before the city, and summoned the garrison to
surrender; after a brief resistance they were obliged to yield on the
hard conditions that, instead of being put to the sword, they should
be reserved for the King's pleasure. Coppock, after being imprisoned
for some time, was executed at Gallows Green, Harrowby, about a mile
south of Carlisle, meeting his death, as did his companions in arms,
with firmness to the last, and expressing his belief in the justice
of the cause he had embraced. The other officers, twenty in number,
were conveyed in waggons under a strong guard to London. Great efforts
had been made to inflame the minds of the populace against them by
representing them all as Papists, who, if they had succeeded, would
have roasted the Duke of Cumberland to death, burned the bishops,
and destroyed all heretics--men, women, and children; and on their
arrival in the Metropolis they were led in a sort of triumph through
the streets, where the greatest indignation was offered them by the
excited throng. As they had served under commissions from the French
King, they expected to have been treated as ordinary prisoners of war,
and that they would be regularly exchanged. Their fate, however, was
far otherwise. Imprisoned first in the cells of Newgate, and afterwards
in the New Prison in Southwark, they passed thence to the scaffold. The
head of Syddall was sent to Manchester and fixed on a spike in front of
the Exchange, near where that of his father had been fixed thirty years
before. Captain Thomas Deacon was treated in like manner, and it is
recorded of his father, the nonjuring divine, that he never afterwards
passed the spot where the mutilated head of his son had been exposed
without reverently raising his hat as a token of respect. A local poet
has embalmed the memory of these Manchester martyrs in the following
quaint lines:--

  The Deel has set their heads to view,
    And stickt them upon poles;
  Poor Deel! 'twas all that he could do,
    Since God has ta'en their souls.

It is with the fate of Captain Dawson, however, that we are more
immediately concerned. It had been determined that the full vengeance
of the law should fall upon the unfortunate victims belonging to the
Manchester Regiment, and those who were in Newgate were, after a lapse
of six months, ordered to prepare for trial previous to their removal
to the prison of Southwark. Dawson, as previously stated, had while at
Cambridge been betrothed to a young lady, a Miss Katherine Norton, it
is said. She appears to have engaged all his thoughts, and it is stated
that during his confinement he employed himself in writing verses on
his unhappy fate.

The trials commenced on the 16th July, 1746, in the Courthouse at
St. Margaret's Hill, before the High Commissioners appointed for the
purpose. Townley, the colonel of the regiment, was the first arraigned.
His behaviour during the trial was firm and undaunted, and when
sentence of death was pronounced he was not in the least discomposed,
nor did his countenance undergo any change of colour. The trials
lasted three days, and the whole of the prisoners arraigned were found
guilty. James Dawson was indicted for high treason (committed 18th
November, 1745, five days before the taking of Carlisle by the rebels),
and accused by witnesses for the prosecution of "having appeared as
captain, at review, at Macclesfield;" "beaten up for volunteers at
Derby;" "been at the head of company, at Penrith and other places;"
"and also been one of the rebel garrison taken at Carlisle on the 30th
December, 1745." He, like the others, was found guilty and sentenced to
death, which was ordered to take place at Kennington on the 30th July,
along with eight other officers of the Manchester Regiment. In the
interval between his condemnation and his execution he employed himself
in preparing a written declaration of the motives and sentiments which
had influenced him in joining the standard of the Pretender, a copy of
which, as made and signed by himself, we give herewith:--

 Blessed are they that suffer Persecution for Righteousness sake, for
 theirs is ye kingdom of Heaven.--Mat. ye 5 and 10.

 Friends, Brethren, and Countrymen,

 I am come to this place (and it's with cheerfulness and resignation I
 say it) to lay down my Life in defence of my King, and in support of
 the liberties and properties of you his natural-born subjects, and
 blessed be the will of God, who (unworthy as I am) has deign'd to look
 upon me as no unfit Instrument of executing his Divine Pleasure. I am
 now on the very last scene of life, and shall in a very few minutes
 launch into eternity; I therefore solemnly declare, as I shall answer
 it at the awful and impartial Tribunal before which I must shortly
 appear, that I firmly believe, and in my conscience am persuaded, that
 James the 3rd is my only true, lawful, and indisputable Sovereign;
 that the present Possessor of this Crown and Kingdom is a usurper;
 that my taking up arms against him was so far from being a crime that
 it was my indispensible and bounden duty; if I had ten thousand lives,
 I ought sooner to devote them all to his and my Country's service than
 to see Right overpowered by Oppression, or Rebellion prevailing over
 Justice.

 I die, my dear Friends, in the fellowship and communion of the Church
 of England, and in perfect love and charity with all men. I humbly
 ask pardon of all those whom I have in any shape, or in any manner,
 either injured, affronted, or offended, as I do from the bottom of
 my heart forgive all my Enemies, Persecutors, and Slanderers, and
 in an especial manner Mr. Maddock,[69] who has not only sworn away
 mine but several other innocent persons' lives (an unchristian-like
 return for relieving and supporting him when destitute of almost every
 necessary of life); but this I mention not to upbraid him, God forbid
 I should. No, my dear Countrymen, I only beg that this, his fatal
 unhappy delusion, may be a lively and instructive warning both to you
 and posterity, never to add cruelty to injustice, or to injure your
 Benefactors only for having partaken of their benefits. And I likewise
 here solemnly declare that I sincerely forgive the ... [illegible] of
 the Counsel, the partiality of my Judges, and the misguided zeal of my
 Jury.--"Lay not, O God, my blood to their charge, neither let this my
 murder rise up against them. Forgive them, Oh! my Father, for they not
 know what they do."

 And now, Oh! my God and merciful Father, having thus addressed the
 Throne of Grace for mine Enemies, let me now supplicate thy mercy for
 my poor unworthy self. I now with humility prostrate myself before
 thee, and beseech thee of thine infinite goodness, to deign to forgive
 me all my sins, negligences, and ignorances; excuse the frailties
 and infirmities of my nature, and pardon every levity, excess, and
 indecency which I have committed against thy Divine Majesty; plead
 thou my cause, Oh, my sweet Saviour; Oh! let not the transgressions
 of my youth, or the faults which I have been betrayed into, either
 through fear, forgetfulness, or surprise, be alleged against me at
 the Great Day of Judgment. Let that precious blood which was spilt at
 thy most bitter death on the Cross be a sweet-smelling sacrifice to
 turn away thy wrath from thy servant, who is not only now persecuted,
 but going to die for truth and righteousness' sake. In proportion
 to the humility of my desires, and the purity of my intention,
 heighten, Oh, Christ, my reward hereafter. Into thy hands I commend
 my soul; vouchsafe to save all those whom thou hast redeemed with thy
 precious blood, and make me to be remembered with thy Saints in glory
 everlasting. Amen.

If we could close the narrative of Manchester's share in the dynastic
contest of '45 without reference to the afflicting details of the
barbarities the victors deemed it necessary to perpetrate we should
not have necessarily to excite the indignation of our readers against
atrocities for the commission of which neither passion nor party zeal
can furnish even the shadow of an excuse. The 30th of July was the
day on which Captain Dawson and the four officers of the Manchester
Regiment were to be subjected to the hideous penalties the law had
awarded for their active partisanship of the exiled Stuarts--a day
not less of shame than of triumph to the ruling powers, and one
constituting in itself a very black page in the annals of the country.
On that day there was to be enacted a scene such as England had
happily not witnessed for thirty years or more. When the Manchester
men surrendered at Carlisle they were told that they would be reserved
for the King's pleasure--their fate is a dismal memorial of his tender
mercies. Indifferent to the dishonour he was bringing upon the nation,
and unmindful of the odium that must attach to his name, the Elector
of Hanover looked upon rebellion as a crime that could only be dealt
with in a spirit of revenge, and by the perpetration of cruelties
so exceptionally revolting that they could not be repeated without
greater danger to the throne than the insurrectionary feeling they
were intended to crush. On the morning of the day named the whole of
the condemned men were bound on three hurdles, and in this ignominious
manner dragged from the new gaol at Southwark to the place of execution
on Kennington Common, escorted by a strong party of soldiers. A gallows
had been previously erected, and near it were the hideous adjuncts of
all executions for treason--a pile of faggots and a block on which
was laid the executioner's knife. On their arrival the victims were
unbound and transferred from the hurdles to a cart placed under the
"fatal tree," and at the same time the fire was lit, the faggots
blazing up and crackling, before the doomed men's eyes. Having spent
some time in their devotions, they severally delivered the declarations
which they had written to the sheriff, the cart was withdrawn, and they
were launched into eternity, all dying calm and composed. At the end
of five minutes after suspension--before life was extinct, and while
the body was yet quivering--Captain Townley was cut down, stripped, and
placed on the block, when the hangman with his cleaver severed his head
from the body, and then took out his heart and bowels and cast them
into the fire. Captain Dawson underwent the same barbarous treatment;
the others in succession shared his fate; and when the heart of the
last was thrown into the fire the grim finisher of the law exclaimed,
"God save King George!" the assembled crowd answering with a loud shout.

Connected with this melancholy exhibition an incident is recorded
that has a more enduring interest even than the catastrophe itself.
Among the spectators of the tragic scene was the plighted fair one of
Captain Dawson. When all hope of the royal clemency was at an end the
inconsolable young lady, impelled by frenzy and despair, determined
upon following her betrothed to the place of execution and witnessing
the dreadful spectacle that was to be enacted. Accompanied by a
relative she, with heroic fortitude, followed the sledges in a hackney
coach, beheld the preparations that were being made, watched her lover
mount the gallows, and saw his lifeless body cut down and placed upon
the block to be mutilated, without betraying any extravagant emotion,
but when the executioner flung his victim's heart into the flames the
sight was more than human nature could sustain. Withdrawing her gaze,
she leaned back in the carriage, breathed his name, and was no more.
Shenstone has made the incident the theme of a ballad which has alike
immortalised its hero and its author. The following version, which
differs slightly from some of the printed copies, is from Percy's
"Reliques":--

        Come listen to my mournful tale,
          Ye tender hearts and lovers dear;
        Nor will you scorn to heave a sigh,
          Nor will you blush to shed a tear.

        And thou, dear Kitty, peerless maid,
          Do thou a pensive ear incline;
        For thou canst weep at every woe,
          And pity every plaint but mine.

        Young Dawson was a gallant youth,
          A brighter, never trod the plain;
        And well he lov'd one charming maid,
          And dearly was he lov'd again.

        One tender maid, she lov'd him dear;
          Of gentle blood the damsel came,
        And faultless was her beauteous form,
          And spotless was her virgin fame.

        But curse on party's hateful strife
          That led the favoured youth astray,
        The day the rebel clans appear'd:
          O had he never seen that day!

        Their colours and their sash he wore,
          And in the fatal dress was found;
        And now he must that death endure,
          Which gives the brave the keenest wound.

        How pale was then his true love's cheek,
          When Jemmy's sentence reach'd her ear!
        For never yet did Alpine snows
          So pale, or yet so chill appear.

        With faltering voice she weeping said:
          "O Dawson, monarch of my heart,
        Think not thy death shall end our loves,
          For thou and I will never part.

        "Yet might sweet mercy find a place,
          And bring relief to Jemmy's woes,
        O George, without a prayer for thee
          My orisons should never close.

        "The gracious Prince that gave him life,
          Would crown a never-dying flame,
        And every tender babe I bore,
          Should learn to lisp the giver's name.

        "But though, dear youth, thou should'st be dragg'd
          To yonder ignominious tree,
        Thou shalt not want a faithful friend
          To share thy bitter fate with thee."

        O then her mourning coach was call'd,
          The sledge mov'd slowly on before;
        Though borne in a triumphal car,
          She had not lov'd her favourite more.

        She follow'd him prepared to view
          The terrible behests of law;
        And the last scene of Jemmy's woe
          With calm and steadfast eye she saw.

        Distorted was that blooming face
          Which she had fondly lov'd so long;
        And stifled was that tuneful breath
          Which in her praise had sweetly sung.

        And sever'd was that beauteous neck
          Round which her arms had fondly closed
        And mangled was that beauteous breast
          On which her love-sick head reposed;

        And ravish'd was that constant heart
          She did to every heart prefer;
        For though it could its King forget,
          'Twas true and loyal still to her,

        Amid those unrelenting flames
          She bore this constant heart to see;
        But when 'twas moulder'd into dust,
          "Now, now," she cried, "I'll follow thee.

        "My death, my death alone can show
          The pure and lasting love I bore;
        Accept, O heaven, of woes like ours,
          And let us, let us weep no more."

        The dismal scene was o'er and past,
          The lover's mournful hearse retired;
        The maid drew back her languid head,
          And, sighing forth his name, expired.

        Though justice ever must prevail,
          The tear my Kitty sheds is due;
        For seldom shall she hear a tale
          So sad, so tender, and so true.

Doubts have been entertained as to the genuineness of the story which
Shenstone has narrated with such simple tenderness and pathos, and
a belief expressed that for some of the more tragic details he has
had recourse to the poet's licence. But apart from the circumstance
that the incident commemorated has been a tradition in each of the
three branches of the Dawson family, and accepted as an unimpeachable
fact, there is extant sufficient contemporary evidence to remove any
misgivings as to its authenticity. "Seldom shall you hear a tale so
sad, so tender, and," as the poet adds, "so true." Shenstone, "whose
mind," as has been said, "was not very comprehensive, nor his curiosity
active," was content to take the event of his song from a narrative
first published in the _Parrot_ of August 2, 1746, three days after
the "dismal scene" recorded. It is there stated that, "On the young
lady being informed that Mr. Dawson was to be executed, not all the
persuasions of her kindred could prevent her from going to the place
of execution. She accordingly followed the sledge in a hackney coach,
accompanied by a gentleman nearly related to her and a female friend.
Having arrived at the place of execution, she got near enough to see
the fire kindled that was to consume him, and all the other dreadful
preparations, without betraying any of those emotions her friends
apprehended. But when all was over, and she found he was no more, she
drew her head back in the coach, and ejaculating, 'My dear, I follow
thee! Lord Jesus, receive our souls together!' fell on the neck of
her companion, and expired the very moment she had done speaking.
Most excessive grief," the narrative adds, "which the force of her
resolution had kept smothered within her breast, is thought to have
put a stop to the vital motion, and suffocated at once all the animal
spirits." The story is copied from the _Parrot_ into the _Whitehall
Evening Post_ of August 7th, 1746, and the remark appended that, "upon
inquiry, every circumstance was literally true."

It has been repeatedly stated, though incorrectly, that, after the
execution, the head of Captain Dawson, with those of Syddall and
one of the Deacons, was sent down to Manchester and spiked upon the
old Exchange. Concerning the final disposition of the relics of poor
mortality which were so long left to moulder in the sun and rain--the
memorials of a barbarous and unchristian revenge--the following
communication was some years ago addressed to Mr. Proctor, the author
of "Memorials of Manchester Streets," and which, though somewhat
lengthy, we venture to transcribe:--

 I was dining some years ago, with the late Dr. S. L. (S. A.?)
 Bardsley. When the cloth was removed, the conversation took a more
 narrative character than is usual. Many personal recollections were
 told, and at length one of the guests incidentally mentioned the
 traditions of Manchester at the time of the Jacobite disturbances.
 Upon this our host observed how singular it was that the authorities
 of that day had never discovered the persons who had removed from the
 Manchester Exchange the heads of Jemmy Dawson (the hero of Shenstone's
 ballad) and the two deacons which had been exposed there, after their
 execution, as participators in the Jacobite troubles. He added that
 he was the only person living who could then solve the mystery. He
 went on to say, that many years previously (I forget the exact date)
 [1828] he was in attendance upon one Miss Hale (Miss Frances Hall?)
 who lived in King Street, and who had been a great partisan of Charles
 Edward. The old lady, who was then about ninety years of age, and
 believed herself to be dying, as was in fact the case, dismissed all
 her attendants from the room except the doctor; and having ascertained
 from him that she had not many hours to live, told him that her
 brother, who was then dead, was the person who had removed the heads
 in question, and that they were then buried in the garden at the
 back of the house in which she was living. She concluded by making
 him promise, that when she was gone, he would have them taken up and
 placed in consecrated ground.

 I need hardly add that Dr. Bardsley strictly fulfilled her wishes.
 Three skulls were found in the garden, as she had stated, and they
 were placed, as I understand, in St. Ann's churchyard. This is the
 more probable as there are now tombs of the Deacons to be found there.

This note introduces us to a family that for a century or more occupied
a prominent position in the society of Manchester, and the members of
which were in each generation distinguished alike for their public
spirit and private worth. Richard Edward Hall, who resided in an old
half-timbered house in Deansgate, at the corner of Bridge-street, and
afterwards in Hulme, where he died September 13th, 1793, at the age
of ninety, was an eminent surgeon at the time of the Pretender's
visit, the friend of John Byrom[70] and Dr. Dawson, and an ardent
Jacobite withal. Two of his sons, Edward Hall and Richard Hall, adopted
the father's profession, and were surgeons to the Infirmary, and
it must have been one of them who removed the rebel heads from the
Exchange. The survivors of the family were their two sisters, Frances
and Elizabeth Hall, who remained unmarried, and died at an advanced
age, the last-named in 1826, at the age of eighty, and Miss Frances
Hall, June 4th, 1828, aged eighty-four. These two ladies, after their
father's death, resided, with the other members of the family, in a
house near the top of King Street, at the point where Spring Gardens
has lately been carried through; their home was a large old-fashioned
dwelling of stately exterior, with a spacious garden extending in
rear to Chancery Lane, and a clump of tall trees, in which a colony
of rooks had established themselves. The rookery remained within the
recollection of the present generation, and only disappeared when
garden and greensward were taken possession of by the builder, and
the tumultuous occupants became but a memory of the past. When Prince
Charles Edward passed through the town in 1745 Frances Hall was a
child in arms, and had in all probability been held up to view the
gay cavalcade; her brother Edward was then a youth of fourteen, and,
inheriting his father's attachment to the exiled race, it is easy to
understand his desire to remove from their ignominious position, the
ghastly relics of those whose lives had been sacrificed for their
devotion to the Stuart cause. The Halls were as wealthy as they were
prominent, and when Miss Frances Hall died in 1828 she left by her will
no less a sum than £44,000 to the Royal Infirmary, House of Recovery,
Lying-in Hospital, Ladies' Jubilee School, and other charities in her
native town. She is buried in the Derby chapel within the Cathedral,
where a monument by Chantrey was erected to her memory in 1834, which
has since been removed to the Derby chapel.

It is stated in the communication we have quoted that three heads
were removed from the Exchange--those of Jemmy Dawson and the two
Deacons--but this is clearly an error. Dawson's head was not exposed in
Manchester, and there is no record of more than two being placed upon
the Exchange--those of Adjutant Syddall and Captain Thomas Theodorus
Deacon. In the constable's accounts for the year the cost of placing
them is thus recorded:--

  1746: Expenses tending the Sheriff this morning for Syddall's and
    Deacon's heads put up.                                    0 1 6

And it is worthy of note that when the Exchange was pulled down in 1792
the two iron rods on which they had been spiked remained fixed in one
of the stones.

