THE fifth and last part of those Counties which were formerly possessed by the Cornavii, is the County of Chester, call’d in Saxon , and now commonly Cheshire and the County Palatine.County Palatine of Chester; for the Earls of it had Palatine Jurisdiction belonging to them, and all the Inhabitants held of them as in chief, and were under a soveraign allegiance and fealty to them, as they were to the King. As for the word Palatine (that I may here repeat what I have said of it before) it was formerly common to all who had any Office in thePeter Pithæus in the Description of Champain. King’s Court or Palace; and in that age, Comes Palatinus was a title of dignity conferr’d upon him who had before been Palatinus,J. Tilius. with authority to hear and determin Causes in his own territory; and as well his Nobles, whom they call’d Barons, as his Vassals, were bound to frequent the Palace of the Count, both to give their advice as there should be occasion, and to grace his Court with their presence.Pithaeus ⌈It had this additional Title of Palatine, upon the coming over of the Normans. At first, indeed, William the Conqueror gave this Province to Gherbord a Nobleman of Flanders, who had only the same title and power as the Officiary Earls amongst the Saxons had enjoy’d; the Inheritance, the Earldom, and grandeur of the Tenure being not yet settl’d. Afterwards Hugh Lupus, son of the Viscount of Auranches, a Nephew of William the Conqueror by his sister, receiv’d this Earldom from the Conqueror under the greatest and most honourable Tenure that ever was granted to a Subject; He gave him this whole County, to hold to him and his heirs, as freely, † † Per gladium.by the Sword, as the King held the Crown of England. The vast extent of the Powers convey’d in this Grant, carry’d in them Palatine Jurisdiction; though it is certain, that neither Hugh Lupus, nor any of his successors, were in the Grant it self, or in any ancient Records, stil’d Comites Palatini.
As to the original of Palatinates in general, it is clear (as hath been already observed) that anciently, in the decline of the Roman Empire, the , as the name imports, were only Officers of Princes. The term, in process of time, was restrain’d to those who had the final determination of Causes under the King or Emperor. And those, who exercis’d this sovereignty of jurisdiction in any Precinct or Province, were call’d Comites Palatini; and the place where the jurisdiction was us’d, Palatinatus, a Palatinate. Instances of such personal offices in the Court, we may still observe in the Palatine of Hungary; and examples of such local authority we have in the Palatinates of the Rhine, Durham, and Lancaster. Praefecti Praetorio Curopalatae Whether therefore the ancient Palatines were equal to the Præfecti Prætorio, the Curopalatæ, the Grand Maistres in France, or the ancient Chief Justices in England, we need not dispute, since it is clear, that the Comites Palatini, as all new-erected Officer’s titles, retain’d many of the powers of the ancient, but still had many characters of difference, as well as some of resemblance.
By virtue of this Grant, Chester enjoy’d all sovereign jurisdiction within its own precincts; and that in so high a degree, that the ancient Earls had Parliaments consisting of their own Barons and Tenants, and were not oblig’d by the English Acts of Parliament. These high, and otherwise unaccountable, jurisdictions were thought necessary upon the Marches and Borders of the Kingdom, as investing the Governour of the Provinces with Dictatorial power, and enabling them more effectually to subdue the common enemies of the Nation. But when the same power, that was formerly a good bar against Invaders, grew formidable to the King’s themselves, Henry the eighth restrain’d the sovereignty of the Palatinates, and made them not only subordinate to, but dependent on, the Crown of England. And yet after that restraining Statute, all Pleas of Lands and Tements, all Contracts arising within this County, have been, are, and ought to be, judicially heard and determin’d within this Shire, and not elsewhere: and if any determination be made out of it, it is void, and coram non judice; except in cases of Error, Foreign Plea, and Foreign Voucher. And there is no other crime but Treason, that can draw an Inhabitant of this County to a Trial elsewhere.
This Jurisdiction, though held now in other Counties also, was most anciently claim’d and enjoy’d by this County of Chester. The Palatinate of Lancaster, which was the Favourite-Province of the Kings of that House, was erected under Edward the first, and granted by him to Henry, the first Duke of Lancaster; and even in the Act of Parliament that separates that Dutchy from the Crown of England, King Henry the fourth grants All other Liberties and Royalties whatever, belonging to a County Palatine, as freely and entirely as the Earl of Chester is known to enjoy them, within the said County of Chester. Which ancient reference proves plainly, that the County of Chester was esteem’d the most ancient and best settled Palatinate in this Kingdom. And although the Bishop of Durham doth in ancient Plea lay claim to Royal Jurisdiction in his Province from the time of the Conquest, and before; yet it is evident, that not Durham it self (much less Ely, Hexamshire, or Pembroke) was erected into a County Palatine, before Chester. And as this is the most ancient, so it is the most famous and remarkable Palatinate in England: insomuch that a late Author, Becman, who usually mistakes in English Affairs, says of Cheshire; It is peculiar to the County of Chester, that it enjoys the Title of a Palatinate; a title, not to be found elsewhere, but only among the Germans.⌉
This Country, Malmesbury says, yields corn very sparingly, especially wheat, but cattle and fish in abundance. On the contrary, Ranulph of Chester affirms, that Whatever Malmesbury might fansy from the report of others, it affords great store of all sorts of victuals, corn, flesh, fish, and especially of the best of Salmon: it drives a considerable trade, not only by importing but by return, as having, within it self, salt-pits, mines, and metals. Give me leave to add farther, that the grass of this Country has a peculiar good quality, so that they make great store of Cheese,The best Cheese. more agreeable and better relish’d than those of any other parts of the Kingdom, even when they procure the same Dary-women to make them. And here, by the by, I cannot but admire at what Strabo writes, that some of the Britains in his time knew not how to make Cheese; and that Pliny expresses his wonder, how barbarous people who liv’d upon milk, come to despise, or else not know for so long time, the benefit of Cheese, especially seeing they had the way of Curdling it to a pleasant tartness, and of making fat butter of it. From whence it may be infer’d, that the art of making Cheese was taught us by the Romans; ⌈and this inference seems to be confirmed by the British language, affording no other name for Cheese, but Caws; which is a manifest corruption of the Latin Caseus. But the same may be noted of all the other modern languages of Europe.⌉
Although this Country is inferiour to many others of the Kingdom in fruitfulness, yet it has always produc’d more Gentry, than any of them. There was no part of England that formerly supply’d the King’s army with more Nobility, or that could number more Knights-families. On the South-side, it is bounded with Shropshire, on the East, with Staffordshire and Derbyshire, on the North with Lancashire, and on the West with Denbighshire and Flintshire. Toward the North-west, it shoots out into a considerable * * Wirrall.Peninsula; where the Sea breaking-in on both sides, makes two Creeks, which receive all the rivers of this County. Into that Creek which is more to the West, runs the river Deva or Dee, which divides this County from Denbighshire: Into that which is more to the East, the Wever, that goes through the middle of the County, and the Mersey, that severs it from Lancashire, discharge themselves. And in describing this County, I know no better method, than to follow the course of these rivers; for all the places of greatest note, are situate upon them. But before I enter upon particulars, I will premise what Lucian the Monk has said of it in general, lest I should be accus’d hereafter of omitting any thing that might conduce to the honour of the Inhabitants; besides, that Author is now scarce, and as old almost as the Conquest: Lucian the Monk in commendation of Chester. But if any man be desirous, either fully, or as near as may be, to treat of the manners of the Inhabitants, with respect to them that live in other places of the Kingdom; they are found to be partly different from the rest, partly better, and in some things equal. But they are seen especially (which is very considerable in point of civility and breeding) to feast in common, are cheerful at meals, liberal in entertainments, hasty but soon pacified, talkative, averse to subjection and slavery, merciful to those in distress, compassionate to the poor, kind to relations, not very industrious, plain and open, moderate in eating, far from designing, bold and forward in borrowing; abounding in woods and pastures, and rich in cattle. They border on one side upon the Welsh; and have such a tincture of their manners and customs by intercourse, that they are very like them. It is also to be observ’d, That as the County of Chester is shut in, and separated from the rest of England, by the Wood Lime, so is it distinguish’d from all other parts of England, by some peculiar immunities: by the grants of the Kings, and the Eminence of the Earls, they have been wont, in Assemblies of the people, to attend the Prince’s sword, rather than the King’s crown, and to try causes of the greatest consequence within themselves, with full authority and licence. Chester it self is frequented by the Irish, is neighbour to the Welsh, and plentifully serv’d with provisions by the English: it is curiously situated, having gates * * Positione antiquâ.of the ancient model. antiqua It has been exercis’d with many difficulties; is fortified with a river and † † Oculis.Watches, according to the name, worthy to be call’d a City ; secured and guarded with continual watchings of holy men, and through the mercy of our Saviour ever preserved by the aid of the Almighty.
