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Account of Copley, of Gatton, a Popish Recusant
The reader of these Papers may imagine himself introduced to the Muniment Room of an ancient hall in Surrey, of which the key had been lost, and its existence disregarded during an interval of two hundred years. He has approached, through a grove of lofty forest trees, the extensive front of the venerable mansion of stone, of which that depository of Family Records is an appendage. He enters the lofty hall round which the portraits of its former owners are arranged, depicted “in their habits as they lived;" the sun-beams stream through the light shafts of the lofty embayed window, illumining the household coats of the family, emblazoned in the gorgeous tinctures of heraldry on the glass. He indulges perhaps in an antiquarian reverie, and beholds in his mind's eye those venerable personages, traversing the spacious floor to welcome with obsequious formality the Sovereign whose image still remains suspended on the walls, originally placed there as a compliment conspicuous to his own eye, on occasion of a personal visit.* How will our reader find
* In the Hall at Loseley are portraits of James the First and his Queen; and a very large picture of Sir William More Molyneux (who died in 1760) and his family. There are also in the house original portraits of Edward VI., the Chancellor this vision of his fancy confirmed, when, gliding as it were unnoticed through the ideal scene, as an insignificant actor in the drama of another age, he enters by our guidance the little chamber before mentioned, now by chance accessible, explores the ponderous oaken coffers which it contains; paper after paper is taken out, inscribed in various and obsolete hands; the autographs of King, of Peer, of Statesman, or Divine. Some relating to the events of their day, which have survived to “fill up chronicles ” in after times. Some to beings unnoticed in the roll of historic fame, but which incidentally illustrate the popular feelings and habits of the period. Such a discovery would stamp the picture sketched by fancy with something of reality; such a vision may be summoned up at Loseley ; such are its manuscripts.
We add a few prefatory notes on the demesne of Loseley and its possessors.
The manor of Loseley, which became in the sixteenth century the seat of the Mores, bore its present appellation from the Saxon times. Osmund held it of King Edward the Confessor; the Conqueror gave it to Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel and Shrewsbury, who had distinguished himself as one of the principal leaders of the Norman army at the battle of Hastings. The extent of the demesne at this period seems to have been about four hundred acres. The name is probably that of a Saxon proprietor, Loth or Lot, compounded with the term ley expressing a plain, a pasture, an inclosed tract of ground; indeed it was often written Lothesly, which so nearly expresses its pronunciation at this day, that a stranger
More, (perhaps a relative, although the arms do not agree with those of More of Loseley,) Ann Boleyn, and of the Mores from Sir William to Sir Poynings.