The statements that have come down to us respecting the disposal of the
heads of the unhappy Jacobites are singularly vague and conflicting.
Baines adopts the oft-repeated statement that the head of Colonel
Townley, with that of Captain Fletcher, another officer of the
Manchester Regiment, was fixed on Temple Bar, the "City Golgotha" as it
came to be called; but this statement, so far as Townley is concerned,
is incorrect, that part of his sentence having, at the intercession of
friends, been remitted, and an undertaker at Pancras allowed to take
charge of his corpse, by whom it was buried. There were, however, two
heads exposed on the Bar; one of them was Captain Fletcher's, and there
is good reason to believe that the other was that of Captain Dawson.
Walpole, writing to Montague, August 15, 1746, says:--"I have been this
morning at the Tower, and passed under the new heads at Temple Bar,
where people make a trade of letting spying-glasses at a halfpenny a
look." For several weeks people flocked to the revolting exhibition,
which afforded to many a savage pleasure, and a print, published at
the time, gives a view of Temple Bar with the heads spiked on the top,
and the following doggrel lines beneath:--

  While trembling rebels at the fabric gaze,
  And dread their fate with horror and amaze,
  Let Briton's sons the emblematic view,
  And plainly see what is rebellion's due.

Dr. Johnson relates the impression which the sight of these trunkless
heads made upon him. "I remember," he says, "once being with Goldsmith
in Westminster Abbey. While he surveyed Poet's Corner, I said to him--

  Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur illis.

When we got to the Temple Bar, he stopped me, pointed to the heads upon
it, and slily whispered--

  Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur _istis_."

Goldsmith's rejoinder is so charmingly witty that we make no apology
for repeating it. After this we have little mention of these relics of
the victims of Hanoverian vengeance--the lips that love had kissed,
the cheeks that children had patted were left to blacken and rot
until the 31st of March, 1772, when one of the heads was blown down,
and shortly afterwards the remaining one was also swept down by a
stormy gust; the cruel-looking spikes, however, remained until the
beginning of the present century, when they were removed, and since
then the Bar itself, with its ponderous gates--black, weather-worn,
and dilapidated--successively a protection, an ornament, and an
obstruction, have disappeared, and is now only remembered as belonging
to the past.

The sun of the Stuarts went down with the rout and slaughter of the
rebel army at Culloden. On that memorable 16th of April, 1746, a
dynastic contest of fifty-seven years was conclusively ended in less
than fifty-seven minutes; the visions of thrones and sceptres vanished,
the hopes and aspirations of the youthful adventurer were blighted, and
he who, one short hour before, had been a nominal king, was reduced
to the condition of a luckless and forlorn outcast, shunned by every
one except those who sought his destruction. Though the friends of the
exiled house adhered to their mystically significant toasts, drank "The
King over the water," and sang "The King shall enjoy his own again,"
Jacobitism as a principle, may from that time be said to have waned,
and to have become extinct as a profession of faith with the death
of Charles Edward in 1788; for though the Prince's younger brother,
Cardinal York, issued a medal bearing his name as "_Henricus Nonus
Dei Gratia Rex_," with the meek addition, "_Haud desideriis Hominum,
sed voluntate Dei_," his assumption of the regal title excited little
interest or feeling among the English people. The Jacobites had a firm
belief in the right divine of kings, and viewed the case of the Stuarts
as that of a family deprived of its rights by unjust means. Influenced
by that belief, their conduct in seeking to affect a restoration of the
dynasty was both logical and generous. The effort they made in 1745 was
in many respects a brilliant one, but it was out of time; the House of
Brunswick had then become firmly seated upon the throne, and there was
little chance of effecting its overthrow. From the first the enterprise
was hopeless; the country gentlemen sympathised with it, but the great
mass of the people were indifferent and had certainly no attachment or
prejudice in favour of the House of Stuart. But while we may condemn an
attempt dictated by youth and presumption, and conducted without art
or resolution, we cannot but admire the heroic efforts, and pity the
sufferings of those engaged in it.

Though the hope of a restoration of the exiled family was finally
extinguished, the bitterness of party feeling long continued to
manifest itself in Manchester, where political and religious excitement
was maintained at fever heat by the two contending factions. The
partisans of the House of Brunswick had regained the ascendancy;
inflamed with the sense of victory, they made an ostentatious parade
of their loyalty, and in their exultation treated their opponents
with every contumely, accounting Jacobites, Tories, and Non-jurors as
the equivalent of Jews, Infidels, and Heretics. The local magistrates
were energetic in the discharge of their office, and as severe as
they were energetic, everyone whose Hanoverian sympathies were not
of the most pronounced character being compelled by them to take the
oath of allegiance to the reigning sovereign. But the fiercest feuds
must some time come to an end, for society cannot continue in a state
of perpetual antagonism; if party principles were maintained, party
feeling gradually subsided, and King _de facto_ men and partisans of
the Pretender eventually laid aside their differences and settled down
to the calm enjoyment of social intercourse and the ordinary amenities
of civilised life.

With the suppression of the rebellion and the renewal of active
business life we may leave the story of the "'forty-five," with all its
painful memories, to note some few particulars respecting the family of
the luckless Jemmy Dawson.

Dr. Dawson, the father of the rebel captain, as previously stated, had
his town residence in the upper part of King Street--but then known
as St. James's Square--a fashionable quarter, intended, originally,
to be what the name imported, a square, and a rival in stateliness
and substantial dignity, to the one lower down, named after the
Hanoverian Queen. In addition, he had become the owner of a house
called the "Cottage," which stood in the fields near the site of the
present Concert Hall--a pleasant out of-town abode, with a walled
garden, orchard, and pleasure ground, contiguous to which, on the
high ground called the Mount, stood an antiquated windmill that gave
name to Windmill Street; Mosley Street, which commemorates the former
manorial lords, and "the most elegant and retired street in the town,"
as Dr. Dalton afterwards described it, was then Mosley Street only in
name, and the narrow alleys and streetlets leading into it had not
come into existence. The lower part of the street, from the present
Nicholas Street to St. Peter's Church (erected many years afterwards),
was then called Dawson Street, and led directly to Mr. Dawson's house,
standing within its own grounds in the open country. When the street
came to be built upon, it was inhabited by some of the best families in
the town, and numbered at one time among its residents Nathan Meyer
Rothschild and the well-known Major Shakspeare Phillips. Mr. Dawson's
family consisted, in addition to the ill-starred subject of Shenstone's
ballad, of a son, William Dawson, and two daughters, Elizabeth and
Sarah. In the earlier years of his married life there was residing
with him a lady, the circumstances of whose life are shrouded in much
mystery--the Lady Barbara Fitzroy, one of the daughters of Charles Duke
of Cleveland by his second wife, Ann, daughter of Sir William Pulteney,
of Misterton, in Leicestershire--a lady in whose veins coursed the
blood of the Stuarts, the Duke, her father, being one of the children
which Charles II. had by the notorious Lady Castlemaine, a vain and
volatile beauty, whose pretty face helped to undo a nation. Lady
Fitzroy had withdrawn from her own family when she took up her abode
with the Dawsons, but the circumstances which led to the alienation
and her being disowned by her mother are not known, and we fail to
discover by what means her fortunes became identified with those of the
family of "Jemmy Dawson," though, doubtless, the connection helped to
strengthen his attachment to the Stuart cause. She was born February
7th, 1695-6, and died January 4th, 1734, in her 38th year. Robert
Thyer, the accomplished scholar and critic, writing to John Byrom under
date January 20th, 1734-5, says "My Lady Barbara Fitzroy, that lived
with Mrs. Dawson, and Mrs. Mort were both buried this week. My Lady has
made Mr. Dawson her heir, if he can but come at the money." Mr. Dawson
did not "come at the money," and neither he nor any of his family
benefited by Lady Barbara's benevolent intentions. She is buried in the
choir of the cathedral, where upon her gravestone, is a brass with the
inscription--

 Lady Barbara Fitz Roy, Eldest Daughter of the Most Noble Charles Duke
 of Cleveland and Southampton. Died January 4th, 1734.

Above the inscription on a lozenge shield are the arms of Charles II.,
differenced with a baton sinister flanked on each side with the usual
emblems of mortality, a skull, cross-bones, winged hour-glass and
scythe, and a candle nearly extinguished.

Dr. Dawson died at his house in King-street, then called St. James's
Street, March 20th, 1763. He is buried in the cathedral by the side of
his wife (who died before her son came to his tragic end) and one of
his daughters. The gravestone is inscribed--

 Guls. Dawson de Mancr. Gen. ob. 20mo Mar. A.S. 1763, æt 67. Eliz. Ux.
 Gul. Dawson ob 30 Maij anno salutis 1737, ætatis suæ 41. Saræ filia
 prædic. obt. 7mo Maij 1725.

Mr. Dawson was succeeded by his second but eldest surviving son,
William Dawson, who, as previously stated, had entered at Lincoln's Inn
and been called to the bar. He resided at the "Cottage" before referred
to, and from the little that is known respecting him appears to have
been a somewhat eccentric personage. When John Byrom's son, Edward
Byrom, the banker, established himself in Quay Street and conceived
the idea of founding St. John's Church, Mr. Dawson associated with him
in the good work, but from some cause or other a dispute arose which
led him to withdraw from the undertaking after contributing to the
cost of the erection. While travelling in Italy he had purchased the
picture by Annibal Carracci of "The Descent from the Cross," which he
intended should grace the altar recess of St. John's, but when the
misunderstanding arose the intention was abandoned, and some years
after his death, when St. Peter's was erected in close proximity to his
house, and became, by the attractiveness of its services, if not the
carriage-way to heaven, at least the shrine to which the "fashionable
idlers" and "genteel sinners" of Mosley Street and Dawson Street turned
their steps one day in seven, the picture was placed there, over the
communion table, where it still remains. Several years before his death
he had engaged Mr. Bottomley, an engraver in the town, to inscribe
the plate which he purposed having placed over his remains, and this,
according to Dr. Hibbert-Ware, he kept in his room as a memento until
the day of his death. _Sapiens, qui, dum vivat sibi monumentum parat._
He died unmarried at "the cottage, near the Mount," on Thursday, the
17th August, 1780, and was buried on the following Sunday in the grave
in which forty-six years before his friend and patron Lady Barbara
Fitzroy had been laid. The plate before referred to, which is placed on
the lower compartment of the stone, bears the following inscription:--

 Here are deposited the Remains of William Dawson, Esq., who died the
 17th day of August, 1780, and in the 60th year of his Age.

 He desired to be buried with the above named lady, not only to testify
 his gratitude to the memory of a kind benefactress: although he never
 reaped any of those advantages from her bounty to his family she
 intended.

 But because his fate was similar to her's. For she was disowned by her
 Mother. And he was disinherited by his Father.

Above the inscription is a shield of arms and crest, but, by some
unaccountable mistake, instead of the Dawson's those of the Allens of
Redivales are depicted, a family from which Mr. Dawson was descended
through the female line.

In Mr. Barritt's MSS. in the Chetham Library we have the following
particulars respecting Mr. Dawson:--

 This gentleman was buried agreeably to his request, in the following
 dress, ruffled shirt, and cravat, nightcap of brown fur, morning
 gown striped orange and white, deep crimson-coloured waistcoat and
 breeches, white silk stockings, and red morocco slippers. In his bosom
 was put a folded piece of white paper, which enclosed two locks of
 hair cut from the heads of two boys that died, for whom Mr. Dawson had
 a great regard; they being the children of Mr. Cooper, his steward,
 with whom Mr. Dawson liv ed, and likewise became his heir at his death.

Nothing is known of the circumstance that led to the differences
between Mr. Dawson and his father; the breach, however, would seem
never to have been healed, and the son, as the inscription on his
grave evidences, retained an unpleasant recollection of it to the
last. Mr. Dawson was a prominent figure in the Manchester society of
the last century, and many were the stories that used to be told of
his foibles and peculiarities. By his will he bequeathed the greater
part of his property to Mr. William Cooper, the steward referred to in
Barritt's MSS., and constituted him his sole executor. Mr. Cooper thus
became the owner and occupier of the "Cottage," which thenceforward
became commonly known as "Cooper's Cottage," a name it retained until
half a century ago, when it was pulled down to make room for the
present Concert Hall; and as the patronymic of its former possessor
was commemorated in Dawson-street, so, in like manner, Cooper-street
perpetuates the name of its subsequent owner.

In concluding our account of the Dawsons it only remains to notice
one other member of the family,--Elizabeth, the younger of the two
daughters of Dr. Dawson. The eldest daughter, Sarah, as we have seen,
died unmarried in 1725; Elizabeth Dawson married some time before March
24, 1749, William Broome, the representative of a family which had then
been settled for half a century or more at Didsbury, and the heads of
which held the position of legal agents to Sir John Bland, of Hulme,
and also of the Barlows, of Barlow Hall. Tradition points to this lady,
"Bessy Dawson," as the one who accompanied "Jemmy Dawson's" affianced
bride on the morning of the sad 30th of July, 1746, to witness the
terrible tragedy to be enacted on Kennington Common, and the same
authority tells us that afterwards, having formed an attachment for
the handsome young lawyer of Didsbury, and failing to obtain her
father's consent to the match, she eloped with him and was married
clandestinely, a procedure which gave such offence to her father that
he never forgave her. The first part of this statement has such an air
of probability about it that we would not willingly spoil the effect
by questioning its accuracy, but the story of the elopement does not
appear to rest upon any reliable foundation.

Elizabeth Dawson died February, 1764. By her marriage with William
Broome she had several children; the eldest, named after his father,
married and had issue a daughter, Mary, his heir, who became the wife
of Henry Fielding, of Didsbury, and by him had a son, Robert Fielding,
who married Ann, eldest daughter of Sir John Parker Mosley, of Ancoats.
The eldest son by this marriage was the Rev. Robert Mosley Fielding,
rector of Bebbington, in Cheshire, who died in 1862, leaving with
other issue a son--Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Fielding, of Dulas Court,
Hereford, high sheriff of that county in 1864, who is the present
representative of this branch of the Fieldings, as well as of the old
Manchester families of Broome and Dawson. Colonel Fielding married
in 1858 his second cousin, Louisa Willis, fifth daughter of Joseph
Fielding, of Witton Park, formerly M.P. for Blackburn, and sister of
Major-general Randle Joseph Fielding, M.P. for North Lancashire, by
whom he has a numerous issue.

In thus relating the story of "Jemmy Dawson," we have endeavoured to
rescue from oblivion some few particulars respecting the life and
family connections of one of the most notable of the Manchester victims
of Hanoverian vengeance, and one whose tragic end forms a dark page in
the history of the fatal '45.



CHAPTER VIII.

A MORNING AT LITTLE MORETON.


In that interesting old national record, the Dome Bock, or Doomsday
Book, as it is commonly called--a survey which William the Norman
caused to be made of all the possessions of the Crown, and which for
eight hundred years has been a perpetual register of appeal for those
whose title to their estates has at any time been questioned--mention
is made of the township or ville of Rode, which even at a period so
remote as the Saxon era, as appears, had been divided into the two
manors of Moreton and Rode, places that at a subsequent date gave names
to two distinct families.

Moreton, or Little Moreton, as it is usually designated, to distinguish
it from the adjoining township of Moreton-cum-Aucumlow, or Great
Moreton, is situated at the extreme corner of Cheshire, in the midst of
rich level meadow-breadths that stretch away from the foot of the wild
moorland ridge that here divides the county from Staffordshire--a spur,
so to speak, thrown out from the lofty Pennine range, or "back-bone of
England," and which, in olden times, was included within the limits
of the great forests of Leek and Macclesfield. These bold outliers of
sandstone rock, from their coarse conglomerate and smoothly-rounded
outlines towards the plain, show unmistakably that they were deposited
in water and moulded to their present form by the great icebergs that
in the glacial period swept past and ground down their rugged forms to
mix with and enrich the soil below. Picturesque are they in appearance
as they stretch away towards the north in wild heathery wastes, where,
in the pleasant autumn time, the "hech-hech" of the startled grouse
and the sound of the sportsman's gun may oftentimes be heard. Just
above Little Moreton the well-known Mow Cop[71]--the "high-crowned Mole
Cop," as Michael Drayton calls it--rises to a height of 1,090 feet,
its summit crested with an imitation ruin that, as tradition says,
was built by Randle Wilbraham, of Rode, nearly a century and a half
ago; and further north the range terminates in the bold promontory of
Cloud End, which descends in a series of steep shelving crags towards
the Dane, a gentle stream that comes down from the hills near Bosley,
and, after performing some little acts of industry at Congleton, and
receiving the indignities of that ancient borough in return, wanders
freakishly onwards to add its tribute to the waters of the Weaver.

The notice in the Norman survey, brief though it is, gives us a side
glance of the condition of the country in the far off days of Gurth
and Wamba; it tells us of the woods that spread over the hill sides,
of the aerie for hawks, and of the enclosures for taking wild deer;
and as we read it we picture in imagination the wild scenes of sylvan
solitude when the serfs and bondmen of the Saxon thegn tended their
herds beneath the wide-branched oaks, and the swineherd, winding his
horn, gathered his scattered porkers to fatten on the luxurious banquet
of acorns and beech-mast which the forest supplied. As Ben Jonson, in
the "Sad Shepherd," says:

                          Like a prince
  Of swineherds! Syke he seeks delight in the spoils
  Of those he feeds, a mighty lord of swine!

But the reign of the country-loving Saxon came to an end. When William
of Normandy came out of the gory field of Senlac a victor, and
strengthened his claim to the English throne by his military successes,
he, in conformity with existing usage, seized upon the lands of the
vanquished Harold and his adherents, and bestowed them upon the hordes
of needy adventurers who had in truth placed the crown upon his head,
and who looked for their recompense in the unreserved plunder of the
Saxon people; for the chief having taken what he could by force of
arms, the knights who helped him took what they could of what was left:
_chascun sur sa main forte_: the Saxons were to them, in fact, what the
Arabs call "Damalafong," things to be plundered, and plundered they
were by the unanswerable right of "_la main forte_," the strong Norman
hand.

The Earldom of Chester was granted by the Conqueror to that
pious profligate Hugh d'Avranches, better know from his savage
characteristics as Hugh Lupus, or Hugh the Wolf, and he in turn
distributed the lands among his feudatory followers. Rode has its
reminiscences of the predatory adventurers who accompanied Duke
William, for at the time of the survey it had been wrested from the
possession of its Saxon owner and had passed into the hands of two
Norman grantees, Hugh de Mara, progenitor of the Barons of Montalt, and
William Fitznigel, Baron of Halton, a grandson, it is said, of that Ivo
de Constance who encountered the English whom King Ethelred sent to
France and slew them as they stepped ashore.

The manor of Moreton was held under the barony of Halton by knight
service by a family who took their surname from their possessions. Some
time during the long reign of Henry III. Letitia or Lettice Moreton,
who, through failure of the direct male line, had become heiress,
conveyed the lands in marriage to a neighbouring knight, Sir Gralam
de Lostock, of Lostock Gralam, near Northwich, the fourth in direct
descent from another Norman warrior, Hugh de Runchamp; and their
grandson, also named Gralam, adopted his grandmother's patronymic. From
this time the estate continued in strict male descent until the time of
Sir William Moreton, Knight, Recorder of London, who died childless
in March, 1763, when the estates passed by will to his sister's son,
the Rev. Richard Taylor, Rector of West Dean and Vicar of West Firle,
in Sussex, who, in accordance with his uncle's directions, assumed the
surname of Moreton. He died in 1784, leaving, with two daughters, a
son who succeeded as heir, the Rev. William Moreton, who died some few
years ago, leaving two daughters his co-heiresses, Frances Annabella,
of Maison Moreton, Pau, in France, widow of John Craigie, Esq.,
formerly sheriff-substitute of Roxburghshire, and Elizabeth Moreton,
a sister of mercy at Clewer, near Windsor, the present owners of the
Moreton moiety of the manor of Rode, and the picturesque old moated
manor house that forms the subject of our present paper.

