Britannia, by William Camden

Warwickshire.

Big T THE County of Warwick, call’d by the Saxons, as at present, Warwickshire, ⌈and by the Saxon Annals Saxon Waeringscyre;⌉ is bounded on the east with Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, and the Military way mention’d before; on the South, with Oxfordshire and Glocestershire; on the West, for the greatest part, with Worcestershire; and on the North, with Staffordshire. It is divided into two parts, the Feldon and the Woodland, i.e. the Champain, and the Woody Country; sever’d in some sort by the river Avon, running obliquely from North-east to South-west, through the middle of the County. ⌈That the first of those was once exceeding populous, may be infer’d from the numbers of villages enter’d in Domesday; the situations of which are now known only by their ruins, or at most by a cottage or two of a Shepherd, who ranges over and manages as much ground, as would have employ’d a dozen Teams, and maintain’d forty or fifty families. The reason of converting so much Tillage into Pasture in this part, seems to be the great progress that the Woodlanders have made in Agriculture, by which means the County began to want pasture. For the Iron-works in the Counties round, destroy’d such prodigious quantities of wood, that they laid the Country more open, and by degrees made room for the plough. Whereupon, the Inhabitants of the Woodland, partly by their own industry, and partly by the assistance of Marle, and of other useful contrivances, have turn’d so much of Wood and Heath-land into Tillage and Pasture, that they produce corn, cattel, cheese, and butter enough, not only for their own use, but also to furnish other Counties; whereas, within the memory of man, they were supply’d with Corn, &c. from the Feldon.⌉

Warwick Shire map, leftWarwick Shire map, right

Warwick Shire

On the South-side of Avon, lies Feldon,Feldon. a champain Country, whose fertile fields of corn, and verdant pastures, yield a most delightful prospect, from the top of Edge-hill; ⌈which hath been made remarkable, by the signal * * Sept. 9. 1642.battel fought there between the King and Parliament. The generality of our Historians compute the number of the slain to have been five or six thousand; but by the survey taken by a * * Mr. Fisher, Vicar of Kineton.neighbouring Clergyman (appointed by the Earl of Essex for that purpose,) the list of the slain amounted only to thirteen hundred and odd.⌉ Where this line of hills ends, near Warmington, I saw a large † † Round, C.square military entrenchment, which I suppose (like others of the same kind) was cast-up, and made, for present defence against the sudden inroads of some enemy. ⌈It contains about twelve acres; near which, within our memory, were found a Sword of Brass, and a battel-ax.⌉ From the red soil hereabouts ⌈a village at the foot of Edghill⌉ is call’d Rodway, or ¦ ¦ Rodley, C.Ratley, ⌈in Domesday Rotelei;⌉ and a great part of the Vale is call’d the Vale of Red horse,The Vale of Red-horse. from the figure of a horse, cut by the country-people in the side of the hill near * * Pillerton, C.Tysoe, out of red colour’d earth; ⌈the trenches which form it, being cleansed and kept open by a neighbouring Freeholder, who enjoys divers lands by that service.⌉ In this part of the County, the places worthy of note, are ShipstonShipston in Worcestershire. and Kynton,Kynton. the former an ancient market for sheep; the latter for kine or beasts; from whence both ⌈may seem to have⌉ deriv’d their names. ⌈Only, as to Kineton, there is this objection, that Henry the first gave the Church under the name of Chinton to the Canons of Kenilworth, whereas the market was not granted tillRegist. de Kenilworth, p.143. the 4th of Henry the third. It is probable, it had the name from being the possession of the Kings, particularly, of Edward the Confessor, or William the Conqueror. And to the North-west of the town, at the point of a hill, still call’d Castle-hill, there has been a Castle (as appears by a little mount cast-up, and a broad and deep ditch round it,) where tradition says that King John kept his Court: a Spring also, at the foot of the hill, goes at this day by the name of King John’s-well. Hard by Kineton, is Chadshunt,Chadshunt. one of the twenty-four towns which were given by Leofrick Earl of Mercia to the Monastery of Coventry; call’d in his Charter Chaddesleyhunt, and in Domesday, Cedesleshunte. It is probable, that it had the name from St. Chadde, call’d also Cedde, and Ceadde. For in the Chapel-yard was an ancient Oratory, and in it (as the Inhabitants report) the Image of St. Chadde; which, by reason of the resort of Pilgrims, was worthInquis. capt. 4 Eliz. 16 l. per Ann. to the Priest. Here is also a Well or Spring, that still retains the name of Chad’s-well. Not far from hence, is Nether-Eatingdon,Nether-Eatingdon. which manour was held of Henry de Ferrers at the time of the Conquest, and continues at this day in the hands of his posterity of the male-line; which is such an uninterrupted succession of owners for so many ages, as we seldom meet with. Till Henry the third’s time, it was their principal seat: then, removing into Derbyshire, they took the name of Shirley, and are now Earls of Ferrers.⌉ Then, Compton in the hole,Compton. so call’d from its being situated in a bottom, almost surrounded with hills; yet is it not without its Pleasures. From this place, a noble family borrow’d their name; a descendant of which, Henry Compton, in the year 1572. was, by the most illustrious Princess Queen Elizabeth, raised to the dignity of a Baron, ⌈and who are since advanced to the honour of Earls. Long-Compton,Long-Compton. in which Parish is Weston, remarkable for the stately house built there by Ralph Sheldon for himself and his posterity, who are still Lords thereof; and which at a great distance makes a fine prospect.

At some distance, on the edge of Northamptonshire, is⌉ Wormleighton,Wormleighton. well-known for the richness of its sheep-pastures; but much more remarkable, since King James ⌈the first, in the first year of his reign,⌉ created that excellent person, Robert Spencer (of whom I have already spoken) Baron Spencer of Wormleighton, ⌈whose grandson Henry Lord Spencer being advanced by King Charles the first to the title of Earl of Sunderland, and being in arms for that Prince in the Civil Wars, lost his life in the first battle of Newbury.⌉ Shugbury,Shugbury. where the Star-stones (Astroites)Astroites. are found; which the Lords of that manour, the Shugburies, have long since taken into their Coat-armour.fossil ⌈These, being put into a glass or cup of vinegar, stir about, and keep themselves in motion.⌉ Vide Lincolnshire. Southam,Southam. a market-town of some note, and well frequented. LeamingtonLeamington. (so call’d from the little river Leame, which runs through the precinct thereof;) where there rises a salt spring, ⌈which is used by the poorer Inhabitants for seasoning of their bread.⌉ Vehindon,Vehindon. now Long-Ichingdon; and Harbury. These two places are memorable on account of the death of Fremundus, son of King Offa, who was basely and treacherously slain betwixt them. A person of great eminence in his time, and of singular piety; whom nothing made the mark and object of envy, but that in an unhappy juncture he happily triumph’d over the insolence of his enemies. But this undeserv’d fate turn’d to his greatest glory; for being bury’d at the palace of his father Offa (now call’d Off-Church)Off-Church. his memory was continu’d to posterity; that is, he was canoniz’d, and had divine honours paid him by the people, and his life written by an ancient Poet in a tolerable strain. Some of which (describing the villain, who, spur’d on with the desire of a crown, did assassinate him,) it may not be amiss to subjoin:

Non sperans, vivo Fremundo, regis honore
Optato se posse frui, molitur in ejus
Immeritam tacito mortem, gladioque profanus
Irruit exerto servus, Dominique jacentis
Tale nihil veritum sævo caput amputat ictu.
Talis apud
† In some Copies, Radford.Wydford Fremundum palma coronat,
Dum simul & sontes occidit, & occidit insons
.

