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Washington's Counsel in Love Matters-A Romantic
CHAP. XXXIII. Washington taxed anew with the Cares
II. Washington's Farewell Address,
LIFE OF WASHINGTON.
THE Washington family is of an ancient English stock, the genealogy of which has been traced up to the century immediately succeeding the Conquest. At that time it was in possession of landed estates and manorial privileges in the county of Durham, such as were enjoyed only by those, or their descendants, who had come over from Normandy with the Conqueror, or fought under his standard. When William the Conqueror laid waste the whole country north of the Humber, in punishment of the insurrection of the Northumbrians, he apportioned the estates among his followers, and advanced Normans and other foreigners to the principal ecclesiastical dignities. One of the most wealthy and important sees was that of Durham. Hither had been transported the bones of St. Cuthbert from their original shrine at Lindisfarne, when it was ravaged by the Danes. That saint, says Camden, was esteemed by princes and gentry a titular saint against the Scots.* His shrine, therefore, had been held in peculiar reverence by the Saxons, and the see of Durham endowed with extraordinary privileges.
William continued and increased those privileges. He needed a powerful adherent on this frontier to keep the restless Northumbrians in order, and check Scottish invasion; and no doubt considered an enlightened ecclesiastic, appointed by the crown, a safer depositary of such power than a hereditary noble.
Having placed a noble and learned native of Loraine in the diocese, therefore, he erected it into a palatinate, over which the bishop, as
* Camden, Brit. iv., 349.
Count Palatine, had temporal, as well as spiritual jurisdiction. He built a strong castle for his protection, and to serve as a barrier against the Northern foe. He made him lord highadmiral of the sea and waters ioining his palatinate,-lord warden of the marches, and conservator of the league between England and Scotland. Thenceforth, we are told, the prelates of Durham owned no earthly superior within their diocese, but continued for centuries to exercise every right attached to an independent sovereign.*
The bishop, as Count Palatine, lived in almost royal state and splendor. He had his lay chancellor, chamberlains, secretaries, stewards, treasurer, master of the horse, and a host of minor officers. Still he was under feudal obligations. All landed property in those warlike times, implied military service. Bishops and abbots, equally with great barons who held estates immediately of the crown, were obliged, when required, to furnish the king with armed men in proportion to their domains; but they had their feudatories under them to aid them in this service.
The princely prelate of Durham had his barons and knights, who held estates of him on feudal tenure, and were bound to serve him in peace and war. They sat occasionally in his councils, gave martial splendor to his court, and were obliged to have horse and weapon ready for service, for they lived in a belligerent neighborhood, disturbed occasionally by civil war, and often by Scottish foray. When the banner of St. Cuthbert, the royal standard of the province, was displayed, no armed feuda
* Annals of Roger de Hoveden. Hutchinson's Durham, vol. ii. Collectanea Curiosa, vol. ii., p. 83.
GENEALOGY OF THE WASHINGTON FAMILY.
tory of the bishop could refuse to take the field.*
Some of these prelates, in token of the warlike duties of their diocese, engraved on their seals a knight on horseback armed at all points, brandishing in one hand a sword, and holding forth in the other the arms of the see.t
Among the knights who held estates in the palatinate on these warlike conditions, was WILLIAM DE HERTBURN, the progenitor of the Washingtons. His Norman name of William would seem to point out his national descent; and the family long continued to have Norman names of baptism. The surname of De Hertburn was taken from a village on the palatinate which he held of the bishop in knight's fee; probably the same now called Hartburn on the banks of the Tees. It had become a custom among the Norman families of rank about the time of the Conquest, to take surnames from their castles or estates; it was not until some time afterwards that surnames became generally assumed by the people.
How or when the De Hertburns first acquired possession of their village is not known. They may have been companions in arms with Robert de Brus (or Bruce) a noble knight of Normandy, rewarded by William the Conqueror with great possessions in the North, and among others, with the lordships of Hert and Hertness in the county of Durham.
