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Castle and Family of Prince Polignac.
the Tithes at the present valuation; and the contrary.
In our ancient law books, Tithes are briefly defined “to be an ecclesiastical inheritance or property in the Church, collateral to the estate of the lands thereof;" and no other support for the Clergy appears so likely to produce efficient ministers to preach "right things" rather than "smooth things," and thus keep up a sound tone of religion and morals in the country.
A FRIEND TO IMPROVEMENT, BUT
MR. URBAN, AS the administration and trial of the Prince de Polignac (with the momentous consequences attending them) have so lately engrossed the public attention, I think that the following spirited sketch of the ancient seat of the family, extracted from the late Arthur Young's Travels through France in 1789, will be interesting.
Speaking of the scenery and singular rocks in the vicinity of Le Puy, the writer observes :-"The castle of Polignac, from which the Duke takes his title, is built on a bold and enormous one. It is almost of a cubical form, and towers perpendicularly above the town which surrounds its foot. The family of Polignac claim an origin of great antiquity; they have pretensions that go back, I forget whether to Hector or Achilles, but I never found any one in conversation inclined to allow them more than being in the first class of French families, which they undoubtedly are. Perhaps there is no where to be met with a castle more formed to give a local pride of family than this of Polignac. The man hardly exists that would not feel a certain va
nity at having given his own name from remote antiquity to so singular and commanding a rock.* But if, with the name, it belonged to me, I would scarcely sell it for a province. The building is of such antiquity, and the situation so romantic, that all the feudal ages pass in review in one's imagination: by a sort of magic influence, you recognize it for the residence of a lordly baron, who, in an age more distant and more respectable, though perhaps equally barbarous, was the patriot defender of his country against the invasion and tyranny of Rome. In every age since the horrible combustions that produced it, such a spot would be chosen for secusity and defence. To have given one's name to a castle without any lofty pre-eminence or singularity of nature, in the midst, for instance, of a rich plain, is not equally flattering to our feelings. All antiquity of family derives from ages of great barbarity, where civil commotions and wars swept away and confounded the inhabitants of such situations. The Britons of the plains of England were driven to Bretagne, but the same people in the mountains of Wales stuck secure, and remain there to this day. About a gun-shot from Polignac is another rock, not so large, but equally remarkable; and in the town of Le Puy another commanding one rises to a vast height, with another, more singular for its tower-like form, on the top of which St. Michael's Church is built."
By the following pedigree, extracted from a valuable genealogical work in French, in the library of John Lee, Esq. LL.D.,†it appears that the name and estate of Polignac came into the present family by a marriage with the heiress in the 14th century:—
Gilleaume Sieur de Chalancon Vualberga Viscountess of Polignac, 1st wife.
Pierre Sieur de Chalançon, Vicomte de Polignac Margarite de Saligny.
Louis Armand, Vicomte Isabeau de la Tour, fille de Bertrand Comte d'Auvergne de Polignac. et de Boulogne.
a (see next page.)
*The reader will recollect that Mr. Young was a country gentleman devoted to agriculture, and not deeply versed in antiquities; he would otherwise have known that the place (whose first syllable indicates its position, in the Celtic tongue) gave name to the family, according to the custom of the middle ages.
+ We have added the three latter descents, partly from the Dictionnaire Genealogique Bois, 1765.-Edit.
Prince Polignac and Family.
Gilleaume-Armand Viscomte de Polignac, Sicur Amadee de Saluces, Dame de Caramagnes de Chalencon, mort en 1473.
Gilleaume, Vicomte de Polignac, Maitre des Requêtes Margarite, fille d'Antoine de l'Hotel du Roi. Sieur de Pompadeur.
Phillibert de Clermont.
Francois-Armand, Vísc. de Polignac Anne de Beaufort.
Claude Armand, Visc.
Louis-Armand, Visc. de Polignac, Baron de Chalencon.
Gaspar-Armand, Visc. de Polignac, Marq. de Chalencon,Chevalier desOrdres du Roi.
Louis-Armand, Visc. de Polignac, Marq. de Chalencon, Chev. des Ordres du Roi, Gouvernor de Vivarez.
Claudine Francoise de Tournon, fille du Comte de Rousillon, & Magdaleine de la Rothfoucauld. Isabella-Esprit de la Baume,Jacqueline de Beauvoir, dau. of Ferdinand Comte de dau of Scipio Count Montrevel; 2d wife. du Roure; 3d wife. Sidoine-Apolinaire-GaspardScipion, Marq. de Polignac,
Hercules-Louis Diane-AdelaideMelchior-Ar- Zephirine, niece mand, 19th Vi- to the Duc de comte de Po- | Nevers, married 1738.
lignac, Marq. de Chalencon, born Feb. 1,
Philippe-Jules-Francois, bapt. Jan. 1, 1747.
