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Deer Parks by Reginald Wynford


There is nothing in England at the present day much more distinctly an institution of that country than its deer-parks. Although it seems probable that the Saxons had some sort of enclosed or partially enclosed chases where deer were hunted or taken in the toils, the regular and systematic enclosure of parks would appear to have come in with the Normans. According to the old Norman law, no subject could form a park without a grant from the Crown, or immemorial prescription, which was held presumptive evidence of such a grant.

On the Continent there would appear to have been much more strictness in this respect than in England. "In April, 1656," says Reresby in his travels, "I returned to Saumur, where I stayed two months: then I went to Thouars in Brittany, where the duke of Trémouille hath his best house. Thouars is looked upon as one of the best manors in all France, not so much for profit (a great extent of land there sometimes affording not much rent), but for greatness of tenure; five hundred gentlemen, it is said, holding their lands from it. Going to wait on the duke, I found him very kind when I told him my country, the late earl of Derby having married his sister.1 He commanded me to dine with him, and the next time mounted me upon one of his horses to wait on him a-hunting in his park, which, not being two miles about, I thought of little compass to belong to so great a person, till I found that few are allowed to have any there save the princes of the blood. So true is it that there are more parks in England than in all Europe besides."

A large park would appear to have been among the many luxuries of the princely Medici, for Reresby says: "Ten miles from Florence the duke hath another country-house, nothing so considerable in itself as in its situation, standing betwixt several hills on one side, covered with vines and olive trees, and a valley divided into many walks by rows of trees leading different ways: one leads to a park where the great duke hath made a paddock course by the direction of Signior Bernard Gascoigne, an Italian, who, having served our late king in his wars, carried the pattern from England. Near to this house, Poggio-Achaiano, is another park, the largest in Italy, or rather chase, said to be thirty miles in compass."

Foremost amongst English parks is Windsor. The immense tracts by which Windsor was formerly surrounded consisted of park and forest. Windsor Forest has gradually diminished in size. In the time of Charles I. it contained twelve parishes, and probably covered not less than 100,000 acres. According to a survey in 1789-92, it amounted to 59,600 acres, of which the enclosed property of the Crown amounted to 5454. Like all the other forests in England, it has been much encroached on, and now consists of only some 1450 acres adjoining Windsor Great Park. The rest of the land formerly composing it has been sold or leased. Enough of the forest remains, in conjunction with the park, to enable the visitor to make many delightful excursions. The most agreeable way of seeing this sylvan country is on horseback. Perhaps nowhere in the world can one get a more delicious canter. By a little management it is easy to take a ride of twenty-five miles without more than a couple of miles off the turf. In 1607 the Great Park was stated at 3650 acres: it consists now of about one thousand acres less.

The principal royal park in modern days, next to Windsor, is Richmond. This covers more than two thousand acres, and, thanks to the railway, may almost be regarded as a lung of London, being only eight miles distant from the city. Richmond Park is as replete as Windsor with historical association, and came into especial importance in the reign of Charles I. That king, who was excessively addicted to the sports of the field, had a strong desire to make a great park, for red as well as fallow deer, between Richmond and Hampton Court, where he had large wastes of his own, and great parcels of wood, which made it very fit for the use he designed it for; but as some parishes had rights of commonage in the wastes, and many gentlemen and farmers had good houses and farms intermingled with them which they had inherited or held on lease, and as, without including all these, the park would not be large enough for Charles's satisfaction, the king, who was willing to pay a very high price, expected people to gratify him by parting with their property. Many did so, but—like the blacksmith of Brighton who utterly refused to be bought out when George IV. was building his hideous pavilion, and the famous miller of Potsdam, that Mordecai at the gate of Sans Souci—"a gentleman who had the best estate, with a convenient house and gardens, would by no means part with it, and made a great noise as if the king would take away men's estates at his own pleasure." The case of this gentleman and his many minor adherents soon caused a regular row. The lord treasurer, Juxon, bishop of London, who accompanied Charles to the scaffold, and other ministers were very averse to the scheme, not only on account of the hostile feeling it had evoked, but because the purchase of the land and making a brick wall of ten miles around it, which was what the king wanted, was a great deal too costly for his depleted exchequer. However, Charles, with his usual fatal obstinacy, would not hear of abandoning the scheme, and told Lord Cottington, who did his utmost to dissuade him from it, "he was resolved to go through with it, and had already caused brick to be burned and much of the wall to be built." This beginning of the wall before people consented to part with their land or common rights, increased the public feeling on the subject, and, happening at a time when public opinion was growing strongly against arbitrary rule, was no doubt one of the circumstances which contributed to Charles's fall.

