History of the Herefordshire Borderland.



A History of
The Herefordshire Borderland.

By R.H. George.



AT the request of many of my friends, especially those who are members of the Woolhope Club or The Leominster Literary Society, I have decided to reprint my lectures and articles on local history. They were written at different times, and, now they are published together, there must necessarily be a certain amount of repetition. Most of them have been read at meetings of these societies, but I am told that a volume containing the whole of my papers up to the present time would be acceptable. This volume does not pretend to be a full history of the county, but, if time will allow, I hope to continue the study of local history and write a few more papers, which may develop into another volume. I am always ready to look up the historical associations of any place in this neighbourhood visited by either of the societies I have mentioned, and I have a mass of notes for a paper on "The Literature of the West Border", which I hope to have sufficient time to put into shape at no very remote date. Our Borderland is mentioned by, or has been connected with, some sixty important writers from Saxon times onwards, and extracts from their writings, with biographical and other notes, should be interesting.

If any of my friends have old family documents throwing light on local history, I should much appreciate the privilege of inspecting them. I have obtained more information from such sources than from documents like The Close Rolls, The Patent Rolls, &c.

I beg again to thank all who have allowed me to inspect any papers, documents, or deeds of local interest, and I hope those who still cling to some of the old errors and fallacies I have endeavoured to correct will forgive me for daring to shatter a few local idols. R.H.G.


First Lecture on Leominster & Neighbourhood 11
Second Lecture on Leominster & Neighbourhood 35
Wigmore and the West Border 81
Hampton Court 109
Croft Ambury and Croft Castle 117
Kimbolton, Stockton, and Berrington 127
Richard's Castle 135
Presteigne and Neighbourhood 147
Appendix, containing notes on:-
(A) The Origin of the Name of Leominster. 158
(B) Other Place Names 162
Village Festivals 165
(C) The Royal Title and Succession and The Earldom of March 166
(D) Leominster Abbey and Leominster Priory 171
(E) The Arms of Washington and the United States Flag 173
(F) Common Errors and Fallacies 175


Leominster Church Front
Map of Roman Britain 10
Map of Saxon Britain 16
Leominster Church (Norman Doorway) 40
Orleton Court 74
Wigmore Castle 86
Battle Oak 102
Hampton Court 112
Croft Castle 122
Map of Herefordshire End


Some Glimpses of the Past History of the Neighbourhood of Leominster.

A Lecture given in 1903 to the Leominster Literary Society.


FROM the earliest times this neighbourhood has been the scene of events which have helped to make history.

In Roman times it was the home of the Silures, who under their chief, Caractacus, nobly withstood the might of the Roman legions, and were never completely conquered.

At the break-up of the Roman Empire it was the battle-ground of opposing factions of Britons, and when the Saxons founded the Kingdom of Mercia, the possession of the strip of land between the Welsh hills and the Severn was constantly disputed by Saxons and Britons, and many a forgotten battle was fought there between them.

Being on the Marches of Wales, an almost continuous state of war existed between the Welsh and the Normans at a later date, and coming down to the Wars of the Roses, the great battle of Mortimer's Cross virtually placed the young Lord of Wigmore upon the throne of England.

No part of England is richer in historical associations, and I will endeavour to throw a little light on some events of local interest, which have taken place during the period of about 1,500 years, which I propose to review. Some of the matter which I shall have to place before you will, I fear, be rather dry, but I hope that if you will have the patience to follow me, you will leave this room with a higher appreciation of the past history of the neighbourhood than when you entered it.

The first idea we had was a short explanatory lecture on the surrounding country, to be given on Croft Ambury, last summer. This would, perhaps, have been more pleasant to us all, as many of the places of interest could have been pointed out from that spot, but, on two occasions, you were prevented by the inclemency of the weather from coming, so this lecture was decided upon instead.

The accounts of events, which I shall give you, must necessarily be very much condensed, but I hope, at least, that you will find some things which will he of interest to you, amongst the glimpses of the past history of the neighbourhood which I am about to give you.


Showing the position of the Roman Provinces and most of the British Tribes.


THE country of the unconquered Silures - Caractacus - Ambrosius Aurelianus, King and Emperor - Prince Arthur.

VERY little is known about this part of Britain before the time of the Emperor Claudius. Julius Caesar invaded Britain in B.C. 55, but it is certain that the inland, and more inaccessible parts of the country, were not reached, and Tacitus says that Caesar rather showed the Romans the way to Britain than put them in possession of it. When Claudius determined to subjugate the country in A.D. 43, no tribute had been paid for about 90 years, so the inhabitants must have been nearly independent. So little was known about Britain then that the soldiers of Plautius, [1] whom Claudius ordered to embark from Gaul for the conquest of Britain, mutinied and refused to cross the

[1] The wife of Plautius is supposed, from the following words of Tacitus, to have been a Christian, and, if so, she was the first in Britain: "Pomponia Gręcina insignis foemina Plautio qui ovans se de Britannis retulit nupta ac superstitionis externoe rea mariti judicio permissa". Tacitus - lib. 18, cap. 32.

This Pomponia Gręcina and Claudia Rufina, a British lady, are supposed to have been "of the saints that were in Caesar's household" mentioned by Saint Paul.

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Channel, on the grounds that they would not make war outside the compass of the world.

The part of the country now known as Herefordshire, Radnorshire, Breconshire, Monmouthshire, and Glamorganshire, was inhabited by the Silures, the bravest and most powerful of all the British tribes, who, through all the strife with the Roman legions, were never conquered completely, but, as time went on, they came to recognise the Romans as their friends and allies. When the army of Plautius landed, the Britons elected Caractacus, King, of the Silures, their general, and he remained their leader for several years, with varying success against the Romans under Plautius, Ostorius Scapula, and Claudius himself. Claudius won over the Britons as much by his moderation as by the success of his arms, and the conquest of the country seemed at length complete. But returning to Rome, where the Senate decreed him a triumph, and gave him the surname of Britannicus, an insurrection broke out under Caractacus. A desperate battle was fought at Caer Caradoc, near Church Stretton, between the Romans under Ostorius, and the Silures and Brigantes, under Caractacus, at which the Britons were defeated, and the wife, daughters and brothers of Caractacus, were taken prisoners.

Horsley says:- Caractacus, or Caradoc as he was called by the Britons, selected an advantageous post of very difficult access, where he drew up his army on the side of a steep hill, with a little river at the bottom, which, though fordable in many places, was

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of great service to him. Moreover, his camp being surrounded with a sort of rampart of flints and stones, he seemed thus posted to be out of danger. He describes this place as in the edge of Shropshire, where the rivers Clun and Teme meet, and says there is a hill there to which there is no access but at one place, that it is called Caer Caradoc, after Caractacus, and that the remains of these stone ramparts may yet be seen there. [1]

Caractacus, after his defeat, fled to the Queen of the Brigantes, but was delivered up by her to the Romans (A.D 51). Being brought before Claudius, in chains, he expressed to the Emperor his astonishment that a people of such magnificence should envy him a humble cottage in Britain.

From this time until the commencement of the decay of the Roman power, Britain passed through various vicissitudes - sometimes periods of oppression - sometimes of comparative freedom - but the Britons undoubtedly became a civilised people, and being no longer barbarians, looked upon themselves as members of the empire, and upon the Romans as their protectors rather than their enemies. But the irruption of the barbarians into the Roman Empire had commenced. In 410 Rome was sacked by the Goths, under Alaric, and the Roman legions were wanted to

[1] This description is somewhat indefinite. The confluence of the Teme and Clun is near Leintwardine, so the camp near where these rivers meet is most probably Coxall Knoll. Both Caer Caradoc and Coxall Knoll were doubtless occupied by Caractacus, but it does not seem very clear at which his last stand against the Romans was made.

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protect their own country. On their withdrawal from Britain, the country was over-run by the Picts and Scots, and although the Britons sent to Rome to implore protection from the Emperor Honorius, he could only render them temporary assistance, and at length absolved them from their allegiance.

We now come to a very interesting period, and one in which our own neighbourhood was of considerable importance. The Britons were divided into two parties, namely, a Roman-British party, under Ambrosias Aurelianus, and a British party, under Vortigern, between whom there were several battles, but the Picts and Scots again invading and ravaging the country, a peace was patched up between them, and it was agreed that the Roman Watling Street from Uriconium (now Wroxeter), through Bravinium (now Leintwardine), to Magna Castra (now Kenchester), should be the boundary between the territories of Vortigern and Ambrosias. One of the camps of Abrosius was on Croft Ambury, which designation is derived from his name. From this camp he would be able to look out over Watling Street, the boundary of his territory, which lies along the valley just below Croft Ambury. [1]

Much of the history of this period is perhaps rather legendary. Vortigern and his party called in the help of the Saxons to repel the Picts and Scots, and the

[1] Ambrosius Aurelianus was probably of Roman extraction, and he obtained a considerable amount of assistance in his wars from Aldroen, Ping of Armorica (or Brittany).

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Saxons eventually became masters of the country. The renowned Prince Arthur of Round Table fame, was first heard of at the age of 14 years, with the army of Ambrosius (A.D. 466). In the following year, he succeeded his father as King of Danmonium (Cornwall). In A.D. 476 Ambrosius assumed the title of Emperor, and created Arthur a Patrician. [1] Then followed wars between the Roman-British forces, under Ambrosius and Arthur, on the one side, and the renegade Britons, under Vortigern, supported by the Saxons, under Ella, on the other, and Ella was defeated in A.D. 487. It is probable that this temporary defeat of the Saxons was the commencement of that period of Knight errantry and bardic legends which gave rise to the tales of the Knights of King Arthur's Round Table. There must have been a long succession of peace, for we learn that Arthur made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in A.D. 490, but in A.D. 508 the Britons were defeated by Cerdic, and Ambrosius slain. Arthur was then elected monarch in the place of Ambrosius.

Whether all the deeds of arms and chivalry which are said to have been enacted in the Arthurian period are true or not, there can be no doubt that the country lying near the boundary of the Kingdoms of Ambrosius and Vortigern was the scene of many a fierce battle, and it is pleasing to think that

[1] This was in A.D. 476. There was not at that time any other Emperor of the West. Odoacer, King of the Heruli was in possession of Rome, hut never had any footing in Britain.

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the Roman-British Emperor, who had his camp on Croft Ambury, was the tutor and ally of the great Prince Arthur. The accounts of the wonderful exploits of Arthur have come down to us principally through the Breton and Norman-French Romances, and the Welsh Bards, and of course most of these tales are coloured by the imaginative genius of the bards and troubadours, but enough may be sifted out to show that these British chiefs and people were, at the time of the break-up of the Empire of the West, in a comparatively high state of civilisation - a civilisation which was doomed to be wrecked: in Briton by the Picts, Saxons, Angles, Jutes and Danes, and on the continent by the Goths, Visigoths, Huns and Vandals.

From the death of Ambrosius until the year 542, there were constant wars between the Britons and Saxons, and also frequently between different factions of the Britons themselves, until at last Arthur was slain in battle, and about A.D. 584 Credda, or Crida, founded the Saxon Kingdom of Mercia, the British warriors being driven into Wales and Cornwall. [1]

[1] See Appendix, Note F, "Common Errors and Fallacies".

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MAP OF SAXON BRITAIN, Showing the Saxon Kingdoms with Wales and Cornwall.

When the Saxon Kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia were formed, Cornwall, which remained Celtic, was cut off from Wales.


THE Kingdom of Mercia - Credda - Offa - St. Ethelbert - Merowald - Leofric - The Mortimers Earls of March - Adam de Orleton.

THE Kingdom of Mercia extended from the Humber, on the North, to the Thames on the South, and from the Severn on the West, to the other Saxon Kingdoms of Essex, and East Anglia on the East. I can find nothing throwing any light upon local history for the next century, except that Credenhill is doubtless named after Credda, the first King of Mercia - Credenhill meaning the hill of Credda - the suffix "en" being the usual Anglo-Saxon genitive or possessive case ending.

While the Britons had been Christians for several centuries, the Saxons were fierce idolators, and Christianity was introduced into Mercia about 644. The Saxon Heptarchy came to an end in 827 or 828, when Egbert became first King of England; but before we come to that epoch, an important local event happened - no less than the founding of our ancient borough. Ethelred, who commenced to reign in 675, made Herefordshire into a separate kingdom, and gave it to his brother Merowald, to whom another brother, Mercelm, succeeded, but when he died, without heirs, it was re-united to Mercia. Whether the town was really founded by Merowald, or by Leofric, husband of the Lady Godiva

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of Coventry, I will not pretend to decide, but my opinion is in favour of the earlier date. [1] The tale about Merowald meeting a lion one evening on the banks of the Lugg, which spoke to him, and told him to give up possession of the part of Mercia which he unjustly held, instead of its rightful owner, his nephew Cenred, and that he was to found a convent over the Pinsley, in expiation of his offence, may be considered a fable, but the legend may have been connected with the origin of the name of our borough, which is certainly called Leonis Monasterium by Geraldus Cambrensis. [2]

I am sorry I know so little of the Welsh language, but, if it is correct that Llan-lleon signifies a church or town in the Marsh, it may easily have become Saxonised into Leon, and, in that case, I do not think we need go to Merowald's lion, or to Leofric, Earl of Mercia, for the derivation of the name of Leominster, but to the very appropriate British-Saxon appellation Leon, or the town in the Marsh. The other part of the name "minster", is, of course, derived from the church. In support of this theory, it may be mentioned that Simeon of Durham, in describing the abduction of the abbess of Leominster

[1] See Appendix, Note A. The Origin of the Name of Leominster.
[2] Critics will, I hope, forgive me for spelling this name with an "e". It seems absurd to write "Giraldus Cambrensis" and then refer to "Gerald the Monk", as is frequently done. His name was Gerald de Barry, and he was the son of a Norman Gerald de Barry who had settled in South Wales. He was born about 1146.

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by Sweyn, son of Earl Godwin, about the year 1048, calls her the Abbess of Leon.

The prefix "Llan" means exactly the same as "minster" in the present name, the other portion "lieni" or "lleon" became Leon, as used by Simeon of Durham, the whole name was Latinised into Leonis Monasterium, as in Geraldus Cambrensis, and Anglicised into the present name. At the Domesday Survey it was very easy for an "f" to creep in, especially as Leofric had been connected with the locality, but the interpolation of a letter was not thought of much importance in those days, or even in later times. While the Earldom of Pomfret existed, the town gave a second title of Baron Lempster to that family, and in several old documents the name of the borough is spelt in that manner. The Benedictine Priory of Leominster was founded by King Henry I. and endowed with lands and revenues which had belonged to the suppressed Abbey of Nuns, which Henry's Charter said had been suppressed, "their sins requiring it", and that "a lay hand had long possessed" the revenues. [1]

Two meetings of nobles and chieftains were held at Barons' Cross. The first by the supporters of Harold soon after the death of Edward the Confessor, and the second by the local barons in the reign of King John.

Offa, King of Mercia, began to reign in 757. One of his principal palaces was at Sutton Walls, near

[1] See Appendix, Note D, "Leominster Abbey and Leominster Priory".

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Hereford, and it continued to be the residence of the Kings of Mercia until the Heptarchy ended, and Egbert became first King of England. Offa was a great warrior, and, after defeating several of the neighbouring Saxon Kings in battle, he turned his arms against the Welsh, whom he also defeated and drove out of a part of their own country on the west of the Severn. To prevent them ever retaking this territory, which he colonised with Saxons, he constructed the celebrated Offa's Dyke, and made it a capital offence for an armed Welshman to be found on the east side of it.

Camden says this dyke may be seen at Leintwardine, in Herefordshire, amongst other places, that it is continued northwards from Knighton, over a part of Shropshire into Montgomeryshire to Hawarden Castle, across the Severn to the Vyrnwy, again into Shropshire, not far from Oswestry, through Denbighshire, near Wrexham, through Flintshire, and ends a little below Holywell. [1]

The darkest blot upon the character of Offa was his treachery to Ethelbert, King of the East Angles. This young prince came to Offa's Court to ask for the hand of his daughter, Adelfrida, in marriage. He was received with great favour, but Offa - instigated by his Queen Quendrida - caused his guest to be murdered at Marden, and seized the Kingdom of East Anglia, before the East Anglians had time to defend themselves.

[1] Offa's Dyke doubtless extended from the Flintshire coast to the mouth of the Severn, but, where suitable for the purpose, the river Wye was used as the boundary.

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He was, however, so tormented by remorse that he went on a pilgrimage to Rome, and made rich gifts to the church, especially to the Cathedral at Hereford. His victim, Ethelbert, was afterwards canonised, and Hereford Cathedral is dedicated to him and to St. Mary. The body of Ethelbert was first buried at Marden, where the church now stands, but was afterwards removed to Hereford.

In the reign of Edward the Elder, the Danes penetrated into the country as far as Herefordshire, and committed several ravages.

The Saxon Annals state that Anno 921, the Danes beseiged Towcester, in Northamptonshire, and Wigmore, in Herefordshire, but were repulsed, and further, in describing the acts of Edward the Elder, "He built and repaired several castles and towns, viz., Anno 920, he repaired and fortified Maldon, in Essex. Anno 921, he did the same at Towcester, in Northamptonshire, Colchester, in Essex, Wigmore, in Herefordshire, and Huntingdon. Anno 922, he built a castle at Stamford. Anno 923, he repaired Thelwall, in Cheshire, and Manchester. Anno 924, he built a new town at Nottingham, on the south side of the Trent; and also one near Bakewell, in Derbyshire". Although it is uncertain when Wigmore was founded, it is very interesting to find that its fortifications were repaired in 921, after the Danes had been repulsed, and two years before the town of Nottingham was built.

In the year 1055, Alfgar, son of Leofric, was banished from the country, but he entered into a conspiracy

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with Griffith, Prince of Wales, and together they made an inroad into Herefordshire, and defeated Ranulph of Mantes, Earl of Herefordshire. A battle was fought at Battle Bridge, Hereford Road, Leominster, in which Alfgar and his Welsh allies were victorious. They afterwards took and sacked Hereford, burning the church and monastery, with the relics of St. Ethelbert, but were subsequently defeated by Harold, who became the last Saxon King of England.

At the time of the Norman Conquest, most of the country on the north-west border owned allegiance to Edric Sylvaticus, the Saxon Earl of Shrewsbury, who was deprived of his possessions by the Conqueror, who gave them to his followers FitzOsbern and De Mortimer.

In the great struggle for the liberties of the subject in that reign, Humphrey de Bohan, Earl of Hereford, was one of the foremost of the English Barons who succeeded in obtaining that great Charter of our liberties called Magna Charta, from an unwilling monarch at Runnymede in 1288. The essence of the Great Charter may be said to be summarised in the 47th section which runs: "We will sell to no man, we will deny to no man, or defer, Right or Justice". Any of you who have an opportunity of reading a copy of the Great Charter in the original Latin or a good translation of it, will be well repaid for the trouble of a perusal. It is the fashion in these days to speak of those times as barbarous, but the Great Charter is as carefully drawn a document as

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any modern lawyer could produce, and it is justly considered the palladium of English liberty.

In the wars between Simon de Montford, Earl of Leicester, and King Henry III., Leicester had taken prisoner Prince Edward, the heir to the throne, as well as the King himself, and brought them to Hereford in the year 1265. The Earl of Gloucester determined to effect the escape of Prince Edward, and communicated his designs to Roger de Mortimer, Earl of March, and Lord of Wigmore, who, having many adherents in the county and neighbourhood, and heartily joining in the scheme, sent Prince Edward a swift horse as a present, and acquainted him with the plans which were being made to secure his liberty. The Prince was to pretend to be ill and to want exercise; so he feigned illness, and asked leave to ride about on horseback. The Earl of Leicester granted the permission he asked, but took the precaution of increasing the number of his guards. Edward and his escort having ridden out towards Widemarsh, he put them to run races with each other, and raced with them himself until he had winded two horses. He then called for the horse which had been presented to him, and the other horses being exhausted by their previous efforts, he galloped off to a place which had been agreed upon before - supposed to be Dinmore Hill, or by some believed to be Credenhill - where he was to find a man on a white horse. This plot was entirely successful. The Prince out- distanced his pursuers, found the man on the white horse, who is said to have been a Croft of Croft, and, when his foes

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came in sight, they saw a troop of horse, which had been sent by the Earl of Gloucester, and the Earl of March, so they had to return discomfited, while Edward retired with his deliverers to Wigmore Castle. He soon after totally defeated the Earl of Leicester at the battle of Evesham.

In the reign of Edward II., Adam de Orleton was Bishop of Hereford, and one of the partisans of Mortimer and the Queen. When the King was imprisoned in Berkeley Castle, a letter was written in Latin to the Governor, by Adam de Orleton, which could be read either as favouring the death of the king or not, according to the punctuation. It is perhaps a bit of the cleverest equivocation ever known. The letter read:

Edwardum occidere nolite temere bonum est. Or: To kill King Edward fear not, to do it is praiseworthy.

On receipt of this letter Edward was put to death by his keepers, in a most barbarous manner, but one in which they hoped, from its nature, would not be discovered.

"The Good Parliament" of Edward III. elected as its speaker Sir Peter de la Mere who held the manor of Patton and was steward of the Earl of March, but, after the death of the Black Prince and the rise of the

[1] It will be seen that if the stop is placed after the word "fear" in the English version, the sense would he exactly the opposite to what it would be if the stop followed the word "not". I have recently seen a statement, which, if correct, would make it almost impossible for the Bishop to have written this cryptic letter.

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faction of the Duke of Lancaster, he was arrested and imprisoned in the Castles of Nottingham and Newark. On the accession of Richard II. and the decline of the Duke of Lancaster's influence, he was released, and again chosen Speaker by the first Parliament of Richard II.

Leominster Seal.

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THE White Rose - The Battle of Mortimer's Cross - Edward of March and Lord of Wigmore made King of England.

IT will now be well to consider the rival claims of the Houses of Clarence, Lancaster, and York to the Crown of England, and the events which caused the Wars of the Roses.

Edward III. died in 1377, his son, the Black Prince having predeceased him. The only son of the Black Prince succeeded his grandfather as Richard II., but left no issue. The other offspring of Edward III. were: William, of Hatfield (2nd son), who died in infancy; Lionel, Duke of Clarence (3rd son), who left a daughter Philippa; John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (4th son); Edmund Langley, Duke of York and Earl of Cambridge (5th son); and two other sons, William of Windsor, and Thomas of Woodstock. Philippa, the heiress of the House of Clarence, married Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March. Her son, Roger, died in 1398, before the abdication of Richard II., but her grandson, Edmund, who died in 1424-5, should have succeeded to the throne, after Richard II., by right of blood. Edmund's sister Anne, after his death, became heiress of Clarence and Mortimer, and she

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married Richard, Earl of Cambridge, the heir, after his elder brother was killed at Agincourt, of Edmund Langley, Duke of York, thus uniting the lines of Clarence and York. Richard, Duke of York, who was killed at the battle of Wakefield, was the heir of the House of Clarence and York, and his son, Edward, Earl of March and Lord of Wigmore, afterwards Edward IV., succeeded at last in wresting the crown from the descendants of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. The house of Clarence - afterwards united by marriage with the house of York - sprang from the third son of Edward III., while the house of Lancaster sprang from the fourth son. [1]

Henry IV., the first Lancastrian King, had no claim to the crown except that conferred by the Parliament, but, as soon as he found the crown upon his head, he issued a proclamation declaring that he ascended the throne, first, by right of conquest, secondly, by virtue of Richard's resignation and designation of him as his successor, and lastly, as he was the next heir male of the late King, thus ignoring his Parliamentary title, which was really the only valid one. Sir Edmund Mortimer, who was the uncle of the young Earl of March, the rightful heir to the throne, considering it would be useless and dangerous to assert his nephew's rights at this juncture, retired to the Lordship of Wigmore, and Wigmore Castle was held during the reigns of Henry IV., Henry V., and Henry VI., by the heirs of the White Rose, who

[1] See Appendix, Note C, "The Royal Title and Succession and the Earldom of March".

would, under more fortunate circumstances have been monarchs of England.

