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Marston-House, Somersetshire ;
THE SEAT OF
EDMUND BOYLE, EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY.
created Council of Mstudying
This Mansion is an elegant structure, occupying a considerable extent of front. The centre, which recedes, is adorned by a portico, and the whole building is surmounted by a noble cornice and balustrade. It stands in a park, possessing a fine inequality of surface, covered with the smoothest verdure, and richly wooded, in the midst of a most fertile tract of country, two miles south-west of the town of Frome.
The Manor of Marston, or Merston Bigott, has been in the possession of the noble family of Boyle for two centuries; his Lordship also holds several estates, of considerable extent, in this neighbourhood.
The ancestors of this family had their residence in the county of Hereford for several generations : Lodowick Boyle, living in the reign of Henry III., being father of John Boyle; and he, of James; who had issue Lodowick, whose son John was succeeded by James, father of Lodowick Boyle, of Bidney, and of the Friars, in the city of Hereford, living in the reign of Henry VI. as stated in the Heralds' Visitation of that county, now in the British Museum.
This family was raised to large estates and high rank in Ireland by Richard Boyle (the direct descendant of the above Lodowick,) afterwards the great Earl of Cork, who was born at Canterbury in 1566. After studying the law in the Temple, he visited Ireland, and was appointed Clerk of the Council of Munster, and purchased Sir Walter Raleigh's lands there. In 1616, he was created Lord Boyle, Baron of Youghall; and, on October 26, 1620, Viscount Dungarvon and Earl of Cork.' He not only made large acquisitions of estates in the kingdom, but carried on, at a great expense, prodigious improvements in various places; which made Cromwell remark, that “ if there had been an Earl of Cork in every province, it would have been impossible for the Irish to have raised a rebellion.” He died at Youghall in 1643, ætat. 77.
His eldest son Richard, in consequence of his marriage with Elizabeth, sole daughter and heiress of Henry Clifford, last Earl of Cumberland, was created Lord Clifford, of Lanesborough in Yorkshire, November 4, 1644; and in 1664, advanced to be Earl of Burlington. He died in 1698, and was succeeded by his grandson Charles; who, dying in 1704, left a son, Richard, third Earl of Burlington and fourth Earl of Cork-a nobleman well known for his skill in the arts, and for his munificent patronage of them. He died at his celebrated seat at Chiswick, December 3, 1753, without issue male, leaving his estates to his daughter and heiress Lady Charlotte Boyle, who married William, late Duke of Devonshire; but the Irish honours of Cork, &c. descended to his collateral heir-male, John, fifth Earl of Orrery (direct descendant of Roger, the fifth son of the first Earl of Cork), born in 1707. His marriage, in 1728, was the source of a dissension with his father, which produced a cruel piece of resentment in the father's will—the devising his Library to Christ Church College, Oxford: a subsequent reconciliation came too late to cancel this mark of unkindness, which the son felt severely. In addition to this, he inherited an estate encumbered with debts, which he endeavoured to pay off. Going to Ireland for this purpose, he became acquainted with Dean Swift. In 1733, he returned to England, and retired to this seat and estate, purchased by the first Earl of Cork, which having been much neglected by his ancestors, who had left little more than the shell of a large old house, he erected the offices, furnished the apartments, and laid out the gardens and plantations in the pleasure-grounds. As study and retirement were his principal pleasures, he furnished the Library anew with the best authors. He again retired to Ireland in 1746, where he resided till 1750; at his return to Marston, he continued his alterations and improvements in the house and gardens; meantime the amusement of his winter evenings was his “ Translation of the Letters of Pliny the Younger, with Observations on each Letter, and an Essay on Pliny's Life, 1751,” 2 vols. 4to. In 1752, he published his “ Remarks on the Life and Writings of Dean Swift.” In 1753, he succeeded to the title of Earl of Cork. At length, an hereditary gout, which all his temperance could not parry, put an early period to his existence at Marston-House, November, 1762, ætat. 56. The present noble earl succeeded his father, Edmund, in 1798, as eighth Earl of Cork and Orrery.