The friendship between the Queen of Louis XVI. and Madame de Polignac, mother of the late minister, which brought the family into a more immediate connection with the Court, is said to have risen from an accidental meeting. Her fascinating manners are much dwelt on by the accomplished Tweddell, who was some time in her society in the Ukraine, and the elegance and refinement of the Dame d'Atours appear to have gained a partial victory over the rugged principles of ultra-Whiggism which were then entertained by our distinguished and lamented countryman.
Armand de Jules de Hon. Anne-Sarah-Catherine Parkyns, dau. of Thomas 1st Lord Polignac. Polignac. Rancliffe, widow of the Marq. de Choiseul,† mar. June 1, 1824.
The father of the ex-Minister emigrated at the commencement of the Revolution, to Radstadt in the Grand Duchy of Baden; and afterwards resided, with the Royal Family, at Edinburgh.
It has been related that on the birthday of Jules, when he had attained
Melchior de Polignac, Ambassador for the Treaty of Utrecht, and afterwards to Rome; made a Cardinal in 1712, by Pope Clement XI.
his tenth year, the father invited all his companions in misfortune, and some other friends, and shewed them into a room, where, upon a table, a crucifix and two lighted candles had been placed. He then ordered young Jules to approach the table, and, in imitation of Hamilcar (Hannibal's father) bound him by an oath, that he would always oppose the French Re volution, and the principles to which it had given birth,
Whatever credit may be given to this story, it is certain that the father deeply inculcated in his children a detestation of all the enemies of the Bourbons. Both his sons were implicated in the conspiracy of 1804, when the life of Napoleon was attempted by what was styled the Infernal Machine. Armand was condemned to death (but did not suffer); Jules to two years imprisonment.§ Yours, &c. G. M.
Louis-Jules, Duc de Nivernois, who was Ambassador in England to treat for the Peace of 1762, was a son of this Duc de Nevers.
"Une de plus grandes et plus considerables maisons du Royaume."-Des Bois.
Priory of Hurley, Berkshire.
MR. URBAN, THE parish of Hurley, in Berkshire, is beautifully situated on the banks of the Thames, about thirty miles from London. In the Norman survey, commonly called Domesday, it is said to have lately belonged to Efgen, probably a Saxon or Danish family, but to be then in the possession of Geoffry de Mandeville. This person had greatly distinguished himself at the battle of Hastings, in which King Harold was defeated, and received this estate from William the Conqueror, among other spoils, as the reward of his valour and attachment. Towards the end of the Conqueror's reign, that is A.D. 1086, Geoffry de Mandeville founded here the Priory of St. Mary, to this day commonly called Lady Place, and annexed it as a cell to the great Benedictine Abbey of Westminster.
The charter of the foundation is still preserved in the archives there. In this instrument the founder calls himself Gosfridus de Magnavilla, and recites the motives of his donation:"Pro salute et redemptione animæ meæ, et uxoris meæ Lecelinæ, cujus consilio, gratiâ divinâ providente, hoc bonum inchoavi, et pro animâ Athelaisæ primæ uxoris meæ (matris filiorum meorum) jam defunctæ, necnon et hæredum meorum omnium mihi succedentium."-For the salvation of my soul, and that of my wife Lecelina, by whose advice, under the providence of divine grace, I have begun this good work, and also for the soul of Athelais my first wife, the mother of my sons, now deceased; and also for the souls of all my heirs who shall succeed me. He then recites the particulars of his endowment, and its object :-"Ad sustentationem monachorum in eadem ec
clesiâ Deo imperpetuum servientium." For the support of the religious order serving God perpetually in this church. And after some terrible imprecations, in imitation of Ernulphus Bishop of Rochester, against all persons who shall violate or diminish this his foundation, he concludes with these words :-"Ex hac vero donatione meâ et institutione, concilio proborum sumpto virorum tria acta sunt Brevia, unum apud Westmonasterium, aliud apud eandem ecclesiam de Hur. leia, tertium mihi et hæredibus meis succedentibus, pro loci integritate æternâ et stabilitate reposui."
William the Conqueror approved and confirmed the endowment of the founder of Hurley Priory; and afterwards Pope Adrian IV. in a Bull dated 1157, confirmed, among other possessions, to the Abbey of Westminster, "Cellum de Herleya cum eadem villâ, cum omni obedientiâ et subjectione, et pertinentiis suis."