Despairing e’re to reach his proud desires
While Fremund liv’d, he wickedly conspires
Against his life, and with his treacherous sword
Beheads his sleeping and unthinking Lord.
At Wydford thus blest Fremund gain’d a crown,
While guilty blood he shed, and guiltless spent his own.

Ichingdon aforesaid is so call’d from the river Ichene, on which it stands, ¦ ¦ Dugdale, p.230.and was the birth-place of St. Wolstan the famous Bishop of Worcester; who being educated in the Abbey of Peterburrow, was shorn a Monk in the Monastery at Worcester, and * * Ann. 1060.afterwards became Bishop of the place, upon the removal of Aldred to the See of York. This town was anciently one of the chief of the County, as appears by the large number of Hides which it contain’d in the Conqueror’s Survey, and by its being rank’d in the number of those few, which, in the 15th of Henry the second, were put under the title De auxilio villarum & burgorum ad maritandam filiam Regis, i.e. of the Aid of villages and burroughs, towards the marriage of the King’s daughter, whereunto the inhabitants hereof paid C. shillings.⌉

But I must not omit to acquaint you, that the FossFoss-way. (that old Roman-way) crosseth this Feldon or Champain part; ⌈some remains of⌉ whose Causey, in pastures now trackless and unfrequented, are to be seen near Chesterton,Chesterton. the dwelling-place of the very ancient family the Peitoes;Peito. of which family, ⌈one in the 28th of Edward the first is call’d Richardus de Pictavia, or Poictou in France; and of the same family,⌉ was that William Peito, the Franciscan Frier, whom Paul the fourth then Pope, to mortify Cardinal Pool (Thus divine minds, you see, are subject to human passions!) created in vain Cardinal and Legate of England; having cited Pool, as guilty of some heretical opinions, to answer the same at Rome. For Mary Queen of England, although entirely devoted to the See of Rome, so interpos’d in it, or rather oppos’d the same, that Peito was inhibited from entring England, and Pool preserv’d his Legatine authority entire. ⌈This Chesterton shews a threefold evidence of its antiquity; The first it carries in the name; for the Saxon Saxon Ceaster, and so our Chester, comes plainly from the Roman Castrum, and is not originally a German word, but was us’d by them here in England, after the Romans had left it. And this is plain from Mr. Burton’s observation, That he never found the termination added to any places, but such only where the Romans had built their Castra. The second mark, is its nearness to the Roman Foss; upon which it is evident, that at convenient distances, places of entertainment were built for the reception of the armies in their march; if indeed this was a building at that time, and not rather a square camp or intrenchment, as it seems to have been. The third token is, that in the compass within which the Roman building is suppos’d to have stood, several old coins have been dug-up. And these three amount to little less than a demonstration of its Roman antiquity.⌉ Perhaps, it may not be impertinent to mention, what some writers under the reign of Edward the fourth ⌈parabolically representing the great depopulation caused by inclosing of Common-fields,⌉ have complain’d of, viz. That CovetousnessRoss, and T. B. against the demolishers of Villages. coming down at the head of a numerous army of sheep, fell with great fury on the populous villages of this tract, and drove out their ancient inhabitants with a mighty slaughter. Which great destruction made a person of learning in that age exclaim, with the Poet;

Quid facerent hostes capta crudelius urbe?

Could plund’ring foes more cruelty have shown?

On the bank of Avon, where with a slender stream it enters this County, RugbyRugby. first offers it self to your view, a market-town abounding with butchers.

⌈In Domesday-book it is written Rochebery, which name * * Warwickshire, p.26.Sir William Dugdale derives from Roche, a rock or quarrey of stone, For such (says he) there is, westward from this town, about half a mile; and it is very like that the ground whereon the town stands being high, is of the same condition. Here was formerly a little castle, which stood about a furlong from the Church northwards, as is to be seen by the banks of earth, and part of the moat yet remaining. The foremention’d Author is of opinion, that it was built in the time of King Stephen, who, fearing an invasion from Maud the Empress, granted leave to the Nobility to build every man his castle within his own grounds. Not far from Rugby, is Brounsover,Brounsover. on the East-bank of the river Swift; in the original whereof (as also of many other names of the same termination) we must crave leave to dissent from Sir William Dugdale, who tells us that over, as us’d upon those occasions, signifies always supra, above, over, or higher. For tho’ it certainly is so, wherever it has nether answering it in the name of a place at some little distance; yet whenever such places stand upon rivers, it is much more natural to fetch the name from the Saxon Saxon ofre, ripa, a bank, which as it is suited to the condition of the place, so does it prevent the absurdity of laying down a relative name without a correlative to answer it. This conjecture is confirm’d by instances in most Counties in England; as it is here particularly, in Warwickshire. More to the west, we find Stretton,Stretton. so nam’d from its situation upon that Stratum or Street of the Romans, call’d the Foss. There is another place of this name not far from Stow in Lincolnshire, which likewise stands upon a Roman Causey; and that name, wheresoever it occurs throughout the kingdom, seems to have the same original; which observation may be of use to persons of curiosity, whose inclinations lead them to the tracing of those ancient ways.

Going along with the FossDugd. War. p.50. towards Leicestershire; at a little distance from it, is Monks-kirkby,Monks-kirkby. where are certain tokens of a Roman station. For, by digging the ground near the Church, there have been discover’d the foundations of old walls and Roman bricks. There are also three or four heaps of earth in an adjoyning pasture, which are apparently the monuments or Sepulture of some military persons in those days: and these badges are sufficient to prove, that it hath been a place of note many hundred years since. AEthelfleda But what my Author adds; And it may very well be, that those materials for building, by reason of the ruins before mention’d, so ready at hand, became a special motive to that renown’d Lady Æthelfleda (so much taken notice of by our old Historians, and stil’d Merciorum Domina) to begin the structure of this place: This (I say) we must not agree to, for two reasons; the first, because that place is call’d in Saxon, Saxon Cyricbyrig; and we never observe, that their Saxon byrig passes into our modern by or bie; nor is this termination the same with byrig (as Sir William Dugdale intimates) which comes from Saxon: beorg, collis, and includes in its signification a rising ground, such as their Forts were generally built upon; whereas the other (by or bie) implies no more than a bare dwelling-place, without any respect to the situation, and is (if I mistake not) of Danish original; by signifying also the very same thing in the old Islandick. My second reason is, that another place offers it self with greater probability; and it is Chirbury on the west-part of Shropshire, which as it retains the old name, so lying upon the frontiers of the kingdom of Mercia, and not far from the Severn, it seems much more probable to be the place, than this other.

