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Powderham Castle, Devonshire ;
THE SEAT OF
This principal seat of the ancient and noble family of the Courtenays was erected during the Feudal ages, with a view of defending the adjacent country from the incursions of rival barons, and at the same time to protect the surrounding vassals. On the death of John de Powderham, who held it in the time of Edward I., it came by escheat or otherwise to Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, who gave it, with his daughter Margaret in marriage, to Hugh, Earl of Devon, who bestowed it on his son, Sir Peter Courtenay, about the beginning of the fourteenth century.
The manor of Kenton, in which the castle is situate, anciently possessed by the Courtenays, when Earls of Devon, devolved to the crown on the attainder of Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter, in 1538; and was sold in the reign of Queen Elizabeth to Lord Clifton; who, in the reign of James I., disposed of it to Sir Warwick Hele, who left it to his nephew John; at whose death it fell to Sir Edward Hungerford, in right of his wife, daughter of the said Sir John Hele. In the time of King Charles II., Sir Edward Hungerford sold it to the Duke of Albemarle; from whose family it next came, in the beginning of the Queen Anne's reign, to John, Lord Granville; of whom, or of whose heirs, it was purchased by Sir William Courtenay, Bart., in 1712. Thus were the Courtenays again possessed of their ancient manor.
The situation of the Castle, though low, is extremely beautiful, upon the banks of the river Exe, which is here a mile and a half broad at high water, being within three miles of its confluence with the British Channel; the windows command a view of Topsham, and all the shipping that come up there, with many adjacent seats. The Retreat, a most elegant place; Nutwell, a picturesque mansion, and its embowering groves are within view, together with Woodberry Hill, Exmouth, and the village of Lympstone; with many other interesting and agreeable objects, besides a full command of the ocean to the west.
The grounds of Powderham are very extensive, comprising an ample Park, well stored with deer, delightful shrubberies and plantations of exotics, diversified with lawns and pleasure grounds, through a circumference of nearly ten miles. On the summit of an eminence in the park is a tower called the Belvidere, built in 1773 (upon the model of that at Shrubs-hill, Windsor, erected by William, Duke of Cumberland). This tasteful ornament to the surrounding country commands the most delightful and extended views of a part of the kingdom deservedly styled the Montpelier of England.
The hand of taste has smoothed the rugged brow of chivalry, and the high turrets and massive embattled towers no longer frown terrible to the eye of the awe-struck traveller. The ancient fortress has yielded to the genius of modern times, and the machicolated gateway, with its formidable portcullus, have disappeared, and made way for more domestic and ornamental appendages, since the year 1752, at which period it still retained a considerable portion of its ancient castellated form. On the north wing additions have been made, under the direction of the late J. Wyatt, R.A., corresponding to the general appearance. The interior contains many noble apartments, which have been much embellished and adorned by the taste of the present possessor, and furnished in the most sumptuous manner.
Among the various decorations are some good family portraits, and a few pictures by the great masters, deserving attention.
The Tribute Money.-- Rubens. A View of Okehampton Castle.- Wilson. A Waterfall in Devonshire.- Ditto. A fine portrait of George Monk, Duke of Albemarle. A fine portrait of Edward Wortley Montague, Esq. by Peters. The Picture Gallery.D). Teniers the younger. A beautiful and highly-finished painting. A Landscape, with Travellers balting.–Both Queen Henrietta Maria, probably by Vandyck. A full length of King Charles II. The Five Senses personified, in five small pictures. Teniers. With many cabinet paintings, and a number of drawings, by Lord Courtenay, with some miniatures and flower-pieces, by Craig, executed with much delicacy and taste.
Besides other curiosities, here is a remarkably fine set of dressing plate, a royal present to an ancestor of the family...
Within a short distance of this Castle are a multitude of sea-bathing places, such as Dawlish, Exmouth, and Teignmouth, which, on account of their recent origin, present a fine contrast to the proud and haughty aspect of Powderham, still glorying in its strength and antiquity.
