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Title: Nooks and Corners 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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                           NOOKS AND CORNERS

                                  OF

                       LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE.



Of this work 600 copies have been printed, the whole of which were
subscribed for before publication.



                      NOOKS AND CORNERS

                                  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,”
                              etc., etc.

                             JOHN HEYWOOD,
               DEANSGATE AND RIDGEFIELD, MANCHESTER;
                  AND 11, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS,
                                LONDON.
                                 1882.



                JOHN HEYWOOD, PRINTER, HULME HALL ROAD,
                              MANCHESTER.



[Illustration]



PREFACE.


This volume is not put forth as professedly a history of the places
described, the Author’s aim having been rather to seize upon and
group from such accredited sources of information as were available,
the leading facts and incidents relating to special localities, and
to present the scenes of human life and action in a readable and
attractive form by divesting, in some degree, the tame and uninviting
facts of archæology of their deadly dulness; to bring into prominent
relief the remarkable occurrences and romantic incidents of former
days, and, by combining with the graver and more substantial matters
of history an animated description of the physical features and scenic
attractions of the localities in which those incidents occurred, to
render them more interesting to the general reader.

A popular writer—the Authoress of “Our Village”—has said that she
cared less for any reputation she might have gained as a writer of
romance, than she did for the credit to be derived from the less
ambitious but more useful office of faithfully uniting and preserving
those fragments of tradition, experience, and biography, which give to
history its living interest. In the same spirit the following pages
have been written. There are within the Palatine Counties of Lancaster
and Chester many objects and places, many halls and manor-houses that
possess an abiding interest from the position they occupy in “our
rough island story,” and from their being associated, if not with
events of the highest historic import, yet at least with many of
those subordinate scenes and occurrences—those romantic incidents
and half-forgotten facts that illustrate the inner life and character
of bygone generations. These lingering memorials of a period the
most chivalrous and the most romantic in our country’s annals may
occasionally have received the notice of the precise topographer and
the matter-of-fact antiquary, but, though possessing in themselves
much that is picturesque and attractive, they have rarely been placed
before the reader in any other guise than that in which the soberest
narrative could invest them. In them the romance of centuries seems to
be epitomised, and to the “seeing eye” they are the types and emblems
of the changing life of our great nation; legend and tradition gather
round, and weird stories and scraps of family history are associated
with them that bring vividly before the mind’s eye the domestic life
and manners of those who have gone before, and show in how large a
degree the Past may be made a guide for the Present and the Future.

It only remains for the Author to acknowledge his obligations to those
friends who, by information communicated, and in other ways, have aided
him in his design. His thanks are due to JOHN EGLINGTON BAILEY, Esq.,
F.S.A., of Stretford; JOHN OLDFIELD CHADWICK, Esq., F.S.S., F.G.S., of
London; Dr. SAMUEL CROMPTON, of Cranleigh, Surrey; Lieutenant-Colonel
FISHWICK, F.S.A., of Rochdale; and THOMAS HELSBY, Esq., of the Inner
Temple. He is also indebted to the kindness of GILBERT J. FRENCH, Esq.,
of Bolton, for the loan of the several engravings which add interest to
the story of Samuel Crompton.

      UPTON HALL, PRESTBURY, CHESHIRE,
               DECEMBER, 1881.



[Illustration]



CONTENTS.


                        CHAPTER I.                                PAGE
  A Railway Ramble—The Roman City on the Ribble—A
  Day Dream at Ribchester                                            1

                        CHAPTER II.
  Marple Hall—The Bradshaws—Colonel Henry Bradshaw—The
  Story of the Regicide                                             21

                        CHAPTER III.
  Over Sands by the Cartmel Shore—Wraysholme Tower—The
  Legend of the Last Wolf                                           76

                        CHAPTER IV.
  An Afternoon at Gawsworth—The Fighting Fittons—The
  Cheshire Will Case and its Tragic Sequel—Henry
  Newcome—“Lord Flame”                                             102

                        CHAPTER V.
  The College and the “Wizard Warden” of Manchester                157

                        CHAPTER VI.
  Beeston Castle                                                   213

                        CHAPTER VII.
  Whalley and its Abbey—Mitton Church and its Monuments—The
  Sherburnes—The Jesuits’ College, Stonyhurst                      242

                        CHAPTER VIII.
  Adlington and its Earlier Lords—The Leghs—The Legend of
  the Spanish Lady’s Love—The Hall                                 283

                        CHAPTER IX.
  The Byroms—Kersall Cell—John Byrom—The Laureate of
  the Jacobites—The Fatal ’45                                      361

                        CHAPTER X.
  Hall-i’-th’-Wood—The Story of Samuel Crompton, the Inventor
  of the Spinning Mule                                             408

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                 PAGE

  PROSPECT TOWER, TURTON                            3

  RIBCHESTER BRIDGE                                 7

  MARPLE HALL                                      20

  AUTOGRAPH AND SEAL OF COLONEL BRADSHAW           34

  PRESIDENT BRADSHAW                               47

  AUTOGRAPH OF JOHN BRADSHAW                       49

  GEORGE FOX’S CHAPEL, SWARTHMOOR                  77

  GRANGE-OVER-SANDS                                79

  WRAYSHOLME TOWER                                 89

  HERALDIC GLASS AT WRAYSHOLME                     91

  GAWSWORTH OLD HALL                              105

  GAWSWORTH CROSS                                 109

  THE REV. HENRY NEWCOME                          143

  “LORD FLAME’S” TOMB, GAWSWORTH                  153

  JOHN DEE, THE “WIZARD WARDEN”                   156

  THE MANCHESTER COLLEGE                          196

  MORTLAKE CHURCH                                 207

  BEESTON CASTLE                                  212

  THE PHŒNIX TOWER, CHESTER                       240

  ABBOT PASLEW’S GRAVE STONE, WHALLEY CHURCH      246

  ANCIENT CROSS, MITTON CHURCHYARD                263

  THE HODDER BRIDGE                               265

  STONYHURST                                      269

  ADLINGTON HALL                                  282

  AUTOGRAPH OF SIR URIAN LEGH                     326

  SIR ALEXANDER RIGBY                             333

  AUTOGRAPH OF THOMAS LEGH                        338

  KERSALL CELL                                    360

  JOHN BYROM’S HOUSE, MANCHESTER                  381

  HALL-I’-TH’-WOOD                                409

  HALL-I’-TH’-WOOD: SOUTH FRONT                   412

  STAIRCASE, HALL-I’-TH’-WOOD                     415

  HERALDIC SHIELD, HALL-I’-TH’-WOOD               417

  OLDHAMS                                         429

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



SUBSCRIBERS.


ADSHEAD, G. H., Esq., Fern Villas, Bolton Road, Pendleton, nr. M’chester.
ANDREW, FRANK, Esq., Ashton-under-Lyne.
ARDERN, L., Jun., Esq., Hazel Grove, Cheshire.
ARMITAGE, ELKANAH, Esq., The Rookery, Pendleton, Manchester.
ARMSTRONG, THOMAS, Esq., F.R.M.S., Highfield Bank, Urmston.
ARNOLD, HENRY, Esq., Blackley, near Manchester.
ASHTON, J. T., Esq., Wellington Road South, Stockport.
ASHWORTH, CHARLES E., Esq., Fairfield, Manchester.
ASHWORTH, GEORGE, Esq., 3. Charlotte Street, Manchester.
ASCROFT, W. T., Esq., 3, Stamford Street, Altrincham.
ASPLAND, L. M., Esq., 47, Linden Gardens, South Kensington, London, S. W.
ASQUITH, D., Esq., Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Offices, Manchester.
ATKINSON, GEORGE, Esq., Stockport.
ATHERTON, W. H., Esq., Southbank Road, Southport.
ATHENÆUM, The, Manchester.
ATTOCK, F., Esq., Somerset House, Newton Heath.

BAILEY, J. EGLINTON, F.S.A., Egerton Villa, Stretford.
BARLOW, J. R., Esq., Edgeworth, near Bolton.
BARNES, ALFRED, Esq., Farnworth.
BARNES, THOMAS, Esq., Farnworth.
BARTON, RICHARD, Esq., West Leigh Lodge, West Leigh, Lancashire.
BAYLEY, WILLIAM, Esq., Craybrow, Lymm, Warrington.
BAZLEY, Sir THOS., Bart., Eyford Park, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire.
BEAMAN, Mrs., Haydock Lodge, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire.
BEALES, ROBERT, Esq., M.D., J.P. (Mayor), Congleton.
BELLIS, THOMAS, Esq., Northenden, near Manchester.
BERRY, JAMES, Esq., Jun., Palatine Square, Burnley.
BESWICK, JOHN, Esq., Victoria Hotel, Strangeways, Manchester (2 copies).
BIBBY, W. H., Esq., Levenshulme.
BIRCH, HERBERT, Esq., The Vicarage, Blackburn.
BIRLEY, HUGH, Esq., M.P., Moorland, Withington.
BIRLEY, J. SHEPHERD, Esq., Moss Lee, Bolton-le-Moors.
BLEASDELL, The Rev. J., Henry Square, Ashton-under-Lyne.
BODDINGTON, HENRY, Jun., Esq., Strangeways Brewery, Manchester.
BOLGER, Miss SARAH, Atherton, Bournemouth, Hants.
BOLTON, JOHN, Esq., Southfield, Blackburn.
BONE, JOHN W., Esq., F.S.A., 26, Bedford Place, Russell Square, London.
BOOTH, AARON, Jun., Esq., 4, South Street, Albert Square, Manchester.
BOOTH, JAMES, Esq., 52, Todmorden Road, Burnley.
BOOTE, DANIEL, Esq., Oakfield, Ashton-on-Mersey.
BOURNE, Sir JAMES, Heathfield, Liverpool.
BOWDLER, WILLIAM HENRY, Esq., J.P., Kirkham, Lancashire.
BOWES, Dr. JOHN, The Blue Coat School, Warrington.
BOWKER, S. J., Esq., 42, Great Ancoats Street, Manchester.
BOULTON, ISAAC WATT, Esq., J.P., Stamford House, Ashton-under-Lyne
  (2 copies).
BRADSHAW, CHRISTOPHER, Esq., Kenwood, Ellesmere Park, Eccles.
BRADSHAWE, GEORGE PARIS, Esq., 30, Gloucester Street, Warwick Square,
  London.
BRADSHAWE-ISHERWOOD, Mrs., Marple Hall, Stockport.
BRADSHAW, S., Esq., 241, Broad Street, Pendleton.
BRADWELL, DENNIS, Esq., J.P., Higher Daisy Bank, Congleton.
BRAMWELL, ROBERT, Esq., 5, Green Street, Ardwick Green.
BRAGG, HARRY, Esq., The Mount, Blackburn.
BRANSBY, WILLIAM, Esq., 46, Deansgate, Manchester.
BROWN, Rev. Canon, M.A., Staley Vicarage, Stalybridge.
BROWNHILL, JOHN, Esq., Alderley, Cheshire.
BRIDGEMAN, Rev. The Honble. G. T. O., Wigan Hall, Wigan.
BROADBENT, GEO. HARRY, Esq., L.K.Q.C.P.I. and L.M., Ashton-under-Lyne.
BROADBENT, EDWIN, Esq., Reddish, near Stockport.
BROCKBANK, W., Esq., Pall Mall, Manchester.
BUCKLEY, Mr., Strangeways Brewery.
BUDD, Mrs. M., Cedar Villa, Wilbraham Road, Fallowfield, Manchester.
BULTEEL, S. W., Esq., Victoria Park, Manchester.
BURGESS, SAMUEL, Esq., Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Offices,
  Manchester.
BURTON, ALFRED, Esq., 37, Cross Street, Manchester.
BURGHOPE, WILLIAM, Esq., Albert Villa, near Malvern.
BURTON, JOSEPH, Esq., Lyme View, Bramhall, Cheshire.
BURTON, J. H., Esq., F.R.H.S., 5, Trafalgar Square, Ashton-under-Lyne.
BURTON, Mrs. LINGEN, Abbey House, Shrewsbury.
BUSTARD, J., Esq., Summer Lane, Barnsley.

CALDERBANK, Captain, Stockport.
CAMERON, JOHN D., Esq., The Grove, Sale, Cheshire.
CARRINGTON, H. H., SMITH, Esq., Whaley Bridge, near Stockport
CARVER, Mrs. J., Sunnyside, Whalley Range, Manchester.
CARR, JOHN, Esq., 2, McDonald’s Lane, Manchester.
CASSON, E., Esq., Raper Lodge. Bramhall Park, Cheshire.
CHADWICK, T., Esq., The Grove, Urmston, near Manchester.
CHETHAM’S LIBRARY, Manchester.
CHORLTON, THOMAS, Esq., 32, Brasenose Street, Manchester.
CHORLTON, WILLIAM, Esq., Fairfield, near Manchester.
CHORLTON, THOMAS, Esq., 32, Brazenose Street, Manchester.
CHRISTY, RICHARD, Esq., Poynton Towers, Cheshire.
CLARE, CHARLES LEIGH, Esq., Park Lane, Higher Broughton, Manchester.
COATES, The Misses, Sunnyside, Crawshawbooth, Lancashire.
COLLINS, JAMES, Esq., Ada Villa, Old Trafford, Manchester.
COOMBES, The Rev. G. F., B.A., Portwood, Stockport.
COOPER, EDWARD, Esq., 10, Downing Street, Manchester.
COOPER, THOMAS, Esq., Mossley House, Congleton.
COULTATE, WILLIAM MILLER, Esq., F.R.C.S., J.P., 1, Yorke Street, Burnley.
COWIE, Very Rev. B. MORGAN, D.D., Dean of Manchester, The Deanery,
  Manchester.
CRAIG, ANDREW L., Esq., 148, Cheapside, London.
CRAVEN, JAMES, Esq., Woodland House, Whalley Range, Manchester.
CREEKE, Major A. B., Monkholm, near Burnley.
CRONKESHAW, JOHN, Esq., White Bull Hotel, Blackburn.
CROSS, JOHN, Esq., Cambridge Villa, Heaton Norris.
CROSS, The Right Hon. Sir R. A., M.P., Eccle Riggs, Broughton-in-Furness.
CROMPTON, SAMUEL, Esq., M.D., Cranleigh, Surrey.
CUNLIFF, JOHN, Esq., Lomber Hey, near Stockport.
CURZON, N. C., Esq., Lockington Hall, Derby.
CUFF, JAMES HENRY, Esq., Millington, near Altrincham.
CUNLIFFE, EDWARD THOMAS, Esq., Handforth.

DALE, THOMAS, Esq., J.P., Bank House, Park Road, Southport.
DAVENPORT, E. H., Esq., Davenport, Bridgnorth, Shropshire.
DAY, Mr. T. J., Heaton Moor, Stockport.
DEVONSHIRE, His Grace the Duke of, Chatsworth, Chesterfield.
DILLON, Rev. GODFREY, Radcliffe (2 copies).
DOBSON, MATTHEW, Esq., Cheadle.
DORRINGTON, JAMES T., Esq., Bonishall, near Macclesfield.
DOWNING, WILLIAM, Esq., Springfield Olton, Acock Green, Birmingham.
DYER, A. C., Esq., National Provincial Bank of England, Manchester.

EARWAKER, J. P., Esq., M.A., F.S.A., Pensarn, Abergele.
EASTWOOD, J. A., Esq., 49, Princess Street, Manchester.
EATON, C., Esq., 3, St. Edward Street, Leek.
ECKERSLEY, C., Esq., Tyldesley, Lancashire.
EDGAR, ROBERT A., Esq., Seymour Lodge, Heaton Chapel.
EDGE, J. BROUGHTON, Esq., Broad Oak Park, Worsley.
EILBECK, H., Esq., Ashton-upon-Mersey, Cheshire.
ELLISON, JOHN, Esq., Stockport Road, Ashton-under-Lyne.
ELWEN, GEORGE, Esq., 11, Knott Street, Higher Broughton, Manchester.
ENION, J. C., Esq., Piccadilly, Manchester.
EQUITABLE CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY, Greenacres Hill, Oldham.
EVANS, Miss LYDIA, The Heys, near St. Helens, Lancashire.
EVANS, JOHN, Esq., 1, Mitton Street, Greenheys.
EYRE, The Rev. W. H., Stonyhurst College, near Blackburn (_5 copies_).

FAIRBROTHER, HENRY, Esq., 106, Albert Square, Manchester.
FEATHER, The Rev. GEORGE, The Vicarage, Glazebury, Leigh, Lancashire.
FIELDEN, JOHN, Esq., Dobroyd Castle, Todmorden (_2 copies_).
FLETCHER, J. SHEPHERD, Esq., M.D., 75, Lever Street, Manchester.
FLETCHER, THOMAS, Esq., Lever House, near Bolton-le-Moors.
FOLLY, THOMAS, Esq., Warrington.
FOYSTER, J. ASHER, Esq., 5, Norfolk Street, Manchester.
FRANKLAND, GEO., Esq., _Express_ Office, Burnley.
FRESTON, T. W., Esq., 8, Watling Street, Manchester.
FRY, JOSEPH, Esq., Manchester.

GAMBLE, Colonel, Windlehurst, St. Helens.
GARTSIDE, R. A., Esq., Dacres, Greenfield, near Manchester.
GASKELL, A. E., Esq., 255, Moss Lane, East, Manchester.
GASKELL, JOSIAH, Esq., Burgrave Lodge, Ashton-in-Makerfield.
GEE, CHARLES, Esq., Gorton, Manchester.
GERARD, Major, Aspull House, Wigan.
GIBBONS, BENJAMIN, Esq., London Road, Manchester.
GILL, RICHARD, Esq., 7, Pall Mall, Manchester.
GILBODY, A. H., Esq., Edge Lane, Chorlton-on-Medlock.
GOODMAN, DAVENPORT, Esq., Eccles House, Chapel-en-le-Frith.
GRAHAM, JOSEPH, Esq., Carlton Road, Burnley.
GRAHAM, Rev. PHILIP, Turncroft, Darwen.
GRANTHAM, JOHN, Esq., 2, Rothsay Place, Old Trafford, Manchester.
GRAY, ROBERT, Esq., Greenfield House, Hyde.
GRADWELL, SAMUEL, Esq., Holmes Chapel, Cheshire.
GRATRIX, SAMUEL, Esq., J.P., West Point, Whalley Range, Manchester.
GREAVES, GEORGE, Esq., Hayfield.
GREENALL, Sir GILBERT, Bart., Walton Hall, Warrington.
GREENALL, Colonel, Lingholme, Keswick.
GREENALL, Major, The Old Rectory, Grappenhall.
GREENE, Mrs. TURNER, Southworth House, Wigan.
GREENHALGH, JOSEPH DODSON, Esq., Gladstone Cottage, Bolton.
GREENWAY, C., Esq., J.P., Darwen Bank, Darwen.
GREENWOOD, CHARLES, Esq., 26, Aked’s Road, Halifax.
GROVES, G. H., Esq., Kent Villa, Urmston, near Manchester.
GRUNDY, ALFRED, Esq., Whitefield, near Manchester.
GUEST, W. H., Esq., 78, Cross Street, Manchester.

HADFIELD, GEORGE, Esq., 110, King Street, Manchester.
HAGUE, JOHN SCHOLES, Esq., White Hall, Chinley, Derbyshire.
HALL, JOSHUA, Esq., Kingston House, Hyde.
HALL, JOHN, Esq., The Grange, Hale, Cheshire.
HALL, ROBERT, Esq., Anes House, Hyde.
HALSTEAD, LOUIS, Esq., Redwaterfoot, Corneholme.
HAMPSON, WILLIAM, Esq., Rose Hill, Marple, Cheshire.
HAMPSON, J. R., Esq., Old Trafford.
HAMPSON, J. T., Esq., Solicitor, Ashton-under-Lyne.
HARLOW, Miss, Heaton Norris, Stockport
HARTLEY, WILLIAM, Esq., Greek Street, Stockport.
HARTLEY, Mrs., Brierfield House, near Burnley.
HARTLEY, JOB W., Esq., Westgate, Burnley.
HARDWICK, C., Esq., 72, Talbot Street, Moss Side, Manchester.
HARWOOD, Alderman JOHN J., Northumberland Street, Higher Broughton.
HAWORTH, The Rev. J. G., Tunsteads Vicarage, Stacksteads.
HAWORTH, S. E., Esq., Holyrood, restwich.
HAWORTH, RICHARD, Esq., J.P., 28, High Street, Manchester.
HEGINBOTTOM, THOMAS, Esq., J.P., (Mayor), Stamford House,
  Ashton-under-Lyne.
HELSBY, THOMAS, Esq., Lincoln’s Inn, London.
HIBBERT, HENRY, Esq., Broughton Grove, Grange-over-Sands.
HICKS, JOHN, Esq., Mytton Hall, Whalley, Lancashire.
HIGGINS, ARTHUR, Esq., King Street, Salford.
HIGGINS, JAMES, Esq., Woodhey, Kersal, Manchester.
HIGSON, THOMAS, Esq., Red Cliffe, Alderley Edge, Cheshire.
HILL, T. D., Esq., Fairfield.
HINDLEY, THOMAS, Esq., Stockport.
HIRST, JOHN, Esq., Ladcastle, Dobcross.
HODGSON, T., Esq., Cravenholme, Didsbury.
HOOLEY, SAMUEL J., Esq., Manchester and Liverpool District Bank Limited,
  Tunstall.
HOWE, JAMES, Esq., Bellfield House, Ashton-under-Lyne, near Manchester.
HODGKINSON, JAMES B., Esq., Green Bank, Sale, Cheshire.
HODGKINSON, S., Esq., Marple, Cheshire.
HOLDEN, THOMAS, Esq., Bolton.
HOLMES, JAMES, Esq., Egerton Road, Fallowfield, Manchester.
HORNBY, JAMES, Esq., Wigan.
HYDE, WALTER, Esq., Cromwell House, Heaton Chapel.

INGHAM, B., Esq., York Chambers, Brasenose Street, Manchester.

JACKSON, ALFRED, Esq., Burnley Lane, Burnley.
JACKSON, B., Esq., Heathfield, Ashton-upon-Mersey.
JACKSON, HARTLEY, Esq., Pickup Terrace, Burnley.
JACKSON, H. J., Esq., Ashton-under-Lyne (_2 copies_).
JOHNSON, J. A., Esq., 73, Albert Road, Southport.
JOHNSON, J. H., Esq., F.S.A., 73, Albert Road, Southport.
JONES, JOHN JOSEPH, Esq., Abberley Hall, Stourport.

KAY, JACOB, Esq., 5, Booth Street, Manchester.
KEENE, R. Esq., Irongate, Derby.
KETTLE, A. J., Esq., Addiscombe, Prestwich Park, near Manchester.
KETTLE, W. C., Esq., Addiscombe, Prestwich Park.
KENDERDINE, FREDERICK, Esq., Morningside, Old Trafford.
KNOTT, JAMES, Esq., 55, Higher Ardwick, Manchester.
KNOTT, JOHN, Esq., Dartmouth House, Hurst, Cheshire.

LANCASTER, ALF, Esq., Manchester Road, Burnley.
LAWTON, JAMES KINDER, Esq., Hazel Grove, near Stockport.
LEEDHAM, F. H., Esq., Burnage Lane, near Manchester.
LEECE, JOSEPH, Esq., Mansfield Villa, Urmston, near Manchester..
LEES, EDWARD B., Esq., Kelbarrow, Grasmere.
LEIGH, JAMES, Esq., 66, Deansgate, Manchester.
LEVER, ELLIS, Esq., Culcheth Hall, Bowdon.
LEES, SAMUEL, Esq., Park Bridge, Ashton-under-Lyne.
LEIGH, JOHN, Esq., The Manor House, Hale, Cheshire.
LEIGH, CHARLES, Esq., Bank Terrace, Wigan.
LEYLAND, JOHN, Esq., The Grange, Hindley, near Wigan.
LIBRARIES, FREE PUBLIC, Manchester.
LIBRARY, FREE PUBLIC, Town Hall, Rochdale.
LIBRARY, FREE, Peel Park, Salford.
LIBRARY, FREE, The Stockport.
LIBRARY, FREE, The Wigan.
LIBRARY, FREE, The Heywood, near Manchester.
LIBRARY, FREE, The Bolton-le-Moors.
LINFOOT, JOSEPH, Esq., Cannon Street, Manchester.
LINGARD-MONK, RICHARD, B. M., Esq., Fulshaw Hall, Wilmslow.
LLOYD, THOMAS, Esq., Brooklands House, Brooklands, Cheshire.
LONG, JOHN F., Esq., 135, Great Ancoats Street, Manchester.
LONGDEN. A. W., Esq., Marple, Cheshire.
LONGWORTH, SOLOMON, Esq., Whalley, Lancashire.
LONGSHAW, Mrs., Beech Priory, Southport.
LONGTON, EDWARD JOHN, Esq., M.D., The Priory, Southport.
LORD, HENRY, Esq., 42, John Dalton Street, Manchester.
LUPTON, ARTHUR, Esq., 136, Manchester Road, Burnley.
LUPTON, BENJAMIN, Esq., Cumberland Place, Burnley.
LUPTON, JOSEPH TOWNEND, Esq., 28, Manchester Road, Burnley.
LOWE, J. W., Esq., St James’s Square, Manchester.

MARSDEN, Rev. Canon, Great Oakley, Harwich, Essex.
MARSDEN, The Rev. W., Fullarton House, Upper Brook Street, M’chester.
MARSHALL, E. W., Esq., 38, Barton Arcade, Manchester.
MARSON, GERVASE, Esq., Thorncliffe House, Higher Broughton, Manchester.
MARSON, JAMES, Esq., High Cliffe, Warrington.
MASSEY, JOHN, Esq., J.P., Hawk’s House, near Burnley (_2 copies_).
MAYOR’S LIBRARY, The, Manchester, per Alderman Patteson.
McQUHAE, WILLIAM, Esq., 5, Stamford Street, Brooks’s Bar, Manchester.
McKENNA, BERNARD, Esq., Lea Grange, White Moss, Blackley, nr. M’chester.
McKERROW, Alderman JOHN B., J.P., Norcliffe, Broughton Park.
METCALF, WILLIAM, Esq., 2, Vernon Avenue, Eccles.
MIDDLETON, THOMAS, Esq., Springfield, Adlington, Lancashire.
MIDWOOD, G. H., 55, Faulkner Street, Manchester.
MILLS, WILLIAM, Esq., 12, New Brown Street, Manchester.
MILNER, GEORGE, Esq., 57a, Mosley Street, Manchester.
MITCHELL, WILLIAM, Esq., Brook Villa, Golbourne.
MOORE, D., Esq., Woodville, Bramhall, Cheshire.
MOORHOUSE, CHRISTOPHER, Esq., 4, St Paul’s Road, Kersal, Manchester.
MORTON, WILLIAM, Esq., 12, Brown Street, Manchester.
MOTHERSILL, EDWARD, Esq., Dane House, Sale, Cheshire.
MOULTON, GEORGE, Esq., Hall’s Crescent, Collyhurst.
MUIRHEAD, THOMAS S., Esq., Ash Lodge, Halliwell Lane, Cheetham.
MURRAY, Alderman (the late), Apsley House, Hyde Road, Manchester.
MYERS, HENRY, Esq., 140, Newcastle Street, Stretford Road, Manchester.

NAPIER, GEORGE W., Esq., Merchistoun, Alderley Edge.
NEAL, WILLIAM, Esq., Ashton-under-Lyne.
NEWTON, WALTER, Esq., 69, Bridge Street, Manchester.
NEW, PHILIP N., Esq., 15, Baillie Street, Rochdale.
NORREYS, Miss, Davyhulme Hall, Lancashire.
NORTHCOTT, JAMES B., Esq., King Street, Manchester.

OWEN, WILLIAM, Esq., Palmyra Square, Warrington.

PARK, Rev. R., M.A., 3, The Crescent, Salford.
PARKER, EDWARD, Esq., Browsholme Hall, Yorkshire.
PATTESON, Alderman, J.P., Victoria Park, Manchester.
PEACOCK, RICHARD, Esq., Gorton Hall, near Manchester.
PERKINS, STANHOPE, Esq., 6, Healey Terrace, Fairfield, near Manchester.
PHILLIPS, JOHN WILLIAM, Esq., Brown Hill, Burnley.
PHILLIPS, Miss, Welcombe, Stratford-on-Avon.
PICCLES, THOMAS L., Esq., Rock Cottage, New Mills, Derbyshire.
PILKINGTON, JAMES, Esq., Swinithwaite Hall, Bedale, Yorkshire.
PINK, WM. DUNCOMBE, Esq., Leigh.
POOLEY, C. J., Esq., Knutsford.
POLLITT, JAMES, Esq., Guide House, Ashton-under-Lyne.
POOLEY, W. ORMSBY, Esq., J.P., Knutsford.
PORTICO LIBRARY, The, Mosley Street, Manchester.
POTTER, RUPERT, Esq., 2, Bolton Gardens, South Kensington, London, S.W.
POTTS, ARTHUR, Esq., Hoole Hall, Chester.
PRESTON, THOMAS, Esq., 92, Manchester Road, Burnley.

RABY, WILLIAM, Esq., 78, Cross Street, Manchester.
RALPHS, SAMUEL, Esq., 56, Sandy Lane, Stockport.
RAMSBOTTOM, G. H., Esq., Altham Hall, near Accrington.
RAMSBOTHAM, JOHN, Esq., 22, Arbour Street, Southport (2 copies).
RAWSTHORNE, H., Esq., East Street, Preston.
REDHEAD, R. MILNE, Esq., Springfield, Seedley, Manchester (2 copies).
RICHMOND, T. G., Esq., Ford House, Prestbury.
RICHMOND, FRED, Esq., 163, Radnor Street, Hulme, Manchester.
RICHMOND, JAMES, Esq., Mosely House, Burnley.
RICKARDS, CHARLES H., Esq., J.P., Seymour Grove. Old Trafford, Manchester.
RIGBY, S., Esq.
ROBINSON, WILLIAM, Esq., The Hollies, Talbot Road, Old Trafford.
ROBSON, THOMAS W., Esq., 18, Aytoun Street, Manchester.
ROOKE, GEORGE, Esq., Moorside, Sale.
ROUNDELL, C. J., Esq., M.P., Osborne, Fernhurst, Hazlemere.
ROYLE, JOHN, Esq., 53, Port Street, Manchester.
ROYLANCE, E. W., Esq., Brookfield, Bury Old Rd., Cheetham Hill, M’chester.
RUMNEY, THOMAS, Esq., Hallcroft Cottage, Carnforth.
RUSHTON, THOMAS LEVER, Esq., Moor Platt, Horwich, near Bolton.
RYDER, T. D., Esq., St James’s Square, Manchester.
RYLANDS, J. PAUL, Esq., F.S.A., Highfields, Thelwall.
RYLANDS, W. HARRY, Esq., F.S.A., Biblical Archæological Society,
 11, Hart Street, Bloomsbury, London.

SCHUNCK, J. EDGAR, Esq., Wicken Hall, near Rochdale.
SEVERS, FRED, Esq., 1, Dalton Terrace, Clayton St., Chorlton Rd.,
  M’chester.
SCOTT, JOHN OLDRED, Esq., 31, Spring Gardens, London, S.W.
SCHOFIELD, THOMAS, Esq., J.P, Thornfield, Old Trafford.
SHAW, GILES, Esq., 72, Manchester Road, Oldham.
SHIERS, GEORGE ALFRED, Esq., Tyntesfield, Ashton-upon-Mersey.
SHIERS, RICHARD, Jun., Esq., Earlscliffe, Bowdon, Cheshire.
SIDEBOTHAM, JOSEPH, Esq., F.R.A.S., F.L.S., F.S.A., Erlesden, Bowdon,
  Cheshire.
SITWELL, R., Esq., Morley, Derby.
SLARK, J. and A., Esqrs., 41, Fishergate, Preston.
SMEAL, A., Esq., Ravensla, Whalley Road, Whalley Range, Manchester.
SMITH, ASTON W., Esq., The Old Hall, Bootle.
SMITH, BRYCE, Esq., 16, Nicholas Street, Manchester.
SMITH, GEORGE J. W., Esq., Savings Bank, Stockport.
SMITH, JAMES, Esq., Highfield, Edge Lane, Chorlton-cum-Hardy.
SMITH, Rev. J. FINCH, M.A., F.S.A., Aldridge Rectory, Walsall.
SMITH, J., Jun., Esq., Legh Street, Warrington.
SMITH, ROBERT McDOWELL, Esq., Crumpsall, near Manchester.
SMITH, WILLIAM, Esq., Adswood Grove, Stockport.
SMITH, J. J., Esq., King Street, Manchester.
SOWLER, Lieut.-Colonel, Oak Bank, Victoria Park, Manchester.
STANLEY, C. J., Esq., Halscote, Grange-over-Sands.
STANTON, HENRY, Esq., Greenfield, Thelwall.
STEVENS, JAMES, Esq., F.R.I.B.A., Lime Tree House, Macclesfield.
STEINTHAL, H. M., Esq., The Hollies, Fallowfield, near Manchester.
STUBS, PETER, Esq., Statham Lodge, Warrington.
STANYER, The Rev. W., 41. Corporation Street, Manchester.
STARKEY, Miss, Northwich, Cheshire.
STEVENS, EDWARD, Esq., Alderley Edge, Cheshire.
STRANGEWAY, WILLIAM N., Esq., 59, Westmoreland Rd., Newcastle-on-Tyne.
STANNING, Rev. J. H., The Vicarage, Leigh.
SUTCLIFFE, FRED, Esq., Ash Street, Bacup.
SYDDALL, JAMES, Esq., Chadkirk, Romily, Cheshire.

TAYLOR, THOMAS, Esq., 33, St. James Street, Burnley.
THOMPSON, Alderman JOS., J.P., Riversdale, Wilmslow.
THORLEY, WILLIAM, Esq., Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Offices,
  Manchester.
TOLLEY, THOMAS, Esq., Warrington.
TOPP, ALFRED, Esq., J.P., Farnworth.
TOULMIN, GEORGE, Esq, _Guardian_ Office, Preston.
TURNER, W., Esq., Rusholme.
TURNER, JOHN, Esq., Woodville, Lytham.
TWEEDALE, CHARLES LAKEMAN, Esq., Holmefield House, Crawshawbooth.

UNDERDOWN, R. G., Esq., M. S. & L. Railway Company, Manchester.

WADDINGTON, WILLIAM, Esq., Market Superintendent, Burnley.
WADDINGTON, WM. ANGELO, Esq., 5, Carlton Road, Burnley.
WALKDEN,—Esq., 16, Nicholas Street, Manchester.
WALKER, THOMAS, Esq., Oldfield, Cheshire.
WALMESLEY, OSWALD, Esq., Shevington Hall, near Wigan.
WALSH, Dr. JOHN, Stonyhurst, near Whalley, Lancashire.
WALTERS, CHARLES, Esq., Clegg Street, Oldham.
WARRINGTON, the Museum and Library.
WATTERSON, WM. CRAVEN, Esq., Hill Carr, Bowdon, Cheshire.
WAINWRIGHT, JOHN, Esq., Carlton Lodge, Stretford.
WARBURTON, JOHN, Esq., Fairlie Villas, Raspberry Road, Fallowfield.
WARBURTON, SAMUEL, Esq., Sunnyhill, Crumpsall, Manchester.
WARBURTON, HENRY, Esq., The Elms, Hendham Vale, Manchester.
WATERS, — Esq., Manchester.
WATTS, JAMES, Esq., Portland Street, Manchester.
WATTS, JOHN, Esq., 23, Cross Street, Manchester.
WEBB, F. W., Esq., Chester Place, Crewe.
WEBSTER, WILLIAM, Esq., Abbotsfield, St. Helens.
WHITE, CHARLES, Esq., Holly Villa, Warrington.
WHITTAKER, W. WILKINSON, Esq., Cornbrook Park, Manchester.
WHITEHEAD, EDWIN, Esq., The Hurst, Taunton Road, Ashton-under-Lyne.
WHITTAKER, ROBERT, Esq., Birch House, Lees, near Manchester.
WILD, ROBERT, Esq., 134, St. James’s Street, Burnley.
WILKINSON, A., Esq., Westbourne Grove, Harpurhey, Manchester.
WILKINSON, T. R., Esq., The Polygon, Ardwick, Manchester.
WILKINSON, JOHN, Esq., 25, Manor Street, Ardwick, Manchester.
WILKINSON, WILLIAM, Esq., M.A., Middlewood, Clitheroe.
WILSON, WILLIAM, Esq., Savings Bank, Stockport.
WILSON, C. M., Esq., Lancaster Villa, Broughton Park, Manchester.
WINTERBOTHAM, HENRY, Esq., F.R.C.S., Bury New Road, Manchester
WOLSTENHOLME, CHARLES, Esq., Richmond Hill, Bowdon, Cheshire.
WOOD, JOHN, Esq., J.P., Arden, near Stockport,
WOOD, RICHARD, Esq., J.P., Plimpton Hall, Heywood, near Manchester.
WOOD, WILLIAM, Esq., Woodville, Bramhall, Cheshire.
WOOD, W. C., Esq., Brimscall Hall, Chorley, Lancashire.
WORTHINGTON, ED., Esq., Appley Bridge, near Wigan.
WOODHOUSE, GEORGE, Esq., Heath Bank, Chorley New Road, Bolton.
WOOD, ROBERT, Esq., Drywood Hall, Worsley.
WORTHINGTON, Alderman T., 33, Church Street, Manchester.
WRIGHT, E., ABBOTT, Esq., Castle Park, Frodsham, Cheshire.

YATES, J. W., Esq., Ashton-upon-Mersey.
YEOMAN, JOHN, Esq., 30, Union Street, Ardwick, Manchester.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



BOOKSELLERS.


BEMROSE & SONS, Derby.
BROWN & SONS, Macclesfield.
BUTLER, S., Altrincham.
BURGHOPE & STRANGE, Burnley.
BURGESS, HENRY, Northwich.

COOKE, Stretford Road, Manchester.
CORNISH, J. E., Piccadilly and St. Ann’s Square, Manchester.

DODGSON, J., Leeds.
DAY, T. J., Market Street, Manchester.
DOOLEY, HENRY, Stockport.

GALT, J. & CO., Corporation Street, Manchester.
GRAY, HENRY, Topographical Bookseller, 25, Cathedral Yard, Manchester.
GRUNDY, 68, Woodhouse Lane, Wigan.

HOWELL, E., Liverpool.
HOLDEN, ADAM, 48, Church Street, Liverpool.
HEYWOOD, ABEL & SON, Oldham Street, Manchester.

KENYON, W., Newton Heath, Manchester.

LITTLEWOOD, JAMES, Ashton-under-Lyne.
LUPTON, J. & A., Burnley.

MINSHULL & HUGHES, Chester.

PEARSE, J. C., Southport.
PEARSE, PERCIVAL, Warrington.
PHILLIPSON & GOLDER, Chester.
PLATT, RICHARD, Wigan.

RIDER, Leek.
ROWORTH, St Ann’s Square, Manchester.
ROBINSON, Preston.

SMITH, W. H. & SON, 1, New Brown Street, Manchester.
SMITH, W. H. & SON, L. & N. W. Railway and M. S. & L. Railway
   Bookstalls, London Road Station, Manchester.
STOCK, ELLIOT, 62, Paternoster Row, London, E.C.

TUBBS & BROOK, Market Street, Manchester.
TRÜBNER & CO., London.

WALMSLEY, G. G., 50, Lord Street, Liverpool.

YABSLEY & CO., Sale, Cheshire.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



NOOKS AND CORNERS

OF

LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE.



CHAPTER I.

A RAILWAY RAMBLE—THE ROMAN CITY ON THE RIBBLE—A DAY-DREAM AT
RIBCHESTER.


On a bright morning in the exuberant summer time, ere the country had
lost the freshness of its earlier beauty, or the forest trees had
begun to bend beneath the weight of their blushing burdens, we found
ourselves on the platform of the Victoria Station with a friend, the
companion of many a pleasant wandering, equipped for a journey to the
fair country which skirts the base of Pendle Hill. We were both in high
spirits, and the beauty of the opening day added to our enjoyment The
morning was cool and clear, and radiant with the early sunshine—one
of those genial days when, as Washington Irving says, we seem to draw
in pleasure with the very air we breathe, and to feel happy we know
not why—the invigorating freshness of the atmosphere giving a pleasant
impulse to the spirits. There had been a slight fall of rain during the
night, but the breeze which followed had dried up the roadways, and
now all was bright and clear, and the unclouded sun poured down a flood
of brilliance that added to the charms of the early morn, imparting a
gladdening influence which even the sparrows seemed to share as they
flitted to and fro about the eaves with unceasing twitter.

For some distance the railway is carried over the house-tops, and
as the train speeds along we can look down upon the dreary web of
streets, the labyrinth of dwellings, the groves of chimneys, the mills,
workshops, and brick-kilns, and the strange admixture of squalor,
wretchedness, and impurity that go to make up the royal borough of
Salford. Soon we reach the outskirts, where the country still struggles
to maintain its greenness; then, after a short stoppage at Pendleton,
we enter upon the pleasant vale of Clifton, where we are enabled to
breathe the balmy atmosphere and drink in the fresh fragrance of the
flower-bespangled meads. Pleasant is it to escape from the gloomy
hives of brick, with their busy human throng, and to look abroad upon
the expanse of country reposing in the summer sunshine. The gentle
showers of the night seem to have refreshed the thirsty soil, and to
have given an invigorating aspect to the landscape, imparting to the
turf a brighter hue, and to the trees which clothe the folding bluffs a
brighter tinge of colouring, whilst the sunlight gleams upon the fields
and on the already ripening grain, and sparkles upon the lingering
rain-drops that hang like strings of pearls from every bush and twig.
On the left the quaint old hall of Agecroft, with its picturesque black
and white gables, twinkles through the wind-shaken leaves; the Irwell
meanders pleasantly through the fertile meadows on the right; and
beyond, the grey embattled tower of Prestwich Church may be seen rising
prominently above the umbraged slopes that bound the opposite side of
the valley.

[Illustration]

On, on we go with a screech and a roar, rattling over viaducts,
rumbling through rocky cuttings, rushing along steep embankments;
then rolling rapidly again over the level country, from whence we
can look back upon the dingy town of Bolton, memorable in the
annals of the great civil war as the place where the martyr Earl of
Derby sealed his loyalty with his life. The changing aspect of the
country now becomes manifest. Every mile brings a fresh picture, and
the variety itself adds to the interest of the journey. The land is
prettily featured—green and undulating, with well-wooded cloughs and
shady dingles, backed by lofty gritstone ridges, which here and there
soften into slopes of fertile beauty that form an admirable relief
to the pale blue hills which stretch away to the furthest point of
distance. Just before reaching the station at Chapeltown we get sight
of Turton Tower, a fine old relic of bygone days, once the home of
Manchester’s most noted “worthy”—Humphrey Chetham—and for a time, as
tradition tells us, the abode of Oliver Cromwell; and close by is
a picturesque gabled summer-house, surmounting a gentle eminence,
that forms a conspicuous object for miles around. Still onward, past
scattered hamlets, past mills, bleachworks, and collieries; past
farms, cottages, and old-fashioned timber-built dwellings that more or
less merit the appellation of “hall” applied to them; past meadows,
fields, and pastures, where the hedgerows and trees seem to revolve
in a never-ending reel, while the telegraph wires that stretch from
post to post rise and fall in a succession of graceful genuflexions.
On, on! Small streams are crossed, bridges are shot through, and then
the “express” thunders past with a deafening roar, almost terrifying
the life out of a nervous old lady who sits opposite to us, and who,
on recovering her breath, feels instinctively inside her left-hand
glove to make sure that her ticket has not been spirited away by the
fiery iron monster. Darwen—cold, stony-looking Darwen—is passed, and
presently Blackburn is reached, where a few minutes is considerately
allowed to stretch our legs and look about us. The prospect, however,
is not altogether lovely, and the people are as little prepossessing in
appearance as the place itself, so that we are not sorry when our brief
respite is brought to an abrupt termination by the sharp “Now then,
gentlemen,” of the guard, when, resuming our seats, the carriage door
is slammed to by that energetic official.

A few puffs, a whistle, and a screech, and we are moving swiftly over
the green landscape again. The meadows widen, and the trees and hedges
fly past as if driven by the whirlwind. Onwards, on and on, until
we reach the little roadside station that forms the terminus of our
railway journey.

Ribchester, for that is the name of the station, is Ribchester station
only by courtesy[1]—the old Roman town whose name has been somewhat
unceremoniously appropriated being a good three miles away; so that
we shall have to lengthen our walk considerably before we reach the
Roman _Rigodunum_. On leaving the station we turn to the left, and
then, crossing the railway bridge, follow an ascending path that leads
past a few squalid-looking cottages which stand irregularly along the
edge of a tract of common land—the grazing ground of an impassive
donkey and of a flock of geese that begin to sibilate and crane their
necks spitefully as we go by. A little brick chapel with a bell-cot at
one end stands on the further side of the green, and close by is the
village school. Leaving this uninviting spot, we continue our walk past
a few waste-looking fields and across the level summit of an eminence
the verdant slopes of which stretch away on either side. Presently the
road descends, winding hither and thither between pleasant hedgerows
and embossed banks, garlanded with the gaily-coloured flowers of the
exuberant summer time, “the jewels of earth’s diadem,” speaking of Him

    Whose hand hath shed wild flowers
    In clefts o’ the rock, and clothed green knolls with grass,
    And clover, and sweet herbs and honey dews,
    Shed in the starlight bells, where the brown bees
    Draw sweets.

[Note 1: Wilpshire is the name now given to the station.]

At every turn we get pretty snatches of scenery, with glimpses of
cattle-dappled pastures and green fields, where the black, glossy rooks
are hovering about and cawing loudly to each other as if discussing the
result of their recent entomological researches. Looking across the
country the high downs are seen with their broad green cloud-mottled
shoulders, half-hiding the undulating hills that stretch away along
the dim blue line of the horizon. By-and-by Ribblesdale, one of the
prettiest vales in the kingdom, opens upon us. Below, the river winds
its snake-like course through the meadows, its ample bosom gleaming
in the sun like molten silver. On the right, lying low among the tall
ash-trees, is Salesbury Hall, a quaint half-timbered mansion, once the
abode of a branch of the great family of the Talbots, one of whom aided
in the capture of the unfortunate Henry VI., and previously the home
successively of the Salesburys, the Cliderhows, and the Mauleverers.
Conspicuous on the further side of the valley are seen the stately
towers of Stonyhurst crowning a wooded slope, that swells gradually up
from the margin of the Hodder, forming one of the spurs of Longridge
Fell. Looking up the valley, the eye takes in the long-backed slopes
of Pendle Hill, the abrupt elevation on which stands the ruined keep
of Clitheroe Castle, the wooded heights of Wiswell and Whalley, the
dark-hued moorlands that extend to the ancient forests of Bowland, with
Bleasdale Moor, Waddington Fell, and the screen of hills that sweep
round in an irregular circle to meet the huge form of Longridge Fell
lying upon the landscape like a monster couchant.

A quaint relic of the olden time stands by the wayside on the left. A
gabled mansion of the time of the Second Charles, now occupied by a
farmer, but still bearing the name of New Hall, though, as the date
(1665) testifies, the storms of more than two hundred winters have
broken upon it since George Talbot, a younger son of Sir John of
that name, placed his initials and the crest of his family above the
doorway. At this point the road diverges to the right, and a few paces
bring us to the margin of the Ribble, when a charming prospect meets
the eye, a prospect that would have delighted the heart of Cuyp had
he had the opportunity of sketching it. There was no stir or fret—no
excitement. All was calm, placid, and serene. The swift and shallow
Ribble lay before us, sparkling and glistening all over, save on the
further side, where a row of trees that fringed the roadway flung the
broad shadows of their spreading branches upon its placid bosom. There
was a Sabbath-like peace in the air, and the stillness of a summer
day lay profoundly as a trance upon the scene. An old-fashioned punt,
moored to the side, lazily dragged its creaking chain, and now and
then chafed itself against the bank as the motion of the water gently
swayed it to and fro. Before us Ribchester Bridge lay bestriding the
stream—its broad circular arches reflected in the water with a distinct
vividness that was interrupted only at intervals when their image was
broken into a quivering indistinctness as a passing gust rippled the
mirrored bosom of the water. As we stood gazing upon the scene, a boat
borne by the current slowly glided down the river, looking like a bird
suspended in the blue of heaven. The oars were poised in the rowlocks,
and the water, dripping from their flashing blades, fell upon the
glassy surface, and spread out in widening silver rings that floated
slowly onwards.

[Illustration: RIBCHESTER BRIDGE.]

Crossing the bridge, at the foot of which stands a comfortable inn—the
De Tabley Arms—we wound away to the left, following the bold sweep of
the Ribble, and a few moments later entered the “Aunciente Towne” of
Ribchester. Ribchester! What visions of antiquity float before the
imagination as the stranger enters this little unpretending village,
for town it can now hardly be called. What memories of the past are
awakened at the mere mention of the name. The old distich, which the
inhabitants still take pride in repeating, tells us that

    It is written upon a wall in Rome
    Ribchester was as rich as any toune in Christendome.[2]

[Note 2: Camden’s Britannia, Ed. 1586, p. 431.]

The first glimpse, even were we unsupported by tradition, would lead
us to believe that this part of the valley of the Ribble was even in
earliest times a place of some importance, for, admirably protected by
Nature, and adapted as it must then have been to the requirements of
an untamed and uncivilised race, it was hardly likely to have escaped
the searching eye of our Celtic forefathers, being then protected by
naked marshes, and flanked on each side by lofty eminences, with a
wide river between on which their slim coracles might float; whilst
adjacent was the great forest of Bowland, the haunt of the wolf, the
boar, and other wild animals, whose skins would supply clothing, and
their flesh sustenance, to the hardy hunter. Whether the primeval
Britons established a colony here or not, certain it is that when the
more refined subjects of the Cæsars had established themselves as
conquerors of the country, Ribchester attained to a high degree of
eminence, and became one of the richest and most important stations
in the newly-acquired territory. For the greater protection and
security of the conquered lands in the North, Agricola constructed
a chain of forts from one extremity of Lancashire to the other,
and occupying the sites now held by Lancaster, Ribchester, Walton,
Blackrod, Manchester, Overborough, and Colne. The most important
of these stations, as evidenced by the richness and variety of the
remains that have at different times been discovered, was the one at
Ribchester. The place lost its pre-eminence after the fall of the
Roman government in Britain, but the foundation of its buildings long
defied the ravages of time, though now the searching eye can scarce
discover the faintest relic of their former existence. Leland, the
old topographer, who visited the place in the early part of the 16th
century, says: “Ribchester is now a poore thing; it hath beene an
Auncient Towne. Great squared stones, voultes, and antique coynes be
found ther: and ther is a place wher that the people fable wher that
the Jues had a temple.”[3] No doubt the temple existed, for the remains
of it have been traced in later times, but it was Pagan and not Jewish,
and was dedicated, as Dr. Whitaker supposed from an inscription found
upon the site, by an empress or princess of the Imperial Roman family
to the goddess Minerva. Ribchester has been prolific in remains of
Roman art, and many of the altars, statues, bronzes, and “antique
coynes” that have been dug up have been carried away to enrich the
archæological museums of other parts of the country, or have found
their way into those of private collectors, where they are practically
lost to the student of antiquity, for, unfortunately, there is hardly
a town in Lancashire which possesses a museum worthy of the name where
such exhumed treasures might find a fitting resting-place. Pennant
mentions having seen a sculpture, discovered on digging a grave in
the churchyard, representing a Roman soldier carrying a _labarum_,
or standard of cavalry; but perhaps the most remarkable relic is
the elaborately ornamented bronze helmet found in 1796, familiar to
antiquaries by the engravings which have appeared in the _Vetusta
Monumenta_, and in the histories of Whitaker and Baines. So lately as
the beginning of the present century a Roman house and hypocaust were
brought to light whilst excavating the foundations for a building on
the banks of the river; altars dedicated to various divinities have on
different occasions been unearthed, with other memorial stones, coins,
pottery, glass, articles of personal adornment, ampullæ, fibulæ, &c;
and even in recent times, though less frequently than of yore, when the
earth is removed to any considerable depth relics are turned up which
help to illustrate the habits and customs of the Roman settlers, and
prove the wide diffusion of the elegant and luxurious modes of life it
was their aim to introduce.

[Note 3: Itinerary IV., fol. 39.]

It requires no great stretch of the imagination to picture the
Ribchester of those far-off days. The picture, it is true, may be only
shadowy and indistinct seen through the long distance which intervenes;
but, carrying the mind back to those remote times, let us contemplate
the scene presented to our fancied gaze. It is Britain—Britain in
the darkest period of its history, the Britain of Caractacus and
Boadicea—but how great the contrast from the Britain of to-day! A broad
flowing river separates us from the opposite land, the tide flows up,
and the wavelets break monotonously upon the shore. Before us and on
each side rise gently swelling hills clothed with dense forests of
oak—primeval monarchs that have budded and flourished and shed their
leaves through long centuries of silent solitude. There are no towns
or villages, no fertile meadows and rich pasture fields; not a sign of
a habitation can we discern save here and there where the dark woods
have been thinned, and a solitary hut, rudely constructed of wood and
wattles, bears evidence of man’s existence. Looking more closely into
the picture, we can discover the naked and painted forms of human
beings—men eager, impetuous, brave, armed with javelin and spear, and
ready to engage with any chance foe that may cross their path whilst
seeking for their prey among the wild beasts of their native woods.

Gradually the view dissolves. Softly, slowly, it fades away, and
darkness overspreads the scene. Hark! The sound of distant strife
breaks faintly upon the ear; there is a rumble of war chariots and
the hollow tramp of legionaries; then a fire blazes on the top of
Longridge Fell, lighting up the heavens with a ruddy glare; the signal
is answered by successive flashes from Pendle Hill and from beacons
more remote. In a moment the scene is alive with the forms of men armed
with spear and shield, hurrying to and fro, brandishing their javelins
with impatient haste, eager to meet the coming foe. Meanwhile the
conquering eagles of imperial Rome are seen advancing. Cohort follows
cohort, and legion succeeds to legion. With measured pace and steady
tread they come. There is the shock of mortal combat; the valley echoes
with the clang of arms and the fell shout of war; and Briton and Roman
are struggling together for conquest and for life.

    The hardy Briton struggled with his foe,
      Dared him to battle on the neighb’ring height;
    And dusky streamlets reddened with the flow
      From heroes dying for their country’s right.

    Their simple weapons ’gainst the serried ranks,
      Full disciplined in war, were hurled in vain;
    Well greaved and helmeted, the firm phalanx
      Received their fierce attack in proud disdain.

It is over. Undisciplined valour yields to superior military skill, and
the heroic Britons, defeated but not subdued, are driven for refuge
within the fastnesses of their native woods, leaving those green slopes
crimsoned with the life-blood of a people who, if they knew not how to
fight, knew at least how valiant men should die.

Another tableau of history succeeds. Order arises out of disorder.
After many struggles, in which her greatest generals have taken part,
Rome, by her obstinate bravery, has succeeded in carrying her eagles
northward as far as the banks of the Tay. The line of conquest is
marked by a chain of forts erected with masterly judgment to keep
in check the more disaffected of the northern tribes, and these
strongholds are connected by a network of military ways, the course of
which, after a lapse of eighteen centuries, may still be discerned—a
proof that the Roman road makers were no despicable engineers.

One of these military ways—the one from _Mancunium_ (Manchester)—led
through Ribchester, and, passing Stoneygate, climbed the rugged slopes
of Longridge Fell and along the tops of the hills, whence, taking an
easterly direction, it traversed the Forest of Bowland, and thence
continued to _Eboracum_ (York). Though their levels were chosen on
different principles, the lines they followed were indicated by the
great features of nature, and were pretty much the same as those
adopted by the makers of our modern iron roads. Long centuries after
the Roman had taken his departure these military roads formed the
great highways of traffic. The tracks traversed by Agricola and his
victorious legionaries have since been trodden in succession by Pict
and Scot, by Plantagenet and Tudor, by Cavalier and Roundhead, by the
hapless followers of the ill-fated Stuart, and by the ruthless soldiery
of the Hanoverian King, and in later and more peaceful times by long
lines of pack-horses, laden with the products of the Lancashire looms.

Agricola, having now satisfied his thirst for military glory, has
become a pacificator and law-giver in the newly-acquired provinces. The
subjugated natives, attracted by the fame of the illustrious Roman,
steal from their hiding places in the woods, and learn the manners and
customs of civilisation, and with them, it is to be feared, vices which
before they knew not of.

Turn we again. Another picture dawns upon us, dimly and obscurely
enough at first, but becoming more distinctly visible as the darkness
fades away. The appearance of the people is changed, and the aspect of
the country has changed with them. Time has passed on—the river that we
before gazed upon still flows on as of yore, though somewhat narrowed
in its proportions. The woods now ring with the war clarion of the
invincible auxiliaries; the wattled huts have disappeared; and in the
assart space they occupied a flourishing city is seen, with halls and
porticoes and statues, in humble imitation of the then magnificence
of the city that crowns the seven hills. Where the oaks grew thick,
and the wild bull, the wolf, and the boar reigned in undisputed
possession, a military fortification has been built, with ramparts
and towers and turrets, and close by, to celebrate the subjugation
of the brave Brigantes, a pagan temple has been reared in honour of
Minerva, for the sound of glad tidings has not yet come across the
sea. The scene is one of bustle and organisation. Here, on the quay,
merchants are congregated with traders from Gaul and Phœnicia, and
adventurers from more distant lands, bartering earthenware, implements
of agriculture, and other commodities which those colonists of the old
world have brought with them, for the treasures of the soil. There a
gang of labouring captives, sullen and unwilling, are toiling under
the eye of their relentless taskmasters. Strange-looking vessels
are borne upon the bosom of the stream, unwieldy in form, with long
lines of oars shooting out from each side, and prows resplendent with
paint and gilding, standing high up out of the water. Now and then a
gaily-decorated galley floats past, freighted with fair Olympias, or
bearing, perchance, some tender Sistuntian maid, whose loving heart,
flinging aside the trammels of religion and race, has cast her lot
with the conquerors of the land. Under the shadow of that wall a
sentinel, in classic garb, with helmet and sandal, paces his measured
round, and, pausing now and then, leans upon his spear, and muses
upon the scenery of his own German home. Within the garrison all is
gaiety and enthusiasm; there are marchings and countermarchings, and
transmissions of signals, and relievings of guard. How the lances
glitter in the light, and the brazen helmets reflect the glory of
the midday sun. Here are gathered fighting men from all parts of
Europe—Dalmatians, Thracians, and Batavians—who are talking over the
victories of the past, and thinking, perhaps, of those timorous eyes
that beamed tenderly upon them, and wept their departure from their
distant homes—Moors of swarthy hue from the shores of Africa, whose
dark skins have flashed terror into the souls of the pale Northern
tribes; stern-visaged Frisians from the marshes of Holland; and
stalwart Asturians, with veteran warriors who have fought through many
a campaign and earned for themselves the proud title of conquerors of
the world.

The conquerors of the world! Time has passed rapidly on, and Rome,
the vaunted mistress of the world, with difficulty grasps her own.
Pierced by barbarian hordes, torn by intestine wars, weakened at heart
and tottering to her ruin, her last legions have been recalled for
her own defence, and the fair provinces of the West are abandoned to
the Northern savages, who come, as Gildas relates, “like hungry and
ravening wolves rushing with greedy jaws upon the fold.”

    Yet once again, a change—and lo!
    The Roman even himself must go;
    While Dane and Saxon scatter wide
    Each remnant of his power and pride.

Enfeebled by long submission to the Roman yoke, deprived of the
protection of the forces of the empire, the flower of her youth drafted
away to swell the armies of the Emperors Maximus and Constantine,
Britain is left in a state of utter defencelessness, and speedily
becomes a prey to those warlike hordes that come pouring in from the
maritime provinces of Germany, Norway, and Sweden. The period that
follows is one of anarchy and confusion, of Saxon conquest and Danish
spoliation.

But we pass on. Another picture is shadowed forth, and what is this
that meets the gaze? The scene of fierce war and angry passions, of
conquest and oppression, of barbaric rudeness and pagan splendour, is
now a desolate and deserted waste, where the frail creations of man
are blended with the ever-enduring works of God. The relentless foot
of Time has pressed heavily upon these wrecks of human greatness—a few
straggling walls, a ruined temple, pavements worn down by the tread of
many a Roman foot, broken columns, with fragments of masonry, are all
the vestiges that remain to denote the ancient importance of the Roman
_Rigodunum_—all the signs that are left to point out where merchants
gathered and where warriors prepared for conquest and for fame.

The departure of the Roman legionaries inflicted a heavy blow on the
fortunes of the city. The period of Saxon conquest was followed by the
descent of the wild Scandinavian marauders—the Jarls and sea-kings of
the North, who, with their piratical hordes, swept the country, leaving
the red mark of death and desolation in their wake.

    What time the Raven flapped his gory wing,
      And scoured the White Horse o’er this harried realm;
    His crowded galley brought the dread Viking,
      Lust at his prow, and rapine at the helm.

The splendour of Ribchester must have waned rapidly, for after the
overthrow of Harold on the red field of Hastings, when the victorious
Norman made his great survey of the conquered country, it had become
so insignificant as to be accounted a mere village dependent upon
Preston, then rising into note. Yet it did not escape the fury of the
invading Scot, whose footsteps were everywhere marked with blood and
destruction, for in one of those frequent incursions after the defeat
at Bannockburn—when, as old Hollinshead tells us, the victorious Bruce
marched his army through Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancaster to
Preston—the miserable inhabitants were driven from their homes, and the
place burned to the ground. Subsequently its fortunes revived, and for
a time it could boast of having no less than three fairs, an evidence
of its increased importance. In the unhappy struggle between Charles
the First and his Parliament it was the scene of an encounter (April,
1643) between the Royalist forces, led by the Earl of Derby, and the
Parliamentarian levies, commanded by Colonel Shuttleworth, resulting
in a victory for the latter; and tradition says that five years later
(August, 1648) Cromwell slept at the old white house, opposite the
Strand, on the night before the memorable battle of Ribblesdale, and
there, with Major-General Ashton, matured the plan of those operations
which ere the next setting of the sun had proved fatal to the Duke of
Hamilton, and tinged the flowing river with the blood of his Scottish
followers as deeply as their ancestors had dyed it with English blood
three centuries before. In more peaceful times, when the cotton trade
was yet in its infancy, hand-loom weaving flourished, and formed the
staple industry; but the day of prosperity has passed, and the place
has now dwindled down to the condition of a mean and insignificant
country village, old-fashioned in aspect and quiet enough for the grass
to grow in the narrow and painfully-ill-paved streets that struggle on
towards the river. So lifeless looking is it that were it not for a few
loiterers standing about the doorway of the “Bull,” and that we now and
then hear the clack of the shuttle, it would seem

    Like one vast city of the dead,
    Or place where all are dumb.

After long centuries of vicissitude and change, except the shadowy
memories of the past, the ancient parish church is almost the only
object that remains to arrest the steps of the inquiring wayfarer,
and this well deserves examination. Tradition hovers about the place,
and tells us that after the conversion of King Edwin, the great
missionary Paulinus here proclaimed the glad tidings of salvation, in
commemoration of which event the symbol of the Christian’s faith—the
cross—was planted, contemporaneously with those in the neighbouring
churchyard of Whalley; and that the first “modest house of prayer”
was erected on the spot once occupied by the temple of Minerva. The
late Canon Raines believed the church at Ribchester was coeval in
antiquity with that at Whalley. It is the work of many hands and many
separate eras, and, as may be supposed, exhibits many different styles
of architecture. The oldest part is undoubtedly the chancel, the
windows of which are, for the most part, of the narrow lancet style,
showing that it must have been built about the year 1220. Portions of
the nave and the north aisle exhibit the rich detail of the Decorated
period, and the tower bears evidence that it is of later date, the main
features being of Perpendicular character. In the south wall of the
chancel is an ancient arched sedilia, with a piscina and credence table
attached, and on the north side is a solid block of stone, whereon
are carved three heraldic shields bearing the arms of the Hoghtons
and some of their alliances. This stone is commonly supposed to be a
tomb, but it is more probable that it was intended as a seat in times
when only the patron and some of his more influential neighbours were
so accommodated, the general body of worshippers standing or kneeling
during the services of the Church. The Hoghtons, whose arms it bears,
were for generations lords of Ribchester, and one of them, Sir Richard
Hoghton, in 1405, founded and endowed the chantry on the north side
known as the “Lady Chapel,” in which are still preserved the remains of
the ancient altar and piscina.

Our story is told, and we now draw the veil over these grass-grown
by-ways of the past. Eighteen centuries have rolled by since Agricola
planted his eagles on the northern shores of the Ribble; for 400
years the Roman wrought and ruled; Saxon and Dane and Norman have
followed in his wake, and each successive race has left its distinctive
peculiarities stamped upon the institutions of the country. In that
time kingdoms and empires have risen and passed away, generation after
generation has come and gone. The old hills still lift their heads to
the breezes of heaven, the stream flows on as of yore, and the sun
shines with the same splendour as it shone in those ancient days—but
where are they who peopled the busy scene?

                      They are vanished
    Into the air, and what seemed corporal melted.

With Cassius we might exclaim,—

                They are fled away and gone,
    And in their stead the ravens, crows, and kites
    Fly o’er our heads.

The splendid civilisation which the Roman colonists brought with them
did not long outlive their departure. The strongholds they built, the
palaces they reared, have disappeared. Where once gleamed the spears of
the Imperial soldiery the plough now passes and the harvest smiles. The
Roman has passed away, and the glory of Ribchester has passed away with
him, scarcely a stone now remaining to tell the story of its former
greatness.

[Illustration: MARPLE HALL.]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER II.

     MARPLE HALL—THE BRADSHAWS—COLONEL HENRY BRADSHAW THE STORY OF THE
     REGICIDE.


Cheshire abounds with ancient houses, but few, if any, of them are more
interesting from their historical or traditional associations than
Marple Hall, the home of Colonel Henry Bradshaw, the noted Cromwellian
soldier, and the place where his younger brother, “Judge” Bradshaw,
passed the earlier years of his eventful life. It is one of the few old
mansions of the county that have remained to the descendants of the
earlier possessors, and though located in close proximity to a district
singularly at variance with associations awakened by the time-honoured
memorials of bygone days, is yet surrounded by much that is picturesque
and attractive.

The house, which stands a mile or more away from the straggling village
from which it takes its name, is within the compass of a pleasant walk
from Stockport or Hazel Grove, but it is more readily approached from
the Rose Hill Station of the Macclesfield and Bollington Railway.
It cannot be seen from the highway, but an antiquated and somewhat
stately looking gateway, a few yards from the station, gives admission
to a tree-shaded drive that leads across the park, at the further end
of which the quaint old pile comes in view, standing upon a natural
platform or terrace, with a lichened and moss-grown wall on the further
side, all grey and weather-worn, that extends along the edge of the
precipice on which it is built. The shelving slopes below are clothed
with shrubs and trees that furnish a pleasant shade in the summer time;
wild flowers in abundance peep out from the clefts and crevices; and
were our visit made in the earlier months of the year, while the white
fringe of nature’s weaving yet lingers upon the skirts of winter’s
mantle, we should find the acclivities plentifully besprinkled with
the pale and delicate blossoms of the snowdrop—the firstling of the
year awakening from its lengthened sleep to proclaim the reanimation
of the vegetable world. At the foot of the cliff is a sequestered
dingle with a still pool, the remains, possibly, of a former moat or
mere,[4] that gleams in the green depths, and a tiny rivulet that looks
up through the overhanging verdure as it wanders on in pastoral and
picturesque seclusion. The well-wooded heights of Thorncliffe shut
in this bosky dell from the valley of the Goyt, across which, from
the terraced heights, there is a delightful view in the direction of
Werneth Low, the Arnfield and Woodhead Moors, and the range of green
uplands and dusky eminences which stretch away in long succession to
the pale blue hills that in the remote distance bound the landscape.
There this interesting memorial of the stormiest period of England’s
history stands in peaceful serenity, lifting its dark stone front above
the surrounding offices and outbuildings, with its high-peaked gables
draped with a luxurious mantle of ivy that softens the sterner outlines
into beauty, its long, low, mullioned windows, and its entrance tower
and balcony above, now protected by a latticed railing, so as to form a
kind of observatory, and which once had the addition of a cupola.

[Note 4: The name, anciently written Mer-pull, seems to be a corruption
of Mere-pool. A little lower down the river is Otters-pool, and these
two point to the conclusion that the Goyt had at one time a much
greater breadth here than it has now.]

    High on a craggy steep it stands,
      Near Marple’s fertile vale,
    An ancient ivy-covered house
      That overlooks the dale.

    And lofty woods of elm and oak
      That ancient house enclose,
    And on the walls a neighb’ring yew
      It sombre shadow throws.

    A many-gabled house it is,
      With antique turret crowned,
    And many a quaint device, designed
      In carvings rude, is found.

So says Mr. Leigh, in one of his “Legendary Ballads of Cheshire.” The
first glimpse gives evidence of the fact that it has been erected at
different periods, additions having been made from time to time as the
convenience or requirements of successive occupants have dictated;
but none of these are of modern date, or in any way detract from its
venerable aspect. On the south a lofty wall encloses the garden and a
court that occupies the entire front of the house. Tall pillars of the
Carolinian period, supporting a pair of gates of metal-work, forming
the principal entrance, give admission to this court; and if the
wayfarer is fortunate enough to be provided with an introduction, or if
with a taste for antiquarian investigation he unites the manners of a
gentleman, he may rely upon a courteous reception.

The time of our visit is a pleasant autumn afternoon. The trees and
hedges are in the fulness of their summer verdure; but the waning of
the year is evidenced by the lengthened shadows, the warm golden hue
that is deepening upon the landscape, and the russet, purple, and
yellow with which the woods, though green in the main, are touched.
Turning suddenly to the right, we quit the highway, and saunter
leisurely along the broad gravelled path. As we approach the gates
we become conscious that something unusual is astir. Pedestrians are
wending their way towards the hall; occasionally a carriage rattles
past; and then, as we draw near, the sounds of mirth and minstrelsy
break upon the ear. Passing through the old gateway leading to the
court, we find groups of people on the lawn, and the lady of the house
is flitting to and fro with a pleasant word and a kindly greeting for
every one. A _fête champêtre_ is being held in the grounds, and a fancy
fair is going on in one of the outbuildings, which has been smartened
up and decorated for the occasion, the proceeds of the sale, we are
told, going towards the rebuilding of

    The decent church that tops the neighbouring hill,

or rather the building of a new one by its side, which, when finished,
is to supersede it. A “steeple-house,” forsooth! At the very mention
of the name a host of memories are conjured up. For a moment the mind
wanders back along the dim avenues of the past to the stormy days
of Cavalier and Roundhead, and we think of the mighty change the
whirligig of time has brought about since Bradshaw’s fanatical soldiery
bivouacked here, ready to plunder and profane the sanctuary, and to
destroy, root and branch, hip and thigh, the “sons of Belial” who
sought solace within its walls, or, as Hudibras has it:—

    Reduce the Church to Gospel order,
    By rapine, sacrilege, and murder.

Happily, fate has not ordained that we should sleep here this night;
for Marple, be it remembered, has its ghost chamber—what ancient house
with any pretensions to importance has not?—and if the shades of the
departed can at the “silent, solemn hour, when night and morning meet,”
revisit this lower world, those of the stern old Puritan colonel and
the grim-visaged “Lord President” would assuredly disturb our slumber.

But let us quit the shadowy realms of legend and romance, and betake
ourselves to that of sober, historic fact. After the overthrow of
Harold on the fatal field of Hastings, Marple passed into the hands
of Norman grantees, and in the days of the earlier Plantagenet Kings
formed part of the possessions of the barons of Stockport, being held
by them under the Earl of Chester on the condition of finding one
forester for the Earl’s forest of Macclesfield. The lands, with those
of Wyberslegh, in the same township, were, some time between the years
1209 and 1229, given by Robert de Stockport as a marriage portion to
his sister Margaret on her marriage with William de Vernon, afterwards
Chief Justice of Chester, a younger son of the Baron of Shipbrooke, who
through his mother had acquired the lands of Haddon, in Derbyshire;
and from that time Marple formed part of the patrimony of the lords
of Haddon until the death of Sir George Vernon, the renowned “King
of the Peak,” in 1567, a period of three centuries and a half, the
estates being then divided between his two daughters, Haddon with other
property in Derbyshire devolving upon Dorothy Vernon, the heroine of
the romantic elopement with Sir John Manners, the ancestor of the Dukes
of Rutland, whilst Marple and Wyberslegh fell to the lot of Margaret,
the wife of Sir Thomas Stanley of Winwick, the second son of Edward
Earl of Derby—that Earl of whom Camden says that “with his death the
glory of hospitality seemed to fall asleep.” Their son, Sir Edward
Stanley, of Tonge Castle, in Shropshire, having no issue, sold the
manor and lands of Marple in small lots to Thomas Hibbert,[5] chaplain
to Lord Keeper Bridgman, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry
Bradshaw, of Marple, and who was the grandfather of the celebrated
divine, Henry Hibbert.

[Note 5: Thomas Hibbert was the direct ancestor of the Hibberts of
Birtles, and (until recently) of Hare Hill, near Alderley.]

Some time about the year 1560 the Henry Bradshaw here named, who
was a younger son of William Bradshaw, of Bradshaw Hall, near
Chapel-en-le-Frith, the representative of an old Lancashire family of
Saxon origin, seated at Bradshaw, near Bolton, from a time anterior
to the Conquest, and which had been dispossessed and repossessed
of its estates by the Norman invaders, married Dorothy, one of the
daughters and co-heirs of George Bagshawe, of the Ridge, in the parish
of Chapel-en-le-Frith, a family that in a later generation numbered
amongst its members the eminent Nonconformist divine, William Bagshawe,
better known as the “Apostle of the Peak,” and became tenant of a
house in Marple called The Place, still existing, and forming part
of the Marple estate. By this marriage he had a son bearing his own
baptismal name, and, in addition, two daughters, Elizabeth, who became
the wife of Thomas Hibbert as already stated, and Sarah, who is said
by some genealogists—though on what authority is not clear—to have
been the wife of John Milton, the wealthy scrivener, of Bread Street,
London, and the mother of England’s great epic poet, whom John Bradshaw
in his will spoke of as his “kinsman John Milton.”

In 1606, as appears by a deed among the Marple muniments, dated 7th
July, 4 James, Henry Bradshaw the elder, therein styled a “yoman,”
purchased from Sir Edward Stanley, for the sum of £270, certain
premises in Marple and Wyberslegh, comprising a messuage and tenement,
with its appurtenances, another tenement situate in Marple or
Wibersley, and a close commonly called The Place, the said premises
being at the time, as is stated, partly occupied by Henry Bradshaw
the elder and partly by Henry Bradshaw the younger, his son and
heir-apparent. The estate at that time must have been comparatively
small. Two years later (30th June, 1608), as appears by the Calendar
of Recognizance Rolls of the Palatinate of Chester, now deposited
in the Record Office, London, Henry Bradshaw, to further secure his
title, obtained an enrolment of the charter of Randal Earl of Chester,
granting in free-forestry Merple and Wibreslega, as they are there
called, with lands in Upton and Macclesfield, to Robert, son of Robert
de Stockport; and another enrolment of the charter of Robert de
Stockport, granting to William Vernon, and Margery his wife, the lands
of Marple and Wybersley, from which William and Margery the property
passed, as we have said, by successive descents to Sir Edward Stanley,
from whom Bradshaw acquired it.

Henry Bradshaw the younger, following the example of his father,
also married an heiress, thus further adding to the territorial
possessions, as well as to the social status, of his house, his wife
being Catherine, the younger of the two daughters and co-heirs of
Ralph Winnington, the last male representative of a family seated for
seven generations at Offerton Hall, a building still standing near
the highroad midway between Stockport and Marple, though now shorn of
much of its former dignity. The registers of Stockport show that they
were married there on the 4th February, 1593. To them were born four
sons and two daughters. William, the eldest, died in infancy. With
Henry, born in 1600, and John, born in 1602, we are more immediately
concerned, for it is round them that the interest and the associations
of Marple chiefly gather.

The elder Bradshaw, the founder of the Marple line, died in 1619-20,
when Henry, his son, who had then been a widower sixteen years,
succeeded to the family estates. No records of his private life have
been preserved, but it may not be unreasonably assumed that, after the
death of his wife, and as he did not remarry, he lived in comparative
retirement, leading the life of an unostentatious country gentleman,
improving his estate, and supervising the education of his children.
Two years after he had entered upon the possession of his inheritance,
that important functionary the Herald made his official visitation of
Cheshire, when the gentlemen and esquires of the county were called
upon to register their descents and show their claim to the arms
they severally bore; and it is worthy of note, as indicating his
indifference to, or disdain of, the “noble science,” that though, as we
have seen, of ancient and honourable lineage and entitled to bear arms,
Henry Bradshaw did not obey the Herald’s summons,[6] probably “feeling
assured,” as Macaulay said of the old Puritan, “that if his name was
not found in the Registers of Heralds, it was recorded in the Book of
Life; and hence originated his contempt for territorial distinctions,
accomplishments, and dignities.”

[Note 6: Whilst the head of the Cheshire Bradshaws risked the
displeasure of the Herald by neglecting his summons, his kinsmen in
Lancashire, who were steady and decided Royalists, with more regard
for constituted authority, attended the Court, entered their descents,
and, in further proof of his right to the honourable distinction of
arms, John Bradshaw, of Bradshaw, produced a precious letter from Henry
Percy, the first Earl of Northumberland, K.G., the father of Hotspur,
to his “well-beloved friende” John Bradshaw, a progenitor who had
probably served and fought at Chevy Chase and elsewhere in the reign of
the second Richard.]

Surrounded by home affections, Bradshaw appears to have taken little
interest in public affairs; though, as a strict Calvinist and
stern moralist, he could not but have looked with disfavour on the
republication of the “Book of Sports,” and the revival of the Sunday
wakes and festivals, in which religion and pleasure were so strangely
blended; nor, as an Englishman, could he have been an indifferent
spectator of the breach which was gradually widening between the King
and his people.

A cloud was then gathering which presaged a great religious and
political tempest. The year in which Bradshaw lost his wife was that
which closed the long and brilliant reign of the last of the Tudor
sovereigns. James of Scotland succeeded—a King who reigned like a woman
after a woman who had reigned like a man. The Puritans in Elizabeth’s
time were comparatively insignificant in numbers, but the strictness
of the Queen’s ecclesiastical rule acted upon their stubborn nature,
and those who were averse to Episcopacy, and impatient of uniformity in
rites and ceremonies and the decorous adjuncts of a National Church,
grew formidable under James, and turbulent and aggressive after the
accession of Charles. The policy of Elizabeth gave a political standing
ground to Puritanism, and Puritanism gave to the political war in which
the nation became involved a relentless character that was all its
own. In 1634 was issued the writ for the levying of Ship-money—“that
word of lasting sound in the memory of this kingdom,” as Clarendon
calls it—a word which lit the torch of revolution, and for a period
of eleven years kept the country in almost uninterrupted strife. The
occasion was eagerly availed of by the discontented; pulpits were
perverted by religious fanatics, and violent appeals made to the
passions of the populace, who were preached into rebellion; while more
thoughtful, yet brave and strong-minded men, impressed with a stern,
unflinching love of justice, and a determination to maintain those
liberties they held to be their birthright, contended to the death
against “imposts” and “levies” and “compositions,” and against the
worse mockery of “loans” which no man was free to refuse, as well as
the despotism that more than threatened their common country. It was
a fatal time for England. Dignified by some high virtues, possessing
many excellent endowments both of head and heart, Charles yet lacked
sincerity, forethought, and decision, and the capacity required for
the wise conduct of affairs. The blame for the strifes and contentions
which arose does not, however, attach wholly to the sovereign, nor yet
to his subjects. The absolutism of the Tudors was, in a measure, the
cause of the sins of the Stuarts, and the sins of the Stuarts brought
about the miseries of the Rebellion, just as in turn the despotic rule
and grinding social tyranny of the Commonwealth period led to the
excesses of the Restoration. Charles was born out of season, and lived
too much in a world of his own ideas to comprehend the significance
of events that were passing around him. The twining of the Red and
White Roses upon the ensanguined field of Bosworth was followed by the
break-up of the feudal system, and the effacement of many of the old
landmarks of English society; a new class of landowners had sprung into
existence, eager for the acquirement of political freedom, and the king
was unable or unwilling to recognise the changed condition of things.
He inherited from his father inordinate notions of kingly power, and
he resolutely shut his eyes to the fact that he had to deal with an
entirely different state of public opinion. The power of the sovereign
had waned, but that of the people had increased; Parliament, while bent
upon abridging the ancient constitutional prerogative of the Crown, was
equally resolute in the extension of its own. The King persisted in
his determination to reign and govern by “divine right”—he refused to
yield anything—and in the fierce struggle which he provoked he fell.
Moderation was no longer thought of; the time for compromise was past;
the seeds of strife were sown and nurtured both by King and Parliament,
who, distrusting and wearied of each other, no longer cared for peace.
At length the storm burst. At Manchester, on the 15th July, 1642—a
month before the unfurling of the Royal standard at Nottingham—very
nearly upon the spot where now stands the statue of Cromwell, the first
shot was fired and the first blood shed in that great conflict which
drenched the country in civil slaughter.

When the first shot was fired which proclaimed to anxious England
that the differences between the King and the Parliament were only to
be settled by an appeal to arms, the two sons of Henry Bradshaw had
attained to the fulness of manhood, Henry, the eldest, having then
lately completed his forty-second year, while John was his junior only
by two years.

Henry Bradshaw, the third of the name, who resided at Marple, was
born, as previously stated, in 1600, and baptised at the old church at
Stockport on the 23rd June in the same year. Following with admirable
consistency the practice of his progenitors, he further added to the
territorial possessions of his house by marrying a rich heiress—Mary,
the eldest of the two daughters and co-heirs of Bernard Wells,[7]
of Holme, in the parish of Bakewell. The marriage settlement bears
date 30 Sep., 6 Charles I. (1631), and Mr. Ormerod, the historian of
Cheshire, says that he had bestowed upon him by his father-in-law the
hall of Wyberslegh, but this is evidently an error, for, as we have
previously seen, his father and grandfather between them purchased
Wyberslegh, along with Marple, from Sir Edward Stanley, a quarter of a
century previously, and the hall continued, as it had been from time
immemorial, appendant to that of Marple. It is more than probable,
however, that he took his young bride to Wyberslegh, and resided there
during his father’s lifetime, so that it would appear that the first
of the Bradshaws settled at Marple lived at The Place, where he died
in 1611, after which it ceased to be occupied as the family residence.
Henry, his son, resided at the hall, and the youngest of the three
occupied Wyberslegh until he succeeded to the family estate. Mary
Wells, by whom he had a son who succeeded as heir, and two daughters,
predeceased him, and he again entered the marriage state, his second
wife being Anne, daughter of George Bowdon, of Bowdon, in Cheshire, by
whom he had five sons and one or more daughters, Though by no means
insensible to the advantages accruing from the possession of worldly
wealth, it does not appear that he added materially to his temporal
estate by his second marriage. The Bowdons were a family of ancient
rank, who at one time owned one-fourth part of Bowdon, but their
estates had gradually dwindled away, and were finally alienated by sale
to the Booths of Dunham, in the early part of Elizabeth’s reign.

[Note 7: This marriage is recorded on a brass to the memory of Bernard
Wells, affixed to the north wall of the chancel in Bakewell Church.]

Inheriting from his father the Puritan sentiments of the age, Henry
Bradshaw carried those feelings with him into a more active arena.
Living in close neighbourship with Colonel Dukenfield, Edward Hyde,
of Norbury, Ralph Arderne, of Harden, Ralph Holland, of Denton, and
holding intimate relations with the Booths of Dunham, the Breretons of
Handforth, the Stanleys of Alderley, and other influential Presbyterian
families, their friendship doubtless helped to shape the part he took
in public affairs. When the storm which had been long gathering burst,
he took his stand with the Parliament against the King, and became
one of the most active officers on the side of the Commonwealth. He
served as sergeant-major in the regiment commanded by his neighbour,
Robert Dukenfield, and would, therefore, in all probability, take
part in the lengthened siege of “Mr. Tatton’s house of Whittenshaw
(Wythenshawe),” in the winter of 1643-4, as well as in the fruitless
attempt, a few months later, to defend Stockport Bridge against
Rupert and his Cavaliers, who were hastening to the relief of Lathom
House, in Lancashire, where the heroic Countess of Derby was bravely
defending her husband’s home against greatly superior forces. Though a
Cheshire man, he held a lieutenant-colonel’s commission in Assheton’s
Lancashire regiment, and subsequently was appointed to the command of
the entire militia within the Macclesfield hundred, in his own county.
He was present also with the Cheshire men at the final overthrow of
the Royalist army—the “crowning mercy,” as Cromwell phrased it—at
Worcester, Sept 3, 1651, where it was said he was wounded, but if so
the injury must have been only slight, for before the end of the month
he was acting as one of the members of the court-martial appointed
under a commission from Cromwell for the trial of the Earl of Derby.
After the disaster at Worcester, the Earl had accompanied the King
in his flight, until he was safe in the care of the Pendrells, when,
with Lord Lauderdale, Lord Talbot, and about 40 troopers, he started
northwards, in the hope of overtaking the remnant of the Scotch army,
but when near Nantwich the fugitives fell into the hands of Oliver
Edge,[8] a captain in the Manchester regiment, also returning from
Worcester. Quarter having been given by his captor, the Earl naturally
believed that he would be entitled to the immunities of a prisoner
of war, but he soon found himself under close confinement in Chester
Castle, of which Colonel Dukenfield was at the time governor. Cromwell,
having got his most formidable foe in his power, resolved to get for
ever rid of him by the shortest process that time and circumstances
admitted. The Earl was therefore at once brought for trial before
Bradshaw and the other members appointed on the court-martial, on the
charge of high treason in contravening an Act of Parliament passed only
a few weeks before, and of which, as his accusers were well aware, he
could have no knowledge, and, in defiance of the recognised laws of war
and the conditions on which he had surrendered, was pronounced guilty
and sentenced to be beheaded at Bolton. Dr. Halley, in his history of
“Lancashire Puritanism and Nonconformity,” says that Colonel Bradshaw,
notwithstanding that he had voted for the rejection of the Earl’s
plea; “earnestly entreated his brother, the Lord President, to obtain
a commutation of the punishment,” but, if he did, his efforts were
unsuccessful. Seacombe attributed the execution of the Earl to the
“inveterate malice” of (President) Bradshaw, Rigby, and Birch, which
originated, he says, as to Bradshaw, because of the Earl’s refusing
him the Vice-Chamberlainship of Chester;[9] Rigby, because of his
ill-success at Lathom; and Birch, in his lordship having trailed him
under a hay cart at Manchester on the occasion of the outbreak in July,
1642, by which he got, even among his own party, the epithet of “Lord
Derby’s Carter.” He adds that, “Cromwell and Bradshaw had so ordered
the matter that when they saw the major part of the House inclined to
allow the Earl’s plea, as the Speaker was putting the question, eight
or nine of them quitted the House, and those left in it being under
the number of forty, no question could be put.” The latter statement,
however, is hardly borne out by the _Commons Journal_,[10] which, under
date “14 October, 1651,” makes this brief mention of the reception of
the Earl’s petition:—

     Mr. Speaker, by way of report, acquaints the House with a letter
     which he had received from the Earl of Derby; and the question
     being put—That the said letter be now read, the House was divided.
     The yeas went forth, Sir William Brereton and Mr. Ellis tellers
     for the yeas, with the yeas, 22; Mr. Bond and Major-General
     Harrison, tellers for the noes, with the noes, 16, so it passed in
     the affirmative. A letter from the Earl of Derby, of the 11th of
     October, 1651, with a petition therein enclosed, entitled, “The
     Humble Petition of the Earl of Derby,” was this day read.

[Note 8: Oliver Edge, to whom Lord Derby surrendered, resided at Birch
Hall Houses, in Rusholme. To his credit it should be said that, whilst
strictly faithful to his oath, he treated his illustrious captive with
the respect due to fallen greatness when conducting him and his friends
as prisoners to Chester. In one of his letters to his Countess, the
Earl speaks of Captain Edge as “one that was so civil to me that I, and
all that love me, are beholden to him.”]

[Note 9: If so, this must have been in 1640, when the Earl, who was at
that time Chamberlain, gave the appointment (27 July, 14 Car. I.) to
Orlando Bridgeman, son of the Bishop of Chester, in succession to Roger
Downes, of Wardley Hall, near Manchester.]

[Note 10: vii.—27.]

In the administration of affairs in his own county, Colonel Bradshaw
took an active part. He was one of the commissioners for the
Macclesfield hundred for the sequestration of the estates of those
who retained Royalist opinions, or who refused to take the national
covenant, and his name appears first among the signataries to the
famous Lancashire and Cheshire petition to the Parliament, praying
for the establishment of the Presbyterian religion, and urging that
“the frequenters of separate conventicles might be discountenanced
and punished.” The petitioners who had previously pleaded conscience
having gained the ascendancy were now anxious to stifle freedom of
thought, and to exercise a tyranny over their fellow-men, justifying
the remark of Fuller, that “those who desired most ease and liberty for
their sides when bound with Episcopacy, now girt their own garments
closest about the consciences of others.” In those troublous times
marriage as a religious ceremony was forbidden, and became merely a
civil contract entered into before a justice of the peace, after three
“publications” at the “meeting place,” or in the “market place,” the
statute declaring that “no other marriage whatsoever shall be held or
accounted a marriage according to the laws of England.” Bradshaw, as a
county justice, officiated at many of these civil marriages, and his
neat and carefully-written autograph frequently appears in the church
books of the period, with his heraldic seal affixed (for, however he
might affect to contemn such vanities, he was yet careful to display
the armorial ensigns of his house when acting officially with his more
aristocratic neighbours), sometimes as appointing parish registrars,
and at others ordering the levying of church rates and sanctioning
the parish accounts, which at the time could not be passed without
magisterial confirmation.

[Illustration]

Colonel Bradshaw lived to see the fall of the Commonwealth, and the
overthrow of that form of government he had done so much to establish,
but he did not long survive the restoration of monarchy. After that
event had taken place, he was brought before the Lords Committee to
answer for the part he had taken in the court-martial on Lord Derby,
and committed to the custody of the Messenger of Black Rod. He appears,
however, to have been leniently dealt with, for, after submitting to
what reads very like an apology for his conduct, he was set at liberty,
and permitted to pass the remainder of his days in peace. Those days
were but few: the anxiety consequent upon the changed aspect of affairs
was too much for him—his spirit was broken, and he died at Marple a
few months after (11th March, 1661-2). On the 15th March, 1661-2, in
accordance with his previously-expressed desire, his remains were
laid beside those of his father and grandfather in the little chapel
belonging to his family, then standing on the south side of the chancel
of Stockport Church.

It does not appear that a copy of his will, which was proved at
Chester, by the executor, 27th February, 1662, has at any time been
published, but the following abstract, made by Mr. J. Fred. Beever, and
contributed by him to “Local Gleanings,” appeared in the _Manchester
Courier_ of October 15, 1875:—

     2 July 12 Car. II (1660) I Henry Bradshaw of Marple co. Chester
     doe ... buried in my father’s grave in Marple Quire in the par.
     Churche of Stockport if I depart this life in Cheshire ... my
     sonne John Bradshawe ... all my lands in Bowden Medlarie (Bowdon
     Edge?) and Mellor in the county of Darbie ... my sonne William
     Bradshawe ... my lands in Chapel-le-Frith and Briggeworth
     (Bugsworth?) co. Derby ... Godfrey Bradshawe, Francis Bradshawe
     and Joseph Bradshawe, my three youngest sonnes ... all my lands
     in Torkington co. Chester ... Anne my lovinge wife ... she having
     a jointure out of my lands in Cheshire and Wibersley ... my sonne
     and heire Henery Bradshawe ... all my bookes ... my twoe daughters
     Barbara and Catharine, they being by their grandfather Wells and
     his wife well provided for. To my daughter Dorothy ... £400, to my
     daughter Rachel ... £500, to my youngest daughter Anne ... £400
     ... my said sonne Henery Bradshawe ... (the residuary legatee and
     executor) ... my good friend Edward Warren, of Poynton esq....
     (overseer).

Bradshaw was wont to lament that he had “a small estate and eleven
children.” The whole eleven, as well as his second wife survived him.
Among the family portraits at Marple was (and may be still) one of a
young maiden, said to be a daughter of the colonel. Round this lady
the glamour of romance has been cast, and a tradition tells the story
of her unhappy fate. In those times, when not unfrequently members of
the same family took opposite sides, when father contended with son,
and brother met brother in mortal conflict, Miss Bradshaw, with scant
regard for the religious and political principles of her house, had
formed an attachment for a young officer in the Royalist army, whose
family had in happier days been on terms of intimacy with her own.
Though he had espoused the cause of his sovereign, the Puritan colonel,
in consideration of former friendships, treated him with personal
kindness and welcomed him to his house. On one occasion, when entrusted
with the conveyance of despatches to the King, who was then with
his army at Chester, having occasion to pass near Marple, the young
cavalier halted and stayed the night with the family of his betrothed.
Mistress Bradshaw, with a woman’s intuitiveness, suspecting the nature
of his mission, and fearing the letters he was commissioned to deliver
might bode no good to her husband’s house, resolved, with the help of
a trusty waiting-maid, to secretly ascertain their contents. Having
done this, and found that her worst fears were realised, her next
thought was how to prevent their reaching the King’s hands without
awakening the suspicions of their bearer. Summoning to her councils
an old servitor of the family, it was decided to partially sever the
straps by which the saddle-bags containing the dreaded missives were
attached, so that the attendant, when guiding their bearer across the
ford, might detach and sink them in the Goyt, when they would be lost
for ever. On the early morrow the gay young soldier, having taken leave
of his lady-love, hastened upon his mission; the old retainer, who was
nothing loth to speed the parting guest, accompanying him towards the
river, but, giving a somewhat free interpretation to his instructions,
concluded that if it was desirable to get rid of the letters it might
be equally desirable to get rid of their bearer, and so, instead of
conducting him to the ford, he led him to the deepest part of the
river, which had become swollen with the storm of the previous night.
The young cavalier plunged into the stream, and in an instant both
horse and rider were swept away by the surging flood. Miss Bradshaw
witnessed the act of treachery from the window of her chamber, but was
powerless to prevent the catastrophe. She saw the fatal plunge, gave
one long piercing shriek, and fell senseless to the ground. Reason had
for ever left her.

Such is the legend that has floated down through successive
generations, and still obtains credence with many of the neighbouring
villagers, who, with a fondness for the supernatural, delight to tell
how the shade of the hapless maid of Marple is sometimes seen lingering
at nightfall about the broad staircases and corridors of what was once
her home, or, as the pale cold moon sheds her silvery radiance on wood
and sward, wandering along the grassy margin of the river and by the
deep dark pool where her lover lost his life. Mr. Leigh has made the
incidents of this tradition the basis of one of the most pathetic of
his recently-published Cheshire ballads. Another writer on Marple has,
however, given a different version. He says the lady was Miss Esther
Bradshaw, and that her lover was “Colonel Sydenham, the Royalist
commander,” whom she ultimately married. It is a pity to spoil so
pretty a story, but strict regard for prosaic fact compels us to avow
our disbelief in it, and that for a twofold reason—(1) that Colonel
Sydenham was not a “Royalist,” but had been an active officer during
the war on the Parliament side; and (2) that Colonel Bradshaw never
had a daughter Esther. The story so circumstantially related rests,
we believe, on no better foundation than the once popular though now
almost forgotten romance of “The Cavalier,” written under the _nom de
plume_ of Lee Gibbons, by Mr. Bennett, of Chapel-en-le-Frith, some
sixty years ago.

Henry Bradshaw, the Parliamentarian soldier, as the eldest surviving
son, inherited the family estates, while John, his younger brother,
was left to push his fortunes as best he could. Possessing much natural
shrewdness and ability, with no lack of energy and self-confidence, he
was content with the position, strong in the belief that

    The world’s mine oyster,

and in the bitter struggle between monarchy and democracy he was quick
to avail himself of the opportunities which tended to his own wealth
and aggrandisement.

He first saw the light in 1602, but the exact place of his birth has
not been ascertained. In an article in Britton and Brayley’s “Beauties
of England and Wales,” believed to have been written by Watson, the
historian of the Earls of Warren, it is stated that he was born at
Wyberslegh; but Mr. Ormerod, in his “History of Cheshire,” doubts the
probability of this, “inasmuch,” he says, “as the family only became
possessed of that seat by the marriage of his elder brother Henry with
the daughter of Mr. Wells,” but this, if we may venture to differ from
so deservedly high an authority, must be an error, for Wyberslegh,
which had for many generations been appendant to the hall of Marple,
was in the occupation of his father or grandfather when the Marple
property was purchased by them in 1606; it is not unlikely, therefore,
that the younger Bradshaw was residing at Wyberslegh at the time of
his son John’s birth. His baptism is thus recorded in the Stockport
register:—

     1602. Dec. 10. John, the sonne of Henrye Bradshawe, of Marple,
     baptized.

At a later date some zealous Royalist has written in the margin the
word “traitor.” It has been said that his mother died in giving him
birth. This, however, is not strictly correct, though her death
occurred a few weeks after that event, the register of Stockport
showing that she was buried there January 24, 1603-4, and her son
Francis, who would seem to have been a twin with John, was baptised at
the same place three days later.

Of the early life and habits of the future Lord President nothing
positively is known. From his will we learn that he received his early
classical education at Bunbury, of which school that staunch Puritan,
Edward Burghall, afterwards Vicar of Acton, was at the time master;
subsequently he was sent to Queen Elizabeth’s Free School at Middleton,
in Lancashire, then lately remodelled and endowed by Nowell, Dean of
St Paul’s, and, “as part of his thankful acknowledgment,” he at his
death bequeathed to each of these institutions £500 for “amending
the wages of the master and usher.” There is a very general opinion
that he was at King Edward’s Grammar School in Macclesfield also for
a time; though there is no evidence of the fact, this is by no means
improbable. Macclesfield was conveniently near to his home, and the
school had at that time obtained a high reputation from the ability and
scholarly attainments of at least two of its masters, John Brownswerd,
“a schoolmaster of great fame for learning,” as Webb says, “who living
many years brought up most of the gentry of this shire,” and Thomas
Newton, one of the most distinguished Latin poets of the Elizabethan
era; and some countenance is given to this supposition by the phrase in
his will, “I had _part_ of my educa’con” at Middleton and Bunbury. The
Macclesfield school at that time abutted upon the churchyard, and there
is a tradition that young Bradshaw, while with some of his playmates,
and in a boyish freak, wrote the following prophetic lines upon a
gravestone there:—

    My brother Henry must heir the land,
    My brother Frank must be at his command,
    Whilst I, poor Jack, will do that
    That all the world shall wonder at.

The authenticity of this production may very well be questioned, for,
however ambitious his mind, we can hardly suppose that this young
son of a quiet, unostentatious country gentleman could have had the
faintest glimmering of his future destiny any more than that his muse
was moved by prophetic inspiration.

He served his clerkship with an attorney at Congleton, whence he
proceeded to London, and studied for some time at Gray’s Inn, of
which learned society he entered as a student for the bar in 1622,
and with such assiduity did he apply himself to his studies that in
later years Whitelock, in his “Memorials,” bore willing testimony
that he was “a man learned in his profession.” Having completed his
studies, he returned to Congleton, where he practised for some years,
and, taking an active part in the town’s affairs, was elected an
alderman of the borough—the house in which he resided, a quaint black
and white structure, having been in existence until recent years. In
1637 he was named Attorney-General for Cheshire and Flintshire, as
appears by the following entry on the Calendar of Recognizances Rolls
for the Palatinate of Chester: “13 Car. I., June 7. Appointment of
John Bradshawe as one of the Earl’s attorneys-at-law in the counties
of Chester and Flint, during pleasure, with the same fees as Robert
Blundell, late attorney there, received.” In the same year he was
chosen Mayor of Congleton, an office he is said to have discharged with
ability and satisfaction, being, as a local chronicler records, “a
vigilant and intelligent magistrate, and well qualified to administer
justice.” He certainly cannot be charged with indifference or lack
of zeal while filling this position, for the corporation books show
that he left his mark in the shape of “certain orders, laws, and
ordinances,” he set down “for the better regiment and government of
the inhabitants, and the preservation of peace and order.” These
regulations, which were of a somewhat stringent character, imposed
fines upon the aldermen and other dignitaries who neglected to provide
themselves with halberds, and to don their civic gowns and other
official bravery, when attending upon their chief, while the “freemen”
of the borough were left with little freedom to boast of. It is evident
that, Calvinist and Republican though he was, and a Puritan of the
most “advanced” school, Bradshaw, even at that early period of his
public career, had little liking for the severe simplicity affected
by his political and religious associates, the regulations he laid
down indicating a fondness for histrionic display and a love for
the trappings and pageantry of office. As might be supposed, a small
country town, the merry-hearted inhabitants of which were proverbial
for their love of bear-baiting and their fondness for cakes and sack,
was not a likely place to afford scope for the exercise of the talents
of so resplendent a genius, so, seeking a more active sphere, he betook
himself to the metropolis, where he continued to follow his profession.
The year in which Cromwell gained his great victory at Marston Moor was
that in which we find him for the first time employed in the service of
the Parliament, being joined (Oct., 1644) with Mr. Newdegate and the
notorious Prynne in the prosecution of the Irish rebels, Lords Macguire
and Macmahon, before the Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer, which
resulted in the rebel lords being condemned and executed.

It is not unlikely that Bradshaw had made the acquaintance of Prynne
before he left Congleton, for the year of his mayoralty there was one
in which that “pestilent breeder of sedition,” as he was called, after
standing in the pillory with Bastwick and Burton, and having his ears
clipped, passed through Cheshire on his way to the prison at Carnarvon,
making what reads very like a triumphal progress, and creating no small
stir among the disaffected Puritans in the county, who regarded the
victim of a harsh and unwise persecution as a sufferer for the cause of
the true Gospel. His conductors treated him with much leniency—indeed,
on the whole, they seem to have had rather a pleasant outing, stopping
for two or three days at a time at the principal halting-places, and
enjoying themselves when and where they could. At Tarporley, Tarvin,
and Chester the offender was admitted to the houses of his friends,
and received visits from some of the more notable of the anti-Royalist
faction in the city and county, a procedure which drew down upon him
the episcopal wrath—Bridgeman, the Bishop, being greatly scandalised at
the idea of the “twice-censured lawyer and stigmatised monster,” as he
called him, being entertained in his own cathedral city “by a set of
sour factious citizens.” The complaint, it must be admitted, was not
without cause, for it seems the mayor and corporation began to waver
in their orthodoxy, and became slack in going to hear sermons at the
cathedral, so that the energetic prelate “could not have his eye upon
their behaviour” as he desired. Whether this was due to the pleasant
and moving discourses of Prynne, or that the sermons at the cathedral
were too dry and lifeless to suit the tastes of the Cestrians, is
not clear, but to remedy the evil Bridgeman had a brand new pulpit
erected in the choir, capacious enough for all the canons to preach
in at one time, had they been so minded; and, further, ordered all
other preachers in the city to end their discourses before those at
the cathedral began, in order that the civic authorities might have
no excuse for negligence in their attendance on sound doctrine, as
delivered within its walls.

