Page images

In this enquiry he has displayed his usual ingenuity and penetration, and given his hypothesis a very great appearance of probability. Yet, we do not suppose, that the controversy will be determined by this letter.

The History of the Isle of Wight. [Concluded from p. 8.] IN N our last Review we traced the progress of the historian

through the three first chapters of this work. The fourth contains an account of the wardens, captains, and governors of the island, with the principal events under their administration. The author observes, that the perfons honoured with this charge were generally selected from among the principal gentlemen of the island, and usually commissioned by the crown, though sometimes appointed by by the lord of the island, or, with especial permision, elected by the inhabitants. The first institution of this office was during the minority of Baldwin the Third, grandson of William de Vernun, earl of Devon, soon after the accession of Henry the Third. The person entrusted with it was Walz leran de Ties, famous for his defence of the castle of Beskihemstead against Lewis, the eldest son of Philip, king of France. We cannot pass over this part of the work without, remarking the extraordinary pains which have been taken to supply it with materials from ancient records : for the only evidence that proves this Walleran to have been warden of. the island, is his appearing a subscribing witness to a grant made to the Abbey of Quarr, which is thus figned, Tefte Wallerano Teutonico custode infile. He lived till the reign of Edward the First, when dying without issue, his manor of Ringwood, in Hampshire, escheated to the king.

The historian observes, that • The office of warden appears not to have been incompatible with the monastic profession, as in the thirteenth of Edward the Third, it appears to have been held by the abbot ot Quarr, who received initiuctions to array all the able men, and to supply them with arms, and also to cause beacons and other signals to be erected on the hills, to convey speedy ratice of the approach of an enemy:

• The office was also occasionally elective, as is instanced in an order entered on the rolls of parliament, in the fourteenth of Edward the Third, when an invasion being apprehended, the theriff of Hampshire, together with the conttable of Carisbrooke cattle, were directed to convene the inhabitants of the island to elect a warden, who lliould take charge of the defence of the

[ocr errors]

and during the king's pleasure ; instead of one, three were clected, fir Bartholomew Lisle, John de Langford, lord of Chale; kir Theobald Ruflel, lord of Yaverland.'

Three other wardens are found in the sixteenth year of the same king, when a precept was directed to Bartholomew Lifle, John de Kingston, and Henry Romyn, cultodes of the island, commanding them to make inquisition what services were due from the inhabitants in time of war, of what nature, and from what lands and tenements.

On the death of Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, lord of this island, in the twenty-fifth year of Henry the Sixth, the king appointed Henry Trenchard to the office of constable of the Castle of Carisbrooke, with a falary of twenty pounds per annum, as keeper of the forest of Parkhurst, and four pence per day for the

pay of the porter of the castle. In the third year of Henry the Eighth, the government of the island was conferred on fir James Worsley, keeper of the king's wardrobe, and mafter of the robes.

This gentleman being probably an ancestor of the respectable family to which the public is indebted for the prefent work, we think he has a just title to be particularly noticed in the hiftory of the island, and Thail therefore present our readers with the following part of the narrative,

• He was the younger brother of a very ancient family of that name ia Lancashire, and had been many years page to Henry the Seventh; he was constituted captain of the isand for life, with a falary of fix shillings and pine pence per diem for him: self, two shillings for his deputy, and fix pesce each for thir: teen servants; he had besides a reversionary grant of the office of constable of Carisbrooke castle, when it should become vacant, and was by the same cozzımillion made captain of all the forts in the island. He was steivard, surveyor, receiver, and bailiff of all the crown lands; and was either to retain his falary and ailowances out of the moneys he received, or to take the same from the king's receiver in the county of Southampton. He was likewise constituted keeper of Carisbrooke Forest and Path, with a fee of two ihiilings per diem ; and warden and master of che duckcoy of wild fowl, as well within the said park and foreit there, as within and throughout the whole island. lle wüs em. powered to leafe any of the king's houles, demele lands, and farms, either by lcala of years, or by copy of court roll for lives, where the lands have ulually been pailid in thii inauner : the old rent being reserved by such deate or copy.

lie had the return of all writs, the execution of process, and the office of Therift within the faid illand, the theriff of the county, or his oj: ficer, being excluded from acting there, uniefs in default of the faptain ; he was also clerk of the market, wiid corones in the fland,

« Richard Worsley, esq. on the death of fir James his father, in the twenty-ninth of Henry the Eighth, succeeded him in the office of captain, and soon after had the honour of entertaining the king at his feat at Appuldurcombe. The king was attended by his favourite the lord Cromwell, then constable of Carisbrooke castle, which office was, on his lordship’s attainder and execution, conterred on Mr. Worsley.

