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Title: Old English Mansions
Author: Yockney, Alfred
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                              DEPICTED BY
                           C. J. RICHARDSON
                             J. D. HARDING
                              JOSEPH NASH
                                H. SHAW
                               & OTHERS

                        EDITED BY CHARLES HOLME

                           “THE STUDIO” LTD.
                        LONDON, PARIS, NEW YORK


Hampton Court Palace, Entrance Gateway to the First Court
  By Joseph Nash
  Frontispiece in colours

Aston Hall, Warwickshire
  By A. E. Everitt
  Plate ix

Aston Hall, Warwickshire, The Entrance Hall
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate LI

Audley End, Essex, The Staircase
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XLII

Audley End, Essex, Portion of Plaster Ceiling at
  By Henry Shaw
  Plate XLIII

Barrington Court, Somerset
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XLI

Benthall Hall, Shropshire
  By J. C. Bayliss
  Plate II

Blickling Hall, Norfolk, Chimney-piece in Dining-room at
  By Henry Shaw
  Page 29 (text)

Boughton Malherbe, Kent, Side of Drawing-room at
  By Henry Shaw
  Page 7 (text)

Burton Agnes, Yorkshire, Entrance to Staircase from the Hall
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XLVI

Charlecote, Warwickshire, The Great Hall
  By J. G. Jackson
  Plate XVIII

Charlton House, Kent
  By J. Holland
  Plate XV

Charlton House, Wiltshire
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XXXII

Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire, The Elizabethan Room
  By J. G. Jackson
  Plate XIX

Crewe Hall, Cheshire
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate LIV

Crewe Hall, Cheshire
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate LV

Crewe Hall, Cheshire, Fireplace at
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate LVI

Cumnor Place, Berkshire, Oak Bedstead at
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate LII

Dorfold Hall, Cheshire
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XXIX

Dorfold Hall, Cheshire, The Great Chamber
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XXX

East Barsham Manor House, Norfolk
  By Joseph Nash
  Plate XXII

East Sutton Place, Kent, The Entrance Hall
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XXXIX

Enfield, Middlesex, Interior of an old House at
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XXXIII

Feering House, Essex
  By F. W. Fairholt
  Plate C

Ford House, Devonshire
  By J. Gendall
  Plate XIII

Gawsworth Hall, Cheshire
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XLVII

Gilling Castle, Yorkshire, Side of Dining-room at
  By Henry Shaw
  Page 13 (text)

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, End of Drawing-room of a House at
  By Henry Shaw
  Page 19 (text)

Haddon Hall, Derbyshire
  By T. Allom
  Plate I

Hall i’ the Wood, Lancashire
  By J. S. Dodd
  Plate V

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire
  By Lake Price
  Plate XXV

Harlaxton Manor House, Lincolnshire
  By C. J. Richardson

Helmsley Hall, Yorkshire
  By W. Richardson
  Plate LX

Hollingbourne Manor House, Kent
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XXXVI

Horeham Hall, Essex
  By F. W. Fairholt
  Plate XI

Ince Hall, Lancashire
  By Ewan Christian
  Plate III

Ipswich, Suffolk, Old House at
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XL

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, Entrance Porch to the Gatehouse
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate LIII

Kirby, Northamptonshire, Garden Bridge at
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate LVIII

Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire
  By J. D. Harding
  Plate XIV

Little Charleton, Kent
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate LVII

Longford Castle, Wiltshire, The Circular Dining-room
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XLIX

Loseley House, Surrey
  By F. W. Hulme
  Plate XVII

Maidstone, Kent, Upper Portion of an old House at
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XLVIII

Montacute, Somersetshire, The Great Chamber
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XXXI

Moreton Hall, Cheshire
  By H. L. Pratt
  Plate XXIII

Nag’s Head Inn, Leicester, Porch of the
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate LIX

Nantwich, Cheshire, The Old Town Hall
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XLIV

Oak House, West Bromwich, Staffordshire, The
  By A. E. Everitt
  Plate VIII

Park Hall, Shropshire
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XXVI

Park Hall, Shropshire, The Drawing-room
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XXVII

Park Hall, Shropshire, Oak Staircase at
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XXVIII

Pitchford Hall, Shropshire
  By F. W. Hulme
  Plate XVI

St. John’s College, Cambridge, Staircase at
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate L

Salwarp Court, near Droitwich, Worcestershire
  By H. Gallon
  Plate XII

Sawston Hall, Cambridgeshire
  By J. Dafforne
  Plate IV

Smithells Hall, Lancashire
  By J. S. Dodd
  Plate VI

South Petherton, Somersetshire, at
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XXXVII

Stockton House, Wiltshire, Small Bed-chamber
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XXXV

Stockton House, Wiltshire, Side of Drawing-room at
  By Henry Shaw
  Plate XXXV

Throwley Hall, Staffordshire
  By H. L. Pratt
  Plate XXIV

Turton Tower, Lancashire
  By J. S. Dodd
  Plate VII

West Stow Hall, Suffolk
  By W. Müller
  Plate XXI

White Hart Inn, Scole, Norfolk
  By C. J. Richardson
  Plate XLV

Wroxhall Abbey, Warwickshire
  By J. G. Jackson
  Plate XX

[Illustration: _Overmantel at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire_]

[Illustration: JOSEPH NASH



WHY do distant objects please? It is a question which has exercised many
minds. William Hazlitt once had the inspiration to write an essay on the
subject, saying, among other things, that the reason for our pleasure is
that we clothe distant objects with the indistinct and airy colours of
fancy. There is truth in this argument when applied to landscape, and
still more so in regard to history and antiquities. We look on the
distant past as we do on a beautiful sunset, conscious only of warm,
glowing reflections. Forgetfulness and ignorance play a great part in
our estimate of bygone days and things. The invasion of Britain by
Julius Cassar and the later Romans has been the joy of the
archaeologist--descendants of those who suffered at the time; and if we
wander through Hastings Castle it is the personality of William the
Conqueror which inspires us rather than remembrance of the troubles
endured by the vanquished. We believe that tribulation, especially that
of other people in a previous generation, had compensations.

In the same way we take pleasure in imagining pictures of the peaceful
past, rich in colour and pleasant in tone. Those days in which our
fore-fathers used _y_ instead of _i_ and almost invariably ended their
words with an _e_, seem so picturesque and delightful. How many
paintings have been shown at the Royal Academy under the title of
“Merrie England” or its equivalent? Only Mr. Algernon Graves knows. The
poets have been not less backward than the artists in proclaiming the
romance of life in those distant days, and novelists have led us astray
with equal regularity. For, almost certainly, we have been led astray.
It is inconceivable that the days and nights in the olden times were
filled with masques and continual merriment. Joviality there was, of
course, and an absence of those assets of civilization which sometimes
trouble us now: but life was a very serious thing, and even when there
was no war at home or abroad, there were political and social movements
which at times must have made the lives of the people intolerable. So
history teaches us.

To destroy illusions, however, is not the way to earn popularity, so few
but pessimists and the most severe historians look back with a keen eye
for defects in our national romances. Most of us may take a generous
view of the lives of our remote ancestors. Let them be supposed to have
had the advantage of us in their environment, occupations, pastimes, and
sentiments. It is futile to institute comparisons, and those who made
England are entitled to the benefit of the doubt. That they did possess
certain privileges is beyond question, and as other blessings have been
substituted for the benefit of later generations, we can afford to look
back with a certain amount of envy on the time when traditions were
being made and events followed one another with less disturbing
frequency than they are doing in the twentieth century.