The manner in which Bradshaw conducted the prosecution of the Irish
rebels evidently gave satisfaction to his employers, and paved the
way to his future advancement; certain it is that, after this time,
he is frequently found engaged upon the business of the Parliament.
When so employed he was not a pleasant person to encounter, as poor
old Edmund Shallcross, the rector of Stockport—the parish in which
his boyhood was spent—had good reason to know. For the particulars of
this little incident in the life of the future judge, affording, as it
does, an interesting side glance of the state of religious feeling in
Marple when the Bradshaws were all-powerful, we are indebted to the
researches of that indefatigable antiquary, Mr. J. P. Earwaker. It
seems there had been a dispute of long standing between the Bradshaws
and Shallcross on the vexed question of the tithes of Marple, a
circumstance that in itself would no doubt be sufficient to satisfy
the rector’s Presbyterian neighbours when in authority that he was
“scandalous” and “delinquent.” Be that as it may, on the breaking out
of the war Shallcross was turned out of his living, and his property,
which included an extensive library, was confiscated. He appealed
to the Commissioners of Sequestrations, and among the State papers
which Mr. Earwaker has lately unearthed is an interesting series
of interrogatories relating to persons in Cheshire suspected of
delinquency, the following being the answer to those concerning the
parson of Stockport:—

     Edward Hill, of Stopforth (Stockport), glazier, knew Mr.
     Shallcrosse, formerly minister at Stopforth, who about the
     yeare 1641 refused to lett to farme the tythes of Marple to the
     townsmen of Marple att their own rates, but offered them the same
     at such rates as was conceived they might well gaine att. And
     that aboute two yeares after Articles were exhibited against the
     said Mr. Shallcrosse for delinquency, who thereupon appealed to
     the Committee of Lords and Commons for sequestracons, and went
     severall times to London about the same busines, and was once
     goeing to have the same heard, and had a convoy of horse of the
     Parliament’s partye, and some of the King’s partye came forth of
     Dudley Castle, and (he) then was by them slayne. And this deponent
     further saith that he was servaunt to the said Mr. Shallcrosse for
     seaven yeares before his death, whoe did acquaint this examinante
     that hee had found much opposition by Sergeant Bradshawe, whoe
     then was solicitor for the Commonwealth.

     He also saith that the tythes of Stopforth are reputed to be
     worth 400li. by the yeare or thereabouts, and saith that hee
     hath heard generally reported that Sir William Brereton had a
     power invested in him to place or displace such ministers as were
     scandalous or delinquents. And he further saith that hee believed
     if the said Mr. Shallcrosse had complied with the desires of the
     said Mr. Bradshawe and his father and brother, that the said Mr.
     Shallcrosse would not have been sequestrated.

Bradshaw’s next step in advancement was in 1646, when, on the 6th
October, the House of Commons appointed him, in conjunction with Sir
Rowland Wandesford and Sir Thomas Bedingfield, Commissioners of the
Great Seal for six months, an appointment that was, however, overruled
by the House of Lords. From this time his rise was rapid, honours and
emoluments seeming to crowd upon him. On the 22nd February following
both Houses voted him to the office of Chief Justice of Chester, an
appointment that would amply compensate for the disappointment he had
experienced in Lord Derby’s previous refusal to bestow on him the
vice-chamberlainship of the city. On being relieved of his office as
one of the Commissioners of the Great Seal, he was named (March 18,
1647) as one of the judges for Wales, an office he appears to have held
conjointly with his post at Chester. Three months later we find him
again associated with Prynne, the two, with Serjeant Jermyn and Mr.
Solicitor St. John, being appointed by the Parliament to conduct the
proceedings against the intrepid Judge Jenkins, who, when impeached of
treason before the Commons, not only refused to kneel at the bar of the
House, but had the temerity to call the place “a den of thieves.”

On the 12th October, 1648, as we learn from Whitelocke, Parliament,
in accordance with a recommendation of the Commissioners of the Seal,
ordered a new call of serjeants-at-law, and Bradshaw’s name is found
among those then voted to receive the coif.

It has been suggested by a local writer that, in this, Parliament
had an ulterior object in view, the purpose of Bradshaw’s promotion
being to secure an efficient instrument for conducting the proceedings
against the Sovereign, which were then contemplated. This, however,
is extremely improbable, for Parliament, it should be remembered, was
averse to any extreme measure, and was, in fact, anxious to come to
terms with the beaten King, its agents being at the very time engaged
in negotiating with him the abortive treaty of Newport. But Cromwell
had determined that Charles’s life should be sacrificed, and the will
of the army and its guiding genius had become paramount, for a military
despotism was already usurping the powers of the State. The breach
between the army and Parliament was widening daily, and the great
struggle which was to decide the future destinies of England was at
hand. The army, flushed with victory, had returned from the destruction
of its enemies; conscious of its own power, it demanded vengeance on
the “chief delinquent,” as the King was called, and sent an expedition
to the Isle of Wight to seize his person, and convey him to Hurst
Castle. Meanwhile, the Commons had discussed the concessions made by
Charles, and by a majority of 140 to 104 had decided that they “were
sufficient grounds for settling the peace of the kingdom.” Scarcely
had the vote been recorded when a decisive blow was struck by the
army at the independence of Parliament, for on the following morning,
Colonel Pride, at the head of his regiment of foot, and accompanied
with a regiment of horse, blockaded the doors leading to the House
of Commons, and seized in the passage all those members who had been
previously marked on a list as hostile or doubtful, and placed them in
confinement, none being allowed to enter the House but the most furious
and determined of the known friends to “the cause.”[11] The obnoxious
element having been thus effectually got rid of, the sword waved openly
over the legislative benches, and the army in effect constituted the
government. The next day this remnant of the House—the “Rump,” as it
was thereafter designated—rescinded the obnoxious vote, and appointed
a day of humiliation, selecting Hugh Peters, Caryl, and Marshall
to perform the service. The “purge” of the Commons had secured the
certainty of concurrence in the wishes of the army, and accordingly,
on the 23rd December, a committee was appointed to prepare charges
for the impeachment of the King, and on the 28th an ordinance for his
trial was read. In order to give their designs some resemblance to the
form and principle of law, the House on the 1st January voted “that by
the fundamental law of the land, it is treason for the King of England
to levy war against the Parliament and kingdom.” This vote, when sent
up to the Lords for their concurrence, was rejected without a single
dissentient voice, a procedure that led the remnant of the Commons a
few weeks later to declare that “the House of Peers was useless and
dangerous, and ought to be abolished.” On the 4th January an ordinance
was presented for erecting a new High Court of Justice for the trial of
the King, which was read the first, second, and third time, assented
to, and passed the same day. The Commissioners named in it included
all the great officers of the army, four peers, the Speaker, and
principal members of the expurgated House of Commons. The twelve judges
unanimously refused to be of the commission, declaring its purpose
and constitution to be contrary to the principles of English law;
Whitelocke, who had received the coif at the same time as Bradshaw
and his colleague Widdrington, two of the most eminent lawyers of the
time, also refused to sit on the tribunal. The Commissioners met on
the 10th, and appointed Bradshaw, who was absent, their president. It
would seem to have been originally intended that he should only take a
subordinate part in the business, for on the 3rd January the committee
had decreed that Serjeants Bradshaw and Nichols, with Mr. Steel, should
be “assistants.” Steel acted as Attorney-General, but Nichols could not
be prevailed upon to give attendance.

[Note 11: This extraordinary outrage, perpetrated in the name of
freedom and justice, has ever since been familiarly known as “Pride’s
Purge.”]

It is not known with certainty whether Bradshaw was aware of the
intention to elect him president of the commission for the trial
of the King, but it is more than probable he had been informed of
what was contemplated, and he certainly cannot be said to have been
averse to the office, for undoubtedly he had resolution and courage
enough to decline it had he felt so disposed. He attended the court
in obedience to the summons on the 12th, and, when called to take the
place of president, after asking to be excused, submitted to the order
and took his place, whereupon it was ordered, “that John Bradshaw,
serjeant-at-law, who is appointed president of this court, should be
called by the name and have the title of Lord President, and that
as well without as within the said court, during the commission and
sitting of the said court.” Clarendon says that “when he was first
nominated he seemed much surprised, and very resolute to refuse it;
which he did in such a manner, and so much enlarging upon his own
want of abilities to undergo so important a charge, that it was
very evident he expected to be put to that apology. And when he was
pressed with more importunity than could have been used by chance, he
required time to consider of it, and said ‘he would then give his final
answer,’ which he did the next day, and with great humility accepted
the office, which he administered with all the pride, impudence, and
superciliousness imaginable.”

[Illustration: PRESIDENT BRADSHAW.]

Clarendon was evidently of opinion that he had been previously informed
of the position he would be asked to fill, and the “pride” spoken of
in the administration of the office was only in accord with that
fondness for display to which allusion has already been made. Suddenly
raised to a position of pre-eminence as the head of a tribunal wholly
unprecedented in the extent and nature of its assumed authority, he
was not the man to dispense with any of those outward manifestations
which might give dignity and impressiveness to his dread office. He
had 20 officers or other gentlemen appointed to attend him as a guard
going and returning from Westminster Hall; lodgings were provided
for him in New Palace Yard during the sittings of the court; and Sir
Henry Mildmay, Mr. Holland, and Mr. Edwards were deputed to see that
everything necessary was provided for him. A sword and mace were
carried before him by two gentlemen, 21 gentlemen that were near
carried each a partizan, and he had in the court 200 soldiers as an
additional guard. A chair of crimson velvet was placed for him in the
middle of the court, and a desk on which was laid a velvet cushion;
many of the commissioners, as Whitelocke says, donned “their best
habits,” and the President himself appeared in a scarlet robe, and
wearing his celebrated peaked hat, remaining covered when the King was
brought before him, though he expressed himself as greatly offended
that his Sovereign did not remove his hat while in his presence.

Into the particulars of the trial we do not desire to enter—they are
matters which history has made known; nor do we wish to dwell upon
the incidents attendant upon it—the calm and dignified demeanour of
the ill-starred King; his denial of the authority of the court, and
consistent refusal to recognise a power founded on usurpation; the
ill-concealed vanity of the judge; the imposing pomp and glitter of the
regicidal court; the intrepid loyalty of Lady Fairfax, who startled
the commission by her vehement protest when the charge was made, and
the scarcely less courageous conduct of her companion, Mrs. Nelson;
the rancorous hatred displayed by the King’s accusers; the mockery of
proof; the refusal to hear the fallen monarch’s appeal; the revilings
of the excited soldiery; the expressions of sympathy of the people; or
the brutal blow bestowed upon the poor soldier who ventured to implore
a blessing on his Sovereign’s head—all these are recorded and are
embalmed in the hearts of the English people. The bloody episode which
will for ever darken our national annals was an event without precedent
in the world’s history. For the constitution of the court no authority
could be found in English law, it was illegal, unconstitutional,
and, in its immediate results, dangerous to liberty. Whatever might
be the faults of Charles—and they were many—his death was not a
political necessity, nor can it be justly said to have been the act
of the nation, for the voice of public opinion had never been heard,
and therefore the country must be exonerated of any participation by
approval or otherwise in the criminality of that unfortunate deed—it
was the act of a faction in the House of Commons, acting under the
influence of a faction in the army. In this momentous business Bradshaw
may have persuaded himself that he was performing a solemn act of duty
to his country, but, looked at in the light of after history, that act
can only be pronounced a criminal blunder.

Tradition says that the warrant for the King’s execution was signed
in Bradshaw’s house[12] at Walton-on-Thames, a building still
standing near Church Street in that pleasant little town, though now
subdivided into several small tenements, and shorn of much of its
ancient splendour—his own signature, of course, appearing first on that
well-known document.

[Note 12: Though now closed in by humbler dwellings, the house must have
been in Bradshaw’s time far away from any other building of equal size
and pretensions. There is a common belief in the neighbourhood that an
underground passage led from it to Ashley Park, where Cromwell, it is
said, at that time resided.]

[Illustration: Autograph of John Bradshaw]

Now, after a lapse of more than two centuries, and when the welfare of
the throne and the people are identical, we can afford to look back
upon the great tragedy in which Bradshaw played so profound a part
calmly and without bitterness of spirit. From the anarchy, the foulness
of the tyranny of those times, the nation, the Church, and the people
have emerged with a firm hold on better things. Prelacy, which had been
trampled under foot, and Presbyterianism, which became to Independency
much what Prelacy had been to Presbyterianism, have reappeared, but
the severe asceticism and religious fervour of the Puritan, and the
catholicity and breadth of view of the Churchman have commingled and
become elements of the national life, fruitful for good by reason that
they no longer come into violent collision with each other.

When Bradshaw had brought his Sovereign to the block, he may be said to
have fulfilled the prediction of his early youth, for assuredly he had

                      Done that
    Which all the world did wonder at.

He had accepted an office which sounder lawyers shrank from
undertaking, and had entitled himself to the gratitude of those who,
by compassing the death of the King, sought to accomplish their own
ambitious ends; and it must be admitted that those who benefited by
his daring were neither slow nor niggardly in rewarding him for his
services to the “cause,” for never was a royal favourite so suddenly
raised to a position of power, and wealth, and consequence, and never
was monarch more lavish in the favours bestowed upon a courtier than
was the newly-appointed Government in doing honour to and enriching its
legal chief. The Deanery House at Westminster was given as a residence
to him and his heirs, and a sum of £5,000 allowed to procure an
equipage suitable to his new sphere of life, and such as the dignity of
his office demanded. “The Lord President of the High Court of Justice,”
writes Clarendon, “seemed to be the greatest magistrate in England.
And, though it was not thought seasonable to make any such declaration,
yet some of those whose opinion grew quickly into ordinances, upon
several occasions declared that they believed that office was not to be
looked upon as necessary _pro hac vice_ only, but for continuance, and
that he who executed it deserved to have an ample and liberal estate
conferred upon him for ever.”

As his office did not expire with the King’s trial, Parliament on
the 6th February allowed him to appoint a deputy to supply his place
at Guildhall, where he had sat as judge, and on the 14th of the same
month, when Parliament made provision for the exercise of the executive
authority by the appointment of a Council of State, he was selected by
the House as one of the thirty-eight members. Of this body Bradshaw
was chosen president, and his kinsman, John Milton, Latin secretary.
At the first meeting (March 10), if we are to believe our old friend
Whitelocke, he seemed “but little versed in such business,” and spent
much of the time in making long speeches. Two days afterwards he was
appointed Chief Justice of Wales, but he did not go there immediately,
for on the 20th of the same month he sat again as Lord President of
the Council, at whose discussions it would seem he was not disposed
to remain a mere passive instrument, for, as Whitelocke remarks, he
“spent much of their time in urging his own long arguments, which are
inconvenient in State matters.” “His part,” as he adds, “was only to
have gathered the sense of the council, and to state the question, not
to deliver his own opinion.”

Whatever may have been his demeanour in the council, outside, at least,
the duties of his office were discharged with firmness and energy, as
the townsmen of Manchester had cause to know. When, in 1642, the town
was threatened with an attack by Lord Derby, the Presbyterians had
entrusted its defence to Colonel Rosworm, a German engineer, who had
been trained in the wars of the Low Countries, and who had agreed to
give his services for six months for the modest sum of £30. A faithful
and valuable servant he proved, though a provokingly ill-tempered one,
for he never ceased to bewail the beggarly remuneration he had agreed
to accept, or to rail at the “despicable earthworms,” as he termed
those who had offered it. As he refused to sign the national covenant,
that not being included in the contract, and being, as he thought, no
part of a soldier’s duty, his employers took an irreconcileable hatred
against him, and, when the danger was past, repudiated their share of
the bargain. Unable to obtain the pittance for which he had risked his
life, he left the town in disgust, and repaired to London to lay his
grievances before the Government, and implore their interference. As a
consequence, the following peremptory letter was addressed to the town
by Bradshaw, which no doubt had a salutary effect on the “despicable
earthworms,” whom the angry old soldier had charged with being
“matchless in their treachery, and setting the devil himself an example
of villainy”:—

     For the town of Manchester, and particularly for those who
     contracted with Lieut.-Colonell Roseworme, these are.

     Gentlemen,—The condition of the bearer being fully made known,
     and his former merit attested to us by honourable testimony, and
     very well known to yourselves, himself also being by birth a
     stranger, and unable to present his complaints in the ordinary
     legall forme, give us just occasion to recommend him to you for
     a thorough performance of what, by your contract and promise, is
     become due unto him for his speciall service done to your town
     and country, whereto we conceive there is good cause for you to
     make an addition, and that there can be no cause at all for your
     backwardness to pay him what is his due.

     As touching that which is otherwise, due to him from the State,
     after some other greater businesses are over, he may expect to be
     put in a way to receive all just satisfaction. In the meane time
     we committ him and the premises to your consideration for his
     speedy relief, and we doe require you to give us notice of your
     resolutions and doings herein, within one month after the receipt
     thereof.

     Signed in the name and by order of the Council of State appointed
     by authority of Parliament.

                                 JO. BRADSHAWE, Pr. Sedt.
Whitehall, 7th July, 1649.


It must be confessed that the President, with all his “rare modesty”
and patriotism, was not so self-denying but that he looked sharply
after the main chance. On the 19th June, 1649, Parliament voted him a
sum of £1,000, and on the same day ordered that it should be referred
to a committee to consider how he was to be put into possession of the
value of £2,000 a year, to be settled as an inheritance upon him and
his heirs for ever.

Wealth and honours were literally showered upon him, and for a time the
history of the Government was little else than a history of Bradshaw.
On the 30th June he was re-appointed to the office of Chief Justice
of Chester, Humphrey Macworth, of Shrewsbury, who afterwards acted as
President of the court-martial which tried Lord Derby, being named
as his deputy. On the 15th July a Bill passed through Parliament
settling £2,000 a year on him and his heirs, and nine days later (July
24th) another £2,000 per annum was granted to him and them out of the
sequestrated estates of the Earl of St Albans at Somerhill, in Kent,
and those of Lord Cottington in Wiltshire, the latter including the
famous Fonthill. This last-named grant was in all probability the one
referred to in the order of June 19, when a committee was ordered to
consider how an annual payment of that amount could be settled.

Four days after these grants were made, an Act was passed constituting
him Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, an office that subsequently,
when others were abolished, was on his account specially retained, and
on the 2nd April, 1652, secured to him. His name appears on the list of
Justices of the Peace for his native county in 1650; in the same year
he was again named of the Council of State, and retained his office
of President. The following letter, extracted from the State papers,
is interesting as showing the relations existing between Bradshaw and
Cromwell, and the estimation in which he was held by the Lord General:—

     My Lord,—I return you my humble and heartie thanks for your
     late noble and friendly letter, whereby I have the comfort and
     assurance of your lordship’s faire interpretation of my past,
     and (so I dare call them) well ment actions, which I shall not
     desyre to account for or justify to any man lyving so soon as to
     yourself; of whome I shall ever have that esteeme as becomes me
     to have of one who daylie approves himself religion’s and his
     countrey’s best friend, and who may justly challenge a tribute of
     observance from all that syncerely wysh them well, in which number
     I shall hope ever to be found.

     My Lord, I have (’tis true) taken the boldness to write some
     few letters to you since your late departure hence, and I
     have satisfaction enough that they were receyved, and are not
     dyspleasing to you. Your applycation to the gentleman, named in
     yours, who is of so knowne fytnesse and abylytie to procure you
     effectuall returnes, was an act, in my apprehension, savouring
     of your usuall prudence, and tending to the advantage of the
     publique affayres committed to your trust and care; neither can
     any wyse man justifie any charge of seeming neglect of others
     in that respect. I am sorry your lordship hath bene put to any
     expense of your so pretious tyme, for removing any such doubts;
     but these my over carefull fryends, who have created your lordship
     this trouble, have, I must confess, occasyonally contrybuted to my
     desyred contentment, which is, and ever hath been, synce I had the
     honour to be knowne unto you, to understand myself to be reteyned
     and preserved in your good opinion. And if my faithfull endeavours
     for the publique, and respects unto your lordship in everything
     wherein I may serve you, may deserve a contynuance thereof, I
     may not doubt still to find that happiness; and this is all the
     trouble I shall give your lordship as to that matter.

     We are now beginning with a new councell another yeare. I might
     have hoped, either for love or something els, to have been spared
     from the charge, but I could not obtaine that favour; and I dare
     not but submyt, where it is cleare to me that God gives the call.
     He also will, I hope, give His poore creature some power to act
     according to His mynd, and to serve Him in all uprightness and
     syncerytie, in the way wherein He hath placed me to walk.

     My Lord, I have no more, but to recommend you and all your great
     affaires to the guydance, mercy, and goodness of our good God, and
     to subscrybe myself, in all truth of affection,

Your lordship’s ever to be disposed of
                          JO. BRADSHAWE.

     Whytehall, 18 Feb., 1650.

     The customer who wronged Sir James Lidod is ordered to restore and
     satisfie, and to come up to answer his charge, which, probably,
     will fall heavy upon him.

     For his Excellency the Lord General Cromwell, These.

Bradshaw acted as President of the Council of State in 1651, and again
in the year following. So far his success had been uninterrupted, and
as the supreme magistrate his power and influence was second only
to that of Cromwell himself. His authority was almost absolute. The
amiable Evelyn, in his diary, records that he could not witness the
burial of Dorislaus, “the villain,” as he writes, “who manag’d the
trial against his sacred Majesty,” until “I got a passe from the rebell
Bradshaw, then in great power;” and again, when he went to Paris with
only “an antiquated passe, it being so difficult to procure one of the
rebells without entering into oathes, which I never would do,” and he
had to bribe the officials at Dover, he found “money to the searchers
and officers was as authentiq as the hand and seale of Bradshawe
himselfe,” “where,” he adds, “I had not so much as my trunk open’d.”

The very rapidity with which Bradshaw had attained to power made him
a formidable competitor with, if not indeed a dangerous rival to, the
man in whose goodwill he had said it was his “desyred contentment” “to
be reteyned and preserved;” and there can be little doubt that his
boldness and unflinching adherence to the principles he had espoused
brought about his own undoing, for it was not long before an incident
occurred which for ever alienated Cromwell’s friendship from him. The
occasion was one memorable in the annals of England—the dissolution of
the Long Parliament, on the 20th April, 1653. Finding the action of
the “Rump,” as it was called, inimical to his designs, Cromwell, who
seems to have begun to think that government by a single person was
desirable, went down to Westminster with a force of 300 men, broke up
the House, expelled the members, and, pointing to the mace, directed
Col. Worsley—Manchester’s first Parliamentary representative—to “take
away that bauble,” which having been done, he ordered the doors to be
locked, and then returned to his lodgings at Whitehall. And so, without
a struggle or a groan, unpitied and unregretted, the Long Parliament,
which for 12 years had under a variety of forms alternately defended
and invaded the liberties of the nation, fell by the parricidal hands
of its own children.

Bradshaw, refusing to submit in silence to such a daring infringement
of the liberties of Parliament, resolved upon taking his place as head
of the Council of State the same afternoon, thinking, probably, that
his presence might deter Cromwell from committing any further acts of
violence; but the Lord General was not to be so easily diverted from
his purpose. Taking Lambert and Major-General Harrison with him, he
proceeded to the Council, and expelled its members in the same abrupt
and arbitrary manner that he had dismissed the Commons. Addressing
Bradshaw and those assembled with him, he said,—

     Gentlemen, if you are met here as private persons, you shall not
     be disturbed; but if as a Council of State, this is no place for
     you; and, since you cannot but know what was done at the House in
     the morning, so take notice that the Parliament is dissolved.

To which Bradshaw replied,—

     Sir, we have heard what you did at the House in the morning,
     and before many hours all England will hear. But, sir, you are
     mistaken to think that Parliament is dissolved, for no power under
     heaven can dissolve them but themselves; therefore, take you
     notice of that.

The President’s spirited reply cost him Cromwell’s friendship, who,
though he continued to treat him with the outward manifestations of
respect, ever afterwards regarded him with feelings of distrust.
Exasperated though he was, Cromwell must have felt the justice of
the rebuke, for in a conference afterwards with his brother-in-law,
Desborough, he remarked that his work in clearing the House was not
complete until he had got rid of the Council of State, which, he said,
“I did in spite of the objection of honest Bradshaw, the President.”

The Republican leaders, indignant at the forcible expulsion of the
Rump Parliament, denounced it as an illegal act, which undoubtedly it
was, but Cromwell was not the man to be bound by the ordinary laws of
constitutional liberty. The miserable remnant of the Parliament, it
must be admitted, had become a reproach; it had become supreme through
similar unconstitutional violence, and was itself violating its own
contract in refusing to vote its own dissolution. The spirit manifested
by Bradshaw has been likened to that of an ancient Roman; but whether
in the resistance he offered he was influenced by purely patriotic and
disinterested motives may be very well questioned, for it must not
be forgotten that he had looked with complacency on the illegal and
high-handed proceeding which had laid the Parliament at the feet of the
army, when that sharp medicine, “Pride’s Purge,” was administered—an
act of daring violence by virtue of which alone he held his office and
had acquired his wealth.

Up to this time, as we have said, his career had been characterised by
uninterrupted success; but the uniform good luck which had hitherto
shown what daring could accomplish when upheld by an intelligent
head and dauntless heart, now forsook him. Cromwell, who was aiming
at arbitrary government in his own person, could not, on finding his
authority thus openly disputed by the President of the Council, but
have had misgivings that the man who had sufficient resolution to pass
sentence of death upon the King might not be unwilling, should occasion
arise, to perform the same office upon himself. It became necessary,
therefore, for the accomplishment of his plans that Bradshaw’s power
should be abridged; and though Parliament, on the 16th September, 1653,
enacted that the continuance of the palatinate power of Lancaster
should be vested in him, and he was also named one of the interim
Council of State that was to meet relative to a settlement of the
Government, he was no longer permitted to occupy an office of actual
power and authority.

On the 16th December, 1653, Cromwell was inaugurated Lord Protector
of the Commonwealth. Bradshaw, who was a thorough Republican, and who
certainly had the courage of his convictions, was equally opposed to
unlimited power, whether exercised by the King or by the Protector,
at once set himself to counteract the authority of his former patron.
In the first Parliament of the Protectorate he sat for his native
county, but it was only for a very brief period, for scarcely had the
representatives of the people assembled than they fell to questioning
the Protector’s authority, when Cromwell, after surrounding the
House with his guards, administered a corrective in the shape of a
declaration promising allegiance to himself, which he required every
member to sign, shortly after which he dismissed them unceremoniously
to their homes.

For a year and nine months England was left without a Parliament, the
supreme power being exercised by the Protector, and every one holding
office was required to take out a commission from him. This Bradshaw
refused to do, alleging that he held his office of Chief Justice of
Chester by a grant from the Parliament of England to continue _quamdiu
se bene gesserint_, and should therefore retain it, though willing to
submit to a verdict of twelve Englishmen as to whether he had carried
himself with that integrity which his commission exacted; and shortly
after this protest he set out on the circuit without any further
attempt being made to hinder him. His daring and firmness, as might be
expected, widened the breach and still further provoked the anger of
Cromwell, who wrote a letter to Major-General Bridge, at Middlewich,
requesting that he might be opposed by every means at the approaching
election at Chester. By some accident this letter fell into the hands
of Bradshaw’s friends, and was publicly read in the city. In spite of
this opposition he succeeded in securing his election, but, there being
a double return, neither representative took his seat. The Protector
had not only used his power against Bradshaw at Chester, but he also
succeeded in preventing his election for London, a position he had
aspired to.

Cromwell and his Independents had gone beyond the Puritan Republicans,
who, joining with the Anabaptists, Fifth Monarchy men, and other
fanatics, protested against any earthly sovereignty. Plots for
restoring the Commonwealth were rife, and there is good reason to
believe that in some of these Bradshaw was implicated; certain it is
that he was in correspondence with Okey and Goodgroom, whom he assured
that “the Long Parliament, though under a force, was the supreme
authority in England.”

The feeling of jealousy and distrust entertained by Cromwell and
Bradshaw for each other, though not openly avowed, became evident
to all, and Whitelocke says that in November, 1657, “the dislike
between them was perceived to increase.” These mutual jealousies were
not, however, to be of long continuance, for in less than a year the
grave had closed over the object of Bradshaw’s distrust. On the 3rd
September, 1658, the anniversary of his victories over the Scots at
Dunbar, and the Royalists at Worcester—his “Fortunate Day” as he was
wont to call it, Cromwell passed away, and his son and successor, even
had he been so disposed, was too weak to continue any very energetic
resistance.

On Richard Cromwell’s accession, a new Parliament was called, when
Bradshaw was again returned to the House of Commons for Chester. Though
he did not scruple to take the oath of fidelity to the new Protector,
he, nevertheless, entered into active co-operation with Haslerig, Vane,
and other Republicans, in their opposition to the Government. This
Parliament came to an end on the 22nd April, 1659, the dissolution
having been forced by the officers of the army, and with it Richard
Cromwell’s power and authority were gone, and the Protectorate was at
an end.

It is about this time that we discover the first indications of
Bradshaw’s health failing him. At the Easter assizes, in 1659, he was
lying sick in London, and unable to attend the Welsh circuit; and
as Thomas Fell, who had been associated with him—the Judge Fell, of
Swarthmoor in Furness, whose widow George Fox, the founder of the
Society of Friends, afterwards married—had died in September of the
previous year, John Ratcliffe, Recorder of Chester, was appointed to
act as his deputy _pro hac vice tantum_.

That anomalous authority, the “Rump,” which the elder Cromwell had so
ignominiously expelled from the House of Commons, was, on the 17th May,
restored by the same power of the army that, six years previously, it
had been dismissed. Six days after, a Council of State was appointed,
in which Bradshaw obtained a seat, and was elected president; and
on the 3rd June following he was named, with Serjeants Fountain and
Tyrrel, a Commissioner of the Great Seal. His health, however, had
now seriously given way, and as he had been for some months suffering
from “aguish dystemper,” he asked to be relieved of the duties of
the office. For the following copy of a letter written at this time,
while he was lying sick at Fonthill—one of the few of Bradshaw’s which
have escaped destruction—the author is indebted to the courtesy of
that industrious labourer in the field of literature, the late Mr.
John Timbs, F.S.A., by whom it was transcribed from the original in
the possession of Mr. F. Kyffin-Lenthall, a descendant of “Speaker”
Lenthall, to whom it was addressed:—

     Honourable Sir,—I have, by Mr. Love, a member of this happie
     P’liament, receyved the Howse’s pleasure touching myself in
     relation to ye Great Seale, wherein, as I desire wth all humble
     thankfulnes to acknowledge ye respect and favour done me in
     honouring me with such a trust, so I should reckon it a great
     happiness if I were able immediately to answer ye call and
     personallie attend ye service wch at present I am not, laboring
     under an aguish dystemper of about 8 months’ continuance; for
     removing whereof (after much Physicke in vaine) according to
     advyce on all hands, I have betaken myself to the fresh ayre, and
     hope (though my fitts have not yet left me) to receive benefit and
     advantage thereby. And for this I humbly begge ye Parliamts leave
     and permission, if upon this just occasion they shall not in their
     wysdome think fit otherwise to dyspence with me. In ye meane time
     it hath been and is noe small addition to my other afflictions
     that for want of health it hath not bene in my power according to
     my Heart’s earnest desire to be serviceable in my poor measure to
     the publiq. But by ye helpe of God when through his goodnes my
     strength shal be restored (of wch I despayre not) I shal be most
     free and willing to serve ye Parliment and Commonwealth in anie
     capacity and that through dyvine assistance wth all diligence,
     constancy and faithfulness, and to ye utmost of my power.

     Sir, I judged it my dutie to give this account of myself to ye
     House, and humbly desyre by your hand it may be tendered to them;
     for whom I daylie praye that God would blesse all their counsels
     and consultations, and succeede all their unwearyed endevors for
     ye happie setling and establishment of this latelie languyshing
     and now revived Commonwealth upon sure and lasting foundations.

Sir, I rest and am
            Your humble Servant
                                JO. BRADSHAWE.

(Fonthi) "ll in Wyltshire
... in 1659
... scentis Respublica, Primo.
    (Read June 9, 1659)

For the Right Honble William Lenthall, Speaker
    of ye Parliament of the Commonwealth
        of England. These.

     Consider what it is we ask, and consider whether it be not the
     same thing we have asserted with our lives and fortunes—_a Free
     Parliament_. And what a slavery is it to our understandings, that
     these men that now call themselves a Parliament, should declare
     it an act of illegality and violence in the late aspiring General
     Cromwell to dissolve their body in 1653, and not make it the
     like in the garbling of the whole body of the Parliament from
     four hundred to forty in 1648? What is this but to act what they
     condemn in others? _A new free Parliament!_ This is our cry.

On the 1st of August, Sir George Booth appeared in arms, and in a few
days was at the head of several thousand men. Through the influence of
Mr. Cook, a Presbyterian minister in Chester, he and his troops gained
admission to the city. Colonel Lambert, with a well-disciplined force,
was sent by the Parliament after them, and an engagement took place at
Winnington Bridge, near Northwich, when Sir George and his army—which
Adam Martindale likened to “Mahomet’s Angellical Cockes, made up of
fire and snow”—were completely routed.

On the return of the victorious army to London a schism broke out
between the officers and the Parliament, which was followed by one of
those outrages upon the liberties of the Parliament with which the
country had become only too painfully familiar. Lambert and his troops
surrounded the House, which Lenthall, the Speaker, and the other
members were prevented by the soldiery from entering. Bradshaw felt
the insult, and, anticipating that the break-up of the House would be
followed by the dissolution of the Council of State, went the same
day, ill as he was, to the meeting, in the hope that he might serve
the cause of the Republic, and when Colonel Sydenham, the member for
Dorsetshire, and one of the Committee of Safety, in attempting to
justify the arbitrary act of the army by affirming, in the canting
phraseology of the day, that “a particular call of the Divine
Providence” had necessitated its having recourse to this last remedy,
Bradshaw, says Ludlow, “weak and attenuated as he was, yet animated
by his ardent zeal and constant affection to the common cause, stood
up, and, interrupting him, declared his abhorrence of that detestable
action, and told the Council that, being now going to his God, he had
not patience to sit there to hear His great name so openly blasphemed.”

This was his last public act—the last office he was permitted to render
to the Commonwealth he had so long served, as he said, “with all
diligence,” for he passed out of the world a few days after, his death
occurring on the 22nd November, 1659, in his 57th year. His remains
were deposited with great pomp in the Sanctuary of Kings, from which,
however, they were soon to be ignominiously ejected. His funeral sermon
was preached by Mr. Row, who took for his text Isaiah lvii., 1. His
Republican spirit animated him to the last, for Whitelocke says that,
so little did he repent of his conduct towards his Sovereign, that “he
declared a little before he left the world, that if the King were to be
tried and condemned again, he would be the first man that should do it.”

John Bradshaw married Mary, the daughter of Thomas Marbury, of Marbury,
Cheshire, by his first wife Eleanor, daughter of Peter Warburton, of
Arley, and he thus connected himself with some of the best families
in the county. This lady, who was some years his senior, predeceased
him without having borne any issue; and when the President died he
had not a child to continue his name or inherit the vast wealth he
had accumulated. The closing years of his life were for the most part
spent at his pleasant retreat at Walton-on-Thames, of which mention
has already been made; and there is very little doubt but that within
the wainscotted rooms of that quaint old mansion many and frequent
were the consultations touching the fate of England. A popular writer,
who visited the house some years ago, in describing it, says that an
aged woman, who then occupied a portion of the building, summed up her
account of it with the remark that “it was a great house once, but full
of wickedness; and no wonder the spirits of its inhabitants troubled
the earth to this day.” Though we are not of those who “see visions and
dream dreams,” and hold familiar converse with visitants from the world
of shadows, we may yet echo the remark of the writer referred to: “It
is trite enough to say what tales these walls could tell, but it is
impossible to look into them without wishing ‘these walls had tongues.’”

The character of Bradshaw has been variously estimated and depicted in
every hue, though it would seem to have been little understood, for his
admirers have refused to see any defects in him, while those who abhor
his principles have denounced him as a “monster of men.” It does not
come within our province to offer any critical opinion on his life and
actions—to pronounce upon the purity of his motives or the sincerity
of his doings. His cousin Milton, who, however, can hardly be accepted
as an impartial witness, has written his eulogy in an eloquent passage
in the “Second Defence of the People of England;” and Godwin, in his
“History of the Commonwealth,” thus speaks of him:—

     An individual who was rising into eminence at this time was John
     Bradshaw, the kinsman of Milton. He was bred to the profession
     of the law, and his eloquence is praised by Lilburn. Milton, who
     seems to have known him thoroughly, speaks of him in the highest
     terms, as at once a professed lawyer and an admirable speaker, an
     uncorrupt patriot, a man of firm and entrepid cast of temper, a
     pleasant companion, most hospitable to his friends, most generous
     to all who were in need, most peaceable to such as repented of
     their errors.

The same writer adds: “In December, 1644, he was appointed high sheriff
of his native county of Lancashire.” This last statement is an error
which has gained currency by frequent repetition. Bradshaw was not
a Lancashire man; and his namesake, who held the shrievalty of that
county by virtue of the ordinance of the 10th February, 1644, when
Parliament, exercising the Royal functions, assumed the powers of the
Duke of Lancaster, and who, in contravention of the Act of 28 Edward
III., retained it for four successive years, was the head of the line
of Bradshaw, in the parish of Bolton, and, therefore, only remotely
connected with the Marple stock.

After the Restoration both Houses of Parliament decreed (4th December,
1660) that his body, with those of Cromwell and Ireton, should be
exhumed and drawn to the gallows at Tyburn, and there hanged and buried
beneath it. Evelyn, in his “Diary,” thus describes the revolting
spectacle he saw on the 30th January, the anniversary of the King’s
execution, and the “first solemn fast and day of humiliation to deplore
the sinns which so long had provok’d God against His afflicted Church
and people”:—

     This day (O the stupendous and inscrutable judgments of God!)
     were the carcases of those arch rebells Cromwell, Bradshaw the
     Judge who condemned his Majestie, and Ireton, sonn-in-law to the
     Usurper, dragg’d out of their superb tombs in Westminster among
     the Kings, to Tyburne, and hang’d on the gallows there from nine
     in the morning till six at night, and then buried under that fatal
     and ignominious monument in a deepe pitt; thousands of people who
     had seene them in all their pride being spectators. Looke back at
     Nov. 22, 1658 (Cromwell’s funeral) and be astonish’d! and feare
     God and honour the King; but meddle not with them who are given to
     change.

It has been asserted, though without any apparent authority, that
Bradshaw was buried at Annapolis, in America, and Mr. St. John says the
following inscription was engraved on a cannon placed at the head of
his supposed grave:—

     Stranger! ere thou pass, contemplate this cannon, nor regardless
     behold that near its base lies deposited the dust of John
     Bradshaw, who, nobly superior to selfish regards, despising alike
     the pageantry of courtly splendour, the blast of calumny, and
     the terror of regal vengeance, presided in the illustrious band
     of heroes and patriots who firmly and openly adjudged Charles
     Stuart, tyrant of England, to a public and exemplary death,
     thereby presenting to the amazed world, and transmitting down to
     applauding ages, the most glorious example of unshaken virtue,
     love of freedom, and impartial justice ever exhibited in the
     blood-stained theatre of human action. Oh! reader, pass not on
     till thou hast blessed his memory, and never, never forget that
     rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God!

The heads of the three regicides were undoubtedly placed upon
Westminster Hall, and Bradshaw’s and Cromwell’s remained fixed on the
spikes in 1684, when Sir Thomas Armstrong’s[13] was placed between them.

[Note 13: Sir Thomas Armstrong, who had taken part in the Duke of
Monmouth’s rebellion, was executed on the judgment of the notorious
Jefferies, as an outlaw without trial, though his year had not expired.]

Among the papers still preserved at Marple is the probate copy of
the President’s will, a lengthy abstract of which has been given
by Ormerod in his “History of Cheshire.” It bears date March 22,
1653, and there are two codicils appended, dated respectively March
23, 1653, and September 10, 1655. By it he bequeaths to his wife,
Mary Bradshaw, all his manors, lands, and hereditaments in Kent and
Middlesex for her life, as jointure in lieu of dower; and devises to
her, and her executors in case of her decease, his manors, &c., in
Kent, for the term of five years, to commence immediately after her
decease, with liberty in her lifetime to dispark the park at Somerhill,
for her subsistence, and for making provision for her kindred, “God
not havinge vouchsafed me issue.” He further devises his manors, &c.,
in the counties of Berks, Southampton, Wilts, and Somerset, with his
reversions in Middlesex, in trust to his friend Peter Brereton, his
nephew Peter Newton (the son of his sister Dorothy), and his trustie
servant, Thomas Parnell, and their heirs, for the payment of his
debts, &c., for the payment of £100 per annum, for ten years after his
decease, to his nephew Henry Bradshaw, and £20 per annum to his cousin
Katherine Leigh, for life, with further trust to pay £300 per annum
to his brother Henry Bradshaw, until the estates settled by the will
descend to him; and also to expend £700 in purchasing an annuity for
“manteyning a free schoole in Marple, in Cheshire; £500 for increasing
the wages of the master and usher of Bunbury schoole; and £500 for
amending the wages of the schoolmaster and usher of Midleton schoole,
in Lanc’r (in which twoe schooles of Bunb’rie and Midleton I had part
of my educac’on, and return this as part of my thanfull acknowledgement
for the same). These two sums of £500 to be laid out in purchaseing
annuities.” Then follow a number of small bequests—an annuity of £40
for seven years to Samuel Roe, his secretary, for maintaining him at
Gray’s Inn, and remunerating his assistance to his executors; £250
to the poor of Fonthill, Stopp, Westminster, and Feltham; a bequest
of the impropriation of Feltham, for the use of a proper minister to
be established there; an annuity of £20 for providing a minister at
Hatch, in Wiltshire, charged on his estate there; legacies to his
chaplain, Mr. Parr, Mr. Strong, the preacher at the Abbey, and Mr.
Clyve, a Scottish minister; his houses and lodgings at Westminster
to the governors of the almshouses and school there; and the residue
of the estate to his brother Henry, excepting £100 to his niece
Meverell and her sister of the whole blood. The first codicil directs
his executors to sell the Hampshire estates and to fell timber not
exceeding the value of £2,000 on his estates in the county of Kent for
payment of his debts; and the sum of £50 “to my cozen Kath. Leigh who
now liveth with me;” and he further bequeaths all his law books, and
such divinity, history, and other books as his wife shall judge fit,
“to his nephew Harrie Bradshawe.” It may be mentioned that the library
thus bequeathed remained at Marple until the close of the last century,
when, after having been augmented by later generations of the family,
it was sold to Mr. Edwards, of Halifax. Subsequently it was offered
for sale by Messrs. Edwards, of Pall Mall, being then catalogued with
the library of Mr. N. Wilson, of Pontefract, and those of two deceased
antiquaries, the entire collection, according to a writer in the
_Gentleman’s Magazine_ (v. lxxxvi., part 1), being more splendid and
truly valuable than any which had been previously presented to the
curious, and such as “astonished not only the opulent purchasers, but
the most experienced and intelligent booksellers of the metropolis.”
The second codicil gives to his wife’s assignees seven years’ interest
in his Kentish estates after her death, confirms her right to dispark
Somerhill, dispose of the deer, and convert the same to the uses
of husbandry. It further confirms the Middlesex estates to her for
life, and gives her his house at Westminster, held on lease from the
governors of the school there, and directs that £1,000 due from the
State on account of his office of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster,
and Chief Justice of Chester, Flint, Denbigh, and Montgomery, be
applied to discharge his debts. It annuls several legacies, and
bequeaths others, among them one of £10 to John Milton; appoints
a legacy of £5 each to all his servants living at the time of his
decease; and makes several additional legal provisions. The will was
proved in London, December 16, 1659, by Henry Bradshaw, the nephew—Mary
Bradshaw, the late wife and sole executrix of the testator, being then
dead, and Henry Bradshaw, the brother, having renounced execution.

The will is interesting, as showing the extent to which the Lord
President had contrived to enrich himself out of the sequestrated
estates of obnoxious Royalists during the period of the usurpation.
Shortly before the Restoration his nephew Henry was ejected from
Fonthill by the heir of Lord Cottington, who recovered possession of
his ancestral home; and though he managed to secure a large proportion
of the property bequeathed by the will, the benevolent intentions of
the testator were in a great measure frustrated by the changes made in
the disposition of the estate after the return of Charles II. through
the operation of the Act of Confiscation.

Bradshaw makes allusion in his will to the fact that “God had not
vouchsafed him issue.” Though no children were born to him by his wife,
he is said to have had “an illegitimate son, whose last descendant,
Sarah Bradshaw, married, in 1757, Sir Henry Cavendish, ancestor of
Lord Waterpark.” In the absence, however, of any substantial evidence,
the accuracy of this statement may well be questioned, for we can
hardly suppose the testator would have bequeathed so large a property
to his nephew, and have made no provision for his own offspring,
while permitting him to bear and perpetuate his name. Though the bar
sinister was the reverse of an honourable augmentation, the stigma
of illegitimacy did not attach so much in those days as now. Sir
Henry Cavendish, the ancestor of Lord Waterpark, who was himself
descended from an illegitimate son of Henry, the eldest son of Sir
William Cavendish, of Chatsworth, by his third wife, the renowned
“Bess of Hardwick,” married, August 5, 1757, Sarah (or, according to
some authorities, Mary) only child and heiress of Richard Bradshaw,
who, during her husband’s lifetime, was, in her own right, created
(15th June, 1792) Baroness Waterpark, of Waterpark, in Ireland; and
the supposition that John Bradshaw left an illegitimate son seems
to rest upon the statement made by Playfair, in his “British Family
Antiquities,” and reiterated by Burke, and still more recently in the
“Peerage” of Forster, that this lady was “lineally descended from the
Lord President Bradshaw.”

Another member of the family employed in the public service during the
Commonwealth period was Richard Bradshaw. His name does not appear in
any of the pedigrees of the Marple line, nor has his identity been
established, though it is very probable he was a nephew of the Lord
President’s, and he was certainly present as one of the mourners at
his funeral. He held the office for some time of Receiver of the Crown
Revenues in Cheshire and North Wales, and was subsequently appointed
to the post of English Resident at Hamburg, whence he was transferred
to Russia, and other of the northern Courts. A great number of his
letters are given in Thurloe’s “State Papers,” and they are especially
interesting as showing the care taken to watch the movements of
Charles II., and the actions of the European Powers likely to render
him assistance in any attempt to recover the throne. In one of these
letters addressed on his return to England to Secretary Thurloe, and
dated from Axeyard, 1st November, 1658, requesting that the sum of
£2,188 0s. 9d. then due to him from the Government might be paid, some
curious circumstances are related in connection with his previous
official life. He says:—

     I am necessitated to acquaint your lordship, that in the yeare
     1648, I beinge then receiver of the crowne-revenue in North-wales
     and Cheshire for the state, and cominge to London to passe
     accomts, and pay in some money to Mr. Fauconberg the receiver
     generall, my lodgings in Kinge Street, Westminster, was broake
     into by theeves the very same day the apprentises riss in
     London and came down to Whitehall; and £430 was taken fourthe
     of a trunke in the chamber where I lay. Though it was a tyme
     of great distraction, yet I used such meanes with the warrants
     and assistants of Mr. Fauconbridge, as that I found out and
     apprehended the fellows the next day, in which the messenger,
     Captain Compton, was assistinge to me, whoe were tryed and
     condemned at the sessions in the Old Bailey as Compton very well
     knowes, being the sonnes of persons of note in Covent Garden.
     The prosecution of them cost me above £100, besides the greatest
     trouble that ever I had in my life aboute any businesse. But
     before my accompte could be declared by the commissioners for
     the revenue, whereon I expected allowance for that money, I was
     commanded to Hamburg; and now being to settle these accompts in
     the exchequer, to have out my ultimate discharge thence, I am told
     that it is not in the power of the lords commissioners for the
     treasury to give allowance thereof in the way of the exchequer,
     without a privy seale to pardon that sume. Therefore I humbly
     request that the £430 so taken may be included in the privy seal
     with the £3,461 5s. 10d., and then the whole will be £3,891 5s.
     10d., which, if your lordship be satisfied with the accompts, I
     pray that Mr. Milbey or Mr. Moreland may have your lordship’s
     order to make ready for the seale.

The riot referred to was no doubt that of the 9th of April, when,
in disregard of the strict Puritan orders in relation to religious
observances, the apprentices were found playing at bowls in Moorfields
during church time. They were ordered by the militia guard to disperse,
but refused, fought the guard, and held their ground. Being soon after
routed by cavalry, they raised the cry of “clubs,” when they were
joined by the watermen. The fight lasted through the night, and in
the morning they had got possession of Ludgate and Newgate, and had
stretched chains across all the great thoroughfares, their cry being
“God and King Charles.” The tumult lasted for forty hours, and was not
put an end to until they were ridden down by a body of cavalry from
Westminster.

In his petition to the Council of State, praying to be paid the full
sum of £2,188 11s. 4d., Richard Bradshaw states that he had “suffered
the loss of £5,000 in the late wars of this nation, without any
reparation for the same, and for above seventeen years freely exposed
his life at home and abroad in the service of the State; that the same
was disbursed out of his affection to his country, whilst he resided as
public minister in foreign parts, and, if not paid, he should be now,
at his return, rent from his small estate, it being more than he hath
got in the service of the Commonwealth.”

On the 9th March, 1659-60, the Council directed the amount to be paid,
and on the 12th his accounts were ordered for that purpose to be laid
before Parliament. It does not appear, however, to have been received,
for on the 23rd and 31st he is again found petitioning Thurloe on the
matter, and in the changes that were then taking place it is doubtful
if he ever got anything. Whether, as he feared, he was “rent from
his small estate” or not is not recorded, but it is evident that in
a pecuniary sense he was not so successful as his kinsman, the Lord
President; yet he was a man of much energy and ability, and his letters
give an interesting account of the political affairs of foreign Courts
at the time. He appears to have been continually short of money through
the Government remaining indebted to him, and this fact rather suggests
the idea that Cromwell, who had already broken with John Bradshaw,
desired to hold him as a kind of hostage, and keep him wherever he
chose to place him.

With a portion of the wealth acquired under John Bradshaw’s will,
Henry, his nephew, in 1693, purchased Bradshaw Hall, in Lancashire,
which, as previously stated, had for many generations been the
residence of another branch of the family, that had then become extinct
in the male line. It is a singular fact that within a comparatively
short period, nearly all, if not all, the branches of the Bradshaw
family became extinct in the male line—the Bradshaws of Haigh, of
Bradshaw, and of Aspull, in Lancashire; of Bradshaw Edge, and of
Barton, in Derbyshire; and finally, as we shall see, of Marple, in
Cheshire, the latter by the death of the Lord President’s grand-nephew
in 1743.

The subsequent history of the Bradshaws is soon told. Henry, who
inherited the patrimonial estates as well as the bulk of his uncle’s
property, married Elizabeth (erroneously called Magdalene in Ormerod’s,
Forster’s, and Burke’s pedigrees), one of the daughters and co-heirs
of Thomas Barcroft, by whom, on the death of her father in 1688, he
acquired the demesne of Barcroft, in Whalley parish, Lancashire, with
the hall, an ancient mansion dating from the time of Henry VIII. This
Henry made considerable additions to Marple, and erected a great
portion of the outbuildings, as evidenced by the frequent repetitions
of his and his wife’s initials

                                   B
                                  H E
                                  1669

upon the hall and the stables. By his marriage he had three sons,
Henry, High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1701, who had to wife Elizabeth,
daughter of Richard Legh, of the East Hall, in High Legh, and died in
1724, without issue; Thomas, who died unmarried in 1743; and John, who
predeceased his brother, being also issueless; the estates, on the
death of Thomas, devolving upon the only daughter, Mary, who married
William Pimlot, and by him had two sons, the eldest of whom, John,
succeeded to the estates under a settlement made by his uncle, Thomas
Bradshaw, and had issue a daughter and only child, Elizabeth, married
to Lindon Evelyn, of Keynsham Court, county Hereford, Esq., M.P. for
Dundalk, whose only daughter and heir, Elizabeth, married, December
29th, 1838, Randall Edward Plunkett, Baron Dunsany, elder brother of
the present holder of that title.

Mary Pimlot, surviving her husband, again entered the marriage
state, her second husband being Nathaniel Isherwood, of Bolton, by
whom she had two sons, Nathaniel, who, under his uncle’s settlement,
succeeded as heir to the Marple and Bradshaw estates on the death
of John Pimlot. He married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Henry
Brabin, of Brabin’s Hall, in Marple, but died without issue in 1765,
when the property passed to his younger brother, Thomas Isherwood,
who married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Attercroft, of Gillibrand
House, near Blackburn, and by her had a son, who died in infancy, and
six daughters. She predeceased her husband; when he married for his
second wife Mary, daughter and heir of Thomas Orrell, of Saltersley, in
Cheshire. This lady, who died 18th May, 1797, bore him four sons and
five daughters. Thomas Bradshaw-Isherwood, the eldest son, succeeded,
but died unmarried 5th January, 1791, when the estates passed to Henry
Bradshaw-Isherwood, the second son, who also died unmarried January
26, 1801, the Marple and Bradshaw properties then devolving upon his
younger brother, John Bradshaw-Isherwood, born 19th June, 1776, who
married, at Bolton, October 19, 1812, Elizabeth, eldest daughter and
co-heir of the Rev. Thomas Bancroft, M.A., vicar of Bolton. In 1815 he
filled the office of Sheriff of Cheshire, and by his wife, who survived
him and died 1st April, 1856, he left, in addition to six daughters,
a son, Thomas Bradshaw-Isherwood, Esq., the present owner of Marple
and Bradshaw, born 10th February, 1820. Mr. Bradshaw-Isherwood, who
is a J.P. and D.L. for Cheshire, married 22nd July, 1840, Mary Ellen,
eldest surviving daughter of the late Rev. Henry Bellairs, M.A., rector
of Bedworth, in Warwickshire, and Hon. Canon of Worcester, one of the
heroes of Trafalgar, by his wife Dorothy Parker, daughter and co-heir
(with Mary, first wife of John, Earl of Strafford, distinguished for
his brilliant services in the battles of the Peninsula and at Waterloo,
and Sarah, wife of Captain Carmichael) of Peter Mackenzie, of Grove
House, Middlesex, descended from the Mackenzies, barons of Kintail. The
issue of this marriage is two sons, John Henry Bradshaw-Isherwood,
born 27th August, 1841, who married, in 1864, Elizabeth, daughter of
Thomas Luce, Esq., formerly member for Malmesbury, and Arthur Salusbury
Bradshaw-Isherwood, born 21st May, 1843.

We have said sufficient to establish the claim of Marple to rank among
the most interesting of the historic homes of the Palatinate. The
building, which is a good example of the early Jacobean period, with
considerable additions of late seventeenth century work, has undergone
comparatively few changes, having happily escaped those coarse assaults
to which so many of our old mansions have been subjected by modern
renovators. So little is it altered that it would require no great
effort of the imagination to picture the momentous conferences of the
chiefs of Cheshire Nonconformity that were held within its walls, or to
re-people its sombre apartments with the buff-jerkined, jack-booted,
and heavily-accoutred troopers who followed Henry Bradshaw to the
field; indeed, we might almost fancy that the very chairs and tables
have remained undisturbed during the whole two centuries and more that
have elapsed since those eventful days. Of modern furniture there is
comparatively little, almost everything the house contains being of an
age gone by, and in keeping with its ancient character.

As anything like a detailed description of the interior is beyond the
purpose and the limits of this sketch, we shall content ourselves with
pointing out the principal apartments and some of the more notable
objects they contain. The principal front is on the south side,
from which a porch, supported by stone columns, forming the central
projection from the house, gives admission to the entrance hall, an
apartment 40 feet long and 20 feet wide, lighted at each end by long
low mullioned windows. The floor is laid with alternate squares of
white stone and black marble, and the ceiling, which is flat, is
crossed by massive oaken beams. The want of elevation gives a somewhat
gloomy and depressing effect, and this is heightened by the coloured
glass in the windows, which further subdues the light. The furniture
is of black oak, bright with the rubbings of many generations; and
against the walls are disposed suits of mail, morions, corslets, and
implements of war that have no doubt done duty in many a well-fought
field. On the left of the entrance, leading from the hall, is the
library, twenty feet square, lighted on the south side by a mullioned
window, filled with stained glass, and having the armorial ensigns of
the Bradshaws and their alliances carved upon the wainscot. On the
same floor, and adjoining the library, is the dining-room, a spacious
apartment, thirty feet by twenty feet, with an oriel window at the
north end, commanding an extensive view of the valley of the Goyt
and the surrounding country. The walls of this room are hung with
portraits, and include several that are said to have been brought from
Harden Hall, and to have once belonged to the Alvanley family. Among
them is one of Queen Elizabeth, and others representing the Earls
of Essex and Leicester, Lord Keeper Coventry, Sir Roger Ascham, and
General Monk; there is also a portrait of one of the Dones of Utkinton,
hereditary chief foresters of Delamere, and of his wife, who stands by
his side. Close by the door, on the right of the entrance hall, is a
broad oaken staircase, with decorated balustrades, leading to the upper
chambers. The walls are hung with portraits, views, &c., and in one
corner we noticed an antique spinning-wheel, the property apparently
of some former spinster of the house. The first chamber we enter is
a small ante-room, wainscotted, with a fireplace composed of ancient
Dutch tiles, above which is a shield, with the arms of the Bradshaws
carved in relief, with the date 1665. A flight of circular steps leads
from this chamber to the drawing-room, which is immediately over the
dining-room, and corresponding with it in dimensions. The walls of this
apartment are hung with tapestry of Gobelins manufacture, the subjects
being Diana and her Nymphs, and Time and Pleasure. On the same floor
is another chamber, now occupied as a bedroom, which is interesting
from the circumstance that the black and white timber gable, the only
fragment apparently of the original structure remaining, is exposed to
view, showing where the projecting bay has been added when the house
was enlarged by Henry Bradshaw, the Lord President’s nephew, shortly
after the Restoration. Opposite the wainscotted ante-room before
referred to is a small tapestried bed-chamber, where tradition says the
Lord President first saw the light; and here is the very bed on which,
according to the same reputable authority, he slept—an antiquated
four-poster, very substantial and very elaborately ornamented, with a
cornice round the top, with the following admonitory sentences,[14] in
raised capitals, carved on three sides of it, though it is to be feared
the Lord President did not study them with much advantage:—

    HE THAT IS UNMERCIFUL, MERCY SHALL MISS;
    BUT HE SHALL HAVE MERCY THAT MERCIFUL IS.

And on the inside:—

                    LOVE GOD AND NOT GOLD,
    SLEEP NOT UNTIL U CONSIDER HOW U HAVE SPENT THE TIME;
      IF WELL, THANK GOD; IF NOT, REPENT.

[Note 14: At Bradshaw Hall, in Chapel-en-le-Frith, the ancient
patrimonial seat of the stock from which the Marple Bradshaws sprang,
there is on the landing of one of the staircases a similar inscription:—

    Love God and not gould.

    He that loves not mercy
      Of mercy shall miss;
    But he shall have mercy
      That merciful is.]


There were formerly in this room, and may be now, a helmet,
breastplate, and pair of spurs that were supposed to have belonged
to John Bradshaw, but which are more likely to have been worn by his
elder brother Henry, the Parliamentarian soldier. On the window of the
same chamber is inscribed the well-known prophetic lines that John is
said to have written when a lad attending the Macclesfield Grammar
School. On the right of the entrance hall are two small chambers, of
comparatively little interest; and adjoining them is the servants’
hall, the most noticeable feature in which is a moulding in stucco,
and here also is repeated the family arms—argent, two bendlets sable,
between as many martlets of the second; with the crest, a stag at gaze
under a vine tree fructed ppr., and the motto, “_Bona Benemerenti
Benedictio_.” A passage in the rear of the house communicates with a
door on the north or terrace front, on the lintel of which is carved
the date 1658. The outbuildings are extensive. They are partly of stone
and partly of brick, and with their quaint gables, pinnacles, and clock
tower form a very picturesque grouping. They are commonly supposed to
have been erected by “Colonel” Henry Bradshaw, for the accommodation of
his Roundhead troopers; but the idea is dispelled by the initials

                                   B
                                  H E

and the date, 1669, which may still be discerned—an evidence that they
were erected in more peaceable times by Henry, the Colonel’s son and
successor, who, as we have seen, married Elizabeth Barcroft, and became
heir to much of his uncle’s wealth. Altogether, the old place is a
deeply-interesting memorial of times now happily gone by. Its history
is especially instructive, and it is impossible to wander through its
antiquated chambers without recalling some of the momentous scenes and
incidents in the country’s annals. Happily, evil hands have not fallen
upon it. It is preserved with jealous care; and from the few changes
it has undergone we gather the idea—always a pleasant one—that here
antiquity is reverenced for its worth.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER III.

OVER SANDS BY THE CARTMEL SHORE—WRAYSHOLME TOWER—THE LEGEND OF THE
LAST WOLF.


In that sequestered tract of country that stretches away from the
mountain to the main—from the mouth of the Kent to where the Duddon
flows down to join the sea, and extending from the majestic barrier
of the Lake country to the silvery shores of Morecambe Bay—the
wide estuary that divides the Hundred of Lonsdale and separates
the districts of Cartmel and Furness from the other parts of
Lancashire—there is a wealth of natural beauty and many an interesting
nook undreamt of by the ordinary tourist, who, following in the steps
of imitative sight-seers, rushes along the great iron highway to the
North, forgetting that the fairest spots in the world are reserved
for those who have the wisdom to seek out and earn their pleasures
for themselves. In that pleasant corner of Lancashire, mountain and
valley, moor and fell, blend together in happy relationship, presenting
a panorama of swelling hills, wood-clad knolls, and quiet secluded
hamlets within the bright setting of the shimmering sea. It is, as poor
John Critchley Prince was wont to sing:—

    A realm of mountain, forest-haunt, and fell,
      And fertile valleys beautifully lone,
    Where fresh and far romantic waters roam,
    Singing a song of peace by many a cottage home.

And where—

    Only the sound of the distant sea,
    As a far-off voice in a dream may be,
    Mingles its tale with the woodland tones,
    As the sea waves wash o’er the tidal stones.

[Illustration]

But it is not for the lover of the picturesque alone that the district
offers more than ordinary attractions. There are few localities so
rich in records of the past, or surrounded by so many traditional
associations. In addition to the magnificent ruins of Furness, there is
the scarcely less interesting pile of Cartmel, one of the few priory
churches that England now possesses, and which only escaped destruction
in the stormy times of the Reformation by the inhabitants literally
buying off the King’s Commissioners. On Swarthmoor, “the German baron,
bold Martin Swart,” mustered “his merry men” when Lambert Simnel, the
pretender to the Crown, landed at Piel, in 1486, an escapade in which
we fear “Our Lady of Furness” was not altogether free from implication.
Here, too, is Swarthmoor Hall, once the home of Judge Fell; and close
by is the modest Quakers’ Chapel, the first built by George Fox, the
founder of the Society of Friends. Holker Hall has been for a century
and more the home of the Cavendishes, as it was previously of the
Lowthers and the Prestons. The little hamlet of Lindale has been made
the scene of one of the most charming of Mrs. Gaskell’s stories, and
almost within bow-shot is Buck Crag, sheltering beneath which is the
humble dwelling that for many a long year was the abode of Edmund Law,
the curate and schoolmaster of Staveley, the spot where the younger
Edmund Law, Bishop of Carlisle, and father of Lord Ellenborough, first
saw the light.

Before the enterprise and skill of Brogden and Brunlees had bridged
the estuaries of the Kent and the Leven, and carried the railway from
Carnforth to Ulverston, the journey to Whitehaven and the western
lakes had to be made across the broad expanse of sand left by each
receding tide, and a perilous journey it was. In bygone days the
monks of Cartmel maintained a guide, paid him out of “Peter’s Pence,”
and, in addition, gave him the benefit of their prayers, which in
truth he often needed; and when their house was dissolved, “Bluff
King Hal” charged the expenses of the office upon the revenues of the
Duchy of Lancaster, so that the “Carter,” as he is now called, is an
old-established institution. There is no beaten pathway “Over Sands,”
for every tide removes the traces of those who have gone before, and
the channels are so constantly shifting that what yesterday might be
firm and solid to the tread, to-day may be only soft and treacherous
pulp. The locality has been oftentimes the scene of mourning and
sorrow, and many are the tales that are told of the “hair-breadth
’scapes” of those who have been overtaken by the “cruel crawling tide”
while journeying over the perilous waste. The old adage tells us that

                      The Kent and the Keer
    Have parted many a good man and his meear (mare).

[Illustration: GRANGE-OVER-SANDS.]

And the registers of Cartmel bear testimony to the fact that, of those
who now sleep peacefully in its “God’s Acre,” a hundred and twenty or
more have met their fate while crossing the shifty channels of this
treacherous shore. The poet Gray, writing in 1767 to Dr. Wharton,
relates a pathetic story of a family who were overtaken by a mist when
half way across and lost their way; and Edwin Waugh, in his pleasant,
gossiping way, tells how an ancient mariner, when asked if the guides
were ever lost on the sands, answered with grim _naïveté_: “I never
knew any lost. There’s one or two drowned now and then, but they’re
generally found somewhere i’th bed when th’ tide goes out.” When the
subjects of the Cæsars had established themselves here, the old Roman
General Agricola made a journey “Over Sands,” and the difficulties he
encountered are related by Tacitus the historian. Mrs. Hemans braved
the dangers, for in one of her letters she says: “I must not omit to
tell you that Mr. Wordsworth not only admired our exploit in crossing
the Ulverston Sands as a deed of ‘derring do,’ but as a decided proof
of taste. The Lake scenery, he says, is never seen to such advantage
as after the passage of what he calls its ‘majestic barrier.’” In the
old coaching days the journey began at Hest Bank, about three miles
from Lancaster, where the guide was usually in waiting to conduct the
travellers across, when a mixed cavalcade of horsemen, pedestrians, and
vehicles of various kinds was formed, which, following the coach, and
headed by the browned and weather-beaten “Carter,” slowly traversed
the trackless waste, the incongruous grouping suggesting the idea
of an Eastern caravan on its passage across the desert. If nothing
else, the journey had the charm of novelty and adventure, which in
some degree compensated for the hazard incurred; and the scenes of
danger and disaster witnessed have furnished the theme for more than
one exciting story, as “Carlyon’s Year” and the “Sexton’s Hero” bear
witness. But the romance of the sands is fast passing away. The guides
have now comparatively little to do, the perilous path is traversed
less and less frequently every year, so that ere long we shall probably
only hear of it as a traditional feature of the times when the name of
Stephenson was unknown and railways were only in the womb of time.

On the western side of the Milnthorpe Sands, nestling at the foot of
the green slopes of Yewbarrow, with its whitened dwellings peeping
from their garniture of leaves, and its rock-strewn beach lipped by the
capricious sea, is the slowly-rising village of Grange, with its sands
and its sea, its pleasant walks and cheerful drives, all sheltered from
the north winds by the great Cartmel fells clustering at its back. A
place that lures you by the peaceful quietude that prevails, for here
Ethiopian serenaders and blind bag-pipers are unknown, and youthful
lazzaroni with white mice and pink-eyed guinea pigs are beings the
people wot not of. It is not “dressy,” nor is it fashionable in the
sense that Scarborough is, so that you can take your ease in your
inn without risk of being chilled by the freezing presence of Lord
Shingleton or my Lady Marina. The wandering creature who calls himself
a tourist, and is always in search of some new sensation, passes it by
as slow and unexciting, and the herd of holiday-makers who delight to
perform aquatic _poses plastiques_ once a year prefer to do so in such
over-crammed places as Southport, or that marine Babylon—Blackpool.
Nevertheless, it is a pleasant place to stay at when you have nothing
to do, and all the day to do it in; a retreat where you can shake off
those fancies associated with everyday life that cloud the brow and
spoil the digestion, and get rid of that

    Army of phantoms vast and wan
    That beleaguer the human soul.

But our present purpose is not to write a description of Grange, for
though it is a pleasant place to stay at it is also a pleasant place
to go away from—a convenient spot from whence little excursions can
be made to neighbouring places of interest and attraction, and this
time it is Wraysholme Tower, the ruined home of the once powerful
Harringtons, and the rocky promontory of Humphrey Head, where tradition
says the last wolf “in England’s spacious realm” was hunted down, that
attracts our wandering steps.

As we slowly wend our way towards the upper end of the village, pausing
now and then to gaze across the broad expanse of Morecambe Bay to the
wooded shores on the Lancaster side, and the great fells that stretch
away in rear to join the pale blue hills of Yorkshire, we get sight of
an antiquated building with mullioned windows, now half buried in the
ground, which in former times served as a granary for the storage of
the rich harvests gathered by the fraternity of Cartmel, and hence the
name of “Grange” which has been given to the place. At an angle of the
road, near the higher end, is the church, erected some twenty years
ago through the persevering efforts of a lady resident. Keeping along
the level way, we come presently to a cross-road, and, turning sharply
to the left, pass the farmhouse where, for generations, the “Carters”
have resided. A few minutes’ walk along the railway line brings us to a
pleasant indentation in the shore, where Kent’s Bank, a tiny watering
place, with a trim hotel and cosy-looking villas, bright with flowers
and creeping plants, is striving to rival its more famous neighbour. In
a green nook by the sea is a pleasant mansion that occupies the site
of a more ancient structure, Abbot Hall, once the abode, as tradition
affirms, of the abbots of Cartmel, but, as there were no “abbots” of
that house, it is more likely to have belonged to the fraternity of
Furness, who, as we know, had lands here granted to them as far back as
1135. Mr. Stockdale, in his _Annales Caermoelensis_, suggests that it
was built for the convenience of the abbot when journeying from Furness
to his possessions in Yorkshire. He says:—

     No doubt the puisne monarch (the abbot) and his cavalcade would
     travel, in making these journeys, in a stately, lordly, and
     ostentatious way, and would pass along the narrow tracks from
     the (Furness) Abbey to the Red Lane end, at Conishead Bank, with
     more or less difficulty, and then, entering upon the sea sands,
     would, in a short time, reach “the Chapel Island,” where, in the
     little homely chapel, prayers would be earnestly offered up for
     the safe passage of the remainder of the dangerous, though much
     the smaller, Morecambe estuary. This needful duty having been
     performed, the long cavalcade would slowly wend its way over the
     creeks, gullies, and quicksands, till the opposite bank of the
     estuary was gained, and then by the old Roman road called now
     the Back Lane, to the town of Flookborough, and from thence to
     Allithwaite, and by the very old road up and over the precipitous
     hill to the abbot’s own comfortable and well-sheltered residence,
     Abbot Hall.... As there has always been a tradition that there
     was a chapel near Kirkhead and Abbot Hall—some remains of which,
     even graves, it is said, existed in the last century—there can but
     be little doubt that the abbot and his numerous suite would, after
     their night’s rest at Abbot Hall, resort to this chapel and again
     pray for a safe passage over the wild and dangerous Lancaster
     estuary, eight or nine miles in width, not passed at this day,
     even in the presence of a guide, with entire safety.[15]

[Note 15: Upon the Abbot Hall estate are some lands which still bear the
name of Chapel Fields, in which, at three feet from the surface,
human skeletons have been exhumed. The spot may therefore with much
probability be assumed to have been the site of an oratory, where a
monk of the abbey officiated in offering up prayers for the safety of
such as crossed the sands, Kent’s Bank being the point from which they
would start upon their journey towards Lancaster.]

A pleasant rural lane leads up from the station at Kent’s Bank to
Allithwaite, a little straggling village, the inhabitants of which
contrive to earn a scanty livelihood by fishing and “cockling” upon
the sands. Steep banks rise on each side, festooned with plumy
ferns and wild flowers, crested with spiked thorn-bushes, scrubby
hazels, and spreading ash-trees, that wave their shadowy branches
overhead. The honeysuckle spreads its delicious perfume around, and
as we saunter leisurely along the sunlight glints through the leafy
openings, shooting down long arrowy rays, that here brighten with
golden touches the gnarled and knotted stem of a sturdy oak, and there
light up a churlish bramble, like a woman’s radiant smile reflecting
its cheeriness upon some worthless Caliban. On the left is Kirkhead, a
lofty knoll, crowned with a prospect tower—Barrow’s summer-house, as
it is called—from the summit of which there is a view that well repays
the labour of ascent. Wraysholme’s ruined tower, whither we are wending
our way, is but a short mile distant, and as we have a long summer
afternoon before us, we may wander at our will. Having mounted the
breezy hill, we lie down on a cushion of soft grass at the foot of the
building to gaze upon the scene, listening the while to the wild bird’s
song and the hoarse melody of the fitful sea.

The wide expanse of Morecambe Bay lies before us like an out-stretched
panorama, in which every jutting headland, every indentation, and every
crease in the green hills can be distinctly traced. Far below us a long
stretch of shore runs out; an old boat lies upon its side, chained to
a miniature anchor; children are disporting themselves round it, and a
few bare-legged fishermen are busy arranging their long nets, for the
tide is not yet in, though we can see where the crafty silent sea comes
stealing up from the south, each delicate wavelet, as it breaks upon
the yellow sand in a white line of surge, creeping nearer and nearer
to the beach. The softest of summer breezes plays upon the water,
breaking it into innumerable ripples that dance and glitter in the
mellow light. Here and there a few cloud shadows fleck the surface. A
soft summer haze, like an ocean of white mist, hangs in mid distance,
and where it lifts, shows little patches of the blue of heaven beyond.
A broad streak of light marks the line of the horizon where sea and sky
blend together. A solitary white sail glints in the blaze of sunlight,
one or two fishing boats with red-brown sails spot the sea with
colour, and far away a long line of black smoke shows where a steamer
is rapidly ploughing its way towards the Irish coast. Sheltering in
quiet beauty in the little cove below is Kent’s Bank, its buildings,
dwarfed by the intervening space, looking like a group of children’s
toys. Grange is hidden behind the projecting ridge of rock; but Holme
Island, with its pretty little marine temple, stands well out from the
shore, like an emerald gem in the flashing waters. Sheltering it from
the northern blasts, a range of rugged limestone rocks, all channelled
and weather-worn, and fringed with over-lapping trees, is seen; and
there, where a few puffs of white smoke gleam brightly against the deep
blue of space, a train is bearing its living freight across the broad
Milnthorpe Sands. Arnside Knott, with its shady background of wood,
thrusts up its huge form as a foil to quiet Silverdale, reposing by its
side; then, sweeping round in an irregular circle towards the east, we
have an ever-varying shore and an amphitheatre of intersecting hills,
now dark with shadow and now gay with the tints of the many-hued
vegetation, with Ingleborough and the great Dent Fells far, far beyond,
yet, in the pure atmosphere, seeming so near and so clear that we may
almost fancy we can see the purple heather blooming upon their sides.
Further south, bathed in a flood of sunshine, the battlemented keep of
Lancaster Castle comes full in sight, with its frowning gate-tower,
through which many an ill-starred wretch has doubtless trembled as he
passed, and where, upon its threshold, may be said yet to linger the
solemn footprints of mingled innocence and guilt—a stony relic that
calls to remembrance “Old John o’ Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster,”
and turns back the pages of the Book of Time to the turbulent days
which witnessed the fierce forays of the Northern hordes and the still
fiercer struggles of the rival Roses; and beyond the Castle, the green
knolls rising above the water-line in the direction of Heysham and
Sunderland—Cape Famine, as the people call it—looking like so many
islands in a sea of silver.

Carrying the eye round to the west, a picture scarcely less beautiful
meets the gaze. The low-lying plain on the right—the Wyke,[16] as it
is called—has, within living memory, been reclaimed from the hungry
sea; and where was once old ocean’s bed there are now lush pastures,
and fields of waving grain that give promise of an abundant harvest.
Below us, peeping up from a clump of trees, are seen the ruined walls
of Wraysholme Tower, where the lordly Harringtons held sway, and
with which we shall make more intimate acquaintance by-and-by; and
near thereto Humphrey Head, looking like a monster couchant, thrusts
its huge form far out from the shore. The little village beyond is
Flookborough, and within half a mile is Cark, contiguous to which,
half hidden among the umbraged woods, is Holker, the favourite seat of
the Duke of Devonshire. Across the Leven sands we get a glimpse of
Chapel Island, a little sea-girt solitude, with the crumbling ruins of
its ancient sanctuary peeping through the gloom of the overshadowing
trees, where, in days of yore, the monks of Furness “their orisons and
vespers sung,” and offered prayers “for the safety of the souls of such
as crossed the sands with the morning tide.” Almost within bow-shot are
the rich woods and glades of Conishead; and further on, the old town of
Ulverston can be discerned, with the great rounded hill—the Hoad—in the
rear, on which the monument to the memory of its distinguished son, the
late Sir John Barrow, stands—

                      On the gusty down,
    Far seen across the sea-paths which he loved,
    A beacon to the steersman.

[Note 16: “Wyke” signifies a bay with a low shore; and the now fertile
plain, which includes some hundreds of acres, protected with deep
embankments and valve gates for the land streams, was reclaimed many
years ago through the enterprise of Mr. Towers, of Dudden Grove, and
the late Mr. Stockdale, of Cark.]

At the extreme corner of the Furness shore, where the tall chimneys
shoot up and the thick smoke hangs like a pall, is Barrow, which
by the magic power of iron has been suddenly transformed from an
obscure fishing village into a busy and populous town, and the seat
of industrial and commercial activity. Reaching far out into the
sea is lonely wave-girt Walney, with its ruined castle—the pile of
Fouldrey—built on the foundation of the Vikings’ stronghold by the
monks of Furness as a defence against the marauding Scots—looming
darkly against the flashing waters. Black Comb, stern, bleak, and wild,
its gleaming summit breaking through the clouds, lifts its huge form
with frowning majesty above the dreary moors and storm-worn hills;
and, rearward, the eye wanders over the Coniston range to the Old Man,
and thence to Bowfell, the twin pikes of Langdale, and round towards
Skiddaw, where a succession of mighty headlands—the silent companions
of the mist and cloud—crowd one upon another until the dim outlines of
their giant peaks are lost in the blue infinity of space.

Apart from its natural beauty and the pleasant prospect it commands,
Kirkhead is not without attractions for those who delight in
investigating the memorials of prehistoric times. On the steep
acclivities on the south side of the hill, mantled with ferns and
coarse weeds, and well-nigh hidden with trees and brushwood, is the
entrance to a natural opening or cavern in the limestone rock, 40 or
50 feet in length and about 20 feet high, which in the dim and shadowy
past has evidently been the abode of some primeval Briton. You can get
down to it by an inconvenient track from the top, but the better way
is by a path that winds round the base of the hill, through the scrub,
and along the edge of the meadow until you reach a heap of soil and
_débris_ left from previous explorations, when the entrance is seen
just above. In the excavations that have been made a skull and other
human remains have been discovered, with fragments of rude pottery,
implements of stone, and the bones of the red deer, wild boar, fox, and
other animals. Near the surface was also found a coin of the reign of
the Emperor Domitian (A.D. 84)—strong presumptive evidence that there
have been a succession of tenants, and some of them during the period
of Roman occupation. Repeated examinations have been made of this
primitive abode, and an account of its hidden mysteries will be found
in Dr. Barber’s “Prehistoric Remains.”

Descending from our lofty eyrie, we pass through the little village of
Allithwaite, and then strike into a pleasant leafy lane on the left,
bordered with tall trees—oak, and ash, and beech—that look as green and
luxurious as if they were buried in some inland combe instead of having
had the sea breezes sweeping over them for many a long winter past. A
little rindle keeps us in pleasant companionship, sparkling here and
there in the deep shadow, and now and then we get glimpses of the level
waste of silver sand and the sea beyond, shining through the summer
haze. A few minutes’ walking and we come in sight of the crumbling
remains of Wraysholme Tower, the object of our present pilgrimage,
standing a little way back on the left of the road. A bright-eyed
youngster holds the gate open for us, with expectant glances, as we
pass through into the farmyard, in which the old weather-worn relic
stands, and the gladsome looks with which our modest _largesse_ is
received assure us that it is not unworthily bestowed.

[Illustration: WRAYSHOLME TOWER.]

The embattled tower or peel is all that now remains, and whatever of
other buildings there may have been have long since disappeared. Built
for defence, and as a place of refuge for men and cattle against the
incursions of Scottish marauders and enemies approaching from the Irish
Sea, it formed the strongest and most important feature of the original
structure; and even now, though dismantled and forlorn, and applied to
“base uses” its founders little dreamt of, with its thick walls, its
small jealous windows, and its gloomy apartments, it gives evidence of
purposed resistance to sudden intrusion, and shows that security rather
than convenience was the object of its builders—a lingering memorial
of those grim and stern old times ere order had spread and law had
superseded might, when even power could only feel secure when protected
by strongly-fortified walls, a

                          Monument of rudest times,
    When science slept entombed, and o’er the waste,
    The heath-grown crag, and quivering moss of old
    Stalk’d unremitted war.

The tower in general form is a parallelogram, measuring about
forty-five feet by thirty; the strongly-grouted walls are surmounted
by an overhanging parapet, with a watch-turret projecting from each
angle, giving it the character of a fortalice—as, indeed, it was in the
troublous times when watch and ward and beacon lights were necessary
safeguards against sudden assaults. In an angle of the thick walls
is a spiral stone staircase, communicating with the upper chambers
and the roof—the latter, in its original state, having been flat and
covered with lead. The masonry, though of great strength, is plain
and of the simplest character, the only carved work being the small
square-headed windows in the upper stories, which have foliated lights,
divided by a mullion, and are apparently of later date than the main
structure, having probably been inserted about the close of the long
reign of Edward III. In one of these windows the arms and crests of the
Harringtons and Stanleys were formerly to be seen, but they were some
years ago removed for safety, and are now placed in a window of the
adjacent farmhouse. One of the small diamond panes has the well-known
Stanley crest—an eagle, with wings endorsed, preying upon an infant
in its cradle, with the addition of the fret or Harrington knot—_nodo
firmo_—at each angle. On another pane are the letters Q (the equivalent
of W) H, with the fret above and below—the initials being probably
those of Sir William Harrington, who, according to Dr. Whitaker,
fell mortally wounded on the plains of Agincourt, on that memorable
St. Crispin’s Day in 1415[17]. A third pane has depicted upon it an
eagle’s claw, a cognizance of the Stanleys, with a fleur de lis on each
side.

[Note 17: This is an error on the part of the learned historian, for Sir
William Harrington’s death did not occur until 1450.]

It is not known with certainty when Wraysholme was erected; but
probably it was not long after William Mareschal, Earl of Pembroke,
founded the Priory of Cartmel (1188); and it may have been intended
as a protection for the fraternity of that house, in the same way
that Piel Castle was for the security of the monks of Furness; but,
if so, the brotherhood did not enjoy a very lengthened tenure, for a
little more than a century after, it is found in the possession of the
great feudal family of the Harringtons of Aldingham, descended from
the Haveringtons or Harringtons of Haverington, near Whitehaven. Sir
Robert Harrington, the first of the name settled at Aldingham, which he
had acquired in right of his wife, had two sons, the younger of whom,
Michael Harrington had—8 Edward II. (1314-15)—a grant of free-warren in
Alinthwaite (Allithwaite), in which township Wraysholme is situated,
but the property eventually passed to the descendants of the elder
brother, Sir John, a great-grandson of whom, Sir William Harrington,
Knight of the Garter, was standard-bearer at the battle of Agincourt,
where he is erroneously said to have lost his life. This Sir William
married Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir Robert Neville, of Hornby
Castle, and by her had a son, Sir Thomas Harrington.

[Illustration]

In the fierce struggles of the Red and White Roses the Harringtons
ranged themselves on the side of the Yorkists, and suffered severely
in that internecine conflict Sir Thomas Harrington, who married a
daughter of the house of Dacre, and succeeded to the Hornby estates in
right of his mother, fell fighting under the standard of the White Rose
at Wakefield Green, and his only son, Sir John Harrington, received his
death-blow while fighting by his side on that memorable day (December
31, 1460), a day fatal to the House of York, and scarcely less fatal
to the victorious Lancastrians; for the cruelties there perpetrated
by the Black-faced Clifford were repaid with ten-fold vengeance at
Towton a few months later. Drayton, in his “Queen Margaret,” recounts
the butcher-work that Clifford did at Wakefield when the brave Richard
Plantagenet, Duke of York, and his son, the Earl of Rutland, fell
together—when

          York himself before his castle gate,
    Mangled with wounds, on his own earth lay dead;
    Upon whose body Clifford down him sate,
    Stabbing the corpse, and cutting off the head,
    Crowned it with paper, and to wreak his teene,
    Presents it so to his victorious queene,

and the “victorious queene,” the haughty Margaret of Anjou, in the
insolence of her short-lived triumph, gave the order,—

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

Dr. Whitaker tells us that when the news reached Hornby that Sir Thomas
and Sir John Harrington, father and son, with their kinsman, Sir
William Harrington, Lord Bonville of Aldingham, were slain, the widow
of Sir Thomas withdrew to her daughter for consolation, but her son’s
widow, Matilda, a sister of the Black-faced Clifford, partaking, as it
would seem, of her brother’s hard nature, remained, and “was at leisure
to attend to business.”

With Sir John’s death the male line of this branch of the Harringtons
terminated. He left two daughters, Anne and Elizabeth, his co-heirs,
then aged respectively nine and eight years. Their paternal uncle,
Sir James Harrington, took forcible possession of the estates and
claimed them as his own, but on an appeal to the Court of Chancery, he
was dispossessed and committed to the Fleet, when the wardship of the
two young heiresses and the custody of their inheritance were granted
to Thomas Lord Stanley, who considerately married the eldest, Anne,
to his third son, Sir Edward Stanley, the hero of Flodden Field, and
the youngest to his nephew, John Stanley, of Melling, the son of his
brother, the first Sir John Stanley[18] of Alderley, in Cheshire.

[Note 18: By a curious error, which has been repeated in many of the
published pedigrees, this Sir John Stanley is represented as a base
son of James Stanley, Warden of Manchester, and afterwards Bishop of
Ely. Bishop Stanley’s son, who was also distinguished for his valour on
the field of Flodden, was Sir John Stanley, of Honford (Handforth), in
Cheadle parish. Cheshire.]

Sir Edward Stanley, who eventually became the possessor of both
Wraysholme and Hornby, the former, as it would seem, having been
forfeited to the Crown by the attainder of his wife’s uncle, Sir James
Harrington, who, with his brother, Sir Robert, fought on the side of
Richard III. at Bosworth Field, had been a soldier from his youth up.
“The camp,” it is said, “was his school, and his learning the pike and
sword.” The lords of Wraysholme, with their retainers, had many a time
and oft set out to repel the Scots in their plundering raids across
the Border, but now they were called upon to meet the Scottish King
himself, who had entered England with a powerful army, and laid waste
some of the Border strongholds. Summoning his followers, the valiant
Stanley prepared himself for the field, when, as the old ballad tells
us,—

    Sir Edward Stanley, stiff in stour,[19]
      He is the man on whom I mean,
    With him did pass a mighty pow’r,
      Of soldiers seemly to be seen.

    Most lively lads in Lonsdale bred,
      With weapons of unwieldy weight,
    All such as Tatham Fells had fed,
      Went under Stanley’s streamer bright.

           *       *       *       *       *

    From Silverdale to Kent sand side,
      Whose soil is sown with cockle shells,
    From Cartmel eke and Connyside,
      With fellows fierce from Furness Fells.

[Note 19: Stour, _i.e_., fight.]

He and his brave men marched forward until they came to “Flodden’s
fatal field,” when Stanley was entrusted with the command of the rear
of the English army, which he led so valiantly, and made such a sudden
and unexpected onslaught with his bowmen, that the Scots were put to
flight, leaving their King dead upon the field. Scott has enshrined
Stanley’s deeds at Flodden in imperishable verse, and few couplets are
more frequently quoted than that which tells us—

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

Doubtless it was a gay day at Wraysholme when the stout Lancashire
lads, with their brave leader, returned to tell the tale of victory.
Henry VIII., keeping his Christmas at Eltham, the following year
(1514), commanded that Sir Edward Stanley, as a reward for his services
in having won the hill and vanquished those opposed to him, as also
that his ancestors bore the eagle as their crest, should there be
proclaimed Lord Monteagle, which was accordingly done, and by that
title he had summons to Parliament, and was made a Knight of the Garter.

Sir Edward Stanley, Lord Monteagle, died in 1584, and about this time
the old peel of Wraysholme passed to the Dicconsons, a branch of the
family of that name seated at Wrightington, in Eccleston parish, for
in the following year “Richd. Dicconson, of Raisholme,” appears among
the _liberi tenentes_ in Cartmel parish, and the place continued in
the possession of this family for a century or more. In 1756 it was
purchased by John Carter, of Cart Lane, and given by him, in 1790,
to his daughter Dorothy, the wife of John Harrison, from whom it has
descended through the female line to the present possessor—Thomas Newby
Wilson, of Landing, Newby Bridge.

The gloomy-looking old tower, in which the chivalrous and intrepid
Harringtons so long held sway, now only exhibits the melancholy
aspects of desertion and decay. It is used as an outbuilding to the
neighbouring farmhouse, and, though much dilapidated, tells more of
time, and time’s slow wasting hand, than of the ruinous havoc of
ruthless war.

The glory has long passed away, for two centuries and more have rolled
by since it was in the heyday of its prosperity. It is now tenantless
and forlorn, its battlements are broken, its rooms are desolated, and
the wind whistles through the narrow casements that once were storied
with the heraldic achievements of its knightly owners. Old time has
pressed heavily upon it—may no ruder hand hasten its destruction!

A little more than half a mile from Wraysholme Tower is Humphrey
Head, a huge mass of carboniferous limestone that thrusts its gaunt
form far out into the bay, dividing the Milnthorpe from the Ulverston
Sands. To the north it rises abruptly from the plain, here grim and
grey and lifeless-looking, and there decked with a rich embroidery
of lichens, moss, and trailing ivy, while the ledges of the rock are
covered with a thick vegetation of ash and hazel, the bright greenery
of which is in places relieved by the darker foliage of the yew that
here thrives luxuriously. Round towards the sea the steep acclivities
are all broken, channelled, and weather-worn, with scarcely a sign of
vegetation to relieve their general sterility; and huge heaps that
have been brought down by successive storms lie strewn about the shore
in picturesque confusion. The rocky cliff which rears its naked front
almost perpendicularly to a considerable elevation is not without its
tale of sorrow, as we gather from the following warning, inscribed upon
a block of limestone:—

    Beware how you these rocks ascend,
    Here William Pedder met his end,
      August 22nd, 1857. Aged 10 years.

Near the top of the cliff is the Fairies’ Cave—a large cavernous
opening or recess formed by the shrinkage of the limestone; and at
the base is the Holy Well, a mineral spring famed for its curative
properties in Camden’s time, and which even within memory was resorted
to by the Cumberland miners, who came in large numbers to drink its
health-inspiring waters. The spring issues through a fissure in the
rock within a few feet of the ground, the flow being at the rate
of about a gallon a minute, continuing without variation through
the different seasons of the year. The water is perfectly clear and
colourless, and effervesces slightly on agitation—an indication of the
presence of free carbonic acid. Dr. Barber, who has written an account
of the spa, tells us the principal ingredients are the chlorides of
sodium and magnesium, and the sulphates of lime and soda; and that in
its chief characteristics it most resembles the waters at Wiesbaden
and the Ragoczy spring at Kissingen. Its celebrity would seem to have
arisen as much from its diluent powers as from its medicinal virtues;
and probably recent analyses, which have disclosed the fact that it
contains but a small proportion of solid ingredients, have broken
the charm with which traditional piety had surrounded it, and caused
the health-seeking pilgrims who formerly believed in its virtues to
seek elsewhere the refreshing and restorative draughts which nature
provides. The spring is now virtually abandoned; the cottage close by,
in which the high-priestess formerly resided, is tenantless and falling
to decay; but the key of the spring can be had from the neighbouring
farmhouse.

Tradition gathers round this little corner of Lancashire, and the
shaping power of imagination has clothed it with the weird drapery of
romance—that

                        Dubious light
    That hovers ’twixt the day and night,
    Dazzling alternately and dim.

When the Harringtons established themselves here the wolf and the
wild boar roamed at large through the thick forests of Cartmel, and
among the legends and scraps of family history that have floated down
through successive generations is the story that on the eminence to
the north of Wraysholme the last wild boar was hunted down; from which
circumstance the hill has ever since borne the name of Boar Bank. It is
said, too, that, far back in the mist of ages, it was from Wraysholme
Tower a gallant company rode forth to hunt the last wolf “in England’s
spacious realm;” and that, after a long and weary chase, the savage
beast was tracked to its lair on the wooded heights of Humphrey Head,
and there transfixed by the spear of a Harrington. Tradition has been
well described as the nursing-mother of the Muses, and these bits of
legendary lore, which have been deeply rooted in the memories, and
for many a generation have delighted the firesides, of the Cartmel
cottagers, have inspired the pen of a local poet, who has told the
story of “The Last Wolf” in spirit-stirring verse. This interesting
ballad, though varying considerably from the current tradition, is
yet a valuable contribution to our Palatine anthology. Its great
length—seventy-five verses—prevents our giving it entire, but the
following passages will give an idea of the salient features of the
story:—

    The sun hath set on Wraysholme’s Tower,
      And o’er broad Morecambe Bay;
    The moon from out her eastern bower
      Pursues the track of day.

    On Wraysholme’s grey and massive walls,
      On rocky Humphrey Head,
    On wood and field her silver falls,
      Her silent charms are shed.

    No sound through all yon sleeping plain
      Now breaks upon the ear,
    Save murmurs from the distant main,
      Or evening breezes near.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Within those walls may now be seen
      The festive board displayed,
    And round it many a knight, I ween,
      And many a comely maid.

    For know that on the morrow’s dawn,
      With all who list to ride,
    Sir Edgar Harrington hath sworn
      To hunt the country-side.

    A wolf, the last, as rumour saith,
      In England’s spacious realm,
    Is doomed that day to meet its death,
      And grace the conqueror’s helm.

    And he hath sworn an oath beside,
      Whoe’er that wolf shall quell
    Shall have his fair niece for a bride,
      And half his land as well.

The “fair niece” is the orphan Lady Adela—

    For beauty famous far and wide,

whose heart has previously been given to Sir Edgar’s son; but the
course of true love has been characterised by the proverbial absence
of smoothness, and the young knight, to escape his father’s wrath, has
betaken himself to the wars in Eastern lands.

The night’s carousal draws to a close, and at break of day the
huntsman’s horn wakes the sleepers to a glorious chase, when

    Full threescore riders mount with speed,

chief among whom, and the competitors for the fair Adela’s hand, are
the two knights, Laybourne and Delisle—the latter the long-lost son of
Sir Edgar, who has returned from the Crusades, and appears in disguise
and under an assumed name, though the old retainers, as they view the
stranger knight, know that

    The long-lost wanderer meets their sight,
      Whate’er his name be now.

The wolf, scared from his covert on Humphrey Head, leads the hunters
a long and exciting chase over Kirkhead, past Holker and Newby, and
across “the Leven’s brawling flood,” to the Old Man of Coniston. The
dogs are again upon the track, and the grisly beast is away through
“Easthwaite’s lonely deep,” through woodland, brake, and forest hoar,
“through Sawrey’s pass,” and on to the shores of Windermere, where,

    With one bold plunge, the mere he takes,
      And, favoured by the wind,
    The flabbing scent abruptly breaks,
      And leaves his foes behind.

But the “tireless bloodhounds” are once more upon the scent, the rival
knights follow in hot pursuit, and

    Away along the wooded shore
      The chase betakes him now,
    Beneath the friendly shade of Tower
      And craggy Gummerhow.

    Then turn aside to Witherslack,
      Where Winster’s waters range,
    And thence to shingly Eggerslack,
      And sand-surveying Grange.

Then, with the instinct of despair, the brute makes for his old haunt
on Humphrey Head, as “evening shades appear.” Reaching a deep chasm
in the rock, wolf and hounds rush headlong to their destruction.
Laybourne’s horse rears at the “giddy brink,” but the “bold Delisle”
rushes madly on, crying—

    Adela! I’ll win thee now!
      Or ne’er wend forth again.

Delisle and his “Arab white” pursue their headlong course down the
rocky gulf—

    Awhile from side to side it leapt,
      That steed of mettle true,
    Then swiftly to destruction swept,
      Like flashing lightning flew.

    The shingle in its headlong course,
      With rattling din gave way;
    The hazels snap beneath its force,
      The mountain savins sway.

By chance the Lady Adela happens to be riding by at the moment, upon
her “palfrey white”—

    When, lo! the wild wolf bursts in sight,
      And bares his glistening teeth!

    Her eyes are closed in mortal dread,
      And ere a look they steal,
    The wolf and Arab both lie dead,
      And scatheless stands Delisle!

The Red Cross knight now reveals himself as the lost son of Sir Edgar.
The father welcomes the wanderer, and in fulfilment of his promise,
bestows “his fair niece for a bride.” The result may be anticipated.
The Prior of Cartmel, happening opportunely to be passing, “to drink
the Holy Well”—

    Sir Edgar straight the priest besought
      To tarry for awhile;
    Who, when the lady’s eye he caught,
      Assented with a smile.

The “Fairies’ Cave,” on Humphrey Head, served for the nonce as a
chapel, for

    The monk he had a mellow heart,
      And, scrambling to the spot,
    Full blithely there he played his part,
      And tied the nuptial knot.

    And hence that cave on Humphrey Hill,
      Where these fair deeds befel,
    Is called Sir Edgar’s chapel still,
      As hunters wot full well.

    And still the holy fount is there
      To which the prior came;
    And still it boasts its virtues rare,
      And bears its ancient name.

    And long on Wraysholme’s lattice light,
      A wolf’s head might be traced,
    In record of the Red Cross Knight,
      Who bore it for his crest.

    In Cartmel church his grave is shown,
      And o’er it, side by side,
    All graved in stone, lies brave Sir John
      And Adela his bride.

Such is “The Legend of the Last Wolf.” The supposed monument, “all
graved in stone,” still adorns the choir of Cartmel church. Beneath
the ponderous canopy the recumbent figures of the knight and his lady,
lying side by side, may still be seen, looking the very types of
chivalrous honour and conjugal felicity; and there for certainty is
the sculptured figure of the veritable wolf, reposing quietly at their
feet—confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ, although prosaic
antiquaries, disdaining the faint glimmerings of truth that only steal
through the haze of tradition, tell us, with irreverent disregard for
the poetry of romance, that the story is apocryphal; and further try to
shake our faith by affirming that the figures are those of the valiant
Harrington, who fell fighting for the White Rose at Wakefield, and his
wife, a daughter of the lordly house of Dacre. But we will not discuss
the identity of the departed knights, or the merits of their respective
claims to the battered effigies that have failed to perpetuate their
names—monuments that

    Themselves memorials need.

High up on Humphrey Head the cave in which the nuptial knot was tied
still remains; and there, at the foot, is the Holy Well, the waters
of which flow as freely as they did in days of yore, though now only
imbibed when a chance wayfarer finds his way to this lonely seaside
nook, and quaffs a goblet to the memories of the

        Brave Sir John,
    And Adela his bride,

and the holy friar who made them one.



[Illustration]



CHAPTER IV.

     AN AFTERNOON AT GAWSWORTH—THE FIGHTING FITTONS—THE CHESHIRE WILL
     CASE AND ITS TRAGIC SEQUEL—HENRY NEWCOME—“LORD FLAME.”


If any reader wishes to obtain a brief respite from the busy life of
the “unclean city,” to get away from the noise of looms and spindles,
the smoke of factories and the smell of dyes, and to find within easy
distance of the great manufacturing metropolis a place of perfect quiet
and repose where he may feel that for all practical purposes he is “at
the world’s end,” let him by all means spend a summer afternoon in that
quaint little out-of-the-way nook, Gawsworth, and he will return to the
crowded mart with little inclination to cry out with the Roman Emperor,
“_Perdidi diem_.” Yet how few there are who have made acquaintance with
this _beau-ideal_ of a quiet rural retreat. The places which it is the
proper thing to visit, or “do,” as the phrase is, are all carefully
mapped out for our convenience; but the literary finger-posts afford
but little guidance to the true rambler, who knows that the fairest
spots are those which are oftenest overlooked. Gawsworth may be easily
reached from Alderley or Chelford; but perhaps the most convenient
starting point is Macclesfield, from which it is distant a short four
miles.

Macclesfield does not present a particularly prepossessing appearance,
though it possesses much that is historically interesting, and
you may here and there see relics of mediæval times; but the long
centuries have wrought many changes in its condition, and those
changes can hardly be said to be from grave to gay. Its forest was
once the hunting-ground of kings. A royal palace occupied a site
very near to the present Park Lane, and in the Fourth Edward’s reign
Humphrey, Duke of Buckingham, had a princely residence there. The
town itself was walled, and though there is not now a single stone
remaining, the recollection of its fortifications is preserved in
the streets—Chestergate, Church Wallgate, and Jordangate—which form
the principal outlets from it. Notwithstanding that it once boasted
a royal owner, it now presents but a dingy and uninviting aspect, so
that we are little loth to leave its steep and tortuous streets, and
what Nathaniel Hawthorne would call its ugliness of brick, and betake
ourselves to the open country.

On getting clear of the town, we enter upon a pleasant rural highway
that rises and falls in gentle undulations. Tall trees border the
wayside, which, as we advance, grow thicker, until we reach a double
line of spreading beeches that meet in an entanglement overhead,
and form a long shady avenue, through which a pleasant vista is
obtained. Now and then we meet a chance wayfarer and occasionally a
sleepy-looking carter with his team, but the road is comparatively
little frequented, and we almost wonder that with the limited traffic
it does not become grass-grown. Though it is quiet now-a-days, it was
lively enough in the old coaching times, when the “Red Rover” and the
“Defiance” were in the zenith of their popularity, and the tootling
of the guard’s bugle daily awoke the echoes to the inspiring notes of
the “British Grenadiers,” for it was then the great highway between
Manchester and the metropolis. But those days are changed, and our
dream of the past is rudely dispelled by the shrill whistle of the
“express” as it shoots along the edge of the Moss, leaving a long white
pennon of steam in its wake.

