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short grass among the furze and brambles, and all the world gathers blackberries in October; and Lingwood, where honeysuckles and dog-roses grow in wild profusion; and we look across the woods of Riffham's Chase - the manor that was once Earl Godwin's to the sea-like expanse of boundless plain. Pleasant it is to tramp knee-deep in bracken and purple heather on a warm autumn day, when the berries are scarlet and the squirrels are busy among the nuts; pleasant to roam in the deep, ferny lane, where the oaks meet overhead and their arching boughs frame exquisite glimpses of soft blue distance; best of all, lingering on the open common in the cool freshness of early evening, when the sun has dropped behind the dark belt of woods, to watch the crimson fire break over the heavens and think that somewhere down yonder in the plain lies the roar and smoke of Babylon.
mon his own, and paints its wild loveliness with his wonted skill and clearness. Many more painters will follow, for seldom was a place so easy of access from town or so eminently "paintable sides the artists, we have had tourists and trippers from Chelmsford and Southend. as Danbury. BeSunday after Sunday van-loads of excursionists are poured out to spend a happy day upon the hills, and already we see their inevitable accompaniments-tenniscourts, merry-go-rounds, and swingscropping up in these solitudes. Then, the eye of philanthropy, it is said, has singled out Danbury as a suitable spot for its gigantic scheme; and before long we shall find shelters and farm-colonies, or, worse still, inebriate homes and lunatic asylums, springing up on the common where now the bluebells and the golden broom are flowering in glory. So the world goes on, its hand slowly but surely on the fairest and civilization in its relentless march lays and the loveliest regions of our land.
toric antiquities as in natural beauties. This corner of Essex is as rich in hisDanbury itself, as its name implies, was a Danish camp in the days when Edward the Elder fortified Maldon. Traces of the
church; and the red berries of the danewort, or dwarf elder, which grows luxuriantly on the commons, is popularly believed to spring from the blood of the slaughtered Danes. In still more ancient
man station, and Roman bricks have been found in the north walls of the church and in the neighboring ruins of Bicknacre Priory. Once again, in the present century, Danbury has heard the tramp of armed men, and men and women still liv ing remember the time when the whole coast lived in hourly terror of the French invasion.
Over these wide commons, among these green woods, you might, till lately, have wandered all day long without meeting a human being. Now this Arcady, which some of us fondly dreamed would remain a wilderness to the end, has been discovered, and in a year or two it may be Arcady no longer. The artists have de-old earthworks may still be seen near the scended upon Danbury, have laid violent hands on her beauties, and made them public property. They have ventured into the hidden nooks and found out the secret of these untrodden ways. They have painted small blame to them!-every-times Danbury, it is supposed, was a Rothing and everywhere. The village street, with its red roofs and white gables; those quaint little houses set at the queerest angles all down the steep hillside; the old inn, with its spreading sycamore; the carpenter's shop by the pond on the green, where the children play and the geese paddle down to the water; and the church spire rising high above them through the trees each and all of these they have dreaded moment never came, and Boney Fortunately for Britain, that sketched. In every exhibition, winter or remained among the harmless bogies of summer, some familiar name catches the our grandfathers' childhood; but to this eye as we glance down the catalogue, and day several farmhouses in the neighborwe find ourselves brought face to face hood are called by the name of the officers with some well-known scene. Halswelle paints the noble forest trees in pation. The fine old church which stands Mr. Keeley who lived there during the military occu the Bishop's Park and the charming old in the centre of the ancient camp dates mill with the high, wooden foot-bridge, and to the first year of the fourteenth centhe poplars and willows along the banks tury. It has suffered so often from storms of the river, where in olden days the perils and lightning that medieval chroniclers of the ford in flood-time gave the place its became firmly persuaded that the devil name of Baddow- the bad water. Wimperis and Mr. Orrocks send bits of pus Christi," one of these writes, "in the Mr. had a spite against Danbury. "On Cormeadow and wood and gorse-grown sand-year 1402, the third of Henry IV., at evenpits and tumble-down huts; and Mr. song-time, the devil entered this church Thorne Waite has made Danbury Com- in the likeness of a grey friar, and raged
VOL. LXXVII. 3984
