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and for the priory to appropriate the same. The licence to crenellate here has not yet come to light, so that the date for the erection of the building must rest on the architectural evidence, but there can be no doubt that Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, who occupied many high positions in the State, was the builder.2 In 1403, Thomas Percy, who had been created Earl of Worcester in 1397, and his nephew, Harry Hotspur, were in rebellion against Henry IV, and in an attempt to join hands with Owen Glendower were defeated at Shrewsbury on July 21 in that year. Hotspur lost his life in the battle, and the Earl was beheaded at Shrewsbury shortly afterwards, his estates being forfeited to the Crown.
It is now that the first mention of the castle seems to occur, for in this year (Aug. 8), Henry IV gave the constableship of the castle and the stewardship of the lordship of Wressle and the custody of the park to Robert Babthorpe. A large quantity of the Earl of Worcester's goods at Wressle, including an old bed of gold cloth, with a celure4 and 'quelepoint' of the same suit, and many other beds, hangings, coverlets, etc., with four little materasses' of 'card,' and also including an
armyng slop' of 'motle velvet,' a 'reredose,' a frontlet of gold cloth, three pieces of linen cloth for the altar, an alb, an amice, a chasuble, a stole, two ridels of red "tartaryn,'6 old amice embroidered with a golden star, two 'gitons '? for lances embroidered with ivy, two 'trappers,' a banner, two
penons, two tunics of arms, a standard, and four tablets for the altar, were given by the King to Robert de Waterton.8 By the Earl of Worcester's forfeiture, the castle and manor, with the exception of a short lease, now passed from the Percies for about seventy years; but during this period a number of names prominent in the history of England were associated with the estate.
In the first instance, the castle and manor were granted for life on Sept. 10, 1403, to Joan of Navarre, Henry IV's
1 Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1377-81, p. 350. 2 See Mr. Bilson's note, on pp. 182 3.
3 Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1401-5, p. 247. Robert Babthorpe married Eleanor, daughter of John de Waterton, who was lord of Waterton in ii Hen. IV (140910) (Thoresby Society's Transaclions, xv, 88), and she was possibly sister to Sir Robert Waterton (ibid., 95). There is a pedigree of Babthorpe of Babthorpe in the History of Hemingbrough, edited by Canon James Raine (facing p. 173).
"A canopy covering a bed (N.E.D.). 5 Altar curtains (N.E.D.).
6 A rich stuff, apparently of silk, imported from the East, probably from China, through Tartary (N.E.D.).
? A small flag (N.E.D.).
8 Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1401-5, p. 408. A good deal of information about Robert de Waterton, of Methley and Waterton, will be found in the Thoresby Society's Transactions, XV, p. 81.
second wife, in part settlement of her dower. The Queen's dower, assigned to her on March 8, 1403, was 10,000 marks per annum, to be received at the Exchequer for life, or until the King should provide her with lands to that value. The issues of the castle and manor of Wressle were granted to her for a short time by the King in part satisfaction of the 10,000 marks, and in lieu of a money payment to the same value at the Exchequer. But Queen Joan's interest was only short, and when on July 1, 1409, the King made a formal grant to her and John Kyngton and John de Tibbay, clerks, her trustees, of lands, rents, and revenues in full satisfaction of the dower, Wressle manor and castle were not included. They seem, next, to have been bestowed upon Ralph, Earl of Westmorland,5 and Joan his wife, for life. The castle and manor were returned 6 as part of the estates of John,? Duke of Bedford, Regent of France, and third son of Henry IV in his Inq. p. m. in 1435-6, and the castle (or part of it) was assigned in 17 Hen. VI (1438-9) to his widow, Jacquetta,' of Luxemburg, in the settlement of her dower.
When Wressle was in the King's hands again, by reason of his uncle Bedford's death without issue, Henry VI gave the office of porter of the castle with the keeping of the park first to Henry Langton, a yeoman usher of the chamber (July 16, 1437),10 and afterwards to Henry Vavasour (Jan. 5. 1438).11 The King next disposed of two parts of the manor and castle
1 Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1401-5, p. 259.
4 The date of the cancellation of the grant to the Queen, and the date of the grant to the Earl of Westmorland and his Countess uncertain. But in an entry on the Patent Rolls, June_27, 1405, of the grant of some of the Earl of Northumberland's lands to John, Duke of Bedford, the castle and lordship of Wressle are excepted on the ground that they had been given to the Earl of Westmorland and Joan, his wife, for life (Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1405-8, p. 40). This date is somewhat puzzling, as the Queen appears to have had a confirmation of the grant of the castle and lordship on Aug. io in the same year (Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1405-8, p. 46). oweve when the second Earl of Northumberland presented a petition respecting his lands, into which a commission was appointed to inquire (Dec. 17, 1435), he made reference to the castle andeordship of Wressle having been given at some time to the Earl of Westmorland, and Joan, his wife, for life (Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1429–36, p. 532).