As we journey on we get agreeable glimpses of the country, and the
varied character of the scenery adds to the charm. Below us on
the left stretches a broad expanse of bog—Danes Moss, as it is
called—commemorating some long-forgotten incursion of the wild
Scandinavian hordes—

    When Denmark’s raven soared on high.

On the outskirts of the town is an old farmstead, called Cophurst,
on the site of which, as tradition sayeth, Raphael Hollinshead, the
chronicler, resided three hundred years ago. Close by is Sutton, once
the home of another Cheshire worthy—Sir Richard Sutton—“that ever
famous knight and great patron of learning,” as King, in his “Vale
Royal,” calls him, “one of the founders of Brazenose, in Oxford, where
by his bounty many of Cheshire youth receive most worthy education.”
The foreground is broken into picturesque inequalities, and in the
rear rises a succession of swelling hills, part of the great Kerridge
range—the stony barriers of the Peak country. Where the steep crags cut
sharply against the eastern sky is Teg’s Nose, famed for its gritstone
quarries. Further on, Shutling’s Low rears its cone-shaped peak to a
height of 1,660 feet, and behind we catch sight of the breezy moor, on
the summit of which stands that lonely hostelry, the Cat and Fiddle,
the highest public-house, it is said, to be found in the kingdom. The
great hill-slopes, though now almost bare of wood, once formed part
of the great forest of Macclesfield, in which for generations the
Davenports, as chief foresters, held the power of life and death over
the robber bands who in the old times infested it, as well as the
punishment of those who made free with the Earl’s venison; and they
not only held but exercised their rights, as the long “Robber Roll”
at Capesthorne still testifies. Though it has long been completely
disafforested, the memory of it still lingers. Forest Chapel, away up
in the very heart of this mountain wilderness, perpetuates the name,
and Wildboar Clough—Wilbor Clough, as the Macclesfieldians persist in
calling it—Hoglegh, and Wolfscote remind us of the former denizens
of these moorland wastes. Beyond Teg’s Nose a great gap opens in
the hills, and then Cloud End rears its rugged form—dark, wild, and
forbidding. From the summit, had we time to climb it, a charming
view might be obtained of the picturesquely varied country—

    Of farms remote and far apart, with intervening space
    Of black’ning rock and barren down, and pasture’s pleasant face;
    And white and winding roads that creep through village, vale, and glen,
    And o’er the dreary moorlands, far beyond the homes of men.

[Illustration: GAWSWORTH OLD HALL.]

On the right the scenery is of a more pastoral character. Lawns and
meadows stretch away, and the eye ranges over the broad fertile plain
of Cheshire—over quaint sequestered nooks and quiet homesteads, and
old-fashioned villages, with here and there a grey church tower rising
in their midst; over well-tilled fields and daisied pastures, and
league upon league of cultivated greenness, where the thick hedgerows
cross and recross each other in a network of verdant beauty. The
crumbling ruins of Beeston Castle crowning the edge of a bold outlier
of rock, may be dimly discerned, with Peckforton rising close by its
side, and beyond, where a shadowy form reaches like a cloud across the
horizon, we can trace the broken outline of the Welsh hills, with Moel
Fammau towering above them all.

Presently the battlemented towers of Gawsworth Church are seen peering
above the umbrage; then we come to a cross road, and, turning sharply
to the left, continue along a green old bosky lane, and past the
village school, close to which is a weather-worn memorial of bygone
days—the old wayside cross standing beneath a clump of trees, erected,
as old writers tell us, to “guide and guard the way to church,” and
the sight of which, with the surroundings, calls to remembrance Hood’s
lines on the symbol of the Christian’s faith:—

    Say, was it to my spirit’s gain or loss,
      One bright and balmy morning, as I went
      From Liège’s lonely environs to Ghent,
    If hard by the way-side I found a cross,
    That made me breathe a pray’r upon the spot—
      While Nature of herself, as if to trace
      The emblem’s use, had trail’d around its base
    The blue significant Forget-me-not?
    Methought, the claims of Charity to urge
      More forcibly, along with Faith and Hope,
    The pious choice had pitched upon the verge
        Of a delicious slope,
      Giving the eye much variegated scope;—
    “Look round,” it whisper’d, “on that prospect rare,
      Those vales so verdant, and those hills so blue;
    Enjoy the sunny world, so fresh and fair,
      But (how the simple legend pierced me thro’!)”—
        “Priez pour les Malheureux.”

For a short distance the road now descends, and near the bottom a bank
rises abruptly on the right, crowned with a plantation of oak and
larch—the “sylvan shade”—beneath which reposes the “breathless clay”
of the eccentric poet, wit, and player—Samuel Johnson—known by his
generation as “Lord Flame,” of whom we may have something to say anon.
A few yards further on is the new hall, or “New Buildings,” as it is
sometimes called, a plain brick house, the south wing only of which
has been completed, built in Queen Anne’s reign by that Lord Mohun who
brought the noted Cheshire will case to a sanguinary end, when he and
his adversary, the Duke of Hamilton, fell together in a duel in Hyde
Park, Nov. 15, 1712. At this point the view of Gawsworth opens upon
us, presenting one of the fairest pictures of quiet rural beauty that
Cheshire possesses. There is a dreamy old-world character about the
place, a sweet fragrance of the olden time, and a peaceful tranquillity
of the present; and the ancient church, the picturesque half-timbered
rectory, and the stately old hall, with the broad grass-bordered road,
the wide-spreading sycamores, and the old-fashioned fish ponds, in
the weed-grown depths of which every object, with the overarching sky
and the white clouds sailing therein are given back with distinct
vividness, impart an air of venerable and undisturbed respectability.
The place belongs so entirely to the past, and there seems such a
remoteness between the hoar antiquity of a scene so thoroughly old
English and the busy world from which we have just emerged, that we
almost hesitate to advance.

[Illustration: GAWSWORTH CROSS.]

There is no village, so to speak, the church, the parsonage, and the
two halls, with a cottage or two adjoining the church steps, being all
the buildings we can see; there is not even that usual and supposed to
be indispensable adjunct of an old English country village, the village
inn, the nearest hostelry being the Harrington Arms, an old coaching
house on the London road, a quarter of a mile or more away. The church,
a grey and venerable pile, with a remarkably well proportioned tower,
which exhibits some good architectural details of the perpendicular
period, stands in its graveyard, a little to the south of a broad
grass-grown road, upon a gentle eminence encompassed by a grey stone
fence that looks as ancient as the building itself. Tall trees
overshadow it—larch and fir—that rear their lofty spines from near the
water’s edge, and, yielding to the northern blasts, bend in graceful
curves towards the ancient fane. You can mount the steps and pass
through the little wicket into the quiet “God’s-acre,” and surely a
spot more suggestive of calm and serious thought is rarely witnessed.
Move slowly through the tall grass and round the green graves where

    The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep,

Tread lightly upon the weather-stained and moss-grown stones that
loving hands have set up to keep alive the memories of those who sleep
beneath. Near the porch is the chamfered shaft of an ancient cross,
and close by two or three venerable yews cast their funereal shade.
One of them, an aged torso, is garlanded with ivy, and buttressed on
one side by a short flight of steps that have been built against it.
Its gigantic roots grasp the earth with a tenacity that time cannot
relax. It has lived through long centuries, and seen generation after
generation christened, married, and buried, and, though now hollowed
and decayed, the trunk still preserves some of that vitality that was
in its fulness when the valorous Fittons were in the heyday of their
power.

Separating the churchyard from the road is an artificial lake or
fish-pond, one of a series of three or four, through each of which the
water flows in succession, and where, in the chivalrous days of the
knightly owners of Gawsworth, the water jousts and other aquatic games
took place. But those times of pomp and pageantry have passed away,
and the surface is now seldom ruffled save when occasionally a fish
rises, or a stately swan glides gracefully through the warm sunshine.
In its smooth mirror you can see the old grey tower, the projecting
buttresses, the traceried windows, and the embattled parapets of the
church, with their pleasant environment of green all clearly reflected,
presenting the appearance of an inverted picture; while the old
patrician trees that border the wayside bend over the glassy surface,
creating in places a vernal shade that Undine might delight in.

On the opposite side is the Rectory, a picturesque old structure of
black and white timber work, “magpie” as the people call it hereabouts,
with quaint overhanging gables, grotesque carvings, and mullioned
windows, with small diamond panes—one of them, that lighting the hall,
a spacious apartment with an open timber roof, containing fragments of
heraldic glass that would seem to have formerly belonged to the church.
There is a wide entrance porch in the centre of the building, and over
the door, between two shields of arms, this inscription—“Syr Edward
Fytton, Knight, with my lady Mare ffyton, hys wyffe”—from which it has
been commonly assumed that the house was built by Sir Edward Fitton,
who married Mary, the daughter and co-heir of Guicciard Harbottle, of
Northumberland, and so would fix the time of erection in the reign
of Henry VIII. But this inscription originally belonged to another
building of later date than the Rectory, which, as we learn from some
verses preserved in Ashmole’s “Church Notes,” taken _circa_ 1654, was
erected by George Baguley, who was rector of Gawsworth from 1470 to
1497.

The “old” Hall, the ancestral home of the Fittons, now occupied by
Lord Petersham, stands a short distance east of the church. Like
the Rectory, it is half-timbered and of the Elizabethan period, but
the building is now incomplete, a part having been taken down some
seventy years ago, though the original quadrangular form may still be
traced. In the rear, in what has been originally the courtyard, is a
curious octagonal oriel of three stories, each story overhanging the
one immediately below in a sort of telescope fashion. The windows are
filled with leaded panes arranged in a variety of shapes and patterns.
The principal front, which faces the road, has been rebuilt and painted
in imitation of timber-work. Over the principal entrance is a shield
of sixteen quarterings, representing the arms of the Fittons and their
several alliances, surrounded by a garter, on which is inscribed the
motto, “_Fit onus leve_”—a play upon the family name. There is also the
following inscription beneath—

    Hec scvlptvra finita fvit apvd
    Villam Galviæ in Hibernia per
    Richardvm Rany, Edwardo Fyton
    Milite primo dn͞o presidente totius
    Provinciæ Conatiæ et Thomoniæ.
            Anno Domini 1570.

In front of the hall is a grove of walnut trees, very patriarchs
of their kind; and adjoining is a large grassy amphitheatre, which
Ormerod, the Cheshire historian, has described as “a deserted pleasure
ground;” but, after careful examination, and with some show of
probability, pronounced by Mr. Mayer to be an ancient tilting ground,
where in times past the warlike Fittons amused themselves and their
Cheshire neighbours with displays of martial skill and bravery.

Before we enter the church or view the hall, it may be well to glance
briefly at the earlier history of the place. Gawsworth, though now an
independent parish, was formerly included within the limits of the
great parish of Prestbury; and even at the present day the whole of the
townships which surround it—Macclesfield, Sutton, Bosley, North Rode,
Marton, Siddington, and Henbury—all owe ecclesiastical allegiance to
the mother church of that widespread parish. The original name, as we
learn from the Domesday survey, was _Gouersurde_. After the Conquest
it formed part of the possessions of the Norman Earls of Chester; one
of whom, Randle de Meschines, in the twelfth century, gave it to his
trusty follower, Hugh, son of Bigod, with the right of holding his
own courts, without pleading before the prefects at Macclesfield, in
consideration of his rendering to the earl annually a caparisoned
horse; and this Hugh, in accordance with the fashion of the age,
adopted the name of Gawsworth. Subsequently the manor seems to have
passed to Richard Aldford, whose daughter, Lucy, brought it in marriage
to the Orrebies, who held it free from all service save furnishing one
man in time of war to assist in the defence of Aldford Castle. They
retained possession until the reign of Edward I., when Richard, son of
Thomas de Orreby, dying without male issue, his only sister, Isabel,
who succeeded to the inheritance, and who had previously married in
succession Roger de Macclesfeld and Sir John de Grindon, Knight, both
of whom she survived, conveyed it on her marriage in 1316-17 to her
third husband, Thomas Fytton, a younger son of Edmund Fytton, of Bolyn
(Wilmslow); and thus Gawsworth became closely associated with a family
noted for their chivalrous exploits, and famous in the annals of the
county.

Of the early history of this distinguished family—“Knights of a
long-continued Race and of great worth,” as Webb styles them—who for
so many generations held sway and practised a splendid hospitality in
Gawsworth, but few memorials have been preserved beyond the dry details
embodied in their _Inquisitiones post mortem_ in the Public Record
Office, and the inscriptions which still remain upon the sumptuous
monuments erected to their memory in the church which their pious
munificence reared.

Thomas Fitton, who acquired the manor of Gawsworth by his marriage
with the heiress of Orreby, had a son also named Thomas, who married
Margaret, a daughter and co-heir of Peter Legh, of Bechton, and added
to the patrimonial estate half of the manor of Bechton and lands
in Lostock-Gralam, which he obtained in right of his wife. It was
during the lifetime of this Thomas that we find the first attempt
made to erect the chapelry of Gawsworth, which was then dependent
upon Prestbury, into a separate parish. At that time the Abbot of
St. Werburg’s, Chester, held the rectory of Prestbury, and in the
chartulary of his house it is recorded that in April, 1382, he conceded
to John Caxton, rector of Gawsworth, the privilege of burying his
parishioners on paying a moiety of the dues within ten days after each
burial, and with a proviso that any parishioner of Gawsworth might be
interred at Prestbury without any claim on the part of the rector of
Gawsworth.

In explanation of the granting of this privilege it may be mentioned
that in those times, on the formation of a parish, the inhabitants
were required to perform their parochial rites at the mother church,
the “ealdan mynstre” of the parish. But as many parishes were of
considerable territorial extent, those resident in the remote hamlets
found it inconvenient to resort on all occasions to the mother church.
To provide for the spiritual requirements of the people in such
districts, private chapels or oratories, founded by the lords of the
soil, were allowed to be licensed in convenient situations. They were
frequently attached or immediately adjacent to the lord’s mansion, and
were designed more especially for his own accommodation and that of
his dependents; and Gawsworth, which is distant nearly six miles from
Prestbury, was of this class. To prevent such foundations trenching
upon the rights of the mother church, they were merely licensed for
preaching and praying, the ministration of the sacrament of baptism
and the performance of the right of burial being strictly prohibited.
These latter were the true parochial rites, and the grant of them to a
chapel or oratory severed its connection with the parish church, and
converted it into a parochial chapel, or, more strictly speaking, into
an independent church.

But who was John Caxton, the parson of Gawsworth? The name is not
very frequently met with, and the thought suggests itself that he may
have been, and probably was, a kinsman of that William Caxton who, a
century later, set up his press in the precincts of Westminster Abbey,
and revolutionised the world by practising the art which Gutenberg had
invented.

In 1391 Thomas Fitton was appointed one of a number of influential
persons in Cheshire who were constituted a commission to levy a subsidy
of 3,000 marks (£2,000) in the city of Chester, on account of the
King’s confirmation of the old charters belonging to that city. He died
in 1397, and was succeeded by his son, Sir Lawrence Fitton, then aged
22, who married Agnes Hesketh, a daughter of the house of Rufford,
in Lancashire. This Sir Lawrence, who held the lordship for the long
period of 60 years, fills no inconsiderable space in the annals of
the county. He was frequently one of the forest justices in eyre, the
assizes being then held in Macclesfield, and took an active part in the
stirring events of his time. When, in 1399, Richard the Second went
over to Ireland to avenge the death of Roger Mortimer, by chastising
the Irish chieftains who had risen in insurrection, he, in order to
increase the strength of his Cheshire guard by a fresh levy, issued
his orders to Sir Lawrence Fitton and others commanding them to summon
the best archers in the Macclesfield hundred between 16 and 60, and
to select a number to go to Ireland in his train, who were to be at
Chester on the morrow of the Ascension of our Lord for inspection by
the King’s officers. The King did not actually sail till the 4th of
June, when he was joined by Sir Lawrence Fitton, who, as appears by
an entry on the Recognizance Rolls of the palatinate, had protection
granted him on his departure; and at this time, under date June 5,
we find a licence to William Prydyn, parson of Gawsworth, Robert de
Tounley, John Tryket, and Matthew del Mere to act as his attorneys and
to look after his affairs while absent in Ireland on the King’s service.

“When the shepherd is absent with his dog the wolf easily leaps into
the fold.” So says the proverb, and Richard had unpleasant experience
of the truthfulness of it, for scarcely had he loosed his sails before
some of the more discontented of his nobles at home were plotting for
his overthrow.

Within a month of his departure Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford,
the only son of old John of Gaunt, who had been banished the kingdom,
landed at Ravenspur, near Hull—as Shakspere writes—

    The banish’d Bolingbroke repeats himself,
    And with uplifted arms is safe arrived
    At Ravenspurg,

and before the end of July was at the head of a large army in the wolds
of Worcestershire. It was not until towns and castles had been yielded
to the invader that the King received intelligence of the insurrection,
for the winds had been contrary, and by the time he landed at Milford
the revolution was virtually accomplished. Ill news does not always
travel apace, and in these days, when the trembling wire speeds the
message through air and sea, it seems difficult to realise the thought
of a rebellion stalking through England unchecked for weeks without
the news reaching in the sister isle him whom it most immediately
concerned. On reaching England, Richard started for Chester, where he
had many friends and his power was strongest. At Flint he was delivered
by the perfidious Percy into the hands of Bolingbroke, thence he was
taken to Chester, and afterwards conveyed to London and lodged in
the Tower, when, after having resigned the crown, he was formally
deposed—an act that was followed by his removal to Pontefract, where,
according to common report, he was murdered by Sir Piers Exton and
his assistants, though it is more likely he was allowed to perish of
starvation.

Whether Fitton was one of those who hastened to pay court to the
usurper, and in a bad game elected to adhere to the winning side,
is not clear, but he must have quickly accommodated himself to the
changed state of affairs, and to have gained the confidence of
Bolingbroke—“King Henry of that name the Fourth.”

Scarcely was Richard dead when a great revulsion in public feeling
occurred, old hatreds and jealousies were revived, and those who had
clamoured most for his death now exclaimed—

    Oh, earth, yield us that King again,
    And take thou this;

and the usurping Henry, who had dreamed only of the throne as a bed of
roses, found himself between the fell spectres conscience and insatiate
treason. In Wales, where Richard had possessed a strong attachment,
Owen Glendower raised the standard of revolt, renounced allegiance
to the King, and claimed to be the rightful Prince of Wales, when he
was joined by young Harry Percy, the Hotspur of the famous ballad
of _Chevy Chase_. To meet this new danger, Prince Henry, Falstaff’s
Prince Hal—“the nimble-footed mad-cap Harry, Prince of Wales,” who was
also Earl of Chester, and lived much in the county, joined his forces
to those of his father, and on the 11th January, 1403-4, we find him
directing a writ to Sir Lawrence Fitton, requiring him to repair “to
his possessions on the marches of Wales, there to make defence against
the coming of Owen Glendower, according to an order in Council enacting
that, on the occasion of the war being moved against the King, all
those holding possessions on the marches should reside on the same for
the defence of the realm,” and the Recognizance Rolls show that a few
days later the Lord of Gawsworth was appointed on a commission “to
inquire touching those who spread false rumours to the disquiet of the
people of the county of Chester, and disturbance of the peace therein,
also to array all the fencible men of the hundred of Macclesfield.”

In 1416, when, after the victory at Agincourt, Henry V. was preparing
for his second expedition to France, with the design of claiming the
crown, Sir Lawrence Fitton, with Sir John Savage, Knight, Robert de
Hyde, Robert de Dokenfield, and John, the son of Peter de Legh, was
appointed collector of the subsidy in the Macclesfield hundred, part
of the 3,000 marks granted to the King by the county of Chester; and
in 1428, with other influential Cheshire knights and gentry, he was
summoned to the King’s Council at Chester, with regard to the granting
of a subsidy to the King (Henry VI.) His death occurred on the 16th
March, 1457, when he must have been over 80 years of age, and his
inquisition was taken 37 Henry VI. (1459), when his grandson Thomas,
then aged 26, was found to be his next heir. As previously stated,
he had to wife Agnes Hesketh. This lady died in 1422, and he would
appear to have re-married, for in the inquisition taken after his death
mention is made of “Clemencia, his wife,” who is said to be then alive.

During his long life a movement was taking place in the Church which
brought about a great change in religious thought and action, and in
which Wycliffe, the rector of Lutterworth, may be said to have been
the chief actor. The rapacity of the monks was securing or had secured
for themselves the larger portion of the livings of the country, the
parishes being handed over to the spiritual care of vicars, with the
small tithes as a miserable stipend. In this manner the rich rectory of
Prestbury had been appropriated to the Abbey of St. Werburg, Chester;
and possibly it was this circumstance, as much as his own personal
convenience, which induced Caxton, acting under the influence of his
patron, the father of Sir Lawrence Fitton, to seek to detach the chapel
of Gawsworth from the mother church of Prestbury. Having accomplished
this, Sir Lawrence Fitton would seem to have set about the erection of
a building more suited to its increased importance as a parish church,
and an examination of the building points to the conclusion that the
greater portion of the fabric was erected during his lifetime, as
evidenced by the architectural details of the building, as well as
by the shields of arms displayed on different parts of the tower,
representing the alliances of the family, the latest impalement being
the coat of Mainwaring, intended to commemorate the marriage of his son
Thomas with Ellen, daughter of Randle Mainwaring, of Over Peover, which
would seem to fix the date between the years 1420 and 1430, and not in
the reign of Edward III., as generally supposed. In the Cheshire Church
Notes, taken in 1592, there is preserved an account of a window to the
memory of Sir Lawrence Fitton and his wife, which formerly existed in
the church at Gawsworth. He is represented as in armour, and kneeling
with his wife before desks in the attitude of devotion; on his surcoat
were displayed the arms of Fitton, and on the lady’s mantle those of
Hesketh; behind the knight were eight sons, and in rear of the lady
four daughters, and underneath the inscription, “_Orate pro bono statu
Laurencii ffitton milit’ et Agnet’ uxor ejus cum pueris suis_.”

By his wife Agnes Sir Lawrence Fitton had a son Thomas, who, as stated,
married Ellen, daughter of Randle Mainwaring, of Over Peover, and
their names were in like manner commemorated by a window, which has
now disappeared, comprising three panes, one representing Sir Randle
Mainwaring and his wife Margery, daughter of Hugh Venables, Baron of
Kinderton, kneeling before desks; the second, Thomas Fitton and seven
sons; and the third, his wife and six daughters, all kneeling, and
the inscription, “_Orate pro a’iabus Thomæ ffitton, filii Laurencii
ffitton, et Elene ux’ ejus, et om’ puerorum suorum, qui istam fenestram
fieri fecerunt_.”

Thomas Fitton pre-deceased his father, leaving a son, also named
Thomas, who succeeded as heir on the death of his grandfather in 1457,
he being then 25 years of age. This Thomas inherited the martial
spirit of his ancestors, and took his share in the fierce struggle of
the White and Red Roses, which destroyed the flower of the English
nobility, and impoverished and well-nigh exhausted the country—“that
purple testament of bleeding war”—

    When, like a matron butcher’d of her sons,
    And cast aside some common way, a spectacle
    Of horror and affright to passers by,
    Our bleeding country bled at every vein!

He was present in the sanguinary encounter at Bloreheath, near Drayton,
on that fatal 23rd July, 1459—St. Tecla’s Day—when Lord Audley and the
Lancastrians were defeated, and was knighted on the field; and there is
on the Cheshire Recognizance Rolls, under date April 29th, 38-9 Henry
VI. (1460), the record of a general pardon granted to Thomas Fitton and
Richard Fitton, late of Gawsworth; William, son of Lawrence Fitton,
late of Gawsworth; Edward, brother of Thomas Fitton, late of Gawsworth;
some of their kinsmen of the Pownall stock, and other Cheshire
gentry, with a long list of residents in Gawsworth, the retainers of
the Fittons—names that are still familiar in the neighbourhood—“in
consideration,” as it states, “of the good service of the said Thomas
Fitton, Knight, and his adherents at Blore-heth.” His name also occurs
under date June 10, 1463, with those of John de Davenport, of Bramhall;
Hugh Davenport, of Henbury; and Christopher Davenport, of Woodford, in
the appointment of collectors of a subsidy for the King (Edward IV.) in
the Macclesfield Hundred. He married Ellen, daughter of Sir Peter Legh,
of Lyme, but this lady, who predeceased him, bore him no issue. He died
April 27, 1494, when the estates devolved upon his brother and next
heir, Edward Fitton, then aged 60 years. This Edward, by his marriage
with Emmota, the daughter and sole heiress of Robert Siddington, had at
that time acquired possession of two parts of the manor of Siddington,
which had been held by his wife’s family for many generations on the
tenure of rendering a red rose yearly, and thus he added materially to
the territorial wealth and influence of the Gawsworth house. Though
there is no absolute evidence of the fact, there is yet good reason to
believe that the south porch of Gawsworth Church was added or rebuilt
by this Edward Fitton, one of the carved decorations being a rose, in
the leaves of which may be discerned two heads, evidently intended to
represent Henry VII. and his Queen, who, by their marriage, had united
the rival houses of York and Lancaster, and so terminated the long and
bitter War of the Roses.

Edward Fitton died 15th February, 1510-11, leaving, with other
issue, a son John, who succeeded as heir, and who, as appears by the
inquisition taken after his father’s death, was then 40 years of age.
He had married, in 1498, Ellen, daughter of Sir Andrew Brereton, the
representative of a family that had been seated at Brereton from the
time of William Rufus. By her he had, with other issue, a son Edward,
who succeeded at his death, which occurred on the Sunday after St.
Valentine’s Day, 1525. In the Cheshire Church Notes already referred
to, mention is made of a memorial window formerly existing on the south
side of Gawsworth Church, containing the arms of Fitton quartering
those of Siddington and Bechton, with the inscription underneath:
“_Orate pro a’iabus Edwardi ffitton et Emmotæ uxis suæ, et pro a’iabus
Johannis ffitton, et Elene ux’ sue ... et Roberti Sedyngton et Elene
uxoris sue_;” and there was also formerly in one of the windows of
the south aisle of Wilmslow Church, as we learn from Mr. Earwaker’s
“East Cheshire,” a representation of John Fitton and his wife. The
drawing made by Randle Holmes shows the figure of a knight kneeling on
a cushion and wearing a tabard of arms, the coat being that of Fitton
of Gawsworth; and lower down is a knight kneeling, with his tabard
of arms quarterly—(1) Orreby, (2) Siddington, (3) Bechton, and (4)
Fitton. Behind him kneel eight sons; opposite, also kneeling, is his
wife, wearing an heraldic mantle representing the arms of Brereton,
with a shield containing the same coat above her head; and behind her,
kneeling, six daughters. The inscription had then disappeared, but
it is clear that the first figure was intended for Edward Fitton of
Gawsworth, whilst the other represented his son John, and his wife,
Ellen Brereton, and their children.

On the death of John Fitton, in 1525, the family estates devolved upon
his eldest son Edward, who received the honour of knighthood, and
in the 35th Henry VIII. (1543-4) held the shrievalty of the county.
He married Mary, the younger daughter and co-heir of Sir Guiscard
Harbottle, a Northumberland knight, and by her had five sons and six
daughters. He died on February 17, 1548, and on his inquisition, which
was taken the same year, Edward Fitton, his son, then aged 21 years,
was found to be his heir.

Edward Fitton, who succeeded to the Gawsworth estates on the death of
his father, in 1548, was born 31st March, 1527; and when only 12 years
of age had been united in marriage with Anne, one of the daughters of
Sir Peter Warburton, of Warburton and Arley, the lady being a month
younger than himself. He was one of the foresters of Macclesfield, and
was exempted from serving upon juries and at the assizes, in accordance
with the terms of a writ dated 29th March, 5 and 6 Edw. VI. (1532),
addressed to the sheriff of the county. Eight years after his coming
in possession of the patrimonial lands, as appears by letters patent
bearing date 3 and 4 Philip and Mary (1556-7), he, in conjunction with
William Tatton, of Wythenshawe, who in 1552 had espoused his eldest
sister, Mary, obtained a grant from the Crown of Etchells, part of the
confiscated estates of Sir William Brereton, together with Aldford
and Alderley, the property being subsequently partitioned; Aldford
and Alderley remaining with Sir Edward, whilst Etchells passed to his
son-in-law, William Tatton.

Subsequently his name occurs in the palatine records, with those of
William Davenport, Knt., and William Dokenfield and Jasper Worth,
Esquires, as collectors of a mise in Macclesfield, in 1559-60.

The influential position which the Fittons held in their own county
was due, as we have seen, not less to their martial bearing than to
their successful marriages, and it was this chivalrous spirit which was
ever a characteristic of the stock that led to their being frequently
employed in the public service. In the person of Sir Edward Fitton the
ancient fame of the family was well sustained. In 1569, the year in
which Shane O’Neill, the representative of the royal race of Ulster,
was attainted in Parliament—that daring chief of a valorous line, whose

    Kings with standard of green unfurl’d,
      Led the Red-branch knights to danger;
    Ere the emerald gem of the western world
      Was set in the crown of a stranger—

when Ireland was in a state of anarchy and confusion—when the Desmonds
and the Tyrones were trying the chances of insurrection rather
than abdicate their unlicensed but ancient chieftainship, and the
half-civilised people were encouraged in their disobedience to the
law by the mischievous activity of the Catholic clergy, who had been
forcibly dispossessed of their benefices, and therefore wished to
free themselves from the English yoke—Sir Edward Fitton was sent over
to Ireland by Queen Elizabeth to fill the difficult and responsible
post of first Lord President of the Council within the Province of
Munster and Thomond—an office he held for a period of over three
years. His position can hardly be said to have been an enviable one,
for the country at that time had become so wasted by war and military
executions, and famine and pestilence, that two years previously Sir
Henry Sidney, the viceroy, in his letters to Elizabeth, described the
southern and western counties as “an unmeasurable tract, now waste and
uninhabited, which of late years was well tilled and pastured.” He
adds,—

     A more pleasant nor a more desolate land I never saw than from
     Youghall to Limerick.... So far hath that policy, or rather lack
     of policy, in keeping dissension among them prevailed, as now,
     albeit all that are alive would become honest and live in quiet,
     yet are there not left alive in those two provinces the twentieth
     person necessary to inhabit the same.

And the description is confirmed by a contemporary writer—a Cheshire
man, by the way, whose early life was spent in the neighbourhood of
Gawsworth (Hollinshead)—who thus expresses the truth with hyperbolical
energy:—

     The land itself, which before those wars was populous, well
     inhabited, and rich in all the good blessings of God, being
     plenteous of corn, full of cattle, well stored with fruits and
     sundry other good commodities, is now become waste and barren,
     yielding no fruits, the pastures no cattle, the fields no corn,
     the air no birds, the seas, though full of fish, yet to them
     yielding nothing. Finally, every way, the curse of God was so
     great, and the land so barren, both of man and beast, that
     whosoever did travel from one end unto the other he should not
     meet any man, woman, or child, saving in towns and cities; nor
     yet see any beast but they were wolves, the foxes, and other like
     ravenous beasts.

On the dissolution of the Council in September, 1572, Sir Edward Fitton
returned to England; but remained only a few months, when he was
appointed (March, 1573) Treasurer for the War and Vice-Treasurer and
Receiver-General in Ireland. He appears to have taken up his abode in
Dublin, where in January of the following year he lost his wife. She
was buried in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in that city, January, 1573-4;
and in the MSS. of Bishop Sterne there is preserved the following
curious account of the ceremonial observed on the occasion of her
funeral:—

     “The order in the presyding for buriall of the worshypful Lady
     Fitton, on Sonday, bein the 17 day of January, Anno 1573.

     First, serteyne youmen to goo before the penon with the armes
     of Syr Edwarde Fytton, and his wyfe’s dessessed; and next after
     them the penon, borne by Mr. Rycharde Fytton, second son to Syr
     Edw. Fytton and Lady, his wyfe dessessed; and sarten gentillmen
     servants to the sayd Syr Edw. Fytton; then the gentill-hossher
     and the chapplens, and then Ulster Kyng of Armes of Ierland,
     weyring his mornyng goune and hod, with hys cote of the armes
     of Ynglande. And then the corpes of the sayd Lady Fytton, and
     next after the corps the lady Brabason, who was the principal
     morner, bein lyd and assysted by Sir Rafe Egerton, knyght, and
     Mr. Fran. Fytton, Esq., brother to the said Syr Edwarde, and next
     after her, Mistress Agarde, wyfe to Mr. Fran. Agarde; then Mrs.
     Chalenor, wyfe to Mr. John Chalenor; then Mrs. Dyllon; then Mrs.
     Bruerton, being the other III murners. Then Syr Edward Fytton
     goying bytwene the Archebysshoppe of Dublin and the Bishop of
     Methe; then Sir John Plunkett, Chefe Justice of Ireland; then
     Master Dyllon, beying the Chefe Baron; then Mr. Fran. Agard and
     Mr. John Chalenor, wyth other men to the number of XIII gentylmen;
     then sarten other gentyllwomen and maydens, morners, to the nomber
     of VIII; and then the Mayor of Dublyn, wyth his brytherne, the
     Schyreffes and Aldermen; and the poure folks VI men on the one
     syde of the corse and VI women on the other syde. And so coming
     to the cherche of St. Patryke, where was a herse prepared, and
     when they cam to the herse, the yomen stode, halfe on the one side
     and halfe on the other, the penon berer stood at the fette of the
     corps; then the corps was layd upon a payer of trestels within the
     herse, and then the III morners were brought to their places by
     Ulster Kyng of Armes aforesaid, and the cheffe morner was brought
     to her place at the hede of the corps, and so the herse was closd;
     and the tow assystants set uppon tow stowles without the rayles,
     and then sarvyce was begon by the Bysshope of Methe, and after
     sarvyce there was a sermon made, and the sermon endyd, the company
     went home to the house of the sayd Sir Edw. Fytton; and the corpse
     was buryed by the reverent father, the Bysshop of Methe, and
     when the corpse was buryed, the clothe was layd again upon the
     trestylls wythin the herse, which was deckyed with scochyens of
     armes in pale of hys and her armes, and on the morow the herse was
     sett over the grave and the penon sett in the wall over the grave.
     And Ulster Kyng of Armes had V yardes of fyne blake clothe for
     his lyvery, and 50s. sterling for hys fee, and the herse with the
     cloth that was on the corse wyth all the furnyture there of the
     herse.”

It may be mentioned that the claim of Ulster King of Arms to the costly
materials of which the hearse was composed was disputed by the Vicars
Choral of St Patrick’s, and the matter was not settled until 1578, when
a decision was given in favour of the former by the Lord Deputy of the
Council. Sir Edward Fitton died July 3, 1579, and his remains were
interred by the side of those of his wife, the memory of both being
perpetuated in an inscription on a sepulchral brass still remaining in
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, on which is engraved the figure of
a man with nine children behind him, and, opposite, a woman with six
children behind her, all kneeling. The inscription which is below is as
follows:—

      Glorify thy name, hasten thy
    Kingdome; Comforte thy flock;
        Confound thy adversaries;

     Ser Edward ffitton, of Gausworth, in the counte of Chester, in
     Englande, knight, was sent into Ireland by Quene Elizabeth, to
     serve as the first L President of her highnes Counsell within
     the province of Connaght and Thomonde, who landing in Ireland on
     the Ascention day, 1569, Ao. R. R. Elizabeth XI. lyued there in
     the rome aforesaid till Mighellmas, 1572, Ao. Elizabeth XIIIIº.;
     and then, that Counsell being dissolued, and he repayring
     into England, was sent over againe in March next following as
     Threasaurer at Warres, Vice-treasaurer, and general receyvor
     within the realme of Ireland, and hath here buried the wyef of
     his youth, Anne, the seconnd daughter of Sir Peter Warburton, of
     Areley, in the county of Chester, knight, who were born both in
     one yere, viz., he ye last of Marche, 1527, and she the first
     of May in the same yeare; and were maried on Sonday next after
     Hillaries daye, 1539, being ye 19 daye of Januarie, in the 12 yere
     of their age, and lyued together in true and lawfull matrymonie
     just 34 yeres; for the same Sonday of ye yere wherein they were
     maried, ye same Sondaie 34 yeres following was she buried, though
     she faithfully departed this lyef 9 daies before, viz., on the
     Saturdaie, ye 9 daie of Januarie, 1573; in which time God gave
     them 15 children, viz., 9 sonnes and six daughters; and now her
     body slepeth under this Stone, and her soul is retourned to God
     yt gave yt, and there remayneth in kepinge of Christe Jesus, her
     onely Saviour. And the said Ser Edward departed this lyef the
     thirde daie of July, Ao. Dni. 1579, and was buried the xxi daie
     of September next folowing; whose fleshe also resteth under the
     same stone, in assured hope of full and perfect resurrection to
     eternall lyef in ioye, through Christe his onely Saviour; and the
     said Ser Edward was revoked home into England, and left this land
     the ---- day of ---- Anno Domini being the ---- yere of his age.

At the east end of the north side of Gawsworth Church there is a
replica of this inscription, with the figures of Sir Edward and Lady
Fitton, and their fifteen children.

A younger brother of Sir Edward was Francis Fitton, who in 1588 married
Katherine, the Countess Dowager of Northumberland, one of the four
daughters and co-heirs of John Neville Lord Latimer. His portrait was
formerly to be seen in the “new” hall at Gawsworth, with a long and
curious inscription surrounding it, recording some of the alliances of
the family.

Sir Edward Fitton, as stated, died July 3, 1579. His inquisition was
taken the following year, when his son, Sir Edward Fitton, Knight,
then aged 30, was found to be his heir. He was probably at the time
in Ireland, for it was not until April 24, 25 Elizabeth (1583), that
he had livery of his lands. In 1602, as appears by an indenture dated
June 20 in that year, he sold the manor of Nether Alderley, which had
been acquired by his father, to Thomas Stanley, ancestor of the present
Lord Stanley of Alderley. Sir Edward filled the office of President
of Munster, in Ireland, and died in 1606, leaving, by his wife Alice,
daughter and sole heir of John Holcroft, of Holcroft, in Lancashire,
with other issue, a son, Sir Edward Fitton, born 29th November, 1572,
who was created a Baronet in 1617. He died May 10, 1619, being then
aged 47, and was buried at Gawsworth, where a sumptuous monument was
erected to his memory by his wife, “the Lady Ann Fytton,” daughter and
co-heir of James Barratt, of Tenby, in Pembrokeshire, Esq., with the
following extravagant effusion inscribed on a panel below:—

    Least tongves to fvtvre ages shovld be dvmb,
    The very stones thvs speak abovt ovr tomb.
    Loe, two made one, whence sprang these many more,
    Of whom a King once prophecy’d before.
    Here’s the blest man, his wife the frvitfvl vine,
    The children th’ olive plants, a gracefvll line,
    Whose sovle’s and body’s beavties sentence them
    _Fitt-ons_ to weare a heavenly Diadem.

Lady Ann Fitton survived her husband many years. Her will bears date
January 31, 1643-4, but the date of probate has not been ascertained.
In it she bequeaths several small legacies to her grandchildren and
others, appoints her daughter, Mrs. Lettice Cole, sole executrix, and
her two grandchildren, William, Lord Brereton, and Charles Gerard,
supervisors. She died 26th March, 1644, and was buried at Gawsworth.

On the death of Sir Edward the family estates passed to his son, also
named Edward, who was baptised at Gawsworth, August 24th, 1603, and
must, therefore, have been under age on his accession to the property.
In October, 1622, he married Jane, daughter of Sir John Trevor, of Plâs
Teg, in Denbighshire, by whom he had a daughter, Margaret, who died
in infancy. Lady Fitton died June, 1638, and was buried at Gawsworth,
when Sir Edward again entered the marriage state, his second wife being
Felicia, daughter of Ralph Sneyd, of Keel, in Staffordshire. Concerning
this second marriage there is the following curious entry in the
Corporation books of the borough of Congleton:—

     1638. Paid for an entertainment for Sir Edwd. Fitton, of
     Gawsworth, his bride, father, and mother-in-law, on their
     first coming through the town, and divers other gentlemen who
     accompanied him and his bride, on their going to Gawsworth to
     bring his lady. He sent his barber two days before to the mayor
     and aldermen, and the rest, to entreat them to bid them welcome

12s. 4d.

The civic authorities of Congleton were noted for their hospitality,
and we may therefore assume that little “entreaty” was required on
the part of the “barber” to secure a cordial welcome for the Baronet
and his bride. We are not told what the entertainment consisted of,
but no doubt the cakes and sack for which the old borough had even
then long been famous entered largely into the festivities, though
the amount charged does not suggest the idea of any very extravagant
convivialities.

Sir Edward was soon called by the stern duties of the times from the
enjoyment of domestic life. Clouds were gathering upon the political
horizon which heralded a tempest; the seeds of civil war had been
sown, and soon King and Commons were arrayed against each other,
neither caring for peace, for if the olive branch was held out it was
stripped of its leaves, and appeared only as a dry and sapless twig.
In the great struggle between Charles and the Parliament the owner
of Gawsworth espoused the cause of his Sovereign, and distinguished
himself in several military engagements. He raised a regiment of
infantry for the King’s service from among his own tenantry and
dependents, of which he had the command; and the good people of
Congleton, not wishing to have the tranquillity of their town disturbed
by the quartering of his troops in it, in the hope of avoiding the
inconvenience proferred him their hospitality, as one of the entries in
the Corporation accounts shows:—

     1642. Wine gave to Colonel Fitton, not to quarter 500 soldiers on
     the town

3s. 4d.

Colonel Fitton fought in the battle at Edgehill, where the two armies
were first put in array against each other, and was also present with
the King at the taking of Banbury, as well as in the operations at
Brentford and Reading. He afterwards took part with Prince Rupert in
the storming of Bristol, and when that city—exceeded only by London
in population and wealth—was, after a terrible slaughter, surrendered
(July 27, 1643) by Nathaniel Fiennes to the arms of its sovereign, he
was left in charge of the garrison, and died there of consumption in
the following month, at the early age of 40. His body was removed to
Gawsworth for interment, and the occasion of its passing through the
town of Congleton is thus referred to in the accounts:—

     Paid for carrying Sir Edwd. Fitton through the town, and for
     repairing Rood-lane for the occasion

4s. 0d.

In the south-east angle of Gawsworth Church there is a large monument
to the memory of Sir Edward, his first wife, and their infant daughter,
placed there by his second wife, who survived him, and afterwards
re-married Sir Charles Adderley. It consists of an arch resting upon
pillars, beneath which is an altar-tomb supporting the effigies of
Sir Edward and his wife, and that of their infant daughter. A tablet
containing a long Latin inscription, formerly affixed to the south
wall, beneath the canopy, has in recent years been removed to the east
wall of the chancel.

Sir Edward left no surviving issue, a circumstance which gave rise to
almost endless contentions between the kinsmen of his name and their
cousins—the Gerards. Lawsuit followed lawsuit; long and rancorous were
the proceedings in the “Great Cheshire Will Case,” as it was called;
and the fierce struggle, which began in one century with forgery,
followed by seduction and divorce, was ended in the next, when the
husbands of the two ladies who claimed to be heiresses were slain by
each other in a murderous duel in Hyde Park. Immediately after the
death of Sir Edward Fitton, Penelope, Anne, Jane, and Frances, his
four sisters—married respectively to Sir Charles Gerard, Knight; Sir
John Brereton, Knight; Thomas Minshull, Esquire; and Henry Mainwaring,
Esquire—entered upon possession of the estates; but, after long
litigation, they were ejected by William Fitton, son of Alexander,
second surviving son of Sir Edward Fitton, Treasurer of Ireland, who
claimed under a deed alleged to have been executed by Sir Edward,
settling the estates upon himself, with remainder in succession to his
sons, Edward and Alexander, the latter of whom succeeded him in the
possession, and he obtained three verdicts in his favour. One of the
sisters of Sir Edward Fitton—Penelope—had married Sir Charles Gerard,
of Halsall, in Lancashire, and by him had a son, Sir Charles Gerard,
created Lord Brandon in 1645, and Earl of Macclesfield in 1679. Lord
Brandon was one of the notable gallants at the profligate Court of
Charles II. He held the office of Gentleman of the Bedchamber, and
was also Captain of the Guards—the latter a commission which he
relinquished for a douceur of £12,000 when the King wanted to bestow
the dignity upon his illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth. He kept
up a large establishment in London, surrounded by trim gardens, the
remembrance of which is perpetuated in the names of the streets that
now occupy the site—Gerard Street and Macclesfield Street, in Soho. His
wife, a French lady, brought herself into disfavour at Court through
indulging in the feminine propensity of allowing her tongue to wag too
freely in disparagement of the notorious courtesan, Lady Castlemaine,
as we learn from an entry in “Pepys’s Diary”:—

     1662-3. Creed told me how, for some words of my Lady Gerard’s
     against my Lady Castlemaine to the Queene, the King did the other
     day apprehend her in going out to a dance with her at a ball, when
     she desired it as the ladies do, and is since forbid attending the
     Queen by the King; which is much talked of, my lord her husband
     being a great favourite.

On the restoration of the King, nineteen years after the death of Sir
Edward Fitton, and thirty after the entail had been confirmed, as
alleged by a deed-poll, Lord Gerard produced a will which would be
looked for in vain in the Ecclesiastical Court at Chester, purporting
to have been made in his favour by his mother’s brother, Sir Edward
Fitton. Hot, fierce, and anxious was the litigation that followed, and
in 1663 a small volume was printed at the Hague, entitled, “A True
Narrative of the Proceedings in the several Suits-in-law that have
been between the Right Honourable Charles, Lord Brandon, and Alexander
Fitton, Esqr., published for general satisfaction, by a Lover of
Truth.” Fitton pleaded the deed-poll, but Gerard brought forward one
Abraham Grainger, then confined in the Gate House, who made oath that
he had forged the name of Sir Edward to the deed under a threat of
mortal violence, whereupon the Court of Chancery directed a trial to
determine whether the deed-poll was genuine or not. The forgery was
admitted by Grainger, and corroborated by other witnesses, who deposed
that they had heard Fitton confess that Grainger had forged a deed for
him, for which he had paid him £40. The judgment of the Court was given
in favour of Gerard, and the deed declared to be a forgery.

The strangest part of the story remains. Grainger, impelled either
by remorse or the desire to escape a heavy penalty by acknowledging
the smaller offence, made a written confession setting forth that he
had perjured himself when he swore that he had forged the name of
Sir Edward, and had been compelled to do so by the threats of Lord
Gerard. Pepys, who had a strong dislike to Lord Gerard, refers to the
circumstance in his “Diary”:—

     My cosen, Roger Pepys, he says, showed me Grainger’s written
     confession of his being forced by imprisonment, &c., by my Lord
     Gerard, most barbarously to confess his forging of a deed in
     behalf of Fitton, in the great case between him and my Lord
     Gerard; which business is under examination, and is the foulest
     against my Lord Gerard that ever anything in the world was, and
     will, all do believe, ruine him; and I shall be glad of it.

The anticipations of the gossiping diarist were not, however, realised.
The confession, being unsupported by evidence, was discredited, and
Fitton, who was adjudged to be the real offender, was fined £500 and
committed to the King’s Bench.

Alexander Fitton, who was thus dispossessed of the property, lingered
in prison until the accession of James II., when, having embraced the
Romish faith, he was released from confinement and taken into favour
by the King, who made him Chancellor of Ireland, and subsequently
conferred upon him the honour of knighthood and created him Lord
Gawsworth. He sat in the Irish Parliament of 1689, where he appears to
have been actively employed in passing Acts of forfeiture of Protestant
property, and attainder of Protestant personages. On the abdication of
James he accompanied him into exile, where he remained, and, dying,
left descendants who, it is to be feared, benefited little from the
tutelar dignities his sovereign had conferred upon him.

The whimsical _finesse_ of the law, which wrested from Alexander Fitton
the lands owned for so many generations by his progenitors and bestowed
them upon the Gerards, though it added wealth, did not convey peace
or contentment to the successful litigants. Their history during the
brief period they owned the Gawsworth estates partakes much of the
character of a romance in real life, but it is one that is by no means
pleasant to contemplate. Charles Gerard, on whom the barony of Brandon
and the earldom of Macclesfield had been successively conferred, died
in January, 1693-4, when the titles and estates devolved upon his
eldest son, who bore the same baptismal name. Charles, the second earl,
was the husband of the lady who, by her adulterous connection with
Richard Savage, Earl Rivers, and as the heroine of the famous law case
that followed upon the birth of the celebrated but unfortunate poet,
Richard Savage, acquired an unenviable notoriety even in that age, when
profligacy formed such a prominent characteristic of society.

The Countess of Macclesfield, 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, the 16th
January, 1697-8. The earl denied the paternity, and satisfactorily
proved the impossibility of his being the father of the son borne by
his countess; who, on her side, narrated a stratagem she had devised,
whereby the disputed paternity could not be denied. The stratagem was
not unknown in the licentious comedies of the time, but no credit was
given to it in this case; and thus the honour of Gerard was saved
from being tainted by the bastard of Savage. A divorce was granted
in 1698; but the law deemed the earl to be accountable, through his
own profligacy, for the malpractices of his wife, and decreed that he
should repay the portion he had received with her in marriage. With
this amount she married Colonel Brett, the friend of Colley Cibber, by
whom she had a daughter, Ann Brett, the impudent mistress of George
I., her illegitimate offspring by Lord Rivers—Richard Savage, whom she
disowned—being educated at the cost of her mother, Lady Mason. It has
been alleged that Savage was an impostor, and this 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, baptized the 18th.

Notwithstanding the discredit that has been thrown upon 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 contained in it. Moreover, he
was openly recognised in the house of Lord Tyrconnell, a nephew of
the Countess of Macclesfield, with whom he resided as a guest for two
years, and he was also on terms of acquaintance with the Countess of
Rochford, the illegitimate daughter of Earl Rivers by Mrs. Colydon.[20]

[Note 20: In a tavern brawl, in 1727, Savage had the misfortune to kill
a Mr. James Sinclair, for which he was tried and condemned to death.
His relentless mother, it is said, endeavoured to intercept the royal
mercy; but he was pardoned through the influence of Queen Caroline, and
set at liberty. He afterwards addressed a birthday ode to the Queen, in
acknowledgment of which she sent him £60, and continued the same sum to
him every year.]

The Earl of Macclesfield did not long survive the granting of his
divorce. He was sent as Ambassador to Hanover, and died there, November
5, 1701, when the title devolved upon his younger brother, Fitton
Gerard, who died unmarried in the following year, when the Earldom
of Macclesfield became extinct, the estates then passing under the
will of the second earl to his niece and co-heiress, the daughter of
his sister, Charlotte Mainwaring, married to Charles, Lord Mohun,
son of Warwick, Lord Mohun, by Philippa, daughter of Arthur, Earl of
Anglesey. The preference thus shown offended the Duke of Hamilton, who
had married the daughter of another niece, Elizabeth, daughter and
sole heiress of Digby, Lord Gerard—by his wife, the Lady Elizabeth
Gerard—the heir-general of the Macclesfield family, who felt himself
injured by this disposition of the property. A lawsuit to determine
the validity of Lord Macclesfield’s will was commenced, much jealousy
and heart-burning followed, and eventually the two disputing husbands
brought their feud to a sanguinary end in the memorable duel which
proved fatal to both.

The circumstances of this tragic affair are recorded in Dean Swift’s
“History of the Four Last Years of Queen Anne,” published in 1758,
and are more fully detailed in “Transactions During the Reign of
Queen Anne,” published in Edinburgh in 1790, by Charles Hamilton, a
kinsman of one of the combatants. It appears that upon the return of
Lord Bolingbroke, after the peace of Utrecht, and the suspension of
hostilities between Great Britain and France, the Duke of Hamilton,
long noted for his attachment to the Stuarts, and the acknowledged
head of the Jacobite party, was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary
and Plenipotentiary to the Court of France. Previous to his departure
he wished to bring to a close the Chancery suit which had been
pending between Lord Mohun and himself. With that view he, on the
13th November, 1712, attended at the chambers of Olebar, a Master in
Chancery, where his adversary met him by appointment. In the course of
the interview, Mr. Whitworth, formerly the steward of the Macclesfield
family, gave evidence, and, as his memory was much impaired by age, the
duke somewhat petulantly exclaimed, “There is no truth or justice in
him,” upon which Lord Mohun retorted, “I know Mr. Whitworth. He is an
honest man, and has as much truth as your grace.” This grating remark
was allowed to pass unnoticed at the time, but Lord Mohun afterwards
meeting with General Macartney and Colonel Churchill, both violent
men, and declared partisans of the Duke of Marlborough, who had then
been removed from the command of the army by the party to which the
Duke of Hamilton was attached, it would seem that the offending person
was induced by them to challenge the person offended. Preliminaries
having been arranged, the combatants met in Kensington Gardens, Hyde
Park, on the morning of the 15th November—the duke attended by his
relative, Colonel Hamilton, and Lord Mohun by General Macartney. In a
few moments the affair was ended, and when the park keepers, alarmed by
the clashing of swords, rushed to the spot whence the sound proceeded,
they found the two noblemen weltering in their blood—Lord Mohun was
already dead, and the Duke of Hamilton expired before he could be
removed. Nor had the combat been limited to the principals alone. The
seconds had crossed swords and fought with desperate rancour. Colonel
Hamilton remained upon the field, and was taken prisoner, but Macartney
fled to the Continent. Colonel Hamilton subsequently declared upon
oath, before the Privy Council, that, when they met upon the ground,
the duke, turning to Macartney, said, “Sir, you are the cause of this,
let the event be what it will.” To which Macartney replied, “My lord, I
had a commission for it.” Lord Mohun then said, “These gentlemen shall
have nothing to do here.” Whereupon Macartney exclaimed, “We will have
our share.” To which the duke answered, “There is my friend—he will
take his share in my dance.” Colonel Hamilton further deposed that when
the principals engaged, he and Macartney, as seconds, followed their
example; that Macartney was immediately disarmed; but that he (Colonel
Hamilton), seeing the duke fall upon his antagonist, threw away the
swords, and ran to lift him up; and that, while he was employed in
raising the duke, Macartney, having taken up one of the swords, stabbed
his grace over Hamilton’s shoulder, and retired immediately.

A prodigious ferment was occasioned by this duel, which assumed a high
political character. Neither of the combatants were men who could lay
claim to any great admiration on the score of integrity or principle.
Lord Mohun had, in fact, been long known as a brawler, and had
acquired an infamous reputation for his share in the murder of William
Mountford, the player, before his own door, in Howard Street, Strand.
The Duke of Hamilton, as we have said, was the recognised head of the
Jacobite faction, whilst his antagonist, Lord Mohun, was a zealous
champion of the Whig interest. The Tories exclaimed against this event
as a party duel, brought about by their political opponents for the
purpose of inflicting a vital wound on the Jacobite cause, then in the
ascendant, by removing its great prop before his departure to the Court
of France. They affirmed that the duke had met with foul play, and
treated Macartney as a cowardly assassin. That the allegation was well
founded may be doubted, for all the evidence points to the conclusion
that both sets of antagonists, seconds as well as principals, were
so blinded by the virulence of personal hatred as to neglect all the
laws both of the gladiatorial art and the duelling code, and assailed
each other with the fury of savages. A proclamation was issued by the
Government offering a reward of £500 for the apprehension of Macartney,
and £300 was offered in addition by the Duchess of Hamilton. After
a time Macartney returned, surrendered, and took his trial, when
he was acquitted of murder, and found guilty of manslaughter only.
Subsequently he was restored to his rank in the army, and entrusted
with the command of a regiment. After the accession of George I. he was
in great favour with the Court of Hanover, and was employed in bringing
over Dutch troops on the occasion of the insurrection in England, which
ended in the capitulation at Preston of the Earls of Derwentwater and
Nithsdale, and other English and Scottish lords and gentlemen.

The Gawsworth property, which Lord Mohun had acquired by his first
wife, Charlotte Mainwaring, he bequeathed by will to his second wife,
Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. Thomas Lawrence, first physician to Queen
Anne; and the Lady Mohun, who thus became possessed of the estates,
which she held in trust, directed that at her death they should
be sold, and the proceeds, after the payment of certain specified
bequests, applied to the use of her two daughters by her first husband,
Elizabeth Griffith, wife of Sir Robert Rich, Bart., and Ann Griffith,
wife of the distinguished soldier and statesman, William Stanhope, who,
in recognition of his public services, was elevated to the peerage,
Nov. 20, 1729, by the title of Baron Harrington, and subsequently
raised to the dignities of Viscount Petersham and Earl of Harrington.
Lord Harrington in 1727 purchased the manor from his wife’s trustees,
and thus passed into the family of Stanhope an estate with which they
had no connection by blood or by alliance. From the first Earl of
Harrington the property has descended in regular succession to the
present owner, Charles Augustus Stanhope, the eighth earl.

A curious feature in connection with the Old Hall of Gawsworth, and
one strongly suggestive of the warlike spirit of its former owner,
is the ancient tilting ground in the rear of the mansion. Ormerod,
the historian, was of opinion that this relic of a chivalrous age had
been a pleasure ground; but Mr. Mayer, the honorary curator of the
Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, who made a careful survey
some years ago, shows, with much probability, that it was intended
for jousts and other displays of martial skill and bravery. The
“tilt-yard,” the form of which may still be very clearly traced, is
about two hundred yards in length and sixty-five in width, surrounded
on three of its sides by a steep embankment or mound, sixteen yards in
width. Within this enclosure the lists were arranged and the barriers
erected, and here the knights, with pointless lances or coronels in
rest, assembled to perform the _hastiludia pacifica_ or peaceable
jousts for the amusement of the ladies and other spectators who
occupied the embankment.

At the further end of the long flat is a raised circular mound, with
a base twenty-five yards square, on which was placed the tent of the
Queen of Beauty, who, surrounded by her attendants, could overlook
the whole field, and to her the successful competitors were heralded
to receive at her hand the prize or guerdon to which their chivalrous
skill had entitled them. Near to this mound is a smaller piece of
ground, about fifty-seven yards in length, with three rows of seats
cut out of the bank, on three of its sides, and one row on the fourth,
that nearest the throne of the “Queen of Beauty.” This, Mr. Mayer
surmises, was intended for battles by single combat with the sword and
quarter-staff, for wrestling, and other athletic displays; where, also,
at Christmastide, and at wakes and festivals, the mummers practised
their rude drolleries; where, too, the itinerant bards sang their
rugged and unpolished lays in glorification of the achievements of the
Cheshire warriors of ancient days, and where

    Minstrel’s harp poured forth its tone
    In praise of Maud and Marguerite fair.

The level ground is divided by a small stream that flows through the
middle, and the flat space beyond, which is hemmed in by a mound
similar to that surrounding the “tilting ground,” is supposed to have
been used for such games as football, leap-frog, prison-bars, and
foot-racing, in which the people generally participated. Here, too,
is a raised circular earthwork, corresponding with the lady’s mound
already referred to, where it is probable the awards were made and the
prizes distributed to the successful competitors. The stream, after
passing by the eastern end of the Old Hall, empties itself into the
uppermost of the series of lakes before referred to, which are divided
from each other only by a narrow strip of land, and where, as has been
said, in days of yore the water jousts took place.

Taken altogether, in the tilting ground, with its raised terraces
for spectators—the court, which formed the arena for quarter-staff,
wrestling, and similar games of strength—and the lakes or ponds, used
for water jousts and other aquatic sports—we have one of the most
remarkable, as well as one of the most complete, memorials to be found
in the North of England illustrative of the manners and customs of our
forefathers—of the military pomp and pageantry, and those displays
of prowess, skill, daring, and strength, which in the reigns of the
Plantagenet and Tudor Kings the English gentry so much encouraged, and
the common people so greatly delighted in—the relic of an age the most
chivalrous and the most picturesque in our country’s history, when
there was no lack of heroism and brave hearts and noble minds, when men
ruled by the stern will and strong arm, and through successive ages
fought the battle of England’s liberties, and laid the foundations of
the freedom we enjoy. The place seems to belong so entirely to a bygone
age that imagination wings her airy flight to those remote days, and
in fancy’s eye we re-people the Old Hall, when

                                Every room
    Blazed with lights, and brayed with minstrelsy;

and call up in each deserted nook and shady grove the figures of those
who have long ago returned to dust. We can picture in imagination the
time when these grass-grown terraces were thronged with a gay company
of gallant youths and fair maidens, of stern warriors and sober
matrons, assembled to witness the princely entertainments provided by
the proud owners of Gawsworth. We see the barriers set up, and hear
the braying of the trumpets, and the proclamations of the heralds; we
see the knights, with their attendant esquires, mounted upon their
well-trained steeds, with their rich panoply of arms and plumed and
crested casques, and note the stately courtesy with which each, as he
enters the arena, salutes the high-bred queen of the tournament; we
hear the prancing of horses, the clang of arms, the shock of combat,
and the loud clarions which proclaim to the assembled throng the names
of the gallant victors. But the days of tilt and tournament have passed
away, the age of feudalism has gone by, and in the long centuries of
change and progress that have intervened, time has mellowed and widened
our social institutions, and raised the lower stratum of society to
a nearer level with the higher. Yet, while we boast ourselves of the
present, let us not be unmindful of what we owe to the past, for those
times were instinct with noble and true ideas, and with Carlyle we may
say that, “in prizing justly the indispensable blessings of the new,
let us not be unjust to the old. The old _was_ true, if it no longer
is.” The glories of Gawsworth are of the past. The old mansion is still
to be seen, and the silent pools, the deserted terraces, the forlorn
garden grounds, and the stately trees still remain as representatives
of the once goodly park and pleasaunce, but those who here maintained
a princely hospitality, and bore their part in those splendid
pageantries, are sleeping their last sleep. We may not lift the veil
which hides their secret history, or reveal much of the story of their
hopes and fears, their perils by flood and field, and their deep feuds
and still deeper vengeances. Their graven effigies and gaudily-painted
tombs are preserved to us, but

    The knights’ bones are dust,
    And their good swords rust,
    Their souls are with the just
                    We trust.

In this quiet, out-of-the-way nook, amid these old landmarks, an
afternoon will be neither unpleasantly nor unprofitably spent. We
may learn something of English history, and of the historic figures
which played their parts in our “rough island story.” Our thoughts
and fancies will be stirred anew, and our sense of patriotism will be
nothing lessened by the contemplation of the relics of that past on
which our present is securely built

Any notice of Gawsworth would be incomplete that did not make mention
of the remarkable series of fresco paintings that were discovered
during the work of restoring the church in the autumn of 1851. At
that time the fabric underwent a thorough repair, and the remains of
coloured ornamentation in the timber-work of the roof led to the belief
that the same method of decoration had been applied to the surface
of the walls. Accordingly a careful examination was made, and on the
removal of the whitewash and plaster some curious and interesting
examples of mediæval art were discovered; but, unfortunately, no effort
was made at the time to preserve them. Happily, however, before their
destruction careful copies were made by a local artist, Mr. Lynch,
which have since been published as illustrations to a work he has
written. The three principal frescoes represented St. Christopher and
the Infant Saviour; St. George slaying the Dragon; and the Doom, or
Last Judgment. From the details they would appear to have been executed
in the early part of the fifteenth century—probably about the time
the tower was built and some important additions made to the main
structure, which, as previously stated, would be between the years 1420
and 1430.

At the period referred to, St. Christopher had come to be regarded as
a kind of symbol of the Christian Church, and the stalwart figure of
the saint wading the stream with the Infant Jesus upon his shoulder
was a favourite subject for painting and carving in ecclesiastical
buildings. The Gawsworth fresco is especially interesting, from the
circumstance of its being an exact _fac-simile_ (except that it is
reversed) of the earliest known example of wood engraving, supposed to
be of the date 1423—an original and, as is believed, unique impression
of which was acquired by Lord Spencer, and is now preserved in the
Spencer library. The second picture represents St. George on horseback,
armed _cap-à-pie_, brandishing a sword with his right hand, whilst
with the left he is thrusting a spear into the mouth of the dragon. In
the distance is the representation of a castle, from the battlements
of which the royal parents of the destined victim witness the fray,
whilst the disconsolate damsel is depicted in a kneeling attitude.
The knight’s armour and the lady’s costume furnish excellent data in
fixing the time when the work was done. The third subject—the Last
Judgment—occupied the space between the east window and the south
wall. It was in three divisions, representing heaven, hell, and earth,
and from the prominent position it occupied was no doubt intended
to be kept continually before the eyes of the worshippers, that, to
use the words of the Venerable Bede, “having the strictness of the
Last Judgment before their eyes, they should be cautioned to examine
themselves with a more narrow scrutiny.”

Among the rectors of Gawsworth was one who added lustre to the place,
but whose name is, curiously enough, omitted from the list given in
Ormerod’s “Cheshire”—the Rev. Henry Newcome, M.A., who held the living
from 1650 to 1657, when he was appointed to the chaplaincy of the
Collegiate Church at Manchester. Newcome was born in November, 1627,
at Caldecote, in Huntingdonshire, of which place his father, Stephen
Newcome, was rector. In January, 1641-2, both his parents died, and
were buried in one coffin, when Henry removed to Congleton, where his
elder brother Robert had recently been appointed by the Corporation
master of the Free School. The circumstance is thus referred to in his
“Autobiography”:—

     I was taught grammar by my father, in the house with him; and when
     my eldest brother, after he was Batchelor in Arts, was master
     of the Free School at Congleton, in Cheshire, I was in the year
     1641, about May 4, brought down thither to him, and there went to
     school three quarters of a year, until February 13, at which time
     that eloquent and famous preacher, Dr. Thomas Dodd, was parson at
     Astbury, the parish church of Congleton, where I several times
     (though then but a child) heard him preach.

Newcome entered at St. John’s, Cambridge, May 10, 1644, and began
to reside in the following year. In 1646 he was a candidate for the
mastership of a Lincolnshire grammar school, but failed in obtaining
the appointment—a disappointment he bore with much stoicism. In
September, 1647, he was nominated to the mastership of the Congleton
School, and in the February succeeding he took his degree of B.A.

From his boyhood he seems to have had a fondness for preaching, and
the inclination grew with his years. His first sermon was delivered at
a friend’s church (Little Dalby) in Leicestershire; and on settling
down at Congleton, as he tells us, “he fell to preaching when only
20 years old.” He was appointed “reader” (curate) to Mr. Ley, at
Astbury, and preached sometimes in the parish church and sometimes at
Congleton. At first he “read” his sermons and “put too much history”
into them, whilst “the people came with Bibles, and expected quotations
of Scripture.” Before he had attained the age of 21 he entered the
marriage state, his wife being Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Mainwaring,
of Smallwood, to whom he was married July 6, 1648. He speaks of himself
as rash in taking this step at so early an age, but admits that it
turned to his own good, and he dwells on the excellent qualities of
his wife. It was indeed not only a happy, but in a worldly sense an
advantageous match, as by his alliance with the Mainwarings he became
connected with some of the most influential families in the county, and
to their interest he undoubtedly owed his preferment to Gawsworth. He
was ordained at Sandbach in August, 1648, the month following that of
his marriage, and began his ministerial labours at Alvanley Chapel, in
Frodsham parish, to which place he went for many weeks on the Saturday
to preach on the following day; but before the close of the year he
had settled at Goostrey, where he officiated for a year and a half. It
was whilst residing here that he received the startling intelligence
of the trial and execution of Charles I., for, under date January 30,
1649, he writes: “This news came to us when I lived at Goostrey, and a
general sadness it put upon us all. It dejected me much (I remember),
the horridness of the fact; and much indisposed me for the service
of the Sabbath next after the news came.” Newcome, though a zealous
Presbyterian, was a scarcely less zealous Royalist, and boldly avowed
his abhorrence of the murder of the King.

Shortly after this event his name was mentioned in connection with the
then vacant rectory of Gawsworth, and an effort was made, through the
interest of the Mainwaring family, to secure his induction under the
Broad Seal. Under the Usurpation Independency was in the ascendant, and
“Dame ffelicia ffitton,” the widow of Sir Edward Fitton, in whom the
patronage of Gawsworth had been vested, was then included in the list
of delinquents whose estates were to be sequestered for loyalty to the
sovereign. Eventually the instrument of institution under the Broad
Seal was obtained. It bears date November 28, 1649, and the opening
sentence sets forth that, “Whereas, the rectory of the parish church
of Gawsworth, in the county of Chester, is become void by the death
of the last incumbent, and the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal
of England have presented Henry Newcome, a godly and orthodox divine,
thereunto. It is therefore ordered,” &c. Considerable demur was made,
however, to the appointment, and the people locked the church doors
against their new minister; but eventually, as we are told, “it pleased
God to move upon the people when I thought not of it, and they came
(some of the chief of them) over to Carincham on February 12th, and
sent for me, and told me they were desirous to have me before another;
and so were unanimously consenting to me, and subscribed the petition,
not knowing that the seal had come.”

The obstacles to this induction having been removed, Newcome and
his family took up their abode in the pleasant old rectory-house at
Gawsworth, April, 1650, and on the 14th of the month he preached his
first sermon to his new flock from Ezekiel iii., 5.

[Illustration: THE REV. HENRY NEWCOME.]

There are several incidents recorded in his “Autobiography” which throw
light on the life and habits of the youthful divine at this period.
Thus he writes:—

     Whilst living here (Goostrey) my cousin, Roger Mainwaring, would
     needs go to Gawsworth (the park being then in the co-heirs’
     possession) to kill a deer, and one he killed with the keeper’s
     knowledge; but they had a mind to let the greyhound loose, and to
     kill another that the keeper should not know of, partly to hinder
     him of his fees and partly that it might not be known that he had
     killed more than one. I was ignorant of their design; but had
     the hap to be one of the two that was carrying the other little
     deer off the ground, when the keeper came and only took it and
     dressed it, as he had done the other, and sent it after them to
     the alehouse where the horses were. But I remember the man said
     this word, that “_priests should not steal_.” I have oft after
     thought of it, that when I was parson at Gawsworth, and that
     tho’ Edward Morton, the keeper, was sometimes at variance with
     me, he never so much as remembered that passage to object against
     me; which, though I could have answered for myself in it, yet it
     might have served the turn to have been retorted upon me when the
     Lord stirred me up to press strictness upon them. But the Lord
     concealed this indiscretion of mine, that it was never brought
     forth in the least to lessen my authority amongst them.

It is pleasant to reflect that while Newcome was residing in his snug
parsonage at Gawsworth, he was visited by his brother-in-law, Elias
Ashmole, the learned antiquary and founder of the Ashmolean Museum at
Oxford, who spent some time with him at the rectory and rambled thence
into the Peak country. They had married sisters; Ashmole, who was
Newcome’s senior by ten years, having had to his first wife Eleanor,
daughter of Peter Mainwaring. This lady died in 1641, and in 1649
Ashmole married Lady Mainwaring, the widow of Sir Thomas Mainwaring,
of Bradfield, who died in 1668; and the same year he again entered the
marriage state, his third wife being Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William
Dugdale, Norroy, and afterwards Garter King of Arms. Ashmole, in his
“Diary,” thus refers to his visit to Gawsworth and his ramble in the
Peak:—

     1652.

     Aug. 16.—I went towards Cheshire.

     " 28.—I arrived at Gawsworth, where my father-in-law, Mr.
     Mainwaring, then lived.

     Sept. 23.—I took a Journey into the Peak in search of plants and
     other curiosities.

     Nov. 24.—My Good Father-in-law, Mr. Peter Mainwaring, died at
     Gawsworth.

Oddly enough, Ashmole nowhere makes mention of Newcome’s name in his
“Diary,” but Newcome himself refers to the visit in one of his letters
to his brother-in-law, preserved among Ashmole’s MSS. in the Bodleian
Library, and printed by Mr. Earwaker in his “Local Gleanings,” where,
speaking of the Theatrum Chymicum he had lent to Hollinworth, the
author of “Mancuniensis,” he says, “It was with him when you were with
me at Gawsworth, and I then sent for it home.”

Puritan though he was, Newcome was by no means of a soured or morose
disposition, nor so rigid in his notions as were some of his southern
brethren. He was fond of amusement within reasonable limits, and his
experiences he relates with charming candour and impartiality. Indeed,
sometimes his hilarity was a little too exuberant. “I remember,” he
says, “this year (1650), when the gentlewomen from the hall used to
come to see us, I was very merry with them, and used to charge a
pistol I had, and to shoot it off to affright them.” Notwithstanding
his liveliness of disposition, he set himself determinedly against the
vices to which some of his parishioners were addicted. Drinking and
swearing seem to have been prevalent, and he records how, one Sabbath
evening, at the house of Lady Fitton, a Mr. Constable,—

     A known famous epicure ... told the lady there was excellent ale
     at Broad [heath—what this place was does not appear], and moved
     he might send for a dozen, some gentlemen of his gang being with
     him. I made bold to tell him that my lady had ale good enough in
     her house for any of them; especially, I hoped, on a Sabbath day
     she would not let them send for ale to the alehouse. The lady took
     with it, and in her courteous way told him that her ale might
     serve him. But notwithstanding, after duties, he did send; but
     durst not let it come in whilst I staid.... At last I took leave;
     and then he said, “Now he is gone! Fetch in the ale.”

“My lady” was the beautiful and youthful Felicia Sneyd, the second
wife, and then widow of Sir Edward Fitton, who resided at the hall,
her jointure house. In all Newcome’s efforts to improve the spiritual
condition of his parish Lady Fitton warmly joined; the Sacrament, which
hitherto had been discontinued, was with her co-operation revived.
She offered herself to the minister for instruction, and instituted
family prayers twice a day in her house, which Newcome for a while
read; and we gather from several passages that the fascination and
dignified bearing of the youthful widow greatly attracted the divine
of twenty-three. It was not long, however, before he had occasion to
describe another and more painful scene. Lady Fitton, as has been
previously stated, re-married Sir Charles Adderley; and on the 20th
January, 1654, Newcome writes she “was in lingering labour.”

     I had been at Congleton, and was just come home; and they came
     shrieking to me to pray with Lady Fitton; she did desire it, it
     should seem. I went as fast as I could; but just as I came the
     fit of palsy took her. We went to prayer in the gallery for her
     again and again. Mr. Machin[21] came in, and he helped me to pray.
     We prayed there two or three times over. We begged life for mother
     and child, very earnestly at first. After we begged either, what
     God pleased. After the night we were brought to beg the life of
     the soul, for all other hopes were over. The next day I went, and
     prayed by her i’ th’ forenoon. I was much afflicted to see her
     die, as in a dream, pulling and setting her head clothes as if she
     had been dressing herself in the glass; and so to pass out of the
     world. A lovely, sweet person she was; but thus blasted before us,
     dyed Jany. 21 (1654), just after evening service. She was buried
     the next day, at night.... Sir C. Adderley was removed, and all
     manner of confusion and trouble came upon the estate, Mr. Fitton
     and the co-heirs striving for possession, which begat a strange
     alteration in the place.

[Note 21: John Machin was then minister of Astbury, and an intimate
friend as well as neighbour of Newcome’s.]

Lady Fitton, “a very courteous, respectful friend to me while she
lived,” as Newcome observes, lies near the east end of the church of
Gawsworth, close by the communion rails, and near to the stately tomb
of her first husband, on which she is described as “_nulli secundam_.”
In her death Newcome lost a good friend, for the living of Gawsworth
was very poor, and, finding it difficult to equalise the wants of a
growing family and the supplies of a small stipend, he was led to
consider the expediency of removing to some other and more lucrative
charge. His labours had been by no means confined to his own parish. On
the contrary, he devoted a good deal of his time to ministerial work
in other places. The fame of the wonderful young preacher spread to
the larger towns, and those who had heard him once wished to hear him
again. Among other places, he had visited Manchester, and preached in
the Old Church during the sickness of Richard Hollinworth. It was only
on one Sunday, but the generosity of the town brought him considerable
relief at the moment that the necessities of his family were pressing
inconveniently upon him. As Dr. Halley tells us, the relief produced
an effect the contributors did not intend, as it induced him, when
contemplating his removal, to remain in Gawsworth, where Providence had
so unexpectedly relieved him of his anxieties by their liberality. He
painted his rectory-house, parted off a little study from his parlour,
and spent what he could of his friends’ bounty in smartening his home
and making it pleasant and comfortable.

Newcome was not allowed to remain long in undisturbed tranquillity in
his quiet parsonage. On the 3rd November, 1656, Mr. Hollinworth died;
four days later a meeting of the “Classis” was held at Manchester to
nominate to the vacancy. Three persons were mentioned as suitable—Mr.
Meeke, of Salford; Mr. Bradshaw, of Macclesfield; and Mr. Newcome,
of Gawsworth—but the feeling was so unanimous in favour of Newcome
that nothing was said about the other two. Friday, December 5th, was
fixed for the election; but here a difficulty occurred. Newcome had
spent a Sunday at Shrewsbury as well as at Manchester. He had preached
at “Alkmond’s, and the people of Julian’s” (there were no saints in
Puritanical times) “set their affections” upon him while ministering
in the neighbouring church, and by a curious coincidence, on the same
day that he received intelligence of the arrangement at Manchester
he received letters from the people of “Julian’s,” from the Mayor of
Shrewsbury, and from three of its ministers, entreating him to accept
their invitation. On the Sunday preceding the election at Manchester
he preached in the Old Church, and, as he tells us, “the women were so
pleased that they would needs send tokens,” which amounted to seven
pounds. This gave great dissatisfaction to the proud Salopians, who
were evidently afraid the young preacher might not be proof against the
fascinations of the “Lancashire Witches,” and so they “gave him a very
unhandsome lash” for being drawn away from them by “women’s favours.”
Angry contentions arose, Richard Baxter was asked to interfere, and
a conference was suggested, but the good folks of Shrewsbury were
resolved upon securing the services of Newcome, and would not agree
to arbitration, or listen to any other proposition. They were doomed,
however, to disappointment, and, in opposition to the advice of Baxter,
Newcome, on the 24th of December, made choice of Manchester.

His removal from Gawsworth was a sorrowful time both for himself and
his rustic congregation. The sight of the wagons sent to remove his
furniture overwhelmed him with sorrow, and when the time came for
leaving the old rectory, he says, “I was sadly affected, and broken
all to pieces at leaving the house. I never was so broken in duty as
I was in that which I went into just when we were ready to go out of
the house;” and he adds, “I prayed the Lord the sin of the seven years
might be forgiven us, and that we might take a pardon with us.” On his
arrival in Manchester he was welcomed with extraordinary manifestations
of friendship and pleasure, and many of the townspeople went out to
Stockport to meet him.

This “prince of preachers,” as he has been called by his friends,
continued his ministrations in the Church at Manchester until the
passing of the Act of Uniformity, when, unable to conform to the
discipline of the Church, he withdrew from her communion, to the
great grief of his people, by whom he was greatly beloved. On the
passing of the Act of Toleration, at the accession of William of
Orange, the wealthy Presbyterians of Manchester gathered round their
favourite divine and built him a tabernacle on the site of the present
Unitarian Chapel in Cross Street—the first erected for the use of the
Nonconformist body in the town. He was not long permitted, however, to
continue his ministrations, his death occurring on the 17th September,
1695, little more than a year after the opening of the “great and fair
meeting house.”

The church in which Newcome ministered, and where rest the bones of so
many of the “Fighting Fittons,” well deserves a careful examination.
Let us bend our footsteps towards the ancient fane. It is a fair and
goodly structure—small, it is true, but presenting a dignified and
pleasing exterior—

    Beauty with age in every feature blending.

The bold, free hand of the old English architect is seen in every
detail—in the deep mouldings, the varied tracery, and the quaintly
grotesque carvings, where burlesque and satire and playful fancy have
almost run riot. The restoring hand of the modern renovator—Sir
Gilbert Scott—is also visible; but what he has done has been well done,
and, if we except the interesting examples of mediæval art to which
reference has already been made, everything that was worth retaining
has been carefully preserved. Though erected at different times, the
general features harmonise and point to the conclusion that nearly the
whole of the existing fabric was erected in the period extending from
the end of the 14th to the middle of the 15th centuries.

The nave, which is three bays in length, is undoubtedly the oldest
part, and the point at which it originally terminated is clearly
shown by the diagonal projection of the angle buttress which still
remains. The chancel appears to have superseded an older foundation
of smaller dimensions. It is of equal width with the nave, and, in
fact, a continuation of it, and both are covered in with a timber
roof of obtuse pitch, with elaborately moulded and ornamented beams
and rafters. The external walls of both the nave and chancel are
surmounted by an embattled parapet, relieved at intervals with
crocketted pinnacles, that are carried above the edge of the parapet
wall as a termination to each buttress. There being no clerestory or
side aisles, the windows are unusually lofty. They are of pointed
character, with traceried heads and mouldings, terminating in
curiously-carved corbels, that have afforded scope for the humorous
fancy of the mediæval masons. On the south side is an open porch with
stone seats, that has at some time or other been added to the original
structure, as evidenced by the fact that the greater portion of the
buttress has been cut away where it is joined up to the main wall.
It has coupled lights on each side, with hood mouldings, the one on
the west terminating in a curiously-carved corbel, representing a
rose with two heads enclosed in the petals, an evidence that this
part of the fabric must have been built shortly after the union of
the rival houses of York and Lancaster, in the persons of Henry VII.
and Elizabeth the eldest daughter of Edward IV. The tower is well
proportioned, and, rising gracefully as it does above the surrounding
foliage, forms a conspicuous object for miles around. It is remarkable
for the armorial shields, 14 in number, carved in relief, in stone, on
each face. These insignia are especially interesting to the antiquary
and the genealogist, as showing the alliances of the earlier lords
of Gawsworth. They include the coats of Fitton, Orreby, Bechton,
Mainwaring, Wever, Egerton, Grosvenor, and Davenport, as well as those
of Fitton of Bollin, and Fitton of Pownall, and there is one also
containing the arms of Randle Blundeville, Earl of Chester, with whom
the Fittons appear to have been connected.

The interior of the church is picturesque and well cared for, and
the garrulous old lady who brought us the keys looks upon it with an
affection that is not diminished by the serving and tending of many
long years. It is an interesting specimen of an old English house of
worship. As you cross the threshold a host of memories are conjured up,
and you feel that you are in the sanctuary where in times past have
communed, and where now rest, the remains of a line famous in chivalry,
the members of which, in their day and generation, did good service
to the State. The seats are low and open, and the appearance has been
greatly improved by the removal of the heavy cumbrous pews with which
until late years it was filled. At the east end, within the chancel
rails, are the effigies and stately tombs of the Fittons already
described. The shadows of centuries seem to fall on the broad nave,
while the slanting rays of the westering sun, as they steal through the
tall windows, brighten the elaborate figures of the knights in armour,
and bring out the colouring of gown and kirtle, where their stately
dames are reposing by their side. During the restorations some of them
were removed from their original positions, and shorn of their original
canopies, as the inscription upon a tablet affixed to the north wall
testifies. Near the centre of the aisle is a plain marble slab with a
brass fillet surrounding it, on which is an inscription commemorating
the marriage and death of Thomas Fitton of Siddington, the second son
of Sir Edward of Gawsworth, by his wife Mary, the daughter of Sir
Guiscard Harbottle.

After our brief survey we passed out through the western door into the
churchyard. The sun was circling westwards over the woods, a warm
haze suffused the landscape, and the shadows were lengthening over the
hillocks and grass-grown mounds in the quiet graveyard. As our cicerone
turned the key in the rusty wards of the lock and turned to depart,
a robin poured out its wealth of song in the neighbouring copse, a
fitting requiem to the expiring day. We stood for a moment looking
through the trees at the picturesque old parsonage. What a lovely
spot!—the spot of all others that a country clergyman might delight to
pass his days in. Well might good Henry Newcome be “sadly affected and
broken all to pieces” at leaving it.

Another celebrity connected with Gawsworth, though of a widely
different character to Henry Newcome, deserves a passing notice—Samuel
Johnson, popularly known by the title of “Lord Flame,” and sometimes by
the less euphonious _sobriquet_ of “Maggotty Johnson.” This eccentric
character was well known in his day as a dancing master, to which
he added the professions of poet, player, jester, and musician. He
appears to have been among the last of the paid English jesters, those
professional Merry Andrews whose presence was considered indispensable
in the homes of our wealthier forefathers—their duty being to promote
laughter in the household, and especially at meals, by their ready
wit and drollery. Johnson was frequently hired out at parties given
by the gentry in the northern counties, where he had licence to bandy
his witticisms, and to utter or enact anything likely to enliven
the company or provoke them to laughter. “Lord Flame” was the name
of a character played by him in his own extravaganza, entitled
“Hurlothrumbo, or the Supernatural,” a piece which had a lengthened
run at the Haymarket in 1729. It is upon this burlesque that his fame
chiefly rests. After much patient labour he succeeded in getting it
on the London boards. Byrom records the circumstance in his “Journal”
under date April 2, 1729:—

     As for Mr. Johnson, he is one of the chief topics of talk in
     London. Dick’s Coffee-house resounds “Hurlothrumbo” from one
     end to the other. He had a full house and much good company on
     Saturday night, the first time of acting, and report says all
     the boxes are taken for the next Monday.... It is impossible to
     describe this play and the oddities, out-of-the-wayness, flights,
     madness, comicalities, &c. I hope Johnson will make his fortune
     by it at present. We had seven or eight garters in the pit. I saw
     Lord Oxford and two or more there, but was so intent on the farce
     that I did not observe many quality that were there. We agreed
     to laugh and clap beforehand, and kept our word from beginning
     to end. The night after Johnson came to Dick’s, and they all got
     about him like so many bees. They say the Prince of Wales has been
     told of “H,” and will come and see it.... For my own part, who
     think all stage plays stuff and nonsense, I consider this a joke
     upon ’em all.

On the same day, in a letter to Mrs. Byrom, he writes—

     Mrs. Hyde must let her brother teach (dancing), for
     “Hurlothrumbo,” as the matter stands, will hardly be quitted while
     it brings a house, and consequently more money, into the author’s
     pocket, than his teaching would do of a long time.

The play was afterwards published with a dedication to Lady Delves,
and an address to Lord Walpole. The former, while remarkable for its
extravagant panegyrism, is interesting from its reference to many of
the local female celebrities of the time. It is as follows:—

To the Right Honourable the Lady Delves.

     Madam,—When I think of your goodness, it gives me encouragement
     to put my play under your grand protection; and if you can
     find anything in it worthy of your Praise, I am sure the
     _super-naturals_ will like it. I do not flatter when I say your
     taste is universal, great as an Empress, sweet and refined as Lady
     _Malpas_, sublime as Lady _Mary Cowper_, learned and complete
     as Lady _Conway_, distinguished and clear as Mrs. _Madan_, gay,
     good, and innocent as Lady _Bland_. I have often thought you
     were a compound of the world’s favourites—that all meet and
     rejoice together in one: the taste of a _Montague_, _Wharton_, or
     Meredith, Stanhope, Sneid, or Byrom; the integrity and hospitality
     of _Leigh_ of _Lime_, the wit and fire of _Bunbury_, the sense of
     an Egerton, fervent to serve as _Beresford_ or _Mildmay_, beloved
     like _Gower_. If you was his rival, you’d weaken the strength of
     that most powerful subject. I hope your eternal unisons in heaven
     will always sing to keep up the harmony in your soul, that is
     musical as Mrs. Leigh, and never ceases to delight; raises us in
     raptures like _Amante Shosa_, _Lord Essex_, or the sun. If every
     pore in every body in Cheshire was a mouth they would all cry out
     aloud, _God save the Lady Delves!_ That illuminates the minds of
     mortals, inspires with Musick and Poetry especially.

Your most humble servant,        LORD FLAME.

The prologue was written by Mr. Amos Meredith, of Henbury, near
Macclesfield, and, at the urgent request of its author, Byrom was
induced to write the epilogue. Johnson’s subsequent career was marked
by many whims and oddities, and even death was not permitted to
terminate his eccentricity, his very grave being made to commemorate it
for the amusement or pity of future generations. As we have previously
stated, he is buried in a small plantation of firs near the road, and a
short distance from the New Hall, in accordance with a request he had
made to the owner in his life-time. His remains are covered by a plain
brick tomb, now much dilapidated, on the uppermost slab of which is the
following inscription:—

[Illustration]

            Under this stone
      Rest the remains of Mr. SAMUEL JOHNSON,
    Afterwards ennobled with the grander Title of
            LORD FLAME,
    Who, after being in his life distinct from other Men
        By the Eccentricities of his Genius,
    Chose to retain the same character after his Death,
      and was, at his own Desire, buried here, May 5th,
            A.D. MDCCLXXIII., Aged 82.
    Stay thou whom Chance directs, or Ease persuades,
    To seek the Quiet of these Sylvan shades,
    Here undisturbed and hid from Vulgar Eyes,
    A Wit, Musician, Poet, Player, lies
    A Dancing Master too, in Grace he shone,
    And all the arts of Opera were his own;
    In Comedy well skill’d, he drew Lord Flame,
    Acted the Part, and gain’d himself the Name;
    Averse to Strife, how oft he’d gravely say
    These peaceful Groves should shade his breathless clay;
    That when he rose again, laid here alone,
    No friend and he should quarrel for a Bone;
    Thinking that were some old lame Gossip nigh,
    She possibly might take his Leg or Thigh.

On the west side of his tomb a flat stone has been placed in later
years, on which some rhyming moralist has sought to improve on his
character, in a religious point of view, in a lengthy inscription which
says more for the writer’s sense of piety than his regard for prosody:—

    If chance hath brought thee here, or curious eyes,
    To see the spot where this poor jester lies,
    A thoughtless jester even in his death,
    Uttering his jibes beyond his latest breath;
    O stranger, pause a moment, pause and say:
    “To-morrow should’st thou quit thy house of clay,
    Where wilt thou be, my soul?—in paradise?
    Or where the rich man lifted up his eyes?”
    Immortal spirit would’st thou then be blest,
    Waiting thy perfect bliss on Abraham’s breast;
    Boast not of silly art, or wit, or fame,
    Be thou ambitious of a Christian’s name;
    Seek not thy body’s rest in peaceful grove,
    Pray that thy soul may rest in Jesus’ love.
    O speak not lightly of that dreadful day,
    When all must rise in joy or in dismay;
    When spirits pure in body glorified
    With Christ in heavenly mansions shall abide,
    While wicked souls shall hear the Judge’s doom—
    “Go ye accursed into endless gloom,”
    Look on that stone and this, and ponder well:
    Then choose ’twixt life and death, ’twixt
    Heaven and Hell.

Poor Johnson! His last whim has been gratified: his “breathless clay”
reposes beneath the “sylvan shade” that in life he so much delighted
in. The thrush and the blackbird sing their orisons and vespers
there; the fresh and fragrant breeze sweeps by; and the nodding trees
that rustle overhead cast a verdant gloom around, that is brightened
only where the warm sunlight steals through the intricacy of leaves
and dapples the sward with touches of golden light. May no rude or
irreverent hand disturb his resting-place, or “old lame gossip” share
his sepulchre.

[Illustration: John Dee, the Wizard Warden]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER V.

THE COLLEGE AND THE “WIZARD WARDEN” OF MANCHESTER.


Of those who make up the mighty tide of human life that daily sweeps
along the great highway of traffic between the Manchester Exchange and
the Victoria Railway Station, how few there are who ever give even a
passing thought to the quaint mediæval relic that stands within a few
yards of them—almost the only relic of bygone days that Manchester now
possesses—the College. Pass through the arched portal into the great
quadrangle, the College Yard as it is called, and what a striking
contrast is presented. Without, all is noise and hurry and bustle;
within, quietude and seclusion prevail. The old place is almost
the only link that connects the Manchester of the present with the
Manchester of yore; and surely it is something to feel that within this
eager, striving, money-getting Babylon there is a little Zoar where you
may escape from the turmoil, and the whirl, and the worry of the busy
city, and, forgetting your own chronology, allow the memory to wander
along the dim grass-grown aisles of antiquity, recalling the scenes
and episodes and half-forgotten incidents that illustrate the changes
society has undergone, and show how the past may be made a guide for
the present and the future.

A wealth of interest gathers round this old time-worn memorial, and
its history is entwined with that of the town itself. That lively and
imaginative antiquary, Whitaker, has striven to prove that upon its
site the subjects of the Cæsars erected their summer camp, but the
story, it must be confessed, rests on but a slender foundation. There
is little doubt, however, that the Saxon thegn fixed his abode here,
and dispensed justice according to the rude fashion of the times—which
means that he did what seemed right in his own eyes, and hanged those
who ventured to question the propriety of his proceedings. The Norman
barons who succeeded him, the Gresleys and the La Warres, the men who
bore themselves well and bravely at Crecy, Agincourt, and Poictiers,
held their court here for generations, until good old Thomas La Warre,
the last of the line, the priest-lord as he has been called—for he held
the rectory as well as the barony of Manchester—gave up his ancestral
home as a permanent residence for the warden and fellows of the ancient
parish church which he caused to be collegiated. But the splendid
provision he bequeathed was not long enjoyed by the ecclesiastics
for whom it was intended. In 1547, when the minor religious houses
were suppressed, the college was dissolved, and the lands, with the
building of the College House, reverted to Edward VI., who granted them
to Edward Earl of Derby, subject to the payment by him of some small
pensions and other charges. On Queen Mary’s accession the Church was
re-collegiated, and the deeds of alienation in part recalled. But the
College House and the lands pertaining to it were never recovered,
though some of the wardens were considerately allowed by the Stanleys
to occupy part of the premises that had belonged of right to their
predecessors.

In the eventful times which followed, the building experienced many and
various vicissitudes. At the time the fierce struggle between Charles
I. and the Parliament began a part was used as a magazine for powder
and arms, for we read that when the Commission of Array was issued Sir
Alexander Radcliffe, of Ordsall, and his neighbour Mr. Prestwich, of
Hulme, two of the commissioners nominated in the King’s proclamation,
attended by the under sheriff, went to Manchester “to seize ten barrels
of powder and several bundles of match which were stowed in a room
of the College.” During the troublous times of the Commonwealth the
building was in the hands of the official sequestrators, as part of
the forfeited possessions of the Royalist Earl of Derby; and at that
time the monthly meetings of the Presbyterian Classis, the “X’sian
consciensious people” as they were called, were held within the
refectory. A part of the building was transformed into a prison, and
another portion was occupied as private dwellings. In 1650, as appears
by a complaint lodged in the Duchy Court of Lancaster, “a common
brewhouse” was set up on the premises, the brewers claiming exemption
from grinding their malt at the School Mills, to which by custom the
toll belonged, on the plea that the brewhouse was within the College,
the old baronial residence, and therefore did not owe such suit and
service to the mills.

About the same time a portion of the College barn (between the prison
and the College gatehouse) was converted into a workhouse, the first
in Manchester, having been acquired by the churchwardens and overseers
in order that it might be “made in readiness to set the poor people
on work to prevent their begging.” Another part was used for the
purposes of an Independent church, the first of the kind in the town,
and which would appear to have been set up without “waiting for a
civil sanction.” The minister was John Wigan, who at the outset of his
career had been episcopally ordained to Gorton, which place he left
in 1646, and fixed his abode at Birch, where, we are told, “he set up
Congregationalism.” This brought him in collision with the “Classis.”
Subsequently he left Birch, entered the army, became a captain, and
afterwards a major. The church which he founded in the College barn is
alluded to by Hollinworth. How it came to be established here would
be inexplicable but for the explanation Adam Martindale gives of the
matter. He says:—

     The Colledge lands being sold, and the Colledge itself, to Mr.
     Wigan, who now being turned Antipædobaptist, and I know not what
     more, made a barne there into a chappell, where he and many of
     his perswasion preached doctrine diametrically opposite to the
     (Presbyterian) ministers’ perswasion under their very nose.

Wigan had contrived to attract the notice of Cromwell, and “received
some maintenance out of the sequestrations.” Whether with this and
from pillage and plunder while with the Republican army he obtained
money enough to purchase the lease of the College is not clear, but his
conduct during the later years of his life does not present him in a
very favourable light. During his time a survey of the College property
was made, and it then comprised:—

     Ye large building called ye College in Manchester, consisting of
     many rooms, with twoe barnes, one gatehouse, verie much decayd,
     one parcell of ground, formerly an orchard, and one garden, now in
     ye possession of Joseph Werden, gent., whose pay for ye same for
     ye use of ye Commonwealth—tenn pounds yearly. There is likewise
     one other room in ye said College Reserved and now made use of
     for publique meetings of X’sian consciensious people (_i.e._, the
     Classis).

Neither the sequestrators nor Mr. Wigan were at much pains to preserve
the fabric of the College while it was in their hands. The building and
outhousing fell into decay, and became ruinous; and there is little
doubt this interesting relic would have disappeared altogether but
for the timely interposition of one of Manchester’s most worthy sons.
Humphrey Chetham, a wealthy trader, who had amassed a considerable
fortune, conceived the idea of founding an hospital for the maintenance
and education of poor boys, and also the establishing of a public
library in his native town. He entered into negotiations with the
sequestrators for the purchase of the College, then, as we have seen,
in a sadly dilapidated condition, for the purpose. Owing to some
dispute, the project remained for a time in abeyance, but it was never
entirely abandoned; and in his will Chetham directed that his executors
should make the purchase, if it could be accomplished. After his death
this was done, the building was repaired, and from that time to the
present, a period of more than two hundred years, it has continued to
be occupied in accordance with the founder’s benevolent intentions.
Thus has been preserved to Manchester one of its oldest and most
interesting memorials.

    Many and strange vicissitudes of fate
    Those time-worn walls have seen. The dwelling once
    Of servants of the Lord; in stormy days,
    The home of Cromwell’s stern and armèd band,
    A barracks and a prison! Now it stands
    A lasting monument of Chetham’s fame,
    Unto posterity a boon most rich—
    A refuge for the child of poverty,
    A still secluded haunt for studious men,
    The college of a merchant.

Though a mighty change has been wrought in the surroundings, the
ancient pile looks pretty much the same as it must have done three
centuries ago, when Warden Dee, who then occupied it, was casting
horoscopes and practising alchemy, and when Drayton saw it, and in his
“Polyolbion” made the Irwell sing—

    First Roche, a dainty rill....
                    And Irk add to my store.
    And Medlock to their much by lending somewhat more;
    At Manchester they meet, all kneeling to my state,
    Where brave I show myself.

The Irwell and the Irk still mingle their waters round the base of
the rocky precipice on which the College stands, but alas for the
daintiness or bravery of either!

As you enter the spacious courtyard a long, low, monastic-looking
pile with two projecting wings meets the eye, presenting all that
quaintness and picturesque irregularity of outline so characteristic of
buildings of the mediæval period, with scarcely a feature to suggest
the busy life that is going on without its walls. On the right is the
great arched gateway giving admission from the Long Mill Gate, and
which in old times constituted the main entrance. At the opposite or
north-western angle is the principal entrance to the building itself.
As you pass through the low portal you notice on the right the great
kitchen, large and lofty and open to the roof, with its fireplace
capacious enough to roast an ox; adjoining is the pantry, and close
by that most important adjunct the buttery. On the other side of the
vestibule, and separated from it by a ponderous oaken screen, panelled
and ornamented, and black with age, is the ancient refectory or dining
hall, where the recipients of Chetham’s bounty assemble daily for their
meals and chant their “_Non nobis_.” It is a spacious apartment, with a
lofty arched roof and wide yawning fireplace, preserving not merely the
original form and appearance but the identical arrangement of the old
baronial and conventual halls. In pre-Reformation times this was the
chief entertaining room, and its appearance suggests the idea that in
those remote days the ecclesiastics of Manchester loved good cheer, and
were by no means sparing in their hospitalities. At the further end,
opposite the screen, may still be seen the ancient daīs, raised a few
inches above the general level of the floor, on which, in accordance
with custom, was placed the “hie board,” or table dormant, at which sat
the warden, his principal guests and the chief ecclesiastics ranged
according to their rank above the salt, whilst the inferior clergy
and others were accommodated at the side tables—the poor wandering
mendicant who, by chance, found himself at the door, and being admitted
to a humble share of the feast, taking his position near the screen,
and thankfully fed, like Lazarus, with the crumbs that fell from the
great man’s table.

At the further end of the vestibule you come upon the cloisters
surrounding a small court, and note the crumbling grey walls and
vaulted passages of this the most perfect and most characteristic
portion of the original building.

Just before reaching the cloisters, you ascend by a stone staircase,
guarded by massive oak balusters, that leads up to the library, where,
as “Alick” Wilson sings—

                        Booath far and woide,
    Theer’s yards o’books at every stroide,
    From top to bothum, eend and soide.

They are disposed in wall cases extending the length of the corridors,
and branching off into a series of mysterious-looking little recesses,
stored with material relics of the past, old manuscripts, and treasures
of antiquity and art of various kinds, each recess being protected
from the encroachments of the profane by its own lattice gate. Here

    The dim windows shed a solemn light,

that is quite in keeping with the character of the place, and as you
pass along you marvel at the plenteous store of ponderous folios
and goodly quartos, in their plain sober bindings, that are ranged
on either side, and you reflect upon the world of thought and the
profundity of learning gathered together, until the mind becomes
impressed with a feeling of reverence for the mighty spirits whose
noblest works are here enshrined.

Until late years this gloomy corridor was at once a library and museum.
High up on the ceiling, on the tops of the bookcases and in the window
recesses, were displayed a formidable array of sights and monsters, as
varied and grotesque as those which appalled the heart of the Trojan
prince in his descent to hell—skeletons, snakes, alligators, to say
nothing of the “hairy man,” and such minor marvels as Queen Elizabeth’s
shoe, Oliver Cromwell’s sword,

    An th’ clog fair crackt by thunner-bowt,
    An th’ woman noather lawmt nor nowt.

Formerly, at Easter and other festivals, crowds of gaping holiday
folk thronged the College, and gazed with vacant wonderment at the
incongruous collection, while the blue-coated cicerones, to the
discomfort of the readers, in sonorous tones bawled out the names of
the trophies displayed, concluding their catalogue with an account
of the wondrous wooden cock that is said (and truly) to crow when
it smells roast beef. But the quietude is no longer broken by these
inharmonious chantings—the strange collection has been transferred
to a more fitting home, and the scholar may now store his mind with
“the physic of the soul” and hold pleasant intercourse with antiquity
without being rudely recalled to the consciousness of the present by
such startling incongruities.