George II. and Queen Caroline lived much at Richmond, and the interview between Jeanie Deans and Her Majesty took place here. Jeanie, it will be remembered, told her ducal friend that she thought the park would be "a braw place for the cows"—a sentiment similar to that of Mr. Black's Highland heroine, Sheila, who pronounced it "a beautiful ground for sheep."

The practice of hunting deer in a park, now quite a thing of the past, appears to have been very prevalent at Richmond during this reign, and apparently was attended with considerable risk. In a chronicle of 1731 we read:

"August 13, 1731. The royal family hunted a stag in Richmond new park: in the midst of the sport, Sir Robert Walpole's horse fell with him just before the queen's chaise, but he was soon remounted, and Her Majesty ordered him to bleed by way of precaution.

"Aug. 28, 1731. The royal family hunted in Richmond Park, when the Lord Delaware's lady and Lady Harriet d'Auverquerque, daughter to the earl of Grantham, were overturned in a chaise, which went over them, but did no visible hurt. Mr. Shorter, one of the king's huntsmen, had a fall from his horse, and received a slight contusion in his head.

"Sept. 13, 1731. Some of the royal family and persons of quality hunted a stag in Richmond Park. A stag gored the horse of Coulthorp Clayton, Esq., and threw him. The Lady Susan Hamilton was unhorsed.

"Sept. 14, being Holy Rood Day, the king's huntsmen hunted their free buck in Richmond new park with bloodhounds, according to custom."

It will be noted that this sport took place at a season when no hunting is now done in England.

There are two other small royal parks within a walk of Richmond—Bushy and Hampton Court. Both contain magnificent trees.

The New Forest is now the only royal appanage of the kind, and the House of Hanover has never made use of it for hunting purposes, although the Stuart kings were very fond of going there. It was to enjoy this territory that Charles II. commenced the magnificent palace at Winchester, the finished portions of which are now used as barracks. Nell Gwyn's quarters at the deanery are still shown. Up to 1779 there was a great tract of royal forest-ground near London, on the Essex side, known as Enfield Chase, containing numbers of deer. If we remember rightly, it is alluded to in The Fortunes of Nigel.

There are many more parks in the south than in the north of England—a circumstance which is remarkable, having regard to the wilder character of the ground in the former.

According to a valuable work on parks published a few years ago by Mr. Shirley, a large landed proprietor, there are three hundred and thirty-four parks still stocked with deer in the different counties of England, and red deer are found in about thirty-one. It is supposed that the oldest is that attached to Eridge Castle, near that celebrated and most ancient of English watering-places, Tonbridge Wells, in Sussex. It is very extensive, and there are no less than ninety miles of grass drives cut through the park and woods. Almost the largest park is that attached to the present duke of Marlborough's famous seat, Blenheim. A large proportion of this magnificent demesne formed part of Woodstock Chase, a favorite hunting-seat of British sovereigns from an early date up to the time of Queen Anne. It was then granted by the Crown to the hero of Blenheim, far more fortunate in respect of the nation's gift than the hero of Waterloo, whose grant of lands lay in a swamp which it cost him a little fortune to drain. Next to Blenheim, in point of size, stands Tatton in Cheshire, the seat of Lord Egerton. It contains 2500 acres, and the portion appropriated to deer is far larger than at Blenheim. Tatton is from ten to eleven miles around.