· Buckland Filleigh, Devonshire ;
THE SEAT OF
JOHN INGLETT FORTESQUE, ESQ.
ante acres, for catelor Fetumine House tons, as
BUCKLAND FILLEIGH, in the Hundred of Shebbear, and Deanery of Torrington, lying about seven miles from Hatherleigh, in the north of Devonshire," was the ancient inheritance of Filleighs, Knights, who held lands in Hartleigh in this parish, in the time of Edward I. From this Family, by the daughter of Densell, that wedded the heir of Wear, these lands came to Martin Fortescue, and by him and his wife were given to their youngest son, William,” says Risdon, and was originally spelt Bocland, being the registered lands of Filleigh, the Lord of the Manor, and Founder of the Church.
The Mansion, built with stone, and presenting in its southern front the figure of the Roman F, the initial letter of its possessor's name, is of early date, and stands nearly in the midst of the Manor, on a rising ground, declining on every side except on the Western, where a gentle ascent screens it from the rains from that quarter. On the north and east, the lawn on which the house stands, descends to a small stream; beyond this rise high grounds, covered with thriving plantations and woods, through which, a very fine drive, three miles in extent, has been made, opening at intervals on a noble terrace, and presenting, at various points, striking views of the home woods, the distant country being bounded by the mountainous summits of Dartmoor. The south front opens on an undulating lawn of about forty acres. This also slopes gradually to a small and picturesque lake, covered throughout the year with wild fowl, and thence rises to a noble wood that bounds the horizon. This wood contains upwards of one hundred and eighty acres, and consists of majestic oaks, the underwood being entirely of holly. In the Great Wood are two roads for catching woodcocks, where, by means of nets, these birds are taken in the morning or evening, on leaving or returning to the wood, at times in considerable quantities. Through its eastern part is the principal approach to the House, which has within a few years undergone very considerable alterations and improvements: the additions, as well as the original building, being coated with Roman cement, the whole assumes an elegant appearance. The eastern front is adorned with a granite portico of the Grecian Doric order, of imposing size, but the principal entrance is on the north, under a Doric colonnade, also of granite, which affords the convenience of a sheltered carriage-way. The interior arrangement is replete with comfort; various rooms of large dimensions communicate with each other by means of a saloon, vestibule, and hall; from the latter is an oak staircase of elegant design. The offices are very commodious, and adjoining are the stables, situated on the west side of the house, concealed by plantations; they surround an extensive quadrangle, and are admirably arranged. The gardens rank among the best in the county. • The common ancestor of the ancient and widely-spreading family of Fortescue appears to have settled at Wymondeston, or Wimpston, in the parish of Modbury in this county, at a period little subsequent to the Conquest, and during the reign of William I.
The pedigrees of the family derive its descent from Sir Richard Le Forte, a person of extraordinary strength and courage, who distinguished himself under the Duke of Normandy, in his expedition against England, A.D. 1066, bearing a large shield before the Duke, at the sanguinary and decisive Battle of Hastings; and was exposed to imminent danger, having three horses killed under him: he received a grant of “Wympstone” from the Conqueror, as a reward for his great bravery.
The Motto used by the Family, time immemorial, is evidently in allusion to the above ;–“Forte scutum salus ducum." Sir Adam, son of Sir Richard, was also a principal commander in the Battle of Hastings, and behaved so valiantly as to be particularly rewarded for his services, and was the first who bore the name of Fortescue.
Our limits not admitting us to trace the descent, we shall therefore only state that the present representative of a principal branch of the Family, and possessor of Buckland Filleigh, is John Inglett Fortescue, Esq.
The Parish Church of Buckland Filleigh, standing a few paces only from the east front of the House, embosomed in trees, is a small ancient building, covered with ivy to the summit of the tower; attached to the north east corner is a Mausoleum belonging to the Fortescues, and within the Church are several ancient monuments to different members of the family. The Church-yard is remarkable for its sequestered beauty.
The Grange, Broadhembury, Devonshire ;
THE SEAT OP
The GRANGE, in the Parish of Broadhembury, Devon, is situated a short distance from the high road leading from Cullompton to Honiton, about six miles from the latter town, in a fertile plain, at the base of the lofty chain of the Blackdown Hills which here terminate in Hembury Fort, remarkable as the site of a Roman encampment, of which the triple vallum is still perfect.
At a remote period the family of Drewe was seated at Drewscliffe, and Higham, in Devon; Sir William Pole, in his “ Collections,” derives their pedigree from Drogo de Teign, who held lands at Drewes Teighton, in the reign of Henry II. In the fourth of Edward IV. they held lands in Modbury. The family afterwards removed to Sharpham, on the river Dart, and thence to Killerton, near Exeter, all in this county.