At the end of the corridor a heavy oaken door admits you to the
reading-room, a large square antique chamber, with arched ceiling and
panelled walls, and a deeply-recessed oriel opposite the door, that
by the very cosiness of its appearance lures you to stay and drink
“at the pure well of English undefiled.” In the window lighting this
pleasant secluded nook is a shield on which the arms of the benevolent
Chetham are depicted in coloured glass—arms that gave him much trouble
to obtain, and the cost of which led him to facetiously remark that
they were not depicted in such good metal as that in which payment for
them was made, to which Lightbowne, his attorney, assented, sagely
observing, “there is soe much difference betwixt Paynter’s Gould and
Current Coyne,” a conclusion the correctness of which we will not stay
to dispute. No doubt it was the thought that he had “paid for his
whistle” that led the careful old merchant to adopt the suggestive
motto, “_Quod tuum tene_.” The furniture corresponds with the ancient
character of the room. In one corner is a carved oak buffet of ancient
date, with a raised inscription, setting forth that it was the gift
of Humphrey Chetham. There are ponderous chairs, with leather-padded
backs, studded with brass nails; and still more ponderous tables, one
of which we are gravely assured contains as many pieces as there are
days in the year. Over the fireplace, surmounted by his coat of arms,
is a portrait of the grave-visaged but large-hearted founder, with
pillars on each side, resting on books, and crowned with antique lamps,
suggestive of the founder’s desire to diffuse wisdom and happiness by
the light of knowledge; and, flanking them, on one side is a pelican
feeding its young with its own blood, and on the other the veritable
wooden cock already mentioned; antique mirrors are affixed to the
panelling; and dingy-looking portraits of Lancashire worthies gaze at
you from the walls—Nowell and Whitaker, and Bolton and Bradford, with
men who have reflected lustre upon the county in more recent times,
not the least interesting being the two portraits lately added of the
venerable president of the Chetham Society, and that indefatigable
bibliopole, the late librarian, Mr. Jones.

On the ground floor, beneath the reading-room, is an apartment of
corresponding dimensions, which at present more especially claims our
attention. It is commonly known as the Feoffees’ room; but in bygone
days it was appropriated to the use of the wardens of the College. It
is a large, square, sombre-looking chamber, with a projecting oriel
at one end, and small pointed windows, with deep sills and latticed
panes, that, if they do not altogether “exclude the light,” are yet
sufficiently dim to “make a noonday night.” As you cross the threshold
your footsteps echo on the hard oak floor—all else is still and silent.
A staid cloistered gloom, and a quiet, half monastic air pervades the
place that carries your fancies back to mediæval times. The walls for a
considerable height are covered with black oak wainscotting, surrounded
by a plaster frieze enriched with arabesque work. The ceiling is
divided into compartments by deeply-moulded beams and rafters that
cross and recross each other in a variety of ways, all curiously
wrought, and ornamented at the intersections with carvings of fabulous
creatures and grotesque faces. On one of the bosses is a grim-visaged
head, depicted as in the act of devouring a child, which tradition
affirms is none other than that of the giant Tarquin, who held
threescore and four of King Arthur’s knights in thraldom in his castle
at Knot Mill, and was afterwards himself there slain by the valorous
Sir Lancelot of the Lake, who cut off his head and set the captives
free; all which forms a very pretty story, though we are more inclined
to believe that the mediæval sculptor, thinking little and caring less
for Tarquin or the Arthurian knights, merely copied the model of some
pagan mason, and reproduced the burlesque figure of Saturn eating one
of his own children.[22] On one side of the room is a broad fireplace,
with the armorial ensigns of one of the Tudor sovereigns behind, and
those of the benevolent Chetham on the frieze above. The whole of the
furniture is in character with the place—quaint, old-fashioned, and
substantial. Shining tall-backed chairs are disposed around the room,
and in the centre is a broad table of such massiveness as almost to
defy the efforts of muscular power to remove it.

[Note 22: In the church of Mont Mijour there is a bracket on which
is carved a head devouring a child, closely resembling the one in
the warden’s room of the College, and supposed to be intended for a
caricature of Saturn.]

A special interest attaches to this sombre-looking chamber from the
circumstance that tradition has associated it with the name of Dr.
Dee, the “Wizard Warden” of Manchester, and that here Roby has laid
the scene of one of his most entertaining Lancashire Legends. In this
“vaulted room of gramarye,” it is said, our English “Faust” had his

    Mystic implements of magic might,

practised the occult sciences, cast his nativities, transmuted the
baser metals to gold, and, as the common people believed, held familiar
intercourse with the Evil One, and did other uncanny things. But of Dee
and his doings we purpose to speak anon.

The wardenship of Dr. Dee forms a curious chapter in the ecclesiastical
history of Manchester, and at the same time presents us with a
humiliating picture of the condition of society in the golden days
of the Virgin Queen. It has been said that witchcraft came in with
the Stuarts and went out with them; but this is surely an injustice
to the memory of Elizabeth’s sapient successor, for the belief in
sorcery, witchcraft, enchantment, demonology, and practices of a
kindred nature were widely prevalent long ere that monarch ascended the
English throne. Henry VIII., in 1531, granted a formal licence to “two
learned clerks” “to practise sorcery and to build churches,” a curious
combination of evil and its antidote; and ten years later he, with
his accustomed inconsistency, issued a decree making “witchcraft and
sorcery felony, without benefit of clergy.”

The belief in these abominations was not confined to any one class
of the people, or to the professors of any one form of faith. On the
contrary, Churchmen, Romanists, and Puritans were alike the dupes of
the loathsome impostors who roamed the country, though each in turn
was ready to upbraid the others with being believers in the generally
prevailing error, and not unfrequently with being participators in
the frauds that were practised. The great and munificent Edward,
Earl of Derby, “kept a conjuror in his house secretly;” and his
daughter-in-law, Margaret Clifford, Countess of Derby, lost the favour
of Queen Elizabeth for a womanish curiosity in “consulting with wizards
or cunning men.” The bishops gave authority and a form of licence to
the clergy to cast out devils; Romish ecclesiastics claimed to have
a monopoly of the power; and the Puritan ministers, not to be behind
them, tried their hands at the imposture.

Education had then made little progress, and the men of Lancashire,
though the merriest of Englishmen, were as ignorant and superstitious
as they were merry. Nowhere was the belief in supernatural agency more
rife than in the Palatinate. The shaping power of the imagination had
clothed every secluded clough and dingle with the weird drapery of
superstition, and made every ruined or solitary tenement the abode of
unhallowed beings, who were supposed to hold their diabolical revelries
within it. The doctrines of necromancy and witchcraft were in common
belief, and it is doubtful if there was a single man in the county who
did not place the most implicit faith in both. Hence, Queen Elizabeth,
if it was not that she wished to get rid of a troublesome suitor, may
have thought there was a fitness of things in preferring a professor
of the Black Art to the wardenship of Manchester; believing, possibly,
that one given to astrology, and such like practices, could not find
a more congenial home than in a county specially prone, as Lancashire
then was, to indulge in _diablerie_ and the practice of alchemy and
enchantment.

A brief reference to the earlier career of Dr. Dee may not be
altogether uninteresting. According to the genealogy drawn up by
himself, he belonged to the line of Roderick the Great, Prince of
Wales. His father, Rowland Dee, who was descended from a family settled
in Radnorshire, carried on the business of a vintner in London; and
there, or rather at Mortlake, within a few miles of the city, on
the 13th July, 1527, the future warden first saw the light. After
receiving a preliminary education at one or two of the city schools,
and subsequently at the Grammar School of Chelmsford, he entered St.
John’s College, Cambridge, being then only fifteen years of age; and
during the five years he remained there he maintained, with unflinching
strictness, the rule “only to sleepe four houres every night; to allow
to meate and drink (and some refreshing after), two houres every day;
and,” he adds, “of the other eighteen houres, all (except the tyme
of going to and being at divine service) was spent in my studies
and learning.” On leaving the University he passed some time in the
Low Countries, his object being “to speake and conferr with some
learned men, and chiefly mathematicians.” He made the acquaintance of
Frisius, Mercator, Antonius Gogara, and other celebrated Flemings;
and on his return to England he was chosen to be a Fellow of King
Henry’s newly-erected College of Trinity, and made under-reader of the
Greek tongue. His reputation stood very high, and his mathematical
and astronomical pursuits, in which he was assisted by some rare and
curious instruments—among them, as we are told, an “astronomer’s staff
of brass, that was made of Gemma Frisius’ divising; the two great
globes of Gerardus Mercator’s making; and the astronomer’s ring of
brass, as Gemma Frisius had newly framed it,” which he had brought
from Flanders—drew upon him among the common people the suspicion of
being a conjuror, an opinion that was strengthened by his getting up
at Cambridge a Greek play, the comedy of “Aristophanes,” in which,
according to his own account, he introduced “the Scarabeus his flying
up to Jupiter’s pallace, with a man and his basket of victualls on
her back; whereat was great wondring, and many vaine reportes spread
abroad of the meanes how that was affected.” Though causing “great
wondring,” and seeming at that time too marvellous to be accomplished
by human agency, it was in all probability only a clumsy performance,
and much inferior to the ordinary transformation scene of a modern
pantomime. The “vaine reportes,” however, led to Dee’s being accused of
magical practices, and he found it expedient to leave the University,
having first obtained his degree of Master of Arts. In 1548 he went
abroad and entered as a student at Louvain, where his philosophical
and mathematical skill brought him under the notice of some of the
continental _savants_. Apart from his intellectual power, he must in
his earlier years have possessed considerable charms both of person and
manner, for he contrived to gain friends and win admiration wherever he
went. He was consulted by men of the highest rank and station from all
parts of Europe, and before he left Louvain he had the degree of Doctor
of Laws conferred upon him.

On quitting that University, in 1550, he proceeded to Paris, where
he turned the heads of the French people, who became almost frenzied
in their admiration of him. He read lectures on Euclid’s Elements—“a
thing,” as he says, “never done publiquely in any University of
Christendome,” and his lectures were so fully attended that the
mathematical school could not hold all his auditors, who clambered
up at the windows and listened at the doors as best they could. A
mathematical lectureship, with a yearly stipend of 200 crowns, and
several other honourable offices were also offered him from “five
Christian Emperors,” among them being an invitation from the Muscovite
Emperor to visit Moscow, where he was promised an income at the
Imperial hands of £2,000 a year, his diet free out of the Emperor’s
kitchen, and to be in dignity and authority among the highest of the
nobility; but he preferred to reside in his native country, and,
foregoing these inducements, he returned to England in 1551.

The fame of his marvellous acquirements had preceded him, and on
his arrival he was presented by Secretary Cecil to the young King,
Edward VI., who granted him a pension of 100 crowns a year, which
was soon “bettered,” as he says, by his “bestowing on me (as it were
by exchange) the rectory of Upton-upon-Seaverne,” in Worcestershire,
and to this was added the rectory of Long Leadenham, in Lincolnshire.
Though holding these two benefices, it is somewhat remarkable that Dee
does not appear to have ever been admitted to Holy Orders. There is no
very clear evidence that he at any time occupied his Worcestershire
parsonage, but he must have been resident for a while at Long
Leadenham, for at that place a stone has been found inscribed with his
name and sundry cabalistic figures, indicating that he had at some time
lived in the parish. If he ever resided at Upton-upon-Severn he must
have found an uncongenial neighbour in Bishop Bonner, who then held the
living of Ripple—for the one was visionary, sensitive, and unpractical,
and the other stern, cruel, and unscrupulous, while on religious and
political questions their views were as wide apart as the poles.

On the 6th of July, 1553, Edward VI. finished his “short but saintly
course,” and the solemn sound then heard from the bell-towers of
England, while it announced the fact of his decease, crushed the hopes
of Dee, for a time at least, and in a proportionate degree raised the
expectations of Bonner. Mary had not been many months upon the throne
before Dee was accused of carrying on a correspondence with Princess
Elizabeth’s servants and of compassing the Queen’s death by means
of enchantments. He was cast into prison and tried upon the charge
of high treason, but acquitted; after which he was turned over to
Bonner to see if heresy might not be proved against him. Christian
martyrdom, however, was not in Mr. Dee’s vocation, and so, after
six months’ detention, on giving satisfaction to the Queen’s Privy
Council, and entering into recognisances “for ready appearing and
good abearing for four months longer,” he was set at liberty August
19, 1555, to find that during his incarceration his rectory had been
bestowed upon the Dean of Worcester, Bonner having detained him in
captivity in order that he might have the disposal of his preferment.
The following characteristic letter, written about this time, and
addressed from the Continent (endorsed “fro Callice to Bruxells”), has
been recently unearthed from among the Marian State papers by that
painstaking antiquary, Mr. J. Eglinton Bailey, F.S.A., and printed in
Mr. Earwaker’s “Local Gleanings:”

     My dutye premysed unto youre good L’rdshype as hyt apperteynethe.
     This daye abowt iiij of the clocke at after noone my L.
     Chawncelare (Gardyner) taketh his Jorneye toward England havynge
     rather made a meane to a peace to be hereafter condyscendyd unto,
     than a peace at thys tyme yn any pointe determyned. In England
     all ys quyete. Souch as wrote trayterouse l’res (letters) ynto
     Germany be apprehendyd as lykewyse oothers yt dyd calculate ye
     kynge and quene and my Lady Elizabeth natyvytee, wherof on Dee and
     Cary and butler, and on ooyr of my Lady Elezabeths ... ar accused
     and yt they should have a famylyare sp(irit) wch ys ye moore
     susp’ted, for yt fferys on of ther a(ccu)sers-hadd ymedyatly upon
     thaccusatys bothe hys chyldr(en) strooken, the on wth put deathe,
     thother wth blyndnes. Thys trustynge shortly to doe youe yn an
     ooyr place bettre servyce I bed yowr good Lordshype most hartily
     to farewell. Wryte ffro Cales ye viijth of June.

Yowr Lordshyps most asured
                THO. MARTYN.

Happily for Dee, Mary’s reign was not of long duration, and on the
accession of Elizabeth he was at once restored to the sunshine of Royal
favour and courted by the wealthy and the great. He was consulted
by Lord Robert Dudley, afterwards Earl of Leicester, by the Queen’s
desire, respecting “a propitious day” for her coronation, and he says,—

     I wrote at large and delivered it for Her Majesty’s use, by the
     commandment of the Lord Robert, what in my judgment the ancient
     astrologers would determine on the election day of such a time as
     was appointed for Her Majesty to be crowned in.

At the same time he was presented to the Queen, who made him great
promises, not always fulfilled—amongst others, that where her brother
Edward “had given him a crown she would give him a noble.”

Dee was a great favourite with Elizabeth, who could well appreciate
his intellectual power, coupled as it was with some personal graces.
She frequently visited him at his house to confer with him and to have
peeps at futurity; and nothing perhaps better illustrates the faith the
“Virgin Queen” had in his astrological powers than the circumstance of
her consulting him, as other virgins in less exalted stations consult
“wise men,” upon the subject of her matrimonial projects, and also that
she had her nativity cast in order to ascertain if she could marry with
advantage to the nation. The credulous Queen placed the most implicit
confidence in Dee’s predictions. She was full of hope that the genius
and learning which had already worked such wonders would accomplish yet
more, and that he would eventually succeed in penetrating the two great
mysteries—the Elixir Vitæ and the Philosopher’s Stone—those secrets
which would endue her with perpetual youth and fill her treasury with
inexhaustible wealth.

The fame of the English seer became more and more widely spread.
Invitations poured in upon him from foreign courts, and his visits to
the Continent became frequent. In 1563 he was at Venice; the same year,
or the one following, he was at Antwerp, superintending the printing of
his “Monas Hyeroglyphica.” An original copy of this work is preserved
in the Manchester Free Library. Casauban acknowledges that, though
it was a little book, he could extract no reason or sense out of it.
Possibly he was one of those who, as Dee says, “dispraised it because
they understood it not.” Let us hope Dee’s patron was more fortunate,
for she had the advantage of reading it under the guidance of its
author, in her palace at Greenwich, after his return from beyond seas.
The book is dedicated to the Emperor Maximilian, to whom Dee presented
it in person, being at the time, as there is some reason to believe, on
a secret mission, for Lilly says, “he was the Queen’s intelligencer,
and had a salary for his maintenance from the Secretaries of State.”

After his return, he was sent for on one occasion, “to prevent the
mischief which divers of Her Majesty’s Privy Council suspected to be
intended against Her Majesty, by means of a certain image of wax, with
a great pin stuck into it, about the breast of it, found in Lincoln’s
Inn Fields,” and this, we are told, he did “in a godly and artificial
manner.” In 1571 he again went abroad, and while returning became
dangerously ill at Lorraine, where the Queen despatched two English
physicians “with great speed from Hampton Court,” to attend him, “sent
him divers rareties to eat, and the Honourable Lady Sydney to attend on
him, and comfort him with divers speeches from Her Majesty, _pithy_ and
_gracious_.” On his return he settled in the house which had belonged
to his father, at Mortlake, in Surrey, a building on the banks of the
Thames, a little westward of the church. Here for some time he led a
life of privacy and study, collecting books and manuscripts, beryls and
magic crystals, talismans, &c., his library, it is said, consisting of
more than 4,000 volumes, the fourth part of which were MSS., the whole
being valued at the time at more than £2,000.

In his “Compendious Rehearsall” there is a curious account of a visit
which Elizabeth, attended by many of her Court, made to his house at
Mortlake:—

     1575 10 Martii.—The Queens Majestie, with her Most honourable
     Privy Councell, and other her lords and nobility, came purposely
     to have visited my library; but finding that my wife was within
     four houres before buried out of the house, her Majestie refused
     to come in; but willed me to fetch my glass so famous, and to shew
     unto her some of the properties of it, which I did; her Majestie
     being taken downe from her horse (by the Earle of Leicester,
     Master of the horse, by the Church wall of Mortlak), did see
     some of the properties of that glass, to her Majestie’s great
     contentment and delight, and so in most gracious manner did thank
     me, &c.

The glass is supposed to have been of a convex form, and so managed as
to show the reflection of different figures and faces.

On the 8th October, 1578, the Queen had a conference with Dee, at
Richmond, and on the 16th of the same month she sent her physician,
Dr. Bayly, to confer with him “about her Majestie’s grievous pangs
and paines by reason of toothake and the rheum, &c.;” and before the
close of the year he was sent a journey of over 1,500 miles by sea and
land, “to consult with the learned physitions and philosophers (_i.e._
astrologers) beyond the seas for her Majestie’s health recovering and
preserving; having by the right honourable Earle of Leicester and Mr.
Secretary Walsingham but one hundred days allowed to go and come in.”

After his return, Elizabeth honoured him with another visit, as appears
by the following entry in his “Diary”:—

     1580. Sept. 17th.—The Quene’s Majestie came from Rychemond in her
     coach, the higher way of Mortlak felde, and when she came right
     against the Church she turned down toward my howse; and when she
     was against my garden in the felde she stode there a good while,
     and then came ynto the street at the great gate of the felde,
     when she espyed me at my doore making obeysciens to her Majestie;
     she beckend her hand for me; I came to her coach side, she very
     speedily pulled off her glove and gave me her hand to kiss; and to
     be short, asked me to resort to her court, and to give her to wete
     when I cam ther.

In less than a month he received another visit from his patron, when
the shadow of death was over his house; for his mother, who shared the
house at Mortlake with him, had expired a few hours before the arrival
of the Royal party. This time Elizabeth seems to have come less to
please herself than to comfort her favourite:—

     Oct. 10th.—The Quene’s Majestie, to my great comfort (_hora
     quinta_), cam with her trayn from the court, and at my dore
     graciously calling me to her, on horsbak, exhorted me briefly to
     take my mother’s death patiently; and withall told me that the
     Lord Threasorer had gretly commended my doings for her title,
     which he had to examyn, which title in two rolls, he had browght
     home two hours before; she remembred allso how at my wive’s death
     it was her fortune likewise to call uppon me.

The “title” alluded to had reference to the doubts Elizabeth affected
to have as to her right to rule over the new countries that were at
the time being discovered by her gallant sea captains, when, to ease
her scruples, she had desired Dee to give her a full account of the
newly-found regions. This he did in a few days, producing two large
rolls, which he delivered to the Queen “in the garden at Richmond;” and
in which not only the geography, but also the history, of the English
colonies throughout the world was given at length. Dee must have made
a liberal draught upon his imagination in producing such a work; and
Elizabeth, credulous as she was, could hardly have looked upon his
account of Virginia or Florida or Newfoundland as trustworthy history.
She wished to believe it, however, and therefore signified her gracious
approval of Dee’s production, much to the disgust of Burleigh, who in
the Queen’s presence openly expressed his disbelief; and when, four
days later, Dee attended at the Lord Treasurer’s house, he refused
to admit him, and when he came forth, as he says, “did not, or would
not, speak to me, I doubt not of some new grief conceyved.” On further
examination of the writings, Burleigh’s misgivings may have been
removed, or, as is much more likely, deeming it unwise to provoke a
quarrel with one whom the Queen delighted to honour, he strove to make
amends for his discourtesy, for he sent Dee a haunch of venison three
weeks after. Though the breach was healed, the scholar’s fear of the
Lord Treasurer was not altogether dispelled, if we may judge from a
dream with which he was troubled shortly afterwards, when, as he says—

     I dreamed that I was deade; and afterwards my bowels were taken
     out. I walked and talked with diverse, and among other with the
     Lord Threasorer, who was come to my house to burn my bones when I
     was dead, and thought he looked sourely on me.

Mr. Disraeli, in his “Amenities of Literature,” rightly estimated the
character of the “Wizard Warden” of Manchester when he remarked that
“the imagination of Dee often predominated over his science—while both
were mingling in his intellectual habits, each seemed to him to confirm
the other. Prone to the mystical lore of what was termed the occult
sciences, which in reality are no sciences at all, since whatever
remains occult ceases to be science, Dee lost his better genius.”
Casaubon maintains that throughout he acted with sincerity, but this
may be very well doubted. It is true that until he dabbled in magical
arts he gave most of his time and talents to science and literature,
but in the later years of his life he laid aside every pursuit that did
not aid in his alchemical and magical studies, and rapidly degenerated
into the mere necromancer and adventurer. Conjuror or not, he sported
with conjuror’s tools; and when in the ardour of his enthusiasm he
claimed to hold intercourse with angelic beings whom he could summon
to his presence at his will, and boasted the possession of a crystal
given him by the Angel Uriel, which enabled him to reveal all secrets,
he naturally subjected himself to suspicions which, as he afterwards
lamented, “tended to his utter undoing.”

Many of the incidents of his life are recorded in his “Private Diary,”
edited for the Camden Society by Mr. J. Orchard Halliwell, and the
portion relating to the period of his wardenship of Manchester has
since been edited from the autograph MSS. in the Bodleian Library, with
copious notes, and the errors of the Camden edition corrected by Mr. J.
Eglinton Bailey. This journal gives a curious insight into the private
life and real character of the strange yet simple-minded writer,
relating, as it does with much circumstantial detail, his family
affairs, his labours and rewards, and his trials and tribulations.
There are notes of the visits paid to him by great people; of his
attendances at Court; entries of those who consulted him as to the
casting of their nativities; particulars of moneys borrowed from time
to time (for, though he received large fees and presents, he was almost
continuously in a state of impecuniosity); and the ordinary small talk
of a common-place book. On the 15th June, 1579, his mother surrendered
the house at Mortlake to him, with reversion to his wife and his
heirs. On the 5th February in the preceding year he had married, as
his second wife, a daughter of Mr. Bartholomew Fromonds, of East
Cheam, a fellow-worker in alchemical pursuits, the lady being 23 years
of age and Dee 51. They do not appear to have had many sympathies
in common. She was a strong-minded, shrewd, managing woman, with a
somewhat vixenish temper, who exercised considerable influence over
her visionary and unpractical husband, and kept him in awe of her,
though not sufficiently to restrain his reckless expenditure on books,
manuscripts, and scientific instruments. Occasionally he complains of
her irritability, but it must be confessed that, with her domestic
cares, the worry of her “mayds,” the sickness of her children, and the
difficulty she had in getting from her mystical husband sufficient
money for the needful expenses of her household, the poor woman had
anxieties enough to try the most enduring patience and sour the
sweetest temper. On one occasion he writes: “Jane most desperately
angry in respect of her maydes;” at another time he puts up a prayer
to the angels that she may be cured of some malady that so she may “be
of a quieter mind, and not so testy and fretting as she hath been.”
And again, “Katharin (a child under eight years) by a blow on the eare
given by her mother did bled at the nose very much, which did stay for
an howre and more; afterward she did walk into the town with nurse;
upon her coming home she bled agayn.”

Though Dee was much noticed and flattered by Elizabeth, the preferment
she so often promised him was slow in coming; perhaps it was that the
calculating Queen wished to ascertain the full value of his horoscope,
which could be only done by the efflux of time, though, if the
prosperity of her reign depended upon the day he had chosen for her
coronation, she then had abundant proof of his magical skill. Dee was
beginning to lose heart, his finances were getting low, he was in the
usurer’s hands, and his pecuniary obligations were disquieting him. At
this time came the crisis of his life. In 1581 he formed the disastrous
friendship with Kelly, whom he took into his service as an assistant in
his alchemical and astrological labours.

This individual, whose dealings in the Black Art would fill a volume,
was a crafty and unscrupulous schemer—a clever rogue, who, without a
tithe of the learning or genius of Dee, contrived to work upon his
credulity to such an extent that Dee believed him to have the power of
seeing, hearing, and holding “conversations with spirituall creatures”
that were invisible and inaudible to Dee himself. Kelly, who was
nearly thirty years the junior of Dee, having been born in 1555, “left
Oxford,” says Mr. John Eglinton Bailey, in his admirable notes to the
reprint of Dee’s “Diary,” “abruptly to ramble in Lancashire,” and
for some delinquencies, coining it is said, had his ears cut off at
Lancaster. Mr. Bailey says that he had been a lawyer, and Lilly states
on the authority of his sister that he had practised as an apothecary
at Worcester. Of a restless, roving, and ambitious disposition, he was

    Everything by turns, and nothing long.

It was his practice to raise the dead by incantations, and to consult
the corpse for the purpose of obtaining a knowledge, as he pretended,
of the fate of the living. Weever, in his “Ancient Funeral Monuments”
(p. 45), says that upon a certain night in the park of Walton-le-Dale,
near Preston, with one Paul Wareing, of Clayton Brook, he invoked one
of the infernal regiment to know certain passages in the life, as also
what might be known of the devil’s foresight of the manner and time
of the death, of a young nobleman in Wareing’s wardship. The ceremony
being ended, Kelly and his companion repaired to the church of Walton,
where they dug up the body of a man recently interred, and whom, by
their incantations, they made to deliver strange predictions concerning
the same gentleman, who was probably present and anxious to read a
page in the book of futurity. This feat, which was no doubt performed
by a kind of ventriloquism, is also mentioned by Casaubon. It is not
said when the circumstance occurred, but a local historian, anxious
to supply the omission, gives the date August 12, 1560, and says that
Dee was present. This, however, must be an error, for Kelly could then
have been only five years of age, and Dee did not make his acquaintance
until long afterwards.

Kelly was a notorious alchemist and necromancer long before Dee became
associated with him, and after the unfortunate intimacy commenced he
acted as his amanuensis, and performed for him the office of “seer,”
by looking into the doctor’s magic crystal,[23] a faculty he himself
did not possess, and hence he was obliged to have recourse to Kelly for
the revelations from the spirit world. It would seem, therefore, that
“mediums” are by no means a modern invention. Dee says he was brought
into unison with him by the mediation of the Angel Uriel, and their
dealings and daily conferences with the spirits are fully recorded in
Casaubon’s work, entitled, “A True and Faithful Relation of what passed
for many years between Dr. John Dee and some Spirits.” They had a black
spectrum or crystal—a piece of polished cannel coal, in which Kelly
affirmed the Angels Gabriel and Raphael, and the whole Rosicrucian
hierarchy, appeared at their invocation—and hence the author of
“Hudibras” says,—

    Kelly did all his feats upon
    The devil’s looking-glass—a stone;
    Where playing with him at bo-peep
    He solved all problems ne’er so deep.

[Note 23: Dee’s magic crystal, or show stone, was preserved at
Strawberry Hill until that famous collection was dispersed. A
correspondent in _Notes and Queries_ (2nd S., No. 201) says that John
Varley, the painter, well known to have been attached to astrology,
used to relate a tradition that the Gunpowder Plot was discovered by
Dr. Dee with his magic mirror; and he urged the difficulty, if not the
impossibility, of interpreting Lord Mounteagle’s letter without some
other clue or information than hitherto gained. In a Common Prayer
Book, printed by Baskett in 1737, is an engraving of the following
scene: In the centre is a circular mirror on a stand, in which is
the reflection of the Houses of Parliament by night, and a person
entering carrying a dark lantern. Next, on the left side are two men
in the costume of James’s time, looking into the mirror—one evidently
the King, the other evidently, from his secular habit, not the doctor
(Dee), but probably Sir Kenelm Digby. On the right side, at the top,
is the eye of Providence darting a ray on the mirror; and below are
some legs and hoofs, as if evil spirits were flying out of the picture.
The plate is inserted before the service for the 5th November, and
would seem to represent the method by which, under Providence (as is
evidenced by the eye), the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot was at that
time seriously believed to have been effected. The tradition must have
been generally and seriously believed, or it never could have found its
way into a Prayer Book printed by the King’s printer.]

When an incantation was to take place, “The sacred crystal was placed
on a sort of altar before a crucifix, with lighted candles on either
side, and an open Psalter before it,” and prayers and ejaculations
of the most fervid description were intermingled with the account
taken down at Kelly’s dictation of the dress and hair, as well as the
sayings and movements, of the angels. Dee was infatuated with his new
acquaintance, and every experiment he suggested was tried, at whatever
cost, and hence it was not long before Kelly’s weak and credulous dupe
found himself in straitened circumstances. It was at this time that the
Earl of Leicester, the Queen’s favourite, proposed dining with him at
Mortlake and bringing Albert Lasque, the Palatine of Sieradz, who was
then in England, with him, when Dee had to explain that he could not
give them a suitable dinner without selling some of his plate or pewter
to procure it. Leicester mentioned the circumstance to the Queen, who
speedily helped her old favourite out of the difficulty by sending him
“forty angells of gold.” He thus relates the circumstance:—

     Her Majestie (A. 1583 Julii ultimo) being informed by the right
     honourable Earle of Leicester, that whereas the same day in the
     morning he had told me, that his Honour and Lord Laskey would dyne
     with me within two daies after, I confessed sincerely unto him,
     that I was not able to prepaire them a convenient dinner, unless
     I should presently sell some of my plate or some of my pewter for
     it. Whereupon her Majestie sent unto me very royally, within one
     hour after, forty angells of gold, from Syon, whither her Majestie
     was new come by water from Greenewich.

At the same time he makes the following entry in his “Diary”:—

     Mr. Rawlegh his letter unto me of hir Majestie’s good disposition
     unto me.

the writer being Sir Walter Raleigh, who was then in great favour with
Elizabeth, and himself a patron of Dee’s.

The visit of Count Lasque was an important event in Dee’s career. The
Polish noble was accounted of great learning, and fond of “occult
studies.” He paid frequent visits to the house at Mortlake, where he
was admitted to the _séances_ of the English magician, and became much
impressed with his learning and professed knowledge of the mystical
world. When the time came for Lasque to return he suggested that
Dee should go out with him to Poland, with his wife and children,
accompanied by Kelly and his wife and brother, and their servants.
When in his castle at Sieradz they could make their experiments in
undisturbed seclusion. Seeing no prospect of the fulfilment of the
promises made to him at home, and being hampered with debt, Dee, who
was then in his 57th year, was nothing loth to try his fortune abroad
once more. They left in September, and it was six years before any of
them again set foot on English soil. The departure is thus recorded in
the “Diary”:—

     Sept. 21st (1583).—We went from Mortlake, and so to the Lord
     Albert Lasky, I, Mr. E. Kelly, our wives, my children and familie,
     we went toward our two ships attending for us, seven or eight myle
     below Gravessende.

The period of their residence abroad was a chequered one, and many
and extraordinary were their adventures and experiences, alternating
between honour and discredit—between luxury and distress. For many
months they were hospitably entertained by Count Lasque while engaged
in their researches for the Philosopher’s Stone, but finding that
they spent more gold than they were able to produce he got tired, and
persuaded them to pay a visit to Rudolph, King of Bohemia, who, though
a weak and credulous man, soon became conscious of the imposture that
was being practised, and passed them on to Stephen, King of Poland,
at Cracow, but he declined to have anything to do with them, and the
Emperor Rudolph refused to pay their expenses, or further encourage
their experiments, though he permitted them to reside at Prague, and
occasionally to appear at Court, until they were banished from the
country at the instigation of the Pope’s Nuncio, who stigmatised them
as “notorious magicians.” Dee lamented the “subtill devises and plotts”
laid against him, and pathetically added, “God best knoweth how I
was very ungodly dealt withall, when I meant all truth, sincerity,
fidelity, and piety towardes God, and my Queene, and country.”

The old man had surrendered himself entirely to Kelly. Under his
iniquitous influence he degenerated into a mere necromancer, and was
sinking more and more into discredit. On leaving Bohemia the two
adventurers found an asylum in the Castle of Trebona, whither the
Count of Rosenberg had invited them, and where, for a time, they were
maintained in great affluence, owing, as they affirmed, to their
discovery of the secret of transmuting the baser metals into gold.
Kelly would seem to have learned some secrets from the German chemists
which he did not reveal to his employer, but by their possession
contrived to increase his influence over him, while he himself had
recourse to the worst species of the magic art for the purposes of
avarice and fraud. It was while at Trebona that Kelly produced the
wonderful elixir, or Philosopher’s Stone, in the form of a powder,
which Lilly, in his “Memoirs,” says he obtained from a friar who
came to Dee’s door. With this “powder of projection,” or “salt of
metals,” as it was variously called, they were enabled to coat the
baser metals with silver or gold, and would seem to have hit upon the
process which, a century and a half later, Joseph Hancock introduced
into Sheffield—that of electro-plating. Among other transmutations
they converted a piece of an old iron warming pan, by warming it at
the fire, into (or covered it with) silver, and sent it to Queen
Elizabeth.[24] Why, when they were about it, they did not “transmute”
the whole pan is not stated, but it would seem they were not able
to work the discovery easily or quickly enough to make it pay, for
heart-burnings, jealousies, and disputations arose, and quarrels became
of frequent occurrence. At one time Kelly got such a hold upon his dupe
as to persuade him that it was the Divine will that they should have
their wives in common; then a rupture occurred between the ladies, who,
however, became reconciled to each other, and we have the entries in
the Diary—

     April 10th (1588).—I writ to Mr. Edward Kelly and to Mistress
     Kelly ij charitable letters requiring at theyr hands mutual
     charity.

And—

     May 22nd.—Mistris Kelly received the sacrament and to me and my
     wife gave her hand in charity; and we rushed not from her.

Peace was restored, but it must have been of short duration, for we
find a few months later—

     July 17th.—Mr. Thomas Southwell of his own courteous nature did
     labor with Mr. Edmond Cowper, and indirectly with Mistress Kelly,
     for to furder charity and friendship among us.

[Note 24: Ashmole, in his MS., 1790, fol. 58, says, “Mr. Lilly told me
that John Evans informed him that he was acquainted with Kelly’s sister
in Worcester, that she showed him some of the gold her brother had
transmuted, and that Kelly was first an apothecary at Worcester.”]

True to his sordid and scheming nature, Kelly, who had become a
full-blown knight, contrived to possess himself of the greater part of
Dee’s treasures—“the powder, the bokes, the glass, and the bone”—and
then, having no longer any need of the old man’s co-operation, took
himself off to earn elsewhere a success that, however, proved only
very short-lived, for it was not long before, being detected in some
knavery, he fell into disgrace, and was immured by the Emperor Rudolph
in one of the prisons of Prague. Queen Elizabeth hearing of him, sent a
messenger—Captain Peter Gwinne—secretly for him to return; but he was
doomed to end his days in a foreign land, for in an attempt to escape
from one of the windows of the castle he fell to the ground, and was so
bruised and shattered that he died in a few hours—his elixir, it would
seem, not being sufficient to communicate immortality to its possessor.

Forsaken by his companion, Dee resolved on returning to England.
Elizabeth, who had heard of the doings of the two adventurers, and
being, moreover, much impressed with the silvered piece of the
warming pan, sent the doctor friendly messages desiring his return,
with letters of safe conduct, and Lord Rosenberg, who had welcomed
the coming, was now no less hearty in speeding his parting guests,
an attention that is not surprising when it is remembered that for
two years or more he had had quartered upon him two families who
maintained somewhat questionable relations, and lived upon anything
but friendly terms with each other—two quarrelsome women, a whole bevy
of turbulent and unruly children, and a staff of servants that were
continually causing disquiet by their “unthankfulnesse” and discontent;
to say nothing of a brace of conjurors who crowded his castle, or, at
least, were believed to, with imps, hobgoblins, and ghostly visitants
of various kinds, and who there practised all sorts of _diablerie_.
The count made him magnificent promises, and gave him a present of
money; and we can quite believe that he and those about him were not
very much overcome when Dee and his household divinities left Trebona
Castle and turned their faces homewards. They travelled with great pomp
and state, having “three new coaches made purposely for my foresaid
journey,” “twelve coach horses,” “two and sometymes three waines,”
with “twenty-four soldiers,” and “four Swart-Ruiters,” as a guard
of honour; the “total summe of money spent” being £796—well-nigh
sufficient for a royal progress. On November 19, 1589, the Dees
“toke ship by the Vineyard,” and December 2nd “came into the Tems to
Gravesende.” They landed the following day, and on the 19th the doctor
was “at Richemond with the Queen’s Majestie,” when, according to
Aubrey, who received the information from Lilly, he was very favourably
received.

Though Dee and his family “cam into the Tems” on the 2nd December, it
was not until Christmas Day that they again entered upon possession
of the old home at Mortlake. And a comfortless coming home and a
sorrowful Christmas Day must have been that 25th of December, 1589.
Courted by “Christian Emperors,” Dee had lived long enough to realise
the value of the aphorism which says “Put not your trust in princes!”
Feeble with years, broken in health, and overwhelmed by his losses
and disappointments, the old man chafed and became fretful; while his
comparatively youthful spouse—for Jane Dee was then in the prime of
womanhood—was becoming increasingly irritable under the increasing
cares of a growing family, and the difficulties she experienced in
obtaining even decent food and raiment for them.

On reaching their once pleasant abode on the banks of the Thames, they
found it dismantled and in part dilapidated. While abroad, silvering
his old warming-pan and dreaming dreams of inexhaustible wealth, Dee
had little dreamed of what was going on at home. Scarcely had he
and his quondam associate reached the castle of Count Lasque than
Nicholas Fromonds, his brother-in-law, who had been left in charge
of the old house, and was to occupy it as tenant, “imbezeled,” sold,
and “unduly made away” his furniture and “household stuff;” and a
noisy rabble, believing that the old man had dealings with the devil,
broke in, ransacked the whole place, and destroyed nearly everything
that remained. Scarcely anything was left. 4,000 volumes, including
the precious manuscripts, that had taken more than 40 years to get
together, and had cost him £2,000, an enormous sum if we consider the
value of money at that time, were scattered; though, through the
efforts of his friends, some of them were afterwards recovered, as
he said, “in manner out of a dunghill, in the corner of a church,
wherein very many were utterly spoyled by rotting, through the raine
continually for many years before falling on them, through the decayed
roof of that church, lying desolate and wast at this houre.” The “rare
and exquisitely-made instruments mathematicall,” the “strong and
faire quadrant of five foote semi-diameter;” the two globes, on one
of which “were set down divers comettes, their places and motions;”
the sea compasses; the magnet-stone “of great vertue;” the “watch
clock,” which measured the “360th part of an hour,” were all purloined,
“piecemeal divided,” or “barbarously spoyled and with hammers smit in
pieces.” Harland and Wilkinson, in their “Lancashire Folk-Lore,” say
that when the house was attacked, “it was with difficulty Dee and his
family escaped the fury of the rabble;” but this is a mistake, for,
as previously stated, they were at the time beyond the seas, and in
blissful ignorance of what was taking place.

Dee’s affairs were now in a deplorable condition. The destruction of
his library was a terrible calamity. He was involved in debt, his
creditors were becoming clamorous, and, as he laments, “the usury
devoureth me, and the score, talley, and booke debts doe dayly put me
to shame in many places and with many men.” His old friend and patron,
the Queen, who had not yet lost faith in his astrological powers and
discoveries, sent him in the year following his return “fiftie poundes
to keep Christmas with,” and promised him another “fiftie poundes”
out of her “prevy purse.” Many other friends sent him presents, in
all about £500; but he was still struggling in poverty, and craving
for some lucrative office, that he might free himself from his
difficulties. In his distress he memorialised the Queen, through the
Countess of Warwick, earnestly requesting that commissioners might be
appointed to inquire into and decide upon his claims. His indebtedness
then amounted to nearly £4,000, and the story he tells of the shifts
he had recourse to, to save his family from “hunger starving,” is
truly pathetic. He had been constrained, he says, “now and then to
send parcells of furniture and plate to pawne upon usury,” and when
these were gone, “after the same manner went my wife’s jewells of gold,
rings, braceletts, chaines, and other our rarities, under thraldom of
the usurer’s gripes, till _non plus_ was written upon the boxes at
home.” Upon the report the Queen “willed the Lady Howard to write some
words of comfort to his wife, and send some friendly tokens beside;”
she further sent through Mr. Candish (Cavendish) her “warrant by word
of mowth to assure him to do what he would in philosophie and alchemie,
and none shold chek, controll, or molest him,” and as a mark of her
regard, on two occasions, “called for him at his door” as she rode by.

About this time a domestic difficulty of a different nature occurred.
Dee’s nurse became “possessed,” and he had to try his skill in
exorcising what he believed to be the evil spirit, though, as the
result showed, with indifferent success. The incident is thus referred
to in his “Diary”:—

     Aug. 2nd, 1590.—Nurs her great affliction of mynde.

     Aug. 22nd.—Ann my nurse had long byn tempted by a wycked spirit:
     but this day it was evident how she was possessed of him. God is,
     hath byn, and shall be her protector and deliverer! Amen.

     Aug. 25th.—Anne Frank was sorowful, well comforted, and stayed in
     God’s mercyes acknowledging.

     Aug. 26th.—At night I anoynted (in the name of Jesus) Anne Frank,
     her brest with the holy oyle.

     Aug. 30th.—In the morning she required to be anoynted, and I did
     very devowtly prepare myself, and pray for vertue and powr, and
     Christ his blessing of the oyle to the expulsion of the wycked;
     and then twyse anoynted, the wycked one did resest a while.

     Sep. 8th.—Nurse Anne Frank wold have drowned hirself in my well,
     but by divine Providence I cam to take her up befor she was
     overcome of the water.

     Sep. 29th.—Nurse Anne Frank most miserably did cut her owne
     throte, afternone abowt four of the clok, pretending to be in
     prayer before her keeper, and suddenly and very quickly rising
     from prayer, and going toward her chamber, as the mayden her
     keeper thowt, but indede straight way down the stayrs into the
     hall of the other howse, behinde the doore did that horrible act;
     and the mayden who wayted on her at the stayr fote followed her,
     and missed to fynd her in three or fowr places, tyll at length she
     hard her rattle in her owne blud.

Dee tried hard to regain the parsonages and endowments of Upton and
Long Leadenham, of which Bonner had many years previously dispossessed
him, but he was “utterly put owt of hope for recovering them by the
Lord Archbishop and the Lord Threasorer.” Elizabeth had, on one
occasion, promised him the deanery of Gloucester, but objection was
raised on the ground of his not being in Holy Orders; subsequently he
had the promise of some small advowsons in the diocese of St David’s;
but the promise which was pleasant to the bear was roken to the hope.
Failing these, he applied for reversion of the mastership of the
Hospital of St. Cross, at Winchester. The Queen and the Lord Treasurer
were favourably disposed, and Mr. J. Eglinton Bailey, in his admirable
notes, to which we have before made reference, cites a Latin document
which he found among the State Papers, dated May, 1594, being a grant
to Wm. Brooke, Lord Cobham, K.G., of the next advowson of the hospital
of Holyrood, near Winchester, of the Queen’s gift, by the vacancy of
the See, to present John Dee, M.A., on the death or resignation of Dr.
Robert Bennett, the then incumbent. Bennett, however, did not die, or
did not resign in reasonable time, for Dee never got installed; or it
may be that the Archbishop (Whitgift) had interposed, for a month after
the “grant” just mentioned, we find in the “Diary” an entry in which
he thus gives vent to his feeling of mortification and disappointment,
after an interview with the Primate:—

     June 29th, 1594.—After I had hard the Archbishop his answers and
     discourses, and that after he had byn the last Sonday at Tybald’s
     (Theobald’s) with the Quene and Lord Threaserer, I take myself
     confounded for all suing or hoping for anything that was. And so
     adieu to the court and courting tyll God direct me otherwise! The
     Archbishop gave me a payre of sufferings to drinke. God be my help
     as he is my refuge! Amen.

When Dee ceased to supplicate, his wife took up the parable, and with
much more satisfactory results. On the 7th of December, in the same
year, we read:—

     Jane, my wife, delivered her supplication to the Quene’s Majestie,
     as she passed out of the privy garden at Somerset House to go to
     diner to the Savoy, to Syr Thomas Henedge. The Lord Admirall toke
     it of the Quene. Her Majestie toke the bill agayn, and kept (it)
     uppon her cushen; and on the 8th day, by the chief motion of the
     Lord Admirall, and somewhat of the Lord Buckhurst, the Quene’s
     wish was to the Lord Archbishop presently that I should have Dr.
     Day his place in Powles (_i.e._, the Chancellorship of St. Paul’s).

Possibly the Queen or the Archbishop, or both, were getting wearied
with the constant appeals of their tedious and egotistical suitor, for
a month later occurs the entry:—

     1595. Jan. 8th.—The Wardenship of Manchester spoken of by the Lord
     Archbishop of Canterbury.

     Feb. 5th.—My bill of Manchester offered to the Quene afore dynner
     by Sir John Wolly to signe, but she deferred it.

     April 18th.—My bill for Manchester Wardenship signed by the Quene,
     Mr. Herbert offring it her.

And so the magician of Mortlake was commissioned to minister among the
Lancashire witches, and an exceedingly unpleasant time he had of it, as
we shall presently see.

Though the appointment was made, the patent was not yet sealed. Dr.
Chadderton did not actually relinquish the wardenship of Manchester
until the confirmation of his election to the see of Lincoln, May 24,
1595. Immediately after appears the entry in the “Diary”:—

     May 25th, 26th, 27th.—The Signet, Privy Seale, and the Great Seale
     of the Wardenship.

The old man was evidently too poverty-stricken to pay the fees, for he
significantly adds, “£3 12s. 0d. borrowed of my brother Arnold.”

At last the long-hoped-for preferment was secured, and the Warden elect
at once began to prepare for removal to his new sphere of duty. Though,
as before stated, the building of the College had been acquired by the
Earls of Derby, under the Confiscating Act of Edward VI., the Wardens
continued to reside there. On the 11th June Dee “wrote to the Erle of
Derby his secretary abowt Manchester College;” and on the 21st June he
makes the entry:—

     The Erle of Derby his letter to Mr. Warren for the Colledge.

Mr. Warren being apparently the agent of the Earl, and the “secretary”
previously mentioned. Having thus put matters in train for the
occupation of his new home, he set about the letting or disposal of the
old one, for we read:—

     July 1st.—The two brothers, Master Willemots, of Oxfordshere,
     cam to talk of my howse-hyring. Master Baynton cam with Mistress
     Katharyn Hazelwood, wife to Mr. Fuller.

Meantime the Manchester people, and more especially the fellows of
the College, were curious to know something about the new Warden,
of whom rumour had said so many strange things. On the 12th July he
records that “Mr. Goodier, of Manchester, cam to me;” and on the
28th July he received “a letter from Mr. Oliver Carter, Fellow of
Manchester College,” of whom we shall have more to say by-and-by. Mr.
Goodier, it may be presumed, was not altogether uninfluenced by worldly
considerations in thus paying his respects at Mortlake. The worthy
burgher was a man of some consequence in his way, and much given, it
is said, to the improvement of his temporal estate. He resided at the
“Ould Clough House,” a building adjacent to the College, “over anendst
the church,” as the Court Rolls of the day describe it, had served as
senior constable, and had also filled the more important office of
borough-reeve. He had, moreover, farmed the tithes of the Warden and
Fellows, and seems to have made a somewhat wide interpretation of his
lease, for shortly before he had prosecuted one of the Fellows for
withholding the surplice fees, which he claimed to have of right. It
is not unlikely, therefore, he had an ulterior object in journeying to
London and offering his civilities to Dee. A year or two before, he had
married a rich widow, Katharine, the relict of Ralph Sorrocold, and the
mother of John Sorrocold, at whose house, the Eagle and Child, opposite
Smithy Door, John Taylor, the “water poet,” when on his “Pennyless
Pilgrimage,” lodged, and whose wife he immortalised in his homely
rhymes—

    I lodged at the Eagle and the Child,
    Whereat my hostess (a good ancient woman)
    Did entertain me with respect not common.

           *       *       *       *       *

    So Mistress Saracole, hostess kind,
    And Manchester with thanks I left behind.

On the 31st July, the “very virtuous” Countess of Warwick, who
had proved her friendship for Dee by urging his claims upon the
consideration of the Queen, did this evening, as he says—

     Thank her Matie in my name and for me for her gift of the
     Wardenship of Manchester. She took it gratiously, and was sorry
     that it was so far from hers; but that some better thing neer hand
     shall be ffownd for me; and if opportunitie of tyme wold serve,
     her Matie wold speak with me herself.

It is significantly added that “the firstfruits were forgiving by her
Matie,” which was fortunate, as it saved him the necessity of borrowing
money to pay them. Her Majesty, however, never found the “opportunitie
of tyme” to speak with her aged _protégé_, and Dee eventually left
without the satisfaction of a parting interview.

Dee’s prospects were now brightening, and, though late in the evening
of life, there was again a prospect of sunny weather. Misfortunes, it
is proverbially said, seldom come singly—the same rule, it would seem,
holds good in regard to prosperity—for scarcely had Dee obtained his
preferment when Providence added to his domestic bliss. A daughter
was born unto him (he was now in his 69th year), and the christening,
as may be supposed, was a great affair, the sponsors, who by the
way, all appeared by deputy, being the Lord Keeper—Sir Christopher
Hatton, it has been said, but more probably another Cheshire man, Sir
Thomas Egerton, afterwards Lord Chancellor, for Hatton had been in his
grave four years or more—Lady Mary Russell, Countess of Cumberland,
the mother of the stout-hearted Lady Anne Clifford, Dowager Countess
of Pembroke and Montgomery, of famous memory; and the Lady Frances
Walsingham, widow of Sir Philip Sidney, and the wife of the unfortunate
Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, whom Elizabeth, in 1601, beheaded.

The time of the new Warden was now much occupied in visiting and
receiving visits. On the 13th, and again on the 22nd of September,
he was the guest of the Earl of Derby at Russell House, and on
the 9th Oct. he “dyned with Syr Walter Rawlegh, at Durham House,”
in the Strand. On the 25th Oct. we find him urging “Mr. Brofelde,
Atturny-General, for som land deteyned from the Coll.” (ege). Then come
the entries,—

     Nov. 8th.—My goods sent by Percival toward Manchester.

     Nov. 26th.—My wife and children all by coach toward Coventry.

Coventry was on the road towards Manchester. Finally, we have the great
mathematician himself following in their wake—

     1595-6. Feb. 15.—I cam to Manchester a meridie nova 5.

The severance from old scenes and old associations must have been
a painful one. It could only have been dire necessity that induced
the vain and pedantic philosopher to forsake the pleasant vicinity
of Richmond; to leave the courtly gallants and the staid and erudite
_savants_ who had frequented his modest “mansion” to settle down
among the hard-headed, but uncultured and unappreciative people of
Manchester—to immure himself in a place that must have been even less
attractive then than it was a century or more after when Brummell’s
regiment was ordered there, and the Beau sold out rather than submit to
the infliction of being quartered in it. Abroad Dee had been welcomed
wherever he had gone, and received with all the state and courtly
ceremonial due to one of such prodigious learning. At Mortlake he
had enjoyed the sunshine of royal favour, had been honoured with the
frequent visits of the Queen and her Ministers, and accustomed to the
friendship and society of such polished wits as Walsingham and Raleigh,
and Cavendish and Sir Philip Sidney—

    Sidney, than whom no gentler, braver man
    His own delightful genius ever feigned,

And whom Spenser, in his “Shepheards’ Calendar,” named—

                The President
    Of noblenesse and chivalree.

At Manchester he had to deal with a rude, boisterous, and uncultivated
people, who openly reviled him—a rough metal that all his incantations
and alchemical skill could not transform into refined gold; and withal
he had to contend with a body of clergy who abhorred the unlawful arts
he was supposed to practice, and who treated him in consequence with
implacable hatred. Of a truth his position was not an enviable one.

Lancashire was at that time the great scene of religious conflict—the
battle-ground of angry polemics and fiercely-contending factions.
It was accounted as more given to Romanism than any other county
in England, and in the rural districts the Protestant cause seemed
rather declining than advancing. Dr. Chadderton, who preceded Dee in
the Wardenship, had carried on a vigorous persecution of those who
still adhered to the unreformed religion, the more obstinate of whom
he imprisoned in the New Fleet, a building adjoining his residence in
the College. He had further hit upon an ingenious way of convincing
these recusants of the error of their ways—as they would not attend
church to hear the sermons preached by the Puritanical Fellows he gave
orders to his clergy to read prayers in the apartments where they were
confined, especially at meal times, so that they had the pleasant
alternative of taking theological nourishment with their food or going
without victuals altogether. Chadderton’s Protestantism had been
intensified by his exile during the Marian persecutions, and as Dee had
been deprived of his rectories of Upton and Long Leadenham, and had
suffered imprisonment at the hands of Bonner, it was not unreasonably
believed that he would follow in the steps of his predecessor, and be
no less zealous in hunting up seminary priests, and punishing those
who resorted to their secret masses. But Dee’s church principles were
not particularly pronounced. Devoted to mathematical and scientific
pursuits, he did not greatly concern himself with either Popish or
Puritan theology; preaching was not in his line, and he cared little
for those controversial sermons which only provoked strife between the
professors of the old and the new faith, and excited bitterness in
the minds of all. He was content to leave the Papists to the watchful
care of the powerful Earl of Derby and their opponents to do as they
pleased, provided they gave him no trouble. His colleagues were greatly
angered at his lack of zeal, and interminable quarrels were the
consequence.

Saturday, the 20th of February, 1596, was a great day in Manchester,
and one to be held in remembrance. The church bells filled the air with
their clanging melodies, and the groups of curious onlookers at the
church stile and in the grass-grown graveyard denoted that something
unusual was astir. And there was, for the great philosopher whose
marvellous skill had astonished half the Courts of Europe, and about
whom rumour had told so many curious tales, was come to preside over
the ancient College, and direct the ecclesiastical affairs of the
parish, and on that raw February morning was to be installed in his
office. Manchester had never seen such a Warden before, and has not
seen such another since. The ceremony, we are told, was gone through
with “great pomp and solemnity.” Of those assisting at it were Edmund
Prestwich, of Hulme; Richard Massey, the representative of a family of
some consequence living “in the Milnegate, neere unto a street comonly
called Toad-lane;” George Birch, of Birch, in Rusholme, the brother
of Robert Birch, one of the Fellows, and nephew of William Birch,
who at one time had been the Warden of the College; Ralph Byrom and
Thomas Byrom, wealthy traders of the Kersal stock; Ralph Houghton,
another trader; Henry Hardy, and Richard Nugent, who afterwards became
a benefactor to the town, but whose bequest, through the negligence
of trustees, has long since been lost. Dr. Hibbert mentions these
names, though he does not give his authority. Dee, however, was fond
of ostentation and display, and we may be sure would omit nothing
that would impart dignity and importance to the proceedings. We are
not told which of the Fellows were present. Nowell, who was then in
his 90th year, would be too old and infirm to undertake the toil of a
journey from London; but the bold and outspoken Puritan divine, Oliver
Carter, would of a certainty be in his place; and probably with him
would be his equally zealous coadjutor, Thomas Williamson; though both
must have been greatly exercised in spirit at the thought of God’s
heritage being lorded over by one of such questionable antecedents.
Humphrey Chetham had not then amassed a fortune, and acquired fame as a
reformer of ecclesiastical abuses. He was only in his sixteenth year;
but he may have been, and very likely was, among the spectators, and in
his young mind may have wondered how and by what mysterious influences
so valuable a preferment had fallen to one who, not having obtained
ordination, had not even received authority to preach.

The Manchester as Dee saw it must have presented a very different
aspect to the Manchester of to-day. Leland, who had visited the place
sixty years previously, described it, in his “Itinerary,” as “the
fairest, best builded, quickest, and most populous town in Lancashire,”
which, by the way, was not saying very much, seeing that, as compared
with other parts of the kingdom, the county was thinly-peopled and
ill-cultivated, and the neighbourhood of the town little else than
extensive moors, mosses, and quagmires, where the stranger rarely
adventured himself, and so “very wild and dangerous” that Bishop
Downham pleaded its inaccessibility as a reason for seldom or never
visiting it. The extent of the town proper could have been little more
than that of an inconsiderable village of the present day, for though,
unfortunately, there is no plan of it as then existing, the enumeration
of the streets in the old Court Rolls of the manor enables us to form a
tolerably accurate estimate of its limits. Within a few hundred yards
of the Church the whole of the business of the place was located, and
what was then town was but a congeries of crooked lanes and devious
by-ways, with quaint black and white half-timbered dwellings standing
on either side in an irregular, in-and-out, haphazard sort of way, and
some very much inclined to “stand-at-ease,” yet rendered picturesque
by their very irregularity and their innumerable architectural caprices
and fantasies, their queer-looking and curiously-carved gables, their
oddly-projecting oriels and cunningly-devised recesses, and the varied
and broken sky-lines of their roofs, so different to those dull, dreary
uniformities of brick the present generation is compelled to gaze upon.
Deansgate, Market Sted Lane, and Long Millgate were the principal
streets. These stretched irregularly towards the open country, and from
them a few narrow intricate lanes branched off in the direction of the
Church and the College. On the east and south sides of the churchyard
were then, as now, several public-houses, where the bride ales and
wedding feasts were held, and to restrain the extravagances of which
numerous sumptuary laws had to be enacted. Round the Market Sted were
the shops and “stallings” of the principal traders, who, clad in their
own fustian, measured out their manufactured wares and sent out their
pack-horsemen, with tingling bells, to sell them wherever and whenever
they could find a buyer. Here also were located the “booths” in which
the Portmotes and the Courts Leet and Baron of the manorial lords were
held, and contiguous thereto were the Pillory, the Whipping Post,
and the Stocks, where rogues and dishonest and drunk and disorderly
townsmen were punished. On the north side of the church—Back o’th’
Church, as it was called—between the churchyard and the College gates,
stood the bull oak, where bulls were usually baited. The butts for
archery practice, where every man between 16 and 60 had to exercise
himself in the use of the good yew bow, were on the outskirts of
the town, one being on the south side, where Deansgate merged into
Aldport Lane, and the other, at Collyhurst, on the north. The cockpit
stood on what was then called the “lord’s waste,” the vacant land in
the rear of the Market Sted, which still retains the name of Cockpit
Hill. Hanging Ditch was, as its name implied, a ditch, part of the old
moat or fosse connecting the Irwell and the Irk, down which the water
still flowed at a considerable depth below the footway, Toad Lane and
Cateaton Street being but a continuation of it. Over this old and then
disused watercourse was a stone bridge, the arch of which may still
be seen—the Hanging Bridge, so named from the drawbridge which had
preceded it, where officers were stationed to see that horses and cows
did not pass over into the churchyard. Near the bridge was the smithy,
which gave the name to Smithy Door and Smithy Bank. In Smithy Door,
near the entrance to the Market Sted, was the town pump or conduit,
fed from a natural spring, near the top of the present Spring Gardens,
where the good wives of the town went for their water, and waited their
“cale” till they got it, gossiping and quarrelling with each other the
while. At the foot of Smithy Bank was Salford Bridge—the only bridge
over the Irwell connecting the two towns—a structure of three arches,
and so narrow that foot-passengers had occasionally to take refuge in
little recesses while vehicles passed along. In the centre of it was
the dungeon, which in earlier days had served the purpose of a chapel.
Withy Grove was in truth a group of withies, the old “Seven Stars,” and
a few other dwellings, being all that existed to give the character of
street. At the higher end was Withingreave Hall, the town house of the
Hulmes of Reddish, progenitors of William “Hulme the Founder,” with its
gardens, orchard, and outbuilding, and beyond a pleasant rural lane led
on to Shudehill. Market Sted Lane, a narrow and tortuous thoroughfare,
extended no further than the present Brown Street, Mr. Lever’s house,
which occupied the site of the White Bear, standing in what was then
the open country. The picturesque old black and white houses that
bordered each side had their pleasant gardens in rear; and beyond,
towards Withy Grove in one direction and Deansgate in the other, were
meadows and pasture fields. In one of those fields, on the south side,
was the mansion of the Radcliffes, surrounded by a moat that gave
the name to Pool Fold, and which was oftentimes the scene of much
mob-justice and very much misery, for here was placed the ducking-stool
for the punishment of scolds and disorderly women,—

    On the long plank hangs o’er the muddy pool,
    That stool, the dread of ev’ry scolding quean.

From its frequent use we may suppose that in those days the female
portion of the community were neither very amiable nor very virtuous.
Long Millgate ran parallel with the Irk, an irregular line of houses
with little plots of garden behind forming the boundary on each side,
and a little way up a rural lane, shaded with hedgerow trees, branched
off on the right, known as the Milner’s Lane—the present Miller Street.
The Irk, a pure and sparkling stream, was noted for its “luscious
eels.” The Masters of the Grammar School had the exclusive fishery
rights from Ashley Lane to Hunt’s Bank, and the Warden and Fellows
of the College might have envied them their monopoly had they not
themselves been able to obtain their Lenten fare from the equally clear
and well-stocked waters of the Irwell, which then glided pleasantly
by, innocent of dyes and manufacturing refuse. Altogether the place
presented more the semi-rural aspect of a country village than an
important town, as Leland represented it to be. Picturesque, it is
true, yet it possessed many unpleasant features withal. The streets
and lanes were ill-paved and full of deep ruts and claypits, for every
man who wanted daub to repair his dwelling dug a hole before his
door to obtain it. The eye, too, was offended by unsightly cesspools
and dunghills that were to be seen against the Church walls, on the
bridges, and, in fact, at every turn.

[Illustration: THE COLLEGE, MANCHESTER.]

Though some of the more remote parts of the parish were barren and
uncultivated, the immediate environments of the town were characterised
by much that was exceedingly beautiful, with a wilder sort of
loveliness, increased by the natural irregularities of the surface,
and the great masses of foliage, part of the old forest of Arden, that
extended far away. On the north, Strangeways Park, with its umbraged
heights, its sunny glades, and shady dingles, stretched away towards
Broughton, Cheetham, and Red Bank. Near thereto was Collyhurst Park,
with the common, on which the townsmen had the right to pasture their
pigs, and where the town swine-herd daily attended to his porcine
charge; and the deep sequestered clough through which the Irk wound
its sinuous course, its surface chequered by the shadows of the
overhanging hazels and brushwood; and beyond, the extensive chase of
Blackley, with its deer leaps, and its aërie of eagles, of herons, and
of hawks. On the south was the stately old mansion of Aldport, standing
in a park of 95 acres, occupying the site of Campfield and Castlefield,
and reaching down to the banks of the Irwell, with the great parks of
Ordsal and Hulme on the one side and those of Garratt and Ancoats on
the other.

It can hardly be said that among the inhabitants a very high state of
civilisation prevailed. If thrifty and industrious, they were certainly
not very refined, nor blessed with “pregnant wits,” as good Hugh Oldham
affirmed, nor yet remarkable for their moral excellence. Boisterous
and laughter-loving, they delighted in outdoor games and uproarious
sports,—the wild merriment of the day being oftentimes followed by
the wilder merriment of the evening. Bull-baiting, wrestling, and
cock-fighting were the leading diversions, “unlawful gaming” and
“lewdness” were frequently complained of, and the ale-houses, to
which the more dissolute resorted, were the scenes of riots and feuds
that not only caused annoyance and scandal to the more well-disposed,
but endangered the public peace to a greater degree than we can now
easily conceive. Under such circumstances it is hardly surprising that
they should have entertained little reverence for their spiritual
pastors, many of whom, by the way, were only a degree less ignorant and
disorderly than themselves, for in those days the curate of Stretford
kept an ale-house, the rector of Chorlton eked out a scanty subsistence
by doing a little private pawnbroking, while the parson of Blackley was
“passing rich” on a stipend of £2 3s. 4d. a year.

Such was the Manchester of which Dee had become the ecclesiastical
head. However apathetic he may have been as to the spiritual affairs
of the parishioners committed to his care, he was by no means wanting
in energy when his own temporal interests were concerned. Scarcely had
he taken up his abode at the College than we find him entertaining at
dinner two influential tenants—Sir John Byron, of Clayton, and his
son, and bargaining with them about the price of hay before the grass
was actually grown. A month later he records the “possession taking
in Salford,” and he quickly found himself in litigation with the
College tenants of some of the lands there. The tenants were a source
of trouble, and oftentimes disturbed the even tenor of his way, while
the collecting of his tithes was not unfrequently a cause of anxiety
also. He complains of being “occupied with low controversies, as with
Holden of Salford, and the tenants of Sir John Biron, of Faylsworth,”
of “much disquietnes and controversy about the tythe-corn of Hulme,” of
the “Cromsall corne-tyth” being “dowted of and half denyed,” and then
“utterly denyed,” and of his riding to Sir John Byron “for a quietnes,”
and “to talk with him abowt the controversy between the Colledg and
his tenants.” Notwithstanding these unhappy disputations he had some
pleasant days. Thus, on the 26th June (1596), as he tells us—

     The Erle of Derby, with the Lady Gerard, Sir (Richard) Molynox
     and his lady, dawghter to the Lady Gerard, Master Hawghton, and
     others, cam suddenly uppon (me), after three of the clok. I made
     them a skoler’s collation, and it was taken in good part. I
     browght his honor and the ladyes to Ardwyk grene toward Lyme, as
     Mr. Legh his howse, 12 myles of, &c.

Dee was eager for sympathy and approval of his favourite schemes and
pursuits, and, being a man of the world, he knew the value of such
friendships. As he was, moreover, given to hospitality, there is little
doubt the “skoler’s collation” would be as sumptuous as the College
larder would afford. A few days later (July 5) he was visited by Mr.
Harry Savill, the antiquary, and Mr. Christopher Saxton, the eminent
chorographer, who had come to make a survey of the town; and on the
following day, Dee, with Saxton and some others, rode over to Hough
Hall, in Withington, the mansion of Sir Nicholas Mosley, who had in
the same year become the purchaser of the manor of Manchester. The
survey was completed on the 10th July, and on the 14th Saxton “rode
away.” It is much to be regretted that no copy of Saxton’s work, so
far as is known, has been preserved; for an authentic plan of the town
in Elizabeth’s reign would be a valuable addition to the topographical
records of Manchester, and would enable us to see exactly what
progress was made in the extension of the town between that time and
the Commonwealth period, when another survey—the earliest reliable one
extant—was taken.

Before the close of the first year of his Wardenship, Dee was invited
to exercise the power he was commonly believed to possess of casting
out devils; but he prudently declined. About two years previously five
members of the household of Mr. Nicholas Starkey, of Cleworth, in
Leigh parish, became demoniacally possessed, through the influence,
as was said, of a conjuror named Hartley. Margaret Byrom, of Salford,
who happened to be on a visit at Cleworth, became infected with the
malady. This occurred on the 9th January, 1596-7; and at the end
of the month she returned to her friends at Salford, when Dee was
importuned to deliver her from the evil spirit which tormented her.
The Warden, however, refused, telling her friends he would practise no
such unlawful arts as they desired; but, instead, advised they should
“call for some godlye preachers, with whom he should consult concerning
a public or private fast,” and at the same time he sharply rebuked
Hartley for following his contraband calling. Possibly the failure
of his previous attempt to exorcise the spirit in the case of “Nurse
Anne Frank” had induced a wholesome prudence on his part, though his
refusal made him unpopular with his parishioners, who were offended
at his withholding the relief they believed it was in his power to
give, and his Puritan colleagues took advantage of his unpopularity to
make his life miserable. Oliver Carter, who had held his fellowship
for more than a quarter of a century, and had become the recognised
head of the Presbyterian faction in the district, was chief among the
malcontents, and a sore thorn in the side the doctor found him. Carter
disliked alchemical philosophers as much as he hated Popish recusants,
and denounced the Warden’s intercourse with the spirit world as a
scandal upon the Church. The Presbyterian Fellow had little respect
for lawfully-constituted authority, and his open resistance in matters
of ceremony had aforetime brought him in collision even with the
cautious and temperate Bishop Chadderton, who had found it necessary
to enforce some little submission to ecclesiastical law. It is not
surprising, therefore, that he should have shown little regard for the
authority of the new comer, whom he looked upon as a Court spy, and
detested accordingly. He was a continuous source of annoyance, and his
contumacious demeanour, his “impudent and evident disobedience in the
Church,” and persistent obstructiveness are frequently complained of,
thus—

     Jan. 22, 1579.—Olyver Carter’s thret to sue me with proces from
     London, &c., was this Satterday in the church declared to Robert
     Cleg.

     Sept. 25.—Mr. Olyver Carter his impudent and evident disobedience
     in the church.

     Sept. 26.—He repented, and some pacification was made.

     Nov. 14.—The fellows would not grant me the £5 for my howse-rent,
     as the Archbishop had graunted; and our foundation commandeth an
     howse.

     July 17, 1600.—I willed the fellows to com to me by nine the next
     day.

     July 18.—They cam. It is to be noted of the great pacification
     unexpected of man which happened this Friday; for in the forenone
     (betwene nine and ten), when the fellows were greatly in doubt
     of my heavy displeasure, by reason of their manifold misusing of
     themselves against me, I did with all lenity enterteyn them, and
     shewed the most part of the things that I had browght to pass at
     London for the colledg good, and told Mr. Carter (going away) that
     I must speak with him alone. Robert Leghe (one of the four clerks)
     and Charles Legh (the brother of Robert, and receiver) were by.
     Secondly, the great sute betwene Redich (Redditch) men and me was
     stayed, and Mr. Richard Holland his wisdom. Thirdly, the organs
     uppon condition were admitted. And, fourthly, Mr. Williamson’s
     resignation granted for a preacher to be gotten from Cambridge.

Reconciliation was thus effected, but it was not long before there was
a renewal of hostilities, for, under date Sept. 11, we find—

     Mr. Holland, of Denton, Mr. Gerard, of Stopford (Stockport), Mr.
     Langley, &c., commissioners from the Bishop of Chester, authorised
     by the Bishop of Chester, did call me before them in the Church
     abowt thre of the clok, after none, and did deliver to me certayne
     petitions put up by the fellows against me to answer before the
     18th of this month. I answered them all codem tempore, and yet
     they gave me leave to write at leiser.

Amid these harassing anxieties and unseemly disputations with the
unruly Fellows, Dee’s alchemical studies were not neglected. He had
secured another medium in the place of Kelly—Bartholomew Hickman,
who turned out to be nearly as great a knave, though not nearly half
so clever as his predecessor, and, losing confidence, Dee discharged
him and burnt all the records of what he had seen and heard in the
wonderful show-stone. The next day Roger Kooke, who had previously been
in the service of the philosopher, and to whom he had revealed “the
great secret of the elixir of the salt of metals,” offered “the best of
his skill and powre, in the practises chymicall.” He was quickly set
to work, but young Arthur Dee finding by chance among his papers what
seemed a plot against the father, he was charged with the conspiracy,
when Dee cried, “_O Deus libera nos a malo!_ All was mistaken, and
we are reconcyled godly;” and he again dreamed of his “working the
philosopher’s stone.” He would appear, however, to have subsequently
parted with Kooke, for before his death Hickman had been restored to
favour.

Though devoted to scientific pursuits, it must not be supposed that
the Warden neglected his official duties, or that he was by any means
unmindful of the secular interests of the Collegiate body. His business
exactitude and active zeal in this direction, however, did not always
meet with the approval of his neighbours, or at least of such of them
as happened to be tithe-farmers or College tenants. In May of the year
following his induction we find him with his curate, Sir Robert Barber
(clerics commonly affected the prefix of “Sir” in those days), Robert
Tilsey, the parish clerk, and “diverse of the town of diverse ages,”
making a careful perambulation of the bounds of the parish with the
view of determining its exact limits, a procedure that somewhat alarmed
Mr. Langley, the rector of the adjoining parish of Prestwich, who smelt
litigation in Dee’s anxiety “for avoiding of undue encroaching of any
neighbourly parish, one on the other.” On another occasion he was
careful to note that—

     At midnight (January 22, 1599), the College gate toward Hunt’s
     Hall did fall, and some parte of the wall going downe the lane—

the “lane” being the narrow passage that led from the north side
of the church, by the venerable tree where bulls were baited, and
past the prison to Irk Bridge, then known as Hunt’s Bank, a name it
retained until modern times, when it was superseded by the present
Victoria Street. The gate-house, which, as before stated, was at one
time used as a workhouse, stood on this, the westerly side of the great
quadrangle, the gates opening into Hunt’s Bank. Though they have long
since disappeared, the evidences of their former existence may still be
traced in the wall.

After an absence in London he paid an official visit to the Grammar
School, where he “fownd great imperfection in all and every of
the scholers, to his great grief,” a record that must be taken as
reflecting on Dr. Cogan, the head master, whose time appears to have
been divided between the teaching of youth and the practice of physic.
In August, 1597, the “Erle and Cowntess of Derby” having taken up their
abode at Aldport Lodge, Dee entertained them at “a banket at my lodging
at the Colledge hora 4½.” There are many other entries of visits from
distinguished personages, among them Sir Urian Legh, of Adlington,
the reputed hero of the ballad of “The Spanish Lady;” Sir George
Booth, sheriff of Cheshire; Mr. Wortley, of Wortley. Probably, also,
Camden, the historian, for it is recorded that when that distinguished
antiquary visited the town, Dee pointed out to him the inscription of
some Roman remains at Castle Field, attributable to the Frisian cohort,
which occupied the station there. While dispensing his hospitalities
the poor old man was suffering from lack of money, his financial
difficulties being as great as ever, and we find him raising loans on
the security of his diminished stock of plate, &c.—

     Feb. 17, 1597.—Delivered to Charles Legh the elder (the receiver
     of College before referred to), my silver tankard with the cover,
     all dubble gilt, of the Cowntess of Herford’s gift to Francis her
     goddaughter, waying 22oz., great waight, to lay to pawne in his
     own name to Robert Welshman, for iiijli tyll within two dayes
     after May-day next. My dowghter Katherin and John Crocker and I
     myself were at the delivery of it and waying of it in my dyning
     chamber—it was wrapped in a new handkercher cloth.

Many similar transactions are recorded—indeed, he appears to have been
continually borrowing money from his friends, and almost as frequently
lending his books to them. Dee was certainly not one of those who
believe that “imparted knowledge doth diminish learning’s store,” for
he was ever ready to place his literary treasures at the service of
others, and frequent entries occur of his lending rare and valuable
works to those he thought capable of understanding and appreciating
them.

It was some little relief to him when, on the 2nd December, 1600, his
son Arthur had a grant of the chapter clerkship, though before he could
pay £6 for the patent he

     Borrowed of Mr. Edmund Chetham, the schoolmaster (the uncle of
     Humphrey, the founder) £10 for one yere uppon plate, two bowles,
     two cupps with handles, all silver, waying all 32oz. Item, two
     potts with cover and handells, double gilt within and without,
     waying 16oz.

The Warden’s pecuniary embarrassments kept him in discredit with his
parishioners, who naturally looked with disfavour upon an ecclesiastic
that did not pay his debts, especially when, as they believed, it
required only a very little closer intimacy with the evil one to enable
him to do so. The fellows maintained their hostility, his neighbours
became more and more unfriendly, the urgency of his creditors was
oppressive, and on every hand he was assailed with suspicions of
sorcery. The nine years he was in Manchester was the most wretched
portion of his life. Unable to bear the odium attaching to him, he
petitioned King James that he might be brought to trial, “and by
a judicial sentence be freed from the revolting imputations” his
astrological and other inquiries had brought upon him; but Elizabeth’s
wary successor, who detested his mysteries, would have nothing to say
to him. Weary with the struggle, he quitted Manchester in November,
1604, and once more sought shelter in the house at Mortlake. Of the
closing years of his chequered life little is known, but that little
is sad enough. The friends of former years had died or forgotten him,
and the new generation of Court favourites left him to pass his few
remaining days in poverty, sickness, and desolation. After all his
tricks and conjurations the once haughty philosopher was reduced to
such miserable straits that he oftentimes had to sell some of his books
before he could obtain the means wherewith to purchase a meal. The
prediction of the Earl of Salisbury that he “would shortly go mad” was
nearly being realised, for in the midst of his poverty, and while on
the very verge of the grave, he resumed his occult practices, in which
he was aided by the formerly discarded Bartholomew Hickman. At last,
in poverty and neglect, wearied and worn out, the miserable wreck of
an ill-spent life, he, in 1608, passed away at the advanced age of 81,
and was buried in the chancel of the church at Mortlake without any
tombstone or other memorial to preserve his name.

[Illustration: MORTLAKE CHURCH.]

Of the numerous family that had once gathered round his hearth few
remained at the time of his dissolution, death or estrangement having
removed nearly all. His son Michael had died in infancy. His busy,
shrewish wife died on the 23rd March, 1605. Of the other seven children
Katherine was the only one who clung to him to the last. Rowland, on
completing his studies at the Manchester Grammar School, obtained
an exhibition at Oxford, but of his subsequent career nothing is
known, nor, with the exception of Arthur, can we trace anything of
the after-history of the others. Arthur, his first-born, resided in
Manchester for some time, and subsequently practised as a physician.
He married Isabella, one of the daughters of Edmund Prestwich, of
Hulme Hall, and afterwards was chosen physician to Michael III., the
first Czar of Russia, and for many years he resided in that country,
where his wife died, July 6, 1634, after having borne him 12 children.
Returning to England, he was sworn physician to Charles I., and located
himself at Norwich, where he continued to reside until his death,
September, 1651. Anthony à Wood, in his _Athenæ_, mentions that Arthur
Dee, when an old man, spoke in full confidence of his father’s goodness
and sincerity, and affirmed that in his youth, when he had initiated
him in some of his mystical pursuits, he had seen enough to satisfy him
that he had discovered many marvellous secrets, and only lacked the
means to make them available. The son may not have been altogether an
impartial witness, but it would be unfair to judge the father by the
standard of the present day.

Dee lived in an age when everybody believed in the occult sciences,
and in the power of summoning visitants from the world of shadows by
incantations and other mysterious means. Half a century before his
death he had been pre-eminent for his learning, his eloquence, and
his scientific attainments, and he was undoubtedly one of the great
lights of his era. Camden styled him _nobilis mathematicus_, and he
may fairly be accounted the prophet of the arts which Bacon and Newton
were afterwards to reveal. A ripe scholar, well skilled in chemistry,
mathematics, and mechanics, and the master of the whole circle of the
liberal arts as then understood—

    He sought and gathered for our use the true.

He was one of the first who accepted the theory of Copernicus, and he
successfully performed the labour of correcting the Gregorian calendar.
He was, moreover, a good linguist, an earnest antiquary, and a diligent
searcher of those records which tend to elucidate the history of the
country, and to him is due the credit of first suggesting the formation
of a “National Library,” for the preservation of those ancient writings
in which lie “the treasures of all antiquity, and the everlasting
seeds of continual excellency.” Paradoxical as it may seem, there
was with the splendour and universality of his genius much childlike
simplicity; and his credulous confiding nature often exposed him to the
iniquitous arts of those about him; while his reckless extravagance,
his love of ostentatious display, his debts, and his carelessness of
the method which brought relief, kept him in continuous disquiet. He
was part of the age in which he lived in that he was fond of alchemy, a
believer in the divining-rod, and a devout practitioner of the astral
science; but it is to be feared that his straitened circumstances
sometimes prompted him to have recourse to tricks and artifices that
his better judgment condemned. He was a strange mixture of pride and
gentleness, of goodness and credulity. He discoursed learnedly with
foreign philosophers, tended his little folks in their sicknesses,
and soothed them in their childish griefs and sorrows; gazed into the
glittering depths of his magic mirror and smiled good temperedly at his
shrewish wife’s scoldings; dispensed his hospitalities and gossiped
freely with the aristocratic personages who sought his society, and
pawned his property to pay for their entertainment; contended with
an archbishop and sought peace with the irrepressible Carter and his
unruly associates; but we willingly forget the weaknesses and the
foibles of the man when we remember the genius and the learning of
the philosopher. With all his failings Dee possessed much kindness of
heart, and though Manchester may not have been greatly advantaged by
the ecclesiastical supervision of the “Wizard Warden,” he was yet, in
many respects, much to be preferred to the needy Scotch courtier whom
King James appointed as his successor.

[Illustration]

[Illustration: BEESTON CASTLE.]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER VI.

BEESTON CASTLE.


The traveller who has ever journeyed in the “Wild Irishman” between
that hive of industry, Crewe, and the ancient city upon the Dee, will
have noticed upon his left, midway between the two places, a bold
outlier of rock that rises abruptly from the great Cheshire plain, with
the ivy-covered remains of an ancient castle perched upon its summit. A
better position for a fortress it is difficult to conceive. It looks as
if nature had intended it as a place of defence; and evidently Randle
Blundeville, the crusader Earl of Chester, thought so, when, in those
stormy days in which the Marches were the constant scene of struggle
and strife, and

    Like volcanoes flared to heaven the stormy hills of Wales!

he chose it as the site for one of his border strongholds.

Avoiding, for the nonce, the “Irishman,” we will avail ourselves of the
more convenient, if more common-place, “Parliamentary,” as it enables
us to alight at Beeston—for that is the place to which our steps are
directed, and almost within bowshot of the relic of ancient days, of
which we are in search. Beeston is not a town—it can hardly be called a
village even, the houses are so few, and neighbourhood there is none.
The little unpretentious railway station is innocent of hurry and
bustle, and seems almost ashamed of disturbing the rural tranquillity;
the Tollemache Arms, a comfortable hostelrie standing below the
railway, opens its doors invitingly; a peaceful farmstead or two,
surrounded by verdant pastures and fields of ripening corn, with here
and there a cleanly whitewashed cottage, half hidden among the trees
and hedges, are almost the only habitations we can see.

A few minutes’ walk along a sandy lane, that winds beneath the trees
and across the sun-bright meadows, where cattle are pasturing and
haymakers are tossing the fragrant grass, brings us to the foot of the
castle rock. The huge mass of sandstone lifting its unwieldy form above
the surrounding greenery seems to dominate the entire landscape. Few
landmarks are more striking, and, as you draw near, the hoary time-worn
ruin crowning the summit, and looking almost gay and cheerful in the
fresh morning sunlight, reminds you, only that the water is wanting, of
those picturesque strongholds that crest the rocky heights along the
lonely reaches of the Rhine—

    High from its field of air looks down
      The eyrie of a vanished race;
    Home of the mighty, whose renown
      Has passed and left no trace.

On the north-easterly side the hill rises slopingly, but towards the
south and west it shoots up abruptly from the plain, presenting a mass
of jagged perpendicular rock three hundred and sixty feet in height.
Seen from the distance, it looks as if it had been upheaved by some
convulsive effort of Nature, and then toppled over, the foundations
standing up endways. Keeping to the left, we ascend by a path steep
and rough, and stony withal. Brushwood and bracken, and the wild, old,
wandering bramble border the way; and now and then a timid sheep rushes
out from some shady nook and gazes wonderingly at us as we go by. The
turf in places is short and slippery, for the rabbits keep it closely
cropped; and were it not for a fragment of jutting rock, or the branch
of a tree that occasionally proffers its friendly aid, we should find
the ascent at times difficult and toilsome. Little more than half way
up we come to the outer line of the fortifications, where a small lodge
has been erected, through which we gain admission into the dismantled
interior.

The ruin is complete, and at the first glance presents only the
appearance of crumbling masses of shapeless masonry, that, having
outlived the necessities which called them into existence, time has
clothed with saddest beauty. The ivy spreads its roots and clings with
fond tenacity, the long grass waves, and the nettles grow in rank
profusion; yet the remains are so far perfect that the searching eye of
the archæologist can readily discern their purpose, determine the plan,
and reconstruct in every detail. The outer ballium, which is pierced by
a few embrasures, extends in the form of an irregular semicircle round
the sloping sides, and where the cliff is not perpendicular, about
five or six acres being comprehended within the area. The entrance is
so narrow that only one or two persons can pass through at a time—a
feature that indicates the rude and lawless period of its erection,
when strength and security were the chief objects aimed at. It has been
guarded by a square tower, and the remains of seven other towers or
bastions, mostly round, and similar in appearance to the Moorish towers
which became so general in England after the return of the barons
from the Crusades, occur at irregular intervals. The court itself is
a large, rough pasture, broken and uneven. A pair of kangaroos are
disporting themselves among the moss-grown fragments, and a few deer
are quietly browsing upon the green turf; but there is no picturesque
assemblage of ruins, or trace of any previously-existing building,
though it was once a busy hive of life and work. Nothing now remains
but a few weedy heaps of masonry, the shattered keep, and the small
inner bailey which occupies the highest and most inaccessible part of
the rock, covering an area an acre in extent.

The keep was formerly protected and is still separated from the outer
court by a broad, deep moat, hewn out of the solid rock, that extends
round two sides and terminates near its precipitous edge. It is now
dry and partly choked with weeds and rubbish, and a path has been
made across where formerly a drawbridge only gave access. The great
barbican, though roofless and forlorn, is imposing even in its decay,
and gives a distinct impression of its former strength and solidity.
It was proof against bows and arrows, battering rams, and similar
engines of primitive warfare, and, ere “villainous saltpetre had been
dug out of the bowels of the harmless earth,” must have been, barring
treachery from within, absolutely impregnable. The round towers that
flank the entrance are clothed with the greenest and darkest ivy, that
mingles with and seems to form part of the ruined mass to which it
clings so lovingly, making it more picturesque than it could ever have
been in the days of its proud and pristine splendour. The walls are of
immense thickness, and on the face of each, near the top, where the
ashlar-work has not been destroyed, a kind of arcade ornament may still
be discerned. An early English arch unites the two towers, and beneath
it we can see the grooves wherein the portcullis used to descend to bar
the ingress and egress of doubtful or suspected visitors. The entrance,
like that to the outer court, is very narrow; passing through, a few
steps cut out of the sandstone rock, and which have been worn by the
tread of many generations, lead to the inner court or bailey, environed
on two sides by lofty walls, from which project great bastions that
have for centuries braved the winter’s wrath and rejoiced in the
summer sunshine. The interior is now a vacant space, except for the
few fragments of masonry that serve to indicate what once was there.
This was the citadel, so to speak. In it was the home of the lordly
owner of the castle (and scant and rude enough it must have been),
the outer court being used as the quarters for the garrison. Here we
are shown the well-house and the famous well from which, in bygone
days, the occupants drew their supply of water, and which now forms
an object of attraction to wondering visitors. It is a remarkable
work, and says much for the perseverance and skill of those who made
it. The depth is said to be no less than 366 feet—nearly double that
of the well at Carisbrook—the water, it is believed, being level
with Beeston Brook, which flows near the foot of the castle rock. A
tradition was widely prevalent, and is still believed in many a rustic
home in the locality, that a great amount of treasure lies buried at
the bottom, having been cast in it during a time of peculiar exigence
by one of the earlier lords of Beeston; but the story may be dismissed
as resting upon no better foundation than the shaping power of the
imagination. There is no water in it, nor has there been for years,
owing to the drainage below, and for a long time it was choked with
rubbish; but some five-and-thirty or forty years ago it was cleared
out to the very bottom, when the only treasures discovered were an old
spade and a fox’s head. We peer into the darksome vault, but the gloom
is impervious; then the janitor produces a frame with a few lighted
candles upon it, which he lets down by a rope and pulley. As it slowly
descends the light gradually diminishes until it becomes a mere speck,
and we are enabled to form some idea of the amazing depth to which the
rock has been excavated. Having done this, he will, if it will add to
your pleasure and you are ready to listen, give you his version of
Beeston’s history—lead you where nobles and high-born dames have held
their banquets; show you the iron rings to which, in bygone days, the
troopers fastened their horses; and then relate with circumstantial
detail the legend of the lost treasure, and tell you how, long, long
ago, a trusty servitor was let down to the bottom of the well in the
hope of recovering it, and that when he was wound up again he was
speechless, and died before he could reveal the mysteries he had seen.

For the boldness and beauty of its situation Beeston may be fairly said
to be unrivalled, and from the wide extent of country it commands it
must, in the days of watch and ward, have been admirably adapted either
for the purposes of offence or defence. From the summit of the glorious
old relic we can sweep the whole arch of the horizon, from the pale
blue hills of Wales on the one hand, to the brown heathy wastes that
once formed part of the great forest of Macclesfield on the other. The
palatinate which boasts itself the Vale Royal of England is usually
reckoned a flat county, and this is in a great measure true, for league
upon league of broad, flat, fertile meadows spread before us, but
the eye as it ranges into the distance passes over a rich variety of
undulating country. Above the round-topped woods of Delamere we catch
sight of the eminence on which the Saxon city of Eddisbury once stood,
and the bold promontories of Frodsham and Halton guarding the shores
of the Mersey; eastwards are seen the umbraged heights of Alderley,
and further to the right the range of hills that form the barrier of
the county, and separate it from the Peak district of Derbyshire;
while more to the south, where a cloud of smoke hangs lazily upon the
landscape, is Crewe, the great central point of railway enterprise and
railway industry. Gleaming in the warm sunshine upon the left we note
the stately tower of Chester Cathedral rising proudly above the humbler
structures that, like vassals, gather round, and we recall the stormy
times when from its walls, on that sad September day, the ill-fated
Charles the First, after a fitful gleam of prosperity, saw his gallant
cavaliers borne down by the stern soldiers of Cromwell’s army on Rowton
Moor, a disaster that turned the fortunes of the King and sealed the
fate of Beeston. In rear one can look down the wide estuaries of the
Dee and the Mersey, and along the great western horn of Cheshire, as it
stretches away towards the Irish Sea. More to the left the mountains
of Wales loom darkly and mysteriously, as distant mountains always do,
and spread along the line of the horizon until their further summits,
softened by the mellowing haze of distance, can hardly be distinguished
from the azure dome above; the bold form of Moel Fammau may be seen
rising conspicuously, and when the day is clear those who are blessed
with a keen eyesight may, it is said, discern even the peak of Snowdon,
seeming to touch the far-off western sky.

Glorious is the prospect that spreads around. What a wealth of pastoral
loveliness lies before us, everywhere exhibiting the signs of fertility
and cultivation. All within the limits is a green and beautiful expanse
made up of copse and lea, of level meadow breadths and cattle-dappled
pastures, that rejoice in the warm sunshine, with little hamlets and
villages and shady lanes, old manor houses and churches—the monuments
of the past mingling with the habitations of contemporary life and
activity. Natural beauty is everywhere, and the eye is delighted with
its variety of extent. After leisurely contemplating the scene the
mind is enabled to occupy itself with the details. We can note the
exquisite contrasts of colour and the coming and going effects of the
cloud-shadows as, wafted by the softest of summer zephyrs, they slowly
chase each other over the woods and verdant glades. The slumber of a
summer day lies profoundly as a trance upon the scene. The lowing of
the kine in the neighbouring meadows, the harsh note of the corncrake,
and the soft dreamy call of the cuckoo are the only sounds that break
upon the ear. Bunbury twinkles through its screen of leaves far below
us, and we can discern the tower of the venerable church where lie the
bones of some of the lords of Beeston, and where still may be seen the
sumptuous monuments that perpetuate their names. In front, and almost
at our feet, is the Chester and Ellesmere Canal, glistening like a line
of liquid silver, and the railway, over which the iron horse glides
swiftly every day, running parallel with it, types of the past and
present modes of travel. The white road that crosses them both leads up
to Tarporley, where there is an ancient church (or rather was, for in
the last few years it has been almost entirely rebuilt), and several
monuments that well deserve inspection. Close by is Utkinton, for many
a generation the home of the proud family of the Dones, hereditary
chief foresters of Delamere, one of whom, John Done, the husband of
that proverbial exemplar of unsurpassable perfection, the fair Lady
Done,[25] in 1617 ordered so wisely the sports of James the First,
when that monarch took his pleasure and repast in the forest, that, as
the author of _The Vale Royal_ tells us, he “freely honoured him with
knighthood and graced his house at Utkinton with his presence;” but the
house which he graced by his presence was made the scene of revelry and
pillage by the soldiers of his son, the hall being plundered, and the
plate, jewels, and writings taken away by the Royalist forces shortly
after the breaking out of the civil war.

[Note 25: “As fair as Lady Done” is a well-known Cheshire proverb.
Pennant (“Tour from Chester to London, 4 ed., p. 8”), referring to this
lady, who was the daughter of Sir Thomas Wilbraham, of Woodhey, says
that “when a Cheshire man would express super-eminent excellency in one
of the fair sex he will say, ‘There is a Lady Done for you.’”]

On the western side the view is singularly impressive. The rock is
perpendicular, its ruggedness being softened only by the ferns and
mosses that have attached themselves to the clefts and crevices,
and the shrubs and trees that grow out from the gaping stones. You
look down from the giddy height on to the road immediately beneath,
where the little homesteads and cottages seem reduced to lilliputian
dimensions, and the laden waggon going by looks no bigger than a toy.
Carrying the eye round towards the south, the Broxton hills come in
view; nearer is the lofty height of Stanner Nab; and then, separated
only by a narrow valley, the most prominent feature in the whole
landscape, the richly-wooded eminence of Peckforton, surmounted by the
castle, with its great round keep and broken and picturesque line of
towers and turrets, that Lord Tollemache built some five-and-thirty
years ago as a reproduction of the fortified stronghold of the early
Edwardian period.

The historical associations of Beeston impart a deeper interest to the
beauty of its natural surroundings. Its annals run back to the time
of Randle Blundeville—Randle the Good, as he is sometimes called—the
most famous of the Cestrian Earls. This Randle succeeded to the earldom
on the death of his father, Hugh Cyveliock, in 1187, and shortly
afterwards married the Lady Constance, widow of Geoffry Plantagenet, a
younger son of Henry II., the mother of the young Prince Arthur whom
King John cruelly put to death—a lady from whom he was afterwards
divorced. They were turbulent times in which he lived, and he bore his
full share in the stirring events that were then occurring; but, though
one of the most powerful nobles of the land, his power was generally
exercised in the interests of his legitimate sovereign. When Richard
the Lion-hearted, returning from his encounters with the infidel in
Palestine, was detained a captive in Austria, and the treacherous
John, to whom he had committed the care of the kingdom, basely sought
to appropriate the crown, Earl Randle and his knights and retainers,
with Earl Ferrars and others, besieged his castle of Nottingham, and
valorously maintained the cause of the absent King. After Richard’s
death, when John had succeeded to the throne, he remained loyal to him
as he had done to his predecessor, though he had the courage to rebuke
him for violating the wives and daughters of the nobility. Afterwards
we find him taking part in that ever memorable council which assembled
on the greensward of Runnymede, “encircled by the coronet of Cooper’s
Hill,” which secured the rights of the people of England, and the Great
Charter that still remains the foundation of their liberties, when—

            England’s ancient Barons, clad in arms,
    And stern with conquest, from their tyrant King
    (Then render’d tame), did challenge and secure
    The charter of our freedom.

When that memorable June day had waned—when the Great Charter had
been won, and the thoughtful night which followed had passed—when men
began to think that the pledges so readily given would be as readily
violated, and that concessions extorted could only be maintained by
force of arms, Randle Blundeville remained faithful to his faithless
King, and defended his cause against the Barons and the Dauphin of
France, to whom they had traitorously offered the English crown.

The great Earl was then in the plenitude of his power, and when the
tyrant John had paid the penalty of over-indulgence in peaches and new
cider, he proved himself a firm and faithful champion of his son, the
young King Henry, and, with Earl Pembroke, was mainly instrumental in
securing him upon his father’s throne, and by that means releasing
England from the dominion of a stranger. When the kingdom had settled
into peace, having assumed the cross in fulfilment of a vow he had
previously made, the Earl betook himself to the Holy Land:—

    To chace the Pagans in those holy fields
    Over whose acres walk’d those blessèd feet
    Which, many hundred years before, were nail’d
    For our advantage on the bitter cross.

He remained absent for about two years, during which time he assisted
in the taking of Damietta; and immediately on the return from his
crusading expedition he set about the erection of the Castle of
Beeston, for the greater security of his palatinate against the
incursions of the brave but troublesome Welsh, with whom he had
previously had many encounters, bringing to his aid that Saracenic
style of architecture he had found so well adapted for defence, and
which is so admirably represented in the ivy-coloured walls and
bastions of Beeston.

Randle Blundeville was a famous warrior, and withal a mighty castle
builder, for, in addition to re-edifying the castle of Deganwy, on
the Conway, which had been partially destroyed during the numerous
conflicts with Prince Llewelyn, he built the castles of Beeston in
Cheshire, and Chartley in Staffordshire. He also founded and endowed
the Abbey of Grey Friars, in Coventry, and a religious house on the
banks of the Churnet, near Leek, to which latter, at his wife’s
desire, he gave the name of Dieu-la-cresse—“May God increase it”—and
transferred to it the Cistercian brotherhood of the Abbey of Poulton,
near Chester, who had found their home there too circumscribed, and
probably uncomfortably near the Welsh Marches—an act of piety he had
been directed to perform, as the old monkish legends declare, by his
grandfather in a vision. He believed in dreams, and he appears to
have had equal faith in the piety of the monks, for it is recorded
of him that, being overtaken in a storm at sea when returning from
his crusading expedition, and the ship being in danger of sinking, he
refused to lend a helping hand in righting it until midnight, when,
as he affirmed, the monks of Dieu-la-cresse would be supplicating
Heaven on his behalf; and that, consequently, God would then give him
strength. The ship was saved, and, as their prayers had evidently
availed so much, it may be assumed that the brethren of Dieu-la-cresse
were a more than usually righteous fraternity.

The castles of Beeston and Chartley were both commenced in the same
year (1220), and to defray the cost of their erection the Earl “took
toll throughout all his lordships of all such persons as passed by the
same, with any cattel, chaffre, or merchandize.” The reason for the
erection of Beeston is not far to seek. The Welsh were troublesome
neighbours, for though the Red King and the English-born Henry—the
“Lion of Justice,” as he was called—had tried to unite their country
with England, they had been neither exterminated nor enslaved, and for
long years—

              All along the border here
    The word was snaffle, spur, and spear.

In these border struggles Earl Randle found himself on one occasion
shut up in the castle of Rhuddlan—then called Rothelent—to which he had
retreated, and hard pressed by his foes. At this time his constable
of Cheshire, that doughty warrior Roger Lacy, baron of Halton, whose
fierceness had earned for him the sobriquet of “Hell,” happening to be
at Chester, hastily mustered all the beggars, minstrels, debauched men,
harlots, and other disorderly characters who were then assembled at the
fair, and with this tumultuous company marched to his master’s rescue.
The Welsh, who were as much alarmed at the sight of such a multitude
as the French were at the sight of Talbot, raised the siege and fled;
and the Earl, returning in safety, in reward and in memory of such
welcome service, conferred upon his trusty follower the government and
licensing of all beggars, vagrants, strollers, and minstrels within the
limits of his earldom, a privilege which Lacy in turn bestowed upon
his steward, Hugh Dutton; and the Duttons of Dutton, his successors,
continued to exercise the right until the passing of the Vagrant Act,
a few years ago—the custom being for them or their deputies to ride
through the streets of Chester to St. John’s Church every year, with
the minstrels of Cheshire playing before them; after which their
licenses were renewed. After this adventure, peace was concluded (1222)
between the Earl and Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, which was happily
cemented by the marriage in the same year of Randle’s nephew and heir,
John Scot, Earl of Huntingdon, with Llewelyn’s daughter Helen.

Randle Blundeville, after having held the earldom for the long period
of fifty-two years, died at Wallingford on the 26th Oct. 1232, and
was buried at St. Werburg’s, Chester, his heart being deposited in
the Abbey of Dieu-la-cresse. Having no issue, his sister’s son, John
the Scot, succeeded; but he bore rule only five years, dying in 1237,
having, as was commonly believed, been poisoned by his wife, the Welsh
princess.

That amiable lady not having borne him any children, his vast
possessions should by right have devolved upon his sisters; but King
Henry, being unwilling, as he said, “that so great an inheritance
should be divided among distaffs,” considerately took the earldom into
his own hands, and gave them other lands instead. In this transaction
there is little doubt but that the King got the best end of the
bargain, though it might have been better for his grandson if the
“distaffs” had been left in undisturbed possession of their property;
for in that case it is more than probable England would not have had to
deplore the defeat at Bannockburn which made Scotland a nation.

    Maidens of England, sore may ye mourn,
    For your lemans ye have lost at Bannockburn.

Of the sisters of John Scot, Margaret, the eldest, was the grandmother
of John Baliol, who became a competitor for the crown of Scotland.
Isabella, the second sister, by her marriage with Robert le Brus, the
Lord of Annandale, had a grandson—the brave and heroic Robert Bruce—the
“Bruce of Bannockburn,” and the idol of the Scottish people.

After Henry the Third had assumed the Earldom of Chester the castle
of Beeston was left to the charge of castellans, and the people of
Cheshire had a sorry time of it; for David, the son of Prince Llewelyn,
endeavoured to cast off the English yoke, and long and bloody were
the struggles for freedom on the one hand, and for dominion on the
other—the county being overrun and ravaged alternately by friends and
enemies until nearly every rood of land was soaked with the blood
of the combatants. In the attack made by the King in 1245 the whole
borderland was laid waste, and the wyches or salt-pits were destroyed.
Eleven years later the county was plundered and desolated by the
Welsh; and in the year 1256 the young Prince Edward, to whom Henry had
two years previously assigned the Principality, made his first progress
into Cheshire, when his castle of Beeston was placed in the charge of
Fulco de Orreby. This year was an eventful one, for before its close
the Welsh again arose in insurrection, when Prince Edward was compelled
to retire; but the King marched an army to his support, wasting the
harvest as he advanced, and well-nigh depopulating the county, when, as
the ancient chronicler, Matthew Paris, records, “the whole border was
reduced into a desert, the inhabitants were cut off by the sword, the
castles and houses burnt, the woods felled, and the cattle destroyed by
famine.”

