Picture of Thomas Pennant

Thomas Pennant

places mentioned

Ampthill to Luton

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FROM Woburn , for the sake of variety, I left the great road, and, crossing the county, went through the village of Ridgemont , and, soon after, through that of Millbrook , whose church is pleasantly seated on the bluff point of a hill. About two miles farther, reach Ampthill , a small market-town, on a rising ground, noted in old times for the magnificent mansion built by Sir John Cornwall , Lord Fanhope , as Leland says, with such spoiles that he wanne in Fraunce .1 He married Elizabeth , second daughter to John , Earl of Lancaster , commonly called John of Gaunt , and widow to John Earl of Exeter: for her he is supposed to have built the house, which was worthy of so illustrious a princess. It had four or five fair towers of stone in the inner court, beside the basse court .2 This hero was son of Sir John Cornwall: his mother, niece to the Duke of Britany , was delivered of him at sea. He was usually stiled green Cornwall , from the color of that element. He rose by his merit; was celebrated for deeds of arms and acts of chivalry, and those equally in the field, and in the lists of arms. At York he fought and vanquished, in the presence of Henry IV. two valiant knights; one a Frenchman , the other an Italian . In reward for his prowess, Henry created him knight of the garter. He signalized himself at the bdttle of Azincourt , where he took prisoner Louis de Bourbon Count of Vendome , and had his ransom confirmed to him,3 with which he might have built the house; for it seems to be the spoils alluded to by Leland . In reward for his services, he was created by Henry VI. baron of Fanhope and Millbrook , and died in 1443. He had no lawful issue; neither were the large grants made to him by the crown, for more than the term of life, so that they reverted on his decease.

THE place was afterwards bestowed by Edward IV. on Edmund Lord Grey . The gift was not (as Leland supposes) founded on the ruin of Lord Fanhope , after the battle of Northampton ; for that event did not take place till seventeen years after Fanhope died peaceably in his bed. It continued in the family of the Greys till the death of Richard Earl of Kent , who made it over to Henry VIII. That prince added it to the crown, and erected it, with the great estate belonging to it, into the honour of Ampthill .4 Here was the residence of the injured princess Catherine of Arragon , during the period that her divorce was in agitation; and from hence she was cited to appear before the commissioners, then sitting at Dunstable .5 About the year 1774, John Earl of Ossory , on the site of the castle, erected a gothic column (designed by Mr. Essex) to perpetuate the memory of this ill-fated Queen, with the following elegant inscription:6

In days of old, here Ampthill's towers were seen,
The mournful refuge of an injur'd queen;
Here flow'd her pure, but unavailing tears;
Here blinded zeal sustain'd her sinking years:
Yet Freedom hence her radiant banner wav'd,
And Love aveng'd a realm by priests enslav'd;
From Catherine's wrongs a nation's bliss was spread,
And Luther's light from Henry's lawless bed.
                          Johannes Fitz-Patrick ,
                                Comes de OSSORY, posuit, 1773.

THE only remarkable thing I observed in the church, was a mural monument in memory of Richard Nicolls, governor of Long Island after the expulsion of the Dutch . He was a gentleman of the bed-chamber to the Duke of York , and was slain in the celebrated engagement of May 28th, 1672, attending his royal highness on board of his ship. What is singular in this monument is, the preservation of the very ball with which he was killed, a five or six pounder, which is placed within the pediment, inlaid in the marble; and on the molding of the pediment, on each side of the bullet, are the words,

Instrumentum mortis et immortalitatis.

MR. Sandford 7 has given a plate of the figures of Sir John Cornwall and his wife, as painted in a window of this church. They are either lost, or I have overlooked them. They are represented kneeling, and both with mantles of their arms over them: she in her ducal coronet. Between them, at top, is a banner with her arms; at bottom, his arms included in the Garter.

FROM the town I descended to Ampthill Park, the seat of the Earl of Ossory ; a modern house, plain and neat, with eleven windows in front, and wings. Within, is the portrait of Richard Lord Gowran , in his robes: he was ancestor to the noble owner, and married, in 1718, to Anne, younger daughter of Sir John Robinson , of Farning Wood, in Northamptonshire. Another Sir John Robinson's portrait is preserved here: a half-length, in a great wig, cravat, sash, and buff coat. He an eminent loyalist; was lord mayor of London , in 1663, and lieutenant of the Tower, from the Restoration to the time of his death. His double employ is expressed by a distant view of the Tower, and the gold chain placed by hirn on a table.