In 1400 Owen Glendower renounced his allegiance to the Crown of England, styled himself Prince of Wales, and marched into Herefordshire. Sir Edmund Mortimer, the uncle of the Earl of March, assembled his retainers, and those of his friends, in order to stop the progress of Glendower, but suffered signal defeats at Pilleth and near Eardisland. Sir Edmund was taken prisoner, and Glendower marched to Leominster, which he took, and compelled the inhabitants of the town, and the priory, to hand over to him large sums of money, and large quantities of provisions and goods. Henry IV. was not sorry that the uncle of the legitimate heir to the throne was a prisoner in the hands of the Welsh, and it was his refusal to allow Mortimer to be ransomed that caused the latter to enter into the alliance with Glendower, Percy, and Douglas. [1]

Many of the conspiracies and so-called rebellions, in the reigns of the three Lancastrian Kings, were really attempts to change the dynasty back to the elder branch. This feeling, in all probability, had a good deal to do with that coalition between the Earls of Northumberland and Worcester, Edmund Mortimer, Owen Glendower and Douglas, which came to an end at the battle of Shrewsbury, where the insurgents were defeated, Hotspur, the son of the Earl of Northumberland, was slain, and Henry, Prince of Wales, showed such valour and skill in arms. The Battle of

[1] See Appendix, Note C.

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Shrewsbury may be almost considered as the beginning of the Wars of the Roses, although the real struggle did not commence for another fifty years. After the Battle of Shrewsbury Henry, Prince of Wales, afterwards Henry V., is said to have pursued the followers of Mortimer and Glendower into Herefordshire, and occupied the hills and woods of Ivington and neighbourhood.

Even the wars with France, which were so glorious to the English, could not divert the thoughts of the people entirely from the rightful heir to the throne - the Earl of March - for even when Henry V. was starting to commence that campaign which led up to the battle of Agincourt, he was delayed through the detection of a conspiracy entered into by Richard, Earl of Cambridge, Henry Scrope the Lord Treasurer, and Sir Thomas Grey, the object of which was to depose the King, and place the Earl of March on the throne. This conspiracy was crushed; the ringleaders, the Earl of Cambridge and Sir Thomas Grey being beheaded, and Lord Scrope hanged, drawn and quartered.

In the reign of Henry V. the followers of Wycliffe or the Lollards, as they were called, were severely persecuted, several of them being burnt at the stake. One of the principal leaders of the Lollards, Sir John Oldcastle the Baron Cobham, after escaping from the Tower of London, wandered about the country for four years - it is said that the forest of Deerfold, between Wigmore and Lingen, was one of his principal hiding places - was, at length taken, and condemned

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to be hanged as a traitor and burnt as a heretic.

It may be noted that Jack Cade, who headed a rebellion of the commons in 1450, assumed the name of Mortimer, which helps to show the trend of popular feeling which was setting in against the House of Lancaster, and in favour of that of Clarence, York, and Mortimer.

A crisis was now arriving. Henry VI. was a very weak-minded King, and the glamour of the French conquests was being dispelled by the defeats of the English by Joan of Arc. Richard, Duke of York, thought the time was ripe for urging his claim to the crown, so finding himself at the head of a numerous following, he met the Duke of Somerset, who commanded the King's forces, at St. Albans, on May 23rd, 1455, and there was fought the first battle of the Wars of the Roses, which were to desolate England for a period of 30 years, in which there were twelve great battles, which cost the lives of 80 princes of royal blood, and nearly destroyed the ancient nobility of England. No better or clearer statement of the rights and wrongs of the quarrel can be found than is given in Shakespeare's King Henry VI., Part Second, Act II., Scene 2.

At the first battle of St. Albans, King Henry was taken prisoner, but at Wakefield, in 1460, Richard, Duke of York, and his son, the Earl of Rutland, were slain, and their dead bodies mutilated. The Earl of Rutland was only about 12 years of age, and was barbarously murdered by Lord Clifford, after the battle, in cold blood.

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Edward, Earl of March, the Duke of York's eldest son, was at Gloucester when he received the news of his father's death, through which he became Duke of York and White Rose claimant of the crown. Edward marched from Gloucester where he had spent Christmas, and his army, increasing daily in numbers, is stated to have soon reached a total of 23,000 men. There was a powerful Yorkist army near London, under the command of the Earl of Warwick.

Queen Margaret, wife of Henry, who commanded the Lancastrian army, in person, at Wakefield, intended to march to London after her victory, but gaining intelligence that Edward was moving from Gloucester, she sent Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, and James Butler, Earl of Ormonde, with a body of Welsh, Irish, and north countrymen to oppose him, while she and her army intended to march to London and crush Warwick. Edward being informed of the Queen's tactics, instead of going to meet her, as he had first planned, turned to meet the Earl of Pembroke.

The two armies met on the plain of Kingsland, at Mortimer's Cross, where the Lancastrians suffered a total defeat, and the loss of 3,800 men. The Earl of Pembroke escaped, but Owen Tudor, his father, was taken prisoner, and beheaded, in revenge for the deaths of the Duke of York and the Earl of Rutland at Wakefield.

In accounts of the battle of Mortimer's Cross, very few of the names now known in Herefordshire appear, but those of Scudamore, Croft, and Baskerville are amongst those who fought

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on the side of York. The Lancastrian army was mainly composed of North Welshmen, Irish and North Countrymen, while the majority of the inhabitants of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, and South Wales were adherents of the house of York, and their neighbour, the Earl of March, who was chief of that house; in fact, the Salweys of Ludlow, and the Earls of Oxford, seem to have been about the only Lancastrians of note in this neighbourhood, whose names have survived.

It was on the morning of the battle of Mortimer's Cross, on Candlemas Day, 1460-61, that Edward of York thought he saw THREE suns, instead of one, rising at day break. Shakespeare, in King Henry VI., Part 3, Act 2, Scene I, refers to this incident. Edward is speaking to his brother, Richard, afterwards Duke of Gloucester and Richard III., and says:-

"Dazzle mine eyes, or do I see three suns ?
"RICHARD: Three glorious suns, each one a perfect sun;
"Not separated with the racking clouds,
"But sever'd in a pale clear-shining sky.
"See, see! they join, embrace, and seem to kiss,
"As if they vow'd some league inviolable:
"Now are they but one lamp, one light, one sun.
"In this the heaven figures some event.
"EDWARD: 'Tis wondrous strange, the like yet never heard of.
"I think it cites us, brother, to the field,
"That we, the sons of brave Plantagenet,
"Each one already blazing by our meeds,
"Should, notwithstanding, join our lights
"And over-shine the earth as this the world.
"Whate'er it bodes, henceforward will I bear
"Upon my target three fair-shining, suns".

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This peculiar appearance of the sun had such an effect upon Edward, as signifying the good fortune of the THREE SONS of York - himself and his brothers, George and Richard - that he adopted the device of the three golden suns on a blue field as his badge, and the banner, bearing the three golden suns of York waved afterwards above the adherents of the White Rose upon many a hard fought field of battle.

The victory of Mortimer's Cross opened the way to London for Edward, and, although Queen Margaret defeated the Earl of Warwick a week later, at the second battle of St. Albans, Edward marched on to the metropolis, whose gates were immediately opened to him, and he was at once crowned King as Edward IV.

For an excellent description of the battle of Mortimer's Cross, I would recommend anyone to read "Malvern Chase", by the late Rev. W.S. Symonds. He describes the march of Edward from Gloucester, the advance of the Lancastrian army from Knighton and Clun through the Deerfold and Shobdon woods, skirmishes at Kinsham and Brampton Bryan; Wigmore Castle, which was occupied by the widowed Duchess of York, Wigmore Abbey and other places near. There is also a graphic account of the battle of Mortimer's Cross itself, but all the details given by Mr. Symonds must not be accepted as historical facts.

The Mortimers held the castle and town of Wigmore from the time of William the Conqueror, and they are believed to have been descended from Richard, the first Duke of Normandy. As Earls of March, they were among the most powerful families in the Kingdom,

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and by their marriage with the heiress of Clarence they became legitimate heirs to the crown of England, to which their descendants, in the female line, ultimately succeeded. About a mile from Wigmore Castle is the site of an Augustinian Abbey, in which many of the Mortimers, including five Earls of March, were buried, but not a trace is now left of anything which can indicate the spot where any of their bodies were laid. The Abbey, which was very richly endowed, was destroyed at the dissolution of the monasteries, and its revenues confiscated.

After the death of Edward IV., evil times came upon this great house. His eldest son, Edward, was at Ludlow Castle, under the care of Earl Rivers, when news arrived of the King's death. Edward and Earl Rivers at once set out for London, but, at Stoney Stratford, they fell into the hands of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and in a short time Edward and his little brother, the Duke of York, were murdered in the Tower of London, by order of their uncle, Richard, who then seized the crown. Richard III. lost his blood-stained crown, and ended his life on Bosworth field. The last male heir of Richard, Duke of York (the father of Edward IV.), viz., Edward, Earl of Warwick, was imprisoned in the Tower by Henry VII., and finally executed in 1499.

Wigmore Castle, the old stronghold of the Mortimers, is in ruins, their magnificent Abbey is destroyed and their sepulchres are demolished!


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Some further Glimpses of the Past History of the Neighbourhood of Leominster.

A Lecture given in 1905 to the Leominster Literary Society.


WHEN I first promised to give a short lecture on a few "Glimpses of the Past History of the Neighbourhood", I had no idea that it would develop into a "Short History of the Herefordshire Borderland".

I have endeavoured to make my papers as interesting as possible, and I gratefully acknowledge the favourable reviews of the first pamphlet by the Press, and the appreciative letters I have received from a large number of the leading inhabitants of the localities noticed.

I hope I have succeeded in arousing an interest in the historical associations of a neighbourhood which has been the scene of so many stirring events, and that I have rescued from oblivion some things which were becoming forgotten. R.H.G


MARCH of the Earl of Richmond (afterwards Henry VII.) through Leominster - Shooting the Arrow - The Battle of Bosworth - Suppression of Leominster Priory, execution of the Prior and confiscation of the endowments - The Battle of Cursneh Hill - Charter granted to Leominster by Queen Mary - Leland's account of the neighbourhood - The six "W's" - Moated Houses and Tudor Halls - Execution of a Priest at Leominster - Milton's "Comus".

OUR last lecture really ended at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross, and the elevation of the Lord of Wigmore and Earl of March to the throne of England as the rightful king, under the title of Edward IV., although the concluding sentences dealt briefly with the fortunes and fall of the great family of Mortimer, Clarence, and York. The next piece of history connected with this district is the march of Henry, Earl of Richmond, to the Battle of Bosworth. The cruelties and tyrannies of Richard III. had alienated the feelings of those nobles, who had survived the wars, and of the people, and the eyes of the greater part of the nation were turned to the Lancastrian pretender to the throne, Henry, Earl of Richmond. There were grave doubts about the legitimacy of his branch of the family, but the country was groaning under oppression, and the people

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were glad of any expedient to dethrone the reigning king.

Henry, Earl of Richmond, landed at Milford Haven on the 6th of August, 1485, and entered Haverfordwest on the day following. His intention was to give his adherents in Wales and the border counties - including Sir William Stanley and Sir Rice ap Thomas - an opportunity of joining his standard, and march to Shrewsbury, where he expected Sir George Talbot, the guardian of the young Earl of Shrewsbury, to declare in his favour.

In his march to Shrewsbury, he passed through Hereford and Leominster, and was welcomed by the inhabitants. There was a local prophecy that whichever party should first shoot an arrow in the contest for the throne would prove the victor, and Henry crossing over, or shooting the river Arrow near Leominster, was said to have fulfilled the prophecy.

These prophecies were very prevalent in former days and were implicitly believed in up to almost modern times. Doubtless from the very fact that they were firmly believed in they often assisted their own fulfilment.

In the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion in the reign of James II. a similar tradition is recorded. The Duke had been told that he would have good fortune until he met his foes on the banks of the Rhine, from which he made sure he would be successful against the royal troops, under Lord Feversham, and it is a fact that the battle of Sedgemoor

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was lost by Monmouth through his men being unable to pass over one of the deep water-courses or dykes, which are, even now, locally called "Rhines".

The Earl of Richmond's army, which did not exceed 4,000 men, marched on to Shrewsbury, the gates of which were opened to them by Sir George Talbot, as anticipated, and from thence, with augmented forces, Henry proceeded to meet Richard, whose headquarters were at Leicester.

On this march an event occurred which might have been disastrous to the Lancastrian cause. Between Stafford and Tamworth, Henry, for some reason, lagged behind his army and completely lost his way. After wandering about for some time, not daring to ask his way for fear of getting into the hands of some of Richard's supporters, he, at last, determined to pass the night in a village, without knowing where he was, and the next day found his way to Tamworth, where he overtook his army, the leaders of which were in a state of consternation at his absence.

The events of the next few days, culminating in the battle of Bosworth, belong to general rather than local history, but, at that decisive battle, Richard lost his life, and the crown, for which he had committed so many fearful crimes, was taken from his dead body and placed upon Henry's head by Sir William Stanley, on the field of battle. The Stanleys had very great influence in Wales and the border counties, and although the heir of their house was a hostage in the hands of Richard, Sir William had long before

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been in communication with Henry, and went over to him with all his forces on the field, and so turned the fortune of the day.

The close connection of Herefordshire with the House of York doubtless prevented most of the old families from joining Henry, but Baskerville, of Eardisley, was amongst his followers, and he was rewarded with a grant of the manor of Netherwood.

Although the title of Henry VII. to the crown was very weak, the nation, being weary of civil war, acquiesced in it, and when his son, Henry VIII., came to the throne he was hailed as the heir of the two houses of York and Lancaster, through his father, Henry VII., and his mother, the Princess Elizabeth of York. No prince ever mounted the throne with finer prospects, and everything pointed to a happy and prosperous reign. But religious dissensions and disputes commenced, and as the King was determined to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon, and marry one of her maids of honour, a proceeding which the existing religious authorities would not countenance, he resolved to declare himself supreme head of the church.

The confiscation of the revenues of the religious houses soon followed. Any student of history is bound to admit that the religious houses, whatever their faults or virtues may have been, undoubtedly relieved the poor and needy out of their revenues, and that the relief of the poor was not chargeable upon the people until after the endowments of the monasteries were confiscated.

Leominster was the largest Priory in England,

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and possessed an income superior to many abbeys. John Glover, the last Prior of Leominster, was hanged at the door of his church in 1539, for refusing to acknowledge the King as head of the church, and the revenue of the Priory was confiscated. The whole of the income was diverted to the use of the King and his favourites, and the rights of the poor, to any portion, were ignored. Such names as "Almery" and "Almsbury", which still survive, as the designations of places in close proximity to churches, are derived from the custom of giving alms at the entrance to the church or monastery.

In passing, it may be of interest to note that the source of the Pinsley at Lady Pool, near Pembridge, is probably so called because it is the spring of the river which flowed under the convent of the Ladies or Nuns of Leominster.

Soon after the death of Edward VI. the partisans of the Earl of Northumberland and the Lady Jane Grey, who, at first seemed to have been in considerable force in this neighbourhood, assembled their followers near Leominster. Amongst their leaders were Hackluyt, of Eaton, Warnicombe, of Kington, Street, of Street Court, and Harley, Bishop of Hereford who, amongst them raised a force of 1,300 men, but, as the party of Queen Mary gained ground, their cause began to appear so gloomy that their numbers decreased daily. Sir James Croft, of Croft Castle, declared for Queen Mary, and was supported by the Walwyns and Francis Throckmorton, of Marden. The Walwyns were a very old Herefordshire

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family, but the Throckmortons had not long been connected with the county, the manor of Marden having been purchased from the Duke of Northumberland by Sir John Throckmorton, who was Chief Justice of Chester, and father of Francis Throckmorton. [1] Street, of Street Court, went over to the royalist side, and the diminished rebel forces entrenched themselves on Cursneh Hill. They were there attacked by the Earl of Arundel, assisted by the inhabitants of Leominster, led by Philip Hobby, the retainers of Sir James Croft and Street, the men of Marden under Throckmorton, and the troops from Hereford under Walwyn.

In this battle, a great number of the Lady Jane's supporters were slain, and Queen Mary's troops were entirely victorious. This result must have been considered of importance to the Queen's cause, for all the royalist leaders were rewarded, while Harley was deprived of the See of Hereford, and Wharton made Bishop in his stead. Walwyn and Hobby were knighted, and Leominster was granted a very ample charter.

There appears to be little doubt that the building of Hampton Court was, at least, commenced

[1] I have given the origin of the connection of the family of Throckmorton with the county, because I have seen it stated that a Throckmorton was amongst the Herefordshire supporters of the Lancastrians at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross. If a Throckmorton was present at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross, he must have come with the Earl of Pembroke's forces from Cheshire, for there were no Herefordshire Throckmortons until they bought the Manor of Marden.

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by Henry IV. when he was Earl of Hereford, and given by him to Sir Rowland Lenthall, his yeoman of the wardrobe, but Leland says it was built by Sir Rowland Lenthall, who was one of the English leaders at the battle of Agincourt, and out of the ransoms of the French prisoners he took there, he, according to Leland: "Beganne the new building of Hampton Court, and brought from a hill a springe of water, and made a little pool within the top of his house". The most probable explanation of the different accounts is that the Earl of Hereford commenced the building, and that it was afterwards enlarged and completed by Lenthall.

Leland gives the following quaint description of Leominster:-

"The towne, by reason of their principall wool, use great draping of cloth, and thereby it flourished. Since of latter days it chanced that the cityes of Hereford and Worcester complained of the frequency of people that came to Lemster in prejudice of both their marketts in the Shyre Townes, and also in hindringe their draping. Whereupon the Saturday markett was removed from Lemster and a markett on Friday was newly assigned unto it, since that tyme the towne of Lemster hath decayed".

Leland also gives the following description of some of the out- parish of Leominster:- "The ground about Arrow, beneath Ivington is lowe, and there be many fayre meadows that be overflowed and the grasse of them saved once in six years".

Blount says of this neighbourhood:- "If England

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be the Paradise of Europe, this is the Garden of England".

At this time "Lemster Wool", was celebrated throughout the country, being of the finest description, and called by Drayton "Lemster Ore". The same poet, also in his "Battle of Agincourt", describes the badge of "fair Hereford", as "A Golden Fleece". At this period the country appears to have been in a highly prosperous state, and its proud boast that it was celebrated for the excellence of its six w's - water, wool, wheat, wood, wine and women - was by no means an empty one. We still retain our preeminence for many of these productions, but alpaca and merino have ousted the fine "Lemster Wool" from favour, and steam has become the manufacturing power instead of the water so absolutely necessary for power in those days, and so plentiful then as now in the neighbourhood of Leominster. Still one may he pardoned for regretting the disappearance of our tan yards, leather dressing, glove making, wool stapling, and other industries, which found employment for so many of the former inhabitants of the locality.

At the end of the Wars of the Roses most of the moated houses, which were necessary as places of defence in those troublous times, were in ruins, and, when the Tudors came to the throne and peaceful times ensued, these moated strongholds were not rebuilt, but less massive dwellings in the brick Tudor or Elizabethan timber styles were built near instead. It is for this reason that the Tudor Hall generally stands some little distance away from the site of the

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old moated dwelling. Many instances of this will occur to the minds of those who take an interest in such matters.

The origin of the practice of placing ornamental balls of stone on the entrance gateways is interesting. They really represent human heads. In the old days the lord of the castle frequently had the heads of his enemies taken in battle struck off and placed over his gates. In Tudor times the supply of heads, except those cut off by order of the monarch, ceased, and it was for the purpose of overcoming this difficulty that the owners of the newly built Tudor residences had stone balls placed on their gateways instead of the heads of their enemies, thus introducing a more innocent and less revolting decoration.

In the year 1610 a secular priest, named Roger Cadwallader, who was born at Stretton Sugwas, was condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered at Leominster, for the crime of having been ordained beyond the seas. This sentence was carried out on the 27th of April in that year, his head being placed on the Town Hall, and his body divided and hung up at the four entrances to the town. He was offered a pardon if he would take the oath of allegiance to the King as supreme head of the church, but he refused to do so, although he acknowledged him as lawful head of the State. Such an event seems to us inexplicable, in these days of liberty of conscience, but then, and indeed until comparatively recent times, such a thing as liberty of conscience was not thought of, but every party which happened to be in

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power thought it was perversity and not conscientious scruples which caused people to refuse to embrace their religious tenets, and the gibbet and the fagot were used to make them conform or punish them for their contumacy. Brutal persecution of those who dared to differ from them was the invariable procedure of the church or sect in power.

Turning to a more cheerful topic, it must not be forgotten that Milton's "Mask of Comus" was first performed in Ludlow Castle. The story was based upon an event which happened to the three children of the Earl of Bridgwater, the Lord President of Wales, who resided at Ludlow Castle. His two sons and his daughter, Lady Alice Egerton, were returning to Ludlow Castle through the woods, when the lady was accidentally lost, and the plot turns on her wanderings through Haye Park and the adjoining woods. The discussion between the two brothers - the one being hopeful and the other despondent - the argument between the magician Comus and the lady, in which riotous pleasure and temperance are respectively championed, and the descriptions of the solemn grandeur of the woods, are amongst the finest productions in the English language. One little geographical error is made by Milton in calling the river Teme the Severn, but poets are frequently not quite accurate in geography. Another local geographical error is made by Shakespeare in King Henry IV., Part First, Act I., Scene III., where he refers to "gentle Severn's sedgy bank", instead of the bank of the river Arrow.

The exquisite beauty of the scene of "Comus" was

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doubtless in Milton's mind when he wrote the following lines which I will give as a specimen of the many gems to be found in this local poem:-

"He that has light within his own clear breast
May sit i' the centre and enjoy bright clay;
But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts
Benighted walks under the mid-day sun;
Himself is his own dungeon".

Formerly at entrance to Leominster Priory Churchyard.

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THE Civil War - Its Causes - Herefordshire a Royalist Stroughold - Changing Sides - Hereford captured and re-captured - Hereford and Leominster occupied by Sir William Waller for the Parliament - Defence of Brampton Bryan Castle - Wigmore Castle demolished.

THE power of the nobles was weakened, and in fact, almost annihilated, by the Wars of the Roses, and the people under the Tudor sovereigns had not yet acquired modern notions of liberty. In Plantagenet times the nobles exercised a great restraining influence upon the prerogative of the crown, and this influence being removed, or, at least, rendered very feeble, the crown acquired a much greater power under the Tudors than it possessed when there were powerful nobles to curb any stretch of the royal prerogative.

Then came the Reformation, which, without doubt, caused the people to feel less awe for their temporal rulers as well as their spiritual directors, and a certain dislike and impatience of authority resulted. Many new political as well as religious ideas were imported from Geneva and elsewhere, and the people began to be conscious of their own power and jealous of their liberties.

