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and of the Skinners' Company, to which guild he bequeathed lands for the support of the institution. Increasing substance has made this school a prosperous and powerful instrument of education in the country. Its revenues are, in fact, so considerable as to argue honourably for the stewardship of the Skinners, whose care of the charge committed to them has likewise benefited by good fortune, as may be supposed from the fact that the Tunbridge knight's land happened to be situate in several London parishes—for example, in St. Pancras ; in Allhallows, Gracechurch Street; in St. Helen's, Bishopsgate; in St. Laurence Pountney; and in St. Peter's, Cornhill.
Attached to the school are sixteen exhibitions of a hundred pounds a year each, tenable at either University, besides twelve others of less value. Sir Andrew's bounty was not all bestowed on this grammar-school, for he founded an almshouse at St. Helen's, Bishops
gate, for six poor freemen of the Skinners' Company; and other good deeds add enduring lustre to his homely name. Among the interesting old houses in Tunbridge, one of the best specimens of Kentish half-timbered buildings is the "Chequers” inn, which helps to maintain the picturesque character of the High Street.
Though Tunbridge Wells is of itself a market town, five miles distant, it comes partly within the spacious parish of Tunbridge, as does the whole of another
village, namely, Southborough, midway between the two towns. The Pump-room of Tunbridge Wells, its chalybeate springs, baths, public parade known by the quaint name of the Pantiles, assembly rooms, libraries, and theatre still retain their hold upon fashion though the days of their greatest glory have long passed away. In the latter half of the eighteenth century Tunbridge Wells was the favourite country resort of the élite of fashionable London. Here groups of admirers followed in the train of the notorious Miss Chudleigh, and here the gifted Wycherley fell a victim to the charms of the Countess of Drogheda, who afterwards became his wife. The situation of the favourite watering-place, in a little valley, enclosed amid the slopes of hills bearing the names Mount Ephraim, Mount Pleasant, and Mount Sion, is very agreeable, and would tax even the most deleterious energies of so-called taste to spoil. The manufacture of the pretty wooden ware known as “ Tunbridge ware” is still extensively carried on at Tunbridge Wells.
Penshurst, as little as Tunbridge a part of the Weald, is yet linked with its scenery. No more poetical a region nestles in all England. If Sir Philip Sidney did not actually write his “ Arcadia ” at Penshurst, he had the spot in his mind's eye when he drew the picture of Laconia. That exquisite passage, which includes the famous image of the
shepheard boy, piping as though hee should never be old,” and the not less lovely companion picture of the "yong shepheardess, knitting and withal singing,” so that “it seemed that her voyce comforted her hands to worke, and her hands kept time to her voyce
music,” is set in a description which answers exactly to Penshurst. There were hills,” says the knightly poet, “which garnished their proud heights with stately trees ; humble vallies, whose base estate seemed comforted with the refreshing of silver rivers ; medowes enamelled with all sorts of eie-pleasing flowers; thickets, which, being lined with most pleasant shade, were witnessed so too, by the cheerfull disposition of many well-tuned birds : each pasture stored with sheep feeding with sober security, while the pretty lambs with bleating oratory craved the dammes comfort.”
Penshurst Place is a grand, grey old house, which is seen to advantage from the footpath entering the park opposite the beautiful gardens of Redleaf. Thus viewed, the noble dwelling has at its back the village, and the village church—a fair English picture, often painted, and never wearisome when painted well. The masonry is of many periods, marked
out clearly by the convenient custom, invariable with the Sidneys, of placing an inscription, or heraldic lozenge, to certify the date of every new structure, or additional portion of a structure, belonging to their race. So it is that living folk may see how Penshurst Place has grown up, since the great court and hall were built by Sir John de Pulteney, in or about 1341, over a much earlier vault, or cellar, with a range of arches down the middle. There is no doubt that much of the reparation has been the work of very recent years. Since 1810 a great deal has been done; and, with the exception of a gateway of the time of Edward VI., the north, or main front, was rebuilt in 1852.
There is in the architecture of Penshurst Place, as in that of Leeds Castle, and of Chartham, a certain character of tracery, remarkable in the window-heads, which, being unusual save in this part of England, is technically known as “ Kentish.” The instances above cited are of about the same date—that is to say, the middle of the fourteenth century. The open timber roof of the great hall at Penshurst is also strikingly characteristic ; and, though the wainscot screen of the Minstrel's Gallery is of later date than the hall itself, it corresponds admirably with the general idea, and repeats with significant effect, among its ornaments, the famous badge of the Dudleys, the bear and ragged staff.