The day was not far distant when Beeston was to be wrested from its
royal possessor, and find itself garrisoned by the soldiers of a
rebellious subject The struggle between the Crown and the Barons had
commenced, and was continued under varying circumstances; but the
Sovereign was eventually borne down by the union of ambitious nobles.
The rival armies met at Lewes, and in that hollow which the railway now
traverses, on the 14th of May, 1264, the King saw his army defeated
by the valorous Simon De Montfort, Earl of Leicester, aided by the
forces of the Welsh Prince Llewelyn, and he himself, with his son
Prince Edward and the King of the Romans, made prisoners. The next day
a treaty, known as the _mise_ of Lewes, was entered into; but the King
and his son were detained as hostages until all matters in dispute
should be settled. In this forced peace Edward was compelled, by a deed
executed at Woodstock, December 24, 1264, to surrender his Earldom
of Chester, and with it his castle of Beeston, to the victorious De
Montfort, in whom the administration of the realm was then virtually
vested.

The victory was short-lived; but it had a result that will be ever
memorable, for immediately after, De Montfort summoned a great council
of the nation—the first in which we distinctly recognise the Parliament
of England; for he not only called together the barons, prelates,
and abbots, but also summoned two knights from each county, two
citizens from each city, and two burgesses from each borough. Thus was
the democratic element—the foundation of the House of Commons—first
introduced; and, as the Poet Laureate sings, England became

    A land of settled government,
      A land of just and old renown,
      Where freedom slowly broadens down,
    From precedent to precedent.

De Montfort was now in the fulness of his power; but his elevation
was dangerous for himself. His natural and acquired superiority
provoked the jealousy of those around him, and brought about his own
destruction. As when the light is brightest, so the shadow is ever
darkest, and his success was the ultimate cause of his downfall. The
Parliament which sprang out of the turbulence of civil war assembled
on the 26th January, 1265; and in the month of May following Prince
Edward, thanks to the fleetness of his horse, having effected his
escape from Hereford, where he had been in “free custody,” placed
himself at the head of a numerous army, the loyal barons being speedily
in arms. Gloucester, Monmouth, and Worcester, were successively taken;
De Montfort’s son was defeated at Kenilworth; and then the victorious
Royalists advanced to Evesham, to give battle to the father, who was
posted there. The contest, which lasted until night, was marked with
unusual ferocity; no quarter was asked or given; the Avon was crimsoned
with the blood of the slain; and, to add to the horrors, while the
dreadful carnage was going on, the air was darkened, and a storm such
as England has rarely witnessed burst over the combatants. Drayton, in
his “Polyolbion,” describes the horrors of that dreadful day—

    Shrill shouts, and deadly cries, each way the air do fill,
    And not a word was heard from either side but “kill!”
    The father ’gainst the son, the brother ’gainst the brother,
    With gleaves, swords, bills, and pikes were murdering one another.
    The full luxurious earth seems surfeited with blood,
    Whilst in his uncle’s gore th’ unnatural nephew stood;
    Whilst with their charged staves the desperate horsemen meet—
    They hear their kinsmen groan under their horses’ feet,
    Dead men and weapons broke do on the earth abound;
    The drums bedash’d with brains do give a dismal sound!

On the fatal 4th of August, 1265, the narrow bridge at Evesham afforded
little chance of escape from the slaughter of Edward’s horsemen, and
when the storm was over, and the sun had gone down, the pale moon on
that warm summer night glittered on the corslet of the gallant Simon
de Montfort, whose mangled body was stiffening upon the gory sward, to
be sent off on the morrow to the wretched widow as a testimony of the
Royalist success; his eldest son, Henry de Montfort, lay stretched by
his side, and but for the determined bravery of a few devoted fellows,
who bore his wounded form away upon their shields, Guy, the youngest,
would have shared their fate. Such was the ghastly end of one of the
lords of Beeston—the champion of English liberties and the originator
of our representative Parliament.

When it became known that Prince Edward was in the field, his Cheshire
adherents at once took up arms; and on the Sunday following his
escape from Hereford James de Audley and Urian de St Pierre possessed
themselves of Beeston, and held it in the name of the King; and as
soon as the fight at Evesham was ended, the youthful conqueror, with
his victorious army, marched proudly through the undulating country
and along the great northern road to his Cheshire stronghold with the
wounded Guy de Montfort, Humphrey de Bohun, and Henry de Hastings, as
captives; and where, on his arrival, Lucas de Tanai, whom the elder
De Montfort had made Justiciary of Chester, and Simon, the Abbot of
St. Werburg’s, came to surrender the city of Chester, which had then
withstood a ten weeks’ siege, and to bespeak the royal clemency for
themselves. The whole of De Montfort’s possessions, including the
earldom of Chester, and with it the castle of Beeston, were forfeited
by his rebellion, and reverted back to the crown; and on the 27th
August, twenty-three days after the great battle, the Prince granted a
charter, confirming to the barons of Cheshire all the privileges which
Randle Blundeville had previously bestowed upon them.

Once more the royal ensign with the golden lions waved above the
battlements of Beeston; a garrison was left in charge, but, the country
having become tranquillised, the gallant Edward went to win fresh
laurels beneath the sunnier skies of Palestine. In 1269 he took the
cross at Northampton, and, accompanied by some of the more powerful
nobles, set out for the Holy Land, stormed the city of Nazareth, gained
several victories over the Moslems, and displayed a personal prowess
equal to that of the lion-hearted Richard, and a military skill that
was infinitely greater. At Acre he escaped the poisoned dagger of
the treacherous Saracen by the devotion of his queen, who sucked the
poison from the wound at the risk of her own life—so, at least, the old
chroniclers affirm, and we are not inclined to reject so touching a
story, even though it may have come to us from a Spanish source. While
on his journey homewards he received the tidings of his father’s death,
but, instead of returning immediately, he made a triumphal progress
through Italy, crossed the Alps, and proceeded to the Court of France,
where he narrowly escaped death through the treachery of the Count of
Chalons.

On arriving in England he was crowned at Westminster with Eleanor his
wife, August 19th, 1274. The hospitalities of his coronation were
scarcely over ere he set about the accomplishment of the great scheme
he had resolved upon—the union of the whole island of Britain in one
compact monarchy—Wales, his old battle-ground, then presenting a
tempting opportunity for commencing the work of conquest. Llewelyn, the
Welsh prince, though he promised fealty to the English crown, refused
to appear at the coronation, whereupon Edward repaired to Chester,
summoned his friends, and prepared to march against the Principality.

Beeston becomes once more the scene of bustle and excitement; mail-clad
warriors are hurrying to and fro; the pennons of the knights, gay
with their distinctive blazonings, flutter in the breeze; lance and
spear, and helm and burgonette, gleam brightly in the sunlight—and
the echoes of the stern old fortress are again aroused by the sounds
of martial preparation; for an army has been levied and all are eager
to advance. Llewelyn was summoned to meet the King at Chester, but
refused; he was again summoned to attend the Parliament at Westminster,
and again he declined to appear; his lands were then declared forfeit,
and Edward led his invading host into his territory. Conscious of their
inability to withstand their more powerful neighbours in the field,
the Welsh retired to the mountain fastnesses, which had many a time
and oft enabled their ancestors to hold their own against their Saxon
and Norman oppressors; but, Edward having successfully penetrated to
the very heart of the country, Llewelyn was compelled to submit to the
hard terms the victor thought fitting to impose, which, by the way,
left only to the vanquished prince the sovereignty of Anglesey and the
district of Snowdon.

Unhappily for Llewelyn, he put faith in the prophecy of Merlin,
the native bard and necromancer, which, it is alleged, foretold
that he should be the restorer of Brutus’s Empire in Britain. His
compatriots chafed under the usurped dominion, and maintained a dogged
resistance to the invaders. In hope of the fulfilment of the wizard’s
prognostications, Llewelyn availed himself of the fancied security of
England to break out into open insurrection. The castle of Hawarden
was surprised, and the governor, Roger de Clifford, carried off a
prisoner; the border castles of Rhuddlan and Flint were besieged; and
then, leading his forces down into the lowlands, the English intruders
were driven back across the Marches. Elated by his successes, he then
marched into Radnorshire, where, after passing the Wye, his army was
defeated by Edward Mortimer, and Llewelyn himself, while bravely
endeavouring to retrieve the misfortune, met the death he had so
ardently sought for; David, his brother, lord of Denbigh, was at the
same time made prisoner, and executed as a traitor. Such was the end of
Llewelyn, the great hero of Wales, and her last prince; and with his
end expired the government and distinction of the Welsh nation, after
long centuries of warfare maintained by its sons for the defence and
independence of their homes—

    Such were the sons of Cambria’s ancient race—
    A race that checked victorious Cæsar, aw’d
    Imperial Rome, and forced mankind to own
    Superior virtue, Britons only knew,
    Or only practised; for they nobly dared
    To face oppression; and, where Freedom finds
    Her aid invok’d, there will the Briton die!

At this time (1283) Edward held his court at Rhuddlan, and to appease
the conquered people hit upon the politic, though dangerous, expedient
of promising them for their prince a native of the Principality, who
never spoke a word of English, and whose life and conversation no man
could impugn. By this bold manœuvre he succeeded in obtaining their
submission, and he fulfilled his promise to the very letter; for he
removed his Queen Eleanor to Carnarvon, which was then so far completed
as to allow of her reception, and there, on the 24th of April, 1284,
she gave birth to a son—Edward of Carnarvon, the victim of Berkeley
Castle, and the subject of Marlowe’s tragedy—who was created Prince of
Wales—a title the heirs to the crown have ever since retained.

The sanguinary extirpation of Cambrian independence, while ultimately
a blessing to the native race, was also a good thing for those who
dwelt within the borderland of Cheshire, inasmuch as it spared their
country from a continuance of the bloodshed and devastation it had been
subjected to during the centuries of struggle between the Saxon and
the Celt. The land had rest, and for a hundred years or more from that
time Beeston is found to occupy but a comparatively small space in the
chronicles of the kingdom.

The power wielded by the first Edward fell from the feeble grasp of
his son and successor. In the fifth year of that unfortunate monarch’s
reign we find the custody of the castle being transferred from John de
Serleby to John de Modburly, who appears to have been acting as the
deputy of Sir Robert de Holland, the head of the great feudal house of
that name in Lancashire, who, in the same year, by the king’s favour,
had been appointed his Chief Justice of Chester and custodian of his
castles of Chester, Rhuddlan, and Flint, and three years later Holland
was re-appointed to the same office. This Sir Robert, who had married
a great-granddaughter of that paragon of beauty, if not of chastity,
Rosamond Clifford—the “Fair Rosamond” of mediæval romance—founded the
Benedictine Priory at Up-Holland, in his own county; he was held in
great esteem by Thomas of Woodstock, Earl of Lancaster, the king’s
cousin, who made him his secretary, and he was in that earl’s retinue
on the occasion of the rising of the barons to remove the De Spencers
from the royal councils, for which act his estates were forfeited after
the defeat at Boroughbridge in 1222, when the Earl, himself, was made
prisoner and conveyed to Pontefract, where, to satisfy the vindictive
favourites of the king, he was beheaded.

During the protracted reign of Edward III. and the long French wars,
in which the Cheshire men, under the immediate eyes of the king and
his son, the Black Prince, won so much renown, several castellans were
appointed in succession, though it does not appear that the castle was
at any time the scene of active military operations. On the death of
Edward, his grandson, Richard, the eldest son of the Black Prince, who
was then only eleven years of age, succeeded to the throne, to find, as
many others have done, what it is to be—

    Left by his sire, too young such loss to know,
    Lord of himself, that heritage of woe.

A “heritage of woe” truly, for his reign, from the beginning to its
close, was one of continuous anarchy and disturbance. On the 23rd
November, 1385, we find him appointing John Cartileche janitor of his
castle of Beeston for life, in the room of Sir Alan Cheanie, who had
then only lately died. The appointment was made under the king’s seal,
and about the same time Richard himself paid a visit to the chief city
of his palatinate—the object, no doubt, being to ingratiate himself
with his Cheshire friends, and, that being so, it is probable Beeston
was on the same occasion graced with his presence. Loyalty to the crown
was a strong characteristic of the Cheshire men, a feeling that was
no doubt strengthened by the many marks of royal favour their county
had received from its earls, in whom they recognised their titular
sovereigns; hence the intimate relations which existed between the king
and the palatinate. When the Duke of Gloucester assembled a body of
men in order that he might retain control of the youthful sovereign,
Richard hastened to Chester and called out his loyal Cheshire guard;
and when, in 1397, by what in modern times would be called a _coup
d’état_, he determined on overthrowing the regency and recovering the
power which Gloucester and his cabal of nobles had deprived him of, and
in furtherance of that object had summoned a Parliament to meet him at
Westminster in September, he, to guard against any possible resistance
on the part of the disaffected nobles, surrounded the house with a
guard of two thousand of his Cheshire archers, each wearing as a badge
the white hart lodged, the cognisance of his mother, the “Fair Maid of
Kent,” which Richard had then adopted.

The power thus regained was wielded neither wisely nor well. On the
death of John o’ Gaunt, in 1399, Richard, to replenish his exhausted
exchequer, seized his possessions into his own hands, leaving to the
banished son of “time-honoured Lancaster,” the youthful Bolingbroke,
nothing but the empty title. This arbitrary abuse of power naturally
inflamed the resentment of Bolingbroke, who resolved upon accomplishing
the king’s dethronement, and it was not long before the opportunity
offered for putting his scheme into execution. While the unsuspecting
Richard was leading the Cheshire bowmen among the bogs and thickets of
Ireland, in order to quell the insurrection and punish the murderers of
Mortimer, Bolingbroke, taking advantage of his absence, embarked with a
small retinue and landed “upon the naked shore of Ravenspurg,” a place
on the Humber, where, at a later date, Edward IV. landed on a similar
errand, with an excuse plausible as that of the duke whose exploit he
imitated. He quickly mustered a force of 60,000 men; towns and castles
surrendered to him; and before Richard could return the invader had
virtually made himself master of the kingdom. When he did arrive, there
being no army to receive him, seven loyal Cheshire men, John Legh of
Booths, Thomas Cholmondely, Ralph Davenport, Adam Bostock, John Done
of Utkinton, Thomas Holford, and Thomas Beeston, each with seventy
retainers, became his body guard, wearing his cognisance of the white
hart upon their shoulders, and keeping watch over him day and night
with their battle-axes.

This would appear to have been the occasion when, according to Stow,
Beeston was chosen by the king, on account of its strength and
the usually loyal feelings of the county, for the custody of his
treasures, when jewels and other valuables said to be worth 200,000
marks (£133,333) were deposited in it for safety. The castle was
then garrisoned by a force of a hundred men; but it says little for
their valour that, without striking a blow, they surrendered it to
the victorious heir of Lancaster, who, anticipating Richard’s advance
towards his trusty friends in Cheshire, where his power was strongest,
and wishing to intercept his communications, had marched through
Gloucester, Hereford, and Ludlow to Shrewsbury, crying havoc and
destruction to Cheshire and Cheshire men as he went; and who was then
at Chester, where he had caused to be beheaded that loyal and loving
subject, Sir Piers Legh, the founder of the house of Legh of Lyme—a
Cheshire worthy who had been the companion in arms of the Black Prince,
and whose name is still perpetuated in the inscription which one of his
descendants placed in the Lyme Chapel, in Macclesfield Church—

    Here lyethe the bodie of Perkyn a Legh,
    That for King Richard the death did die,
      Betrayed for righteovsnes;
    And the bones of Sir Piers, his Sonne,
    That with King Henrie the Fift did wonne
      In Paris.

The hapless king, finding his power gone and his castles of Carnarvon,
Beaumaris, and Conway destitute of provisions, gave himself up to
Percy, Duke of Northumberland, who conveyed him to Flint, whither
Bolingbroke repaired from Chester to receive him. Thence the fallen
monarch was removed to Chester; but he could only have remained a day
or two, for on the 21st August he was at Nantwich, a prisoner on his
way to the Tower, having on the morning of that early autumn day passed
with his captors beneath the frowning walls of Beeston, so lately lost
to him. The close of that sad journey of triumph and humiliation has
been thus described by our greatest dramatist:—

    Then, as I said, the duke, great Bolingbroke—
    Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed,
    Which his aspiring rider seemed to know,
    With slow but stately pace kept on his course,
    While all tongues cried—“God save thee, Bolingbroke!”
    You would have thought the very windows spake,
    So many greedy looks of young and old
    Through casements darted their desiring eyes
    Upon his visage; and that all the walls,
    With painted imag’ry, had said at once—
    “Jesu preserve thee! Welcome, Bolingbroke!”
    Whilst he, from one side to the other turning,
    Bare-headed, lower than his proud steed’s neck,
    Bespake them thus—“I thank you, countrymen!”
    And thus still doing, thus he pass’d along.

Alas, poor Richard! Where rides he the while?

    As in a theatre, the eyes of men,
    After a well-grac’d actor leaves the stage,
    Are idly bent on him that enters next,
    Thinking his prattle to be tedious;
    Even so, or with much more contempt, men’s eyes
    Did scowl on Richard. No man cried, “God save him;”
    No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home;
    But dust was thrown upon his sacred head;
    Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off—
    His face still combating with tears and smiles,
    The badges of his grief and patience—
    That had not God, for some strong purpose, steel’d
    The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted,
    And barbarism itself have pitied him.
    But Heaven hath a hand in these events,
    To whose high will we bound our calm contents;
    To Bolingbroke are we sworn subjects now,
    Whose state and honour I for aye allow.

Ere many moons had waxed and waned the humbled and wretched king, who
had resigned his crown to the usurper, fell beneath the murderous
battle-axe of Piers Exton, “within the guilty closure of the walls” of
Pontefract, that—

                      Bloody prison,
    Fatal and ominous to noble peers;

and very near the spot where, less than sixty years before, Sir Robert
Holland’s patron, the “good Earl of Lancaster,” had yielded up his life.

In the fierce struggle between the Red and White Roses—that “convulsive
and bleeding agony of the feudal power” which destroyed the flower of
the English nobility, and well-nigh exhausted the nation—we hear little
of Beeston, though the victorious Bolingbroke’s son, the “nimble-footed
madcap Harry, Prince of Wales,” lived much of his time within the
palatinate, and the Cheshire men figured prominently in the stirring
events of those stirring times.

In 1460, when the compromise was made by which the “meek usurper” was
to retain the crown for the remainder of his life, and Richard of York
become heir at his death, we find an entry on the Patent Rolls granting
to him the Principality of Wales and the Earldom of Chester, in which
Beeston is included in the recital of the manors and castles considered
as appendages to the earldom. The honours and possessions thus acquired
were not, however, to be long enjoyed, for before the close of the year
Henry’s Queen—Margaret of Anjou—refusing to acquiesce in an arrangement
that set aside the claims of her son, took up arms on his behalf, and,
aided by some of the most devoted supporters of the Lancastrian cause,
marched northwards. The opposing forces met on Wakefield Green on the
31st December, 1460. The army of the White Rose was completely routed,
and Beeston’s lately designated lord, the Duke of York, and his son,
the Earl of Rutland, fell together—butchered, it is said, in cold blood
upon the field by the black-faced Clifford.

The grant of 1460 is the last occasion on which mention is made of
Beeston as an ordinary fortified stronghold. When Henry of Richmond
came out of the field of Bosworth, a victor, he planted the heel of
the sovereign upon the necks of the nobles, and destroyed their power
by putting down their retainers. He freed their lands from the burden
of supporting an army of the State; but, while doing so, he succeeded
in breaking up the feudal system. From that time the decay of Beeston
may be said to date, and the old fortress must have soon begun to
show signs of dilapidation, for Leland, in his _Genethliacon Eadverdi
Principis_ written in 1548, describes it as being then in a shattered
and ruinous condition. In the reign of Elizabeth the site was alienated
from the Earldom of Chester, and given by the Queen to her dancing
Chancellor, “the grave Lord Keeper,” Sir Christopher Hatton, who
subsequently conveyed it to the manorial lords of Beeston; and so it
again became attached to the manor from which it had originally been
severed. In this way it became part of the possessions of that famous
Cheshire hero, Sir George Beeston—a veteran soldier who had borne
himself bravely and well in the siege of Boulogne and the fight at
Musselburg, and whose warlike spirit was not even subdued by age, for
it is recorded that in the glorious victory over the Spaniards at the
time of the Armada, when he was nearly ninety years old, he displayed
such gallantry that Elizabeth knighted him for his achievements. The
brave old knight closed a life of honour in 1601, being then 102 years
of age, and was buried at Bunbury, where his recumbent effigy upon
an altar-tomb beneath a pointed arch may be seen, with a long Latin
inscription above it in which his services to his country are recorded.
The granddaughter of Sir George Beeston conveyed the manor and castle
in marriage to William Whitmore, of Leighton, Esquire, from whom it
descended through the Savages to Sir Thomas Mostyn, who died in 1831,
when the property passed by sale to the present Lord Tollemache.

For more than a generation Beeston remained uncared for, and ceased to
have any significance as a military station. Under the vigorous rule
of the Tudor sovereigns there had been no incursion or civil commotion
that rendered a display of strength and resistance necessary, and it
was not until the great outbreak of the seventeenth century, when
almost every considerable mansion in Cheshire was garrisoned for king
or Parliament, that it was again put into a state of defence and made
to undergo the ordeal of a protracted siege. At the beginning of 1643
Sir William Brereton, the Parliamentary commander, who had occupied
Nantwich with a force of 2,000 or 3,000 men, found himself menaced by
Sir Thomas Aston, who at the time was holding the fortified city of
Chester on behalf of the King, and had attacked and pillaged Middlewich
and other places. Under such circumstances, Beeston, offering as it
did so many natural advantages, was too important a station to be
neglected, and accordingly on the night of the 21st February (1642-3),
300 of the Parliamentary soldiers climbed the hill, and established
themselves in possession, not, however, without some opposition, for it
is recorded that on the same night they were met by the horse of the
array on Te’erton (Tiverton, the adjoining township) townfield, where
one of Colonel Mainwaring’s officers was slain on the Parliamentary
side, and a few others of the King’s, who were buried at Tarporley.
The first work of the Puritan garrison was to repair and strengthen
the fortifications, and put the castle in such a condition as would
secure its holders against attack. The contest between sovereign
and subject continued throughout the year, with varying results. In
November, General Brereton, at the head of the Cheshire and Lancashire
forces, marched into Wales, but hearing of the arrival (at Parkgate,
probably) of Royalist reinforcements from Ireland, hastily fell back
upon Nantwich. His retreat would seem to have disheartened the garrison
at Beeston, for within three weeks Captain Steel, the commandant,
surrendered the castle, without the semblance of a struggle, to Captain
Sandford, an Irish officer, who, with eight men, had a little before
daybreak on the morning of the 13th December (1643) crept up the hill,
and got possession of the upper ward. The story of the capture is told
with much circumstantiality in the “Diary” of Edward Burghall, the
Puritan schoolmaster of Bunbury, and subsequent vicar of Acton:—

     December 13th.—A little before day, Captain Sandford (a zealous
     Royalist), who first 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 to pieces had he not been
     immediately clapped in prison. There was 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.

Six weeks after, as we learn from the diarist, Steel was “shot to
death, in Tinker’s Croft, by two soldiers, according to judgment
against him. He was put into a coffin, and buried in the churchyard.
He confessed all his sins,” it is added, “and prayed a great while,
and, to the judgment of charity, died penitently.” The stern Puritans
could scarcely have given a milder judgment, for the dining together
and regaling of Sandford’s men with “much beer” must have told greatly
against the recreant Steel.

The surrender of Beeston was a great blow to the revolutionary
cause. The neighbouring country now lay at the mercy of Lord Byron
and the Royalist troops, who ravaged the entire district. Crewe Hall
capitulated; the halls of Dorfold and Doddington surrendered without
offering any resistance; Middlewich was captured, and on the 17th
January, 1644, an assault was made on Nantwich, when, after some busy
days of hard fighting, Captain Sandford met a soldier’s death, within
a day or two of that on which poor Steel was led out to execution.
The siege continued for more than a week, when Fairfax, fresh from
his victories in Yorkshire, with Colonel Monk, who afterwards played
so prominent a part in bringing about the Restoration, came to the
relief of the beleaguered town, and the Royalists gave way to superior
numbers. They were, however, left in undisturbed possession of Beeston
until the 20th October following, when “the council of war at Nantwich
hearing that the enemy at Beeston were in want of fuel and other
necessaries layed strong siege to it.” For nearly five months the siege
was continued, when Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice arrived with a
considerable force, relieved the invested garrison on the 17th March,
and two days later plundered Bunbury and burnt Beeston Hall. Scarcely
had they departed than, as we learn from the “Diary,” the Puritan
soldiers again appeared:—

     1645, April.—The Parliament again placed forces round Beeston
     Castle, where they began to raise a brave mount with a strong
     ditch about it, and placed great buildings thereon, which were
     scarce finished but news came that the king and both the princes
     (Maurice and Rupert) with a strong army were coming towards
     Chester. The Parliament army marched towards Nantwich, leaving the
     country to the spoils of the forces in Chester and Beeston Castle.

The garrison thus relieved sallied out on the 4th June, and made an
unsuccessful attack on Ridley Hall. Ten days after came the disastrous
defeat at Naseby, which put the Parliamentarians in possession of
nearly all the chief cities of the kingdom. Three anxious months
passed, and then (September 24th, 1645), the unhappy monarch, standing
upon the leads of the Phœnix Tower on Chester walls, witnessed the
fluctuating progress of the last effort on Rowton Moor for the
maintenance of the Royal power, saw his gallant kinsman, the Earl
of Lichfield, with many gentlemen 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. “Thenceforth the king’s sword was a useless bauble, less
significant than the ‘George’ upon his breast.”

[Illustration: THE PHŒNIX TOWER, CHESTER.]

With the loss at Chester vanished the last hope of Charles. Three weeks
after, the castle of Beeston was delivered up to Sir William Brereton,
the garrison, though at times subjected to the severest privations,
having bravely held it for the space of nearly a year. Burghall thus
tells the tale of the surrender:—

     November 16th.—Beeston Castle, that had been besieged almost a
     year, was delivered up by the Captain Valet, the governor, to Sir
     William Brereton; there were in it 56 soldiers, who by agreement
     had liberty to depart with their arms, colours flying, and drums
     beating, with two cart loads of goods, and to be conveyed to
     Denbigh; but 20 of the soldiers laid down their arms, and craved
     liberty to go to their homes, which was granted. There was neither
     meat nor drink found in the castle, but only a piece of a turkey
     pie, and a live peacock and a peahen.

The heroic defence of the castle by the Royalist garrison, and their
long endurance, even after their cause had become hopeless and all
chance of succour had disappeared, presents a remarkable contrast to
the meek surrender of Captain Steel and his three hundred Puritan
soldiers to Sandford’s gallant little band of cavaliers. In the spring
of the following year the old fortress, which had withstood the
batterings of time and been so often exposed to the storms of war in
the troubled reigns of the Plantagenets, but which had never yielded to
assault, was dismantled, and since then it has gradually sunk into its
present state of extreme but picturesque decay.

Since the days of the Stuarts little historical interest has attached
to it. Its glories are of the past. Its palmy days are over—for it has
outlived the needs that called it into being, and survives only to show
us how men lived and acted in those stern times when they knew no other
law than that which Wordsworth speaks of—

      The old good rule, the simple plan,
    That they should get who have the power,
      And they should keep who can,

and when even power could only feel secure when defended by iron
force. We love our country with love far brought from out the historic
past—the past on which the present is securely built—and we cherish the
relics of its ancient chivalry and romance, but the spirit of the age
is opposed to the revivication of feudal customs and feudal prejudices.
The time when it was only possible for men to hold their own by length
and strength of arm has gone by never again to return.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER VII.

WHALLEY AND ITS ABBEY—MITTON CHURCH AND ITS MONUMENTS—THE
SHERBURNES—THE JESUITS’ COLLEGE, STONYHURST.


Whalley—the Field of Wells, as our Saxon forefathers called it—is
one of the most picturesque, as also one of the most interesting
villages in Lancashire. It is the centre, too, of a district which
almost claims to rank as classic ground. Few places possess greater
charms from a scenic point of view, or a higher interest from the
historical associations attaching to them. The parish to which it
gives name covers a wide extent of territory. Originally, before the
great parishes of Blackburn, Chipping, Mitton, Rochdale, Ribchester,
and Slaidburn had been carved out of it, it embraced an area of four
hundred square miles; and even now it is accounted the largest parish
within the diocese, being equal to about one-ninth of the whole county.
Well might the chief ecclesiastics of this, the oldest Christian
edifice in Lancashire, dignify themselves in old times with the
imposing title of “Deans” of Whalley, though the magnitude of their
domain was surely not a sufficient justification for their setting at
naught the decrees of Holy Church, and the vows of celibacy it imposed,
by perpetuating a race of priests who married and transmitted their
offices from father to son for successive generations: a state of
things that continued until the Council of Lateran not only forbade but
disannulled such marriages, and so destroyed the constitution by which
the church of Whalley had been governed for nearly five hundred years.

A more charmingly diversified country than that of which this quiet
little pastoral village is the centre it is difficult to conceive.
Within the wide range of vision it commands we may note the type of
almost every stage of civilisation the country has passed through.
Though a railway viaduct, lofty as the Pont du Gard, bridges the
Calder, and a tall chimney or two may here and there be seen, the
virgin features of the country have as yet been happily but little
scarred by the intrusion of manufacturing industry. The wild breezy
moors and the wooded cloughs and dingles retain much of their primitive
character, while the fair and fertile valley still bears evidence
of the patient labour of the monks in redeeming the soil from its
primeval barrenness. Every object that can beautify or adorn the
landscape is there in picturesque variety, charming by the very order
of Nature’s disorder. The Ribble, winding its way towards the sea, as
it flows by Ribchester, reminds us of the days when the Roman held
dominion—when the subjects of the Cæsars built their fortresses and
reared their stately temples, and their chief, Agricola, taught the
naked and woad-stained Britons the science of agriculture and the arts
of civilisation. The quaint Runic crosses standing in the churchyard,
weathered and worn with the blasts of twelve hundred years, serve
as memorials of the time when Edwin, the Saxon king of Northumbria,
embraced the doctrines of the Cross, and the great missionary Paulinus
brought the glad tidings to our pagan forefathers dwelling in this
remote corner of Lancashire; for tradition affirms that on this spot
the Gospel of Peace and Love was proclaimed in those ancient days.

    There stands the messenger of truth; there stands
    The legate of the skies, his theme divine,
    His office sacred, his credentials clear;
    By him the violated law speaks out
    Its thunders, and by him, in strains as sweet
    As angels use, the Gospel whispers peace.

And the venerable church—“the white church under the Leigh,” as it
was anciently designated—that peeps above the enshrouding foliage, is
doubtless the successor of a pagan temple, for it was then the fashion
to convert the edifices of the old religion to the purposes of the new.
The ruined keep of Clitheroe Castle, crowning the limestone rock that
rises abruptly from the plain, carries the mind back to the times of
the stout Norman earls, when men ruled by the stern will and the strong
arm, and vigilant sentinels upon the watch-towers looked afar for the
blaze of the baleful fires that should warn them of the approaching
foe. Within a short two miles of the stately stronghold of the Lacies
are the dilapidated remains of Waddington Hall—a house which, though
it escaped the fiercer tide of politics and strife, is yet associated
with the period when England was drained of its best blood by the
Wars of the Roses; for it was at Waddington, which had for a time
afforded him an asylum, that the “meek usurper,” Henry VI., after the
disastrous fight at Hexham, in 1464, was betrayed into the hands of
his enemies, and, though he escaped for a moment, he was caught ere he
could cross the Ribble at Brungerley hipping-stones, and given up to
the vengeance of his successful rivals, for which act of perfidy his
captor, Thomas Talbot, was rewarded by the Yorkist Edward with grants
of land. He did not, however, long enjoy them, for when the White Rose
of York drooped before Henry of Richmond on the Field of Bosworth,
the same Talbot experienced one of the common reverses of war, and
had to surrender his ill-gotten gains. Westward, lying among the tall
trees, where the sharp corner of Yorkshire runs in between the Hodder
and the Ribble, is Little Mitton Hall, another relic of the past that
serves to tell the story of the changing life of our great nation, and
to show how the frowning fortress gradually softened into the stately
mansion when order spread as law succeeded might, and time had widened
and mellowed our social institutions. The giant form of Pendle Hill,
sloping upwards from the green valley, with its wild gorges, where the
old forest of Bowland formerly stretched its length, its broad turfy
swamps, its sombre masses of blackened rock, and its bleak ridges of
“cloud-capped” desolation overshadowing the verdant landscape, conjures
up humiliating memories of the credulity, the ignorant superstition,
and the revolting practices which obtained for merry-hearted Lancashire
so unenviable a reputation in the golden days of the virgin queen and
her successor, the vain and weak-minded James—

                                  Pendle stands
    Round cop, surveying all the wild moor-lands,
    And Malkin’s Tower, a little cottage, where
    Report makes caitiff witches meet, to swear
    Their homage to the devil, and contrive
    The deaths of men and beasts.

The genius of superstition that fills the mind with

        Shaping fantasies that apprehend
    More than cool reason ever comprehends,

still lingers, and the voices of tradition may occasionally be heard
in the embowered gloom of its solitary cloughs and dingles; but under
the disenchanting influences of steam Pendle has lost much of that
weird character of wonder and fear with which the shaping power of the
imagination had enshrouded it, though it still retains much of its wild
and uncultivated character, and there are spots that remain almost as
savage and unfrequented, if not as much feared, as in the days of the
“British Solomon,” when its secluded hollows and heathery wastes were
commonly believed to be the scenes of midnight feasting and diabolical
revelries, and everything and everybody were supposed to be under the
evil influence of decrepit hags who had sworn to do the devil service,
and were endowed by the Prince of Darkness with the power to work
destruction on man and beast. Happily, in these days, a gentler species
of witchcraft prevails. Though the spells of the Lancashire witches
are as potent as ever, they are exercised without fear of judge or
jury. Few escape the fascinations, and, it may be added, still fewer
desire to do so. But Pendle has other associations than those with
which the pedantic Master Potts and Harrison Ainsworth have made us
familiar. It was upon its broad peak that George Fox, the founder of
the Society of Friends, received his “first illumination.” There, as he
tells us in his _Journal_, “the Lord let me see in what places He had
a great people to be gathered together;” and then he adds, “As I went
down I found a spring of water in the side of the hill, with which I
refreshed myself, having eaten or drunken but little for several days
before.” The spring is still there, and to this day is known in the
neighbourhood as George Fox’s well.

Wiswall, uprising in peaceful serenity upon the skirts of Pendle,
calls to remembrance the conflict between monarchy and monasticism—the
“Pilgrimage of Grace,” and the penalty that Paslew, the last abbot of
Whalley, paid for his share in that uprising—the destruction of himself
and the house over which he had so long presided, for it was upon a
gallows erected in front of Wiswall Hall, the place of his birth,
and in sight of the abbey, which had then passed into profane hands,
that Paslew was ignominiously hanged. A flat gravestone, in the north
aisle of Whalley Church, marks the last resting-place of the ill-fated
ecclesiastic. A floriated cross and a chalice, the emblems of his
office, are carved upon it, with the simple and touching inscription—

                       Jhu fili dei miserere mei
                                  J P

[Illustration]

Well might he ask pity from above, for, poor man, in the days of
his adversity he found none below. Let us hope, however, that the
malediction which tradition says the dying man pronounced upon those
who should despoil his house has lost its force, if it ever had any,
and that a Braddyll and an Assheton may now step across his grave
without risk of destruction.

But the glory of Whalley is the famous abbey, with which Whitaker’s
history has made us so familiar. Though it is now only a picturesque
ruin—

                  A pile decayed,
    ... in cunning fashion laid,
    Ruined buttress, moss-clad stone,
    Arch with ivy overgrown,
    Stairs round which the lichens creep,
    The whole a desolated heap—

there yet remains much to delight the eye. The groined gateway
shrouded in the gloom of a stately avenue of limes, the spacious
hospitium, the cloister court, with its beautifully-decorated arches,
the chapter-house, the abbot’s lodgings, the refectory, and the huge
kitchens, with their capacious fire-places, may still be seen, but
the crowning feature of all, the glorious conventual church, with its
choir and its transepts, has disappeared, a small fragment of the walls
and the foundations of its mighty pillars alone remaining. Corbel and
capital, mullion and transom, broken columns and fragments of masonry
lie strewn about, some half buried in the rank grass and nettles,
telling the story of its former magnificence. Until recent years, when
it was blown down in a storm, an ancient cherry tree that must have
been in its prime when Whalley was in the fulness of its glory, grew in
one of the courts, contributing its fair white blossoms to the summer
beauty. There you can see where the monks sat in the sanctuary; that
grass-grown court was their cemetery; yonder is the nameless tomb of a
forgotten abbot; and that arch, with a span of nearly eighteen feet,
marks the resting-place of another. Verily, the monks of Whalley were
as splendid in their obsequies as in their hospitalities. The floor is
carpeted with turf, and the walls are canopied by the heavens; ivy,
the flower of ruin, lends its melancholy charm, and the clustering
masses that uphold the crumbling buttresses spread their garniture of
green to hide the signs of decay, and mock the greyness of time with
a decoration that lasts but for a season. As you wander about seeking
for the best points of view, or musing upon the fallen fortunes of the
house, you will gaze again and again upon the broken arches and the
empty windows, and think

    How many hearts have here grown cold,
      That sleep these mouldering stones among;
    How many beads have here been told;
      How many matins have been sung.

A spot more suited to the contemplative mind you will rarely see.
Sequestered, solemn, still, the calm tranquillity is in perfect keeping
with the sepulchre of human greatness, and the mind brooding upon
the past overleaps the boundaries of centuries. In this spot orisons
and vespers have been sung; the low sweet music of the Litany of the
Cross has rolled; through the “long drawn aisle and fretted vault”
the pealing organ has swelled the anthem’s note; and where now the
sod is shaded by the overhanging verdure the funeral procession has
often passed, the white-robed monks chanting awhile the soul-stirring
“_Supplicante parce Deus_.” The following lines seem so applicable to
the place that we make no apology for transcribing them:—

    Around the very place doth brood
    A strange and holy quietude,
    Where lingers long the evening gleam
    And stilly sounds the neighbouring stream.

      I know not if it is the scene,
    Bosom’d in hills by the ravine,
    Or if it is the conscious mind
    Hallows the spot and stills the wind,
    And makes the very place to know
    The peace of them that sleep below,
    Investing Nature with the spell
    Of that strange calm unspeakable.

      Methinks that both together blend
    To hallow their calm peaceful end—
    The thoughts of them that slumber there
    Seem still to haunt the holy ground;
    And e’en the spot and solemn air
    Themselves partake that calm profound.
    Methinks that He who oft at even
    Brings stillness o’er the earth and heaven,
    Till mountains, skies, and neighbouring sea
    Blend in one solemn harmony,
    Hath caused e’en Nature’s self to grace
    This sweet and holy resting-place.

Amid the venerable and peaceful shade we seem again to hear

                    Litanies at noon,
    Or hymn at complin by the rising moon,
    When, after chimes, each chapel echoed round,
    Like one aerial instrument of sound,
    Some vast harmonious fabric of the Lord’s,
    Whose vaults are shells, and pillars tuneful chords;

and we are almost tempted to forget the errors of the monks, and to
think only of them as the precursors of a simpler and purer religion.
In the seclusion of their solitary lives they laboured earnestly and
with prayerful zeal, for with them _laborare est orare_ was no idle
expression. They threw the fervour of their souls into their work, and
dispensed their hospitalities with a lavish hand; but they taught no
liberty, and preached no freedom, to a Christian world. The knowledge
they cherished most was as a lamp beneath a bushel—it kept all in
darkness but themselves. Better that their system should pass away, and
that their houses should be dismantled and left only to beautify and
adorn the landscape, than that we should have a return to their sensual
pageantry and pent-up learning.

Many stories are related of the doings and misdoings of the brotherhood
at Whalley in those far-off days; but the legend that they disturbed
the peace of the fair anchorites who had their habitation in the
hermitage close by the great gate of the abbey must surely be a fable,
though tradition affirms that the lady hermits were not always spotless
in their lives, and a more trustworthy authority records that one of
them, Isold de Heton, a fair widow, who, in the first transports of her
grief, had vowed herself to Heaven, led a disorderly life there, to the
scandal of the abbey and the prejudice of the morals of the fraternity.
Here is the story of the profane doings of this dissolute votaress, as
set forth in the representation made to that paragon of virtue, King
Henry the Eighth, of blessed memory:—

     Be it remembered that the please and habitacion of the said
     recluse is within place halowed and nere to the gate of the seyd
     monastre, and that the weemen that have been attendynge to the
     seyd recluse have recorse dailly into the seyd monastre for the
     levere of brede, ale, kychin and other things; the whych is not
     accordyng to be had withyn such religyous plases: and how that
     dyvers that been anchores in the seyd plase have broken owte and
     departed: and in especyal how that now Isold of Heton is broken
     owte, and so levying at her owne liberte by this two yere and
     mor, like as she had never been professyd; and that dyvers of the
     wymen that have been servants there, have been misgovernyd and
     gotten with chyld within the seyd plase halowyd, to the great
     displeasuance of hurt and disclander of the abbey aforeseyd, &c.

On this report the pious Henry, as in duty bound, suppressed the little
hermitage, and cast its inmates upon the world.

The Calder still flows on bright and clear as it did of yore; but
the glories of the abbey of Whalley have for ever passed away, and
the roofless ruined walls serve only to remind us of the days of the
old Catholicism; whilst across the valley, crowning a thickly-wooded
eminence that rises from the slopes of Longridge Fell, we can see the
tall towers of Stonyhurst, which may be said to typify the new—for the
monasticism which Henry so ruthlessly rooted out has been revived in
a new form in the stately mansion which once formed the home of the
Sherburns. To that seminary of learning, the college of the fathers of
the Society of Jesus, and the _alma mater_ of so many of the Catholic
gentry of England, let us now bend our steps, taking in the way the
little hamlet of Mitton, and its ancient church, in which so many of
the former lords of Stonyhurst repose.

Leaving the village of Whalley at the upper end, we pass beneath the
viaduct, and continue along a pleasant rural high road that winds away
to the right in sweetest solitude. The tall hedgerows are fresh with
their summer foliage, and fragrant with the odours of the honeysuckle,
the sweetbriar, and the wealth of floral beauty that spreads around.
Now and then we get a glimpse of the Calder, flowing “with liquid lapse
serene,” here coming out of the verdant shade, and there going into it
again, and murmuring its admiration of the scene in a perpetual song of
joyousness. Presently the trees thicken, and through the openings we
look over a country serenely pastoral in its character, with its wooded
bluffs, its level holms, and wide-spreading pastures, through which the

                            Cold springs run
    To warm their chilliest bubbles in the grass.

Behind us rises Whalley Nab, with the old abbey nestling at its foot;
the wooded heights above Wiswall, Billinge Hill, and the bleak,
cloud-mottled heights of the majestic Pendle. In mid-distance the
broken keep of Clitheroe Castle gleams in the mellow light, and just
below the tower of Clitheroe Church may be discerned. Sweeping round
towards the north, Waddington Fell, Bleasdale Moor, and the wooded
heights of Bowland Forest come in view; and, far beyond, the shadowy
peaks of Pennygent and Ingleborough, reminding us of the old saw—

    Pendle Hill and Pennygent and Little Ingleborough,
    Are three such hills as you’ll not find by searching England thorough.

Nearer we see the woods about Whitewell, a spot dear to every lover of
the gentle craft, and to the artist a very storehouse of scenic beauty;
the opening shows where the Hodder flows down to add its tributary
to the Ribble; further westward we have the huge form of Longridge
Fell stretching across the landscape, with Kemple End, and the wooded
eminence rising from its lowest spur, on which stands the stately hall
of Stonyhurst.

A little more than half an hour’s walking brings us to Mitton, a
pleasant little rural hamlet occupying a narrow tapering strip of land
that runs in between the two rivers, the Hodder and the Ribble, and
very near the point where the latter is joined by the Calder. As the
old distich reminds us—

    The Hodder, the Calder, the Ribble and rain
    All meet in a point on Mitton’s domain.

The rivers keep us in pleasant companionship, but, happily, the rain
is absent. Before we cross the Ribble we get sight of the ancient hall
of Little Mitton, lying among the trees; on the left a gabled mansion
built by the Catteralls in the days of the seventh Henry, which, though
it has been modernised and part rebuilt in recent years, still retains
its spacious entrance hall, with the original arched timber roof,
the exquisitely carved oaken screen, and the gallery above. With the
exception of the great hall at Samlesbury it is the finest room in
any house in the country, and its erection must well-nigh have laid a
forest prostrate. Well might Whitaker express the hope that “it might
never fall into the hands who have less respect for it than its (then)
owner; and that no painter’s brush or carpenter’s hammer might ever
come near it, excepting to arrest the progress of otherwise inevitable
decay.” Thomas Catterall, the last of the name who held Little Mitton,
granted the manor in 1579 to his daughter Dorothy, and her husband,
Robert Sherburn, a younger son of the house of Stonyhurst, and their
grandson, Richard Sherburn, in the reign of Charles the Second, sold
it to Alexander Holt, of the ancient family of Holt of Grislehurst.
Subsequently it passed by purchase to John Aspinall, Esq., and his
grandson, Ralph John Aspinall, Esq., of Standen Hall, the late High
Sheriff of Lancashire, is the present possessor; Mr. John Hick,
formerly M.P. for Bolton, being the occupant.

The village of Milton is finely embosomed among tufted trees upon a
slope that rises gently from the valley, watered by the Ribble and its
tributary streams, and is as thoroughly picturesque and “old English”
as you would wish to see. As you approach, the grey embattled tower
of its venerable church peeping above the umbrage forms a pleasing
object, but its appearance does not improve on a closer acquaintance,
for the hand of the spoiler has been busy, and a coating of coarse
stucco effectually conceals the ancient masonry. It should be said,
however, that a good deal has been done in recent years to atone
for the tasteless barbarism of bygone churchwardens, and Nature has
lovingly aided in the work by spreading a mantle of living green so as
to hide many of the tasteless deformities. The church is a small and
unpretending structure, though of considerable antiquity, some parts
dating as far back as the reign of the third Edward, and probably
it occupies the site of a still earlier building. The tower is of
much later date, and like many other old churches the exterior, by
its architectural diversities, gives ample proof of alterations and
“improvements” at distant periods. The churchyard delights you by its
placid beauty, and the little hamlet sleeping peacefully at the foot is
in perfect harmony with the scene. When we entered the enclosure the
doors of the church were fastened, but the sexton, who was pursuing his
vocation in the corner of the graveyard, offered to bring the keys and
show us whatever was worth seeing.

The interior has been lately restored, and the old timber roof of
the nave, which was previously hidden by a flat plaster ceiling, has
been again exposed to view. There are also some remains of ancient
carving, carefully preserved, and an oaken screen separating the nave
from the chancel that well deserve inspection. The lower portion
belonged originally to Cockersand Abbey, the monks of that house being
patrons of Mitton; and it was removed to its present position when
the fraternity was dissolved. The fragment of an inscription still
remaining shows that it was made in the time of William Stainford, and
this helps us to fix the date, as Stainford was abbot of Cockersand
from 1505 to 1509. One peculiarity noticeable is that, unlike other
churches, you have to descend into the chancel from the nave by a
few steps, an arrangement necessitated by the natural formation of
the ground, which declines considerably towards the east. Within the
chancel is an old oak chest, bound with iron, and triple-locked, with
the date 1627 carved upon it. On the top is a copy of Burkett’s
“Expository Notes on the New Testament,” a paraphrase on the Book of
Common Prayer, and one or two other theological works fastened with
chains—the village library of former days, as the inscription in one of
them testifies: “_Ex Libris Ecclesiæ Parochialis de Mitton 1722_.”

But the great feature of Mitton, and that which most attracts the
attention of visitors, is the Sherburn Chapel, the mausoleum of the
former lords of Stonyhurst. It is situated on the north side of the
chancel, from which it is separated by a parclose screen, and is
remarkable as containing an assemblage of recumbent figures and other
family memorials such as very few old country churches can boast.

It was erected on the site of the ancient chantry of St Nicholas by
Sir Richard Sherburn, of Stonyhurst, who died in 1594, as appears by
his will, which expressly directs that his body shall “be buryed at
my parish church of Mitton, in the midest of my new quere.” His tomb
is the oldest in the chapel, and upon it are the recumbent figures
in alabaster, life size, of the knight and “Dame Maude, his wife,” a
daughter of Sir Richard Bold, of Bold, who predeceased him. The body
of the tomb is enriched with heraldic shields representing the family
alliances, and there are some panels of figures. The inscription,
which is in old English characters, describes Sir Richard as “master
forrester of the forest of Bowland, steward of the manor of Sladeburn,
Lieutenant of the Isle of Man, and one of Her Majesty’s Deputy
Lieutenants.” He commenced the building of the present mansion of
Stonyhurst, or rather the rebuilding, for it stands on the site of
an older house, a portion of which still exists, employing in the
decoration some of the stone carvings from the neighbouring Abbey of
Whalley, among them being noticeable two shields of arms, one bearing
the cognisance of the Lacies, the founders of that house. Sir Richard
lived during the eventful reigns of the Tudor sovereigns, and he seems
to have accommodated himself very happily to the varying circumstances
of those stirring times, conforming without scruple to the religious
changes which occurred in the days of Henry, Edward, Mary, and
Elizabeth, and to have succeeded in making considerable additions
to his patrimonial estates the while. His friend and contemporary,
Edward, Earl of Derby, told George Marsh, the Bolton martyr, that the
true religion was that which had most good luck, and this article of
faith Sir Richard Sherburn very rigidly maintained. He succeeded to
the family estates on the death of his father, Thomas Sherburn, in
1536, and two years later, being then only 15 years of age, he married
his first wife, the daughter of Sir Richard Bold. He was nominated
one of the commissioners for the suppression of the religious houses
in the reign of Henry VIII., and for the sale of the chantry lands
in that of Edward VI., and in 1544 he had the honour of knighthood
conferred upon him for his bravery at the burning of Leith. In the
first year of Edward VI., when a writ of Parliamentary summons was
re-issued to Lancaster, Liverpool, Wigan, and Preston, he was returned
as member for the last-named borough, and in the first Parliament of
Mary’s reign he was returned as knight of the shire for the county
of Lancaster, and shortly afterwards was nominated high steward and
master forester of the Forest of Bowland, where he gave evidence of his
faith in the excellency of the game laws by “vigorously prosecuting
various individuals for unlawfully hunting deer and other game within
the forest.” In the reign of Elizabeth he was associated with the Earl
of Derby, the Bishop of Chester, Sir John Radcliffe, and Sir Edward
Fitton in executing the penal laws against those who adhered to the
Romish faith, and in 1581 he was appointed by Cecil, Lord Burleigh,
along with other commissioners, to compound with the tenants who had
obtained fraudulent leases of the tithes and other properties of the
College of Manchester. Four years later he was one of the Lancashire
magistrates who promulgated an order against the profanation of the
Sabbath by “wakes, fayres, markettes, bayre-baytes, bull-baits, ales,
May-games, resortinge to alehouses in tyme of devyne service, pypinge,
and dauncinge, huntinge, and all maner of vnlawfvll gamynge.” In 1588,
on the occasion of the threatened invasion by Spain, he was one of
the eighty loyal gentlemen of Lancashire who formed themselves into
an association for the defence of Queen Elizabeth against “Popish
conspiracies,” and from the “intolerance and insolence” of the Papacy.
Baines says that he was allowed by Elizabeth, as an especial favour, to
have his chapel and his priest at Stonyhurst, but the accuracy of this
statement may very well be doubted, for it is more than probable, as
the late Canon Raines observed in the “Stanley Papers,” that “at this
time, and long afterwards, the family held the Reformed faith, nor does
it appear when they became absorbed by the Church of Rome.” Under his
munificent hand the splendid mansion of Stonyhurst arose, but death
overtook him before he had completed his work. He died July 26th, 1594,
leaving to his son and heir, Richard, among other things, “all my armor
at Stonyhurste, and all my iron to build withall, so that he fynishe
the buildinge therewith now already begonne—the leade, buildinge,
stone, and wrought tymber.”

The monument perpetuating the names of this Richard, the “fynisher”
of Stonyhurst, and his first wife, Katharine, daughter of Charles,
Lord Stourton, is affixed to the north wall of the chapel. The pair
are represented as kneeling before a faldstool or litany desk, with
their hands uplifted, as if in prayer, the figures strongly thrown out
and gorgeously coloured. The man wears a full skirted jerkin and the
Elizabethan ruffs, and his wife is habited in a long gown with a hood
falling over the top of her head. The inscription records that he was
Captain of the Isle of Man for fifteen years, and that his wife died
there in childbed of twins, “and their lieth intomb’d.” In the panel
beneath is a carving in _alto relievo_, representing the twins in bed
with their nurses watching over them.

Richard Sherburn again entered the marriage state, his second wife
being Ann, daughter of Henry Kighley, and widow of Thomas Hoghton,
of Hoghton Tower; but this lady, who died at Lea, October 30th,
1609, bore him no issue. He died in 1629, at the advanced age of
eighty-three, and was in turn succeeded by a son, also named Richard,
whose altar-shaped tomb, on which are the recumbent figures of himself
and his wife, bears a lengthy inscription recording the family history
for four generations. “He was,” it states, “an eminent sufferer for his
loyal fidelity to King Charles I. of ever blessed memory.” He lived to
see the restoration of the Stuarts, and died February 11th, 1667, aged
eighty-one years.

Another altar-tomb, on which lie the recumbent effigies of a knight
and his lady, is to the “pious memory” of Richard Sherburn, son of
the last-named, and his wife Isabel, daughter of John Ingleby, of
Lawkeland, in Yorkshire. The inscription, among other things, records
that “he built the almshouse and school at Hurst Green, and left divers
charitable gifts yearly to the several townships of Carleton, Chorley,
Hamilton, and Lagrim, in Lancashire; Wigglesworth and Guisely in this
(York) county; departing this life (in prison for loyalty to his
sovereign), at Manchester, August 16th, A.D., 1689, in the 63rd year
of his age. He, like many other of the Catholic gentry of Lancashire,
being devoted to the family of the expatriated James by hereditary
attachment and personal affection, looked upon the exiled monarch as
a martyr to his religious convictions, and could not therefore be
persuaded that he was absolved from his allegiance or at liberty to
transfer it to the Prince of Orange.” The inscription on his tomb
adds—“The said Isabel (his wife), by whom, at her own proper charge,
these four statues were erected, died April 11th, 1663, whose mortal
remains are together near hereunto deposited.”

As the “four statues,” _i.e._, of Richard Sherburn and his wife, and
his father and mother, were not erected until 1699, thirty-six years
after the lady’s death, it may be assumed that she bequeathed the funds
“necessary to defray” the cost of their erection. Whitaker, in his
“History of Whalley,” remarks that the two male figures on these tombs
are probably the latest instances (that is, of former days) of cumbent
cross-legged statues in the kingdom, and this is probably so, as it
has been commonly supposed that the latest recumbent monumental figure
is that enshrined in Westminster Abbey, and erected in 1676, to the
memory of William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle. The effigies at Mitton
were executed by Stanton, the well-known lapidary, at a cost, it is
said, of £253.

There is another monument to the memory of Richard Sherburn, eldest son
of the Richard just named, who succeeded on his father’s decease, but
enjoyed the estates only for a few months, his death occurring April
6th, 1690, when, having no issue, the Stonyhurst possessions devolved
upon his brother Nicholas, who had had the dignity of a baronetcy
conferred upon him by Charles II. during the lifetime of his father. He
was the last of the name who resided at Stonyhurst, and died without
surviving male issue December 16th, 1717. His monument was placed
beside those of his ancestors by his only surviving daughter and heir,
Maria Winifred Francesca, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. The inscription,
which is said to have been written by the duchess herself, is perhaps
unsurpassed in prolixity and extravagant adulation, and deserves to
be noted as a specimen of the way in which great families were wont,
a couple of centuries ago, to glorify themselves in their own charnel
houses, forgetting that of the long laudatory inscriptions which family
pride had made fashionable,

    One half would never be believed,
    The other never read.

Here it is:—

     This monument is to the sacred and eternal memory of Sir Nicholas
     Shireburn and his lady. Sir Nicholas Shireburn, of Stonyhurst,
     Bart., was son of Richard Shireburn, Esq., by Isabel his wife,
     daughter of John Inglesby, of Lawkeland, Esq. Nicholas Shireburn
     had by his lady, whose name was Katharine, third daughter and
     co-heir to Sir Edward Charleton, of Hesleyside, in Northumberland,
     Bart., by Mary, eldest daughter and co-heir of Sir Edward
     Widderington, of Cartington, in Northumberland, Bart., three
     children; the eldest, Isabella, died the 18th of October, 1688,
     and is buried at Rothburgh, in Northumberland, in the quire
     belonging to Cartington, where Sir Nicholas then lived; a son
     named Richard, who died June 8th, 1702, at Stonyhurst; another
     daughter named Mary, married May 26, 1709, to Thomas, Duke of
     Norfolk.—Sir Nicholas Shireburn was a man of great humanity,
     sympathy, and concern for the good of mankind, and did many
     good charitable things whiles he lived; he particularly set his
     neighbourhood a spinning of Jersey wool, and provided a man to
     comb the wool, and a woman who taught them to spin, whom he kept
     in his house, and allotted several rooms he had in one of the
     courts of Stonyhurst, for them to work in, and the neighbours
     came to spin accordingly; the spinners came every day, and span
     as long a time as they could spare, morning and afternoon, from
     their families. This continued from April, 1699, to August, 1701.
     When they had all learn’d, he gave the nearest neighbour each
     a pound or half a pound of wool ready for spinning, and wheel
     to set up for themselves, which did a vast deal of good to that
     north side of Ribble, in Lancashire. Sir Nicholas Sherburn died
     December 16, 1717. This monument was set up by the Dowager Duchess
     of Northfolk, in memory of the best of fathers and mothers, and in
     this vault designs to be interr’d herself, whenever it pleases God
     to take her out of this world.

     Lady Sherburn was a Lady of an excellent temper and fine
     sentiments, singular piety, virtue, and charity, constantly
     imployed in doing good, especially to the distressed, sick, poor,
     and lame, for whom she kept an apothecary’s shop in the house;
     she continued as long as she lived doing great good and charity;
     she died Jan. 27th, 1727. Besides all other great charities which
     Sir Nicholas and Lady Sherburn did, they gave on All Souls’ Day a
     considerable deal of money to the poor; Lady Sherburn serving them
     with her own hands that day.

Of a truth man is a noble animal—splendid in ashes and pompous in the
grave!

There is yet another inscription from the pen of the dowager duchess,
to the memory of her second husband:—

     In this vault lies the body of the Hon. Peregrin Widderington.
     The Hon. Peregrin Widderington was youngest son of William, Lord
     Widderington, who died April 17th, 1743. This Peregrin was a
     man of the strictest friendship and honour, with all the good
     qualities that accomplished a fine gentleman. He was of so amiable
     a disposition and so ingaging that he was beloved and esteemed
     by all who had the honour and happiness of his acquaintance,
     being ever ready to oblige and to act the friendly part on all
     occasions, firm and steadfast in all his principles, which were
     delicately fine and good as could be wished in any man. He was
     both sincere and agreeable in life and conversation. He was born
     May 20th, 1692, and died Feb. 4th, 1748-9. He was with his brother
     in the Preston affair, 1716, where he lost his fortune, with his
     health, by a long confinement in prison. This monument was set up
     by the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, in memory of the Hon. Peregrin
     Widderington.

Though careful to record the descent as well as the “good qualities”
and “delicately fine principles” of the amiable Peregrin, her
grace, whose grammar, by the way, is somewhat obscure, has curiously
enough, while perpetuating the fact of her previous marriage, omitted
all mention of her relationship to the dear departed, and has thus
inadvertently done an injustice to his memory as well as to her own,
for ill-natured people have wickedly suggested that their union never
had the sanction of a priest, and that, as the old sexton assured
William Howitt when he visited Mitton nearly half a century ago, the
“accomplished fine gentleman” was only a “tally husband,” a belief that
still prevails in many a cottage home in the district. The “Preston
affair,” so delicately alluded to, was the occasion when the old
Pretender, the Chevalier de St. George, made the rash and abortive
attempt to recover the Crown of England by an appeal to civil war, and
a portion of the rebel army, headed by the ill-fated Lord Derwentwater
and General Foster, penetrated as far south as Preston, where it was
met by the King’s forces, under Generals Wills and Carpenter, and
compelled to surrender; when no fewer than seven lords and 1,500 men,
including officers, were made prisoners, among them being the Hon.
Peregrin Widderington and his father, William, Lord Widderington,
the latter of whom was impeached before the House of Lords for high
treason, but afterwards reprieved and pardoned. The Widderingtons, like
the Sherburns, had for successive generations been devotedly attached
to the Stuart cause, the Lord Widderington of a former day having lost
his life at Wigan Lane on the 25th August, 1651, while bravely fighting
by the side of Lord Derby and the gallant Sir Thomas Tyldesley.

As previously stated, Sir Nicholas Sherburn was the last of the name
who resided at Stonyhurst. In his time considerable additions were
made to the mansion. He rebuilt the principal front, placed the two
eagle-crowned cupolas on the summits of the old battlemented towers,
dug out the ponds in front of the hall, and laid out the gardens
in the stiff fantastic Dutch style then fashionable; but before he
had completed the work he had the misfortune to lose his only son,
Richard Francis, a youth of nine years, who, as tradition affirms,
was poisoned with eating yew berries gathered in the dark avenue at
Stonyhurst—the fruit of

                          Some dark, lonely, evil-natured yew,
    Whose poisonous fruit—so fabling poets speak—
    Beneath the moon’s pale gleam the midnight hag doth seek.

The untimely death of his heir so affected Sir Nicholas that he
abandoned his design, quitted Stonyhurst, and never returned. A
monument to the memory of the ill-starred boy adorns the chapel at
Mitton, and among the floral decorations upon it is a bunch of yew
berries; beyond this there is no evidence of the cause of death
save the tradition which has been handed down through successive
generations, and is still implicitly believed by the village gossips.

On the death of Sir Nicholas Sherburn, in 1717, the baronetage became
extinct, and the extensive possessions of his house, in default of
a male heir, passed, in accordance with the provisions of his will,
dated August 9th of that year, after the decease of his widow, to his
only daughter, Maria Winnifred Francesca, wife (first) of Thomas,
eighth Duke of Norfolk, and (secondly), as already stated, of the Hon.
Peregrin Widderington. The duchess died without issue September 25th,
1704, and was buried, in accordance with her expressed desire, at
Mitton, when the estates reverted to the issue of her aunt Elizabeth,
sister of Sir Nicholas Sherburn, who had married William, son and heir
of Sir John Weld, of Lullworth Castle, in Dorsetshire. Edward Weld,
the grandson by this marriage, was the first to inherit the property,
and from him the estates passed in 1761 to his eldest son, Edward
Weld, Esquire, who had to his second wife Mary Anne, youngest daughter
of William Smyth, Esquire, of Brambridge, in Hampshire, who survived
him, and in her second widowhood, as the relict of Thomas Fitzherbert,
of Swinnerton, was privately married to “the first gentleman of
Europe”—George, Prince of Wales, afterwards George the Fourth. On the
death of Edward Weld, the first husband of Mrs. Fitzherbert, in 1775,
without issue, the property passed to his only surviving brother,
Thomas Weld, of Lullworth, who in 1794, when through the fury of the
French Revolution the Jesuits were driven from their college at Liege,
granted that body a lease of the Stonyhurst estate, and subsequently
the property became theirs by purchase.

Looking upon these magnificent memorials—this blazonry of human
greatness—and contrasting the achievements of the sculptor’s art as
here displayed with the bare simplicity and, until recent years, we
might have said meanness, of the sanctuary itself, from which they
are only separated by an open screen, it is difficult to avoid the
conclusion that the proud Sherburns were more concerned for the
perpetuation of their own greatness than for the honour and glory
of God. Infinitely more appropriate is the humble and prayerful
ejaculation we found graven upon the stone of poor Abbot Paslew, at
Whalley, than this ostentatious chronicling of the virtues of poor
frail humanity.

Having spent some time in the examination of the Sherburn Chapel we
stepped out into the quiet graveyard, among the grass-grown hillocks
where the “rude forefathers” tranquilly repose, and—

    Their name, their years, spelt by th’ unletter’d muse,
    The place of fame and elegy supply.

Underneath one of the windows on the north side, half hidden in docks
and nettles, we noticed the cumbent figure of a knight in armour
sculptured in stone, the counterpart of one of those we had seen
inside. There is a curious tradition connected with it. It is said that
when the effigies of the Sherburns came down from London they were a
good deal talked of in the neighbourhood. A village stonemason hearing
of the sum they had cost, and piqued at the want of appreciation of his
own skill, declared that he could have done the work equally well. This
was repeated at the hall, when the man was sent for, questioned, and
ordered to make good his boast. This he did by producing the imperfect
copy now in the churchyard, and the story adds that the Sherburns
gave him £20 in acknowledgment of his skill. On the south side of the
church yard is the circular carved head of an ancient cross that was
dug up by a former clerk; there are also several curious gravestones,
including one to the memory of an ecclesiastic, Thomas Clyderhow, the
same, probably, whose curious will, made in 1506, or rather the copy
of it, is preserved in the Townley MSS. Many members of the great
family of Talbot, as well as that of Winckley, have here found a
resting-place, and altogether Mitton is full of interest, as well from
its associations as from the secluded beauty of its situation.

But we have loitered long by the way—who would not loiter in such a
pleasant old-world nook?—and must now betake ourselves to Stonyhurst.

[Illustration]

From the silent resting-place of the Sherburns to their old ancestral
home the walk is little more than a couple of miles, and a pleasanter
bit of country is rarely traversed. Half a mile brings you to the
banks of the Hodder, where a noticeable feature meets the eye that
brings to remembrance the “twa brigs of Ayr.” At this point two bridges
bestride the river, which, by the contrast in their appearance, not
inaptly symbolise the difference between the old times and the new.
One, that by which we cross, is a comparatively modern erection, with
parapet walls and bold projecting piers; the other, which is placed
a hundred yards or so lower down, is a primitive-looking structure
of ancient date, extremely narrow, as most old bridges are, and now
only serving as a footpath to the cottages close by, though rendered
picturesque by the profuse growth of ivy and weeds upon it. The old
bridge, however, possesses more than a passing interest, and may fairly
claim to rank as one of the historic sites of Lancashire; for it was
here that Cromwell held a council of war with General Ashton, on the
16th August, 1648, when the Scots had penetrated into Lancashire,
and there was a general fear that they might reach London, in which
case the hopes of the Parliamentarians would be crushed. The Duke of
Hamilton had at the time entered the county with a large force; and
Sir Marmaduke Langdale, with another army, acting in concert, was
moving in a parallel direction. The Roundhead troopers, under General
Lambert, being insufficient in number to arrest their progress,
withdrew into Yorkshire; when Cromwell, who had just succeeded in
reducing Pembroke, marched northwards, and, forming a junction with
Lambert at Knaresborough, hastened into Lancashire to attack the
invaders. On the 16th August he arrived at the little bridge over
the Hodder, where he met Major-General Ashton, with a Lancashire
force; and, after consultation with him, determined upon the plan of
operations—the result, as is well known, bringing victory to the arms
of the invincible Ironsides and overwhelming disaster to the Royalist
cause. That night the future Lord Protector was an unbidden guest at
Stonyhurst, and was, doubtless, more free than welcome. Tradition still
points to the old oak table near the entrance, on which it affirms that
Cromwell slept, while his men bivouacked in the grounds,[26] though the
accuracy of the story may well be doubted, for the stern warrior was
hardly likely to put up with so indifferent a couch when the “Papist’s
house” afforded so much better accommodation. The next morning he
marched with his followers towards Preston, forced the bridge, and in
a conflict which lasted several hours completely routed Hamilton’s
army, the waters of the Ribble and the Darwen being crimsoned with the
lifeblood of the combatants. It was Charles’s last appeal to arms, and
when intelligence of the disaster reached him in the Isle of Wight he
told Colonel Hammond, the governor, that “it was the worst news that
ever came to England.” For the king it was; for there is little doubt
that Cromwell’s victory hastened the action of the Republicans, and
precipitated that event which the world has ever since condemned.

[Note 26: In his despatch to the Speaker of the House of Commons,
Cromwell says: “That night quartered the whole army in the field by
Stonyhurst Hall, being Mr. Sherburn’s house, a place nine miles distant
from Preston;” and Captain Hodgson, an officer who accompanied him,
writes: “We pitched our camp at Stanyhares Hall, a Papist’s house, one
Sherburn’s.”]

[Illustration]

But we are wandering from our story, and more peaceful scenes await
us. As we approached the Hodder the sun shone full and strong, and
flashed and glittered upon its rippling surface, broken at the time
into innumerable wavelets where the full-uddered kine were plunging and
wading in the shallows to cool themselves after the heat of the bright
summer day. Half a mile or so up the river, half hidden among the
trees on the hillside, we catch sight of the Hodder Place, or Hodder
House, as it is sometimes called—a kind of novitiate or preparatory
school in connection with the seminary at Stonyhurst. After crossing
the river, our road lay along a wild old wandering lane that winds away
to the left, rising and failing in a succession of gentle eminences,
filled with quiet nooks, whose vernal shade tempts you to relax your
speed and while away the passing hours in listless contemplation of
the wealth of beauty that Nature, with lavish hand, has spread around.
Then a steep ascent occurs, and as we mount the stony and intricate
path we look through the tangled vegetation to the green links of
undulating woodland and the distant hills that swell gently into the
blue of infinite space, and now and then get a glimpse of the tall
towers and dome-crowned cupolas of Stonyhurst shooting above the rich
umbrage that environs them. Then another climb, and we are in front of
the old mansion of the Sherburns, though, in truth, it now presents a
different aspect to that it must have done when Sir Nicholas “set his
neighbourhood a spinning of Jersey wool,” and my Lady Sherburn—playing
the part of Lady Bountiful—“kept an apothecary’s shop in the house,”
and distributed her alms to her poorer neighbours “with her own hands.”

Before venturing upon a description of the building, let us refer for a
moment to the account which Dr. Whitaker, in his “History of Whalley,”
gives of the circumstances that led the disciples of Ignatius Loyola
to establish a seminary in this picturesque corner of busy, practical
Lancashire:—

     On the north-west border of the county is the ancient seat of
     the Shireburn family. After the death of Sir Nicholas Shireburn,
     Bart., in 1720, it was possessed by his daughter Mary, Duchess of
     Norfolk, till 1754. It then became the property of Edward Weld,
     Esq., of Lullworth Castle, Dorset, whose son, the late Thomas
     Weld, Esq., converted it, in 1794, into a college, or house of
     education, for young pupils of the Roman Catholic religion.
     This gentleman’s benevolent view was to facilitate the means
     of religious and literary instruction for persons of his own
     persuasion, who had now lost all the resources which the British
     transmarine colleges and seminaries had afforded during two
     hundred years. He had received his education among the English
     Jesuits abroad, and he had witnessed the violent seizure and
     ejection of his old masters from their College of St. Omer, which
     was perpetrated by the French Parliament of Paris in 1762. This
     college was one of the principal houses of education which the
     British Catholics had formed on the continent, while the severity
     of the penal laws prohibited such institutions in their own
     country. The English fathers of the society, not disheartened by
     persecution, proceeded to form new establishments, for the same
     purpose of education, in the Austrian Netherlands, and again in
     the city of Liege; and they were dislodged, pillaged, and ejected,
     with similar injustice and violence, by the governments which
     admitted the suppression of their order, by Pope Clement XIV. in
     1773, and finally, by the revolutionary armies of France in 1794.
     In their uttermost distress they took advantage of the humane
     lenity of our Government, which allowed them to settle and to open
     schools for pupils of their own religion, under security of the
     oath of civil allegiance which was prescribed by the Act of 1791.
     Under the immediate protection of Thomas Weld, Esq., the gentlemen
     expelled from Liege by the French conducted the small remnant of
     their flourishing seminary to Stonyhurst; and, in the course of
     twenty-one years, by unremitting industry, they have improved it
     into a distinguished seminary and house of education, of which
     they justly acknowledge Thomas Weld, Esq., as the founder and
     principal benefactor. It is filled at present (1816) by more than
     two hundred and fifty students of the Roman Catholic religion,
     sent thither from most parts of the world; and their established
     reputation for good order and regularity has justly procured for
     them the countenance and favour of their neighbours.

An amusing story is related of the eagerness of the students of Liege
to get possession of their new quarters in Lancashire. Tradition says
that the last person to quit the college at Liege was George Lambert
Clifford, and that he was the first to enter the new institution at
Stonyhurst. Another student, Charles Brooke, was equally anxious for
the honour; and when they came in sight of the building both ran at
their utmost speed down the avenue. Brooke reached the entrance first;
but Clifford, arriving almost at the same moment, and seeing a window
open, scrambled through it, and so entered the building while his
competitor was waiting for admission by the ordinary way.

In addition to that from Mitton, there is another road by which
Stonyhurst may be reached, leading up from Hurst Green—a little village
near the bottom of the hill, half a mile away, and past the cemetery.
The approach is by a broad avenue of spreading trees, a quarter of a
mile in length, the vista being terminated by the principal front of
the mansion, half revealed through the leafy screen, and which gains
in importance and architectural effect by its natural surroundings. At
the end of the avenue the road is flanked on each side by an ornamental
sheet of water, part of the old pleasure grounds as laid out in the
stiff and formal fashion prevalent in the time of the last Sherburn;
and, beyond, a dwarf wall is carried across, forming the boundary of
the court. In the centre is an ample gateway, with ornamental gateposts
on each side; and from this point the entire front of the mansion, in
all its stately proportions, appears in view.

[Illustration: STONYHURST.]

As previously stated, Sir Nicholas Sherburn made considerable additions
to the old home; but was prevented from carrying out to their fullest
extent the plans he had prepared, through the untimely death of his
only son. The work, however, which he left undone has been completed on
an even more extensive scale by the present owners. A college church
and other buildings have also been erected to meet the requirements of
the institution; and altogether the place presents a much more imposing
appearance than it could at any time have done during its occupancy by
the Sherburns. The chief feature in the main façade is the entrance
tower, which forms the central compartment, and is advanced slightly
from the line of the main structure. It is a handsome erection,
essentially Italian in character, though exhibiting some details of the
late Tudor type, and is ascribed, though erroneously as we believe, to
Inigo Jones. The basement is occupied by an arched portal, forming the
chief entrance, and is surmounted by an ornamental cornice supported on
each side by double-fluted columns, above which is a carved escutcheon,
with the arms of the Sherburns quartered with those of the Bayleys—the
family through whom they acquired the Stonyhurst property. The “red
hand” of Ulster is also displayed—an evidence that the shield must
have been placed there in the time of Sir Nicholas Sherburn, he being
the only member of the house who had the baronetcy. The three upper
stories are each pierced with a square window, mullioned and transomed
and flanked with coupled columns, similar to those on the basement. An
embattled parapet surmounts the structure, and in the rear rise two
octagonal towers, covered with dome-like cupolas crowned with eagles.
These latter were erected in 1712 for the modest sum of £50, as
appears by the “artickles of agreement” made in that year and still
preserved among the Stonyhurst muniments. From the entrance tower
two wings extend, one on each side, both being similar in style and
dimensions, though they are of different dates; that on the south being
coeval with the tower itself, whilst the one on the north was erected
so recently as 1842. From the south-west angle a corridor extends at
right angles, connecting the main building with the chapel, a handsome
Gothic edifice in the florid or perpendicular style of architecture,
erected in 1835, from the designs of Mr. Scoles, of London, and
resembling very much in external aspect that splendid monument of
mediæval art—the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge.

The recollection of the doings of the order which at one time exercised
such a powerful influence over the cabinets and councils of Europe, if
it did not create a feeling of awe, at least induced one of curiosity
to see the system pursued in what has been the _alma mater_ of so many
members of that notable fraternity. Though we had omitted to provide
ourselves with that customary “open sesame,” a letter of introduction,
our request to see over the establishment was at once courteously
complied with.

Passing beneath the great arched portal and along a corridor on the
left we were ushered into a waiting-room the walls of which are hung
with a series of views, engravings, and photographs representing
the hall of Stonyhurst at different periods of its history. The
attendant then led the way into a paved court directly opposite the
principal entrance. It is quadrangular in form, and from it you can
note the general disposition of the buildings, their architectural
characteristics, and the difference between the old and the new work.
The additions harmonise and exhibit a striking unity with the general
features of the pile, while possessing the conveniences required by
the present occupants. Altogether it conveys the idea of the ancient
baronial hall erected when the manor house had disengaged itself from
the castle, and law having succeeded to the reign of the strong hand,
beauty and ornament were considered more than strength and resistance.
The south side is the more ancient, the greater part having been
erected during the lifetime of Sir Nicholas Sherburn, though there are
some remains of a still earlier date. There are unmistakable evidences,
however, of substantial repairs having been made at the time the house
was transferred to the Jesuit Fathers, and the leaden waterspouts bear
the date 1694, the year they acquired possession. A handsome oriel
projects from the main wall, and beneath is a doorway giving admission
to the range of apartments on this side of the building; there are also
indications of several other doors that formerly existed, but in the
rearrangement of the interior they have been built up. The north wing,
which has been added in recent times, is of corresponding form and
dimensions, though much plainer in detail, its severity of character
almost approaching to baldness.

Entering by the door beneath the oriel on the south side we pass into
a corridor that runs the entire length of the wing. At the western end
is an antiquated apartment lighted by a five-light pointed window with
traceried head, the old chapel or domestic oratory of the Sherburns,
but now used for school purposes. Quitting this room we are next
conducted through a series of corridors, galleries, and apartments,
a detailed description of which is not only beyond our purpose but
would be wearying to the reader. Among them is a room deserving of
especial notice—the refectory—the banquetting hall of the former
lords of Stonyhurst, which, though it has been extended at one end
and subjected to other alterations, still retains many of its ancient
features unimpaired. It is a spacious apartment, ninety feet by
twenty-seven feet, with two recessed oriels and a fireplace capacious
enough to roast an ox. It is fitted up in a style harmonising with its
ancient characteristics, and is very suggestive of the abundance and
lavish hospitality that were here displayed in bygone days; when the
“two-hooped pot” was indeed a “four-hooped pot,” and fell felony it was
to drink small beer. The floor is of marble, arranged in lozenge-like
patterns, and a raised daïs or platform of the same material extending
across the southern end terminates in the oriel recesses before
referred to. The walls have the addition of a dado of oak and an
elaborately ornamented frieze in relief. Across the northern end is
a gallery protected by an open balustrade, adorned in front with the
head and antlers of the moose deer and other trophies of the chase, and
having the following inscription carved beneath:—

     QUANT JE PUIS. HUGO SHERBURN ARMIG, ME FIERI FECIT. ANNO DOMINI
     1523. ET SICUT FUIT SIC FIAT.

Over the fireplace is the Sherburn coat of arms, with the motto,
“_Quant je Puis_,” and the date, MDCLXXXIX. A large number of portraits
are placed against the walls, many of them those of distinguished
alumni of Stonyhurst, while others are again commemorated by their
heraldic shields in painted glass placed in the two oriel windows. At
one end of the room is a large painting, the “Immaculate Conception,”
which is said to be an original of Murillo.

Contiguous to the great dining-room is the library and museum,
which may be reckoned among the chief attractions of the place. The
library certainly contains a remarkably fine collection of works,
including many of extreme rarity and value. There are about thirty
thousand volumes in all, and the collection of ancient MSS., missals,
black-letter books, and examples of early typography are especially
interesting. Upon shelves reaching from floor to ceiling, in galleries
and recesses, upon tables and in glass cases, and, in short, in every
nook and corner, are these literary treasures displayed. A world of
thought, a mighty mass of intellectual matter, is spread about, before
which the haughty Aristarch himself, without any consciousness of
humiliation, might have doffed “the hat which never veiled to human
pride.” Every school of thought, every department of literature is
represented; here are sombre-looking folios of ancient date that
scholars of the old English school might well delight in, and there,
dapper duodecimos of the present age to gratify the taste of the modern
dilettante reader whose platonic love of literature is influenced more
by the external vanities—the gold and glitter without than the solid
thought within. Among these curiosities of book-craft, and especially
deserving of note, is a copy of Caxton’s “Boke of Eneydos” (1490), a
translation of a French novel partly based upon the Æneid of Virgil,
which provoked the anger of Gavin Douglas, who savagely attacked Caxton
for translating a book from the French, professing to be a translation
of Virgil when it had nothing to do with it—

    Clepaud et Virgil in Eneados
    Quihilk that he sayes of French he did translait.
    It has nothing ado therewith, God wate,
    Nor na mare like than the Devil and Sanct Austin.

There is also an imperfect copy of that remarkable work, the “Golden
Legend”—the first attempt to render hagiology amenable to the laws
of reason and decency, and which from its containing a translation
into English of the whole of the Pentateuch, and a great part of the
Gospels, became one of the principal instruments in preparing the way
for the Reformation. The first edition of the work was printed by
Caxton in folio 1483-4, the Stonyhurst copy is of the date 1493, and
must, therefore, be the third, the one generally accepted as having
issued from the press of Wynkyn de Worde, and of which only nine copies
are known to exist. A singularly interesting relic, screened in a
glass case, is a small prayer-book which tradition affirms to be the
identical one that Mary Queen of Scots carried with her to the scaffold
when she was beheaded. It is said to have been given by her confessor
to the library at Douay; subsequently it was transferred to the college
at Liege, from which place it found its way to Stonyhurst when its
owners removed there. It is remarkable for the sharpness and beauty
of the type, which bears a close resemblance to the court-hand of the
Tudor period, as well as for the richness of the binding. The cover is
of crimson silk velvet, embossed, with the words “Maria” and “Regina”
in silver gilt capitals, with the arms of France and England quartered,
and a crown, rose, and pomegranate. If this book ever belonged to the
Queen of Scots there is good reason to believe that it must previously
have been owned by her kinswoman and namesake, Mary of England, for
the reason that the pomegranate was the emblem of Spain, and one of the
badges of Catherine of Arragon, and Mary herself used as a device the
pomegranate and rose combined.

Another feature of the library is the collection of ancient illuminated
missals, the largest and probably the most beautiful in the kingdom.
There is also a copy of the Gospel of St. John, believed to have been
transcribed in the seventh century, and said to have been found in
the tomb of St. Cuthbert in Durham Cathedral, and a MS. copy of the
Homilies of Pope Gregory, attributed to Simon, Abbot of St Albans, in
the twelfth century. In another room is the valuable collection of
books presented to the college in 1834 by the Lady Mary Ann, widow of
James Everard, tenth Lord Arundell of Wardour, and numbering about five
thousand volumes.

The contents of the museum at Stonyhurst are many and varied; some are
ancient, some modern, some of great historic interest, and some, it may
be said, of little or no interest at all. To learn what they are we
must yield ourselves and listen _auribus patulis_ to the descriptions
of our courteous cicerone, who is familiar with the history and uses
of each and all. Here we find displayed the cap, rosary, seal, and
reliquary of that impersonation of goodness and incorruptibility, Sir
Thomas More, and near it a fragment of chain mail taken from one of the
dusky warriors of King Theodore; porphyry from the ruins of ancient
Carthage, and pistols that played a part in the fight at Navarino;
chips from the cedars of Mount Lebanon, and prize cups of silver
awarded to shorthorns of the Stonyhurst breed, for be it known that
Papal bulls are not the only ones with which the Jesuit Fathers at
Stonyhurst have concerned themselves. Now our attention is drawn to the
seals of James the Second and Fenelon, and to a quaint old jewel case
of lapis lazuli once possessed by Queen Christina of Sweden; and anon
to the tobacco pouch of a Sioux Indian; next we are shown a huge rusty
key that belonged to the far-famed abbey of Bolton, and an antique
gold ring turned up by the plough near Hoghton Tower some years ago
with the arms of Langton on the seal, and the motto “_De bon cuer_” on
the inner side, and that, for aught we know, may have been dropped at
the time of that lawless foray in 1589 which cost Thomas Hoghton, the
builder of Hoghton Tower, his life, and lost the manor of Lea to the
proud family of the Langtons. Here is a bit of masonry brought from one
of the Holy Places, and there a bullet taken from the body of a British
soldier at Sebastopol. Indian bows and arrows, swords, spears, and
other implements of warfare are exposed to view, with grim relics from
Waterloo, the Crimea, and Lucknow, that call up mingled memories of
bloodshed and bravery. Many of the curiosities are deposited in glass
cases to protect them from the touch of the vulgar or profane; there
are ivory carvings of wonderful workmanship; crucifixes, triptychs, and
devotional tablets; ancient bronzes, Papal medals, seals, and coins of
every nation under the sun, sufficient in number and variety to turn
the head of a numismatist and set the student of history a-thinking of
the changes the whirligig of time has brought about, and the dynasties
that have risen and passed away since they received the impresses they
still display.

From the library we return through the dining-hall to an apartment
named, from its proportions, the Long Room, occupied chiefly as a
museum of natural history. Tables run the entire length, filled with
geological and mineralogical specimens illustrative of every epoch
in the world’s history; precious stones of every hue; fossil remains
and skeletons of creatures of various kinds; delicately-tinted
shells, and eggs of every shape and size; butterflies, beetles, and
birds the splendour of whose plumage would defy the painter’s art to
imitate, many of them the gift of a former student of the college,
the distinguished naturalist and genial, hospitable, and cultivated
gentleman, Charles Waterton. Another room is fitted up with mechanical
appliances, models of steam engines, &c., and adjoining it is one
devoted to the purposes of a laboratory.

One of the great attractions of the place is the Sodality Chapel,
as it is called, devoted to the use of the students whilst “saying
their office,” small, but a very marvel of architectural skill and
decorative art. As we pass through the ante-chapel our attention is
arrested by a large plaster model of Auchterman’s celebrated sculpture,
the Dead Christ supported by the Virgin, placed there to commemorate
the services of Father Clough, who for a period of twelve years was
rector or principal of the college. The Sodality Chapel was erected
in 1856 from the designs of Mr. C. A. Buckler, of Oxford. It is
Gothic in character of the 15th century period, and is remarkable for
the elaborate carving and sculpture, and the profuse decoration in
polychrome displayed. There is an apsidal termination lighted by three
two-light windows with oak traceried panelling carried round; the altar
has wreathed columns of alabaster, and the reredos is of stone and
alabaster, with a statue of the Virgin in the centre, surmounted by a
richly-decorated canopy. The windows are filled with stained glass,
the work of Hardman, of Birmingham. Close to this beautiful example of
Gothic art is the Community Chapel, in which the students attend mass
every morning.

As previously stated, there is another church connected with the
institution, St Peter’s, erected nearly half a century ago, and of much
larger dimensions, being intended for the use of the neighbourhood as
well as that of the inmates of the college. It will accommodate about
1,500 worshippers, and, considering the date of its erection, will bear
favourable comparison with many of the Gothic structures of more recent
years. Painting, carving, and sculpture have been freely employed,
with everything that could add to that architectural effect the love
of which forms so distinguishing a feature of the Roman Church.
The interior, with its spacious nave, its “long drawn” aisles, its
lofty arches, and its elegant oak-panelled roof, has a very imposing
appearance. The high altar has a reredos behind, rich in carving, and
above is a magnificent window divided into five lights with a traceried
head, and subdivided by double transoms into fifteen compartments,
each filled with the image of one of the apostles or saints in stained
glass, while the storied windows of the clerestory “shoot down a
stained and shadowy stream of light.” Within the sanctuary are two
niches occupied with statues of SS. Peter and Paul, and we also noticed
two coloured frescoes, the work of Wurm and Fischer, of Munich, the one
representing Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the order, administering
the communion to his first missionary companions, and the other, St.
Francis Xavier, “the apostle of India and Japan,” who threw around
the society the lustre of poetry in action, and “the mists of the
wonderful, if not the dignity of historic heroism,” preaching to the
Indians, some of whom are represented as breaking their idols in his
presence.

The college chapel, as we have said, is situated near the south-west
angle of the main structure. Occupying very nearly a corresponding
position at the north-west side is the hospital, connected with the
main building by a broad corridor, the walls of which are hung with
portraits and engravings.

Any notice of Stonyhurst would be incomplete that did not make mention
of the gardens and pleasure grounds. Though somewhat diminished in
size by the additions made from time to time to the college buildings,
they remain pretty much in the same stiff and formal style in which
they were laid out a couple of centuries ago. They are pleasant in
themselves and pleasantly situated, commanding as they do a widespread
view of the surrounding country, a country rich in everything that
can beautify or adorn the landscape. A curious feature noticeable is
the lofty, solid, well-trimmed walls of yew which extend in various
directions. Though more remarkable for their quaintness than their
natural beauty, they furnish a pleasant shade for the students,
and have a certain air of antiquity that well accords with the
surroundings. In one part of the grounds is a large circular bowling
green, on the edge of which is placed the Roman altar found among some
rubbish in the neighbourhood in 1834, and evidently the one found at
Ribchester which Camden saw in 1603. It originally bore an inscription
setting forth that it was dedicated by a Captain of the Asturians to
the mother-goddesses, but this can now only in part be deciphered, the
greater portion of the lettering having become obliterated by exposure
to the weather. The following is Camden’s rendering:—

                             DEIS MATRIBVS
                              M. INGENVI
                             VS. ASIATICVS
                             DEC. AL. AST.
                              SS. LL. M.

Within the garden is a capacious circular basin, in the centre of
which, on a square pedestal, is the figure of a man in chains, said
to be that of Atilius Regulus; and near thereto is the observatory,
a building consisting of a central octagon and four projecting
transepts, fitted up with every necessary scientific appliance. The
kitchen gardens are on the south-east side, and eastward of them is
the famous “Dark Walk,” a long avenue of firs, cedars, and yews, very
patriarchs of their kind, that meet overhead, and impart a green tinge
to everything around, creating a solemn and mysterious gloom, fitted
for reflection and the meditations of the religious devotee—a solemn,
cool, and shady retreat—a very grove of Academe, and the place of all
others to dream away a summer afternoon. These trees must have budded
and flourished through long centuries of time; successive generations
of Sherburns have paced beneath their vernal shade; here the tender
tale, the word that sums all bliss, the—

                Sweet chord that harmonises all
    The harps of Paradise,

has doubtless oft been breathed to the fair daughters of the house; and
here, if tradition is to be believed, the last scion of the Sherburns
plucked the poisonous fruit that terminated a long and illustrious race.

The college at Stonyhurst has accommodation for 300 students, and we
were informed at the time of our visit that, including the pupils at
the Hodder House, about 250 were receiving instruction. It does not
come within our province to enter into the scholastic arrangements of
the place or the educational course pursued, and the domestic life of
the establishment is a subject too lengthy for our notice. It may be
said, however, that everything which efficient teaching can accomplish
is done; everything that skill and ingenuity and means can provide in
the shape of scientific and mechanical appliances to aid the efforts
of the teacher is there. As you pass along the corridors, and through
the halls and classrooms, you are struck with the quietude, the order,
and the perfect discipline which prevail. Morality among the students
is maintained by the strictest supervision, and equal care is bestowed
in the development of their mental powers, with the natural result
that the institution has earned the fullest confidence of its Catholic
patrons, while its pupils have given proof of the excellence of their
training by their scholarly attainments, and the distinctions so many
of them have earned in the competition for honours at the examinations
of the London University. The life at Stonyhurst is one in which
teacher and taught are in kindly sympathy with each other, and where
associations are formed productive of quiet happiness to the one and
joy and gladness to the other.

After our perambulation of the college we lingered for some time in
the gardens enjoying the prospect from the high ground, looking across
the broad fertile valleys of the Ribble and the Calder to the bleak
ridges of Pendle and the wooded heights of Bowland Forest. Daylight
was melting away into the soft warm haze of a summer eve, deepening in
splendour the woods and meads and darkening hills beyond. A peaceful
calm pervaded the scene, the stillness being only broken as now and
then some feathered warbler trilled out its evening lay, or the wind
rustled with plaintive cadence through the trees that waved sleepily
overhead, making a dreamy lullaby. Then, as the sun circling towards
the glowing west, and the chapel bell summoning the collegiates
to vespers, warned us of the approach of night, we bade adieu to
Stonyhurst, and, descending by a steep path that winds round the edge
of a thick wood, were soon wending our way along the quiet old country
lanes to our quarters at Whalley.

[Illustration: ADLINGTON HALL.]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER VIII.

ADLINGTON AND ITS EARLIER LORDS—THE LEGHS—THE LEGEND OF THE SPANISH
LADY’S LOVE—THE HALL.


Cheshire, says Speed, in his “Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain”
(1606), “may well be said to be a seed-plot of gentilitie and the
producer of many most ancient and worthy families.” Smith says that
“it is the mother and nurse of gentility of England;” and, if we
may believe the author of “The Noble and Gentle Men of England,” it
contains at the present day a larger number of old county families than
any other English shire of equal size. “Cheshire, Chief of Men,” or, as
it is versified,

    Cheshire, famed for chief of men,
    High in glory soars again,

is a popular proverb in the palatinate, though Grose maliciously
insinuates that the Cheshire men fabricated the proverb themselves. If,
however, Menestrier’s definition of a gentleman, that he must be one
“_de nom d’armes et de cir_,” holds good, then the men of Cheshire may
pride themselves upon a lineage unsurpassed by the gentry of any other
county. Among those who have brought renown, the Leghs have ever held a
foremost place, and have proved themselves the worthy compeers of the
Grosvenors, the Egertons, the Davenports, and other of the valiant men
of Cheshire whose names are

    Writ in the annals of their country’s fame.

Adlington, the ancestral home of one of the older branches of this
widespread family, is a pleasant old mansion, possessing, besides its
own particular attractions as a good specimen of the half-timbered
manor house of bygone days, much that is interesting in its memories
and associations. It lies, too, in the midst of a spacious park,
prettily feathered with woodlands, and environed with much rural
beauty, so that it is altogether a pleasant place to spend a summer day
in—a spot where you may find enough to occupy your thoughts without
satiety or weariness.

The railway carries you within a hundred yards or so of the park-gates.
A roadside inn—the Unicorn’s Head—(the crest of the Leghs), and a few
picturesque cottages, with cunningly devised porches of open rustic
work, and little plots of garden in front, gay with flowers of every
hue—tall lilies and roses that sway their heads in the passing breeze,
and sweet-scented creepers that trail around and half hide the little
old-fashioned windows—constitute what there is of village. Close by
the station, and abutting upon the high-road, is the old smithy. As we
go by, the smith is hard at work, the sparks fly merrily, and under
the ponderous strokes of his hammer the anvil rings as melodiously as
it did a hundred years ago, when, on a bright morning, Handel, while
taking a constitutional with his host, Charles Legh, of Adlington,
listened to it and first conceived the idea of the “Harmonious
Blacksmith,” the score of which he wrote down immediately on his return
to the hall, where it was long preserved. The park, which is well
stocked with deer, is of considerable extent, varied and picturesque,
and marked by much unrestrained beauty; for Art and Nature seem both
to have stopped short of “improvement,” and to have given Time the
opportunity of softening the harsh outline of man’s labours. It is not
too tamely kept, however, nor yet too rigidly subjected to rule, the
open lawns and broad sunny glades being chequered with clumps of wood
and sturdy trees—

    Whose boughs are moss’d with age,
    And high top bald with dry antiquity,

whilst through the grassy meads and beneath the woodland shade,
pranked with a thousand silvery shapes of beauty, the freakish Deane—

                                A gentle stream,
    Adown the vale its serpent courses winds,
    Seen here and there through breaks of trees to gleam,
    Gilding their dancing boughs with noon’s reflected beam,

as it hastens on to mingle its waters with the Bollin, and unite with
it in helping the Mersey to do honour to the British Tyre. It is a
lovely summer day, with just sufficient breeze to cool the overheated
atmosphere, and give a pleasant and invigorating freshness to it;
the sunbeams are dappling the rich sward with their playful and
ever-changing patches of light, and the air is balmy with the odours
of the new-mown hay. The lark carols joyously in the bright blue sky,
the insects are busy in the tall grass, and the lowing of the kine in
the distant meadows, the merry song of the haymakers spreading out
the fresh-cut swaths, and the creaking of the waggon as it bears its
fragrant load to the stackyard, blending together, make a rustic music
delighting to the heart of him who loves the sounds of country life.

As we leisurely wend our way along the broad gravelled path we have
time to note the more prominent features of the surrounding country;
and assuredly there are few localities in the county where the scenery
is more agreeably diversified, the prospect embracing—

                    Hill and dale, and wood and lawn,
    And verdant fields, and darkening heath between,
    And villages embosomed soft in trees.

A long line of stately chestnut trees bounds one side of the walk.
Eastward the view is limited by a range of undulating eminences
that stretch along the line of the horizon, dark, shadowy, and
lonely-looking, in places, a kind of mountain wall—the outwork, so to
speak, of the Peak hills beyond—with upland pastures and sweet verdant
slopes, green where the grass has been newly mown, and tinged with
yellow where the grain is ripening in the bright August sunshine,
showing where man has encroached upon Nature’s wild domain, and what
good husbandry has won from the bleak wastes that once formed part of
the great forest of Macclesfield. Hidden from view in a green, cup-like
hollow in the hills is the “lordly house of Lyme,” that calls up
memories of the deeds at Crescy, in which the flower of the Cheshire
chivalry were engaged; for it was in acknowledgment of the seasonable
aid Sir Thomas Danyers rendered to the “Boy Prince,” when on that
bloody field his Royal father bade him “win his spurs and the honour of
the day for himself,” that Richard the Second bestowed the fair domain
of Lyme upon Sir Piers Legh, a younger son of the house of Adlington,
who had wed Sir Thomas’s daughter. Just above the hall the “Knight’s
Low” lifts its tree-crowned summit; tradition hovers around it, and
tells us that far back in the mist of ages a knightly owner of Lyme
there found his resting-place.

Peeping out from the thick umbrage on the adjacent height we get a
glimpse of the modern mansion of Shrigley—the successor of an ancient
house that for full five centuries and a half was the abode of the
once famous, though now extinct, family of Downes; the chiefs of which
held the hereditary forestership of Downes and Taxal, in the Royal
forest of Macclesfield, with the right of hanging and drawing within
their jurisdiction, and further claimed the privilege of holding the
King’s stirrup when he came a-hunting in the forest, as well as of
rousing the stag for his amusement; in allusion to which office they
bore a white hart upon their shield of arms, with a stag’s head for
crest. But Shrigley has other associations. In more recent times the
name was identified with an outrageous case of abduction—the carrying
off and pretended marriage of the youthful heiress of that pleasant
domain by the notorious adventurer, Edward Gibbon Wakefield, in 1826.
Below, where the great break occurs in the mountainous ridge, and the
hills look as if riven asunder by the stroke of a giant’s hand, lies
the little town of Bollington, where the cotton trade has established
itself, and the tall chimneys—the “steam towers,” as Crabbe calls
them—do their best, though in a small way, it is true, to detract from
the natural beauties of the landscape. The hill which terminates the
ridge nearest to us bears the name of the Nab, and the one that bounds
the opposite side of the defile, the summit of which is crowned with
a whitewashed summer-house that gleams brightly in the sunshine, is
popularly known as White Nancy. With White Nancy the Kerridge hills,
famed for their freestone quarries, come in view. The name (Cær Ridge)
suggests the idea that the Romans had a camp or minor station in the
vicinity, and the opinion is strengthened by the fact that one of their
highways led eastwards over the rocky ridge.

Southwards, near the foot of the Kerridge range, lies the old and
somewhat dingy-looking town of Macclesfield, the view of which is,
however, happily shut out by intervening plantations and the eminence
on which stands Bonishall, for a time the residence of Lord Erskine,
the grandson of the distinguished Lord Chancellor, and occupying
the site of an older house, where, in the days of the Virgin Queen,
a branch of the Pigots of Butley, had their abode. Round towards
the right, through the openings in the dark belt of trees, the long
crescent-like sweep of Alderley Edge is seen rising sheer from the
plain to a considerable elevation, and extending a couple of miles or
so, with its rough projecting rocks full of changeful picturesqueness
of indentation, and rich in their exquisite variety of form and
colour. The steep slopes are clothed with vegetation and crested with
a miniature forest of pines and fir trees that mingle their dark-hued
verdure with the brighter foliage of the oak and the birch, making a
little fairyland of woodland beauty, the natural charm of which is
heightened by the cloud-shadows gliding slowly across. With a keen eye
Stormy Point can be discerned standing out a mass of sombre crag, in
striking contrast to the scenery around. The Beacon close by reminds
us of the troublous times when our grandfathers were in daily dread of
invasion, and erected this signal that they might pass the warning on
should their Gallic neighbours put foot on British soil. The Edge is
not without its tale of wonder, nor will it lose the recollection of
it while the sign of “The Wizard” adorns the neighbouring hostelry, or
“The Iron Gates” that of its rival. But we are not now concerned with
the legend of the countless milk-white steeds or the nine hundred and
ninety-nine slumbering knights—“the wondrous cavern’d band”—

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

Our walk has brought us to the lawn in front of the mansion, but before
we enter let us take a glance at the past history of the house and its
possessors.

Before the days of Duke William, the Norman conqueror, Adlington formed
part of the demesne of the Saxon Earl of Mercia. The name is supposed
by some authorities to be derived from the Saxon words _adeling_
(noble), and _ton_ (a town), but in the Doomsday Book it is written
Edulvintone, signifying Edwin’s town, the inference being that Edwin,
then Earl of Mercia, a grandson of Earl Leofric and that fair Lady
Godiva whose memory the good people of Coventry delight to honour, had
a residence here, and this is the more probable origin. The account
in the great Norman survey is summed up in the word “Wasta,” from
which it is clear that the district had at that time been devastated
or laid waste by the invaders, and the reason of this is not far to
seek, though the story is not without a spice of romance. Edwin and
his brother Morcar, Earl of Northumberland, were two of Harold’s chief
generals at the battle of Hastings. Knowing the power and influence
they possessed throughout the country north of the Trent, William set
himself diligently to discover the means of effecting their overthrow.
The Saxons generally were more impassioned than politic, and Edwin,
having conceived an affection for the conqueror’s daughter, Adela,
consented to abdicate his position as a condition of obtaining that
princess’s hand. As far as a Norman word could bind she was given to
him, whereupon he laid down his arms and undertook to pacify and to
bring over to the invader nearly a third of the kingdom. Immediately
he had done so the treacherous William, feeling himself secure, broke
the promise he had given and refused to accept him for his son-in-law.
Stung with the insult thus offered to himself and his house, Edwin
and his brother flew to arms, and roused their countrymen into open
revolt. The brave Saxons entered into a solemn league and covenant to
expel the foreigners from their soil, or perish in the attempt. Famine,
pestilence, and war did their worst. The Normans devoted themselves
on the one hand to havoc, ruin, and desolation; while on the other,
the outraged Saxons dealt death around them wherever they had the
power. The foreigner was bent upon extermination, and between him and
the native Saxon no intercourse existed save that of revenge and a
rivalry as to which should inflict the greatest amount of injury upon
the other. As a consequence, the country was drenched with slaughter
and made the scene of violation, rapine, and murder. In the bloody
conflict no place suffered more than this part of Cheshire, the
frequent occurrence of the phrase “Wasta” in the survey evidencing the
destruction accomplished by fire and sword. After fruitless struggles,
Edwin, with a small band of followers, fled towards Scotland, but
being overtaken near the coast he turned upon his pursuers. A fierce
resistance was made, in which he was slain, when his head was cut off
and sent as a trophy to the victorious William, and so perished the
first owner of Adlington of whom history has furnished us with any
particulars.

