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saw) nigh Ryegate, capable conveniently to receive five hundred men ; which subterranean castle, in ancient time, was the receptacle of some great person, having several rooms therein. If it be merely natural, it doth curiously imitate art; if purely artificial, it doth most lively simulate nature.
PROVERBS. “ The vale of Holms-dale
Never won, ne ever shall."] This proverbial rhyme hath one part of history, the other of prophecy therein; and if, on examination, we find the first to be true, we may believe the other the better.
Holms-dale lieth partly in this shire, and partly in Kent; and indeed hath been happy in this respect, that several battles being fought therein and thereabouts, betwixt our Saxon kings (the true owners of the land) and the Danes, the former proved victorious. Thus was not Holms-dale won pro unâ et altera et tertiâ vice.
But I hope I may humbly mind the men of Holms-dale, that when king William the Conqueror had vanquished king Harold, at Battle in Sussex, he marched with his army directly to London, through the very middle and bowels of Holms-dale and was it not won at that time? However, if this vale hath not been won hitherto, I wish and hope it never may be hereafter, by a foreign nation invading it.
PRINCES. HENRY, eldest son of king Henry the Eighth and queen Katharine dowager, was born at Richmond in this county, anno Domini 1509, on the first of January.* As his parents were right glad for this New-year's gift of Heaven's sending, so the greater their grief when within two months he was taken away again. The untimely death of this prince, as also of another son by the same queen (which lived not to be christened), was alleged by king Henry the Eighth, in the public court held in Blackfriars, London, about his divorce, as a punishment of God upon him, for begetting them on the body of his brother's wife. This short-lived prince Henry was buried in Westminster the 23d of February.
HENRY of OATLANDS (so I have heard him called in his cradle), fourth and youngest son of king Charles the First and queen Mary, was born at Oatlands in this county, anno 1640. This I thought fit to observe, both because I find St. James's by some mistaken for the place of his birth, and because that house wherein he was born is buried in effect; I mean, taken down to the ground. He was commonly called duke of Glou
Speed's Chronicle, page 789.
cester, by a court prolepsis (from the king manifesting his intentions in due time to make him so) before any solemn creation. Greatness being his only guilt, that he was the son of a good king (which many men would wish, and no child could help.)
The then present power, more of covetousness than kindness (unwilling to maintain him either like or unlike the son of his father) permitted him to depart the land, with scarce tolerable accommodations, and the promise of a (never performed) pension for his future support. A passage I meet with in my worthy friend, concerning this duke, deserveth to be written in letters of gold :*
“In the year 1654, almost as soon as his two elder brethren had removed themselves into Flanders, he found a strong practice in some of the queen’s court to seduce him to the church of Rome, whose temptations he resisted beyond his years, and thereupon was sent for by them into Flanders.”
He had a great appetite to learning, and a quick digestion, able to take as much as his tutors could teach him. He fluently could speak many—understood more—modern tongues. He was able to express himself in matters of importance presently, properly, solidly, to the admiration of such who trebled his age. Judicious his curiosity to inquire into navigation, and other mathematical mysteries. His courtesy set a lustre on all, and commanded men's affections to love him.
His life may be said to have been all in the night of affliction, rising by his birth a little before the setting of his father's, and setting by his death a little after the rising of his brother's peaceable reign. It seems Providence, to prevent excess, thought fit to temper the general mirth of England with some mourning. With his namesake prince Henry he completed not twenty years; and what was said of the uncle was as true of the nephew : “Fatuos à morte defendit ipsa insulsitas ; si cui plus cæteris aliquantulum salis insit (quod miremini) statim putrescit.”+
He deceased at Whitehall on Thursday the 13th of September 1660; and was buried (though privately) solemnly, “veris et spirantibus lacrymis," in the chapel of king Henry the Seventh.
MARTYRS. I meet with few (if any) in this county, being part of the diocese of politic Gardiner. The fable is well known of an ape, which, having a mind to a chesnut lying in the fire, made the foot of a spaniel to be his tongs, by the proxy whereof he got out the nut for himself. Such the subtlety of Gardiner, who minding to murder any poor Protestant, and willing to save himself from the scorching of general hatred, would put such a
* Dr. Heylin, in his Life and Reign of King Charles, p. 157.
person into the fire by the hand of Bonner, by whom he was sent for up to London, and there destroyed.
CONFESSORS. ELEANOR COBHAM, daughter to the Lord Cobham of Sterborough castle in this county, was afterwards married unto Humphrey Plantagenet, duke of Gloucester. This is she who, when alive, was so persecuted for being a Wickliffite, and for many heinous crimes charged upon her; and since her memory hangs still on the file betwixt confessor and malefactor. But I believe that the voluminous pains of Mr. Fox, in vindicating her innocency against the cavils of Alan Cope and others, have so satisfied all indifferent people, that they will not grudge her position under this title. Her troubles happened under king Henry the Sixth, anno Domini 14 ...
PRELATES. Nicholas of FERNHAM, or de Fileceto, was born at Fernham in this county, and bred a physician in Oxford. Now our nation esteemeth physicians, little physic, little worth, except far fetched from foreign parts. Wherefore this Nicholas, to acquire more skill and repute to himself, travelled beyond the seas.
First he fixed at Paris, and there gained great esteem, accounted Famosus Anglicus.* Here he continued until that university was in effect dissolved, through the discords betwixt the clergy and the citizens. Hence he removed, and for some years lived in Bononia. Returning home, his fame was so great, that he became physician to king Henry the Third. The vivacity and health of this patient (who reigned longer than most men live) was an effect of his care. Great were the gifts the king conferred upon him, and at last made him bishop of Chester. Wonder not that a physician should prove a prelate, seeing this Fernham was a general scholar. Besides, since the Reformation, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, we had J. Coldwel, doctor of physic, a bishop of Sarum. After the resignation of Chester, he accepted of the bishopric of Durham. This also he surrendered (after he had sitten nine years in that see), reserving only three manors for his maintenance. He wrote many books, much esteemed in that age, of “the practice in Physic and use of Herbs,”S and died in a private life 1257.