As already stated, the other moiety of the manor of Rode gave name to
a family who were settled there as early as the reign of King John.
Whether they were descended, like the Moretons, from the Lostocks
of Lostock Gralam, as Mr. Ormerod seems to believe, is not very
clear, but if they were their kinship did not strengthen the ties of
friendship or put them on more neighbourly terms with each other, for
the Recognisance Rolls and other public records bear testimony to the
frequent feuds that arose between the two families, and tell of the
many occasions on which the chiefs of each house were bound over in
heavy recognisances to keep the peace towards each other. One of their
disputes was of a sufficiently humorous character to make it worth
recording. In the chancel of Astbury Church is a chapel or side aisle
that appears to have belonged jointly to the two manors, and in the
fifth year of Henry the Eighth's reign a quarrel arose between William
Moreton and Thomas Rode, the owners of two moieties, as to "which
should sit highest in the church, and foremost goo in procession." It
was a weighty matter, and Sir William Brereton was eventually entrusted
by George Bromley, lieutenant justice of Chester, who had been joined
with him in the arbitration, with the responsibility of determining
which of these sticklers for precedence should have the highest seat
in the synagogue, and, as we learn from the award, which is printed at
length in the _Magna Britannia_, "the said William Brereton, calling
to him xii. of the most auncyent men inhabiting within the parish
of Astebery," somewhat comically decided "that whyther of the said
gentylmen may dispende in landes, by title of inheritance, 10 marks
or above more than the other, that he shall have the pre-eminence in
sitting in the churche, and in gooing in procession, with all other
lyke causes in that behalf;" a decision that is worthy of being classed
with the direction given a few years later (1534) by one of the
Townleys of Townley, who, when called upon to issue an order regulating
precedence to the seats in Whalley Church, in Lancashire, decreed that
the earliest comers should take precedence in the highest seats nearest
the choir, observing that it might operate beneficially on "the proud
wives of Whalley," who would not "rise betimes to come to church." The
award signed by Sir William Brereton is preserved among the archives
of the Moreton family, but which of the disputants outdid the other
in liberality--acquiring priority by purchase--history hath failed to
record.

The William Moreton who was a party to this pretty quarrel married
Alice, one of the daughters of Sir Andrew Brereton, lord of Brereton,
by whom he had, with other issue, a son, William Moreton, born a year
or two after the accession of Henry VIII., and there is good reason to
believe that he was the one who began the erection of the present manor
house of Little Moreton on the site of an earlier building, his son,
John Moreton, who died about the end of Elizabeth's reign, completing
the work the father had begun. A grandson of this John Moreton, Dr.
Edward Moreton, who was rector of Tattenhall, Barrow, and Sephton,
married a niece of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, and by her
was father of the Right Reverend William Moreton, Bishop of Kildare, in
Ireland, and afterwards Bishop of Meath, who died in Dublin, November
21st, 1715, leaving an only son, Sir William Moreton, of Moreton,
Recorder of London, before referred to, the last of the direct male
line who owned the manor.

There were formerly in the Moreton Chapel in Astbury Church some altar
tombs and other sepulchral memorials of this ancient race, but these
have, in the course of ages, disappeared, with the exception of a
monumental slab, east of the altar steps, which bears an inscription to
the memory of the last male representative of the stock--"Sir William
Moreton Knt. recorder of the city of London, who died March 14 1763
aged 67 and his wife Dame Jane Moreton (widow of John Lawton of Lawton)
who died February 10 1758 aged 61." On the same tomb there is also an
inscription to the memory of Sir William's mother, Dame Mary Jones, who
died April 19th, 1743, aged 85, the second wife of William Moreton, of
Moreton, who afterwards married Sir Arthur Jones.

King, in his "Vale Royal," referring to the ancestral home of the
Moretons, says:--"Near the foot of that famous mountain called Mow
Cop begins the water of the Whelock, making his first passage near
unto Moreton, wherein are two very fair demeans and houses of worthy
gentlemen and esquires, of most antient continuance--the one of the
same name of Moreton, and which, as I have heard, gave breeding to that
famous Bishop Moreton, who in the time of Richard III. contrived that
project of the marriage of the two heirs of the Houses of York and
Lancaster, from whence proceeded the happiness that we enjoy at this
day." The old chronicler is here alluding to Cardinal John Moreton,
or Morton, Master of the Rolls in 1473, created Bishop of Ely and
Lord Chancellor in 1478, and Archbishop of Canterbury in 1486. Sir
Thomas More, who was well qualified to appreciate his character, has
given an account of this prelate in his "Utopia." Godwin and Fuller
both incline to the opinion that he was a native of Dorsetshire, but
differ as to the exact place of his birth, the former fixing it at Bere
Regis and the other at St. Andrew's, Milborne; others say he was born
in Cheshire, but there is no evidence, so far as can be discovered,
confirmatory of King's statement that the old manor house at Moreton
"gave breeding to that famous bishop."

From Mow Cop to Little Moreton is but a few minutes' walk. It may be
reached by a short path across the fields or by the high road--the
London road of the old coaching days, leading through Congleton and
the Potteries--which is a little more circuitous, though not much.
The country is for the most part level, the base of the hills being a
mile or so to the eastward, and, though not pre-eminently beautiful or
impressive, presents nevertheless many charms of situation and rural
and scenic attractions enough to leave a pleasant impress upon the
memory. The land is devoted to crops and pasture, and the pleasant
green lanes winding in sun and shadow between meadows and corn lands,
with glimpses here and there of rustic cottages and blooming apple
orchards, call up thoughts and fancies ever new and ever beautiful.

It was a bright, clear morning, near the close of the pleasant
autumn time, when our visit was made; a cheery November day, with an
exhilarating freshness in the atmosphere that made us almost think the
mild October was trying to hold its own, though the drift of withered
leaves that crackled beneath our feet, the tall trees half stripped
of their vernal pride, and the naked underwood and brambles told
unmistakably that summer had passed away, and that winter was rapidly
advancing in the background to--

  Reign triumphant o'er the conquer'd year.

The red leaves rent from the shivering branches descended in flaky
showers, reminding us of William Allingham's lines on "Robin
Redbreast"--

  Bright yellow, red, and orange,
    The leaves come down in hosts;
  The trees are Indian princes,
    But soon they'll turn to ghosts;
  The leathery pears and apples
    Hang russet on the bough,
  It's Autumn, Autumn, Autumn late,
    'Twill soon be Winter now.

Turning off the highway a gate admits us to a private road that
leads across a pasture field in which a few stirks and young stock
are grazing; the tall trees that border it, divested of their summer
garniture, look gaunt and grim and bare; the intricate network of twigs
overhead shows like a pattern in lace against the sky, and their
nakedness reveals to us the many happy nests that in the warm summer
time were

  Upon those boughs, which shake against the cold--
  Bare, ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

Below us a little rindle that comes down from the neighbouring heights,
courses its way with many a freakish twist and sinuosity, and in
front the long moorland ridge, sullen and sombre looking, stretches
across the plain towards Congleton Edge and the gigantic Cloud, its
rugged slopes softened in places with patches of scrub and gorse. A
few minutes brings us in full view of the curious old mansion we are
in search of--the "Old Hall" as it is called, to distinguish it from
the more pretentious residence hard by, which has vainly endeavoured
to assume its name. It attracts the eye from a distance, but it is
not until you are close upon it that you fully realise the effect of
its picturesquely broken outlines, its projecting upper storeys and
numerous gabled roofs, its quaint casemented windows, its curious
columnar chimneys partially draped with ivy, and its walls chequered
in black and white and diapered in patterns wrought in trefoils
and quatrefoils and chevrons and lozenges upon the white ground of
intervening plaster. It is a singularly interesting specimen of the
half-timbered manor-house of the early part of the sixteenth century,
and, though in a decayed and dilapidated state, still preserves more
nearly its original form and features than perhaps any other example of
domestic architecture of equal antiquity in the country.

Drawing near we see that it is encompassed by a moat, now partially
choked with rubbish, which encloses altogether about a statute acre of
land, and which on the south side is spanned by an antiquated bridge of
one arch, with the arms of its owners carved in relief on a panel in
one of the battlements. The south side constitutes the principal front,
and presents a surprising variety and fancifulness in its parts. It is
of three storeys, the uppermost being much narrower than the others,
and rising like the clerestory of a church from the sloping roof of
the lower apartments. From near the centre of the main structure a
lofty gable is advanced towards the bridge, the ground story of which
forms a covered gateway, giving admission to the inner quadrangle. The
doorway merits special attention by the richness and profusion of its
carvings; the framework enclosing the door is composed of an elaborate
series of round, fillet, and hollow mouldings, and the huge outer
posts are worked with double cable mouldings, enclosing an elaborate
scroll work of foliage, the frieze above, which is supported by double
brackets, having a running ornament of arabesque character. Above this
doorway, divided by dwarf pilasters, is a double row of panels, with
trefoiled heads, the spandrels of which are in each case enriched with
carved work, and in one of them is placed an horologe of antique date.
Surmounting them is a large square window, lighting the porch chamber,
divided by moulded mullions into five rows of lights, double transomed.
In the storey above, which slightly projects from a coved cornice,
is another window of similar character but of larger dimensions: an
overhanging gable with barge boards and carved pendants crowning the
whole. The general effect of the exterior is light and graceful,
exhibiting that picturesque irregularity of outline so favourable
to external beauty which our ancestors knew how to produce without
unnecessary sacrifice of internal comfort.

As we cross the threshold our attention is drawn to an old stone horse
block standing in a corner behind the gate, from which, doubtless, in
days gone by, many a stately matron and many a graceful maiden has
mounted to her palfrey to follow hawk and hound. A door opens on each
side of the gateway, one communicating with some small rooms, and the
other admitting to a small chamber that has evidently served as the
porter's lodge. At the opposite end, entering into the quadrangle, is a
wide doorway, the sideposts of which are deserving of special notice;
they are elaborately ornamented, the upper portion of each being
adorned with the carved representation of a soldier holding a partisan
or bill in his hand; and from the morion or head piece and the other
accessories, we are able to fix pretty nearly the period when this
part of the mansion was built. Within the covered porch a stair winds
spirally round the trunk of an immense tree that reaches from floor to
roof, giving admission to several panelled chambers--the State rooms,
as they are commonly designated, though, alas! they have now little
stateliness to boast of--and also to the gallery occupying the third or
uppermost storey of the south front, extending, with the exception of a
small withdrawing room, the entire length of that part of the building
from east to west. The length of this gallery is seventy-one feet,
with a width of twelve feet, and the height to the centre of the roof,
which is of open timber work adorned with quatrefoils, is seventeen
feet. The lower portions of the walls are covered with oak wainscoting,
arranged in panels, and above is a continuous line of windows extending
all round, with the exception of a space in the centre, where a small
chamber projects over the gateway, the profusion of light thus gained
reminding us of Lord Bacon's complaint that in his day the houses "were
so full of glass that you cannot tell where to come to be out of the
sun or the cold." The glazing of these windows is very remarkable; it
is arranged in a kind of diaper work, and exhibits a marvellous variety
of intricate forms. Scratched with a diamond on one of the panes we
noticed the following couplet--

  I stay here both day and night
  To keep out cold and let in light.

The long gallery bears a close resemblance to the one formerly existing
at Bramall Hall, near Stockport, and, though smaller, is not unlike in
its proportions and general arrangement the grand gallery or banqueting
hall at Haddon. It is difficult to determine what purpose it could
have been intended to serve, for the width is hardly sufficient to
allow of its being used for a dancing room. At the east end is a female
figure representing Fate, holding a pair of compasses in one hand and
in the other a sword, with which she is piercing a globe placed above
her head, the following inscription being carved in two panel-like
compartments; one on either side:--

  THE SPEARE     WHOSE RULER
  OF DESTINYE   IS KNOWLEDGE.

At the opposite end is another female figure in flowing drapery
representing Fortune blindfolded, with the right hand raised above the
head pointing to her wheel, on the rim of which is inscribed--_Qui modo
scandit corruet statim_ (He who is climbing now will shortly be falling
down), and at the sides are two panels inscribed--

  THE WHEELE   WHOSE RULE IS
  OF FORTUNE    IGNORANCE.

The small chamber leading from the gallery before referred to is
wainscoted, and has an elaborately ornamented fireplace with the
figures of Justice and Mercy on the sides, and between them a heraldic
shield with the arms of Moreton quartering those of Macclesfield and
surmounted by the Moreton crest, the quartering having allusion to the
marriage of John de Moreton in the reign of Edward III. with Margaret,
daughter of Jordan and sister and co-heir of John de Macclesfield.

Projecting at right angles from the building just described, and
forming the eastern side of the quadrangle, is a long uniform wing of
two storeys, extending up to the main body of the hall, and containing
a number of small gloomy apartments now covered with dirt and dust
and litter, and apparently appropriated originally to the use of
the servants and retainers. At the end nearest to the entrance is
the domestic chapel, extending in a direction east and west; it is
approached by a separate entrance, and is of small dimensions compared
with the other parts of the building, suggesting the idea that in
former times the good people of Moreton, while taking up a very
considerable amount of space for the transaction of their temporal
concerns, were able to manage their spiritual affairs within extremely
moderate limits. The entire length of the structure is thirty feet, but
the chapel proper is not more than twelve feet by nine feet. The old
sanctuary is now in a sadly dilapidated condition, and damp and dreary
enough to remind one of Longfellow's lines--

  What a darksome and dismal place!
  I wonder that any man has the face
  To call such a hole the House of the Lord.

The pavement is broken and dislocated, the walls are stained with
damp and mildew, and altogether it exhibits signs of indifference and
unseemly disrespect enough to sear the eye and grieve the heart of any
one in whom the sense of veneration is not entirely extinguished. It is
now made a depository for useless lumber, and has been applied to even
baser uses, cattle having been stalled, where of yore the mass was sung
and matins and vespers were said. This part of the hall is approached
by an ante-chapel, the doorway of which is enriched with a series of
half-round and hollow mouldings of late Perpendicular date; a part of
the old oak screen separating the chancel from the nave remains, but
from the upper portion, where the rood formerly existed, a plastered
wall is carried up to the roof, which is flat and worked in panels. At
the further, or eastern, end is a pointed window divided by mullions
into five lights carried up to the head with a drip-mould protecting
it on the outside. At the opposite end is a small square-headed window
of four lights, and there are indications of another window having at
some time or other existed on the south side. The plaster work of the
chapel is enriched with an ornamentation of Renaissance character, and
the walls in places are strewn with scripture texts in black letter
characters and of earlier date than the authorised version, but they
are now so much defaced as to be hardly decipherable.

Between architecture and history there exists a closer connection
than is commonly supposed, for the former subtly expresses the needs,
the habits, and the ideas of changeful centuries, epitomises much of
the poetry and romance of the past, and marks the gradual growth and
development of human society during successive centuries. In England's
homes we may read much of England's history--the old dwelling-places
of the people are the types and emblems of the changing life of the
country, and even in their decay, when having outlived their vital
purpose and they survive only in ruin, they serve as memorials to show
us how men lived and acted in the days that are gone before.

Little Moreton, though not one of the most pretentious, is certainly
one of the most complete and genuine relics of mediæval England. The
exterior, as we have previously said, is remarkable for the variety and
picturesqueness of grouping, but the interior is even more interesting.
The master feature of the whole building, and that which most attracts
the attention of visitors, is the portion extending along the north
side of the quadrangle comprising the entrance, the great hall, and
the principal entertaining-rooms. The effect of the entire facade,
as viewed from the gateway, is very striking, and it is doubtful
whether, for variety of design, peculiarity of construction, and
excellence of workmanship, it is equalled by any other timber house in
the kingdom. Upon this part the architect seems to have lavished all
his ingenuity and skill, and to have endeavoured to combine as much
lightness and delicacy of detail as was consistent with stability of
structure. Projecting from the main line of frontage are two singularly
picturesque bay-windows, each forming five sides of an octagon, but
of unequal dimensions. They are each of two storeys, the upper range
of windows overhang the lower, and they are in turn surmounted by
projecting roofs that form a series of small gablets, from which hang
elaborately-ornamented pendants. The glazing of these windows, as in
the case of those in the Long Gallery before referred to, is very
remarkable, the panes being small and joined together by slips of
lead in such a way as to represent stars, crosses, roses, and other
devices as varied in form as the figures in a kaleidoscope. On a band
ornamented with scroll-work carried round the upper tiers are the
following inscriptions:--

                    GOD IS AL IN AL THING
  THIS WINDOVS WHIRE MADE BY WILLIAM MORETON IN THE YEARE OF
                      OURE LORDE MDLII
  RYCHARD DALE CARPEDER MADE THEIS BY THE GRACE OF GO

Doubtless "Rychard Dale" was proud of the work to which he affixed
his name, and just cause he had to be. It looks as if the taste of a
life-time had been expended upon it, the delicate mouldings and rich
carving evidencing the skill of the workman, and proving incontestably
that our ancestors knew how to impart grace and elegance to whatever
material they might employ in the useful or ornamental purposes of
architecture. Beautiful it must have been in its pristine state, but
it could hardly have possessed the charm of romance or have been so
picturesque to look upon then as now. Time lovingly clothes with added
beauty the decayed memorials of the past, and the peculiar warmth and
richness of colouring which age has given--the sombre tints of the
oaken framework, the creamy white of the plaster, the faded reds and
yellows of the old roofs, and the sober green of the dark-hued ivy
wrapping itself round the tall chimney-shafts being wanting in the days
of its proud estate.

