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Cecil, Lord Burghley, then Lord-President. Cecil, however, only held the office three years, when Lord Sheffield, afterwards Earl Mulgrave, succeeded. During his presidency we find an estimate was made, in 1609, of the needful repairs to the Manor, and in 1616 a grant of £1,000 was made by the Treasury. It appears, however, that in 1624 Lord Sheffield rendered an account of his receipts and disbursements respecting the Manor House, showing his total expenditure to have been no less than £3,301 4s. This sum was not, of course, all spent in repairs. The greater part of it, doubtless, was expended in the erection of the block at the north and east sides of the house. It is Jacobæan in character, and the initials of King James are placed at the base of the pilasters at the entrance.
One incident connected with Lord Sheffield is worthy of notice. On August 9th, 1615, it was agreed "that the Lord Mayor, Alderman, Sheriff, twenty-four chamberlains and best commoners, should meet the Lord Sheffield, Lord Lieutenant and President in the North parts, at Walmgate Bar, to welcome his Honour to the city, who hath been to London, and since his last being at this city, within the year, had all his three sons drowned and daughter deceased."
We now come to the most famous of the LordPresidents, and to the most glorious past of the King's Manor. Thomas, Viscount Wentworth, the famous Earl of Strafford, was appointed Lord President in 1628, and for a great part of the first four years of his Presidency he resided at the King's Manor. The house owes that striking western and north-west part of the Quadrangle to the ill-fated Strafford. His arms over the west door of the Quadrangle are those he bore as Viscount Wentworth, and are said to have formed one of the articles of his impeachment, "in that he showed his ambition by quartering his arms on a royal palace." This interesting monument of one of the greatest men of the century is externally much as he left it.
Strafford's presidency lasted from 1628 to 1640, years during which he attained to the zenith of his power and honour, ending, after being hunted down by the relentless hatred of his political foes, and being deserted by
the master he had served so well, in the gloom of his execution.
York had good reason to be thankful for a LordPresident of such remarkable vigour of character, for it was during his presidency, in 1631, that the city suffered from the last visitation of the seventeenth century plague; and by the prudent and strict regulations issued by Strafford, the Lord Mayor was much helped in his government at this trying time. The following words, in the opening of his letter giving instructions as to the precautions to be taken, are characteristic of Strafford. Writing to the Lord Mayor he says:
"You have here, under His Majesty, the charge and government of this people, which is to be required at your hands both before God and man, more especially by himself and this Council, as persons entrusted in chief, and accountable as well as yourselves, and therefore, in discharge of my own, not duty only to my master, but my affection also to this town, I do expect that you will punctually observe these orders following. Withall, I must tell you plainly I will inform myself very diligently how they are observed and executed, and shall proceed severely to punish your negligence and others' disobedience of them. These are things not to be jested withall,"
Mr. Davies tells us that "the citizens of York were fully sensible of their obligations to the Lord President."
Towards the end of October, a short time before his departure from York, upon having received the appointment of Lord Deputy of Ireland, the Lord Mayor and his brethren were desirous of personally waiting upon Lord Wentworth to give him thanks for the many kindnesses he had shown to the city, and they sent the sword-bearer to the Manor to inquire when His Lordship would be at leisure to receive them. It is not recorded that the interview took place, and most probably the compliment was declined.
Not many days previously this remarkable man had been plunged into the deepest distress by the premature and unexpected sudden death of his wife, the Lady Arabella Wentworth, to whom he was devotedly attached. She was a lady, Sir George Radcliffe tells us, exceedingly
comely and beautiful, and yet much more lovely in the endowments of her mind. Her death took place at the Manor on the 5th of October in the year 1631, when the bereaved Earl was himself suffering from severe illness. "On Tuesday morning", Sir George says, "I took the Earl out of bed, and carried him to receive his last blessing from her."
Writing three weeks after the sad event, Strafford says: "God hath taken from me your noblest cousin, the most incomparable woman and wife my eyes shall ever behold." He remained but a short time in York after this event.
It was during the presidency of Strafford that the Manor was used more as a palace than at any other time. In 1639 Charles I, whilst on his way to the North, passed a month at York, and took up his abode at the Manor. Strafford was in Ireland at the time.
In the year 1640 Charles was again, with the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and the whole Court, at the Manor from 23 Aug. to October. Strafford was here, too, but as Mr. Davies notes, "it was the last time that either of them lodged within its walls."
In 1538, as we have noted, the Council of the North was established in the Manor; 1639 and 1640 saw the gay and picturesque court of Charles within its walls. The building itself, much as it is now externally, had, it seems to me, reached the zenith of its glory as the palace of the Crown. Its fall and desuetude as a palace seems to have been as rapid and as complete as the fall of the last President who lived within its walls, for in 1641 he laid his head on the block for his master; and in the same year that master, on his way to the North, spent two nights in York; not, however, at his palace, but at the house of Sir Arthur Ingram; and again in 1642, during his long and last visit, he was indebted to the same worthy old Knight for shelter and entertainment.
The Council now being abolished, we find that in 1643 a Mr. John Stainforth was appointed "Keeper of the House within the site of the late Monastery of the Blessed Mary, near the walls of the city of York, otherwise called the Pallas, or Manor House, or the Manor Place, with a salary of £6: 13:4."