THE indiscreet prelate Laud , is admirably painted by Vandyck .

HERE is a full length of Catherine Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus: a bulky woman, in, black, with flaxen hair, much curled. This, distinguished female was daughter to Mark Cornaro , the most illustrious of the Venetian families. James Lusignan or James the Bastard, king of Cyprus , in, order to strengthen himself on his throne, demanded, by his ambassador, a wife out of the republic of Venice . The senate fixed on this lady, adopted her as their own, and stiled her, from its tutelar saint, the daughter of St. Mark. She reigned long in that island, and governed fifteen years after the death of her husband. He had left the senate of Venice protectors of her, and of the child with which she was pregnant at the time of that event. The infant son lived only ten months; and the Venetian state considered itself as heir to the kingdom, in right of its daughter Catherine . Apprehensions arose, that the Turkish emperor Bajazet , and the Christian monarch Ferdinand , had designs on it: they determined to frustrate both, and sent George Cornaro , brother to the Queen, to assist her in the government. By his eloquence, he succeeded in the arduous task of persuading a lady out of her love of power. He promised her regal state in her native country. She accepted the terms, erected the Venetian standard in her capital, and, on her arrival at Venice , was met by the whote senate, and the ladies of rank, and received, during life, every mark of esteem which her patriotism merited, with a magnificent establishment, equal to the dignity she had so generously quitted. This event happened about the year 1489.8

Albert archduke of Austria , commonly called the Cardinal Infant , in black, a great ruff, amd with a sword. He was fifth son of the emperor Maximilian II. and was originally brought up in the church; became cardinal, and had the archbishopric of Toledo conferred on him His talents were more fitted for the field and cabinet. Accordingly, we find him in universal esteem, for his prudent administtatron as regent of Portugal, and as abrave and enterprising general in the Low Countries, in the reign of Philip II. who had invested him with their government. In the year 1598, Philip bestowed on him his daughter, the Infanta Isabella , and with her the sovereignty of the Netherlands . Under him was undertaken the famous siege of Ostend , which cost the Spaniards a hundred thousand men. He lived till the year 1621, and died universally lamented by his subjects. He was a patron of the arts. He was so struck with the merit of Rubens , that he detained that able painter some time at Antwerp ; and to him we owe the portrait of this illustrious prince.9

HERE is a fine half-length of a general, by Baroccio ; an artist who died at a great age, in 1612. The person is represented with light hair and whiskers, a hat, armour, and red sash.

A CONVERSATION; consisting of Edward late Duke of York , Lord Ossory , Lord Palmerston, Topham Beauclerk , Colonel H. St. John , and Sir William Boothby: done when they were at Florence , by Brompton.

Ampthill Park , and that of Houghton , contiguous to it, were granted by James I. to Sir Edward Bruce of Kinloss (a favorite, brought by his majesty out of Scot land) , or to his son Thomas Earl of Elgin . It continued for some time in his posterity, the Earls of Elgin and of Ayksbury . It became, about the year 1690 (by purchase) the property of Lord Ashburnham , who built the house, which still retains nearly the original form. It was alienated by John , the first earl of that title, between the years 1720 and 1730, to Lord Viscount Fitz-William . His lordship sold it, in the year 1736, to Lady Gowran , grandmother to the present Lord Ossory .

FROM hence is a very short ride to Houghton Park , formerly part of the estate of Ampthill. The house is seated on a bold eminence, and commands a fine view. The fronts are unequal; one being a hundred and twenty two feet in extent; the other, only seventy three feet six inches: two of these are very beautiful; each has an elegant portico and loggia above, ornamented with columns of the Doric and Ionic orders: the rest of the house is of brick. On the intervening space are a variety of cyphers, devices, and crests; such as bears and ragged staves, staves and palms, crowned lions and crowns, and beards of arrows, or hedge-hogs and porcupines.10 Some of these certainly relate to the Sydnies . This gave rise to the assertion of the editor of Camden , that it built by the Countess of Pembroke ,

Sydney's sister, Pembroke's mother;

and that the model was contrived by her brother, the incomparable Sir Philip Sydney , in his Arcadia . Let this be admitted, we are not to wonder at seeing his devices employed as ornaments. From the letters on the south front, I. R. with a crown over them, it is evident that the house was built in the time of James I; and, there is great reason to suppose,11 that Inigo Jones , who was warmly patronized by her son William Earl of Pembroke , and from whose designs the Earl built the noble front of his seat at Wilton , was the architect.