Another extensive park, 1500 acres, is that at Stowe, the duke of Buckingham's. When in 1848 the family misfortunes reached a climax which necessitated the sale of everything in Stowe House, the deer in the park were sold off. But twenty-five years have rolled by, and restored in a great degree the prosperity of the family. The duke is again living at his splendid ancestral seat, is by degrees restoring to their former home as the opportunity offers many of its scattered treasures, and has restocked the park with deer.

Two parks pre-eminently famous for the magnificence of their oak timber are Keddleston, Lord Scarsdale's, in Derbyshire, and Bagot's Park, Lord Bagot's, in Staffordshire. The latter, which contains a thousand acres, is a very ancient enclosure. It contains, besides the deer, a herd of wild goats said to have been presented by Richard II. to an ancestor of the present owner.

Parks vary from a paddock of twenty-one acres to twenty-eight hundred, but the most usual dimensions are from one hundred and fifty to four hundred acres. For a multum in parvo of beautiful park scenery the traveler in search of these charming specimens of the picturesque may be advised to take a tour in Herefordshire and Worcestershire; and if he be a horseman he will do well to ride through the country. "Anyone," says Mr. Shirley, "who ascends the steep crest of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, and looks down from the summit of the ridge on the western side of the hills upon the richly wooded and beautifully undulating country which lies stretched beneath as far as the mountains of South Wales, would at once be struck with the 'bosky' nature of the scenery, and its perfect adaptation for the formation of deer-parks and sylvan residences."

Grimsthorpe, Lady Aveland's (inherited from the dukes of Ancaster, extinct); Thoresby, Earl Manvers's, formerly the duke of Kingston's, father of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu; and Knowsley, Lord Derby's, are also very large parks.

A writer on Grimsthorpe in 1774 says: "On a former visit I was told that the park was sixteen miles and three quarters in circumference, and esteemed the largest in England: since then it has, nevertheless, been somewhat enlarged, but different spots in it are cultivated."

A few parks have been created and others restocked during the present century. In Norfolk, Lord Kimberley, the present secretary of state for the colonies, has restored the deer which were removed during the present century, saying, it is reported, that "a place is not a place without deer"—a sentiment shared by many of his countrymen regarding an ancient grand-seigneur home. In the same county a new park has been created at Sandringham, the seat of the prince of Wales, the deer having been brought from Windsor. Sandringham Park and Woods were half a century ago a sandy waste, but fell into judicious hands and were admirably planted. The modern history of the place is remarkable. Toward the close of the century it became the property of a French refugee, Mr. Matou. This gentleman having been driven from his native country by the Revolution, conceived somehow the idea of importing from Sicily immense quantities of rabbit skins, which were used for making hats of a cheap kind which passed for beaver. In this way he acquired a large fortune. In England he mixed in the best society, and became very intimate with Earl Cowper, first husband of the well-known Lady Palmerston, and at his death bequeathed Sandringham to the Honorable Spencer Cowper, that nobleman's younger son, who married Lady Blessington's stepdaughter, Lady Harriet Gardiner, after her divorce from Count d'Orsay. When the prince of Wales was casting round for a country-seat, Sandringham was selected. Lord Palmerston was then in office, and some ill-natured things were said as to the sale of his stepson's place having been a much better thing for Mr. Cowper than for the prince of Wales. Vast sums have since been spent here.