The Stuarts were a weaker race than the Tudors, more vacillating and less able to grapple with the rising flood of popular aspirations for freedom, but, with as high opinions of their royal prerogative as the Tudors, and

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firm believers in the Divine right of Kings to govern as they pleased. Under James I. the embers of revolution were smouldering, and Charles I. paid the penalty of many of his father's shortcomings. If Henry, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of James, had not died, it is possible that no rebellion would have happened, as he was a great favourite with the people, but his death and the accession of Charles made a conflict between the crown and parliament almost inevitable. It needed only a set of advisers like those who surrounded the King and the feeling of distrust of his good faith which existed, to start the conflagration. The late King had left debts amounting to £700,000, and, with the expenses incidental to the accession and marriage of Charles, it was soon found necessary to raise money from his subjects. The court held that the necessary funds could be rightly raised by royal prerogative in the form of benevolences or loans. The Parliament held that all supplies must be voted by the Commons.

The first Parliament of King Charles granted him the duties of tonnage and poundage for one year only, while ever since the reign of Henry VII. they had been granted to the King for life. This Parliament after having been adjourned to Oxford, was soon dissolved and another called in 1626. The new Parliament proved even more refractory than the last, and refused to grant supplies until grievances had been redressed.

Deprived of any other means of obtaining money the King determined to raise funds by

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levies of ship money loans and benevolences under the royal warrant. It must not be supposed that the King had no precedent for this claim. These levies had been made by many of his predecessors, and the right of the crown to do so, or not to do so, was by no means clear. The British constitution was not the complete fabric as we now know it. It was in the process of building. It was alleged on behalf of the King that the practice had been in use from Anglo-Saxon times, and had been confirmed by numerous Parliaments. The question was so undecided and uncertain that in February, 1636, the judges were asked to give their opinions on two points, viz., (1) Whether in case of danger to the safety of the Kingdom, the King could not impose ship money for its defence and safeguard, and, by law, compel payment. (2) Whether he were not sole judge both of the danger and how it was to be prevented. Ten judges decided in favour of the prerogative, and two (Crook and Hutton) dissented, but signed the judgment on the ground that it was that of the majority.

While struggling for political liberty it must be remembered that the Parliamentary leaders had no idea of religious liberty or even toleration, as will be seen by the "pious petition" which Charles's first Parliament presented to him before they would enter upon any business.

As the war went on both parties, in many cases, committed shocking excesses. From the Cavalier point of view the Roundheads were traitors and deserved the death of traitors. From the Parliamentarian

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point of view the adherents of the King were malignants and enemies of God's chosen people. The army of the Parliament adopted the religion of Joshua, and missed that of the Sermon on the Mount. THEY were the chosen people, and their opponents were the Canaanites, and, when their enemies were delivered into their hands, they treated them as Joshua did the Canaanites. Doubtless they were honest in their belief, but the barbarities of Cromwell - at the taking of Drogheda and elsewhere - are too horrible to relate, and no Christian man can defend them. We may congratulate ourselves that if we are perhaps more lax in our religious views, such deeds would now be impossible.

Charles unfurled the Royal Standard at Nottingham on the 22nd August, 1642, and soon the war penetrated into our county.

At the outbreak of the civil war Herefordshire was a Royalist stronghold. The leaders of the King's party were Viscount Scudamore, Sir William Croft, Sir Walter Pye, the Coningsbys, Henry Lingen, Brabazon of Eaton, Rudhall, Seaborne, Tomkyns, and others, with the Earl of Glamorgan and the Marquis of Worcester on the South and West Borders.

The leaders of the Parliamentarians were Sir Robert Harley, of Brampton Bryan, ably assisted by his wife, the Lady Brilliana Harley, [1] and also by a few of the

[1] I am giving this lady the name and title under which she has always been known, although it has been pointed out by a recent author - doubtless correctly - that her proper style is the Hon. Lady Harley as the daughter of a Viscount, or Lady Harley as the wife of a Knight.

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gentry of the country, including Sir John Bridges, Sir Richard Hopton, Sir John Kyrle, two Scudamores, Baskerville, Davies of Wigmore, Pember, Mynors, Wancklyn of Luston, and Pateshall of Leominster. Many of these were sincere Presbyterians in religion, and firm believers in a limited monarchy and the freedom of the subject, and several of them assisted to restore Charles II. when they found the liberties of the country were endangered by the usurpation of Cromwell more than they had ever been by the Stuarts.

Many families were divided, and took opposite sides, and some changed sides more than once, with, what appears to us now, less compunction than a person would change his political party. Kyrle of Ross, changed sides three times, so did Baskerville of Canon Pyon. Sir Richard Hopton of Canon Froome, was a Parliamentarian of a very mild type, but afterwards received the King's pardon and became a Royalist, his eldest son was in the King's army, and his other son in that of the Parliament; while at one time Sir Walter Pye was besieged in his house by his own son. [1] As an instance of the solidity of a whole family, Lochard, of the Byletts, Pembridge, had ten sons who were all in the King's army, and three of them were killed in the war.

In the Oxford Parliament of 1643, Sir Sampson Eure, of Gatley Park, sergeant-at-law, who was one of the members for Leominster, was Speaker, and of all the Herefordshire members, Harley seems to have been the

[1] This was at Farringdon - not at The Mynde.

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only one who attended the other Parliament at Westminster.

From Nottingham the King proceeded to Shrewsbury where he was well received, after being refused admittance into Coventry.

The Earl of Essex, with the forces of the Parliament, had marched to Worcester, which he occupied after a skirmish at Powick Bridge, where Prince Rupert defeated Colonel Sandys, who afterwards died of the wounds he had received in the engagement. Sir John Byron had been sent by the King to bring some specie from Oxford for his use, and Rupert had been despatched from Ludlow to reinforce Byron's escort.

Essex now resolved to attack Hereford and sent on troops under the Earl of Stamford for the purpose, amongst the leaders being Robert Kyrle of Ross, and Massey, who was afterwards Governor of Gloucester for the Parliament, and who, after the usurpation of Cromwell, joined Charles II. before the battle of Worcester. Sir Robert Harley, his son Edward, and Sir Richard Hopton of Canon Froome, were also with the Parliamentarian army. Hereford was practically defenceless, most of the Royalists being with the King's army or raising troops for the Royal service, so Lord Stamford entered the city without opposition. The King had, by this time, decided to march from Shrewsbury on London, so he evacuated Shrewsbury, being followed by the Earl of Essex, and the first great battle of the Civil War was fought at Edge Hill in Warwickshire, in which 5,000 Englishmen were slain,

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and without any real advantage being obtained by either party.

Before the battle of Edge Hill a reconciliation took place between Sir William Croft, of Croft Castle, and Coningsby, of Hampton Court, between whom there had long been bad feeling. It appears that Sir William Croft had been dismissed from the Privy Council for opposing the schemes of the Duke of Buckingham, and the King had also banished him from court for the same reason. In the King's hour of need, however, he and his retainers came to their sovereign's assistance, his loyalty being unimpeachable and his patriotism proved by having dared to oppose an unworthy favourite of the King.

The Earl of Stamford used the city of Hereford as a centre from which he could keep in check the Royalist feeling in Herefordshire and Radnorshire. He confiscated the revenues of the Cathedral Chapter, made domiciliary visits wherever he suspected arms to be found, on three occasions plundered the vicarage of Goodrich, near Ross, then held by the grandfather of the celebrated Dean Swift, and hearing that the Cavaliers were mustering at Presteigne, he surprised them and took several prisoners, including their member of Parliament, Price, and Wigmore of Lucton, whom he sent as prisoners to Gloucester. Being ultimately pressed by the surrounding adherents of the King, he found it necessary to evacuate Hereford and retire to Gloucester, the line of retreat, in all other directions, being held by the Cavaliers. Hereford was then again occupied by the Royalists, who, in their turn commenced

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to plunder the goods of their opponents, including those of Price, the Mayor, and Sir Richard Hopton, of Canon Frome.

After this Herefordshire enjoyed an interval of peace, the principal seat of the struggle in the west being in Gloucestershire. Hereford was held by Sir Richard Cave for the King, but, on the 25th April, 1643, the city was again captured for the Parliament by Sir William Waller and Colonel Massey, a great many prisoners being taken, including Lord Scudamore and his wife and son, Colonel Price, Fitzwilliam and Humphrey Coningsby, Sir William Croft and Sir Walter Pye. Cave escaped and brought the news of the loss of Hereford to Worcester. His conduct in the matter was suspected, but he was acquitted by a council of war of any imputation of betraying the city.

In the same year Waller occupied Leominster. Vicars says: "Sir William Waller, Anno, 1643, went to Leominster, about 12 miles from Hereford, a most malignant town, but a place of great consequence, and having taken that town, spent some time in disarming the inhabitants, and having placed a garrison there departed".

Demolition of works of art was at that time considered a duty by the Parliamentarian soldiers, and it was during the occupation of Leominster by Waller that most of the stained glass windows in the Priory Church were destroyed.

Sir Robert Harley was the chief commissioner appointed by the Parliament to destroy what they called works of superstition, such as the public preaching

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crosses, and the monuments, and painted windows in the churches, and he was responsible for the destruction of the Cross in Cheapside and other acts of vandalism in the metropolis.

Waller again found Hereford untenable, and found it necessary to withdraw to Gloucestershire. Although most of the chiefs of the Royalists were in the hands of their enemies, the King found an able High Sheriff in Henry Lingen, who raised a force of 1,000 men. [1] Sir William Croft, Sir William Vavasour, Sir Walter Pye, and the others taken prisoners at Hereford were soon afterwards released by exchange, so that the Royalist party was once again ascendant in the country.

Brampton Bryan Castle was the only place of importance in the neighbourhood held for the Parliament, and its defence by the Lady Brilliana Harley was one of the bravest deeds throughout the war. She had only about 100 men for a garrison, but she bravely defended the castle, without much hope of ultimate success or succour, almost all her neighbours and old friends being Royalists, her husband being at Westminster, and her son - the "deare Ned" of her letters - with the anny of the Parliament. Throughout the year 1643 this brave lady defended her husband's castle. It was threatened by Lord Herbert of Raglan, in February, then by Sir William Vavasour, in July it was invested by Lord Molyneux, and in August by

[1] Amongst those who followed Lingen, in this rising, appears the name of Croft, of Yarpole, whose residence was probably the old Manor House at Yarpole, which was then a much larger building than it is now.

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Colonel Lingen, when it stood a siege of seven weeks. During the siege the Royalists appropriated all the horses and live stock belonging to Sir Robert Harley, which they could lay their hands on, and it is said that 800 sheep, 30 horses, and 30 cattle were driven away from Wigmore and Brampton Bryan. In addition to this the whole of the out-buildings of the castle, almost the entire village and the church and parsonage, were burnt or otherwise destroyed. The siege was raised in October 1643, but as soon as the besiegers had gone away the reaction came and the Lady Brilliana Harley died from the fatigue and hardships she had experienced.

Wigmore Castle which had played such an important part in local history from early Saxon times, was the birthplace of Sir Robert Harley, but it was demolished by him at the outbreak of the war, probably through his inability to garrison both Brampton and Wigmore Castles, and to prevent its falling into the hands of the Royalists. [1] It was never afterwards occupied as a fortress, but after the battle of Naseby and the subjugation of the country it was sufficiently repaired to he used for outpost purposes.

Mace given to Leominster in 1618, by Sir T. Coningsby, of Hampton Ct.

[1] See Appendix, Note F, "Common Errors and Fallacies".

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HOPTON Castle sacked - Brampton Bryan Castle destroyed - Siege of Stokesay Castle - Death of Sir William Croft and break-up of the old Royalist party in the country - Croft Castle dismantled - Clubmen - The King's defeat at Naseby - The King's march to Ludlow - Hereford besieged by the Scots - Royal visits to Hereford, Leominster and Weobley - Hereford taken by Colonel Birch - Execution of the King.

THE war which had hitherto been indecisive in its results may from about this time be said to favour the fortunes of the Parliament, chiefly, perhaps, because of the help they received from the Scots.

On the acceptance of the Solemn League and Covenant by the English Parliamentary leaders, the Scots agreed to send an army of 21,000 men into England to assist their allies, and soon afterwards crossed the border.

The King, about the same time, decided to import troops from Ireland, a proceeding which caused considerable alarm even amongst many favourable to his side, and the "wild Irishes", as they were called, became a terror to the districts through which they passed. The view of the Parliament was that they were blood-thirsty Papists,

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and an ordinance was passed that they were to be killed without mercy wherever they were taken. Up to this point the war had been conducted on something like civilised lines, and without the execution and massacre of prisoners, or their sale into slavery, which afterwards disgraced it. It was now war to the knife. Several successes had been gained by the Parliament in Shropshire, but Ludlow was held for the King by a strong garrison under Sir Michael Woodhouse.

Hopton Castle and Brampton Bryan Castle were garrisoned for the Parliament, and Woodhouse determined to reduce them. Hopton Castle, which was only a small place, was held with only 14 men, by Samuel More, of Linley, a younger brother of the member of parliament for Bishop's Castle. More obtained a few men from Brampton Bryan and elsewhere, making up his total strength to 31, and, although his defences were very weak, he decided to stand a siege. After being summoned thrice to surrender, he was warned that if they persisted in defending the castle they must expect no quarter. They refused to surrender, but after their defences had been destroyed by mines and cannon they offered to capitulate, first on conditions that they be allowed to march out with the honours of war, and, subsequently, on condition that their lives were spared. Even the latter was denied them, and one of the most disgraceful deeds of the war followed, the whole of the garrison and inmates, except More, his lieutenant, and two maid servants being put to death. Several of Woodhouse's men were Irish, but that does not remove the stain

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from his memory. Many people said that the King's cause never prospered after. It was the beginning of other barbarities in the neighbourhood by both sides, and many a Royalist soldier who begged for quarter subsequently was met with the reply, "None but Hopton quarter".

Brampton Bryan Castle was still held for the Parliament, and Woodhouse marched upon it after the massacre at Hopton Castle. He used More, whom he had taken prisoner at Hopton, for the purpose of persuading the garrison to capitulate and save loss of blood, and in this he was successful. The inmates saved their lives, but the castle was burnt down by the victors. Very few events of local interest happened in the following year.

General Massey gained several successes for the Parliament on the south and east of the country, and occupied Ledbury, but was driven out of that town after a fierce battle, by Prince Rupert, on the 22nd April, 1645. [1]

Stokesay Castle, of which a very good view can be obtained from the railway a little before Craven Arms Station is reached, had been garrisoned for the King at the outbreak of the war, but in 1643 it was taken by a force of Roundheads. Woodhouse, the governor of Ludlow, wished to retake it, and led out about 2,000 men for the purpose of storming it. He was met by the enemy and defeated with great loss.

[1] General Massey and Prince Rupert are said to have met each other at the battle of Ledbury, and both had their horses killed under them.

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In this engagement or soon afterwards - for accounts differ - perished Sir William Croft. There are several different accounts of his death, but the register of Croft states that he was killed near "Stokesay Castle", while the slab in the Church says Hopton Castle. Vicars says, "Sir William Croft, the best headpiece and most active man in that country, was slain on the place". There is a local tradition that he died between Eyton and Croft. Another account says he was killed near the town of Boitanc, which then existed on the heights of Richard's Castle, and the very name of which has vanished. [1] Yet another account says he was killed while riding with a few attendants between Orleton Common and Croft Castle. Possibly some of these discrepancies can be reconciled. There is no doubt that a party of Royalists under Sir Michael Woodhouse and Sir Thomas Lundesford was defeated with great loss near Richard's Castle, some time before the battle of Naseby, and three of the Lochards, of The Byletts, were amongst the slain. If after the defeat of the Royalists, near Stokesay Castle, they found their retreat to Ludlow interrupted, they may have sought the high ground at Richard's Castle as a likely place to rally. There is a place called Hayton, between Stokesay and Ludlow, which may have been the scene of the battle, or of some part of it, and, if this name is substituted for Eyton, near Leominster, the discrepancies will disappear. Sir William may have been dangerously or mortally wounded at Hayton (near Stokesay Castle as the

[1] See Appendix, Note B, "Other Place Names and Notes".

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register states), and have died subsequently at the camp at Boitanc, or while going from that place over the hills to Croft Castle. The men of Luston were accused of abandoning him to his fate, but, as there seems to have been a total rout of the Royal forces, and, if my conjectures are correct, a two days' pursuit, it is hardly to be wondered at, considering how near they were to their homes and the frequent penalty for being found with arms, on either side, at that time. Sir William was the Royalist leader in North Herefordshire, and he impoverished his estate so much for the Royal cause that it had to be sold by his successors, after a continuous occupation by the same family from Saxon times.

The "Cotswold Muse" thus celebrates his death:-

"Perish may the place, perish the day,
When sober Croft came to so mad a fray.
Name me not subtle Birch or Morgan. There
When Croft was slain, they conquered Herefordshire".

After the death of Sir William Croft, Croft Castle was dismantled, so that it should not become a Parliamentary fortress.

In the last two years of the war many of the inhabitants of this county and the West of England who were oppressed past all endurance by the exactions of both of the contending parties, formed themselves into bands and associations for the protection of their goods, and, being chiefly armed with clubs and bills, they came to be known as "Clubmen".

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Their objects are defined in the following motto, which they adopted:-

"If you offer to plunder or take our cattel
Be assured we will bid you battel".

They became so numerous - as many as 15,000 assembled in Herefordshire at one time - that they thought they could form a third party and stop the war, but, being badly armed and possessed of little military skill, they were ultimately dispersed.

The last Royalist Governor of Worcester was Colonel Sir Henry Washington, who, with his brother, John Washington, emigrated to America after the war was over. Their arms, which, in plain English, were vertical red and white stripes with a blue chief charged with three five-pointed silver stars, formed the basis of the star-spangled banner of the great Republic of the West, the first President of which was George Washington, the descendant of John Washington, who was the brother of the Royalist Governor of Worcester, who also led the Cavaliers at the storming of Bristol. [1]

On the 14th June, 1645, the decisive battle of Naseby was fought, which broke the power of the King, who retreated to Leicester. The slaughter at this battle was fearful, and, after the battle, 100 women, many of them of noble blood, were butchered on the ground that they were Irish Catholics. The King lost 3,000 men, with a large quantity of artillery and munitions of war. His private papers, which were afterwards used against him as proofs of his duplicity, also fell

[1] See Appendix, Note E, "The Arms of Washington and the United States Flag".

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into the hands of his enemies. From Leicester the King retreated to Hereford, from thence to Raglan Castle, the stronghold of the Marquis of Worcester, and from there to Cardiff. From Cardiff he determined to march over the mountains to Ludlow, which he did, passing through Brecon, Hay, and old Radnor, and staying one night at Wigmore Grange.

The following extract from Slingsby's Diary will show to what a miserable state his fortunes had fallen:-

"In our quarters we had little accommodation, but of all ye places we came to ye best was at Old Radnor, where ye King lay in a poor low chamber, and my Ld. of Linsey and others by the kitchen fire on hay; no better were we accommodated for victuals, which makes me remember this passage; Wh. ye King was at his supper, eating a pullet and a piece of cheese, ye room without was full, but ye men's stomacks empty for want of meat; ye good wife, troubled wh. continual calling upon her for victuals, and having, it seems, but one cheese, comes into ye room where ye King was, and very soberly' asks if ye King had done wh. ye cheese for ye gentlemen without desired it".

Passing on to the north he reached Doncaster, but hearing that the Scots, under General Leslie, Earl of Leven, were close at hand he fled to Oxford.

The Scots army reached Tenbury on the 20th July, marched from there to Canon Frome, which they took and put its commander and seventy of the garrison to the sword, leaving Colonel Edward Harley in possession. Ledbury was

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reached on the 23rd, and on the 30th they approached Hereford, which was held for the King by Sir Barnabas Scudamore.

The city bravely resisted the Scots until the siege was raised by the King in person, on the 1st September. He entered Hereford on the 4th, and proceeded to Leominster, where he dined, and to Weobley where he slept, returning to Hereford the next night.

But Cardiff, and soon after Bristol, fell, and the King's affairs were in a most parlous state. From Hereford he then commenced that second march over the Welsh hills to Chester, which he relieved just in time to prevent its capitulation, but was once more compelled to retreat to Oxford.

Meanwhile Hereford had been seized by stratagem by Colonel Birch and Colonel Morgan, where a considerable number of prisoners were taken, amongst them being Scudamore, but Lingen escaped across the frozen Wye. The Midlands and the West were now in the hands of the Parliament. Ludlow surrendered, the King abandoned Oxford, and at last surrendered himself to the Scots at Newark.

The war between Charles I. and his Parliament was now over. Most of the estates of the Herefordshire Royalists were either confiscated or muleted in heavy contributions.

The army, with Cromwell as dictator, was now master of both King and Parliament. As the Parliament would not endorse all the doings of the army, and had passed a resolution that the King's

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offers formed a sufficient ground for the future settlement of the kingdom, fifty-two Presbyterian members were forcibly ejected from the House of Commons on the 6th December, 1648, many more being ejected the day following, while numbers retired to their homes in the country. This was called Pride's Purge, and the members who were subservient to the army, who were allowed to remain as the Parliament of England, were ignominiously called, "The Rump".

The Scots had sold their King to his enemies, and the leaders of the army, having already driven out of the House of Commons all who were opposed to them, determined to take the life of the King.

The closing of the drama was approaching. On the 30th January, 1649, the King laid his head upon the block at Whitehall, being attended in his last moments by Bishop Juxon, who had been Bishop elect of Hereford in 1633, was transferred to the See of London the same year, and who was made Archbishop of Canterbury at the Restoration. A scion of the neighbouring Shropshire family of Walcot was a page to Charles I., and a blood-stained vest is still in their possession, which is believed to have been worn by the King on the scaffold.

Halberd given by Sir Thomas Coningsby.

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THE Commonwealth - The Battle of Worcester - Wanderings of Charles II. - The King restored by his old foes - Local Worthies - Pepys' and Barnet's Descriptions of Colonel Birch - Butler's "Hudibras" - James II. - The Revolution - Stuarts and Hanoverians - Cavalier and Jacobite Toasts - A New Era - Conclusion.

ENGLAND had now no King, and the wretched remains of its Parliament were tools in the hands of the all-powerful army.

Herefordshire was conquered, but there were several Royalist insurrections, in this and the adjoining counties, and the Presbyterian faction, including such men as Harley, Waller, and Massey, were opposed to the Independent section which now ruled the army, and, through the army, the State also. Birch was also disinclined to accept the rule of the new autocrat Cromwell. It is related that on one occasion, when his soldiers were attending service in Hereford Cathedral, a sermon was being preached by the Dean, a brother of the late Sir William Croft, and being galled by some of his remarks about the sacrilege committed by the soldiery, a guard of musketeers asked if they should fire at the preacher, and were only restrained from doing so by Birch himself.

Instead of being a Commonwealth, in anything besides the name, the country was now in the hands of

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a military autocracy, but Cromwell soon had to deal with conspiracies of both Republicans and Royalists. In our county, the Royalist clergy were ejected from their livings, and Presbyterian ministers or Independent preachers and laymen put in their places. [1] The Cathedral revenues were appropriated and the church lands sold, Birch being a large purchaser. The use of the liturgy of the Church of England was made penal, and the authorities abolished all the feasts and fasts of the church, including, Christmas and Easter. The estates of the Royalists were also sequestered and their rents appropriated.

