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spectre, called the Dobie of Mortham. The cause assigned for her appearance is a lady's having been whilom murdered in the wood, in evidence of which her blood is shewn upon the stairs of the old tower at Mortham; but whether she was slain by a jealous husband, or by savage banditti, or by an uncle who coveted her estate, or by a rejected lover, are points upon which the traditions of Rokeby do not enable us to decide.
The castle of Mortham which Leland terms " Mr. Rokeby's Place, in ripa citer, scant a quarter of a mile from Greta Bridge, and not a quarter of a mile beneath the trees," is a picturesque tower, surrounded by buildings of different ages, now converted into a farm house and offices. The battlements of the tower itself are singularly elegant, the architect having broken them at regular intervals into different heights: while those at the corners of the tower project into octangular turrets. They are also from space to space, covered with stones laid across them, as in modern embrasures, the whole forming an uncommon and beautiful effect. The surrounding buildings are of less happy form, being pointed into high and steep roofs. A wall with embrasures, encloses the southern front, where a low portal arch affords an entry to what was the Castle court. At some distance is most happily
placed, between the stems of two magnificent elms,—
a massive monument,
Carved o'er in ancient Gothic wise,
It is said to have been brought from the ruins of Eglistone Priory, and from the armoury with which it is richly carved, appears to have been a tomb of the Fitz Hughs.
The situation of Mortham, is eminently beautiful, occupying a high bank, at the bottom of which the Greta winds out of the dark, narrow and romantic dell, and flows onward through a more open valley to meet the Tees, about a quarter of a mile from the castle. Mortham is surrounded by old trees, happily and widely grouped with Mr. Morritt's plantations.
Sir Walter Scott makes the following pleasing allusion to the romantic scenery of Mortham.
"And when he issued from the wood,
Writtle, co. Esser.
AMONG the remaining examples of the customs of our forefathers there are perhaps none which are more interesting, or under the so called legal reformations, more rapidly disappearing than the feudal tenures, curious customis and arbitrary jurisdiction by which lands were held, either of the crown, or
of the great and powerful barons, each of whom ruled with a tyrant's power over the inhabitants of his lordship, exacting on a reduced scale all the homage of life and limb, which he in turn was bound to render to his sovereign. There are still lands in England retaining many of these feudal laws and customs, and of these the Manor of Writtle in Essex, which gives the title to the noble family of Petre, is a remarkable specimen.
Writtle, the largest and one of the finest parishes in Essex, is considered to be the site of the Roman station of Jasoromagus, named in the Itinerary of Antoninous. In the reign of Edward the Confessor, it formed part of the possessions of Earl Harold, who succeeded the Confessor in the government of the kingdom, and after the battle of Hastings, Writtle fell into the grasp of the Conqueror, who at the general survey, held it in demesne as the king's fee-we may suppose it to have been a favourite hunting resort of the succeeding monarchs, for in 1211, King John erected a palace there opposite to what is now called the Lordship Farm, but the moat is the only vestige of its magnificence. At a later period of his reign, John granted the manor and park of Writtle, in fee farm with free warren to one of the family of Nova Villa, or Neville. After various subsequent changes it returned into the hands of the Nevilles, and in the 14th year of King Henry III. it was held by Ralph Neville, Bishop of Chichester, the same who built a palace in Holborn as a town residence for the bishops of his see, when they visited London. This palace becoming the property of Henry Lacey, Earl of Lincoln, has ever since been called Lincoln Inn. Henry subsequently granted the Manor of Writtle for exchange of lands in the county of Chester, to Isabella de Brugs or Braes, sister of the Earl of Chester, who was poisoned by his wife, a Welsh heiress, and her son Robert did homage for it, serving in Wales for one knight's fee. The grandson of this Robert, being Earl of Carrick, so well known as the "Bruce of Bannockburn," having been crowned King of Scotland, at Scone, 25 March, 1305, was forthwith deprived of all his English possessions by Edward I. By an inquisition taken in the 5th year of Edward III., it was found that Richard de Walleyes and Eleanora, his wife, did hold the third part of the manor of Writtle, at the time of the death of the said Alianora, as of her dower, and it was further found that King Edward, father of Edward III., did grant to Humphrey de Bohun, sometime Earl of Hereford and Essex, and to Elizabeth, his wife, the manors of Writtle and Horsefrith, adjoining, and that of John de Bohun, then Earl of Hereford and Essex, son and heir of the aforesaid held the manors of Writtle and Horsfrith, for ever of the king in capite by the service of one knight's fee. John dying without issue was succeeded by his brother, Humphrey, who obtained the royal permission to embattle and fortify his house at Writtle, additions particularly necessary to the comfort and security of a feudal baron in those times. Anne, the grand-daughter and heiress of Humphrey de Bohun, was contracted whilst in tender years to Thomas, Earl of Stafford, who dying in 1392, she by virtue of the king's special licence took his next surviving brother and heir, Edmund, Earl of Stafford, for a husband; he was slain at the battle of Shrewsbury, in 1403, and their son Humphrey, who in addition to all his other titles had been created Duke of Buckingham, was, at the time of his death (being slain at the battle of Northampton, 1460,) found possessed of the manor of Writtle and Boyton. Writtle continued to be among the possessions of this family, until the death of Edward Stafford, the third and last duke, who for some frivolous cause of offence given at a court banquet, having fallen under the displeasure of the then all-powerful favourite Cardinal