The days of our youth are regarded, not without reason, as the period of
our greatest happiness. It is often a transparent fiction, but on the
whole there is an element of truth in the idea. For one thing our lives
are then before us, and even if we have no definite course to be
followed steadily there is generally the beacon of hope to inspire our
progress. In after years, especially if we have been successful, the
obstacles seem to have been lower and fewer. We may imagine, therefore,
that the relentless advance of time is regarded with equal anxiety by
inanimate things. If the stones, bricks, and timbers of ancient secular
edifices could speak they would wish us to believe, as human beings do,
that their early days were the best. Perhaps they would be right in this
supposition, for buildings when first erected serve the purpose for
which they are required and generally satisfy those who own and live in
them. No doubt perfection was not attained in regard to the full
utilisation of the site, the accommodation provided, and so forth, in
the past any more than in the present, but ancient buildings would
receive a certain measure of praise on completion. So it would be
natural that the structure itself, given the power to absorb
impressions, would look back to its earliest and most useful existence
with the same feeling of regret experienced by most people in maturity
or old age. If it were an Elizabethan mansion, the principal facade
would recall with pride the arrival on horseback or otherwise of those
notable guests who, dim years ago, conferred splendour and everlasting
honour on the establishment, each projecting bay meanwhile looking down
with mingled wonder and disparagement on the apparently lifeless motor
carriage now bringing visitors to its time-worn entrance. The interior
of the ancient mansion would be inclined no less than the exterior to
look upon modern beings as usurpers and unheroic characters, compared
with those who once walked through the stately halls and corridors. It
would be interesting indeed if we could interpret the feelings of these
monuments of the past. Such a chronicle would be as full of pathos as
any history of a noble race or family, once powerful and magnificent,
now crest-fallen or defunct. For building materials are subject to
stranger vicissitudes than those who cause them to be manipulated. Even
if they have only decay to contend with it is a constant struggle
against their eventual fate, but as often as not they have to face
destruction sooner or later. Sometimes the stones which have been used
in an historic building are forced to do service again and again until
their record and significance are lost. Occasionally we have a clue to
the past, as in the case of “Nonsuch,” the beautiful palace begun by
Henry VIII, and once an attraction on the road to Epsom. It is supposed
that when this building was pulled down, to the perpetual disgrace of
the first Duchess of Cleveland, some of the materials were used
in the construction of “Durdans,” the prototype of the existing Surrey
residence of Lord Rosebery. The fate of the Holbein Gateway, which once
adorned Whitehall, was to be dismembered by order of the hero of
Culloden, the idea being that it should be re-erected in the Great Park
at Windsor. This was never done, though Thomas Sandby drew up a scheme
at the time; and with the exception of a few fragments, this most
interesting relic of Tudor architecture only survives in illustrations
and models. A better destiny was in store for a later structure which
outlived the esteem of the authorities, namely Temple Bar. That this
work by Sir Christopher Wren should have been removed from Fleet Street
was essential, no doubt, through the press of traffic which had arisen;
but it is astonishing that the stones should have been permitted to lie
about in the Farringdon Road for some years until rescued and re-erected
at Theobald’s Park by Sir Henry Meux. The City Corporation struck a
medal to commemorate the demolition in 1878, but it may be hoped that
some day another one may be issued simultaneously with the restoration
to London of this unique relic. Such examples of vandalism could be
multiplied indefinitely; and when buildings destroyed by other means,
such as fire, are added to the list, it is a matter for congratulation
that so many remains of architectural design and craftsmanship are
available for study in something approaching their original state.

Two main features contribute to the chequered existence of historic
buildings. The first is restoration, which includes alterations and
additions, and the second is decay, the variety which renders a house
uninhabitable as well as obsolete. In the former case the old work has
often been utterly spoiled by drastic measures of reconstruction or by
good-intentioned but fatal efforts to repair and beautify: in the latter
case the building gradually goes to pieces until it becomes a ruin,
splendid still perhaps in its suggestion of other days, but becoming
year by year a monument needing continual attention if it is to survive.
We are then immersed in the depths of antiquarian lore, and the problems
of archaeology which arise are only equalled by the diversity of methods
brought forward for keeping the object intact. Conservation is a science
as well as an art, but even so it is difficult to obtain unanimity of
opinion from experts when work is contemplated. The case of Stonehenge
may be mentioned, although it is beyond our field. Century by century
this imposing group of stones has suffered, and different generations of
engineers as well as architects, individually or as societies, have made
suggestions for its maintenance and partial reconstruction. Yet in spite
of great care it is always in jeopardy, partly because it is private
property. At the time of writing this relic of Druid architecture is for
sale, and if it could be made the national monument it deserves to be,
special measures could be taken for its preservation. Another
instance of disagreement between those experienced in restoration
occurred when Mr. F. Baines, acting for the Office of Works, proposed to
strengthen the fourteenth-century hammer-beam roof of Westminster Hall
with the aid of steel as well as oak (1914). This modern method of
preservation was duly adopted, and it will be for the experts in the
years to come to praise or blame the restorers and the craftsmen engaged
in the work at the present time.

With the institution of new legislative machinery it may be hoped that
there will be no more instances of misapplied enterprise in removing
objects of historic interest from their original positions. The case of
Tattershall Castle, since presented to the nation by Lord Curzon, is
fresh in the memory of all. The iniquity of taking away the fine
sculptured stone fireplaces, now happily restored to their positions,
has been matched time after time by similar acts, and it was not without
much evidence of artistic crime that the Government rightly took action.
Too much sentiment has overflowed, perhaps, in certain cases of alleged
vandalism. Owners, including public bodies, have been neglectful of
their possessions, and only when someone else has speculated on the
commercial value, have the objects been appreciated for their artistic
interest. It seems strange, for example, that some treasures of
craftsmanship and antiquity from Westminster Abbey, Winchester
Cathedral, and other sacred places should have been available for
erection elsewhere at the call of the highest bidder. Innumerable relics
of domestic architecture and decoration have been taken from English
homes for transportation. Anyone who wished to do so could make out a
list of indignities which would cause almost as much chagrin as the
record, published recently by the National Gallery Committee, of
important pictures sold out of the United Kingdom in modern times. The
sale of a Gainsborough might be bracketed with the exportation of the
Elizabethan panelling from Rotherwas, Herefordshire. In all such cases,
however, the word desecration must not be used, for it often happens
that without the intervention of those who understand the importance of
these things, the decorative details of many houses would have ceased to
exist or would have been obscured. A generation which could paint or
whitewash the fine panelling it had inherited deserves and receives
nothing but censure. Such acts of depreciation were once common,
however, and it required a new order of intelligence to cause the
removal of blemishes which did great injustice to the original work and
really deprived the owners of desirable surroundings. In private houses
this unappreciative attitude towards the past was evidence of personal
taste gone wrong and might be attributed to narrow influences. But that
the germ of destruction should appear in the most hallowed places is
more remarkable. Occasionally there is compensation for such curious
actions, as in the case of Hampton Court. About a year ago,
during the redecoration of a suite of apartments, some fine oak
panelling was discovered behind the battening and papered canvas,
together with two stone fireplaces and other features which had been
hidden for many years. These had been Wolsey’s private rooms, and their
restoration to their original state provided a remarkable contribution
to our imaginative picture of the great Cardinal.

A visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum will reveal evidence of the
modern regard for details once completing and adorning buildings which
have been demolished or have seen better days. The front of Sir Paul
Pindar’s house, transferred from Bishopsgate to the Museum, is of epic
grandeur; while the inlaid oak panelling from Sizergh Castle,
Westmoreland, with the bedstead to match, reminds us in an exceptional
way of sixteenth-century accomplishments. It is fortunate that many fine
examples of exterior and interior workmanship have escaped the perils to
which they have been exposed since the days of their pristine elegance,
and are now preserved in comparative safety. Though there is little
reason to doubt that some really desirable objects have always commanded
a certain degree of respect, sufficient care has not been exercised in
many notable cases. The history of the housebreakers’ trade is full of
artistic tragedies, and the awakening of public interest might have come
sooner for the benefit of the national reputation. Exactly when the
movement began for the full appreciation of such works of art and
industry cannot be stated. The influence of the Society of Antiquaries,
dating from the eighteenth century, has been considerable, and other
bodies have worked quietly also for the purpose of recording the
existence of objects worthy of attention. With such efforts of
tabulation and description the good work generally ceased, and the
worship of the things themselves being confined to a limited circle the
warmth of appreciation was seldom of sufficient power to ripen the fruit
of the tree of knowledge. It was the plucking of the fruit which was
responsible for a better appreciation of its quality. When astute
business men perceived that there was money in the more or less
abandoned relics of the past, and proceeded to find new owners for them,
the British public discovered that the derelict objects were rare and
beautiful. The work was not always artistic in the accepted sense, but
it possessed character, individuality, and charm. It was not
machine-made or finished with the precision of a later taste in
handiwork, but it was good and English to the core. Museum directors,
connoisseurs, architects, and craftsmen like William Morris, had their
share in the enlightenment of the people to the real significance of the
work of men’s hands, but the mainspring of the movement for preservation
was the competition of professional antiquity hunters. Once the best
attributes of old house fittings had been pointed out by various means,
but chiefly in the language of value sterling, the future of
relics existing _in situ_ seemed brighter. Eyes were turned jealously to
the equipments in old houses, and a new race of students arose to
safeguard national and more or less private treasures. All this has
happened in the last half of the nineteenth century. There remains much
to be done, however, before the real lessons of the past are impressed
upon the public.