Edward Drewe, Esq., of Killerton, Recorder of London, was made Recorder of Exeter in 1592, and was promoted to be Serjeant at Law to the Queen. He purchased the estates in Broadhembury from the grandson of Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, on whom they had been conferred at the Dissolution, having been part of the possessions of the Abbey of Dunkeswell, which had here its Grange.
The present proprietor, sixth son of Francis Drewe, Esq., who died in 1773, the lineal descendant of Sir Thomas Drewe, (son of the Serjeant,) who was knighted at the coronation of James I., and in 1634 served the office of High Sheriff of the county, as did also his grandson, in the reign of James II. Thomas Drewe, Esq., was Knight of the Shire in 1699 and following years. Francis Drewe, Esq., grandfather of John Rose Drewe, Esq., represented the City of Exeter in four successive parliaments. The Serjeant appears to have lived principally at Killerton, in Broadclist. He is interred with his wife in the Church of that Parish, where a sumptuous monument is erected to their memory.
The Mansion, of which we give a south-west view, was built by Sir Thomas Drewe, in the early part of the reign of James I. in the form of a Roman I, with a quadrangle at the upper, or northern end. The appearance has been so much altered, that there are now few external traces of its antiquity, besides its pinnacled gables, and the numerous tall chimneys with which it is crowned. In the quadrangle, around which are the offices, the stone transomed windows still remain as evidences of the era of the building: the present west front has been formed by filling up the Hall Court on that side.
The chief ornament of this Seat is the “ Oak Drawing-room," thirty-two feet in length: as a specimen of the peculiar style of its decoration, if not unique, it is in finer preservation perhaps than any other in the kingdom: much of the carving was probably collected from more ancient buildings to ornament this room. The western end is the most elaborately adorned, the entrance being in the centre of it, between two rich canopied recessés, flanked by fluted Corinthian columns, supporting an entablature crowned with pinnacles, obelisks, statues, and winged horses; the latter appear to have been an armorial ensign, though not now to be traced to any branch of the family. The bases of the columns rest on a plinth, perforated by niches, in which stand lions rampant, bearing shields; the centre of each recess is occupied by a small door, on the panels of which are carved the signs of the zodiac, six on each door; the story of Romulus and Remus, with the city of Rome in the background, is represented in the arch over the door, in the recess on the left, and the contest of Ajax and Ulysses for the arms of Achilles, the disappointed Ajax throwing himself on his own sword, in the recess on the right hand. The eight panels of the entrance doors represent stories from Ovid's Metamorphoses: these carvings are in fine preservation, and of very early date. On the projeeting cornice above the door stands four heroic figures holding spears and shields. The walls are panelled with oak; pilasters support a narrow frieze, on which are subjects from the heathen mythology; above the cornice is an arcade supported by small Ionic columns, running entirely round the room, having, under each arch, a shield. The face of each pilaster is finely carved with armorial bearings, foliage, fruit, flowers, animals, and grotesque figures; on one is an imperial crown, over a fleur-de-lis, with the letters J. R. The panels of the window recesses are decorated with a series of figures in alto-relievo, representing heathen deities, and various other fabulous beings; over the fireplace are the royal arms and supporters, as borne by James I., which are placed under a canopy, resting on two female caryatides, in the costume of the period, but appearing from their emblems to be intended for Ceres and Flora ; at their feet is a compartment filled with winged horses. A frieze also surrounds the room at the base of the pilasters, illustrative of the mythology of the ancients. The ceiling is very richly ornamented in corresponding taste, and has three carved pendants for chandeliers.
The landing-places of the great Staircase are finely inlaid ; on the wall is a large painting, representing Francis Drewe, Esq. and his wife, the heiress of Rose, of Wotton Fitzpaign, in Dorsetshire, with their seven sons, the sixth of whom is the present possessor of the Grange. In the great Dining-room are a number of excellent family portraits, and Lord Strafford and his Secretary, after Vandyke.
The Church of Broadhembury is a picturesque object from the eastern windows, the view being bounded by the Blackdown Hills. A venerable avenue of silver firs of enormous size bespeaks the antiquity of this ancient retreat. The Lawn and Pleasure Grounds combine all the beauties of an English landscape.