Ralph Nevill, lord of Raby, created Earl of Westmorland in 1398. He married (1) Margaret, daughter of Hugh, Earl of Stafford, and (2) Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and widow of Sir Robert Ferrers, Knt. The Earl died on Oct. 21, 1425, and Joan on Nov. 13, 1440.
His will has been printed in Wills and Inventories (Surtees Soc., ii), i, 68.
6 Cal. of Inq. P. m., iv, p. 169.
? He married, for his second wife, Jacquetta, daughter of Peter of Luxemburgh, Earl of St. Paul, and died at Paris, Sept. 14, 1435, being buried at Rouen. His will, dated Sept. 10, 1435, will be found in Test. Vetusta (i, 241). The date of the grant of Wressle to the Duke is not known. 8 Cal. of Inq. p. m., iv, p. 471.
afterwards married Richard Wydevyll, or Woodville, who was created Earl Rivers. By him she had a daughter, Elizabeth, who married Edward IV for her second husband. 10 Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1436-41, p. 95.
il Ibid., p. 127.
to Ralph, Lord Cromwell, at first for life in 1438 (Feb. 3), and afterwards, in 1440, in fee simple, together with the reversion of the other third after the death of Jacquetta de Woodville. In 1454 (Nov. I), Ralph enfeoffed his trustees, the Bishop of Winchester, and others, in the estate,3 and died shortly after, on Jan. 4, 1455–6, without issue. After his death it was necessary for his feoffees and his executors to secure a pardon from the King for certain intrusions which they or he had illegally made into lands pertaining to the King which Ralph had had of the King's grant, but the particular offences are not specified. Again Wressle came into the hands of the Crown.
In 1458, for the first time since 1403, we find a Percy gaining an interest in Wressle, for on June 10 in that year,5 the castle, lordship, and manor were leased by Henry VI to Sir Thomas Percy 6 for life, at a rental of roli., he sustaining the houses, closes, and buildings, and supporting all other charges, with the necessary repair of the castle. This Thomas Percy was made Baron Egremont. His occupation of Wressle only lasted a very short time, as he was killed, fighting for his King, at the battle of Northampton, on July 9, 1460. When the Duke of York claimed the throne, the castle was apparently held, with Pontefract, by Henry Percy, the third Earl of Northumberland, who was twice ordered to hand it over to the Earl of Salisbury, one of the confederate lords supporting the Duke's claim.8 Upon the Duke of York's son, the Earl of March, establishing himself upon the throne as Edward IV, Wressle was bestowed (Feb. 20, 1462),9 for a brief period, upon Lawrence, Bishop of Durham 10 and William, Earl of Kent,11 but two years later Edward gave the castle,
1 Of Tattershall. Treasurer of England in 11 Hen. VI (1432–3). He married Margaret, daughter and heir of Lord Deincourt, who predeceased him. His will, proved Feb. 19, 1455-6, has been printed in Test. Vetusta (i, 276).
Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1436-41, pp. 165 and 384 ; ibid., 1441-6, p. 66. 3 Ibid., 1452-61, p. 199. Ibid.,
p. 341. Date of pardon, Aug. 9, 1457.
Ibid., p. 428.
6 The second surviving son of Henry, 2nd Earl of Northumberland, by his wife, Eleanor, daughter of Ralph Nevill, Earl of Westmorland, and great-great-nephew of Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, the builder of the castle.
? The eldest son of Ralph Nevill, ist
Earl of Westmorland, by his second wife, Joan Beaufort. He married Alice, daughter and heiress of Thomas de Montacute, 4th Earl of Salisbury (Dict. of Nat. Biog.).
8 Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1452-61, pp. 610 and 649.
9 Ibid., 1461-7, p. 73.. 10 Lawrence Booth, bishop 1457-76 ; and Archbishop of York, 1476-80. He was son of John Booth, of Barton, co. Lanc.
