« PreviousContinue »
: Alscot Park, Gloucestershire ;
THE SEAT OF
JAMES ROBERTS WEST, ESQ.
The Mansion at Alscot stands nearly in the centre of a beautiful Park, well watered by the windings of the river Stour, a small stream that falls into the Avon about a mile and a half below this place :
“ Here Stour exulting pays
The east side of the Park is bounded by the great road from Shipston to Stratford on Avon ; from the former town it is distant eight miles, and from the latter three miles.
The House' is ancient, but a Porch has lately been added, under the direction of Mr. Hopper, architect, who, in his design, has successfully restored the character of the ancient Domestic architecture. The back of the House is the most ancient; the front was built abont 70 years ago by James West, Esq. the grandfather of the present proprietor, and who purchased this Estate.
James West, Esq. made great additions to the House, and many improvements about the Park; he was a gentleman of great literary talent, and well known for his fine Library and Museum. These were sold after his death in 1773: his MSS. were purchased by the Marquess of Lansdowne, and now form a part of that valuable collection in the British Museum.
Without the Park pales, on the west, stands Atherstone Hill, now the property of James Roberts West, Esq., but formerly the residence of the Rev. Dr. Thomas, the continuator of Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire, who possessed property in the neighbourhood, in right of his
ife Elizabeth, daughter of George Carter, Esq., of Brill in Buckinghamshire. This House is in Warwickshire, in which county the Doctor was Rector of the neighbouring parish of Exhall.
King's Weston, Gloucestershire;
THE SEAT OF
LORD DE CLIFFORD.
King's WESTON received its name from being part of the King's ancient demesnes, and its situation, westward of Berkeley Hundred, of which it forms a detached part. It stands five miles north from Bristol, and is a hamlet of the parish of Henbury.
The Seat of Lord de Clifford occupies a fine eminence in a Park, five hundred acres in extent. It was erected under the direction of Sir John Vanburgh, and in the design there is more simplicity, and less cumbrous ornament, than is generally found in his buildings. He has here improved the effect by uniting the chimneys in the centre of the roof. The entrance Hall is large and lofty, and the Staircase singularly elegant; but the apartments are all of moderate dimensions; they contain many Paintings by the old Masters, and a series of Portraits of the Clifford and Southwell families; a fine portrait of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, and of his contemporary Sir Richard Southwell, by Holbein; others by the same artist. In the doors of two different Cabinets are inlaid a collection of miniatures of illustrious personages from the time of Queen Elizabeth to that of James II., possessing great merit in their execution, and extremely curious in their selection. .
The Grounds near the House are embellished by luxuriant Plantations and beautiful lawns; at the distance of two miles is the Severn, appearing like a large arm of the sea, into which the rapid river Avon here discharges itself. The Park abounds in eminences planted with great taste, and displaying varied scenery. From the summit of a hill near the house, the prospect is exquisitely beautiful, and uncommonly extensive, commanding a fine tract of coast on the Bristol Channel, Glamorganshire on the one side, and Somersetshire on the other, and up the mouth of the Severn almost to Gloucester, which is thirty-five miles distant; the mountains of Wales forming the back ground. On the south, the view is less extensive, but equally pleasing, over a richly cultivated country on the Gloucestershire side of the Avon, the windings of which river add considerable interest to the scene, interspersed with a great variety of seats and villas.
In Domesday Boke it is mentioned, that “ seven hides and one virgate in Westone belong to Berchelai.” King Henry the Second granted the whole Hundred of Berkeley to Robert Fitz-Hardinge, who settled this Manor upon Robert, his second son, from whom the estate descended to Sir William Berkeley, Knt., who, in the twelfth year of the reign of Elizabeth, sold it to Sir William Wintour, Knt. From the Wintour family it passed by purchase to Humphrey Hook, alderman of Bristol, whose son, Sir Humphrey Hook, Knt., conveyed it, in the year 1679, to Sir Robert Southwell, Knt., who was descended from an ancient family, originally settled at Southwell in Nottinghamshire, whence they removed to Woodrising, where, and in other parts of Norfolk, they enjoyed large estates..
Sir Robert Southwell was Clerk of the Privy Council to King Charles II.; he received the honour of knighthood from that monarch, Nov. 20, 1665, and was afterwards employed in several negociations with foreign powers. He retired from public business to this seat; but when King William ascended the throne, he was made Principal Secretary of State for Ireland, and attended his majesty in his expedition in 1690, for the reduction of that kingdom. He died at this seat, Sept. 11, 1702, æt. 66, and was succeeded in his estates by his son and heir, Edward Southwell, Esq, who filled several offices of the greatest eminence in Ireland. He married, first, the Lady Elizabeth Cromwell, daughter and heiress of the Earl of Ardglas, by whom he had Edward Southwell, his heir, who married Catherine, only daughter of Edward Viscount Sondes, and the Lady Catherine, eldest daughter and coheir to Thomas, Earl of Thanet, the sole heir, through a long line of illustrious ancestry, to Robert de Clifford, first summoned to Parliament as Lord de Clifford, Dec. 29th, the 28th of Edward I.
By his marriage with Lady Elizabeth Cromwell he had one son, Edward, who, upon the death of Margaret, Baroness Clifford, and Countess Dowager of Leicester, in 1775, became entitled to the Baronies of Clifford, Westmoreland, and Vesci, and received his summons to Parliament, as Baron de Clifford of Appleby. His Lordship died Nov, 1, 1777, and was succeeded by his eldest son, the present peer.