Page images
PDF
EPUB

have had many gracious words of Her Majesty, and many time she bade me welcome with all her heart, ever since I have waited. Yesterday she wore the gown you gave her, and took thereby occasion to speak of you, saying ere long I should find a mother-in-law, which was herself ; but she was afraid of the two widows that are with you, that they would be angry with her for it; and that she would give ten thousand pounds you were twenty years younger ;

for she hath but few such servants as you are.'— Loseley Manuscripts, edited by A. J. Kempe.

George, the only son and heir of Sir William More, was born in 1553, and educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. In 1604 he presented divers manuscripts to the public library at Oxford, together with forty pounds for the purchase of printed books. In 1597 he was nominated Sheriff of Surrey and Sussex, and about that time was knighted. Like his father, he acquired the special favour of the Queen, who on 3d November 1601 augmented his estate by the grant of the lordship and hundred of Godalming. Early in the next reign he was appointed Treasurer to Henry Prince of Wales. On the 11th and 12th August 1603, both King James and his Queen were 'royally entertained' at Loseley by Sir George More; and on 21st August 1606 he was again honoured by a visit from the king. In 1610 His Majesty promoted him to the Chancellorship of the Order of the Garter; and in 1615, from a full confidence in his honesty,' and, as James himself expresses it, 'without the knowledge of any,' he appointed

him Lieutenant of the Tower, after the removal of Sir Gervase Elwes from that important command, in consequence of his being implicated in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury.

Among the Loseley manuscripts printed by Mr. Kempe, F.S.A., are four original letters from King James to Sir George More, from which it appears that His Majesty was deeply indebted to Sir George for his management of Somerset previously to his trial for the murder of Overbury. In one of his letters the king says: 'It is easie to be seene that he (the Earl) while threattin me with laying an aspersion upon me of being in some sorte accessorie to the cryme.' Mr. Kempe, in another part of his work, states that, 'from the drafts of sundry disregarded memorials at Loseley, Sir George appears to have been ill requited for his services to James, who neglected him in his declining years. He is noticed in Nichols' Progresses of that king, as attending his funeral in his office of Chancellor of the Garter in a very infirm state.'

In August 1617 Sir George More entertained the Prince of Wales, afterwards Charles I., at Loseley. Sir George sat in Parliament for Guildford in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I., and for the county of Surrey in the reigns of these two sovereigns and Charles I. Sir George died in his 79th year, 16th October 1632. By his wife Ann, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Adrian Poynings, he had four sons and five daughters, of whom Ann, born May 1584, was privately married in 1600 to John Donne, afterwards celebrated as a poet and divine, on whom King James conferred the Deanery of St. Paul's, but who at that time was secretary to Lord Chancellor Egerton. The lady's father was so highly incensed by this match, that he procured the dismissal of Donne from the Lord Chancellor's service, and caused him to be committed to the Fleet Prison; nor was it until after the lapse of several years that he was prevailed on to pardon the offending pair. Although he soon regained his own liberty, the successful bridegroom was put to a long and expensive process in the ecclesiastical court before he could recover possession of his wife, who was forcibly withheld from him; but at length a decree confirming the marriage was obtained in 1602. Mrs. Donne died 12th August 1615, seven days after the birth of her twelfth child. Most of these particulars are related in the Loseley Manuscripts.

This curious work consists principally of copies from the manuscripts and other rare documents which are preserved in the muniment room at Loseley, the key of which,' Mr. Kempe says, "had been lost, and its existence disregarded, during an interval of two hundred years.' These manuscripts had been kept in ponderous oaken coffers; but Mr. Bray, when proceeding with his History of Surrey, had access to them, and by permission selected a number of the papers, and had them bound in nine folio volumes. Among the fac-similes given in the manuscripts by Mr. Kempe is one of Lady Jane Grey as · Quene.'

On the decease of the last of the male heirs of the Mores,

who died unmarried in May 1689, his sisters became his co-heirs. Elizabeth died a spinster in February 1691-2, when the whole of the inheritance became vested in Margaret, her surviving sister. This lady married Sir Thomas Molyneux, Knt., of the ancient family of that name, of Sefton, in Lancashire, from which the present Earl of Sefton, and Viscount Molyneux, of Maryborough, in Ireland, is descended. William de Moulines, the common ancestor of the Molyneux family, came into England in the train of William the Norman ; and his name stands the eighteenth in the order of succession in the Roll of Battle Abbey.

Loseley Park is an extensive and finely wooded demesne, and is approached from the Portsmouth road. The scenery is enriched by venerable oaks and noble elms, standing singly and in clumps or groups.

There is also a small sheet of water, and on the west a plantation of firs. Loseley, no doubt, 'had from an early period its manse or capital dwelling-house, fortified by a moat, according to the custom of the feudal ages;' but although some vestiges of the latter defence still remain, the dwelling itself has been long destroyed. The present mansion is an interesting example of the Elizabethan age, and was erected between the years 1562 and 1568 by Sir William More, as the central part of a structure intended to form three sides of a quadrangle, if not a complete square. But the design was never executed to the full extent, although a western wing, including a gallery 129 feet in length and 18 feet wide, and also a chapel, were annexed by Sir George More, the son of the founder. That wing was, however, wholly taken down several years ago, and the building reduced to its original state. The edifice is of grey stone, and in its architectural plan there is a general uniformity, though by no means a strict one. All the windows are square-headed, but they differ much in size, those of the principal apartments being of large dimensions, and separated by mullions and transoms into several lights. In the bay or oriel window of the great hall, among other emblazonments, are the arms of the Mores, painted with the date 1568.

The principal entrance, which is in the centre of the front, opens into the hall, but was originally more eastward, namely, at the end of the passage between the screens which divide the hall from the kitchen and butteries. The entrance here was by a porch or vestibule, now a butler's pantry, and over it were placed three figures in stone. On the left hand was that of Fortune treading on a globe, and holding a wheel on which was inscribed Fortuna Omnia ; in the middle, and raised above the others, a figure, with one foot on a wheel, and the other on a globe, holding a book open, and pointing to these words, Nec Fors nec Fatum, sed ...; and over the entrance to the vestibule was inscribed this distich :

'Invide, tangendi tibi limina nulla facultas,

At tibi, Amice, patent janua, mensa, domus.' Within the porch, over the hall - door, was inscribed,

Invidiæ claudor pateo sed semper amico; ' over the kitchen door, 'Fami, non Gula ; ' over the buttery door, “Situ non

« PreviousContinue »