horribly" insolentissime debacchans "playing his parts like a devil indeed, to the great astonishment and fear of the parishioners, and the same hour, with a tempest of whirlwind and thunder, the top of the steeple was broken down and half of the chancel scattered abroad." The same personage seems to have renewed his efforts in 1750, when the steeple was again set on fire by lightning, and the upper part replaced by the present wooden spire. If the common tale be true, he still looks with evil eye on the scene of his nocturnal adventures, and has a particular hatred to the fifth bell of the peal, which for many years no Danbury man would ever ring. In spite of these black"most valiant knight of England," was arts, Danbury church still stands on its lofty hill, and the music of its bells is heard for many a mile of the country round. The chief objects of interest within the church are the wooden effigies of three Crusaders of the St. Clere family, who held the manor in the days of the Plantagenets. Their name is still attached to a gabled farmhouse near the park gates. Each knight is clad in armor; each has a lion at his feet and a sword by his side; but the postures of the warriors are different. One is in the act of drawing his blade; the second returns it to the scab-gallant soldiers, who won their laurels on bard; while the sword of the third and youngest rests in the sheath and his hands are raised in prayer. A hundred years ago a leaden coffin was brought to light underneath one of these effigies, and within was found the embalmed corpse of a youthful knight in linen shirt and collar of old lace, with the flowers and sweet herbs which had been buried with him.
were held by the Fitzwalter family, while, as lords of Baynard's Castle, close to St. Paul's, they inherited the proud office of standard-bearer to the city of London. The most famous of the race was the second Robert, that " marshal of God's army who led the barons against King John and forced him to sign Magna Charta on the field of Runnymede. In an evil hour for himself, the bad king had become enamoured of Fitzwalter's fair and precious daughter Matilda, and when she dared to reject his addresses had poisoned her by "a potch'd egg." This last outrage had stirred the barons to open revolt, and led to the civil war, in which Fitzwalter, the
After the St. Cleres came the D'Arcys, who lived in the fine old manor-house of Graces, or Grasses, on the borders of Little_Baddow, and founded three chantries in Danbury, of which remains were to be seen within the last few years. All these names are eclipsed by that of Fitzwalter, the one mighty race whose fame overshadows the country-side. The founder of this proud home was Robert Fitzwalter, a younger son of Richard de Clare, that near kinsman, some said half-brother, of the Conqueror, who shared his spoils and owned upwards of a hundred and fifty lordships in the eastern counties. In Henry I.'s reign, Robert, the first baron Fitzwalter, received a grant of all the wide estates once held by Ralph Baynard, including the lordship of Dunmow, where Baynard's sister Juga had founded a priory in 1104, and many others in this part of Essex. For ten generations these lands
seen fighting on the French king's side. His heroic exploits won the admiration of King John, who swore by God's tooth that the king who had such a brave subject was a king indeed. He was told that this was none other than his own angry lord; upon which he sent for Fitzwalter, and restored him to all his lands and honors. The hero of Runnymede lived till 1234, when he was buried in front of the high altar of Dunmow Priory, by the side of his wronged daughter. His successors were not unworthy. All of them were
many a hard-fought field. One of them was foremost in putting down Jack Straw's rising; another, Walter, the seventh lord, fought at Agincourt with Henry V. while yet a boy, and was taken prisoner by the French during the wars which followed. A few years later he died in the flower of his manhood, leaving an infant daughter to inherit the wide lands and proud name of the Fitzwalters. His tomb, and that of his wife, Elizabeth Chydjoke, of the West Countrie, who survived him thirty years, are still to be seen under the noble, decorated arches of Dunmow Priory. A stately pair they are: the young warrior in complete suit of armor, with the Lancastrian collar of the S.S. and the curling hair on his manly forehead; and the lady in flowing mantle and jewelled necklace. For many years these noble effigies were allowed to lie among heaps of loose bricks and rubbish; but, although sadly muti lated, they retain traces of gilding and color, and the Fitzwaiter arms are visible in the delicate mouldings at the base of the monument. It was one of these Fitzwalters from whom the prior and monks of Dunmow received the grant of lands which they held by the curious tenure of a flitch of bacon. This was the famous Dunmow flitch that, according to the terms
of the lease, might be claimed by any married pair who could swear on their knees that they had not repented them, sleeping or waking, of their marriage at the end of a year and a day. This singular custom, to which Piers Plowman, in his "Vision," and the "Wife of Bath," in Chaucer's prologue, makes allusion, was observed during many centuries. The first record of the claim in the priory books appears in 1445; the last was made in 1750, on which occasion the painter Hogarth, it is said, was present; and Fuller, in the seventeenth century, saw the two stones on which the man's wife who claimed the flitch used to kneel before the prior.