While certain acts of vandalism have been committed by dealers able to
turn their knowledge to account, considerable tolerance must be
exercised on their behalf. In the first place they demonstrated the
importance which should be attached to many objects of antiquity, and in
the second place the business men put their weight into the scale
against destruction. In the most practical way they prevented examples
of craftsmanship from sharing the fate of firewood and rubble. They have
kept things of singular merit intact when extinction was probable, and
if sometimes they have exaggerated the importance of work which is
merely old and not really interesting, their services in educating
public opinion more than counterbalance their transgressions. Even the
latter may be condoned to some extent, for through them the fame of
English craftsmanship has been spread far and wide, developing a desire
among students abroad to visit this country and to see in all their
glory the priceless works of architecture and decoration remaining
supreme in spite of the attacks by man, time, fire, and vandals.

When Goldsmith wrote that he loved “everything that’s old--old friends,
old times, old manners, old books, old wine,” he unaccountably forgot to
mention old houses. It may be assumed that the author of “The Deserted
Village” included among his delights the actual haunts of his old
friends, suggestive of still older times and manners. Looking back on
the eighteenth century, when Johnson was uttering his sonorous
observations, and Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Romney were immortalising
the illustrious people of the day, we are envious of the opportunities
presented to Goldsmith and his contemporaries to study and admire the
monuments of the preceding centuries in something approaching
perfection. At that time the majority of buildings grouped under the
heading of Old English Mansions were unspoiled by decay and environment.
They were just mellow and satisfying in every respect. Some of them, of
course, had suffered in the Civil War, and bore witness then as now to
their unsuitability as places of defence. But on the whole it was Tudor
and Jacobean architecture without alloy.

Since the eighteenth century a gradual change has come over most of the
buildings, until at the present time but few of them are in anything
like a habitable state, though they may still be studied for what they
reveal of the past. Some stately mansions like Hatfield House, Holland
House, Knole, Penshurst, Charlton House, Kent (Plate XV), and Moreton

[Illustration: HENRY SHAW


Old Hall (Plate XXIII), have descended from father to son or
through allied families, and the inheritance has been maintained, though
possibly the structures have been reduced in size or otherwise altered.
In some cases the buildings have passed into the hands of strangers
willing and able to keep them in repair without modernising them out of
recognition. Others, however, have ceased to be anything more than
reminders of bygone days, and in various stages of preservation they
appeal more or less to students and tourists. In some cases it requires
abundant imagination to reconstruct the scenes of which they were the
central features. It is easy enough with a few buildings, but we are
confronted often by some structures which have become almost
de-naturalised under the pressure of urban expansion. They remain as
oases in the desert of modern bricks and mortar, dignified still in
spite of the affronts of unsympathetic neighbours; but their beauty has
faded and no amount of sentiment can gloss over their obvious defects,
robbed of their original uses and maimed by their present purposes. The
parks which occasionally remain around these old buildings save us
sometimes from intensified regret.

Among the most interesting relics of antiquity still retaining an
appearance of prosperity are many of the hostelries scattered throughout
the country. It gives everyone genuine pleasure to visit the
establishments which share with the local church the architectural
honours of the village or town, even though, as in the case of a
building within easy reach of London, the sign of the inn and the date
1604 are supplemented by the magic word “Garage.” This is typical of
many such places for rest and refreshment which are renewing their youth
through the revival in travel by road. One may drive beneath archways to
the extensive courtyards where proprietors have welcomed the arrival of
kings, queens, and courtiers in the olden times, and but for the total
difference in costume and the means of conveyance there is very little
change in the scene or in the accommodation provided. It often happens
that such old places have been devoted originally to domestic purposes,
as in the case of the Nag’s Head Inn, Leicester (Plate LIX), once a
private house, and Feering House, Essex (Plate X), which, at the time
Fairholt visited it to reconstruct its past, was far from presenting the
scene of family happiness the artist so quaintly imagined. The somewhat
florid structure which spanned the highway and included the sign of the
White Hart Inn at Scole, Norfolk (Plate XLV), was removed before the
nineteenth century, and Richardson relied for his drawing on an earlier
picture. Similar, if not quite so ornate structures are still to be seen
in many places. Historians never fail to relate the tradition that at
the White Hart Inn, besides this wonderful carved wood structure, was a
round bed large enough to hold twenty couples, accommodation which dims
the importance attached to the great bed at Ware, that Tudor
or earlier piece or elaborate carpentry with a capacity for a mere dozen
people. Apart from such freak productions the bedsteads of olden times
were usually of ample proportions and were often works of art.
Beautifully designed, carved, and inlaid, they were in keeping with the
other possessions of the fortunate owners. The example shown from Cumnor
Place, Berkshire (Plate LII), with its massive pillars and roof, is a
reminder of the great and perhaps excessive care bestowed on the
manufacture of such pieces of furniture.

Distant history as represented by architecture is a subject which has
engaged the attention of all students of national development, and to
their extensive researches the public is deeply indebted. Architects and
archaeologists also have pieced together the evidence available and have
reconstructed the past with great thoroughness. The mode of life at
different periods has been revealed by means of plans and other
drawings, often prepared with infinite labour. By such illustrations and
by the records which have been transcribed it is possible to visualize
the appearance of the country and its inhabitants from the beginning. In
this supremely interesting occupation we are helped by imagination and,
moreover, we have the advantage of the imaginative efforts of others
better qualified to clothe the framework of the story. To Sir Walter
Scott the highest tribute must be paid, for though his visions and
word-pictures cannot be relied upon always for minute accuracy, he
caught the spirit of the past and with wonderful insight restored it in
vivid language. His heart was in the work of making the past live again,
and he succeeded in giving verisimilitude to the scenes he described.

Illustrations abound of the buildings of Elizabethan and Jacobean date,
from the measured drawings which owe their origin to prize competitions
among students, to the elaborate pictorial reconstructions which
sometimes astonish us by their wealth of detail and fanciful
accessories. Painters in Victorian days attempted with varying success
to interpret the past, generally introducing architectural backgrounds
as settings for the _dramatis personæ_. One of the chief artists of the
period to attain success in this direction was George Cattermole
(1800-1868), who in such pictures as _The Hunting Party_ and _Old
English Hospitality_ proved himself to be well equipped with the
necessary imagination and knowledge. He successfully illustrated Scott,
and, indeed, founded his fame on his drawings inspired by the great
author’s romances. One of Cattermole’s most distinguished contemporaries
was Joseph Nash (1808-1878), in whose work the figures as a rule are
subordinate to the architecture. This was to be expected from one who
had been trained in the office of an architect, namely, the elder Pugin.
Yet Nash, while treating buildings with the respect due to them, did not
err on the side of technical hardness. He made the beauties of
architecture intelligible to the public, contriving also to appeal to
the professional mind. His object was to produce essentially picturesque
interpretations, to make a set of views of the mansions of England from
a new and attractive point of view. To use his own words, he tried to
make them interesting, “not as many of them now appear, gloomy, desolate
and neglected, but furnished with the rude comfort of early times or
exhibiting the more splendid luxury and elegant hospitality of later
periods; in short, the stately homes of England glowing with the genial
warmth of their firesides and enlivened with the presence of their
inmates and guests, enjoying the recreations and pastimes or celebrating
the festivals of our ancestors. The artist has endeavoured to place
himself in the position of a visitor to these ancient edifices, whose
fancy peoples the deserted halls--stripped of all movable ornaments and
looking damp and cheerless--with the family and household of the old
English gentleman surrounded by everyday comforts, sharing the more rare
and bounteous hospitalities offered to the guests or partaking of the
boisterous merriment of Christmas gambols.”