Charles II. had taken the Scottish Covenant and been crowned King of Scotland at Scone on the 1st January, 1651, but Cromwell was in possession of Edinburgh Castle, and in August of the same year he took Perth. Charles, finding the way to England open to him, marched southwards, and reached Worcester without opposition on the 22nd August, where he was proclaimed King.

Massey was now a Royalist, and engaged in raising troops for Charles in Lancashire. On the day after his arrival at Worcester, Charles

[1] The distinction between Presbyterian Ministers and Independent Preachers may seem unnecessary, but the difference was a real one. Presbyterians believed, as they still believe, that a bishop is only a presbyter even if he is president of a district or a synod, and that orders are valid if conferred by presbyters. They were almost wholly Royalist and helped materially to restore the monarchy.

The Independents, on the other hand, allowed anyone to preach who felt called upon to do so. They were Republican or Cromwellian, and it was that faction which brought about the execution of the King.

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issued a proclamation summoning all his male subjects between the ages of 16 and 60 to join his standard on the 26th of August, at Pitchcroft, Worcester, but only about 200, including retainers, obeyed. Amongst the names of those who came to join the King were Sir John Packington, Sir Walter Blount, Robert Blount, Peter Blount, Thomas Hornyold, Robert Wigmore, of Lucton, and William Dansey.

The reason of this meagre response to the Royal call to arms is not far to seek. The Scots belonged to the same faction which laid siege to Hereford in 1645. They were Presbyterians and were in arms for Charles II. because he had taken their Covenant, and had, in their words, become "The Covenanted King of a Covenanted People". The second Charles had less scruples than his father, and there is no doubt that if Charles I. had been as easy in religious matters as his son was, the Presbyterians of both England and Scotland would never have assisted to dethrone him. The Independents, on the contrary, were mainly either Republicans or Cromwellians.

The Scots army even went so far as to refuse the levies of the Earl of Derby from the Isle of Man, because many of them were Anglicans or Catholics, and world not take the Covenant. [1] No wonder the Anglicans and Catholics, in general held aloof from an army composed of Covenanters, with whom they had so recently been fighting.

[1] Before the battle of Worcester, the Scots actually burnt the house of Sir Robert Berkeley, at Spetchley, because he was a Catholic, while he and his followers were with the King's army.

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Colonel Birch had got into bad odour with the Cromwellian party through having been seen riding at Worcester with "the Scots' King", as they called Charles.

It appears certain that the majority of the old Cavalier party could not bring themselves to join the Covenanting Scots, so they remained neutral in this struggle.

Cromwell arrived before Worcester on the 28th of August, and Lambert sufficiently repaired a breach in the bridge at Upton- on-Severn, which had been made by the Royalists, to enable him to cross the river at night with a force of 10,000 men.

In the skirmish at Upton General Massey was dangerously wounded and disabled from opposing his old comrade Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester.

Several other skirmishes then took place round Worcester with varying success, and on the 3rd of September, the anniversary of his defeat of the Scots at Dunbar, Cromwell concentrated all his forces for an attack upon Worcester.

Fleetwood had advanced to Powick and crossed the Teme, while Cromwell crossed the Severn by means of a bridge of boats at Bunshill. The Scots gallantly defended the approaches to Worcester, but Fleetwood having brought up a battery of artillery, bombarded the Sidbury gate, and attacked Redhill and Perry wood.

Charles now led out a force of cavalry and infantry against the enemy and succeeded in capturing their artillery. He had, however, still to reckon with Cromwell's

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Ironsides, who now charged the Royalists, retook the guns and forced them to retreat.

Had Leslie supported the King, the result of the battle of Worcester would probably have been a victory for the Royalists, but for some unknown reason he did not leave the city, and the Royalists, unable to withstand the onslaught of Cromwell's veterans, without the expected assistance from Leslie, fled into the city in confusion, Charles escaping capture by entering the city under an overturned ammunition wagon, which had been placed in the gateway as an obstruction to the rush of the victorious Cromwellians.

Charles attempted to rally his flying forces inside the city, but in vain did he try to persuade them to reform and face the dreaded Ironsides again. They were demoralised and utterly broken. "Shoot me dead then", said the unhappy King, "rather than let me live to see the sad consequences of this day".

The battle was lost, and the King was urged to look after his own safety. Cromwell's men had taken Fort Royal, put the 1,500 men who held it to death, and turned the artillery of the fort upon the doomed city, which some of their soldiers had already entered. Charles was now obliged to think of flight, unless he wished to meet the same fate as his father. He escaped out of the city through St. Martin's Gate, while Colonel Careless and some others charged along the streets in an opposite direction to clear the way. The battle was over, and the city was given over to pillage.

Royalists to the number of 3,000 were slain,

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and a vast number taken prisoners. Eight of the leaders taken were executed, including the Earl of Derby, who pleaded that quarter had been granted to him by Colonel Edge to whom he surrendered. But such was the fierce feeling at that time that he was told that quarter could be given to enemies but not to traitors, and he was condemned to death at a Court Martial held at Chester, and executed at Bolton for the crime of fighting for his King against the forces of a military autocrat.

Hamilton was mortally wounded and the Earls of Rothes, Kelly, Lauderdale and Cleveland were taken, also Lords Kenmure, Grandison and Sinclair, and Generals Massey, Leslie, Montgomery and Middleton. A reward of £1,000 was offered for the apprehension of Charles, and the penalties of treason threatened against all who gave shelter to him.

The wanderings of Charles II. after the Battle of Worcester were more wonderful than many of the romances of fiction. In several instances he had to trust his person to the care of poor and needy people, to whom the reward of £1,000 would have been a fortune, but, in no case, was he ever betrayed. He had been recommended by the Earl of Derby to make for a house at Boscobel, where he was assured he would find refuge. Accompanied by only two followers he left the retreating army on the night of the battle, and reached Whiteladies, near Boscobel, after a journey of twenty-five miles. There his hair was cut short, his skin stained, and the clothes of a woodman given him.

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One account says he begged hard to be allowed to retain his linen shirt, but it was considered that fine linen inside a woodman's clothes would be likely to betray him, so his linen shirt was taken from him and one of coarse texture substituted for it. With a woodman's bill in his hand, and his stockings darned at the knees he was sent to an adjoining wood to work. A troop of Cromwellian horse soon arrived upon the scene, and searched the house he had just left but found nothing suspicions.

The King was now in charge of four brothers, named Penderell and of Yates, who had married one of their sisters, and who had been his guide to Boscobel. They had all served in the army of Charles I., were all Catholics and were skilled in hiding hunted priests and fugitive Cavaliers. In the evening they left the wood and reached the house of Mr. Wolf, a Catholic recusant, at Madeley, where they arrived at midnight, after several alarms and delays.

As all the bridges were guarded, and troops were patrolling the neighbourhood, they were obliged to go back to Boscobel, where they found Colonel Careless, one of the King's most loyal adherents. An old pollard oak stood in the woods, and Colonel Careless advised the King to take refuge amongst its thick branches, which he did with his companions, while some of the Penderells kept guard in close proximity, pretending to be engaged in their work as woodmen. From amongst the oak branches, the King could see the Cromwellian soldiers searching

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for him, but he passed the day in the tree in safety, and, at night, returned to Boscobel. [1]

On Sunday night, the 7th of September, he went to Moseley to the house of Mr. Whitgrave, another Catholic recusant, riding a miller's horse, the rough jolting of which he complained of, but which Humphrey Penderell, the owner of the horse, told him could not be wondered at, if he remembered that it carried the weight of three kingdoms on its back.

A plan was now made for the King to escape to Bristol, where it was hoped a ship would be found to take him to France.

Colonel Lane, of Bentley, had obtained a pass for his daughter to visit a relative near Bristol, and it was decided that Charles should go with her as her servant. The house at Moseley was visited by soldiers while the King was still there, but they managed to conceal him, and on the 11th of September he started for Bristol with Miss Lane, as her servant, accompanied by Mr. Lassells, her cousin. On the following night it is highly probable that he slept at Orleton Court, the residence of the Blounts, passing through Knightwick the next day - where his companion, Miss Lane, was subsequently buried - and arriving at his destination on the 15th.

The wanderings of Charles now lose their local interest. He failed to find a ship at Bristol, and had to journey across England to the south coast, where, after some most wonderful escapes from his enemies, he managed to persuade the master of a vessel at

[1] See Appendix, Note F, "Common arrors and Fallacies".

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Shoreham to take him across to France, where he safely arrived on the 17th of October.

After the death of Cromwell his son Richard was chief of the State for a brief space, but he was too weak to govern the different factions into which the country was split up, and men began to turn their eyes on Charles Stuart, and wish to recall him to the throne of his ancestors.

At length General Monk, who was at the head of the army, and Admiral Montague, who commanded the navy, declared for the recall of the King, and, landing at Dover, Charles was escorted by the heads of the army and navy to London on the 29th of May, 1660, his 30th birthday, and proclaimed King.

Most of our local ex-rebels had now become Royalists, and Colonel Edward Harley and Colonel Birch, who had fought so hard against Charles I., were amongst those who assisted to restore his son. Colonel Harley had been an opponent of Cromwell's usurpation, and, according to a tradition in my own family, the great storm which swept over the country at Cromwell's death destroyed a great number of the finest trees in Brampton Bryan Park, and caused the people of the neighbourhood to say that Cromwell's antagonism to the family of Harley hardly ceased with his life.

Charles II. has been blamed for not rewarding the old Cavaliers who fought for his father, when he was recalled to the throne, but it must not be forgotten that it was not the defeated Cavaliers who restored the monarchy, but those who had fought against the encroachments

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of the crown, but who found, from experience, that the monarchial form of government was best suited to the habits and wants of the nation. Although many of the old Cavalier families were practically ruined, Charles could hardly venture, if he had been so inclined, to dispossess his new friends of the spoils they had obtained during the war.

Cavalier families like the Crofts had to sell their estates, as before mentioned. The Wigmores, of Lucton, who had been in possession of their property since Saxon times and one of whom married a daughter of Sir Jasper Croft soon after the conquest, also lost all they possessed in the struggle. A curious legend is related of this family: "A great oaken post was set up at the out-gate at Lucton House, and tradition said it would stand there as long as the Wigmores were owners of Lucton. The post fell in August, 1670, and within a few days after William Hopper took possession of the estate under a mortgage".

Colonel Birch had become a popular landed proprietor in the county of his adoption. He was member of Parliament for Leominster from 1646 to 1660, and at his death was buried at Weobley, where a monument in the church was erected to his memory. Pepys says:- "Colonel Birch being a mighty busy man, and one that is the most indefatigable and forward to make himself work of any man that ever I knew in my life". Burnet says:- "He was a man of a very peculiar character. He had been a carrier at first, and retained still, even to affectation, the clownishness of his education. He got up during the

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progress of the war to be a Colonel, and to he concerned in the excise, and at the Restoration he was found to be so useful in managing the excise that he was put into a good post. He was the roughest and boldest speaker in the house, and talked in the language and phrases of a carrier, but with a beauty and eloquence that was acceptable".

Upon one occasion, being taunted with his low origin, and that he had risen from being a carrier to his present position, he acknowledged that it was quite true, but, very smartly, turned the tables on his opponent by telling him that if he had been born a carrier he would have remained a carrier still.

Colonel Edward Harley was the son of Sir Robert Harley, of Brampton Bryan. He was M.P. for Hereford, governor of Dunkirk, and was the ancestor of the Harleys, Earls of Oxford. He was made Knight of the Bath at the Coronation of Charles II. Dean Croft was a brother of Sir William Croft, and was made Bishop of Hereford in 1661. Pepys says: "Dr. Ward of Exeter, and Croft of Hereford, were the two Bishops the King said he could not have bad sermons from".

Burnet says he was a "Devout man, but no discretion in his conduct, so he lost ground quickly. He used much freedom with the King, but it was in the wrong place, not in private, but in the pulpit". His son was made a baronet, and was the ancestor of the present baronet of that name.

In Ludlow Castle Butler wrote a great portion of his "Hudibras", which was a merciless satire upon

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the Puritanical hypocrisy of the period. Samuel Butler was born at Strensham, in Worcestershire. He was clerk to the Justices of the Peace at Earl's Croome. "Hudibras" was written at Ludlow, while he was secretary to the Earl of Carbery, who was President of the Principality of Wales.

Charles II. with all his faults was liked by his people, but his brother James was so narrow-minded and arbitrary that, at length, he was driven from the throne at the Revolution of 1689, his daughter Mary and his son-in-law, William of Orange, being placed upon it instead, and this younger Stuart branch held it to the exclusion of the son of James II. and his descendants, being succeeded by the Hanoverian dynasty, at the death of Queen Anne.

A few of the Cavalier and Jacobite toasts should not be forgotten.

In Cromwell's time it was a favourite practice amongst Royalists to drop a crumb of bread into the flagon of ale or wine, and swallow the whole to the toast, "God send this crumb well down".

King William III. met his death by a fall from his horse which stumbled through putting its foot in a mole run in Richmond Park. The mole, which innocently caused this mishap, became almost a hero to the Jacobites, and his health was constantly drunk as "The little gentleman in velvet".

At social gatherings, where the health of the king, was honoured, it became a custom for the Jacobites to pass their glasses over the finger bowls or other receptacles containing water, thus

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converting the toast into "The King over the water". For this reason the finger bowls and all the water on the tables were removed before the King's health was proposed, and even now this is frequently done.

The Stuarts possessed great personal magnetism, and people who came into direct contact with them were ready to risk their lives and fortunes in their cause. In many respects they were like the Bourbons, they were equally unteachable, but, unlike them, they were very lovable. The country must, however, have been convinced of the utter hopelessness of their capacity for government before it submitted to be ruled by a foreign dynasty like the Hanoverians, the first sovereign of which could not even speak English.

The liberties purchased with so much blood in the Civil War are clear to all Englishmen. As a consequence of that struggle we now have the good fortune to live in a country in which there is more real freedom than anywhere else in the world. We are governed by just laws made by the people themselves for their own good government, under the rule of a limited monarchy which is the pride of every true Briton, the foundations of the throne being fixed upon the hearts of the subjects of the monarchy. Out of those troublous times was evolved the British Constitution, built upon the deeds of our forefathers and cemented with their blood, and may our countrymen always jealously guard their dearly bought liberties, and uphold the dignity of the crown.

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Wigmore & the West Border.

Written for the Woolhope Club.
By request of the late Dr. H. Cecil Moore.
After a visit of the Club to Wigmore in 1906.


UNTIL the settlement of the Saxons in Britain the history of our country is very confusing, and most of the accounts we possess of events prior to that date have been coloured by the poetical imaginations of the British bards and the Norman-French troubadours, through whom they have been handed down to us. But if the Romans, the British, and the early Saxon periods can only be viewed by us through the glamour of romance and legend, the accounts which have reached us may contain more truth than some of the history which was written a thousand years later, generally by partisans, with the intention of glorifying their own particular faction. Only recently have some of the truths of history been discovered through the researches of antiquaries, and a new light shed on many of the important events of the past.

Amongst the contradictions and mazes of history, it is certain that the country lying between the two natural boundaries in the west - the river Severn and the mountains of Wales - has always been the scene of armed conflicts between the different invaders of Britain and the aboriginal races.

The British tribe, the Silures, who inhabited this locality, were defeated by the Romans, but never really conquered by force of arms. What the Romans failed

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to do on the field of battle, the mild and just conduct of the Emperor Claudius and the Generals Plautius, Vespasian, and Ostorius Scapula succeeded in doing by the arts of peace.

Claudius, to the surprise of the defeated Britons, left them in possession of their goods, and placed them and their belongings under his protection. This had such an effect upon the impulsive Britons, that they not only acknowledged his rule, but also raised a temple to him and paid him divine honours.

The first Roman invasion of B.C. 55 only reached the maritime parts of the country, but, when Claudius commenced the real conquest of Britain in A.D. 43, the west borderland was soon the scene of the struggle between the Roman legions and the Silurian chief Caractacus.

Whether the last stand of this hero, who had been elected general of the whole of the British forces, was at Coxall Knoll, Caer Caradoc at Clun, or Caer Caradoc at Church Stretton, no one can now say positively, but it was in our own borderland that his last battles were fought before his final defeat and betrayal to his enemies by his step-mother the Queen of the Brigantes. When Caractacus, who had successfully resisted the power of Rome for nine years, was led captive through the streets of the Imperial city with his wife and family to the presence of the Emperor Claudius, he expressed his surprise that men possessed of such magnificence at home should envy him his humble cottage in Britain. Claudius received him graciously, restored him to liberty, and is even said

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to have sent him back home to rule as chief over a portion of Britain, but subject to the Roman authority.

When the great Roman Empire fell to pieces, and its legions were withdrawn from Britain, our borderland was again the scene of many battles between various British factions, and afterwards between the Britons and Saxons.

After some 450 years of Roman rule the Britons, from a rude race who clothed themselves with skins, and painted their bodies blue, had developed into a cultured people, but this civilisation was destined to be arrested and partially destroyed by the Saxons and the Picts and Scots, in the same manner as the Roman civilisation on the Continent was wrecked by the Goths, Visigoths, Huns and Vandals.

The barbarian hordes had sacked Rome in A.D. 410, under Alaric, King of the Visigoths, and about the same time Britain was invaded by the Picts and Scots. A Roman legion was sent to their assistance under Aetius in 411, but it was soon withdrawn; and the Roman sway in Britain ended about 426. For the next 40 years the British were engaged in trying to keep back the Picts and Scots, and in wars between their own factions. There is much uncertainty in the history of this period, but it appears that about A.D. 445, Vortigern was elected Over-King of Britain, and being opposed to the Roman British party, he called in the Saxons to assist his faction, and to drive back the invading Picts and Scots.

The Saxons soon tried to become masters of the British; and Vortigern, who had married the Saxon

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princess Rowena, became obnoxious to his people, who turned their eyes towards the chief of the rival party, Ambrosius Aurelianus. He was probably of Roman extraction, and was first heard of at the court of Aldroen, King of Armorica (Brittany), from whence he returned to help his countrymen to drive out the Saxons and depose Vortigern.

In A.D. 466, both parties joined together for a short time to oppose the Saxons, and the Roman road from Chester to Caerleon, which passes near Wigmore, and along the valley below Croft Ambury, was agreed between them as the boundary of their respective territories. The camp at Croft Ambury is believed to have derived its name from Ambrosius, and to have been constructed by him about this date as an outpost overlooking his frontier - the Roman road below.

Camden says King Vortigern retired into the mountains around Builth and "there also, by the permission of Aurelius Ambrosius, his son Pascentius governed". Camden also says that near Rhayader is a "vast wilderness rendered very dismal by many crooked ways and high mountains, into which that bane of his country, King Vortigern (whose very memory the Britons curse) withdrew himself when he had at last repented of his abominable conduct in calling in the Anglo-Saxons. But God's vengeance pursuing him he was consumed by lightning, together with his City of Caer Gwortigern, which he built for his refuge".

Prince Arthur is said to have been with the army of Ambrosius, and to have succeeded his father as King of Danmonium (Cornwall). In A.D. 476 Ambrosius

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was acknowledged sole monarch of Britain, and in the same year he was acclaimed Emperor of the West and assumed the purple. Odoacer, King of the Heruli, was then in possession of the city of the seven hills, which had so long been mistress of the world, but there does not appear to have been any rival Emperor to the British king Ambrosius. In the same year he created Prince Arthur a Patrician, and the wars with the Saxons and renegade Britons were continued, but in 508, Cerdic defeated the British and Ambrosius was slain.

Arthur was then elected monarch, and the wonderful deeds of the Knights of the Round Table began. Arthur was slain in 542, and the Saxon Kingdom of Mercia founded in 584.

The date of the founding of the fortress of Wigmore is lost in the mists of antiquity. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles state that it was repaired by Edward the Elder in 941, after the Danes had been repulsed and driven from the neighbourhood. Its ancient names of Wicinga-mere seems to belong to this period. Even before the Kingdom of Mercia was established, bands of roving Saxons from the neighbouring Kingdom of Wessex infested the Roman roads across the border, and as Wigmore is close to the Roman road from Chester to Caerleon, these Saxon invaders might have erected a fortified place there before Credda finally defeated the British, and formed Mercia into a kingdom.

One account states it was built by Ethelfleda, daughter of Alfred the Great, who married Etheldred,

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Earl of Mercia, and that it was repaired by Fitz-Osborn, one of the Confessor's Normans; but it was undoubtedly repaired by Edward the Elder in 921.

The early Saxon Mote Castles were, it should be remembered, nothing like castles as we now think of them. These fortresses were merely mounds protected with earthworks and stockades of timber, and even after the Norman Conquest castles were described as being dug and not as being built. These stockaded defences were very common on the borders, and the numerous places still called "Stocking", "Stoke", and "Stockton", probably mark the sites of early stockaded camps.

The first attempt at building a castle was in the form of the Norman Keep with very thick walls, a narrow entrance some distance from the ground, to which access was obtained by means of a drawbridge or steps, removable at will. The various floors were approached by a winding staircase, which could easily be defended by a few men-at-arms, while the top of the tower and the small loopholes on the floors below were manned by the defenders, whose advantage over the besiegers was so great that a tower of the kind could hardly be taken except through treachery or famine. In later times "curtains" were added from tower to tower, and the Edwardian castle was the result.


IN the days of the Confessor, Wigmore was held by Edric Sylvaticus, the Saxon Earl of Shrewsbury, and, at the Conquest, Edric allied himself with the Welsh, and opposed the Norman invaders. He was defeated by Ranulph or Ralph de Mortimer, or de Mortuo Mari, and Wigmore and the adjacent country were given to the latter by King William.

The history of Wigmore for the next two or three centuries is practically a history of the noble family of Mortimer. Roger de Mortuo Mari who fought at Hastings was descended from the niece of Gonora, wife of Richard, Duke of Normandy. Ralph de Mortimer, his son, was the first Lord of Wigmore, and possessed 130 manors, and the castles of Wigmore, Cleobury, and Bridgnorth.

William Rufus resided at Wigmore Castle for a considerable time when he was endeavouring to reduce the Welsh to obedience. A small college of canons was founded at Wigmore by Ralph de Mortimer about 1100, and a little later Sir Oliver de Merlimond, Chief Steward to the Lord of Wigmore, founded a cell at Shobdon for two or three monks from the Abbey of St. Victor at Paris.

This may be considered a first step towards the foundation of the great Abbey of Wigmore, for after moving from place to place the monks at length

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settled at Wigmore, and commenced building the Abbey about 1179. These religious cells of the Lugg Valley call for more than a passing notice. It seems almost certain that there were other small communities of monks and nuns in this valley. Leland describes Limebrook as "a place of nunnes within two miles of Wigmore". A monastery or cell is said to have existed at or near Limebrook, which was subject to Aveny in Normandy, but it does not appear in the list of religious houses compiled in the reign of Henry III., which we shall presently notice, and the only traces left of these places are the ruins of Limebrook, which are probably those of the Priory of Nuns, unless they are those of the Priory of White Canons, described below as Prioratus Wyggemor. In Henry III's list the following appear under the head of Hereford:-

Abbatia, Wiggemore, S. Jacobi Canonici nigri,
Prioratus, Lingebroke, S. ... Moniales Albae. [1]

Under Salopessyre appears also:-

Prioratus, Wyggemor, Canonici albi.