• Five years after, the French, having failed in an attempt against our fleet, notwithstanding their superiority at fea, made a descent on the island, which they intended to take poffeffion of; but were, by the bravery of the illanders, and good conduct of their captain, foon driven back to their ships, with the loss of their general, and a great many of their men. It was on this occasion that new forts were ordered to be erected for the protection of the island, which were executed under the direction of the captain ; one of them was called Worsley's Tower : by his representations the inhabitants were prevailed on to provide a train of artillery for the defence of the island, at their own charges. He continued in office till the death of Edward the xth ; but being zealous in promoting the Reformation, as appears by his acting as a commillioner for the sale of church plate on the supa pression of religious houses, at the accesiion of queen Mary he refigned his offices, and Mr. Giriing, a man of low extraction, fuccreded him ; of whom, although no particulars are recorded, yet it is to be presumed, that he was no ways unfavourable to a restoration of the Romifh re igion. On the queen's death, Richard Worslev was again reinftated. He was previoully fent with lord Chidiock Paulet, fon of the marquis of Winchester, and governor of Portsmouth, with a commission to survey and repair the fortifications there, and was joined with a gentleman of the name of Smith, in a like commission to put the forts in the Isle of Wight in a state of defence, as a French invasion was then apprehended; four months after this he received his commission as captain of the island, and among other instructions was ordered to introduce the rise of harquebusies among the people ; he was also to signify to the queen and council, wherein his legal authority proved deficient, that it might be taken into consideration : but this was unacceflary, he conducting himself with such affability and prudence, that the people readily complied with his directions, in whatever appeared to him necessary to guard them against an enemy; as is instanced by their pro. viding the field pieces before mentioned, which were supplied by several of the parishes. He was likewise employed by the queer in fortifying the sea-cvasts, being afterwards fent with fir Hugh Paulet, captain of the Ife of Jersey, and others, to survey and order forts for the protection of Jersey and Guernsey. In conformity with his instructions, he introduced the use of fire-arms in the Isle of Wight, and an armourer was settled in Carisbrookę cafile, to make harquebuffes, and to keep them in order.'

The government of the Isle of Wight seems to have been prually confidered as an office of great trust, and to have been


obtained only by particular access to the favour of the court. On the death of the former captain, the command of the island was bestowed on Edward Horsey, esq. foon afterwards knighted, a gentleman of an ancient family in Dorsetshire, and the great confidant of the earl of Leicester. We are informed, that the great plenty of hares and other game, with which the island is stored, is owing to his care: he is reported to have given a lamb for every hare that was brought to him from the neighbouring countries.

Sir Edward Horsey was succeeded by fir George Carey, afterwards lord Hunfdon, nearly related to queen Elizabeth; Henry, lord Hunsdon, his father, being nephew of queen Anne Boleyn. He was lord chamberlain of the household, one of the privy council, and a knight of the garter. He is the first captain, or warden, of the island that assumed the title of governor. It was suspected, from this alteration in his style, and from his general behaviour, that his intention was to subject the inhabitants of the island to the military power ; but perhaps it may have proceeded entirely from the haughtiness of his difpofition, by which he appears to have given general disgust to the gentlemen of the island. The historian juftly observes, that his consciousness of support from government made him adopt the prudent orders given for the defence of the island in the reign of Edward the Third, not considering that those orders were issued with the consent of the inhabitants. On this occasion, the latter laid before the lords of council a representation, which, as our author remarks, may be considered as a little bill of rights of the island. It is entitled, Demands by the Gentlemen of the Isle of Wight for Reformation of a certain absolute Government lately assumed by the Captain there, tending to the Subversion of the Law, and to the taking away of the natural Freedom of the Inhabitants. This is said to be the firft ina. ftance of any complaint exhibited by the inhabitants of the jlland against their captain, for exerting his authority in the cause of their protection. The remonftrance, however, procured the desired effect; for we are informed that the obnoxious powers, to which the inhabitants objected, were never after wards claimed by any governor.

We are informed by fir Richard Worsley, that fir John Oglander, in his Memoirs, commends fir George Carey for reliding in the castle of Carisbrooke, and for his great hospitality there; speaking also of the time of his government as the period when the island was in its most fou. ishing fate. From those Memoirs we are favoured, in a


note, with the following extract, exhibiting a very striking description of the manners of the times.

“ I have heard, says fir John, and partly know it to be true, that not only heretofore there was no lawyer nor attorney in owre itland, but in fir George Carey's time, an attorney coming in to settle in the island, was, by his cominand, with a pound of can: dles hanging att his breech lighted, with bells about his legs, hunted owte of the island : incomuch that oure ancestors lived here fo quietly and securely, being neither troubled to London nor Winchester, so they feldom or never went oute' of the slland; insomuch as when they went to London (thinking it an East India voyage), they always made their wilis, fuppoting no trouble like to travaile."

• Sir John, in another part of his Memoirs, observes, that

“ The Isle of Wight, since my memory, is intinitely decayed for either it is by reason of so many attorneys that hath of lare inade this their habitation, and 10 by futes undone the country, (tor I have known an attorney bring down after a tearm three pundred writes, I have also known twenty nili prius of our country tried at our affizes, when as in the queen's time we had not fir writts in a yeare, nor one nisi prius in six yeares) or else, şvanting the good bargains they were wont to buy from men of şar, who also vented our commoditys at very high prices; and readię inoney was eafie to be had for all things. Now peace and law hath beggered us all, fo that within my memorie many of the gentlemen, and almost all the yeomanry are undone.

“ Be advised by me, have no suites ar lawe, if it be possible ; •agree with thine adversary although it be with thy lotfe : for the expence


one tearms will be more than thy lotie Betides the peglect of thy time at home, thy absence from thy wife and chil: dren, fo manie inconveniences hangeth upon a luite in lawe, that I advise thee, although thou has the better of it, let it be reconciled without law : at last twelve men or one must end it, let two honest ones do it at firste. "This country was undone with it in king James his reign. Hazard death and all quarrels rather than let thy tongue make hịs matter a llave." MSS. Mes moirs.'

Sir John Oglander also relatęs, that in the government of the earl of Southampton, who immediately succeeded fir George Carey, and was universally esteemed for his affable and obliging behaviour, he had seen thịrty or forty knights and gentlemen at bowls with his lordship on St. George's Down, where they had an ordinary twice every week.

In that part of the history which treats of the confinement of Charles the first in Carisbrooke Castle, we are presented with Several interesting anecdotes not generally known ; but for which we refer our readers to the work. We shall only in-.


« PreviousContinue »