ingham, whom Wolsey brought to the block, and had himself an active share in the great cardinal's disgrace. In 1530 he was made Earl of Sussex and Knight of the Garter, and two years later succeeded Cromwell in the office of lord high chamberlain. About this time he received the king and Anne Boleyn at Woodham Walter, where the name of the ill-fated queen, who was then in the noontide of her shortlived triumph, is still given to the ruins of the castle, which are popularly known as " died in 1542, at Chelsea, lamented by men Queen Anne's Cellars." Lord Sussex of all parties as one who had been "the great standard of equity, justice, and fidelAlthough the Fitzwalters maintained were men of the same high character, and ity in his time." His son and grandson their connection with Dunmow Priory, both were noted for the same inviolable their chief seat was at Woodham Walter, fidelity to the Tudor monarchs. Henry, the parish adjoining Danbury and Little the second earl, was knighted at the coroBaddow. The same Baron Fitzwalter nation of Anne Boleyn, in 1533, and won who gave Baynard's castle to Archbishop his first laurels on Kilwardby for the use of the Dominicans, Scotland, when he narrowly escaped with then newly settled at Blackfriars, enlarged his life. He was one of the stoutest adan expedition into his castle at Woodham Walter, and in herents of Queen Mary, and became cap1285 obtained the king's leave to enclose tain-general of her forces, and afterwards another hundred acres of heath. castle now passed, with the other Fitz- the same time he generously espoused the This ambassador to the king of France. At walter lands, to Sir John Ratcliff, a young cause of her sister Elizabeth, and, when knight of a distinguished Lancashire fam- this princess was sent to the Tower, exily who in 1444 married Elizabeth, the erted himself to soften the rigor of her youthful heiress of the last Lord Fitzwal- captivity, saying, with tears in his eyes, ter. Sir John himself was slain on Palm to his sterner colleagues: "What will ye Sunday, 1461, fighting for the White Rose doe, my lords? She was a kinge's daughin a skirmish the night before the battle ter, and is the Quene's sister; therefore go of Towton; but his only son was summoned to the Parliament of 1485 as Baron good earl did not live to see Elizabeth on no further than your commandes." Fitzwalter in his mother's right, and offi- the throne; but his son Thomas proved ciated as high steward at the coronation himself one of her ablest and most loyal of Elizabeth of York. His devotion to the servants. His career as lord deputy of house of York unfortunately cost him his Ireland, during nine troubled years, belife; for, believing Perkin Warbeck to be longs to history, and many were the high the murdered Duke of York, he took up offices he held and the important missions arms in the Pretender's behalf, and was beheaded at Calais by order of Henry rival and bitter opponent that he is best on which he was sent. It is as Leicester's VII. All his lands were forfeited to the remembered. crown; but ten years later they were re-self, of a noble and constant nature, and A goodly gentleman himstored to his son, who in the next reign rose high in the royal favor and became in succession Viscount Fitzwalter and Earl of Sussex. This honorable and distinguished nobleman was the chosen companion of Henry VIII. in early youth, and, more fortunate than most of his contemporaries, knew not only how to win but how to keep that fickle monarch's favor. He fought by his side in the Battle of the Spurs, led the van of the army which invaded France, and accompanied the king to the Field of the Cloth of Gold. He married a sister of the Duke of Buck
possessed of an invincible soul, he could not brook the insolent airs of the favorite, and on his death-bed he warned his friends to "beware of the gipsy" (as the swarthy earl was called at court). In spite of this antipathy to her sweet Robin, Sussex was honored with many marks of the queen's confidence, and in 1580 she gave him her own royal palace of New Hall in reward of his services. From that time the ancestral house of the Fitzwalters at Woodham Walter ceased to be the chief seat of the family, and soon fell into decay. Little is left of this once splendid residence.