The last named seems to show that there was a priory at or near Wigmore, composed of white canons of the same order as the Ladies of Limebrook, while the order founded by Sir Oliver de Merlimond,

[1] Limebrook Priory was dedicated to St. Thomas the Martyr.

I made a careful inspection of this locality in the summer of 1912, and am convinced that the ruins at Limebrook are those of the Priory of Nuns, and that the site of the alien monastery (which was subject to Aveny) is by the side of the river a short distance below Kinsham Court.

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and who subsequently built Wigmore Abbey, were Augustinian or black canons.

Hugh de Mortimer quarrelled with Oliver de Merlimond, and the monks suffered. They were deprived of Shobdon, and other of their possessions, and although Shobdon was restored to them they decided to move nearer to the river and settled at "Eye", near Aymestrey. This was undoubtedly the place we now call Lye, the Norman-French form of which is L'Eye, and the place has no connection whatever with Eye, near Berrington, which has erroneously been supposed by some to be the case, and has puzzled many people. [1]

Hugh de Lacy advised Hugh de Mortimer not to allow the monks to finish the church of Aymestrey, which they had commenced to build, because they might, at some time, give an entrance to his land to his enemies; so they were compelled to move to Wigmore; but before they migrated, their Prior was consecrated Abbot at the Church of Aymestrey. The cells of the monks were probably in or near the present Church of Wigmore, and indeed, even now there are some traces of this on the outside north wall of the church.

Finding they were too far from water, and that the ascent to the church was laborious, they looked about for a more suitable place; and at last fixed upon a site about a mile distant, on which they commenced building the Abbey.

An interesting question which I am quite unable to solve is: What became of the white friars who

[1] See Appendix, Note B, "Other Place Names".

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seem to have had a priory at or near Wigmore before the Augustinians arrived on the scene? It seems from the records that the Augustinians who came to Wigmore from Shobdon, Lye, and Aymestrey, and who afterwards built the Abbey, came to Wigmore Church in the first place. If so, did the white friars serve a chapel in the castle, and were they the small college of canons first founded by Ralph de Mortimer in 1100, or did the "Prioratus Wyggemor" of Henry III's record refer to a priory somewhere in the Lugg Valley, and may it not have been that which is said to have been subject to Aveny in Normandy ?

Hugh de Mortimer, 2nd Lord of Wigmore, son of Ralph, was the founder of Wigmore Abbey. He refused to obey the King Henry's summons, was besieged in his castle of Bridgnorth, and deprived for a time of the castles of Wigmore, Cleobury, and Bridgnorth. He died at Cleobury in 1185, after professing himself a monk, and was buried in Wigmore Abbey. [1]

Roger, 3rd Lord of Wigmore, had several wars with the Welsh and supported the King in the Baronial wars. He died in 1215.

Hugh, 4th Lord of Wigmore, his son, also supported John and Henry III. against the Barons. Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, attended a conference at Wigmore. Hugh died in 1237 from wounds received at a tournament at Wigmore.

[1] The members of the Augustinian Order were really Canons Regular and not Monks, but the distinction is often not observed.

It would be more correct to describe them as Black friars or St. Austin friars than as Monks.

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Ralph, 5th Lord of Wigmore, brother of Hugh, built Knucklas and Cefnlys Castles. He married the daughter of Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, and widow of Reginald de Braose, Lord of Brecknock, and died in 1246.

Roger, 6th Lord of Wigmore. Llewellyn ap Gryffyd took his castles of Radnor, Builth, Melenydd, and Cefnlys. He was a partisan of Henry III., fought for him at Northampton and Lewes, and aided Prince Edward, with the assistance of the Lord of Croft, to escape from Hereford to Wigmore. He fought at Evesham under Prince Edward, when Simon de Montford was defeated and slain; and had the estates of the Earl of Hereford, who was attainted for treason, assigned to him as a reward.

In all these battles our marchmen proved themselves to be stout men at arms, and especially distinguished themselves as archers. Roger died in 1282, and was buried at Wigmore Abbey.

Edmund, 7th Lord of Wigmore, his son, slew Llewellyn ap Gryffyd, and sent his head to the King. He died in 1304, from a wound received at Builth in another Welsh skirmish, and was buried at Wigmore Abbey.

He was the builder of Kingsland Church, and his burial at Wigmore Abbey effectually disposes of the theory that the Volka Chamber at Kingsland Church was the burial-place of the founder. [1]

Roger, 8th Lord of Wigmore, created Earl of March

[1] The Church built by Edmund Mortimer probably replaced one of an earlier date.

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in 1328, married Johannah de Genneville, by which means he became possessed of Ludlow Castle, which had descended from the Dinans and de Lacies. He was appointed Governor of Ireland, but rebelled against Edward II.

At the battle of Boroughbridge in 1322 many of the Lords Marchers were slain or taken prisoners, and Roger de Mortimer was committed to the Tower of London in close custody. By drugging the Constable of the Tower, Stephen de Segrave, he managed to escape to France, where he was met by the Queen Isabella. His intimacy with the Queen, and their return to England, belong more to general than to local history.

One of his principal adherents was Adam de Orleton, Bishop of Hereford, the author of the famous (or infamous) message: "Edwardum occidere nolite timere bonum est", the sense of which is completely altered by the punctuation. The King was soon a prisoner in the hands of Mortimer and the Queen, and within a short time deposed and finally murdered at Berkeley Castle in 1327. Mortimer was created Earl of March by Edward III. (or his mother, under whose influence he was) about 1328. His ambition was now unbounded, and his conduct was so outrageous that his own son Geoffrey called him "the King of Folly". In the castle of Nottingham, however, he was surprised by King Edward III. and in 1331 was hanged in London as a traitor.

The Earldom of March was attainted, but the succession

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devolved upon Edmund, his son, who was a minor. If he is considered to have succeeded to the family honours, which were in abeyance, he would be the ninth Lord of Wigmore and second Earl of March, but as he died soon after his father's execution, a minor, his name is usually passed over.

Roger, ninth Lord of Wigmore and second Earl of March, was only three years old at the death of Edmund, when he was placed in ward of the Earl of Northampton. Edward III. reversed the attainder when Roger was in his 23rd year, in 1352, and he was one of the original 26 Knights of the Garter. He was also created Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle. He commanded the English in Burgundy, where he died in 1360.

Edmund, 10th Lord of Wigmore, and 3rd Earl of March, his son, was made Lieutenant of Ireland, although a minor. He died at Cork in 1381, and was buried at Wigmore Abbey. He had married Philippa, the heiress of Clarence, and so gave to his descendants a right to the throne of England, which was ultimately to be fought out in the Wars of the Roses.

Lionel, Duke of Clarence, had married the heiress of Ulster, so the son of Edmund de Mortimer and Philippa of Clarence was heir of Plantagenet, Mortimer, and de Burgh. The following will show the succession to the Earldom of Ulster: Walter de Burgh m. a daughter of Hugh de Lacy, and had a son Richard, Earl of Ulster. Richard left: 1: Richard (died without issue): 2: William m. Elizabeth de Clare, and their daughter Elizabeth m. Lionel, Duke of Clarence.

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Their daughter Philippa m. Edmund de Mortimer.

The offspring of the marriage of Edmund and Philippa was:-

1. Roger de Mortimer.
2. Sir Edmund de Mortimer, m. a daughter of Owen Glendower.
3. John de Mortimer, executed 1402.
4. Elizabeth, m. Hotspur.
5. Philippa, m. (1) the Earl of Pembroke, (2) the Earl of Arundel.

Roger, 11th Lord of Wigmore, the 4th Earl of March, was legitimate heir to the Crown, and was so recognised by Richard II., and by Parliament. He was slain in Ireland in 1398, and buried at Wigmore Abbey.

There should now, by right of blood, have been a Royal House of Mortimer.

Edmund, the 12th Lord of Wigmore, and 5th Earl of March, was the rightful King of England, but the crown was usurped by Henry IV.

Edmund and his brother Roger were kept prisoners at Windsor, but they managed to escape and started towards the Marches of Wales, doubtless intending to try to reach Wigmore. They were soon captured, and again confined in prison, but on the death of Henry IV., his more generous son, Henry V., employed Edmund in Normandy; and Henry VI. made him Lieutenant of Ireland. He died in 1425, being the last male representative

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of the Mortimers of Wigmore, who was descended from Philippa, heiress of Clarence.

During the imprisonment of the young Earl of March, his uncle, Sir Edmund Mortimer, held the castle of Wigmore and his other domains, and when Owen Glendower invaded the Marches in 1402 Sir Edmund Mortimer was his chief opponent. After a series of battles between Knighton and Leominster, notably at Pilleth and at Eardisland, Sir Edmund was defeated and taken prisoner and confined in a dungeon at Leominster, which town had been captured by Owen Glendower. Shakespeare refers to the personal combat between Mortimer and Glendower in Henry IV. Part 1, Act 1, Scene 3, but whether this final combat was at Pilleth or Eardisland is uncertain. [1]

It was the refusal of Henry IV. to allow Mortimer to be ransomed which was the cause of the combination of the Mortimers, the Percies, and Glendower, which ended in the battle of Shrewsbury.

[1] See article on Presteigne and neighbourhood.


Of green wax, of oval form, with man's head engraved on a medallion of stone. Supposed to date from 13th Century.

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HISTORIANS have almost hopelessly mixed up the identity of Sir Edmund Mortimer with that of his nephew the young Edmund, Earl of March, who was kept in captivity by Henry IV., and who was rightful King of England.

Edmund, Earl of March, who would have been King Edmund I. of England if Henry IV. had not usurped the throne, and who would have been the first monarch of the House of Mortimer, died as Lieutenant of Ireland in 1425. The battle of Shrewsbury was really an attempt to restore the rightful king, the Earl of March, to the throne, and so was Bardolph's conspiracy, which was formed soon after, and which resulted in the execution of Scrope, Archbishop of York, Thomas Mowbray, Earl Marshal, the Lords Hastings and Faulconbridge and others.

Very little is known of Sir Edmund Mortimer after the battle of Shrewsbury, from which he escaped, but it is recorded that in 1405 he was with Glendower in the neighbourhood of Leominster, when Henry, Prince of Wales, afterwards Henry V., defeated the Welsh and their allies.

Sir Edmund Mortimer died at Harlech in 1409. Probably the greater part of the preceding seven years he was, like his ally Owen Glendower, a homeless fugitive.


Anne, the sister of Edmund, the last Earl of March, had married Richard, Earl of Cambridge (second son of Edmund Langley, Duke of York), who was executed for conspiracy not long before the battle of Agincourt. This conspiracy had for its object the dethronement of Henry V., and the placing of the Earl of March on the throne. Whether the latter was privy to it is uncertain, but his name is on the list of judges who tried the conspirators.

The son of Anne and Richard, Earl of Cambridge, was Richard who became Duke of York on the death of his late father's elder brother, the Duke of York and Earl of Rutland, at Agincourt in 1415. Anne is by most authorities called the heiress of Mortimer, and, if she survived her brother Edmund, she would have been de jure Queen of England, but it is stated in Archaeologia XLVI., p. 318, that when the Earl of Cambridge was executed in 1415, he was married to Maude Clifford, and if that is correct Anne must have died before her brother and the White Rose succession would have passed to her son Richard, who was afterwards killed at Wakefield, and who was the father of Edward IV.

Roger Mortimer, 11th Lord of Wigmore and 4th Earl of March, the de jure heir to the throne and the houses of Plantagenet, Clarence, De Burgh, and Mortimer died in 1398, before Richard II., or, having been declared heir by King and Parliament, he would have succeeded to the throne. He married Eleanor, daughter of Thomas, Earl of Kent, and left: (1) Edmund Mortimer, born 1392, and died in 1424-5 leaving

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no issue. (2) Anne, heiress of Plantagenet, Clarence, De Burgh, and Mortimer, who married Richard, Earl of Cambridge.

After the death of the Duke of York at Agincourt, the lines of Clarence and York were united, and the son of the Earl of Cambridge and Anne de Mortimer was White Rose heir to the crown. He was killed at Wakefield in 1460. His son, Edward Plantagenet, the victor of the battle of Mortimer's Cross, became King under the title of Edward IV.

After many futile attempts to reconcile the Lancastrians and Yorkists, the first battle of St. Albans was fought on the 22nd May, 1455, in which the Duke of York was victorious, and Henry VI. was captured. This was followed by a temporary reconciliation, both parties proceeding publicly to St. Paul's Cathedral, the Duke of York escorting Queen Margaret, and the Earl of Salisbury walking hand in hand with the Duke of Somerset. This patched-up truce did not last long, and hostilities soon broke out again, the battle of Bloreheath being fought on September 23rd, 1459, in which the Yorkists under the Earl of Salisbury were victorious; and this was followed on October 13th by the fiasco at Ludlow, when, owing to the desertion during the night of Sir Andrew Trollop, the marshal of the Yorkist army, who took with him all the veteran soldiers, the Duke of York and the Earls of Salisbury and Warwick had to secure their safety by a hasty flight, most of them finding their way to Calais, where the Duke of York's influence was supreme.

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Then came the battle of Northampton on July 10th, 1460, in which the Lancastrians were defeated by the Earl of Warwick and Edward, Earl of March. Henry VI. was again taken prisoner, but at Wakefield, on the last clay of December, 1460, the Yorkists were defeated, the Duke of York slain, and his son the Earl of Rutland murdered by the Lord Clifford after the battle was over. Anything like a full account of the battle of Mortimer's Cross is not possible within the limits of this paper, but a little consideration will prove that the position of the contending forces as stated by many writers mnst be wrong.

Edward Plantagenet - (not Edward Mortimer - as he is described on the pedestal commemorating the battle), was Earl of March, and, after his father's death at Wakefield, Duke of York, and also heir of Plantagenet, Clarence, De Burgh, and Mortimer. The male line of this branch of the family of Mortimer became extinct on the death of Edmund in 1424-5, and the succession devolved upon Anne de Mortimer, [1] who married Richard, Earl of Cambridge, whose son Richard Plantagenet, the father of Edward IV., was killed at Wakefield.

Edward was at Gloucester when he heard of his father's defeat and death at Wakefield, and his brother's murder, from whence he marched northwards, intending to check Queen Margaret's victorious army, and prevent her marching on London. He also hoped to join forces with his adherent the Earl of

[1] Or her son, if she predeceased her brother.

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Warwick, but hearing that an army of Irish and North Welshmen, under the Earl of Ormonde and the Earl of Pembroke, was executing a flanking movement with the object of overwhelming his castles of Ludlow and Wigmore, breaking up the gathering of his followers in the Marches, and cutting him off from London, he faced about, and keeping in touch with Ludlow and Wigmore, the latter being held by his widowed mother, determined to give battle to Ormonde and Pembroke in his own March-land.

It is this change of front which has caused so many errors in the description of the positions of the forces. When he turned to meet the Lancastrians his line of battle must have faced the south-west, his left wing on the Lugg, his front facing the Kington and Presteigne track-ways from which the Lancastrians came down to the plain, and his right wing stretching from Mortimer's Rock, protecting Aymestrey, Wigmore, and the ford over the Lugg at Mortimer's Cross.

The principal field of battle was between the Lugg and the Pinsley. The Lancastrians broke the wing of the Yorkists on the Shobdon side, and pursued them through Aymestrey almost as far as the walls of Wigmore Castle, but on their return they found that Edward's centre and left wing had been victorious, and another battle ensued, ending in the hopeless defeat of the Lancastrians, who were driven over the Pinsley, and many of whom escaped into the mountains of Wales. Sir Owen Tudor and many others were taken prisoners,

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and executed after the battle, in revenge for the Lancastrian excesses at Wakefield. Edward's victorious army marched to London, augmented by the troops of the Earl of Warwick, who had fled from the battle of St. Albans. The capital opened its gates to him, and he was immediately proclaimed king.

The old battle oak and Bluemantle cottages must have been well within the Yorkist lines. It is stated that before the battle Edward sent a herald to the Earl of Pembroke, challenging him to decide the battle by single combat, and on his refusal to bid him defiance. It is generally thought that "Bluemantle" is a great official, but in heraldry he belongs to the third class only, the first being the three Kings-at-Arms, Garter, Clarencieux, and Norroy; the second, the six heralds; and the third, the four Pursuivants, Bluemantle, Rouge-dragon, Rouge- croix, and Portcullis. If Edward sent his Pursuivant Bluemantle to the Earl of Pembroke with the challenge from his pavilion near the battle oak, the origin of the unusual name of Bluemantle given to the old cottages is probably explained.

Heraldry was reduced to its present order under the Tudor sovereigns; but as early as 1425 the heralds were a body corporate, and it is unlikely that at any time Bluemantle was anything more than the title of an official below the rank of herald.

The battle of Mortimer's Cross, which was fought on Candlemas Day, 1461, was the first step towards the restoration of the elder branch of Plantagenet to the throne, and the accession of a king descended from the Herefordshire family of Mortimer.

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Wigmore was from this time a royal barony, and is so still. When the Harley family was raised to the peerage, it is interesting to note that the title was Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, and Baron Harley of Wigmore Castle, not Baron Wigmore.

Although the male line of the Mortimers became extinct at the death of Edmund in 1424-5, there were several collateral branches in the borderland and elsewhere in Tudor times, but without the Plantagenet blood, through which the throne of England was claimed, or doubtless they would have been relieved of their heads. Camden mentions a family of Mortimer in Norfolk whose arms differed from those of the Mortimers of Wigmore.

In 1477 the honour, castle, and lordship of Wigmore were granted to Edward, Prince of Wales, afterwards Edward V., and they were held for a brief period in 1483 by Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, but as Buckingham was executed by order of Richard III. in the same year as this grant, Wigmore again reverted to the crown.

In early Tudor days the old border castles still flourished, but their end was drawing near.

Henry VIII. suppressed the ancient Abbey of Wigmore, confiscated its endowments, and sold the church plate and jewels. Of this once magnificent Abbey, which ranked in size and wealth with Gloucester, Dore, Wenlock, Buildwas, and Shrewsbury, part only of the Grange barn remains. It was surrendered to the King's Commissioners on the

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18th November, 1538, and recklessly destroyed. Amongst its possessions were the churches of Meole Brace, Bucknell, Caynham, Kinlet, Leintwardine, Aymestrey, and Cheilmers, the manor of Caynham; the town of Snytton; the chapels of Downton, Boriton, Elton, and Leinthall; the mills of Leintwardine and Boriton; the rents of Elton and Brinsop; the land of Newton; and the land at Wigmore called the Treasure of Mortimer. Its revenues would have been now as great as those of the See of Hereford. But not only was the income of the Abbey appropriated, but the church plate was sold, and many priceless records destroyed or lost.

Dr. Dee in the year 1547 fonnd the records of the Abbey lying in a heap in Wigmore Castle, "rotting, spoyled and tossed in an old decayed Chappell, not committed to any man's charge, but three quarters of them I understand to have byn taken by diverse (eyther taylors or others) in tymes past". He petitioned Lord Burghley that he would send a letter to Mr. Harley, the Keeper of Wigmore Castle, giving him authority to examine and collect these records; but nothing further was heard of them, and they have been irretrievably lost.

Queen Elizabeth made a grant of Wigmore to two subjects named Meyrick and Lindley in 1595; and it was purchased by the family of Harley or Harlowe in 1601.

Sir Robert Harley, the Parliamentary leader and iconoclast, the destroyer of stained glass windows, statuary, and preaching crosses (including St. Paul's

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Cross, London), was born at Wigmore Castle. When the civil war between King and Parliament broke out, Herefordshire was overwhelmingly Royalist; and Sir Robert Harley, finding he had not sufficient force to garrison Brampton Bryan and Wigmore Castles, caused the latter to be dismantled, so that it should not become a Cavalier fortress. In the latter stages of the war, after the King's defeat at Naseby, it was repaired sufficiently to be used as a Parliamentary outpost.

King Charles I. slept at Wigmore Grange one night during his fearful march from Cardiff over the Welsh hills, via Caerphilly, Brecon, Old Radnor, Presteigne, and Ludlow, to the relief of Chester. This was the best accommodation he could find in the neighbourhood.

What was left of Brampton Bryan Castle was held for the Parliament.

Croft Castle had been destroyed by the Royalists (after the death of Sir William Croft in 1645) "lest the Parliament should garrison it", as the Harleian MSS. state; and Wigmore Castle had been dismantled in 1643, so that the Royalists should not have it.

Wigmore Castle was for a time used as a prison, and later still as a quarry, where stone for building could be more easily obtained than from the limestone quarries of the neighbourhood.

What was once the home of one of the most powerful of the nobles of the March-land, and which had been for centuries the domain of a family which

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should, by right of blood, have given England a Royal House of Mortimer, and a Herefordshire King at the death of Richard II., is fast disappearing from the face of the earth and if something is not speedily clone to prevent it there will soon be no more trace of Wigmore Castle than there is of the grand old Augustinian Abbey of Wigmore.


Inscription round bowl: "Calicem salutaris accipiam, et nomen Domini Invocabo".

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Short Notes on the History of Hampton Court.

Read at Hampton Court at a Meeting of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club, on August 29th, 1907.

Hampton Court.

IN the time of Edward the Confessor the Lordship of Leominster inclnded the Great Manor of Leominster with its sixteen members, two other Manors, and lands at Hampton amongst some twenty other places mentioned, and in Domesday Book Roger de Lacy is charged a rent of 13s. 4d., payable to Leominster, for Hampton Mappenor.

Townsend says Hampton was part of the domains of the Mortimers, and after the attainder of Roger Mortimer, the first Earl of March, in 1330, it passed to Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, one of the heroes of Crecy, who was unjustly impeached for treason in 1397, and executed, when Hampton reverted to the Crown.

The son of Richard, Earl of Arundel, was restored to his parental estates on the deposition of Richard II., but he died without issue, and his sister Margaret married Sir Rowland Lenthall, who became Master of the Wardrobe to Henry IV. The Lady Margaret dying, Sir Rowland married Lucy Gray, daughter of Lord Gray of Codnor. Elizabeth, his daughter, married Sir Thomas Cornewall, Lord of Burford, by which marriage Hampton passed to the Cornewall family, who sold it to Humphrey Coningsby, a judge in the time of Henry VI.

Another account says that this estate consisted of two manors, viz., Hampton Richard and Hampton Mappenor, and that it belonged to the De Hamptons

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in the time of Edward II. This does not quite agree with Townsend's account, but the difference is not very material, as in all probability the owner of the property would be styled De Hampton in virtue of its ownership, in addition to or instead of any other surname he may have had.

According to this version, John De Hampton held Hampton in the reign of Edward II., and resided in his capital house at Hampton. He gave the profits of certain lands to the church of St. Leonard, at Pyon, to be received at Michaelmas yearly at his said house at Hampton. I cannot trace the church of St. Leonard at Pyon. King's Pyon church is dedicated to St. Mary, and Canon Pyon church to St. Lawrence, but there may have been a chantry chapel in one of these churches dedicated to St. Leonard. [1]

Leland says, "Sir Rowland Lenthall being a gallant fellow, either a daughter or a very near kinsman of the King fell in love with him and afterwards married him, whereupon he had lands given to him and his heirs amounting to £1,000 per annum, amongst which lands he had Ludlow for one part. Sir Rowland Lenthall distinguished himself at the battle of Agincourt, and took many prisoners there, by which prey he beganne the new buildings of Hampton Court, and brought from a hill a springe of water, and made a little pool in the top of his house". It seems probable, however, that the building of Hampton Court was

[1] I have since ascertained that this was an Augustinian Hermitage, dedicated to St. Leonard de Pyona and attached to the Priory of Wormseley.