Wolsey, was through his malice and revenge, beheaded on Tower hill, 17 May, 1521, whereupon all his estates being forfeited, the manor of Writtle once more became the property of the crown. The manor of Writtle was once more destined to change hands, Sir William Petre, one of the most successful statesman and singular characters of the remarkable times in which he lived, came into notice of Henry VIII. soon after the disgrace and death of Cardinal Wolsey. Sir William Petre having been secretary during three reigns, (notwithstanding the different political and religious opinions which prevailed during those reigns,) in the first year of the reign of Mary, he obtained possession of the manor and park of Writtle. By this deed of grant, remarkable from the fact that in it Queen Mary among her titles takes that of Supreme Head of the Church of England and Ireland, she gives to Sir William Petre, Knt. and his descendants in exchange for certain lands in Somersetshire, and in consideration of his good, true, faithful and acceptable services, to her therefore manifoldly rendered, and of her special grace in consequence, all that the lordship and manor of Writtle, and those two parks of Writtle and Horsfrith, in the county of Essex, with all, and singular their rights, members and appurtenances, and all the right she herself possessed, over all lands, fisheries, &c. within the said manors, the goods and chattels of all felons and fugitives, the rights of wardship and marriage, each of which appears to have been productive of much emolument, even after the coarse customs of the early feudal barons had been laid aside, also all the perquisites and profits, in which are included the male and female deer in the parks, and the male and female villeins or peasants with all their belongings, in short absolute power over the inhabitants of the district, whether man or beast. Together with all the feudal rights, customs, and appurtenances, some of which customs are of a very singular description, and scarcely to be understood at the present day, but which render the lord of the manor even now a very formidable person in his own territory. He appoints his own coroner for the peculiar and exempt jurisdiction of Writtle, and by his steward, holds baronial courts within the manor, where all the singular customs peculiar to ancient demesne, as Writtle is still styled, are rigorously enforced; he there imposes fines, and on the death of a tenant or the alienation of a tenant's property, he takes possession as a heriot of the best living beast. At these courts wills can be proved without the interference of the see of Canterbury, an instance of which occurred so lately as 1810. It would perhaps be advantageous if the lord could still, as formerly exercise some controul over the morals of the vassals, for at a court held in the 7th Henry VI. a man was severely fined for slandering his neighbour, and the curate of the parish being convicted of immoral conduct, was not only amerced himself in the then considerable sum of 33s. 4d., but the vicar also had to pay a fine, for concealing the fault. It is the custom of the manor, that on the death of a tenant, if his property be not claimed at the next court, it may be seized into the lord's hands; if a tenant leaving no son, die intestate, his property devolves solely on his eldest daughter, to the exclusion of the rest. To pass over a certain portion of the manor called green-way, all carts, save those of the lords must pay a fine of four pence, this is called lefe silver or lefe and lace. Another custom goes by the name of stubble silver, it being a certain fine or airsage for every pig ranging in the woods, from Michaelmas day to Martinmas, and such as were not duly paid for, were at once forfeited to the lord. Various officers were appointed to carry out the laws &c. of the manor, and continue to be so every year. The bedell we may suppose formerly to have been a person of vast dignity
and importance, his very garments partaking of his power, "for at one court an unfortunate villain is fined 20 pence for pulling ye coat of ye bedell set upon a door for the safe keeping of goods within." He was chosen by the tenants. The prefactus or overseer, was also chosen by the tenants; and there are many instances of recourse being had to severe measures to oblige the person so chosen to do his duty gratis. The fugalores or woodwards, had charge of the woods and parks. An officer styled the lord's paler collected the pale wheat due as rent from various tenants. The caterer, (often alluded to by Chaucer) took charge of the lord's provisions, while the wagebread visiting the bakers, was charged to report all those who sold bread deficient in weight; and that all things might be equally good, a dignitary, bearing the title of the lord's taster of ale, seized all such as forfeit which was not in his opinion sound and sufficient in strength. These are some of the remarkable remaining customs of the feudal tenure of Writtle, which has remained in the possession of Sir William Petre's descendants, to the present day. His son John, was created a Peer by James I. with the title of Baron Petre, of Writtle.