Where a deer-park has long existed on his paternal estate, it goes to an Englishman's heart to give it up. An incident in point occurred about twenty years ago. In a secluded part of Devonshire, approached by the narrow, high-hedged, tortuous lanes characteristic of that part of the country, stands a magnificent old Tudor mansion known as Great Fulford Hall. Here for upward of six hundred years have been seated the Fulfords, a family of Saxon origin, the rivals of the Tichbornes in antiquity. The mansion of Fulford was garrisoned by Charles I., and taken by a detachment of Cromwell's army in 1645. The marks they left behind them may be seen to this day. The Fulfords have supporters to their arms, a very rare circumstance in the case of commoners. These supporters are two Saracens, and were granted in consideration of services in the Crusades. "Sir Baldwin de Fulford fought a combat with a Saracen, for bulk and bigness an unequal match (as the representation of him cut in the wainscot at Fulford doth plainly shew), whom yet he vanquished, and rescued a lady." This gentleman's granddaughter was the mother of Henry VIII.'s favorite, Russell, first earl of Bedford, and the Fulfords are connected with a hundred other ancient and honorable houses. But for a long time the heads of the house have failed "to marry money;" and when this happens for two or three generations in the case of a country gentleman with a large family to portion off, the result must usually be impecuniosity. Thus, when the late Mr. Fulford succeeded to the family property in 1847, he found himself the owner of a majestic old dilapidated mansion, surrounded by a deer-park, which had been gradually growing less until the portion of the park devoted to this purpose was little more than a big field.

Like his ancestor in the time of "the troubles," Mr. Baldwin Fulford was a Conservative, and had been very useful to his party. It was intended, therefore, to reward his services when the time came by a county office, which would have placed him at ease pecuniarily. When this office fell vacant the Tories were "in," and all seemed secure for Mr. Fulford's interest. But there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip. A gentleman applied to the prime minister for the place for a friend of his, whose services to the party he duly dilated on. "I understood," said his lordship, "that Mr. Fulford's claims are considered paramount." "Mr. Fulford!" was the rejoinder. "I scarcely thought that such a place as this would be an object to Mr. Fulford—a gentleman of great position, with a deer-park and all that sort of thing." "A deer-park! You surprise me. I understood that Mr. Fulford's circumstances were extremely reduced. This alters the matter." Unfortunately, the, minister committed himself too far to draw back before making inquiries, when he learned that a deer-park having existed at Fulford for some four or five centuries, its owner had kept as a memento of grand old days a little remnant of the herd in a paddock, as before mentioned. He never recovered the blow of this disappointment. The heir to the property is, we believe, a son of the late bishop of Montreal. The family motto is "Bear up"—one eminently suited to its present condition, and we may hope that it will be followed so successfully that this ancient stock, which has held for so long a high place among the worthies of Devon, may once more win the smiles of Fortune.

Many of the most picturesque parks are but little known, lying as they do remote from railway stations. Mr. Nesfield, the great landscape-gardener, considers that Longleat, the marquis of Bath's, near Warminster, has greater natural advantages than any park in England, and that these have been made the most of.

Lord Stamford's park of Bradgate, in Leicestershire, is in the highest degree interesting. It is mostly covered with the common fern or brakes, and the projecting bare and abrupt rocks rising here and there, with a few gnarled and shivered oaks in the last stage of decay, present a scene of wildness and desolation in striking contrast to some of the beautiful adjoining valleys and fertile country.

Another gem of its kind is Ugbrook. This is situated a few miles from the Newton-Abbot station of the South Devon Railway, and lies in a rocky nook on the confines of Dartmoor. Macaulay, whose brother was vicar of the neighboring parish of Bovey-Tracey, knew it well, and tells us in his History that Clifford (a member of the Cabal ministry) retired to the woods of Ugbrook. He was a lucky man to have such paternal acres to retire to, but probably the visitor to-day sees this park in a condition which Charles's minister would indeed have enjoyed. There is no place in England where a man may feel more grateful to those who have gone before him for their taste and forethought in creating a sylvan paradise. Although not very large, this park contains almost every variety of scenery. There is a grove gloomy from the heavy shadows of the magnificent trees which compose it, glorious avenues of lime and beech, and monarch-like trees, which, standing alone amid an expanse of sward, show to the fullest advantage their superb proportions. Entering the park on one side, the road winds beside a river, to which the bank gently slopes on the one hand, whilst on the other it rises precipitately, clad with the greenest foliage. An especial feature of this place is what is known as "the riding park," a stretch of smooth turf extending some miles, from which you may get a view over thirty miles, with the rocky heights of Dartmoor Forest, where the autumn manoeuvres take place this year, on the one hand, and the Haldon Hills on the other. This ancient heritage is still the property of the Cliffords, the present peer being eighth baron in direct descent from the lord treasurer. The Cliffords have always remained constant to the Roman Catholic faith, and a Catholic chapel adjoins the mansion.