But to return to the river;⌉ at Newenham Regis,Newenham. on the opposite side to Rugby, arise three SpringsMedicinal Springs. percolated, as it is probable, through an Alom Mineral; whose waters of a milky† Colour and taste, C.taste, have the reputation of being very medicinal in the Stone. They certainly are exceeding * * ’Tis only a weak chalybeate.Diuretick, and close and heal green wounds; and being drunk with salt, are laxative, with sugar, restringent. ⌈Agreeably to the name of Newenham Regis, the Town appears, by the Quo warranto Roll of the 13th of Edward the first, to have been in the possession of the King.⌉ Then, Bagginton,Bagginton. which had its castle ⌈(nothing whereof remains, but the moat, and some heaps of rubbish;)⌉ heretofore it belong’d to the Bagotts, a very honourable family. From which, at a little distance, lies Stoneley,Stoneley. where King Henry the second founded a small Abby.Regist. Monast. de Stoneley. Opposite to this, on the bank of the Avon, stood a little castle call’d Stoneley-Holme, built in Holme-hull, which was destroy’d at the time when England was over-run by the Danes under their Leader Canutus; ⌈and now there are no remains, either of thing or name. In the reign of King Charles the first, Sir Thomas Leigh of Stoneley was, for his loyalty, advanced to the degree of a Baron of this Realm, by the title of Lord Leigh of Stoneley.⌉

The next place on the banks of Avon, is the principal town of the County, which we call Warwick,Warwick. the Saxons Saxon warring-wic ⌈the ancient Annals Saxon Waeringwic,⌉ and Ninnius and the Britains Caer Guaruic and Caer-Leon. ⌈John Rous of Warwick derives these names from Gwayr a British Prince; and Matthew Paris (in the life of King Offa) from Waremund, father of the first Offa King of the Mercians⌉. But all the ⌈foresaid⌉ names seem to be deriv’d, Praesidium Praefect either from the British word Guarth, which signifies Præsidium, a Fortress; or from Legions posted in such places for their security: which inclin’d me to think (altho’ I am more a Sceptick than Critick, in matters of Etymology,) that this was the very town which the Romans call’d Præsidium:Præsidium. where (as it is in the Notitia) the Præfect of the Dalmatian horse was posted, by the appointment of the Governour of Britain. These TroopsForeign troops in garrison. were levied in Dalmatia: and here, we may observe the politick Prudence of the Romans, who in their Provinces dispos’d and quarter’d their foreign Troops in garrisons; between whom and the natives (by reason of the diversity of language, and humours) there could be no secret Combination. For, as Florus writes,Florus, l.4. c. ult. Nations not habituated to the yoke of slavery, would otherwise be always attempting to shake it off. Hereupon it was, that from Africa the Moors, from Spain the Asturians and Vettones, from Germany the Batavi, the Nervii, Tungri, and Turnacenses; from Gaul, the Lingones and Morini, and from other parts the Dalmatians, Thracians, Alains, &c. were all brought over to serve in Britain; as we shall observe in the proper places. But to return to our business: Let none think that the Britains deriv’d the word Guarth, from the Franks; for, if we believe Lazius, it is of Hebrew extraction, in which original very many Countries agree. But that this was the Præsidium, the authority of our Annals may convince us, affirming that the Roman Legions had a station here; and also its situation, almost in the centre of the Province. For it lies at an equal distance from the coast of Norfolk on the east, and of Wales on the west; just such a situation as was that of Præsidium, a town of Corsica, in the heart of that Island. Nor will it seem strange, that the Romans should have a fortress or military station in this place; if we consider its situation on a steep and rocky eminence over the river Avon, and that the ways on every side leading up to it, are cut through the rock. ⌈For it stands on a hill, which is one entire rock of free-stone; out of whose bowels were wrought all the publick buildings that adorn it. Each of the four ways to it (answering the four points) lead you by a Religious house, through a rock, over a current of water, and through streets which do all meet in the centre of the town. The wells and cellars are made in the rock; and the descent every way keeps it clean. Under it, on the south, is a fruitful Champain Country; on the north, are groves, woods, and parks; and it is supply’d with water brought in pipes, from springs at half a mile’s distance.⌉ That it hath been fortified with walls and a ditch, is manifest. The castle is very strong both by nature and art; the seat heretofore of the Earls of Warwick, extending it self south-west. ⌈It is now made a most noble and delightful dwelling; the height of the solid rock from the river on which it stands, is forty foot: but on the north-side it is eaven with the town.⌉ The town it self is adorn’d with fair buildings, and owes very much of its beauty to Ethelfleda, Lady of the Mercians, who, in the year 911, rais’d it out of its ruins. At the Norman invasion it was in a flourishing state, and had many Burgesses; of whom twelve were by tenure to accompany the King in his wars, as may be seen in Domesday-book. He, who upon warning given did not go, was fin’d one hundred shillings to the King. But if the King cross’d the Seas against an enemy, then they were either to send him four Boatswains, or in lieu of them four pounds in Deniers. In this Burgh, the King hath in Demesne one hundred and thirteen Burgesses; and the Barons of the King one hundred and twelve.

Roger, the second Earl of Warwick of the Norman race, built in the middle of the town the beautiful Church of St. Mary; which the Beauchamps, succeeding Earls, adorn’d with their monuments: more especially the last of the Beauchamps, Richard Earl of Warwick and ⌈† † Governour of Normandy, C.Lieutenant General, Governour of the Realm of France, and of the Dutchy of Normandy,⌉ who dying at Roan in the year 1439, was with great magnificence and funeral pomp brought over and inter’d here. ⌈And besides the monuments of the Beauchamps; the Church of St. Mary is honour’d with those of Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester, and Ambrose Dudley Earl of Warwick. On the north-side also of the Quire, in an octangular room (formerly the Chapter-house) is a stately monument, being black and white marble, of Fulk Lord Brook, erected by himself in his life-time, and circumscrib’d with this Epitaph: Fulk-Grevil, servant to Queen Elizabeth, Counsellor to King James, and friend to Sir Philip Sidney. Trophæum Peccati. trophaeum In the Church it self, lies John Rous, a native of this place, and Chantry-priest of Guy’s Cliff. Sir William Dugdale calls him a famous Antiquary; and Leland and Bale give him a character as ample, when they tell us, that he had devoted himself wholly to the study and search of Antiquities, particularly of this his native place; and to that end had view’d and examin’d most Libraries in England. Here lies also Thomas Cartwright (first Master of the Earl of Leicester’s Hospital) who is stil’d in the History of Queen Elizabeth, Inter Puritanos Antesignanus, the Ringleader of the Puritans.

On the fifth of September 1694, the best part of this Town was destroy’d by a casual Fire, occasion’d by the mere accident of a spark blown from a stick, as it was carrying cross a lane. Upon which, an6 Will. 3.c.1. Act of Parliament pass’d for the rebuilding of it; by means whereof, and the liberal Contributions of the Nation, it is risen again, with a far more stately and beautiful appearance.⌉

Near Warwick, to the north, is Blacklow-hill,Blacklow-hill. on which Peter de * * Al. Gaversden.Gaveston, whom Edward the second from a mean condition had rais’d to the honour of the Earldom of Cornwall, was beheaded by the Barons. For this man, exalted with the favour of his Prince and the flatteries of Fortune, had assum’d excessive Liberties, and debauch’d the King: he vilify’d the good, prey’d upon the estates of all, and, like a crafty old Courtier, promoted quarrels betwixt the King and the Nobility. ⌈For which reasons, Guy de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, seis’d him at Walingford, as they were carrying him Prisoner to London, and brought him hither, and without any Process of Law cut-off his head.⌉