Euston, co. Suffolk.
“Here noble Grafton spreads his rich domains,
ROBERT Bloomfield, the rustic bard of Suffolk, was born in the vicinity of Grafton's rich domain ;" and his muse loved to commemorate the beauties of those favoured scenes, wherein his mind first became stored with that abundance of rural imagery, which, feeding his natural passion for the country, was one day to give an irresistible charm to the simple language of the untaught peasant. Magical is the power of genius! The humble Shepherd's boy, he sought no better name," has imparted a poetic association to the princely home of Euston, more attractive than any other connected with its history.
The village of Euston is situated a mile from Fakenham, but the park extends nearly to that place. It was formerly the lordship of a family bearing the local name, and afterwards descended to SIR HENRY BENNET, who by King Charles II. was made Secretary of State, and created Viscount Thetford, and Earl of Arlington. He enjoyed the estate for many years, and built the mansion of Euston Hall. In reference to this, we find the following remarks of John Evelyn:
"A stranger preached at Euston church, and fell into a hansome panegyric on my lord's new building the church, which indeed for its elegance and cheerfulness is one of the prettiest country churches in England. My lord told me his heart smote him that after he had bestowed so much on his magnificent palace there, he should see God's house in the ruine it lay in. He has also rebuilt the parsonage-house all of stone, very neat and ample."
By Isabella of Nassau, his wife, daughter of Lewis, Count of Nassau, the earl left an only daughter and heiress, ISABELLA, the wife of Henry Fitzroy, second illegitimate son of King Charles II., by the Duchess of Cleveland.
Immediately after his marriage in 1672, Henry Fitzroy was created by his father Earl of Euston, and in three years after made Duke of Grafton. His Grace died from the effects of a wound received at the siege of Cork, 9 Oct. 1690, and was buried at Euston. His son and successor, CHARLES, 2nd DUKE OF GRAFTON, K.G., Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, inherited, in right of his mother, the Earldom of Arlington: he married Henrietta, daughter of Charles, Marquess of Worcester, and dying in 1757, was succeeded by his grandson, AUGUSTUS HENRY, 3rd DUKE OF GRAFTON, K.G. who filled at one time the office of first Lord of the Treasury. His Grace died 14 March 1811, and was succeeded by his son, GEORGE HENRY, 4th DUKE OF GRAFTON. K.G. Lord Lieutenant, Vice Admiral, and Custos Rotulorum of Suffolk. This nobleman died in Sept. 1844, when his honours and estates devolved on his son, HENRY, present duke.
The mansion of Euston is large and commodious, built with red brick, of modern date, and without any gaudy decorations within or without. The house is almost surrounded with trees of uncommon growth, and the most healthy and luxuriant appearance, and near it glides the river Ouse. The scenery about the hall and park combines the most delightful assemblage of rural objects that can well be imagined, and is justly celebrated by the author of the "Farmer's Boy."
The estate is not less than between thirty and forty miles in circumference, including a number of villages and hamlets. On an elevated situation in the park stands the temple. This elegant structure was designed for a banqueting-house, and was built by the celebrated Kent, under the auspices of Henry, 3rd Duke of Grafton, who laid the first stone himself in 1746. It consists of an upper and lower apartment, and is in the Grecian style of architecture. It forms an interesting object from many points of view in the neighbourhood, and commands a wide range of prospect. Bloomfield, in his " Autumn," thus eulogizes Euston and its noble proprietor :
Brandon Park and Manor, co. Suffolk.
THIS ancient manor and estate appear to have been in the possession of King Henry III., by whom, in the thirty-fifth year of his reign, they were granted to Hugh Bishop of Ely, and his successors, together with free chase in all their demesnes in that part of the country. So, the lands remained until the time of ELIZABETH, when they reverted to the crown, in consequence, it is presumed, of an exchange by the See for other estates: an inference borne out by various records of the periods attesting that during the reign of Elizabeth and her immediate successor, no less than twenty suits were instituted connected with the Brandon property, and that in one, a commision issued out of the Court of Exchequer, directed to Sir John Heigham, Knt. and Robert Peyton, Esq. to enquire into the subject of the controversy and to return a certificate of their opinion thereon. The result of this investigation was an award in favour of the crown, in which it was declared that the