A few masonic blocks of masonry, the fragments of ancient foundations deeply sunk into the rock, a clump of venerable elms, and some fish ponds, are all that remains of the great castle and the spacious grounds which once covered so many
From Woodham Walter we must cross the river to reach Boreham, one of the prettiest villages on the road to Chelmsford. The long street, with its irregular roofs and many-colored gables, fronts the churchyard, where we pass in under the ancient lych-gate and up the covered walk, roofed in with old tiling and shaded by a double row of lime-trees, which leads to the church doors. Every period of architecture is represented in Boreham church. A central tower of massive Norman work rises from a Saxon base between the long nave of pointed arches, and the perpendicular chancel and the windows are of the most varied character. South of the chancel is the red-brick chapel which contains the Sussex tombs. Thomas, the last of the three great earls, left £1,500 to build this mortuary chapel, where by his orders the bones of his father and grandfather were brought to be buried by his side. The noble monument above their grave was the work of Richard Stevens, a Dutchman, whom Horace Walpole mentions as "no common artist, but statuary, painter, and medallist of repute." He it was who carved the alabaster effigies of the three earls and wrought the delicate fret-work which decks their armor and pillows with a wealth of lovely ornaments. Unluckily this really beautiful work of art has been terribly damaged by neglect, and in 1760 the roof of the chapel was allowed to fall in, doing great injury to the Sussex tombs.
A mile beyond Boreham church is New Hall, the manor which Henry VIII. bought from Sir Thomas Boleyn, the father of Queen Anne Boleyn, and converted into a royal palace. He took a great fancy to the place, and altered its name to Beaulieu, by which, however, it was never generally known. Here he celebrated St. George's day with great splendor in 1524. Hither, a few years later, he brought Anne Boleyn, in the early days of her wedlock. The initials of the royal pair may still be seen carved in loveknots above the Tudor rose and pomegranate on the walls of the great hall. Both Mary and Elizabeth paid visits to New Hall, and an inscription over the door in Italian verse records the presence of the Virgin Queen:
En terra la più saira regina
En ciele la più lucente stella;
Leggiadra, honesta e bella.
Little is now left of the spacious pile with its two quadrangles and many smaller courts; but the south front, a red-brick building of seven bays, with large mul lioned windows, still presents a very imposing appearance. This was the work of Thomas, Lord Sussex; and the central gateway still bears his arms, the star set in golden rays, which was the Fitzwalter badge, and the porcupine of the Sidney family, in honor of his wife Frances, the daughter of Sir Henry Sidney of Penshurst, who survived him several years, and became the foundress of Sidney Sussex College, at Cambridge. The great earl died childless; and after the death of his nephew Robert, in 1620, New Hall was sold to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. During the Commonwealth this Tudor palace was, for a short time, the residence of Oliver Cromwell, who, however, soon left it for his favorite residence at Hampton Court. Monk, Duke of Albemarle, spent some years here after the Restoration; but after his death New Hall changed hands frequently, and was allowed to fall into ruin. In the last century it belonged for some time to the Barons Waltham, whose ugly mausoleum, a round building of white brick, in imitation of the Temple of the Winds at Athens, stands in the churchyard. Finally, about a hundred years ago, it became the refuge of the nuns of the Holy Sepulchre, who were driven from Liége at the time of the French Revolution. The great hall where the Tudors reigned in state and poor Anne Boleyn enjoyed her brief summer of life and love is now a chapel. The cross rises above the arms of Henry VIII., and the star of Fitzwalter, on the gates. A statue of Our Lady looks down upon the bowlinggreen where Leicester paid his court to the Virgin Queen, and Sussex frowned upon his rival's suit, and black-veiled nuns with gentle faces and pensive air flitted across the lawn under the grand old cedars.