The entrance is by a porch, occupying the north-east corner, and
advanced several feet from the main structure. What a wonderful old
doorway it is that we pass through. On those clustered and twisted
pillars that form the side posts Richard Dale, the "carpeder," seems
to have lavished his greatest skill, every part of the timber work
where the carver's tool could be employed being wrought with all
the nicety of art; the spandrels of the low Tudor arch are adorned
with figures of dragons, and the lintel over them has a running
zig-zag ornament carved in relief. The space above is occupied with
a double row of exquisitely-carved and moulded dwarf pilasters, the
spaces between being filled in with quatrefoils, while over them,
springing from a coved cornice, is a projecting window that reaches
across the entire width of the bay, surmounted by a gabled roof.
From the doorway a passage leads across the western end of the main
structure, communicating on the one side with the kitchens, buttery,
and other domestic offices, and on the other with the great hall
which faces the entrance gateway. It is a spacious apartment 34ft.
by 21ft., exclusive of the large bay which projects far out into the
court-yard, and is open to the roof-timbers. It is in much better
condition than the other parts of the fabric, and if adorned with
tapestry, arms and armour, and family portraits would resume much of
its original character. In the earlier days of the Moretons it was the
principal entertaining-room, and many a scene of boisterous revelry
has doubtless been witnessed within its walls in the days when "the
two-hooped pot" was indeed "a four-hooped pot," and it was accounted
fell felony to drink small beer. Though its glories are greatly faded,
it is still a magnificent feature of the old mansion, and, being in
part used as a living room by the present tenant, is better cared
for than the parts unoccupied; it retains, too, indications of old
English hospitality that once prevailed in its huge fireplace, and the
ponderous dining table of carved oak, imposing in its very massiveness,
and as antiquated in appearance as the building itself. The screen that
once separated the room from the vestibule and the kitchens, and that
customary appendage of an ancient dining hall, the musicians' gallery,
which doubtless once existed, have gone with it. A cursory examination
of the construction of the projecting oriel is sufficient to show that
it forms no part of the original structure, but was added at a later
date. In one of the lights is the heraldic coat of the Moretons, a
greyhound statant. A passage behind the hall conducts to the parlour
or drawing-room, 22ft. long and 15ft. wide. Like the dining hall, it
is lighted by a bold oriel looking into the quadrangle; the walls are
wainscoted, and the roof is covered with oak panelling arranged in
squares. The fireplace is spacious, and reaches from floor to roof;
in the space above the opening is displayed the heraldic insignia of
Queen Elizabeth--France (modern) and England, quarterly with the lion
and dragon as supporters--an achievement that by a curious mistake
Mr. Markland (Britton's Architectural Antiquities, v. ii., p. 91) has
described as that of John O'Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. The window still
retains some other of its ancient heraldic blazonries, among them
being a shield representing the coat of Brereton with its quarterings,
placed there doubtless in compliment to Alice, daughter of Sir Andrew
Brereton, of Brereton, the mother of William Moreton, whose name is
inscribed above the windows on the exterior. In one of the lights
appears a greyhound, the coat of Moreton, and in another the crest
of the family--a greyhound's head couped and collared with a twisted
wreath. There is also displayed the red rose and crown, the badge of
Lancaster, to the princes of which house the Moretons, as military
tenants, owed allegiance.

A room of somewhat smaller dimensions opens out of the drawing-room,
and there are several chambers on the upper story that merit
examination. The glass in the windows of these rooms, as in the case
of those below, exhibits the same variety of pattern, and they are
rendered additionally interesting by the names and inscriptions traced
upon the panes by former occupants and guests. On one of them is
written the names of "Jonath'n Woodnothe" and "Marie Woodnothe," with
the date 1627, and beneath is the following couplet--

  Man can noe more know weomen's mind by kaire
  Then by her shadow hede ye what clothes shee weare.

Jonathan Woodnoth was the heir of Shavington, and married Mary,
elder daughter of William Moreton, of Moreton, but what made him so
spiteful against womankind is a mystery that is likely to remain for
ever unsolved. There are in other places the signatures of "Somerford
Oldfield 11 of Apr. 1627;" "Henry Mainwaring. All change I scorne;"
and "Margaret Moreton Aug. 3 1649;" the last named being doubtless
the niece of Archbishop Laud, who married Edward Moreton, and was
sister-in-law of Mary Woodnoth.

Though there is no evidence of the date when the present mansion
was erected, the mouldings and other architectural features show
clearly that it cannot be of earlier date than that of the first of
the Tudor Sovereigns; probably, it was built upon the site of a more
ancient structure in the later years of Henry VII.'s reign, and most
likely by the William Moreton who married the daughter of Sir Andrew
Brereton, and that the house needing repair, or the space being too
circumscribed, his son and successor, also a William Moreton, half
a century later of thereabouts, added the beautiful oriel windows
that give so much character to the house, completing them, as the
inscription on the outside testifies, in 1552.

Within the moated enclosure, near the north-west angle, is a circular
mound on which is placed a sun dial, and there were, according to
Lysons, formerly standing in front of the house the steps of an ancient
cross much resembling those at Lymm, but they were removed about the
year 1806.

There is a tradition current in the neighbourhood that Queen Elizabeth
was a guest at Little Moreton during one of her Royal progresses,
and that she then danced in the Long Gallery, but the story we
suspect rests on no better foundation than the creative power of the
imagination which assigns a similar honour to Brereton Hall, a mansion
a few miles distant, and to almost every old house of note in the
kingdom; and to the same unreliable source we fear we must assign the
story of the underground passages that extend beneath the moat, as well
as the subterranean chambers to which, according to common belief,
they lead. But Moreton has sufficient interest in itself, without the
mythical attractions which village gossips so much delight in, to
make it worth a pilgrimage. It is one of the few old places that have
been preserved to our day "unimproved" by the modern "renovator," but
Time has, alas made sad havoc among its beauties and peculiarities,
and those who should have preserved it as the apple of their eye have
unfortunately allowed it to fall into a state of dilapidation and
decay. Let us hope that some effort may be made to arrest the further
progress of needless destruction. Surely in this utilitarian age there
may be found some who--

  Passing by this monument that stoops
  With age, whose ruins plead for a repair,
  Pity the fall of such a goodly pile.

Unless some friendly hand is stretched out, and that without loss of
time, to guard it from further injury, we may soon have to mourn the
loss of another of the ancient landmarks of our ancestors.



CHAPTER IX.

WARDLEY HALL.


Lying away near the north-eastern confines of the great parish of
Eccles, and within a distance of six miles of the manufacturing
metropolis, is the little hamlet of Swinton, a place that, if not
particularly attractive in its outward aspects, yet possesses
historical associations that are neither few nor poor. A great part of
the district was formerly held by that renowned military and religious
brotherhood which for centuries had its _chef lieu_ in Clerkenwell--the
Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem--and antiquaries have
been puzzled to determine whether it derived its name from the fact of
its being the abode or "town" of the Saxon swineherd, or that it may
have, as is supposed, formed part of the possessions of the rainy saint
of Winchester, the rival of St. Médard and St. Godeliève--St. Swithin.
We will leave the learned Dryasdusts to settle the knotty point of
Swinton's etymology and ferret out the evidences of its early dignity,
if such are to be found, for it is not our present purpose to steal
fire--

  From the fountains of the past,
  To glorify the present,

or to picture the sylvan solitudes of the place in the days when the
son of Beowulph tended the swine of Cedric, the Saxon thegn, in the
primeval forests, and filled himself with the acorns and the mast that
fell thick in the autumn time.

[Illustration: WARDLEY HALL.]

Though a mighty change has been wrought in the physical aspects of the
locality, which now presents an appearance singularly at variance with
the associations awakened by the contemplation of the memorials of the
storied past, the immediate vicinity is not without the indications of
its former dignity and consequence. Within a short distance, running
almost parallel with the modern railway, may still be traced the
line of the old Roman highway--the Stanney Street--along which the
victorious legionaries have ofttimes marched--

  When Rome, the mistress of the world,
  Of yore her eagle-wings unfurled,

The names which still cling to surrounding localities remind us of
the "dark middle age" of our national history when the light-haired,
blue-eyed Saxon held sway before the predatory Dane and the proud
Norman, cognate tribes of the great Scandinavian stock, had
successively established themselves as masters of the soil, or those
offshoots of the Teutonic family had become welded in the one great,
powerful, and noble race, that "happy breed of men," the English
people. The halls of Wardley, Agecroft, Kempnough, Worsley, and
Booths carry us along the dim avenues of the past to the days of
the Plantagenet and the Tudor sovereigns, and they still remain the
lingering memorials reminding us of the condition of social life as
well as the condition of the country in this corner of the palatinate
ere nature had been expelled by commerce, or the old easy-going
manorial lords had given place to, or been elbowed out by, a race
of striving money-getting manufacturers. The country hereabouts has
lost much of its rural characteristics and pristine beauty. Cotton
has little in common with Arcadia, and the Lancashire industries
generally can hardly be said to be conducive to the picturesque,
the tendency being rather to reverse the process which is said to
make the wilderness blossom as the rose. The signs of busy life are
everywhere apparent; far as the eye can reach it encounters little
else than smoke and steam, the outward evidences of active labour--the
beating of one great artery in the heart of England--and the tall
spectral-like machinery, rising above the pit openings, for drawing to
the surface the coal without which that labour would be of little avail
in its efforts to clothe the nations of the world; while overhead the
atmosphere is dense and heavy with vapour that leaves its blighting
mark upon the country for miles around, withering the hedgerows, making
the few trees that endure to grace the landscape stunted and sickly,
and the fields as if they had never been clothed with a mantle of
living green.

Uninviting as the surroundings are to the passionate lover of the open
field and the clear sky, the antiquary may yet find much to interest
him, and return with the belief that the time he has spent in a
visit to this same little hamlet of Swinton has not been altogether
unprofitably employed. Leaving the cluster of humble dwellings that
constitute what there is of village, and continuing along the north or
Chorley-road, a few minutes' walk brings him to a bye-road rejoicing in
the name of Red Cat-lane; a quarter of a mile further a private road
branches off on the left, leading down past a colliery, and following
this for a short distance an old-fashioned timbered house comes in
view. It is a quaint old mansion, patterned all over in black and
white, with a broad arched gateway, flanked on each side by clustered
chimneys that rise to a considerable height above the gabled roof, and
is surrounded on three sides by a moat that spreads out considerably
on the easterly side, assuming the character of a small lake, in which
the diapered framework of the building, the overhanging cornices, the
quaint casement windows, and the shrubs that partially environ it are
distinctly reflected. Wardley Hall, for that is the name of the house,
has its history; it has been successively the home of the Worsleys,
the Tyldesleys, and the Downes, and many and various are the legends
and romantic incidents associated with it. Of its earlier history we
know little, and that little belongs as much to legend as to actual
ascertained fact. The first possessors of whom any record has been
preserved were the Worsleys, or de Workedeleghs, as anciently they
wrote their name, or rather had it written for them, who were owners
almost from the time of the Conquest. One of them, a certain Elias
or Elizeus de Workeslegh, lord of Worsley, accompanied Duke Robert
of Normandy in the expedition to the Holy Land projected by Peter
the Hermit, when Europe sent forth the flower of its chivalry to do
battle on the plains of Palestine for the recovery of the holy places
from the Paynim foe; he was of such strength and valour as to be
reputed a giant, and, according to the old scribes, was in consequence
designated Elias Gigas, or Elias the Giant. Mention is made of this
hero of ancient romance in Hopkinson's MS. pedigrees, and the quaint
chronicler tells us "he fought many Duells, combats, &c., for the
love of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and obtained many victories," and
another writer[72] adds that after many triumphs over the infidels
he died at Rhodes, and was there buried. The son and heir of this
sturdy old warrior was Richard Workedeley, whose name occurs in a
deed, without date, but apparently of the time of Henry I., conveying
land in Pendlebury, or Penultsbury, as it was then called, and North
Deyne, with the pasture of Swinton, to Adam de Penultsbury. The same
Richard, with Roger de Workedelegh (probably his son), was one of
the witnesses to a deed recorded in the Chartulary of Whalley Abbey,
by which Gilbert, son of William de Norton, who married about the
year 1220, Edith, lady of the manor of Barton, granted to God, St.
Mary, and to the Church of Eccles, and to the clerks and to their men
dwelling in that ville, free common throughout all his lands in the
Parish of Eccles. The third in decent from this Richard was Geoffrey de
Workesley, living in the time of Henry III., who by his wife Agnes had
two sons--Richard, who succeeded as heir, and Roger, who founded the
line of the Worsleys of Kempnough, an old half-timbered house, still
existing, about a mile distant, and which in the time of Elizabeth
obtained an unenviable notoriety on account of the supposed demoniacal
possession for a period of two years of some members of the family
then inhabiting it. Richard, the eldest son of Geoffery de Workesley,
who was living in 1276, had a son Henry, who succeeded as heir; Roger,
who married Cecilia de Rowynton; and a third son, Jordan de Workesley,
the first of the family whose name occurs as owner of Wardley.

The family were among the early benefactors of the ancient church of
Eccles, in which parish both Worsley and Wardley Halls are located.
By a deed, dated at Eccles on Sunday of the octave of St. Martin
the Bishop, in winter (November 18th), 1293, Henry, the eldest son
of Richard de Workesley, the one last named, gave to God and to the
high altar (so called to distinguish it from the small altars in the
chantries or side chapels) of the Church of the Blessed Mary of Eccles,
yearly for ever, for the salvation of Joan, his wife, and of his father
Richard, his predecessors and successors, and of the souls of all the
faithful dead, at the feast of St. Martin, in the winter (November
11th), one pound of wax, faithfully offered (in fulfilment of a vow),
so that whoever should be rector of the church might compel him, by
ecclesiastical censure, or by the lesser or greater excommunication, to
make the offering at the feast, if it should be neglected. The wax was
no doubt intended for the large candles to be burned on the high altar
and the other lights used during the services of the Roman Catholic
Church.[73]

Henry de Workesley had a son Robert, married to Cecilia de Bromhall,
and living in 1292, to whom he gave five hundred acres of wood and
five hundred acres of pasture, called the Boothes, and from him
descended the Worsleys of Boothes, also in Worsley township. Of the
same family was Helias de Workesley, who became Abbot of Whalley in
1309, but resigned his charge and died before 1318; and also Henry
de Workesley, who about the time of Edward III. married Johanna,
daughter and co-heiress of Sir Richard de Greenacres, and in her right
became owner of half the manor of Twiston, in the parish of Whalley.
Another branch of the family was located at Worsley Meyne, near Wigan,
of whom, according to an epitaph in St. Mary's, Chester, was Ralph
Worsley, yeoman of the wardrobe, (_pagettus garderoboe robarum_)
to Henry VIII., who appointed him towards the latter end of his life
to the wardenship of the Tower. The Worsleys of Manchester were
another branch, a pedigree given in the Harleian MSS. (2,100, fo. 32),
"collected," as it states, "from deeds of ye auntient family of Worsley
of Worsley," connecting with the ancient stock Nicholas Worsley, of
Manchester, living in 1598, the scion with whose name the pedigree in
Dugdale's "Visitation of Lancashire" in 1664 commences, and who is said
to have been the son and heir of Otwell, or Otes, Worsley, of Newnham
Green, near Worsley, by his wife Cicely, daughter of Nicholas Rigby,
of Harrock. A younger son of this Nicholas, Charles Worsley, diverged
into trade, and established himself in Manchester as a "haberdasher,"
a phrase that had then a much wider significance than now. He married,
at the old church of Manchester in 1586, Elizabeth, daughter of Ralph
Gee, the sister of Alice, wife of George Clarke, the munificent founder
of the Manchester charity that still bears that worthy's name; and,
prospering in business, he, in 1614, purchased from Sir Oswald Mosley
certain lands in Rusholme. His son and successor, Ralph Worsley,
extended the business, and with such success that he was able in 1625
to add to the paternal purchase of the lands in Rusholme the estate in
the same township called "The Platt," thus founding the line of the
Worsleys of Platt, in the old manor house of which place was born to
him, in 1622, a son and heir, Charles Worsley, who acquired distinction
as the first member for Manchester in the Cromwellian Parliament, and
who was one of the Protector's most trusted generals, and the immediate
instrument of the famous _coup d'état_ when Cromwell, dismissing the
"Rump" Parliament, ordered General Worsley to "take away the bauble."

With Jordan, the younger son of Richard de Worsley, the brother of
Henry, the benefactor of the church at Eccles, who, as we have seen,
was lord of Wardley in the reign of Edward I., may be said to have
begun and ended the line of Worsley of Wardley, for at his death, in
the succeeding reign, the estate was conveyed in marriage by Margaret,
one of his daughters and co-heiresses, to Thurstan, son of Thomas
de Tyldesley, lord of the mesne manor of Tyldesley, and from this
match sprang the several branches of the famous house of Tyldesley of
Tyldesley, of Wardley Hall in Worsley, Morley's Hall in Astley, the
Lodge in Myerscough Park, an outlying portion of Quernmore Forest, in
Lancaster parish, and of Fox Hall, Blackpool, in Bispham parish.

The Tyldesleys were a family of considerable note and influence in the
county, deriving their patronymic from the place of their abode, which
was held by feudal service as the tenth part of a knight's fee under
the Norman barony of Warrington. In the _Testa de Nevill_, or _Liber
Feudorum_ as it is sometimes called--a return of the Nomina Villarum,
Serjeanties and Knights' Fees in the several counties, made, as is
generally supposed, either in the year 1236 or 1242 by Ralph Nevill,
an accountant of the Exchequer, or Jollan de Nevil, of Weathersfield,
a justice itinerant--Henry de Tyldesley, the great-grandfather of the
Thurstan just named, is mentioned as being then in possession of the
manor of Tyldesley, and as holding of William Fitz Almeric Pincerna or
Boteler, the seventh Baron of Warrington, the tenth part of a knight's
fee, which Henry de Tyldesley (his father) held of the heirs of Almeric
Pincerna, and he of the Earl of Ferrers, who held of the King. The
name of the same Henry also occurs first on the list of jurors for the
hundred of West Derby, or Wapentake of Derbyshire, as it is called in
the return when De Nevill's Inquisition was taken. A younger brother of
Henry de Tyldesley, the juror, Adam de Tyldesley, had a son Geoffrey,
who became owner of Shakerley, a hamlet in the higher division of
Tyldesley. Following the practice of the age, he assumed the name of
the place in which he was located, and became progenitor of the family
of Shakerley, now represented through the female line by Sir Charles
Watkin Shakerley, of Somerford, Cheshire, Baronet.

To return to Henry de Tyldesley; his grandson Thomas, son of Richard de
Tyldesley, as appears by an inquisition taken after the death of John
Tyldesley, Dec. 1, 1410, married and had four sons, John, Nicholas,
and Ralph, who each died issueless, and Thurstan, who, as previously
stated, married the daughter and co-heiress of Jordan de Worsley; in
right of his wife he became lord of Wardley, and by her was founder
of the family of Tyldesley of that house. The first-born of this
marriage was a son, Thomas de Tyldesley, who became serjeant-at-law
to King Henry IV., but, dying without issue, the estates on the death
of the father descended to his younger brother, Hugh de Tyldesley.
From an early date a close intimacy had existed between the Tyldesleys
and the Stanleys of Knowsley, who were then rapidly rising to power,
having in the revolution which seated the house of Lancaster upon the
throne contrived to add immensely to their territorial possessions. A
steady shower of royal benefactions descended to them during Henry the
Fourth's reign, not the least important being the transfer from the
old Earls of Northumberland of the lordship of the Isle of Man, after
the unsuccessful revolt of the Percies, and with it such an absolute
ownership of soil and jurisdiction over the islanders as to make their
position as Lords of Man little less than regal, the homage to be paid
in consideration being the presentation of two falcons on coronation
days. The intimate relations that long existed between the two families
of Stanley and Tyldesley account for the frequent occurrence of the
name of Tyldesley in the annals of the island. In 1405-6 Henry IV.
granted a letter of protection to William de Stanley, Knight, John
de Tyldesley, and others, on their going to the Isle of Man to take
possession of the island and the castle, which had then been wrested
from the Percies. In 1417 Sir John de Stanley, who is styled "King and
Lord of Man," being called to England, left Thurstan de Tyldesley, "a
wise and severe magistrate" as he is described, and Roger Haysnap, his
commissioner, with instructions to settle the people. The Thurstan
last named was, doubtless, the son of Hugh de Tyldesley, and the one
who is commonly supposed to have erected the present hall of Wardley
on the foundation of an earlier structure. His grandson, Thomas de
Tyldesley, who died in 1502-3, left a son Thurstan, who succeeded as
heir to Tyldesley and Wardley; he married Mary, the daughter of Henry
Keighley, of Keighley and Inskip, the sister of Sir Henry Keighley, Knt.

