Imágenes de páginas

put upon his coffin :-"Depositum illustrissimi Domini Francisci Villiers, ingentis speciei juvenis, filii posthumi Georgii Ducis Buckinghamii; qui, vicesimo ætatis anno, pro Rege Carolo, et patria fortiter pugnando, novem honestis vulneribus acceptis, obiit 7mo die Julii, Anno Domini 1648.” The initials of his name were inscribed on the tree under which he was slain, and remained until it was cut down, as Aubrey says, in the year 1680. Some elegies are extant which were written


his death. Kingston is a remarkably handsome little town, with many good houses, and a fine bridge across the Thames to Hampton Wick. The Town Hall, lately rebuilt on the site of a similar structure, erected in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, is a neat and tasteful building. This structure is adorned with a statue of Queen Anne, with an inscription. The windows of the old Hall were enriched with stained glass, containing the armorial ensigns of various nations, as the Romans, the Heathen and Christian Britons, the Norman kings, and others.

Kingston, though now rather dull, has been in its day a right merrie and right Royal place : the Chamberlain's and Churchwarden's accounts contain some curious disbursements :--for example,

1570.- Paid to the ryngers at the command of the master baylifs when word was brought that the Earl of Northumberland was taken, twenty pence.

1581.–For ringing when the traytors were taken, ninepence. For ringing when Don Pedro came through the town, two-and-sixpence.

1610.–To the ringers for ringing on the day of the king's preservation from the Gowries conspiracy, two-and-fourpence.

1624.—To the ringers for joy of the Prince's return out of Spain, three-and-fourpence. 1665.-—To the ringers when Prince Rupert lay in the town.

Surely, the bells of old Kingston would seem to have had no sinecure in those days, nor the ringers either.

Among the earlier entries are the following connected with church matters :

Paid to maister doctor for the wax of the paschall, three shillings and fourpence halfpenny.
For ale upon Palm Sunday for syngyne of the Passion, one penny.
To the Peynter for peynting of Our Lady, twelvepence.
For paynting the base of Our Lady in the rode lofte, twelvepence.
To Palmer for iron work to set up Mary and John, one and tenpence.
For two holy water sticks, twopence.
For a holy bredde basket, threepence.
Paid for a year's whipping of the dogges out of the church, eightpence.


The items following afford a good idea of the relative value of money in the times in which we live, comparing them with three centuries ago.

Eight hens and four capons for Mr. Attorney, thirteen shillings and fourpence.
Two women for their labour for two days, sixpence
A salmon for the judges, two pounds seventeen shillings.
A labourer for a day's work, sevenpence.
A troute given to the Lord Admiral, eight shillings.
Three bushels of coals, threepence.
A couple of pheasants for the Earl of Holderness, fourteen shillings.
Three sheep, five shillings.
The cooks for their labour, one shilling and elevenpence halfpenny.
Interest for two hundred pounds, for six months, six pounds.

A curious tradition respecting one of the monarchs crowned at Kingston we have taken from Mr. Mackay's interesting work, “The Thames and its Tributaries."

'King Edwy, in his seventeenth year, was crowned with great magnificence in the market-place of Kingston. He was of a handsome figure, and a most amiable disposition. Before his accession he had been smitten with the charms of Elgiva, a noble lady, his kinswoman, whom he married secretly in spite of the fulminations of Saint Dunstan, and Odo, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had represented to him that their relationship was too near to allow of a union. Upon the day of his coronation, a grand feast was prepared for all the nobles; but the king disliking their rude merriment, took an early opportunity to withdraw and spend the remainder of the day in the more congenial society of his best-beloved Elgiva. The nobles, after he was gone, expressed great dissatisfaction at the indignity with which they were treated in being abandoned by their entertainer. And Saint Dunstan was despatched by the rest to bring the monarch back to the table. Saint Dunstan readily undertook the mission, and, accompanied by Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was also highly indignant at the disrespect Edwy had shown to the church, rushed into the royal apartment. The brutal Dunstan immediately tore him from her arms, and applying an opprobrious epithet to the queen, dragged the young monarch by force into the banqueting-hall of the nobles. It was not to be expected that any woman, however mild her temper, could forgive so deep an insult as this; and Elgiva exercised all the influence she possessed over her husband's mind, to bring about the ruin of the presuming and unmannerly priest.