A discriminating foreign tourist writes of Lord Hill's park, Hawkstone, in Shropshire, which, also lying rather off the beaten track, is comparatively little known: "I must in some respects give Hawkstone the preference over all I have seen. It is not art nor magnificence nor aristocratic splendor, but Nature alone to which it is indebted for this pre-eminence, and in such a degree that were I gifted with the power of adding to its beauty, I should ask, What can I add? Imagine a spot so commandingly placed that from its highest point you can let your eye wander over fifteen counties. Three sides of this wide panorama rise and fall in constant change of hill and dale like the waves of an agitated sea, and are bounded at the horizon by the strangely formed, jagged outline of the Welsh mountains, which at either end descend to a fertile plain shaded by thousands of lofty trees, and in the obscure distance, where it blends with the sky, is edged with a white misty line—the Atlantic Ocean."

Moor Park, in Hertfordshire, is remarkable for the following tradition concerning it: In Charles II.'s reign it was bought by the duke of Monmouth, whose widow—she who

In pride of youth, in beauty's bloom,

Had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb—

is said to have ordered the heads of the trees in the park to be cut off on being informed of her husband's execution. This tradition is strengthened by the condition of many of the oaks here, which are decayed from the top. The duchess sold the place in 1720, thirty-five years after the duke's death. This is the Moor Park of apricot fame, but not the one where Sir William Temple lived when Swift was his secretary.

Most of the oldest and finest trees in England are naturally to be found in the deer-parks. At Woburn, the duke of Bedford's, is the largest ash—ninety feet high and twenty-three feet six inches in circumference at the base. The Abbot's Oak, on which the last abbot was hung, stands, or lately stood, here. It is remarkable that oaks are more often struck by lightning than any other trees. At Tortworth, Lord Ducie's, in Gloucestershire, is a chestnut asserted to have been a boundary tree in the time of King John. So late as 1788 it produced great quantities of chestnuts. At five feet from the ground this tree measured fifty feet in circumference.

The lover of fine trees should wander through the glades of Lord Leigh's park at Stoneleigh, in Warwickshire, where tall and shapely oaks grow with such symmetry that you do not guess their size, and are surprised to discover on measuring them how great it is.

Oh, how I love these solitudes

And places silent as the night—

There where no thronging multitudes

Disturb with noise their sweet delight!

Oh, how mine eyes are pleased to see

Oaks that such spreading branches bear,

Which, from old Time's nativity,

And th' envy of so many years,

Are still green, beautiful and fair

As at the world's first day they were!

Writing of the confines of the ancient forest of Sherwood, Mr. Howitt says of those sylvan delights: "The great woods have fallen under the axe, and repeated enclosures have reduced the open forests, but at the Clipstone end still remains a remnant of its ancient woodlands, unrifled except of deer—a specimen of what the whole once was, and a specimen of consummate beauty and interest. The part called Bilhaghe is a forest of oaks, and is clothed with the most impressive aspect of age that can be presented to the eye in these kingdoms. Stonehenge does not give you a feeling of greater eld, because it is not composed of a material so easily acted on by the elements. But the hand of Time has been on these woods, and has stamped them with a most imposing character. The tempests, lightnings, winds and wintry violence of a thousand years have flung their force on these trees, and there they stand, trunk after trunk, scathed, hollow, gray, gnarled, stretching out their bare, sturdy arms, or their mingled foliage and ruin, a life in death. All is gray and old. The ground is gray beneath, the trees are gray with clinging lichens—the very heather and fern that spring beneath them have a character of the past. If you turn aside and step amongst them, your feet sink in a depth of moss and dry vegetation that is the growth of ages, or rather that ages have not been able to destroy. You stand and look round, and in the height of summer all is silent: it is like the fragment of a world worn out and forsaken. These were the trees under which King John pursued the red deer six hundred years ago, these were the oaks beneath which Robin Hood led up his bold band of outlaws.... Advance up this long avenue, which the noble owner of the forest tract has cut through it, and, looking right and left as you proceed, you will not be able long to refrain from turning into the tempting openings that present themselves. Enter which you please, you cannot be wrong. These winding tracks, just wide enough for a couple of people on horseback or in a pony phaeton, carpeted with a mossy turf which springs under your feet with a delicious elasticity, and closed in with shadowy trunks and flowery thickets—are they not lovely?"