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commenced by Henry IV. when he was Earl of Hereford, and finished by Sir Rowland Lenthall.

Camden says: "Now the Lugg hastens to Wye first by Hampton, where Rowland Lenthall, Master of the Wardrobe to Henry IV., who married one of the heirs of Thomas, Earl of Arundel, built a fine house, which the Coningsbys, a family of great note in these parts, have a good while inhabited".

Hampton Court was held by the Coningsby family until the last Earl, leaving two daughters, the Lady Margaret and the Lady Frances; the Lady Margaret dying childless, it came to her sister, the Lady Frances, who married Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, and her daughter brought the estate to Lord Maldon, afterwards Earl of Essex, whose son sold it to the ancestors of the present owner.

Stukely describes Hampton Court as "a fine seat built by our countryman, Harry of Bolingbroke, afterwards Henry IV. It is castle-like, situated in a valley on a rapid river under coverture of Dynmawr. The gardens, very pleasant (the finest greens I ever saw), terminated by vast woods covering all the side of the hill, whose wavy tops, when agitated by the wind, entertained the eye with a vast agreeable spectacle and verdant theatric concavity, as high and as far as you could well see. Here is a great command of water on all sides of the house for fountains, basons, canals. Within are excellent pictures of the Earl's ancestors and others by the best hands, Holbein, Dobson, Vandyke, Sir Peter Lely, etc. There is an original of the founder, Henry IV., of Queen Elizabeth, and of

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the Duchess of Portsmouth. The windows in the chapel are well painted; some images of the Coningsbys".

The park is described as "eight miles in circumference, and containing 1,200 head of deer. There are lawns, canals, hills, and plains. There is a pool three-quarters of a mile long, very broad, included between two great woods. There is a new river cut quite through the park, the channel of which for a long way together is hewn out of a rock. This stream enriches, with derivative channels, vast tracks of land before barren. There are new gardens and canals laid out, and new plantations, and timber in proper places to complete its pleasures. Warrens, decoys, sheep-paths, pastures for cattle and the like, entirely supply the house with all necessary conveniences without recourse to a market".

The mansion, grounds, and park are still amongst the finest in England, and certainly one of the finest properties in the West of England. King William III. paid a visit to Hampton Conrt, and a room is still kept in the same state as when he occupied it. George I. created Thomas Coningsby a Baron, and afterwards Earl Coningsby, and his daughter Margareta Baroness and Viscountess Coningsby, of Hampton Court.

Sir Thomas Coningsby founded the hospital at Hereford which bears his name, and several of the family represented Leominster in Parliament. The Coningsby Hospital is the only Military Order in England, and was endowed for the support of worn-out soldiers and superannuated servants.

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The owner of Hampton Court is Commander of the Hospital, and is so addressed by the pensioners, who receive the sum of a guinea each per month. The pensioners, or servitors are ten in number, presided over by a Corporal, who receives £20 per annum, and there is also a Chaplain.

The Lord Coningsby of the first quarter of the eighteenth century must have been a very combative individual, and his lawsuits included one with the Crown, wbich lasted for twenty years, as to his right of presentation of the living of Leominster, and also all the other Churches and Chapels which were attached to the ancient Manor.

He collected a great mass of records, etc., for the furtherance of his cause, and preserved them in a room, which he called the Evidence Room, at Hampton Court. Stokely says the transcript of these records cost his lordship £500 in writing and fees.

The present owners of the property have always identified themselves with every movement for the welfare of their neighbours. The late Mr. J.H. Arkwright was a keen sportsman, a good landlord, an accomplished musician, and was Lord Lieutenant of the county. His son, the present owner, is M.P. for the city of Hereford, and has made a name for himself in the sphere of literature. I can be allowed, perhaps, to express regret that, with his great literary skill, he did not undertake to prepare a fuller and more descriptive paper for our meeting today than, with the meagre materials at my disposal, I have been able to compile.

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Croft Ambury and Croft Castle.

A Paper read to members of the Leominster Literary Society in 1910, at a visit to Croft Castle and Croft Ambury, by kind permission of Mr. W.H. Kevill-Davies, and of Lord justice Holmes (who was then occupying the Castle).

Croft Castle.

ON approaching Croft Castle from the direction of Mortimer's Cross, as we have done today, we first come to an entrance gate and lodge giving access to a drive between an avenue of oaks, and passing over an embattled gateway across Lucton Lane and leading through the celebrated Chestnut Grove which contains some of the finest specimens of the Spanish Chestnut tree in England, and are said by some to be the produce of nuts taken from one of the vessels of the Spanish Armada by an Admiral, Sir John Croft, of that day. The trees are certainly about the right age, but chestnut trees had been grown in England for several ages previous to that date.

At the Norman Conquest, Croft and its adjacent country was held by Earl Edwin, but Bernard a Croft seems to have held Croft under him in the time of the Confessor. Jasper a Croft was deprived of it by the Conqueror and William de Scotries, a Norman, put into possession, but the family of Croft soon obtained it again and continued to occupy the castle until after the Civil War between King and Parliament.

When Prince Edward, son of Henry III. and subsequently King Edward I., was in the custody of Simon de Montfort's barons after the battle of Lewes, he managed to make his escape from Hereford by tiring out the horses of his guards, by getting them to

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race each other on Widemarsh Common, and when they were well winded, he rode off to meet a man on a white horse who was posted on Dinmore Hill (or according to some accounts, Credenhill). The man on the white horse is believed to have been the lord of Croft, who had with him a clump of spears displaying the banner of Mortimer of Wigmore, and Prince Edward was safely escorted to Wigmore Castle.

He soon after defeated Simon de Montford at the battle of Evesham and rescued his father from the hands of the confederate barons.

The archers of onr March land had a great reputation in those days, and contributed in no small degree to the victory of Evesham.

Later, the Crofts supported their neighbours the Mortimers of Wigmore, who had become the rightful heirs to the Crown through the marriage of Philippa, heiress of Plantagenet and Clarence, with Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March and Lord of Wigmore. Their son Roger, who died in 1398, had been acknowledged by Parliament as the heir to the throne, but, on the deposition of Richard II., the Crown was seized by Henry Bolingbroke, who became King Henry IV., to the exclusion of the elder branch of Plantagenet represented by the young Edmund Mortimer, who died in Ireland in 1424-5, and who should have been the first of a Royal Herefordshire House of Mortimer. He was the last male Mortimer with Plantagenet blood, his claim to the throne passing through his sister Anne, the mother of Richard, Duke of York, who was killed at the battle of Wakefield, to Edward his son, the

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victor of Mortimer's Cross, who became King Edward IV. within about a month of that victory.

In the time of the war between Charles I. and the Parliament, Sir William Croft was one of the principal Royalist leaders in Herefordshire, but, after the battle of Naseby in 1645, when the King's cause was ruined, he dismantled Croft Castle so that it should be useless to the Parliamentary faction as a stronghold. It remained in a dilapidated state until it passed into the hands of the ancestors of the present owner. The Crofts had almost ruined themselves financially by their devotion to the Royal cause, and the property was sold.

Most of the published accounts of what happened between 1645 and 1799 are very inaccurate, as I can prove by documentary evidence. Many of these accounts state that the estate passed into the hands of Somerset Davies in 1799 and that the family of Croft is now extinct. The Castle was bought from the Crofts about 1730 by Richard Knight, to whom there is a monument in Croft Church, which states that he died in 1765, aged 74. From the Knights it passed to Thomas Johns, the translator of Froissart's Chronicles, who had married a daughter of Richard Knight. It was then sold to Somerset Davies, who was or had been a member of Parliament, presumably for Ludlow. An original letter, dated March 20th, 1784, is addressed to Somerset Davies, Esq., M.P., Ludlow, Salop, and three other letters dated May 7th, August 29th, and December 19th, 1787, are addressed to Somerset Davies, Esq., Croft Castle.

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The letter of the 29th March, 1784, proves that he was an M.P. - probably for Ludlow - and the others prove that he was residing at Croft Castle in 1787.

Sir William Croft, the Royalist leader, was killed in a skirmish within a short distance of Croft Castle, soon after the battle of Naseby, and the men of Luston are said to have been despised by several generations of their neighbours for abandoning him when he was slain. There is a monument to him in Croft Church - a slab on the north side of the altar.

The Castle remained in a more or less dilapidated state until the property was bought by Somerset Davies. Almost all the exterior additions were made by him and the whole place mnst have been restored under his direction - traces of which can be easily seen, for while the corner towers are Norman, it is easy to see where the later work was done. He also constructed the approaches, archways, drives, avenues, etc. Somerset Davies belonged to the family of Davies of Wigmore. Thomas Davies, of Wigmore, with his neighbour, Harley, of Brampton Bryan, fought on the side of the Parliament in the Civil War. The Harleys demolished Wigmore Castle so that it should not become a Royalist stronghold, the Crofts dismantled Croft Castle so that it should be useless to the Parliament as a fortress. [1] So does man destroy his own works! The ancient family of Croft, so far from being extinct is still represented by Sir Archer Croft, of Lugwardine, a lineal descendant.

[1] See Appendix, Note F, "Common Errors and Fallacies".

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Somerset Davies left an only daughter, who married the Rev. James Kevill, a member of a Cornish family.

There were two sons of the last-named marriage, Edward Hammond Kevill-Davies, who died a minor, and the late Rev. William Trevelyan Kevill-Davies, the grandfather of the present owner.

The date of the Church is uncertain, but probably it belongs to the 14th century. Doubtless, however, there was a chapel there prior to the present building. The principal objects of interest are the family monuments and the old tiles on the floor, some of which show the Chevrons of De Clare.

The old oak tree on the lawn is of special interest, and it is said to be even older than the Castle itself. It is also worth noticing that there are the remains of several lines of chestnut trees - of about the same age as those in the Chestnut Grove - leading from the Castle towards the Ambury.


The idea, whicb is sometimes expressed, that Croft Ambury was the site of the original Castle is, in my opinion, quite without foundation. The camp is purely an entrenched stronghold and there is not the slightest vestige of its ever having been used for any other purpose. Of course, if it was occupied as a residential place of defence against the Welsh in preNorman times, it would be quite correct to call it a Castle (Latin Castellum) the Norman tower being described as Tunis, but there is no evidence that it was ever anything more than a camp.

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Croft, however, was never one of the great border strongholds, like Wigmore and Ludlow, but was one of the lesser Castles, of which there are the remains of so many specimens on the borders.

The camp is said by some to have been used in the war between the Romans, under Ostorius, and the Britons, under Caractacus. If so, it was before A.D. 51 when Caractacus was given up to the Romans by the Queen of the Brigantes, with whom he had taken refuge. Doubtless most of our local camps have been used more than once, but, in this case, the most probable theory seems to be that Croft Ambury was constructed by Ambrosius Aurelianus, a British King, who probably had Roman blood in his veins, and who was declared Emperor of the West in A.D. 476 when he created the celebrated Prince Arthur a Patrician.

As I have before pointed out, when dealing with this period, a vast amount of legend and romance is interwoven with the records of events previous to those dealt with in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.

We have very little besides Geoffrey of Monmouth to enlighten us and he is responsible for the history or legend of the Arthurian period which he was supposed to have found in an old M.S. in a monastery. However, it is mentioned by several historians that Ambrosias was in this locality, and, in the war between him and Vortigern, several battles were fought in the neighbourhood before a temporary peace was patched up between them with the intention of joining their forces against the Saxons. During this lull in the

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struggle it was agreed that Watling Street should be the boundary between the territory of Ambrosius and that of Vortigern, the latter taking the west side. Watling Street runs along the valley immediately below Croft Ambury, and the camp there would have been a very valuable position, overlooking the boundary agreed upon.

It should be noticed that the camp is protected by a rampart and a double fosse and has a large outer-court on the South side, also protected by earthworks.

In endeavouring to judge the state of entrenched camps and to form an opinion as to whether they are of British or Roman origin, it is well to remember that the Romans occupied this part of Britain for a period of about 400 years.

The defeat of Caractacus was in A.D. 51. The Emperor Honorius gave back to the Britons their independence in A.D. 426. During this long period - nearly equal to that from the battle of Mortimer's Cross to the present time - the Britons, from a rude and barbarous people, had become Romanised and civilised and their ideas of civil and military matters were practically identical with those of their conquerors, who had become their friends and protectors. It follows, therefore, that a camp constructed in the time of Ambrosius would differ greatly from one of the time of Caractacus, and this camp, I should say, belongs to the later period, viz., just before the Saxon invasion.

I should further like to say that too much appears to me to be made of the supposed differences

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in the shape of British and Roman camps. The natural formation of the site would have a very great influence upon the shape of the camp whether Roman or British. The camp of the British of the first century must necessarily have been a very roughly constructed defence, but after 400 years of Roman training, the British of the fifth century were civilised people who had supplied more than one occupant of the Imperial throne, and their ideas were so much influenced by Roman training, that such places as camps constructed by them in the later period are to all intents and purposes Roman. On the south-west of the camp there is a wicket gate, which the old men, when I was a child, used to call the "Beacon Gate". I have not heard this name for years, but it is rather interesting. No doubt, that end of the camp, which commands a full view of the Lugg valley, was used for signalling by means of a beacon and hence the name Beacon Gate.

Badge of Lucton School. Founded in 1708 by John Pierrepont.

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Notes on Kimbolton, Stockton, and Berrington.

A Paper read at a Meeting of the Woolhope Club in 1911.

Kimbolton, Stockton, Berrington.


KIMBOLTON, or, as it was originally called, Kenelmbaldton, is said to have been founded by Kenelmbald, a descendant of the Kings of Mercia, soon after the accession of Edward the Confessor.

The castle on Eaton Hill is attributed to Merowald, King of West Mercia, circa 675-680, the hero of the legend of the lion, the founder of the Nunnery of Leominster, and probably of the town also. The traditional name Comfordt or Comfor Castle has been corrupted into Comfort Castle.

Like most early Saxon fortresses, it was probably a wooden structure protected by earthworks and timbers, but it appears to have been a place of considerable strength when Griffith, Prince of Wales, assaulted and took the town of Leominster in 1055. Prince Griffith, after defeating the English at Leominster, marched to Hereford, which he sacked, burning the relics of St. Ethelbert and slaying the bishop and his canons. He was soon after defeated by Earl Harold (afterwards King Harold), with the assistance of Ranulph, Earl of Hereford, and the men of Leominster who had risen against the invaders.


Stockton was one of the sixteen members of the great Manor of Leominster. As its name shows, it

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was one of the stockaded towns or fortified places of which there are so many instances on the borders and which bear such designations as Stoke, Stockton, Stocking, etc.

"The Bury" was anciently used as a grange for the Priory of Leominster, and one of the four Courts Baron was held there. The house referred to is that which has recently been known as "Stocktonbury", and not that called "The Little Bury".


Hamnish Clifford was one of the possessions of Sir Walter de Clifford, father of Fair Rosamond, the mistress of King Henry II.

Their two sons, William and Geoffrey, greatly distinguished themselves on the side of the King in the rebellion in the north raised by Queen Eleanor against her husband.

William, surnamed Longespee, married the heiress of the Earl of Salisbury, and became the ancestor of the Longespees, Earls of Salisbury.

Geoffrey was elected Bishop of Lincoln, although the was only twenty years of age and a layman. He was unable to obtain confirmation of his election on account of his youth, but he, nevertheless, received the revenues of the see for seven years, when the Pope ordered him to resign the see or to take orders.

He resigned the bishopric and acted as Chancellor up to the death of King Henry, but he must have

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taken orders subsequently, for be was chosen Archbishop of York in the reign of Richard I.


Berrington is in the parish of Eye, which parish has some very unusual peculiarities.

Eye is the name of the ecclesiastical parish, but there is no village bearing that name, which can only properly be applied as a place name, to the church, and the few houses near it. The parish is divided into two distinct manors, and is so divided for all purposes except matters ecclesiastical: one containing Eye, Ashton, and Moreton, of which Sir Frederick Cawley, Bart., M.P., is the lord; and that of Luston, of which Mr. Kevill- Davies, of Croft Castle, is the lord.


Berrington Hall is situated in a beautifully timbered park of about 400 acres, in which is a lake about twenty acres in extent.

From the 14th century it belonged to the Cornewall family, a member of which was created Lord Fanhope, who had a leading command at the battle of Agincourt, and whose praises were sung by Drayton in his "Polyolbion" and "Battle of Agincourt". Berrington was sold to the Right Hon. Thomas Harley, Alderman of London and afterwards Lord Mayor, in 1787, who built the present Berrington Hall.

His eldest daughter married the second Baron

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Rodney and so brought it into the possession of the Rodney family. It was sold by the late Lord Rodney to the present owner, to whom we are indebted for permission to visit Berrington today.

The first Lord Rodney, who was then Sir George Rodney, was the victor in the great naval battle against the French and Spaniards on April 12th, 1782, when, for the first time, the idea of breaking the line was acted upon, and which was adopted with signal success by Collingwood and Nelson.

For this victory Sir George Rodney was raised to the peerage and received the thanks of Parliament. It was at a period when the fortunes of England were at their lowest ebb, and it is not too much to say that Rodney saved his country.

The American Colonies had recently defeated us and won their independence, and Jamaica and the West Indies would have been at the mercy of the French and Spaniards had they won the battle.

They had already taken possession of our Colonial possessions, and their ships had even sailed to and fro in the English Channel and threatened our shores and coast towns.

Our position was so hopeless that we had sued for peace and our enemies thought they could dictate their own terms to us. From this humiliating position the country was saved by Rodney's victory - largely due to his tactics of breaking the enemies' line.

The Spanish guns which used to be in front of the Hall were, I believe, removed to Brampton Bryan Hall.

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Eye, which means a place of waters, belonged at one time to the Abbey of Reading, under whose Abbot it was held by the family of De Eye in the reign of Henry III.

Walter de Eye in the reign of Henry VI., left a daughter and heiress who married a Blount, and so conveyed it into that family.

In Tudor times it was taken possession of under a mortgage and afterwards sold to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who was one of the custodians of Mary Queen of Scots.

It remained in the possession of the Gorges until it was sold to the Right Hon. Thomas Harley, of Berrington, in 1787.

There are several monuments in Eye Church to the knightly family of Gorges, and some of this family represented Leominster in Parliament.

A curious error has arisen in the statement that a priory of canons was removed here from Shobdon, where they had been introduced by Sir Oliver de Merlimond, chief steward to Lord Hugh de Mortimer, of Wigmore, in the reign of King Stephen.

As the place to which they removed is described as near Aymestrey and the river Lugg it is obvious that it could not have been this Eye.

In my paper on "Wigmore and West Border" I have gone into this question fully, and I think there can be no doubt that the place described in the Norman-French as L'Eye is

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that which we now call Lye, near Aymestrey. The following is a translation of the passage in the Norman-French History of the Foundation of Wigmore Abbey:-

"As soon as Brother Henry peaceably possessed the town of Shobdon, he began to find ont that the place was a great distance from water, of which they needed much, so he decided to remove from there to Aymestrey in a place called Lye (L'Eye) close by the river Lugg, which seemed to be a convenient place for them to live".

From this, it is quite impossible that the place could be Eye, near Berrington, while Lye exactly fits in with the description. It is strange such a very manifest error has not been corrected before.


Thus as this knot is knit, so should your hearts, Which neither force nor blusterous tempest part, Be knit.

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Richard's Castle.

A Paper read to members of the Leominster Literary Society at a visit to Richard's Castle in 1911.

Richard's Castle.

RICHARD'S CASTLE was built by Richard le Scrope, or The Scrub, one of the Normans introduced into England by Edward the Confessor. An earlier Saxon dwelling, with earth works, probably occupied the site previously, but the first record we have of a castle is of that built by Richard le Scrope. This was probably a building chiefly constructed of timber, for, as I have many times pointed out, the Norman tower of stone belongs to a later date and the earlier castles (castella) were more of the nature of a camp (castrum or castra) than of the later stone tower (turris).

The first name by which the castle was known was Auretone or Avretone, the "v" and "u" being similar in old documents, and this name was used in Domesday Book. All sorts of theories have been suggested to explain this name, and a writer argued, a few years ago, that the castle was so called after the village of Orleton, about two miles distant. In my opinion this is extremely unlikely. A portion of the parish of Richard's Castle, which may then have included the castle itself, is still called Overton. The transition from Avretone to Overton seems to be a very simple and natural one, and much more likely than the idea that an important stronghold was named after a place which, if it existed at all at that time, could only have

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consisted of a few huts, and with which it does not appear to have been connected in any way. [1]

At the Domesday Survey it was held by Osbern Fitz Richard, a son of Richard le Scrope.

We must remember that surnames were very frequently changed in those days, the son often taking his father's Christian name with "Fitz" prefixed, or, if he became possessed of some important place, either by conquest or grant, he adopted the name of his new acquisition with the prefix "De" as his surname.

Whether Osbern Fitz Richard was suspected by the Conqueror or not is uncertain, but Robert Gernon, who also held Yarpole, or as it was then called Larpole, and other large possessions in the neighbourhood, held Richard's Castle, under the King, for a time. It must have been soon restored to the family of Fitz Richard, for it is related that his granddaughter married a Mortimer and so conveyed Richard's Castle to a scion of that powerful house.

The vast woodlands in this neighbourhood were said by the compilers of Domesday Book to be devoid of produce which could be enumerated, and in the words of the record "they were and are waste". The following translation of the next sentences describing these lands will show their character: "In these waste lands woods have grown up, in which the said Osbern exercises a right of chase, and has what he is able to catch. Nothing else".

[1] See Appendix, Note B, "Other Place Names".

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At the death of the Conqueror most of the Barons of the Marches supported the claims of Duke Robert, the Conqueror's eldest son, to the crown of England, against William Rufus, his third son. [1] They were also joined by a large force of Welsh, and, led, according to some accounts, by Osbern Fitz Richard, they over- ran Worcestershire and threatened the city of Worcester.

Bishop Wulstan, of Worcester, had espoused the cause of William Rufus, and sallied out with his retainers and the citizens, defeating the Marchmen and Welshmen, under the walls of the city and killing 500 of them; after which the Marches submitted to William. The name Le Scrope had been changed to Fitz Richard. It was afterwards changed to Fitz Osbern and then to Saye.

Lucy de Clifford, a sister of Fair Rosamond, married Hugh de Saye, Lord of Richard's Castle and Ludford. After his death she married a Mortimer, and their granddaughter Margery de Ferrers conveyed Richard's Castle by marriage to Robert de Mortimer.

Camden says, "It was possessed first by the Sayes, then by the Mortimers and afterwards by the Talbots, and at length the two daughters of John Talbot divided the inheritance between Guarin Archdeacon and Matthew Gurnay".

The Mortimers were partizans of King John in the Barons' Wars, and the King in 1216 granted to Robert de Mortimer a weekly market to be held in his town of Richard's Castle and a yearly fair to be held for

[1] Richard, the second son of the Conqueror, died young.

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six days, viz., on St. Owen's Day (March 4th), and the five days following.

The Castle was taken by Simon de Montfort in 1264, the Mortimers being adherents of Henry III.