The river Dee,The river Dee. call’d in Latin Deva, in British Dyffyr dwy, that is, the water of the Dwy, abounds with Salmon, and springs from two fountains in Wales, from which some believe it had its denomination. For Dwy signifies two in their language. But others, from the nature also and meaning of the word, will have it to signifie black water; others again, * * Dei aqua.God’s water, and Divine water. Now although, as we learn from Ausonius, a Fountain sacred to the Gods was call’d DivonaDivona. in the old Gallick tongue (which was the same with our British;) and although all rivers were , and by Antiquity esteem’d Divine, and our Britains too paid them divine honours, as Gildas informs us; yet I cannot see, why they should attribute divinity to this river Dwy in particular, above all others.Rivers sacred.Poeneus We read, that the Thessalians gave divine honours to the river Pœneus, on account of its pleasantness; the Scythians attributed the same to the Ister, for its largeness; and the Germans, to the Rhine, because it was their judge in cases of suspicion and jealousie between married persons: but I see no reason (as I said before) why they should ascribe Divinity to this river; unless perhaps it has sometimes chang’d its course, and might presage victory to the Inhabitants when they were at war with one another, as it inclin’d more to this or that side, when it left its chanel; for this is related by Giraldus Cambrensis, who in some measure believ’d it. Or perhaps they observ’d, that contrary to the manner of other rivers, it does not overflow with a fall of rain, but yet will swell so extraordinarily when the South-wind bears upon it, that it will overflow the neighbouring fields. Again, it may be, the water here seem’d Holy to the Christian Britains: for it is said, that when they stood in battel-array ready to engage the Saxons, they first kiss’d the earth, and devoutly drank of this river, in memory of the blood of their holy Saviour.
The Dee (the course whereof, from Wales, is strong and rapid) has no sooner enter’d Cheshire, but it’s force abates, and it runs more gently through Bonium,Bonium. which in some copies of Antoninus is read Bovium; an eminent City in those times, and afterwards a famous Monastery. From the Choir or Quire, it was call’d by the Britains Bonchor and Banchor,Banchor. and by the Saxons and Banchor. ⌈Before we go farther, it will be necessary to arm the reader against a mistake in * * Malmesb. in Hist. & lib.4. de Pontifice.Malmesbury, who confounds this with the Episcopal See in Caernarvonshire call’d Bangor; whereas (as Mr. Burton observes) the latter was like a Colony drawn out of the former. That Gildas, the most ancient of our British writers, was a member of this place, we have the authority of Leland; but upon what grounds he thinks so, is not certain. †† Beda Eccl. hist. lib.2. c.2.As for Dinothus, he was undoubtedly Abbot there, and was sent-for to meet Austin, at the Synod which he call’d here in this Island.⌉ And among many very good men, it is said by some to have produc’d that greatest and worst of hereticks Pelagius, who perverting the nature of God’s grace, did so long infest the Western Church with his pernicious Doctrine. ⌈Ranulphus Cestrensis tells us, that in his time it was ¦ ¦ Polychron. l.4. c.51.thought so by some people; and John of Tinmouth, in the life of St. Alban, expresly says that he was Abbot here.⌉ Hence, in Prosper Aquitanus he is call’d Coluber Britannus:
Pestifero vomuit Coluber sermone Britannus.
The British Adder vented from his poys’nous tongue.
Which I mention for no other reason, than that it is the interest of all mankind to have notice of such infections. In the Monastery (Bede says) there were so many Monks, that when they were divided into seven parts, having each their distinct ruler appointed them, every one of these particular Societies consisted of three hundred men at least, who all liv’d by the labour of their own hands. Edilfred, King of the Northumbrians, slew twelve hundred of them, for praying for the Britains their fellow Christians, against the Saxon-Infidels.AElfred ⌈So say all our ancient Historians:Not. in Præsat. p.7. only, the Publisher of King Ælfred’s life has contracted the number into two hundred, and, contrary to the general voice of Antiquity (unless the Ulster-Annals be on his side) makes the Battle to be fought in the year 613, which perhaps was after the death of Augustine the Monk. Concerning this Bangor Iskoed (for so it is generally called, to distinguish it from Bangor in Caernarvonshire) take also the following account out of a Manuscript History of Mr. Robert Vaughan: Bangor Monachorum (saith he) so call’d from the famous Monastery that was once there, lies situate in Maelor Seisnig, or Bromfield, not far from Kaer Lheion, or West-chester. Both Town and Monastery hath so felt the injuries of time, that at this day there are hardly any ruins of them remaining. For we find now only a small Village of the name, and no footsteps of the old City, except the rubbish of the two principal Gates, Porth Kleis and Porth Wgan; the former looking towards England, and the latter towards Wales. They are about a mile distant from each other, whence we may conjecture the extent of the City, which lay between these two Gates, the river Dee running through the midst of it. The old British Triades tell us, that in the time of the British Kings there were in the Monastery of Bangor two thousand four hundred Monks, who in their turns (viz. a hundred each hour of the 24) read Prayers and sung Psalms continually, so that Divine Service was perform’d day and night without intermission, &c.⌉
And now, to digress a little, upon the mention of these Monks;Monastick life. The Institution of a Monastick life did first proceed from the terrible persecutions of the Christian Religion; to avoid which, good men withdrew themselves, and retir’d into the Deserts of Egypt, to the end they might safely and freely exercise their profession;Rutilius Claudius in Itinerario. and not with a design to involve themselves in misery rather than be made miserable by others, as the Heathens upbraided them. There, they dispersed themselves among the mountains and woods, living first solitarily in Caves and Cells, from whence they were call’d by the Greeks Monachi: afterwards they began, as nature it self prompted them, to live sociably together, finding that more agreeable, than, like wild beasts, to sculk up and down in the Deserts. Then, their whole business was to pray, and to supply their own wants with their own labour, giving the overplus to the poor, and tying themselves, by Vows, to Poverty, Obedience, and Chastity. Athanasius first introduced this Monastick way of living in the Western Church. Whereunto S. Austin in Africa, S. Martin in France, and Congell (as it is said) in Britain and Ireland, very much contributed, by settling it among the Clergy. Coenobia Upon which, it is incredible how they grew and spread in the world, how many and great Religious Houses were prepared to entertain them, which, from their way of living in common, were call’d Cœnobia; as they were also call’d Monasteries, because they stlll retain’d a shew of a solitary life: and there was nothing in those times esteem’d so strictly religious. For they were not only serviceable to themselves, but beneficial to all mankind, by their prayers and intercessions with God, and by their good example, learning, labour, and industry. But as the times corrupted, this holy zeal of theirs began to cool: Rebus cessere secundis, as the Poet says, i.e. Prosperity debauch’d them. But now to return.
