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V The GENERAL INDEX to the last Twenty


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BRIDGE, 1639.

Queen Elizabeth's Chancellor of the Exchequer,
Sir Walter Mildmay, Knt., was the founder of
Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in the year 1584.
On October 28, 1588, he gave to the College the
vicarage of Stanground, Huntingdonshire — a vil-
lage which, at the present day, may be considered
a suburb of the city of Peterborough, and which,
with its curacy of Farcet, is worth 1300/. a year.
Sir Walter died in the year following his gift—
on May 31,1589 — leaving two sons, Anthony and
Humphrey. Anthony succeeded to the North-
amptonshire estates and the seat at Apthorpe. He
was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and married
Grace, daughter and coheir to Sir Henry Sherring-
ton of Lacock, Wiltshire. They had one only
child, a daughter, Mary, who, as sole heiress, suc-
ceeded to a great estate, and married Francis Fane,
who was created Baron Burghersh and Earl of
Westmorland, December 29, 1624. He died on
March 21, 1629, leaving a family of seven sons
and six daughters, to whose education their mother
had paid special care. That, as a widow, she
could administrate her large estates with the
same ability with which she had directed the

management of her numerous family, is exem-
plified in a bundle of her letters, still preserved
at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, which were
written to the Master (Dr. Holdsworthj and the
Fellows of the College in the year 1639.

These letters resulted from a dispute that had
arisen between this Mary, Countess Dowager of
Westmorland, and the Vicar of Stanground,
touching certain vicarial tithes in Stanground and
Farcet, more especially the tithe of the Buristed
or Manor Farm in the former parish. The Vicar
of Stanground at this time was the Rev. Henry
Salmon, who had been instituted to the living
Dec. 6, 1634.* The letters necessarily touch upon
so much that is of mere local interest, that it
would not be desirable to reproduce them here in
their integrity; but some extracts from the busi-
ness-like epistles of the Countess Dowager may
possibly be acceptable to the reader, as epistolary
evidences of the great abilities and strong will of
their writer. I am enabled to make the transcripts
through the courtesy of the present Vicar of Stan-

fround, the Rev. Robert Cory, B.D., formerly
ellow of Emmanuel College; and they may
prove serviceable for a page in that history of
Huntingdonshire which was once contemplated
by its illustrious son, Sir Robert (Bruce) Cotton,
but which still remains unwritten. I will ac-
company the transcripts by a few explanations
and notes; and, as the first letter of the Countess
Dowager is brief, and is not weighted with the
names and acreages of fen lands, &c, I will tran-
scribe it in exteiiso, premising that her previous
correspondence with Mr. Salmon is not, it is be-
lieved, in existence: —

"My Revd and much esteemed frend Doctor Oles-

worth, Mr of Emanuel College, Cambridge.
"My reverende frend,

ther hath been a longe comtmication between me
and the Vicar of Stangrounde, about an augmentation to
that Vicarige, & I have been ready and am, to trie it at law,
but by his entreaties I have stayed, being as desirous
as he, not in that way to contend with the Clargie. he
hath put me long in expectation that same from Emanuell

• He was B.A. in 1625; M.A. 1629; B.D. 1636. He
was buried May 18, 1651. His predecessor in the living
was the Rev. Elias Petit, who was buried Nov. 17, 1634,
and to whose memory there is the following inscription
on a small brass plate on the south wall of Stanground
church:—" Here lveth buried ye body of Elias Petit,
s>mtime Vicar of this place, 4th sonn t> Valentine Petit
of Dandelvon in the Isle of Thanet in Kent, Esquire, who
departed this life xvth November, 1634, in the yeare of
his age 31th." He had held the living only four years.
Previous vicars of Stanground, after the dissolution of
Thomey Monastery, were as follows: (1.) Sir Andrew
Pollard, Vicar, died Aug. 2. 1545. (2.) Sir Thomas
Howlett, Vicar, died 1561. (3.) Mr. William Long, be-
came Vicar 1573, married 1588, died Feb. 17, 1602,
having lived twenty nine years in the vicarage. (4)
Mr. Sam. Starling. Fellow of Emmanuel, twenty-eight
years vicar, died 1680.

College, authorized by the rest, should come unto ire to treate about a peaceable end of this business; but I see that is but a delay, because lately he hath procecuted divers suits* against any tcnnants, contrarv to his promise, as I conceive it y are patrons by Sir \Valter Mildmay's gift, and I will conclude nothing without you. Sr W. Mildmay out of his Bounty, and upon a suggestion that this Vicarige was but 12/. p. an.f added to it out of his demaines and inheritance 1207. p. an.; if his heyres are willing to follow his steps. A- to be a further benefactor to that Church, it is reason it should be settled (if Law will do it) that ther heyres may not after be troubled, as I have been ; which will rest in your Society, therefore I will stay my proceedings if in any short time I may hear from you, if he in the meantime be quiet, which I believe will comaunde; I shall proove most of those grounds from which he asks tieths never paid any, nor ought to pay any, and that the profiits of those grownds are uncertain if thev did pay tieths, and that most of them are not liable to Vicarige tieths, if they ought to pay any tieths, and yet I am willing to make him a competent addition, if it may be setled for posterity, and soe leaving it to your discreete consideration, desiring to heere from y I rest

"Tour very loving frend,

"M. Westmorland. "Apthorp, 12 Nov, 1639."