On the death of Edwin the manor with other of his possessions were
given by the Conqueror to that pious profligate, Hugh d’Avranches,
surnamed Lupus, whom he had created Palatine Earl of Chester, and
who, being more concerned for the pleasures of the chase than the
cultivation of the soil, appears to have retained Adlington in his own
hands as a hunting seat, for in the Norman Survey it is mentioned as
then having no less than seven “hays” (deer-fences or enclosures in
which deer could be driven) and four aeries of hawks. It remained in
the possession of the Norman earls until the time of John Scot, the
seventh and last, who died without male heirs, when Henry the Third,
with somewhat indistinct ideas with regard to _meum_ and _tuum_,
took the earldom into his own hands, deprived Earl John’s sisters of
their heritage, and so sowed the seeds of discontent that produced a
plentiful crop of troubles for King Henry’s grandson when he succeeded
to the crown.

Immediately after this high-handed procedure Adlington is found in
the possession of Hugh de Corona, who would appear to have held it
by a grant direct from the Crown, for a Crown rental was payable for
the manor for centuries. He also held the superior lordship of Little
Neston-cum-Hargrave, in the Hundred of Wirral, as well as lands in
Penisby, in the same hundred, formerly belonging to the hospital of St.
John, at Chester. By his wife Amabella, daughter of Thomas de Bamville,
of Storeton, near Chester, he had, in addition to a son, Hugh, two
daughters—Sarah, to whom he gave his lands in Penisby, and Lucy, who
became the wife of Sir William Baggaley, or Baguley, according to the
modern orthography, whose monumental effigy has lately been placed in
the old hall at Baguley.[27] In 1316 Hugh de Corona gave the whole of
his manors of Parva Neston and Hargrave, excepting a third part of the
same held in dower by his wife Lucy, and the tenements held in dower
by Margaret, his mother, to John de Blount, or Blound, citizen of
Chester, in consideration of an annual payment of ten marks; by another
charter, executed about the same time, he granted the reversion of the
said third part to the said John, and in the same year the grantee
was released from the payment of the ten marks, and an amended grant
of the manors “in fee simple” was made to him, with the exception of
the dower estates. On the 15th March, 10 Edward II. (1316-17), Thomas
de Corona appeared in the Exchequer at Chester, and prayed that these
three grants might be enrolled, and they now appear on the Plea Rolls,
together with a separate one granting the reversions. Finally, in the
27 Edward III., Thomas de Corona, the grandson of Hugh, quit-claimed to
John, son of John de Blound, all title to the manors.

[Note 27: The mutilated effigy of Sir William Baggaley, after being
discarded from the church at Bowdon and lost for several generations,
was, some years ago, discovered by Mr. John Leigh, of Manchester, and
the author, affixed to a wall in the garden of a house at Mill Bank,
Partington, near Warrington. It was subsequently acquired by Mr. T.
W. Tatton, and removed by him to its present position in the hall at
Baguley. An account of it was given in the _Manchester Courier_, March
13, 1866.]

Having in this way completely alienated the Wirral estates,
Adlington seems to have been made the chief abode of the Coronas.
Lucy, the daughter of Hugh de Corona, who became the wife of Sir
William Baggaley, had a son, John, who died without issue, and two
daughters—Isabel, who married Sir John de Hyde, and Ellen, who
became the wife of John, son of Sir William Venables, of Bradwell,
Knight, younger brother of Sir Hugh Venables, Baron of Kinderton,
but who assumed the surname of Legh, the maiden name of his
mother, Agnes de Legh, as also of the place (High Legh) where he
was born and resided until he became the possessor by purchase of
Knutsford-Booths-cum-Norbury-Booths, from William de Tabley, 28 Edward
I., 1300.

Hugh de Corona, the second of the name who resided at Adlington, had a
son, John, who inherited the estates, and was in turn succeeded by his
son, Thomas de Corona, who died unmarried in the reign of Edward III.,
when the male line of the family became extinct. By a deed executed in
the early part of Edward II.’s reign, this Thomas granted to John de
Venables, _alias_ Legh, and Ellen de Corona, or Baggaley, his wife, all
his part of the manor and village of Adlington, excepting the lands
which Margaret, his mother, and Lucy, the widow of his grandfather,
Hugh de Corona, the second of the name, had in dower; and by another
charter, dated 9 Edward II., he gave to the said John Legh and Ellen,
his wife, all the rest of his lands in Adlington previously held in
dower by his mother and grandmother. Thus John de Legh became lord of
Adlington, and on the paternal, as his wife Agnes de Legh was on the
maternal side, founder of the house of Legh of Adlington, a house that
has held possession of the manor for an uninterrupted period of more
than five centuries and a half.

John de Legh, who acquired the lordship of Adlington by his marriage
with Agnes de Corona, could boast a lineage as ancient and honourable
as that of the Conqueror himself. When the subjugation of England was
accomplished the Norman invader was enabled to reward his faithful
followers out of the numerous forfeitures that had accrued through
the fruitless insurrections of Earl Edwin and the other Saxon nobles.
Hugh d’Avranches, or Hugh Lupus, as he was more generally designated,
from the wolf’s head which he bore for arms, and which may have been
given as symbolical of his gluttony, a vice Oderic says he was greatly
addicted to, though he does not appear to have been with the invading
army at Hastings, having followed the victor in the succeeding year,
was largely instrumental in establishing William upon the English
throne. In acknowledgment of his services, as well as for his valour in
reducing the Welsh to obedience, he had conferred upon him in 1070 the
whole of the fair county of Cheshire, “to hold of the King as freely
by the sword as the King himself held the realm of England by the
crown”—he was, in fact, a Count-Palatine, and all but a king himself.
Thoroughly appreciating the conditions of his tenure, he, in order the
more effectually to secure it, divided his palatinate into eight or
more baronies, which he distributed among his warlike followers upon
the condition of supporting him with the sword as he was in turn to
support the King. He also established his officers as well as his own
courts of law, in which any offence against the dignity of “the Sword
of Chester” was as cognisable as the like offence would have been at
Westminster against the dignity of the Royal crown.[28]

[Note 28: The “Sword of Chester” is now preserved in the British
Museum. The last instance of the exercise of the Earl’s privileges was
in 1597 when the Baron of Kinderton’s Court tried and executed Hugh
Stringer for murder.]

One of the eight barons created by Hugh Lupus was Gilbert, a younger
son of Eudo, Earl of Blois, and a first cousin of the Conqueror.
He was one of the combatants at Hastings, where he received the
honour of knighthood for his valour in the field, and he afterwards
rendered important services against Edgar Atheling, as well as in the
subjugation of the Welsh, for which welcome aid Earl Hugh rewarded him
with considerable estates in the newly-acquired county, and he chose
Kinderton as the seat of his barony. Like his patron, he was devoted
to the pleasure of the chase, and from that circumstance acquired the
name of Venables _(Venator abilis)_, which some of his descendants
have retained to the present day, in the same way that another Norman
chieftain, a nephew of Hugh Lupus, and a mighty hunter withal, took the
name of Grosvenor—Gilbert _Le Gros venor_—which is now perpetuated by
the ducal house of Westminster.

Gilbert Venables, Baron of Kinderton, who was a widower at the time of
the Norman Conquest, again entered the marriage state, his second wife
being Maud, the daughter of Wlofaith Fitz Ivon, another Norman soldier,
who had the lordship of Halton, near Daresbury, conferred upon him by
the gift of his brother Nigell, Baron of Halton. This lady bore him in
addition to a son, William, who succeeded to the barony of Kinderton,
and a daughter, Amabella, who became the wife of Richard de Davenport,
a second son, Thomas Venables, whose exploits, if that most respectable
authority, tradition, is to be believed, rivalled those of the mythical
champion, St George, and that more modern hero, More of More Hall, who—

            With nothing at all,
    Slew the Dragon of Wantley.

Here is the story as veraciously recorded by an ancient chronicler
in the Harleian MSS. (No. 2,119, art. 36) In the time of this Thomas
Venables, it says, “Yt chaunced a terrible dragon to remayne and
make his abode in the lordshippe of Moston, in the sayde countye of
Chester, where he devowred all such p’sons as he lay’d hold on, which
ye said Thomas Venables heringe tell of, consyderinge the pittyfull and
dayly dystruction of the people w’thowte recov’ie who in followinge th’
example of the valiante Romaynes and other worthie men, not regarding
his own life, in comparison of the commoditie and safeguard of his
countrymen, dyd in his awne p’son valiantlie and courragiouslie set on
the saide dragon, where firste he shotte hym throwe with an arrowe, and
afterward with other weapons manfullie slew him, at which instant tyme
the sayd dragon was devowringe of a child. For which worthy and valiant
act was given him the Lordshippe of Moston by the auncestors of the
Earle of Oxford, Lord of the Fee there. And alsoe ever since the said
Thomas Venables and his heires, in remembrance thereof, have used to
bear, as well in theire armes, as in their crest, a dragon.”[29] The
old chronicler has omitted to give us a description of this wonderful
creature, but doubtless it bore a close resemblance to the monster of
Wantley, whose appearance is thus pourtrayed in the “Percy Reliques”:—

    This Dragon had two furious Wings,
    Each one upon each Shoulder,
    With a sting in his Tayl
    As long as a Flayl,
    Which made him bolder and bolder.
    He had long Claws,
    And in his Jaws,
    Four and Forty Teeth of Iron,
    With a Hide as Tough as any Buff,
    Which did him round Inviron.

    Have you not heard that the Trojan Horse
    Held seventy men in his Belly!
    This Dragon was not quite so big,
    But very near, I’ll tell ye.
    Devour did he,
    Poor children Three,
    That could not with him grapple;
    And at one Sup
    He eat them up,
    As one should eat an Apple.

[Note 29: The Venables, Barons of Kinderton, bore for their crest a
wivern (_i.e._, dragon), with wings endorsed, gules, standing on a fish
weir, or trap, devour-a child, and pierced through the neck with an
arrow, all ppr.]

The sixth in direct descent from the first Baron of Kinderton was Sir
William Venables, who, by his wife Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas
Dutton of Dutton, had two sons, Sir Hugh, who inherited the barony, and
Sir William, to whom his father gave the lordship of Bradwall, near
Sandbach. This William was twice married, his second wife being Agnes,
daughter and heir of Richard de Legh, of the West Hall, near Knutsford,
and the widow of Richard de Lymme. By her he had John Venables, who, as
previously stated, assumed his mother’s maiden name of Legh. He became
the owner by purchase of Norbury Booths, and married some time previous
to 1315 Ellen de Corona, who inherited the Adlington estates under the
settlement of her grand-nephew, Thomas de Corona. Four sons were born
of this marriage, three of whom became the founders of distinct houses:
John, ancestor of the Leghs of Booths; Robert, to whom, at the death of
his mother in 1352, the manor of Adlington reverted under the Corona
settlement, and who thus became progenitor of the Leghs of Adlington,
Lyme, Ridge, Stoneleigh, Stockwell, &c.; William, founder of the line
of Isall in Cumberland, and from whom descended Sir William Legh,
Bart., Lord Chief Justice of England; and Peter de Legh, who in right
of his wife Ellen, daughter and heir of Philip de Bechton, acquired
the Bechton estates, which were in turn conveyed by his two daughters,
Margaret and Elizabeth, to their respective husbands, Thomas Fitton, of
Gawsworth, and John de Davenport, of Henbury.

Robert de Legh, who succeeded to the manor of Adlington on the death
of his mother in 1352, had a commission as a justice in eyre for
Macclesfield, and was also appointed a steward of the manor and forest
of Macclesfield. He was twice married, his first wife being Sibilla,
the daughter of Henry de Honford, of Honford (Handforth), by whom he
had, in addition to two daughters, Robert, who succeeded as heir to the
Adlington estates, and Hugh, who predeceased him. His second wife was
Maud, the daughter and heir of Adam de Norley of Northleigh, of the
manor of that name, near Wigan, Knight. This lady, who is said to have
been his second cousin, and very young at the time of her marriage,
bore him two sons in his old age, Peter or Piers, and John. Peter, who
was born about the year 1361, married in 1388, Margaret, the daughter
and heiress of that famous Cheshire hero, Sir Thomas d’Anyers, who
distinguished himself at the battle of Crescy[30] by taking prisoner
the Count de Tankerville, chamberlain to the King of France, and
rescuing the standard of the Black Prince when it was in danger of
being captured, in acknowledgment of which services his daughter
afterwards received a Royal grant of the manor of Lyme Handley, and,
with her husband, became progenitor of the Leghs of Lyme and the Leghs
of Ridge. John de Legh, the younger son by the second marriage, was
keeper of Macclesfield Park prior to 1395, and was sometimes designated
John de Macclesfield. He was living in 1399, and had issue.

[Note 30: It has been frequently stated that Peter Legh, the first of
Lyme, also fought at Crescy; but he was not born until fifteen years
after that famous victory.]

Robert de Legh died at Macclesfield, about the year 1370. Before his
death his wife Maud, who survived, conveyed to him all her estates
in trust for their son, Piers Legh, who, at the time of his father’s
death, was a child of nine years. Six years after the death of Sir
Robert the name of his widow was unpleasantly associated with a charge
of fraud, as appears by the Chamberlain’s accounts at Chester, she
being indicted with one Thomas le Par, who possibly may have been more
active in the matter than herself, with fabricating, in the name of
Adam de Kingsley, the trustee, a false settlement of the Broome estates
within Lymm in fraud of the heir and in favour of her youngest son,
John, and his heirs male; and with having, through such false charter,
unjustly retained possession of the land for six years after her
husband’s death. The issue of the indictment is not recorded; but it
is clear that if she had succeeded her act would have given to her son
John a considerable estate, to the disadvantage of his elder brother.

Robert de Legh, who inherited the manor of Adlington on the death
of his father, _circa_ 1370, was, in 1358, in the retinue of Edward
the Black Prince in the war in Gascony; and there is an entry in the
Palatinate Rolls at Chester that he, with William de Bostock and
Hugh, son of Thomas le Smyth, of Mottram, entered into a recognisance
indemnifying the chamberlain for any moneys that might be due to two of
the Cheshire archers who were serving under him while with the prince.
In 1360-61, as appears by the Recognisance Rolls, he had granted to
him the custody of the lands in Cheshire lately belonging to Henry de
Honford, then deceased, with the wardship and marriage of his daughter
and heiress, Katherine. In 1382, Joan, Princess of Wales, the widow
of the Black Prince, and the once “Fair Maid of Kent,” gave to him
and William del Dounes a lease for twelve years of her part of the
town of Bollington, with the water-mill there, on a payment of eight
marks yearly. He appears to have succeeded his father in the office
of bailiff of the manor of Macclesfield, and to have held it until
1382, when his half-brothers, Peter and John, were appointed in his
stead. He died on the 9th November, 1382, leaving by his wife Matilda,
daughter of Sir John Arderne, of Aldford, Knight, a son, Robert, born
at Roter-le-Hay, and baptised at Audlem on the 2nd March, 1361-2, and
then aged 20; and two daughters—Margery, who became the wife of Thomas
de Davenport, of Henbury, and Katherine, who married Reginald Downes.

Robert de Legh made proof of age on the 3rd March, 1382-3. On the 13th
May following he had livery of his father’s lands, and on the 18th June
he had also, as heir of his mother, livery of what pertained to her as
one of the heirs of Alina, daughter of Robert Daa, whose lands were
then in the king’s hands. In 1385, or thereabouts, he married Isabel,
daughter and heir of Sir Thomas de Belgrave, Knight, who brought him
the manor of Belgrave, with several other estates in Cheshire and
Flintshire. With these, and the lands in Hyde, Stockport, Romiley,
and Etchells, the inheritance of his mother, the influence and social
importance of the family were largely increased, while Robert de Legh
himself, by the active part he took in the service of his country,
as well as in the administration of the affairs of his own county,
attained to considerable distinction, and well sustained the honour and
dignity of his house. In July, 1385, shortly after his marriage, he had
protection of his lands guaranteed to him on his departure to Scotland
in the King’s service, the occasion being the expedition headed by
Richard in person, following upon the invasion of John of Gaunt, which,
however, terminated without any trial of strength in battle, for while
the English army proceeded northwards, took Edinburgh, and marched
towards Aberdeen, wasting the country as it advanced, the Scotch,
with their French allies, in turn entered Cumberland and Westmorland,
burning and plundering as they went on every side. In the succeeding
year Robert de Legh had the honour of knighthood conferred upon him,
and shortly after (September 26, 1386), on the threatening of a French
invasion, he, with Robert de Grosvenor, Knight, Reginald del Dounes,
and William de Shore, had protection granted on his departure for
the coast, there to stay for the safe custody of those parts and the
defence of the realm. In 1389 a contention arose between Sir Robert and
his kinsmen Peter, of Lyme, and John, his brother, a renewal probably
of a former dispute, touching the manner in which they should discharge
their several offices within the hundred of Macclesfield, when Sir
Robert with his sureties entered into recognisances to the King for one
thousand marks, to keep the peace towards Peter and John Legh, they at
the same time entering into counter-recognisances of the same amount
to keep the peace towards Sir Robert. He and Peter de Legh, of Lyme,
having been entrusted with the custody of John, the son and heir of
William Launcelyn, during his minority, an order was made to them in
1392, as appears by the Recognisance Rolls, to deliver possession of
all his inheritance to the said John on his making proof of age; at
the same time a like order was made with reference to Thomas, son and
heir of William Voil, who, while under age, had been in their custody,
and in the same year a commission was issued to Sir Robert, jointly
with Peter Legh, to arrest all malefactors and disturbers of the peace
within the hundred of Macclesfield. On the 12th October, 1393, John
de Massey, of Tatton, Sheriff of Cheshire, having been attainted, a
commission was issued to Sir Robert Legh and others, directing them to
arrest him and Thomas Talbot, Knight, and convey them to the castle
of Chester, and two days afterwards another commission was issued
appointing Sir Robert de Legh sheriff of the county during pleasure,
in the place of Massey. In 1394, when Richard the Second proceeded
to Ireland to quell the revolt which had broken out among the native
chiefs, taking with him four thousand knights, and thirty thousand
archers, including many of the noted Cheshire bowmen, we find Sir
Robert Legh, of Adlington, accompanying him, he being in the train of
Thomas, Earl of Nottingham; before his departure license was given to
William de Shore, William de Prydyn (afterwards rector of Gawsworth),
and Henry Marchall, to act as his attorneys during his absence. On the
23rd September, 1396, a commission was issued appointing him one of the
King’s justices for the three hundreds of the eyre of Macclesfield;
on the 12th February following he was a second time made Sheriff of
Cheshire; six months later (August 20th, 1397) he had a grant of an
annuity of £40, the King retaining him in his service for life; and
as a further mark of his sovereign’s favour he had conferred upon him
on the 4th October following the office of Constable of the Castle of
Oswaldestre (Oswestry) for life, with £10 yearly and the accustomed
fees. In 1398 he was again named one of the justices for the three
hundreds of the eyre at Macclesfield, and on the 20th August in the
following year, when the banished Bolingbroke, taking advantage of
the King’s absence in Ireland, had returned to England, raised the
standard of insurrection, and eventually compelled the humbled and
wretched Richard to renounce the crown, John de Legh, of Booths, one
of the seven gallant Cheshire men who had met the King on his landing
in Wales, submitted himself to the usurper, when Sir Robert de Legh of
Adlington and Sir John Stanley became sureties in £200 for his good
behaviour. Unlike his relative of Lyme, Peter Legh, who remained true
to his sovereign to the last, and at Chester sealed his loyalty with
his life, as his monumental inscription in Macclesfield old church
still testifies, and whose name Daniel thus perpetuates—

    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—

Sir Robert of Adlington elected to join the winning side, and repaired
to Shrewsbury, where he made his submission to the victorious
Bolingbroke, and afterwards joined with Sir James Booth and other
Cheshire men in furthering his cause. In this it must be admitted the
lord of Adlington showed as little gratitude as loyalty, for it was
only a few short months before that he had been retained and pensioned
by the king, and made constable or keeper for life of Oswestry Castle,
with an adequate salary; and had, moreover, been honoured in receiving
his sovereign as his guest during the sitting of the Parliament at
Shrewsbury, the occasion being the memorable one when Bolingbroke
charged the Duke of Norfolk with treason to his liege lord the king.
After Richard’s deposition and the accession of Bolingbroke as Henry
IV., Sir Robert was made one of the conservators of the peace for the
hundred of Macclesfield, and about the same time had a confirmation
of the letters of the 20th August, 1397, granting him the annuity of
£40 for life. Hugh le Despencer, Knt., having in 1401 been appointed
steward of Macclesfield, and surveyor, keeper, and master of the
forests of Macclesfield and Mara, and all other of the Prince’s forests
in Cheshire for life, Sir Robert de Legh was appointed by him to act
as his deputy. In the follow-year (Oct 16, 1402) he was again named one
of the justices for the three hundreds of the eyre at Macclesfield,
and at the same time a commission was issued to him and the other
justices, directing them to inquire into the doings of certain
malefactors and disturbers of the peace in the hundred of Macclesfield
of whose enormities the Prince (as Earl of Chester) had been informed.
After the battle of Shrewsbury, in which the valorous Hotspur lost
his life, Henry, who had found the throne of an usurper only a bed of
thorns, had to direct his arms against the obnoxious Glendower, and
the young Prince of Wales, then only seventeen years of age, who was
appointed to head the expedition, issued his precept (11th January,
1403-4) to Sir Robert Legh and others “to hasten to his possessions
on the Marches of Wales, there to make defence against the coming of
Owen Glendower, according to an order in council, enacting that, on
the occasion of war against the King and the kingdom of England, all
those holding possessions on the Marches nearest to the enemy should
reside on the same for the defence of the realm.” This order, however,
would seem to have been countermanded, for in an old MS. account of
the family, beautifully written on vellum, and still preserved at
Adlington, it is stated that on the breaking out of the revolt in
the north of England, when the Earl of Northumberland, the Earl of
Nottingham, Lord Bardolf, and Scrope, Archbishop of York, confederated
to place the Earl of March on the throne, Sir Robert Legh received a
summons from the Prince of Wales, as Earl of Chester, countermanding
one previously issued, and “requiring him to attend him (the Prince)
in person at Warrington on Thursday the next, or on Friday at Preston,
or on Saturday at Skipton-in-Craven, with 100 defensible, honest, able
bowmen, in good array for war, to go with him thence to his father the
King, then on his journey to Pontefract.” This was on the 26th May, 6
Henry IV. (1405), and it is the last occasion on which Sir Robert’s
name occurs in connection with any important movement, for three years
later (August, 1408) he brought to a close a short but very active and
eventful life, being then only forty-seven years of age.

Sir Robert Legh, of Adlington, made his will on the 9th August, 1408,
and he must then have been _in extremis_, for he died before the 18th,
and was buried, in accordance with his expressed desire, in the Church
of St. Mary de la Pree, near Northampton. Among other things, he
directed the payment of 14 marks (£9 6s. 8d.) to a priest celebrating
in the church of Prestbury for two years—probably the priest serving
at one of the chantry altars there. The inquisition taken after his
death is interesting as showing the extent of the family possessions
at that time. They included the whole of the manor of Adlington, a
moiety of the manor of Hyde, the manor of Belgrave, 40 acres of land
in Eccleston, 12 messuages and 20 acres of land in Stockport, three
messuages and 20 acres of land in Romiley, one messuage and 20 acres
of land in Cheadle, one messuage in Macclesfield, one messuage and
three acres of land in Rainow within the forest of Macclesfield, two
messuages and two acres of land in Bollington, one messuage and 10
acres of land in Budworth, in the Fryth (the forest of Delamere), one
messuage and 10 acres of land in Tyresford, two messuages and two
acres of land in Kelsall, one messuage and 20 acres of land in Legh,
four salt pits, four shops and land in Northwich, three messuages in
Chester, one messuage and 20 acres of land in Warford, two messuages
and 40 acres of land in Mottram Andrew, one messuage and 20 acres of
land in Fulshaw, and the third part of one messuage and two acres of
land in Mottram-in-Longdendale. By his wife, Elizabeth Belgrave, he
had two sons—Robert, who inherited Adlington, and Reginald, of Mottram
Andrew, who built the tower and south porch of Prestbury church, as
the inscription on his sepulchral slab in the chancel there, which
may still be seen, testifies,[31] and two daughters. The name of his
second wife is not known with certainty, but she did not long wear the
trappings of widowhood, for on the 28th February, 1409-10, as appears
by an enrolment on the Recognisance Rolls in the Record Office, she had
a pardon granted to her for marrying Richard de Clyderhow without the
licence of the Earl of Chester.

[Note 31: It is somewhat remarkable that though the Leghs have been
settled in the parish for more than five centuries, and have been
patrons of the church for many generations, there is not a single
monumental inscription or other memorial of them in the church,
excepting that of Reginald Legh, of an earlier date than the one of
Charles Legh, who died in 1781.]

Robert Legh, who succeeded as lord of Adlington, though he was only
twenty-two years of age at the time of his father’s death, did not long
enjoy possession of the property. Dr. Renaud, relying apparently on the
MS. at Adlington, says that he died in 1410, but this statement, as we
shall hereafter see, is inaccurate. Shortly after he entered upon his
inheritance, a dispute arose between him and the Grosvenors, of Eaton,
touching their respective rights to certain lands at Pulford and other
places in the neighbourhood of Chester, under the settlement of Robert
Legh’s maternal grandfather, Thomas de Belgrave, and his wife, who was
heiress of Pulford. Eventually the two disputants, with their relations
and friends, on the 14th April, 1412, repaired to the “Chapel” at
Macclesfield—the old church of St Michael—when a very remarkable
ceremony took place, which is thus recorded in the pages of Ormerod:—

     A series of deeds relating to these lands having been publicly
     read in the chapel, it was stated that Sir Robert de Legh, Isabel,
     his wife, and Robert de Legh, their son and heir, having claimed
     them, it had been agreed, in order to settle their differences,
     that Sir Thomas Grosvenor should take a solemn oath on the body of
     Christ, in the presence of 24 gentlemen, or as many as he wished.
     Accordingly Robert del Birches, the Chaplain, whom Robert de Legh
     had brought with him, celebrated a mass of the Holy Trinity, and
     consecrated the Host, and after the mass, having arrayed himself
     in his alb, with the amice, the stole, and the maniple, held
     forth the Host before the altar, whereupon Sir Thomas Grosvenor
     knelt down before him whilst the settlements were again read by
     James Holt, counsel of Robert de Legh, and then he swore upon the
     body of Christ that he believed in the truth of these charters.
     Immediately after this Sir Lawrence de Merbury, sheriff of the
     county, and 57 other principal knights and gentlemen of Cheshire
     affirmed themselves singly to be witnesses of this oath, all
     elevating their hands at the same time towards the Host. This
     first part of the ceremony concluded with Sir Thomas Grosvenor
     receiving the sacrament, and Robert Legh and Sir Thomas kissing
     each other in confirmation of the aforesaid agreement. Immediately
     after this, Sir Robert publicly acknowledged the right to all
     the said lands was vested in Sir Thomas Grosvenor and his heirs,
     and an instrument to that effect was accordingly drawn up by
     the notary, Roger Salghall, in the presence of the clergy then
     present, and attested by the seals and signatures of the 58
     knights and gentlemen.

The historian of Cheshire, in commenting upon the pomp and circumstance
attending the settlement of this family dispute, remarks: “Seldom will
the reader find a more goodly group collected together, nor will he
easily devise a ceremony which will assort better with the romantic
spirit of the time, and which thus turned a dry legal conveyance into
an exhibition of chivalrous pageantry.”

Robert Legh inherited the martial spirit of his father, and was not
long, after he had succeeded to the estates, in seeking an opportunity
to display his prowess. In 1415, Henry V., having revived the old claim
to the crown of France, determined upon an invasion of the French
King’s dominions, whereupon Robert Legh engaged himself to join in
the expedition, and accordingly, on the 18th July, protection of his
lands whilst abroad in the retinue of the King was granted him. The
force mustered at Southampton early in August, and on the 11th of the
month the fleet, consisting of 1,400 vessels, with 6,000 men-at-arms
and 24,000 archers, an army of picked men, strong of limb and stout of
heart, caring little for the abstract justice of the cause for which
they were to fight, content to know that they would receive their due
share of the “_gaignes de guerres_,” set sail. On the 14th, the force—

     A city on the inconstant billows dancing,

arrived in the Seine, and landed near the fortified town of Harfleur,
which surrendered on the 22nd September. Henry’s army had, however,
to contend with a more powerful foe than the French. Disease made
frightful ravages in his camp, the poisonous miasma of the marshes of
Harfleur carrying off in those few weeks fully five thousand of the
besiegers. On the 7th October the remnant of the army advanced, and on
the 25th the splendid victory of Agincourt was achieved. Robert Legh,
however, was not permitted to share in the glories of that memorable
day, he having died of the pestilence five days after the surrender
of Harfleur, and an inquisition by virtue of a writ of _diem clausit
extremum_, dated 16th October, 1415, was taken.

He was succeeded by his only son, also named Robert, who, though then
only five years of age, boasted the possession of a wife, he having,
in accordance with the fashion of the time, and well nigh before he
could quit his cradle, been wedded to Isabel, one of the daughters of
Sir John Savage, of Clifton, Knight, who was entrusted with the custody
of his lands during his minority. On the 16th October, 3 and 4 Henry
V. (1416), Robert Legh’s young widow petitioned for and had livery of
dower, and shortly after she became the wife of William Honford, of
Chorley, a younger brother of Sir John de Honford, of Handforth.

On the 4th May, 1431, Robert Legh made proof of age, when his mother’s
second husband, William Honford, “aged 60 and upwards,” was one of the
witnesses, and testified “that the said Robert was born at Adlynton,
and baptized in the church at Prestbury, the Tuesday on the feast of
the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (March 25, 1410), and was
aged 21 on the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross (May 3) then
last past; and that he, William, was present at Prestbury the day when
Robert Hyde, his godfather, came to the church at Prestbury with the
said Robert.” (Earwaker.)

The name of Robert Legh appears among those who on the 3rd March,
1435-6, were summoned to attend the Council of the boy King Henry VI.
at Chester, when he and the others then assembled, in the name of the
whole community of the county of Chester, granted to the King a subsidy
of 1,000 marks (£666 13s. 4d.); and on the 28th May, in the same year,
he with Robert de Honford, Knight, Robert Massy of Godley, and John
Pygot were appointed collectors of the subsidy within the hundred
of Macclesfield. In March, 1441-2, a further subsidy of 3,000 marks
(£2,000) having been granted by the county, Robert Legh was again
deputed, with the others named, to collect the same within the hundred.

In the MS. account of the Legh family, preserved at Adlington, and
to which reference has already been made, it is said that, in 1447,
Robert de Legh obtained a licence from the Bishop of Coventry “to keep
a chaplain to perform mass and other divine offices in any of his
manor houses within the diocese for the term of thirty years, without
prejudice to the curate of the place, on which licence a domestic
chapel was built at Adlington.” The chapel thus erected stood in the
park, within a few hundred yards of the front of the present mansion,
and on the site known at the present day by the name of the Chapel
Field.

The first connection of the Leghs with the manor of Prestbury dates
from 1448, when the manor with the great and small tithes, which had
previously been leased to the Pigots, of Butley, were demised by
the Abbot of St Werburgh’s, Chester, to Robert Legh for thirty-nine
years, together with the Heybirches and Ewood, and also the advowson
of the church of Prestbury, and all other rights and appurtenances
belonging to it and the manor, the vicar’s endowment excepted—one
of the conditions being that the lessee should provide a fit and
proper chaplain to celebrate divine service in the chapel of Poynton,
within the parish of Prestbury, during the continuance of the lease,
a condition, however, that was not always observed, for in 1500 the
tithes of Poynton were sequestrated in consequence of the omission or
neglect to fulfil the condition named. Some dispute having subsequently
arisen, a new lease was granted in 1461, which was renewed in 1493.
This last expired in 1524, and in the year following another lease
was granted for forty years. On the 9th March, 1462 (2 Edward IV.),
the King, as Earl of Chester, granted to Robert Legh a licence to
enclose and impark a certain wood called Whiteley Hay and Adlington
Wood, and also a place called Whiteley Green, with liberty to hold the
park so enclosed and imparked to him and his heirs for ever. The place
remained enclosed until the early part of the last century, when it
was disparked, and a tract of land more conveniently near the hall
applied to the purpose. In 1478 his mother, Matilda, who had survived
her first husband sixty-three years, and had also outlived her second
husband, William de Honford, died. She must have been very old, for
in the inquisition taken after her death her son Robert was said to
be sixty-eight years of age. He had livery of the lands held by her
in dower, but did not long enjoy possession of them, for his death
occurred on the 21st January following. As already stated, he had been
married in his infancy to Isabella, daughter of Sir John Savage, of
Clifton. This lady predeceased him, and he afterwards married Isabella,
a daughter of Sir William Stanley, of Stanley, Stourton, and Hooton,
who, according to the Adlington MS., was within the prohibited degrees,
being of the blood of his first wife, and, consequently, it was thought
prudent, if not indeed necessary, to make the marriage valid, to obtain
a dispensation from the Pope.

On the death of Robert Legh, his eldest son, who bore the same name,
and who was then fifty years of age, and married to Ellen, daughter
of Sir Robert Booth, of Dunham Massey, Knight, succeeded to the
patrimonial lands. Two years afterwards, a quarrel having arisen
between Edward IV. and James III. of Scotland, which resulted in the
breaking off of the marriage treaty between the English Princess Cicely
and the son of the Scottish King, and the resumption of hostilities
between the two countries, a commission was issued (November 18, 1480)
to Robert Legh, and other persons therein named, requiring them to
array the fencible men of the hundred before the Christmas following,
and to command the same to be in readiness in warlike attire to attend
upon the Earl of Chester on three days’ notice; and on the 15th January
following another commission was issued to the same persons, requiring
them to communicate with the gentlemen of the hundred to determine the
number of horsemen, with their harness, that could be raised in their
households, and to make a return before the Wednesday next before the
Feast of the Purification. A third commission was issued to them in
May, 1481, to array the fencible men of the hundred between the ages of
sixteen and sixty, and to appoint a certain day for the same to depart
“_pro viagio dicti partes nostri versus partes socie_.” Mr. Earwaker
cites a deed from which it appears that on the 6th December, 1483, John
Legh, a younger brother of Robert, a priest in orders, and then rector
of Rostherne, and Douce or Dulcia, his sister, granted to the said
Robert all their right and title to the manor and church of Prestbury.

The fierce struggle of the Red and White Roses destroyed the power and
weakened the influence of the English nobility and their feudatory
chiefs by sweeping away the heads of the principal families. Their sun
went down when the stout Earl of Warwick, the renowned “King-maker,”
lay weltering in his gore upon the field at Barnet; Tewkesbury
extinguished their hopes; and the fight at Bosworth ended a contest
which, in the field and on the scaffold, had cost the lives of more
than sixty princes of the royal family, above one-half of the nobles
and principal gentlemen, and above a hundred thousand of the common
people of England. Fortunately for themselves, the lords of Adlington
passed harmless through that eventful period. It does not appear that
Robert Legh took any very active part in the protracted struggle
between the rival houses of York and Lancaster. The Lyme Leghs had
plucked the “pale and maiden blossom” and given their verdict “on the
White Rose side,” but there is reason to believe that, in the closing
years of his life at least, the sympathies of Robert Legh were on the
side of the Red Rose of Lancaster. It may be that, like the kinsmen of
his father’s second wife, the Stanleys of Lancashire, he believed that
to be “the true policy which had the most success,” and, like them,
have been a faithful adherent of the party of “good luck.” Certain it
is that the great and exhausting quarrel between these rival houses,
which brought death and destruction to so many an English home, left
his house with unimpaired estates and undiminished power; but he
did not long survive the close of that unhappy struggle, his death
occurring on the 8th December, 1486, when he must have been sixty-eight
years of age. By his wife, whom he predeceased, and who died in 1504,
he had Thomas Legh, who succeeded as his heir, four younger sons, and
one daughter.

Thomas Legh was thirty-five years of age when he entered upon his
inheritance, and he had then been married about seven years, his wife
being Katharine, daughter of Sir John Savage, of Clifton, and sister of
Thomas Savage, Archbishop of York, the founder of the Savage chantry in
Macclesfield church, and of Ellen Savage, who married Sir Piers Legh,
of Lyme.

Two years after the victory at Bosworth, which gave the crown of
England to Henry of Richmond, a desperate effort was made by the
friends of the fallen tyrant, Richard III., to secure the throne for
the impostor Lambert Simnel, and when the new King’s crown was in peril
at the battle of Stokefield, Thomas Legh’s relative, Piers Legh, of
Lyme, drew his sword and fought valiantly to defend it. In November of
that year (1487) a subsidy was voted to the King by his loyal subjects
in the county of Chester, and the name of Thomas Legh, of Adlington,
occurs _inter alia_ among those authorised to collect the portion due
from the hundred of Macclesfield.

In 1498 he obtained a licence from the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry
to have mass and other divine offices performed by a fit chaplain in
the chapel situated within his manor of Adlington—a renewal, it would
seem, of the privilege conceded to his grandfather, Robert Legh, in
1447. When Henry’s eldest son, Arthur, Prince of Wales, succeeded to
the earldom, he was at great pains to guard against any encroachment
affecting the “sword and dignity of Chester,” and with that object
made a searching inquiry as to the authority in which many of his
feudatories exercised their privileges. Among them Thomas Legh, in
1499-1500, had a _quo warranto_, requiring him to show cause why he
claimed to have a park at Whiteley Hay and to hold a court-leet, &c. He
replied, setting forth the grant made by Edward IV. to his grandfather;
he further pleaded right of free-warren in all his Cheshire
possessions, and claimed the assize of bread and ale, the punishing of
scolds by the cucking-stool, of bakers by amercement or the pillory,
and brewers by judgment of the tumbrell, and to have amercements and
fines for trespasses, offences, and effusions of blood in affrays
presented within the leet to be assessed by the jury. The answer must
have been deemed satisfactory, for no further action appears to have
been taken against him in the Earl’s court.

If we may judge from some of the enrolments on the Recognisance Rolls,
Thomas Legh must have been a somewhat turbulent subject, and have been
frequently at variance with his neighbours and friends. Impatient
of the dilatory and uncertain processes of the law, he sometimes
had recourse to the simpler and less tardy method of taking the
adjustment of his differences into his own hands, a mode of procedure
that occasionally brought him into trouble, and subjected him to the
inconvenience of having to find sureties for his good behaviour.
He oftentimes appeared in the legal arena, and not unfrequently
his quarrels were with his wife’s father, Sir John Savage, who was
then residing at the park at Macclesfield, the custody of which had
been granted him by King Henry in acknowledgment of his services at
Bosworth. Thus, on the 14th November, 1488, he was required to enter
into a recognisance of 1,000 marks that he and all his children and
servants would keep the peace towards Sir John Savage, sen., knight,
and on the same day he entered into another recognisance of the like
amount that he, his children, and servants would keep the peace towards
Nicholas Davenport, of Woodford, and his servants. On the 28th April,
1489, he again gave sureties in two sums of 1,000 marks each that
he would keep the peace towards his father-in-law, Sir John Savage,
his children, and servants, and Nicholas Davenport, of Woodford,
his children, and servants, and at the same time he entered into a
further recognisance of £200 to keep the peace towards Hamo Ashley,
Esq. Whatever may have been the cause of the difference with his
father-in-law, it was a long time before the variance was composed, for
on the 20th April, 1490, he again appeared in the law courts, when he
was required to find sureties in 1,000 marks to keep the peace towards
him. On the 11th May, 1495, he and his brother, John Legh, of Lawton,
entered into recognisances of 1,000 marks each to abide the award of
Hamnet Massy and others named, touching all disputes between the two
brothers and Nicholas Davenport and William Honford, of Davenport
and Honford, at the same time entering into recognisances for the
same amounts. The arbitration must have been very protracted, for
the recognisances and counter recognisances were renewed on the 12th
April, 1496, again on 9th September in the same year, and a third time
on the 19th June, 1498. On the 8th June, 1501, Thomas Legh was again
required to give sureties, this time in £100, to keep the peace towards
John Carter and Robert Rokeley; and on the 19th September, 1502, he
entered into recognisances of £100 to keep the peace towards Richard
Phillips, chaplain. He either lacked prudence, or his neighbours must
have been more than ordinarily litigious, for it was not long before
he was again involved in a suit, this time at the instance of Robert
Walls, the representative of a family located at Adlington. He appears
to have been then outlawed in error, for on the 5th March, 1st and 2nd
Henry VIII., proceedings were taken against Roger Downes and others for
restitution of goods seized under the outlawry. In July of the same
year he entered into recognisances to the Earl of Chester to keep the
peace towards his neighbour, Sir John Warren, of Poynton.

In the Calendar of Warrants, removed from Chester to the Public Record
Office, London, there is one dated at Ludlow Castle, 1st April, 12th
Henry VII., 1497, appointing the Bishop of Lincoln, the Bishop of
Lichfield and Coventry, and others named, a commission to levy money
in the counties of Chester and Flint, to aid the King in repelling the
unprovoked invasion of James IV. of Scotland, who, in violation of
the treaty of 1493, had raised an army in support of Perkin Warbeck
and crossed the borders, spoiling and plundering the country. The
Parliament which assembled at Westminster in January of that year had
granted him £120,000 under certain restrictions, and on the 6th April,
Thomas Legh, and other loyal men of Cheshire, assembled at Chester,
and in the name of the county granted him a further sum of 1,000 marks.
Four days later a commission was issued to Thomas Legh and others to
array the fencible men of the hundred before the 1st May following, for
the purpose of aiding in the war against the Scotch. Henry VII., in the
indulgence of his inordinate passion for money, had frequent recourse
to a system of benevolences or contributions, apparently voluntary,
though, in fact, extorted from his wealthier subjects, and also to
the granting of subsidies—“reasonable aids,” as they were called. In
1501, on the occasion of the marriage of Arthur, Prince of Wales, with
Katharine of Arragon, afterwards the unhappy queen of Henry VIII.,
a subsidy was granted by the county of Chester, and Thomas Legh was
appointed with others to collect the portion due from his own hundred.

When Henry of Richmond came out of the field of Bosworth a victor
it was to rule over a nation weak and impoverished, and bleeding at
every vein. The sword had vied with the axe, and the nobles had shown
themselves too powerful for the comfort or security of the monarch.
To destroy their influence the King determined upon the suppression
of their retainers—virtually the rent of the lands granted in
knights’ service, thus freeing their properties from the burden of
supplying the armies of the State. In this way peace and good order
were re-established, and an end put to those intestine wars which had
well-nigh exhausted the country. Though the Leghs had not suffered
to any appreciable extent from these internal broils, it is more
than probable that less attention had been paid to their ancestral
home than would have been the case had public affairs been in a more
settled state. With the return to a more peaceful order of things they
had leisure to add to the beauty and convenience of their permanent
home. Architecture marks the growth and development of human society,
and the progress of refinement as well as the changes society had
undergone rendered alterations at Adlington necessary for the comfort
and convenience of the inmates. Thomas Legh, if he did not rebuild the
house, remodelled and greatly enlarged it; and much of the traceried
panel-work forming part of the ancient screen, as well as other carved
work still remaining, was no doubt executed during his time. In
commemoration of his work, he caused his name and that of his wife,
with the date, to be affixed in carved Lombardic letters—

    =Thomas Legh & Catarina Sauage uxor ejus=
    =Ao. Doi. Mo cc/ccc Vto R. R. H. bij., xx.=

The inscription appears over the high-place at the west end of the
great hall, and was probably replaced in the last century during the
occupancy of Charles Legh.

Thomas Legh died August 8, 1519, leaving, with other issue, a son,
George Legh, then aged 22 years, who succeeded as his heir.

“Better marry over the mixen than over the moor” has ever been a
favourite proverb with the men of Cheshire; and the heads of the house
of Legh evidently believed in the soundness of the advice it conveyed,
for, from the time their Norman progenitor first settled in the county,
they had been content to mate within their own shire. The first of
the manorial lords of Adlington to depart from this long-established
custom was George Legh, who, in 1523, married the daughter of a
Huntingdonshire squire—Joan, daughter of Peter Larke, and a sister of
that Thomas Larke on whom Cardinal Wolsey had bestowed the rich rectory
of Winwick, in Lancashire—and it can hardly be said that the departure
added much to the reputation of his house, the supposed antecedents of
the lady having given rise to no inconsiderable amount of scandal. It
is said that, previous to her marriage with Thomas Legh, Joan Larke
had been the mistress (not the illegitimate daughter, as a recent
writer has unnecessarily sought to disprove) of Cardinal Wolsey. The
statement is evidently made on the authority of one of the “Articles
of Impeachment” against Wolsey presented to Parliament by a committee
of the House of Lords, December 1, 1529, and quoted in Lord Herbert of
Cherbury’s “Life of Henry VIII.” The story is a curious one, and, if
true, reflects little credit either upon the Cardinal or his frail
companion. The accusation is embodied in the 38th article—

     That the sd Cardinal did call before him Sir Jno. Stanley, kt.,
     which had taken a farm by convent seal of the Abbot and Convent of
     Chester; and afterwards by his power and might, contrary to right,
     committed the said Sir Jno. Stanley to the prison of Fleet by the
     space of one year, until such time as he compelled the sd Sir Jno.
     to release his convent seal to one Leghe, of Adlington, which
     married one Lark’s daughter, which woman the sd lord cardinal
     kept and had with her two children; whereupon the sd Sir John
     Stanley, upon displeasure taken in his heart, made himself monk in
     Westminster, and there died.

The story, it must be confessed, has much improbability about it;
and may, as has been suggested, have been prompted by feelings of
malice against the fallen ecclesiastic. Certain it is, the charge was
not pressed to a direct issue. Whatever may have been the relations
existing between Wolsey and the wife of Thomas Legh, there is no doubt
that in the short interval between the expiry of the lease of the
Prestbury tithes, in 1523-4, and the granting of a new one by the Abbot
of St Werburg, in the following year, a dispute had arisen between
George Legh and Sir John Stanley respecting them. It is not improbable
that the latter had endeavoured to steal a march upon his neighbour by
securing a lease of a portion of them to the disadvantage of the Leghs,
who, as we have seen, had been farmers of the impropriate rectory for a
lengthened period, and that the Cardinal, who is known to have been a
patron of the Larkes, was then appealed to with a view of inducing the
monks of Chester to grant George Legh a renewal of the privileges his
family had so long enjoyed. If so, the appeal was unsuccessful, for in
1524-5 a new lease for forty years was granted, which was subsequently
renewed.

Sir John Stanley was a natural son of James Stanley, warden of
Manchester, and afterwards Bishop of Ely, a younger son of that Thomas,
Lord Stanley, who placed the crown of the vanquished Richard upon the
head of the victorious Richmond on the field of Bosworth. He commanded
his father’s retainers at the battle of Flodden Field, in 1513, when
his uncle, Sir Edward Stanley, afterwards created Lord Monteagle, led
the forces of Lancashire and Cheshire, and Sir Edmund Savage, mayor of
Macclesfield, and so many of the burgesses of that town were slain;
and on that occasion by his valour in the field won his golden spurs.
He married Margaret, the only daughter and heir of William Honford, of
Honford, by his wife Margaret, daughter of Sir John Savage, and was
consequently closely allied to the Leghs of Adlington. In 1528 he and
his wife prayed for a divorce in order that they might severally devote
themselves to a religious life, and be quit of the world for ever. The
divorce was granted, and he became a monk of Westminster, where he
died; his wife also entered a religious house, but must have abandoned
her intention of becoming a recluse, for she afterwards married Sir
Urian Brereton, by whom she had a family, who through her inherited
the Honford estates. Though Sir John assumed the cowl and tonsure of
a monk, it is hardly credible, even supposing the story of Wolsey’s
arbitrary exercise of power to have been true, that he forsook the
society of his wife, retreated from the world, and disappeared in the
shadow of the cloister “from displeasure taken in his heart” upon a
matter of such comparatively little moment, and occurring four or five
years previously.

A recent writer, in an account of Adlington, says that Sir John Stanley
“was himself an ecclesiastic and warden of Manchester;” that his claim
“was espoused by the Bishop of Ely, his father;” and that “the battle
seems in reality to have been fought between the powerful Bishop of
Ely on the one hand, and the yet more powerful Cardinal on the other.”
These statements are entirely erroneous. Sir John, in early life,
had embraced the profession of arms; as a soldier he had earned his
knighthood by bravery on the field; and, being married, he would by the
canons of the Church be disqualified from holding an ecclesiastical
preferment, while, as a fact, his father, the Bishop of Ely, had been
in his grave eight or nine years when the dispute respecting the
Prestbury tithes arose.

George Legh died on the 12th June, 1529, at the early age of
thirty-two. His will was only made on the day preceding his decease,
and the broad lands of Adlington were transmitted to his only son,
Thomas Legh, then an infant two years of age. His wife survived
him, and was remarried to George Paulet, brother of the Marquis of
Winchester, and she with her second husband appear to have resided
at Adlington during the minority of the heir, for in a return of the
clergy serving at the various chapels of ease within the parish of
Prestbury there occurs the name of Sir James Hurst, a stipendiary
priest, paid by George Pollet (Paulet), and apparently serving in
the chapel at Adlington. By an unaccountable error Thomas Legh, of
Adlington, has been confounded with another personage of the same name,
who, as one of the commissioners under Sir Thomas Cromwell, took an
active part in the suppression of the religious houses. The mistake
will be apparent when it is remembered that at the time (1536) that
worthy was denouncing monachism and despoiling the monks of their lands
and houses Thomas Legh, of Adlington, was only in his ninth year, and
before he had attained to manhood the great and lesser monasteries had
been swept away.

Whilst he was in his minority he had been united in marriage with
one of the younger daughters of the great house of Grosvenor—Mary,
the daughter of Robert Grosvenor, of Eaton, the direct ancestor of
the present Duke of Westminster. It is not known with certainty how
the match was brought about, but in those days the lord of the fee
was entitled to the wardship of the heir, with the right to put up
his or her hand to sale in marriage; and if Richard Grosvenor, as
is not unlikely, had the wardship of the Adlington estates, he may
have thought the alliance a desirable one for a younger member of his
numerous family. It was to avoid the evil arising from this feudal
practice that so many early marriages were in former times resorted
to, parents being oftentimes prompted to seek an eligible match for
their heirs while under age to free them from the exactions and other
consequences of wardship—a circumstance that could have been little
understood by the President Montesquieu, when he cast the sneer upon
our country in saying there was a law in England which permitted girls
of seven years of age to choose their own husbands, and which, he
added, was shocking in two ways, since it had no regard to the time
when nature gives maturity to the understanding, nor to the time when
she gives maturity to the body. Mary Grosvenor survived her husband
and remarried Sir Richard Egerton, of Ridley, Knight, with whom she
appears to have resided at Adlington during the minority of the son by
her first husband. She had the manor and tithes of Prestbury settled
upon her as dower; and in 1558 her second husband is found attending a
meeting in the church at Prestbury, and acting there in the capacity of
warden—an office then held in much higher esteem than at the present
day. The lady deserves to be held in special remembrance by the men
of Cheshire, from the circumstance that she is generally believed to
have superintended the education and taken a kindly interest in the
well-being of a notable Cheshire worthy, who attained the highest
honours of the peerage, Richard Egerton’s base-born son by Alice
Starke, of Bickerton—Thomas Egerton, Viscount Brackley, Lord Keeper and
Chancellor of England, ancestor of the great Duke of Bridgewater, as
well as of the present Earl of Ellesmere—a worthy who, if precluded by
the circumstances of his birth from deriving honour from an illustrious
ancestry, reflected on them, his descendants, and his county the
lustre of a name brighter than any other its annals can boast. It
is pleasant to think that some of the earlier years of the great
Chancellor were spent within the old house at Adlington, and that the
generous-hearted lady to whom he owed so much was not forgotten when
he had attained to distinction, and she in her old age had become the
victim of religious persecution.[32] She died in 1599, having survived
her first husband for the long period of fifty-one years. In her will,
dated 18th October, 1597, she appoints the Lord Keeper Egerton, whom
she designates her “wellbeloved sonne,” one of her executors, and
bequeaths to him “one ringe of Goulde having thereon a Dyamond.” She is
buried at Astbury, where her altar-tomb, with a recumbent effigy upon
the top, may still be seen.

[Note 32: Lady Egerton, who remained a firm adherent of the ancient
faith, is frequently named in the prosecutions for recusancy under the
severe statutes of Elizabeth, but appeals for mitigation were often and
successfully made through, as would seem, the influence of the Lord
Keeper Egerton.]

Thomas Legh, the first husband of Mary Grosvenor, did not long enjoy
possession of the ancestral domains, his death occurring at Eaton, May
17, 1548, the year in which he attained his majority. The only issue
by his marriage was a son, Thomas, aged one year at the time of his
death, so that the broad lands of Adlington were once more held in ward
through the infancy of the heir.

On the 21st April, 1548, three weeks before his death, Thomas Legh
granted to his wife’s eldest brother, Thomas Grosvenor, of Eaton, all
the lands which his family had held in Belgrave from the time of the
marriage of Sir Robert Legh with the heiress of Sir Thomas Belgrave,
_circa_ 1385; and four days later he settled the remainder of his
estates, including “the Hall of Adlington,” in trust for the benefit of
himself and his wife and his heirs in tail male.

Sir Urian Brereton, who married the widow of Sir John Stanley, the
quondam recluse, seems to have acquired, with the lady, Sir John’s
craving for the Prestbury tithes, for in 1538, during the minority of
Thomas Legh the elder, he obtained from the Abbot of St. Werburg’s, in
the names of himself and John Broughton, the reversion of the lease of
the manor and advowson, to commence on the expiry of the one for 40
years renewed to George Legh in 1524; and this reversion was afterwards
purchased by Richard and John Grosvenor, the brothers of Mary, the
wife of Thomas Legh, in trust, and to prevent their alienation from
the other Adlington properties. But a great revolution in religious
thought and action was then gradually gaining strength and power,
and the day was near at hand when the monks and their system were to
be overthrown. On the dissolution of St. Werburg’s Abbey the manor
and advowson of the church of Prestbury were granted to the Dean and
Chapter of the newly-founded Cathedral of Chester. They did not,
however, long enjoy possession; William Clyve, the third dean, and two
of the prebendaries, were confined in the Fleet by procurement of Sir
Richard Cotton, of Werblington, comptroller of the King’s household, a
Hampshire knight, who appears to have shared the acquisitive properties
of his elder brother, Sir George Cotton, another courtier and favourite
of the King, who had had conferred upon himself the dissolved abbey and
the greater part of the demesne of Combermere, in Cheshire, and who,
in other ways, had increased his worldly possessions out of the spoils
of the religious houses. While in the Fleet, under intimidation, as
was alleged, the dean and canons granted to Sir Richard (20th March,
1553), for ever, most of their lands on the payment of a yearly rental;
he in turn, on the 28th July, 1555, re-conveyed the manor and advowson
of Prestbury to Richard and John Grosvenor, who, in 1559, are found
presenting to the vicarage. The validity of the grant to Cotton was
subsequently disputed, and on the Cheshire Recognisance Rolls, under
date January 13th, 5 and 6 Elizabeth (1563-4), there is the enrolment
of a complaint exhibited by Richard and John Grosvenor. Eventually the
feoffees surrendered to the Crown; on the 19th December, 1579, the
whole of the lands formerly held by the abbey were granted by Elizabeth
to Sir George Calveley, Knight, George Cotton, Hugh Cholmondeley,
Thomas Legh, Henry Mainwaring, John Nuthall, and Richard Hurleston,
Esquires, and their heirs for ever; and, by another indenture, dated
6th August, 1580, the counterpart of which is preserved among the
Adlington charters, these fee farmers, after reciting the grant of
Elizabeth, for divers good causes and considerations them specially
moving, demised and quit-claimed to Thomas Legh and his heirs the
rectory, church, and manor of Prestbury, with the appurtenances,
excepting the certain messuages, tenements, and hereditaments, with the
appurtenances and the tithes, oblations, and obventions, of Chelford
and Asthull (Astle). They have since continued in the possession of the
Leghs, and have descended with their other estates.

Thomas Legh had a long minority, and it was a fortunate thing for him
that in those early years of his life he had a good mother, who, with
the aid of her powerful kinsmen, was able to guard his estates and
protect him from undue taxation. On the 16th March, 1567-8, he obtained
livery of his father’s lands, he being then of full age. He had,
five years previously (29th June, 1563), being then in his sixteenth
year, married, at Cheadle, Sybil, the youngest daughter of Sir Urian
Brereton, of Honford, by his first wife, Margaret, daughter and heir of
William Honford, and widow of Sir John Stanley, a marriage that it may
be fairly assumed happily terminated the long-standing disputes between
the two houses respecting the tithes of Prestbury.

Following the example of his father-in-law, who rebuilt the hall of
Handforth, Thomas Legh, in 1581, rebuilt, or at all events, greatly
enlarged, the house at Adlington, as the following inscription, in
black-letter characters, over the entrance porch leading from the
court-yard testifies:—

     =Thomas Leyghe esquyer who maryed Sibbell doughter to Sir Urian
     Brereton of hondforde knight, and by her had Issue four sonnes &
     fyue doughters, made this buyldinge in the yeare of or lorde god
     1581 And in the raigne of our soveyraigne lady Queene Elizabeth
     the xxiijth.=

In 1587 Thomas Legh had the shrievalty of Cheshire conferred upon him.
The time was one of considerable excitement and no little anxiety, for
scarcely had he entered upon the duties of his office than news came
that the “Invincible Armada,” so long threatened and so long deferred,
had unfurled its sails, and was then actually advancing towards the
English coast. The spirit of patriotism was aroused; Roman Catholic and
Protestant united as one man to repel the haughty Spaniard, and the
Queen issued a proclamation to her sheriffs and others, urging them
by every consideration of social and domestic security to call forth
the united energies of their respective counties, in common with the
country in general, to resist the meditated attack. Thomas Legh, who
was then in the prime of manhood, was not likely to be idle on such
an occasion, and doubtless he acted with much the same spirit that
Macaulay’s sheriff did when the signal fires announcing the approach
of the enemy flashed along the southern coasts,—

    With his white hair unbonneted, the stout old sheriff comes,
    Behind him come the halberdiers, before him sound the drums;
    His yeomen round the market cross make clear an ample space,
    For there behoves him to set up the standard of Her Grace.
    And haughtily the trumpets peal, and gaily dance the bells,
    As slow upon the labouring wind the royal blazon swells.

In the later years of his life Thomas Legh added considerably to
the patrimonial lands. Towards the close of the century, when the
Butley estates, which had been held for so many generations by the
Pigots, were partitioned among three co-heiresses, he acquired by
purchase the manor and a moiety of the lands, which descended with
the Adlington property until the present century. On the 20th April,
1596, an enrolment was made, as appears by the Cheshire Records, at the
instance of Dame Mary Egerton, his mother, then a widow, of a covenant
by which he undertook to convey the mansion house of Adlington, with
other properties, to her use for life, and afterwards to himself with
successive remainders in fee tail to his sons Urian, Thomas, and
Edward, and his daughter, Maria Legh, and his right heirs for ever. In
the same year his eldest son, Urian Legh, brought distinction to the
family by his gallant bearing at Cadiz, where he earned for himself the
honour of knighthood, an event respecting which we shall have more to
say anon. Proud as the father must have felt at his son’s conspicuous
bravery, the pleasure must have had its alloy when, in the following
year, he had the misfortune to lose his younger son, Ralph, who was
slain by the insurgents in an attack upon Newry, in Ireland; and, to
add to his sorrow, in the next year, 1598, he lost another son, Thomas
Legh, who, with his commander, Sir Henry Bagnall, was killed in the
disastrous attempt to relieve the fortress of Blackwater,—the most
signal defeat ever experienced by an English force in Ireland,—when
Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, who had been for some time in
insurrection against the English rule, was besieging it, and who had,
at the same time, burned down the castle of Kilcoleman, where

                Amongst the coolly shade
    Of the green aldars, by the Mulla’s shore,

the “Faery Queen” had been written, and its gifted author, Edmund
Spenser, was then residing.

Thomas Legh died at Adlington on the 25th January, 1601-2, in the
fifty-fifth year of his age, and was buried at Prestbury, on the
following day, as the parish registers show. The same year his widow
caused a memorial window, a portion of which still remains, though in
a very mutilated condition, to be placed in the church, on which is a
shield of arms, with several quarterings, representing the alliances of
the two families. Beneath is this inscription:—

     ORATE PRO BONO STATV THOMÆ LEYGHE DE ADLINGTON ARMIGERI ET SIBILLA
     VXORIS SVÆ VNI’ FILIORVM VRIANI BRERETON DE HANDFORD MILITIS
     DEFVNCTI QVI HANC FENESTRAM FIERI FECERVNT IN ANNO DOMINI 1601.

She survived her husband eight years, and was buried at Prestbury,
February 19th, 1609-10.

Sir Urian Legh, who succeeded as heir on the death of his father, in
1602, was born at Handforth in 1566, and was, consequently, in his
thirty-sixth year when he entered upon his inheritance. As we have
seen, he had early embraced the profession of arms, and in the service
of his country had already won renown. It was the time when Elizabeth’s
sea captains, Howard and Essex, and Raleigh and Drake, were adding to
the national laurels by their achievements on the main, justifying
the witty and well-timed impromptu which one of the courtiers gave
when lament was made that England was then under the rule of a queen,
instead of that of a king,—

    O fortune! to old England still
    Continue such mistakes,
    And give us for our Kings such Queens,
    And for our dux such Drakes.

In 1596, when Philip of Spain was preparing for a second invasion of
England, Howard, the Lord Admiral, with his characteristic daring and
love of adventure, urged that, instead of waiting for the enemy’s
attack, a blow should be struck at Spain herself, by destroying the
fleet before it could leave her harbours. The more cautious Burleigh
counselled the less hazardous policy, but was overruled by the dashing
and impetuous Devereux, Earl of Essex, who, with Howard and Raleigh,
was eventually entrusted with the command of the expedition. Young
Urian Legh could not remain a laggard when such opportunities for
distinction offered; leaving the bower and the tilt yard for the
Spanish main, and the saddle of the war horse for the deck of the war
ship, he joined the expedition, and on the 1st of June, the fleet,
then lying at Plymouth, loosed its sails and bore away towards the
shores of Spain, arriving before Cadiz on the 12th. Essex, whose
impetuosity could brook no restraint, and who had, moreover, a bitter
aversion to the tyrant Philip, was so eager for action that he threw
his hat into the sea in the exuberance of his delight. The attack was
commenced on the following day, and with such fury that the Spanish
Admiral’s ship and several others were blown up with all their crews
on board, whilst the few vessels which were not either sunk or burned
were run on shore, the English admiral refusing to accept a price for
their release, declaring that “he came to burn and not to ransom.”
This daring and successful enterprise was followed up by an attack on
the strongly-fortified town of Cadiz. The impetuous Essex threw his
standard over the wall, “giving withal a most hot assault unto the
gate, where, to save the honour of their ensign, happy was he that
could first leap down from the wall, and with shot and sword make way
through the thickest press of the enemy.” The daring of the leader
called forth the courage of his followers. The town was captured on
the 26th June, and six hundred and twenty thousand ducats were paid as
a ransom for the lives of the inhabitants. The heir of Adlington took
the leading part in the attack, and displayed such conspicuous bravery
that the Earl knighted him upon the spot. The display of British valour
on the occasion has been justly described by Macaulay (“Essays,”
art. “Lord Bacon,”) as “the most brilliant military exploit that was
achieved on the continent by English arms during the long interval
which elapsed between the battle of Agincourt and that of Blenheim.”

Sir Urian Legh stands out with marked individuality in any record of
the house of Adlington. The Leghs have ever looked with pardonable
pride upon the doughty deeds of their warlike ancestor, and the feeling
has been nothing lessened by the romantic incident which tradition has
linked with his name. He is commonly believed to have been the hero of
the old legendary ballad,—“The Spanish Lady’s Love,” written by Thomas
Deloney immediately after the return from Spain, and reprinted by the
Percy Society from “The Garland of Goodwill”—

    Will you hear a Spanish lady,
    How she wooed an English man?

The story is that, while with Essex in Spain, a captive maid, “by birth
and parentage of high degree,” was so overcome by Sir Urian’s kindness
that she conceived an ardent attachment towards him, and when he was
about to return, the amorous and high-born beauty, flinging aside
the trammels of country and kin, begged that she might be allowed to
accompany him and share his lot in life—a request the gallant Cheshire
man, after urging many other objections, was compelled to refuse, for
the best of all reasons—he had already a wife.

    Courteous ladye, leave this fancy,
      Here comes all that breeds the strife;
    I in England have already
      A sweet woman to my wife;
    I will not falsify my vow for gold nor gain,
    Nor yet for all the fairest dames that live in Spain.

To which the disappointed lady magnanimously replies—

    Ah! how happy is that woman
      That enjoys so true a friend!
    Many happy days God send her!
      Of my suit I make an end.
    On my knees I pardon crave for this offence,
    Which did from love and true affection first commence.

    Commend me to thy loving lady,
      Bear to her this chain of gold,
    And these bracelets for a token;
      Grieving that I was so bold.
    All my jewels in like sort bear thou with thee,
    For they are fitting for thy wife, but not for me.

It has been stated by some writers that the ballad has reference
not to Sir Urian Legh, but to Sir John Bolle, of Thorpe Hall, in
Lincolnshire, the representative of a family remotely connected in
a later generation with the Leghs of Adlington; while Dr. Percy, in
his introductory remarks, inclines to the opinion that the original
was either a member of the Popham family or Sir Richard Leveson, of
Trentham, in Staffordshire, an ancestor of the Duke of Sutherland.
The legend has doubtless some foundation in fact, though the _actores
fabulæ_ may be phantoms; it should, however, be said that, until recent
years, when they were removed to Shaw Hill, in Lancashire, the Leghs,
in proof of the identity of their kinsman with the hero of Deloney’s
ballad, were able to show the veritable “chain of gold” and the casket
in which through long generations it had been carefully preserved as
an heirloom of the family. A half-length portrait of Sir Urian hangs
upon the staircase at Adlington. It has been taken when he was in the
fulness of manhood, and represents him as fresh complexioned, with a
regular and rather handsome cast of features, suggesting the idea that
comeliness of face and figure blended with courage and courtesy,—the
characteristics of an old English gentleman. He wears a black felt hat
with jewelled front, a black gown with vandyked and richly embroidered
points, and round his neck a gold chain of many links that hangs down
almost to the waist—whether the one given him by the “Spanish Lady” or
not we will not undertake to say. In one corner of the picture is a
shield of six quarters, and in the opposite corner this inscription:—

     SIR URIAN LEGH OF ADLINGTON IN THE COUNTY OF CHESTER KNIGHT WHO
     WENT WITH ROBERT DEVEREUX EARL OF ESSEX TO THE SIEGE OF CADIZ AND
     WAS BY HIM KNIGHTED IN THE FIELD FOR HIS GREAT SERVICES IN TAKING
     THAT TOWN IN 1575 (SHOULD BE 1596). HE MARRIED MARGARET DAUGHTER
     OF SIR EDMUND TRAFFORD IN THE COUNTY OF LANCASTER KNIGHT BY WHOM
     HE HAD FOUR SONS AND THREE DAUGHTERS.

On succeeding to his inheritance Sir Urian appears to have settled
down to the discharge of his duties as a country gentleman, and to
have applied himself to the further improvement of his patrimony,
which he managed with so much thrift and care that before the close
of the century he was able to make an addition to the family estates
by the purchase of the lands and hall of Foxwist, in Butley township,
from William Duncalf, whose ancestors had been resident there for more
than three centuries, and in 1603 he built the Milne House, which long
afterwards continued to be used as the dower house of the family. In
1613, the year following that in which Cecil died and the notorious
Carr, a raw Scotch lad, was made Prime Minister, he was entrusted
with the shrievalty of the county, and in local affairs he appears
to have taken an active part, his bold and clearly defined autograph
being of frequent occurrence in the parochial records. He was a man
of some culture, had had the advantage of a university education,
having matriculated at Oxford, and in his private life he would seem
to have had a sweet fancy, turning to literature in the absence of
action, for in the inventory of his effects, taken after his death, it
is mentioned that there were in his closet at Prestbury “his bookes
valued at xvjli.” He affected the society of men of letters: Dee, the
“Wizard Warden” of Manchester, in his “Diary,” under date April 22nd,
1597, records that he was visited at his residence in the College by
Sir Urian Legh and his brother (Edward Legh, probably, for the other
brothers, Thomas and Ralph, were at the time in Ireland engaged in the
suppression of O’Neill’s rebellion), a Mr. Brown, and Mr. George Booth,
of Dunham, then Sheriff of Cheshire.

[Illustration]

On the 6th of September, 1586, ten years before the affair at Cadiz,
Sir Urian Legh was united in marriage to Mary, one of the daughters
of Sir Edmund Trafford, of Trafford, Knight, that “hunter out and
unkeneler of those slie and subtil foxes Iesuites and semenarei
Priests.” The guests who graced the ceremony by their presence must
have formed a goodly company, for William Massie, the rector of
Wilmslow, who preached a sermon on the occasion, speaks of it as being
delivered “before the right honourable the most noble Earle of Derby,
and the right reuerend father in God the B(ishop) of Chester with
diuerse Knightes and Esquires of great worship at the solemne marriage
of your (Sir Edmund Trafford’s) daughter, a modest and vertuous
Gentlewoman, married to a young gentleman of great worship and good
education.”

Sir Urian Legh died at Adlington on the 2nd June, 1627, and two days
afterwards, as the registers show, he was buried at Prestbury.

It is somewhat singular that Thomas Newton,[33] the famous Cheshire
poet, who sang the glories of Essex and Drake in Latin verse, should
have remained silent upon the daring deeds of his quondam friend and
neighbour, Sir Urian Legh, leaving the “Water Poet,” John Taylor, to
record in rhyme the virtues of the hero of Cadiz. Taylor was a guest
at Adlington some time before the close of the century, and in his
“Pennilesse Pilgrimage” describes the reception he met in a manner that
recalls Ben Jonson’s lines in praise of the daily hospitalities at
Penshurst:—

    This weary day, when I had almost past,
    I came vnto Sir Urian Legh’s at last.
    At _Adlington_, neer _Macksfield_, he doth dwell,
    Belou’d, respected, and reputed well.
    Through his great loue, my stay with him was fixt,
    From Thursday night till noone on Monday next.
    At his own table I did daily eate,
    Whereat may be suppos’d did want no meate.
    He would have giu’n me gold or siluer either,
    But I with many thankes receiued neither.
    And thus much without flattery I dare sweare,
    He is a knight beloued farre and neere.
    First, he’s beloued of his God aboue,
    (Which loue he loues to keep beyond all loue),
    Next with a wife and children he is blest,
    Each hauing God’s feare planted in their brest.
    With faire Demaines, Reuennue of good Lands,
    He’s fairely blest by the Almightie’s hands.
    And as he’s happy in these outward things,
    So from his inward mind continuall springs
    Fruits of deuotion, deedes of Piety,
    Good hospitable workes of Charity;
    Iust in his Actions, constant in his word,
    And one that wonne his honour with the sword.
    He’s no Carranto, Cap’ring, Carpet Knight,
    But he knowes when and how to speake and fight.
    I cannot flatter him, say what I can,
    He’s euery way a compleat Gentleman.
    I write not this for what he did to me,
    But what mine eares and eyes did heare and see,
    Nor doe I pen this to enlarge his fame,
    But to make others imitate the same.
    For like a Trumpet were I pleased to blow,
    I would his worthy worth more amply show,
    But I already feare haue beene too bold,
    And craue his pardon, me excusd to hold.
    Thanks to his Sonnes and seruants euery one,
    Both males and females all, excepting none.

[Note 33: Thomas Newton, before his removal into Essex, resided at Park
House, in Butley, little more than a mile distant from Adlington. His
mother, Alice Newton, in her will, dated December 22, 1597, leaves “one
spurill ryall or XVs. in money to each of the right worshipful Thomas
Legh, of Adlington, and Sybell, his wife,” the testatrix’s “worshipful
good frendes;” and she also appoints “the right worshipful Thomas Legh,
of Adlington aforesaid, Esquire,” overseer, earnestly entreating him to
assist and direct her executors.]

Sir Urian Legh, as we have said, died in 1627; and his eldest son,
Thomas, was approaching the meridian of life when he succeeded as heir
to the family estates. It was a memorable epoch in English history,
for in that year Buckingham, the King’s favourite, by his inglorious
expedition to France, had brought dishonour on his country’s arms, and
was impeached in Parliament; and in the following year the Commons,
before they would grant the supplies necessary to retrieve the
disaster, extorted from Charles the Petition of Rights, confirming
the liberties that were already the birthright of Englishmen—a
measure which, had it been accepted by its authors as final, would
have spared the country the calamities of civil war. Thomas Legh
had married in his father’s lifetime (1610) a rich heiress, one of
the daughters of Sir John Gobert, of Boresworth, in Leicestershire;
with whom he acquired considerable property, including the estate of
Clumber,[34] forming part of the royal manor and forest of Sherwood,
which subsequently passed into the possession of the Pelham-Clintons,
Dukes of Newcastle; so that by the time he came into his patrimony he
had added considerably to the territorial possessions as well as to the
social status of his house. On the death of Sir John Gobert, dame Lucy,
his widow, appears to have resided with her daughter and son-in-law at
Adlington, and to have remained with them up to the time of her death
in 1634. In 1628-9 Thomas Legh was chosen to fill the office of high
sheriff of the county, a distinction that was again conferred on him in
the year 1642-3. The year of the second appointment was a portentous
one, for the seeds of civil strife which had been sown in previous
years had ripened, and King and Commoner—sovereign and subject—were
then placing themselves in open array against each other. The Royalists
of Cheshire, though in a minority, were prompt in obeying the King’s
summons. Thomas Legh, in whom the blaze of youth was then sinking into
the deep burning fire of middle age, for fifty summers had passed over
his head, at once placed himself at the disposal of his sovereign, and
had a colonel’s commission in the Royalist army; Thomas, his eldest
son, had a lieutenant-colonel’s commission; whilst his four younger
sons—John, Charles, Peter, and Henry—and his brother Urian, who had
previously been in the wars in the Low Countries, had also commissions.

[Note 34: A recent writer says (_Contributions towards a History of
Prestbury, p. 102_): “Clumber appears to have been sequestrated from
the Leghs during the Civil War, and never restored.” This is not
quite accurate, for Thomas Legh, who died in 1687, by his will, dated
20th August, 1686, bequeathed to his younger son, Richard Legh, and
his heirs for ever, “all that mannour or capitall messuage called
Clumber, in the county of Nottingham, and all buildings, tenements, and
hereditaments in Clumber aforesaid.”]

The attempt to maintain the neutrality of the county by the Treaty
of Pacification, as it was called, having failed, the commission of
array was issued, requiring the receivers to see that the tenantry and
others in their respective districts were mustered and properly armed
and accoutred, and each of the hostile parties set to work to procure
military stores in anticipation of approaching conflict. The King’s
troops were at Chester under the command of Sir Thomas Aston, and the
Parliamentarians, led by Thomas Legh’s relative, Sir William Brereton,
of Honford, established themselves at Nantwich, which subsequently
became the scene of important military operations. In March, 1643, the
rival forces met at Middlewich, when an engagement took place in which
the Royalists were defeated, Sir Edward Mosley, of Manchester, and
several Cheshire men of mark being made prisoners; but Sir Thomas Aston
and Colonel Legh, who was present with him and at the time sheriff,
being more fortunate, succeeded in making good their escape. Before
the close of the year the Royalists suffered a series of reverses. At
Nantwich they sustained a defeat at the hands of General Fairfax; on
the 4th of February, 1643-4, Crewe Hall was attacked and taken; three
days later Doddington Hall shared the same fate; in the same month
Adlington was besieged by a force under Colonel Duckinfield, and a few
days after its surrender Mr. Tatton’s house at Wythenshawe, was also
stormed and taken.

The probability of an attack on their home must have been foreseen by
the Leghs, and, consequently, the house was put in a state of defence
on the outbreak of hostilities, and stores of provisions and ammunition
for the use of the garrison collected in anticipation of any attack
that might be made upon it. Colonel Legh appears to have been absent
at the time of Duckinfield’s assault, being probably with the King’s
forces in some other part of the country, and the defence, therefore,
fell to the lot of his eldest son—a brave scion of a brave ancestry,
who must have conducted it with considerable energy and judgment, for
the garrison held out a whole fortnight, notwithstanding that the siege
was carried on with a good deal of vigour. The attacking party appear
to have encamped on the south side of the hall, and the assault must
have been made from that direction, for the door on the south front
is pierced in several places where the bullets and cannon shot passed
through. The garrison, by their obstinate bravery, must have won the
respect of their assailants, for, unlike the case of Biddulph, which
surrendered a week afterwards, when quarter for life only was granted,
the defenders of Adlington when they did capitulate (Feb. 14) had full
leave to depart. Burghall, the Puritan vicar of Acton, thus records the
circumstance in his “Diary”:—

     Friday, February 14th.—Adlington House was delivered up, which was
     besieged about a fortnight, where was a younger son of Mr. Legh’s
     and 140 souldiers, which had all fair quarter and leave to depart,
     leaving behind them, as the report was, 700 arms and 15 barrels of
     powder.

By an order of the Parliament, dated March 18, 1643, Sir William
Brereton, of Honford, Thomas Legh’s second cousin, and then
major-general of the Cheshire forces, entered upon possession and
seized the family estates into his own hands, so that the owner of
Adlington could hardly say of Sir William what, according to the old
ballad, his kinsman Lord Brereton said when he espied him on the hill
overlooking Biddulph—

    Yonder my uncle stands, and he will not come near,
    Because he’s a Roundhead and I am a Cavalier.

The house was pillaged, though the fabric itself does not appear to
have sustained any very serious injury considering the quantity of
powder that was burned and the efforts that were expended upon it.
Shortly afterwards it was retaken and held for the King, but it must
have been stormed and taken a second time by the Parliamentarian
soldiers, for when Colonel Legh’s widow appealed to Sir William
Brereton to be allowed to occupy the hall, and to have a portion of her
late husband’s estates assigned to her for the maintenance of herself
and children, the request was denied, so far as the occupancy of
the house was concerned, on the plea that as Adlington Hall had been
garrisoned twice against the Parliament it was not judged fitting it
should be ventured a third time.

Colonel Legh’s active zeal in the Royalist cause made him so obnoxious
to the Parliament party that in the preliminary propositions for the
abortive Treaty of Uxbridge he was specially named as one of those
to be excluded from the councils of his sovereign, and from holding
any office or command from the crown under pain of forfeiture of his
estates and the penalties attaching to high treason. The stipulation
was unnecessary, for before the commissioners had assembled he had
entered into his rest. It is not known with certainty when or where his
death occurred; the Prestbury registers for this period are imperfect,
and no entry of burial can be discovered; it is not unlikely, however,
that he found an unknown grave at some place distant from his home
where he may have lost his life in the service of the King.

His widow took up her abode at the Miln House—the picturesque old black
and white gabled structure, now occupied as a farmhouse, standing near
the railway midway between Adlington and Prestbury, built in the time
of Sir Urian Legh—which she held in jointure. She could hardly have
been as uncompromising a Royalist as her husband, for in a petition
to the committee for compounding with “delinquents,” praying that she
might be allowed to compound for her deceased husband’s estates, she
sets forth that “she had long before the death of her husband misliked
the course of the enemy (_i.e._, the Royalists) in the parts where she
resided, and had departed thence into the Parliament’s quarters, where
she had ever since remained and conformed herself to all the orders of
Parliament.” The statement was no doubt made in good faith, for some
little time after Thomas Legh’s death she married an ardent Republican,
who had been as active in furthering the Parliament’s interest in
Lancashire as her first husband had been in defending that of the King
in Cheshire—Sir Alexander Rigby, of Middleton-in-Goosnargh, a lawyer,
statesman, magistrate, and colonel, and eventually one of the barons of
the Exchequer. Rigby, who represented Wigan in the Long Parliament,
was head and heart and hand and almost everything else of importance
in Lancashire; his activity was unwearied; his energy irrepressible,
and his influence unbounded. He was engaged in every important action;
he commanded at the siege of Lathom, the fight in Furness, the capture
of Thurland Castle, and the defence of Bolton-le-Moors; and he was
nominated one of the King’s judges, but declined to act, the only
occasion in his life, it is said, in which he hesitated to do his worst
against royalty. Dr. Halley, in his “Lancashire Puritanism,” describes
him as “rash, impetuous, rude, haughty, severe, implacable; admired
by many, esteemed by few, and loved by none,” and the same writer
adds, “he is said to have contrived a scheme and bargain by which the
Royalist masters of three Cambridge colleges—St. John’s, Queen’s, and
Jesus’—were to be sold for slaves to the Algerines.”

[Illustration: SIR ALEXANDER RIGBY.]

The “insolent rebell, Rigby,” as Charlotte Tremouille, the heroic
Countess of Derby, designated him when he was besieging Lathom House,
though possessed of only a small estate, was connected by birth and
marriage with many of the best families in Lancashire; he was also
closely allied with the Leghs, of Adlington, having married for his
first wife Lucy, the daughter of Sir Urian, and sister of Thomas Legh,
so that he stood in the relationship of brother-in-law to his second
wife.

The marriage of their mother with the “insolent rebell” could hardly
have been viewed with much satisfaction by the sons, who were all
fighting on the side of the ill-fated Charles, and, therefore,
accounted “delinquents,” one of them being specially mentioned as “very
active against the Parliament” and continuing “extreamelie malitious,”
though, in other respects, it was fortunate, as Rigby’s influence as
a member of the House of Commons in the Parliament interest was no
doubt used in protecting the estates from the more ruinous exactions to
which they would otherwise have been subjected, as well as the illegal
challenges which might have wrested them absolutely from their rightful
owners.

Sir Alexander Rigby died in 1650, having caught the gaol fever of
the prisoners while on circuit at Croydon, and some time after his
widow, who appears to have had a penchant for matrimony, again
entered the marriage state, her third husband being John Booth, of
Woodford, in Over, the uncle of Sir George Booth, of Dunham Massey,
the head of the Presbyterian interest in Cheshire. John Booth was
also a staunch Puritan; like the knight in “Hudibras,” he had ridden
out “a-colonelling” in the interest of the Parliament, and may have
been the identical Puritan whom “Drunken Barnaby,” when on his “Four
Journeys to the North of England,” saw and thus immortalised:—

    I came to Over—O, profane one—
    And there I saw a Puritane one,
    A-hanging of his cat on Monday
    For killing of a mouse on Sunday.

The marriage with John Booth could not have been a very felicitous
one, for, according to Sir Peter Leycester, husband and wife lived
apart from each other. She resided at the Miln House, and died there in
February, 1675-6, and was buried at Prestbury. By her first husband,
Thomas Legh, she had five sons, all of whom served in the Royalist
army, one of them, John, losing his life in the war; and seven
daughters, one of whom, Margaret, became the second wife of the eldest
surviving son of her mother’s second husband, Alexander Rigby the
younger, who, like his father, was an active soldier on the Parliament
side, and the representative for Lancaster in the House of Commons in
1658.

At the time of Colonel Legh’s death, in 1644, his eldest son and
heir, Thomas Legh, was a prisoner of war at Coventry, having been
captured in the engagement at Stafford in May in the preceding year,
where he was detained until June, 1645, when he was exchanged for his
brother-in-law, Alexander Rigby,[35] who had been taken prisoner during
the siege of Lathom House. He had then been married some few years,
his wife being Mary, the daughter of Thomas Bolles, of Osberton, in
Nottinghamshire.

[Note 35: According to Colonel Fishwick it was Urian Legh, the uncle of
Thomas, who was exchanged for Alexander Rigby the younger.—_History of
Goosnargh_, p. 148.]

Civil war has ever a devouring and insatiable maw, and in those days of
political trouble and disturbance, when hostile armies were marching
and counter-marching through the country, neither persons nor property
were safe. It was the time—

    When nobles and knights so proud of late,
    Must pine for freedom and estate,

especially if they were suspected of having any political partialities,
whether on the “malignants” or the “roundheads” side. The Leghs were
all active partisans, and no family in Cheshire sustained heavier
losses or endured greater hardships in defending what they believed
to be the rights of their sovereign. While Thomas Legh was a prisoner
at Coventry his young wife petitioned the sequestrators that some
provision might be made for her, and eventually she had allotted to
her a small portion of her husband’s lands. In June of the following
year she again memorialised the sequestrators that her husband might be
allowed to compound for his estates, pleading that since his release
he had foreborne to repair to the enemy’s quarters, and setting forth
the miseries which she and her children were enduring, being destitute
of the means of livelihood until relieved. Mr. Legh also presented a
petition praying that he might be allowed to compound, when a statement
of his “delinquencies” and a report upon his estates was submitted,
which is preserved among the State papers in the Record Office. The
charges exhibited against him were—

(1.) That he led a company of musquetiers into Adlington Hall when it
was first garrisoned against the Parliament, and brought some who were
well affected to the Parliament prisoners into the garrison, and kept
them there till they compounded with him.

(2.) That he bore arms in that garrison; was governor of it; and gave
directions to the inferior commanders therein.

(3.) That he refused to deliver up the said house to Colonel
Duckinfield for the use of Parliament.

(4.) That he went from that garrison to Shrewsbury, thence to Chester,
and thence to other garrisons of the enemy, and that he associated
himself and held intercourse of intelligence against the Parliament
with them.

On the 10th March, 1645-6, the Committee of Sequestrators agreed that
Thomas Legh should be permitted to compound on payment to them of the
sum of £2,000. This amount having been secured he, in July, obtained
his discharge, and in the succeeding year sued out a pardon under the
great seal for himself and his three surviving brothers, Charles,
Peter, and Henry (John having been killed in action), who had also been
admitted to compound. But his troubles were not yet ended. In November,
1648, he was required by the commissioners to settle the tithes of
Bosley in Prestbury parish, valued at £56 a year, in trust for the
minister of Bosley, the following being the minute of the Commissioners
of Augmentation:—

     _Thomas Leigh_, of Adlington, in ye said countie (Cheshire), by
     deeds dated ye 16th of November, A.D. 1648, hath settled ye tithes
     of _Prestbury_, of ye value of £56 per ann. upon George Booth,
     Esq., in trust for ye minister of _Boseley_, and his successors
     for ever. Consideration £560.

Before the close of the year, in pursuance of an order of Parliament,
he was ordered to pay £220, being an assessment of one-twentieth part
of the estate. Subsequently he was required to furnish a particular
account of his real and personal estate, which being done, it was
submitted to Major-general Worsley and the Commissioners then assembled
at Middlewich, in February, 1655.

In November, 1656, he had the misfortune to lose his wife, who had
borne him a family of six sons and four daughters. She was buried at
Prestbury, November 22, and at the very time she lay dead his estate
was again decimated and himself secured. Whereupon he presented a
petition to the Lord Protector, alleging that he had behaved peaceably
under the then government, and praying that he might no longer be
looked upon as an enemy, but might partake of the Protector’s grace and
favour. The petition was referred to Worsley and the Commissioners for
securing the peace of the county, who in January, 1656-7, reported that
since his composition he had behaved peaceably and respectably to the
Parliament party, soldiers and friends, and had not been concerned in
any plots against the Protector or Parliament to their knowledge; that
he had constantly paid all taxes for the use of the Commonwealth; had
sent forth such forces, both horse and foot, for the service of the
late Parliament as required; and had, moreover, offered his personal
assistance for them at the battle of Worcester; and, finally, that
they considered him a person capable of favour. From this time he
appears to have been left in undisturbed possession of his property. He
survived these troublous times, and lived to see the overthrow of the
Commonwealth and the restoration of monarchy in the person of Charles
the Second. In 1662 he was nominated sheriff of his native county—the
only recognition he ever received of the losses sustained and the great
services which he and his family had rendered to the cause of the
Stuarts. Fortunately for his house, those losses were in some measure
made up from another source. In the year in which he served the office
of sheriff his late wife’s mother, Dame Mary Bolles, who, in 1635,
had been created a baroness in her own right, the only instance of
such a creation, died, leaving property, to the value, it is said, of
£20,000 to be divided between her two sons-in-law, Sir William Dalston
and Thomas Legh—in the case of the latter a welcome addition to an
estate which during the usurpation had been so greatly impoverished.
The fortune thus acquired he seems to have employed in improving and
extending his territorial possessions, for about the year 1669 he
is found purchasing from Sir Thomas Brereton the old manor-house of
Handforth, which one of his progenitors, Urian Brereton, erected in
1557, and subsequently (1681) he became the owner, also by purchase,
of lands in Newton, adjoining Butley, that have since descended with
the other Adlington properties. Thomas Legh survived all his brothers,
and died in December, 1687, being then in his seventy-third year.
In accordance with his expressed desire, his remains were “decently
buried amongst his Ancestors in the Chancell of the parish church of
Prestbury.”

[Illustration]

Thomas Legh, the third of that name, was in his forty-fourth year when
he succeeded to the Adlington estates—those in Leicestershire and
Nottinghamshire passing under his father’s will to his two surviving
brothers, Edward and Richard. Shortly after the Restoration (1666)
he chose himself a wife from the historic house of Maynard—Johanna,
the daughter, and eventually heir, of the distinguished statesman
and lawyer, Sir John Maynard—a match that must have brought him
considerable wealth, and have added to his social influence. Sir
John had been an active member of the Long Parliament, in which he
distinguished himself as one of the prosecutors of Strafford and Laud,
but afterwards, for his opposition to the violent acts of the army and
the unconstitutional proceedings of Cromwell, he was twice committed
to the Tower. At the conference between the Lords and Commons at the
time of the Revolution he displayed considerable ability, and warmly
advocated the abdication of James II. He was appointed one of the
Commissioners of the Great Seal in 1689, being then eighty-seven years
of age. He had frequently to submit to the coarseness of Jeffries’
ribald tongue. On one occasion, when addressing the court, that unjust
dispenser of justice interrupted him with the rude remark, “Mr.
Serjeant, you’ve lost your knowledge of law; your memory is failing
you through age.” “It may be so,” responded Maynard, “but I am sure I
have forgotten more law than your lordship ever knew.” And it is said
of him that when William III., alluding to his great age, remarked that
he must have outlived all the lawyers of his time, he happily replied,
“Yes, and if your highness had not come over to our assistance I should
have outlived the law itself.”

Political prudence was not always a distinguishing characteristic of
the lords of Adlington, and Thomas Legh does not seem to have profited
greatly by his father’s and grandfather’s experiences of political
partisanship, for he contrived to get himself involved in the troubles
which fell upon Cheshire in 1683, the year of the notorious Rye House
Plot, when he was suspected of conspiring with others to place the Duke
of Monmouth upon the throne.

Monmouth, who had been expatriated, had returned a year or two
previously to find himself hailed as the “Protestant Duke,” and exalted
into a popular hero. He made a partisan progress through Cheshire,
with the view of ingratiating himself with the men of the county;
while at Chester, courting popularity, a violent “No Popery” mob broke
into the Cathedral, and, amongst other outrages committed upon the
contents of the sacred building, wholly destroyed the painted glass of
the east window of the Lady Chapel, broke up the organ, and knocked
the ancient font to pieces. Enquiries were instituted as to those who
were believed to sympathise with the action of Monmouth, when Thomas
Legh’s name was included in the list of persons, who, being suspected,
it was deemed expedient should give security for their good behaviour.
He must, however, have regained the Royal favour, for he retained his
commission as colonel of militia, and the year following that in which
he entered upon possession of his patrimonial lands he was honoured
with the shrievalty of the county. He did not live long to enjoy the
estates, having met his death by an accident on the 6th April, 1691, as
thus recorded in a MS. diary, preserved at Tabley:—

     1691, April 6th.—Col. Legh, of Adlington, layning on a raile in
     Adlington, whch breaking he fell and broak his neck and dyed.

His wife, who survived him several years, resided at the Miln House,
in Adlington, and died about November, 1700. The bulk of her personal
property was, in accordance with her directions, invested in the
purchase of lands for the benefit of her second surviving son, Robert,
who married Mary, daughter of Sir Richard Standish, of Duxbury, and
settled at Chorley, in Lancashire, on the lands purchased under his
mother’s will. Thomas Leigh, by his wife had, _inter alia_, Anne,
his co-heiress, who became the wife of Thomas Crosse, of Crosse Hall
and Shaw Hill, in Lancashire, by whom she had a son, Richard Crosse,
of Shaw Hill, who, through failure of direct male heirs, eventually
succeeded to the Adlington estates, and took the name and arms of Legh
by Royal license.

Thomas Legh, who died in 1691, was succeeded in the estates by his
eldest son, John, who was then thirty-two years of age, having been
born in 1668. Two years after he entered upon his inheritance (July,
1693) he married Isabella, the daughter of Robert Robartes, Viscount
Bodmin, and granddaughter of the first Earl of Radnor. During his time
some important additions were made to the family estates. In the year
of his marriage he purchased from William Sherd, of Sherd and Disley,
the descendant of an old companion in arms of his grandfather, the
estate of Sherd-fold, on the confines of Adlington; three years later
he purchased Hope-green from Edward Downes, and in 1696 he acquired
the property known as “Day’s Tenement,” in Prestbury. In 1705 he was
nominated sheriff of the county, and he appears to have succeeded his
father as colonel of the militia, in which capacity he was called
upon to aid in suppressing the political disturbances that arose in
Lancashire on the occasion of the Hanoverian succession.

At the dine of Queen Anne’s death, in 1714, the country was divided
into two powerful factions, a large number of the people, with that
old English feeling of which we see traces even yet, preferring as
their monarch the son of an English king to the son of a petty foreign
prince. The flames of rebellion were kindled, and a determined effort
was made to restore the direct succession to the throne, in the
person of the Chevalier de St. George, the eldest son of James II.,
and a half-brother of the deceased queen. On the 10th June, 1715, the
birthday of the Chevalier, a Jacobite mob, headed by “Tom” Syddall,
a peruke maker, attacked the Nonconformist Chapel in Cross Street,
Manchester—the only dissenting place of worship at that time in the
town—smashed in the doors and windows, pulled down the pulpit and
pews, and carried away everything portable, leaving only the ruinous
walls; and, a few days later, sacked and destroyed the meeting-houses
at Blackley, Monton, and Greenacres. In October of the same year the
Earl of Derwentwater and General Foster, with the Earls of Wintoun,
Nithsdale, and Carnwath, and Lords Widdrington and Nairne, raised
the standard of the Pretender, and, with a small army, crossed the
border, passed through Kendal and Lancaster, and as far as Preston—that
“Capua” of Scotchmen, as it has been called—on their way south. In the
last-named town, if we are to believe the Jacobite journalist, Peter
Clarke, they were so fascinated by the good looks and the gay attire
of the Lancashire witches that “the gentleman soldiers from Wednesday
to Saturday minded nothing but courting and feasting.” While they were
thus “courting and feasting” the news of their advance reached General
Willes, who was then in command of the garrison at Chester, and he at
once set out to attack them, passing through Manchester on his way.
Finding a strong Jacobite feeling existing there, he caused several of
the more influential leaders of the faction to be secured, and disarmed
the others, leaving a troop behind him to overawe the disaffected.
Before leaving he wrote to the Earl of Cholmondeley, the lord
lieutenant of Cheshire, urging him to send on the militia while he with
his regular forces marched against the insurgents, and in the “Memoires
of the family of Finney, of Fulshaw,” written by Samuel Finney in
1787, it is recorded that in October a warrant from three of the
deputy lieutenants was directed to John Legh, of Adlington, or, in his
absence, to John Finney, his captain-lieutenant, requiring them to give
notice to the constables of Macclesfield Hundred to order all persons
charged with any foot soldiers to send on the same by the 17th of the
month, “every Soldier to appear compleatly armed with musket, bayonet
to fix in the muzel thereof, a Cartooch Box, and Sword, to bring pay
for two days, and the Salary for the Muster Master. Every Muskateer to
bring half a pound of powder, and as much (sic) Bullets, and the said
Constables to appear and make returns.” On the 27th October another
warrant was issued requiring them to assemble the forces at Knutsford
on the 7th November, when, as we are told in the “Memoires,” “having
exercised their appointed time, and the Rebells advancing, the Regiment
was ordered to advance northwards and secure the town of Manchester,
whilst Generals Willes and Carpenter advanced with the horse to attack
the Rebells at Preston. When,” it is added, “the Cheshire Regiment was
advanced to the Top of Deansgate, the Entrance of the Town, they made
a Halt to wait for Billets from the Constables, which were so long in
coming and the Weather extremely wet and cold, and the road Miry, that
both Officers and Men grew so impatient that a messenger was despatched
to the Constables to tell them that if they did not immediately send
them Billets they would fire the Town; this had an immediate good
Effect; they soon got into warm quarters. The King’s Head in Salford
fell to the share of Sir Samuel Daniel, Coll. Legh, and Captain Finney,
intimate Friends, and jolly brave Fellows, who, instead of saying their
prayers and going to bed like good Folks, expecting to be killed next
day, sat drinking, laughing, and taking Spanish Snuff till the morning,
when they expected to come soon into action; but Willes and Carpenter
soon eased them of that trouble, by forcing the Town of Preston.”

Mr. Legh’s military experiences were not of a very sanguinary
character, and this appears to have been the last occasion in which
he was employed in any soldierly capacity. He died in 1739, and on
the 12th December was buried in the family vault at Prestbury, having
had in addition to a son Charles, who succeeded, two daughters, who
pre-deceased him; Elizabeth, who died unmarried, and was buried at
Westminster, August 20th, 1734, and Lucy Frances, second wife of
Peter Davenport (afterwards Sir Peter), of Macclesfield, who died in
November, 1728, leaving an only daughter her sole heiress, Elizabeth
Davenport, who became the wife of John Rowlls, of Kingston, in Surrey,
Receiver-General, who afterwards assumed the surname of Legh.

Charles Legh, who succeeded as heir on the death of his father, John
Legh, in 1739, was born at Adlington, September 17, and baptised at
Prestbury, October, 1697, so that he must have been in his forty-fourth
year when he entered upon his inheritance. He had then been married
some years, his wife being Hester, daughter of Robert Lee, of Wincham,
in Bucklow Hundred, who by the death of her brothers, Robert and Clegg
Lee, and her sister, Elizabeth, without issue, became heir to the manor
of Wincham.

In earlier years the Leghs had evinced their piety by important
additions made to their parish church, as well as by the erection of
a chapel on their estate for the convenience of their more immediate
dependents; and Charles Legh, on first coming into his patrimony,
applied himself to the work of enlarging the old church of Prestbury by
the rebuilding of the north aisle and the Legh chapel, to the cost of
which he was the chief contributor. He could not, however, have felt
much appreciation of the beauties of the original design, or he would
not have replaced a Gothic structure with the unsightly, barn-like
erection which has happily within the present year been superseded by
one of more ecclesiastical character.

The following year was one of considerable excitement, for it was
that in which Prince Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, renewed the
attempt to recover the throne of his ancestors—the fatal ’45. On the
28th November the rebel army reached Manchester, which, as the story
goes, was taken by “a sergeant, a drum, and a woman;” three days later
the march towards London was resumed, Macclesfield being chosen as
the terminus of the first day’s journey. The Prince marshalled his
forces in two divisions, and, leading one of them, forded the Mersey
at Stockport, and then marched through the level country, by way of
Woodford, Adlington, and Prestbury, to Macclesfield. The story is
told that as they were passing through Adlington they came up with a
carter, named Broster, returning from Stockport, who was forthwith
“pressed” into the service and ordered by the soldiers to convey their
baggage to Macclesfield. Among the chattels put into Broster’s cart
was a heavy chest evidently containing treasure, the money possibly in
which the Manchestrians had been mulct, and which poor James Waller,
of Ridgefield, the borough-reeve, had been compelled to gather in. The
darkness of a December night had fallen upon the scene by the time they
approached Prestbury, and, the baggage guards not being over vigilant,
Richard Broster watched his opportunity and made the most of it when it
came. Suddenly turning up a bye-lane, he whipped his horses briskly,
and succeeded in reaching his home at Old Hollin Hall Farm, near
Bollington, before he was missed; arrived there, the box was quickly
tipped into the yard pit as a hiding-place from the troopers who might
be sent in search of the lost treasure, and there it lay until the
rebels had started upon their march to Derby, when it was fished up.[36]

[Note 36: It is said that in the cellar at Old Hollin Hall there is a
stone bench with this inscription graven upon it:—“This must stand here
for ever—Richard Broster, 1757.”]

Though the Leghs of Lyme, who were suspected of favouring the cause
of the Pretender, might not be able to wipe out altogether from their
hearts the old Stuart affection, their kinsman of Adlington could not
have had much sympathy either for the young Chevalier or the cause he
represented, or, if he had, his Jacobitism must have been under the
control of a very cautious possessor, and not so demonstrative as to
imperil his personal and family interests, for when Joseph Ward, the
Vicar of Prestbury, preached a sermon on the occasion of the “General
Thanksgiving” for the suppression of the “unnatural rebellion” it was
published, as by the title-page appears, “at the request of Charles
Legh, of Adlington, Esquire.”

In 1746 Mr. Legh added to his territorial possessions by the purchase,
from Thomas Pigot, of the estate of Bonishall, which for several
generations had been the residence of a younger branch of the Pigots
of Butley, the representative of which had then migrated to Fairsnape,
near Preston, and from that time Bonishall has descended to the
successive owners of Adlington with the other estates of the family. In
the following year Mr. Legh had the shrievalty of Cheshire conferred
upon him, a dignity that, as we have seen, had been enjoyed by his
ancestors in six consecutive generations previously. He does not,
however, appear to have devoted much attention to public matters,
preferring to reside upon his own estate and there discharge the duties
devolving upon him as a country gentleman. In the later years of his
life he occupied his time in remodelling, and in part rebuilding, the
home of his fathers; in doing so, however, it is to be regretted that,
influenced by the then prevailing fancy for works of classic type, he
was led to adopt a style so much at variance with the character of the
original structure, and which, outwardly at least, robbed it of its
most picturesque and interesting features. In commemoration of his work
he inscribed his own name and that of his wife with the year of its
completion, 1757, upon the frieze of the portico, and on the pediment
above affixed a shield of arms—Legh quartering Corona, with Lee of
Wincham, on an escutcheon of pretence.