From hence-forward this Monastery went to decay; for William of Malmesbury, who liv’d not long after the Norman
Conquest, says,The Banchor mention’d by S. Bernard in the life of
Malachias, was in Ireland.
See before. There remain’d here so many signs of Antiquity, so many broken walls of Churches, so many turns and passages through gates, and such heaps of rubbish; as were hardly elsewhere to be met with. But now there is scarce any appearance of a City or Monastery; the names only of two gates remain, Port-Hoghan, and Port-Cleis, which stand at a mile’s distance; and, between them, Roman coyns have been often found. ⌈These and other Remains of British and Roman Antiquity (such are, saith Leland, the bones and vestures of Monks, squared Stones, Roman Coins, and the like) are testimonies of the ancient glory of this place.⌉ But here I must note, that BoniumBonium belongs to Flintshire. is not reckon’d within this County, but in Flintshire; a part of which is in a manner sever’d from the rest, and lies here between Cheshire and Shropshire.
After the river Dee has enter’d this County, it runs by the town MalpasMalpas. or Malo passus, situate on a high hill not far from it, which had formerly a Castle; and from the ill, narrow, steep, rugged way to it, was call’d in Latin Mala platea, or Ill-street: for the same reason it was called by the Normans Mal-pas, and by the English, near the same sense, Depen-bache.Cestriae Hugh Earl of Chester gave the Barony of this place, to Robert Fitz-Hugh.Ex Rotulo Domesday. In the reign of Henry the second, William Patrick, son of William Patrick, held the same;Comitatus Cestriæ. of which race was Robert Patrick, who forfeited it by † † Proscriptus.outlawry. Barons de Malpas. Some years after, David of Malpas, by a Writ of Recognisance, got a moiety of that Town, which then belong’d to Gilbert Clerk; but a great part of this Barony descended afterwards to those Suttons who were Barons of Dudley; and a parcel thereof fell to Urian de S. Petro,De Sancto Petro. commonly Sampier. And from Philip, a younger son of David of Malpas, is descended that famous and knightly family of the Egertons,Egertons. who derived this name from their place of habitation, as divers of the same family have done from other places, viz. Cotgrave, Overton, Codington, and Golborn. But before I leave this place, I must beg leave, though upon a serious and grave subject, to recite a pleasant Story concerning the name of it, out of Giraldus Cambrensis.Peche Itiner. lib.2. cap.13. It happen’d (says he) in our times, that a certain Jew travelling towards Shrewsbury, with the Arch-deacon of this place, whose name was Peché, that is, Sin, and the Dean, who was call’d Devil; and hearing the Arch-deacon say, that his Arch-deaconry began at a place call’d Ill-street, and reach’d as far as Malpas towards Chester: the Jew knowing both their names, told them very pleasantly, he found it would be a miracle if ever he got safe out of this County, where Sin was the Arch-Deacon, and the Devil was the Dean; where the entry into the Arch-deaconry was Ill-street, and the going out again Malpas.
From hence, Dee is carried down by Shoclach,Shoclach. where was formerly a Castle; then by Alford, belonging heretofore to the Arderns; next by Pouleford,Pouleford. where in Henry the third’s reign, Ralph de Ormesby had his Castle; and lastly by Eaton,Eaton. the seat of the famous family of Grosvenour,Grosvenour. i.e. grandis venator, or great hunter; whose posterity go corruptly by the name of Gravenor.
A little higher, upon the same river, and not far from the mouth (which Ptolemy calls Seteia, for Deia) stands that noble City, which the same Ptolemy calls Deunana,Deunana. and Antoninus Deva,Deva. from the river; the Britains, Caer-Legion, Caer-Leon-Vaur, Caer-Leon ar Dufyr Dwy, and by way of preheminence Caer; as our Ancestors the Saxons called it , from the Legion there, and we more contractly, Westchester, from its westerly situation; and simply Chester,Chester. according to that Verse,
Cestria de Castris nomen quasi Castria sumpsit.
Chester from Caster (or the Camp) was nam’d.
And without doubt, these names were derived from the twentieth Legion, call’d Victrix. For in the second Consulship of Galba the Emperor with Titus Vinius, that Legion ⌈say some⌉ was transported into Britain. ⌈But concerning this Legion, two points are controverted among learned men; the first, What was the true name; the second, what was the precise time of its coming over? For the first, it is generally call’d Legio Vicesima Victrix; but that seems to be defective, if we may depend on the authority of an old Inscription upon an Altar dug-up in Chester A.D. 1653, and do compare it with what Dio has said of this Legion.Tan Praeses Gunethae Praesens Vicesimae Valeriae The Inscription is this,
Which I read thus:
Jovi Optimo Maximo Tanaro
Titus Elupius Galerius
Principibus Legionis Vicesimæ Victricis Valeriæ
Commodo & Laterano Consulibus
Votum solvit lubens merito.
For if that Legion was call’d simply Vicesima Victrix, what occasion was there for doubling the V? To make it Vigesima quinta, would be a conjecture altogether groundless: and yet if the first V denote Victrix, the second must signifie something more. There is also another Altar (dug-up at Crowdundal-waith in Westmorland) that obliges us not to be too positive, that those who think it might be call’d Valens Victrix, or Valentia Victrix, are in an error.
LEG. XX. V. V. &c.
Here also we see the V. is doubl’d. Whether the latter signifie Valeria, will best appear out of Dio,
that great Historian, who in his recital of the Roman Legions preserv’d under Augustus, hath these words
concerning the 20th Legion:
The twentieth Legion which is also called Valeria and Victrix, is now in Upper-Britain, which Augustus preserv’d together with the other Legion that hath the name of Vicesima, and hath it’s winter-quarters in Lower-Germany, and neither now is, nor then was usually and properly call’d Valeria.
Mr. Burton is induc’d by the Westmorland-Monument to make an addition to Victrix, and sets down Valens; but why this passage should not have induced him rather to make choice of Valeria, I confess I perceive no reason. For first, the distinction he makes between the Vicesima in Britain and that in Germany, is plain, not only from the natural construction of the words, but likewise because Dio’s nineteen Legions, which were kept entire by Augustus, cannot otherwise be made up. Next, supposing this distinction, it is very evident, that he positively applies the name Valeria to the first, and as plainly denies that the second ever had that title. And why should not we as well allow the name of Valeria to this, as we do to other Legions the additional titles of Ulpia, Flavia, Claudia, Trajana, Antoniana?
The second Point, When this Legion came over, or when they were settl’d here, cannot be precisely
determin’d.Caesar That this was a Colony settl’d by Julius Cæsar (as Malmesbury seems
to affirm) implies what never any one dreamt of, that Julius Cæsar was in those territories. Giving an account
of the name Caerlegion, he lays down this reason of it, because there, the Emeriti or old
Soldiers of the † † Julianarum Legionum.Julian Legions resided. The learned *
* Annot. ad Polyolb.
Cant. 11.Selden would excuse the Monk, by reading Militarium for Julianarum; but that, his own ancient Manuscript would not allow. To bring him off the other way, by referring Julianarum, not to Cæsar but Agricola, who in Vespasian’s time had the sole charge of the British Affairs, seems much more plausible. Before that time, we find this Legion mention’d by Tacitus, in the Lower Germany, and their boisterous behaviour there. And in Nero’s time, the same Author acquaints us with their good services in that memorable defeat, which Suetonius Paulinus gave to Queen Boadicia. boadicea So that whenever they might settle at Chester to repel the incursions of the active Britains; it plainly appears they came over before Galba’s time.
Another Altar was found at Chester with this Inscription.