WALTER de MERTON was born at Merton in this county; and in the reign of king Henry the Third, when chancellors were chequered in and out, three times he discharged that office: 1. Anno 1260, placed in by the king; displaced by the barons, to make room for Nicholas of Ely: 2. Anno 1261, when the king (counting it no equity or conscience that his lords should
• Mathew Paris, in anno 1229. t Bale, de Scriptoribus Britannicis, p. 293. | Isackson's Chronicle. § Bale, ut supra.
obtrude a chancellor on him) restored him to his place, continuing therein some three years: 3. Anno 1273, when he was replaced in that office for a short time.
He was also preferred bishop of Rochester, that a rich prelate might maintain a poor bishopric. He founded Merton College in Oxford, which hath produced more famous school-men than all England (I had almost said Europe) besides. He died in the year 1277, in the fifth of king Edward the First.
Thomas CRANLEY was in all probability born at and named from Cranley (in Blackheath Hundred) in this county. It confirmeth the conjecture, because I cannot find any other village so named in all England. Bred he was in Oxford, and became the first warden of New College ;* thence preferred archbishop of Dublin in Ireland. Thither he went over 1398, accompanying Thomas Holland duke of Surrey and lieutenant of Ireland; and in that kingdom our Cranley was made by king Henry the Fourth chancellor, and by king Henry the Fifth chief justice thereof. It seems, he finding the Irish possessed with a rebellious humour, bemoaned himself to the king in a terse poem of 106 verses, which Leland perused with much pleasure and delight. Were he but half so good as some make him, he was to be admired. Such a case, and such a jewel, such a presence, and a prelate clear in complexion, proper in stature, bountiful in house-keeping and house-repairing; a great clerk, deep divine, and excellent preacher. Thus far we have gone along very willingly with our author :t but now leave him to go alone by himself, unwilling to follow him any farther, for fear of a tang of blasphemy, when bespeaking him, “ Thou art fairer than the children of men ; full of grace are thy lips,”! &c.
Anno 1417 he returned into England, being fourscore years old; sickened, and died at Faringdon ; and lieth buried in New College chapel, and not in Dublin, as some have related.
NICHOLAS WEST was born at Putney in this county ;|| bred first at Eaton, then at King's College in Cambridge, where (when a youth) he was a Rakel in grain ; for, something crossing him in the College, he could find no other way to work his revenge than by secret setting on fire the master's lodgings, part whereof he burnt to the ground. Immediately after, this incendiary (and was it not high time for him?) left the college ; and this little Herostratus lived for a time in the country, debauched enough for his conversation.
“But they go far who turn not again;" and in him the proverb was verified, “ Naughty boys sometimes make good men.”
• New College Register, anno 1380.
T. Marleburgensis, of the Writers of Ireland. I Psalm xlv. 2. § J. Bale and J. Pits. Il Mr. Hatcher's Manuscript of the Fellows of King's College.
He seasonably retrenched his wildness, turned hard student, became an eminent scholar and most able statesman ; and, after smaller promotions, was at last made bishop of Ely, and often employed in foreign embassies. And now, had it been possible, he would have quenched the fire he kindled in the college with his own tears : and, in expression of his penitence, became a worthy benefactor to the house, and rebuilt the master's lodgings firm and fair from the ground. No bishop of England was better attended with menial servants, or kept a more bountiful house, which made his death so much lamented, anno Domini 1533.
SINCE THE REFORMATION. John PARKHURST was born at Gilford in this county;* bred first in Magdalen, then in Merton College, in Oxford. Here it was no small part of praise, that he was tutor, yea Mæcenas, to John Jewel. After his discontinuance, returning to Oxford, it was no small comfort unto him to hear his pupil read his learned Humanity lectures to the Somato Christians (reader, I coin not the word myself, but have took it in payment from a good handt); that is, to those of Corpus Christi College, to which house then Jewel was removed. Hereupon Mr. Parkhurst made this distich:
Olim discipulus mihi, chare Juelle, fuisti ;
Nunc ero discipulus, te renuente, tuus.
Now 'gainst thy will I scholar turn to thee." Indeed he was as good a poet as any in that age; and delighted to be an anti-epigrammatist to John White, bishop of Winchester ;} whom, in my opinion, he far surpassed both in phrase and fancy.
Mr. Parkhurst, when leaving Oxford, was presented parson, shall I say, or bishop of Cleve in Gloucestershire; as which may seem rather a diocese than a parish, for the rich revenue thereof. But let none envy “Beneficium opimum Beneficiario optimo,” (a good living to an incumbent who will do good therewith.) He laid himself out in works of charity and hospitality. He used to examine the pockets of such Oxford scholars as repaired unto him, and always recruited them with necessaries; so that such who came to him with heavy hearts and light purses, departed from him with light hearts and heavy purses.
But see a sudden alteration. King Edward the Sixth dies; and then he, who formerly entertained others, had not a house to hide himself in. Parkhurst is forced to post speedily and secretly beyond the seas, where he remained all the reign of queen Mary; and, providing for his return in the first of
* Bale, de Scriptoribus Britannicis ; and Godwin, in the Bishops of Norwich. + Dr Humphrey, in the Latin life of Jewel, p. 26. I See Fox's Acts and Monuments, p. 1471. § Dr. Humphrey, in the Latin Life of Jewel, p. 30.