“An opportunity was soon found; charges were brought against him, from which he could not clear himself, and he was finally banished from the kingdom, and forced to take refuge in Flanders. But the Archbishop of Canterbury still remaind behind. The unhappy Elgiva, in espousing the king, had gained to herself a host of troubles and of enemies; and instead of intimidating, had only embittered the latter by the means she had adopted. Intrigues were fomented against the young couple, who had loved so well, but so unwisely. The queen, all fresh in youth and all radiant in her beauty, was seized by the archbishop, at the head of a party of ruffians, and held forcibly upon the ground, while a wretch with a hot iron burnt her damask cheeks, to obliterate the traces of that transcendant loveliness which had set enmity between the civil and ecclesiastical power. She was then carried away to the sea-coast, and hidden for some days, till an opportunity was found to convey her to Ireland. She remained in that country for some months, when she effected her escape.

“The scars on her face had healed; the brutal work had not been effectually done, and she shone in as great beauty as ever, and was hastening to Kingston, when she was intercepted, at Gloucester, by the spies of the relentless archbishop.

“At this time revolt was openly declared against the authority of Edwy, and to show him how strong and how reckless the conspirators were, the archbishop gave orders that the unhappy princess should be put to death by the most horrible tortures which could be devised. It was finally resolved that she should be ham-strung. The cruel sentence was carried into execution, and the poor queen was left to linger on a couch of straw, without nourishment or attendance of any sort, until death put a period to her sufferings a few days afterwards.

“Edwy was soon after deposed. He did not long survive his Elgiva ; crownless, and what to him was worse, wifeless, he died of a broken heart, before he had attained his twentieth year.”

Our next station is at Esher, a pleasant village in Surrey, on the banks of the river Mole.

The Mole is a peculiar and interesting river, not less remarkable for the quiet beauty of its course than for the interruptions to the current by sub

terranean passages carrying off the waters of the stream, or what are popularly called Swallows.

The river Mole arises in the downs on the northern borders of Sussex, from the confluence of many small springs. Considerably increased by tributary streamlets, it deviously meanders at the base of Box Hill; and between Castle Hill and Burford, interruptions occur in the course of the river, from the porous nature of the immediately sub-lying strata, which, in dry seasons, absorb the waters, leaving the bed of the river dry below the points of absorption.

Camden mentions this circumstance, saying, “The Mole coming to White Hill, hides itself, or is rather swallowed up at the foot of the hill there, and for that reason the place is called the Swallow ; but almost two miles below it bubbles up and rises again; so that the inhabitants of this tract, no less than the Spaniards, may boast of having a bridge that feeds several flocks of sheep.”

From Burford Bridge the Mole winds pleasantly through the picturesque vale of Mickleham to Leatherhead; here is a bridge of fourteen arches. Passing Leatherhead, the river escapes from the hills and descends in a quiet course to Stoke D’Ebernon and Cobham, where are two handsome bridges. It next almost encircles the beautiful grounds of Pains Hill, and passing between Burford Park and Claremont, reaches Esher Place, whence its divided stream, sluggish and uninteresting, make its way to the Thames, in whose waters it is finally lost hard by Hampton. The Mole has much engaged the muse; Drayton, in his Polyolbion, personifies the river, wooed by old Thames, in guise of a soft and gentle nymph

Whose eyes so pierced his breast, that seeming to foreshow
The way which he so long intended was to go,
With trifling up and down he wandereth here and there ;
And that be in her sight transparent might appear,
Applies himself to fordes, and setteth his delight
On that which most might make bim gracious in her siglit.

Milton characterises the river as

The sullen Mole that runneth underneath :

who mentions a line borrowed, and repaid with interest, by Pope,

“ The sullon Mole, that hides his diving flood."

Thomson characterises the river as the “silent Mole."

With the humble Dodsley we conclude our anthology of this pretty, but neglected little stream.

“In the lonely vale
Of Esber, where the Mole glides lingering ; loath
To leave such scenes of sweet simplicity.

Esher is a village sixteen miles from London, on what used to be the Portsmouth road. It is a happily-situated retired village, with many highlyrespectable houses scattered here and there. There is also here an excellent inn, such as we do not always find in villages at the like distance from town. The chief general interest connected with Esher is its proximity to the royal seat of Claremont.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]

CLAREMONT owed its origin to the witty and eccentric Sir John Vanbrugh, who bought some land here, and built a low brick house for his own accommodation. Thomas Holles Pelham, Esq., Earl of Clare, afterwards Duke of Newcastle, bought the estate of Sir John, much improved the grounds, and added a splendid banqueting-room, for the entertainment of his colleagues in office and parliamentary supporters.

Kent, the gardener, had the laying out of the grounds at Claremont, of whom Horace Walpole, in his tract on gardening, says, “that if his ideas were rarely great, it was owing to the novelty of his art. The features in his landscapes were seldom majestic; he aimed at immediate effect. His clumps were puny. A small lake, edged by a winding bank, with scattered

« AnteriorContinuar »