Hard by, upon the Avon, stands Guy-cliff,Guy-cliff. call’d by others Gib-cliff, † † The present seat, C.
J. Rouse of Warwick.
heretofore the seat of Thomas de Bellofago or Beaufoe, of the old Norman race. This place is the seat of Pleasure: a shady grove, crystal springs, mossy caves, meadows ever green, a soft and murmuring fall of waters under the rocks; and, to crown all, solitude and quiet, the great delight of the Muses. Here, fame tells us, that Guy of Warwick,Guy of Warwick. the celebrated Hero, after he had finish’d his Martial Atchievements, built a Chapel, led a Hermit’s life, and was at last bury’d. But the wiser sort think, that this place took its name from Guy de Beauchamp, who liv’d much later. And certain it is, that Richard de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, did here build and dedicate a Chapel to St. Margaret, and set up the Gyant-like statue of the famous Guy, ⌈eight foot in height. The truth is, the story of the famous Guy of this place, is so much obscur’d by fables and romances, that it is difficult to determin how far it ought to be credited. It is certain, however, that some Centuries since, the greatest of the Earls of Warwick paid a mighty veneration to his memory. William Beauchamp call’d his eldest son after him. Guy; Thomas, by his last will, bequeath’d the Sword and Coat of Mail of this Guy, to his son; another Christen’d a younger son by the name of his successor, and dedicated to him a noble Tower, the walls whereof are ten foot thick, the circumference one hundred and twenty-six, the height from the bottom of the ditch upward, one hundred and thirteen foot. Another left a suit of Arras, wherein were wrought the heroick Acts of Guy, as an heirloom to his family. Lastly, his sword and other Accoutrements, now to be seen in the Castle, were by Patent, 1 Henry 8. granted to William Hoggeson Yeoman of the Buttery, with the fee of two pence per diem for that service. Whether it was the example of this Hero, that put a spirit in his successors, I know not; but we find by our Histories, that in ancient times, from the Conquest to the death of Ambrose Dudley, there was scarce any one considerable scene of action, wherein the Earls of Warwick made not a great figure. Two miles below Warwick is Barford,Barford. where one Samuel Fairfax, born in the year 1647, when he was twelve years of age, dwelt under the same roof, and eat at the same table with his father and mother, grandfather and grandmother, great grandfather and great grandmother; who all liv’d very happily together: and none of the three generations of either sex had been twice marry’d.⌉

From Warwick, the Avon with a fuller body passes by Charlcott,Charlcott. the seat of the noble and ⌈heretofore⌉ knightly family of the Lucies; which came to them long since by inheritance from the Charlcotts: ⌈William de Lucy, son of Walter de Charlcott, was the first who assumed the name, in the time of King Henry the third,⌉ * * Who built, C.and built a Religious house (for the support and entertainment of poor people and strangers) at Thellisford. For the brook was call’d Thelley; which runs by Compton Murdack, heretofore belonging to the Murdacks, now to the family of the Verneys, Knights; ⌈of whom, Sir Richard Verney, being descended through an heiress of Grevil, from Robert Willoughby Baron of Brooke, and thereupon laying claim to that title, had it adjudg’d to him in Parliament; to which he accordingly receiv’d Summons, by the title of Lord Willoughby of Brooke, and, dying in a good old age, convey’d the same honour to his posterity.⌉ Thence, running by Thellisford, it falls into Avon. Which river within a little way salutes Stratford, a pretty handsom market-town, that owes its ornaments and beauty chiefly to two of its natives;Stratford upon Avon. to John de Stratford Archbishop of Canterbury, ⌈who † † Founded the Church, C.built the South-Isle of the Church; the Quire being built by T. Balshal, and the north and south-cross by the Executors of Hugh Clopton;⌉ and to ⌈the same⌉ Hugh Clopton sometime Lord Mayor of London, who at extraordinary expence built the Stone-bridge over the Avon, consisting of fourteen arches. He was younger brother of an ancient family, which took their name from the adjacent manour of Clopton, from the time that Walter Cocksfield, stil’d Knight-Marshal, fix’d a seat at Clopton, for himself and his posterity. Their inheritance in the * * In our time, C.last age descended to two sisters coheirs; one of them marry’d to Sir George Carew a famous Knight (Vice-chamberlain to her most Serene Majesty Queen Anne,) whom King James ⌈the first⌉ createdBaron Carew of Clopton. Baron Carew of Clopton, and the mention of whom, if for no other reason, I cannot omit, for his great respect to Antiquities.shakespeare ⌈This place was given by Ethelardus a Viceroy of Worcestershire, to the Bishoprick of Worcester, three hundred years before the Conquest. The Church was Collegiate, and the College is still standing: in the Chancel lies William Shakespear, a native of this place, who has given ample proof of his genius and great abilities, in the forty-eight Plays he has left behind him. The stone that covers him, has this Inscription:

Good friend, for Jesus sake, forbear
To dig the dust inclosed here.
Blest be the man that spares these Stones,
And curst be he that moves my Bones
.⌉

Avon sees nothing more on its banks, besides Bitford,Bitford. a market-town, and some little country villages; before it makes its entry into Worcestershire.

Now let us take a view of the Woodland;Woodland. which, lying on the north-side of Avon, extends into a much greater compass than the Feldon. It is for the most part † † See, at the beginning of this County.cloath’d with woods, yet wants not pastures nor corn-fields; and it hath also several veins of Iron ⌈adjoining to it in Worcestershire and Staffordshire, but none have been yet found in this County.⌉ As it is now call’d the Woodland, so by a more ancient name it was call’d Arden:Arden. which, in my opinion, are but two words importing the same thing. For Arden, among the ancient Britains and Gauls, seems to have denoted a wood; since we know, that in France a vast wood has the name of Arden; and a town in Flanders situated near another wood, is call’d Ardenburg; and this celebrated forest in England, ¦ ¦ Truncato vocabulo.paring off the first syllable, retains the name of Den. Not to mention the Diana,Diana who in the old Gallick Inscriptions is call’d ArdwenaArdwena. and Ardoina,Seld. Polyolb. p.229. i.e. (if I am not much mistaken) Sylvestris, or, Of the woods, and who was the same, that in the Italick Inscriptions is call’d Nemorensis, or Diana of the Groves. From this woody tract, Turkill de Arden who resided here, and was in great favour with King Henry the first, assum’d that sirname; and his Descendants the Ardens, famous in succeeding ages, were branch’d out into all parts of England.

On the west-side of the Woodland; the river Arrow makes haste, by StudlyStudly. (some ages since a castle belonging to John son of Corbutio) to joyn the river Avon. But whether it be so call’d (as Tigris a river of Mesopotamia, which in the Persian language signifies an Arrow) from the swiftness of its current; or from its slow course (for that the word Ara among the old Britains and Gauls imported;) I leave to the search of others. ⌈I was once of opinion, that it was this river which the Danes sail’d up, when they had a design upon the kingdom of Mercia; and this I was induced to by the similitude between Saxon arwan, the ancient name, and Arrow the present. What made it yet more probable, was, the reading of Florence of Worcester and Hoveden, wherein I find the same river call’d Arewe. But upon weighing the circumstances of that action, I found it necessary to quit that opinion (tho’ without the good fortune of meeting with any other * * Vid. Orwell in Essex, and Ware in Hertfordshire.place, where I could safely settle the ancient Saxon: Arwan.) For first, Arrow rises in Worcestershire, and does not run long, before it joins it self to the Avon; being no way so considerable, as to be capable of carrying vessels, tho’ very small. Then, the history tells us, that they went out of the Thames, and after they had compass’d their design, brought the spoil into the river Medway in Kent; which makes it probable, that this place was not at so great a distance as Warwickshire.