THIS place must not be confounded with Houghton Conquest: a very antient house, at the foot of the hill. This had been the property of the very old family of the Conquests , and was purchased, with the manor, from the last Mr. Conquest , by the late Earl of Ossory .

I DID not leave the neighborhood without visiting the church of Maulden , a mile or two to the east of Ampthill . This is noted for the octagonal mausoleum erected by Thomas Bruce Earl of Elgin , in honor of his second wife Diana , daughter of William Lord Burghly , and by her first marriage Countess of Oxford . Her tomb, of white marble, is placed in the center. On it is a sarcophagus, or at lest what was designed to represent one; out of which rises a miserable figure of the countess, in her shroud: on whom the country people, by a very apt similitude, have bestowed the title of The lady in the punch-bowl In a niche in the wall of the building is the bust of her husband, with long hair, a short beard, and turnover; and on the floor is another bust (I think) of her son-in-law, Robert Earl of Elgin , placed at a respectful distance, aswell as the other, for the reason, given in the inscription, Eminus stantes venerabundi, quasi contemplabuntur .12

IN the church are the brasses of Richard Falda and his family, inlaid on a tomb of shell-marble.

AFTER a short ride, I reached the large house of Wrest , seated in a low and wet park, crossed with formal rows of trees. The pleasure-grounds have, since their first creation, been corrected by Brown: his hand appears particularly in a noble serpentine river. Several parts are graced with obelisks, pavilions, and other buildings, the taste of the age before,

From his melon-ground the peasant slave
Had rudely rush'd, and levell'd Merlin's cave.

In the quarters of the wilderness are to be seen two cenotaphs, for the late duke and dutchess, erected by the duke himself: and, if you gain a steep ascent, from the hill-house is a most extensive view of the country. The front is plain and extensive. Within, is a great court. This place is the property of the Earl of Hardwicke ;13 in right of his Lady Jemima , marchioness Grey , daughter to John Earl of Breadalbane , by Amabel, daughter to Henry Grey , thirteenth Earl and first Duke of Kent of the name. That illustrious family had been possessed of the manor of Wrest , and other estates in this county, at lest from the time of Roger de Grey , who died owner of it in the year 1353.

THE portraits and their history would take up a volume. I must, therefore, be excused for giving a more brief account than their merits might demand.

IN the hall is a full length of the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots, aet. reg . 38, 1580, in black, with her hand on a table: a copy from one at Hampton Court .

ANOTHER of her grandmother, Margaret , daughter of Henry VII. and Queen of James IV. Scotland . Another full-length, in black hair, naked neck, with a marmoset in her hands.

THREE very fine portraits of James I. in his robes. Anne of Denmark , in white; dressed in a hoop, with a feather fan, and neck exposed. Their son Henry , in rich armour, boots, and with a truncheon. His military turn appears in the dress of most of his portraits. Had he lived, England might probably have transferred the miseries of war to the neighboring kingdom. His mother had inspired him with ambitious notions, and filled his head with the thoughts of the conquest of France . She fancied him like Henry V. and expected him to prove as victorious. I am sorry to retract the character of this lady, but I fear that my former was taken from a parasite of the court.14 She was turbulent, restless, and aspiring to government, incapable of the management of affairs, yet always intriguing after power. This her wiser husband denied her,15 and of course incurred her hatred. Every engine was then employed to hurt his private ease: she affected amours, of which she never was guilty, and permitted familiarities, which her pride would probably have never condescended to. James was armed with indifference. At length, in 1619, he saw her descend to the grave; but not with the resignation of a good Christian monarch, as might have been expeeted from her conduct.

LORD SOMERS, in a long wig and his chancellor's robes, sitting.

A PERSON unknown; a full length, in a black cloak laced with gold, laced bonnet, triple gold chain.

OVER the chimney is a copy of the Cornaro fomily.

IN the eating-room is a full-length of Philip Baron of Wharton , with long hair, breast-plate, and truncheon, and boots; aet . 26, 1639. This nobleman took part with the parlement in the civil wars. Mr. Granger 16 relates on the authority of Walker , that at the battle of Edgehill he hid himself in a saw-pit: a fact incredible, as he gave a very clear account of the battle, in a long speech in Guildhall .17 He survived long, and in 1677 was sent to the Tower for doubting the legality of one of Charles's parlements, after a recess of fifteen months.18