Nash deserted the practice of architecture to good purpose, for he
produced the standard books illustrating the mansions of the olden times
existing in his day, and he made a greater name probably than he would
have done had he stuck to the medium of bricks and mortar. The influence
of his work was good, and as a transcriber of architecture for popular
appreciation he occupies a similar place to that attained by the Lambs
in their prose interpretations of Shakespeare. Both Cattermole and Nash
were members of the “Old” Water Colour Society. They established
traditions which endured and which are still to be detected in the
exhibitions at the gallery in Pall Mall East.

Among other early Victorians who won fame by their representations of
domestic architecture and accessories was C. J. Richardson (1806-1871),
who was articled to Sir John Soane, and remained an architect, but
devoted himself mainly to his task of illustrating the great work of the
past. His drawings are more precise and laboured than those of Nash, but
they are excellent records and enable us to realise the beauties of many
buildings and details now destroyed or scattered. Thomas Allom
(1804-1872), also a practising architect, produced some exceptionally
good pictorial work, his Haddon Hall (Plate I) being typical. Ewan
Christian (1814-1895), the architect of a large number of buildings,
including the National Portrait Gallery, was a recipient of the Royal
Gold Medal, and is better known by his building work than otherwise; but
in his earlier days he executed many drawings of popular interest, such
as Ince Hall (Plate III). Henry Shaw (1800-1873) is mainly known to fame
by his architectural illustrations, many of which are included in this
book. F. W. Fairholt (1814-1866) combined the life of author
and artist with conspicuous success, his Horeham Hall (Plate XI) showing
evidence of his deep love of pageantry as well as his architectural
sympathies. A Belgian artist who lived and worked in London, Louis Haghe
(1806-1885) established a considerable reputation for his able
interpretations of old Flemish architecture, chiefly interiors. He was a
most accomplished draughtsman, and, like other artists of the period,
made great use of lithography as a medium. Though the drawings by Nash
and other artists with similar ambitions come within the category of
made-up pictures--that is to say, were inspired by the past rather than
the present--they were often of considerable charm and bore few traces
of being rather second-hand in design. To achieve success with a
composition relying for its incidents and accessories on scenes enacted,
or supposed to have been enacted, two centuries or more previously
requires gifts of no mean order. Not only must there be a proper
understanding of the sentiments of the times, but the people introduced
must be dressed appropriately and must take their part in the
proceedings naturally. Nash, of course, studied his backgrounds on the
spot, and chose the point of view which would be most picturesque. For
him it was then a comparatively simple matter to imagine what scenes had
taken place there long years before. He saw with his mind’s eye and
recorded his impressions with due regard to historical probability and
artistic requirements.

Posterity owes much to the painstaking and capable artists who toured
the country in search of likely material and who published the results
of their labours in such a permanently attractive way. Without such
drawings nothing would exist to remind us of some of the most
interesting examples of craftsmanship produced in the preceding
centuries. The illustrations are useful also for comparison with the
modern views of buildings by means of photography, and it is curious to
notice how much alike are some of the records. One often suspects
photographers of taking up the same point of view as the less speedy
draughtsmen of nearly a hundred years ago, not because one
vantage-ground inevitably suggests itself, but because artists of the
camera are inclined to follow the lead of their predecessors. This
plagiarism may be forgiven, however, for it enables us to see exactly
what changes have taken place in the interval of years.

Our thanks are due not only to those who illustrated but to those who
published the drawings which are so valuable for reference, with the
appropriate comments which accompanied them. The authors made light of
difficult travel, and with much evident pleasure elaborated in prose the
now hackneyed lines of Mrs. Hemans:

    “The Stately Homes of England,
      How beautiful they stand
     Amidst their tall ancestral trees
      O’er all the pleasant land.”

[Illustration: HENRY SHAW


Happy should we be if we could give similar credit to those architects
and craftsmen whose work was the best of its period but whose identities
are unknown. They provided sources of pleasure and instruction, not only
by the results of their skill but by inspiring artists of later
generations to interpret their ideals and popularise their creations.
Architects of modern times and students of all descriptions have
searched in vain for information which would reveal the authorship of
certain executed designs. Even when a clue has been obtained it has led
to nothing definite, and the credit for much of the greatest building
work is given to the client who paid for it, a thing not unknown in
modern times. We are told that “Nonsuch” was built by King Henry VIII,
Hampton Court by Cardinal Wolsey, and other venerable places were due,
apparently, to the architectural genius of earls, knights, esquires, and
other people. Perhaps these patrons did exercise considerable influence
in the erection of the houses in which they intended to live, and in
some cases it is likely that they superintended the work of quarrying
the stone, felling the timber, and obtaining other materials. The
anonymity of the real architect, as we should call him, was preserved,
and, as in the case of the Gothic cathedrals, attributed to one or
another bishop, we must be content to admire the work without knowing
for certain to whom should be given the credit. The master builders and
carpenters of the day succeeded as admirably in disguising their names
as in doing their work, and it was not until the middle of the sixteenth
century that the veil of obscurity was lifted.

When in 1563 John Shute published his “First and Chief Groundes of
Architecture” he described himself as “Paynter and Archytecte,” but
little is known of him in either capacity and his fame rests mainly on
the publication of this excellent book on the Orders. Stephen Harrison,
the designer of some fine triumphal arches for erection in London in
1603, “in honor of the High and mighty prince James, King of England,”
described himself as “Joyner and Architect.” The latter word was
evidently coming into use in England as a supplementary qualification.
In June 1566 Queen Elizabeth laid the foundation-stone of the first
Royal Exchange in London, known as “Britain’s Burse,” and the name of
the architect employed by Sir Thomas Gresham was one Henry de Pas or
Paschen, a native of Antwerp. It was not until 1570 that an English
architect transmitted his name to posterity as the author of a notable
example of domestic architecture. In the Soane Museum there is a plan of
Kirby Hall (Plate XIV) on which John Thorpe wrote the words “Whereof I
layd the first stone 1570”; and though Thorpe’s career and attainments
have been the subject of acute discussion, he may be regarded as one of
the first to emerge from obscurity. Afterwards came the Smithsons,
father and son, Inigo Jones, Webb, Wren, and a succession of well-known
architects. In addition to the names or architects arising
from the depths of history there are other reminders of identity. On the
exterior of Moreton Old Hall (Plate XXIII)is an inscription referring to
William Moreton, MDLIX, and one, “Rycharde Dale, Carpeder, made thies
windous by the Grac of God.” On the building known some years ago as
“Nantwich Old Town Hall” (Plate XLIV) were the words “Richard Dale,
Free-Mason, was the master carpenter in makinge this buyldinge, Anno
Domini 1611”; and in the Victoria and Albert Museum is a beam of carved
elm dated 1638 with the words, “I was set upp right and even per John
Sommersett.” Such examples only whet our appetite for still earlier
records of native workers. They existed in great numbers in spite of the
fact that England in the sixteenth century was the home of many Italian
artists who influenced the work of the day. Torrigiano arrived about
1510, and he found ample patronage, like many of his fellow-countrymen.

While it would be very instructive to know the names of those who
designed and executed the Tudor buildings, it is doubtful if the facts
ever will be established, and we must be content to admire without
knowing to whom the credit should be given. Our appreciation is sincere,
and we find unlimited interest in the remains of another industrial age.
The question of authorship, however, though giving us opportunity for
attribution, is not so important as the value of the buildings
themselves. The problems of design and construction, the new planning,
the means of decoration and equipment, such were the things which
occupied the attention of our ancestors and which may now be traced and
compared with subsequent architectural achievements. In Tudor times a
domestic revolution was in progress. The accessories of life, possessed,
if not enjoyed, by those who had gone before, were being thoroughly
overhauled and were often condemned in the light of altered conditions.
The barrack life of feudal and mediæval times had been changed gradually
and the accommodation had become more private. Residential possibilities
began to be conceived. Comforts suggested themselves and were adopted in
the new houses which arose all over the country. Building became a
passion with the wealthy, and with the demand for ideas there arose a
supply of men desirous of devoting their lives to the building and
embellishment of houses, an ambition of which the fruits may still be
enjoyed to some extent.