It was discover’d by the Architect in digging for a * * In the house of one Mr. Heath.Cellar, and was view’d and delineated by a curious † † Mr. Prescott.Gentleman of that City, to whom we are indebted for the description of it. It lay, with the Inscription downward, upon a Stone two foot square, which is suppos’d to have been the Pedestal: the foundation lay deep and broad, consisting of many large stones. The earth about it was solid, but of several colours; and some ashes were mix’d in it. About the foundation, were discover’d signs of a Sacrifice, viz. the bones, horns, and heads of several creatures, as the Ox, Roe-buck, &c. with these two Coyns: I. Brass. On the first side, Imp. Caes. Vespasian. Aug. Cos. III. and the face of the Emperour. On the reverse, Victoria Augusti S. C. and a winged Victory standing. II. Copper. On the first side, Fl. Val. Constantius Nob. C. and the face of Constantius. On the reverse, Genio populi Romani. A Genius standing, holding a bowl (us’d in Sacrifices) in the right hand, and a Cornucopia in the left.
On the left side of the Monument, was a flower-pot; on the top, a Cotyla or Cavity; in the bottom of that Cavity, a young face, supposed to be that of the Genius; on the back, ornaments of drapery of uncertain figures.
On the right side, a Genius standing with a Cornucopia in his left hand; the right hand being cut off by the workman, unawares.⌉Praetorian giant
Here, the † † Vicesima Victrix, &c. p.668.Legion growing too heady, and too formidable to the Lieutenants as well Consular as Prætorian; the Emperor Vespasian made Julius Agricola Lieutenant over them, and they were at last seated in this City, which I believe had not been long built, for a check and barrier to the Ordovices. Though I know, some aver it to be older than the Moon, that is, to have been built many thousand years ago, by the gyant Leon Vaur. But these are young Antiquaries, and the name it self might convince them of their error. For they cannot deny, but Leon Vaur in British signifies a great giant caesar Legion; and whether it is more natural to derive the name of this City from a great Legion, or from the gyant Leon, let the world judge: considering, that in Hispania Tarraconensis we find a territory call’d Leon from the seventh Legio Germanica; and that the twentieth Legion, called † † See, before.Britannica, Valens Victrix, or Valeria Victrix, was quarter’d in this City, as Ptolemy, Antoninus, and an ancient Coin of Septimius Geta, testifie. By the Coin last mention’d, it appears also that ChesterChester a Roman Colony. was a Colony, for the reverse of it is inscribed COL. DIVANA LEG. XX. VICTRIX. And though at this day there remain few memorials of the Roman magnificence, besides some pavements of Chequer-works; yet in the last age it afforded many, as Ranulph, a Monk of this City,See Leigh, Lib.1. p.12. tells us in his Polychronicon. There are ways here under-ground, wonderfully arched with stone-work, vaulted Dining-rooms, huge stones engraven with the names of the Ancients, and sometimes Coins dug-up with the Inscriptions of Julius Cæsar and other famous men. Likewise ⌈the same Polychronicon, and⌉ Roger of Chester in his Polycraticon; When I beheld the foundation of vast buildings up and down in the streets, it seemed rather the effect of the Roman strength, and the work of Giants, than of British Industry.
The City is of a square form, surrounded with a Wall about two miles in compass, and contains eleven Parish-Churches. Upon a rising ground near the river, stands the Castle, built by the Earl of this place, wherein the Courts Palatine are held, and the Assizes twice a year. The buildings are neat,The Rowes. and there are † † Projectis Mœnianis Porticus.Piazza’s on both sides, along the chief Street. AEdelfleda Moenianis The City has not been equally prosperous at all times: first, it was demolish’d by Egfrid the Northumbrian; and then, by the Danes; but it was repair’d by Ædelfleda * * Domina.Governess of the Mercians, and soon after saw King Eadgar gloriously triumphing over the British Princes. For, being seated in a triumphal Barge at the fore-deck,Circ. An. 960. Kinnadius King of Scotland, Malcolin King of Cumberland, Macon King of Man and of the Islands, with all the Princes of Wales who were brought to submission, row’d him up the river Dee, like Bargemen, to the great joy of the Spectators. Churches restor’d. Afterwards, about the year 1094. whenGlaber Rodolphus. (as one says) by a pious kind of Emulation, the fabricks of Cathedrals and other Churches began to be more decent and stately, and the Christian world to raise it self from the old dejected state and sordidness to the decency of white Vestments, Hugh the first of Norman blood that was Earl of Chester, repair’d the Church which Leofrick had formerly founded here in honour of the Virgin Saint Werburg, and by the advice of Anselm, whom he had invited out of Normandy, granted the same to the Monks. Now, the Town is famous for the tomb of Henry the fourth, Emperor of Germany, who having abdicated his Empire, is said to have become an Hermit here; and also for its being an Episcopal See. This See, immediately after the Conquest, was translated from Lichfield hither, by Peter Bishop of Lichfield. ⌈And this is the reason, why the Bishops of Lichfield are sometimes called by our Historians, Bishops of Chester; and why this Peter who translated it hither, is by the Saxon Annals called Episcopus Licifeldensis sive Cestrensis, i.e. Bishop of Lichfield or Chester.⌉ Afterwards, it was translated to Coventry, and from thence to the ancient See again: so that Chester continu’d without this dignity, till the † † So said, ann. 1607.last age, when King Henry the eighth displaced the Monks, and instituted Prebends, and raised it again to a Bishop’s See, to contain, within it’s jurisdiction, this County,Stat.23 H.8. c.31. Lancashire, Richmond, &c. and to be it self contained within the Province of York.
But now let us come to points of higher Antiquity. When the Cathedral here was built, the Earls, who were then Normans, fortified the Town with a wall and castle. For as the Bishop held of the King that which belonged to his Bishoprick (these are the very words of Domesday-book made by William the Conqueror,) so the Earls, with their men, held of the King, wholly, all the rest of the City. It paid gelt for fifty hides, and there were four hundred thirty one houses geldable, and seven Mint-masters. When the King came in person hither, every Carrucat paid him two hundred Hestha’s, one Cuna of Ale, and one Rusca of Butter. And in the same place; For the repairing of the city-wall and bridge, the Provost gave warning by Edict, that out of every hide of the County one man should come; and whosoever sent not his man, he was amerced forty shillings to the King and Earl. If I should particularly relate the skirmishes here between the Welsh and English in the beginning of the Norman times, the many inroads and excursions, the frequent firings of the suburbs of Hanbrid beyond the bridge (on which account the Welsh call it Treboeth, that is, the burnt Town;) and should tell you of the long wall made there of Welsh-mens skulls: I should seem to forget my self, and run too far into the business of an Historian. From that time, the Town of Chester hath very much flourished; and King Henry the seventh incorporated it into a distinct County. Nor is there now any thing wanting to make it a flourishing City; except it be, that the Sea is not so favourable, as it has been, to some few Mills that were formerly situated upon the river Dee; from which it has gradually withdrawn, and the Town has lost the advantage of an Harbour, which it enjoy’d heretofore. It’s situation, in Longitude, is twenty degrees and twenty three minutes; in Latitude, fifty three degrees, and eleven minutes. Whoever desires to know more of this City, may read a passage taken out of Lucian the Monk, who lived almost * * Five, C.six hundred years ago. First, it is to be considered, that the City of Chester is a place very pleasantly situated; and, being in the west parts of Britain, stood very convenient to receive the Roman Legions that were transported hither: and besides, it was proper for watching the frontiers of the Empire, and was a perfect key to Ireland. For being opposite to the north parts of Ireland, it open’d a passage thither for Ships and Seamen, who were continually in motion to and again, either in the way of merchandise, or upon other business. And if you turn to the East, it gives you a