Inskip was a manor in the parish of St. Michael-le-Wyre, in the hundred
of Amounderness, held at one time by the Keighleys and Cliftons, but
which subsequently passed into the exclusive tenure of the first-named
family, in whose descendants it remained until about the reign of
James I., when Anne, daughter and co-heiress of Henry Keighley,
conveyed it in marriage to William Cavendish, afterwards created Earl
of Devonshire. At the time of Thurstan Tyldesley's marriage with the
co-heiress of Inskip his family had, in addition to the old manor
house at Tyldesley and the more modern mansion at Wardley, a residence
known as the Lodge, in Myerscough Park, in the neighbouring parish
of Lancaster,--a part of the ancient forest land of the Duchy. In
the reign of Henry VIII. the Earl of Derby was Keeper of the Park
of Myerscough, which was in reality within the limits of the forest
of Quernmore, and the Tyldesley's were "deputy keepers," "deputy
master-foresters," and "farmers of the herbage," and in the proceedings
of the Duchy Court of Lancaster it is recorded that in 1531 Thurstan
Tyldesley was plaintiff in an action brought against Henry Keighley
for "deer killing in Broks Gille, Mirescoghe Park." The defendant was,
doubtless, his wife's kinsman, but whether father or brother, or what
other relationship he stood in, is not known.

The Lodge in Myerscough, where the family occasionally resided, and to
which we shall have occasion hereafter to refer, is now occupied as a
farm house, but, though it has undergone many transformations, it still
retains the evidences of its former state and dignity. Twice it has
been the temporary abode of royalty, once in 1617, when James I. slept
in it for a night or two in his progress from Edinburgh to London,
and subsequently on the 13th August, 1651, when Charles II. "lodged
one night at Myerscoe, Sir Thomas Tyldesley's house," on his advance
from Preston to Worcester. The lodge stands a short distance from the
hall of the same name, on the westerly side of the road leading from
Preston to Lancaster, and within about three or four miles of the old
home of the Keighleys at Inskip. It is approached by a small bridge
spanning an expanse of water that appears to have been originally
extended for ornamental purposes. A portion of the main building has
been cased with brick, but in other parts the original timber framework
remains exposed to view, with some of the old mullioned windows, the
irregular gables, and the huge buttressed chimney stacks--the latter,
from their peculiar construction suggesting the idea that they were
intended more for the purpose of concealment in times of danger than
for that which their outward form would seem to indicate. The principal
entertaining-room is on the north-west side; it is wainscoted from
floor to ceiling, and has a spacious fireplace on one side with a
handsome chimney-piece of carved oak. The portion above the mantel is
arranged in a double row of panels,--eight in all,--each of those in
the lower stage being ornamented by a medallion head, encircled by a
wreath and carved in high relief. On the first of the upper row of
panels is a shield charged with the arms of Tyldesley--_Arg._ three
rushhills _vert_, with the initials TT beneath. In the second shield
are displayed the arms of the Isle of Man, with an eagle's claw--an
ancient crest of the Stanleys--beneath. On an adjoining shield is a
representation of the eagle and child, the crest of the Earls of Derby;
and on the fourth panel is a shield bearing the arms of Langton, which
seems to fix the period when the work was executed as in the time of
Thurstan, the grandson of Thurstan Tyldesley and Mary Keighley, who had
for his second wife Jane, daughter of Ralph Langton, Baron of Newton,
the initials on the first panel also answering to his name. Opposite
the principal entrance a broad staircase of oak, with massive and
highly-decorated balusters, leads to the upper chambers, one of which,
at the east end of the building, is traditionally said to be that in
which the two Kings slept on the occasions of their respective visits
to the Lodge.

Thurstan Tyldesley, by his wife Mary Keighley, had a son, Thomas,
who was Receiver-General and one of the Council of Thomas Stanley,
first Earl of Derby--the wily soldier and astute politician whose
fickle but far-sighted adhesions secured for his house additional
wealth and power with every change of dynasty, and whose matrimonial
affairs were managed with fully as much prudence and success--his
first marriage making him the brother-in-law of a king-maker and his
second the stepfather of a king. He married a daughter of Sir Alexander
Radcliffe, the head of the knightly house of Ordsall, an alliance that
is commemorated by a device in one of the windows of that ancient
mansion--that lighting the room commonly known from its decorations as
the Star Chamber--where still may be discerned the faint outlines of
an heraldic shield charged with three rushhills, the Tyldesley coat.
The issue of this marriage were, in addition to a son, Thurstan, who
succeeded as heir, Thomas, and a younger son, Alexander, who became
a monk at the Charter House, and a daughter, Ellena, the second of
the two wives of Sir Alexander Osbaldeston, of Osbaldeston. This
lady by her will, which bears date 1560, directed three stones with
inscriptions in brass to be laid in the Osbaldeston chapel within
Blackburn church over herself, her husband, and Thomas Tyldesley, her
brother.

Thurstan Tyldesley, who succeeded to the patrimonial lands at his
father's death, is mentioned as being in the Commission of the Peace
and a Grand Juryman for the County Palatine of Lancaster in 1522.
Following the example of his progenitors, he maintained a close
friendship with the Stanleys of Knowsley, and in 1532 his name occurs
as Receiver-General for the Isle of Man. He was twice married--in
the first instance to Parnell, daughter of Geoffrey Shakerley, of
Shakerley, descended from Adam, younger son of Henry de Tyldesley,
living in the time of Henry III., whose son Geoffrey, as we have seen,
assumed the name of Shakerley; in the second, to Jane, daughter of
Ralph Langton, Baron of Newton; and by each he had issue. By his will,
which bears date 6 Edward VI., he left to the children of his first
marriage Tyldesley and Wardley, and to those of the second the estate
at Myerscough.

Thomas Tyldesley, his son by the first marriage, was, doubtless, the
one whose name occurs in 1540 as Deputy Captain of the Isle of Man,
George Stanley being at the time Captain. About this time, as appears
by Chalmer's Treatise of the Isle (Manx Society's Publications, v.
10), mention is made of a Robert Tynsley (a corruption probably of
Tyldesley), but in what relation he stood to the Lancashire Tyldesleys
is not clear. Thomas Tyldesley had a sister Alice, who became the wife
of Richard Worsley, of the Booths. He died in 1556, and was buried
at Eccles, having had by his wife Jane, daughter and heiress of Hugh
Birkenhead, whom he married in 1518, six sons and three daughters.
Thomas, the eldest son, born in 1532, married Margaret, daughter of
Sir William Norreys, of Speke, who bore him, in addition to three
sons, James, Gilbert, and Alexander, a son Thomas, of Gray's Inn,
Attorney-General for the county of Lancaster, who received the honour
of knighthood; he was one of the learned Council of the North, and
added to the ancestral estates by his marriage with Anne, daughter
and sole heiress of Thomas Norreys, of Orford, near Warrington, the
issue of the union being--in addition to two daughters, Elizabeth and
Anne, married respectively to Edward Breres, of Brockhall, and (1) to
Thomas Southworth, of Samlesbury, (2) Adam Mort, of Preston--three
sons, Thomas, who died in infancy, 1597; Edward, who also died in
infancy; and Richard, who survived his father only a few years and died
unmarried in 1639, thus terminating the male line of the elder branch
of the family.

To return to the issue of Thurstan Tyldesley by his second wife, Jane
Langton. Besides three daughters--Mary, wife of Ralph Standish, of
Standish; Anne, wife of Richard Massey, of Rixton; and Dorothy, wife
of Richard Brereton, of Worsley--he had a son, Edward Tyldesley, who,
by a fortunate though clandestine marriage, about the year 1560, with
Anne, daughter and sole heiress of Thomas Leyland, became, in right of
his wife, owner of Morleys Hall, in Astley, in the parish of Leigh.
Popular tradition has cast the glamour of romance around this marriage,
and tells how that the young heiress of the Leylands, having formed an
attachment for the younger son of the house of Tyldesley, in opposition
to the wishes of her father, was confined in her room, but, verifying
the truth of the old adage that love laughs at locksmiths, she
contrived to possess herself of a rope, one end of which she fastened
to her person and the other she threw from the window to her expectant
lover on the other side of the moat; then, casting herself into the
water, which was thirty feet wide, she was drawn to land, when the pair
rode off, and before morning dawned, or the lady's family had become
aware of her escape, the marriage ceremony had been performed and the
twain made one.

Of the old mansion of the Leylands, which thus became an inheritance
of the Tyldesleys, we have an interesting description in Leland's
"Itinerary" (vol. v. pp. 78-9, Ed. 1711):--"Morle in Darbyshire [the
Hundred of West Derby is meant] Mr. Leland's Place is buildid saving
the Foundation of Stone squarid, that risith within a great Moote a vi.
Foote above the water; al of Tymbre after the commune sorte of building
of Houses of the Gentilmen for most of Lancastreshire. Ther is as much
Pleasur of Orchardes of great Varite of Frute, and fair made Walkes
and Gardines as ther is in any Place of Lancastreshire. He brenneth
[burneth] al Turfes and Petes for the Commodite of Mosses and Mores
[near] at hand.... And yet by Morle as in Hegge Rowes and Grovettes is
meately good Plenti of Wood, but good Husbandes keepe hit for a Jewell."

Nearly every old historic home is linked to romance by some story of
love or adventure, and endeared to the memory by the image of some
fair woman whose name is associated with some particular incident or
bit of legendary lore that tradition has preserved, and which, if not
actually attested fact, is yet not without some glimmering of truth
that reflects light upon familiar history. At Morleys it is the tender
tale of the loves of Anne Leyland, the heiress of her father's lands,
and Edward Tyldesley, a young scion of the house of Wardley, that
excites the interest and which has for many a generation furnished food
for the village gossips. They had looked upon each other and loved. The
spark that had been kindled in their young hearts was fanned into a
flame, but--

  Ah me! for aught that ever I could read,
  Could ever hear of tale or history,
  The course of true love never did run smooth.

At Morleys it was the old old story. To prevent the tender passion
ripening into a union an unsympathising father forbade the lovers
meeting, and to prevent the chances of clandestine intercourse kept his
daughter within the strict seclusion of her own chamber. The result
may be guessed. Rather than be kept asunder from the object of her
affection, Anne Leyland determined on braving the stormy temper of
her father. Risking all dangers and throwing aside all obstacles, she
cast herself into the moat surrounding her home, whence she was drawn
ashore, and under cover of the darkness escaped in the arms of her
expectant lover, and before night's candles had burned out and--

  The first low fluttering breath of waking day had stirred the wide air--

the two were united in the indissoluble bonds of wedlock.

It may well be supposed that Thomas Leyland's ire when he learned
the real circumstances of the case was not of the mildest character;
be that as it may, his anger must eventually have been appeased, for
in 1562, two years after the marriage of the runaways, he made his
will, and in token of his affection for his infant grandson, gave
"unto Thomas Tyldesley sonne unto my sonne in lawe Edward Tyldesley
twoe silvr spones and one angell off gold." The old man was a staunch
Papist and determined persecutor of heretics. When the brother-in-law
of George Marsh, the martyr--"Jeffrey Hurst, of Shakerley, who
was preserved by God's providence from burning in Queen Mary's
time"--absented himself from his parish church because of the Romish
ritual that had been reintroduced, and encouraged the teachers of
the reformed faith to secretly assemble in his house "for sermon and
prayer," "Justice" Leyland went with his "mass-priest" to Hurst's
cottage to search for heretical books, and having found Tyndale's
Testament, which was pronounced to be "plain heresy and none worse,"
and some Latin books which neither he nor the mass-priest could read,
he, by a stretch of authority not unfrequent in those days, bound the
mother and brother of Hurst in the penalty of £100 to produce him
within fourteen days. Hurst appeared at the appointed time and was
committed to Lancaster, but news of Queen Mary's death arriving about
the same time, he was set free.

Thomas Leyland died July, 1564, at the age of fifty years. His end
appears to have been very sudden. It is recorded that "in July, as the
foresaid Thos. Lelond sate in his chair talking with his friends, he
fell down suddenly dead, not much moving any joint; and such was his
end; from such God us defend." His will, which bears date April 2,
1562, was proved on the 23rd September following his death, when his
son-in-law, Edward Tyldesley, in right of his wife, succeeded to the
estates.

From this union descended the younger branch of the Tyldesleys, a
line that in successive generations manifested a devoted attachment
to the cause of the ill-fated Stuarts. In addition to the estate of
Morleys acquired through his wife, Edward Tyldesley inherited from
his father the Lodge at Myerscough and also the paternal estate of
Tyldesley, which, however, continued to pay quit-rents to Wardley Hall,
probably in right of the appendent estate of Wardley, where the elder
branch of the family was settled. He appears to have been the first,
if not the only one, of the family who had any difference or dispute
with its early patrons, the Stanleys of Knowsley and Lathom. In the
proceedings of the Duchy Court of Lancaster, without date, but of the
time of Edward VI. or Philip and Mary, Edward, Earl of Derby, "keeper
of Myerskoo Park," and elsewhere called "master of the game," appears
as plaintiff in an action against Edward Tyldesley, "farmer of the
herbage," the dispute having arisen out of some claim to turbary or the
right of cutting turves on the land of the superior lord.

Edward Tyldesley died in 1586-7, having had by his wife, Anne Leyland,
a family of three sons and three daughters. Thomas, the eldest son,
who succeeded as heir, enjoyed possession of the estate for four years
only, his death occurring in 1590. He married Elizabeth, daughter of
Christopher Anderton, of Lostock Hall, near Bolton, who bore him,
in addition to three daughters--Anne, who became the wife of Sir
Cuthbert Clifton, of Westby, Knight; Dorothy, who married John Poole,
of Poole Hall, in Cheshire; and Elizabeth, who became Abbess of the
religious house of Gravelines, in Flanders--one son, Edward Tyldesley,
who was only four years of age at the time of his father's decease.
He succeeded as heir to the Tyldesley estates as well as to Morleys
and Myerscough, and entertained King James the First at the last
named seat in August, 1617, on the occasion of his memorable visit
to Lancashire--memorable for the reason that it was the occasion of
the presentation of a petition from a number of Lancashire peasants,
tradesmen, and others while on his progress (some authorities say
while at Myerscough) that led to the publication of the famous "Book
of Sports,"--the beginning of a course of events which led through the
Civil War and the temporary subversion of the Throne and the Church to
the ultimate exclusion of the Stuarts from the Crown. Edward Tyldesley
did not long survive the honour of entertaining his sovereign, his
death occurring in the following year at the comparatively early age of
32. By his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher Preston, of Holker,
in Cartmel parish, an off-shoot of the Prestons, of Preston Patrick
and Levens Hall, who survived him and re-married (1) Thomas Lathom, of
Parbold, and (2) Thomas Westby, of Bourne Hall, he had, in addition
to Edward, who died in infancy, a son, Thomas, who succeeded as heir,
the most distinguished member of the family--a _chevalier sans peur
et sans reproche_--certainly the ablest soldier who fought on the side
of the King in Lancashire during the Civil Wars, and probably the most
active, resolute, and uncompromising partisan, for, as has been well
said, if Lord Strange was the head of the King's forces in Lancashire,
Sir Thomas Tyldesley was their right hand, or rather, their heart and
soul, and living power. He was one of those Cavaliers whose deeds were
more suited to the pages of a romance than to those of history, and
who, by his dauntless courage, may be said to have cast a halo round
the cause he espoused. Born near the close of Elizabeth's reign, he
early embraced the profession of arms, and served with distinction in
the wars in the Low Countries. A soldier by temperament, as well as by
profession--brave, proud, generous, enthusiastically loyal--he raised
and equipped troops at his own expense, and immediately on the breaking
out of the war joined the King and served as lieutenant-colonel when
the two armies were first put in array against each other at Edgehill,
October 23, 1642. In the preceding month Colonel Tyldesley accompanied
Lord Strange, afterwards Earl of Derby, to Manchester, and in person
led the attack on the Deansgate entrance to the town, but, after firing
a barn or two and destroying some trifling defences, his men were
obliged to retire, and eventually, through the stubborn and successful
resistance of the townsmen, were compelled to abandon the siege.

What Rigby was to the cause of the Parliament, Colonel Tyldesley may be
said to have been to that of the King. Connected by birth and marriage
with the best families in the county his influence was unbounded. Of
indomitable zeal, irrepressible energy, and reckless daring, he became
the head and heart and hand and almost everything besides in his own
county, and took part in almost every important action. He served at
the sieges of Bolton and Lancaster; defeated by Colonel Ashton before
Wigan, he retreated towards Liverpool, but, collecting a considerable
force, he again marched northwards, with the view of recovering
Preston and Lancaster. Subsequently he distinguished himself at
Burton-on-Trent by the desperate heroism with which he led a cavalry
charge over a bridge of thirty-six arches, and for that display of
valour, as well as his faithful adherence to the King, he received the
honour of knighthood and was made a brigadier. At a later period in
that sanguinary struggle he accompanied Prince Rupert into Yorkshire,
and was present at the disastrous fight at Marston Moor, July 2nd,
1644, when Cromwell gained his greatest victory, and drove the Royalist
troops in confusion from the field. Tyldesley, with his shattered
force, retreated in hot haste into Lancashire, resolved to raise fresh
troops and make a stand in the Fylde country. Sir John Meldrum was sent
after him, and the first encounter took place on Freckleton Marsh. A
fierce attack having been made upon their lines by the Parliamentarians
under Colonel Booth, the Royalists broke and fled; Tyldesley rallied
and reformed his men, but his efforts were unavailing. Victory followed
victory, one position after another was forced, and one detachment
after another was broken or dispersed At that time, as Rushworth
writes, "there remained of unreduced garrisons belonging to the King
in Lancashire only Lathom House and Green(halgh) Castle." Greenhalgh
surrendered in 1645; and the subsequent fall of Lathom House and the
surrender of the King to the Scotch army of the Puritans brought the
contest, for a time, to a close in 1647, when Sir Thomas Tyldesley
received instructions to disband the troops under his command.

