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No. 167.]. NOVEMBER, -1830. [Vol. XIV.
(With an Engraving.),
In times of better days;
J. F. M. DoveTON, Esq. The venerable ruins of - Farley-Castle, the renowned baronial residence of the Hungerfords, is situated about six miles south-east from Bath, in the county of Somerset. It is supposed to derive its name from the fairness of its leys, or meadows; being situated in a rich and beautiful tract of country. Farley is of great antiquity, having been in the possession of some of the Saxon Thanes; and it was for many ages distinguished as the seat of men of great power and eminence. At the time of the Norman Conquest it was possessed by one of the Conqueror's powerful barons, Roger de Curcelle; at whose 'death, William Rufus granted it to Mugh de Montfort, son to Thurstan de Bastenbergh, another Norman of distinction. This nobleman, in conse. quence of wearing a long beard, 'obtained the appellation or cum barba, or, "with a beard ;”. (it being common at that time for the Normans to shave ;) and this was retained by
his descendants for many generations. Farley continued in this family till the year 1335, when Sir Henry de Montfort sold it to Bartholomew Lord Burghersh. This nobleman was a baron of great power in the reigns of Edward the Second and Third. He particularly distinguished himself in the wars in Scotland and France; and was present at the celebrated battle of Cressy, whence he and Sir Giles Hungerford brought many of those spoils with which Farley Castle was subsequently adorned. From this family, about the time of Richard the Second, it was sold to Sir Thomas Hungerford. He died in 1398, and was succeeded by his son Sir Walter Hungerford, who was summoned to Parliament as Lord Hungerford. He died August 9th, 1449, and was buried in Salisbury cathedral. Robert, his son, succeeded him, and dying May 14th, 1459, was buried by the side of his father, where his widow founded the Hungerford chapel, with a chantry for two priests. This second Lord Hungerford was succeeded by a son of his own name, who was a firm Lancastrian ; and having employed his influence towards the restoration of Henry the Sixth, he was taken prisoner at Alnwick, and beheaded at Newcastle, in the third year of Edward the Fourth ; and this castle and manor were given to the Duke of Gloucester, afterwards King Richard the Third, on whose usurpation of the throne it was granted to John Howard, Duke of Norfolk : but Henry the Seventh reversed the attainder of the Hungerfords, and restored their patrimonial estates and honours to Thomas, fourth Lord Hungerford, who dying without male issue, Farley descended to Walter, the second son of Robert, third Lord Hungerford. This Walter who had signalized himself at the battle of Bosworth-field, was one of the privy-council to Henry the Eighth. Walter, his grandson, who succeeded to the barony of Hungerford, was attainted in Parliament, and beheaded on Tower-hill, with Cromwell, Earl of Essex, July 28th, 1540. His descendant, Sir Edward Hungerford, * in the reign of Charles the Second, involved his affairs in such difficulties, that Farley was sold. It has since ex.
* Sir Edward was knighted at the coronation of Charles the Second. He sat thirty-three years (in parliament, had an income
changed possessors, and is now the property of Lieutenant, Colonel Houlton.
In its original state this castle consisted of two courts or wards, which were surrounded by a lofty embattled wall and a moat. The hall was hung round with suits of armour worn by its martial possessors, and with the spoils from the fields of Cressy, Poictiers, Agincourt, and Calais. Of these buildings no perfect part remains.
The chapel of the castle is in good preservation. At tached to it is a small chapel or oratory; and both contain six ancient monuments. In the floor of the nave, near the entrance to the chapel, is the figure of an ecclesiastic, sculptured on a large grave-stone, which had formerly an inscription to the memory of Sir Giles Hungerford, Knight, who lived in the time of Edward the Third. On the right side of the pulpit, on an altar-tomb, is the following inscription :
“Tyme tryeth truth, quod (quoth) Walter Hungerford, Knyght, who lyeth here and Edward hys sone. To God's mercy in whom he trusts for ever. Ann. Dom. 1585, the vi of Desbr.”
Under the arch which divides the chapel from the nave, is an ancient altar-tomb, erected to the memory of Sir Thomas Hungerford and Joanna his wife. On it are the recumbent figures of a man and woman; the former is habited in armour, and the latter wears a veiled head-dress. Sir Thomas was at the battle of Cressy, where he took the King of France prisoner; part of whose armour was formerly preserved in this chapel.
In the centre of the chapel stands one of the finest pieces of sculpture of the kind in England. It is a most superb monument, composed of white polished marble, with black slabs placed on marble steps of the same colour. These support a black marble slab, on which lie the effigies of thirty thousand pounds per annum, and was celebrated as a spendthrift. He lived to the great age of one hundred and fifteen years ; during the last thirty of which, he was supported by charity, and was even obliged to beg for support. In his prosperous days he is said to have given five
hundred guineas for a wig, to figure in at a court ball!