Subdivision was one of the guiding principles in the evolution of
domestic architecture. Time was when the barest necessities in the way
of architecture sufficed for the accommodation of the chieftains and
their servants, armed or otherwise. The main requirement was solidity.
Everyone then shared the fortified castles, which were surrounded in
many cases by moats, and lived under the most primitive conditions. In
those days apparently the only way to find solitude in a home was to
get committed to the dungeons, and there were drawbacks to
those retreats. Gradually more privacy was obtained by the lord and his
family. The large and lofty hall, with dais and minstrel gallery,
continued to dominate the plan and remained the most serviceable
apartment, common to all; but smaller rooms began to be included in new
buildings or additions were made to the old places. The castles, though
remaining primarily as places of defence and protection from the
weather, began to be used for occupation also, and new elements entered
into their design and construction. The keep developed, and eventually
the domestic requirements of the establishment displaced the other

When Henry VIII came to the throne, richer than most kings or England
had been and with unlimited resourcefulness, the time had come for the
development of the domestic buildings of the country in a way hitherto
impossible. Throughout the reigns of the Tudor sovereigns there was
continuous activity in this direction, as well as in other departments
of the national life, and the evidence which remains proves what an
upheaval of thought took place. Hitherto the most important, if not the
main, attribute of a residence was its invulnerable character. The walls
were as wide as many rooms at the present day, and this solid mass of
stone or brick was pierced by apertures, varying in size but generally
only large enough to admit light without providing an entrance for an
enemy. At the foot of the building the holes were especially small. If
the windows were glazed at all it was with horn as often as not, though
glass was easily procurable. Fireplaces had been features of the
interiors for many years before Tudor times, and they were often
supplemented by open hearths in the middle of the large hall, the smoke
escaping through a louvre in the roof. An example of this effective mode
of warming is still to be seen at Penshurst.

The somewhat prison-like characteristics of these early buildings became
obsolete through the advent of more peaceful occupations and by the
invention of weapons against which stone and brick could not stand. The
impetus given to more rational building gathered in force and, inspired
by a monarch himself enterprising in such matters, the results were to
be seen everywhere. The lands and properties which changed hands at the
Suppression of the Monasteries brought wealth to many people, who
immediately began to re-house themselves on a scale in keeping with
their ample resources. In these buildings of Henry’s time there remained
an inclination towards strength, and the small window openings only
disappeared slowly. There was evidently a certain reluctance in giving
up the appearance of a fortified dwelling-place, even though the
building itself would be practically useless to defend the inmates
against new means of attack. By the time of Elizabeth, however,
this lingering aversion to the purely domestic building had
vanished, and while the exteriors began to be more ornamental the
interiors were arranged with increasing regard for comfort and
convenience. The Hall remained as the chief feature of the ground floor,
though by this time some families had abandoned the practice of taking
their meals with their retainers. The Long Gallery came into existence
as the principal room upstairs, being serviceable for recreation and
entertainment. Its bay windows, when not too numerous, contributed to
the internal and external interest of the building. Wide and majestic
wooden staircases came into use and the spaciousness of the period was
expressed admirably. Gardens, laid out with architectural forethought,
began to form component parts of houses, and an air of opulence and
peace pervaded the country, in spite of the fact that war-like
preparations were in progress. The expansion of England was reflected in
the architecture and decorations of the period, and under the influence
of wealth, prosperity, and inclination new ideas were generated. The
transition from mediæval life was complete. After the defeat of the
Invincible Armada the work of building went on with undiminished force;
and though the Palladian era was beginning, destroying the simplicity
and charm of the earlier period, the houses of the time were far from
being destitute of attraction and significance.

Tudor architecture appeals to us for many reasons, and not least because
of its human associations. In the presence of such a building as Hampton
Court we are reminded of various periods of architecture and different
generations of notable people. The names occur to us of many royal
personages who lived there. We think of Wren ending his days near to the
structure with which he was so intimately associated. But it is the
memory of Wolsey which takes the foremost place in our thoughts.
Everyone knows the pretty story of the Cardinal’s diplomacy in
presenting the building to the monarch who so much appreciated it before
and after it came into his possession. Its history, however, began some
years before that, and it is to the events of those early days that we
are specially attracted. We imagine Cardinal Wolsey securing the
position of Lord Chancellor and setting builders and craftsmen to work
on a suitable abode with total disregard to cost. Arrangements had to be
made in the scheme for a great household and for the hundreds of guests
and their retainers who in due course went to the noble residence on the
banks of the Upper Thames. Wolsey’s hospitality monopolised the services
or an army of dependents and the planning of the place was tested
severely. To understand the requirements of Hampton Court in those days
we may turn to the life of Wolsey written by George Cavendish in the
sixteenth century. There we may read of the historic entertainment
provided for the ambassadors from France. The Cardinal called for the
principal officers of his house, such as his steward, comptroller, and
the clerks of his kitchen, ordering them to prepare the best banquet

[Illustration: HENRY SHAW


could be provided by money or friendship. The preliminaries were carried
out on a magnificent scale. “The yeomen and grooms of the wardrobes were
busied in hanging of the chambers with costly hangings, and furnishing
the same with beds of silk, and other furniture apt for the same in
every degree. Then the carpenters, the joiners, the masons, the
painters, and all other artificers necessary to glorify the house and
feast were set to work. There was carriage and re-carriage of plate,
stuff, and other rich implements; so that there was nothing lacking or
to be imagined or devised for the purpose. There were also fourteen
score beds provided and furnished with all manner of furniture to them
belonging.” When the feast began the arrangements were perfect and we
are able to imagine the scene. “Anon came up the second course, with so
many dishes, subtleties, and curious devices, which were above a hundred
in number, of so goodly proportion and costly that I suppose the
Frenchmen never saw the like. The wonder was no less than it was worthy
in deed. There were castles with images in the same: Paul’s Church and
steeple, in proportion for the quantity as well counterfeited as the
painter should have painted it upon a cloth or wall. There were beasts,
birds, fowls of divers kinds, and personages, most lively made and
counterfeit in dishes, some fighting as it were with swords, some with
guns and crossbows, some vaulting and leaping, some dancing with ladies,
some in complete harness, jousting with spears and with many more
devices than I am able with my wit to describe. Among all, one I noted:
there was a chess board subtilely made of spiced plate, with men to the
same.” Cavendish goes on to mention the arrangements made for the guests
at night, and the whole account reads like an Arabian Nights’

Although the above festivities at Hampton Court were or exceptional
grandeur, they were typical of the kind common throughout the land in
Tudor times. The fine houses having been built, it was only natural that
they should be filled with guests who would contribute to the gaieties
of the place. The scenes of pomp and splendour which were enacted at
many of the mansions illustrated in this book were duly recorded, and
royal personages as often as not appeared in the pageants. It requires
little effort of imagination to restore the glories of the past and to
people these ancient buildings with those for whose glorification they
were erected. The majority of the mansions themselves are but shadows of
their former selves, but the illustrations by which such artists as
Nash, Richardson, and Fairholt recorded their beauties enable us to
conjure up the ghosts of the departed Englishmen who gave life to the
structures. The remains of the buildings themselves are a heritage of
which we should be and are proud, and no efforts should be spared to
keep them from decay or destruction, whatever the difficulties.
Illustrations made in different periods are useful and entertaining, but
they are nothing compared with the pleasure given by the
mansions themselves. It would be a calamity indeed if these objects of
antiquity were to be swept away.

When Crewe Hall (illustrated here in Plates LIV, LV, and LVI) was burned
to the ground in 1866, the late S. C. Hall recorded that since he had
published his “Baronial Halls and Picturesque Edifices of England” no
fewer than thirteen of those he had described had been destroyed by
fire. Without attempting to complete these statistics it is certain that
the list could be considerably extended, and as time goes on other
accidents will rob the country of many more of its architectural
attractions. The romance which is enshrined in these old buildings will
never be forgotten, however, for the story of each structure has been
told many times, and events of the day often cause us to refresh our
memories. In 1913, for instance, the famous old Kirby Hall,
Northamptonshire (Plate XIV), came into the market, as Quenby Hall,
Leicestershire, had done also; and we were reminded then of their long
histories. A nobleman sells one of his pictures for a large sum, and our
thoughts immediately revert to the home which the painting has graced,
perhaps for centuries. Then there are all kinds of incidents connected
with the descendants of notable families, which bring forward once again
the architectural background of social life. Even though in some cases
these relics of the past have been razed to the ground, history has been
made in them which can never be obliterated. It is the personal and
sentimental interest which helps us to appreciate the work of the men
who built or decorated the houses where family histories began. These
architects, master-masons, and other workers skilled in invention and
execution contributed in the most permanent and satisfying way to the
distinction gained by their employers. If they themselves are unknown to
fame, or are forgotten by all but students of building, their genius is
imperishable. Later generations of architects and craftsmen have
supplied the best of all epitaphs, that of emulation. Whether John
Thorpe built this or that house, whether Inigo Jones did or did not
design portions of famous buildings, the questions afford pleasant
exercises in deduction and attribution. But the sum total of achievement
is the main thing to be considered. So far as domestic architecture is
concerned the lessons of the past have been put to good use in England.