In 1403, before the battle of Shrewsbury, it was placed in the hands of Sir Thomas Talbot by Henry IV., Ludlow being held by Sir Thomas Beaufort, afterwards Duke of Exeter. This was when the Mortimers had allied themselves with the Percies and Owen Glendower, with the object of dethroning Henry IV. and placing the crown upon the head of the young Earl of March, who had undoubtedly a better right to it, by inheritance, than Henry IV. The battle of Shrewsbury was won by Henry, and the Wars of the Roses postponed for half a century.

Leland says the Keep, walls and towers of the Castle were standing in his time (Henry VIII.), but going to decay. I have been unable to trace any reference to this Castle during the Wars of the Roses. In the reign of Edward VI. it was held by the Bishop of Worcester, afterwards by the Bradshaws and Lyttletons, from whom it passed to the Salweys, the ancestors of the present owner.

The Salweys are one of the oldest Borderland families, and, at one time, owned nearly all the land between Ludlow and Orleton. They were Lancastrians in the Wars of the Roses, when most of their neighbours were Yorkists. They were on the side of the Parliament in the Civil War, but disapproved of the execution of King Charles. There is a legend, for

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the accuracy of which I cannot vouch, that the Salwey of the day, drew his sword on Cromwell, when they were alone in a room, and threatened that he would not let him go out, unless he promised to spare the King's life.

According to Price, who based his writings on the Blount MSS., the ancient name of the town was Boiton or Boitauc, but "the lustre of the castle so darkened the name until at last, it was called by the castle's name". [1]

In 1645, after the battle of Naseby, a body of Royalists, consisting of about 2,000 men, under Sir Michael Woodhouse and Sir Thomas Lundesford, were defeated on the heights of Richard's Castle by Colonel Birch, and it was either in this engagement, the retreat after it, or some of the local skirmishes which seem to have been general at that time, that Sir William Croft, the leader of the Herefordshire Royalists, was killed.

The old church is full of interest and contains some remains of fine stained glass. It had a spire until about 100 years ago, when it was burnt down. The style of architecture is Norman and early English. Under the chancel is a vault, and it is thought that there is a crypt also. There is a detached belfry, as is the case at Yarpole, Pembridge, Ledbury, Bosbury, Holmer and Garway.

The parish is partly in Herefordshire and partly in Salop. The latter portion includes Woofferton Railway Station. The Boney Well is a natural curiosity

[1] See Appendix, Note B, "Other Place Names".

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near the old church and castle, and is thus described by Camden: "Beneath this castle nature, which nowhere sports herself more in showing wonders than in the waters, hath brought forth a little well, which is always full of small fish-bones, or, as others think frog bones, notwithstanding that it is every now and then cleared of them - whence it is commonly called Bone Well".

Drayton also refers to it as follows:-

"Of that prodigious spring, him neighbouring as he past,
That little fishes' bones continually doth cast".

The Court House is a fine specimen of a black and white Tudor domestic building, and its panelled rooms are very interesting, especially a bedroom panelled with old English poplar, which is the only instance of the kind I am aware of. The Dove-cot, or Pigeon House, is also a very good specimen.

The moated space, on the opposite side of the road probably is the site of the original pre-Tudor dwelling. You will find some remarks upon these moated spaces in my Lectures on Leominster and neighbourhood. After the Wars of the Roses were over, most of the moated dwellings had either been destroyed or become so ruinous as to render it undesirable to repair them. As times were then peaceful, their owners allowed them to go down, and built more convenient unfortified houses instead. This accounts for the very freqnent instances of Tudor houses being near, but not upon, the old moated sites.

Coal is said to have been found in the neighbourhood about 100 years ago.

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The Haye Park, the Sunny Gutter, and the valley between Hanway, the High Vinnalls, Mary Knoll, and the Whitcliffe Woods and Ludlow were the scene of Milton's "Comus". This "Maske" was presented at Ludlow Castle in 1634, on Michaelmas night before John Earl of Bridgwater, Lord President of Wales, who was then living at Ludlow Castle. It was founded upon an accident which happened to his two sons and daughter, who when returning to Ludlow through these woods in the evening lost their way and became separated while the brothers went:-

"To seek 'i th' valley some cool friendly spring".

It may fairly be described as our great local poem and breathes some of the most sublime sentiments to be found in the English language. It was written when Milton was young and vigorous, before he had been soured by domestic troubles, physical suffering, blindness, and the strife of the Civil War.

"Paradise Lost" is, of course, his greatest work, but, for descriptions of pastoral scenes and the rural life of the period, nothing has ever been written to compare with "Comus" and "L'Allegro".

A very few specimens must suffice, but let us first take the conversation between the two brothers, when they realise that they have lost their sister - the one despondent, the other full of hope and faith.

The younger brother says:-

"Where may she wander now, whither betake her
From the chill dew among rude burs and thistles;
Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now,

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Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm
Leans her unpillow'd head, fraught with sad fears.
What if in wild amazement and affright?
Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp
Of savage hunger or of savage heart?".

To which the elder brother replies:-

"Peace, Brother; be not over exquisite
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils
For grant they be so; while they rest unknown
What need a man forestall his date of grief
And run to meet what he would most avoid?
Or, if they be but false alarms of fear,
How bitter is such self delusion!

Virtue could see to do what Virtue would
By her own radiant light, though sun and moon
Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self
Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude,
Where, with her best nurse, Contemplation,
She plumes her feathers and lets grow her wings
That, in the various bustle of resort,
Were all to-ruffled, and sometimes impaired.
He that has light within his own clear breast
May sit i' the centre, and enjoy bright day:
But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts
Benighted walks under the mid-day sun,
Himself is his own dungeon".

Second brother:-

"Who would rob a hermit of his weeds,
His few books, or his beads, or maple dish,
Or do his gray hairs any violence?
But Beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard
Of dragon-watch with unenchanted eye
To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit.

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You may as well spread out the unsunn'd heaps
Of miser's treasures by an outlaw's den,
And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope
Danger will wink on Opportunity,
And let a single helpless maiden pass
Uninjured in this wild surrounding waste".

Then the argument between the magician Comus and the Lady, the former pleading for indulgence in everything that is pleasing and the latter upholding moderation and temperance. Comus, who offers his magic cup, a draft from which transforms the human countenance into that of a beast, tempts the Lady thus:-

"Wherefore did nature pour her bounties forth
With such a full unwithdrawing hand,
Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks,
Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable,
But all to please and sate the curious taste?
If all the world
Should, in a fit of Temperance, feed on pulse.
Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but frieze
The All-giver would be unthank'd, would he unprais'd,
Not half his riches known, and yet despised;
And we should serve him as a grudging master,
As a penurious niggard of his wealth".


"Impostor! do not charge most innocent Nature
As if she would her children should he riotous
With her abundance. She, good cateress,
Means her provision only for the good,
That live according to her sober laws,
And holy dictate of spare Temperance.
If every just man that now pines with want
Had but a moderate and beseeming share
Of that which lewdly-pampered Luxury

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Now heaps upon some few with vast excess,
Nature's full blessings would be well-dispensed
In unsuperfluous even proportion,
And she no whit encumber'd with her store;
And then the Giver would be better thank'd
His praise due paid: for swinish gluttony
Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his gorgeous feast,
But with besotted base ingratitude
Crams, and blasphemes his Feeder".

The Lady is at length rescued from the enchanter by the brothers, their Attendant Spirit and Sabrina goddess of the Severn (and I suppose of its tributary the Teme, also), who has been invoked by them. She is then conducted safely with songs and music to her father's castle of Ludlow, the Attendant Spirit singing the epilogue commencing: "To the Ocean now I fly", and ending:

"Mortals, that would follow me,
Love Virtue; she alone is free.
She can teach ye how to climb
Higher than the Spheary Chime,
Or, if Virtue feeble were
Heav'n itself would stoop to her".


My sledge and anvil lie declined,
My bellows too have lost their wind;
My fire's extinct, my forge decayed,
And in the dust my body's laid;
My coal is out, my iron's gone,
My nails are drove, my work is done.

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Presteigne and Neighbourhood.

A Paper read at a Meeting of the Woolhope Club in 1912.

Presteigne & Neighbourhood.

REFERRING in 1603 to the towns of Radnorshire, Camden says: "The greatest of note is Radnor, the chief town of the county, called in British, Maesyved; fair-built, but with thatched houses as the manner is of that country. Formerly it was well-fenced with walls and a castle, but, being by that rebellious Owen Glendower, laid in ashes, it decayed daily, as well as Old Radnor (called by the Britons Maesyved-hen), and from its high situation, Pencraig, which had been burnt by Rhys ap Gryffyd in the reign of King John. If I should say that this Maesyved is the city of Magos, which Antoninus seems to call Magnos, where, as we read in the Notitia Provinciarum, the commander of the Pascentian regiment lay in garrison, under the Lieutenant of Britain, in the reign of Theodosius the Younger, in my judgment, and perhaps others may be of the same mind, I should not be much mistaken, for we find that the writers of the Middle Age call the inhabitants of this country "Magesetenses", and the distance from Gobannium or Abergavenny, as also from Brangonium or Worcester differ very little from the computation of Antoninus".

There is a road leading from The Broad at Leominster to Croft, called the Riddle Lane or Croft Lane, which passes near The Croase, Luston, and probably

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connected Croft Ambury with the camps at Risbury or Blackwardine.

If Camden is correct in his opinion that Radnor was the city of Magos, this road is almost certain to have been a portion of one from Radnor to Worcester.

If it is objected that the camps are supposed to be British, I mnst repeat what I have many times stated, viz., that after over 400 years of Roman rule the Britons had become Roman in all their ideas of war, camp construction and civilisation in general, and that the traces of late Romano-British settlements are indistinguishable from Roman.

Earlier camps of the Caractacus period - 400 years earlier - would show the accepted British characteristics. It would be very interesting to know whether any further traces of this road from Radnor to Worcester had been found anywhere on the Radnor side of Croft, or on the Worcester side of Leominster.

Camden continues: "Scarce three miles to the east of Radnor lies Presteigne, in Welsh Llan Andras or Saint Andrews, which, from a small village in the memory of our grandfathers, did by the favour and encouragement of Martin, Lord Bishop of St. David's, become so eminent as in some measure to eclipse Radnor". [1] "Scarce four miles hence lies Knighton, called by the Britons, as I am informed, Trebuclo or Trevyklawdh, from the dyke near it, which

[1] It is worth noting that nothing is said about the Warden or Castle at Presteigne.

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was cast up by Offa the Mercian by great labour and industry, as a boundary between his subjects and the Britons, concerning which Johannes Sarisburiensis in his Polycraticon says that Harold established a law that whatever Welshman should be found armed on this side the limit set them, to wit, Offa's Dyke, his right hand should be struck off by the King's officers".


He suggests that the name "Radnor" is derived from "Rhaidr-Gwy" that is the cataract or falls of the Wye. This is what he says on the subject: "And I know not whether the English might not from that word Rhaidr impose the name Radnor, first on the county and afterwards on the chief town therein". He closes his description of Radnorshire by the statement that it contains 52 parishes.


In the conflict between Owen Glendower and Sir Edmund Mortimer, a great battle was fought at Pilleth, about five miles from Presteigne, in 1402. The name Pilleth is derived from two Celtic words PwllHaith - the pool of blood. The personal combat between the two chieftains, as related by Shakespeare, took place at Pilleth or at Eardisland. [1]

[1] The actual commander of the Welsh at the battle of Pilleth was Rhys ap Gethin, but Glendower must have been in the immediate neighbourhood, for he took and sacked Leominster a few days after.

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I am inclined to think it more likely to have been at Eardisland, as the Marchmen were defeated at Pilleth and pursued by the Welsh towards Leominster. A combat of this kind would be more probable in the pursuit, when Sir Edmund was overtaken, than on a stricken field like Pilleth where both leaders were surrounded by their followers, and, as the tumuli prove, so many were slain.

Afterwards an alliance was made between Glendower, the Percies and the Mortimers, with the object of dethroning Henry IV. and placing the young Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, upon the throne, to which he was entitled by right of blood. This alliance may really be considered the commencement of the Wars of the Roses. It met with a reverse at the battle of Shrewsbury, but subsequently triumphed at Mortimer's Cross and Towton, Edward Plantagenet, who was the heir of Mortimer, Clarence, and Plantagenet, by descent from Anne de Mortimer, his grandmother, mounting the throne as Edward IV. Anne de Mortimer had married Richard, Earl of Cambridge, the father of Richard, Duke of York, who was killed at Wakefield, and this marriage united the senior Plantagenet branch of Clarence with the junior branch of York.

Monachty, about a mile and a half further on from Pilleth was a small monastery, as its name clearly shows.


Kinsham, which I have only time to briefly mention, was frequently visited by Lord Byron. In the Wars

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of the Roses, most of the Welsh borderers, as well as the Marchmen were supporters of the White Rose faction, but there were several notable exceptions, such as the Vaughans of Hergest and De Vere, Earl of Oxford.


The march of the Earl of Pembroke and the Earl of Ormonde to the plains of Kingsland where the battle of Mortimer's Cross was fought on Candlemas Day, 1461, was through Radnorshire, and after the defeat of the Lancastrians by Edward Plantagenet, many of the routed Lancastrians fled over the marsh of Shobdon in the direction of Presteigne, several of them finding their way to Abbey-Cwmhir, where they took sanctuary and many others hiding in the mountains.


At the time of the Reformation, Lee, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, was Lord President of Wales and the Marches. He was a follower of the notorious Thomas Cromwell and performed the ceremony of marriage between Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn, after which he was raised to the see of Lichfield and Coventry.

In a letter to Thomas Cromwell dated November 1535, he acknowledges the receipt of £100 to repair the castle of Ludlow, which was sent to him through Sir Edward Croft, "receyvour of the erldome of Marche".

Between November and Christmas Bishop Lee visited Radnor and Presteigne. The following is an

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extract from a letter to Cromwell dated December 27th, 1535:- "And ffarther advertising you that I have bene in Wales at Presteyne where I was right heartily welcomed with all the honest of that part as Sir James Baskervile and many others, without any speares or other ffashion as heretofore hath bin used. Which journey was thought moste dangerous to some, but God willing I entende after Easter to lye oon month at Presteyne, even amongst the thickest of the thieves. Wherefore if the King's highness will have this countrey reformed, which is nigh at a poynte, his grace may not stick to spende oon hundred pounds more or less for the same".

Wright says that in a letter dated January, 1536, the Bishop speaks of his activity in "hunting down the thieves" and boasts of having reduced Wales to such order that one thief took another, and that the cattle, which were a great object of pillage in former times, were now "sufficient to take care of themselves". Some people may think that however much the Radnorshire borderers may have been addicted to cattle lifting the palm of thievery would be won easily by Henry VIII., and his satellites such as Thomas Cromwell and Roland Lee, who, when confiscating the property of the church, appropriated not only the cattle but the land on which the cattle were raised and fed. [1]

[1] I have seen a document which states that Roland Lee met his fate at the stake at Shrewsbury in the reign of Queen Mary.

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After the battle of Naseby, which was fought on June 14th, 1645, and at which the Royalist power was hopelessly shattered, King Charles I. retreated from Leicester to Hereford and spent some time in this neighbourhood, dining at Leominster one day and passing a night at Weobley.

He proceeded to Raglan and Cardiff, leaving the latter on August 21st, arriving at Newark on the 24th and at Oxford on August 28th.

On August 31st he left Oxford for Hereford, the siege of which city he relieved on the following day, and on September 10th he marched from Hereford towards Raglan with the intention of relieving Bristol, but heard at Raglan that Bristol had fallen.

It is possible that iu the course of these marches through the border counties he may have visited Presteigne, which is known to have been Royalist, but I can find no record of it.

He then started on his desperate march over the Welsh hills to Chester, which he entered on September 23rd. Slingsby gives a vivid description of the hardships of this weary journey over the trackless hills and relates an incident which happened at Old Radnor. When the King arrived at Old Radnor he slept "in a low poor chamber", and on his arrival the good wife did her best to entertain her visitors, but "troubled with continual calling for victuals and having it seems but one cheese, comes into the room where the King was, and very soberly asks if the King had done with the cheese for the

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gentlemen without desired it". From Old Radnor the march was continued to Presteigne, and from there to Wigmore Grange, where the king slept, and then on to Ludlow and Chester.


I am informed that it is claimed that Charles II. slept in Presteigne after the battle of Worcester in 1651; but it seems quite impossible that he could have been anywhere near the town. The battle of Worcester was fought on September 3rd, and it is a well-established fact that Charles escaped to Boscobel and Whiteladies the same night.

I am aware that two publications which I referred to in a recent letter to the Hereford Times one evidently copied from the other state that it was not Boscobel to which the King fled after the battle, but Leominster, where he slept on the night of the battle, afterwards going halfway to Presteigne with the intention of finding a ship on the Welsh coast, but fearing pursuit turning back and making for Boscobel.

Blount's "Boscobel", the narrative of Charles himself and the whole of the contemporary historians, prove that this tale has no foundation in fact.

After his defeat at Worcester he travelled all night and reached Whiteladies, 25 miles from Worcester early on September 4th, going on to Boscobel, where he hid all day in the wood, leaving for Madeley at night which he reached about midnight.

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On the following day he returned to Boscobel, and, on September 6th he hid in the oak while his enemies were searching for him.

On the 7th (Sunday) he kept indoors at Boscobel and departed to Moseley at night. It was there arranged that he should try to get to Bristol, disguised as a servant of Miss Lane, daughter of Colonel Lane of Bentley.

Boscobel had in the meantime been searched by the Roundheads. On the 10th he went to Colonel Lane's house at Bentley, and the following day started, with Miss Lane for Bristol, arriving near that port after a journey of three days.

On the 12th it is likely that he stayed at Orleton Court, the residence of the Blounts. It would be in his line of flight. He would be sure of a welcome, and he is said to have passed through Knightwick on the t3th.

No ship being obtainable at Bristol he started for the south, embarking at Shoreham and landing in Normandy on October 17th. There is no doubt, however, that Charles I. visited Presteigne, and, if the old town has to give up her pre-eminence in the county to the more modern Llandrindod, she can boast of having been the county town of Radnorshire for a period of nearly 400 years. Perhaps if the borings for coal in the neighbourhood prove successful Presteigne may continue to hold her premier place, and modern enterprise enable her to prolong her existence as the county town.

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There are several versions of the legend of the lion. Christianity had been introduced into Mercia in 644, about 30 years before Merowald became King of West Mercia, or Herefordshire, by Peda, to whom his father, Penda, had given the small Kingdom of Leicester, and who married a daughter of Oswy, King of Northumberland, who was a Christian. Penda, however, died a pagan, and he left five sons: Peda, Wulfer, Ethelred, Merowald, and Mercelm. Peda was poisoned soon after the death of his father, and for the three next years the Kingdom of Mercia was subject to Oswy, King of Northumberland. Oswy was at length driven out by Wulfer, who reigned over the whole of Mercia from 659. Wulfer was an idolator when he came to the throne, but was afterwards converted to Christianity, and brought up his children in that faith. It was Wulfer who, according to the Ven. Bede founded the See of Lichfield, of which St. Chad, or Ceadda, was first bishop. Wulfer died in 675, and intended his son, Cenred, to succeed him, but Ethelred, the third son of Penda, supplanted Cenred, keeping the greater part of Mercia for himself, and giving this part (Herefordshire) to Merowald, his brother. Merowald was the hero of the lion legend, and probably the founder of Leominster.

Camden says the British name of Leominster was Llanllienni, or the Church of the Nuns.

Since the lecture was given, I have discovered that the present Welsh name for Leominster is Llanllienni.

Page 160

It appears to me to be highly probable that this name is traditional amongst the descendants of the ancient British, and has been in use by them through all the centuries which have passed by since they were defeated by the Saxons.

Merowald's residence was at Cwmfordt (afterwards corrupted into Comfort Castle) close to Leominster.

Being seized with remorse for depriving his nephew Cenred of his kingdom, he resolved to found a convent for religious virgins over the Pinsley.

It is practically certain that Leominster, which was close to the King's Castle of Cwmfordt, must have had a name in those days. It should also be remembered that this was about 365 years before the time of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, who lived from the reign of Canute the Dane to that of Edward the Confessor.

Even after the Silurian Britons were defeated and the Kingdom of Mercia formed, there were a considerable number of people of Celtic blood in the district between the Severn and the Welsh Border.

Only those who would not submit to the Saxon yoke fled into Wales - the others remained and only changed masters. As late as the war between King and Parliament it is said that Welsh was the common speech of many of the inhabitants of Herefordshire.

The first name of the town was probably British, and it is still known as Llanllienni in the Welsh-speaking districts. This means the "Church of the Nuns".

Another name was Llanlleon, which means "the Church of the Marshes" and is probably the oldest version. Llan means "minster" or Church, so one part of the name is accounted for, while the transition from "llieni" or "lleon" to the other part seems simple enough.

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Simeon of Durham says that Edgiva Abbess of "Leon" eloped with Sweyn, the son of Earl Godwin. This was about A.D. 1048, within 20 years of the time of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, from whom many think the name of the town was taken.

Geraldus Cambrensis refers to the town as Leonis Monasterium, perhaps with a Cleric's leaning towards the well-known legend of the lion.

My objection to the derivation of the name from Earl Leofric is that the town was a place of importance and possessed of a religious house, royally endowed by Merowald, King of West Mercia, at least 350 years before Leofric's time. A place of such importance must have had a name three or four centuries before Leofric.

It is well-known that the town was described as "Leofminster" in documents of the eleventh century, but there are also many other readings of the name, as Lempster, - Baron Lempster was the second title of the extinct earldom of Pomfret - and Lemnster - by the poet Greene circa 1580.

Another idea is that even if the original name was Leofminster it was not derived from Leofric, but from the Saxon word for love - meaning the beloved minster, or church.

Another suggestion is that the name was Lugg-Oney-minster, in reference to its rivers - the ancient name of the Pinsley being Oney. This, I think, may be dismissed.

I also give again the following quotation from Camden:-

"The Lugg goes on to Lemster called
"also Leominster and Leonis Monasterium from a
"lion that appeared in a vision as some have
"dreamed. But by the Britons it is called Llanllienni,
"which signifying a Church of the Nuns and it being
"certain that Merewach a Mercian King founded here

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"a Church for Nuns, to seek after another original of the
"name would be labour in vain, and yet there are some
"who derive it from Linum (flax) the best of which
"grows here".

"Llion" is, I am assured, good Welsh for a place of floods. This would be a very appropriate designation for Leominster and supports the theory that the original name was Llan-lleon or the Church of the Marsh.

I am, however, going to throw out a suggestion which may connect the two alleged British derivations:- "Llian or "llin" means "linen" and "Llein" means a Nun. Both these may be derived from the same source "Llein" meaning linen clothed, but I must leave this point to Celtic scholars, amongst whom I cannot claim to rank, but if my idea is correct there is a connection between the derivations from linum (flax) Llian (linen) and Llein (a Nun).

Whatever the original name was I think it was British and in use 350 years before the time of Leofric, Earl of Mercia.

For other instances of the changes of local place names, see Note B, "Other Place Names and Notes".