In 1651 the second of the Stuarts was proclaimed King by the Scotch
under the title of Charles the Second. In August of that year the Royal
Standard floated once more over the battlemented tower of old John o'
Gaunt--time-honoured Lancaster--and Charles was proclaimed King in the
chief town of the palatinate. Sir Thomas Tyldesley, who had retired
with the Earl of Derby to the Isle of Man, once more appeared upon the
scene, and immediately set about arming his tenantry and collecting
auxiliaries. Charles spent a night in his mansion at Myerscough, but
under very different circumstances to those which had characterised
the entertainment of his father in the same house thirty-four years
previously. Before the month was over the force which he and Lord
Derby had been able to raise encountered the Parliamentarians, under
Colonel Lilburne, in a lane on the north side of Wigan. Tyldesley took
the place he ever loved to take--at the head of his friends and in
front of his foes. The fight was courageously sustained on both sides,
and for more than an hour victory remained undecided. At the moment
that Lilburne's horse seemed to be giving way before the unbroken
firmness of Tyldesley's foot, a body of Parliamentary troops took
up a position behind the hedges on both sides of the lane. A deadly
discharge from their firelocks threw the Royalists into confusion;
after a stubborn and desperate resistance their line wavered, when
Lilburne's horse dashed up and drove the remnant of them in confusion
from their position. The Earl of Derby escaped, only to be taken
prisoner in Cheshire, after the retreat from Worcester, and suffer
the fate of his former Royal master, but Sir Thomas Tyldesley was
left dead upon the field. Thus fell the most heroic and most daring
defender of the cause of the Stuarts in Lancashire. A large-hearted
Nonconformist, Dr. Halley, thus sums up the character of the ill-fated
Cavalier:--"The most active, the bravest, and in many respects the
best of the Lancashire friends of Royalty. Never daunted, never weary
in consultation, marching, or fighting, he was engaged in every
intrigue, present in every conference, ready for every emergency, and
unreservedly devoting all he had to the cause of Royalty, and as he
understood it, to the true religion. Beloved and trusted by all the
members of his own party, he was respected by his enemies, and treated
by them more leniently than the other malignants whom the fortune of
war brought under their power." Memorials of him remain in the eloquent
eulogy of Clarendon, and in the inscription upon the column which his
"grateful cornet," Alexander Rigby,[74] twenty-eight years afterwards,
when he was sheriff of the county, erected upon the spot where fell, as
a mark of esteem for his many virtues and gallant deeds, and as a "high
obligation on the whole family of the Tyldesleys to follow the noble
example of their loyal ancestor."

When the brave and popular Cavalier, Sir Thomas Tyldesley, sank down
upon the blood-sodden ground in Wigan Lane the power of the Royalists
in Lancashire was broken. Many a family in the palatinate had long
cause to remember that day with grief, for there were few that had not
some member killed or made prisoner. Tyldesley's body, covered with
wounds, was found lying among a heap of slain when the fight was over,
and a day or two later it was borne to its last resting place in the
vault by the side of his fathers, in the old chantry of St. Nicholas,
in the parish church of Leigh.

That late summer day was a sorrowful one for the supporters of
the Stuart cause. It requires no great stretch of the imagination
to picture that procession of true mourners--a little band of
buff-jerkined warriors who had boldly confronted death on many a
hard-fought field--weeping aloud, and not ashamed to shed tears, as
they wend their way to the ancient fane to deposit therein all that
was mortal of their much-beloved leader. Within a week from that day
Worcester had been lost, and "Charles Stuart, son of the late tyrant,"
as the Cromwellians styled him, was a sorrowful fugitive, hastening for
life from the fatal field in the endeavour to escape from his merciless
pursuers. A tomb was afterwards erected in Leigh Church, over the grave
which holds the ashes of the loyal soldier; but though the spot is
still pointed out nearly every trace of the memorial has disappeared.
It is of little consequence--

  Praises on tombs are idly spent,
  His good name is his monument!

No self glory stirred the mind of the chivalrous soldier, and no
thought had he of "storied urn" to record his gallant deeds. The Earl
of Derby felt keenly the loss of his old friend and comrade, and in
his last solemn moments, when passing through Leigh on his way to the
scaffold at Bolton, his earnestly expressed wish was that he might be
permitted to dismount from his horse and go into St. Nicholas' chapel
to cast a last long look upon the honourable grave where his faithful
companion in arms lay at rest.

Sir Thomas Tyldesley had married in early life Frances, only daughter
of Ralph Standish, of Standish, near Wigan, and by her had a son
Edward, born in 1635, who succeeded as heir; Thomas, born in 1642, and
living in 1702; Ralph, born in 1644, and living in 1694; and seven
daughters. Edward, the eldest son, following in the steps of his
father, was an ardent supporter of the Stuarts, and when Charles II.,
after the restoration of monarchy, proposed to create a new order of
knighthood to be called the order of the "Royal Oak," as a reward to
some of his more faithful adherents, Edward Tyldesley was one of the
Lancashire men selected to receive the honour, and would have done so
had not the project, from considerations of prudence, been abandoned.
Having some cause to believe that he would, on the Restoration, receive
from the Crown a grant of the lands in Layton Hawes, near Blackpool,
in recognition of the services rendered by his father and himself,
he began the erection of a residence near the south shore called Fox
Hall, a portion of the walls of which may still be seen in the more
modern erection known as the Fox Hall Hotel, placing over the gateway
a sculptured figure of the device that had inspired the enthusiasm of
his father's soldiers in many a hard-contested fight--a pelican feeding
her young, or, as the heralds have it, in piety, surrounded by the
motto _Tantum Valet Amor Regis et Patriæ_--and here he occasionally
resided during the later years of his life. He was twice married, his
first wife being Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Fleetwood, of Colwich,
in Staffordshire, who bore him two sons, Thomas, born April 3rd, 1657,
and Edward, and two daughters. After her decease he espoused Elizabeth,
daughter of Adam Beaumont, of Whiteley, and by her he had a daughter,
Catherine, who died unmarried. His death occurred between the years
1685 and 1687, when the eldest son by his first marriage, Thomas
Tyldesley, succeeded to the estates, with the exception of the lands
in Tyldesley, which had been previously disposed of. In 1679, being
then twenty-two years of age, he married Eleanor, daughter and co-heir
of Thomas Holcroft, of Holcroft. This lady, who was only fourteen
years of age at the time of her marriage, brought Holcroft Hall to the
Tyldesleys. By her Thomas Tyldesley had a son, Edward, his heir, and
four daughters. On the death of his wife he again entered the marriage
state, his second wife being Mary, daughter of Alexander Rigby, of
Layton, and the co-heiress of her brother, Sir Alexander Rigby, son and
heir of the "grateful cornet" who erected the monument in Wigan Lane to
the memory of the gallant Sir Thomas Tyldesley, and by her was father
of three sons--Charles, Fleetwood, and James; and two daughters--Agatha
and Winifred. To this Thomas Tyldesley we are indebted for the
interesting personal records contained in a "diary" written during
the years 1712-13-14, which has in recent years been published under
the able editorship of Messrs. Joseph Gillow and Anthony Hewitson.
He died in 1715, shortly before the breaking out of the rebellion,
in the preparation for which there is good reason to believe he had
been concerned, and was buried at Churchtown, near Garstang, January
26th,[75] his eldest son Edward succeeding. On the Jacobite rising
in 1715 Edward Tyldesley, with the representatives of many other of
the old Catholic families who had upheld the banners of Charles I.,
hastened to support the cause of his grandson. For his share in the
rising he was put upon his trial in London, but, although the evidence
of a number of witnesses left no possible doubt that he had led a body
of men against the King's forces, he was fortunate enough to obtain
an acquittal, a result which so provoked the anger of Baron Montagu,
a sort of Whig Jeffreys, who presided over the court, that he openly
rebuked the jury for their verdict, himself failing to see that the
harrowing records of the "bloody assize at Lancaster" had produced a
revulsion in popular feeling, and that the spirit of vindictiveness
manifested by the government of the Hanoverian King had caused even
Protestant juries to manifest a feeling of commiseration for those of
their countrymen who still retained a feeling of devoted attachment for
the head of the exiled house of Stuart, whom they looked upon as their
legitimate sovereign.

At the time of his death, in 1725, Myerscough, which had been held for
so many generations, had passed from the possession of the Tyldesleys,
having, as is supposed, been sold to satisfy the demands of Thomas
Tyldesley the father's creditors, but Holcroft Hall, inherited from
his mother, as well as Morleys, still remained. By his wife Dorothy,
who survived him, Edward Tyldesley had, in addition to a daughter
(Catherine), a son (James), who succeeded as heir to both Morleys and
Holcroft. True to the traditions of his family, he remained faithful in
his adherence to the exiled dynasty, and when Charles Edward, the young
Pretender, appeared in Lancashire, he took up arms and joined the rebel
forces. From this time the fortunes of the family seemed gradually to
decay. Myerscough, as we have seen, had been already alienated, and,
in 1745, Morleys, which had been acquired two centuries previously by
a marriage with the heiress of Thomas Leyland, was sold, and gradually
the remnants of the once large estates were mortgaged or sold.

James Tyldesley died in August, 1765. His will bears date 8th of
February, of that year, and was proved at Chester, April 23, 1768.
Thomas Tyldesley, the eldest son, succeeded to Holcroft, the only
estate remaining in the family's possession, the other issue being
three sons and one daughter, all of whom seem to have drifted into a
state of comparative poverty, their descendants being now to be looked
for in a much lower position in the social scale than that held for so
many generations by the owners of the proud name of Tyldesley.

To return to the old ancestral home at Wardley. As previously
stated, Thurstan Tyldesley, who died in 1553, was twice married; his
inquisition post-mortem was taken in the year of his decease, when,
in accordance with the provisions of his will, the family estates were
divided between the children of each marriage, Tyldesley and Wardley
falling to the lot of Thomas, the son borne him by his first wife, and
Myerscough to Edward, the issue of his second wife. In the early part
of the reign of Elizabeth the Wardley estate, which had been held by
the Tyldesleys for a period of three centuries, was sold in parcels,
when the old manor house became the property of Gilbert Sherrington of
Lincoln's Inn, a busy Lancashire lawyer, and at his death it passed to
his brother Francis Sherrington, a successful trader and money-lender,
who had been at one time located at Wigan. Subsequently Wardley became
the property of Roger Downes, son and heir of Roger, a younger son of
the ancient house of Downes, of Worth and Shrigley, in Cheshire, by a
marriage with Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Alexander Worsley.
Roger Downes, the younger, who was living at Wardley in 1613, twice
represented Wigan--one of the four Lancashire boroughs entitled to send
representatives to Parliament before the passing of the Reform Act in
1832--first in 1601, and again in 1620. On the 24th July, 1 Charles
I. (1625), he was appointed by the Earl of Derby Vice-chamberlain
of Chester, during pleasure (_durante bene placito_), an office he
continued to hold under the Earl and his son, Lord Strange, until his
death in July, 1638, when Orlando Bridgeman, son of the Bishop of
Chester, was appointed by James Lord Strange his successor, much to
the displeasure of John Bradshaw, the future president of the High
Commission Court, who was then Attorney-general for Cheshire, and, as
Seacombe affirms, had applied for the office.[76] In the will of Sir
Alexander Barlow, of Barlow Hall, near Manchester, dated 4th April,
1631, Roger Downes, of Wardley, is joined with Sir George Gresley,
Knight and Baronet (of Drakelowe), as overseer, and is therein
described by the testator as his "loving cosen;" and a few years
later, when Richard Halliwell, landlord of the Bull's Head Inn, in the
Market Place, opposite the Cross, in Manchester--a successful vintner,
who had managed to accumulate a considerable landed estate--made
his will (May 12th; 1638), he desired that his "friend, the Right
Worshipful Roger Downes, Esquire," should act as his overseer.

Roger Downes was twice married, his first wife being Elizabeth,
daughter of Myles Gerard, of Ince, by whom he had a son Roger, who
predeceased him. His second wife was Ann, daughter of John Calvert,
of Cockerham, and she bore him, in addition to a daughter, Jane, who
became the wife of Ralph Snede, of Keele, in Staffordshire, three
sons, Francis, Lawrence, and John. Concerning Francis, a curious
story is related by Hollingworth in his "Mancunienses." He had, it
seems, "revolted from the reformed religion," when his neighbour, Sir
Cecil Trafford, of Trafford, who was known as "a cruel persecutor of
Papists," resolved before he resorted to harsher measures to attempt
the reconversion of his friend by the force of argument; but he
reckoned without his host, for in reasoning the Catholic proved himself
too clever for the Protestant, and so thoroughly argued Sir Cecil out
of his beliefs that he abjured his own religion and became a convert to
the Roman faith; and from that time the Traffords, who had been among
the earliest adherents of the Reformed faith in Lancashire, have been
steady and consistent Catholics.

Francis Downes, who represented Wigan in the Parliament of 1625,
predeceased his father, and died issueless, as did also his brother
Lawrence, the estates, on the death of Roger Downes in 1638, devolving
upon the youngest son, John Downes, who had married Penelope, one of
the daughters of Sir Cecil Trafford, an alliance that explains the
anxious desire manifested by Sir Cecil to effect the conversion of his
son-in-law's elder brother.

John Downes, who succeeded on the death of his father to the Wardley
estate, was an ardent adherent of King Charles in the unhappy struggle
between that monarch and his Parliament, and in September, 1642, when
Lord Strange, having completed his arrangements with the commissioners
of array, appointed Warrington as the place of meeting, he armed and
equipped his tenantry, and appeared with the host of other Lancashire
chieftains to support the cause of the sovereign. Before the month had
drawn to a close he was at Manchester, having accompanied Lord Strange
and Sir Thomas Tyldesley in their fruitless expedition to secure the
town for the King. He died in May, 1648, leaving an only son, Roger,
his heir, then an infant a few months old, and a daughter Penelope.

Roger Downes, who succeeded as heir to the patrimonial estates on
the death of his father, John Downes, in 1648, was the last of the
family seated at Wardley. His history is not a pleasant one to
contemplate. Living in an age when the people could take delight
in the dissoluteness of the sovereign, he abandoned himself to the
vicious courses of the time and became one of the most profligate of
the profligate court of Charles the Second. The patrimony which had
descended to him was wasted in riotous extravagance, and, to use the
figurative language that Johnson applied to Rochester, "he blazed out
his youth and his health in lavish voluptuousness," and brought his
career to a violent and untimely end at the early age of twenty-eight.
He was the Roger Downes of whom Lucas speaks, when he says that,
according to tradition, while in London, in a drunken frolic, he vowed
to his companions that he would kill the first man he met; when,
sallying forth, he ran his sword through a poor tailor. Soon after
this, being in a riot, a watchman made a stroke at him with his bill,
which severed his head from his body, and the skull was enclosed in
a box and sent to his sister at Wardley Hall. "The skull," adds the
narrator, "has been kept at Wardley ever since, and many superstitious
notions are entertained respecting it." The late Mr. Roby, in his
entertaining "Traditions of Lancashire" wrought the incidents into a
pathetic story, under the title of the "Skull House." Tradition, which
always delights in the marvellous, took up the story, and many and
incredible are the legends which the ghastly relic of mortality has
given rise to. Certain it is that from time immemorial a human skull
has had an abiding place at Wardley, carefully secured in an aperture
in the wall beside the great staircase. According to popular belief,
the grim fixture is as strongly averse to removal as the miraculous
skull of "Dickey of Tunstead," which caused so much trouble to the
engineers when constructing the railway near Chapel-en-le-Frith some
years ago. Its rayless sockets, we are told, love to look upon the
scenes of its former enjoyments, and it never fails to punish with
severity those who venture to disturb or lay irreverent hands upon
it. How the story originated it is impossible to say, but, though
a skull, whitened by long exposure, is still exhibited, it is very
certain that it never graced the shoulders of young Roger Downes.
Thomas Barritt, the antiquary, in his MS. pedigrees, gives the
following explanation:--"Thos. Stockport," he says, "told me the skull
belonged to a Romish priest who was executed at Lancaster for seditious
practices in the time of William III. He was most likely the priest
at Wardley, to which place his head being sent, might be preserved as
a relique of his martyrdom," and he adds, "The late Rev. Mr. Kenyon,
of Peel, and librarian of the College in this town (Manchester), told
me about the year 1779 the family vault of Downes in Wigan Church had
about that time been opened, and a coffin discovered, on which was an
inscription to the memory of the above young Downes. Curiosity led
to the opening of it, and the skeleton, head and all, was there; but
whatsoever was the cause of his death, the upper part of his skull
had been sawed off, a little above the eyes, by a surgeon, perhaps by
order of his friends, to be satisfied of the nature of his disease;
his shroud was in tolerable preservation. Mr. Kenyon showed me some of
the ribbon that tied the suit at the arms, wrists, and ankles; it was
of a brown colour. What it was at first could not be ascertained." The
name of Roger Downes is perpetuated on a massive marble slab affixed
to the wall of Wigan Church, in which his remains are interred. It is
surmounted by the arms of the family--_sable_, a stag lodged _argent_,
and bears the following inscription:--_Rogerus Downes de Wardley,
Armiger, filius Johannes Downes, hujus Comitatus Armigeri, obijt. 27
Junij. 1676. Ætatis suæ 28._

Roger Downes having died unmarried, the family estates, including
Wardley, devolved upon his only sister and sole heiress, Penelope,
who conveyed them in marriage (31 Charles II, 1679-80) to Richard
Savage, of Rock Savage, who succeeded as fourth Earl Rivers of the new
creation, a title that had originally been held by the father-in-law
(Woodville) of Edward IV., the Savages deriving through the marriage
of an ancestor with the aunt of a former earl. Lord Rivers took a
prominent part in public affairs during the eventful reign of Queen
Anne. As a soldier and statesman he displayed no mean abilities,
and, possessing these qualities, he was not unfrequently employed on
complimentary and diplomatic missions. In 1706-7 he was ordered to the
command of the English forces in Spain, and at the same time received
the appointment of ambassador to King Charles, and some few years later
(1712) he was sent on a diplomatic mission to the Elector of Brunswick
prior to the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, that famous landmark of
modern history which put an end to the wars of Queen Anne, secured the
Protestant succession to the English throne, and separated for ever the
crowns of France and Spain. He did not long survive this last mission,
his death occurring August 18th, 1712, the only surviving issue by his
marriage with the heiress of Wardley being a daughter, Elizabeth, who
about the year 1706 married James Barry, fourth Earl of Barrymore, who
was then a widower, and by whom she had an only child, Penelope, of
whom anon.

The career of Earl Rivers was not unmarked by the libertinism which
formed so prominent a characteristic of society in the age in which
he lived. In addition to the daughter by his marriage with Penelope
Downes--Elizabeth Savage, who became heiress of her mother's estates as
well as those of her father--he had an illegitimate daughter by Mrs.
Colydon, who married, in 1714, Frederick Earl of Rochford, to whom
it is said she conveyed a fortune of £60,000; he was also the reputed
father of the poet, Richard Savage, a writer better known for his
misfortunes than for any peculiar novelty or merit in his poetry--the
offspring of an illicit intercourse with the notorious Countess of
Macclesfield, who acquired an unenviable notoriety as the heroine of
the famous law case which followed upon the birth of her base-gotten
son. Some curious particulars of this extraordinary scandal are to
be found in the records of the time. The countess, under the name of
Madame Smith and wearing a mask, was delivered of a male child in
Fox-court, near Brook-street, Holborn, by Mrs. Wright, a midwife, on
Saturday, January 16, 1697-8. Lord Macclesfield denied the paternity,
and established the impossibility of his being the father of the child
his countess had borne. A divorce was granted in 1698, but, as the
law deemed the earl accountable through his own profligacy for the
malpractices of his wife, he was required to repay the portion he
had received with her on marriage, and with this she secured another
husband in the person of Colonel Brett, by whom she had a daughter,
Anne Brett, the impudent mistress of George I. The inhuman mother
disowned her illegitimate offspring by Lord Rivers, Richard Savage,
and had him placed under the charge of a poor woman who brought him up
as her son, but Lady Mason, her mother, caused him to be removed to
a school near St. Alban's and educated him at her own expense. Earl
Rivers died without making any provision for his unfortunate son, a
circumstance that was due, as Johnson says, to the fact that in the
earl's last illness the degraded countess--then Mrs. Brett--had the
inhumanity to state that Savage was dead, and through this falsehood
the boy was deprived of a provision that was intended for him. It
has been said that young Savage was an impostor, and the opinion was
held by Boswell, the biographer of Dr. Johnson, who says: "In order
to induce a belief that the Earl Rivers, on account of a criminal
connection with whom Lady Macclesfield is said to have been divorced
from her husband by Act of Parliament, had a peculiar anxiety about
the child which she bore to him, it is alleged that his lordship
gave him his own name, and had it duly recorded in the register of
St. Andrew's, Holborn; I have," he adds, "carefully inspected that
register, and I cannot find it." That Boswell should have failed in the
discovery is explained by a reference to "The Earl of Macclesfield's
case," presented to the House of Lords in 1697-8, from which it appears
that the child was registered by the name of Richard, the son of John
Smith, and christened on Monday, January 18th, in Fox-court, and this
statement is confirmed by the following entry in the register of St.
Andrew's, Holborn:--

 Jany. 1696-7, Richard, son of John Smith, and Mary, in Fox Court, in
 Gray's Inn Lane, Baptised the 18th.