One of the most ancient buildings illustrated in the present volume is
Haddon Hall (Plate I), which dates from Plantagenet times, or earlier.
Alterations and additions were made subsequently, and the building
affords an almost unrivalled opportunity to study the ideals of various
periods. It is of the castellated type and was evidently built for
defence, but the later work is of equal importance. Sir George Vernon,
known as the “King of the Peak” on account of his magnificent style of
living, was responsible for considerable additions in the
sixteenth century, while the Long Gallery and parts of the garden are to
the credit of his daughter, Dorothy Vernon, who married Sir John
Manners, second son of the first Earl of Rutland. This old house,
situated so picturesquely on sloping ground, is associated with many
legends, including the supposed courtship and elopement of the
celebrated Dorothy, a pleasant fiction which is too generally believed
to be exposed. Haddon would lose some of its attractions if the “Walk,”
the “Door,” and other features associated with the popular heiress were
removed, but even without them the building would be of romantic
interest. Mr. Henry James, in one of his refreshing essays, has
recognised “the inevitability of a Dorothy Vernon and a Lord John,”
which sums up the prevailing sentiment of the place. It seems made for
an elopement, and if in reality one did not take place, then it was the
fault of the people and not of the house, which lent itself so admirably
to such a purpose. Cattcrmole, like many other artists, loved to paint
here and to conjure up delightful visions. Haddon was for a long time a
favourite place or residence of the Earls of Rutland, but towards the
end of the eighteenth century much of the movable furniture was taken to
Belvoir. Since the days of general travel the tread of visitors, often
on their way to Chatsworth, has been incessant, and if the chief
interest has been popular and sentimental rather than architectural, it
is not surprising under the circumstances.

To think of Haddon Hall without Hardwick Hall is impossible, for the two
are among the greatest of many attractions in Derbyshire. Hardwick Hall
(Plate XXV) dates from the year 1590 and adjoins the site of an even
more princely structure. It owes its origin to the famous Elizabeth
Hardwick, whose building activities were abnormal, partly because, so
runs the legend, it was predicted that she would never die until she
ceased to build; which prophecy was fulfilled, for her last day came at
the time of a frost so severe that her labourers had to suspend
operations. Bess of Hardwick survived four husbands--Robert Barley, Sir
William Cavendish, Sir William St. Loe, and the Earl of Shrewsbury, who
was custodian of Mary Queen of Scots. The history of her descendants is
even longer than her own. She accumulated vast wealth and spent on
building much of her annual income of £60,000, possibly for the reason
that she believed in the prophecy concerning herself. A woman of
extraordinary energy and accomplishments, she was responsible for the
erection of Hardwick, Chatsworth, Oldcotes, and other places. Everyone
knows the old saying,

    “Hardwick Hall,
     More glass than wall,”

which was applied to the first-named building for obvious reasons. In
those Elizabethan days there was a growing desire to dissipate
gloom and to reverse the old practice of building mainly for
strength. If Bess of Hardwick exaggerated the advantage of window space
at Hardwick Hall and gave it somewhat the appearance of a modern
steel-framed structure, she provided us with compensations in the same
house, for the state apartment, a corner of which is shown in the
illustration by Lake Price (Plate XXV), possesses great beauty in
conception. It is 65 feet long, about 30 feet wide, and 26 feet high.
The state bed included in the drawing came from Chatsworth.

Horeham Hall, Essex (Plate XI), is an interesting example of early
sixteenth-century work, retaining much of its original quality. The
Princess Elizabeth found a refuge here while her half-sister was on the
throne, and liked the place so much that she often revisited it after
she succeeded to the Crown. The building, owing its origin to Sir John
Cutt, shows a curious mixture of castle and mansion, not only as regards
the exterior but in the planning. It was once surrounded by a moat,
which was partially filled in about the middle of the nineteenth
century. The stepped gables and ornamental battlements give picturesque
irregularity to the elevation.

Essex possesses in Audley End (Plates XLII and XLIII) a special reminder
of the past. This mansion was more imposing in size originally than it
is now, so much so that James I is said to have remarked, “It is too
much for a King, though it might do very well for a Lord Treasurer”; an
observation matched by Queen Victoria, who on visiting Stafford House,
now the London Museum, said to the Duchess of Sutherland, “I have come
from my house to your palace.” Audley End takes its name from Sir Thomas
Audley, afterwards Baron Audley of Walden, who was Lord Chancellor to
Henry VIII in succession to Wolsey and More. The Manor of Walden had
been granted by William the Conqueror to his famous follower, Geoffrey
de Mandeville, first Earl of Essex, and in course of time had reverted
to the Crown. Sir Thomas Audley acquired it in 1538, after the
Dissolution of the Monasteries with which he had so much to do and by
which he profited extremely. His elder daughter married first Lord Henry
Dudley and afterwards the Duke of Norfolk, whose son, Lord Thomas
Howard, created Earl of Suffolk and Baron Howard de Walden, built the
magnificent home, named Audley End in memory of his mother’s father.
Lord Thomas Howard, who was one of the heroes in the fight against the
Armada, and became Lord Treasurer of England, made plans for a building
of surpassing grandeur and spent something like £190,000 on the place,
an enormous sum in those days. The work was begun in 1603 and was
finished about 1616. Soon afterwards the fortunes of the owner changed
and he found himself in the Tower. His successors were unable to
maintain the establishment, and in 1666 the third Earl of Suffolk sold
it to Charles II. It became a favourite place with the King,
partly because it was on the road to Newmarket, and the mansion became
alive with the festivities of the Court. Pepys records how having drunk
the King’s health he played a flageolet solo in the enormous cellars,
the echo pleasing him greatly. Evelyn described the mansion as “Indeede
a cheerfull piece of Gotic building, or rather antico moderno,”
conveying a hint of its Italian features. Audley End reverted to the
Howard family in 1701, and in 1721 Vanbrugh took it in hand, demolishing
three sides of the grand quadrangle and in other ways reducing its size
to more homely proportions. At the end of the eighteenth century Lord
Braybrooke restored the mansion at great expense and wrote its history.

Another Jacobean house associated with the Howard family was Charlton
House, Wiltshire (Plate XXXII), the seat near Malmesbury of the present
Earl of Suffolk. This building was “modernised” by Matthew Brettingham
in the time of George III, but many of its original characteristics

The other Charlton House (Plate XV) is in Kent. Sir S. P. Maryon Wilson,
Bart., the present owner, is the fortunate possessor of a building of
remarkable interest and perfection which has belonged to his family for
generations. The house was built for Sir Adam Newton between 1607 and
1612, and it is possible that it was intended to be a Royal residence.
The founder was tutor to the eldest son of James I, Prince Henry, who,
however, died in 1612. Evelyn believed the house to have been built for
the Prince of Wales, and as the royal arms were placed on the building
this theory is tenable. Though the surroundings of Charlton House have
changed during the three centuries it has existed, much of the original
interest remains. It is one of those buildings, like Cobham Hall, a few
miles from Gravesend, which, though on the verge of the newer
civilisation, retain their historic significance.

Kent is rich in the architecture of other days, and many instances could
be given of structures erected at different periods. They need not be
enumerated, for they are mostly well-known, but reference may be made to
those included among the illustrations. East Sutton Place (Plate XXXIX)
and Little Charleton (Plate LVII) are neighbouring houses, both being
associated with the Filmer family. The former is now the residence of
Mr. Malcolm Aird. The Old Manor House, Hollingbourne (Plate XXXVI), was
built in Elizabethan times for a member of the Culpeper family, and like
many another old family residence it became a farmhouse. Hollingbourne
is on the Pilgrim’s Way and has reverted to its original use, being now
the home of Mr. J. H. Deacon. The old house at Maidstone (Plate XLVIII)
is typical of many erected throughout the country in Jacobean times and
finished with great elaboration. Its date is 1611.