It may not be improper to observe, that the first subscribing witness to the charter, and indeed the person who consecrated the new convent, was Osmund Bishop of Salisbury, originally a Norman nobleman, Count of Seez, in that province. He was, in the sequel, made Earl of Dorset, and Lord High Chancellor of England; and, finally, Bishop of Salisbury, which diocese he governed with remarkable goodness and assiduity from 1078 to 1099. He is commonly reputed to be the author of the Ritual, called the use of Sarum, and was canonized long after his death.
Gilbert, Abbot of Westminster, another subscribing witness, was also of a Norman family, which had produced several great men; among the rest, his grandfather and uncle, who were
The Vale of Hurley, containing the town of Great Marlow and Bisham, Hurley, and Medmenham, ancient monastic establishments, (the latter on the Buckinghamshire side of the Thames, within less than two miles of each other, and interspersed with gentlemen's seats, farms, and all the variety of cultivation, and bounded by sylvan hills, between which the river winds in picturesque meanders,) is unquestionably one of the most charming scenes, though of limited extent, in England.-See Moritz's Travels through England in Mavor's British Tourists, vol. iv. p. 67.
In the splendid edition of Dugdale's Monasticon, lately published, vol. iii. p. 488, we find a copy of the charter of the foundation, with some slight variations, chiefly verbal, and sometimes literal: "Ex Regist. de Walden penes comitem Suffolcia, an. 1650, hodie MS. Harl. Mus. Brit. 3697, fol. 51, b.
"Omnes infractores seu diminutores hujus meæ elemosinæ excommunicari, ut habitatio illorum perpetua cum Juda maledicto proditore Domini, et viventes descendent in æternæ proditionis baratrum cum Dathan et Core, cum inaledictione æternâ," &c.
GENT. MAG. January, 1831.
Lady Place, Hurley, Berkshire.
particularly distinguished. He had been educated in the Monastery of Bec, in Normandy, under Lanfranc and Anselm, successive Archbishops of Canterbury, with the latter of whom he kept up a constant correspondence, founded on a sincere friendship. He was repeatedly employed in embassies by Henry I., and is said to have been a very honest and good-natured man, and learned in all the sciences of the times. Some of his theological writings are still extant. He died in the year 1117, and lies buried under one of the three old stone effigies which still remain in the pavement of the great cloisters in Westminster Abbey, near Mr. Pulteney's tomb. In his time, Geoffry de Mandeville himself was interred in the little cloisters of Westminster Abbey, in a chapel, now a court yard, belonging to the house of the receiver of the Abbey rents.
Geoffry, the son of the founder, created Earl of Essex, was likewise a benefactor. He married Roisia, sister to Aubrey de Vere, first Earl of Oxford. This lady caused a subterraneous chapel to be cut out of the solid chalk, near the centre of the present town of Royston, in which she was buried. This chapel, on the walls of which many rude figures are still to be seen in relievo, after being lost and unknown for ages, was accidentally discovered by some workmen in 1742, and an account of it was published by Dr. Stukeley. It is well worthy the attention of tourists; and being perfectly dry and easily accessible, is often visited by strangers passing between London and Cambridge.
To return from this digression. The Earl of Essex was Standard-bearer of England, in the times of the Empress Maud and of King Henry II. The family seems to have acquired considerable possessions, and probably gave rise to several distinguished individuals, who, in their posterity, may still be existing in honorable stations.
As to Hurley Priory, except that Godfrey, the prior in 1258, exchanged the greatest part of the tithes belonging to the original endowment, with the Abbot of Walden for the church of Streatley, in Berkshire, it remained nearly in the same condition for about 450 years. It was suppressed, among the lesser monasteries, in the 26th year of Henry VIII. 1535, when the annual income, according to Dugdale, amounted to 1217. 18s. 5d.; according to Speed, 1347. 10s. 8d.†
In the 33rd year of Henry VIII. the Priory of Hurley became the property, by grant, of Charles Howard, Esq., and three years afterwards, the site, then and ever since called Lady Place, from the convent having been dedicated to the Virgin Mary, as already mentioned, became the property of Leonard Chamberleyn, Esq. From him it passed the same year to John Lovelace, Esq., who died in 1558.‡ The son of that gentleman went on an expedition with Sir Frances Drake against the Spaniards, and with the money acquired in this adventure, built the present house on the ruins of the ancient convent.
Of the original buildings belonging to the Priory, the only visible parts remaining are the Abbey yard,§ behind the parish church, on the North side, and some parts of a chapel, or rather, as it is generally supposed, of the refectory, (now stables) of which the window arches, though formed of chalk, are still as fresh as if lately erected. The durability of chalk, indeed, is wonderful, when once it becomes indurated by the sun and air, and fixed in an erect position. In the house itself, however, some remains of the form of the convent may still be traced. Under the great hall, which strikes every spectator for its grandeur and proportions, is a vault or cellar, in which some bodies in monastic habits have been found buried, probably some of the priors, as
*It appears from a deed executed in the 15th of Richard II. that Edith, sister of Edward the Confessor, had been buried at Hurley, on which and some other claims the prior and monks obtained the appropriation of the church of Warefeld from the King.