In the time of Elizabeth the largest park in Warwickshire, and one of the very finest in England, was that which surrounded the castle rendered classic ground by the immortal limning of Scott—Kenilworth. In a survey taken in the time of James I. it is stated that "the circuit of the castle mannours, parks and chase lying round together contain at least nineteen or twenty miles in a pleasant country, the like both for strength, state and pleasure not being within the realme of England." Kenilworth came to an end in Cromwell's time, a period very unfavorable to these sylvan paradises. He had the park cut up and divided amongst various grantees. How much damage was done to the park interest by the civil wars the following extract from the Life of Margaret, duchess of Newcastle, attests: "Of eight parks which my lord had before the wars, there was but one left that was not quite destroyed—viz. Welbeck Park of about four miles compass; for my lord's brother, Sir Charles Cavendish, who bought out the life of my lord in that lordship, saved most part of it from being cut down; and in Blore Park there were some few deer left. The rest of the parks were totally defaced and destroyed, both wood, pales and deer; amongst which was also Clipston Park of seven miles compass, wherein my lord had taken much delight formerly, it being rich of wood, and containing the greatest and tallest timber trees of all the woods he shad; insomuch that only the pale-row was valued at two thousand pounds. It was watered by a pleasant river that runs through it, full of fish and otters; was well stocked with deer, full of hares, and had great store of partridges, poots, pheasants, etc., besides all sorts of water-fowl; so that this park afforded all manner of sports, for hunting, hawking, coursing, fishing, etc., for which my lord esteemed it very much. And although his patience and wisdom is such that I never perceived him sad or discontented for his own losses and misfortunes, yet when he beheld the ruins of that park I observed him troubled, though he did little express it, only saying he had been in hopes it would not have been so much defaced as he found it, there being not one timber tree in it left for shelter."

The number of deer-parks in Scotland and Ireland is small. The principal park in the former is that of the duke of Buccleuch at Dalkeith Palace, near Edinburgh. At Hamilton, belonging to the duke of that ilk, are wild cattle similar to those at Chillingham.

A wonderfully picturesque Irish park is Rockingham, the Hon. L. King Harinan's, in the county Roscommon. The traveler will observe this beautiful and very extensive demesne as he goes from Boyle to Sligo. It is at the foot of the Curlew Mountains, and contains a magnificent sheet of water surrounding an island on which stands an ancient castle, still inhabitable. At Strokestown, in the same county, is a small park, where Mr. Mahon, its former owner, planted many years ago all sorts of forest trees, to see how far the deer would eat them: the only tree they entirely avoided was the beech.

There is nothing grander in the three kingdoms than Lord Waterford's seat, Curraghmore. Taken with the adjoining woods, the demesne contains five thousand acres. The special feature of this superb place is grandeur; "not that arising from the costly and laborious exertions of man, but rather the magnificence of Nature. The beauty of the situation consists in the lofty hills, rich vales and almost impenetrable woods, which deceive the eye and give the idea of boundless forests. The variety of the scenery is calculated to please in the highest degree, and to gratify every taste."

