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Sufton Court, Herefordshire ;
THE SEAT OF
JAMES HEREFORD, ESQ.
Sufton Court is six miles from the City of Hereford, in the parish of Mordiford, and is the Seat of James Hereford, Esq. a descendant of the ancient family of that name, so well known in the county. Blount, in his “ Fragmenta Antiquitatis,” says, “ that the Manor was originally held by the grand sergeantry, of presenting the King with a golden spur, whenever he should pass over Mordiford bridge.”
The House is of modern structure, erected by its present hospitable inhabitant, near the remains of the old family residence; the rooms are of good size and proportion; and the situation most pleasing and cheerful.
Few places can boast of more liberal assistance from nature than Sufton, and the accomplished art of the late Mr. Repton has tended to give the finish of picturesque beauty. On the east, a romantic hill called Backberry, the site of a Roman camp, commences a grand ridge, which extends towards the village of Fownhope ; its top, covered with the finest timber, exhibits a forest of wood as far as the eye can reach. The western prospect is over a fertile valley, in which the course of the Lug can be distinctly traced, winding through luxurious meadows : at a distance are seen the spires of the City of Hereford, backed by the mountains of Wales. The grove of Rotherwas, the stately mansion of Holm Lacy, long the property of the noble family of Scudamore, but, at present, the object of numerous claimants—these form interesting points in the scenery of this delightful spot; while the celebrated river Wye presents its serpentine channel for miles before the windows.
A short distance below the pretty village of Mordiford, a confluence of the two rivers takes place : it was at Lug bridge, a fabulous history asserts, that a fiery dragon was used daily to come and drink; and a representation of the animal, on the tower of the church, formerly arrested the notice of every traveller.
Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire;
THE SEAT OF
JOHN SOMERS COCKS, LORD SOMERS.
The ancient name of this patrimonial estate of the family of Cocks, was Castle Ditch, an appellation conveying some idea of its original destination. The Mansion being, however, found incommodious, and its situation being on a perfect level, his Lordship has, with much judgment, selected a more advantageous and elevated site, for the splendid structure he has lately erected, in a style of architecture corresponding to that nationally adopted during the early part of, and previous to, the reign of Edward the First-an improvement on the Norman mode. The massive circular-towers, connected by walls with embrasures, and embattled, of which it consists, appear calculated for regular defence. In every respect, 'Eastnor resembles externally the ancient baronial castle, but possesses, within, the grandeur of early times, united with convenience of domestic arrangement, and adorned with all the elegance of modern refinement. The designs for this building were selected by Robert Smirke, Esq. from the most perfect specimens of that early period extant; and, in the execution, that gentleman has considerably added to his fame as an architect, having proved that his skill and taste in the castellated style are equal to the great ability he had before displayed, in erections after the much admired models of Greece.
The Entrance-hall is of great dimensions, being upwards of 60 feet long, and of the same height; the ceiling is formed into compartments, and the whole made of oak, grown in the neighbouring woods : the Apartments, communicating with the hall by ante-rooms, are numerous, and of a size corresponding with the greatness of the Castle ; and due attention has been paid to preserve the early character of the building in the fitting up of the principal chambers. His Lordship possesses a small collection of Pictures, among which are several works of the most celebrated masters: the Library is a room of very considerable size, and contains many valuable books. The situation of Eastnor Castle is extremely fine, amid an amphitheatre of romantic beauties; the surrounding scene is one very side diversified and broken by numerous swelling heights, crowned with a profusion of hanging foliage; from these woody eminences, the prospect is most extensive over vast plantations of fruit-trees and rich meadow-lands. At the foot of the Terraces, on the north and east fronts of the Castle, two rivulets unite, and are formed into a Lake of great extenta fine object in the home-view from the Terraces. Plantations of very thick Shrubberies are made contiguous to the Castle, and in the Park are many remarkably large and flourishing Oaks. It is near the village of Eastnor, from which the present noble Mansion takes its name, and in the Hundred of Radlow.
Richard Cocks, Esq., second surviving son of Thomas Cocks, Esq., of Bishop's Cleeve in Gloucestershire, was the first of this family seated at Castle Ditch, about the end of the sixteenth century.
Charles Cocks, Esq., a lineal descendant of the above Richard, was Member of Parliament for Worcester in 1692, and married Mary, sister and coheiress of the illustrious Lord-chancellor Somers, who is represented by the best authors as the most incorrupt lawyer, and most honest statesman, as a master orator, a genius of the finest taste, and as a patriot of the noblest and most extensive views; as a man who dispensed blessings by his life, and planned them for posterity: his Lordship was the author of many works on affairs of state, but the “ Somers' Tracts," so frequently referred to, are a collection of scarce pieces, published from pamphlets in his Lordship’s library ; his own MSS. filled above 60 folio volumes, which were unfortunately destroyed by fire, in Lincoln's Inn, in 1752.
Charles Cocks, Esq., in 1771, upon the death of his father, became the representative of various branches of the family, and succeeded to the principal estates attached to each. In 1772, he was created a Baronet; and, in 1784, was elevated to the Peerage, by the title of Lord Somers, Baron of Evesham, county of Worcester : his Lordship died January 30th, 1806, æt. 81, and was succeeded by his eldest son, the present peer.
Downton Castle, Herefordshire ;
· THE SEAT OF
THOMAS ANDREW KNIGHT, ESQ. F.R.S.
The Mansion in Downton Park, represented in our View, was erected under the direction of its late proprietor, the highly accomplished Richard Payne Knight, Esq. from his own designs; it is entirely constructed with stone, and bears the architectural character of an early period on its exterior, perhaps that of a Roman fortress, as within its walls the most refined classical taste pervades the whole. The Dining-room is a circular apartment, thirty feet in diameter, crowned with a dome and lantern, with only one window upon the front. Four recesses contain the sideboards; above which, in each, is a niche, where is placed an antique bronze statue ; these are 'between coupled columns, very large and handsome. There is also an excellent library, but, upon the death of its late possessor, in 1824, the medals, drawings, and bronzes were bequeathed to the British Museum, where they are now preserved. The estates devolved to his brother, Thomas Andrew Knight, Esq. who is the President of the Horticultural Society, and Fellow of the Royal and Linnæan Societies.
The castellated form of the edifice was most probably designed to harmonize with the beautifully romantic scenery of Downton Park, one of the most picturesque in the kingdom, adorned by a profusion of wood, and watered by a mountain stream, which Aows over a rocky bed. The Castle stands on an eminence, from whence the ground slopes to the valley of the river Teme, which, rising in the mountains of Wales, takes its course through the vale of Brampton Bryan, beneath the camp of Cæsar, and, after passing these beautiful grounds, runs to Oakley Park, the seat of the Hon. Robert Henry Clive, son of the Earl of Powis. The opposite bank of the river, at Downton, is clothed with woods, through which a path by the river-side opens upon the most delightful scenery: near this spot, and overlooked by the Mansion, is a bridge; a mill also, about a mile and a half from the house, adds greatly to the interest of the view. The whole course of the river, through Downton Park, is about three miles.
Downton is in Wigmore Hundred, about five miles west from Ludlow.