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Basing, a village about two miles from Basingstoke, with 1073 inhabitants, has a spacious and ancient Church, consisting of three aisles, with a tower in the centre: in a niche, at the west end, is a figure of the Virgin Mary, to whom the building is dedicated. The interior has a venerable appearance, and contains several monuments in memory of the Paulett family, whose seat of Basing House was in this parish, and has acquired so much celebrity from the memorable siege it sustained, under the Marquis of Winchester, by the Parliamentary forces, commanded first by Waller, and subsequently by Cromwell, by whom it was finally taken by assault, and burnt to the ground, in October, 1645, having been invested, with some intermissions, from August, 1643. The plunder obtained, in cash, jewels, and splendid furniture, is said to have amounted to £200,000; and upwards of 2000 soldiers were slain before the walls, from the commencement of the siege. From a survey taken in 1798, it appears that the area of the works, with the entrenchments and the gardens, occupied upwards of 14 acres. Some fragments of the outer walls, with the north gateway, are still standing. About two miles from hence is Hackwood Park, originally a hunting lodge, but formed into a residence by the Marquis of Winchester, after the destruction of his family seat as above related. The House stands in an extensive and beautiful Park, has undergone various alterations and improvements, and is now a handsome and commodious mansion. The daughter of the fifth Duke of Bolton having married Thomas Orde, Esq. that gentleman, on the Dukedom becoming extinct, took the name of Paulett, was created "Lord Bolton, and the title and estate are now enjoyed by his son*.
* The Paulett family has produced so many distinguished persons, that a brief account of them cannot be unacceptable.
The first Marquis of Winchester was so created by Edward VI, and with al versatility that does more credit to his talents than his integrity, contrived to retain the office of Lord Treasurer during 30 years, and under the successive reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth; his maxim was, “ Imitate the willow, not the oak.” In 1560, at the age of 85, he entertained the Queen at this mansion, so much to her satisfaction, that she exclaimed, “ By my troth, if my Lord Treasurer were but a young man, I could find in my heart to have him for a husband, before any man in England.” He died in 1572, aged 97 years, leaving 113 immediate descendants. In 1601, Elizabeth paid a second visit to Basing
BASINGSTOKE Is an ancient and populous town, 45 miles from London, pleasantly situated in a well-wooded part of the country, and deriving, considerable advantage from the junction of several important roads at this point. It is mentioned in Domesday Book as being a royal manor, with a Market; and has been long incorporated; the government is vested in a Mayor, Recorder, seven Aldermen, the same number of Burgesses, and inferior officers. A considerable woollen manufacture was formerly carried on here, but this has declined; the principal trade of the town is now in malt and corn, the carriage of which articles is very much facilitated by the Canal commenced here House, then occupied by the fourth Marquis, great grandson of the Treasurer, and staid here thirteen days, “ to the great charge of the saide Marquesse;" which “ charge” must have been somewhat increased by the visit of the French Ambassador, (with a retinue of upwards of 400 persons,) who, as her Majesty boasted, “ was royally entertained here." John, the fifth Marquis, was the nobleman who so heroically defended his house against the Parliamentary army; on every window he caused to be written with a diamond, " Aimez Loyauté,” which has since become the motto of the family; and he declared, when first summoned to surrender, “ that if the King had no more ground in England than Basing House, he would maintain it to the uttermost;" in its defence, he was assisted by his Lady, who also wrote an account of the siege. After the Restoration he experienced the usual ingratitude of Charles, and died in 1674, at Englefield, in Berkshire, without having received any reward for his loyalty, or compensation for his sufferings. He was succeeded by his eldest son Charles, of whose singular character Granger gives the following account: “ This Nobleman, when he saw that other men of sense were at their wits' end, in the arbitrary and tyrannical reign of James, (the Second,) thought it prudent to assume the character of a madman, as the first Brutus did in the reign of Tarquin. He danced, hunted, or hawked, a good part of the day; went to bed before noon, and constantly sat at table all night. He went to dinner at six or seven in the evening, and his meal lasted till six or seven the next morning; during which time he eat, drank, smoked, talked, or listened to music. The company that dined with him, were at liberty to rise, and amuse themselves, or to take a nap, whenever they were 80 disposed; but the dishes and bottles were all the while standing upon the table. Such a man as this was thought a very unlikely person to concern himself with politics, or with religion. By this conduct, he was neither embroiled in public affairs, nor gave the least umbrage to the court; but he exerted himself so much in the Revolution, that he was, for his eminent services, created Duke of Bolton: he afterwards raised a regiment of foot for the reduction of Ireland.” He died in 1698, aged 69; and was succeeded by his son, who also distinguished himself as a friend to the Protestant succession, and in 1717 became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He died in 1722, in the 62d year of his age. His eldest son and successor, Charles, the third Duke, held many high offices in the state, but is principally remarkable for having married Lavinia Fenton, the original actress of Polly Peachum in the Beggar's Opera, who survived him six years, and died in 1760. The title became extinct on the death of Henry, the sixth Duke, and nephew of the above peer, in 1794.
in 1778, and extending, by a course of 44 miles, to the Wey, in Surrey, which river, joining the Thames, completes the communication with London. This Canal cost more than £100,000, and was opened in 1794. The Market-day at Basingstoke is Wednesday, and it has four annual Fairs. In 1821, the population was 3165.