But to return.⌉ On the banks of Arrow, lies Coughton,Coughton. the chief seat of the knightly family of the Throckmortons,Throckmorton. who, since they marry’d with the heiress of Speney, grew very numerous, famous, and fruitful of good Wits. Not far from hence, lies Ouseley,Ouseley. memorable for the ancient Lords thereof, the Butlers, Barons of Wem, from whom it hereditarily descended to the Ferrars of Ousley. Whose inheritance in a short time was divided betwixt John Lord of Greistocke, and Ralph Nevil. A little lower, upon Arrow, is seated Beauchamp’s Court,Beauchamps-Court. so call’d from Baron Beauchamp of Powicke; from whom, by the only daughter of Edward Willoughby son of Robert Willoughby Lord Brook, it came to Sir Fulk GrevillGrevills. Knight, a person no less esteem’d for the sweetness of his temper, than the dignity of his station. Whose only son, of the same name, † † Doth, C.did so entirely devote himself to the study of real Virtue and Honour, that the nobleness of his mind far ¦ ¦ Exceeds, C.exceeded that of his birth; for whose extraordinary favours, tho’ I must despair of making suitable returns, yet, whether speaking or silent, I must ever preserve a grateful remembrance of them. ⌈In this noble family the honour still continues, in the person of Fulk Lord Brooke.⌉

Below Beauchamp’s-Court, the river Alne or Alenus falls into Arrow; having, in its course through a woody Country, pass’d by Henley,Henley. a little market-town, near which the Montforts, a noble family of great name, had a castle, which, from its delightful situation on a hill amidst the woods, was call’d by a French name Bell-desert. But the castle hath long since been bury’d in its own ruins. They deriv’d their pedigree, not from the Almarian family of the Montforts, but from Turstan de Bastanberg a Norman. Their inheritance, at length, pass’d by daughters to the Barons of Sudley and the Frevils. At the confluence of the two rivers Arrow and Aulne, I saw Aulcester,Aulcester. by Matthew Paris call’d Allencester; and that more properly. The Inhabitants, because it hath been a place of great note and antiquity, will needs have the true name to be Ouldcester. This was (as we read in an old Inquisition)A Book in the Exchequer. a free Burrough of our Lord Henry the first, which the same King gave to Robert Corbet for his good services: and when the same Robert dy’d, it descended to William de Botereux, and to Peter the son of Herbert. And when William de Botereux dy’d, his Moiety descended to Reginald de Botereux as heir, who now holds it: and when Peter the son of Herbert dy’d, his Moiety descended to Herbert the son of Peter; which Herbert gave it to Robert de Chaundois. But from a very great town, it is now reduc’d to a small market, tho’ still much noted for all sorts of grain. ⌈* * Dugd.The very termination of this name leads us to expect something of Antiquity; as doth also its situation upon the Roman way Ykenild-street; and, upon the authority of Sir William DugdaleWar. p.568. (who tells us, that old foundations of buildings, Roman bricks, and coins both of gold, silver, and brass, have been frequently found there) we need not scruple to affirm, that this was formerly a Roman station. Above half a Century since, in an old foundation where they were digging a Cellar, an urn was taken up, with six hundred and odd pieces of Roman coin in it; eight of them gold, and the rest silver. Most of these are of Roman Emperors, and the Reverses generally different. They fell to the right honourable the Lord Brooke, as Lord of the manour. Not far from Aulcester, is Ragley,Ragley. from whence Francis Lord Conway takes the stile and title of Baron of Ragley; to which honour he was advanced in the second year of Queen Anne.⌉

Higher, where the Country is not now so thick cloath’d with woods, stands Wroxhall;Wroxhall. where Hugo de Hatton built a little Monastery or Priory: And Badesley,Badesley. formerly the possession of the Clintons, now of the Ferrars. And Balshall,Balshall. heretofore a Preceptory of the Templars,Register of the Templars and of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. which Roger de Mowbray gave them; whose munificence to the Order of the Knights-Templars was so extraordinary, that by unanimous consent of their Chapter, they decreed, that he should have the power of pardoning any Brother who had transgress’d the Rules of the Order, provided he came and acknowledg’d his crime before this their Benefactor. And the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, to whom all the possessions of the Templars in England were assign’d (for to give to profane uses things which had been once consecrated to God, our Ancestors thought a crime not to be aton’d for,) in testimony of their gratitude,See the Stat. de Templariis. granted to John Mowbray de Axholm, successor of the said Roger, that he and his successors, at every Assembly of their Order, should be receiv’d in the next degree of honour to Soveraign Princes. ⌈By the custom of this place, the Tenants could not marry their daughters, without the consent of the Fraternity of Templars, or Hospitalers; as appears by an account taken in the 31st year of King Henry the second. The Lady Katharine Leveson founded an Hospital here; for the government whereof, an 1 Annæ.Act of Parliament, not long since, was made.⌉

More to the north-east, in the midst of a Chase and Park, a confluence of little streams form a Lake; which being presently confin’d within banks, make a Chanel or Kennel. Upon this stands Kenelworth,Kenelworth, commonly Killingworth. heretofore vulgarly call’d Kenelworda; and corruptly Killingworth. From this town a most noble, beautiful, and strong, Castle, encompass’d with a Chase and Parks, takes its name. It was built, neither by Kenulphus, nor Kenelmus, nor Kineglisus, as some Historians have dreamt; but by Geoffrey de Clinton Lord Chamberlain to King Henry the first, and his son (as may be seen in authentick Evidences,) after he had founded there a Monastery for Canons-Regular. But Henry his * * Pronepos.nephew’s son, having no issue, sold it to King Henry the third, who granted it to Simon de Montefort Earl of Leicester with Eleanor his sister, for her portion. But presently after, this bond of amity and friendship being broken, and Earl Simon, after dismal commotions, being slain in the Barons wars, the castle endured a siege of six months, and at last was surrender’d to King Henry the third, who made it part of the inheritance of the Lancastrian family. At which time, was made and publish’d the Edict which our Lawyers stile Dictum de Kenelworth; whereby it was enacted, that all who had taken up Arms against the King,1266. should pay five years value of all their lands, &c. A very wholsom piece of severity, without effusion of blood, to check those seditious spirits, so pernicious to the Government; whose only hopes were placed in the distractions of the State at that time. ⌈They still find Balls of stone, sixteen inches diameter, suppos’d to have been thrown in slings, in the time of the Barons wars. King Edward the second was for some time detain’d Prisoner here.⌉ But * * Now of late, by, C.by the royal munificence of Queen Elizabeth, it became the seat of Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester; who in rebuilding and adorning it, spar’d no cost; ⌈being said to have bestow’d 60000 l. upon it.⌉ So that whether you † † Regard, C.regarded the magnificence of the Buildings, or the nobleness of the Chase and Parks; it ¦ ¦ May, C.might claim a second place among the stateliest Castles of England. ⌈The said Earl Robert entertain’d Queen Elizabeth and her Court, in this place, seventeen days, with all the variety and magnificence both of Feasting and Shows. In which time, he spent three hundred and twenty Hogsheads of ordinary beer, as appears by the accounts of his Steward; which I add (tho’ a circumstance seemingly little) to shew as well the largeness of the Royal Retinue, as the splendor of the Entertainment. From Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, it pass’d to Sir Robert Dudley his natural son, who sold it to Prince Henry; and he dying without issue, it came into the hands of Prince Charles, who committed the custody of it to Robert Earl of Monmouth, Henry Lord Carey his eldest son, and Thomas Carey Esquire; the inheritance whereof was granted to Lawrence Viscount Hide of this place, and Earl of Rochester. But the Castle, in the late Civil wars, was demolish’d by those who purchas’d it of the Parliament, with design to make money of the materials.⌉