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The sixteen Herewicks of the Manor of Leominster were:-

1. Lustune (Luston).
2. Larpol (Yarpole).
3. AElmodestreu (Aymestrey).
4. Brumfelde (Brimfield).
5. Estune (Aston - probably Pipe Aston).
6. Stocktune (Stockton).
7. Stoke (Stoke Prior).
8. Mersetune (Marston).
9. Uptune (Upton).
10. Hope.
11. Bretlege (Brierley).
12. Ivintune (Ivington). [1]
13. Cerlestreu (Cholstrey).
14. Lentehale (Leinthall).
15. Gedeven (Edvin Ralph).
16. Ffernelow (Farlow). [2]

Etnam Street is the street leading to the hamlet of Eaton - Eaton-ham Street.

Spital Bridge. The bridge on the North Road was so called until quite recent times and a house a little further

[1] Ivintune. A curious error of transcription has made this name appear as "Lumton" in several records. The "g" did not exist in the original name and the reason of the mistake will he readily seen by anyone acquainted with the caligraphy of old documents.
[2] Farlow (near Cleobury Mortimer) was a detached part of Herefordshire until 1844.

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to the north was "The Spital House" (The Hospital as we should now call it). Early Victorian taste suppressed these names and gave them brand new ones typical of that period instead.

Bradford, which appears in records was probably Broadward.

Cerlestreu now called Cholstrey is pure Saxon and means the tree of the peasants. Other instances are AElmodestreu (Aymestrey) the tree of AElmode and Oswaldstreu (Oswestry) the tree of St. Oswald.

The Pinsley is called "Oney" in old documents and books. Drayton, in his Polyolbion calls it "Little Oney".

Lingen and Lingebroke - the latter being the ancient name of Limebrook - appear to be derived from the same root: Ling, i.e., Heath or Waste Land. Lingen, if plural, would be The Heaths as we should now say, or, if genitive singular, The Place of Heath. Lingebroke would be Heath Brook in modern English.

Croase and its plural Croasen or Crozen are the ancient forms of the word Cross. They apparently did not mean cross roads although these names are frequently found in such positions. It is more probable that they mark the position of way-side crosses or shrines where prayers were offered by devout travellers.

Credenhill is Credda's Hill.

Richard's Castle, Avertune, Boitune. The castle of Avertune mentioned in Domesday Book is generally admitted to be Richard's Castle. The upper portion of the parish of Richard's Castle is still called Overton which is almost identical with the ancient name Avertune.

I must certainly beg to differ from a recent writer who

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has evidently overlooked the existence of the township of Overton and who suggests that the name is derived from the village of Orleton about two miles distant. The castle was one of the few Norman towers built before the Conquest. I have never heard that Orleton and Richard's Castle were connected in any way either feudally or ecclesiastically, and if the village of Orleton existed at all before the conquest it would only have been a few huts in a clearing amongst the alders or "orles" from which its name is derived.

As to Boitune Boiton or Boitane, which is said to have been the original name of the village or town of Richard's Castle, I can find no record of it except in treatises based on the Blount MSS. The name seems to have utterly vanished, but it is said to have been in use about the time of the Civil War.

Boitanc as it is frequently written is evidently another error of transcription and should be Boitune.

"Eye and Lye" are treated of in the papers on Wigmore and the West Border and Stockton, Kimbolton, and Berrington.

St. Devereux. This is an amusing instance of the influence of Norman-French. The name was St. Dubritius, after a British saint. The Normans had never heard of "Dubritius" so they changed the name to "Devereux"!

The Golden Valley. The origin of this name is still more interesting. By the Britons it was called "Dwr" - water. The Normans heard a word used which sounded like "D'Or", so they promptly changed the name and The Valley of Water became The Valley of Gold.

Herefordshire in London. Oxford Street, London, was not named after the city of Oxford, but after Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford and Mortimer.

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In close proximity to Oxford Street will also be found Harley Street, Wigmore Street, Mortimer Street, &c.

Space will not permit the inclusion in the present volume of many other notes which I have prepared on place names.


Nearly all of the annual village feasts and fairs were anciently celebrated on the day of the saint to whom the parish church was dedicated.

A few instances must suffice.

Kingsland. The Church is dedicated to St. Michael and All Angels. The annual fair is held on the 11th October, Old Michaelmas Day.

Orleton. The Church is dedicated to St. George. The annual fair, as long as it existed, was held on the 23rd April, St. George's Day.

Brampton Bryan. The Church is dedicated to St. Barnabas. The annual horse fair is held on the 22nd June. Old St. Barnabas' Day would be on the 23rd June.

Luston celebrated its feast or "wake" on the day of St. Peter ad vincula, the 1st August, but it has not been held for many years.

Wigmore. The Church is dedicated to St. James. Old St. James' Day would be on the 7th August. Wigmore summer fair was on the 5th August.

Although Brampton Bryan and Wigmore did not quite correctly count the days which lapsed when the Calendar was revised, the origin of the dates of their fairs seems clear.

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In the Saxon and Danish periods the succession to the crown was extremely unsettled.

If the deceased sovereign left only young children they were frequently passed over and someone else chosen as King by the Earls and Thanes.

Edgar Atheling, the legitimate heir, was passed over by Edward the Confessor in favour of William, Duke of Normandy, or, as is alleged, by his final nomination of Harold.

Neither of these had the least hereditary claim to the throne. William who was a natural son of Duke Robert could not inherit anything. Harold was not even of royal blood and had no claim except the supposed nomination.

In Norman times there was no hereditary succession. William the Conqueror's third son William Rufus succeded him to the exclusion of Robert his eldest son.

The crown then passed to Henry his fourth son and then to Stephen who had married Adela a daughter of the Conqueror.

The legitimate heiress was Matilda, the daughter of Henry I., who first married the Emperor Henry V., and after his death Geoffrey of Anjou.

From the last named marriage sprang the Plantagenets, and it was not till the time of Henry II. (the first Plantagenet) that we find the system of hereditary succession insisted upon.

Weak titles like those of Henry IV. and Henry VII.

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had to be bolstered up by Parliament. The same may be said of the sovereigns of the younger branch of Stuart and of Hanover, after the flight of James II.

The fact seems to be that notwithstanding the rule of hereditary succession, the monarch mounted the throne with the consent of his lieges.

An important part of every coronation is the bringing forth of the monarch to be acclaimed by the people.

Those who have tried to alter the succession have been called traitors if they failed, but patriots if they succeeded.

The connection of the Earldom of March with the crown is worth noting.

Edmund de Mortimer, the 3rd Earl of March, married Philippa the heiress of Clarence, the senior Plantagenet branch, and their son Roger was recognised by Richard II. and by Parliament as heir to the throne, but he was slain in Ireland in 1398, the legitimate succession passing to his son Edmund the 5th Earl of March.

But Richard II. was deposed by Henry of Bolingbroke who represented the junior Plantagenet branch and the little Earl of March, who was only about seven years of age, was passed over. This is when there should have been a Royal House of Mortimer and a Herefordshire King of England.

Historians have almost hopelessly mixed up the two Edmund Mortimers of that period; Edmund Earl of March, the rightful King, and his uncle Sir Edmund Mortimer.

The latter held the castle of Wigmore for his nephew, who according to the best authorities, was kept a prisoner at Windsor by Henry IV. together with his little brother Roger.

An account of the attempted flight of these two children to their friends in the Marches will be found

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in the article on Wigmore and the West Border.

According to most historians the Edmund Mortimer who was taken prisoner by Owen Glendower was Sir Edmund, but Hall, who was born in 1495 and died in 1541, calls him Edmund Mortimer Earl of March. "Hall's Chronicles" were published in 1545 - the year after his death. Shakespeare adopts the same view as Hall (King Henry IV. Part First Act I., Scene III).

Howitt who wrote in the early part of the nineteenth century boldly says that the Earl of March and his uncle Sir Edmund Mortimer retired to the castle of Wigmore on the accession of Henry IV., but the consensus of evidence from the older historians and also the probabilities of the case are in favour of the view that the two little boys Edmund and Roger were kept in captivity by Henry IV.

An astute and suspicious man like Henry IV. would not be likely to allow the King de jure to retire to the Marchland amongst his devoted adherents where he would have the best possible opportunity of asserting his claim to the throne.

Edmund, Earl of March and King of England by right, entered the service of Henry V., but died in 1424-5 being the last male Mortimer with the Royal rights derived from Philippa of Clarence. As his brother Roger had died young the succession devolved upon Anne his sister (if she survived him, which is not clear) or the offspring from her marriage with Richard Plantagenet Earl of Cambridge, the father of Richard Duke of York. Her grandson Edward Plantagenet succeeded to the throne as Edward IV.

The first Act of Parliament of Edward IV., refers to Henry IV., Henry V., and Henry VI., as "late de facto, but not de jure, Kings of England". Instead of these

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three Lancastrian Kings, there should, de jure, have reigned a King Edmund, a Queen Anne, and a King Richard. The following will show the links in the chain from Richard II. to Edward IV:-

Richard II., deposed 1399, died 1400. Philippa, heiress of Clarence, died before Richard. Roger Mortimer, her son, killed in Ireland in 1398, before the death of Richard.

White Rose Monarchs who never reigned:-(1) Edmund, son of Roger, died in 1424. (2) Anne, [1] sister to Edmund, married to Richard, Earl of Cambridge, heir of York. (3) Richard, Duke of York, killed at Wakefield, in 1460. Edward IV., his son, succeeded 1461.

Not long after the battle of Shrewsbury, another conspiracy was entered into by Richard Scrope, Archbishop of York, the Earl of Northumberland, Thomas Mowbray, Earl Marshal, Lords Bardolf, Hastings, Falconbridge, and others, who published a manifesto of IX. Articles, the second and third of which state, referring to King Henry IV:- "That as an arch-traitor he had imprisoned his sovereign, forced him to resign the crown, and barbarously murdered him.

"That ever since the death of Richard he had unjustly detained the crown from Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, to whom it lawfully belonged".

This conspiracy was defeated by Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland, who seized the ringleaders by a cunning artifice, and they were all executed except Northumberland and Bardolf, who escaped into Scotland.

That Edward IV. had a great affection towards our Marchland is shown by the fact that he had a special seal for the Earldom on which was the following inscription: Sigullum Edwardi Quarti, Dei Gra, Regis Angliae, Franciae, Domini Hiberniae-Com-Suae Marchiae."

[1] If she survived her brother Edmund.

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The latter part "Of the Earl of his own March", is silent proof that he had not forgotten his Mortimer ancestors and his friends in the Marches.

In the Charter of Henry I. founding the Benedictine Priory of Leominster it will be noted that he describes himself as "Henry by the Grace of God, King of the English, and Duke of the Normans", but, from Plantagenet times the title of the sovereign of this realm has been a territorial one. The present monarch is King of "All The Britains", "Britanniarium Omnium Rex" - not "All the Britons". It has always appeared to me to be incorrect to abbreviate the word "Britanniarum" on our coinage as "Britt". There is only one "t" in Britanniarum.

It is by no means unusual for people to refer to the present reigning dynasty as the House of Hanover, and it was repeatedly done in descriptions of the coronation celebrations in 1911.

King George V. is the second sovereign of the House of Saxe- Coburg. The house of Hanover ended at the death of Queen Victoria.

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At Leominster a nunnery or house for religious virgins was founded by Merowald about A.D. 660. This attained the dignity of an Abbey, which the subsequent monastic establishment never did. This Abbey of Ladies was suppressed as the following extract from the Charter of Henry I. founding the Abbey of Reading will prove:-

"Henry by the grace of God, King of the English and
"Duke of the Normans to his Archbishops, Bishops, Earls,
"Barons, and all good Christians as well now and to come
"Greeting for Ever, Know ye that three Abbeys were suppressed
"in former times their sins rendering it necessary,
"namely Reading, Chelsea and Leominster and which
"a lay hand has possessed for a long period and has
"alienated and divided their lands and goods but I by the
"advice of the Clergy and the faithful laity for the health
"of my soul and of that of King William, my father, of
"King William, my brother, of William, my son, of
"Maud, my wife, and of all my ancestors and successors
"have built a new Monastery at Reading in honour of and
"in the name of the Mother of God, the Ever-Virgin
"Mary and of the blessed John, the Evangelist and I
"have given to the said Monastery Reading itself and
"also Chelsea and Leominster with their belongings".

This was the foundation of the Priory of Leominster. There may, of course, have been a small monastery before this.

The Order of Saint Benedict is usually considered to have been introduced into England by St. Dunstan about

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A.D. 950 - some 300 years after Merowald founded the Nunnery.

St. Benedict founded his Order in A.D. 515, and it slowly spread from Italy over the rest of Christendom, but I can find no record of its existence in England until St. Dunstan introduced it when he was Abbot of Glastonbury, before he was promoted to the See of Canterbury.

The Priory of Leominster, had the presentations to the benefices of Brimfield, Hope, Middleton, Luston, and Yarpole.

Luston appears to have been joined with Eyton, for a stipend was paid at the time of the dissolution to the chaplain of Luston and Eyton. There does not seem to have been a church at Luston.

Luston is now connected with Eye for ecclesiastical purposes only. Eye Church is dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul, and Eyton Church to All Saints.

The Luston feast was celebrated on the day of St. Peter in prison (August 1st).


Built in 1633 by John Abel, architect to King Charles I. Sold in 1853, and re-erected on The Grange.

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In the war between Charles I. and the Parliament the Washington family were ardent Royalists.

Colonel Sir Henry Washington was the last Royalist Governor of Worcester, and he also led the storming party of Cavaliers when they took Bristol.

He, and other members of the family, emigrated to America about 1657, practically because they could not endure the Republican form of Government.

I have seen several examples of the arms of this family. They all bear what we call the "stars and stripes" in some form.

The Northamptonshire Washingtons, or one branch of them, bore the following arms:- "Paly (sans nombre) argent and gules with three mullets of the first on a chief azure". Another branch of the family bore:- "Argent with two bars gules and in chief three mullets of the second".

Until I found the last-named, which are the arms of the branch which allied itself with the Shirleys now Earls Ferrers, I had always seen the "stripes" vertical and not horizontal.

In the branch which married into the family of Shirley, the stripes are horizontal, as in the flag, but there is no "azure" or blue.

The "Tinctures" of the devices were very often varied by different branches of the same family. A good local instance of this is to be seen in the Vaughan Chapel in Kington Church.

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In plain English the Washington arms were alternate "stripes" of red and white and with "mullets" or five-pointed stars on the chief or top part of the shield. Sometimes these stripes were horizontal as in the United States Flag, but more generally they were vertical or "paly". In one instance the "chief" has a blue ground and three white "stars" five-pointed.

It may be necessary to mention that the "Estoile" in heraldry was a star generally with wavy points - the points being always six at least and frequently eight or nine in number, while the "mullet" was always five-pointed and with straight points, as in the arms of Washington and on the American Flag.

George Washington does not seem to have been a direct descendant of the last Royalist Governor of Worcester, but he was a member of the same family.

His ancestors fled from England because they were royalist. He became the first President of the new republic!

When the new nation was launched upon the world, what would be more natural than for them to select a flag based upon the arms of the first President?

The distinction between "paly" and "barry" would not trouble them much. They adopted Washington's "stars and stripes" and the old colours of red white and blue!

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1. That at the Saxon Conquest, the whole of the British Population were driven away into the mountains of Wales.

When Offa constructed his dyke a large proportion of the inhabitants of this district must have been of Celtic origin, and as late as the seventeenth century Welsh was the language used by many of the inhabitants of Herefordshire. When the Saxon kingdoms were formed many of the Britons were allowed to remain under Saxon rule. It was the turbulent and marauding Welsh from the hills who were compelled to keep on their side of the dyke, and those who remained became the fiercest opponents of the raiding Welsh.

No people sooner lose their nationality than the Welsh when in regular contact with other races.

In a lesser degree, perhaps, than it is so now. People whose fathers or grandfathers were thorough Welshmen and came over the Herefordshire and Shropshire borders, in the course of a generation become Anglicised so much that they affect to object to "these Welshmen from up the country", as they call them, coming down to rent the fat pastures of Hereford and Salop.

A wholesale instance of a Welsh community in Herefordshire was that of Archenfield which was entirely Welsh for centuries and had its own laws and customs. This district comprised about forty-five parishes and governed itself. The inhabitants transferred their allegiance

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to the Saxons and Normans and were the bitterest enemies of the marauding Welsh from the hills. One of their most cherished rights was to be in the van in the attack and in the rear in the return, when they joined with their Saxon and Norman friends in fighting the Welsh from the other side of the dyke.

In other cases where they did not form themselves into communities they soon became Anglicised.

2. That "Moated Houses" (so-called) were always surrounded by water.

From the nature of their situation this was quite impossible in a great number of cases. If water was available it formed a valuable adjunct to the defence, but when it could not be obtained in sufficient quantity to fill the moat a Fosse or dry ditch, with scarp and counter-scarp, was adopted.

3. That Edward Mortimer won the battle of Mortimer's Cross and that a Mortimer became King of England.

This has been dealt with to some extent in the Note on "The Royal Title and Succession and the Earldom of March".

The last male Mortimer with the senior Plantagenet blood derived from the heiress of Clarence died in 1424-5, and the succession devolved upon the issue of the marriage of Anne Mortimer, or De Mortimer, with Richard Plantagenet, Earl of Cambridge, the grandmother and grandfather of Edward Plantagenet the victor of Mortimer's Cross, who succeeded to the throne as Edward IV.

If the Prince of Wales lives to succeed his father, King George V., it would be as correct to describe him as a sovereign of the House of Denmark because his grandmother was a member of the Royal House of Denmark,

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as to say that Edward IV. was a Mortimer because his grandmother was Anne Mortimer before her marriage with Richard Plantagenet, Earl of Cambridge.

A Mortimer never wore the crown of England, although by right of blood there should have been a Royal House of Mortimer at the end of the Reign of Richard II.

4. That Edward Plantagenet, Duke of York, and Earl of March marched out from Wigmore Castle to the battle of Mortimer's Cross.

Edward "turned back" from Shrewsbury when he heard of the army of the Earl of Pembroke and the Earl of Ormonde which had been sent to crush his adherents in the Marches when most of his men were following his standard in his northward march to intercept Queen Margaret.

He knew that if he did not retrace his steps the whole Marchland, including Wigmore Castle which was held by his mother, would be at the mercy of the Lancastrians.

On his return he passed through "Hanford East" which is believed to be Little Hereford, doubtless keeping in touch with Ludlow, Richard's Castle, and Wigmore, and securing the ford over the Lugg at Mortimer's Cross.

There was a Lancastrian garrison at Leominster, but the inhabitants rose and expelled it on the day of the battle. There can be little doubt that Edward encamped on the Great West Field, Kingsland, the night before the battle, and awaited the Lancastrians who came down through the woods of Shobdon and Aymestrey.

His force consisted of about 23,000. An army of anything approaching that number would have to

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encamp somewhere and a very small proportion of them could have been accommodated at Wigmore Castle, which, besides, had its garrison under the Duchess of York.

Some of the accounts of Edward's march were written by people unacquainted with the district. One of these states that he marched through Ludlow and Leominster to Wigmore! The writer of this could have no knowledge of the neighbourhood.

Several writers are led away by the name "Harford East" and state that the battle of Mortimer's Cross was fought at a spot a few miles to the west of Hereford!

5. That there is a subterranean passage from Ludlow Castle to Wigmore Castle.

This is a very widely spread legend, but such an undertaking, even now, would task the skill of the best engineers. The tunnel would have to go under the river Teme through the rock and under some of the highest hills in the neighbourhood, for a distance of about nine miles. Most strongholds had exits known to a few, but these passages were only short. Anything like a tunnel of nine miles was impossible in those days.

6. That Wigmore Castle was destroyed by guns placed on Croft Ambury.

This is also a local legend, but no artillery of the time of Cromwell could possibly have done it.

7. That Wigmore Castle was "burnt by the rebels" in the Civil War.

Throughout the war Wigmore Castle never passed out of the hands of Sir Robert Harley who was a Parliamentarian.

There seems no doubt that it was dismantled by its owner at the outset of the war, so that it should not

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be taken by the Royalists. If any burning was done it was by Sir Robert Harley himself, or possibly the debris may have been burnt by the Royalists after the owner had dismantled the castle.

Sir Robert Harley was not a "rebel" according to his own view. The idea of such men was that they fought for "King and Parliament". Although he fought against Charles I., his son Edward Harley helped to restore Charles II. They were always anti-Cromwellian. His descendant, the Earl of Oxford, developed into a high churchman, and was not without reason accused of Jacobitism. He was "impeached for high treason" (or Jacobitism) by his neighbour Lord Coningsby and committed to the tower where he remained about two years before he was brought to trial. He was at length acquitted, but his fate for a long time trembled in the balance.

8. That all Manor Houses were the residences of the Lords of Ancient Manors.

Many so-called Manor Houses have never had any connection with a Manor at all, and the owners of new houses often appropriate the name for a building which it would be as accurate to call a Castle as a Manor House.

9. That Charles I. slept at Orleton Court after the battle of Worcester.

This is gravely stated in many guide books. King Charles I. was executed in 1649 and the battle of Worcester was fought in 1651.

It is a pity that the compilers of these books, which should give useful information, do not use a little more care.

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10. That Prince Rupert visited the Crown Inn, Bosbury, after the battle of Worcester.

At a meeting of the Woolhope Club at Bosbury in 1911, I challenged this statement and subsequently sent the following notes to the Hon. Sec. of the Club:-

Prince Rupert could not possibly have been at Bosbury after the Battle of Worcester, which was fought on September 3rd, 1651.

The Battle of Naseby was on June 14th, 1645, and Rupert was soon afterwards banished by the King.

In 1649 he commanded the portion of the fleet which had revolted from the Parliament to the King, and was in possession of St. George's Channel. He then commenced a general war against English commerce (in fact against the ships of all nations), and was declared a pirate in 1650.

His brother, Prince Maurice, died in a storm in the West Indies about 1651.

Rupert returned to Nantes from his piratical expeditions in March, 1652 - six months after the battle of Worcester.

He is next heard of in 1666, when he, with the Duke of Albermarle (Monk), was in command of the fleet against the French and Dutch.

There was a battle, on a small scale, at Powick Bridge, before the battle of Edge Hill, and which was the first conflict in the Civil War. This is sometimes called the first battle of Worcester, and Rupert may have visited Bosbury then, but it is unlikely.

In this skirmish Prince Rupert routed the cavalry under the command of Colonel Sandys, who was wounded and died of his wounds.

The Battle of Ledbury, one of the minor engagements, took place in 1645, before the Battle of Naseby.

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Massey and Prince Rupert are said to have met each other in the streets of Ledbury and each had his horse killed under him.

It is more likely that Rupert visited Bosbury after this battle than after the skirmish at Powick.

It is certain, however, that he could not have been at Bosbury after the Battle of Worcester (1651), because he was on the high seas as a pirate from 1649 to 1652.

11. That Charles II. fled to Presteigne via Leominster after the Battle of Worcester.

This is referred to in the article on Presteigne and Neighbourhood.

It is impossible that Charles II. could have been anywhere near Presteigne during his flight.

12. That King Charles II. hid in an oak tree on the 29th May, after his defeat at Worcester.

The battle of Worcester was on the 3rd September, 1651. The day he hid in the oak was the 6th September. He arrived in France safely on the 17th October and did not come to England again until his 30th birthday the 29th May, 1660, when some of the most popular decorations were oak branches which were freely used on the occasion of "His Majesty's happy return", and the restoration of the monarchy.

So deeply rooted is this fallacy that one of the most up-to-date of the illustrated papers came out about two years ago with a picture of a parade of Chelsea veterans "on the 29th May, the day King Charles II. hid in the oak".


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