The Church, dedicated to St. Michael, is a spacious and handsome edifice, to the erection of which the munificent Bishop Fox is said to have contributed. It consists of a nave, chancel, and side aisles, partly built of stone, in some places intermixed with flints; it has a low square tower. The living is stated to be very valuable, and among the Vicars we find the names of Sir George Wheler, the intelligent Eastern traveller, who founded a Library in the Church; and Thomas Warton, B. D. Poetry Professor at Oxford, and father of Dr. Joseph Warton, and his brother Thomas.
The Town Hall is an extensive modern edifice. Here is a Free Grammar School; a Charity School in which 12 poor boys are educated, maintained, and clothed, under the superintendence of the Skinner's Company of London; and two other Schools. Some remains of an ancient Hospital for “ aged and impotent priests,” founded in the reign of Henry III, may still be traced; and on an eminence, at the northern extremity of the town, are the ruins of an elegant Chapel, once belonging to a fraternity of the Holy Ghost, instituted here by Lord Sandys and Bishop Fox, in the reign of Henry VIII. This institution being dissolved in the succeeding reign, was restored under Philip and Mary, “ for the maintenance of a priest, and the instruction of the young men and boys of Basingstoke. The estate was subsequently seized by the Parliament, and the Chapel, which was of the most beautiful order of florid Gothic, was dilapidated; only a portion of the walls now remains, with a part of one of the towers, and in the adjoining burying ground are several monumental inscriptions. About 1670, Bishop Morley procured the restoration of the estate, which was again appropriated to the maintenance of a School; but the funds are not now applied to that purpose.
At a short distance from Basingstoke is a large encampment, called Winclesbury, of an irregular oval form, with two entrances, and about 1100 yards in circumference.
Basingstoke has been the birth-place of several persons distinguished for their talents or their learning. John de Basingstoke, who was born here about the close of the twelfth century, was one of the earliest cultivators of Greek learning on record. He first studied at Oxford, then at Paris, and afterwards travelled to Athens, from whence he brought to England many Greek MSS. He wrote a Grammar of that language in Latin, with a view to facilitate its acquirement; and is said to have introduced the use of the Arabic numerals into this country; he died in 1252. Sir James Lancaster, the celebrated navigator, who discovered a Sound in Baffin's Bay, which now bears his name, was a native of this town, where he was also buried, in 1617, leaving several legacies for the benefit of his native place. Dr. Joseph Warton, and his brother, the Rev. Thomas Warton, were both born at Basingstoke, the former in 1722, the latter six years later. The Doctor became Master of Winchester College, which situation he held during many years, with great credit to himself and advantage to his pupils. He wrote several small poems, the finest of which is his Ode to Fancy; published an edition of Pope's Works, in 9 vols. 8vo. which is considered the best that has appeared; and a much admired Essay on the Writings and Genius of that poet: he died in March, 1800. His brother was also distinguished in the literary world, and held the office of Poet Laureate; his most celebrated production is the History of English Poetry, which, however, was left incomplete by his death in 1790, while a fourth volume was in the press. He also published Observations on the Faerie Queen, editions of Theocritus, the minor Poems of Milton, &c.; " and was considered,” says Bishop Mant, of the chief literary characters of his age; equal to the best scholars in the elegant parts of classical learning; superior to the generality in literature of the modern kind; a Poet of fine fancy, and masculine style; and a critic of deep information, sound judgment, and correct taste.”
BEAULIEU, a village seven miles from Lymington, is beautifully situated on the Ex, over which is a Bridge communicating with the ancient demesne and venerable ruins of Beaulieu Abbey, which was founded for Monks of the Cistercian Order, by King John in 1204. Influenced, as it is pretended, by a miraculous dream, in which he was threatened with the Divine vengeance for his oppression of these monks, he most liberally endowed this Abbey, which was invested with the privilege of sanctuary; and Margaret, Queen of Henry VI, with her son, found refuge here until she was enabled to make head against the Yorkists; Perkin Warbeck also received protection within its walls, after his defeat near Exeter, and remained here a considerable time, until induced to quit his asylum by the promises of the faithless tyrant, Henry VII, who shortly afterwards had him executed at Tyburn. The Abbey received many additions to its possessions between the thirteenth and sixteenth century, when it was dissolved, and its demesne, embracing a circuit of 28 miles, and producing a very large annual income, was granted by Henry VIII to Thomas Wriothesley, afterwards Earl of Southampton, one of the minions who profited most largely by the bounty of their equally rapacious and prodigal master. The monastic buildings were magnificent and extensive; the wall which enclosed them being about a mile and a quarter in circuit, and is still nearly entire. Many remains of other buildings also exist, and the Refectory is now used as the parish Church, and is dedicated to St. Bartholomew; the roof is of oak, curiously carved, and the pulpit is very ancient. There are no vestiges of the Abbey Church, in which Eleanor, Queen of Henry II, and other distinguished persons, were interred. Several fish-ponds, once belonging to the Monastery, still abound in fish. The parish contains 1206 inhabitants, many of whom are engaged in the manufacture of sacking, and the management of the small vessels for which the river is navigable as far as the Bridge.
About three miles from the Abbey, but within the precincts of the manor, is a village called Buckler's Hard, where, during the war, ship-building was carried on to a considerable extent, it being very con