LADY Rich , in black. This is, I suspect, the lady who was married by Laud to Charles Blount Earl of Devonshire , during the life of her first husband, Robert Lord Rich , afterwards Earl of Warwick . She was daughter to Walter Devereuv Earl of Essex , and had been addressed by Blount while he was a younger brother, and she favored his passion. Her friends broke off the match, and married her to a very disagreeable suitor, her first lord. When Blount , after some years' absence in the Irish wars, returned laden with glory, and, by the death of his elder brother, honored with the title of Mountjoy , he commenced a criminal connection with his former mistress. She was fully and legally divorced from Lord Rich . now Earl of Devonshire , determined to make her reparation, and persuaded Mr. Laud , then his chaplain, to marry them. In those days this was looked on as so high a crime, that King James was for several years extremely averse to the bestowing any perferment on him: and Laud himself had such a sense of his fault, as to keep an'annual fast on the unlucky day ever after. These two pictures were painted by Vandyck , and formed a part of the Wharton collection; they were bought by Sir Robert Walpole , and sold after his death.

LORD CHANCELLOR Hardwickc , in his robes, by Hoare: a character superior to my pen.

HIS son, the present Earl, by Gainsborough .

ON the stair-case is Henry seventh Earl of Kent , a full length, in black. Elizabeth , daughter of Gilbert Earl of Shrewsbury , is painted in the same color, with a ruff', flaxen frizzled hair, and a great black egret. He died in 1639; she in 1651.

HIS successor Anthony , grandson of Anthony , third son of George Earl of Kent , is drawn in black, with his hand on a book: a meagre personage. He was surprised with the peerage at his parsonage of Burbach , in the county of Leicester , where he lived in hospitality, and the full discharge of that great character, a good parish-priest. He was summoned to parlement, but preferred the duty to which he was first called;19 never would forsake his flock, and was buried among them in 1643.

HIS wife, Magdalene Purefoy , a half-length, is represented sitting, with a book in her hand, and a long motherly black peaked coif on her head.

Amabella , surnamed, from her super-eminent virtues, The good Countess of Kent , is drawn in black and ermine, full curled hair, and a kerchief over her neck; aet . 60, 1675: by Lely . She was second wife to Henry , son and successor to the parson of Burbach , and daughter to Sir Anthony Ben , of Surrey . Her epitaph speaks her deserts.20

HER husband is in his robes, with a small beard and whiskers, painted by Closterman; aet. , 53, 1643. He died in 1651.

THEIR son, Anthony Earl of Kent , and his lady, Mary , daughter and sole heir to John Lord Lucas ; both in their robes, by Lely . The date to his portrait is 1681, aet. 36. He died in August 1702; she, in November , in the same year.

THE old dining-room is most curiously furnished: mock pilasters finished with stripes of velvet, and worked silk festoons between each. This is said to have been done for the reception of Anne of Denmark .

IN this apartment is the portrait of that eminent statesman and honest man Sir William Temple: a copy from one by Lely; yet a most beautiful picture. He is placed sitting, and looking towards you, in a red vest; his hair long, black, and flowing; his whiskers small. In his hand is the triple alliance: the greatest act of his patriotic life; but soon frustrated by the profligate ministry of the time.

IN the chapel-closet is the glory of the name,21 Lady Jane Gray , the sweet accomplished victim to the wickedness of her father-in-law, and the folly of her father. Her person was rather plain; but that was amply recompensed by her intellectual charms. She was mistress of the Greek and Latin tongues; versed in Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, French , and Italian ; skilled in music; and excellent at her needle. I have seen in the library at Zurich several of her letters, written in a most beautiful hand, to Bullinger , on the subject of religion; and a toilet, worked with her own hand, is preserved there with great reverence. She fell at the age of seventeen. Could there be wanting any proof of her amazing fortitude, it was supplied near her last moments with the most invincible one:—As she was passing to the scaffold (whether by accident, or whether by the most cruel intention) she met the headless body of her beloved husband. A line in Greek , to the following purpose, was her consolation: "That if his lifeless body should give testimony against her before men, his most blessed soul should give an eternal proof of her innocence in the presence of GOD."

THE dress of this suffering innocent is, a plain white cap, a handkerchief, fastened under her arms, and a black gown: a book in her hand.

IN the same room is the picture of Banaster Lord Maynard , who married a daughter of this house.

A PORTRAIT of the valiant Sir Charles Lucas , by Dobson: a half-length, in armour, fine sash, long hair. He was barbarously shot to death, at Colchester , after quarter given; and for a reason that should have endeared him to a soldier—the vigorous defence made by the garrison.