From hence (that I may pursue the same course that I did in my journey) I saw Solyhill; in which was nothing worth the sight, besides the Church. Next, Bremicham,Bremicham. swarming with Inhabitants, and echoing with the noise of Anvils (for here are great numbers of Smiths, ⌈and of other Artificers in Iron and Steel, whose performances in that way are greatly admired both at home and abroad.⌉) The lower part of the Town is very watery. The upper part rises with abundance of handsome buildings: and it is none of the least honours of the place, that from hence the noble and warlike family of the Bremichams in Ireland, had both their original and name; ⌈and that it gives the title of Baron to Edward Lord Dudley and Ward; of which family, Humble Ward was created, by King Charles the first, Lord Ward of Bermingham.⌉ From thence, in the extreme point of this County northward, lies Sutton Colefield,Sutton-Colefield. in a foresty, unkind, and barren soil; boasting of it’s native John Voisy Bishop of Exeter, who, in the reign of King Henry the eighth, raised this little Town, then ruinous and decayed, and adorn’d it with buildings, and several Privileges, and a Grammar-school; ⌈and liv’d and died here in the one hundred and third year of his age. Here, the Earls of Warwick had a Chase of great extent, but the Market which they have, is now almost wholly disused.⌉ From hence going southward, I came to Coleshull,Coleshull. belonging heretofore to the Clintons, ⌈where, in an old foundation, hath been dug-up a Roman copper Coin of Trajan; and not far from it, is Blith;Blith. memorable for nothing, but that it was purchas’d by Sir William Dugdale, and was his place of residence when he compil’d that accurate and elaborate work, the Antiquities of this County.⌉ Neighbour to Coleshull is Maxtock-Castle,Maxstock-Castle. which in a continu’d succession had for it’s Lords, the Lindseys, who were Lords of Wolverly; and the Odingsells, having their original from Flanders; and the Clintons, who have been very eminent in this County. Lower, in the middle of this woody country, is seated Coventry,Coventry. so called (as I conjecture ) from a Convent; for such a Convent in our tongue we call a Covent, and Covenn; and frequently, in our Histories, and in the Pontifical Decrees, this is call’d Conventria;Honorius 3. cap.14.
Decret.
as particularly in that, Either the Bishop of Conventry is not in his right wits, or he seems wilfully to have quitted common sense; ⌈(which must relate to Alexander de Savensby, who was consecrated in the year 1224, and lived in the time of Pope Honorius the third. He was a very learned man, but, saith Bishop Godwin, pretended to Visions and Apparitions scarce credible.)⌉ Yet some there are, who will have the name of this place taken from a rivulet running through it; at this day called Shirburn, and in an old Charter of the Priory, Cuentford. Whencesoever the name was taken, the City being some ages since enrich’d with the Manufacture of Cloathing and Caps, was the only Mart-town of this Country, and of greater resort than could be expected from its Mid-land situation; ⌈but now both these Trades are much decayed.⌉ It is commodiously seated, and is large and neat; fortify’d with very strong walls, and adorn’d with beautiful buildings: amongst which, two Churches of excellent Architecture stand near together, as it were rivalling each other; one dedicated to the Holy Trinity, the other to St. Michael. There is nothing in it of very great Antiquity. ⌈Their stately Cross, for workmanship and beauty inferior to few in England, was built (33 Henry 8.) by Sir William Hollies sometime Lord Mayor of London. But⌉ that which seems to be the greatest Monument, is the Religious-house or Priory, whose ruins I saw near these two Churches. This, King Canutus founded for Nuns, who being expell’d within a little time, Leofrick Earl of Mercia enlarg’d it, and in a manner built it a-new, in the year 1040; with so great a show of gold and silver (to use Malmesbury’s words) that the walls of the Church seem’d too strait to contain the treasures of it. This was very prodigious to behold; for from one beam were scrap’d† 50, C.
V. Dugd.
five hundred marks of silver. And he endow’d it with so great revenues, that Robert de Limsey, Bishop of Lichfield and Chester, remov’d his See hither, as to the golden sands of Lydia; that (as the same Malmesbury hath it) he might steal from the treasures of the Church wherewithall to fill the King’s Coffers, and to cheat the Pope of his Provisions, and to gratifie the Roman avarice. However, this See, after a few years, return’d back to Lichfield; but upon these terms, that one and the same Bishop should be stil’d Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. The first LordLords of Coventry. of this City that I know of, was Leofrick; who, being incens’d against the Citizens, laid upon them very heavy-taxes: these he would by no means remit (notwithstanding the great intercession of his Lady Godiva)1050. unless she would consent to ride naked through the most frequented parts of the City: which Florilegus.(if credit may be given to tradition) she perform’d, having cover’d her body with her long dischevel’d hair, without being seen by any one: and so freed her Citizens from many heavy impositions for ever. ⌈In memory of Leofric (who dy’d in the 13th year of Edward the Confessor) and of Godiva his Countess, their Pictures were set up in the Windows of Trinity Church, with this Inscription;

I Lurick for the love of thee
Do set Coventry Toll-free
.

And a Procession or Cavalcade is still yearly made in memory of Godiva, with a naked figure, representing her riding on horse-back through the City.⌉ From Leofrick, this City, by Lucia, daughter of his son Algar, came into the possession of the Earls of Chester; for she had marry’d Ranulph (the first Earl of that name, and the third of the family) who granted the same Liberties to Coventry, that Lincoln enjoy’d; and gave a great part of the City to the Monks. The residue of it, and Chilmore their manour-house near the City, he reserv’d to him and his heirs; who dying, and the inheritance for want of issue-male coming to be divided amongst the sisters, Coventry, by the death of the Earls of Arundel, fell to De monte Alto.Roger de Monte alto or Monthault; whose grandchild by his son Robert granted all his right, in default of issue-male, to Queen Isabel, Mother of King Edward the third, to hold during her life: after her decease, the remainder to John de Eltham brother of the King, and to the heirs of his body begotten. In default of such, the remainder to Edward King of England, &c. For so you have it in the Record of a Fine, in the second year of Edward the third. But John of Eltham was afterwards created Earl of Cornwall, and this place became annex’d to the Earldom of Cornwall: from which time, it hath flourish’d very much. Several Kings bestow’d upon it divers immunities and privileges, especially Edward the third, who granted it the Election of a Mayor and two Bayliffs: and Henry the sixth, who having laid to it some of the neighbouring villages, granted by his Charter (for so are the very words of it,) That it should be an entire County, incorporate by it self in deed and name, and distinct from the County of Warwick. At which time, in lieu of two Bayliffs, he constituted two Sheriffs; and the Citizens began to enclose it with very strong walls. In these are most noble and beautiful gates. At that Gate which goes by the name of Gosford, is to be seen a vast shield-bone of a Boar; which you may believe, that Guy of Warwick, or Diana of the Groves (which you please) kill’d in hunting, after he had with his snout turn’d up the pit or pond that is now called Swansewell-pool,Swanse­well-pool. but in ancient Charters Swineswell. ⌈Anciently, Edward the fourth, for their disloyalty, took the Sword from the Mayor, and seised their Liberties and Franchises, which they redeemed with five hundred marks: and, of late years, the Walls and Towers were demolished, by command of King Charles the second, upon his Restoration, and only the Gates left standing; by which one may easily guess at the strength and beauty of the Walls and Towers. This City is famous, among other things, for the two Parliaments held in it; the first in the 6th of Hen. 4, call’d from the exclusion of the Lawyers Parliamentum indoctorum, or the unlearned Parliament; the latter in the 38th Hen. 6, which, from the Attainders of Richard Duke of York, and the Earls of Salisbury, Warwick, and March, was call’d by some Parliamentum Diabolicum, or the Devilish Parliament. It hath afforded the title of Earl to George Villiers, created Earl of Coventry and Duke of Buckingham, 18 May, 21 Jac. 1, in which honours he was succeeded by his son of the same name. Who dying without issue, the Title of Earl of Coventry (together with that of Viscount Deerhurst,) was confer’d upon Thomas Lord Coventry of Allesborough, in the 9th year of King William the third.⌉ As to the Longitude of this City, it lies in 25 degrees, and 52 scruples; and as to Latitude, in 52 degrees, and 25 scruples. Thus much of Coventry; which yet (that I may ingenuously acknowledge the person who furnish’d me with it) you must know you have not from me, but from Henry Ferrars of Badsley, a person to be respected as for his birth, so for his great knowledge in Antiquity, and my very good friend; who in this and other places courteously directed me, and (as it were) gave me leave to light my candle at his.