The first actual mention we find of the family is in the Bolden Book, a record of all the lands appertaining to the diocese of 1183. In this it is stated that William de Hertburn had exchanged his village of Hertburn for the manor and village of Wessyngton, likewise in the diocese; paying the bishop a quitrent of four pounds, and engaging to attend him with two greyhounds in grand hunts, and to furnish a man at arms whenever military aid should be required of the palatinate.§
Robert de Graystanes, Ang. Sac., p. 746. + Camden, Brit. iv., 349.
Lower on Surnames, vol. i., p. 43. Fuller says that the custom of surnames was brought from France in Edward the Confessor's time, about fifty years before the Conquest; but did not become universally settled until some hundred years afterwards. At first they did not descend hereditarily on the family.-Fuller, Church History. Roll Battle Abbey.
§ THE BOLDEN BOOK. As this ancient document gives the first trace of the Washington family, it merits especial mention. In 1183, a survey was made by order of Bishop de Pusaz of all the lands of the see held in demesne, or by tenants in villanage. The record was entered in a book called the Bolden Buke; the parish of Bolden occurring first in alphabetical arrangement. The docu
The family changed its surname with its estate, and thenceforward assumed that of DE WESSYNGTON.* The condition of military service attached to its manor will be found to have been often exacted, nor was the service in the grand hunt an idle form. Hunting came next to war in those days, as the occupation of the nobility and gentry. The clergy engaged in it equally with the laity. The hunting establishment of the Bishop of Durham was on a princely scale. He had his forests, chases, and parks, with their train of foresters, rangers, and park keepers. A grand hunt was a splendid pageant in which all his barons and knights attended him with horse and hound. The stipulations with the Seignior of Wessyngton show how strictly the rights of the chase were defined. All the game taken by him in going to the forest belonged to the bishop; all taken on returning belonged to himself.†
Hugh de Pusaz (or De Pudsay) during whose episcopate we meet with this first trace of the De Wessyngtons, was a nephew of king Stephen, and a prelate of great pretensions ; fond of appearing with a train of ecclesiastics and an armed retinue. When Richard Coeur de Lion put every thing at pawn and sale to raise funds for a crusade to the Holy Land, the bishop resolved to accompany him. More wealthy than his sovereign, he made magnificent preparations. Besides ships to convey his troops and retinue, he had a sumptuous galley for himself, fitted up with a throne or episcopal chair of silver, and all the household, and even culinary utensils, were of the same costly material. In a word, had not the prelate been induced to stay at home, and aid the king with his treasures, by being made one of the regents of the kingdom, and Earl of North
ment commences in the following manner: Incipit liber qui vocatur Bolden Book. Anno Dominice Incarnationis, 1183, &c.
The following is the memorandum in question :
Willus de Herteburn habet Wessyngton (excepta ecclesia et terra ecclesie partinen) ad excamb, pro villa de Herteburn quam pro hac quietam clamavit: Et reddit 4 L. Et vadit in magna caza cum 2 Leporar. Et quando commune auxilium venerit debet dare 1 Militem ad plus de auxilio, &c.-Collectanea Curiosa, vol. ii. p. 89.
The Bolden Buke is a small folio, deposited in the office of the bishop's auditor, at Durham.
The name is probably of Saxon origin. It existed in England prior to the Conquest. The village of Wasseng tone is mentioned in a Saxon charter as granted by king Edgar in 973 to Thorney Abbey.-Collectanea Topograph ica, iv. 55.
+ Hutchinson's Durham, vol. ii., p. 489.
GENEALOGY OF THE WASHINGTON FAMILY.
amberland for life, the De Wessyngtons might | are told, more like a powerful prince, than a have followed the banner of St. Cuthbert to priest or prelate.*
the Holy wars.