Notwithstanding the discredit that has been thrown on Savage's story,
there can be little doubt of its truth. It was universally believed at
the time, and no attempt was ever made by the countess to contradict
or to invalidate any of the statements connected with it. Moreover, he
was openly recognised in the house of Lord Tyrconnell, a nephew of his
reputed mother, with whom he lived on equal terms, and who allowed him
a sum of £200 a year until Savage quarrelled with him, when the peer
stopped the allowance, and the hapless poet was again sent adrift upon
the world. He was also on terms of acquaintance with the Countess of
Rochford, the illegitimate daughter of Earl Rivers by Mrs. Colydon.
Savage's folly and extravagance left him almost without a friend.
Pope, whom he had supplied with the "private intelligence and secret
incidents" that add poignancy to the satire of the "Dunciad," was
about the last to withdraw his aid, and the poor fellow was eventually
left to wander about in a state of destitution. He repaired to the
West of England, and while in Bristol was arrested for a small debt,
and being unable to find sureties was thrown into prison. During his
incarceration he was taken ill, and on the morning of the 1st of
August, 1743, was found dead in his bed, having been unable to procure
any medical assistance. It is related that the keeper of the prison,
who had treated him with kindness, buried him at his own expense.

Before his decease, Lord Rivers had executed indentures of lease
and release, dated 13th June, 1711, by which his large estates in
Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, and Essex were vested in trustees for
the use of himself for life and remainder to him in tail; remainder
to the use of his cousin, John Savage, a Romish ecclesiastic, who
inherited the earldom, but never assumed the title; remainder to his
illegitimate daughter, Bessy Savage, afterwards Countess of Rochford;
remainder to his own right heirs. From some irregularities in the
disposal of the property, the will was disputed, and eventually an Act
of Parliament (7th George I., 1720) was obtained for the disposal of
the estates, which were declared to be vested in trust for the earl's
son-in-law, James, fourth earl of Barrymore, with remainder to Lady
Penelope Barry, the only issue of his marriage with the Lady Elizabeth
Savage, and the granddaughter of Richard Earl Rivers and his wife
Penelope Downes, the heiress of Wardley.

Lady Penelope Barry, who was a minor, in 1720 brought the estates of
her family in marriage to General James Cholmondeley, second surviving
son of George Earl of Cholmondeley. Her ladyship seems to have
inherited the frailties of her father, for in 1737 her husband obtained
a sentence of divorce against her for adultery with one Pa[77]ck
Anderson, a surgeon. She died childless about the year 1742;[A] General
Cholmondeley, who survived her many years but did not remarry, died at
the age of sixty-seven, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, October
19th, 1775, when, in accordance with the provisions of a settlement
made in 1729, the estates passed to James Cholmondeley's great nephew,
George James, fourth Earl and afterwards first Marquis of Cholmondeley,
the father of William Henry Hugh, the present marquis, Hereditary Grand
Chamberlain of England.

More than a century has elapsed since the historic house of Wardley was
occupied by any direct descendant of its earlier lords. At one time it
was in the occupation of a farmer, and subsequently was divided into
several tenements, when it was allowed to fall into a state of decay,
the humbler dwellers caring little for its antiquity, and content if
they only could protect themselves from the elements and keep a roof
above their heads. From the last representative of the Downes family
the hall was conveyed by purchase to other owners, and for many years
past it has formed part of the estates of the Earls of Ellesmere, to
whom the grateful acknowledgments of all antiquaries are due for the
thoughtful care they have taken in protecting it from further injury,
as well as for the judgment they have exercised in carrying out the
work of restoration. Within the last half century important renovations
have taken place, and some portions have been rebuilt, but whatever
has been done has been in perfect keeping with the architectural
peculiarities of the original structure. The old mansion is now in
a good state of repair, and, notwithstanding its situation in close
proximity to a mining and manufacturing district, it furnishes a
picturesque and singularly interesting example of a somewhat rare
class of building, the moated dwelling of a gentleman of the fifteenth
century.



  L'ENVOI.

  To my friend JAMES CROSTON, ESQ., F.S.A.,

  on the completion of his

  "HISTORIC SITES OF LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE."


     At length is done thy voluntary task,
     Thy pleasant work, fruition of thy will,
     Which in the past doth find its fondest lore.
     As o'er the meads, the wilds, the plains, the woods,
     Which form the glowing landscape 'neath our eye,
     Our vision rests in well-pleased rhapsody,
     How few remains are seen to tell the tale
     Of deeds on which the memory doth dwell;
     How few the relics that are strewn abroad
     Of castled valour and the Church's pride:
     A ruined keep, with now-defenceless walls!
     A beauteous vision of the pomp that once
     In glorious fanes paid homage unto God!
     The ivy clustering o'er the mouldering walls
     Doth hold together what alone remains
     Of graceful arch, proud pinnacle, and pier
     That mark where once man's noblest work had stood.
     Nor these alone Time's saddest work reveal,
     Mildewed and torn, rotting in damp recess
     The records of their history remain,
     Until some reverent hand doth bring them forth,
     And give their wondrous tale unto the world.
     Thine own, my friend, oft seeks their soilèd page,
     And from their blurred and faded writing tries
     To fill again the mind-restorèd walls
     With all the motley crowds that gave them life.
     Long may thy pen its pleasant work pursue,
     Resuscitate the mighty men of old,
     Again enact the noble deeds that once
     Made history, and living interest gave
     To the sad monuments of earlier time.

     JOHN LEIGH.

  THE MANOR HOUSE,
       HALE, CHESHIRE.



FOOTNOTES:

[1] Knight's "England."

[2] See pp. 7 and 8.

[3] Sawrey was eventually drowned, an untimely end that was by some
accounted a Divine judgment.

[4] "The Fells, of Swarthmoor Hall," p. 139.

[5] The fanatical outbreak of the Fifth Monarchy men in 1661 had
been made the excuse for a proclamation for closing the conventicles
of Quakers, Anabaptists, and other sectaries; and in 1662 an Act of
Parliament was passed by which they were to be fined for assembling for
public worship, and for a third offence to be banished.

[6] _Præmunire_ involved the forfeiture of all real estate during life,
personal estates for ever, and imprisonment during the King's pleasure.

[7] From a rare broadsheet in the British Museum, issued, as it would
seem, in 1683, for the use of the Constables and Officers of the Peace,
we find specified the nine following "unlawful meetings" of the people
called Quakers: Bull and Mouth; Devonshire Buildings; Gracechurch
Street; Quaker Street, in Spitalfields; the Peel, Clerkenwell;
Tothill Street, Westminster; Savoy, near the church; Horsleydown; and
Winchester Park, Southwark.

[8] Lancashire Puritanism and Nonconformity, p. 258, ed. 1872.

[9] A phrase that in those days signified a merchant or wholesale
dealer, _i.e._, a dealer in gross.

[10] It is worthy of note that, according to Earwaker, while Mr. Turner
was resident upon his benefice at Wilmslow he had under his tuition the
present Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M.A., the Bishop of Sodor and Man,
and Sir C. A. Wood.

[11] The occasion was that when Charles, untaught by the signs of the
times, with almost incredible infatuation, accelerated the fatal crisis
by going down to the House on the 4th January, 1641-2, and attempting
to seize the five members of the Commons--Pym, Hollis, Hampden,
Hazlerig, and Strode, on the charge of traitorously endeavouring to
deprive him of his regal power, and subvert the fundamental laws and
government of the kingdom.

[12] Hunter's "Life of Oliver Heywood," p. 63.

[13] Worthington's Diary, Chet. Soc.

[14] William, third Lord Brereton, of Leighlin, in Ireland, and
Brereton, in Cheshire, who married Frances, daughter of Lord
Willoughby, and died in London, March 17, 1679.

[15] Archæologia, V. v.

[16] The Sir William Stanley here named was the eldest son of Sir
Rowland Stanley, of Hooton, in Wirral, Cheshire, and the one who
afterwards covered himself with infamy by his shameless violation of
trust in the betrayal and surrender of Deventer to the enemies of his
country while holding the commission of the Queen and charged with its
defence--an act of perfidy that was only equalled by Cardin Allen's
(a Lancashire man) attempted justification of it. He had accompanied
the English auxiliaries under Leicester, and in a few weeks after
the Earl's return to England he and Rowland Yorke entered into a
treacherous correspondence with Baptisti Tasse, governor of Zutphen,
and began to propose their measures for delivering to him the important
fortresses that had been entrusted to their care, and in the beginning
of February both Deventer and the fort opposite Zutphen were given up
to the Spaniards. Stanley is said to have been concerned in Babington's
conspiracy in favour of Mary Queen of Scots, and was probably betrayed
by a dread of discovery into this unworthy conduct.

[17] It is on record that, so late as the reign of Elizabeth, of the
30 "sworn men," a kind of select committee chosen by the inhabitants
to take charge of the affairs of the parish of Kirkham, only one could
write, and consequently in his absence the business of the parish had
not unfrequently to be postponed.

[18] The fire was really caused by the carelessness of the sexton,
but it happening to be a tempestuous day the catastrophe was by him
confidently affirmed to be caused by lightning, and was generally
believed to the hour of his death; but he then confessed the truth of
it, after which "the burning of St. Paul's by lightning" was left out
of our common almanacks.

[19] These desecrations, notwithstanding Pilkington's denunciation,
continued long after, for 60 years later Bishop Earl in his
"Micosmography," says:--"Paul's walk is the land's epitome, or you may
call it the lesser isle of Great Britain. It is the great exchange
of all discourse, and no business whatever but is here stirring and
afoot.... It is the general mint of all famous lies, which are here,
like the legends of popery, first coined and stamped in the church.
All inventions are emptied here and not a few pockets. The best sign
of a temple in it is that it is the thieves' sanctuary." The place was
the common resort and lounge for idlers and hunters after news, wits
and gallants, cheats, usurers and knights of the post; the font itself
being used as a counter. It was here that Sir Nicholas Throgmorton held
a conference with the emissaries of Wyat; here, too, the bravoes who
murdered Arden, of Faversham, were hired; Captain Bobadil was a "Paul's
man," and Shakespeare's Falstaff bought Bardolph in Paul's.

[20] Wordsworth, in "The White Doe of Rylstone."

[21] It is a singular fact that even at the present day the wife
of a bishop has absolutely no rank or title whatever, and is the
only wife in English society who reflects none of the lustre of her
husband's dignity, nor appropriates even by courtesy the feminine of
his masculine titles. The wife of every other lord is addressed as "My
lady," whilst she is never anything more than plain "Mrs."

[22] Edited by the Rev. James Schofield, M.A., Regius Professor of
Greek, Cambridge.

[23] Brereton's Travels, Chet. Soc. v. I, p. 122.

[24] Ibid. p. 161.

[25] There is a tradition, unsupported, however, by any evidence, that
so many of the burgesses of Macclesfield fell at Flodden that the
survivors had to petition the King to grant the continuance of their
charter, though they could not muster a sufficient number of aldermen
to constitute a corporation.

[26] Hynde Swyer--a courteous esquire.

[27] Robert Fouleshurst of Crewe.

[28] Kere--return.

[29] It is an absurd mistake to suppose that Richard wore the Royal
crown upon his helmet during the battle; he was too experienced a
soldier to put on such a headgear, even supposing the crown could have
been attached to the helmet. The story may have arisen from his wearing
some distinguishing ornament, resembling a crown, such as was worn by
Henry V. upon his helmet at the battle of Agincourt, and which then
served to break the force of the stroke of the Duke of Alençon's battle
axe.

[30] _i.e._, Fierce men, proud, furious.

[31] The eagle's foot--"A fote of the faireste foule," was a cognizance
of the Stanleys, and three eagles' feet were borne upon the shield of
Sir John.

[32] "Nooks and Corners of Lancashire," p. 314.

[33] It may be mentioned that at his death, in 1637, Jonn Paget was
succeeded by his brother Thomas, "a man of much frowardness," and able
to create "much unquietness," as Henry Newcome affirms, who had been
minister of Blackley, in Manchester parish, but deprived in 1631 by
Dr. Bridgman, Bishop of Chester, when, to escape the fines imposed by
the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, he fled to Holland and joined his
brother, whom he eventually succeeded in the pastorate of the English
Church. Brook, in his "Lives of the Puritans," says he "most probably
spent the remainder of his days there," but this was not so; in 1646
he returned to England, was appointed to the rectory of St. Chad's,
Shrewsbury, and remained there until 1656, when he was presented
by the Commonwealth party to the rich rectory of Stockport. Thomas
Paget's son, Nathan Paget, who practised as a physician in London,
was the intimate friend of John Milton, and cousin to the great epic
poet's fourth wife, Elizabeth Minshull, and also of Thomas Minshull,
the Manchester apothecary and noted Nonconformist, whose name, as
well as that of his residence, Chorlton Hall, in Manchester, is still
perpetuated in Minshull and Chorlton streets, where he at that time
owned considerable property.

[34] The "Mr. Urione Brereton," who, according to the Cheadle
registers, was buried there "Jan. 6, 1631," must have been another
member of the family.

[35] Peter Venables had been elected with Sir Wm. Brereton, but, being
a Royalist, he withdrew, and was succeeded by George Booth.

[36] An old portrait in oil of the loyal and intrepid mayor taken in
1657, when he was 61 years of age, was presented some years ago by Mr.
J. Edisbury, of Bersham, near Wrexham, to the Water Tower Museum, at
Chester, where it is now preserved.

[37] Richard Percival, linen webster, of Kirman's Hulme, is said to
have been the first person whose blood was shed in the great Civil
War. The Manchester Register thus records his burial: "1642, Julie 18,
Richard Parcivall, of Grindlowe."

[38] This work, which has been commonly recognised as Burghall's, can
be no longer attributed to him, the _bonâ-fide_ author, as Mr. Hall,
the historian of Nantwich, has recently shown, being Thomas Malbon, of
Nantwich.

[39] Sergeant-major Lothian.

[40] Congleton has been noted for centuries for its confectionery and
for the excellence of its sack. Among the recent celebrations was the
hospitable reception given by the corporation to the Lord Mayor of
London, Sir Francis Graham Moon, Bart., in 1855, when the entertainment
well represented the ancient festivity. On the chairman's table lay the
gold and silver maces of the borough, and capacious china corporation
bowls full of sack, and flanked by large old two-handled silver flagons
by which the sack was gradually drawn off and circulated among the
company. On every plate was placed a "count cake," and the centres of
the tables were covered with delicate cakes and confectionery, among
which was pre-eminent the famous Congleton gingerbread and a profusion
of choice fruit. The brewage of the sack was entrusted to Joseph
Speratti, who boasts that he alone possesses the true recipe.

[41] By that fatal coincidence which arrayed friends and kinsmen
under the opposite banners in the contest, Sir William Brereton,
both at Nantwich and Chester, the greatest scenes of his exertions,
was opposed to Lord Byron, whose family was nearly allied to that
of the Parliamentary general, his brother, and ultimate heir, Sir
Richard Byron, equally distinguished as a Loyalist, having married
Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Booth, and the sister of Lady
Brereton,--_Ormerod._

[42] Ormerod (Hist. Ches. v. 2), says the minister who ejected Seddon
was "unquestionably" Richard Banner, but this is an error; the one
whose "name and character" William Seddon's son "entirely forgot"
was none other than John Murcot, the son of a Warwickshire attorney,
and well known in the literature of Nonconformity. He was ordained
by Warden Heyricke and others at Manchester, February 9th, 1647, and
preceded Henry Necome as reader to the celebrated John Ley at Astbury.
He had been there only a short time when he removed to Seddon's
vicarage house at Eastham, and before he had been there a year he
received a "call" to be minister of West Kirby, but, being dissatisfied
with the condition of his congregation and refusing an invitation to
settle at Chester, he crossed over to Dublin, became pastor of an
Independent congregation, and died there before the close of the year
1654. Richard Banner succeeded him at Eastham.

[43] Besides the Puritan brother Peter, who was an officer in the
army of the Parliament, there was a third, a Ralph Seddon, M.A., who
resided some time as probationer with the Rev. John Angier, at Denton,
in Manchester parish, in order that he might have "the benefit of his
grave example, pious instruction, and useful converse." He succeeded
Adam Martindale as pastor of the Independent Church at Gorton, whence
he removed to Langley, in Derbyshire, whence he was ejected in 1662.

[44] It is from a portrait by Vicars that our illustration is taken.

[45] The Rev. Edmund Law, who was curate of Staveley from 1693 to 1742,
and master of the school there, resided at Buck Crag, in Lindale,
about four miles distant. It has been computed that he must have
walked 2,504 miles every year, and during the time he was curate and
schoolmaster 122,696 miles, or a distance nearly equal to five times
the circumference of the globe; and this for a pittance of £20 a year.
Mr. Stockdale relates that about the year 1818 a grandson of the humble
curate visited the house at Buck Crag accompanied by his secretary
and a posse of clergymen, examined every part of the premises, and
overwhelmed the then occupant with questions; the poor man when he had
recovered from his amazement exclaiming in the vernacular "t' bishop
inquir't t' dog tail oot a-joint."

[46] From the Cymric Caer, an enclosure or camp, and _mell_ a bare hill
or fell.

[47] Before the dissolution of the priory the canons of Cartmel
maintained a guide to conduct travellers across the broad expanse of
sand left by each receding tide, paid him out of "Peter's Pence,"
and, in addition, gave him the benefit of their prayers. Since the
suppression of their house the expenses of the "carter," as he is
locally designated, have been charged upon the revenue of the Duchy of
Lancaster, but the office is now almost a sinecure.

[48] The "sworn men," which answered in some degree to a select vestry,
was an institution common in many parts of North Lancashire, though
rarely met with in other parts of the kingdom.

[49] In the churchwardens' accounts there is an item of 4s. for
"painting the umbrella." In the church books of Prestbury, in Cheshire,
there is an entry of a payment made in 1745 of £3 for an umbrella,
from which it would seem that the article was not uncommon in country
churches.

[50] Chronicles, p. 376.

[51] Froissart's Chronicles, I, p. 157.

[52] The particulars of this grant are given in a paper read before the
Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, February 20th, 1879, by
Mr. J. Paul Rylands, F.S.A., of Thelwalls, near Warrington.

