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disputes between Northern and Southern students, to this place of masters and scholars from Oxford, whose numbers were augmented in the following year. They set up balls at Stamford; but the old universities remonstrated, and the king ordered the return of the students, on pain of the confiscation of their goods by the Sheriff of Lincoln. Thus far it may be said that one unbroken era, a long one, is established for the scholarly reputation of Stamford- an era lasting from 1250 or 1260 to about 1335. But again in 1463, for a much shorter period, the collegiate character of the town was revived by an immigration of students from Cambridge.
Though Stamford suffered in the Middle Ages as much as, or more than, any other considerable town, it was yet left in the possession of five important parish churches. Four of these edifices are on the north side of the Welland—that is to say, in the Royal or principal half of the town, which aforetime was the walled burgh. Conspicuous to the traveller, crossing by the bridge from the south shore, is the Early English tower—with its many tiers of arcading, surmounted by a spire of Decorated form—of St. Mary's. Tower and spire claim all the admiration that can be given them. The crowning beauty of the spire was added to the tower of many arches in or about the year 1300. The nave is Early Perpendicular, with lofty slender piers and arches, and a small clerestory above.
More interesting, in some respects, than St. Mary's, but suffering in comparison with the earlier work of that edifice, is the Church of All Saints. Standing as it does in the midst of a rising ground, with picturesquely irregular houses round about, All Saints' Church is an object of venerable beauty, which has not been seriously diminished by the restorations which were carried out some twenty years ago.
It has a lofty Perpendicular tower, surmounted by a spire reaching to a height of 152 feet, and flanked by octagonal turrets. The rest of the church is mainly Early English, with insertions of later date. On the south side, and continued round the east end, is a line of remarkably good arcading, which would seem to have been carried completely round the church, below the windows, as it is to be traced on other parts of the structure. At the west end of the south aisle is a very beautiful recessed porch of Early Perpendicular character. Though the main plan is entirely Early English, of one date, its irregularity is curious, hardly a right angle or two parallel lines being discoverable throughout. In the churchyard is a singular well, having subterranean arches, which support masses of the solid rock.
St. George's Church, originally Early English, but greatly altered in the fourteenth century, as a consequence of its being rebuilt after almost total destruction by fire, contains among other interesting monuments the tomb of William Burges, Garter King of Arms, and probably a native of Stamford. By him the church was restored, as appears from his will, dated February 26, 1449, which orders that his body be buried " in the middle of the quere," and provides for the “complyshing and ending" of works which were still in progress. St. John's, the fourth and last of the parish churches remaining in Stamford on the north side of the Welland, is a small Perpendicular church of minor interest.
St. Martin's, or Stamford-Baron, across the river, contains that splendid example of the same style of Gothic architecture, in which are the tombs of the Cecils, and notably the canopied monument of Lord Treasurer Burghley, who died in London on the 4th of August, 1598. His effigy is sculptured so as to represent him clad in armour, with the crimson robes
of the Garter, of which he wears the star; and in his left hand is the Treasurer's wand, just as in his picture by Mark Garrard. The alabaster tomb is altogether a very fine and elaborate example of its period. A different interest from that which surrounds the Church of St. Martin, with its Cecil monuments, attaches to a quaint building which, bearing the sign of the “George,” has long enjoyed a high reputation among hostelries. It is a very large and rambling, but comfortable and convenient, house of entertainment, and was once a halting-place of considerable note on the great North road. It was at this inn that Thoresby, the famous antiquary of Charles II.'s time, was detained some days by the state of the roads, and was relieved by a company of fourteen members of Parliament, travelling to London, who took him into their party. The “George” is still the best hotel in Stamford, as it is certainly the most historically interesting: a combination of superlatives which is not so common as might be wished. Too often, indeed, your ancient hostelry, with names of famous, long-departed wits, poets, roysterers, and three-bottle men scratched on the latticepanes or carved on the wainscots and wooden benches, are sordidly managed, ill-served, dingy, dirty, exorbitant in charge, and forbidding in everything. The inns at which the Falstaffs of yore took their ease, at which the Shenstones and other appreciative idlers found their warmest welcome, and the Steeles, Addisons, Boswells, Churchills, and Topham Beauclercs occasionally drank more than was good for them, were more seductive haunts than any of our modern limited company hotels; and far too many of the old houses exist on the shadowy traditions of their busy, bustling, smiling, golden days. To find, therefore, a pleasant house of entertainment as inviting now as our ancestors found it to beas well swept and garnished, as handsome and civil, as abundant, choice, and honestwill go far to set a reasonably-minded wayfarer on good terms with his age and country, with himself, and with the world at large.