prospect, not only towards Rome and the Empire, but the whole earth: a spectacle exposed to the eye of all the world: so that from hence may be discern’d the great actions of the world, and the first springs and consequences of them, the persons by whom, the places where, and the times when, they were transacted. We may also know what has been done well, and learn to avoid the ill. The City has four gates answering the four winds; on the east-side, it has a prospect towards India, on the west towards Ireland, and on the north towards the greater Norway; and lastly, on the south, to that little corner wherein God’s vengeance has confined the Britains, for their civil wars and dissensions, which heretofore changed the name of Britain into England: and how they live to this day, their neighbours know to their sorrow. Moreover, God has blest and enrich’d Chester with a river, pleasant and well-stor’d with fish, running by the city walls; and on the south-side with a harbour for Ships coming from Gascoign, Spain, Ireland, and Germany; who by Christ’s assistance, and by the labour and conduct of the Mariners, repair hither, and supply them with all sorts of Commodities. So that, being comforted by the favour of God in all things, we drink wine very plentifully; for those countries have abundance of Vineyards. Moreover, the main Sea ceases not to visit us every day with a tide; which, according as the broad shelves of sand are open or shut by tides and ebbs, is wont more or less to do good or harm, to change, or send one thing or another, and, by reciprocal ebbs and flows, either to bring in or carry out.estuary aestuary subterranean fossil
From the City, to the northwest, there runs out into the Sea, a large Chersonese or Peninsula, inclosed on one side with the æstuary Dee, and on the other with the river Mersey. ⌈The Saxon Annals call it , Matthew Westminster Wirhale,⌉ we Wirall,Wirall. and the Welsh (because it is a corner) Kill-gury: all, heretofore, a desolate forest and not inhabited (as the natives say;) but King Edward the third disforested it. Now, it is well furnish’d with Towns, which are more favour’d by the Sea than by the Soil; for the land affords them very little Corn, but the water great plenty of Fish. ⌈The last mentioned Historian confounds this with Chester, making them one place. Which error proceeded from the misunderstanding of that passage in the Saxon Chronicle, on on . , i.e. They abode in a certain western City in Wirheale, which is called Legaceaster. The latter part of the sentence, he imagin’d, had reference to Wirheale, whereas it is plainly a further explication of the Western City.⌉ In the entry into Wirral, on the south-side, by the æstuary, stands Shotwick,Shotwick. a castle of the Kings: on the north, stands Hooton,Hooton. a Manour which in Richard the second’s time fell to the Stanleys, who derive their pedigree from one Alan Sylvestris, upon whom Ranulph, the first of that name who was Earl of Chester, confer’d the Bailywick of the Forest of Wiral by the delivery of a horn. Hard by this, stands Poole,Poole. from whence the Lords of that place (who have liv’d very honourably, and in a flourishing condition, a long time) took their name. Near this, is Stanlaw,Stanlaw. that is, as the Monks there have explain’d it, a stony-hill;Law, what. where John Lacy, Constable of Chester, built a little Monastery, which, by reason of inundations, they were forced afterwards to remove to Whaly in the County of Lancaster.1173. At the furthest end of this Chersonese, there lies a little barren dry sandy Island, called Il-bre,Il-bre. which had formerly a small Cell of Monks. More inward, east of this Chersonese, lies the famous Forest, called the Forest of Delamere; the Foresters whereof, by inheritance, † † Are, C.were the Dawns of Utkinton, of an honourable family, descended from Ranulph of Kingleigh, to whom Ranulph the first Earl of Chester gave the inheritance of that office of Forester, ⌈and the Estate of which family is now come by marriage to the Crews.⌉ In this Forest, ÆdelfledaAEdelfleda the famous Mercian Lady, built a little City called , that is, a happy Town, which has now lost both its name and being; for at present it is only a heap of rubbish, which they call the Chamber in the Forest. ⌈Edisbury-hall,Edisbury-hall. which gives name to an eminent Family, and a whole Hundred, in these parts, seems to have had the name from thence.)⌉ About a mile of two from it, are also to be seen the ruins of Finborrow,Finborrow. another Town built by the same Lady.
Through the upper part of this Forest, lies the course of the river Wever, which issues out of a lake in the south-side of the County, at a place called Ridley,Ridley. ⌈heretofore⌉ the seat of the famous and ancient family of the Egertons, descended from the Barons of Malpas, (as I have already observed;) not far from Bunbury, where they built a College; and from Beeston-castle,Beeston. a place well guarded, by walls of a great compass, by the great number of its towers, and by a mountain with a very steep ascent. This Castle was built by Ranulph the last Earl of Chester of that name; concerning which, Leland writes thus,
Assyrio rediens victor Ranulphus ab orbe,
Hoc posuit Castrum, terrorem gentibus olim
Vicinis, patriæque suæ memorabile vallum.
Nunc licet indignas patiatur fracta ruinas,
Tempus erit quando rursus caput exeret altum,
Vatibus antiquis si fas mihi credere vati.
Ranulph, returning from the Syrian Land,
This Castle rais’d, his Country to defend,
The borderers to fright and to command.
Though ruin’d now the stately Fabrick lies,
Yet with new Glories it again shall rise,
If I a Prophet may believe old Prophecies.
Hence, the Wever continues its course southward, not far from Woodhay,Woodhay. where the famous and Knightly family of the Wilburhams liv’d long in great repute; also, by BulkeleyBulkeley. and Cholmondley,Cholmondley. which give names to two famous and Knightly families; and lastly, not far, on one hand from Baddeley,Baddeley. formerly the seat of the ancient family of the Praeries; and on the other hand, from Cumbermer, where William Malbedeng founded a little Religious-house.1134. ⌈Of which fore-mentioned Families; the Cholmondleys, or Cholmleys, were advanced to the dignity of Barons of this Realm, in the twenty first year of King Charles the first, in the person of Sir Robert Cholmley Viscount Cholmley of Kellis in Ireland, and created Lord Cholmley of Wiche Malbank, or Nantwich; which said Title was confer’d upon Hugh, his nephew’s son, in the first year of William and Mary; who also in the fifth year of Queen Anne, was advanced to the higher Honours of Viscount Malpas and Earl of Cholmley.⌉
Where the river touches the south part of this County, it passes through heaths and low places, in which (as in
other parts of the County) they often dig-up trees,Trees under ground. which they suppose to
have lain there ever since the Deluge. Afterwards, as it passes through fruitful fields, it receives a little river
from the east, upon which is situated Wibbenbury, so call’d from Wibba King of the Mercians. Next to
that, is Hatherton, formerly the seat of the Orbies, after that of the Corbets, and †
† At present, C.afterwards of Thomas Smith, son of Sir Laurence Smith Knight:
then, Dodington, the estate of the Delvesies: Batherton, of the Griphins: and
Shavington of the Wodenoths (who by their name seem to have sprung from the * * Woden.
Ann. 1607.Saxons;) besides the seats of other honourable families, which are very numerous in this County. From hence, the river Wever goes on by Nantwich, at some distance from Midlewich, to Norwich. These are the noble Salt-wiches,Salt-wiches. about five or six miles distant one from another, where they draw brine or salt-water out of pits, and do not, according to the method of the old Gauls and Germans, pour it upon burning wood, but boil it upon the fire, to make it into Salt. Nor do I at all question, but these were known to the Romans, and that their Impost for salt was laid on them. For there was a noble Way from Midlewich to Northwich, which has been rais’d so high with gravel, that one may easily discern it to be Roman; especially, if he considers, that gravel is scarce in this County, and that private men are even forc’d to rob the road of it for their own uses. Matthew Paris says, these Salt-pits were stop’d up by Henry the third, when he wasted this County; that the Welsh, who were then in rebellion, might have no supplies from them. But, upon the next return of peace, they were open’d again.