In the pictures which adorn the noble rooms of Penshurst Place may be read a remarkable family record. This is no ordinary portrait-gallery, but the practical and poetical essence of a history that Englishmen will always venerate and love. The air of Penshurst is filled, its very chambers are lit, by the brightest verse of Ben Jonson and of Waller :
“ Underneath this sable herse
Lies, the subject of all verse,
These lines, which the more convincingly defy death as they are themselves deathless, were written by Jonson for the epitaph on Mary, daughter of Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Justice of Ireland, and Mary, daughter, and finally heiress, of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. Sir Philip Sidney was eldest son of this marriage, and was born, it is believed, at Penshurst Place, on the 24th November, 1554. Let us go back in the annals of that illustrious abode. As early as Edward I., it was the residence of Sir Stephen de Penchester, whose effigy is to be seen in the village church of Penshurst. Sir John de Pulteney embattled the house, and built, as we have seen, the great hall, which is perhaps the most ancient of its size remaining in the kingdom. The next lords of Penshurst were the Bohuns, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and the Fanes.
Then came the race of Sidneys, to whom Penshurst undoubtedly owes its principal lustre. The place was granted by Edward VI. to Sir William Sidney, who already had a house in the parish. This was the Sidney who, in the reign of King Hal, commanded a wing of the victorious English army at Flodden Field. His son, Sir Henry Sidney, was the father, as we have said, of Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Robert (created Viscount Lisle and Earl of Leicester), and Mary, celebrated in the “ Arcadia” and in Jonson's epitaph. She married Henry, Earl of Pembroke. Her eldest brother, the hero of Zutphen, the high Platonist, and, to quote a line which Chaucer may bave written in an inspiration of prophecy, the “very perfect gentle knight,” married a daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham. Sir Philip would, in all probability, have been King of Poland if his royal mistress, Elizabeth, had not interposed, “ lest she should lose the jewel of her times.” So this finest type of English manhood died as he had lived, a knight, when knighthood was a very different fact from the present condition and ideal of that honourable standing. Sir Philip left only a daughter ; and the line was, therefore, continued through his brother Robert, first Earl of Leicester and Viscount Lisle. He married Barbara Gamage, of Glamorgan ; and his son Robert, second Earl, took to wife Dorothy Percy, and was father of Dorothy-Waller's Sacharissa—as also of Algernon Sidney, the Republican leader, who, though he stopped short of signing King Charles's death-warrant, subsequently received his own sentence at the hand of Judge Jefferies, and was beheaded on Tower Hill. Dorothy Sidney married first Robert, Earl of Sunderland, and secondly Robert Smith, of Bidborough. Her great-nephew, Jocelyn, was the last Earl of Leicester in that line. An heiress of the Perrys, to whom the estate had passed by a daughter, married Sir Bysshe Shelley, ancestor of the present possessor, whose father took the name of Sidney, and was created Baron de l'Isle.
From Penshurst departure is regret. There is always something to go back for, an important matter forgotten. You must not only have leisure to explore, but leave to return, or your visit will carry but a fragment of delight. But we have other scenes of the Kentish Weald to survey; and Hever Castle, by the side of the river Eden, is one of them. Though inferior to Penshurst in extent of scenery, Hever is yet picturesque in itself and in its surroundings. The castellated domicile is a good specimen of the Tudor domestic type. Anne Boleyn may or may not have been born at Hever. The balance of probability seems to be that she was. At all events, her great-grandfather, Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, mercer, and Lord Mayor of London in the reign of Henry VI., began the present castle on the ruins of the older building; and his project was finished by his grandson, Sir Thomas, father of Anne Boleyn, and afterwards Earl of Wilts. Certain it is, moreover, that Anne was educated here, and acquired the French language, before she went to France in the train of the Princess Mary; and at Hever she was wooed by the king. Hever Castle, or so much of it as is habitable, is now used as a farmhouse. The high-pitched roofs and gables of the quadrangle, surrounded by a double moat, are strikingly characteristic of a Tudor residence in the days which survived feudalism. The visitor will be shown Anne Boleyn's rooms, and the chamber in which her royal successor, Anne of Cleves, died. With respect to this, it must be observed that the apartments reputed to have been occupied by Anne Boleyn show indubitable proof of Elizabethan construction, and bear externally the date 1584; and Anne of Cleves is certified to have breathed her last at Chelsea. There is much antiquity, however, about the gate-house of the south front; and on the opposite side of the quadrangle is a staircase window containing some stained glass with the arms of Boleyn, Butler, and Howard. The wooden stables, with sleeping chambers above, are curious examples of fifteenth century work.