Nearly seventy years afterwards we find the family still retaining its manorial estate in the palatinate. The names of Bondo de Wessyngton and William his son appear on charters of land, granted in 1257 to religious houses. Soon after occurred the wars of the barons, in which the throne of Henry III. was shaken by the De Mountforts. The chivalry of the palatinate rallied under the royal standard. On the list of royal knights who fought for their sovereign in the disastrous battle of Lewes (1264), in which the king was taken prisoner, we find the name of William Weshington, of Weshington.*
At the surrender of the crown of Scotland by John Baliol, which ended this invasion, the bishop negotiated on the part of England. As a trophy of the event, the chair of Schone used on the inauguration of the Scottish monarchs, and containing the stone on which Jacob dreamed, the palladium of Scotland, was transferred to England and deposited in Westminster Abbey.†
In the reign of Edward III. we find the De Wessyngtons still mingling in chivalrous scenes. The name of Sir Stephen de Wessyngton appears on a list of knights (nobles chevaliers) who were to tilt at a tournament at Dunstable in 1334. He bore for his device a golden rose on an azure field.‡
He was soon called to exercise his arms on a sterner field. In 1346, Edward and his son, the Black Prince, being absent with the armies in France, king David of Scotland invaded Northumberland with a powerful army. Queen Philippa, who had remained in England as regent, immediately took the field, calling the northern prelates and nobles to join her standard. They all hastened to obey. Among the prelates was Hatfield, the Bishop of Durham. The sacred banner of St. Cuthbert was again displayed, and the chivalry of the palatinate assisted at the famous battle of Nevil's cross, near Durham, in which the Scottish army was defeated and king David taken prisoner.
During the splendid pontificate of Anthony Beke (or Beak), the knights of the palatinate had continually to be in the saddle, or buckled in armor. The prelate was so impatient of rest that he never took more than one sleep, saying it was unbecoming a man to turn from one side to another in bed. He was perpetually, when within his diocese, either riding from one manor to another, or hunting and hawking. Twice he assisted Edward I. with all his force in invading Scotland. In the progress northward with the king, the bishop led the van, marching a day in advance of the main body, with a mercenary force, paid by himself, of one thousand foot and five hundred horse. Besides these he had his feudatories of the palatinate; six bannerets and one hundred and sixty knights, not one of whom, says an old poem, but surpassed Arthur himself, though endowed with the charmed gifts of Merlin. We presume the De Wessyngtons were among those preux chevaliers, as the banner of St. Cuthbert had been taken from its shrine on the occasion, and of course all the armed force of the diocese was bound to follow. It was borne in front of the army by a monk of Durham. There were many rich caparisons, says the old poem, many beautiful striking picture of the palatinate in these days of its pride
pennons, fluttering from lances, and much neighing of steeds. The hills and valleys were covered with sumpter horses and waggons laden with tents and provisions. The Bishop of Durham in his warlike state appeared, we
This list of knights was inserted in the Bolden Book as an additional entry. It is cited at full length by Hutchinson.-Hist. Durham, vol. i., p. 220.
↑ Onques Artous pour touz ces charmes,
SIEGE OF KARLAVEROCK; an old Poem in Norman French.
Queen Philippa hastened with a victorious train to cross the sea at Dover, and join king Edward in his camp before Calais. The prelate of Durham accompanied her. His military train consisted of three bannerets, forty-eight knights, one hundred and sixty-four esquires, and eighty archers, on horseback. They all
Robert de Graystanes, Ang. Sac., p. 746, cited by Hutchinson, vol. i., p. 239.
An extract from an inedited poem, cited by Nicolas in his translation of the Siege of Carlavarock, gives a
and splendor :
There valor bowed before the rood and book,
GENEALOGY OF THE WASHINGTON FAMILY.
arrived to witness the surrender of Calais (1346), on which occasion queen Philippa distinguished herself by her noble interference in saving the lives of its patriot citizens.