Nantwich,Nantwich. the first of them that is visited by the Wever, is the
greatest and best-built town of the County, call’d by the Welsh Hellath Wen, that is,
White-salt-wich, because the whitest salt is made here; and by the Latins, Vicus Malbanus, probably
from William call’d Malbedeng and Malbanc, who had it given him upon the Norman Conquest. †
† Ann. 1607.There is but one Salt-pit (they call it the Brine-pit) distant about
fourteen foot from the river. From this Brine-pit they convey salt-water by wooden troughs into the houses
adjoyning, where there stand ready little barrels fix’d in the ground, which they fill with that water; and at the
notice of a bell, they presently make a fire under their Leads, whereof they have six in every house for boiling the
water. These are attended by certain women call’d Wallers, who with little wooden rakes draw the salt out of
the bottom of them, and put it in baskets; out of which the liquor runs, but the salt remains and
settles ¦¦ Of the making salt here, see Ray’s Northern words, p.204.
Phil. Trans. N.53, & 156.. There is but one Church in this town, but it is a neat fabrick, belonging heretofore (as I have heard) to the Monastery of Cumbermer. Hence the Wever runs in a very oblique course, and is joyn’d by a little river which rises in the east, and passes by Crew, where formerly liv’d a famous family of that name. At some further distance from the west-side of it, stands Calveley,Calveley. which has given both seat and name to that noble family the Calveleys; of whom, in Richard the second’s time, was Sir Hugh de Calveley, who in France had the reputation of so valiant a soldier, that nothing was held impregnable to his courage and conduct. Hence the river goes on by Minshul,Minshul. ⌈heretofore⌉ the seat of the Minshuls, ⌈but now come by marriage to the Cholmleys of Vale Royal:⌉ And by Vale Royal,Vale Royal. an Abbey founded in a pleasant valley by King Edward the first, where now the famous family of the Holcrofts dwell; then, by Northwich,Northwich. in British Hellath Du, i.e. the black Salt-pit; where is a deep and plentiful Brine-pit, with stairs about it, by which, when they have drawn the water in their leather-buckets, they ascend half naked to the troughs, and fill them; from whence it is convey’d to the Wich-houses, near which stand many great piles of wood. Here, the Wever receives the Dan, which we will now follow; ⌈having first observ’d,Phil. Trans. N.66. that, in the year 1670, there was discover’d in this County a Rock of natural Salt, from which issu’d a vigorous sharp Brine, beyond any of the springs made use of in the salt-works.⌉
This Dan, or Davan, springs from the mountains which separate this County from Staffordshire on the east-side; and runs, without any increase, to Condate,Condate. a town mention’d in Antoninus, and now corruptly nam’d Congleton.Congleton. ⌈Of this opinion, are also Mr. Burton, Mr. Talbot, and others. Wherever it was, it seems probable enough (as Mr. * * Comment upon the Itinerar. p.124.Burton has hinted) that it came from Condate in Gaul, famous for the death of St. Martin.caesar For † † De Bell. Gall. l.5.Cæsar expressly tells us, that even in his time they translated themselves out of that part of Gaul into Britain; and that being settled, they call’d their respective cities after the names of those, where in they had been born and bred. Whether any Remains of Roman Antiquities that have been discover’d at Congleton, induced our Antiquaries to fix it there, is uncertain, since they are silent in that matter: but ¦ ¦ Gale, p.50.it is certain, that the Military way, the course of the Itinerary, and the distance from Mancunium on one side and Deva on the other, do all determin it to these parts; and altho’ a * * Penes R. Thoresby.Roman-Altar, of the Inscription whereof Condati is the first word, was dug-up at Conscliffe near Percebridge in the Bishoprick of Durham (a draught of which shall be given in its proper place;) yet that is so wholly out of the way, that there can be no ground to remove this Station thither.⌉
The middle of this Town is water’d by the little brook Howty, the east-side by the Daning-Schow, and the north by the Dan. Altho’, in consideration of its greatness, populousness, and commerce, it has deserv’d a Mayor and six Aldermen to govern it, yet it has only one Chapel in it, and that entirely of wood, unless it be the quire and a little tower. The Mother-Church to which it belongs, is Astbury, about two miles off, which is indeed a curious fabrick; and tho’ the Church be very high, yet is the west porch equal to it; and there is also a spire-steeple. In the Church-yard are two grave-stones, having the portraiture of Knights upon them, and in shields two bars. Being without their colours, it is not easy to determin whether they belong’d to the Breretons, the Manwarings, or the Venables, which are the best families hereabouts, and bear such bars in their arms, but with different colours.
Next, the Dan comes to Davenport,Davenport. commonly Danport, which gives name to the famous family of the Davenports: and Holmes-Chapel,Holmes-Chapel. well known to travellers; where, within the memory of † † This, C.the last age, a bridge was built by J. Needham. Not far from this, stands Rudheath,Rudheath. formerly an Asylum or Sanctuary to those of this Country, and others, who had broken the laws; where they were protected a year and a day. Next, it runs by KindertonKinderton., the ancient seat of an ancient family, the Venables, who from the time of the Conquest * * Have flourish’d, C.flourish’d here, and † † Are, C.were commonly call’d Barons of Kinderton; ⌈the last of which family, was Anne, sole heir to Peter Venables; who being marry’d to Montague, the present Earl of Abingdon, dy’d without issue.⌉ Below this place, to the south, the river Dan is joyn’d by the Croc, a brook rising out of the lake Bagmere, which runs by Brereton. As this town has given name to the famous, ancient, numerous, and knightly family of the Breretons,Brereton. so Sir William Brereton ¦ ¦ Hath added, C.added much to its Glory by a very stately building which he rais’d. Here is one thing exceeding strange, but attested, in my hearing, by many persons, and commonly believ’d. Before any heir of this family dies, there are seen in a lake adjoyning, the bodies of trees swimming upon the water for several days together; not much different from what Leonardus VairusLib.2. de Fascino. relates, upon the authority of Cardinal Granvellan, That near the Abbey of St. Maurice in Burgundy, there is a fish-pond, into which a number of fishes are put, equal to the number of the Monks of that place. And if any one of them happen to be sick, there is a fish seen floating upon the water sick too; and in case the fit of sickness prove fatal to the Monk, the fish foretells it by its own death some days before. As to these things, I have nothing to say to them; for I pretend not to such mysterious knowledge: but if they are true, they must be done either by the Holy Angels,Angels. whom God has appointed Guardians and Keepers of us, or else by the art of Devils,Devils. whom God permits now and then to exert their Powers in this lower world. For both of them are intelligent Beings, and will not produce such preternatural things, but upon design, and to attain some end or other: those ever pursuing the good and safety of mankind; these ever attempting to ruin, vex, or delude us. But this is foreign to my purpose.