HIS niece, Mary Lucas , sole heiress to his elder brother Lord Lucas , married to Anthony Earl of Kent .

SIR Anthony Ben , in hoary short hair, quilled ruff, red dress faced with black.

HIS lady, in black, a kerchief, and curled hair. These were parents to the good countess.

IN the passage is a most curious portrait of Lady Susanna Grey , daughter to Charles Earl of Kent , and wife to Sir Michael Longueville . She was a celebrated workwoman; and the dress in which she is drawn is said to have been a wedding-suit of her own doing. Her gown is finely flowered; her petticoat white and striped; her robe lined with ermine; her veil vast and distended; her weddingring hanging from her wrist by a silken string. She is fabled to have died of the prick of a needle in her finger, and looks as pale as if the fact was true. The same idle story is told of Lady Elizabeth Russel , whose monument is shewn in Westminster abbey, as that of the lady who suffered by so uncommon an accident.

IN another room is the portrait of Sir Randle Crew , in a bonnet, ruff, gold chain, and robes, as lord chief justice of the King's Bench: a dignity he filled with credit in the last year of James I. and first of Charles I. He had the honor of being displaced in 1626, for his disapprobation of the imprisonment of those gentlemen who refused the arbitrary loan proposed by the court. He discovered, says Fuller , no more discontentment at his discharge, than a weary traveller is offended at being told that he is arrived at his journey's end.22 He lived many years, in great hospitality, in Westminster: he purchased the estate of the Falshursts of Crew , in Cheshire ; built the magnificent seat of Crew Hall ; and was the first who brought the model of good building into that distant county. He died in 1642. He was the son of John Crew of Nantwich , and the ancestor of the present flourishing family.

THE next portrait is that of his younger brother Sir Thomas Crew , in red robes, and a coif as king's serjeant. He was among the most active supporters of the rights of the Commons in the reign of James I. The king, under pretence of redressing certain matters in Ireland , sent him, and several of the most obnoxious members, into that kingdom, with proper commissions.23 In 1623 he was chosen speaker, and made a speech, which his majesty heard with no more patience than approbation;24 yet, by his lord keeper, thanked him for several parts of it. He was again speaker to the first parlement of Charles I. and died in February 1633, aged 68. By his marriage with Temperance , fourth daughter of Reginald Bray , Esquire, he obtained the manor of Stene , in Northamptonshire ; which became the settlement of him and his posterity, till it devolved to this house, by the marriage of Henry Duke of Kent with Jemima , eldest daughter of Thomas Lord Crew .

HIS son, John Lord Crew , is represented in his baronial robes, with long grey hair, and a small coif. He was created Lord Crew of Stene , in 1661, having been active in promoting the Restoration, and freeing his country from the confused government it had long laboured under. No one was more active in defence of the liberties of his country, in the beginning of the troubles of the former reign, than himself. He had been member for Northamptonshire in the long parlement; was chairman to the committee of religion; and was committed to the Tower, for refusing to deliver up the petitions and complaints.25 He was nominated one of the commissioners for the treaty of Uxbridge: he was one of those entrusted with the receipt of the king's person from the Scots , and the conveying him to Holmby House . He again acted as commissioner in the treaty of the Isle of Wight ; and finally, was so far in the favor of the usurper, as, in 1657, to be constituted one of the sixty which formed the upper house of his mock parlement.26 The game being soon over, he conciliated himself to the approaching change, and proved so active an instrument in the Restoration, as not only to make amends for his past demerits, but to obtain, in 1661, the honor of Baron of Stene . He died in 1679, after attaining the good old age of 82.

HIS wife Jemima , daughter of Edward Walgrave of Lawford , in Essex , is sitting, in black, and a great black hood.

A VERY fine half-length of their son Thomas Lord Crew , in black, with long hair, and his hand on his breast, by Lely . In the old dining-room is another portrait of him, in his robes, dated 1680. He was father to Jemima , Dutchess of Kent .

Nathaniel Crew , Bishop of Durham , fifth brother to the former. He is in red robes faced with ermine, a turnover, and long hair; his countenance good. By the death of his brother, he became Lord Crew . Never was any person of his time so subservient to the will of his master, as this noble prelate. He was the most active member of the inquisitorial commission, established by James II. to promote his wild designs in religious matters. Of the three bishops joined in it, one declined acting; a third, struck with his own imprudence, resigned. Crew continued obstinately servile, and suspended thirty of his clergy for refusing to come into the views of the court. Conscious of his conduct, he fled out of the kingdom at the Revolution; but at length made his peace, and died in 1721, aged 88, after having been bishop, and of Durham , 47. His charity, it is to be hoped, has covered his multitude of political sins. Oxford participated largely of his bounty; and the navigators of the Northumberland sea may bless his well-planned benevolence as long as tempests endure.27

A STRANGE picture of Lady Harold , daughter to Thomas Earl of Thanet ; first married to Lord. Harold , the late Duke of Kent's eldest son, and; afterwards to the late Earl Gower . She is dressed in the riding-habit of the time, a blue-and-silver. coat, silver tissue waistcoat, a long flowing wig, and great hat and feather.

