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Clopton House, Warwickshire ;
THE SEAT OF
CLOPton is situated one mile north from the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, upon the right of the road leading to Henley, in Arden. The House was principally erected in the time of King Charles II. by Sir John Clopton, Knt. whose arms appear in the pediment; those of Sir Edward Walker, Knt. are over the Hall door. The front is to the south. This and the east side are of brick-work, and form the comparatively modern part. The north and west sides are, probably, as old as the time of Henry VII. being half timbered. The back archway of entrance appears of Queen Elizabeth's era. ·
Clopton House contains several valuable portraits, viz. of the Earl of Totness, and his Countess. Sir Edward Walker, and many of the Clopton and Partheriche families. A beautiful painting by Vandyck, of King Charles I. dictating orders to his secretary, Sir Edward Walker, in the field, who is writing them on a drum-head, has been removed from the house; but, probably, for the purpose of more particular care of it: this was engraved and prefixed to Sir E. Walker's is Historical Discourses," published by his grandson, the last Sir Hugh Clopton, in 1705.
It was in this house that Ireland wished to make it appear that he found a depository of Shakspeare's papers, had he not been disappointed by Mr. Williams, who then resided here as tenant. The conversation between the parties is given in the “ Confessions” of the younger Ireland, and is rather an amusing point of that extraordinary work.
In one of the garrets is now shewn a small room, traditionally said to have been the chapel, or oratory. The walls are certainly inscribed with scriptural sentences, and among the hieroglyphical attempts was a large fish, delineated as being taken by a hook and line; the whole drawn by a hand issuing from a cloud: under this was inscribed
W hether you ryse yearlye,
Or goe to bed late,
That dyed for your sake.
In the Great Hall of entrance is a large oriel window, containing a well-executed series of heraldic shields, emblazoned with the alliances of the Cloptons for many generations.
The estate was in the possession of the family of Clopton, which derived its name from this place, from an early period, till the year 1753, when it devolved to Frances, only daughter of Edward, son of Edward, eldest son of the above Sir John Clopton, Knt. and Barbara, his wife, sole daughter and heiress of Sir Edward Walker, Knt. Garter King of Arms, and Secretary at War, in the reigns of King Charles I. and II. Her father having cut off the entail of the estate, and disinherited his only surviving son, who had disobliged him by his marriage, and who died soon afterwards of a broken heart.
Frances Clopton married John Parthériche, Esq. On her decease without issue, the estate, in 1792, devolved to Skrymshire Boothby, Esq. grandson of Hugh, youngest surviving son of the before-mentioned Sir John. He assumed the name of Clopton only, on coming to this property, in compliance with Mrs. Partheriche's will; leaving no issue male, his relative, Edward Ingram, succeeded, who was second in the entail, and also assumed the name of Clopton; he died in 1818 a bachelor, and his brother, John Ingram, now John Clopton, Esq. became the proprietor.
*.* There are three handsome monuments in the Clopton Chapel, forming the east end of the north aisle in the church of Stratford, to members of this family. The first is an altar tomb, without an inscription, but supposed to be the monument of Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. Lord Mayor of London, temp. Hen. VII. the early benefactor to Stratford, and founder of the Chapel of the Guild in the centre of the town, where were discovered the series of ancient paintings, published by Mr. Fisher. The second is the tomb of William Clopton, Esq. and his consort Anne, who died in the reign of Queen Elizabeth; their recumbent effigies are of white marble. The third is the splendid monument of George Carew, Earl of Totnes, and Baron of Clopton, and of Joice, his Countess, daughter of William Clopton, Esq. Their figures in alabaster, are placed under a lofty arch, supported by Corinthian pillars. Sir Edward Walker, Knt. is also buried in this place, with a neat monument to his memory.
The entrance into Stratford-upon-Avon, is by a stone bridge of fourteen arches; on one of the old piers stood a pillar, on which were the arms of the City of London impaling those of Clopton, and inscribed—“ SIR HUGH CLOPTON, KNT, LORD MAYOR OF LONDON, BUILT THIS BRIDGE AT HIS OWN PROPER CHARGE, IN THE REIGN OF HENRY 7.” Which on a late repair has very properly been restored.
THE SEAT OF
ACCORDING to tradition, there was, in Saxon times, a Palace at this place, belonging to Offa, King of Mercia ; at least, the name has been thus accounted for. The situation is truly delightful, and not unworthy a royal residence. It certainly formed a part of the numerous benefactions of Leofric, fifth Earl of Mercia, at the foundation of the Priory of Coventry, in the time of Edward the Confessor, and was most probably used by the priors of that house, as a place of retirement.
At the dissolution of the Monastery, Offchurch, Bury, with all the demesne lands belonging to it, was granted by patent, dated 25th April, 34th Henry VIII., to Sir Edmund Knightly, Knt., and Dame Ursula his wife. Sir Edmund was a Serjeant at Law, and eminent in his profession; he died without issue, in September the same year, and was succeeded by his younger brother, Sir Valentine Knightley of Fausley, Northamptonshire, Knt., who obtained another grant from the crown, 4th of Elizabeth, of the Manor of Offchurch, Bury, with the mi!!s, &c. At his death, in 1565, this lordship was settled upon Edward, a younger son, who lived here : John Knightley, of Offchurch, Esq., his descendant, was created a baronet by King Charles II., August 30th, 1660, and by his lady, Bridget, left issue, Sir John Knightley, Bart., the first of the family that was a Protestant; he was a gentleman of the first rank, in the county of Warwick, and died without issue, in 1688, upon which the title became extinct; John Wightwick Knightley, Esq., a relation of the same ancient family, lately. occupied this seat, and died June 18th, 1814, aged 49. His widow now resides here.
The building, which is of stone, is spacious and irregular : part is of considerable antiquity; the more modern additions have been made with architectural consistency, and preserve the original character of the structure. The principal front given in our view is surmounted with battlements; and beyond the square turret, which is also embattled, is seen the more ancient division of the building, having large mullioned windows, with the gable-ends of the roof seen, agreeably to the style used in Henry VIII., and Elizabeth's reign. A profound, though agreeable air of retirement marks the neighbourhood of this ancient seat.
A pleasing walk along the banks of the little river Leam, has contributed to render this place one of the most favourite rambles of fashion and gaiety from Leamington Spa, a village that has risen most deservedly in public estimation within these very few years. Buildings of a costly and ornamental character, the baths, assembly-rooms, and theatre, united with the variety and excellence of its accommodations, and the fine rides in its environs, have made it the resort of numerous visitors. In the church-yard lies William Abbots, first founder of the celebrated Spa-Water Baths, who died, March 1st, 1805; since which time Leamington has become a considerable town.
and things of a costiyly in public esti?