In the valuation of Pope Nicholas we find this entry, "Ecclesia de Hurle cu vicar' indeci'abili, Prior Rector, 107. Taxatio decima, 1."
It has been supposed that Lovelace the poet, who died in 1658, was of the same
In the walls bounding this quadrangle a former proprietor of Lady Place, Joseph Wilcocks, Esq. has put up tablets with inscriptions, recording some eminent persons connected with the foundation of the Priory.
Lovelace, Wilcocks, and Kempenfelt Families.
is indicated by the staff on the stones covering their remains. This hall, and the cross rooms at the East end, seem to have been the church, not of the parish, but of the convent; and the numerous, small apartments at the west end, forming the boundary of the parish cemetery, appear to have been the dormitories of the monks.
Respecting the Lovelace family, long the proprietors and occupiers of Lady Place, it is proper to notice that it soon grew rich and powerful in this country, and was ennobled in the reign of Charles I. under the title of Lord Lovelace, Baron of Hurley. In the succeeding reign it lived in great splendour. Two or three ceilings, painted by Verrio, probably at the same time with those in Windsor Castle, and more particularly the landscapes by Salvator Rosa, in the great room, attest the magnificence and wealth of the family.
During the short reign of James II. private meetings of some of the leading nobles of the kingdom were held here, in the subterraneous vault under the Great Hall, for calling in the Prince of Orange; and it is said that the principal papers which brought about the Revolution, were signed in the dark recess at the extremity of that vault. It is certain, that after King Wiliam obtained the crown, he visited Lord Lovelace at Lady Place, and descended with him the dark stairs to see the place. Inscriptions recording this visit, that of George III. and of General Paoli, in 1780, to the same vault, as the cradle of the revolution, were put in it by a worthy proprietor, Joseph Wilcocks, Esq., who will again be mentioned in the sequel.
On the decline of the Lovelace family, which speedily followed, the estate was sold under a decree of Chancery-one part of it, by far the most valuable, the manorial rights, the impropriate rectory, and the advowson of the vicarage, became the property of Robert Gayer, Esq., who, according to Bishop Tanner, possessed various accompts, rentals, and charters of the Priory; though no register of it is known to exist, nor any regular list of the priors. This estate, with its appurtenances, was subsequently purchased of the Gayer family by the late Duke of Marlborough, who died in 1817. His Grace afterwards exchanged them for lands in Oxfordshire
with Thomas Walker, Esq. of Woodstock, from whose granddaughter and sole heir, Miss Freind, married to Henry Lord Viscount Ashbrook, it has lately descended to their only surviving son, the Hon. Henry Flower, who on coming into its possession, assumed, by royal authority, the name of Walker.
The remaining part of the Lovelace estate, consisting of Lady Place and the Woodlands, was purchased by Mrs. Williams, sister to Dr. Wilcocks, Bishop of Rochester, which lady in one lottery had two tickets only, and one of them came up a prize of 500l. the other of 20,000l. with which she purchased the property here. The daughter of Mrs. Williams, married to Dr. Lewin, Chancellor of Rochester, possessed it from her mother's death in 1745; and dying without issue, bequeathed it to her relative, Joseph Wilcocks, Esq., son of the Bishop, who on succeeding to it in 1771, and not being able to let the house to a tenant, came to inhabit it himself, and died at an advanced age. He was the author of a posthumous publication under the title of "Roman Conversations," written when a young man, but suppressed from a modesty of disposition, for which, as well as every amiable virtue, he was distinguished through life.
The next person in the entail was the brave and unfortunate Admiral Kempenfelt, who went down in the Royal George, as is well known, in Portsmouth harbour. His brother, Gustavus Adolphus Kempenfelt, Esq. succeeded to Lady Place, and made it his residence; but dying unmarried, as his brother and Mr. Wilcocks had been, and being last in the entail, he left the property to his relative, the late Mr. Richard Troughton, of the Custom House, who resided only occasionally here, and whose representatives sold the estate in lots, about three or four years ago. The mansion called Lady Place, and part of the estate, were purchased for the Hon. Henry Walker; and the re
It has been said, but the writer of this knows not on what authority, that the Kempenfelts were descended from the Will Wimble of the " Spectator." The portrait of the Admiral in his uniform, is, or was lately, to be seen in the Great Room occupying the east side of Lady Place.