I FORGOT to mention, that in a bedchamber is a portrait of Secretary Walsingham , in a quilled ruff: the active, penetrating, able, and faithful servant of Queen Elizabeth ; the security of the kingdom as well as of her own person. So attentive to the interests of his country, so negligent of his own, as to die (in 1590) so poor, as not to leave enough to defray his funeral expences.

A FINE portrait of Sir Nicholas Throgmorton his face thin, his beard black. At his girdle is a large ring to hold his handkerchief. He has a sword and stilletto, and is graced with a gold chain and medal. He had a narrow escape in the time of Queen Mary ; being tried, and narrowly acquitted, for a supposed concern in Wyat's insurrection. Was employed by Elizabeth in important embassies to France and Scotland . His abilities were great: his spirit was said to have bordered on turbulence: his death, therefore, was esteemed rather fortunate: it happened in 1570, at the table of Cecil ; not without suspicion of poison:28 an end in those days more frequently attributed than it ought to be.

THE mausoleum of the Greys adjoins to the church of Flitton , about a mile and a half from the house. It consists of a centre and four wings. In one is the tomb of Henry fifth Earl of Kent , and his countess Mary , daughter of Sir George Cotton of Cumbermere, Cheshire: both are in robes, and painted; both recumbent, with uplifted hands: his beard long and square, his ruff quilled. This was the fiery zealot who sat in judgment on Mary Stuart , and, with the Earl of Shrewsbury , was deputed to see execution done on the unhappy princess. They, with true bigotry, refused her the consolation of her almoner in her last moments; and Kent had the brutality to give a most reluctant assent to her request of having a few of her domestics to perform their final duties to their dying mistress. Kent even burst into the exclamation of saying, "Your life will be the death of our religion, and your death will be the life of it." A cause of triumph to Mary Stuart . He founded this building, and took possession of it in the beginning of the year 1614. The tomb of the countess is a mere cenotaph; for she was buried, in 1580, at Great Gaddesden .

Henry Earl of Kent , and his second lady, the good countess, repose in another wing, with Justice, Temperance, and other virtues, on each side. Both are represented in white marble, recumbent, and both in robes. His beard is small, his lip whiskered; one hand is on his breast, the other on his sword. She is dressed in an ungraceful pair of stays; her hands before, holding her robes; her neck naked; her hair curled, and enormously bushy. He died in 1651; she finished her excellent life in 1698, aged 92.

AT one end is an inscription of Elizabeth Talbot Countess-dowager of Kent , who died in 1651; and another to Lady Jane Hart , relict of Sir Eustace Hart . Her figure is in white marble, in a reclining posture.

ON the floor is a brass of Henry Grey , second son of Sir Henry Grey , Knight, in armour.

IN another appears Henry late Duke of Kent , reclined on a sarcophagus, in a Roman dress, in white marble, with a coronet in his hand. His grace died in 1740. His first dutchess, Jemima Crew , is represented with her countenance looking up, and leaning on one side. Opposite to his grace is a most amiable character of his second lady, Sophia , daughter of William Earl of Portland .29

A MONUMENT of his son Anthony Earl of Harold , in a Roman dress. He died in 1723. And near him is another son and a daughter of his grace; but not one of the figures do any credit to the statuary.

NEAR the altar, on the floor, is an admirable figure, in brass, of an honest steward; a true Vellum in aspect: in a laced night-cap, great ruff, long cloak, trunk breeches. This was Thomas Hill , receiver-general to three Earls of Kent .

Aske how he lived, and you shall knowe his end:
He dyde a saint to GOD, to poore a friende.
These lines men knowe doe truely of him story,
Whom GOD hath cal'd, and seated now in glory.

He died May 26th 1628, aged 101.

GRATITUDE forbids me from leaving this place without my acknowlegements to the Reverend Archdeacon Coxe , the worthy incumbent, for his great hospitality, and the various information he favored me with respecting these parts.