The foregoing letter shows her ladyship's capacity for business. In her speedy reply to Dr. Holdsworth's answer to the above, under date Nov. 26, she offers 20/. per annum to terminate the cause, "and in such a fation as I will give it to quiet all differences betweene the Lords of the Manor and the Vicars for all time to com." If this offer was not accepted, she was prepared to go to law; but she was convinced that it was a liberal offer; for

"God knows my love to his Church to his ministers, and my heart is larger towards them than my ability, and if it did appeare that soe much as 20/. p. an. weare due to the Vicar, I would much willinger give more then lesse unto him, that I might be sure not to wrcnge him in a penny, but being in my conscience satisfied that it will not proove soe, and that the living by this addition is made soe competent, I wounder that my offer should not be thankfully received; if ever the Fenns rcturne to ther former ill condition, which they are in danger to doe, then will my heyres tax me for giving soe much from them, and if they be bettered, more land will still be taken from me by the undertakers, soe that if the waters swallow not up my profitts, the undertakers will. I lost 1100 acres by the last undertakers, and now by these am like to loose more, and by those who will come after these, I know not what."

She reminds him that "God hath given your

* By a copy of a libel it appears that Hen. Salmon, Vicar of Stanground, had proceeded againpt Edward Bellamy in the Court of Arches, London, for the vicarial tithes of the Buristed or Manor Farm in Stanground, Horsey grounds, the Lavacks, Conquest Closes, and all the enclosed ground between Northea on the north side and Stanground on the south side, for the years 1631 to 8, and from March to June in 1689.

t From depositions, August 8, 1638, it appears that Vicar Longe could not set "his Vicaredge to Farmer Beale for 13/. p. an." and that "Mr Louge did intreate Mr Beale to be a means to Sr Walter to enlarge the Vicaredge."

founder a plentifull offspringe in me, whom I am carefull to provide for and educate," and that if his Society would not accept her terms, but wished for more, "you must get it how you can."

The " Maister & Fellows " of the College, under date Dec. 10,1639, thereupon reply, that they had put Mr. Salmon to the trouble of a journey to Cambridge, and had examined into his demands; and they informed her, that if his estimate were correct, the 20/. that she proposed to give was not a third part of the emoluments that would arise to him from the 1200 acres only, without respect to the other branches of his demand. They therefore begged her to reconsider her proposition, and enlarge her 20/. to 40/., " beneath which we cannot well goe with a due discharge of our trust."

They entreat that she will not think hardly of them, although the business has placed them in a great strait, "being distracted betwixt the tenderness of offending your honor, and the betraying of the rights of that Church wherewith we are especially entrusted by our founder, your honor's grandfather."

Her honour's tenderness was, however, very greatly offended by this communication, which, as she told them, proved that they "wholly credited Mr. Salmon in his relations, passing by what I had written." At first, therefore, her intention was to say no more to them; but she suffered herself to be over-persuaded, and, on Jan 8,1639, writes them a very lengthy epistle, in which she fully enters into the various particulars of the case. The vicar had claimed "the pension of 14 nobles for the maintenance of a curate at the chappell"; but this she explained had been decided by the bishop of Lincoln (afterwards Archbishop of York) to be " a benevolence that was left to her father's free pleasure to pay it or no, and that it had been discontinued before her time."* Other points she also explains upon clear evidence; and with regard to the tithe milk and herbage paid out of the 1200 acres in Stanground, and 400 acres in Farcet, she tells them that she can find no such number of acres, and that the land lies " all under water upon every flud," and that much of it was in another county and parish, and that the tithe herbage had never been paid, and the tithe milk but seldom, and then by " some poore tennants for feare upon suits "; and, in confirmation of her statements, she refers her correspondents to "the Depositions taken upon two commissions out of the arches." t But this was not all; for, she says :-r

* It appears from a deed from the Abbot of Thorney, dated 1st Sept., 30 Hen. VIII. that Christopher Barton had for life il. 13s. id. This Sir Christopher Barton was buried Nov. 27, 1558.

•f- From these Depositions (Dcpositione* pro Domn Comitiss. de Westmur.) Domina Orme de Peterb. shewed that her father, H. Parkinson, thirty-eight years since,

"Ther is taken from me by my Lord of Bedford's undertaking out of the lands in Stanground 127 acres, and out of tbe 400 acres in Farcet 162 acres, and upon the new commission for draining them better, whearin the King is tbe sole undertaker,* ther is a law made which will take away neare a fourth part of that which remains, and what commissions will come after this to take any more, noe man can devine. Deeping fenne is almost swallowed up by undertakings."