Somewhat later than the house at Maidstone, and more than rivalling it
in interest, is the old house at Ipswich (Plate XL). This was built in
the reign of Charles I for Robert Sparrow, Bailiff of Ipswich, after
whom the house was named. The four bay windows on the principal story
are supported by a cornice and a series of richly decorated corbels.
There are panels emblematical of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, and
in the centre is a royal coat of arms. Figures appear again in the
gables of the dormers. The exuberant fancy of the designer of this house
was governed by a sense of proportion, otherwise the effect would have
been far different.

For picturesqueness the half-timber houses are unequalled, and many
examples remain in England to remind us of the successful conception of
this type of house, originating, no doubt, in the supply of local
materials. This style of architecture reached its zenith in the time of
Elizabeth and was popular both for town and country buildings. The
streets of Chester are a never-failing source of interest in this
respect, and many houses in the neighbourhood enjoy well-deserved fame.
One of them, Garden Hall, dating from the sixteenth century, was
destroyed by fire in 1912, a regrettable calamity. Moreton Old Hall
(Plate XXIII) is an exceptionally good example of a timbered house,
presenting nearly its original appearance. As we have seen (p. 16), it
dates from the middle of the sixteenth century, and although suffering a
period of neglect, it has been restored to usefulness and beauty. It is
now a farm and is still in the possession of the Moreton family,
traditionally associated with it. Entering by the stone bridge over the
moat, the view is quaint and attractive, the gatehouse and courtyard
being most impressive. Of the rooms not one is so interesting as the
ballroom or long gallery with its open timber roof.

Pitchford Hall (Plate XVI) is among the most striking buildings in
Shropshire, and it is said to possess an unbroken record of tenancy
since it was erected in the time of Henry VIII, never suffering from the
changes which are almost inevitable during such a long period. The
building is certainly in excellent preservation, and is maintained as a
residence with due regard to its venerable appearance. The Princess
Victoria and the Duchess of Kent stayed here in 1832. The drawing by F.
W. Hulme shows more windows than exist at present, an indication that
alterations have taken place--possibly restorations to a former and
better state. The moat has been altered also. The view taken by the
artist barely suggests the extent of the building, for only one wing is
shown prominently. Also in Shropshire is Park Hall, near Oswestry
(Plates XXVI, XXVII, and XXVIII), the residence of Mrs. Wynne Corrie.
This house was erected about 1640, and Richardson’s almost photographic
drawing represents the exterior as it stands at the present day. A
notable building is the Oak House, West Bromwich (Plate VIII).
The special feature is the timber turret rising from the centre of the
roof and competing in effect with the series of chimney-stacks. It is
now in the midst of the Black Country, with which it has little in

Among the best half-timber houses in Lancashire is Smithells Hall (Plate
VI), where the bold quatrefoil work makes a variation in decorative
effect. It is of very ancient foundation, but the existing work dates
from the early sixteenth century. It passed into the Ainsworth family
about a hundred years ago at a cost of £21,000, and has since been
preserved as a family residence. Turton Tower (Plate VII) is also a few
miles from Bolton. The embattled stone tower, built for defence, belongs
to an earlier period than the wood-and-plaster portion and affords a
remarkable contrast in style. In Bolton, and now belonging to the
Corporation, is the interesting old building known as the “Hall i’ the
Wood” (Plate V), a description which has lost its point as much as the
original “Bolton-le-Moors.” Cotton-spinning accounted largely for the
transformation, and it is appropriate enough that the Hall i’ the Wood
should be a museum, reminding visitors of the history of a son of Bolton
who revolutionised the local industry, namely Samuel Crompton. The
picturesque old building, which once fitted so well into the open
landscape, became dilapidated and was divided up into tenements at the
end of the eighteenth century. Among those who lodged there in poverty
was Crompton, then engaged in perfecting his machine. Bolton operatives
did not look with favour on mechanical aids to labour, and Crompton had
to hide his “mule” from rioters. At last he disclosed his secret, and
the idea which helped to make Bolton rich gained immortality for the
inventor, but little else. Indeed, but for a few friends who came to
Crompton’s aid, poverty would have claimed another genius. As a Museum
the Hall i’ the Wood will remain in perpetuity as the shrine of this
remarkable man.

Another historic building to end its days as a museum is Aston Hall,
Warwickshire (Plates IX and LI), which after a period of suspense came
under the administration of the Birmingham Corporation. The majestic
appearance of the building remains in spite of attacks by man and time.
The central entrance leading to the hall is noteworthy as an innovation
in planning. With its curved gables, towers, and chimneys, the exterior
is picturesque, while the interior is attractive in many ways, not the
least interesting feature being the oak staircase which was damaged by
cannon-shot during the Civil War. Sir Thomas Holte, the first owner, was
a Royalist and entertained Charles I at his “poor house of Aston” just
before the battle of Edgehill, for which hospitality revenge was taken
by the Parliamentary army. Aston Hall was once the residence of James
Watt, son of the great engineer. In the middle of the nineteenth century
it was saved from demolition, the mansion, together with its
surrounding acres, being purchased for general use.

Although Hampton Court (Nash’s delightful drawing of which is reproduced
in colours as a frontispiece to this volume) is the private property of
the Crown, it is usually open for inspection, and its splendid past is
always an inspiration. It was due to Queen Victoria that the Palace and
grounds, long neglected, were made available for the public. A
politician with a gift for phrase-making has described it aptly as a
place of “pleasure, leisure, and treasure,” which is true, though its
educational value need not have been overlooked. A reference to its
association with Wolsey occurs on p. 18, and much more could be written
in connection with its early history, the period which provided Joseph
Nash with the subject of the drawing reproduced here. Since Hampton
Court was first built its appearance has been changed considerably,
notably by Wren’s addition of the beautiful Fountain Court and other
portions. The building provides many chapters of romance, sometimes
connected with the restoration of hidden features. Especial interest,
for instance, is attached to the stone bridge over the moat, built in
the time of Henry VIII, buried in after years, and not reinstated until
a few years ago.

The glory of Kenilworth has departed, but its history lives. It is a
long record, and if little remains of the structure which saw so many
pageants in Tudor and earlier times, the ruins, including the Gatehouse
(Plate LIII), are of exceptional interest. For all its poetic licence,
Scott’s novel is one of the books to which we turn for vivid
descriptions of the scenes which took place within its walls and in the
neighbourhood. It was a glorious pile, and, in the words of the late Mr.
C. E. Mallows, “in its perfect state, it must have been a complete
museum of English architecture from Norman times to Leicester’s
additions in the reign of Elizabeth.”

Crewe Hall, which suffered by fire in 1866, was rebuilt by Edward Barry
after the old model, and the present building might be mistaken for the
original structure, erected between the years 1615 and 1636 for Sir
Randal Crewe (Plates LIV, LV, and LVI). The story is told that at the
time of the fire Lord Crewe sent a telegram to his architect, saying,
“Crewe is burning, come and build it up again,” an example of sangfroid
suggested perhaps by the reply of Sheridan to a friend who asked the
dramatist how he could sit complacently with a bottle of wine before him
looking at the burning Drury Lane Theatre, which Sheridan practically
owned at the time. “Surely,” was the reply, “a man may be allowed to
take a glass of wine before his own fireside.” The noble old mansion
known as Kirby Hall (Plate XIV) is the work of John Thorpe, who has
recorded that he laid the first stone in 1570. Additions were made about
1638 by Inigo Jones. It was built for Sir

[Illustration: HENRY SHAW


Humphrey Stafford and came into the possession of Sir
Christopher Hatton, afterwards becoming one of the seats of the
Finch-Hatton family. The mansion is rich in Elizabethan memories and is
one of the most interesting architectural relics in the country. There
is a story to the effect that it was intended to use the building in
1805 as a place of retirement for the Court in the event of an invasion
by Napoleon. Kirby has suffered many vicissitudes. A visitor some
seventy years ago wrote: “A farmer occupies a suite of rooms the
decoration of which would excite astonishment and admiration in a London
Club-house. Farm servants sleep surrounded by exquisite carving. One
room, decorated with a fine old fireplace in which are the arms of Lord
Chancellor Hatton, serves the purpose of a dog kennel.” In 1913, when
the building was for sale by direction of the Earl of Winchilsea, it was
stated that though it had been unoccupied for about sixty years it was
capable of restoration.