FROM hence I went southwards, over a hilly and open country. Ride over Luton Downs , and reach Luton , a small dirty town, seated on the Lea ; remarkable for its church and tower-steeple, prettily chequered with flint and freestone. Within is a most remarkable baptisterium, 30 in form of an octagon, open at the sides, and terminating in elegant tabernacle-work. In the top is a large bason, in which the consecrated water was kept, and let down by the priest into the font, by means of a pipe. On the top of the inside is a vine, guarded by a lamb from the assaults of a dragon. The vine signifies the church, protected by baptism from the assaults of the devil.

ADJOINING to the church is a chapel, founded, as appears by the following lines, by John Lord Wenlock:

JESU CHRIST, most of myght,
Have mercy on John le Wenlock , knight,
And of his wyffe Elizabeth,
Wch out of this world is past by death;
Wch founded this chapel here.
Helpe them with yr harty praer;
That they may come to that place
Where ever is joy and solace.31

THIS Lord Wenlock rose in the reign of Henry VI.; was knighted, made constable of Bamburgh castle, and chamberlain to the queen. He acquired great wealth, and was able to lend his master a thousand and thirty-three pounds six shillings and eight-pence; for which he received an assignment of the fifteenth and tenth, granted by parlement in 1456; and soon after he was rewarded with being made knight of the Garter. He valiantly supported the royal cause at the first battle of St. Alban's , and was carried out of it dreadfully wounded; yet, with the fickleness of the times, he joined the Duke of York in 1459, and was of course attainted by the Lancastrian parlement. He fought valiantly in Towton field, and received, as recompence for his former loss, the office of chief butler of England , and the stewardship of the castle and manor of Berkhamstead ; and was created a baron.32 He was employed by the Yorkists in several important embassies, and advanced to the great post of Lieutenant of Calais . Notwithstanding all these favors, he again revolted, and joined the Earl of Warwick to restore the deposed Henry . He raised forces, and joined Margaret of Anjou , before the battle of Tewkesbury: He was appointed by the general, John Earl of Somerset , to the command of what was called the middle ward of the army. When Somerset , who led the van, found himself unsupported in the fierce attack he had made on the enemy, he returned, enraged, to see the cause. He found Lord Wenlock , with his troops, standing in the market-place. Whether a panic had seized him, or whether, through a mutability of mind, he was meditating a new revolt, does not appear; but the earl, unable to curb his fury, rode up, and with one blow of his battle-ax clove the scull of the supposed traitor.33 He was interred at Tewkesbury ; and his tomb is still to be seen in that noble church.

IN this chapel are several tombs: one very magnificent, in the altar-form, with a rich canopy, open beneath on each side. On the top are various arms, some inclosed in a garter. On a wreath is a crest, a plume of feathers.

ON the tomb lies the effigies of William Wenlock , in the habit of a shaven priest: his hands closed as if in prayer; beads hang from them; and on a label from his mouth is a small shield of a chevron, between three croslet gules, and these words:

Salve Regina Mater miserecordie
    Jesu fili Dei miserere mei.

ON the side which opens into the chapel is this inscription:

In Wenlok brad I, in this toun lordschipes had I.
Her am I now layed, Christes moder helpe me, Lady.
Under thes stones, for a tyme, schal I reste my bones.
Deye not I ned ones myghtful God graunt me thy wones.

ON the other side, in the chancel,

Wills sic tumulatus de Wenlok natus
    In ordine presbyteratus.
Alter hujus ville: dominus Someris fuit ille
    Hic licet indignus: anime Deus esto benignus.

This William was prebendary of Brownswood , in the church of St. Pauls', London , in 1363; before which he had been rector of St. Andrews, Holborn . In 1379, Richard II. made him custos of the hospital of Farle , in Bedfordshire .34 He died in 1392, and was buried here, in pursuance of his mil. By the garter, in which one of the coats of arms is included, it is evident that the tomb was erected by the founder of the chapel. This also directs us to the origin of Lord Wenlock . It is most likely that his father was related to this prebendary, and that he left his possessions to him; and that Lord Wenlock , in the height of his prosperity, paid this ostentatious compliment to the memory of his kinsman.

IN the middle is an altar-tomb of shell-marble, with the brass plate of a woman.

IN the wall, beneath two arches, are the tombs, I think, of the Rotherhams , owners of this chapel after the Wenlocks . On one had been an inscription to a Rotherham , who had married Catherine , daughter of a Lord Grey ; and was himself nephew to Scot , alias Rotherham , archbishop of York .