Such were the warlike and stately scenes in which the De Wessyngtons were called to mingle by their feudal duties as knights of the palatinate. A few years after the last event (1350), William, at that time lord of the manor of Wessyngton, had license to settle it and the village upon himself, his wife, and "his own right heirs." He died in 1367, and his son and heir, William, succeeded to the estate. The latter is mentioned under the name of Sir William de Weschington, as one of the knights who sat in the privy council of the county during the episcopate of John Fordham.* During this time the whole force of the palatinate was roused to pursue a foray of Scots, under Sir William Douglas, who, having ravaged the country, were returning laden with spoil. It was a fruit of the feud between the Douglases and the Percys. The marauders were overtaken by Hotspur Percy, and then took place the battle of Otterbourne, in which Percy was taken prisoner and Douglas slain.†
liam the Conqueror had ordained that the priors of Durham should enjoy all the liberties, dignities, and honors of abbots; should hold their lands and churches in their own hands and free disposition, and have the abbot's seat on the left side of the choir-thus taking rank of every one but the bishop.*
In the course of three centuries and upwards, which had since elapsed, these honors and privileges had been subject to repeated dispute and encroachment, and the prior had nearly been elbowed out of the abbot's chair by the archdeacon. John de Wessyngton was not a man to submit tamely to such infringements of his rights. He forthwith set himself up as the champion of his priory, and in a learned tract, de Juribus et Possessionibus Ecclesiæ Dunelm, established the validity of the long-controverted claims, and fixed himself firmly in the abbot's chair. His success in this controversy gained him much renown among his brethren of the cowl, and in 1426 he presided at the general chapter of the order of St. Benedict, held at Northampton.
The stout prior of Durham had other disputes with the bishop and the secular clergy touching his ecclesiastical functions, in which he was equally victorious, and several tracts remain in manuscript in the dean and chapter's library; weapons hung up in the church armory as memorials of his polemical battles.
For upwards of two hundred years the De Wessyngtons had now sat in the councils of the palatinate; had mingled with horse and hound, in the stately hunts of its prelates, and followed the banner of St. Cuthbert to the field; but Sir William, just mentioned, was Finally, after fighting divers good fights for the last of the family that rendered this feudal the honor of his priory, and filling the abbot's service. He was the last male of the line to chair for thirty years, he died, to use an anwhich the inheritance of the manor, by the cient phrase, "in all the odor of sanctity," in license granted to his father, was confined. It 1446, and was buried like a soldier on his passed away from the De Wessyngtons, after battle-field, at the door of the north aisle of his death, by the marriage of his only daughter the church, near to the altar of St. Benedict. and heir, Dionisia, with Sir William Temple of On his tombstone was an inscription in brass, Studley. By the year 1400 it had become the now unfortunately obliterated, which may have property of the Blaykestons. set forth the valiant deeds of this Washington of the cloisters.†
But though the name of De Wessyngton no longer figured on the chivalrous roll of the palatinate, it continued for a time to flourish in the cloisters. In the year 1416, John De Wessyngton was elected prior of the Benedictine convent, attached to the cathedral. The monks of this convent had been licensed by Pope Gregory VII. to perform the solemn duties of the cathedral in place of secular clergy, and Wil
* Hutchinson, vol. ii.
Theare the Dowglas lost his life,
And the Percye was led away.
FORDUN. Quoted by Surtee's Hist. Durham, vol. i. Hutchinson's Durham, vol. ii., p. 489.
By this time the primitive stock of the De Wessyngtons had separated into divers branches, holding estates in various parts of England; some distinguishing themselves in the learned professions, others receiving knighthood for public services. Their names are to be found honorably recorded in county histories, or engraved on monuments in timeworn churches and cathedrals, those garnering places of English worthies. By degrees the
* Dugdale Monasticon Anglicanum. T. i., p. 231. London ed. 1846.
† Hutchinson's Durham, vol. ii., passim.