[53] Piers Legh was Chief Justice of Macclesfield Hundred, but the
office of Chief Justice of Chester had not then been created.

[54] Archæologia, v. xx.

[55] Clifton, near Halton, was the property of Sir Peter Legh's mother,
and there Sir Peter seems to have resided in the earlier years of his
married life, for, in the proof of age of his son, taken in 1436, one
of the witnesses, John de Worth, testified that he "was at Clifton,
near Halton, where the said Peter (the son) was born; and when he was
baptised in the church of Runcorn he held a burning wax candle in his
hand near the font in which he was baptised."

[56] It has been computed that the number of Englishmen slain at Towton
exceeded the sum of those who fell at Vimeria, Talavera, Salamanca,
Vittoria, and Waterloo.

[57] Sir Peter Leycester affirms that Peter Legh was made a banneret
upon the field at Wakefield, but Dr. Whitaker, with much show of
reason, argues that from the hasty nature of the fight there the Duke
of York could hardly have found time to confer the honour upon the
field, and the opinion of Whitaker is strengthened by the fact that the
annuity of xxli (£20), granted to him for life by the Duke of York out
of the "issues, profitez, and revenews of the lordship of Wakefield"
was made in the name of "Perez Legh Esquier."

[58] Warrington in 1465. Chet. Soc. v. xvii.

[59] Redland Heath, on which the battle was fought, is three miles from
Bosworth.

[60] The bells were afterwards removed to Norbury and recast.

[61] Lord Herbert of Cherbury's Life of Himself, p. 16.

[62] Mr. Legh's removal to Chester is referred to in the following
Treasury order signed by William III.:--"To Robert Lord Lucas, governor
of our Tower of London, in satisfaction of so much expended and
disbursed by him in sending down the gentlemen (late prisoners in the
Tower) into Cheshire and Lancashire--to wit, Caryl Lord Visc. Molyneux,
Sir Thomas Clifton, Sir William Gerard, Sir Roland Stanley, _Peter Lea
of Lyme_, Bartholomew Walmsley, and William Dicconson, Esq.--and all
other charges and expenses of the guards and attendants".

[63] After the defeats at Preston and Sheriff Muir, which destroyed the
hopes of the Pretender, the members of this Cheshire club "unanimously
agreed to commemorate the fortunate decision," as they phrased it,
which had been come to on Peter Legh's recommendation, by having their
several portraits painted life-size. The pictures remained at Ashley
Hall, near Bowdon, until about twenty years ago, when they were removed
by the late Lord Egerton, to Tatton, where they now grace the upper
panels of the staircase. The members of the club were Thomas Assheton,
of Ashley; Sir Richard Grosvenor, of Eaton; James (Barry) Earl of
Barrymore, of Marbury; Charles Hurleston of Newton; Amos Meredith,
of Henbury; Alexander Radcliffe, of Foxdenton (Lancashire); Robert
Cholmondeley, of Holford; John Warren, of Poynton; Henry Legh, of High
Legh; and Peter Legh, of Lyme. The club was dissolved in 1720.

[64] Edward Gibbon Wakefield, the perpetrator of this notorious
outrage, died at Wellington, New Zealand, May 16, 1862. In after life
he rendered good service to his country, and engaged in enterprises
much more honourable than the one that cast such a stain upon his
earlier career. He was largely instrumental in forming the important
colonies of South Australia and New Zealand, and afterwards acted as
private secretary to the Earl of Durham while Governor-general of
Canada.

[65] Mr. John Paul Rylands, F.S.A., of Thelwall, has made a careful
examination of these windows, and with painstaking zeal, identified
almost every coat and quartering. A list of the shields, as identified
by him, is given in the second volume of Mr. Earwaker's "East
Cheshire," and some interesting particulars are supplied in Dr.
Renaud's "Ancient Parish of Prestbury."

[66] Mr. John Dickenson, a wealthy merchant, who lodged and entertained
the Pretender on the occasion of his visit to Manchester, purchased, in
1745 the Birch Hall estate, in Rusholme. His grandson, John Dickenson,
had an only daughter, Louisa Frances Mary Dickenson, who married
General Sir William Anson, Bart., K.C.B., a distinguished Peninsular
officer, and by him was mother of Sir John William Hamilton Anson, who
was killed in the railway accident at Wigan, August 2nd, 1873, and of
the Venerable and Rev. George Henry Greville Anson, rector of Birch
and Archdeacon of Manchester. It is stated that the bed on which the
Pretender lay while Mr. Dickenson's guest, was removed to Birch Villa,
where it remained until the death of Miss Dickenson, when it was sold.

[67] Dr. Deacon's tomb and strange epitaph, describing him as "the
greatest of sinners and the most unworthy of Primitive Bishops," may
still be seen in the north-east corner of St. Ann's churchyard.

[68] It is said that on the occasion referred to a soldier approached
with a drawn sword and demanded that in the prayer for the King he
should substitute James for George, when the intrepid divine, whose
loyalty was afterwards rewarded with the Wardenship of Manchester,
unhesitatingly read the prayer for King George and the House of
Brunswick.

[69] Ensign Maddock, who was admitted as evidence for the Crown.

[70] It was to Dr. Hall, whilst paying his addresses to the lady who
became his wife, that Byrom addressed the following epigram:--

"A lady's love is like a candle snuff, That's quite extinguished by
a gentle puff But, with a hearty blast or two, the dame, Just like a
candle, bursts into a flame."

[71] The name is evidently a compound of the Celtic _Mole_, a hill, and
its Saxon equivalent _Cop_, of which the modern designation is only a
corruption.

[72] "Kimber's Barons," vol. i., p. 84, Lanc. Famil. MS.

[73] In pre-Reformation times wax was extensively used in the churches,
and it was not uncommon for offerings of it to be made at the altar.
Dr. Rock, in his "Church of our Fathers," says it was not unusual for
our forefathers to make a vow when sick to offer to the Church, in case
of recovery, a wax candle of their own height or that of the diseased
limb from which they were suffering.

[74] Cornet Alexander Rigby was of the house of Layton, near Wigan,
but, though bearing the same name, was in no way connected with Colonel
Sir Alexander Rigby, who rendered such distinguished service in
Lancashire to the cause of the Parliament.

[75] The entry is thus recorded in the burial register--"1714-15,
January 26. Thos. Tinsley, of Lodge."

[76] Seacombe attributed the execution of the Earl of Derby to the
"inveterate malice" of Bradshaw, originated, he says, because of the
Earl's having refused him the Vice-chamberlainship.

[77] Some authorities give the date of her death as 1786, but the name
is not mentioned in any of the family deeds later than 1742, and there
is good reason to believe that her decease occurred in that year, or
shortly after.



INDEX.


    Abraham, Daniel, 30, 47-8
       "     Emma Clarke, 49
       "     John, 47-9
       "     Rachel, 47
       "     Thomas Fell, 49
    _Acton_, 220, 223
        "    _Church_, 220, 228
        "    _Vicarage_, 220
    _Adlington_, 78
          "     _Hall_, 229, 410
    _Aggerslack_, 253
    _Agincourt_, 314-5
    Aikin, Lucy, 136
    Ainsworth, Harrison, 397
        "      Mr., 170
    Albany, Duke of, 332
    Albemarle, Earl of, 228
    Alcock, Alice, 308
       "    John, 308
    _Alderley_, 50, 68, 286
          "      _Cross_, 53
          "      _Edge_, 50, 62, 68, 78-9, 174
          "      _Mere_, 65
          "      _Mill_, 68
          "      _Nether_, 75
          "      _Old_, 50
          "      _Over_, 74-5
          "      _Park_, 62
          "      _Rectory_, 63, 86, 89
    Aldithley, Adam de, 69
    Alençon, Duke of, 190
    Allen, Cardinal, 137
    _Allithwaite_, 253, 261
    _Amsterdam_, 202
    Ancaster, Duke of, 139
    Anderson, Patrick, 480
    Anderton, Christopher, 465
        "     Elizabeth, 465
    Andrews, John, 147
       "     Nicholas, 147
    Angier, John, 240
    _Anglezark_, 107
    Anjou, Margaret of, 319
    Anson, George Henry Greville, 406
      "    John William Hamilton, 406
      "    William, 406
    Arderne, John, 74
       "     Margaret, 75
    Argles, Edward, 125
    Arnefielde, Ralph, 360-1
    Arnold, Dr., 101
    _Arnside_, 31
    Ascue, George, 115
    Asheley, George, 311
    _Ashley Hall_, 375
    Ashton, Colonel, 466
       "    John, 308
    Ashurst, Henry, 119
    Aske, General, 267
    Askew, Anne, 10-13
      "    John, 10-12
      "    Margaret, 10-11
      "    William, 12
    _Aslington_, 222
    Asshawe, Alice, 143, 147
       "     _Hall_, 143
       "     James, 143
       "     John, 143
       "     Lawrence, 143
       "     Ralph, 107
       "     Thomas, 169
    Assheton, Colonel, 10
        "     Ralph, 361
        "     Thomas, 375
    _Astbury Church_, 70-1, 230, 434-5
    Aston, Thomas, 213-15
    Atherton, William, 315
    Audithlegh, Adam, 70
         "      Lyulph, 70
    _Audlem_, 227
    Aynesworth, Katharine, 141
         "      J., 141

    _Bache Hall_, 224
    _Backbarrow_, 251
    _Baddeley_, 212
    Baguley, Clemence, 297
       "     Isabel, 297
       "     William, 297
    Bailey, J. Eglington, 230
    Baltinglass, Viscount, 162
    Bamville, Joan, 70-2
        "     Philip, 70-1
    Banner, Richard, 240
    Bantry, Baron, 162
    Barclay, Robert, 43
    Bardsley, S. A., 420
    Barkyng, Abbess of, 193
    Barlow, Alexander, 473
    Barnes, William, 38
    _Barr Bridge_, 228
    Barret, Thomas, 428
    Barrow, Thomas, 126
    Barry, James, 477
      "    Penelope, 477, 480
    Barrymore, Earl of, 375, 477, 480
    _Barthomley_, 227
    Barton, Justice, 344
       "    Robert, 353-4
    Bathurst, Bishop, 94
    _Beam Heath_, 211
    Beamont, William, 192, 293, 324, 358, 369.
    _Beaulieu Abbey_, 258
    Beaumont, Adam, 470
       "      Elizabeth, 470
    Bechton, Richard de, 179
    Bedford, Duke of, 181-2, 315
    Beechy, William, 390
    _Beeston Castle_, 174, 226-7, 235-6, 238
        "    Hall, 235
        "    William, 355
    Belgrave, Elizabeth, 92
    Bell, Edward John, 93
     "    Isaac, 93
    Bennett, Justice, 15
       "     Martha, 377
       "     Thomas, 377
    Benson, Gervase, 24-25
    Bertie, Elizabeth, 117
       "    James, 117
       "    Richard, 136
    Bethom, Ralph, 258
    _Bewgenet_, 331
    _Bewsey Hall_, 328, 330-1
    _Biddulph_, 231-2
         "    Captain, 219
         "    Hall, 219, 230
    Bindloss, Robert, 10
    Bird, Dr., 144
    Biron, John, 152
    _Bishop Auckland_, 162
    Black Prince, Edward the, 178-9, 301, 385
    Blackburne, Mr., 92
         "      Mrs, 91-2
         "      Vicar of, 152
    _Blackley Forest_, 338
         "    _Hall_, 361
    _Blackrod_, 108
    Bland, John, 429
    _Blawith_, 253
    Blois, Earl of, 299
    _Blore-heath_, 320
    Blundell, William, 370
    Bodura, Mr., 170
    Bold, Richard, 185, 392
    Boleyn, Anne, 195-6
    Bolingbroke, Henry, 305-7
    _Bolton-le-Sands Church_, 187
    Booth, Colonel, 238, 467
      "    Elizabeth, 238
      "    George, 200, 205, 215, 220, 238, 244, 363
      "    _Lane_, 227
      "    Nathaniel, 245-6
      "    William, 185
    Bordeaux, Richard of, 307
    _Borwick Hall_, 19
    _Bosden_, 174, 178
    Bostock, Ralph, 315
    _Bosworth Field_, 319, 337
    Boteler, John, 328-30, 332
       "     Thomas, 185, 342
    Bottomley, Mr., 428
    _Boughton_, 236
    _Bowdon_, 286
    _Bowness_, 251
    _Bowstones, The_, 394
    Bowyer, Mr., 230
    Bradford, John, 149
    _Bradley, Green_, 230
         "     John, 170
         "     Thurston, 169
    Bradshaw, Dr., 109
        "     Henry, 206
        "     John, 30, 364, 473
    Bramhall, Captain, 213
        "     _Hall_, 227, 440
    _Brancepeth Castle_, 156-7
    Brandon, Charles, 136
    Breeres, Mr., 170
    Breers, Thomas, 144
    Breres, Edward, 461
    Brereton, Alice, 445
        "     Andrew, 435, 445-6
        "     Charles, 245
        "     Dorothy, 198, 462
        "     Eleanor, 145
        "     _Hall_, 230
        "     Jane, 198
        "     John, 197
        "     Katharine, 198
        "     Lady, 231, 238
        "     Lord, 116, 229-232
        "     Margaret, 197, 199
        "     Randle, 195, 198
        "     Richard, 195, 197-9, 357, 462
        "     Thomas, 244-5
        "     Urian, 172, 176, 194, 196-199, 203
        "     William, 172-246, 434-5
    Brett, Anne, 478
      "    Colonel, 478
    Bridgeman, Bishop, 144, 203, 239, 473
        "      Orlando, 473
    _Bridgenorth_. 238
    Bridgewater, Countess of, 133
         "       Earl of, 119, 133, 366
    Briggs, Thomas, 24
    Brindle, Mr., 170
    _Brindley_, 227
    _Bristol_, 39, 41
    Bromhall, Cecilia, 454
    Bromley, George, 434
    Brooke, Lord, 216
       "    Major, 10
       "    Peter, 363
    Brooks, Samuel, 309
    Broome, Mary, 429
       "    William, 429
    Broughton, Captain, 360
        "      Thomas, 142
    Brouncker, Lord, 116
    Brown, John, 360
      "    Mr., 362
      "    William, 351
    Brownlow, Richard, 169
    Bruche, Hamer, 355
       "    Roger, 355
    Brunswick, Elector of, 477
    _Brymbo Hall_, 381
    _Buck Crag_, 252-3
    Buckingham, Duke of, 183, 319
         "      Earl of, 183
    _Buerton_, 227
    _Bunbury_, 213, 235
    _Burford_, 227
    Burghall, Edward, 208, 219-20, 222
    Burghley, Lord, 355
    Burgundy, Duchess of, 337
        "     Duke of, 199
    Bury, Henry, 141
    Butler, Frances, 78
       "    George, 78
       "    John, 332
       "    Thomas, 282, 329
    Byrom, Beppy, 397
      "    Edward, 402, 428
      "    John, 123, 376, 397, 402, 404-5, 421, 427-8
      "    Mrs., 376
    Byron, 262
      "    Lord, 227, 238
      "    Richard, 238
      "    Thomas, 217

    _Calais_, 304
    Calveley, George, 362
        "     Hugh, 313, 362
        "     Lettice, 362
    Calvert, Ann, 471
       "     John, 471
    Canterbury, Archbishop of, 436
    Capel, Lord, 220-3
    Carey, Anne, 117
      "    Philip, 117
    Carington, John, 315
    _Carisbrooke Castle_, 314
    _Cark_, 252-3, 264, 276
      "    _Hall_, 276
    _Carlisle_, 25
    _Carnforth_, 253
    Carr, Ralph, 79, 81-2
    _Cartmel_, 252-9, 262, 264-5, 270-2, 277
        "     _Church_, 256-60, 262, 265, 270-2, 275
        "     _Fells_, 251
    Carus, Joshua, 273
      "    Katharine, 273
    _Castle Rock_, 62
    Castlemaine, Lady, 426
    Cavendish, General, 112
        "      George Augustus, 264
        "      William, 458
    _Chalgrove Field_, 221
    Chambers, Robert, 398
    _Chartley_, 287
    _Chatsworth_, 286
    _Cheadle_, 175
        "     _Church_, 171-2, 176, 185, 193, 197-8, 242, 244
    Chedle, Roger, 297
    _Chester_, 27, 211-2, 223, 225, 235-8, 241, 305, 320
         "    Bishop of, 121, 144-5, 151-2, 203, 239, 264
         £   _Castle_, 370
         "   _Cathedral_, 367
         "    Chief Justice of, 306
         "    Earl of, 178, 180, 197, 299, 310
         "    Mayor of, 204-6
         "    Prince of, 304
    Chetham, Edward, 48
       "     George, 32
       "     Humphrey, 48, 170
    Chicheley, Archbishop, 365
        "      Elizabeth, 365
        "      Thomas, 365, 386
    _Chillingham_, 287
    _Chirk_, 238
    _Cholmondeley_, 220-1
           "         Earl of, 480
           "         General, 480
           "         George James, 480
           "         James, 480
           "         Lord, 211
           "         Marquis of, 480
           "         Randle, 197
           "         Robert, 375
           "         Viscount, 205
    _Chorley Hall_, 77, 181
    _Chorlton Hall_, 203
    Clarendon, 243
    Clarke, Alice, 455
       "    George, 455
    Clayton, John, 403, 406
    Cleveland, Duke of, 426
    Clifford, Lord, 321-2
        "     Thomas, 116
    Clifton, Catherine, 465
       "     Thomas, 370, 374
    Clinton, Edward, 111
       "     Margaret, 111
       "     Miss, 85
    _Cloud End_, 432
    Coke, Justice, 166
    Colydon, Mrs., 477, 479
    Commines, Philip de, 199
    _Congleton_, 331
         "      _Edge_, 230
    _Coniston_, 254
    Constance, Ivo de, 433
    _Conway_, 305-6
    Cooper, Joseph, 246
      "     William, 428
    Cope, John, 405
    Coppock, Thomas, 397, 403, 407, 409, 411-2
    _Coppul_, 122
    Corbet, Captain, 215
      "     Vincent, 213, 219
    Corona, Ellen, 299, 300
      "     Thomas, 299, 300
    Coupelond, Dawe, 70-1,
    Coventry, Ann, 389
        "     Lord Keeper, 389
        "     Mr., 123
    Cowdall, Richard, 264
    Cowper, Thomas, 205
    Craigie, John, 434
    Cressiac, George, 138
    _Crewe_, 227
       "    _Hall_, 227, 229
    Croft, James, 325
      "    Mabel, 325
    Crompton, Thomas, 109
    Cromwell, Oliver, 26, 28-9, 112-4, 116, 200, 233, 455
    Cromwell, Richard, 46, 364
    Crook, Mr., 170
    _Croydon_, 242, 244
    Cumberland, Duchess of, 163
         "      Duke of, 411-2
    Cunliffe, Edward T., 246
        "     James, 246
    Cunningham, Mr., 44

    DALE, Richard, 443-4
    _Dalton_, 270
        "    Dr., 425
    Darby, Agnes, 326
    Davenport, Henry, 122, 133
        "      Hester, 122
        "      William
    D'Anyers, John, 296
        "     Margaret, 297, 300, 302, 308, 317
        "     Matilda, 297
        "