THE following odd medley of English and Latin , merits transcribing. It is on the tomb of John Ackworth, Esquire, who died in 1513; and is represented here with his two wives, eight sons, and nine daughters.

O man, who eer thow be, timor mortis shulde trouble the;
For when thow beest wenyst,
Veniet te
Mors superare.
And so - - - - - - - grave grevys.
Ergo mortem memorare
Jesu mercy : Lady helpe : Jesu mercy.

NEAR the altar is a large mutilated figure iri the wall, in a priestly habit, with a pastoral staff, or a crosier, lying on him. He was an abbot, and probably of St. Alban's , for the abbots had a seat near this town.35 The chancel appears to have been rebuilt by abbot Whethamsted ; whose motto, VAL LES HA BUN DA BUNT VAL LES, is to be seen on the walls.

PART of this place was said to have been bestowed by king Offa on the monks of St. Albans . Gilbert de Clare Earl of Gloucester , had the patronage of the church; which they bought from him in 1166, for eighty marks, and kept in their own hands, till they were compelled to appoint a vicar. The purchase was in the time of abbot Robert .36 It appears that this place, Houghton , and Potesgrave , had been bestowed on the monastery, for the support of the kitchen for the guests. This is seen in the charter of confirmation, made by King John , in the first year of his reign.37

THE church is dedicated to St. Mary , and is a vicarage in the gift of the Earl of Bute .

1 Itin . i. 115.

2 Itin . i. 115.

3 Sandford's Genealog. Hist. 258.

4 Camden , i. 340.

5 She died at Kimbolton , in Huntingdonshire , on the 8th of January, 1535-6.

6 Written by the late Lord Orford . ED.

7 Geneal. Hist. 259.

8 Gratiani's Wars of Cyprus, 10, 11.

9 Anecdotes of Painting , ii. 81.

10 In an old edition of the Arcadia , date 1629, is a hedgehog, or porcupine, as a crest to the top of a frontispiece.

11 It has since been ascertained,* that Houghton house was built by this celebrated countess. In 1615, Sir Edward Conquest , keeper of the park, made over his interest in it to Matthew Lister and Leonard Welstead , as her trustees, when she erected a splendid mansion. After her decease, it was in 1630 granted in fee to Lord Bruce , and was, for a considerable time, the residence of his descendants, the Earls of Elgin and Aylesbury. In 1739, John Duke of Bedford purchased Houghton . The late duke took down the venerable remains, and applied the materials to the erection of the Swan Inn, at Bedford ; the estates belonging to it became the property of the Earl of Ossory by exchange in 1801. ED.

* Lyson's Magna Britannia , i. 96.

12 See the whole epitaph in the Appendix. Thomas Earl of Elgin died in 1663; the countess in 1654.

13 Philip Earl of Hardwicke , died in 1790, when Wrest came into the possession of his eldest daughter, the Baroness Lucas. ED.

14 Wilson .

15 See Carte , iii. 746. This historian is far from being singular in this account.

16 Biog. Hist . ii. 142.

17 Drake , xi. 474.

18 Macpherson , i. 216.

19 Fuller's Worthies , 299.

20 See Appendix .

21 This interesting portrait has been removed to the library. ED.

22 British Worthies, Cheshire , 178. It must not be forgot that Sir Randle had been speaker of the House of Commons in 1614.

23 Drake , v. 525.

24 Ibid . vi. 10.

25 Drake , viii. 489.

26 Whitelock , 233, 334, 666.

27 See article BAMBOROUGH, Tour Scotl . 1769.

28 Complete Hist . ii. 430.

29 Beneath is an inscription in memory of Lady Anne , daughter to the Duke of Kent , and wife to John Egerton , late Bishop of Durham ; she died in 1780. In a fourth recess is a monument erected by the Marchioness De Grey , in honor of her parents the Earl and Countess of Hardwicke . The shoulder of a mournful figure leaning over an urn appears to be dislocated; neither the design nor execution of the whole does any credit to the sculptor. ED.

30 Engraven in Gent. Mag . 1778.

31 Br. Mus . H. M. 11. No 1531. fo. 15.

32 Dugdale's Baron , ii. 264.

33 Hall's Chr . xxxii.

34 See Bromfield's Collect , article LUTON.

35 Leland Itin . vi. 63.

36 Chauncy , 438.

37 Dugdale Mon . i. 179. Henry I. had confirmed the same. In his charter the names are mis-spelt. See Chauncy , 434.

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

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