While engaged in the re-edification of his house the barony of
Kinderton became extinct, when Mr. Legh set up a claim to be considered
heir male of the family, in right of his descent from Gilbert Venables,
the first baron, and, as such, entitled to bear the Venables coat
without any mark of decadence. The claim was never admitted, but
Mr. Legh assumed the arms notwithstanding, and, in assertion of his
supposed right, caused them to be placed conspicuously in the hall at
Adlington, and also on the chancel screen in the church at Prestbury,
where they may still be seen.

Unlike his mother, who, if we may judge from the directions she gave
respecting her funeral, had as little respect for the blazonments of
chivalry and that ancient and respectable guild, the College of Arms,
as Macaulay’s old Puritan who wished to have his name recorded in the
Book of Life rather than in the Register of Heralds, Mr. Legh had a
great fondness for heraldry, and was much given to the study of the
“noble science.”

    The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,

was with him no meaningless phrase, and before he began the rebuilding
of the south front of his mansion he had been at considerable pains to
adorn the interior of the great hall of Adlington with the armorial
ensigns of his progenitors and the families with which they had
severally become allied, like the lord of Gray’s “ancient pile” at
Stoke-Pogeis, upon

            The ceiling’s fretted height
    Each panel in achievements clothing.

The fine series of armorial shields which still appear were painted
under his directions, and are in place of a series, one hundred and
eighty-one in number, which were affixed shortly after the rebuilding
of the mansion by Thomas Legh, in 1581,[37] about which time that
assiduous worthy, William Flower, Chester Herald, and subsequently
Norroy King of Arms, was corresponding with and enjoying the friendship
and hospitality of the owner of Adlington, and his kinsman, Sir Peter
Legh, of Lyme.

[Note 37: In the Chetham Library there is a curious MS. folio volume
purchased at the sale of the Adlington Library in 1846, and now known
as the “Adlington MS.” On the fifth page from the end is written,
“_Finis, Quod sum non curo quod ero spero Thomas Leyghe_.” Thomas Legh,
it would seem being the compiler. Among other interesting matters
relating to Cheshire which it contains are “The Armes of Gentlemen as
they be placed over the Chimney in Adlington Hall, 1611.”]

In 1758, the year following the rebuilding of the south front of
Adlington, Charles Legh’s only son, Thomas Legh, was united in marriage
with Mary, daughter of Francis Reynolds, of Strangeways, Manchester,
who represented Lancaster in Parliament for the long period of
forty-five years, and the sister of Thomas and Francis Reynolds, who
inherited successively the barony of Ducie of Tortworth. The young
couple took up their abode at Wincham, which had come to Thomas Legh’s
mother by inheritance, and there he died, in his forty-first year,
on the 15th June, 1775, without surviving issue—thus terminating a
line which had maintained an unbroken succession for more than four
centuries. His widow survived him for the long period of forty-three
years, her death occurring March 26, 1818.

Charles Legh is said to have been somewhat autocratic and austere in
his bearing, and to have ruled his little kingdom with a strong hand,
dispensing justice in a summary fashion, and not scrupling at times
to administer correction to the refractory with his own hand. Many
curious stories concerning him are related and still find credence in
the cottage homes around Adlington. There is a tradition that it was
his daily practice to perambulate the boundaries of his domain with
the object of discovering and expelling any marauder or sturdy rogue
who might be prowling about his lands. Notwithstanding these little
peculiarities, he kept up a style of true old English hospitality, and
was greatly esteemed and respected by his neighbours. With his fondness
for heraldry, he united a love of music; and he had, moreover, some
claim to rank as a poet, though his muse, it must be confessed, was
at times a little halting. When Handel[38] was in the zenith of his
popularity he was for some time a guest at Adlington, and there is a
common belief that while there he composed his charming piece, “The
Harmonious Blacksmith,” in response to a request made by his host for
an original composition, the melody being suggested by the natural
music of the smiths plying their vocation at Hollinworth smithy,
close by the park gates.[39] The original score is said to have been
preserved at Adlington until the sale of the library in 1846, but the
music is undoubtedly a variation of an old French air. There is also
preserved in the drawing-room at Adlington a hunting song written by
Charles Legh, and set to music by Handel, which may find a fitting
place in the anthology of the county:—

[Note 38: A story is told respecting the great composer which, as it
associates his name with Cheshire, we may be excused for repeating. As
is well known, his masterpiece, the _Messiah_, was first performed in
Dublin, in 1741. While on his way there he was detained for a time at
Chester, the wind being unfavourable for his embarkation at Parkgate.
Wishing to employ the time in trying some pieces in his new oratorio,
he inquired for some one who could read music at sight, and a printer,
named Janson, who had a good bass voice, was recommended to him as one
of the best musicians attached to the cathedral. A time was fixed for a
private rehearsal at the Golden Falcon, where Handel was staying; but,
alas! on trial of the chorus in the _Messiah_, “And with His stripes we
are healed,” poor Janson after repeated attempts, failed so egregiously
that Handel let loose his great bear upon him; and, after swearing in
four or five different languages, cried out, in broken English, “You
schauntrel! Tit not you dell me dat you could sing at soite?” “Yes,
sir,” replies the printer, “and so I can; but not at _first sight_!”
Handel on this burst out laughing, and the rehearsal, it is said,
proceeded no further.]

[Note 39: According to another version, it was at Edgeware, and not at
Adlington, that Handel heard the anvil sounds which suggested the
“Harmonious Blacksmith.” The great composer dwelt at Canons, the guest
of the Duke of Chandos, within three quarters of a mile of Edgeware,
and was for three years the organist of Little Stanmore Church. The
authority for the Edgeware or Little Stanmore version rests mainly on
local tradition and the following inscriptions:—On the organ of Little
Stanmore Church: “Handel was organist of this church from the year
1718 to 1721, and composed his oratorio of ‘Esther’ on this organ.”
On a tombstone in the churchyard: “In memory of William Powell, the
‘Harmonious Blacksmith,’ who was buried 27th February, 1780, aged 78
years. He was parish clerk during the time the Immortal Handel was
organist of this church.” Powell was a blacksmith at Edgeware smithy.
[Information obligingly communicated by J. Oldfield Chadwick, Esq.]]

HUNTING SONG.

   _The words by Charles Legh, Esq._ _Set by Mr. Handel._

    The morning is charming, all Nature is gay!
    Away, my brave boys, to your horses, away;
    For the prime of our pleasure and questing the hare,
    We have not so much as a moment to spare.

                     _Chorus of the Hunters._

      Hark! the merry loud horn, how melodious it sounds
      To the musical song of the merry-mouth’d hounds!

    In yon stubble field we shall find her below,
    So ho! cries the huntsman; hark to him, So ho!
    See, see, where she goes, and the hounds have a view!
    Such harmony Handel himself never knew.
      Gates, hedges, and ditches to us are no bounds,
      But the world is our own while we follow the hounds!

    Hold, hold! ’tis a double; hark! hey, _Tanner_, hey!
    If a thousand gainsay it, a thousand shall lie;
    His beauty surpassing, his truth has been try’d—
    At the head of a pack an infallible guide.
      To his cry the wild welkin with thunder resounds
      The darling of hunters, the glory of hounds!

    O’er high lands and low lands and woodlands we fly,
    Our horses full speed and the hounds in full cry;
    So match are their mouths and so even they run,
    As the tune of the spheres and their race with the sun.
      Health, joy, and felicity dance in the rounds,
      And bless the gay circle of hunters and hounds!

    The old hounds push forward, a very sure sign
    That the hare, though a stout one, begins to decline.
    A chase of two hours or more she has led;
    She’s down, look about ye; they have her; ’ware dead.
      How glorious a death, to be honoured with sounds
      Of the horn, with a shout to the chorus of hounds!

    Here’s a health to all hunters, and long be their lives!
    May they never be cross’t by their sweethearts or wives
    May they rule their own passions, and ever at rest,
    As the most happy men be they always the best!
      And free from the care the many surrounds,
      Have peace at the last when they see no more hounds!

Hunting was a favourite pursuit of Mr. Legh’s. In Prestbury churchyard,
near the lych gate, is a flat stone, with an inscription recording the
death of one of his huntsmen, and a couplet, which he no doubt wrote.—

    Here lye the Remains of Thomas Bennison,
    Head Huntsman many years to Charles Legh,
    of Adlington, Esq. He died the 17th of February,
    in the year of our Lord 1768. Aged 75.

    The Joys of his Heart were good Hounds and good Nappy,
    Oh! wish him for ever still more and more Happy.

On the 26th July, 1781, Mr. Legh, who had attained the ripe age of 84,
was removed by death, and on the 3rd August his remains were committed
to the family vault which he had himself erected at the east end of the
north aisle of Prestbury Church. His wife survived him some years. By
her will, which bears date September, 1787, the manor of Wincham passed
to her second cousin, Colonel Edward Townshend, of Chester, whose great
grandson, Edward Townshend, Esq., is the present possessor.

By the death of Charles Legh without surviving issue the direct
succession ceased, and the manor and dependencies of Adlington reverted
to his niece Elizabeth, the only child of Lucy Frances Legh, by her
husband, Sir Peter Davenport, who was then married to John Rowlls,
of Kingston. She assumed, by royal licence, the surname of Legh, as
did also her eldest son John, who had married Harriet, daughter and
co-heir of Sir Peter Warburton, of Arley. He pre-deceased his mother,
and, his two sons dying in infancy, the estates, with the exception
of Butley Hall and some lands adjacent, which were alienated to his
daughter Elizabeth Hester, who married, in 1800, Thomas Delves, third
son of Sir Thomas Delves Broughton, Bart., and died in 1821, reverted
in 1806, on the death of Mrs. Elizabeth Rowlls Legh, to Richard
Crosse, of Shaw Hill, Lancashire, great grandson of Robert, the third
son of Thomas Legh, of Adlington, who took the name and arms of Legh
by royal licence. He served the office of sheriff of Lancashire in
the succeeding year, and died on the 11th August, 1822, at the age
of sixty-eight, leaving by his wife Anne, only surviving daughter of
Robert Parker, of Cuerden, who pre-deceased him, two sons and three
daughters. Thomas (Crosse) Legh, the eldest son, succeeded to the broad
lands of Adlington; the Lancashire estates of Shaw Hill, Chorley, and
Liverpool devolving upon his younger brother, Richard Townley Crosse,
who died, unmarried, February 27, 1825, when they reverted to his
sister Anne Mary, married to Thomas Bright Iken, of Leventhorpe House,
Yorkshire, who assumed the name of Crosse, the father of the present
possessor.

Thomas Crosse Legh, of Adlington, was accidentally drowned in crossing
the river at Antwerp, April 25, 1829, being then only thirty-six years
of age. By his wife, Louisa, daughter of George Lewis Newnham, of New
Timber, Sussex, who survived him, and married, May 12, 1830, the Hon.
Thomas Americus, third Lord Erskine, the grandson of the distinguished
Lord Chancellor of that name, he had, with other issue, Charles Richard
Banastre Legh, the present representative of this ancient stock. _Esto
perpetua._

As previously stated, the hall of Adlington stands in the midst of an
undulating and well-timbered park, from the higher parts of which the
views are extensive and pleasingly diversified. It is a remarkably
fine example of the ancient manorial residence of the time when the
power of the feudal chief had waned and the great landowners were
no longer under the necessity of cooping themselves up in their
fortified strongholds—a type of building that is rapidly passing out of
existence, and, with the exception of the part rebuilt in the middle
of the last century, furnishes an excellent illustration of a style
of architecture which, if not altogether peculiar to, was certainly
nowhere else practised so commonly or on so extensive a scale as
in Cheshire and Lancashire. The timber-work is remarkable for its
strength and solidity, an evidence that our forefathers were by no
means economists in the use of their building materials; and, though
the lighter ornaments of architecture which give grace and beauty to
the more stately fabrics of brick and stone raised in other parts of
the country, may not be apparent, there is yet a rude magnificence and
ingenuity of construction, as well as excellence of decoration, that
make it well deserving of examination.

The principal front has a southward aspect; it is the latest built
and most pretentious part of the mansion, but, withal, the least
interesting. It is of brick, with a portico of four columns in the
centre, surmounted by a frieze, bearing the inscription, “Charles and
Hester Legh, 1757,” with a pediment above, in which is a shield with
the Legh arms quartered with those of Corona, and an escutcheon of
pretence over all on which is the coat of Lee of Wincham.

On entering, the first thing that meets the eye is the ponderous oaken
door, thickly studded with iron nails and black with age, which stirs
the fancy with images of the strife with Roundhead and Cavalier, for it
bears abundant evidence of the rude assaults of Colonel Duckinfield’s
troopers in the shot-holes with which it is pierced in several places.
Over the door within the vestibule is written, _Sic vos nunc vobis
mellificatis apes_, one of the four lines by which Virgil exposed the
imposture of Bathyllus. At the further end of the corridor we enter the
courtyard, on the opposite side of which is the great hall, one of the
finest in the county, if, indeed, it has its equal, with its projecting
porch, its long lofty windows, its high-pitched roof, and quaint
chequer work of black and white. Over the doorway as we enter we notice
the old black letter inscription which Thomas Legh placed when, as he
tells us, he “made this buyldinge in the year of or lorde god 1581.”

The “hall” itself is an admirable and almost perfect specimen of the
period when that apartment constituted the chief feature of every
mansion, serving not only as an audience chamber on occasions of
state and ceremony, but as the place where the owner and his family,
with his guests and dependents, assembled daily at the dinner hour,
and where, in fact, the public life of the household was carried on.
Though perhaps not so large as in some of the baronial mansions of
the country, it is yet a noble apartment, and sufficiently spacious
for the hospitalities which in bygone days the lords of Adlington
maintained. It occupies the entire height of the building, the form
being that of a parallelogram, and, being the master feature of the
house, is superior in architectural adornment, as well as in the
amplitude of its dimensions, to any of the other rooms. The floors are
laid with polished oak, and the walls, which are elaborately carved
and ornamented, support a roof of dark oak acutely pointed and open
to the ridge piece. The framework of this roof is divided by massive
principals into bays, the collar braces being so arranged as to
form a series of fine Gothic arches, springing from bold projecting
hammer-beams that terminate in carved figures of angels holding
heraldic shields, each being in turn connected by a hammer-brace
with the main timbers of the walls. The daïs, or high place, which
undoubtedly had its position at the further end, and where the master
and mistress with their chief guests sat above the salt, as Chaucer
relates in his “Marriage of January and May”—

    And at the feste sitteth he and she
    With other worthy folk upon the deis

has disappeared, and the screen which separated the lower end from
the passage communicating with the buttery and the kitchener’s
department has been subjected to considerable alterations, though the
original form may be distinctly traced, and much of the exquisitely
ornamental panel work remains, though now well-nigh hidden from view.
These panels, though mutilated in places, are deserving of careful
examination; the design of the tracery is very beautiful, and the
carving, where not broken, remains almost as sharp and as fresh as
the day it left the workman’s hands, save that time has given that
sombre tint which so well harmonises with the ancient character of the
house. Above the screen a gallery, the front of which is ornamented in
arabesque work, extends the entire width of the apartment; in it is an
organ elaborately painted and decorated, which, from the two shields
of Corona and Robartes on the top, would appear to have been erected
during the occupancy of John Legh, who married Isabella Robartes, and
died in 1739, and no doubt it was at this time the original screen was
subjected to so much injury. In addition to the organ gallery there
are two small side galleries near the opposite end, each lighted by a
dormer window, to which, in time past, the ladies of the household and
the more honoured guests could retire to witness the revelries of the
assembled retainers below.

Though it can no longer be said that—

    With heraldry’s rich hues imprest
    On the dim window glows the pictured crest

for every trace of the “storied pane” has disappeared, the want of
this species of decoration is in some measure compensated for by the
remarkable series of armorial shields with which the upper end of the
hall is adorned. At this end the roof is coved and divided into square
panels, each panel containing the arms of one of the Norman Earls of
Chester, the barons of their court, or of some Cheshire family with
whom the Leghs could claim kindred. There are eight rows of panels in
all. The upper ones contain the heraldic insignia of the seven Norman
Earls of Chester in their successive order; immediately beneath are the
arms of the eight Norman baronies—Halton, Montalt, Nantwich, Malpas,
Shipbrooke, Dunham, Kinderton, and Stockport; and below these again,
and separated by an elaborately carved oak cornice, the coats of the
chief Cheshire families, including those with which the Leghs are
allied—fifty-four in all. In the centre is placed an achievement of
arms—quarterly (1) Corona impaling Venables (for Legh, of Adlington),
(2) Honford, (3) Arderne, and (4) Belgrave; over all an escutcheon
of pretence bearing the coat of Legh of Wincham, with a crescent for
difference. Beneath is the motto _Da gloriam Deo_, and, to give effect
to his work, the artist, with scant regard for the laws of heraldry,
has added a couple of unicorns as supporters; honourable accessories
which it was not in the power of Garter King or even the Earl Marshal
himself to bestow. On the knots of the framework of the panels is an
inscription in single letters carved in relief—

THOMAS LEGH & CATARINA SAVAGE UXOR EIUS
               CC
    AO DOI MO  CCC VTO R.R.H. vij., xx.

The walls on the west and north sides are adorned with paintings of
scenes from the “Æneid”—the one on the west end, which occupies the
entire width, representing Hector taking leave of Andromache, and
those on the north Venus presenting Æneas with armour, and Andromache
offering presents to Ascanius. The wall spaces on each side of the
organ at the west end are similarly decorated, one representing St.
Cecilia and the other a figure playing upon the harp.

Nash, in his “Ancient Mansions,” has given a characteristic view of
this glorious old banquetting room, and it requires little stretch of
the imagination to picture it as it must have appeared in its pristine
state in the days of bluff King Hal and the maiden Queen—of Thomas Legh
who built it, and his son, the valorous Sir Urian, when banners gay
with many a proud device floated overhead; when the huge fire blazed
cheerfully upon the halpas, and the long windows shed a profusion of
light and dyed the pavement with the reflected hues of the heraldic
cognisances with which they were dight; when the walls were draped
with richest arras, and the screen, wrought with all the nicety of
art, was hung with arms and armour—halberds, bills, and partisans,
and the spreading antlers of deer captured in many a memorable chase;
to re-people it with the departed forms of sturdy warriors and sober
matrons, of gallant youths and lovely maidens; to see again the figures
and faces of those who have long ago returned to dust, and listen in
imagination to the lusty laugh and the jocund song of the nameless men
who, at the trumpet call of “boot and saddle,” were ready to mount and
ride away wherever their lord might lead,

    Alike for feast or fight prepared,
    Battle and banquet both they shared,

Giving the rein to fancy, we may see the stately owner with his
dependents seated at the well-spread table, and hear the thrice-told
tale, while

            flagons pass along the board,
    Filled to the brim with foaming ale;
      And goblets flash with ruby wine,
    And merrily speeds the glad wassail.

The hall was proverbially the place of festivity, and many a scene of
jocund mirth and roystering revelry, unrestrained by the laws which
modern civilisation imposes, has, doubtless, here been witnessed, as
the nut-brown ale, the mead and the sack, the Malmsey, and the Rhenish,
the mazer-bowl, and the highly-spiced claret cup passed from hand to
hand, and the “top beam of the hall” was enthusiastically toasted as
symbolising the health of the lordly owner, whose armorial ensigns
occupied that elevated position, for

    Merry swith it is in halle
    When the berdes waveth alle.

On the north side of the hall, near what was the “high-place,” a
doorway communicates with the dining-room and some of the principal
apartments, and also with the staircase leading to the drawing-room
and the corridor which extends the entire length of the south front;
but these parts of the mansion have been greatly modernised, and, with
the exception of the dining and drawing rooms, remodelled by Charles
Legh about the middle of last century, and in each of which are some
exquisite carvings, said to be by Grinling Gibbons,[40] but more
probably the work of Sephton, which well deserve examination, do not
call for any special description.

[Note 40: Gibbons, of whom Horace Walpole said “there was no instance
of a man before who gave to wood the loose and airy lightness of
flowers, and chained together the various productions of the elements
with a freer disorder natural to each species,” died in 1721, and,
while there is good reason for supposing that the reconstruction of
the dining and drawing rooms was affected at a later date, Sephton
was certainly employed by Charles Legh, and it is more than probable
that the carvings at Adlington were his work. Possibly, the close
resemblance which these productions of the chisel bear to the
well-known works of the great artist led to their being attributed to
Gibbons.]

In 1846 a large portion of the contents of Adlington, including many
family portraits by Vandyke, Lely, and Kneller; books, manuscripts, and
curiosities, were sold by auction. Some of the books and manuscripts
are now in the Chetham Library, and others were purchased for the
Portico in Manchester. Fortunately many of the family portraits
have since been recovered and restored to their original positions,
among them being the one of Sir Urian Legh already referred to, and
a large-sized picture in the dining-room by Cornelius Janssens; a
full length of Thomas Legh, the Royalist soldier, and his wife Mary,
daughter of Thomas Bolles.

Apart from its memories, its traditions, and its associations as the
home of an ancient Cheshire stock, Adlington possesses a deep interest
as an example of old English domestic architecture. Whilst retaining
many of the more striking and important of its ancient features
comparatively unimpaired, it marks the growth and development of human
society, and expresses the needs and ideas of changeful centuries, the
varied and somewhat rude magnificence of the Tudor and Stuart periods
and the classic forms of the earlier Georgian era mingling in curious
contrast, and carrying the mind rapidly through a long series of years.
Happily, within the present century the house has been subjected to
but little change or innovation, and has escaped, in a great degree,
the evil influences of “renovators” and “improvers.” It is one of the
comparatively few old places that have remained to the descendants of
the ancient worthies by whom they were erected, and we may venture to
indulge the hope that as it has endured for centuries past, so for
centuries to come it may be preserved a genuine relic of mediæval
England—a monument and a memorial of what men call “the good old times.”

[Illustration]

[Illustration: KERSALL CELL.]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER IX.

THE BYROMS—KERSALL CELL—JOHN BYROM—THE LAUREATE OF THE
JACOBITES—THE FATAL ’45.


In the township of Lowton, within the limits of the ancient and
far-reaching parish of Winwick, and a short distance from the little
town of Leigh, is an old-fashioned building of no great architectural
pretensions, erected apparently in the reign of one of the Stuart
kings, and now in the occupancy of a farmer. Byrom Hall, for that is
the name, stands upon the site of an earlier structure, described in
ancient writings as a manor house, though there is no evidence that
the reputed manor ever enjoyed manorial privileges, and gave name in
times past to a family ranking with the smaller gentry, who could boast
a line of succession reaching as far back as the time of the second
Edward. The Byroms of Byrom, notwithstanding their ancient lineage, do
not appear to have ever attained to any very great distinction, or to
have held any very important offices in the county; they married and
were given in marriage among the best families of the shire, and they
maintained the outward evidences of gentility by the use of armorial
ensigns, but how or when those were acquired is not clear, and it is
somewhat singular that they did not attend at any of the Herald’s
visitations to justify their right to the use of them, or to register
their descent, at least not until September, 1664, when, in answer to
the summons of Sir William Dugdale, Norroy King of Arms, Edward Byrom
attended at Ormskirk, and on behalf of his elder brother, Samuel Byrom
of Byrom—the grandfather of a certain “Beau” Byrom who wasted his
substance in riotous living, and less than half a century afterwards
parted with his patrimonial lands—registered a pedigree of five
generations.

In the reign of Henry VII., when the Wars of the Roses were ended,
and the people had settled down to more peaceful pursuits, a cadet of
the family, Ralph Byrom, repaired to Manchester, established himself
in trade, and throve apace by transactions which in those days were
accounted considerable.

From the earliest period Manchester had exhibited an aptitude for
manufacture. Kuerden tells us that as far back as the reign of Edward
II. there was a mill for the manufacture of woollen cloths, and in
the succeeding reign the industry and wealth of the town were greatly
promoted by the encouragement given to a number of Flemish artisans who
were induced to leave their homes in Flanders and settle in Lancashire,
where they revealed the secrets of their craft to the peasantry of
the neighbourhood, and thus planted the sapling of that industry
which, taking root, flourished and gradually spread through the
Lancashire valleys, the fulling mills and dyeworks then established in
Salfordshire being the auspicious beginnings of that vast manufacturing
industry which has enriched the kingdom and made Manchester the
commercial capital of the Empire.

The old chronicler, Hollinworth, quoting an ancient writer, says
that in 1520 “there were three famous clothiers living in the north
countrey, viz., Cuthbert of Kendal, Hodgkins of Halifax, and Martin
Brian, some say Byrom, of Manchester. Every one of these kept a greate
number of servants at worke, spinners, carders, weavers, fullers,
dyers, shearemen, &c., to the greate admiration of all that came into
their houses to beehould them.” Whether Hollinworth’s authority is
historically correct, or the persons he names only fictitious, certain
it is that at that time Manchester was “a greate cloathing towne;” the
Byroms had become noted as one of the great trading families, and took
their places with the Galleys, the Beckes, the Pendletons, and other of
the merchant princes of the day.

Adam Byrom, of “Saulforde, merchaunt,” as he is styled, the son of
Ralph, who first settled in the neighbourhood and diverged into trade,
was, with one exception, the largest merchant in the Salford Hundred,
and in 1540 was assessed by the commissioners of Henry VIII. at a
larger amount even than Sir Alexander Radcliffe, of Ordsall, who was
accounted the great magnate of the district. Manchester was even then
a thriving and prosperous mercantile town. Mills had been placed on
the waters of the Irwell and its affluent streams, and “Manchester
Cottons,” as they were called, and which, be it known, were then and
for a hundred years to come Lancashire woollens, were carried on
pack-horses to London and Hull, and were frequently sent to the great
fairs at Amsterdam, Frankfort, and to other foreign marts. So important
had the trade become that it was found necessary, after a year’s
experience, to repeal the statute bestowing upon the town the privilege
of sanctuary, and to send the sanctuary men, who by their idleness
and other enormities were “prejudicial to the wealth, credit, great
occupyings, and good order” of the place, to Chester, which, being
poor, was less likely to suffer by the presence of such thriftless and
disorderly characters—

     Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator.

The wealth which Adam Byrom acquired in his business was at different
times invested in the purchase of lands, &c., in Salford, Darcy Lever,
Ardwick, Bolton-le-Moors, and other places, including the chief
messuage or manor-house called Salford Hall, in which he resided. He
appears to have been a free-trader in principle, and opposed to the
feudal monopolies that were then in vogue, for it is recorded in the
Kalendar of Pleadings that he prosecuted William Arram, the mayor of
Preston, claiming exemption from the payment of tolls and other imposts
in the fairs and markets of Salford and Preston. This worthy died on
the 25th of July, 1558. His wife, a daughter of one Hunt, of Hunt’s
Hall—the Hunt’s Bank, probably, of later days—bore him six children,
three sons and three daughters; and it is a noteworthy fact that
the two elder sons, George and Henry, died within a month of their
father’s demise. George, the first-born, was succeeded by his eldest
son, Ralph, then a child of three years of age. One of his daughters
was Margaret Byrom, the ill-fated victim of the memorable case of
supposed witchcraft in 1597, of which mention has been made in our
notice of Dr. Dee, the Wizard Warden of Manchester, who was solicited
by her friends to cast out the devil with which it was believed John
Hartley, a conjuror, had possessed her, while staying on a visit at the
house of Nicholas Starkey, of Cleworth.

It is, however, with the descendants of Henry, the second son of
Adam Byrom, the “merchaunt,” that we are at present more immediately
concerned. This Henry had in his father’s lifetime been united in
marriage with Mary, one of the daughters of Thomas Becke, a wealthy
trader in the town, an alliance that introduces us to quite a group of
Manchester worthies. The Beckes had been for years engaged in trade,
and numbered among them some of the earliest benefactors of Manchester,
and some of her most generous churchmen. Isabel, the widow of Robert
Becke, and the mother, probably, of Henry Byrom’s father-in-law, at
her own cost erected the conduit in the market-place, the first “water
works” in Manchester, conveying the water in pipes from a natural
spring at the upper end of the town, which gave name to the present
Spring Gardens and Fountain Street. Her father was Richard Bexwyke,
another opulent merchant, who founded the Jesus Chantry on the south
side of his parish church—the one which his descendant Henry Pendleton,
in 1653, gave to the parishioners of Manchester for the purpose of
a “free” public library, the first of the kind in the town, if not,
indeed, in the kingdom; he also restored the choir and nave of the
church, erected the beautifully carved stalls on the north side of
the choir, and founded a grammar school, which one of his chantry
priests was to teach. It is probable that he was the husband of Joan
Bexwyke, the sister of Bishop Oldham, who, with Hugh Bexwyke and Ralph
Hulme (ancestor of William Hulme, the “Founder,”) was named in the
first charter of feoffment of the Manchester Free Grammar School, the
three being, in fact, not only trustees, but special benefactors and
co-founders in the endowment, if not in the first erection, of the
Manchester school, which absorbed the original foundation of Richard
Bexwyke. Another of these Bexwykes, Roger, a son or nephew of the
Richard just named, married Margaret, the sister of John Bradford, the
“martyr,” a “worthy” whose name Lancashire men will always revere;
and it is recorded that this Roger attended Bradford at the stake at
Smithfield, but he was prevented by the brutal violence of one of the
officials from helping to soothe the martyrs last agonies.

Henry Byrom left two sons—Robert, who succeeded as heir, but died
unmarried in May, 1586, when the property passed to his younger
brother, Lawrence. Of this representative of the family but little is
known. He was in infancy at the time of his father’s decease, and he
was yet only young when he became heir to his brother, and succeeded
to an inheritance that seems to have involved him in no small amount
of litigation—generally with his own kinsmen, and for the purpose of
adjusting differences respecting properties bequeathed by his father
and grandfather. Ultimately, an agreement was come to, as appears by
the following deed, dated 13th December, 1586:—

     Be yt knowne to all men by these p’sents that wee Raphe Byrom (a
     cousin of Lawrence), of Salford, in the countye of Lancaster,
     gent.; Richard Hunte of the same Town, gent.; Adam Byrom
     (another cousin), of the same Town, gent.; and Raphe Houghton,
     of Manchester, in the countie afforesaid, gent.; for dyvers
     good causes and consideracons vs movinge Have Remysed, &c., and
     quyteclaymed vnto Lawrence Byrom, of Salfforde afforesaid, gent.;
     &c. All and all maner of accons, sutes, querells, trespasses, &c.
     by reason of any Lease made unto us of confidence and truste by
     Roberte Byrom (the elder brother of Lawrence and then deceased) to
     us, &c. ffrom the beginning of the worlde till this p’sent daye
     except onlie for the Release or discharge of one Obligacon of a
     thousande poundes made &c. by Lawce. to Ralfe & Adam 3 Maye 28
     Eliz. that the sayde Lawrence B. shall not alter the state tayle
     made by Henry Byrom, father of the said Robte B. & Lawrence B.
     Witnessed by “William Radclyffe” and “Roberte Leighe.” Dated 13
     Dec., 29 Eliz. (1586).[41]

[Note 41: Local Gleanings (Lancashire and Cheshire), V. ii. p. iii.]

The late Canon Parkinson, in his notes on the “Private Journal of John
Byrom,” says that “after an unsettled life, and a too keen sense of his
own infelicity, at least towards the close of his earthly struggles,
he found at last a haven of rest in the Collegiate Church, being
buried there June 26, 1598. There was,” he adds, “more than ordinary
sorrow in his family on that day, and probably some ground for his
son not appearing at the Herald’s Visitation in 1613, as well as for
his own Christian name not being borne by any of his descendants.”
The appearance at the Visitation (Richard St. George’s) was scarcely
necessary, for on the same occasion Adam, the son of Ralph (Lawrence
Byrom’s cousin), entered a pedigree of six generations, claiming
descent from Ralph, “second sonne to Byrom of Byrom,” the first
occasion on which any pedigree of the family had been entered, and at
the same time he asserted his claim to and was allowed the arms borne
by the Byroms of Byrom—Argent, a chevron between three porcupines,
sable, a crescent for difference, with a porcupine, sable, charged with
a crescent for crest.

Edward Byrom, the son who succeeded him, married, about the year
1615, Ellen, the daughter of Thomas Worsley, of Carr in Bowdon, an
alliance that brought him in relationship with the Worsleys, of Platt
in Rusholme, of which family was the distinguished Parliamentarian
soldier, Major-general Charles Worsley, returned as the first
representative for Manchester in Cromwell’s Parliament of 1654. Like
his progenitors, he was engaged in trade, and carried on an extensive
business as a “linen draper,” a phrase that meant a good deal more in
those days than it does now. In local affairs he took an active part,
and in 1638-9 his name occurs on the Court Leet Rolls as one of two
constables of the town. His lot was cast in troublous times. Unlike his
contemporary, Humphrey Chetham, he seems to have escaped the attentions
of the money-seeking functionaries of Charles the First. Greatness was
not thrust upon him, and he had not, as Chetham had, to pay smart for
refusing to take upon himself the “honour” of knighthood—a distinction
in those days of doubtful value.

Manchester had oftentimes been the scene of conflict. Roman and
Saxon, Dane and Norman, had each in turn striven for supremacy; but
well nigh six hundred years had elapsed since the tranquillity of the
inhabitants had been disturbed by the presence of contending armies.
The day, however, was near at hand when the sounds of war were once
more to be heard, and that of war the most unnatural; when members
of the same family, and often the same blood, were to contend with
each other in deadly strife. When the storm burst, and the struggle
between Charles and the Parliament began, the Byroms of Salford and
the Byroms of Manchester, with whom the recollection of the vexatious
lawsuits of Lawrence Byrom had not yet died out, ranged themselves
on opposite sides. The Byroms of Salford, like those of the parent
house, took up arms on behalf of the King, John Byrom receiving a
commission as sergeant-major in the regiment of Lancashire militia
commanded by Colonel Roger Nowell, of Read, for which, and other
acts of delinquency, his estates were seized by the Commissioners of
Sequestration, when he was obliged to compound for them by the payment
of £201 16s. 6d.; his brother, Edward Byrom, being at the same time
required to pay £2 6s. 8d.

Edward Byrom, the representative of the Manchester stock, though in
earlier life a contributor to the building of Trinity Church, in
Salford, and accounted a moderate Churchman, was strongly inclined to
Presbyterianism, and, with two of his sons, William and John, took an
active part in promoting the cause of the Parliament. Manchester was at
the time the great stronghold and rallying point of the Puritan party,
and it is worthy of note that it was here the first blood was shed in
that unhappy conflict. When the town was in peril of assault from Lord
Strange’s (afterwards Earl of Derby) forces, Heyricke, the Puritan
warden, engaged the services of a German engineer, John Rosworm, who
had served in the Low Countries, and happened at the time to be in the
town ready to be employed by either party, and bargained with him to
superintend the defences for six months for the modest sum of thirty
pounds. Edward Byrom, “Sergeant Mr. Beirom the elder,” as he is
called, served under Rosworm, and it is recorded that he was the means
of discovering a villainous plot of certain individuals to seize and
plunder the town, through which the chief conspirators were apprehended
and their designs frustrated.[42] At a later date, when Cromwell had
been appointed “Lord Protector of the Commonwealth,” and had summoned
a Parliament to meet on his “fortunate day,” September 3, 1654, the
anniversary of the battles of Dunbar and Worcester, we find “Sergeant”
Byrom among those of the witnesses to the return of “Charles Worsley,
of Platt,” his wife’s kinsman, as the first member for Manchester. This
appears to have been his last official act, and his death occurred
shortly after. His wife, Ellen Worsley, bore him three sons and eight
daughters. John, the second son, was a zealous Puritan, and held a
lieutenant’s commission in the Parliamentarian army; his military
experiences were, however, cut short by an accident which cost him his
life, almost immediately after the outbreak of the war, and which is
thus recorded in a chronicle of the time:—

     1642, October.—The two and twentieth day store of powder came in
     (to Manchester) and the foure and twentieth day some (more powder)
     coming was stayed. The joy of this last supply was sadly tempered
     with the accidentall, but mortall, wound of a skilful and active
     souldier.[43]

[Note 42: Ormerod’s Civil War Tracts, p. 238.]

[Note 43: Lancashire’s Valley of Achor, p. 123.]

The “skilful and active soldier”—John Byrom—who was in his
twenty-second year, was buried in the Collegiate Church, October 31,
1642.

William Byrom, the eldest son, who succeeded as heir to his father,
was an active Presbyterian, and an elder in the Manchester Classis.
In 1656 he was one of the chief inhabitants who elected Richard
Radcliffe, of Pool Fold, as the representative of Manchester in the
Commonwealth Parliament in the place of Worsley, who was then dead.
Edward Byrom, the youngest of the three sons, was twenty-eight years
of age at the time of his father’s death, and had been then married
only a few months, his wife being Ellen, the daughter of John Crompton,
of Halliwell. He inherited the Puritan principles of his father
and grandfather, and was one of those who, on the death of Richard
Hollinworth, signed the invitation to Henry Newcome to supply the
vacancy, and, with his brother William, accompanied the deputation to
Newcome’s quiet little parsonage at Gawsworth to entreat the famous
preacher to comply with the wishes of the Church at Manchester.

This Edward was the first of the family who resided at Kersall Cell,
a house occupying the site of a religious settlement that originally
formed part of the possessions of the Cluniac monks of Lenton, and
which had been confiscated to the Crown in the reign of Henry VIII.
After its suppression the place, with the manor, had been granted
to Baldwin Willoughby, who, in 1540, sold it to Ralph Kenyon, of
Gorton, and he in turn conveyed it, eight years afterwards, to Richard
Siddall, of Slade Hall, an old black and white house still standing in
Burnage-lane, Rusholme. The estate remained in the possession of the
Siddals until 1613, when it was alienated by Richard Siddal’s great
grandson, George Siddal, who seems to have been the spendthrift of his
family.

Edward Byrom made his will on the 14th June, 1668, being then, as he
states, “sick and weak of body,” and he must have died within a day or
two, for on the 18th June in the same year he was laid to rest with his
fathers in the Collegiate Church. By his wife he had a family of six
children, four of whom died in infancy, two sons only surviving, Edward
and Joseph Byrom.

Joseph Byrom, the younger son, was largely engaged in trade, and, in
1703, served the office of borough reeve. He acquired considerable
wealth in his business, and with the profits thus made he, on the 10th
July, 1710, purchased from Samuel Byrom, of Byrom, the “Beau Byrom”
before referred to, “the manor, demesne and hall of Byrom,” the ancient
house of his progenitors, and it has continued in the family ever
since.

Edward Byrom, the eldest son, took up his abode at Kersall, and he had
also a house at Hyde’s Cross, which, with Withy Grove—Within Greave,
as it was called—was then a pleasant outskirt, and the fashionable
quarter of Manchester. In 1680 he married Dorothy, daughter of Captain
John Allen, of Redvales, near Bury, and granddaughter of the Rev.
Isaac Allen, rector of Prestwich, by whom he had, in addition to seven
daughters, two sons, Edward, who, on his death in 1611, succeeded as
heir, and John Byrom, the famous poet and stenographer.

The men of seclusion were by no means insensible to the beauties of
Nature, but, on the contrary, in the selection of the sites for their
religious houses usually displayed considerable judgment—

                      The cunning rooks,
    Pitched, as by instinct, on the fattest fallows—

and Hugo de Buron was no exception, for he must have been imbued with
the feeling so characteristic of the monkish fraternity when, in the
days of Ranulph Gernons, he withdrew himself from the world and settled
as a solitary recluse in the quiet secluded hermitage on the banks
of the Irwell, which afterwards became an appendage of the Cluniac
monastery of Lenton, in Nottinghamshire, and, in turn, the home of
the opulent Manchester merchant, Edward Byrom, and his descendants.
Fairer spot than that which Hugh de Buron chose it would be difficult
to conceive, or one better suited for a life of monastic seclusion. It
was then remote from the haunts of men, the atmosphere was not dimmed
by the smoke of innumerable chimneys, nor the broad stream polluted
with the abominations of countless manufactories. With its breezy
moor and low wooded hills, its ferny hollows and forest avenues, and
its wide shimmering river gliding swiftly yet silently along, and
heightened in beauty by the noble oaks and stately elms that feathered
down almost to the water’s edge, it was just the place where the soul
might commune with itself, and feed on thoughts and fancies ever new
and ever beautiful. A place where the purest and noblest impulses
might be awakened and the mind stirred to many a holy thought and
deed—where in leaf and blossom, in wood and water, might be discovered
the parallelism between the Great Artificer’s work and His precepts,
or, as Charles Kingsley puts it, “The work of God’s hand, the likeness
of God’s countenance, the shadow of God’s glory.”

    It stood embosomed in a happy valley,
      Crowned by high woodlands, where the Druid oak
    Stood like Caractacus, in act to rally
      His host, with broad arms ’gainst the thunderstroke.

After the Reformation, when this little sanctuary passed into lay
hands, a house was built upon the site—a picturesque black and white
structure with projecting oriels, quaint mullioned windows, and gabled
roofs, and here Edward Byrom took up his abode when he attained to
manhood, for he was a youth of but twelve summers when his father died;
to this house he took his youthful bride, Dorothy Allen, in 1680,
and here many of his children were born. He had another house, as
already stated, at Hyde’s Cross, and, besides this, his burgage shop
or place of business in the market stead opposite the Cross, to which
he afterwards added a stall, as appears by the following entry on the
court rolls of the manor of Manchester:—

     1692, May 16th.—Stallinged and installed Edward Byrom, of
     Manchester, milliner, in one stall, stallinge, or standing roome
     at or neare the Crosse, in the Market Place, in Manchester
     aforesaid, formerly in the possession of Francis Rydings,
     deceased, being next to Robert Pelton’s, towards the Crosse,
     conteyning in breadth two yards, and length three yards.

The spot thus indicated was in close proximity, if not, indeed,
actually in front of the shop—the quaint black and white structure
in the Market Place, which has been for many years a licensed house,
and is now known as the “Wellington.” The building has ever since
continued in the possession of the family, the present owner being Mr.
Edward Byrom, who assumed that name in lieu of Fox on his succeeding at
her death to the property of his godmother, Miss Eleanora Atherton,
the great granddaughter of Edward Byrom’s distinguished son, John
Byrom. The “milliner’s” business was in reality that of a mercer or
haberdasher. It must have prospered, for subsequently the two adjoining
stalls were absorbed; and it would seem to have been carried on after
Edward Byrom’s death by his youngest daughter, Phœbe, for in Mrs.
Raffald’s “Directory” for 1773 the name occurs, “Miss Phœbe Byrom,
milliner, 1, Shambles,” and in that for 1781, “Miss Phœbe Byrom,
milliner, Market Place.” The lady, who was five years younger than her
brother John, died on the 20th February, 1785, at the ripe old age of
88.

It seems strange in these days to read of a merchant or trader having
a stall in the Market Place, but the mode in which business was
conducted in the earlier years of the last century was very different
to that with which the present generation is familiar. Dr. Aikin, in
his “Description of the Country Round Manchester,” says that “When the
trade began to extend, the chapmen used to keep gangs of pack-horses,
and accompany them to the principal towns with goods in packs, which
they opened and sold to shopkeepers, lodging what was unsold in small
stores at the inn. The pack-horses brought back sheep’s wool, which
was bought on the journey and sold to the makers of worsted yarns at
Manchester or to the clothiers of Rochdale, Saddleworth, and the West
Riding of Yorkshire.” When at home the trader was invariably in his
warehouse or place of business at six o’clock in the morning; at seven
he and his children and apprentices had a “plain breakfast” together,
the “plain breakfast” being “one large dish of water pottage, made
of oatmeal, water, and a little salt, boiled thick and poured into a
dish.” “A pan or basin of milk” was placed by the side, and each, using
a wooden spoon, dipped first into one and then into the other. The
shops in the Market Place which were occupied by clothiers, mercers,
and the better class of tradesmen were for the most part open to the
street, and a loose stall or standing in front, where their wares could
be more advantageously displayed, was not thought at all derogatory.

In the “Private Journal and Literary Remains of John Byrom,” edited
for the Chetham Society by the late Canon Parkinson, we have pleasant
glimpses of the daily doings of the worthy linen-draper or milliner, as
he was indifferently styled, Edward Byrom, and an admirable picture of
the habits and modes of life in the household of a well-to-do trader
as well as of the literary and social characteristics of the better
class of people in Manchester a century and a half ago. Edward Byrom
had a numerous family—seven daughters, six of whom died unmarried,
and, in addition, two sons. Edward, the eldest son, who was brought up
to the business which had been carried on with so much success for so
many generations, was born March 4, 1686-7. John was baptised at the
Collegiate Church, 29th February, 1691-2, and was his junior therefore
by about five years. Having, as good old Bishop Oldham expressed
it, much “pregnant witte,” he was trained for one of the learned
professions, and in due course was sent to Chester and placed under
the tuition of his relative, the eminent schoolmaster, Mr. Francis
Harper, preparatory to his being entered at Merchant Taylors’—then
famous as a seminary of learning—in which it was expected that his
father’s influence with the city traders would secure him admission.
He proceeded from Chester to London in January, 1707-8, and in the
following month he writes to his father:—

London, Feb. 1707/8,

     Hond. Sir [such was the form in which a young gentleman addressed
     his “governor” in the days of Queen Anne] I received yours in
     answer to mine of the 10th and 27th inst. Our feast was on
     Tuesday last; the boys went to school, had wine and biscuit, then
     walked to Bow Church, where one Mr. Dunstan preached on Prov.
     xix. 8; from thence they walked to Leathersellers’ Hall, where
     the gentlemen had a feast. The boys who were my schoolfellows at
     Chester came up soon to London, which turned to their advantage.
     I think it not prudence to go to University too soon, both for
     Mr. Ashton’s opinion, and because I believe that when they come
     there they are expected to know enough of school learning so as to
     read authors, compose exercises, &c., with their own help and the
     instruction of a tutor. I cannot have the opportunity of seeing
     the Register Book till doctor’s day, which will be about Easter,
     when I shall take particular notice how I stand as to election; in
     the meantime strive to improve myself in virtue, knowledge, and
     learning. We went to Bow Church on Sunday to hear the Archbishop
     of York.—I am your dutiful son,

J.B.

In another letter he writes:—

     My master is very kind to me, and never yet spoke a cross
     word to me, and I think I never gave him occasion, which is
     an encouragement and satisfaction to me, and I will strive to
     preserve it.

Young Byrom’s progress in the classics was so satisfactory that in
1709 he was admitted a pensioner of Trinity College, Cambridge, and in
a letter, dated 14th May in that year, he gives his father a detailed
account of the examination and the circumstances attendant upon his
election. His career at the university was anxiously watched by his
father, whose letters, many of which have been preserved, contain many
admonitions and much excellent advice. Thus, apparently in response to
a request for a copy of Locke’s great work, he writes,

     I have not Mr. Locke’s book of “Human Understanding,” it is
     above my capacity; nor was I ever fond of that author, he being
     (though a very learned man) a Socinian or an atheist, as to which
     controversy, I desire you not to trouble yourself with it in your
     younger studies. I look upon it as a snare of the devil, thrown
     among sharp wits and ingenious youths to oppose their reason to
     revelation, and because they cannot apprehend reason, to make them
     sceptics, and so entice them to read other books than the Bible
     and the comments upon it.

In another letter he says:—

     I lately brought home Mr. Melling and Mr. Worsley from evening
     prayers to drink a dish of tea in your remembrance ... good son,
     look now before you to consider how precious your time is, and
     how to improve yourself, to consider the design and end proposed
     in your education, to fit you for sacred orders, which ought most
     considerately to be undertaken ... whatever books you read, be
     sure to read Dr. Hammond upon the Psalms and Lessons, with Dr.
     Whitby every day; it is not every young scholar hath them, but
     you have, and shall want no necessary thing I can buy you. I was
     reading, the other evening, the 2nd lesson; Hebrews vi., 7, 8,
     made a deeper impression on my mind now, after receiving the holy
     sacrament on Good Friday and Easter day, than I ever noted in
     them before, which may be applicable to you. In your case, when
     the good education bestowed upon youths designed for the ministry
     bringeth forth herbs meet for them to whom it is dressed, it
     receiveth God’s blessing; but if thorns and briars, &c. Reading
     this, I applied it so on you, who I then thought of, but on myself
     as in my own case.

No wonder that with such counsel from such a father, the young
undergraduate should have become imbued with a spirit of piety that
influenced every action of his future life. But that father was soon to
be taken from him. In August, 1711, Edward Byrom, whose health had been
failing for some time, passed away at the comparatively early age of
fifty-five, and on the twenty-first of the same month was laid to rest
by the side of his fathers in the Jesus chantry, then called the Byrom
chapel, in the old church of Manchester—the church in which in life he
had so often delighted to worship.

In December, 1711, young Byrom took his B.A., and in his exuberant
joy he thus writes from Cambridge to his confidential friend, John
Stansfield, the assistant manager of his late father’s place of
business in London, whom he frequently commissioned to purchase books
for him:—

     I would fain have nothing hinder the pleasure I take in
     thinking how soon I shall change this tattered blue gown (the
     undergraduate’s gown, which was then, as now, blue) for a black
     one and a lambskin, and have the honourable title of Bachelor of
     Arts. BACHELOR OF ARTS! John, how great it sounds! the Great Mogul
     is nothing to it. Ay, ay, sir, don’t pride yourself upon your fine
     titles before you have them. Are you sure of your degree? Can you
     stand the test of a strict examination in all these arts you are
     to be bachelor of? Has not one of your blue gowns been stopped
     this week for insufficiency in that point already, and do you hope
     to escape better? Why, sir, you say true, but I will hope on,
     notwithstanding, till I see reason to the contrary.—Yours, J. B.

The “black gown,” the “lambskin,” and the “honourable title” were
gained notwithstanding, and the vacation which followed was spent by
the young Bachelor of Arts with his widowed mother and sisters in his
Lancashire home at Kersall. His sister, Sarah (Mrs. Brearcliffe), in a
letter to John Stansfield, writes—

     Brother John is most at Kersall: he goes every night and morning
     down to the water side and bawls out one of Tully’s orations in
     Latin, so loud they can hear him a mile off; so that all the
     neighbourhood think he is mad, and you would think so too if you
     saw him. Sometimes he thrashes corn with John Rigby’s men, and
     helps them to get potatoes, and works as hard as any of them. He
     is very good company and we shall miss him when he is gone, which
     will not be long to now; Christmas is very near.

From orating on the banks of the Irwell, and “threshing corn with John
Rigby’s men,” Byrom returned to his studies at Cambridge. His lively
and cheerful disposition made him popular with his brother collegians,
and secured for him many friendships. He was, too, a welcome visitor
in the house of the master of Trinity, Dr. Richard Bentley—the great
Bentley; one of his most intimate associates was the doctor’s nephew,
“Tom,” and he was also on friendly terms with the doctor’s young and
fascinating daughter, Joanna—“Jug,” as she was familiarly called—if,
indeed, they did not entertain something more than friendly feelings
towards each other. In July, 1714, we find him writing to his old
friend Stansfield as to his prospects of a fellowship, and in the
following month he writes to his brother Edward, who was then in
London:—

     I have wrote to Mr. Banks to desire his interest at fellowships,
     but must leave it to you to direct it and send it to him.

It was about this time that his passion for poetry first manifested
itself. He had before (August 17, 1714), under the signature of “John
Shadow,” contributed a paper to the _Spectator_ on the subject of
dreams, which elicited a complimentary editorial note from Addison.
This was followed on the 6th October in the same year by his pretty
pastoral, “Colin and Phœbe,” prefaced by another complimentary note,
which at once brought him into general notice:—

    My time, O ye muses, was happily spent,
    When Phœbe went with me wherever I went,
    Ten thousand sweet pleasures I felt in my breast;
    Sure never fond shepherd like Colin was blest!
    But now she has gone, and has left me behind,
    What a marvellous change on a sudden I find!
    When things were as fine as could possibly be,
    I thought ’twas the spring, but alas! it was she.

The poem, which comprises ten stanzas, at once became generally
popular; it was his first production in verse, and gained the
admiration of Chalmers and the praise of Bishop Monk, the latter
pronouncing it “one of the most exquisite specimens in existence.” It
is commonly supposed that the Phœbe of the pastoral was Bentley’s witty
and accomplished daughter, “Jug,” who, Bishop Monk says, “from her
earliest youth captivated the hearts of the young collegians,” and for
whom Byrom is said, though without any evidence, to have conceived a
passion. It is more than likely that he wished to attract the attention
of Bentley, who was an ardent admirer of the _Spectator_, and who,
finding in its columns a poem of such merit from one of his own college
might be induced to use his influence in obtaining for the author the
fellowship which Byrom so much desired. Certain it is that he got the
fellowship he had previously despaired of, and did not gain the hand
of Bentley’s daughter, that young lady a few years afterwards becoming
the wife of Dr. Dennison Cumberland, afterwards Bishop of Clonfert
and Killaloe, the issue of the marriage being Richard Cumberland, the
well-known dramatic writer.

The year following his election to a fellowship of his college (1714)
Byrom proceeded to his master’s degree. The ardent aspirations of
his father that he should enter the Church were not, however, to be
realised, for in 1716 he was obliged by the statutes of his college to
vacate his fellowship in consequence of his declining to be admitted to
holy orders. The reason of this is not very clear, but it is evident
from his correspondence that he had then become strongly imbued with
Jacobitism, and, in the unsettled state of society consequent upon
the Hanoverian succession and the determined efforts that were made
to restore the crown to the exiled Stuarts, he may have felt a desire
to be free from the obligations his ordination vows would impose. Be
that as it may, he visited the continent in 1717, and remained for
some time in seclusion. There was some mystery about his movements
at the time, and it has been surmised that his retirement was not
altogether unconnected with politics, if, indeed, it was not for the
actual purpose of fomenting another Jacobite insurrection. During his
stay he met with Malebranche’s “Search after Truth,” and some pieces
of Mademoiselle Bourignon, the consequence of which was that he became
strongly impressed with the visionary philosophy of the former, and
the enthusiastic extravagance of the latter. He resided for a while
at Montpelier, where he applied himself to the study of medicine. His
brother Edward, writing to him on the 17th August, 1717, says:—

     I hope you have improved yourself in physic since your being there
     (Montpelier). I would gladly have you employ yourself that way,
     and you need not doubt of encouragement here. Not one person but
     ourselves knows where you are, but we think now to let our friends
     know that you are studying physic at Montpelier.... You may save
     yourself any trouble of inquiring after Mr. Roberts, for he is in
     these parts, but thinks himself excepted out of the act of grace,
     as are all persons who have gone beyond seas, or all who have been
     with the Pretender.

While away there was a probability of the librarianship of the Chetham
Library falling vacant, a post which Byrom was rather anxious to
obtain, though the emoluments were very small. In a letter to his
brother, written from Montpelier, January 3, 1718, he writes:—

     My wife (his youngest sister Phœbe, whom he playfully spoke of by
     that name) writes me word that Mr. Lesley, your library keeper,
     is going to die; that the feoffees ask if I will have the place.
     I could like it very well, but I suppose it tied to certain
     engagements which I do not like so well; I suppose the feoffees
     (are) at liberty to give it to one _in_ or _out_ of orders, but
     whether he must take the oaths or no depends not upon them. If I
     may be as I am, I shall be glad to visit the skeleton. You all
     invite me home very kindly, and in spring I think to come to you
     by way of Paris, if you know of no other by any of the ports. I
     have nothing should tempt me from your company at present but the
     occasion of a little insight into physic in this place.

The “insight” having apparently been obtained, he returned to England,
and on the 3rd May he writes a hurried note to his brother from
Cambridge.

     The post is this moment going out, so I run to the coffee-house
     to return you an answer in haste to yours, and let you know that
     I should be very willing to have the library, and am very much
     obliged to you for your pains in engaging the feoffees; if you can
     be sure of it, let me know further; it will be better worth while
     than staying for a doubtful chance of a fellowship whose profit
     will be slow in coming; besides, ’tis in Manchester, which place I
     love entirely.

Whether admission to orders was a condition, or the taking the oaths an
obstacle, is not clear, but, though Byrom returned to Manchester, he
did not succeed to the office.

The prospect of the librarianship of Chetham’s Library was not the
only inducement for Byrom to settle in his native town. His uncle,
Joseph Byrom, had a pretty daughter, then blooming into womanhood, who
had made an impression on his susceptible heart, and, in short, the
ardent young Jacobite, who awhile before had penned verses in praise of
Bentley’s fascinating daughter—

    Moving all nature with his artless plaints,

fell in love with his cousin; but the course of true love was ruffled
by the proverbial obstructions. The young lady’s favour was quickly
gained, but her father’s approval was not so easily secured, and that
is scarcely to be wondered at. Byrom at the time had not settled down
to any profession; his prospects were doubtful; he had been obliged
to seclude himself on account of his political proclivities; and
had, moreover, come to be accounted an eccentric and somewhat dreamy
philosopher, infected with the mysticism of the French school. The
practical, hard-headed Manchester merchant could, therefore, hardly
look upon him as an eligible suitor or a promising husband for a young
lady destined to inherit the ancestral home of the Byroms. Everything,
however, comes to him who can wait. Byrom did wait; and eventually
the obdurate parent yielded, and gave his consent to, if he did not
actually express approval of, the match; and on Valentine’s Day,
1720-1, at the old church, the young couple were united, the bride
having just completed her twenty-first year, and Byrom being then in
his twenty-ninth.

Chalmers, in his biography of Byrom, represents the marriage as a
clandestine one. He says the lady’s father “was extremely averse to the
match, and when it took place without his consent, refused the young
couple any means of support; and, as a means of supporting himself and
his wife, Byrom had recourse to the teaching of shorthand writing.”
But this is an error, as evidenced by a passage in a letter addressed
by the bride’s elder sister, Anne Byrom, to Mr. Stansfield, under date
February 18, 1720-1, four days after the wedding:—

     I received yours last week, and designed answering it by first
     post, but could not have an opportunity, we having been pretty
     much engaged this week; for on Tuesday last sister Elizabeth was
     married to Dr. Byrom, with consent of father and mother, and the
     wedding kept here, and we having had a deal of company.

His sister here designates him “Dr.” Byrom, and the prefix to his name
was through life commonly accorded by his friends and acquaintance.
He does not appear ever to have taken a degree entitling him to it,
though in one of his letters written from Montpelier he styles himself
“Dr. of Physic.” There is a common belief that he practised medicine in
Manchester; but this was only upon rare occasions, chiefly among the
poor and the members of his own family; and he threw physic to the dogs
when he applied himself to the perfecting of his system of shorthand.
Shortly after his marriage he became the occupant of a house belonging
to Mr. Hunter, standing at the corner of Hanging Ditch, and what is
now the lower end of Cannon Street, but then called Hunter’s-lane, and
here his family resided for many years. His journal affords pleasant
glimpses of his home life and surroundings at this time:—

     October 5, 1722.—This day we came to Mr. Hunter’s house. Saturday,
     6th.—Laurenson’s wife died. Sister Ellen ill. Sorted my papers
     all morning. Mr. Hooper came about one to ask me to go to Holme
     (Hulme Hall). I followed ’em thither; Mr. M. and R. and Mrs. H.
     Malyn. Dr. Mainwaring there. We bowled, read Haddon’s verses on
     the eclipses, &c. Mr. Leycester came, and Mr. Kate.

[Illustration]

The Mr. Hooper here referred to was the recently-appointed librarian to
Chetham’s Library, and the chaplain to Lady Anne Bland, of Hulme Hall,
lady of the manor of Manchester. Massey Malyn was a son of Dr. Malyn,
who had acquired by his marriage the Sale Hall Estate, in Cheshire, and
was himself the rector of Ashton-upon-Mersey; Robert Malyn, his younger
brother, was an undergraduate of Cambridge; Peter Mainwaring was a
well-known medical practitioner in the town, who subsequently married
one of the sisters and co-heiresses of Massey Malyn; and John Haddon
was the rector of Warrington. Hulme Hall was at that time the centre
in which gathered the wit and learning and intellectuality of the
neighbourhood. Lady Anne Bland, the widowed owner, and the foundress
of St. Ann’s, was accounted the leader of fashion among the Hanoverian
and Whig party, and the rival of Madam Drake, who carried the palm
among the Jacobite and Tory fashionables; the former deeming it not
inconsistent with her dignity to resent the exuberant display of Stuart
tartan at the newly-built Assembly-rooms, in King Street, by arraying
her party in orange-coloured ribbons, and dancing a minuet with them
by moonlight in the open street. Byrom was always a welcome guest at
Hulme, where his sprightliness and epigrammatic humour was highly
appreciated, and with the pious, if somewhat imperious, owner he was,
in spite of his Jacobite proclivities, an especial favourite. He was a
frequent worshipper at St. Ann’s, the “new church” as it was called, in
contradistinction to the “old” or parish church, oftentimes occupying
Lady Bland’s seat, and occasionally going back to tea with her in her
own coach:—

     1725.—Wednesday, Twelfth-day (January 6th), went to the new church
     in the morning with Beppy (his eldest daughter Elizabeth, then
     a child of three years), and sat in Lady Bland’s seat; dined at
     Father Byrom’s; called to see the Wild Irishman in Smithy-door.

     Tuesday, 12th,—Young Tarboc called on me, and we went to Hulme to
     take the inscription off the stone (a Roman altar found in Castle
     Field). I came home with Lady Bland in the coach, and went with
     Mr. Cattel and Mr. Brettargh to dinner. I went to Hulme again with
     young Tarboc.

     Wednesday.—Lady Bland sent to invite me to the dancing to-night.
     I walked to Hulme in the evening, when I found them dancing. We
     came home between twelve and one in Lady Bland’s coach and father
     Byrom’s chariot, which sister Ann had ordered.

     Sunday.—New church; sat with Mr. Mynshull (of Chorlton Hall); took
     leave with Dr. Malyn, Mr. Chetham, and Lady Bland.

It is pleasant to think that at this time, when in Manchester
political and religious feeling was at fever heat, and the place had
become little else than a hot-bed of contending factions, there was a
disposition to observe the amenities of life, and people of the most
conflicting political opinions were able to meet in social intercourse
with every appearance of complaisant good humour.

When Byrom married he obtained the consent of his bride’s father,
but he obtained little else; his own means were scanty, and with the
increasing demands of an increasing family he was compelled to follow
some occupation as a means of earning a livelihood. While pursuing
his studies at Cambridge he had invented a system of shorthand, the
leading principle of which was to denote the different sounds of
language by strokes of the shortest and simplest form. Reporting, as
a profession, was all but unknown, but in private life stenography was
much more generally practised than at the present time, especially
among students and the better educated members of society, who, before
the age of cheap literature, had recourse to it to reduce the labour
of frequent transcription. Cypher-writing had long been in vogue, the
“Diary” of Pepys being a notable illustration, but the system which
Byrom introduced was the first that was based upon any clearly defined
principle, and, though now out of date, may be said to be the parent of
all subsequent and “improved” systems. Unfortunately for him the men
of Manchester a century and a half ago thought more of looms than of
literature, and were more intent on manufactures than on metaphysics;
hence the place afforded little scope for the practice of the art
which he had invented. London was a more promising field, and during
several years he made lengthened visits to the metropolis, where he
met with very encouraging support, his patrons and pupils including
some of the most eminent statesmen and divines of the day—the Duke of
Devonshire, the Archbishop of York, Lord Chesterfield, Lord Hartington,
Hoadley, Bishop of Salisbury, Horace Walpole, Pope, and others of equal
celebrity. In his Journal he records:—“Proposals printed May 27, 1723,
for printing and publishing a new method of shorthand;” and on the 30th
January, 1724, he writes to his wife:—

     I told you I was to see the Archbishop of York. I did so on
     Tuesday morning, and talked with him and his son about our art.
     They entered into the notion of it very readily, and his grace
     promised to recommend it wherever he had an opportunity. New
     proposals are now printing off, dated February 1st, 1724, that is,
     Saturday, on which day I intend to advertise in the _Daily Post_,
     _Evening Post_, and _London Journal_. They are the same as the old
     proposals, only Mr. Leycester’s (of Toft) approbation is added to
     Mr. Smith’s. Now the thing receives a formal publication I shall
     see what I am likely to expect from my friend Mr. Public, and
     whether he will have a true relish for clever things or no.

“Mr. Public” had the desired “relish,” and the “clever things” obtained
for their inventor the honour of admission into the Royal Society.

     “Thursday, March 19th (1724).—This day I was admitted Fellow of
     the Royal Society by Sir Hans Sloane, and Mr. Robert Ord at the
     same time. He and I went there together, gave Mr. Hawkshee two
     guineas, and signed bond to pay fifty-two shillings a year.”

Byrom found a competitor in the person of a Mr. James Weston, who
claimed to be the inventor of a superior method of stenography, and the
journalist thus writes of his “furious antagonist”:—

     Mr. Hooper and Jo. Clowes have been to pay Mr. Weston a visit,
     and we have had good diversion with the account of it.... He
     describes me seven foot high,[44] tolerably dressed in a tie-wig,
     spent my fortune, and a little light-headed, and showed ’em all
     his challenge, and how he had frightened me from dispersing my
     proposals publicly, but seemed at the bottom to be plaguily
     afraid. He says I come to Dick’s coffee house almost every night
     when he intends to come and challenge me before the company; when
     he does, I shall let you know in what manner he (de)molishes me.

[Note 44: Byrom was of unusual stature; on one occasion he records
having met with a Mr. Jefferson, who was “taller than I by measuring,”
the only instance, it would seem, of his having met with such a person.]

During his visits to London Byrom became associated with the leading
literary and political characters of the day—with Sir Hans Sloane,
Bentley, the great Newton, the Wesleys, and others—over whom his
great intellectual ability and ceaseless industry, blended as it
was with a high tone of religious and moral feeling, enabled him to
exercise considerable influence. His “Journal,” in which from day
to day he records the trifling occurrences of his life, contains
many references to his literary friends, and embraces a variety of
information interesting as illustrative of the manners and habits of
the age. In his long absences, however, he never forgot the ties of
home and family. His letters addressed “To Mrs. Eliz. Byrom, near the
Old Church, in Manchester,” relating his daily doings, are full of
entertaining gossip, and couched in terms of the fondest endearment.
Here is a passage taken at random:—

     Kent’s Coffee House, May 20, 1729.—I am sorry to hear of Nelly’s
     being so ill and weakly; but I am not able to add anything to the
     care which you take of her by any physic of mine. The diet of
     children is the only thing to look after.... My dearest love, as
     thou takest all possible care of thy infants, make not thyself
     uneasy about them; but secure thine own health for the sake of
     them, and thy most affectionate husband and friend.

A week later he writes:—

     I promise myself that you are all pretty well at Kersall and
     Nelly better, not having any letter last post.... Prithee let the
     children have some sort of things that will keep the sun off ’em.
     Why should one let their faces be spoiled when a little custom
     might prevent it? Oh, dear! that I was with ye all. I long to jump
     into Kersall river.

If he could revisit his dearly-loved haunt at Kersall he would find the
river now not quite so inviting.

       *       *       *       *       *

In one of his letters to Mrs. Byrom he speaks of meeting with
Whitefield, the great preacher and founder of the Calvinistic
Methodists, who had then just returned from a visit to the American
settlement of Georgia, when it was proposed to sing a hymn; and he
remarks, “If I was to sing with ’em, it must (be) nearer homeward than
Georgia. The tune that I should sing would be something like this, I
believe:—

    Partner of all my joys and cares,
      Whether in poverty or wealth,
    For thee I put up all my pray’rs;
      Well heard if answer’d by thy health.

    Long absence, cruel as it is,
      Content still longer to endure,
    If ought conducive to thy bliss
      The tedious torment could procure.

    Joyous or grievous my employ,
      Absence itself would give relief,
    Could I but give thee all the joy,
      And bear myself alone the grief.

    Lost in this place of grand resort,
      Though crowds succeeding crowds I see,
    Quite from the city to the court—
      ’Tis all a wilderness to me!

    Amidst a world of gaudy scenes
      Around me, glittering, I move;
    I wander, heedless what it means,
      Bent on the thoughts of her I love.

    Still I usurp that sacred sound
      Too often and too long profan’d;
    When shall I tread the happy ground
      Where love and truth may be obtained?

    Let me and my beloved spouse,
      With mutual ardour, strive to quit
    False, earthly, interested vows,
      And Heaven into our hearts admit.

    There let th’ endearing hope take place,
      Though parted here to meet above
    In a perpetual chaste embrace,
      United, Jesu! in thy love!”

It was during the time of these visits to London that the wordy war
arose between the admirers of Handel and his great Italian rival
Bononcini, which Byrom ridiculed in a witty epigram that will remain
famous for all time:—

    Some say compared to Bononcini
      That Mynheer Handel’s but a ninny.
    Others aver that he to Handel
      Is scarcely fit to hold a candle;
    Strange all this difference should be
      ’Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee.

Its publication created quite a sensation in the literary world; the
wits of the day attributed it to Swift, and he has been often credited
with it in later times. Handel’s biographer, M. Victor Schoelcher,
thus refers to it—“Swift, who admired nothing, and who had no ear,
wrote an epigram upon the subject,” and adds, “the angry injustice of
the nobles” who were in league against the great composer was “far
preferable to the empty eclecticism of the Dean of St Patrick’s.” The
question of authorship is, however, easily disposed of by a reference
to Byrom’s journal, in which, writing under date, Saturday, June 5,
1725, he says:—

     “We went to see Mr. Hooper, who was at dinner at Mr. Whitworth’s;
     he came over to us to Mill’s Coffee House, told us of my epigram
     upon Handel and Bononcini being in the papers.... Bob came
     to supper; said that Glover had showed him the verses in the
     _Journal_, not knowing that they were mine.”

And so the years went round. The summer months he usually spent with
his family and kindred in Lancashire; looking in now and then at the
“College;” discussing learnedly with Dr. Deacon, Clayton, Thyer, and
other of the local _literati_; paying court to Lady Bland; spending
the day with “Mother Byrom” at Kersall; dining with “brother Byrom
at the Cross” (Edward Byrom’s, in the Market Place); “drinking a
dish of tea with sister Brearcliffe” at her stately house in Spring
Gardens; or taking an evening walk “after sermon by the river side by
Strangeways with Mr. Leycester and Dr. Mainwaring;” for Strangeways
Walk, as it was called, was then a pleasant tree-shaded lane, with
the pleasaunce belonging to Hunt’s Bank Hall, the residence of Mr.
Clowes, and the stately woods of Strangeways Park on the one hand, and
verdant meadows and pastures reaching down to the banks of the pure
and sparkling Irwell on the other. In London his time was pretty well
occupied with his pupils, the brief intervals of leisure being spent in
social intercourse with his Lancashire and Cambridge friends, writing
epigrams, disputing on religious doctrines, attending meetings at the
(Royal) “Society,” “making merry at the Mitre,” and lamenting the
shortcomings of his laundress.

The practice of reporting was not then universally popular, and Byrom
occasionally met with a humorous adventure. “Orator” Henley, whom Pope
has immortalised—

    The great restorer of the good old stage,
    Preacher at once and zany of his age.

objected to his sermons being reported on the ground that “he might
have his discourses printed against him.” He threatened to turn out
the “chiel amang them takin notes,” and when Byrom would not desist,
even when the “manager” offered to return the shilling he had paid
for admission, “went on so much faster than usual that he took the
only way to stop me,” thus effectually getting rid of the unwelcome
attentions of the inexorable shorthand writer. On another occasion
when Byrom exercised his talents in assisting the High Church party
to oppose the application to Parliament for an Act to establish a
workhouse in Manchester for the employment of the poor, a scene
occurred which is best related in his own words. A subscription had
been raised in the town to defray the cost of erection, and it was
proposed that the house should be managed by twenty-four guardians,
eight to be nominated by the Whigs, eight by the Tories, and the
remainder by the Presbyterians. Dr. Peploe, the Whig Bishop of Chester,
who was also warden of Manchester, undertook to present the Bill for
forming the guardians into a corporation; but the Tory and High Church
party offered a strong opposition to the scheme. Through some delay
the measure was defeated in the first session of Parliament, and
on being reintroduced in the succeeding year it was opposed by Sir
Oswald Mosley, of Ancoats, who, fearing that his interests as lord of
the manor might be prejudiced, had, in the meantime, caused a large
building to be erected for the purpose near Miller’s Lane—the present
Miller Street. Byrom, whom the Whigs denounced as an incendiary and
threatened to pull to pieces, was very active in supporting the Tory
opposition, and gave evidence before the Commissioners. He appears on
the same occasion to have occupied himself in taking shorthand notes,
when the scene occurred which he thus describes in a letter dated
February 20, 1731:—

     I must tell you to get another petition ready to offer to the
     House that a body may write shorthand in the cause of one’s
     country. I have ventured to stand the threats of a complaint
     and the danger of a committee in defence of that natural right
     of exercising the noble art which I have acquired. At the last
     committee but one I was threatened by a Scotch knight (Sir James
     Campbell) whom I provoked to execution of his said valiant
     threatening yesterday, for in the midst of Serjt. Darnel’s reply
     out he comes at the instigation of one Brereton, and suddenly and
     loud pronounces these terrible words—_To oadur, oardur, I speak
     to oadur; I desair to knaw if any mon shil wrait here that is
     nut a clairk or solicitur?_ and an universal silence ensuing I
     was going to speak for myself but a member of my acquaintance
     winking that I had better not, I repressed my rising indignation.
     Nobody said anything to the knight’s query, only Sir Ed. Stanley
     (M.P. for the county of Lancaster, and afterwards eleventh Earl of
     Derby) hinted that there was no great harm done; and my friend the
     serjeant himself said that the gentleman was famous for writing
     shorthand, and for his part he was under no apprehension by his
     taking down anything he should say, and so returned to his matter;
     and the apparition of danger vanished; but if these attacks upon
     the liberty of shorthand men go on I must have a petition from all
     countries where our disciples dwell, and Manchester must lead ’em
     on.

On the 12th May, 1740, Byrom’s elder brother, Edward, the “Brother
Byrom at the Cross,” died unmarried, when John, the poet and
stenographer, became the head of the family and owner of the estates at
Kersall.

Mr. Espinasse, in the first of his admirable series of “Lancashire
Worthies,” says that Byrom’s biographers “do not give the precise date
of the death of his elder brother, Edward.” The information is supplied
in the stenographer’s “Shorthand Journal,” in which occurs this entry:—

     May 12th (1740).—Edward Byrom, of Kersall, elder son of Edward
     Byrom, of Manchester, and Dorothy, daughter of John Allen, of
     Redivales, near Bury. He was born March 4th, 1686, and died May
     12th, 1740.

By his acquisition of the family estates at Kersall, Byrom was placed
in a position of comfortable independence, and able to relax from the
drudgery of teaching shorthand, though it was some time before he could
be induced to withdraw from London and its pleasant society to settle
down in quiet retirement in Manchester. Two years after this addition
to his fortune he received the welcome intelligence from Lord Morton
that the crowning act of all his anxieties—the Act securing to him for
a period of twenty-one years the exclusive right of publishing his “Art
and Method of Shorthand”—the nation’s testimony to the merits of the
system—had passed the House of Lords and received the royal assent; an
Act which, singular to say, appears to have been obtained without any
cost.

From this time his journeyings to London became less and less frequent,
and his life seems to have been passed for the most part in his native
town in a calm round of social and domestic enjoyment, his playful
fancy finding vent in squib and pasquinade, and in sparkling epigrams,
an easy and unshackled style of versification for which he had a
special aptitude. Not the least popular of his effusions was the one
directed against the farmers or tenants of the Grammar School Mills,
Messrs. Yates and Dawson, who had involved the town in the costs of a
lawsuit because the inhabitants had refused to observe the old feudal
monopoly and grind all their corn, grain, and malt at the mills:—

        Here’s Bone and Skin,
        Two millers thin,
    Would starve the town, or near it,
        But be it known
        To Skin and Bone
    That Flesh and Blood can’t bear it.

The point of the epigram was in the allusion to the professions of
Yates and Dawson, _Skin_ being Joseph Yates, a barrister, the father of
Sir Joseph Yates, one of the Judges of the Common Pleas; and _Bone_,
Dr. Dawson (Byrom’s relative), a well-known medical practitioner in
the town, and the father of the ill-fated “Jemmy Dawson,” the hero
of Shenstone’s pathetic ballad. He also, on the occasion of the
Pretender’s visit to Manchester, wrote the lines which have since
become almost as famous as his epigram on Handel and Bononcini:—

    God bless the King! I mean the faith’s defender;
    God bless (no harm in blessing) the Pretender;
    But who Pretender is, or who is King,
    God bless us all—that’s quite another thing.

The period was one of great political excitement. The men of
Manchester, who a century previously had barricaded their town and
defied the soldiers of Charles the First, became jubilant on the
restoration of monarchy in the person of his son, and, to prove their
loyalty, caused the conduit in the market place to flow with claret
and the gutters to swell with strong beer; their sons were noted for
their Jacobite proclivities, and nowhere did the young Pretender
receive a heartier welcome than in the old Puritan town where, as has
been said by a popular writer (Dr. Halley), “the orange plumes seemed
to have grown pale and faded into white feathers before the bright
colours of the Stuart tartan.” The barbarous severities with which
the rebellion of 1715 was crushed had only served to perpetuate and
increase the feeling of bitterness against the Whig Government, and
this feeling was intensified by the religious feuds that sprang up in
the town. The Tories and High Churchmen, though they had taken the oath
to King George and desired to maintain the Protestant succession, were
for the most part Jacobites, while the Low Churchmen and Nonconformists
were staunch partisans of the house of Brunswick—the one proclaimed the
divine right of kings, and the other was equally zealous in upholding
the “Glorious Revolution.”

Byrom’s intimate friend, Dr. Deacon, a nonjuring minister, who had
incurred the suspicions of the Government through his supposed
connection with the former rebellion, and on that account had removed
to Manchester, where he combined the profession of theology with the
practice of physic, assembled a congregation of nonjurors at his house
in Fennel Street, adjoining the present “Dog and Partridge”—the “Schism
Shop,” as it was irreverently called—while Joseph Owen, a fierce
Presbyterian polemic, declaimed with angry invective against the clergy
of the “Old Church” for their alleged sympathy with the nonjuring
divine. The quarrel became fiercer than ever, and the coarse sermons of
Owen were answered by the satire and clever epigrams of Byrom:—

    Leave to the low-bred Owens of the age
    Sense to belye and loyalty to rage,
    Wit to make treason of each cry and chat,
    And eyes to see false worship in a hat.

Meetings of the rival factions were regularly held at the different
taverns in the town, the “Angel” in Market Street Lane being the
head-quarters of the Whigs, and the “Bull’s Head,” opposite Phœbe
Byrom’s in the Market Place, the resort of those disaffected to the
reigning family; “John Shaw’s,” too, a “public” in the Old Shambles,
kept by a veteran trooper, who in his campaigns abroad had acquired
the art of brewing punch of unrivalled quality, and who was as famed
for the discipline and the autocratic rule he maintained as for the
excellence of the beverage he brewed, received under its hospitable
roof the more thorough-going Church and King men and supporters of
the Stuart cause.[45] Byrom was a frequent attender at the convivial
gatherings at “John Shaw’s,” and the only portrait of him in the
later years of his life that has been preserved, was one taken by
stealth by his friend Dorning Rasbotham, “after spending an evening at
Shawe’s Coffee House,” prefixed to the Leeds edition of his poems, and
reproduced in Gregson’s “Fragments.”

[Note 45: “John Shaw’s” eventually assumed the character of an organised
club, and after an uninterrupted career of a century and a half it
still remains in a flourishing state, and is as convivial in its “green
old age” as in the days when John Shaw cracked his whip, and with loud
voice and imperative tone exclaimed, “Eight o’clock, gentlemen, eight
o’clock,” and his serving maid, Molly, followed with her mop and bucket
ready to expedite the movements of the loiterer, should the cracking
of the whip have failed to “speed the parting guest.” The club has an
official staff elected annually and with much mock formality, and what
Dr. Johnson calls “obstreperous merriment,” and the members, who are
true “Church and Queen” men, assemble once a month under the shadow
of the “Mitre” to discuss punch and politics, and drink old wine, and
the traditional old toasts, omitting, however, the very suggestive one
of the King “over the water.” Among the most treasured relics in the
possession of the club, and which now adorn the room where the members
assemble, are the original portraits in oil of the autocratic and
inflexible John and Molly Owen, his prime minister, and factotum—the
Hebe of the house, and the veritable china bowl in which John brewed
his seductive compound.]

Byrom’s pen was ever at the service of his political friends, and
the “Laureate of the Jacobites,” the “Master Tool of the Faction,”
as he was indifferently styled, was more than a match for his Whig
antagonists. Imbued, however, with strong religious feelings, there
was little of bitterness in his compositions; the shaft of ridicule
was never envenomed, his playful wit and genial good-humoured satire
telling with far greater effect than the coarse and angry invectives
with which he was at times assailed. If he was ready to lampoon a foe,
he never lacked the courage to rebuke a friend. This is evidenced by
his well-timed admonition against swearing, “addressed to an officer
in the army,” Colonel Townley, the commander of the regiment raised in
Manchester in the service of the Pretender:—

    O that the muse might call, without offence,
    The gallant soldier back to his good sense,
    His temp’ral field so cautious not to lose;
    So careless quite of his eternal foes.
    Soldier! so tender of thy prince’s fame,
    Why so profuse of a superior name?
    For the King’s sake the brunt of battles bear;
    But, for the King of King’s sake do not swear.

In his early youth Byrom had manifested strong Jacobite tendencies,
but in the interval between the two rebellions—the Sacheverel riots
of ’15 and the rising of ’45—his political opinions, if in no degree
modified, had become much less demonstrative, and his Jacobitism was
under the control of a possessor sufficiently cautious to prevent its
imperilling his family interests or endangering his personal safety.
His daughter “Beppy” was then a young lady of three-and-twenty;
following her father’s example she had set up a diary, and some of
the entries in her journal, with a letter written by Byrom to his
kinsman and friend, Mr. Vigor, furnishes the most circumstantial and
entertaining accounts of the Pretenders visit to Manchester extant.
The doctor’s gossiping daughter was an ardent Jacobite, though a very
prudent one, her sentimental devotion to the Stuart cause being most
pronounced when personal danger was remote, the fair young diarist
having little scruple in designating the wearers of the white cockade
“rebels” when peril was at hand. For all that, her “Diary” is very
entertaining. Apart from the vivid portraiture of the excitement and
consternation into which the Manchestrians were thrown by the presence
of the rebel army, it is impossible to read it without feeling that you
are listening to the sprightly chat of the lively and unsophisticated
writer.

On Tuesday, the 25th of November, news came that Prince Charles
Edward had marched his forces into Lancashire. The town was in a
state of great excitement. The Presbyterians and Whigs deemed it
prudent to get out of the way; the militia, which had been very
valiant before the approach of the rebels, followed the example; the
wealthier householders removed their families into the country; and
even furniture and provisions were conveyed to places of more assured
safety. On the afternoon of Friday, the 28th, Sergeant Dickson, a
dashing young Scotchman, with his sweetheart and a drummer, entered
the town and proclaimed the Chevalier King; and on the following
morning the Prince with the main body of his army joined them, and
encamped in St. Ann’s Square. “Manchester,” says Ray, in his “History
of the Rebellion,” “was taken by a sergeant, a drum, and a woman, who
rode to the market cross on horses with hempen halters on, where they
proclaimed their King.” Here is “Beppy” Byrom’s version:

     Tuesday (November) 28.—About three o’clock to-day came into
     town two men in Highland dress, and a woman behind one of them
     with a drum on her knee, and for all the loyal work that our
     Presbyterians have made they took possession of the town, as one
     may say, for immediately after they were ’light they beat up for
     volunteers for P(rince) C(harles).... They were directly joined by
     Mr. J. Bradshaw, Mr. Tom Sydall, Mr. Tom Deacon, Mr. Fletcher, Tom
     Chaddock; and several others have listed, about 80 men by eight
     o’clock, when my papa came down to tell us there was a party of
     horse come in. He took care of me to the Cross, when I saw them
     all. It is a very fine moonlight night.... My papa and uncle are
     gone to consult with Mr. Croxton, Mr. Fielden, and others how to
     keep themselves out of any scrape, and yet behave civilly (a very
     prudent procedure in such a crisis). All the justices fled, and
     lawyers too, but coz. Clowes.

     Friday, 29th.—They are beating up for the P.; eleven o’clock we
     went up to the Cross to see the rest come in; then came small
     parties of them till about three o’clock, when the P. and the
     main body of them came; I cannot guess how many.... Then came
     an officer up to us at the Cross, and gave us the manifesto
     and declarations. The bells they rung, and P. Cotterel made a
     bonfire, and all the town was illuminated, every house except Mr.
     Dickinson’s (the house in Market-street-lane, where the Prince
     took up his quarters, and thenceforward known as the Palace). My
     papa, mama, and sister, and my uncle and I walked up and down
     to see it. About four o’clock the King was proclaimed, the
     mob shouted very cleverly, and then we went up to see my aunt
     Brearcliffe, and stayed eleven o’clock making St Andrew’s crosses
     for them; we sat up making till two o’clock.

Colonel Townley, a member of the great Catholic family of that name,
who had arranged for the Prince’s reception in Manchester, and had
engaged several of the principal residents for officers, speedily
mustered and enrolled a regiment in the service of the Prince. Each
recruit received a white St Andrew’s cross, which cost little, and
a _promise_ of five guineas, which, as they were never paid, cost
less. In the next entry the enthusiastic young Jacobite describes her
impressions of the “yellow-hair’d laddie,” and the way in which her
father made homage to him:—

     Saturday, 30th (St. Andrew’s Day).—More crosses making till twelve
     o’clock; then I dressed up in my white gown and went up to my aunt
     Brearcliffe’s, and an officer called on us to go see the prince.
     We went to Mr. Fletcher’s and saw him get a horseback, and a noble
     sight it is [no wonder that amid such excitement the young lady
     got a little “mixed” in her moods and tenses]. I would not have
     missed it for a great deal of money. His horse had stood an hour
     in the court without stirring, and as soon as he got on he [_i.e._
     the horse, not the prince] began a dancing and capering as if he
     was proud of the burden, and when he rid out of the court he was
     received with as much joy and shouting almost as if he had been
     King, indeed I think scarce anybody that saw him could dispute it.
     As soon as he was gone the officer and us went to prayers at the
     old church at two o’clock by their orders, or else there has been
     none since they came. Mr. Shrigley read prayers; he prayed for the
     King and Prince of Wales, and named no names. Then we called at
     our house and eat a queen cake, and a glass of wine, for we got
     no dinner; then the officer went with us all to the Camp Field
     to see the artillery; called at my uncle’s and then went up to
     Mr. Fletcher’s, stayed there till the prince was at supper, then
     the officer introduced us into the room, stayed awhile and then
     went into the great parlour where the officers were dining, sat
     by Mrs. Stark(ey); they were all exceeding civil and almost made
     us fuddled with drinking the P. health, for we had had no dinner;
     we sat there till Secretary Murray came to let us know that the
     P. was at leisure and had done supper, so we were all introduced
     and had the honour to kiss his hand; my papa was fetched prisoner
     to do the same [another testimony to the doctor’s discretion], as
     was Dr. Deacon; Mr. Cattell and Mr. Clayton [two of the Old Church
     clergy who were less cautious] did it without; the latter said
     grace for him; then we went out and drank his health in the other
     room, and so to Mr. Fletcher’s, where my mamma waited for us (my
     uncle was gone to pay his land tax) and then went home.

     December 1st.—About six o’clock the P. and the foot set out,
     went up Market-street Lane and over Cheadle ford; the horse was
     gathering together all forenoon; we went up to the Cross to see
     them, and then to Mr. Starkey’s, they were all drawn up in the
     Square and went off in companies, Lord Elcho’s horse went past
     Baguley.

What follows is matter of history.

        The Stuart, leaning on the Scot,
    Pierced to the very centre of the realm,
    In hopes to seize his abdicated helm.

The Pretender’s cause was soon lost, the progress of his army being
as brief as it was disastrous. Hearing, on their arrival 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
returned northwards, their vanguard reaching Manchester on the 9th of
December, where the regiment which Colonel Townley had raised only
a few days before was disbanded, though some of the more resolute
supporters of the Prince pushed on to Carlisle, where, after a feeble
effort to hold the city, they were compelled to surrender. Chaplain
Coppock was executed in the border city, wearing his canonicals; ten of
the others, including a son of Dr. Deacon, and the adjutant, Syddal,
whose father had given up his life in the same cause thirty years
previously, and Beppy Byrom’s cousin, Jemmy Dawson, were executed
on Kennington Common. The heads of Deacon and Syddal were sent to
Manchester and fixed upon spikes on the top of the Exchange,[46] to be
reverenced by friends and execrated by foes, an exhibition that called
forth the following 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.

[Note 46: In the accounts of the Constables of Manchester occurs this
entry—1745. Sept. 18: Expenses tending the sheriff this morn, Syddal’s
and Deacon’s heads put up, £00, 01, 06.]

In Manchester the suppression of the rebellion of ’45 was hailed with
delight by the partisans of the house of Brunswick; the church bells
rang throughout the day, bonfires blazed at night, and orange-coloured
ribbons were flaunted in the streets as gaily as the Stuart tartan had
been only a few months before. That day must have been a sorrowful one
for Byrom and his enthusiastic daughter, for they could hardly have
escaped the insults of the Hanoverian mob when Dr. Deacon’s house was
attacked and that of poor widow Syddal demolished.

The ill-feeling engendered by these events was of long duration,
and the toast of “The King” was not unfrequently a cause of angry
disputation. The adherents of the exiled dynasty continued their
meetings, though they usually assembled in secret, and their movements
were carefully watched by the local authorities, suspected persons
being required to take the oath of allegiance to the reigning monarch
and abjure Popery and the Pretender. Some of the more prominent
sympathisers took alarm and fled, among them being Clayton, the
chaplain of the Collegiate Church, who was said to have offered public
prayers for Prince Charles in one of the streets of Salford. Byrom, in
describing this period, says—

     We ourselves were many of us fugitives; and had we not met with
     some kind asylum towns, might have wandered among the inhospitable
     hills, like the present mountaineer rebels.

His Journal shows that at this time he was frequently away from
Manchester, and not unfrequently endeavouring through the influence of
his former patrons to obtain a mitigation of the punishment of such of
the Manchester rebels as had survived the thirst of Whiggish vengeance,
but were yet undergoing imprisonment. Thus he wrote to his wife (June
18, 1748):—

     On Friday the 10th of June I had been asked to meet Mr. Folkes at
     Mr. Ch. Stanhope’s, where I found likewise Lord Linsdale, D(uk)e
     of Mountague, and Mr. Stanhope’s brother, Lord Harrington, with
     whom we passed the dinner and an hour or two after very agreeably.
     They asked me a great many questions about the Pretender, and
     circumstances when he was at Manchester, &c., and I told them what
     I knew and thought without any reserve, and took the opportunity
     of setting some matters in a truer light than I suppose they had
     heard them placed in, and put in now and then a word in favour
     of the prisoners, especially Charles D, (Charles, youngest son
     of Dr. Deacon, who had acted as secretary, and superintended the
     recruiting of the Manchester regiment). They were all very free
     and good natured, and did not seem offended with anything that
     I took the liberty to enlarge upon. When Mr. Folkes came away,
     about seven o’clock, I came with him, and he said that what had
     passed might possibly occasion young D.’s liberty, that they were
     not violent in their tempers, and that he took notice that they
     listened very much to what I had been telling them of Manchester
     affairs. I was much pleased with the openness of conversation
     which we had upon several subjects; and as Mr. St(anhope) had
     made me promise him some verses that I had lately writ, I added
     a Latin copy to his brother the Viceroy of Ireland, which I
     brought him yesterday, for he had sent a servant for me to dine
     with again, and then we had Lord Harrington, Lord Baltimore, D.
     of Richmond and a lady—Lady Townshend—and somebody else—oh, Sir
     John Cope. The Duchess of R. should have been there, but the
     Duke made an excuse for her. As we had a lady, however, and one
     (as Mr. St. had hinted to me) of great wit and politeness, who
     stayed the afternoon, complaisance to her turned the conversation
     upon suitable subjects, so that I could not well introduce the
     fate of Ch. D. &c. before the D. of R. who is one of our present
     kings,[47] as I wanted to do. Mr. St. had read the Latin verses
     and given them before dinner, and the Duke might have seen them if
     he would, but the lady and the Latin did not suit politely enough,
     and there was no urging anything untimely, or else I could have
     been glad to have heard what he would have said about the lot of
     the imprisoned.... One can only try as occasion offers, what mercy
     can be got from trying.

[Note 47: The Duke of Richmond was at the time one of the Lords
Justices for the administration of the Government during the absence of
George II.]

He did try, and on the 23rd July he again writes:—

     I have heard nothing new about Ch. Deacon. I sent him (Mr.
     Stanhope) a copy of the petition representing his case, and some
     further urging of my own. By a report not being made, I understand
     that the judges have made no report, which I am surprised at if
     that be the real meaning.

In a subsequent letter (August 4, 1748) to his “Dear Dolly” (his
younger daughter, Dorothy, then a maiden of 18) he sends a translation
of the verses, that young lady, as he says, not being “so book-learned
as to understand them in the original.” They are as creditable to the
heart as to the head of the writer for the evidence they afford of his
unswerving fidelity to a friend in adversity. The following lines are a
fair specimen:—

      Three brothers—I shall only speak the truth—
    Three brothers, hurried by mere dint of youth,
    Precautious youth, were found in arms of late,
    And rushing on to their approaching fate.

      One, in a fever, sent up to be tried,
    From jail to jail, delivered over, died;
    Sick and distressed, he did not long sustain
    The mortal shocks of motion and of pain.

           *       *       *       *       *

      The third was then a little boy at school.
    That played the truant from the rod and rule;
    The child, to join his brothers, left his book,
    And arms, alas! instead of apples took.

      Now lies confined the poor unhappy lad—
    For death mere pity and mere shame forebad—
    Long time confined, and waiting mercy’s bail.
    Two years amidst the horrors of a jail.

      I spare to mention what, from fact appears.
    The boy has suffered in these fatal years;
    Pity, at least, becomes his iron lot;
    What ruin is there that a jail has not?

      He is my countryman, my noble lords,
    And room for hope your genius affords;
    Be truly noble; hear my well-meant prayer.
    And deign my fellow citizen to spare.

In the letter accompanying the English verses, he says:—

     I have not such good hopes as I had of the young boy being set at
     liberty upon whose account they were made; he has some enemies
     or other that have represented him in so ill a light that I much
     question at present if he will meet with the favour which has been
     so long expected except affairs shall take a turn with relation to
     him (other) than I was told they had done. But I am not sorry I
     have spoken my thoughts about him as opportunity offered.

On “Prince Charles’s Birthday” (November 30th), he writes to his
daughter Beppy:—

     Mr. Nanny, a Welsh gentleman, told me he had heard that Ch. Deacon
     was set at liberty; but such a world of false reports have gone
     about him that I can only wish this may prove true.

And on the 3rd of January following, writing to his wife, he remarks:—

     I was taken ill so that I could not go into Southwark to
     enquire after Charles Deacon as I thought of, nor have I had
     any opportunity since, nor can I learn anything of the truth or
     falsehood of the report of his going abroad.

The report was unfortunately but too true, for the _Gentleman’s
Magazine_ (v. xix., p. 41) records that on the 11th January Charles
Deacon, with William Brettargh, also of the Manchester regiment, were
conveyed from the new gaol, Southwark, to Gravesend, for transportation
during life.

With the expatriation of this hapless youth may be said to have closed
the darkest and most sorrowful page in Manchester’s annals. In that
sanguinary chronicle of ruthless savagery there was perhaps no more
melancholy episode than the misfortunes of the nonjuring divine of
Fennel Street, who lost three of his sons in the Pretender’s cause.
Thomas Theodorus, the eldest, as already stated, was executed, and his
head fixed on the Manchester Exchange; Robert Renatus died in prison
while awaiting trial, and Charles Clement, as we have seen, was sent
beyond seas. The father passed into his rest on the 16th February,
1753. He lies in the north-east corner of St. Ann’s Churchyard, where
his raised altar-tomb may still be seen with an inscription setting
forth that he was “the greatest of sinners and most unworthy of
primitive bishops.”

There is a tradition current that the heads of Thomas Deacon and
Tom Syddal, after being exposed for some time on the Exchange,
were one night surreptitiously removed by Mr. Hall, a son of Dr.
Richard Edward Hall, who resided in a large house at the top of King
Street, and that they were secretly buried in the garden behind his
residence. This garden with the rookery in it, which reached down to
the present Chancery Lane, existed within the recollection of the
present generation, and it is said that on the death of Mr. Hall’s
last surviving sister, Miss Frances Hall, in 1828, the grim relics of
mortality were by her expressed desire exhumed and buried in St. Ann’s
Churchyard. It was to Dr. Hall, the father, whilst paying his addresses
to the lady whom he afterwards married, that Byrom sent 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.

It was very shortly after the event just related that Byrom received
the first intimation of his son’s having formed an attachment for the
lady who became his wife, Eleanor, daughter of William and sister
of Domville Halsted, of Lymm, the representatives of an ancient and
honourable family in Cheshire, who had been owners of the Domville
moiety of Lymm from the time of Edward III., when it was inherited from
Agnes de Legh, the common ancestress of the Domvilles, Halsteds, and
the Leghs of Adlington and Lyme. The letter written on the occasion to
Mrs. Byrom is so thoroughly characteristic of the man that we make no
apology for reproducing it:—

Tuesday night, Feb. 28, 1748-9.

     My dearest love: I received this afternoon the potted hare from
     Mr. Wilkinson, which Tedy mentioned in his last letter, together
     with thy letter concerning Miss Halsted. &c., which has thrown me
     into a great but really very loving concern, for the consequence
     of an affair in which the family happiness so much depends. As I
     am quite a stranger to the young lady, and have no remembrance of
     having ever seen her, I cannot judge how I should like her person
     and behaviour; but for my beloved son’s sake, I should wish her
     possessed of every qualification that might justly be agreeable
     to thee, his sisters, uncle, aunts, and friends, as well as to
     himself. I guess by the contents of thy letter that he has made
     his addresses to her, and his Aunt A. (Mrs. Byrom’s sister Anne)
     has given her a good character, which does not seem to amount to
     any absolute approbation; his uncle, too, seems neither for it nor
     against it; what his aunts say of it, thou dost not hint at, by
     which I presume that they suppose that he is determined himself,
     and they would not disoblige him by making any objection to his
     choice. For my part, if my son be inclined to marry, I can only
     wish that he may make a proper choice; but whether he has or not,
     it is not in my power to determine, nor in my will to oppose his
     inclination, without cause, for I love him too well not to consent
     with great readiness to anything that others of his friends who
     heartily interest themselves in his happiness should approve
     of; but at present their approbation seems only to be negative,
     and his uncle’s “What will his father say to it?” does not seem
     to impart any great encouragement. His father would gladly hope
     that his son, in a thing of this consequence, might so behave as
     to please all his relations, and thereby acquire a title to his
     father’s approbation, who, considering him as the only youth of
     the name at present, would wish them all to assist, encourage or
     prevent him as their love and judgment shall find occasion to show
     itself in his favour. As to fortune, report but seldom lessens it,
     though it has hardly much increased it, I suppose, in Miss H.’s
     case; but as to that, though it is undoubtedly a very prudential
     consideration, yet the qualities which the lady herself may or
     may not have, may make her a good wife with less than she has,
     or a bad one with a great deal more. I am full of wishes, hopes,
     and fears, and can think of nothing else at present than to refer
     myself to thy sentiments, which I wish thee to give me, and my son
     to be so much master of himself as to act on this occasion with
     all necessary discretion. I wish that whenever he marries he may
     meet with one that he may have as just reason to love, honour, and
     cherish as his father has his Valentine, whom he begs to take all
     possible (care) of a life and health so dear to him, who is, with
     hearty prayers to God for her and hers—hers and theirs.

J. BYROM.

     To Mrs. Eliz. Byrom, near the Old Church in Manchester, Lancashire.

With the exception of an occasional journey to London, and a visit
now and then to his _alma mater_, Cambridge, the remaining portion
of Byrom’s life was passed in comparative quietude, sometimes at the
pleasant rural retreat at Kersall, “that quiet place of yours,” as
his loving sister Phœbe, in one of her letters, styles it, and where,
as she says, she “was very glad to be a bit from the hurry of the
market place;” but oftener enjoying the society and pleasant gossip
of his friends in the snug parlour of his comfortable dwelling at
the corner of Hunter’s Lane—that quaint black and white house with a
curious raised walk in front, the outlines of which the pencil of that
industrious antiquary, Thomas Barrit, has happily preserved to us. The
struggles of his earlier years gave a zest to the comforts of domestic
life, and in his _otium cum dignitate_ he whiled away the hours,
poetising on subjects grave and gay; now and then ridiculing with good
humoured banter some Presbyterian zealot or recalcitrant Whig, though
always in a spirit calculated to soften asperity; and occasionally
retaliating upon his Hanoverian opponents in some _jeu d’esprit_
or sparkling epigram, to the great delight of the _beaux-esprits_
who met in social intercourse at the Bull’s Head—a house that still
remains, and the gruff countenance of whose ancient sign may yet be
seen over the archway leading to the inn-yard and the old-fashioned
and much-frequented parlour. The great truths of Christianity had from
his earliest years made a deep impression on his mind, and many of his
writings are characterised by strong religious feeling; indeed, it
was the spirit of piety breathed into his poems that led to his being
accounted a mystic by the mere lukewarm professors, a reproach that
was, however, undeserved. His religion was without gloom, and by no
means inconsistent with the maintenance of habitual cheerfulness. His
utterances are marked by a manly, nervous style; his imagination was
fertile, and his imagery happily conceived, though there is sometimes
a lack of smoothness that suggests the idea that his effusions were
hastily penned—the impromptu utterances of the man of genius with the
happy facility of versification. Some of his pieces—the once popular
“Three Black Crows[48]” for example—were written for the annual
speech days at the Free Grammar School; he was, too, the first writer
who employed as a literary vehicle the broad, racy vernacular of
Lancashire, which in later times has been used with such signal success
by Bamford, and Waugh, and Brierley. One of the happiest specimens of
the playfulness of his muse was the poetical epistle “On the Patron
Saint of England,” addressed to Lord Willoughby, the President of the
Society of Antiquaries, and which Samuel Pegge, the antiquary, was at
such pains to refute; but perhaps the one by which he will be best
remembered is the ever popular Christmas hymn, “Christians, Awake,”
which John Wainwright, the organist of the “Old Church,” at Manchester,
set to music, the tune being called after his native town, “Stockport.”