At Lyme Park, the splendid old seat of the Leghs in Cheshire, "a very remarkable custom," says Lysons, "of driving the red deer, which has not been practiced in any other park, either in England or abroad, was established about a century ago by an old park-keeper, who occupied that position for seventy years, dying at over one hundred years of age. It was his custom in May and June, when the animals' horns were tender, to go on horseback, with a rod in his hand, round the hills of this extensive park, and, having collected the deer, to drive them before him like a herd of common horned cattle, sometimes even opening a gate for them to pass through. When they came to a place before the hall called the Deer-Clod, they would stand in a collected body as long as the spectators thought fit; the young ones following their dams, and the old stags rising one against another and combating with their fore feet, not daring at this season of the year to make use of their horns. At the command of the keeper they would then move forward to a large piece of water and swim through the whole length of it, after which they were allowed to disperse."

Following the example of the abbots, many of the bishops formerly had deer-parks, and up to 1831 the bishop of Durham, a prince-palatine in his diocese, had a park at his country-seat, still his residence, Bishops-Auckland; but now the only prelate enjoying this distinction is the bishop of Winchester, at Farnham Castle, in Hampshire.

"There are some," says a writer in an early number of the Westminster Review, "who enclose immense possessions with walls and gates, and employ keepers with guns to guard every avenue to the vast solitudes by which they choose to be surrounded. Let such men pitch their tents in the deserts of Sahara or the wild prairies of America. What business have they here in the midst of a civilized community, linked together by chains of mutual obligation and dependence?" These observations apply to few private parks now-a-days. Permission to drive, ride or walk through them is rarely refused. Almost the only cases where there is much strictness in this respect are those of parks situated near a great watering place, such as Brighton or Tonbridge Wells. Thus, at the former, Lord Chichester's rule is that all persons on horseback or in carriages may pass through his ground, but foot-passengers are not allowed. The late Lord Abergavenny, a man of very shy and retiring disposition, was the least liberal park-owner in England. The gates of his superb demesne of Eridge very rarely revolved on their hinges; and this was the more remarkable, inasmuch as he did not reside there more than three months in the year. The story was told that at his accession to the property he had been more liberal, but that one day he was seated at luncheon alone when, suddenly looking up, he observed to his horror three proletarians flattening their noses against the window-pane, and gaping with exasperating interest at the august spectacle of a live lord at luncheon. To pull the bell and issue an order for the immediate removal of the intruders was, in the graphic language of the dime novel, the work of a moment; and from that hour the gates of Eridge were so rigorously sealed that it was often a matter of difficulty even for invited guests to obtain admittance.

It may seem very ill-natured sometimes to refuse admittance on easy terms to such places, and to act apparently in a sort of dog-in-the-manger spirit. But it should be borne in mind that the privilege when accorded has not unfrequently been abused, more especially by the "lower middle class" of the English people, whose manners are often very intrusive. Such persons will approach close to the house, peer into the windows of private apartments, or push in amongst the family and guests while engaged in croquet or other out-door amusements. Another common offence is leaving a disgusting débris lying about after a picnic in grounds which it costs the owners thousands of pounds yearly to keep in order. The sentiment from which such places are kept up is not that of vulgar display. They are hallowed by associations which are well depicted by the late Lord Lytton in an eloquent passage in Earnest Maltravers:

"It is a wild and weird scene, one of those noble English parks at midnight, with its rough forest-ground broken into dell and valley, its never-innovated and mossy grass overrun with fern, and its immemorial trees, that have looked upon the birth, and look yet upon the graves, of a hundred generations. Such spots are the last proud and melancholy trace of Norman knighthood and old romance left to the laughing landscapes of cultivated England. They always throw something of shadow and solemn gloom upon minds that feel their associations, like that which belongs to some ancient and holy edifice. They are the cathedral aisles of Nature, with their darkened vistas, and columned trunks, and arches of mighty foliage. But in ordinary times the gloom is pleasing, and more delightful than all the cheerful lawns and sunny slopes of the modern taste."

Footnote 1: (return) [This was the famous Charlotte de la Trémouille, so admirably portrayed by Scott in Peveril of the Peak. Her direct male heirs terminated in her grandson, the tenth earl, and she is now represented in the female line by the duke of Atholl, who through her claims descent from the Greek emperors.]