Near Coventry, to the North, are situated Ausley,Ausley. a Castle heretofore of the Hastings Lords of Abergavenny; andBrandon.† Brand, C.Brandon formerly a seat of the Verdons. To the East is Caloughdon, commonly call’d Caledon,Caledon. an ancient seat of the Barons Segrave.Barons Segrave, from whom it descended to the Barons de Berkley, by one of the daughters of Thomas Mowbray Duke of Norfolk. These Segraves (from the time that Stephen de Segrave was Chief Justice of England) were Barons of this Realm, and came to the Inheritance of the Chaucumbs, whoseArms of the Segraves. Arms from that time they assum’d, viz. A Lion rampant, Argent, crowned Or, in a shield, Sable. John the last of this family, marry’d Margaret Dutchess of Norfolk, daughter of Thomas de Brotherton; and had issue Elizabeth, who carry’d the honour of Marshal of England, and title of Duke of Norfolk, into the family of the Mowbrays.

Not far from hence, is Brinklo,Brinklo-castle. where was an ancient Castle of the Mowbrays; to which belong’d many fair possessions lying round: but time hath swept away the very ruins of it. ⌈It is, in, all probability, older than the Norman Conquest; otherwise our publick Records, or some other Authorities, would certainly have taken notice of it. If we should carry it back to the times of the Romans, there are several circumstances which seem to justify such a conjecture. As, that the Saxons often apply’d their Saxon hleaw, (from whence our low is derived,) to such places as were remarkable for the Roman Tumuli; that there is an eminent tumulus, upon which the Keep or Watch-tower of the castle did stand; that it lies upon the Roman Fosse-way; and is at a convenient distance from the Bennones.⌉ Time hath also swept away the ruins of the Monastery of Combe,Combe-Abbey. which the Camvils and the Mowbrays endow’d; and out of whose ashes the beautiful Seat of the Harringtons arose in this place. As you go Eastward, Cester-over, the possession of the Grevils, and which I have touched upon before, presents it self: ⌈(so call’d more lately; † † Dugd. p.60.but anciently, Th’ester-over, as seated eastward from Monks-kirby, where have been found a considerable number of Urns.) Near Cester-over,⌉ Watlingstreet a Military way of the Romans, dividing this County from Leicestershire, runs to the north, by High-cross, of which we have already spoken: near Nonn-Eaton,Nonn-Eaton. which of old was call’d Eaton; but after Amicia the wife of Robert Bossu Earl of Leicester (as Henry Knighton writes) had founded a Monastery of Nuns here, in which she her self was profess’d of that number; from those Nuns it had the name of Non-Eaton. And formerly, it was much fam’d for the piety of its holy Virgins, who, being constant in their Devotions, gave a good example of holy living to all about them. Near this, stood heretofore Asteley-castle,Asteley-castle. the chief seat of the family of the Asteleys; the heiress of which was the second wife of Baron Asteley.Reginald Grey Lord of Ruthin. From him sprang the Greys Marquisses of Dorset; some of whom were inter’d in the neat College here.

A little higher, upon Watlingstreet (for so we commonly call this Military way of the Romans,) where is a bridge of stone over the river Anker, ManduessedumManduessedum. is seated; a Town of very great Antiquity, mention’d by Antoninus: which having not yet altogether lost the name, is call’d Mancester,Mancester. and in Ninnuis’s Catalogue, Caer Mancegued. Which name (since a quarry of free-stone lies near it) was probably given it, from the stone there dug and hew’d. For in the Glossaries of the British tongue, we find that Main signifies a stone, and Fosswad in the Provincial language, digging; which being joyn’d together, seem aptly enough to express the name Manduessedum. But how great, or of what note soever it was in those times, it is now a poor little village, containing not above fourteen small houses; and hath no other monument of Antiquity to shew, but ⌈Coins of silver and brass, which have by digging and plowing been frequently brought to light and⌉ an old Fort, which they call Oldbury,Oldbury. i.e. an old Burrough, ⌈of a Quadrangular Form, and containing seven acres of ground; with an Entrenchment about a lands-length distant from it. In the North-part of it, there have been found several flint-stones about four inches in length, curiously wrought, by grinding, or by some such way. One end is shap’d like the edge of a Pole-ax; and they are thought by Sir William Dugdale, to have been weapons us’d by the Britains, before the art of making arms of brass and iron. They must have been brought hither for some extraordinary use, because there are no flints to be found within forty miles of the place.Musaeum museum One of them is now to be seen in Mr. Ashmole’s Musæum in Oxford.⌉ Atherston, on one side, a well-frequented Market (where the Church of the Friers was converted into a Chapel, which nevertheless acknowledges that of Mancester to be the Mother-Church;) and Nonn-eaton, on the other side, have, by their nearness, reduc’d Mancester to what you see. Neighbour to Atherston is Meri-val,Meri-val. i.e. Merry-vale, where Robert de Ferrers built and dedicated a Monastery to God and the blessed Virgin; in which his body, wrapp’d up in an Ox-hide, lies inter’d.

Beyond these, Northward, lies Pollesworth,Pollesworth. where Modwena an irish Virgin, fam’d for her wonderful piety, built a Nunnery; which Robert Marmion, a Nobleman (who had his Castle in the neighbourhood at Stippershull) repair’d. ⌈Here, (a) Sir Francis Nethersole, a Kentish Gentleman, and sometime publick Orator of the University of Cambridge, at the instance of his Lady, built, and liberally endow’d a Free-school: on the front of which is this Inscription:

Soli Deo Gloria.
Schola pauperum
Puerorum. Puellarum
.⌉

(a) He enfeof’d six Gentlemen and seven Divines, in as much as amounted to one hundred and forty pounds per annum at the least, for a liberal maintenance of a School-master and School-mistress to teach the Children of the Parish. And what remain’d, was to be employ’d in charitable uses, such as he in his life-time should think fit, and, in default of his own actually disposing of if, left it to the discretion of his Trustees. He likewise built a fair House for the Vicar of Pollesworth.

Hard by also, in the Saxon times, flourish’d a Town (of which there appear now but very small remains) call’d Secandunum, and at this day Seckinton;Seckinton. where Æthelbald,AEthelbald King of the Mercians, in a civil war, was assassinated and slain by Beared ⌈called in the Saxon-Annals Saxon Beornred,⌉ in the year 749; but in a little time the Assassin was cut off by King Offa; by the same means falling from the throne, by which he had impiously ascended it. ⌈From this Engagement, probably, it took the name; Saxon secce in Saxon signifying battle, and Saxon dun (which afterwards was chang’d into ton) a hill. Scarce a furlong north of the Church, is a notable fort; and near it, an artificial hill, 43 foot in heighth.⌉