THE WEALD OF KENT.
The “Wealden ”Formation-General Character of the Country- The Oaks-Goudhurst and the “Smugglers"-Bedgebury
and the Beresfords-Cranbrook and its Industries-Sissinghurst-Sir R. Baker–The Painter's Retreat-Bayham Abbey and its History—The Modern House–Tunbridge-The Castle—Churches and Grammar School – Tunbridge Wells -Penshurst and Sir Philip Sidney-Penshurst Place-The Pictures, The Sidney Family-Hever Castle and the Boleyns-Leeds Castle-Tenterden Steeple and the Goodwin Sands.
WIDE, dense, primeval forest, chiefly inhabited by the wild
hog and deer, has given place, in the changeful march of ages, to a smiling agricultural country, which, though not
than fairly timbered here and there, retains its ancient Saxon name of the Weald (wald, wold, or wooded land) of Kent. It forms no small portion of the county,
between the north and south downs, with an extension even to the sea-coast at Tenterden. Properly, the Andreadswald, as our remote Saxon forefathers named the great jungle of oak and beech, belongs to Sussex and Surrey, as well as to Kent—nay, has even a part in Hampshire, abutting on Petersfield, whence, and from Farnham in Surrey, away to Hythe, Rye, and Eastbourne, it stretches broadly and irregularly over a geological region which gives the name of “Wealden” to a series of limestone, sand, and clay, in the oolitic formation. Here, then, vast cycles before the period of oak
and beech, of wild deer and hog, huge lizard-like creatures farther removed from human ken, such as the megalosaurus and iguanodon, splashed over the trackless swamp.
But it is with the Kentish Weald that we have, at present, exclusively to deal—the tract which includes much of the fertility and high cultivation that is characteristic of the varied county.
"Kent," says Fuller, “differeth not more from other shires than from itself, such the variety thereof." And what the witty historian of “The Worthies of England” said of Kent, as a whole, may with concentrated force of application be said of the Weald. Though less and less plentifully wooded every year, this transfigured Andreadswald is not wanting in the goodliness of well-grown English timber. The oak is still chief among the trees of this undulating region, as when the oaken houses were overshadowed by their living, green-topped kindred, and when St. Austin reported so well of these forest-lands to Pope Gregory, that the holy father desired a supply of the wood for his churches of St. Peter and St. Paul. Except the long flats of Romney Marsh and the low-lying coast between Walmer and the Isle of Thanet, few parts of Kent are level; and the Weald is a succession of low hills. From the most elevated of these, the view southward, over the rich Weald country—especially in the green summer-tide, or not less in the burnished russet-gold of autumn-is of exceeding beauty. From Goudhurst and its church-tower, finely placed on one of the highest hills in the Weald, the view extends far on all sides, and is most striking in the direction of Bedgebury Park and Wood, the beautiful seat of Mr. Beresford Hope.