A little after Croke is got beyond Brereton, it comes to Middlewich,Middlewich. situated near the union of Croke and Dan; where are two fountains of salt-water (separated from one another by a little brook) which they call Sheaths. * * Ann. 1607.The one is not open’d, but at set-times; to prevent the stealing away the water, which is of a more peculiar virtue and excellence than the other. Whence the Dan runs by Bostock,Bostock. formerly Botestock, the ancient seat of the noble and knightly family of the Bostocks, which, by marriage with Anne the only daughter of Ralph, son and heir of Sir Adam de Bostock Knight, pass’d, together with a vast estate, to John Savage. Out of this ancient house of the Bostocks, as out of a fruitful stock, sprung a numerous race of the same name, which spread themselves in Cheshire, Shropshire, Berkshire, and other places. Beneath Northwich, the Dan unites it self with the Wever, which running on to the west in a strait line, receives from the east, Pever. This gives name to the town Pever,Pever. by which it passes; and which is the seat of that ancient and noble family, the Meinilwarrens, commonly Manewarings, one of whom call’d Ralph, marry’d the daughter of Hugh Kevelioc Earl of Chester, as appears by an old Charter which * * Now is, C.was in the hands of the heir of this family. The course of the Wever is, next, by Winnington,Winnington. which † † Gives, C.gave seat and name to the famous and ancient family of the Winningtons: and then, at some little distance from Merbury,Merbury. which derives that name from a pool under it, and gives the same to the famous family of the Merburies. From hence, the river runs near Dutton,Dutton. ⌈heretofore⌉ the estate of that worthy family the Duttons, descended from one Hudardus, who was related to the Earls of Chester.Walliae aestuary estuary This family, by an old custom, hath a particular authority over all Pipers, Fidlers, and Harpers of this County, ever since one R. Dutton,Chronicon Walliæ. an active young Gentleman of a great spirit, with a rabble of such sort of men, rescu’d Ranulph the last Earl of Chester, when he was beset by the Welsh, and was in danger of being besieg’d by them. Nor must I forget to take notice of Nether-WhitleyNether-Whitley. in these parts, out of which came the Tuschetts or Towchetts,Towchett. who are Barons Audley of Healye. Now, the Wever flowing between Frodesham,Frodesham. a castle of ancient note, and Clifton, at present call’d Rock-Savage,Rock-Savage. a † † So said, ann. 1607.new house of the Savages, who by marriage came to a great estate here; ⌈and, in the reign of King Charles the first, were advanced to the honour of Earls Rivers;⌉ it runs at last into the æstuary of the Mersey. This is so call’d from the river Mersey; which, running between this County and Lancashire, empties it self here; after it has first pass’d-by some inconsiderable towns, and among the rest by Stockport,Stockport. which formerly had its Baron; and has receiv’d the river Bollin, which flows out of the large forest of Maclesfeld. Upon that river, stands the town of Maclesfeld,Maclesfeld. from whence the forest has its name; and where a College was founded by T. Savage, first, Bishop of London, and then Archbishop of York; in which several of that noble family, the Savages, are bury’d (a). ⌈This town of Macclesfield hath given the title of Earl to the family of Gerrards, the first whereof invested with that Honour, was Charles, created Earl of this place, 31 Car. 2; who was also succeeded by his son and heir; by whose death, it was extinct; and his Majesty King George hath confer’d the honourSee Oxfordshire. of Baron of Macclesfield on Sir Thomas Parker (first, Lord Chief Justice of the King’s-Bench, and now Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain,) in consideration of his distinguish’d Abilities, and his important Services to the Crown.⌉ Upon the same river stands Dunham,Dunham. which from Hamon de Mascy, by the Fittons and Venables, came by inheritance to the famous family of Booth. ⌈Of which, was Sir George Booth, noted for his Loyalty to King Charles the first, and, in consideration thereof, advanced to the dignity of a Baron of this Realm by the title of Lord Delamere of Dunham-Massey; whose descendants have been since rais’d to the more honourable title of Earls of Warington.⌉
(a) Here also (in a Chapel or Oratory on the South-side of the Parochial Chapel, belonging to the Leighs of Lyme) in a brass Plate, is the following account of two worthy persons of that family.
Here lyeth the body of Perkin A Legh
That for King Richard the death did dye
Betrayed for righteousness.
And the bones of Sir Peers his sonne
That with King Henry the fifth did wonne
This Perkin serv’d King Edward the third, and the Black Prince his son in all their wars in France, and was at the Battel of Cressie, and had Lyme given him for that service. And after their deaths served King Richard the second, and left him not in his troubles, but was taken with him, and beheaded at Chester by King Henry the fourth. And the said Sir Peers his sonne, served King Henry the fifth, and was slain at the battel of Agen-court.
In their memory Sir Peter Legh of Lyme Knight, descended from them, finding the said old verses written upon a stone in this Chapel, did re-edify this place An. Dom. 1626.
On the other side of the same Parochial Chapel, in an Oratory belonging to the Earl Rivers, is this Copy of a Pardon grav’d in a brass Plate.
The pardon for saying of v pater nosters and v aves and a . . . . . . is xxvi thousand yeres and xxvi dayes of pardon.
From hence the Mersey goes on to Thelwall;Thelwall. before it is much past Knotsford, i.e. Canutus’s ford, of which there are two, the Upper and the Lower; and then to Lee, from whence is a family of the same name, famous not only for its noble race, but for the number of its branches. As for Thelwall, it is now an obscure little village, tho’ formerly a large city, founded by King Edward the elder, and so call’d, as Florilegus witnesses, from the trunks of trees fix’d in the ground, which enclos’d it, instead of a wall. For the Saxons express the trunk of a tree by the word Ðelldell thell, and the Latin Murus by wall. At the very mouth of this river, stands Runck-horne,Runckhorne. ⌈call’d in the Saxon Annals , by Huntingdon Rumcoven, and by others Runcoven and Runcofan;⌉ built in the very same age by Ethelfleda, and now likewise reduced to a few cottages. Since I have so often mention’d this Edelfleda,Ethelfleda, or Elfleda. it will not be improper to note, that she was sister to King Edward the elder, and wife to Ethelred a petty Prince of the Mercians; and that, after her husband’s death, she govern’d eight years in very troublesom times, to her immortal Praise. In Henry of Huntingdon, there is this encomium of her:
O Elfleda potens, ô terror virgo virorum,
Victrix naturæ, nomine digna viri.
Te, quo splendidior fieres, natura puellam,
Te probitas fecit nomen habere viri.
Te mutare decet, sed solam, nomina sexus,
Tu Regina potens, Rexque trophæa parans.
Jam nec Cæsarei tantum meruere triumphi,
Cæsare splendidior virgo virago, vale.
Victorious Elfled, ever famous maid,
Whom weaker men, and nature’s self obey’d.
Nature your softer limbs for ease design’d,
But Heav’n inspir’d you with a manly mind.
You only, Madam, latest times shall sing
A glorious Queen and a triumphant King.
Farewel brave Soul! let Cæsar now look down,
And yield thy triumphs greater than his own.
Below Runckhorne, and more within the County, stands the town of Haulton,Haulton. where is a castle which Hugh Lupus Earl of Chester gave to Nigellus, a certain Norman,
upon condition, that he should be Constable of Chester; by whose posterity it came afterwards to the house of
Lancaster. Nor must I omit, that William, son of this Nigell, founded a Monastery at
Norton not far from hence; a town * * Now, C.heretofore belonging to the
Brokes, an ancient family. Whether I should place the Cangi here, who are a people of the old
Britains, is what, after much enquiry and consideration, I cannot yet determin †† Vide Somersetshire,
Cangi.. Antiquity has so far bury’d all memorials of them,
that there remain not the least footsteps, whereby to trace them. So that tho’ Justus Lipsius, that great
Master of polite learning, takes me for a competent judge in this matter, I must ingenuously profess my ignorance, and
that I would rather recommend this task to any one else, than take it to my self. However, if the Ceangi and
Cangi may be allow’d to be the same (and I don’t know why they may not;) then it is probable enough, that they
liv’d in ¦ ¦ This is affirm’d by Mr. Dodwell, in Comment. on Jul.
this County. For while I was reviewing this work, I heard from some credible persons, that there have been twenty pieces of Lead dug-up on this shore, of a square oblong form, and thus inscrib’d in the hollow of the upper part.
IMP. DOMIT. AVG. GER. DE CEANG.
But in others;
IMP. VESP. VII. T. IMP. V. COSS. An. Chr. 78.