The star of the house of Sussex reached its meridian in the days of great Earl Thomas, and from the hour of his death it began to wane. When his nephew died childless in 1620, the title passed to a feeble old man, Edward the last earl, who, in his turn, died without heirs, after being married three times, and was buried with his ancestors at Boreham in 1643. Already the Fitzwalter barony and estates
had passed away to the heirs of Lady of Chelmsford Frances Ratcliff, half-sister to Thomas, Springfield Mildmays, who repaired and Earl of Sussex. In 1520 this lady had enlarged the house, and planted the double attracted one of the married Sir Thomas Mildmay, of Mouls- avenues of oak and elm which form so ham, near Chelmsford. nine members of this family were settled Henry Mildmay was a brave and fortunate No fewer than stately an approach to Graces. This Sir in Essex in the early part of the seven- soldier, who gained much glory in the teenth century, and all owned large estates. Irish wars, as we read in the inscription There were Mildmays at Danbury, at on his tomb in Little Baddow Church. Terling, at Springfield Barnes, and at There we see the warrior, as he was in Little Baddow. These were all off-shoots life, with the noble brow resting on his from the parent stem of the Mildmays hand, and his sword at his side, while at who had settled at Moulsham in Henry his feet are the kneeling figures of his two VIII.'s time, and were lords of the manor wives, Alicia Harris, the fair young bride, of Chelmsford. Their house at Mouls- who brought him Burnham and Cricksea, ham, a quarter of a mile east of the town and died within a year of her marriage in looking towards Danbury hill, was even the rich lace and flowing veil of her wedthen accounted the greatest squire's man- ding attire, and Avicia Gurdon, who lived sion in the country, and was famous for to be the mother of many children, in the its "faire gardens and orchards with great hood and robes of an elderly matron. store of good and some rare kinds of fruits was their granddaughter, Fanny Fowler, and herbs, its dove-house, faire game of who, born at Graces, in 1746, became at deer imparked, great warren, and goodly ten years old the representative of the fishing course.' became the representatives of the ancient wealth and proud lineage, soon attracted These Mildmays now ancient line. Her beauty, as well as her Fitzwalter house; and in the first year of suitors; and before she was nineteen the the Long Parliament Sir Henry Mildmay, heiress of Graces married Sir Brook the son of the Lady Frances, claimed the Bridges, of Goodnestone, and her broad barony as the lineal descendant of Eliza- acres in Danbury and the neighboring beth Fitzwalter. Civil Wars intervened, and it was not ish family. The troubles of the parishes passed into that well-known Kentuntil thirty years later that his grandson sons and daughters, and the history of The number of Lady Bridges' was summoned to Parliament as Baron their marriages and families, have been Fitzwalter. His son Benjamin inherited lately described, with a minuteness which the title, and was created earl in 1724. leaves nothing to be desired, by Lord BraThis nobleman, who married Frederica, bourne himself, one of her great-granddaughter of the Duke of Schomberg, re- sons, in his introduction to Jane Austen's built Moulsham on a splendid scale, and letters. employed an Italian architect to make it at once "completely elegant and truly com- Fitzwalters in this part of Essex that we It is, however, with the homes of the modious." Contemporary writers devote are concerned. Here once more the old pages to descriptions of the palatial ball-tale of decay and ruin meets us. In the rooms and picture-galleries, the marble pillars and stucco ceilings, the superb fittings of the bedrooms, and the imposing portico crowned with the statues of Apollo, Diana, and Mercury. Earl Benjamin, the creator of all this splendor, died childless, like so many of his predecessors, in 1756, at eighty-six years of age; and once more the Fitzwalter barony passed to an infant. That infant was Frances Fowler, the orphan granddaughter of Sir Henry Mildmay, of Graces, in Little Baddow parish, whose second wife had been the last earl's sister.
The old manor-house of Graces, or Grasses, which is still standing in the meadows close to Danbury, had belonged in turn to the family of Le Gras and to the D'Arcys. The beauty of the situation on the high ground overlooking the valley
case of Moulsham Hall the destruction