Round about Goudhurst the scenery is memorable for the daring exploits of Radford and his band, the originals of Mr. G. P. R. James's most prominent characters, in his novel “The Smugglers.” The old Church of St. Mary contains monuments and brasses of the Colepeppers of Bedgebury, as well as of the older Bedgebury family “of that ilk." The park, so advantageously beheld from the tower of St. Mary's Church, was long the seat of the Bedgeburys and Colepeppers, their ancient moated house having been swept away, and its site covered by one of the four lakes. We are left, then, to imagine the kind of mansion in which Queen Elizabeth was received by one of the Colepeppers when she was journeying through the Weald. The present mansion was built, towards the close of the seventeenth century, by Sir James Hayes, with funds
derived from a successful speculation with his step-son, Lord Falkland, and others — as mentioned by Evelyn—to recover the freight of a sunken Spanish treasure-ship. This strange origin of the house at Bedgebury is recorded in Latin on the foundation-stone, a duplicate of which is preserved within the building. It is a square pile of red brick faced with sandstone of the district, and increased in size and imposing adornment by successive owners. Wings were added by Field-Marshal Lord Beresford, who purchased the estate in 1836; and his lordship’s heir, Mr. Beresford Hope, has re-cast it in the French taste of the Louis XIV. period, with a Mansard roof and a lofty clock-tower, . The interior is rich in ornamented ceilings, and still more, it is hardly necessary to say, in paintings, carvings, tapestry, metal-work, china, and various other objects of exquisite art. The chapel is adorned with Italian pictures; a carved oak reredos, set with seventeenth century plaques of Scriptural scenes, both in repoussé silver and carved ivory; and a window skilfully filled, by Mr. Clayton, with a series of the Parables, in grisaille.
Harmonising perfectly with the mansion, a broad terrace and formal French garden overlook grounds which are plentifully and beautifully watered and wooded, four lakes being situate at different levels, and the woodland beyond merging in the most natural as well as pictorial manner into the park. With the 2,000 acres of wood, part oak, part pine, is blended a sprinkling of open heathery tracts; and on the highest knoll a stage has been raised, wbence a magnificent view is brought before the delighted eye. Nearer the house, and the formalities of its courtly gardening, are several curious trees, one being a hawthorn of great size and antiquity. The branches of this remarkable bush, rising to a height of about thirty feet, overshadow a space more than twenty yards wide on the stately lawn, which is reached by flights of steps from the terrace. On and adjoining the Bedgebury estate are spots of interest which deserve at least a passing remark. The small church at Kilndown, close to the park, and on the road between Tunbridge and Hastings, could not indeed, even by the well-known taste and architectural judgment of Mr. Beresford Hope, be redeemed from the inherent faults of a false and ignorant period, the building having been planned in the spiritless manner which prevailed in the earlier balf of this century, and in accordance with a form which Leigh Hunt has designated “dandy-Gothic.” Indeed, there is scarcely so pronounced a flavour even as dandyism in the Gothic vagaries of Kilndown Church ; or if there be, it is something more like the feebly pretentious and poverty-stricken foppery of Beau Tibbs, than the genius of vanity which characterised Brummel and D’Orsay. In respect, doubtless, for his relative Lord Beresford, by whom the church was endowed, Mr. Hope bas gifted it with some judici vus alterations and adornments—with rood-screen, stone pulpit, and painted glass from Munich. The reredos is a memorial to Miss Catherine Beresford Hope. In the church_rard, and not within the edifice itself, stands a noble work of modern architectural revivalism, namely, the tomb of the Field-Marshal and Lady Beresford. This canopied sepulchre, which has been compared to that of Archbishop Gray at York, is from the design of Mr. Carpenter, whose diversified knowledge and invention may be seen in the improvements which Mr. Hope has caused to be made in his mansion at Bedgebury. The picturesque half-timbered Tudor farmhouse of Twyssenden, not far off, with added stone-work of the Jacobean period, has been in possession of several families since it belonged to the Twysdens, from whom it took its slightly corrupted name. Its intricate internal arrangements are very curious, not the least so being a secret chapel in the roof, telling of a time when the Roman Catholic form of worship was forbidden in England. Another farmhouse of note in the neighbourhood, as indicating the site of the Augustinian priory, is Combwell, which has for several generations been in the possession of the Campions, of Danny. They had a stately mansion at Combwell, but it was pulled down more than a hundred years ago.
As the centre of the beautiful country abutting on Sussex; as the principal market, town of the Kentish Weald; as the possessor of an Elizabethan grammar-school, which has of late years been wisely and energetically strengthened in its sphere of public usefulness; as an old retreat and sanctuary of Anabaptists; as the historical head-centre of the Flemish cloth-trade, and as the abode of many ancient customs, Cranbrook demands our special attention. The "grey-coats of Kent” have played important parts in the drama of county history. They were the landed proprietors, whose wealth and local influence were derived from an industry which flourished here, as in Flanders, with potent grandeur, long before the days of machinery. Their residences, maintained at the present day in