Wick House, Somersetshire;
THE SEAT OF
WILLIAM WITHERING, ESQ.
Wick House is situated in the parish of Brislington, two miles and a half south-east of the city of Bristol, ten from Bath, and four from Clifton, on a gentle acclivity, surrounded by highly ornamented and richly timbered grounds.
Though in itself an unpretending villa, the two fronts display a tasteful variety of architecture; and the House comprehends, in due proportion, accommodations so complete, that few of moderate dimensions combine more elegance and convenience.
The principal apartments are aired by fues, communicating heat from a patent stove placed in the vestibule; and the whole premises, lodging rooms, bath, &c. are amply supplied by a forcingpump with hard and soft water. The Library contains an interesting selection of books, and is particularly rich in the botanical department of science. The Pictures are few, and those chiefly portraits. The offices, attached and detached, are singularly commodious—the Farm-yard, Gardens, and Conservatory properly disposed, and concealed by plantations—the Entrance Lodge and Green-house correspond in style with the appendages of the Mansion.
From the windows of the north-west, or what may be termed the garden front, represented in the plate, the Avon, at high-water, rises into view at the bottom of an umbrageous lawn. So propitious is the climate to vegetation, that the tender cork-tree and Oriental planes here flourish uninjured; and so salubrious the air, that it appears, by an inscription in the church-yard, anno 1542, an inhabitant attained the patriarchal age of one hundred and fifty-four years !
The Pleasure Grounds, about sixty acres, in which natural advantages have been judiciously improved by art, present a bold inequality of surface, and an association of beauties rarely to be inet with in a similar compass. The little sequestered valley, in which a stream expands into a small lake, is animated by a rookery, swans, and other water-fowl. Here the brilliant kingfisher haunts the recesses of the bubbling brook, or glances beneath the arch of the ivy-mantled bridgethere the Hermitage, in the midst of the shady grove, invites to musing and retirement. Nor are the hours of night devoid of interest, from the ever-varying serenade of the nightingale; while the mossy banks are begemmed with sparkling glow-worms.
Finely contrasted with such secluded scenery is the panorama to be viewed from the terrace above, affording a variety of interesting objects, either for the naked eye or the telescope. Hence may be seen the elevated table-land on Dundry Hill, a military station through successive eras; Maes-Knoll, so called possibly from the ancient British word denominating a level or plain, and the knoll or mount thereon, an extended agger of the camp, rather than a barrow, or repository for the dead, as imagined by some antiquaries; and that lofty, elegantly-lanterned, and often cloudenveloped tower, the well-known landmark of the Channel. Nearer, from the bosom of the vale beneath, arise, to adorn the simplicity of the rural landscape, the pinnacles of the church of Brislington ; whilst, in an opposite direction, mingled with interesting associations, the mind will contemplate the mouldering fane of Redcliffe; the venerable cathedral; and the extended grandeur of the city of Bristol, glittering with twenty other towers and spires. Beyond, to the north-west, may be observed the heights of modern Clifton, crowned with stately crescents, terraces, and woods; the sites of Roman encampments, commanding the gorge of the river, and originally constructed to check the ravages of Cambrian invaders; the extensive park of Ashton; and, yet more distant, the eye, stretching over the enchanting scenery of King's Weston and Blaise Castle, traces in the blue horizon the mountainous district of South Wales.
Within a very short walk of this little domain, the woody and precipitous banks of the Avon form a pleasing sylvan amphitheatre, at Conham Ferry, encircling meadows of the richest verdure. And, perhaps, equally agreeable, though differing in character, may be a ramble through the dingle to the ruined chapel of St. Anne, where the brook, after turning a mill, falls into the river.
Embracing so many agrémens at home, and so rare a combination of objects to invite excursion, with fine roads in every direction, Wick is equally calculated for the recluse, or the man of the world.