11 William Nevill, Lord Fauconberg, created Earl of Kent, 1 Edw. IV (1461–2). He was the second son of Ralph Nevill, ist Earl of Westmorland, by his second wife, Joan Beaufort, and married Joan daughter and heiress of the last Baron Fauconberg, of Skelton Castle (Dict. of Nat. Biog.). The object of this grant does not appear.
manor, and lordship of Wresslel to John Nevill, Lord Montague, and his heirs, a grant which was confirmed a year later,3 and again in 1468.4 Lord Montague had been created Earl of Northumberland, and had received a grant of all the forfeited lands of the Percies as a reward for his services at the battle of Hexham and against the Scots. But Edward, wishing to conciliate the Percies and their retainers, restored the earldom to that family, and raised Nevill to a marquessate, in compensation for the loss of the earldom, but without a grant of lands commensurate with the title. Montague, being dissatisfied with the treatment he had received at Edward's hands, deserted to Henry VI, when for a short time he regained his throne, and received from that monarch a confirmation of the grant of Wressle in 1471 (March 21). Montague was slain at the battle of Barnet (April 14, 1471), Edward won back the crown, and Wressle again came into the hands of the King.
Very soon afterwards Wressle was restored to the Percies. The grant does not appear in the Calendars of Patent Rolls, but a reference in the Inq. p. m.,6 taken 28 April, 1489, of Henry, the fourth Earl of Northumberland,? to his having, by deed, on 10 April, 1475, given the castle and manor of Wressle to Thomas Ursewyk, knt., and others, shows that it could not have been later than that year. 8
E. W. CROSSLEY.
AN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY NOTE ON THE CASTLE.
In a letter from Lady Elizabeth (who married Sir Hugh Smithson) to her mother (the Duchess of Somerset, who died in 1754), dated from Armin on 10th August, we have a description of the old family seat which Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, had delighted in strengthening and beautifying, etc. “We have been a long voyage this morning to Wressil Castle,
of Etal, in Northumberland, and Eleanor
5 Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1467-77, P. 239.
1 Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1461-7, p. 341..
2 The third son of Richard Nevill, Earl of Salisbury, and Alice Montacute. His eldest brother was Richard Nevill, Earl of Warwick, the “ King-maker, and another brother was George Nevill, Archbishop of York, 1464-76 (Dict. of Nat. Biog.).
3 Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1461-7, p. 484.
• Ibid., 1467-77, p. 91. A reminder of the connection of the Nevills with the castle is to be found in a licence dated June 13, 1469, to the vicar of Wressle to marry, in the chapel or oratory, within the manor house of Wressle, Sir Robert Manners, knt., lord
The will of the 4th Earl, dated 1485, and proved in 1491, has been printed in Test. Ebor., iii, 304. In it he directs
as for ye stuff that I had of ye Marqueux Montagugh at Wresill, I woll his executours have ten powndes, we recompense and satisfaccion therfor (ibid., p. 306).
The attainder of Henry Percy, the 3rd Earl, was reversed in the Parliament of 12-13 Edward IV.
by water. The outside of the building is in general very entire. It is situate about two hundred yards from the River Derwent, and seems to have been a very fine place. The tenant who inhabits it, with his family, lives in the offices below, which have the Percy, Lucy, Brabant, and Poynings arms stained on some of the windows; and all the ceilings are ornamented. From thence you ascend into a little room, which has abundance of odd carving about, and which leads to the hall. This is a very large and lofty room. The ceiling is carved, and from thence, about two feet deep, a line of coats of arms and other decorations, painted, carved, and gilt, go quite round the room. At each corner are some things in a sort of a semi-circular shape, which project into the room; they reach from the floor to the top, and are made of carved oak, and within each of them is a little staircase. There is also a small and very ordinary chapel, in which there is nothing remarkable, but Hotspur's motto, Esperance, which is to be seen on that ceiling and, indeed, all over the castle. There are two other large rooms still entire, finished in the same taste as the hall, but not so richly. From the leads there is a fine view over the adjacent country, which is well wooded, and the river.” (Annals of the House of Percy, ii, 522-3.)
In the palmy days of Wressle Castle, heraldry helped considerably in the decoration of this home of the Percies. Looking at the ruins of the castle to-day, there is no trace of heraldic decoration anywhere. What we know of the heraldry is preserved in a small MS. book, apparently written and illustrated by “Mr. Bell, the architect, imployed in restoring of Alnwick Castle, 1765."1 He gives sketches of coats of arms and various devices of the Percy family and its connections; he also gives, in some cases, the position in which the devices were placed. Mr. Bell does not give the position for a shield divided quarterly of five : (I) Quarterly, I and 4, a lion rampant (PERCY) : 2 and 3, three lucies hauriant (Lucy). (2) Five fusils in fess (PERCY ; ancient). (3) Barry of six, over all a bendlet (POYNINGS). (4) Three lions passant, in pale, over all a bendlet (FitZ PAINE); and (5) three piles in point (BRYAN).
The rampant lion of the Percy coat is supposed to be in some way derived from the arms of Brabant (sable, a lion
This book is now in the library of the Yorkshire Archæological Society.