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Wiltshire Collections Entry for , Charlton, Wiltshire

Transcription of Wiltshire Collections Entry

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Text by John Aubrey


This was the Seate of the Lord Abbot of Malmesbury.

See at Mr. Water's howse which was the Grange, by the Church, if the Arms of Malmesbury Abbey is to be found there.   It was at Dr. Lambert's in Sarum, as also the Arms of Wilton and Glaston Abbey, &c. now lost, being taken down by Mr. Eires the Minister.

In Charlton Church the windows all new.   Nothing to be found of concernment, but a great monument without any Inscription of Sr. Henry Knevet who married Isabel daughter and sole heir of Sir James Stumpe of this place.

This Sir Henry Knevett had some command at the Invasion in 1588, and shortly after his returne home died of a Feaver he gott there.   From Mr. Thomas Hobbes [*1].

(Sir Henry left three daughters and coheirs.   1. Katharine, who married Lord Thomas Howard afterwards created Earl of Suffolk, whose second son was created Earle of Berkshire.   2. Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Clinton, third Earl of Lincoln: and   3. Frances, who married first Sir Wm. Bevill, and secondly Francis Manners 6th Earl of Rutland.   Ed.) [*2]"

Here are old Inscriptions on the Bells at the Dedication of 'em.   Sancte Georgie ora p nobis.   The rest I could not come to.

Notes by John Jackson

[1]   Charlton with its Tithes and Chapel was one of the earliest grants, A.D. 681, to Malmesbury Abbey. In temp. Hen. VIII. one Robert At Water was Tenant of the Abbot's Demesne Lands:   probably an ancestor of "Mr. Water" whose house Aubrey speaks of.   Sir Henry Long of Draycote was at that time Hereditary Keeper of Charlton Wood.   At the Dissolution of Abbeys, Charlton was purchased by Mr. William Stumpe of Malmesbury, whose son Sir James Stumpe was Sherriff of Wilts 1551, and married Bridget daughter of Sir Edward Baynton of Bromham.   Their only daughter Elizabeth married Sir Henry Knyvett, or a Cornish family, afterwards of co. Norfolk.   She died 14 July 1585, and was buried at Charlton.   If, as Hobbes the Philosopher of Malmesbury told Aubrey, Sir Henry Knyvett died of a fever caught in 1588, the fever must have lasted a long time, as he did not die until 1598.   See the account of his Funeral in Topographer and Genealogist, I. 472."

The monument of Sir Henry Knyvett and his wife is still standing, between the chancel and the North Aisle.   The figures are on a raised tomb under a canopy supported by ten Corinthian columns.   The Shield of Arms is drawn in Pl. xvii, No. 301.   Many of the quarterings were incorrectly copied by Aubrey in his MS. : and are here rectified both from the monument itself and from the Banner used at his funeral. The Crest is a demi-dragon, wings azure.   Some of the quarterings appear also on the Tomb of Thomas, Lord Knyvett (1622) at Stanwell, co. Middlesex:   and to a few of them are assigned, in the description of that monument in the Gent. Mag. 1794, p. 313, names different from those given here; as, to quartering 7, Isley, to 10, Burghersh, 11, Blondeville, 15, Hovill, 18, Freville, and 19, Stapleton.   There are a few notes relating to Charlton Church by Carter the architect in Gent. Mag. 1802, p. 825, and 1806, p. 211.   The capitals of the pillars in the nave, and the Font, are Norman.   The Registers commence 1660.

The present Charlton House was commenced by the first Earl of Suffolk who married the heiress of Knyvett; was continued by Henry, Earl of Suffolk and Berks, temp. George III:   and left unfinished 1799.   Of the Earls of Suffolk there is a detailed account in "Napier's History of Swyncombe and Ewelme" p. 415.

Dryden the Poet married Lady Elizabeth Howard, eldest daughter of the first Earl of Berkshire.   Charles their eldest child was born here in 1666.   An account of a curious accident that befel him in the Park is printed in the Wilts. Archaeol. Mag. III, 377.   Dryden himself frequently came here for fishing, and he dates his "Annus Mirabilis" from Charlton, 1667.   Mary Davis, a person of notoriety about the Court of Charles II., is said to have been born at or near the village.   See Notes and Queries, New Series, vol. V. 201, and Pepys's Journal.

[2]   In the original MS., Aubrey refers to "Yorke, the Blacksmith's, Heraldry" for an account of Sir Henry Knyvett's heirs.   His own account is so confused, as not to be worth preserving.   A new paragraph is inserted in the Text.   The Earl of Rutland married for his second wife, in 1608, Cicely (Tufton) widow of Sir Edward Hungerford of Farley Castle, co. Somerset.   This is probably the Lady Hungerford whose protrait is now preserved at Charlton House.

Another paragraph in the original MS. about the daughters of the first Earl of Suffolk, is also omitted, on account of its inaccuracy.   Aubrey says that Lady Viscountess Purbeck (daughter of Sir John Danvers the Regicide) told him that three daughters were married all in one day, which may have been the case; but he gives their names incorrectly.   They were 1, Elizabeth wife first of William Knollys, Earl of Banbury, and secondly of Lord Vaux.   She is mentioned among Ballard's Learned Ladies.   2, Frances, wife of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, from from whom she divorced.   Her second husband was Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset.   Of this Lady there is an engraving by Simon Pass, which H. Walpole calls "a curious print of a curious person," (Anecd. V. 51).   The third daughter Katharine married William Cecil, second Earl of Salisbury.

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