Which seems to have been a monument rais’d on account of some victory over the Cangi. And this opinion is confirm’d by the situation upon the Irish Sea: for Tacitus in the twelfth Book of his Annals,An. Chr.51. writes, That, in Nero’s time, Ostorius led an Army against the Cangi, by which the fields were wasted, and the spoil everywhere carry’d off; the enemy not daring to engage, but only at an advantage to attack our rear, and even then they suffer’d for their attempt. They were now advanced almost as far as that Sea towards Ireland, when a mutiny among the Brigantes, brought back the General again. But from the former Inscription, it should seem that they were not subdu’d before Domitian’s time; and consequently, by a Chronological computation, it must be when Julius Agricola, that excellent Soldier, was Proprætor here. Propraetor Moreover, Ptolemy places the Promontorium , on this coast. Neither dare I look in any other part beside this Country, for the garrison of the Conganii,Conganii. where, towards the decline of the Britanniae filiae Roman Empire, a Band of Vigiles with their Captain, under the Dux Britanniæ, kept watch and ward. But I leave every man to his own judgment.
Another brass Plate in the same Chapel has this ancient Inscription:
Orate pro animabus Rogeri Legh & Elizabeth uxoris suæ: qui quidem Rogerus obiit iiii. die Novembris, Anno Domini M.v.c.vi. Elizabeth verò obiit v° die Octobris, Anno Domini Mcccclxxxix. quorum animabus propitietur Deus.
Pray for the Souls of Roger Legh and Elizabeth his wife: which Roger dy’d the 4th day of November, in the year of our Lord M.v.c.vi. and Elizabeth, on the 5th day of October, in the year of our Lord Mcccclxxxix. to whose Souls may God be propitious.
As for the Earls of Chester;Earls of Chester. to omit the Saxons who held this Earldom barely as an Office, and not as an Inheritance: William the Conqueror made Hugh, sirnam’d Lupus, son to the Viscount de Auranches in Normandy, the first hereditary Earl of Chester, and Count Palatine; giving unto him and his heirs this whole County † † Chester given to Roger of Montgomery. Ord. Vit. p.509.to hold as freely by his sword, as he did England by his crown; (these are the very words of the Feoffment, as we have before observ’d.) Hereupon, the Earl presently substituted these following Barons,Barons of Chester. Nigell (now Niel) Baron of Haulton, whose posterity took the name of Lacey (from the estate of the Laceys, which fell to them,) and were Earls of Lincoln: Robert Baron de Mont-hault; Seneschal or Steward of the County of Chester; the last of which family dying without issue, made Isabel Queen of England, and John de Eltham Earl of Cornwall, his heirs: William de Malbedenge Baron of Malbanc, whose † † Nepotis filiæ.nephew’s daughters transfer’d this inheritance, by marriage, to the Vernons and Bassets: Richard Vernon, Baron of Sipbroke, whose estate, for want of heirs-male, came by sisters to the Wilburhams, Staffords, and Littleburies: Robert Fitz-Hugh Baron of Malpas, who (as I have observ’d already) seems to have dy’d without issue: Hamon de Mascy, whose estate descended to the Fittons of Bolin: Gilbert Venables, Baron of Kinderton, whose posterity ¦ ¦ Remain and flourish, C.remain’d and flourish’d, in a direct line to † † So said, ann. 1607.this present age: N. Baron of Stockport, to whom the Warrens of Poynton (descended from the noble family of the Earls of Warren and Surrey) succeeded in right of marriage. And these are all the Barons I can hitherto find, belonging to the Earls of Chester. Who (as it is set down in an old book) had their free Courts for all Pleas and Suits, except those belonging to the Earl’s sword. See before.Proscripto Cestriae They were besides to be the Earl’s Counsel, to attend him, and to frequent his Court, for the honour and greater grandeur of it; and (as we find it in an old Parchment) they were bound in times of war with the Welsh, to find for every Knight’s fee one Horse with Furniture, or two without Furniture, within the Divisions of Cheshire; and that their Knights and Freeholders should have Corslets and * * Haubergella.Haubergeons, and defend their own Fees with their own Bodies.
Hugh the first Earl of Chester,Earls of Chester. already spoken of, was succeeded
by his son Richard, who, together with William only son of Henry the first, and others of the Nobility, was
cast away between England and Normandy Anno 1120. He dying without issue, Ranulph de Meschines was
the third in this dignity, being sister’s son to Hugh the first Earl; and left a son, Ranulph,
sirnam’d de Gernoniis, the fourth Earl of Chester, a stout Soldier, who at the siege of Lincoln took King
Stephen prisoner. His son Hugh, sirnam’d Kevelioc, was the fifth Earl; who dy’d An. 1181,
leaving his son Ranulph, sirnam’d de Blundevill, the sixth in that dignity, who built
Chartley and Beeston-castles, and founded the Abbey de-la-Cress, and dy’d without issue,
leaving four sisters, his heirs; Maud, wife of David Earl of Huntingdon; Mabil, wife of William de
Albeney Earl of Arundel; Agnes, wife of William de Ferrars Earl of Derby; and lastly, † †
Hawisia.Avis, wife of Robert de Quincy. The next Earl of this County, was John,
sirnam’d Scotus, the son of Earl David by the eldest sister Maud aforesaid. He dying likewise without
issue, King Henry the third, charm’d with the sight of so fair an Inheritance, annex’d it to the Crown, and allow’d the
sisters of John other Revenues for their Fortunes; not being willing (as the King himself worded it) that such a vast
estate should be parcel’d among Distaffs. The Kings themselves,J. Tilius. when this County
devolv’d to the Crown, maintain’d their ancient Palatine Prerogatives, and held their Courts (as the Kings of France
did in the County of Champain) that the Honour of the Palatinate might not be extinguish’d by disuse. An
Honour, which afterwards was confer’d upon the eldest sons of the Kings of England; and first granted to Edward son of
Henry the third, who being taken prisoner by the Barons, parted with it as a ransom for his Liberty to Simon de
Montfort Earl of Leicester; but Simon being cut off soon after, it quickly return’d to the Crown, and Edward the second
made his eldest son, Earl of Chester and Flint, and under these titles summon’d him, when a Child, to
Parliament. Afterwards, Richard the second by Act of Parliament rais’d this Earldom to a Principality, and annex’d to
it the Castle of Leon, with the Territories of Bromfield and Yale, and likewise the Castle
of Chirk, with Chirkland, and the Castle of Oswalds-street with the Hundred, and eleven
towns appertaining to the said Castle, and the Castles of Isabella and Delaley, and other large
Possessions, which by the * * Prôscripto.Outlawry of Richard Earl of Arundel, were
then forfeited to the Crown. Richard himself was stiled Princeps Cestriæ, Prince of Chester. But this title
was but of small duration: no longer, than till Henry the fourth repeal’d the Laws of the said Parliament; for then it
became a County Palatine again, and retains that Prerogative to this day; which † † Ann. 1607.
Now, as follows: Chamberlain, Vice-Chamberlain, Baron, Deputy-Baron, Seal-keeper, Examiner, Bayliff-Itinerant, Philazer.is administer’d by a Chamberlain, a Judge Special, two Barons of the Exchequer, three Serjeants at Law, a Sheriff, an Attorney, an Escheater, &c.
This County has in it about 68 Parishes.
WE have now survey’d the Country of the Cornavii, who, together with the Coritani, Dobuni, and Catuellani, made one entire Kingdom in the Saxon Heptarchy, then called by them , and , but render’d by the Latins Mercia; from a Saxon word , which signifies a limit; for the other Kingdoms border’d upon it. This was by far the largest Kingdom of them all, begun by Crida the Saxon about the year 586, and enlarg’d on all sides by Penda; and a little after, under Peada, converted to Christianity. But after a duration of two hundred and fifty years, it was, too late, subjected to the Dominion of the West-Saxons, when it had for many years endured all the outrage and misery that the Danish wars could inflict upon it.
The more rare Plant yet observ’d to grow in Cheshire, is
Cerasus avium fructu minimo cordiformi Phyt. Brit. The least wild Heart-Cherry-tree or Merry-tree. Near Stock-port, and in other places. Mr. Lawson could observe no other difference between this and the common Cherry-tree, but only in the figure and smallness of the fruit.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:48