She hoped, therefore, that they would accept her offer, and consider it, under the circumstances of the case, to he not only fair, but bountifuL

"And that y° may see the largeness of my hart to the Church, I pray y" to consider how this man hath proToked me, whoe hath accused me both to the King and to the Arch Bp by petitions to be a wronger of the Church, setting down to tbem as he hath done to you, manyfaulce suggestions, whear-in he hath done ungratefully as well as falcely, and yet I am still the same and ready to do him good."

The reply that she received to this letter was not so satisfactory as she had desired. To their proposal to refer the matter for adjudication before the great law officers in London, she replied, that

"This business is not worth troubling them; besides I shall not be in London till Easter tearme when they will be full of business, & I would have this business finished in the next vacation, soe that if you please to match them, I think to chuse a Barronet a neighbor of mine, and a Chaplaine of my owne, the place I desire to be here at Apthorp, because I would be at it. Now as I heere from you how this is agreable to you, soe the day shall be appointed. Ther is nothing better pleaseth me than peace, and nothing soe vexatious to me as contention with such a Society as yours, but if y° be ungrateful to your Founder or his heyres, and grate upon them from whom you have your better being, as you would do upon those from whom you never received anything, then in Justice I am obliged to be as ready for law-suits as Mr. Salmon, which I hope your just respects to me will prevent, and soe expecting your speedy resolutions to all particulcrs, I comitt you to God, and rest

"Your assured loving fire nd,

"M. Westmorland."

"Apthorp, 4 Feb. 1639."

had lived for twelve years in the Buristed, or Manor Farm, and had never paid any tithe for it, those lands being exempt as part of the Abbot's demesne: V. Humfred. Ormc deposed that he had milking cows in Bradley Fen, and paid no tithe j and that the parishioners of Stanground never went Perambulations on the north side ef the Ncne: Elizab. Milter de Stanground testified to the same: Will. Arden dt Yaxlye had held Conquest Close for forty years without paying tithe: Simon Bonner de Yaxlye and Rich. Carrier de Yaxlye also proved a similar exemption: Rob. Randal de JVitlesey observed, that, in the Perambulations, the people of Stanground went no further than Raven's Willow in Horsev, and never went on the north side the Nene: Wm. Bellamy de Tanior believed that the grounds between Northca and Stanground to be in Witlesey parish, although a portion of the manor of Stanground.

* By a Session of Sewers at Huntingdon, April 12, 1638, the Earl of Bedford's undertaking was adjudged defective; and by another general Session of Sewers at Huntingdon, July 18, 1638, the king was declared the sole undertaker, and to haye not onlv the 95,000 acres, but 57,000 acres more.

This letter was sent to the Master and Fellows of Emanuel College, and with it she sent a private letter to her friend, Dr. Iloldsworth, tha Master, in which she states the propositions on either side, and her own determination not to give more than she had promised, her " own famillie" requiring "the haight of her abilities." And it was by no means a small family; for she was the mother of seven sons and six daughters. On the 22nd of the same month, she wrote another letter to the Master and Fellows to the purport that she had been compelled to postpone making the promised appointment; for, she says — •

"I had an unexpected and unavoydable occasion which called me up to London, wheare I had been before this time, but that the waters affrighted me, but I must seeks bridges, and on way or other passe the next weeke if it

?lease God, wheare^ I shall not stay above a fortnight as suppose, but being uncertaine, my stay depending more on other pleasures than mine owne, I cannot now appoint a time."

But, if the Master should come to town, she would send for him to confer on this business, so that it might be brought to "a just and quiet end."

She got to London, but forgot the Master; and, on her return to Apthorp, was compelled to confess the fact in her letter to her —

"Reverend friends the Master and Fellows of Emanuell College in Cambridge. "Though I confesse I have not fulfilled on part of my last letter in sendinge to seeke the Master of the College while I was in London, which I faythfully assure you upon my word was merely forgetfulness, yet now I am returned", this being the next daj- after my arrivall heere, I send unto you about nominatinge the tyme and place for the meetinge for the accomodation of the differences betweene us, Si if it mav sute with your occasions, I think Tewsday the last of March, at Stilton, a fitt tymc and place, and yf that tyme sute not well with you, name a neerer day, and I will observe it yf I can, or write you word yf I cannot; it cannot be deferred after that day, because I goe towards London that day sennight, soe desiring to hear your resolution by this bearer, I committ you to God, and rest

"Your assured loving freind, "Apthorpe, this 19»> "M. Westmorland."

of March, 1639."

This was destined to be her last letter on the subject. Not only the meeting, but her journey to London had to be deferred, lor she was stricken with a mortal illness; and on April 9, 1030, this stout-hearted Dowager Countess was laid to sleep in death.

Nearly eighteen months elapsed before the settling of that business on which she had expended so much ink and decision. Her foe was still alive; and it was "in the King's Chamber, at the Angel at Stilton/' on August20,1010, that her son—

"The Right HonorM« Mildmay Earle of Westmorland*, and Henry Salmon, Vicar of Stanground in the

*~He died Feb. 12, 1665.

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