[Note 48: It has been frequently stated that the story of the “Three
Black Crows” was inspired by the London edition, but in a recent
communication to the Manchester Literary Club, Mr. John Evans has
proved conclusively, from a letter in Byrom’s own handwriting, that it
was founded on a story related to him by Dr. John Taylor.]

Byrom outlived most of the friends of his youth, and maintained the
natural cheerfulness of his disposition throughout his last lingering
illness until, in the words of his obituary notice, “the scholar, the
critic, the gentleman, became absorbed in the resigned Christian.”
He died at the old house at Hanging Ditch, on the 26th September,
1763, having attained the ripe old age of 72, and three days later
his remains were interred in the Byrom Chapel, on the south side of
the “Old Church.” Strangely enough, there is no monument or other
sepulchral memorial to mark his resting place or perpetuate his name;
the register of burials is the only record, and that is brief indeed:—

     1763.—September 29. Mr. John Byrom.

A tribute to his memory in Latin verse from the pen of his friend
and correspondent, William Cowper, of Chester, M.P., appeared in the
newspapers of the time, of which the following is a translation:—

    No, much-loved friend! this breast can never lose
    The dear remembrance of thy pleasing form,
    Thy gentle manners, and thy placid mien;
    The smile of innocence, th’ unstudied grace
    Of honest countenance, th’ high-season’d wit,
    The copious stores of conversation sweet,
    Which to my ravish’d ears so oft supplied
    Luxurious banquet, whilst th’ indulgent flow
    Of thy rich genius filled my thirsty mind.
      But who can tell the gifts of innate worth,
    The bosom beating to the cries of woe,
    The heart of soft benignity, wherein
    True honour, piety, and faith have fix’d
    Their everlasting mansion? Who can trace,
    Alas! the portrait of such excellence
    In any other mortal mind but thine?

In violation of the “Woollen Act,” a statute made famous by the
allusions of Pope and Dryden, he was buried “in a shirt, shift, sheet,
or shroud not made of sheep’s wool,” and, consequently, a direction was
issued by “John Gore Booth, Esquire, one of his Majesty’s Justices of
the Peace,” to the constables of Manchester to levy the sum of £6 by
distress and sale of his goods and chattels.

Mrs. Byrom survived him several years, and died on the 21st December,
1778, at the age of 78; of his children three died in infancy, and
three survived him—two daughters and a son. Elizabeth—Beppy, as she was
familiarly called—the first-born, and the gossiping chronicler of the
fatal ’45, died in 1801, her sister Dorothy having died three years
previously, both unmarried. Edward Byrom, the eldest and only surviving
son, succeeded as heir. Of this worthy son of a worthy sire we need say
little; his biography has been undertaken by an able writer, and with
such a congenial theme as the projected “Memorials of St. John’s” we
may rest assured that the accomplished editor of the “Old Church Clock”
will do ample justice to his memory. He was born on the 13th June,
1724, and baptised at the old church on the 24th of the same month. On
the death of his uncle, Edward Byrom, in 1740, he became devisee in
fee of his estates, and in the spring of 1750 he added to his worldly
wealth the fortune he acquired by his marriage with Miss Halsted,
already referred to, a marriage that, in accordance with the fashion of
the times, is thus chronicled in the _Chester Courant_ of the 6th March
in that year:—

     A few days ago, Mr. Edward Byrom, son of Dr. Byrom, was married
     to Miss Halsted of Limm, co. Cest., a lady of great merit and a
     handsome fortune.

He took up his abode in the large detached house in Quay Street, now
occupied by Dr. Blackmore, and which continued to be the residence
of his grand-daughter, Miss Atherton, up to the time of her death,
in 1870. Mr. Grindon, in his pleasant volume, “Manchester Banks and
Bankers,” says: “There is a legend that he removed thither on account
of the delicate health of his little Nelly, the atmosphere of Quay
Street being purer than that of the town,” and he adds, “the house
was obviously intended to be the first of a row. Mr. Byrom preferred
that it should stand alone, arranging also for the preservation in
perpetuity of the meadow in front, which served as a playground for
the children.” The house was Mr. Byrom’s own, and in all probability
its erection was begun by his uncle, Edward Byrom, shortly before his
death, for in the “Shorthand Journal” there occurs the entry:—

     1741.—Thursday, August 11th or 12th. Dined at new house in Quay
     Street; ... We came from Macclesfield yesterday—Mrs. Byrom, Beppy,
     Dolly, David and I.

The neighbourhood was then unbuilt, and formed a pleasant suburb of
Manchester, but with the increase of trade the tide of population
spread in that direction; new streets were laid out, houses were built,
and the locality became what might be called the “Court-end.” The house
has survived the mighty changes that time has wrought; it stands alone,
as it did in Byrom’s days; the remnant of the old garden and orchard
are there, and the “meadow” in front still struggles to look green, but
its sylvan beauties are only a memory of the past.

With the increase of the population came the necessity for a new
church, and on the 28th April, 1768, Edward Byrom laid the foundation
stone of St. John’s—so named in compliment to his father—which was
consecrated on the 7th June in the following year. Little more than
two years later he joined Messrs. Sedgwick, Allen, and Place, in
establishing the first bank in Manchester, the doors of which were
opened on the 2nd December, 1771, under the style of Byrom, Sedgwick,
Allen, and Place. It occupied the site of Messrs. Hunt and Roskell’s
shop in St. Ann’s Square, and the name is perpetuated in Bank Street,
leading from it. Less than seventeen months after, Edward Byrom was
laid to rest, his death occurring on the 24th April, 1773, at the early
age of forty-nine. Under his will the Quay Street property passed to
his daughter Ann, who became the wife of Henry Atherton, of the Middle
Temple, the issue of the marriage being an only daughter, the estimable
and much-honoured Miss Eleanor Atherton, the foundress of Holy Trinity
Church, in Hulme, and the last representative in a direct line of the
Byrom family, who died at the old home in Quay Street, on the 12th
September, 1870, at the age of eighty-eight. In accordance with the
provisions of her will, the greater portion of her property, including
the Kersall estates, passed to her godson, Mr. Edward Fox, who, in
accordance with her expressed desire, assumed the name and arms of
Byrom—the arms John Byrom was so proud of, and of which he made such
frequent mention in his Journal:—

    Some sire of ours, beloved kinsfolk, chose,
    The hedge-hog for his arms; I would suppose
    With aim to hint instruction wise, and good,
    To us descendants of his Byrom blood.
    I would infer, if you be of this mind,
    The very lesson that our sire design’d.

           *       *       *       *       *

    At last the hedge-hog came into his thought,
    And gave the perfect emblem that he sought.
    This little creature, all offence aside,
    Rolls up itself in its own prickly hide,
    When danger comes; and they that will abuse,
    Do it themselves, when their own hurt ensues.



[Illustration]



CHAPTER X.

HALL-I’-TH’-WOOD—THE STORY OF SAMUEL CROMPTON, THE INVENTOR OF THE
SPINNING MULE.


There is much truth in the remark that it is more in the lives of
England’s worthies than in the lives of England’s warriors that we
may discover the true secret of England’s greatness. Yet, of those
master-spirits who by their inventive genius, their patient industry,
and indomitable perseverance have been the greatest benefactors to
their country, and who, on that account, deserve ever to be held in
honoured remembrance, how many have had to battle with untoward fate, to

      Wage with fortune an eternal war,
    Checked by the scoff of Pride, by Envy’s frown,
      And Poverty’s unconquered bar.

Of such men was Samuel Crompton, the inventor of the spinning mule,
whose mechanical achievement may be said to have laid open the prospect
of unbounded wealth to the industrious of his native shire, and to have
wrought in Lancashire changes well-nigh as wondrous as any recorded in
the fictions of Eastern romance.

[Illustration: HALL-I’-TH’-WOOD.]

Hall-in-the-Wood, or Hall-i’-th’-Wood, according to the vernacular,
the ancient dwelling-place in which Crompton spent his toilsome days
and thoughtful nights—the shrine to which our present pilgrimage is
directed, and which deserves to be hallowed as one of our sacred
temples—is situated in the midst of scenery strangely at variance with
the associations the name calls forth; for though, with Firwood,
the Lower Wood, the Oaks, and other places of similar designation
immediately adjacent, it recalls the sylvan beauty of former days,
so complete has been the disafforesting that, with the exception of
the blighted and blackened relics of a sturdy oak or stately elm here
and there dotting the landscape, scarce a remnant remains of the
old forest that once formed its pleasant environment. Yet withal,
if the surroundings have lost much of their picturesqueness and are
not altogether lovely, they are under their present aspect far more
suggestive of the manufacturing enterprise, the permanent utility,
and the universal good which is the natural outcome of Crompton’s
invention, than they would have been had they retained their pristine
beauty. Nature has been effectually displaced by industry. From
the steep cliff on which stands his ancient home a thousand tall
chimneys may now be seen, filling the atmosphere with volumes of thick
dun-coloured smoke that hang like a pall and drop down soot instead of
fatness. The once fair and fertile country is absolutely covered with
mighty factories and hives of busy industry, in which tens of thousands
of the population find employment. On every hand the ear is assailed
with the din and rattle of machinery, and wherever the eye can reach it
encounters nothing but steam and smoke and the outward indications of
active labour.

[Illustration]

The Hall, which is located in the township of Tonge, and distant about
a couple of miles from Bolton, is an interesting specimen of the old
English mansion of the earlier Tudor period; and, though time has made
sad havoc among its beauties and peculiarities, it has happily escaped
the assaults of “improvers,” and even in its dilapidated and forlorn
condition may, in an antiquarian sense, be said to retain its original
features comparatively unimpaired. It stands near the edge of a bold
rocky steep that rises abruptly from the Eagley Brook—a tributary of
the Irwell, that separates the townships of Sharples and Tonge—and
commands an extensive view of the surrounding country. It is an
irregular pile—a house with many gables—and has evidently been erected
at two distinct periods—the older part being in the black and white
half-timbered style so frequently met with in the old manor houses of
Lancashire and Cheshire; while the more modern portion, though also
boasting considerable antiquity, is of stone, with a two-storeyed
projecting porch of the same material, erected in 1648, as the date
with the initials

                                   N
                                  A A

over the doorway clearly indicates. The mansion does not, however,
appear ever to have made any great pretensions to stateliness,
though its possessors were a family boasting considerable ancestral
dignity, and one of them, in his pride of lineage, placed his heraldic
achievements in an elaborately ornamented panel in one of the rooms, in
order that his friends might note his honourable descent. The earliest
portion is said, with some show of authority, to date as far back as
the year 1483. For some time it was owned by the Brownlows; and over
the fireplace in one of the rooms may still be seen the initials of
Lawrence Brownlow, with the date 1591, and it is said that an ancient
oak bedstead which was removed many years ago from Hall-i’-th’-Wood
to Huntroyde has the same initials carved upon it. This part of the
house, as we have said, is of timber and plaster, or “post and petrel,”
as it is locally designated; the walls being composed of a framework of
massive timber, with the interstices filled with plaster, and worked
in divers quatrefoil and diaper-like patterns. The main structure
comprises a long and lofty oblong block, with a short bay projecting
at right angles from the further end. The upper chambers overhang the
lower, and these again have an overhanging roof springing from a coved
cornice; another instance that the mediæval architects who planned
and carried out these erections were by no means insensible to the
advantage of a varied outline producing that picturesque irregularity
which, without any unnecessary sacrifice of domestic comfort, is so
favourable to external beauty, as well as to the effect produced by a
judicious combination of light and shade—a style infinitely preferable
to the dull, dreary uniformities of brick put up in the present day,
and which, were it only revived in its original beauty, would enable
us to dispense with those Italian forms that were only introduced to
satisfy the craving for foreign importations.

Time wrought changes; with the increase of refinement came the
necessity for increased accommodation, when, to give additional
elbow-room and keep pace with the requirements of the age, the old
house, instead of being demolished, as would be the case now-a-days,
was added to, a more pretentious structure of stone, with mullioned
windows and parapets with ball ornaments, being joined up to it,
and from this portion the square porch, which exhibits the same
architectural features, projects. The date and the initials show that
it was erected by Alexander Norris, son and heir of Christopher Norris,
of Tonge-with-Haulgh, whose daughter and heiress, Alice, in 1654,
conveyed the place in marriage to John Starkie, of Huntroyde; their
descendant in the sixth generation, Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie, of
Huntroyde, Esq., being the present possessor. John Starkie must have
been an old man when he married, for his death occurred eleven years
later at the age of 77, when Alice Starkie, his widow, returned to
Hall-i’-th’-Wood and spent the remainder of her days there, amid the
scenes of her childhood.

After the death of Mrs. Starkie the mansion seems to have remained
unoccupied, and subsequently to have been divided into small tenements
and let to humble occupants, who attached small import either to its
antiquity or the associations connected with it, content if only they
could keep the roof over their heads; and, as may be anticipated,
during those vicissitudes, it was suffered to fall into a state of
decay, until the inroads of dilapidation became only too painfully
visible both within and without.

[Illustration: STAIRCASE: HALL-I’-TH’-WOOD.]

The greater portion of the mansion is and has been for many years
in the occupancy of a farmer, Mr. James Bromiley, but a part of the
old black and white structure has been divided and subdivided into
numerous tenements that are now let to small cottagers. The occasion
of our visit was a pleasant autumn afternoon, and proceeding, as we
had been previously advised, from the Oaks Station, a pleasant walk of
a few minutes over the high ground brought us to the picturesque and
interesting old relic. The request to view the interior was readily
complied with, the good woman of the house cheerfully accompanying
us through the wainscoted parlours and contracted passages, and
thence, by a quaintly-carved black oak staircase, with massive and
highly-decorated balusters and pendants, that leads to the upper
chambers and the vacant lofts above, giving us every facility we
could desire in examining the antiquated dwelling. The dining-hall, a
well-proportioned room, is on the ground floor, but that which most
attracts attention is the chamber above—the only one which seems to
have been treated with any degree of respect—Crompton’s room, the
one in which he worked, in which he had his rude bench and still
ruder tools, where he matured his plans and constructed his primitive
models, where for years he laboured on with anxious hope and enduring
perseverance, and where at length—just one hundred years ago—he
triumphed, giving to his country the invention which has so largely
contributed to its wealth and prosperity. The room is now occupied as a
sleeping apartment, but in other respects it is little changed since
the great inventor’s day. It has been subjected to many whitewashings,
but the old ornamental plaster cornice still remains; the old heraldic
escutcheon of the Starkies may still be seen; and there too is the
spacious window with its double row of leaded lights extending the
entire width, out of which Crompton must so often have wistfully gazed.
The attic storey possesses but comparatively little interest, and
exhibits only a labyrinth of dark and intricate passages, with small
chambers and secret hiding places leading off in every direction. It
was here that Crompton, in 1779, on the very eve of the completion
of his machine, concealed the various parts after he had taken it to
pieces for safety against the dreaded attack of the machine-breaking
rioters of Blackburn, who had driven poor Hargreaves, the inventor
of the Jenny, from his home, destroyed nearly every machine within
miles of Blackburn, and who, it was feared, would extend their riotous
proceedings to Crompton’s invention before it had been even put in
actual work. The principal entrance to the hall is on the south side,
by an arched doorway, over which is a square panel with the initials
and date already mentioned. Above this, and separated by a bold
moulding, is a porch-chamber, lighted on three sides by square windows,
mullioned and transomed, over one of which is a lozenge-shaped
sun-dial. Evil days have unhappily fallen upon the building. Where
repairs have been attempted they have been made by slovenly hands, and
unseemly patches mar the effect of its general appearance; but even
in its present condition of neglect and approaching ruin it exhibits
much that is architecturally interesting. Apart, however, from such
considerations, surely the associations that gather round make it
a public duty to protect it from further injury, so that it may be
preserved to future generations as a memorial of one of Lancashire’s
worthiest sons and one of England’s greatest benefactors.

[Illustration]

Crompton, though himself of humble parentage, could claim a long and
respectable lineage, his progenitors, who derived their patronymic from
the hamlet of Crompton in Prestwich parish, ranking among the better
class of yeomen, and the parent line asserting its gentility by the
use of armorial ensigns. His parents resided at Firwood, a farm in the
same township, and distant about half a mile from Hall-i’-th’-Wood,
that had been owned by their family for several generations, but
which Crompton’s grandfather had mortgaged to the Starkies, and the
father, unable to redeem, had finally alienated to them, continuing the
occupancy, however, for some time as tenant, and combining with the
business of farming that of carding, spinning, and weaving on a small
scale whenever the intervals of farming and daily labour permitted.
The couple were honest, hardworking, and religious, but fortune was
unpropitious, and during the later years of the elder Crompton’s life
they appear to have been going down in the world. It was at the farm
at Firwood, on the 3rd of December, 1753, that Samuel Crompton first
saw the light. Shortly after his birth his parents forsook the old home
and took up their abode at a cottage near Lower Wood, in the immediate
vicinity. Their stay there was but short, for three or four years
after, they removed to the neighbouring mansion of Hall-in-the Wood, a
part of which had been assigned to them by Mr. Starkie, who had become
the possessor of Firwood, for the old mansion had, even at that date,
been divided into separate holdings, and confided by its owner to the
care of somewhat needy occupants.

George Crompton, the father, died shortly after, at the comparatively
early age of thirty-seven, from, as is said, a cold taken while
helping gratuitously in his over hours to build the organ-gallery
in All Saints’ Church, Bolton, where he worshipped; and his widow,
Betty Crompton, as she was familiarly called, was left to struggle
for a livelihood for herself and three children—Samuel, who was then
a child of five years, and two girls. She was a woman of superior
attainments, industrious, managing, and, withal, strong-minded;
energetic in her action, but possessing, with a good deal of outward
austerity of manner, much innate goodness of heart. Her good management
and business-like habits gained her the confidence and respect of her
neighbours, who manifested their appreciation of her abilities by
electing her to the office of overseer of the township, an appointment
which, though perfectly legal, was of unusual occurrence in days
when “Women’s Rights” were unthought of; one of the reasons which
induced her to accept the office being the desire to compel her son
to discharge the duties, which he disliked excessively. Mrs. Crompton
abode at the hall after her husband’s death, and continued his business
with energy and thrift, the produce of her dairy being held in high
repute in the neighbourhood, whilst the bees in her old-fashioned
garden supplied her with another marketable commodity, added to which
she had acquired local fame for her excellent make of elderberry wine,
a beverage she hospitably dispensed among her friends and visitors.
As may be supposed, she ruled her household with a firm hand, and
believing in the wisdom of the proverb that to “spare the rod” is
to “spoil the child,” she manifested her fondness for her boy by a
frequent application of the birch to the unappreciative youngster’s
breech—as he was wont to say in after years, her practice was to
chastise him, not for any particular fault, but because she loved him
so well, a mode of training certainly not the best calculated to enable
a lad of a naturally diffident and sensitive disposition to engage
in the rough battle of life or to make his way successfully in the
world. The widow Crompton, notwithstanding, had many good qualities.
She did, as she believed, her duty to her fatherless child, and gave
him the best education in her power. School boards and board schools
were then only in the womb of time, but Lancashire had many excellent
schoolmasters, and of the number was William Barlow,[49] who kept a
school at the top of Little Bolton, a pedagogue who worthily upheld the
value and dignity of the mathematical sciences, and, on that account,
was reputed among his neighbours to be “a witch in figures.” Under
his tuition young Crompton was placed, and, being of a meditative and
retiring disposition, he took kindly to his studies, made satisfactory
progress, and was accounted well educated for his station in life.

[Note 49: The author is informed by Dr. Crompton, the grandson of the
Inventor of the Mule, that Barlow engraved the plate for Arkwright’s
bill-heads. The plate itself was found a few years ago amongst a heap
of old brass at Messrs. Peel’s foundry in Ancoats, and some impressions
were then taken from it.]

Of his two sisters little or nothing is known, but residing under
the same roof was a lame old uncle, his father’s brother, Alexander
Crompton; a character in his way, whose peculiarities could hardly fail
to have an influence on the mind of the nephew. Like the rest of the
family, Uncle Alexander was strict in his religious observances, but
being afflicted with lameness was unable to leave his room, in which,
in fact, he lived and worked and slept, to attend the services of the
sanctuary, and so he compensated himself for the deprivation in a
manner that was as original as it was humble and respectful:—

     On each succeeding Sunday [says Crompton’s faithful biographer,
     Mr. French], when all the rest of the family had gone to service
     at All Saints’ Chapel, Uncle Alexander sat in his solitary room
     listening for the first sound of the bells of Bolton Parish
     Church. Before they ceased ringing, he took off his ordinary
     working-day coat and put on that which was reserved for Sundays.
     This done, he slowly read to himself the whole of the Morning
     Service and a sermon, concluding about the same time that the
     dismissal bell commenced ringing, when his Sunday coat was
     carefully put aside,—to be resumed again, however, when the bells
     took up their burthen for the evening service, which he read
     through with the same solitary solemnity.

Such was the household then occupying one of the wings of the rambling
old mansion. Mrs. Crompton found no happiness in repose; ever doing
and ever having much to do was her manner, and that was assuredly the
fate of her son. From his earliest childhood the hours that should
have been spent in harmless pastime were occupied in rendering such
assistance as he could on the farm, or in the humble manufacturing
operations carried on in the house, whilst his mother was bargaining
and fighting with the outer world. He was put to the loom almost as
soon as his legs were “long enough to touch the treddles,” and when his
day’s task was done he was sent to a night school in Bolton to improve
his knowledge of algebra, mathematics, and trigonometry. The poor
weaver-lad had no playmates or associations with the outer world; he
lived a life of seclusion, and his only companion in his brief moments
of leisure was his fiddle. His father had been enthusiastically fond of
music, and at the time of his death had begun the construction of an
organ, leaving behind him a few oak pipes and the few simple tools with
which he had made them. The amateur organ-builder’s son inherited the
father’s taste, and made himself a fiddle—the first achievement of his
mechanical genius. This was the companion of his solitude, and in after
life his solace in many a bitter disappointment.

     With this musical friend [says French] he on winter nights
     practised the homely tunes of the time by the dim light of his
     mother’s kitchen fire or thrifty lamp; and in many a summer
     twilight he wandered contemplatively among the green lanes or by
     the margin of the pleasant brook that swept round her romantic old
     residence.

And so passed the years of his adolescence—a virtuous, reserved, and
industrious youth. The help and stay of a widowed mother—who, if a
strict disciplinarian, yet devoted her best energies to the well-being
of her family—shunning society, having no companions, and working
diligently at his solitary loom, Crompton, if he found little leisure
for amusement had at least abundance of time to think, and a thinker he
became to his country’s advantage.

While young Crompton was assiduously assisting his widowed mother,
labouring at his loom by day and amusing himself with his fiddle by
night, some of the artisans of his own county were exercising their
inventive faculties on the rude appliances of their handicraft, for
up to that time there had been little or no improvement on the art
of Penelope in spinning and weaving—the distaff was still in common
use, every thread being spun singly by the fingers of the spinner, and
the machinery in vogue, if by such a name it could be called, was as
primitive as that used by the Hindoo. Practical observation enabled
them to elaborate their mechanical contrivances step by step, and so a
series of progressive inventions followed each other. The invention of
the fly-shuttle by Kay, of Bury, and the spinning jenny by Hargreaves,
of Blackburn, gave a great impetus to the cotton manufacture, for by
the former the productive power of the loom was greatly increased,
whilst by the latter the supply of weft kept pace with the requirements
of the weaver, but the mule was the real pivot on which its subsequent
prosperity turned.

The spinning jenny of Hargreaves is believed to have been invented
in the year 1764. It was kept a secret for some time, but before the
close of the decade it had got into pretty general use in Lancashire,
and was at that time so far perfected that a child could work with it
eight spindles at one time. In 1769, Crompton, who was then a lad of
sixteen years, spun on one of Hargreaves’s machines the yarn which
he afterwards wove into quilting, but the machine had many palpable
imperfections; the yarn which it turned off had less tenacity than
that produced by the old-fashioned single-thread wheel, and much time
was lost in piecing the ever-breaking thread; but in Crompton’s case
the appointed task had to be got through, whatever difficulties might
arise, for Mrs. Crompton was inexorable, and to avoid the maternal
reproaches much time had to be given to the loom that might otherwise
have been spent in pleasant companionship with the fiddle. For five
long years the poor weaver lad led this lonesome, uneventful, all work
and no play sort of life; no wonder, then, that he became reserved, shy
and uncompanionable. For five long years he struggled on, following the
dull, unremitting round of labour on his wearisome treadmill, without
one single ray of cheering hope to brighten the gloom of his monotonous
existence, when his ingenuity was driven to make such improvements in
the spinning machine as would ultimately relieve him of the annoyances
he was subjected to.

The time was not propitious for inventors. Hargreaves had been
persecuted and ruined by the populace, and Arkwright had to remove to
Nottingham to escape the popular animosity. Manufacturers were jealous
lest their craft should be endangered, and workmen, in their ignorant
prejudice against the introduction of new machines, resolved upon
their destruction, while, by the common people, those who effected
improvements were accounted “conjurors,” a name of reproach given
to those who were supposed to possess unnatural skill, and to hold
commerce with the powers of darkness.

It was in 1774, when he was in his twenty-first year, that the first
faint conception of the mule floated through Crompton’s brain. The yarn
spun by Hargreaves’s jenny could only be used for “weft,” by reason of
its lacking the firmness and tenacity required in the long threads or
“warp,” while that produced from Arkwright’s water frame was too coarse
for the manufacture of muslins and other delicate fabrics in imitation
of those imported from India. Crompton proceeded silently with the task
he had set himself, even the members of the household having little
idea of the way in which he occupied his time in the hours stolen from
sleep when his day’s work was done. Indeed, it was the system of night
work that first drew the attention of his family and neighbours to his
proceedings. “Strange and unaccountable sounds,” says the authority we
have previously quoted, “were heard in the Old Hall at most untimely
hours, lights were seen in unusual places, and a rumour became current
that the place was haunted.” On investigation the young mechanical
genius was found to be the ghost that had caused so much trouble and
alarm to the good people of the locality.

Crompton’s difficulty was increased by the fewness of his tools—those
he possessed being such as his father had used in his rude attempts at
organ building, supplemented by a clasp knife, which is said to have
done excellent service; some others he purchased with such cash as he
could spare from his slender earnings, and the money he received for
his services at the Bolton Theatre, where, during the season, he was
content to fiddle for the scanty pittance of eighteenpence a night.
Five years of silent, secret, unremitting labour were spent in the
realisation of his idea. Wanting in mechanical knowledge, destitute
of proper tools, and having to learn the use of the imperfect ones
he could procure, it is matter for surprise that in five years he
succeeded in making his machine practically useful. His experiences at
this time he thus relates in a MS. document he circulated about seventy
years ago:

     The next five years had this addition added to my labour as a
     weaver, occasioned by the imperfect state of cotton spinning,
     viz., a continual endeavour to realise a more perfect principle
     of spinning; and though often baffled, I as often renewed the
     attempt, and at length succeeded to my utmost desire at the
     expense of every shilling I had in the world.

Neither poverty nor want of mechanical skill was permitted to hinder
him. After much trembling and fretting from impecuniousness on the
one hand, and the inquisitiveness of interlopers on the other; after
matchless patience and unflinching perseverance; after many failures
and disappointments, success at length crowned his efforts; his dream
had become a reality, the mule[50] was an accomplished fact. In that
same year, 1779, just as he was about to test its merits by putting it
into actual work, an outbreak occurred among the Lancashire spinners
and weavers; the riotous proceedings which had driven Hargreaves from
his home were renewed, and while the storm was raging Crompton, fearing
the mob might wreak their vengeance upon his wheel, prudently took it
to pieces and hid the parts away in the cocklofts of the old hall. The
incident is thus described by a recent writer:—

     Crompton was well aware that his infant invention would be still
     more obnoxious to the rioters than Hargreaves’s jenny, and appears
     to have taken careful measures for its protection or concealment
     should they have paid a domiciliary visit to the Hall-in-the-Wood.
     The ceiling of the room in which he worked is cut through, as
     well as a corresponding part of the clay floor of the room above,
     the aperture being covered by replacing the part cut away.
     This opening was recently detected by two visitors, who were
     investigating the mysteries of the old mansion; but they could
     not imagine any use for a secret trap-door until, on pointing
     it out to Mr. Bromiley, the present tenant, he recalled to his
     memory a conversation he had had with Samuel Crompton during one
     of his latest visits to the Hall many years ago. Mr. Crompton
     informed Mr. Bromiley that once, when he was at work on the mule,
     he heard the rioters shouting at the destruction of a building at
     “Folds” (an adjoining hamlet), where there was a carding engine.
     Fearing that they would come to the Hall-in-the-Wood and destroy
     his mule, he took it to pieces and put it into a skip which he
     hoisted through the ceiling into the attic by the trap-door,
     which had, doubtless, been prepared in anticipation of such a
     visit, and which now offers a curious evidence of the insecurity
     of manufacturing inventions in their early infancy. The various
     parts were concealed in a loft or garret near the clock, and there
     they remained hid for many weeks ere he dared to put them together
     again. But in the course of the same year the Hall-in-the-Wood
     wheel was completed and the yarn spun upon it used for the
     manufacture of muslins of an extremely fine and delicate texture.

[Note 50: The machine was at first, from the place of its birth, called
the “Hall-i’-th’-Wood Wheel,” and sometimes, from the fineness of the
yarn it produced, the “Muslin Wheel,” but subsequently it became more
generally known as the “Mule,” from the circumstance of its combining
the principles of the two inventions of Hargreaves and Arkwright to
produce a third much more efficient than either.]

Having succeeded to his utmost desire in solving the problem on which
during five eventful years of his life his mind had been absorbed,
Crompton had leisure to turn his thoughts in another direction, and
the first thing he did was to take to himself a wife. He had made the
acquaintance of an amiable and excellent woman, Mary Pimlott, the
daughter of a quondam West India merchant, who had come down in the
world and, as was said, had died of a broken heart; and on the 16th
of February, 1780, the young couple were married in the old church at
Bolton. Mary Pimlott is described as being a handsome dark-haired woman
of middle age and erect carriage, and possessed of remarkable power in
the perception of individual character. She was, moreover, a “spinster”
in the true sense of the word. On her father’s death she had gone to
reside with friends at Turton, near Bolton, where ample and profitable
employment could be obtained in spinning, and it is said that her
expertness in the art first attracted young Crompton’s attention.

The newly-married pair began housekeeping in a small cottage attached
to the old hall, Crompton at the same time retaining one or more
workrooms in the mansion where he and his young wife pursued their
humble occupation, producing from the new wheel a yarn which both
for fineness and firmness astonished the manufacturing community. It
does not seem ever to have entered the mind of the young inventor to
patent his machine. Accustomed to a quiet, secluded life, without
any expensive habits or enjoyments, his highest ambition appears to
have been to keep his invention to himself and to work on in his
own simple way in his own home after the fashion of the time, for
it was then the idyllic period of cotton manufacturing, organised
labour in huge factories being virtually unknown. But the fame of
Crompton’s yarn spread; the new wheel was an unmistakable success,
and gave promise of realising for its inventor an ample fortune. It
was at once seen that the much-admired muslins that had been imported
from India, and for which extravagant prices were paid, could now be
produced by the English manufacturer, and at a greatly diminished
cost. Crompton had his own price, and orders for the wonderful yarn
poured in upon him; the demand was urgent and pressing, and his house
was literally besieged with manufacturers anxious to obtain supplies
of the much-coveted material, and still more anxious to penetrate the
secret of its production, for it soon became noised abroad that he
had discovered some novel mode of spinning. People from miles round
gathered about his house, anxious to solve the mystery; all kinds
of stratagems were practised to obtain admission to his workroom;
and when denied, some actually obtained ladders, clambered up to the
window of his chamber, and peeped in to satisfy their curiosity. To
protect himself from this kind of observation Crompton set up a screen,
and then an inquisitive individual, more adventurous than the rest,
secreted himself in one of the cocklofts of the hall, and remained
there for days watching the operations going on through a gimlet hole
he had bored in the ceiling.

There is a well-authenticated tradition that at this time Arkwright,
who a few years before had erected a cotton mill at Cromford,
in Derbyshire, the nursing place, as it has been called, of the
factory opulence and power of Great Britain, made his way to the
Hall-in-the-Wood, and contrived to gain access to the house with the
object of inspecting the machine of which such wonderful tales were
told while the inventor was away collecting rates for his mother,
who, as we have said, filled the office of overseer for the township.
Arkwright was then in the full tide of his success, and it was an
unfortunate circumstance for Crompton that they did not meet. If they
had it would probably have led to an arrangement whereby the simple,
guileless inventor might have reaped the reward of many years of
patient toil and personal sacrifice.

Had Crompton possessed a tithe of the energy and resources of the
average Lancashire man he would have triumphed, but, unhappily for
himself, these were just the qualities he lacked, and his diffidence
and childlike simplicity made him an easy victim in the hands of
unscrupulous and crafty traders. Had he bestirred himself there is
no reason to doubt but that some capitalist would have been ready to
advance the means to patent his invention, but his shyness and morbid
sense of independence forbade him to ask for help or co-operation. What
Arkwright and Peel did he might have accomplished; but, instead of his
succeeding to opulence, he allowed others to reap where he had sown.
His very success was the cause of his misfortunes. He was unable to
carry on his work in undisturbed privacy, and his moody and sensitive
nature could not bear the annoyance to which he was perpetually
subjected by prying intruders. It was the crisis in his life.
Tormented, worried, driven almost to distraction, he, in a weak moment,
yielded to the advice of a well-intentioned but unwise counsellor, and
surrendered his invention to an ungrateful community. When relating
the story to Mr. G. A. Lee, and Mr. John Kennedy, of Manchester, some
years afterwards, Mr. Lee having remarked that “it was a pity he had
not kept the secret to himself,” he replied “that a man had a very
insecure tenure of property which another could carry away with his
eyes.” He says in the MS. before referred to:—

     During this time I married, and commenced spinning altogether.
     But a few months reduced me to the cruel necessity either of
     destroying my machine altogether or giving it up to the public.
     To destroy it I could not think of; to give up that for which I
     had laboured so long was cruel. I had no patent nor the means of
     purchasing one. In preference to destroying it I gave it to the
     public.

He says he “gave it to the public,” and virtually he did; for, though
it was professedly for a consideration, he derived little or no
benefit, and only found that he had been made the victim of the greed,
and meanness, and sordid treachery of those whom, in his simplicity,
he had trusted. Yielding to the deceitful promises of his townsmen and
others, he was induced to surrender his much coveted secret on the
faith of an agreement that, as it turned out, had no validity in law,
and which some of the signatories were base enough to repudiate. The
following are the terms in which it was drawn up:—

Bolton, November 20th, 1780.

     We whose names are hereunto subscribed have agreed to give
     and do hereby promise to pay unto Samuel Crompton, at the
     Hall-in-the-Wood, near Bolton, the several sums opposite to our
     names as a reward for his improvement in Spinning. Several of the
     principal Tradesmen in Manchester, Bolton, &c., having seen his
     Machine approve of it, and are of opinion that it would be of
     the greatest utility to make it generally known, to which end a
     contribution is desired from every wellwisher of trade.

The total sum subscribed was £67 6s. 6d., but even of this miserable
amount only about £50 was actually paid, “as much by subscription,”
says Crompton, “as built me a new machine with only four spindles more
than the one I had given up [for he had not only surrendered his secret
but the original machine with it]—the old one having forty-eight, the
new one fifty-two spindles.” Never, certainly, was so much got for so
little, and a touch of infamy was added to the merciless transaction by
a fact which Crompton thus records:—

     Many subscribers would not pay the sums they had set opposite
     their names. When I applied for them I got nothing but abusive
     language to drive me from them, which was easily done; for I never
     till then could think it possible that any man could pretend one
     thing and act the direct opposite. I then found it was possible,
     having had proof positive.

These men, as has been truly said, saved their miserable guineas
at the expense of their honesty and honour. The treatment to which
he was subjected made a lasting impression on his mind. His very
integrity increased his mortification at the dishonesty of those he
had so generously trusted; his disposition—never a buoyant or cheerful
one—was soured, and during the remainder of his life he was moody and
mistrustful. While hundreds of manufacturers were accumulating colossal
fortunes out of the results of Crompton’s skill and ingenuity, the man
himself, while so abundantly enriching them, was not able to gather
even the smallest grains of the golden harvest, and, but for his energy
and frugality, might have lapsed into absolute poverty, a martyr
of mechanical invention and another illustration of the scriptural
paradox, “Poor, yet making many rich.”

[Illustration: OLDHAMS.]

It was a bitter disappointment to Crompton to find that the promises so
pleasant to the ear were broken to the hope, that he had, in fact, been
tricked into giving up the invention that had cost him so many years of
anxious thought and toil to a host of selfish manufacturers who were
making fortunes out of his simple trust. He became moody, suspicious,
and distrustful of everything and everybody; but if he doubted the
world he never lost heart in himself. Deprived of his just reward,
he removed from the Hall-in-the-Wood to Oldhams, a small cottage
across the valley near Astley Bridge, in Sharples, and distant about
a mile and a half from Bolton. Here he farmed a few acres, kept three
or four cows, and, still adhering to the common Lancashire custom,
combined the business of a farmer with that of a manufacturer, and in
one of the upper chambers of his house erected his newly-constructed
machine. Familiar with the principles of his mule, he was naturally
more skilful in the working of it than others; his wife, too, was an
expert in spinning, and the yarn they spun was the best and finest in
the market, and brought the highest prices; it was supposed, therefore,
that he must have made some improvements in his machine, and, as a
consequence, he was again pestered with inquisitive visitors anxious to
discover the secret of his success, when, to protect himself from the
unwelcome intrusion, he is said to have contrived a secret fastening to
the door in the upper storey where he worked at the mule.

About this time Crompton invented a new carding-engine, and, anxious
to extend his operations, he set up as an employer of labour, but
the result was not satisfactory, for the people he engaged to spin
under him were continually being bribed to enter the service of other
masters, who hoped in this way to gain a knowledge of his secrets, so
that eventually he was obliged to fall back upon the labours of his own
household, and broke up the carding-engine, remarking that “the devils
should not have that.” He says:—

     I pushed on, intending to have a good share in the spinning line,
     yet I found there was an evil which I had not foreseen and of much
     greater magnitude than giving up the machine, viz., that I must be
     always teaching green hands, employ none, or quit the country; it
     being believed that if I taught them they knew the business well,
     so that for years I had no choice but to give up spinning or quit
     my native land. I cut up my spinning machines for other purposes.

Whilst residing at Oldhams, Crompton received a visit from Sir (then
Mr.) Robert Peel, the first baronet, his object being to offer the
inventor a lucrative appointment in his own manufactory, with the
prospect of a future partnership, but Crompton’s natural infirmity
of temper and his quickness to take offence opposed a barrier to his
own advancement. He had a prejudice against Peel on account of some
imaginary affront,[51] and so the offer that might have led to his
lasting comfort and prosperity was declined.

[Note 51: Peel had bought one of the machines with the intention of
causing drawings of it to be made. The affront was that on the occasion
of his (Peel’s) visit to Crompton’s house, he had tendered the Inventor
sixpence in consideration of his trouble in showing him the machine.]

By this time the mule had become the machine chiefly employed for fine
spinning, not only round Bolton but in the manufacturing districts of
England, Scotland, and Ireland, and its general appropriation soon
changed the neighbourhood of which Manchester was the centre from a
country of small farmers to one of small manufacturers. Houses on the
banks of streams whose currents would drive a wheel and shaft were
eagerly seized upon; sheds were run up in similar situations; the clank
of wheels and the buzz of spindles were heard in once solitary places
in the valleys running off from the Irwell and upon the small streams
that flowed down from the barren hills. Crompton’s mules, worked by
hand, “were erected in garrets or lofts, and many a dilapidated barn or
cowshed was patched up in the walls, repaired in the roof, and provided
with windows to serve as lodging room for the new muslin wheels,” as
they were called.

So great was the impetus given to manufacture by the invention of the
mule that, within less than six years of its introduction, the number
of inhabitants in Bolton had doubled; whilst in the neighbouring town
of Bury, which had “its cotton manufacture originally brought from
Bolton,” the increase was even more rapid. In order to provide for his
increasing family, and, as is said, to escape the annoyance of his
being re-elected overseer, Crompton, in 1791, removed from his pleasant
little farm at Oldhams to a house in King Street, Bolton, where he
enlarged his spinning operations, filling the attics over his own
dwelling and those of the two adjoining houses with additional mules
and machinery for manufacturing purposes—his elder boys being now able
to assist him in his handicraft.

Five years later he had the misfortune to lose the loving and faithful
partner of his joys and sorrows. She had been long ailing, and on the
29th of May, 1796, he followed her remains to their last resting place
in the old churchyard at Bolton. It is stated that when he returned
from the funeral he sat down broken-hearted and in utter despair; it
must have been a sorrowful day for him, for she left him with a family
of eight young children. Two of them were lying sick at the time in
their cradles, and one died a short time after. The death of his wife
made a deep impression on his mind and character. From his childhood
he had been imbued with strong religious sentiments, and being of a
naturally thoughtful and dreamy disposition, his religion was of a
somewhat mystical kind; hence it is not surprising that he should have
been led to withdraw from the communion of the Church of England and
embrace the tenets of that amiable and philosophic teacher, Emanuel
Swedenborg, who at that time had many followers in the town of Bolton.
Crompton became a zealous member of the New Jerusalem Church, “taking
entire charge of the psalmody,” and occupying his leisure hours in
composing hymn-tunes for the choir, which was wont to assemble on
Sunday evenings at his house to practise.

He struggled manfully to maintain his young family in comfort and
respectability, but he was comparatively helpless in the conduct of
business, and altogether unfitted to deal with the practical affairs of
life. He wrote on one occasion:—

     “I found to my sorrow I was not calculated to contend with men
     of the world; neither did I know there was such a thing as
     protection for me on earth! I found I was as unfit for the task
     that was before me as a child of two years old to contend with a
     disciplined army.”

When he did attempt to transact business, to such an extent was this
weakness of character manifested that, as is said by his biographer—

     “When he attended the Manchester Exchange to sell his yarns and
     muslins, and any rough-and-ready manufacturer ventured to offer
     him a less price than he had asked, he would invariably wrap up
     his samples, put them into his pocket, and quietly walk away.”

His countenance was not sufficiently bronzed to enable him to contend
successfully with the chafferers on ’Change. Like Watt, who declared
he would rather face a loaded cannon than settle an account or make
a bargain, he hated that jostling with the world inseparable from
the conduct of extensive industrial or commercial operations; but,
unlike Watt, he was not fortunate enough in the great crisis of his
life to have met with a Boulton who had the quickness of perception
to determine when to act and the energy of purpose to carry out the
measures which his judgment approved.

It was not until 1800, twenty years after the invention of the mule,
that any real attempt was made to recompense him for the sacrifices
he had made, and for the inestimable benefits he had conferred upon
the community in general and the district in which he laboured in
particular. To Manchester belongs the credit of originating the
movement. Two manufacturers there, Mr. John Kennedy, one of the
founders of the great cotton-spinning firm of M’Connel and Kennedy,
and Mr. George Lee, of the firm of Philips and Lee, appreciating
the talents of the struggling inventor, started a subscription for
the purpose of providing a comfortable competence for him in his
declining years. The time was not opportune, and their efforts were
in consequence only partially successful. It was the year in which
Napoleon’s overtures for peace were haughtily and offensively rejected
by Lord Grenville; the war with France had imposed additional burdens
upon the people, who were already suffering from a prolonged depression
of trade; the scarcity caused by a deficiency in the harvest was
commonly regarded as a consequence of the war; the country was on the
brink of famine; mobs paraded the streets, and the Habeas Corpus Act
had to be suspended to avoid the social danger to which a continuance
of the rioting must of necessity lead. Comparatively few subscriptions
were received; the kindly effort stuck fast, and eventually it had to
be abandoned.[52] Between four and five hundred pounds was all that
could be realised, and that was handed to Crompton, who sunk it in
his little manufacturing establishment for spinning and weaving. His
biographer says—

     As a consequence of this additional capital, he soon after rented
     the top storey of a neighbouring factory, one of the oldest in
     Bolton, in which he had two mules—one of 360 spindles, the other
     of 220—with the necessary preparatory machinery. The power to
     turn the machinery was rented with the premises. Here also he was
     assisted by the elder branches of his family, and it is our duty,
     though a melancholy one, to record that the system of seducing
     his servants from his employment was still persisted in, and
     that one at least of his own sons was not able to withstand the
     specious and flattering inducements held out by wealthy opponents
     to leave his father’s service and accept extravagant payment for
     a few weeks, during which he was expected to divulge his father’s
     supposed secrets and his system of manipulating upon the machine.

[Note 52: It is pleasant to note that while so many of those in his own
locality who had so largely profited by Crompton’s labour either
refused to help or gave only very grudgingly, the one who had suffered
most by the success of the mule, Richard Arkwright, of Cromford
(the second of the name), whose water frame had in a great measure
been superseded by it, contributed £30, at the same time generously
acknowledging the merits of the invention.]

Aided by the mule the cotton manufacture prodigiously developed itself.
The tiny rill which issued from the Hall-i’-th’-Wood had become swollen
into a mighty river, carrying wealth and prosperity along its course;
and he who had started the stream looked not unreasonably to obtain
some small share of the riches that were borne upon its bosom. With
this hope, he was induced in 1807 to address a letter to Sir Joseph
Banks, the then president of the Royal Society, in which he modestly
set forth his grievances, and, describing himself as “a retired man
in the country, and unacquainted with public matters,” requested the
society’s advice “to enable him to procure from Government or elsewhere
a proper recompense for his invention.” There had been some mistake
in the address of the letter. It, however, eventually found its way
to the Society of Arts, where the application was discussed; but, to
Crompton’s great disappointment, nothing more came of it.

Four years later he made a survey of all the cotton districts in
England, Scotland, and Ireland, and obtained an estimate of the number
of spindles then at work on his principle. On his return he laid the
results of his inquiries before his friends, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Lee,
with the suggestion that Parliament might “grant him something.” It
was proved that 4,600,000 spindles were at work upon his mules, using
upwards of 40,000,000 pounds of cotton annually; that 70,000 persons
were engaged in the spinning, and 150,000 more in weaving the yarn
so spun, and that a population of full half a million derived their
daily bread from the machinery his skill had devised. This statement,
as was afterwards found, fell far short of the actual facts, for it
did not include any of the numerous mules used in the manufacture of
woollen yarn. The claim was indisputable. With the data before him Mr.
Lee entered fully into the case. A Manchester solicitor, Mr. George
Duckworth, of Duckworth and Chippindall, Princess Street, offered his
gratuitous help, and drew up a memorial to Parliament on his behalf
which was signed by most of the principal manufacturers in the kingdom
who were acquainted with his merits. In February, 1812, Crompton
proceeded to London with this memorial, and obtained an interview
with one of the Lancashire members; and, through the influence of
powerful friends who appreciated his merits and sympathised with his
misfortunes, he was enabled to place his memorial before Mr. Spencer
Perceval, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who appears to have taken
a favourable view of his claim. The matter was referred to a select
committee, of which Lord Stanley, the great-grandfather of the present
Earl of Derby, was chairman. Evidence was given in favour of the
inventor, and, among other information given, it was stated by Mr. Lee
that at that time the duty paid upon cotton imported to be spun by the
mule amounted to not less than £350,000 a year. The committee reported
favourably, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was ready to propose
a vote of £20,000, when Crompton’s usual ill-luck intervened in a
very shocking manner. It was the afternoon of the 11th May, 1812, and
Crompton was standing in the lobby of the House of Commons, conversing
with Sir Robert Peel and Mr. John Blackburne, one of the members for
Lancashire, when one of them observed, “Here comes Mr. Perceval.” The
group was instantly joined by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who
addressed them with the remark, “You will be glad to know I mean to
propose £20,000 for Crompton. Do you think it will be satisfactory?”
Hearing this, Crompton moved off from motives of delicacy, and did not
hear the reply. He was scarcely out of sight when there was a great
rush of people—Perceval had been shot dead by the madman Bellingham.
The frightful catastrophe had in an instant deprived the country of
a valuable minister, and lost to Crompton a patron and £15,000. When
the new Government had been formed the matter was again brought before
the House, and on the 26th of June, on the motion of Lord Stanley, it
awarded him £5,000, a sum altogether inadequate for the services he
had rendered, as well as out of all proportion to the rewards which
Parliament had previously given to other inventors. In an article which
appeared some years afterwards in the _Edinburgh Review_[53], the
paltriness of the award was severely commented upon. The reviewer said:—

     To make a lengthened commentary on such a proceeding would be
     superfluous. Had the House of Commons refused to recognise Mr.
     Crompton’s claim for remuneration they would, whatever might
     have been thought of their proceedings, have at least acted
     consistently. But to admit the principle of the claim, to enter
     into an elaborate investigation with respect to the merit and
     extensive application of the invention, and then to vote so
     contemptible a pittance to the inventor, are proceedings which
     evince the most extraordinary niggardliness on the part of those
     who have never been particularly celebrated for their parsimonious
     disposition towards individuals whose genius and inventions have
     alone enabled Parliament to meet the immense expenses the country
     has had to sustain.

[Note 53: Vol. xlvi., p. 16, 1827.]

With the £5,000, or rather with such portion of it as he received—for
there were considerable deductions for fees and other charges—Crompton
entered into various commercial speculations; but the fickle goddess
did not smile on any of them. Anxious to place his sons in some
business, he fixed on that of bleaching, and rented a works at Over
Darwen; his eldest and youngest sons, George and James, being admitted
as partners. But the unfavourable state of the times, the inexperience
and mismanagement of his eldest son, a bad situation, and a tedious
and expensive lawsuit with the landlord conspired in a very short time
to put an end to this establishment. He was also engaged in cotton
spinning and manufacturing, in connection with his sons Samuel and
John; but they disagreed, Samuel withdrawing from the concern and
going to Ireland, leaving his father to carry it on with such help as
John could give him. The only business in which he may be said to have
been at all successful was that of a cotton merchant, which he carried
on in conjunction with his favourite son, William, and a Mr. Wylde. The
firm eventually extended its operations to cotton spinning; but young
Crompton disliking this branch of the business, the partnership was
dissolved, the father and son retiring. The latter afterwards began
business on his own account in Oldham, but the fate of the family
followed him. He was unsuccessful; a fire consumed his stock, a lawsuit
grew out of the fire; and finally, in 1832, he was carried off by an
attack of cholera.

Left almost alone in the world, with old age creeping upon him, his
sons dead or dispersed, and his only daughter—then a widow—for his
housekeeper, Crompton carried on his small original business without
assistance, “spending much of his time in devising the mechanism
proper for weaving new patterns in fancy muslins.” But his lack of
business capacity and inability to cope with the common-place incidents
of ordinary life destroyed his chances of success, and that unhappy
fatality which had accompanied him through life still dogged his
steps. To use his own words, he was “hunted and watched with as much
never-ceasing care as if he was the most notorious villain that ever
disgraced the human form; and if he were to go to a smithy to get
a common nail made, if opportunity offered to the bystanders, they
would examine it most minutely to see if it was anything but a nail.”
His patterns were pirated by his neighbours, who reproduced them in
fabrics of inferior quality, and thus they were enabled to undersell
and beat him out of the market. As he advanced in years his means
became more and more straitened, and he was beginning gradually to
drift into a state of poverty when, in 1824, Messrs. Hicks & Rothwell,
of Bolton, his old friend, Mr. Kennedy, of Manchester, and some other
sympathisers, unasked and unknown to Crompton, who had then reached
his 72nd year, made a second subscription to purchase a life annuity,
and the sum raised yielded a payment of £63 a year. He did not,
however, live long to enjoy it. Wearied and worn out with cares and
disappointments, but to the last retaining the esteem of his friends
and the respect of all who knew him, he died by the gradual decay of
nature at his house in King-street, Great Bolton, on the 26th June,
1827, at the age of seventy-three, and a few days later his body,
followed by many voluntary mourners, was committed to the dust in the
churchyard of Bolton, where a modest flagstone thus perpetuates his
name:—

     Beneath this stone are interred the mortal remains of Samuel
     Crompton, of Bolton, late of Hall-i’-th’-Wood, in the township
     of Tonge, inventor of the spinning machine called the Mule; who
     departed this life the 26th day of June, 1827, aged 72 years.[54]

[Note 54: The age recorded on his gravestone is clearly an error,
Crompton having been born on the 3rd December, 1753, so that he must
have been in his 74th year.]

Such is the sad and simple story of the inventor of the spinning mule.
Though his life was passed in comparative obscurity and neglect,
and he was allowed to end his days in poverty, the name of Samuel
Crompton will be held in honoured remembrance so long as the cotton
trade endures, for it is to Crompton’s mule more than to any other
invention we owe that vast Lancashire industrialism which has been
the source of untold benefits to his native shire, and has so greatly
increased the power and wealth of the nation at large. Looking at the
splendid results which his genius accomplished, it must ever be a
cause of regret that Lancashire men did so little for him who did so
much for them. In the various relations of life Crompton was in all
things upright and honourable; he had his failings like other men, but
they were those which arose from his simple and unsuspecting nature,
and such as should excite commiseration rather than condemnation.
The weak point in his character, and that from which nearly all his
troubles and misfortunes arose, was the absence of those faculties
which enable a man to hold equal intercourse with his fellows. His
morbid sense of independence made him averse to the very appearance of
favour or patronage, and to ask for even that which was his due was
always at the cost of acute pain. His manners and actions were at all
times guided by a natural politeness and grace, as far from servility
as rudeness. By those who knew him in the strength and fulness of
his manhood he is described as having been handsome and singularly
prepossessing in appearance, and this description is borne out by his
portrait, which displays the lineaments of a well-formed head and face
that strongly suggests the idea of the thoughtful philosopher and the
true gentleman.

Though Crompton’s memory remained long neglected, a succeeding
generation has happily done something to remove the stain of
ingratitude, and to atone in some measure for the shortcomings of
his contemporaries. The late Mr. Gilbert James French, a man of
energy, intelligence, and culture, first aroused his fellow townsmen
to a better appreciation of the value of Crompton’s achievements. In
two lectures he delivered to the members of the Bolton Mechanics’
Institute, and in the handsome volume subsequently issued—“The Life and
Times of Samuel Crompton”—a work to which we are indebted for some of
the facts here recorded, Mr. French gave a very circumstantial account
of the great inventor’s career; not content with this tribute to his
memory, he set about obtaining subscriptions for the purpose of doing
honour to Crompton’s name. A sum of £2,000 was raised, and on the 24th
Sept., 1862, a bronze statue of the inventor of the mule by Calder
Marshall, with bas reliefs of Hall-i’-th’-Wood, and Crompton at work
upon his machine, was presented with much pomp and circumstance and
many outward manifestations of rejoicing to the Corporation of Bolton.
In this tardy recognition of his services Bolton has done something
to efface the reproach which the ingratitude of a former generation
had stamped upon the town. But Crompton has a more fitting as well
as a more enduring monument in those outward indications of active
industry which now surround his humble dwelling-place, and borrowing
the oft-repeated line from Wren’s monument in St. Paul’s, it may be
said—_Si monumentum requiris—circumspice_.

The old dilapidated mansion in which his earlier years were passed
still remains. His name has given it an historic importance it never
before possessed. To Lancashire men it should be as a very Mecca, and
it can never be looked upon with feelings other than those of the
deepest interest, for it may be truly said that here the prosperity
of the nation hung in suspense as the thoughts and expedients of
Crompton’s mind came and went, trembled, grew firm, and finally
triumphed; and assuredly in no corner of England is the memorable
couplet more strongly emphasised than in this now forlorn and
weather-beaten abode:—

    Peace hath her victories
    Not less renowned than war.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



INDEX.


    _Abbott Hall_, 83-4

    Adderley, Charles, 128, 145-6

    _Adlington_, 283-360

    Agarde, Francis, 123

    _Agecroft Hall_, 2

    Agincourt, Battle of, 90, 305

    _Alderley_, 218

    _Alderley Edge_, 287

    Aldford, Lucy, 112

      "  Richard, 112

    Allen, Dorothy, 370-1

      "  Isaac, 270

      "  John, 370, 389

    _Allithwaite_, 83-4, 88, 91

    Anjou, Margaret of, 92, 235

    Arderne, John, 297

      "  Matilda, 297

      "  Ralph, 31

    Arkwright, Richard, 424, 427, 435

    _Arnside Knot_, 85

    Armstrong, Thomas, 64

    Arragon, Katharine of, 312

    Arram, William, 363

    Arthur, Prince, 220

    Arundell and Wardour, Lady, 275

      "  "  Lord, 275

    Ashley, Hamo, 310

    Ashmole, Elias, 144

    Ashton, Mr., 373

      "  Major-General, 264

    Aspinall, John, 252

      "  Ralph John, 252

    _Astley Bridge_, 431

    Aston Thomas, 330

    Atheling, Edgar, 293

    Atherton, Eleanor, 372, 405-6

      "  Henry, 406

    Attercroft, Elizabeth, 71

      "  Thomas, 71

    Audley, James, 227

      "  Lord, 119


    Baggaley, William, 290, 291

    Bagnall, Henry, 321

    Bailey, J. Eglington, 170, 176-7, 187

    Baliol, John, 224

    Baltimore, Lord, 398

    Bamville, Amabella, 290

      "  Hugh, 290

      "  Thomas, 290

    Bancroft, Elizabeth, 7, 70-1, 75

      "  Thomas, 70-71

    Banks, Mr., 376

      "  Joseph, 436

    Barber, Dr., 96

      "  Robert, 204

    Bardolf, Lord, 204

    Barlow, William, 420

    Barratt, James, 125

    Barrit, Thomas, 402

    _Barrow_, 87

    Barrow, Sir John, 87

    Baxter, Richard, 147

    Bayley, Dr., 173

    Baynton, Master, 189

    _Beaumaris Castle_, 234

    Bechton, Elizabeth, 295

      "  Ellen, 295

      "  Margaret, 295

      "  Philip, 295

    Becke, Isabel, 364

      "  Mary, 364

      "  Robert, 364

      "  Thomas, 364

    Bedingfield, Thomas, 43

    _Beeston Brook_, 216

      "  _Castle_, 107, 213-241

    Beeston, George, 236

      "  Thomas, 233

    Beever, John F., 35

    Belgrave, Elizabeth, 302

      "  Isabel, 298

      "  Thomas, 298, 303, 318

    Bellairs, Henry, 71

      "  Mary Ellen, 71

    Bellingham, Edward, 437

    Bennett, Mr., 37

    Bennett, Robert, 187

    Bennison, Thomas, 350

    Bentley, Joanna, 376-7

      "  Richard, 376-7, 384

    _Berkeley Castle_, 230

    Bexwyke, Hugh, 364

      "  Joan, 364

      "  Richard, 364-5

      "  Roger, 365

    _Billinge Hill_, 251

    Birch, George, 193

      "  Robert, 193

      "  William, 193

    Birches, Robert, 303

    _Blackburn_, 4, 242

    Blackburn, John, 437

    _Black Comb_, 87

    Blackmore, Dr., 405

    Black Prince, The, 231, 233, 286, 296-7

    Bland, Lady, 381-2, 387

    _Bleasdale Moor_, 251

    Blois, Earl of, 293

    Bloreheath, Battle of, 119

    Blount, John, 290-1

    Blundell, Henry Robert, 40

    Blundeville, Randle, 150, 213, 220, 223, 228

    Bohemia, King of, 181, 183

    Bohun, Humphrey, 227

    Bold, Richard, 254-5

    Bolingbroke, Henry, 115, 116, 234, 299, 300

    Bolingbroke, Lord, 133

    Bolle, John, 325

    Bolles, Mary, 335, 337

      "  Thomas, 335

    _Bollin River_, 285

    _Bolton_, 164, 433, 440

    Bond, Mr., 33

    _Bonishall_, 287

    Bonner, Bishop, 170, 187, 192

    Bononcini, 386-7

    Bonville, Lord, 92

    Booth, Ellen, 307

      "  George, 60, 205, 334, 336

      "  James, 300

      "  John, 334

      "  John Gore, 404

      "  Robert, 307

    Bostock, Adam, 233

      "  William, 297

    Bosworth, Battle of, 236, 309-10

    Bowdon, George, 31

      "  Anne, 31

    _Bowfell_, 87

    _Bowland Forest_, 244, 251, 280

    Brabazon, Lady, 123

    Brabin, Elizabeth, 71

      "  Henry, 71

    Bradford, John, 164, 365

      "  Margaret, 365

    Bradshaw, Barbour, 35

      "  Catherine, 35

      "  Elizabeth, 70

      "  Frances, 35

      "  George, 25

      "  Godfrey, 35

      "  Henry, 21, 27, 30-6, 77

      "  J., 394

      "  John, 21, 26-7, 37, 67, 69, 70

      "  Joseph, 35

      "  Mr., 147

      "  Mary, 64, 70

      "  Rachel, 35

      "  Richard, 69

      "  Sarah, 67

      "  Thomas, 70

      "  William, 25, 27

    Bradshawe-Isherwood, Arthur Salusbury, 72

    Bradshawe-Isherwood, Henry, 71

      "  "  John, 71

      "  "  John Henry, 72

      "  "  Thomas, 71

    Brandon, Lord, 128-129

    Brearcliffe, Sarah, 375, 395

    Brereton, Andrew, 120

      "  Ellen, 120

      "  Lord, 126

      "  Mrs.,

      "  John, 128

      "  Peter, 64

      "  Sybil, 320, 322

      "  Thomas, 338

      "  Urian, 315, 318, 320, 322, 338

      "  William, 33, 43, 237, 240, 330-1

    Brett, Ann, 131

      "  Colonel, 131

    Brettargh, Mr., 382

      "  William, 400

    Bridge, Major-General, 57

    Bridgeman, Bishop, 41-2

      "  Orlando, 33

    Brofield, Mr., 191

    Brogden, Alexander, 78

    Bromiley, James, 414, 425

    Brooke, Charles, 267

    Brooks, William, 187

    Broster, Richard, 344

    Brownlow, Lawrence, 412

    Brownswerd, John, 39

    _Broxton Hills_, 220

    Bruce, Robert, 224

    Bruerton, Mrs., 123

    _Brungerley Hipping Stones_, 244

    Brunlees, 78

    Buckingham, Duke of, 103

    Buckler, C. A., 277

    _Bunbury_, 236

    Burghall, Edward, 39, 238, 240

    Buron, Hugh, 370

    _Butley Hall_, 350

    Byrom, Adam, 363-6

      "  Ann, 401, 406

      "  Dorothy, 398

      "  Edward, 361, 366-378, 387, 389, 401, 405-6

      "  Eleanor, 405

      "  Elizabeth, 380, 382, 384-5, 393-4, 396, 399, 401-2, 405

      "  Ellen, 381, 385

      "  George, 364

      "  Henry, 364-5

      "  Lawrence, 365-7

      "  Margaret, 202, 364

      "   Martin, 362

      "  John, 151-2, 368, 370, 372-401

      "  Joseph, 369

      "  Phœbe, 372, 378, 392, 402

      "  Ralph, 193, 362, 364-6

      "  Robert, 365

      "  Samuel, 361, 369

      "  Thomas, 193

      "  William, 368

    _Byrom Hall_, 361

    Byrom, Sedgewick, Allen and Place, 406

    Byron, John, 200-1

      "  Lord, 238


    Cadiz, Siege of, 323

    _Caernarvon Castle_, 234

    _Calder River_, 250-2

      "  _Valley_, 280

    Calveley, George, 319

    Camden, William, 205, 208

    Campbell, James, 388

    Canterbury, Archbishop of, 187-8

    _Cark_, 86

    Carlisle, Bishop of, 78

    Carmichael, Captain, 71

    _Carnforth_, 78

    Carnwath, Earl, 341

    Caroline, Queen, 132

    Carpenter, General, 342-3

    Carter, Dorothy, 94

      "  John, 94, 311

      "  Oliver, 189, 194, 202-3

    Cartleche, John, 231

    _Cartmel_, 76-8, 83

    _Cartmel Fells_, 82

      "  _Priory_, 91, 101

    Caryl, 45

    Castlemaine, Lady, 129

    _Cat and Fiddle_, 104

    Cattel, Mr., 382, 395

    Catterall, Thos., 252

    Cavendish, Henry, 67

      "  Mr., 186

      "  William, 67, 258

    Caxton, John, 113-14, 117

    Cecil, Secretary, 169

    Chadderton, Dr., 188, 192, 203

    Chaddock, Tom, 394

    Chadwick, J. Oldfield, 348

    Challener, John, 123

      "  Mrs., 123

    _Chapel Island_, 87

    _Chapeltown_, 3

    Charles I., 44-45, 48, 218, 240

    Charles Edward, Prince, 344, 394, 396-7, 399

    Charleton, Edward, 258

    _Chartley Castle_, 222

    Cheanie, Alan, 231

    _Chester_, 237, 239-40

    Chester, Bishop of, 255, 388

    _Chester Cathedral_, 218

    Chester, Earl of, 150, 213

    Chesterfield, Lord, 383

    Chetham, Edmund, 206

      "  Humphrey, 160, 194, 366

      "  Mr., 382

    Chisnall, Colonel, 133

    _Chipping_, 242

    Cholmondeley, Earl, 342

      "  Hugh, 319

      "  Thomas, 233

    Cibber, Colley, 131

    Clarke, Peter, 341

    Clayton, Mr., 387, 395, 397

    Clifford, George Lambert, 267

      "  Lady Ann, 190

      "  Margaret, 167

      "  Matilda, 92

      "  Roger, 229

      "  Rosamond, 231

      "  The Black-faced, 92, 236

    _Clitheroe Castle_, 5, 244, 251

    _Cloud End_, 104

    Clowes, Mr., 384, 387

    Clyderhow, Thomas, 263

      "  Richard, 303

    Clyve, Mr., 65

      "  William, 318

    Cobham, Lord, 187

    _Cockersand Abbey_, 253

    Cogan, Dr., 205

    Cole, Lettice, 126

    Colydon, Mrs., 132

    Compton, Captain, 68

    _Conishead_, 87

    _Coniston Old Man_, 87, 100

    Constable, Mr., 145

    _Conway Castle_, 234

    Conway, Lady, 152

    _Conway, River_, 222

    Cook, Mr., 60

    _Cooper’s Hill_, 221

    Cope, John, 398

    _Cophurst_, 104

    Coppock, James, 396

    Corona, Agnes, 292

      "  Ellen, 291, 295

      "  Hugh, 290-1

      "  Isabel, 291

      "  John, 291

      "  Lucy, 290-1

      "  Margaret, 291

      "  Sarah, 290

      "  Thomas, 291, 295

    Cottington, Lord, 52, 66

    Cotterel, P., 394

    Cotton, George, 319

      "  Richard, 319

    Coventry, Bishop of, 306

    _Coventry, Grey Friars Abbey_, 222

    Cowper, Edward, 182

      "  Lady Mary, 152

      "  William, 404

    _Crewe_, 218

      "  _Hall_, 238, 330

    Crocker, John, 205

    _Cromford_, 427

    Crompton, Alexander, 420

      "  Betty, 419

      "  Dr., 420

      "  Ellen, 369

      "  George, 419, 438

      "  James, 438

      "  John, 369, 438-9

      "  Samuel, 408-442

    Cromwell, Oliver, 44, 53-58, 60, 63, 218, 264-5

      "  Richard, 58

      "  Thomas, 316

    Crosse, Richard, 351

      "  Richard Townley, 351

    Croxton, Mr., 394

    Cumberland, Countess of, 190

      "  Denison, 377

      "  Duke of, 396

      "  Richard, 377

    Cyveliock, Hugh, 220


    Daa, Alina, 297

      "  Reginald, 298

      "  Robert, 298

    Dalston, Sir William, 338

    Daniel, Samuel, 343

    Danyers, Thomas, 286, 296

    Darnel, Sargeant, 388

    _Darwen_, 4

    _Darwen, Over_, 438

      "  _River_, 265

    Davenport, Amabella, 293

      "  Christopher, 119

      "  Elizabeth, 343

      "  Hugh, 119

      "  John, 119, 295

      "  Nicholas, 310-11

      "  Peter, 343, 350

      "  Ralph, 333

      "  Richard, 293

      "  Thomas, 297

    Dawson, Dr., 390-1

      "  James, 396

    Deacon, Christopher, 398-400

      "  Christopher Clemens, 400

      "  Dr., 387, 395-8

      "  Robert Renatus, 400

      "  Thomas, 394, 400

      "  Thomas Theodorus, 400

    Dee, Arthur, 204, 208

      "  Jane, 176, 184, 187

      "  John, 157-210, 326, 364

      "  Katharine, 176

      "  Michael, 208

    _Dee, River_, 218

    Dee, Rowland, 167, 208

    _Deganwy Castle_, 222

    _Delamere Forest_, 217

    Delves, Lady, 152

      "  Thomas, 350

    Denbigh, Lord of, 229

    _Dent Fells_, 80

    Derby, Countess of, 333

      "  Earl of, 32, 33, 35, 51, 158, 167, 255, 256, 260, 437

    Derwentwater, Earl of, 260, 341

    Desborough, 56

    Despenser, Hugh, 300

    Devereux, Robert, 191, 325

    Devonshire, Duke of, 383

    Dicconson, Richard, 94

    Dickinson, Mr., 394

    Dickson, Sergeant, 394

    _Dieu-la-cresse Abbey_, 224

    Digby, Kenelm, 179

    Disraeli, Isaac, 175

    Dodd, Dr., 141

    _Doddington Hall_, 238, 330

    Dokenfield, Robert, 117

    Done, John, 219, 323

      "  Lady, 219

    _Dorfold Hall_, 238

    Dounes, Reginald, 297

      "  William, 297

    Downes, Edward, 341

      "  Roger, 33, 311

    Downham, Bishop, 194

    Drake, Madam, 381

    Drayton, Michael, 93, 226

    Dublin, Archbishop of, 123

    Duckworth, George, 437

    Duckworth and Chippindall, 437

    Dudley, Robert, 171

    Dugdale, Elizabeth, 144

      "  William, 144

    Dukinfield, Colonel, 31-2, 330, 336, 352

    Duncalf, William, 326

    Dunsany, Lord, 70

    Dunstan, Mr., 373

    Dutton, Hugh, 223, 295

      "  Margaret, 295

      "  Thomas, 295

    Dytton, Mr., 123

      "  Mrs., 123


    _Eagley Brook_, 411

    Earwaker, John P., 42, 170, 308

    _Eddisbury_, 218

    Edge, Oliver, 32

    Edward III., 228-231, 286

    Edward IV., 307, 309

    Edward VI., 170

    Edwards, Mr., 47, 65

      "  Messrs., 65

    Egerton, Lady, 317

      "  Mary, 321

      "  Ralph, 123

      "  Richard, 317

      "  Thomas, 190, 317

    Elcho, Lord, 396

    Eleanor, Queen, 230

    Elizabeth, Princess, 170

      "  Queen, 172-5, 177, 183-8, 190, 256

    Ellenborough, 78

    Ellis, Mr., 23

    Ely, Bishop of, 93, 314-5

    Erskine, Lord, 287, 351

    Espinasse, Mr., 389

    Essex, Earl of, 191, 323, 325

    Evans, John, 403

    Evelyn, Lindon, 70

      "  Mr., 54

    Evesham, Battle of, 227

    Exton, Piers, 116, 235


    Fairfax, General, 239, 330

      "  Lady, 48

    _Fairies’ Cave_, 95, 100

    Fair Rosamond, 231

    Fauconberg, Mr., 68

    Fauconbridge, Mr., 68

    Fell, Thomas, 58, 77

    Ferrers, Earl, 220

    Fiennes, Nathaniel, 127

    Finney, John, 342-3

      "  Samuel, 342

    _Firwood_, 411, 418

    Fishwick, Colonel, 335

    Fitton, Alexander, 128-30

      "  Ann, 125, 126, 128

      "  Colonel, 127

      "  Edmund, 112

      "  Edward, 110-11, 119-30, 142, 145, 150, 255

      "  Felicia, 142, 145

      "  Frances, 128

      "  Francis, 123, 125

      "  Jane, 128

      "  John, 120

      "  Lady, 123, 125

      "  Laurence, 114, 116-119

      "  Margaret, 126

      "  Mary, 110-11, 121

      "  Penelope, 128

      "  Richard, 119, 123

      "  Thomas, 112-13, 117-19, 150, 295

      "  William, 128

    Fitzherbert, Mrs., 261

      "  Thomas, 261

    Fitz Ivon, Maud, 293

      "  Wlofaith, 293

    Flame, Lord, 191, 151, 153

    Fletcher, Mr., 394-5

    _Flint Castle_, 229, 231, 234

    _Flookborough_, 83, 86

    Flower, William, 347

    Folkes, Mr., 397-8

    _Fonthill_, 60

    _Forest Chapel_, 104

    Foster, General, 260, 341

    Fountain, Serjeant, 59

    Fox, Edward, 407

      " George, 77, 245-6

    Frank, Ann, 186

    French, Gilbert J., 420, 441

    _Frodsham_, 218

    Fromonds, Bartholomew, 176

      "  Nicholas, 184

    Fulden, Mr., 394

    _Furness_, 76-7, 83

      "  _Abbey_, 77, 83


    Gaunt, John o’, 115, 298

    _Gawsworth_, 102-154

    Gawsworth, Lord, 130

    Gerard, Charles, 126, 130-1

      "  Christopher, 128

      "  Elizabeth, 133, 201

      "  Fitton, 122

      "  Lord, 129-131, 133

      "  Mr., 203

    Gibbons, Grinling, 357

    Glendower, Owen, 116, 301

    Gloucester, Duke of, 232

    Gobert, John, 329

      "  Lucy, 329

    Godiva, Lady, 288

    Goodgroom, 58

    Goodier, Mr., 189

    _Goyt, Valley of_, 22

    _Grange_, 82-3, 85

    Granger, Abraham, 129

    Gray, Thomas, 78

    Grenville, Lord, 435

    Griffith, Ann, 135

      "  Elizabeth, 135

    Grindon, Leo H., 405

      "  John, 112

    Grosvenor, Gilbert, 293

      "  John, 318-9

      "  Mary, 316-8

      "  Richard, 316, 319

      "  Robert, 298, 316

      "  Thomas, 303-4, 318

    Gwinne, Peter, 183


    Haddon, John, 381

    Hall, Francis, 400

      "  Mr., 400

      "  Richard Edward, 400-1

    _Hall-i’-th’-Wood_, 408-442

    Halley, Dr., 146, 333, 391

    Halliwell, J. Orchard, 175

    _Halton_, 218

    Halton, Baron of, 233, 293

    Halstead, Dumville, 401

      "  Eleanor, 401-2, 405

      "  William, 401

    Hamilton, Charles, 133

      "  Colonel, 134

      "  Duke of, 109, 132-5, 264

    Hammond, Colonel, 265

      "  Dr., 374

    Hancock, Joseph, 182

    Handel, Geo. F., 284, 348-9, 386-7

    Harbottle, Guiscard, 111, 120, 150

      "  Mary, 111, 150

    Hardwicke, Bess of, 67

    Hardy, Henry, 195

    _Harfleur_, 304-5

    Hargreaves, 417, 422-5

    Harland, John, 185

    Harper, Francis, 373

    Harrington, Ann, 94

      "  Elizabeth, 94

      "  James, 93

      "  John, 91-2

      "  Lord, 135-6, 397-8

      "  Matilda, 94

      "  Michael, 91

      "  Robert, 91, 94

      "  Thomas, 91-2

      "  William, 90-2

    Harrison, John, 94

      "  Major-General, 33, 35

    Hartington, Lord, 383

    Hartley, John, 202, 364

    Hastings, Henry, 227

    Hatton, Christopher, 190, 236

    _Hawarden Castle_, 229

    Hawghton, Master, 201

    Hawkshee, Mr., 384

    Hazlewood, Katharine, 189

    Hemans, Mr., 81

    Henedge, Thomas, 188

    Henry III., 221, 224-5, 290

      "  V., 117, 304-5

      "  VI., 117, 244, 305

      "  VII., 310, 312

      "  VIII., 95, 250, 309, 312

    Hereford, Countess of, 205

      "  Duke of, 115

    Hesketh, Agnes, 114, 117

    Heton, Isold de, 250

    Hexham, Battle of, 244

    Heyricke, Richard, 367

    _Heysham_, 86

    Hibbert, Dr., 193

      "  Elizabeth, 26

      "  Henry, 25

      "  John, 2

      "  Thomas, 25-6

    Hick, John, 252

    Hickman, Bartholomew, 204, 207

    Hicks & Rothwell, 439

    Hill, Edward, 43

    _Hood, The_, 87

    _Hodder Place_, 265, 279

      "  _River_, 244, 251, 263, 265

    Hodgson, Captain, 264

    Hoghton, Richard, 18

    Holcroft, Alice, 125

      "  John, 125

    _Holker_, 86, 100

      "  _Hall_, 77

    Holland, Mr., 47

      "  Ralph, 31

      "  Richard, 203

      "  Robert, 231, 235

    _Hollin Old Hall_, 344

    Hollinshed, Raphael, 104, 122

    Hollinworth, Richard, 146-7, 159, 169

    _Hollinworth, Smithy_, 348

    _Holme Island_, 85

    Holt, Alice, 252

      "  James, 303

    _Holy Well_, 96

    Honford, Henry, 295, 297

      "  Isabella, 295

      "  John, 305

      "  Katharine, 297

      "  Margaret, 315, 320

      "  William, 305, 307, 311, 315, 320

    Hooper, Francis

      "  Mr., 381, 384, 387

    Hotspur, 116, 301

    Houghton, Thomas, 256, 276

      "  Ralph, 193, 365

    Howard, Lady, 186

    Howitt, William, 260

    _Hulme Hall_, 381

    Hulme, Ralph, 364

      "  William, 196

    _Humphrey Head_, 82, 86, 96-101

    Hunte, Richard, 365

    Hunter, Mr., 381

    Hurleston, Richard, 319

    _Hurst Green_, 257, 267

    Hurst, James, 316

    _Hyde Park_, 109

    Hyde, Edward, 31

      "  Robert, 117, 305


    Iken, Anne Mary, 351

      "  Thomas Bright, 351

    Ingleby, Isabel, 257

      "  John, 257

    Ireton, Colonel, 63

    _Irwell Valley_, 433

    Isherwood, Nathaniel, 71

    " Thomas, 71


    James I., 206, 219

    Jefferson, Mr., 384

    Jeffries, Judge, 339

    Jermyn, Serjeant, 44

    John, King, 220-1

    Johnson, Samuel, 108, 151, 153-4

    Jones, Thomas, 164


    Kay, 423

    Kelly, Edward, 117-182

      "  Mistress, 182

    _Kemple End_, 251

    Kennedy, John, 427, 435-6, 439

    _Kent Estuary_, 78

    Kent, Fair Maid of, 232, 297

    _Kent’s Bank_, 84-5

    Kenyon, Ralph, 369

    _Kerridge_, 107, 287

    _Kersall Cell_, 369, 376, 385

    Kighley, Ann, 256

    Kinderton, Baron of, 291, 293

    _Kirkhead_, 84, 87, 100


    Lacy, Roger, 223

    Lambert, Colonel, 55, 60

      "  General, 264

    _Lancaster_, 86

    Lancaster, Earl of, 231, 235

    Langdale, Marmaduke, 264

    _Langdale Pikes_, 87

    Langley, Mr., 203, 204

    Larke, Joan, 313

      "  Peter, 313

      "  Thomas, 313

    Lasque, Albert, 179-81, 184

    Latimer, Lord, 125

    Lauderdale, Lord, 32

    Launcelyn, William, 299

    Laurenson, Mrs., 380

    Law, Edmund, 78

    La Warre, Thomas, 158

    Laurence, Elizabeth, 135

      "  Thomas, 135

    Lee, Clegg, 343

      "  G. A., 427-8, 435-7

      "  Hester, 343, 352

      "  Robert, 343

    Legh, Agnes, 291, 295, 401

      "  Anne, 340

      "  Charles, 203, 205, 284, 313, 330, 336, 343, 345-50

      "  Charles Richard Banastre, 351

      "  Dulcia, 308

      "  Edward, 321, 326, 338

      "  Elizabeth, 70, 343, 350

      "  Elizabeth Hester, 352

      "  Elizabeth Rowlls, 351

      "  Ellen, 119, 291

      "  George, 313-15, 318

      "  Henry, 336

      "  Hester, 352

      "  Isabel, 303

      "  John, 117, 233, 291-2, 296-300, 308, 311, 330, 335-6, 340,
               342-3, 350, 354

      "  Katharine, 297, 313

      "  Lucy, 334

      "  Lucy Frances, 343, 350

      "  Margaret, 113, 335

      "  Margery, 297

      "  Maria, 321

      "  Mary, 357

      "  Matilda, 297

      "  Maud, 296

      "  Mr., 201

      "  Peter, 113, 117, 119, 295-300, 336, 347

      "  Piers, 233, 286, 296, 309

      "  Ralph, 326

      "  Reginald, 302

      "  Richard, 70, 295, 338

      "  Richard Crosse, 340

      "  Robert, 203, 295-308, 318, 351

      "  Sybil, 327

      "  Thomas, 309-13, 316, 318-22, 326-7, 329-32, 334-6, 338-40,
                 346-7, 351-2, 355, 357

      "  Thomas Crosse, 351

      "  Urian, 205, 321-3, 325-8, 332, 334, 357

      "  William, 295

    Leicester, Earl of, 171, 173, 179-80, 225

    Leigh, Katharine, 65

      "  John, 35

      "  Robert, 365

    Leland, John, 194, 199

    Lenthall, William, 60

    Leofric, Earl, 288

    _Leven Estuary_, 78

      "  _Sands_, 87

    Lever, Mr., 196

    Leveson, Richard, 325

    Ley, Mr., 141

    Leycester, Peter, 334

      "  Mr., 381, 383, 387

    Lichfield, Earl of, 239

    Lilburn, Colonel, 62

    Lilly, 177, 181-2

    Lincoln, Bishop of, 311

    _Lindale_, 78

    Lichfield and Coventry, Bishop of, 311

    Llewellyn, Prince, 223, 225, 228-9

    _London, Tower of_, 234

    _Longridge Fell_, 5, 6, 250-1

    _Lower Wood_, 411, 418

    Luce, Elizabeth, 72

      "  Thomas, 72

    _Ludgate_, 68

    Ludlow, 61

    Lupus, Hugh, 289, 292-3

    _Lyme Hall_, 286

      "  _Chapel_, 233

    Lymme, Richard, 295

    Lynch, Mr., 139


    Macartney, General, 133-5

    _Macclesfield_, 105-287

    Macclesfield, Countess of, 131, 132

    _Macclesfield Church_, 233

    Macclesfield, Earl of, 132-133

    _Macclesfield Forest_, 107, 286

    Macclesfield, Roger, 112

    Macguire, Lord, 41

    Machin, John, 146

    Mackenzie, Peter, 71

    Macmahon, Lord, 41

    Macworth, Humphrey, 52

    Madan, Mrs., 152

    Mainwaring, Charlotte, 132

      "  Colonel, 237

      "  Dr., 387

      "  Elizabeth, 141

      "  Ellen, 118

      "  Henry, 128, 319

      "  Lady, 144

      "  Peter, 141, 144, 381

      "  Randle, 118

      "  Roger, 143

      "  Thomas, 144

    Malpas, Lady, 152

    Malyn, Dr., 381-2

      "  Massey, 381

      "  Mrs., 381

      "  Robert, 381

    Manners, John, 25

    Marbury, Mary, 61

      "  Thomas, 61

    March, Earl of, 301

    Maresha, William, 91

    Marlborough, Duke of, 133

    _Marple Hall_, 21-75

    Marsh, George, 255

    Marshall, 45

      "  Calder, 441

      "  Henry, 299

    Martindale, Adam, 60, 159

    Martyn, Thomas, 171

    Massey, Hamnet, 311

      "  John, 299

      "  Richard, 193

      "  Robert, 305

    Massie, William, 327

    Maurice, Prince, 239

    Maximilian, Emperor, 172

    Mayer, Mr., 111, 136

    Maynard, Johanna, 338

      "  John, 338-9

    McConnell and Kennedy, 435

    Methe, Bishop of, 123

    Meeke, Mr., 147

    Melling, Mr., 374

    Merbury, Lawrence, 303

    Mercia, Earl of, 288-9, 292

    Mere, Matthew, 115

    _Mersey, River_, 218, 285

    de Meschines, Randle, 112

    _Middlewich_, 239, 330

    Milbey, Mr., 68

    Mildmay, Henry, 47

    _Milne House_, 326, 332, 334, 340

    _Milnthorpe Sands_, 81, 85, 96

    Milton, John, 26, 50, 62, 66

    Minshull, Thomas, 128, 382

    _Mitton_, 242, 250-2, 267

      "  _Church_, 252-263

      "  _Little_, 244, 252

    Modburly, John, 230

    _Moel Fammau_, 108, 218

    Mohun, Lady, 135

      "  Lord, 109, 132-5

    Molyneux, Richard, 201

    Monk, Bishop, 377

      "  Colonel, 239

    Monmouth, Duke of, 129, 339-40

    Montford, Guy, 227

      "  Henry, 227

      "  Simon, 225-7

    _Moorfields_, 68

    _Morecambe Bay_, 76, 83, 85

    Moreland, Mr., 68

    Mortimer, 114

      "  Edward, 229

    _Mortlake_, 207

    Morton, Lord, 389

      "  Edward, 144

    Mosley, Edward, 330

      "  Nicholas, 211

      "  Oswald, 388

    Mostyn, Thomas, 237

    Mountague, Duke of, 397

    Mounteagle, Lord, 94, 96, 178, 315

    Mountford, William, 134


    Nairne, Lord, 441

    Nanny, Mr., 399

    _Nantwich_, 234, 237, 239, 330

    Nelson, Mrs., 48

    Neville, Margaret, 91

      "  Robert, 91

    Newby, 100

    Newby-Wilson, Thomas, 96

    Newcastle, Duke of, 258

    Newcome, Henry, 140-151, 369

      "  Robert, 140

      "  Stephen, 140

    Newdegate, Mr., 41

    _Newgate_, 69

    Newnham, George Lewis, 351

      "  Louisa, 351

    Newton, Alice, 327

      "  Dorothy, 64

      "  Isaac, 384

      "  Peter, 64

      "  Thomas, 39, 327

    Nichols, Serjeant, 46

    Nithsdale, Lord, 341

    Norfolk, Duchess Dowager of, 258-9, 261, 266

      "  Duke of, 258, 261, 300

    Norley, Adam, 296

    Norris, Alexander, 413

      "  Alice, 413

      "  Christopher, 413

    Northumberland, Countess Dowager of, 125

      "  Duke of, 234

      "   Earl of, 288, 301

    Northumbria, King of, 243

    Nottingham, Earl of, 299, 301

    Nowell, Dean, 164

      "  Roger, 367

    Nugent, Richard, 193

    Nuthall, John, 319


    _Oaks, The_, 411

    _Offerton Hall_, 27

    Okey, 58

    _Oldham_, 439

    Oldham, Hugh, 200, 364

    _Oldhams_, 431-2

    O’Neill, Hugh, 321

      "  Shane, 121

    Ord, Robert, 384

    Orreby, Fulco, 225

      "  Isabel, 112

      "  Thomas, 112

    Orrell, Mary, 71

      "  Thomas, 71

    _Oswestry Castle_, 300

    _Over Darwen_, 438

    Owen, Joseph, 391

    Oxford, Lord, 152


    Paris, Matthew, 225

    Parker, Dorothy, 71

      "  Robert, 351

    Parkinson, Canon, 366

    Parnell, Thomas, 64

    Parr, Mr., 65

    Paslew, John, 262

    Paulet, George, 316

    Paulinus, 243

    _Peak of Derbyshire_, 218, 285

    _Peckforton_, 108

      "  _Castle_, 220

    Pedder, William, 97

    Peel, Messrs., 420

      "  Robert, 427, 432, 437

    Pelton, Robert, 371

    Pembroke, Earl, 92

    Pembroke and Montgomery, Countess of, 190

    _Pendle Hill_, 5, 244-6, 251, 280

    _Pendleton_, 2

    Pendleton, Henry, 364

    Pennant, Thomas, 219

    Pepys, Roger, 130

    Perceval, Spencer, 437

    Percy, Henry, 116

    Peters, Hugh, 45

    Petersham, Lord, 112, 136

    Phillips, Richard, 311

    Phillips and Lee, 435

    _Phœnix Tower_, 239-40

    Pilgrimage of Grace, 246

    Pimlott, Mary, 70-1, 425

      "  William, 70-1

    Plantagenet, Constance, 220

      "  Geoffrey, 220

      "  Richard, 93

    Plunkett, John, 123

      "  Randal, 70

    _Pontefract Castle_, 235

    Pope, Alexander, 383

    Potts, Master, 245

    _Poulton Abbey_, 222

    Powell, William, 348

    _Prestwich Church_, 2

    Prestwich, Edmund, 193, 208

      "  Isabella, 208

      "  Mr., 158

    Prince, John C., 76

    Prydyn, William, 299

    Prynne, 41

    Pygot, John, 305


    Radcliffe, Alexander, 158, 363

      "  John, 255

      "  Richard, 368

      "  William, 365

    Raines, Canon, 256

    Raleigh, Walter, 180, 191

    Ratcliffe, John, 59

    _Ravenspurg_, 232-3

    Renaud, Dr., 303

    Reynolds, Frances, 347

      "  Mary, 347

      "  Thomas, 347

    _Rhuddlan Castle_, 223, 229, 231

    _Ribblesdale_, 5, 280

    _Ribchester_, 4, 9-18, 242-3

      "  _Bridge_, 6-9

    _Ribble River_, 244, 251-2, 265

    Rich, Robert, 135

    Richard I., 220-1

      "  II., 115-6, 231-2, 286, 299-300

      "  III., 309

    Rivers, Earl, 131

    Richmond, Duchess of, 398

      "  Duke of, 398

      "  Earl of, 236, 244

    _Ridley Hall_, 239

    Rigby, Alexander, 33, 332-5

      "  John, 376

    Robartes, Isabella, 340, 354

      "  Robert, 340

    Roberts, Mr., 378

    _Rochdale_, 242

    Rochford, Countess of, 132

    Roe, Samuel, 65

    Rokeley, Robert, 311

    Rosenberg, Count, 181

    Rosworm, John, 51, 367-8

    Row, Mr., 61

    Rowlls, John, 343, 350

    _Rowton Moor_, 218, 239

    _Runnymede_, 221

    Rupert, Prince, 127, 239

    Russell, Lady, 190

    Rutland, Earl of, 93, 236

    Rydings, Francis, 371


    _Salesbury Hall_, 5

    Salghall, Roger, 304

    Salisbury, Bishop of, 383

      "  Earl of, 207

    Sanford, Captain, 238-9, 241

    Savage, Catharine, 313, 355

      "  Edmund, 315

      "  Isabella, 307

      "  John, 117, 305, 307, 309-10

      "  Richard, 131

      "  Thomas, 309

    Savill, Harry, 201

    _Sawrey Pass_, 100

    Saxton, Christopher, 201

    Schoelcher, Victor, 386

    Scoles, Mr., 271

    Scot, John, 224, 290

      "  Margaret, 224

    Scotland, James III. of, 307

    Scott, Sir Gilbert, 149

    Sedgewick, Allen and Place, 406

    Serleby, John de, 230

    Shallcross, Edmund, 42-3

    Shaw, John, 392

    Sherburn, Dorothy, 252

      "  Elizabeth, 260

      "  Hugh, 273

      "  Katharine, 256-7

      "  Lady, 259, 266

      "  Maud, 254

      "  Nicholas, 258-61, 266, 268, 272

      "  Richard, 252, 254-8

      "  Richard Francis, 260

      "  Robert, 252

      "  Thomas, 255

    Sherd, William, 340

    Shore, William, 298-9

    Shrewsbury, Battle of, 301

      "  Mayor of, 147

    Shrigley, Mr., 395

    _Shutling’s Low_, 104

    Siddal, George, 369

      "  Richard, 369

    Siddington, Emmota, 119

      "  Robert, 119

    Sidney, Henry, 122

      "  Philip, 191

    Simnel, Lambert, 309

    Sinclair, James, 132

    _Skiddaw_, 87

    Slaidburn, 242

    Sloane, Hans, 384

    Smith, John, 132

      "  Mary, 132

      "  Madam, 131

      "  Mr., 383

      "  Richard, 132

    Smyth, Mary Ann, 261

      "  Thomas, 297

      "  William, 261

    Sneyd, Felicia, 126

      "  Ralph, 126

    Sorrocold, John, 189

      "  Katharine, 189, 190

      "  Ralph, 189

    Southwell, Thomas, 182

    Spanish Armada, 236

    Spenser, Edmund, 192, 322

    St. Albans, Earl of, 52

    St. George, Chevalier de, 341, 360

    St. John, Mr. Solicitor, 44

    St. Pierre, Urian, 227

    St. Werburg’s, Abbot of, 237

    Stamford, William, 253

    Stanhope, Charles Augustus, 136

      "  Christopher, 397-8

      "  William, 135

    Stanley, 437-8

      "  Edward, 25, 93-4, 314, 389

      "  Margaret, 25

      "  John, 93, 300, 314-16

      "  Thomas, 93, 125, 314

      "  William, 307

    _Stanmore Church_, 348

    _Stanner Nab_, 220

    Stansfield, John, 375, 380

    Starke, Alice, 317

    Starkey, Mr., 396

      "  Nicholas, 202, 364

    Starkie, Alice, 413, 414

      "  Le Gendre Nicholas, 413

      "  John, 413, 418

    Steel, Mr., 46

      "  Captain, 238, 241

    Stern, Bishop, 123

    Stockdale, Mr., 83

    Stockport, Margaret, 25

      "  Robert, 25

    Stokefield, Battle of, 309

    _Stormy Point_, 287

    _Stonyhurst_, 5, 251, 256, 261, 264-80

    Stourton, Lord, 256

    Strafford, Earl of, 71

    Strange, Lord, 367

    Stringer, Hugh, 292

    Strong, Mr., 65

    _Sunderland Point_, 86

    Sutton, 104

      "  Richard, 104

    _Swarthmoor_, 77

      "  _Hall_, 77

    Swedenborg, Emanuel, 434

    Syddal, Tom, 341, 394, 396, 400

    Sydenham, Colonel, 61

    Sydney, Lady, 172


    Tabley, William de, 291

    Talbot, Lord, 32

      "  Thomas, 244, 299

    Tanai, Lucas de, 227

    Tankerville, Count de, 296

    Tatton, Mr., 330

      "  William, 121

    Taylor, John, 190, 327, 403

    _Teg’s Nose_, 104

    _Thorncliffe_, 22

    Thurloe, Secretary, 68

    Thyer, Robert, 387

    Tilsey, Mr., 204

    Timbs, John, 59

    _Tiverton_, 237

    Tollemache, Lord, 220

    Tounley, Robert de, 115

    Townley, Colonel, 393, 395-6

    Townshend, Edward, 350

      "  Lady, 398

    Trafford, Edmund, 327

      "  Mary, 327

    Treasurer, Lord, 174-5, 187

    Trevor, Jane, 126

      "  John, 126

    Tryket, John, 115

    _Turton_, 426

      "  _Tower_, 3

    Tyldesley, Thomas, 260

    Tyrconnell, Lord, 132

    Tyrrel, Serjeant, 59


    Ulster King of Arms, 123-4

    _Ulverston_, 78, 87

      "  _Sands_, 81, 96

    _Utkinton_, 219


    Valet, Captain, 240

    Varley, John, 178

    Venables, Gilbert, 293, 346

      "  Hugh, 118

      "  John, 291, 295

      "  Margery, 118

      "  Thomas, 293-4

      "  William, 291, 295

    Vernon, Dorothy, 25

      "  George, 25

      "  William, 25

    Vigor, Mr., 393

    Voil, Thomas, 299

      "  William, 299


    _Waddington Fell_, 251

      "  _Hall_, 244

    Wainwright, John, 403

    Wakefield, Battle of, 235

      "  Edward Gibbon, 286

    Wales, Prince of, 152, 225-7, 235, 261, 309, 312

    Waller, James, 344

    Walls, Robert, 311

    _Walney_, 87

    Walpole, Horace, 357, 383

      "  Lord, 152

    Walsingham, Francis, 173, 191

    Wandesford, Rowland, 33

    Warbeck, Perkin, 311

    Warburton, Anne, 121, 124

      "  Eleanor, 61

      "  Harriet, 350

      "  Peter, 61, 121, 124, 350

    Ward, Joseph, 345

    Wareing, Paul, 178

    Warren, Edward, 35

      "  John, 311

      "  Mr., 189

    Warwick, Countess of, 185, 190

      "  Earl of, 308

    Waterpark, Lord, 67

    Watt, James, 434

    Waugh, Edwin, 81

    Weever, 177

    Weld, Edmund, 261, 266

      "  John, 261

      "  Thomas, 262, 266-7

      "  William, 261

    Wells, Bernard, 30

      "  Mary, 30

    Welshman, Robert, 205

    Werden, Joseph, 160

    Weston, James, 384

    _Whalley_, 243

      "  _Abbey_, 247-250, 254

      "  _Church_, 246

      "  _Nab_, 251

    Whitaker, Dr., 90-92, 157, 252, 257, 266

      "  John, 164

    Whitby, Dr., 374

    _White Nancy_, 287

    _Whiteley Green_, 306

      "  _Hay_, 306, 309

    Whitelock, 44-5, 47, 51, 61

    _Whitewell_, 251

    Whitfield, George, 385

    Whitgift, Archbishop, 187

    Whitmore, William, 236

    Whitworth, Mr., 133, 387

    Widderington, Edward, 258

      "  Peregrine, 259-61

      "  Lord, 260, 341

    Widdrington, 46

    Wigan, Mr., 159-60

    Wilbraham, Thomas, 219

    _Wildboarclough_, 104

    Wilkinson, T. T., 188, 401

    Willemots, Master, 189

    Willes, General, 260, 342-3

    William III., 339

    Williamson, Mr., 203

      "  Thomas, 194

    Willoughby, Baldwin, 369

      "  Lord, 403

    _Wilpshire_, 4

    Wilson, “Alick,” 162

    Wilson, N., 65

    Winchester, Marquis of, 316

    Winnington, Catherine, 26

      "  _Bridge_, 60

    Wintoun, Lord, 341

    _Wiswall_, 251

      "  _Hall_, 246

    Wolsey, Cardinal, 314

    _Wolfscote_, 104

    Wood, Anthony à, 238

    Woodstock, Thomas of, 231

    Worcester, Dean of, 170

    Worsley, Ellen, 368

      "  Major-General, 55, 337, 366, 368

      "  Mr., 374

      "  Thomas, 366

    Wordsworth, William, 81

    Wortley, Mr., 205

    _Wraysholme Tower_, 82, 86, 88

    Wright, Mrs., 131

    _Wyberslegh_, 25, 30

    _Wyke, The_, 86

    Wylde, Mr., 439

    _Wythenshawe_, 31, 330


    Yates & Dawson, 390

    Yates, Joseph, 390

    _Yewbarrow_, 81

    York, Archbishop of, 301, 309, 383

      "  Duke of, 93, 236

[Illustration]


JOHN HEYWOOD, Excelsior Steam Printing and Bookbinding Works,
                     Hulme Hall Road, Manchester.


Transcriber's notes:

In the text version, italics are represented by _underscores_, and
bold and black letter text by =equals= symbols.

Missing or incorrect punctuation has been repaired. Inconsistant
spelling and hyphenation have been left.

The following mistakes have been noted:

     p. xi to p. xxiii. The Lists of Booksellers and Subscribers have
     some entries which are not in alphabetical order. The number of
     copies ordered is not always in italics.

     p. xvii. Marsden, The Kev changed to Rev.

     p. xviii. CHORLTON, THOMAS has 2 entries, one for 32 Brasenose
     Street and one for 32 Brazenose Street.

     p. xx. Warnirgton changed to Warrington.

     p. 26. text reads "dated 7th July, 4", the 4 seems incorrect but
     has been left.

     p. 40. "13 Car. I., June 7. "Appointment of John Bradshawe, the
     extra opening quote has been removed.

     p. 42. bran new pulpit changed to brand new pulpit.

     p. 51. salutory changed to salutary.

     p. 65. thanfull acknowledgement, has been left as it appears to be
     a quote.

     p. 104. Wildboa. Clough changed to Wildboar Clough.

     p. 108. Enjoy the sunny world, so fresh and fair, added closing
     quote.

     p. 123. "The order, added the opening quote.

     p. 141. Batchelor in Arts, left.

     p. 169. £2 000 changed to £2,000.

     p. 222. pa sed, corrected to passed.

     p. 238. He confessed all his sins, opening quote added.

     p. 240. suurrender changed to surrender.

     p. 258. Maria Winifred Francesca is spelt Maria Winnifred
     Francesca on p. 261.

     p. 259. alloted changed to allotted.

     p. 274. tranferred changed to transferred.

     p. 301. Thursday then next, then changed to the.

     p. 325. a n heirloom changed to an heirloom.

     Index

     p. 444. Bradshawe-Isherwood, Arthur Salusbury, 71 changed to 72
     and Bradshawe-Isherwood, John, 72 changed to 71.

     Brereton, Mrs. is missing a page number. Several Brereton wifes
     are mentioned in the text and it is not clear which one referenced.

     p. 445. Chetham, Mr., 582 changed to p. 382.

     p. 447. Dieulacresse Abbey changed to Dieu-la-cresse to match text.

     p. 449. Hooper, Francis is missing a page number. Several Hoopers
     are mentioned but no Francis Hooper, though there is a Francis
     Harper on p. 373.

     p. 449. Jeffreys, Judge, changed to Jeffries.

     p. 450. Lenthal, William, changed to Lenthall.

     p. 450. Mareschall, William, changed Mareshal.

     p. 451. Meath, Bishop of, changed to Methe.

     p. 451. Meschines, Rundle, changed to Randle de Meschines

     p. 451. Molyneux, Richard, is spelt Molynox in the text, but this
     is in a quote from an older document and has been left.

     p. 452. Rosenburg, Count, changed to Rosenberg.

     p. 453. Schoelscher, Victor, changed to Schoelcher.

     p. 453. Shutlings Low, 107, is on p. 104 and the index entry has
     been changed.

     p. 454. Tyrconnel, Lord, changed to Tyrconnell.

     p. 478. Tilsley, Mr., changed to Tilsey.

     p. 478. Townshead, Edward,changed to Townsend.





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