Hever Church, on the adjacent hill, is a prominent object in the landscape, its lofty spire being visible from points of a far-spreading distance. It contains the Boleyn Chapel and other monuments, together with some remarkably fine brasses, chief of them being that which commemorates Sir Thomas Boleyn, Queen Anne's father. To account for the tradition that the second Queen Anne on the “ British Bluebeard's” hapless list of spouses died at Hever Castle, it may be well to recall the historical fact that, on the death of the Earl of Wiltshire, Henry seized the estate, and granted it for the remainder of her life to his discarded consort, Anne of Cleves.
Again we are but on the outskirts of the Weald when we stand in the finely wooded park of Leeds Castle, once the great central fortress of Kent. Constantly a royal residence, and more than once a royal prison, Leeds (the Esledes of “Domesday Book”) is as great an attraction to the antiquary as to the tourist in search of the picturesque. Keeping the high ground above the deep clays of the Weald, this important stronghold commanded, in its days of feudal power, the road eastward to Canterbury and the sea.
It is difficnlt to assign a date to the foundation of Leeds Castle. Quite early in the reign of the Conqueror it was by him granted to the family of Crevecæur of Chartham, and it remained in their possession till the latter period of the reign of Henry III., when it passed by exchange to the Leybornes. The importance of its position having been marked by Edward I., it was dutifully resigned to that king by William de Leyborne, and thenceforth it continued to be a royal castle till Edward VI. bestowed it on Sir Anthony St. Leger. Bartholomew de Badlesmere, called “the rich Lord Badlesmere of Leeds," was castellan here under Edward II., and, joining the Earl of Lancaster, held out the castle against the queen, who had attempted to gain possession of it by a pretended pilgrimage to Canterbury. Wherefore the Lord Badlesmere was afterwards hanged. Leeds Castle then fell somewhat into decay, and in 1359 William of Wykeham was appointed its chief warder and surveyor; though it cannot be ascertained that he did anything substantial in the way of restoration. The castle did, however, at divers times after as well as before the surveyorship of the builder-prelate, receive due and ample additions of stone and lime. The moat, or rather lake, surrounds three islands, from which, as if straight from the water, rise the high walls ; and the principal mass of masonry is crowned with towers
and turrets in fine irregularity of outline. The castle is now the residence of Mr. P. Wykeham Martin, M.P., having descended to him through marriages of the Colepepper and Yorkshire Fairfax families. Within the building are many historical records of its remarkable past.
Tenterden, to which remarkably clean and handsome town the Weald extends, is known to thousands who never trod its High Street, simply by the fame with which a good story has invested its church-steeple. In one of his sermons, Latimer gave the tale in question as a lesson against hasty and illogical inferences. “Maister More," said the eloquent preacher, speaking of Sir Thomas More,
was once sent out in commission into
Kent, to help to trie out (if it might be) what was the cause of Goodwin Sandes and the shelfs that stopped up Sandwich Haven. Thether cometh Maister More, and calleth the countrye afore him, such as wer thought to be men of experience, and men that could of likelihode best rectify him of that matter, concerning the stopping of Sandwich Haven. Among others came in before him an olde man with a white head, and one that was thought to be little lesse than an hundereth yeares olde. When Maister More saw this aged man, he thought it expedient to hear him say his minde in this matter, for, being so olde a man, it was likely he knew most of any man in that presence and company. So Maister More called this olde aged man unto him, and sayd, 'Father,' sayd he, tell me, if ye can, what is the cause of this great arising of the sande and shelfs here about this haven, the which stop it up, that no shippes can arrive here? Ye are the oldest man that I can espie in all this companye, so that, if any man can tell any cause of it, ye of likelihode can say most in it, or at least wise more than any other man here assembled.' 'Yea, forsooth, good maister,' quod this olde man, 'for I am well