I must now give a Catalogue of the Earls of Warwick.Earls of Warwick. AErnulph And to pass by Guar, and Morindus, and Guy (the Echo of England) with many more of that stamp, which the fruitful wits of those times brought forth at one birth; Henry son of Roger de Bellomonte, brother of Robert Earl of Mellent, was the first Earl of the Norman race; who marry’d Margaret daughter of Ærnulph de Hesdin, Earl of Perch, a person of mighty power and authority. They of this family who bore that honour, were, Roger son of Henry, William son of Roger (who dy’d in the 30th year of King Henry the second,) Walleran his brother, Henry son of Walleran, Thomas his son (who dy’d without issue in the 26th of Henry the third;) and his sister Margery surviving, was Countess of Warwick, and dy’d without issue. Her two husbands nevertheless, first John Mareschal, then John de Plessets,Placit. E.3.
Rot. 234.
in right of their wife, and by the favour of their Prince, were rais’d to the honour of Earls of Warwick. But these dying without issue by Margery; Walleran, Margery’s uncle by the father, succeeded in the honour; and he dying without issue, Alice his sister came to the Inheritance; and after her, William her son, (call’d Male-doctus, Malduit, and Manduit, de Hanslap;) who dy’d also without issue. But Isabel his sister being marry’d to William de Bello Campo, or Beauchamp, Baron of Elmesly, carry’d the Earldom into the family of the Beauchamps. Who (if I am not mistaken) because they were descended from a daughter of Ursus de Abtot, gave the Bear for their Cognisance, and left it to their posterity. Of this family there were six Earls and one Duke, William son of Isabel, John, Guy, Thomas, Thomas the younger, Richard, and lastly Henry, to whom King Henry the sixth made a Grant without precedent, That he should be primier Earl of all England, and use this title, Henry * * Præcomes.
Rot. Parl.
23 Hen 6.
primier Earl of all England, and Earl of Warwick. He made him also † Regulum.King of the Isle of Wight, and afterwards created him Duke of Warwick, and by the express words of his Patent, granted that he should have place in Parliament, and elsewhere, next to the Duke of Norfolk, and before the Duke of Buckingham. He had but one daughter, Anne,24 Hen. 6. who in the Inquisitions is stil’d Countess of Warwick, and dy’d in her Infancy. She was succeeded by Richard Nevill (who had marry’d the daughter of the said Duke of Warwick;) a person of an invincible spirit, but changeable and fickle in point of Loyalty, and the very sport and tennis-ball of fortune. Who, although no King himself, was superiour to Kings; as being the person who depos’d Henry the sixth (a most bountiful Prince to him,) and set up Edward the fourth in his place. Afterwards he un-king’d him again, and re-establish’d Henry the sixth in the Throne, and involv’d the kingdom in the flames of a civil war, which were not extinguish’d but with his own blood, and scarce with that. Edward, son of one of his daughters by George Duke of Clarence, succeeded; whom Henry the seventh (for neither youth nor innocence could protect him) to secure himself and his line, put to death. The title of this Earldom (which was become formidable to Henry the eighth by the great troubles which Richard Nevil, that scourge of Kings, had raised) lay dormant, till Edward the sixth gave it to John Dudley; as deriving a title from the Beauchamps. He (as the before-mention’d Richard had done) endeavouring to subvert the Government under Queen Mary, had his boundless ambition punish’d with the loss of his head. But his son, John, whilst his father was living, and Duke of Northumberland, by the courtesie of England made use of this title for some time: and afterwards Ambrose, a person most accomplish’d in all heroick qualities, and of a sweet disposition, by the royal favour of Queen Elizabeth, had * * So said, ann. 1607.in our memory the title restor’d to him, and supported it with great honour, and at last dy’d without issue, ⌈in the year 1589. After this, Robert Lord Rich of Leeze was created Earl of Warwick 16 Jac. 1, and dying soon after, was succeeded by his son, and grandson, both Roberts. Charles, brother to the latter, was next Earl, who, dying the 24th of August 1673, left the honour to Robert Rich, Earl of Holland, his Cousin-german. Which Robert was succeeded in both the honours, by Edward his son and heir; whose son Edward-Henry doth now also enjoy both those honourable Titles.⌉

In this County are 158 Parish-Churches.

More rare Plants growing wild in Warwickshire.

Though I have lived some years in this County, yet have I met with no peculiar local plants growing therein: the more rare and uncommon are,

Cyperus gramineus miliaceus Ger. Millet-Cyperus-grass, mention’d in Essex. Frequent by the river Tames-side near Tamworth and elsewhere.

Cyperus longus inodorus sylvestris Ger. Gramen cyperoides altissimum foliis & carina serratis P. Boccone. Long-rooted bastard Cyperus. In boggy places by the river Tame at Dorsthill near Tamworth.

Equisetum nudum Ger. junceum seu nudum Park. foliis nudum non ramosum seu junceum C. B. Naked Horse-tail or Shave-grass. This species is more rare in England. We found it in a moist ditch at Middleton towards Drayton. It is brought over to us from beyond Sea, and employ’d by artificers for polishing of vessels, handles of tools, and other utensils: it is so hard that it will touch iron it self. I am inform’d by my honoured Friend Mr. John Awbrey, that it is to be found in a rivulet near Broad-stitch Abbey in Wiltshire, plentifully. That sort which grows common with us is softer, and will not shave or polish wood, much less iron.

laevis Juncus lævis minor panicula glomerata nigricante; call’d by those of Montpellier, with whom also it is found, Juncus semine Lithospermi. Black-headed Rush with Gromil-seed. In the same places with the Cyperus longus inodorus.

Gramen cyperoides palustre elegans, spica composita asperiore. Elegant Cyperus-grass with a rough compound head. In a Pool at Middleton towards Coleshill.

Gramen cyperoides polystachion majus, spicis teretibus erectis. Cyperoides angustifolium spicis longis erectis C. B. Great Cyperus-grass with round upright spikes. In several pools about Middleton.

Lunaria minor, Ger. Park. Moonwort. This is found in several closes about Sutton-Colfeld, on the west-side of the town.

Narcissus sylvestris pallidus, calyce luteo C. B. Pseudo-narcissus Anglicus Ger. Anglicus vulgaris Park. Bulbocodium vulgatius J. B. Wild English Daffodil. In some pastures about Sutton-Colfeld on the East-side of the town plentifully.

Ranunculo sive Polyanthemo aquatili albo affine. Millefolium maratriphyllum fluitans J. B. Millefolium maratriphyllum Ranunculi flore Park. Foeniculi Millef. aquat. foliis Fœniculi, Ranunculi flore & capitulo C. B. Fennel-leav’d Water-Crow-foot. In the River Tame, and the Brooks that run into it plentifully. It is also found in the river Ouse near Oxford. It is a perfect genuine Crow-foot, and ought to be call’d Ranunculus aquaticus Fœniculi foliis.

Turritis Ger. vulgatior J. B. Park. Brassica sylvestris foliis integris & hispidis C. B. Tower-mustard. On Dorsthill-hill near Tamworth.

Vaccinia rubra buxeis foliis Park. Red-whorts or Bill-berries. See the other Synonymes in Derbyshire. On the black boggy-heaths between Middleton and Sutton.

Equisetum sylvaticum Tab. Ger. sylvaticum tenuissimis setis C. B. omnium minimum tenuifolium Park. Equisetum sive Hippuris tenuissima non aspera J. B. Wood-Horsetail. In moist places, and by the watery ditches by the wood-side on the right-hand as you go from Middleton to Sutton, a little before you come to the heath.

Erica baccifera procumbens nigra C. B. baccifera procumbens Ger. baccifera nigra Park. baccifera Matthioli J. B. Black-berried Heath, Crow-berries or Crake-berries. On the moist banks by the new Park at Middleton, on that side next London-road, where is also found Osmunda Regalis.

Bistorta major Ger. maj. vulgaris Park. maj. rugosioribus foliis. J. B. maj. radice minus intorta. The greater Bistort or Snakeweed. In the meadows at Tamworth and Faseley plentifully.

Idaea Vitis Idæa Thymi foliis. Idæa palustris C. B. Vaccinia palustria Ger. Park. Oxycoccus seu vaccinia palustria J. B. Marsh Whortle-berries, Moss-berries, Moor-berries or Corn-berries. In the moorish grounds and quagmires in Sutton-Colfeld-park plentifully.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06