Loseley House, Surrey (Plate XVII), dates from between 1562 and 1568.
The seat of Sir William More, it has descended through the family to the
present owner, Mrs. More-Molyneux-MCCowen. It was visited frequently by
Queen Elizabeth, who stayed also at the neighbouring Sutton Place. In
its best days Loseley was a stately stone building of more than ordinary
significance in history, as recorded in “The Loseley Manuscripts,” by A.
J. Kempe (1836). Structural alterations in the past did not tend to
improve its original beauty.

A still earlier example of domestic architecture is the Manor House at
East Barsham, Norfolk (Plate XXII), which was begun in the first few
years of the sixteenth century. It was built of red brick with
terra-cotta decorations, and it must have been a magnificent structure.
It fell into a ruinous state and was used as a farmhouse early in the
nineteenth century. Another East Anglian building which possessed
importance in Tudor times was West Stow Hall, Suffolk (Plate XXI). The
fine gatehouse shown in Müller’s drawing dominated the rest of the
building and survived in a habitable state long after the main edifice
had become useless. In a decayed state the place was used for
agricultural purposes.

Sawston Hall, Cambridgeshire (Plate IV), was for centuries the residence
of the “Ayntient and Rightworthy Famylie of Hodlestone,” the building
illustrated being erected about the year 1557. There is a tradition that
Queen Mary took shelter in the mansion which preceded this one, and was
conveyed thence on horseback to Framlingham. Her pursuers set fire to
the building and the Queen said, “Let the house burn; I will build
Huddleston a better.” It is now the seat of Mr. D. Lawlor-Huddleston.

Among the most notable buildings in England is Montacute, an interior of
which is illustrated here (Plate XXXI). Its name, derived from
_mons acutus_, explains that it is on a hilly site, from which it
overlooks the picturesque village of Montacute. The castle was of Norman
origin and was then owned by the Phelips family, the possessor of the
present mansion being Mr. W. R. Phelips. Montacute was built at the end
of the sixteenth century and gained a reputation for hospitality partly
by the inscription over the entrance,

    “Through this wide-opening gate,
     None come too early, none return too late.”

The place was sacked by Cromwell, who stayed there for a time. When
Richardson visited the house it was in poor condition, “stripped in a
great degree of its internal decorations and left to the mercy of time”;
but restorations have been carried out. It is noteworthy that while the
walls were richly panelled and decorated the ceilings throughout were
kept plain, as indicated in the illustration.

Among other interesting stone buildings erected in Somersetshire may be
mentioned Barrington Court (Plate XLI), built for the first Earl of
Bridgewater in the time of James I. This gabled mansion, with its
twisted chimneys and pinnacles, was once of great beauty, but it fell
into disrepair, and in a dilapidated state was occupied by a farmer. In
1907 it was acquired by the National Trust for Places of Historic
Interest or Natural Beauty, under whose directions restorations have
been effected. The house at South Petherton, in the same county (Plate
XXXVII), is an example of the use of tracery, now reserved for
ecclesiastical buildings, but once common in domestic architecture.

Dorfold Hall, Cheshire (Plates XXIX and XXX), the residence of Mr. H. J.
Tollemache, is a Jacobean mansion about a mile from Nantwich. It is a
brick building with stone dressings, the interior being decorated in
lavish style. The plaster-work of the ceiling in the Great Chamber was
especially ornate, though not so overwhelming, probably, as it seems to
be in Richardson’s drawing.

The illustrations of interiors which are included in this volume are
typical of many productions which expressed the fancy of designers and
decorators in olden times. Reference has been made to some of them
already, and a few more notes may be given in connection with the
others. Benthall Hall, Shropshire (Plate II), was built for William
Benthallin 1535 on the site of a former house. It was unharmed during
the Civil War, but was badly damaged by fire about a hundred years ago.
The view of the dining-room, re-peopled by the artist with some of its
former tenants, shows the oak fireplace extending to the enriched
ceiling. Charlecote, Warwickshire (Plate XVIII), was built in 1558 for
Thomas Lucy, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth and whose portrait with
his family is shown in the picture by Jansen over the fireplace.
Charlecote is supposed to have been the scene of Shakespeare’s
youthful escapade, which, perhaps, brought him into the very room
depicted by J. G. Jackson. Coombe Abbey, near Coventry (Plate XIX), is
of ancient foundation, the first structure being a Cistercian monastery.
It came into lay hands in the time of Henry VIII and the place was
rebuilt. Since then it has been altered several times, notably from
designs by Captain Wynne, and in more recent times by Eden Nesfield.
Coombe Abbey, the seat of the Earl of Craven, was the home of the
Princess Elizabeth, only daughter of James I, through whose marriage
with the Elector Palatine the House of Hanover came to the throne of
England. Ford House, Devonshire (Plate XIII), was built for Sir Richard
Reynell in 1610 and was the scene of much fighting during the Civil War.
It has memories of Charles I and the Prince of Orange. Burton Agnes,
Yorkshire (Plate XLVI), the ancient home of the Boyntons, is still in
the possession of a member of the family, Mr. T. L. Wickham-Boynton. It
is a most interesting Tudor house, both as regards the interior and
exterior. Richardson’s view of the hall, with its semicircular arch
leading to the staircase, is obtainable still, though pictures are now
to be seen on the walls. Longford Castle, Wiltshire (Plate XLIX), the
seat of the Earl of Radnor, is probably the work of John Thorpe. It was
begun just before the advent of the Spanish Armada, and it is related
that the cost of the foundations was so heavy that the purse of the
client, Sir Thomas Gorges, was almost empty. Fortunately one of the
Spanish galleons was wrecked near Hurst Castle, the Hampshire fortress
of which Sir Thomas became Governor at the time of the threatened
invasion. It was in Longford Castle that Holbein’s Ambassadors was to be
seen for so many generations, before it was removed with other pictures
to the National Gallery, London, about a quarter of a century ago.

Among the illustrations are several showing the panelling which once
adorned, and in some cases still helps to furnish, the mansions erected
in other days. Some of the woodwork was kept in its natural state, and
some was gilt or otherwise embellished; but the craftsmanship was always
of supreme interest. The panelling surrounding the drawing-room at
Boughton Malherbe, Kent (page 7), was of various woods and was coloured.
The marquetry work in the dining-room at Gilling Castle, Yorkshire (page
13), was very elaborate and beautiful in its own way, like the other
decorations in this apartment, which measured 39 by 22 feet.
Exceptionally fine work was also placed in the drawing-room at Stockton
House, Wiltshire (Plate XXXV). The decorations of a room at Great
Yarmouth provided Shaw with inspiration (page 19), and so did those at
Blickling Hall, Norfolk (page 29). The latter name is associated with
the Boleyn family, and with the early days of the unfortunate Queen. The
residence of the Boleyns, however, must have been earlier than the
present one. The property was purchased in Queen Elizabeth’s
day by Sir Henry Hobart, whose descendant, the Marquis of Lothian, is
now the owner. The existing Blickling Hall was built in Jacobean times,
and it will be seen that the date on the chimney-piece is 1627.

Nothing less than a monograph on every one of the Old English Mansions
would suffice to do justice to their historic and artistic glories. A
great deal can be left unsaid, however, without minimising our
appreciation, and such implied praise may be taken for granted in the
present case. Imperfect though some of these old buildings may have been
in several ways, they are among the classics in architecture and their
appeal is continual. Generous in scale, well-built, decorated with
high-spirited talent, and occupied from time to time by people who, if
they do not always command our admiration, at least compel our interest,
these houses have become a part of the national life. If in some cases
they have suffered demolition or sacrilege, the fact should inspire us
to spare no efforts to keep the remaining examples intact and to leave
them as a heritage. They please because of their distant past, perhaps,
but they also attract for what they possess in value at the present
time. They are too precious to be sacrificed.

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